Actions

Work Header

something like love

Chapter Text

Moving into a new house with a seven year old, with the year quickly coming to a close and the winter cold snap in full force as January approaches is not one of Beca Mitchell’s brightest ideas but here she is; carrying a box clearly labeled ‘kitchen’ into her new house, yelling to Jesse who was bringing two stacked boxes labeled bedroom behind her. Asher was somewhere inside the empty living room, a small plush soccer ball in his hands after declaring he wasn’t in the mood to help move into a house he didn’t like.

 

Beca places the box on the counter before brushing loose strands of hair from her bun out of her face, stopping to take a breather and glance towards the living room where Asher was stood, kicking the ball against the bare wall in front of him; his beanie was firmly situated on his head, his hands in his coat pockets and what looked to be a frown on his face. Beca sighs, after living with Jesse for the last seven years, Asher was taking moving out of the house he shared with his godfather harder than Beca had initially thought but Beca is a mom, has been for seven years and she needed to start acting independent; after all, she’s not a college student anymore. Jesse is halfway up the stairs when he catches Beca’s eye and nods towards Asher, Beca nods, striding over until she’s stood behind her son and her hands are on his shoulders.

 

“Hey buddy…” Beca trails off, realizing that after seven years she should probably be better at having an actual conversation with her kid than feeling awkward and clueless on how to get some answers out of Asher.

 

“Why did we have to leave Uncle Jesse’s?” Asher asks, turning around and staring into Beca’s eyes with his big, brown eyes starting to glaze over.

 

Beca gives him a small smile before leading him across the room and sitting at the bay window, lifting Asher onto her lap where she wraps her arm around his middle, dropping her head so it is resting on his shoulder.

 

“We couldn’t stay there forever; Jesse is getting serious with Benji isn’t he? He doesn’t need us under his feet all the time.” Beca tries to explain, putting it as simply as she could as to not upset Asher further. “Also, this house is really cool; you get your own room.”

 

A smile starts to tug at the corner of Asher’s lips.

 

“I can decorate it any way I want?” Asher asks, hopefulness glistening in his eyes as Beca chuckles, digging her fingers into his side eliciting a loud laugh from her son.

 

“We can go shopping tomorrow and you can choose your wallpaper, how does that sound bud?” Beca asks him, leaning over his shoulder to meet his face.

 

“Good.” Asher confirms before squirming in Beca’s arms until she lets him go, he runs to retrieve his soccer ball before running towards the stairs in search of Jesse.

 

 

XxX                                                                                                               

 

 

Boxes are scattered in every single room, still packed and barely touched from the moment they were brought into the house; Beca is sitting against the window, cross-legged whilst she peels away the label of the lukewarm bottle of beer in her hand; Asher is across the room, passed out on the couch, a blanket covering his small body; Beca is alone, for the first time in seven years; it’s just her and Asher.

 

 

XxX

 

 

Beca wakes up from the armchair a little after 6:30AM and after checking on Asher, brushing her hand through his unruly hair, she makes her way into the kitchen and begins to unpack some of the boxes; she unwraps the plates, bowls and glasses from the newspaper she had wrapped them in before storing them away in the cupboards; she hums along to the music playing quietly on her phone on the counter, sliding along the wooden floors of the kitchen in her socks as she continues to be as quiet as she can be; she unpacks pots and pans, spatulas and cutlery, and by the time the time has just ticked past 8:03AM: she is joined in the kitchen by her sleepy son, rubbing his eyes and yawning.

 

“Ma, can we have breakfast?” He asks, effectively cutting Beca’s attention on putting the cutlery away short.

 

Two things;

 

One; Beca hadn’t even realized that Asher was awake,

 

Two; until Asher had just asked she hadn’t realized just how hungry she was.

 

Beca nods, grabbing her phone and switching her music off.

 

“Sure kiddo, let’s go and get some pancakes.” She says to him, her eyes scanning all surfaces for her car keys. “Go and put your shoes on.” She tells him, pointing to the couch where he kicked them off the night before.

 

Beca searches for her own shoes, grabbing her pair of boots and pulling them on before grabbing her coat from the stair banister and putting it on just as Asher comes running into the hallway, his laces barely tied, coat unzipped and beanie in his hand. Beca can’t help but laugh at the sight of him before she’s kneeling down to tie his laces (despite having showed Asher how to do it numerous times before). She zips up his coat and puts his beanie on, pulling it down over his eyes eliciting a giggle from him before she fixes it so she can look into his eyes, focusing in on the specks of gold in his iris. Beca stands up, swiping her own scarf from where it had fallen onto the floor, grabbing her keys and turning to Asher.

 

“Let’s go Ash-Attack.” Beca grins, leading her son out of the house, locking it behind her before walking over to her Range Rover and helping Asher jump into the back seat, despite his constant complaints that he should be sitting up front.

 

They are driving around for nearly forty-five minutes when Asher’s high-pitched scream of ‘pancakes’ from the backseat has Beca slamming on the breaks out of sheer shock; Asher doesn’t even seem to register the frightened expression on his mother’s face, or the fact her right hand is covering her heart; he’s completely distracted by the giant pancake sign on the window of a small diner across the road. Beca glances up to the rearview mirror, blinking rapidly as her heart rate steadily decreases back to a normal rate again. She kills the engine,

 

“Should we try here, Ash?” Beca asks, not surprised when Asher nods his head so fast in response that the brunette is convinced his head is about to fall off.

 

Beca gets out of the car, shutting the door as she wraps her scarf further around her neck in the presence of the crisp beginning-of-winter air before she opens the back door, and helps Asher out of the car, holding onto his hand as she shuts the door and locks the car. They cross the road hand in hand before entering the diner; Asher letting go of Beca’s hand and running to a booth near the back of the establishment, his eyes lighting up at a waitress walking past with a plate of pancakes stacked higher than Asher could ever imagine. Beca humors her son’s love for the breakfast food before sliding into the booth opposite him and pulling a menu to her to begin scanning through. Asher excitedly begins to talk Beca’s ear off about starting in his new school tomorrow, erasing any remaining doubts that Beca was refusing to let surface on how Asher would feel about being the new kid; but with his bubbly personality and ability to make almost everybody love him, the brunette knows she has absolutely nothing to worry about.

 

They order; Asher tries to order eight pancakes but that is immediately shut down by Beca who insists that two will be enough, with bacon; Beca orders bacon and scrambled eggs with the both of them ordering apple juice to drink. The waitress smiles, telling Asher a joke that has him clutching his stomach as he struggles to stop himself laughing.

 

Conversation quickly turns to school starting; Beca questioning him on almost everything;

 

“I hope my teacher is nice.” Asher mumbles, reaching for his glass of apple juice. “I hope she’s like Miss Johnson.”

 

Beca frowns at the way Asher’s face falls. Beca knows how much Asher loved his old first grade teacher, and how fond of her that he was. Beca swallows thickly as she remembers how Asher’s eyes filled with tears when Beca announced that they would be moving and he would have to move schools, but Beca couldn’t show her face around his old elementary school anymore, it would have caused more problems than it was worth.

 

“I know buddy. This school will be better though.” Beca tries to reassure him and brighten the mood back up, to get Asher talking her ear off again.

 

“I hope they play soccer!” Asher suddenly bursts out of nowhere, causing a few diners to turn their heads and for Beca to mildly chide Asher, reminding him to use his inside voice. “I like soccer, mama. I’m really good.”

 

Beca just chuckles at her son’s confidence, something that she blames entirely on Jesse; he was the soccer fan of the pair of best friends; whilst Beca loved football more; Jesse was always sneaking off during the weekends with Asher to take him to a soccer game – assuming Beca wouldn’t find out, when usually she already knew that’s where they were going before they had even left the apartment.

 

Their food arrives and Asher dives for the syrup, pouring way too much to the point where his pancakes are drowning in the liquid; Beca doesn’t mind; she will probably take him to the nearest playground after this so he can use up all of his energy and tire himself out giving herself more time to unpack as many boxes as she can whilst Asher falls asleep to SpongeBob playing on the TV – if she figures out how to set it up properly.

 

Asher talks about everything from llamas to cartoons, to homework and Ghostbusters – thank you Benji.

 

They finish, Beca pays and the pair leaves the diner to cross the road back to the car with Beca getting Asher settled back into the car before getting in and heading towards the nearest playground.

 

Asher is itching with excitement when he catches sight of the playground in the near distance, tugging at his seatbelt despite Beca’s watchful glare from the rearview mirror silently telling him to leave the seatbelt alone until she has parked the car. The minute she does; Asher is pulling his seatbelt off and grabbing hold of the door handle in excitement, clocking that the swings were currently empty, he was desperate to run over and grab one before another child does. Beca, to frustrate Asher decides to take her time killing the engine and exiting the car and the whines of ‘ma’ coming from Asher are just humoring Beca more as she finally opens the car door and helps Asher down.

 

“Ash be care-!” Beca shouts but stops herself before she finishes as Asher is already storming ahead to the swings.

 

She just rolls her eyes instead and closes the car door, locking her car and following over to the playground where she takes a seat on a bench beside another mother with a baby girl in a pushchair. Beca keeps a watchful eye on Asher but spends the majority of the time answering texts and responding to emails. Asher switches from the swings to the monkey bars and tries to show off to the boy of similar age staring up at him as he swings across the apparatus with ease. Asher is one bar away from reaching the other end of the monkey bars when his hand slips and he falls, landing roughly on his back.

 

Beca hops up from the bench and races across the playground, her heart pounding as she falls to her knees beside Asher who is unable to stop laughing.

 

“Ash-Attack, fuck, are you ok?” Beca asks, swallowing thickly as she reaches out to brush his hair out of his eyes and lift him up to a sitting position.

 

Asher smiles and gives his mother a thumbs-up until when he sits up, he winces in pain and tears begin to spring to his eyes, he leans into Beca’s side bringing his hand up to wipe away the few tears having managed to escape from his eyes, but the tears quickly subside and he holds his hand out towards Beca.

 

“Ma, you owe me a dollar.” He says as seriously as he can.

 

Beca just shakes her head as she lifts Asher to his feet. “Are you sure you’re ok?” Beca asks, checking him all over to make sure there aren’t any visible cuts or bruises; Asher squirms and tries to get out of Beca’s firm grip to make his way over to the slide, and when Beca is certain he is fine; she lets him go but Asher doesn’t move until Beca finally hands him over a dollar for cursing.

 

“I thought I was the only parent who did that,” a woman’s voice laughs from behind Beca.

 

When Beca turns, her response gets caught in her throat at the beautiful woman standing in front of her, her strawberry blonde hair is curled lightly and falling just over her

 

shoulders; she is wearing black, skinny jeans tucked in a pair of black boots, a leather jacket covering a green blouse and a checkered scarf wrapped around her neck, but what captures Beca most are her striking blue eyes, that are staring right back into her own.

 

Beca coughs before starting to laugh. “I blame my best friend; he’s the one who started that.”

 

The unknown woman laughs and nods, “My best friend from college had a problem with cussing a lot and when my oldest daughter was three she learnt that trick from her friend’s mom.”

 

“I’m Beca.” The brunette introduces herself, holding her hand out for the ginger woman to shake; which she does.

 

“Chloe.” She replies with a warm smile.

 

“So, you mentioned your oldest?” Beca tries to continue the conversation and Chloe nods.

 

“I have two daughters; Eliza who is seven and Reese is two.” Chloe answers, a loving twinge to her voice as she points out her two daughters who are walking around the playground hand in hand. “I know you have a son, is it just you and him?” Chloe asks, as politely as she can before gesturing to Beca that the pair go and sit down together on the bench.

 

“Asher, yeah, it’s just us. Always has been.” Beca answers; she doesn’t hate the fact that Asher’s dad was never in the picture; it was just a stupid one night stand at a frat party in college, but at least that night was worth something; it gave Beca the best thing in her life.

 

“I’m sorry; it must be hard on your own… I just left my fiancée and I’m struggling to do the single mother thing and it’s only been a few months.” Chloe explains, rubbing her ring finger where Beca assumes there was once a ring.

 

Beca shrugs, “I’m sorry about your fiancée,” she was never particularly great at comforting people but Chloe doesn’t seem to mind, she just shakes her head and plasters another award-winning smile on her face.

 

“It’s honestly fine. I’m much better without her, the girls’ are a different story but when they get older they will understand.” Chloe states firmly until her attention is dragged away when her daughters approach her.

 

“Reese is hungry; can we go and get lunch?” Eliza asks, batting her eyelashes at Chloe and Beca is shocked at the close-up of Eliza, she is remarkably similar to Chloe; practically her mini-me.

 

“Of course baby,” Chloe grins reaching forward to brush a strand of hair behind Eliza’s ear. “Beca; it was lovely meeting you.”

 

“And you.” Beca responds with a small wave before Chloe is leading her two daughters away.

 

 

XxX

 

 

After a long day; Beca and Asher finally return home and Asher wants nothing more than to settle on the couch and watch a movie with Beca; so all of the unpacking that the brunette planned to do once they returned home is pushed to one side and Beca proceeds into setting up the TV (which takes much longer than she would ever care to admit) before she lets Asher grab The Avengers DVD from his backpack and hand it to Beca to put in before the pair are curled up together on the couch under the blanket and watching Asher’s favorite movie of all time.

 

“I saw you talking to that lady, she’s pretty.” Asher mumbles halfway through a fight scene, nuzzling his nose deeper into Beca’s sweater.

 

“She was wasn’t she?” Beca chuckles softly, Asher nods in response and they’re quiet for another few minutes before Beca realizes that Asher has fallen asleep in her lap.

 

Beca pauses the movie and gently maneuvers Asher around so that he is lying on the couch under the blanket giving Beca an opportunity to return to unpacking boxes; she finishes the kitchen before moving onto the upstairs and the bathroom before she’s sitting in Asher’s room and rebuilding his bed, struggling with all the nuts and bolts at the late hour, yawning as she’s reading through the instructions three or four times. The clock begins to hit 11PM and after a long weekend; Beca gets halfway through building Asher’s bed before she gives up and heads back downstairs, checking up on Asher who is still sound asleep, sprawled out with his face squished into the cushion. Beca kisses his forehead before kicking her boots off and making her way across the room to the armchair and curling up in it, grabbing another blanket from the back and wrapping it around her, she switches the TV off before she falls asleep almost instantly.

Chapter Text

Despite the sun shining through the windows, the birds chirping and the sound of traffic outside the window; Beca doesn’t begin to stir from her sleep until a little after 7:30AM. She opens her eyes, stretching her arms above her head as she glances around the living room; Asher is still asleep on the sofa opposite, his limbs flying in all directions and his face down in the cushion, the remaining cushions on the couch having been kicked off during the night and the blanket wrapped around him twisted in six different directions. Beca repositions herself on the ancient armchair, reaching for her phone with the intention of checking some emails but once her still-sleepy-self catches a glimpse of the time staring back at her,

 

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” She continues to mutter as she pulls herself to her feet and makes her way across the room. “Ash, come on buddy, wake up.” Beca continues to shake Asher’s shoulder until the seven year old stirs.

 

“Morning mama.” He smiles sleepily at her, moving his hand to rub his eyes as he adjusts to the sunlight streaming into the still empty living room.

 

For a second; Beca forgets that she should be pushing Asher upstairs in a hurry to get ready for school until she does, mainly because she stumbles over the fact that Asher reverted back to calling her ‘mama’ for the first time in months instead of the less favorable ‘ma’ he adopted from his friends at his old school, really, Beca is completely fine with it but she does miss the original.

 

Beca pulls Asher up and off the couch before the pair are rushing upstairs, fishing through boxes for clothes to wear before they are splitting off into the two bathrooms that the house adorns and rushing through their morning routine; brushing teeth, faucets running and swapping t-shirts and PJ pants for sweatshirts and jeans; Beca drags her hairbrush through her hair before she’s quickly throwing her hair into the most haphazard of buns. She exits the bathroom as Asher exits his bedroom, his backpack in his hand as he struggles to zip up his coat properly. His tongue is poking out the corner of his mouth as he struggles to get the zip in. Beca stands amused for a few seconds more before crossing the hallway and zipping Asher’s coat up for him.

 

“Books?” She asks, “Pencils?” 

 

Asher nods to the questions, pointing at his backpack whilst giving his mother a gap-toothed smile to match. Beca stands up again, satisfied before she and Asher are jogging down the stairs with the seven year old waiting at the door whilst Beca grabs her coat, keys and phone before joining her son, opening the door and letting Asher run across the drive to stand outside the car, his hand pulling on the handle despite Beca’s warning glare. Beca locks the front door before jogging over to the car and unlocking it; watching carefully as Asher climbs into the backseat and reaches for his seatbelt; when she’s sure he’s in properly, Beca gets in the car herself and puts her seatbelt on before turning the engine on and reversing out of her driveway.

 

“Ma, when can I sit up front?” Asher asks from the backseat, fidgeting with his seatbelt.

 

“When you’re old enough to drive.” Beca answers back immediately, glancing at her son through the rearview mirror as she stops at the traffic lights.

 

Asher starts counting on his fingers, peaking Beca’s interest once again as she watches him carefully whilst keeping her eyes on the traffic lights before her.

 

“So, I can sit there in eight years!” Asher exclaims suddenly from the backseat, proud of himself for working it out.

 

“You’re not learning to drive when you’re fifteen.” Beca immediately shuts him down, causing him to pout in response.

 

“You did.” Asher reminds her,

 

“Not legally.” Beca mumbles under her breath, changing gears and starting to drive again.

 

Asher continues to talk Beca’s ear off as the brunette drives to Lake Forest Elementary School. Asher’s eyes light up when the building comes into full view of the seven year old, his excitement to start a new school and make a massive group of new friends has him clutching at the seatbelt to pull it off so he can jump out and run inside to start his day – albeit nearly twenty minutes late. Beca pulls up and kills the engine of her car before getting out and opening the door for Asher to hop out, bouncing from foot to foot as Beca grabs his backpack and locks the car before slipping her hand into his and leading him up the path to the entrance of the school. Asher looks around the building in awe; this school building is twice as big as his last, and looks like the Hogwarts Castle (Beca doesn’t dampen his comparison). After waiting at the reception for the information on Asher’s class, the seven year old begins to get restless beside Beca; tugging on her hand and crossing his ankles whilst trying to push himself high up to see over the front desk.

 

It doesn’t go unnoticed with Beca who kneels down in front of him, frowning at his sad expression.

 

“What if my teacher is mean?” Asher asks his voice barely above a whisper.

 

“I’m sure she’s really nice, Ash-Attack.” Beca tries to reassure him, rubbing his arm as the receptionist returns with a form and the information. Beca stands up and signs her signature twice before being told Asher’s classroom.

 

Beca and Asher walk in silence down the hallway, turning down by rows of lockers before they reach the classroom. Asher’s grip on his backpack strap tightens as does his grip on Beca’s hand who responds with a gentle squeeze and a kind smile before she’s knocking on the door and stepping back; Asher looking at the door, hesitantly.

 

The door opens revealing the last person that Beca expects to see.

 

Chloe looks equally surprised to see the pair that are standing in front of her, leading her to cough slightly to clear her throat before she’s pulling the classroom door open behind her as she steps fully into the hallway with a similarly and familiar warm smile tugging at her lips.

 

Beca glances at Chloe; she’s wearing a knee-length, navy blue floral dress paired with a cream cardigan with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows; she’s paired the outfit with a pair of brown boots; similar to the boots that Beca saw her wearing yesterday, and her hair were in the same loose curls as they cascaded over her shoulders. Chloe was the literal definition of sunshine to Beca and it shouldn’t be causing for a lack of better word; fuzzy feeling to settle at the pit of her stomach every time she caught a glimpse of the teacher. Beca tore her eyes away from Chloe to drop her glance down to Asher who was staring up at Chloe anticipating what his teacher’s first words to him would be.

 

“Hi, you must be Asher.” She greets, sticking her hand out for Asher to shake.

 

Asher looks to his mother for confirmation which he receives in the form of a small nod before he’s taking his hand out of Beca’s to reach forward and shake that of his new teacher’s. Chloe releases his hand before she’s stepping back to lean against the wall next to the classroom door,

 

“Asher, it’s lovely to meet you; if you would like to go inside and sit down at an empty desk, I will introduce you to the class in a minute.” Chloe gently informs him, to which Asher nods before reaching up and hugging Beca before he’s entering the classroom.

 

Chloe waits until the door is shut again before she turns to Beca, a faint but evident smirk tugging at the corners of her lips (that of which has Beca rocking back onto her heels as she sucks in a sharp breath).

 

“I didn’t think I would be seeing you again so soon.” Chloe’s voice is smooth like honey, and the softness catches Beca off-guard.

 

“I – yeah – funny how things work out.” She manages to eventually stutter out, feeling the heat begin to rise up her neck. 

 

“I’ll look after Asher, don’t worry. It’s good to see you again.” Chloe grins at her as she signals the end of her conversation,

 

Beca just nods, dropping her head but not before offering Chloe a small smile as she walks back into her classroom.

 

Not again Mitchell.

 

Beca runs a hand through her unwashed hair as she walks back through the hallway towards the exit, wanting nothing more than to bury her head in her pillow and scream at the top of her lungs. Beca has barely gotten out of the school building before she’s pulling her phone out of her pocket and opening up her message thread with Jesse.

 

[Beca ‘the best’ Mitchell]

 

It happened again!

Hot mom is Asher’s teacher!

Why the fuck is it always me?

 

Beca shakes her head as the three dots appear, and she’s not even surprised at Jesse’s reply simply being twelve laughing emojis.

 

XxX

 

“So, ‘hot mom’ is really the new Paige Jones?” Jesse asks, pouring another packet of sugar into his cappuccino.

 

Beca leans back in her chair, rolling her eyes as she stirs her coffee causing Jesse to struggle to stifle his laughter.

 

“I’m not dating Asher’s teacher.” Beca mutters, bringing her cup to her lips.

 

“You said that last time, six months wasn’t it?” Jesse questions, wiggling his eyebrows only breaking Beca and making her laugh at the ridiculous action.

 

Beca hums in agreement, “and when we broke up, I couldn’t show my face around that school any longer. I can’t drag Ash out of another school just because I slept with his teacher.” Beca shrugs, not even caring that the mood isn’t as lighthearted as it started out. “She is hot though.” Beca doesn’t neglect to mention only sending Jesse back into another fit of laughter.

 

After coffee with Jesse and after her best friend has gone back to work; Beca chooses to go home and continue to unpack furniture and turn their new house into a home. Beca starts with the hard stuff; finishing building Asher’s bed before rebuilding her own bed and situating it in the right position, which happens to be with the foot of the bed nearest her bedroom door. After that; Beca starts unpacking all of her clothes and filling the built in wardrobe, just throwing various clothing items of hangers and hanging them up; she’s not the type of person who needs it in color or seasonal order, also, it’s too much effort. After that; she does the same with Asher’s clothes before walking downstairs and continuing to turn her living room into the cozy abode she envisioned it to be. She unpacks all of her photographs, those of which are mainly her and Asher; although she has a few college memories; football games, moving day, memories with Jesse, Amy and Benji; the day she moved in with Jesse and Benji. She takes her time, hammering nails into the wall and hanging each picture with care.

 

Her eyes landing on a particular photograph stops Beca completely in her tracks, the hammer in her hand swings from side to side as she focuses in on the picture of Asher sleeping soundly in the hospital bed, the balloons in the background are blue with the number 4 in silver; Beca is sat in a chair beside the bed, leaning forward, head in her arms as she sleeps beside Asher. Beca swallows thickly at the floods of memories from that particular birthday that she is unable to stop remembering. Beca didn’t know what to expect on Asher’s fourth birthday; would she see his fifth? Sixth? Seventh? Would he even see that weekend? The fear is hard to shake with the memories of that heart wrenching night.

 

She places the picture frame on the mantelpiece, in-between a photograph of Asher with Mickey Mouse on their first trip to Disneyworld and another photograph of Beca and Amy from a vacation to Mexico in sophomore year of college.

 

Beca has enough time to unpack various living room items from a box labeled fragile that she is certain Jesse didn’t treat as though the belongings were fragile before she has to leave to head back to the school to go and pick Asher up; she gets to the school with a few minutes left before the school day ends and she’s leaning against the hood of her Range Rover when floods of school kids start rushing out of the doors and to the bus and their parents, all buzzing with excitement. Beca scans the area for her kid but is surprised to see Asher walking out with a strawberry blonde haired girl behind him, holding cards for him to see; Asher being completely distracted that he doesn’t see his mother standing merely a foot away from him until Beca coughs and achieves in grabbing her son’s attention.

 

“Ma, hi!” Asher cries out before launching himself at Beca who quickly repositions herself to catch Asher and lift him up high enough to embarrass him by peppering his face in kisses until he whines loud enough for Beca to place him back down. “Not in front of Eliza.” He mumbles, clearly embarrassed by his mother’s lack of boundaries.

 

“How was school Ash-Attack?” Beca asks, ruffling his hair before straightening out the collar of his coat.

 

“It was good, I made friends and got a good score in math – oh and can I go to Eliza’s house; she has Pokémon?” Asher rushes out in one breath.

 

Beca turns her attention to Eliza who is standing beside Asher, still clutching the cards she was showing him on the way out of school; it takes Beca a second but it clicks, Eliza – Chloe – daughter and Beca scratches at the back of her neck as Asher stares up at her waiting for her response.

 

“Is it ok with Eliza’s mom?” Beca asks,

 

“Is it ok with Miss Beale?” Asher asks Eliza who is quick to nod in response.

 

“Yes, my mom doesn’t mind – oh, wait, mom!” She yells when she catches sight of her mother heading over in their direction. Eliza runs off to meet Chloe halfway.

 

Asher waits beside Beca, looking up like he wants to say something but before he can; Chloe and Eliza join the pair, Chloe’s eyes instantly meeting Beca’s as she offers her another one of her signature warm smiles that Beca accepts whilst trying to play off the fact that her legs feel like jelly the minute she catches sight of how straight Chloe’s teeth are when she smiles, or how the corners of her eyes crinkle or the way her nose scrunches with the wider she smiles.

 

“Mom, can Asher come to our house so I can show him my Pokémon?” Eliza asks as sickly-sweet as she possibly could, batting her long eyelashes for extra effect.

 

Chloe opens her mouth to reply but first turns to Beca, “Is that ok? You could follow my car and we could get some coffee whilst the kids play?” Chloe asks,

 

Placing her hand down on Asher’s shoulder, Beca nods. “It sounds perfect.” The response is simple but effective.

 

“So, yeah, just follow us.” Chloe laughs nervously before ushering Eliza off to her own car.

 

Beca does the same, walking around to the driver’s side of her car and opening the back door for Asher to hop in and sit down but before Beca can shut his door; Asher speaks up and says what he wanted to say before.

 

“Ma, why are you blushing?” He asks,

 

Beca just shushes him before shutting the door and getting in the car, watching carefully for Chloe’s car before she turns the engine on, pulling out and following her car down the street. Asher talks about his day from the backseat, rambling on about every single detail that happened; Beca tries to get a word in but Asher is speaking a mile a minute so Beca is content with just letting him tell everything – if not cutting in to remind him to take a breath every now and then. The drive to Chloe’s house takes a little over seventeen minutes (not that Beca was counting) and the first thing she notices is that Chloe seems to live in a friendly neighborhood and that her house is similar to Beca’s but smaller, it’s painted dark blue and white; the garden has been well-maintained, there are flower pots with healthy plants on the front porch and a white picket fence surrounding and separating her house from her neighbors. It’s quaint, and somewhat exactly what Beca pictured Chloe and her daughters’ living in.

 

Chloe pulls into the driveway and Beca parks on the side of the street. Asher shuffles across to the other side of the car before pushing open the door that leads onto the sidewalk; Beca doesn’t even have the chance to stop him before he’s running over to rejoin Eliza. Beca climbs out of her vehicle and locks her car before she walks around and up the driveway where Chloe is waiting at the door for her, she lets her in before she’s informing Beca that she will be back in a moment as she’s just going next door to pick Reese up from her neighbors. Beca wipes the bottom of her boots on the doormat before she walks through the rooms; the living room is a little messy but no more messy than she expects with two young daughters; there are some toys scattered on the floor, magazines messily thrown on the coffee table, and the cushions on the couch have just been haphazardly tossed on. Beca finds herself looking at the photographs on the wall; they are mainly just pictures of Chloe with her girls but there are a few of a man with Eliza when she was younger, and Reese having can’t be older than five or six weeks at the time; assuming that the man is the girls’ father; Beca moves along and notices one or two photographs of another woman with Eliza and Reese; recent pictures from the look of it and the whole thing clicks when she notices a ring sitting on Chloe’s ring finger in a photograph with the four of them.

 

Beca can’t put a name to the feeling beginning to bubble in her stomach the longer she focuses in on that particular photograph.

 

“Hi,” a small voice brings the brunette out of her thoughts and when she turns; Reese is standing beside her, looking up at her with bright blue eyes and a gap-toothed smile. “I – Reese” the toddler introduces herself to the brunette.

 

“Hi Reese, I’m Beca. How are you?” Beca asks, kneeling down in front of the little girl and bopping her nose causing a small giggle to escape her lips.

 

“Good,” she replies. “Will you play with me?” Reese asks, pointing behind her to where a toy box sitting underneath the window with a gold colored ‘R’ is sitting closed.

 

Beca makes sure to look up to Chloe to make sure it’s fine with her; Chloe gives her a small nod in return before announcing she will go and make some coffee whilst the pair play. Reese stumbles whilst running over to her toy box; she lifts the lid and pulls out two stuffed toys; a monkey wearing a red t-shirt and a dinosaur that in all honesty looks like a rip-off from the original Barney the Dinosaur; it’s blue with green patches and has an eye missing, but it’s cute, in its own way.

 

Reese toddles over to Beca, handing her the dinosaur before falling backwards so that she is sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table where there are a few plastic cups and a plastic teapot knocked over among the magazines and opened but untouched letters littering the space. Beca sits back, the dinosaur in her hand as Reese concentrates hard on setting up all the cups in front of her. Beca turns and watches Chloe waltz around the kitchen, softly humming to herself as she cuts up apple slices and pours out two glasses of juice; the coffee machine beeps from behind her causing her to jump slightly and bring an almost-immediate smile to Beca’s lips.

 

Reese brings Beca’s attention away and the woman turns around to catch Reese’s waiting eyes as she holds the teapot in her hand with the monkey now sat on the table opposite her, slumped. Beca follows and places the dinosaur in a sitting position beside the monkey. Reese smiles when Beca complies and begins to pour the teapot over the cups.

 

“What’s your favorite animal, Reese?” Beca asks although she’s sure she already knows the answer.

 

“Monkey!” The toddler replies with a high-pitched giggle, she grabs her monkey from the table and shows Beca. “This is Mat’y” she grins, cuddling the stuffed monkey to her chest.

 

“KIDS!” Chloe’s sharp shout from the kitchen cuts short Reese’s babbling about monkeys before the bounding of socked feet on the stairs follows with Eliza and Asher coming into view; Asher stopping to wave at Beca before following Eliza into the kitchen and sitting at the counter where there are two glasses of juice and a plate of apple slices.

 

Reese, still with the monkey tucked under her arm, waddled into the kitchen were Chloe lifted her into her booster seat before handing her a sippy cup of juice.

 

For a split second; Beca found the entire scene being played out in front of her as a domestic dream she never thought she would want.

 

Beca joined the four in the kitchen, accepting the cup of coffee that Chloe offers her gratefully as she spoons two spoonfuls of sugar and some creamer into the drink. Chloe and Beca choose to sit out of the way of Eliza’s constant laughter through her argument with Asher over their top five Pokémon’s. It takes Beca approximately twelve seconds of sitting at a table with Chloe for Beca to realize that she has absolutely no conversational skills, even less with an attractive woman.

 

Luckily for her; Chloe sparks the conversation by talking about their children.

 

“Asher is settling in just fine; he really enjoyed today and Eliza helped him feel like he belonged today.” Chloe says, glancing over at the back of her daughter’s head. “Eliza is also really excited that there is now another kid in class who loves Pokémon as much as her.” Chloe adds with a short and sweet laugh.

 

“I was worried,” Beca admits. “It’s been a big change after moving into our new house and doing this whole parenting thing alone instead of sharing duties with my best friend.” Beca’s hand wring around the mug.

 

“Best friend? So, there isn’t somebody… special?” Chloe asks, tugging her bottom lip between her teeth as she nervously awaits Beca’s response.

 

“Are you offering?” Beca shoots back, a faint smirk making its way onto her lips.

 

Chloe splutters, coughing and swallowing her coffee thickly as she turns her head to avoid Beca’s eyes and to hide the blush clearly making its way up her neck to her cheeks; she takes a second, breathing in and out before meeting Beca’s eyes again; small flickers of a mischievous nature flashing through before the words roll off her tongue.

 

“It depends if you’re asking?” Chloe adds a smirk for extra effect.

 

Beca sucks in a sharp breath before continuing. “I wouldn’t reject the idea.”

 

Chloe sips her coffee, nodding and humming as she poses, thinking, mulling the idea over. “Good to know.” She simply states.

 

The pair are shooting back and forth a game of 20 questions when Eliza yelps from where she’s sitting; Asher whips his head around, his eyes wide as he stares at the two older women who are looking on, concerned.

 

“She got a paper cut.” Asher explains; Chloe places her mug flat on the table before pushing herself up and walking around to the counter.

 

Asher hops down from the chair and walks over to Beca; collapsing in her lap and wrapping his arms around her neck. Beca holds him, nuzzling her face into his shoulder causing him to laugh.

 

“I like it here.” Asher comments leading Beca to hum in agreement, her eyes never leaving Chloe’s body as she wraps Eliza’s finger in a band-aid and kisses it before leaning down and kissing her daughter’s nose.

 

XxX

 

Beca has to physically drag Asher out of Chloe’s house when they are leaving; the seven year old not wanting to leave and justifying his reasoning of;

 

Ma, we’re five episodes away from finishing Pokémon.

 

“You can finish it another day, I’m sure.” Beca says for the fifth time, trying to reach for Asher’s hands that are stuffed in his pockets. “We have to go shopping for paint for your room, remember?” Beca reminds him; hoping to entice him with buying new stuff for his room.

 

Asher’s interest is peaked. “Can I have multi colors?” He asks, ignoring the way Beca raises her eyebrows.

 

“You’ll never know unless we go to the shops.” Beca tells him

 

Asher turns to Eliza and holds his hand out for a fist bump which he receives before turning to Chloe with a toothy smile and thanks her for letting him come over.

 

“Thanks Chlo, we’ll see you in school.” Beca smiles, waving and not realizing she had let the nickname slip until they’re out of the house and walking back towards their car.

 

“I like Chloe and Eliza and Reese.” Asher affirms as he climbs into the backseat.

 

“Me too kiddo, how about we get some ice cream whilst we’re out?” Beca offers, laughing when Asher fist pumps and shouts his confirmation.

Chapter Text

Asher is way too excited at half-past five on Saturday morning when he bounds into Beca’s bedroom, tripping over one of the boxes as he crashes into his mother’s bed before clambering up and tugging on the comforter.

 

“Ma, ma, ma, ma!” He repeats until Beca begins to stir, cracking one eye open in the pitch black room to make out of the silhouette of her child. “It’s Saturday!” He gleefully shrieks, bursting into a fit of uncontrollable laughter when Beca grabs him by the waist and pulls him down so that he’s lying beside her.

 

“Thank you for the confirmation, Ash.” Beca mumbles sleepily, rolling over and nuzzling her face into the back of Asher’s neck as her eyes flutter closed again. “It’s the middle of the night, time to sleep.” Her words are muffled but Beca can still feel Asher’s shoulders drop and she hears the small

 

“Fine,” Asher gives in response.

 

Beca doesn’t let go of Asher whilst they sleep, he might only be seven years old but Beca knows the day is coming when her boy doesn’t want to sleep beside her anymore so she is willing to take any opportunity she can; even if it means being rudely awoken at five-thirty because of a playdate.

 

XxX

 

It’s a little after eight-thirty when the pair get up, or, when Beca has had enough of Asher asking her if they can have breakfast; Asher races downstairs, his dressing gown flying behind him as he runs to the living room, hopping up onto the couch and switching the TV off instantly searching for an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants that he has probably seen at least twenty times as Beca starts on breakfast; she proceeds in grabbing everything out of the refrigerator, it’s not like she needs to ask what Asher wants for breakfast.

 

It's obvious.

 

Its pancakes.

 

Beca is cracking eggs when she feels a presence beside her, she places the empty shell aside before glancing down to Asher.

 

“Hey buddy, what’s up?” She asks, casually reaching for another egg as Asher hesitates upon asking, almost as though he’s thinking it over again.

 

“Ma, can we get a dog?” He asks, mustering up as much confidence as he can despite knowing he’s ten seconds from being given a straight ‘no’ in response.

 

“If you can afford to look after it, sure, why not?” Beca grins, surprising Asher who jumps for joy before running out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

 

Beca laughs; she knows exactly where Asher is going; she begins to whisk the mixture as Asher returns carrying his piggy bank in his left hand; he places it on the counter before hauling himself up and sitting at the counter, just staring at the piggy bank, his hands joined as he looks up at his mom. Beca reaches forward and opens it up for him as he spills the money onto the counter; including two ten dollar notes that Beca raises her eyebrows at.

 

“Where did you get twenty bucks from?!” She asks, clearly suspicious at where the money has come from.

 

“Uncle Jesse gave me that one when he dropped your iPad and cracked it and he gave me – uh – that one when he took me to the Pelicans game when you were at Aunt Amy’s.” Asher grins, pulling the two notes towards him.

 

“He bribed you?” Beca asks although she doesn’t need any more confirmation on the matter.

 

“He called it a reward for not telling.” Asher corrects.

 

Beca hums, unable to fight the smile tugging at the corner of her lips; of course Jesse Swanson bribed her kid to keep his mouth shut.

 

“I have thirty-two dollars!” Asher exclaims after concentrating and carefully counting his money. “Is that enough, ma?!” He asks excitedly and Beca frowns, at first she was ready and finding it somewhat amusing to turn down another one of Asher’s requests for a pet, but now it just seems mean.

 

“Not yet buddy, but you’ll get there.” She tries to let him down gently; fully expecting Asher to get frustrated or start crying but he just stuffs the money back into the piggy bank before turning to Beca and as seriously as he can, he asks.

 

“Ma, can I get a raise on my allowance? Our future dog needs it.”

 

Beca just starts laughing as she turns around to the pan already on the heat. “Sure, kiddo, why not.” She chuckles as she ladles the first pancake into the pan.

 

Beca lets Asher help with cooking breakfast, the pair nudging each other, having a contest of who can tell the worst jokes and smearing remaining mixture on each other’s noses before they’re sitting on the couch as the morning of cartoons continues. Asher’s legs are in Beca’s lap as he eats his pancakes, showing his mom how good he is at cutting up his food now, even if he still struggles a little bit. It’s just moments like this that make Beca realize just how proud of Asher she is and (not that she needed any confirmation) but how this boy is the best thing that has ever happened to her; it might not have seemed like that when she was sobbing uncontrollably in the bathroom and screaming a whole lot of a cuss words at Jesse, but now, she is Beca Mitchell; mom, and she doesn’t think she’ll ever get tired of hearing it.

 

Beca sends Asher upstairs to get dressed for his playdate with Eliza whilst she loads the dishwasher and heads upstairs to get ready for her day of work, she’s the manager of one of the best bars that Louisiana has to offer, having worked her way up from being a bartender whilst in college; working in a bar her whole life wasn’t the plan but she needed money and a steady enough job that she would be able to work alongside bringing up Asher who at the time was just a baby, and seven years later; she’s the boss of the people she used to be – she’s a nice boss though.

 

Hell, Beca can barely punish Asher for misbehaving when he gives her his famous puppy dog eyes, so, there is almost no chance of her yelling at her employees.

 

“Ma, I’m ready.” Asher informs, standing at the bedroom door with his backpack that looks fuller than Beca would have assumed.

 

“What’s in the backpack, Ash?” Beca asks, her eyes meeting her son’s.

 

“My Pokémon’s. I want to show Eliza so we can play with them.” Asher answers, truthfully instead of fibbing like Jesse taught him.

 

Beca just nods as she turns around to grab her coat and phone, “Let’s go then, I’m sure Eliza is excited to see you.” Beca smiles as they head downstairs where she picks up her keys.

 

“And I’m sure Miss Beale is excited to see you.” Asher smirks knowingly rendering Beca speechless as she pushes her son out of the door with a short, nervous laugh.

 

Asher climbs into the car and puts his seatbelt on, before hauling his backpack onto his lap and holding it close to his chest, unwilling to just leave it beside him which peaks Beca’s interest as she stops at the second traffic light on the way to the Beale household. Beca doesn’t question him on it though, although she does plan on it before she’s letting him step foot into Chloe’s house. Asher is relatively quiet on the drive instead of his usual talk-until-mom-tells-me-shut-up; he just fidgets and messes with the zip on his backpack until Beca pulls up on the sidewalk outside Chloe’s house. Asher is immediately undoing his seatbelt before Beca coughs,

 

“Hold it right there, Superstar.” Beca glances at him through the rearview mirror before she’s undoing her seatbelt and climbing out of the car, turning and opening Asher’s door, “What’s in the backpack, Ash?” She asks again, a serious tone to her voice this time.

 

“I told you ma, it’s my Pokémon’s.” Asher replies, avoiding Beca’s eyes.

 

“If it’s just your Pokémon’s, you won’t mind me looking. Hand it over.” She says, holding her hand out for Asher to reluctantly release his death-grip on his backpack.

 

Beca takes it from him and walks to the driver’s seat, placing it down and unzipping it. To Asher’s credit, his backpack is mostly filled with his Pokémon’s but Beca’s eyes aren’t on them, they are on the photo album from Beca’s bedside tablet instead. Beca turns to Asher who is shrinking back into the seat fully expecting Beca to shout at him for taking something without asking, but,

 

“Why do you have this, Ash-Attack?” She asks, no sense of anger in her voice.

 

“I wanted to show Eliza our pictures because I trust her.” Asher replies, meeting Beca’s gaze.

 

“Trust her? Trust her with what?” Beca asks, sitting back down as she leans over her seat to get a better look at her son.

 

“That she won’t leave, like dad did, like Paige did.” Asher admits, frowning at remembering two important people to him walking out of his life like he meant absolutely nothing to them. “Eliza is my best friend, ma. I want her to know that.”

 

Beca is not going to start crying at Asher’s confession but what she is willing to do is let him take the photo album to show Eliza and allow Asher to get out of the car so she can give him the biggest hug in the world.

 

Asher climbs out of the car as Beca holds her arms open for him, he jumps and the brunette lifts him up as he wraps his legs around her, she doesn’t know how long she keeps him in the hug for, or the fact that Chloe is standing (being nosy) by looking out of the window and smiling softly at the pair. Beca lets him down as she hands him his backpack and locks the car before letting him run up to ring the doorbell. Chloe answers with a wider smile, and Beca (almost) stumbles backwards; she’s wearing high-waist, distressed jeans, a tank top that reveals just a slither of exposed skin (and abs) and she’s paired the outfit with a thin cardigan, it’s casual, but has Beca struggling to find the words; lucky for her, Asher doesn’t seem in the mood to call out his mother’s lack of verbal ability.

 

“Hi, Miss Beale!” He beams, causing Chloe to laugh slightly.

 

“Call me, Chloe, I’m only Miss Beale in class; ok Ash?” She smiles at him,

 

“Got it,” he stops, coughs and tries again. “Hi, Chloe!” He beams again.

 

“Hi Asher. Eliza is in the living room.” She steps aside to let him run in, shouting Eliza’s name. “Hi, Bec, coffee before work?” Chloe asks as though they have been doing it for years.

 

“I would love some.” Beca affirms with a nod before she’s following Chloe into the house, closing the door after her.

 

Beca drops her gaze onto the two eldest kids; the Pokémon’s forgotten as Eliza is flicking through the photo album, listening to the wild stories that they show, hanging off Asher’s every word before they erupt into a fit of giggles. Beca finally makes it to the kitchen where she is greeted by Reese, throwing her arms up, brightly smiling in the brunette’s direction.

 

“Hi, Be’a.” She grins as Beca approaches her, leaning down to drop a small kiss onto her forehead.

 

“Hi lovebug,” Beca hums, gently running a hand through her blonde locks.

 

Chloe glances over her shoulder as she messes with the coffee machine buttons and she can’t help the warm feeling rising to her chest at the interaction between the pair, even more so the way that Beca can immediately get Reese giggling or smiling, or the way Reese is constantly asking about her; Chloe finds their friendship extremely adorable. Chloe fills the two cups before bringing them over to the counter before sliding one cup across to Beca who has now taken a seat beside Reese, listening to the toddler continue to babble away. Beca finally turns away from Reese to meet Chloe’s eyes, she’s staring at the pair with an unprecedented amount of fondness in her eyes.

 

“What?” Beca asks, laughing slightly.

 

“You looked cute, you can’t blame a girl for looking.” Chloe simply shrugs, her hands curling around the coffee cup.

 

Beca struggles for a response, the words sitting on the tip of her tongue, and lucky for her; Asher and Eliza choose that exact moment to run in, placing the photo album flat on the table with Eliza pointing at a photograph of Asher standing in front of the castle at Disneyworld.

 

“Look at this picture.” Eliza (politely) demands leading both women to look at the photograph unaware what they are actually looking at. “Look behind Asher. That little girl, mom, that’s me.” Eliza finally explains; her finger pointing at a girl similar age to Asher with ginger hair, grinning widely.

 

Both, Chloe and Beca lean in closer and stare at the little girl standing behind Asher. Beca can’t really vouch for the photo but Chloe seems to be thinking about it before she looks back up to Beca.

 

“How old was Asher when you took him to Disneyworld?” Chloe asks,

 

“Four, you were four, right?” Beca answers before turning to Asher for confirmation.

 

“Yes, ma.” Asher sighs exasperatedly.

 

Beca leans forward and bops Asher’s nose in response; Eliza waits until Chloe asks what it means to explain.

 

“You and Beca met three years ago, it’s like – uh – fate!” She exclaims, frowning when Chloe’s immediate reaction is to spit some coffee across the counter – much to Asher’s amusement.

 

Chloe and Beca stare at each other for a moment, time feeling like it’s slowing to a stop as they let Eliza’s words settle in their stomach, both are grown-ups, both know that Eliza doesn’t know the ‘true’ meaning of the word, but also, both can’t help but entertain the concept. Asher and Eliza turn to each other, shrugging and silently communicating as the silence between the five continues to go on.

 

“Is fate not the right word?” Eliza asks, furrowing her eyebrows as she racks her brain for another word with similar meaning.

 

“That, that’s a question for another day my love.” Chloe swiftly changes the subject, pushing the photo album back towards Asher’s waiting hands. “How about you two watch Netflix for a while, before we go the park?” Chloe suggests, knowing one of Eliza’s favorite weekend pastimes is to lay on the couch and binge-watch Netflix.

 

Eliza wastes no time in pulling Asher by his sweater sleeve into the living room where the pair immediately flop onto the couch before the argument over what to watch completely takes the kids’ attention away from the budding awkwardness quickly rising between the two women avoiding any and all eye contact with each other.

 

Chloe laughs as she moves to fiddle with the bracelet on her wrist. “Sorry about Eliza, she’s – uh – how do I put this – she inherited her dad’s lack of boundaries.” Still, as she speaks; Chloe’s fingers still move under the chain of the bracelet and shaky fingers are messing with the latch.

 

Beca reaches across; gently prying Chloe’s fingers from her bracelet, curling them around her own fingers instead as Chloe slowly lifts her head, staring straight at Beca before a small laugh escapes her parted lips; Beca waits but Chloe doesn’t elaborate on what she finds so humorous and instead she just focuses on their connected hands in front of her, the way that Beca is almost absentmindedly rubbing her thumb across Chloe’s knuckles, or the way that Beca’s hands are insanely warm considering the plummeting temperatures outside as Louisiana is braced to face its coldest winter in years, or the way that Beca is trying desperately hard to not continue staring at Chloe by turning her head to look in on Eliza and Asher who are laughing maniacally over Netflix. Chloe knows the longer she lets Beca hold her hand the more awkward that the current silence between them will grow, but both know that they’re going to miss the touch when either one lets go.

 

Luckily for both women; Reese chooses that moment to interrupt and burst out into a series of loud, ear-piercing screams when she spills her juice over herself, waving her hands around and with tears quickly prickling at the corner of her eyelids; Chloe springs into action. She unapologetically pulls her hand from Beca’s before she’s up, grabbing a damp cloth and making her way around to Reese to clean up the spilt juice with one hand as she calmly soothes her youngest daughter, Chloe’s hand brushing through Reese’s curls as she places the damper cloth aside before taking her youngest daughter’s face in her hands and smiles down at her.

 

“All better?” She asks, her voice automatically turning a little too sing-song-y but Reese nods, offering up a toothy grin to her mother as Chloe leans down to kiss her forehead.

 

It’s only when Beca looks down at her watch when her sweater sleeve falls does she realize that she’s running late.

 

“Fuck, shit, sorry, Chlo, I have – work – go – yeah I’m going.” She manages to choke out, getting up, tripping over the chair and her coat which is hung over the back.

 

Chloe just laughs slightly at the frenzy that her friend is finding herself in, bringing her hand to cover her mouth as Beca with her tongue poking out the side of her mouth struggles to pull her coat on before she’s hopping into the living room, dodging toys and pulling Asher towards her so she can leave an unwanted lipstick stained kiss on his forehead to which the seven year is quick to show his disdain as he quickly brings his sleeve up to wipe it away, Beca in her rush, doesn’t give Asher a sarcastic remark but she remembers it, and she’s so using it for blackmail later.

 

XxX

 

Beca gets to the bar late, earning a whistle and a tut from; Alex and Emily, two college students she hired at the beginning of the semester. Beca flips the pair of them off before slipping past their unruly laughter and into the office, absentmindedly shrugging her coat off; she turns around and practically jumps out of her skin.

 

“Fuck me, Jesse.” She grunts, giving his ankle a swift kick as she walks past him and throws herself down in her chair.

 

“If we both weren’t gay – maybe.” He answers nonchalantly, ignoring Beca’s eye roll and hoisting himself up on an age-old cabinet that is definitely not made for people sitting on it. “You’re late.” He acknowledges, leaning forward so Beca gets a full view of the plastered on disappointment.

 

“I’d say I’m sorry – but that’s not why you’re smirking is it?” She switches halfway through when Jesse struggles to keep the smirk under wraps.

 

“How’s Chloe?” He asks, his voice mirroring the melody that Chloe fell into when talking to Reese just before she left; of course, Jesse probably has a crude comment or sarcastic remark that Chloe wouldn’t dream of voicing.

 

“Wonderful.” Beca responds and the slight bitterness? Annoyance? Frustration, whatever it was had erased itself from her tone at the mere thought of the other woman. “Seriously she is so – so fucking – what?” Beca quizzes.

 

Jesse’s smirk has dropped from his face and has now been replaced with a genuine smile and maybe a hint of knowing his best friend far too well.

 

“You’re happy.” He replies smoothly.

 

“I just woke up in a good mood I gu-” Beca tries but is cut off.

 

“No, not that. You’re happy, like genuinely happy. It’s nice is all.” Jesse shrugs, not wanting to get too into the topic knowing Beca’s past when it came to dealing with feelings. “Anyway I only dropped by to see Emily about renting this place out at the weekend for Benji’s birthday.”

 

“Isn’t that something you’re supposed to see the manager about?” Beca asks turning and following Jesse’s frame as he walks towards the door.

 

“I would if the manager ever showed up.” He quips, glancing over his shoulder, laughing at the middle finger that Beca is sending him.

 

With his hand still on the door handle, he turns to Beca. “You should bring Chloe.” He suggests,

 

Beca furrows her eyebrows, “bring Chloe where?” She asks and Jesse pinches the bridge of his nose as he exhales.

 

“Next Saturday, Benji’s birthday; do you ever listen to a word I’m saying?” Jesse huffs out, trying his best to be annoyed by something he’s found oddly charming about Beca since the day they met.

 

Beca snaps her fingers, “I’d like that. I’ll see what she’s up to. Don’t you have a job to go to?” She asks, nodding towards her best friend.

 

“That’s rich coming from you.” He snorts,

 

“Fuck you.” Beca whines, forcing herself not to roll her eyes so hard they end up rolling back into her head.

 

“Beca! For the last time, we’re gay!” Jesse exclaims sending the pair into a bout of laughter before Jesse’s waving and he’s out of the office a few seconds later before Beca has the chance to throw a stapler at him.

 

Work drags on until 2PM when the sound of the door opening and closing every few minutes is enough to distract Beca from her laptop and away from the continued answering of emails to suppliers and filling in application after application. The music in the bar starts playing and the brunette takes one last look at her laptop before closing it and exiting her office for the first time since she arrived at work. Beca is brushing a hand through her hair when she rounds the bar and stands leaning against the wall as Emily serves a guy not too much older than her, politely ignoring his awful flirtation attempts.

 

Emily turns after the guy gives up, taking his four bottles of beer back to his friends. She meets Beca’s eyes and flushes at the small laughter coming from her manager.

 

“Trust me, that’s tame compared to some guys you serve.” Beca informs Emily.

 

“Oh boy,” she hums but smiles at Beca as she cleans up the front of the bar.

 

XxX

 

When Beca calls it a day, it’s a little after 6:46PM and Emily and Alex have both left for home and Leah and Nate have come in to cover the evening shift. Beca drives back to Chloe’s and pulls up outside her house, stopping for a moment when she remembers Jesse’s suggestion.

 

It’s Benji’s birthday. It’s not like she’s asking Chloe on a date, they’re friends, it’s a chance to meet Beca’s friends, and whether that’s a good idea or not will be found out next weekend.

 

Beca exits her vehicle and is only walking up the driveway when the front door opens revealing Chloe in the same outfit from before except her hair is tied up and she looks a lot sleepier than she did but still Chloe reaches out a hand and drops it on Beca’s shoulder before pulling her and wrapping her other arm around her and hugs her, for a few moments.

 

“I’m so tired; just hold me for a minute.” Chloe says but her words are muffled against the collar of Beca’s coat.

 

So they do.

 

They stand on the porch as Chloe leans into Beca more, eyes closed and breathing softly, and Beca really wishes she knew how long this hug was supposed to last because her arm is beginning to ache but the possibility of letting Chloe go for even a second is making her chest tighter but Beca manages to hold on, her arm paying the price until Chloe leans back, smiling at her.

 

“Come in. Asher and Eliza are crashed on the couch, too much fun.” Chloe yawns and Beca continues to feel bad that Chloe was alone with the three kids, especially because she knows just how much of a handful her own kid can be.

 

Chloe doesn’t seem too put down by her tiredness, in fact, she seems happier, and she proceeds to lead them into the kitchen as she offers Beca some lemonade which she accepts and they sit down, their glasses between them as Chloe retells of; Eliza and Asher’s wild day and by the end, even Beca can feel her eyelids getting heavier as she tries to understand just how Asher is so energetic.

 

“Want to come to my friend’s birthday next Saturday?” Beca chimes in, cutting short Chloe’s story and wincing as Chloe mulls over the decision. “I know a really good babysitter who could look after Eliza and Reese too.”

 

The creases in Chloe’s forehead start to fade at the mention of a babysitter. “A really good babysitter?” She questions.

 

“Definitely. She’s been Asher’s babysitter for nearly five years, they’re best friends, and she definitely won’t mind two more; especially two as adorable as yours.” Beca grins, feeling like she’s talked Chloe into it.

 

“I’ll think about it.” Chloe finally answers.

 

“Is that a yes?” Beca asks excitedly.

 

“It’s a maybe, Beca Mitchell you really need to learn the value of patience.” Chloe states with an eye roll and fond smile.

 

“Good enough for me.” Beca shrugs as she finishes her drink. “I should probably take Ash home,”

 

Chloe nods and the pair enter the living room, laughing quietly at Asher asleep at the top of the couch with Eliza asleep, her head on a pillow but with an arm wrapped around Asher’s legs. Beca carefully moves and shakes Asher until he begins to stir.

 

“Mama?” He sleepily calls out, squinting at the light in the living room.

 

“Hey buddy, time to go home.” Beca whispers holding out her hands for Asher to take.

 

Chloe slides Eliza along the couch so that Asher can easily get to his feet and stumble around the living room looking for his coat in a dazed fashion.

 

“I packed his bag with all his Pokémon’s I think, and the photo album; you didn’t tell me you used to have curly blonde hair.” Chloe teases as Beca flushes.

 

“Trust me, there is a reason I dyed it brown.” Beca chuckles before Asher reappears at her side now with his coat on.

 

“Thank you Chloe.” He smiles before leaning in to wrap his arms around her waist; Chloe just hugs him back before handing him his backpack.

 

“I’ll see you in class Asher.” She nods to him before following Beca and Asher to the door but not before Eliza wakes up and rushes to the door.

 

“You forgot me, loser.” Eliza huffs stepping closer and hugging Asher loosely.

 

“I tried. You snore too loudly to forget you.” Asher quips nuzzling into Eliza until they pull apart.

 

“You can’t forget me, I’m the best thing in your life.” Eliza stated with an eye roll and a ‘duh’ tone.

 

At the choice of words; Beca looks to Chloe who expertly manages to keep her eyes off the brunette.

Chapter Text

Chloe accepts the offer to accompany Beca to Benji’s birthday on Wednesday and Beca definitely doesn’t rise from her office chair and do a happy dance in honor.

 

Although, after picking Asher up from school; she’s still excited, leg bouncing, fingers tapping against the steering wheel and Asher most definitely notices the change in his mother’s mood from her tired and dreary state that morning and instead of just taking it, he uses it to his advantage.

 

“Ma, can we go and see the puppies at the shelter?” He asks, glancing out of the window as the exit to the dog shelter comes into view.

 

Beca doesn’t answer, though she does take the exit and Asher is brimming with excitement as the dog shelter comes into view. He’s bouncing in his seat, restless and excited to hop out and go and see Lilly who lets him play with the puppies. Beca pulls up and turns the engine off, she gets out of the car and the second that she pulls open the door for Asher, he is out, falling forward but catching himself before he scrapes his knees; after that, he is racing towards the office and Beca can do absolutely nothing to stop him. Beca just locks her car, sticks her hands in her pockets, huffs at the cold air and follows the trail of muddy footprints that Asher left as she heads towards the office.

 

“Beca, hey!” Lilly grins, rounding the desk and stopping in front of the brunette, “how are you?” She asks, dropping the clipboard.

 

“Hey, Lilly, I’m great. How are you?” Beca asks, exchanging the pleasantries.

 

“Stressed. I hate this damn job.”

 

“But there are dogs everywhere!” Asher exclaims out of nowhere causing Beca to let out a small, strangled scream and for Lilly to practically jump out of her skin. “Nobody hates dogs, Lilly.” Asher continues.

 

“I thought you were playing with the puppies?” Lilly asks him, narrowing her eyes at why Asher is back in the office when it usually takes; Lilly, Beca and all the force of the universe to get him away from the dogs.

 

“I wanted to show mama our new puppy.” Asher says, excitedly bouncing from foot to foot as he meets Beca’s eyes. “Ma, come on.” Asher reaches out and latches onto Beca’s arm.

 

Beca doesn’t get a choice. Asher is already dragging her out of the office.

 

“Look at him, ma!” Asher points out the Australian Shepherd puppy dancing around, barking wildly when Asher comes into the dog’s peripheral vision again. “I want to call him, Jackson.” He affirms with a nod. “He can come to school with us, and we can take him to the park at the weekend and he can lie on the couch with us whilst we watch Avengers-”

 

“Ash…” Beca trails off cautiously, cutting off her son’s excited ramble about the domestic life with the new puppy they’re not going to get.

 

Asher stops, and his face completely drops, the smile falling from his face in seconds; he knew exactly what was coming and realizing his plan to have his mother fall in love with the dog failed spectacularly, he pretends to not be fazed by the next words Beca says to him. Beca kneels down, her hand resting on the small of Asher’s back as she looks at him, trying to ignore the clenching in her chest at Asher’s face flushing as he tries to avoid the tears filling in his eyes.

 

“You know we can’t get a dog, Ash.” She says it as softly as she can, rubbing Asher’s back as the tears threatening to form, do, and silently start to roll down his cheeks. “I’m sorry buddy, one day we’ll get a dog, I promise; just not today.” Beca knows at this point it’s an empty promise and doing nothing to bring the brightness back to Asher’s eyes.

 

Asher shifts his position so he can lean into Beca’s side. “Puppy going to good home?”

 

Beca nods. “He’s going to go to a family who are going to love him more than anything, and Jackson is going to be really happy. Are you ok?” Beca asks, wrapping her arm tighter around Asher as the tears subside and he smiles.

 

“I’m good. Can I go and see more dogs now?” He asks, brighter and with the familiar glint returning to his eyes, Beca nods.

 

“Go for it, kiddo.” She says standing up and allowing Asher to continue weaving in and out of the dogs.

 

“He’s desperate for you to get a dog.” Lilly chimes in, appearing at Beca’s side, pulling her long hair over her shoulder.

 

“I think he wants one more because Paige had one,” Beca shrugs, gnawing on her bottom lip. “I just can’t even begin to entertain the idea of getting a puppy yet.”

 

“Of course not, you want the wife first.” Lilly quips (rightfully) earning a slap to the shoulder from a furiously blushing Beca.

 

XxX

 

Friday mornings were Beca’s favorite mornings of the week; she starts work later on a Friday meaning she doesn’t jump out of bed with fifteen minutes before she has to leave with Asher to take him to school and speed from the school to the bar only just making it in on time; usually she wakes up at 6:30AM feeling reasonably refreshed, and because of her newly-formed friendship with Chloe she will roll over, swiping her phone up from the table and sending off a good morning text to the other woman, not expecting a reply until much later when Chloe finally has a minute to breathe between Eliza and Reese occupying her every moment. After that; Beca will climb out of bed, tying her hair up in a ponytail as she leaves her room and heads downstairs where she will usually hear the opening credits to another one of Asher’s favorite cartoons before she walks in, and Asher turns around, getting up and rushing to her side, hugging Beca tightly and asking for breakfast. Usually they would have bacon and eggs of a Friday morning and Asher would try to help but in reality he just wanted to see how much mess he could make before Beca grabs him and tickles his side mercilessly. They would eat their breakfast in front of the TV and the entire routine seemed way too domestic and homely but Beca wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

“Ready, kiddo?” She asks as Asher descends the stairs, his backpack in his hand and his hat in his other. “Do you have your homework?”

 

“Yes Captain.” Asher smirks, saluting Beca and ducking before his mother could lean down and ruffle his hair.

 

The drive is a lot less hectic than throughout the rest of the week; many people choosing to take their time to get to work meaning Asher and Beca have more time to talk about their weekend plans which lately include; Chloe and the girls more often than not. Beca glances through the rearview mirror at Asher who has suddenly fallen quiet before she reaches forward to turn the music down.

 

“Ash-Attack, you ok bud?” Beca asks,

 

“It’s Paige’s birthday today.” Asher sighs, fumbling with the hem of his sweater as he speaks.

 

Fuck.

 

Beca completely forgot; deep down, she knew she didn’t forget, she always knew that Paige’s birthday fell the day before Benji’s but the thought had slipped her mind and she has to take three precise deep breaths to even out her heart rate again as she distinctly remembers that Paige’s birthday last year was spent at Paige’s house, wrapping paper strewn across the living room with the remaining aroma of pancakes and strawberries from the kitchen. Paige’s Labrador Harley was bouncing around the room and Asher was curled up between the two women he loved as cartoons played in the background, giving the two women five minutes as a family before they had to get ready for their day. Beca looks through the rearview mirror again to find Asher staring back at her.

 

“You miss her?” Beca asks already knowing the answer.

 

“Sometimes.” Asher replies with a shrug. “Sometimes I miss her a lot but sometimes I don’t. I like Chloe, ma.”

 

“I like Chloe too.” Beca smiles, “It’s ok if you miss Paige; she was a big part of our lives.” Beca forces out the words, resisting the urge to wince at the sour taste they leave behind. Beca looks through the rearview mirror again; Asher’s hands are still intertwined in his sweater but he looks up when he feels eyes on him and manages a bright-eyed smile at Beca to calm the anxiousness he seems to know is settling in his mom’s stomach.

 

They arrive at the school and Asher is quick to jump out, yelling bye over his shoulder as his backpack flies in all angles as he runs to the stairs. Beca just laughs at the undeniable excitement that the prospect of school brings to Asher; she just doesn’t understand, she hated school growing up so of course her son absolutely loves it.

 

 

Beca quickly pulls out of the parking space and starts driving to work and whilst she’s driving, her phone starts ringing from where she tossed it on the passenger seat, glancing down for a quick second; she spies the J and S and knows for a fact it’s Jesse calling her and for a brief two seconds she doesn’t debate just ignoring the call but on the other hand she knows her best friend and he could have done something stupid like fallen off the roof. She parks the car on the side of the road as she grabs her still ringing phone and answers it.

 

“Beca I seriously need your help and you can’t say no.” Jesse rushes out without so much as a hello.

 

“What if I want to say no?” Beca asks, sticking her tongue out of the corner of her mouth as Jesse sighs, mumbling something on the other.

 

Please.” Jesse whines and despite the eye roll; Beca hums in agreement.

 

“Fine,” Beca huffs “lay it on me.”

 

“I need you to go and pick Benji’s birthday present up. I can’t go because I’m in work.” Jesse breathes out, still reeling from speaking in a massive rush the second that Beca picked her phone up.

 

“Did you just expect me to drop the taxes I have to do in work today because I am perfectly fine with that; where do you want me to go?”

 

“I already text you, you’re my literal lifesaver.” Jesse replies and Beca can (hear) the grin on his face.

 

“Yeah yeah, change my name to Beca lifesaver Mitchell.” Beca quips before ending the call and checking her texts from Jesse.

 

She sends a text to Emily to say she’ll be a little late but to make up a cover story for her if the owners magically show up out of the blue without so much as a warning phone call which results in Beca giving Emily the following Friday night off because she has a date but really, Beca would have done it anyway. Beca drives and drives and drives for ages until she finally arrives at where she’s supposed to be and she frowns at the warehouse in front of her; first of all thinking should she be calling Jesse and asking him if this was a joke because despite the cars parked in the parking lot; the warehouse looked old, dirty and like nobody had touched the place in fifty years.

 

Beca definitely doesn’t sit in her parked car for nearly ten minutes working up the courage to end something similar to a slaughterhouse.

 

When she does build up the courage, she makes sure she has the email confirmation that Jesse forwarded to her and slowly, very slowly makes her way across the parking lot to the building, she pulls her sleeve over her hand as she pulls open the warehouse door and walks in though she comes to an abrupt halt when she spies the queue of people waiting to receive their parcels; her eyes grow wide when she spots people actually sitting on deck chairs and on the floor and one mid-twenty something woman who has brought a pillow and blanket and appears to be asleep towards the back of the line. Beca looks down at her watch and back to the line with only one thing on her mind; she was going to murder Jesse Swanson.

 

She follows suit of everybody else and joins the queue, taking her coat off and laying it on the floor, sitting down and making herself comfortable for however many hours she’s going to be there. It takes approximately four minutes and no movement whatsoever for Beca to whip her phone out, open her thread with Jesse and type out a five word message.

 

[Beca ‘the best’ Mitchell]

 

I’m going to kill you.

 

The warehouse is surprisingly warm and Beca regrets wearing the thick, woolen turtleneck sweater around thirty minutes later, her breathing becoming quicker as she tugs at the neck to try and cool herself down, loose strands of hair are beginning to stick to the back of her neck and the industrial lights of the ceiling are causing beads of sweat to roll down the side of Beca’s face as queue inches up ever so slightly. Over the next two hours; Beca fights against sleep, stifles her laughter at the middle-aged couple three/four people ahead of her arguing;

 

“Well Steven if you had just gotten home delivery like a normal person you could be at home with that damn jigsaw.”

 

“It’s your fucking mother Lynne but I was the one who paid for the gift so suck it up.”

 

“I should have divorced you back in 92.”

 

Beca resists the urge to do a happy dance when she counts that there are only five more people in front of her when her phone rings and she half expects it to be Jesse checking up on her but when the name of Asher’s elementary school flashes across her phone screen, her heartbeat starts to race just a little bit. She shakily tries (twice) to slide her thumb across the screen until the third time she manages it and presses her phone to her ear.

 

“Hello…” She trails off, careful to keep her voice steady.

 

“Beca.”

 

And the flood of relief filling Beca when she hears Chloe’s voice sounding for the majority of it still cheerful is quite possibly the best sound she has ever heard, what she says, not so much. “Asher’s got food poisoning and threw up all over my classroom.”

 

“Gross.” Is Beca first choice response and honestly probably the worst she could have given.

 

Really, Bec?” Chloe asks, and Beca can practically see her rolling her eyes with her lips pressed into a thin line the way Chloe does.

 

“Sorry.” Beca quickly apologizes. “Is he ok?” Again it probably wasn’t the best thing to ask.

 

“He’s sick Bec; can you come and pick him up?” Chloe asks, switching the subject as Beca looks forward to the line that hasn’t yet moved.

 

“Uh yeah, sure, I’ll be there soon.” Beca replies (almost) dismissively.

 

The call ends not that Beca notices, now tapping her foot and silently willing the line to move faster so that she can go and get Asher from school and get him better (if not for slightly selfish reasons). Unfortunately for Beca, the older man currently standing at the counter seems to be having more than just little a problem with his own package as three workers go in search for the parcel he is having delivered. The minutes continue to tick by, and the queue has basically halted, annoyance radiating from those waiting in front of Beca and Beca keeps impatiently tapping her foot as the minutes continue to tick by.

 

Ten minutes.

 

Fifteen minutes.

 

Twenty minutes.

 

Twenty five minutes.

 

Thirty minutes.

 

Finally. Beca races to the counter and thrusts her phone in the face of the younger guy waiting for her who has to squint to read the email. Still wearing the scowl on her face, the worker quickly scurries off trying to find the package. Beca wonders how long it’s going to take for Chloe to call her and ask her where she is, and it takes not a second more when the vibration of Beca’s phone ringing catches the brunette off –guard. She slides her thumb across the screen easier this time and puts the phone to her ear.

 

“Hey Chlo…” Beca trails off, a sheepish grin on tugging at the corner of her lips.

 

“Bec, where are you?” She asks immediately,

 

“I’m on my way-” the worker comes back and hands the small package to Beca who smiles gratefully. “Seriously, I’ll be there soon.”

 

Chloe lets out what sounds like a strangled whine before she says a quick bye and ends the call.

 

Beca shoves the small box into her hand, running past, through and shouting half-assed apologies behind her as she pushes open the door and across the parking lot and back to her car; even though Chloe doesn’t necessarily mean to, the eye rolls and comments on her parenting really grind her gears, after everything Beca’s been through, she’s knows for a damn fact that she has brought Asher up the best she ever could. Beca makes her way to the school, barely even parking before she’s jumping out of her car and making her way up to the school doors, instantly walking the hallways to try and find the nurse’s office.

 

“Mama!” Asher’s face instantly brightens up when he sees Beca walk into the office, Chloe looks up from where she’s sitting.

 

“Hey, bud.” Beca breathes out, trying to catch her breath as she wraps an arm around Asher’s shoulder. “How are you feeling?” She asks, brushing Asher’s hair out of his face.

 

“I threw up on Denver Owens!” Asher blurts out with way too much enthusiasm.

 

“That’s – that’s disgusting.” Beca replies with a visible shudder. “Ready to go home, kid?” She asks, looking down at Asher who nods, pushing himself off the chair and turning around to grab his backpack.

 

Chloe continues to keep her eyes on Beca but despite the inner battle she’s having over her heart and lack of parental boundaries; she does in fact keep her lips pressed together, not wanting to give Beca a lesson on how to be a parent knowing that things could get increasingly awkward overnight and not wanting to ruin Benji’s birthday for him comes at the top of her list.

 

“Feel better Ash, I’ll see you tomorrow, Beca.” Chloe quickly announces before scurrying out of the room before either Mitchell could reply.

 

Beca watches her go, keeping her eyes trained to the teacher as Chloe walks down the hallway until she’s completely out of sight, her concentration only broken by Asher tugging on her hand and asking for ice cream because he’s sick – which is ridiculous but both know that Beca will cave into Asher on the drive home.

 

Beca is just about to text Amy to cancel Friday night dinner at their house when the doorbell rings; peaking Asher’s interest as he looks up from where Beca has laid him on the couch under far too many blankets. Beca forgets her phone for a second as she walks to the front door, pulling it open; revealing the three people she was just about to cancel on.

 

“What’s up dudes?!” Amy screams, entering the house first, holding her hand up for Beca to high five her. Jesse and Benji following suit as they enter with two bags in their hands.

 

“Aunt Amy!” Asher beams, scrambling out from under the blankets and running around the couch to leap into his godmother’s waiting arms; completely ignoring the skeptical eyebrow of his mother. Amy swings him around causing Asher’s laughter to just get louder and louder.

 

Benji joins the pair in the living room whilst Jesse grabs Beca’s arm and leads her to the kitchen instead; standing with his back facing the living room.

 

“Did you get my package?” Jesse asks,

 

“Is that supposed to be a euphemism?” Beca asks, cocking her eyebrow as a smirk tugs at her lips.

 

“I – what – Beca!” Jesse exclaims clearly flustered and completely unlike his usual self and that’s what sends alarm bells ringing.

 

“Dude, what’s wrong?” Beca asks stifling her nervous laughter.

 

“Just, can I have the package please?” Jesse asks.

 

Beca holds a finger up before rushing through the house and grabbing the box from her coat pocket before bringing it back and handing it to Jesse who instantly tears the packaging off the box, opening it and smiling, sighing in relief also.

 

“What did you get h-?” Beca’s question gets stuck in her throat when Jesse shows her the content of the box. “Is that an engagement ring?” Beca asks, glancing up to meet Jesse’s eyes.

 

“It’s an engagement ring.” Jesse confirms, and Beca can feel the conversation between them becoming sentimental and Beca does not need to start crying right now so she does what she does best.

 

“I call being best man.” She jokes with a hint of seriousness.

 

“Well; you already have the beard down.” Jesse agrees, earning a kick to the back of the legs from Beca before both best friends start laughing and hug it out.

 

 

Friday night dinner may be canceled but the best friends all huddle around the TV watching Asher’s choice of movies which involve anything to do with superheroes; they laugh, joke, Beca gives Jesse a few telling looks over the night and Asher falls asleep on Amy’s lap curled up like a cat. Everyone leaves close to midnight and after Beca has put Asher to bed; she changes into her pajamas and calls Chloe.

 

“Beca? I should have known you would be the nocturnal one out of us two.” Chloe jokes through a yawn before there is shuffling on her line.

 

“Did I wake you?” Beca asks, tugging her bottom lip between her teeth.

 

“No, I was actually just reading. What’s up?” Chloe asks, sounding a lot more awake this time.

 

“I just wondered whether you’re still coming tomorrow?” Beca asks, now realizing this is a question that could have been answered through a text.

 

“Of course, I can’t wait.” Chloe replies cheerfully. “Your friends sound like such good fun, I can’t wait to experience it myself.”

 

“I’m warning you now; my friends have zero boundaries.” Beca tries to play it off lightly but deep down she’s aware that Amy and Jesse will probably have herself and Chloe engaged by the end of the night.

 

“Oh I know.” Chloe laughs, “Amy has already found and added me on Facebook; she’s outdoing you, Bec.”

 

Beca doesn’t completely understand what that’s supposed to mean.

 

Beca’s bedroom door opens and Asher’s silhouette appears in the hallway light, clutching his plush soccer ball. “Hey Chlo, I should go; Ash wants me. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

“Yes you will. Goodnight, Beca.”

 

The call ends before Beca can say it back as Asher walks in, closes the door and climbs into bed beside Beca. Beca leaves a kiss on Asher’s head before going onto Facebook (which she hasn’t done since probably last Christmas when she posted embarrassing family photos to use as blackmail) but before she knows it; she’s typing in Chloe Beale and finding her account, smiling bashfully at the profile picture of; Chloe, Eliza and Reese in matching pajamas all sitting, smiling in front of a Christmas tree in Chloe’s living room. Beca looks at the number of likes and she reads the comments, humming in agreement at the majority that say ‘cute’ and she types out a comment herself;

 

My three favorite girls.

 

Beca laughs to herself quietly before deleting the comment, settling for liking the picture instead and sending her a request.

 

XxX

 

“Ash-Attack, you’re only going for the night; why are you packing as if you’re going on a six month cruise?” Beca asks in curiosity as Asher hauls a backpack and an overnight bag filled to the brim down the stairs and into the living room.

 

“My toys, ma! Why do you never listen to me?” Asher sighs, exasperated as he wipes his forehead when he reaches the bottom; Beca can’t even be annoyed, especially not when Asher just keeps making her laugh.

 

“Oh right, yeah, how could I forget you needed to take every single toy you have ever owned to Chloe’s for the night?” Beca asks in a ‘duh’ tone, slapping her own forehead as Asher laughs. “Do you have your toothbrush?” Beca asks, glancing over her shoulder and narrowing her eyes.

 

“Yes, Captain.” Asher salutes.

 

“Let’s go.” Beca claps her hands, pointing to the front door.

 

Asher hauls his two bags to the car as Beca closes the front door and locks it before following Asher to the car where he’s waiting. “You look good, ma.” He comments before opening the back door and jumping into the car.

 

Beca smiles as she opens the driver’s side and climbs into the car, starting the engine and pulling out to start the drive to Chloe’s. The radio is on during the ride; Beca and Asher taking it in turns to see who can sing out of tune the best.

 

“I think you won, ma.” Asher smirks, finally taking his hands off his ears as Beca scoffs from the front seat, looking in the rearview mirror as she gives Asher her best glare.

 

They arrive at Chloe’s and Asher is out of the car with his bags before Beca could even think about stopping him; instead, she takes her time, climbing out of the car as to not slip on the (still) icy roads in the boots she’s wearing, the last thing she needs is to embarrass herself in front of the woman she has come to value quite highly in her life. She grabs her bag from the car before shutting the door and locking her car; when she looks up the front door is open and Asher is nowhere to be seen so with great care, Beca makes her way up Chloe’s driveway and into the house, knocking on the door before walking in, closing it and heading into the living room where Eliza and Asher are already digging through his bag of toys.

 

“Hi, Beca! Mom’s upstairs, she’ll be down soon.” Eliza informs her, smiling up at the brunette.

 

“Thanks El.” Beca smiles back,

 

“Be’a!” A small voice yells and when Beca turns, she has approximately three seconds to kneel down to catch an onrushing Reese.

 

Beca lifts Reese up, settling the toddler on her hip as she nuzzles her face into Reese’s hair causing her to giggle as she wraps her small arms around Beca’s neck. Reese grabs at the loose strands of Beca’s hair as she fills in her favorite brunette of all the things she’s been up to since she last saw Beca. Beca is looking down at her, thoroughly enjoying listening to Reese talk about how she saw Curious George for the fifth time this week when she hears footsteps on the stairs.

 

“Eliza have you seen my blue s-?” Chloe stops abruptly when she sees that Beca and Asher have arrived. “Hi, Bec.” She grins,

 

Beca looks up, her jaw dropping (slightly) at Chloe still standing on the stairs; the blue sequined dress she’s wearing, clinging to her body, showing off curves that Beca didn’t even realize she had; the sequins sparkling under the hallway lights, her hair curled to within an inch of its life as it lays over her left shoulder; Beca blinks rapidly realizing she hasn’t said anything yet.

 

“You look really pretty, Chloe.” Asher comments, leaning back to get a better look.

 

“Thank you Ash.” Chloe smiles gratefully, continuing to walk down the stairs and into the living room.

 

“Ma tell Chloe she looks pretty.” Asher pushes, snapping Beca out of her trance.

 

“You look – beautiful.” Beca sighs, taking a step forward and attempting to not laugh at the obvious height difference between the pair as Chloe isn’t wearing shoes; making the already in place height difference even funnier.

 

“I can see you laughing, Mitchell.” Chloe mumbles, slapping Beca’s shoulder.

 

“My apologies Miss Beale, you’re the most beautiful elf I have ever seen.” Beca tests Chloe’s patience.

 

“I could easily do my laundry tonight instead of being your arm candy.” Chloe warns, raising her left eyebrow in challenge.

 

“You wouldn’t!” Beca gasps, outraged that Chloe would even think such a thing.

 

 

After having to haul Chloe out of the door after she interrogated the kids’ babysitter Hailey for way too long; the pair arrive at the bar; the music already blaring from outside, Beca turns to Chloe and extends her arm; Chloe wraps her own arm around Beca’s, before laughing and allowing Beca to lead them into the bar. The scene is set; balloons, banners, alcohol in full flow, people dancing and Amy (already) dancing on a table. There is alcohol on the floor so Chloe is careful to step over it, skipping past people as Beca leads them to the booth in the back that Jesse is already waiting in.

 

“You decided with the sanest first, good choice.” Jesse acknowledges when the two women reach him; he stands up, performing this ridiculous handshake with Beca that they have both had since college. “Hi, Chloe; Beca has told me next to nothing about you.” He greets Chloe with a kiss to the cheek as Beca slaps his shoulder.

 

“DUDE WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?!” Amy shouts, or rather slurs, stumbling over to the table, a drink in either hand. “Dude I’ve been looking for you everywhere.” She drapes herself over Beca, in such a sloth-like effort; the drink in her right hand spills slightly, catching the side of Chloe’s dress who lets out a strangled squeak as the cold liquid trickles down her arm.

 

“Chloe shit!” Beca exclaims jumping back as Chloe quickly wipes the residue off her arm. Beca reaches out but Chloe is already asking where the bathroom is so Jesse directs her.

 

Beca manages to shrug Amy off. “Dude, how drunk are you?” She asks, raising her eyebrow at whatever Amy is laughing at.

 

“P-Pregame.” She hiccups, erupting into laughter again.

 

“Pregame? We haven’t pregame-d since college? Ames you’re nearly thirty, dude.” Part of Beca wants to laugh but the adult side of her brain knows she should be helping Chloe and forcing her friends to make a good impression, after all, she wants this thing with Chloe to go somewhere.

 

Chloe returns nearly five minutes later; plastering a smile on her face as she slips into the booth beside Beca who slides a vodka martini over to her which she takes gratefully. Benji joins the four in the booth, drunk himself as the first thing he does is wrap his arms around Jesse and place a really sloppy kiss on his cheek.

 

“How long have you two been together?” Chloe asks, nodding towards the boyfriends.

 

“Seven years.” Jesse answers. “Actually, we got together because when Beca was in labor she just screamed at us both to work our shit out and the rest is history.” Jesse laughs at the memory, and Beca joins in.

 

“I’d say two good things came out of the day Asher was born but after listening to you two fucking for six years – gross.” Beca says with a shiver.

 

“What about all the girls you fucked in college!” Amy suddenly exclaims out of nowhere. “Dude I shared a room with you.”

 

Chloe stiffens beside Beca, laughing nervously along with her friends but it doesn’t escape Beca’s knowledge as the brunette slips her arm around Chloe’s shoulder. The music gets quieter after a while as Jesse and Amy continue to take it in turns telling embarrassing stories that don’t paint Beca in the best light; such as the time she flirted with her college professor to get out of her final, or making out with three different girls after one of the more wilder nights of her college life. With each embarrassing story; Beca feels a deep seed of guilt settle in and the smaller Chloe’s smile becomes. Before Amy can retell the story of Beca and the penguin; Beca kicks out at Jesse’s ankle and points at her ring finger before nodding to Benji who is struggling to keep his eyes open as the effects of the alcohol begin to catch up with him.

 

Jesse nods, although his face paling under the neon lights say otherwise. He pushes Benji out of the booth, his boyfriend now more alert as Jesse motions for the music to be cut off which it is to some groans but Jesse is already into his back pocket as he motions for Benji to come closer to him.

 

Beca sits back, knowing for a fact she should be focusing on the fact two of her best friends are about to get engaged but instead she’s zoning in on Chloe; wondering what it would be like if she was to propose to her one day, completely ignoring the rational side of her brain telling her that she hasn’t even kissed the teacher yet.

 

“Benji. The last seven years have been amazing but what do you say to a lifetime?” Jesse asks, flicking open the lid of the box.

 

“Holy shit; are you asking me to marry you?”

 

“It took you long enough!” Amy shouts as she raises her empty glass, the straw flying out and landing in her cleavage.

 

“I’m asking you to marry me.” Jesse confirms to Benji who responds in throwing himself forward, wrapping his arms around Jesse. “He said yes!” Jesse yells out to rapturous applause and cheers.

 

Chloe becomes antsy to go home when someone that Beca barely recognizes from college is involved in a fight and goes to throw a drink, throwing it at Chloe instead and causing the teacher to slip, landing on her ass but even then; Chloe just sighs as she lifts herself to her feet; her hair soaked and stuck to her shoulder as she turns and asks as politely as she can.

 

“Bec, can we go home?” Her voice is tired and Beca doesn’t even think before taking Chloe’s elbow and leading her outside.

 

Beca sheds her jacket, wrapping it around Chloe’s shoulders as she hails a taxi. The ride back to Chloe’s is silent, Chloe’s fiddling with the sleeves of the leather jacket as Beca watches her, silently cursing herself and her friends for not giving Chloe the good impression she had hoped they would; instead they made her seem like a womanizer which she’ll admit; she was in her college days but all of it changed after Asher, she wishes that they had maybe shown Chloe that side of her instead of the wild student that made out with people to get what she wanted. Beca pays for the cab as Chloe gets out and starts walking up the driveway and in boots; Beca chases after her, catching her shoulder before she can put her key in the lock.

 

“Are you mad at me?” Beca asks in an unusually small voice.

 

“I’m not mad, I promise.” Chloe gives Beca her best tired smile but her tone is genuine so Beca relaxes and she is relieved when Chloe steps forward and kisses her cheek. “I just wonder what your friends are like sober.”

 

“Worse.” Beca replies immediately eliciting a chuckle from Chloe.

 

Chloe unlocks the door, walking in with Beca when a bucket tips from the top of the door and around ten water balloons fall out, hitting both women and soaking them through. Beca curses as loud as she can whilst Chloe screams and suddenly lights from all rooms are being thrown open as Hailey appears from the kitchen; Asher and Eliza at the top of the stairs with Reese in-between Eliza’s legs.

 

“Oh yeah,” Asher grins. “I forgot about the water balloons.” He laughs.

 

“ASHER BENJAMIN JESSE MITCHELL YOU ARE IN SO MUCH FUCKING TROUBLE!” Beca screams up to him,

 

“That’s four bucks ma!” Asher reminds her, clearly not intimidated by his upcoming punishment.

 

Chloe starts laughing; first that she’s not surprised that Beca’s son is named after two of her best friends but more so that after not her most memorable night; the thing that cheers her up most is being soaked through to her underwear at her kids’ mischievous antics. Beca turns to Chloe, eyebrows raised at why she’s laughing.

 

“It’s good to be home.” Chloe sighs, before laughing again as the kids run downstairs to hug their soaking wet mothers.

Chapter Text

“Ma come on!” Asher shouts up the stairs, his hand wrapped around the stair banister as Beca rushes around upstairs. “Eliza’s soccer game starts soon!” Asher continues, glancing down to his Iron Man watch on his right wrist.

 

“I’m coming. I’m coming.” Beca grins holding her hands up as she exits her bedroom, jacket over her arm as she starts to descend the stairs. “Also; Eliza’s soccer game doesn’t start for two hours you little munchkin.” Beca smirks. “You just want to come up with vicious schemes that involve soaking Chloe and I with water balloons.”

 

“Is that how little you think of me, mother?” Asher asks, gasping and placing his hand over his heart as Beca reaches the bottom of the stairs.

 

“Sure is; Ash-Attack.” Beca smirks ruffling her son’s hair. “Let’s go otherwise I won’t get a minute to myself.” Beca pushes Asher towards the door.

 

Asher chats excitedly away about how him and Eliza stayed up until 10:30PM last night, going over tactics on how Eliza is going to crush the hell out of the opposition; Beca listens and hums, agreeing with everything Asher is saying but inside she’s anxious; her knuckles are turning white from her too-tight grip on the steering wheel. It’s been a week since their disastrous attempt at a first date and they have barely talked since; a few text messages, small talk when Asher and Eliza have been together and Chloe awkwardly hanging around Beca when Reese refused to let go of the brunette after a play date between the two older kids had come to an end. Beca doesn’t blame Chloe for distancing herself; after everything that went wrong; Beca probably would have done the same if she was in her position; sure, everyone apologized the morning after when they were left with their hangovers and all forms of remorse. Beca pulls up at the soccer field; barely having a chance to turn the engine off before Asher is out of the car and running off in search of his best friend. Beca takes her time getting out of the car, locking the vehicle and walking down to the field. She finds Asher instantly; he’s jumping around Eliza as she ties the laces to her cleats. Chloe stands up when she spots Beca and starts walking towards her; meeting her halfway. Beca doesn’t get another chance to apologize before Chloe is wrapping the brunette in a tight hug.

 

“I couldn’t exactly hug you over text so, I accept your apologies and it wasn’t the worst night I’ve ever had.” Chloe says, her voice bright, cheery and light; just the way Beca is used to.

 

“I’m so glad you said that.” Beca sighs into the teacher’s shoulder, hugging Chloe back just as tightly.

 

The pair sit down in the chairs; Reese clambering up the chair to sit herself down in Beca’s lap. Beca wraps her arms around the toddler and leans down to press her nose into Reese’s cheek causing a giggle to escape the youngster’s lips.

 

“Miss you.” Reese says leaning back to meet Beca’s eyes.

 

“I missed you too, lovebug.” Beca tells her, squeezing her tighter.

 

Asher and Eliza are stood on the sidelines; Asher has his hands on Eliza’s shoulder and is wildly telling her something that has Eliza listening intently despite knowing her teammates’ and the referee’s eyes are on her. Asher and Eliza perform a handshake that neither Chloe nor Beca realized they had made before Eliza takes up her starting position and Asher runs back to his family; settling himself on the blanket laid out in front of them. As the game kicks off; Asher turns cheerleader; jumping up and down, protesting every single decision against Eliza’s team with frustration running through his veins such as the free kick that definitely should not have been a free kick to the opposing side or when Eliza is pushed and gets nothing called. Reese eventually starts to imitate Asher, throwing her hands into the air when he does it; shouting incoherent words when Asher starts groaning and calling the referee dumb. Chloe bites her tongue, part of her wants to step in and shush Asher before he says something that will get him in trouble but the lighthearted side of her is enjoying Asher’s ‘enthusiasm’ towards the game; Beca on the other hand has only one reaction to Asher, and she can’t stop laughing; she bites down on her bottom lip to try and stifle her laughter but it’s no use and she has zero intentions of stopping her son either.

 

The game reaches halftime and it’s 0-0; clearly the standard of seven year olds playing soccer isn’t at the highest level but Eliza doesn’t seem to disheartened by the score line; in fact she seems pleased with herself as she joins her family, accepting the high five from Asher as she accepts the juice box from her mom.

 

“You’re doing real good El, the other team just sucks so hard.” Asher says with a shrug as he pushes the straw into his own juice box.

 

“Hey control your kid and his comments!” A woman’s voice shouts from nearby. “He’s insulted my stepdaughter three times.”

 

Chloe and Beca look at each other before looking around to find the person to the voice and when they do; Beca immediately starts glaring, standing up; she lets Reese down and lets her toddle over to where she has left her toys. Chloe watches the sight play out before her as Beca approaches the blonde who is standing with a girl in front of her. Beca stands in front of the other woman, arms folded and the pair just stare at each other; neither willing to break the silence except Asher does and he rushes forward, pushing past the girl and wrapping his arms around the other woman.

 

“Hi Paige!” He beams up at her. Paige, ignoring Beca’s eyes following her every move; leans down and hugs Asher back.

 

“Hey Ash, it’s been a long time buddy, huh?” Paige’s voice is sickly sweet and maybe back then; Beca would have killed to hear that voice but now it just sounds like white noise.

 

“I missed you.” Asher smiles up at her sadly.

 

“Hey,” Paige kneels down so she’s level with the seven year old. “I’ve missed you too; you were always my favorite little man, right?” Paige asks him for reassurance.

 

“I still am?” Asher asks his tone full of surprise.

 

“Always, kid.” Paige smiles at him before hugging him.

 

Asher runs back to Eliza after that and the girl who was with Paige disappears as well. Beca and Paige hang around, Beca has a hundred things on the tip of her tongue that she wants to say but when she’s surrounded by kids all under the age of ten she doesn’t think it’s appropriate to blow up on Paige over what happened so she settles for a few sarcastic comments instead.

 

“Stepdaughter, huh? You always liked a woman with a kid. Are you going to break that kid’s heart as well?” Beca asks, smiling a lopsided smile and tilting her head to the side.

 

The smirk falls from Paige’s lips and Beca feels smug, until she doesn’t; when everything came out and Beca sat Asher down and told her that her and Paige had broken up and he would be moving to a new school; Beca will never forget the way Asher’s face fell or the way the tears filled his eyes before he launched himself into Beca’s arms; mumbling about how it wasn’t fair. Beca felt like the cruelest person on the planet for hurting her kid with the truth but it was all Paige’s fault. It’s not illegal to date your child’s soon-to-be second grade teacher but there is and has been a stigma over it for so many years; many parents think it’s unfair on the class of children which can be true; it can be seen as the child involved in the relationship might be given special treatment but whilst Beca was adamant and certain that wasn’t going to happen; a comment from Paige that was initially supposed to be meant as a joke caused uproar amongst the parents of Asher’s classmates and Beca was left humiliated; after that, their relationship went downhill so fast that Paige up and left without a word; breaking Asher’s heart in the process, for a long time; the seven year olds trust was destroyed for a while; first he loses his dad out of his life and the woman his mother loved left without so much as a goodbye; it’s not hard to see why Beca is still pissed at Paige Jones.

 

Paige starts laughing bitterly. “You sound desperate.” She acknowledges; she’s completely off and Chloe isn’t going to stand for it.

 

Chloe appears at Beca’s side, sliding her hand into the brunette’s and gives Paige an overly fake smile. “Oh sweetie. Why would my girlfriend be jealous when she’s happier with me than she ever was with you? We have an honest, hard-working, and caring relationship and three kids who we would give the whole world to.”

 

Beca is struggling to stifle the smirk tugging at the corners of her lips. Paige looks between Beca and Chloe trying to spot any signs that what Chloe seems to be spouting to her is complete bullshit but Chloe maintains her sickly, loved-up smile and Paige eventually gets annoyed, turns on her heel and leaves. Chloe and Beca start to laugh before turning to face each other.

 

“You’re pretty good at this whole girlfriend thing.” Beca tells her, smiling at Chloe.

 

“I should be; I’ve been a girlfriend a whole four times in my life.” Chloe replies as she playfully pats Beca on the cheek before reverting back to her position on the chair.

 

Beca just laughs as she watches Chloe before she feels a tug on her hand. “Ma; I’ve decided.” Asher starts. “I think I like Chloe more than Paige; she made you mad because your eyebrows looked like worms.”

 

Beca leans down, wrapping Asher in a hug and tickling him bringing him to the verge of crying from laughing too hard. “You really do have a way with words, Ash-Attack.”

 

Eliza’s team wins the game 2-0 and the family head out to the nearest pizza parlor to celebrate even though Chloe complains about unhealthy food and Asher bursts out about the Dino nuggets he had for breakfast which receives more than just raised eyebrows from Chloe and a sheepish smile from Beca who claims ‘I haven’t been shopping yet I have no food!’ The family eat their pizza, taking it in turns to share embarrassing stories from each other’s side of the family; they’re laughing so loud, receiving glares from other diners and Chloe and Beca are taking it in turns to see who the best parent is; both of them missing the high five that Asher and Eliza give each other, and missing the second part of their plan; as they're leaving; Eliza and Reese are in the car; Eliza has her face pressed up against the glass and is gesturing wildly to Asher who is responding just as wildly earning raised eyebrows from their parents.

 

"I'll see you in school, or maybe sooner.” Chloe smiles and leans forward, kissing Beca’s cheek before ruffling Asher’s hair and getting into her car.

 

It’s only when they are driving away does Beca look down at Asher and ask. “How come you didn’t scramble free when Chloe ruffles your hair?” She asks her son.

 

“She’s not you.” Asher shrugs in reply and starts to walk towards their car.

 

“Seven years old.” Beca shakes her head. “Seven years old and the kid has more sass than me.” Beca’s in disbelief as she jogs to catch up with Asher.

 

 

XxX

 

 

“Ma, ma, ma, mama, mother, birth giver, wake up!” Asher continues to pull and shove and yank the blankets off his mother only receiving a grunt and a ‘it’s too early, go away’ from Beca. “Ma; you gotta take me to school early because I’m going – to – the – zoo.” Asher pulls Beca’s arm with practically every word until Beca cracks open one of her eyes.

 

“Zoo? What zoo?” Beca asks, dragging the back of her hand across her chin to wipe away the drool. “Oh shit, the zoo!” The brunette exclaims when the realization hit her and she takes a good look at Asher. “Oh good you’re dressed. I’ll be five minutes go and wait by the door.” Beca shoos her son out of her bedroom as she hops out of bed; pulling on her shoes, not bothering to swap her sweatpants for jeans or swap her old college t-shirt for something with less stains; she throws her hair up into a ponytail before grabbing her coat, keys and phone and running down stairs and meeting Asher by the door.

 

“You’re lucky I made my own lunch.” Asher states as he opens the front door.

 

“Since when can you cook?” Beca asks, rounding the car and opening the car door.

 

“Since you learnt to lie in.” Asher sasses back. “Also, you’re meant to watch Reese today.” Asher reminds her. Oh shit.

 

Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes; Beca sticks her tongue out, capturing Asher’s laughter in the rearview mirror before turning the key in the ignition and pulling out of her driveway and starting the drive to school (praying she doesn’t get done for speeding). Beca can almost see Chloe frowning at her the minute she comes into view when they arrive at school; Asher runs ahead, running to the bus and waving excitedly to Eliza who has her face pressed up against the glass of the window. Chloe smiles down at Asher as he climbs onto the bus before turning to Beca and subtly slapping the brunette’s arm.

 

“Thirty-five minutes late.” She mutters to Beca who opens her mouth to explain. “Do you know how hard is it to find a last minute babysitter and when I say last minute, I mean last minute.”

 

“I know. I know. I’m sorry.” Beca winces holding her hands up but the scowl doesn’t leave Chloe’s face. “I’m still going to look after the munchkin, right?” Beca asks.

 

“Right!” A small voice shouts from behind Beca.

 

Beca turns around and a wide smile appears on her face as Reese comes tumbling towards both women. Beca kneels down as Reese reaches her giving Beca an opportunity to sweep the toddler up in her arms and dip her, nuzzling her nose into Reese’s face causing her to giggle loudly and start to erase the scowl on Chloe’s face. Beca turns around, settling Reese on her hip.

 

“You have the worst timekeeping of anybody I have ever met but at least you can make Reese smile; we’ll be back this evening do-”

 

“Don’t be late.” They say at the same time; causing Chloe to laugh as she waves to Reese and climbs onto the bus.

 

 

Walking into Beca’s house; Reese stops flat, folds her arms and looks around.

 

“My toys?” Reese asks, batting her eyelashes as she turns around to face Beca who is weighed under with a backpack, another bag and Beca’s stuffed monkey. Reese walks over to Beca and tugs on the bag in Beca’s right hand.

 

Beca shuts the door and leads Reese into the living room; placing the bags on the coffee table before opening them. She sifts past the t-shirts, the blanket and toothbrush but apart from the stuffed monkey that Reese has her tiny hands wrapped tightly around.

 

“My toys?” Reese asks again.

 

“Are at your house, pumpkin.” Beca sighs. “Your toys are in your toy box.”

 

“No way Jose.” Reese replies, her mouth agape as she holds her hands out.

 

Beca offers Reese a small smile before an idea springs to mind. “Hey kiddo, how about we go to your house and play with the toys?”

 

Reese lights up at the suggestion and starts to clap her hands.

 

“How about you go and wait by the door, ok, kid?”

 

“You got it dude.” Reese replies with a thumbs up as Beca starts to repack all the stuff into the bags as Reese runs to the door, the stuffed monkey swinging behind her.

 

“Your mom really needs to stop letting you watch reruns of Full House.” Beca mumbles with an eye roll as she gathers up the belongings and meets Reese at the door.

 

Beca lets Reese out of the car seat, locking her car before walking up the driveway to Chloe’s front door; letting Reese down and backing off slightly, folding her arms.

 

“Right lovebug; where’s your mommy’s spare key?” Beca asks, kneeling forward to Reese’s level and nudging the toddler’s nose with her own.

 

Reese shakes her hand. “I don’t know, Be’a.”

 

“You told me in the car, you did.” Beca tells her, reaching forward and tickling Reese’s side.

 

“Oh.” Reese makes an ‘O’ with her mouth before holding her finger up and bending down, lifting up the welcome mat, revealing a silver key lying on the concrete.

 

“That’s my girl.” Beca coos, wrapping Reese in her arms and kissing her cheek before picking the key up and dropping the mat back down.

 

Beca unlocks the front door and lets Reese run inside.

 

 

“Hey, El.” Asher pushes past Denver Owens and appears at his best friend’s side. “I’ll give you five bucks if you jump into the llama pen.”

 

“That’s illegal, doofus.” Eliza shoots him down.

 

“Scared-y cat.” Denver Owens starts to tease; Eliza blushes madly before dipping her head.

 

“Eliza is a scared-y cat.” Asher and Denver start to tease, dancing around her.

 

“I’m not scared.” Eliza protests. “I just possess more than the shared brain cell you two have.” She grins before stepping away from them and continuing to walk through the zoo, listening and taking pictures of the animals.

 

“Hey Ash! Look at this, it’s you.” Eliza bats her eyelashes as she points to a chimpanzee in the enclosure. “Just with a brain inside his head.”

 

“You’re kinda mean.” Asher says to her.

 

“Respect your elders.” Eliza smiles at him, bopping his nose.

 

“You’re two days older than me.”

 

“Don’t you forget it, honey.” Eliza teases, stepping forward and kissing his cheek much to the teasing and amusement of his friends.

 

 

Beca makes sure she’s at the school gate, a good twenty minutes before the bus is to return from the zoo; set with a smirk on her face and Reese messily eating a popsicle; the brunette waits for Asher to fly off the bus, rush to her and ask her something stupid like ‘ma, can we have a llama as a pet?’ The bus arrives back at school and one by one, kids start clambering off the vehicle and rushing over to their parents; when Beca spots Asher; she waits, not wanting to shout across the street for him to remember to thank the driver; it turns out she doesn’t have to; Asher thanks him before jumping off the final step and looking around until he meets his mother’s eyes.

 

“Ma,” Asher reaches Beca. “Can we have a pet alligator?” He asks, his eyes lighting up at the prospect.

 

“I’d rather you asked for a llama.” Beca replies, ruffling his hair.

 

“Can we?!” Asher freaks out.

 

“Of course not.” Beca shoots him down, shaking her head.

 

Beca wraps her free arm around Asher’s shoulder and waits for Chloe and Eliza to make their way over to the three of them. Reese starts squirming in Beca’s arms as Chloe approaches; she pulls on Beca’s arm, grabs Beca’s hand and asks politely before demanding to be put down but Beca doesn’t budge and waits until Chloe is close enough to take Reese from the brunette’s arms.

 

“Didn’t the mean lady let you down?” Chloe asks, pouting at Reese and winking at Beca.

 

“She not a mean lady, she Be’a.” Reese corrects,

 

“Beca ‘mean lady’ Mitchell, it’s got a ring to it.” Chloe shrugs, sticking her tongue out at Beca.

 

“That’s not my middle name.” Beca sasses her, figuring two can do this.

 

“What is your middle name?”

 

“I’ll tell you someday.” Beca teases.

 

“Like on your wedding day!” Asher bursts out.

 

Chloe and Beca look to each other before both glancing down to Asher and simultaneously rolling their eyes. “Kids.” They both utter in unison before bundling their children to Beca’s car.

 

 

XxX

 

 

“You’re making me eat vegetables?” Asher asks, clearly outraged as Chloe continues to chop a carrot. “I actually liked you.”

 

“You really are your mother’s son.” Chloe coos, glancing sideways down to Asher who has stuck to her side like glue since they returned back to Chloe’s house. “Also Ash; there are other foods in this world than Dino nuggets and pizza.”

 

“Yes-” Asher agrees “-but they aren’t as nice.”

 

Chloe hears footsteps enter the kitchen and they’re too heavy to be Eliza or Reese’s so without looking up, Chloe just speaks. “Has your son ever eaten a vegetable before?”

 

“He ate a carrot, once. He eats fries all the time and they’re potatoes!” Beca exclaims, siding with Asher and smirking at her son.

 

“That is so not what I meant.” Chloe sighs as she puts the carrots into a pan.

 

“Asher!” Eliza shrieks as she runs in. “Did you tell Denver Owens I was a giraffe?”

 

Chloe and Beca look between each other, raising their eyebrows.

 

“You’re tall, like a giraffe.” Asher shrugs. “You can’t argue with facts.”

 

“Take it back Ash-” Eliza puts her hands on her hips. “-Or I will go into the living room and find and destroy your limited edition Machamp card.”

 

“You wouldn’t.” Asher hisses.

 

“Try me.” Eliza raises her eyebrows before running towards the living room; Asher on her heels.

 

 

The kids are in the living room after dinner perched in front of the TV; whilst Beca and Chloe work as a team to wash and dry the dishes. Beca is swinging the dish towel around as Chloe scrubs clean one of the plates before handing it off to the brunette to dry and place on the rack.

 

“We’re a pretty good team.” Beca comments, breaking the unusual but comfortable silence that the pair had fallen into,

 

“I must say; you’re the best drying partner I’ve ever had.” Chloe cheekily replies, blowing bubbles towards Beca.

 

“No, not that.” Beca waves her hand; not knowing if her hand was just wet or sweaty. “We make a good team, in general, you know?”

 

Chloe doesn’t, but she thinks she knows where Beca’s heading.

 

Chloe stops washing the next plate and turns to Beca, smiling at her as she leans against the sink.

 

“You’re a good partner to have-” Chloe reaches forward and takes hold of Beca’s hand. “-So don’t do something stupid to ruin it, ok honey?”

 

“Whatever you say, darling.”Beca replies with an eye roll before not so subtly swinging the dishtowel and catching Chloe’s ass.

Chapter Text

“I don’t get it. Why haven’t you made a move on her?” Jesse asks, leaning forward and lowering Beca’s phone from where she’s set it in front of her face to hide the blush rising up her neck to her cheeks.

 

“It’s not that easy.” Beca shrugs, dipping her head to focus on her twitter timeline and not the daggers her best friend is giving her.

 

“You’re into her, she’s into you – I’m not sure I’m seeing the problem here, Bec.” Jesse’s dumbfounded as swipes Beca’s phone from her, shoving it into his coat pocket. “Is it because of Asher because I’m certain Asher will make some obscene joke that he’s learnt from me and then five minutes later not care that you’ve made out with his teacher – oh shit – teacher.” Jesse stops when he stumbles across the true reason that Beca is so reluctant.

 

“It’s all mindless flirting and fun and games until it’s not.” Beca sighs, rubbing her hands over her face. “I can’t put Asher through that again, I can’t move him across the city and put him in a new school and break up his friendship with Eliza all because Chloe and I screw up.”

 

“Is it screwing up if you make it work?” Jesse asks and when he catches Beca’s confused expression, he continues. “Bec, Chloe is only Asher’s second grade teacher and it’s January now so what, she’s only going to be his teacher for another four months and then it’s not going to matter whether you date her or not.”

 

“Are you telling me to not make on a move on Chloe for four month?” Beca asks, furrowing her eyebrows.

 

“No, I’m telling you to make a move on her because what kind of best friend would I be if I didn’t encourage you to get laid. I’m just saying; remember that Chloe is only going to teach Ash for another few months.” Jesse grins at his best friend, feeling pleased in himself that he was able to convey that much wisdom to Beca at 8:56AM.

 

Beca twirls a pencil from her desk around her finger as she mulls over what Jesse has told her, all the while; Jesse is standing up, handing Beca her cell back and sympathizing over his best friend’s dilemma.

 

“Just think about it. I’m going to head over to work.” Jesse presses his lips into a thin line.

 

“I thought you were supposed to be in work at eight-thirty?” Beca glances at the clock on the wall of her office.

 

“I was, but my best buddy needed me.” Jesse chuckles. “I’ll see you later Bec.”

 

Beca waves as Jesse leaves her office, leaving her alone for the morning and instead of continuing with the mound of paperwork on her desk, she carries on with the crisis at the forefront of her mind.

 

 

The text that comes through at midday is vague to say the least.

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

I need you to do the world’s biggest favor for me because I panicked in front of the principal.

 

Beca stares down at the message on her phone for around four or five minutes before she begins to type out a reply, softening the uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach with sarcasm.

 

[Beca Mitchell]

 

Good afternoon to you too. Also, what?

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

It’s the principal’s birthday on Thursday and I accidentally told her I’d bring my new girlfriend with me and well… I need a girlfriend.

 

[Beca Mitchell]

 

I’m sure there’s a place on the internet for this kind of thing.

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

Why did I ask you again? Beca please, just pretend to date me for the night.

 

[Beca Mitchell]

 

My rates aren’t cheap Chloe.

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

You are without a doubt the most annoying person I have ever met

 

[Beca Mitchell]

 

Save the sweet talk for Thursday.

 

It’s just pretending right, pretending isn’t going to cause any problems whatsoever, Beca’s certain of that, just two friends, platonic friends going to a party pretending they have been a couple for a few months, nothing can go wrong. People have done this loads of times, most of the time it’s been in movies and everybody knows what happens in the movies and then Beca starts to get optimistic, damn you Lifetime for your completely unrealistic expectations of pretending to date someone you like just a little bit more than a friend. Beca is pacing her kitchen at a ridiculous speed, nearly slipping in the heels she’s wearing more than once; Emily is sitting in the living room, on the floor by the table with Asher opposite her as they play Hungry Hungry Hippos and Beca is actually grateful for Emily procrastinating on her college work long enough to babysit; Asher, Eliza and Reese for the night. Beca glances at her watch, 6:05PM; so it’s only five minutes after Chloe initially said she’d arrive at Beca’s house but Chloe’s ridiculous need to be early everywhere she goes sparks panic that is only relived when at 6:08PM; the doorbell rings and Beca is skidding along the kitchen floor to answer it before Emily and Asher have even realized the doorbell rang.

 

Beca opens the door, revealing a rather stressed looking Chloe opposed to the relaxed nature of how she usually is. Eliza smiles up at Beca, hugging the brunette in greeting before entering the house where Asher’s high-pitched shriek of Eliza’s name is heard. Reese is stubbornly trailing Chloe, a frown on her face that Beca immediately picks up on, kneeling down as far as her tight dress will let her as she reaches her hand out to Reese.

 

“Hi lovebug,” Beca coos earning a small tugging of a smile from Reese but it’s immediately replaced with her original frown.

 

Beca glances up to Chloe who is already shaking her head at the brunette. “Don’t, I swear this day has been a nightmare from start to finish.”

 

Chloe lets go of Reese’s hand and Reese runs into the house looking for her big sister as Beca stands up straight again before greeting Chloe with a kiss on the cheek.

 

“Do you have any wine?” Chloe asks as she shuts the front door.

 

“Yes.” Beca replies,

 

“I’ll explain everything over a glass before we leave.” Chloe is already heading into the kitchen before Beca can even agree, but something tells her not to annoy a stressed out Chloe.

 

Beca pours two glasses of wine and sets them on the breakfast bar as Chloe takes a seat on one of the stools and Beca slides onto the one next to her. Chloe toys with the glass for a minute, tapping her nails against the side before taking a large gulp and turning to Beca, closing her eyes for a second to breathe and Beca watches the way the creases in Chloe’s forehead start to fade and how relaxed her features become after a second.

 

“Deborah, the principal and my godforsaken nightmare told all the teachers about you and I had to make up a back story on how we met and now I have-” Chloe grabs Beca’s wrist and looks at her watch. “Forty something minutes to teach you the real story of how we met because I panicked and made up every detail instead of telling her the truth.” Chloe starts to explain, Beca hanging on every word as Chloe explains how they ‘met’, stories of their dates, at least Chloe remembered to include Asher in the back story.

 

Chloe taps her empty wine glass and prolongs actually leaving for the hotel for as long as possible, hugging the three children more times that is necessarily and performing an impromptu and frustrating interview for Emily who has to look back at Beca and use her eyes to ask for help until Beca can haul Chloe out of the house and shut the door before handing the redhead her coat. Chloe starts gnawing on her bottom lip,

 

“Why did I say we met in Barcelona?!” Chloe suddenly exclaims as she shrugs on her coat. “We met in a park, Beca!”

 

Beca knows she shouldn’t laugh especially not when Chloe glares at the brunette and reaches out to swat at Beca’s shoulder only intensifying Beca’s stifling of her laughter. “I’m sorry Chlo,” Beca chuckles reaching out and holding Chloe’s shoulders to stop her hopping from foot to foot in the driveway. “It’s going to fine, look I can remember everything. We met in Barcelona on vacation with the kids, our first date was a small seafood restaurant near the beach before the vacation ended, we thought it was funny that we both live in New Orleans, when we came home, we continued to date and get to know each other, I asked you to be my girlfriend at the movie theater when you were buying popcorn and we have been together for exactly three months.” Beca rifles off all the information Chloe told her before they left the house.

 

“Two months.” Chloe responds. “We’ve been together for two months.”

 

“You’re correcting me; we really are a couple after all.” Beca laughs loudly not even looking at Chloe but knowing the redhead is smiling also.

 

Chloe calms down long enough to stop digging her heels into the driveway and walk to her car, getting in and starting the engine before turning to Beca who gives her a reassuring smile before she pulls out and starts driving to the hotel, confident in her unusual choice to scheme paying off, or if it begins to crash and burn she’s glad she’s got Beca ‘I wing everything’ Mitchell beside her. They arrive at the hotel in one piece, Chloe handing her keys off to the valet before accepting Beca’s arm and laughing when Beca nudges her and winks before they enter.

 

Chloe takes two glasses of champagne before handing one to Beca and immediately taking a large gulp of the fizz.

 

“Hey, why did you call the principal your godforsaken nightmare?” Beca asks realizing that’s one part that Chloe didn’t elaborate on.

 

“Remember I told you I had a fiancée?” Chloe asks weaving in and out of tables with Beca following her.

 

“I do.” Beca answers.

 

“My ex-fiancée is her niece.” Chloe answers glancing over her shoulder before reaching her hand out to close Beca’s mouth from where it hangs open, “Don’t give me that look, Deborah became the principal after we broke up, I don’t go around dating my boss’ family members.”

 

“Just the parents of your students, right?” Beca teases wiggling her eyebrows.

 

“I am not afraid to slap you.” Chloe warns,

 

Beca smirks in response. “Huh, I didn’t have your kink down as being rough.”

 

Chloe blushes immediately, jaw dropping as she slaps Beca’s arm before sending a nervous smile to the table behind her who definitely overheard that aspect of their conversation. Beca just throws her head back and starts laughing as Chloe keeps her eyes stuck to the floor as she quickly escapes the group of tables.

 

“You’re an asshole.” Chloe hisses when Beca finally catches up to her.

 

“I don’t know Chlo… your face was the best thing I’ve seen in a while.” Beca teases, stepping closer to Chloe and wrapping her index finger around a loose curl in Chloe’s hair, leaning closer so that her lips were essentially hovering over Chloe’s. “What other kinks do you have?” Beca asks before leaning back and the frustrated groan that Chloe lets out has heads turning.

 

“Ask me on a date and I’ll show you.” Chloe shoots back, pressing her tongue to the roof of her mouth as she leaves Beca dumbfounded before going in search of her other colleagues.

 

Chloe manages to expertly avoid Beca for around twenty minutes, high-key amused as she sips her second glass of champagne whilst watching Beca get pinned by her colleagues as they ask about their relationship, maintaining her raised eyebrows as Beca expertly, confidently and most of all believably talks through the bullet points of her relationship with Chloe. Eventually Chloe gets bored and weaves her way through the crowds, joining Beca and slipping her hand effortlessly into the brunette’s, easily fitting into the current conversation with the third and first grade teachers.

 

“So, you both have kids, doesn’t that get a little chaotic?” Daniel asks, “We’re both stressed to the max with Jacob.” Daniel grimaces slightly before glancing down to the small but visible bump his wife is resting her hand on;

 

“It’s not so bad.” Chloe shrugs leaning further into Chloe.

 

“You would say that Chlo! Your children are angels.” Daniel huffs but there’s a smile on his face.

 

“I can’t argue with that.” Chloe chuckles. “Asher is great too, I love that little boy so much, he has really weaved his way into my heart.”

 

Beca knows Chloe isn’t pretending when she talks about Asher because Beca talks about Eliza and Reese in the same way.

 

Chloe expertly manages to avoid Deborah for the majority of her party but she knows she has no way of escaping when Deborah calls out her name and crosses the function room and Chloe’s grip on Beca’s hand starts to tighten.

 

“Don’t let go of my hand-” Chloe warns “-otherwise I might slap her.”

 

Beca resists the urge to make a bedroom-related joke about Chloe’s anger when the principal meets the pair and thanks Chloe for turning up, to which Chloe puts on the fakest of fake smiles in response and reiterates that it’s actually no problem. Deborah turns her attention to Beca, not-so-subtly looking the brunette up and down before extending her hand to Beca and Beca shakes it, releasing Chloe’s hand for a second.

 

“It’s lovely to meet you. I was surprised to hear Chloe was in a serious relationship so soon after breaking up with my darling Rose.” Deborah narrows her eyes, unsubtly glaring at Chloe who just purses her lips in response.

 

“I’m sure your darling Rose is doing just fine.” Beca responds before Chloe can warn her boss to not bring up her ex. “I know Chloe is.”

 

Chloe tilts her head to the side, eyes widening as she continues to look at Beca. Deborah splutters for a response, cursing herself before politely (if not slightly forcibly) excusing herself from the pair. Beca turns to find Chloe still looking at her. “I’m hungry, want to blow this place?”

 

“I could eat.” Chloe shrugs accepting Chloe’s hand.

 

They drive away from the hotel and stop and park the car in the parking lot of In-N-Out Burger. Chloe kills the engine but doesn’t make an effort to move and instead turns to Beca who is already glancing in Chloe’s direction, Chloe opens her mouth to speak but she can’t find the words she wants to say; she wants to thank Beca for sticking up her, she also wants to explain to Beca why she hasn’t told her a lot about Rose, she also wants to groan really loudly and rant about how much of a piece of work Deborah is but for the life of her, Chloe seems to have lost the ability to speak. Beca waits patiently, thinking about what she wants to say and waiting to see if Chloe will be the one to say anything to her. Neither of them say anything as they climb out of the car, Chloe locking her car before walking around to Beca’s side as they head up to the eatery, Beca holding the door open for her as they enter and walk to the counter – now well aware just how overdressed they look for In-N-Out Burger, and finally, the notion of Chloe’s tight-fitting, sea blue dress contrasting against the restaurant is all it takes for the redhead to start to laugh.

 

Beca relaxes when Chloe leans into her as they order their food; once they have it and they’re sitting in a booth, Chloe finally regains her voice and looks over to Beca as she holds a fry in her right hand.

 

“She said she couldn’t handle Eliza and Reese…” Chloe trails off,

 

Beca glances up from her burger, sucking in a sharp breath when she realizes just who Chloe is referring to.

 

“She felt like she was living a lie, she wanted adventure with me, spontaneous vacations, nights to do what we wanted she didn’t want to marry me and play suburban step-mom. How was I supposed to stop her from leaving? I was never going to choose her over my girls.” Chloe shrugs as she pops the fry into her mouth. “I think I just put too much expectation into finding a fairytale ending after splitting with their dad.”

 

“Do the girls still see their dad?” Beca asks, ignoring the part about Chloe’s ex-fiancée for the moment.

 

“Not as much as they used to.” Chloe states with an eye roll. “He moved to San Francisco six months ago and barely comes back.”

 

“Do they miss him?” Beca pushes, stealing one of Chloe’s fries.

 

“Eliza doesn’t talk about him so much, but I think she does miss him and Reese cries for him sometimes.” Chloe sighs, “I know I can’t force him to come home and see the girls but I also want to fly to San Francisco and scream in his face that he has daughters, you know?”

 

“I’d pay to see that sight.” Beca chuckles as an attempt to lighten the mood that’s received by Chloe scrunching up her burger wrapper and throwing it, hitting Beca square in the face. “Why did your ex wait until you were engaged before she told you she didn’t want the package deal?” Beca asks, watching as Chloe nervously playing with her bracelet; something Beca has now confirmed to be what Chloe does when she’s nervous.

 

“She didn’t have a voice; she went along with whatever I want and didn’t voice her opinions so she didn’t tell me she wasn’t a fan of playing stepmom so I just assumed she was. In the end I think I’m glad we didn’t work out because it was getting – boring – being with someone who didn’t challenge me, not that I didn’t love her because I did, the girls did but I think us breaking us was for the best. I just, when she eventually told me she said it in such a manner that I was so angry at her for stringing the three of us along for so long, making us think that she loved us.”

 

Beca reaches across and pries Chloe’s fingers from her bracelet before she snaps the chain.

 

“I think she sounds like a dick.” Beca comments when there’s a lull in the conversation.

 

Chloe snorts, “how eloquent.” Chloe turns her hand allowing Beca to hold it properly. “You never told me what happened with your ex? The soccer game?”

 

Beca nods. “There’s not much I can say; she was Asher’s second grade teacher and she always promised that she would treat Asher like a normal student which I guess was my main reservation but she made an inappropriate joke about our sex life that would result in Asher going straight to the top of the class which caused so much uproar in school and I was – humiliated Chloe!” Beca exclaims. “I couldn’t believe she had said that to so many people I knew, I had parents that I was friends with who turned on me because she made a joke out it. The worst part is, the backlash hit Paige hard and it hit our relationship even worse; she upped and left one night and I realized her disappearance was her way of breaking up with me, but it wasn’t that, it was the fact that Asher didn’t know why she had gone and he blamed himself for it. I couldn’t fix that for him, he was upset for so long. I felt like I failed as a parent until Jesse snapped me out of it.”

 

Chloe squeezes Beca’s hand in a silent effort to comfort the brunette. “Paige sounds like a bitch.”

 

Beca starts to laugh, shaking her head at Chloe.

 

 

XxX

 

 

The next day is Friday, which means it’s Beca’s turn to host their Friday night dinner after the last time when Asher was sick so it means Asher is spending the afternoon after school sitting on the couch ‘doing his homework’ when in reality he’s just watching The Avengers again and ignoring his math book sitting unopened on his knee as Beca rushes around the kitchen, mixing, putting chicken in the oven, cooking pasta and tasting the sauce that’s in the pan. Beca is busy tying her hair up when she hears footsteps enter the kitchen so as Beca glances over her shoulder; Asher is sitting at the breakfast bar and smiling at his mother.

 

“Finished your homework?” Beca asks turning around to face him.

 

“I haven’t started it.” Asher replies and Beca admires her kid’s honesty. “Ma, you know Chloe?” He asks, crossing his arms and leaning forward.

 

“I know Chloe, met her once and twice.” Beca teases earning an eye roll from Asher. “What about Chloe?”

 

“I like that she makes you happy. Uncle Jesse says he’s glad you found her and me too because if you didn’t then I wouldn’t have Eliza or Reese or a family.” Asher explains, turning shy at the end.

 

“A family? You have a family Ash-Attack.” Beca reminds him.

 

“Now I have a bigger one and it makes me happy.” Asher beams and Beca is not about to let the motherhood softness take over again, ok, so maybe she is.

 

Beca rounds the breakfast bar before wrapping her arms around Asher tightly, stroking her hand through his hair before dipping her head and leaving a kiss atop of her son’s head.

 

“Ma, ma, ma, ma, ma” Asher repeats through his laughter. “Get off!” He exclaims before bursting out in louder giggles when Beca starts to tickle him.

 

“I love you baby.” Beca mumbles before kissing Asher’s forehead and letting him wriggle out of her grip.

 

“You’re ok.” Asher grins earning an eye roll from Beca. “Ma, you’re the best ma in the world.”

 

“There’s my little suck-up, just go and watch Captain America.” Beca shoos him back towards the living room.

 

“I’m watching Iron Man, ma.” Asher corrects.

 

“What’s the difference?” Beca asks, knowing it’ll bring a rise out of the seven year old.

 

“If you didn’t buy me cookies I would move out.” Asher grumbles, deadly serious.

 

 

Jesse, Benji and Amy arrive at 6:30PM after Beca gave them strict instructions to arrive before Chloe and she stands her three best friends in the kitchen and glares at them.

 

“I want this night to not be a disaster so if any of you start bringing up embarrassing stories or stuff that’s going to turn Chloe off me I will kick your asses into the middle of next year, got it?” Beca asks, although her friends know it isn’t a question.

 

“Hey-” Amy interjects “- we just want Chloe to know what she’s getting with you, it’s not our fault you’re embarrassing.”

 

“I’m going to kick your ass.” Beca warns earning a loud laugh from Amy. “Just chill with the college stories.”

 

 

Chloe, Eliza and Reese arrive at 7PM sharp and Eliza instantly abandons the adults for Asher whilst Reese becomes infatuated with Benji leaving Amy and Jesse to spy on Chloe and Beca who are in the kitchen. Chloe and Beca are talking over glasses of wine whilst Beca finishes up cooking dinner.

 

“Ten bucks says she literally kicks your ass if you tell that story.” Jesse mumbles to Amy who holds her fist out for Jesse to bump it.

 

“I’m telling it-” Amy wiggles her eyebrows before entering the kitchen “-you are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen!” Amy sings loudly causing Chloe to jump and for Beca to drop her head.

 

“Don’t. Don’t do this to me.” Beca mumbles, crossing her fingers and praying that Amy stops singing ABBA.

 

“Has Beca ever told you about the time she was in an ABBA tribute band?” Amy asks and Beca can practically hear the smirk in the blonde’s voice.

 

Chloe turns to look at Beca who expertly avoids Chloe’s eyes but can’t hide the blush on her cheeks.

 

“She kept it a secret from us by saying she was a waitress so we went down to her restaurant to surprise her, turns out, she was a waitress but her job specification had some missing details.” Amy laughs, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Beca paler, right in the middle of Dancing Queen she screams out ‘fuck you guys’ and runs off stage.”

 

Chloe’s laughing which only intensifies Beca’s blush as the brunette threatens to kill both Amy and Jesse who are struggling to stop laughing.

 

 

Dinner goes without a hitch, sure, the three of; Amy, Benji and Jesse take it in turns to see who can embarrass Beca the most but the stories are clean and Chloe is struggling to hide her laughter despite Beca’s pleads – even Asher and Eliza are laughing at Beca’s embarrassment despite not understanding the majority of the stories.

 

Beca cleans the dining table and piles the dishes by the sink ready to put in the dishwasher when Chloe joins her side adding another glass to the counter. “I like your friends, I might have judged them a bit too early…” Chloe trails off scratching the back of her neck.

 

“I wouldn’t blame you. The first time was – bad.” Beca presses her lips into a thin line. “It makes me happy you know, that you like them and they like you?”

 

Beca expects Chloe to agree with her but instead Chloe steps forward, wrapping her hand around the back of Beca’s neck and surging forward, their lips meshing together effortlessly. Chloe kisses Beca and the world fell away. It was slow and soft, comforting in ways that words would never be. Chloe’s other hand rests below Beca’s ear, Beca’s thumb caressing Chloe’s cheek as their breaths mingled. Pulling back, Chloe just smiles and absentmindedly starts to fill the dishwasher.

 

“What? Why?” Are the only two questions Beca can utter,

 

“Because I wanted to, Bec.” Chloe grins, as though it was the most obvious reason in the world.

Chapter Text

Beca sleepily trudges down the stairs on Saturday morning, yawning and rubbing sleep out of her eye as she enters the kitchen; surprised to find Asher already up and doing his homework; a pencil in his right hand and his tongue poking out of the side of his mouth as he furrowed his eyebrows at a particular problem. Beca stopped and waited to see if Asher would notice her but when he didn’t; Beca just continued to venture into the kitchen and make some coffee for herself, figuring Asher was too deep in concentration and shouldn’t be disturbed. Beca stretches her arms behind her as she pours herself a mug of coffee and takes it to the kitchen table, sitting down and leaning back into her chair. She pulls the magazine from the edge of the table towards her and opens it; flicking through the first few pages and taking a sip of coffee;

 

“You should date Miss Beale so I can get an A.” Asher breaks the morning silence leading Beca to spit out a mouthful of coffee all over the breakfast table and earning a raised eyebrow from the seven year old opposite her.

 

“I’m sorry?!” Beca splutters, jumping to her feet, rushing to the sink and grabbing a cloth to clean up the spilt coffee.

 

You should date Miss Beale so I can get an A.” Asher repeats, slower this time and Beca resists the urge to roll her eyes at the smirk threatening to form on Asher’s lips.

 

“You can call her Chloe, you know?” Beca ignores the proposition for a second as she turns and throws the damp cloth in the direction of the basin; pumping her fist when it lands in it.

 

“I like Chloe but Miss Beale keeps giving me bad scores in math.” Asher explains as though it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “If you dated Miss Beale then you would make her happy and she would go easier on me.”

 

“I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works, kid.” Beca chuckles as she sits back down at the table.

 

“That’s what Aunt Amy said – she said it’s like – doing me a favor!” Asher bursts out snapping his finger as Beca’s eyes grow wide, thankful she didn’t have a mouthful of coffee this time. “Why do you have bug eyes?” Asher asks,

 

“Do your homework.” Beca points towards the exercise book before leaning over to ruffle Asher’s hair.

 

 

“Asher!” Beca laughs loudly when she enters the living room and spots her son standing in front of the large window, face pressed up against the glass as he stares. “Step away from the glass or I’m going to eat the cookies.”

 

Asher immediately turns around, his eyes lighting up when he spies his mother holding a plate of cookies and a glass of juice. Asher glances over his shoulder to take one more look at the driveway before sliding across the living room floor in a pair of dinosaur socks and accepting the plate and glass from his mother before taking them to the table and sitting on the floor before beginning to eat. Beca is in the process of emptying the dishwasher when the doorbell rings and Asher (with a mouthful of cookie) screams out and jumps over the sofa to run into the hallway and to the front door. Beca quickly dries her hands on the back of her jeans before venturing out into the hallway the moment Asher pulls open the front door revealing.

 

“Grandma!” Asher shouts excitedly leaping into her arms. “I missed you so much!” Asher exclaims burrowing his face into the winter coat the older woman is wearing.

 

Lori laughs and cuddles Asher tightly before dropping the seven year old back down to his feet but still, Asher stays latched onto his grandma. Beca pushes herself off the doorframe and walks towards the front door to hug her mom. Asher looks up at the two women through his eyelashes and smiles.

 

“Grandma, you’re not allowed to go away for a year again.” Asher informs Lori who answers back with a pinky swear that Asher taught her.

 

Lori gives Asher a present, which turns out to be a collection of Pokémon DVDs that he doesn’t own thanks to a late night phone call with Beca as she searched through the cupboards and informed her mom of which Pokémon DVDs he actually owned. Asher immediately asks for one to be put in and played which gives the mother and daughter an opportunity to sit in the kitchen and talk. Beca had always been closer to her mom growing up, well, it’s not like she had much competition; her relationship with her dad became strained the minute her dad left the family for the younger secretary at his work and even seventeen years on; Beca still finds it hard to completely forgive her dad for just walking out. Beca makes coffee, turning her head to look into the living room, she spies Asher sitting on the edge of the couch, leaning forward to stare at the TV with a wide grin on his face.

 

“He really has grown up.” Lori comments when Beca brings two cups of coffee over to the counter and hands one to her mom.

 

“It feels like yesterday he was just starting school and now he’s flourishing in second grade.” Beca smiles as she sits down on the stool beside her mom. “Why’d you leave me?” Beca asks, cocking her left eyebrow in curiosity.

 

Lori (nearly) chokes on the coffee she’s sipping before turning to look at her only daughter. “I had to Bec; you know I couldn’t be in that house after I broke up with your stepdad.”

 

“I know that, but you left for an entire year. You said you just needed six or seven weeks to find who you were again, but you left the country for a year without so much as a phone call for the first three months. I was worried, Asher was scared you died!” Beca exclaims before immediately shutting up, pressing her lips into a thin line as her hands curl around the coffee mug.

 

“I should have called, I know that. I’m sorry but I know you never kept your promise either.” Lori points out, giving her daughter an incredulous look.

 

Beca shrinks under her mother’s gaze and acts innocent. “I have no idea what promise you’re talking about.”

 

“Beca…” Lori trails off, earning an exasperated sigh from Beca in response. “I thought I told you to start to mend your relationship with your dad whilst I was gone?” Lori pushes as Beca rolls her eyes.

 

“I have no interest in ever making up with him.” Beca shoots back, harsher than she intended.

 

Lori sympathizes, resting a hand on Beca’s shoulder she turns her daughter so that Beca is facing her. “I know what he did hurt us-”

 

Beca scoffs-

 

“-But he’s still your dad and one day you might regret not taking the chance to make up with him whilst you can.” Lori continues,

 

“What’s that supposed to mean? Is he sick?” Beca asks, feeling a burn of panic rising in her chest.

 

“No.” Lori immediately reassures. “I’m just saying that life is unpredictable and it can be taken away in an instant and I don’t want you to keep up this feud or ill-feeling towards him for the rest of your life. Also, don’t you think Asher deserves to get to know his Grandpa? After all, I see more and more of your dad in Asher every time I see him.”

 

Beca turns her head back to the living room and lets a small smile rest on her lips as she watches Asher; he’s no longer sitting on the edge of his seat but leaning back in the sofa crease, still intensely focused on the TV but he’s contented and it (almost) reminds Beca of when she was really young and her dad would sit in a similar position as he rewatched Star Wars. Maybe her mom was right, and really, she shouldn’t be so surprised.

 

 

Lori offers to take her family out for lunch and caves immediately when Asher asks to go the playground first, holding his Grandma’s hand as the three cross the road; Asher looks up to his Grandma, a cunning smile on his face.

 

“Hey Grandma, ma likes a girl.” Asher informs, a smirk making its way onto his lips as Beca stares in horror at her demon-child. “She’s called Chloe and she’s my teacher.”

 

“Again?!” Lori exclaims spinning to face her daughter who’s giving her mom a sheepish smile whilst glaring at her son.

 

“We’re not dating!” Beca splutters, “She’s just a friend.”

 

“That she likes.” Asher chimes in.

 

“Demon.” Beca mumbles sticking her tongue out at Asher who responds with a high-pitched. “Satan!”

 

 

Asher immediately runs to the swings and Lori finally gets a chance to turn to Beca with waiting eyes leading Beca to sigh and nod.

 

“Yes, she’s Asher’s teacher.” Beca admits “- but we’re just friends, we just spend a lot of time together because Asher and her daughter Eliza are best friends. Chloe also has a two year old, Reese, she’s the sweetest little girl I’ve ever met and I think she really loves me, she’s my lovebug, you know? Also, Chloe is really hot.” Beca rambles but stops when she catches the amused smirk on her mom’s face.

 

“Look me in the eye and tell me you and Chloe aren’t just friends.” Lori insists and Beca purses her lips for a second before scowling.

 

“Not fair.” Beca mutters, crossing her arms like a petulant child.

 

“So when can I meet just-my-friend-Chloe?” Lori asks nudging Beca in the ribs after the park as Asher runs ahead, trying to find the taco place that Beca never lets him go in, Grandma is easier to sway, much to Beca’s dismay.

 

There’s nothing even wrong with the taco place, it’s just Beca has never been able to finish a plate of tacos from there.

 

“Ugh – mama – no – move – carry – sleep.” Asher mumbles out a bunch of incoherent words, throwing an arm over his stomach as he stares at the empty plate on the table in front of him. He closes his eyes and exhales heavily much to his mother and Grandma’s amusement.

 

“You doing ok there, buddy?” Beca asks highly amused by her boy’s antics.

 

“Too. Many. Tacos.” Asher shoots back, punctuating every word. “Ma, why did you bring me here?” Asher asks,

 

Beca splutters. “Excuse me? You begged to come in here Ash-Attack.”

 

“You’re my mama you’re supposed to say no.” Asher shoots back, raising his eyebrows.

 

“There is no doubt he’s your son.” Lori laughs.

 

 

Beca is in the laundry room trying to find a spare lot of bed sheets for the spare bedroom whilst Lori and Asher sit in the living room, playing with Asher’s prestigious collection of Pokémon trading cards when the doorbell rings causing both Lori and Asher to snap her heads towards the front door.

 

“CAN SOMEBODY GET THAT?!” Beca shouts through the house, Asher has barely clambered to his feet before Beca shouts again. “NOT YOU, ASH!”

 

Lori chuckles at the frown on her grandson’s face before standing up and walking through the house to the door and pulling it open; revealing a redhead and two girls, one of which similar to Asher’s age and that’s when Lori catches on to who it is.

 

“You must be Chloe.” Lori breaks the silence first; Chloe’s eyes widen. “I’m Lori, Beca’s mom; it’s nice to meet you.” Lori continues before sticking her hand out for Chloe to shake. “Hello you two, Asher’s in there; Ash, come and see your friends!” Lori calls out and seconds later, Asher is by her side, pulling Reese and Eliza into the house. “Let’s talk, Chloe.”

 

Chloe is frozen to the spot, frantically searching the house for Beca and wondering just what’s about to happen.

 

“I don’t bite, my jacket might though.” Lori jokes (ignoring) the look of confusion on Chloe’s face as she gestures for the teacher to enter the house,

 

Lori makes them both coffee and they sit at the kitchen table; Chloe’s hands wringing around the mug as Lori glances in the redhead’s direction. “What are your intentions with my daughter?” Lori asks out of the blue, the same moment that Chloe brings the coffee cup to her lips.

 

Chloe lets out a strangled squeak as she lowers the cup; dipping her head to avoid Lori’s eyes and feeling her heart rate accelerate to levels she didn’t think it was able to reach.

 

“Your intentions?” Lori repeats leading Chloe to nod and tighten her grip on the mug.

 

“We’re just friends.” Chloe reiterates Beca’s earlier words. “Our kids are really close so we’re close, that’s all I can say.” Chloe hopes Lori lets the subject drop.

 

“You two have kissed; haven’t you?” It sounds like a question, which Chloe also knows could result in being trapped.

 

“She told you?!” Chloe exclaims eliciting a small laugh from the older woman.

 

“No she never, but you just did.” Lori grins causing Chloe to sigh deeply and mutter something incoherent under her breath.

 

There’s footsteps approaching the kitchen before they halt and a familiar voice utters “oh god.”

 

Chloe and Lori turn to the kitchen door where Beca is standing holding bed sheets, staring with her mouth agape. Beca takes a second before she’s smiling sheepishly and entering the kitchen, dropping the linen onto the table before turning to Chloe. “I meant to call – my mom’s in town.”

 

“No shit, Bec.” Chloe chuckles leaning back in her chair with a smirk on her face.

 

“Chloe and I were just getting to talking, you’re right sweetie; she is an attractive girl; good job.” Lori teases causing Beca to blush bright red as she avoids Chloe’s eyes. “Have you two been on a date yet?”

 

“Not a real one.” Chloe mumbles turning shy.

 

“Benji’s birthday was real – never mind, Benji’s birthday was a disaster. Chloe forced me to be her date for her boss’ birthday the other day.” Beca explains; teasing Chloe in the process.

 

“That’s settled then!” Lori exclaims, “I will babysit your children and you two are going on a date, go, goodbye.” Lori stands up and grabs both Chloe and Beca by the forearm pulling them towards the living room. “Kids; say goodbye to your moms; they’re going out.”

 

“You got them to go on a date?!” Asher asks excitedly.

 

“Never underestimate me, Ash-Attack.” Lori grins holding her hand out for a high-five before Asher fist bumps Eliza.

 

“This was their idea?!” Chloe and Beca burst out in unison; eyeing the older kids who hold their arms up in surrender.

 

“Come on ma, it’s not like you were going to do it.” Asher sighs exasperatedly quickly followed by Chloe turning to face Beca.

 

“Ash has a point.” Chloe agrees much to Beca’s dismay that her (hopefully, soon-to-be girlfriend) is siding with her son. “Come and give me a hug you three.” Chloe kneels down and braces herself for the impact of all three kids at once.

 

The kids swap and hug Beca before Lori is ushering them out of the front door and shoving Beca’s coat into her arms with a smile and a wave. “Have fun!” The older woman whistles after them.

 

Beca and Chloe stand on the driveway for a second just staring at each other before Chloe starts to laugh, immediately covering her face with her hands as she takes in Beca’s quizzical look. Chloe leans forward placing her hands on Beca’s arm, her wide smile sticking. “Our kids and your mom just played matchmaker, Bec.”

 

That’s all it takes for Beca to join Chloe in laughing at the absurdity of what just happened.

 

“Where are you taking me on a date, Miss Beale?” Beca asks holding her hand out for Chloe to take as they walk down the driveway, but only because with all the shoving out of the house; Beca forgot to swipe her car keys up and Chloe face palms when she realizes Reese still has hers.

 

It’s the lack of having their car keys that gives Chloe an idea of a date idea not far away from Beca’s house. “How good are you on roller coasters?” Chloe asks with a smirk tugging at the corners of her lips. 

 

Beca raises her eyebrows before wiggling them. “You’ll find out.”

 

 

XxX

 

 

Which is how twenty minutes later; Chloe is holding two tickets in her hand and walking towards Beca whilst waving them in the brunette’s direction. The annual winter fair was due to close in a week’s time which gave Chloe the best idea to drag Beca around, ride the rides and spend too much money on carnival games just to win a stuffed bear. Beca swipes the tickets from Chloe’s hands and slips them into her coat pocket earning a strangled whine from Chloe,

 

“You lose things.” Is Beca’s explanation to which Chloe scoffs at,

 

“I don’t lose things!” Chloe exclaims in a mock-huff, earning a raised eyebrow from Beca as they walk towards the entrance.

 

“What about the time you lost Reese in the mall?” Beca brings it up and Chloe blushes bright red,

 

“I never lost Re- who told you that?” Chloe asks, narrowing her eyes and digging Beca playfully in the ribs as they enter the fair.

 

“Eliza.” Beca grins triumphantly. “That kid would tell me your deepest secrets for pizza.”

 

“You suck, so much.” Chloe mutters, shaking her head fondly.

 

Beca leans in closer, “You’d like that, huh?” And Chloe can practically hear the smirk in Beca’s voice.

 

 

They ride the rollercoaster first and as it turns out; despite her radiating confidence in the line leading up to the ride; Beca Mitchell is terrified of roller coasters. The entire time – which was made worse by being in the front – Beca had a death grip on Chloe’s arm, eyes screwed shut and continued to mutter that they were going to die until she felt the ride come to a stop, thinking it was over; Beca opened her eyes just as the rollercoaster dropped a mere fifty feet which Chloe couldn’t stop laughing at and continued to tease her about for the next twenty minutes as Beca huffed, ignored her and flipped Chloe off whilst she was trying really hard to knock down the coconuts for the stuffed monkey that Beca knew Reese would love.

 

“Bec, I’m hungry.” Chloe whines kicking out with her right foot and catching the back of Beca’s knee just as she threw her second ball, which completely knocks the brunette off as the ball goes absolutely nowhere near the coconuts.

 

“Chloe!”

 

“I told you I was hungry.” Chloe smirks, amused by the pout forming on Beca’s lips. “Let’s go, love.” Chloe reaches for Beca’s hand and pulls the reluctant brunette away from the game and towards the food stalls instead.

 

“You’re barbaric.” Chloe comments when Beca pours both ketchup and mustard onto her hot dog. “One or the other; you don’t put both on it.”

 

“What kind of human being only puts one on it?” Beca asks, outraged at Chloe’s words as the pair sit down at an empty table. “You’re one to talk anyway, you have – gross – olives on a pizza.” Beca visibly shudders as she picks off the one of the pieces of black olives on the slice of pizza.

 

“Olives are healthy-” Chloe argues as she points to Beca’s hot dog. “- that’s just gross.”

 

Halfway through her pizza; Chloe begins to frown which Beca takes as an excuse to revisit their olive conversation. “Finally realizing I’m right about olives?”

 

“I miss our kids.” Chloe mumbles.

 

Beca just laughs and agrees. “I miss those munchkins like crazy, but hey, I know what we can do that we can’t when they’re around.” Beca’s eyes darken as Chloe realizes just what she means.

 

“We’re in public.” Chloe deadpans, cocking her left eyebrow at Beca.

 

“There’s always the bathroom?” Beca suggests and Chloe can’t tell if she’s being serious or not.

 

Chloe glances sideways and her jaw drops at the table beside them consisting of two scowling parents and children that can’t be any older than Asher and Eliza.

 

“Beca!” Chloe exclaims before covering her face with her hands to hide the blush. “I really, really hate you.”

 

Beca waves sheepishly to the family before bursting out laughing at Chloe’s embarrassment before managing to pry one hand from Chloe’s face and intertwine their fingers as Beca pulls Chloe up from the table and leads her away from the still staring family. “Let’s go somewhere private.” Beca tugs Chloe closer and in front of her so that she can wrap her arms around the redhead’s waist.

 

“You better not be taking me to a bathroom.” Chloe warns earning a soft ‘damn it’ in response.

 

Beca doesn’t tell Chloe where they are heading towards but it doesn’t take long for Chloe to realize that Beca is in fact leading them towards the Ferris Wheel and when she does realize it; Chloe digs her heels into the muddy grass underneath her feet, coming to an abrupt halt jerking Beca to a stop in front. The color begins to drain from Chloe’s face as Beca turns around. Chloe is staring past Beca’s head and at the contraption of death merely ten meters in front of her,

 

“The – Ferris Wheel, yeah?” Chloe asks trying to convey confidence in her voice but she just sounds terrified.

 

“Don’t tell me; you’re scared of heights?” Beca guesses even though it wasn’t already so obvious.

 

Chloe scoffs and rolls her eyes. “I’m not scared of heights. I just think it’s better when we’re ground level.”

 

Beca approaches Chloe and takes the redhead’s hand, rubbing her thumb over Chloe’s knuckles and she smiles softly at Chloe. “I’ll protect you.”

 

“Damn it.” Chloe huffs. “I thought you were going to say we can go on something else.”

 

“Listen babe, you made me go on a rollercoaster so this is payback.” Beca wiggles her eyebrows causing Chloe to roll her eyes again but let’s herself be dragged towards the line for the Ferris Wheel.

 

They’re ushered into a carriage and Chloe immediately grips the bar, holding it until her knuckles turn white from the death grip, she has her eyes closed and Beca can’t help but feel bad for dragging Chloe onto it, if only for a second when she slides closer to Chloe and wraps her arm around the redhead’s shoulders. She feels Chloe immediately tense up before Beca reassures her that it’s just the both of them.

 

“Tell me something – distract me.” Chloe urges, cracking open one eye to meet Beca’s waiting eyes.

 

Beca opens her mouth before closing it and thinking. “My mom found out she was going to be a Grandma when I was in labor.” Beca shrugs,

 

Chloe opens her eyes fully at that. “She what?”

 

“I was embarrassed. I was a senior in college and hooked up with a frat boy at a college party; I was embarrassed to tell my mom because first of all; I came out to her as gay when I was fifteen and second, her grandchild was born out of a one night stand.” Beca explains. “I had Jesse, Amy and Benji through everything leading up to his birth but when I was in labor I was crying for my mom so Jesse called her and told her everything – I’m telling you, she wanted to kill me for a solid five seconds.” Beca laughs.

 

“She wasn’t mad?” Chloe asks, forgetting that they were on the ride which Beca counts as a result.

 

“She was disappointed I kept it from her and she wasn’t overly pleased with how it happened but she wasn’t mad at me and she loves Ash, so much.” Beca shrugs, playing with Chloe’s fingers.

 

“What about your dad, how did he react?” Chloe asks turning her hand so Beca can hold it properly.

 

Beca laughs sadly. “He doesn’t actually know about Asher, I never told him. I haven’t talked to him since I was thirteen.”

 

“Beca…” Chloe trails off not knowing what else she can say.

 

“It sucks but my mom and I did just fine, I don’t need him, we don’t need him, Asher has enough family members to love him.” Beca tries to end the conversation; starting to regret even bringing it up.

 

Chloe does the only thing she can think of that will bring a smile back to Beca’s face and surges forward, kissing her softly as the Wheel comes to a halt at the top. Chloe leans back with a bright smile on her face, “I think you’re doing wonderfully without him.” Chloe says softly before turning and squealing when she realizes they made it to the top without crashing to their untimely deaths.

 

Beca snaps a photo of Chloe thinking the redhead hasn’t realized but she has and it just widens her smile when Chloe hears the soft click of Beca’s phone.

 

 

After the Ferris Wheel reaches the ground again; Chloe stumbles out, falling to her knees and praising the ground for existing which is the exact moment that the realization dawns on Beca; Chloe is the only one she wants to date, and boy; that thought alone should be enough to send her running for the hills but she doesn’t, for the only other time in her life apart from finding out she was pregnant with Asher; Beca wants something more than she could ever put into words.

 

Then it starts to rain.

 

Chloe instantly jumps to her feet and turns around; the rain soaking through her curls and coat immediately; Beca hasn’t moved until she does and she’s moving towards Chloe and grabbing the teacher by the waist.

 

“My mom did me one hell of a favor.” Beca laughs gratefully before kissing Chloe as the rain continues to beat down over the pair of them.

 

Chloe’s hand moves up to rest at the back of Beca’s neck as Chloe gently nips at Beca’s bottom lip. “Can we go and see our kids now?”

 

“Way to ruin the moment.” Beca mutters overdramatically.

 

“If you’re lucky, maybe the kids can have a sleepover.” Chloe proposes which has Beca practically on her knees in the soggy grass.

Chapter Text

The kids don’t need much convincing to have a sleepover, in fact; Asher and Eliza jump onto the couch, grab the remote and start making plans to stay up all night to watch Pokémon, eat popcorn and prank call Jesse; Beca high-fives the kids congratulating them on coming up with a good plan for the night whilst Chloe glares at Beca from behind; drawing the line after an all-nighter and so much popcorn that they would puke – the idea of prank calling Jesse still stands, after all; that one may have been Beca’s idea.

 

Lori disappears into the guest room a short while after dinner whilst Asher and Eliza scarf down their dinner like animals before leaving the table and running up to Asher’s room to play with the toys; Reese banging her hands on the table and asking Beca to let her down so that she can follow. Beca is filling up the dishwasher when Chloe sneaks up behind her, digging her fingers into Beca’s side causing the bowl that Beca’s holding to fly up into the air and (luckily) land back in Beca’s shaking hands as she hears Chloe’s laughter from behind before the redhead drops her head to rest against Beca’s back in-between her shoulder blades.

 

“It’s not nice to sneak up on people.” Beca murmurs placing the bowl she’s holding back down onto the counter before turning in Chloe’s arms and facing her.

 

“It is funny though.” Chloe counters leading Beca to roll her eyes.

 

“You know, you’re killing the mood babe…” Beca trails off, raising her left eyebrow suggestively and Chloe straightens up.

 

“Oh, so there is a mood here?” Chloe challenges cocking her eyebrows before suggestively tugging her bottom lip between her teeth.

 

Beca leans forward so that her forehead is resting against Chloe’s, her lips hovering ever so slightly over Chloe’s lips as she utters her next words. “You can bet there’s a damn mood.”

 

Chloe’s the one to close the gap, kissing Beca deeply as Chloe digs her fingernails into Beca’s side causing the brunette to gasp giving Chloe a chance to slip her tongue into Beca’s mouth, then they hear it.

 

“TONSIL HOCKEY!” Asher shouts from the doorway of the kitchen.

 

“Twat-blocked by my own son.” Beca mutters when Chloe pulls away but not before kissing her again quickly and turning around, turning her attention to the seven year old.

 

“What’s up, kid?” Beca asks as she leans over Chloe’s shoulder to get a better look of her demon – child.

 

“Can Eliza and I watch a movie downstairs?” Asher asks, batting his eyelashes for extra effect.

 

“Of course you can, Ash.” Chloe answers before Beca leading Asher to fist pump and run up the stairs shouting to Eliza that they agreed.

 

“Why did I have a kid again?” Beca asks, grumbling even more when Chloe steps out of Beca’s hold and turns around to face her. “Where are you going?” Beca asks when Chloe starts heading towards the stairs,

 

“To put Reese to bed, you coming?”

 

“Is that-” Beca starts but Chloe cuts her off. “No Beca!” She exclaims before laughing. “It’s not a euphemism.”

 

Beca shrugs but runs up the stairs, beating Chloe to the spare bedroom at the end of the hall where Reese is sitting on top of the double bed playing with her stuffed monkey whilst Eliza is in the corner of the room, pulling her pajamas out of her bag. Reese is the one to notice the adults first and she beams brightly when she sees Beca; calling out the brunette’s name and holding her arms out. Beca dives onto the bed, scooping Reese into her arms and cuddling the toddler close to her causing loud giggles to resonate through the room as Reese wraps her small arms around Beca’s neck.

 

“Really?” Chloe asks, pressing her tongue to the roof of her mouth. “You’re getting her excited just when I’m putting her to bed?”

 

Beca and Reese exchange similar sheepish facial expressions before leaning closer so their foreheads are touching whilst they still smile. Beca wordlessly stops messing around as Chloe sits on the bed and reaches forward to grab the hairbrush that’s fallen onto the floor. Chloe starts brushing through Reese’s hair as Beca walks to the duffle bag in the corner of the room and grabs a story book from it; she sits back down on the bed and begins to read the book to Reese as Chloe finishes brushing through her hair; Reese starts to slump against her mom’s thigh, sleep beginning to take over her. It takes another page of reading from Beca for Reese to finally succumb to sleep.

 

“Asher never let me read to him when he was younger; he always wanted to watch Pokémon before bed instead.” Beca confesses as she closes over the book and Chloe lifts Reese up ready to put her into bed.

 

“You’re a soft touch.” Chloe comments fondly as she pulls the covers up to Reese’s chin.

 

Beca doesn’t argue, but she does scoff in response. She kisses Reese’s forehead before following Chloe out of the room ready to argue that she’s nothing like a soft touch when she hears hushed whispers coming from Asher’s room followed by loud giggles. Chloe looks back to Beca who is already nodding so the pair walk up to Asher’s room and stand by the door silently; the kids’ laughter has ceased and they’re whispering to each other again when Chloe cuts them off,

 

“What are you two plotting?” Chloe asks and the question catches Asher by surprise so much that he screams in response, diving backwards and burying his face in his pillow. Chloe glances sideways to Beca. “He’s your son, all right.” Chloe teases (fondly, she really loves Asher).

 

“Nothing, mom. We’re just talking.” Eliza explains although Chloe knows she’s instantly lying when she realizes Eliza is avoiding her eyes.

 

“You two are up to something and if something explodes – good luck.” Chloe warns, using her best ‘mom voice’ whilst pointing to the pair of seven year olds.

 

“Your mom voice is hot.” Beca whispers leaning into Chloe’s side and nipping at her earlobe.

 

“I thought you two were watching a movie, anyway?” Chloe asks, pushing Beca away.

 

“We found something better to do!” Asher exclaims with a wink.

 

 

XxX

 

 

“Grandma, do you have to go?” Asher pouts as he sits on Lori’s suitcase in the guest room, but not to close it, in fact, he’s sitting on it so Lori can’t pack any more clothes into it. “You just got here.”

 

“I’ve been here a week, buddy. I have to go back to my house.” Lori explains to her frowning grandson.

 

“It’s not fair; we have loads of rooms; why can’t you just live here?” Asher asks, his eyes brightening at the idea.

 

Lori leans back and looks out of the bedroom to find Beca nowhere in sight so she leans back forward and takes a seat on the bed patting the empty spot beside her. Asher takes the hint and clambers off the suitcase and sits down beside his Grandma. “Can I tell you a secret, Ash?”

 

“Ma says we’re not allowed to keep secrets; so duh, tell me.” Asher grins earning a laugh from Lori.

 

“Do you remember George, the man who lived next door to me when you and your mama would come and visit me; he had a grandson called Grant who you used to be friends with?” Lori raises her eyebrows as Asher racks his brain.

 

“I liked Grant.” Asher comments when he remembers.

 

“I like George.” Lori chuckles and in all honesty, she doesn’t expect Asher to understand what she means but he does and he starts bouncing on the bed in excitement.

 

“You like George like ma likes Chloe.” Asher confirms waiting for Lori to tell him he’s right, which she does.

 

“I do Ash; so I have to go home because we’re moving in together this weekend.” Lori explains and Asher suddenly doesn’t seem so upset about his Grandma leaving; instead he leans closer and wraps his much smaller arms around the older woman.

 

“Ma said you weren’t happy when you left. I’m happy you are now.” Asher mumbles into Lori’s sweater bringing a smile to the elder woman’s face as she drops a kiss onto Asher’s forehead. “But just because you’re happy it doesn’t mean you have to go a year without visiting again, got it?” Asher warns and Lori has to stifle her laughter at the seriousness on her grandson’s face.

 

“I promise Ash-Attack, when I’m settled in; you and your mom can come and visit us, but give us some time to let the news sink in to your mom that I’m dating the man who used to give her candy and take her to the zoo as a kid.” Lori tells Asher who immediately agrees.

 

“I’ll miss you Grandma, you’re the coolest and Eliza’s cool, right? You gotta like Chloe because ma will probably marry her and-” Asher starts rambling loudly so Lori has to drop her hands onto Asher’s shoulders and shush him.

 

“Breathe, Ash.  I like Eliza and Reese and I like Chloe and I’ll miss you too.” Lori chuckles as Asher collapses into her arms, hugging her tightly and nuzzling his head into her sweatshirt.

 

 

After Beca and Asher take Lori to the airport and she’s boarded her flight back to Orlando; Asher’s mood sinks and nothing seems to be cheering him up, except, maybe, the offer to go and get ice cream which Beca knows after seven years works like a charm every single time. Asher is digging into his mint chocolate chip ice cream when he looks up at Beca, head titled to the side and ice cream smeared across his face.

 

“Are you dating Chloe now?” He asks

 

“I’d guess so; I mean we’ve been on a date. Why?” Beca asks picking up one of the napkins and leaning forward to clean the ice cream off her son’s face despite Asher’s protests.

 

“So you’re happy?” Asher asks, still keeping his mouth relatively shut on the reasons why.

 

“Asher, just tell me – wait a minute.” Beca holds her finger up when her phone starts ringing, missing the grimace forming on Asher’s face. “Hi Chlo,”

 

Asher drops his head and continues to eat his ice cream; trying to block out Beca’s talking especially when his mom’s voice starts to raise as Chloe explains the incident in school and Asher already knows this isn’t something that can go without being unpunished like most of his incidents – there is no way his mama is going to let him off the hook for this one. Asher hears his mom hang up her phone and place it on the table before he can feel her looking at him.

 

“Asher, do you want to tell me why you punched Isaac Jackson?” Beca asks and her voice is so eerily calm that Asher starts to panic; the least his mama could do is yell at him.

 

“… He said some mean things to Eliza.” Asher eventually sighs and admits, “Eliza is like my sister, ma. I couldn’t just let him say that!” Asher exclaims panicking even further as he meets Beca’s eyes.

 

Beca sighs and pulls Asher to her side, wrapping her arm around his shoulders as the tears in her son’s eyes start to fall.

 

“He said that Eliza’s dad didn’t love her – it was her fault he left – that her mom liking girls is wrong – that she’s – ma don’t be mad at me.” Asher sobs twisting in his seat and burrowing his face into Beca’s sweater.

 

“I’m not mad.” Beca reassures him, running her hand through Asher’s hair. “You know violence is wrong, right?”

 

“I know.” Asher sniffles. “You also told me that you got’a protect family and that’s what I was doing.”

 

“Does Eliza know you were protecting her?” Beca asks,

 

“I told her and after she told me she can protect herself because she’s a woman, she said she’s glad I’m her brother.” Asher explains glancing up and looking at Beca through his eyelashes. “Family protects family.”

 

“Stop using my words against me, Sunny.” Beca chuckles leaning down to kiss the top of Asher’s head. “I’m disappointed Ash, but I’m also very proud of you.”

 

“So, I’m not grounded?” Asher asks hopefully, brightening up slightly.

 

“When have I ever grounded you?” Beca retaliates only making Asher’s smile bigger as he shuffles back across the booth to his ice cream.

 

 

“You two are awful influences, stop encouraging my kid’s violent streak!” Beca exclaims over dinner that evening, leaning over to swat at Jesse’s shoulder as Amy high-fives Asher for ‘teaching Isaac a lesson’.

 

Rubbing his arm; Jesse turns to Beca and smirks. “Oh – I wonder where he gets his violent streak from.” He teases his best friend before ducking Beca’s flailing arm. “We’re proud of you kiddo, all those years of teaching you family comes first worked.”

 

“You say that like you actually taught him that.” Beca states with an eye roll. “He grew up watching you three beat the shit out of each other playing video games.”

 

“Two dollars, ma.” Asher interjects; sticking his hand out across the table leading Beca to roll her eyes again.

 

You did teach him that though and it’s the reason I’m poor.” Beca grumbles as she pulls two ones from her jeans pocket and tosses them towards Asher whose eyes light up at the money. “How’s the wedding planning going?” Beca asks, twirling some pasta around her fork as she looks between Benji who looks disinterested and Jesse who is avoiding his fiancé’s eyes. “What have you done?” Beca asks Jesse who looks all kinds of offended.

 

“How did you know it was me?” Jesse asks, cocking his eyebrow.

 

“Was it?” Beca asks, tilting her head to the side.

 

“Not the point.” Jesse dismisses with a shake of his head. “He’s being unreasonable.” Jesse points out pointing over at Benji who drops his fork onto his plate before lifting his head and looking at Jesse.

 

“Me? Says the man who wants an ice sculpture at our wedding.” Benji scoffs. “All I asked is whether I can invite my Aunt Lydia to the wedding…” Benji trails off and the name immediately causes Beca to sit up straight and for Amy to mutter ‘here we go again’.

 

“Ash, go and facetime Eliza in your room.” Beca points to the stairs,

 

“Why?” Asher asks, pouting.

 

“Just go.” Beca repeats.

 

“But ma-”

 

“I’ll let you stay up until 10PM just go.” Beca orders him and Asher fist pumps at the extended bedtime before jumping down from the dining table and going into the living room to search for his iPad.

 

As soon as Asher’s out of the room, Beca is standing up and dragging Jesse in through the kitchen and out of the backdoor to the backyard. Beca pulls her sleeves over her hands as she waits to see if her best friend is going to be the one to break the silence but when Jesse doesn’t seem keen enough to, Beca takes it upon herself to take a step closer to Jesse, stop in front of him and slap him (not with enough power to hurt him) causing Jesse to stumble backwards and furrow his eyebrows at Beca.

 

“Snap out of it.” Beca deadpans. “Just let him invite Drew.”

 

“He liked him!” Jesse exclaims. “For two years!”

 

Beca crosses her arms over her chest and just stares at Jesse with her eyebrows raised. “Do you have any idea how childish you sound right now?”

 

“What if Chloe wanted to invite her ex to your wedding?” Jesse argues,

 

“You know, bud; you would have a valid point there if Benji had actually dated Drew.” Beca lets her hand drop onto Jesse’s shoulder as she walks past. “Stop being a dick.”

 

After dinner; Amy and Beca somehow get roped into wedding planning which after drinking too many bottles of beer mixed with their ridiculous ideas; doesn’t end well when Amy suggests that Benji rides in on an elephant to ‘Shortie Like Mine’ – which actually isn’t an idea that is immediately shot down by Benji who spends (way) too long considering it until Jesse has to physically shake his fiancé out of the moronic suggestion as Amy laughs manically in her chair. Beca is leaning back in the chair at the end of the table. Beca’s phone lights up on the table beside her, so she glances down and smiles.

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

How’s wedding planning going? Are you blackout drunk yet?

 

[Beca Mitchell]

 

I can’t believe you would just assume I would get drunk, I am a mother!

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

Fifth beer?

 

[Beca Mitchell]

 

Sixth.

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

Don’t think you’re slacking off when we plan our wedding.
Did I just text you that?
I’m not apologizing for it.

 

Beca can’t help the small chuckle as she taps out a reply, the thought of a lifelong commitment after their (one real) three dates.

 

[Beca Mitchell]

 

I won’t slack off on the one condition you let me walk down the aisle on an elephant to Shortie Like Mine.

 

Beca doesn’t get a reply but she can imagine Chloe has read it, rolled her eyes so much they have rolled back into her head but also, she’s seriously considering the greatest idea Amy has ever had apart from the idea to spend Spring Break in Mexico and drink tequila for a week straight, okay, maybe that wasn’t the greatest idea but it’s one of the more unforgettable experiences courtesy of the blonde. Benji closes the folder and yawns, signaling their evening is over and her three best friends race each other up the stairs to be the first one to say goodbye to Asher and Beca wonders if the three of them will ever grow up. Beca lets her friends out and stays leaning against the front door as they drive away when she feels her arm being lifted and Asher clinging to her side seconds later.

 

“Chloe said you’re not allowed to ride an elephant to Shortie Like Mine and I don’t know what that means but I disagree; I like elephants and shortbread is cool.” Asher breaks the silence causing to Beca to snort in response.

 

Asher thinks Shortie is short for shortbread.

 

“You’re right Ash, shortbread is cool. Do you want to watch Batman?” Beca asks and doesn’t even need a verbal response because Asher is already running towards the living room and to the shelves of DVDs.

 

 

“I did not sign up for this Chloe. I am not a soccer mom, I will never be a soccer mom. I’m too cool and gay to be a soccer mom.” Beca continues to whine as she follows Chloe and Eliza down to the soccer field from the parking lot whilst Reese hangs off Beca’s back as the brunette gives the toddler a piggy back.

 

I’m a soccer mom.” Chloe deadpans glancing over her shoulder with her left eyebrow cocked towards the brunette.

 

“And you’re a wonderful soccer mom, also hot.” Beca winks causing Chloe to roll her eyes but Beca doesn’t miss the light dusting of pink on her cheeks.

 

Eliza tugs on Chloe’s arm. “What’s a ‘soccer mom’?” She asks, making inverted commas leading Beca to start laughing which instantly earns her a glare from Chloe.

 

“It’s a mom who likes soccer.” Chloe exclaims which only intensifies Beca’s laughter, so much that Beca’s cheeks turn bright red as she gasps for breath. “Don’t even – Bec I will punch you.”

 

“… Kinky…” Beca mutters under her breath which causes Chloe’s breath to hitch in her throat, luckily for the both of them; Eliza had already spotted Asher and was running towards him and Reese was too preoccupied with the birds in the sky.

 

“You’re treading a thin line.” Chloe warns although the playfulness flashing through her eyes says otherwise.

 

“That’s the only way I know how, sweetheart.” Beca winks as she stops on the sideline. Reese starts kicking against Beca’s side wanting to be let down so she can run over and join Asher and Eliza.

 

Asher waves excitedly when he notices Chloe and Beca; his green soccer jersey proudly displaying the crest of his new team. Chloe and Beca have just finished setting up the chairs when Eliza and Reese rejoin the women ready for the game to start. Five minutes into the first game; loud shouting is heard, and Benji, Amy and Jesse set up their chairs beside the family of four.

 

“Couldn’t miss Ash’s first game, right?” Beca asks but she’s certain that’s the reason why.

 

“You guys seriously come to everything Asher’s in?” Chloe asks and she immediately grimaces hoping it didn’t come off as offensive as she thinks it sounds.

 

“You’re kidding!” Amy exclaims.

 

“When I was in labor with Asher; Jesse was with me and told the midwife he was the dad, then Benji turned up and told her he was the dad and when Amy ran in she shouted ‘there’s my lesbian wife where’s our baby?’.” Beca scowls but she’s fighting the urge to start laughing as she remembers the midwife’s face when three potential partners entered the delivery room.

 

“We have done everything together, we like to think we’re all Asher’s parents.” Amy grins nudging Amy’s shoulder which is what loses Beca and the brunette doesn’t stop herself from laughing.

 

“Or, as Jesse put it under the photograph of the four of us with newborn Asher; our village, with Benji as the village idiot.” Beca grins causing an offended gasp to escape Benji’s lips as he turns his attention away from Asher’s game.

 

Asher’s first game ends 0-0 but Asher isn’t too disheartened especially when he high-fives Amy and reiterates that his team will crush the other team in the second game – he’s not wrong, Asher’s team (the Cubs) do crush the second team of the day by a damning score line of 7-1. Asher is on top of the world as he runs rings around his family, asking over and over if everybody saw his goal. Asher was lapping up the praise and he wasn’t about to stop, well, maybe he’ll stop for pizza.

 

 

XxX

 

 

Asher is lying in bed, his arms stretched out behind his head as he watches Pokémon on his iPad when Beca enters the room and Asher knows it’s bedtime so he locks his iPad and hands it to Beca to put it up on his shelf. Beca sits down on his bed as Asher settles down under the blankets.

 

“Ma, you know I love you right.” Asher speaks up,

 

“I know you do, Sunny.” Beca smiles down at him if not slightly confused for Asher’s sudden outburst of love. “I love you too.”

 

“Do you love Eliza and Reese?” Asher asks and Beca’s eyes widen at the possibility of having to deal with sibling jealously, this is the exact reason Beca never had another child (no it’s not because she couldn’t find someone to date).

 

“I do, is that okay?” Beca asks treading carefully until she sees the smile burst out onto Asher’s face.

 

“That’s the okay-est thing that’s ever happened, ma.” Asher beams as he sits up and wraps his arms around Beca, hugging his mother tightly.

 

Beca kisses the top of his head before tucking him in, saying goodnight and leaving his room and closing his door over softly.

 

 

Eliza and Reese had been in bed for bordering on three hours and Chloe was sitting up in bed; her glasses on as she nears the end of the romance novel she’s been reading for the last week. Chloe had just turned the page when her phone starts ringing, she looks down at the number and she’s surprised because it’s nearing midnight but she places her book down, marking her page as she swipes her thumb across the screen and answers. The voice is muffled, teary and barely understandable but Chloe makes out the words and when she realizes; her heart stops, tears start to fill her eyes as she jumps out of bed, stopping still in the middle of her room, the walls feel like they’re closing in on her and she can feel the tears falling down her cheeks as her phone slips out of her hand, falling to the floor, the loud smash the screen makes when it hits the hardwood floor doesn’t even cause Chloe to flinch.

 

Chloe runs a hand through her hair before she’s out of her room and walking down the hallway; stopping outside Eliza’s door, her seven year old is passed out in bed; hair sticking up in all directions, clutching her stuffed giraffe whilst her legs are twisted in the blankets. Chloe closes her eyes and takes three deep breaths as she continues walking through the hall until she reaches Reese’s room; the toddler is curled up under the blankets, her braid the only part of her visible, well that and her stuffed monkey that her tiny hand is curled around.

 

Chloe can hear her phone ringing from her room so she’s running, stumbling into her room as she scrambles to pick her phone up, shakily swiping her thumb across the screen she puts the phone to her ear and hears her voice, it’s slightly clearer which makes the words (easier) but so much harder to hear.

 

Chloe feels her entire world come crashing down in those four seconds.

Chapter Text

Chloe doesn’t sleep for the rest of the night, she sits, staring at the wall in front of her; noticing the various chips and cracks in the paint above the door signaling it’s time to maybe start redecorating, she watches the sunrise, wondering how she can even begin to get through the day when she has a thousand things on her mind, her heart is aching and her daughters are clueless as they sleep. It’s a little after 8AM when she hears a bedroom door open and she already knows it’s Eliza waking up and sneaking into Reese’s room so she can wake her little sister up and take her downstairs to watch cartoons; thinking Chloe doesn’t know. Chloe knows she needs to leave her bedroom soon before Eliza gets suspicious and comes searching for her and Chloe knows Eliza doesn’t need to see her with tear-stained cheeks and a broken expression on her face. Chloe stares down at her phone still lying on the floor where she dropped it so many hours earlier, face down; it still doesn’t feel real, as though the phone call was a hoax, that her ex boyfriend’s mom was just playing a cruel joke on her and that if she was to call Tom up and he would answer straight away and instantly ask if something was wrong with the girls’ because despite the distance he never cared any less about his daughters, it was just harder and Chloe regrets ever thinking he didn’t care so much because he wasn’t a bad man. Chloe picks at the loose threads of her comforter, summoning the energy to climb out of bed and go downstairs to face the day knowing that she’s about to witness her daughters’ hearts breaking before her eyes. Dragging her pajama shirt sleeve across her eyes, Chloe sniffles and plasters a fake smile on her face that she instantly sees through when she catches the lost and broken look in her eyes in the mirror of her vanity.

 

Chloe leaves her bedroom and has only reached the top of the stairs when she hears Reese’s giggles from the living room before hearing Eliza shush her. Chloe slowly descends the stairs, feeling her chest tighten with every step as the laughter becomes louder and Chloe realizes that her girls’ are about to be thrown into a world of unknown. Every step feels heavy and Chloe hates the fact she has to do this alone, to tell them without someone to hold her hand; she thinks about skipping out and running upstairs, calling Beca, telling her and asking her to be there to hold her hand through this but she backs out of that decision. Chloe stands on the second to last step of the stairs, her hand gripping the banister so tightly that she’s sure she might actually snap the wood in half. The cartoons are loud now and Eliza and Reese are sharing hushed whispers, anything Eliza saying making Reese laugh. Chloe finally feels as ready as she will be and proceeds to walk down the last step when the doorbell rings and Chloe instantly goes to answer it, not questioning why somebody is calling at her house at 8AM on a Sunday, especially when she isn’t expecting anybody. Chloe pulls open the front door and is immediately engulfed in a hug as said person at the door hugs her tightly, whispering incoherent words in her ear whilst promising she’s here.

 

“Aubrey what – what are you doing here?” Chloe asks swallowing thickly as Aubrey releases her from the death grip she has her best friend in, but still holds Chloe by the shoulders.

 

“I heard.”

 

Chloe nods, dropping her head.

 

“Facebook, his sister posted something…” Aubrey trails off continuing to explain. “When I found out I just drove here, I just got here. I thought you’d need someone.”

 

Chloe just nods not trusting her voice to break; Aubrey’s face drops even more as she brings Chloe back into a hug, just holding the redhead silently, rubbing her back as a subtle reminder she’s not going to go through this alone and neither are Eliza and Reese. From the living room; the girls hear the second voice and go to investigate; their eyes lighting up at the sight of their Aunt Aubrey standing in the doorway.

 

“Auntie Au’rey!” Reese exclaims, making grabby hands towards the blonde as Chloe pulls out of Aubrey’s arms and stands off to the side crossing her arms and looking up to the ceiling.

 

Aubrey puts on a brave face and kneels down; opening her arms and bracing herself for Reese’s impact as the toddler runs into her arms; Aubrey swipes Reese up into her arms and cuddles the younger of Chloe's daughters closer to her before holding one of her arms out for Eliza to run into and join the hug. Eliza and Reese start rambling until Aubrey catches Chloe’s eyes and stops Eliza in the middle of her story, apologetically. “We have something to tell you, come on.” Aubrey leads the girls into the living room.

 

Chloe trails behind her, taking multiple deep breaths to calm herself as she sits beside Aubrey on the couch; Aubrey sits Reese on her knee, wrapping her arms around the toddler whilst Chloe pulled Eliza to her and hugged her close. Aubrey used her free hand to reach across and hold Chloe’s free hand as the two women faced the kids.

 

“Girls – something happened last night, your daddy was in a car accident and taken to hospital-” Chloe starts and Eliza is quick to interject.

 

“Daddy’s okay, right?” Eliza asks looking terrified.

 

Chloe and Aubrey exchange a glance before Chloe wraps Eliza in a tight hug, running her hand through her kid’s wild bed head as the realization from the silence dawns on Eliza’s face.

 

“No – no angel, daddy’s in heaven…” Chloe trails off.

 

Reese tilts her head to the side, listening intently but not understanding what’s going on whereas Eliza just falls completely silent, falling limp in Chloe’s arms, avoiding everybody’s eyes. Aubrey leans forward reaching out to place a hand on Eliza’s shoulder, the seven year old lets her but doesn’t react; she just stands there silently as tears fall down her cheeks.

 

“… I never said goodbye…” Eliza mumbles as she turns around to face Chloe; the heartbroken expression on her face breaking Chloe’s heart into a million pieces. “Why?”

 

Chloe didn’t have the answer to that; Chloe isn’t exactly well-prepared on any dealings with grief having avoided knowing anybody to die growing up and never going to a funeral. Eliza sits on Chloe’s knee, wrapping her arms around her mom’s neck; Eliza buries her face into Chloe’s neck and continues to sob. Reese tries to reach out to grab at Eliza’s hand wondering why her sister is so upset, wanting to understand, but ultimately not having the vaguest idea that her dad has just died from injuries sustained in a car accident.

 

 

Chloe’s watching Eliza sit silently on the couch, staring straight ahead at the wall as Reese plays with her toys on the floor; Eliza hasn’t said anything in an hour and Chloe feels like a complete failure for not knowing how to make this easier on her eldest daughter. Aubrey walks up behind Chloe and hooks her chin over the redhead’s shoulder, smiling sadly.

 

“She’s the toughest kid I know Chlo, she’ll be okay.” Aubrey does her best to try and reassure her best friend. “Kids are resilient anyway; it’s just going to be the first couple of weeks that will be the hardest.”

 

“… I should have booked time off, taken them to San Francisco more often, let them spend more time with him.” Chloe sighs, running a hand through her un-brushed hair. “What am I going to do when Reese finally realizes her dad’s dead?” Chloe asks teary-eyed as she turns to face Aubrey. “She’s clueless, what if she asks where her daddy is? I can’t go through this again.”

 

“Don’t panic.” Aubrey orders (softly), “We’re going to do this together, surround them with all the love in the world, and give them space if they need it but we’re going to help them through it. How are you feeling?” Aubrey asks Chloe, already knowing the answer but wanting to make sure.

 

“I’m fine.” Chloe blatantly lies earning a raised eyebrow from Aubrey in response. “I just – it doesn’t feel real, yet.”

 

Aubrey nods, pressing her lips into a thin line. “It won’t sink in properly for a while.” Aubrey admits.

 

“He knew I loved him, didn’t he?”

 

Both Aubrey and Chloe jump at the small, hoarse voice; glancing down; Eliza is staring up at Chloe with tear-stained cheeks and fresh tears building in her eyes. Chloe looks to Aubrey before kneeling down in front of Eliza.

 

“He knew, and he loved you, so much.” Chloe sighs softly. “You and your sister were everything to him.”

 

“Okay.” Eliza mumbles turning around and walking out of the kitchen.

 

Chloe watches her go, she completely bypasses the living room and heads upstairs, slowly, her hand gripping the banister tightly. Chloe blinks back the tears forming in her eyes as she sweeps through the kitchen, entering the living room and sitting down on the floor with Reese as the still-clueless toddler continues to play with her toys, unaware of the heartache surrounding her. Reese smiles up at her mom, handing her one of the stuffed toys she’s playing with as she clutches her monkey to her chest.

 

Aubrey leaves the kitchen and heads upstairs in search of Eliza; she knows she’s probably overreacting and if anything, Eliza is just sitting in her room wanting to be alone but every story she’s heard from the news over the past year is sparking the rise of parental panic in the blonde. Aubrey reaches Eliza’s room and stops, looking in at her goddaughter sitting on her bed holding what looks like a picture frame. Aubrey slowly enters the room, dodging the stuffed toys that had been thrown onto the floor before sitting on the edge of Eliza’s bed and noticing the picture she’s holding is a picture of Tom and Eliza three or four years ago in Disneyworld.

 

“He always told me when I was sad I should remember the good times.” Eliza breaks the silence surprising Aubrey. “It’s not helping this time.”

 

Aubrey carefully pries the picture from Eliza’s hand and places it aside where it won’t be harmed. “I know you’re hurting sweetie, it hurts so much losing a parent.”

 

Eliza crawls across her bed and climbs into Aubrey’s lap, needing something to hold. “When I lost my mom, I was younger than you and I didn’t really understand what it meant for a long time; I just knew that it was my dad and I after that. It always hurt though, but you’re going to get through these hard days just like I did.”

 

“What if I forget what he was like?” Eliza asks curiously, furrowing her eyebrows in confusion.

 

“Your mom, me, your Grandma and all the pictures and videos I know your mom has will be there to remind you.” Aubrey reassures the seven year old.

 

“Is mommy okay?” Eliza asks, her voice muffled.

 

“She will be,” Aubrey mumbles pressing a kiss to the top of Eliza’s head. “Just like you will be, and just like Reese will be.”

 

Eliza wraps her arms around Aubrey and just lies there; Aubrey can’t move but she doesn’t mind especially not when she looks down and notices Eliza has drifted off to sleep, knowing that’s exactly what she needs after an emotionally high morning.

 

 

Chloe finally finds the strength a while later to call Beca and tell her what’s happened instead of ignoring the five messages she’s received during the day; when Beca answers though, Chloe’s words get stuck in her throat and she can’t respond to Beca’s simple ‘hey, are you okay?’ Instead; the second she hears Beca’s voice she can’t help choking on the sob at the top of her throat and immediately she starts to hear Beca’s ramblings of ‘are you at home?’ and ‘we’ll be there soon’. Chloe can’t even find the words to stop her coming over and instead just ends the call and waits. Aubrey walks downstairs,

 

“I’ve managed to talk Eliza into going to get some ice cream, and I’ll take Reese too – you should call your girlfriend-” Aubrey stops but Chloe cuts her off.

 

“I did, she’s coming over and she’s bringing her son…” Chloe trails off, scratching at the nape of her neck.

 

“Say no more, I’ll take her kid as well.” Aubrey smiles as Reese comes running in from the kitchen, barreling into Aubrey’s legs before the blonde can lift her up onto her hip.

 

“Hey, sweet angel, do you want to come with me and El to get some ice cream?”

 

“Ice cream!” Reese squeals, her eyes lighting up.

 

Aubrey smiles, wanting to preserve Reese’s innocence but knowing one day she’s going to understand what happened today and it’s going to break everybody’s hard when the realization dawns on the toddler that she’ll never see her daddy again.

 

It takes a little over twenty minutes for Beca and Asher to arrive at the house; Beca using the spare key from under the welcome mat to enter the house; cautiously calling out Chloe’s name as she keeps one arm wrapped around Asher’s shoulders to stop him racing off to try and find Eliza in case it’s something serious that’s affecting the entire family. Entering the living room; Chloe is standing waiting for them and when Beca takes in Chloe’s broken expression; she doesn’t ask questions, she doesn’t need to, what Beca knows she needs to do is exactly what she does do. Beca crosses the room in a flurry and brings Chloe into her arms, holding her as close to her as is humanly possible as Chloe just sighs into the brunette’s arms; slowly bringing her own arms up to wrap around Beca’s back.

 

Beca is ready to ask what happened and Chloe’s ready to tell her when Aubrey walks downstairs with Reese bouncing in front of her, wrapped up in a parka and scarf and Eliza trails behind, slower as she fastens the zip of her coat.

 

“Beca?”

 

“Aubrey?”

 

Beca turns around as Aubrey stops dead in the hallway looking in, wearing an expression that shows all kinds of surprise. Beca and Aubrey stare at each other for a few seconds before Aubrey finally regains the ability to move from her frozen state and crosses the room bringing Beca into a hug. Chloe is brushing some loose strands of hair behind her ear when she asks.

 

“You two know each other?” Chloe wonders.

 

Beca breaks the embrace as she turns to Chloe to explain. “We knew each other during college, she was working at the coffee shop that Jesse and I went to all the time as freshman and eventually we just became friends but it’s been what? Six years since we last saw each other?”

 

“Something like that.” Aubrey smiles nudging Beca’s shoulder. “Chloe when you told me your girl was called Beca and had a son called Asher – I had no idea it was this Beca and Asher.”

 

“You know me?” Asher asks from behind reminding the adults that he is in fact also at the house.

 

Aubrey turns around and kneels down in front of Asher. “I met you when you were a baby, I’m pretty sure you don’t remember me but I remember you and you’ve grown up so much.” Aubrey smiles at him and Asher smiles back, flashing a toothy smile. “Hey Asher, I’m taking Eliza and Reese for ice cream, do you want to come with me?” Aubrey offers and Asher doesn’t even wait for Beca’s confirmation before he’s saying yes.

 

 

After Aubrey and the kids leave; there’s an eerie silence left building up in the house as Chloe wordlessly rounds the couch and sits down, tucking her legs underneath her as she sits, folding her arms and Beca doesn’t need any confirmation to know something serious has happened. Beca also rounds the couch and sits down, but not too close to Chloe; she turns to the redhead but before she can ask what happened, Chloe is already talking.

 

“… He’s dead.”

 

Beca furrows her eyebrows, “Who?” She asks, her voice barely above a whisper.

 

Chloe’s bottom lip starts to quiver again. “My – ex-boyfriend.” Chloe mumbles before shuffling closer to Beca and curling into the brunette’s side, burrowing her face into Beca’s shoulder. “I shared so much of my life with him, I had two amazing girls and now he’s – he’s gone. How am I supposed to feel?” Chloe asks but Beca isn’t sure whether Chloe is just speaking aloud or whether she actually wants Beca’s opinion on how to feel over an exes death, because that’s one question Beca doesn’t have the answer to. “I loved him, there was a time that I loved him and he was a major part of my life that is filled with so many beautiful memories, I’m confused. How can I be confused and be there for Eliza and Reese? They’re going to have questions and I don’t know if I can answer them, I’ve never known this feeling before and I don’t know how to do this.” Chloe sighs and stops talking immediately after that.

 

Beca just stays quiet, softly rubbing her hand up and down Chloe’s back as the redhead continues to heaves sighs, resisting the urge to cry as the awkward silence starts to fill the room again. Of all things; this was probably the last thing she had expected Chloe to say to her when she arrived but she also knew that Chloe (probably) needed her now more than ever and Beca was going to do everything she could to make sure that she was there for her girl and Eliza and Reese. Chloe’s breathing started to even out a short while later and Beca just stayed where she was, letting Chloe sleep as she mulled over everything, feeling her heart start to break for Eliza and Reese having to lose their dad so young.

 

 

XxX

 

 

Eliza is sitting on the step leading out to the backyard, she’s clutching the stuffed Stegosaurus named Sam that her dad bought her when she was three and was hospitalized with a bad virus; Eliza’s face is pressed into the soft spikes as she stares up at the sky; Aubrey is standing in the kitchen, cooking dinner for the family and keeping an eye on Eliza.

 

“El, do you want to hear a story about your dad?” Aubrey asks before she can stop herself.

 

Eliza turns around, tilting her head to the side. “Is it a funny story?” She asks quietly.

 

“It can be.” Aubrey smiles at her waiting for Eliza to decide if she wants to hear it or not.

 

Eventually, Eliza nods and stands up from the step; entering the kitchen and pulling herself up to sit on one of the breakfast bar stools and lean forward as Aubrey continues to chop vegetables; the Stegosaurus still held close to Eliza’s chest as Aubrey racks her brain for a funny story about Tom.

 

“Your Grandma had a really cool retro convertible before you were born and it was so expensive; so expensive that your Grandma often banned your dad from even touching it but your dad was so determined to drive it at least once despite not even having his license yet. So your dad and his two brothers raided your Grandma’s closet for her clothes and dressed up like her and two of her friends and your dad stole the car keys from the small jewelry box that your Grandma kept them in and got into the car, driving through the neighborhood in the car they weren’t allowed to touch and it was all going okay until the wig your daddy was wearing flew off in the wind and landed a few meters back from where he stopped the car and when he turned around; your Grandma and her two friends who your Uncles were trying to imitate were standing there looking horrified…” Aubrey stops and feels better when she sees a small smile on Eliza’s face.

 

“What happened to them?” Eliza asks leaning forward and stealing a piece of carrot that Aubrey had chopped.

 

“They were grounded for two weeks and forced to clean out the pool.” Aubrey explains hoping she had remembered that correctly.

 

Eliza chuckles softly. “That sounds like daddy.”

 

 

It takes nearly two weeks until Beca and Chloe are finally spending more time together, between arrangements being made for Tom’s funeral; all of Tom’s family journeying down to New Orleans and wanting to send their condolences to Chloe and the girls; it’s been hectic and it’s strained Beca and Chloe more than they would care to admit; Chloe closed off a few days after finding out Tom had died and Beca not knowing how she should be with Chloe just tried to continue to keep some sense of normality between the pair fell upon deaf ears, with Chloe just focusing on Eliza and Reese and keeping contact with just Aubrey who had essentially moved in for the last two weeks to get over the hardest time before returning to her family in Houston.

 

“Can we go and see Chloe today?” Asher asks bouncing into the kitchen and waking Beca up completely again from where she was dropping off again at the kitchen table.

 

“You’re too full of energy in the morning, Sunny.” Beca laughs softly smiling as Asher sits down, making grabby hands towards the box of Lucky Charms in the middle of the table. “I don’t know, kid, maybe we can go a little later.”

 

Asher nods as he pours way too much cereal into the bowl. “I miss them.” He pouts slightly as he pours milk into the bowl.

 

“I miss them too buddy.” Beca gives Asher a sad smile. “They’re going through a hard time though so we have to respect that, okay?”

 

“I know ma.” Asher nods even though, chewing his mouthful of cereal with his mouth open. “That’s why I want to be with them because I want to make them happy.”

 

Beca doesn’t feel her heart swell at Asher’s words. “You’re a really good kid, you know that right?” Beca asks leaning forward using the sleeve of her pajama top to wipe some milk from Asher’s chin.

 

“I know mama, that’s because you taught me to be.” Asher smiles up at his mother, “Can you help me with my homework?” He asks swiftly changing the subject.

 

 

Chloe feels disconnected from the room full of forty relatives; all of who are congregated in the booked-out restaurant that Tom got his first job at, the owner who gave Tom his first job more than willing to let them hold the funeral reception in his establishment. So many memories are being talked about, there’s a playlist of Tom’s favorite songs being played through the room and the kids are all sitting in the corner playing games; some unaware of the tragedy and others aware but not entirely grasping the notion. Out of the corner of her eye; Eliza is playing a game with Tom’s niece and nephew as Reese sits on her big sister’s knee. Chloe looks down at her phone; her missed calls from Beca are up to thirty now, her messages even more but Chloe can’t even bring herself to send a simple reply to Beca telling her she’s okay because she isn’t; Chloe is far from okay, she doesn’t even understand how she’s supposed to feel when she has family member after family member coming up to her and bringing up memories of her relationship or asking her how she’s coping. Chloe isn’t coping, at this point she’s merely existing and so disassociated from most things around her.

 

Tom’s sister is the one to notice Chloe’s discomfort when a distant Aunt of Tom’s talks to her about some of her favorite memories of her nephew. Jessica leaves her drink on the table before moving across the room and excusing Chloe from the conversation, taking hold of Chloe’s arm and leading her through the room and out to the hallway.

 

“Thank you.” Chloe sighs, feeling relieved.

 

“I know this is a strange situation for you to be in, and you’re handling it a lot better than I think I’d be able to but maybe you should go home, take Eliza and Reese. It’s getting late, I’ll cover for you.” Jess’s voice is warm and for the first time in a while; Chloe doesn’t feel like she’s being held in a chokehold.

 

“You always were the sister I wanted.” Chloe whispers as she leans in to hug Jess.

 

So that’s how nearly an hour later; Eliza and Reese are asleep in the car as Chloe is pulled up outside the house; her head leaning back as she glances out of the window to Beca’s house, fighting herself, wondering if Beca even wants to see her after Chloe’s flat-out ignored her for two weeks. The lights are still on so Chloe knows Beca’s awake and she knows that she’s probably running out of time to go and see Beca before the brunette decides to call it a night.

 

Chloe doesn’t think anything else can dampen her mood until it starts to rain and Chloe is ready to just start the engine and go back home when the front door opens and Beca walks out with a bag of trash, this time, Chloe doesn’t even think about it. She opens her car door, climbing out, the rain instantly soaking her as she runs up to the driveway; surprising Beca who instinctively drops the bag to the ground as Chloe reaches her; already putting her hands on Beca’s cheeks and kissing her with as much passion as she can, trying to convey all the apologies she wants to give her in that single kiss.

 

“I’m sorry.” Chloe breathes out, her lips hovering over Beca’s.

 

“I know.” Beca mumbles before leaning forward and reconnecting their lips. “You look tired, stay here tonight.”

 

It isn’t a question, but even if it was, Chloe would have agreed in an instant.

 

Asher is sleepy when he walks to the top of the stairs, rubbing his eyes; he brightens up when he sees a drowsy Eliza stumbling into the house yawning followed by Chloe and his mother who is carrying a sleeping Reese on her hip. Eliza smiles up at Asher when she sees him, quickly running up the stairs to join her best friend as the pair walk down the hall; both Chloe and Beca grateful for Asher’s ability to put a smile on Eliza’s face no matter what. Beca offers to put Reese to bed, grabbing Eliza on the way and giving Eliza, Asher’s Pikachu onesie to wear to bed before getting Reese to bed. Eliza and Reese are in bed on the verge of falling asleep, Asher’s already crashed in bed, hanging halfway off his bed as he holds a packet of Pokémon trading cards in his hand that he’s about to drop and spill onto the floor. Beca walks through the hall before reaching her own room and smiling, Chloe has already fallen asleep and Beca’s glad; she could see how tired Chloe was and she knew she needed some rest. Once Beca’s in bed, she’s pulling the covers over her when she feels her arm being lifted and Chloe shuffling closer to her and resting her head against Beca’s chest. Beca leaves a kiss on top of Chloe’s head before closing her eyes and holding the woman she would give the world for, close to her, not wanting to let go.

Chapter Text

When Beca was a teenager, she had this job babysitting the kids who lived across the street. Anna, Graham and Gavin were three absolute demons and even at the tender age of fifteen years old; Beca could understand why their parents would go out more often than many other parents, always leaving their three kids with babysitters. Anna was a smartass for a nine year old, Graham liked to pinch and Gavin had the strongest lungs of any four year old. Beca wasn’t the biggest fan of children but she needed money and babysitting was the only job she seemed to be good at, and boy, she was good at it; in four short hours, Beca had managed to curve Anna’s smartass ways, teach Graham that pinching is a form of violence and that not many people are going to like him for it and find out that Gavin absolutely adored Disney Pixar movies and managed to subdue his constant need to scream for attention.

 

You’re going to be a great mom one day.

 

Beca had scoffed at age eighteen when a distant cousin of her mom’s had praised her after she had held her toddler cousin Matthew until he fell asleep wrapped in a baby blue blanket in her arms during one of her mom’s famous barbecues in an Atlanta summer. Beca wasn’t a motherly type, she had never saw herself one day having a mini version of herself staring back at her, looking up to her for advice, cuddling her, asking for help with their homework and she never expected to feel an overwhelming sense of love fill her chest every time she was called ‘mama’ but eleven years on from having been told she’ll be a good mom; she’s sitting in the middle of the living room, on a small plastic chair that’s pinching her ass whilst tied to the chair by a sparkly pink jump rope as Asher and Eliza circle the brunette dressed as Captain America and Batman respectively. Both seven year olds are giggling maniacally.

 

Beca doesn’t remember how it happened. One minute, she was in the kitchen preparing lunch for her kids and the next minute she’s sitting in Asher’s timeout chair (that’s never been used because Beca’s a soft touch), tied by Eliza’s jump rope as Asher and Eliza discuss planks and the recurring the question that keeps popping up is ‘what would Tony Stark do?

 

Reese runs into the living room next, clutching her monkey in one hand and stops at Beca’s side, staring up at the brunette through her thick eyelashes and the curls that are covering her face.

 

“What goin’ on mama?” Reese asks looking between Beca, Asher and Eliza who have all completely forgotten the game in hand and are all looking at Reese curiously to see whether the two year old has realized the slip up.

 

“Ash took me hostage, lovebug.” Beca answers when Reese’s patient stare becomes intense at the long pause.

 

“Bad Ash!” Reese exclaims pointing at Asher who winks and holds his hands up in surrender. “You gotta let Be’a go.” Reese puts her hands on her hips as she gives Asher her best glare, it doesn’t work and less than ten seconds later; Reese has completely lost interest and she’s walking across the room to sit on the floor by the rest of the toys Chloe brought with her when she dropped the girls off that morning.

 

Speaking of the devil; Beca jumps up when she feels her phone vibrating in her back pocket, before her ringtone starts. “Oh, my ass.” Beca grumbles as she attempts to free her arm slightly to reach into her back pocket and grab her phone before it goes to voicemail.

 

In the midst; Asher sticks his hand out, expecting a dollar in return for Beca saying ‘ass’ loud enough for her son to hear. Beca looks at Asher’s hand and completely ignores it as she continues to struggle to pull her phone out of her pocket. Once Beca has managed to grab hold of her phone, it’s stopped ringing and there’s a notification of a missed call from Chloe.

 

“Can I have my dollar now?” Asher asks as Beca unlocks her phone awkwardly because of the situation she’s in to call Chloe back.

 

“Chloe is the one who called me; she owes you a dollar, bud.” Beca replies as she hits Chloe’s name and puts the phone on speaker as she rests her cell on her thigh.

 

The call connects and Chloe’s voice is wiry through the phone. “Hi honey, I don’t have much time because this fucking training is relentless but I forgot to tell you Eliza has to go to the dentist at four, okay, love you guys, bye.”

 

The call disconnects. Beca stares at Eliza and Asher who are staring back at Beca.

 

Three things;

 

First, Asher takes a second before pumping his fist at the fact Chloe now owes him four dollars for cussing. Second, Eliza visibly deflates at the mention of the dentist, and third, Beca's heart momentarily stopped at hearing the words 'love you' come through the phone, it taking a second for Beca to realize she meant it generally.

 

“Cool, four bucks.” Asher grins

 

“Good luck getting four bucks off mom, Ash.” Eliza laughs, knowing her mother would be less than willing to pay out for her cursing, from her own experience of course.

 

“Excuse me – kids? When are you letting me go?” Beca asks, struggling against Eliza’s extremely tight tied jump rope. “I can’t stay here all day.” The words fall on deaf ears when Eliza and Asher get distracted by the TV in the background, and the opening credits to Pokémon. “Guys?” Beca asks again but Eliza and Asher’s attention is glued to the TV. “No, it’s cool. I’ve got this. I’ll find – yep.” Beca half mumbles to herself, knowing even if she shouted the words it wouldn’t receive a reaction.

 

Beca planted her feet onto the living room floor before leaning forward and managing to get to her feet and she starts to shuffle through the room, still tied to the plastic chair by the rope and still grumbling about how the chair is pinching her ass. She manages to make it into the kitchen and walks to the edge of the counter before essentially gyrating against the corner of the counter, trying to use the sharp edge to untie the rope from her, it works, eventually. Beca has just managed to shed the rope and drop it to the floor when she hears a loud bout of laughter from behind her.

 

“Work it girl!” Jesse exclaims from behind Beca causing the brunette to spin around, catching the chair on the counter roughly, the chair comes off her ass and also, so does a large piece of the top. “It wasn’t my fault.” Jesse laughs holding his hands up.

 

Beca scowls when she looks down at the chair and its broken piece before glancing up and scowling at Jesse. “What are you even doing here?”  Beca asks leaning down to grab the chair and the pieces of plastic before Reese finds them.

 

“You forgot, didn’t you?” Jesse asks cocking his eyebrow as he reveals what he was holding in his hand, a purple folder.

 

“I didn’t forget…” Beca trails off. “What didn’t I forget?” Beca asks, abandoning the chair on top of the counter, figuring it’s something she can deal with later. “Oh wait – it’s wedding planning isn’t it?” Beca asks when the realization dawns on her. “See? I didn’t forget.” Beca doesn’t realize she’s continuously rambling. “I haven’t got so long; I have to take Eliza to the dentist in about – an hour and a half.”

 

Jesse drops the wedding planning folder on the kitchen table before signing. “What’s the opposite of Bridezilla?”

 

“Groomzilla?” Beca suggests, a smirk already tugging at the corners of her lips. “I’m assuming you’re talking about Benji.”

 

“He is the worst.” Jesse grumbles, “I had absolutely no idea that he was going to be so into the big, dreamy wedding.”

 

“We are talking about your fiancé. Do you remember two years back when he cooked that meal for your anniversary and named every single meal after something to do with a wedding? Remember waffley wedded?” Beca asks already struggling to hide her laughter. “Oh and remember he bought the pretzels and left them with a note that said – oh shit, what did it say?” Beca snaps her fingers as she racks her brain.

 

“Congratulations on tying the knot.” Jesse responds, “Stop laughing – that’s the worst pun in the world.”

 

“Oh come on. It was kinda funny.” Beca shrugs as she wipes under her eyes whilst Jesse rolls his eyes.

 

“Fine.” Jesse mutters, “It was funny. I just don’t see the point in the big wedding; we’ve already been together for seven years why not just go down to City Hall and get it over with?”

 

“Romantic.” Beca muses, “Dude; I see why he’s into it. He’s only planning on getting married once, to you and I can see why he would want to make a big deal out of it.”

 

“You wouldn’t. I know you hate the idea of a big white wedding.” Jesse shoots back.

 

“I don’t think Chloe would mind a more intimate affair.” Beca shrugs as she starts fingering through the papers in the folder.

 

“… I didn’t mention Chloe…” Jesse trails off, an amusing tweak to his tone which causes Beca to glance up, mouth agape.

 

“Yes you did,” Beca weakly protests, already feeling the heat rising up her neck.

 

“That’s what I was going to say-” Jesse sits down at the table “- how long do you think a couple needs to plan their wedding?”

 

“Six months? A year? I don’t know, I’ve never planned a wedding.” Beca shrugs in response as she pulls a sheet of paper out of the folder scanning through the ‘I miss the 90s and we’re having a Backstreet Boys wedding’ song playlist.

 

“We’re getting married on April fourteenth.” Jesse responds and it takes Beca a minute to catch on to the fact her best friends were going to be getting married in a little over two months.

 

“That’s your eighth anniversary?”  Beca thinks aloud

 

“It’s also sixty-three days, Bec. It’s two months and four days.” Jesse grumbles tapping his fingers against the table. “It’s so soon.” Jesse sighs

 

Beca tries not to laugh but fails. “It’s taken the prospect of you getting married in two months for you to seem any less than confident in anything. It’s you and Benji, you two could get married tomorrow and everything would turn out better than expected because it’s you two and I’m pretty sure your love could stop a war. I swear you were not this bad when you were left with Asher overnight for the first time.”

 

Jesse chuckles at Beca’s analogy when Beca feels a tug on the hem of her sweatshirt; glancing down, Reese is smiling up at her but she turns to Jesse instead and makes grabby hands towards him. Jesse looks at Beca with raised eyebrows before lifting the toddler to sit on his knee.

 

“I told you; kids just flock to you.” Beca shrugs as she stands up to look through to the living room to find Asher and Eliza still sitting on the couch with their eyes glued to the TV.

 

“It’s the beard, it’s definitely the beard.” Jesse shoots back, grinning as Reese babbles away to him.

 

“You don’t have a beard, Jess.” Beca tells him and Jesse frowns at her.

 

“You can’t let me have anything, can you?” He jokes leading Beca to laugh in response before Beca focuses on Reese and chuckling softly when she realizes in the space of just a few minutes, the toddler has her best friend wrapped around her little finger. “You’ll be a good dad. You’re already the best uncle to Ash.”

 

“Ash makes it easy.” Jesse smiles which leads Beca to smile also. “Hey Bec, what are you doing for Valentine’s Day?” Jesse asks Beca as the brunette goes back to hiding Asher’s broken red chair again.

 

“Hopefully – nothing. I hate that commercialized day and it’s not a holiday-”

 

“I’m taking that as you’re not celebrating it?” Jesse chuckles as Beca turns around, lips pursed.

 

“You bet.” Beca points finger guns at her best friend. “I’m pretty sure I just looked so gay doing that.”

 

“Uncle Jesse!” A voice shouts before Asher is jumping up and wrapping his arms around Jesse’s neck from behind, Asher’s small arms giving off quite a grip on his godfather. “Tell Eliza the best Pokémon is Arceus and not Sylveon.”

 

“No can do, buddy. You know I like Sylveon.” Jesse muses twisting in his seat as Asher lets go off him, staring up at his uncle in shock horror.

 

“I wish you weren’t so old because I’d make ma put you in timeout.” Asher threatens; raising his eyebrows as Jesse nearly chokes on the air he’s breathing in.

 

“Sunny I don’t even put you in timeout.” Beca reminds her son,

 

“There’s a first time for everything.” Asher grins showing his teeth including his wobbly tooth that he starts to push at with his tongue.

 

 

XxX

 

 

After bribing Jesse with the promise to try and settle Benji’s ‘Groomzilla’ like tendencies for the next week; Jesse stays at the house with Asher and Reese whilst Beca drives Eliza to the dentist.

 

“I don’t like the dentist.” Eliza speaks up as Beca pulls into the parking lot of the surgery.

 

“I don’t like them either.” Beca agrees scrunching her nose up and making Eliza smile.

 

Beca kills the engine and pulls her seatbelt off getting ready to leave the car when she notices that Eliza has made no effort to move from her position, in fact she’s leaning back into the seat, gripping the sides of the seats.

 

“El… it’s just the dentist, you’ll be fine.” Beca tells her, her voice soft and warm and for a second Beca swears she sees Eliza’s death grip on the leather passenger seat loosen. “I promise you’ll be out in less than ten minutes.”

 

“Will you time it?” Eliza asks and that’s really not the question that Beca expects her to ask but she laughs and nods her head.

 

“I’ll have my phone ready; now what do you say?” Beca asks and Eliza nods this time reaching for her seatbelt.

 

Eliza freezes up again in the dentist waiting room, swallowing thickly and furrowing her eyebrows before tugging on Beca’s hand distracting the brunette from her phone. It takes a matter of seconds for Beca to register the draining of color in Eliza’s cheeks for her to lift Eliza onto her lap and allow the seven year old to curl into her arms, burrowing her face in Beca’s neck and gripping the brunette’s coat as tight as she can.

 

“El, I promise it’s not going to be so bad. He or she – your dentist is just going to check your teeth and you brush them every day, yes?” Beca feels Eliza nod against her neck. “So you have nothing to worry about sweetie, it’s going to be over before you know it.”

 

Eliza’s name is called and Beca has to physically haul her into the dentist’s office and hold her hand as she stares up at her dentist, Dr. Morgan with wide eyes filled with terror as he proceeds with checking her teeth. Beca’s phone vibrates in her pocket as the dentist makes small talk with Eliza on his apparent vague knowledge of Pokémon when he spies the hoodie that Eliza’s wearing. Beca pulls her phone out of her pocket and glances down at the screen and the text message from Chloe.

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

I’ll be home at 6. You better have not given my children a shitload of sugar.

 

[Beca Mitchell]

 

A shitload? Define the measurements that constitutes a shitload of sugar.

 

[Chloe Beale]

 

Shut it, smartass.

 

Beca pockets her cell again and turns around to find Eliza sitting upright, staring up at her and smiling widely showing off her teeth. “My teeth are good!” She exclaims excitedly.

 

“I told you!” Beca replies in similar excited fashion, holding her hand up for a high five from Eliza that she receives. “Nice job, kiddo.” Beca smiles as Eliza hops off the bed and turns around when her dentist asks if she wants a lollipop.

 

“Aren’t dentists supposed to say sugar is bad?” Eliza wonders tilting her head to the side, her dentist imitating the action.

 

“You don’t want a lollipop?” He asks her and Eliza quickly nods her head.

 

“Yes, please. Can I have a lollipop?” She asks politely causing both the dentist and Beca to laugh as she takes a sugary treat from the box.

 

 

Beca takes Eliza’s hand as they cross the street to Beca’s car. “Your mom said she’d be home at six; what do you say we go to the store and get some stuff and make dinner?”

 

“I’d like that – as long as Ash doesn’t help, he’s clumsy.” Eliza scrunches up her nose and Beca laughs whilst feeling (slightly) offended.

 

After going to the store and standing in the middle of one of the aisles for approximately seven minutes arguing about which pasta they should get and basing their judgment solely on which pasta looks the prettiest. Apparently the winning argument was something about seashells and beaches and Eliza batting her eyelashes and asking Beca if she and Asher wanted to come to Florida with them in the summer. Eliza runs into the house leaving Beca to haul two heavy grocery bags into the house, her shoulders aching at the weight as she crosses through the hallway and drops the bags onto the kitchen table, shedding her coat she walks into the living room and is surprised by what she sees – or really, she’s unsurprised at Asher curled up like a cat on the armchair asleep and Jesse lying on the couch, stretched out with Reese lying on his chest, curled up in a similar position to Asher, both of them asleep also.

 

Eliza is standing on the opposite side of the room shrugging in Beca’s direction so Beca holds her finger up before reaching into the back pocket of her jeans and pulls out her phone, unlocking it and scrolling through her recent calls and presses on Jesse’s name. She holds her phone out waiting as it rings and Jesse’s phone starts ringing from where he’s left it on the arm of the couch and the loud noise causes him to jolt upright in surprise, waking Reese up in the process who lifts her head up, eyebrows furrowed and looking all kinds of confused; she rubs her eyes and brushes loose hairs out of her eyes before she notices Beca and she breaks out into a smile.

 

“Be’a!” She screeches which causes Jesse to tilt his head backwards to find Beca wiggling her eyebrows at him and waving her phone.

 

“Oh – that’s just cruel.” Jesse grumbles,

 

Beca just laughs as she pockets her phone again and walks around to the back of the couch and holds her arms out for Reese to stand up, wobbling slightly and allowing Beca to lift her up onto her hip. Asher is still asleep, unsurprisingly to Beca who is well aware of her son’s ability to sleep through absolutely anything. Eliza though, well she had other ideas and she crossed the room in a flash and jumped onto the armchair and Asher, waking him up immediately.

 

“Did you miss me?” Eliza asks laughing loudly causing Asher to mumble incoherent word as he tries to push his best friend off him, having absolutely no luck. “Ash you’re so cute, you missed me.” Eliza ruffles his hair which causes a loud gasp and a yell of protest from him.

 

“That’s Groomz – Benji, I should go. I’ll see you tomorrow, Bec.” Jesse announces standing up and swiping his jacket from the back of the sofa. “Bye kids?”

 

“Bye!” Asher and Eliza yell back, both waving frantically.

 

Jesse kisses the top of Reese’s head causing the toddler to giggle as Beca walks her best friend out. Beca returns to the living room, leaning down so Reese can stand up again, the two-nearly three year old running straight towards her toys.

 

“Captain America, Iron Man – do you want to help me cook dinner for Chloe?” Beca asks, the sound of their two favorite superheroes being what stops the awkward tangle the pair of seven year olds have found themselves in.

 

“What are we making?” Asher asks when Eliza stands up and he can fully sit up again, his face flushed from where it was burrowed into the cushion.

 

“Spaghetti.” Beca replies already walking into the kitchen. Asher whoops as he follows Eliza into the kitchen.

 

It takes approximately five minutes for the kitchen to look like a crime scene; there’s sauce on every counter, and all over Asher’s t-shirt, there’s half cooked pasta on the floor, water spilt on every visible counter and Beca’s covered in flour – even though they didn’t use flour to begin with. Eliza is staring up at the clock and frowning.

 

“Beca? When did mom say she was coming home?” Eliza asks turning her head to look at the brunette.

 

“Six.” Beca replies glancing over her shoulder as Eliza nods, furrowing her brows. “I thought so.” She mumbles resting her head against her hand.

 

Time continues to go by and when the clock hits 7PM and Chloe still hasn’t returned; Eliza starts to get nervous, pacing the hallway with her hands clasped together, eyebrows furrowed and trying not to cry as she imagines her mom never walking through the front door. Reese and Asher are watching TV and Beca is finishing off with dinner and neither seem to notice Eliza’s anxious expression or nervous pacing habit. It’s 7:25PM when Chloe returns home; she has only just opened the front door using the spare key from under the welcome mat when Eliza lunges forward and leaps into her mother’s arms; not even giving Chloe a chance to tell Beca to stop leaving the key under the mat because it’s such an obvious hiding place. Eliza has her arms wrapped tightly around Chloe’s neck, her head buried into her mom’s neck and she’s unrelenting with the hug.

 

“Are you okay, El?” Chloe asks warily, shuffling around and dropping her bag to wrap her arms properly around her eldest. Eliza doesn’t reply, she just clings on tighter to Chloe. “El – I need – Eliza.” Chloe tries to pry Eliza’s arms from her and set her back down on the floor but Eliza isn’t having any of it.

 

“No mommy…” Eliza mumbles tightening her grip again. Chloe gives up trying to set her down and instead just readjusts herself as she kicks the door shut with her foot and walks into the house.

 

She greets Asher and kisses Reese’s forehead before greeting Beca with a kiss and shrugging at Beca’s raised eyebrows in response to Eliza’s extra clinginess. When Eliza finally lets herself be put down, she’s still holding onto Chloe with every opportunity, holding her hand when she walks around the house and sitting in the chair closest to Chloe as Beca dishes out dinner. Chloe struggles with dinner at first because Eliza is so insistent on holding her hand throughout and it takes Chloe five minutes and two mouthfuls of spaghetti for her to turn to Eliza.

 

“Elizabeth can you stop? I’m trying to eat, eat your dinner.” Chloe tells her sternly, her voice isn’t filled with anger but something in Eliza snaps and she feels the tears bubbling in her eyes and before Chloe can take back what she’s said; Eliza is out of her chair and running towards the stairs.

 

Beca and Chloe exchange a worried and bemused expression before they’re both up and out of their chairs heading for the stairs; Beca looking over her shoulder and pointing to Asher. “Don’t touch the stove.” She warns him before bounding up the stairs after Chloe and following her into Asher’s bedroom.

 

Eliza is sitting cross-legged on Asher’s bed, her hands gripping Asher’s Captain America blanket when the two women enter the bedroom.

 

“Eliza – what was all that about?” Chloe asks, sternly but there’s a softness to her tone.

 

Eliza answers, it’s slightly muffled but both women catch it. “… You were late. I thought the same thing happened to you like it did to daddy.”

 

Chloe’s eyes grow wide at the confession and it’s so far from what Chloe was expecting her to say that she can’t even form a coherent response and instead she looks back to Beca and nods at the brunette telling her that she’s got this one. Beca nods and leaves the room, shutting the door over afterwards.

 

“You didn’t call, mommy.” Eliza’s lips wobble as she speaks and Chloe swears she can feel her heart breaking. “I was scared.”

 

Chloe crosses the room and sits on the bed, immediately pulling Eliza into her lap and wrapping her arms around her daughter. “I’m so sorry, baby. I should have called, I’m so, so sorry I scared you.” Chloe feels (honestly) as though she has completely and utterly let her daughter down and that feeling is enough to absolutely destroy her.

 

“I miss him.” Eliza sighs into Chloe’s sweater.

 

Chloe brushes her hand through Eliza’s hair. “I miss him too, he was a good man.”

 

“He was my best friend.” Eliza mumbles, “I wish I could hear his voice again.”

 

An idea strikes Chloe as she fumbles around in her jeans pocket and pulls out her phone. Eliza watches closely as Chloe goes through her Facebook until she finds a video from back when Chloe and Tom were together, it’s a dumb video and Tom’s just showing off by failing to flip a pancake but he’s laughing in the video and she shows it to Eliza; watching a small smile appear on her daughter’s lips when she hears her dad’s laughter again, bright and happy as she always remembered it. Chloe lets Eliza scroll through another few videos of her dad, until her smile is wide and the tears have subsided and Eliza feels okay.

 

“Mom, do you promise to call next time?” Eliza asks as she scrambles off the bed.

 

Chloe smiles holding out her pinky to Eliza who responds by wrapping hers around her mom’s. “I promise, sweet girl.”

 

When the pair return to the kitchen; Beca looks up and meets Chloe’s eyes and the redhead nods with a smile as Eliza slides back into her chair and starts stuffing as much spaghetti as she can into her mouth, ignoring the fact that her food has gone cold by now. Chloe sits back down and conversation amongst the family starts flowing again; Asher reaches forward and sneaks another piece of garlic bread from the plate in the middle of the table and starts gnawing on it as Chloe and Beca’s attention turn to Valentine’s Day in a few days and Chloe holds her hand out, allowing Beca to place her own hand in the teacher’s.

 

“Beca Mitchell, will you be my Valentine’s Day date – in four days?” Chloe asks and there is a teasing tint to her tone that has Beca rolling her eyes.

 

Real smooth, Chlo.” Beca chimes before bringing Chloe’s hand to her lip and kissing her knuckles. “Yes, as long as you don’t take me out to a meal like an overwritten cliché.”

 

“I would never give into that commercialized trash; I just want you to be my Valentine without the Valentine’s Day stuff.” Chloe explains but in reality it just confuses Beca more, still Beca knows she’s smitten when it comes to Chloe Beale.

 

“Hey Chloe-” Asher interjects as he reaches across the table and steals the piece of garlic bread from Eliza’s plate and starts eating it. “- Ma says you owe me five bucks.”

 

Chloe chokes on the water in her mouth looking between mother and son. “I owe you – what?”

Chapter Text

Staying true to her word; Beca walks up the stairwell to her former home, to Jesse and Benji’s apartment; the door is unlocked and she can hear cursing and muttering coming from inside. Beca cautiously pushes open the door and has to immediately stifle her laughter when she spots Benji sitting at the dining table, tapping away on his laptop wearing a flower crown – she wants to ask, but she doesn’t, instead; Beca just walks in, closing the door over and sneaks up behind her best friend; swiping the headwear from his head causing a high pitched scream from Benji who immediately reacts by swiping his right arm around and catching Beca in the stomach.

 

Beca cries out and Benji freezes when he realizes just who he’s hit, swiveling in the chair; he smiles sheepishly up at Beca who just scowls in response. “Dude – I literally just told you I was downstairs.”

 

“You still could have knocked!” Benji exclaims which causes a smile to tug at the corners of Beca’s lips, even though she got sucker-punched; scaring the shit out of her buddy was worth it. “What – why are you even here?”

 

“A little birdie told me you’re – how can I put this nicely – you’re Groomzilla.” Beca deadpans, sitting down at the table and swiping Benji’s MacBook and flicking through his open tabs to see what he’s searching. “He nearly had a meltdown the other day – I haven’t seen him this rattled since I went into labor. Really dude, stop looking at horses and carriages.”

 

“I like them.” Benji weakly argues trying to reach for his laptop back but Beca’s quicker as she continues to scroll through the open tabs. “I also disagree with the term Groomzilla, just because I know what I want doesn’t make me one.”

 

Beca peeks over the top of the laptop. “Ooh sassy, tell me more.” She wiggles her eyebrows as Benji grumbles and tries to flick Beca’s ear before explaining.

 

“I’m pretty sure J thinks his job is done, he proposed so now he can sit back and do nothing towards this wedding – you know he hasn’t told his parents we’re getting married in April?” Benji asks which essentially cuts off his train of thought momentarily before he starts to talk again. “Oh my god. What if he doesn’t want to marry me anymore?”

 

Beca snorts loudly which causes Benji to frown at her. “That’s the dumbest thing you have ever said, dude. He just wants you to chill.”

 

“Changing the subject – you text me something about Valentine’s Day and I have to say, you’ve come to the right place – the love whisperer is here to help with every romantic need – wait – not your needs – not like that – I’m engaged – to a guy – stop laughing.”

 

Beca has to clutch her stomach from laughing so hard, to the point where she’s nearly doubling over in pain from the aching in her jaw from her laughter. Her hands are dug into the fabric of her sweatshirt as she struggles to catch her breath, it wasn’t even that funny, but it also really was. It takes the brunette a good few minutes to feel calm enough to make eye contact with Benji again and when she does; she places the palms of her hands flat against the table and stares at him.

 

“It’s our first Valentine’s Day, hopefully of so many more dude, I need it to be special for her but not cliché. I want it to be something that we both can have fun with but also romantic.” Beca sighs as she furrows her eyebrows wondering if any of that even made sense. “It’s – it’s Chloe, you know? She’s so special to me, she means so much to me and I want her to know that-”

 

“She knows that.” Benji interjects “- trust me Beca. This is the most effort I’ve ever seen you put into anybody, and I know more than most how protective you are of Asher but dude – I’ve never seen Asher get this close to somebody you’re dating before, even Paige.” Benji presses his lips into a thin line as Beca mulls over his words. “But if you’re looking for somewhere, you could try this-” Benji takes his laptop back and starts typing before pulling up a webpage. “- Do you want to go somewhere without the kids?”

 

“We can do that?” Beca asks in surprise causing Benji to raise his eyebrows at his friend, opening his mouth to reply but ultimately no words come out. “Hey – you try raising three children-”

 

“Jazz club?” Benji suggests,

 

No.” Beca shoots him down,

 

“Dinner date?”

 

No

 

“Ice bar?”

 

Do I look like a polar bear? Dude it’s got to be something we’ll both like.” Beca sighs, exasperated and over the entire planning process already. “I just want it to be something simple.”

 

“Simple? Damn, take her to the movies then.” Benji sasses, raising his eyebrows at Beca scowling at him. “Okay, okay, chill. Oh – you could plan a city-wide scavenger hunt and have it end at home and you could have a date night without the kids, J and I will babysit or is that too complex?”

 

“I will hit you.” Beca threats “- but that actually sounds pretty fun and I’m pretty sure Chloe would love that type of thing.” Beca hums as she mulls over the idea. “I’m pretty sure Ash and Eliza would love to help. Wait – how the fuck do you plan a scavenger hunt?”

 

“… I’ll help.” Benji sighs, “You know, for a closet hopeless romantic, you suck at romantic things.”

 

“I thought you were going to say a closet homosexual.” Beca responds as Benji rolls his eyes, already opening a new tab of scavenger hunt ideas.

 

“Beca, you haven’t been a closet homosexual since that time that J actually caught you, making out with a girl in a closet.”

 

“I’m pretty sure he still hasn’t recovered.” Beca laughs as she leans forward to look over Benji’s shoulder as the pair begin to plan out Beca’s first-ever Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt.

 

 

XxX

 

 

“So-” Beca starts, staring down Asher and Eliza as the pair of seven year olds sit at the dining table, their empty cereal bowls pushed aside as Beca looks down the list of scavenger hunt clues. “- not a word of what’s happening to Chloe, okay? You’re going to meet me back here at seven, got it?”

 

“Aye, aye captain.” Asher salutes his mother as Eliza furrows her eyebrows at him before gesturing to Asher and nodding. “What he said.”

 

Footsteps on the stairs catch Beca’s attention as she slides the first clue across the table for Eliza to grab and hide in the sleeve of her sweater as Chloe enters the kitchen, Reese following. Reese immediately rounds the table and makes grabby hands towards Beca; the brunette lifts the two soon-to-be three year old onto her lap and cuddles her causing Reese to giggle loudly. Chloe looks on to the both of them fondly before dropping her hands onto Asher and Eliza’s shoulders causing both of the older kids to look up and smile at Chloe. Beca stands up and kisses Reese on the forehead before sitting the youngest onto one of the dining chairs, she walks over to Asher and Eliza, hugging both of them and kissing the sides of their heads before wrapping her arm around Chloe’s waist.

 

“I’m going to work – I’ll see you tonight.” Beca kisses Chloe quickly before waving to the family and walking into the hallway, grabbing her coat and leaving the house, not noticing how Chloe’s face falls.

 

“Are you okay, mom?” Eliza asks noticing her mom frowning; Chloe glances down to Eliza before shaking her head and smiling.

 

“I’m fine darling, well; what should we do today kids?” Chloe asks reaching down to grab the two empty bowls and take them over to the dishwasher.

 

Eliza and Asher look at each other before Eliza pulls the first clue from her sleeve and tosses it onto the floor near Chloe’s feet. Asher tries to say something but Eliza is quicker and shuts him up before he can, shaking her head before looking at Chloe heading back towards the table.

 

“Mom, I think you dropped something.” Eliza calls out pointing to the piece of paper on the floor just under Chloe’s foot.

 

Chloe lifts her foot before furrowing her eyebrows as she picks the paper up and reads what’s written on it aloud. “I hope these hints get off without a hitch. Stop number one is where you get coffee and a breakfast sandwich. What is this?” She asks directing the question to Asher and Eliza who respond by shaking their heads.

 

“I don’t know, mom.” Eliza answers, “Where do you get your coffee?”

 

Chloe opens her mouth but then closes it. “I go to Starbucks, usually. Do you two know something?”

 

“Absolutely not!” Asher exclaims, eyes widening at how obvious of a liar he sounds. Eliza slaps her forehead with her hand as Chloe nods slowly, looking confused but not questioning what her two ragtag seven year olds are up to.

 

“Are we going to Starbucks? Give me a clue guys.” Chloe sighs as she glances down at the slip of paper again.

 

“We don’t know.” Eliza chimes, swinging her legs back and forth as she sits on the chair; Asher is absolutely no help, distracted by his Nintendo as Reese bangs her hands on the wooden dining table, wanting to be involved one way or another. “Can I have coffee at Starbucks?” Eliza asks and Chloe nearly trips as her eyes bug out of her head.

 

“Absolutely not, you’re seven years old, you don’t need coffee.”

 

“That’s not what Aunt Stacie says.” Eliza sasses back and Chloe rolls her eyes, fighting back the urge to smile.

 

“I’m pretty sure Aunt Stacie was messing with you, El.” Chloe tells her now dejected seven year old. “Okay, coats, we’re going to Starbucks.”

 

The kids run to grab their coats from the hallway; Reese and her little legs chasing after them as Chloe pockets the slip of paper in her jeans and follows them out looking for her coat and the keys to Beca’s house that are proudly resting against her own house keys. Chloe ushers the kids out of the house, taking hold of Reese’s hand as she locks the front door. Chloe watches as Asher and Eliza bypass the car and walk to the edge of the sidewalk.

 

“We’re not taking the car-?” Chloe asks, not exactly brimming with excitement at walking on this beautiful but blustery Valentine’s Day. “- That’s cool. Eliza hold Asher’s hand.”

 

“Gross.” Eliza and Asher jump back in unison, each pulling a disgusted face as Chloe sighs.

 

“You two were just destined to be brother and sister.” Chloe tells them holding her hand out for Asher’s hand as Eliza takes hold of her sister’s.

 

The family walk down the street and to the closest Starbucks which Asher informs the teacher is on the corner two streets across leaving Beca with enough time to watch them and make sure that Chloe is nowhere in sight before scrambling out of her neighbor’s bushes and walking back across the street to the house to get ready for her Valentine’s Day date. Asher pushes open the door and walks in, waving to the barista who is already waiting.

 

“Hi Beth!” Asher greets enthusiastically.

 

“Hi Ash – you must be Chloe.” Beth smiles at the redhead who responds with a wary smile of her own. “I believe this is for you.” Beth hands over a latte to Chloe with a message scrawled across the cup.

 

Well done my love! Now I need to know how well you remember the day we met – I knew you were checking me out.” Chloe rolls her eyes but can’t help but laugh. “Let’s go to the park, kids. Thank you.” Chloe smiles at Beth as she takes a sip of her latte, pleasantly surprised that Beca has got her complicated order perfect.

 

The park is a short walk from Starbucks and aside from the freezing wind in New Orleans; the day was bright and Chloe couldn’t describe how she was feeling as she led her little family to the park but it was a feeling she wishes would never end. Asher and Eliza rush ahead into the playground, heading straight for the monkey bars as Reese clings to Chloe’s side deciding to help her mom try and find the next clue. Chloe stops dead at the entrance to the playground; looking around to try and see if the clue was hidden in plain sight but she couldn’t find it, in fact, she didn’t exactly know what she was looking for.

 

“Mommy, look-” Reese points to a bench which had a piece of paper waving around in the wind from where it was tied. “Clue!” Reese exclaims, grinning that she was the one to find it.

 

“Good job, baby girl.” Chloe coos leaning down to kiss Reese’s forehead before walking and grabbing the clue from the bench; frowning when she rips it slightly.

 

It turns out ripping it made absolutely no difference whatsoever; the piece of paper is blank and Chloe’s seriously about to call Beca and ask her if she forgot to write the clue down on the piece of paper when her phone vibrates in her pocket; Chloe pulls it out and reads the text from an unknown number. It’s an address and Chloe recognizes it from somewhere but she can’t quite put her finger on it – either way, they’re going to need to go back to the house and get the car but hey, she can let the kids have their fun first. Pocketing her phone again; Chloe takes Reese over to the swings and pushes her whilst Asher and Eliza play on everything else.

 

After they leave the park and have gotten back to the house; Chloe piles all three kids in her car, even despite Asher’s two minute monologue and begging for Chloe to let him go inside and get DS because ‘car rides are boring, Chloe.’ Asher eventually gives up and crosses his arms over his chest and pouts and Chloe laughs at the undeniable resemblance he has to Beca in that one action; of course Asher reminds Chloe of Beca in so many other ways but just then, it struck Chloe just how alike the mother and son actually were. Chloe relents easily, taking one last look at the coordinates on the phone and making sure she knows exactly where she’s going before she hands her phone over to Asher and lets him play a game, the bright smile on his face is enough for Chloe to feel warm and satisfied as she pulls out of the driveway and starts driving; allowing Eliza to flip through the radio stations; Reese leans over in her car seat to spy on the game Asher’s playing, Chloe watches through the rearview mirror smiling as she’s stopped at a red light.

 

When Chloe was younger; she dreamt of being a mom someday, she wanted a big family; four or five kids, she wanted to be married, have the house, white picket fence, dog and written about domestic family life that she (sort of) had growing up. Chloe didn’t hate her childhood, in fact, compared to most of her middle school and high school friends back home in Portland, she had the dream family life but that doesn’t mean it came without the hard times. A memory sticks out, she was thirteen and was walking home from school with her older brother when they reached their driveway and noticed suitcases on the lawn; Chloe instantly got excited wondering if their parents were about to surprise them with a vacation but that’s when it started; the screaming, the swearing, the tears and the scared expressions on her younger siblings’ faces. Her mom and dad stood on their porch, screaming at each other at the top of their voices; Chloe was terrified, so much so that her brother pushed her behind him to try and protect her from the shouting. Chloe remembers balling up her brother’s t-shirt in her fists as she screwed her eyes shut, willing herself not to cry, begging herself to wake up and trying to convince herself that this was just a nightmare. That, that’s the moment that sticks out the most for Chloe and she doesn’t think she’ll ever truly forget the way she felt, she truly felt her world crumbling.

 

Of course, it came to nothing drastic in the end; her dad just moved out for a week whilst her parents worked things through before moving back home, but still, it was terrifying for a thirteen year old who had never experienced a situation like that before.

 

Chloe pulls up at the address, looking around, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips when she realizes that she has been sent to a flower shop. Chloe hesitates on stepping out of the car for a few seconds before she’s rounding up her three kids and leading them into the shop.

 

Chloe is looking around, unsure of what she’s supposed to be looking for when the florist walks out, wiping her hands on her apron, she looks up and recognizes Asher instantly.

 

“Hi Ash.” The twenty-something greets the seven year old. “I’m guessing if Asher is here, you must be Chloe and you’re the teacher that Beca spent twenty minutes rambling to me about.”

 

Chloe blushes before holding out her hand. “It’s nice to meet you – and twenty minutes, really?”

 

“I think she would have talked about you all day if I didn’t have a line of customers waiting.” The florist responds, flashing Chloe a bright smile. “She really seems to like you, but that’s just mine and a line of customers’ opinions – I do have something for you.” The florist disappears into the back for a moment; Chloe turns around to find Asher and Eliza having a fight with sunflowers.

 

“Kids!” She exclaims “stop it!”

 

The florist returns with a bouquet of flowers, and Chloe can see at least her top five favorite flowers which confuses her as she’s never actually told Beca about her love for flowers or her favorite flowers but the bouquet is beautiful and Chloe can feel tears in the corners of her eyes as she smiles down at the flowers in her arm, just wondering how she managed to find someone as wonderful as Beca, especially after all the shit she’s been through in relationships, to manage to find someone who talks to strangers about her, that’s something Chloe could have only dreamt of.

 

Chloe takes the card out and reads it.

 

I hope you like the flowers, I tried to use as many flowers that you liked as I could and surprise, they’re all as beautiful as you are… was that lame? Probably. For your next clue, I wanted to surprise you at the place you work.

 

 “We’re going to school kids.” Chloe announces as Eliza and Asher simultaneously groan loudly.

 

“It’s a Saturday.” Asher whines, jutting out his bottom lip. “What kind of loser goes to school on Saturday?”

 

“You.” Eliza sasses in response.

 

“So are you.” Asher sasses back, copying Eliza’s hand on her hip. “But I already knew you were a loser.”

 

Asher runs out of the store to the car before Eliza has realized what exactly he’s said. Chloe just rolls her eyes fondly, thanking the florist before leading her daughters’ out to the car where Asher is waiting. The drive from the flower shop to the elementary school isn’t long but it’s long enough for Chloe to feel a nervous feeling filling her stomach, not so much about what awaits her at school because how bad could it actually be but the feeling filling her stomach is a feeling she forgot existed; she knows it’s only been a short while, so short that Chloe feels weird about knowing she’s falling for Beca – thankfully, Asher shouting out of nowhere brings Chloe out of her thoughts and feelings before she gets too deep. Chloe doesn’t know what she expects to be waiting for her but she doesn’t expect the music teacher to be stood at the entrance of the school; as well as the school choir ready and waiting.

 

“We gotta go, mom.” Eliza gives Chloe a thumbs up before she and Asher jump out of the car and run over to join the rest of the choir.

 

Chloe is speechless as she kills the engine; getting out of the car, she lets Reese out and holds her on her hip as she walks up the grounds to wait in front of the stand. Chloe doesn’t even get a chance to speak before a group of six to eleven year olds are singing a familiar song.

 

Beautiful mind
Your heart got a story with mine
Your heart got me hurting at times
Your heart gave me new kind of highs
Your heart got me feeling so fine
So what to do
Still falling for you
Still falling for you
It took us a while
With every breath a new day
With love on the line
We've had our share of mistakes
But all your flaws and scars are mine
Still falling for you
Still falling for you

And just like that
All I breathe
All I feel
You are all for me
I'm in
And just like that
All I breathe
All I feel
You are all for me
No one can lift me, catch me the way that you do
I'm still falling for you

 

Chloe’s eyes focus on Asher and Eliza who truth be told spend most of the song just smiling goofily and only singing the lyrics they remember but Chloe loves them for it, she loves how their personalities just shone throughout the song, going back to the song, Chloe swears she felt her heart fill with so much undeniable love; she’s in tears and has been since the song started. Eliza and Asher jump down from the stand as soon as the song stops and rush to Chloe, both sharing confused looks.

 

“Happy tears, you two.” Chloe informs them and that’s all it takes for Eliza and Asher to lean forward and wrap their arms around Chloe. “So, so happy.” Chloe murmurs, sniffling but smiling wider than she thinks is humanly possible.

 

 

XxX

 

 

Beca is pacing back and forth, her hands clasped together, her hands on the back of her head, her hands deep in her jeans pockets, she stares at the clock before avoiding it all together. Eliza, Asher and Reese’s overnight bags are in the hallway, near the front door.

 

“This is a terrible idea.” Beca laments. “This is the stupidest idea I’ve ever had in my whole entire life and I lived with you three dummies for ten years.” Beca starts to ramble. “She’s going to reject it, reject me, I’m going to die alone, and Asher is going to kill me for moving schools again. This is a terrible idea.”

 

Jesse, Benji and Amy are sat around the dining table, all watching Beca and trying to stifle their laughter at how nervous the short brunette is.

 

“Don’t think about it like that, Bec. Think about it like this is the most important of your life and you have a lot riding on this.”

 

“I hate you.” Beca grumbles throwing a napkin towards Amy’s head. “This is the worst idea I have ever had. Seriously, Benji, I will kill you if this goes wrong.”

 

Jesse starts to laugh. “Becs, dude, I love you but you really are dumb; how can you not see what all of us see?”

 

“Because I’m in the middle of a gay panic and nobody is helping me!” Beca screeches, digging the palms of her hands into the kitchen counter. “It’s too soon, right? Tell me it’s too soon.”

 

“I knew after a couple of weeks.” Jesse shrugs which only causes Beca to groan loud and grab her head. “Beca, seriously, listen to me.” Jesse stands up from his chair and walks around, holding onto his best friend’s hands and forcing her to look at him. “You’re over-thinking this way too much, this is Chloe we’re talking about, the woman who would walk thousands of miles for you, the same woman who teaches Asher in school but loves him like a son outside of it, the same woman who stares at you like you have the fucking stars in your eyes, got it?”

 

“Got it.” Beca nods, some sort of confidence returning to her voice.

 

The sound of a car in the driveway instantly panics Beca as she reverts back to pacing and muttering incoherent swear words under her breath. Beca stops when she hears the door opening, Asher’s loud voice the first thing she hears until she watches Asher trip over the overnight bags placed near the door and Beca panics; instantly running over and lifting Asher up.

 

“Hi ma!” Asher greets, smiling wide as he wraps his arms around Beca’s neck.

 

“Are you okay, buddy?” Beca breathes out, her breathing slightly shaky as she presses a kiss to the side of her son’s head.

 

“I’m fine, ma.” Asher grins before his eyes light up at the sight of his Aunt and Uncles’, wriggling around until Beca lets him down.

 

Eliza and Reese enter the house next and Amy instantly gestures for the two girls to join her, the six of them hiding in the next room over as Benji continues to shush everyone until they’re silent, except for Asher’s giggling. Beca walks back into the kitchen as Chloe enters the house, digging around her purse and kicking the door shut with her foot. It takes her a second to notice the lack of noise and soft, warm, lighting instead of the usual brightness of Beca’s house.

 

“What – Beca?” Chloe smiles when she notices the brunette in the kitchen, though her smile falters when she notices the nervous expression on her face. “What’s up?” Chloe asks warily as she drops her purse and shrugs off her coat.

 

Beca holds her hand out for Chloe to take; which she does. Beca pulls Chloe closer to her, rubbing her thumbs over the redhead’s knuckles as she takes a deep breath, waiting until she has everything she wants to say in order.

 

“I suck at relationships. I’m not great at them and I blame that entirely on my childhood, I mean; I grew up in a house that was torn apart by fighting and an affair and my relationships in adulthood have lived up to the expectation that I’d follow in my parents’ footsteps but not you, never you. I have known you for exactly a month and a half and in that month and a half; you have opened my eyes to different experiences, to your daughters who I love and would take a bullet for, you have loved Ash as though he was your own son, never treating him differently because he wasn't Eliza or Reese; never treating him as anything more than a student in school. Chloe-” Beca fumbles slightly, feeling sweat above her brow as she still refuses to meet the teacher’s eyes. “Read this.” Beca backs out of what she was going to say. “Final one.”

 

Chloe takes the piece of card that Beca’s holding out to her, dropping the brunette’s hand to open it up and read through it aloud.

 

I can’t even begin to put this into words; you have managed to weave into my heart without so much as an ask for permission, I didn’t realize at first that you did but now that you’re in there, I have absolutely no plans to get you to leave. Domestic life wasn’t for me, it was living with friends, Asher and I and soccer on the weekends. I never imagined I’d be the one to crave the picturesque family life, the white picket fence and big family but the moment I met you, I knew something, and that was that you were about to be a special woman in my life and that Eliza and Reese were about to be more to me than I could ever imagine. I need you to know something, and I know how commercialized you think Valentine’s Day is but I want you to be more than my Valentine. Say yes in precisely five seconds.

 

“Will you be my girlfriend?”

 

“Yes?” Beca and Chloe speak at almost the same time.

 

“That wasn’t five seconds.” Beca teases.

 

“You – really – just – did – huh – you really just did that?” Chloe fumbles over her words, tears filling her eyes as she holds the piece of card in her hand.

 

“Wait-” Beca’s smile falls. “-Why are you crying?” She asks, starting to freak out.

 

“Happy tears, ma!” Asher shouts from where he’s overlooking the pair.

 

“Ash is right.” Chloe chuckles as she steps closer to her girlfriend, her girlfriend.

 

Beca lifts her hand, resting her palm against Chloe’s cheek. It’s cliché to say this but time slowed down, it’s still slow and Beca and Chloe are staring at each other like they’re the only two in the room which is true, but it feels like they’re the only two, they only have eyes for each other.

 

“You know, I thought you’d say no.” Beca murmurs, resting her forehead against Chloe’s.

 

“Say no to dating the hottest mom in second grade? I could never.” Chloe teases, moving her hand to rest against Beca’s hip. “I want those bragging rights.”

 

“Chloe Beale.” Beca laughs. “Are you insinuating I’m just your piece of arm candy because I’m totally fine with that.”

 

“Just kiss me.” Chloe mumbles with an over-exaggerated eye roll.

 

Beca doesn’t need to be asked twice; she leans forward closing the gap; she’s kissing Chloe when cheers and hollers appear in the background from everybody else and Beca manages to flip Jesse off without breaking the kiss; Asher and Eliza too excited to notice the gesture.

 

“I left the flowers in the car.” Chloe suddenly remembers after the kiss is broken and she’s resting her head against Beca’s chest. “I should go and get them but what’s the deal with the bags?”

 

“J and Benji are babysitting for the night?” Beca suggests, the smirk on her lips is evident in her voice.

 

“I love you kids, but goodnight, go with Jesse and Benji; come on.” Chloe snaps her fingers as she walks over to the kids, causing Beca to laugh.

Chapter Text

It takes nearly ten minutes, a lot of pushing and answering dumb questions, pointed smirks from Jesse and Amy, under-the-breath comments from Benji and shared glances for the six of them to leave the house leaving Beca where she was in the kitchen and Chloe leaning back against the front door, her palms pressed into the door as if she moved; the six of them would barge back in and interrupt them.

 

“We’re actually alone.” Chloe breathes out, almost as though she can’t believe that they have somehow managed to get the house to themselves for the entire night. “Pinch me, I’m dreaming.” Chloe sighs, letting her head rest back against the door, Chloe blows a piece of hair out of her face before letting her gaze fall on Beca, her tongue licking over her lips as a smirk tugs at the corners of her lips. “You know-” Chloe starts, a suggestive tint to her voice. “- It might be a long while before we have the house to ourselves like this again…” Chloe trails off, fully smirking now.

 

Chloe Beale.” Beca murmurs and it’s so silky smooth that Chloe can actually feel her knees becoming weak at the sound. “Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”

 

“I want it to sound romantic and suggestive but I haven’t been laid in months so, yes it’s exactly what I’m suggesting.” Chloe hurries out, finally pushing herself off the door.

 

“And they say romance is dead!” Beca exclaims, her lips turning upwards into a grin as she walks across the kitchen to meet her girlfriend halfway. Chloe stops in front of Beca and it gives Beca enough time to lift her hand to let it rest at the back of Chloe’s neck as she brings her forward, connecting their lips in a soft kiss at first and Chloe’s just about to deepen it when she feels Beca nipping at her bottom lip, the protest on the tip of Chloe’s tongue being replaced with a low hiss before Beca is soothing it.

 

“Bedroom?” Chloe suggests already backing away towards the stairs, her hands finding Beca’s hips, not wanting to break the kiss for even a second. Beca stops which nearly causes Chloe to fall backwards on the stairs.

 

“One second-” Beca breaks the kiss and holds a finger up before sliding across the wooden floor to the door and locking it. “- No distractions.”

 

In a few seconds; Beca has her hands tangled in Chloe’s curls as Chloe backs up the stairs and down the hallway, taking a second to remember where Beca’s bedroom is, Chloe fumbles with the door handle on Beca’s bedroom door, struggling to push it down and open it. Beca starts to laugh before pulling away and leaning forward to guide Chloe’s hand to open the door.

 

“It wasn’t that difficult.” Beca teases, trailing after Chloe into the room and wrapping her arms around her waist from behind. “Don’t worry though; you’ll get used to it.”

 

“Are you suggesting this isn’t just a one time thing?” Chloe smirks, already reaching for the hem of her sweater.

 

Beca crosses the room and slips one arm around Chloe’s waist. “Only if you want it to be.”

 

Chloe wraps her own arms around Beca’s neck, seriously debating her options. “For all I know you could be terrible in bed but I think I’ll take my chances and stick around.” Chloe shrugs, playing it off coolly, except she isn’t; there’s a light dusting of pink rising up her neck to reach her cheeks. “Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ll have had worse.” Chloe teases, leaning up and nipping the bottom of Beca’s earlobe.

 

Beca figures they have more time to talk and she wraps her hands up in Chloe’s sweater, bunching the material between her fingers before releasing it and smoothing the sweater out; her lips against Chloe’s neck, Beca fumbles with the hem of Chloe’s sweater; pushing it further up, her nails scratching against Chloe’s stomach causing Chloe to jump slightly at the contact. Beca’s hands continue to rise until they hit the wire of Chloe’s bra.

 

“No shirt.” Beca’s words vibrate against Chloe’s skin.

 

“I was in a rush.” Chloe defends with a laugh “- also, get off.” Chloe (rather forcefully) pushes Beca away from her before she sheds her sweater and throws it haphazardly across the room as it lands in a pile by the door. “I told you I haven’t had sex in months, I don’t need romance.”

 

“Bed?” Beca suggests, pushing Chloe gently back towards her bed.

 

Chloe falls backwards and shuffles to the top of the bed pulling Beca with her and pulling Beca closer if it was possible. Beca’s hands move from Chloe’s waist and to her thighs before slowly (so slowly that she can practically feel Chloe’s frustrations) popping the button on her jeans and pulling them down agonizingly slowly before tossing them over her shoulder.

 

Beca leans down and smashes her lips against Chloe’s in a fiery kiss, Chloe gasps as Beca’s hands grab her thighs again Beca dips her head and starts kissing Chloe’s collarbone which causes her to shiver. Beca breathes out shakily as she looks over Chloe’s body – god her girlfriend was perfect, so beautiful. Beca removes Chloe’s bra and kisses her once more.

 

Beca feels Chloe’s muscles twitch as she runs her fingertips over her stomach, tensing when she gets closer to the top of Chloe’s underwear. Beca continues to pepper kisses all over Chloe’s torso, occasionally sucking on her perky breasts, before she reaches for the waistband of Chloe’s underwear, Beca pulls Chloe to the edge of the bed as she kneels on the floor. She looks up at Chloe as she begins to slowly tease her girlfriend by placing kisses on the inside of her thighs. Chloe leans all the way back on the bed trying to control her breathing, literally dripping with anticipation.

 

“Please.” Chloe begs.

 

Beca places her lips on Chloe’s most sensitive spot, sucking gently through the fabric of her panties, tasting her girlfriend for the first time.

 

“God you’re so wet.”

 

Chloe’s breathing hitches as she feels Beca begin to pull down her underwear, eliminating any barrier between the two. Chloe lets out a loud gasp as she feels Beca’s warm tongue begin to lick her folds, her hands rubbing Chloe’s inner thighs. Beca looks up and watches the taller woman throw her head back and writhe in pleasure as she continues to suck and lick her. Chloe feels like she has no control over her body, she craves the other woman’s touch and finds herself reaching down to grab Beca’s hair to keep the contact.

 

Beca holds Chloe’s hips down as she continues to kiss and lick. Beca’s heart races and her muscles clench knowing how turned on Chloe is and that she is the one making the other woman squirm with pleasure. She takes a long lick at Chloe’s center before breaking contact and working her way back up to face Chloe. Chloe slowly opens her eyes.

 

“You taste so amazing.” Beca says to her as she licks her lips and reaches her hand down, slowly, gently entering Chloe.

 

One finger at first, another follows. Chloe instinctively pushes down into Beca’s hand, consuming her as fully as possible. Beca’s thumb begins to rub her girlfriend’s sensitive spot as she continues to work her fingers in and out, curling them ever so slightly while alternating fast and slow paces, all while she kisses Chloe hungrily. Beca can tell Chloe is almost there when she grabs Beca’s hair and muffles her screams into her shoulder. Beca gives a few final thrusts, before she feels Chloe’s walls clench around her fingers and collapse breathlessly into her arms.

 

After a few seconds Beca regains her focus and looks at Chloe. Chloe lay still, her eyes still closed, her face flush, her mouth slack jawed as she tries to come down off her high. Beca smiles with satisfaction as she places her hand on Chloe’s cheek and gently kissed her on the lips.

 

“Not bad Mitchell.” Chloe’s words are barely above a whisper and there’s a small smirk tugging at the corners of her lips as her eyes flutter. “Top three for sure.”

 

“Think you could do any better?” Beca challenges, her fingers already working into the groove of Chloe’s hip.

 

“You bet.” Chloe smirks, already flipping their positions.

 

 

It’s the loud crashing from the kitchen that wakes Chloe up, the sheet from Beca’s bed is tangled and barely covering her body anymore and the music that Beca’s listening to is far too loud for the time of morning that it is, there’s a strong beat and Chloe is pretty sure she can hear Beca’s bad dancing from up in bed. It takes thirty seconds of tossing and turning, throwing the pillow over her head and Chloe’s loud groan for her to throw the sheet off her and clamber out of bed, feeling a little lightheaded as she scrambles and pulls at Beca’s drawers to open them to pull out a t-shirt that she can put on before reaching for her underwear.

 

It’s when Chloe is standing at the top of the stairs that she begins to recognize the song that’s playing in the kitchen and Chloe can barely contain the bubble of laughter that’s rising up her throat. Chloe takes extra care in walking down the stairs as quietly as she can, skipping over the creaky step that’s third from bottom as she stands at the bottom of the stairs – Beca has her back to her but she’s gyrating, she’s dancing, and she’s lip-syncing – until she’s not.

 

I JUST HAD SEX AND IT FELT SO GOOD…” Beca yells, hands thrown up into the air as she spins around, a spatula in one hand.

 

“So good that you just had to sing about it?”

 

Chloe’s voice is so unexpected that Beca screams a squeaky, high-pitched scream, dropping the spatula to the floor as she glares at Chloe, her cheeks flushing as she catches the smirk on her girlfriend’s face.

 

“That – you’re – awake – fuck.” Beca splutters, trying to formulate a response but she’s too flustered and Chloe is not about to let her off that easily.

 

Chloe slides across the kitchen, sliding an arm around Beca’s waist. “So – I really rocked your world last night, huh? How many girls have made you scream like that?”

 

Don’t answer it.

 

It’s a trick question.

 

Beca don’t you fucking dare.

 

“Just a few.”

 

Really, Beca?

 

The front door swings open a second later and Asher and Eliza are bounding into the house, their backpacks swinging behind them as Chloe shrieks, jumping down behind the kitchen table to hide the fact she’s not wearing pants and the shirt she’s wearing is barely reaching her thighs – yes she does momentarily forget that both Jesse and Benji will not care and if anything, Amy will just make a crude comment that will have Asher and Eliza asking questions that Beca and Chloe just won’t be able to answer.

 

“Incoming, ma!” Asher screams at the top of his voice as he launches himself into Beca’s waiting arms.

 

Asher hooks his legs around Beca’s waist as Beca spins him around until she’s pretty sure that Asher is going to puke from motion sickness. Eliza walks into the kitchen next, her hand in Reese’s as she leans up on her tiptoes to try and spot her mom when she notices the familiar locks of red hair, Eliza frowns.

 

“Mom, why are you hiding?” Eliza asks as Reese bends down, waving to Chloe under the table.

 

Chloe waves back because of course she does.

 

“I’m not hiding darlings, I’m just – I’m just – uh-” Chloe quickly looks around before snatching at a towel from the floor behind her, for once feeling grateful for Beca’s tendency to not do her laundry. “I’m here.” Chloe jumps up, holding the towel around her waist and smiles down at her two daughters. “Come and give me a hug.” Chloe kneels down and holds one arm open as Eliza and Reese come barreling towards her and hug her.

 

Asher wriggles around until Beca lets him down from the bone-crushing hug she’s giving him so that he can run and join into the family hug that’s going down with Chloe which gives both Amy and Jesse the opportunity to slide in and join Beca’s side.

 

“You had sex.” It isn’t a question, it’s more of an observation that Amy states, and by the way the blood starts rising up Beca’s neck until it hits her cheeks is the only confirmation that both of her best friends need. “That makes one of us.” Amy grumbles. “I think I’m going to break up with – with-” Amy snaps her fingers as she tries to remember the name of her current boyfriend.

 

“Adam?”

 

“Adam!” Amy exclaims “yeah – I’m not – we’re not – he’s not my type.”

 

“I told you, Bec. It wouldn’t last longer than two months; I’ll take my prize winnings in cash.” Jesse smirks causing Beca to roll her eyes.

 

“You – you seriously couldn’t stick it out for another two weeks?” Beca grumbles, glaring at Amy as the blonde holds her hands up in defense.

 

“Hey – do you think we should tell Chloe that her – um – towel fell?” Benji chimes in as he nods towards the stairs where Chloe is walking up, Eliza and Asher in front of her as she carries Reese on her hip, the towel four steps behind them.

 

“Nah, she looks hot.” Beca smirks

 

 

XxX

 

 

The following week is never-ending, with Chloe being weighed down at school with meetings and open houses, Beca takes an unscheduled vacation from the bar to make sure that she can wrangle their three kids and give Chloe the confidence and reassurance that the three kids are going to be okay whilst she’s working – it also doesn’t help that tempers seem to be flaring with Asher and Eliza and Reese’s third birthday and her party both fall on the Saturday leaving Beca with just one day to go and buy all of Reese’s birthday decorations, pick up her cake, keep Asher and Eliza from brutally murdering each other (yes they’re seven but they’re deadly) and making sure that the planning for Reese’s birthday is all done and done to Chloe’s high expected standards.

 

Beca has picked Asher and Eliza up from school, they’re in the kitchen eating cookies under the promise that they won’t tell Chloe a thing and Reese is napping on the couch because she’s been grouchy and moody for the last three hours which gives Beca enough opportunity to sit at the breakfast bar in Chloe’s kitchen and scan through the list that Chloe gave her, checking off with a purple pen what she’s completed. Beca is tapping the pen against the counter when she hears Asher call Eliza dumb.

 

“Ash.” Beca warns, spinning around and pointing the pen at her son. “Don’t call Eliza dumb.”

 

“I didn’t call Eliza dumb.” Asher sasses back. “I called Esmeralda dumb.” Asher explains, smiling a toothy grin when Beca furrows her eyebrows.

 

It’s not a surprise when a dumbstruck Beca asks “who or what is Esmeralda?”

 

Asher points to Eliza who in turn looks up from where she’s making a pile of cookie crumbs on her plate, turning her head, she smiles at Beca and waves.

 

“Ma meet Esmeralda, Esmeralda meet ma.” Asher introduces the pair.

 

Beca blinks three times in quick succession as she slowly drops the pen in her hand to the couch, the new information just sinking in.

 

“Eliza, what’s going on?” Beca asks, shocked and offended when Eliza just turns back around and ignores her. “Eliza, Eliza? El? Oh-” the realization hits her a few seconds later as she stands up and walks across the kitchen to sit down in the chair beside Eliza.

 

“Esmeralda, do you want to tell me what’s going on?” Beca asks, fighting back the urge to laugh at the name choice although she’s impressed – a sassy sounding name for a sassy girl.

 

“Sure.” She replies, grinning, her front tooth missing as she turns back around to look at Beca. “Denver Owens called my name stupid because he’s stupid so I changed my name.”

 

“Don’t call my best friend stupid!” Asher exclaims from where he’s sitting opposite Eliza.

 

“You’re too stupid to see how stupid he is.” Eliza sasses back, glaring at Asher which has Beca slam her hands down on the table with a little too much ferocity which causes both children to shut up, but she doesn’t necessarily scold them for raising their voices and for Eliza calling Asher stupid – hence, why Chloe calls her a soft touch.

 

“I think Esmeralda is a pretty name; a pretty name for a pretty girl.” Beca soothes, brushing her hand through Eliza’s hair as Eliza, smiles. “But you’re telling your mom you changed your name, not me.”

 

 

Asher has eaten most of the food prepped for dinner by the time Chloe comes home, grumbling as she kicks off her boots and drops her bag by the front door, kicking the door closed behind her. Reese is sitting on the kitchen floor, an array of colored crayons beside her as she colors in the coloring book that she put into the shopping cart the other day (giving Beca no choice but to pay for it to save herself from a bucketful of Reese’s tears) whilst Eliza is sat at the kitchen table doing her math homework like the straight A student she is. Chloe blows her hair out of her face as she walks through the house, stopping when she reaches her kitchen and reveling in the fact that she gets to come home to her four favorite people every day.

 

“Hi Chloe!” Asher beams, waving wildly from where he’s sat on the counter. “How was work?!” He asks a little too loudly.

 

Chloe smiles as she crosses the kitchen, standing in front of Asher as she wraps him in a hug and kisses his forehead. “My day was very busy but very productive. How was your day, my sweet boy? Have you done your math homework?” Chloe asks (teasing him slightly).

 

“Not yet; ma said I could help with dinner first.” Asher answers, grinning wide.

 

“Okay, sweetie, just promise you’ll do it before bed.” Chloe smiles softly as she holds her pinky out to him. Asher doesn’t even skip a beat before wrapping his pinky around Chloe’s. “Hi babe.” Chloe chimes as she leans over to kiss Beca on the cheek.

 

“Hi love, there’s wine in the fridge.” Beca tells her without taking her eyes off the chicken she’s frying.

 

“You’re the best, have I ever told you that?” Chloe grins, kissing Beca’s cheek again before she rounds the kitchen counter and kneels down in front of Reese, stifling her laughter at the fact that Reese still hasn’t noticed that her mom’s returned home.

 

“Hi baby girl.” Chloe coos as she nudges Reese’s knee.

 

Reese looks up, dropping the red crayon in her hand onto the floor. “Hi mommy!” Reese giggles loudly, scrambling to her feet and rushing into Chloe’s arms as Chloe lifts her up and hugs her. “I miss y’o mommy.”

 

Chloe lets Reese babble about her day as Chloe walks over to sit at the kitchen table, in the seat opposite Eliza who is still concentrating hard on her homework.

 

“Eliza, hi, hey, El?” Chloe snaps her fingers to try and get her eldest’s attention. Beca and Asher laugh from over by the oven. “Eliza?” Chloe repeats. “Eliza, don’t ignore me.”

 

“Mommy, Eliza new name.” Reese murmurs.

 

“Eliza has a new name? Care to explain my sweet oldest daughter?”

 

“Hi mom.” Eliza looks up and waves. “The mean lady in the front office wouldn’t let me change my name, she said I needed you so can you please fix it?” Eliza asks politely, grinning wide before returning to her homework.

 

“Okay – so what new name have you come up with, sweet girl?” Chloe asks.

 

“Esmeralda!” Asher screams out in response before receiving a glare from Beca.

 

Esmeralda.” Chloe sounds the name out, raising her eyebrows as she does; Reese is draped over her lap, leaning back against Chloe’s chest and she’s struggling to say the name, sounding it out in the same way that her mom had.

 

“Eliza.”

 

No response.

 

“Esmeralda?”

 

“Yes mom?” She looks up at Chloe.

 

“Let’s talk, okay, sweetie.” Chloe stands up, letting Reese down carefully as the toddler rushes into the room.

 

Eliza abandons her homework and follows Chloe into the living room; Asher and Beca following to (after Beca remembers to lower the heat on the stove). Chloe is curled up on the couch with Eliza in her arms, Reese is sat on the couch beside them and Beca sits on the coffee table; lifting Asher up to sit on her knee as she wraps her arms around her son.

 

“Sweetheart; do you know why you’re called Eliza?” Chloe asks already knowing that Eliza doesn’t know. “When you were born, your dad and I were so scared of being parents; we didn’t know how to do the simple things, we were going through life together with only the two of us to look after but suddenly we had you – a tiny, adorable, human-” Chloe tickles Eliza causing her to giggle loudly. “- and we realized just how little we knew but there was a woman in the hospital, she had just had her fourth baby and I started talking to her and I told her how scared I was and she helped me with you for those first few days in hospital and the day we were ready to leave; you still didn’t have a name but the woman returned to our room with a bag, it had old baby clothes from her daughter, three books, your stuffed rabbit from your bed and her phone number in case we needed any help.” Chloe exclaims. “Do you want to know this woman’s name?”  Chloe asks, Eliza nods, “Elizabeth, which is your name. We named you after an amazing woman who without her help, your dad and I would probably not have known how to look after you for that first year.”

 

Asher looks up at Beca, smiling, Beca smiles back as she hugs Asher tighter.

 

“But if you still want to be called Esmeralda, then that’s cool with me.” Chloe shrugs. “Come on, Esmeralda; time to help get ready for dinner.”

 

Eliza sighs overdramatically. “Mom, my name is Eliza.”

 

“I thought it might be.” Chloe laughs as she releases Eliza from her arms.

 

 

XxX

 

 

It’s 5:30AM.

 

On a Saturday.

 

There’s a loud crash, yelling, the sounds of packets and boxes being ripped open and it takes Beca and Chloe around a minute to realize that it’s Reese’s birthday and there are three children downstairs without them with presents at the waiting.

 

“Fuck.” Beca curses when she’s awake enough to realize, pushing the blankets off her, she shares a panicked glance with Chloe before both women are running downstairs and into the living room.

 

It’s empty; the noise is coming from the kitchen which theoretically should be a more dangerous situation for their seven and now three year olds to be in but Beca and Chloe take their time walking into the kitchen; both smiling lazily when they spy Reese sitting at the kitchen table wearing a tiara from her dress-up box, her stuffed monkey sitting on the chair beside her. Asher and Eliza are stood on the stool, clinging onto each other in the small space as they pull at ready-made pancake batter packets and eat chocolate chips from the open packet on the counter. Beca and Chloe exchange a glance before Chloe is walking over to their eldest two and Beca is swiping Reese up from her chair and swinging her around.

 

“Happy birthday, lovebug!” Beca sings kissing Reese’s cheek as she sets Reese on her hip. “What does my favorite three year old want for breakfast?”

 

“Pancakes!” Reese exclaims. “Ch’colate chip!”

 

“Whatever the birthday Warrior Princess wants, the birthday Warrior Princess gets.” Beca muses as she leans in, nuzzling her nose into Reese’s cheek.

 

“Birthday Warrior Princess?” Chloe chimes in, finally looking up from where she’s cleaning Asher and Eliza’s mess up on the counter; the pair of seven year olds, sitting at the breakfast bar, fighting over the remaining chocolate chips. “Did you let Reese watch Thor again?” Chloe asks, already knowing the answer, especially when Beca avoids her eyes.

 

“She asked!” Beca exclaims trying to defend herself.

 

Oh babe, I’m sure she did.” Chloe laughs as she opens one of the cupboards, grabbing another packet of chocolate chips and gathering the rest of the ingredients for pancakes. “I bet she also climbed up the wall and grabbed the DVD from the shelf, put it in and turned the TV on.”

 

“She’s a clever girl.” Beca shrugs, sitting Reese down on the counter, glancing over to Chloe long enough to see the eye roll that her girlfriend gives her.

 

“The bounce house company said that they would be here around eight; you can sign and assist them setting up right?” Chloe asks, whisking the pancake batter as Beca looks up from where she’s playing with Reese.

 

“Yes-” Beca answers. “- Why can’t you do it though?” She asks.

 

“I’m going to pick Aubrey, Stacie and their girls up from the airport and I’m going to need you to finish decorating the house and the backyard – you can have El and Ash help – I need to pick the cake up and – uh – there’s so much to do.” Chloe talks aloud, barely even focusing her words at Beca at this point. “You know I hate most of the parents that are coming? Oh god – there’s this one mom and she is a total nightmare so you’re going to have to hold me back because I might actually slap her.”

 

It’s Eliza and Asher’s laughter that shuts Chloe up, the redhead glancing back over her shoulder and meeting the amused expressions on her family’s faces. Chloe blushes slightly as she pours the first ladleful of batter into the pan and within ten minutes; the family are sat around the kitchen table, pulling at pancakes, laughing – except for Reese who is agitated and keeps twisting in her seat to see the pink, three, balloon that’s floating in the living room. The kids can’t eat their breakfast fast enough and as soon as their plates are empty; Asher is out of his chair heading straight for the living room with Eliza helping Reese down. The three of them get to the kitchen doorway when Beca’s voice stops them.

 

“Not until we’re finished.” Beca warns, laughing slightly when three sets of shoulders slump in unison as the three of them sit down on the floor by the door, staring at Beca and Chloe as they continue to eat at a snail’s pace just to annoy them.

 

“Ma.” Asher whines, tapping his wrist under his dressing gown sleeve as he stares up at Beca who is sipping her cup of coffee. “We’re not getting any younger.”

 

Chloe laughs and Beca nearly spits out the mouthful of coffee she has; glaring at her kid, she puts the near-empty coffee cup on the table and holds her arms out, glancing back to Chloe who just shrugs.

 

“Let them go.” She mouths to Beca. “What’s the worst that could happen, it’s only presents.”

 

“Go on.” Beca makes a shooing gesture towards the living room, the three kids miss the smirk making its way to Beca’s lips.

 

Beca and Chloe clean up the table, filling the dishwasher when three sets of footsteps approach them.

 

“No?” Reese’s voice is small.

 

Beca turns around and lifts Reese up. “Yes.” Beca tells her, taking her into the living room as Chloe follows with both hands on Asher and Eliza’s shoulders.

 

Beca takes Reese over to the TV stand, leaning down and opening the wooden cupboard; revealing four presents; Beca takes them out and places them on the floor, before she’s standing up and reaching behind the TV bringing out the rest of Reese’s presents and placing them down on the floor in front of the excited toddler.

 

“You really thought we could trust you three whilst we were asleep?” Beca raises her eyebrow as she stands with her arms crossed, a satisfied smirk on her face.

 

Asher and Eliza both wear identical sheepish facial expressions before they rush to join Reese and her presents; offering help to open the presents with the occasional audible asking of ‘why is my birthday so far away?’

 

Beca is left on clean-up duty whilst Chloe rushes upstairs to get ready to go and pick up her friends from the airport and the three kids disappear into the backyard; Asher and Eliza shouldn’t be but they are left in charge of Reese’s new bike, though if Chloe was to ask – Beca definitely had her eyes on the three of them the entire time.

 

“I’ll be back soon, get them ready?!” Chloe asks, already pulling on her shoes as she leans against the front door.

 

“Don’t forget the cake!” Beca shouts after her. “Lov- I’ll see you later!” Beca shouts, swallowing thickly as Chloe shuts the front door behind her.

 

“You love mom.”

 

It’s not a question.

 

Eliza is standing in front of Beca, staring up at the brunette as she rocks back and forth on her heels, her hands behind her back; Asher and Reese’s voices loud from outside as Asher holds onto the handlebars of Reese’s bike as she rides it.

 

“Do you hear everything?” Beca asks Eliza, throwing the last of the paper into the trash as she wipes her hands on her pajama pants.

 

“Only the good stuff.” Eliza answers casually, trailing Beca as the brunette walks from the kitchen to the living room to tidy Reese’s new presents into a neat pile underneath the window. “You didn’t answer me.”

 

“You didn’t ask me a question.” Beca informs her, stopping and standing in front of Eliza. “- But, because we’re talking about it; maybe I do love your mom. Is that cool?” Beca asks kneeling down in front of Eliza.

 

“Will you leave?” Eliza asks.

 

Eliza is a strong kid, she’s sassy, she’s smart and can hold her own with anybody but standing in front of Beca, her bottom lip quivering as she looks down at the floor; Beca’s heart wretches. Taking hold of the seven year olds hands, Eliza looks up and meets Beca’s eyes.

 

“I’m not going anywhere.” Beca promises,

 

“That’s what Rose said, that’s what dad said.” Eliza mumbles and suddenly it starts to make sense.

 

Beca braces herself, she steadies herself as Eliza falls into her arms, hiccupping and crying softly as Beca runs her hand through her un-brushed hair, Beca holds Eliza close to her chest as Eliza screws her eyes shut, her hand grasping the sleeve of Beca’s pajama shirt so tightly as though the moment she lets go, Beca’s going to disappear and it breaks Beca’s heart to see her in so much pain. Eliza finally opens her eyes and she looks up at Beca, through teary eyes.

 

“This isn’t fair.” She mumbles, her lips still shaking. “He was my dad, why did it have to happen to him?” Eliza asks.

 

Beca’s lost for words.

 

It gets her thinking.

 

She thinks about her own dad, it’s been a long sixteen years since she last spoke to him, she watched him leave from her bedroom window; she remembers her mom standing on the front porch, on her knees as she begged him not to leave; Beca remembers her dad looking up to her bedroom window, they held a gaze for a few seconds before he shut the trunk of his car, got in and drove away. Beca had just sighed, a single tear falling down her cheek as she left her room, bounding down the stairs and out of the house, grabbing her mom’s arm as she fell into her, sobbing, heart-wrenchingly. Beca had held her mom, aware of their neighbors eyes on her – in that moment, Beca swore that she would never forgive him for tearing their family apart but as Beca looks down at Eliza, she feels differently.

 

“Life is cruel, kiddo and takes away the people we love most to hurt us, to test us but you know he loved you and you loved him so that’s the thing you have to hold onto, okay?” Beca knows she’s useless at this but when Eliza nods against her chest and sits up, a small smile on her face; Beca realizes she’s done something right.

 

Eliza wraps her arms around Beca’s neck. “Me and Reese are lucky to have you.” Eliza whispers.

 

Beca isn’t crying. Beca doesn’t cry. Beca will not cry. Beca’s fighting back tears as she hugs Eliza back.

 

“Go and tell them two to stop playing so we can dressed before your mom gets home.” Beca ushers Eliza out towards the backyard, standing up, dusting herself off as she looks around Chloe’s living room.

 

She quickly jogs upstairs whilst the kids are still playing, finding her phone on charge; she unplugs it and pulls the case off the back of it. She moves her license out of the way and grabs the piece of green paper, sitting on the bed, she holds the paper between her thumb and forefinger for a second; a heavy feeling settling at the pit of her stomach as she stares at it. Her mom gave it to her before she disappeared on her year long adventure with the words

 

Use it.”

 

Beca had promised she would, that she would finally start mending the damage that her father’s affair caused but she had just stuck it in the back of her phone case and left it untouched for the entire year; she hates to admit it but she really wishes her mom wasn’t right when she had wrapped her arms around Beca and said ‘just because you act like it, I know you miss him. Use this.

 

“Ma, can I wear my Captain America suit?” Asher asks, causing Beca to jump and twist her body around to face her son at the door.

 

“Only if I can be Iron Man.” Beca winks at him causing Asher to pump his fists as he turns and runs down the hall towards the spare bedroom at the end of the hallway.

 

Beca sticks the paper back in her phone case before slipping her license and phone back in and leaving it aside on the bedside table before she leaves the bedroom to go and get Reese dressed – is it a bad idea to let the birthday girl pick her outfit?

 

Eliza is wearing a sundress with a jean jacket, Asher is dressed as Captain America and through her two eldest’s assistance; they decided to let Reese wear a dress and forget their Warrior Princess idea for the time-being. Reese rides her bike along the patio as Beca gets to work setting up the tables, meeting the guys from the bounce house company and having them set up the castle bounce house; she teaches Asher and Eliza how to blow up the balloons using the pump – although they both spend more time whacking each other with the balloons than blowing them up. Doing the single parent thing for seven years with best friends who spent their mornings hungover; taught Beca how to speed set up events by the time her friends finally rolled out of bed complaining of whiskey hangovers and regret.

 

Beca has just got dressed and is walking down the stairs when the front door opens and Aubrey enters the house.

 

“Mitchell, are you ever off that damn phone?”

 

Beca looks up, grinning wide as she pockets her phone, skipping down the final few steps as she brings Aubrey into a hug, looking over the blonde’s shoulder to the brunette pushing a twin stroller with two sleeping babies in it.

 

“Oh my – is this the twins?” Beca asks, keeping her arm wrapped around Aubrey as the blonde turns around to look at her daughters lovingly.

 

“No, we just grabbed some random babies from the airport and thought what the hell.” Aubrey’s voice is dripping with sarcasm so Beca doesn’t feel bad about kicking out at her ankle.

 

Beca kneels down in front of the stroller, her hand resting on the edge of the stroller. “Which one is which?” She asks looking up at the brunette behind the stroller.

 

“The left is Hadley and the right is Callie – also, hey, I’m Stacie but trust me, I’m used to not getting as much attention nowadays because of these cuties.”

 

“You’re still the only woman I see, babe.” Aubrey chimes in, rounding the stroller and kissing Stacie’s cheek.

 

“No, it’s cool, really, I don’t need any help, nope, definitely good.”

 

The three women turn around and look at Chloe balancing the pink cake box in one hand and two bags in another; Aubrey turns around and looks at Beca.

 

“Really, Bec? Another girl that has you losing the ability to be a fully functioning human being?” Aubrey teases earning Beca flipping her off in return before the brunette is slipping out of the house and walking down the driveway to meet her girlfriend.

 

Beca takes the cake and opens the lid. “You fell for it?” She asks Chloe as Chloe shuts the car door, swinging one of the bags over her shoulder.

 

“I can’t believe they managed to make a Warrior Princess cake look so cute and girly for a three year old!” Chloe exclaims before starting to laugh. “It’s impressive, I’ll give you that – wait, Reese isn’t dressed as a warrior is she?”

 

“No-” Beca responds. “- We thought we’d dress her in the dress you not so subtly chose last night.”

 

“That’s my girl.” Chloe coos leaning up to kiss Beca’s cheek before she locks her car and walks up the driveway with Beca trailing after her.

 

 

It’s midday when people start to arrive; mainly classmates of Eliza and Asher’s who have younger siblings, it’s parents and children from the neighborhood; it’s Jesse, Benji and Amy who walk through the gate straight into the backyard holding six packs of beer and a bottle of vodka and it’s Chloe pacing nervously in the kitchen. Chloe stops pacing for a second, stopping in front of the door and looking straight at Beca from where she’s explaining to Asher that just because his Aunt Amy is drinking beer it doesn’t mean that he can – unless he pulls a high school party and gets drunk when Chloe and Beca are on vacation. Beca ruffles her son’s hair before she’s walking towards the house and taking Chloe into her arms.

 

“Everybody’s having fun.”

 

“It’s not that.” Chloe shakes her head, dropping her head onto Beca’s shoulder. “My parents are coming, you haven’t met them, this is going to be a disaster – I should have given you more warning, I know you probably don’t want to meet them – fuck – why did I invite them?”

 

“Why did you invite them to their own Granddaughter’s third birthday party? I have no idea.” Beca smirks which brings a small smile to Chloe’s lips and her shoulders relaxing. “Also, I was going to meet them eventually, right? Plus, if there’s a lot of people here then they’re less likely to make a scene when they realize how despicable I am.”

 

Chloe knows Beca’s joking. “Don’t.” Chloe whines “you don’t know my parents.”

 

“If they’re anything like you then I’m going to love them.” Beca soothes, rubbing Chloe’s shoulders as she forces her girlfriend to look at her. “How bad can they actually be?”

 

“You’ll find out; seriously, please – just have an open mind.” Chloe whispers, leaning up and kissing Beca twice before leaving her to go out into the backyard.

 

“You’re as pale as Casper.” Jesse comments whilst walking up to the house with two beers in his hand, giving one to Beca.

 

“I just found out I’m meeting my girlfriend’s parents. I haven’t met my girlfriend’s parents since high school. High School, Jesse. I’m nearly thirty!” Beca exclaims; now that Chloe’s not in earshot, Beca can reveal just truly how terrified she is; she may be good at hiding her true feelings behind sarcasm and jokes but the thought of meeting anybody’s parents is bad enough, but something about Chloe’s parents puts the fear of God into her. “What if I screw this up? Oh my god, Asher will kill me if I have to break up with Chloe and I’m sure that Eliza will never forgive me.”

 

Jesse tips the bottle in Beca’s hand upward until the top reaches her lips and she takes a long drink.

 

“Better?” Jesse asks her.

 

“Better.” Beca confirms.

 

“Can I be honest?” Jesse asks.

 

“When has that ever stopped you before?” Beca shoots back with a wink.

 

Jesse laughs. “Dude, all any parent wants is for their kid to find someone who loves them and cares for them and wants the best for them; somebody that is going to treat their child the way they know they deserve to be treated and you know that’s how much you love and care about Chloe and those girls out there.” Jesse nods towards where Chloe is dancing with Reese on her back and her hand in Eliza’s. “You might say the wrong thing to her parents but so what? They’re going to see how much those three mean to you and like you for that alone.”

 

“You don’t think I’ll screw up?” Beca asks him, digging her palm into the kitchen counter as she picks at the label on the beer bottle.

 

“Oh, I’m convinced you’ll say something stupid but no, you’re not going to screw up so badly that they ban you from dating their daughter.” Jesse answers, a reassuring hand on his best friend’s shoulder.

 

 

Beca is sitting down cradling a sleeping Callie Conrad-Posen when Chloe walks outside with an older man and woman following.

 

“Mom, dad, I want you to meet my girlfriend; Beca.” Chloe introduces them, pointing to Beca. “Bec, this is my mom Melissa and my dad Mark.”

 

“I thought you told us she only had one child?” Is the first thing Mark says when he looks down at Callie in Beca’s arms.

 

“She does; she’s mine; good to see you again Mr. Beale.” Aubrey steps in, lifting Callie out of Beca’s arms to let Beca stand up and shake both parents’ hands.

 

“I do, I have a son; Asher, he’s over there.” Beca points over to where Asher is badly attempting a back-flip on the bounce house. “Asher! Come here, I have two people I want you to meet!” Beca shouts, gesturing for him to join her.

 

Asher who shed his Captain America costume for a flannel shirt and jeans, runs across the backyard and stops in front of Beca as Beca drapes her arms over his shoulder.

 

“Ash, these are Chloe’s parents, say hello.”

 

Asher’s not a shy kid but the second he reaches up and takes hold of both of Beca’s hands; Beca realizes that something’s up. Leaning down, Beca wraps her arms around Asher as he turns to face her, shaking his head.

 

“Go and talk to your Uncle Jesse, okay?” Beca says to him, softly; letting him go and watching as he runs down the stairs and straight across, crashing into Jesse. “I’m sorry – he’s never usually this shy.” Beca apologizes as she stand up straight again, smiling a little when she feels Chloe link her own arm through hers.

 

“Most children are clingy sometimes, but clinginess comes and goes. Shyness doesn’t go away over time, but shy children can learn to be more confident and comfortable interacting with other people.” Melissa chimes in. “You can help Asher practice and learn by giving him the chance to be around others, encouraging and praising ‘brave’ social behavior, showing him how to act in social situations, and supporting but not over-comforting him in social situations.”

 

“Mom.” Chloe warns. “Please, don’t do this. Not now.” Chloe continues through gritted teeth.

 

“She has a point, Chlo. She’s just trying to help.” Mark sympathizes, looking between his wife and daughter.

 

“You are not using Asher as another one of your projects, so get that crazy idea out of your head now.” Chloe mutters, tightening her grip on Beca’s arm as she stares at her parents. “Just go and see your granddaughters, please.”

 

Melissa and Mark walk past Chloe and down to the backyard; Chloe sighs in relief as she lets go of Beca and runs a hand through her hair.

 

“So, those are my parents and if you haven’t already realized, yes, my mom’s a child psychologist so I bet you know just how much fun my childhood was.” Chloe grumbles, crossing her arms over her chest. “Please don’t listen to anything she said about Asher, we both know that’s not what was wrong.”

 

“So-” Beca digs her hands into her jeans pockets. “- This is what you meant by keeping an open mind?”

 

“She’s a godsend back home; families love her because she spouts the same stupid bullshit about their kids when it isn’t true. I love her but I wish she didn’t bring her job into everything.” Chloe continues to pace the patio. “Wait a minute.” Chloe skips down the patio steps and crosses the backyard, wrapping her arms around Asher from behind. “Hey buddy, you okay?”

 

“I’m okay.” Asher answers, twisting in Chloe’s arms. “I just want your mom and dad to like me.” Asher frowns as he says it and Chloe feels a tug at her heartstrings.  

 

“You think they won’t like you?” Chloe asks, kneeling down so that she’s eye level with Asher. “Why do you think they won’t like you, sweetie?” Chloe asks brushing Asher’s hair out of his eyes.

 

“Because I’m not your real kid.” Asher answers solemnly as he drops his gaze to the ground.

 

Chloe hugs Asher as tightly as she possibly can, kissing the top of his head. “Darling, I love you so much, you know I do and just because I haven’t known you since the day you were born, it changes nothing. I love you, you’re my little boy.” Chloe smoothes Asher’s hair. “My mom and dad are going to love you, just be the amazing kid that you are.”

 

“I love you.” Asher mumbles as he wraps his arms around Chloe’s neck, hugging her.

 

 

XxX

 

 

Chloe was right, once she had reassured Asher; she stood back and watched as Asher ran over to her parents, sticking his hand out and shaking theirs, smiling, introducing himself and making them laugh within minutes. The candles on Reese’s warrior cake were lit and with a (little) help from Asher and Eliza; the three candles were blown out and everybody ate a slice of cake. The party drew to a close around six and Chloe’s parents left with the promise of meeting up again tomorrow to spend some much needed family time together – Beca noticing the forced nature of Chloe’s smile as she closed the door on her parents. Reese had crashed, all tuckered out from her big day; Eliza and Asher stayed on the bounce house for an hour longer, until they were both too exhausted to continue. Chloe and Beca started to clean up the party and around nine, once the backyard was in a reasonable enough state; Benji, Jesse, Amy, Aubrey and Stacie (plus the twins) returned with more alcohol. With Reese, Asher and Eliza all safely tucked in bed and the stroller just inside the kitchen where Aubrey could keep an eye on them. The seven adults sat down in a circle on the patio; a scene that was reminiscent of Jesse, Benji, Amy and Beca’s days at college; the alcohol started flowing.

 

After Amy finishes telling the story of the time that she and Beca got a sheep stuck in the apartment and Aubrey is too drunk to coherently know what she’s doing and saying; she’s leaning into Jesse’s side and she starts giggling out of nowhere.

 

“Jesse and I dated in college!” She blurts out causing the laughter and conversations to die down.

 

“What?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“You’re gay!”

 

Amy and Beca who are both sharing a bottle of tequila start laughing out of nowhere, the tequila bottle in Beca’s hand spilling over a little. Benji and Stacie look at each other before looking at their partners, both with their jaws dropped and staring at them, puzzled. Chloe looks at Beca and Amy struggling to keep themselves from keeling over from laughing so hard.

 

“How – how – I can’t-” Amy waves her hands wildly as falls into Beca’s lap.

 

“How did you think they both realized they were gay?!” Beca screams out before starting to laugh again.

 

Stacie and Benji still stare at Aubrey and Jesse in complete shock until they both start laughing.

 

“I can’t believe you once thought you were straight.” Chloe leans back on her hands as she looks between Jesse and Aubrey.

 

“No offence babe, but so did you.” Aubrey pouts, resting her hand on Chloe’s shoulder.

 

 

It’s around eleven when everybody leaves; Benji and Stacie regretting being the only two sober when they have to haul everybody’s drunken asses into Stacie’s rental Range Rover. Chloe waits until they’re completely out of sight before she’s back in the house. Beca’s sitting on the couch, rubbing the side of her head. Chloe leans over the back of the couch, kissing Beca, smiling before leaning back.

 

“I’m going to bed, you coming?” Chloe asks, resting her forehead against Beca’s.

 

Beca looks down at her phone which is lying on the couch beside her. “I’ll be up soon, I’m just going to turn everything off down here.”

 

“Okay, love; don’t be long.” Chloe kisses Beca’s cheek before standing up straight and walking towards the stairs.

 

Beca waits until Chloe is out of sight before she reaches for her phone, pulling the case off and grabbing the piece of green paper, unfolding it and looking down at the phone number scrawled on it. She takes a deep breath before typing the phone number and calling it; she feels her heart rate increasing by the second as the phone rings.

 

“Hello?”

 

The voice is gruff, older, deeper than she remembers but suddenly Beca feels like a thirteen year old again and she feels tears prickling the corners of her eyes.

 

“Hello? Is somebody there?”

 

Beca ends the call and drops her phone to the couch, pulling her knees to her chest and dropping her head. Her body shakes with sobs as digs her fingers into her jeans. Beca doesn’t know how long she’s been crying or what time it is when Chloe finds her but when Chloe wraps her still-shaking body in her arms and whispers that it’s going to be okay. Beca doesn’t believe her but she holds on tighter, the only thing she remembers is Chloe kissing her forehead before she falls asleep.

Chapter Text

Beca’s awake a little after seven-thirty; Chloe’s still asleep on the couch and Beca is shuffling around the kitchen, ducking and dodging the counter in the dark as she starts breakfast; giving herself just enough time to have breakfast cooking before Chloe wakes up, shaken that she’s woken up on the couch, before complaining about the whisky hangover she’s going to have, taking a second to realize it’s in fact Sunday and their children aren’t late for school before she remembers the events of last night and comes looking for Beca, trying to make her talk – this way, Beca can push away any start of a conversation by cooking bacon and going to wake up their brood.

 

She’s pressing the spatula down onto a piece of bacon, her free hand gripping the kitchen counter next to the stove, her knuckles are turning white as the voice replays in her head; he sounded so familiar yet so unfamiliar; if Beca closed her eyes and listened hard enough she could hear the whistle in his voice; the same whistle that would be more prominent when he’d put her bed and read her a bedtime story when she was a little girl. Beca’s been angry and hurt for sixteen years, she was so blinded by her anger that she didn’t realize how much she missed the little things like bedtime, like going to baseball games, like stealing the big TV from her mom and watching football on Sunday’s and Monday’s, she misses the car rides to school and badly singing along to the radio. It’s the small things but they’re huge; she knew that her dad had tried to reach out to her at first after he moved out but she wanted nothing to do with him and soon the phone calls every day became every other day, then every week, then every couple of weeks, a couple of times a month, to barely even a text or phone call on her birthday or Christmas, the empty chair beside her mom at Beca’s high school graduation sticks out like a sore thumb; she remembers standing on stage, she remembers her mom’s gaze flicking down to the empty chair beside her before she looked back up, smiling proudly and blowing a kiss to Beca.

 

“Beca?”

 

Beca stays quiet, flipping the piece of bacon in the pan. “Morning.” Beca forces out. “You should probably go and get them up; Ash will sleep all day otherwise.”

 

Beca.” Chloe sighs but Beca presses her lips into a thin line, keeping her back towards her girlfriend.

 

“Breakfast is nearly ready, Chlo.” Beca continues, pressing her palm further into the counter until she hears Chloe sigh a defeated sigh followed by her retreating footsteps.

 

Beca serves up breakfast just as three sets of excited footsteps bound down the stairs and all three kids run into the kitchen; Asher just beating Eliza to the head of the table seat and sitting down, his eyes widening at the plate of bacon in Beca’s hand, held just high enough that Asher can’t reach from a sitting down position. Eliza and Asher fight over the bacon which leads to Asher slapping Eliza’s wrist with a piece of the bacon before smirking and eating it.

 

“So kids, what do you want to do today?” Chloe asks, reaching for her cup of coffee.

 

“Pa’k!”

 

“Disneyland!”

 

“Disneyworld!”

 

The three of them scream out their chosen responses.

 

“We’re not going to Disneyworld, Ash.” Chloe interjects, frowning slightly but Asher just shrugs and goes back to eating his breakfast. “Or Disneyland, El.” Chloe adds, watching her daughter frown before also shrugging, looking not too dissimilar from Asher.

 

“Ma, when are we going to Disneyworld?” Asher asks, dropping his fork as he turns to face Beca.

 

“Soon.” Beca tells him, ignoring the way Eliza’s face lights up and the incredulous look that Chloe’s giving her from across the table. “Eat your breakfast, Ash.” Beca gently forces.

 

Asher eats the remainder of his breakfast far too quickly, Eliza stares at him just wondering how he hasn’t choked, Reese is homing in on her new talent for the drums and Chloe and Beca both know exactly what they want to say to the other but they’re both too stubborn to be the first to break the bond of silence they have between them.

 

Chloe rushes to go and get Reese dressed for the park, Beca helps Asher tie his laces when he’s dressed before helping Eliza with her jacket.

 

“Are you okay?” Eliza asks, wrapping her arms around Beca’s shoulders. “You and mom haven’t talked.”

 

Beca smiles sadly, wrapping her arms around Eliza and hugging her. “We’re fine, baby girl. Don’t you worry about us.”

 

“You’re not going to leave.” Eliza isn’t asking which causes Beca to smile and kiss her cheek.

 

“Why would I want to?”

 

That brings a smile to Eliza’s face as Chloe walks downstairs with Reese on her back. The family bundle themselves into the car before Beca pulls out of the driveway and heads to the park, stopping at the lights; Reese is kicking her legs wildly as she sits in-between Eliza and Asher who are arguing over Marvel again, it’s the same routine, Asher and Eliza will argue over something they love – usually Pokémon and superheroes – Beca finds it amusing how somehow she managed to fall in love with a woman who has a daughter who is as passionate about her own kid’s favorite things as he is, some call it fate.

 

Beca drops one of her hands from the steering wheel and reaches across, nudging Chloe’s hands in her lap until Chloe turns her hand for Beca to hold. Beca squeezes her hand, trying to convey as much reassurance into it as she can. She had no reason to be in as bad a mood as she is, she’s mad at her dad, she’s mad at what she did and she shouldn’t be giving Chloe the cold shoulder because of it, she did enough of that during her teenage years with her mom – at every mention of her dad, she brushed him off and refused to open up about how empty him leaving left her but now she has Chloe who loves her, who only wants the best for her and she’s still stuck in the same old routine of brushing off any talk about her dad. Sure, she’s a lot more open with her emotions – she did cry like a baby in front of her girlfriend last night but she’s still tight-lipped on actually talking about what happened and it kills Beca because she wants nothing more than to be open and honest and let Chloe know everything.

 

Chloe covers their hands with her other hand, she’s still staring out of the window and slouching in the passenger seat but they keep their hands together until Beca’s arrived at the park and stopped the car. Asher and Eliza are out of the car and running towards the playground before Chloe or Beca could stop them and Beca helps Reese out of the car, holding her hand as she locks her car and follows Chloe towards the playground. Asher and Eliza are on the swings and Reese instantly makes her way towards the slide, Beca waits at the bottom so she can catch Reese and swing her around causing her to giggle loudly.

 

“Be’a.” Reese gurgles, burrowing her face into the collar of Beca’s jacket. “I lo’e you.”

 

“I love you too, bug.” Beca kisses the top of Reese’s head before she puts her down and lets her run around again to climb the steps to the slide.

 

Chloe slides up beside Beca and links her arm through her girlfriend’s. Neither of them say anything, despite Chloe’s almost constant need to talk, she doesn’t bring it up, she knows that Beca isn’t her; she’s been through stuff in her childhood that scarred her. That probably is the reason that she’s reluctant to open up whereas Chloe was brought up by a woman who psychoanalyzed her from the minute she said her first word so Chloe has never not been in a place where she didn’t open up – whether she wanted to or not.

 

“Later.”

 

It’s one word but Chloe knows it’s a promise and she kisses Beca’s cheek in return.

 

 

XxX

 

 

After fighting a losing battle with two hungry seven year olds. The family get pizza for dinner at a small Italian pizza place that Beca’s never heard of despite living here for eleven years and coming to this park with Asher a lot during his seven years on Earth.

 

“Ma, when are we moving in with Chloe?” Asher asks with a mouthful of pepperoni pizza in his mouth.

 

“Close it.” Beca pushes Asher’s jaw so that his mouth is closed as he continues chewing.

 

He hurries through his chewing before repeating the question as he reaches for his glass of soda.

 

The second time peaks Eliza’s interest and she leans in close to Asher, batting her eyelashes at both Chloe and Beca who in turn look at each other, trying to have a conversation with their eyes but it fails and neither of them have an answer for their kids.

 

“It’s a bit soon.” Chloe tries to push the idea away, gently.

 

“You love her, mom.” Eliza deadpans. “And you love her.” Eliza almost glares at Beca as she says it. “Plus, Beca’s house is so much cooler than ours.”

 

“Thank you, El.” Chloe rolls her eyes.

 

“Duh.” Asher sasses. “Our house is newer and we have more bedrooms and it has a better backyard.”

 

That kick starts an argument between Eliza and Asher over who has the coolest house, it’s like an episode of Property Brothers. Beca and Chloe realize at that second just how fast their relationship seems to be going even if it doesn’t seem that way, if their kids want to live together, that’s something that neither one of them have actually considered and it’s definitely a conversation that they should have.

 

“We have decided.” Eliza coughs and waves her hand to grab both women’s attention. “Asher said that we should live at his house but I still love my bedroom. What if we stayed at Beca’s house every weekend?”

 

“Our seven year olds are making better decisions that we could ever make.” Chloe laughs as she covers her face just wondering how she managed to get such a grown up second grader.

 

“I think it’s a good idea, weekends are more fun anyway.”

 

“Stop trying to be the fun parent!” Chloe chastises. “I’m fun.”

 

“Of course you are, honey.” Beca coos, leaning in and kissing Chloe’s cheek. “You’re so fun; the schedule on your fridge shows you just how fun you are.” Beca teases.

 

“Shut up.” Chloe grumbles, her face turning red. “There is nothing wrong with being organized.”

 

“Beca lets us play with water balloons – in the house, mom!” Eliza exclaims excitedly. “Once I dropped one on Asher’s head from upstairs – it was awesome.”

 

 “You let them throw water balloons in your house? Was that during my parent/teacher conference?” Chloe asks Beca who smiles sheepishly in response.

 

“Eliza wanted to know how gravity worked.” Beca grins, hoping the scientific spin on things would stop Chloe glaring at her.

 

“And water balloons in the house were the only way to demonstrate it?” Chloe narrows her eyes as she asks.

 

“It was either that or throwing Asher from upstairs.”

 

“What?!” Chloe exclaims, feeling her heart rate soar to an alarming rate as Beca, Asher and Eliza laugh at the panic-stricken expression covering Chloe’s face. “I hate you.” Chloe grumbles as she pushes Beca’s face away from hers.

 

“You love me, don’t lie.” Beca chimes in.

 

“Gross.” Asher pulls a disgusted face at the words.

 

“Eat your pizza.” Beca tells him, ruffling his hair.

 

“Aye, aye, Captain.” Asher salutes as he picks up his second to last slice of pizza.

 

 

It’s easy to tame Eliza and Asher, their worn-out DVD of Captain America: Civil War captivates their seven year old minds for the duration of the movie as they both come up with wild theories that are really just a mixed up version of every single Marvel superhero’s story tied together with a wild, fantasy twist – Asher’s involved psycho giraffes. Reese is napping in the tiny, teddy chair in the corner room and Beca knows that now would be the perfect time to finally have the conversation with Chloe that she wishes she could put off for the rest of eternity and Chloe knows that stalling is exactly what Beca is trying to do, she’s putting away the breakfast dishes from the dishwasher whilst Chloe sits at the table, antsy and scrolling through her messages, replying to a chosen few but really she’s nervous, she doesn’t know much about Beca’s family life and Beca’s reluctance to tell her as such is worrying her, should she be scared? She doesn’t know.

 

Beca puts the last plate into the cupboard and realizes there is no backing out now. She turns and leans against the counter, her hands in her jeans pocket as she focuses on the stain in the wallpaper on the kitchen wall of her house.

 

“I was twelve-” Beca jumps in and it catches Chloe off-guard. “- I was twelve when it first happened, he had been cheating on my mom with his assistant for the last four months and my mom finally caught him when she surprised him at work and he didn’t even try to deny it, he was chill about it.” Beca sighs as she pushes herself off the counter and moves tentatively towards the table, she hesitates before she sits down, instantly lifting her legs up to cross them on the chair. “My mom was heartbroken, obviously but they kept it from me and they both agreed to let my dad continue sleeping with his assistant and they’d pretend to be happy around me and we wouldn’t be a broken family because she was from a broken family and she swore she’d never let her kid go through the same thing.”

 

Chloe sucks in a sharp breath as she reaches for Beca’s hand, Beca freezes up when Chloe takes her hand but she relaxes when Chloe intertwines their fingers.

 

“They kept it up for eight months but eventually my mom snapped, you know? She was always going to snap because it’s almost impossible to pretend your family isn’t breaking apart because the man you love is having an affair that you know about. I found out when I heard them arguing about it after they thought I was asleep but that was my stay up late reading fantasy novels under my comforter phase so I heard everything. After that, it broke apart easily and my dad walked out without a word and that’s how I found my mom, on the driveway, begging him not to go, he didn’t look back.” Beca shrugs, she stays emotionless, her voice not cracking once. “That was the last time I saw him.”

 

“What was last night?” Chloe asks cautiously.

 

“Hearing my dad’s voice for the first time in sixteen years.” Beca laughs, a bitter undertone. “My mom gave me my dad’s number before she went traveling for a year and told me to use it, try and mend the damage that he caused but I just ignored it. I knew deep down she was right but I just couldn’t face it, I’m still so pissed at him.” Beca sighs softly. “I know Ash deserves to know his Grandpa and deep down I know I want him back in my life but hearing his voice last night just sent me back to the day he left and I realized I’m not ready.”

 

“That’s okay; you made a big first step last night when you called him.” Chloe reassures her girlfriend, smiling slightly. “Nobody expects you to forgive him overnight, this could go on for the next few months before you feel ready to have an actual conversation with him and that’s perfectly fine.”

 

“I thought I could do it but it was late and his voice sounded the way it used to when he read me stories before bed, it was tired because he’d been talking all day and that’s what made it worse because that’s the dad I miss.” Beca tries to explain, formulating her words as best she can. “When I was really little, my dad was my best friend, my hero but after he left he became a stranger.”

 

“That’s okay too.” Chloe smiles, it’s soft and it’s exactly what Beca realizes she needed to see. “You’re experiencing a lot of emotions but you shouldn’t push yourself, you need time to let these current feelings sink in properly before you plan your next move, maybe the next thing you do is you send him a message, it might be easier.” Chloe suggests. “It’s up to you though, I can’t tell you how to handle this but I can be here with you, holding your hand to remind you that you won’t go through this alone because if you haven’t already figured it out, we’re together now and that means you’re not doing this alone anymore.”

 

Beca’s hands are on Chloe’s cheeks and bringing her in to kiss her before Chloe can even realize what’s happening.

 

“Gross!” Asher shrieks from where he’s appeared at the doorway leading into the kitchen. “El you were right! They bribed us so they could kiss.”

 

Beca is snapping her head around towards her son but Asher’s already wiggling his eyebrows at his mother and running back into the living making a dive for the couch.

 

“Please tell me my return policy on my spawn hasn’t expired?” Beca grumbles under her breath as Chloe drops a hand onto her shoulder, stifling her laughter.

 

Beca gets an idea and before Chloe can stop her, Beca’s running into the living room and diving headfirst in similar fashion to Asher (like mother, like son) onto the couch and wrapping her arms around Asher and Eliza, tickling the pair of them and causing their loud giggles to resonate off the walls of the living room. Reese stirs from the loud noise and pushes herself up on her chair, rubbing her eyes tiredly as she looks over at the ruckus on the couch before she’s climbing down from the chair and walking over, pulling on Beca’s leg.

 

“Me too?” She asks, batting her eyelashes.

 

“You too.” Beca confirms, untangling herself from Asher’s limbs and lifting Reese up so that she’s sitting on the back of Beca’s shoulders with her arms tightly around her neck. “Ready, go!” Beca dives back in making the three children laugh.

 

Chloe always envisioned her life as a mother, though, by the time she was touching thirty years old she had planned to be (still) married, have at least five children and live in California with a beach just outside her front door but here she is, dealing with stuff that she never thought she would have to, she has two beautiful daughters and a son that brings so much laughter into her life she forgot she could laugh like this. She’s still living in suburban New Orleans but she does have a pretty hot, bar managing girlfriend so she wins. Looking at the way Eliza’s ponytail is flying and how red her cheeks are, and the way Reese has curled into Beca’s back, Chloe realizes one thing;

 

She wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

XxX

 

 

Eliza comes home with the invitation on Wednesday; she drops her backpack to the floor in a huff and storms outside to the bench that is on the patio. Asher goes to follow but Beca tugs him back by the hood of his jacket and points wordlessly to the living room instead, letting Reese down and telling her to follow him. Beca should have known something was up, Eliza had been quiet for the entire journey home, barely reacting when Asher kept hitting her trying to get her attention but Beca just assumed she was tired, now it’s something different and Beca half wishes Chloe was home as well.

 

Beca hops from foot to foot to try and compose herself; really, Eliza is seven years old, what could she possibly say?

 

“What’s up, kiddo?” Beca asks, leaning against the patio doors with her arms crossed.

 

“Stupid dance.” Eliza mumbles, looking up at the clouded over sky. “Stupid school.”

 

Beca cautiously walks out and sits on the bench beside Eliza, her cheeks are pink but the frown could definitely be seen from Times Square. Neither of them speak, Beca just relaxes into the bench and looks out at the garden, noticing the weeds starting to grow when Eliza is the one to break the silence.

 

“My school wants to have a father/daughter dance but I don’t have a dad. They’re so mean!” Eliza exclaims, throwing her arms up.

 

“You could go with your mom?” Beca suggests but Eliza is already shaking her head before she’s finished speaking.

 

“She’s my mom.” Eliza shrugs.

 

It’s almost a natural reflex at this point. Despite having known each other for a matter of months, both Chloe and Beca have become intertwined so much into their respective families that it becomes a normal thing for them to always want the best for their kids.

 

“I’ll take you.” Beca lets the words hang in the air for a minute.

 

Eliza looks between Beca and the patio floor for a moment, she lets the idea sink in before she’s giving Beca an incredulous look and tilting her head to the side.

 

“You’re a girl.” She laughs. “You’re not a dad.”

 

“What if I tie my hair up and draw a fake beard?” Beca leans in closer so that she’s eye to eye with Eliza. “I have a suit and I could even put on my deepest voice.”

 

This causes Eliza to start laughing and Beca thinks her job is done, especially when Eliza wraps her arms around Beca and nods into her jacket.

 

“Love you.” Eliza mumbles against the sheepskin lining, not letting go of the hug just yet.

 

“Love you more, kiddo.” Beca whispers against Eliza’s hair before kissing the top of her head.

 

“Ma, I’m hungry.” Asher complains from the door.

 

 

XxX

 

 

It’s Amy’s turn to host Friday Night Dinner this week and when Beca pulls up at the apartment building at the same time Jesse and Benji do; all three best friends share a nervous glance. The last time that Amy hosted their weekly dinner, there was a burnt chicken, a siren-sounding fire alarm that couldn’t be turned off until Amy used a softball bat she had stored away in her closet, endless vodka shots and Amy’s elderly neighbor threatening to call the police.

 

“If the police don’t turn up this time, it’ll be a success.” Jesse tries to look on the bright side of things. “I still don’t know what his deal was. We weren’t that loud.”

 

“Benji was screaming the lyrics to Michael Jackson hits so loudly that he caused an empty beer bottle to smash to pieces.” Beca deadpans, looking over Jesse’s shoulder and smirking at Benji.

 

“You’re such a liar, Mitchell. It was obviously because Jesse was out on the balcony reciting lines from Die Hard at the top of his voice.” Benji shoots back, not feeling an inch of remorse for throwing his fiancé under the bus.

 

Chloe’s hand is tucked into Beca’s whilst Asher and Eliza run ahead, both stood on their tiptoes whilst trying to reach the buzzer for Amy’s apartment. Eliza jumps on Asher’s back and the pair stumble at first but finally Eliza is able to get her fingertip onto the buzzer and press it.

 

“Look, they’re taller than you Benji.” Beca teases pointing at the kids before ducking out of the way of Benji’s flailing arm. “J’s right, short people are angry.”

 

The door unlocks and Beca’s running into the lobby of the building pulling Chloe behind her before Benji can catch her. Jesse lets the building door shut before stopping, his eyes growing wide.

 

“We left Reese in the car!” He bursts out suddenly causing the group of adults to come to an abrupt halt and look around.

 

Beca and Chloe look at each other before looking down and their kids and realize that they only have a pair of seven year olds stood in front of each other.

 

“Oh my fucking god.” Beca’s jaw drops open and she ignores the two seven year old sized hands that are in front of her face as she scrambles around her jacket pocket for her car keys.

 

“You left my daughter in the car!” Chloe screeches.

 

“You left your daughter in the car!” Beca retaliates before she’s rushing out of the building and down the stairs to the car, knocking on the window and smiling when Reese looks up through the window and waves. “Hi bug.” Beca unlocks the car and opens the door, kneeling down in front of the car seat.

 

“Hi mama.” Reese scrunches her nose up and kicks out her legs as Beca unbuckles her seatbelt and lifts her out of the car. “You forg’t me.” She pouts, crossing her arms over her chest and giving Beca the best glare she can.

 

“I didn’t forget you-” Beca reassures her when an idea comes to mind. “- Mommy forgot you, she was supposed to get you out.”

 

Reese relaxes and nods. “Bad mommy.”

 

Beca locks the car and slips her hand into Reese’s. “Bad mommy.

 

When they get back into the building, Beca has less time than she thought she had to prepare herself for Reese ratting her out for throwing Chloe under the bus.

 

“Mommy you forg’t me.” Reese mumbles halfheartedly. “Mama said.”

 

Chloe raises her eyebrows, leaning back and folding her arms over her chest as stares at Beca who is not-so-subtly stepping backwards and hiding behind Jesse, peeking over his shoulder. Jesse’s struggling to stifle his laughter at the horrified expression covering the teacher’s face. Chloe is just about to say something when the door flies open revealing Amy wearing a kiss the cook apron, flour (everywhere) and a bottle of beer in her hand.

 

“Welcome home, bitches.”

 

“Amy!” Chloe and Jesse shout.

 

“Shit, sorry.”

 

“Amy!” Beca calls out.

 

“Fuck. I really can’t stop.”

 

“Aunt Amy!” Asher shouts. Amy leans down and braces herself for her godson’s flying impact but not before taking a long drag of beer.

 

Amy lifts Asher up when Reese storms to the front. “My mommy left me in the car.”

 

“That’s nothing, kiddo.” Amy smiles, leaning down so that she’s level with Reese. “Beca once drove halfway down our street before she realized she left Asher in his crib.”

 

Thanks for that, Ames.”

 

“Oh yeah.” Jesse laughs. “Beca Mitchell and the curious case of how the fuck did she forget her child.”

 

Beca slaps Jesse’s arm as Eliza and Asher stick their hands out towards Jesse, batting their eyelashes and looking up at him expectantly.

 

“Ask Benji.” Jesse nods towards his fiancé and quickly escapes into the apartment before Benji can stop him.

 

 

“We’re having takeout-”

 

“- But you’re covered in flour-”

 

“- And the kitchen is a whole ass mess.”

 

Jesse, Beca and Benji all turn around on the sofa and stare at the door as Amy walks into the apartment with three takeout bags in her hands, kicking the door shut with her foot as she walks into the kitchen.

 

“Stop pretending you’re not happy about having takeout.” Amy chimes in when she drops the bags to the counter.

 

The three of them breathe a sigh of relief.

 

“Your cooking is terrible.”

 

“I’m still not over the fish we had last time.” Benji wipes his forehead as he leans back into the couch.

 

“We had chicken.” Amy reminds him.

 

“Are you sure?” Benji asks with disbelief in his eyes as Amy stares at him, bewildered to say the least.

 

Beca’s nearly finished with her beer when Asher flops into her lap, throwing his weight down and causing Beca to groan loudly (she doesn’t spill the beer though). Asher turns and faces Beca, leaning down until his forehead is pressed against his mother’s.

 

“Ma, did you really forget me?” He asks, batting his eyelashes and staring into eyes that are so similar to his own.

 

“Ames, I really hate you!” Beca’s strangled cry goes unnoticed because Amy just hums in response and mumbles something that sounds oddly familiar to yes I bought garlic bread. “In my defense, Ash-Attack-”

 

Asher waits for a continuation that doesn’t come mainly because Beca doesn’t know how she can reassure Asher that she didn’t forget her when she literally walked out of the house realizing she had forgotten her phone without it registering that she had forgotten her son too.

 

“What can I do to make it up to you, buddy?” Beca asks as she brushes her hand through Asher’s hair.

 

“Can we get a dog?” Asher asks, his eyes lighting up with excitement.

 

“What do you think?”

 

“Yes?” Asher’s hopefulness is dashed when Beca slowly shakes her head. “It was worth a shot.”

 

 

XxX

 

 

They’re halfway through their dinner, conversations and drinks flowing, embarrassing secrets from the four best friends keep finding their way into conversation; Beca earns raised eyebrows from Chloe when certain secrets are spilt – such as Beca’s three years of ballet lessons and the photo album that Amy has stored under one of the couch cushions of a fresh faced, seven year old Beca in a pink tutu performing the Nutcracker at Christmas. Beca tries to deny it but Chloe and Benji gush over the pictures whilst Jesse and Amy team up to tease their best friend over her love for the art of dance.

 

Beca’s grateful when her phone rings until she sees Emily’s name on the screen and the first thought that comes to mind is a cocktail has gone wrong and the bar is up in flames. Beca excuses herself to take the call and by the end of Emily’s nervous rambling and the shakiness in her voice – Beca wishes the bar was on fire. Beca doesn’t give them a real reason; she just stumbles over having to leave dinner to go down to the bar.

 

Beca always thought that speed limits were a suggestion anyway.

 

Emily’s sitting on the bar, her feet on the stool and her arms on her knees when Beca walks into the bar, her hands in her jacket pockets, stopping when she comes face to face with the bar owner and Emily’s nervous expression.

 

“You can’t close the place!” Beca cries out, her hands balling up into fists inside her pockets as she stares Cynthia-Rose in the eye, waiting out her response. “This is my job, it’s Emily’s job, I have kids you know? Why didn’t you tell us you’ve been planning to sell the place?” Beca’s rambling and she has more choice words to say but she bites her tongue as she waits for an answer that isn’t something along the lines of it’s time to move on.

 

“I leave for Canada in a week, Beca. I can’t own a bar that’s two thousand miles away from me.” Cynthia-Rose sighs.

 

Beca purses her lips but doesn’t react.

 

“Unless I find someone to buy the place in the next four days, I’m sorry.”

 

It’s a stupid idea, really, it’s beyond idiotic and Beca is sure she’s only saying it because she doesn’t want to lose her job, especially the job that she has spent the last eight years working up and falling in love with more and more (no matter how many times she throws her pen against her office door during late nights doing paperwork).

 

“I’ll buy the bar.”

 

Cynthia-Rose raises her eyebrows and Emily jolts forward, knocking the stool she has her feet on over on its side.

 

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me?” Emily’s mouth hangs open as Beca knits her eyebrows together, trying to play the grimace off her face as a smile, it doesn’t work but she pretends as though she hasn’t just talked herself into a bad decision. “Is this really happening?”

 

“I know you love this bar but-”

 

“- I’m not just saying it because I want to keep my job, I want to buy the bar.”

 

“Holy shit.” Emily laughs, staring at the conversation that’s ongoing.

 

“This is a huge decision, Beca; maybe you should take some time to consider it.” Cynthia-Rose tries to keep calm but there’s a small smile tugging at the corners of her lips.

 

“So was having a kid in college and that turned out pretty well.” Beca shrugs.

 

“We’ll talk about this tomorrow, lock up.” Cynthia-Rose tosses the keys to the bar up in the air for Beca to catch as she answers her phone and excuses herself outside.

 

Beca can’t do anything but laugh as she swings the keys around her finger, she glances up and over at Emily who is sharing the same surprised and did that really just fucking happen expression that Beca’s wearing.

 

“You do realize Chloe is going to fucking kill you, right?”

 

 

Beca’s still at the bar three hours later, Emily left and she’s alone sitting on the bar with a bottle of beer in her hand, she’s peeling at the top of the label and the keys are on the bar beside her when the door opens and Jesse stands at the door, his arms crossed.

 

“Asher thinks you’re dead.”

 

Beca furrows her eyebrows before she feels around for her phone and realizes that it’s still in the car and she can only imagine the amount of missed calls and texts she’s going to have when she checks it.

 

“What happened? The bar doesn’t look like it’s on fire.” Jesse enters the bar and walks over, jumping up onto the bar and sitting beside his best friend.

 

Beca just shakes her head and leans back, placing the bottle on the counter and forgetting about it.

 

My bar is just fine.”

 

It takes Jesse a few minutes but when the realization begins to dawn on him, his eyes widen and he’s staring at Beca with his mouth hanging open, the same way Emily did hours before.

 

“You didn’t-”

 

“- I think I did but now I regret it. I can’t afford a fucking bar, J.” Beca hops off the counter and starts pacing the bar floor, her fingers pressed into the back of her neck as she laughs at the absurdity of the night’s events. “Chloe’s going to kill me – Jesus – how am I supposed to tell her?” Beca continues to pace waiting for Jesse to answer but when he doesn’t, Beca looks up watching him texting. “I’m having a crisis now and you’re texting?”

 

Jesse locks his phone. “I was texting Amy to take Chloe and the kids home before asking her and Benji to drive here, I’ve got an idea.”

 

 “I hope it’s to rob a bank because that’s the only way I’m going to be able to afford this place.”

 

 

Benji and Amy walk into the bar just over twenty minutes later.

 

“What’s up?” Benji asks, reaching Jesse and wrapping his hand around his fiancé’s arm.

 

“I just bought the bar.”

 

Amy snorts. “Nice one, dumbass.”

 

“What the fuck, Bec?” Benji’s eyes grow wide.

 

“Help me.” Beca pleads, dropping down onto one of the bar stools and burying her head into her hands. “I don’t know what to do.”

 

“Chloe’s going to kill you.” Amy tells her, sitting down beside her.

 

“Thank you, Captain Obvious.” Beca salutes her sarcastically.

 

 

Beca walks into the bar, hating that she’s about to take back her offer to buy the bar. Cynthia-Rose is sitting in the corner of the bar near the back and she’s looking through some paperwork when Beca reaches the table.

 

Beca hates this. She hates herself for rashly agreeing to buy the place last night and not thinking it through, she hates how she’s always making decisions without thinking about them first but she knows she can’t afford to buy and run the bar completely by herself. Beca sits down opposite Cynthia-Rose and wrings her hands together nervously as she tries to get the words out but her mouth is dry the words are stuck on the tip of her tongue whilst Cynthia-Rose is staring at her expectantly.

 

“About what I said last night-”

 

“- Move over.” Amy shoves Beca further down the booth as she, dressed in quite possibly the most conservative items of clothing Amy owns (that Beca definitely didn’t know she owned either) slides in beside her followed by Jesse and Benji each dressed in suits. “Hi, we’re here to talk about the bar.”

 

Beca feels like she’s in a daydream, it doesn’t feel real but she’s sitting there and her three best friends are talking over their propositions for owning the bar alongside Beca, they’d own a quarter each. Deep down Beca knew that the three of them would come up with a solution but encouraging Beca’s dumb idea to buy the bar is not what she had in mind but for the best part of a decade, the three of them have always been there to bail Beca out so really, she shouldn’t be surprised.

 

“Congratulations, I don’t doubt that the four of you will take good care of the place.” Cynthia-Rose smiles as she shakes everybody’s hands before sticking her hand out in front of Beca and surprising Beca with just how long she’s been in her own world during the meeting.

 

“What the fuck just happened?” Beca stares at her friends. “When you told me you had an idea – this – this isn’t what I thought you meant.”

 

“Are you disappointed?” Benji asks.

 

“… No, I’m really not.” Beca laughs. “Have we just bought a bar?”

 

“Why are you so surprised? We had a plan to buy a bar seven years ago.” Jesse reminds her.

 

Sure.” Beca draws out. “Except that bar was supposed to be in downtown LA and not New Orleans.”

 

“LA, New Orleans, same thing.” Jesse dismisses. “Bec, we just bought a fucking bar, the least you could do is crack a smile.”

 

The realization begins to dawn on Beca as she looks around the place she’s called her job for the majority of her twenties and she realizes it’s hers, it’s her bar that she part owns with her best friends, this is one major thing that they all wanted when they made a list on the whiteboard that adorned their apartment at college. In Jesse’s scruffy handwriting was forty things that they wanted to accomplish together and number seventeen was own a bar – because what else would four college students who drank too much want to do with their lives apart from own somewhere where they can get drunk for free?

 

By the time Beca starts to smile, Amy is already behind the bar and there are four bottles of beer open and sitting on the bar.

 

“A toast to the four of us for being fucking awesome and buying a bar together!” Amy cheers, grabbing one of the bottles and holding it up.

 

Jesse wraps his hand around Beca’s wrist and pulls her over to the booth and drags her across to the bar and thrusts one of the bottles into her hand. They clink their bottles together before each taking a long drag, Jesse wraps his arms around both Beca and Benji’s shoulders as Beca high-fives Amy before the bickering over what to call their bar starts.

Chapter Text

 “I think we should paint it red.”

 

“We own a bar not a strip club!” Beca exclaims from where she’s chipping away at the wallpaper behind where a dartboard has been hanging since before Beca started working here. “I don’t want to give people the wrong idea.”

 

“Red is a good idea.” Amy chimes in, appearing from Beca’s office.

 

“My point exactly.” Beca stretches out her arm and points to Amy who’s staring at her with furrowed eyebrows. “Dark, provocative kind of colors are out of the question.”

 

Beca manages to get her fingers around a particular piece of wallpaper and the satisfaction of pulling a huge strip of the ghastly striped wallpaper ripping off the wall brings a smile to Beca’s lips as she scrunches the paper up and tosses it over her shoulder in the general direction of where she thinks the trashcan is (she misses).

 

The door swings open and Benji walks in with Reese sitting on his shoulders and Eliza and Asher running ahead once they spot Beca at the far end of the bar. Beca kneels down and braces herself for the impact of the flying seven year olds as they reach her and she lifts them up, barely, their feet do barely get off the ground but neither of them mind as they hug her.

 

“Okay you two, what aren’t we going to tell mommy?” Beca looks between Eliza and Asher who look at each other, nodding simultaneously before looking back at Beca.

 

“We’re not going to tell her you bought the bar.” Eliza and Asher reply at the same time.

 

“Good kiddos.” Beca kisses Eliza’s cheek before kissing Asher’s forehead and sending them off to go and pester Jesse whilst she turns around and starts peeling at the wallpaper again when Amy appears at her side.

 

“You still haven’t told her?”

 

“I have not.” Beca replies, leaning forward as she tries to get a good grip on a piece of wallpaper. “I need to think of a way to tell her that won’t involve her killing me.” Beca tilts her head to the side and glances up at Amy who is just staring at her with an amused expression on her face. “She’s going to kill me anyway, isn’t she?”

 

“Oh good-” Amy exhales, patting Beca on the back. “You heard me.”

 

Beca gives up on the wallpaper when she realizes she isn’t as satisfied with only chipping at harder pieces of wallpaper that for the most part get stuck underneath her nails so she turns around only to find Reese toddling her way across the bar over to her.

 

“Hi lovebug.” Beca coos as she meets Reese halfway and swipes the youngest up in her arms. “You think me buying the bar was a good idea, right?”

 

“Yes mama.” Reese nods before burrowing her face in Beca’s shoulder and yawning.

 

“Are you just going to agree with everything I say?” Beca asks, tickling Reese’s sides and causing her to laugh.

 

“Yes mama.”

 

“I like you.” Beca whispers as she presses the faintest of kisses to Reese’s cheek and lets her hang over the back of her shoulder as she tries to fight sleep.

 

Beca sits down on one of the barstools with Reese sitting on her lap, curled into Beca’s chest as she reaches for the glass of water on the bar. Asher and Eliza are stood behind the bar and Asher has a dishtowel over his shoulder as he pulls his t-shirt sleeves up until they’re above his shoulder.

 

“I think I’ve just seen your future, Ash-Attack.” Jesse chuckles loudly as he places his hands on Asher’s shoulders from behind.

 

“Like mother like son.” Amy chimes in earning a kick to the shin from Beca.

 

“I don’t wanna work in a bar, Aunt Amy.” Asher huffs out. “I got bigger dreams.”

 

Beca doesn’t exactly spit out all of the water in her mouth but she spits a good amount of it out as Benji’s mouth hangs open whilst Amy and Jesse crack up over the comment.

 

“Beca-”

 

“- He just killed you.”

 

Beca just stares between Asher and his bright, beaming smile and Jesse and Amy who have tears in their eyes.

 

He really is my son.” Beca shakes her head in disbelief at how she managed to create one of the sassiest kids she’s ever met.

 

“I love you, ma.” Asher smiles, tapping Beca’s hand.

 

“Uh huh, I love you more, Ash-Attack.” Beca smiles down at him as Reese moves around before mumbling out incoherent words in her sleep. “Okay, I think it’s time to go. Let’s move it kiddos.”

 

 

Beca and the kids barely beat Chloe back to Chloe’s house and Beca’s only just put a tray full of Dino nuggets into the oven to cook when the front door opens and Chloe walks in, hanging her coat and purse up on the hooks by the door. Beca greets her with a kiss once she walks into the kitchen before she’s pulling at something on the shoulder of Beca’s old college t-shirt.

 

“Either you’ve just come home from a building site or your dandruff is hard and able to be snapped.” Chloe snaps the wallpaper chipping between her thumb and forefinger for effect before she drops it into the trashcan.

 

Beca wraps her arms around Chloe’s waist from behind and leaves a kiss on the underside of her jaw to distract her – it works because, of course it does. Asher and Eliza are sitting at the table playing with their Pokémon trading cards; their homework on the table in front of them, unopened but Chloe lets it slide but only until after dinner. Chloe raises a skeptical eyebrow when dinner is ready and Beca pulls out the tray of Dino nuggets.

 

“That’s so unhealthy.” Chloe crosses her arms over her chest as she stares at the Tyrannosaurus Rex nugget that Asher insists he has.

 

“Hey-!” Beca protests. “- I was raised on these – okay yeah – just this once?” Beca bats her eyes as she holds up the Brontosaurus and makes him dance mid-air until Chloe’s struggling to hide her laughter.

 

Beca dishes up dinner and lifts Reese up into the booster seat on her dining chair before cutting the nuggets up into bite-size pieces for her. After that, she gives herself extra girlfriend points by grabbing the half full bottle of Chardonnay from the refrigerator and pours Chloe a glass that she holds out for her when Chloe walks downstairs in a tank top and sweats.

 

“You look good.”

 

“Not as good as this glass does, thank you my love.” Chloe kisses Beca’s cheek as she takes the wine glass and walks into the living room.

 

“Ma, you failed.” Asher grins

 

“Eat your T-Rex.” Beca tells him.

 

 

XxX

 

 

Chloe has a stack of English homework on the coffee table and an empty wine glass beside them as she leans back into the self-made groove of the couch with her phone pressed against the ear. Beca is sitting in the armchair in the corner of the room with Die Hard on the TV playing on low volume as Reese shifts uncomfortably in her arms, after trying to put Reese to bed nearly two hours ago, she had woken up and clambered downstairs with tears in her eyes as she complained she didn’t feel good. It’s been an hour since then and Reese still isn’t sleeping even after having some of the medicine that Chloe stores away for her in the medicine cabinet.

 

Beca’s arm is going dead the more that Reese leans on it and even from the other side of the room, the worried glance that Chloe’s giving both Beca and Reese as she tries to focus on the conversation with her mom is enough for Beca to have to repeatedly mouth the words chill out, it’s fine to her.

 

Beca lifts Reese up until both of her feet are on Beca’s thighs as the two of them stare at each other, Reese pouts so Beca pouts too. Reese brushes her hair out of her face so Beca copies that too and Beca continues to mirror Reese’s actions until the faintest hint of a smile starts to tug upwards at the corners of Reese’s mouth.

 

“Ready for bed, bug?” Beca asks and she receives a nod in return.

 

Beca carries Reese over to Chloe to let her kiss her daughter goodnight before she’s lifting Reese onto her shoulders and taking her back upstairs to her room, Chloe watches her go unable to keep the smile off her face at the sound of Reese’s laughter as Beca reaches the top of the stairs.

 

“Chloe!”

 

“Huh – yes mom?” Chloe is brought back to reality with a bang as she furrows her eyebrows as she hears her mom sigh on the other line. “Yes, okay, tomorrow will be good, we can’t wait.”

 

Though Chloe’s pretty sure that Beca can.

 

Chloe’s phone is on the table and she’s refilled her glass with the last of the Chardonnay in the fridge as she sits straight up on the couch once Beca comes back downstairs and flops down on the couch beside Chloe.

 

“All three kids are asleep, we’re doing okay at this parent thing.” She smirks lightly as she kicks up her feet onto the coffee table.

 

“We’re going out to dinner with my parents tomorrow.” Chloe bursts out suddenly.

 

Beca doesn’t instantly reply, instead she just takes her feet off the coffee table and lowers them until they’re planted on the floor and she turns to face Chloe with her left eyebrow cocked. Chloe waits but a response (at least not verbally) doesn’t come.

 

“They’re not that bad.” Chloe eventually continues before taking a large gulp of wine.

 

“Would you say that sober?” Beca asks, now more amused than annoyed.

 

“God, no, no way. Please? They really want to get to know you better.” Chloe pleads, tapping her freshly painted, teal nails against the side of the wine glass in her hand. “I’ll make it up to you?”

 

“Fine.” Beca mutters, an exaggerated eye roll to match.

 

“I don’t know why you’re complaining, they might end up being your in-laws one day.” Chloe smiles sweetly as she kisses Beca’s cheek before standing up and walking past.

 

Beca freezes and she remains frozen for a good few seconds as she lets Chloe’s words echo around in her as though it’s hollow and the echo repeats six or seven times, except this time it doesn’t get quieter, if anything it gets louder and louder until it’s really fucking loud.

 

Beca doesn’t have major commitment issues, she has commitment issues but it’s not stopped her from having many serious relationships, though despite having serious relationships, the most serious relationship she’s ever had was with her Netflix account and that is going on seven years strong this year.

 

“- You think about that stuff?” Beca asks Chloe before she can pass the living room and head for the stairs.

 

“I think about a lot of stuff, honey. Don’t worry about it.” Chloe’s bright smile reassures her. “We’re going to have plenty of time to think about what’s next, you don’t need to look so pale.”

 

Beca jumps over the back of the couch and walks over to Chloe, kissing her quickly before hugging her.

 

“I-” Beca hesitates, she gets a little lost as she stares into Chloe’s eyes, the weight of the words sitting on her tongue and her shoulders as Chloe waits. “- I think we should go to bed.”

 

“Good idea.” Chloe agrees, slipping her hand into Beca’s before pulling her towards the stairs.

 

 

Emily agrees to babysit the kids which Beca tries to be annoyed at as she sits in Chloe’s bedroom and gets ready for dinner with Chloe’s parents. Chloe is in the bathroom curling her hair.

 

“Are you sure this thing isn’t formal?” Beca asks Chloe for (probably) the fiftieth time in the last five minutes.

 

“I’m sure, just get dressed.” Chloe reply is followed by an exasperated sigh as Beca grabs her shirt from Chloe’s closet and puts it on and starts buttoning it.

 

Once she’s buttoned her shirt, she grabs her boots from near the bedroom door and shouts to Chloe that she’s going to wait for her downstairs. Beca doesn’t even need to reach the bottom of the stairs to register Asher running around in his Captain America costume with Eliza repping her brand new Wonder Woman costume whilst Beca amusedly looks on at Reese sitting on the floor surrounded by her toys dressed as Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What finally causes Beca to crack and laugh is Emily sitting in Eliza’s pink chair, tied to it by Eliza’s jump-rope as she turns around, a slightly panicked look on her face as she mouths help me.

 

“Welcome to parenthood, Em.”

 

“I don’t want kids.” Emily huffs out as Eliza and Asher circle the chair she’s sitting in until Asher stops in front of her.

 

“Why not? We’re great.”

 

“Jesse’s right, he’s definitely your son.” Emily glances back over her shoulder and smirks at Beca.

 

Chloe walks down the stairs, stopping behind Beca and laughing softly.

 

“Ash, El, I thought we said to stop tying up your babysitters.” Chloe mildly, and by mildly, she’s not even attempting to scold the pair.

 

“But mom, it’s fun.” Eliza whines.

 

“I can’t argue with that.” Chloe walks past Beca and Beca watches her, her and into the living room to talk to Emily and say goodbye to the kids before Beca follows her but Emily stops her by nearly tripping her up.

 

You’re in love.” Emily sings sarcastically whilst Beca flips her off. 

 

Chloe and Beca get a cab to the restaurant and the entire journey, Beca is nervous, she doesn’t think she made a great impression at Reese’s birthday so the worry of what Chloe’s parents think of her already but Chloe’s always there anyway and the second that she starts to see the creases in Beca’s forehead, she leans across and lets her lips brush against her girlfriend’s cheek and she tells her to relax.

 

The restaurant is a small Italian place that’s hidden away down an alley but Chloe’s parents are waiting outside under an umbrella as the couple join them. Chloe let’s go of Beca’s hand and greets her parents with hugs before Beca sticks out her hand to Chloe’s mom before that’s forgotten about and Melissa hugs Beca telling her it’s good to see her again.

 

“It’s good to see you again, Mr. Beale.” Beca sticks out her hand and shakes Chloe’s dad’s hand.

 

“Call him Mark.” Melissa tells her.

 

“No, call me Mr. Beale.” Mark replies before Melissa swats at his shoulder. “Or Mark, you know, whatever’s easier.”

 

Chloe beams as she watches her parents’ interaction with her girlfriend, being honest, Chloe hadn’t expected the greeting to go as well as it has gone so far so the evening could end right now and she would be happy. Chloe links her arm through Beca’s as the pair follow Chloe’s parents into the restaurant.

 

They sit at a table near the back of the restaurant and Chloe eyes her mom suspiciously when she notices that she’s left the child psychology book at home and seems to be a lot, friendlier than usual so she looks to her dad and he leans forward, using his menu as a shield between his wife and Beca.

 

“Put it this way, little one, that’s not water in your mom’s glass.” Mark says to Chloe.

 

“Gin?” Chloe asks and her dad nods. “You really got mom drunk?”

 

“After thirty-seven years of marriage, little one, you learn a trick and that trick is things are sometimes easier when one of us is drunk.” Mark looks between Beca and his daughter before smiling. “Remember that.”

 

“If mom’s drunk, I do not want to be sober for this – waiter!” Chloe holds her hand up and smiles at the waiter that approaches their table.

 

 

“So Beca tell us about you, where are you from? Your family?” Melissa leans forward, holding her glass of wine between her thumb and forefinger.

 

“Portland, originally, I lived in Seattle for a few years when I was really young. My mom’s a dentist and my dad, he’s a college professor, he teaches comparative literature-” Beca tries to hide her eye roll but she can’t. “- I’m pretty sure he still teaches that.”

 

“Pretty sure?”

 

“Mom, don’t push it.” Chloe warns, her hand finding its way to rest against Beca’s thigh.

 

“It’s okay.” Beca reassures her. “My dad left when I was thirteen and contact between us just stopped, we don’t have the best relationship anymore.”

 

Chloe lifts her hand and reaches across the table to wrap her hand around Beca’s.

 

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Mark sighs.

 

“Me too, thank you.” Beca shrugs as she reaches for the glass of wine on the table.

 

 

 

“So, how did you two meet?” Mark asks halfway through their main.

 

“At the park, I took Eliza and Reese and saw Beca with her son and she does the thing I did with giving the kids a dollar every time I cursed.” Chloe laughs. “I had no idea that on Monday morning I’d be welcoming her son into my class.”

 

“You’re her son’s teacher?”

 

“You never told them?”

 

Beca and Melissa both stare at Chloe who tries to hide her quickly reddening cheeks behind her class of Sauvignon Blanc.

 

“It’s not a problem, really, I teach Eliza.” Chloe shrugs, taking one large gulp of the wine. “Mom, stop staring at me like that. It’s not the first time Beca’s dated Ash’s teacher.”

 

“Thank you darling.” Beca tilts her head to the side, side-eyeing Chloe as the focus shifts to her. Beca tries to formulate a response to Chloe putting her on the spot but she can’t and Chloe’s smirk is enough for Beca to take a swipe at her ankle from under the table and for Chloe to mutter kinky under her breath.

 

Chloe swiftly changes the subject noticing Beca’s continuation to stay silent until the subject is changed.

 

“Mom, how’s Grandma?”

 

“Chloe, I bought the bar.” Beca blurts out.

 

Chloe lowers her knife and fork to rest on the edge of her plate as she turns around slowly, her gaze falling on Beca as she twirls pasta around her fork.

 

“I’m sorry?” Chloe furrows her eyebrows.

 

“The call I got last week at Amy’s, it was my boss, she’s selling the bar because she’s moving to Canada and I accidentally told her I’d buy it but I promise you I was about to back out the next day but-”

 

“But what?” Chloe interrupts, her grip on her knife tightening which doesn’t help the nervous feeling in the pit of Beca’s stomach.

 

“You’re not going to stab me, right?” Beca asks warily, laughing nervously.

 

“But what?” Chloe repeats.

 

“Amy, Benji and Jesse agreed to all buy a share of the bar.” Beca finally finishes, swallowing thickly as Chloe lets the words sink in.

 

“Okay.” She replies.

 

“Okay?” Beca cocks her left eyebrow as Chloe nods.

 

“Okay.” She smiles at her girlfriend and Beca relaxes.

 

 

XxX

 

 

Wednesday night is the night of Eliza’s father/daughter dance at school and after telling Chloe about her idea to take Eliza to the dance, Beca nearly tells her again but she doesn’t.

 

Instead, Chloe helps Eliza get ready whilst Beca gets dressed in a shirt she borrowed from Jesse, a pair of black suit pants that she has had since her last job interview which actually was the bartender job. She doesn’t draw the fake beard but she does tie her hair up into a bun as she pulls on a nice pair of dress shoes and walks downstairs where Eliza is waiting in a gold, sparkly dress that she bought with Chloe over the weekend.

 

Beca reaches Eliza and bows before extending her hand to the seven year old. She smiles as she takes Beca’s hand and allows Beca to spin her around.

 

“Elizabeth Brooke, would you do me the greatest honor of accompanying me to the dance this evening?” Beca puts on her fanciest voice as she gets down on one knee and holds her hand out, palm up to Eliza.

 

“Yes.” Eliza giggles loudly as she places her hand in Beca’s.

 

“Have fun you two.” Chloe kisses Beca before kissing Eliza’s cheek before Beca shouts bye to Asher and Reese who are so engrossed in the TV that they don’t even register Beca and Eliza leaving.

 

Beca drives them to school, jamming to the songs playing on the radio when Eliza lowers the volume and turns to Beca.

 

“What do I do when they ask me why I came with you?” She asks the question so quietly that if Beca wasn’t concentrating she definitely wouldn’t have heard it.

 

“What do you want to say?” Beca asks her, glancing down to Eliza for a split second.

 

“I want to say-” Eliza pauses, thinking long and hard and Beca has to stifle her laughter at Eliza’s furrowed eyebrows as she thinks. “- That my daddy would want me to go with you.”

 

“You think he would?” Beca asks her as she stops at the traffic lights.

 

“Uh huh, my daddy always said that he wanted me to be happy and you make me happy.” Eliza explains as though it’s the simplest thing in the world and if it’s simple enough for Eliza, it’s simple enough for Beca.

 

They hold the dance in the gym and Eliza is immediately mesmerized by the balloons, string lights hanging on every wall, the stars on the ceiling and the midnight sky feel. It melts Beca’s heart when Eliza spins into the gym with her arms spread out wide and a beaming grin on her face before she stops and holds her hand for Beca to take.

 

“It’s so pretty, Beca!” Eliza gushes as she holds onto Beca’s hand and continues to walk through the gym. “Can we dance?”

 

Beca doesn’t dance, she hates dancing, she can’t dance but when Eliza stares up at her and Beca realizes just how fucking much she looks like Chloe – Beca realizes she can’t say no.

 

So Eliza drags them to the middle of the gym and they dance along to a teen pop song that is too cheery, too fresh and so different compared to the nineties music that she was brought up on. Eliza stops dancing halfway through the first song and lets go of Beca’s hands before wandering across the gym to another girl. Beca watches them and she watches the sassy hand on Eliza’s hip as she says something to the other girl before flipping her hair over her shoulder and retreating back to Beca.

 

“Are you okay, kiddo?” Beca asks her.

 

“I don’t like her, she’s Denver’s brother.” Eliza pulls a face.

 

“Who?” Beca asks.

 

“Jersey Owens, she asked me why I was here with a girl.” Eliza huffs and crosses her arm over her chest.

 

“Jersey? Denver? Whatever happened to people calling their kids Stephanie and Michael?” Beca shudders with the modern-day baby naming. “It’s all Beckham’s fault, I’m telling you.” Beca huffs until she catches Eliza’s eyes and realizes Eliza has little to absolutely no idea what’s going on.

 

Eliza dances with her friends a lot before Eliza and Beca take photos in the photo booth in the corner of the gym and they drink a lot of soda (if Chloe knew how much she would probably have a heart attack). Eliza and Beca dance some more and when she starts to tire the pair sit on the floor on the side away from the dance floor.

 

“I miss him.” Eliza sighs sadly. “I never tell mom that I’m sad because I don’t wanna make her sad, I want her to be happy, Beca.”

 

“You shouldn’t hide how you feel, El.” Beca tells her, brushing her hair out of her face. “It’s our job as parents to make you feel better.”

 

“But mom’s going to be sad.” Eliza protests, meeting Beca’s eyes.

 

“She might be sad but she’s going to be even sadder that you’re sad and she couldn’t help make you feel better. It’s okay to be sad about it but we want you to tell us so that we can help.” Beca wraps her arm around Eliza’s shoulder. “Is that okay?”

 

“It’s okay.” Eliza confirms with a yawn.

 

 

XxX

 

 

It’s Beca and Chloe’s turn to host Friday Night Dinner except this week has a twist and by twist it’s because Jesse frantically called Beca at seven-thirty this morning and screamed down the phone that it’s exactly a month until his wedding and they’ve only booked a venue and a date. Beca didn’t take it seriously at first, mainly because she was still half-asleep but after checking the small, paper calendar that sits on Chloe’s bedside table she realized it is in fact exactly a month until her best friends’ wedding.

 

“Fuck.” Beca scratches the back of her head as she paces the kitchen. “I suck at planning things.” Beca grumbles as she pulls out two dollar bills from her back pocket and places them in Eliza and Asher’s waiting hands. “There is so much to do, I’m his best woman.”

 

Chloe looks up from where she’s chopping vegetables. “Let me guess, you’ve already got an idea for the bachelor parties, right?”

 

Beca grins. “Oh yeah, I had those locked down the minute Jesse told me he was proposing.”

 

“I swear to god-” Chloe stops chopping and spins around “- if you tell me you’re going to Vegas I will hit you.”

 

“I would never-” Beca tries to hide the smile tugging upwards at the corners of her lips. Beca slides up behind Chloe and presses her hand into Chloe’s hip as Chloe continues chopping vegetables.

 

Asher and Eliza run into the kitchen, Asher with his Captain America shield and Eliza with her Wonder Woman sword, they’re fighting each other as they dance around the dining table.

 

“If no one else will defend this world. Then I must!” Eliza screams out, having her attempt blocked by Asher’s shield.

 

Asher yawns as he blocks another one of Eliza’s attempts. “I could do this all day.”

 

The doorbell rings once Beca has pushed Asher and Eliza’s battle into the living room and she opens the front door to a whiteboard, seven folders, a duffle bag and Benji frantically muttering about how their wedding is going to be in board shorts and they’re going to eat burgers for an evening meal. Jesse stays by the door for a second to catch his breath.

 

“What’s wrong with board shorts?” Jesse frowns as he walks into the house, shrugging at Benji’s hatred for the clothing item that stemmed from college and a not-so-successful trip to the beach. “We’ve been doing this all day and we spent two hours arguing over what song to play for our first dance.” Jesse huffs out with a laugh.

 

“You chose?” Beca asks him.

 

“I want This I Promise You.”

 

“For the last fucking time we’re not having our first dance to NSYNC!” Benji shouts from the living room.

 

“Let me guess, he’s stressed?” Beca raises one eyebrow as Jesse shakes his head.

 

“There’s stressed and then there’s Benji with a month to go until our wedding – which is why I brought-” Jesse brings out a full bottle of vodka from behind his back. “I’m going to need it.”

 

“Wedding planning whilst drunk? I’m sure this is going to go great.” Beca swipes the bottle and walks into the living room.

 

Amy and Chloe disappear from wedding planning to go and grill their dinner, with a night full of wedding planning ahead, Chloe figured having a meal around the dining table for a few hours would be useless so she decided on essentially having a barbeque (just indoors).

 

Jesse is spinning a marker around his finger as Beca and Benji sit on the couch and go through different pages in one of the binders.

 

“Band or a DJ?” Beca asks as Jesse and Benji look at each other, not answering. “Huh, tough room.”

 

“I want a band for dinner and a DJ for the night.”

 

“I just want a band.” Jesse chimes in.

 

“Let me guess-” Beca holds her hand up before it escalates. “You can’t have both?”

 

Jesse and Benji shake their heads and Beca thinks that this is going to be a long night when an idea springs to mind and she hops to the kitchen looking through the kitchen cupboards until she finds what she’s looking for, a nearly full bottle of tequila and two shot glasses from another cupboard – she’s sure that Chloe won’t mind. The shot glasses are black and it works perfect as Beca returns to the living room and pours out a shot of tequila before reaching for the bottle of vodka and pouring a shot of that too.

 

“Tequila is a band and vodka is a DJ.” Beca looks between her two best friends before mixing up the shot glasses until even she doesn’t remember which one is which. “Pick one and drink up, J.”

 

“This is your best idea?” Jesse asks as he picks up one of the shot glasses.

 

“Do you have a better one?” Beca shoots back, eyebrows raised.

 

Jesse answers her by drinking the shot.

 

“Tequila.” Jesse grimaces as he places the empty glass down.

 

“A band it is.” Beca grins, pretty pleased with herself as she stands up and swipes the marker from Jesse’s hand and writes it on the board before they can change their minds.

 

Beca’s liquor idea works for the most part and by the time that Chloe and Amy have finished cooking dinner the three of them are slightly tipsy but they have everything from photographers, caterers, register, decorations, rehearsal dinner, stocking the bar (alcohol is important, Beca!) and a near-finished seating plan.

 

“I mean, I guess I should be impressed you guys sent the invitations out.” Beca yawns as she moves the binders from the table to the floor as three large plates of food are set down.

 

Wedding planning takes a backseat for the next hour but that doesn’t stop Chloe, Beca and Amy teaming up and grilling the guys on whatever comes to mind – Jesse trips up when he admits he forgot they were writing their own vows whereas Benji comes to an abrupt halt when he realizes he hasn’t checked their honeymoon confirmation.

 

“This is why I’m glad I’m dating Chloe’s crazy organized ass.”

 

Chloe rolls her eyes but kisses Beca’s cheek.

 

 

“I think we just have two things left, Ash come here.” Jesse holds his hand out and motions for Asher to leave his card game with Eliza. “We want you to be the ring bearer at our wedding.”

 

“There’s going to be a bear?!” Asher asks excitedly, his eyes lit up as he stares at Jesse.

 

“N- No, a ring bearer not a ring bear.” Jesse tells him, watching as Asher furrows his eyebrows. “It means you get to carry the rings at the ceremony.”

 

“Your rings?” Asher asks

 

“Who else’s?” Jesse asks him.

 

“Gandalf’s.” Asher answers with a bright smile.

 

Our rings, Ash.”

 

“So there isn’t a bear?” Asher frowns as he asks. “That sucks but I’ll do it.”

 

Asher high-fives Jesse before running to the armchair and jumping up to sit on Chloe’s knee. Jesse and Benji look at each other and nod before looking to Chloe and Beca who in turn look at each other. Reese is already sitting on Benji’s knee as Jesse motions for Eliza to run over.

 

“We didn’t forget you two; we want you two to be a part of this day too.” Jesse wraps his arms around Eliza as both Reese and Eliza look between both of them. “We want you two to be our flowergirls.”

 

“Why?” Eliza asks.

 

“- Because you’re a part of this family too.” Jesse explains as though it’s the simplest thing. “It wouldn’t be our wedding if we didn’t have you two play a special part.”

 

Reese just smiles when she notices that everybody else is smiling but Eliza just jumps and wraps her arms around Jesse’s neck, hugging him tightly and crying softly. Chloe has one hand over her heart as she struggles to hold back the tears.

 

Never did she think that in such a short space of time that not only she would but also her daughters would’ve been welcomed into the tight-knit family that the four of them and Asher had created she would’ve laughed but they have and she has never felt more at home than she does when she’s surrounded by her (still) new friends.

 

Beca didn’t doubt anything when she was introducing Chloe and her daughters to the friends she’s had for the best part of a decade, they’re a little over the top, they’re bashful and will do anything to spill the deepest secrets that they know about each other but there is so much fucking love between them that Beca knew they would not only love Chloe the way that Beca is growing to love her but take Eliza and Reese into their rag-tag little family the same way they did when Beca gave birth to an eight pound baby. It isn’t the way that they imagined their family was going to grow but what family is conventional?

 

Looking around, Beca knows she wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

It’s closer to midnight than eleven when everybody leaves and Asher, Eliza and Reese are crashed on the couch, a knitted blanket from Chloe’s Grandma thrown over them and Chloe and Beca in the kitchen washing and drying the dishes from dinner.

 

“You’re so lucky to have them.” Chloe sighs contentedly as she passes a plate to Beca for her to dry.

 

We’re, we’re lucky to have them.” Beca corrects but Chloe’s shaking her head.

 

“That’s not what I meant; I’m talking more about when Asher was born. They stuck around and helped you raise that kid and I was lucky to keep Aubrey when Eliza was born.” Chloe stops washing dishes and leans against the counter instead. “It was your senior year, right? They could’ve easily bailed on you and Ash because they needed to concentrate on classes and not four-thirty bottles and screaming sessions. It really did bound you guys together more than just friends from college, you really did become one big family.” Chloe smiles as she says the words. “- That’s how I imagine us to be, one day.”

 

Beca stops drying the plate in her hand and sets it aside before sliding up in front of Chloe.

 

“We’re already one big family.” Beca stares into Chloe’s eyes until she’s sure that Chloe believes her. “You, me, Ash, El, Reese, Jesse, Benji and Amy – we’re family.”

 

Chloe leans forward and kisses Beca before wrapping her arms around her girlfriend and they just stand there for a while, relishing the silence that comes with the late hour and three extremely exhausted children on the couch in the next room.

 

“Did you tell them to let Eliza and Reese be in their wedding?” Chloe asks, tugging her bottom lip between her teeth.

 

“No.” Beca replies with a shake of her head. “I told them to drink a shot of either tequila or vodka to pick between a band or a DJ but not to make them their flowergirls. They really do love those girls, I promise.”

 

“I know, I know.” Chloe holds her hand up before letting her gaze settle on Beca. “I love you.”

 

Beca freezes.

 

“Uh – we should finish the dishes and get the kids to bed.” Beca slides along the kitchen floor and picks up the plate she had just finished drying and puts it into the cupboard.

 

Chloe slowly returns to doing the dishes and they finish the job in stone-cold silence.