Beca collapsed face first on Chloe’s bed. “I love your family, Chloe. But I’m exhausted.”
Chloe flopped on top of her and cuddled her close. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“Me too.” Beca closed her eyes and let out a contented sigh as the familiar comfort of Chloe’s weight settled over her.
It was Christmas Eve of her sophomore year and Beca had just spent a full day with a house full of Beales.
They had arrived in Portland mid-morning and Beca had immediately felt at home in the merely rainy Oregon weather. She liked snow, but she could do without being cold all the time. ‘Though,’ she thought as her body soaked in Chloe’s warmth, ‘sleeping next to a furnace every night makes that a little easier to handle.’
“I like your mom.” Beca finally said, forcing her eyes to open or she was going to fall asleep right there. “Even if she did scar me for life.” Amelia Beale was an even shorter version of her daughter, all wild red curls and dancing blue eyes. She was terrifying in her own parental way and Beca never wanted that woman angry at her.
She also had a wicked sense of humor that Beca had been alternately horrified and amused by.
“After Chloe, the younger twins were delivered by cesarean.” She leaned closer and whispered loudly, “Natural birth is beautiful and I’m glad I experienced it twice, but I wanted to be able to use my vagina again when it was over. Atlas and Brooke nearly destroyed me.”
Beca had nearly choked on the egg nog Amelia had just poured for her.
“She loves you already.” Chloe said, wiggling until she found a more comfortable spot. “She told me while you were ‘letting’ the twins force you to show them your mixes.”
Beca moved one shoulder in a half-assed shrug. “Who am I to deny showing off greatness?”
“You just wanted to hide without looking like you were hiding.” Chloe poked her in the side.
“Guilty.” Beca wasn’t even ashamed to admit it.
There had been a lot of Beales.
Chloe came from a family of twins. They cropped up every generation on both her mother’s and her father’s side of the family. Chloe’s dad, Barker – ‘Call me BB though I can’t play the guitar worth a lick.’ – had shown Beca photo albums full of twins, identical and fraternal. This ‘blessing’ on both sides of the family meant that Chloe’s parents were twice as likely to have twins.
Which they did.
Atlas and Brooke were three years older than Chloe and she had idolized them from the moment she was old enough to follow them around the house. Her stories about their antics sounded a lot like the ones Aubrey had told Beca about Aiden and Asher after the ICCAs.
After Chloe the Beales had a second set of twins three years later, Danica and Ezra. Chloe wasn’t a twin, and while Beca didn’t want to ask, she sensed an old, almost forgotten sadness whenever Chloe mentioned it. She knew one day she’d get the story, but decided their First Official Christmas as a couple might not be the best time for it.
Beca had stared at Chloe for a solid thirty seconds the first time they’d exchanged family history over post-rehearsal coffee the year before. Regionals (and their first kiss) was still two weeks away, so they were in that grey area where Beca was opening up more, but still awkward about it.
“Did your parents literally name you guys in alphabetical order?”
“Yup!” Chloe grinned at her. “When I was seven, I told them they should’ve started Atlas with a C name, since they were already A and B, but Mom pointed out that then my name would be different and didn’t I like my name?” Chloe sighed. “I cried for an hour thinking someone was going to take away my name and give me something else.”
“That is adorable,” Beca laughed, without thinking of what she was saying and to whom.
“Beca Mitchell, did you just say ‘adorable’?” Chloe asked playfully.
Beca flushed. “It’s your horrible influence on me.” She took a sip of her coffee and ignored Chloe’s grin across the table. “Shut up and drink your hot chocolate.” But she couldn’t help smiling back when Chloe only batted her blue eyes back at her.
Chloe nuzzled into the back of her neck and pulled Beca from her memories. “Thank you for coming home with me.”
“It’s only fair – you came to Thanksgiving with my Dad and Sheila.” Beca rocked a little until Chloe pushed up and let her roll over. Once she was on her back, Chloe cuddled close again and both of them let out small sighs of contentment. “Which I can’t thank you enough for.”
“You needed me.” Chloe kissed her gently and brushed strands of hair out of Beca’s eyes. “Of course I’d go with you.”
After the Christmas dinner she’d had with her father the year before, Beca had been afraid of awkward silences that had been filled with teenage resentment in the past. The last Thanksgiving she’d had with her father had been three years prior and she’d ended up having a screaming match (which she’d later admit was a complete childish tantrum) over her music dreams. It had ended when she’d stomped off to the guest room and slammed the door.
Having Chloe there had been wonderful as any time the conversation lulled she just started talking about some of the past trips the Bellas had done. Sheila had been quite interested in hearing about Prince and Beca was fairly certain the two of them had bonded over his butt size and the dinner rolls. It had further allowed her to see her step-mother as more than just the woman who wasn’t her mother. Thanksgiving had been… good. They weren’t one big happy family, but she felt more confident that they were moving closer to mutual respect.
Beca ran her hand down Chloe’s side. “Of course, I didn’t have four siblings who were going to give you the third degree.”
“Oh please. You only had to deal with three of them.” Chloe rolled her eyes. “Brooke isn’t even coming until tomorrow. She and Jayden are spending Eve with his parents and will come over tomorrow with the boys.” Twins continued to run in the family and last year Chloe had gained two nephews, Ander and Barrett.
“I still can’t believe they’re continuing the whole alphabet thing.” Beca winced as Chloe poked her in the stomach. “I mean, it’s a cute tradition pleasedon’tpokemeagainI’mtoofull.”
“That’s what I thought you said.” Chloe huffed but rubbed the spot she’d prodded. “Oof. I need to get up and take a shower before bed. I have no idea how early everyone will wake up tomorrow.” She sat up and Beca whined at the loss of heat. “Or you could take yours first?” She leaned back down until her face hovered over Beca’s. “Or we could shower together.” She winked and Beca’s jaw dropped.
“Holy crap, not here!” Beca looked at the door in panic, irrationally convinced Chloe’s parents were about to barge in at the thought. While Chloe laughed, Beca forced herself to sit up and rubbed her face. “I’ll go, though I’m not sure I trust you to not follow me. Back in a sec.” She kissed a still giggling Chloe on the cheek and slid from the bed.
Gathering her toiletry bag, an oversized shirt and a pair of shorts, she went across the hall. Turning on the water to warm, she tried desperately not to think how strange it felt to get naked in a strange bathroom – a sensation that gave her weird echoes of the first time she got undressed in Chloe’s bedroom. A memory she probably shouldn’t carry much further, considering Chloe’s parents were just down the hall.
Forcing her mind clear, she focused on getting washed and getting out, not wanting to use all the hot water before Chloe got in. Last thing she wanted was Chloe’s ice cold hands worming their way under her shirt to get warm. Mostly because that led to other things that also weren’t appropriate in Chloe’s childhood bed. Instead she focused on trying to figure out – again- how someone who produced heat like Chloe did reacted to anything cold by turning blue.
Chloe looked up as she walked back in after brushing her teeth. “That was quick.” She turned from her suitcase and picked up her own sleepwear from the bed.
Beca shrugged and sat down on the bed and rubbed her towel over her head. “Had to make sure you had enough hot water.”
“This house held two adults and five kids at one point. We’ve got a super heater.” Chloe paused at the door and looked back. “But thank you for always trying to make sure I’m warm.” She bit her lip and gave Beca one of her heated looks. “I guess that means you earned the gift I packed for you. Stacie helped me pick it out.”
“Oh my god.” Beca let the towel fall to her shoulders and stared but Chloe was already out the door and it was closing behind her. “Oh my god.” Beca said again into the empty room.
While technically they’d only been an official couple for six months or so, they were as comfortable with each other by now as if it had been years. Since Beca had visited her mom in Seattle and Chloe was here in Portland, they’d spent a lot of time together over the summer. She’d met Chloe’s family then, though only briefly here and there as the two of them spent a lot of time travelling up and down the coast or to various favorite vacation spots across both states.
Comfortable enough that they’d already made several purchases over the summer and at one of the adult stores in Atlanta and had, awkwardly in Beca’s case, discussed a few more. Ones that involved harnesses and straps. Beca was suddenly absolutely convinced Chloe had bought one and it was sitting, hidden, in her suitcase.
In her parents’ house.
She stared at Chloe’s blue suitcase, lying innocently across her desk chair and tried to bore a hole through the side with her eyes.
‘You could just walk over there and look in it,’ she told herself. Except she knew that Chloe would be disappointed if Beca ruined her surprise.
‘You can always tell her no, because, you know parents.’ She tried a different line of thought. Except Beca had no willpower when it came to Chloe Beale, much less when it came to sex with Chloe Beale.
‘I’m going to be banned from this house and forbidden to date their daughter.’ Beca buried her face in her hands. As terrified of getting caught making love to Chloe as she was, she was equally turned on at the thought of Chloe under her. Or over her. Or in her.
Suddenly, she was on her feet in front of Chloe’s suitcase, her hand already lifting the top before she realized what she was doing. She slammed it back down and turned away from it. ‘Do not spoil Chloe’s fun, jackass.’ Beca forced herself to sit back down on the bed, though she did so at the edge, nervously bouncing her leg. She made herself study Chloe’s room, though she had explored it quite thoroughly over the summer.
The walls were covered with various art and animal prints, Chloe having been convinced she would be a vet when she grew up, and shelves of dance trophies. She’d been part of a team throughout her teenage years and they’d won many of their competitions. Beca smiled at a picture of a pre-teen Chloe in a tutu; unlike Stacie, Chloe had tried ballet and hated it. She wondered if she could sneak the picture in her suitcase when they left, wanting to show Stacie when they got back to Barden. Just taking a picture of it wouldn’t do it justice, and she knew the perfect spot on their dresser to set it.
Decision made, she stood and plucked it off the shelf, vowing instead to return it once she’d had a copy made, and slid it into her suitcase between her clothes. Which put her near Chloe’s suitcase and reminded her of what she’d been trying to avoid thinking of and brought the panic back to the forefront of her mind.
Chloe had bought a strap-on and intended to use it tonight.
Beca checked the clock, sure this was the longest shower Chloe had ever taken and saw only ten minutes had gone by since she’d left the room. She lifted her hand, almost in a trance, and slipped her fingers under the top of Chloe’s suitcase once more. She’d just begun to raise it when she heard the knob rattle at the door.
She leapt back toward the bed and sat down with a thump as Chloe stepped in. She paused, confused, before closing the door behind her. Beca sat still as Chloe eyed her narrowly and she swallowed thickly when Chloe turned the lock.
“What you’re doing?”
“Nothing.” Beca answered quickly, too quickly by the rise of Chloe’s eyebrow.
“Then why are you bright red and keep looking at my suitcase?”
Beca jerked her eyes back to Chloe’s. “Uh… Uhhhhh…” Sometimes she really hated that she picked that habit up from Amy; it was a dead giveaway that she was stalling for time and had no good answer to whatever had been asked of her.
“Mm, that’s what I thought.” Chloe moved to her vanity and picked up her comb. “Trying to figure out what your gift is?” She watched Beca through the mirror as she combed out her hair.
“Oh god.” Beca closed her eyes and felt her face flame hotter. She heard Chloe move closer and barely managed not to jump when she felt cool hands on her cheeks.
“And just what is your gutter mind imagining I got you?” Chloe began to comb Beca’s hair, something she’d forgotten to do herself, what with all the panic and porn thoughts.
“Nothing?” Beca tried again, looking up at Chloe from under her lashes.
“That blush tells me it was something.” Chloe grinned at her and stepped back. “Are you thinking I went shopping in Atlanta with Stacie… without you?”
Beca closed one eye. “Maybe?”
“Then packed it in my suitcase and brought it to my parents house?” Chloe traced Beca’s lips with her thumb. “To use while they’re right down the hall?”
“Don’t remind me!” Beca groaned and rested her forehead on Chloe’s stomach. “You’re the worst.”
“I think that’d mean I was the best,” Chloe murmured as she stroked Beca’s hair. “But I’m sorry to disappoint you; I did not go to the adult store with Stacie.”
Beca didn’t know if she was relieved or disappointed. “Oh.” She blinked. “I mean, that’s… no, that’s okay. It’s perfectly fine.” She lifted her hands and shrugged, trying to ignore the way they began to twitch nervously through the air. “That’s, I mean, you don’t have to… It wasn’t…”
“Beca.” Chloe leaned down and kissed her to shut her up. “Breathe, love.”
Beca took a deep breath and let it out. “Sorry.” She fell back on the bed.
“Don’t be.” Chloe walked over and set her comb back on the vanity. “But we did get you something.” She turned around and leaned against it. “Well, us something.”
Intrigued now that her panic was fading, Beca sat up again. “Oh?”
“Mmhm.” Chloe moved to turn on a soft desk lamp and turned off her overhead light. “I’m wearing it now.” She walked back toward Beca with a little sway to her hips.
Immediately Beca’s eyes dropped to the front of Chloe’s long baseball jersey, half expecting to find a sudden bulge had materialized. “You are? But you said no…” Beca’s hands waved in front of her hips. “You know…”
Chloe chuckled softly. “Correct, I am not wearing a ‘you know’.” Chloe stopped when her legs bumped against Beca’s knees. Her eyes had darkened and not just because the light was off; Beca felt her stomach tighten in response, willpower already pushed aside by rising desire. “Maybe you should lift up my shirt, Becs.”
Without the slightest hesitation, Beca’s hands skimmed up the outside of Chloe’s thighs and slowly pushed her shirt upward. She gave a small gasp as her fingers hit cotton and realized Chloe had forgone wearing shorts. But she kept pushing, curious as to what Chloe could possibly be referring to as a gift for them both. As the hem of Chloe’s shirt reached her stomach, Beca began to laugh.
Chloe was wearing mistletoe underwear. They were black with the phrase “kiss me under the mistletoe“ in white letters and a picture of said mistletoe between ‘kiss’ and ‘me’.
Chloe grinned at her when she looked back up, though her eyes had darkened further. “I had the idea after Stacie’s extra mistletoe on her belt last year, and we spent an hour online looking through various sites. She found this one and bought it for us.”
“She would,” Beca said wryly. “I’m going to get teased when we get back, aren’t I?”
“Definitely.” Chloe’s fingers ran through Beca’s hair and scratched lightly at her scalp. “Do you like them?”
“Baby,” Beca leaned forward and kissed the picture of mistletoe, feeling Chloe shiver slightly. “I love them.” She kissed Chloe’s stomach and felt it twitch. “I love you.” She looked up and felt the warmth of Chloe’s smile wash through her. “But your parents are down the hall. And I like your dad and don’t want him to kill me.” Chloe pressed lightly on Beca’s shoulders until she got the idea and pushed herself up on the bed, Chloe following behind her until she was straddling Beca’s hips.
“Beca.” Chloe leaned down and kissed her brow. “My adorable shy girlfriend,” she kissed Beca’s other brow. “Why do you think my dad kept apologizing for how loud he snores?”
“Er,” Beca closed her eyes and resisted the urge to blink as Chloe kissed both her eyelids. “I… just thought he was saying I’d be able to hear it in here – which is why I’m worri-“ she stopped as Chloe took her lips in a kiss that stole the breath from her lungs.
When they finally broke apart, Chloe smiled at her. “We’re a progressive family, Becs.”
“Is that why you barged into my shower without a second thought?” Beca’s hands were under Chloe’s shirt and on her hips, stroking lightly at the skin above the Christmas underwear.
“Partially.” Chloe shrugged. “But most of that was your voice and a sense of fate.” She stuck out her tongue when Beca rolled her eyes. “But they know we sleep together, Beca. And while my dad does snore like a buzz saw, it was more his unsubtle way of saying they won’t be able to hear anything down the hall. And we have my mom’s craft room between us, filled with all sorts of fabric and knickknacks.”
“The twins,” Beca started to say but stopped with a hiss as Chloe’s fingers grazed over her breast.
“Listen to music.” She tugged at the bottom of Beca’s shirt until Beca lifted up and let her remove it entirely. “Speaking of…” Chloe reached over and turned on her radio, set to some local soft rock station. Still on her knees, she pulled off her shirt before lowering herself back down.
Beca arched her back as Chloe stretched against her, the last of her protests dying on her lips at the feel of Chloe’s skin on her own. “God you feel good.”
“That’s my girl,” Chloe purred just before she licked down into Beca’s mouth.
They traded increasingly deeper kisses, both of them letting their hands wander as they touched and stroked; both of them rolling against each other until finally Beca reached down to help slide Chloe’s panties off her legs. Her lips twitched again as she read the front of them.
“We’re going to have to think of something to get Stacie for this wonderful gift.” Beca dropped them on the floor on top of their shirts.
“She said you’d say that,” Chloe offered as she returned the favor and stripped Beca of her shorts and underwear. “She said she’d accept the details of tonight.” She slid off the bed to turn off her lamp.
Beca snorted. “I’m sure she would. Maybe I’ll just her get a nice fruit basket.”
“We could take her shopping in Atlanta,” Chloe offered as she straddled Beca again. “She still wants to know more about our collection from Hood Night.” Beca had refused to discuss anything about it any time Stacie had started to tease her.
“Sure,” Beca said absently, arching her hips upward. “Wait, what?”
Chloe grinned wickedly. “You just agreed to go sex toy shopping with Stacie.”
“I…” Beca’s mind was blank, all she could feel was Chloe against her. “What?”
“Don’t worry, love, I’ll tell you later.” Chloe leaned down and bit gently on Beca’s lower lip. “Right now, how about you follow the directions on her present?”
Beca smiled crookedly at her and just pulled on Chloe’s hips, urging her higher. “Merry Christmas, Chlo.”
Chloe’s knees settled on either side of Beca’s head. “Merry Christmas, Be-” She cut off with a quiet moan as Beca’s lips found her.
Later – after shared whispers, giggles and quiet moans in the dark – they were snuggled under the covers, exhausted and satiated and just before sleep took her, Beca had three thoughts.
First was ‘Merry Christmas Stacie, you beautiful aca-perv.’
Second, as she pulled Chloe closer, was ‘I’m going to marry this woman someday.’
Before Chloe had entered her life, Beca had made an unspoken vow to never fall for the lure of marriage, just look where it had gotten her parents.
And now the thought comforted her; warmed her as much as the woman in her arms.
It wouldn’t be any time soon, there was still college and the ‘after’ to figure out, but Beca knew they’d figure it out together and one day she’d slide a ring on Chloe’s finger.
Her last thought, as Chloe burrowed under her chin and relaxed into sleep, was filled with quiet happiness. ‘First official Christmas down, a shared lifetime to go.’