Aubrey actually jumped when her phone went off.
While she had been anticipating it since about eight o’clock, the sudden noise was a bit more startling at ten o’clock when it had been silent for a good half an hour. In her haste to leap for her phone, she unintentionally dug her elbow into the taller brunette’s side. She didn’t even notice until the girl elicited a pain-filled yelp. She paused for only a second to send her girlfriend an apologetic look before grabbing the noisy device.
“It’s Chloe!” Aubrey exclaimed and Stacie had to hold back an eye roll because who the hell else was it going to be?
“Well, are you just going to be happy that she called or are you going to answer it?” Stacie, despite her disbelief at the blonde’s uncharacteristic ditziness, couldn’t help but laugh at the girl’s child-like excitement. She couldn’t judge her too harshly for it, however, as it was the same feeling that was currently welling up in her own.
Aubrey smiled at the brunette and winked before taking a big breath to calm her nerves. She was allowed to be excited for her friends, but she couldn’t let on straight away in case Beca had somehow talked herself out of proposing. She answered the call and switched it to speakerphone before starting with her regular, professional opening of “Aubrey Posen.”
“Aubrey I need help, please.”
Of all the different variations of this phone call neither of them ever imagined Chloe would be sobbing into the receiver. They looked up from the iPhone to exchange a look of horror, both studying each other as if they could shed some light on the situation. A few seconds past where the girls genuinely couldn’t form an answer, the only noise in the room was the sound of the bawling redhead. Aubrey seemed to be the first one to snap out of her daze when she heard Chloe let out a decidedly loud hiccup, warning her that she was probably only thirty seconds away from throwing up in distress.
“Chloe, sweetie, calm down. I’m sure everything’s okay…”
“It’s not okay!” The sobbing girl interrupted. “It’s not and I need you and Stacie to get down to our apartment right now.”
Stacie could see Aubrey had gone into panic mode, clearly not used to a frantic Chloe, something she had grown unfortunately used to in her final year of college. “Okay, we’re coming now, Chlo. We’ll be ten minutes tops.”
“Make it five.” Was the choked out response before the line went dead.
“Go grab your keys, Bree.” Stacie finally spoke up after another bought of heavy silence. “But give them to me, you’re too freaked to drive right now and we gotta go.”
Which they did. They were out the door in less than thirty seconds, worst case scenarios playing through their mind though nothing really seemed to fit. Stacie was a little proud to say that they did make the ten minute drive in just under five but Aubrey has reminded her since that she has nothing to be proud of because the speeding and red light tickets they received a few days later took all of the achievement away.
While the couple was used to not knocking and just entering their best friends’ apartment, it just didn’t feel right in this moment. Especially considering they had literally no idea what was going on inside. Stacie brought her fist up and after only a brief moment of hesitation she knocked on the familiar door.
It seemed to take less than a second for the door to be yanked open, revealing an incredibly disheveled looking Chloe. She had clearly dressed to impress tonight, elegant yet form fitting in just the right places to highlight certain assets. The dark blue taffetas dress fell just above her knees, just enough leg on show to make a girl, specifically a short, brunette DJ with ear spikes, start drooling. They were sure her make up would have been just as on point if it hadn’t started running down her face in chase of her tears. She looked like she’d had a complete melt down, but somehow that wasn’t even the worst part.
The worst part was the blood.
“What took you so long?” The redhead whimpered in what seemed to be an attempt at yelling at them. She seemed to change her mind at the last minute, instead grabbing Stacie’s wrist and all but yanking her into the shared apartment.
“Chloe what the hell is going? And is that blood?” The pitch of Aubrey’s voice seemed to climb higher towards the word blood. Stacie rolled her eyes as apparently Aubrey’s squeamishness seemed to still be a problem. For someone who could projectile vomit almost on a whim, her girlfriend seemed to be pretty queasy around blood.
Chloe seemed to ignore the question, focussing more on yanking Stacie’s shoulder out of its socket than anything. However, all of Stacie’s thoughts flew out the window when they rounded the doorway into the lounge and she finally saw what had Chloe so put out.
“Hi.” Beca’s voice was sheepish from her half reclined position on the couch.
“Beca, what the actual fuck?” Was all Stacie managed to gasp out, staring at her best friend with wide eyes. Beca too looked like she had made an effort for the evening, but the bloody cloth held to the right side of her forehead was much more eye catching than her clothing. Head wounds tend to bleed and make things look a lot worse than they were so Stacie tried not to freak out too much when seeing a large amount of blood caking the entire side of the smaller girl’s face. It seemed to have flooded down past her chin and neck to stain the dress that was once the only white dress Beca had ever probably worn in her adult life. If she wasn’t an ER doctor, this would probably be a little more disturbing. However, on first glance, her professional opinion was that the DJ would probably be just fine. She had seen a lot worse and was nowhere near freaked out about all the…
“Aubrey don’t look!” Stacie yelled, turning around just in time to see her girlfriend step into the doorway. As quickly as she could, she slapped her hand in front of her eyes and pushed her back into the hallway. They didn’t want to be cleaning up two messes tonight.
“Why? What happened? Is it bad?” Aubrey’s voice was still closely resembling a chipmunk, but her breathing seemed to have slowed down. It let Stacie know that her own calm demeanour had relaxed the blonde, because if Stacie wasn’t freaking out then there was probably no need to.
“I don’t know what happened, Bree.” Stacie answered honestly. “But I do know that Beca’s head is bleeding. But she’s awake and looks like her usual, awkward self. I just don’t want you seeing all the red and throwing up or passing out or both.”
Aubrey looked ready to argue but seemed to deflate as no defence came to mind. “Okay, I’ll go make tea I guess. Let me know if you need anything.”
“Thanks, Bree.” Stacie replied sincerely. “Chloe could really use it, she’s freaking out more than she needs to be. I’ll try and clean Beca up as much as I can before your done but maybe just don’t look at her until I tell you to, okay?”
Aubrey nodded before turning away and going into the kitchen. She took one more calming breath, conjuring up the inner doctor before heading back to the other couple.
“So which one of you losers is going to tell me what happened to her face?” Apparently only half of her professional persona had come out because she’s pretty sure she’s never referred to her patients as losers before. Not to their faces anyway.
“Um, we came back from dinner and headed up to the roof.” Beca began when she saw that Chloe was still trying to stop herself from sobbing.
“Beca, why are we up here?” Despite Beca asking for the redhead to accompany her to the roof of their building, a weird request she must admit, Chloe’s voice held no suspicion. Only curiosity, which Beca found to be nothing less than a show of complete trust and love.
Or maybe the thought of actually finally proposing to Chloe was making her sappy. She would have to be careful, however, as the speech shoved haphazardly in her bra, which was slightly regretful because paper has corners and corners are annoyingly scratchy, was enough feelings to completely destroy her reputation.
“I thought we could have a nightcap.” Beca replied cryptically, pushing the door open to reveal her five hours of hard work.
She remembered once Chloe telling her that fairy lights were one of her favourite things in the world. They were literally just lights on a string to Beca, but apparently they reminded Chloe of the fantastical and of the prettiness in simplicity. Some bullshit like that anyway. Any of the appreciation Beca had for fairy lights before today, which was pretty low, had fallen quickly and had now become nothing but a reminder of the three hours spent untangling the fucking things.
A friend of hers from work had also been so sweet as to lend her same LED par cans that he uses for his shows. A quick tutoring session allowed her to set it up herself, which also took a little bit of time because the stupid little switches on the back were a lot more fidgety then she had first thought. Thank god Tim was on hand for phone calls to troubleshoot otherwise she probably would have chucked them off the rooftop and laughed as they smashed on the ground. Still, after being offered regular par cans Beca must say these were a dramatic step up. The colour wasn’t as great but last time she’d tangled with a halogen lamp she ended up in the hospital because no one thought to mention to her that they practically became intense little heaters after a couple of hours.
Despite the pain of the setup, even Beca couldn’t argue with the results. From the sharp inhale taken beside her, she can’t help but feel like Chloe wouldn’t argue either. It had been a group effort from the apartment building to create a little garden utopia that they could all enjoy. And while it looked amazing most of the time anyway, the small light above the entrance door never really did it justice at night.
The fairy lights were strung up on a high bar along the edge of the building, falling in rows to create what could only be described as a waterfall of twinkling lights. They hung lazily behind a pergola, the yellow lights slowly fading in and out at a leisurely pace. More fairy lights had been intertwined into the lattice of the pergola, illuminating the top before wrapping down the four upright post. The par cans had been placed strategically along the floor, a mixture of soft blues and pinks lit up the garden areas, making them glow beautifully in a way Chloe had never seen before. The brick veneer had also been brightened by the LEDs, the brick red giving way to swirling purples.
In a word, it was breath taking.
Well, two words if you really wanted to be pedantic.
Either way it was probably the most romantic setting Chloe had ever encountered in her life just from sheer effort and thoughtfulness alone. She probably would have just stared at it all night if Beca hadn’t softly tugged at her wrist, a serene smile on her face as she lead her girlfriend towards the small, rounded table set up under the pergola. As they got closer, manoeuvring around garden beds as they went, she could see that the table had been set up with a singular rose placed inside a small vase and two plates covered by silver cloches.
Beca pulled out the redhead’s seat, gesturing for her to sit down before moving to a previously set up iPod dock to begin playing some music. Chloe startled when she heard the song not only play from the dock itself but from many points around her. Looking around she spotted a few extra speakers hidden in the corners of the gazebo to add a bit more depth to it.
The lids on the food was lifted to reveal Chloe’s favourite, white chocolate crème brulee with raspberries from the French restaurant across town. Beca smirked at Chloe’s shocked look before taking her own seat to begin dessert. Beca had already taken a few bites of food before Chloe’s brain seemed to catch up with her mouth.
“This is amazing.” While most would remember Chloe for her excited squealing, Beca would never get sick of the breathless whisper her voice became when she was truly blown away. When she had moved past excited or happy into ‘I can’t believe this moment is real’, Beca seemed to just melt in her spot. She could feel pride well up in her chest and tears in her eyes as she took in nothing except Chloe. Five hours of work was worth every bit of energy she had put in to experience this moment right now. It was everything.
“It doesn’t hold a candle to you, Chlo.” Beca knew she was being cheesy but she meant every single word. Of course it was just a cherry on top of the cake that it would make Chloe laugh too.
“That was terrible, Becs.” Chloe chuckled, finally digging into the creamy pudding. She couldn’t help the moan that slipped past her lips as the tart taste of raspberries mingled into the sweetness from the brulee. “I don’t know how they make this but I would bet my life that it’s made of pure magic.”\
“I have a feeling shitloads of sugar doesn’t really count as magic.” Beca argued but wouldn’t deny that this was probably the closest thing to magic she had ever come across.
“Then you clearly haven’t seen the way a candy bribe will shut 30 kids up all at once.” Chloe challenged, laughing at Beca’s grunt in response. Teaching had always been a dream of hers and the reality was far more than she had ever imagined. Running around chasing after little five year olds might be some people’s worst nightmare, as Beca reminds her almost daily, but no day was ever the same and watching their faces light up when she taught them a new letter or a new word was one of the best things she’s ever experienced.
They finished the rest of the dessert in comfortable silence, music playing softly in the background. Most were some of the older mixes Beca had made for the redhead in college which Chloe usually only pulled out when the couple had argued and she needed to remember why she loved the girl in the first place. They had also made an appearance when Beca started working at the studio and would be gone until quite late at night. They kept Chloe company when the brunette couldn’t be there herself.
“Am I missing something?” Chloe finally asked, her voice a little unsure. “It’s not our anniversary, it’s neither one of our birthdays. So what is all this?”
“You don’t like it?” Beca asked, looking around as if to see some giant imperfection that she had missed.
“No no no,” Chloe quickly reassured, placing a hand over the DJ’s comfortingly. “It’s perfect, Becs. Really, I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. Except for you of course.”
“Of course.” Beca laughed at the wink her girlfriend sent her.
“But seriously this must be the most romantic thing you’ve ever done.” Chloe reiterated, glancing around the lit area in wonder.
“Are you serious?” Beca gasped, mock outrage on her face. “What about our first Valentine’s Day together where I organised that treasure hunt? That was totally romantic!”
“Oh yes, so romantic.” Chloe teased, though she did swoon a little bit remembering that day. It was adorable and one of the first times that Chloe realised that Beca was the one for her. “Though I’ve always wondered how you managed to convince Aubrey and Stacie to dress up in onesies. Well, Stacie would have been easy but Bree must have been a nightmare.”
“She was.” Beca groaned, rolling her eyes both at Aubrey for being so difficult and at herself for ever trying to involve the blonde in her plans in the first place. “It took a lot of bribing and soul selling to get her into it but I got there in the end.”
“I think the problem was you got her a cat onesie when she’s clearly a dog person.” Chloe mocked, a serious face plastered on.
“Yeah but then I couldn’t have made that joke about pussy and you know that was the staple of the entire day.” Beca explained with a smirk, laughing when the redhead screwed up her face in disgust. She found pussy to be as bad as the word flaccid or moist and it brought Beca so much joy to see her face scrunch up every time.
“Gross.” Chloe grumbled.
“Yeah but you love me anyway, don’t you?” The DJ asked teasingly.
“I’ve done worse.” Chloe sassed back, laughing when Beca only rolls her eyes at her.
“Walk with me.” She finally asks, getting out of her chair to offer her hand to the redhead. They strolled around the rooftop hand in hand, stopping the longest to investigate the new roses Mrs. Chesney had planted a few days ago. The whole time Beca only half paid attention to her girlfriend’s idle chatter, most of her concentration on the velvet she could feel brushing her fingertips in her pocket. She gently steered Chloe back to the pergola, standing under the fairy lights but with a full view of the rest of the garden.
This was it, her moment, everything was perfect. She had wined and dined her, brought her to the most romantic setting she could possibly think of. Now all that was left was the speech about her feelings and then getting down on one knee. Which would be followed by a tearful Chloe launching herself at the DJ, shouting ‘yes’ over and over again before kissing her. After all this they would go inside so Chloe could call Aubrey then they were going to have amazing just-got-engaged sex. It was all planned out and Beca was ready to start her speech.
Unless Chloe said no of course. Beca had absolutely no back up plan for that contingency.
She loved Chloe but she didn’t know how well their relationship would survive a failed proposal. Beca already had enough insecurities about marriage and fidelity and love that would probably increase tenfold if this didn’t go well. Her insecurities would eat away at her, making her suspicious of Chloe’s every move and paranoid that the redhead was only with her out of familiarity rather than actual romantic feelings. Eventually she’ll become overbearing and clingy, which Chloe would get sick of and start becoming distant. They would drift apart over time, getting further and further away until Chloe finally meets someone who’s worth her time and effort. They would fall in love and Chloe would leave Beca high and dry, a tight lipped smile as she tells the girl that they’ll always be friends before leaving for good.
“Beca?” Chloe’s voice barely registered but it was enough for the DJ to meet the redhead’s eyes. “Are you okay? You’re breathing weirdly and you’ve gone like super pale. Do you want to head back inside?”
“No!” Beca barked, surprising both of them with her volume. “No, here is good. It’s perfect. We need to be here. Right here.”
“Becs, what are you talking about?” Chloe asked, looking around for something she must have missed. “Beca you don’t look so good. Just sit down at least.”
“No, I have to… that’s not… just let me do this.’ Beca stuttered, her breathing getting a little more erratic as she tried to speak. She was trying to calm down, she really was. She knew this train of thought was a bit ridiculous, even Aubrey had told her so, but she couldn’t get the image of Chloe crying and shaking her head no out of her mind. “Chlo… I… I… I have a speech!”
She reached up and into her bra to pull out the prepared words she had spent weeks writing. Everything she ever wished to say to Chloe was written there and she relaxed a little knowing it was faultless. She pulled out the folded up square that had been digging awkwardly into her under-boob all night.
“Okay Chloe,” The brunette started as she unwrapped her note. Chloe looked a little surprised at the idea, wondering what the hell Beca had to say to her that had to be so carefully planned. “Milk, eggs…cheese… bread…”
She trailed off, reading then rereading everything written down in front of her. A shopping list. A fucking shopping list. She turned it over, praying to every deity she knew that her monologue was written on the other side.
It was blank.
She had grabbed the wrong piece of paper.
She had left all of the feelings she had ever had for the redhead downstairs and instead brought a checklist for all the shit they needed in their house.
She could feel her pulse starting to race, her blood pressure sky rocketing as her mind rushed through all the failures that made up this evening. Months of planning now worth nothing. Years of a beautiful relationship now meaningless as she stood in front of the love of her life with nothing to say.
Jesus fucking Christ this is her worst nightmare.
Chloe watched on as Beca’s skin turned sickly and her breathing deteriorated from scared to wheezy and downright panicked. She could only watch in horror as the love of her life’s eyes rolled up into the back of her head as she began to pitch forward. Chloe’s gasp was drowned out by the sound of Beca’s head smacking against the corner of the metal table.
“…I brought her back down here and called you guys. She woke up less than a minute after that.” Chloe finished the story as Beca had to pause in embarrassment the closer they got to her… incident.
“Oh Beca.” Aubrey sighed while shaking her head. Usually something like this would mean Aubrey would tease the shit out of her, but the sad look on Beca’s face as Stacie cleaned the wound and began stitching the skin back together was more heart wrenching than Aubrey would care to admit. She looked everything like the kicked puppy that she was. She could also tell from Chloe’s story that Beca had not made it to the proposal, meaning the redhead still had no idea what truly went on upstairs.
Of course it was going to be fair game at the wedding and for years after though. Aubrey has a heart, she’s not a saint.
“Does it hurt, Babe?” Chloe asked gently. She had been holding Beca’s hand ever since Stacie’s diagnosis, knowing that the younger girl had quite a low pain tolerance. Still, the only thing lower than her pain tolerance was her tolerance for hospitals. Given the choice of going to one and getting the proper anaesthesia or just letting Stacie do it at home with some Advil, it was an easy decision really. Beca had never been so thankful for her best friend’s smarts before in her life.
“I’m okay, Chlo.” Beca comforted, knowing Chloe was still a little traumatised from the whole event. “A little shaken but okay. You heard Stace, head wounds bleed more and make it seem worse than it is and I don’t have a concussion so it could have been much worse.”
“And we’re done.” Stacie announced after tying a knot to finish up the stitches. “I’ll take them out in about a week but you should be good to go. Though probably just resting for today and tomorrow, just because you don’t have a concussion doesn’t mean you didn’t hit your head pretty hard.”
“Thank you so much, Stacie.” Chloe stood up to hug the taller girl before moving over to the blonde as well. “You too, Aubrey. I’m sorry I yelled at you through the phone. I was just freaking out and…”
“Chloe, no. Hey,” Aubrey interrupted, holding onto her friend a little tighter. “No need to apologise. We get it. I probably would have been the same way if anything happened to Stacie.”
“Thanks.” Chloe replied with a watery smile before moving over to where Beca was still seated on the couch. She took the nervous girl’s hands in her own and squeezed them tightly to show she wasn’t mad at her. “And you little miss,” Beca groaned good naturedly at the nickname. “Are never to do that to me again, okay?”
“We both know I’m too clumsy to make that promise, Chloe.” Beca laughed making the others follow suit. Beca’s clumsy misadventures always end up being some of the best stories, even if it usually means Chloe spends a few minutes freaking out over her injured girlfriend.
“Yeah but you can’t blame it on ‘Clumsy Beca’ this time.” Chloe said, her face going back to worried. “It looked like you had a panic attack. What could have possibly happened to cause that? It was just me up there.”
“I know.” Beca sighed. She had tried so hard to make tonight perfect and it had literally all fallen down in front of her. Or more, she had fallen down. She guessed that after all they’d been through, now was just as appropriate as any other. With only a little bit of hesitation, Beca reached into her pocket to present the little box to the redhead. All of the others in the room gasped in surprise. Chloe because her girlfriend had probably just offered her an engagement ring and Aubrey and Stacie because they were surprised that this was how Beca had decided to do it.
“Beca, is this…?” Her voice caught in her throat, unable to form the words on the off chance that they might not be true.
“Chloe, it’s been four years officially, but I have been in love with you since the moment you came crashing into my shower uninvited… the first time.” Beca started and the redhead giggled at the reminder. “I knew from the second you scared the shit out of me that my whole life was going to be flipped upside down. And it was. You gave me a life that I never knew I needed and friends that I never thought I could ever had. And you gave me a reason to believe in relationships and love and hope again. I’ve never been good at words, I always let you do the talking when we go out in public, but I just want you to know that you are my everything. My best friend, my lover, my soul mate. And I’m hoping that maybe after tonight you could be my fiancée. And maybe sometime in the near future I can call you my wife.”
Beca shuffled awkwardly off the couch, finally dropping to one knee. “The reason I set this all up tonight, the reason I was so… put out tonight, was because I was so nervous to do this. To ask the love of my life if she would marry me?”
Chloe’s face hadn’t changed throughout the whole speech, stuck on love, awe and shock. But the sight of Beca on one knee, asking her to be her wife, was enough for Chloe to completely launch herself at the brunette. She showered her face in kisses, being careful to avoid the newly fixed cut, whimpering out the word ‘yes’ repeatedly. She pulled back just long enough for the ring to be slipped onto her finger before going back to crying into her girlfr… fiancée’s neck.
“You know,” Chloe started as when she finally calmed down. “You didn’t have to hurt yourself just to get a pity yes out of me, I would have said it anyway.”
“Actually this whole proposing thing was just a setup, I really just wanted us to have matching scars.” Beca teased making Chloe laugh before subconsciously reaching up to feel her own.
Beca leaned up and gently pressed her lips over the barely there scar. “You’re so beautiful.”
“So are you, Becs.” Chloe countered, smiling at Beca’s blush.
“Should we leave you two alone? You guys both have bedroom eyes and as much as I love you I’ve seen enough of you horndogs naked for one life time.” Stacie spoke up, startling the couple. Aubrey elbowed the taller girl but also rolled her eyes at her best friends. The amount of times they had found them in a compromising position was actually ridiculous.
“Wait a minute.” Chloe said, confusion colouring her tone. “You guys don’t look surprised at all.”
“We knew, Chloe. Beca told us a couple of days ago,” Aubrey replied sheepishly, looking anywhere but at the redhead.
“What! No fair!” Chloe pouted for a second before a brilliant smile overtook her face. “But did you see my ring? Look at this it’s fucking amazing!”
The teacher was off Beca’s lap and over to Aubrey in a flash, showing off the gorgeous ring.
Beca couldn’t stop the adoring smile from crossing her face. The night had literally fallen apart at the seams and she was going to have a scar on her face for the rest of her life to prove it. But Chloe had said yes, and that was everything she had ever wanted.