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Deaf

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Beca Mitchell stood, her back against the wall of the playground while she looked out at the multitude of children running around before her. Squeals of delight sounded around her while the kids enjoyed recess.

And while Beca normally loved recess, today was different. Because her mind was on the new kid. The new kid who had arrived in their class moments before the bell rang for recess. The new kid who was currently stood at the classroom window, looking out at the children in the playground.

Beca couldn’t quite understand why Chloe didn’t want to come out and play. Recess was like the best time of day! Other than music class - but that was only on a Thursday afternoon.

The seven year old looked at the redhead, and felt a tightness in her chest. She didn’t like how sad Chloe looked.

The bell rang and the children all dashed to the doors of their respective classrooms with excitable squeals.

“Miss Bradshaw?” Beca asked as she joined the line of children that queued to go back into class, grabbing the hem of her teacher’s sweater to pull the woman to a stop, “How come the new kid didn’t come out and play?”

She watched as the teacher hesitated, then looked down at Beca with a kind smile, “Starting a new school can be scary, Beca. Maybe you should try and make friends with her?”

Beca nodded, looking at her classmates ahead of her as her teacher moved to the front of the line. Maybe she should.

But as the brunette stepped back into the classroom, she watched in disappointment while Aubrey Posen strode up to the new kid and took her firmly by the hand, tugging her to the carpet area where all the children would sit. Aubrey was brave and loud and confident and very clever. Of course she’d make friends with the new girl first.

So Beca took a seat on the carpet behind Aubrey and the new kid, crossing her legs and watching Chloe somewhat curiously. Aubrey, of course, began rambling about her favourite dress (which she happened to be wearing) and how her father was set to return from war next week (which she couldn’t wait for). But Beca noticed that Chloe seemed to just smile awkwardly at Aubrey while staring hard at the girl’s mouth. It was very odd.

After a short while Aubrey paused, furrowing her brow. “You don’t say much, do you.” and a couple of moments passed where Chloe just stared at Aubrey nervously before shrugging. Beca knew there was no way Aubrey would have the patience to keep going like this. And unsurprisingly the blonde girl let out a huff in frustration.

“You’re boring.” she muttered, and with that Aubrey rose to her feet, moving to the other end of the carpet to sit with Stacie and Flo - two other clever confident girls in the class.

Beca swallowed loudly, noting the way Chloe seemed to look over at the girls longingly. The redhead looked sad again, and tears shone in her eyes. Beca didn’t know why she cared so much about this kid. Something drew her to Chloe. Perhaps it was because the kid looked so lonely? Beca remembered how lonely it felt being the new kid.

So she shuffled forward on her butt to sit beside the new kid. Chloe seemed a little shocked by Beca’s arrival, as though she hadn’t even heard her approach. But once she saw Beca’s kind, nervous smile, Chloe seemed to relax a little.

“Hi. I’m Beca.” Beca said, waving gently. Chloe didn’t introduce herself. But she did wave gently in return with a shy smile on her own face. At least that was a start?

“Do you have a favourite book?” Beca asked, remembering that today would mark the start of a new ‘storytime book’ that Miss Bradshaw would read out to them - a chapter a day.

Chloe hesitated, her smile dropping slightly as Beca simply waited patiently for a reply. But Beca didn’t give up like Aubrey did. And because of this, Chloe gently shook her head to try to communicate to the girl that she didn’t understand what Beca had said. Beca didn’t pick up on that information, and instead the seven year old just shrugged.

“That’s okay. There are so many books in the world, it’s hard to pick just one. My favourite is The Cat in the Hat. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are so funny! They…”

Chloe watched the girl beside her hard. Or more specifically, watched her mouth, trying to figure out what she was saying. It didn’t help that this kid kept bringing her head down to look at her hands while she spoke - Chloe struggled to lip read whenever someone did that.

It was never going to be easy starting here as a child who was hard of hearing in a hearing school. But Chloe had been desperate to join a bigger school and make some friends instead of being homeschooled by her mother. Perhaps this girl who appeared to be chatting away about something would be her new friend?

“…I can let you borrow it if you like? I think you’d really like it.” Beca finished with a giggle, finally looking back up at Chloe with a grin. The girl had a soft smile on her face, but remained silent. Beca hesitated. She knew kids could be shy. Hell, even she had been shy when she’d joined this school last year. But she hadn’t been mute.

Beca cleared her throat, but just as she was about to ask another question, their teacher clapped her hands to gain the children’s attention. Chloe noticed the girl beside her and her other new classmates turning to look at something at the front of the classroom, and when the redhead also turned to look, she saw the teacher talking to them with a big smile on her face. Fortunately, Chloe spied the translator she’d arrived at the classroom with earlier, sat beside the teacher, and she watched as the woman signed what Miss Bradshaw was saying.

“So you may notice we have someone else joining me at the front today.” Miss Bradshaw said, motioning to the woman beside her and her young students all nodded, their big wide eyes having already clocked the stranger moments earlier. “This is Mrs Hinchcliffe. She will be in class every day for the rest of the school year to communicate what’s being said in the classroom to and from Chloe.”

Beca, along with the rest of her classmates, turned to look at the new girl. The colour drained from Chloe’s face as she peered anxiously at each child that stared back at her. This was scary.

“Eyes on me please!” Miss Bradshaw said quickly, realising that what she’d said hadn’t been the wisest of moves. That poor kid. Fortunately the children all promptly turned back to look up at her, “You see, Chloe is deaf. It means she can’t hear.”

Beca glanced at Chloe again, her little eyebrows rising as the young redhead stared at the translator, presumably translating what was being said by their teacher. So thatwas why Chloe was so quiet. She hadn’t heard a word Beca had just said!

Thirty minutes later and Beca plodded up to Miss Bradshaw who was now sat at her desk while the seven year olds drew pictures relating to the first chapter of the dinosaur book she’d started reading them. The teacher immediately noticed the petite child, Beca looking up at her with her big deep blue eyes. And Beca looked concerned.

“Miss Bradshaw?”

“Yes Beca.” The woman replied in a soft kind tone. She’d always had a soft spot for this kid. The kid that had been so quiet when she’d first joined the school last year. And while still quieter than most in the class (unlike Patricia Hobart) Beca appeared to channel that quietness into becoming fully aware of her surroundings and all that was going on with the people around her.

“I want to talk to Chloe but don’t know how.”

The teacher felt her heart warm at how sweet the youngster was. She could see the torment going through Beca’s mind. She knew Beca would’ve tried her hardest already to become friends with Chloe, but that Chloe’s deafness would’ve provided a barrier.

“Why don’t you write what you want to say down on a piece of paper and show her?”

Beca hesitated and her chest felt a little tight. “Write?” She checked nervously. She wasn’t very good at writing. Or reading. She found it really hard. She was at the bottom of the class for both reading and writing. It upset her a lot, but her Daddy had told her that every kid was different, and that even though reading and writing wasn’t her strongest subject, music and dance was. Beca loved music and dance. “I-I‘m not very good at writing.”

“It won’t matter to Chloe, Beca.” Miss Bradshaw replied in an encouraging tone, “She’ll be really happy you tried to communicate with her.”

The seven year old looked over her shoulder to see Chloe looking much more relaxed as the translator chatted to the child in sign while Chloe signed back. Beca wished she knew what Chloe was saying.

Chloe let out a giggle at the joke Mrs Hinchcliffe had just told her. She would have to try to remember it to tell her Mommy when she got home later. Her Mommy would be pleased she’d had a nice time at a proper school.

Suddenly she jumped as a hand rested on her shoulder. Chloe was startled quite easily due to not being able to hear people approach her, no matter which direction they were coming from. The little redhead turned to see that girl again, blinking at her with her big blue eyes. And Chloe looked down to see that the girl was holding out a note with some writing on, which Chloe slowly took.

The handwriting was scrawly and a little difficult to read, but Chloe peered at it and managed to make out what the girl had written to her:

Hi my name is Beca

Im sory I sed so much befor but you cudunt heer

Wanto be frends?

Chloe looked up from the note with a massive smile on her face. She waved enthusiastically back at Beca, mouthing “Hi Beca!” and to her delight, Beca grinned and waved back.

Beca felt giddy with excitement. The note had actually worked! And her writing must not have been so bad that the new girl didn’t like her. To see Chloe looking so happy made Beca feel happy. Though she became a little nervous when Chloe began signing eagerly at her. Beca’s heart sank. She didn’t know what Chloe was saying to her, and her shoulders slumped slightly.

“What were you asking me earlier?” came the translator’s voice, making Beca jump for a moment. The girl looked over at Mrs Hinchcliffe with a slightly alarmed expression. But Chloe let out a chuckle, reaching out and gently taking Beca’s wrist to draw her attention back to her.

The two seven year olds looked at each other as Chloe began quickly signing with an amused smile on her face. And as she signed, Beca watched the little redhead’s face while listening to Mrs Hinchcliffe who had begun talking again.

“Mrs Hinchcliffe is here to translate for me.” The woman said before pausing as Chloe paused, then speaking again as Chloe added, “And for you. Anything you say to me she can sign so I can understand. And anything I sign, she can say to you so you can understand.”

Beca’s face lit up when she realised what this meant. It meant she didn’t have to worry about reading and writing when communicating with Chloe. And she was thrilled! The little girl turned to the grown up with them.

“Can you tell her that earlier I asked her what her favourite book was?”

Mrs Hinchcliffe turned to Chloe and spoke while she signed: “Earlier, I wanted to know what your favourite book was.”

Beca looked back at Chloe eagerly, excited that Chloe seemed to have understood exactly what she’d just said (even if it was via a translator). And she watched as Chloe turned back to her too and signed enthusiastically once again.

“I love The Cat in the Hat!” Chloe signed, letting out a giggle while adding, “Thing 1 and Thing 2 are my favourite characters!”

And Beca tugged a huge gulp of air into her lungs while smiling broader than she’d ever smiled before, “That’s my favourite book too!!!” she gushed to Chloe, and both children turned to the translator while Mrs Hinchcliffe quickly told Chloe what Beca had said.

Chloe let out a delightful squeal of excitement, suddenly reaching out to take Beca’s hands to regain her attention and Beca happily obliged.

“Did you want to be friends?” Chloe signed and Mrs Hinchcliffe translated, and another bubble of joy grew in Beca’s heart. Because yes, she really did want to be friends! So the little brunette turned to the woman beside them and asked:

“What hand movement is ‘yes’?”

And Mrs Hinchcliffe smiled kindly at Beca, bringing her fist out, “You just make a fist like this.” which Beca did, “Then you rock it up then down, as though it’s giving a quick nod.” and Beca practiced the motion while the adult added, “Perfect!”

Chloe watched in sheer delight as Beca turned back to her with a grin, and signed ‘Yes’. It was this small action that had the redhead feeling full of hope and happiness. Because here was a girl who not only wanted to be her friend, but also really wanted to make an effort to talk to her in whatever way possible.

Beca didn’t judge Chloe because she was deaf. But Beca also seemed to care that Chloe was deaf. Not because it made the girl a minority in the classroom, but because Beca wanted to try as hard as possible to be friends with Chloe in whatever way she could. And if learning how to sign was one of those ways, then Beca would happily learn.

For now, the two little girls continued to get to know each other with the help of Mrs Hinchcliffe. And Miss Bradshaw watched them with a soft smile on her face, proud of young Beca for doing all that she could to make the new kid welcome in their classroom. Beca and Chloe were going to become a force to be reckoned with - she was sure of it.

Chapter Text

“Hey kiddo!” Dr Mitchell chimed with a broad smile on his face as he watched his seven year old daughter dash up to him. She looked happy. And that made him happy. He was really proud of how well she’d fitted into this new school after they’d moved from Seattle last year. Beca had even managed to find some confidence and according to her teacher, while Beca was behind on her reading and writing the seven year old still tried her hardest to do as well as possible. Her mother’s stubborn nature clearly revealing itself in the strong little brunette.

“Good day at school?” he asked as he took hold of his daughter’s schoolbag that she held out to him once arriving by his side.

“Yep.” Beca replied in her little voice, a slight skip in her step as she and her father began making their way out of the playground to the car, “I made a new friend.”

“Oh yeah?” Dr Mitchell asked, curious to know whether Beca was imagining friends like she’d done before starting school a couple of years ago, or whether it was an actual real human child.

“Yeah. Her name’s Chloe. She started in my class today.” Beca said, her eyes on the ground. She stopped abruptly, placing her hands on her knees as she crouched down. Dr Mitchell stopped moving, peering over his shoulder at his daughter who was often so easily distracted.

“Chloe huh?”

“Uhuh!” Beca replied, reaching for the weird shaped stick she’d spotted and picking it up before returning to her father’s side. They continued to walk while the seven year old continued to talk, “She can’t hear, but she has a lady with her who moves her hands and that’s how Chloe knows what I’m saying to her.”

“So…Chloe’s deaf?”

“Yep.” Beca answered clearly, quickly taking her father’s hand as they reached the school gates and stepped out towards the busy street before them. “Daddy can I learn it?”

Dr Mitchell, who had originally been focussed on looking for the safest route to the car, furrowed his brow and looked down at his daughter. Beca was looking up at him with her big blue eyes.

“Learn what, sweetheart?”

“The signs.”

“The signs?” the man was stumped. It wasn’t unusual for him to not quite understand what his little girl meant. Beca often got words mixed up. It was sweet.

“You know.” Beca said with a small eye roll that she’d picked up from him, and she dropped her little stick so she could use the hand that wasn’t hold onto her father to emphasise her words, “The signs! What people who can’t hear do to talk.”

Dr Mitchell blinked down at his daughter for a couple of moments then his eyebrows suddenly rose as he realised what she meant, “Oh! You mean sign language.”

“Yeah. Sign lambwitch.”

The man chuckled at Beca’s incorrect pronounciation. He loved it when she said a word incorrectly. He continued to guide them safely towards the car while Beca skipped along beside him.

“You wanna learn sign language?”

“Yeah.” Beca confirmed, as though it didn’t need to be something that was questioned, “Cos then, when Chloe comes round for dinner, I can talk to her and she can talk to me and she won’t ever have to be scared.”

Dr Mitchell was impressed. His daughter really had put some thought into this. And as such, he would make sure he set aside some time to try to find a children’s sign language course - if learning sign language really would improve the connection Beca had with her new friend Chloe..

Chloe noticed things about Beca. Different things. Nice things. Like how, with every day that she went into school, Beca would immediately run up to her in the playground and sign “Hi Chloe!” and Chloe would sign “Hi Beca!” Back. And the two seven year olds would giggle hard before racing around the playground after each other.

As the days turned into weeks, Chloe noticed the way Beca would be signing a bit more. She noticed the way Beca didn’t depend on speaking to Mrs Hinchcliffe in order for the woman to translate to Chloe what was being said (though the little brunette did often listen hard to the translator whenever Mrs Hinchcliffe was saying what Chloe had just signed to Beca).

And by the time the Christmas holidays had arrived, Chloe realised that she and Beca spoke almost exclusively in sign. How had that happened?? Chloe thought Beca must be really clever learning sign language just by watching Chloe do it.

Until one Sunday afternoon, Chloe decided to share her findings with her mother. And her mother had some surprising information to tell her: Beca had been going to sign language classes on the weekend - or so Beca’s father had been telling her in the playground while they waited for their daughters to finish school for the day.

The next morning Chloe was the one to run over to Beca in the playground before school, beaming from ear-to-ear while Beca signed a big “Hello!”. They hugged and giggled. Then Chloe decided to tell Beca what she knew.

My mommy said you’ve been doing sign language classes.” Chloe signed, and Beca nodded with a grin.

You’re my bestest friend!” the brunette replied with her hands, letting out a giggle as she added, “I wanted to talk to you properly and not let you feel lonely.”

Seven year old Chloe felt a rush of warmth over her body. As though the words Beca had just said had hugged her really really tight. And it made Chloe feel unbelievably happy and unbelievably lucky. She beamed at Beca, reaching out to grab the girl’s hands as she always did when she was excited. Beca seemed to just giggle at the contact before tugging her hands from Chloe’s so she could sign something more:

Want to come to my house after school?”

And Chloe felt her heart soar. She’d never been to another kids house before. So the redhead let out a squeal of excitement and threw her little arms around her best friend’s neck to hug her tight. Yes. She definitely did want to go to Beca’s after school. And she couldn’t wait!

Chapter Text

Beca paced nervously outside Chloe’s house, her phone in hand, her brow furrowed in concern. Maybe she should ring the doorbell again?

Chloe’s mother had called her, slightly frantic, saying something about how the fifteen year old hadn’t stopped crying since coming home from school earlier that day. And Beca was kicking herself.

Why had today of all days been the one day that Beca had stayed after school to help out with the tech system in the drama studio? It had clearly been a day that Chloe had needed her. And Wednesdays were the only afternoons that Beca and Chloe didn’t share a class. So Beca had no idea why Chloe was so upset - she hadn’t seen her since lunchtime!

The two were the very best of friends. Had been since Chloe had joined Beca’s school when they’d only been seven years old. Eight years of close friendship meant the world to both of them. They were mostly inseparable.

Over those years Beca had worked hard to ensure that not only did she thoroughly learn US Sign Language to communicate with her deaf friend, but that she exclusively used it whenever she was around the redhead - whether it was Chloe she was talking to or someone else. Going up to high school together meant that, while all of their peers were hearing, Beca and Chloe had an even closer bond due to their ability to sign to one another. It made for talking about boys all the more fun.

Boys. Chloe had recently had the most wonderful experience of one of the most sought after boys in their year asking her out to the movies on a date. A dumb idea for a date in Beca’s opinion as none of the theatres offered the latest movies with subtitles, but hey, hopefully Dylan Ambrose would realise that tonight when he took Chloe out.

If it were Beca taking Chloe out on a date - not that she was or ever would, but if she ever did - Beca would take her to a concert. Because Chloe loved music. And while she might not be able to experience the full sensation of a song due to her inability to hear - Chloe was able to be just as moved by a song thanks to the feel of the beat and the way it felt against her ears or the palm of her hand or within her very bones.

And while Beca refused to believe that she felt anything for her best friend beyond close friendship - the brunette had to admit, watching the look on Chloe’s face whenever the teen became enamoured by a song was Beca’s most favourite sight. It made her heart skip a beat and her soul feel full. But it didn’t meananything..

Suddenly the front door of the house opened and Beca jumped slightly, before looking at the figure of Chloe’s protective mother. Sandra was clearly worried, the woman immediately reaching out to place a hand on Beca’s shoulder.

“Oh Beca, thank God.”

Beca found herself striding through the doorway of the small house, her stomach in a knot. She could hear wailing coming from upstairs, and immediately knew it belonged to her best friend.

“She’s been crying like that for ages.” Chloe’s mother explained in a concerned tone, looking up the stairs, “I’ve tried to find out why but she won’t talk to me.”

Beca looked to the woman and gave her a purse lipped smile to try to assure her, “I’ll have a go.”

The brunette hesitated outside Chloe’s bedroom door, then with a deep breath stepped inside. She knew Chloe would never hear a knock on the door, and her heart sank when she saw Chloe sat on her bed, tears still (impressively) streaming down the teen’s cheeks while her knees were tucked up to her chest. Chloe’s bright blue eyes seemed brighter when presented with a bloodshot background, and they snapped over to Beca as the petite brunette shuffled nervously into the room, closing the door behind her.

What’s going on?” Beca signed, a worried expression on her face. Her mouth was dry. It was never easy seeing Chloe upset. And she wasn’t often upset. She would often get frustrated, yes. Particularly when she couldn’t hear things that others could. But Chloe seemed to always stoakly power on. Beca always admired her for that.

Chloe let out a heavy sigh, sniffing loudly while bringing her knees down from her chest and she looked down into her lap sadly, clearly not wanting to talk much.

Dylan cancelled tonight’s date.”

Beca felt a surge of emotions. Disappointment for her best friend. But above anything she felt anger bubbling up from within her. How dare that jerk cancel on Chloe!

He texted me saying it was going to be difficult trying to talk to me.” Chloe signed and let out a sob, “I feel so stupid.

Beca’s heart broke as Chloe threw her hands up to her face and began bawling loudly into her palms. Nobody deserved to be treated this way. But nobody deserved it less than Chloe. Chloe who was kind, and funny, and generous. And beautiful - Beca always noted how beautiful Chloe was.

She began striding forward, placing a hand down on the mattress to pre-warn her best friend that she’d now approached the bed, as Chloe wouldn’t have heard her. And as she took a seat on the edge of the bed by Chloe’s knees, the redhead sniffed loudly, pulling her hands back down again with a heavy sigh.

Chloe’s heart hurt. Her chest felt tight and her entire body weak. She was heartbroken. Why the hell had she even believed for a second that Drake Ambrose would actually ever be interested in her? Chloe Beale. The deaf girl. Girls like her didn’t get to be with guys like him.

What is wrong with me?” Chloe signed, finally looking up into Beca’s eyes while the brunette looked at her sympathetically, “I feel isolated enough because I can’t hear. I feel even more isolated now I can’t even go on a date like a normal teenager.”

Beca looked into Chloe’s eyes, having watched her signing come to an end, and she let out a sigh. She had to make this right. She had to help her best friend see what shecould see. So the brunette reached out to squeeze Chloe’s hand, then began to sign her response clearly and seriously:

Nothing’s wrong with you. Dylan is the idiot who struggles to see how amazing you are.” she paused as a soft grateful smile poked into the corners of Chloe’s mouth. But she wasn’t finished, “You’re beautiful and funny and kind. And you shouldn’t feel isolated because you can’t hear. Because I always manage to hear you. And so long as I can you’ll never be alone, right?”

Beca stopped signing, dropping her hands into her lap with a gentle sigh. Chloe had stopped crying - that was something. And the redhead brought her hands up to quickly sign a reply:

Right. Thanks Beca. You’re the best best friend.

The two teens looked at one another with soft smiles on their faces. They were always going to be there for one another.

You’ll get to go on a date at some point, Beale.” Beca signed, pausing to nudge her best friend with a grin, before adding “Then there’ll be no stopping the floods of offers from handsome men.

And to Beca’s delight, Chloe let out a watery chuckle, the redhead sniffing loudly before signing: “Thanks, nerd.”

Beca wasn’t overly sure what had come over her. But by the time lunch break had arrived the next day, she’d already found herself confronting the young man who had dared to break her best friend’s heart.

Now she stood, square and upright with her face tilted up so she could glare at the teen sternly. But Dylan just stood towering over her, amused.

“You’ve got a fucking nerve, you know that?” Beca bellowed at him, her hands flying around while she signed along with her spoken words.

“Why do you even bother signing when you’re not talking to her?” Dylan asked in an bemused tone, clearly enjoying the opportunity to irritate the spiky little brunette. He pointed at Chloe who was stood at the front of a small crowd that was gathering around the two teens - there was the sense of a fight building, and the students of Barden High were getting excited.

“Because I like to ensure my best friend is involved, whether I’m talking to her or not!” Beca barked, her brow furrowed angrily while she also signed what she’d said, specifically for Chloe’s benefit.

“What’s the point? She only ever sees what you’re saying, idiot!” came the smarmy reply.

And Beca hesitated. In a way, the teen was right. But that didn’t mean that what she was doing wasn’t right. Beca cared deeply about Chloe and had always done everything in her power to ensure that her best friend wasn’t isolated in this often hostile world they were growing up in.

“I don’t care that she only sees what I’m saying!” Beca signed and said angrily, “I care about her knowing what’s being said, especially if it’s about her!”

Chloe watched the way Beca signed aggressively, sensing how her best friend’s tone might be had she been able to hear it. And as she translated the movements, her heart skipped a beat. Beca and Dylan were talking about her. But she only had Beca’s side of the conversation. And Dylan seemed to have said something that had thrown the petite brunette.

She watched as the young man smirked victoriously, saying something with a laugh before turning on the spot and wandering off. Chloe was confused, noting the way her best friend seemed lost for words. The students nearby all drifted away, disappointed that a fight hadn’t sparked between the tall strong boy and the short petite girl.

Chloe stepped up to Beca, grabbing her arm and arriving in front of her with a confused expression. Beca’s mouth was hung open slightly in shock.

What did he say??” Chloe signed.

Beca swallowed loudly, Dylan final words echoing in her head (“You sound like you’ve got a crush on her.” Dylan taunted, a grin growing on his face, and to his delight Beca appeared to hesitate. “Ha! You dohave a crush on her! Brilliant!” and he turned on the spot, walking away, leaving Beca in stunned silence.)

Beca?” Chloe signed again, waving in front of the brunette’s face to gain her attention before signing intently: “What did he say?”

Beca cleared her throat, her heart racing. Because she hadn’t ever really considered that she might have a crush on her best friend. But…maybe she did?

It doesn’t matter.” Beca quickly signed, stepping past the redhead to head for her locker. Chloe followed her sharply. If there was one thing Chloe hated it was people walking away from her, because she was never able to call out after them. She was never able to shout.

So by the time Beca had pulled the door of her locker open Chloe had reached her side, both a little breathless from how quickly the brunette had moved and how much Chloe had tried to keep up. Tears were in Chloe’s eyes as she tried to get Beca to look at her. And tears were in Beca’s eyes as she tried her hardest to ignore her.

But Chloe was strong, and after enough grappling at the brunette’s plaid shirt, Beca finally looked at her.

What is going on??” Chloe signed desperately, “What did he say to make you like this?”

Beca hesitated, then hung her head to avoid looking at her best friend’s reaction, bringing her hands up to slowly sign: “He said I’ve got a crush on you.”

Chloe’s mouth dropped open in shock. Was it true?? Did Beca have a crush on her? And if she did, when had she ever given Beca the impression that having a crush on her would be an okay thing? They were girls. Two girls. Girls didn’t fall in love. They could be close, yeah. But not lovers.

And do you?” Chloe signed cautiously, tears building in her eyes she was so worried about how Beca might answer. But Beca had been too focussed on looking down awkwardly at her feet to translate what Chloe had said to her.

So Chloe, in her strongest tone possible, blurted a mumble that best represented her saying her best friend’s name. Chloe couldn’t be sure if she’d said it right (and she hadn’t) but it had been enough of a noise for Beca to look back up at her.

Tears now fully formed in Beca’s deep blue eyes and Chloe immediately saw the vulnerability within those eyes that really gave her all the answers she needed without Beca signing a single word to her. Beca had a crush on her. A crush. They were best friends. Chloe depended on Beca a lot to help her get through this hearing world as smoothly and as happily as possible. How the hell were they going to remain close if Beca had a crush on her??

It’s okay.” Beca signed in a slightly panicked manner, “I’m happy just being best friends!”

Chloe hesitated. That wasn’t a denial. And she wondered where the hell they’d go from here, now that she knew that her best friend - the girl she trusted more than anyone else in the world - was actually crushing on her. Crushing enough for other people in the school to have now noticed.

The two best friends stood opposite one another, anxiously awaiting the other to continue the conversation. But suddenly the school bell rang, and they were left with no choice but to make their way down the corridor to their music class. Together.

Chapter Text

Chloe laid back in her bed, yawning deeply, everywhere falling dark as the lamp across the room of her shared dorm was switched off. It’d been another busy day at college, but three months into her freshman year, Chloe was settling in. And it was thanks to her best friend that she was.

Despite a bit of an awkward couple of months in high school - when Beca hadn’t denied that she had a crush on Chloe which had resulted in Chloe struggling to be around Beca when not at school - the two had come to an agreement that not only did they miss each other’s company but they also agreed to never mentioning ‘the crush’ ever again. And so they hadn’t

Two and a half years later, and the two teens were now freshmen at Barden University. And not only that, they were roommates in one of the dorms on main campus. There’d been no hesitation when the two had been given the option of sharing - they’d been inseparable since they were seven. They were hardly going to stop now that they were in college.

As with any new routine and environment, Chloe had initially struggled to ‘fit in’. Her disability meant that not only had hearing people and what was going on around her been a challenge, but trying to talk to people in return had been equally difficult. Beca, having always been the more proactive of the two of them, had dragged Chloe to the ‘Hard of Hearing Society’ stall at the activities fair. And after a couple of minutes chatting to the leaders of the society in sign, Chloe and Beca had joined.

Through that society they had made friends with a couple of other girls - Jessica and Ashley - who were in the same sort of situation that she and Beca were in: best friends since childhood; one deaf, the other hearing; both having joined last year in their freshman year to meet new people. The main difference was that Jessica and Ashley were dating. Beca and Chloe weren’t.

Since starting at Barden University, Beca and Chloe had barely left one another’s side. Both had taken the same classes. Both lived together. Both ate together and had the same friends. And while to many, they would assume Chloe was using Beca to translate for her all the noise and chatter that was going on around them, Beca and Chloe were genuinely so close that there was no ‘using’. It was mutual respect and friendship.

Chloe noticed her phone light up, its reflection shining on the ceiling, and she turned to grab it to read who it was from. Beca.

It wasn’t unusual for them to text in the late evenings. Yes they shared a dorm which was only just big enough to fit two single beds and two desks. And yes they did talk (sign) plenty to one another. But as soon as the lights went out, Beca and Chloe resorted to texting - their way of ‘whispering to each other through the darkness’.

Kelly’s just asked me out 

Chloe’s heart jumped into her throat, but a small smile spread across her face. Beca had been crushing on Kelly Turow for several weeks now. Had been signing away to Chloe across the room whenever Kelly had been around, Chloe happily teasing her, then trying to encourage Beca to just ask the girl out. Kelly and Beca had first met at a music social that had been held on campus in the second week of Freshman year. Chloe hadn’t heard what the two had said to each other because for some reason all of Beca’s natural instinct to sign while talking had flown out the window the second Kelly had approached them. But Chloe had seen it. She’d immediately seen the chemistry and the way her best friend seemed to grin and blush at the inevitable compliments that Kelly was sending Beca’s way.

Yesssss!!! ’ Chloe typed back enthusiastically, ‘You’re obviously going to say yes, right??

She waited with baited breath as she noticed Beca typing back. Of course Beca was going to say yes. She had been talking about Kelly for weeks!

I dunno…

What do you mean you dunno??

What if I’m reading the signals wrong? What if she means just as friends?

Chloe rolled her eyes. Trust Beca to be that oblivious.

‘ Beca, she wouldn’t ask you out if she wasn’t interested in you romantically!

But all she said was ‘want to go out for food tomorrow night?’ - what if she means just as friends?

She means on a date you dummy, now text her back and say yes!

Chloe turned to see a coy smile spreading on Beca’s face, the light from the brunette’s phone highlighting her features. Beca deserved this. She deserved this happiness. She deserved to finally find someone who had as much of a crush on her as she did on them. But for however thrilled Chloe was for her best friend, there was still this unexplainable knot in her stomach.

If Beca started dating and being out lots, what would that mean for their friendship?

Six weeks on and Chloe shunted into the milkshake diner, exhaling heavily due to the freezing chill whipping around campus. The redhead made her way over to the counter, plucking a takeout menu from a clear plastic rack and began reading through the menu of available milkshakes. She loved a milkshake - no matter how cold the weather was outside.

Chloe didn’t hear the server calling out to her. After a minute of deliberation she finally decided on her order and looked up with a smile, surprised to see the server already looking at her expectantly. She was used to that expression. People always assumed she was being rude but she really wasn’t. She was just deaf.

Chloe signed “Hello” to the server then came right up to the counter to order. The young man was handsome - so Chloe thought - and seemed a little sheepish when he realised that Chloe couldn’t hear. So his patience increased tenfold as the redhead held the menu out to him and pointed at the milkshake she wanted to order to takeaway.

Once money had been exchanged and the server had left to make the milkshake, Chloe let out a content sigh, peering down at her phone to see if Beca had texted her back yet. In recent weeks Beca had become a little harder to keep in touch with. Odd when you consider that Chloe shared a dorm with the girl. When once Beca would’ve replied to any text of Chloe’s in a heartbeat, now Chloe would be lucky if she heard from Beca within three hours. Right now she was on hour four..

Suddenly Chloe’s eyes caught sight of her best friend, and her heartstrings tugged. Because there Beca sat, far across the Milkshake diner with Kelly. The two students sat opposite one another, leant forward, smiling and talking (what seemed to be quietly) to one another. Between them were a couple of empty milkshake glasses. To the side of them were another two empty milkshake glasses. They’d clearly been sat there for ages, oblivious to the time that had gone by since their arrival.

Chloe watched on from a distance and a wave of sadness washed over her body as she watched Kelly flicking through something on her phone while her headphones were attached to the device, the two buds held in her other hand. Chloe saw the way Beca watched Kelly, clearly completely captivated by the girl even six weeks after they’d started dating. And it was this look on Beca’s face that had the knot in Chloe stomach tightening once again.

Recently Chloe had begun to question whether she actually had some sort of slow building crush on Beca - especially since she’d started seeing less of her. Nowadays, moments when it was just the two of them were scarce, and whenever those moments finally did become available, Chloe found herself noticing things about Beca a bit more.

Things like the way Beca scrunched her nose up when she was laughing particularly hard. Or the way the girl’s eyes would really shine out whenever she heard a song that she liked. Or how Beca would not only sign to Chloe while they were together (as she had done since they’d been kids) but that Beca also tried really hard to translate what other people were saying around them so that Chloe didn’t feel left out.

When Beca was out of their dorm - and usually out with Kelly - Chloe would find herself daydreaming about what it might be like if Beca went out with her instead. But just as the daydream would turn into what it might be like if Beca kissed her, Chloe would snap herself out of it, becoming flustered and embarrassed. Because she wasn’tgay. And Beca didn’t have a crush on her any more. Beca was dating Kelly.

And while Chloe was still really pleased for her best friend that she’d found a girl and they seemed to have mutually fallen for one another, the redhead couldn’t help but feel thoroughly awkward at times. Such as the other week when Chloe thought Beca had jokingly signed that she wished she could bring Kelly back to their dorm for some intimate time uninterrupted. And Chloe had jokingly replied “Well I can always go to Jessica and Ashley’s for the day if you and Kelly really need some alone time.” To which Beca had been thrilled and…well Chloe had had to spend a very long day out of the dorm to give Beca a chance to fully discover all there was to know about her girlfriend’s body. Chloe had sheepishly returned feeling sick to the stomach about what state the dorm might be in. Fortunately Beca had tidied it after Kelly had left.

Other moments included this moment right here, and Chloe watched sadly as Kelly handed an earbud to Beca, who took it and stuffed it in her ear. Then they brought their heads closer together, looking at one another with soft smiles on their faces while they listened to a song on Kelly’s phone.

Chloe watched on longingly. Desperately wishing that she could be Kelly right now. Desperately wishing that she could hear. If she could hear then she and Beca would’ve had so many moments like the one her best friend was having now: where they could both sit close around a music device and listen to music, feeling the bond that Chloe had heard read much about when too people found an affinity with a song. She craved a feeling like that. She craved a moment like that with Beca.

Chloe’s heart began aching and tears sprang into her eyes when she saw Beca mumbling things to Kelly, and Kelly’s smile broadening. Clearly Beca had said something sweet and complimentary. She wished she was on the receiving end of one of Beca’s sweet compliments. She wished she could hear Beca’s voice - it’s tone and volume and dynamics. She wished she could tell Beca with her own voice how important she was to her, and all the ways Beca was amazing. But she couldn’t. Because Chloe didn’t have a voice.

But Chloe’s shoulder’s dropped, as did her heart, when a tear rolled down her cheek. She couldn’t see how intimacy was a thing when someone was deaf. How could she ever say something intimately or affectionately to Beca in sign? She couldn’t. Not like Kelly could. Not like Kelly was right now: holding one of Beca’s hands while presumably mumbling sweet nothings to her and looking into her eyes.

If it were Chloe, Beca’s eyes would be too busy looking down at Chloe’s hand(s) to translate what she was saying to her. There would be no romantic atmosphere. Not like there seemed to be surrounding Beca and Kelly right now.

Suddenly Chloe let out a small yelp as she felt a hand tap her on the shoulder and she quickly swivelled on the spot to see the server holding out her milkshake with an apologetic expression. She tried to lip-read what he was saying to her, but he had a beard that covered too much of his mouth for her to understand. So instead, Chloe quickly signed “Thank you” before taking her milkshake and striding out of the place, ready to head swiftly over to Jessica and Ashley’s dorm to wallow to them about what she’d just seen - after all, they knew all about this slow burning crush that Chloe had started to feel for her best friend.

But unbeknownst to Chloe, Beca had heard her yelp, had immediately recognised it, and had turned to see a teary Chloe take the milkshake before quickly leaving the Milkshake diner. The brunette had found herself wondering why her best friend hadn’t come over to say hello, and had quickly pulled her phone out to ask if Chloe was okay. Only to see that Chloe had texted her over three hours earlier.

And all of this hadn’t gone unnoticed by Kelly. Kelly who was secretly very jealous of Beca’s close friendship with Chloe. This wasn’t the first time her girlfriend had been preoccupied with looking out for her roommate instead of focusing on her instead…

New Year New Me’ had been Chloe’s Instagram caption to bring in 2012. But three months into that new year, and her crush on Beca had gone from something tiny, to something that engulfed her entire mind. Her every being. And while it was mostly torture, it was a feeling that Chloe had become accustomed to. That and feeling jealous of Beca’s girlfriend - with whom Beca had spent most of the Christmas Holidays with, instead of with Chloe (as she had done in previous years).

Chloe looked up from her book as she noticed the door to their shared dorm swing open and Beca stormed into the room, slamming the door behind her - Chloe felt the dorm shake at the impact. But she didn’t care. Because for some reason Beca was crying.

The redhead tried to sign “What’s wrong?” but Beca wasn’t looking at her. Instead the girl proceeded to throw her bag and jacket to the ground, kick her boots off, then tumble onto her own bed. Chloe saw the way Beca tucked up into the foetal position, her back to her. And she had a sinking feeling that she knew exactly what this was about.

After a couple of moments it became apparent that Beca wasn’t going to turn and sign to Chloe about what was going on. So with several deep breaths to calm her nerves and maintain the ounce of confidence she had, the redhead eased herself off her own bed and made her way over to her roommate.

Beca felt miserable. Heartbroken. Confused. And to her surprise, she also felt her mattress dip behind her.

A warm body tucked itself in behind her, an arm smoothing across her waist. It was Chloe, hugging her from behind. And Beca felt her stomach knot. They hadn’t done this since Chloe had found out about Beca’s crush on her when they’d been fifteen. This sort of cuddle had been normal for them in their early years of high school - Chloe having calmed more with physical affection rather than sign. But after finding out about that crush things hadn’t really been the same again and she’d shyed away from Beca’s touch.

Until now. Now felt more like it had done in their early teens. Except back then Beca hadn’t needed comforting following a breakup.

Why did she keep putting herself through it? First crushing on Chloe, only to be let down because Chloe didn’t feel the same way. Then crushing on and dating Kelly for just over four months, only for the girl to dump her because apparently she ‘talked about Chloe too much’. Like what the fuck?!

Beca trembled slightly, another wave of tears surging from her body, and the motion must’ve concerned Chloe enough for the redhead to tighten her embrace around Beca’s waist. At least Chloe hadn’t ghosted her when they were teens. At least Chloe would always be here - even if it was only ever going to be as best friends. Because Chloe was her very best friend. And Beca couldn’t imagine her life without her.

Chloe opened her eyes as she felt the girl move in her arms and watched as Beca turned onto her back, quickly swiping at her tears that were rolling down her cheeks. There was part of her that was a tiny bit relieved that she couldn’t hear Beca cry, it would only contribute to her worry. Beca wasn’t looking at her. She was looking up at the ceiling of their dorm.

Kelly broke up with me.” Beca eventually signed. It was exactly what Chloe had been expecting her to say. Because Beca didn’t really docrying. But Chloe had seen how invested Beca had been in her first girlfriend. Her first romantic partner.

Chloe rose her hand from Beca’s stomach to sign “Beca I’m so sorry.” and she saw the brunette’s chest rise and fall, clearly letting out a heavy shaky sigh before turning to face her. Their bodies were closer than they had been for a very long time, and it took all of Chloe’s self control not to get too excited by their close proximity. Because Beca needed herright now. She needed her to be her friend. Her best friend. It’d be no good if Chloe started flirting with her or stroking Beca’s face with her hand as a way of being extra affectionate.

Breaking up sucks.” Beca signed, and a sad smile poked into the corners of both their mouths.

I can only imagine.” Chloe replied with her hands, and it caused Beca’s stomach to lurch. Shit. She’d forgotten Chloe had never been on a date before. God she was selfish.

Sorry.” she quickly signed back but Chloe shook her head.

It’s okay. Like you said, it’ll happen for me one day.”

Right now Chloe secretly wished that her first ever date would one day be with Beca. A secret wish she knew would never come true. Because she’d gone weird on Beca back when they’d been fifteen and she’d found out that Beca had a crush on her. Had had a crush on her. There was no guarantee that Beca still felt the same way as she did three years ago. In fact, Chloe was almost certain that Beca didn’t. And it had taken them this long to get back to being how they’d used to be before that revelation. Chloe couldn’t take the risk in assuming Beca still felt something beyond friendship for her.

You’re gonna make some guy out there so lucky, Chloe.” Beca signed with a sniff, and Chloe found her heart dropping slightly. Because she didn’t want ‘some guy’. She wanted Beca..

Chapter Text

The two weeks post-breakup for Beca were a very long two weeks. The girl had stopped attending the weekly music socials on campus in an attempt to avoid her ex-girlfriend. And she’d found herself having to change her routes to try to avoid Kelly too. She didn’t want to see her in case she ended up bursting into tears.

Chloe had been Beca’s saving grace though. The redhead had been sure to give Beca the opportunity to have as much or as little space as her best friend wanted. And it turned out Beca hadn’t really wanted any space at all.

The two best friends swiftly fell back into a pattern that they’d always been in prior to Beca getting a girlfriend - they were practically inseparable once more. And both had realised just how much they’d missed the other.

The two eighteen year olds were sat together in their favourite location on campus one afternoon - the library - when Beca tapped Chloe’s arm to gain the redhead’s attention. Chloe looked up from her psych book expectantly, and she watched as Beca signed:

Want to go to a concert on Monday?

Chloe’s heart soared. She’d always wanted to go to a concert! So a smile immediately shot across her face as she quickly sat upright and signed enthusiastically:

Oh my God! Are you serious??”

Beca couldn’t help the light chuckle that fell from her mouth. She always loved seeing Chloe happy. And beyond that she always loved being the one to make Chloe happy. And while many would think that taking a deaf girl to a music concert would be pointless, Beca knew Chloe. She knew that her best friend was able to feel a beat and tempo even if she couldn’t hear it. And she knew that Chloe loved music.

Yeah.” she replied with her hands, “I got them when me and Kelly were together but now we’re not and I’d hate to waste them.

Chloe felt a mixture of emotions. Beca and Kelly had gone to a lot of music concerts on campus during the time that they’d dated. Chloe had always felt jealous about that, having always envisioned in the past that she and Beca would go to their first ever concert together. As best friends of course. Now Beca was like a seasoned pro when it came to the concert game. Right at that moment Chloe felt a little awkward about the idea of now going to a concert with Beca in place of Beca’s ex-girlfriend. And her very first concert at that.

But after glancing into Beca’s kind eyes, Chloe threw all those niggles to the back of her mind. Because Beca would never want her to feel awkward. And it was actually really nice of the brunette to offer to take her.

Plus, it’d be your first ever concert, right?” Beca signed in a hopeful manner. Hoping that Chloe would say yes. Because she’d be lying if her huge crush on Chloe hadn’t reignighted over the past couple of weeks since breaking up with Kelly. It was as though it had been hibernating for a few months while Beca attempted to find someone new, only for it to have reawoken the second she’d felt Chloe’s arm slip around her waist that afternoon she’d returned from Kelly’s - post breakup.

Yeah it would.” Chloe replied, her smile broadening, and it filled Beca with a warmth to know that she was helping Chloe fulfil something she’d always wanted to do.

Brilliant. It’s here on campus so we won’t have to go far.” Beca signed, trying her hardest not to imagine that she’d just asked Chloe out on a date and Chloe had just said yes.

Because Chloe didn’t feel the same way. Chloe didn’t have a crush on her in return. But Beca had come to terms with that. And it didn’t mean she couldn’t spend time watching Chloe adoringly, relishing in those odd moments when Chloe would place a hand on her arm or shoulder, beaming at her while signing something to her with her other hand.

And right now was another one of those moments. Because Chloe’s hand had shot out to grab Beca’s excitably, as she always had done when she was excited (since they’d been kids). Beca watched as Chloe’s free hand came up and she signed:

I can’t believe I’m finally going to go to a concert!!

Beca just smiled affectionately at her best friend as Chloe’s smile softened and the redhead let out a light sigh, signing an additional “Thank you so much, Beca.”

Happy to do it.” Beca replied. Chloe’s hand released from over hers, and the two best friends resumed their focus on their respective studying,

February 14th. Chloe stared at the concert tickets in surprise as they remained tacced up on the noticeboard that she and Beca had in their dorm. They were going to Chloe’s first concert on Valentines Day! Chloe hadn’t realised until now. The day before the concert.

Was it…like a date??

Chloe shook her head and tried to snap herself out of such stupid thoughts. Technically the intention for those tickets had been to be used as a date. But that had been between Beca and Kelly.

When Chloe turned on the spot to return to her desk, she saw her best friend watching her from her own bed, her legs crossed with her laptop on her lap.

Everything okay?” Beca signed, a curious expression on her face.

What should I wear tomorrow night?” Chloe deflected, moving over to perch on the edge of her own mattress to face her best friend. Her best friend who just shrugged before replying:

Whatever you want. It’s only a concert.

Chloe let out a huff of air, her chest tightening while she signed a little frantically: “Yeah but I’ve never been to a concert before! What do people wear? Do people dress up??

It took Beca a lot of willpower not to tug her bottom lip between her teeth at how cute Chloe was right now. The redhead seemed far more nervous about this event than Beca had expected her to be. And she wondered if maybe she should’ve been a little more clearer at describing what happened at a concert. But then again…telling Chloe would only ruin the magic. After all, she hadn’t known what a concert was like before Kelly had taken her for the first time four or so months ago. She wanted to see the look on Chloe’s face when the redhead was first exposed to live music - particularly as Chloe couldn’t hear. She could only see and feel and smell. Okay, so the smell of the campus music hall wasn’t exactly the nicest smell in the world, but it was all part of the concert experience. And Beca just knew the second the band started playing, Chloe would forget all about the weird smell of stale beer and bad body odour.

People tend to wear black. Just smart casual clothes.” Beca signed with a kind smile on her face, adding, “But you look good in anything Chloe, so I wouldn’t worry.

Chloe felt herself blushing as she watched her best friend’s gaze linger over her before Beca resumed her focus on her laptop. Beca thought she looked good in anything? What a compliment! And to come from Beca too… Chloe couldn’t help her heart skipping a beat. Her crush thought she looked good in anything.

To say that Chloe was a bit anxious about entering the music hall on campus was an understatement, and Beca could sense it. While the redhead had signed almost nonstop all day about how excited she was, now they were there, she’d suddenly gone quiet and her eyes had become like saucers.

Beca remembered how nervous she’d felt going to her first concert. It was dark, there were a tonne of strangers stood so close together, and it was difficult to find a perfect spot to suit her small stature so she could actually see the stage.

But for all the reasons that had had Beca initially uncomfortable at her first concert - they had flown out of the window the second the band had started playing. She’d immediately become entranced. She’d immediately been sucked in. She’d immediately been able to appreciate live music. And in a way she’d been pleased that she hadn’t attended her first concert with Chloe, because the band and the atmosphere had drawn her full attention. Chloe deserved her attention. And tonight she would give it all to Chloe (as much as Chloe would want her to).

Chloe’s chest felt tight as she paused in the doorway behind Beca, watching as her best friend spoke to the ticket office, handing their tickets in to be checked. As the member of staff processed their tickets, she watched as Beca turned to her, signing “Are you okay?” and Chloe felt her heart warm. Because Beca knew her. And she knew she must be feeling a little anxious now they were here.

Yeah.” she replied in sign, “A little nervous.”

To her surprise, Beca reached out and took her hand, giving it a squeeze with an assuring smile, before signing with her free hand, “You’re going to love it.”

Chloe stared in a bit of wonder as Beca’s attention was quickly drawn away from her and the redhead realised the ticket assistant must’ve called out to them. Her hand felt funny once she realised Beca had let go of it to take back the processed tickets. She swallowed loudly as her best friend motioned to her to follow, and the two slowly made their way further into the building.

There were so many people milling about, having their own conversations. Though Chloe couldn’t hear them. She could only see what they were wearing and felt relieved she had decided to go with her black pants and black cami finished with a black leather jacket. She’d put a little more eyeliner on than she usually would - mostly because Beca had done the same earlier - and now felt comforted that that had also been a good move.

Suddenly they arrived at a couple of doors and Chloe took a deep breath as Beca tugged one of them open then motioned for Chloe to step inside before her. Had the redhead been with someone else she probably wouldn’t have gone in first. But this was Beca. She trusted Beca above anything and anyone. So with a nervous smile, Chloe stepped through the door that Beca held open for her.

Chloe let out a small gasp, her mouth dropping open at the amount of people stuffed into the small smelly music hall. Hundreds and hundreds. And suddenly Chloe felt really intimidated. There wasn’t much light, which meant Chloe’s working senses were rather limited.

Beca decided she needed to take control a bit here, and took Chloe’s hand once again, signing with her free hand, “Let’s find somewhere to stand.”

Chloe nodded, and allowed herself to be guided through the thick crowd by the hand, which was being held firmly by her best friend. Beca seemed to be making a beeline for a large pillar towards the centre of the hall, and Chloe wondered if that was Beca’s usual place to stand at these things. If that was where Beca had always stood with Kelly.

Kelly. Chloe felt a knot in her stomach when she remembered that this wasn’t a special thing for Beca. This wasn’t Beca’s first time here and actually, it was highly likely everything here just reminded Beca of her ex-girlfriend. Which had Chloe feeling a bit sad.

All until they finally came to a stop beside the pillar, and Beca dropped her hand to turn to her so she could sign. Chloe just managed to translate through the low lighting.

I’ve always wanted to stand here.” Beca explained with a grin, “Better protection from strangers next to this.” and she motioned to the pillar directly to her right.

Chloe smiled, “Didn’t you stand here with Kelly?” she asked, hoping that the mention of Beca’s ex-girlfriend wouldn’t upset the brunette. But Beca just seemed to scrunch her nose up and shake her head gently.

Nah.” Beca signed, “She always wanted to stand as close to the front as possible. I always ended up getting stood on!”

Chloe let out a small giggle that Beca just made out over the sound of the crowd around them chatting. God she loved the sound of that giggle. And suddenly Beca realised she was staring, a soft smile on her face. How creepy of her.

Luckily, just as Beca was about to apologise for being perhaps a little too full on for leading them here instead of asking Chloe where she might want to stand instead, the remainder of the lights went down and the intro to a song began playing.

And all of a sudden, Beca saw it. The very thing she had been so excited about seeing the second Chloe had agreed to go to this concert with her. Her best friend’s expression showed just how captivated Chloe was with the sight on stage before her. The drummer began drumming. The guitarist began strumming. And the base of the song began thundering around the hall. Beca knew Chloe could feel it, and it filled the brunette with joy while she watched her best friend becoming exposed to her very first live performance of music.

Chloe was frozen to the spot, a soft smile on her face as her eyes watched each member of the band in wonder. She’d never seen music been played live on this scale before. She’d never heard such heavy bass beneath her feet. And although she couldn’t hear a single word they were singing or a single note they were playing, Chloe felt as in the moment as any other person here at this concert tonight.

As the opening song came to an end, Beca looked from the stage back over to her best friend, noting the smile on Chloe’s face. The lead singer began welcoming the crowd and thanking them for coming along tonight. And Beca readied her hands to sign for Chloe what he was saying. But she didn’t have to, because Chloe happily remained in one spot, watching on in wonder, not worrying for a moment that she couldn’t hear what the lead singer was saying. And that was when Beca realised this was everything Chloe had hoped for when envisioning her very first concert.

The next song began playing, and Beca lent against the pillar on her right, choosing to watch Chloe rather than the band on stage. And suddenly Beca felt something. Something that gave her an idea…

Chloe was swaying from side to side, picking up on the beat of the song based on the vibrations beneath her feet. Her heart skipped when she felt someone take her right hand and the redhead turned to see Beca smiling gently at her. Chloe allowed Beca to guide the palm of her hand to the pillar. The second her skin touched the plaster, Chloe’s heart swelled. Because the pillar didn’t just portray the bass of the guitars or the beats of the drums, but it also revealed the rhythm of the lead singers voice - all thanks to the vibrations reverberating through this pillar Beca had guided them to.

Beca had placed her palm over Chloe’s hand on the pillar, watching her best friend hopefully. Hoping Chloe could feel more of the song than she had done moments earlier. And to her delight she saw tears springing into Chloe’s eyes as the redhead quickly looked to her with an excited expression.

In that moment the two best friends locked their gaze, and shared an intimate moment that they’d never shared before - not together nor with other people. In that moment Beca fell head over heels for her best friend, far further than she ever had before. And in that very same moment Chloe also fell hard for Beca.

Just as Chloe’s eyes flickered down to Beca’s, and just as Beca noticed, someone accidentally nudged heavily into the back of the brunette, forcing her forward and breaking her hold over Chloe’s hand. Chloe was quick to reach her free hand to put a protective arm across Beca’s waist to prevent her from staggering forward too far. And after a quick glare at the unknown culprit, the two teens stood together once again.

This time Chloe stood a little more protectively behind Beca, in the hope that her slightly taller broader stature would prevent any further shoves. Her hand remained on the pillar, her focus back on the rhythm of the song she couldn’t hear. And Beca had brought her right hand up and over Chloe’s once again. Though this time, she faced the stage, watching as the song came to an end.

A soft smile spread across Beca’s face, her heart thumping hard against her chest when she felt Chloe’s left hand tentatively come to rest on her left hip. And Beca used this small bit of contact as an invitation to lean backwards a bit, into Chloe.

The next song started up, but Beca and Chloe had become a little distracted by the sudden contact they had now allowed themselves to slip into. They both began to sway to the beat that thundered beneath their palms and feet. A sway that turned a little more daring as the minutes rolled on, becoming more of a gentle grind.

Beca’s heart was hammering with nerves and excitement. She and Chloe were grinding?? Since when had Chloe become so okay with this kind of contact? And Chloe was equally surprised by their current situation, adoring the smell of Beca’s hair while the brunette lent her head back a bit to rest on her shoulder.

The sexual tension between them was now palpable. And Beca swallowed loudly when she felt Chloe lower her face to gently nuzzle at her neck, running the tip of her nose from her shoulder up to her jawline and back again. What was happening?? Chloe was reciprocating? Chloe wasn’t freaking out? Did Chloe…like her? Like, like-her, like her?

Chloe pulled her face back for a moment as Beca turned her face to look up into her eyes. They held their gaze once again, this time with hooded eyes. Chloe noticed the way her best friend slowly drifted her tongue across her lips. And for the first time ever Chloe felt a sudden surge of confidence. She definitely wanted to kiss those lips. She wanted to have her first ever kiss. And she wanted it to be with Beca.

Beca remained with her head resting back on Chloe’s shoulder, looking up at her. Desperately wishing she could taste her lips. And to her delight, she watched as her best friend’s eyes flickered down to her mouth, before Chloe’s face slowly approached hers.

Chloe felt a surge of love and emotion the second her lips touched Beca’s. Her first ever kiss. Almost nineteen years old and this was her first ever kiss. At college. With her best friend. Her best female friend who she’d known since they’d been seven years old.

They parted, their eyes fluttering open as giddy smiles spread across their faces. Beca stood a little more upright, her head no longer leaning back on Chloe’s shoulder as she turned to look back at the stage.

And although Chloe could’ve easily panicked that Beca’s change in position meant that the brunette may not feel anything for her after all, and might actually end up regretting inviting Chloe here in the first place - her impending panic was immediately doused out when her best friend reached her left hand down, took hold of Chloe’s left hand, and brought it to her mouth. A quick firm kiss was placed on Chloe’s left palm, and light chuckles fell from Beca and Chloe when they fleetingly looked to one another once again.

Their hearts felt full. Butterflies raced around their stomachs.

Whatever was going to happen next between them was going to be exciting and amazing all in one. And neither of them could wait…

Chapter Text

Chloe sat nervously in a small booth of the milkshake diner, tapping her fingernails against the table while she looked over at the bar area. There Beca stood, dressed in black jeans and a black leather jacket, waiting patiently to order. It was a bit of a risk coming here straight after the concert and only 30 mins before they were due to close. But Chloe hadn’t hesitated when Beca had suggested they grabbed a quick milkshake before heading back to their dorm. They both loved milkshakes. And they hadn’t really signed much to each other since their first kiss an hour ago. Their onlykiss.

There had been coy smiles and the odd glance here and there. But nothing more. They hadn’t even held hands on their way over to the diner. And it had Chloe worrying a bit… Was Beca regretting this evening?

She noticed her best friend finally being served by a member of staff before the brunette turned to her and signed something across the diner (“Did you want whipped cream on top? Or is it too late at night?”) to which Chloe quickly signed back “It’s never too late for whipped cream!” - something that brought a grin to Beca’s face.

Chloe tugged her bottom lip between her teeth as Beca paid for their drinks before heading over to her, the girl focussing solely on placing money back in her pocket. Clearly as a way of not having to look at Chloe while she approached the booth. But as she slid into the seat opposite Chloe, the two finally locked eyes, nervous smiles on their faces.

So…” Beca signed, pausing as her eyes flickered from Chloe’s left eye to right eye and back again, “…did you want to talk about what happened at the concert or…?

And there was an even longer pause as Chloe let out an airy chuckle, looking down at her hands before taking a deep breath. Because her first kiss - her kiss with Beca - still echoed on her lips. It had been perfect. It had felt perfect. She was so lucky.

We kissed.” Chloe signed after eventually looking back up at Beca.

Yeah.” Beca agreed, and they both chuckled, before the brunette added, “But…why?”

Beca was still somewhat baffled. This was Chloe. Her very best friend who she’d known for eleven years and had been crushing on for four years and…Chloe had initially gone weird in Beca when she’d found out about that crush three years ago. Beca had been left with no other choice but to just try to brush it all aside, put it down to having a stupid teenage crush, and to attempt to continue as close a friendship as she always had had with Chloe despite this ‘crush’ forever being present in the back of both their minds.

Beca watched as Chloe’s face had dropped slightly, and she quickly realised she probably hadn’t sounded positive enough about the fact that they had actually kissed. So Beca flapped a little as she signed quickly, hoping Chloe wouldn’t freak out. She was always worried that Chloe would freak out…

Not that I’m not happy we did! I just…didn’t think you liked me that way.”

Chloe took a sharp intake of breath, looking deep into Beca’s eyes. There had once been a time when she’d only ever seen the girl as someone platonic. Her very best friend who she hands-down hadn’t ever even slightly considered as a romantic interest. But in recent months things had changed.

I’ve…kinda been crushing on you since the beginning of college.” Chloe signed, her cheeks going pink with embarrassment. Because telling a crush you liked them was entirely embarrassing - even moreso when you’d originally ‘turned them down’ back when you’d been teens. She watched as Beca’s face opened up into a look of pleasant surprise. It made Chloe become a little flustered, “You started dating Kelly and you were just so happy with her and I figured I could never make you that happy because you could share hearing stuff with each other and I’d never be able to do that with you if we ever became a thing because…”

Chloe paused her signing suddenly, having not realised tears were building in her eyes. Beca had grabbed her hands to try to calm her down. Now they sat opposite one another, their hands held between them, and Beca was looking at Chloe with the softest of expressions. Chloe took a shaky breath to try to calm her nerves. She so often berated herself for being deaf. Living in a hearing world was so challenging sometimes, particularly the older she got. College was another one of those challenges. As had watching Beca enjoy her time with Kelly back when the two had been together - listeningto music together and whisperingsweet nothings into each other’s ears. The eye contact when talking. Beca would just never have that with Chloe if they were to ever start dating.

Beca’s stomach was a tangle, her heart aching for her best friend. She couldn’t understand why Chloe would see herself as being so inferior to her ex-girlfriend. Yes, Kelly hadn’t been deaf. But Kelly had been controlling - looking back Beca could see that now.

She’d had to go to Kelly’s for Christmas because the girl had threatened to break up with Beca if she didn’t. Kelly had always ask about Chloe and why Beca seemed so attached to her, then had constantly insisted that Chloe didn’t need her to carry on with her life. That Chloe should probably just suck up and find ways of hearing things without the need for Beca interpreting for her. And Beca had known it was wrong. Deep down she had. But at the same time, Kelly had been her first girlfriend, her first kiss, her first sexual encounter. So Beca had assumed all relationships were like that. That there was always a far more dominant one who called the shots.

But Beca didn’t feel that way in her friendship with Chloe. And if they did start dating, she couldn’t imagine one of them would be more dominant than the other. Yes, Beca was a little more confident out in the world because she could hear. But Chloe was just as confident to be honest with Beca when necessary. And just because Chloe couldn’t hear didn’t mean the redhead wasn’t confident enough to get out there and do things. Beca was forever in awe of her.

Just because we sign together,” Beca began, still holding Chloe’s hand while using her other hand to sign gently to portray the tone of her voice, “doesn’t mean I don’t hear you.” She noticed the way a tear slipped down one of Chloe’s cheeks, the redhead looking so vulnerable at that very moment. So Beca continued to state her case:

What we shared tonight at the concert was something I could never share with anyone else. Ever.” Beca swept her thumb across Chloe’s hand affectionately while a tiny smile poked into the corner of Chloe’s mouth, “We felt the songs being sung in a way that nobody else did. And we experienced that together.

Chloe was a little stunned. Beca was signing to her quietly (if that was even possible). There was an affectionate smile on the girl’s face, and Chloe was almost certain her heart might burst out of her chest. Because Beca was being sowonderful. And so kind. And…romantic. There was something about this very moment that felt romantic. And it was all thanks to Beca.

You make me so unbelieveably happy, Chloe.” Beca signed gently, keeping her signing hand up by her head so Chloe could translate without having to draw her attention from Beca’s face too much. And it had a warmth rushing over Chloe’s body. This was the intimacy Chloe had always dreamt about. Being sat with someone, signing sweet things to one another while holding hands. Beca was making Chloe’s dreams come true and Beca had no idea she was doing it!

You make me so unbelievably happy too.” Chloe signed back with as much gentle movement as Beca had. And soft smiles spread across both their faces as their eyes flickered down to one another’s mouths.

Taking a deep intake of breath each, the two best friends slowly began leaning towards one another over the dining booth table, their hands now laced as their eyes gently closed. Just as their noses nudged against the others cheek, their lips drifted hesitantly over one another. Tentative. Cautious. Excited. Patient.

Suddenly a voice cleared itself loudly beside them and Beca jumped, pulling her face away to see an employee of the milkshake diner looking at them awkwardly with a milkshake in each hand. Chloe had felt Beca jump, and unsure as to why, snapped her eyes open as her best friend pulled away from her to look over at something. Chloe saw it was an employee who placed milkshakes down beside them.

The two best friends looked from the milkshakes to one another with coy smiles. One of Chloe’s hands remained held with Beca’s while their both used their free hands to drag their respective milkshakes in front of them. And with light chuckles, they looked at one another over their milkshake glasses while they sucked through their straws.

This was nice. This was exciting.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t unusual for the dorm to be silent and tonight was no different as Beca and Chloe entered through the door, having slowly made their way back from their night out together hand-in-hand. Beca made her way over to the tiny lamp by her bed, switching it on so there was a low glow on her side of the small dorm. Then she slowly shrugged her jacket off while keeping her back to the rest of the room.

Her heart raced with excitement and nerves. She and Chloe had kissed tonight. At that concert. And it had been…amazing. But since then, Beca had been a little too nervous to do it again, no matter how tempted she’d been during the walk back to their dorm to simply tug Chloe to the side and divulge in that temptation. Beca knew Chloe had never been kissed before tonight. Knew that every subsequent kiss they may or may not share would be of equal importance to the redhead as their first kiss. After all, that kiss was just as important to Beca.

Chloe closed the door of the dorm over behind her just as her best friend switched the lamp on. She watched as Beca pulled her jacket off, the brunette keeping her back turned on Chloe and the rest of the small room. And it had Chloe feeling nervous. She knew exactly why Beca wasn’t looking at her right now. The girl needed time to compose herself. Hell, Chloe needed time to compose herself.

Keeping from looking at one another meant they wouldn’t feel pressured to sign anything. They could just collect their thoughts about what had happened between them this evening. About what might happen between them now they were back in their dorm. What might happen between them in days to come.

Chloe felt her stomach wriggle a bit. She was nervous. She’d had a crush on Beca for months. Things were starting to happen between them: that kiss; the affectionate signing of sweet words to one another; walking home hand in hand…

But just because those things had happened didn’t mean that Chloe wanted to immediately fall into bed with her best friend. She wanted to take things slow. She wanted to have time to become adjusted to the idea of the two of them becoming more than just friends. And it would take a bit longer than a couple of hours for that to happen.

And from the way Beca appeared to be peering at her nervously over her shoulder, Chloe realised Beca was probably worrying that sex was the expectation right now. She knew her best friend almost as well as she knew herself. And Chloe didn’t want Beca to be nervous around her.

Are you ok?” Chloe signed cautiously, and she watched as Beca slowly turned, fiddling with the base of her top while looking back at her nervously.

Yeah I’m just...” Beca began, having pulled her hands from her top to sign back, “…nervous, I guess.”

Chloe took a deep breath, a soft smile spreading onto her face, wanting to reassure her best friend. She wasn’t normally the one who had to do the reassuring in this friendship - but she recognised the importance of doing it right now:

I’m not wanting to have sex tonight, if that’s what you’re nervous about?

And she let out a small airy chuckle as Beca’s shoulders appeared to relax and an her upper body rose then fell in one full swoop as though she were letting out a huge sigh of relief.

You’re relieved.” Chloe signed with an amused smile on her face and a coy smile finally found its way onto Beca’s face.

Yeah.” she replied, “Not that I don’t think it would be amazing. It’s just…you mean a lot to me and…I don’t want to rush anything.”

Chloe’s heart skipped a beat while tears sprung into her eyes. Beca was just too kind to her sometimes. No, all the time. Always had been. When they’d been kids back in Elementary school. When they’d been teens back in High school.

Yet, a lot of those times had been due to Chloe’s lack of hearing. Beca had always been there for her in this hearing world to help walk it with her. To be her closest companion. But at this very moment in time Beca’s kindness stemmed beyond whatever duty the brunette felt she had to Chloe. Beca was thinking of Chloe’s feelings and the impact on their friendship, rather than just whether Chloe could translate what was going on around them.

I don’t want to rush anything either.” Chloe signed softly, taking a slow step closer to her best friend. There were gentle smiles on their faces as they approached one another, pausing once they were inches away.

Can I kiss you again?” Beca signed nervously, quickly swiping her tongue over then biting her bottom lip. Chloe noticed it, and her heart skipped a beat. She wanted to feel those lips on hers again. So she nodded gently, her smile growing.

Beca’s heart felt as though it was about to burst out of her chest and she slowly took one last step up to Chloe, their bodies hovering against one another. She reached out, but rather than taking Chloe’s hands, she slipped her hands around the girl’s waist instead. Their hips slotted against one another as though perfect puzzle pieces.

And for the slightest of moments, Beca worried that she should say something more. But saying something at all would mean having to remove her arms from around Chloe’s waist to sign, which Beca didn’t want to do. Because holding Chloe felt so good. And being heldby Chloe felt so good - the redhead having now slipped her arms around Beca’s in order to lace her fingers at the small of Beca’s back.

And ever so slowly, the two best friends inched their faces closer to each other, the tips of their noses gently touching. Smiles grew on their faces as they kept looking down at each other’s lips then up into each other’s eyes, the tips of their noses now grazing up and down the others bridge.

Then their eyes fluttered closed as their lips hovered tentatively over one another. Chloe’s heart was hammering away, her only senses remaining being the feel of Beca’s body and the smell of the girl’s perfume. Suddenly her lips tingled as Beca kissed her gently. Warmth rushed through her body. And Chloe was reminded of just how wonderful her first kiss earlier had been.

Beca brought one hand from Chloe’s waist to cup her best friend’s cheek, drawing their kiss into a slightly firmer one. And as the seconds ticked on, their lips parted, and Beca felt Chloe’s tongue tentatively slide across her bottom lip.

At the feel of Beca’s tongue meeting hers, Chloe’s mind went blank. Her body went into autopilot for a moment, a hum rolling from the back of her throat. She pulled Beca’s body even tighter to hers, noting the way Beca’s chest rumbled a little. And Chloe wondered if that had been Beca letting out a moan?

Their kiss broke when the both ran out of breath, and as their faces parted, their eyes fluttered open. Beca and Chloe began grinning, light chuckles falling from their mouths as they realised the kiss had been just as wonderful for the other as it had been for them. Beca swept her thumb gently across Chloe’s cupped cheek and the look of adoration while her eyes shined into her best friend’s eyes had Chloe’s heart soaring. Nobody had ever looked at her like that before. As though she’d put the stars in the sky.

That was amazing.” Beca eventually signed, with the hand she’d been cupping Chloe’s cheek with, and it caused a chuckle to fall from Chloe’s mouth.

The redhead brought her hand up to Beca’s, taking it from her cheek and placing a soft kiss on her palm, before signing with her other hand:

You’re amazing.”

Chapter Text

I’m just going up for a shower.” Chloe signed, and Beca nodded, a calm smile on her face. She watched her girlfriend slip from the seat at the kitchen table, Chloe heading out of the room.

She saw the way her father had watched the young woman go, clearly wondering where she was headed, but Beca simply answered for him, “She’s going for a shower.” and her father nodded then returned to his task of filling the dishwasher with cutlery.

Beca took a deep breath. Now was probably the best time to tell him. Every year it was tradition for the two Mitchell’s to go to the local church for the Christmas Eve service. Free mulled wine and Christmas carols - Beca never really minded. In more recent years it had become tradition to go to one of the church-goers’ house for dinner before walking down to the church. But Beca didn’t want to go this year..

Slipping from her own seat, she picked up her empty breakfast plate and slowly headed towards her father, trying to gain the confidence she required to begin a sentence. As she handed it to him, she cleared her throat, then took the plunge.

“Uh, Dad? I don’t want to go to Sheila’s then the Christmas Eve service this year…”

Beca watched as her father turned to look at her, his brow furrowed.

“Oh.” came his reply and Beca could see why he’d be confused. It did seem fairly last-minute to be telling him. No doubt Sheila would’ve bought enough food for all the guests she invited each year. But then Beca figured, what was one less guest? “Any particular reason?”

“Look, it’s not that I don’t enjoy it,” she began, her father slowly standing upright and closing the door of the dishwasher, “it’s just…this is mine and Chloe’s first Christmas together and I’d really like to commemorate it by cooking her a meal. Just the two of us. Pleeease?”

Beca watched with baited breath as her father paused to let out a heavy sigh. She felt a little bad about the suggestion. Christmas Eve service had been ‘their thing’ ever since they’d moved here from Seattle. But Beca had seen how interested her father had been in Sheila - the lowly widow from church. If anything, him going alone would be the perfect opportunity for him to get to know the woman a bit better without having to worry about his daughter’s needs.

Dr Mitchell bit the inside of his cheek, deep in thought. He was a sucker for his daughter’s big dark blue eyes. Any time they gleamed up at him, seemingly begging for him to side with her, he always caved. Always. And now was no exception.

“Okay.”

———

Sat in the lounge, late afternoon, Chloe furrowed her brow as she watched Beca’s father leave the house in a very smart outfit. Clearly the man had made an extra special effort. She turned to her girlfriend and gently nudged her with her elbow to gain her attention.

I thought we were going with your Dad to Sheila’s?” she signed and to her surprise, Beca shrugged then smiled softly.

We were, but Dad’s said we can have this evening to ourselves.”

Chloe’s eyebrows rose while she processed exactly what this meant. Two days ago she and Beca had discussed having sex for the first time. Beca had asked that they wait a couple of days so that she could make it special. And it looked like a couple of days had passed.

The two young women shared a smile, then turned back to the TV, squeezing each other’s hands in excitement.

———

Beca stepped back from her bed, hands on her hips as she looked at the fairy lights she’d spent time meticulously unknotting overnight last night, and had now spent time hanging over the headboard of her bed. She couldn’t exactly say she was stalling, but there was definitely an element of her that was taking longer than the ‘five minutes’ she’d told Chloe she’d need to put the finishing touches to her room before they both…you know…‘got intimate together’. Beca grimaced at the terminology, her face screwing up as she took a sharp inhale of breath.

She shouldn’t be nervous. Chloe should be the one to be nervous. This wasn’t Beca’s first time. It was Chloe’s. Chloe, who Beca cherished more than anyone in the whole world. Chloe, whose life Beca desperately didn’t want to ruin by screwing up their first time together. The time Beca spent cooped up in her room making it look presentable only served to make her more nervous. Not exactly an ideal scenario..

Suddenly she jumped, twisting on the spot as she heard three clear knocks on her closed bedroom door. She knew it was Chloe. Chloe was the only person to knock like that. Just like Chloe was the only other person in the house right now.

Beca took one last fleeting look at her beautifully made bed, the bouquet of flowers she had on the side for her girlfriend, and the fairy lights that created a dim glow over the head of the bed, then headed slowly over to the door while releasing a heavy exhale of nerves. As she opened the door her heart seemed to skip a beat.

Chloe stood before Beca, picking nervously at her cuticles while a coy smile poked from around her gently bitten bottom lip. Her heart hammered against her chest, but her nerves settled when she saw her girlfriend’s shoulders sink slightly - physically revealing the way the woman let out a heavy breath - and a broad smile swept across Beca’s face as she signed “Wow. You look really beautiful.

Chloe chuckled gently, taking a step forward and wrapping one arm around Beca’s waist while keeping her other hand free to sign. She’d be lying if she hadn’t used Beca’s ‘five minutes’ wisely - putting a bit of makeup on and doing her hair. Then, after five minutes had passed, she’d headed from the guest bedroom of Beca’s father’s home, down the hallway, and up to Beca’s closed bedroom door.

Well I gotta make an effort for you.” Chloe signed in response with one hand, her other tightening around Beca’s waist while she enjoyed the feel of her girlfriend holding her in return.

Beca shook her head gently, a soft smile on her face, moving one of her hands into view so she could sign back.

You never have to make an effort.” she assured, “You’re perfect.” And her eyes lit up as Chloe let out an embarrassed huff of air, the woman cupping her own cheek to try to hide her flushed skin. But it only made Beca’s smile broaden.

That’s a smooth start.” Chloe signed in a flustered motion, and Beca couldn’t help the grin on her face.

Yeah?

Yeah.

And with that they both chuckled, swaying slightly on the spot while looking into each other’s eyes. Chloe’s heart thumped against her chest as she watched her girlfriend’s eyes drift down to her mouth, and her own eyes wandered down, admiring the way Beca bit gently on her bottom lip as she clearly contemplated something. Something that Choe decided she’d help Beca come to a conclusion over.

With a gentle intake of breath, Chloe reached up and delicately cupped Beca’s cheeks, pulling the woman into a long, soft kiss. Chloe hadn’t ever really envisioned what her ‘first time’ might be like. Well, not until she’d started dating Beca. The occasional blissful make out sessions over the weeks’d had her wondering what it might be like. Had increased her curiosity and temptation to broach the subject with her girlfriend. Chloe had to admit, she was relieved Beca hadn’t freaked out - it was a lot to ask of someone. But it was a natural step to take when in a committed and meaningful relationship…right?

Beca brought her arms from around Chloe’s waist and reached up to gently take her girlfriend’s hands. Slowly stepping backwards, she guided Chloe into her bedroom, a soft smile on her face as she saw Chloe biting her bottom lip with a smile of her own. A smile that shifted to a look of sheer delight the moment Chloe caught sight of the beautiful layout around the bed. The fairy lights and the flowers and the fresh bedsheets.

Is it okay?” Beca signed as soon as Chloe looked back at her, and she felt a swoop of relief when her girlfriend nodded enthusiastically.

Beca it’s amazing!!” Chloe signed in response, her attention drawing over to the beautiful flowers beside the bed, “I can’t believe you did all of this.

Beca reached out, taking one of Chloe’s hands again but keeping the other free. This was what she loved about being with Chloe. This was what she’d always loved - even before they’d started dating. Being able to make Chloe smile like that. Being thoughtful and putting her first. In a way, Beca had cared about Chloe for most of her life.

I told you I needed to make it special.” she replied with her hands, her heart warming as her girlfriend reached out to take one hand while signing a reply with the other.

You didn’t have to.

Okay, well I wanted to.

They both smiled affectionately at one another, both fully aware of the next big step they were about to take together. A huge step. But as they stood together they quickly conceded to themselves that it didn’t feel like a huge step. Which was a testament to how solid their relationship and friendship was. How much they trusted each other. How much they loved each other. And it was that trust and love that was going to make this moment a very special one indeed.

So…” Chloe began with a quick swoop of her hand, her soft smile skewing slightly, “…how are we going to do this?”

‘This’. Beca knew exactly what Chloe meant by that. The physical acts that were about to happen weren’t going to be the complicated part of this evening. The complicated part would likely be communicating during. But Beca had thought about some specifics..

“Well this is a big deal…” Beca began, then paused as her eyes widened in horror. God, what was she doing? Was she trying to freak Chloe out?? “…not a big deal but…” she paused again, her nose scrunching while she tried to devise a logical sentence to sign to explain the best method of going about having sex for the first time. Together. “Okay. I thought if you kept hold of my hand while I…you know…” she saw the way Chloe smiled kindly at her while nodding gently, and it gave Beca the confidence to continue, “…then if what I’m doing feels good then you just keep hold of my hand, but if it doesn’t feel good for you then you just squeeze my hand and I’ll know what’s good for you and what isn’t. Does that make sense?

Chloe’s heart warmed as her girlfriend signed the end of her sentence, the woman’s arms dropping to her sides. Ever since they’d been kids, Beca had always been so mindful of Chloe’s experience of things. Back in Elementary School, Beca’d learnt sign language so they could communicate together, becoming fast friends as a result. In High School, Beca had always got the bus with Chloe so they could experience ‘independence’ from their respective parents. And now, here Beca was, coming up with a way for Chloe to truly be comfortable during her first experience having sex.

That’s a great idea.” Chloe confirmed, her hand and fingers moving fluidly while she signed, smiling affectionately at her girlfriend. Her eyes drifted down to Beca’s chest just as Beca took a swooping breath of air, clearly relieved that Chloe was okay with her suggestion. “I trust you.” she added, taking a step towards the woman before her, and reaching out with her free hand to curl her arm around Beca’s waist. “And I love you.

———

Beca had to admit, for someone who’d never had sex before, Chloe was surprisingly good at it. Beca had started the proceedings, with Chloe laid back on her bed. Then a little later, the two lovers had switched positions. Whilst Chloe had been a little tentative at first, once Beca had assured her that she would squeeze her hand if something didn’t feel right (just as Chloe had squeezed Beca’s hand a couple of times earlier), Chloe had seemed to settle on a rhythm and pattern with her tongue that had not only suited her method but had also brought Beca to satisfaction very quickly.

Chloe always had been in touch with other people’s feelings. Had been able to sense the mood in a room even without being able to hear. It was her attention to people’s body language or facial expressions that gave her the advantage. Beca had never been so observant. Well, not unless it was Chloe. She’d always been mindful of Chloe’s feelings.

Like right now, as they both laid back on Beca’s bed, naked and breathless, with broad smiles on their faces… Beca’s hand immediately reached for Chloe’s, and the two entwined their fingers. Beca’s eyes fluttered closed, and she relished the moment of belonging she felt as Chloe nestled into her side and lolled an arm across her stomach.

Sex had never meant to be something that bound them together. Had never meant to be something that would make them feel closer. They’d always been close. They’d always felt bound to one another. And yet somehow, laying naked in bed together after sharing the most intimate of activities that two adult people could share, Beca and Chloe felt closer than they’d ever felt in the past thirteen years that they’d known each other. Somehow they truly felt as though now they were one.

———

Chloe jolted awake as she felt Beca’s naked body flinch beneath her cheek. Her brow furrowed as she sat up, peering through the dim light from the fairy lights while Beca scrambled for a nearby lamp.

My Dad’s just got home!” Beca hastily signed, and Chloe didn’t need telling twice. She almost levitated out of Beca’s bed, scrambling for her clothes that had been discarded across the floor, hours earlier. How long had they been asleep??

As she shoved her sweater over her head and pulled it down, she felt her hair go static. But she didn’t care. If Beca’s Dad found out they’d had sex while he’d been out, there was no telling how angry he’d be. Dr Mitchell had been kind. Really kind. He’d been supportive of Chloe’s relationship with his daughter. He’d allowed her to stay here for the holidays so she and Beca could spend time together. So to ruin it all now would be a horrible thing to do to the man who had always been so nice to Chloe.

Is he still downstairs?” she signed before stooping down to slip her panties back on. She watched as Beca scrambled off her own bed to throw some nearby pyjamas on.

Yeah. But he won’t be for long!

It was times like these that Chloe wished she could hear. Like the way Beca might’ve been breathing loudly, such was her panic. Or the tone of Beca’s voice if she’d actually whispered those words to Chloe instead of signed them. Or perhaps even the thud of the footsteps from the staircase that would’ve filled Beca and Chloe with the dread of being caught.

Instead Chloe had to settle for signed updates from Beca. As usual.

He’s coming up the stairs and has just called out to us!

Chloe watched as Beca launched down to her hands and knees, and pulled something from under the bed.

Quick!” Beca manically signed, “Sit on the floor!

Chloe did as she was told, fumbling to put her last sock on and completing her challenge of getting dressed in record time. She watched on in surprise as she realised that the thing Beca had pulled from under her bed was a board game. What was more, it was a board game that Beca must have set up earlier in the day.

She accepted a bunch of cards that Beca slapped into her hand, and followed her girlfriend’s motion by fanning the cards between her hands, as though mid-way through this board game.

Beca reached to pick up a dice (having just scrambled to stand several pieces of the game upright). Her heart was in her throat. She’d only set this board game up on an off-chance that her Dad might come home early and she and Chloe needed an excuse to still be together no matter the hour of day. But with a fleeting glance at the clock across her room she realised it was just before midnight. How long had they dozed off for??

“Hey Beca.”

Beca’s attention shot over to the door of her bedroom and she saw her father approach it with a tired smile on his face. He looked different. Perhaps…content? And very much on the tipsy side.

“Oh.” Dr Mitchell added when he noticed that not only was his daughter’s guest still in her room, but that the two young women were playing a board game of all things.

Beca watched in mild panic and mild amusement as her father attempted to sweep his hand before him from left to right, palm facing Chloe.

“Hello Chloe.” he said slowly. He’d been working hard trying to find some basic sign language to help his communication with his daughter’s girlfriend. Beca had to admit, he was pretty rubbish at it, but it was the thought that counted she supposed. She turned to glance at her girlfriend whose flustered expression revealed a polite smile, and Chloe signed “Hello” back.

“She uh…she says hello back.” Beca replied, signing for Chloe’s benefit while she did. Dr Mitchell looked pleased,

“See, your old man isn’t too old to learn something new.”

Beca really didn’t have the heart to tell him that not only was ‘Hello’ a really easy sign to sign, but that he hadn’t actually done it right. So she gave him a purse-lipped smile and a thumbs up.

“Well done Dad.”

There was an awkward pause where all three inhabitants of the house looked to each other. Then with a stretch and a yawn, Dr Mitchell gave Beca and Chloe a thumbs up in return.

“Right, well, busy day tomorrow.”

Chloe turned to Beca for a translation which Beca had automatically begun signing.

“Chloe should really go back to her room, Beca. You know the rules.”

Beca nodded gently while her Dad began slowly stepping backwards out of the room. It wouldn’t be long until he crashed for the night. She could tell by how tired he looked. He must’ve had a very good time at Sheila’s party…

“I know Dad.” she replied and signed, “She will.”

She didn’t want to take advantage of her father’s good nature. But she was also bitterly disappointed to have to let Chloe go so soon. Even if it was only for a few hours before they woke for Christmas..

Sorry,” she signed, unspoken, while turning to her girlfriend, “Dad’s said you’ve got to go. Curfew.” To her relief, Chloe smiled affectionately at her.

It’s okay. I understand.” Chloe leant over the board game, placing a brief and gentle kiss on Beca’s lips, “I’ll text you when I get to my room.” she added, bringing a huge smile to Beca’s face.

Okay.”

Beca lunged towards Chloe, placing a chaste kiss on her girlfriend’s lips before grinning. She heard her father clear his throat awkwardly, and she turned to see him still loitering in the doorway.

Goodnight.” Chloe signed while rising to her feet, enjoying the way Beca grinned at her. She couldn’t wait to be reunited with her again in the morning. Christmas morning.

“Sorry I’ve still gotta lay down the law, Beca.” Dr Mitchell said once Chloe had gone to her room. He watched as his daughter cleared the board game away. He couldn’t help but feel guilty that he was keeping the two young women apart overnight. If Chloe’s mother wasn’t so strict about her daughter and Beca’s…affection…then he would’ve had no problem letting the two share Beca’s bed and would’ve definitely not given them a curfew.

“It’s okay Dad.” Beca replied, perching on the edge of her bed and looking over at her father with a shrug, “I know what Sandra’s like. Better to stay in her good books.”

“Exactly.” Dr Mitchell said, pointing at her with his index finger and smiling. He was pleased that he got on so well with his daughter. They’d been through a lot over the years. The least he could do was keep supporting her.

Beca’s attention flicked to her phone, which buzzed briefly on her bedside table. She knew it was Chloe sending her a text, and she was itching to get over to it and to text her back.

“I’ll uh…” she heard her father begin, and she watched him slowly make his way backwards out of the room, “…I’ll let you get some sleep. You don’t want to be up when Santa comes by.”

Beca chuckled with her father. He said the same joke every year. She used to find it annoying. Now she found it endearing.

“Goodnight Dad.”

“Night Beca. Sweet dreams.”