aeonian (adjective): eternal; everlasting.
The pain tearing at Beca's chest slowly lessens when she gets back to her routine in New York. She's thankfully too busy to let her mind wander any more to the uncertainty of their relationship down the road.
She wins her first Grammy ever for Best Artist a couple weeks later. It's crazy and surreal, to have most of her idols come to her and congratulate her for her win. She pinches herself several times throughout the night to wake up from what definitely feels like a dream.
There's an avalanche of messages from Chloe when she finally gets the chance to look at her phone after the long ceremony, the many interviews and the after-party she kinda has to go to as a Grammy winner. Chloe's shriek when Beca calls her in the early morning probably damages her eardrum forever.
She almost has a heart attack when she catches sight of the giant teddy bear taking up most of her King sized bed when she gets home the following afternoon. It has a red bow around its neck and a card with her name on it.
Beca [10:09 AM]
Chlo, that teddy bear is probably as big as me.
Beca takes off her shoes, trades her travel leggings for comfy sweatpants and plops down on her bed, snuggling against the giant plush animal.
Chloe [10:13 AM]
I told the store I called to deliver the biggest one they had. You won a GRAMMY, Beca!!
Beca [10:13 AM]
I didn't know getting a teddy bear was a tradition for winning a Grammy?
Chloe [10:13 AM]
It's a Chloe Beale tradition. :D
Beca [10:13 AM]
Pretty sure you just made that up, babe.
Chloe [10:15 AM]
Chloe [10:15 AM]
Is it any different to wake up knowing you won a Grammy?
Beca [10:15 AM]
Not really. Probably because I can hardly believe it, yet.
Chloe [10:15 AM]
You better start, because I have this hunch it's the first of many.
Chloe [10:16 AM]
I can't remember all the things I screamed into your ear yesterday, but in case I didn't, you looked super sexy in that suit. I was all hot and bothered. O.O
Beca laughs, shaking her head endearingly. People were still commenting on her looks, dotting it as one of the best of the Grammys this year and something about giving the gays what they wanted. Beca should really send some chocolates to her stylist as a thank-you.
Chloe [10:16 AM]
And you talked about me in your speech.
After thanking her team, Beca took a moment to thank the muse behind her renewed inspiration and how that person changed her life. She didn't give out Chloe's name; Chloe herself as well as the most important people in her life knew who she was talking about, and that was enough.
Beca [10:17 AM]
Yeah, you went on about that for a while last night. And in the three voicemails you left me before that.
Chloe [10:19 AM]
Chloe [10:19 AM]
I was maaaaybe a little bit drunk? I was kinda nervous and Aubrey kept pouring me drinks. I think she said at some point I went out on the balcony and shouted something about how my girlfriend had won a Grammy and everyone else was a loser. I don't remember that part, though.
Beca [10:19 AM]
Please tell me there's a video of that.
Chloe [10:20 AM]
Chloe [10:20 AM]
It was six in the morning over here. I didn't go to work yesterday morning because I was still drunk, Becs.
Chloe [10:20 AM]
So don't go winning any other major award anytime soon, K? I need to avoid getting a noise complaint with the neighbors.
Beca [10:21 AM]
God, I love you. This is gold. I'm messaging Aubrey about the video.
Chloe [10:22 AM]
I don't like you very much right now. :( :( :(
Chloe [10:22 AM]
Gotta get back to work. Those photographs aren't going to print themselves. I'll see you for our Skype date tomorrow night. :) :) :)
Chloe [10:22 AM]
In the meantime, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a selfie with that teddy bear your amazing and thoughtful girlfriend of yours got you.
Beca smiles and raises her phone above her head, careful to fit as much of the teddy bear as she can into the screen. She sends the picture, then curls up against it, ready to catch some much-needed sleep.
“Hey Beca,” Beca lifts her eyes from her computer to see her assistant pop her head into the doorway of her office. “Jerry wants to have your set-list for the label's twenty-year anniversary festival.”
Beca frowns, not looking up from her computer. “Already?"
“Well, it's in three weeks.”
“No, it's in May,” Beca says, her confusion intensifying as she clicks on her digital calendar. She's sure it's in May.
Rachel shakes her head. “No, it's from April 15th through April 18th. Then you have a series of TV appearances the following week in LA and then Coachella."
April 15th. Chloe's birthday and David Guetta's concert. She promised Chloe she would make it.
She's the one scared about not making it through more long-distance and yet here she is, unable to go to France for her girlfriend's birthday because she didn't pay attention to the dates.
“Fuck,” Beca slumps back in her chair, staring at the evidence on her computer screen as though glaring hard enough would make those four days she planned in Paris magically turn blank. Her phone chimes with a series of texts from Chloe replying to the last message she sent. She registers a bunch of happy emojis and groans. “Fuck.”
Her assistant hovers in the doorway, unsure of what to do. “Do you need me to do anything?”
“No, I'll handle this.”
Hours later, Beca finds herself staring at her phone as she wipes her sweaty hands on her jeans. She eventually picks it up and calls Chloe.
Chloe picks up on the third ring and Beca forgets how she planned on telling her.
“Hey,” Chloe sounds breathless. “Have you been running?”
“No, I was, um, dancing in my living-room,” an awkward laugh follows. She sounds so happy and Beca hates herself for what she's about to say. “What's up?”
“You're gonna hate me,”
Chloe laughs lightly. “I hardly think that's possible, Bec.”
“I, uh,” Beca slams her eyes shut. “I can't come to Paris in three weeks.”
“Oh,” Chloe lets out. A handful of silent seconds ensue. Beca drops her head into her hand.
“There's this fucking label twenty year anniversary festival thing that I thought was in May but turns out it's in April and I'm so fucking dumb. I'm performing the two days and I'm supposed to do a bunch of interviews. I tried to explain to Jerry but he's still bitter about the stunt I pulled last summer and my contract states I have to be present for promotional events for the label and-”
“Beca slow down, please,” Chloe requests softly. “It's okay.”
“No! It's not okay, I told you I would make it and I screwed up. It's your birthday and you gave me this amazing present and...” she kicks the back of the chair next to her out of spite. “Fuck.”
“It's okay.” Chloe repeats, but the thickness in her voice proves otherwise. “It's just a birthday, I don't...” she lets out a tiny sigh. “Of course I'm disappointed not to see you but I'll get over it. You have so much going on, it's hard to remember everything. I get it. We'll set another date.”
“My schedule is crazy after that. I barely have any free week-end and my manager is speaking about a tour and I can't tell you when that'll be, Chloe.”
“Okay, well, then I'll come see you.” Chloe clears her throat and seems to hesitate for a beat. “Unless... unless you don't want me to?”
Beca isn't quite sure she heard correctly. She straightens up in her seat, eyebrows knit together in confusion. “What?”
“I... I don't know. You're overly busy I don't want to be the overly clingy girlfriend and impose on you when you have a lot to do.”
Beca realizes her dismissal of Chloe's suggestion to find another date may have come off as though she didn't want to see her. She remembers what Chloe said about Tom and realizes she might still feel those insecurities in their relationship. “Chloe,”
“I'm sorry. Forget I said anything. It's stupid. I, uh, it's late out here so I'll talk to you later, okay?”
“But – ”
Beca gapes at the sudden swerve in Chloe's demeanor. She doesn't know what she might have done to make Chloe believe she isn't welcome any time she wants. Not even sure the call is even still going, she reciprocates the feeling, staring at her phone long after she lowered it from her ear.
She isn't sure what happened, but she isn't about to let Chloe believe whatever she thinks is true.
Being sort of new at this whole relationship thing, it takes her a while to find the right words.
Beca [7:33 PM]
You're not clingy. You're supportive and I love that you are. Please believe me when I say I want to see you more than anything. I didn't mean to come across as dismissive when you said we would find another time. I just don't want to make any promises that I might not be able to keep because of the ups and downs of my schedule.
I'll have a look at my calendar tomorrow and we can go from there?
I hope we're okay. I love you, Chlo.
Sweet dreams, baby.
She wakes up the next morning to a message that lessens her guilt.
Chloe [2:55 AM]
I'm sorry, I just got insecure. Of course we're okay. This long-distance is challenging but not enough to mess with us.
I love you, too. Have a good day and I'll see you for our Skype date night.
Beca comes home from the studio the next day because she's so sick she can's focus on anything but the pounding in her head. The hectic few weeks have taken their toll on her body to the point where she has to take a cab home from the studio because she's so weak she doesn't think she can survive a subway ride.
And no, she's not being dramatic.
Beca [2:21 PM]
Beca [2:21 PM]
Or maybe dying, idk
Alright, maybe she's a little bit dramatic.
Beca has already dozed off by the time Chloe replies. Reaching for her phone on the bedside table is a struggle on its own.
Chloe [3:05 PM]
Oh no. How sick? :(
Beca [4:15 PM]
I might not live to see the day
Chloe [4:17 PM]
Chloe [4:17 PM]
Do you have a fever?
Beca [4:17 PM]
My forehead feels hot. Does that count as fever? I can't tell, I'm never sick.
Beca [4:18 PM]
My head is about to burst and it hurts when I swallow
Chloe [4:18 PM]
Okay, that doesn't sound too serious. Did you take cold medicine?
I dont think we have any.
Chloe [4:19 PM]
Seriously? Baby, you need to go buy some if you want to get some sleep!
Beca [4:19 PM]
Beca [4:19 PM]
No skype tonight. I feel gross and sleepy. Im sorry
Chloe [4:20 PM]
It's okay. I'll let you rest. Call me in the morning? Love you.
Beca barely remembers falling asleep, and she sleeps until eleven the next morning to loud pounding on her door that matches the one in her head.
“You alive in there?” Stacie hollers through the door.
“Yes!” Beca tries to shout, but it comes out as more of a raspy murmur that hurts her throat than anything else.
“Let me in,”
Beca grunts and rolls off her bed, barely catching herself before she ends up on a dismembered heap on the floor. She drags herself to the door and unlocks it, not bothering with actually opening it as she shuffles back to bed.
“What do you want?” Beca whines once she's back under the covers, head angled into her pillow. She feels even grosser than the day before; her whole mouth and throat feel like sandpaper and her body is covered in cold, dried sweat.
“Chloe called me fifteen minutes ago because she was getting worried. I just thought you got hammered last night and were sleeping it off.”
Stacie sets two bags on her bedside table and takes a seat on the side of the bed as Beca tries to sit up, not sure she hear correctly.
“Chloe called you?” She croaks out. “She has your number?”
“Oh yeah, we talk from time to time.”
Beca frowns, immediately regretting it as the muscle twitch makes her head hurt even more. “What?”
Stacie ignores her and lies a hand on Beca's forehead. “You're running a fever.”
“Chloe called you?” Beca repeats, having trouble getting past that piece of information.
Stacie hums as she unpacks the bags she brought with her. “Yeah. She asked me to buy you some cold medicine and had a chicken noodle soup delivered from your favorite place a minute ago.”
Warmth spreads in Beca's chest. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Stacie smiles, handing her some pills and a bottle of water. Beca takes them and swallows them, thanking Stacie quietly. “She's a keeper.”
“I know,” Beca says softly, with a small smile of her own playing at the corners of her lips. Stacie opens the soup container, puts a spoon into it and hands it to her. “Thanks.”
They make small talk while Beca eats and once she's changed out of her damp clothes, she slips back under the covers and grabs her phone. Chloe picks up on the first tone.
“You shouldn't joke about dying and then not picking up your phone for twenty hours, you know.”
“Can you not speak so loud, please?” she requests, rubbing two fingers over her temple. “Sorry, I just woke up.”
Chloe sighs, tone dropping. “I figured. I was just a little bit worried. How are you feeling?”
“Like I've run a marathon.”
She tries not to be too offended when Chloe snickers. Okay, so she doesn't really know what running a marathon feels like, but she figures it must be exhausting.
“Thank you for the soup, though.”
“You're welcome, baby. I wish I could do more to make you feel better.”
Beca moans from discomfort as she tries to find a position that lessens her overall body ache. “I would give a lot in exchange of cuddles, right now.”
“I'm sorry, sweetie.”
“It's not-” Beca pauses when she feels the emotion raise in her throat. “It's not your fault, Chlo.”
“I know, I just...” Chloe sighs then clears her throat. “I would hop on a plane to New York if I could.”
“I know.” Beca's voice dangerously wavers and she knows Chloe hears it, too.
“I'm sorry,” she croaks out, screwing her eyes shut to keep the tears from falling. It doesn't work. They slide out of her eyes and seep into the pillow under her head. “I just feel like shit and I miss you.”
“Don't be sorry,” Chloe murmurs unsteadily. The shake in her tone only makes Beca cry harder. “I miss you, too. So much.”
Beca sniffles, burrowing herself deeper under the covers as a chill runs up her spine.
“Can I do anything to make you feel better over the phone? Do you... do you want me to sing?”
“Bec, baby, I know your throat is hurting but I can't see if you're nodding or not.”
“Yes. Sing, please.”
“Okay. Just close your eyes and try to relax, okay?” Beca does as she's told, exhaling slowly through her nose and easing up the tension in her shoulders. “Je n'ai pas peur de la route, faudrait voir, faut qu'on y goûte, des méandres au creux des reins... Et tout ira bien. Le vent l'emportera.”
As Chloe continues to sing, Beca's tears dry and she's slowly, steadily lulled into a deep sleep.
She doesn't get up from bed the next day either, or the day after that, spending most of her time sleeping or watching stupid shows on Netflix that don't require too much attention as she's slipping in and out of slumber every fifteen minutes or so. She only chances coming out the fourth day, legs wobbly and head dizzy from being upright after so much time spent laying down, and shuffles to the kitchen.
“Hey,” Jesse greets her with a pained look from his spot at the kitchen island. “You look terrible.”
Beca doesn't even have the energy to glare at him or give him the finger. “Thanks.”
“There's a package for you, I didn't want to wake you up, it got here an hour ago.”
“Oh,” Beca breathes out, making a beeline for the thick FedEx envelope resting on the counter.
She smiles when she sees Chloe's handwriting and laughs at the bunch of stickers stuck to the package that say 'EXPRESS DELIVERY' and 'INTERNATIONAL PRIORITY'. She can imagine Chloe making a scene in the store and pay the maximum price to have this delivered at soon as possible, as though her life depended on it.
Ripping the envelope open, Beca fishes out the contents one by one to lay them out on the counter:
A pack of tissues with a sticker that says for your nose.
A bag of honey and lemon Ricolas with one that says for your throat.
A homemade coupon for a Free massage with the one and only Chloe Beale the next time they see each other.
Beca laughs as she drags out the last item, tears pooling in her eyes the second she realizes what it is.
Chloe's light summer scarf, bundled up in a ball to take less room, with a sticker that says for your heart <3
Beca lifts it to her face and breathes in Chloe's scent, closing her eyes briefly. She's suddenly in Paris, in Chloe's apartment, in Chloe's arms and everything is alright in the world again.
The imaginary soon breaks when Beca's bubble pops. She's still in rainy and gloomy New York City, her bed is achingly empty and Chloe's sunshine is nowhere within reach. Beca weakly attempts to get a hold of the emotions raising in her chest, but her resolve has already crumbled.
Her upper body starts to shake with sobs that make her throat so painful that she doubles over, clinging onto the counter edge as she gasps for breaths.
“Hey, hey,” Jesse appears by her side and coaxes into a soothing embrace. “Breathe through it, Bec.”
“I'm sorry,” she says after a while, pulling away. Jesse's shirt is soaked with tears and probably some snot but he doesn't make a face at how gross it is. She dips her head down to pad at her wet cheeks, feeling the embarrassment of breaking-down for stupid reasons creep up on her. “I don't know what's going on with me.”
“You miss her,” Jesse supplies with a sad smile, squeezing her forearms. “And you feel like shit. Don't beat yourself up. Long distance relationships are hard, especially when you feel down.”
“Have you ever been in one?” Beca asks quietly, leaning back against the counter and glancing up at Jesse, who sighs and rubs the back of his neck.
“Once. After the two of us broke up and before I moved out here. She lived in Seattle and I was still in LA.”
Beca gapes. She's never heard about this. “How long did it last?”
“About a year,” Jesse shrugs, burying his hands into his pockets. “But what we had was nothing compared to what you have with Chloe.”
Sniffling, Beca wraps her arms around her frame as she rests back against the counter. “Do you- do you think love is enough to last years with thousands of miles between two people?”
Jesse mimics her posture, remaining silent for a little while as he thinks. “I do. The love you guys have for each other, it's... inspiring and it gives me faith that someday I'll find that person that makes me smile and laugh the way Chloe does for you.”
“God, I was so stupid.” Beca groans, burying her face into her hands.
“Oh no, what did you do?”
“I asked her to move to New York.”
Jesse's eyebrows fly up as he stares at her incredulously. “What?”
Beca wonders how she ever thought it was a good idea. Clearly, it's obvious to anyone else that it was the dumbest thing she could do. “Not like, tomorrow. I asked her if she saw herself moving to New York someday.”
“Okay,” Jesse pauses for a few seconds. “What did Chloe say?”
“She said someday, maybe. I don't know what I was expecting but I obviously looked crushed and she said that we had barely been together for a year and that it was too soon to think about it and she's right, of course she's right, I just...”
Beca reaches out to catch the new round of tears welling up in her eyes.
“I don't know how long I can keep going like that. Seeing each other only every three or four months is harder than I thought and now I fucked up with some dates and I won't be there for her birthday when I promised I would and... I'm fucking useless and I don't feel like I have the backbone for this.”
“You do,” Jesse says firmly, confidently. “You do, otherwise you wouldn't have lasted all this time already.”
Beca nods, the words passing through her like a ghost, through her doubts and smothering anxiety, barely nudging them from their concrete base in Beca's chest.
“Beca, do you see yourself with anyone else than Chloe? Let's say you met someone here, that lives two blocks away. Someone you find attractive and that fits with your expectations in a significant other.”
“And you trust Chloe, right?”
“Yeah, of course I do.”
“Then you have to be patient. You guys will work something out, I'm positive. Your love is not the kind of love you just give up like that. And when you do get to live together after so much time going back and forth, you'll survive anything because of the invisible, bulletproof bond you've developed over the years apart.”
Beca draws in a deep breath and nods. “Yeah.”
Jesse reaches over to squeeze her shoulder. “Just so you know, past the whole teasing and stuff, Stacie and I are very happy you found someone like Chloe.”
Beca smiles through her teary features. “Thanks.”
Jesse smiles back and kisses her hair before leaving the room. Beca dries her cheeks, sends a message to Chloe to thank her for the package and since it's a Saturday, Chloe calls her on Skype and they spend the day together virtually, Beca drifting in and out of sleep while Chloe touches up photos on her computer.
It's not ideal, and she wishes Chloe were here to cuddle with her, but it's still something.
Beca grins upon hearing her girlfriend's voice; “Happy birthday, Chlo.”
“Thank you baby,” Chloe replies, fondness evident in her tone. Beca knew her day would be hectic as it happens to be the launching of the festival, and set up several alarms on her phone to remind herself to take at least five minutes to call Chloe.
She locked herself in her dressing room, threatening anyone who even so much as knocked on the door that it would be their last day working for her.
“Did you receive my present?”
“Um, no not yet.”
Beca straightens from her slumped position on the couch. “What? It was supposed to arrive yesterday!”
“Maybe it will arrive later today. Don't worry, Bec. I'm just glad I get to talk to you.”
Beca sighs heavily. “I wish I was in Paris right now.”
“Me, too. I miss you.”
“I was saying that for Guetta, but I guess I miss you, too.”
“Sure,” Chloe deadpans like she doesn't believe her for a second. Beca can't blame her. “How's the festival going? What are you up to right now?”
“I'm in my dressing room. Make-up team is supposed to arrive in a little while.”
Chloe hums. Beca can hear her say something in English to someone in the background and frowns.
“Where are you?”
“Hanging out with Aubrey,” that explains the English thing. “We've just gone lingerie shopping at Galleries La Fayette.”
Beca groans, dropping her head against the back of the couch. “Seriously? Now I'm going to have to go through the whole day picturing you in expensive lingerie? Not cool, Chlo.”
She knows Chloe is smiling wickedly. “Do you want a sneak peek?”
Beca glances at her watch. She should definitely say no, because it's bound to leave her all hot and bothered and she doesn't have time to... take care of herself.
“Just give me a sec,” Beca's eyes widen as she hears shuffling, and wonders if Chloe is actually undressing herself. A vibration tells her she has a new message, so she pulls the phone away from her ear to look at the picture Chloe sent her.
It's not lingerie. It's leather. Leather and a generous cleavage that has Beca take a deep, collecting breath, both to lower her body temperature but also to fill her lungs after failing to properly draw air in them during the good twenty seconds she spent studying that sin of a picture.
“Fucking hell, Chlo.” She breathes out, nearly fanning herself. “Is that what I think it is?”
Chloe only giggles in response. “Wouldn't you like to know?”
That's all Beca needs to hear to know it is. “You're killing me, Beale.”
“I'll make it up to you next time, I promise.”
Next time. They have yet to find when that next time will be. Right now, their schedule are conflicting and it doesn't look like it's going to be anytime soon. Beca bites her tongue to ask the question; she feels like the bad cop in the relationship, always the one to bring up the sour subject back on the table.
“I'll hold you to that,” a knock on the door has her snap her gaze up. “What the actual fuck.”
“I told everyone to give me five minutes alone so I could call you and someone is fucking knocking. Hold on one sec while I give them a piece of my mind.”
Pulling the phone away from her ear, Beca switches the call to mute and springs up from the couch, ready to tell whoever is at the door to go fuck themselves. When she pulls the door open however, she falters upon seeing her girlfriend on the other side.
Her heart stops for a few beats, she's sure of it. She blinks twice in slow succession to make sure Chloe isn't a figment of her imagination and is indeed standing a few feet away.
Chloe nibbles on her bottom lip to restrain her beaming smile. “Is that how you give people a piece of your mind?”
“You're an idiot,” she wraps an arm around Chloe's waist to tug her inside the room, nudging the door shut with her foot. Soft and warm lips bump against hers in a heated, frantic kiss that leaves them both breathless. Beca doesn't care about how Chloe managed to get backstage (she guesses it has something to do with those irresistible puppy-dog eyes she's all too familiar with) and kisses her harder, drawing a breathy moan from Chloe. “Man, I love you.”
Chloe whimpers into the kiss, cupping Beca's cheeks with both hands as she starts backing her up towards the couch.
After bumping into the coffee table and hissing a curse, Beca eventually falls backward on the smooth velvety surface, her hands holding Chloe's sides as Chloe climbs up to straddle her thighs, their lip-lock remaining uninterrupted through the motions.
“Is that going to become a thing?” Beca pants out as Chloe's deft fingers work on unbuttoning her shirt. “Showing up unannounced at the other's workplace and having sex?” She smirks and lets her hands roam under Chloe's top. It's not leather, but she knows Chloe had to pack that bodysuit. “Cause I fucking dig it.”
Another knock at the door makes them freeze and a second later, Beca grunts at the realization that her five minutes are up. She drops her forehead to Chloe's heaving chest, trying to control her erratic breathing and button her shirt at the same time.
“That's my make-up team,” she whispers, lifting her head and pecking Chloe's lips. “To be continued.”
With a soft sigh, Chloe moves off her lap to drop beside her. She catches Beca's hand, pulling her back before she can stand up to go answer the door.
“Hold on, baby,” she says upon catching Beca's look of confusion. Her thumb swipes over Beca's bottom lip, presumably to wipe off her own lipstick. “All good. Should I wait for you at your place?”
Beca shakes her head, leaning over to kiss Chloe again, lipstick be damned. She feels intoxicated and her mind is already reeling with anticipation of getting to be with Chloe after her show.
Chloe nods faintly, tongue darting out to run over her perfect lips. “Okay.”
They catch up while Beca is being prodded by her make-up artist and hair stylist, two people who have become her friends over the years spent working together. Beca catches them smiling discreetly as Chloe entertains everyone in the room with her bubbly energy.
When they are done, they leave the room so that Beca can go through her vocal warm-ups.
“You look hot,” Chloe assesses with a smirk. “You and plaid...”
She falls silent, the slow rake of her eyes over Beca's body making it tingle in prospect of later activities.
Beca had never been one for sexy clothes when she's performing, she's much more at ease in form-fitting jeans and one of her signature plaid shirts. “Yeah?”
“Totes.” Humming, Chloe stands from her spot on the couch and places both hands on Beca's hips. “I'd rather be watching you perform than David Guetta.”
Beca arches an eyebrow at that.
“Thanks,” Beca steps closer, eyes fleeting from Chloe's, down to her lips. “And, uh, what about that, um, that bodysuit?”
“It's in my suitcase.”
Beca makes a show of staggering back, drawing a giggle from Chloe's mouth. “Dayum.”
Chloe simply wiggles her eyebrows and kisses her on the cheek. “I'll let you warm up. See you out there, babe.”
Beca manages to keep the last interview of the day short so she can take Chloe out to eat dinner.
She makes a call ahead to her favorite restaurant, managing to snag a table for two even though the place is usually booked months in advance. One of the perks of being famous, she supposes, it that she is able to treat her girlfriend to a very nice dinner on her birthday, even on such short notice.
“I'm sorry your birthday present is on the other side of the ocean and I don't have anything to give you tonight,” Beca says quietly on their walk home.
“Are you kidding?” Chloe lets out a stunned laugh. She tugs on their joined hands to stop Beca. “Tonight was amazing. Watching you perform and going out for dinner and just spending quality time with you.” She leans in to kiss Beca gently. “I'll open your present when I get back, and it'll just make my birthday last longer.”
“When is that?” Beca clears her throat and briefly breaks eye contact to look down at the scuff of her shoes. She can't help it; as happy as she is to see Chloe, and it's an incredible amount, there's always that gloomy rational thought inside her head that tints their moments together with bitterness. “You going back?”
Chloe looks slightly surprised by the switch in demeanor. “I haven't bought my return ticket, yet. I have someone handling the galleries in France, so it depends on you and your schedule, and how long you want me here.”
“Will you come to Coachella with me?” she asks, bypassing the question before she puts her foot into her mouth. “I can have a press pass requested for you and you can hang out backstage and come to parties.”
“You're selling it like I actually need convincing to come,” Chloe laughs and leans over to kiss her cheek. “You had me at the 'with me' part, Becs.”
“Oh,” Beca flushes lightly as unexpected warmth rushes through her. “Good.”
Chloe tugs on her hand to break their walk and swiftly cups her cheek to draw her in a kiss that resonates all the way down to the tip of Beca's toes.
“Let's go home,” She whispers through a shaky exhale, darkened eyes making Beca gulp. “I didn't pack that bodysuit for it to stay in my suitcase.”
Beca's shoulder shake through a shudder. “Yeah, we're done walking. Let's take a cab home.”
“So this is where the magic happens?” Chloe asks as she steps closer, stopping once she's standing in front of the glass separating the recording booth from the control room.
“Yeah,” Beca says, hands slipping into her pockets as she leans against the door frame, content to just hang back and watch Chloe take it all in.
She's not performing until late tonight so, after an early morning spent lazing in bed (read: recuperating from the night before), Beca took Chloe to the studio. With the label festival going on uptown and it being a Sunday, the space is completely empty.
Chloe turns around, bottom lip trapped between her teeth to reign in her beaming smile. “This is so cool.”
“Wanna listen to a top-secret project?” Beca asks as she steps further into the room.
Chloe lets out a tiny squeal that she clearly tries to get a hold of, and Beca can't help but laugh endearingly. She knows she would have hearts coming out of her eyes if she were a cartoon character each time she looks at Chloe.
“Is that even a valid question?”
Beca smiles and rolls the second chair in the space next to the one in front of her laptop. She sits down and pats the seat next to her for Chloe. “Come on, then.”
She fires up her laptop as Chlos sinks in the chair next to Beca's.
“I'm doing a collab with Ed Sheeran and we've just finished mastering it last week.” She explains as she clicks away on her laptop, feeling Chloe's excitement buzzing off her body. Maybe taking her to Coachella is a bad idea; Beca is afraid her girlfriend might have an episode while meeting some of the singers over there.
She almost had one herself when she opened for Mumford & Sons a few years ago.
“Ed Sheeran? Seriously?”
“Yeah. He's awesome.”
Chloe's hand flies to her chest as she blows out a breath. “Oh thank God. I think I would have a meltdown if I learned he was an asshole.”
Beca rolls her eyes at Chloe's dramatics. “Nah, he's super cool. I can introduce you when we get to Coachella.”
Chloe gasps and her eyes get so wide Beca is concerned they might pop out of their sockets. “He's gonna be there? Ed Sheeran?”
Beca chuckles. “Yeah. I'll introduce you. If you promise not to have a stroke, that is.”
“I don't know, it's Ed Sheeran.”
Beca raises an amused eyebrow. “I don't know if I want you to meet him, now. I feel like you're going to ditch me for him.”
“Never,” Chloe assures her quickly, leaning over to drape her arm over her shoulders. “You're my favorite musician. Besides, you wrote a song for me, so I feel like I have to keep dating you, ya know?”
“Gee, thanks,” Beca grumbles, lips thinning out into a scold as Chloe's other arm comes up around the neck. She's leaning so far out of her chair, Beca thinks she might tip over.
“You're so easy.” She husks out into Beca's ear, pressing her lips to Beca's cheek.
“I obviously knew you were joking,” Beca mumbles with another eyeroll. She turns back to her computer and Chloe's arms fall back by her sides. “Now you wanna listen to this or keep praising Sheeran?”
Chloe moves into her lap swiftly and kisses her soundly. Beca's hands naturally fall to the curve of her waist. “Listen to you, all jealous for no reason.”
Beca huffs in a childish manner. “Take a look in the mirror and you'll understand why. You're like, gorgeous, and talented and-”
“Very much in love with my girlfriend.” Chloe finishes for her, looping her arms around her neck once more. “A la folie, remember?”
Beca nods, dipping in for another, longer kiss. “I remember.”
Everything single declaration of love Chloe has ever murmured into her ear is imprinted forever, somewhere halfway between her heart and mind.
“As much as I want to hear this top secret project, I'd like to see you in action first.”
“You saw me in action yesterday. And this morning.” She replies cheekily without missing a beat. “Hopefully it was good enough to remember.”
“You're hilarious.” Chloe deapands. “I meant mixing.”
“Sure.” Beca clears her throat and nods. When Chloe shows no sign of standing up, she gives her pointed look. “Are you going to move?”
“Nope.” She replies childishly.
“Alright, then.” Beca rolls her chair closer to the table and drapes an arm over Chloe's thighs to reach her keyboard.
She opens up her old mixes folder, the ones she made when she was still a nobody in the industry. Strangely, they are the ones she's the most attached to, as it's through them she discovered the unparalleled thrill making music gave her.
She's struck with the realization that she hasn't shared them with anybody in her personal life before, but pushes through her insecurities before she can change her mind.
In hindsight, the thought is both reassuring and nerve-wracking.
She settles for an upbeat mix and double-clicks on the Bulletproof + Titanium one, dragging it to the mixing program window.
“This is, um, one of my first mixes, actually,” Beca admits as it loads, resting her now unoccupied hand on Chloe's knee. She looks at Chloe, her lips curving into a bashful smile. “Made it when I was seventeen, it took me probably... forty hours until I was happy with the result. I remember this indescribable rush I got when I listened to the finished draft and knew that's what I wanted to do with my life; make music.”
“Can I listen to it before you show me how to mix?” Chloe asks cautiously, because of course she senses Beca's self-consciousness and doesn't want to be blunt about it.
Beca grabs her headphones and carefully sets them over Chloe's ears, not resisting brushing a strand of loose hair back behind her ear. She can't tear her eyes off Chloe as she listens to the song, ready to catch any twitch of the brow or pinch of the lips that might indicate Chloe doesn't like it.
“This was your first mix?” Chloe asks as she lowers Beca's headphones so that they now hang around her neck, a blend of awe and surprise weighing down her tone. Beca discreetly breathes out in relief.
“One of them, yeah.”
“It's really good. And I'm not saying that because Titanium is my favorite song. You clearly were made for this.”
Beca smiles, not really knowing what to say. Chloe nudges her.
“Come on, show me,”
“Okay, okay.” She refocuses and spends a handful of minutes showing Chloe how to balance sound frequencies and master song fade-outs.
“Isn't it weird that Titanium is my favorite song out there and it happened to be the one you used for your first mix?” Chloe asks after a while.
Beca grunts when she catches the look in Chloe's eyes. “You're going to say some cheesy stuff about us being soulmates, aren't you?”
Chloe grins sheepishly. “How'd you know?”
“You seem like the type of person who believes in destiny.” Beca says softly, running her palm up and down Chloe's jean-clad thigh. “Am I wrong?”
“I guess I do, to some extent. You don't?”
Beca shrugs. “I've never really given it too much thought. I don't think I believe that everything that happens in one's life is written down before it has even unfolded. I don't think it was written down that I would travel to Paris on that day and decide to get coffee in that specific café. I do believe in luck, unpredictability and coincidences, however.” She muses, sliding her fingers through the spaces between Chloe's. “How you happened to step out into the street the moment I happened to walk in. A very happy coincidence that changed my life.”
“I like that version of the story.” Chloe murmurs after a beat, squeezing Beca's fingers. “Teach me more about mixing.”
Beca shows Chloe other simple things and lets her try it out. They forget about their plans of strolling around in Manhattan and spend the whole day in the studio, Beca eventually prompting Chloe to record a song. It's something she has wanted to do ever since she heard Chloe sing in her kitchen that first night together.
“Really?” Chloe asks, eyes lightening up like a child's (or her own, actually) on Christmas morning.
Beca nods simply in response, nudging Chloe with her thighs for her to get up. “What do you want to sing?”
Chloe grins at her cheekily after standing up, and Beca rolls her eyes. “Of course you do. Let me pull up the instrumental, first.”
“Can I play?”
Beca's eyes follow Chloe's line of gaze to set on the piano, before snapping back to Chloe. “You play the piano?”
Chloe nods and Beca wants to laugh, because of course she does. She really doesn't know when that girl will cease to amaze her.
“I thought being a figure ice-skater was the only other talent you could think about?” she lightly accuses as she stands up, tugging Chloe to the other side of the glass. Chloe sits on the bench and runs her fingers over the keys.
“I'm not a figure ice-skater. I'm just better than you,” Beca's jaw drops but Chloe's giggle makes any comeback vanish, because Chloe is that cute. “Besides, I haven't played in a long time so I might be rusty.”
Beca knows she'll be playing perfectly, because Chloe is good at anything she undertakes. She walks behind Chloe to adjust the microphone to her level and lets her practice on the piano a little bit at she sets up the recording tools.
As she hears Chloe play several pieces on the piano in order to get familiarized with the instrument, Beca knows her theory was right and she knows she won't come out of this unscathed.
“You ready to go, Ms. I might be a little rusty but clearly not?” she asks, popping back into the doorway between the two rooms.
Chloe laughs and nods, gathering her hair over one shoulder. “Sing the chorus with me?”
Beca clears her throat and nods, grabbing the remote to start the recording from a distance. She closes the door between the control room and the booth, then pads to the bench, sliding in beside Chloe.
Beca finds herself needing to take a deep breath when Chloe first starts to sing, if she wants to make through the whole song. Too enthralled in watching Chloe pour out the lyrics, Beca almost forgets to jump in for the chorus.
That's when her breathing stops from reaching her lungs all together. Their voices are so different, Chloe's less powerful than Beca's but with a soothing timbre to it that Beca's lacks. Yet, they harmonize so well, just like their fingers fit perfectly together when they hold each other's hands, or how their bodies move in flawless sync when they make love.
Titanium is a song Beca knows like the back of her hand, but she nearly forgets the lyrics when Chloe looks at her, seemingly as surprised at how good they sound.
She loses herself in the dazzling blue of Chloe's eyes and the tingling of her own body as their invisible bond grows stronger, and neither of them dares breaking it for the rest of the song. The lyrics ring low and thick in the air, echoing throughout Beca's soul.
As Chloe finishes, the vibrations of the piano notes fade away, vanishing into the heavy silence. Beca blinks just as Chloe leans in, gently cupping the back of Beca's neck to have their lips meet in a soft kiss.
“We sound pretty good together,” Chloe speaks the words Beca has been thinking of since that first chorus, but her voice is still out of reach, buried somewhere under the tangled web of emotions seizing her heart. Chloe smiles and kisses the corner of her mouth. “Could I have that recording?”
“Y-yeah. Of course.” Beca clears her throat and rises to her feet, extending a hand to Chloe to help her up. Minutes later, she's handing the USB key to Chloe. “My other mixes are on there as well.”
Chloe blinks from her spot in the chair next to her, looking down at the device in her palm, then back up at Beca. “All of them?”
Beca shrugs. “Yeah.”
She doesn't know if her self-consciousness about sharing her old mixes is written all over her features, but Chloe does a double-take. “Are you sure? You're comfortable with me listening to them?”
Beca nods, reaching out to close Chloe's fingers around the key before she changes her mind. “Yes.”
Chloe is pulling her in a warm embrace a second later, as though Beca had gotten her the best gift imaginable on earth.
Beca smiles and kisses her sweetly, just before her eyes catch a glimpse of the streetlight out the window of her office. So wrapped up in their bubble, they lost track of time.
“Sorry we didn't get to see much of the city this time around.”
“Are you kidding?” Chloe says with a grin. “I had the best day.”
“I'm glad.” Beca kisses her again, for no particular reason other than wanting to. “Wanna get take-out and chill at home?”
“In need of your cuddle fix?” Chloe asks, the hints of a smirk playing at her lips.
Beca doesn't have it in her to roll her eyes, she's a sucker for Chloe's cuddles. “Busted.”
They fly to LA together (and tick off one item from Chloe's bucket list on the plane while they are at it), Chloe either going on a hunt for pictures once they get there, or hanging out backstage while Beca attends a series of talk-shows.
Coachella is one crazy experience. Beca has never really performed in festivals and she quickly falls in love with the atmosphere. She only performs on the first night, but they hang out there for the remainder of the week-end as Chloe gets hooked to shooting photos of different performers from both backstage and out into the crowd.
As promised, they attend parties where Chloe meets some of her favorite artists, and Beca can tell she's trying hard to reign in her inner fan girl.
“Your drink looked empty,” Beca twists her head to find Ed Sheeran standing next her with a beer extended towards her.
Beca takes it with a quiet thank you. She had been watching Chloe animatedly talk to Janelle Monae, who seemed to be hanging on each one of Chloe's words, not that Beca was surprised.
She had been there, she had done that.
“She's a gem,” Ed says, and Beca hums absentmindedly, glancing away from Chloe only to realize she is the one he's referring to.
Beca smiles, picking at the label of her bottle with her thumb. As though sensing they are talking about her, Chloe glances their way and sends Beca a wink.
“Trust me, I know.”
“Alright, I'm heading back to the hotel.” He says, squeezing her arm lightly. It's the last night of the festival and Beca knows they won't see each other for a while, so she leans in for a quick hug. “Take care. I'll be waiting for the wedding invite.”
Beca flushes and shoves him as he laughs and walks away. Before she can ponder on what he said, slender arms wraps around her waist from behind and her body is pulled against Chloe's warm one.
“Love you,” Chloe husks out in her ear, nuzzling her neck. “Just thought I would let you know.”
Chuckling, Beca turns around and drapes an arm over Chloe's shoulders. She can tell from the glint in Chloe's eyes that she's slightly inebriated. “Hm. I thought you were going to proclaim your love to Janelle there, for a sec.”
“Oh, I did.” Chloe assures her with a firm nod. “Platonic love. While she's hot and awfully nice, I prefer my grumpy little bad-ass of a musician.”
“Oh you do, do you?” Beca teases, leaning up for a quick kiss. Chloe makes a sound from low in her throat and pursues Beca's lips for another kiss, one that leaves Beca slightly breathless. “Done enough fan girling for today? 'Cause I would really like to take you back to our hotel room and have you all to myself.”
“That's a plan I could be down with,” Chloe whispers, glazed-over eyes fluttering up to Beca's. Beca feels fire race down her spine at the pure lust gazing back at her.
Next thing she knows, she is pulling on Chloe's hand towards the exit. “Let's go.”
“Whatcha doing?” Beca asks as she comes out of their hotel room bathroom, toweling her wet hair dry after her shower. Chloe is sat on the bed with her back propped against the headboard, her computer open and balanced on her thighs, glasses sitting on her eyes.
Chloe's eyes lift briefly above the computer screen to look at Beca. “Going through photos from this week-end.”
Beca pads to the bed and lies down beside Chloe, sliding an arm under Chloe's to drape it over her stomach and resting her head over her shoulder.
“I like this one,” Beca murmurs after a while, pointing to a picture of Beyoncé that Chloe just scrolled past. Chloe hums with no particular hint as to how she feels about it.
“Do you wanna see my favorite one of the week?” she asks instead, lightly turning her head to glance at Beca.
She watches as Chloe closes the file she was scrolling through to open another one entitled B. “You've got a specific files for my pictures?”
“Um, yeah,” Chloe pauses to watch the side of her face and Beca notices a faint blush covering her cheeks. “I've never realized how creepy that is, until now.”
“No, no.” Beca is quick to counter. “I wrote a song about you. I think we've both reached the same level of creepy.”
Chloe giggles and kisses the crown of her head. Beca decides to withhold the fact that she has a folder dedicated to Chloe on her phone.
“It's mostly to store the pictures that I keep just for us because I think they're too intimate or important to share with anyone else.”
Lips curving into a small smile, they brush against Chloe's in a light kiss. “Now show me my picture.”
“Right,” Chloe scrolls some more until she gets to the file she's looking for and angles the computer towards Beca.
It's a black and white photograph from Beca's first performance at Coachella. She's standing backstage, her head bowed, face barely showing under the hair curtaining it. One of her hands is by her side, gripping the microphone, while the other one rests over her chest.
Like each time right before she steps onto the stage, Beca takes a moment to herself to channel her energy, focusing on the rhythm of her heartbeat rather than on the noise of the crowd.
It's something she has done ever since her very first performance, when she was twenty-three and had no idea what she was doing. Her nerves had been so bad that she wasn't sure she was going to be able to sing in front those thousands of fans screaming her name without fainting, first.
This ritual has become her lifeline over the years, a mandatory minute to herself before every concert, appearance in talk-shows or album signing.
“Why is it your favorite?” Beca wonders, curious to see if her emotions are as see-through as Chloe makes them out to be.
“Other than the fact that it's a picture of you, you mean?” Chloe says with a cheeky grin that has Beca roll her eyes. Chloe kisses her quickly, eyes flitting back to the picture. “I like it because I'm proud of the composition and the technical aspect, especially when stage photos aren't really my specialty. I think the light and shadow game is really compelling and gives anyone that comes across it a good idea of how thick the atmosphere is. But what I love about it is your posture and how much it tells about what is going on through your mind. Like you're seeking for something to lean onto a midst the madness and it looks like you found it, within yourself.”
Beca hums. She sometimes still finds herself intimidated by how well Chloe is able to read her.
“I really like it,” she muses, twisting her head to brush a kiss over Chloe's shoulder. “Do you mind if I post it on Instagram? My publicist has been bugging me about posting more stuff about performances, to connect with the fans, or something.”
“Of course. Why don't you send it to yourself while I take a quick shower,” Chloe says, passing the computer over to Beca. “Take as many as you like.”
“Okay. Want me to order take-out?” Beca asks as Chloe gathers her shower stuff from the vanity in the corner of the room.
“Sure. Choose whatever you want.”
After ordering a pepperoni pizza and a few beers over the phone, Beca clicks on Chloe's open browser to log into her email account and send the pictures to herself. She pauses however when her eyes involuntarily run over the title of a long e-mail opened in Chloe's inbox.
Chloe pops back into the room a second later, still clad in her t shirt and shorts as she moves to the chair to get the item she presumably forgot. “What are we eating?”
Beca ignores her question. “You won a two-month photography internship with one of your favorite photographers this summer?”
Chloe's arms drop to her side as she freezes by the end of the bed. “You read my e-mails?”
“Not on purpose, it was open when I went to log on mine.” Beca explains quickly, sitting up with the laptop still resting on her thighs. “That's amazing, Chlo. You should be ecstatic.”
“I... I turned it down,” Chloe says with a faint shrug, eyes fastening on the carpet as she sets her toiletries bag down.
Chloe glances up. “I'm supposed to spend the summer in New York and the internship is in France.”
Beca's eyebrows knit together in confusion. “Okay, but this is a lifetime opportunity, Chloe.”
“I know that,” Chloe admits with a sigh, climbing on the mattress and sitting back on her heels. She starts picking at a loose thread of the comforter. “I just... I got scared.”
Beca puts the computer to the side and shuffles to the edge of the bed to sit next to her. She tilts her head to the side, attempting to chase Chloe's fleeting gaze. “Scared about what?”
There's a long pause during which Chloe seems to be debating whether to say it or not.
“Hey,” Beca murmurs, laying a comforting hand over Chloe's knee. “Please talk to me.”
Chloe worries her bottom lip between her teeth. “I... I'm afraid that, if we don't spend the summer together like I said we would... we might – we might break-up.”
Beca gapes wordlessly as she stares at Chloe, features frozen in a heavy frown. “What?”
Chloe clears her throat and meets her eyes with uncharacteristic timidness. “You're having doubts about us and it's scaring me.”
Beca attempts not to feel too offended but recoils nonetheless at the accusation. “What? No, I'm not.”
“You don't think I can tell?” A humorless laugh leaves Chloe's lips as her eyes roll towards the ceiling in was looks like disbelief. “Ever since that conversation about our future back in Paris, I feel like our relationship has been hanging by a thread and that any misstep might drive it into the ground.”
Beca blinks. “That's – that's not true.”
“It's not?” Chloe counters. “Then tell me that if I did take that internship, meaning that we would not see each other for another four months because of how busy we both are, we'd be absolutely fine. That you wouldn't ask yourself a million questions about whether or not we should continue this.”
Beca can't answer that; she has been asking herself these questions for a while now, despite her conversation with Jesse or how much she knows Chloe loves her. She just doesn't feel strong enough. She doesn't know if it has anything to do with her dad, but she needs stability. She needs to have a clear view of the road ahead, before she launches into something that might end up with her heart getting trampled once more.
Her silence and bowed head are enough of an unspoken answer and Chloe's sad smile upon it makes her heart ache terribly.
“You're already asking yourself that, aren't you? If we should – if we should continue this.”
“I...” Beca lets out a frustrated sigh, her hand leaving Chloe's leg to drop in her own lap. She can't keep pretending. “Yes. Maybe.”
“Oh my god,” Chloe lets out under her breath, voice barely audible over the millions of thoughts that must be seizing her brain all at once.
“I don't want to feel that way,” Beca rushes out, trying to reach for Chloe, but Chloe is up on her feet before she can, soon starting to pace back and forth from the bathroom door to the window. “I don't!”
“It's easy not to if you try hard enough, Beca,” Chloe's tone has dropped to an uncharacteristically cold timbre, rattling Beca from the inside. “Unlike you, I believe in us.”
Beca blows out a breath to try to keep her itching anger in check. “That's rich, Chlo.”
Chloe whirls around with fire spitting from her usually gentle and kind blue eyes. “Excuse me?”
“You said we would figure it out but we haven't figured anything out Chloe. And I believed you and your faith in us but how much time exactly do you expect us to go by like this without any deadline? Years?”
Beca draws in some air and closes her eyes for a beat to try and calm down. She doesn't want to fight. This week with Chloe has been amazing and she feels like she's ruining it for the both of them.
“I'm...” Beca pinches the bridge of her nose as she attempts to weigh her words. “I'm being realistic, not doubting my love for you or your love for me.”
Beca didn't realize Chloe had started crying until Chloe twists her head to glare at her through her tears.
“I think you are, if you feel like this...” she motions between the two of them with her pointer finger. “...is not worth the hard times and the struggles.”
Chloe's words sting as much as a slap to the face. Attempts to avoid the fight waiting to happen are thrown out the window as the anger Beca has managed to tame down comes back full force.
“That's not fucking fair, Chloe.” She retorted, body stiffing with a mixture of negative feelings that she never expected or wanted to ever feel towards Chloe. “You know I want us to be together, but I feel like I'm the only one trying to come up with solutions.”
“Solutions!” Chloe cries out, eyes wide in what looks like bewilderment. “Your 'solution' was for me to move to New York. To leave everything I built for all these years to move across the ocean when we haven't been together a year, when we haven't even had our first fight.”
“I never said that.” Beca hisses, her irritation stepping down a notch when she realizes how bitter Chloe's words feel; how they are having their first fight right now and how it's bound to be a big one. “I never asked you to give up on your galleries, and I never asked you to move out here overnight, don't go put words into my mouth, Chloe. I'm just trying to figure it out. When I first left Paris and we decided to give this a try, you said we would make it simple. This is anything but simple, Chlo."
Chloe sweeps at her cheeks angrily, teeth grinding together. "So it's my fault, now?"
"No," Beca groans in frustration, digging her nails into her palms. "I didn't say that."
“I would move to Paris if I could, but it's not that simple. I have a contract and-”
“You can't leave the States.” Chloe finishes off for her, eyes locking on the floor once more as her shoulders drop. From disappointment or resignation, Beca doesn't know. “You've said that. I get it.”
She walks to her side of the bed and shrugs on the sweater haphazardly thrown on the floor in their haste to be with each other a mere hour earlier. Slipping her feet into her flip-flops Chloe has already grasped the key-card by the time Beca realizes what she's doing.
“That's it?" Beca asks, louder and harsher than she meant it. "You're just - you're just going to walk away?”
Chloe pauses with her hand on the door-knob and turns back towards her, sniffling. “I-I need to be on my own for a little while. I'll be back later.”
Beca spends the next ten minutes pacing back and forth from the foot of the bed, trying to pinpoint how such a perfect week tipped into a nightmare over an email. After chewing on every single one of her nails, Beca puts some shoes on and runs down the stairs towards the exit.
She finds Chloe sitting on a bench by the side of the entrance, smoking a cigarette. Her eyes are puffy and bloodshot and Beca's spite seeps out of her all at once upon seeing her so distressed. Pushing against her own tears, she clears her throat not to scare Chloe. Chloe looks over her shoulder, meeting Beca's eyes with an unreadable expression that makes Beca's heart squeeze painfully in her chest.
“Can I – can I sit down?” she asks tentatively, relieved when Chloe gives her a short nod. She sits down on the bench, leaving a little bit of space between them, her hand falling to rest just beside Chloe's on the wooden surface. Chloe has time to take a few drags and puff out the smoke towards the moody sky before Beca can gather up her courage to speak. “I'm sorry.”
Out of the corner of her eyes, she notes Chloe's shoulders easing the tension. She feels Chloe's hand inch towards her, her pinkie and ring finger covering her own in a form of a white flag. “I'm sorry, too.”
“I love you.” Beca murmurs so quietly she isn't sure it reaches Chloe's ears. “I hope you know that.”
“I do. And I love you, too.” She hears Chloe take a deep, collecting breath before she twists her head to stare at the side of Beca's face. “I don't want to fight. This week was perfect and... I hate to end it on a bad note.”
Beca clears her throat, meeting Chloe's eyes. “I don't know how much more goodbyes I can take, especially when it's all so blurry ahead. Can you see yourself go on for months like this? For years?”
Chloe's own silence is heavy and crushing Beca's chest with an invisible weight.
“I don't know.”
Tears prick behind Beca's eyes. She wills her voice to remain steady through what she's about to say. “You need to take that internship. It's a lifetime opportunity and I'll keep you you from flying to NYC this summer if I have to. Nothing should stand in the way of your dream.”
“I know but – ” Chloe closes her eyes briefly, the muscle in her jaw twisting. “What about us?”
“I don't know.” Beca echoes quietly, slipping her hand into Chloe's. “I wish I could say we'll figure something out but I guess it's not as simple as I thought.”
“I can – I can make arrangements to move out here, it's – I love New York and opening a gallery there could be successful, I'd just need to ask for a loan or – “
“Chloe,” Beca interrupts softly, voice lost somewhere within her as she brushes her pointer finger over Chloe's mouth to stop her rant. “No. You can't do that, and I won't let you. You and I both know your heart is in Paris, not New York. That's where you're living your dream and I can't ask you to give that up for me. I shouldn't have in the first place.”
“I feel selfish,” Chloe admits under her breath after a few seconds of silence have passed, breaking eye-contact to stare at the sidewalk. “I'm sorry.”
“No, don't – It's okay.“ Beca sighs softly. She reaches out to wipe her cheeks when a few tears topple over the rims of her eyes. “Maybe I can move to Paris once my contract with the label is up. It's just... that wouldn't be for another three years.”
Chloe swallows and puffs out a breath. “Three years.”
“Yeah. And I'd need to find a label accepting to sign me in France.”
The uncertainty over that actually happening hangs in the air between them. Chloe is aware of it too, if the way her eyes are rapidly filling with tears any indication.
“Beca,” Chloe's voice breaking over her name makes Beca clench her teeth as she braces herself for the inevitable. Chloe looks as though she wants to do the most responsible thing there is given the situation, to prevent their hearts from getting any more caught up in something that might leave them broken beyond repair.
“Don't say it,” Beca shakes her head, pleading eyes moving to meet Chloe's pained ones. She's aware she's not making any sense, fleeing from the rational decision and letting her heart talk for her brain. “Can we ignore everything for tonight? Just... be with each other and pretend this conversation never happened?”
Chloe exhales slowly and nods, squeezing Beca's fingers in return. “Okay.”
They don't talk any more about it, not after making love later that night or upon saying goodbye a couple days later. The words feel too harsh and too foreign to be uttered or even acknowledged in the back of their minds. Beca is left suspended, heart torn apart between overwhelming love and undeniable ache; between hope and rationality.
Chloe calls her when she gets home, half-heartedly yelling at Beca for spending so much money on her birthday gift; a thin platinum bracelet adorning a cerulean stone in the middle that Beca came across while walking past Tiffany's window one day and knew she had to get.
They don't call each other as much when they each get back to their routines, as though both distancing themselves to make the decision looming over their head less painful when one of them makes up their mind to take that leap.
It doesn't happen.
Nothing happens, really.
Summer comes and goes. They don't talk much, send each other less pictures and it feels to Beca as though their respective doubts have taken over, yet they can't bring themselves to make it official.
Beca focuses on music, spending most of her time at the studio either writing songs or working with other artists. It helps her not to let her mind wander too much to how they got to this point; from blissfully in love with each other to miserably in love with each other.
The music pounding through the speakers lights up every cell in her body.
Beca knows she shouldn't have drunk so much. Her tongue is tingling and her limbs feel like they are moving on their own and she knows she'll soon be losing any ounce of coherency but she doesn't care.
At this point, she's done caring. She swings back her shot and slams it on the table, plucking the lemon extended to her out of the person's hand and squeezing it between her teeth, eyes screwing shut at the acid taste coating her tongue.
“Wanna do a body-shot?” The question is slurred into her ear, and she looks over her shoulder to find piercing green eyes staring back at her.
“I'm good,” she says with a hard swallow, her mind flashing back to those cerulean blue eyes and sparkling smile. Her stomach churns as her own smile slips from her face and the alcohol flees from her system all at once.
“Or how about we get out of here?” The girl who has been flirting with her for the last five minutes asks with a smirk, and Beca is caught off guard by the sudden urge to throw up.
She doesn't know what she's doing, or rather what she's done, deciding to come her with a few of the other artists from the label. Deciding to drown her heartache in tequila and letting this woman somehow believe that she is single.
It feels like she's cheating on Chloe and her heart sinks to her stomach.
“I have to go,” she blurts, slightly pushing the woman away from her to start towards the exit. She needs Chloe, she needs Chloe now, and for a few seconds she forget about the thousands of miles separating them.
For a few seconds, she forgets about how they left things and how they haven't properly talked in the last two months.
For a few seconds, she forgets about how they are more broken-up than anything else.
“Fuck!” Beca shouts as soon as she steps into the street, not caring that she draws curious glances towards her. She glares at the dozen of people now staring at her. “What the fuck are you looking at!”
She takes a right and starts to march down the street, not caring that she should probably catch a cab as her apartment is not really in walking-distance. Shoving a hand down her leather jacket pocket, she fishes out her phone and fumbles with it for a little while.
It rings once, twice, before the voice that never fails to make her smile echoes down the line.
“Beca?” The ache in Beca's chest doesn't lessen as she's struck by just how much she's missed Chloe. Her voice, her scent, her touch. Everything. “Are you there?”
“Yeah.” She replies quietly, her determined step faltering. She stops in front of a house and sits on the bottom step, propping her elbow on her knee. “I – I miss you.”
“I miss you, too.” The lack of pause in Chloe's reply mends her heart a tiny bit. “I'm so happy to hear your voice.”
“So am I,” Beca sniffles, cursing at the tears running down her cheeks.
“Bec,” The nickname she hasn't heard in so long unleashes the emotions she has been trying to push down. They barrel out of her mouth in a strangled sob, her free hand shooting up to restrain the ones following. “Baby.”
“I don't want us to break up,” Beca blubbers, her chest caving in under the pent-up pressure. “I don't care about the distance or how long we have to stay apart before we finally get to live together, because I'll wait. I'll wait until we figure something out and I know we will.”
Chloe takes a deep breath and Beca mimics her, needing all the oxygen she can get as she waits for an answer. Before Chloe can utter anything, however, Beca hears the voice of a man down the line.
He says something in French and Chloe replies in the same language and Beca hates that she can't understand a thing.
“Who was that?” she asks, shoulders slumping.
“A, um, a photographer friend of mine. He's in the city and wanted to hear about my internship.”
Frowning, Beca pulls the phone away for her ear. The clock on her phone and quick math tells her it's still fairly early in France. “At 6:30 in the morning?”
“He, um, he came over for dinner last night and we talked for a long time so he ended up crashing on the couch.”
“I see,” Beca utters through clenched teeth, the whole imagery making her skin crawl. Her first thought over this is that maybe Chloe didn't miss her as much as she claims. “I shouldn't have called.”
“What?” Chloe chokes out and Beca hears some shuffling, like she's getting up from her bed. “Beca, whatever you're thinking, it's not like that. David's just a friend.”
“Right.” She mutters, trying to keep another round of tears, angry ones this time, at bay. “I'll, uh, I'll let you enjoy your time with your friend, then.”
Part of her acknowledges how immature she's acting, but it stings to imagine Chloe could ever be with someone else.
“Beca, don't be like this,” Chloe pleads.
“Like what? Upset?” Beca spits out, anger flaring in her chest. “Of course I am, Chloe. I've spent the whole summer wallowing on how we left things and now I call to find out you're clearly not upset over the whole thing and are having fun with a friend of yours!”
There's a long pause at the end of the line.
“You've got some nerve, Beca.” Chloe's icy voice has a chill run down Beca's spine. Not the good kind. “I've been miserable this whole time because I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do with our situation and it's tearing me apart.”
“Chloe – ”
“There hasn't been a day this summer where I didn't think of you. There hasn't been a day where I woke up without feeling like crying over us and the possibility that we may break up.”
The waver in Chloe's voice is ten times more painful and sends a dagger right through Beca's heart.
“So don't you go and call me, drunk might I add, and accuse me of not being as upset as you. Don't – don't make me the bad guy, here.”
“Don't Chlo me!” She spits out. “How do you expect me to believe that you want to wait for us to be together no matter what if you can't even trust me when I tell you I'm spending time with a friend. I'm aware your reaction might be heightened by the alcohol but for now, I'm better off not listening to your bullshit, so fuck off, Beca.”
“Wait, I – ” Beca falters as the line clicks to silence. Pulling her phone away from her ear, she resists the urge to slam it against the pavement. She kicks the railing of the stairs with her foot instead, a stream of curses tumbling out of her mouth upon the pain shooting into her toes. “Fuck!”
She tries to call Chloe a few times, leaving desperate voicemails that will probably remain unheards for a while. She eventually resumes walking, aimlessly this time, and considers stepping into a random bar to drink the amount of liquor it will take in order to forget the whole ordeal, when the vibration of her phone, still clutched in her hand, cuts her train of thought.
“What do you want?”
“Easy, tiger,” Stacie's voice teases down the line. “Glad to hear you're still alive.”
“What do you want?” Beca repeats with a snarl.
“Where are you?”
“What do you care?”
“Okay. I'm going to phrase that differently. Chloe called me, said you were drunk and that you two had a fight and she's worried sick and wanted you to get home safely. Just tell me where you are and I'll come pick you up.”
“She called you?” Beca echoes to make sure, her anger and frustration abruptly vanishing from her body.
She's thrown back to the time she was sick and Chloe had done all she could possibly do while on the other side of the ocean.
Beca is knocked sideways by sudden guilt spreading in her chest. She accused Chloe of something she knows Chloe would never do, while herself had done far worse this evening, letting a woman believe she was into her to the point where she offered to take Beca back to her place.
That thought is enough to make her sick again, and this time she is unable to push it aside. Doubling over, she rushes to the curb, leaning against a street light just before the contents of her stomach splash over the asphalt. Panting, Beca straightens up half a minute later when she believes she's done and mumbles the street corner she is at to her roommate.
“You're an idiot,” Stacie tells her as soon as Beca is done relaying her actions of the night. “Don't get me wrong, the grand gesture of calling her and telling her you'll do anything to save your relationship is romantic, but not when you're plastered. And throwing a jealous fit after you just claimed you're convinced you'd make the distance? Are you stupid?”
“Yes, okay?” Beca whips her head to the side to stare at Stacie. “I'm fucking stupid. I shouldn't even be in a relationship because I suck at it.”
“Okay, enough with the fucking pity party,” Stacie grumbles, quickly glaring at her. “You're better at it than you think. You must be doing some stuff right because Chloe wouldn't have stuck around if not. You love with your whole, raw and unconditionally and sure, you make mistakes, like tonight, but everybody does. It's human and it's fixable.”
“Yeah, I hope so,” Beca whispers, setting her forehead against the window as she gazes at the street lights zipping by. She needs to fix this, but she doesn't know where to begin. “What should I do?”
Stacie sighs as she stirs the vehicle into their street. “Right now? Drink some water and get some sleep. Then call Chloe in the morning and pray she picks up.”
“Stace,” Beca groans.
“Apologize and start over. Give her enough proof that you guys are going to work out. Show her you trust her, because you do, right?”
“Yeah, of course I do.”
Stacie slows down to a stop, turns the ignition off, unbuckles her seatbelt and twists in her seat to face Beca. “Okay. Have you given some thought about your situation? Have you worked something out in your mind, thought about a permanent plan for the future?”
“I – I mentioned moving to Paris, but...”
Beca looks down at her hands. “But it's a lot to think about, especially regarding my career and everything I've established here.”
“Do you want to move out there? Or is it just something you feel like you're going to have to take upon yourself because that's the only solution for you two to be together?”
Pausing, Beca takes a minute to mull it over. It's not the first time she lets her thoughts drift to what it would mean to move there.
Paris holds a special place in her heart because it's where it all started; where she found what she had been missing for so many years.
She would be lying if she said her mind hasn't wandered to the promises behind that fantasy countless of times; getting coffee and croissants every morning before she and Chloe go to their respective jobs, letting Chloe drag her to weird or creepy historic places on the weekends, listening to Chloe sing along to French songs on their road-trips.
“Of course I do. I just... it's not me just packing a bag and getting on a plane like last summer. It's a little bit more challenging.”
“I'm not saying it's not, far from that.” Stacie clarifies with a gentle expression. “What I'm saying is, if that's what you truly want, moving over there and starting a proper life with Chloe, then those technicalities shouldn't be big enough to prevent you from doing just so.”
Beca nods but remains silent, her still slightly inebriated mind suddenly sparking with so many thoughts at once.
“Besides, with how successful you are, not to mention worldwide famous now, you shouldn't have too much trouble getting signed in France, right?”
Beca shakes her head. “I guess not.”
Stacie smiles and reaches across the console to cover Beca's hands with her own. “Sleep on it, make some calls to figure out the professional part and take as much time as you need to think it over. Don't make any promises to Chloe that you're not sure you'll be able to keep.”
“I know,” Beca immediately agrees. “I won't.”
“Okay. For the record, and if that wasn't clear enough by now, I'm rooting for you two. You're the happiest I've seen you in all the years I've known your ass and you deserve every bit of that happiness.”
Beca feels her eyes prick with tears and rolls them towards the roof of the car. “Don't make me fucking cry, Conrad.”
“Aw,” Stacie coos, reaching over to hug her (read: smother Beca with her boobs) and press a motherly kiss to her hair. “Love you, B.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Beca grumbles as she pushes Stacie away. “Love you, too.”
Sleep doesn't come easy that night, Beca's mind reeling over big decisions as she stares at the same spot of light reflected on the ceiling.
Moving over there would mean moving to a different country, a place where she wouldn't know anyone but Chloe, a place with a different language, one she doesn't speak.
It would mean finding another label or settling on a long-distance arrangement with her current one, a lot of back and forth between France and the USA for shows, interviews and collaborations.
But it would also mean waking up to Chloe every morning, coming home to her every night, not having to check their calendars to see when they can spend time together.
It would mean getting to kiss Chloe or hug her whenever she wants. It sounds so simple and probably taken for granted by most couples, but the thought alone has warmth spread in her belly.
That thought alone makes all the cons in her list insignificant.
She reaches across the bed for her phone, unplugs it from its charger and starts typing a message out to Chloe.
Beca [4:08 AM]
I'm sorry. I fucked up tonight and you have every right to be mad at me. I did mean it when I said I want to work things out, more than anything. I hope you can hear me out when you're ready.
Beca [4:08 AM]
I love you.
After much pondering, Beca finally presses send, puts her phone down and turns over, mind and heart somewhat at peace as she drifts off to sleep.
She wakes up to the light drifting through her window, the events from last night slowly coming back to her piece by piece.
“Fuck,” she groans into her hands, freezing momentarily before tentatively reaching for her phone on the bedside table. “Please, please, please.”
Chloe [6:22 AM]
Call me when you wake up?
Heaving out all the tension from her body in one big puff, Beca scrambles to sit up, hitting the call button at the same time.
“Hey,” Beca says quietly, closing her eyes in relief over Chloe actually picking up. “I'm sorry.”
“I know,” Chloe murmurs just as softly. “Nothing happened, Beca. And I didn't want anything to happen. Do you believe me? Because if you don't, then I don't know how...”
Chloe stops herself short, seemingly unable to utter the rest of the sentence.
“I do,” Beca rushes out. “I do trust you. I fucked up last night, I got jealous with no reason to be and I'm sorry.”
“Okay,” Chloe is the one to exhale this time. “I'm sorry I told you to fuck off. I was – I was upset that our first conversation in months was an argument.”
“I deserved it.” Beca screws her eyes shut, the guilt over doing shots with that girl last night hitting her square in the chest. “Chloe,”
“What's – what's wrong?”
“I got really drunk last night at the club and did some shots with this girl.”
“Okay...” Chloe drawls out, tone strained. “Beca?”
“I didn't do anything with her. I didn't want to do anything. It just... it took me awhile to even realize she was flirting, and when I did she was asking me if I wanted to do body shots and then leave with her and that's when I snapped back to reality and I feel awful over it because I got jealous over you and this guy when what I did is far worse!”
“Beca. Beca,” Chloe pleads. “Slow down. Take a breath.” Beca does as she's told. “Then another.” Chloe waits until she hears proof of that before continuing. “You're saying nothing happened?”
“No, of course not. I just hate myself for being so clueless in the first place. I should have realized she was coming onto me.”
Chloe sighs. “Bec, I'm not going to lie and say I'm thrilled about you letting a girl hit on you. Of course it ticks me off, but if you said you didn't have any intention of responding to it, then yeah, it's okay. I trust you and I just... I want to put those awful three months behind us and start anew. Can we – can we do that?”
Beca blinks, finding it hard to believe what she's hearing. “That's it? You're not – you're not mad?”
“No. I do know how dense you can be about people's attraction to you and I believe you when you say nothing happened. End of story.”
“Now I feel even worse about being jealous last night.” Beca grunts, falling back into the pillows and momentarily wishing the mattress would swallow her whole.
“I'll admit it must have sounded weird that I had someone at my place so early in the morning.”
“I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions.”
“I know. You already apologized and I'm not mad. Okay?”
Beca lets out a long breath. “Yeah.”
There is a long pause where Beca tries to sort out all the things she wants to say to Chloe. It's a giant mess of tangled confessions, and she doesn't know where to start.
“I love you.” She says first because it's the thing she's most certain about. “Like... my heart does this weird, wonderful thing in my chest whenever I think about you and –” she registers Chloe's sharp intake of breath but doesn't stop. She's overwhelmed by the sudden need to get it all out. “And that's not going to change, even if we're apart for three more years. I've been... miserable the last few months because we didn't speak much and I don't – ”
“Can you let me finish, please?” she requests softly, afraid of getting self-conscious about spilling her heart out. It's not something she's used to; sharing her feelings with such urgency, as though she might burst if she doesn't.
Beca draws in a quivering breath that barely reaches her lungs. “I don't want to break up. I don't want to let you go because of the ocean between us or because of our busy schedules. I want to keep waking up to your cute messages and hear all about your day and be completely, disgustingly excited about our Skype date nights on Fridays and getting to see your cute face at the airport, with your ridiculous sign with my name on it. I just... I don't want to be with anyone else. And it doesn't matter how many years we have to go back and forth, I'm confident that our love is strong enough. And I'm so sorry for ever letting you believe the contrary and scaring you.”
She falls silent, slightly breathless, her heart thudding madly in her chest as she waits.
“Can I speak, now?” The smile in Chloe's tone makes the invisible weight pressing on her shoulder go away. “First of, I love you, too. Unbelievably so. Second, I've been a mess lately, too, and Aubrey almost called you to kick your ass over the phone until I told her the radio silence was kind of mutual. Third, I'm in, no matter the distance or the time apart, because it all seems trivial when I think about how you're the best thing that ever happened to me and how happy you make me.”
Beca's heart settles down in her chest. “You – you mean that?”
Chloe laughs quietly, as though in astonishment over Beca's question. “Of course I do. You should really give yourself some more credit, Bec.”
“Yeah, I'm... still working on that.”
“It's okay.” Chloe says patiently. “This... time around gave me the opportunity to think about us and what you said and... you're right. We have to figure something out for the future, something tangible to look forward to.”
“I would – I think I'd like to move to France.”
The silence on the other end launches Beca into another round of cold-sweat panic when it stretches to longer than necessary.
“Chlo?” she croaks out. “Can you say something, please?”
“Really?” Chloe asks quietly.
“Yeah.” Beca smiles and exhales deeply in relief. She knows it's the right decision to do now that she says it outloud. “Eating cheese everyday? Sign me up.”
“Beca,” Chloe's tone warns her to stay on a serious track.
“It's all your fault. You made me fall in love with the city and the imaginary and it feels kinda... right to start our life together in the place where it all started, you know?”
Beca smiles at Chloe's awestruck tone.
“As much as I love the idea of you moving to Paris, and believe me when I tell you that I want to squeal so loudly over it, won't you miss New York?”
“Well, I'd need to go back and forth a few times in the year, so I was thinking I could keep a place out here for that. I'm a celebrity after all and most of us have two houses in different countries so it wouldn't be a big deal.”
“Listen to you,” Chloe mocks with a snicker. “I think the success is getting to your head, babe.”
“I'm sticking my tongue at you right now,” Beca mumbles, then sobers up when she remembers that night Chloe asked her if she missed home. “I like New York, yeah. But it's not home. Home is where the heart is, right?” Beca clears her throat when she feels the emotion tickle her throat. “So that would be in Paris, or wherever it is you are.”
A long silence follows, broken by a half-sob, half-laugh that makes her heart expand in her chest.
“And you believe you're bad at this relationship stuff,” Chloe lets out through another watery laugh. “Did we just figure this out?”
“I guess so. At least the big lines.” They share a stunned laugh at that, Beca wiping away the tear that managed to escape from her eye. “I need to sort some stuff out to see exactly how and when this can happen but... we're going to be fine, Chlo.”
“I know.” Chloe murmurs. Oxygen surges Beca's lungs. “I love you, and I wish I could hug you right now. And kiss you all over.”
“Me, too. To all three.” Beca replies softly. “Let's go away somewhere. Soon. For a fresh start?”
“You choose, I'll follow.”
“Beca Mitchell, you're awfully romantic today.”
“Mmm.” Beca smirks. “Enjoy it while it lasts because I've already reached my quota of cheesiness for the day.”
“I've always wanted to go to Greece. I've heard it's a nice blend of history, scenery and good food.”
“Sounds perfect. I'll check my calendar later today and let you know, alright?”
“Our first vacation together!” Chloe's squeals into the phone. “We're getting pretty serious.”
Beca laughs and calls her a dork, before they say goodbye as she has a couple of interviews to get ready for.
They arrange for a trip to Greece only three weeks later and Beca pays a little bit more for a flight to Paris first in order to take the plane to Greece with Chloe, as a proper, romantic couple vacation should start.
“How are you such a morning person?” Beca grumbles, angling her face into the pillow to shield her eyes from the bright light. “This is supposed to be a vacation, Chlo.”
Chloe only giggles in response and Beca feels her nudge her calf with her foot. “You're a sloth.”
Beca pops one eye open to find her girlfriend standing by the side of the bed, already showered and wearing a pale yellow summer dress that shows off her sun-kissed skin. She suddenly feels wide awake as her eyes trail up and down Chloe's body.
“Come back to bed,” Beca husks out, extending her hand out. “Just five minutes. Greece is not going anywhere anytime soon.”
Chloe purses her lips in conflict, then sighs and laces her fingers with Beca's. Beca tugs on her hand as she rolls onto her back, pulling Chloe half-beside her, half-on top.
“We have a lot of things to do,” Chloe says after they trade a few lazy good morning kisses. Her eyes are sparkling with barely contained excitement. “The Acropolis, the national gardens, the Plaka neighborhood and a few museums.”
“Mm,” Beca kisses her again, sighing against her lips. “We have three weeks here, Chlo. I think we can afford to be lazy on the first day.”
Three weeks. It's the most time they will be spending together since last summer and Beca feels a her body light up with happiness in anticipation.
Three weeks without work; no studio, no galleries, no paparazzi. Just the two of them.
And for the first time since they got together, Beca isn't thinking about the goodbyes, because they don't feel so scary anymore.
They have a plan down the road, and she while she knows there might be bumps and skidding turns along the way, the finish-line will always be somehow in sight.
“I know.” Chloe grins, brushing Beca's hair away from her cheek and tucking it behind her ear. Beca chases Chloe's palm with her lips to press a kiss there. “Sorry, I'm just excited. Greece has always been one of my dream destinations as a photographer, I want to take it all in one stride. And getting to do it with my favorite person makes it a hundred times better.”
Beca smiles, pushing herself up to kiss Chloe. “I love you.”
She's not embarrassed about saying it ten times a day. She's not embarrassed about how disgustingly sappy everything about her becomes whenever Chloe is mentioned. She's not embarrassed about the amount of love she holds inside of her for Chloe.
“Love you, too.” Chloe's lips breaks into a beaming smile, before she places a final, sound kiss to Beca's. “Now get up, we're going to miss breakfast. And I know you like to eat as much as you can whenever it's a buffet.”
“Can't help it. Free food.”
Chloe laughs, vibrant and carefree and the kind that makes Beca's smile so wide the corners of her eyes crinkle and her cheeks hurt from the strain. “I'm still impressed with how much you eat for your size.”
“Hey,” Beca warns, eyebrows knitting together in fake offense. “Keep going with the bullying and I might just not let you take pictures of me this whole trip. And we both know I'm your favorite model.” Beca smirks. “I mean, you've got a creepy folder of just pictures of me hidden on your computer.”
Chloe gasps, abruptly sitting up, while Beca chuckles. “You said it wasn't creepy! And it's not hidden!”
“I'm kidding,” Beca rushes out, propping herself on her elbows to place an apologetic kiss on Chloe's cheek. “I'm kidding. You can take all the pictures you want, I don't care. In fact, there's something I've been meaning to talk to you about.”
Chloe sobers up at the mild-seriousness in Beca's tone and sits back on her heels. “Yeah?”
“That photo that you took at Coachella is apparently my most liked photo ever on social media and my management team thinks it would be a nice idea to have more photos shot from behind the scenes, like a documentary of some sorts. Maybe... maybe a short book about life on tour.” Beca pauses, granting Chloe some time to process her words. “We agreed it should be done during my album tour next spring and I told them that I would only do this if I get to choose the photographer.”
Chloe's eyes widen slightly. “Okay?”
Beca straightens against the headboard and reaches out to loosely thread her fingers through Chloe's. “It'd be a month-long, twenty-one cities across the States and Canada. You'd be paid by the label, of course, and all other expenses covered; your round-trip from Paris, hotel rooms and food.”
Chloe is so uncharacteristically silent that Beca starts to panic inwardly.
“I know it's a long commitment, away from your life in Paris and your galleries and you don't have to if you don't want to. I won't be upset or anything.”
“No, I... I'd love to.”
Beca's lips curve into a small, cautious smile. “Yeah?”
Chloe nods. “Yeah. It's just... stage pictures are challenging and I don't know if I'm the most... fitting for the job.”
“You are, trust me,” Beca brings their joined hands to her lips, kissing the back of Chloe's. “There's no one else I'd rather do this with. No one else that makes me as comfortable in front of a camera as you do. I've worked with a lot of photographers, and you're the only one that manages to capture me as... me.”
Chloe takes a deep breath, as if to get a hold of her increasing nerves. “Okay. Yeah. Let's do it.”
Beca chuckles and tugs Chloe closer to kiss her. “You're already nervous. It's not for another six months, y'know.”
“This is a big deal!” She cries out with wide eyes. “This could mean a huge turn in my career.”
“I know. And I'm really excited about working with you. It's been in the talks with my publicist since the start of the summer but... I – I didn't know where we stood at that time.”
Chloe's eyes leave hers to lock on their laced hands. Her thumb starts to rub gentle circles on the inside of Beca's wrist. “I'm sorry.”
A tear escapes the corner of Chloe's eyes as she closes them.
Beca gulps, gaping wordlessly at the sudden switch in demeanor. “Chlo,”
“Ugh, I'm being stupid,” Chloe chides herself, eyes rolling towards the ceiling as she brushes her tears away with her free hand. “I'm sorry.”
“Hey, stop apologizing,” Beca requests softly, pulling Chloe into her lap and tilting Chloe's face up to chase her fleeing gaze. “What is it?”
“I'm sorry about our fight and the things I've said that were uncalled for. I'm sorry I said you didn't believe in us when you were trying to figure out our future.” Chloe inhales sharply. “I'm sorry we almost broke up.”
After making-up over the phone, they didn't talk about it until now. When Beca flew into Paris yesterday, they let their pent-up desire lead the way and barely took the time to speak, apart from murmuring how much they loved and missed each other in the intimacy of Chloe's bedroom.
Beca didn't know when it would be brought up, but was aware they couldn't avoid it if they do want that fresh start to work.
“We didn't.” Beca says softly, pressing her lips to Chloe's bare shoulder. “We didn't. And even if we did, how much time did you think that would have lasted?”
Chloe shrugs, nibbling on her bottom lip. “Not long.”
“Exactly.” Beca squeezes her waist affectionately. “And while that fight and what followed was awful, I think – I think it was needed?” Beca grimaces at her choice of words. “Don't get me wrong, but our time apart this summer without really talking proved me how much I wanted, needed us to push through all the difficulties because – because this is worth it. And now we have something to look forward to whenever it gets a little difficult, because it probably will from time to time.”
Chloe nods, sniffling. “I know.”
“But we'll be okay.” She nuzzles Chloe's neck, grinning against her skin. “I can't wait to move to Paris.”
Chloe blows out a breath. “You really mean that?”
Beca pulls away to look at Chloe. “Of course I do.”
“Sorry. I was afraid you might make this decision because you feel like you have to and I don't want you to abandon your dreams for me. I wouldn't abandon mine and I feel like it's not fair to you.”
Sighing, Beca leans in to kiss Chloe as a reassurance stamp.
“I'm not abandoning any dream. They're coming along with me to Paris, because I can make music anywhere. It's just a matter of contracts, but that's easily settled if I do this right. I get that you don't want to abandon everything you've spent years building, and I'm not upset about that.” Beca reaches out to cup Chloe's cheek, tugging her attention towards her. “I want to do this, it's not the kind of decision where part of me wonders if it's a good idea. I've thought about it long and hard and moving to Paris feels right, on all accounts.”
The tension seems to leave Chloe's shoulders as they drop. “Okay. I'm sorry for ruining the start of our vacation with this.”
Beca glares half-playfully. “If you apologize one more time, I'm eating breakfast without you.”
“Sorry.” Chloe clamps her teeth down on her lips with a sheepish expression. “I take this one back.”
The trip to Greece is everything they needed to rekindle with one another after their near fall-out. They forget about real life, its pressure and responsibilities for three weeks and focus on each other, catching up on those three months where their relationship was left suspended in uncertainty.
Chloe tells Beca about her internship and all the things she learned from a photographer she has admired since the start of her career. Beca shares her prospects about the upcoming artists she took under her wing, about Emily and the songs they co-wrote together.
They spill their wishes and dreams over glasses of wine, and write a common bucket-list with some things to be ticked away over the set three years before they get to be in the same place.
Some that are so ridiculous and overly cheesy that they barely make the cut.
(“We're not getting a countdown app, Chlo.”)
(“But it's romantic!”)
(“Ugh, kill me now.”)
(“Is that a yes, then?”)
Some to do when they are apart.
Work-out together over Skype (Beca isn't really fond about that one), read the same book at the same time, make a long-distance playlist.
And some when they are together.
Road-trip the American west coast, get a couple's massage (she is, however, much more on board with this one), meeting each other's families, and many more.
Those three blissful weeks fly by, punctuated with lazy morning lie-ins, walks on the beach, impromptu photo-shoots, stargazing and playing guitar under the moonlight.
Like every single time, they are eventually back at the airport, sharing one last kiss, a long, heart-melting embrace and sweet reassurances.
This time around, however, they say goodbye with lighter hearts and minds.
Six weeks after coming back from Greece, Beca flies to Paris for Christmas. She rolls her eyes, yet grins like a fool when she spots Chloe excitedly waving a sign with her name on it.
She doesn't care about the paparazzi that might be there or the people around them that are probably not asking for a show of public display of affection. She sweeps Chloe into a searing kiss, locking her arms around Chloe's waist to lift her a couple inches from the ground.
The weather is mild and there is no snow, but they spend most of the first few days together cooped up in Chloe's apartment; decorating the tree, making Christmas cookies with ridiculous Christmas sweaters on (Chloe blackmailed her), taking goofy selfies and watching Christmas movies.
“I can't believe this is already our second Christmas together,” Chloe chimes in as they lie on the couch after a delicious Christmas Eve dinner at Aubrey's with Chloe's friends. A French-dubbed re-run of Home Alone is playing on the TV but neither of them is really paying attention.
“Mmm,” Beca hums, raking the tip of her fingers over Chloe's scalp as Chloe more or less lies on top of her. Chloe looks up at her with amused eyes over her eloquent response. “Sorry. I'm falling in a food coma.”
“No wonder, you ate like, ten of those carambars.” Chloe tells her, along with a pointed glance thrown at the nearly empty candy bag laying by Beca's hip. “My list of stuff to ship over to NYC is growing longer.”
“Please don't send those,” Beca says, tossing the bag of caramel sweets away from her. She doesn't know what she likes the most about them; the taste, or the dumb jokes on the inside of the wrapping that Chloe has been translating for her over the last half-hour. “I might not recover.”
Giggling, Chloe leans up to kiss her chin. “I know we're only giving each other our presents tomorrow, but am I allowed to give you one of mine tonight?”
“We can open them all tonight for all I care.” Beca shrugs.
“No, 'cause then we won't have anything exciting to wake up to tomorrow morning,” Chloe argues lightly, finishing it off with a pout.
“Are you saying that waking up with me in your bed doesn't do anything for you anymore?” Beca asks, arching an eyebrow as her other hand trails down to rest over Chloe's ass, slipping in the back pocket of her jeans and giving her butt cheek a light squeeze. “Damn. I need to step up my game.”
“Stay here,” Chloe orders, stealing a kiss from Beca's lips before springing off the couch and jogging to her bedroom, socks skidding over the hardwood floors as she rounds the corner.
Beca laughs after her, shaking her head at how excited Chloe gets over anything that has to do with the holiday. When Chloe doesn't come back in the next thirty seconds, Beca reaches over to pluck a candy out of the bag (she's already eaten ten of those, what's one more?), unwraps it and pops it into her mouth.
She almost chokes on it when Chloe appears in the doorway, clad in nothing else but a bright red babydoll that leaves very little to her imagination. Her previously pinned back hair has been let loose and falls around her face in soft curls, while the color of her lips matches the satin material and the Christmas hat sitting on her head. Beca swallows as her eyes zoom in on Chloe's generous cleavage.
“Holy crap,” Beca mumbles around the candy as she sits up, cursing when a string of saliva escapes from the corner of her mouth. She wipes it away and groans at her incredible ability to ruin the moment. “That's attractive.”
“Tell me Beca,” Chloe's flirty tone snaps Beca's attention back towards her. She's apparently chose to ignore Beca making a fool of herself and is now striding confidently towards her, adding a bit of strut to her hips. “Have you been nice or naughty this year?”
Beca's eyes widen as Chloe swiftly straddles her lap. A string of incoherent babble leaves her mouth before she gets a hold of herself. The fire in Chloe's eyes indicates what the answer should be. “Naughty. Like you wouldn't believe.”
Chloe hums in satisfaction while Beca's hands run up her sides, satin smooth under her palms. “That's what I thought.”
Beca's eyes drop to Chloe's lips just as they come down onto hers with purpose. She moans into the lip-lock, squeezing Chloe's waist to show her approval.
“Bec,” Chloe pulls away after a moment, half-lidded eyes meeting hers. “You said you were okay with handcuffs, right?”
Beca gulps, a spike of lust hitting her spine and leaving her body electrified. “Y-yeah, yes. Fuck. Please.”
Has she mentioned this Christmas thing is starting to grow on her, yet?
A few months later, she flies Chloe over for the Grammy's, where she and Emily are nominated for Best Song. It's their first official outing as a couple and while Beca knows people know (they haven't been so discreet or caring on their last outings, that it be in New York City or in Paris), it's still nerve-wracking.
“Baby, you are allowed to change your mind about this,” Chloe tells her as they sit in the back of the car taking them to the ceremony. Beca stills her bouncing knee. “I don't have to walk the red carpet with you. I won't be upset if you don't feel ready to make it official. Really.”
“No, I... I want to.” Beca kisses her softly to mark her words. “I'm just nervous. Good nervous.”
Chloe smiles softly. “Okay.”
“You look beautiful, by the way,” Beca adds, letting her eyes rake over Chloe's strapless, tight-fitting navy blue dress. “I can't remember if I mentioned that already.”
“You have, once or twice,” Chloe confirms. “And as hot as you look in that suit, I can't wait to get you out of it.”
Conveniently, the car just comes to a stop in front of the ceremony venue when Beca's blush is reaching its summit under Chloe's blazing stare.
“Hold on,” Beca says when Chloe is about to step out. “Let's take a picture.”
Chloe does a double-take. “You, Beca Mitchell, want to take a selfie?”
“Yeah.” She says as she fumbles with her phone. “I want my fans to find out through me first. Not the press.”
Smiling, Chloe shuffles closer. “I think that's a good idea.”
They snap a few shots, Beca ultimately choosing the one where Chloe is kissing her cheek and she's grinning at the camera like the idiot in love that she is.
She opens up Instagram, bypasses the filters, and goes for a simple caption.
b.mitchell.official Grammys tonight with my favorite person in the whole wide world <3
“You're aware your reputation is going to take a blow with that caption, right?” Chloe says, laughter laced in her tone as she props her chin over Beca's shoulder.
“Yeah, but I guess you're worth it.” She replies, feigning a resigned sigh as she hits publish.
“Love you,” Chloe whispers, pressing her smiling lips to Beca's bare shoulder. “Should I expect my Instagram to blow up?”
They both chuckle when Beca's phone chimes with a few notifications. “Probably.”
She and Emily win the Grammy and she kisses Chloe chastely when her name is announced, letting Emily take the spotlight once on stage. She performs the song she wrote with Ed Sheeran later during the night, and they hit the after-party afterwards, before she drags Chloe home, eager for Chloe to keep her promise about the suit.
“You won another Grammy,” Chloe murmurs, tone laced with awe as Beca slides the key in her apartment door. "And I'm so, so proud of you, but what I really want right now is you, out of that suit."
Inhaling sharply as Chloe presses herself flush against her back, Beca fumbles a little bit with the lock before she gets it right, barealy having time to close the door behind them before Chloe's lips fuse with hers in a heated kiss.
Beca breaks apart to fill her lungs with some needed air and tugs Chloe down the rest of the way to her bedroom. She blindly turns the knob and pushes the door open, kicking it behind them while remaining lip-locked with Chloe, who is already shrugging her suit jacket off.
“I should wear suits more often,” Beca butts in in between increasingly heated kisses as Chloe backs her up towards the bed. “If it gets you hot and bothered like that.”
Chloe hums then pauses, glancing at Beca's bedside table. Beca follows her line of sight, then trains her eyes back on Chloe.
Chloe pulls away to grab the book entitled French for Dummies. “You're learning French?”
“I, uh, yes? Trying at least?” Beca stutters out. “I figured I should since I'm moving to France and all – humph!” The air is knocked out of her lungs by the force of Chloe's embrace. Beca laughs and loosely holds Chloe's waist. “Chlo,”
“That makes me so happy,” Chloe whispers when she pulls away, all bright and glistening eyes. Beca knows the alcohol is heightening her reaction but her heart flutters anyway.
Beca cocks her head to the side. “What did you expect, that I would be attached to your hip all the time and let you be my translator?”
“I dunno, I didn't really think about it until now,” Chloe sets the book down and turns back to Beca, setting her forearms over Beca's shoulders and locking her hands behind her neck. “What did you learn so far?”
“I've literally just started,” Beca chuckles at Chloe's palpable excitement. “So I know numbers up to fifty. But I kinda remembered that stuff from high-school. And I also remember the basics like, je m'appelle Beca, j'ai...” she stops to count in her head. “Vingt-huit ans et j'habite à New York. That's all I've got.”
“That's a good start,” Chloe tells her with a wink. “And that accent is making me even more hot and bothered than that suit.”
“Yeah?” Beca replies cheekily, setting her hands back on Chloe's hips. “Oh! I know how to say something else.”
Chloe arches an eyebrow and waits.
“Tu es très jolie.”
Chloe's blue eyes soften and her lips curve into an appreciative smile. “Smooth.”
“I can also say, 'voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir?'.”
“Everybody knows how to say that, babe,” Chloe snickers, eyes rolling towards the ceiling, clearly unimpressed. “But kudos for the effort.”
Beca ignores her teasing. “So?”
Beca huffs impatiently. “I asked you a question.”
“Oh!” Chloe grins and presses a hard kiss to Beca's lips that makes her dizzy with desire for more. Beca whimpers dazedly when they part, blinking a few times. “Obviously.”
Beca shudders at the leftover tingles washing over her body from the kiss.
“Damn, I should speak French more often.”
“I'll teach you,” Chloe husks out, teeth raking over her bottom lip to contain her sly grin. “I can teach you right now, in fact.”
Beca laughs, tugging Chloe into her body. “I have a feeling all you're going to teach me tonight is dirty stuff.”
Chloe hums with a long glance at Beca's lips. “Well, you do curse a lot so it would only be fitting.”
“How does this work? Do I get to take a piece of clothing off you for each right answer?” Beca asks, cocking an eyebrow as she shamelessly lets her eyes trail down Chloe's length.
Chloe snickers. “I'm wearing a dress, so the game would be over in a second.”
Beca clicks her tongue, then smirks. As beautiful as that dress is, it really needs to go. “Exactly.”
“Plus, I'm going commando.”
Beca's eyes nearly bulge out of her head.
“Fuck.” Beca is pretty sure her brain short-circuits over that piece of information, and her fingers dig into the material of Chloe's dress to keep from just trying to rip it off. Somehow she isn't sure its designer would be too happy with that. “You're going to be the death of me someday, Beale.”
Chloe only giggles, then reaches for the zipper of her dress and Beca doesn't really know what happens in the following hour, except for the few mind-blowing orgasms which turn her entire body to jelly.
“Are you dead?” Chloe rasps out as Beca slumps into the mattress. Grunting, she tries to give Chloe the finger as a comeback to her cockiness but her arm isn't responding.
“Smug doesn't suit you,” she grumbles instead, then sighs contently as Chloe leaves a trail of gentle, feather-light kisses from her lower stomach up to her neck. She regains a little bit of her senses and manages to cup Chloe's face to kiss her deeply, a throaty moan escaping her mouth as she tastes herself on Chloe's tongue. “You're fucking amazing.”
“Glad I delivered,” Chloe smirks, holding herself up above Beca, still slightly out of breath. “We should go sex-toy shopping tomorrow.”
A sputter of non-sense leaves Beca's mouth before she can form actual words in her fogged-up brain. “I - uh, what?”
Chloe looks like she's trying really hard not to laugh too much, but the strain of her cheek muscles give her amusement away. “Not that I'm not entirely satisfied with our sex-life because I am but, you know, just to spice things up a little.”
Beca's whole body feels like a bucket of lava was dumped onto it; scalding hot and about to melt into the mattress.
“And it's important to take pleasure when we're apart, too. Maybe it will take away a bit of the frustration of not actually being together, physically anyway.”
“Y-yeah.” Beca eventually lets out, clearing her throat as she knows her voice is bound to come out in an embarrassing squeaky tone. “Can't we like, do it online? I don't know how I feel about a trip to the sex-shop.”
“Sure,” Chloe kisses her lightly. “Oh! I think I actually have a discount on one website. Y'know, loyalty points.”
Beca chokes on her own saliva. Of course Chloe does. She's never seen it, but Beca knows there's a box under her bed back at her place in Paris filled with kinky stuff.
“Did you, um, is that something you used often? With your exes, I mean. The um, the sex toys.”
Beca knows she is blushing very hard, but to her relief, Chloe doesn't make fun of her. She gently moves off Beca to lie on her side and Beca rolls over to face her, setting one of her hand on Chloe's waist.
“It happened, with girls mostly. But it's mostly for my enjoyment when I'm on my own.”
Beca casts her eyes down to the comforter. “Were you, with, um, a lot of girls?”
“In a relationship? No.” Chloe answers softly. “I had a few flings here and there. It was when I had just moved to Paris, fresh out of college and I was just having fun. No feelings were involved or anything. You're the first.”
“Oh.” Beca lets out, not entirely sure how she feels about that.
Chloe's fingers trailing up and down her arm in a soothing manner draw her back to the conversation. “We don't have to do anything you're not comfortable with, you know. Using toys, it's just an idea I had. Please don't feel like you have to do it just because I like it.”
Beca shakes her head, squeezing Chloe's waist gently. “No, I... I've just never used a toy before so that's why I'm hesitant.”
Chloe sets her hand over Beca's. “Well, you can think it over as long as you want. Like I said, no pressure. Our sex life is pretty incredible, so.”
“Yeah,” Beca agrees with a grin. She sobers up at the sudden thought fleeting in her brain and breaks eye-contact once more. “Can I, um... confess something?”
“Before our first night together I had... never felt the way I did then with a partner. I don't think I had ever, um...” Beca takes a deep breath. She can't really pinpoint why she's so embarrassed about this, especially when she knows Chloe will never mock her, but she is, and it makes spitting it out ten times harder. “...had an orgasm.”
She feels the tip of her ears catch on fire and wants nothing more than to bury her face into the pillow and smother herself. Chloe blinks a couple times and the longer she remains silent, the more seriously Beca considers it.
Beca grunts, her hand leaving Chloe's body to cover her eyes. “I shouldn't have mentioned it.”
“No, no, it's okay. Baby,” Chloe rushes out, wrapping her fingers around Beca's wrist to tug her hand away from her face. “Sorry. I didn't mean to respond like that. I'm sorry.”
Beca clears her throat, lowering her hand as she chances a glance at Chloe. “Yeah, so this whole enjoying sex thing is still fairly new to me.”
Chloe's forehead creases in a frown. “I'm sorry.”
“You don't have to apologize, I know you didn't mean to say that.” Beca says, straining up to kiss Chloe's forehead, in an attempts to make her frown go away.
Chloe shakes her head, hand moving up to hold Beca's cheek. “No, I mean I'm sorry that our time together was the first time you experienced that. It's an awfully long time to go without taking pleasure while with a partner.”
Beca shrugs. “It's not like you know what you're missing when you've never had it. That's why I never really understood the hype about sex before you showed me how it was supposed to feel. I actually thought that maybe there was something wrong with me because I... couldn't with – with guys.”
Chloe gives her a reassuring smile. “Well, obviously there's nothing wrong with you, and either those guys didn't know what they were doing, or didn't care enough to make sure you had a good time, too. Or maybe... being with a guy was not your thing at all and you didn't know that yet.”
“Probably a little bit of all three.” Beca laughs awkwardly, feeling the added nerves over sharing this with Chloe steadily vanish from her body. She sighs and shuffles closer, slipping an arm around Chloe's waist to pull her against her. “That night and everything that followed made up for it, though. The way you were so cautious about not moving too fast because you could tell I was nervous and the way you made everything about me, to the point where you didn't let me return the favor because I was kinda out of it, it just... I guess I knew right then that there was no way you would be just a fling. You were already so much more, not – not because of the sex part but because of the way you cared about me when we had only met the same day.”
Beca smiles, reaching up to draw a piece of Chloe's hair away from her face, then running her fingers down the top of her spine to let them drift in tiny circles between her shoulder blades.
“I just knew then that I had come across an incredible human being and I still have to pinch myself from time to time.”
Chloe blows out a breath, eyes misty over Beca's words. She dips down to brush a soft, loving kiss to Beca's lips.
Beca is blindsided by the realization that if she had a ring, she would do the crazy thing of asking Chloe to marry her, right here, right now.
Because as far as she's concerned, Chloe is it.
As she and Chloe expected, it's not all rainbows and butterflies.
Like any couple, they fight once in a while. Over silly and serious things, often fueled by jealousy, missed dates, lack of communication or misunderstandings. Sometimes something dumb to start with spirals into something bigger because being apart to deal with it is harder.
It takes minutes, hours, sometimes days, but they make-up, either laughing at how ridiculous they can get, apologizing purposely for words or actions they never meant, but each time coming out of it a little bit stronger.
Beca [1:46 PM]
Chlo, something came up at work, I can't do Skype tonight.
Beca [1:46 PM]
Some cocktail party for the label. I completely forgot about it.
Beca [1:46 PM]
I'm sorry. :(
Chloe [1:53 PM]
Oh. Well can we do tomorrow?
Beca [1:54 PM]
I have a photoshoot all day tomorrow for Rolling Stone.
Chloe [1:54 PM]
Won't you have a break? We haven't been able to call each other at all last week either, Bec.
Beca [1:56 PM]
I know, I know. I'll see what I can do. Maybe I can call you after the party?
Chloe [1:57 PM]
I'll definitely be asleep. You know what, it's okay. We can catch up whenever.
The lack of emoji tells Beca it's anything but okay.
Beca [1:57 PM]
I'm sorry Chlo
Chloe [1:57 PM]
Yeah, you've said that.
Beca groans, banging the back of her head several time against her seat in frustration.
“Trouble in paradise?” Beca looks up to find Stacie smirking at her from across the room.
“Why are you here again?” she mutters, trying to wrack her brain for a response to that last text.
“Um, I was being a nice best friend and brought you lunch,” Stacie points out and Beca's shoulders slump. She has been so busy that she couldn't meet Stacie for lunch so Stacie had stopped at the deli to get food and brought it to the studio so that Beca could work as she ate.
“Right. Sorry.” Beca sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose. “Relationships are complicated."
Stacie hums in agreement. “That's why I don't do those.”
Sighing, Beca turns back to her phone.
Beca [2:01 PM]
Are you mad?
Chloe [2:02 PM]
Not mad, just disappointed.
Beca [2:02 PM]
Come on, everyone knows that's worse. Look, I'm sorry, I can't remember everything all the time. You know how busy it gets sometimes.
Chloe [2:03 PM]
No, not really. Sorry, I'm just a photographer, not a celebrity.
Beca recoils, frowning heavily. She pauses the mix she has been working on for the last two hours and takes off her headphones.
Beca [2:04 PM]
Where the hell is this coming from?
When Chloe doesn't reply in the following hour, and Beca finds herself unable to focus on work, she shoots up from her seat and stalks up to the roof to make the phone call. Chloe replies on the fifth ring, as though having debated whether or not she wanted to pick-up.
“Were you just going to ignore me?”
“I didn't want to take up any of your time, since you're so busy.” Chloe coldly replies.
Beca barks out a humorless laugh, shaking her head in disbelief. “Are you actually being serious right now?”
“Look, if you called to be like this, you shouldn't have bothered.”
“I'm like this!?” Beca cries out, jaw dropping in astonishment. “You're the one who is being a bitch here, not me.”
Beca can nearly hear the flare in Chloe's nostrils down the line. Chloe doesn't say anything but the tension translates through the device.
“Chloe,” she says more softly, heaving out a sigh. “I'm not hanging up until you tell me why you've said that.”
Chloe lets out a long sigh after a long pause during which Beca had to pull her phone away from her ear to see if the call was still going.
“There was this... article on People about you and this chick you're collaborating with and rumors that the two of you are dating and while I know it's not true, comments below the articles implied that it was good on you, because you could do so much better than being with a simple photographer.”
Beca's eyes screw shut. She knew making their relationship official would somehow backfire.
“Baby, why do you read this stuff? It's complete bullshit, nothing but click bait.”
“I know. Someone sent it to me on Instagram and I got curious. I shouldn't have read the comments.”
“People comment on this type of articles because they don't have anything interesting going on with their lives and find it fun to stuff their noses in others'. It's been that way ever since the social media hype happened and it's most likely to get worse.” Beca explains patiently. “I'm over it now, and while I know it's not easy, you will at some point, too. I couldn't care less about what those people think about me, or my personal life. They don't know what's going on under the wraps and how happy you make me and how I can't imagine myself with anybody else. And regarding the simple photographer part, well, that's simply not true. You are the best photographer I know.”
“You're just saying that,” Chloe says timidly.
“No, I'm not.” Beca replies firmly. “I'm not saying that because you're my girlfriend. I'm saying that because I've met a lot of so-called photographers in this business and I've had the pleasure to work with you and watching you do your magic, so I think I know what I'm talking about. More than those people. Incredible is the word I would use to describe you and your talent. Not simple.”
Chloe makes a little noise on the other end of the line. “I... Thank you.”
“Just stating the truth.” Beca answers simply, with a shrug that she realizes Chloe can't see. “You need to tell me about this stuff if it bothers you. Social media can be intense and I don't want you to get caught in something crazy.”
“I will in the future, I promise.” Chloe groans. “I'm sorry for being a bitch.”
“Sorry I called you that. I know it's just frustration.” Beca exhales in relief that this didn't blow out of proportion. “And I'm sorry about our Skype date. It's the second time in a row I mess up and you're right, it's not cool. I should be more organized and shit.”
“It's okay. I understand, I've just been wired lately and I miss you more than you know.”
Beca smiles sadly. “I'll do my best to take a break tomorrow. It won't be a proper date but we'll get to see each other's faces at least.”
“I'd like that. I miss your grumpy face.”
“Hey,” Beca reprimands weakly. They share a laugh and Beca sighs. “I have to go back to work.”
“Okay. Don't forget to drink water. And eat!”
Beca chuckles. “I'm a grown adult, but thanks for reminding me.”
“I'm just trying to be an attentive girlfriend even from thousands of miles away. Don't work yourself to exhaustion, okay?”
“Promise. Love you,”
The undeniable smile in Chloe's voice makes Beca's heart flutter. “Je t'aime aussi. Plus que tout au monde.”
Beca knows there are bound to be other arguments, but she isn't worried about their ability to jump over the hurdles standing in their path.
Beca lets out a content sigh as she gets out of the Italian shower and reaches for the big fluffy towel on the counter to wrap it around herself.
Her head is aching, her body is screaming for some rest, but her mind is still wired from her last performance, and she knows it will take a little while before she can settle down to get some sleep.
The soft music coming from Chloe's Bluetooth speaker is drifting inside the bathroom from the bedroom and Beca smiles and hums along as she goes through her before-bed routine.
After washing her face off the excess amount of stage make-up and applying a good amount of cream onto her skin, she slips into a loose T shirt and the most comfortable sweatpants she owns.
“What are you doing?” Beca groans as she covers her face with her hands, stilling in the doorway. The offender sitting against the headboard of the bed only snickers. “Dude, no more pictures.”
“I'm doing what I'm being paid for.” Chloe points out, lowering her camera. “Capturing you in your relaxed, natural state is also part of BTS, you know.”
“But I just washed my face! My dark circles are going to scare people off!” Beca whines, dropping her hands back to her side as she dramatically drags herself to the bed, features twisted in a frown.
It's day twenty or twenty-one, she isn't sure anymore. They are currently in Phoenix, Arizona on the final leg of her tour. It's been exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. Beca loves to perform, she loves to make her fans happy, but what she loves even more is unwinding at night after her concert, and Chloe's presence helps a lot with that.
It's their first night in a hotel in a while, and Beca is glad to be spending it on a real bed as opposed to the bunk at the back of the tour bus and being granted the intimacy that comes with having a hotel suite to themselves.
“Nonsense,” Chloe murmurs, cupping Beca's face with both hands and kissing her soundly when she sits down next to her. “You look beautiful and I think getting a look at this part of you will only make your fans love you more.”
Beca crawls until she's more or less draped over Chloe, mumbling something she herself can't even register in the soft material of Chloe's sweater. Chloe frees her arm from where it's pinned by her side to wrap it around Beca's back, running her hand up and down her spine in a soothing manner.
Beca lets out a heavy sigh. “M tired.”
Warm lips press a kiss to her forehead. “Only a few more days, baby. Then we're going on that road-trip.”
“Mm. I can't wait,” Beca smiles and lifts her head to kiss Chloe's chin. “I'm really glad you're on this tour with me.”
Chloe sighs happily, dropping a kiss in Beca's hair. “I'm really glad you asked me to be a part of it.”
Beca feels the droop of her eyelids, encouraged by the patterns Chloe is absentmindedly drawing over her back.
“You know...” Beca drawls out, slightly shaking herself awake from her light slumber. She slides her hand under Chloe's top, relishing the feeling of Chloe's warm and smooth skin under her fingertips.
Chloe arches an eyebrow. “What?”
“I never used that full-body massage coupon.”
“Oh.” Chloe beams, wiggling her eyebrows. “I thought you were tired?”
“So? I'm not allowed to fall asleep?”
Chloe chuckles, smoothing down Beca's hair with her hand. “It's a full body massage, Bec.”
“Oh,” Beca lets out, flush rapidly washing over her face. “Well – ” she swallows the sudden dryness in her mouth. “I'm sure I have some energy left somewhere.”
“Of course you do.” Chloe hums. “Alright then, take you top off and lie on your stomach while I get the oil.”
Grinning, Beca rolls off Chloe and does as she's told, fiddling with her nails as she waits for her girlfriend to come back. Chloe is humming along to the song playing on her phone when she walks back, and sets the oil on the bedside table before straddling Beca's hips.
“You're tense, baby,” Chloe muses after a while as she gently kneads the knots in Beca's shoulders.
“Mm, it's all the dancing on stage,” she deadpans. There's very-limited dancing on stage because she just sucks at it and her team came up with the most simple choreography.
Chloe snickers. “Sure.”
“Well, and also because I am meeting your parents tomorrow.” Chloe focuses on that particular spot at the base of her spine that has stars go off behind Beca's eyes, and she can't contain a satisfied moan. “Man, you're amazing at this.”
“Are you actually nervous about meeting them?”
“Well, yeah.” Beca answers in a tone that translates the obviousness of the answer. “It's your parents.”
“My parents, who love you already, so chill,” Chloe leans down to press her lips to Beca's shoulder-blade. “Just be yourself.”
“That's what I'm afraid of,” Beca grumbles into the pillow. “Have you met me?”
“Stop it.” Chloe warns, delivering a light swat to Beca's backside.
“Hey!” Beca half-heartedly reprimands. “The coupon didn't say this was a kinky massage.”
Chloe giggles. “Stop belittling yourself. You are an amazing, dedicated and loving girlfriend, not to mention an incredible human being all around, and my parents already know that. They are thrilled for me. For us.”
Meeting Chloe's parents turns out to be not as scary as Beca originally thought. They put her at ease right away, even if Chloe's mother's hug is a bit overwhelming and nearly cuts off her oxygen intake for the ten seconds it lasts. Chloe's dad is a bit more reserved, but Beca immediately notes that Chloe got her kind, genuine feature from him, while her bubbliness and determination definitely comes from her mom.
“See? They love you.” Chloe whispers into her ear as they walk home hand in hand after eating out. Beca squeezes Chloe's fingers, twisting her head to smile at her. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Beca comes to a stop, body stirring towards Chloe's to lay a small peck on her lips. Chloe grins against her mouth, her free hand hiking up to hold Beca's jaw as she tilts her head to deepen the kiss. “Chloe,”
Chloe catches her pointedly glancing at her parents, who are walking ahead of them.
“They know we kiss, Beca.” She says with a laugh, and Beca knows what she's going to say next before the words even reach Chloe's tongue. “And they know we do more than kissing, too.”
Beca's face catches on fire before she can control it. Her body shimmers in an exaggerated shudder. “Yeah... we're not having sex tonight.”
Chloe rolls her eyes skyward. “You're being dramatic.”
“Well, I want to stay on your parents' good books. I don't think they would look at me in the eye if they so much as hear a moan through the hotel room walls. I know I wouldn't.”
She keeps to herself the fact that she has an important question to ask Chloe's parents before they part ways in a couple days and she needs all the help she can get.
It's tricky to find a long-enough moment with them both without Chloe around, and it just happens to be during breakfast the following morning, when Chloe announces she's going back to the room to take a shower.
Beca kind of sputters it out, and she's not sure she's actually making any sense; her face feel hot, her palms are heavily sweating and her heart is about to escape from her chest and run from the scene. To her shock, Chloe's parents simply smile, not surprised in the least, and tell her they're happy for she and Chloe.
Beca feels her chest expand in both awe and pride from the unspoken trust Chloe's parents have in her when it comes to their daughter's happiness, and she knows she will do everything in her power to never prove them wrong.
Beca is close to pulling her hair out. This song arrangement isn't working and no matter how many hours she's spent on it already, she can't figure out why.
It doesn't help that her mind is still elsewhere, filled with images of red curls blowing through the wind and blue eyes sparkling with happiness.
She came home from the road-trip late last night, she and Chloe saying goodbye when Beca had to board her plane back to New York.
After spending nearly seven weeks together, saying goodbye without exactly knowing when they would see each other next was incredibly hard.
The chime of her cellphone by her side is a welcome distraction from letting her thoughts dwell too much on her aching heart.
Hot Stuff [10:47 AM]
Just made it back to my place.
Hot Stuff [10:47 AM]
I miss you already and I hope you're not slaving too much at work.
Beca [10:48 AM]
I miss you, too.
Beca [10:48 AM]
And when did you change your name in my phone?
Hot Stuff [10:48 AM]
Mm. Wouldn't you like to know.
Beca [10:49 AM]
Sneak. Am I allowed to change it?
Hot Stuff [10:49 AM]
To what? :(
Beca grins and quickly goes to Chloe's contact page, typing in a new nickname, changing the goofy picture of Chloe she has had all this time for a fresh one of the two of them taken during their road-trip, then takes a screenshot and sends it to her.
My love ❤ [10:50 AM]
My love ❤ [10:50 AM]
You're totes adorbs baby
Beca [10:50 AM]
Beca [10:51 AM]
What's my name in yours?
Chloe doesn't reply right away and Beca finds herself unable to focus on anything else until she replies.
My love ❤ [10:53 AM]
My love ❤ [10:53 AM]
But I change it up fairly often. From Hot Piece of Ass (that one was a bit too long), Mon Amour, Sexy, America's number 1, Sweetie Pie... :D
My love ❤ [10:54 AM]
It's kinda exciting, I feel like I have more than one lover. ;) ;) ;)
Beca [10:54 AM]
Sweetie Pie? Seriously? I think I have the right to veto this.
My love ❤ [10:54 AM]
Fine. I won't use that one again, Honeybuns.
Beca [10:55 AM]
My love ❤ [10:55 AM]
You're too easy, babe.
My love ❤ [10:55 AM]
I'm going to take a nap. Remember to take a break at some point today.
Beca [10:56 AM]
My love ❤ [10:55 AM]
❤ ❤ ❤
By mid-afternoon, Beca's groove is back and thriving, to the point where she's not sure when she's going to stop. Her eyes are starting to sting from staring at the computer screen for the last five hours, and her shoulders and neck are aching from being hunched over, but taking a break when her mind is buzzing with so many ideas is not an option.
A knock on the door, however, interrupts her flow. She cuts her gaze to her assistant.
“This was delivered for you,” Rachel says, setting a paper bag and a paper cup on her desk. “I'm guessing it's from Chloe.”
Beca looks into the bag to find a salad from her favorite deli near her place, along with a soup. Taking a sip from the cup, she moans at the taste of her to-go order; a latte with one pump of caramel.
“Yeah. Definitely Chloe,” she confirms, sitting back in her chair contently. “Thanks Rach.”
Grabbing her phone, Beca types a quick message.
Beca [3:15 PM]
Have I mentioned lately how much I love you?
Chloe's response is instant and has warmth spread in her belly.
My love ❤ [3:15 PM]
My love ❤ [3:15 PM]
Enjoying the coffee?
Beca [3:15 PM]
Exactly what I needed. Thank you, Chlo.
My love ❤ [3:16 PM]
Welcome, baby. Take a proper break ok? Knowing you, you haven't stopped since we last texted.
Beca [3:16 PM]
I will. Did you have a good nap?
My love ❤ [3:17 PM]
Yeah. I'm just on my way to the gallery to fix the first round of film from your tour.
Beca [3:17 PM]
Can't wait to see them.
My love ❤ [3:17 PM]
My love ❤ [3:17 PM]
About to take the metro. Love you!
Beca [3:18 PM]
Love you, too, Hot Stuff ;)
Beca [1:07 PM]
You are amazing.
Beca [1:07 PM]
I don't think I'll ever cease to be blown away by your talent.
Beca sets her phone down and shuffles through the file of pictures Chloe sent her label last night once more. Some are goofy, like the one where she pouts while waiting in the freezing cold of Toronto, a thick coat three times her size engulfing her frame, some more serious as she mentally prepares for a performance or goes through soundchecks with her musicians.
The fifty monochrome snapshots portray an array of different moods and emotions, and she's once more awestruck by how accurately Chloe seems to be able to capture them.
My love ❤ [1:10 PM]
You really like them?
Beca [1:10 PM]
Chloe, they are phenomenal. You are phenomenal.
My love ❤ [1:10 PM]
Thank you baby.
My love ❤ [1:11 PM]
This was probably one of the best experiences of my career so far and I'm so grateful I got to stand by the sidelines, watching my girlfriend own it every single night.
My love ❤ [1:11 PM]
I have one more to send you.
Beca [1:11 PM]
My love ❤ [1:13 PM]
Check your inbox
Beca glances up to see a new e-mail sitting in her inbox. She clicks on it and opens the attached document. It's not a photo from the tour, but one from the road-trip they took after the tour wrap-up.
Beca is driving, shades sitting on her eyes as she holds the wheel with one hand, the other one out of the frame and presumably resting on Chloe's thigh. Chloe shot the picture while Beca was mid-laugh, her attention momentarily off the road as she looks towards the camera.
She remembers that moment clearly, the mere memory of it making her grin; Chloe had accepted the challenge to rap to Eminem for a whole song and the result was both adorable and cringe-funny.
A bunch of butterflies erupt from the pit of her stomach as she gazes at the carefree happiness reflected in her features.
Beca [1:15 PM]
That's my face listening to your rapping “skills”
My love ❤ [1:15 PM]
Those quotation marks hurt. :(
My love ❤ [1:15 PM]
Thanks for crushing my dreams of a rap career.
Beca [1:15 PM]
Chlo, I love you, but no.
Beca [1:15 PM]
You should stick to photography.
My love ❤ [1:16 PM]
* GASP *
My love ❤ [1:16 PM]
Beca [1:16 PM]
Thank you for the picture, love. I look disgustingly happy and I'll make sure no one else sees it to maintain my cold and scary persona.
My love ❤ [1:16 PM]
My love ❤ [1:16 PM]
It looks good on you. I love that smile <3
Beca [1:17 PM]
You're going to make fun of me for how cheesy it sounds, but you're the reason behind it.
My love ❤ [1:17 PM]
I can't make fun of you when that's exactly what you are for me, too.
My love ❤ [1:17 PM]
And I can't really put into words just how lucky I feel to have you in my life.
Beca closes her eyes briefly and sighs, trying to get rid of the longing feeling invading her chest. What she would do to hold Chloe in her arms, right now.
Beca [1:17 PM]
I miss you so fucking much.
My love ❤ [1:17 PM]
Tu me manques, aussi.
“Stay put, I'll be right there!” Beca says breathlessly, pointing a finger at Chloe's face through the screen. She hears Chloe's giggle as she jogs down the hall and quickly switches her jeans for comfy sweatpants and trades her button down shirt for a loose tee and a plaid shirt that she leaves open. Running back to the living-room, Beca makes a stop by the kitchen to grab herself a beer from the fridge, uncaps it and plops down on the couch, probably flushed and even more out of breath. “Ready.”
“I could have waited, you know. Our date doesn't have to start at 5:00 PM sharp, babe,” Chloe says while Beca takes the time to look at her for the first time in a whole week. “I'd rather you be late than being reckless in traffic to make it on time.”
“Okay, first, I took a cab home,” Beca starts, lifting her pointer finger to demonstrate. “Second, I'm trying to be a good girlfriend here and make it on time to make up for the two or three times I was unable to make that date. And third,” she pauses to take a breath. “You look gorgeous.”
She compliments, lips tugging upwards into a smile as her eyes dance from Chloe's recently trimmed hair perfectly framing her face, her red lips and light make-up.
“Thank you,” Chloe murmurs, the top of her cheeks coloring. “I'm so happy to see you.”
“Ditto,” Beca adjusts her computer over her thighs before she takes a swig of her beer. She sits back on the couch, glad that it's Friday with no plans for the weekend, for once. “How was your day?”
“It was slow. Not that many customers this time of year so I mostly developed negatives and updated my website this week. But that's not important, 'cause guess what?”
Chloe's excited tone and features make Beca grin. “Got nominated for another award?”
“No,” Chloe rolls her eyes. “We've just reached under two years.” Upon Beca's quizzical expression, she adds, “on the countdown app!”
“Two years?” Beca makes a show of widening her eyes as she reaches up to rub the back of her neck. “So... it's too late to backtrack now, isn't it? Or do I still have under the year-mark?”
Chloe's glare sends her into a fit of laughter. “Beca.”
“I'm kidding, obviously.” Beca sobers up from the slouched position she adopted over her laughter. “I actually spoke to Jerry a few weeks ago, about my contract.”
She had wanted to tell Chloe about it right away, but preferred to have something set in stone before announcing anything.
Letting out a gasp, Chloe sits up, visibly growing nervous. “What did he say?”
“He said that there's nothing keeping me after my contract ends and that he would even call some labels he's worked with in France if I want to sign over there. But he also made me a proposition I really can't refuse,”
Beca sees it then, the flash of anguish dancing in Chloe's eyes. She knows what Chloe's thinking, that she has to stay in NYC because the promises for her career are greater than they would be in Paris.
“Okay,” she drawls out through difficult swallow.
“He asked me if I would like to manage my own branch of the label overseas. In Paris, to be exact.”
Chloe's jaw slowly drops open. “Are you serious?”
“Pretty serious,” Beca confirms, teeth sinking in her bottom lip to get a hold of her face-splitting grin. “Apparently it's something he has been thinking of for quite a while. Not necessarily in Paris, but seeing as I want to move out there, it would work out pretty well. He and I would become partners, basically. And I would be in charge of signing new artists, like I'm doing now, just not with rising artists but with all of them.”
“That's...” Chloe hands fly up to set on both her cheeks in slight shock, as she stares at Beca with stars lighting up her eyes. “Oh my God.”
“Yeah.” Beca lets out dreamily, because it does still feel like a dream and her stomach is still jumping around from both apprehension and excitement over the news. “It's big. I don't know if I have the shoulders for it, but I guess we'll see.”
“Are you kidding?” Chloe's tone leaks with bewilderment. “I don't think I know anyone with a stronger work ethic than you. You have this amazing ability to fish out new talents and bust your ass until they reach the top, like you did with Emily. I'm not worried for a second and I'm so, so thrilled for you and your career.”
“Thanks, Chlo,” Beca breathes out, closing her eyes briefly. If the distance is hard through difficult times, it's also a strain when one of them has good news to share and they are unable to properly celebrate. “Are you ready for the other good news?”
Chloe takes a deep, collecting lungful of air and nods.
“Jerry wants to launch this before the end of next year. He already has locations he wants to visit out there in Paris so...”
“You'd move here before the two years are up?”
A small whimper escapes Chloe's parted lips as tears fill her eyes at a rapid pace. “I don't know what to say.”
“Chlo,” Beca says affectionately, tilting her head to the side.
Chloe shrugs, reaching up to wipe her eyes. “I'm just super happy right now.”
“So am I.” Beca smiles, inhaling slowly through the ache in her chest and the longing in her heart to gather Chloe in her arms and never let go. “You want the third good news?”
Choking on a sob, Chloe shakes her head before catching herself. “I mean, yes. I might have a coronary, but yes.”
“Jerry is going to check out those locations next week and I'm coming with.”
“Next week?” Chloe croaks out with dumbfounded features. “You're flying to Paris next week?”
“Only for four days, but yeah.” Beca affirms with a crooked smile. “So... can I take you out on a date next Thursday?”
“I'll have to check with my other girlfriend and see what she's planned, but I can definitely make things work.”
“Ha, ha,” Beca deadpans with an eye-roll. “Funny.”
Chloe grins sheepishly. “I'm all yours, baby. Next Thursday and for as long as you'll have me.”
Beca sucks in a quick, discreet breath. She thinks about the conversation she has had with Chloe's parents just over three months ago and how they told her they couldn't be more thrilled that Chloe had found someone like Beca.
“Good to know,” she replies after a beat, adding a wink for good measure. “Movie?”
“Which one are we watching tonight?”
“I was thinking Walk The Line? You're already making the effort of watching a movie so I thought something about music would be nice?”
“Sounds good,” she says, shrinking the Skype window to set the movie up on Netflix. “Is your popcorn ready?”
“Shoot!” Chloe exclaims, the image bouncing as she moves her laptop off her lap. “The popcorn!”
She vanishes from the screen, Beca shouting after her, “I don't know what you would do without me!”
It takes a couple minutes for Chloe to pop back onto the screen, Beca lifting her gaze from her phone to smile at her girlfriend. She tosses the device aside and takes another sip from her beer, frowning when she realizes Chloe is just staring at her with an odd expression.
Chloe shakes her head, as if to make sure her head is screwed on straight. “I just can't believe this is happening. You moving out here.”
“Well, you better start believing it, Beale, before I show up with a U-haul in your street, like a proper lesbian.”
Chloe snickers. “I think three years is already too long to fit in that stereotype, Becs.”
“Damn it,” Beca mutters teasingly. She sighs and tries to get comfortable, wishing she was cuddling with Chloe instead of alone on her leather couch. “For the record, I can't really believe it either and I can't wait to wake-up next to you every morning.”
“Love you,” Chloe murmurs, blowing Beca a kiss. “Okay, let's start this before I fall asleep on you.”
“Right.” Beca reaches out to hold her finger just above the space bar to start the movie. “Ready?” she waits for Chloe's nod. “3, 2, 1, go!”
“We're getting good at this,” Chloe compliments as she settles under her blanket, bowl of popcorn cradled in her arms. “We should totally get our long-distance-relationship stamp of approval.”
Beca laughs endearingly. “I don't think that's a thing, babe.”
Chloe sends her a playful glare. “Don't crush my spirits, Becs.”
Half-an-hour into the movie, Chloe is uncharacteristically quiet, and Beca realized she's fallen asleep when her eyes flicker up to the Skype window in the top-left corner of her screen. Sighing, she still watches the rest of the movie in case Chloe drifts out of her slumber and wonders where she's gone, but also because the movie itself is kind of enjoyable.
“Goodnight, love.” She whispers as the credits roll out, taking one last look at her peaceful girlfriend before shutting her laptop with another soft sigh.
Six days until she can hold Chloe in her arms again.
Beca [3:56 PM]
Just landed in Paris.
My love ❤ [3:58 PM]
Squeeeee :D :D :D
Beca smiles, shouldering her carry-on as she steps off the plane.
Beca [3:59 PM]
Jerry and I are checking out a few places this afternoon.
Beca [3:59 PM]
I'll pick you up at seven for our date.
My love ❤ [4:04 PM]
What should I wear?
Beca [4:04 PM]
Preferably something that doesn't take too much work to get you out of.
My love ❤ [4:04 PM]
On it ;) ;)
Beca takes a quick, collecting breath to try and get her body temperature under control. She's for now in a professional setting and if she lets her mind wander to Chloe's outfit, and subsequently, to Chloe's body, which she hasn't touched in over two months, she knows the afternoon is bound to last forever.
At seven PM sharp, Beca finds herself in front of Chloe's door. Anticipation making her fingers tingle, Beca raises her hand to the bell and presses it.
The sight that greets her is enough to make her mouth dry up and her brain to momentarily short-circuit. Chloe's flower-patterned light blue summer dress makes her eyes pop out more than usual, and their intensity makes Beca's knees quiver.
“Hi,” Chloe murmurs, leaning against her open door. She laughs at Beca's frozen expression. “Are you going to come in or do you plan on standing there?”
Shaking herself out of the fog, Beca steps in, waits for Chloe to close the door before she pushes against her shoulder to press her against it, claiming her lips with hers the following beat.
Chloe smiles against her lips, hands drifting to cup Beca's neck to tug her closer. “I've missed you.”
“Me too,” Beca's free hand curls around Chloe's hip as she presses herself closer, a moan leaving their mouths in sync. She kisses Chloe once more, reluctantly backing away before things get too heated and they miss their reservation. “Tu es magnifique.”
Chloe draws in a breath, seemingly not indifferent to Beca speaking French, either. “Thank you, baby.”
“Here, um,” she lifts her other hand, extending the bouquet of wild flowers she picked up on the way over. “These are for you.”
Chloe beams, plucking them out of Beca's hold. “You're really taking this date seriously, huh?”
Cheeks warming up under Chloe's gaze, Beca breaks eye-contact briefly. “I realized on the plane that I had never really taken you out on a real date, because every time we're in the same city, I'm either living with you, or you living with me. So I wanted to do properly by picking you up and – and getting you flowers.”
“You're too sweet,” Chloe says through a smile, pecking Beca's lips. “I'll put these in some water.”
Beca takes the opportunity to wander around Chloe's living-room for the first time in seven months. It hasn't changed much, but Beca notices a few additions since she was last over, pieces of her here and there.
The hoodie that once belonged to her and Chloe wouldn't give back after she spent Christmas in Paris thrown over the back of the couch, a copy of the photo of the two of them from their road-trip hung up on the wall next to the window, the album she co-wrote with Emily sitting on top of Chloe's stereo, or the sticker of her label stuck on the back of Chloe's computer.
Chloe strides back into the room, a light jacket sitting on her shoulders and sneakers on her feet.
“Where are we going?” She asks as she comes to a stop in front of Beca, sliding her arms around her waist. “Is it a surprise?”
Beca drapes hers over her shoulder and kisses the corner of her mouth. “We're going to your favorite neighborhood in Paris.”
“La Butte-aux-Cailles?” Chloe asks, eyes lighting up in excitement.
Beca nods with a small smile. “I was thinking we would go to Chez Nathalie for dinner and then have drinks at Le Merle Moqueur?”
A toothy smile spreading on her face, Chloe shakes her head lightly. “I can't believe you remember all of this.”
It goes back to the first time Beca was in Paris. Over the month of July, Chloe took her to all her favorite places in the capital. Nestled in one of the young working-class neighborhoods on the other side of La Seine, the restaurant is small but lively, its patrons coming from all types of backgrounds and ethnicity. Chloe had then dragged her to the even smaller bar where they had shared stories over glasses of wine, until the bar gently shooed them out at closing time.
She was originally planning on taking Chloe to the restaurant up in the Eiffel Tower but quickly changed her mind. Over the two years they have been dating, Beca has learned Chloe prefers simple, family restaurants to chic and expensive ones. Part of it has to do with the fact that she likes to chat with the waiter or the couple on the next table over, but mostly because of the warm, lively mood that never fails to make her smile the second she steps inside.
Just like she's learned how Chloe prefers wild flowers (daisies being her favorites) to immaculate roses or would rather walk hom or take the subway than a cab or a private car, because she likes to soak in the street atmosphere or the hustle and bustle of public transport.
“I love those places,” Beca replies with a fond smile. She loves them because that's where she fell more and more in love with Chloe, over delicious food and shared stories. “And I can't wait to discover more of those hidden gems throughout Paris.”
“I'm so happy you're here.” Chloe murmurs, leaning in to kiss her sweetly.
“Me, too.” Beca nudges her nose against Chloe, dipping in for another soft kiss before backing away. “Ready?”
“I just need to grab my camera, since my favorite subject is in town,” Chloe grins while Beca rolls her eyes, even if she has come far from her initial discomfort around lenses pointed at her.
When they get to the restaurant, Beca insists on being the one to order their food to practice on her French a bit more, and Chloe teaches her all the words on the menu while they wait for their meals.
They drink way too much wine and make the last call of the bar once again, Chloe stating they should walk home because it's a beautiful night, ignoring Beca's protests about wanting to get her out of that dress as soon as possible.
“Come on, Grumpy,” Chloe teases as she tugs on Beca's hand. “It's not that far.”
“Agreed, it's only three subway stops from here.”
Chloe tuts at her with a glare. “I want to show you something.”
“It better be good, because guess what,” she swiftly loops an arm around Chloe's waist, swallowing the noise of surprise flying through Chloe's lips by slanting her own across them. She kisses Chloe languidly, one hand cupping her cheek while the other one holds her close. “I really want you.”
“We'll get to that,” Chloe whispers, seemingly immune to Beca's charm.
Beca groans but still follows her, dragging her feet for a stretch, only to have Chloe glare at her. They wind through small cobblestones streets, Chloe pausing here and there snap a few pictures, immediately reaching for Beca's hand and lacing her fingers with hers when she's done.
As Chloe twists her head to smile at her when they resume walking, Beca's mind randomly wanders to the couple she saw walking down the street in Toulouse a few summers ago. They looked so in love, and she remembers wishing she could find the same type of happiness.
She falters, her heart growing to twice its size at the realization that she had found that thing, that person that makes her so happy she just wants to kiss her under the starry sky.
And she does just so.
“Hold on,” Beca requests quietly, gently tugging on Chloe's hand to get her to stop. Wordlessly, she comes to stand in front of her, the scuffs of their shoes bumping together from their proximity. She captures Chloe's lips with hers then, in a kiss that's soft and gentle and loving, a kiss that steals the air from Chloe's lungs.
A kiss full of gratefulness for the past and present, and full of promises for the future.
Chloe blinks at her when they part, eyes dazed in surprise. “What was that for?”
“Just because I wanted to,” Beca explains with a simple shrug.
Chloe smiles, draping an arm over her shoulders. “That sounds familiar.”
“And because I love you.”
She kisses Chloe again, and again, grinning at the giggle that flits through her lips.
“At this rate, we'll never get there, Becs.” Chloe murmurs across her mouth a minute later, stilling Beca's hand creeping up the back of her thigh.
“Awesome, let's go home.”
“You're insatiable.” Chloe mumbles with an eye-roll. She kisses Beca to placate any other form of protest before it can even reach Beca's tongue. “I promise you'll like it.”
They hike way too many steps that have Beca panting for breath and making a deal with herself to start going to the gym, and then Chloe's stopping in front of a building Beca has never seen before.
“Where are we?” Beca asks as Chloe enters the digital code and pushes the heavy wooden door open.
“I used to live in this building when I first moved back to Paris.” Chloe explains as she starts toward the stairs.
“What? Isn't this like, trespassing now that you don't live here anymore?”
Chloe rolls her eyes. “We're fine.”
They walk up the seven (seven) flights of stairs, before Chloe abruptly stops at the landing and looks up. Beca follows her gaze to find a window in the ceiling.
“What are you doing?” Beca hisses as Chloe walks to the wall to unhook a small ladder from it. Chloe ignores her, placing the ladder against the ledge of the window and tucking it in a locking position. “Chloe!”
“Shush,” Chloe placates her once more. “I know what I'm doing.”
“Getting us arrested?”
“Oh, take a chill pill, Becs. We're not going to commit a crime.” Chloe climbs a few steps and reaches up to unlock the window and push it upwards. She climbs the rest of the way and eases herself onto the roof, popping her hand in the space and waving her fingers towards herself. “Come on,”
A string of mumbled protests leaves Beca's mouth before she sighs in resignation and follows up.
“Close your eyes,” Chloe whispers once she's tugged Beca up onto the large roof. Frowning, Beca does as she's told and lets Chloe lead her along the zinc roof covers.
“This is how I die, isn't it?” she asks, screwing her already shut eyes.
“Would you quit being so dramatic?” Chloe says with a laugh as she stops. “Okay. Now turn around and open your eyes.”
Any form of complaint dies on Beca's tongue the second she takes in the sight before her. The Eiffel Tower stands tall and bright in its shining glory, peaking from the lines of rooftops similar to the one the one they are standing on.
Contrary to the city that never sleeps, Paris is silent, save from soft jazz music drifting from an open window in the building across from them. Beca has trouble blinking away from the breathtaking view, until Chloe hugs her from behind, resting her chin over her shoulder.
Chloe grins into her neck. “Told you it would be worth it.”
“It's beautiful.” Beca muses, both hands coming up to rest over Chloe's ones laced over her stomach. “You come here often?”
“Not as much as when I lived in the building, obviously,” Chloe states. “When I moved out here after college, I would often find myself wondering if I had made the right choice leaving the States and pursuing a career that seemed very rickety at the time. Coming up here at night brought me some sort of peace from my thoughts and reminded me just how much I love Paris and couldn't live anywhere else.”
Beca smiles, spinning in Chloe arms to kiss her gently. “I can understand why, and I'm happy I'm moving out here.”
Beca thinks that, in that moment, all the stars lighting the sky fall into Chloe's eyes. “Yeah?”
While she was sure she was making the right decision, part of her was still anxious to move across the ocean and leave the people she knew behind.
Now though, as she takes in the unfiltered happiness radiating off Chloe's entire being, any doubt about Paris vanishes into thin air.
She's certain Chloe is the right choice; the love of her life, her forever.
It takes everything in Beca not to get down on one knee, even without a ring, and ask Chloe to be her wife, right here, right now. She knows it's too soon, that they need to get through the learning to live together phase before thinking about moving to the next step.
Beca nods decidedly. “Yeah.”
“I love you.”
Beca hums against Chloe's lips when she kisses her. “And I, you.”
Beca sighs. Seriously, this shouldn't be so hard. Yet, here she is, sitting at the foot of her bed in the matching, purple underwear set she bought at Victoria Secret down on Fifth, pondering if she should look up 'Taking sexy pictures for your long-distance girlfriend, 101' online.
It's either that, or asking for Stacie's advice, and frankly, she would rather pass.
“Okay, you can do this, Mitchell,” she utters to herself, moving to the center of her bed and propping herself against the pillows. She raises her phone above her head and snaps a few shots, nose crinkling as she shuffles through them a few seconds later. “This is supposed to turn her on, not scare her away.”
It takes a few more pep-talks, about thirty different shots, before Beca eventually goes for a picture of her body length, knee bent and hand resting low on her stomach, showing off her assets and brand new lace. Opening Chloe's message thread, she uploads it and types a quick text.
Beca [5:45 PM]
So I bought a little something today and I was wondering if you liked it.
Beca grimaces at how lame that sounds.
“Fuck it,” she mutters, counting to three in her head before pressing send.
Chloe's photo pops up on her phone thirty seconds later, and Beca feels her breath catch in her throat as her shaky fingers accept the call while she sits up.
“Hey Chlo,” she greets nonchalantly, grinning at Chloe's quick, audible breath down the line. “What's up?”
“You didn't give me an answer.” Beca fires back, knowing perfectly well Chloe can hear the smirk in her tone. “Do you like it?”
“Fuck,” Chloe hisses. “Like is an understatement.”
Beca's whole body strums in anticipation. “So, um, what are you wearing?”
Chloe lets out a small whine. “Becs, I can't really... get into anything right now."
“What? Why?” Beca whimpers, shoulders slumping in disappointment.
They haven't seen each other in a month, and while they have been apart longer than that, Beca needs to be with Chloe. It doesn't matter if it's on the phone or through the screen, she's that desperate.
“Aubrey is here.” That explains Chloe's hushed tone.
“So? Can't she like, leave?” Beca closes her eyes briefly and exhales slowly to get herself under control. “Sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude, I just... I'm kinda... um, horny? Like, ready to burst, horny?”
She tries not to be offended by Chloe's quiet laughing and feels her face starting to melt from the sudden rise of temperature in the room. “I can't. She's... having some boy issue and doesn't want to be alone tonight.”
“Ugh,” Beca grunts, dramatically flopping back on the mattress. “Chloeee.”
She should be embarrassed to sound this needy, but at this point, she doesn't care.
“I'm sorry,” Chloe whispers. “I'll make it up to you, I promise. Let's um...” Chloe pauses. “Let's Skype on Sunday night?”
“I can't, I have this stupid press luncheon that will drag on into the evening over here.”
“Okay, okay. We'll find a moment, soon, I promise.”
“Fine.” A resigned sigh flits through Beca's lips. “I'll just take care of myself in the meantime, then.”
She boasts a little bit from hearing Chloe groan. “Not fair. How am I supposed to comfort Aubrey while I know you're doing that.”
Beca chuckles. “You figure it out. Say hi to Posen for me.”
It sounds like Chloe is taking a collecting breath and Beca can't help but grin, despite her disappointment. “I will. Don't have too much fun without me.”
“Never.” Beca assures her, smiling softly. “Love you.”
“Love you, too. Bye.”
Beca [10:30 AM]
Are you trying to get me fat?
My love ❤ [10:32 AM]
Beca [10:32 AM]
I received your care package. I thought we had a deal regarding those carambars.
My love ❤ [10:34 AM]
Beca sets her phone down to pull out the rest of the contents: a bag of snickers with a sticker that says 'You make me snicker :D', a box of mints with one that says 'We are mint to be together <3', a box of tea displaying one with the question, 'Can you feel the passion', which is also the tea flavor.
Beca laughs and rolls her eyes, because her girlfriend is officially the biggest dork on earth. At the bottom of the box lie about a dozen of envelopes, all entitled, 'Open me when you feel...' each followed by a specific adjective depending on what mood Beca is in.
Beca [10:36 AM]
I'm really tempted to open the 'when you feel kinky' envelope right now.
My love ❤ [10:37 AM]
I was wondering how long you would last before opening that one ;)
Beca [10:37 AM]
I'll keep it for desperate times. It better be good.
My love ❤ [10:38 AM]
You doubting it?
Beca takes a deep breath; she doesn't have time to get into any of that, because she has a meeting in half an hour. She shoves the envelope in her bedside table drawer before she gives reason to her burning fingertips.
Beca [10:38 AM]
Beca [10:38 AM]
Thank you. I love every single thing in there and you're officially the best girlfriend ever.
My love ❤ [10:38 AM]
You're welcome, baby. Have a good day at work! :) :) xoxo
The month of November that year is one of the craziest Beca has ever had to go through. She has multiple on-going projects to wrap-up by the end of the month, all the while take care of a bunch of administrative bullshit in order to open a second branch for the label in Paris in less than eight months.
On top of that, the artist she is currently working with is the biggest drama-queen she has ever met. He has been going on and on about how the quality of sound isn't how it is supposed to be and that's why his voice sounds off, all the while basically telling her that she isn't good at her job.
Beca has been nodding along, silently begging for any interruption to get out him out of her hair.
“Are you sure your software isn't acting up?” he asks, getting right into her personal space. Beca glares at him, silently hoping for his sake that he refrains from touching her computer or she might get violent.
Luckily for him, Beca's phone chimes with an incoming call and her girlfriend's face popping up on the screen is enough to tug her anger level to something she can control.
“If you'll excuse me one second, I've got an important call to take. Why don't you take a break and rest that precious voice of yours?” she mutters through gritted teeth, making a shooing motion with her hand towards the door. He falters, but gets the message and leaves a few seconds later, just as Beca accepts the call and raises the phone to her ear. “Hey Chlo.”
“Hi!” Chloe's tone is as chirpy as always and makes Beca smile. “Is this a bad time? I know you're busy and can totes call you back later.”
“No, perfect timing, actually. You kept me from smacking an artist in the face and saved me some jail time.”
“Ooooh,” Chloe drawls out. “Is Justin Bieber 2.0 acting up again?”
“Acting up is an understatement. He's basically trying to tell me how to do my job so I told him to take a break. He's probably bugging his assistant to go get him a Caramel Macchiato, Venti, Skim, Extra Shot, Extra-Hot, Extra-Whip, Sugar-Free type of drink as we speak.”
“I'm sorry you have to go through that. I won't be your savior long though, because I have a friend's vernissage to get to so I'll be quick.” Chloe rushes out. “Question: how do you feel about cats?”
“Um, I'm undecided.” Beca drawls out, eyes narrowing in suspicion.
“But you're not allergic, right?”
“No.” Beca chuckles, having a pretty good idea what this is about. “Why?”
“My friend works at this shelter and she told me about three kittens who were abandoned in a shoe box this morning, out in the street. In a shoe box, Becs.”
Beca rolls her eyes at her girlfriend's dramatics, but can't help but smile at how caring she always gets when it comes to animals. She hums in acknowledgment.
“What does that have to do with me?”
“Well,” The unmistakable sheepishness in Chloe's tone tells Beca everything she needs to know. “Since you are soon going to move in, and I'm still internally shrieking about that, by the way,” Chloe pauses, drawing a chuckle from Beca. “I thought I would ask you if you didn't mind having a furry roommate.”
“Why do I have the feeling one of those kittens is already snuggled in your lap in your living-room?” Chloe's silence confirms Beca's suspicion, who can't help but laugh. She sighs, leaning back in her chair. “So what's our new friend's name?”
Chloe lets out a tiny squeal that makes Beca's heart flutter in her chest. “I thought we could both decide on that, but he's a ginger, like me, and since you love The Aristocats and it also happens to be the name of a place close to my heart, I thought we could name him Toulouse.”
“I like it,” Beca agrees with a fond smile. “I really do.”
“Toulouse, your Mama says she likes your name!” She hears Chloe gush, her voice sounding a bit farther away. Her stomach does a weird thing over Chloe calling her the name; not a bad thing, which is what concerns her a tiny bit. More like a sense of eagerness to, somewhere down the road, be that person to another human being, a product of she and Chloe's love. “He's thrilled you like his name. He's purring like crazy.”
Beca hums. “How did you know I like the Aristocats, anyway?”
“You sing or hum Everybody Wants to Be a Cat all the time, baby.” Beca furrows her brow; she has never noticed that. “It's cute.”
“Whatever.” Beca mutters, not ready to admit she knows the cartoon front to back and could watch it every day for the rest of her life. “The bedroom is off limit to the little monster, yeah? I'm not having sex with you when he's in the same room.”
“But who am I going to cuddle with when I miss you?”
“For fuck's sake.” Beca grumbles, then heavies out a resigned sigh. “Yeah, okay. Just... he'll have to be shooed out when I'm here.”
“Alright, I have to go deal with Doucheface.”
“Okay. I'll see you for our Skype date in a few days. Then you can meet Toulouse!”
Beca chuckles at her girlfriend's overflowing excitement. “Sure.”
“Awes. He's totes adorbs, you'll see. Have a good day at work.”
“Wait!” Beca rushes out before Chloe hangs up. “Can you like, send me a picture of the little monster?”
“Aw,” Chloe coos on the other end. “Yeah, we'll try our best selfie as soon as I hang up.”
“K. Love you."
“Love you, too.”
The promised selfie goes through just a minute later, their “fur baby” snuggled up in the crook of Chloe's neck. Beca grins and saves the picture as her new wallpaper, and tries to focus back on work as best as she can.
“Three time Grammy winner B. Mitchell, everyone!” Beca bows at the waist quickly, beaming at the crowd and waving at them as she walks to the other end of the stage to get down. “And now, let the countdown begin...”
Beca gives her microphone to the first person she finds and rushes down the steps towards the backstage area as the countdown for the new year begins, desperate to set her eyes on a particular redhead.
She spots Chloe twenty feet away, wrapped up in her big coat and gray beanie, eyes bright and smile big as Beca strides to her.
“Baby, that was amazing!”
Beca grins and curls her fingers into the lapels of Chloe's wool coat, tugging her against her body. “Yeah?”
Her mind buzzes with left over adrenaline from performing, the countdown being shouted at the top of thousands of people's lungs, and the sparkling blues staring back at her.
“3, 2, 1...” Brushing her nose against Chloe's cold and pink one, Beca presses her lips to hers in a searing kiss. “Happy New Year!”
“Happy New Year, Chlo,” she murmurs when they part, not resisting another soft kiss to Chloe's rosy lips.
“Happy New Year, love.” Chloe husks out, looping her arms around Beca's neck to pull her into a tight embrace that sends a rush of warmth over Beca's length. Burying her nose in Chloe's hair, Beca lets out a content sigh, eager to start the new year.
Another Grammy nomination, a new album in the works, but most importantly, moving to Paris in just over six months.
Something tells her it's going this year is going to be a good one.
“Ouch.” Beca hisses, features wrinkling up in pain. Her hair stylist glances at her through the mirror, releasing a bit of pressure on the strands of hair she's French braiding to the side of Beca's head.
“Nah, you're fine, I'm just being a wuss,” Beca rolls her eyes at herself, going back to thumbing through her phone.
My love ❤ [4:13 PM]
My love ❤ [4:13 PM]
Are you busy?
Beca [4:13 PM]
Kinda. I'm performing tonight, babe
Beca [4:13 PM]
Is everything okay?
My love ❤ [4:13 PM]
Oh right, the radio thing. Sorry, I forgot.
Beca [4:14 PM]
It's alright. Are you okay?
My love ❤ [4:14 PM]
Beca frowns, about to reply, but the three dots come up on her screen so she holds back.
My love ❤ [4:14 PM]
No, not really? I feel blue.
Beca glances over her shoulder. “Hey Rach, how much time until I have to be on stage?”
Her assistant looks up from her own phone. “About twenty minutes.”
“Okay, are you almost done?” she directs to her hair stylist this time.
“Give me three minutes.”
When she's done, Beca asks them to give her ten minutes on her own to make a phone-call.
“Hey baby,” Beca greets softly.
“I'm sorry for bugging you during an event.”
“You're not bugging me.” Beca assures her quickly. “I've been thinking about you all day.”
Beca hums in the affirmative. “Hard not to.”
She frowns at the sob she hears down the line, followed by a, “I'm sorry.”
“Don't be, baby. What's wrong?”
“Nothing major, just a bad day. I wish you were here.”
“Me too, Chlo.” Beca pauses to swallow the lump forming her throat. She hates it. Hates the fact that she's not just a drive away when Chloe doesn't feel okay. “Where's Toulouse?”
“He's already out, sprawled out on top of me.”
Beca huffs. “Lucky bastard.”
“Bec, you can't insult our fur baby.” She smiles at the sound of Chloe giggling down the line. “Tell me about your day.”
“I bumped into Ed Sheeran earlier, asked me where you were. You made quite the impression, Chlo.”
“Tell him I can send him an autograph if he wants one.”
“I'll be sure to pass the message along.” Beca replies with a smile, glad to hear Chloe's voice lighting up. “We should go to Coachella again this year.”
“I thought you weren't performing?”
“I'm not. I just thought we could go there to chill for a few days, listen to good music, make-out on the grass, sneak backstage to get free food and booze. You could take pictures and we could find a small cottage to stay in, do some wine tasting and hike in the Joshua Tree park, or something.”
Chloe lets out a dreamy sigh. “That sounds amazing.”
“I'll make some arrangements, then.” She hears a soft knock at the door and sighs. “I have to go, I'm sorry.”
“It's okay. I'm almost falling asleep, anyway. Thank you for taking the time to call, Becs.”
“Always.” Beca murmurs back. “Hey, Chlo?”
“Just under four months, now.”
“I know. Toulouse and I are super excited for you to move in with us.”
Beca squints. “Does Toulouse know the bedroom is off-limits once I do?”
“He knows how whipped you are so he isn't worried.”
“Of course.” Beca deadpans while Chloe laughs. She can't deny it; she's ultimately whipped with the both of them and even went as far as sending cat toys over the mail when Chloe first got him. “Give him a kiss for me.”
“I will. Have a good show. Love you.”
“Love you, too. Sweet dreams, baby.”
Beca [6:39 AM]
On my way
My love ❤ [6:41 AM]
OH MY GOSH
My love ❤ [6:41 AM]
My love ❤ [6:41 AM]
I'm NOT crying.
My love ❤ [6:41 AM]
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
1113 days, 53 600 miles, 250 hours spent on airplanes, 153 Skype calls, 34 packages and letters, too many texts and photos to count.
As Beca steps off the plane, she finds herself reminiscing about those three years and a half.
How they have been the best of her life, professionally and personally.
How many more amazing years are yet to come, with new doors opening for her musical career and finally getting to officially start this life thing with Chloe after all those ups and downs.
Chloe, the stranger seemingly immune to Beca's glare and cold aura who had barreled through the thick walls protecting Beca's heart in less than a day.
Chloe, the bubbly and over-excited photographer who showed Beca the beauty of seeing the world through her lens and what if felt like to be in love and loved in return.
Chloe, the woman she will get to call her wife, someday.
Heartbeat echoing in her ears, Beca turns the corner of baggage claim, not registering anything but a flash of red hair and a piercing squeal before Chloe collides into her with so much force that she staggers backwards and nearly falls on her ass.
She laughs into Chloe's neck, locking an arm tightly around her waist as she catches her balance. “Trying to get me injured before I even move in, Beale?”
“Oh, hush,” Chloe whispers breathlessly, pulling away just enough to slant her lips across Beca's in a heated kiss. Recovering from the slight shock of being so thoroughly kissed in a public setting, Beca sinks her fingers into Chloe's red locks and responds just as eagerly. “You're here.”
Beca blinks back the moisture gathering in her eyes and reaches out to brush her thumb over Chloe's cheek, catching a few tears sliding down. Her chest feels like it might explode any second now, swelling from a degree of happiness she has never experienced before.
She gives up any attempts to reign in her emotions and lets out a watery laugh, tugging Chloe closer and gently resting her forehead against hers. Her breathing hitches at the unrestrained joy reflected in Chloe's cerulean eyes, bright and shining with undeniable joy.
Her heart feels full as it settles back to a normal pace in her chest, beating calmly against her ribs.
Beca's eyes slide open under the warm sun bathing the side of her face. She blinks hazily, once, twice, to adjust to the morning light and shed the remains of sleep from her clouded mind.
The window left open last night welcomes a gush of fresh air that moves throughout the room, pebbling Beca's arms and chest with countless goosebumps.
Sounds of the Parisian streets slowly coming to life down below drift inside as well, along with the smell of fresh bread coming from the bakey across from Chloe's building, waking Beca's senses one by one. Toulouse is purring by her feet, the one rule about him not sleeping in the bedroom when Beca moved in apparently forgotten.
Heaving out an unwinding sigh, Beca revels in that feeling of unrestrained contentment for a stretch.
Next to her, Chloe is still captive of Morpheus arms, face partly hidden by scattered red curls as she lies on her stomach, the light gray sheet having pooled to her waist sometime during the night and leaving her back uncovered.
Beca rolls onto her side, orbs dancing over smooth, pale skin, unevenly sprinkled with light freckles. Edging closer, she lies a tentative kiss on Chloe's shoulder, then another, brushing her lips over defined muscles.
She sees Chloe's hand twitch and hears her breathing hitch slightly, and pulls back just in time to catch the first flutter of Chloe's lids.
It's one of those rare mornings where Beca wakes up before Chloe, and she gets to witness Chloe's blue eyes slowly come to life, at first hazy and blurry with remains of dreamful sleep but only for a handful of seconds, before the smile tugging at Chloe's lips reaches them and then they sparkle, filled with countless of stars painted on a cloudless blue sky.
“Hi,” Chloe husks out, voice thick with leftover slumber. A soft, happy sigh flees from her nose, as she blinks a couple times, as though to make sure Beca is really here.
“Morning,” Beca murmurs, tone equally rusted. She leans in slowly, brushing Chloe's lips in a short kiss, one that drags her mind further away from the fog. Chloe's hand comes up to rest on her jaw, her thumb stroking lightly over the apple of her cheek as she draws Beca closer, into a deeper lip-lock. Rolling onto her back, Beca tugs Chloe on top of her, her body strumming upon feeling Chloe's naked body press against hers.
“As much as I like where this is going,” Beca rasps out, wrapping her fingers around Chloe's wrist to stop her hand from venturing any more south than her chest. “I wanna do something.”
“What?” Chloe asks, breaking from Beca's hold and lacing their fingers instead. Beca brings their intertwined hands to her lips and presses a light kiss on her knuckles.
“We need to get dressed for what I have in mind.”
“Boo,” Chloe pouts, drawing a light chuckle from Beca. “I was planning on staying in bed all day.”
“Did you?” Beca hums. “I have to unpack the couple suitcases I brought with me.”
“Oh right, I should clear you a drawer.” Chloe purses her lips as she looks around the room in thought.
“A drawer only?” Beca snickers, fingers dipping under the sheet to tease the ticklish spot on Chloe's waist. “Good thing I didn't show up with my U-haul, then.”
Most of her stuff is still in the apartment she shares in New York with Stacie and Jesse, her plan being to bring it over little by little each time she has to fly back to NYC for work.
Chloe lets out an exaggerated sigh. “And maybe a couple of hangers in the dresser.”
Beca raises both eyebrows. “Wow, now I feel special.”
Chloe simply winks at her in reply.
“What did you have in mind?” She asks lightly, brushing a couple of strands of hair away from Beca's face. “Instead of staying in bed.”
“You'll see.” Beca lifts her head to press a kiss to the corner of Chloe's mouth. “Go get dressed.”
“Shower first?” Chloe suggests, a faint glow of mischievousness dancing in her eyes. Beca rolls hers and huffs.
“If you insist.”
After a long shower and debate over which camera to bring with (Chloe never goes out the door without a camera), they walk down the steps of Chloe's Haussman building and step out into the street. Beca loosely threads her fingers with Chloe, tugging her across the road and to the café tucked in the corner at the end of Chloe's street.
She orders two coffees and two croissants in the best French she can muster, flushing when she catches Chloe's impressed look.
“You, um, you remember that day we went to Montmartre for my photography lesson?” Beca asks, feeling like she should explain why it was so important to go out for breakfast. Chloe nods slowly. “You pointed out this couple through the window, and it was the simplest thing in the world. They were having coffee in this quaint little place and looked so happy. I couldn't help but long for something like that with you. Something as simple as coffee and croissants in the morning.” Beca clears her throat when she feels it tickle with the emotions bubbling up in her chest. “So simple, yet it seemed so far away, like it belonged to a fantasy because I didn't know when or if we would ever live in the same city.”
She takes a deep breath, giving the waiter a strained smile as he sets down the two cups and plates on the table, before looking back at Chloe. Her hand moves across the surface to slide into Chloe's.
“And now we're actually here, and I still have to pinch myself that this is something we'll get to do nearly every day; have breakfast together.” Beca lets out a half-laugh, half-sob, embarrassingly reaching up to swipe the back of her hand across her cheek when a tear spills out over the rim of her eye. “It might sound stupid, but it makes me unbelievably happy.”
Chloe leans forward, resting her hand over Beca's neck and tugging her into a light, warm kiss.
“Je t'aime.” It's no louder than a faint murmur, yet holds enough power to ignite Beca's whole body as it resonates down to her toes. “A la folie."
Beca smiles, the kind of smile that makes the corner of her eyes crinkle, the kind of smile that she knows shines right into her eyes. “I love you, too.”
As she listens to Chloe plan their week-end and their next vacation over the summer, Beca still finds it hard to wrap her mind that this is no longer a fantasy.
That this time, there is no bitterness tinting her happiness in prospect of having to fly back home in a few days or weeks time.
No question about when they will get to see each other next or if they are strong enough to last the distance.
“Becs?” Beca shakes her head out of her reverie and glances at Chloe to find her staring at her with her head tilted in slight question. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” Beca nods, wrapping her fingers around Chloe's and squeezing them lightly in reassurance. “More than okay.”
She is in Paris, and she is here to stay, in the city where it all started. A place that she now thinks of as home, a place where past memories will tangle with the ones that have yet to be made.
It's just the beginning of a new chapter to their story, and Beca can't wait to see it unfold.
She has the inkling it's bound to be incredible.