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Are You The One?

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Beca glanced around the empty bar, waiting patiently for everyone to show up. Her stomach turned with nervous anticipation, unsure how they would take the news she was about to tell them. She didn't regret her decision but knew her parents would most likely have strong opinions about it and would not hold back their thoughts.

The door swung open and she was relieved to see the first to arrive was her stepbrother Jake, followed immediately by his younger brother Noah. Jake was a year younger than Beca at twenty-three, and Noah was two years behind him having turned twenty-one not long ago. Jake frequented the bar when he was in town, but Noah was still in college across the country and had only been inside Charlie's a handful of times.

"Little Bec!" Jake greeted her enthusiastically, striding forward and wrapping her in a warm hug.

Beca rolled her eyes but hugged him back. One he released her she bumped her fist with Noah, who had always been less affectionate than his older brother. Her relationship with the boys was rocky at the start, but her dad and Sheila had been married for over ten years now and all those tensions of blending families were long gone.

Noah glanced around the bar, asking, "How's this place doing? It still looks the same as I remember."

Beca shrugged, "Fine. Business has been good lately."

Jake perched himself on a barstool and shot her a look. "So, what's this all about anyways?"

"You'll see. I'm not explaining myself a million times, so wait for everyone else to get here."

Noah grabbed a seat beside his brother, asking, "Who else is coming for this big announcement?"

Beca answered, "My mom and Rob and the parents."

They both nodded, recognizing their shared term for Ben and Sheila. As if speaking them into existence, the four adults strolled casually into the bar moments later.

"Bec, honey, what's going on?"

Beca sighed, knowing her mom wouldn't wait to demand an explanation for her strange request for the family to all get together.

Her father remained closer to the entrance of the bar, never feeling quite comfortable in the place. Sheila had no such issues, moving forward to give her sons hugs.

"Andrea, I'm sure Beca will explain why she's gathered us all here together like the big happy family we aren't," Ben said with a small smile, his expression and tone making it clear he wasn't being serious with the jab.

Andrea rolled her eyes at him, not bothering with a response as she moved slowly in a circle looking around the bar.

"The place looks good, Bec," she said fondly. "Charlie would be proud of how you've filled his shoes," she added, moving to hug her daughter.

Beca bit her lip at the mention of her uncle. The first anniversary of his passing hit her hard last month, still missing his easy-going smile and the late nights they'd spent in the bar shooting darts talking about anything and everything. She swallowed hard and pulled back, the last thing she wanted was to have this conversation fighting back tears.

Clearing her throat, she said, "So uh, I asked everyone to be here today because it's one of the only chances for us all to get together before mom and Rob leave for Africa again… and I have news."

Everyone fell silent, looking at her curiously.

Beca took a deep breath and let it out slowly, steeling herself for the reactions. "So, I did a thing… um…"

Jake rolled his eyes, "Spit it out already. We're family, whatever it is, it'll be fine."

Beca cracked a smile. "Right, okay… I auditioned to be on this MTV show called Are You The One and they accepted me. So… I'm gonna be on tv."

A lot of frowns and confused looks morphed in front of her except for Noah, who started laughing. Sheila glanced at her youngest son while Ben's eyebrows creased more the longer he processed the news.

Andrea glanced at Ben and then back at Beca. "Honey, I have no idea what that is."

Realization dawned over Jake, who had been deep in thought ever since Beca named the show. "Wait a second… is that the show where you get matched up or something?"

Beca nodded, "Yeah, sort of. There's about twenty of us and we are all in this house together and someone there will be my "perfect match." She made finger quotations around the final words. "It's basically a dating show, and if by the end we all figure out who our match is we win a million bucks."

The expressions before her were changing drastically and it was taking all her self control not to laugh at the horror on her father's face. Sheila was smiling, seeming to like the idea for whatever reason, while her mother and Rob were clearly having a silent conversation between themselves. Noah was now cheering and voicing his approval, making her own smile spread across her face.

"Beca, I don't think this is a good idea at all," Ben protested. "MTV… that network is trash. Why would you do this?"

"It sounds fun," Beca replied. "I haven't had much of that lately."

"You own a bar for God's sake," Ben retorted, running his fingers through his hair. "How much more fun could you need?"

Andrea came to her defense, "Exactly, Ben. She OWNS the bar. It's work for her, not fun."

Jake mumbled, "I dunno about that… I've seen her have a lot of fun around here…"

Beca smacked his shoulder, her eyes warning her brother to shut up.

"What?!"

Noah finally found his voice, interjecting, "That show is crazy! They do all these crazy challenges and drink…" he trailed off at the look Ben was giving him. "And find their true love or something. It's cool."

Ben looked at Andrea, almost begging, "Andrea, please. Talk some sense into your daughter."

Andrea brushed him off, "Ben, it's Beca's life. It's her decision to go on a stupid reality show, but honestly I don't see a ton of harm in it. She'll go to this house and meet a bunch of people her own age and maybe even end up falling in love."

Beca raised her eyebrows at her mom, still having doubts. "Seriously?"

Her mom nodded, moving over to wrap her in another brief hug. "Bec, I might not always agree with your choices, but I will always support you."

"Do you agree with this choice?"

Andrea hesitated, finally admitting, "No, not really. I don't see the point of putting yourself and your life out there on some show for the entire world to see, but that's just me. If this is really something you want, then I support you."

Beca knew that was about as good as she was gonna get. "Thanks mom," she said, her gaze flickering over to Rob.

Andrea had met Robert Stevens through her work with Doctors Without Borders, and the two quickly built a close friendship. When the travel had become too much for her parents' marriage, Rob was there for her and eventually the two began to date. They were married shortly after and continued to spend most of their time traveling the world to provide medical aid to places in need. The result of that was Beca spending quite a bit of time with her dad, and then Sheila, Jake, and Noah when they entered the picture, however she and Rob got along famously, and she respected the man and his opinions.

"What do you think, Rob?"

Rob returned her shrug. "Bec, I think your twenties are for adventures and figuring shit out. Sounds to me like a pretty great adventure."

Andrea smiled and moved to her husband's side, his arm automatically slipping around her waist. "Well said."

Ben threw his hands up, searching the room for an ally. "Sheila don't tell me you're with them on this…" he trailed off at the skeptical look on his wife's face.

"Ben, it seems pretty harmless to me," Sheila finally answered. "Beca's an adult."

"I'd rather not know," Ben sighed, his head snapping up to look at Beca. "Why did you tell us?"

Beca nodded at the question. "I had to tell you because the producers and matchmakers and whoever else from the show is gonna want to talk to you and interview you about me. I haven't really been great at relationships, so they're gonna talk to a lot of people… not just me… about what they or you think the problems are. I don't really know the details, but something like that. So, I didn't want you to get ambushed."

"How considerate," Ben quipped, still looking unhappy about the entire situation. "Okay, will you explain this whole show one more time? Please?"

Beca nodded, knowing her dad needed to understand exactly what was going to happen. "Sure Dad. I'll go to a house with nineteen other single people who are also bad at relationships but want to find love. There will be ten guys and ten girls, and one of those ten guys will be my perfect match. The idea is to figure out who my perfect match is, and everyone else will be doing the same thing… trying to find their match. We talk and get to know each other and build relationships… and I guess friendships too. There are other minor things that happen, but that's the basics of it, and if we all figure out who our perfect match is we win a million dollars."

Ben's forehead crease had returned. "So, you each win a million if you find all the matches?"

Beca shook her head. "No, we split the money."

Noah nodded, chiming in, "Yeah that's such bullshit. That's only fifty grand each."

Sheila raised an eyebrow at his words. "Wait, is that true? You split the million?"

"Yeah, but it's not really like I'm in it for the money anyways," Beca responded. "I've got everything I need here at the bar, it's more for the experience and I guess a shot at finding my perfect match. I mean, I'm pretty doubtful but you never know."

Andrea asked curiously, "Who is looking after the bar while you're gone?"

"Hank." Beca was grateful to have the man on her team. He was logical and organized and an excellent manager. She knew he would keep the staff in line while she was gone. "He knows the bar almost as well as I do. Besides, it's only for a few months."

The room fell silent for a moment, making Beca think they were about all out questions until Jake spoke up curiously.

"Where are you going?"

Beca grinned, knowing that one piece of information.

"Hawaii."

Chapter Text


Beca's jaw dropped as the car slowly traveled up the long driveway towards the biggest house she'd ever seen. It could only be described as a mansion, and she momentarily forgot her nerves about meeting the other nineteen strangers she'd be trapped inside with for the next six weeks. The car slowed to a stop in front of the door and the driver exited to pull her suitcase from the trunk for her. She got out of the backseat, thanked him for his help, and grabbed the suitcase handle, only hesitating for a moment before walking towards the open front door.

The house was just as stunning on the inside, with a wide entryway that led into a wide-open main floor containing a spacious kitchen, dining room, and living room. She could see people milling around chatting sporadically and noticed a few more in the backyard by the pool through the floor to ceiling glass that made up most of the back of the house. Before she could move into the main room, a boyish face appeared directly in her line of vision sporting an excited grin.

"Hey! I'm Jesse," he said happily, making her notice the red solo cup in the hand not extended towards her and wonder how many drinks he'd had already.

Old habits die hard, and Beca found herself immediately annoyed by his exuberance and lack of boundaries. "I'm not interested."

The shock in his eyes almost had her bursting out laughing, going from happy to stunned in a matter of seconds. In an equal amount of time she remembered why she was there and the fact that someone was recording everything she said and did, the feeling dousing her more effectively than a bucket of ice water. A glance toward the ceiling to spot the black camera hanging in the corner had her feeling even more self-conscious.

"Sorry, reflex. I'm Beca," she said, hoping it came across appropriately apologetic.

Jesse recovered quickly, his grin widening as they shook hands. "It's cool. This whole thing is weird, right? I'll see you around."

Just like that, he was gone, and Beca took a moment to watch him bounce back into the kitchen where an ungodly amount of liquor bottles were strewn across the countertops.

"Talk about your crash and burn… way to win 'em over, Short Stack."

Beca turned to the side and raised her eyebrows at the large blonde who'd witnessed her entire exchange with Jesse. Shrugging, she offered her hand.

"Can't win 'em all," she said, forcing a smile. "Beca."

"Fat Amy," the blonde said proudly, shaking her hand.

Beca froze for a second, deciding to just go with it after a long pause. "Right, okay then."

"C'mon, you look like you could use a drink," Fat Amy said, clapping her on the shoulder and moving past her into the main room. "Leave your bags over there," she threw over her shoulder with a careless gesture towards where she'd been standing a second ago.

Beca took a deep breath and slowly rolled her suitcase over to the growing pile. She needed the extra few seconds to compose herself and remember this was all supposed to be fun. Suddenly the idea of being imprisoned with nineteen strangers seemed more like suicide than fun, but that was nothing alcohol couldn't cure.

She lifted her chin and strolled confidently into the living room, the few people remaining inside glanced her way and moved over to say hello. Fat Amy was at her side in an instant, shoving a solo cup into her hand. Beca knew the sooner she had a buzz going the more relaxed she would be.

After meeting Benji, Flo, Emily, and Tom, Beca decided to explore the backyard, the pool, and the patio area calling to her. She could see the beach in the distance, and it made her hopeful they'd get to spend some time on the beautiful white sand.

There were even more people to meet outside, clearly enjoying the gorgeous Hawaiian afternoon. Theo, Luke, Donald, Aubrey, and the most intimidating woman she's ever seen introduced themselves, the last calling herself Kommissar without any explanation and no one was brave enough to ask for one. Again, Beca found herself going with it, though she moved away from the statuesque blonde towards the edge of the pool near the hot tub.

"So, what's your story?"

The voice surprised her, not expecting anyone to follow. She turned to see one of the guys shuffling slowly behind her, searching for the name to go with his brown skin and backward baseball cap over dark hair.

"What do you mean?" Beca asked back, still desperately searching for his name despite knowing he said it less than two minutes ago.

He seemed to recognize her struggle, offering, "Donald, but you can call me DJ."

Beca raised an eyebrow, asking, "DJ?"

"Donald Jr.," he said with a chuckle. "It's much simpler. And yeah, what's your story… what brought you here?"

Beca took a sip from her drink, needing the extra time to formulate her answer to that question. She wasn't prepared for the burn of alcohol combined with what must be pure sugar, coughing into her elbow until the sensation passed.

"Fat Amy make you that?" He smirked knowingly.

"Yeah," Beca gasped, "I've clearly made many mistakes in life."

Donald laughed again, but strangely it made her feel comfortable instead of embarrassed. "She made me one too, but I passed it off to Flo after the first sip. No way I could stomach the whole thing."

Beca glanced down at the offending cup, wondering what she should do with it. Deciding to just hold onto it, for now, she met his even gaze, "I guess I'm here to change things up. I suppose we're all here to find our perfect match but… do you really believe in that?"

Donald shrugged, glancing back at the house. She followed his gaze to see that more new arrivals had appeared since her own entrance. "Honestly, I don't know. I'd like to think I'll come out of this with some sort of relationship, but I'll take six weeks in Hawaii and some solid friendships and count myself lucky."

Beca nodded in agreement, momentarily forgetting the poison in her cup as she took another sip, this time spitting it out onto the grass. The remainder of the cup's contents followed immediately, not risking a third taste.

"In all my years bartending I've never tasted something as horrible as that."

Donald perked up a bit, asking, "You're a bartender? Sick… someone who knows how to make a drink."

Beca nodded, having decided not to disclose the actual details of her occupation. She'd spent enough hours behind the bar… still does… for it to be true. "What do you do?"

"I'm a sous chef at this place in L.A. No big deal," he answered. "Paying my dues and hoping to move up the chain and open my own place someday."

"That's actually kinda awesome," Beca replied, surprised at his unexpected answer. "My bar doesn't serve food, but… the owner has been thinking about expanding."

She wasn't sure why she decided to keep her business to herself, especially since she actually felt a connection with the man. He had kind eyes and a welcoming smile, his easy-going stance making her feel comfortable in his presence. In preparation for coming on the show Noah had made her watch an entire previous season, and one of the main things that had stuck out to her was that most of the people were in menial jobs and were there for exposure. Beca wasn't sure what to expect but had a feeling that owning her own successful business might have her standing out from the rest of the house.

Donald lit up at that admission, offering, "They definitely should. At least to give all those drunks some apps to soak up the alcohol so they can keep drinking. Keeping it simple with like wings and jalapeño poppers and other small stuff; would be super easy and probably make them a shit ton of money."

Beca couldn't help but smile at his excitement when he started talking about food, even more surprised at how much she liked his simple musings. Maybe she needed to think more seriously about expanding and adding a kitchen.

"Yeah, that does sound cool. Maybe I'll bring it up when I get back to work."

Donald grinned, "Sweet. Well, we're both empty and there are more people inside… should we go get refills and be social?"

Beca nods in agreement, falling into step with him as they make their way back inside the house to loud chatter and minor chaos.


Beca was thoroughly overwhelmed at the number of people in the house, amazed that they were still waiting on two more. She wondered exactly how they were all going to fit, vaguely remembering the bedroom setups from the season she'd watched with Noah. A glance to the side informed her Fat Amy was about to pour another round of tequila shots, making her stomach turn at the thought of more alcohol. She hadn't eaten anything since arriving, quickly spotting the bowls of pretzels and chips and grabbed a handful. The pretzels helped immensely, already full of regret while still holding the shot in her hand waiting for the rest of the glasses to be distributed.

Before they could cheer and down them, a newcomer appeared in the entryway causing Fat Amy to yell loudly for everyone to wait while she poured one more. Beca turned to get a glimpse at the woman, momentarily stunned at the gorgeous redhead beaming a perfect smile at the lot of them.

"Ginger! Take a shot!" Fat Amy shouted, shoving the glass into her hand without waiting for an answer.

To her credit, the woman didn't bat an eye when she took the glass from the blonde and downed it immediately. Fat Amy nodded in approval, though her words reprimanded the woman as if talking to an impatient child.

"Very good, but this time wait for the rest of us."

The redhead laughed and nodded in agreement as she poured another shot.

Fat Amy turned around to the rest of the group, shouting, "In honor of only needing one more person to complete the group!"

Beca laughed at the absurdity of it, plenty buzzed enough to find Fat Amy's antics funny and clinked glasses with Donald before they all emptied the glasses. Her eyes were drawn once more to the redhead, who was now circling through the group introducing herself. Beca stuck her hand out when it was her turn, only for the woman to completely ignore it and wrap her in a hug.

"Oh okay, another one with no boundaries," Beca joked, lightly returning the hug.

The redhead let out a musical laugh and stepped back, saying, "It's true. Hi, I'm Chloe."

Beca smiled back genuinely, feeding off Chloe's bubbly personality. "Beca. Nice to meet you."

Chloe nodded opening her mouth to respond before she was cut off by a male voice.

"Who's ready to get fucked up!"

The entire room turned to look at the last arrival, a relatively normal looking guy that put Beca on edge immediately. It was always the normal looking ones that turned out to be the weirdest mother fuckers, and this guy was setting off every alarm bell in her brain.

Fat Amy rolled her eyes at the man, bluntly asking, "Who the hell are you?"

"Bumper Allen, at all your services ladies. You should all be so lucky to be my perfect match. Now… who's gonna make me a drink?"

Beca took a quick glance around at all the raised eyebrows, unwilling to let the first day get off to such an awkward start now that everyone had arrived.

"As the only professional bartender here, I believe that responsibility falls to me," she announced, with way more bravado than she felt.

Her words were met with cheers at the knowledge they had an experienced mixologist in their midst, and they cleared her path towards the kitchen immediately. Beca felt more comfortable when she reached the bottles of liquor arranged along the countertop, searching quickly in the fridge for some limes. In no time at all she whipped up a cocktail and a pitcher of margaritas to the approval of her new housemates, the party, unfortunately, getting interrupted before it could get started.

A new voice cut through the introductions and loud getting-to-know-you conversations. "EVERYONE! ATTENTION PLEASE! I NEED EVERYONE OUTSIDE BY THE POOL RIGHT NOW!"

Beca knew this was someone important as not even Fat Amy offered a rebuttal to their new marching orders. She glanced around and saw an African American woman with a short blue mohawk gesturing for everyone to get outside. Realizing it must be one of the producers, Beca poured herself a drink and followed the crowd outside onto the grass near the pool. The woman waited until they were all assembled before introducing herself.

"Hi… Welcome to Hawaii," she said, pausing with a small smile to allow for the cheers. "My name is CR and I'm the lead producer on the show. Let me explain how things are going to work while you're here. The show will be broken down into mini weeks, lasting four days instead of seven, starting tomorrow. You'll have a challenge day, a date and Truth Booth day, a matchup ceremony day, and then a day off before everything resets. You're to wear your mics at all times except showering or during water activities. You're to cooperate with any and all production personnel around the house, challenge sites, and date activities. Do not tamper with or disable any cameras and microphones that have been placed throughout the house. Everyone signed the appropriate waivers before being selected agreeing to these terms, so there shouldn't be any issues. If something comes up you find a crew member who will bring you straight to me, or you come directly to me. Any questions?"

The group remained silent, having been through a much more detailed version of this when they agreed to be on the show.

"Good," CR nodded her approval at their immediate compliance. "Gail!"

Beca's eyes widened at the raised voice, glancing around as an attractive blonde strode over to her side, nodding at the words the producer whispered in her ear.

"Everyone meet Gail, the host of the show. She'll be leading you through the weeks, challenges, Truth Booths, and matchup ceremonies," CR explained, despite the fact they'd been briefed on this.

Gail gave a cheesy smile, dramatically saying, "Welcome to Hawaii. I'm looking forward to working with all of you and helping you find your perfect match!"

Beca rolled her eyes, already having doubts that her perfect match was here. She'd had a good conversation with Donald but remained skeptical of the process and promise of the show that they'd found her soulmate.

CR gave Gail a tight smile, turning back to the group. "We're going to film the introduction now. Gail will introduce the show and talk to you all. Hopefully, it won't take long to get all the shots we need. Just stand there and cheer and look positive and happy about everything she's saying."

Beca bit her lip to keep from laughing, glancing around at the mildly irritated expressions on most of her housemate's faces as a makeup person spent a few minutes touching up Gail's face. The woman definitely seemed a little extra to her, but Beca supposed that was all part of being on a show like this.

Gail finally nodded to CR that she was ready, whispering a quick "thank you" to the makeup girl making Beca's eyebrows raise momentarily, not expecting such politeness after the way the woman carried herself.

"Hey everyone, how was your trip in?" Gail asked pleasantly as the crew got into position.

Beca murmured a quiet answer along with most of the cast, again surprised at the mindless small talk that ensued between the host and one or two of the cast.

CR's voice cut through the chatter. "Okay, Gail are you ready? Know your lines?"

Gail shot her a quick thumbs-up, moving back a few paces to stand on a small mark painted into the grass. If Beca hadn't been looking closely she would have missed the spot completely, the entire sequence of events reminding her that reality television was far from reality.

At a signal, Gail's mouth formed into a wide smile. "Welcome to Maui," she began cheerfully, "and the most ambitious matchmaking experience ever created!" After a suspenseful pause, she continued, "This is Are You The One?!"

Beca glanced around as a few of the cast cheered and whistled, clearly buying into Gail's excited tone. She had to admit, the woman was good… polished and professional as she delivered her lines.

"You ten guys and ten girls have everything going for you, except for one thing… love. You're all here because you have one thing in common," Gail teased, again pausing and shooting a knowing look at them. "You suck at relationships."

Beca chuckled knowing that at least for her that was a massive understatement. She hadn't dated anyone seriously and had never gotten far enough with a boyfriend to introduce him to her family, let alone say those three terrifying words.

Gail continued her speech, the next part rolling off her tongue as if she'd said it thousands of times. "Each one of you has been put through an extensive matchmaking process, using psychologists, compatibility testing, professional matchmakers, and your family, your friends, and yes, your exes… bottom line is we've been able to find an ideal match for you."

Beca felt the anxiety return to her stomach, picking right back up and mixing unpleasantly with the alcohol now coursing through her system. She definitely needed another drink to accompany thoughts of finding her soulmate or perfect match or whatever these people were selling. A quick look around told her that most of the group was just as ready for Gail to move on from this part as she was.

Gail's expression turned mischievous as she said, "So, here's the question. If your perfect match was standing in front of you, would you even know it?"

Beca grinned at the several comments of "No" that rang out from around her.

"As a group, you're gonna have ten chances to pair up as ten perfect matches. If you pull it off at the same time, you'll leave Hawaii rich, in love, and take home one million dollars!" Gail raised her voice excitedly as she announced the prize money, eventually drowned out by the cheers and applause of the entire cast.

Beca couldn't help but cheer along with the rest of her castmates. The money didn't mean a whole lot to her, but it was part of this whole journey or experience or whatever and she knew she had a role to play along with everyone else.

Gail held up a hand to regain their attention. "Oh yeah, there's one more thing. You guys are here to do one thing, find your perfect match. To keep you focused on that, I'm giving you some tough love. If at any matchup you guys blackout, meaning you get no matches, your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

The group looked around stunned at the news, the reality check hitting hard despite knowing it was coming.

"You're all here to find love," Gail continued. "So if you follow your hearts, every penny of that million bucks is yours."

Beca glanced around at the less confident expressions, knowing that it was probably going to be difficult to stay focused on that goal once feelings started getting involved and relationships started to form.

"Get settled in and start getting to know each other tonight… tomorrow is your first getaway date challenge!" Gail finished to more cheers before CR stepped in to stop them all from running back to the house.

"Great stuff, let's run it one more time for extra footage," she instructed, ignoring the groans from the entire cast.


By the time they'd finished filming the little intro to the show, Beca had gained a whole new appreciation for the magic of television. The first take going so smoothly had been an anomaly, having to stop and start numerous times to account for wind, random noises, Gail running lines out of order or not getting them quite right… it was terrible. After several hours of everyone growing increasingly more and more frustrated, CR finally called a wrap to the session when apparently they "got everything they needed" and allowed the cast to return to the house to eat, drink, and get to know one another better.

It wasn't long before Beca took up a post as a temporary bartender again, getting the drinks flowing so smiles and laughter permeated the house. Once alcohol was distributed everyone calmed down and the fun began, Beca abandoning her post in favor of a conversation with Donald, Chloe, and Luke. She kept to herself the surprise at the way Chloe and Luke were already flirting heavily, although not too surprised as they were both drop-dead gorgeous. Luke definitely had the blonde athletic vibe going, which had her even more astonished when he admitted to being a radio DJ into all kinds of random music. Beca mixed as a side hobby and grinned as they went back and forth comparing eclectic tastes.

The hits kept coming when Chloe admitted to starting medical school that fall, Beca's jaw-dropping open borderline rudely at the admission. Closing it quickly, Chloe laughed it off saying, "Yeah, I know it's not what you'd expect."

The three recovered fast, Luke smoothly saying, "Beauty and brains… I think I'm in love already."

Chloe shook her head, though her smile remained light and teasing. "It's night one, Romeo… why don't you sleep on it."

Luke winked at her, "When you know, you know… you know?"

Donald rolled his eyes, saving Beca from having to do it and instead allowed her to laugh at his antics. "You guys are ridiculous. Don't do anything stupid the first night that fucks shit up for everyone else. Come on, Becs… I bet I can mix a better drink than you."

Beca raised an eyebrow, retorting, "That's the funniest thing you've said yet."

"Unless you're too scared to accept my challenge…" Donald trailed off, shrugging as if it wasn't a big deal.

"Fuck no. You're on," Beca shot back, jumping to her feet.

Luke cheered at this change of events, shouting to the rest of the house, "Hey! Bartender mix-off happening right now in the kitchen!"

A resounding cheer went up from the other room occupants, and Beca smirked at Donald. "You're so dead, DJ."

He didn't look phased, "We'll see."

They made their way over to the kitchen and the makeshift bar. Beca wondered for a moment how they were going to make this fair when a leggy brunette she'd spoken to once stepped in and started shouting rules.

"Grab doubles of everything so it's even! No one gets an unfair advantage and any official judges have to be blindfolded right now!"

"Who died and made Stacie the mix-off head judge?" Luke asked, no one bothering to answer him.

Beca nodded her head, now remembering the stacked brunette's quick introduction. Whoever was her perfect match would definitely be happy about it, glancing again at the brunette who was all boobs and legs.

"Who's gonna judge? We need 3 so someone wins!"

After a short debate, it was decided that Chloe, Kommissar, and some guy named Theo would be the judges. Beca took note that although it was two girls to one guy, she'd bet money that Kommissar wasn't a fruity drink type of girl. Someone else started yelling about blindfolds, causing Theo to shrug and remove this shirt to tie it folded up over his eyes.

Luke quickly removed his shirt, sliding behind Chloe to blindfold her next to the approval of every other woman in the room. Even Beca had to admit his abs were impressive, wondering exactly how much he starved himself to look that way and thanked him for his sacrifice.

Fat Amy arrived at the right moment, letting out a shrill wolf whistle at the sight of Luke and Theo's skin on display. "The two of them might be my next boy toys!"

Chloe gestured in what she thought was Fat Amy's direction, raising her voice to be heard over the constant chatter, "Get in line!"

"You don't want none of this, ginger… trust me."

Beca laughed at their joking, recognizing the light tones. Eventually, another shirt was procured for Kommissar, this one coming from the tall black guy that Beca vaguely remembered as being on leave from the military. They had two military boys in the group, one Army and one Navy and both incredibly attractive, although the white guy gave off a slight frat-boy vibe to her.

Just as they were about to get started, Stacie announced, "Okay you have to make the same drink. Otherwise, it's not fair."

Beca wasn't expecting that, although when she thought about it she admitted it made sense.

Donald agreed as well, adding, "Fine, but I get to pick the drink! Beca already has an advantage over me!"

"Yeah, because you weren't going on and on about how your palate is incomparable or anything," Beca scoffed, rolling her eyes at him. "But fine, I'll wipe the floor with you no matter what drink it is."

"We'll see about that Short Stack!" Fat Amy called out, turning her attention to Donald. "What's the drink?"

Donald studied her for a moment, before saying, "Let's keep it traditional. Moscow Mule!"

Theo scowled at his suggestion. "Seriously?"

"I'm playing to win, bro," Donald shot back, busying himself with what he needed.

Beca laughed, agreeing immediately to the challenge. "This will be too easy," she said confidently, already reaching for the vodka in front of her. "Even with this cheap-ass vodka."

She whipped up the drink easily, adding a little something extra that she new would confuse the hell out of the three judges and make them want more at the same time. She was blocked off from Donald by a few people unable to see what he was doing but knew that he would fall short no matter what he served up.

Stacie waited until they were both finished, calling out, "Okay, both our bartenders are done! Bring my judges over here and line them up please!"

Luke, Fat Amy, and Navy boy whose name Beca couldn't remember walked the three participants over and arranged them in a line. Stacie grabbed Donald's drink and offered it to each of them one by one.

"Drink number 1," Stacie said, a strange quiet falling over the room as if respecting the judging process.

Beca watched the three take a small sip, clearly taking their roles seriously. It would have been hilarious to her if her pride wasn't riding on the outcome.

Stacie allowed each judge to have another sip, before reminding them, "Drink number one. Got it, memorized it? What do we think?"

There was a general consensus that it was a very good Moscow Mule, with all the usual flavors coming through nicely.

Stacie continued without hesitating, "Stiff competition here! The judges seem particularly pleased with that. Okay, time for drink two!"

Beca handed over her cup and Stacie repeated the process, offering it to each of the blindfolded judges starting with Theo.

He sipped from the cup and immediately snapped his head up. "Woah… there's something different in that one!"

Chloe reached out blindly from beside him, asking excitedly, "Let me taste it!"

Stacie guided her hands to the cup, pulling back as she sipped and copied Theo's head snap up as if she could see the culprit. "Oooh, that's good."

The cup was passed to Kommissar who was the last to taste Beca's drink and the only one to not snap her head up as if looking around. She did, however, purse her lips as her eyebrows narrowed in apparent confusion, taking a second sip almost immediately.

Chloe, who Beca now assumed has supersonic hearing, reached her hand back out towards the blonde asking, "Are you drinking the rest of it? I need another taste."

Kommissar reluctantly passed her the cup, needing Stacie's guidance to reach her mark before saying, "That one was better."

Chloe sipped the drink again, nodding in agreement. "So much better. What is that?"

Theo shook his head, mumbling, "I'm definitely not getting a second sip, am I?"

Chloe laughed at him, taking one more small sip before blindly moving the cup in his direction. "Here… quit whining and I'll let you finish it."

Beca bit her lip to hold in a laugh at the way Theo reached his hand out, nowhere near where Chloe was holding the cup.

Stacie allowed him to finish the drink before taking the cup back and putting it next to Donald's on the countertop, the man already frowning in defeat.

"The winner is…"

"BUMPER!"

Beca spun around to look at the man, now drunkenly standing on the countertop with his own shirt off and tied around his forehead like a chubby version of Rambo.

A voice from the back that Beca didn't recognize shouted, "Asshole… you didn't even make a drink!"

Bumper rolled his eyes in the direction of the voice, retorting, "It's a party and I'm drunk. Clearly, I'm the fucking winner!"

Chloe had stepped over to Beca, whispering in her ear, "I know it was yours."

Beca smirked, asking, "And how are you so sure?"

Chloe winked, "Because I know these things. Also, he looks like someone just wiped the floor with him at his own drink."

Beca looked over at Donald who was indeed sporting a kicked puppy expression. "Valiant effort."

"Whatever, your drink kicked my ass," he said, though his good-natured tone belied any real anger. "If it was food the tables would be turned."

"No doubt," Beca agreed immediately. "I can't cook to save my life."

"Did someone say food?" Fat Amy interrupted, appearing and inserting herself into the conversation. "Someone around here can cook, right?"

Donald looked resigned, saying, "So… who's hungry?"


Late into the night, Beca found herself wedged into a spot on the couch between Donald and Jesse, having gotten over their initial awkward meeting to discover the guy wasn't that bad despite his desperate love for all things movies and movie soundtracks. Donald had proven to be one hell of a chef, quickly whipping up spaghetti for the entire house while letting loose expletives that would make Gordon Ramsay proud at having to use sauce out of a jar. Beca thought it was some of the best spaghetti she'd ever had, having no qualms about sauce out of the jar, which only served to dig the knife in a little deeper.

Producers had appeared randomly throughout the evening to drag individuals into some sort of private confessional or interview room and Beca was thankful her turn had not yet arrived. Just her luck, it all proved irrelevant when Luke appeared and drunkenly grabbed her hand.

"Come on, let's go talk to the cameras while I'm too drunk to remember what I'm saying."

Beca skulled the last of her drink, thinking that sounded like the best idea ever. "Good idea… let's go."

They stumbled together through the house to the room clearly marked with a sign on the door, bursting inside to find several of the crew lounging around chatting.

One glanced over at them with a knowing look and asked, "You guys ready to film?"

Luke nodded, helping Beca over to the couch before collapsing down on it beside her and draped his arm over her shoulders.

The crew flew into action to avoid missing anything, the door slamming shut in seconds. Beca looked around the room at the plain decorations, wondering what kind of crazy soundproofing they'd had to do to keep the outside noises from coming in.

Luke didn't waste any time staring straight into the camera and announcing, "Chloe is my match. I just know it. She's so fucking hot, dude…"

He trailed off and Beca realized he wasn't going to continue on his own. "Yeah you could do worse," she joked, poking him in the side before leaning into his embrace. They'd definitely hit it off earlier with their discussion about music, but in a completely platonic way. They both felt it, and it actually made their interactions easier without the awkwardness that attraction can provide. "She's pretty fucking hot."

Luke found his voice again, grinning wildly, "So fucking hot. I've always had a thing for redheads. The matchmakers must have known."

Beca's head was swimming with alcohol, happily buzzed and feeling looser than she'd had in a long time. "That's so crazy! What if you find your match on the first fucking night! Chloe's great!"

She honestly believed it, thinking back to the redhead telling them of her future plans and how she wanted to travel and all kinds of shit that should probably put her way out of any guy in the house's league.

"Back at you Bec! You and Donald are like two peas in the fucking kitchen!"

Beca shot him a dopey grin, breaking into a laugh at the thought. "I don't think that's right."

Luke shook his head, insisting, "I AM RIGHT! He cooks the food, you pour the drinks… match made."

"That's fucking scary as fuck," Beca mumbled, the thought of finding her perfect match proving to be a slightly sobering one.

As if they could sense their names being spoken aloud, the door banged open revealing the pair with beaming grins, clearly drunk off their asses.

Chloe looked hurt, accusing, "You guys talkin' to the cameras without us?!"

Donald didn't say anything, instead pushing his way into the room to plop down on the couch beside Beca. Chloe followed suit, instead perching right on Luke's lap and sliding an arm easily around his neck. Beca grinned at the interruption, secretly grateful for a reason for Luke to withdraw his arm from where it had been laying heavily across her shoulders.

"We're terribly sorry," Beca said, not sounding apologetic at all.

"Yeah!" Luke joined in, adding, "We needed some bro time!"

Beca smirked at the fact they were so in tune with each other despite only having met hours ago. "Right?!"

Donald broke in, asking randomly, "Hey! Who would be easier to sleep with… Captain America or a great white shark?"

Luke, Donald, and Beca immediately answered, "Shark" at the same time Chloe confidently said, "Captain America."

Chloe twisted around to shoot Beca a curious look, one eyebrow raised.

It took her brain a few seconds to catch up, Beca finally realizing what she said and broke into drunken laughter. "I'm way too fucking drunk for serious questions."

The rest of them started laughing along with her until the crew realized they weren't getting any more usable footage out of the foursome and kicked them out.


It was all hot Hawaiian sun and clear blue skies for their challenge day, making Beca wish she was down on the beach instead of sneakered up on the grassy lawn beside the pool. The yard was massive, but it couldn't compare to the white sand teasing them from afar. CR was explaining how they were supposed to start over there somewhere and all jog over to where Gail would be waiting to welcome them gleefully to the challenge… or something like that. It was all so staged and scripted it amazed her that anyone believed the charade.

"I should have gone into editing," Jesse muttered from beside her, Beca rolling her eyes and nodding in agreement.

Most of the cast were in agreement on how obnoxious all the cameras and crew and shooting things over and over again was, not boding well since it was only day two. They had a long, long way to go before the six weeks were up. Hopefully, by the end, it would all be worth it.

CR clapped her hands, announcing, "Okay, Gail's ready. Everyone clear on what to do?"

The chorus of yes's had her giving them a hard stare of disbelief, before retreating to her spot behind the cameras.

"Okay, we're rolling in five, four…" CR trailed off and gave them the signal, to which only about half of the group started their movement towards the show's host.

"Damnit, stop! Get back here and do it again," CR looked as annoyed as she sounded, making Beca feel a little guilty for missing the cue.

They got it right the second time, all smiles and happy jogs over to where Gail was waiting for them.

"Hey, guys! How are we doing?" Gail sounded as chipper as ever.

The group responded with varied forms of good, great, awesome, and cheers as instructed.

Gail nodded her approval, continuing, "Good, good, well… welcome to your first getaway challenge!" She paused appropriately to allow for more cheers, making Beca wonder if people were seriously already that excited about leaving the house.

It had only been one day and she was pretty thrilled with their living arrangements, despite discovering that the bedrooms were actually just one gigantic room filled with mattresses, pillows, and blankets like they were all having one big sleepover. She'd ended up passed out between Chloe and a girl named Flo and felt reasonably protected from any unwanted advances from the guys… it was only night one after all.

"The winning couples will go on a private helicopter ride and get to see the beautiful Hawaiian coastline from the air, followed by separate private dinners on the beach!"

Beca's eyes widened at that information, never having been in a helicopter before. It sounded fun, and the private dinner on the beach might actually be a nice opportunity to really get to know someone better. She finally looked around the grassy expanse to see some sort of obstacle course set up. Her enthusiasm was evaporating the longer she studied the course, starting with hurdles and ending with some sort of sticks on the ground. Not good.

"This challenge is designed to see how well you and your chosen partner work together!" Gail continued cheerfully. "You'll have to navigate this obstacle course consisting of relationship hurdles, relationship baggage, and then use the tandem walkers together to navigate the relationship minefield."

Beca sighed, not wanting to be a part of this at all. She looked around to see varying levels of excitement from her castmates, wondering who would pair up together. She could say now she knew everyone's names, barely, but there were definitely some that looked like they belonged together.

Gail continued her explanation, "The hurdles each have something written on them, so you go over things you've been through and under what you haven't. You're all here because you've got plenty of relationship baggage to sort out, so grab three that apply to you and drag them across that line over there. After that, both of you need to use teamwork and communication to use the tandem walkers to slalom through those relationship mines and cross the finish line!"

Beca bit her lip, shaking her head slightly at the enthusiasm with which all these instructions were delivered. She was definitely going to fall flat on her face. Multiple times. Coordination and athletic activity were not her strong suits.

"The three couples with the fastest times through the course will win an amazing getaway date and get you guys one step closer to that million bucks!" Gail informed them, pausing again to allow for cheers at the mention of the money they could win. "Alright, pair up with someone you want to go on a date with and let's get this party started!"

Beca automatically glanced around, noticing Jesse looking hopefully at her from her left. Thankfully before he could say anything, a pair of brown arms wrapped around her waist from behind and Donald's voice calmed her freak out before it could happen.

"You and me, Beca. We're gonna kill this."

Beca shot Jesse what she hoped was an apologetic look before breaking Donald's hold and shooting him a grin. "You really don't want that date, do you?"

He laughed, answering, "A bartender and a chef in an athletic challenge… what could go wrong?"

"Everything," Beca deadpanned.

The rest of the couples formed quickly. Gail looked around at the producers and must have gotten some sort of cue to begin the next phase.

"Okay, so we've got Chloe and Luke up first!" Gail announced, gesturing for the couple to take their places at the starting line.

Chloe and Luke high-fived as they took their places and waiting for Gail to signal them to start. Beca vaguely thought she'd never seen a more athletic couple, glancing around to realize that Aubrey and Tom could give them a run for their money, as well as that girl that introduced herself by saying "Jane, but everyone calls me Calamity," and her partner, Army boy Chicago. Beca felt more and more self-conscious by the second as Chloe and Luke easily dominated the course, seamlessly weaving through the signs labeled with relationship mines on the tandem walkers and crossing the finish line in what seemed like the blink of an eye. The group cheered as Chloe let out an excited shriek and jumped into Luke's arms, wrapping her legs around his waist.

"Fuck, this is going to be worse than I thought," Beca muttered as the crew quickly reset the walkers and sandbags that represented their relationship baggage.

Donald chuckled and whispered, "Don't worry. If we suck, we suck. No big deal."

Beca nodded as Stacie and Theo went next, followed by Jesse and Flo, neither flowing through the course as easily as Chloe and Luke. Aubrey and Tom did well, while Calamity and Chicago moved through it so quickly Beca was sure they beat the first pair handedly. She would have been impressed if her reaction wasn't cut short by Gail's announcement that she and Donald were next.

They moved over to the starting line, Beca eyeing the first hurdle labeled "FEAR OF BEING VULNERABLE" and dreaded the thought of having to go over the first one.

At Gail's loud "Go!" Beca sprang into motion, so distracted with getting over the first hurdle she barely noticed Donald vaulting over it beside her, his long legs easily clearing the bar. Beca continued on to the second, thankful to be going under the "DATING APP DRAMA" as well as the "INTIMIDATION." She wasn't so lucky for the next two hurdles, having to jump over "ONE NIGHT STANDS" and "HAVING A WALL UP" before crawling under the last one labeled "FEAR OF COMMITMENT." Beca honestly wasn't afraid of a relationship, she was just picky and wanted it to be with the right person.

They moved on together to the relationship baggage and Beca immediately grabbed a sandbag labeled "TRUST ISSUES," ignoring the surprised sound Donald made beside her. This challenge was going to bring some shit out of the dark and into the light. Beca knew she wasn't moving particularly fast with the heavy bag, but felt like she held her own dragging her three over the required line. She barely spared a glance at Donald's "JEALOUS," "CLINGY," and "MANIPULATIVE" bags thrown carelessly beside her own.

Beca was feeling more confident when the approached the tandem walkers, Donald slotting in behind her on the wooden planks as each of them grabbed the appropriate ropes.

"Okay, we're gonna go right then left," Donald said to her confidently. "Right."

Beca lifted her right foot but forgot to lift the rope attached to the right plank, meaning they went exactly nowhere. "Fuck, my bad."

It took several tries for them to get the hang of it, moving agonizingly slowly through the course. It took ages to reach the first sign that read "CHEATING" and finally found their groove around "CAN'T COMPROMISE." It felt like an eternity before they passed the final sign of "TELLING LIES" and they mercifully crossed the finish line to cheers from their castmates.

"Thank fucking God," Beca gasped, completely winded and out of breath as Donald wrapped her in a hug.

"Hey, no matter what else happens we did it and we didn't look like total idiots," Donald replied.

"Good point," Beca admitted as they made their way back over to the rest of the group and slapped a few high fives.

She felt a whole lot better about their effort watching Benji and Emily take their turn next. Beca was in disbelief that there were two less coordinated people there than her and Donald, but she was also grateful that they weren't going to have the worst time. Bumper and Kommissar made an equally hysterical pairing, falling over several times on the tandem walkers before eventually crossing the finish line.

Fat Amy and another nicknamed housemate who asked to go by Uni, short for Unicycle which he apparently rides all the time back home, also did surprisingly well. Beca was impressed with Fat Amy's coordination on the tandem walkers, although she suspected the woman of not being completely honest when she went under all six hurdles. The true shock of the day though was watching Zeke from the Navy and Lilly, a quiet Asian woman that Beca still hasn't heard utter a single word, completely dominate the course. The entire house roared with applause when they finished in what had to be record time, equal parts elation and true disbelief.

It took a few minutes for the crew to get their bearings and gather them all back together in one place for Gail to announce the results.

"How are we feeling? That looked like some difficult stuff to navigate," Gail said, her voice taking on a wise tone. "Chloe, you and Luke seemed to be on the same page?"

Chloe nodded, smiling up at the blonde man. "Yeah, we've kinda clicked and we work well together."

Gail nodded happily, turning to the other side of the group. "Benji, you and Emily didn't look like you were having a great time out there."

Benji blushed a little, bashfully admitting, "I think a lack of athletic coordination was our problem. There's plenty of chemistry between us," he finished, boldly slipping an arm around Emily's waist.

To her credit, Emily grinned happily and leaned into his embrace.

Gail smiled, "Well I'm glad you're not letting that get you down." Moving on spectacularly, she announced with a flourish, "Congrats on a great first challenge! The winners are… Zeke and Lilly!" She paused for the group to applaud.

"Luke and Chloe!"

Beca cheered, happy for her friends to get the opportunity to go on a fun date.

"And… Chicago and Calamity!"

The latter two couples hugged happily as their names were announced, with Lilly seeming to give Zeke some sort of notice that he'd be better off not touching her.

Gail didn't notice and continued on with her lines. "Congratulations to all three couples! I can tell the rest of you are looking around and trying to figure out who their perfect match could be. Well, there's one true way to find out. The Truth Booth," Gail said, pausing again for dramatic effect.

"The Truth Booth is the only way to confirm that a couple is a perfect match. Those of you who did not win the challenge must vote one of the three winning couples into the Truth Booth. Now, you need to take this seriously because the more people you find out to be a perfect match the closer you are to that million bucks!"

More cheers all-around at the mention of the money, making Beca realize this could potentially get really old, really fast.

"Alright good job everyone! You three couples go get ready for your date! The rest of you… figure out who you're gonna vote into that Truth Booth. I'll see you tomorrow for that vote," Gail finished smoothly, only having to wait a moment for CR to step into view and clap.

"Great work. We had some sound issues during that final speech so let's run through it again real quick," CR said, her no-nonsense voice piercing through the slight wind.

Beca sighed as the cameras got back in place and the group reformed back into the couples from the challenge that had disintegrated immediately when Gail said they could go. Of course, it wouldn't be that simple.

Zeke asked loudly, "Wait, are we going on the dates now? It's almost dark…"

CR answered, "No, the dates and the Truth Booth vote will be tomorrow. We just have her end it like that because of how we'll cut the footage in post. Each episode has to be trimmed down to forty minutes."

Beca sighed, knowing that a minuscule amount of footage would be used in the actual show and knew that the producers and editors would cut it in the most dramatic way possible.

"Okay, we're all set to run it again!" CR's voice rang out, causing them all to stand up straighter and stare at Gail as she started over from the end of the challenge.


The rest of the day and evening was spent winding down from the challenge, followed by dinner and more drinking and getting to know each other. Beca was amazed at how quickly she was starting to learn things about the other people in the house but chalked it up to simply being forced in such close proximity to them with zero breaks. The getaway dates were looking more and more attractive by the minute.

The next morning saw the rest of the house waving goodbye to the three couples as they left on their date before resuming business as usual around the house. To everyone's surprise, Tom and Theo whipped up lunch for everyone and served it outside by the pool.

Beca was suitably impressed with the homemade pizzas the two created, finding a secluded spot a hammock before someone discovered her hideaway.

"Is this seat taken?"

Theo popped into view, looking curiously at the hammock.

Beca glanced at him, unsure about inviting him into such close proximity when they barely knew each other, but again reminded herself she was there to have fun and put herself out there and with another drink, she wouldn't care who was in the hammock with her.

"Depends," she answered lightly. "Will you get me a refill?"

Theo nodded, "Sure. Whatcha want?"

"Something not sweet."

He returned a few minutes later with a couple of beers and Beca could have kissed him. They'd been surviving completely on liquor and Beca didn't even know beer was an option.

"All the crew had was Heineken," Theo said as he handed her a cold bottle. "Hope that's okay."

Beca smiled appreciatively, replying, "I'll take what I can get. Do we even have beer?"

Theo shook his head. "No, I think they want us as drunk as possible as much as possible, so they're pushing the vodka and tequila pretty hard."

Beca balanced carefully in the hammock and invited him to lay beside her, noticing how smoothly he slid in so they both didn't end up on the ground in a heap.

"I've noticed," she sighed, struggling to find a comfortable position now that they were side by side.

Theo realized the problem, carefully maneuvering until his arm was under her and she was able to lay her head back against his shoulder. It was way more intimate than she was expecting, but a few long sips of her beer brushed the cares away.

"I haven't gotten to chat with you yet," Theo spoke into the calmness of the afternoon. "Tell me something about you that you haven't told anyone here yet."

Beca hummed thoughtfully, taking one more sip of her beer before answering, "My parents are divorced. It was for the best, but I think part of my relationship issue is the fact that I don't want that to be me."

Theo nodded, replying, "Funny, my parents are also divorced. I was young when it happened, but it definitely affected me."

"It doesn't matter how old you are, it still hurts to see your family broken apart," Beca murmured, finishing the beer and tossing the empty bottle lightly onto the grass. "Did your mom or dad ever re-marry?"

Theo nodded again, Beca feeling his stubble brush gently against her hair. "My dad did… he did the whole blended family thing with his new wife. Rough times there for a bit, but it eventually smoothed out."

Beca chuckled at how much they had in common. This whole experience or journey or whatever they were supposed to call it kept throwing her new curves just when she was feeling like she got the hang of it.

"Siblings then?"

Theo hummed, "Mm-hmm. I have four sisters. Two from my parents' marriage and two stepsisters after my dad re-married. The estrogen was through the roof for a while."

"I cannot imagine," Beca said, the horror evident in her voice.

"What about you? Siblings? Parents re-marry?" Theo asked curiously, the hand curled around her starting to gently brush over her arm.

Beca nodded, "Both mine re-married. I was an only child, but I got two stepbrothers when my dad and Sheila tied the knot. We all got along reasonably well, and it only got better as we got older."

"When did your parents split?"

Beca felt herself relaxing more and more into Theo's touch and their conversation, happy to discover someone who'd been through a similar upbringing to her own. "When I was around eight. My mom joined Doctors Without Borders and their marriage couldn't handle the long separations. She actually ended up marrying one of her colleagues and now they travel all over together. He had never married and didn't want kids, so it ended up working out well. She's happy, so I'm happy."

Theo smiled and gently squeezed her wrist. "I'm glad it worked out. My mom never remarried or even really dated as far as I know. She might have kept it from me, but it makes me sad sometimes to think that she's all alone."

"Hope you didn't mind her knowing that," Beca joked, needing the gentle reminder that everything they said was being recorded.

Theo brushed it off though, quipping, "It's only day three and I already know that's the best thing that will come outta my mouth this entire experience."

Beca chuckled along with him, knowing it was probably true.

"Okay, enough of this heavy shit," Theo changed the subject. "What are the best and worst dates you've ever been on?"

"Oh shit, you really went deep with that one," Beca teased, wracking her brain for the information.

Theo didn't miss a beat. "Yeah well, I'm not ready to learn about your favorite color or what you want to be when you grow up."

Beca laughed, "Touché. Um, okay let's do worst dates first. End on a high note."

"Love it. You go first."

"Okay," Beca took a deep breath, the memory coming back to her instantly. "I'd only been out with this guy like two or three times, nothing serious, and he invited me over to his place for dinner. He offered to cook, I thought it was romantic… it was gonna be good, right? Wrong. I literally watched him put raw chicken in a microwave and then try to serve it to me on a paper plate. A fucking paper plate!"

Theo fought back a gag at the idea. "That's disgusting!"

"Yeah, tell me about it," Beca agreed. "Then he was stunned when I told him I'd lost my appetite."

"He's lucky that's all you told him. I'm guessing it didn't work out?"

"No, for some reason we weren't meant to be," Beca deadpanned, breaking into a smile when he poked her side. "Okay, your turn."

Theo inhaled slowly, "Hmmm worst date ever. Oh yeah, of course. It was my fault, naturally. It's always the guy, right?"

"Obviously," Beca joked back, enjoying their banter. "Continue."

"Right, well right after I went to college my dad and step-mom bought a lake house," Theo explained. "They wanted a fun place for family vacations and quality time and shit. Anyways I'd been sorta seeing this girl and I invited her up one weekend to hang out. A couple of my sisters were there and we all went out on the boat to go tubing and water skiing. She wanted to see me ski and I didn't want to admit I'd never done it before, so I just went for it. It was a fucking train wreck… I've never face planted into the water so hard. Safe to say she was not impressed, I was sore for over a week, and she broke up with me two days later."

Beca winced at the mental images. "Ouch."

"Yeah both my ego and my ass were bruised that day," Theo laughed it off, clearly over any lingering heartbreak. "Anyways, now for the best dates! I need to know what I have to top."

"Fair enough, although bringing me that beer was definitely the best thing that's happened to me since I arrived," Beca replied, shifting slightly to turn into his body and slide an arm over his waist. There really was not enough room in a hammock unless you were laying on top of each other, which she basically was.

"Okay, so best date ever… that's actually an easy one," Beca said, the memory bringing a smile to her face. "It was a Tinder match, San Fran native like me…"

Theo interrupted, "Oh, you're from San Francisco? I've never been but always wanted to go."

"Guess you'll have to come visit me and my bar after the show then," Beca replied, wondering immediately after the words left her lips where they came from. Knowing there was nothing she could do about it now, she resumed her story.

"We texted back and for a bit and realized we both had a good sense of humor, and he invited me to go to Alcatraz with him."

"Makes sense," Theo quipped. "Tried to lock you up on the first date."

"Hilarious," Beca retorted, rolling her eyes. "We ended up pretending to be clueless tourists the entire time and annoyed the shit out of our tour guide with dumb questions. Every time the guide tried to say something he'd refute it with fake facts or false information that confused the shit out of everyone else on the tour. At one point he was spouting on and on about escapees and scared the shit outta some woman and her kid and I swear the guide was about to punch him. We were politely asked to leave the tour after that," she finished with a laugh.

Theo chuckled along with her. "Sounds like a fun time. What happened to the guy?"

Beca hummed thoughtfully, finally answering, "We dated for a few months, but I think we both knew we were better as friends. Some things aren't meant to last… romantically. I think I remember seeing on Facebook that he got married earlier this year. Good for him."

Theo nodded, placing a kiss to the top of her head instead of responding before starting on his own best date story.

"I don't think my best date can top that, but it was definitely the time I took this girl to the Shaky Knees Music Festival. The Smashing Pumpkins headlined and put on an amazing show," Theo recalled wistfully. "Still the best I've ever been to."

Beca nodded, "That sounds fucking awesome. The Smashing Pumpkins are awesome. I don't know what you're talking about, that blows my best date outta the water."

Theo shook his head, "We'll have to agree to disagree on that, but yes, I love that band. They're one of my favorites."

Beca tilted her head up to look at him. "No way… mine too."

Theo met her gaze, nodding slowly. Beca felt the moment suddenly spike, recognizing the look in his eyes and felt her heart start to beat faster. Theo didn't hesitate, slowly moving his head to press his lips to hers. He kept the kiss chaste, allowing Beca to pull away after a few seconds and look back at him, her cheeks flushed red.

"Hey! Lovebirds! Quit making out and come vote for the Truth Booth!"

Beca jerked up in the hammock to see Stacie grinning like an idiot at the pair of them, her sudden movement disturbing their careful balance dumping both of them to the ground in a heap.

"Oooh, epic fail. Are you okay?" Stacie sounded mildly concerned, probably appropriate for the one-foot fall they suffered.

Beca gingerly got to her feet, brushing off grass and dirt from her clothes. Theo beside her was doing the same, with the added bonus of shooting Stacie a particularly dirty look.

"Sorry but we gotta vote in the next ten minutes or the world will end or something," Stacie shrugged, not looking sorry at all for interrupting them.

Beca's eyes widened, wondering how time had passed by that quickly. Theo gestured for her to go ahead with Stacie, and she nodded not knowing what else to say. It had been fun getting to know him, and yes she'd appreciated their little cuddle in the hammock, but she wasn't sure about him being her perfect match. He was a little too sweet for her taste, a little too kind and understanding and, well… similar.

"You two looked awfully cozy in that hammock," Stacie teased as they wound their way back to the house to the large TV screen in the living room. The crew was already set up to film them making their choices, with CR off to the side staring intently at her phone. She looked up as they approached, shutting the device off and motioning for them to come over to her.

"Hey, are you guys ready to vote? Good, you can do it together. We'll film you walking up to the screen," CR paused to point at the large screen showing the pictures of the three couples. "Take a minute to think about your choice, feel free to add any commentary you want, and then touch one of the couples to lock in your vote."

Stacie shrugged, "Seems easy enough. Ready?"

Beca nodded, "Yeah, think I can handle that."

They retreated over to where CR instructed them to start their approach and waited until she gave the signal the cameras were ready before walking over to the screen. A different camera was there to catch their deliberations before casting the votes.

Beca glanced at the three couples, offering, "I don't know about Zeke and Lilly, but either of the other two could be matches."

Stacie studied the photos carefully, before shrugging and tapping on Chloe and Luke's photos. "They're hot together."

Beca nods in agreement as the taller brunette strolls away, taking another second or two to think about it.

"She's not wrong," she says to no one but the remaining camera and crew, tapping on the same couple and locking in her vote.


It was all Beca could do to keep from laughing as she watched CR and her team of producers try to wrangle her housemates into the living room before the three couples returned from their date. After drinking for most of the day, it'd be a gross understatement to say the group was being less than cooperative. Naturally, Bumper was at the front of the pack, refusing to get out of the pool while apparently, no one could find where Benji and Emily had escaped to. Beca thought they were an adorable couple, hoping they were each other's perfect match as they'd both probably be devastated if they weren't.

Beca decided to follow instructions and made her way into the living room, sitting down on the massive sectional couch. People slowly trickled in and she found herself squeezed between Jesse and Theo as more of their housemates piled in. Finally, they were all assembled with CR at the front of the room.

Bumper interrupted her before she could speak, bluntly asking, "What does CR stand for anyway? Chill Ruiner?"

Beca rolled her eyes at his dumb joke, seeing that CR didn't find it amusing either.

"It stands for none of your damn business," she replied easily, glancing around to make sure her crew was getting set up. "Okay, the rest will return from their date in about ten minutes. Gail is getting ready and she'll come out a few minutes after they get back and go through your first Truth Booth. Any questions?" She blatantly ignored Bumper's hand in the air and walked away.

Beca chuckled along with Jesse at CR's treatment of Bumper, knowing the guy was just an idiot. He wasn't a bad guy, but he was also someone that Beca prayed was not her perfect match. She did not mesh with his loud personality and spontaneity and pension for doing stupid things… well, at least the same kind of stupid things he did.

"We all voted for Chloe and Luke, right?" Kommissar asked, looking around the room. "They were the obvious choice."

Fat Amy shook her head. " Wrong twiggy, soldier boy and girl are clearly a match. Did you see how they hit it off from minute one?"

Benji looked confused, asking, "Wait, is Calamity in the army too? I thought she was a paramedic."

"She's an EMT," Flo replied helpfully. "We arrived at the same time and were in the same car from the airport."

Theo mumbled beside her, "Same damn thing."

Beca didn't bother to correct him, knowing that while similar they were definitely not the same thing.

Stacie's voice rose above the rest, "Well I voted for Chloe and Luke. They're hot and they'd be hot together."

"Except they're not a match," Fat Amy countered. "You're hot but I don't see you saying you and Luke are a match."

Stacie smiled at the compliment, "I know, right? And we could be… but he's not my type."

Beca looked at her doubtfully. "Hot isn't your type?"

"I go for the classic tall, dark and handsome," Stacie's voice dropped, her eyes suddenly locked on Tom's who didn't seem to mind the attention at all.

"Of course you do," Aubrey rolled her eyes. "So generic."

Stacie eyed her for a moment, replying, "Don't go getting all jealous that you're not one of my match possibilities."

Aubrey didn't bat an eye, retorting, "Yeah the fact we're both straight has absolutely nothing to do with it."

Beca's eyes widened at Stacie's expression to that comment, but Bumper interrupted before the brunette could answer. "That's hot. You two should test out all this angry chemistry."

Stacie shot him a dirty look. "Don't be a dick. Anyways, I can always appreciate the female form but… he's a hunter," she smirked, gesturing lewdly to her crotch.

Beca couldn't help her grin, asking, "You call it a dude?"

Stacie winked at her just as the missing three couples traipsed into the room from their dates. The room noise grew in volume as they were peppered with questions about the helicopter ride and how the dates went and if they hit it off. Only Zeke and Lilly seemed to not have had an amazing time, the taller man already moving away to grab a drink from the kitchen.

After a few minutes, Gail entered the room and moved to stand beside the TV hung on the wall that showed pictures of the three couples up for the Truth Booth. CR joined her after a moment and shouted for them all to quiet down.

"Okay, this is your first Truth Booth vote," she said in a more normal volume once the group was quiet. "Gail will explain how it works and say her lines, the couple voted into the booth will go down that pathway. You will enter the booth, stand opposite your picture on the screen, lock in by standing on the platform and holding hands, and wait to see whether you're a perfect match or not. A small crew will be with you to film the walk there and back, as well as getting the reaction from the rest of you who will wait here and see the result on this screen," CR explained, gesturing the to screen behind her. "Gail will go over all of this again for the viewers. Okay, let's go."

Gail nodded as the woman moved away and took up her place beside the TV. At some signal from somewhere behind Beca, her camera-ready smile morphed into place and her eyes glanced around the room.

"How're you guys doing?"

A chorus of affirmative answers sounded back at her, making her smile widen even more.

"Good!" Gail repeated enthusiastically, continuing on in her regular tone, "Well, look, it's time to reveal your votes on who's heading to the Truth Booth. Let's take a look at these votes."

A slight pause before continuing, "The couple that's heading to the Truth Booth is…" Gail trailed off and simply turned to look at the screen as if waiting for the results to magically appear.

Beca followed her gaze, staring as the screen flashed into a transition until Chloe and Luke's pictures were the only ones remaining, larger and filling the entire screen side by side. The room broke into cheers, happy with their decision. Beca glanced at the chosen couple, seeing both happiness and nerves on their faces as Luke suddenly took a large gulp from his drink.

Gail smiled at the reaction, asking, "Who voted for Luke and Chloe?"

Beca raised her hand, looking around to see that only Fat Amy had hers down.

"Oh wow, an overwhelming majority," Gail observed, turning her gaze to the couple in question. "Are you guys as sure as the people here that voted for you?"

Luke looked at Chloe before answering, "I think we definitely could be a match. We connected right away and had a great time on our date. If Chloe's not my match… damn, this might be harder than we thought."

Gail nodded, happy with his answer. "Well, if you are a perfect match you'll be moving out and spending the rest of the time together in the honeymoon suite, but you'll be back every week to rejoin us for the matchup ceremony. But if you're not a perfect match, you'll be back in the house and back in the game."

Gail paused again for dramatic effect, making Beca wonder if she practiced this stunted speech pattern regularly to have it so nailed down.

"It's time to head to the Truth Booth," Gail said, suddenly taking up a more serious tone. "Good luck."

Beca watched them leave through the back doors as some of their housemates cheered them on, wondering if they actually found a perfect match on their first try. Jesse seemed to be wondering the same thing beside her, unable to say anything before a voice cut him off.

Gail called for quiet, saying she still had to explain what was going to happen for the viewers. The group fell silent so the host could resume her monologue.

"They're going to enter the Truth Booth and lock in as a couple," Gail explained patiently as if the people in front of her didn't know exactly what was about to happen. "When they see if they're a perfect match or not, you will see at the exact same time right here," she finished, pointing at the giant screen beside her.

The group cheered with excitement at a cue from the production team, Beca joining in after a moment realizing this was supposed to be a surprise to them.

"Good luck you guys," Gail repeated from earlier, "And I'll see you right back here tomorrow for the matchup."

"Guess she's not sticking around for the results," Jesse said as Gail swiftly left the room. "How crazy would it be if they're a match? Like bam, first try… perfect match," he mused as if Gail's little explanation interruption never happened.

Beca nodded, feeling nerves suddenly flood her stomach. "Yeah, that'd be insane. I don't know why but like… I'm nervous for them."

Jesse nodded, "No, I get it. Imagine you show up at this house and two days later you're told this stranger is your perfect match and you have to spend the next five weeks alone with them. That'd be insane."

"That's completely fucking insane," Beca agreed, suddenly extremely happy she wasn't taking that long walk to the Truth Booth. "I wonder what they're feeling."

Theo chimed in from her other side, "Probably something along the lines of, oh shit, I'm not ready for this, I don't even know this person, I don't want to be here anymore, at least they're fucking hot."

Beca laughed at his answer, feeling like she'd be thinking all those thoughts and more. The wait was agony, almost an hour going by until CR finally informed them that they'd had a few issues filming the pair walking to the booth that caused the delay, but the results should be coming through any minute now.

It seemed like everyone in the room was holding their breath waiting for the screen to change. Suddenly a thick black box appeared across the center of the screen blaring the words "NO MATCH!" in block white letters.

The room erupted with different reactions, the loudest being Fat Amy screaming, "I fucking called it!"

Beca glanced with wide eyes at Theo, wondering how they were supposed to do this nine more times. The stress from the first one had her heart racing despite Chloe and Luke not even being a match.

"This is fucking insane," Beca muttered, shaking her head. "Think they'll be upset?"

Theo shook his head, "No, they didn't seem that infatuated with each other. I think they'll brush it off and start to explore other relationships."

The room calmed down as they took stock of the situation, realizing they failed the first chance and confirming a perfect match.

Surprisingly, Calamity was the one to speak up, saying, "They might be upset about it, so let's make sure we're there for them if they need it. That was stressful as fuck for me… I can't even imagine being the one wondering if it's gonna be a match."

The group nodded in understanding, Zeke and Chicago running to grab a new round of drinks for everyone while they waited for Luke and Chloe to complete their reaction interviews and walk back to the house. It was another long wait before they appeared, Luke looking more crestfallen than Chloe, who to Beca's surprise immediately went to her for a hug.

Beca wrapped her arms around the redhead, whispering, "Hey, you okay?"

Chloe whispered back, "Yeah, but that was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life."

Beca chuckled and waited until she pulled back. "Guess your perfect match is still around here somewhere."

Chloe looked a little relieved as she glanced around the room. "I wouldn't mind never going back into that booth again. It was super weird."

"What's it like?" Stacie asked as she, Aubrey, and Calamity joined in giving Chloe a supportive group hug.

"It's completely white inside, like fucking unnaturally white, with a little platform facing a TV screen," Chloe explained, her expression still a little freaked out. "And we just stood there on the platform holding hands, staring at giant pictures of ourselves while lasers flashed around until it said no match. All for dramatic effect, of course, but it was still some freaky shit. When the results came up, I wasn't sure if I was more relieved we weren't a match or just to get out of the booth."

Aubrey smiled at that, saying, "I get it. It'd be weird to meet your match right away and have to leave the house after the first matchup. We're all still getting to know each other."

Chloe nodded, "I'd really like to make some friends before I meet the love of my life… if it's up to me."

Beca grinned, "Well, lucky for you this friend is a bartender and there's no better way to celebrate new friendships than drinks."

Stacie cheered her words, "I'll drink to that, bitches! No perfect matches today so let's get drunk!"

Beca was relieved that both Chloe and Luke seemed to brush off their result of no match, guessing Theo was right about it not being that serious. A glance at the other side of the room showed Luke chatting easily with Tom and Chicago, deciding to focus on Chloe now and catch up with her friend later.


After partying and drinking into the early morning hours and sleeping a majority of the day away, their group managed to drag themselves out of bed and look presentable for the matchup ceremony being filmed the following night. They'd been told it had to be done at night for the beams of light to be visible and were also warned that it was a lengthy shoot that would tire everyone out by the time it was over.

Beca picked out a simple dress and heels to wear to the ceremony, knowing that at least since the boys were choosing first the girls would be sitting for most of the shoot. They all got ready together, trading off hair and makeup tips and even a few of the women borrowing clothes before heading downstairs to meet the guys in the kitchen.

Fat Amy called out, "Hey, let's do a shot before the ceremony!"

Tom nodded in agreement, chiming in, "Yeah, a ceremonial shot!"

The laughter and jokes grew as the pair lined up shot glasses along the counter and ran a bottle of tequila along them until they were all full. Beca grabbed her glass, eager for some liquid courage to calm the nerves growing in her stomach. This whole experience fucked with her mind way more than she was expecting, and she easily joined in asking for a second before they walked over to the constructed stage area where the matchup ceremonies were to take place. After two shots production intervened and cut them off, insisting it was time to relocate for the ceremony before they got too drunk.

Beca walked slowly along the stone path and gratefully took Theo's offered arm for balance when he fell into step beside her.

"Nervous?"

Beca glanced up at him, answering, "Terrified… for no reason at all. How stupid is that?"

Theo shook his head, "Not stupid at all. But at least you get to just sit there until someone calls your name. I actually have to get up there and declare that someone is my perfect match."

Beca stayed silent at that, knowing it would be her turn next time in a few short days. "Are you gonna pick me?"

Theo smiled at her, "Of course. As long as no one else does before I get called. They haven't told us the order yet."

"I didn't even think of that," Beca sighed as they reached the open area staged for the ceremony.

It was beautiful, with flowers and decorations around the edges. A simple podium stood at waist-height in the middle, wicker chairs with comfortable looking cushions on one side arranged on three different leveled risers. There was a small platform sitting in the open space to the other side at the back next to the chairs. The girls were instructed to each pick a chair and sit down while the boys were directed to stand in the empty space to the right of the chairs, all of them eventually facing the podium and the dark beams behind it that would hopefully light up. Once everyone was in position, CR began explaining how the night would go.

"Okay everyone, get ready for a long night," she started, not beating around the bush about how complex these ceremonies would be. "The ceremony is simple enough in principle. Gail will call up a guy, they'll chat for a minute or two, he will say who his perfect match is, the lady will come up and join him, Gail might engage her if she chooses, if not they will place their hands on the podium screens to lock in the match, and finally, both will return to a seat together. You all with me so far?"

Beca nodded, glancing around at a few glazed looks and just knew this would take all night.

CR continued on, "Good. After everyone has locked in their perfect match, Gail will initiate the sequence for the lights over there to shine the number of perfect matches you picked. You all know if you get ten perfect matches you win the prize money. The odds of that happening tonight are extremely small, so don't get too excited. At periodic intervals, we will pull some of you away for interviews… don't worry, it's nothing bad, mostly just reactions on picks or choices. It's going to be long for everyone, so please be patient and follow instructions."

Gail strode in looking bright and fresh as always, her hair perfectly styled in place and makeup flawlessly done.

CR greeted her, "Hey Gail, we're just about ready." Turning to the whole room, she raised her voice a bit and instructed, "Okay, the first shot will be the boys walking into the room to stand where they currently are now. The ladies will already be seated in their chairs waiting. Let's move… we have to be done before sunrise."


An hour later Beca fully understood exactly why this was going to take all night. They'd only just gotten enough footage of the boys walking in and getting properly into place to move on to Gail's opening lines explaining what was about to happen for the viewers. It also made it perfectly clear why they got the day off after shooting the matchup ceremony, as Beca knew she was getting all of zero sleep tonight.

CR's voice rang out, interrupting her thoughts, "Okay, we've got what we need. Gail, we're ready for your intro."

Gail nodded, moving into place and began speaking upon her cue. "Welcome to your first matchup. This is your first shot at a million dollars!"

There were some happy murmurs throughout the cast with a few side comments here and there, but Beca's stomach was back in knots. She was wondering again what possessed her to do something this stupid, suddenly having a mental image of no one picking her and being left seated alone in her chair.

"All you guys gotta do is correctly identify your perfect match," Gail said teasingly, holding her hands out as if it wasn't a difficult task.

Beca gave a tight smile as most of the ladies around her played along, calling out how it wasn't so easy to accomplish that task.

Gail smiled, continuing on, "Every single one of you has to choose correctly. If just one of you is wrong then you're not ten for ten, and you're heading back inside empty-handed to start all over again." She paused, before adding, "And remember, if you get zero matches tonight… a blackout… your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

More nervous looks were thrown around, Beca hearing CR's warning in their head not to keep their expectations for the night low. Shit, she'd completely forgotten that part about the blackouts. As if they didn't need another terrifying factor in the equation to worry about.

"Tonight, we're gonna begin with our ten guys," Gail said informatively. "Now don't worry ladies, each week we're gonna alternate between who gets to choose their perfect match. Guys and then girls. Guys, the order has been randomly chosen, and when I call your name I just want you to join me right up here, make your choice, and then the two of you will place your palms on the handprint touchscreens," she paused gesturing at the podium in front of her, "and lock in as a couple."

After a brief pause, CR shouted out, "Cut! Sorry, Gail, we've got a boom mic that dipped into the shot at the very end. Run through that last bit again please."

Beca held in a groan, knowing that this was just the beginning as Gail smoothly ran through the instructions again to CR's satisfaction.

"Great, okay let's keep going."

Gail nodded, looking back at the group of them. "Let's get started," she said, her tone taking on a weight it normally went without. "First up… is Benji."

Beca glanced at the shy boy who looked almost relieved at going first.

"Come on up here, Benji," Gail said, welcoming him up as he walked to stand in front of the podium. "Are you nervous?"

Benji smiled back at her, suddenly looking much more relaxed. "I was when I was standing back there, but now that I know I'm first it's actually easier."

Gail gave him a knowing smile, asking, "I take it you've made a connection already?"

"I have," Benji admitted, turning to shoot Emily a smile. "Emily and I have had a really good time getting to know each other and I think she could be my match."

"No reason to delay any further then," Gail played along, asking, "Benji, who is your perfect match?"

Benji replied confidently, "My perfect match is Emily."

Gail's smile widened as the girls cheered for the couple. "Alright Emily, come on up."

Emily rose from her chair blushing furiously as she walked up to join Benji at the podium.

"Benji, Emily, it's time to lock in," Gail instructed, watching as they each placed a palm on the correct handprint sensor. After a moment she said, "And you're locked! Go ahead and take your seats."

Beca recognized the relief evident on both their faces as they made their way back to sit together on Emily's chair while the rest of the group clapped. The crew swirled around them getting them walking back to the chair from multiple angles, making Beca wonder how many times they went back and reviewed the footage only to find unusable due to a crew member in the shot.

"Theo!"

Beca's heart started hammering at the next name to leave Gail's lips, wondering if he was actually going to pick her to be his match and if that scared her more or less than not being chosen at all. She watched him walk confidently up to the podium and meet Gail's eyes.

Gail didn't waste any time asking him the all-important question. "Theo, who is your perfect match?"

To his credit, Theo didn't hesitate in his response. He spun around and met Beca's eyes, "My perfect match is Beca."

The girls around her cheered as the guys clapped politely, Beca glancing around nervously to see Jesse looking a little unhappy at the turn of events, making her wonder if he planned to pick her as well. Not having the mental capacity to think about being involved in a potential love triangle, she focused solely on not tripping over her feet as she joined Theo in front of the podium.

Gail gave her a warm smile, asking, "Beca, do you think Theo could be your perfect match?"

Beca shot him an embarrassed smile, answering, "Um, yeah I think he could be. We've got a lot in common and he seems like the kind of guy I need… totally opposite from the kinds of guys I've dated in the past."

Gail nodded, her expression turning into one of knowing. It unnerved her a bit, having her wonder if the woman was trying to tell her something or if she was just encouraging the drama and speculation.

"There's only one way to find out. Theo, Beca, it's time to lock-in."

Beca took a breath and placed her hand on the sensor pad beside Theo's, watching as a scanner seemed to run up and down the length of the screen before removing it to see a black bar across both screens that read "LOCKED!"

"And you're locked," Gail's voice had lost a shred of its previous enthusiasm after the first couple, but it didn't bother Beca at all. "Go ahead and take your seats."

Beca felt the relief flow through her as they walked hand in hand back to the chair she'd previously occupied alone, thankful to have someone beside her to keep her company for the rest of the shoot. Chloe caught her eye, the redhead giving her an encouraging smile-inspiring her to mouth 'Good luck' back to her.

"Okay, that was much scarier than I thought it was gonna be," Theo admitted softly in her ear. "Could you tell?"

Beca shook her head, murmuring, "Not at all. You hid it spectacularly."

CR interrupted the shoot, saying, "Okay, let's take twenty minutes so we can get the reactions from the first two couples. Benji, Emily, Theo, Beca, follow me please."

Theo sighed and stood up, offering a hand to Beca who was equally resigned to her fate. "Look at it this way," he said, clearly trying to put a positive spin on things. "Once we do this we're done for the night. We'll just get to sit there and watch everyone else go through this bullshit."

"Good point," Beca agreed, allowing him to pull her to her feet. "Okay, let's get this shit over with."

They followed Benji and Emily out into the yard where the crew had constructed a special setup for the private confessions or interviews or whatever. CR was already there motioning to the crew and giving instructions.

"Okay two of you will go at a time," she said, motioning to the two separate areas lit up with what Beca considered an excessive amount of light. They were a fair distance apart and sectioned off a bit to help with noise control. "The other will wear these headphones and listen to music so it's completely private. Cheap, I know, but it's the best we can do out here. The crew will feed you the standard questions and all you have to do is answer. So, ladies first."

Beca moved towards one of the interview spots, following instructions on where to stand and look and how to not come across like an idiot.

"What do you think about Theo? Make sure to kinda repeat the question in your answer so the viewers aren't confused."

Beca nodded, waiting for them to cue her to begin speaking.

"Just talk whenever. We're recording everything and will cut it in post." The guy looked a little frustrated with her, making her want to get it right.

"Right, sorry. I think Theo is great. We had a chance to get to know each other more today and I think he could be my match," Beca said, feeling self-conscious that the few crew members around were completely judging her.

"Are you attracted to him?"

Beca's eyes narrowed for a split second, forcing her expression to return to something she hoped looked positive. "Theo's an attractive guy. I'd be lucky if he was my perfect match."

One of the camera guys made a frustrated noise, saying to the one who seemed to be in charge, "Fuck, just blew a bulb. We need to reset and get her to say that last bit again after I replace it. The lighting was off."

Beca fought to keep from rolling her eyes, knowing that technical difficulties were part of the process. They swapped the burnt bulb for a new one quickly and had her record her last answer.

"Okay, you're done. You can head back to the main area while we finish up with Theo."

Not minding the rude dismissal for one second, Beca immediately turned and headed back to the main area where the rest of the group was milling around chatting. Jesse was the first one to spot her, making his way over to greet her.

"Hey, how was it out there?"

Beca shrugged, "The usual. Asked me a few stupid questions to get some sound bites and sent me on my way."

He nodded understandingly, looking increasingly more awkward as he finally admitted, "I just want you to know I would have picked you… if he hadn't."

Beca raised an eyebrow at him, making him take a step back. "I just mean… sorry, I just think you're cool and I think if you got to know me you'd find me pretty cool too."

That comment earned him an eye roll as Beca bit her lip to keep from completely dismissing him again the way she had when they first met just to be funny. Before she could answer him, she spotted Theo returning to the group out of the corner of her eye and the image of a love triangle popped into her head, dominating all other thoughts. Jesse wasn't a bad guy, and for all she knew he was her perfect match, but the desire to keep this journey as drama-free as possible won out over any other curiosity. Her goal of staying away from the drama as much as possible was in danger of blowing up in her face before the first week ended, and she wasn't prepared for that to happen so quickly.

The crew was calling for them all to resume the same position they were in before they left, studying a monitor to ensure the guys were all standing in the right order and that the two couples in the chairs were positioned correctly. Gail strode back to the podium, taking up her place and waited for the cue to continue the ceremony.

"Next up is Jesse!"

The group clapped as Jesse walked up to the podium at a much slower clip than Benji or Theo had, clearly looking nervous about his selection.

Gail shot him a smile, asking, "How're you feeling right now, Jesse?"

"A little nervous," Jesse answered honestly, but he returned her smile.

"Have you made a connection in the house yet?" Gail prodded slightly, trying to get some information out of him.

Jesse glanced back at the women, turning back to Gail to say diplomatically, "Every woman in this house is amazing. For me… it takes a little longer than a couple days to be sure if there's something there, you know?"

Gail nodded, "It can be dangerous to jump into something too quickly, however, you still have to pick someone tonight to be your perfect match. So, Jesse, who is your perfect match?"

Jesse glanced back again at the chairs, taking a few long moments before coming to a decision. "Gail, my perfect match is Aubrey."

Beca craned her neck to see Aubrey's reaction, surprised to see a pleasant smile on her face as she rose to meet Jesse in front of the podium.

Gail greeted her with a welcoming smile, asking, "Aubrey, how do you feel about this match?"

Aubrey stood comfortably beside Jesse, answering, "Jesse's a great guy. We've talked a little bit and he's sweet and funny."

"Sounds like this might be a match after all," Gail proposed hopefully. "Jesse, Aubrey, it's time to lock-in."

Beca held back a yawn as the couple placed their hands to the touchpads and locked in as a couple before returning to the chairs.

Gail didn't waste any time moving right along, announcing the next name.

"Chicago!"

The man strode confidently to the podium to cheers and claps from the rest of the house, laughing at something one of the remaining guys called out.

"You seem to be a popular one," Gail said by way of greeting.

Chicago shrugged, "I think we're just all getting along really well so far."

Gail nodded her agreement, asking, "Chicago, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Calamity," he said, turning to shoot a grin at the woman who was already rising out of her chair before her name left his lips.

Once she'd joined Chicago at the podium Gail commented on it, missing nothing.

"Calamity, you seemed very confident that he was going to say your name," she hinted, allowing the woman to expand for her.

"We've definitely hit it off. Our date was incredible," Calamity replied, their arms naturally slipping around each other's waists.

Chicago added, "I definitely think she could be my perfect match."

Gail smiled, "I hope you're right! Chicago, Calamity, it's time to lock-in."

Theo leaned closer to whisper in her ear, "How fast are these ceremonies gonna get old? I'm already bored outta my mind and we're not even halfway done."

"Kill me now," Beca replied watching Chicago sit down and Calamity perch comfortably on his lap, looking completely comfortable with each other.

After another break for solo interviews, their run of good luck of no delays ended before Gail could even call the next name, having technical difficulties delay the shoot for almost two hours. There was nothing for them to do while the issue was fixed, having to stay in the matchup ceremony area and simply wait it out. Finally, they were able to continue, Theo having resorted to poking Beca in random places to make sure she stayed alert and attentive to the proceedings.

"You're like a child… pay attention or we'll get yelled at."

"Shut the fuck up."

CR looked visibly frustrated as she finally made her way over to Gail, whispering something to her before addressing the cast. "Okay, we're back on. Let's go we're running out of time."

Beca's eyes widened, looking at Theo. "It's not even midnight… how are we running out of time?"

Theo shook his head, "I really don't want to know. This is awful."

"This is the part they don't fucking tell you about when you're signing your life away," Beca shot back, watching Gail get ready to resume shooting.

"Next up is Donald!"

Beca watched him stroll easily up to the podium, suddenly thinking that she probably should be sitting with him. Of all the guys she'd met so far she definitely felt like they had clicked the best, and now had no idea who he would choose.

Gail didn't waste any time, simply greeting him before asking, "Donald, who is your perfect match?"

Donald looked back at the women left available and said, "My perfect match is… Stacie."

The claps and cheers definitely felt a little forced after the long hiatus, but Stacie smiled brightly when she reached the podium and placed a kiss on Donald's cheek.

Gail's host persona forced its way through to the surface, asking, "Stacie you seem pretty happy about this choice. What about Donald makes you think he's your perfect match?"

Stacie answered easily, "DJ is super chill and hot and funny and he cooks amazing food. What more could a girl want?"

"Well, when you put it that way," Gail trailed off teasingly, allowing the rest of the group to laugh and cheer at her answer. "Donald, Stacie, it's time to lock-in."

After they'd taken a seat together on Stacie's chair, Gail clapped her hands and looked at the remaining guys. "Five down and five to go, we're halfway there guys!"

It took everything within her not to groan. They'd been at this for hours and were only halfway done.

"Next up is Tom!"

Beca could appreciate Tom's all-American good looks, studying him as he walked to the podium. He looked like he stepped out of the clean-cut, college quarterback handbook and fully understood why more than one of the women in the house had crushes on him.

Her brain's musings had her missing the idle chit chat between him and Gail, focusing back in when she asked the all-important question.

"Tom, who is your perfect match?"

Tom smiled, "My perfect match is Chloe."

Beca laughed at Chloe's surprised look, knowing the pair hadn't had a conversation yet. She watched the redhead walk up to stand beside Tom, admitting they made a good-looking couple. Then again, the house was full of attractive people who all made good looking couples, so she probably shouldn't be so surprised.

"Chloe, you looked shocked that Tom picked you." Gail had perfected the art of posing a statement like a question.

Chloe chuckled, "Tom and I haven't said more than hello to each other since we arrived, so yeah I was a little bit surprised when he said my name."

Tom shrugged, "I mean she definitely caught my eye from day one, but she's been uh… a little preoccupied with Luke."

Luke rolled his eyes, calling out, "Don't expect an apology!"

Tom shook his head, ignoring the blonde. A look at Gail told Beca the woman might start drooling at the thought of finally capturing some tension on film. Unfortunately for her, nothing came of it and she was forced to move on.

"Tom, Chloe, it's time to lock-in."

Beca watched them go through the motions of locking in their match and returning to the chairs, wondering if they could press fast-forward on the remaining pairings.

"Bumper!"

"Oh boy," Theo whispered, echoing the thoughts inside Beca's head.

"You're not wrong," Beca mumbled back, waiting for this train wreck to unfold.

It turned out they were both wrong, as Gail didn't give the man a chance to cause any problems.

"Bumper, who is your perfect match?"

Beca held in a laugh at his slightly put out look at not getting asked a question but recovered quickly as he spun around the ladies.

"Gail, my perfect match is Kommissar."

The blonde rolled her eyes as she got to her feet, striding confidently up to stand beside him. Beca personally agreed with her, not seeing the match there at all.

Gail eyed them suspiciously, asking, "Kommissar, you don't seem particularly convinced this is a match."

"It would be an opposite's attract situation for sure," the blonde replied stiffly, keeping an inch or two of space between her and Bumper.

"Bumper, why did you pick Kommissar?" Gail asked curiously, unable to help herself.

Bumper looked at the taller woman beside him, answering, "I'm kind of an asshole most of the time, so I think you guys would match me with someone who would complement that and help keep me in line."

Beca glanced around to see plenty of surprised reactions at his logical answer, glad she wasn't the only one who believed him incapable of that level of composure and intellect.

"Also she scares me and she's hot as hell."

Jesse's voice was heard over several groans, "And there it is."

Beca laughed, completely agreeing with his reaction as Bumper and Kommissar locked in and sat down.

Theo mumbled under his breath, "Please don't break, please don't break… we're on a roll…"

CR strode forward announcing, "Okay we're gonna break for an hour. The newest couples will immediately get their private interviews done. For everyone else there's a catered table outside that way," she pointed in the opposite direction from where they were conducting the interviews. "Take a walk, get something to eat, do whatever you gotta do. When we come back we're shooting straight through until we're done."

"Guess I can't be mad anymore if they're gonna hold us hostage after this break," Beca sighed, slowly rising to her feet and feeling her joints protest with stiffness.

Theo didn't answer right away, though he looked equally unhappy. "Let's just get some food and hope we wake from this nightmare.


"Everyone get where you're supposed to be! Come on, move, let's go!"

Beca quickly returned to her chair, making sure she was sitting on Theo's left like she had been the entire night. The break was helpful, but now they were back and ready to finish the night shoot. Gail resumed her post in front of everyone, her gaze directed at CR somewhere behind the cameras before looking back at the remaining four guys.

"Next up is… Luke!"

Beca looked around as he walked up to the podium, having no idea who he was going to pick.

"Luke, how did you feel when you and Chloe found out you weren't a match?"

He shrugged, answering, "I mean I was disappointed. She's an amazing woman and I thought we were really vibing. But there are plenty of gorgeous ladies here and one of them is my match."

His words were met with cheers and claps from the women, Beca participating in support of her friend.

Theo grinned, asking, "Should I be worried?"

Beca rolled her eyes, "Just friends. You should be more worried about DJ winning me over with his amazing food."

"Noted, I'm a god-awful cook," Theo mused, not looking the least bit concerned. "Are you a jealous person?"

Beca shook her head, "No, not really. You?"

"Not at all."

His confident answer actually made him seem a little bit more attractive to her, not finding jealousy sexy at all. Gail's voice drew her attention back to the podium.

"Luke, who is your perfect match?"

Luke reached up and scratched the back of his head, finally saying, "My perfect match is Flo."

There were more sounds of surprise as Flo got up to join Luke at the podium. As if showing mercy on them all, Gail didn't mention anything strange about the pairing.

"Luke, Flo, it's time to lock-in."

Beca watched them place their hands on the touchpad and then sit down together in the empty chair. Gail turned her gaze to the remaining pair of guys still standing.

"Zeke!"

The tall man strode to the podium, greeting Gail with a small smile.

"Zeke, you're down to two choices. How do you feel about that? Is your perfect match sitting there alone?"

Zeke shot her a more teasing smile, answering, "Of course she is, Gail."

"Confidence, I like it," Gail said cheekily. "Zeke, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Amy."

"That's Fat Amy, twig boy!" Fat Amy declared as she got up from her chair.

Aubrey stared at her in disbelief, asking aloud, "Wait, you started that? You actually call yourself Fat Amy?"

"Yeah, so twig bitches like you don't do it behind my back," came the shameless reply as Fat Amy walked over to join Zeke.

Gail had no words for that exchange, simply gesturing to the touchpad for them to lock-in.

And just like that, they were down to the last pairing of the night. Beca thought she might cry in relief at how close they were to being done.

"And that leaves Unicycle!"

Everyone cheered loudly as he made his way over to the podium, spinning around and taking a mock bow before ultimately facing Gail.

"Unicycle," Gail spoke as if it was a completely normal name and not an obscure nickname, "Who is your perfect match."

He proudly turned to gesture towards the only remaining choice. "My perfect match is the beautiful Lilly."

Everyone cheered loudly, making Beca all the more certain it had more to do with the fact the shoot was almost over and less to do with whether they thought the pair were a perfect match.

"Lilly, how do you feel about this match?" Gail asked, looking at the odd couple with an appropriate amount of skepticism.

Beca saw the girl's mouth move but couldn't hear any words come out, glancing at Theo for confirmation that he was in the same boat.

"Have you ever heard her speak?"

He shook his head, looking slightly unnerved.

Gail moved right past that speed bump, saying, "Unicycle, Lilly, it's time to lock-in."

Beca held her breath as they held their hands to the touchpad and then turned to take the only empty chair left.

"Holy shit, we made it. We made ten couples," Beca whispered. "We should win the money just for making it through this part."

She must have whispered loud enough for Stacie to hear because the woman replied, "Damn straight."

Beca bit her lip to keep from laughing out loud as the crew prepped for Gail to complete the ceremony, reminding herself not to do anything to fuck it up and keep them there longer.

"Okay, you are all locked in with your matches!" Gail announced, looking at the ten couples now seated in the chairs. "Everyone feeling good?"

That question received mixed answers, everything mumbled and nothing really sticking out in Beca's mind.

Gail drove the nail in a little deeper, asking, "Feeling one hundred percent confident with where you're sitting?"

This time, several negative replies rose above the general hum and chatter, which Beca agreed with. There was no way that the way they were matched up right now was right, but hopefully, they had at least a few.

"The matchup will reveal how many couples are correct, but not who those matches are," Gail said slowly, making sure she was being clear. "Behind me are ten beams of light."

As she said the words the beams lit up, starting pointed directly at them and moving until they were pointed straight up into the night sky. The group reacted appropriately, oohing at the display. Beca was just thankful they all worked and they weren't going to have to sit through another technical fix.

"Each beam represents a perfect match. One beam is one perfect match. Ten beams are ten perfect matches… and one million dollars!"

The reaction to the money was more subdued this time, the nerves clearly settling in at being about to find out how well their initial choices were.

"Okay, it's time to find out how many of you guys have chosen your perfect match," Gale said moving around to stand in front of the podium by herself. "Here we go."

Bumper shouted from the back row, "Let's do it!"

Beca glanced around briefly, eventually taking Theo's hand and squeezing it to try and release some of the tension that magically appeared throughout the room. It was palpable, only made worse by the way the lights dimmed down when Gail placed both hands to the touchpad.

"The number of perfect matches is…" she trailed off, as a few lights over their heads turned back on, probably for reaction shots.

They waited in limbo for what seemed like hours but was probably only seconds before a single beam lit up.

"There's one!"

Beca released the breath she didn't even know she was holding, thankful that they wouldn't be losing any of the prize money tonight. Cheers and clapping broke out around her, letting her know she wasn't alone in her relief.

"Hell yeah! No blackout tonight!" Luke cheered, reminding them that their total prize was still safe.

They didn't have to wait too much longer before a second beam of light shot into the sky.

"There's two!"

More cheers and smiles were passed around as the group started to gain confidence. The happiness faded a bit at the lack of a third beam.

"What about, like… more though?" Chicago voiced what everyone else had definitely started to think.

Suddenly all the lights came back on and a strange sound let them know they were definitely done.

"That's it, you guys. Two," Gail confirmed, stepping away from the podium and turned around to face them.

Beca's heart sank at the knowledge that they were not even close to finding the ten perfect matches, her feelings given sound by the loud groans echoing around the room. The disbelief and frustration was evident, the group realizing just how far they had to go.

Stacie looked disappointed, saying, "Two matches?"

Gail repeated herself loudly, probably for the benefit of the viewers, "Two out of ten."

Beca shook her head as Jesse mumbled "Wow" from somewhere nearby.

Aubrey's voice sounded out above the rest. "We are so off…"

Gail took over, stating again, "That's only two out of ten. And, you just blew one of your chances at love… and a million dollars." Then, as if literally flipping a switch, she said positively, "But remember, your perfect match is here. You just need the find them."

Beca sighed, knowing that with only two beams the likelihood that she and Theo were a match just got a hell of a lot smaller.

Gail finished up the evening by directing them, "Head back to the house… have a good night."

They glanced around at the crew who was gesturing wildly for them to get up and exit the way they had all entered so many hours earlier. Beca got to her feet, hearing a few claps and some encouraging notions from the group.

"Come on, guys, don't worry… we can do better," Benji said, his tone hopeful.

Chloe jumped on his bandwagon, agreeing, "Totes! Next time will be better."

Just when Beca thought they'd escaped for good, CR appeared in front of them. "I need five volunteers to stay back and give a few reaction shots to the first matchup ceremony and only getting two beams. Choose or I will choose for you."

Not needing any more motivation, Chloe, Benji, Emily, Chicago, Stacie, Jesse, and Donald all immediately volunteered, as if to make sure they had enough people to stay behind. The rest of the group sighed gratefully and continued on the path, eventually joined by Jesse and Stacie to leave the remaining five at CR's mercy.

They made the journey back to the house in relative silence, all contemplating exactly how they were going to figure this puzzle out. When they reached the back door and filed inside one by one, Beca felt all the exhaustion hit her at once. A look around told her she was not alone.

Aubrey voiced what everyone was thinking. "Let's go to bed. We're not gonna figure this out tonight."

Beca nodded in agreement, unsure they were going to figure it out at all.

Chapter Text


It was early afternoon by the time people started rolling out of bed, the groans and random chatter eventually forcing Beca to abandon sleep and get up. She quickly brushed her teeth and washed her face, taking another ten minutes or so to get ready before heading downstairs with Aubrey and Flo in search of food. Thankfully, the crew that was milling around pointed them in the direction of a catered buffet that was set up in a room off the kitchen and they immediately grabbed plates of food, taking them into the living room to join the rest of the group.

Beca settled on the couch between Theo and Chloe, the redhead sliding over closer to Zeke to make room for her to squeeze in. She took a bite of her sandwich, trying to catch up with the conversation about the matchup ceremony last night.

"I'm just saying I think Calamity and I are a match," Chicago's voice sounded a little frustrated, making Beca wonder just how long this discussion had been going on for. "I don't get what the big deal is about that."

Luke rolled his eyes, retorting, "Because if we only got two right, odds are you two aren't a match."

Fat Amy cut in, "Well, we know that two of the couples last night were matches. It's just as likely them as anyone else."

Flo shook her head, chiming in, "Luke and I are not a match."

Beca chuckles at Luke's expression, somewhere between laughing and confusion.

"I'm not sure if I should be offended by that or not," Luke mused, shooting a raised eyebrow at the smaller woman. "You know me so well after never talking to me that you know we aren't a perfect match?"

Kommissar butted in, saying, "He's right. For all we know Bumper and I were one of the perfect matches… and I think we can all agree that wouldn't be our first guess."

Bumper scowled at her, "I'm definitely offended by that."

"I meant you to be," she shot back, adding in an eye roll for good measure.

Beca muttered to Chloe, "Well they're already bickering like an old married couple… is it really that far of a stretch?"

Chloe chuckled at her words, smartly keeping her opinion on the matter to herself.

Jesse was the first to have had enough of the disagreements. "We don't have enough information to make any guesses about who the matches were. Clearly, the people we've gravitated to naturally are not our perfect match, so we need to start talking to other people."

Calamity shrugged, "Fine for you guys. Until Chicago and I are in that Truth Booth and it says no match, I'm gonna stick with him."

Chicago smiled beside her, leaning in to kiss her.

Aubrey glanced around the room, asking, "So have we decided to keep doing what we're doing or talk to other people?"

The responses were mixed, with no clear answer coming out of the resulting arguing. Beca shook her head, finishing her food and set her empty plate down on the floor at her feet. They weren't getting anywhere and she needed a cup of coffee and quiet. The exhaustion of the previous night shoot was still very much affecting her, and if the short fuses around the room were any indication she wasn't the only one.

Beca quietly got up from the couch and made a cup of coffee from the catering table before sneaking out into the backyard and walking away from the house towards the beach.

"Hey, Bec… wait up!"

Beca slowed and half-turned to see Chloe following her, a bottle of water in each hand.

"Hey, I'm okay you know," Beca offered, not wanting to take the redhead away from spending time with any of the guys. "Just needed to get away from that mess for a few minutes.

Chloe shook her head, "I was feeling it, too. We were just going in circles."

Beca nodded, starting up her slow pace again towards the beach and tried to ignore the camera crew that was not so stealthily filming them. She had learned quickly that peace and privacy was not a thing here, and to just accept that there was going to be a camera in her face almost all the time.

Chloe looked away from her at the ocean. "Who do you think the matches were?"

Beca let out a defeated laugh, answering, "Honestly, I have no fucking idea. I mean, Theo could be my match. Chicago could be Calamity's… fuck, Bumper and Kommissar could be it for all I know."

"I would die if Bumper and Kommissar are a match," Chloe replied, her laughter mingling pleasantly with Beca's own.

Beca shook her head. "It'd definitely be the shock of the season. Maybe we can get them in a Truth Booth."

"Waste of a Truth Booth."

"Yeah, you're right," Beca agreed, knowing it was true. They would probably lose the million bucks if those two were a match.

Chloe didn't respond right away, the pair of them falling into silence looking at the gorgeous coastline stretching out before them.

"Can I ask why you wanted to come on this show?"

Beca turned to find Chloe looking at her, momentarily captivated by the blue of her eyes. "Uh, yeah of course," Beca answered, quickly looking down at her feet. "I mean, we're all here to find love, right?"

A glance up told her Chloe was disappointed in her answer, though the redhead quickly masked her reaction. "Yeah, of course."

"Why are you here?" Beca asked curiously, wondering if Chloe would tell her the real reason after she side-stepped the question.

Chloe suddenly became very interested in the ground, making Beca wait for her answer. "I think I wanted one last adventure before med school and residency take over my life," she finally said, looking out at the water again. "The stupid thing is I don't even know if I'll have time for a relationship after this ends even if I find my soulmate here."

Beca pondered that for a minute, finally saying, "I think if you found your soulmate… you'd find a way to make it work. I mean… it's your soulmate."

Chloe let out a quiet chuckle, "My soulmate… perfect match… seems like such bullshit, doesn't it?"

"Uh…" Beca wasn't expecting that at all, having assumed the redhead was all the sunshine and optimism she'd portrayed up until that point. "I don't know," she finally admitted.

Chloe glanced at her, asking a different question. "Who were you most afraid to tell?"

"That I was coming on the show?" Beca replied, making sure she understood the question.

At Chloe's nod, she answered immediately, "My parents… I guess specifically my Dad. I knew he was gonna hate the idea. I didn't know how my mom would feel but she's pretty much let me do my thing for a while now, so…"

"How'd he take it?"

"He came around."

Chloe nodded, "That's good."

"What about you? Same question."

Chloe didn't hesitate with her answer either. "My younger brother. He's five years younger than me and has always looked up to me. The thought of disappointing him… but at the same time, I wanted to show that it's okay for people to take risks and do crazy stuff sometimes."

Beca smiled at the sentiment, agreeing, "This is definitely something crazy, but at the same time I think it'll be pretty awesome. Isn't there some quote about the things that are the most uncomfortable or difficult are the most rewarding?"

Before Chloe could answer they heard someone walking up behind them, turning to see CR offering them a wry smile. "Having fun, ladies?"

They nodded, Beca glancing around to see that the camera crew that had been following them was nowhere to be found. "Just needed some quiet for a minute… girl time or whatever."

CR nodded. "Understandable, but maybe it's time to get back. You're supposed to be bonding with the guys," she finished, shooting them a wink.

Beca frowned, feeling confused as that's all they've been doing since they arrived.

"Right, of course," Chloe broke the momentary silence, turning and putting a little extra space between them as they started to walk back.

Beca glanced behind them to see CR watching their progress back towards the house, feeling like there was something completely off about that whole exchange.

"That was weird, right?" Beca muttered, taking one more glance over her shoulder at the producer. "Obviously we're supposed to be finding our match, but am I supposed to ignore every other woman in the house while I go about it? Fucking ridiculous."

Chloe seemed to sense her irritation, replying, "I wouldn't worry about it. Of course, we're gonna get to know each other." After a few seconds, she added, "More likely we can't get drunk and do something stupid standing out in the yard."

Beca scoffed, "As if I need to be drunk to do something stupid. There's a reason they let me come here."

Chloe laughed as they rounded into view of the pool to see several things happening all at once. Stacie and Tom had paired off to no one's surprise and were doing Yoga, while others were split into smaller groups doing their workouts around the yard.

Beca gestured at Tom and Stacie with her coffee cup, teasing, "You okay with your matchup from last night being all over Stacie and calling it Yoga?"

Chloe rolled her eyes at the question, retorting sarcastically, "I'll get over it."

Beca chuckled at her answer as Theo spotted her from where he was alternating doing pull-ups with Luke, jogging over to the pair of them. She watched him approach, taking a moment to appreciate the fact that he was once again shirtless. The memory hadn't left her from his stint as a judge for the drink contest, but she wasn't going to turn down the chance to refresh it.

Chloe noticed as well, mumbling, "I'm just gonna…"

Beca glanced at her, not having a chance to say anything as she walked away and all her energy suddenly became focused on avoiding Theo's attempt at a sweaty hug.

"Oh my God, I will literally fucking kill you," she threatened as he froze with his arms out, laughing at her panic.

"Come work out with us, Bec," he offered, gesturing back to where Luke was actively gesturing at the pair of them.

Beca let out a real laugh. "What part of this," she gestured down her body, "makes you think I could do half a pull-up… let alone a whole one."

Theo didn't seem put out, offering, "Luke and I will help you. It's not that hard."

"Yeah no," Beca shook her head, not entertaining the idea for a second. "Hard pass. You guys have fun."

Beca swiftly stepped around him, ignoring his call of, "You're missing out!" and walked over to a chair by the pool that was shaded by an umbrella with a good view of the workout group. She may not want to participate, but there was nothing wrong with watching other people torture themselves. Jesse and Zeke had partnered up in some sort of pushup contest, while Chicago and Calamity were doing sets of squats holding what looked like sandbags. A few feet away from them Kommissar, Aubrey, and Lilly were stretching and carrying on a conversation.

Out of nowhere, Donald collapsed into the chair beside her, looking as if he was ready for a nap, and handed her a drink.

"Oh, we're drinking already?" Beca quipped, glancing at the cup in her hand.

He winked, "You can't watch sports without a beer."

Beca laughed and tapped her cup to his. "Cheers!"


The day was spent lazily relaxing and recovering from the long matchup shoot. After working out people lounged by the pool, occasionally dipping in for a swim. It was clear to Beca that some connections were really starting to form in the house, her eyes finding Stacie and Tom lip-locked more often than not throughout the afternoon. Chicago and Calamity weren't much better, and she wasn't surprised when Jesse dropped onto the couch beside her that evening holding two beers.

"Thanks," Beca smiled accepting his offering and raising the bottle slightly before taking a sip.

"No problem," he said, his smile warm and friendly. "So, Chicago and Calamity were the first to break in the boom boom room this afternoon."

Beca almost spit her sip of beer out at the casual way he said it. "The what?"

Jesse laughed, "I know… but I swear that's what they call it!"

"Nope, don't believe that," Beca replied, still recovering from almost choking on her sip of beer.

"You got a better name?" Jesse asked, sipping his beer and leaning comfortably back into the couch.

Beca thought for a moment. "STD Den?"

"You make a fair point," Jesse admitted.

"Why would you want to fuck in a place you know a bunch of other people have already fucked?" Beca pondered, glancing around the room wondering if Tom and Stacie were next.

Jesse shrugged, "Probably because it's the only room with a lock in the entire house, including the bathrooms. These producers are vicious." After a minute, he added, "Also it's a king-size bed, which I might kill for after a few more nights of our teenage sleepover arrangement."

"Touché," Beca nodded, finding that the thrill of sleeping as one giant group faded incredibly fast. "Anyways, what torture do you think our challenge will be tomorrow?"

"Hmm, good one. Maybe walking over hot coals to prove our love? How much pain will us poor schmucks put up with for a date with one of you beautiful ladies," Jesse waxed, a cheesy smile pairing well with the way he rolled his eyes.

"If you're lucky," Beca shot back, feeling more at ease with him the more they got to know each other. Jesse was a legitimately nice guy, funny and handsome if a little bit nerdy.

A loud crash sounded from the kitchen, making both of them turn their heads toward the sound. Someone called out "It's fine!" and Beca sighed, turning back to face him.

"It'll be a miracle if we all survive, right?"

Jesse nodded, "Hundred percent. That was Bumper?"

Beca frowned, thinking back to the voice. "I thought it sounded like Uni."

"Have you even talked to him? How do you know what his voice sounds like?" Jesse asked curiously.

"I mean… we've met," Beca finally said, smacking Jesse's shoulder when he started laughing at her. "Shut up, jerk. Don't blame every stupid thing that happens in this house on Bumper."

"What about Bumper?"

Theo hopped over the back of the couch to settle on Beca's other side, his body sideways facing them both with one shoulder pressed into the back cushion and his other hand settling comfortably on her knee.

"Hey," Beca greeted, shooting him a smile before turning back to Jesse who was looking past her at Theo.

When Jesse didn't say anything, Beca said, "We were debating who just broke something in the kitchen."

"Oh, Fat Amy knocked a knife off the countertop and it landed right next to Uni's foot," Theo explained, glancing back towards the kitchen as if he could see the scene playing out again. "He jumped away from it and dropped his bowl of cereal and it shattered. No one was hurt though."

Beca smirked at Jesse, "I knew it was Uni!"

Jesse rolled his eyes again, now focused back on her. "Lucky guess."

"Or I'm a genius."

"Unlikely. You're stuck in this madness with the rest of us, so…"

Theo unexpectedly joined Jesse's side of the argument, "Yeah, I'm with Jesse on this one. Genius' do not sign up for this."

"Speak for yourselves, boys," Stacie interjected as she made her way into the room, followed by Tom. "I'm a fucking mastermind. I'm gonna make this game my bitch."

Tom deadpanned, "By this game, you mean finding love?"

Stacie didn't bat an eye, replying, "Yeah, I'll do that too."

Luke and Kommissar wandered into the room, followed by Donald who asked, "Okay, this night is boring as shit. Let's play a game."

"Okay Jigsaw," Luke shot back, sitting down on the large sectional carefully to avoid spilling his drink. "Name the game."

"I don't know what it's called, but the goal is to guess who kissed you," Donald said, sitting down on Theo's other side.

Stacie grinned, "I'm in."

"What if I don't want you to kiss anyone else?" Tom asked though the mischief in his eyes let everyone know he wasn't serious.

"Tough shit," was Stacie's answer, clearly not about to listen to anything he had to say on the matter even if he was serious.

"And you're just cool with me kissing other people," Tom pressed, now openly grinning ear to ear.

Stacie laughed, finally saying, "Yeah, what if I am? None of them will compare to me anyways, babe." Instead of waiting for an answer she leaned in and kissed him, snaking a hand around to grip the back of his head.

Beca looked away, having already seen them make out enough throughout the day.

Luke stepped in to put a stop to it, clapping his hands loudly right beside their faces, probably because it was happening right beside him on the couch. "Okay, save it for the boom boom room you horny bastards."

Stacie reluctantly leaned back into the couch, shooting Tom a less than subtle wink to let him know that's exactly where they were ending up tonight.

Donald shouted out to the rest of the house, "Drinking game in the living room! Get your asses down here!"

Zeke, Chicago, and Calamity joined them, followed shortly by Aubrey and Chloe who informed them that the rest of the group was playing another game out in the backyard.

"Fine, fuck them," Donald said dismissively, looking around the room. "Everyone grab a drink and I'll explain the rules."

After a few minutes of shuffling around and the truly genius idea to bring shot glasses and bottles of liquor back from the kitchen, the group waited for Donald to explain the game. He finally appeared from rummaging around upstairs, grinning and brandishing someone's sleep mask.

"Okay here's how it works. One person gets blindfolded and starts in the middle. Someone else from the group kisses them… any type of kiss you want, from peck to full-on make out. Then the person stays blindfolded and has to guess who kissed them. If they get it wrong, they drink a mystery shot mixed by our resident bartender," Donald gestured dramatically towards Beca as the group nodded their approval of this rule.

He continued, "The rest of us have to decide whether they think the person will guess right or wrong. Thumbs up if you think they'll guess right, thumbs down if you think they'll fuck it up. If you're wrong, you drink a shot with them."

Stacie grinned, "Excellent. I'm first. Give me that."

Donald winked and tossed her the mask, retreating to a seat on the couch. Stacie slipped the mask over her head, asking, "Am I allowed to use my hands at all?"

"No, makes it too easy to guess," Donald answered, looking around to see if anyone wanted to argue that point. When no one spoke up, he said, "Okay, first round! Everyone keep talking and making noise and shit so you can't hear any movements."

Beca raised an eyebrow at that, wondering just how many times he'd played this game before to have it down to specifics like that. She grinned as Donald stood up and pointed to himself, before loudly stating, "Okay! Thumbs up or down people!"

Beca put her thumb down, knowing there was no way Stacie would guess that Donald would go first. A glance around the room showed a lot of confidence in her, making her immediately second guess herself and switch her thumb to face up.

The kiss started slow but got steamy by the end, Donald finally standing back up and retreating to wolf whistles and cheers from the group. After a long pause, he finally said, "Okay, time to guess!"

Stacie didn't hesitate, immediately guessing, "Luke!"

Groans echoed around the circle, with only Zeke and Aubrey guessing right and high-fiving their success.

Donald smirked, "Wrong! Bartender, whip us up a mystery shot! Everyone who got it wrong drinks!"

Beca took a gulp from her cup, quickly pouring a shot of Tequila for Stacie. She downed it easily, asking, "Where's my lime?"

"No lime for wrong guesses," Beca quipped, not having one at her disposal anyways.

Stacie removed the blindfold, looking around the room. "Who was it then? They can fucking kiss…"

Donald stepped forward and took a bow. When he righted up, Stacie stepped to him and kissed him again before tapping his hip and slipping by him to sit back by time. She tossed him the blindfold and tucked happily back into Tom's side.

Donald put the blindfold on and sat down on the little ottoman in the middle of the sectional.

To Beca's surprise, Kommissar was the one to stand up and plant one on Donald's waiting lips. Beca barely had time to put her thumb down before they were kissing. It wasn't quite as steamy as the first round, but there was definitely some tongue involved before the blonde stood back up.

Donald had a happy smile when he came back into her view, guessing, "Beca?"

Beca's eyes went wide, wondering if she'd given off the vibe she'd full-on French someone for a first kiss. Then again, the first two hadn't hesitated at all so maybe she was the outlier in this formula.

The room shouted out "No!" to let him know he was wrong, and Beca poured him a shot of vodka just to keep him on his toes.

"Agh… I can't believe you gave me vodka you asshole," Donald sputtered after the shot, ripping off the blindfold to shoot Beca a death glare. "I told you that in confidence!"

Beca shrugged, "I can't believe you actually thought that was me."

"I thought you'd try to throw me off," he whined, grabbing his drink and taking a quick sip to get rid of the taste of the vodka. "Who was it?"

Kommissar winked at him, reaching out her hand for the blindfold.

Donald laughed, nodding his acceptance as he handed it over. "Well done," he said with a wink back.

Kommissar broke the no-hands rule when she gripped the front of Zeke's shirt as he began to pull away, extending the kiss for at least an extra thirty seconds before loud coughing and tugging on both his arms forced them to break apart. Beca shook her head in disbelief when the stoic blonde hummed thoughtfully for a minute and then called out, "Zeke?"

The shouts were growing in volume the more they drank, no one believing she would get it right.

"I swear she cheated somehow," Jesse muttered, his face flushing slightly red with the amount of alcohol he'd consumed.

Beca mused, "She definitely took her time to figure it out, though."

Jesse chuckled, nodding in agreement.

Zeke replaced her in the middle of the circle, with Chloe rising to kiss him once the sleep mask was securely in place. After the last example, their kiss could only be categorized as chaste, with Beca putting it more on the level of the opening rounds. She quickly put her thumb down having faith that he wouldn't guess right.

"Calamity?"

Cheers and howls met his incorrect guess, Zeke eventually figuring out he got it wrong and removed the blindfold to see Chloe standing before him.

"Shit, I should have guessed you," he said, shaking his head. He sportingly downed the shot of Tequila that Beca slid his way, before passing the blindfold to Chloe.

Beca looked around to see who would step up next. Chicago got to his feet, but Stacie leaned over and smacked him, pointing to herself then pressing a finger to her lips to tell everyone else to contain their reactions. Beca felt her stomach twist in anticipation as Stacie held her hair back with one hand and pressed her lips to Chloe's. She almost burst out laughing at the way Chloe's eyebrows rose in shock, before leaning into the kiss with enthusiasm.

Stacie pulled away after a few more seconds, her expression impressed as she gave her own thumbs up towards Chloe, who was now looking a mixture of surprised and confident.

"Well, that definitely wasn't a guy," Chloe joked, pretending to look around the room.

"Are you sure?" Luke called out teasingly, adding, "You better be sure before you go calling one of us a girl."

Beca could tell Chloe rolled her eyes at his words, replying, "It's not my first rodeo, Lucas."

"Ouch bro, she full-named you!" Chicago cackled, earning himself a punch in the shoulder.

Chloe seemed to be listening to them all for a moment before saying confidently, "If that wasn't Stacie I'll take two shots."

Stacie proudly took a bow as Chloe pulled off the blindfold, "Guilty!"

Chloe laughed and stood up as well, tossing Stacie the blindfold.

The brunette caught it and winked at her, offering, "Feel free to return the favor. Tom might have some competition on his hands."

Tom looked between the two of them, suggesting, "There's no need for that, I'm open to sharing."

Chloe made a show of looking Stacie up and down, glancing back at Tom to say, "Nice of you… but I'm not."

The crows and jeers grew in volume as Tom simply grinned and nodded his acceptance. "Can't blame you. She's hot. You both are."

Beca completely agreed with him, the entire exchange making her head spin about what Chloe was insinuating. She didn't have an issue if Chloe swung both ways, but found it an interesting piece of information for her to disclose during something that was definitely going to show up in an episode. Maybe the producers cut that stuff out.

Stacie didn't seem to have Chloe's problem with sharing, wrapping her arms playfully around the redhead from behind while keeping eye contact with Tom. "Sorry, Chlo… I've experimented, but it's just not for me."

Chloe laughed and reached back to pat Stacie's head lovingly. "I'll treasure our kiss forever," she joked, slipping out of Stacie's loose hold to return to her seat on the couch.

Beca tried to catch Chloe's eye but the redhead didn't look her way, focusing on the way Stacie was back in the middle and blindfolded. Tom stood up to go next, apparently feeling like he had something to prove after his love connection finished bragging about her second amazing kiss of the evening.

She found it extremely amusing when Stacie pushed him away after only a few seconds, exclaiming, "Tom, I can kiss you whenever I want!"

That paused the game for a few minutes as everyone burst out laughing at Tom's wounded expression. He apologized dramatically, which Stacie immediately accepted by way of a thorough kiss, before slipping on the mask and taking his place in the middle of the group.

Aubrey was the next one to play, Beca not expecting her to participate and her surprise only grew when the blonde really went for it. Tom appreciated it as well, his hands moving up to touch her before freezing in place as if he barely remembered the rules in time. Aubrey pulled back after another second, giving everyone a view of Tom's face screwed up in concentration.

"Aubrey?"

"What the fuck?" Theo exclaimed, amongst several other expletives at the man guessing correctly. "Fucking cheaters, all of you! Three in a row?"

Beca admitted that Chloe and Stacie guessing right wasn't that far of a stretch, but no one had predicted Tom would guess Aubrey. Everyone around the circle drank as Tom smirked arrogantly after his correct guess.

"Don't underestimate the power of not wanting Beca to pour me a vodka shot," Tom joked, retaking his seat beside Stacie.

Donald nodded, seemingly still holding onto a grudge over his own.

When Aubrey was seated and blindfolded on the ottoman in the center of the group, Luke stood up and gently pecked her lips with a cheeky grin. Aubrey's look of disappointment had the room cracking up again, knowing she was expecting something very different.

"Theo?"

Theo rolled his eyes, muttering, "Of course she'd think that was me."

Luke cheered victoriously as she got it wrong, proudly owning it the minute she pulled off the mask.

"Oh, you asshole!" Aubrey snapped, throwing the mask at him when he burst out laughing.

Beca was laughing as she poured out a shot of Tequila for Aubrey, loving Luke's antics. Aubrey downed the shot like a pro before stepping forward and pulling Luke into a real kiss, which he happily obliged.

"Better," she said smugly, sitting back down.

Luke swiped the blindfold from the ground and put it on, taking his place. Calamity had a smirk as she approached him, leaning in close to his lips. Before making contact, she swooped to the side and planted one on his cheek, pulling away before he could make a movement towards her.

"Oh, you're all fucking assholes now," Luke complained. "How am I supposed to guess that?"

Donald was laughing hard, finally recovering enough to say, "Sorry dude. A kiss is a kiss!"

Luke threw his hands up, blindly guessing, "Kommissar."

The group roared in approval of Calamity's actions, as Beca quickly poured a shot that was half Tequila and half vodka. She placed it in Luke's hand who immediately brought it to his mouth, expecting one or the other but definitely not both. The result was sprayed liquor all over the floor and the rest of the group laughing harder.

"Beca, you're dead!" He shouted, ripping off the blindfold and searching her out, jumping up to grab her and throw her over his shoulder in a fireman carry.

Beca was too busy laughing to see where he was taking her, finally regaining her bearings as the fresh air of the backyard hit her.

"Fuck! Luke don't you fucking da….." Beca trailed off as he didn't hesitate to throw her in the pool.

She came up sputtering in outrage, glaring up at the blonde who was taking his turn to laugh his ass off. "You'll regret that for eternity," she promised, treading water before leaning her head back to get her hair out of her face.

Luke shrugged and turned to yell back at the house, "Pool Party!"

He didn't give her time to protest before leaping into the water beside her, executing a perfect cannonball.


Beca glanced out the window of the minibus the entire cast was taking down to the beach. They'd been up early that morning with instructions to have their swimsuits on beneath their clothes and a warning that they were most likely going to get wet. Naturally, Stacie had retorted with a dirty joke, slightly taking the edge off the anticipation of whatever challenge awaited them.

Theo was dozing in the seat beside her, his head adorably dropped onto her shoulder. He was starting to grow on her, even if it was in more of a best friend way than a romantic one, and she realized she genuinely enjoyed his company. It was different than Luke, who she definitely vibed with on a more drinking buddy level, and Jesse who could have her laughing for days with enough alcohol in her system. Beca had wondered briefly if Donald could be her match after they hit it off so well the first few days, but she'd seen him around the house with Lilly and had the feeling neither of them were each other's first choice anymore.

The bus slowed to a stop in an empty parking lot, a crew member rising to his feet at the front with a yawn. "Okay, let's go!"

Theo jerked upright at the shout, looking around as he got his bearings. "Where are we?"

Beca shook her head, "No idea. Maybe this is where they decide we all suck and kill us off to make room for the next batch."

"That would be too merciful," Theo yawned, stepping out into the aisle and letting her out in front of him. "They'll draw it out slowly and painfully and in a very entertaining way for everyone watching."

Beca silently agreed with him as they trudged off the bus and into the bright sunshine, suddenly wishing they were allowed to wear sunglasses. They followed the group down to the edge of a small inlet and sat chatting in the shade of a few trees while the crew set up. Beca watched CR barking orders at the crew, wondering how she managed to keep everyone in line and create a great show. There was no way she'd be able to do it.

"What do you think we're gonna have to do?" Aubrey asked curiously, as the crew worked on measuring out the ropes and stacking PVC pipes into small piles.

Bumper studied the scene, answering, "Looks like we're building rafts."

Beca swallowed hard, knowing that would not be a part of her skill set. Pouring drinks and dealing with drunks… check. Building literally anything… no. She was definitely getting wet.

"At least some of us will be, anyways," Bumper continued, turning back to the group. "They aren't setting up enough materials for all of us to do it."

Uni groaned, "Shit, it's definitely the guys. No way they'd make the girls build rafts and come rescue us."

Beca breathed a sigh of relief at his line of thinking, completely agreeing with it.

"I hope so," Fat Amy said, squinting at the crew moving quickly to lay two paddles beside each pile. "Two paddles… we could be pairing up and building it together."

"I hope not," Beca muttered, not excited at all about that prospect.

CR finally came over to them, cutting the debate short. "How are we doing today?"

The response was mixed after their late-night drinking and swimming, but CR didn't look surprised at the lack of energy.

"Great," she continued, looking over her shoulder for some sort of confirmation, nodding sharply when she received it. "Today's challenge will have the guys starting here on this beach and the ladies across the inlet on the shore. The guys will be given a set of materials and instructions to build a small raft, they will paddle it across the inlet and pick up the girl they want to go on a date with, and the pair of you will paddle back. The first three couples to make it back to the shore win the getaway date." She eyed their glazed overlooks that probably didn't inspire much confidence. "Any questions?"

Bumper asked, "What if the raft falls apart as we're paddling?"

CR didn't bat an eye, answering, "You drag all your materials back to shore and start over."

Luke chimed in, "What if we're halfway across already?"

"Try to fix it in the water."

Chicago frowned, "What if we can't build it."

"You don't go on the date."

Calamity asked, "So us ladies are just waiting to be rescued like fucking damsels in distress?"

CR scoffed, "Look, I don't come up with this shit. This time the guys are up, next time you'll have to do something, okay? You have to help paddle back, it's not just a free ride."

Beca quipped, "Do we have to? Can it be a free ride?"

CR ignored her, looking pointedly at the group. "Any more serious questions?" At their silence, she said, "Good. Gail should be here in about ten minutes and we'll get started."

They watched her walk a safe distance away before the guys started complaining, none of them seemed interested in building a raft until Aubrey finally snapped at them to shut up. Beca knew they were all tired and hungover and she didn't really blame them for complaining. If she were about to do something equally physical she'd definitely have a few choice words to say about it.

She looked over towards the parking lot in time to see Gail slowly approaching the beach, a production assistant beside her chattering away. Beca assumed the girl was going over her lines or something of that nature with the way Gail was focusing intently on everything she said. CR approached her for a brief conversation before turning and walking back towards them.

"Okay guys, time for your second challenge," CR said when she was within hearing distance, clapping her hands to get them all to their feet. "Gail will set up on her mark. You guys will start over there," she pointed to the trail leading down to the beach from the parking lot, "and run over to her to get briefed for the challenge. Then we've got a little boat to take the ladies over to the other side of the inlet, while the boys get set up on the beach here. Go ahead and get into position."

Beca walked over to the trail with the rest of the group and stood waiting for their cue. They had to wait about ten more minutes in the hot sun for the crew to be completely ready and were starting to sweat by the time CR had everyone in place. Thankfully, they only had to film running over to Gail twice. Beca knew any more times than that and they'd all need to return to the house to shower to make it believable that they had just arrived at the beach.

Gail greeted them cheerfully, "Hey guys! How's it going?"

They all responded with a chorus of, "Good!"

"As you saw from the first matchup where you only got two out of ten perfect matches," Gail began, holding up two fingers as if they needed the added visual to understand her, "It's clear your initial instincts on love are… way off."

A few nervous chuckles sounded out from the group, emphasized by the several loud affirmations of her statement. Beca fought to keep from rolling her eyes, the only thing going through her mind was 'obviously.'

"But, you have nine more shots at locking in as ten perfect couples and winning that million dollars," Gail continued in a semi-serious tone, trying to reassure them they had plenty of time to figure it out. "Are you ready for your next getaway challenge?"

At the more enthusiastic responses to that question, Gail beamed and geared up to explain what they were doing. "Alright, here we go."

CR stepped in, interrupting her before she could dive into explaining the challenge. "Hold up, let's get that sequence one more time. I'd like a little more reaction and enthusiasm from you lot… Gail, you were perfect."

This time Beca rolled her eyes, silently musing that if they wanted them to play it up more they shouldn't have dragged their asses out of bed at five in the morning. Still, it wasn't a negotiation and it took two more tries for CR to be satisfied with the take and allow Gail to finally move on.

"Behind me on the beach are the materials required to build a rudimentary raft," Gail started, half-turning to gesture towards the pipes and ropes. "The ten guys will each receive a bundle of PVC pipes, rope, two paddles, and a set of instructions for how to build a secure raft. They will each build a raft, paddle across the water to the opposite shore where the ladies will be waiting. Guys, you'll paddle to the girl you want to go on a date with, help her onto your raft, and the two of you must paddle back here to the starting shore. The first three couples to return will win a fabulous getaway date!"

Everyone cheered at the mention of the getaway date, by now having figured out that it was always worth fighting for a shot to escape the house for a day.

"Remember, only the three couples on the getaway date will be eligible to be voted into the Truth Booth," Gail reminded them, turning serious again, "the only way to find out if you are a perfect match."

Beca nodded along with the rest of the cast, looking around as if trying to pair people up then and there.

"Okay, if you're ready… let's get into places and get this thing going!"


It took another half hour to get everyone set up to actually begin the challenge, allowing for even more understanding as to why they needed an entire day to complete some of these shoots. It would be maddening without the other people in the house to commiserate with.

Beca glanced at Stacie to her left, then at Calamity to her right. They were all lined up about five feet apart from each other, just enough to force the boys to be slightly accurate with their rafts on who they were aiming for, but close enough to hear the chatter from one end of the line to the other.

There were two camera crews in boats in the water and two more on the beach where the guys were preparing to build rafts.

"Thank God we don't have to do that," Aubrey said, breaking the momentary silence. "I might just give up before it began."

"You and me both," Calamity called back to her, with Beca nodding in agreement.

"I'd have better luck just tying all the pipes together and dragging them behind me," Emily said thoughtfully as if that were an option.

"I'd be fine," Flo shrugged. "Back in my country, everyone can sail. You never know when you might get stranded on a boat."

Beca wasn't sure she heard her correctly, muttering to Stacie, "Did she just say sail? Calling this sailing is like calling the walk from the parking lot to the beach a marathon."

"Agreed," Stacie replied, her eyes staring across the small inlet to where the guys still hadn't jumped into action. "What the fuck is taking them so long?"

Calamity heard her, answering, "In case you haven't noticed by now, it takes a year to do anything around here. We'll all be old maids by the time these six weeks are up."

Beca nodded in agreement, eyes trained on the opposite beach. "You're not wrong. Wait… I think they might be about to start."

Sure enough, it was only a few moments later the guys sprung into action running towards their respective piles of materials.

"This should be good," Stacie commented, as only two of them actually picked up the instructions for longer than ten seconds. "Anyone wanna bet on how many fall apart before they get halfway?"

Beca laughed, "At least half of them never make it to us. You heard it here first."

Calamity shook her head at the chaos happening across the inlet. "Give them a little credit… I think half will make it to us."

Kommissar called over to them from farther down the line. "I'll be stunned if half of them make a usable raft with those shitty materials."

Beca felt more confident in her prediction the longer they watched the guys struggle with the rope and pipes. She wondered if the producers or whoever thought up this challenge was starting to regret it. It definitely lowered the entertainment value if none of the guys could even get off the beach.

"You gotta be fucking kidding me," Calamity muttered beside her, making Beca look back towards the beach.

Incredibly, Bumper was dragging his completed raft into the water and hopping on. She could see one paddle roped carefully to the raft while he used the other to move at a decent pace through the water. Beca could only laugh because of course Bumper would be the one to excel at this challenge.

"Idiota," Flo cursed from Stacie's other side. "They're using the wrong knots. It should be a rolling hitch knot. That would hold better."

Beca's eyebrows rose in surprise, leaning forward to look at the smaller woman. "How can you even tell what type of knots they're using?"

Flo shot her a look as if it was obvious, accompanied by a gesture towards the guys. "Just look."

Beca glanced at Calamity, murmuring, "I need my fucking eyes checked if it should be that obvious."

The other woman nodded in response, a look of disbelief on her face.

"My eyesight is perfect," Flo said, not straying from her almost indifferent tone. "I ate a lot of carrots and sweet potatoes as a child. I loved orange. Also fish, but not orange fish."

Beca shook her head, adding, "Maybe my ears, too. Dunno how the fuck she heard that."

Calamity and Stacie both laughed as Flo wasn't finished. "Bumper's doing well. He's almost halfway already."

"Watch out, Stacie… looks like he's coming for one of us and I seriously doubt it's me," Beca warned.

Stacie sighed, before fixing a happy smile on her face. "Producers won't like it if I look pissed off, right?"

Beca shrugged, "Not sure they can actually do anything about it without having to re-film the whole challenge. Also, they're probably praying at night for some massive bit of drama. You never know."

Stacie seemed to consider her options, before shouting, "Come on, Bumper!" She laughed and shot Beca a quick look, whispering, "Not worth the risk of having to film it all over again."

"We all appreciate it," Beca replied as Bumper got within hearing range.

"Come on, sexy," Bumper winked at Stacie. "I'm here to rescue you from this…sandbar."

Beca rolled her eyes as Stacie pretended to swoon before climbing on the raft with him.

"My hero," Stacie drawled as he untied the spare paddle and handed it to her. "See ya later, ladies!"

Beca waved at her as she looked back to see how the rest of the group was progressing. Unicycle had also completed his raft and was about halfway across the inlet, aimed towards the other end of the line where Lilly, Chloe, and Aubrey were standing. Theo, Jesse, Benji, and Zeke were all in various stages of getting their rafts into the water, with Theo being the farthest along.

Tom finished his raft when the larger group ahead of him was about halfway across the inlet, with Unicycle reaching the opposite side and inviting Lilly to join him. She happily hopped on and they began paddling back towards the opposite shore.

Donald, Luke, and Chicago seemed to be struggling the most, and Beca gave a sympathetic glance towards Calamity. "You didn't want to go on that getaway date, did you?"

She sighed, shaking her head. "I would say that it's because he's Army and not Navy, but Zeke seems to be struggling too."

Beca looked back at the water as Zeke frantically grabbed at one of his PVC pipes that had worked free of his raft and begun to float away. "I'm betting this wasn't in his training."

Chicago finally got his raft into the water, however, he didn't make it halfway before the entire thing fell apart.

"Fuck," Calamity swore beside her. "Now I hope he never makes it."

Beca silently agreed that it would be better for that to happen as well. She saw Theo making decent progress across the lake despite looking a little shaky on his raft, aiming straight for her. He had a good lead over Jesse, who seemed to change course so he was aimed for the other end of the line. Zeke and Benji were following him, making Beca relax at the knowledge that it was Theo or bust for her today.

Donald and Luke were the last two to get rafts into the water, but they didn't even make it as far as Chicago before theirs also broke apart.

Beca wondered, "Did they even read the instructions? How hard could it be?"

Calamity and Flo shook their heads, as Tom was paddling after Theo. Beca didn't have to wait much longer before Theo finally made it to the shore in front of her.

"Wanna get outta here?" He joked, holding out his hand to Beca. "If we hurry we just might get a date out of this shit show."

Beca laughed as he helped her onto the tiny raft and handed her the spare paddle. It was long and narrow, and they carefully kneeled with her in front before beginning the journey back to the other side. They passed Tom who had definitely gained ground, Beca glancing back after a minute to see him helping Flo onto his raft. A look to the side showed that Zeke had picked up Chloe and Jesse had rescued Aubrey, both pairs starting to paddle back to shore as well.

"Shit, we got company," Beca said, starting to paddle faster.

Theo sucked in a breath, replying, "Careful, this thing is not steady."

Beca rolled her eyes, feeling the pipes shift uncomfortably beneath her. "You didn't build me a solid raft?!"

"It's not as easy as it looks!" He shot back, but Beca could hear the humor in his defensive response.

"It looked like a clusterfuck from where we were standing," Beca laughed, feeling him poke her side in response.

They were a little over halfway back when Beca heard Theo curse, looking to the side to see Tom and Flo cruising to easily overtake them.

"Fuck! Go faster!"

Theo started to paddle faster, his knees pressing into the pipes proving to be the last straw. Beca realized what was happening a second before the ropes gave way and the raft buckled beneath them, sending them both dropping straight down into the water.

She started treading water as Theo resurfaced, shaking his wet hair out of his eyes.

"Fuck… sorry, Bec," he apologized.

Beca sighed, knowing they wouldn't have been able to beat Tom and Flo anyways. "It's okay, we'd already lost. Don't quit your day job," she cautioned, splashing him in the face.

Theo laughed before holding his hands up to try and block the water. "Oh, you're so dead," he challenged, using an arm to send a wave of water at her that crashed over her head.

Beca closed her eyes right before it hit her, not having time to recover before he was right next to her. Theo wrapped his arms around her waist and whispered her ear, "Deep breath."

Her eyes went wide, "Theo, I swear to…"

They were underwater and back above it before she even knew what happened, wriggling out of his grasp to splash him again.

"I hate you."

Theo winked at her as a boat pulled up beside them. "I don't believe you."

A crew member leaned over the side and offered them a hand. "It's over guys. Come on, we'll take you back to shore so we can wrap this up and head back to the house."


The crew dropped them off near the beach where they were met by additional members who offered them towels to dry off with. Beca noticed they were not the only ones who ended up in the water, the knowledge-making her feel a little better about how the challenge had ended for them.

It took about thirty minutes for them to dry off and CR to organize everyone to shoot the end of the challenge. Gail was chatting and laughing with some of the cast while the crew got set up to shoot the final sequence. Beca handed her towel off to a production assistant and rejoined the group, more than ready for the day to be over. All she wanted was a hot shower and several drinks and to forget this day entirely.

"Okay everyone, listen up!" CR shouted to get their attention. "We've just got this last sequence to shoot and then we're finished here. Let's get it done quickly so we can all get back to the house."

Her words were met with a lot of head nodding from everyone, cast and crew, and Beca hoped they wouldn't have to do too many takes.

"Gail is going to announce the winners and the getaway date, give a short reminder about the Truth Booth and wrap it up," CR said, looking at the blonde host. "You all set?"

Gail gave her a thumbs up, letting her know she was ready to go.

"Alright, on my mark."

Gail waited for CR to retreat out of the shot, speaking when she received the go-ahead from the producer.

"What an incredible challenge! You guys did an amazing job building those rafts," Gail began, smiling approvingly at the guys. "We did have three clear winners, though. Finishing in first place… Bumper and Stacie!"

There was a smattering of applause as Bumper and Stacie both smiled.

"In second was Unicycle and Lilly!" More applause, followed by, "And in third place, coming from behind to stun everyone… Tom and Flo!"

Even louder cheers and applause sounded off, congratulating the pair on their spectacular comeback to win a date away from the house.

"Great job!" Gail congratulated all three winning couples. "Want to know where you're going?"

At the chorus of "Yes!" she revealed, "The six of you will be hiking up to the amazing and incredible Upper Waikato Falls! The climb is more than worth it to swim in the pool and get an up-close and personal view of the falling water. Each couple will also be treated to a private picnic dinner before returning to the house."

The group clapped at the excited reactions of their six housemates, Beca feeling slightly jealous at the thought of the private swimming hole and waterfall excursion.

"Most importantly," Gail reminded the group, "You three couples are eligible to enter the Truth Booth, the only way to find out if, in fact, you are a perfect match. So, while you guys are out hiking and swimming, the rest of you," she paused, pointing at the rest of the group, "Think about who you want to vote for, and I'll see you back at the house tomorrow for the results of the vote."

Beca glanced at the three couples as everyone clapped, realizing that it was extremely unlikely that any of them were perfect matches. They were going to have to start taking these challenges and pairings more seriously if they wanted to find any perfect matches.

CR announced, "Good. We'll get a couple shots of you guys breaking up and walking back up the trail and call it a day. Good job everyone!"

"Thank fucking God," Stacie mumbled from beside her, already starting to walk towards the parking lot and the bus that would take them back to the house.

"At least you're not fucking wet," Beca retorted, silently cursing Theo's raft-building skills or lack thereof. "The ride back will be miserable."

Chloe looped her arm around Beca's elbow, trying to cheer her up. "It won't be that bad. We'll distract you and be back before you know it."

Beca looked at her doubtfully until Theo ambled over to them, looking appropriately apologetic and offered his T-shirt to Beca. "I know it's not a full change of clothes, but I thought you could at least put this on."

Chloe let go of her arm as Beca narrowed her eyes at him for a moment, breaking into an appreciative smile and accepted the shirt. "Still not forgiven for the dunking stunt," she warned, stripping off her wet tank top and pulling his shirt on. It was massive, but also dry and hot from sitting out in the sun all afternoon. "Thanks."

He nodded, offering her his arm next. "I'll even let you sleep on me on the way back to even the score."

Beca hesitated, knowing that she was already planning to sit with Chloe on the return journey, but a glance to the side showed the redhead already several feet away walking beside Aubrey and Luke.

Turning back to Theo, she ignored the disappointment in her stomach and forced a smile. "Deal."


There were several obvious differences between the first day at the house while the winning couples went on their date and the second one. Beca noticed a lot more people had coupled off this time, realizing that even in this short time frame relationships were definitely forming. She supposed that was normal considering they had nothing else to do but try and form connections, but it was a little more complicated than that for her. She'd always found it hard to trust people, sometimes wishing that quality came a little more innately to her.

The connections forming around her became even more obvious when Theo decided to take a nap after lunch. Beca hadn't realized how much she'd grown used to his steady presence until it wasn't there. A look around showed Chicago and Calamity curled up on the couch together chatting quietly, Benji and Emily playing some sort of card game seated on a couple of stools at the kitchen counter, and to her surprise, Aubrey and Luke lounging around outside by the pool. Jesse and Zeke were getting a workout in on the grass of the backyard, and she wasn't sure where the rest of the group was.

Hesitant to interrupt any of the couples, Beca wandered outside and breathed a sigh of relief to find Donald and Chloe chatting easily by the pool a short ways away from Aubrey and Luke.

Beca walked over to them, kicking her sandals off and sat down on the edge of the pool with her feet in the water. "Mind if I join you guys?"

They both smiled and shook their heads, Chloe answering, "Of course not."

"We were talking about who to vote into the Truth Booth," Donald sighed, adding, "The options aren't overwhelming."

Beca knew what he meant, agreeing, "Yeah, I don't really think any of them are perfect matches."

Chloe leaned back in her chair. "We need to be smarter about how we pair up during the challenges."

"I think we just need more information," Donald replied, though Beca noticed he didn't disagree with her. "There's a reason they give us ten matchups and ten Truth Booths to figure it out."

Beca nodded, "Yeah, it's just frustrating because we can make better guesses than those three. I'll quit here and now if Bumper and Stacie are a perfect match."

Chloe laughed, "Yeah, I think that's even harder to believe than Bumper and Kommissar."

Aubrey and Luke must have heard their speculating, dragging their chairs over to join the debate.

Beca shook her head, "Bumper is an interesting one, though. He's a total class clown but he's also got these random talents and moments of incredible logic. Harder to figure out than you might think… plus, none of us really know anything about him because he turns everything into a joke."

"True," Luke agreed. "He wasn't matched up just on his own thoughts and relationships. Speaking of… you guys ever wonder what your family and friends said to get you your match?"

"All the time," Chloe answered honestly, pulling her feet up and tucking her knees under her chin.

Beca smiled at her, thinking she looked tiny and adorable all scrunched up like that. "I can't imagine anyone saying bad things about you, Chlo."

Luke nodded, "Truth. You're one of the sweetest people I've ever met. Your match is probably Jesse… or Benji."

Aubrey shook her head in disagreement. "If Benji and Emily aren't a match, there's something wrong with their algorithm. We've gotta find a way to get those two into the Truth Booth."

Beca agreed, turning to glance back inside where Benji and Emily were laughing at each other with her hand braced against his shoulder.

"You guys believe in love at first sight?" Chloe asked.

"No, because then we'd already be in love," Luke answered, winking at her.

Chloe rolled her eyes, "That's lust at first sight."

Luke laughed, adding, "And drunk at first sight. Helps a lot." After a minute, he asked in a more serious tone, "So… what happens if you want to be with someone who isn't your match?"

Donald sighed, "Bro, she's made it pretty fucking clear she doesn't want to be with you. Drop it."

"Fuck off, it was a legitimate question," Luke shot back, suddenly irritated. "I'm not talking about me and Chloe, I was asking in general."

"Sure you were," Donald scoffed, not believing him for a second.

Luke had enough, snapping back in a way that made Beca wonder how much both of them had to drink already. "You got something to say then fucking say it. It's obvious you like her but you're too chicken shit to talk to her without ten other people around."

Beca glanced at Chloe, registering the shock on her face at the turn of events.

Donald hopped to his feet, his expression disgusted. "You're insane, dude. First, we were chatting out here for a half-hour before Beca joined us and you know that because you and Bree were ten feet away. Second, don't take your shit out on me because you didn't match with the first chick you got a boner for. Sober up," he spat, turning and walking away.

Luke watching him walk away, staying quiet which made Beca wonder if Donald's words rang more true than the blonde wanted to admit. "Fucking bullshit…" he muttered, turning and striding off into the yard.

Aubrey looked as stunned as Beca felt, finally rising to her feet. "I'm gonna go see if he's okay. That was really weird."

Beca nodded, seeing Chloe do the same beside her, and suddenly they were left alone as Aubrey slowly followed after Luke.

"What the fuck just happened?" Beca asked, trying to process the rapid mood change.

Chloe shook her head, "I don't know. Those two were getting along so well just a few days ago."

Beca stayed silent for a few minutes, eventually asking, "Do you think DJ was right? About Luke having feelings for you?"

"Maybe," Chloe sighed, "I don't know. I don't really think so, but it's possible. I mean we connected on our date, but it definitely didn't feel like true love."

"Maybe they're just a little drunk and still adjusting to… all this," Beca gestured around, knowing that was definitely true for her. She wasn't currently drunk, but she was definitely still adjusting to this whole experience.

Deciding to change the subject, Beca shot a glance up at Chloe in her chair. "So, uh… yesterday wasn't your first rodeo, huh?"

Chloe frowned for a split second before realizing what Beca was referring to. "Oh, you mean with Stacie? No, it wasn't," she answered with a small smile. "I knew I was bi when I was like sixteen."

The ease with which she made the confession caught Beca off guard, asking, "Really?"

"Yeah," Chloe chuckled, shrugging her shoulders. She took a moment to study Beca, asking tentatively, "Is that a problem?"

"No!" Beca replied immediately, shaking her head. "No, of course not. Love is love. Whatever makes you happy, you know?"

Chloe raised an eyebrow at her before agreeing, "Yeah, totes."

Beca sighed, running her fingers through her hair. "Sorry, I have this superpower that allows me to be completely awkward at all times."

Chloe laughed at that, making her relax a little. "I think it's cute."

"Yeah, totes," Beca shot back, rolling her eyes. "It's definitely not cute."

"What's definitely not cute? That look on your face?"

Beca turned around in time for Theo to come up behind her, hands placed on her back as he pretended to push her into the pool.

"I will murder you," Beca threatened, her voice low and full of promise.

Theo laughed and straightened back up, offering her a hand. "Have you guys voted for the Truth Booth yet?"

Beca sighed and shook her head, accepting his hand and let him pull her to her feet. "No, we were talking about how awesome our choices were earlier. Want to come with, Chlo?"

Chloe shook her head no, answering, "I'm gonna think about it for a few more minutes. You two go ahead."

Beca felt something shift between them, a tension that wasn't there before Theo interrupted their conversation, but decided not to draw attention to it. "Okay, see you inside."

She fell into step beside Theo as they walked back inside the house to the living room, the big television on the wall displaying the three couples they could vote for.

"How was your nap, Sleeping Beauty?" Beca teased, nudging his arm with her shoulder.

"Would have been better if my Prince Charming had kissed me awake, but I'm dealing," Theo retorted, playing right into her joke.

They let the crew know they were ready to vote, waiting patiently while they got set up and received their instructions from CR. When they nodded their understanding, she retreated and let them vote.

Beca walked over first and stared at the choices, Theo joining her after a moment.

"Who are you thinking?" He asked, the whole encounter feeling incredibly scripted.

Beca took a slow breath, "I guess Uni and Lilly? They're the most likely out of these options."

Theo nodded in agreement. "I think so too," he said, pressing his finger to the couple until it locked in his vote.

Beca copied his actions, saying, "I don't feel good about this one, though."

Theo shrugged, replying, "Nothing we can do about it now. Maybe we'll get lucky."

"Maybe…" Beca trailed off, following him as he turned and walked out of the room.


"I think they're back," Zeke said, sitting forward a little in his spot on the couch.

Beca glanced toward the front of the house, not hearing anything over the rest of the group chattering away in the living room. The crew had assembled them all to wait for the others to return so they could shoot the Truth Booth sequence as soon as possible… or so they said. Beca was pretty sure that last time they hadn't been set up and waiting for the couples to arrive for at least thirty minutes, making her wonder what type of shit was about to go down.

She was not wrong. Tom and Stacie wandered in first, holding hands and looking a combination of exhausted and irritated. Flo followed them with an expression that could only be described as pissed off, while Bumper behind her was flat out furious.

"I'm glad you assholes had a good time," he snapped at Tom and Stacie's back, moving immediately into the kitchen for a drink.

Beca glanced around as Unicycle and Lilly were the last to enter the room. They looked about how Beca thought she would feel if she had to listen to the other four arguing and fighting for an entire car ride.

"What the fuck happened?" Donald finally asked, realizing that Tom and Stacie weren't about to explain.

Flo shot daggers at the pair before answering in a clipped tone, "They decided to ditch the date and go off on their own to hook up the minute we got to the water."

Beca clenched her teeth together to keep her jaw from dropping. Surely they weren't that selfish? Then again, they were all on this show for a reason.

Stacie rolled her eyes, retorting, "Sorry if I couldn't stand one more minute of Bumper's insane commentary when my match was also on the date. It's not like you and Tom are a match."

Flo yelled back at her, "You don't know that! And you and Tom might not be a match either! Either way, it was a shitty thing to do!"

Bumper returned holding a drink in each hand, offering one to Flo.

"You guys could have made the best of it instead of bitching the entire time," Tom interjected, clearly not having any remorse for his actions.

"Or we could have gone on dates with the person we were supposed to," Bumper shot back, adding, "Instead of hijacking someone else's date because they sucked too bad at the challenge."

"We finished third, asshole! I didn't suck at the challenge as bad as the rest of these dudes!" Tom shouted back, gesturing around the room.

Flo was not impressed, scoffing, "You were terrible. I was the only reason we finished third."

Beca felt like she was watching a tennis match, now knowing exactly why the crew had been waiting with serious expressions. She was surprised they weren't drooling at all the cursing and fighting happening in the room. The only thing that could make this better for them would be if Tom and Bumper started fighting.

"Everyone shut up!" Unicycle shouted. It was so unexpected and out of character that the room instantly fell silent. "I've been listening to this shit for over an hour. I'm fucking done."

Bumper muttered, "Yeah, 'cause you didn't get ditched by your date."

"Really?" Stacie shot back at him. "Maybe if you were a halfway decent date I would have stuck around."

"Get over yourself, you're not hot enough to overcome being a selfish bitch," Bumper retorted, forcing Tom to grab Stacie around the waist from behind to keep her from slapping the shit out of the other man.

"Okay, everyone just calm down," Luke said, standing up and putting himself between Stacie and Bumper. "Regardless of how you feel about your date, ditching them is fucking low," he said, turning his stare to Tom and Stacie. "I get that you guys think you're a perfect match and everything, but everyone in this house deserves more respect than that."

Luke glanced around the room, asking, "Agreed?"

The room slowly nodded, Beca in complete agreement that no matter how strongly you disliked your partner, ditching them for someone else in the middle of a date was crossing the line.

Luke continued to play mediator, saying, "So I think at some point… not right now… you two should privately apologize to them. And mean it," he added, narrowing his eyes.

Stacie sighed, admitting defeat. "Fine, you're right. It was a shitty thing to do. I'm sorry," she said, meeting Bumper's eyes.

"I said privately later," Luke corrected, knowing that's the way it should be.

"Fine," Stacie waved away his instructions, sitting back down on the couch.

Beca looked around as the tension in the room melted away into awkwardness as if they didn't know what to do now that the argument and drama was over. She spotted CR watching patiently from behind a camera, hoping the woman intervened before anything else could happen.

"So, uh, aside from all that… how was it?" Kommissar asked tentatively.

Uni spoke up, grinning, "It was sick. The hike wasn't too bad and the waterfalls were cool. It was great to swim right up to them. Lilly and I had fun."

"At least someone had fun," Theo muttered from beside her.

They all paused as Gail swept into the room to stand beside the television, greeting them happily, "Hey guys! How're we doing?"

The response was mixed, but neither Gail nor the crew seemed to mind.

"I heard we had a little trouble on the date," she said, glancing at each of the six participants.

Thankfully, Bumper replied, "Yeah, but I think we've all reached an understanding."

"Good, happy to hear it," Gail smiled, looking around the room. "Okay, it's Truth Booth time!" After a pause, she said, "Three couples are up for the Truth Booth tonight. Your votes are in and we're about to reveal them. I want to stress to you guys that the Truth Booth is the only way for you guys to validate whether you're a perfect match or not. It's huge…"

Beca noticed the way she trailed off to let that information sink in.

"The votes are in," Gail said, allowing the suspense to build. "Unicycle and Lilly, Tom and Flo, or Bumper and Stacie… let's see which of you three couples is headed to the Truth Booth!"

The room fell silent as Gail stepped to the side and stared expectantly at the screen. Beca felt a lot less tension this time as she knew no one really believed any of the three were a match, so it didn't matter who was chosen. The screen flashed, ultimately revealing the chosen couple to a smattering of applause and murmurs.

"Unicycle and Lilly," Gail announced, turning to face the couple. "If you are validated as a perfect match… you're gonna immediately move out into your own honeymoon suite for the rest of the stay and we'll only see you at the matchup. If you're not a perfect match, you're right back in the house."

Beca looked over at the pair, recognizing the lack of confidence on either of their faces.

"Uni, what do you think of this match?" Gail asked.

He shrugged, answering, "I think we all agree that it's unlikely Lilly and I are a match. We had a good time on our date, but I don't' think either of us felt that chemistry. We need to strategize better during the challenges so that couples with a real shot at being a perfect match end up in the Truth Booth."

Gail nods at his words as if they're ancient wisdom. "Lilly, do you agree with him?"

Lilly nodded, speaking so quietly that Beca had to strain to hear her, "I already know he is not my match."

Gail's eyes widened at her words, asking, "Do you know who is your perfect match?"

Lilly ignored her follow up, her expression turning bored as she looked around the room.

Uni covered for her, answering, "Gail, at this point I don't think any of us know for sure who our match is."

Gail nodded, saying, "I think that's a fair assessment of where you guys stand. Alright, Unicycle, Lilly… it's time to head to the Truth Booth. Good luck!"

Beca watched them head out the back door and start down the path, knowing it was going to be at least a half-hour before any results came through on the screen.

Gail turned back to the room once the couple had exited, asking, "Guys, what are we feeling here? Do you think they're a match?"

A lot of head shaking clued her in quickly. "I see a lot of no's around the room. What's going on?"

Aubrey spoke up, answering, "I think Uni nailed it. We need to strategize better during the challenges. We can't have three couples up for the Truth Booth that have no realistic shot at being a match."

Jesse agreed with her, adding, "We need to start getting to know other people. The people we're currently coupled up with most likely aren't our perfect match."

"Well, it sounds like you guys know what you need to do," Gail responded, looking around the room. "I'll leave you guys to see the results, and see you tomorrow at the matchup."

Various farewells sounded throughout the room as Gail waved and walked out, leaving them alone to stare at the screen. The crew must have worked through most of the kinks from last time, as they pulled a couple people to get their thoughts on the potential match before gathering everyone back together for the results. It was only about twenty minutes this time before CR shouted for them to pay attention to the screen.

Beca watched unfazed as "NO MATCH!" appeared across their pictures. There were a few disappointed sighs, for the most part, it simply confirmed what they all already knew. The pair wasn't a match and they had next to zero new information going into the matchup ceremony tomorrow night.

"Two down, eight to go," Kommissar reminded everyone, her normally stoic expression looking slightly frustrated.

"We've definitely got our work cut out for us," Jesse said quietly, the rest of the room nodding in agreement.


Now that they knew what shooting the matchup ceremony entailed, the day was spent mostly lounging around the house and sleeping to prepare for the long night ahead of them. Beca rolled out of bed around lunchtime when her stomach wouldn't take no for an answer, returning immediately after grabbing a bite to eat to burrow back beneath the covers. She woke up sweating some amount of time later to see Theo passed out on top of the blankets against her side, one arm slung carelessly across her lower back.

She nudged at him, mumbling, "Theo… move." When he didn't budge, she freed a hand and tapped the back of his head. "Theo… wake the fuck up."

He sleepily opened his eyes, though his head remained on the pillow. "Sup?"

"You're a furnace," Beca groaned, rolling out from under his arm and out of the bed.

"Sorry," he mumbled unapologetically, almost immediately falling back asleep.

Now that she was awake, a shower was in order. Beca grabbed her stuff and shuffled into the bathroom to find Chloe and Fat Amy standing at the double sink chatting.

"You and the turtle man have a good nap?" Fat Amy asked, winking at her.

Beca blinked back at her, confused. "What?"

"You don't think he looks like a turtle?"

Beca looked at Chloe who was definitely fighting back a laugh. "…no?"

Fat Amy rolled her eyes, "Are you asking me or telling me?"

"I'm not awake enough for whatever is happening right now," Beca said, swirling her finger in a circle. "I'm taking a shower."

"It's all yours, short stack!"

Beca didn't bother to respond, stepping into the shower and closed the opaque glass door behind her, putting her stuff down on the little bench. She stripped off her clothes and tossed them strategically over the door, grinning when her tank top landed on Fat Amy's head.

"Remember this moment when I'm getting my revenge."

"Yeah yeah, I'm shaking in fear," Beca deadpanned, turning on the water and stepping away from the spray until it warmed up.

The shower helped her feel like a human again, breaking through all the drama and alcohol and lack of sleep over the past week to leave her feeling refreshed. She joined the rest of the women in getting ready for the matchup ceremony, blow-drying her hair and finding something presentable to wear with the knowledge in mind she could be standing for hours.

They followed the same rhythm as last time, taking only one shot this time before the crew escorted them to the side of the house were the staged area awaited them. This time the boys got to sit in the chairs and watch the ladies walk in, which admittedly took about twice as long for the crew to film before CR was satisfied with the shots.

This time, Gail didn't start speaking until everyone was in place and stationary, another good sign. It meant it would be easy to re-shoot any particular section if something went wrong without having to do the entire thing over from the beginning.

"Alright you guys, welcome to the matchup!" Gail said, her voice dripping with excitement. "This is your next shot at one million dollars!"

The whole group clapped and cheered, Beca glancing over jealously at how comfortable the boys looked seated in their chairs.

"If you all choose correctly," Gail continued, "Then you're leaving Hawaii with both love and money. However, if just one of you gets it wrong… then you're not ten for ten and you're heading to bed tonight empty-handed."

Beca knew that was most likely the outcome, hoping that they could at least get more than the two they got the first time.

"And don't forget, if you blackout your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars." Gail's final reminder was said with a warning as if they weren't well aware of that fact.

Beca felt the nerves creep into her stomach. Last time it had been much easier to just sit in the chair and wait for a guy to call her name. Now, she actually had to go up there and say out loud that one of these guys was her perfect match. Sure, she had told Theo earlier that she would pick him, but what if someone else picked him first? What if she had to be like Tom last time and pick someone who she had barely spoken to yet? The horrifying what-if scenarios kept playing her head, and it was all she could do to keep her expression neutral as Gail continued on for the benefit of their future audience.

"Now tonight, we're gonna let the ladies choose," Gail announced, receiving a very positive reaction from the women. "Now girls, when I call your name you're gonna head up here, choose your perfect match, and then the two of you are gonna place your palms on the touchpad locking you in as a couple."

Gail waited for all the ladies to nod their understanding, pausing an extra few seconds for CR to interrupt if necessary.

"Great job, everyone," CR called, walking out from somewhere behind the scenes into the bright lights of the set. "I'd like to get a few reactions and feelings before the matchup starts. Kommissar, Luke, Benji, and Calamity," she called, pointing them each in a different direction as she said their names. "Everyone else just stay put for ten minutes and we'll keep rolling."

Beca shifted, half thankful she didn't have to give an interview and half frustrated that she was stuck waiting for ten minutes. Time crawled by since she wanted it to be fast, mumbling, "Thank God," when everyone was back in place and ready to continue.

Gail took her place facing them behind the touchpad podium. "First up for the ladies tonight is Aubrey."

Aubrey shook off her surprise at being called first and walked confidently up to the podium to cheers and claps from the rest of the group.

Gail greeted her with a question, asking, "So are you confident in your decision tonight, or do you have a few choices in mind?"

Aubrey met her gaze, answering, "No, I know who my choice is tonight."

Thankfully Gail didn't draw it out, asking with a smile, "Who's your perfect match?"

"Tonight, my perfect match is Luke."

Gail turned her gaze to Luke as he rose from his seat, saying, "Luke! First, pick tonight… come on up here."

Beca watched Luke join Aubrey in front of the podium and slip an arm around her waist.

"Luke, what do you think about this?"

Luke smiled, "Aubrey and I had some great conversations over the past few days. We have more in common than we thought, and I think she may be my match."

Gail smiled at them, saying, "I think the whole group hopes you're right! Aubrey, Luke, it's time to lock-in." She watched them place their hands on the touchpad. "That's it, you're locked in. Grab a seat."

Beca took a deep breath as they held hands and walked back to Luke's original chair, telling herself only nine more to go.

"Next up… Kommissar."

Beca clapped along dutifully as a second tall blonde walked up to the podium. She had no idea who Kommissar would pick, looking over at the guys trying to remember if she'd seen her speaking with any of them over the past couple days.

"Kommisar, how are you feeling about this matchup tonight?"

"I think we're all still blindly guessing," Kommissar answered honestly. "The connections we made initially were clearly wrong, so we've kinda decided tonight to switch up as many matches as possible and see what happens."

Gail nodded, "Sounds like a strategy is in place. I hope it works out for you guys. So, Kommissar, who is your perfect match?"

Kommissar looked over at the boys, answering, "My perfect match is Zeke."

Beca clapped as the tall man rose and joined her at the podium, both of them placing their hands on the touchpad to lock-in. She wasn't sure if they were a match, but it was definitely more of a possibility for her than Bumper had been last time around.

"Alright, Kommissar, Zeke, you're locked in. Go ahead and take a seat," Gail instructed, watching them walk back to the rows of chairs.

Beca held her breath hoping that CR wouldn't interrupt them for more interview footage but knew it wasn't to be when the woman smoothly interrupted proceedings.

"Okay, it's gonna be the same every time guys. The two couples go outside and shoot your reactions, two people in here head over to the opposite side and react to what you've seen so far. If no one goes I'll choose for you, and it needs to be different people every time."

Beca watched as Chicago and Emily immediately started for the other side of the tent to react, making a beeline for one of the empty chairs to sit down for a few minutes. She ended up beside Jesse, who looked about as bored as she felt on the inside.

"You should pick me."

Beca twisted to look at him, not expecting those words. "Really? Why's that?"

Jesse shot her a grin, "Because I'm endearing and handsome and our picks sucked last time."

"You're right about one of those things," Beca quipped back, smiling to take any sting out of her words.

"Okay, fine… I'll accept just the handsome part," Jesse replied, not bothered by her answer at all. "On a serious note, do you think we'll be able to pull this off?"

Beca thought about it for a moment, finally answering, "I think so. We have ten shots at it… process of elimination should help us figure it out by the end. Especially if we can get a couple confirmed matches in the Truth Booth," she added.

Jesse nodded, "Yeah, our track record with those is pretty crappy so far."

"Yeah…" Beca trailed off as Aubrey and Luke returned from giving their interviews, followed not long after by Kommissar and Zeke. "Looks like we're getting back to work. Maybe we can speed this process up a bit."

"Good luck with that," Jesse scoffed, only echoing her own internal thoughts.

Beca returned to her place as CR appeared, shouting instructions and directing everyone back to their places. Once everyone was set, she shot Gail a thumbs up and disappeared somewhere.

"Alright, next up is Emily!"

Emily clearly looked relieved as she walked up to the podium, Beca hoping Gail didn't draw out the obvious pick.

"Emily, I have a feeling we all know who you'll pick. Emily, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Benji," Emily said happily, turning around to smile at him as he walked up to join her.

There were no delays as the pair pressed their hands to the touchpad to lock in as a couple and walked happily back to the chairs. Beca breathed slowly, knowing that as long as they didn't have technical difficulties things would at least keep moving.

Gail turned her attention back to the ladies remaining standing, calling out, "Calamity!"

Beca breathed another sigh of relief, the entire room knowing that Calamity would pick Chicago.

"Calamity, how are you feeling about this whole experience?" Gail asked curiously.

Calamity smiled, answering, "Great. I think I've found my match and hopefully, we'll get into the Truth Booth soon to confirm it."

Gail replied, "I'm sure the rest of your housemates wouldn't mind that happening either."

Those words were met with a loud chorus of cheers and claps, making Calamity laugh.

"Calamity, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Chicago," Calamity said easily, also turning to watch him approach.

Beca rolled her eyes as the man planted a long kiss on her lips when he arrived at her side, already picturing the "NO MATCH!" verdict appearing when they finally did get the pair into the Truth Booth. She wasn't sure, of course, but just had a feeling that those two were not a match.

"Okay, Calamity, Chicago, it's time to lock-in."

They pressed their hands to the touchpad and locked in, returning to their seats before CR interrupted again. Beca decided to get her reaction interview over with instead of making forced small talk with anyone, heading away from where the two newly matched couples were going for their reactions.

CR nodded at her, asking, "Ready to react to what's happened so far?"

Beca answered, "Yep, let's get this over with."

"I say the same thing whenever any of you bitch about this stuff," CR replied, not sympathizing at all. "You signed up for it."

"Yeah yeah, whatever," Beca joked, smiling at the producer. "What do you want from me?"

CR pulled out a piece of paper, scanning it quickly before putting it back in her pocket. "Okay, first you react to how you felt about the matchup before it started."

Beca nodded, swallowing before looking straight into the camera in front of her. "I'm nervous about tonight. I don't know who I'm gonna pick and I really don't want us to blackout."

"Good," CR cut her off, not that she had anything else to say. "Now give a one-sentence reaction about each of the four matched up couples we've seen already."

Beca sighed, already struggling to think of who went first.

"I think Aubrey and Luke could be a match because they're both tall and blonde and they'd look good together," she said, feeling completely superficial and immediately hoped CR didn't use it. "I'm not sure if Kommissar and Zeke are a perfect match, but right now anyone could be a perfect match and we wouldn't know it. I hope they are."

CR nodded her encouragement, saying, "Emily and Benji."

"If I had to bet on two people in the house to be a perfect match it would be Benji and Emily," Beca said confidently, knowing everyone in the house felt that way. They'd be stunned if the pair wasn't a perfect match. "I don't think Chicago and Calamity are a match, and I think the shit will hit the fan whenever the Truth Booth confirms that. I don't see it."

CR was looking at a monitor as she finished, stepping aside to tell her, "Great job. You're done. Head back to the set and we should be back rolling in ten or so. Thanks."

Beca breathed a relieved breath, "No problem." She walked slowly back to the main area where the rest of the group minus the two couples were milling around. She walked over to Donald, currently occupying the closest chair to where she'd just filmed.

"How'd it go?" Donald asked curiously when she was close enough.

Beca shrugged, "Fine. The usual stuff."

They chatted for another minute before it was time to get back into place to resume the shoot.

"Okay, we're going to shoot the next three choices and then take the long break. Let's keep things rolling smoothly!" CR shouted, clapping her hands for emphasis.

"Fuck, she just jinxed us for sure," Stacie muttered under her breath.

"God… don't say that," Chloe whispered, looking up as if praying for Stacie to be wrong.

Fat Amy rolled her eyes, "Don't worry Ginger, it's gonna be fine."

Gail strode back into place behind the podium and turned to face the remaining ladies, letting them know it was time to get serious. Beca fixed her annoyed expression as the anxiety returned to her stomach, only magnifying when her name was the next one out of Gail's lips

"Next up is Beca!"

She inhaled slowly, curling her mouth into a nervous smile as she walked towards the podium and Gail's encouraging smile.

"Beca, how are you doing?" Gail asked kindly.

Beca knew her smile was tight as she answered, "I'm doing okay."

"Do you know who you're going to pick tonight?"

After a second, she nodded, "Yes… yeah, I know."

Gail hesitated a moment, before asking teasingly, "Are you sure?"

Beca laughed, grateful for the slight humor. "Yeah, I'm sure. We've been spending more time together and I like being around him."

"Alright then, Beca… who is your perfect match?"

She spun around to face the guys, her eyes moving past Jesse's hopeful look to connect with Theo's, his steady look giving her the confidence to block out the nerves.

"My perfect match is Theo," Beca said, her voice coming through strong and clear.

Theo smiled as he rose from his chair to join her in front of the podium, his arm slipping around her waist as he pressed a quick kiss to her temple.

Gail looked at the pair of them, offering, "You two look like a match to me. Beca, Theo, it's time to lock-in."

Beca placed her hand on the touchpad beside his, watching the little scanner run back and forth before they were officially locked in. He chivalrously offered her his arm as they walked back to his chair, and Beca rolled her eyes before looping her own around his elbow.

"You're ridiculous," she whispered as they reached the chair, sitting down in the tight space beside each other.

"Yeah, kinda," he agreed, resting his arm comfortably across the back of the chair as they got settled.

Beca leaned closer, adding, "I'm so fucking glad that's over… and that I don't have to do it again for two weeks."

It was Theo's turn to roll his eyes, retorting, "It wasn't that bad. You did perfectly fine."

"Oh good… I didn't feel perfectly fine when I was doing it," Beca replied.

Gail's voice cut through their chatter, announcing the next name. "Lilly!"

With all the nerves now vanished, Beca watched easily as Lilly and Donald locked in as a couple, followed by the slightly stranger match of Flo and Jesse. To his credit, he didn't falter when Flo called his name, chalking it up with Gail to the girls continued experimenting as a result of their poor first round.

Suddenly it was time for the longer break for the crew, Beca already having grown to appreciate how difficult and time consuming their jobs were. Although she wished they could just keep going, it definitely wasn't fair to make them work nonstop day and night with barely any breaks. This time CR gave them two hours and allowed them to return to the house with the promise they wouldn't drink or fall asleep.

Beca and Theo were escorted out of the area to film their reaction to the matchup along with the other four, all chatting easily amongst each other. She and Theo ended up filming last as the only repeat pick from last week. The assistant producer assigned to this task wanting to get the more controversial reactions first while they were fresher.

Almost half of their two-hour break was gone by the time it was Beca's turn, the crew taking an extra ten minutes to switch out so they could actually get a break at all. She exchanged tired looks with Theo, checking his watch to see that it was well after midnight with plenty of the shoot still left to do.

"You'd think there would be a better way," Beca yawned, desperately needing coffee.

Theo looked a little more awake than she felt, but not much. "If I wasn't worried about them tasing me to keep me close by, I'd go off in search of coffee."

"Don't risk it," Beca murmured, resting her head on his chest when he moved to hug her.

It was moments like this that had her thinking he might actually be her match. They seemed to fit together, despite it not feeling as romantically charged as she imagined it would with her perfect match. Theo felt safe and comforting, and she definitely trusted him not to hurt her. He was a genuinely nice guy, which ultimately made her almost positive he wasn't her match. It was a strange thing, but somehow she just knew it.

"Okay, Beca are you ready?"

The new crew had arrived all bright-eyed with steaming cups of coffee already half gone, making her jealous for even a sip.

"Yeah, let's do it."

Beca got into position, waiting for them to adjust the lights to get the right shot.

"Okay, it's the same drill as last time except obviously, you did the choosing this time. Why did you pick Theo?"

Beca realized at that moment that Theo was going to hear her answers, not that she really minded.

"Theo is the type of guy I need, but would never give the time of day to. I really think he could be my match," she answered honestly.

"How do you think the matchup is going so far? Be kinda vague in your answer so we could plug it in anytime."

Beca couldn't help the annoyed expression that crossed her face. Thinking quickly, she said, "I don't think this is going well. I'm worried we might blackout."

He nodded and shot her a thumbs up. "Perfect. You can stick around for Theo or take off. Whatever you want."

Just before she could say she'll stay, Theo said, "It's okay. Get outta here. If you find coffee get me a cup though?"

Beca knew her relief was written all over her face at Theo's knowing look, nodding at his request. "I'll meet you on the couch?"

"It's a date," Theo winked, moving into position in front of the camera under all the lights.


"Everyone get to your places, please! We've got a lot of work to do in just a few hours!" CR called, watching carefully as everyone got back to their spot to begin shooting again.

Beca slid into the chair beside Theo, her eyes drawn to the three remaining women on the small platform. Hopefully, it wouldn't take long to film their selections and light the beams so they could go to bed.

Gail resumed her place, looking as fresh as ever, and waited patiently for her cue from CR to begin.

"Alright ladies, we're almost done! Down to the final three," she said with a smile. "Next up is Chloe!"

Beca smiled as the redhead walked up to the podium, her blue dress perfectly suited to bring out her eyes. A quick glance at the remaining three guys had her suddenly wondering who Chloe was going to pick. None of the remaining were likely matches, with Tom being the most likely but also obviously going to be chosen by Stacie, leaving Chloe with the choice between Bumper and Uni.

As if reading her mind, Theo muttered, "Who do you think she's going to pick?"

Beca whispered back, "No idea."

They'd missed whatever question Gail had initially asked, tuning back in just in time for the important one. "Well, Chloe… who is your perfect match?"

Chloe glanced at the remaining guys, finally answering, "My perfect match is Uni."

Gail nodded, gesturing towards the man, "Unicycle, come on up here."

The reaction was mixed, to say the least, no one believing that the pair was a match and everyone knowing the consequences of a blackout.

"Unicycle, do you think you and Chloe are a match?" Gail asked, pressing him to add to the drama.

He scratched the back of his head, finally admitting, "It's possible, but probably not."

Chloe didn't seem bothered by that, leaving Gail no choice but to move on. "Okay, well, good luck! Chloe, Unicycle, it's time to lock-in."

Beca found herself feeling a little sorry for Chloe. These first two matchups probably hadn't gone at all how the redhead had hoped, both times ending up sitting next to a guy she'd barely spoken to in the opening days in the house. Beca tightened her hand a little on Theo's knee, suddenly thankful for his steady presence beside her during these first two mini-weeks.

The rest of the matchups progressed without surprise or incident, with Fat Amy choosing Bumper and Stacie finishing off the ceremony by locking in with Tom. Beca felt like they had a pretty good shot of getting at least one match and avoiding the blackout, but knew they weren't even close to ten.

Gail looked out at all of the couples once everyone was seated. "Okay, you're all matched up… how are we feeling about his?"

The responses were mixed, with some people definitely feeling more positive than others. A look around told Beca that there was a good chance they at least equaled the mark of two they set at the previous matchup.

"The matchup will reveal how many couples are correct, but not who those matches are," Gail informed them, adding teasingly, "That's for you guys to figure out. Now, behind me are ten beams of light."

Beca had forgotten the way the beams initially shined straight at them before tilting up into the sky, her eyes momentarily seeing spots from the brightness.

"They really need to allow us to wear sunglasses," she whispered to Theo, who chuckled softly beside her.

"Each beam represents a perfect match. One beam is one perfect match, and ten beams equals ten perfect matches… and one million dollars," Gail said, her smile stretching ear to ear.

They all cheered and clapped at the mention of the money, though Beca was a little subdued knowing what was coming next.

"However, if you fail to get a single perfect match," Gail warned, "That's a blackout, and your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

The group remained silent at that, until someone, maybe Bumper, shouted, "Not gonna happen, Gail!"

Gail laughed, saying, "I like that attitude! Let's get to it!"

Beca watched as Gail circled around the podium to stand with her back to them, facing the beams of light that suddenly shut off ahead of them. Gail placed both palms on the touchpad, activating the fake sequence and making Beca fight to keep from rolling her eyes at the dramatics of it all. Still, the nerves that had vanished since the moment she said Theo's name suddenly made a comeback, settling in her stomach for the foreseeable future.

Gail broke the sudden silence, stating clearly, "The number of perfect matches is…"

They only had to wait a few moments for the first beam to light up, the tension lessening slightly at the knowledge they hadn't blacked out.

"Told you!" Bumper shouted from the back row, exchanging a high five with Fat Amy. "No fucking blackout tonight!"

Beca glanced at Theo, his arm shifting to wrap around her shoulders. "That's one," she whispered, leaning into his embrace. "But we need more."

After a long pause, a second beam lit up the night… early morning sky.

Cries of "That's two!" pierced the air, accompanied by cheers and clapping.

"Come on, keep going!" Luke cheered, giving a voice to everyone's thoughts.

As if the beams heard him, a third lit up a second later, shining brightly into the sky. The cheers and shouts only grew louder and more enthusiastic as they now had more beams than the first time.

"Come on," Theo murmured, hoping for more.

Unfortunately, after another extremely long pause, the lights came back on and they heard that sound again that announced the matchup ceremony was over. Still, Beca could tell everyone felt a little inspired by their improvement over last week.

"Three perfect matches," Gail announced, turning to face them. "That's one more than last week! Are you feeling good?"

"Hey, we'll take it, Gail," Jesse answered, a smile on his face.

Chicago added, "We still have work to do, but we're going in the right direction."

"I love the positivity, guys," Gail encouraged, clapping her hands together. "That means three of you sitting together right now are a perfect match. Unfortunately, it also means seven of you sitting together right now are not, and you just blew another one of your chances. Eight more matchups remain for you to go ten for ten."

"We can do it!"

"That's all we need," Zeke added confidently.

Gail clapped her hands together once more before dismissing them. "Alright, head back to the house and start figuring out who your perfect matches are. Goodnight guys!"

Remembering what was expected of them, the cast slowly got to their feet chatting quietly and began to file out of the matchup ceremony area to walk back towards the house. The crew swirled carefully around them to get the shots they needed, suddenly everything coming to a halt at CR's voice.

"Okay, let's get that exit sequence once more, then I'll need two volunteers for reaction footage and we're wrapped for the night."

Beca clenched her teeth together to hold back a yawn, leaning into Theo's support as they returned to the chair.

"We only have to do this eight more times," he joked as they sat back down.

Beca's eyes were focused on where Gail had returned to her place in front of the podium, waiting for the cue from CR to dismiss them again.

"Hold on, I need to switch out this camera battery!"

The call from a crew member had the entire cast groaning, wondering if their good luck had run out and hours of delays were ahead of them.

Beca shook her head, not knowing whether to laugh or cry in this moment. "I regret all my life choices that led me to this place."

"Can't imagine why…" Theo sighed as the crew hustled to get the camera working again.

Chapter Text


It was late afternoon by the time Beca woke up, glancing around to see only a couple people still asleep from the long shoot the previous night. She grabbed her shower stuff and trudged to the bathroom, thankfully finding it empty. These moments of peace and quiet were rare and she savored it, stepping under the hot spray humming gently under her breath.

It was only two mini-weeks into this ordeal and Beca was already feeling the strain mentally. It was grueling without really any reason, making her feel slightly ridiculous, but the constant pushing and prodding to make connections and have conversations and find your perfect match was way more social interaction than she was accustomed to on a daily basis. It had its moments and she felt like she was forming a few genuine friendships in the house but didn't feel like she was making a lot of progress romantically.

Theo was great, but they hadn't kissed since that first one in the hammock and Beca didn't find herself wishing they would again. He was kind and comfortable and easy, but she constantly felt like something was missing when they were together. She couldn't really put her finger on it, but there wasn't that attraction… that pull to be with him that she thought there would be with her match. Maybe it was her own unrealistic expectations… or maybe her perfect match was someone who complimented her the way he did, and those feelings needed to be cultivated. She just wasn't sure, and it was driving her a little crazy.

Beca resisted the temptation of literally banging her head against the wall to drive the thoughts from her mind, instead starting to sing to let the lyrics flood her brain.

"I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose…" she sang, the words flowing easily. It was a little funny to her that this was the song that came to mind in the moment, feeling like she was definitely not bulletproof or made of Titanium when it came to this experience.

She let all the stress fade away as she washed her hair, reaching the chorus again singing a little bit louder. It was the most relaxed she'd been since arriving at the house, savoring the solitude while she had it.

A knock on the shower door startled her, jerking around to face the door but also backward away from it at the same time.

"Bec?"

Beca breathed a sigh of relief, instantly recognizing Chloe's voice.

"You can sing?!" Chloe's voice sounded curious and pleasantly surprise. "How did you not tell me that?"

Beca hesitated, unsure of why it was important. "Uh, yeah… I guess so. I mean… I don't do it a lot, so…"

She heard the sink turn on, assuming Chloe was brushing her teeth.

"You sound amazing," Chloe's voice was clear, so maybe not brushing her teeth after all. "That song is my jam."

Beca hummed, not that surprised as it was fairly popular for a while.

"My lady jam."

Oh. OH. Beca swallowed nervously, staring at the door as if it was about to open. That was definitely not what she expected Chloe to say, the visual popping uninvited into her brain and discovering it was not so easy to get rid of.

"Ah, um, that's nice," Beca replied, pressing her palm against her forehead at the awkward response.

Chloe was apparently unfazed on the other side of the door, replying casually, "It is. That song really builds."

Beca bit her lower lip, not needing any extra images to add to the ones already circling through her brain.

"Anyways, I'll see you downstairs," Chloe called, done with whatever she'd come into the bathroom to do.

Beca was never more thankful for the shower door between them, calling back, "Sounds good!"

Beca waited until she was sure she heard the sound of the bathroom door shutting closed before leaning her forehead against the cool tiles of the shower wall. The thoughts running through her mind were anything but friendly, making her feel awkward and a little guilty for thinking about Chloe doing… that.

It sparked memories of her own experimenting back in college, never going so far as to actually date another woman, but Beca was definitely able to appreciate how attractive the other women in the house were. She'd never defined her sexuality as anything other than straight, figuring that it was natural to notice attractive people regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Chloe was definitely one of the most beautiful women she'd ever met, but she was also friendly and open and here to find her perfect match in one of the guys and it would be stupid to view their interactions as anything other than friendship.

Realizing she'd been standing still under the water for at least five minutes since Chloe had left her alone, Beca finished her shower and shut the water off. She quickly got ready, threw her wet hair up in a bun, and walked downstairs in search of something to eat.

They had the option to cook if they wanted to, but Beca was glad for the constant catering that meant she didn't have to. Some of the other people in the house were happy to cook to accommodate their different diets or eating styles, but Beca was not on that low-carb or whatever other random train was popular these days. She grabbed a bottle of water and some of the Italian food set out for them and wandered out to eat by the pool. Beca liked the weather in San Francisco, but it couldn't hold a candle to being outside in Hawaii. Her plan was to soak up as much sun as possible before this adventure ended.

She found Jesse reading a book by the pool alone, walking over to join him. He looked up as she approached and shot her a smile, gesturing to the chair beside him.

"Thanks," Beca said, sitting down and carefully balancing her plate on her lap.

Jesse nodded towards the pasta, "That was really good. I wasn't sure… you never know with Italian food."

"True," Beca agreed, tasting the fettuccine Alfredo and indeed finding it very tasty. "Mmm, you're not wrong."

"Where is the trust?" Jesse said, his expression wounded.

Beca chuckled, breaking the seal on her bottle of water to take a sip. "Relax, I believed you. I was just appreciating it, is all."

Jesse closed his book and set it on the table beside him, shifting to face her. "So, how are you doing with all this craziness?"

"Okay, I think," Beca answered thoughtfully. "It's definitely an experience. You?"

"It's not what I expected," Jesse replied, looking around, "But it's pushing me out of my comfort zone and I think it's been good for me."

Beca nodded, understanding what he meant. "Why did you sign up?"

Jesse hesitated, looking a little embarrassed. "Honestly… it was a dare. I was hanging out with some friends one night and we were channel surfing and landed on the show. One thing led to another and here I am. I never thought they'd accept me," he sighed with a shake of his head. "I'm just your average guy."

"You say that like it's a bad thing," Beca commented, meeting his gaze. "I think most women are looking for an average guy that respects them and treats them well."

Jesse tilted his head a little, asking, "Is that what you're looking for?"

Beca smirked at his question, reading the real one behind it. "Yeah, I think so. I think what I need more than anything is someone who fits. I've dated enough guys that I have a lot in common with and who have similar interests and lifestyles. I need my other half, you know? I'm not afraid of a relationship, I just haven't found the person I want to have that with… yet," she added, after a moment. "Apparently that person is around here somewhere," she chuckled.

"Do you think it's Theo?"

Damn, he really wasn't pulling punches now. Beca remained quiet, studying his curious expression.

Instead of waiting for her answer, Jesse continued, "Look, I've made it pretty clear I'm into you. But if you really think he's your match, I'll back off. I'm not trying to get between you, I just feel like we could be a good match if we had more time to chat… like this," he explained, gesturing between them.

Beca decided to answer his question anyway. "I'm not sure if Theo is my match or not. This is the part I'm really bad at… that I'm trying to work on," she said, frowning at the thought. "I'm indecisive and I don't always know what the best thing is for me. In the past, I've dated some really good guys but I just wasn't sure and they didn't stick around… and I didn't blame them. I guess it sounds like I'm afraid of commitment, but I'm just afraid to commit to the wrong person."

Jesse nodded, "No, I get it. I think on some level we're all afraid of that…"

He trailed off and Beca looked at him confused, turning and following his gaze now directed over her shoulder to see Theo approaching them.

"Hey, Bec, I was wondering if you wanted to go for a walk?" Theo asked, slowing as he neared her chair.

Beca turned back to see Jesse's eyes narrow slightly. "Actually, we were in the middle of a conversation."

Beca swallowed as Theo stiffened at his tone.

"Chill dude, I didn't mean to interrupt," Theo began, holding his hands up. "Bec, I'll be inside when you're done."

Beca turned her head to tell him she'd join him in a bit, suddenly feeling his lips on hers. She pulled back surprised, Theo clearly having meant to kiss her cheek, but knew, either way, the damage was done.

Jesse stood up and grabbed his book, muttering, "Never mind. I was about to get a drink anyways. Enjoy your walk."

Beca's eyes widened as she stared after him, finally meeting Theo's sheepish gaze.

"I'm sorry, I swear it was an accident," Theo apologized, looking guilty.

"I thought you weren't the jealous type?" Beca asked, knowing her tone was slightly accusatory.

Theo frowned, "I'm not! I was leaning down to whisper in your ear and make sure you were okay and you turned your head!"

"Mm-hmm," Beca hummed, not sure she believed him.

"Look, I don't lie and I don't do whatever this is," Theo said, now sounding irritated. "This passive-aggressive shit. I wanted to spend time with you, but not if you think I'd lie about something so stupid."

He turned and strode away before Beca could respond, knowing she definitely could have handled that better. She didn't even have time to process her feelings before a new voice interrupted the silence.

"Trouble in paradise?"

Beca looked up to see Chloe shooting her a concerned smile, settling herself down into Jesse's recently vacated chair.

"Yeah, I fucked up. I'll apologize after he cools off," Beca sighed, looking off in the direction Theo disappeared in.

"And girls are supposed to be the dramatic ones," Chloe teased, making Beca break into a smile.

"I wish I could blame him, but this one was definitely on me," Beca sighed, looking back at the redhead. "I sorta called him a liar and then maybe did it again?"

Chloe chuckled, "That's not usually the way to go. I'm sure you'll figure it out."

Beca shook her head, "I'm really bad at this. I don't know why they let me on this show. I was having this nice conversation with Jesse and then Theo came over and asked if I wanted to go for a walk and it all went to hell."

"Jesse is totes into you," Chloe said carefully. "I mean, you know that though."

"I mean, I think so?" Beca wasn't sure if she was asking or answering. "I don't always get it when guys like me… or anyone really. I'm not the most open or friendly person."

Chloe studied her for a second, her tone light when she finally said, "Well…I like you."

Beca laughed, replying, "Yeah, you're not so bad either."

They were quiet for a moment before Chloe asked, "When did you start singing?"

Beca rolled her eyes, retorting, "About the same time you started barging into people's showers."

"I didn't barge into your shower," Chloe gasped in mock outrage. "I simply heard a beautiful voice and followed my ears."

"So now I'm a siren?" Beca joked, unable to help herself.

Chloe winked, "I'd believe it."

Beca shook her head, shooting Chloe's question back at her. "So how long have you been publicly declaring your lady jams to people?"

"Oh okay, that's how you wanna play it?" Chloe grinned, shifting her chair more to face Beca. "Why are you so interested in my lady jams, Bec?"

"That is not… I'm not… I didn't ask you to tell me that," Beca stuttered, hating the way Chloe turned her question right back around on her. "Who just randomly announces that information?"

Chloe shrugged, "I guess I do. I don't think it's a big deal."

Beca blushed, feeling the heat in her face. "Yeah… no, definitely not a big deal."

"Are you okay? I'm sorry if it made you uncomfortable…" Chloe trailed off, looking concerned.

"No, it's fine," Beca answered quickly. "Just me and my superpower… forget I said anything."

Chloe laughed, remembering their conversation from the other day. "It's only awkward if you make it awkward."

Beca sighed, pressing her palms against her face as Chloe laughed at her again, wondering if she blocked out the world for a few minutes she could go back in time and redo this conversation.

"Okay, you suck at not making it awkward," Chloe said, still gently laughing. "Tell me something I don't know about you. It can be anything."

Beca frowned, lowering her hands thinking for a moment before confessing, "You know how everyone here thinks I'm just a bartender?" At Chloe's nod, she continued, "Well that's only half true. Yeah, I'm behind the bar sometimes, but I actually own the place."

Chloe's eyes widened, saying, "What?! Bec, that's incredible! You own a bar!"

"Fuck, say it louder next time… I'm pretty sure there's someone on the opposite side of the island who didn't quite hear you," Beca quipped, though she did look around to see if anyone heard the redhead's outburst.

"Sorry," Chloe immediately apologized, joining her in looking around for eavesdroppers and thankfully finding none. "But seriously, that's amazing. Tell me more."

Beca hummed; Chloe's warm gaze and encouraging smile letting her know the woman's interest was genuine, making her want to open up a little. "It's called Charlie's, after my uncle. He owned and worked it for years until a little over a year ago when he passed away." She stopped, unable to keep from getting choked up at the thought of her uncle.

"I'm so sorry, Bec," Chloe said, reaching over to place a hand on her knee. "I'm guessing you two were close?"

"Yeah, we were," Beca sighed. "I started working at the bar when I was eighteen and continued all the way through college. I couldn't believe he left it to me, but I'm so happy he did. I love that place… I feel close to him when I'm there." After a minute, she said, "I haven't told anyone else that."

Chloe raised an eyebrow, asking, "Not even Theo?"

Beca shook her head. "No, no one."

They were quiet for a long moment before Chloe said, "I'm glad you told me. For the record, I never thought of you as 'just a bartender.' I'm not sure how, but I just knew we were going to be friends."

Beca retreated to her comfort zone of sarcasm, quipping, "Well, now that you've seen me naked…"

Chloe huffed, "If you're talking about this morning, I want a do-over. I could barely tell it was you in there."

"Sure, Chlo," Beca laughed, "All I'm saying is no one else wandered into the bathroom while I was in there."

Chloe didn't answer right away, Beca noticing her gaze shifting to look over her shoulder, her smile fading slightly.

"Uh, Bec… I think someone would like to talk to you." Chloe's voice had softened, making Beca turn and see what had distracted her.

Theo was back, looking a little guilty. "Hey, uh… can we talk? Privately?"

Beca wasn't prepared for the disappointment that flooded through her at the interruption, eventually nodding knowing she still owed Theo an apology for her earlier statements. Chloe's expression was unreadable as she gave her a small wave and fell into step with Theo across the backyard.

"Hey, I'm sorry for earlier," Beca apologized, wanting to speak first. "I should have trusted you… and I know you wouldn't do something like that."

Theo glanced at her, nodding after a moment, "Thanks."

They walked slowly across the backyard, Theo coming to a stop within sight of the hammock they had their first conversation on.

"I like you," Theo stated, not looking at her. "But if you're feeling Jesse or something just tell me. I can handle it."

Beca shook her head, "No… I mean, Jesse's nice, but… I think I'm getting frustrated because I'm not sure if you're my match. You could be, but I don't know… does it feel like something is missing for you?"

Theo shook his head. "No, not really. I'm not about to get down on one knee and propose or anything, but I think we've connected. I don't expect to meet someone and just bam… know immediately that they're my perfect match and we're gonna be together. For me it's more about do I like talking to you, spending time with you, and do I want to keep doing that? I do, so that's enough for me right now."

Beca thought about that, wondering if maybe she was looking at this whole experience all wrong. "I hadn't thought of it that way," she admitted, noticing the way Theo's expression relaxed.

He eyed her, asking incredulously, "Were you thinking you had to be in love with me after five days?"

"Well now I feel like both an idiot and an asshole," Beca grumbled, letting him slide an arm around her shoulders and pull her into a side hug.

"I'm sorry," he said, trying and failing to hide how humorous he found her responses.

Beca rolled her eyes but didn't pull away as she replied, "I take it all back. I hate you and you're definitely not my match."

Theo laughed at her deadpan delivery, turning the hug into a real one that she returned.

"I'm sorry I didn't give you the benefit of the doubt of being a decent guy," Beca said genuinely.

"Happens more often than you'd think." Theo released her and took half a step back. "So, we good?"

Beca nodded, feeling a lot better after their talk.

Theo grinned, adding, "You're not into Jesse though, right?"

"Maybe I am," Beca teased back, knowing now he was just trying to get under her skin. "Some competition wouldn't kill you."

"Pfft, I could take that guy," Theo scoffed softly, closing the distance between them to kiss her.

This time he really kissed her, unlike the soft tentative press of lips in the hammock.

This time she was ready for it, kissing him back.


Thankfully they didn't have to wake up as early for the third challenge, allowing a more normal morning with breakfast and a little downtime before they were required outside. Beca happily joined Donald in the kitchen to cook breakfast, whipping up batches of bloody Mary's and mimosas while he prepared eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns. It was nice to simplify things for a bit, focusing on mixing drinks while the smell of breakfast had her stomach growling in anticipation.

Everyone grabbed plates and drinks and settled on the large sectional to eat together. There were so many of them in the house that meals like this were rare. Usually, people ended up eating in groups at random intervals, sticking to the people they gravitated to from the beginning.

"What do you think the challenge will be today?" Zeke asked, finally interrupting the almost silent sounds of people eating.

Aubrey shook her head, "No idea. But CR did say that since you guys went last time it would be our turn this time."

"It could be anything," Calamity shrugged, reaching her fork over to snag a piece of sausage from Chicago's plate to his displeasure.

"Just because you're sexy doesn't mean you can steal my breakfast," he grumbled. "At least take the breakfast potatoes or something."

Jesse spoke up, "Well, whatever it is we need to be more strategic in how we match up. Three is still nowhere near ten."

"We get it, dude, you're sick of Theo hogging Beca and you want to tap that," Bumper rolled his eyes.

Beca shot Bumper a dirty look, but Luke voiced his agreement.

"I mean, he's not wrong," Luke commented, earning himself glares from both Beca and Jesse.

"What I meant," Jesse started, his irritation showing, "Was that we need to couple up in pairs that actually have a chance at being matches. Like Chicago and Calamity, or Benji and Emily."

Theo earned a ton of points in Beca's mind when he backed Jesse's idea. "I agree with Jesse. If we want to find everyone's match, we have to send the right couples to the Truth Booth."

Fat Amy smirked, "Okay, turtle man. Beca's already all up on you… no need to show off and come to that man-child's rescue."

"I don't look like a turtle," Theo mumbled, making Beca laugh.

"I can see it," she whispered back, earning a jab to the side.

Chloe interjected, "I also agree with Jesse. We need to start taking the challenges and Truth Booths and matchups more seriously."

Bumper agreed, adding, "I'm not letting you assholes screw me out of winning that money."

"It's not only about money," Benji glanced around, his fingers laced with Emily's. "I mean, I would still want to be with Emily even if she turns out to not be my match."

"No one is asking you two to break up," Chloe cut in before Bumper could respond.

Chicago responded, "Actually, that's pretty much exactly what we'd ask if they aren't a match. They would have to start figuring out who their real match was somewhere, and spending every minute together wouldn't accomplish that."

Beca frowned at his callousness. "Wait a second, it's stupid not to acknowledge that there are actual feelings to take into account. This whole thing is more than just the money at the end."

"But the money is the most important thing," Chicago argued back, a few others around the room nodding in agreement.

"The fuck it is," Beca retorted, feeling Theo's hand move to rest on her knee.

Aubrey stepped in to mediate. "Okay, I think we all decided to do this for different reasons, and no reason is more or less valid than someone else's. Let's just cool off for a second."

Bumper stood up, shooting back, "Look, I don't know about the rest of you, but that million-dollar prize is a big reason why I'm here. You bitches better take it seriously."

"I'm with Bumper and Chicago on this one," Kommissar voiced, though she didn't sound upset. "Yes, finding love would be great, but we can't just ignore the money."

Beca was beyond frustrated at all of them. "No one is saying that," she retorted. "I'm saying we can't be focused entirely on one thing or the other. We have to account for both the relationships and feelings developing in the house AND the fact we need to find all ten perfect matches."

Luke stepped up and backed her, "Beca's right. The relationships we build are how we win the money. You might not leave here in a relationship with your match, but in order to find them, we have to develop some sort of connection with them. We aren't going to figure it out by blind luck."

Chicago seemed to decide that arguing wasn't getting them anywhere, and they all needed to be on the same side. "Okay, I get that," he acquiesced. "I get that you don't get one without the other… I'm just making sure that we all understand and prioritize the ultimate goal."

Aubrey countered him, "My point was that Beca's ultimate goal here might be different than yours."

He shook his head, "No, everyone's ultimate goal should be to find their match and win the money. That's not up for debate."

Beca restrained herself from rebutting just for argument's sake, her eyes connecting with Chloe's who felt no such desire.

"What if someone's ultimate goal from this experience is to find their perfect match?" Chloe asked, keeping her voice light so as not to provoke too angry of a response. "What if someone wants a relationship out of this and doesn't care as much about the money?"

Bumper rolled his eyes, asking, "You have something you want to admit? A trust fund stashed away somewhere?"

Chloe narrowed her eyes at him, snapping, "I'm going to med school in the fall. I'll be in debt for most of my adult life, asshole, certainly, more than a measly fifty grand could cover."

Bumper retreated immediately, apologizing, "Okay, I get it. Sorry."

Chicago frowned at him, adding, "You should be. That was rude as fuck, bro."

Theo spoke up for the first time, saying, "No one here has any right to comment on someone else's financial situation. At the end of the day, we all have to work together to figure out the perfect matches. If we're constantly fighting and arguing, we'll all lose."

Nods around the room indicated they were satisfied with that statement, and Beca hoped that might be the end of it… at least for now. She was sure this argument was going to come up again and again the longer it took to confirm perfect matches in the Truth Booth.

As if waiting for the drama to end, CR suddenly appeared in the room. She strode towards to stand in front of the large television screen.

"Okay guys, it's time to head outside to the backyard for your challenge."


Beca found herself walking outside to the challenge beside Jesse, noticing he was staunchly avoiding looking at her. She wondered if he felt weird or embarrassed by Bumper's comments earlier, decided to try and dissolve any lingering tension.

"Bumper's an idiot," she murmured, bumping her shoulder gently against his arm.

Jesse still didn't look at her, but Beca saw the corners of his mouth quirk up in a half-smile.

She kept going, her instinct to turn to humor proving to be a good one at the moment. "It's okay if you want to tap this… everyone knows I'm the hottest one in the house," she whispered, grinning as he couldn't stop the laugh from bubbling up from his chest.

"I'm gonna let that one slide without being offended," Beca finished, glad that whatever had been bugging him was definitely gone.

Jesse glanced at her, finally saying, "I definitely think you're the hottest girl in the house."

Something in the way he said it made her stomach flutter… a hint of seriousness underlying in his tone that made her sure he meant it.

"It'll take more than a little flattery to get in my pants," she warned as they approached the challenge area.

"Noted," Jesse nodded, giving her a quick salute before moving to stand a few feet away from her.

Beca was confused why until Theo came to a stop beside her, glancing at Jesse before meeting her eyes.

"He okay?"

"Yeah, I think he is now," Beca answered, realizing Theo had noticed the reaction to Bumper's accusation earlier. "Are you?"

Theo rolled his eyes, "I never take anything Bumper says too seriously. He's a jackass."

Beca laughed, "On that, we agree, turtle man."

"Whatever you say, Yoda."

"I'm not sure if that was supposed to be an insult, but you failed miserably. Yoda is for sure the best character in Star Trek," Beca quipped, chuckling at Theo's wounded look at her purposely misplaced reference.

"I think I'm in physical pain."

Beca was still laughing at him, "You nerds are so easy to rile up."

Theo shot her a mock glare. "Messing up Star Trek and Star Wars is one of the seven deadly sins… didn't you know?"

"Mm-hmm, right up there with murder and gluttony," Beca fired back, not giving an inch.

Theo shook his head, "I don't think it's gonna work out between us after all."

Chloe strolled up on Beca's other side, hooking an arm around her elbow. "Don't worry, Becs, he'll be crawling back in no time."

Beca scoffed, "If I take him back at all."

Theo didn't budge, retorting, "Whatever. When you win this challenge you'll be begging me to go on that date with you."

Beca chuckled, whispering to Chloe, "He's a cocky little shit, isn't he?"

Chloe glanced around her at Theo, the smug look still on his face. "For a turtle."

Beca burst out laughing at that, Chloe and Theo both joining her as he admitted defeat.

"Okay, okay, you two brilliant ladies win this battle, but know that I haven't conceded the war," he insisted, pointing a finger at the pair of them.

Beca smirked at him, turning to Chloe to ask, "Seriously, what do you think they're gonna make us do?"

"No idea, but whatever it is I really hope I'm good at it," Chloe replied, looking around. "I'm ready to get out of this house for a day."

"Says the one of us who has already gotten to go on a date," Beca pointed out. "I haven't left this place since we got here except to be rescued by a terrible sailor on a poorly constructed raft."

Chloe nodded, "True. You've definitely had worse luck out of the two of us… those matchups have been so awkward for you I don't know how you've survived."

The thick sarcasm in Chloe's tone had Beca also conceding, "Yeah, okay, you've definitely had the worst of it when it comes to the matchups. Maybe this one will go better?"

"Out of our hands this time," Chloe shrugged. "The boys pick."

"I don't hate that though," Beca said, recalling the anxiety she'd felt when her name was called. "I might be okay with never having to go up there and call out my perfect match ever again."

Chloe shook her head. "No way, I want to go first the next time it's our turn. I'm sick of not being someone's first choice. It sucks."

Beca sighed, knowing that must feel terrible. "You deserve to be someone's first choice. We all do."

"Everyone here? Good, gather round and pay attention!"

CR's loud shout cut off their conversation, Chloe letting go of Beca's arm to move closer making her feel slightly empty without the contact. Beca shuffled forward along with the group to listen to what they were going to do.

"Okay, over in that far corner of the yard is where we've set up the challenge," CR instructed, motioning off towards the far end of the property that was blocked from their sight by bushes and trees. "Targets have been set up with balloons for you to shoot arrows at. Each target will have a life goal posted along the top. The ladies will be doing some archery today, so I hope you've all got an inner Katniss who's been waiting for this moment to shine."

The guys started chuckling as the challenge was revealed, Beca glancing around to see that most of the ladies did not look thrilled about it, or like they had an inner Katniss waiting to be revealed. She definitely didn't.

"Each life goal along the top of the target belongs to one of the guys," CR continued, smirking at their disappointed reactions. "You win a date with the guy who belongs to the quote above the balloon you shoot with an arrow and pop. The first three ladies to pop balloons go on the date with their matching guy. Any questions?"

Beca's hand shot into the air along with most of the other girls, CR looking less impressed by the second.

"It's not that fucking complicated," she said, crossing her arms over her chest. Pointing at Calamity she asked, "What?"

"Is it an actual bow and arrow? Like with sharp arrows?"

CR rolled her eyes, answering, "You can't kill someone with it if that's what you're asking. But it will pop a balloon if you hit it with enough force."

Aubrey asked, "Are we going to get any type of instructions on how to shoot an arrow? What if we've never done it before?"

"Guess you won't be winning a date," CR retorted, clearly losing her patience.

Beca refused to be intimidated, asking, "So we literally have no control over who we end up on a date with?"

CR stared at her, answering, "Shoot for the balloon beneath the quote you think belongs to a guy you want to go on a date with. What part of this is so confusing?"

Kommissar rolled her eyes, "The part where it's blind luck who we end up on a date with. How are we ever going to get a match in the Truth Booth with shitty challenges like this."

"I don't make up the challenges," CR said, her tone final. "You signed up to participate, so quit thinking that you can change anything about this process. How hard can it be for three of you to get lucky and pop a damn balloon?"

Chloe mumbled, "We're about to find out."

Beca glanced at her, asking, "Have you ever shot a bow and arrow before?"

"Of course not," Chloe answered, rolling her eyes. "Have you?"

"Do I look like I studied archery?" Beca shot back, her annoyance at the challenge getting the better of her.

Chloe raised her eyebrow. "Maybe… Katniss was all scrappy and anti-social like you. It could fit."

Beca shook her head, "I'd be the first to die in the Hunger Games. Don't ever forget it."

"Good thing all you have to do is stand there and pathetically shoot arrows at giant balloons then," Theo chimed in, grinning at her and Chloe's exchange. "Win us a date, would you?"

"I'll win us a super nice date by the pool tomorrow," Beca sighed, adding, "Seriously, there's no way I'll be good at this."

Theo stuck his nose up, replying, "I didn't want to leave the house anyway. We can have just as much fun hanging out here… sitting by the pool… doing nothing… voting another lame couple into the Truth Booth…"

Beca narrowed her eyes at him. "Guilt-tripping me isn't going to make me good at archery in five minutes."

Chloe commented, "Don't be ridiculous. We've got at least two hours before anyone shoots an arrow."

"Don't remind me," Beca glanced at her, knowing how true that statement was.

CR was holding a hand to her ear, listening to something coming through her earpiece before announcing, "Okay! We're ready! On my cue, you all go ahead and jog over to the challenge area."

Theo muttered, "Sure, just jog over to this place you can't see and don't fuck anything up."

That brought a small smile to Beca's face, whispering back, "I knew there was a reason I liked you."

"Yeah, you're not the only sarcastic shit in this house," he quipped, his whole body relaxed and not at all ready to start jogging on cue.

He wasn't the only one not paying attention, and CR made them re-shoot jogging over to the archery area five times before she was satisfied. The words "Let's shoot it again," were now permanently on her shit list. Beca would be fine if she never heard them again, made worse by the knowledge that she would hear them over and over and over during the next eight mini-weeks.

They finally were allowed to gather in front of Gail and get a good look at the challenge that awaited them, which didn't improve Beca's confidence at all. The so-called targets were actually just wooden squares with large balloons stuck to the front, the life goals written clearly along the top. Upon reading a few, Beca knew they were all fucked at matching which guy belonged to which goal.

Emily whispered beside her, "These are so vague! They could belong to any of them!"

"Own a business?" Calamity mumbled, stumped as well.

"So much for strategically choosing our dates for the Truth Booth," Aubrey sighed, resting her hand on her hip.

Beca nodded in agreement. "Yeah, we're super fucked."

Chloe offered, "Record an album could be Benji or Jesse, both of them can sing pretty well."

Emily said, "True, but I'm pretty sure Benji's is to star on Broadway. He's obsessed with Les Mis."

Beca frowned, trying and failing to picture Benji as any of the characters. "Who hasn't graduated from college?"

Kommissar answered, "One of the military boys, maybe?"

Chloe muttered, "I'd believe Bumper never graduated."

"Bumper has his master's in business," Fat Amy said casually, too shocked looks from the other women. "What? He's an asshole but he's not stupid."

"That's debatable," Beca scoffed, still pissed at his earlier statements. "What the fuck are we waiting for now?"

They'd been standing in front of Gail for long minutes now without the woman saying anything, apparently waiting for the crew to get in position before they began filming the actual challenge. It took another half hour for everyone to get set up and CR to give the final approval for the host to begin.

"How are you guys doing today?" Gail asked cheerfully, to cheers and positive responses. "That's great! Glad to hear it," she continued, smile in place "Alright so at the last matchup you guys improved from two to three perfect matches… well done!"

Beca clapped along with the rest of the group, smiling at the few cheers and whistles that accompanied the applause.

"You're moving in the right direction, but you've still got a long way to go," Gail reminded them. "So, keep at it! You've only got eight more shots at finding love… and that million bucks." She paused to let that sink in before starting to announce what they were about to do.

"Alright, you guys… it's time for your next getaway challenge! Are you ready?" Gail asked, smiling encouragingly at them to interact with her.

"Yeah!" Beca cheered along with the rest of the cast, more clapping involved as they tried to act like they didn't know what was coming.

"So in this challenge, the top three finishers are going to win a getaway date and get that valuable one on one time… and hopefully get you guys closer to finding that perfect match," Gail said turning a little more serious. "Last time the guys had to do most of the work, so we're gonna mix things up a little bit. This time the ladies are going to get their chance to play Cupid and shoot their shot at love."

When none of the ladies clapped or cheered or showed any real excitement at that prospect, CR strode out from behind the scenes to stop Gail mid-speech. She spun around to face the group, glaring at them.

"I get that you ladies are not happy about this challenge, but we will be here all day if you don't get your shit together," CR scolded, clearly not in the mood for games. "Suck it up and start acting. I'm not here to babysit you. We've all got jobs to do, so fucking do yours."

Beca clenched her teeth together to keep her jaw from hitting the ground. CR was definitely intimidating, and it was clear that she wasn't in the mood to mess around today.

"Who pissed her off?" Stacie muttered as the producer retreated back behind the cameras.

"Gail! From the top!" CR shouted, crossing her arms over her chest.

Beca paid close attention as the host repeated her opening speech, clapping loudly and giving what she hoped was an excited cheer at the announcement of getting to shoot her shot at love. So what if she'd never shot an arrow before. So what if none of her arrows were going to get close to any of the targets. Fake it 'til you make it was on repeat in her head.

Gail continued on with her explanation. "Each of you ladies have a spot with a bow and a quiver of arrows," she said, gesturing to the row of colored mats on the ground a good distance away from the targets. You will all select a mat and use the bow and arrows to try and pop one of the balloons."

They nodded their understanding and Gail moved on. "You will see that above each target is a life goal that belongs to one of the guys. When you pop a balloon it will reveal a picture of the guy who belongs to that goal, and the guy you will be going on the date with," she explained, turning to the guys. "Gentlemen, you get to sit back and watch these ladies shoot it out!"

The guys cheered at that, offering excitement at not having to participate along with encouragement for the girls. Beca heard Theo cheering her on, but knew he was only going to end up disappointed.

Gail returned her focus to the women, saying, "Alright ladies, step up and choose your bow."

Beca shuffled over to the row, ending up on the green mat. She picked up the bow with a vague memory of watching The Hunger Games, feeling surprised at the weight of it. For some reason, she was expecting it to be lighter.

"Three of you please put us out of our misery quickly," Aubrey mumbled from beside her, Beca nodding in agreement.

Gail waited patiently until receiving some sort of signal. "Alright, are you ladies ready! Remember, the first three to pop balloons win the challenge!"

Beca studied the targets in front of her, knowing if there was ever a time to be lucky rather than good, it was now.

"Go!" Gail cried, spurring them all into action.

Beca didn't bother to rush, knowing it would probably only make things worse. She grabbed an arrow from the quiver in front of her and tried to figure out how to notch it on the bow. After a few long seconds, she felt like she was pretty close, and looked up to study the targets closest to her. One said "CLIMB EVEREST" while another read "OPEN A RECORD LABEL" and neither clued her in at all to the man behind them. Deciding that climbing Mount Everest was far too ambitious a goal for her, she focused on the record label one and shot her arrow. Predictably, it went about three feet in front of her, the string of the bow twinging her arm painfully.

"Fuck," she cursed, hearing Theo swear at the same time behind her. The "I told you so" running through her brain at max volume threatened to come out, but she managed to hold it in.

She failed at her next several attempts as well until a loud popping sound caught everyone's attention. She glanced around to see Calamity cheering her ass off before jumping into Chicago's arms. Apparently, Chicago was the one who wanted to graduate from college… good for him. She was also relieved that the two had actually talked a bit to go with all the hooking up, giving them a chance at a match in the Truth Booth.

Aubrey had the same thought beside her, saying, "Well, at least now we know who's going into the Truth Booth tomorrow."

"Agreed," Beca replied, returning her focus to her bow at the same time Theo yelled out to encourage her.

"Come on, Bec! You can do it!"

She rolled her eyes, wanting nothing more than to tell him to shut the fuck up. It was much harder than it looked, and so far none of her arrows had even reached the closest target.

A second loud popping sound had her lowering the bow, hopeful that a third wouldn't be far behind it.

Emily stood shell-shocked a few feet away, having been shooting for and finally succeeded in popping the balloon beneath "STAR ON BROADWAY" only to reveal a picture of Jesse's face. Beca's jaw did drop this time, turning to look at Jesse who looked about as disappointed as Benji, though he covered it well after a second.

A third pop prevented her from having to shoot another arrow as Flo beside her popped "CLIMB EVEREST" and revealed Zeke's photo.

Gail immediately intervened, saying loudly, "That's it! We have our three winners for the getaway date! Congratulations Calamity, Emily, and Flo!"

The group cheered and clapped with enthusiasm, knowing that they had a legitimate couple entering the Truth Booth tomorrow."

"As you know," Gail continued, "There's always a little bit more to it. The three couples that go on the date are also gonna be eligible for the Truth Booth, the only way to validate whether you're a perfect match or not." After a pause, Gail asked, "Are you guys ready to find out what you'll be doing?"

The group cheered, but the couples going on the date were the only ones extra excited to find out.

"You guys are going to spend the day at The Cove getting surf lessons!" Gail announced, the group clapping and cheering at the news for the winning couples. "In addition, you'll each be treated to a private dinner right on the beach."

Gail waited a few moments before addressing the rest of the group. "So, while they're out surfing, everyone else needs to vote one of the couples into the Truth Booth. This is important, so choose carefully and I'll see you all at the house tomorrow for the outcome of the vote."

Beca clapped at Gail's sign off, thankful that this time they actually had a couple with a realistic shot at being a perfect match. In some ways she hoped they were, not having much interaction with either of them but irritated at Chicago's attitude that morning. Something about his part in that entire conversation rubbed her the wrong way and she wouldn't mind him out of the house and in the honeymoon suite for the remainder of the show.

Theo ambled up beside her now that they were finished shooting. "So… you really sucked at that."

Beca retorted, "You say that all confident and smug now that I'm unarmed."

"You say that like I'd be more scared if you were still holding that bow when I'd probably be safer," Theo didn't hesitate, glancing around at the rest of their group already heading back towards the house.

"I wasn't THAT bad," Beca insisted, knowing it was a total lie.

Theo laughed, wrapping his arm around her shoulders as they started to walk back. "No, you were worse! I couldn't believe it," he admitted, adding, "I was really expecting you to be bullshitting and to go out there and nail a balloon right away."

"Which was yours?" Beca asked curiously.

"Record label," Theo replied, explaining, "I've always loved music… the way people connect through it and how it can make sense when nothing else does. I think it'd be amazing to be a part of that in some way, even though I can't sing or do anything musical at all."

Beca felt the same way about music, although she had a decent singing voice and mixed on the side. "I think that's pretty fucking awesome," she said, shooting him a smile.

He met her gaze, as if not quite believing her. "Yeah?"

She nodded, leaning into his embrace. "Yeah."


It was getting easier to settle into this rhythm of mini-weeks, especially when she didn't have any dates to break up the monotony. At this rate, Beca figured she'd better settle in and move forward as if a day away from the house and the rest of the group wasn't in the cards for her journey on the show. She slept in until early afternoon, eventually grabbing something to eat and joining a bunch of people on the sectional for a rousing discussion of who the three correct matches were from the previous matchup ceremony. Beca gave up when she became more confused than when they started, the group only in agreement that Benji and Emily were a match.

Everyone split apart to do their own things and Beca found herself out on the back porch swing with Donald, not having really chatted with him since the first couple days.

"How are you doing with all this?" Beca asked him, genuinely curious at his answer "Found your match yet?"

Donald glanced at her, hesitating before saying, "I think I might have."

He didn't elaborate, making Beca want to know even more. "Go on," she encouraged, nudging him with her elbow. "Don't be such a tease."

He laughed, "Okay, okay… no need to get violent. I think… I think it could be Lilly."

"Really?" Beca asked, only surprised because she'd rarely heard the woman speak.

"Yeah, jerk… don't look so surprised. She's kinda awesome," Donald replied, rolling his eyes at her doubtful look.

Beca retreated, "No, I mean… I'm sure she is. I've just never heard her say more than a few words, is all."

"True, she's usually quiet, but I've gotten to know her and she's really cool," Donald explained. "She's a police officer from Seattle and she's a badass."

"No shit," Beca said under her breath, not expecting that at all. "But she's tiny."

"So are you, and you're also kinda a badass," Donald retorted, though his tone held no heat behind it.

Beca certainly didn't think of herself that way but appreciated his comment nonetheless. "Thanks… I think."

Donald nodded, "It's definitely a compliment. I thought you might be my match at first, but I think we connect more like friends. I'm definitely looking for a strong, badass chick who's independent. I can't stand the needy, clingy, whiny girls… no patience for that shit."

"Completely agree," Beca said absentmindedly, missing the way he raised an eyebrow at her response.

"You dated a lot of whiny dudes?"

"No," Beca answered, finally looking back at him. "Mostly assholes, actually."

Donald hummed, "So, Theo is a big change to that, then."

Beca nodded, "I've never dated a guy like him before. I think he's actually just a regular nice guy… it throws me off sometimes."

"Well, if you want my opinion… which you obviously should," Donald quipped, continuing, "Theo's a standup dude. He's not trying to get with any other girls in the house or anything shady like that, so you might want to give him a legit shot… you know?"

Beca processed that, knowing it was a decent gesture for Donald to back some guy he'd only known for a couple weeks. Then again, she'd probably say something similar about Chloe. Despite not knowing the redhead for long, something inside her could just tell that the woman was trustworthy and genuine.

"Thanks, DJ," Beca said, shooting him a smile. "I'm working on it."


Beca spent a while longer out on the swing after Donald wandered inside in search of Lilly, eventually deciding to go submit her vote for the Truth Booth. She headed inside to find Aubrey, Luke, and Benji standing around as crew members were getting organized.

"You guys about to vote?" Beca asked, moving to join them.

Aubrey nodded, "Just waiting on everyone to get set up. They want us to sit around and chat about it for a few minutes before we actually vote."

"Not sure what there is to discuss," Luke scoffed, looking annoyed. "It's not like there's a major debate about who to vote for this time."

Benji nodded, "True. It's time to figure out if Chicago and Calamity are a match or not. I kinda hope they are."

Aubrey agreed, "Me too. We need to confirm a perfect match sooner rather than later, and since we don't seem capable of getting you and Emily there…" she trailed off, gesturing towards Benji, "They're a good bet."

"More so than the other two," Beca added. "Obviously Jesse and Emily are not a match, and I doubt Zeke and Flo are either. I guess at least they're a possibility, but we need to split up the other two if they aren't a match before it's too late."

"Definitely," Luke rubbed his hand over his hair. "The last thing we need is their relationship to stretch on for weeks and they're so attached to each other they refuse to talk to other people."

Beca glanced at him, "Were you talking about them the other day? When you asked what happens if two people aren't a match and still want to be together?"

Luke got defensive even though Donald wasn't anywhere to be found. "I wasn't really talking about anyone," he said, sounding frustrated. "But sure, them, or Tom and Stacie, or even Benji and Emily if they aren't a match. I mean, wouldn't you still want to see where that relationship goes even if the Truth Booth says you guys aren't a perfect match?" Luke asked Benji.

Benji's expression turned conflicted, finally answering, "Yes, I think so. Obviously, we would still play along and try to figure out who our match was, but I hope we've built something that she would want to see through before calling it quits. Beca was right, there are feelings involved that maybe should transcend this stupid game."

Beca smiled at him, "We can all see the connection you've got with Emily. She's your match. But even if she wasn't, I don't think anyone else here has a shot of breaking you two up."

"Maybe Jesse and Emily will get voted into the Truth Booth and be a match," Benji muttered, his eyes trained on the television screen that showed the pair's photos side by side.

"Not gonna happen," Luke assured him. "The four of us are all voting for Calamity and Chicago, and I'm sure everyone else will too. This vote is gonna be unanimous."

"I'm voting for them, but I don't think they're a match," Beca offered, knowing it might be a controversial opinion.

Aubrey turned to look at her, asking, "Really? I think they match pretty well."

"Gut feeling," Beca shrugged, knowing she couldn't really explain it. "I just don't think they are, but I'm still gonna vote for them because they could be… and if they aren't, I agree with everything Luke said on splitting them up before it's too late."

They fell silent until a crew member interjected, "That was perfect. You guys can vote whenever."

Beca hadn't even realized the movement around them had ceased and the cameras were filming their entire discussion. Whatever, the less scripted shit she had to go through the better.

Aubrey went first, followed by Luke, then Beca, with Benji bringing up the rear. Beca didn't hesitate upon approaching the screen, touching between Chicago and Calamity's faces until the "VOTE SUBMITTED" box flashed up. She retreated away from the screen so Benji could vote, moving to stand beside Luke and Aubrey.

"Hopefully we'll get this one right," Luke said quietly.

Beca nodded, but deep in her gut she just knew the pair wasn't going to be a match and they would still be at square one for the matchup tomorrow.


CR had given them a thirty-minute warning before the three couples returned from their day of surfing, allowing everyone plenty of time to be gathered either in the living room on the sectional or in the nearby kitchen grabbing a drink. It seemed things had gone smoothly on the date since the crew wasn't set up and waiting for their return this time, setting Beca at ease. She was currently on the couch with Theo stealing sips from his margarita to his displeasure.

"I asked if you wanted one!"

"I didn't want a whole one," Beca retorted playfully, handing him the plastic cup back.

Theo rolled his eyes, "No, just half of mine."

Beca winked at him, pretending to reach for the cup again only to have him move it out of her range. "I didn't think you'd make such a good one."

"Ah! The truth comes out," he accused playfully. "You didn't trust my bartending skills."

"To be fair, you literally have not cooked a single thing or poured a single drink besides water or coffee since we've been here," Beca defended. "It's a natural assumption."

"Everything is catered," Theo replied, seemingly unbothered by Beca's point. "Why would I cook if I don't have to?"

Beca shrugged, "Other people cook."

Theo countered, "Other people eat like fucking rabbits. I eat like a normal human."

"True, how do you keep those abs, anyway?" Beca asked curiously, having seen the things he'd consumed since being in the house.

"Good genes and good luck."

"Literally everyone here hates you."

Theo laughed, passing her back the cup in an attempt to shut her up. "Here, drink some more and you'll find it matters less."

Beca took another sip and glanced towards the commotion at the front door, watching as the three couples returned from their surfing adventure. They all seemed happy and tired and drama free, something she definitely appreciated after the way the last Truth Booth discussion began.

The crew gave them a few minutes to get back and settled before shepherding them all into the living room for the results of the vote. Gail appeared not long after, shooting them a quick smile while CR gave her rapid instructions and reminders as she got into position.

"Okay, you guys are pros at this part by now, right?" CR turned to the group, looking tired after spending the day out on the date filming. She'd apparently decided the crew could handle filming around the house without her now and went with the group on the dates to ensure they got quality footage.

At their nods, she continued, "Gail will chat you up and reveal the results of the vote. The couple will head out to the Truth Booth, the crew will get reactions from them before, after, and get the main group reaction in here. Okay, let's get rolling."

Gail waited until everyone was set before starting with her usual greeting. "Hey guys, how are we doing tonight?"

"Good," Beca answered along with most of the group, glancing around to see most people with looking positive.

"Great!" Gail replied enthusiastically, turning to the three couples who were standing in a row behind the couch. "How was your date?"

Calamity answered, "It was awesome. I've never surfed before, but we had a great time on the water."

Gail nodded, fixing her gaze on Emily. "How was it for you and Jesse, Emily?"

Emily blushed under all the attention, replying, "It was so much fun. We had a great time."

Jesse added, "Yeah, we hadn't really gotten a chance to talk or get to know each other, but she killed it out there!"

Beca had a hard time believing that, knowing Emily was one of the least coordinated people in the house. She was more interested in the way Jesse was looking at the brunette with his arm comfortably around her waist, turning to see Benji eyeing them as well.

Gail seemed pleased with their answers, finishing with Zeke and Flo. "Flo, how was it spending the day with Zeke?"

Flo smiled, "It was great. He's a total gentleman and we had a lot of fun."

"Awesome," Gail said, her gaze covering the rest of the room. "How are we feeling about this vote?"

Luke replied, "I think for once we're finally feeling confident about a Truth Booth. We haven't started off so well, but this time we might have a perfect match."

"Fat Amy, what do you think?" Gail asked curiously.

"I think we're about to find out if Barbie and Ken are actually a match or if they can kiss a trip to the honeymoon suite goodbye," the blonde answered, as colorful as always.

Gail nodded, apparently having decided that was enough commentary. "As you all know, the three couples on the date today were eligible to be voted into the Truth Booth… the only true way to validate if a couple is a perfect match. If you are a match, you'll immediately move out into your own honeymoon suite. If not, you're right back in the house and you guys have collectively blown another chance to get that much closer to a million dollars. Got it?"

At the affirmative answers from the group, Gail turned to point at the screen and continued, "Alright, let's take a look. Who is heading to the Truth Booth?"

Beca watched as the screen flashed and the pictures of all the couples were replaced with larger ones of Chicago and Calamity, resulting in loud clapping and cheers from the group. She looked over to see the chosen pair smiling, clearly having anticipated this outcome.

"Chicago, you look like you expected this," Gail commented when everyone settled down.

He nodded, responding, "Yeah, I mean… it's no secret that Calamity and I are one of the strongest couples in the house. It makes perfect sense to get us in the Truth Booth so we can be on our way to the honeymoon suite and take that next step towards a million bucks."

Gail raised her eyebrows, saying to Calamity, "He seems very confident you two are a match. Do you feel the same way?"

"Yeah, I do," she answered, shooting Chicago a smile. "Like he said, we've really connected and now it's time to see the proof."

"Alright, well, it seems like everyone is on the same page with this vote tonight," Gail said, looking around the room. "Chicago, Calamity, it's time to head to the Truth Booth."

After the couple left through the back door, Gail addressed the rest of the group. "When they see the result in the Truth Booth, you guys will see the same results on the screen here. Good luck, and I'll see you tomorrow at the matchup."

Beca joined in the chorus of saying goodbye to Gail, suddenly feeling nervous while they waited to see if the pair was a match.

"They have to be a match, right?" Zeke asked, looking around the room.

"If they aren't, we seriously have no fucking idea what we're doing," Luke sighed, leaning back into the couch cushion.

The wait was torture, stretching on before CR finally informed them that the pair were now entering the Truth Booth.

Beca sat forward, feeling Theo's hand come to rest on her knee as if he sensed her anxiety. She wasn't sure why she was so nervous, chalking it up to desperately hoping that they found at least one perfect match while they were here. The challenges weren't easily lending themselves to pairing up possible matches, and this could be one of their only shots to confirm a perfect match in the Truth Booth.

"Ugh, I'm so nervous," Aubrey said, shaking her head as if it was ridiculous to feel that way.

"Me too," Bumper agreed, shocking everyone. "I think they're gonna be pissed if they aren't a match."

Uni chimed in, "Let's not worry about that until it's confirmed they aren't. We might be spending the night celebrating our first perfect match."

Beca doubted it but was willing to wait to see what the screen said. After another long few minutes, it flashed until the black box reading "NO MATCH" remained across their pictures.

The room erupted, with different reactions echoing around the room from disappointed shouts to cursing to people holding their heads in their hands. Beca felt slightly validated having never believed the pair was a match but also frustrated that they were having such trouble figuring things out.

"Fuck!" Luke yelled again, bent over with his head between his legs, suddenly standing up and pacing into the kitchen.

"We suck," Kommissar said, some frustration definitely creeping into her usual calm, collected tone.

Theo shook his head, stating, "We really have no fucking idea what we're doing."

Benji was still eyeing the way Jesse and Emily were standing, offering, "If they aren't a match, literally anyone in this room could be a match. We can't take anything for granted."

"We need to start taking this game more seriously," Bumper added, looking as irritated as Luke. "Maybe tomorrow we should just all pick someone different to get more information."

Theo shook his head, arguing, "That's a great way to blackout. There are still couples in the house with some chemistry. It doesn't make any sense to ignore that."

Uni disagreed, saying, "Our matchups haven't been working so far, and no offense, but Beca could easily have matched with like seven of the guys here and no one would blink twice about it."

Beca raised her eyebrows at that statement, surprised that it came from Uni who she hadn't had a single conversation with.

Theo's frustration took over, biting back, "Yeah, but she hasn't spent time with seven guys in the house, has she? She felt a connection with me, otherwise, maybe she'd give you the time of day."

Uni rolled his eyes, thankfully deciding not to respond in kind. "I wasn't talking about me, bro. Chill, I'm just saying switching up the matchups to be more strategic isn't the worst idea we've had."

Aubrey stood up, raising her voice to get everyone's attention. "Hey! They're gonna be back soon and we don't know how they'll feel about not being a match. Can we just stop for a minute until they get here? We can figure all this out tomorrow before the matchup."

Zeke took a deep breath, saying, "Fine, but we seriously need to switch up the strategy."

They only had to wait a few more minutes before Calamity and Chicago entered the room through the back door, both looking equally unhappy.

Calamity shrugged, saying, "Not a match."

Chicago simply looked around the room and asked, "So, who's getting drunk with me tonight?" as he immediately strolled off towards the kitchen.

Beca sighed watching Calamity try to convince Aubrey and Emily she was okay, obviously recognizing the woman was upset they weren't a match. A glance into the kitchen showed Chicago, Zeke, Luke, and Bumper throwing back shots, realizing that the night was about to become a total shit show.

Theo followed her gaze, asking quietly, "So… are we getting drunk?"

Bumper yelled out from the kitchen, "All you bitches get in here right now. We're doing shots until we forget everything that happened in the past hour."

Beca turned back to Theo, patting his hand on her knee a couple times before standing up. "I guess we're getting drunk."


"Bec… Bec, wake up."

"Why are you yelling?" Beca mumbled, not opening her eyes.

A hand gently shaking her shoulder finally did the trick, Beca cracking an eye open to see Theo looking at her. "First, I'm not yelling," he replied, his voice soft. "Second, we've only got a few hours before we start shooting the matchup ceremony and I figured you'd want time to shower and get something to eat."

Beca nodded gratefully, looking around to see she wasn't the only one still passed out from the night before. It had truly been a shit down, with shots getting passed around like water. The entire house had been completely drunk in a show of support for Chicago and Calamity not being a match.

She rubbed her forehead in a pathetic attempt to stop the pounding, trying to make sense of her jumbled memories.

"Did Lilly and Aubrey and Zeke really go skinny dipping?" Beca asked, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

Theo nodded, "Yep, yes they did."

Beca glanced around in search of water, her mouth feeling like a desert. Theo reached down and picked up a bottle of water from the floor beside the bed, offering it to her along with some aspirin.

"You're my hero," Beca muttered, opening the bottle and chugging half of it. She popped the pills into her mouth and took another sip. "I can't remember the last time I was that drunk."

"None of us do, because I doubt we've ever been that drunk," Theo commented, looking as if he hadn't experienced the slightest bit of a hangover.

"Why are you not dying?"

Theo shrugged, "I've been up for three hours already. I threw up multiple times and got in a workout and ate something and took a shit ton of those pills. You'll get there." After a moment, he asked, "What else do you remember about last night?"

Beca closed her eyes, trying to force her uncooperative brain to work. "Um…" she trailed off as certain images appeared, one causing her eyes to open wide. "Did Luke and Calamity hook up?!"

Theo nodded, glancing back towards the open bedroom door. "Chicago was pissed… still is, actually. I thought we got him drunk enough to forget, but… nope. Also, Stacie and Tom definitely got it on in the pool, so I wouldn't recommend swimming until it's been cleaned."

Beca screwed her face up, mumbling, "Gross."

"Yeah, the sex room was occupied so… improvisation."

Beca chuckled, correcting, "STD Den."

Theo laughed, "Yeah, that works."

"Okay so, basically today's gonna be a shit show. Got it," Beca sighed, pushing the blankets back and slowly stood up to stretch. "I'm gonna shower and try to feel like a human by the time we have to film all night."

Theo nodded, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulled her in for a hug. "I believe in you."

Beca hugged him back, before pulling away in search of her shower stuff. "Thanks for the vote of confidence." Another memory hit her, and she turned to stare at him. "Are the guys still convinced you should all pick new people tonight?"

Theo hesitated, giving away his answer.

Beca had no desire to stand up in front of Gail with some guy she'd barely said two words to and then be stuck sitting with him for the rest of the night. Pointing a finger at him, she warned, "You better fucking pick me."

"It could be Jesse or Donald… or Luke," Theo argued back weakly, finally conceding, "If no one else has picked you, I will. Happy?"

Beca nodded, still regarding him warily until he repeated himself. Satisfied, she shuffled away into the bathroom, praying the hot water would work magic on her pounding head.


The build-up to the matchup ceremony had gone about as well as Beca figured, with Chicago refusing to acknowledge Calamity's presence. Instead, he spent his time chatting up Chloe and Flo, much to Beca's irritation. She wasn't sure what it was about the guy, but he definitely rubbed her the wrong way. He was clearly rebounding hard and she didn't want anyone in the house to get hurt. Calamity and Luke were also talking innocently enough on the couch, but just the fact that she moved on so quickly with so little regard for Chicago made Beca distrust her as well. Luke was a good guy, and she hoped he wasn't falling too hard for this bullshit.

They took the required matchup ceremony shot before the crew told them it was time to go. Beca fell into step beside Fat Amy and Emily as they strolled along the path towards the stage, the crew getting plenty of footage of them all walking along. By some miracle they didn't have to do it again, CR having mercy on their hungover asses. Beca found herself in a chair on the middle row of the risers, between Chloe and Calamity.

The crew took their time getting shots of the guys walking in to stand on the small platform, making them go back out once and walk back in before CR was satisfied. Beca didn't mind it as much, thankful that the aspirin and some food and plenty of water had her feeling mostly back to normal. She watched as CR adjusted the guys' positions, taking a few extra seconds to appreciate how nice they all looked wearing something that wasn't a tank top and swim trunks and flip flops.

Finally, CR stepped back almost to the podium and addressed the group. "Okay, are you all still alive after last night? Coherent? Able to form sentences?"

There were mixed responses to those questions, but Beca could tell the woman didn't care based on the smirk that crossed her lips.

"Great, glad to hear it. Okay, you know the drill by now, but after last night I wanted to make sure you guys were good," CR said, looking at them a little more seriously. She glanced behind her and motioned for Gail to get into position, doing one last check before moving away behind one of the cameras.

Beca turned her attention to Gail who had her eyes trained in the direction CR had just headed in, waiting for her signal to begin the matchup ceremony. Once everyone was in place and ready to go, Gail turned to address the guys.

"Hey guys," she greeted, then specifically asked, "Gentlemen, how's it going?"

Beca clapped a couple times as the guys nodded, a few answering her question with "Good."

Gail smiled, opening her body up to both groups. "This is your third chance at one million dollars."

There were more cheers, several of the guys holding up three fingers, punctuated with Luke calling out, "That's right! Third time's a charm."

"But," Gail reminded them, holding up a finger continuing, "If just one person gets it wrong, then you're not ten for ten and you all get nothing."

Beca felt her stomach clench at that, Gail formulating the statement as if this was their last shot at the money despite knowing it wasn't.

"And if you don't get any perfect matches, that's a blackout… and your prize immediately drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

"No!" Bumper called from the platform, "We got this."

Gail nodded at the outburst, asking, "How are we feeling about tonight?"

Zeke answered, "We've had a lot of discussions about tonight and we're gonna try something new."

Beca frowned, glancing at Chloe who looked equally unhappy at that answer.

"What do you mean?" Gail asked curiously.

Uni chimed in, "We're clearly doing something wrong, so the guys have decided to switch things up a little to try and get more information."

Kommissar rolled her eyes, the shake of her head catching Gail's attention. "Kommissar, you don't agree with this plan?"

"No, I think it's stupid to just pick randomly without taking connections into consideration," Kommissar answered.

Beca agreed with her, praying that Theo got to go first before Bumper could lose his mind and pick her.

Gail waited a moment before saying, "Well guys… tonight, it's your choice! There's nothing to keep you from trying out something new. When I call your name you're gonna step up here, choose your perfect match, and then the two of you will place your palms on the handprint touchpad and lock in as a couple."

Chloe muttered, "We're so fucked."

Beca nodded in agreement as Gail called the first name.

"First up for the guys tonight is… Unicycle!"

Beca held her breath as he walked up to the podium, greeting Gail with a smile.

"Unicycle, you seem to be on board with this new strategy," Gail said, inviting him to elaborate.

He nodded, "Yeah, we've gotta try something different. We've had no luck in the Truth Booth and no luck in the matchups, so it's time to experiment."

Beca bit her lip in anticipation, praying he didn't pick her. Uni seemed like a nice guy, but she'd had zero interaction with him so far.

"Good luck, I hope it works out for you," Gail said sincerely, finally asking, "Unicycle, who is your perfect match?"

He turned toward the ladies and answered, "My perfect match… is Aubrey."

Aubrey looked surprised, then resigned as she rose and walked up to join him.

Gail smiled at her, "Aubrey, how do you feel about this matchup?"

"I don't think he's my match, but I guess trying something new is better than picking the same people over and over and expecting different results," Aubrey answered, looking almost indifferent about being chosen by Uni.

"That's a great outlook," Gail complimented her. "Alright, Unicycle, Aubrey, lock-in."

Beca watched as they pressed their palms to the touchpad and locked in, returning to Aubrey's chair on the top row.

"Next up for the guys is…" Gail paused dramatically, before saying, "Chicago!"

Beca swallowed hard, realizing it'd be so much worse if he picked her. Suddenly she wondered if she was about to spend the night cursing Uni for picking Aubrey instead of her.

"Chicago, how are you doing after that Truth Booth last night?" Gail asked.

He shrugged, "Fine. Calamity and I aren't a match and she didn't have any trouble moving right along to the next guy."

There were some gasps from the ladies and low rumblings from the guys at Chicago's words, Beca glancing over to see Calamity's eyes narrowed at him. It was a far cry from the way they'd been making out and hooking up over the first two weeks in the house.

Beca couldn't tell if Gail's surprised expression was real or fake as she looked past Chicago at Calamity, asking, "Is that how you feel?"

Calamity shook her head, answering, "We aren't a match. I care about him, but there's no point in focusing all my attention on someone who isn't my match."

Chicago retorted, "Yeah, that's fine. Whatever."

Gail addressed him again, deciding it was better to move on from this particular subject. "Chicago, who is your perfect match."

Chicago turned around and said, "My perfect match is Chloe."

Beca felt her stomach turn as he said the redhead's name, the feeling only getting worse at Chloe's small smile as she got up and joined him at the podium. She hoped Chloe didn't actually like that guy, still not liking the vibe he gave off.

Gail greeted Chloe, asking, "Chloe, this is the third matchup and the third different guy you've stood next to. How do you feel about that?"

Chloe responded, "Obviously I wish I had made a stronger connection with one of the guys by now, but I'm staying positive. It just means I'm open to any relationship that starts to form."

Gail nodded at her answer, saying, "Chicago, Chloe, it's time to lock-in."

Beca kept her face neutral as the pair locked in and returned to sit in the chair beside her, whispering softly back and forth. CR stepped up and announced the first break, Chicago immediately helping Chloe to her feet and escorting her out of the area to film their reactions. Beca thought about getting hers over with, instead remaining seated in the hope of getting this entire night over with as quickly as possible.


The short break turned into almost a two-hour delay, frustrating the entire cast and crew as technical difficulties kept popping up. To say everyone was running on a short fuse would be the biggest understatement of the entire show so far, the tension only growing in the small space. CR finally announced they were ready to continue shooting, also letting everyone know that the usual longer break would be cut short to make up for lost time. Ignoring the resulting groans, she nodded at Gail and disappeared from the middle of the set.

"Next up for the guys is… Tom!"

Beca watched curiously as he walked to the podium, wondering if he was going to follow along and pick someone different or continue to select Stacie.

Gail didn't seem to be in a chatty mood anymore, asking almost immediately, "Tom, who is your perfect match?"

Tom didn't hesitate, turning around and saying, "My perfect match is Stacie."

Stacie smiled and strode up to stand beside him, his arm easily coming to rest around her waist.

Gail wasn't immune to the obvious reaction from some of the guys, asking, "Tom, you and Stacie were matched up at the last ceremony. Some of the guys don't seem happy at your pick."

Tom shrugged, "I think Stacie and I are a match. Picking different people is fine and all, but we also have to remember we got three matches last time. By everyone picking someone different we risk blacking out."

Gail nodded at his logic, posing her next question to Stacie. "Stacie, do you think you and Tom were one of those three matches last time?"

Stacie answered, "I definitely think it's possible. It's still early in our relationship… but we've definitely got a strong connection."

"That's what you're all here to find," Gail commented. "Alright, Tom, Stacie, it's time to lock-in."

The pair placed their palms on the touchpad and locked in, retreating to sit together in the open chair.

Gail turned back to the guys, announcing, "Next up we have… Theo!"

Beca breathed a sigh of relief, counting on him to keep his word and pick her.

"How are you doing tonight, Theo?"

He smiled back at her, replying, "I'm great, Gail."

She continued their conversation, asking, "Do you know who you're going to pick tonight?"

Theo nodded, "Yeah, I know a lot of the guys want to try out this strategy, but my connection with this girl is only getting stronger… There's no way I'm not picking her tonight."

Gail smiled at his confident answer. "Theo, who is your perfect match."

Theo half-turned and shot her a smile. "My perfect match is Beca."

Oddly enough there were no disappointed sounds as Beca stood up from her chair and walked over to join him, only hearing cheers and clapping from the rest of the group.

"Beca, how do you feel about matching with Theo during all three ceremonies so far?"

She smiled at the way his hand was resting comfortably on her opposite hip, leaning slightly into his embrace. "Like Theo said, our connection is getting stronger the more time we spend together. I'm glad he picked me tonight."

Gail nodded, replying, "You two definitely look like a perfect match, and it seems the rest of the house agrees."

Beca blushed as there were more cheers, Theo steering them gently around to grin at the rest of the group. She caught a glimpse of Chloe looking almost uncomfortable, but Theo turned them back to face Gail before she could be sure.

"Theo, Beca, it's time to lock in," Gail instructed them.

Beca placed her palm on the touchpad, watching as it fake scanned before the black box declaring them "LOCKED!" appeared across both screens. Theo laced their fingers together as they returned to Beca's chair, settling comfortably into it together.

Instead of the customary break, the group tried to hide their surprised reactions when Gail continued on and called the next name.

"Alright… Jesse! Come on up here."

Jesse only faltered for a second, but it was enough for CR to shout out an interruption. "Again! Don't look so stunned, Jesse!"

He nodded, returning to his place to wait for Gail to announce his name again. Beca felt bad for him, knowing that none of the guys would have expected Gail to call their name.

"Alright… Jesse! Come on up here," Gail repeated.

This time Jesse smoothly smiled and made his way to the podium, not an ounce of surprise or shock in his expression.

"How are you feeling tonight, Jesse?"

Jesse scratched the back of his head, answering, "A little conflicted. A lot has happened in the past day in the house to throw things off."

Gail nodded, an understanding look on her face. "Jesse, who is your perfect match?"

Jesse hesitated, before spinning around and saying, "My perfect match is Emily."

Beca felt her heart drop into her stomach, wondering what the fuck Jesse thought he was doing. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the cast did not contain their reactions.

Bumper shouted, "What the fuck, dude?!"

Kommissar rolled her eyes, retorting, "This is why you guys shouldn't randomly start picking people you don't have a connection with."

Emily looked stunned, slowly rising from her chair. She kept looking between Jesse and Benji as she walked to the podium, clearly not wanting to be there.

Calamity let out a frustrated sound from beside her, saying, "Jesse, you're an idiot. If we blackout, it's on you."

Jesse also clearly wasn't expecting that level of response from the group, turning to look back at Gail when Emily reached his side.

"Emily, there was a pretty loud reaction to Jesse picking you," Gail said gently, while obviously enjoying the new tension in the room. "Were you hoping to match up with someone else tonight?"

Emily glanced at Jesse, answering, "Jesse and I had a great time on our date. I thought we connected, but I've definitely still got something going on with Benji."

Jesse adds, "Part of the strategy tonight was to pick new people! Emily and I had a great date and I thought we really hit it off. What if I end up being her match instead of Benji?"

Calamity yells out to him, "Hey asshole! She's just being nice so you don't get butthurt over the fact that she wants to be with Benji because he's her perfect match."

Jesse spun around, his frustration boiling over, "What do you know about it? Like you're qualified to give any of us advice on who our perfect match is?"

Calamity looked around retorting, "Everyone in the house knows Benji and Emily are a perfect match!"

"That's not true at all!" Jesse shot back. "We have no confirmed matches, which means anyone could still be anyone else's perfect match. We connected on our date and there's no reason why she couldn't be my match. Sorry if I can't just drop my feelings for someone the way you did with Chicago."

"Fuck you, Jesse," Calamity scoffed, standing up in response to that. "That's how this fucking thing works! You're not a match, move on. You have to explore different relationships to find your perfect match!"

Jesse rolled his eyes, "Well tell the rest of the house that strategy. I've been saying it for three fucking weeks but no one seems to care. Theo has been smothering Beca this entire time but no one seems to give a shit about that."

Theo rose up from the chair, angry at being pulled into the drama. "Leave me out of your fucking issues, bro. I get why Beca doesn't want to be with you! Maybe if you weren't such a dick she'd spend more time with you!"

Beca was frowning, furious at how she somehow became the focus of this argument. She grabbed Theo's hand, pulling him back down into the chair. "Shut the fuck up," she muttered, shooting him a glare.

Gail took the opportunity to bring the focus back to Benji and Emily, turning to the other man still standing on the small platform. "Benji, how do you feel about Jesse picking Emily tonight?"

Benji frowned, answering, "I mean… I'm not happy about it. If he wants to pretend like there's a chance Emily is his match, there's nothing I can do about it. He can live in his own delusional world."

Beca's jaw dropped open at the shade from the normally kind, quiet man. She hadn't believed him capable of saying anything mean to anyone else, but definitely appreciated his hint of sarcasm and passive-aggressiveness.

"You guys can all go fuck yourselves," Jesse said, turning back to Gail and ignoring the rest of the cast, including Emily.

Gail waited another long minute, glancing around before finally saying, "Okay, wow. That was a lot. Jesse, Emily, I think it's time to lock in."

Beca shook her head as they pressed their palms to the touchpad, turning to look at Chloe's equally stunned expression.

Chloe whispered to her, "What the fuck just happened?"

Beca took a slow breath, shrugging and whispering back, "No fucking idea. That was insane."

CR strode purposefully out into the middle of the set, announcing, "Okay, let's take a half-hour and get some reactions. No one go too far!"

Beca and Theo stood up from their chair, exchanging a glance.

"I wasn't going to let him disrespect you like that," Theo said quietly as they walked offset. "He crossed a line."

Beca wasn't interested, retorting, "You know he likes me and is jealous of you. Just let it go."

Theo stubbornly shook his head, "No, Beca. He's not going to talk about you like you aren't an active participant in this relationship."

Beca pursed her lips, thinking back to those words and realized that Theo had a point. Jesse had crossed a line, but he was getting attacked from all sides and lashed out. It was wrong, but he was also being provoked, and she knew that wasn't really how he felt. At least she hoped it wasn't.

"Let's get Beca first," the crew member said, pointing her towards her mark.

She got into position and waited for the first question.

"Thoughts on what just went down with Jesse, Emily, and Benji?"

Beca sighed, turning her expression more serious as she answered, "Jesse messed up tonight. If we blackout it's his fault."

The guy glanced at his piece of paper, asking, "How did you feel when the guys said they were trying a new strategy?"

"I can't believe the guys think this new strategy is a good idea. They're going to fuck up the matchup tonight for everyone."

She noticed him frown as she was speaking, leaning out from behind the camera to say, "Hey, just a reminder you can't say 'fuck' on TV. It's just more we have to edit out."

Beca shot him a look, replying, "Have you met me?"

He laughed, "Yeah, I know. A lot of us are the same way, but we aren't on television."

"We curse all the time in the house," Beca pointed out."

"I'm not saying never curse, I'm saying in these little interviews where it's easy to record it again with you saying something else… stop cursing," he hinted, twirling a finger to signal her to repeat her previous answer.

Beca rolled her eyes, agreeing just to get it over with.

"I can't believe the guys think this new strategy is a good idea. They're going to screw up the matchup tonight for all of us."

The guy nodded and said, "Good, you're done."

Beca switched places with Theo, looking around and tuning out his answers. When he was finished, they walked back to the stage area together and sat back down beside Chloe and Chicago who were chatting and smiling and looking way too close.

CR got things rolling shortly, making sure everyone was in position before signaling Gail to continue.

"Bumper!"

Bumper walked confidently up to the podium, nodding at Gail's greeting.

"Bumper, how do you think this is going tonight?"

He shook his head, declaring, "It's a mess. I'm not feeling it at all."

"Let's turn it around then," Gail said positively. "Bumper, who is your perfect match?"

Bumper answered, "My perfect match is Fat Amy."

Fat Amy let out a sound of approval, marching up to stand beside him.

Gail didn't waste any time, saying, "Bumper, Fat Amy, lock-in."

They pressed their palms to the touchpad and locked in, returning to the only empty chair without further comments.

"Next up for the guys is… Donald."

Beca decided they had officially abandoned the new strategy as Donald chose Lilly to be his match. Some relief flooded her at the memory of their conversation by the pool. Hopefully, he was right and Lilly was his match. Beca could tell by the nervous faces surrounding her that a blackout tonight was a real possibility.


They'd been mercifully granted an hour break, but now everyone was back in place and ready to shoot the remainder of the matchup ceremony. Beca glanced around at the exhaustion setting in for both the cast and crew, and hoped that things went smoothly from here on out.

Gail resumed her place behind the podium, back to the lights that would hopefully all shine up into the sky once they were finally ten couples.

"Next up is… Luke!"

Luke walked to the podium and greeted Gail with a cheery, "Hello."

"Luke, it's been an interesting night, to say the least. How are you feeling?"

He nodded, "I'm good. I think we'll get some important information from tonight no matter how it goes."

Gail didn't press him for more information, moving on. "Luke, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Calamity."

Calamity smiled and walked quickly up to join him at the podium.

"Calamity, you've had a crazy past twenty-four hours in the house," Gail observed, making Beca want to say, 'Thanks Captain Obvious.'

Calamity nodded, "Yeah, it was a disappointing Truth Booth, for sure, but Chicago isn't my match and now I have to start over to find out who is."

Luke added, "Calamity and I haven't had much time to get to know each other, but we had a good time last night."

"Yeah, you did!" Bumper called out cheekily, earning himself a slap from Fat Amy, followed by a cheeky fist bump.

Gail smiled, moving on and instructing them to lock-in. "Luke, Calamity, it's time to lock-in."

They pressed their hands to the touchpad and locked in, retreating to the open chair and sitting down beside Beca and Theo. Beca glanced at Luke, who shrugged as if to say Calamity was as good as any of the ladies to be his match. Beca gave him a subtle nod, knowing he had to pick someone.

"Zeke!"

Zeke smiled at the cheers from the group as he walked to the podium.

"Zeke, I think everyone has an idea of who you're going to pick tonight," Gail said with a wink.

He laughed, agreeing, "Yeah, we went on an awesome date and really connected. I'm excited to spend more time with her.

"That's great!" Gail replied enthusiastically. "Zeke, who is your perfect match?"

Zeke turned to spot his chosen woman, saying, "My perfect match is Flo!"

The group cheered as the small woman joined him at the podium, Beca chuckling at the height difference between the pair. She thought they could definitely be a match, hoping they were as they pressed their hands to the touchpad and locked in.

Gail looked at poor Benji standing alone on the platform, saying, "Benji, Kommissar, come on up here." When they arrived she focused on Benji, asking, "Would Kommissar have been your first choice tonight?"

Benji answered diplomatically, "I think Kommissar is a great person, but everyone in the house knows who my first choice was tonight."

Kommissar was quick to deflect any tension, adding, "Benji is the sweetest guy in the house, but he's not my match. I love him, though… he's one of the best for sure."

Benji smiled at her words, saying, "Thanks. I think you're great, too."

Gail beamed at the pair of them, instructing, "Okay Benji, Kommissar, it's time to lock-in.

Beca took a slow breath as the pair locked in and returned to the chairs to sit down. Finally, they were coupled up into ten pairs. Every time felt like a miracle, making Beca wonder if it would ever get easier or if the matchup ceremonies were just destined to be long and horrible.

Gail clapped her hands, announcing, "Alright you guys, you're locked in! Take a look around… what do we think?"

Beca glanced at the couples, not feeling confident at all. All they could do was hope they didn't blackout.

"I'm not feeling too great about this," Luke volunteered, his expression skeptical.

Uni shrugged, "We needed to try something different. I think it will work and that we won't blackout."

Calamity still wasn't over Jesse's pick, scowling, "If we blackout we all know who to blame."

To everyone's surprise, Emily came to Jesse's defense. "Enough! Snide comments won't change anything. Jesse was right, we aren't certain about any matches at this point. Let it go."

Beca kept her mouth shut, not wanting to end up in the middle of any more drama.

Gail waited a moment and continued when no one else spoke up.

"Now remember, the matchup will tell you how many couples are matched up correctly, but not who those matches are," Gail explained, adding, "That's for you to figure out."

Beca wondered briefly if she would have this particular speech memorized by the tenth matchup ceremony, actively fighting from mouthing along when Gail began explaining the beams.

"Now behind me are ten beams of light," Gail began, the lights flashing on and rising to shine straight up into the dark sky. "Each solid beam of light represents a perfect match. One beam is one perfect match, ten beams are ten perfect matches and one million dollars!"

They clapped and cheered at the mention of the money, Beca looking nervously at Theo as they got closer to revealing how well they did this time.

"But remember, if you fail to get a single perfect match… you have blacked out and your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars," Gail reminded them, the mood dropping immediately.

"No way!"

"Not gonna happen, Gail!"

Beca mumbled to Theo, "We aren't gonna blackout, right?"

He shook his head, "Impossible. We're a perfect match, remember?"

She didn't respond to that, simply gripping his knee a little tighter. The swirling feeling in her stomach wasn't going away, making her anxious that none of the beams were going to light up.

"Alright you guys, let's see how well you did," Gail finished, moving around to place her hands on the touchpad.

"Let's go, Gail!" Bumper shouted, clapping as she stood still with her hands on the touchpad.

"The number of perfect matches is…" Gail trailed off, waiting for the beams to light up.

They sat there in silence wondering if they had blacked out, each second feeling like a minute until finally, the first beam lit up.

"Yeah!" Unicycle shouted, holding one finger up in the air. "That's one!"

The group clapped and cheered at the sight, their relief at not blacking out clearly evident.

"Keep going!" Zeke said, inching forward on the edge of his seat.

Beca relaxed a bit at the sight of the beam, knowing that it was possible it represented her and Theo. They waited impatiently until a second beam shot into the sky, accompanied by more howls and cheers.

"Come on, keep going," Tom muttered, low under his breath but his positioning directly behind Beca allowed her to hear him.

They waited more long seconds before that familiar sound echoed through the room and the lights came on, ending their progress at two. The disappointment that filled the room was tangible, knowing that they had gone backward in terms of progress.

"Only two matches," Chicago sighed, shaking his head.

"Damn… we really have no idea what we're doing," Aubrey commented.

"Wow," Unicycle's voice was deflated, not getting the result he had hoped for.

Gail chimed in, "Only two perfect matches. You guys just took a step backward. Two perfect matches… that's what you locked in at your first matchup ceremony, only now you've blown three of your chances at love… and a million dollars."

She paused to let that sink in, continuing, "You only have seven more chances to go ten for ten, so step it up… because those chances are falling fast."

Beca heard the slight harshness in Gail's tone, knowing they probably needed this scolding.

"Head back to the house and start mixing it up," Gail advised, "You've got a long way to go. Have a good night."

The group wasn't eager to leave the matchup, still processing the disappointment as they slowly rose from their seats and began filing out of the area to walk back towards the house. CR grabbed Theo and Aubrey to stay behind and film reaction shots and Beca chose to linger to walk with him. She smiled as he got into place and waited for his cue to speak.

"Theo, what's your reaction to only getting two beams tonight?"

Beca smiled as he answered the question, his expression a little defeated.

"Now we're kinda back to square one," he said, his eyes going up briefly before looking back into the camera, "and we suck at this game so bad. We have a lot of work to do if we're going to find everyone's perfect match."

Chapter Text


It was a quiet day off around the house with most of the group still discouraged from their poor result at the matchup last night. There was very little talking, and everyone seemed to be craving some time alone. The few couples that were still on good terms avoided everyone else, not wanting to stir up anymore drama.

Beca was relaxing in one of the smaller rooms with Theo, chatting quietly about how everything had gone down last night at the matchup. They were in agreement that things got out of hand with Jesse, both unsure how he would handle the backlash of choosing Emily.

"Hey, I'm gonna go grab a drink. Want anything?" Beca asked, standing up from the couch and stretching her arms over her head.

Theo shook his head, "Nah, I'm good. Thanks though."

Beca nodded, "Okay, I'll be back."

She left the room and set off down the hallway towards the stairs that led to the kitchen, slowing down as she heard Jesse's voice floating out of the open bedroom door.

"Hey, look… I'm really sorry about how that went down last night. That was really stupid of me to pick you, Em… I'm just so out of my depth here. I know you guys have connected and are probably a match, and I wouldn't do anything to try and mess that up for you."

Beca peeked into the room in time for Emily to answer him.

"It's okay, Jesse. I appreciate your apology, but I think things got blown way out of proportion last night," Emily said considerately. "You're a good guy. I know it wasn't malicious."

Jesse shook his head, "I'm just so out of my comfort zone here. I didn't know who to pick and we did have a good time not learning how to surf."

Emily laughed and that comment even drew a smile from Benji. "I did have a hard time picturing Emily actually standing up on a surf board," he joked, nudging her affectionately.

Jesse glanced at Benji, asking, "So, uh… are we good?"

Benji smiled and reached out his hand, Jesse returning the gesture and they shook on it. "Yeah, man. We're good. You had a point… we're here to find our matches and Emily and I picking each other every matchup only to find out we aren't one of the perfect matches at the end could be disastrous. We could lose it for the whole group."

Jesse shook his head, "I don't think so, but we should definitely get you two into the Truth Booth as soon as possible to find out. I have a feeling you'll be our first perfect match."

Emily smiled and wrapped her arms around Benji's waist. "I hope so. But Jesse, I want you to know that if it's not Benji… you're the one I would want it to be. I mean it… you're a good guy and any girl here would be lucky to be your match."

Jesse chuckled, "Thanks, Em. I just didn't want things to be awkward between the three of us for the whole rest of the time here. I really like both you guys, and Benji… you're my best friend here. I was really worried I messed that up."

Benji shrugged, "You didn't mess anything up. But I appreciate you wanting to talk to us and get it all out there and apologize."

"Who are you creeping on?"

A voice startled her from behind, turning away from the door to see Luke strolling towards her. Beca glanced back into the room to see the three now laughing about something, still oblivious to her presence.

Turning back to Luke she said, "I was just about to go grab a drink. Wanna come with?"

He got the hint, nodding and falling into step with her as they walked past the open bedroom door and downstairs to the kitchen. Beca quickly made them a pair of margaritas and they headed outside to a secluded spot near the pool.

"So why are you being all weird?" Luke asked, sipping his drink. "Damn that's good. I'd go to your bar any day."

"Thanks," Beca laughed, sipping hers as well. "You're not wrong, though. So, upstairs Jesse was apologizing to Emily and Benji for how last night went down. It was unexpected to me… he was pretty open and vulnerable. I think he really felt bad about it."

Luke scoffed, "Well he should have. He could have made us blackout with that stupid stunt."

"At least he owned up to his mistake," Beca said thoughtfully. "Not everyone around here would do that. And he didn't make a big show of it, which means he didn't want everyone to know what he said."

"Until you creeped on him and are now spilling all his secrets," Luke grinned, raising his glass like a proud parent. "Well done, Becs."

Beca rolled her eyes. "Keep it between us. What were you doing upstairs?"

"Sleeping… avoiding everyone in this house for a few hours," Luke sighed. "That seemed like the vibe for today, didn't it? I haven't seen groups of more than two or three all day."

"Yeah because we all know how badly we're fucking this up," Beca retorted, frowning into her cup. "We're really making a mess of things."

Luke nodded in agreement. "Yeah, but it's also not that easy. If it was, they wouldn't be offering up a million bucks for us to figure it out."

"True, they're probably banking on us being too drunk and stupid to solve the puzzle."

"And horny," Luke added, glancing across the yard at Tom and Stacie cuddled up on the swing.

Beca knew that part was true, suddenly remembering something. "Hey, why aren't you hanging out with Calamity? You guys looked pretty close the other night."

Luke's eyes narrowed as he replied, "She hooked up with Chicago last night, and I'm not getting involved in whatever their deal still is."

Beca's eyes widened in disbelief. "What?!"

"Yeah, they disappeared into the sex room not long after most people went to bed," Luke said, though not seeming overly upset at the turn of events. "Tom and Stacie were still in the hot tub, Emily and Benji might both be virgins as far as anyone has seen them go, and you don't seem particularly interested in banging it out with Theo, so…"

Beca winced at being named among the solidified couples in the house, despite knowing that's exactly how it looked to everyone else. Sure, she and Theo had connected and matched up at the first three ceremonies, but to be considered on the same level as the other two relationships just felt wrong to her.

"Yeah, that's definitely not gonna happen," Beca muttered, feeling the strong desire to make sure that rumor didn't get started.

Luke glanced at her, asking, "Why not? You guys are probably the strongest couple in the house besides Em and Ben."

Beca shook her head, "Do people really think that?"

"You haven't exactly given them a reason not to," Luke pointed out, sipping again from his cup.

"I guess not," Beca murmured absentmindedly, still unsure how she felt about being faced with that knowledge. "I feel like something is missing with him."

"Like what?"

Beca let out a frustrated sigh. "I don't know… like I'm not overwhelmingly attracted to him, I guess. Sure he's good-looking and in shape and nice, but… Tom and Stacie can't keep their hands off each other and I don't feel that way about Theo. I feel like that should be a part of it."

Luke hummed thoughtfully, "I don't disagree with you. That's how it was with Chloe that first couple days. I wanted to be around her and touching her the whole time…"

"Dude… gross," Beca cut in, not wanting that visual at all.

"Not like that, perv," Luke rolled his eyes. "And the point was that so far those initial attractions aren't proving to be matches. Me and Chloe, Calamity and Chicago… and I don't think Tom and Stacie are a match either. I think we're going after the people we usually do, but they aren't our perfect match."

"Okay," Beca sighed, glancing at him. "So you're saying…"

"I'm saying that makes me even more convinced that you and Theo might be a match," Luke said simply. "You aren't going after the person you want to sleep with the most, you're connecting with someone you actually like to be around and talk to."

Beca didn't answer right away, letting his words sink in. It was the second person who'd voiced basically the same opinion about her and Theo, making her wonder if he really was her match… if one of those two beams last night represented them. She honestly wasn't sure if she was happy or sad about the thought.

"And me and Calamity," Luke continued, the disdain back in his tone, "That's not a thing. I don't know what her deal is, but I think she's fucking with Chicago and I don't play those games. I don't want to be with someone who's cool with fucking a different person every night."

Beca held back a laugh, finding the response too easy. "No? That's not what we're all doing here?"

Luke rolled his eyes, "Considering you haven't even been inside the STD Den, and my one experience was one that won't be repeated, I think not."

"I knew that name would catch on," Beca said proudly, finishing the last of her drink. "I'm empty, and I definitely left Theo alone upstairs thinking I was coming right back."

Luke stood up with her. "Ten bucks he's passed out and not missing you at all."

Beca shook her head, "I'm not touching that bet. I've never seen someone fall asleep as fast as he can. It's unnatural."

"You're just jealous," Luke teased as they walked back inside.

Beca sighed knowing she was caught, answering honestly, "So fucking jealous."


The morning of the challenge was similar to the last one, only this time breakfast was catered since no one felt like cooking. The house was in a bit of a funk, and Beca knew they needed to snap out of it quickly before they all got yelled at again. They were here to find love and win money and all that shit, but they were all well aware that just existing in the house was not enough. They needed to play it up, get emotional, make some questionable decisions, and consume as much alcohol as needed to make all those things happen. The producers had given them a pass for their day off since most of the episodes were comprised of the challenge, date, Truth Booth, and matchup ceremony, but that pass expired the minute it was time to shoot the challenge.

Beca settled onto the couch beside Theo, waiting for CR to explain whatever horrors were in store for them today. Most of the group was assembled, just waiting on a final few who were either getting ready for filming some type of reaction.

Jesse cleared his throat, saying awkwardly, "So, I wanted to say that I fucked up yesterday at the matchup. I already straightened things out with Benji and Emily, but I thought you guys should know."

Bumper nodded, "Good on you, dude. Don't fuck with our perfect match."

Aubrey chimed in, "Speaking of them, I think we need to do everything possible to get Benji and Emily into the Truth Booth tomorrow."

"Are you saying throw the challenge?" Donald asked, glancing nervously around at the few cameras trained on them. "Are we allowed to do that?"

A producer responded before anyone else could, "No, you aren't."

"At least not in an obvious way," another voice added, followed by a guiltier, "What?"

The producer shook his head, saying, "It's highly discouraged."

Beca sighed, looking around the room. The various reactions to that told her that there were plenty of people in the room who'd be up for rigging a challenge.

Theo spoke up, "Look, I don't care what the rest of you do, but I'm not wasting a chance to get the fuck outta this house. You guys who have been going on dates haven't been trapped here for almost three straight weeks."

"I agree," Kommissar said bluntly. "I'm not giving up a shot at an awesome date."

"You're all being selfish," Chicago grumbled. "We need to get a confirmed match as soon as possible."

Beca narrowed her eyes at him, retorting, "Says the guy who's been on two out of the three dates. How about you stay here in the house for the next three weeks and see how you feel?"

Chicago rolled his eyes, "Don't blame me for being good at the challenges."

"How about I blame you for being shitty at relationships," Beca shot back, feeling Theo's hand come to rest on her lower back.

"Fuck off," Chicago muttered, not willing to concede just yet. "We're all here because we're shitty at relationships."

Beca opened her mouth to reply, a warning look from Luke making her close it almost as quickly. Something in his gaze made her understand he didn't want the information he'd shared with her yesterday becoming public knowledge to the entire group. She realized he had a point, knowing that the last thing they needed before this challenge was a giant fight.

"This isn't helping," Luke said, standing up and changing the subject. "I'm with Aubrey. We're going to have another challenge at some point where we choose our partners or get to choose our dates. We need to make the most of those times where it's not random."

Chloe and Stacie wandered into the room, followed shortly by Unicycle and Flo. That completed their group, and it was only another minute or so before CR strode to the front of the room and waited for their attention.

"Hey guys, how're we doing today?" CR asked, glancing down at her phone before pocketing it and giving them her full attention.

At the positive nods and affirmative responses, she nodded she was satisfied.

"Great. Let's talk about your challenge today," she began, clapping her hands together once. "It's another one for the ladies, and it's simple. We've got quotes from the guys that we've gathered either from their interview process or footage shot while you've all been here in the house. The ladies will try to match the quote to the guy. It will go round by round, you'll have three guys to choose from for each quote. If you get it wrong, you're eliminated. Top three finishers win the date, but we will continue until we have an ultimate winner. Any questions?"

Beca shook her head along with the rest of the group, the challenge very self-explanatory. No one minded that the girls were up again considering the challenge wasn't physical.

"Great, that's a first," CR remarked sarcastically. "The winners will choose the guy they want to take on the date. Since it doesn't require a lot of space, we'll film it in the backyard. We're almost ready for you… probably another twenty or thirty minutes. Don't wander too far," she added, exiting through the back door.

Beca wondered where exactly would go, holding the snarky reply back instead of pissing off the executive producer so early in the day. There would be plenty of time for that later, and she couldn't blame her for not wanting to waste time having the crew search for them all over the house and yard.

Aubrey spoke up after a few minutes of low chatter, asking, "Can we at least figure out who should be matched up on the date?"

Bumper scratched his chin, answering, "Well Emily and Benji are the most obvious right now. We also need to get Beca and Theo into the Truth Booth, and Tom and Stacie…"

Donald chimed in, "And me and Lilly."

The entire group turned to look at him, the looks skeptical at best.

"What?" Chicago finally asked.

"Lilly and I really think we're a match," Donald replied, glancing at the Asian woman sitting across the room from him.

Chicago rolled his eyes, gesturing at how far apart they were. "Clearly."

Flo glanced at him, asking, "So now you can only be a perfect match if you're side by side all the time?"

"He's my match," Lilly said simply, not expanding any farther on her statement.

Bumper looked frustrated, saying, "That's great, but we have stronger options right now that we need to figure out. No one even knew you guys were a couple."

It was Donald's turn to get irritated, retorting, "We've sat together at the last two matchups."

Kommissar cut in, "And look how well we've done."

"I knew they were hitting it off," Beca voiced, not willing to let Donald fight the battle on his own. "I think they're as likely a match as probably any of us except for Em and Ben."

Chicago stepped back in, his tone patronizing, "Yeah, and I'm sure the fact you two are friends has nothing to do with that opinion at all."

"What's your problem?" Beca shot back, her patience with the man too thin to hold up in the moment.

"My problem is that he wants us to waste a fucking Truth Booth on a couple that literally no one in the house knew existed!" Chicago yelled back, like it was the stupidest suggestion he'd ever heard of. "Can you honestly say we should put them in over you and Theo?"

Beca glared at him, answering, "Sure, since Theo and I haven't come close to winning a single challenge and might never get into the Truth Booth anyways!"

"Okay, this is getting out of control," Jesse stepped in, trying to calm everyone down.

Calamity rolled her eyes, "You're part of the reason we're all feeling stressed. If you hadn't picked Emily at the last matchup we would have had more beams!"

"I already apologized for that!" Jesse looked slightly hurt that she brought it up again. "You gotta let it go."

"How about I let it go when we go ten for ten and until then I hold it over your fucking head," Calamity snapped, crossing her arms over her chest.

Zeke stood up and attempted to put a stop to the fighting once and for all. "Okay, we definitely have some shit to figure out, but arguing like this is not gonna solve any problems," he said calmly, his deep voice relaxing a bit of the tension in the room. "We don't have to all be best friends, but we do need to respect each other and the process."

Uni agreed with him, adding, "No one said we had to figure it out in three weeks. They give us ten Truth Booths and ten matchup ceremonies for a reason. Let's stop acting like we've got two days to figure everything out and set more realistic expectations."

The room fell silent as those words sunk in, remaining that way long enough for CR to walk back into the room.

"Oh good, you listened. Let's go… it's time for the challenge," she said, beckoning them all to get up. When no one moved, she glanced around the room and gathered a few clues from the crew who were still in full filming mode. "What the hell happened? I was gone for fifteen minutes?"

There was a little bit of random muttering as the cast got to their feet, Beca still feeling disgruntled at the entire exchange. They were bickering more than they were working together, and ultimately hadn't come close to figuring out who should actually pair with whom besides the obvious three… maybe four couples. Hopefully they would get lucky and Emily would win the challenge, but they were screwed if it ended up being someone not in an established relationship.

"Whatever, sort your shit out later," CR said dismissively. "Gather right outside here while I get these guys set up to film you walking over to the challenge area."

Beca watched her walk away with the crew from inside, pointing and directing them to set up over by the pool. The group remained silent, the tension still very apparent at the way they hadn't really resolved their issues. They needed to get their shit together sooner rather than later, or they might not be leaving Hawaii with love or money.

"Alright, we're ready!" CR shouted, striding back over to them. "We decided to set this one up by the pool. The guys will get to lounge around and sip drinks while the ladies try to figure out the quotes. Good gender reversal stuff… viewers will love it."

"So will we!" Bumper agreed with a grin, slapping Uni's offered palm.

"Since it's by the pool no running," CR added. "We'll get shots of the group walking over. Pay attention since Gail will be waiting to direct you where to go."

Beca looked over towards the pool, noticing the rearranged setup for the challenge. She waited patiently for CR to give them the cue to start walking, falling into step beside Theo as the group made their way over towards the blonde host.

"Hey guys! Come on over," Gail greeted them. "Girls over here, guys have a seat in the chairs on the other side of the pool."

Of course they didn't get it right, awkwardly bumping into each other as they tried to follow directions, CR shouting at them to come back and do it again. Beca ran her fingers through her hair as they made their way back towards the house, wondering now many times it would take to get this right.

"Okay, let's shoot it again!" CR called, the words making Beca automatically cringe.

They approached Gail and received the same greeting and instructions.

"Hey guys! Come on over… Ladies over here by me, guys have a seat in the chairs on the other side of the pool."

Thankfully this time they smoothly weaved around each other to reach their respective destinations, and Gail must have received some positive signal from CR because she continued speaking.

"How are we feeling after that last matchup?"

"Not great, Gail," Luke answered, looking around and getting nods from most of the cast.

"We don't want to be going backwards," Stacie added. "We have had several conversations about how to strategize better."

Gail nodded her approval, asking, "And how have those gone?"

Beca knew Gail got some sort of intel or briefing on the happenings in the house, not surprised by the question at all.

"They could go better," Aubrey answered, "But we're all committed to finding our perfect match."

"Yeah, we'll get there," Zeke finished positively, to claps from a few people.

"That's it, just keep making progress," Gail replied, smiling around at them. "So, are you ready for your next getaway challenge?"

The whole group cheered and clapped excitedly, everyone ready for a chance to get away and escape the tense atmosphere that had permeated the house.

"Alright, so today the ladies will be competing for a date with the guy of their choice. Ladies, it's time to find out how much you've been paying attention and getting to know these guys," Gail smirked, glancing over to where the boys were sitting "Guys, you get to sit back, relax, sip cocktails, and watch these ladies battle to win the chance to take one of you on the getaway date."

The guys cheered happily at her announcement, picking up the drinks that had been provided for them and raising the glasses in the air. Beca looked over at them, sitting in pairs with a small table between each pair that held a pitcher of something she wished she could be sipping right about now. They looked relaxed and comfortable and not at all as stressed as she currently felt.

"Ladies, this is how the challenge is going to work," Gail instructed, gesturing to the colored mats lining the other side of the pool that each held a small dry-erase board, marker, and small towel. "You will each choose a mat with your writing materials. I will read off a quote, and then three possible guys responsible for saying that quote. You will all write your answers down and reveal them at the same time. If you get it right, you move on to the next round. If you get it wrong, you're eliminated."

Gail paused as CR shouted out from behind the camera, "Sorry Gail! That was great, but we had some sound interference. Let's shoot those instructions again!"

Beca bit her lip to hold back the groan. A glance to her side at Kommissar and Aubrey told her they felt exactly the same way. All they could hope for was that the technical difficulty didn't start to pile up the way they had at the last matchup. Two hours of standing by the pool listening to Gail repeat the same rules over and over again should definitely be classified as torture.

It took two more attempts before CR approved the take and allowed Gail to move on, making Beca wonder how people didn't go insane in this industry. She had been a part of it for a few weeks and at times wanted to tear her hair out. CR had been working the show for like three years and had been an executive producer on numerous shows before this one. Beca didn't know whether to scoff at her stupidity, or be amazed at her patience and perseverance.

"The final three ladies will win the getaway date," Gail stated, her eyes making sure the ladies were paying attention. "However, we will continue playing until we have one overall winner who receives an extra bonus on the date."

The girls cheered at that news, Beca hoping that since this challenge wasn't physical, she actually could win an entire day away from the house.

"Okay ladies, step up to a mat, get your board and we'll get started!" Gail instructed enthusiastically, producing a stack of index cards that Beca assumed held the quotes and answers.

Beca ended up on the orange mat this time, grabbing her white board and dry-erase marker and focusing her attention on Gail. After everyone was ready to go, the host read out the first quote and answer choices.

"Okay ladies, first quote," Gail said, her gaze shifting over the line. "I love One Direction." She paused, a smile crossing her lips. "Which guy is a One D fan? Is it Jesse, Luke, or Donald?"

Beca grinned, feeling pretty confident about her answer as she scribbled LUKE onto her white board. Jesse was the obvious choice, but he was more broadway and less boy band. Donald had already confided in her that he wasn't really a music fan, and after getting over the disbelief that anyone could just not like music, Beca got him to admit if he had to pick something he'd want anything without words to play while he was in the kitchen.

Gail waited until all the girls had written down their answer, finally asking, "Okay everyone flip your board over!"

Beca turned hers around, glancing down the line to see most of the other women agreed with her. Damn. She thought that was a tricky one.

Gail looked at their answers, calling out, "So we've got a lot of women that think Luke is the One Direction fan. This challenge will be over really fast if you're all wrong! Lilly thinks it's Jesse and Calamity thinks it's Donald, so at least you're all represented up here guys. Well, the majority wins this one… the correct answer is Luke!"

Beca cheered at getting the first answer right, taking a deep breath to calm her racing heart. She hadn't even realized she was that nervous about the answer, but the pounding in her chest said otherwise. Deciding it was stupid to worry about taking a challenge too seriously, she refocused and erased her answer with the towel provided.

"Sorry Lilly and Calamity, you're eliminated from this challenge," Gail informed them, "go ahead and take a seat on the bench behind you."

When they had followed instructions, Gail turned back to the rest of the women. "Read for quote number two?" At their nods and a few shouts of "Yeah!" Gail looked down and flipped to the next note card.

"I cry when I watch Air Bud," she read aloud, looking over towards the guys. "That's so sweet! Ladies, there's a sensitive soul over there somewhere! Is it Unicycle, Chicago, or Tom?"

Beca frowned, having more difficulty with this one since she hadn't really spoken or gotten to know any of the three choices. She found it hard to picture Chicago crying at any movie, deciding to eliminate him. It was a blind choice between the other two, eventually shrugging and scribbling TOM onto her board.

"Please be right," Beca muttered, putting the cap back on her marker.

"Okay ladies, turn those boards around!"

Beca flipped her board over and leaned forward to look down the row, breathing a sigh of relief at seeing everyone else with the same answer.

"Wow, everyone but Chloe thinks it's Tom," Gail remarked, the surprise evident in her voice. "Chloe, what makes you think it's Chicago?"

Chloe replied tentatively, "Well I know he told me he did some work with dogs in the military, and I think he's softer than he wants people to think."

Beca bit her lip to keep from laughing at Chicago's slightly offended expression, still respectfully disagreeing with Chloe's assessment of the man.

"That's a great reason, but unfortunately the rest of the ladies are right. Sorry, Chloe, but you are eliminated from this challenge," Gail informed her with a sympathetic look. "Go have a seat with Lilly and Calamity."

Chloe looked dejected as she set her board down and joined the other two on the bench.

Gail looked back at the ladies still remaining in the challenge, asking, "Ready to move on? Alright, excellent. Quote number three is… I was in my high school show choir!" Another long pause to let it sink in, followed by, "And your choices for this one are Benji, Jesse, or Bumper!"

Beca sucked in a deep breath, knowing this one could also potentially be trying to fool them. Jesse was the obvious choice, singing constantly around the house, but Benji was also musical and Bumper was a total wild card. Deciding to go with her gut, she scribbled JESSE onto her board.

Gail waited patiently as it took the remaining girls longer than usual to decide on an answer, commenting, "Is this going to be the one that thins the crowd? We seem to have a lot of indecisiveness here."

Beca looked up at her to signal she had made her choice, feeling her heart start to race again. A glance towards the boys showed that they were greatly enjoying teasing each other at the revealed information, not giving anything away at who might be responsible for this quote.

Gail's voice broke through her thoughts, turning to look back at the host for the answer. "Okay ladies, let's see your answers for this one!"

Beca flipped her board around, looking over to see the answers were much more varied for this question.

"Let's see, we have four for Jesse, two for Benji, and one for Bumper," Gail announced, looking over at the boys. "This one was tricky because all three boys were in fact in their high school show choir! But only one of them admitted it on his audition tape!"

Beca sighed, knowing it was probably Bumper. Damn, she'd been so close.

"The correct answer is Jesse!" Gail revealed, only making the guys teasing and exclamations grow in volume, covering up the groans of the women who guessed wrong. "Looks like we lost Flo, Kommissar, and Fat Amy on that one. Sorry ladies, but please have a seat on the bench."

Beca grinned in relief at still being alive in the challenge, now realizing just how badly she wanted to win that getaway date. She desperately needed to get out of the house for the day, and she was so close she could almost taste that freedom.

Gail addressed the remaining girls, "We're down to the final four! Remember, the last three standing win the getaway date, but we will play until we have an ultimate winner!"

Beca nodded her understanding, not worrying about being the ultimate winner. All she cared about at this point was getting to go on that date.

"Okay, ladies, the next quote is… I have masturbated on an airplane," Gail's voice hinted at her amusement.

Beca glanced at the guys who were all looking around to see if they could figure out the guilty party before the choices were even announced.

"Who got handsy high in the sky?" Gail teased, making Beca chuckle. "Was it Theo, Bumper, or Zeke?"

Beca wasn't sure how she knew, but she immediately scribbled THEO onto her board. He wasn't the obvious choice, but for some reason she was completely confident in her answer. The other girls took a little longer with their answers, especially Aubrey frowning in concentration.

Finally, Gail instructed, "Alright ladies, turn those boards around and show us your answers!"

Beca flipped her board over revealing her answer, definitely surprised to see Emily and Aubrey agreeing with her. Stacie was the only one who thought it was Zeke, making Beca wonder what would happen if she was right and the three of them got eliminated together.

Gail was smirking at the boys, finally asking, "Does the guilty party want to come clean?"

Beca rolled her eyes at the terrible pun, though the boys seemed to appreciate the humor. After a moment, Theo shrugged and stood up to shouts and cheers from the guys. Beca laughed at the way he took a bow, not surprised to see his face slightly red when he stood up straight and sat back down, reaching over to give Donald a high five.

"Theo was the correct answer," Gail said, continuing, "Which means we have our three winners for the getaway date! Congratulations Emily, Beca, and Aubrey!"

Stacie looked disappointed as she joined the rest of the eliminated ladies on the bench, but most of the group cheered loudly when Emily and Beca's names were announced.

"We're getting that perfect match, bitches!" Chicago yelled, tapping his cup with Uni's and chugging the rest of his drink. "We can't choose wrong!"

That realization sunk in, making Beca's nerves break out all over again. Surely the group would vote Benji and Emily into the booth and not her and Theo. The thought of having to go to the Truth Booth had her anxiety spiking, unsure if she wanted to know if they were a match or not.

Gail waited for them to settle down, reminding them, "We still need an overall winner. Ladies, are you ready for the next quote?" At their nods, Gail read off the next card. "I've had sex with one of my teachers."

Beca's eyebrows rose, looking over at the guys to see if anyone reacted. Unfortunately, they were all either drinking or pouring more drinks or celebrating the winners of the challenge, and it didn't look like any of them even heard the question.

"Who do we think has gotten a little extra tutoring?" Gail teased, reading off, "Was it Unicycle, Zeke, or Donald?"

Beca hummed, not feeling any pressure on this one, but also had no clue who the right answer was. She thought for a minute before scribbling down DJ, figuring maybe things weren't as strict about that in culinary school. A glance told her Aubrey and Emily were having an equally difficult time with the quote, but Beca felt calm knowing she was guaranteed to be going on the date tomorrow.

Once all three had written down an answer, Gail directed, "Okay, let's see your answers!"

Beca turned her board around, looking over and laughing that they all had written down a different name.

Gail smiled at that fact as well, announcing, "Well, no matter what we will have a winner!" She turned to the girls on the eliminated bench, asking, "Stacie, who do you think it is?"

Stacie shrugged, answering, "Uni? He seems reckless enough to bang a teacher."

Gail looked impressed as she replied, "Correct!" Spinning back to the three remaining contestants, she continued, "Which makes Emily our overall winner! Congratulations!"

The cheers were loud and long, with lots of clapping and hugs exchanged. Beca was thrilled for the girl, knowing she was just as happy to get to take Benji on a date and leave the house. Once things settled down, CR got them all back into position to film the wrap up. Beca stood to one side of Gail next to Aubrey and Emily. The rest of the ladies were standing on their other side, with the guys standing on Gail's other side.

Gail waited for CR to get back in position, finally turning to the three winners who were still standing apart from the rest of the ladies.

"Okay, it's time to choose your perfect match for the getaway date," Gail said, her voice cheery. "Now remember, who you choose is directly related to who gets to go into the Truth Booth, so think about that when making your selections. Emily… since you were our overall winner, you get to choose first."

Emily grinned, not hesitating with her choice. "Benji!"

The group broke into loud cheers, Benji's grin covering his face as he walked over and stood behind Emily. Beca clapped along, knowing they were the group's best shot at a perfect match.

Gail moved right along, asking, "Beca, who is your choice for this getaway date?"

Beca looked over and met Theo's gaze, smiling at him. "Theo… wanna get outta here for a day with me?"

Theo grinned happily, walking over to stand behind her. "You have no idea how excited I am."

Gail nodded in approval, looking over at Aubrey. "And Aubrey, who would you like to take on this getaway date?"

Aubrey glanced over at the guys. "Jesse."

The rest of the group clapped and cheered as Jesse grinned and made his way over to stand behind Aubrey. Beca leaned back into Theo, feeling some combination of excited and relieved to finally have something besides the routine to look forward to tomorrow.

"Okay, we've got our three couples for the getaway date. Wanna know what you'll be doing?" Gail teased, drawing responses out of the group. "You're all going ziplining through the jungle…" she trailed off at the loud cheers and excited yells at that news, before continuing, "Followed by a private catered dinner on the beach."

Beca grinned happily as Theo's arms wrapped around her waist from behind, giving her a small squeeze. She knew how much the both needed to get out of the house and get some time away from the rest of the group.

Gail addressed Emily and Benji specifically, "And Emily, as the overall winner, after ziplining you and Benji will be treated to a couples massage, before your own private dinner on the beach."

That information was accompanied by a lot of "oohs" and teasing towards the couple, who both blushed red at the attention and insinuation.

After everyone settled down again, Gail reminded everyone else, "And while these three couples are out on their date, the rest of you get to decide which couple you're sending to the Truth Booth… the only way to find out if they're a perfect match or not. So, think about that, and I'll see you back at the house tomorrow for the results."

Beca nodded and clapped along with everyone else, knowing they were so close to being done filming for the day.

"Alright, have fun you guys!" Gail waved, letting them know they were done with her part.

Beca grinned and spun around, hugging Theo excitedly. "You're welcome for winning us this amazing getaway date."

Theo laughed, releasing her so they could begin walking back toward the house with the rest of the group. "You're the best. I cannot wait to leave this house."

Beca nodded, knowing the feeling. Now much more relaxed, she smirked at the memory of the challenge and one quote in particular.

"So… you jerked off on a plane?"


The scenery flying by the window of the large van was breathtaking, like something out of a movie. Beca grinned at Theo, his arm comfortably resting across the back of her seat as they were driven towards wherever they were going ziplining. Jesse and Aubrey were in the row behind them, and Emily and Benji were in front of them. Thankfully it wasn't awkward in the least, all three couples chatting and laughing easily together during the ride.

They had been ushered out of the house very early in the morning, which Beca hadn't minded at all. She knew the shit would definitely hit the fan at some point today and did not want to be around for it. There wasn't really anything for the rest of the group to fight about, but the time spent in the house was wearing on all of them and tempers were growing shorter by the day. It wouldn't take much to set someone off, as evidenced by their brief conversations yesterday morning before the challenge.

"You nervous?" Theo asked suddenly, breaking the silence between them.

Beca shook her head, "No, I'm fucking stoked. I've never been ziplining before. Are you?"

Theo hesitated, finally answering, "I'm not great with heights."

Beca held back a laugh, realizing he was being serious and that reaction was slightly inappropriate… and offensive. "Oh… well, I'm sure it's totally safe. It'd really mess up the show if one of us died, and we know where their priorities are."

"So comforting," Theo quipped, a wry smile crossing his lips. "You're really good at this."

"It's a gift," Beca shot back, knowing full well that positivity and warmth were not her gifts. "You want to be with me, you get sarcasm and witty repartee. Take it or leave it."

Theo made a show of thinking about it, like the decision was really weighing on him until Beca gave him a light shove in the chest.

"Asshole."

"Okay, okay, I'll take it!" Theo laughed, barely budging from the contact. "Settle down."

"You settle down," Beca retorted, her smile creeping back.

He raised an eyebrow at her, dropping a hand to her knee and she backed off.

"Fine, I'm settled down," Beca grumbled. "Buzzkill."

"That's not what you were saying last night," Theo smirked, laughing at the way her jaw dropped and how Benji and Emily whipped around to stare at the pair of them.

"CONTEXT!" Beca yelled, this time giving him a serious shove.

Theo shrugged, replying, "I mean… I'm just saying last night you said something about the best you'd ever had…"

Beca rolled her eyes, refusing to let him embarrass her. She turned to Emily and Benji and clarified, "He's an idiot… but he makes an amazing margarita."

Emily snickered at them, saying, "You guys are really adorable. You might get voted into the Truth Booth instead of us."

Aubrey was apparently eavesdropping from the row behind them, interrupting Beca's response. "That'd be the stupidest thing we've done yet. We need a confirmed match."

Theo's face looked slightly offended, answering, "Why couldn't Bec and I be a match? Look at how much we like each other."

Beca raised her eyebrows as Theo quickly wrapped both arms around her and crushed her to his chest awkwardly. "See?! Proof!"

Beca pulled away and smacked the back of his head, running her fingers through her hair trying to put it back into place. "You're an idiot," she said again, this time directed at him.

He just laughed, knowing better than to take her seriously.

Aubrey shook her head, "We are so fucked if they vote you guys in."

Theo got serious for a minute. "Relax, Bree… they're definitely going to vote Ben and Emily in. You're right, it's a no brainer."

Benji asked, "How do you do that?" At Theo's blank look, he clarified, "Joking one second to serious and sensible the next. It's unnerving sometimes."

Beca glanced at him, answering, "It's not like a superpower. I mean… I can do it too, I just pick my moments better than he does."

"You're so warm and uplifting… I'm so glad you're my match," Theo deadpanned, leaning back against the seat with his arms crossed over his chest.

A look at him told Beca he was back to joking around, wondering when it became so easy to read him. Maybe he had grown on her more than she thought over the past three weeks.

"What can I say… it comes naturally," Beca replied, her tone overly sweet.

Jesse spoke up, "I'm with Aubrey. I don't think you two are a match."

Theo's smile vanished, and Beca could tell they were on the brink of a massive argument if she didn't intervene. Placing a hand on Theo's knee and warning him to stay quiet with a look, she glanced evenly back at Jesse.

"What makes you say that?"

Jesse shrugged, "Well, you could be. You're so similar, don'tcha think? I'm fifty-fifty on it, to be honest. You're either the most perfect match, or you'd drive each other crazy if you were actually dating."

Beca pondered that for a minute, still feeling how tense Theo was beside her. If she was realistic, Jesse had a point.

"I'll give it to you," Beca declared, trying to infuse some humor back into the moment. "It's too soon to say whether you'd make a murderer out of me."

Theo couldn't help it, scoffing back, "I would LOVE to see you try. You're incredibly small."

"Keep underestimating me… I'll fight dirty," Beca warned, leaning in a little closer. "You wouldn't even see it coming," she whispered in his ear, pressing her body against his and felt him freeze at the contact.

The moment passed, and she twisted to lean her shoulder against him in a more natural position, his arm automatically moving to rest on the seat behind her head.

"That's not fair," he grumbled as she got more comfortable leaning against him.

Beca laughed, exchanging a wink with Emily. "Boys are so easy."


The laughing and joking in the van felt like a lifetime ago, and now Beca was legitimately worried that Theo was going to throw up or pass out or both. They were standing on top of the platform, all strapped up from head to toe ready to fly through the jungle and he was looking very green.

"I'm good, I promise," Theo said, glancing out over the edge of the platform. "I just watched four other people do this, I'm good."

Beca wasn't sure if that was actually true, but she was sure that she was more excited about flying through the Hawaiian jungle on this zipline than finding her perfect match in the house.

"Okay, well if you're sure," she said, moving to give him a hug. Squeezing her arms tight around his stomach, she whispered, "I'll see you at the bottom?"

He nodded, giving her a smile. "I'll be the one screaming like I'm getting murdered."

"Hot," Beca replied, leaning up to peck his lips. "Don't forget about the go-pro in your face. Try to open your eyes at least once so you don't look like this on television," she advised, closing her eyes and scrunching her face up.

Theo shuddered, "That was horrifying. Never do that again."

"My point exactly," Beca grinned, stepping away from him and letting the guys hook her harness up to the zipline. She looked to the side at Theo being hooked up to the other line, waiting a few extra seconds so they could go closer together.

Theo was finally ready to go, turning to meet her gaze. "Let's do this."

Beca laughed at how determined he sounded, nodding in agreement. "Let's do this."

She faced forward and at the go-ahead from the guy beside her launched herself off the platform. It was amazing. Beca felt like she was flying over this gorgeous jungle, the wind whipping past her face as she grinned gleefully. She vaguely heard Theo excitedly shouting behind her, glad he seemed to be enjoying himself. It was over far too quickly for her liking, wishing they could go again. A guy at the bottom platform unhooked her and helped her get out of the harness, gesturing over to where the other four were waiting.

"Dude, that was incredible!" Beca exclaimed, walking over to join them.

Jesse nodded, still a little pumped up on the adrenaline. "So amazing. I've never been before, but now I feel like I need to go on a ziplining world tour."

Beca agreed, "Count me in. It was like I was flying."

Emily chimed in, "I know! That was crazy! I didn't expect it to be so high up, but you could see for miles."

"It was beautiful," Benji added, somehow remaining the picture of calm. Beca wondered if he ever actually lost his temper.

Theo walked up beside her and wrapped her in an excited hug. "That was fucking incredible!"

"That's what I said!" Beca laughed as he let go, running his fingers through his hair. "Now I'm starving. Ready to eat?"

Beca nodded, looking around for the crew to intervene and take them to their private dinner or wherever they were headed next.

It wasn't long before a producer approached and led them all away towards the parking lot where their ride was waiting with the change of clothes they'd been instructed to bring along.

The van dropped them all at different spots, letting them know that they had a couple hours to eat and talk and enjoy the beach. Beca and Theo nodded, following directions and lacing their fingers together as they walked towards a small table set up on the beach just for them. It was set nicely with food already on plates, making Beca wonder how exactly this was going to go down.

A different producer met them just before they reached the table with a few last minute details.

"Okay, so here's how this is gonna work," he said, briefly glancing down at his watch. "You aren't actually going to eat the food on the table. There will be food to go after we finish filming. Eating really fucks with the sound, so everything on the table is just for show. Take small sips of the drinks if you want, make a short toast or whatever, but try to avoid eating and drinking as much as possible."

Theo's eyebrows rose, replying, "Dude, we're starving. We haven't eaten anything for hours."

The guy tossed them both a granola bar. "Here. That's it until we're done and you're back in the van. Got it? Any other questions?"

Beca sighed, unwrapping the snack and devoured it in no time. Theo did the same, both of them handing the producer back the empty wrappers knowing that was definitely not going to satisfy their appetites.

"Well isn't this romantic," Theo drawled, leading the way to the table.

Beca shook her head, muttering, "We should have known. All this date shit was too good to be true."

"We did get out of the house, so that's something," Theo pointed out, trying to find the silver lining.

The producer shouted at them from somewhere behind the scenes, "Hey, we're rolling! Start acting like you like each other and give us something we can use."

Beca bit her lip, taking a deep breath instead of the curse she wanted to hurl back at him. Beside her she could feel Theo tense, knowing he probably wanted to do the same thing. Instead, he composed himself in time for them to reach their table and pull out her chair for her.

"Thanks," Beca said, giving him her best flirty date smile for the camera.

Theo could tell, turning a snort of laughter into a small cough as he sat across from her. It took him another minute to recover, shaking his head at her antics.

"So, that was way more fun than I thought it was gonna be," he said, searching for a safe topic.

"Yeah, forsure," Beca said, eyeing the food in front of her desperately. It looked amazing.

"Do you think we'll get voted into the Truth Booth?" Theo asked suddenly, turning the conversation a little more serious.

Beca sighed, "I don't know. It's possible, but I think they will take the safe bet with Benji and Emily."

He nodded, replying, "Hopefully. Not that I don't want to know if you're my perfect match, but I'm kinda getting to the point where it matters less and less. You know?"

Beca understood what he was saying, realizing that this guy was developing some serious feelings for her that she couldn't exactly return. She liked him, sure, and enjoyed spending time with him, but something inside her knew that he was talking about more than that.

"Have you thought at all about after the show?"

And there it was. "Not really," Beca answered honestly. "I'm still drowning a little here… it's pretty insane."

Theo agreed with a smile, "You're not wrong. I just meant that like… if we are a match would you want to give it a real try? In real life?"

"That's a big if," Beca replied, not at all convinced they were a match and still unsure how she would feel if they were.

Theo hesitated a minute, finally coming to some sort of decision. "No, yeah… I know. I'm just saying that even if we aren't a match, I like you. I'd want to give it a shot. I think we're good together."

Beca raised an eyebrow at him, not expecting the conversation to go there. Sure they were connecting well, but they weren't even halfway through the show yet. There were still tons of question marks surrounding everything.

"Would you ever consider relocating?" Theo asked curiously.

"No," Beca replied immediately, adding, "San Francisco is my home. My job is there… I'm not interested in moving anywhere else."

"Yeah but like, you can bartend anywhere," Theo responded casually, taking a sip of water.

Beca hesitated at that statement, eyebrows narrowing slightly at the insinuation. Choosing to believe his words came out worse than he intended, she couldn't quite keep all of the frost out of her reply. "But my bar is in San Francisco."

Theo hummed, apparently sensing he was venturing into dangerous waters and changed the subject. "What about more… life-wise? Not relationship goals, just life goals?"

Beca couldn't hold back her smile at how smoothly he pivoted away from that conversation that was definitely headed south. "I like to keep things simple. I love my job and that's where my focus is right now. After the show I'll go back to work… Won't you?"

"Yeah, of course," he agreed, reaching for his glass of wine and sipping it carefully. "I just mean like… what are your goals for your life? What are your hopes and dreams?" Theo smiled, his tone turning more playful.

Beca shot him a real smile at that, finding she liked that he wanted to know what she envisioned for her life. It definitely made things feel more real, but as crazy as it seemed she was starting to see some version of her life where he was in it longer than the six week in the house. She must have misinterpreted his earlier tone, reminding herself to give him the benefit of the doubt like Luke and Donald had advised. Technically she could be a bartender anywhere, realizing she hadn't told him the whole truth about her real life back home yet.

"Honestly?" Beca asked, unsure if he was being serious or just making small talk.

Theo chuckled, "Yeah, seriously. I want to know whatever you'll share with me."

"I'm really lucky," Beca confessed. "I'm kinda living my dream right now. It wasn't what I planned when I was a kid or anything, but it feels right."

Theo's smile faded slightly, asking, "Working at a bar?"

Beca froze at his tone, hearing the judgement loud and clear. "Yeah," she answered tentatively, eyes narrowing slightly. "Is there something wrong with that?"

"Nothing," Theo backtracked, again sensing danger. "It's just… it's not a career, you know? Bartending is what college students do for free drinks or beer money. At some point you move on and get a real job."

Beca felt like she'd been slapped in the face with how dismissive his words were, of both her choices and the profession in general. It took her a minute to gather herself, the anger starting to boil in her stomach.

"What the fuck does that mean? How is bartending any less of a… how did you put it… "real job" than whatever you do?" Beca snapped, eyes blazing. "What do you do, anyways?"

"I'm a pharmaceutical sales rep," Theo answered stiffly, his guard up based on her response.

Beca rolled her eyes, "That sounds fucking terrible to me."

"It's very lucrative," Theo defended, an air of superiority in his tone that Beca decided not to care if she imagined or not.

"What the fuck is it with all you people and money?!" Beca exclaimed, wondering seriously for the first time why she agreed to do the show.

Theo rolled his eyes, "Don't lump me in with those gold diggers. You think I give a shit about fifty grand before taxes?"

"You're fucking worse!" Beca yelled at him, throwing her hands up. "You think that because you make more money than me… that makes you better or something? More successful?"

"Explain to me how it doesn't?" Theo retorted, having decided this was his hill and he was dying on it. "Not better than you," he quickly clarified, adding, "But definitely more successful."

Beca couldn't believe it, feeling more furious by the second. "Success is not only measure by your net worth, asshole," she snapped. "I'm not less than you or inferior to you because of my chosen profession! You probably look down on janitors and maids and sanitation workers but where would we all be without them! Living in our own shit! No one is inferior based on what they do!"

Theo realized he'd gone to far, holding his hands up defensively. "Okay, I see your point. I'm sorry, I went too far," he admitted, apologizing "But come on, Bec… there are bars everywhere. You're just a bartender…"

"I own the fucking bar, jackass!" Beca's voice was deadly serious, her arms crossed over her chest to keep from punching him.

Theo froze, studying her as if to see if she was lying. "What?"

"You heard me, Theo," Beca answered, her tone dropping so it was more even. "I don't just work at the bar, I own it. It's mine. My uncle left it to me after he fucking died of a brain aneurysm one night out of nowhere. So sorry, not sorry that I'm serious about wanting to stay in San Francisco at the bar that I OWN that is all I have left of my favorite family member."

"Well fuck," Theo sighed, hiding his face in his hands. Suddenly dropping them so Beca could see his obvious guilt and shame, he asked, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I wasn't going to tell anyone," Beca replied, glad for some reason that they were no longer shouting at each other, but still completely furious at him. "I didn't want people to make assumptions about me from day one because I owned my own business. Being a simple bartender is far less noteworthy… clearly."

Theo processed that for a minute, finally apologizing again, "I'm sorry."

Beca wasn't going to forgive him so easily. For her, the damage was done.

"Fuck you."

Theo nodded, running his fingers through his hair. "I deserved that."

"Yeah, now you respect me and what I do because I'm a business owner, but you didn't when I was just a lowly bartender who wouldn't uproot my life to move to Atlanta for this guy I met less than a month ago," Beca retorted, letting him have the brunt of her anger.

"When you put it that way it sounds really bad," Theo said, shaking his head.

Beca rolled her eyes, "It doesn't sound bad, it sounds chauvinistic and manipulative and fucking terrible."

He didn't answer, simply nodding in agreement. "I shouldn't have said those things."

"No, but here we are," Beca sighed, closing her eyes briefly. "Some date."

Theo was quiet again, thinking over something before sitting forward in his chair. "When you said you weren't going to tell anyone… am I the only one who knows?"

Beca hesitated, giving him the answer to his question.

"You told someone else before me?" Theo's tone held the hurt that Beca didn't think he deserved to feel.

Shaking her head, she pointed a finger at him. "No, you don't get to do that. You don't get to fucking turn this around on me like I fucked up."

"Who else knows?"

Beca pursed her lips deciding in the moment to tell him the truth. "Chloe."

He nodded, not too surprised by her answer. "Your uncle… your favorite family member… how close were you two?"

Beca shook her head at that, not willing to discuss Charlie with him after the way he found out about his existence in her life.

"I can tell he and the bar mean a lot to you," Theo mused, studying her face. "You tell Chloe about him? And the bar?"

She didn't answer those questions either, but at this point it didn't matter. He would assume she had and he would know he was right.

"I should have been the one you opened up to," Theo said quietly, eyes trained down at his hands in his lap, the slight hurt back in his tone. "That's how I felt about you. I told you things that I would never tell anyone else in this house, but I wasn't that person for you."

Beca remained silent, realizing the truth his words held. There had always been something holding her back with him, otherwise he would have been the one she told about Charlie and the bar and the truth about her life. He had seriously fucked up tonight, but she realized he was a little justified to feel hurt at the fact she opened up to someone else instead of him.

Theo looked up and met her gaze, asking softly, "Is there any way…"

"No," Beca cut him off, knowing what he was going to ask. "No, we are so done," she said firmly.

He nodded, accepting the decision knowing she was serious.

"What if we get voted into the Truth Booth?"

Beca took a deep breath, letting the scenario play out in her mind. "I think after tonight… I don't think we're a match. So, I'm not gonna worry about that until it happens."

They sat in silence looking at each other across the table, both unsure if there was anything left to say. After about five minutes, the producer hesitantly approached the them.

"So… it's time to head back to the house," he said awkwardly, obviously having witnessed the entire fight. "The van is waiting over there for you with your dinner."

Beca met his gaze as she stood up from the table. "I'm not hungry."

She heard Theo say something along those lines behind her, not waiting for him as she walked toward the van. The ride back was going to be terrible, followed by shooting the Truth Booth sequence which she just knew would involve Gail questioning the pair of them about their date and subsequent fight. Beca wondered if there was any way fast forward her life until tomorrow, knowing that wasn't possible.

Beca reached the van, climbing in to see the other two couples already seated with happy smiles as they dug into their dinners. She nodded at them and slid all the way across the bench seat to the window, shooting a steady gaze at Theo to stay on the far side of the seat when he climbed in behind her. The tension was evident, and she saw Emily and Benji exchange a glance out of the corner of her eye at their complete change in behavior from that morning.

Jesse finally asked what everyone else was thinking.

"Okay, what the fuck happened?"


After what felt like hours, the van finally pulled up to the front of the house and put all of it's occupants out of misery. Benji and Emily quickly slid out of the first row, Theo following them and only took a few steps away before turning to look back at her. Beca hopped out onto the driveway, moving away to give Jesse and Aubrey room to exit behind her.

"Bec," Theo said hesitantly, "I don't want to leave things like that."

Beca rolled her eyes, still absolutely furious with him. "You should have thought of that before you started spewing that bullshit."

Jesse stopped beside Beca, asking Theo, "Bro, leave her alone. Whatever you did isn't going to be resolved right now."

Beca had ignored Jesse's earlier question about what went down between them, Theo following her lead and remaining silent on the way back to the house. It resulted in an extremely awkward and quiet ride back, the other two couples only murmuring amongst each other a handful of times.

"Stay the fuck out of it," Theo snapped, unleashing his frustration at the first target and opportunity.

Aubrey stepped in, linking her arm through Beca's and led her towards the house before things could really get out of control. "Come on, if they want to fight it out, let them," she said calmly.

Beca nodded, though after a few steps she gently removed her arm from Aubrey's.

"Thanks, I appreciate it, but I'm okay," Beca said as they reached the door. "I mean, I'm not, but thanks for that," she clarified, gesturing back at the way Aubrey helped her put some distance between herself and the boys.

Aubrey nodded her understanding and Beca walked through the open door, Benji and Emily not bothering to close it behind them. She knew it was going to be a terrible night and wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. Beca remembered back to the last drama on a group date and knew the group and cameras would be waiting for them in the living room, bracing herself for whatever happened.

The group was all seated on or around the sectional as expected, and the gentle hum and chatter fell silent when she and Aubrey entered the room.

"Where are Jesse and Theo?" Luke asked, studying the pair of them closely.

Beca shrugged, "Outside still? Who knows."

She heard the door close, knowing they would be behind them in a moment and moved to the far side of the room to stand by the back door. All three pairs would end up there anyways to hear the results of the vote, so she told herself she was just expediting the process.

Theo walked in first with Jesse right behind him, both still looking irritated. It didn't take much for everyone to see something was very wrong.

"Okay what the fuck happened?" Donald finally asked, looking between the couples.

Chicago nodded, looking confused. "You guys were all over each other and now the room is in danger of freezing over."

Beca clenched her teeth together, still refusing to be the one who explained why she and Theo were no longer on such friendly terms.

Theo finally said, "I said some stupid things."

Luke met Beca's eyes, as if checking he was telling the truth. Beca gave a subtle nod, keeping her lips firmly pressed together.

Gail swooped into the room to stand beside the large screen with the pictures of the three couples, shooting them all a wide smile. Beca's eyes were drawn to the pictures of her and Theo side by side, suddenly feeling nervous that the house might have actually voted them into the Truth Booth.

"How are we doing, guys?" Gail asked casually, still waiting for the crew to finish getting set up.

The response was minimal, making her take a closer look around. Beca was confused, sure that the woman had been briefed long ago about what happened on her date. CR moved to stand beside her, whispering hurriedly into her ear for a long minute. Beca gave the woman a lot of credit, her expression turning focused but not changing beyond that. When CR stepped back, Gail gave her a quick nod and that was the end of it.

CR faced the rest of the room, instructing, "Okay, give me the three couples who are up for the booth over there standing behind the couch. Girls in front, boys behind."

Beca sighed as Theo hesitated, knowing he didn't want to upset her anymore than he already had but also knowing they had no choice. It was how every Truth Booth sequence went so that the chosen couple had easy access to leave through the back door. She crossed her arms over her chest as he reached his place, standing close enough for the shot but definitely not touching her.

"Beca!" CR barked, shooting her a look. "Arms down."

Beca rolled her eyes but obeyed, knowing that anything else would only draw the moment out longer. She looked away in search of a distraction, only vaguely registering the concerned look Chloe was sending her way because the way Chicago's arm was draped around the redhead's shoulders sent a new wave of irritation through her.

"Bec," Theo murmured, briefly gaining her attention.

"Dude, let it go," Jesse hissed at him before she could respond. "If you drag this shit out for all of us I might actually kill you."

Theo shut up at that, but Beca could only imagine the death glare he was shooting at Jesse.

"Okay, is everyone ready!" CR shouted, her gaze piercing around the room at both the cast and crew. "Good, let's get started."

Gail waited for her cue, finally turning and beaming a smile around the room.

"Good evening, guys! How're we doing?" Her voice took on that extra quality and Beca found herself holding back a chuckle out of nowhere.

The room responded slightly less cheerfully, making Gail pretend to notice something was off.

"What's going on?" Gail asked curiously. "Beca?"

Beca decided the woman was an underrated actress since she was always so over the top, but her current performance could win an Oscar. She realized what the entire crew was hoping for, shifting the idea around in her mind before deciding to give them the scene they were so desperate for.

Beca shrugged, replying, "Theo and I had a disagreement on our date."

Gail tilted her head, answering, "Well that doesn't sound like a big deal. Maybe we can clear it up now."

Theo sighed, admitting, "It was a little more than that, but I'm still hopeful we can work it out."

Beca laughed, giving into the temptation. "Fuck you. You can literally go fuck yourself."

She heard the gasps around the room, glancing around to see the stunned looks on most everyone's faces.

"Bec, come on, I apologized," Theo said, his tone exasperated.

"No, Theo," Beca replied stubbornly. "You told me that my job and my life was meaningless compared to yours."

"You did what?!" Luke exclaimed, jumping to his feet.

"That's not what I said!" Theo exclaimed.

"Bro, that's so fucked up," Chicago shook his head, incredibly siding with Beca.

Beca turned around and glared at him, accusing, "So you didn't tell me that I was just a bartender and that it shouldn't stop me from moving across the country if we were a match?"

"We were having a conversation about the future!" Theo argued, getting riled up the way Beca wanted him to. "It was just a conversation!"

"How about you pick up your life and move to California then if it's so fucking easy," Beca retorted.

"I would!" Theo shouted, the room suddenly silent.

Beca froze, staring at him. "What?"

"I would," he repeated, still looking impossibly frustrated with her. "If you asked me to, I would."

Beca looked at him in disbelief before regaining her senses. "Well I'm not asking you to. In fact, I'm asking you not to."

She spun back around to face the room, Gail's expression stunned. Despite knowing that little blow up would be great for the show, she suddenly regretted drawing so much attention to the pair of them. God she hoped they weren't a match. It would be hard to some back from that.

"Okay, let's take a breath for a minute," Gail intervened, probably receiving some signal from CR to get the group back on track.

"Beca, what if you guys are sent to the Truth Booth? Do you think you're a match?" Gail asked, giving her a way to wrap up this discussion.

"I don't think we're a match," Beca said confidently.

"Theo?" Gail looked towards the man standing behind her.

Theo hesitated, finally answering, "I think that we are a match. If the Truth Booth confirms it, I'll have a lot of groveling to do in the honeymoon suite for the next month."

Gail turned to the rest of the group, asking, "What was the vibe around the house today?"

Stacie answered, "It was actually really tense. We were split down the middle on who to vote into the booth tonight."

Uni chimed in, "Yeah, some of us wanted to put Ben and Emily in because we're so confident they are a match. But… some of us wanted to put Beca and Theo in because we aren't sure if they are and it's better to know sooner rather than later."

"That makes sense," Gail nodded sensibly. "Do these recent events make anyone wish they voted differently?"

Bumper nodded, "Yeah, definitely. I think we now need to know more than ever if Beca and Theo are a match. I voted for Ben and Emily, but I'd change it if I could."

Beca felt her stomach drop, wondering if these idiots had actually voted for them over Benji and Emily. The thought of standing beside Theo in the Truth Booth right now was terrifying, unable to think of anything she wanted to do less. A glance towards Emily told her the girl was as nervous as she was.

"Wow, okay that's a lot to digest here," Gail said, glancing around the room. "If the couple that goes to the Truth Booth is a validated match, then they're moving out of the house to spend a little more private time together in the honeymoon suite. If they aren't a match, they're back in the house and you guys are back to square one."

The room was silent, Beca's heart hammering in her chest so loudly she wondered if everyone could hear it.

"Alright, here we go," Gail said, turning to look at the screen. "The couple you voted for is…" she trailed off, pointing at the screen expectantly.

Beca held her breath as the screen flashed, breathing a sigh of relief as Benji and Emily appeared side by side to claps and cheers from the group.

"Thank God," she muttered, bracing her arms against the couch and resting her forehead on them. After a second she straightened up, glancing behind her to see Theo looking equally relieved.

At her look, he murmured, "I wouldn't have wanted to find out right now. Not after tonight."

Beca shook her head. "Yeah, that double rejection would sting," she replied, moving away from him as Luke made room for her beside him on the couch.

"You okay?" He whispered in her ear.

"Yeah, I'm good."

"Benji and Emily," Gail announced, turning her attention to the couple. "How are you guys feeling?"

Emily answered, "I feel good. I think we're a match."

"I think so too," Benji agreed. "I'm ready for that honeymoon suite."

The group cheered at their responses, eventually quieting down for Gail to speak again.

"Alright, it's time to find out. Benji, Emily, it's time to head to the Truth Booth," she said, gesturing towards the door. "Good luck!"

Beca clapped along with the rest of the group as they left, knowing they now had some down time before the results came in.

Gail finished her little speech, "As you all know by now, when they see the results inside the Truth Booth you will also see them here on the screen. Good luck, and I'll see you all tomorrow night for the match up."

Beca watched her exit the room, feeling the anxiety settle in as they waited for the results.

"What if they aren't a match?" Flo asked hesitantly. "What will we do?"

"If they aren't a match, we are so lost at this game we might as well give up," Bumper said, leaning back into the couch.

Beca knew they would both be crushed if they weren't a match. "They're a match," she said, feeling confident. "They have to be."

"I think so, too," Chicago said, voicing his opinion. "We have to get it right one of these times."

The room dissolved into smaller conversations as they waited for the results, Luke distracting Beca from her terrible date by telling her all the random stuff that happened around the house that day. None of it was very interesting, though she was surprised that there were no major arguments despite the disagreement on who to vote into the Truth Booth.

"Who wanted to vote me and Theo in?" Beca asked curiously.

Luke scratched his chin, thinking for a second. "Chicago mentioned it, but I'm pretty sure he ended up voting for Ben and Em. Uni and Donald and Chloe and Stacie were the major ones, but I think Tom might have convinced Stacie to switch at the last minute… I'm not sure."

"Chloe wanted to vote us in?" Beca asked quietly, unsure why the knowledge bothered her so much.

"Yeah, she felt like it was more important to know if you two were a match than to confirm Benji and Emily," Luke shrugged. "We all saw their point, just most of us felt like we needed the boost of a confirmed match. Also you could make the same argument for Ben and Em… if they aren't a match we need to know." 

Beca nodded, her mind still going a mile a minute. It was hard to process the fact that Chloe pushed for her to go to the Truth Booth. Beca wasn't sure how to feel about the knowledge, but a strange twisting in her stomach let her know it wasn't a happy reaction.

CR interrupted the smaller conversations, announcing, "Okay, the results are coming through!"

Beca felt Luke wrap his arm around her shoulders comfortingly, leaning into his embrace as they waited for the results. The screen flashed and the black box covered Benji and Emily's photos, reading the words they had waited so long to see.

"PERFECT MATCH!"

The room erupted in cheers, yells and applause. The tension, frustration and confusion of the first three mini-weeks replaced by the elation of discovering their first perfect match.

"Hell yes!" Bumper shouted, raising his fist in celebration.

Beca laughed and hugged Luke, equally thankful that the pair was a match and to not have gone into the booth that night with Theo. The group exchanged hugs and high-fives as they waited for Benji and Emily to return. Beca glanced around, seeing a strange look on Chicago's face as Chloe whispered something in his ear. It wasn't a happy look, making her wonder if the result reminded the man of his own Truth Booth experience with Calamity. She shifted her gaze to the other woman, but she didn't look upset at all and was instead raising a shot with Stacie to toast their first perfect match.

Emily was the first back through the door and was greeted with shrieks of happiness by the entire room. Benji was right behind her, beaming the biggest smile Beca had seen from him.

"We did it!" Benji yelled, raising his arms triumphantly.

Emily was equally happy, shouting, "We're a match!"

Bumper's voice was heard above the clamor, announcing, "We're celebrating tonight, bitches!"


Beca took full advantage of the celebration for their first perfect match to get drunk off her ass and forget all about her date with Theo. It was a prime opportunity that she was not going to let slip through her fingers and was currently six shots in and working on her fourth drink, wandering up the stairs for no reason at all.

"Hey… I've barely seen you all night."

Beca paused as she reached the top of the stairs, frowning intro her drink at the familiar voice coming from the hallway ahead of her. Looking up she spotted Jesse walking slowly towards her, shooting him a smile.

"I know," Beca drawled slowly. "I've been drinking."

Jesse laughed, "I can see that. Are you okay?"

Beca nodded, "I wish people would stop asking me that. I mean yeah, we fought, but it's not like I was in love with him."

"I hope not," Jesse replied, coming to a stop in front of her. He leaned casually against the wall, giving her a grin. "Because then you wouldn't be in love with me."

"Mmm not in love with you either," Beca answered, stumbling slightly over the words.

Jesse shook his head, "Yet. You aren't in love with me yet."

Beca didn't answer that, sipping her drink instead. What is it with these guys? She'd never experienced anything like this out in the real world, but here she's got multiple guys who are super into her and want her to move across the country and shit.

"That's kinda weird," she finally said out loud, finishing her own thoughts more than responding to his declaration.

"I just mean now that you and Theo aren't a thing," Jesse began, stepping a little closer into her space. "Maybe you and I could be a thing."

He pushed off the wall fully, swaying a bit making her suddenly realize she wasn't the only drunk one in this conversation. His hand landed on her hip, probably more for balance than actually making a move, but Beca's drunken brain wasn't processing things appropriately in the moment.

Giving him a hard shove in the chest, she snapped, "Are you fucking serious? Are you trying to get with me after all that shit today?"

Jesse's eyes went wide, jerking his hand back as if he'd been burned. He stumbled a few steps away from her shove, shaking his head slowly. "No… I wasn't… I mean, I just want to talk…"

"What the fuck is wrong with you guys?" Beca complained, eyes closing in annoyance and disbelief.

"What's going on up here?"

A new voice joined the conversation, one that filled Beca with equal parts joy and dread.

"Oh, hey Chloe," Jesse smiled tentatively. "We were just talking."

Beca rolled her eyes, adding, "You were trying to do more than talk."

Jesse drunkenly shook his head, denying it. "No, I swear I wasn't…"

"I think you're done talking," Chloe said firmly, clearly way more sober than both of them. "Bec, let's go talk somewhere else."

Beca sighed, mumbling, "Fine, as long as Chicago isn't there."

Chloe escorted her past Jesse and into a room. The lock on the door clicking behind Beca clued her in as to where they were and she was not pleased.

"You brought me to the STD Den?" Beca's eyes were wide and her tone exaggerated and incredulous.

Chloe chuckled, "Yeah, sorry but it's the only place with a lock. And why would Chicago be here?"

"You two are all…" Beca trailed off, pointing a finger at Chloe and waving it around a little. "But he's a tool. You can do better."

"Apparently, so can you," Chloe replied gently. "Here, sit down."

"I'm not fucking sitting on that bed," Beca retorted, instead crouching down and slowly tipping over onto the floor, careful not to spill what was left of her drink.

Chloe laughed outright at that, eventually finding a spot beside her. "I know you're totes blitzed right now, but are you okay Bec? I know how much your job and the bar means to you."

The mention of the bar and her uncle by association had a sobering effect, making her sit up and force her brain to think for a minute.

"He… he was such a jackass," Beca finally muttered, feeling the emotions hit her. "He… Charlie was the best and he wasn't rich or anything but he was happy and I'm happy…"

Beca knew she probably wasn't making sense but Chloe didn't seem to mind, moving to wrap her in a hug when the first tear trailed down her cheek.

"I miss him," Beca mumbled, the alcohol and emotions combining in a truly unattractive way as she couldn't stop the tears. "I'm sorry I'm such a fucking mess…"

Chloe only hugged her tighter. "You're not a mess, Theo is an asshole."

"I'm a huge mess," Beca disagreed, leaning back and wiping at her eyes. "The biggest."

She met Chloe's gaze after a moment, something about the way the redhead was looking back at her had her stomach twisting again, making her nervous. Beca realized how close they were, eyes narrowing a bit in thought as she focused through the haze of alcohol to figure out exactly these feelings were. Chloe's eyes briefly glanced down at her lips, locking the final piece of the puzzle into place and making the anxious feeling in her stomach multiply by about a thousand.

"You're no more of a mess than anyone else here," Chloe finally said, breaking the moment and forcing Beca to look away. "I'm gonna go get you some water and then we can talk about something happier, like how Benji and Emily get to go to the honeymoon suite tomorrow and it couldn't happen to a better couple."

Beca nodded dumbly and watched her leave the room, sitting there on the floor wondering how she was supposed to go on normally after tonight. Maybe she was drunk enough to not remember in the morning, but at least until then she was sure of one thing.

"Fuck… I like Chloe."


It turned out that Beca was not drunk enough to forget her revelation the following afternoon, resulting in her interacting with Chloe as little as possible while she tried to figure out how to handle the new development. She was trying and failing to convince herself it was just an attraction, one that she could ignore or avoid for the remaining weeks while they were all in the house.

The problem was that she knew it wasn't just a physical attraction. Beca genuinely liked Chloe as a person and considered her the person she was closest to on the show and felt the most comfortable around. Chloe also happened to be the sweetest person who so far hadn't had a bad word to say about a single person on the show, which Beca was confident no one else could even attempt to say without lying their ass off, herself included.

Another problem was that Beca knew that these feelings were not reciprocated from Chloe's end. The redhead was nice and kind and smart and here to meet her dream guy the way Beca was supposed to be, not to get crushed on by another girl in the house. The idea of Chloe finding out was completely mortifying, and Beca had already decided to shove her feelings way down where they hopefully would remain until she got home and could let them out in a way that didn't end up broadcasted to the world. Burying her feelings was one thing she was truly good at, and the only thing she felt confident of in dealing with Chloe moving forward.

She was fairly successful in avoiding the idle conversation as they all got ready for the matchup, the rest of the women musing over who they would pick tonight. Beca had absolutely no idea who she was going to pick, almost hoping she ended up going last so that she wouldn't have to choose. Fat Amy had tried to bring her into the discussion, but she'd simply shrugged and declined to answer. The girls assumed she was still getting over being pissed at Theo, which was fine by her.

Beca finished getting ready for the matchup ceremony before the rest of the ladies, slipping out of the room and heading for the kitchen. She needed a pre-drink before the pre-ceremony shot tonight. To her displeasure, Jesse was standing awkwardly in the hallway alone and caught her eye as she approached the staircase.

"Bec, hey... uh, can we talk for a second?"

Beca bit back a retort, simply nodding. "Sure, but I'm going to get a drink."

Jesse let her pass, following along. "Sounds good. The rest of the guys are almost ready."

Beca hummed, "Same with the girls. Maybe we can finish before almost sunrise."

"Doubtful," Jesse scoffed, his irritation for the long night shoots coming through loud and clear.

Beca sighed as they entered the kitchen. "Yeah, I know. Want one too?"

"What are you making?"

Beca glanced around at what was readily available. "Gin and tonic."

"Yeah, I'll have one. Thanks," Jesse answered, circling the island so he was across from where she was working.

Beca made quick work of the drinks, grabbing a lime from the fridge and chopping a couple of wedges to finish them off. She handed Jesse the glass and gave him a small smile, clinking her glass with his to signal some sort of peace offering.

Jesse smiled back, though he still had a look of regret on his face. "Look, I was an asshole last night. I'm sorry. I'm not usually this bad at dating and relationships or whatever, but there's something about this house and this process that is really messing with me. I like you, but I've gone about it all wrong and I'm sorry."

Beca slowly sipped her drink, savoring it for a minute while she thought about her answer.

"Jesse, I know you're a good guy, okay? Your timing sucks, but I was really drunk last night and overreacted," Beca admitted, knowing she was definitely not at her best during their brief conversation. "I like you too, but I don't see us working as a couple. You're a cool guy and I think we could be awesome friends, but I'm sorry... that's it for me."

Jesse's expression morphed into disappointment, but he recovered with a brave smile. "Not gonna lie, that hurts a bit. Mainly because I don't feel like you gave me a shot..." he trailed off, rubbing the back of his head. "But, I respect that you feel that way and I'll back off. I'd still like to get to know you as friends, if that's alright?"

Beca could tell he was being honest and it was both refreshing and a huge relief. "Yeah, of course," she answered. "Friends."

Jesse nodded, his smile already becoming more of his natural grin. "Cool, okay... friends. So, friend," he emphasized, shooting her a conspiratorial look. "Who are you picking tonight?"

"God... I have no fucking idea. Not Theo," Beca replied, feeling defeated. "I actually kinda want to be last so I don't have to pick."

"Well, it is random," Jesse supplied helpfully, as if she wasn't well aware of the process. "Maybe you will be."

Beca paused as they heard voices nearby getting louder and louder, knowing the group was making their way down for the ceremony.

"Somehow I don't think I'll be that lucky," she finally said, a wry smile on her face. "Sounds like it's time for a shot."


"Okay, I think we've got everything fixed and ready to go," CR announced, pointing out a few last cues and instructions for the crew. "Everyone is in place. Let's get this thing started."

Beca stayed rooted to her spot on the little platform along with the other nine women, scared to even breathe in case it set off another issue. It had taken an hour just to film them all getting into place, starting off the night in a way that immediately put everyone on edge.

CR turned to the group for a few final words. "Okay, the beginning will be slightly different since you guys had a confirmed perfect match in the Truth Booth. Emily will start here with the rest of the ladies, but before the matchup begins, Gail will have her leave and take a seat with Benji. Everything else is business as usual. Any questions before we start?"

They all shook their heads, the instructions being simple and basically what they were used to by now. Gail was in position, turning towards the group when she received the go-ahead from CR.

"Hey guys, welcome to your fourth matchup! How are we feeling tonight?"

The group cheered, still feeling the happy effects of finding their first perfect match.

"Awesome, glad to hear it," Gail said, beaming a smile at them. "You guys made some serious progress this week! Congrats on finding your first confirmed perfect match this week! Emily, why don't you go ahead and join Benji!"

Beca clapped as Emily excitedly stepped off the platform and joined Benji in his chair. They looked really good together, and Beca was genuinely happy for both of them that they were a confirmed match.

Gail addressed the pair directly, informing them, "After the matchup tonight... you two are moving out of the mad house over here and into the honeymoon suite to spend the rest of your time here as a couple."

There were a few "Awws" around the area as they'd really enjoyed getting to know Benji and Emily, making Gail reassure the rest of them that this wasn't the last time they'd all be together.

"Don't worry you guys, Benji and Emily will still return each week to join us for the matchup."

There was more clapping after that statement, with Emily looking at the girls and saying, "I'll miss you guys!"

Stacie answered her, "Have fun! You deserve it!"

Gail smiled, saying, "Maybe you guys should give them some parting wisdom before you go."

Benji shrugged, "Gail, we just went with what felt right and it worked out for us. Other people have done the same thing and it wasn't a match."

Emily nodded, adding, "We have complete faith that they will figure it out and find all the matches."

"That's great, I think you're right," Gail answered, smiling at them. "Congratulations to both of you," she began, before extending it to the rest of the group, "And to all of you for finding your first perfect match and taking one massive step closer to that one million dollars."

Beca smiled and clapped along with everyone else, biting back a chuckle at the few exclamations shouted out when Gail mentioned the money.

"Now, if the rest of you ladies choose correctly tonight, you'll be leaving here with love and money," Gail stated, falling back into her easy matchup speech. "But, if even just one of you gets it wrong... then you're not ten for ten and you're heading back to the house empty handed."

That was met with quiet murmurs, everyone knowing that going ten for ten tonight was extremely unlikely. Beca glanced around at the skeptical looks, knowing she was not alone in lacking confidence.

"And, if you fail to get any new matches... that is a match that's not your confirmed perfect match, that still counts as a blackout and your prize will instantly drop by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars," Gail finished, her tone serious.

Beca sighed, knowing their task was only getting harder. Sure, getting Benji and Emily as a confirmed match was great, but now they no longer counted towards the blackout. They were the one match everyone was sure of, and everyone else was basically shooting in the dark. Beca looked over and the guys and held a second longer on Donald, wondering how confident he was in Lilly. The thought that their hopes of not blacking out rested on that relationship was not a comforting one at all.

Moving on, Gail continued with the instructions for the matchup.

"So ladies, when I call your name you'll come up here, choose your perfect match, and the two of you will place your palms on the handprint touchpad locking you in as a couple."

Beca held her breath as Gail prepared to call the first name.

"First up tonight for the ladies... is Lilly."

Beca exhaled slowly in relief as Lilly walked up to the podium, greeting Gail with a nod. She tuned out the brief conversation the two women exchanged, paying closer attention when Gail asked the all-important question.

"Lilly, who is your perfect match?"

Lilly turned and faced the guys, answering, "My perfect match is DJ."

Beca couldn't help but smile at Donald's grin when she said his name, recognizing his obvious crush on the woman. She was happy for him, glad that he seemed to find someone he connected with so strongly.

"Lilly, Donald, it's time to lock in as a couple."

The pair placed their hands on the touchpad and locked in, returning to the chairs hand in hand.

Beca's anxiety was back as Gail turned back to the ladies to call the next name.

"Kommissar!"

Kommissar nodded and walked up to the podium, saying, "Hey Gail."

Gail smiled, answering, "How are you tonight?"

"Good, I think we're all feeling more positive tonight after finding our first perfect match," Kommissar replied.

"And do you know who you're picking tonight?"

The blonde nodded, answering, "I do, yes, but it will surprise people."

"Why is that?" Gail asked curiously, wanting her to expand.

Kommissar shrugged, "This person and I are very different, but I think we might be a match."

Gail nodded, surmising, "Sometimes opposites do attract. Well, Kommissar, who is your perfect match?"

"Tonight, my perfect match is Bumper."

Beca's eyebrows went sky high, immediately turning to look at Bumper. He was definitely not expecting to be chosen, a little slow rising from his chair to join Kommissar at the podium.

"Bumper, you don't seem like you were expecting to be standing here with Kommissar," Gail stated, though her intentended question was clear.

"Well, I wasn't expecting it," Bumper answered with a laugh, "At all. But, I can see the reason behind it. We're complete opposites, but maybe you guys are trying to show us what we need is not what we want."

"So there's no relationship here?" Gail asked, gesturing between the pair.

"No."

"None."

"Alright, well good luck! Kommissar, Bumper, it's time to lock in."

Beca slowly shook her head as they locked in as a couple and took a seat, wondering if it was really so insane to think they were a perfect match. Maybe Bumper needed someone more rigid to tone him down and Kommissar needed someone to help loosen her up. It wouldn't be the strangest couple she'd ever seen, knowing their unfamiliarity with each other was a big part of why it looked so off.

CR stepped in to inform everyone they would be taking the regular break to get some reaction footage. Beca wasn't interested in taking part in those shoots, wandering off to the edge of the area near where the lights were set up to look at the sky. It was a clear night, and she was grateful for the moment of peace even if it was far too brief.

"Hey, whatcha looking at?"

Beca stiffened slightly at Chloe's voice, forcing herself to relax as the redhead came to a stop beside her.

"Nothing."

Chloe raised an eyebrow, looking up into the sky for herself as if to prove Beca was lying. She didn't look at Beca when she spoke her next words.

"Are we okay? I feel like you've been avoiding me today."

Beca cursed herself for being so obvious. She couldn't help it, not knowing what else to do but remove herself from the interactions before she did something she'd regret.

"Yeah, we're good. Why do you ask?" Beca answered, willing her voice to remain calm.

Chloe shrugged, "I tried to talk to you a couple times earlier when we were getting ready and you just ignored me. I wondered if I'd done something..."

Beca shook her head, "No, you're perfect. I mean... fuck, I'm just out of it after yesterday. It was a lot with Theo and then Jesse."

Chloe's expression morphed immediately into one of understanding. "That's probably completely normal after the roller coaster you were on yesterday. I guess I was just worried I was a part of it."

Beca chuckled, shaking her head no. "Don't worry about that. I wish I felt as comfortable with any of the guys as I do with you."

That brought a smile to Chloe's lips, forcing Beca to look back up at the sky to keep from staring at how beautiful she was. Fuck, she was so screwed. Needing to get out of the moment, she turned away.

"We should probably get back. Wouldn't want to hold up the shoot longer than necessary."

Chloe agreed, falling into step with her, "Got that right."

Turns out they were not holding up anything as they walked the short distance back to the stage, ending up at least ten minutes early and were forced to wait for the final reactions to be filmed. Beca was thankful to at least put a little bit of space between her and Chloe, unable to think clearly when she was so close. She needed to get a hold on this stupid crush.

CR finally appeared, directing everyone back into place so they could resume. Gail returned to her spot, waiting until the couples were seated again before calling the next name.

"Next up is Aubrey."

Aubrey strode in her usual confident manor to the podium, greeting Gail with a friendly smile. They exchanged a few pleasantries before Gail got down to business.

"So, Aubrey, who is your perfect match?"

Aubrey did the half-turn toward the guys, answering, "My perfect match is Jesse."

Jesse seemed happy enough about that pick, and Beca hoped they'd had a good time on the private portion of their date. She'd never gotten the details as the ride back was silent once she and Theo entered the car.

"Jesse, how do you feel about standing up here with Aubrey?" Gail asked him once he arrived.

"I feel great about it," Jesse answered. "We were both in choir in high school and love to sing. We had a great time on our date and actually discovered we have a lot in common."

Gail smiled at his answer, "So are we thinking this could be a match?"

Aubrey was a little more diplomatic, saying, "I think right now we both feel a connection and are interested in seeing where it leads."

"Yeah, that sums it up nicely," Jesse added, smiling at Aubrey.

"Sounds promising," Gail wrapped up, "Aubrey, Jesse, please lock in as a couple."

They pressed their palms to the touchpad and locked in, returning to the chairs with their fingers laced together. Beca turned her attention back to their host as she called the next name.

"Stacie!"

Stacie's journey to the podium and subsequent choice was of no surprise to anyone, the brunette confident calling out Tom's name to join her after barely a word spoken to Gail.

"My perfect match is Tom," Stacie said confidently, smiling at the man as he reached her side and wrapped his arm comfortably around her waist.

"Tom, you seem happy to be standing here with Stacie," Gail noticed.

Tom nodded, "Stacie's great. We get along and we're having a good time together."

At Stacie's agreement, Gail instructed them, "Stacie, Tom, it's time to lock in."

Beca watched them complete the process and return to the seats, wondering if they were going to stop or keep going. She got her answer when CR strode out onto the set and called for another short break.

This one passed by quickly, with Beca lingering around trying to decide who she was going to choose for her matchup. Her options were growing thin, and she really had no idea what she was going to do.

In no time at all Gail was back and the podium and they were all gathered into place, ready to start shooting.

"Next up for the ladies is... Beca."

Fuck. Beca took a deep breath and tried to look confident as she walked to the podium. Gail greeted her with a smile, but Beca knew she was about to get grilled about her date and the subsequent fallout.

"Beca, is it fair to say it's been an interesting couple of days for you?" Gail asked, seemingly sympathetic but also evil and knew exactly what she was doing.

Beca forced a short laugh, answering, "Yeah, it's fair to say that. I had a thing with Theo, but It's over now."

Gail wasn't going to let her off the hook so easily, asking, "What happened? You guys seemed like a perfect match?"

Beca thought for a second, replying, "You know, I think this journey forces you to push a relationship faster than you normally might. It's hard, but we had a conversation that led us to realize we probably aren't a match and should start exploring other relationships."

Gail nodded supportively, saying, "Well on that note, you've sat next to Theo for the first three matchups, so you're about to explore something new tonight. Beca, who is your perfect match."

It had arrived, the moment she'd been dreading. Taking a deep breath, she turned and looked at the guys who were still sitting alone. There was only one person left that she really wanted to pick, despite not feeling anything romantic towards him. Coming to a decision that she knew wouldn't be popular, she steadied her voice, determined to sound confident.

"My perfect match is Luke."

There were some surprised looks and a few quiet reactions, but Beca was pleased that Luke looked delighted at being chosen. He grinned the entire way up to the podium, wrapping his arm around Beca's waist when he finally arrived.

"Luke, you seem thrilled," Gail observed with a wide smile. "Is this expected?"

Luke shook his head, "Not expected, but I'm definitely thrilled. Beca is one of my best friends here in the house."

Gail seemed to approve of his answer, saying, "Great! Beca, Luke, it's time to lock in as a couple.."

Beca placed her left hand on the touchpad as Luke settled his right palm on the one beside hers, watching the little green bar scan up and down before officially locking them in. They walked back to the chairs and took a seat, Beca feeling less anxious for the first time that evening.

"I was hoping you'd pick me," Luke whispered to her, giving her shoulder a small squeeze.

"Yeah?" Beca asked curiously, turning to look at him.

Luke nodded, "I thought you could use a friend tonight."

Beca leaned comfortably into him at those words, grateful for his true friendship. They'd only known each other a short while, but Beca was sure they'd be friends for life after this experience.

"You have no idea."

Luke chuckled softly at that, deciding not to respond. They watched as Fat Amy was the next one to be called, eventually announcing her perfect match was Zeke who looked as happy about it as Luke when Beca called his name.

"I don't get it," Beca said softly as the pair locked in.

Luke studied them, replying, "I get it."

"Don't get me wrong, Fat Amy is great," Beca said with a small shake of her head, "But I don't get it."

"Confidence is sexy," Luke replied. "Sure she's not for everyone, but she's unapologetically herself at all times. How many other women here can honestly say that?"

Beca's first thought was Chloe, wondering if this was how the rest of her journey on the show would be. She didn't respond to Luke's question, figuring it was a least half rhetorical anyways.

CR announced it was time for their longer break to give the crew time to get coffee and rest and refocus for the end of the matchup. Luke got up and offered Beca a hand.

"Come on, let's go pretend to be madly in love with each other out of nowhere," Luke laughed.

"Yeah because that won't get us in trouble at all," Beca shook her head.

Luke brushed her off, replying, "They can add it to the pile of hours of footage that gets thrown out. We're not a match so nothing we say will make it on an actual episode anyways."

Beca sighed, giving in to temptation. "Fine, but CR gets pissed it's on you."

Luke fist pumped at the victory. "Deal!"


The longer break had everyone feeling refreshed and re-energized to finish the shoot. Beca was back in the chair with Luke as they prepared to film the final three choices and then the magical beams of light.

"Maybe we'll get lucky and actually have picked all the matches," Beca mused as Gail got ready to resume the matchup.

Luke shook his head, "That would mean we are a match."

Beca shrugged, "I mean, I guess it's possible. On paper we could be perfect for each other, you know?"

"Yeah, except I like blondes," Luke pointed out with a smirk.

Beca rolled her eyes, "And look how well that's worked out for you."

"Ouch, dude."

"I mean, you ended up here," Beca chuckled. "Maybe the whole point of this is that we don't know what's good for us."

Luke hummed, "I would tend to agree with you, but Benji and Emily vibed from day one and were a perfect match, so..."

Beca sighed at the massive hole blown into what she felt was a pretty decent theory. "True."

The rest of the crew disappeared off set and Beca prepared herself for the matchup to resume.

"Next up for the ladies is... Chloe!"

Beca watched Chloe walk up to the podium, her heart catching a little in her chest and how good she looked. The thoughts came unbidden into her brain, finding it increasingly more difficult to shut them out.

Luke's muttering beside her helped. "She's going to pick that fucker Chicago."

That sentence made Beca's eyebrows narrow and her heart plummet into her stomach. Somehow in the past twentyfour hours or so she'd forgotten all about that budding romance.

"Maybe she won't," Beca whispered, knowing odds were slim.

"I can't stand him," Luke continued, ignoring Beca's attempt at optimism.

"Me either."

"Chloe, who is your perfect match?" Gail asked, making Beca hold her breath in anticipation.

"My perfect match is Chicago."

Beca let out a disappointed sigh at the name. There had been no hesitation on Chloe's part, no stutter or moment to think about it, just a smooth answer followed by turning and smiling as he walked up to join her. Beca cursed herself for being stupid and developing feelings for the wrong person and getting herself into this nightmare of a situation.

"You okay?" Luke asked, sounding slightly concerned as they watched the pair take the empty seat in front of them and to the right.

Beca nodded, knowing that even if she wanted to share the thoughts in her head with Luke, now was not the time or place to do so.

"Chloe's too good for him."

Luke nodded, "Right? What does she see in that tool? You know he's still banging Calamity right?"

Beca's jaw dropped as Gail called up Flo next. "Wait, seriously?"

"Yeah, it's crazy," Luke shook his head. "And I spoke with Chloe about him while you were off on your date and she said he told her that was over. So shady."

"Why didn't you tell Chloe?" Beca asked, shocked Luke wouldn't have said something.

Luke sighed, watching Flo and Theo lock in as a couple. Changing the subject, he gestured at the new pair, "What do you think of that?"

Beca shook her head, "No way. Never in a million years. Now why didn't you tell her the truth?"

"Beca, think about how bad that looks," Luke whispered, sounding frustrated. "People already think I'm still pining over her like she's my long lost love. Then I go and try to sabotage the next connection she makes? It can't come from me."

Beca saw his point, but still felt like he should have said something. "If you won't, I will."

Luke hesitated, finally saying, "Just be careful how you go about it. She seems to really like him."

Beca didn't answer right away as Calamity and Unicycle were the default matchup that evening. "She seemed to really like you too until the Truth Booth said you weren't a match."

Luke didn't answer, making Beca feel like there was more he wasn't telling her. The thought that somehow a relationship had developed basically overnight between Chloe and Chicago felt like a giant rock in the pit of her stomach. It didn't sit well and if it was true, there was nothing she could do about it.

"Okay, good job guys! We've got ten couples," Gail announced, looking at them all seated in front of her. After the clapping and cheering settled down, she continued explaining the matchup process.

"Behind me are ten beams of light."

Beca briefly closed her eyes as the beams turned on and pointed directly at them before raising up into the night sky.

"Each beam represents a perfect match. One beam is one perfect match, ten beams are ten perfect matches and one million dollars!" Gail said enthusiastically to more cheers from the group.

"Now tonight, for the first time you begin with one beam already lit," Gail explained, holding one finger up as the lights all went dark except for the first one in the row. "That beam represents Emily and Benji, your first confirmed perfect match."

Beca grinned and clapped loudly for the pair, knowing that it also put them one step closer to winning the money.

"Add nine more beams to that, you guys, and you're walking away with one million dollars," Gail said, keeping her tone even. "However, if you fail to add another beam to that one, you have blacked out... and your prize will instantly drop by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

The low hums and shouts of "No" permeated the small area, making Beca nervous grab Luke's hand.

"This part always freaks me out," she mumbled, feeling him flinch a little.

"Yeah, it's all the drama and suspense," he replied. "They make it much worse on the show after all the editing and sound gets added."

Gail circled the podium and placed both hands on the touchpad. "The number of perfect matches is..."

Beca sucked in a breath as the lights went down, watching the single beam shining up into the sky. Almost immediately the second beam lit up, making them all clap and shout their approval loudly.

"That's two," Luke said, giving her hand a squeeze.

"Keep going!" Bumper called out, as if he could will the beams to start lighting up.

They didn't have to wait long for a third beam to shine high into the night sky, the group cheering even louder for that one.

"That's three baby!" Donald yelled excitedly.

"Let's see four!"

"We want four, Gail!"

Beca held her breath, wondering if they were going to get another. The silence stretched on, but they still hadn't heard that sound that signaled the end of the matchup. Suddenly, they all heard a click and a fourth beam lit up.

"Four!"

"That's four," Stacie's voice sounded above the clapping and cheering.

"Five, Five Five," someone chanted from the back row.

Beca couldn't help but notice the way Chloe was happily clinging onto Chicago in front of her, dampening the mood just a little. They waited for a few more agonizing seconds before the stage lights lit back up and the sound went off signaling the end of the matchup.

Gail turned around to address them, a wide smile on her face. "Four perfect matches! That's double last time, and the most you've ever gotten. Congrats!"

They all cheered and clapped at their progress, feeling like they were finally getting somewhere in this game.

"You still have six more shots to go ten for ten," Gail reminded them. "Plenty of time to figure it out and get it right."

"We can do it, Gail!" Bumper cheered, the rest of the group echoing his encouragement.

Gail continued her speech after they settled down, "Tonight, we say goodbye to Benji and Emily as they leave for the honeymoon suite. Take some time, give them your love, and I'll see the rest of you guys back here for the Challenge."

Beca slowly got up from her chair as the group swarmed around Benji and Emily, telling them goodbye and to have fun in the honeymoon suite and not to miss them too much and not to worry about them figuring it out. It took a while but eventually the pair made their escape, the rest of the group waving at them until they turned a corner and were out of sight.

"Okay, that's one down. We can fucking do this," Chicago said, a wide smile on his face.

"Hell yeah we can!" Stacie shouted, her arm slung over Calamity's shoulders.

Beca fell behind the rest of the group as they excitedly made the walk back to the house. She had a feeling at least some of them were too keyed up to go to sleep, knowing that meant the alcohol would be flowing shortly after their arrival.

Lukle fell into step beside her. "You ready for this party that's about to happen at four in the fucking morning?"

"Not even a little bit."

Chapter Text


It was late by the time most of the group woke up after the matchup ceremony, the alcohol flowing well past the time the sun rose into the sky. Beca eventually found herself out in the backyard near the pool with a bottle of water and a breakfast sandwich, desperately waiting for the aspirin to kick in and relieve her of her pounding headache. Luke was seated beside her on the grass looking equally worse for wear, a few bites already missing from his bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit.

"They know we only get love and money if we're alive at the end of the show, right?" Luke groaned, laying flat on his back after abandoning his breakfast.

It took her a minute to process a response, eventually answering, "I think so. We're all gonna need liver transplants if we keep going at this rate."

Luke sighed, reaching up to rub his head. "Except Benji and Emily. They didn't even drink that much while they were in the house. Is it weird not having them around?"

"A little bit," Beca thought, taking another sip of water. "I don't know, I didn't talk to them a whole lot. It'd be weirder if you left… or DJ… or Chloe."

"Ugh, don't talk to me about Chloe."

Beca glanced at him, raising her eyebrows. "Why's that? I thought you didn't like her?"

Luke glanced at her, "I don't… I mean, not like romantically. She's super cool. But she's still all starry-eyed over Chicago and he hooked up with Calamity again last night."

"Seriously?" Beca rolled her eyes, unable to contain her frustration. She felt like she was doing well hiding her feelings for Chloe, but it irritated her to no end the fact that the redhead seemed to be growing closer to Chicago.

Beca knew she had no right to feel that way, that Chloe didn't share her attraction and was here to find her perfect match in one of the guys, but now that she had acknowledged her feelings Beca knew there was no turning back. She would just shove everything way down deep and get through the rest of the show and return to her life and try to forget most everything about the whole experience. Yep, that sounded like a great plan and she was sticking to it.

"Yeah…" Luke trailed off, now looking over at the house. "I know Chloe doesn't know… there's no way she'd still be into him if she knew he was sleeping with someone else."

Beca shook her head, "How does she not know? How does the entire house not know for that matter? It's not like we can really have secrets from each other."

"No clue," Luke answered, grabbing his sandwich. "They're being a little sneaky about it, but not THAT sneaky. Anyways, how are you doing after that whole Theo fiasco?"

"Fine," Beca answered honestly, finally digging into her breakfast despite it being dinner time. "I think I always knew something wasn't quite right with him."

Luke glanced at her curiously, "Really? The whole house had you two pegged as a perfect match."

"I mean I was starting to think it could be," Beca replied, "But it's hard to explain… I was holding back and I didn't know why. He was great, but something was missing."

"I thought you guys were just taking it slow… a la Ben and Emily," Luke joked. "Figured there was some reason why you two weren't banging all over the house like Stacie and Tom."

Beca scrunched her face up at the thought, not finding it pleasant at all. "Dude… gross."

Luke laughed, falling back onto the grass. "I mean if you didn't want to sleep with him I'd say that's a pretty clear sign. Were you even attracted to him?"

"Yeah, a bit," Beca shrugged. "He's good looking and in shape… I'm not blind."

After a moment, she added, "It was something else."

"Or someone else."

Beca froze, glancing over at him only to find Luke's eyes closed, relaxing a bit. "I don't know."

"All I'll say is that if you aren't into Jesse you better let him know now," Luke commented, his eyes still closed. "That dude is super into you."

"Oh, yeah… I know," Beca sighed. "We've already talked. I told him I only see him as a friend, and he took it well. We're gonna be friends. I think he's going after Aubrey."

Luke nodded, but didn't answer as he finally opened his eyes and sat up to finish off the last of his biscuit. They sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes, Beca's heart dropping as Chloe appeared through the back door. She spotted the pair of them, eyes lighting up at the sight and immediately made her way over to join them.

"This spot taken?" Chloe asked cheerfully, sitting down on the grass to complete the triangle.

Beca shook her head, eyes looking hesitantly at Luke who was avoiding making eye contact with Chloe. She realized just how much he cared about the redhead, and that not telling her about Chicago and Calamity was seriously weighing on him.

"Nope, all yours," Beca answered, shooting the redhead a tentative smile.

Chloe sat down, eyeing the two of them carefully. "I feel like I just interrupted something. What were you two talking about?"

Luke finally glanced at Chloe, saying, "I was forcing Beca to talk about Theo… just making sure she was okay after all that shit went down."

"Are you okay?" Chloe's concerned gaze trained intently on her was almost too much, and Beca quickly nodded.

"Yeah, I'm good," she said, taking another sip of water. "I was telling him I think I always knew something was off."

Chloe's expression turned interested. "Really?"

"Something was holding me back," Beca shrugged.

Luke repeated his earlier phrase, grinning, "Or someone. Come on Bec, don't be shy. We're all friends here."

Beca flushed red, wanting nothing more than to not have this conversation around Chloe who was looking more and more curious.

"If there's anything to tell you'll be the first to know," Beca replied, hoping to pacify him.

Chloe studied her, asking, "Is there someone else you're into?"

Beca glanced at her, allowing herself one moment to appreciate how gorgeous Chloe was. "No… not really," she answered. "I'm not sure how the rest of the time here is gonna go for me."

"I'm sure you'll find someone, Bec," Chloe's tone was positive and her smile supportive. "I mean, I didn't think Chicago and I would get along at all, but he's actually really sweet."

Luke abruptly stood up at that, commenting, "I'll let you ladies have some girl talk. I need some more water anyways."

Chloe didn't seem to mind Luke leaving, nodding and giving him a small wave.

Beca hesitated, finally asking, "You… you really like him?"

"Yeah, I do," Chloe answered thoughtfully. "He's different than I thought he would be once I started getting to know him."

Beca didn't answer, feeling like she was just punched in the stomach. She knew she needed to be supportive, the way Chloe had supported her when she was spending most of her time with Theo. It wasn't Chloe's fault she had these feelings, and it wasn't fair to take out her frustration and disappointment on her friend.

"You don't like him."

Beca snapped her head up to meet Chloe's gaze. "I didn't say that."

"You didn't have to," Chloe replied, a small smile on her face. "I know he's a little rough around the edges and a little… blunt at times, but he's a good guy."

"I just… I don't think he's right for you," Beca finally said, looking around the yard for anything to distract her from this conversation. "You're right, I don't like him and I don't think he's your match."

Chloe's smile faded a bit, making Beca feel worse. "I think he could be my match… and at least he's trying with me. He's the only one who's showing he's interested in getting to know me and he seems to genuinely want to pursue me."

Beca didn't answer, feeling the slight bite to Chloe's words. This conversation was going horribly and she needed it to be over five minutes ago. Luke had the right idea to escape, and it was taking everything inside of Beca not to tell Chloe exactly what Chicago had been up to and exactly what she thought of him.

Forcing a smile to her face, she got to her feet and finally said, "If you like him then I'm happy for you." After a second, she added, "I'm gonna grab a drink. I'll talk to you later."

Beca left Chloe looking some combination of sad, hurt, and confused, feeling like a total jerk but needed to put some space between them. Dealing with her feelings for Chloe was proving to be much harder than she thought.


Beca shuffled along with a few others into the living room and found a spot on the couch between Donald and Luke, glancing up at CR who was waiting impatiently beside the television. Challenge days were not her favorite at all, and she wasn't excited that they'd been informed to dress in athletic clothes and sneakers. It reminded her of their first obstacle course challenge and Beca didn't need to be told that coordination was not one of her skills.

"What do you think we're doing today?" Donald asked, nudging her shoulder gently. "You guys had the last challenge so it's probably on us today."

"I hope so," Beca sighed, "I'm not excited about forced activity."

Luke chimed in, "It's bribery. If you win, you get to leave the house. Worth it, right?"

Beca shrugged, "Yeah, because that worked out SO well for me."

"I mean… at least you found out sooner rather than later that Theo's a jackass," Donald mused, scooting closer to her to make room for Lilly to sit on his other side.

Luke nodded in agreement. "Truth."

"Okay, can I have everyone's attention!" CR's voice cut through the conversations happening around the room, silence falling immediately. "Good. Okay, today is challenge day. Everyone is going to participate, but it's mainly for the gentlemen. We've set up an area in the backyard for the challenge. You will pair up, the ladies will be tied to stakes on one side of the area while the boys will be across from them and blindfolded. Ladies, you'll have to direct your partner to wherever you are, they'll untie you, and then you lead them back to the starting line and ring the bell. First three couples to ring the bell will win the challenge and the getaway date. Got it?"

Beca muttered to Luke, "No, I have so many questions."

"Why do we have to be tied up?" Aubrey asked, looking unhappy.

"It's an additional challenge for the boys to have to untie you while still blindfolded. They cannot take off the blindfold for the entire challenge, or they'll be disqualified," CR answered, her stoic expression in place.

Bumper asked, "How am I supposed to undo knots while blindfolded? That seems impossible."

CR rolled her eyes at him, "Your partner can help you… you can be intuitive about it… you can just give up and not win the challenge… whatever you do is up to you."

Before anyone could ask another question, CR announced, "Okay, that's enough questions. I'll be back in a few minutes when Gail is in position and we're ready for you."

With that, she strode quickly out the back door leaving the group in momentary silence.

"Did you hear her? We get to pick our partners," Aubrey's voice was excited. "This is our chance to control who goes into the Truth Booth tomorrow. We could get back to back perfect matches."

"She's right, we need to be smart about who we partner up with," Chicago nodded, backing up the blonde.

"So, we definitely want Tom and Stacie," Bumper said, looking around the room. "But everyone else is kinda a toss up."

"Lilly and I are a match," Donald said, sounding frustrated. "You guys have to trust us."

"Fine, whatever," Chicago said, brushing him off. "You and Lilly partner up. Chloe and I will as well."

Beca felt her stomach roll at the way Chloe smiled and nodded in agreement, wondering if she should have just told the redhead how shady he was.

"I think Beca and Theo should partner up," Unicycle added, shrugging at Beca's glare.

"No fucking way," Beca scoffed. "Why would you think that's a good idea?"

"Just because you guys fought doesn't mean you aren't a perfect match," Unicycle argued. "You two were one of the strongest couples in the house and it wouldn't be the worst thing to know if you two are a match."

"Well too fucking bad because I'm not partnering up with Theo for this challenge," Beca retorted, crossing her arms over her chest. "I already told Luke I'd partner with him."

"Oh yeah, because that's really helpful," Chicago replied sarcastically. "You two are definitely not a match."

Luke didn't let her down, raising his voice slightly as he said, "Says who? Beca and I get along great. Maybe we are a match."

"You two have about as much sexual chemistry as that camera over there."

"Sorry if I'm not taking your opinion on sexual chemistry very seriously," Luke shot back, his tone full of warning.

Beca bit her lip, noticing the confused look on Chloe's face. She was almost begging the redhead to figure it out on her own, but it didn't seem like she was going to be that lucky.

"This isn't getting us anywhere," Fat Amy cut in, rolling her eyes at Luke and Chicago. "Man candy, if you think you and Beca might be a match… fine, partner up."

Luke immediately put his arm around Beca's shoulders and she leaned into him, doing her part to shut the rest of the room up.

Jesse spoke up, "I think Aubrey and I should match up. We've been connecting."

Aubrey nodded, shooting him a small smile. "What about the rest of you guys… any thoughts?"

Unicycle nodded, "Yeah, I'll match up with Kommissar. We did get four beams in our last matchup ceremony, but I doubt she and Bumper were one of them."

Kommissar shrugged, "Sure, why not."

Fat Amy replied, "I'll go with Bumper."

Before they could finish discussing the rest of the couples, CR returned. "Alright, let's go."

That effectively put a halt to the discussion as everyone rose from their seats and followed CR outside into the backyard. Beca looked around for the challenge area, quickly realizing it must be in a far corner away from the house.

"Okay, the challenge is set up in the same spot where the archery one was," CR explained, gesturing out towards the back of the yard. "It'll be the same opening sequence where you guys jog over to Gail. Look excited and happy about it being a challenge day. I'll give you the cue once all the cameras are set and ready to go."

Beca nodded along with the rest of the group, spreading out a bit from the tight cluster they'd been standing in for CR's instructions.

"I knew television was staged, but this has been eye-opening," Jesse commented from a few feet away.

Beca nodded, glancing at him. So far he'd been completely respectful of her decision to not want anything romantic with him, and since that particular obstacle had been removed she found him to be funny and someone she could seriously see being friends with.

"Yeah, I know what you mean," she agreed. "Makes me realize why actors always tell people never to get into acting. Can you imagine doing this over and over for a living? I'd go insane."

Jesse replied, "I couldn't do it. Although my dream job is to score movies, so maybe that's not all that different?"

Beca glanced at him in surprise. "Really? I didn't know that… that's pretty cool. I think it's different."

"Yeah," Jesse smiled. "I mean, you kinda avoided me for the whole time in the house until now, so…" his barb didn't hold any real heat, and Beca knew it was the truth.

"Yeah yeah, I'm a jerk, we all get it," Beca sighed dramatically.

Jesse laughed, "Only a little bit. But I see where you're coming from… I could see us being really good friends even after this craziness is over."

Beca could hear the sincerity in his voice, thinking for the first time that this experience was actually going to change her life… just maybe not in the initial way she anticipated. Whether she ended up with her perfect match or not, she'd met some amazing people that she wanted to stay in touch with after the show ended. First on the list was exploring expanding her bar and potentially seeing if Donald was any good as a chef.

"Hey! We're rolling!"

CR's frustrated yell had them all looking around to locate her, knowing at least some of them had missed the cue.

"Sorry!"

"My bad…"

CR called out, "We'll go again in thirty seconds! Get ready!"

Beca shot Jesse a slightly guilty grin, watching him fight back his laughter at the lead producer's frustration with their group so early in the shoot.

"Stop it," he chastised, trying to compose himself. "Don't make us have to redo this shot over and over because of me."

Beca chuckled at that and took pity on him, looking at the rest of the group to clue her in to when to move. When the people towards the front started jogging she fell into step, trailing slightly behind knowing they liked to have small gaps so everyone was seen.

Thankfully they didn't have to reshoot their entrance, miraculously getting all the angles they needed on the first try with Gail enthusiastically welcoming them to the area with open arms.

"Hey guys! How're we doing today!"

They all responded with a chorus of "Good!"

"Awesome," Gail replied, her perfect smile in place. "Still riding that high of four beams at the last matchup ceremony?"

"We're feeling good, Gail," Bumper answered, the rest of the group nodding along. "Four beams felt great."

"I bet," Gail agreed. "Let's keep that momentum going."

They all clapped and cheered, Beca following along doing her best to look positive.

"Alright you guys, it's time for our next getaway challenge!"

That led to more cheering, this time more enthusiastically with the reward being a day out of the house. Beca knew how important these challenges were, but this time she honestly wasn't sure she wanted to win. After her last getaway date experience, she thought staying the house and keeping a low profile might be her best option.

"Communicating and working together under stress are important parts of a relationship," Gail began, Beca glancing around as a few people murmured in agreement. "This challenge is going to put both of those abilities to the test. I'm calling this challenge… Blinded By Love!"

The group had mixed reactions after already getting the information about the challenge from CR, some laughing and others groaning at the title of their challenge.

"Here's what we're going to do… You will pair up into couples. The ladies will be tied to those stakes over there," she explained, gesturing to one side of the yard. "Gentlemen, you will be blindfolded and placed at the starting line over there," she continued, pointing to the opposite side of the challenge area. "Ladies, you'll need to direct your partner across this grid around the random obstacles in the way until they reach you, untie you, and then it's your job to lead them back to the starting line and ring that bell."

Beca glanced at a bell with a string attached to a pole at the starting line. The obstacles were simply more stakes panted randomly between the two sides.

"The first three couples to ring the bell will win the getaway date!"

The group cheered at the mention of the date, knowing full well by now what was expected of them during Gail's speeches.

"Now, you guys are partnering up for this challenge and you know how important that is… because who you partner with here is who you could be standing next to in the Truth Booth," Gail reminded them, probably unaware of the whole planning session they'd had thirty minutes ago. "The Truth Booth is the only way to validate whether or not a couple is a perfect match. This choice is crucial, you guys… so choose wisely."

After a moment of silence, CR called out, "That's great, Gail! Great job. Okay, we're gonna have a little footage of you guys deciding who to pair up with, so pretend like you aren't sure and didn't just plan it all out inside."

Beca laughed at the few surprised looks, knowing by now that CR knew everything that happened in the house about as fast as it occurred. She had to admit she was impressed at the level of control the producer had over this massive operation.

"Alright, let's go!"

The group looked around sizing people up.

"Aubrey, we got this," Jesse said, making the first move to call out a couple and stepped over to stand beside the blonde.

Luke and Beca locked eyes and nodded, also moving to stand beside each other. The rest of the group followed suit, moving around into position until there were nine couples ready to start the challenge.

Gail waited patiently and resumed talking once they were set. "Alright guys, we've got nine couples. Awesome. Okay, let's be honest… is anyone a little nervous for this one?"

"Yeah, I'm worried Bec is gonna run me straight into all those poles," Luke joked, his arm settling comfortably around Beca's shoulders.

"Don't worry, I'll protect your pretty face," Beca quipped back, the group laughing at her joke.

"I'm not nervous at all Gail," Stacie called out confidently. "These guys need to be reminded every once in a while who's really in charge."

Tom deadpans, "I don't need to be reminded. I'd have to be allowed to forget to need a reminder."

Gail joined in with everyone else, laughing lightly at the banter. "Alright, well that settles that. Gentlemen, let's get those blindfolds on. Ladies, let's get you tied up and see how well you give directions."

After that line crew members swarmed in with rope and blindfolds, getting everyone ready and in place to begin the challenge. Beca rolled her eyes as an assistant tied her to one of the poles, wondering how long it would take for Stacie or Fat Amy to comment.

"Never thought my first time on a pole would be tied to it," Chloe commented from beside her, making Beca's eyes widen comically.

"Nice, Chlo!" Stacie called out appreciatively from a little ways down the line.

Kommissar on Beca's other side added, "This is going to be so great. I hope all of them face plant at least once."

Beca laughed at that, asking, "Are you going to make Uni run into a pole on purpose?"

"No…" the blonde trailed off suspiciously. "What? It'd be great television. They'd probably reward me."

"Tempting," Beca replied, a smile still on her face. "Oh man, they lined them up all over the place."

It was true, the boys were definitely not lined up opposite of their partner, making the challenge that much more difficult.

"It's all going to be chaos anyways when it starts and we all start screaming at them," Chloe sighed, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. "I'm not even sure I want to go on this date."

Beca glanced at her, asking, "Why not? I thought you and Chicago were hitting it off."

"We are," Chloe replied, shrugging, "But then we might get voted into the Truth Booth and I don't want a repeat of that experience. It was weird."

"But you wanted me to do it?" The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them, freezing as Chloe looked at her surprised.

"Who told you that?"

Beca backpedaled, "No one. It's nothing. Forget I said anything."

Chloe's mouth formed a line, looking something between upset and guilty. Before she could say anything, CR announced they were ready to begin shooting.

Kommissar muttered, "You two better sort out your shit. That was awkward as fuck."

"There's nothing to sort out," Beca whispered back, thankful that Chloe was looking in the other direction at something Aubrey was saying.

Gail stood off to the side to commentate on the off chance she could be heard over the shouting that was about to ensue. "Okay, guys are you ready?"

The group shouted back "Yes!" Beca focused her gaze on Luke who was currently coiled like he was about to take off sprinting despite the blindfold. Swallowing, she readied herself and waited for Gail to start the challenge.

"Go!"

Chaos. Pure and utter chaos. Before Beca could even say a single word, Luke sprinted directly ahead into one of the poles and ended up on the ground. Thankfully he'd his arms in front of himself to block obstacles, but it didn't keep Beca from bursting out laughing at how ridiculous he looked.

All of the guys were approaching the challenge differently, while most of the girls were shouting directions at the top of their lungs. The exception was Lilly, who's voice was already so quiet that Beca felt bad knowing Donald had zero chance of finding her without an absurd amount of luck.

Stacie and Fat Amy's voices could be heard above the rest, but only Tom seemed to be listening to the instructions. He was taking measured steps with his hands out in front of him as well, but Stacie's clear instructions had him cross the area first and begin untying her from the pole. Beca did hear a clear, "You can tie me back up later" from the tall brunette, nodding as that was more along the lines of what she expected.

The rest of the guys were a mess. Donald and Luke were now doing amazing matching impressions of zombies, Bumper was clearly confused by whatever Fat Amy was screaming at him, Theo was frowning and continuously bumping into Chicago despite their targets being on opposite ends of the line, and Jesse was simply standing still with his head cocked to the side as if he couldn't pick out Aubrey's voice from the seven screaming women who were all growing increasingly more frustrated with their chosen partner.

Beca tried to call out to Luke but he clearly couldn't hear a word she was saying as he started in the wrong direction, making her want to facepalm over and over again. Beside her, Chloe wasn't having much better luck, however on her other side Kommissar had managed to get Uni most of the way there before running him straight into the last pole of the bunch. Beca glanced at the blonde who was laughing and telling him to get up, pretty confident she'd done that on purpose.

The nightmare continued for Beca, now watching Luke walking back towards the starting line instead of towards her, feeling oddly reminiscent of the boat challenge where she wish three people would just win already so it could end. A bell ringing enthusiastically told her that Stacie and Tom finished first, which also basically sealed up who would be entering the Truth Booth so nothing else mattered. Unicycle was working on freeing Kommissar, and at the opposite end of the line she could see that Theo had arrived and was also working on the knots holding Flo back. That was a couple that still seriously confused her, but she didn't have time to think about it now.

"LUKE! TURN YOUR ASS AROUND!" Beca yelled at the top of her lungs, now able to be heard as it quieted down with more people closer to being rescued.

It caused a whole new laughter meltdown as Luke immediately froze and spun slowly around until he was facing the right direction and Beca yelled out again, "STOP! OKAY, MOVE!"

Beca wasn't sure how many poles he'd run into at this point, but it was enough to make him move extremely slowly with his hands waving around in front of him. She was almost in tears laughing at his expression, clearly sharing her opinion of needing the challenge to be over… or to have never taken place.

"BEC! YOU'RE THE FUCKING WORST!" Luke yelled back at her as his hands bumped into another pole.

Beca leaned over laughing, unable to say anything in response as she could see Kommissar and Flo leading Uni and Theo back towards the bell at the starting line.

"Thank fucking God," Beca gasped as they took turns ringing the bell, officially ending the challenge.

Gail yelled out, "That's it! We have our three winners!"

The rest of the guys immediately removed their blindfolds, no one else even coming close to challenging for the top three spots. Luke and Jesse were still in the middle of the course, Donald was on the wrong side of the line, and the rest had either just reached their partner or gotten stuck on the knots.

Luke ripped his blindfold off and glared at Beca. "Do you have any idea how many times I ran into a pole? There aren't even that many out here!"

Bea nodded, gasping for breath. "You ran into the same one like three times," she informed him, Luke clearly not appreciating her contribution.

"I'm leaving you tied to that pole."

"Kinky," Beca retorted, knowing he didn't mean it as he'd already walked over and begun to work on the knots.

Beca glanced to the side to see Chloe looking them, though the redhead looked away when their eyes met. Her expression had seemed like a mix of disappointment and confusion, which Beca chalked up to losing the challenge. She knew Chloe had probably wanted that getaway date with Chicago, but unfortunately the guy joined the Army instead of the Navy and couldn't get the knots untied. Secretly Beca was thrilled, making a mental note to joke about it later with Luke who freed her in seconds while Chicago was still struggling with the knots.

Beca decided to put Chloe out of her misery, stepping over and saying, "Here, I'll do it."

Chicago rolled his eyes, "I got it."

Beca held her hands up, trading glances with Chloe before shrugging, "Sure, okay dude. Whatever."

She turned around and fell into step with Luke, who nudged her shoulder curiously. "Why would you want to help him?"

"Chloe, not him," Beca scoffed, the idea of voluntarily helping Chicago not a pleasant one.

Luke hummed, "Ah, okay. Got it."

Beca felt her heartbeat pick up in her chest, wondering, "What do you mean?"

Luke glanced at her for a moment, as if deciding what to say. "I get it," he said slowly, holding her gaze.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Beca replied, rolling her eyes for effect.

Luke laughed, "Okay, sure. Well, when you do, I'm here for you."

Beca held her breath, wondering how he could have possibly figured it out. Something in her just knew though, and she also knew that having a friend who understood what she was struggling with would only help her survive the rest of this show.

"Thanks."

They reached the starting line where CR was gathering everyone for Gail's wrap up and ending explanation, falling into silence while they waited for everyone to assemble.

"Okay, everyone get set. Let's try to wrap this up quickly. This shoot has gone well, let's finish strong," CR said, sounding encouraging for the first time in Beca's recent memory.

Gail nodded, smiling confidently at the group. "You guys have fun with that challenge?"

The group shrugged and the blonde host laughed. "Not one of my favorites from the season so far, but the viewers will get a kick out of you guys stumbling around blindfolded. It'll be worth it."

Beca grinned at the disgruntled looks on most of the guys faces. One of her favorite things on the show was when Gail reminded them that the host persona was all an act and she was actually a human with normal thoughts and feelings. Also, she was funny as hell.

Gail seemed to receive her cue from CR, nodding sharply before morphing her face into that television-ready mask.

"Well, that was certainly one of the more interesting challenges we've had so far," Gail commented, her tone good-natured as the group chuckled at her joke. "As you know, the first three couples to ring the bell will go on the getaway date. So, congratulations to Tom and Stacie, Unicycle and Kommissar, and Theo and Flo!"

Every clapped and cheered for the winning couples, some exchanging smiles in relief at having a solid couple to vote into the Truth Booth.

"You guys have won a fantastic day snorkeling with all kinds of ocean life, including sharks and sting rays!" Gail announced, adding, "Followed by a group dinner at an amazing restaurant right on the water."

The winning couples grinned excitedly, exchanging hugs and high fives with some of the others.

"The rest of you have an important job to do," Gail reminded them. "You have to vote one of these three couples into the Truth Booth, the only way to validate if you're a perfect match or not. So choose wisely."

Beca waited for her to dismiss them, but Gail clapped her hands together and kept on speaking.

"So you guys have made it to about the halfway point and I wanted to do something special to help you celebrate that," Gail hinted, smiling mischievously. "So tonight I'm throwing you all a Luau party on the beach to relax and just have a great time! Also, Benji and Emily will return from the honeymoon suite to party it up with you guys!"

Beca's jaw dropped at the announcement, figuring that there would never be any actual surprises on the show. CR or some other junior producer usually made sure they were briefed on anything and everything going on to avoid confusion and delays.

The group around her yelled and cheered excitedly at Gail's news, already anxious to get the party started.

"So guys, break out those Hawaiian shirts and everyone be prepared to get lei'd!"


"It's gorgeous and quiet and calm… we're having a good time so far getting to know each other better, but I do miss the craziness of the house a little bit."

Beca smiled as Emily sucked down a giant gulp of whatever fruity drink she was working on. She was glad that Emily and Benji were connecting well in the honeymoon suite, and couldn't think of a better couple to have been their first confirmed match. None of the other couples were really ready for that amount of one on one time, knowing it probably would have been a disaster to get a perfect match too soon in the game.

"That sounds amazing, Em," Aubrey said sincerely, clearly happy for the other woman.

Beca nodded in agreement, turning slightly away to look around the beach party Gail had thrown them. The host herself was nowhere in sight, but the cameras that had become so commonplace in her life she barely noticed them anymore were present. There was a DJ set up to one side and a bar on the other, tiki torches framing the area under a beautiful night sky. She'd been playing with the lei the bartender placed around her neck upon arriving all night, wondering if it was too soon to remove it.

She moved towards the bar, motioning to her empty glass as she left Emily, Aubrey, Chloe, Fat Amy, and Flo behind. The bartender traded her empty glass for a fresh pina colada, which weren't her favorite but apparently only fruity drinks were on the menu tonight. She was pretty sure Bumper and Fat Amy had weaseled a few shots out of the man earlier in the evening, but they weren't supposed to get hammered drunk tonight.

As she turned away from the bar to look back around the party, she saw Theo approaching her wanting to talk.

"Hey Bec," he started, looking as hesitant as he sounded. "Can we talk?"

Beca sighed, not wanting to talk to him at all. "No?"

She purposely posed her answer as a question, not wanting to be a complete asshole but also completely against having the conversation.

"I've been giving you space, but I really want to talk," Theo tried, maintaining a safe distance between them which she appreciated.

Beca scoffed, "Theo, it's been three days. That's not giving me space, that's a long weekend."

Theo held his hands up defensively, "Okay, that's fair. But also in this house three days is like a month. I just want to talk."

"HEY! BACK THE FUCK UP!"

Both their heads snapped to the side at the shout coming from so close, Luke striding over and wrapping his arm around Beca's waist. Theo eyed them carefully, unsure of exactly what was happening.

"Wait, are you guys actually…" he trailed off, looking at them in disbelief.

Luke's mouth formed a smirk. "That's right, so stay the fuck away from my girl. You had your chance, now man up and accept that Beca wants to be with me."

Theo didn't look entirely convinced, but simply nodded and turned away. Beca bit her lip and turned to hug Luke, burying her face in his chest to keep Theo from seeing her grin at his outlandish suggestion.

"Seriously? Your girl?" Beca muttered into his shirt.

Luke's voice murmured dryly from somewhere above her head, "Well I didn't think calling you my bro would have gotten the desired result."

"Oh my God, you're so stupid," Beca laughed, finally leaning back to look up at him.

"Fine, next time I won't save you from pining lover boy. See if I care."

Beca rolled her eyes, "Okay, stop being so dramatic." After a second, she said sincerely, "Thank you. I did appreciate the save."

Luke nodded, giving her another hug. "Anytime, dude. That's what friends are for. But uh, everyone is staring at us, so maybe we should split for a bit, yeah?"

Beca pulled away immediately and looked around to see that yes, almost everyone else was giving them some sort of stare, be it curious or stunned or disbelief. Her eyes instantly gravitated to Chloe, who's expression remained unreadable. It wasn't a happy one, that's for sure. Making up her mind, she shuffled over to the redhead.

"That was awkward," she opened, thankful everyone seemed to have gone back to whatever they were doing before Luke made a giant scene.

Chloe hummed, "I didn't realize you and Luke were actually together."

Beca's eyes went wide, glancing around to make sure they weren't too close to anyone else. "We aren't. He's just doing me a solid with Theo… in his own insane way."

"Didn't look that way to me," Chloe countered, a wry smile on her face.

"Because half the time I can barely keep from bursting out laughing," Beca retorted, rolling her eyes. "He's so ridiculous about it. But at the same time, it's weird because I'm really thankful to have him as a friend. It's nice to have someone who listens to me and cares about how I feel."

Chloe met her gaze, saying quietly, "I care about how you feel."

Beca paused for a second, unable to keep the desperation at bay for a moment for Chloe to mean that as more than a friend. Shaking herself out of it, she told herself that Chloe was just replying in context and knew that she needed to stop reading anything extra into the things Chloe said. It was only going to make things worse.

"Thanks," Beca answered. "I didn't think I would make friends here, so… that's pretty cool."

Chloe raised an eyebrow at her response, but before she could say anything Chicago appeared at her side and took her hand.

"Chlo! Let's dance!"

Beca's stomach dropped as Chloe turned to look at him, not waiting for the redhead to reply. "Have fun," she said, knowing the words didn't sound as genuine as she wanted them to and turned away from the couple.

She didn't want to see the pair of them out on the dance floor, smiling and laughing and having an amazing time. Instead she walked over to where Luke, DJ, and Lilly were chatting and slipped her arm around the blonde's waist, leaning into him comfortably.

Luke raised an eyebrow at her for a moment, a quick glance around making him settle immediately.

"You okay?"

"Yeah, Bec, Theo isn't giving you too many problems, is he? We'll beat his ass," Donald joked, though she could tell his concern was real.

Beca shook her head, "I appreciate it, DJ, but that won't be necessary."

Lilly added helpfully, "I know where to hide a dead body."

"See? We're totally set up for this," Donald grinned. "Lilly's favorite show is Dexter."

Luke deadpanned, "That's not creepy at all."

"I liked Dexter," Beca shrugged. "I didn't make it all the way to the end, but I enjoyed it… despite the whole killing people thing."

"He's a very complex character," Lilly nodded. "Then again, I've also seen every episode of The Bachelor, so…"

Beca chuckled at that, unable to watch that level of trash herself.

"Okay, we're going to get a refill," Donald said, gesturing at his and Lilly's empty glasses. "You two kids have fun without us!"

Beca rolled her eyes at that while Luke laughed, turning a little more serious once they were alone.

"You wanna talk about it?"

"About what?" Beca played dumb, sipping from her drink.

Luke nodded his head in the direction of the dance floor, Beca glancing over to see Chloe and Chicago dancing much closer together than she wanted to witness. Averting her eyes to meet Luke's, she shook her head.

"Nope, definitely not."

Luke hummed for a minute, finally saying, "For what it's worth, I don't think it's just you."

Beca rolled her eyes. "Don't be ridiculous."

"I'm not," he said, shaking his head. "Just a vibe, that's all."

Beca hesitated, wondering if keeping up this charade of denial was her best course of action. Luke clearly knew she had feelings for Chloe and was being very tactful in the way he addressed it, which was appreciated. That being said, the minute she admitted it out loud to someone else it would become so much more real. She was already having enough trouble keeping her feelings under control, admitting it to Luke, as supportive as he seemed to be, might be the last push to make her time around the redhead unbearable. Beca wasn't ready for that, to give up the last semblance of control and friendship and the ability to act like a normal human who wasn't crushing on a girl she only met a few weeks ago.

Making up her mind, she replied, "I appreciate it, really, but you're imagining it."

Luke held her gaze. "No, I'm not. But, if you're not quite ready to see it… or talk about it… that's okay. You don't have to say anything, Bec. It's complicated."

"Understatement," Beca muttered, unable to help herself.

Luke laughed, releasing all the tension of the moment. "It'll be okay. I have a feeling."

Beca smiled, "Yep. Soon this will be over and we'll all go back to our lives."

"Hopefully you'll still be in mine. You're my best friend in this house," Luke admitted. "I'm lost as to who my perfect match is, so I figure as long as you're cool with it we can keep kicking it together."

"Sounds like a plan to me," Beca nodded. "But you should try to get to know the others… they matched you up with someone for a reason."

Luke mused, "I was thinking that it's not the craziest thing to think we could be a perfect match. I mean the sexual aspect of it is all wrong with us, but we connect on every other level."

Beca shrugged, "Maybe. It's definitely possible, but something tells me no. I could do a lot worse than you, though," she added, shooting him a wink.

"Ditto."


Beca settled onto the swing on the back deck that had a good view of the pool and backyard, both spaces currently unoccupied as most of the group was still recovering from the Luau. While the couples going on the date today had to stay relatively sober since snorkeling while hungover or still drunk was discouraged, the rest had no such obligation and most were smashed at the end of the night. Beca didn't partake to that level but definitely downed more than one as the night went on and Chloe and Chicago got closer and closer. It was both painful and nauseating, the alcohol numbing her just enough to be distracted by Luke and Donald's takeover from the DJ to become a live show.

She desperately needed these few moments of peace and quiet, her feet gently pushing the swing back and forth with a light breeze feeling amazing on her face. The estate they were staying in was gorgeous and Beca hadn't taken enough time to appreciate that fact. It was such a crazy experience that sometimes the little things slipped through the cracks. She knew they were pushed and prodded to focus on finding their match and building relationships at every step and turn, but she also didn't want to take for granted the opportunity to experience a new place that had so much beauty all around. Who knows if she'd ever return to Hawaii anyways, especially the way this was all going… she might never want to come back by the end of the show.

"What's going on with you, lately?"

A soft voice broke her concentration, looking up to see Donald motioning beside her and nodded for him to sit down.

"What do you mean?"

Donald shrugged, "I don't know… you've just seemed off. Did that whole deal with Theo mess with you more than you wanted everyone to know?"

Beca sighed, knowing that was the easiest explanation and that it wouldn't lead to any further questions. "Yeah, a little. It wasn't so much that I thought we were gonna be together forever, it's more just what he said."

"I get that," Donald commented, his long legs taking over rocking them back and forth. "I mean, I work in the food service industry, which is close enough to bartending. He was a jackass to think about your job like that."

Beca bit her lip, deciding to come clean to Donald. "Well, it's a little more than that. I wasn't exactly honest with everyone about the whole bartender thing," she began, quickly continuing at his raised eyebrow, "I mean, yes, I'm a bartender… but I also own the bar."

His eyes went wide, exclaiming, "Oh shit! Becs! That's amazing! Well done." After a second, his expression turned understanding, "Oh, okay, I think I get it…"

Beca nodded, "Yeah, so when he suggested I could just bartender anywhere… that struck a nerve. My bar is special to me."

"I bet," Donald agreed. "He didn't know, though, right?"

"No, and he apologized when I told him," Beca admitted. "And I honestly believe he meant it… that he was sorry. But it was his whole way of thinking that was the nail in the coffin. That service jobs are somehow lower or lesser in some way. I could never be with someone who looked down on someone else for any reason, let alone the way they choose to provide for themselves."

Donald sighed, "I get that. I don't know if he really believes that… I do think he's a good guy. But, I respect that you don't want to be with him. If he keeps bugging you let me know."

Beca smiled at him, "Thanks, but I can handle him."

"Luke seems to be helping," Donald laughed.

"Luke's way of helping is to announce to the whole world that we're together," Beca rolled her eyes.

Donald shook his head, but he confessed, "I don't see it, but you two wouldn't be the weirdest match this show could come up with."

"No argument here," Beca replied, knowing it was true. "Bumper and Kommissar could still be a match."

"I'll believe it when I see it."

Beca chuckled, her laughter fading as Chloe and Chicago appeared through the back door and set off hand in hand across the yard. Feeling the tightening in her stomach, she stood up abruptly.

"I'm gonna go vote for the Truth Booth. Wanna join?"

Donald shrugged, "Sure. Why not?"


"So who'd you vote for?"

Beca glanced at Luke as he flopped down onto the couch beside her, the rest of the group slowly shuffling into the living room to shoot the Truth Booth sequence.

"Tom and Stacie. Do you actually think either of the other two couples has a shot at being a match?" Beca asked.

Luke shrugged, "No, but we clearly suck at this so who knows. Either way, we need to split Tom and Stacie up before they break the bed in the sex den."

Beca made a face at that statement. "Gross."

"Better them than Chicago and Calamity, I guess," Luke mused, leaning back against the cushions and closed his eyes.

"Wait, is that seriously still going on?" Beca looked down at her lap in disbelief.

Luke hummed in the affirmative, not bother to say anything else.

Beca shook her head, muttering, "Chloe deserves so much better than him."

"Agreed. I know an equally awesome person who also deserves someone better than the asshole she initially shacked up with," Luke grinned, eyes now open and looking at her.

Beca smacked his thigh, "Shut up. Seriously."

Luke shrugged and closed his eyes again. Beca knew he wanted her to tell him on her own terms but also knew the man was having fun poking and prodding it out of her. It would be infuriating if she didn't know he meant well, and also if it wasn't so true.

"Okay! Everyone get in here and find a seat!" CR's voice cut through the group's chatter, gaining everyone's attention. "The group date couples will be back in about five minutes and we'll get going. We've already had some issues today, so let's try and have this go as smoothly as possible."

Beca groaned at that news, leaning over so her head was on Luke's shoulder. "This is gonna take all night, isn't it?"

"Oh, for sure," Luke agreed, reaching up to pat her head. "There, there."

"You're such an asshole."

Luke laughed at her expression when she straightened back up to glare at him. "Yeah… maybe that's why I've never had a successful relationship and resorted to coming on this show."

Beca grumbled, "I'd believe it." After a second, she looked back at him, "Why did you come on this show? You're a good guy.'

"I have commitment issues," Luke admitted freely, seemingly not bothered by his problems. "And trust issues. It's a whole thing. I also do stupid things to avoid getting hurt."

"And now you're cured? Ready for love and your perfect match?"

Luke grinned, "Obviously. No, I still have stuff to work on, but I've been single for a year now and really want to change. Maybe the right girl will swoop in and make an honest man outta me."

Beca chuckled at that, replying, "Good luck with that if you keep going around announcing we're together."

"Whatever. Theo's a dick and I'd do it again to make him leave you alone." Luke didn't seem bothered by whatever impression they'd given off to the rest of the group. "Ugh, incoming."

Beca glanced up to see Chloe and Chicago walk into the room and find spots on the couch, his hand immediately going to rest on her knee.

"It's fine… I'm fine," Beca murmured, just barely loud enough for him to hear.

Luke whispered back, "Yeah, great, good for you… what about me? I might punch that guy square in the face if I get the chance."

"Violence isn't the answer," Beca quipped, though admittedly she'd like to see him give it a shot.

"It's an answer," Luke shot back.

Beca looked over at the couple, noticing that while Chloe was distracted by whatever Aubrey was saying on her other side, Chicago's eyes were locked on something a little to the right of her and Luke. She leaned forward to see Calamity sitting very close to Zeke, laughing softly at some joke he must have made. Everything clicked into place, Beca realizing that while she wasn't sure if Chicago actually had feelings for Chloe or not, he definitely still had feelings for Calamity.

Turning back to Luke, she whispered, "You think Calamity is the real problem behind all this bullshit?"

Luke didn't hesitate, answering, "Oh yeah, totally. I mean, she's definitely stringing Chicago along, I just can't stand him for lying to Chloe about it and for still sleeping with her while he's trying to… I don't even know, do whatever he's doing to get over her. It's crazy."

"Why did you sleep with her, then?" Beca asked curiously.

Luke rolled his eyes, "Because I was drunk off my ass and she's hot and was down. Sometimes it's not more complicated than that. I wish I hadn't done it though. That's the kind of shit that keeps getting me in trouble."

Beca nodded, having made enough stupid relationship decisions and hookups to avoid judging anyone else's actions.

They didn't hear the front door open, but all conversations stopped and morphed into greetings and cheers when the three couples returned from their date. Beca was glad to see they were all smiles, though some bigger than others, and that there didn't seem to be any lingering drama or fighting from the day.

Tom and Stacie seemed as enamored with each other as ever, making Beca feel confident in her vote to send them to the Truth Booth. They would definitely make a striking couple and she was totally fine with not having to see them making out all over the house for the rest of the show. They could take that shit to the honeymoon suite.

"Here we go," Luke muttered as Gail swept into the room and took up her usual spot beside the large screen displaying the photos of the three couples.

Beca nodded in agreement as CR moved to stand beside her, the group settling down fairly quickly at the sight of the two women.

"Thanks," CR said, nodding in appreciation when they all fell into silence on their own without having to be told. "Tonight should be a regular Truth Booth shoot. Nothing out the ordinary, so let's get started."

Gail waited for CR to give her the signal, opening up to the rest of the room to start off the shoot.

"Hey, guys! How're we doing tonight?"

The chorus back was jumbled but overall sounded positive.

"How was your Luau last night?"

More cheers answered that question, with a few answers shouted out.

"It was awesome, Gail!"

"Really fun!"

Gail smiled and nodded, "That's great! I'm glad you were able to let loose and have some fun. Now, we've got some business to attend to."

The room turned serious as Gail gestured towards the screen. "You had to choose one of these three couples to vote into the Truth Booth, the only way to determine whether or not a couple is a perfect match. It's time for the results."

Beca felt pretty confident about who would be going into the Truth Booth, not surprised when the screen flashed to reveal larger side-by-side photos of Tom and Stacie.

"Tom and Stacie!" Gail announced, turning back to face the room and gauge the pair's reactions. "How do you guys feel about this?"

Beca glanced behind her to see as well, happy that neither looked bothered at being chosen.

Tom answered, "We talked about it on our date… that we would probably be voted into the Truth Booth. I think we're both ready to find out if we're a match."

Stacie nodded in agreement, "Tom and I connect on a lot of different levels, so… I'm excited to find out if he is my perfect match."

Gail smiled, informing them, "Well, this vote was unanimous. Seems like everyone in the house recognizes the connection you two have and want to see if it's a match."

After a small pause, Gail continued, "Now remember, if you're a match you will leave the house and spend the rest of your time here in Hawaii together in the honeymoon suite… and take one more step towards that million bucks!"

The group clapped at Gail's words, despite knowing what was coming next.

"However, if you aren't a match you'll be right back here in the house and have used up another one of your chances to confirm a perfect match," Gail reminded them. "Tom, Stacie, it's time to head to the Truth Booth. Good luck!"

Beca clapped encouragingly along with the rest of the group as the pair walked out the back door, settling into the couch to wait for them to film all the in-between footage before the results were revealed.

Gail continued her usual speech, "Okay guys, you know by now that when they see the results in the Truth Booth… you will also see them at the same time on the screen here. Good luck, and I'll see you all tomorrow for the matchup."

There were a few nods and "Bye Gail's!" thrown at the host as she made her exit, most of the group starting up small conversations while they waited for the results to come in. It took about an hour before CR shouted to notify them the results were coming through.

Beca gripped Luke's knee, staring intently at the screen hoping to see good news. They wanted to keep the momentum going after their first perfect match last week. The screen flashed before revealing the black box across the photos blasting the words "NO MATCH!"

"No…" Aubrey trailed off, clearly disappointed.

"Fuck," Unicycle muttered, gently throwing the decorative pillow he'd been holding down onto the floor. "Fuck."

"Damnit," Zeke sighed, adding, "They're gonna be pissed."

"They're gonna ignore it and keep fucking anyways," Kommissar commented, Beca finding herself nodding in agreement. That was definitely the most likely outcome.

"Well, that's a bummer," Luke said, leaning back into the couch and rubbing his hands through his short hair.

Beca knew that Tom and Stacie had been their best shot at another perfect match out of any couple in the house, except maybe Donald and Lilly. Their confidence had started to rub off on her, now fully believing that the pair was a match. Convincing everyone else was still a work-in-progress, but she felt like they had a decent shot at winning a challenge soon. Lilly had a wide variety of skills… according to Donald, anyways.

Tom and Stacie walked back through the door after about thirty minutes, both looking dejected.

"Before any of you bitches say anything," Stacie started, holding up her hand. "Just don't fucking say anything."

Beca kept her mouth shut, watching the pair of them head off to the kitchen alone. They continued to have a quiet conversation amongst themselves, with none of the group seemingly interested in interrupting them.

Luke chuckled, "That's about right. Let them figure their shit out tonight and we'll deal with all this bullshit tomorrow."

"This is exhausting," Chicago sighed, shaking his head with disappointment. "If we don't get our act together we won't be leaving here with love or money."

"Guess we better get our act together then," Bumper replied, looking around the room, "Because I'm leaving here with both."

Beca murmured, "Well, if Bumper can do it…"

Luke laughed, agreeing with her, "Yeah, for sure. We've got this."


It was definitely the strangest day in the house so far, and Beca wasn't exactly sure what prompted it. As thankful as she was that it was the boy's turn to choose at the matchup that evening, all nine of them had gone off together early in the afternoon and shooed away any of the girls who tried to see what they were up to. The producers didn't seem to mind their actions and did nothing to discourage it, making Beca figure they must be up to something incredibly stupid… and therefore entertaining.

"They're gonna fuck it all up for us, aren't they?" Stacie sighed, leaning a little closer to the bathroom mirror to do her eyeliner.

"What the hell could they possibly be doing? This isn't some crazy puzzle… we got four matches last time so we're on the right track," Calamity added, frowning as she tried to decide between two different dresses.

"Whatever they're up to, they don't want us to know about it," Chloe said. "I tried to go outside by the pool earlier and Bumper told me to, "go the fuck away."

"Rude," Flo muttered, adjusting her flowy top.

Calamity shook her head, "If they make us blackout I'll kick all their asses."

"I'll help," Kommissar nodded, her tone serious.

"Me too," Fat Amy joined in. "It'll be way easier than that time I wrestled a kangaroo."

Beca snorted as the other girls exchanged dubious looks, Fat Amy not noticing the reaction to her statement.

"Okaaaay," Beca mumbled under her breath, standing up and stretching her arms over her head. "I'm out," she announced, leaving the room and headed downstairs to see if the boys were done plotting.

She entered the empty kitchen to discover the answer to that question was no, shaking her head frustratedly. The rest of the girls joined her within the next ten minutes, and she mixed up a pitcher of margaritas for them to sip on while they waited for the boys. It was another thirty minutes before the guys appeared downstairs dressed for the matchup, looking a mix of determined, annoyed, and pleased.

"What the fuck were you guys doing all day?" Calamity asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Strategizing," Unicycle replied, looking around. "Where are the matchup shots?"

"I'll get them," Zeke volunteered, circling the island to grab shot glasses from a cabinet.

Beca slid the tequila across the counter towards him. "It's all you."

Zeke made a right mess of pouring the shots, trying and failing to smoothly move the bottle along the row of glasses. Tequila went everywhere but no one seemed to mind, passing the glasses around quickly and raising them in the air.

"To a great matchup!" Chicago called out.

"To new strategies!" Bumper added, sounding positive.

"To actually making progress," Unicycle finished, clinking his glass with Bumper's before downing the shot.

Beca rolled her eyes and threw back the shot, using her margarita as a chaser which was way more effective than another tequila-based drink probably should have been.

Stacie paused with hers, toasting, "To all you idiots who are gonna make us blackout," before tossing her shot back.

The girls murmured in agreement, and Beca could only agree with Stacie. She had a bad feeling about this matchup already and only prayed that Donald and Lilly would save them from blacking out. They needed one other match besides Benji and Emily, and those two seemed confident they were one.

The walk to the matchup ceremony area was a slow one, with several low arguments happening over what the boys were keeping so secretive. It was clear some of the girls were not happy about being kept in the dark, but the boys were sticking together and everyone's lips were sealed. Beca found it all interesting, wondering if it was prompted by a producer or if the guys came up with it all on their own.

They reached the set and CR had them pause for a moment to make sure all the cameras were in position, signaling the ladies to walk in first and take their seats. She smiled as she passed Emily and Benji, already seated in one of the chairs on the bottom level waiting for them. Beca felt a lot of the tension leave her as she sat down in her chair, knowing that now her only job that evening was to sit and wait for her name to be called.

It took the guys several tries to get their entrance filmed to CR's satisfaction, a few of them looking even more frustrated than before by the time they were ready for Gail to begin speaking.

"Hi guys, welcome to your fifth matchup," Gail greeted them, her smile perfectly in place.

The group responded in kind, the host having grown on them over their time spent together.

"And let's welcome back Benji and Emily, your first confirmed perfect match!"

They all clapped and cheered at that, Benji and Emily blushing slightly as they smiled at the shoutout.

"How's the honeymoon suite been?" Gail asked, taking a moment to let them have the spotlight.

Benji grinned, "It's been amazing. We do kinda miss being around everyone in the house, but we've been really getting to know each other and connecting and it's been awesome."

Gail nodded as he answered, waiting for him to finish before saying, "That's what the honeymoon suite is all about. Congrats guys."

Benji and Emily both thanked her, his arm coming up to rest along the back of her chair as they settled in to watch the matchup.

"How are the rest of you feeling tonight? After this matchup, we'll be at the halfway point, so it'll be a great status check for you guys," Gail commented, looking around at the group.

"I think we're feeling good, Gail," Jesse answered, "The guys got together today and really strategized for this matchup ceremony. We're hoping to learn a lot tonight."

"Really," Gail sounded impressed. "I noticed you said the guys. The ladies weren't invited?"

"No, we weren't," Calamity called out, not impressed.

Gail seemed to sense the tension between the two sides, and Beca bit her lip to keep from laughing at the realization of what she'd so innocently stumbled upon.

"Zeke, the ladies don't seem too happy that you guys excluded them. What was your intention today?"

Zeke shifted a little, answering, "Gail, we were really trying to figure out how to gain the most information possible out of the matchup tonight without blacking out. If we keep picking the same people over and over, we're not going to win the money."

"Last time you guys got four beams," Gail reminded them. "Doesn't it seem like you're on the right track already?"

"It seems that way, but the matchup before that we went backward," Chicago chimed in. "We all put our heads together today to figure out the best strategy moving forward… and as much as we wanted to include the ladies, we're the ones picking tonight."

Beca clenched her teeth at his words, having a few choice retorts she'd like to shout over at him but decided to hold her tongue instead. Nothing good would come of it, and she'd already had enough little spats with him. Also, the only thing that would probably result from arguing with him is a pissed off Chloe, which was definitely something Beca was trying to avoid.

"Kommissar, what's going through your head hearing what the guys have to say?"

Beca half-turned to look at Kommissar, who was carefully considering her answer.

"We're going to blackout," she answered honestly.

Gail raised her eyebrows dramatically, making Beca once again appreciate her ability to raise the drama of a situation tenfold with simple actions and questions. Just like there was a reason that CR had produced the show for so long, there was a reason that Gail had hosted for an equally long amount of time.

"Boys? Any response to that?" Gail asked, tossing the ball back into their court.

"We'll let the beams do the talking, Gail," Unicycle called out, to nods and murmurs of encouragement from the rest of the guys.

"Well, I think that says it all," Gail wrapped up, her smile back in place. "Gentlemen, when I call your name you will come up here, choose your perfect match, and then the two of you will place your palms on the handprint touchpad and lock in as a couple. If all nine of you choose correctly, you'll all be leaving here with love and one million bucks!"

They shouted and cheered at that statement, trading smiles and grins around the room.

"But… if just one of you gets it wrong, then you're not ten for ten and you're heading back to the house tonight to keep figuring out why you're getting it so wrong." After a pause, she continued, "And if you fail to add any new beams, that is a blackout and your prize would instantly drop by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

There were more murmurs and groans and a few denials thrown out before they settled down and allowed Gail to keep moving forward.

"Let's get started," Gail said, clapping her hands together. "First up tonight for the guys is… Luke!"

Beca's heartbeat picked up a bit, wondering if she was about to be picked first. She knew if it were up to Luke he'd definitely pick her, but she wasn't sure if he was going to go along with whatever strategy the boys had decided on.

"Luke, how're you feeling about tonight?"

"Gail, I'm feeling great tonight," Luke replied, looking very relaxed as he stood in front of the podium.

"Are you on board with this strategy you guys have come up with?" Gail asked curiously.

"I think that a lot of good things were said today, but I don't agree with who they want me to pick tonight," Luke answered honestly. "Hopefully they aren't too upset with me, but I know who I'm picking."

"Fuck, come on Luke!" Unicycle called out, clearly frustrated.

"Sorry boys," Luke shrugged, turning back to Gail signaling he was ready to get on with the show.

Gail didn't disappoint, prompting him, "Luke, who is your perfect match?"

Luke grinned, spinning around to meet her gaze. "My perfect match is Beca!"

Beca couldn't help her smile, shaking her head slightly as she got up and walked to stand beside him at the podium.

"Interesting, you two were matched up last week as well when you guys got four beams," Gail commented, looking at the pair of them.

Luke nodded, "I think Beca and I could have been one of those beams, and she's the only person I want to be standing up here with tonight."

Gail gestured towards the podium saying, "Okay, Luke, Beca, it's time to lock in as a couple."

Beca reached out and placed her hand on the touchpad beside Luke's, watching the green bar scan up and down before the matching "LOCKED!"

Luke grinned and chivalrously offered her his elbow, easily slipping her hand through to grip his arm as they walked back to her chair.

"Happy you went first?" Beca whispered when they got back to her chair and were comfortably seated.

"Dude, I just saved you from having to sit next to Uni all night," Luke whispered back. "You owe me for the rest of this show."

Beca's face gave away how horrified she was at that thought. She didn't hate Uni or anything, but she knew they were not a match. They had nothing in common and there was a reason they hadn't had a full conversation in the first five min-weeks of the show.

"Thank you."

"No problem."

Gail called out, "Next up is Bumper!"

Beca watched him stride to the podium, a new question popping into her mind. "Who were you supposed to pick then?"

"Fat Amy," Luke smiled, "Which honestly wouldn't have been that bad for me. I hope I get matched up with her at least once. Her commentary on these ceremonies is probably amazing."

"Oh, yeah… for sure," Beca agreed, wondering if any of that type of thing would make it on the televised episodes.

They focused back on Gail and Bumper, the host questioning his opinion of the guys' strategy.

"So, Bumper, we just saw Luke decide to go against what you all planned out for tonight. What do you think of that?"

Bumper shrugged, "Luke has to choose who he thinks gives us the best chance at a beam. Tonight for the guys… it's equally about eliminating certain possibilities as it is about getting the most possible beams."

"Interesting," Gail commented at his response. "What are you supposed to do tonight?"

"We think that it's a strong possibility that Kommissar and I are a perfect match. We don't want to blackout, so a few of us are picking the same people as last week," Bumper answered. "That's why while we didn't discuss Luke picking Beca, it's not a huge deal because they could have been one of the four beams from last week."

Beca at least agreed with that logic. "At least one of you guys has a brain."

"We aren't all chiseled jaws and abs you know," Luke jabbed playfully, feigning offense at her comment.

"Coulda fooled me," Beca quipped back, squirming as he poked her side.

"Stop!" CR's voice cut through whatever Gail's response had been. Everyone froze, turning to look at the producer.

"Luke, Beca, what the fuck is going on in that chair?"

Beca narrowed her eyes, turning to glare at Luke who just shrugged.

"Sorry," he called down to her.

"Just a reminder that all of you on stage are in at least three-quarters of the shots during the ceremony," CR said wryly, still staring at them. "I know it's difficult to sit still for so long, but too damn bad."

Beca elbowed him in the ribs as soon as CR turned to go back out of the shot, feeling a ton of satisfaction in his responding, "Oof."

"Serves you right, that was your fault," Beca whispered, looking quickly around the room.

Most of the other people had turned back to look at Bumper and Gail, but Chloe was still looking at her and Luke curiously. Beca felt her heart sink a bit, realizing that Chloe definitely thought there was something going on between them. Fuck! Beca told herself it didn't even matter since Chloe wasn't interested in her anyway, but she knew deep down it mattered to her. The only person she was genuinely interested in out of everyone in the house was Chloe, and it mattered to her what the redhead thought. Beca might never have a shot with Chloe, but that didn't mean she wanted her to think she was hooking up with Luke… or any of the guys in the house.

"Bumper, who is your perfect match?" Gail asked, drawing her attention to the man standing at the podium.

"Gail, my perfect match is Kommissar."

The blonde nodded and rose from her chair to join him, Gail not wasting any time telling them to lock-in. They placed their hands on the touchpad for a few long seconds before turning and walking back to her chair.

Instead of a break, Gail kept on going and called the next name.

"Jesse!"

Luke reached around to rest his arm across the back of the chair and Beca leaned comfortably against him to watch Jesse's exchange with Gail.

"Hi Jesse," Gail greeted him with a smile.

"Hi Gail," he replied, coming to a stop at the podium.

"I feel like tonight is going to get repetitive, but are you on board with the strategy?"

Jesse chuckled, "Yeah, I can see that." He paused before continuing, "I'm sure they can fix it in post."

Gail winked at him. "So, Jesse, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Aubrey."

Aubrey smiled, looking slightly surprised as she rose from her chair and walked up to join Jesse at the podium.

Gail, always observant, picked up on it immediately. "Aubrey, you looked surprised when Jesse said your name."

Aubrey nodded, "I'm happy, I just wasn't expecting it. We were matched up last week, so I had assumed he would pick someone else."

Jesse said, "True, but we also knew that we couldn't just change everything from last week since we did get four beams. Aubrey and I were one of the pairs that we thought had a strong chance of being a perfect match."

Gail nodded her understanding, directing them, "Okay, it sounds like you guys have put a lot of thought into your selections tonight. Jesse, Aubrey, it's time to lock-in."

The pair placed their hands side by side on the touchpad sensor and locked in, returning to the empty chair hand in hand.

CR strode out onto the set, calling, "Okay, let's break! I need the three couples to film reactions out in the yard that way!"

Luke rose first and offered his hand to Beca, gently pulling her to her feet. "Ladies first," he said, gesturing for her to lead the way.

"Such manners," Beca replied, walking down the few steps before moving towards the yard in the direction CR had pointed. "Your mother would be so proud."

Luke grinned, "You'll have to meet her and tell her that in person. She'll never believe it if it comes from me."

"That's moving a bit fast for me," Beca joked as Luke fell into step beside her. "How about you take me on a date first?"

"That can be arranged," Luke hummed. "I think you've underestimated the lengths I'll go to impress my mother. She's perpetually disappointed in me for not having a conventional job or bringing a nice girl home to meet her."

Beca laughed, "You better not make things worse by bringing me home then."

Luke sighed dramatically, "She called the last girl I introduced her to a real-life Barbie and told me I could do so much better." After a second, he added, "That girl just passed the bar exam in New York and works for some major corporate law firm in the city."

"Did you tell her that?"

"I mean… I'm alive so…" Luke trailed off with a smirk. "Admittedly she was a highlight of my dating life. Definitely not the norm."

They reached the setup, Luke gesturing again for her to go first. Beca nodded and moved into place underneath the astonishingly bright lights.

"Hey, guys. Right here?"

"A little to the right… yeah, perfect."

"Okay, Beca, ready?" A producer peeked out from behind the camera to meet her gaze.

"Yep, let's do this"

"Okay, great. How'd you feel about the boys' announcement or strategy tonight for the matchup?"

Beca composed herself, then immediately rolled her eyes dramatically. "Are you kidding me? This is what they spent all day doing?" She shook her head as if she was so disappointed in them, eventually saying, "This is why women should be in charge."

The guy behind the camera laughed, eventually reigning it in at a look from the producer. "How do you feel about Luke picking you?"

"Luke and I really hit it off as friends right from the beginning. He wasn't someone I initially thought could be my match, but we get along so well I'm starting to think… yeah, maybe he is my match."

The producer clapped, "Perfect. You're done. Luke, step on up."

They traded places and it took a moment for the crew to adjust for the height difference between the pair of them.

"Okay, Luke, talk a little about what the guys discussed today and the strategy you all came up with."

Luke nodded, jumping right into his answer. "We know that since the Truth Booths are not going well that we're gonna have to be strategic with our choices at the matchup ceremonies. The guys got together today to try and plan out a few matchups that would be really telling based on if we get a lot of beams or a few. We need as much information as possible, and this is one way to do it."

He paused, then continued, "The guys came up with a strategy today to pair certain people together to try and eliminate them as a possible match. Most of us will be picking people we've never matched with before, and a few will try and repeat the matches from last week. Hopefully, it works out."

The producer shot him a thumbs up, moving on to the next question. "Why did you pick Beca?"

Luke winked at her before looking back into the camera. "Beca is my best friend in the house. I love hanging out with her. We matched up last week and got four beams, so I really think we could be a match."

The producer called out, "Perfect. That's a wrap for you two. Head back to the stage."

Luke stepped out from beneath the spotlights, shaking his head slightly to clear his vision. Beca sympathized, knowing most people had no idea how bright it was, or how much heat those lights gave off.

"You okay?"

Luke shook his head one last time, his voice irritated as he answered sarcastically, "Oh yeah, aside from going from normal to blind and sweating my ass off in two minutes I'm great. Perfect, even."

Beca laughed, retorting, "Well I'm gonna need you to handle that sweating problem before I'm stuck in a chair with you for the next… five hours."

"Tough shit."

"… you're not really that sweaty are you?" Beca asked, glancing at him.

"No, relax, fuck," Luke laughed. "Another few minutes and I might have been a different story though. Those lights are basically heaters."

Beca nodded, "Makes you wonder how people do it for a living, right?"

"Dude… mind-blowing," Luke answered as they made it back to set and headed straight for their chair.

Beca made sure they were positioned correctly, having no desire to get chastised twice in one shoot. CR was deadly efficient and had no patience to deal lightly with them. She was sure it was one of the many qualities that made her an incredible producer. They only had to wait a few minutes before the woman herself was standing in the middle of the set in front of the podium shouting instructions.

"Come on, move people! I want to be rolling again in five minutes! Where's Gail!"

Beca watched her put a hand to her ear, presumably hearing a satisfactory response to her question since she nodded and strode away.

"She's such a boss," Luke whispered, his eyes tracking the woman until she was standing beside a few crew members and one of the many cameras.

"Total boss. I want to be her when I grow up," Beca replied.

"Me too."

Gail walked back on set and got into position behind the podium, waiting as CR quickly crossed the stage to arrange the guys properly on the platform. Beca watched her, realizing that Theo was missing and spotted him a few seconds later walking in from the opposite area where she and Luke had just gone to film.

Luke followed her gaze, muttering, "They must have pulled him to get his reaction to me picking you for the matchup. He doesn't look happy."

"Yeah, I think you're right," Beca answered softly.

"Think he believes we're actually a couple?" Luke asked curiously.

"I don't think he did at first, but he might be starting to," Beca replied, glancing in front of her in time to see Chloe turning back towards the front of the set. "He might not be the only one."

Luke turned to look at her, his tone skeptical. "Seriously?"

Beca sighed, directing her gaze at Chloe's back. Luke picked up on the cue, again following her eyes before looking back at her.

"Oh, come on."

"I'm being serious."

Luke huffed and sat back in the chair, his arm resting once again across the back. "How do you not believe me when I said you weren't the only one?"

Beca ignored his whisper, unable to really think about that possibility right now. It was stupid and foolish to entertain the thought that Chloe might actually like her back. It was setting herself up to crash and burn and she was not about to do that… especially not in the middle of a matchup ceremony where they was no escape.

"Talk later," she muttered, knowing it was the only way to get Luke to back off.

"Finally."

Beca rolled her eyes as Gail got the cue to continue shooting.

"Next up for the guys we have… Donald!"

Beca watched him walk slowly to the podium, wondering why he looked so hesitant.

"How are you feeling tonight, DJ?" Gail asked warmly.

"I've been better," Donald answered honestly. Not waiting for Gail to ask, he explained, "My job tonight is to pick someone that I do not believe is my match… supposedly for the greater good."

Beca fought to keep her jaw from dropping in horror. "What have you idiots done," she hissed to Luke, glancing around to see surprised looks on the faces of several other women.

Luke shook his head, "Blame this one on Chicago, Uni, and Bumper."

Gail's expression turned sympathetic. "That sounds like a tough decision."

Donald nodded but seemed to steel himself. "It is. But, I'm a team player, and I agreed to go along with the group tonight."

"Yeah DJ!"

"Do what's right!"

Beca frowned at Chicago and Bumper's outbursts, but they seemed to give Donald the final push he needed to stick to the plan.

Gail glanced at the two other guys, before looking back at Donald. "Okay, Donald, who is your perfect match?"

Donald took a breath, answering, "Tonight, my perfect match is Flo."

The silence was deafening as all of the women exchanged stunned glances, Beca now having an excellent idea why the guys didn't want them to know of their plans for the evening.

"You've all lost your damn minds," Calamity said bluntly, not bothering to keep her voice down.

Kommissar and Aubrey nodded in agreement, although they didn't say anything.

Flo reached the podium and stood beside Donald, looking up at Gail expectantly.

"Flo, you don't seem too happy about this match," Gail commented, allowing her room to answer.

Flo simply shrugged, "DJ and I have barely had a conversation the entire time we've been here. I have no idea why the guys thought we should match up tonight."

Gail turned to Donald, asking, "Do you have an answer?"

Donald shook his head, replying, "I'm being a team player."

Flo deadpanned, "Every girl's dream."

Beca agreed with her sass and sarcasm wholeheartedly, knowing if she'd ended up in a similar position that evening with Uni she wouldn't have held back her true feelings at all.

Gail had mercy on them and decided not to push the issue any farther. "Donald, Flo, it's time to lock in as a couple."

They went through the motions of locking in and returned to the chair, Beca could hear Donald apologizing as they sat down. Flo, to her credit, didn't seem to be too upset with him specifically, which Beca knew would mean a lot to him. Donald was a nice guy, and she knew he hadn't picked Flo that evening to hurt her in any way.

Gail moved on from that disaster fairly quickly, but Beca had a sneaking suspicion it was because she knew there was only more drama ahead.

"Next up is Zeke!"

Beca thought Zeke looked much more confident than Donald had as he walked to the podium, making her lean in a little closer to Luke.

"Was Zeke in on all this craziness?"

Luke murmured, "Mm-hmm, he was on board."

"How do you think the night is going, Zeke?" Gail asked, wanting to get a reaction in the middle of the ceremony.

"I think it's going well, Gail," Zeke answered. "I think the guys have been really proactive tonight in trying to figure out everyone's perfect match."

Gail nodded, "That's the ultimate goal… and why you're all here. Have you decided who you're choosing tonight?"

"I have, yes. I've made a decision."

"And have you matched up with this person before?" Gail asked curiously.

Zeke chuckled and shook his head, "No, we haven't sat together at a matchup before."

Gail smiled, "Very well, good luck. Zeke, who is your perfect match?"

Zeke turned to face the women, announcing, "My perfect match is Calamity."

Calamity broke into a wide smile, standing up and striding down to stand next to Zeke.

"Calamity, you look happy to be standing here with Zeke," Gail observed. "This matchup doesn't seem to have provoked as much of a reaction. Why do you think that is?"

Calamity shrugged, "I'm not sure, honestly. Zeke is a great guy, and although we haven't spent a ton of time together, any of us girls would be lucky to be his match."

Gail smiled at that diplomatic answer, "Well, we'll have to keep going to find out who that lucky lady is. At least for tonight, it's you! Zeke, Calamity, please lock-in as a couple."

Beca drew in a deep breath as the pair locked in on the touchpad and returned to the chairs, climbing the steps to the top row and sitting down.

"One more and then probably a break," Luke muttered. "Seems like now that there's nine of us we're splitting the evening into thirds."

"Brilliant, almost made it to the break then," Beca replied, her voice low. "Hopefully the next one goes quick."

Gail turned back to the four guys still standing on the platform. "Next up for the guys is… Tom!"

Beca sat up a little, curious to see who Tom would choose now that he and Stacie were not a match. The only available women left were Chloe, Fat Amy, and Lilly.

Luke seemed to follow her train of thought, mumbling, "He's supposed to pick Chloe."

Beca hummed at that, remembering how awkward it had been the first night when the pair of them sat together.

"I'm sure he will. He doesn't really have a reason to pick anyone right now, so might as well stick with the plan," Beca reasoned, tuning out Gail's questions for the moment.

"Yeah, they sat together at the first matchup but neither of them looked super happy about it," Luke recalled.

Beca nodded, listening to his response to Gail's latest question.

"Yeah, I'm definitely going with the guy's strategy tonight," Tom said easily. "Finding out that Stacie and I weren't a match in the Truth Booth was rough. I really thought we were, so tonight I'm gonna do whatever I can to help the group and then start over trying to connect with the women here to try to find my perfect match."

"Logical," Beca whispered, impressed with his answer.

Luke whispered back, "He's actually got a decent head on his shoulders. He could remember all sorts of details today about the past matchups that most of the other guys had no clue about or had to look up.

"Are things between you and Stacie over, then?" Gail asked, extending his interview a little longer.

Tom shrugged before shaking his head. "I mean, not for me. Those feelings were real and they don't just go away. Stacie and I talked for a while last night after the Truth Booth, and I was under the impression that while we both know we need to find our perfect match… we also both want to see where this goes."

Stacie called out, "Damn right babe!"

Gail smiled as some of the group chuckled at her outburst, commenting, "Well, I guess that clears up any confusion. Tom, unfortunately, we now know it's not Stacie, so who is your perfect match?"

Tom smiled, answering, "Tonight, my perfect match is Chloe."

Chloe tilted her head slightly as she got up from the chair, walking forward to stand beside Tom for the second time in a matchup ceremony.

"Chloe, how do you feel about standing here with Tom knowing he still has feelings for Stacie?"

Beca held her breath, knowing that the entire situation was fucking awkward.

"I mean, I think Tom and Stacie are great," Chloe answered. "We all thought they were a perfect match, which is why we voted them into the Truth Booth."

Gail pushed a little more, asking, "Do you think Tom is your match?"

Chloe hesitated, finally saying, "Tom and I haven't spent a lot of time getting to know each other. I don't really think I can say one way or another if he could be my match."

"Tom, there must be a reason the guys thought you should pick Chloe tonight," Gail didn't seem anywhere near ready to let this go, which was puzzling to Beca.

"Why the fuck is she pressing this?" Beca muttered, frowning at the way Chloe's turn was going.

Luke sighed, "She knows she's found a sore spot and is going to press and press until she gets the drama and reactions that make for crazy television."

"I hate that it's happening to Chloe though," Beca sighed, knowing exactly how this show worked and what the viewers expected.

Luke hummed, finally saying, "I'm curious to see if he tells the truth about why he's picking her tonight."

"What? Why? What does that mean?"

Tom also hesitated before answering, clearly aware of what Gail was trying to accomplish. "Hopefully I don't get in trouble for this," he began with a tentative smile, continuing, "But Chloe is exactly my type. She caught my eye immediately on day one in the house, but she connected with Luke at first and it didn't take long for the connection to develop between me and Stacie. Honestly, it's just a hunch that we might be a match."

Gail beamed at him, letting Beca know that was exactly the answer she was looking for. "Chloe, how do you feel about that?"

Beca couldn't see Chloe's face, but it was a good bet she was blushing right now.

"Um, I wasn't expecting that," Chloe laughed nervously. "I mean, I'm flattered. Tom seems like a really nice guy, but I know he's got something going on with Stacie and I would never try to break that up."

Beca knew that answer put out a little of Gail's fire when the host toned down her smile back to the one they were all used to seeing.

"Alright, well Tom, Chloe, it's time to lock-in."

Beca watched them place their hands on the touchpad and lock in as a couple, Tom letting Chloe walk ahead of him as they returned to her chair in the front row.

CR walked out into the middle of the set, announcing, "Okay! Time for our long break. Six down, three to go, so let's take a couple of hours and come back ready to finish the matchup."

"I'll miss a few things about this whole experience, but these matchup ceremony shoots are definitely not one of them," Luke groaned, standing up and stretching his sore joints.

Beca couldn't agree more.


Beca settled back into the chair with Luke, having thoroughly enjoyed the two-hour break. They'd all gone back to the house and split up into teams and had a drinking game Olympics comprised of beer pong, flip cup, and quarters. Beca and Luke had teamed up with Donald and Lilly and kicked everyone's asses. They hadn't been allowed to drink alcohol since they were in the middle of a shoot, but it was still fun nonetheless. Lilly had stunned everyone as she bounced the quarter perfectly over and over again, at one point getting twelve in a row to seal the win.

"That was amazing," Beca sighed, the close confines of the chair forcing her to lean against Luke. "We need to do that again except with liquor."

"Absolutely," Luke agreed. "Everyone out here underestimating Lilly and she was a champ tonight."

"Everyone except Donald," Beca mused. "Aren't you glad we teamed up with them?"

Luke nodded, "Oh yeah. Bragging rights for days."

Beca nodded along with him, watching the crew get back into place to start filming again. "I'm exhausted now, though. I wish we could just go to bed."

"Not a chance," Luke told her. "We still have three more matchups and then all that nonsense with the beams of light. It'll be a few hours at least."

"I'd rather be ignorant."

Luke laughed and rested his arm across her shoulders, his hand idly rubbing her upper arm.

"That feels amazing, but if you keep doing it you'll put me to sleep," Beca murmured, already resting her head on his shoulder.

He stopped the movements, sighing, "Well we don't want that. CR will definitely yell at us again if you fall asleep."

"Ugh, don't remind me. That was horrible," Beca shook her head.

"Alright, everyone! We're ready to go!" CR's loud voice cut through the chatter, rendering everyone silent. "Gail, on my cue."

Beca took a slow breath as she retreated behind the cameras to give Gail the signal to start again. "Here we go…"

"Alright guys, we're down to our last three. Next up is Unicycle!"

Uni strolled casually up to the podium, shooting Gail a wide smile.

"Hi Uni, how are you feeling tonight?" Gail asked, returning his smile.

"I'm feeling good, Gail."

Gail replied, "Wonderful. What part did you have to play in the strategy the guys have adopted tonight."

Uni answered, "I was all for it. I knew we needed to do something different to try and uncover some matches that might not be as obvious."

"Do you think it will work?"

"Well, I think it's a win-win no matter what happens," Uni explained. "If we get more beams, then it proves some of these couples that look wrong are actually right. If we don't get more beams, we can rule out a lot of possibilities with the way we've paired off tonight."

Gail nodded at his explanation, slyly asking, "Is it still a win-win if you blackout?"

A few of the ladies reacted to that question, making Beca shake her head subtly.

"Gail, we aren't going to blackout. It's not gonna happen," Unicycle replied confidently.

"I hope you're right," Gail finished positively. "Uni, who is your perfect match?"

Unicycle answered, "My perfect match is Fat Amy."

Fat Amy got up, walking past Beca muttering, "In your dreams" as she made her way toward the podium. Beca barely held back her laughter, not wanting to have to shoot the sequence over again. Thankfully she kept it together and was able to compose herself by the time the blonde reached the podium.

"Fat Amy, do you think the two of you are a match?" Gail asked curiously.

"Nope. We've never spoken," Fat Amy replied. "Also, look at his twig ass. I'd break him in half like a toothpick."

Gail's eyes went wide, clearly not expecting that statement.

Luke snorted, whispering, "No way that makes it in the final cut."

"Too bad, it was fucking hilarious," Beca murmured back.

Gail seemed to decide that the best course of action was to get Fat Amy back to her chair as quickly as possible.

"Okay, Uni, Fat Amy, it's time to lock-in."

The pair pressed their hands to the touchpad and locked in, quickly moving to the open seat on the top row.

Gail didn't hesitate in calling the next name, ready to move on from the last couple.

"Theo!"

Beca watched him walk up to the podium, leaning closer to Luke to ask, "Who is Theo supposed to pick?"

"Lilly," Luke answered. "He wasn't happy about it, but earlier he did agree to go along with the plan."

Beca watched him chat with Gail for a few minutes before indeed calling Lilly's name, earning a whole new line of questioning about her relationship with Donald.

"Lilly, you've sat with Donald for the last three matchups. How do you feel about Theo picking you tonight?" Gail asked.

Lilly glanced at Theo, answering, "I think it's wrong. DJ is my perfect match. I don't know what the guys are doing."

"Theo, why Lilly?"

Theo shrugged, "Kinda like DJ and Tom said earlier, I'm trying to be a team player here. A lot of the guys really wanted to switch things up, so…" he trailed off, letting the silence speak for itself.

"Not quite as tactful as Tom though is he," Luke muttered, Beca could hear his eyes rolling through his tone.

She kept silent though, as Gail instructed them to lock-in. Theo found her gaze as he walked back to the chairs with Lilly, but Beca looked away back towards Gail almost immediately. Thankfully there was only one person left before they moved on to the beams and finally the end of the shoot.

"Alright Chicago, Stacie, come on up here," Gail invited them, gesturing with her arms open.

Chicago nodded and shot Stacie a polite smile as she approached the podium to stand beside him.

"We've got our default couple tonight," Gail said, a hint of humor in her tone. "How do you guys feel about that?"r in her tone. "How do you guys feel about that?

Chicago shrugged, "Fine. Stacie is really cool. Kinda like Chloe earlier, I respect what she's got going on with Tom, but at the same time we've gotta figure out who the perfect matches are."

Stacie nodded in agreement, "Exactly. Tom and I definitely want to see where our relationship goes, but we also know that we still have to play the game. It wouldn't be fair to everyone else here for us to just do our own thing for the rest of our time here."

Gail nodded her understanding, asking, "So there's nothing romantic between the two of you?"

Stacie and Chicago both shook their heads no.

"As I said, Stacie is awesome. We're friends," Chicago answered.

"Alright, let's see if this default couple works for you guys. Chicago, Stacie, it's time to lock in," Gail instructed.

Beca found herself holding her breath as they locked in and returned to the only empty chair left, praying that nothing went wrong or malfunctioned and they could move on to the beams.

"Okay guys, great job! We've got ten couples matched up tonight," Gail said cheerfully, facing them still standing behind the podium. "Now remember, the matchup will show you how many of you are matched up correctly… but not who those matches are. That's up to you all to figure out."

After a brief pause, Gail pointed behind her saying, "Now, behind me are ten beams of light."

Beca bit her lip to keep from reciting this part of Gail's speech along with her, having it basically memorized by now. The beams turned on and rose up into the sky, ten lights shining brightly up into the stars.

"Each beam represents a perfect match. One beam is one perfect match… ten beams means ten perfect matches and one million dollars!"

Beca watched the beams mimic her words, with nine going dark when Gail mentioned one beam, and all ten lighting back up again matching her statements. The whole group clapped and cheered at the mention of the money, Beca joining in not wanting to have to redo the take.

"Because you correctly identified one perfect match in the Truth Booth, we start with one beam already lit up," Gail informed them, the first beam lighting back up to represent Benji and Emily. "And remember, if you do not add any more beams to that first one, that's a blackout and your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

"No!"

"Don't jinx us, Gail!" Uni yelled out.

Gail chuckled at him, before continuing on, "Alright you guys, here we go."

Beca held her breath again as Gail moved around to stand at the podium with her back to them and placed both hands on the touchpad to start the sequence.

"The number of perfect matches is…"

The entire group was deadly silent as they waited for more beams to light up. Beca was growing more and more anxious as nothing happened, wondering just how badly the guys had fucked them over.

Finally, a second beam lit up into the sky and the relief around the group was tangible.

"There we go!"

"No blackout!"

Beca let out the breath she'd been holding, feeling Luke relax a little beside her as well.

"I had no idea how tense I was until that beam lit up," Luke muttered, shifting slightly in the chair beside her.

"I knew exactly how tense I was," Beca shook her head, heart still racing. "It's insane that we get this worked up every damn time."

"Biology," Luke replied, still staring at the beams.

Suddenly, the lights shifted and the sound blasted that signaled the end of the matchup ceremony.

"Wait, what?"

"That's it?!"

"You guys are fucking idiots."

Beca recognized Calamity's voice on that last statement, and this time she completely agreed with the other woman.

Kommissar did as well, her tone accusatory, "This is what happens when you fuck with things that are going well. There was no reason to have so many random picks tonight and now we're right back where we started."

Gail turned back around to address them, saying, "Wow, guys. Only two matches tonight."

Beca shook her head, completely disappointed and discouraged at the number of matches.

"You guys only got two perfect matches tonight. That is the same number you got at your very first matchup ceremony four tries ago, and one of the beams tonight represented your confirmed perfect match, Benji and Emily," Gail reminded them, rubbing more salt into the wound. "That means only one out of nine was right. You guys are going the wrong direction."

The grumbling around the stage continued, with Gail letting them go at it for a few seconds before saying, "You guys are at the halfway point of this competition, and you are now literally back at square one. You have a lot of work to do to find ten perfect matches."

The group remained silent now, a few heads nodding at her words.

Gail shook her head, disappointment clearly etched on her face. "Okay guys, get back to the house and start figuring out who your perfect match is. Most likely it was not the person you were sitting beside tonight. Say goodbye to Benji and Emily, and I'll see the rest of you back here tomorrow for the next getaway challenge."

Gail gave them another disappointed head shake before turning and leaving the set, letting them rise and exit on their own.

"Well I feel like I just got caught with my hand in the cookie jar," Beca muttered, not liking the feeling at all.

"Yeah, that was a major buzz kill," Luke sighed. "Guess that strategy backfired."

Uni was trying to stay positive, claiming, "Guys, think about how much information we have now. Only one couple besides Ben and Em that matched up tonight was a perfect match. We can figure this out."

Benji replied, "You guys need to do better. Come on, that was worse than any matchup ceremony before. Work together!"

Kommissar jumped onto his words, saying, "Exactly. We all need to work together. No more of what happened today… clearly, you guys suck at this more than we do."

"I agree, no more guys or girls going off and excluding the other group when planning," Jesse said. "We need to work together or we're all going to lose."

Beca nodded in agreement, seeing most of the others doing the same. They had a long way to go to find the nine remaining matches, and if she was honest, Beca had absolutely no idea who any of them were.

Chapter Text


As per usual, their day off was more like half a day off since no one was awake before late afternoon. The group was still on edge from the boys approach to the matchup the previous night, with several fights and arguments breaking out as they eventually appeared in search of food.

After one particularly rude exchange between Calamity and Unicycle, Beca needed to escape the suffocating tension. She exited out the back door and began walking away across the yard towards the beach. Knowing that alone time wasn't a thing in the house, she slowed her pace waiting to see who would follow her, praying it wasn't Chloe.

"Bec! Wait up!"

Beca smiled to herself, mumbling under her breath, "So fucking predictable."

It was Luke, making her realize immediately that she might actually prefer Chloe's presence to his.

"I think you owe me a chat," Luke reminded her with a wink, slowing his long strides to match hers.

"No idea what you're talking about," Beca smirked back, catching a movement from the camera crew that followed them outside out of the corner of her eye.

Luke shook his head, "None of that now, Becs… don't you think it'll be easier once you get it off your chest?"

Beca retorted, "No… I think it'll be a million times worse, actually."

"Fine, whatever," Luke shrugged, adding, "But I wouldn't judge you. I care about you."

"Then you should understand exactly why I'm being like this," Beca sighed, kicking out a little at the grass as she walked. "There's no scenario in which this ends well."

Luke hummed, "I disagree. I can picture several scenarios where it ends perfectly fine."

Beca shook her head, "That's not what we're here for. We all agreed, Luke… you signed the same fucking contract I did."

"Well yeah, I mean… I'm not saying fuck up the matches for everyone else," Luke commented as they reached the edge of the lawn overlooking the beach. "All I'm saying is there was nothing in that contract that said you had to marry your perfect match… or hell, even date them after this is all over. Look at Tom and Stacie… they aren't a match but sure seems like they're intent on being together."

"That's different."

Luke raised his eyebrows at her. "Is it?"

"You know it is!" Beca's voice rose in frustration. "Look… no one… I haven't… I'm not…" she trailed off, not sure how to properly phrase that secret.

Thankfully, Luke seemed to understand. "Ohhh, oh okay. Well, yeah, okay that complicates things a bit."

Beca sighed again, looking out along the beach remaining silent.

Luke turned around and addressed the crew that had followed them. "Look, I understand the rules and whatever, but we need a minute. An off camera minute. Got it?"

Beca glanced at them, curious about the response. It was only an assistant producer with the crew, and all of them were looking back and forth between each other nervously.

"I need to call it in," the guy finally said, motioning to his ear piece.

"Do whatever the fuck you need to do," Luke responded, his tone turning a little harsh. "Don't worry, it's not something you'd be able to air. I promise."

The guy nodded and spoke quickly into his mic, the conversation lasting a few minutes before he turned back to them. "Okay, you got it. Give me your necklaces. We'll wait over there. You've got ten minutes."

Beca unhooked the necklace she'd been given at the beginning of the show that held her microphone in the little symbol, handing it to the producer. Luke did the same, eyeballing the man as he said, "How about we give you these mics, you guys scram, and we'll come find you when we're done after however long it takes. Sound good?"

The guy swallowed at his words, taking the necklaces from them saying, "CR will have my ass if you guys take more than thirty minutes. Got it?"

Luke glanced at Beca before shooting him a smirk. "Okay dude, you got a deal. Thirty minutes and no one gets in trouble."

He nodded and motioned for the crew to follow him a good distance away.

Beca watched them go, Luke flopping down onto the grass already facing the water again. She sat down beside him, grateful for the time without being watched and recorded.

"Thank you," she murmured, looking at the gorgeous ocean stretching out before them.

"Okay, you're on the clock," Luke joked, smiling at her. "No one else listening in… it's just us. Now or never."

Beca hesitated, still unsure if she was ready to say the words out loud… unsure how hearing them would make her feel.

Exhaling slowly, she said, "Fuck it. I mean you already know, so it shouldn't even be that big a deal, right? I… I like Chloe."

Luke smiled, resting his hand gently on her knee. "Yeah… I know. But thanks for trusting me enough to tell me."

"I just… I couldn't help it," Beca admitted. "It hit me and once it was in my brain it's like I can't turn it off. And the fact that she's all obsessed over that fucker Chicago only makes it worse."

"You could have said something to her about him," Luke pointed out. "I told you why I couldn't, but what's stopping you?"

Beca shook her head, "I mentioned the other day that I didn't like him and that I didn't think he was right for her and she got upset. I think she actually likes him, and she was so supportive of me with Theo that it just feels wrong to not support her back."

Luke sighed, "I don't know, Bec. She's not gonna be happy when she finds out."

"I know, but I don't know how to tell her without sounding jealous… either of him or their relationship," Beca replied. "It's like… my relationship didn't work out so I'm trying to mess hers up too or something. It's stupid but that's how it looks."

"Maybe to you," Luke disagreed, "She might be happy you told her the truth… that the guy she likes is a liar and a jackass."

Beca shook her head, "You can't judge me on this when you're refusing to say something too. Even if I understand your reasons… you also understand mine."

"This whole thing is so fucked up," Luke shook his head. "Back to the point at hand… we can discuss that situation with Chicago with our mics on. What we can't discuss later is that you like Chloe and I'd bet all our remaining Truth Booth's that she likes you too."

"Don't be ridiculous," Beca scoffed. "She does not like me back… not as more than a friend, anyways. Why would she?"

Luke rolled his eyes, "Seriously? Bec, you're beautiful. You're not really my type, but you're stunning. Didn't you realize that just about every guy in the house was into you?"

Beca raised an eyebrow at him. "No they weren't."

Luke laughed at her. "Beca, DJ wouldn't shut up about you those first few days. Theo and Jesse fought over you for literally the first four weeks. Why is that so hard for you to believe? Chloe looks at you differently than the other women… trust me."

"I can't… I can't go there," Beca shook her head. "This is already hard enough, Luke. Can you just.. Not?"

"I mean, sure," Luke shrugged, glancing at her before looking away again. "But can I just say one thing?"

Beca hummed, "Sure. You'll probably say it anyways."

He chuckled, but stopped and turned towards her. His voice was more serious than she was expecting, causing her to meet his gaze when he spoke.

"Bec, this is just a stupid show. Don't let it stand in the way of true feelings, okay? Just because people seem like a perfect match on paper doesn't mean they actually will be one in real life," Luke said, glancing back to make sure the crew was still out of earshot. "My advice would be to tell her how you feel. You deserve to know if Chloe is your person, and fuck what everyone on this show thinks about that."

Beca let his words sink in, wondering briefly if he was right about Chloe returning her feelings. It was just too hard for her to believe… that someone like Chloe would come on this show looking for her perfect match husband and end up having feelings for someone like her.

"I really appreciate your support, Luke," Beca said softly. "But the past few days have been hard enough dealing with these feelings without the hope that she might feel the same way. I… it's too much, okay? I'm doing my best to make it through the rest of the show without having a complete breakdown and doing something incredibly stupid. Think you can keep this to yourself and help me not ruin my life on national television?"

Luke studied her for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, Bec. Of course I can do that for you. Just promise you'll think about what I said, okay?"

Beca nodded back, "I will. There's also that small issue that no one in my life knows I'm bi… rather not have them find out from this show."

That broke the tension between them, Luke laughing and agreeing, "Yeah, I think that's fair. Don't worry, Bec, your secret is safe with me."

They sat in silence for a few more minutes before footsteps behind them had them turning around to see CR herself approaching them.

"Hi there," she greeted sarcastically. "Having fun?"

"Loads," Luke responded enthusiastically, voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Fun's over," CR deadpanned back, rolling her eyes as she handed them back their necklaces. "Put these back on."

Beca accepted hers, returning it to its place securely around her neck. "Happy now?"

CR winked, her reply just as sarcastic. "Thrilled."


"Alright it's challenge day! I want everyone on the couch in five minutes!" CR shouted, her voice piercing through the house.

Beca glanced across the kitchen at Luke, wondering what their challenge was for this week. With the boys having to do most of the work last time, she had a terrifying feeling it was the girls turn today.

Jesse confirmed that fear, saying, "It better be up to the ladies this week. I might still have a headache from how many poles I ran into blindfolded."

Aubrey laughed, teasing him, "Well if you had listened to me better you wouldn't have run into any."

"Oh, sorry for not being able to pick out your voice among all the screaming and shouting," Jesse retorted.

Beca grinned at him, "I recall you just standing still for a while… how many poles could you have run into?"

Jesse shot back, "I'd already hit several and was traumatized. You'd be a lot more cautious if you could feel a knot forming on your forehead."

Luke joked, "I dunno, it might be an improvement for you, Jess."

"Fuck you," Jesse grumbled, though there wasn't a lot of heat behind his tone.

Aubrey managed to control her grin, hopping down from where she'd been seated on the counter top. "Come on, let's go before CR comes and yells at us for being late."

Beca nodded in agreement, maintaining her new strict policy of not pissing CR off whenever possible. The executive producer seemed to have her temper on a shorter leash than usual, making her wonder the cause behind it and hope it wasn't them.

They gathered in the living room, piling onto the couch with a few stragglers standing behind it facing the large television screen. CR was standing in her usual spot waiting to brief them, glancing occasionally at her watch while she waited for the group to be fully assembled.

Beca glanced around realizing that the only two missing were Chloe and Chicago, her stomach doing an unpleasant summersault at the potential explanations. They finally entered the room hand in hand, several minutes after the five-minute warning CR had yelled throughout the house. Beca purposely locked her gaze on the producer, not wanting to torture herself any more than necessary.

"Okay, great, now that we're all finally here…" CR trailed off, pointedly looking at Chloe and Chicago.

Luke whispered beside her, "God, her shade game is something I aspire to."

Beca clenched her teeth together, fighting back the laughter at his comment.

CR continued flawlessly, "It's time to go over your challenge for today. You'll be coupling up again and the ladies will be competing for the getaway dates. The challenge will take place in the pool. We've thrown diving rings into the pool, and you ladies will be responsible for retrieving five of the correct color. The first three ladies to get five rings from the bottom of the pool will win the date."

Fat Amy raised her hand, speaking without waiting to be acknowledged. "I'm sorry, you want us to dive for pool rings?"

CR fixed her with a stare. "What was confusing about that?"

"Men fight over me, not the other way around," Fat Amy said bluntly. "This is a job for my boy toys."

CR rolled her eyes and ignored the blonde.

"And now we all know why Fat Amy is here," Luke's commentary continued, this time Beca snickering a little.

"What are the guys gonna be doing?" Calamity asked curiously.

"They'll be standing near the pool cheering you on," CR answered. "When you retrieve a ring, you'll hop out of the pool and hand it to your partner who will hang it from a nearby hook. The five rings have to be on the hook to count."

"Why didn't you say that in the first place," Kommissar commented.

CR's eyes narrowed, making Beca flinch. "I was getting there, but you interrupted with questions before I could finish."

Beca glanced around nervously, wondering if anyone would be brave enough to ask another question after that icy response.

"Good, glad you all picked up on this one so quickly," CR's voice was back to normal, making Beca want to laugh again. "Ladies, go get changed into your swimsuits and meet right outside the back door. You have ten minutes."


"Okay, since we're by the pool again we will not be running over to Gail," CR instructed. "You'll all walk calmly over to where she's waiting for you and she will begin explaining your challenge."

Beca looked over to where Gail was clearly visible standing by the pool. CR's directions should be easy enough to follow, which means they would probably mess it up several times.

"Alright, go!"

Beca started walking with the group, cameras moving around them as they approached the designated spot near where Gail was waiting for them.

"Hey guys! Come on over!" Gail greeted, waving at them and then gesturing where they should stand.

"Nope! Cut!" CR shouted, glancing up at the sky. "Start over from the beginning," she yelled, before turning and directing a couple of cameras to different locations.

Beca sighed, returning back under the overhang to wait for their cue.

"This is going to be a long shoot," Jesse muttered.

"As long as we don't have to redo anything after the challenge starts," Calamity responds. "I'm not trying to go diving for rings for hours."

"Ugh, that sounds terrible," Stacie agreed.

"We've got bigger problems, people," Aubrey's voice was serious. "We get to couple up again and we didn't get any time to strategize after that disasterclass at the matchup."

Unicycle refused to accept that the guys fucked up. "I keep telling you it was worth it!"

"Shut up, Uni," Calamity shot at him. "Sheer luck was the only thing that kept us from a blackout."

"But we didn't blackout," he argued weakly.

Fat Amy threatened, "Thank your lucky stars we didn't, or your ass would have been mine."

CR's voice was heard above the muttering, "Okay! Let's go again!"

The group started moving again, approaching Gail at a steady pace while the camera crews worked their asses off to capture the shots CR wanted.

"Hey guys! Come on over!" Gail's greeting was identical, as were her gestures telling them where to congregate.

They must have done it correctly this time, or CR got the shots she was aiming for as she didn't interrupt the host.

"How are we doing after that disappointing matchup?"

Calamity answered, "We're committed to working together to figure out everyone's perfect match."

Gail nodded in agreement, "Absolutely right. You guys have to rely on each other and work together to solve this puzzle."

They all nodded and murmured in agreement, Gail taking a moment before moving on.

"One way to do that is to get another perfect match confirmed in the Truth Booth," Gail continued, "So let's take one step closer to that and get to your next getaway date challenge!"

Beca cheered along with everyone else, already having decided that she wanted to win the date. Or lose the challenge if Chloe won. Really anything to put some distance between herself and having to witness the redhead's growing connection with Chicago.

"Alright, I like the excitement!" Gail grinned. "I'm calling today's challenge Get Wet or Dive Trying!"

Beca bit back a groan at the pun, slightly shaking her head. A few laughs sounded out from around her, with most just smiling at their host's scripted cleverness.

"You will pair up for this challenge, and each of you will have a part to play," Gail informed them. "Each pair will be assigned a color. The ladies will be diving for pool rings that match their color. They will retrieve a ring from the bottom of the pool, swim back to the edge and climb out to give the ring to their partner, who will take it and hang it on the appropriate hook on this board," Gail explained, gesturing to a long board a ways behind her in the grass with nine hooks on it and a colored chip already hanging from each one.

Beca glanced toward the pool to see nine colored mats lined up on the edge, and another set of mats about ten feet away in the grass.

"The girls will start on the mats beside the pool and the guys will start on the mats in the grass," Gail's explanation continued. "The guys will not be allowed to leave their mats until they are holding a ring. So ladies you have to get completely out of the pool and deliver each ring to your partner. Guys, you can see the board here is about ten feet behind your mats, so you've got to get the ring on the right hook and get back to your mat for the next ring from your partner."

After another pause in which CR did not interrupt them, Gail kept going with her instructions. "Okay, partner up and let's get started!"

The group was really scrambling this time, eyes darting around trying to decide the best pairs for the challenge. Beca didn't hesitate, grabbing onto Luke's hand before anyone else could try to convince either of them to partner up. Together they watched the rest of the panic settle down into couples.

Gail looked over them once things settled down, announcing, "Alright let's see. We've got Beca and Luke, Tom and Calamity, Lilly and DJ, Stacie and Theo, Jesse and Aubrey, Chloe and Chicago, Flo and Bumper, Fat Amy and Uni, and last but certainly not least, Zeke and Kommissar."

Beca's eyes widened a bit and she craned her neck at the mention of Stacie and Theo. Now that was a pair she did not see coming, making her wonder if it was on purpose or they were simply the odd ones out this time. It was difficult for her to believe Stacie would ever be a last resort, but her attachment to Tom may have made the rest of the guys less interested since a romantic possibility was out of the question.

Gail called out, "Okay everyone, get to your starting mats and let's get this challenge started!"

Beca exchanged a fist bump with Luke, quietly asking, "So, are we trying to win or…"

Luke nodded, "I need to get out of this house. Do you realize I haven't been on a date since the first week?"

"Okay, okay, I'll try," Beca promised. She'd only been on one date herself, but it was in the middle of her time in the house which helped break up the stir-crazy feelings.

Beca ended up on the yellow mat, fairly happy about that considering none of the other colors were close to hers. She had a feeling underwater it might be tricky to distinguish blue from purple and red from pink or orange. She pulled her goggles down into place and got ready to jump into the water, everything slightly tinted as she looked around waiting for Gail.

"Hope all you bitches are ready to fight for second place," Calamity called out confidently, her grin stretching ear to ear.

Kommissar rolled her eyes, "Sorry, what was that? I don't speak loser?"

Beca snickered at that quip as Zeke must have overheard the blonde.

"Yeah! She actually speaks like seven languages, but loser isn't one of them!"

Calamity ignored him, eyes on Kommissar. "Can you even swim?"

Gail interrupted their banter, calling out, "Alright ladies, are you ready?!"

They shouted back a chorus of "Yes!" and Gail raised an arm in the air, bringing it down quickly as she shouted, "Go!"

Beca immediately jumped into the pool and let herself sink straight to the bottom. She wasn't an expert swimmer by any means, but she could retrieve rings from the deep end of a pool. Luckily a yellow one was nearby and she quickly grabbed it, pushing off from the bottom to discover she was the first to break the surface with a ring.

"Nice Bec!" Luke's voice shouted out, encouraging her.

She swam the few feet back to the edge of the pool, climbing over the edge and ran over to his mat to pass him the ring.

"Nice! Go get the next one," Luke said, taking it from her and spinning to find their yellow hook.

Beca nodded, already slightly out of breath as she jogged back to the pool. Chloe, Lilly, Flo, and Calamity were all climbing out of the pool with their first ring, while the rest were either still in the water or swimming towards the edge. She knew she needed to move quickly before her slim lead evaporated.

She jumped farther into the water this time, knowing that the rest of her yellow rings weren't going to be so close to her starting point. Sinking to the bottom, Beca looked around for her next ring, spotting a flash of yellow a few feet to her right. She was able to grab it without needing to surface for air, popping back up and beginning the swim back to the edge of the pool.

Stacie and Aubrey were in the process of climbing out of the water, and Beca joined them as they all passed off their rings at the same time. Luke clapped as she jogged towards him, trying to stay positive.

"Great job, Becs! You're doing amazing!"

"Yeah yeah, just take it," Beca panted, handing off the ring and spinning back around. "Why couldn't we stop at three rings? Why five?"

That earned her a few laughs from Stacie and an, "You need to do more cardio!" from Aubrey.

Fat Amy was just reaching the edge of the pool with her first ring as the three of them jumped back in, commenting, "Don't put me down for cardio."

Beca laughed as she jumped back in the water, realizing her mistake too late as she came up coughing and gasping instead of sinking to the bottom.

"Bec! Are you okay?! Don't die!"

She could hear the laughter in Luke's voice, raising her hand over her head with only the middle finger extended before diving back down to the bottom of the pool. She swam for a few feet before spotting the next yellow ring, but she still hadn't completely recovered from her coughing attack and needed to surface before having the breath to dive down and retrieve it. Chloe, Calamity, and Lilly were hot on her heels as she climbed out of the pool with the third ring.

"You're crushing it Bec, just two more," Luke said, taking it from her and turning to sprint to hang it on the hook.

Beca nodded, sucking in a gulp of air as she ran back to the pool and jumped in. She kept telling herself it was almost over as she swam along the bottom in search of another yellow ring. Miraculously she found it just before she gave in and surfaced, grabbing securely in her hand and pushed off hard from the bottom. She had resorted to doggy paddling to the edge of the pool, breathing heavily from all the physical activity. It was way, way… way fucking more than she was used to. If she'd been partnered with anyone but Luke she might have simply given up and sat on the edge of the pool the way Fat Amy had.

She jogged over and handed him the ring, taking a quick second to breathe.

"Just one more, Bec, then you can breathe," Luke told her, before taking off with the fourth ring.

"If I don't die I might kill him," she muttered as she turned and ran back to the pool.

She jumped in and sunk to the bottom, turning in every direction in search of her last ring. They pool floor was still littered with rings of all colors, but there was only one left for her. A glance behind her told her Chloe was also searching for her last ring, and a whoosh nearby brought Calamity to the bottom of the pool with them.

Fuck. Beca started frantically swimming along the bottom looking for her final ring, surfacing quickly before resuming the search. Her only saving grace as Lilly and Stacie joined the three of them was that they all seemed to be having trouble. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted yellow, swimming as fast as she could over to it and grabbing the ring from a multicolored pile. Beca kicked off from the bottom knowing she was the first to locate her final ring, shouting, "Luke! I got it!"

Luke yelled back, "Get your ass outta that pool! Hurry up! Calamity's right behind you!"

Fuck. Beca climbed over the edge of the pool, her muscles screaming at her from overexertion. She was definitely going to pay for this tomorrow, and hoped the date included a massage. She handed the ring over to Luke about three seconds before Calamity passed her ring to Tom, watching in relief as Luke raced over and was the first to hang it on the correct hook.

"Thank fucking God," Beca gasped, collapsing onto Luke's yellow mat and rolling onto her back, pulling the goggles off and threw them somewhere far away.

Luke was back seconds later, ignoring her protests as he pulled her to her feet and into a hug that lifted her clear off the ground.

"Fuck yeah, Becs! You killed that challenge!"

Calamity and Tom weren't as enthusiastic with their celebration, but both looked equally pleased about winning a date out of the house.

Luke set her feet back on the ground in time to see Chloe climb out of the pool, Beca's heart falling as quickly as it had rose in elation at the sight of Chicago sprinting to hang the ring up and finish in third place. Chloe barely looked winded as she shrieked in happiness, her hands in the air as he returned to hug her as well.

Luke sighed, whispering in her ear, "Odds of a group date are slim since the last one was."

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" Beca murmured, looking away from the pair.

"I mean… yeah, kinda," Luke gave her a hopeful, crooked smile.

Gail's voice cut through the noise, shouting, "That's it! We have our three winners!"

That must have been the signal to stop filming as the crew swarmed around the entire group with towels while the cameras all retreated into the background for a break.

Beca sat down in a chair after an assistant handed her a towel, wiping her face and rubbing it over her hair. She was still catching her breath from the challenge, looking up at Luke watching her patiently.

"What?"

He smiled, saying, "I just wanted to say thanks, Bec. I know that challenge was hard and you didn't have to keep pushing to win the getaway date…"

Beca rolled her eyes as he trailed off. "Dude, stop it. You've been an amazing friend to me and I know how badly you needed this one. I might not be able to move on our date tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to getting some time away from the house and there's no one else I'd rather go with."

"Except maybe…"

"Shut your stupid mouth."

Luke laughed and motioned zipping his lips. Beca shook her head, knowing that his playful antics were one of the reasons they got along so well. She was a bit surly and he simply pushed right past it, bringing the smile out in her.

It was about an hour before they were ready to resume the shoot, the crew needing a short break after the craziness of trying to capture the challenge from all angles and the women needing time to recover and dry off a little so they didn't look like drowned rats.

Eventually they were all gathered near the board with the rings hanging from it, Gail standing off to the side waiting for her cue to begin. Beca could see CR talking over a few things with a few of the crew, finally retreating out of the shot so they could begin again.

Gail's expression morphed into her camera-ready smile, and she turned to face the group more fully before speaking.

"That was an exciting challenge, guys! Everyone did great! As you know, the first three pairs to have five rings on their hook win the getaway date… so congratulations to Beca and Luke who finished in first place!"

Beca and Luke grinned and hugged while the rest of the group clapped for them.

"The next couple going on the getaway date is Tom and Calamity," she paused for more applause, "And the final couple getting out of the house tomorrow is Chicago and Chloe!"

Beca felt her chest tighten at their names, praying with her entire being that the dates were separate.

"Are you guys ready to find out what you'll be doing?" Gail asked teasingly, knowing the entire group was waiting for the news. It was one of the few pieces of information they weren't given before shooting to help get an authentic reaction.

Gail smiled at the excited and curious replies from the group, announcing, "You three couples are going for a ride on board the Mai Tai express! You'll be sipping cocktails on a private train ride through one of the oldest plantations on the island!"

Beca plastered a happy smile on her face as the group cheered loudly, knowing that the challenge was one that any of them would be thrilled to win. The only thing on her mind was how she was going to be stuck on a stupid train with Chloe and Chicago for hours and that there weren't enough cocktails in the world to make it worth it. Luke's arm slipped around her shoulders attempting to provide some measure of comfort as Gail continued explaining.

"You'll also have a snack break with fruit and other appetizers to help soak up some of those Mai Tai's," Gail quipped, her smile still locked in place.

Beca turned and gave Luke a full hug, muttering into his chest, "Just kill me now. You so owe me for this."

He snickered, whispering back, "We'll just get super drunk and the whole thing will seem hilarious."

"Deal." Beca let go of him, spinning back around to see Gail now wearing a more serious expression.

"As for the rest of you, this is the time where I usually tell you to vote one of these couples into the Truth Booth tomorrow while they're out on their date, but I'm not going to do that."

The surprise was evident on everyone's faces at Gail's words. The Truth Booth was essential to them figuring out the perfect matches. There's no way they could figure it out without that information.

"After the last matchup, I decided you guys needed a little extra help," Gail informed them, her expression turning slightly mischievous. "So, we're going to shake things up a bit with a twist. Voting for the Truth Booth will begin immediately following this challenge and stay open until the regular time tomorrow and everyone is allowed to cast a vote. Also, instead of having to vote in one of the winning couples, I will allow you to vote for ANY of the couples that competed in the challenge today, win or lose."

Beca knew her mouth fell open a bit, recognizing what a massive advantage this was. Her first thought was that while the natural inclination should have been to vote for Chicago and Chloe from the three winning couples, they had a golden opportunity to vote in DJ and Lilly. They were so convinced they were a perfect match that Beca desperately wanted to see if it was true. Also if they weren't a match, neither had any other real prospects or connections in the house. It would be a nightmare scenario.

"So, armed with that information…" Gail trailed off, smile back in place, "Get back to the house and think long and hard about who you want to see go into that Truth Booth tomorrow. I'll see you guys tomorrow night for the results."

CR shouted out, "Okay guys, start slowly walking back towards the house!"

The group nodded and did as directed. Beca fell into step with Luke, muttering, "We have to convince people to vote for DJ and Lilly."

He nodded, shooting her a serious glance. "I'm in."


"House meeting! Everyone get your flat butts to the couch now!" Fat Amy yelled through the house, before opening the back door and shouting it to everyone in the yard.

It didn't take long for everyone to assemble in the living room, piling onto the couch with a few sprawling out on the carpet.

Unicycle spoke first, "This is a golden opportunity. We can't waste this Truth Booth."

"I think you've lost the right to run the show," Calamity scoffed, still clearly sore about the guys fuck up at the last matchup.

He looked ready to argue, but Chicago stepped in. "She's right, okay? We fucked it all up, so let's see what the ladies think."

Beca hated that she completely agreed with him, happy that he not only owned up to their mistake but also acknowledged that the women deserved to be heard first. One look at the approval in Chloe's eyes had the feeling vanish, leaving a sour taste in her mouth that she fought to keep from being obvious on her face.

Instead, she took the opportunity to go to bat for her friend. Standing up, she said confidently, "I think it needs to be DJ and Lilly."

Chicago's support vanished as quickly as her appreciation for his initial words. "We literally just said we can't waste this Truth Booth."

Beca glared at his dismissive tone. "Hey, asshole, maybe if you were paying attention you would see that they are the strongest couple left in the house."

Luke jumped up as well, holding his hand up before Chicago could respond. "Hold on, let's see if we can have a reasonable discussion without everything going to hell," he said diplomatically, imploring Beca with his gaze to sit down.

She nodded, her lips forming a thin line as she sat down and gestured for him to continue.

"That being said," Luke continued, "I agree with Beca. DJ and Lilly have been saying for weeks they think they're a perfect match. Even if you don't think they are, we need to find out one way or another. Think about how much it fucks everything up if they aren't."

The group was silent at that, Zeke eventually offering his opinion. "I get what you're saying, but I think the most logical couple to vote in would be Chloe and Chicago."

Donald finally had enough, retorting, "Why? Because they look the most conventional?"

"I didn't say that," Zeke answered defensively, holding his hands up. "Just my opinion."

"You guys have been dismissive of Lilly and I this entire time," Donald spat. "I'm telling you… we are a perfect match."

Bumper chimed in, "I could see either couple being a match. Personally I'd lean towards voting in Chloe and Chicago, but I'm also fine if the group decides on DJ and Lilly."

"You know, ultimately we can vote for any couple we want," Kommissar offered. "Sure we can sit down like this one big happy family, but no one is forced to go along with any one couple. What if we just all vote for who we want and see what happens."

Uni rolled his eyes, "Because that's wasting this chance! We need to vote in a couple that has been shit at challenges… like Aubrey and Jesse."

Jesse glared at the other man, "Hey, fuck you dude. Aubrey and I could have been voted into the Truth Booth once already. We could definitely win another challenge."

Fat Amy's voice rose loudly above the other murmurs starting to grow, "Look, it's a solid point. Not that you won't win another challenge, but that you two should go into the booth. Aubrey and Jesse have been paired up for weeks now. I think we should vote them in."

Several voices rose in opposition to that idea, making Beca run her fingers through her hair and look helplessly at Luke. He shook his head, returning to his seat beside her.

"I don't think we're gonna have much luck deciding on a consensus," Luke sighed, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees.

As she looked around at the arguments growing progressively louder, Beca knew he was right.


Beca smirked as she spun the liquor bottle in her hand before expertly pouring the exact amount into the glass before her. Donald and Luke were cheering her on, but she was getting the most satisfaction from the impressed looks on Stacie and Tom's faces. By this point in the evening Beca was convinced that nothing she could do would ever impress Lilly… and that was okay.

She finished mixing the drink, completing Donald's challenge of showing off as much as possible while doing it. Beca slid the glass down the countertop so it stopped in front of him, shooting him a wink.

"You brave enough to taste it?"

Stacie nudged him out of the way, taking the glass and downing it like a shot.

"Damn, Bec… that's fucking good," Stacie praised, licking her lips.

Luke crowed, "She passes! DJ, that means you gotta go streaking through every room of the house!"

Donald didn't seem to mind, bragging, "Piece of cake, bro."

Beca started laughing as he theatrically stripped his shirt off, pouring him a quick shot to take before he began.

"One for the road, DJ!" she winked, watching him throw it back with ease.

He stripped down to his boxers and looked around, Beca expecting him to take off at a moments notice. Instead he locked onto Lilly and grabbed her, dipping her low and kissing her deeply. The second she was back on her feet he dropped his boxers and took off running out of the kitchen, shouting something at the top of his lungs.

Beca glanced at Lilly who looked smug, only waiting a moment before taking off after him.

Stacie laughed hysterically at the series of events, commenting, "The boom boom room is definitely occupied tonight! Guess we'll have to find a new spot, Tommy."

Beca glanced at Luke, mouthing, 'Tommy?'

He shook his head, his expression matching her confused and disturbed one.

Beca looked away as someone entered the kitchen, locking eyes with Chloe.

"Hey, Bec… why is DJ running around naked and blaming you for it?" Chloe asked curiously, a small smile on her face.

Beca shrugged, exchanging a grin with Luke. "No idea."

"Mm hmm," Chloe chuckled. "You two are trouble."

"Whatever," Luke scoffed, "It was Stacie's idea in the first place."

Beca laughed at Stacie flipping him off, clearly not impressed with how quickly Luke threw her under that bus before going back to making out with Tom.

Chloe shook her head at the scene, finally turning back to Beca. "Can we talk for a sec?"

Beca hesitated, unsure it was a good idea. The last time she and Chloe spoke one on one hadn't ended well, and now Beca was only more aware of her growing attraction to the redhead. Unfortunately, she didn't have a good reason to decline.

"Yeah, sure. Uh.. Let's go outside, yeah? I know for a fact it's streaker free out there," Beca joked, gesturing towards the back door.

They walked outside in silence, Beca glancing around when she realized none of the camera crews had followed them. They sat down beside each other on the back deck swing, Beca wondering which one would break the quiet that was growing more awkward for her by the second.

"We haven't hung out much lately," Chloe started, glancing at her. "I miss it."

Beca wasn't sure what to say to that. Wracking her brain, she finally replied, "Yeah… I mean you've been kinda… doing your thing with Chicago…"

Chloe countered, "I can't remember the last time I saw you without Luke either."

"Fair," Beca admitted, knowing she'd been using Luke like a human shield, thankful he was more than willing to play the role.

"I know you said that you two aren't actually…"

Beca cut her off, "We aren't."

Chloe eyed her, her tone slightly disbelieving, "Come on, Bec. You don't have to hide it or whatever because Luke and I had something for a couple days."

Beca laughed, the idea of her and Luke as an actual couple too ridiculous for her to maintain a straight face. "Chloe, I swear to you… Luke and I are just friends. We've never… well, we've never done anything romantic or anything like that at all. Gross, dude. It'd be like kissing my brother."

Chloe smiled at that, the first true smile Beca had been the cause of in a while. "Don't call me dude."

"Fair," Beca said again, shooting the redhead a small smile. "If it doesn't bother you… me and Luke, why do you care?"

There was a long pause before Chloe finally murmured, "I didn't say it didn't bother me."

Beca felt her chest tighten, Luke's words flooding her mind and making her wonder if he knew something she didn't. She had to know, despite being terrified to ask the question.

"Why… why does it bother you?"

Chloe didn't answer immediately again, finally saying, "Because if you two know you aren't a match then you're probably messing everything up for the rest of the house."

Right, of course. Beca couldn't deny that her answer felt like the hope that had blossomed only moments ago immediately morphed into a lead weight in the center of her stupid million dollars that only became a reality if they got ten perfect matches. Beca knew Chloe didn't really care too much about the money, but she did care that everyone in the house was legitimately trying to find their match because she was a decent person. Not like Beca who went and developed stupidly strong crushes on someone she could never have.

"Yeah… right… stupid of us really," Beca mumbled, standing up abruptly from the swing.

Chloe reached out and gently grabbed her wrist. "I'm sorry… I didn't mean that."

Beca met her gaze, recognizing the regret in her eyes but unable to do anything with her grip burning her skin. She slowly eased out of Chloe's hold, feeling the hurt expression on the redhead's face as if she was the one in pain.

"I'm sorry too," Beca said, shaking her head as she looked out across the pool. "I know I've been weird, but I did warn you," she joked, trying to lighten the mood a little.

Chloe let out a soft laugh, nodding in agreement. "True, you did."

Neither of them said anything for a long minute, Beca contemplating sitting back down on the swing beside Chloe when the back door flung open and Chicago stepped through it. His head swiveled around before his gaze locked on Chloe, striding over to her and sitting down beside her on the swing.

"Hey Chlo, I was looking for you everywhere," he grinned, resting his arm casually around her shoulders before looking at Beca. "Beca."

Beca didn't hesitate, nodding at his entrance and turned to walk back inside.

"Bec, wait," Chloe called out, making her stop.

She half-turned to see Chicago leaning in to whisper something into Chloe's ear, knowing it was time for her to go despite the conflicted look on the redhead's face.

"I'll leave you two alone," she said in what she prayed was a casual tone, before turning her back on the couple and heading back inside the house.


Beca and Luke were the first couple standing outside in front of the house waiting for the van to arrive to drive them to the challenge, alongside about fifteen to twenty crew members and production assistants. As she had expected, her body ached from the physical exertion she'd put it through during the challenge yesterday, completely grateful that their date would consist of simply sitting on a train and sipping cocktails. Nothing sounded better to her, even if Chloe and Chicago were also on that train.

"How many people do you guys need to film us all riding on a train?" Luke asked one of them.

The guy shrugged, "Way above my pay grade dude."

Beca chuckled, knowing they weren't getting a legitimate answer from any of them. CR would join them eventually and she was probably the only one with information they could trust. Most of these guys were responsible for filming and the tech side of things.

Tom and Calamity were the next ones to stroll outside, coming to a stop beside them holding coffee in plastic to-go cups.

"Where are Chicago and Chloe?" Calamity asked, looking around.

Beca didn't answer, having no idea and not wanting to think too hard about it.

"Dunno," Luke responded for them. "Not like we can go anywhere anyways without a ride.

"True," Tom agreed, sipping from his cup. "I'm looking forward to this… getting out of the house for a relaxing day."

"I would have thought you'd rather stay here with Stacie," Calamity teased, her voice light.

Tom laughed, "Stace and I are good. She's actually jealous. Besides, we still have to figure out who our perfect matches are… so I'm looking forward to getting to know you better," he replied to Calamity. "We haven't talked much."

Calamity nodded, "Yeah, me too. Maybe we can find a more private corner on the train ," she finished with a playful wink.

Beca was distracted from their conversation as Chloe and Chicago walked outside to join them, thankfully not holding hands. It was a little early in the morning for her to feel nauseous. They all chatted lightly about what the date would be like for a few minutes until a couple of vans pulled up the driveway.

CR came striding out of the house followed by a production assistant, one of the normal ones that could be seen shadowing her during the shoots.

"Okay guys, let's go," CR instructed, all business even at this early hour. "The three couples in the first van with Rob's crew and everyone else in the second. Rob, you good?"

One of the other producers nodded and began getting his people together while the six of them piled into the van. Beca and Luke ended up the last row, with Chloe and Chicago in front of them and Calamity and Tom in the second row. The first row of the fifteen-passenger van was for the crew so they could film some of the ride if anything interesting were to happen. After her last van ride, Beca was determined not to say a single word.

It was about an hour before they pulled up to the plantation, CR guiding their group towards where the train would arrive to pick them up. Beca was stunned to see actual train tracks, expecting it to be more of a driving thing than a real railroad.

CR gathered them together to explain how the day was going to work. "Okay, so the train will arrive in about thirty minutes. It'll take us another hour or so to get setup provided there are no delays or issues, and then the ride itself takes around three hours. There is a bartender on board that will be mixing the cocktails, and there's a stop about two hours in where we have a tent setup with food. Got it?"

They nodded, realizing they were going to be hanging out on this platform for at least an hour before anything happened.

"Good. We have breakfast coming in about ten," she added before walking away to address the crew.

Beca sighed, searching out the nearest bench and sitting down on it. "Might as well get comfortable," she said, glancing at Luke.

Tom nodded in agreement, "Yeah, it's definitely gonna be a minute before we go anywhere."


It was closer to two hours before the train ride got underway, CR requesting shots of them cheering and waving as the engine approached the platform. They had to practice since apparently they only had one shot at it and she wanted to make sure they had something usable. Thankfully they seemed to get it right, and were allowed to board the train.

There was a small bar set up in the car with a single bartender who introduced himself as Kai. The camera crews were jammed onto the train along with them for now, but CR promised they would stop and spread out amongst the several cars after things got going.

Beca quickly accepted a cocktail from Kai, sipping it before raising her eyebrows at Luke. "This is fucking good."

Luke got his own drink after a few minutes, clinking his glass with hers. "Cheers to a relaxing day away from the house."

Beca smiled, happy to drink to that. They sat down in one of the seats to enjoy the drinks and the view of the plantation slowly rolling by. It was truly gorgeous, and they had a good time commenting on all the different sights.

Much to her continued surprise, the group was getting along well during this first part of the ride. CR had instructed them to hang out in one big group for a short time, and thankfully no one seemed eager to cause drama. Beca noticed Chicago's gaze straying towards Calamity every so often, but Chloe was too distracted looking out of the car at the plantation to notice.

After about thirty minutes, CR had the train stop and separated them into their couples. Beca and Luke ended up in the very back of the train with a crew of their own and instructions to talk.

Beca rolled her eyes at that, retorting, "What would you like us to talk about?"

"Something that's not going to get me fired," the guy shot back, his tone patronizing.

Luke interrupted before Beca could say something she'd regret, "Okay, got it. Don't be a dick," he said to the guy behind the camera, shooting her a warning look to let it go.

Beca sighed, wracking her brain for something the crew would be able to use. "So… where is your head at?"

Luke shot her a confused look, asking, "You mean like who my perfect match is? I have no idea. Honestly, I could see it being you."

Beca smirked, "Seriously?"

"Hey, come on it's not that crazy of a thought," Luke argued playfully. "I mean look how well we vibe. Maybe on paper we looked perfect. You can't control chemistry."

"I guess," Beca shrugged. "Assuming it's not me… who do you think it is?"

Luke sighed, sipping his drink as he thought about his answer. "Maybe Aubrey?"

Beca almost choked on her drink at that answer, eyes going wide. "Aubrey?"

"I told you I like blondes," Luke replied pointedly. "And she's cool. And hot. Why are you looking at me like that?"

Beca fixed her face, "No, sorry. I just am so used to seeing her making heart eyes at Jesse that the visual threw me. I could see it."

Luke's eyes narrowed momentarily, before asking, "What about you? If Theo isn't your match… then who?"

"I have this fear that it's like… Uni," Beca admitted, adding after a moment, "Or Chicago. But that's mainly because I have no idea."

The producer assigned to them interrupted their conversation, his voice sounding irritated. "I'm gonna remind you guys that you're on a date. You're supposed to be into each other, not other people."

"Hey, we're not interested in each other," Beca shot back. "It's kinda hard to pretend to be on a date with someone you're not romantically invested in."

Luke grinned, "Don't hold back, Bec. Tell them how you really feel about me."

Beca shoved him, looking back to the producer. "Luke is the best guy in that house. I wish I felt that way about him because it's so easy… but I don't and neither does he."

The guy shook his head in frustration. "This is a wrap. We aren't gonna be able to use any of this. Let's shift to Tom and Calamity."

Beca watched in satisfaction as the crew moved to the opposite end of the car where the aforementioned couple seemed to be chatting easily in one of the seats.

"How are you doing with all this today?" Luke asked curiously, his eyes on the passing scenery.

"It's actually not as bad as I pictured," Beca answered honestly. "The strong drinks aren't hurting anything, though."

Luke nodded, "They are really good. You could learn a thing or two from him."

Beca scoffed, "Anything with this much fruit juice would taste good."

"That's probably true."

After a minute, Luke commented, "You notice that Chicago keeps eyeing Calamity?"

Beca nodded, "Actually, yes. I didn't realize anyone else picked up on it, but maybe he's being more obvious about it than I thought."

"It's ridiculous," Luke mused. "I have a feeling it's because she seems to be having a pretty good time with Tom… but she's also kinda encouraging it. I've seen her wink at him a few times when she catches him doing it."

"What's ridiculous is how Chloe is so oblivious to it all," Beca grumbled.

Luke hummed, "Chloe is a good person. She knows that Chicago and Calamity had a connection and probably assumes they remained friends. It's not like we actually know what he's telling her… unless you got some girl talk outta her at some point."

"You know I thought about it," Beca started, "But then I decided I didn't want to vomit that day and changed my mind."

Luke laughed, reaching his glass over to clink against hers. "Touché, Bec."

After a little while longer the train stopped again so they could all reconvene in the same car again, making it a little easier for the crew to shoot. They all chatted easily about random things… the plantation, the train ride, the cocktails, what the house was doing in their absence, and who they thought was going into the Truth Booth that evening.

The stopping and starting extended the train ride, and after closer to three hours they arrived at the little picnic area set up for them. Beca spotted a small table with food on it, her stomach suddenly rumbling at the smell of fresh fruit and roasted meat.

Luke voiced her thoughts, "Oh man that smells amazing!"

The train stopped and CR forced them all to wait until the crew disembarked and quickly got setup to film.

"I swear, no normal person would actually want to be on television if they knew how things really went down," Chloe said, looking longingly at the table of food. "It's a miracle people don't starve."

Beca agreed, "I'll definitely have some words to say anytime I hear the phrase, "It'd be so cool to be on TV."

"Totes," Chloe nodded, her tone serious enough to make Beca bite her lip to keep from laughing.

"Alright, you guys are good to go," CR called out. "Walk slowly over here, please!"

They got off the train one by one and walked over to the food table, the smells making Beca's mouth water for a decent meal.

"You guys have a few minutes to eat something before we're gonna want to get some reaction footage," CR informed them as the crew moved with them still filming.

Chicago ended up beside Calamity at the table, subtly whispering something into her ear as he pointed at something on the table.

"Dude, do you fucking mind?"

Beca froze at Tom's voice, his harsh words cutting through the chill vibe they'd had all day.

Chicago jumped back and spun around, looking to make sure that Tom was speaking to him. "Are you talking to me?"

Tom shot him a look Beca was sure should be reserved for the clinically insane. "Yeah, I'm talking to you. How about you focus on your own date?"

Chicago rolled his eyes, "I don't know what you're talking about, dude. I've been with Chloe this entire time."

"Yeah, okay. You might have been next to her, but you've been staring at Calamity all day. It's bad enough you two are still fucking around… can you at least let me try to have a conversation with her? Or would you rather just swap dates?"

Beca's jaw dropped, exchanging glances with Luke. "Holy shit," she murmured.

Luke remained frozen, his voice low as he responded, "Shit is about to hit the fan. It's not gonna be pretty."

Chloe's eyes narrowed, looking back and forth between Tom, Chicago, and Calamity. Her gaze finally settled on Chicago, her tone blistering. "You're still sleeping with her?"

Chicago winced, his eyes shooting daggers at Tom.

Calamity's usual smirk remained in place, asking Chloe, "You didn't know? We aren't being subtle about it…"

Tom's eyes widened in anger as he realized what was going on, shoving Chicago hard in the chest. "You fucking jackass! At least I was open about still having feelings for Stacie even though we aren't a match! At least I was honest about it to other people in the house! You're a fucking coward! Lying straight to her face and stringing her along because you don't have the balls to pick one or the other!"

Beca watched the scene unfold in disbelief, watching their date descend into complete chaos. Chicago regained his balance and shoved Tom back, shouting something about judgement that Beca didn't quite catch because her attention shifted the second Chloe fled the area.

Luke leaned in, speaking softly in her ear, "Go. She needs you right now."

Beca nodded, taking off after the redhead. Chloe had ran off towards the front of the train, and Beca's sore muscles screamed in protest as she tried to catch up.

"Chlo! Chloe, wait!" Beca called, knowing she'd never catch her unless Chloe slowed down.

Thankfully, she did at the sound of Beca's voice. They were out of sight of the rest of the group by the time Beca caught up to her, and it broke her heart a little to see the tears streaming down Chloe's face.

"Chlo… I'm so sorry," Beca said, not expecting for her to move into her space and hug her tightly. She tentatively wrapped her arms around Chloe's waist, hugging her back.

After a minute Chloe pulled away, swiping angrily at her eyes. She seemed to recover from feeling hurt and those feelings were quickly being overtaken by fury.

"This is fucking bullshit!" Chloe shouted, turning away from Beca. "I keep putting myself out there and of course the nice guy isn't my match and I end up with a fucking asshole!"

Beca stayed silent, letting her get it all out.

Chloe turned around, her eyes blazing again. "Maybe it's me. Maybe it's my fault. I should have seen it… Calamity said they weren't being subtle. He said they were still friends but that all that was over between them… and I believed him! Like an idiot I just believed that he was actually into me… why is it so fucking crazy for someone to like me?"

Beca shook her head, "It's not! It's not crazy at all. You deserve that."

"Do I? I came here because I fall too fast," Chloe admitted, shaking her head. "I dive in head first and get burned… I don't know why I thought coming here would be different. I… I was really starting to like him."

Beca held her tongue, not thinking it was the moment for her to remind Chloe of her thoughts on Chicago the whole time. Unfortunately for her, Chloe seemed to arrive at that conclusion herself.

"You're a good friend Beca… you tried to warn me…" Chloe trailed off, eyes suddenly focusing in on her. "You told me you didn't like him from the beginning… for no reason. You just didn't like him. Then you told me you didn't think he was my match… you've been avoiding me and we haven't talked much since I started getting to know him…"

Beca could feel this moment spiraling out of control, but she was helpless to stop Chloe's realization once she was on the right track.

"Bec.. Please tell me you didn't know," Chloe's voice had gone quiet. "Please don't tell me you knew and you didn't tell me he was lying to my face and cheating on me."

Beca didn't know what to say. She couldn't tell Chloe what she desperately needed to hear in this moment. Luke had told her to tell Chloe the truth, and she was paying the price for not taking advantage of that opportunity. The hurt expression on Chloe's face had her heart feeling like it was breaking all over again, her silence speaking louder than any words could.

"I thought… I thought I could trust you," Chloe sounded defeated, all the energy and frustration and anger ebbing away into sadness.

"You can," Beca insisted, trying to salvage something before it was too late. "I wanted to tell you, I swear…"

Chloe cut her off, some of the fire returning. "Then why didn't you?! What could possibly have kept you from being my friend?! What kind of friend lets someone they care about get cheated on?!"

"A bad one!" Beca shouted back, hating herself for keeping the truth from Chloe. "I just kept thinking about how supportive you were of me and Theo even though I think I knew all along you weren't crazy about him and I wasn't sure either… You were excited about Chicago and happy with him and I felt like I had to support you in that the way you supported me."

"Theo wasn't lying to you and cheating on you!" Chloe shouted back. "He was … is a decent guy! You let me keep dating an asshole!"

Beca let out a frustrated sigh, running her fingers through her hair. "I know! I fucking hate that guy! It just felt… selfish of me to tell you something that might end a relationship that you obviously cared about."

Chloe paused, taking that statement in for a moment. "Why would that make you selfish?"

"I… I don't know," Beca was scrambling now, realizing she'd said too much. "It just felt wrong. I know you really liked him and…"

"If you honestly thought I would want to be with someone lying to me and essentially cheating on me then you don't know me very well." Chloe crossed her arms over her chest, her words hitting Beca hard.

After a second, she realized she hadn't properly apologized yet. "Chlo… you're right. I should have told you. I'm sorry."

Chloe shook her head, "It's a little late for that… don't you think?"

Beca watched her turn and walk away back towards the group, letting her go until she was out of sight.

"You ready to head back?"

The voice came from somewhere behind her, scaring the shit out of her making her jump a foot in the air.

"What the fuck?!"

She spun around to see a guy holding a camera down by his side standing next to one of the producers. "We should be getting back," he said again, tilting his head at her as if he was completely unfazed at the conversation that had just happened.

Shaking her head at the pair of them, she muttered, "Yeah sure."


The rest of the date was awful. Gone was the chill vibe of simply sipping cocktails on a beautiful train ride, and instead it was replaced with awkward tension and silence. The producers didn't push them for anything since they'd gotten all the drama they could have prayed for and then some, allowing the side of them to simply sit quietly for the remainder of the train ride and the entire drive back to the house.

The gossip had spread like wildfire within a few minutes of arriving back at the house, with Luke finally pulling Beca into the STD Den for a moment of privacy.

"What the fuck happened, Bec?"

Beca shook her head, completely defeated. "I… she figured out that I knew and it went downhill from there. She hates me. I blew it, Luke. You were right…"

Luke wrapped her in a hug as she trailed off, tears gathering hot behind her eyes.

"Shit… I'm sorry Bec," he sighed, holding her tightly. "Maybe she just needs some time to process everything."

"You weren't there," Beca replied, her voice muffled against his chest. "You didn't see how she looked at me."

Luke hesitated, finally saying, "I have an idea. Maybe like she was hurt? Or even heartbroken?"

Beca pulled back, wiping the tears from her eyes as she tried to regain some composure. "Of course she was hurt! The guy she really liked was lying to her and cheating on her and no one told her. I can't even blame her for being pissed at me."

A loud banging on the door interrupted them. "Hey! We need to be downstairs right now! It's Truth Booth time!"

They exchanged glances before Luke swiftly moved and opened the door, coming face to face with Jesse who looked apologetic.

"Sorry for interrupting," he said sheepishly, but CR was pretty insistent when she sent me to get you guys."

Beca shot him a weak smile. "It's okay, Jesse. Nothing was happening… we just needed a minute after the shit that went down today."

He nodded, "I heard. Sounds intense."

Luke took a deep breath, slipping out of the room past him replying, "Understatement, dude."

Beca stepped out into the hallway, walking back to the living room with the pair of them. CR spotted her and Luke immediately, gesturing for them to go stand where the date couples usually lined up. Chloe, Chicago, Tom, and Calamity were already there, all looking uncomfortable and like they'd rather be standing much farther apart. Beca and Luke joined them just as Gail entered the room.

"Hey guys, it's Truth Booth time!" Gail said enthusiastically, and Beca detected a bit of sarcasm thrown in there as well since they weren't filming yet.

The rest of the group was getting settled into positions on the couch and floor while the crew finished their preparations. CR was finally satisfied with everything, moving away and gesturing to Gail to begin the shoot.

"Hey everyone… how're we doing tonight?" Gail's host voice and smile were flawless as she addressed them again.

The replies were mixed, most of them still processing what had happened during the date.

"Great, glad to hear it," Gail pressed on as if everything was fine. "How was the date today?"

None of them jumped to answer the question, Luke finally responding, "It was interesting."

Gail didn't let it go, looking at Chloe. "Chloe, you don't look happy right now…"

Chloe took a slow breath, answering carefully, "I learned a few things today, Gail. I thought Chicago and I were building something but it turns out he was with someone else the whole time."

Gail turned to the man in question, asking, "Chicago… that's a pretty heavy statement. Care to respond?"

Beca watched him squirm a little, feeling like a terrible person that she was enjoying him having to face the mess he'd gotten himself into.

"I wasn't as honest with Chloe as I should have been," Chicago finally answered. "Now I have to deal with the consequences of that."

Gail nodded, though Beca was surprised she didn't push the topic even more.

"As you guys know, I gave you a twist for this Truth Booth tonight," Gail began, looking around at the group. "Everyone got to vote this time, and that vote could be cast for any of the couples that were paired up in the challenge yesterday."

The group nodded as Gail paused, letting those words sink in.

"I will tell you… that this was the closest Truth Booth vote yet," she said, her tone turning a little more serious. "The difference between the top two couples was only a single vote."

The group looked around shocked at that, a few murmurs going around the room as they all wondered who ended up winning the vote.

"Now, if the couple that enters the Truth Booth is a perfect match, they will leave the house after the matchup tomorrow and spend the rest of their time here in the honeymoon suite getting that one on one time," Gail informed them, her smile back in place. "But if they aren't a match, they're both right back here in the house and you guys have wasted another chance to get closer to that million bucks."

Beca looked around nervously, praying that the group had listened and been smart enough to vote in Donald and Lilly. She knew she and Luke had voted for them, but no one else had been around yesterday when they voted. They were the only ones at this point that had a realistic shot at being a perfect match, and they desperately needed a morale boost after the last matchup ceremony.

"Alright, it's time to see who won this vote," Gail said dramatically. "The couple that you're sending to the Truth Booth is…"

Beca closed her eyes, heart beating out of her chest with the suspense of the moment.

"Donald and Lilly!"

Relief. Pure relief flooded her veins at Gail's announcement, opening her eyes to see the couples photos plastered across the television screen.

Gail looked around at the group, seeing half smiling and half looking disappointed.

"I see a lot of mixed reactions at this result," Gail commented, still looking around at all of them. "Jesse, did you vote for DJ and Lilly?"

Jesse nodded, "Yes, I think they are a match and I think they're the most important couple to put into the Truth Booth right now. They are so convinced they're a match that if we don't send them in and they aren't, it might cost us the million bucks."

Gail hummed, "I see your point. Kommissar, you look like you disagree?"

The blonde shrugged, "I think the most likely couple from the challenge yesterday is Chicago and Chloe. We didn't know things would explode on their date today, so I voted for them. They still could be a match… we just don't know."

Gail decided not to ask anyone else to explain themselves, instead turning to Donald and Lilly sitting next to each other on the couch.

"Well, it's time to find out if you guys took advantage of this opportunity," Gail said, gesturing towards the back door. "DJ, Lilly, it's time to head to the Truth Booth."

Beca locked eyes with Donald as he walked past them to the back door, shooting him an encouraging smile. He returned it, winking before turning and leaving the room.

Gail continued her usual explanation for the rest of the group. "When DJ and Lilly see the result come up in the Truth Booth, you all will see it at the same time on the screen here," she informed them, gesturing to the screen beside her. "Good luck… and I'll see you all tomorrow at the matchup."

They said goodbye to Gail as she walked out of the room, Beca turning to smile at Luke as they got set to wait for the results to come in.

"I can't believe they convinced enough people to vote for them," Beca muttered, thankful that the room had broken out into light chatter with Gail's exit.

Luke nodded, "I know, but I'm not complaining. I have a feeling that just because one vote separated them from Chloe and Chicago doesn't mean that everyone voted for one or the other. I think they were spread out… no one really had a good feeling about who to pick."

Beca agreed with him, adding, "I could definitely see a few people voting for Aubrey and Jesse."

"I could see people voting for us," Luke glanced around, then back at her to see the disbelief on her face. "What? They might be petty enough to do it to try and split us up by proving we aren't a match."

"That'd be the worst waste of this Truth Booth opportunity ever," Beca scoffed, just the idea of it pissing her off.

Luke laughed, "Well yeah, but you want to try and convince me it couldn't happen?"

Beca shook her head, "No, and that's why we probably won't have this shit figured out by the end."

Fat Amy's voice rose above the rest, shouting out, "All this waiting is making me thirsty. Who wants a drink?!"


"Everyone back in the living room! The results are coming in five!" CR's voice sounded out through the house, having them all scrambling to be where they were supposed to be in time.

Beca abandoned her drink in the kitchen and scurried to her place behind the couch next to Luke, knowing she couldn't be holding it in the shot anyways. Everyone had reassembled to CRs satisfaction and were waiting on the edge of their seats for the results. The screen flashed and Beca held her breath, heart racing once again in anticipation.

A black box appeared across the two photos and suddenly white letters spelled out "PERFECT MATCH!"

The room erupted, with several people screaming "I TOLD YOU!" while the other half looked on in surprised disbelief and joy. Beca was one of the ones shrieking as she turned and jumped on Luke, his grin spurring her happiness on.

"Hell yeah bitches! Another perfect match!" Fat Amy yelled, raising her glass that she'd somehow sneaked in from the kitchen. "We're getting drunk tonight!"

"Guess they were right after all," Chicago admitted, a smile on his face at their second confirmed match.

The group was hugging and exchanging high fives, everyone suddenly happy about how the vote had gone. They didn't have to wait too long before DJ and Lilly came charging back through the door.

"I FUCKING TOLD YOU… YOU ASSHOLES DIDN'T BELIEVE ME!" Donald yelled, his fist raised in the air in celebration. "I knew we were a match."

The group mobbed the pair of them with hugs and more congratulations, all of them thrilled for the couple and what it meant for their chances of winning the money.

Beca squeezed her way in to give him a hug, shouting, "Congrats dude! I believed you all the way. You guys are gonna have the best time in the honeymoon suite!"

DJ grinned at her, squeezing her back and lifted her off the ground. "I know, but I'm definitely gonna miss chillin' with you, Bec! We better stay friends after this!"

"Dude, don't even worry about it," Beca promised. "Friends forever."

They were slightly pulled apart as the party got started, someone finding the speakers and blasting music through the room. It didn't take long for the entire group to start drinking and dancing and celebrating their second perfect match. Beca grinned watching Donald and Lilly get shoved into the middle of a circle, deciding to make out instead of dance while everyone around them cheered.

A tap on her shoulder had her spinning around to find herself face to face with Chloe, looking at her apologetically.

"Can we talk?"

Beca nodded, not trusting herself not to ruin this chance by opening her mouth. She followed Chloe through the kitchen and upstairs to the STD Den of all places, recognizing that the redhead didn't want to be interrupted. They walked inside and locked the door behind them, Chloe immediately moving deeper into the room before turning to look at her.

"I owe you an apology, Bec," Chloe began, her tone sincere. "I took out my frustration at Chicago… and really this entire experience out on you today and that wasn't fair of me."

Beca shook her head, countering, "No way… Chloe, you had every right to be pissed at me for not telling you about what he was doing. I wanted to, I swear… all of my reasons for keeping quiet seem so stupid now."

Chloe gave her a small smile, replying, "Bec, I get it. I wasn't crazy about Theo but I never said anything about him to you either. This whole situation is… a lot."

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Beca couldn't help but stare at Chloe, allowing herself a moment or two of weakness. God she was gorgeous. All the guys in this house were morons.

"I'm not sure what I really expected from this experience, but it definitely hasn't gone the way I thought it would," Chloe admitted, looking slightly more vulnerable. "I thought I'd connect with a few people and eventually figure out my perfect match and realize why the show thought we'd be good together… maybe get a relationship out of all this insanity."

Beca stayed silent, listening to her thoughts thinking they sounded very logical.

"But nothing was how I expected it from the moment I arrived… to be honest," Chloe met her gaze, letting out a small laugh. "I guess that would have been too easy."

"Nothing about this has been easy," Beca replied easily, laughing briefly with her.

Chloe shook her head, "No, it hasn't been. I've.. I've honestly only really connected with two people since I got here."

Beca suddenly felt tension flood the room at the way Chloe was looking at her. Her heart started to beat faster in her chest as Chloe stepped forward, closing the distance between them.

"Yeah?" She asked weakly, desperately trying to get control over herself before she did something stupid.

"Yeah," Chloe confirmed, stepping closer again. "I really thought Chicago and I were clicking, but he's a total asshole and I want nothing to do with him even if he ends up being my perfect match."

Beca tripped slightly over her words as she responded, "Yeah, well… that makes sense. So… that just leaves the other person."

Chloe nodded in agreement. "You. It leaves you, Bec. I felt a connection with you the moment we met. I tried to ignore it at first because I didn't think you felt it, but… something tells me you do."

Beca's heart felt frozen in her chest from the second Chloe's first word left her lips. Chloe liked her! Chloe actually had feelings for her the way Beca had feelings… ones that were strong and real and impossible to ignore. It was all way too much to process so quickly, and Beca felt like her brain was exploding with all the different thoughts running through it.

Chloe's eyes went a little wide, taking a quick step back. "God… I'm such an idiot. Of course you don't have feelings for me, you're here for a guy and… can we please just forget every…."

Beca stepped forward and connected their lips, once again not trusting herself to fix the situation by speaking. Chloe had taken her complete and utter surprise for rejection, and she couldn't let the redhead think for one more second that Beca didn't share her feelings and then some.

Beca pulled back, taking a breath only for Chloe to kiss her again, sliding both arms around her neck to pull her closer. She'd never felt anything like this before, wondering if anyone would notice if they stayed hidden away in this room making out for the rest of the night. Chloe's lips were soft and moved with hers as if they'd been made just for her, and although Beca never wanted to stop kissing her she knew she had a few words left to say.

Slowly pulling back, Beca murmured, "I'm so into you… I didn't think you would ever feel that way about me, but God I'm so fucking glad you do."

Chloe laughed softly, resting her forehead against Beca's, admitting, "I was attracted to you the second I saw you. Getting to know how amazing of a person you are only made it worse."

Beca kissed her again at that admission. Hearing that Chloe had liked her from the first day proving too much for her to contain herself.

"Please keep doing that," Chloe muttered when the parted for air.

"Interrupting you?" Beca asked playfully, leaning in only to brush her lips against Chloe's jaw.

"If that's how you're going to do it, interrupt me whenever you want," Chloe's voice was low and teasing and it drew her in until Beca nipped at her bottom lip.

Eventually they parted and Beca took a step back, knowing that putting some distance between them was the only way they would be able to have a conversation.

"So… uh, what happens now?" Beca asked, reverting to her usual awkward self. "I just mean… it's not like we can go out there and spend the rest of the show as a couple."

Chloe looked thoughtfully at her, finally asking, "I mean, do you want to be a couple?"

Beca hesitated, realizing exactly why she'd chosen not to speak earlier. "Um, well I do, but…" she paused at the look on Chloe's face, knowing she needed to speed things up and get to the point. "I'm not out, Chlo. No one knows I'm bisexual."

Chloe's expression morphed into one of understanding. "Okay, I get that. Are you… do you think you'll tell people after the show?"

"Yeah," Beca nodded confidently. "I kinda just don't want my family to find out another way. I want to tell them."

"Will they care?" Chloe asked, now looking concerned. "They aren't homophobic or anything, are they?"

"No! No, they won't care," Beca assured her. "I just want them to hear it from me. I know the show won't air for a while, but I want to make sure I tell them and my mom is kinda in Africa for the foreseeable future." After a moment, she added, "I also don't think the show is going to be okay with us getting together."

Chloe thought about that for a moment, eventually agreeing with her. "I think you're right. We're here to find our perfect match in one of the guys, not fall for each other. I'm not crazy about the idea, but I think we'll have to keep it a secret until we're done filming."

Beca nodded, "I think so, too. But it's gonna be really hard now that I know you want to kiss me back."

Chloe smirked, stepped back into her space and kissed her again. "I definitely want to kiss you back."

"We can do this," Beca said, despite sounding very unsure of herself.

Chloe picked up on it immediately, teasing, "Are you trying to convince me or you?"

"Both… probably mainly me." Beca didn't try to hide the fact she wasn't sure how well keeping their secret would go on her end. "Don't hate me if I keep avoiding you a little. It's been hard enough keeping my feelings under control not knowing you feel the same way…"

Chloe's hands landed on her hips, gently pulling her closer until they were flush against each other. "You have no idea."

Beca countered, "I definitely have an…"

It was Chloe's turn to cut her off, lips pressing firmly against her own making her realize why Chloe didn't mind being interrupted this way.

After a minute Chloe pulled back, smirking at her. "Should we get back before they start to wonder where we are?"

Beca hummed thoughtfully, leaning in for another kiss.

"Five more minutes."


The next day getting ready for the matchup went about as well as Beca thought it would. It was next to impossible to not gravitate towards Chloe, and found the redhead looking her way just as much as she got caught staring herself. Luke even nudged her at one point, whispering for her to be careful if she didn't want the entire group and crew to find out about her problem.

Instead of trying and failing to be in the same room as Chloe, Beca escaped to one of the pool chairs next to Jesse. They chatted easily about their lives back home and their likes and dislikes, a few hours passing by without her even noticing until Stacie yelled at them to come get ready for the matchup.

Jesse continued to surprise her every time they talked, realizing they had a lot in common. Beca hadn't put a lot of thought lately into who her actual match was, but she was starting to dread it might really be Theo. The fact that she connected better with Jesse than she thought she would gave her a bit of positive thinking that Theo wasn't her only legitimate option at this point.

She pointedly ignored watching as Chloe got ready for the matchup, slipping into a dress that should be fucking illegal. It was fitted in all the right places, still classy but also showing an eyeful of cleavage… not that Beca was looking. At all.

Instead she made small talk with Stacie and Fat Amy, sidestepping any questions about who she was going to choose tonight until the blonde cornered her aggressively.

"Out with it shortstack! I wanna know if man candy Luke is up for grabs or not."

Beca rolled her eyes, replying, "I mean, I was planning on picking him. We don't have the physical chemistry, but we've clicked on every other level since day one. It's not that far of a stretch."

Kommissar shook her head. "Sorry, Beca… but you two aren't a match. You should think about picking someone else."

"I'll think about it," Beca offered, knowing that she was definitely picking Luke if he was still single when her turn came.

"I think they could be a match," Chloe chimed in, showing her support. "It's not as crazy as you and Bumper."

Kommissar nodded in agreement, "Fair point. Although I'm not sure he's my match either. I think I'm picking Uni tonight."

"Really?" Calamity asked curiously. "Why?"

"I haven't sat with him before and I have a feeling I haven't sat with my match at a matchup yet," Kommissar answered simply. "Plus, none of us think he's their match so…"

Beca muttered, "Because he hasn't bothered to try to connect closely with anyone here."

Aubrey heard her, adding, "I agree with Beca. He's treating this like one big vacation while pushing everyone else to find their match. It's annoying."

"Process of elimination," Lilly said, stunning everyone into silence. "If everyone else figures out their match, he will too."

They looked around, still a little surprised since Lilly hadn't said much for the entire time she'd been in the house.

"I mean… she's not wrong," Beca shrugged. "Are you all packed and ready to move out?"

Lilly nodded, her lips stretching into a grin. "I can't wait to be alone with DJ… there are some things I'd like to do to him that no one else can be around for."

Beca's eyes went wide, unable to help exchanging glances with Chloe who looked equally disturbed.

"And that's more than I ever wanted to know about their time in the honeymoon suite," Flo shook her head. "I'll never get those words out of my head."

Beca silently agreed, wondering if she could just go back in time a minute or two and not ask that question.

The group was finally ready, traipsing downstairs as a group to find the boys in the kitchen already holding shots. The ladies each grabbed a glass sitting on the counter top, looking around to see who would make a toast.

"To our second perfect match!" Luke called out, adding over the cheers, "And to our best matchup ceremony yet!"

Everyone shouted their approval and downed the shots, Beca wincing slightly at the taste of whiskey. They had a fully stocked bar at all times, but usually the pre-matchup ceremony shots were either tequila or vodka. The Jack Daniel's seemed a bit much for this moment.

They walked over to the stage area for the matchup, the guys getting seated while the girls waited so the crew could film them walking in. It took a couple tries as a few of them stumbled a bit when they got too close to each other. Lilly was still with them, CR having informed everyone that Gail would begin the matchup by congratulating them on their second perfect match and telling Lilly to go join Donald.

Gail was waiting for them with her usual smile, welcoming them as they walked in and got into place on the small platform.

"Hey everyone! Welcome to your sixth matchup ceremony!" Gail greeted them, her tone positive as she continued, "Let me first welcome back your first confirmed perfect match, Benji and Emily!"

The group erupted into cheers and applause, Jesse reaching over to high five Benji from his chair.

Gail had a teasing glint in her eye when she asked, "Did you guys christen your own version of the Boom Boom Room?"

Beca bit back a laugh at the name, still unable to believe people could say it with a serious face. She glanced at Emily who's face had turned bright red.

"No, Gail, we're still waiting to have sex," Benji answered, not seeming bothered by it at all despite the few sarcastic boo's thrown their way from a few of the guys.

"Are you enjoying your quiet time together?" Gail tried again, clearly hoping for a positive answer.

Emily nodded, "It's been amazing."

"Well, before we kick things off we have a little surprise for you guys," Gail began, holding up two fingers as she continued, "We have our second confirmed perfect match!"

She turned to the ladies standing on the platform and announced, "Lilly, why don't you go ahead and join your man over there!"

Lilly grinned and walked over to sit with Donald, while Benji and Emily beamed at the group and cheered along with them.

"Nice job, guys!" Benji called out, looking around at the group. "We knew you guys could do it."

Gail laughed, reminding him, "They aren't quite done yet. You guys still have eight more matches to find." Directing her next question at Donald and Lilly, she asked, "You two see how happy these guys are… are you excited to get to the honeymoon suite?"

Donald grinned and said, "Let's just say we aren't afraid to christen every room of our suite."

That answer was exactly what Gail was looking for, met with cheers and howls from the rest of the group.

"I guess that answers that," she laughed with a nod of approval. "We'll all be excited to check in with you guys next week and see how it's going. In the meantime, right now it's time for another matchup and another shot at one million dollars."

They automatically clapped and cheered at the mention of the money, Bumper repeating the phrase the way Gail always said it drawing a few laughs.

"Now if you guys all choose your match correctly, you're gonna leave here rich in love and money… but, if just one of you gets it wrong then you're not ten for ten and it's back to the house to start again."

Gail let that sink in for a moment, before adding, "And if you fail to get any new matches, that's a blackout and your prize will instantly drop by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

The mumbles and groans sounded out at that, Beca knowing that none of them wanted to blackout. The idle chatter that had flowed while the ladies were getting ready had her encouraged though, believing that their chances of blacking out tonight were pretty slim.

"Tonight, it's the ladies turn to choose," Gail instructed, turning her body to fully face the women. "When I call your name, step on up here and choose your perfect match. You two will then place your palms on the handprint touchpad, locking you in as a couple."

CR walked purposefully out into the set, bringing the proceedings to a screeching halt.

"Sorry guys, we're having some technical difficulties. Gail, we're gonna have to shoot the entire opening sequence again."

This time the groans were real, Beca sighing as CR directed them to start over with walking into the stage. It wasn't a good sign if they were having technical issues this early on in the shoot. They made it halfway through the introduction this time before CR cut it off again, but at least they could pick up where they left off and didn't have to redo everything.

It took over two hours before Gail announced the first name, making Beca wonder if they would finish on time. It hadn't happened yet, but she was sure that it must have happened at least once with how many seasons of the show existed.

"First up for the ladies tonight… is Kommissar!"

Beca watched the blonde stride confidently up to the podium, wondering what it must take to feel that comfortable anywhere.

"How are you going tonight?" Gail asked, starting her off with a softball question.

"I'm great, Gail," Kommissar gave her a wide smile.

Gail played along, "Glad to hear it! How has your week in the house been?"

"It's been good. We got another confirmed match and I think we're all riding that high into the matchup tonight."

"Who can blame you?" Gail quipped, continuing, "Kommissar, who is your perfect match?"

Kommissar turned to face the guys, announcing, "My perfect match is Uni."

Beca almost busted out laughing at the surprised look on the man's face as he got up and joined Kommissar at the podium.

"Uni, you look a little shocked to be standing up here," Gail teased him, the stunned look taking longer to wear off than he must have anticipated.

Breaking into an easy smile, he nodded, "Yeah, I mean… I didn't even realize Kommissar liked me at all, so…"

Kommissar shook her head, "I don't."

Gail pounced on that opportunity, asking, "Then why did you choose him?"

"I don't think he has done a good job of trying to find his match so far, and I also don't think I've found mine yet either," Kommissar explained. "So maybe we're a match."

"Alright then," Gail seemed at a loss for words, something that didn't happen often to the seasoned host. "Kommissar, Unicycle, it's time to lock in as a couple."

Beca watched as they placed their hands on the touchpad and locked in, walking awkwardly together back to the empty chair. She turned her attention back to Gail, hoping her turn was next.

"Next up is Flo!"

Flo looked pleasantly surprised to be called so early, having gone closer to the end in most of the matchups. Beca shifted slightly, glancing around as Flo slowly walked to the podium.

"Hi Flo! You looked happy to be called so early," Gail observed.

Flo nodded, "Yes, usually I only have a few of the guys still left to choose from. It's nice to have a wider selection."

Gail grinned, "Are you going to shake things up a little tonight since you have your pick of these gentlemen?"

"Maybe," Flo teased. "I don't think people will expect this."

"It's time to find out," Gail kept the conversation going. "Flo, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Bumper."

Beca's jaw dropped at that, unable to help herself. Of all the random pairings they'd seen in the challenges and Truth Booth's and matchups, this one had to take the cake. This was weirder to her than when Flo paired up with Theo or the first time Bumper had called Kommissar's name or last time when Donald didn't pick Lilly. The lack of a reaction was telling, most people stunned into silence the way Beca had been.

Bumper seemed delighted at being chosen, sauntering up to the podium to stand beside Flo.

"Bumper, you don't look as surprised as everyone else," Gail commented with a laugh.

"Oh I am, but I'm also digging it," Bumper answered, smiling at Flo. "Flo is great and obviously gorgeous… I'm honored to stand up here with her tonight."

Gail turned to Flo, asking, "Why did you pick Bumper?"

Flo didn't hesitate, answering, "Bumper and I had a really nice conversation a few weeks ago when the drama went down on our date excursion with Tom and Stacie, and we've followed it up with little chats here and there. He's loud and outgoing but there's also a really sensitive side in there that I love. There's more to him than meets the eye."

Bumper didn't seem as thrilled about Flo outing him as a sensitive soul, but his smile remained in place as the group responded with aww's and clapping and catcalls from a few of the guys.

"I'm glad you two have clicked a little bit," Gail responded, looking between the pair of them. "Flo, Bumper, please lock in.

Beca was desperate for a break to pull Chloe aside and gossip like crazy about how this matchup was turning out. Or maybe Luke, since she wasn't sure she trusted herself to keep her hands to herself with the way Chloe looked in that dress. Yeah, Luke was a safer choice.

"Alright ladies, next up is Fat Amy!" Gail announced, looking over at them on the platform.

Beca felt her stomach drop a little as the blonde sauntered up to the podium and immediately began chatting with Gail. She knew she'd told Fat Amy that she planned on picking Luke tonight, but she also knew that the woman did whatever the hell she wanted and that most other people in the house didn't believe she and Luke were a match. It didn't bother her considering neither she nor Luke believed they were a perfect match either, but Beca was kind of hoping to get one more matchup ceremony out of the way sitting beside her best friend.

"Entertaining as always," Gail concluded, shaking her head at the blonde. "Fat Amy, who is your perfect match?"

She spun around, locking onto one of the guys saying, "My perfect match is Chicago."

Beca grinned at the slight disappointment on Luke's face, followed by an immediate brightening at the slow way Chicago rose to his feet. She realized that he was dreading sitting next to the boisterous blonde for the rest of the evening, finding a small bit of satisfaction at his discomfort. Beca wasn't usually the type of person to be happy about someone else's suffering, but this wouldn't kill him and she felt he more than deserved it after the way he'd treated Chloe.

"Chicago, do you think you and Amy are a match?" Gail asked, allowing him the chance to speak.

"Well… no, I don't," Chicago admitted, thinking hard over his words. "But at this point I'm not sure who my match is, so I can't complain."

Gail glanced over at Chloe, asking, "Chloe, how do you feel about Amy picking Chicago?"

Chloe shrugged, replying, "He's all hers."

Fat Amy smirked, "Yeah, man candy. You're all mine tonight."

Chicago sighed and shook his head, a resigned smile on his face. "Awesome."

Gail smiled at the couple, letting him off the hook. "Okay, Fat Amy, Chicago, it's time to lock in as a couple."

Once they returned to the chair and were seated side by side, CR called for a short break.

"Okay, we're obviously running way behind on time, so let's make this one quick! The three couples head out to the left and film your reactions. Let me get Beca and Zeke over here to film as well!"

Beca met Luke's eyes, immediately feeling his disappointment that they wouldn't be able to discuss the insanity that just happened during the matchup. Sighing, she fell into step with Zeke as they followed CR off the set to react to the first three couples.


"This seriously couldn't get any worse," Stacie muttered, shifting slightly in her heels.

Beca completely agreed with her. They were thirty minutes into another technical delay that was preventing them from resuming filming. It had been one thing after another all night and everyone was on their last nerve. CR had already snapped hers in half, her frustration with the issues evident in the sharpness of her tone and even shorter temper than usual.

"If I had known I was going to be standing for six hours I would not have worn heels," Aubrey complained under her breath, careful not to let the executive producer hear her.

"Preach, girl," Chloe sighed, Beca catching onto the discomfort in her tone.

Thankfully she'd chosen flats to go with her dress, getting away with the sandals since it was a floral maxi dress and more casual. She knew the ladies in heels were deeply regretting their decision by now.

Another ten minutes went by before CR finally shouted, "Okay, we're good to go!"

She strode to the middle of the set, calling for quiet. "Okay, people! Obviously tonight has turned into a shit show. We're impossibly behind and if we're gonna get this done tonight we have to shoot straight through. Let's postpone all reaction footage until the end of the shoot if it's still dark, or we'll get a few done tomorrow night if we're bumping against sunrise. Crews, rotate as needed to make sure everything is covered."

Beca bit her lip to keep any sounds of disappointment from escaping. No one was going to be happy about this announcement, especially the crew who Beca knew depended on that longer break in the middle of this shoot. However, she also knew that they had no choice if they wanted to finish the matchup ceremony without having to shoot tomorrow.

"Alright, Gail! We're gonna have a rough edit on this one, but cut the small talk and get the money shots. On my cue!"

Beca snapped to attention in case her name was called, eyes steady on the blonde host standing back in place behind the podium. At least she most likely avoided getting grilled about her lack of a romantic relationship with Luke.

"Next up for the ladies is… Aubrey!"

Aubrey walked steadily up to the podium, greeting Gail who immediately got straight down to business.

"Aubrey, who is your perfect match?"

"Tonight, my perfect match is Jesse," Aubrey answered confidently, smiling at Jesse as he walked up to stand beside her.

"You two seem to be getting along really well," Gail observed, gesturing towards the touchpad. "Aubrey, Jesse, it's time to lock in."

Jesse grinned. "We're getting along great, Gail," he said as they placed their hands on the touchpad and locked in.

If Beca had wondered what a matchup ceremony looked like if you pressed the fast forward button, she no longer needed to speculate. Gail was a woman on a mission as she wasted no time in calling the next name the second Aubrey and Jesse were seated comfortably in the chair.

"Chloe!"

Chloe shot Beca a nervous glance before squaring her shoulders and walking up to the podium. Beca's eyes drifted down lower than she planned, the dress doing Chloe's legs and ass so many favors it was impossible to decide where to look. Stacie's impatient huff beside her knocked her back into the moment, flushing slightly realizing anyone could have caught her staring.

"Chloe, who is your perfect match tonight?" Gail asked, her easy smile locked in place.

Chloe half turned around and said, "My perfect match is Tom."

Tom seemed fine with that, striding up to join Chloe at the podium. Beca eyed them, suddenly not feeling as happy as she was a moment ago.

"Chloe, why did you pick Tom tonight?" Gail asked curiously. Beca wondered why the extra question, realizing that CR or some other producer must be talking into her earpiece with instructions.

Chloe glanced at Tom, answering, "Well, even though it was unintentional, Tom was the one who helped me realize that Chicago and I were not compatible. He was really caring and thoughtful after that happened, and I think I need someone like that."

Tom smiled at her, wrapping his arm safely around her shoulders. "Chloe is incredible… she deserves a lot more than what happened on that date yesterday."

Beca's heart swooped a little at the sight of them standing so close together, her insecurities flooding to the front of her mind. Sure it was irrational, but it was hard to stay realistic when the girl you like is cuddling into the handsome boy next door. It was Stacie again that drew her out of her thoughts.

"If I didn't know Tommy so well I might be jealous of that," Stacie murmured under her breath.

Beca glanced at her to see the brunette looking the exact opposite of jealous.

"He told me all about what happened… I'm glad he was there for Chloe and not another one of these assholes who would just take advantage of her," Stacie finished, her eyes flashing quickly to Beca's. "I'm glad you were there too, Bec. She needed friends in that moment."

Beca simply nodded, unsure of exactly how much Stacie knew about what happened and most certainly did not want to be the one to share extra information.

"Chloe, Tom, please lock in as a couple," Gail instructed, watching them place their hands side-by-side on the touchpad.

Beca started to panic a little when Stacie's name was called next, knowing that only Zeke, Luke, and Theo remained. She had zero doubts that Calamity would choose whichever guy would leave her and Theo together if she went next, praying desperately not to be last tonight.

She blocked out all of Stacie's interactions with Gail, tuning back in just in time to see her lock in with Zeke. Beca's heart was pounding again, glancing briefly at Calamity who didn't seem nervous about the situation at all. It wasn't the same though, Beca knowing that the woman was fine still hooking up with Chicago even though they weren't a match and didn't really care anymore who her perfect match was. Still, Beca didn't want to sit next to Theo if she could help it.

"Next up is Beca!"

Thank fucking God. The thought ran through her head over and over as she walked up to the podium, smiling as Gail greeted her.

"Hey, Gail," she said back once she reached her spot.

"Beca, it's down to the only two guys you've sat with at matchups," Gail observed. "Do you know who you're going to pick tonight?"

She nodded, "Yeah, I do."

"Okay then," Gail met her gaze. "Beca, who is your perfect match?"

Beca didn't hesitate, answering, "My perfect match is Luke."

There were a few disappointed murmurs throughout the group as Luke rose and joined her at the podium.

"Luke, a few people didn't sound too happy with this pairing tonight. What do you think of that?" Gail asked, knowing they needed at least a little bit of conversational footage.

Luke shrugged, "I think that it's still possible for Beca and I to be a perfect match. A lot of people don't think so, but we're still trying to figure this thing out. We took a great step this week with our second perfect match, so maybe that'll help us moving forward."

Gail nodded, "That's a great way to look at it. Beca, Luke, go ahead and lock in."

Beca exchanged glances with Luke as they both placed their palms onto the touchpad, the green bar scanning up and down before the matching boxes appeared declaring them "LOCKED!"

Luke had his arm around her as they walked back to his empty chair, Beca letting her eyes drift towards Chloe to find her smiling happily in her direction. She was glad to see that Chloe was now having no trouble believing that she and Luke were strictly friends.

Calamity and Theo were the default couple tonight, and Gail let them off the hook without too much trouble since sunrise was fast approaching. They quickly locked in and returned to the seats, finalizing the matchup for that evening.

"Alright guys, you're all matched up!" Gail announced, the group clapping and cheering in response.

"So the matchup will tell you how many couples are correct, but not who those matches are," Gail said smoothly, falling into her comfort zone with the repetitiveness of this part of the speech. "That's for you to figure out."

"Now, behind me are ten beams of light."

Beca closed her eyes briefly as the lights turned on to shine directly at them before shifting to shoot straight up into the sky. It's true it was repetitive, but Beca also felt a comfort with knowing exactly what to expect from this part of the shoot. There were enough variables going around most of the time that it was nice to know there wouldn't be anymore surprises.

"Each beam represents a perfect match. One beam is one perfect match, and ten beams means ten perfect matches… and one million dollars," Gail finished with a smile.

The group clapped and cheered, creating the excitement necessary for a drop back to Earth at the mention of blacking out.

"However, if you all fail to get any new matches… that's a blackout, and your prize will instantly drop by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

Beca felt a little dread at the mention of losing some of the money, whispering to Luke, "You'd think knowing exactly what she's going to say by this point would make it not affect me, but I still get anxious and nervous every time."

Luke nodded, "Crazy, huh?"

"Insane… it makes me feel insane."

Gail hesitated for one moment as the beams went dark.

"Tonight, you begin with two beams already lit," Gail informed them, her smile stretching a little wider as two beams lit up behind her. "These beam represent your confirmed perfect matches… Benji and Emily, and Donald and Lilly." She paused to let them cheer for their successes in the Truth Booth, before finishing, "Eight more beams and you guys win a million bucks. Here we go!"

The excitement started to build as Gail circled the podium and placed both her hands on the touchpad, making them all start to wonder if maybe they got it right. Beca knew the odds were not good, even with two perfect matches, but she was definitely hoping they had at least four to match their best total yet. They needed to keep the positive momentum going.

"The number of perfect matches is…" Gail trailed off as the lights changed and the anticipation grew.

Beca inched forward to the edge of her seat as a third beam flashed up into the sky, prompting shouts and cheers from the group.

"Hell yeah! No fucking blackouts for us!" Zeke shouted, reaching over to give Chicago a high five.

Calamity grinned, saying, "Keep going! We want more."

Luke's arm tightened around her shoulders a bit just before a fourth beam lit up the night sky.

"Four!"

"Fuck yes!"

"Let it ride, baby!"

Beca held her breath as they waited for another beam to light up, already feeling like they won tonight. They'd matched their highest total yet, and this time they had two perfect matches to show for it.

After a few long seconds the lights came back on and they heard the sound that meant the matchup was over.

"Alright, four beams you guys!" Gail said, turning around to face them. "That matches your highest total at a matchup yet. How are we feeling about that?"

"Gail, I think we're on the right track," Donald answered. "We've got two perfect matches now, and I have complete faith that these guys are gonna figure it out."

"Yeah, Gail, we got this!"

Beca grinned at Luke. "This actually went really well."

"I'm as shocked as you are," he answered honestly. "You think Flo and Bumper are a match?"

"No, but I also never thought that…" Beca trailed off, catching herself just in time before she said something really stupid. "Never mind."

Luke raised an eyebrow at her, "What?"

"Nothing. Forget it… I don't know what I was gonna say anyways."

"That's bullshit," Luke eyed her, lips curling up into a grin. "What are you hiding from me? No secrets between perfect matches!"

Beca rolled her eyes as the cheers and shouts died down. "We aren't a perfect match."

"Maybe not, but you are my best friend here and that counts for more than a perfect match," Luke argued, just in time for Gail to regain control and dismiss them.

"Alright you guys, great job tonight. You got four perfect matches. Unfortunately, that means you still have six left to figure out with only four matchups left. Say goodbye to Donald and Lilly… you'll see them at the next matchup… and head back to the house. You still have some work to do."

They all stood up and hugged DJ and Lilly, wishing them a ton of fun in the honeymoon suite. Beca gave Lilly a quick side hug, refraining from repeating her earlier mistake in bringing up anything about the honeymoon suite, and was soon walking back to the house when Chloe caught up with her.

"That was… something," Chloe mused, grabbing Beca's arm with both of hers.

Beca grinned, agreeing, "Yeah, some of those pairings were crazy."

"I was gonna take my heels off if we had one more delay. My feet are absolutely killing me right now," Chloe sighed, looking at her hopefully. "You think you can convince Luke to give me a foot rub?"

Beca laughed, glancing back to where Luke was still chatting with Donald. "I don't know… he might need comforting after DJ abandons him. I don't have that much power over him either."

Chloe scoffed, "Whatever. He was going around telling people you guys were a couple. I think a foot rub would be a piece of cake."

"Yeah, well he did that for me because I was moping about having feelings for someone I couldn't have," Beca whispered sneakily into Chloe's ear. "I don't think I'm mopey enough to maintain that level of sympathy anymore."

Chloe hummed playfully, feigning ignorance, "Hmm why do you think that is?"

Beca smiled, happiness bursting in her chest with her next words.

"Because… turns out she likes me back."

Chapter Text

 


Beca slowly sipped her coffee, glancing around the room as more people filtered in to find a place on the couch. Now that they were down two couples, almost everyone could fit with only a few people already piled on the floor. She was not as surprised as she thought when Bumper was the one to call this meeting, wondering if the guys had figured out that Uni was running out of chances to be the one to figure this puzzle out. Beca certainly didn't want to hear too much more from him, and even less from Chicago.

Chloe entered the room holding her own cup of coffee, Beca's eyes immediately drawn to hers and the way the redhead took a step towards her before changing her mind and sitting down beside Aubrey. Beca breathed a sigh of relief, not because she wanted Chloe across the room from her but because it was much… much safer that way. Also, now she could look at her stupidly pretty face every now and then without turning her head completely to the side.

Luke hopped over the back of the couch to sit beside her a few moments later, almost making her drop her cup. She glared at him, gripping the styrofoam a little tighter.

"You almost made me lose my lifeblood," Beca grumbled, clutching it like the cup contained pure gold.

"It's almost time for dinner," Luke pointed out, holding a bottle of water that was half empty.

Beca rolled her eyes, "I woke up thirty minutes ago. As far as I'm concerned, it's breakfast."

"Okay guys, let's get down to business," Bumper said, standing up and raising his voice a little.

Everyone quieted down and waited to hear what he had to say, Beca pointedly avoiding looking at Chloe for the time being. Ignoring her now was much harder than it had been before, this time with the added issue of Chloe shooting looks her way.

"We only have four matchups left, so we need to get serious about figuring our shit out," Bumper started, looking around. "That means we have four Truth Booths to get another perfect match or two, or confirm that people we really think are matches… aren't."

Kommissar chimed in, "So the first thing to do is decide who needs to go in the Truth Booth. That dictates how we pair up for the challenges and how we vote."

Bumper nodded, "Exactly." He hesitated a minute before looking at Beca, making her anxiety spike.

"I know you aren't gonna like it, but my number one couple to get in the Truth Booth is you and Theo," he said, somehow the way he said it keeping her from blowing up at him. Maybe his tone or his expression, but whatever it was Beca knew he was only doing it from a logical point of view.

Beca glanced at Theo, thinking over how she wanted to respond as he didn't seem like he was going to open his mouth on the subject. She turned her gaze to Luke only for someone else to speak up.

"Enough of you and fucking Luke," Chicago butted in, making Beca glare in his direction.

"What? You can hate me all you want but everyone knows you two aren't a match," Chicago shrugged.

Luke replied weakly, "You don't know that. We could be a match."

Aubrey shook her head, "Do you two honesty think you're a match? Forget whether or not you're besties and really tell us if you think you're a perfect match."

Beca sighed. She'd known they couldn't keep this thing going forever since neither of them actually believed they were a match. She placed a had on his knee, preventing him from trying to argue the point further.

"Fine… we don't really think we're a match. We could be, but it's not very likely," Beca finally answered, to satisfied looks from most of the room's occupants.

"Good, so you and Theo need to get in the Truth Booth if possible," Bumper stated, glancing around the room. "Everyone agree?"

Beca sighed, glancing at the man who was sitting a few feet to her right. To his credit he didn't seem overly pleased about how this meeting was going, tentatively looking back at her as if to make sure she wasn't going to start cursing him out again.

The group nodded and he moved on. "Okay, that's one, but don't worry there's more," he said, turning to Aubrey and Chloe. "The two of you aren't off the hook either. You and Jesse and you and Chicago," he directed, pointing at Aubrey and Chloe respectively, "Also need to get into the booth."

Chloe had more of a reaction, retorting, "Chicago and I are not a match. No one who would do that to me is my perfect match."

Beca glanced at Chicago who to his credit seemed genuinely apologetic, although she knew that wasn't nearly enough for Chloe to forgive him. She wondered how this argument was going to go down, knowing that Chloe was going to put up much more of a fight than she and Luke had.

Bumper threw his hands up, "He's an asshole! We all know it, but guess what… you guys were clicking and on paper it works! You two look like the stars of a fucking Lifetime movie."

"Yeah, you might not like it Chloe, but we need to know if you and Chicago are a perfect match," Calamity added, looking almost bored.

Chloe glared at the other woman. "Don't you think you've done enough?"

Stacie agreed, "Yeah, you've already fucked everything up by not splitting up when you guys weren't a match."

Chicago retorted, "You mean like you and Tom split up when you two weren't a match?"

"Hey, jackass, we made it clear to the whole house that we weren't splitting up but we were also still going to do everything we could to find out who our actual perfect matches are," Tom shot back, not having any patience for Chicago. "Don't try to use my relationship with Stacie to distract everyone from the fact you're a dick."

Fat Amy yawned, asking, "Okay, as interesting as all this is… what about Jesse and Aubrey? Maybe we focus on them for a minute?"

Jesse jumped at that opportunity to relieve some of the tension in the room. "Great suggestion. I think Aubrey and I are both on the same page. We want to go into the Truth Booth.

Bumper nodded, "Alright, good. Can we all at least agree on that?"

There were various nods and affirmative replies around the room in response, his expression turning a little relieved. Beca had no issues with that pairing, believing there was a good chance that Jesse and Aubrey were a match. With any luck they could vote them into the Truth Booth after the next challenge and get another confirmed perfect match.

"I know some of you aren't happy about this, but we need to start working together and trying to figure this out," Zeke commented, backing up Bumper. "Yeah it'll suck if you aren't on good terms with your perfect match, but the show can't predict how things will turn out once we all get here. Time to put the group before ourselves."

Chloe replied, "It's easy for a lot of you to spout that shit when you aren't the ones being forced together with someone you aren't interested in."

"Look, you don't have to fuck the guy Chloe but there's a really good shot you and Chicago are a match," Uni shook his head, his tone frustrated.

Chloe let out a hollow laugh, retorting, "There isn't a guy here I'm remotely interested in at this point."

Beca felt Luke stiffen slightly beside her. The thrill that went through her at Chloe's words faded a bit when she could tell Luke was a little hurt by that statement. Sure they might not have been a match, but Luke was a good guy and he was attractive and he still cared about Chloe. She knew the words stung a bit, but hoped that they could clear the air a little later when the entire group wasn't around.

"Okay, we're getting off track," Bumper tried to reign the conversation back in. "Last week we had four beams, but two of them were our perfect matches that aren't here right now. So if we think one of them was Aubrey and Jesse, who is the last one?"

Zeke stood up to join him, offering, "Well if we're going with what we've talked about today, Fat Amy and Chicago are out. Luke and Beca are out. Calamity and Theo are out. Tom and Chloe are out. That leaves Uni and Kommissar…" he trailed off, glancing around to see the remaining matches. "Me and Stacie, and… oh, and Bumper and Flo."

The group mused over those choices, Beca thinking that none of them really sounded like a perfect match. If she had to pick one it would probably be Stacie and Zeke, or Uni and Kommissar. There was no way in hell that Flo and Bumper were a perfect match.

"My vote is for Uni and Kommissar," Flo said, speaking up for the first time. "I do not think Bumper and I are a match."

Bumper nodded in agreement, "I don't think we are either. But I think it's Zeke and Stacie, not Uni and Kommissar."

Beca decided to try and be helpful, asking, "Does it make sense for both of them to pair up again and see if we get more or less? What if we're wrong about that assumption that only one of them is a perfect match?"

"That would mean Aubrey and Jesse aren't a match, and we can't say that forsure until we get them into the Truth Booth," Bumper countered, though Beca could tell her words had him thinking a bit more carefully. "But, if Aubrey and Jesse are not a match, then yes you're absolutely right."

Beca let her eyes wander again, finding Chloe's locked on her once more. Somehow she could tell that the redhead was over this meeting and wanted to escape. Beca tended to agree with that feeling, but she also could sense that a lot of the group was prepared to really sit down and hash this out for a while.

"What if we tried out some scenarios?" Uni asked, looking around the room. "Maybe we can start to figure out some possibilities based on the fact we know Ben and Emily are a perfect match, and now that we know DJ and Lilly are one too."

"That sounds like a pain in the ass," Stacie sighed. "How about we table this for now and come back to it after we have another Truth Booth? All this planning might be for nothing depending on how that goes."

Beca had enough as well, agreeing, "I vote for that. I'm done with this for now."

"You guys, we can't ignore this forever. We have less than three weeks left to figure it out," Bumper warned, though he was clearly not going to fight them on it. "We can stop for now, but eventually we're all going to have to agree to work together until this puzzle is solved."

Beca nodded, standing up and stretching. "Yeah, fine. Until then, I need to get some air."

She could tell Chloe wanted to join her, but Luke chimed in immediately, "I'll go with you. I need to talk to you anyways."

Beca nodded at him, looking back at Chloe's disappointed face and tried to look apologetic as Luke slung an arm around her shoulders and turned them towards the back door.


Beca poked her head out of the back door, smiling at finding Chloe seated on the swing. She shut the door behind her, shuffling over to the redhead and sat down beside her.

"I was hoping you'd find me out here," Chloe said softly, keeping her gaze trained out across the yard.

Beca hummed, "Feeling lonely?"

Chloe chuckled, "Something like that. What'd you think about Bumper taking charge earlier today?"

"Stunned. But he made a lot of sense," Beca sighed. Making up her mind, she stood back up and offered Chloe her hand. "Come on, let's go somewhere else."

"Sounds rebellious," Chloe took her hand and let Beca pull her upright. "I'm in."

They set off across the backyard side by side, Beca occasionally glancing behind them to see if anyone was following. Thankful for small miracles, whatever was happening inside must be riveting as they seemed to be destined for a few precious minutes alone.

"So… I've been thinking a lot about this morning and I think our only option is to go along with what the group wants," Beca started, not feeling very happy about it.

Chloe nodded beside her, "I think you're right. I still want to be with you, though. That hasn't changed."

Beca shot her a small smile, "For me either. I just… I can only imagine how everyone else would react if they knew. They can't find out. We have to keep playing the game until it's over."

"Yeah, I know. I don't think it would go over well with some people," Chloe mused. "But I won't lie and say it'll be easy."

"Tell me about it. How are you feeling about everyone wanting you to get paired back up with Chicago?" Beca asked, glancing at the redhead.

Chloe huffed, "I'm not thrilled about it, but I understand where the group is coming from and I'm willing to play the game. Does it bother you?"

"Not really. That guy's a total dick. Does it bother you I'll be matched back up with Theo?" Beca asked hesitantly, both of them knowing that her situation with Theo was very different from Chloe and Chicago's.

Chloe glanced at her, asking, "Is that something I should worry about?"

Beca shook her head, though a question had been plaguing her thoughts for a while now and it seemed like an appropriate time to ask it.

"Um, I do have something I wanted to ask you," she began, trying to figure out the right way to ask.

"Ask away, Bec," Chloe prompted when she took longer than planned to get the words out.

"Right, well… remember back when the house voted Benji and Emily into the Truth Booth?" At Chloe's nod, she continued, "That was when Theo and I had our falling out and… well, Luke told me that you wanted everyone to vote us in instead of them… vote me and Theo into the booth instead of Ben and Emily. I guess I just… I wanted to know why since you said you had feelings for me from the beginning… so why would you do that?"

Chloe nodded, "That's fair. At the time, you were really hitting it off with Theo and my feelings for you definitely weren't going anywhere… I think I needed… wanted to know if you two were a match so that I could stop thinking about you all the time.."

Beca understood what she meant, but it still hurt a little that Chloe wanted her out of the house. "You'd rather I was gone than still be here with you?"

"Hey, that's not fair," Chloe replied, nudging her shoulder. "I didn't know you liked me at all. Of course I didn't want you gone, but I thought you were happy with Theo and that it would help me focus on what I needed to do here if I knew you were happy in the honeymoon suite with your perfect match."

Beca shook her head at the thought of being trapped in the honeymoon suite with Theo, shivering a bit. "That sounds terrible."

"Well he isn't your perfect match," Chloe teased.

"I wouldn't want to go with whoever is my perfect match," Beca countered, knowing that Chloe's reasoning was completely valid. Hell, at the time Beca might have been relieved herself if Chloe had found her match and left the house. "Wouldn't mind spending some time there with you, though…" she trailed off, shooting Chloe a wink.

"Somehow I don't think we'll be that lucky," Chloe replied ruefully. "Now I just hope neither of us have to go into the Truth Booth for the rest of the show. It would really suck to be apart, even if these random moments are all we get."

Beca nodded, "We'll figure it out. I can't believe no one followed us out here."

They'd continued walking almost in a circle, coming to a stop near the pool but still mostly out of sight of the house. Beca sat down in one of the pool chairs, looking up at Chloe who was staring intently towards the house.

"See something good?" Beca joked, knowing that the only thing happening inside now was the consuming of mass quantities of alcohol.

Chloe shook her head slowly, stepping around in front of Beca's chair to face her. "I don't see anyone around… at all."

Beca's mouth went dry at the insinuation, only having a moment to prepare for Chloe to lean down and kiss her. They kept it brief, but it was so, so worth it.

"You know… this whole sneaking around business is kinda fun," Beca grinned when Chloe pulled back a bit. "It'll definitely make these last few weeks more interesting."

Chloe's eyes were bright as she nodded in agreement. This time Beca curled her fingers in Chloe's loose shirt, pulling her back down for another kiss.

"Holy shit!"

Chloe jumped back at the exclamation as if she'd been burned, Beca looking wildly around for the source of the voice. They both locked onto Luke at the same time, standing awkwardly about ten feet away with his mouth open.

"Get it, Bec," he grinned, walking the rest of the way over. "Oh, and you too, Chlo," he added, holding back a laugh at Chloe's confused look.

Beca snapped, "Shut up you ass. What are you even doing out here?"

"I would ask you the same question but I think it's fairly obvious," Luke retorted, unfazed at Beca's tone. "Were you gonna tell me that you two hooked up or let me find out like everyone else?"

Beca hid her face in her hands as Chloe looked back and forth between them.

"Is there something I'm missing here?" Chloe finally asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

Beca dropped her hands, looking a little guilty. "So I uh… I told, well no that's not even right… Luke figured out I had feelings for you," she explained, glancing at the smile on the blonde's face. "He was actually pretty cool about it," she admitted begrudgingly.

"He was, huh," Chloe hummed, now turning her attention to Luke. "So these past few weeks have been what… you guys pretending?"

Luke shrugged, "She was struggling, so I helped."

"That was awfully nice of you," Chloe now seemed to be holding back her own laughter at Beca's uncomfortable look.

"I told you I liked you," Beca defended, now glaring at Chloe. "I'm just way worse at dealing with it than you were. Luke saved my ass so many times."

Chloe winked at Luke, "Thanks for that. It's a really nice ass."

Luke played right along, "Happy to be of service, although I think the rest of the house is determined to separate us. Bec and I talked about it earlier and we think the best plan is to go along with what everyone else wants. Maybe it'll keep her under the radar for a little longer, unless you two keep making out in plain sight. Then you might have a problem."

"We are not in plain sight!" Beca hissed, standing up and stepping away from both of them. "You crept up on us like a stalker."

"And you're lucky it was only me," Luke reminded her, his voice turning a little serious. "Can you imagine if it was fucking Chicago? Or Uni? Or worse… CR? You'd be toast. Also, you know someone is filming you, right? We are ALWAYS on camera."

Beca shook her head, "No one is out here. We made sure of it."

Chloe didn't look as convinced, while Luke was looking at her like she was very, very special.

"Yeah, okay," he shrugged, not interested in getting into an argument. "Anyways, when did this happen?"

Beca let a small smile form, answering, "After the last Truth Booth."

Luke looked slightly offended, "Two days ago? That's like a lifetime in this house! How could you not tell me!"

Chloe cut in cheekily, "Maybe because it was none of your business."

"Oh fuck off with that, I've been helping Beca not blare her feelings for you to the universe for the past two weeks," Luke scoffed, despite knowing Chloe didn't really mean it.

Beca ran her fingers through her hair, answering, "I was gonna tell you… I just hadn't yet."

Luke rolled his eyes, "Uh huh, sure. Anyways, I'm really happy for you, Bec," he added, wrapping her in a hug before she could utter a single word of protest. Over the top of her head, he said, "You too, Chlo. I was telling her you liked her back, but she didn't believe me."

"We're still figuring it all out, but I definitely like her back," Chloe confirmed, stepping closer to gently pull Beca from his clutches. "So back off," she joked playfully.

Luke laughed, backing away with hands in the air. "Seriously though, you guys need to be more careful. And probably come back to the house before someone not so pleasant comes looking for you. It'll be less suspicious if we all go back together."

Beca nodded, glancing at Chloe to see her in agreement as well.

"And whatever you do, do not use the STD Den," Luke sighed as they started walking back. "There's definitely a camera in there."

Beca raised her eyebrows, asking, "Seriously? How do you…" she trailed off, realizing exactly how he knew. "No… really? There's footage?!"

Luke shook his head, his expression regretful. "Can we not talk about it? What if we drink instead?"

Chloe looked between them asking, "What is it?"

Beca opened her mouth only for Luke to clap his hand over it before she could speak.

"We aren't speaking of it!" He declared loudly. "We're drinking it away!"

They reached the door and Luke opened it, Beca mouthing to Chloe behind his back, 'Later.'

Chloe winked at her and turned back to face Luke before he noticed. "Alright, you win. Let's drink!"


Someone was trying to gently shake her awake, but Beca's pounding head had other ideas. Namely staying exactly where she was until her brain stopped rattling around inside her skull. Chloe's voice cut through the haze of pain, forcing her to listen.

"Bec, I've got water and aspirin. You gotta get up and get ready for the challenge."

Beca cracked an eye open, spotting Chloe looking at her with equal parts concern and fondness. "Do I have to? Can I just forfeit and die instead?"

Chloe laughed and shook her head. "No, I don't think so. Come on, You can help me wake up the rest of these drunks."

She finally sat up, taking the two pills and glass of water from the redhead and downed everything quickly. A glance around told her that most of the group was still knocked out, not surprising after their day off night of shenanigans trying to recreate the drinking game from New Girl… something about an American. Beca had never seen the show but the game involved a lot of drinking and hopping around the furniture, the combination proving to be extremely hilarious.

Beca gave herself another minute or two for the water to start reducing the pounding in her head before slowly crawling over to Jesse, giving him a much rougher shake than Chloe had given her.

"Just kill me," he groaned, burying his face into the pillow.

"But you're doing such a great job at it yourself," Beca deadpanned, watching him in amusement. "Time to get up, sunshine."

"I'll give you all my winnings if you go away right now." Jesse's retort was muffled by the pillow.

Chloe had moved on to Aubrey who was beside Jesse, having much better luck with the blonde who was already sitting up and running her fingers through her hair.

Beca rolled her eyes, "How do you do that?"

"Magic touch," Chloe winked at her, the combination of her words and actions making Beca's stomach turn pleasantly with inappropriate thoughts.

"I hate you," she muttered, turning back to her task and tried to ignore the responding giggle. "Jesse, move your ass."

He flopped back over, shooting her an impressive glare for such a positive person. "I can't believe I thought we were a match."

"Join the club," Beca quipped, stealing his pillow and moving over to swat Theo with it a few feet away.

"What the fuck?!"

Beca grinned, satisfied with that reaction. "Rise and shine!"


Beca was finally feeling more like herself after a breakfast biscuit and two cups of coffee. She was wedged into the couch between Chloe and Luke waiting for CR to give them the rundown of what to expect for their challenge today.

"Okay guys, it's challenge day," CR began, glancing briefly at her phone before pocketing it. "Today's gonna be pretty simple. You pair up and eat shave ice as fast as you can. The three winning couples go on the date."

"What's shave ice? You mean like a snow cone?" Calamity asked, voicing the exactly thought running through Beca's mind.

CR nodded, "Yes, exactly like a snow cone. The difference is that the ice is actually shaved instead of crushed, but they are essentially the same thing. In Hawaii it's referred to as shave ice."

Multiple hands rose into the air, making the producer roll her eyes. "It's not complicated. What could you possibly not understand."

"What flavors?" Bumper asked curiously. "I could kill for a pineapple one right about now."

Fat Amy shook her head, "Haven't you had enough piña coladas to be sick of pineapple?"

The man shrugged, "I like fruity drinks."

"Okay, Winston," Jesse cut in sarcastically.

Beca glanced around as whatever reference that was went right over her head. Chloe must have seen her confusion, whispering, "It's from New Girl. Didn't you realize Jesse was leading the charge last night during True American?"

No, no she hadn't realized that at all. Perks of being completely smashed out of her mind.

"Nope, I was drunk off my ass last night."

CR's answer caught her attention, along with the slightly amused look on her face. "No, I think we're fresh out of pineapple. We had to get creative."

Beca felt her stomach drop, the realization kicking in of exactly what they were in for. Luke connected the dots as well, letting out a groan.

"Fuck… they're gonna give us some nasty shit, aren't they."

CR locked eyes with him for a minute, eventually ignoring his statement question in favor of more instructions. "I'll be back to get you as soon as we're ready for you. The challenge will take place in the backyard. No one go anywhere."

With that she strode through the door into the backyard, leaving them in relative silence. Beca's stomach was turning nervously now, the combination of beer and liquor and breakfast and coffee not liking the idea of adding nasty shave ice to the mix.

"I'm gonna puke," Jesse mumbled, his head in his hands while Aubrey rubbed a hand comfortingly over his back.

Beca agreed with him, sending up a silent prayer that she'd be able to keep whatever they had to eat down.

"On a positive note, we get to pick our partners," Bumper offered, looking around the room. "Everyone good with what we discussed yesterday?"

"What about the rest of us?" Flo asked.

Bumper shrugged, "Don't win."


"Hey Gail!" Stacie shouted loudly as they walked over to where the crew had setup for the challenge, gathering behind the small, high top tables in front of Gail's shave ice stand.

Gail waved at them as they settled into place. "Welcome guys… how're you doing today?"

They all nodded, smiling feeling like they were back on track after their latest performance at the matchup.

"At the last matchup you got 4 perfect matches, which ties your best total yet," Gail said, adding, "And you added your second confirmed perfect match! Congrats!"

Beca smiled and cheered along with the rest of the group, still trying to psych herself up for this challenge. Eating disgusting things was definitely not at the top of her bucket list.

"That's right… keep it up," Gail encouraged them. "Something that you guys are doing is working." After a pause, she said, "Okay. It's time for your next getaway challenge. The top three couples will win an amazing date getting you some critical one on one time."

They nodded along as Gail spoke her rehearsed lines, waiting anxiously to hear what kind of shave ice they would have to eat.

"Now I hope you guys are hungry because when I say go you're gonna start eating a lot of shave ice, in a challenge I'm calling… Kiss My Ice!" Gail grinned.

Beca let out a small laugh as the rest of the group's reactions varied from groans to full on laughter.

"Nice one, Gail," Luke called out, his smile wide across his face.

Gail continued on explaining the challenge, "You're gonna be presented with two flavors each round, and it's up to you guys to decide who eats what. The last couple to finish is out, and… if you blow chunks you're out."

Beca sighed, knowing that this was probably going to be awful and wondered if anyone would be that good at it.

"Too easy Gail, I can swallow anything," Stacie called out with a wink. "This challenge is mine."

Beca laughed, knowing she probably should have expected that from the brunette.

Chloe's voice rising to the challenge had her completely stunned.

"We'll see about that, Stacie," Chloe teased back confidently.

Gail smiled at the interaction before continuing, "The last three couples standing win. And remember, whoever you pair up with would be your date and the one standing next to you if you're voted into the Truth Booth," Gail reminded them. "You've got thirty seconds to partner up."

It was a little bit chaotic as they searched for specific people to matchup with that coincided with their group discussion the day before. Sighing and accepting her fate, Beca nodded at Theo and moved to stand beside him. A quick glance around showed Chloe with Chicago, Jesse with Aubrey, Zeke with Stacie, and to her amusement Luke ended up with Fat Amy.

Theo noticed her glance, muttering, "Wouldn't have guessed that one."

Beca shrugged, "He did say he likes blondes, and that confidence is attractive."

"I guess…" Theo still sounded doubtful, and honestly Beca sided more with his point of view than her own. She'd be very surprised if Luke and Fat Amy were a match.

"So, are we going for this or…" Theo asked tentatively, clearly willing to defer to her wishes.

Beca thought about it before answering, "Yeah, I mean… we kinda have to. Although no promises I won't be puking my guts up on the first one."

"Hot," Theo replied, immediately wincing at himself. "Sorry, habit…"

Beca had actually let a slight grin slip at his sarcasm, glad he couldn't see her face at the moment. They really needed to clear the air so the rest of their time in the house wasn't awful and awkward.

"It's fine," Beca said, turning to look at him. "Look, we aren't gonna be a couple after this or anything, but this is really gonna suck if we're walking on eggshells around each other. Let's just… move on, okay?"

He nodded eagerly. "Yeah, okay. Thanks."

It felt weird to acknowledge that, nodding instead and turning back to face Gail.

"Alright now that everyone is paired up," Gail called out with a grin placing two cups of shave ice on the counter of her stand. "Your first course here is a choice of tomato soup and pickle juice!"

Beca nodded her head, thinking that neither of those sounded too terrible. Glancing at Theo she asked, "You have a preference between those?"

He shrugged, replying, "I like pickles?"

"Okay, I like both pickles and tomato soup so, that works out I guess."

They watched as a crew member delivered their cups, setting them onto the table top along with a spoon for each of them. Beca sighed at how big the portion was, suddenly regretting eating anything at all that morning.

"I hate this already," Theo mumbled beside her, eyes not wavering from his cup.

Once all eight couples had cups of shave ice in front of them, Gail got the cue to begin the challenge. "Everyone ready? Okay, get set… dig in!"

Beca grabbed the cup of tomato soup shave ice and spooned some into her mouth, instantly frowning at the taste. It faintly tasted like tomato, but extremely watered down and cold and gross. Beside her, Theo gagged on his first bite but had since recovered and was powering through. Focusing on the thought that the sooner they got into the Truth Booth the sooner it would prove they weren't a perfect match, Beca buckled down and started working through the cup. It took them a while but eventually they both finished the entire cup, showing Gail their tongues. A look around at the group showed her that everyone but Uni and Calamity, and Chicago and Chloe had finished already.

Gail glanced around, asking, "Uni? Calamity? What's going on?"

Uni shook his head, answering, "I'm not eating that. I'm not throwing up to get out of the house."

Beca felt a little bit of satisfaction at the irritated look Calamity was directing his way, but knew there was nothing she could do about it if Uni refused to eat the shave ice.

Gail shrugged, "Alright, well you're keeping your lunch. You guys are eliminated."

Beca watched as Chloe urged Chicago to keep eating the pickle juice shave ice, having already finished the tomato juice. To her immense satisfaction, Chicago looked like he was a second away from puking his guts up. It only took two more bites for him to grab the bucket and turn away from the table, hacking loudly. Beca glanced at Chloe who didn't look as disappointed as she maybe should have, their eyes meeting for a second before Chicago straightened back up and turned around.

"Chicago is not a fan of the pickle juice!" Gail crowed, sounding way too happy that someone had thrown up already. "Sorry Chloe, you and Chicago are eliminated."

The crew moved in a cleared away the plastic cups and replaced them with round two, leaving the spoons behind. Once everything was set up and the crew was back in place, Gail began the next round.

"Alright you guys, next up is…" Gail trailed off reaching below her stand and pulling out two plastic cups, one green and one purple. "Jalapeño juice with chunks of jalapeños… or fish juice with chunks of fish."

Beca shook her head at those choices, already knowing she was gonna make Theo eat the fish one.

"Ugh no…" Tom groaned.

Aubrey looks like she might get sick at just the sight of the fish juice. "I can't do it."

Jesse muttered something encouraging to her that Beca couldn't quite hear, her hands over her mouth as if that might stop her from having to eat it.

"We can quit," Theo mumbled, eyeing both cups on the table as if they were bombs about to go off.

Beca shook her head again, "No we can't. We're one of the couples that needs to get into the fucking Truth Booth."

She was resigned to their fate, suddenly wanting to get it over with. "I'll take the jalapeño one, you get the fish one."

"I had a feeling you'd say that," Theo sighed, swapping the cups in front of them so the green one was in front of Beca.

Gail waited for the teams to decide who would eat what before giving them the countdown. "Ready, set… go!"

Beca picked up her plastic spoon and started chopping away at the shave ice on top, trying to get the concoction to a liquid as quickly as possible. She figured the best shot at getting it down was to turn it into a drink, plug her nose, and chug it. A quick taste off the spoon assured her that strategy was definitely the best one. It was disgusting… the strangest mix of cold and spicy that she never wanted to taste ever again.

Gail was commenting on how the other groups were doing, but Beca was mostly tuning her out as she tried to get the slush down. Suddenly, Theo turned away from beside her and puked into a bucket, coughing and hacking loudly. She put down her cup knowing they were eliminated, not willing to eat one more bit of that disaster than she absolutely had to.

Theo finally turned back around, looking at her apologetically. "Sorry Bec… I couldn't do it. That was the most disgusting thing I've ever eaten."

Beca knew it wasn't his fault. "It's okay… I would have probably thrown up if I had the fish one too."

Gail called out, "Theo and Beca are eliminated! Bumper and Kommissar are the first to finish! Fat Amy is done and trying to get Luke across the finish line with her."

Beca glanced back to see Fat Amy plugging Luke's nose while he frantically scooped the fish shave ice into this mouth. She gagged a little just watching them, applauding when Luke finally got it down and showed off his empty mouth, arms spread wide in victory.

"Amy and Luke are the second to finish!" Gail announced. "All our remaining couples have to do is get it down to move on."

A few minutes later Jesse and Aubrey showed off their empty cups and mouths, tongues looking distinctly rainbow colored when Gail did her check. Flo finished her fish juice shave ice, while the jalapeño juice claimed it's first victim as Zeke ended up bent over the bucket. Stacie looked seriously disappointed in him, having finished the fish juice faster than anyone else had emptied their cup.

"Tom, all you have to do is finish and you and Flo move on to the next round," Gail informed him, getting a determined nod in response.

Beca was impressed as he steeled himself and chugged down the rest of the jalapeño juice shave ice.

Gail grinned when he showed her his empty mouth, saying, "Alright! We're down to our final four couples! The first three to finish will win that getaway date!"

The crew stepped in to replace the empty cups with the final round as those eliminated moved off to the side. Beca and Theo ended up beside Zeke and Stacie, who was still letting the man know how disappointed she was that he couldn't keep it down, although somehow in a hilarious way.

Once everything was set up for the final round, Gail faced them with a smirk on her face. The cups in front of the final four pairs were pink and orange, making Beca shudder as to what terrifying substance was inside them.

"Alright it's time for your final course," Gail announced, reaching down to the shelf behind her stand. "For you vegetarians out there, we have kimchi juice with a pickled cabbage chaser," she said, pulling out an orange cup and placing it on the counter in front of her. "And for you carnivores, pigs feet with chunks of… pigs feet."

"Oh my God!" Aubrey hid her face in her hands when Gail revealed the pigs feet.

Beca watched as Bumper and Kommissar exchanged determined looks, while Tom shook his head and bent over with his hands on his knees.

"Ready, get set… dig in!" Gail announced, Beca able to hear the smile in her voice.

The four couples immediately dug in, and Beca couldn't believe how fast Bumper and Kommissar downed the disgusting shave ice in front of them. It only took about a minute before both cups were empty and Gail was announcing them as the first pair to finish. It was much slower going for the remaining couples, clearly gagging and choking their way through the cups.

Tom was working his way through the kimchi when Flo shook her head and pushed the cup away from her.

"I can't do it," she admitted, a sad look on her face.

Tom immediately told her it was okay and wrapped the small woman in a hug.

"Flo can't do it… she and Tom are eliminated!" Gail said, turning her attention to the remaining two couples.

Fat Amy helped Luke force down the rest of the pigs feet cup, both happily showing their tongues to Gail.

"In second we have Fat Amy and Luke! Jesse, all you gotta do is finish!" Gail informed them excitedly, turning her attention to the final table.

Beca looked over at the last couple, surprised to see Aubrey's kimchi cup empty and the blonde encouraging Jesse to finish his pigs feet one. It seemed like Jesse was gagging with every bite or sip, making her wonder if he was going to be able to keep it down. Eventually he emptied the cup, proudly holding his hands in the air in victory with his mouth wide open.

"That's it! Jesse and Aubrey are in! We've got our three couples for the getaway date!" Gail announced, the crew waiting a moment before swooping in and checking on the entire cast to make sure no one was seriously ill from their shave ice adventure.

Beca nodded at the medic who shot her a quick glance, giving the woman the assurance she was fine.

"That pig's feet smelled like a fucking butcher shop," Jesse's cursing surprised her, not recalling him doing so until that point. "Like fucking death."

She chuckled, "You made it though! Get ready for that Truth Booth!"

He paled a bit, before shaking it off and nodding. "Yeah, it'll be good. We need another perfect match."

Beca didn't comment on his initial reaction, CR yelling at them to gather around so they could finish the shoot. The producer made sure everyone was back where they were supposed to be before giving Gail the signal to wrap things up.

"Alright, great job today guys! Jesse and Aubrey, Fat Amy and Luke, and Kommissar and Bumper… you guys have won the getaway date! The six of you will be attending a class to learn how to prepare a traditional Hawaiian dinner! No pigs feet involved, I promise," Gail finished with a teasing smile as the couples cheered. "Congrats, guys."

Beca felt a little disappointed to miss out on the date, not being a great chef herself but absolutely loved cooking.

"And while these three couples are out on their date, the rest of you get to decide which one you're sending to the Truth Booth," Gail said, the lines coming easily now, "The only way to find out if they're a perfect match or not. Think about that, and I'll see you back at the house tomorrow evening for the results. Have fun!"


"Have you voted for the Truth Booth yet?"

The question floated over her head, currently satisfied laying on a couch with her head in Chloe's lap, fingers stroking through her hair. They had holed up in one of the many rooms in the house away from everyone else, constantly searching for those brief moments of privacy.

"No, but I'm voting for Jesse and Aubrey," Beca replied, humming happily at the feeling of Chloe's fingers against her scalp. "What about you?"

Chloe answered thoughtfully, "I was thinking it wouldn't be the worst thing to put Bumper and Kommissar in. They're an odd pair, but I could see it. There's no way Fat Amy and Luke are a match."

Beca chuckled at the thought, repeating what she told Theo yesterday at the challenge. "He does have a thing for blondes…"

"I'll bet you anything they aren't a match," Chloe countered with a shake of her head.

"I'm not touching that bet. I don't think they are either." Beca sat up and twisted around to face Chloe, leaning her shoulder into the back of the couch. "I guess I could see Bumper and Kommissar."

"I was merely telling you what I think," Chloe shrugged. "I'm voting for Jesse and Aubrey. They've sat together four times now… we need to either confirm it or split them apart."

Beca raised an eyebrow, asking, "You've been keeping track?"

Chloe rolled her eyes, "Yeah, of course. I'm not the only one either. Honestly, either of those two couples going into the Truth Booth is good for us. They've both sat together at multiple matchups and will give us a lot of information either way."

Beca thought about that for a minute, not realizing how seriously some people were taking the show. "You know… if Jesse and Aubrey aren't a match…" she trailed off, looking at Chloe. "I think Jesse might be mine."

Chloe's eyes met hers, asking, "Really? Not Theo?"

"Yeah, I'm not even sure why," Beca admitted. "But Jesse is like… similar to Theo but also like… better for me, I think? He came on really eager at first and I didn't like it, but ever since we agreed to just be friends I've liked him more and more. It's hard to explain."

Chloe shook her head, "I don't think so. I think Jesse is a great guy. I don't think it's that hard to explain that he might be your match."

Beca felt a little relieved that Chloe didn't seem bothered by discussing who her match could be. Part of her knew that would be the case, but it was good to find out for sure.

"Who do you think your match is?" Beca asked curiously, knowing that Chloe hadn't really connected with any of the guys enough to feel confidently about any single one.

Chloe sighed, admitting, "I'm afraid it's Chicago, although he's not someone I would have picked for myself if we had just met out in the real world. I hit it off with Luke for a reason, but since we know it's not him… I don't know…" she trailed off, thinking hard.

"At this point, the person I would want it to be is Tom. I barely know him but he's proven to be a good guy… and he's shacked up with Stacie and wouldn't want to progress things farther after the show, which works to my advantage since I've kinda already got my eye on someone else."

Beca smirked, leaning a little closer asking, "Oh yeah? Have you told them yet?"

Chloe nodded, "I was trying to keep it a secret, but eventually I just had to tell her."

"Her… that's scandalous," Beca teased, earning a light punch to the arm. "Does she know your violent tendencies?"

"I think she's getting a crash course," Chloe played along, both of them drifting closer before footsteps nearby had them quickly leaning back to an appropriate distance apart.

Theo's head poked into the room, eyes locking onto Beca. "Hey Bec, Chloe… uh, Bec do you think we could talk for a few?"

Beca glanced at Chloe in time to see her fallen expression be quickly masked with an encouraging smile. She had flashbacks of how many times Theo had interrupted them in the past, now understanding Chloe's reactions much better and knew what she needed to do.

"I'm still chatting with Chlo," Beca answered, a hint of firmness in her tone. "I'll find you in a bit?"

Theo nodded quickly, "Yeah, sure. No problem."

He vanished from the doorway and Beca turned just in time for Chloe's lips to cover her own, recovering after a moment to kiss her back.

"Thank you," Chloe murmured, pecking her lips once more before leaning back.

Beca shot her a slightly guilty look, saying, "Sorry for all those other times… I didn't…"

Chloe cut her off with a shake of her head, "No, Bec… you have nothing to apologize for. You should go talk with him, though. Maybe after we go vote for the Truth Booth?"

Beca nodded, standing up and extended a hand to Chloe to help her up. Before they could leave the room, CR appeared in the doorway and crossed her arms over her chest. She entered the room and closed the door securely behind her.

"I think we need to talk. Have a seat, ladies."

Beca swallowed hard, nervously looking at Chloe who was sporting an equally anxious expression.

"Don't worry, I've got people outside making sure no one comes in or overhears us, but we've got some things to discuss," CR said, gesturing towards the couch they'd just gotten up from.

"Fuck," Beca exhaled, letting go of Chloe's hand and collapsing back down onto the couch with Chloe taking a tentative seat beside her.

CR dragged a stool over from the opposite corner and perched on it in front of them.

"Let's start this off on the same page.. I already know everything, so don't bother lying or denying it. I'm not going to force you to break up, assuming you want to stay together," CR said, her tone very matter-of-fact. "Okay?"

Beca's mouth went dry the minute CR told them she knew everything, her stomach doing nervous backflips. She nodded, not trusting herself to say anything.

Chloe didn't have such problems, replying, "We do… want to stay together, that is."

CR nodded, but didn't respond.

Beca let her eyes sweep around the room anxiously, finally braving a look at CR. "How… how do you know everything?"

"Seriously?" CR leveled her with an incredulous stare. "Besides the fact that it's my job to know of any major relationships, events, and interactions that take place in this house… you two making out for thirty minutes in the Boom Boom Room was kind of hard to miss."

Beca flushed at her blunt answer, not daring to look at Chloe's reaction to that revelation.

"So once that was brought to my attention, I went back and watched the footage with audio which explained quite a bit," CR continued, sounding almost bored at this point. "Also, you two are terribly obvious with the constant eye contact and touches and… oh right, the sneaking away to make out some more."

"Okay, got it," Beca cut in, her voice exasperated. "So what happens now?"

CR chuckled, somehow the sound making Beca's anxiety worsen.

"First of all, relax," CR said, waiting until Beca finally met her gaze. "We aren't in the business of outing people for ratings."

Beca breathed out a sigh of relief, Chloe reaching over to slip take her hand and give it a small squeeze.

"However, I will tell you that my entire crew knows," CR added, shrugging at the accusatory look Beca was now shooting her. "Look, I can't protect you unless the crew knows. They're excellent at their jobs and have had a lot of practice searching out drama and interactions that make for good television. This way, they know what to shoot and what not to."

"It's okay, Bec… it sounds like it's for the best," Chloe said softly, trying to encourage her to see the positive side of things.

She could admit it sounded like the logical plan, but all of these random people knowing about her relationship and sexual preference still didn't sit well with her. Beca hadn't even had a chance to tell her family or her closest friends back home, although after so much time in the house she realized that Luke and DJ and Stacie and Jesse were among those she considered close friends. She wanted the opportunity to tell them on her own terms.

"I'll also make sure the final edits aren't too revealing," CR continued, as if she didn't think Beca was satisfied with the current state of events.

"It's fine, I appreciate that," Beca finally spoke up, finding her voice.

"You're welcome," CR answered in the kindest voice Beca had heard her use yet. "However, we do need to talk about your remaining time here in the house and on the show. For one, you two need to stop spending so much time together. In a group setting it's fine, but the sneaking off to be alone needs to stop."

Chloe looked as upset about that as Beca felt, immediately wanting to argue back.

"That's not realistic," Beca said weakly. "Guys and girls hang out in small groups all the time."

"Oh, my bad, do they all sneak away to make out and talk about how they want to be together?" CR's sarcasm was strong, making Beca flinch a little. "No, they don't. I'll do what I can, but you two need to tone it down. A lot. No one else in the house can know."

"What about Gail?" Chloe asked curiously.

CR shook her head. "I didn't see any reason to tell her. It won't affect the show in any way from her perspective and she will have no reason to bring it up in any of her scenes."

Chloe nodded her understanding, replying, "It just seems like she knows everything…"

"Everything that's pertinent to her role on the show," CR corrected. "We give her snippets of information that she can use to draw out conversations about events that have happened in the house for dramatic effect. Everything we give her has a purpose, it's not just a rundown of everything that happens when she's not around."

It was Beca's turn to nod, knowing that made a lot of sense.

"I also have to remind you of the contract you signed when you agreed to be on the show," CR said, looking between the pair of them. "It doesn't seem to be an issue based on your recent conversations, but you do have an obligation to the rest of the people in the house to genuinely try to figure out who your perfect match is."

That was something Beca could definitely get behind, not wanting to ruin the experience for anyone else. Except maybe Chicago.

"We've talked about that and we are fully committed to finding our perfect match," Beca agreed, thankful her voice had regained some strength. It was definitely the strangest situation she'd ever been in, but she was starting to settle in and just own it as best she could.

"Yeah, we know what we have to do," Chloe nodded.

CR stood up, returning the stool to its original position before addressing them again. "Alright, well… I think we're on the same page now. Let's not have to have this talk again, okay?"

Beca nodded, seeing Chloe do the same out of the corner of her eye.

"Got it."

"Understood."

"Good," CR's tone held the finality signaling the conversation was over. "Don't forget to vote for the Truth Booth."

With that final reminder she turned and left the room without a backwards glance, leaving Beca and Chloe sitting speechless on the couch. Chloe let go of her hand to run her fingers through her hair, exhaling slowly.

"You know, I actually think that went well."


It was the first time that Beca was actually looking forward to the couples returning from their date. She and Chloe had avoided each other for the rest of the day after their chat with CR, and not having Luke or Jesse around left her with few options. Beca had eventually found Theo and they chatted for a little while and eventually submitted their Truth Booth votes together, but there was still an awkwardness between them that she was not a fan of. If she was honest, she didn't want to keep holding this grudge and resentment against him, done with how it was weighing her down. She was happy with Chloe and decided to genuinely try to end the show on good terms with the man, especially if they were going to keep getting paired up together.

Chloe sat down beside her on the couch as the crew gathered them for the Truth Booth shoot, her relieved sigh audible at having the redhead nearby once more.

"Ready for this?"

Beca nodded, "Yep. Another confirmed perfect match on the way."

To her displeasure Chicago claimed the seat on Chloe's other side, earning himself a raised eyebrow from the redhead.

"What… we're supposed to be a perfect match, remember?" He shrugged. "Plus, C has been pissed off all day after the way Uni threw her shot at a date."

Beca rolled her eyes at his words, clenching her teeth together to keep from throwing a scathing retort at him.

Chloe didn't seem to feel the need to hold back, replying sarcastically, "It's stunning no one wants to be your perfect match."

He looked a little hurt at that, defending, "What do you want from me, Chlo? I'm just trying to go along with the group."

The use of the nickname definitely hit Beca the wrong way, not feeling like he was on a familiar enough level with Chloe anymore to use it.

"Go along with the group from across the room." Chloe's tone was low and serious.

"Nobody move!" CR held her hands up, glaring at all of them. "The others are returning any minute and we're getting this shoot done on time tonight."

Chicago was halfway out of his seat, freezing immediately at her warning.

"Sit your ass down right now," CR's stare was leveled at him, and he slowly lowered himself back onto the couch.

Beca heard Chloe's frustrated huff, wishing she could do anything to comfort her. Unfortunately, she had to keep her hands to herself instead of patting Chloe's knee or rubbing over her back.

True to her words, the three getaway date couples traipsed through the door a minute later, shuffling straight into the living room clearly having been told the agenda for the evening. Gail swept into the room almost immediately after they got into position, taking up her usual spot near the big screen with the pictures on it.

"Hey guys, looks like we're on a tight schedule this evening," she joked, nodding at a few faces around the room.

Beca glanced at Luke who smiled back at her, seemingly happy with the way his date had gone.

"Alright guys, how're we doing tonight?" Gail asked, her voice assuming that special quality she gave it when the cameras were rolling.

The group responded positively, ready to get to the results.

"Awesome, great to hear," Gail nodded, turning to the three couples. "How was the date?"

"It was great, Gail," Luke answered for the group, who nodded along with his words. "We learned that some of us are better chefs than others," he added teasingly.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Bumper joked. "I poured that wine like a pro."

Kommissar coughed to cover up her laugh. "If Bumper and I are a perfect match, we'll be very thankful for takeout."

Beca laughed at the way Bumper just shrugged and nodded in agreement.

"Hey, it's important to recognize your weaknesses as well as your strengths," Gail quipped, winking at them. "Aubrey, how'd it go for you and Jesse?"

"We worked well together in the kitchen," Aubrey answered. "It was great to see a different side of him… he can actually cook!"

Jesse sighed in mock exasperation, "Don't sound so stunned. I'm a man of many talents."

Beca sincerely hoped that the pair was a perfect match. She could see the bond that had formed between them and that they definitely complimented each other.

"That's great to hear!" Gail responded enthusiastically, before turning back to the whole group. "Okay, it's time to see who the rest of you voted into the Truth Booth… the only way to confirm whether a couple is a perfect match. Let's see what you decided."

Beca turned her attention to the screen and watched as it flashed to reveal large photos of Jesse and Aubrey side by side. She breathed a sigh of relief that the rest of the idiots in the house didn't vote Bumper and Kommissar in.

"Jesse and Aubrey!" Gail announced, turning back to the pair. "How do you guys feel about that?"

Jesse smiled confidently, "I'm happy about it. I kinda expected it, but I guess you never know."

"We're ready to find out the truth," Aubrey added, looking slightly nervous now that the results had been revealed.

"It definitely wasn't a unanimous vote, but it wasn't that close either," Gail informed them, looking around the room now. "Why Aubrey and Jesse instead of one of the other two couples?"

Theo shocked her by speaking up, "It's getting close to the end, Gail. We need to be more strategic now when choosing who to send to the Truth Booth."

Gail bit on that answer, asking, "And you feel that Jesse and Aubrey are a more likely match than say, Bumper and Kommissar?"

"I do," Theo replied confidently. "But I also could see Bumper and Kommissar being a match. It comes down to a stronger feeling based on watching them interact with each other in the house. Aubrey and Jesse have been really connecting for weeks now, so it made sense for me to vote them into the Truth Booth."

"Anyone who voted for Bumper and Kommissar want to chime in?" Gail offered up the opportunity.

"What about me and man candy Luke?" Fat Amy interjected bluntly. "No one thinks we're a match?"

Luke chimed in immediately, "I do."

Chicago spoke at the same time, "No." He continued, "I voted for Bumper and Kommissar because they've sat together at a lot of the matchups and if they are a match it eliminates a lot of other potential matches. But I'm fine with Aubrey and Jesse going in. Really either way we will learn a lot tonight."

Gail seemed satisfied with the group input, starting her usual speech. "So, Jesse and Aubrey, if you're a match you will leave the house after the matchup tomorrow and spend the rest of your time together in the honeymoon suite!"

The group smiled and clapped at that, fading out as she moved on to the negative result.

"However, if you are not a match you both will be back in the house and you all will have blown another shot at a confirmed perfect match… and at taking one more step towards that million bucks."

The group booed and groaned at those words, Beca quietly joining in although her heart wasn't really in it. She hoped that Jesse and Aubrey were a match.

"Alright, Jesse and Aubrey, it's time to head to the Truth Booth," Gail instructed, everyone watching them wave and head out the back door.

After a minute, Gail got the cue to finish her part in the shoot. "When Jesse and Aubrey see the result in the Truth Booth… you will also see it on the screen here. Good luck, and I'll see everyone tomorrow for the matchup."

Beca waved goodbye to Gail with the rest of the group and sat back to wait for the results. CR had informed them at one point or another that in the final cut of the show it would skip straight to the results, so this middle waiting period was pointless unless a massive fight or something equally entertaining broke out. That was highly unlikely to happen tonight, and Beca let her eyes drift closed while they waited.


"Alright! Results are coming up on the screen in one minute!"

Beca's eyes shot open at CR's loud voice bringing them back to attention, glancing briefly at Chloe who was smiling at her.

"Have a nice nap?"

Beca nodded, rubbing quickly at her eyes. "How long was I out?"

"An hour. No idea what took them so long this time."

Beca's eyebrows rose in surprise, immediately wondering that as well. "Guess we're about to find out."

Chloe's gaze was focused on the screen when she murmured, "I don't think they're a match."

"No? Who could be Aubrey's match then?"

"Well, you could be Jesse's, and any of the guys left could be Aubrey's. It's not like she's sat with a bunch of different people at the matchups," Chloe's answer was straightforward, making Beca wonder if they were even close to solving this puzzle.

The room fell silent as the screen flashed, everyone holding their breath to see what the result would be. The thick black box appeared across both photos blaring the words "NO MATCH!" causing groans and curses to fill the room.

"Well fuck," Beca muttered, running her fingers through her hair.

"How are we so bad at this?" Stacie wondered aloud, a few other people murmuring in agreement.

"Another Truth Booth, another happy couple shot down," Tom sighed, rising to his feet. "Shots anyone?"

Beca shook her head as every hand in the room rose into the air.


"Hey." Jesse fell into step beside her as they walked towards the matchup ceremony. "I just thought you should know that I'm gonna pick you tonight."

Beca glanced at him, not bothered by that statement for the first time since she'd met Jesse. "Okay. Have you informed Theo of this?"

To her surprise, Jesse nodded. "Yeah, I told him that I really think you and I are a match and that if I get called before him I was gonna pick you. He said it was fine since the two of you are gonna get put into the Truth Booth somehow before this is all over anyways, and that since you've only sat with two guys maybe switching it up is for the best."

Beca hummed thoughtfully, appreciating his logic. "So now he's not going to pick me? What do the rest of the guys think about that?"

"Who cares?" Jesse replied, sounding like he meant it. "All these guys that have tried to figure it out have failed and probably only made things worse. So fuck them."

"I still think it's weird to hear you curse," Beca shook her head, breaking into a smile.

Jesse chuckled, his boyish grin back in place. "I thought it would make me more attractive to you," he joked.

Beca rolled her eyes, noticing Aubrey looking curiously at them. "How're you guys handling the whole… no match thing?"

"We're ignoring it, apparently," Jesse scoffed. "Whatever, I told her I still liked her but I think she came into this hoping for a happily ever after with her match so now she's all like… let's just see how it goes."

Beca wasn't sure how to respond to that, thankful that they had reached the staged area for the matchup ceremony.

"Well, hopefully you get to pick early and you can come chill with me for the rest of the evening," Beca said, trying to find some positivity.

Jesse nodded in agreement, "Fingers crossed. Pick a comfy chair."

"You got it," she laughed, looking at the seats to see Benji and Emily occupying one already, Donald and Lilly beside them. She quickly walked over and sat down in the last empty chair on the bottom row.

"How was your first week in the honeymoon suite?"

DJ grinned, "Best. Week. Ever."

Lilly smirked but didn't say anything, and Beca was suddenly hit with the flashback of the last time this subject had been brought up and was very glad for the lack of detail. Chloe walked past them and greeted the two perfect matches, holding Beca's gaze for a second before climbing to the second row of chairs and sitting down beside Aubrey.

"Okay guys! Good news is more perfect matches means less choosing and the rest of this process," CR called out, turning and looking around. "Boys, stay over there! We'll have you walk in once Gail gets here. Who's got eyes on our host?!"

From somewhere behind the scenes came the answer, spoken too rapidly for Beca to understand a word of it. It seemed to frustrate CR, who rolled her eyes and strode off towards the voice already starting to shout back. She returned a few minutes later with a slightly annoyed looking Gail, Beca meeting Luke's gaze and raising a curious eyebrow at him. He smirked in return, a slight shake of his head telling her he wanted nothing to do with the host if she was pissed off. CR was bad, but they'd never seen Gail upset before. If Beca was honest, she didn't want to find out what an angry Gail would do to a shoot.

"Okay, gentlemen! Gather over there and we'll get a couple shots of you walking in and lining up on the platform," CR shouted, gaining everyone's attention.

Beca watched as it took the guys several tries to enter correctly, eventually getting all eight in the right spot.

Gail smiled around the room, her on camera persona back in place with no trace of her earlier frustration. "Hey guys! How was your week?"

There were a few murmurs before Chicago finally answered, "It was okay."

"Just okay?" Gail probed, looking at the guys.

"We were hoping for another match in the Truth Booth," Luke added, "But we're still feeling confident about finding all ten perfect matches."

Gail smiled, "Great to hear! Stay positive. I know you guys can do it." She turned to the two couples already seated saying, "Before we get started let's welcome back your two confirmed perfect matches, Benji and Emily, and Donald and Lilly. DJ, how was your first week in the honeymoon suite?"

Donald grinned, "It was great, Gail. Lilly and I really enjoyed ourselves."

Gail recognized the gleam in his eye, commenting, "Is it safe to say the two of you aren't practicing celibacy the way your counterparts are?"

Lilly simply shook her head, while Donald answered cheekily, "I'd say that's accurate."

Cheers and whoops went up from around Beca, deciding to give a little whistle herself. Donald and Lilly were not ashamed at all, grinning proudly around the room.

"That's great to hear you guys are… connecting so well," Gail's strategic pause was accompanied by a wink. "Okay guys, it's time for another matchup and another shot at one million dollars!"

The group clapped and cheered loudly, Gail waiting for them to settle down before continuing.

"If you guys all choose your match correctly, then you're gonna leave this island with love and money," Gail said, pausing before reminding them, "But if just one of you gets it wrong, then you're not ten for ten and you're heading back to the house empty-handed again… and you're running out of chances."

There were a few uneasy rumblings around the room, the reality of their situation sinking in a bit that they were definitely running out of time to figure out their perfect matches.

"Now, gentlemen I will call you up here one by one, you'll choose your perfect match, and then the two of you will place your palms on the handprint touchpads locking you in as a couple."

"Let's do it!" Luke called out, a few of the guys nodding along with him.

Gail clapped her hands together, announcing, "Alright! First up for the guys tonight is… Zeke!"

Beca clapped along as Zeke made his way to the podium. "Hey Gail."

"Zeke, how are you feeling about being first up tonight?" Gail asked.

"Good, I'm feeling good," Zeke replied easily.

Gail nodded, asking, "Do you know who you're picking tonight?" At his affirmative nod, she didn't delay. "Okay then, Zeke, who is your perfect match?"

Zeke answered, "Well we got four matches last week and I think we might have been one of them so… my perfect match is Stacie."

Beca could see the two of them paired up, catching Stacie's pleased smile as she joined him at the podium. They placed their palms on the touchpad and locked in, not wasting too much time in returning to their chair.

Gail turned back to the rest of the guys. "Next up is Chicago!"

Beca sighed, knowing that he was going to pick Chloe. She knew that they had to play the game and that they would be matched up with a guy at each of these ceremonies, but that didn't mean she had to like it.

"Chicago, who is your perfect match?"

He turned and looked somewhere above Beca's head, answering, "My perfect match is Chloe."

Beca forced a smile and clapped along, watching the back of Chloe's head as she walked up to the platform. It took everything inside her not to shout at him when he slipped an arm around her waist, noticing the way Chloe still kept a small gap between them.

"Chloe, do you think Chicago is your match?" Gail asked, sensing the tension between them.

"I think he could be," Chloe answered honestly. "But I also think there are other guys who could be. I'm not sure."

Gail raised an eyebrow at that, asking Chicago, "What do you think of that, Chicago?"

Beca couldn't see his face, listening carefully as he answered.

"I really like Chloe. She's beautiful and smart and based on previous matchups we could be a match."

This time the only thing that kept her from saying something was the obvious way Chloe shifted a step away from him. At least it was obvious to her, despite being no more than an inch or so that could easily be disguised as Chloe shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

Gail smiled at his answer, "Aw, that's sweet. Okay, Chicago, Chloe, it's time to lock in."

The pair placed their hands on the touch pad and turned to walk back to the empty chair, Beca doing her best to remove any irritation or frustration or anger or jealousy or any number of negative emotions from her face before they could be caught on camera. Her eyes locked on Chloe's and just like that she was fighting off laughter at the redhead's lightning fast eye roll.

Gail waited until they were seated, but before she could call the next name CR walked out onto the set. "Let's break and get reactions. We've got eight couples so we'll do four rounds of two. No long break tonight, guys. Power through and we should be done early without any issues."

Beca sighed in relief at that announcement. The long break was more for the crew than for them, hard to come back from and get refocused.

Luke was suddenly perched on the arm of her chair looking down at her. "Well that was awkward."

Beca shook her head, "Your timing is impeccable."

"What was he spouting that shit for anyways?"

Beca rolled her eyes, "It's all for the camera. He really thinks they're a match and is playing it up or something. Happily ever after or whatever like everyone wants."

Luke hummed, "Well the world is gonna be super disappointed when Chloe shuts that shit down."

Beca looked off in the direction Chloe had gone with Chicago to film reactions, knowing Luke was right.


"Bumper!"

Beca smiled as he walked up to the podium. No one was more surprised than her at how he'd grown on her throughout the time spent in the house. He'd been blunt and a little obnoxious at first, but for whatever reason had mellowed out as filming dragged on. He was logical and sensitive, though Beca was sure he was still trying to hide it from the group.

"How are you tonight, Bumper?" Gail asked, shooting him a warm smile.

"I'm great, Gail. Just great."

"Wonderful," Gail paused, clearly not interesting in making small talk at the moment. "Bumper, who is your perfect match?"

Bumper answered immediately, "My perfect match is Amy."

The first thing that caught Beca's attention was that he didn't call her Fat Amy, instead simply using her name. The second thing that caught her attention was that Amy did not correct him, but simply yelled something proudly and walked up to join him.

Gail grinned at them, asking, "Fat Amy, do you think you and Bumper are a match?"

"I'm still not sure he can handle all this," Fat Amy winked. "We'll have to see."

Bumper chimed in confidently, "I'm not worried about it. We're both the right combination of brilliant and crazy. It works. It's a match."

Gail laughed as they traded looks, finally saying, "You know, I think I believe you. Bumper, Fat Amy, it's time to lock in."

Beca shook her head as they theatrically placed their palms on the touchpad and locked in, toning it down as they returned to the chair. That was one pair that she wasn't sure was a match, but man she really hoped they were. It would be very entertaining for everyone in the house.

She zoned out a little when Unicycle was the next name called, vaguely watching as he and Kommissar locked in as a couple before taking full advantage of their next break. After CR gathered them all back to the set, it was finally time to actually pay attention.

"Next up for the guys is… Jesse!"

That had Beca sitting up a little straighter in her chair, never doubting that Jesse would pick her.

"You seem a little different tonight, Jesse," Gail observed. "How are you doing after that Truth Booth?"

"You know what, Gail, I'm okay," Jesse answered. "Aubrey and I are still on good terms, but it gave us answers that we really needed."

Gail nodded encouragingly, "You two really thought you were a match. How are you feeling now?"

Jesse hesitated, replying, "Well, ever since I arrived in the house I felt like this person was my match. I couldn't explain it, but it'll be pretty crazy to me if I was right."

Gail played right into the setup, asking, "Could it be love at first sight? Jesse, who is your perfect match?"

Jesse chuckled, "I don't know about love at first sight, but for tonight… my perfect match is Beca."

Beca breathed a little sigh of relief at the easy way he deflected that hurdle, rising and walking slowly up to join him at the podium.

"Beca! What do you think about being Jesse's pick tonight?" Gail asked curiously.

"I mean… I don't think Jesse and I started off very well," Beca started, purposefully pausing to draw it out a bit, "But we've gotten to hang out a little more lately and he's not so bad. I actually think he could be my match as well."

"Wonderful! I hope you two are right!" Gail said cheerfully, gesturing to the touchpad. "Please lock in as a couple."

Beca placed her palm on the touchpad, watching the familiar sight of the green bar scan up and down before the matching "LOCKED!" bars appeared. She smiled at Jesse and they walked back to her chair together. Once they were seated, Gail turned back to the remaining guys and called the next name.

"Luke!"

He walked confidently up to the podium and greeted Gail.

"So Luke, your date from the challenge was stolen away from you tonight before you could pick her," Gail hinted, a slight smile on her face.

Luke played along, a wounded expression on his face. "I know… I'm doing my best to carry on."

"Don't worry, man candy! I'll be in the house tonight!" Fat Amy shouted playfully from beside Bumper.

Luke turned around and answered, "Can't wait!"

"Well, since you can't pick Fat Amy… Luke, who is your perfect match?" Gail asked.

"My perfect match is Flo."

Beca glanced around until she saw the short woman, a pleased smile on her face. Gail didn't ask her too many questions before the pair locked in and returned to the empty chair.

"Okay guys, great job so far tonight! Let's get that final break in and we'll wrap this shoot up!" CR called out, gesturing more instructions for her crew.

Jesse stood up and yawned. "Guess we need to film. After you," he said, waiting for her to lead the way off the set.


The last two couples matched up without any interesting interactions or conversations, Theo picking Calamity and Tom finished the ceremony off by automatically matching with Aubrey. Jesse didn't seem bothered by it, whispering that the pair of them barely knew each other. Beca felt a little bit bad for Tom, having been matched up randomly ever since he and Stacie had struck out in the Truth Booth.

Once they were all paired up and seated, Gail moved on to the next part of the ceremony.

"Alright great job you guys, you're paired off into ten perfect matches, right?" Gail teased, earning a few claps and cheers for that comment. "Behind me are ten beams of light."

Beca closed her eyes briefly as the beams lit up shining straight at them before rising into the sky. She wondered again if that was truly necessary, but accepted the dramatics of the show.

Beside her, Jesse murmured, "I hate that part."

At the same time, several other people cheered again.

"There they are!"

"The famous ten!"

Gail waited a moment before continuing, "Each beam represents a perfect match. One beam," she paused again as all the lights went out and the first one re-lit up, "Is one perfect match. Ten beams," another pause as all ten lit up again, "Is ten perfect matches and one million dollars."

There was another pause for them to clap and cheer and react to the money. Beca was long over this part but again chose to participate rather than get chewed out by CR.

"Don't you wonder how people don't get bored of watching this?" Beca muttered to Jesse.

"Yes, but also watching it is way different than filming it," Jesse reminded her.

Beca sighed, "Right. Forgot about that for a second."

"Now tonight you guys get to start with two beams already lit," Gail informed them as the first two beams turned back on and blasted into the night sky. "Those beams represents your two confirmed perfect matches, Benji and Emily, and Donald and Lilly. Add eight more beams to that and you're walking away with one million dollars."

"However," Gail added after a moment, "If you fail to add any more beams to those two, that's a blackout and your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

"No way, Gail!"

"Get outta here with that shit! No blackout tonight!"

Gail smiled at them, "It's time to find out." She circled around the podium as the lights flashed on above them and placed both hands on the touchpad. "The number of perfect matches is…"

"Come on…" Jesse trailed off, staring intently at the row of lights.

A third beam lit up the sky, making everyone exhale and cheer in relief.

"There's three!" Gail announced.

"Yes!"

"Let's go! Keep going!" Beca recognized Luke's voice, smiling at his excitement.

After what she felt was way too long a pause, a fourth beam flashed up into the sky.

"Four!" Gail called out, her voice rising slightly.

Beca grinned as more cheers accompanied that beam, hoping they weren't done yet.

Not long after that, a fifth beam blasted skyward.

"Five beams!" Gail said, her voice carrying a hint of excitement now.

"Let's fucking go!" Bumper shouted above the cheers and clapping.

"Give me six!"

"We want six, Gail!"

"That's five," Jesse said, grinning at her. "Halfway."

They waited a few more agonizing seconds before the lights flashed and the sound blared signaling the end of the matchup. Beca smiled as they deflated a bit and a few "Awws" went around the room, but overall, they'd taken another step closer.

"Five matches guys!" Gail announced, turning around to shoot them a smile. "Halfway to the million dollars with three more shots to go ten for ten."

"We got this, guys," Bumper said, reaching over to high-five Luke.

Gail waited a minute for them to celebrate before wrapping up the ceremony. "You guys are getting closer, but you still have a lot of work to do and not a lot of time to do it. It's time to say goodbye to Benji and Emily and DJ and Lilly… you'll see them next week at the next matchup. The rest of you, get back to the house and get to work on finding those remaining five matches!"

Beca stood up, locking eyes with Jesse. "We've never gotten five before…" she trailed off.

He nodded, finally saying, "I think we're a match."

Beca studied his face for a minute, eventually coming to her own conclusion.

"Me too."

Chapter Text


The sunset provided a beautiful backdrop as Beca sat perched on the edge of the pool, bare feet casually swinging in the water. Jesse was seated beside her, while Tom and Stacie were actually in the pool playing a game of chicken against Luke and Aubrey. Chloe was safely located on Jesse's other side cheering on Luke as Aubrey manage to topple Stacie off of Tom's shoulders. Beca grinned at Luke's triumphant yell, setting her drink down to clap for his victory.

"You see that, Bec?!" Luke shouted, a mischievous look appearing on his face as he suddenly dropped down into the pool, pulling a shrieking Aubrey under with him.

Beca couldn't help but burst out laughing at that sight, Aubrey coming up to the surface moments later to splash Luke in the face indignantly.

"Jackass."

"Love you too, Aubs," Luke retorted with a laugh, blowing her a kiss.

Stacie and Tom made their way over to the pools edge to join them, the other pair following after a moment.

"Almost to the end of this… whatever this is," Stacie commented, easily leaning back into Tom's arms in the water. "What's next for you guys?"

When no one spoke up immediately, Beca shrugged, "I mean… back to the bar for me."

Stacie nodded, asking, "Not that there's anything wrong with that, but have you wanted to do something else?"

Beca shook her head, "No, I mean… I guess it won't stay a secret forever but I don't just work at the bar. I own it."

Stacie's eyes widened in surprise, "No shit! That's amazing, Bec! We'll have to all come out sometime after the show airs and celebrate."

"That'd be awesome," Beca grinned, noticing the shock on most of the group's faces at that news.

"Beca's a boss," Tom added, shooting her wink. "No surprise there."

Beca shook her head, deflecting, "Yeah, yeah, enough about me." She turned to Jesse, asking, "What are you gonna do after this?"

Jesse answered, "Back to real life. I didn't come on this show to get famous or anything." He turned his gaze to Tom and Stacie. "What about you two? Don't you live on opposite sides of the country?"

Tom glanced at Stacie and received some sort of approval because he looked up and said, "I can't do it immediately… but I'm gonna move to L.A."

"Wow, that's a big deal," Aubrey commented, looking impressed.

Tom didn't seem bothered at all, replying, "I'll give my clients a few months notice and offer them an option to continue training with me virtually after I move. I can work anywhere."

"Well I cannot, unfortunately," Luke chimed in. "I'll be going to back to Chicago and I expect you all to listen in to my show daily."

Beca grinned, "Wouldn't miss it… wait, it's not a morning show, right?"

Luke rolled his eyes, "You know it is, dick. I'll give you an hour or two break but you better turn it on when you wake up."

"You know you start at like three in the morning my time, right? I close the bar at two," Beca shook her head. "I need to sleep sometime."

"Sure," Luke nodded, "Close the bar, get some breakfast, listen to my show, then sleep."

Jesse chuckled, "Sounds like those priorities are in order." He glanced at Aubrey, asking, "What about you, Bree?"

Aubrey answered, "I'll be returning to work in Phoenix. I love my firm and colleagues there."

"Not even if you found love and they lived across the country?" Jesse asked curiously.

"I wouldn't uproot my life for someone I have only known for a few weeks," Aubrey answered simply. "At least not right away," she added. "I would be open to long distance options at first and just see where it goes from there."

Jesse nodded at her answer, glancing around before rising to his feet. "I'm gonna grab a drink and something to eat. Anyone want anything?"

Aubrey climbed out of the pool, replying, "I'm hungry, too. I'll go with you."

Beca watched them walk away, aware of a noticeable gap between the pair that hadn't been there a week ago. Stacie and Tom had floated a short distance away, Tom whispering something into her ear that had Stacie breaking out in laughter.

Luke glanced between Beca and Chloe before moving to the edge of the pool to climb out. "I'm gonna go… be somewhere other than here right now," he said with a wink, leaving the pair of them sitting on the pool's edge.

"Subtle," Beca mumbled while he was still within earshot, earning herself a smirk before Luke turned his back on them and walked into the house. She turned to look at Chloe, finding the redhead's eyes already on her. "So Chlo… what does life look like for you after this shit show?" she asked, teasing lightly to ease some of the tension.

Chloe's smile was genuinely happy as she answered, "Med school, but you know that. I'm excited to start the next part of my life, even if it's probably gonna kick my ass."

"I don't believe that," Beca shook her head. "I think you're gonna crush it and be an amazing doctor."

Chloe blushed slightly, looking away across the pool. "We'll see… I hope so." After a few seconds she added quietly, "I'm kinda hoping I'll have this super awesome, boss bitch girlfriend supporting me."

Beca's eyebrows rose slightly, waiting for Chloe to look back at her. "Really? I mean, yeah… like I want that too but, I mean… aren't you from Texas? Not exactly close to California, is it?"

"Well, no, Austin isn't very close to San Francisco," Chloe agreed, "But I hear Stanford isn't so far away."

"Seriously? You're going to Stanford?! Chloe, that's amazing."

Chloe shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal. "I wanted a change, you know? Austin is very progressive, but it's still Texas."

Beca nodded, understanding exactly what the redhead was referring to.

"Beca… I really like you. I want us to be together when all this is over." Chloe's voice dropped and took on a slightly more serious edge, her eyes meeting Beca's intimately.

Beca's stomach looped uncomfortably, suddenly thinking about how much her life would change if she suddenly returned from being away for a few months with a girlfriend. No one in her life knew she liked women, and while she lived in a very open and loving community the thought of coming out to everyone was still very daunting. The conflict must have shown on her face, as Chloe's smile fell.

"I mean… if you want that, too," Chloe said, suddenly withdrawing a bit.

Beca knew she needed to make this decision. If she really wasn't ready to come out and give Chloe an equal partner in the relationship then she needed to tell her sooner rather than later. Deep down, though, Beca knew she wanted this. She just needed to find the courage to overpower the fear.

"No… I mean, yes, I want that too, I just don't want to move too fast," Beca said, almost face-palming at her awkwardness. "It's just… you know that no one in my life knows I'm bi. I just need a little time to tell the people in my life that mean the most to me… my family at the very least, you know?"

Chloe nodded, seemingly supportive despite a slight hesitation in her words. "No, of course. I get it."

Beca still sensed a bit of awkwardness lingering between the pair of them, but Jesse reappeared before she could say anything else.

"What happened to Bree?" Beca asked, suddenly glad for a change of subject.

Jesse shook his head, "She started talking with Luke about some legal story he'd covered on his radio show and I bailed."

Beca nodded, realizing that Jesse had real feelings for Aubrey and that the blonde was definitely starting to pull away. Trying to cheer him up, she suggested, "Hey! You should come visit once the show ends. I've been thinking about starting up a karaoke night…" she hinted, knowing that would be enough to take his mind off Aubrey for a little while.

Jesse brightened just like she knew he would. "You totally should do that. Everyone loves karaoke."

Beca grinned in agreement as he immediately launched into his all-time favorite performances, falling a little as Chloe's smile didn't quite reach her eyes.


"Alright guys, everyone grab a seat now!" CR's voice echoed loudly through the house, immediately sending everyone scrambling for the couch in the living room to hear what their challenge would be.

"Good, thank you," CR nodded in approval at their fast response time, swiftly launching into her explanation of the day's challenge. "Today the boys will be attempting to scale a rock wall we have brought in and set up on the back lawn. The three fastest to the top win the dates. There shouldn't be, but any questions?"

Beca glanced around, surprised to see everyone staying patiently quiet.

"Excellent, that's a first," CR quipped. "Let's go. I want everyone grouped out in the backyard so we can get this filmed nice and quick."

Beca sighed, knowing that a fast shoot was highly unlikely. Most of the challenge shoots took hours, and this one would be no exception. Chloe fell into step beside her, a thrill rushing through her as their shoulders brushed together.

"Okay, here's good. You all know the drill by now," CR began, glancing around at the group. "You'll jog slowly around that corner to where Gail is waiting for you with the rock wall. She will explain the challenge and the getaway date. We're nearing the end guys, so don't start fucking around now." With that, she left them at the anxious call of one of the production assistants.

Jesse sighed as she walked away, muttering, "Yeah, you guys have been less shitty than my usual cast but that doesn't mean you won't fuck it up in the last few weeks."

Beca chuckled, turning toward him in time to see a very exaggerated eye roll. "Her faith in us is truly awe-inspiring."

"Really she should have more faith in us since it's so fucking early no one has had time to get drunk," Jesse commented, looking around at the very sober group.

Beca privately agreed with him on that note. They were starting this challenge as early in the day as possible, meaning they'd already been awake for hours. The filming was definitely getting to her, starting to long for the boring normalcy of the bar and her family back home. Being scrutinized all day every day was exhausting, and Beca was over it. The only thing keeping her cooperating in the least bit was Chloe and the few good friendships she'd developed along the way.

"Were you serious about me coming to visit you after all this is over?" Jesse asked quietly, "Or were you just saying that for the cameras?"

Beca met his eyes, a little surprised at the question but also understanding that she and Jesse had been through ups and downs in the house. "Of course I was serious," she answered honestly. "Jesse, I might not want to date you after this, but I think we could be really good friends."

Jesse broke into a relieved smile. "Okay cool, yeah… me too, Becs. I'd love to come visit you and see your bar and hang out."

Beca smiled back at him, waiting a moment before turning back to Chloe only to find the redhead no longer on her other side, instead finding Stacie winking down at her.

"You and Jesse, huh? I get it, you two are good for each other," Stacie said confidently, flipping her hair.

Beca bit her lip, CR's warning echoing around her brain that no one else in the house can know the truth. "Yeah, I think he might be my match," she replied, though her heart wasn't in the words.

"I think so," Stacie agreed. "You guys are adorable."

CR's loud voice boomed over their light chatter, everyone falling silent immediately. "Alright let's go!"

Beca looked around waiting for the cue, breaking into a light jog upon hearing it. The group naturally spread out, knowing that CR didn't like it when they got too clumped up together. Apparently it ruined the shot. Gail came into view when they turned the corner, beckoning them over with a friendly smile.

"Hey guys! How are we doing today?"

They piled around where Gail gestured for them to stand, Beca thanking every God above that CR didn't interrupt Gail's opening lines to make them shoot it again. Looking at the setup for the day, Beca noticed that alongside the new rock wall was a row of lounge chairs with pitchers of drinks on tables between each set of two.

Gail smiled at their cheerful replies before getting down to business. "You guys know you only got five out of ten perfect matches at the last matchup, which is an improvement… but you only have three more shots to go ten for ten," she reminded them, turning slightly serious before resuming her playful demeanor. "If you do," she said, shooting them a grin with her arms outstretched, "You win a million bucks."

Beca took a deep breath and plastered a smile on her face as the group whooped and cheered when Gail mentioned the money, joining in by clapping her hands.

"You guys have two confirmed perfect matches in Benji and Emily, and Donald and Lilly… let's try and add some more to that!"

Beca nodded as she spoke, definitely able to get on board with adding another perfect match or two to their numbers as long as she and Chloe weren't a part of it.

Gail smiled as the group cheered again, waiting for them to settle down before continuing. "In this challenge, the ladies are going to sit back, relax, and sip on cocktails while you gentlemen compete for the right to take one of them on a date!"

Beca broke into her first truly happy grin of the day, relieved that her only job in this challenge was to get a mild buzz going.

"The three fastest guys to scale the rock wall and ring the bell at the top get to pick a lovely lady to join them on the date tomorrow, in a challenge I'm calling… Hard as a Rock," Gail quipped, grinning at the slight groans from the pun.

Beca shook her head, unable to keep the smile off her face at the slight innuendo. She definitely wouldn't miss the corny scripted lines of the show, wondering how Gail was able to deliver them so consistently without breaking character.

Clapping her hands together, Gail called out, "Alright! Let's get started!"

After a moment, crew members swarmed in to get the guys harnessed up to climb while Beca strolled over to the row of chairs, glancing around to see where Chloe was. Unfortunately the redhead was being motioned toward the other end of the row with Aubrey, Kommissar, and Calamity. Beca held back the disappointment, knowing that having to sit next to Calamity was not going to be fun for Chloe. Instead she grabbed a seat between Stacie and Fat Amy, thoroughly looking forward to the commentary from both women during the challenge.

Never one to disappoint, Fat Amy shouted, "Let's go, Luke! I want to watch that sexy ass fly up the wall and win us another date!"

Luke winked and blew the blonde a kiss, eyes going slightly wide as a crew member tightened his harness and diverted his attention a little farther south.

Beca chuckled as Fat Amy commented, "I hope they didn't do any damage… I have plans for him."

Stacie leaned over to look at the blonde, "I thought you already sampled that?"

"And I would go back for the main course," Fat Amy replied without hesitating, Beca's eyes now going wide.

"Wait a second," Beca looked over at Amy. "When did that happen?"

Fat Amy shrugged, pulling a giant pair of sunglasses out of nowhere and placing them on. "First week or so? I think? It's hard to keep track of all these boy toys walking around."

Beca turned to look at Stacie in surprise, but the brunette simply had an amused look on her face.

"Get it, girl."

Beca didn't have time to wrap her head around wondering just how many women in the house Luke had fooled around with as CR was now shouting for everyone to get to their places. Instead she poured herself a drink and got ready to watch the show.

Once all the guys were harnessed up and ready to go, the crew got into position and CR gave Gail the signal to begin.

"Okay, let's get this challenge started! We won't be revealing any of the times until the very end, so make sure you get up that wall as fast as you can, gentlemen!" Gail winked. "First up for the guys is Unicycle!"

Beca eyed the lanky man, unsure if he would be good at scaling the climbing wall or not. To her surprise, he scampered fairly quickly up the wall and dinged the bell at the top to the cheers and whistles from the ladies watching.

Stacie muttered, "Damn, that was faster than I thought."

Fat Amy agreed, "Yeah, he could climb me like that any day."

"Dude… gross," Beca shook her head, not needing that visual in her head at all.

Gail called out, "Nicely done, Uni! Next up is Bumper!"

Bumper lifted his chin up as he strode to the bottom of the wall. "Watch and learn, boys."

Beca snorted at his words, and then bit her lip to keep from full on laughing at the awkward and slow way he ascended the wall.

"That guy has never climbed anything in his life," Stacie laughed, draining her first drink and reached for the pitcher instead of watching him finish.

Beca chuckled along with her, noticing that Fat Amy decided to keep her thoughts to herself. She made a mental note to bring that up with Chloe or Luke or Jesse later.

Tom went next, with Stacie cheering him on with one innuendo after another, though Beca thought they had the opposite effect of speeding him up.

"I think you might have hurt more than helped there, tall and busty," Fat Amy concluded, nodding towards Tom's distracted gaze in their direction.

"Then we need to work on his multi-tasking," Stacie replied, "Something I'm more than qualified to assist him with."

Beca shook her head, "We don't need the details. We believe you."

Fat Amy rolled her eyes, "Shut up, Jane the Virgin. We want to hear all the details."

"I need at least five more drinks before I'm ready to hear any of your details," Beca quipped back, holding her glass out for Stacie to refill.

"That's the spirit, Becs!" Stacie cheered. "Besides, your tolerance is insanely high from drinking for a living."

"I don't drink for…" she trailed off at Stacie's raised eyebrows, admitting with a smirk, "Okay I kinda drink for a living."

Fat Amy patted her shoulder with a supportive expression on her face. "They have groups for people like you, Beca. You don't have to be ashamed… or do it alone. I'm always available to drink with you."

Beca laughed, nodding, "Thanks Amy."

Fat Amy raised her glass and clinked it with Beca's before draining it in her show of support.

Zeke made fairly easy work of scaling the wall, followed by Jesse who looked far more athletic climbing to the top than Beca thought he would. She chastised herself a bit for the thoughts, especially after reminding herself of Jesse's strict workout routine that he put on display every day in the backyard.

Luke went next and absolutely flew to the top, ringing the bell so fast it left the ladies on the ground speechless for a moment before bursting into loud cheers. Luke blew them all kisses from the top of the wall before getting lowered down, raising his fists in victory as if he knew he was getting that date.

"Looks like you might get that date, Amy," Stacie winked across Beca at the blonde.

Beca busied herself with her drink, not needing that visual image in her head either. She loved her friendship with Luke but picturing him and Amy together was definitely something she could live without.

Theo went next, looking more confident than Beca thought he had any right to. Her jaw dropped again watching the man smoothly ascend to the top of the wall, not quite as fast as Luke had but still clearly moving faster than most of the other guys.

Fat Amy snickered beside her, commenting, "Beca you've got a bit of drool… just there."

Beca snapped her mouth shut, feeling her face flush at the thought that her surprise had been mistaken for some sort of lust. That was exactly the type of rumor she did not want circulating around the house, especially since something felt a little off with Chloe and they hadn't gotten to talk about it. Beca couldn't place it, but there was at tension between them since the poolside chat yesterday that did not feel good at all.

Stacie chimed in from Fat Amy's other side, "Yeah, Bec… what will Jesse think if you're still hung up on Theo?"

"She's with Jesse now? I thought he was with Aubrey?" Fat Amy looked interested in this piece of gossip, making Beca wonder if she was actually out of the loop or exaggerating for the cameras or something.

Stacie shrugged, deciding to sip on her drink instead of stoking the fire anymore, which Beca wasn't sure if she was happy or sad about.

"Theo and I are over," Beca said, hoping this would be the end of it.

"Until he wins this date and we put you in the Truth Booth and it says perfect match," Fat Amy grinned. "Then what happens in the honeymoon suite… hmmm, Beca?"

Beca shook her head, "Nothing because the Truth Booth will say no match and there won't be a honeymoon suite."

"Whatever you say, short stack."

Gail called out the final name, getting everyone's attention. "Last, but certainly not least, is Chicago!"

The ladies clapped and cheered appropriately as Chicago stepped up to the base of the wall looking confident. Beca sighed, knowing that he was probably going to be one of the fastest and that meant having to deal with staying at the house knowing Chloe was on a date with him.

Chicago didn't start as fast as Beca thought he would, but she knew he was still making very good time moving up the wall. He seemed to be trying to move fast while being sure of his hand and foot placement until about halfway up, when suddenly he picked up the pace as if a timer in his head dinged. Just as he neared the top of the wall his foot slipped right off the hold, forcing him to scramble for a few seconds to regain his momentum before hitting the bell long seconds later. The ladies all let out an "ooooh" when it happened, as if he was about to come crashing back to the ground instead of finishing the climb.

Beca felt hope bloom in her chest that maybe his little slip was just enough to keep him from the top three, and by extension Chloe from having to go on a date with him.

The crew got the guys out of their harnesses and everyone gathered around Gail to hear the results of the challenge.

"Great job, guys! You were all fantastic climbing up that wall, but only three of you have won the opportunity to go on tomorrow's getaway date," Gail began, beaming at the entire group. "In first place with a breakneck speed of forty-seven seconds, and winning first choice of his date, is Luke!"

Luke whooped and raised his first into the air again, stepping forward at Gail's gesture to stand beside her.

"Yes, congratulations Luke! Outstanding performance," Gail congratulated him.

Luke beamed, "Thank you, thank you, I'd like to thank the Academy…"

He trailed off as the group laughed at his antics, Gail shaking her head with a mock frustrated expression as she waited for the group to quiet down again.

"In second place, with another very respectable time of fifty-six seconds was… Unicycle!"

The cheers were noticeably less for Uni, and CR strode onto the set demanding the same level of enthusiasm for all challenge winners. Beca felt a little bit bad at the annoyed expression on Uni's face, but he was such a dick most of the time it was hard to feel too sorry for him.

After a satisfactory cheering performance for Uni's second place finish, Gail moved on to the last winner.

"The race for third place was incredibly close," Gail began, definitely building up the drama and tension of the moment. "Just two seconds separated third and fourth place, but winning the final spot on the date tomorrow with a time of one minute and eight seconds was… Theo!"

Beca's eyebrows rose in shock, teeth clenching together to keep her jaw from hitting the floor. Shit. She quickly schooled her expression with a grin and a few claps and a loud cheer for Theo, suddenly desperate for Luke to pick her for the date so she didn't end up with Theo on the date and in the Truth Booth.

Once all three men were standing beside Gail, she turned her attention to Luke. "Alright guys, Luke finished the fastest so he gets to pick his lucky lady first! Luke, who would you like to take on the date tomorrow?"

Beca desperately tried to meet his eyes, but as Luke's gaze flashed over her before quickly moving on she knew she was screwed.

"Kommissar? Would you like to go on a date with me?" Luke asked, sounding slightly hopeful.

The blonde smiled back at him, answering, "Yes, of course!"

Beca clapped for the pair of them as Kommissar moved to stand in front of Luke.

Gail nodded her approval, moving on to Unicycle. "Uni, who would you like to take on the date tomorrow?"

Uni didn't hesitate, responding, "Well, I blew this person's shot at a date last week, so maybe this could be my apology. Calamity, wanna go on the date with me tomorrow?"

To her credit, Calamity only hesitated for a second before smiling and nodding her acceptance, walking over to stand in front of Uni. Beca noticed he looked visibly relieved that she seemed to accept his apology for throwing the shave ice challenge.

"Wonderful! Now for our third place finisher, Theo, who would you like to take on the date tomorrow?" Gail asked brightly.

Beca briefly wondered if Theo wouldn't pick her as he glanced over at them without meeting her eyes, but after a moment his gazed locked onto hers.

Theo looked back at Gail, replying, "Well, this girl and I have been through a few ups and downs, but I think this could be a perfect opportunity to mend some fences and maybe start fresh."

His tone was genuine and Beca knew he was going to pick her before he said the words.

"Bec?" Theo asked, turning towards her with a questioning look. "Will you please go on this date with me?"

Beca felt her chest tighten with the knowledge that every camera and face was staring at her right now. Despite not really wanting to go on the date with Theo, she knew she had an obligation to finish out the show and keep up the charade for the rest of the house.

Praying that her smile didn't look as forced as it felt, she agreed, "Yeah, I'd like that."

Beca walked up and stood beside Calamity in front of Theo, trying to ignore Gail's beaming smile in their direction.

"I hope you two are able to talk and move forward on your date tomorrow," Gail said genuinely. "Congratulations again to all three of our winners. Would you guys like to know what you're doing tomorrow?"

Beca joined in the loud chorus of "Yes!"

"You six will be going cliff diving at gorgeous Shipwreck Beach!" Gail announced excitedly, adding, "Followed by dinner at one of the best seafood restaurants around. Congrats, guys!"

Gail continued on with her usual speech, "And as the rest of you guys know, while they're out on their dates the rest of you are deciding which couple you're sending to the Truth Booth… the only way to validate if they are a perfect match or not," Gail said, clearly wrapping up her portion of the challenge. "I'll see you guys tomorrow evening for the results. Bye guys!"

The group cheered and said goodbye to Gail while Beca turned around to see how Theo felt about that date.

"Sounds fun, right?"

Theo's expression tightened a bit, "I'm not a fan of heights."

Beca immediately backed down, realizing Theo was not happy about what they were doing on the date. "Hey… I'm sure it won't be that high. It'll be fine." Hesitating for a second, she decided to really try to make amends. "We'll do it together, okay?"

He studied her for a moment, finally relaxing his shoulders and nodded. "Yeah… sure, I mean what could possibly go wrong?"

The sarcasm put her back at ease, rolling her eyes and smiling as they began walking back towards the house. Instinctively Beca looked around for Chloe, barely catching a glimpse of her red hair before she'd turned the corner leading back to the house.

Theo offered her his arm as she looked back at him, shaking her head at the corniness of his gesture.

"Come on, Bec, you said we could be friends," Theo said, raising his arm slightly higher. "It's not a marriage proposal."

"Thank God… it'd be a fucking terrible one if it was," Beca replied, eventually looping her arm through his as they walked back to the house. "So… is there a story behind this fear of heights?"

Theo shook his head, "What? No… of course not. Not at all…."


The date was not off to a great start. It was clear from the minute the three couples got in the van to drive to the beach that Calamity had not forgiven Uni at all, and the tension was palpable to everyone. To make matters worse, the pair were seated in the middle seat, separating Beca and Theo in the last row from Luke and Kommissar in the first row, preventing the four of them from making conversation.

Theo didn't seem quite as nervous during the ride, but began pacing nervously upon arrival at the beach with the cliff in view that they would be jumping off of. Beca tried to reassure him it would be fine, but he remained doubtful as the group began the hike. The crew informed them that the couples would be jumping together in pairs, but everyone would make the trek to the top of the cliff together.

As much as she tried to distract him with small talk, Theo's nerves only increased as he watched first Luke and Kommissar go flying off the cliff edge whooping happily, then Calamity and Unicycle following almost deadly silent. Beca even glanced over the edge to make sure neither had died, sure that even the most stoic person would let out some sort of sound jumping from such a height.

"Hey, look… all four of them did it and they're perfectly fine," Beca reasoned gently, noting that Theo looked close to throwing up. "You don't have to do it if you don't want to."

Theo took a deep breath, glancing at the cliff edge. "I'll regret it if I don't… but the thought is terrifying."

"Kinda like being on this show? Or falling in love?" Beca asked, trying once again to take his mind off what they were definitely about to do.

"That's not even close to the same thing," Theo shook his head.

Beca chuckled, "I'd argue that falling in love is way more terrifying than jumping off that cliff."

Theo thought for a moment, finally replying, "I wasn't scared of falling in love with you."

Beca's chest tightened, not anticipating that response. "Are we doing this now?"

He sighed, "We don't have to… I was just saying."

"You're not a bad guy, Theo," Beca said gently, "We just aren't gonna happen as a couple. I think I knew that even when we were spending time together… something just… something was missing."

That got his attention, his eyes meeting hers. "Wait, really? Why didn't you tell me?"

Beca shrugged, "I thought I just needed more time. We definitely clicked and I liked hanging out with you… and I mean it had only been like two weeks." He nodded at that, before gesturing for her to continue. "I guess that night it just felt like that conversation or fight or whatever was just the coming to light of that feeling for me. Like oh, okay, that's why I've been a little hesitant… because he's not really the right guy for me romantically."

Theo shuffled some sand around with his foot, staying quiet for a minute. "And you're sure of that, now? You think Jesse is the one or something?"

A crew member interrupted them before she could answer, calling out, "Okay which one of you is first?"

Beca answered, "I am! Be there in one second!"

She turned back to Theo and said, "Jesse isn't the one either. I just think he's my match."

Beca leaned in and pulled him into a hug, whispering in his ear, "I'll tell you who the one is at the bottom of the cliff." She pulled back with a wink at the confused look on his face, but didn't give him time to answer before turning and walking over to the crew at the edge.

After listening carefully to all the instructions, she nodded she was ready and glanced back at Theo. "You got this! I'll see you at the bottom!"

Without letting herself think or second guess what she was about to do, Beca ran and took a flying leap off the edge of the cliff, screaming happily at the dropping feeling in her stomach until she plunged into the cool water below. Popping back up to the surface, she swam a little bit away into the ocean to give Theo space to land.

After about five minutes she saw his body go flying of the cliff's edge, screaming bloody murder the entire way down until he crashed into the water a little ways away. She swam over to him as he resurfaced, treading water while he got his bearings.

"Well?" Beca asked, grinning at him. "Not so bad, was it?"

Theo rolled his eyes, "Never. Doing. That. Again." After a second, he asked curiously, "Who's the one?"

Beca realized it was the perfect time since they weren't wearing their mics.

"Chloe. Chloe's the one."


Beca leaned against the railing on the deck of the restaurant they'd just had dinner at, Theo beside her looking out over the water. A couple of beers rested between them, but neither made a move to drink.

"You've got some explaining to do," Theo said, not looking away from the horizon.

"I know," Beca replied, finally grabbing her beer to take a long sip. "The crew is gonna be so pissed at me."

Theo chuckled, "Could care less about that. Want to explain how you two… figured it all out?"

Beca sighed, thinking back over the past few weeks. "It's hard to explain, but I think she was the person I wanted to be around the most out of everyone. I like talking to her, I like how I feel when I'm with her…"

Theo interrupted her, "Bec… you mean him," he corrected, looking hesitantly at the crew nearby filming them.

"It's okay... they know," Beca said simply. "We weren't exactly subtle at first... or at least as subtle as we thought." At Theo's curious look, Beca admitted, "We kinda kissed in the STD Den after one of the getaway dates... for a while."

Theo's jaw dropped at that news, eventually closing it with a shake of his head. "Yeah, I suppose not very subtle at all, then. So are you just telling people or..."

Beca shook her head, "No, and you can't tell anyone either. No one knows except me, Chloe, Luke, and the crew. CR is probably gonna kill me for telling you, but I wanted you to know. I wanted you to know that I was feeling this way about her when we were spending time together even if I didn't fully realize it at the time. I didn't want you to think that we didn't work because of you, when really it was me."

"How very cliché of you," Theo quipped, but he looked more at ease than he had all day. "Honestly, it does make me feel better about what happened between us. You know I'm sorry for what I said and that I never meant to make you feel that way."

"I know."

Theo took a deep breath, asking, "So, I guess we're better off as friends then? I really thought we hit it off, and maybe that could translate into a good friendship?"

Beca nodded, "Yeah, I think so, too. I meant it when I said I liked spending time with you... just not romantically. You're still a sarcastic little shit like me," she finished playfully.

He laughed at that, nodding in agreement. "Yeah, yeah I am."

An assistant producer approached them, saying, "Come on, guys. Time to head back to the house. Beca, a word alone?"

Beca shrugged and agreed, "Okay. See you at the van. Save me a seat away from Uni and Calamity, would you?"

Theo rolled his eyes, "Yeah, you and me both."

After he walked away, Beca turned back to the producer to receive her slap on the wrist.

"CR is going to have my ass for this footage, you know," he said, shaking his head. "You couldn't talk about anything else?"

It was her turn for an exaggerated eye roll. "We talked about plenty of shit that didn't involve my feelings for Chloe. Why don't you use some of that about how we're gonna be friends and get off my ass. This is my life... it's more than your fucking television show."

Beca didn't wait for an answer, moving past him towards the van leaving him staring after her.


Theo grabbed Beca's hand and pulled her off to the side of the entryway, making her shoot him a curious look.

"I just…" he hesitated, finally saying, "I wanted a second for us before we go in there because I think there's a good chance we got voted into the Truth Booth."

Beca felt her stomach drop a little bit at the thought, suddenly very thankful for his foresight.

"Right… right, yeah we probably did."

Theo studied her for a moment, asking, "Are you gonna be okay with that? I mean it depends on how they edit the show, but it might be okay if you look disappointed."

Beca shook her head, "No, I won't do that to you. I told you I like you Theo, I just don't want to date you."

"I got it," he smirked, "You can stop saying it."

"Yeah," Beca bit her lip sheepishly. "Sorry."

"Nah, it's okay," Theo shrugged. "Don't apologize for how you feel… or who you love."

Beca breathed at that word, "I think love is a bit strong…"

Theo quipped back, "Semantics."

"I know."

Theo gave her another minute before finally saying, "Okay, based on the angry stare from multiple crew members, it's time to go."

Beca took a slow, deep breath. "Okay, I'm ready."

She turned around and they walked together towards the main room, not sure of what to expect when they arrived. Theo reached down and slipped his hand into hers, giving it a squeeze.

"It'll be fine. We'll do it together," he whispered, clearly trying to be supportive.

Beca took another deep breath trying to calm her nerves, shooting him a small smile. "Yeah, okay. I mean, it might not be us, right?"

He nodded encouragingly, "Totally. It could definitely not be us. This house is full of morons."

Beca laughed at that comment, silently agreeing with him as they entered the living room.

"Thank you for joining us," CR's clipped, sarcastic tone did not sound pleased at the delay. "Now we can get started."

Beca was sure she looked appropriately chastised as Theo led her around the room into position beside the other two couples.

Luke grinned as she got closer, teasing, "You'll have to go to the timeout corner later for that."

"Shut up, ass," Beca retorted, her words lacking any real menace as Luke only chuckled.

Beca got into position in front of Theo and beside Kommissar and glanced around the room for Chloe, finding her on the couch between Aubrey and Chicago. She hoped to catch her eye, but Chloe was listening to something Aubrey was whispering in her ear and not paying attention to anything else.

Gail strolled casually into the room, her beaming smile in place as she looked around at everyone. "Hey guys, how're we doing tonight?"

The group replied with a mixture of waves and verbal responses, everyone seeming to be in a good mood. Beca hoped that meant good things to come and a nice easy shoot without complications.

"Wonderful," Gail nodded, "Glad to hear it."

CR moved next to her and spoke rapidly for about thirty seconds before leaving the room without another word to the group. Gail waited for her cue before addressing the group.

"Hey guys! Are you ready for another Truth Booth?" Gail's voice held a note of teasing in it, as if reminding them of how horrible they were at finding perfect matches.

"Alright, here we go," she continued, turning slightly more serious. "You guys know how crucial this is. You've already found two perfect matches, Beni and Emily, and Donald and Lilly." Gail counted the pairs off on her fingers as she said the names. "Let's see if you can add a third one to that tonight."

A few people cheered and there were some sporadic claps that sounded more nervous than anything else. Beca glanced around the room trying to see if anyone was giving away their vote by looking at the couples, but everyone was focused on Gail.

"Alright, let's find out the results," Gail said dramatically, building the suspense. "The couple that you've chosen to enter the Truth Booth is…"

Beca held her breath as the screen flashed and the pictures of all three couples were replaced with larger images of her and Theo side by side. Fuck. Her heart was definitely, one hundred percent in her stomach right now at the thought of being Theo's perfect match.

For their part, the group's reaction was loudly exaggerated shock, the sarcasm evident from all around the room.

Gail grinned, announcing, "Theo and Beca. Do you guys think they are a perfect match?"

Luke shouted out a quick, "Nooooo!"

Beca shot him a quick, appreciative smile, but it didn't do anything for the gigantic butterflies settling in her stomach.

Bumper chimed in, "I think it could go either way, but either way it gives us a lot of information since they've sat together at a lot of matchups."

Gail nodded, turning to face them. "Theo? What do you think?"

Beca felt Theo shift his weight behind her, not daring to look anywhere except back at Gail.

"I think we could be, Gail," he finally answered. "It will be good to know the truth."

"Alright," Gail wrapped up, eyes locked on them. "Theo, Beca, it's time to find out. Head to the Truth Booth."

Beca let her eyes sweep across the room as she turned around, desperately hoping to at least see Chloe looking at her, but the redhead was physically turned the other way now. Fuck.

Theo opened the back door and gestured for her to walk through first. Beca gave him a tight smile as she walked outside, her stomach twisting into tighter and tighter knots.

Once they were outside, Theo stopped her. "Hey, no matter what happens it's gonna be okay."

"What if we are a match? What if I have to go to the honeymoon suite with you and I don't even get to talk to her for the rest of the show?" Beca ran her fingers through her hair, feeling worse by the second.

"Okay, woah," Theo grabbed her gently by the shoulders. "One step at a time, okay? The crew is right there though, so…" he trailed off, inclining his head at the several men standing five feet away from them.

Beca realized what he was saying, and even though the crew already knew she decided it was best to not completely broadcast it more than necessary.

CR suddenly appeared behind them, having quickly exited through the back door and clearly not expected them to still be standing so close.

"Okay, first Truth Booth for you two so here's how it goes. We have to film separate interviews before and after. We have to get footage of you walking away from the house, across the yard, into the booth. There are cameras in the booth that will film the results, then we get more footage of you inside the booth, exiting, and also separate interviews after the results. If you are a perfect match, we will get some interview footage together as well. Any questions?"

Beca was far too overwhelmed by all the thoughts and emotions running through her to process much of that, let alone ask any questions.

"Perfect. First let's do the shots walking from the house."

Theo nodded, slipping his hand into Beca's to help her follow the instructions of where they should stand and where to walk. Thankfully this part was fairly simple and it took about ten minutes for them to walk from the backdoor across the patio into the yard twice, before CR calling out they had the shots.

"Okay separate interviews!" CR shouted. "Beca, over by the pool please. Theo, over on the other side of the yard towards the matchup ceremony staging."

Beca nodded at his question look, before turning and walking over to do her interview. The crew got her into position with thankfully not many lights shining into her eyes, and she nodded when she was ready to go.

"How are you feeling about going to the Truth Booth with Theo?"

Beca took a deep breath, answering, "I'm scared to go into the Truth Booth tonight. I thought Theo and I were a match at first, but now I don't. I don't want us to be a match."

"What if you two are a perfect match?"

"Then we'll leave the house tomorrow and go to the honeymoon suite," Beca answered almost robotically, earning a particularly frustrated eye roll from the producer questioning her.

"As a couple?"

Beca narrowed her eyes at him, relaxing her expression before answering, "No matter what the Truth Booth says, Theo and I will not be a couple."

He sighed, nodding at the camera guys. "Alright, go on."

Beca didn't hesitate to walk away from the set, having to wait about ten minutes for Theo to be finished so they could continue walking to the booth. They walked up the stone pathway and reached the hut, Theo pulling the door open to reveal a pristine, blindingly white interior. Beca fought to hold her hand up to her eyes at how bright it was compared to the dark evening outside, stepping inside first. Theo followed in behind her and closed the door, both moving to stand in front of their pictures on a big screen on the far wall.

A thought popped into her mind of Chloe describing the booth to her all the way back after the first Truth Booth, now fully understanding why she'd found it a little creepy. Suddenly, horizontal green lasers started moving up and down their bodies as if scanning them, and if Beca wasn't so nervous she'd give a good eye roll at the theatrics of it all. Theo reached down and took her hand, giving it a squeeze while they waited for the results.

The screen started flashing and Beca wondered if Theo could hear how loudly her heart was beating inside her chest. Just when she wondered how long they would draw this out for, a black box appeared across both of their pictures with large white text in the center of it.

"NO MATCH!"

Beca let out a breath she didn't even know she was holding, dropping Theo's hand to lean down on her knees.

"Holy shit… I didn't think that would be so intense," she admitted, finally straightening up to look at him.

He gave her a wry smile, "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I know you didn't want to be my match, but I still wanted to be yours."

Beca raised an eyebrow at him until he quickly added, "Not because I thought it'd change your mind… you're just… you're really special."

"Thanks," Beca replied, feeling slightly awkward at that.

"Just take the compliment… don't make it weird," Theo shook his head, moving to open the door.

Beca rolled her eyes, muttering so he could hear, "Yeah because that wasn't weird or awkward at all. At. All."

Theo laughed, "Yeah, that was something. I know we're all here to find our perfect match, but I'd rather do it without going in there again."

They exited the booth to find camera crews immediately waiting for them, CR gesturing that they should continue to walk back down the path. When they reached the bottom she called out for them to stop.

"Okay, back to your interview spots for reaction footage."

Beca nodded, walking across the backyard towards her setup by the pool and took up the same position in front of the camera.

The producer eyed her, asking, "Going to play nice this time?"

"Do I ever?" Beca shot back at him with a wide fake smile.

"Wonderful," he grumbled, glancing at the camera guy. "Okay, how do you feel about the results?"

"I didn't think Theo was my match, and now the Truth Booth has confirmed it." Beca got straight to the point and didn't offer any filler.

"How do you feel about another failed Truth Booth?"

Beca pondered that one for a few seconds, answering, "I'm not sure it's a total fail. No, Theo and I were not a perfect match, but it does give us some valuable information towards finding who our match is. We have to look at the positives and not focus on the negatives if we all want to find our matches."

"Do you have any idea who your match is?"

Beca hesitated again, wondering if he wanted an actual answer or just to build up some drama. Deciding it was the latter, she answered, "Well, now I have no idea who my match is."

His smile proved she chose correctly. "That's all we need."

Beca shook her head and walked back over to the end of the stone path where Theo was waiting for her. Somehow she knew that most of the footage they would use would come from his interviews and not hers.

"Alright, let's get you guys walking back towards the house and then there's already a crew set up inside for when you enter through the backdoor," CR informed them, barely looking at them and instead reading something off a clipboard that an assistant thrust into her hands. After a minute she handed it back and looked at them. "Alright, let's get it done."

Beca nodded at Theo and they started slowly walking back across the yard to the outdoor patio, eventually reaching the back door. He opened it and stepped back, letting her walk through first.

"Hey guys…" she trailed off with an awkward wave, eyes flashing around the room in search of Chloe.

This time the redhead was staring straight at her with a look that said she was desperate to get Beca away from the crowd for a minute, something Beca knew wasn't happening anytime soon. Theo followed her inside to the sound of disappointed groans and random statements of how awful they were at this game.

"We're not going to get it," Uni shook his head, a defeated expression covering his face.

Kommissar looked like she agreed with him, saying, "We only have two more of these to figure it out and we're only halfway there."


Beca had assumed that the negative result in the Truth Booth would have made Chloe stop avoiding her, but she was sadly mistaken. The evening had devolved into people splitting off into random groups to drink and talk and in Stacie and Tom's case, make out in the hot tub. While the fear and anxiety from the Truth Booth had subsided, Beca was starting to wonder if the past few days had made Chloe change her mind. Their conversation by the pool loomed large in her mind, wondering if she'd screwed things up before they even got started.

Beca glanced at Luke beside her on the swing on the back porch and drained the last of her drink. "It's been a long day. I'm going to bed."

Luke watched her stand up. "You okay? Was it just the Truth Booth tonight?"

"Yeah, I guess," Beca shrugged. "I mean, you know how weird it is in there. All of a sudden you realize you might be standing beside your supposed perfect match. It feels stupid to say out loud but I felt like… stressed and pressured and overwhelmed like… like to be together if he was my perfect match."

"That makes sense," Luke agreed. "It's definitely not normal."

Beca glanced around, replying, "But I didn't want him to be my match. The relief was overwhelming to not have to leave the house and spend the rest of the time in the honeymoon suite just the two of us."

Luke rocked the swing back and forth a little. "Yeah, but you aren't a match. You're still here and so are… other people. So get some sleep and tomorrow will be better."

"Yeah, okay. I'll see you in the morning," Beca said, turning and making her way back inside the house.

She deposited her cup in the dishwasher and slowly climbed the stairs to the bedroom, selfishly hoping that no one was there. Alone time in the house was rare, and while the bar was usually busy Beca was always able to escape to the solitude of her apartment at the end of the night.

To her disbelief the bedroom was actually empty, and Beca felt the relief wash over her. It was short-lived, however, as footsteps coming down the hallway made her bite down on her lower lip to keep the string of curses confined to her head. Of course five minutes alone was far too much to ask for in this house full of insane, drunk people.

Beca turned to see who had come to disturb her, barely holding back her surprise to see Chloe slowly enter the room.

"Uh, hey."

Beca wished she could have sounded less awkward and more confident, but she honestly hadn't expected Chloe to be the one after the past couple days they'd had in the house. The fact that the redhead wasn't sporting her usual smile didn't help the sinking feeling in her stomach that Chloe wasn't happy with her. Beca waited as Chloe swung the door shut behind them without saying a word, wondering exactly what was going to happen.

"Hey." Chloe's voice was soft as she took a step closer, meeting Beca's eyes for a minute.

Beca tilted her head a little as she looked into Chloe's eyes, realizing exactly what the redhead had in mind. Chloe didn't make her wait, pressing closer and connecting their lips.

The kiss started hot and grew hotter, Chloe's hands gripping Beca's hips before sliding around into the back pockets of her denim shorts to pull her closer. Arousal spread through Beca like fire as she wrapped her arms around Chloe's neck, the feeling of being with the redhead like coming home after a long trip away.

Reality forced its way into her head and she quickly pulled back, breathing heavily. "Chlo… wait… anyone could walk in…"

Chloe kissed her again, parting only to say, "Luke's giving us five minutes."

That was all the reassurance Beca needed to kiss Chloe again, the redhead spinning them around to press her against the bedroom door. Beca thought she heard a muffled curse from the hallway but it was hard to pay attention to anything except the way Chloe's lips were now trailing a path along her jaw.

Beca's hand tugged at Chloe's shirt until it slipped beneath the fabric and found the bare skin of her back, the other a steadying grip on the back of her neck as their lips reconnected. The feeling of Chloe's hips gently grinding against her thigh had Beca's hand retreating down her back at the same time Chloe's hands moved up from her hips over her sides.

The sound of Luke's exaggeratedly loud voice forced them back into reality, Beca's eyes flying open wide at the same time Chloe's hands reached her bra.

"Hey Bumper! Going to bed already?!"

"Fuck," Chloe muttered, immediately pulling Beca away from the bedroom door, putting plenty of space between them.

Beca didn't take her eyes off the redhead, her only thoughts centering around how they could get away with finishing what Chloe just started. Unfortunately, she didn't have time to say anything before Chloe spun and walked into the en-suite bathroom, closing the door behind her just as Luke entered the bedroom with Bumper right behind him.

"Oh hey, Bec," Luke greeted. "You going to bed too?"

Beca looked at him, taking a minute before nodding dumbly. "Yeah, I was… I was just taking a minute to myself after everything today."

Bumper nodded at her, "That was a tough Truth Booth. But it had to be done." He walked over to his suitcase and began unbuttoning his shirt, only getting about halfway before Fat Amy appeared in the doorway.

"Bumper, come here for a minute," she commanded. "I gotta show you something."

Bumper turned around, eyeing her for a minute before shrugging. "Okay."

Beca raised an eyebrow at Luke as the pair left the room without a backward glance. "That was weird, right?"

Luke shook his head, walking to the door to glance down the hallway and make sure they were all clear. "I don't know about that… but you two sounded like you got a lot of talking done in here," he said with a smirk. "Where is Chloe, by the way?"

Beca flushed red, glancing back toward the bathroom door. "I uh… yeah."

Luke went to the door, knocking gently. "Chlo… you can come out."

The door opened and Chloe glanced hesitantly into the room.

"Don't worry," Beca sighed, running her fingers through her hair. "Coast is clear."

Chloe nodded, looking between them. "Uh, Luke can you give us one more minute, please?"

He nodded, moving to the door. "Make it quick," he said, before closing it behind him.

"I'm sorry about that," Chloe began, but Beca couldn't let her start this conversation that way.

"Do not apologize for that."

Chloe gave her a small smile at that, continuing, "Today was just… hard. And I know you are worried about moving too fast and I was really trying to give you space, but today scared me. I had every intention of just talking to you when I came up here, but…"

Beca shook her head, "Seriously, that was a great conversation. We should have those talks more often. Like all the time." She earned a small laugh from Chloe at that, adding, "I was scared today, too. But Theo isn't my match, and I'm still here."

Again, noise in the hallway forced them to stop. This time it was clearly more than just one person, and no words were needed for them to immediately abandon the conversation and turn away from each other. Beca began digging through her suitcase for something to sleep in as Aubrey, Calamity, Uni, Zeke, and Jesse all piled into the room arguing about something.

Beca barely shot them a glance as the noise overtook the room, hoping that she and Chloe would get a chance to finish that conversation sooner than later. Chloe had said something about giving her space and not moving too fast, but if Beca had learned anything from that evening it was the less space between the two of them the better.


The day leading up to the matchup ceremony was completely uneventful. Bumper tried to get everyone together to strategize, however Beca wasn't surprised that the rest of the ladies wanted no part of it. She knew they were fairly confident in who they were picking that evening and didn't want the guys fucking everything up.

Chloe had frustratingly avoided her again, making Beca grumpier than usual as she wandered downstairs in search of a shot before the group shot. Jesse found her as she was pouring it, quickly producing a second glass and sliding it over next to hers. Beca raised an eyebrow at him as she poured some tequila into his glass before setting the bottle on the counter.

"Tequila isn't really your thing," she commented as he picked up the glass.

"Yeah but I can't let you drink alone," he answered, raising it up to clink with her own. "To perfect matches."

Beca rolled her eyes and downed the shot, smirking as he did the same with a heavy wince. "You okay there?"

Jesse nodded. "Yep. I love shots. Let's do ten more."

"Not unless you want CR to castrate you," Beca shook her head, taking the glass from him.

He shuddered at the thought. "No more shots then. Hey, you are picking me tonight, right?"

"Yeah, I can't think of who else my perfect match could be," Beca replied, setting both glasses down on the counter.

"A ringing endorsement," Jesse quipped. "Don't sound so excited, Bec."

Beca rolled her eyes, pouring herself one more shot and downing it before Jesse could complain. "Yeah, well I've had a shitty week. I'll be more excited about it tomorrow."

Jesse sighed, taking the glass from her. "No more for you either. We still have the group shot and I don't want you all wobbly when you walk to the podium."

Beca chuckled at that thought as the rest of their housemates found their way to the kitchen in small groups. Jesse helped her pour shots for everyone and pass them out.

Stacie held hers up, saying loudly, "To the matchup tonight. Thank God the ladies are choosing!"

There was an appropriately mixed reaction to that toast, the women much more enthusiastic in their support than the guys as everyone downed the alcohol.

They knew the drill by now, shuffling across the yard toward the staged area for the matchup ceremony. CR met them near the entrance, directing the guys to enter first. Beca waited outside as Gail greeted them.

"Gentlemen, it's great to see you all looking so nice! Have a seat!"

There were a few low replies, none of which Beca could make out as they waited for their turn.

CR returned, saying, "Okay, ladies! You know what to do. Hopefully we won't have to shoot this more than once."

Beca bit back a sarcastic comment about having confidence in them and focused on the task at hand. The three shots definitely took the edge off, making her feel warm and relaxed in the moment. They walked into the matchup area to see Gail standing in her usual spot by the podium, turning to smile at them as they entered.

"Ladies! Don't you all look gorgeous tonight," Gail welcomed them, gesturing to where they should stand as if they hadn't done this many, many times already.

"Hey Gail," Beca joined in the chorus of greetings as she found a place to stand.

CR appeared from somewhere behind the scenes, calling out, "Sorry ladies. Let's do that one more time!"

Without anymore explanation they were herded back out of the area to repeat the entrance one more time. And then a third time when CR was informed one of the cameras malfunctioned halfway through. It was safe to say that the shoot was not off to a good start based on how aggravated the head producer's tone was just thirty minutes in.

Gail finally received her cue to begin the ceremony. "Hey guys! Welcome to your eighth matchup! How are we doing tonight?"

The question was met with a mostly positive response, definitely dulled a bit more than it would have been without the beginning difficulties. Unfortunately for them, CR noticed and stopped the shoot again to demand better.

Beca glanced at Stacie beside her, murmuring, "This might be a long night."

"You're not kidding," Stacie whispered back, her expression darkening slightly.

They got the greeting right the second time and Gail was able to move forward with the ceremony.

"Three more chances to beat the odds and walk outta here with a million bucks," Gail said, turning to the two couples already seated in the chairs. "And a big welcome back to our two confirmed perfect matches here, Benji, Emily, Donald, and Lilly! Welcome back, guys!"

Beca clapped along with everyone else, hearing a few greetings tossed out to the two couples.

"How are you guys doing in your honeymoon suites? Still enjoying the alone time?" Gail asked, looking at both pairs.

Benji answered, "Love it, Gail. We're having a great time."

Donald agreed, "Oh yeah. The honeymoon suite is awesome."

Emily was as diplomatic and sweet as ever, adding, "But we miss being in the house with you guys, too!"

Beca fought back a laugh at the few "awwws" that went up at her comment, Gail pouncing on the opportunity.

"Oh, that's so sweet! I love that you guys are developing these bonds of friendship along with trying to find your perfect matches!" Gail said, shooting Emily a wide smile. "Unfortunately, we have no perfect matches to add tonight."

The two pairs already seated shrugged, their expressions turning slightly disappointed as Gail resumed her host role.

"But, it's time to focus on tonight's matchup," Gail reminded them, bringing everyone back into the drama of the moment. "Okay, here we go. If you all choose your match correctly, then you're heading home rich in money and in love. But, if you don't go ten for ten, then you're back to your lives of couch surfing and top ramen."

Beca chuckled at that, glad she wasn't the only one to give Gail a little response for that joke. She wondered briefly if that was true for any of them, and privately hoped they all had something at least a little better than that to look forward to after the show.

"Tonight… it's the ladies turn to choose," Gail announced, gesturing her hand towards the women standing on the small platform. "Ladies, when I call your name step up here and select your perfect match. The two of you will then place your palms on the handprint touchpads locking you in as a couple. But remember if you fail to add any new matches to the two you already have, that's a blackout and your prize immediately drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

Gail paused for a minute to let that reminder sink in before saying, "First up for the ladies tonight is… Kommissar!"

Beca watched the tall blonde stride confidently to the podium.

"Hi Kommissar," Gail smiled warmly at her. "How are you doing this evening?"

"I'm well," Kommissar responded, not giving the host much to go on.

Undeterred, Gail pressed on, "How was your date with Luke this week? Think you two might be a match?"

"Yes, I think we could be," Kommissar answered. "Luke and I hadn't had much time together in the house, but we had a lot of fun on our date."

"And after!"

Beca turned to look at the guys sitting in the chairs wondering who'd called that out. Based on Luke's flushed face, whoever it was knew something she didn't.

Gail ginned widely at the interruption, "Well, it certainly seems like you two hit it off. Kommissar, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Luke."

Luke regained his composure as he stood up and strolled to stand beside Kommissar at the podium.

"Luke, how do you feel about being first out of the chairs tonight?" Gail asked him.

"I feel great," Luke responded, turning his head to smile at the blonde beside him. "We had a great time on our date and I definitely think we could be a match."

Gail nodded encouragingly, "That's great! Alright, it's time to lock in as a couple."

The pair placed their hands on the touchpad and locked in, turning and making their way back to the chairs.

"Okay, next up is… Stacie!"

Beca winked at the brunette as she walked up to the podium and greeted Gail.

"Stacie, how has it been for you this week? Still going strong with Tom?" Gail asked curiously.

Stacie beamed, "Things with Tommy are great. We're confident where we are as a couple. The hard part is figuring out who our matches are."

"And how are you doing with that? Any ideas?" Gail pressed.

"Yes, I'm pretty sure I found mine," Stacie answered. "Unfortunately Tom isn't having as much luck."

Gail looked over at him sympathetically. "I'm sure you'll figure it out! Well, Stacie, since you have it all figured out… who is your perfect match?"

Stacie turned towards the guys, saying, "My perfect match is Zeke."

Beca watched the tall man join her at the podium, admitting the pair made a striking couple.

"Hello, Zeke! Do you think Stacie is your match?" Gail asked.

Zeke smiled, "I do. We have a lot in common, and it's pretty easy for me to understand why we were matched together. I'm a little disappointed she and Tom locked on so early, but I'm happy for them. We can all see they found something real."

Stacie smiled happily at that, wrapping her arms around his waist in a hug. "Aw, thanks babe," she said, straightening back up beside him. "He's the best, really. Tom and I just have a connection. I almost didn't believe it when we weren't a match in the Truth Booth."

Gail nodded understandingly, "Well, it didn't stop you! Zeke, Stacie, it's time to lock in."

Beca glanced over at Tom to find him seated comfortably in his chair watching this conversation with an easy smile on his face. She wondered what that must feel like… being so secure in your relationship. It was definitely something she wouldn't feel with Chloe until they left this place and tried to make things work in the real world, and even then it seemed unlikely to her.

CR marched onto the set after Zeke and Stacie were seated in the empty chair, calling for a break. Beca sighed in relief, walking over and immediately demanding Jesse move over to make room for her.

"Yes, ma'am," he joked, shifting to the edge of the chair. "Tired of standing up already?"

"Just tired of this in general," Beca answered. "I'm ready to go home."

He nodded, "Yeah, me too. Only a couple more weeks and you'll get your wish… hopefully fifty grand richer."

"I wouldn't turn it down, that's for damn sure."


They were all gathered back in place after the quick break to film reaction footage, quietly talking amongst themselves as CR directed her crew into the correct positions. After a few long minutes she shouted for everyone to get ready to roll.

Gail waited until she received the signal to continue, nodding upon hearing it come from somewhere behind the scenes.

"Next up for the ladies is… Beca!"

Beca broke into a surprised smile at hearing her name, for some reason not expecting to go until later on in the evening. She stepped forward and slowly walked up to the podium.

"Hi Beca," Gail greeted her with a friendly smile.

"Hey Gail," Beca answered, coming to a stop at the podium.

"That was a tough week, huh? How was your experience with the Truth Booth?"

Beca replied, "Yeah… it was tough. I wasn't sure if Theo was my match, but everything feels different when you go into the Truth Booth. It was a crazy experience, but I'm glad we know the truth."

"I know things have been a little rocky with Theo, but now that you know for sure he isn't your match… do you have an idea of who is?" Gail asked curiously.

"Yeah, I think so," Beca nodded.

"Alright then, Beca who is your perfect match?" Gail prompted her, sticking to the script.

"My perfect match is Jesse."

Beca turned to watch as Jesse grinned broadly and walked up to stand beside her, slipping his arm easily around her waist.

"Jesse, you look thrilled to be standing up here next to Beca," Gail observed, matching his wide smile.

Jesse laughed, "Who wouldn't be, Gail! Have you seen her?"

Beca blushed at the unexpected compliment, not sure why Jesse was laying it on so thick. She assumed it was for the cameras since they were pretty sure they were a match.

"I have," Gail nodded, playing right along. "You're a lucky man if Beca's your match."

"I am," Jesse promised, "Both lucky and her match."

Gail gestured between the two of them, "So is something going on here then? You two look awfully comfortable up here together."

Beca hesitated to answer that question, and Jesse quickly supplied, "We're still getting to know each other better. Bec spent a lot of time with Theo and I spent time with Bree, so I'd say we have a good friendship going right now."

Beca smiled in agreement, adding, "Jesse and I are taking things slowly. After seeing all these couples dive in and then get negative results from the Truth Booth, we're focusing on getting to know each other to see if we really are a perfect match."

Gail nodded, "Smart, but I think it looks good from here! Beca, Jesse, please lock in as a couple."

Beca placed her palm on the touchpad beside Jesse's, watching the green line scan up and down before the pair of black bars flashed across the middle of the screens declaring them "LOCKED!"

Jesse gestured for her to lead the way back to his empty chair, Beca moving in front of him and got settled into the chair beside him. His arm came up around to rest along the back of the chair as Gail called the next name.

"Next we have Flo!"

Jesse leaned in, whispering, "That was okay, right? I figured we might as well play it up for the cameras. All they want is a good show."

Beca glanced at him, replying, "Yeah, it's totally fine. We know we're good."

They watched Flo make small talk with Gail for a few minutes before the host asked the all-important question.

"Flo, who is your perfect match?"

The woman turned to face them and announced, "My perfect match is Tom."

Beca raised her eyebrows slightly as Tom rose from his chair to join her at the podium. She whispered to Jesse, "You see that one coming?"

He subtly shook his head, "Nope. Not at all. But I suppose it's possible."

Beca hummed thoughtfully. True it was possible, but she found it unlikely the pair were a match. Flo and Tom locked in as a couple and returned to the chairs. A few seconds later CR strode out and called a halt to the shoot.

"Alright, you guys know the drill! Reaction shoots over there for the couples, and I need a few volunteers to go film reactions over by the pool. Let's move guys!"

Beca stood up and waited for Jesse to stand and stretch. "Guess we have to, huh?"

Jesse nodded, "Yep, duty calls. Come on, it won't be that bad. Just pretend you're in love with me."

Beca chuckled, "No way… not gonna happen."

"You wound me."

"I meant to."


Beca walked alongside Jesse back to the matchup area, trying to subtly look around for Chloe. She spotted the redhead talking to Luke, feeling immediately relieved that Chloe wasn't near Chicago. They hadn't gotten a chance to finish their conversation from the previous night, and Chloe's words about giving Beca space loomed large in her mind. She wanted to tell Chloe she didn't need space, but it was next to impossible to get time alone without anyone nearby who could overhear them.

"Hey, you okay? CR is trying to get everyone into position so we can continue the shoot…" Jesse trailed off looking curiously at her.

Beca nodded, "Yeah, I'm fine. Sorry… spaced out for a minute there."

Jesse shrugged, "Hopefully someplace a hell of a lot nicer than this."

"If only," Beca joked, sitting back down in the chair with him, giving in and leaning in a bit. The chairs were really too small for two people, and she certainly wasn't upset about Jesse being her match in that regard. He was comfortable and polite and… at least tonight smelled really nice.

"You smell good," Beca said out loud before she realized it.

Jesse chuckled, "Glad you think so. You do too, by the way."

Beca shook her head, "I didn't mean to say that out loud. Sorry…"

"Are you apologizing for saying it or because I don't actually smell good and you're a dirty liar?"

Beca laughed, "The latter… obviously."

Jesse smirked at her sarcasm, leaning closer and wrapping both arms around her. "Are you sure? Maybe you need a closer whiff."

If she was honest, Beca was grateful for the distraction even as she pushed him away. Jesse was fun and relaxed, and she understood why he was her perfect match. Their humor matched up well, and Beca knew well enough by now that Jesse was a good guy.

"Better press pause on this before we really get in trouble," Jesse whispered, straightening up in his chair a little.

Beca did the same, not wanting to attract CR's attention and get scolded. The producer was double checking the remaining women to be sure they were all standing in the correct position, moving over to the rest of them when she was satisfied. After critically looking over all of them, she only made Emily and Benji switch positions before exiting the area.

After a minute, Gail resumed the matchup ceremony.

"Next is Calamity!"

Beca watched as Calamity walked up to the podium and answered Gail's questions about her week before the host posed the final inquiry.

"Calamity, who is your perfect match?"

Calamity answered calmly, "Well… this person and I are completely opposites. He's not someone I would usually go for, and that makes me think he's my match. Tonight my perfect match is Unicycle."

Beca knew her jaw dropped a little with that announcement, glancing around to see similarly shocked looks around the room as Unicycle joined Calamity at the podium.

"Uni, what do you think of this match?" Gail asked.

Uni scratched his head, replying, "It's so crazy it just might be right."

Gail laughed, "So you don't think you and Calamity are a match, then?"

"I mean, I think we're the opposite of what we each usually go for, so maybe you guys are trying to tell us something," Uni answered diplomatically. "Maybe we need someone more like each other instead of the type of person we usually choose for ourselves. Who knows?"

Gail nodded, "I think that makes a lot of sense. Calamity, Uni, it's time to lock in as a couple."

Jesse murmured, "That's a hard one to believe, though."

"I'm with you," Beca agreed as the couple returned to the chairs and sat down together.

Fat Amy was next, and Beca's suspicion was correct when the woman chose Bumper as her match. She was starting to believe more and more that those two crazies belonged together. Jesse agreed with her, stating that only Bumper was the right combination of crazy and sane to handle Fat Amy.

They had the long break after that round, and an hour later saw them back in their chairs on set ready to finish the shoot.

"Okay guys, let's get this wrapped up. Gail, you're on!" CR announced, marching off set somewhere.

Gail took up residence at the podium, looking over at Chloe and Aubrey waiting for their turn.

"Next up for the ladies is… Chloe!"

Beca felt her breath catch as she was finally allowed to look at Chloe for longer than a few seconds without feeling guilty or paranoid. Memories of the night before when Chloe pressed her up against the door flooded unbidden into her mind, and Beca worked hard to push them down and stay focused in the moment.

Chloe chatted easily with Gail, until the host asked her the final question.

"Chloe, who is your perfect match."

Chloe hesitated, finally saying, "My perfect match is Chicago."

Beca watched him stroll confidently up to the podium, though thankfully he didn't try to put his arm around the redhead.

"Chicago, do you think you and Chloe are a match after this past week?" Gail asked when he arrived.

Chicago looked at Chloe, admitting, "We didn't spend a lot of time together this week, but I still think Chloe could be my match."

Gail nodded, "Well, I hope you guys are right! Chloe, Chicago, it's time to lock in."

Beca focused in on the fact that they were almost done with the matchup ceremony as Chloe and Chicago returned to the chairs and sat down together, his arm finally coming up around her shoulders. It burned her a little bit to see them sitting so close, despite knowing there was really no other option and that she'd been cuddled up with Jesse for most of the evening.

It almost distracted her from the fact that the only two left were Aubrey and Theo, potentially one of the worse matchups they'd had during the entire time on the show. There was absolutely zero chance that Aubrey and Theo were a match, making Beca realized they'd definitely screwed something up.

Jesse was on the same page, muttering, "How'd you guys let that happen?"

Beca sighed, "No idea. That shouldn't have happened."

Gail sped through the final couple quickly, locking them in and waiting patiently until all ten chairs were filled with a matched-up couple.

"Alright, that's it! Do we have ten perfect matches sitting out there?" Gail asked, looking around the room.

The mixed response didn't show a lot of confidence, but Beca was at least certain that they didn't blackout. The rest they could recover from.

"As you all know, the matchup will reveal how many couples are correct, but not who those matches are," Gail began, falling into a comfortable groove. "That's up to you to figure out. Behind me… are ten beams of light."

The beams flashed to life, moving from shining straight at them to shoot straight up into the night sky.

"Each beam represents a perfect match," Gail continued. "One beam is one perfect match. Ten beams are ten perfect matches and one million dollars!"

"One million dollars!"

Beca grinned as several people quoted the words along with Gail, followed by applause and cheers for the prize money.

"Tonight you start with two beams already lit representing Benji and Emily, and DJ and Lilly," Gail stated, two beams lighting up behind her as she listed off the names. "Remember, if you fail to add another beam to these two, that's a blackout and your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

Gail let that sink in for a moment to a few jeers and boos before announcing, "Okay, let's go!"

Beca felt her heart start to race as Gail moved around the podium and placed both hands on the touchpad.

"The number of perfect matches is…"

They only had to wait about two seconds for a third beam to shine brightly up into the night sky, cheering loudly at the knowledge they weren't blacking out.

Gail announced, "That's three."

"Let's fucking go!"

"Here we go, keep it going!"

Beca released the breath she was holding, clapping along with the rest of the group.

The pause this time was longer before a fourth beam lit up the sky.

"That's four! Gail said, her voice rising with excitement.

Louder cheers accompanied the fourth beam, everyone feeling a bit better after the longer wait.

"We want five!"

"Come on… we at least have to get five again."

"Please…" Jesse muttered beside her, making Beca glance away from the beams at him to see his palms pressed together in a praying motion. "At least give us five."

After what seemed like hours a fifth beam shot to life, making everyone cheer even louder.

"That's five!" Gail called out, adding, "Halfway there!"

"Yes!"

"Let's go!"

"We got this guys!" Bumper's voice yelled out. "Give us six!"

It was another excruciating thirty seconds before another beam flashed up into the sky.

Gail's voice was heard above the yells and cheers, "There's six you guys! Six perfect matches!"

"Hell yeah!"

Someone in the back row started a chant until the entire cast was yelling "Seven! Seven!" in unison.

As if spoken into existence, a seventh beam shot into the sky to louder cheers and clapping.

Gail didn't disappoint, her voice rising louder, "Seven perfect matches!"

"Holy shit," Beca looked at Jesse. "Did we do it?"

He shook his head, not willing to say the words.

Already more people were calling for eight, and Beca realized she had inched forward onto the edge of her seat in anticipation of possibly getting all ten matches.

Ultimately it was not to be, as moments later the lights came back on and the sound signaling the end of the round blared around the room. The group let out a chorus of disappointed "awwws" but Beca still felt really good about their progress.

Gail turned to face them, recapping what just happened. "That's seven perfect matches you guys!

The words sunk in, realizing they actually had a shot at going ten for ten. It was hard to believe with how poorly they'd done with the Truth Booths, but somehow victory was still within reach.

"That's the most you've ever had by a long shot!" Gail said, clapping her hands. "Seven perfect matches in eight weeks… not bad! You have two more shots to figure out the final three, and I have complete faith you can do it!"

They cheered again, the group's confidence rising as they cheered and started to really believe they could do it.

"Okay guys, say goodbye to your perfect matches, get back inside and figure it out, and I'll see you at the next challenge," Gail wrapped up, beaming at them. "Congratulations!"

Beca stood up as the group exchanged high fives and hugs, crowding around the two perfect matches to speak with them for a few minutes before they had to return to the honeymoon suite.

"You got this, you guys can do it," DJ said, giving Beca a hug. "And when it's all over and we're all fifty grand richer, we're gonna party it up together."

Beca nodded, "Deal. We'll figure it out."

Luke gave him a high five and joined in the hug. "Got room for one more?"

Beca shouted, "No!" but it was too late, ending up squished between the two men. Finally able to wriggle free, she glared at both of them. "You guys suck."

They stood side by side grinning and she decided to leave them there to continue the bromance without her. Joining back up with Jesse as they made their way back to the house, Beca grinned and slipped her arm through his.

"You know... I think we might actually pull this off," Beca commented, leaning into his side as the exhaustion set in.

Jesse nodded in agreement, "I think you might be right."

Chapter Text


"Hungry?"

Beca squinted up at Jesse's smiling face, the man seemingly taking her lack of response as an approval for him to join her. She watched amused as he laid a towel on the ground beside her and sat down with a backpack, pulling a candle from inside it to place beside them.

"What is this?" Beca asked curiously, watching as he pulled two juice boxes out next and offered one to her.

Jesse grinned, "Well you looked a little down and I thought we should get to know each other a little better since we are each other's perfect match."

Beca couldn't argue with the first part of his logic. She had wandered out into the backyard and spotted Chloe lounging on the grass, joining her without a second thought. Unfortunately, she'd been seated next to the redhead for no more than a minute before Chloe made her escape with a terribly lame excuse. Beca remained behind, frowning at Chloe's retreating back wondering if they were going to have to wait for the show to end to have a real conversation.

Focusing on Jesse, she replied, "You seem pretty confident about that."

"Aren't you?" He cocked his head a little, waiting for her to acknowledge the truth they both were already certain of.

"Maybe," Beca smirked, pulling the straw away from the box and poking it through to take a sip.

Jesse grinned, continuing on, "I was just thinking… as much as I love spending time with you doing challenges and Truth Booth's and matchup ceremonies, and I do… believe me… more than life… I thought we could maybe take a break from all that and do something else that doesn't make us want to kill ourselves."

His sarcasm hit in all the right places, Beca's grin widening the more he spoke. Jesse pulled out a couple of pre-made sandwiches from his pack and offered her one.

Beca accepted it, humming thoughtfully. "Like what?"

Jesse unwrapped his sandwich and asked, "Like… what's your favorite movie? I haven't told anyone this, but I'm kind of obsessed with movie scores. That's what I want to do someday… score movies… bring people to tears, blow their minds… I feel like only music can do that."

"Yeah…" Beca glanced at him, teasing, "It's amazing you don't have a girlfriend."

Jesse nodded, "Yeah, I know. What am I doing wrong?"

Beca took another sip before commenting, "I have no idea. I mean you've got juice pouches and sandwiches and apparently a lot of movie knowledge I'm not sure I want to explore."

"That's where you're wrong! I'll prove it to you," Jesse refused to take no for an answer. "Okay, pick one between Jaws, E.T., The Breakfast Club, Star Wars, and Rocky."

The warning buzzer went off loudly in Beca's head at the thought of having to actually watch all these films. "Can we do something else?"

That got his attention, making Jesse pause and meet her eyes. "What, do you not like movies or something?"

Beca bit down on her lip and glanced away, not wanting to crush his hopes and dreams.

"Oh my God! How are you my perfect match?!" Jesse exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air.

She felt compelled to save the situation at least a little bit, backtracking, "I mean, they're fine. I just get bored and never make it to the end."

Jesse looked like she'd just cursed his entire family, his tone exasperated when he replied, "The endings are the best part!"

Beca shrugged, "They're just really predictable. Like… the guy gets the girl… and that kid sees dead people… and Darth Vader is Luke's father…"

"Oh right," Jesse rolled his eyes. "You just happened to guess the biggest cinematic reveal in history?"

"Vader in German means father," Beca said slowly, wondering how Jesse didn't know this already. "His name is literally Darth Father."

Jesse was quiet for a moment, recovering well as he said, "Well, you know German… now I know why you don't like fun things. You know what you need… you need a movie education… a movication… and I'm gonna give it to you."

Beca shook her head, "No, absolutely not. That sounds like the worst idea ever."

They sat in silence for a minute, neither of them unable to help the grins slowly spreading across their faces at the absurdity of the conversation. Jesse finally broke the silence, unable to get past one thing.

"How did they find me a perfect match who doesn't like movies?!"

Beca rolled her eyes, "How did they match me with the biggest movie nerd ever? Two way street, Jess."

Jesse shook his head, giving her a look of exaggerated disappointment. "Normal people like movies."

"I've never been normal," Beca retorted.

"Clearly."

Beca looked at him then, his tone a little more serious than she'd expected for the banter they'd had going.

Jesse backtracked immediately, "Sorry… that made it weird. It's just I actually can see why they matched us together. I like hanging out with you."

Beca couldn't help but smile at the sentiment because she understood exactly what he meant. "Ditto."

Jesse broke their eye contact to look behind her, making Beca twist around to see who was approaching them. A sinking feeling overtook the lightness of her time with Jesse when she saw it was Chloe, the smile on her face looking slightly forced.

Jesse didn't seem to notice though, cheerfully greeting the redhead. "Hey Chloe!"

Chloe's eyes ran over their setup before settling on Jesse, replying, "Hey! This looks cozy. Didn't mean to interrupt your little date."

"Oh, it's…"

Beca found her voice at that word, interrupting Jesse to quickly say, "It's not a date."

Jesse and Chloe both shot her a curious look, with Jesse unable to keep his sarcasm at bay.

"Damn, don't hold back there Bec…" he teased, leaning back a little with his hands behind him before looking back at Chloe. "But yeah, it's not a date… well, maybe it's a friend date?"

Beca rolled her eyes at his hopeful look, silently thankful for his ability to diffuse awkwardness. "Fine… we're friends."

"Yes! Now I can die a hero," Jesse sat up and fist pumped.

Chloe laughed and gave them a small wave. "Well, I'll leave you two to… whatever this is."

Jesse shook his head, "You don't have to. Join us and help me convince Beca that not all movies are bad."

Beca watched Chloe think about the offer before ultimately turning it down.

"Thanks, but as fun as that sounds I'm gonna go get something to eat myself. See you guys later!"

Jesse nodded, "There are more sandwiches inside."

They watched Chloe turn and head back inside the house, Beca wondering if she could make up a plausible excuse to go talk to the redhead alone.

"Well that wasn't awkward at all."

She turned back to Jesse who was looking at her curiously.

"If we're gonna be friends you'll have to get used to it," Beca sighed, reaching for her sandwich. "It's a skill of mine."

Jesse laughed, "I like it. Normal people are boring." After a moment he added, "You admitted we're friends. You like me after all."

Beca shook her head, "Nope. Definitely. Not."

"Liar. Embrace it."

"You're the worst."


Beca grabbed an apple from the basket in the kitchen on her way into the main room, sitting down between Jesse and Luke as the rest of the group gathered to receive their challenge briefing.

"I don't have a good feeling about today," Luke hummed, sipping coffee from a styrofoam cup.

"We've been instructed to wear bikinis and swim trunks… what could possibly go wrong?" Beca quipped, taking a bit out of the apple.

Jesse nodded in agreement, "Definitely asking for wardrobe malfunctions."

Stacie overheard them as she walked into the room, chiming in, "It's trashy television. They want us as naked as possible as often as possible… even you, Jesse."

Jesse flipped her off, not bothering to reply.

Beca chuckled at that, falling silent at Jesse's look. "What? It was funny… also you're like one of the most ripped guys here, so I dunno what you're insecure about."

"Let's just say I used to look more like Bumper than Luke," Jesse murmured, making sure no one else heard him.

Beca filed that information away, thinking that Jesse's obsessive workouts suddenly made a lot more sense.

Unfortunately, Luke was seated too close for the words to remain private. "It's alright Jess, not everyone can look like this naturally."

Jesse shook his head, deciding his best course of action was to stay quiet. Beca shot Luke a glare, earning a sheepish look in return. It was a subtle reminder that they were all in this house for a reason, namely their unresolved personal issues.

CR chose that moment to enter the room, eyes scanning the couch to make sure everyone was there. Satisfied with the attendance, she clapped her hands sharply to get their attention.

"Good morning everyone! Happy Challenge Day!"

Beca fought admirably to keep from rolling her eyes at the fake cheer in CR's voice, knowing it was everyone's least favorite day. There were scattered replied from around the room, none nearly as enthusiastic as the producer's opening greeting, though some equally sarcastic.

"We've got a fun one set up for you today on the beach," CR began her explanation. "You'll pair up and fill buckets with sand. The three couples with the most sand in their buckets by weight at the end win the getaway date. To make things slightly more difficult, you and your partner will be strapped together at the waist."

Fat Amy interrupted her at that piece of information. "Strapped together? How are we supposed to move?"

Stacie smirked at the question, answering, "One person walks backwards?"

CR let out an exasperated sigh. "Not like that. You'll each have a belt around your waist and you will be hooked to your partner with a bungee cord type… thing," she finished, more ineloquently than Beca was used to hearing her. "Gail will explain more down at the beach."

Beca frowned at that statement, knowing full well that the briefings CR gave them usually contained more information than anything Gail said for the camera. "Hold on… that's all the information we get?"

CR's steady gaze had her shrinking back a little. "You're filling buckets with sand. It's not exactly rocket science."

Beca narrowed her eyes, not appreciating the sarcasm one bit.

Tom followed up on her question, giving her a little encouragement that she wasn't the only one feeling unsatisfied. "Are we supposed to use our hands? How are we getting the sand into the buckets?"

CR glanced around before announcing, "That's all the time we have for questions. Let's get down to the beach."

Beca watched her signal for one of her assistants to follow her out the back door, looking around at the uncertain expressions of the rest of the group.

Luke muttered, "I told you I had a bad feeling about today."

"Yeah… I was hoping you were wrong."

They filed through the back door and followed the path across the backyard that led down to the beach. It was about a ten minute walk and it gave Beca far too much time to wonder exactly what details of this challenge were left unsaid back at the house. Jesse strolled along beside her filling the silence with his own musings about what movie he was going to make her watch that evening, which turned out to be a surprisingly effective distraction.

The producers and crew halted them once they reached the beach, moving ahead to make sure everything was ready to begin filming. Beca could see the challenge set up not far down the beach, which had been blocked off a good distance on either side to keep anyone from accidentally wandering on set.

"I see buckets in front of lanes… and a ditch," Luke said, squinting through the bright sun. After a moment he added, "Nothing to carry the sand with though… not a good sign."

CR returned to stand before the group, calling out, "Alright, you will jog over to where Gail is standing by the start of the challenge! Don't bunch up, don't trip. Oh, no shoes! You can leave them here by the path and collect them on the way back to the house."

Beca kicked off her flip flops and glanced quickly around the group. Chloe had successfully avoided her for the entire morning, continuing that streak with her current location on the far side of the group. Any further pondering on when the next time she'd get to be alone with the redhead was cut short by CR shouting instructions to the crew, before giving them the signal to go.

The jog over to Gail was more awkward than anything, the sand nearer the shore soft and heavy. Beca's feet sunk down with each step, unable to get the traction necessary for a smoother gate. By some miracle, CR did not stop the shoot when they arrived at the correct spot, Gail greeting them with her usual wide smile.

"Hey guys! How are we today?"

They replied with the usual happy chorus, waiting for the blonde to begin her usual lines.

"Congratulations again on your seven perfect matches at the last ceremony!" Gail began, adding, "I feel like you guys have finally stopped hitting the snooze button and have woken the hell up! Well done!"

The group cheered at the reminder that they were getting closer to finding all ten perfect matches, relieved at the fact they were moving in the right direction for a change.

"That is super important, since you only have two more chances to all find your perfect match and leave with your share of a million bucks. But… if you don't go ten for ten, you're all going home empty handed," Gail reminded them. "Are you all ready for your next getaway challenge?"

"Yes!"

"Hell yeah!"

"Let's go, Gail! We're ready!"

The shouts sounded off around Beca as she simply smiled and clapped her hands, wanting to react as little as possible to keep the shoot rolling smoothly.

"Alright! That's what I like to hear!" Gail's voice rose cheerfully. "The top three couples will win an amazing getaway date, getting some crucial alone time and getting that much closer to finding your perfect match. I hope you're ready to move Heaven and Earth together… or maybe just Earth… in a challenge I'm calling… getting all up in this beach!"

Beca sighed, hearing the light laughter and sporadic clapping at Gail's horrible pun.

Gail smirked, as if she knew just how bad it was. "Getting better?"

Fat Amy grinned, shouting, "Getting so much better, Gail!"

"That's what I like to hear," Gail laughed, before starting her explanation of the challenge.

"Here's what's gonna happen," Gail began, continuing, "Using nothing but the clothes on your back, you guys are gonna run down here," she pointed at the lanes that led to a small ditch filled with loosened sand, "scoop up as much sand as you can and carry it back to your bucket. But there's a twist! You're gonna be coupled up and tied together at the waist!"

Beca tried to put on a surprised grin as she glanced at Jesse on her right, his knowing smile already beaming her way.

"The three couples with the most sand in their buckets after ten minutes will win the getaway date," Gail said, looking around the group. "You have thirty seconds to pair up, make it count! Go!"

Beca immediately hooked her arm around Jesse's waist, knowing that if they went on the date there was a good chance that the group would send them to the Truth Booth. It was getting down to the wire now and they were only a few perfect matches away from getting all ten right.

It only took a few seconds for everyone to pair up, Gail noticing the strategy right away.

"Alright guys, if I'm not mistaken it looks like everyone is partnered up with their selection from the last matchup ceremony."

Stacie nodded, "We know that we had seven matches right, so odds are good that at least one of the three winning couples is a perfect match."

Gail agreed immediately, "I like the logic guys. Keep playing smart. Alright, everyone get into position and we'll get this challenge started!"

Crew swarmed around them with the materials to tie each couple together. It took about fifteen minutes to get everyone hooked to their partner, making sure that the belts and ties were secure.

"Got any ideas for a strategy?" Jesse whispered, glancing down the line.

Beca looked down at her bikini, then over at his shorts. "I mean, you've got more material than I do…" she trailed off.

Jesse shook his head, "Not an option."

"What do you mean? Just ditch your shorts," Beca replied. "Trust me, You've got nothing to be ashamed of."

Jesse didn't reply, finally succumbing to her exasperated look. "Bec, I don't wear anything under my swim trunks."

Beca stared at him, unsure whether she should be happy or sad that they were about to lose this challenge. "Well… guess we're fucked then."

Jesse's expression turned resigned as they both looked towards Gail, waiting for the host to begin the challenge.

Gail waited for the signal from CR before turning back towards the couples, smile in place. "Alright guys, are you ready?"

After a brief pause, Gail yelled, "Go!"

Beca took off from the starting line immediately, noticing out of the corner of her eye that several of the guys were stripping out of their shorts. Cursing silently at Jesse and his decision to go commando, she ended up needing all of her attention and energy to keep up with him as he bounded ahead. They were one of the first couples to reach the sand ditch, but couldn't do much without a way to carry it back to the bucket.

The ten minutes passed by agonizingly slowly as they made run after run from the bucket to the ditch to dump minimal amounts of sand inside. Beca had never had so much sand covering so many places of her body by the time Gail yelled for the challenge to end. A quick glance down the line told her they weren't even close to challenging for the top three spots.

"Sorry, Bec," Jesse breathed, still catching his breath. "I guess at least we know we aren't going into the Truth Booth."

Beca nodded, already knowing they weren't going to win. "Yeah, focus on the silver lining. I didn't want to go in there again anyways."

The crew handed out towels and bottles of water to help them recover a little faster, and to help brush as much of the excess sand off as possible. Beca took both gratefully, despite knowing that she'd be feeling sand in way too many crevices until she was able to shower. While part of the crew remained with the group to assist, Beca noticed several other groups weighing the buckets of sand, thankful that at least that part of the process was going to happen off screen.

Once everyone had calmed down from the challenge and wiped as much sand as possible from their bodies, CR instructed everyone to get in place for the results.

Gail strode to her spot in front of the group, smile in place. "As couples, you all filled your buckets with as much sand as possible… Are you ready for the results?"

The group cheered loudly, though Beca knew it was more from wanting the day to be over than their interest in who won.

"Alright first up is the blue team! Tom and Flo, your bucket weighed in at 164.4 pounds," Gail announced, as the rest of the group clapped politely.

"Next up is Bumper and Fat Amy with a total of 171.4 pounds… nicely done guys!"

Beca grinned as the pair shouted happily and did a rather one-sided chest bump that sent Bumper back a few feet.

Gail chuckled at them before continuing with the results. "Beca and Jesse finished with 152.2 pounds, putting them in third place and on the chopping block."

Jesse shrugged and slung his arm over Beca's shoulders. "We did our best."

"Yep, no shame in our game," Beca replied, fully prepared to finish at the bottom of the list.

"Moving all the way into first place are Theo and Aubrey, with a total of 218.6 pounds!" Gail exclaimed, clapping her hands in approval.

Aubrey and Theo cheered with matching smiles, but Beca could spot the awkwardness between the pair.

Jesse sensed it as well, muttering, "They're definitely not a match."

Beca nodded in agreement, choosing to keep her mouth shut on the topic.

"Next up is the purple team of Uni and Calamity, ringing in with a total of 183.9 pounds. Solidly into second place guys, well done!"

The group clapped as Uni raised his fists in the air in celebration. His victory was short-lived, however, only lasting a few seconds until Gail read out the next result.

"Zeke and Stacie, you guys managed to fill your bucket with 188.5 pounds of sand! That puts you in second place behind Aubrey and Theo, and Uni and Calamity in third," Gail explained, adding, "We only have two couples left to weigh in!"

The nerves settled in as Gail drew out the final two totals to maximize the suspense, Beca feeling the butterflies grow in her stomach as they waited to find out the winners.

"Luke and Kommissar, your bucket weighed in at… 190.8 pounds! That puts you in second place and guaranteed to go on the date!"

Beca grinned and clapped loudly, happy for her friend. Luke beamed and grabbed Kommissar in a hug that lifted her off the ground, swinging her in a circle.

Gail added, "That also means that Aubrey and Theo have locked in a getaway date tomorrow. Congrats, guys!"

Beca glanced at the pair of them, smiles and enthusiasm not quite matching that of Luke and Kommissar at the date awaiting them.

"Alright guys, we're down to our final couple! Who will win that getaway date tomorrow? Zeke and Stacie are in third place right now, and only Chicago and Chloe have yet to discover how much sand they filled their bucket with," Gail said, her voice drawing out the tension.

Beca looked down the row at Chicago and Chloe, not thrilled at the nervous but excited looks the couple were currently exchanging.

Thankfully Gail didn't draw out the final verdict, her voice rising in pitch as she announced, "With a massive total of 258 pounds even, Chicago and Chloe vault over the entire group to finish in first place! Congratulations guys!"

Beca clenched her teeth together and she forced a smile to her face as Chloe and Chicago whooped and celebrated their victory with a hug. Something about Chloe being half naked and hugging an equally half naked Chicago really rubbed her the wrong way, turning her gaze back to Gail as she tried to ignore the sinking feeling in her stomach.

Gail continued on when the group settled down, "Alright our three winning couples are going on an underwater adventure… SNUBA diving with the sea turtles!"

Beca tried to look happy and excited for the winning couples as she clapped along, but the only thing on her mind right now was the thought of Chloe and Chicago spending an entire day together. She knew Chicago was a colossal dick and that Chloe was not interested in him, but the fact that they still hadn't gotten a chance to talk was playing into all her fears and doubts. This experiment had started out fun, but the emotional and mental toll of being in the house and discovering she had feelings for another girl had Beca more than ready to be done with the show.

"Congratulations to the three lucky couples," Gail beamed. "As for the rest of you, remember that you'll have to vote one of these couples into the Truth Booth… the only way to know for sure if they are a perfect match or not. I'll see you all tomorrow for the results!"

The group cheered again and said goodbye to Gail, holding it for a few seconds until someone yelled, "Cut!" As the crew swarmed in, Beca looked up to see Jesse's concerned expression staring back at her.

"You okay?"

Beca sighed, uncharacteristically hugging him in lieu of a response.

"I'll take that as a no."

His voice from above her had her breaking into a small smile.

"Wanna talk about it?"

Beca sighed again, answering quietly, "Maybe later."


Moments of solitude in the house were rare, and Beca was soaking up every second her housemates and the show's crew left her alone tucked into a corner of the couch. They'd finally wrapped up filming and everyone was milling around the house drinking or eating or taking a break after showering sand out of places they hoped never to find it again. Beca had taken advantage of the lull to take her plate of food inside while most wandered outside to enjoy the sunset and warm weather. Chloe and Chicago had stayed behind the main group to film a few extra reaction shots, and Beca saw the redhead briefly on her way up to the bedroom and then again out towards the pool, hair wet from a shower.

Her peace and quiet was not meant to last, but Beca was relieved that Jesse was the one to intrude. Beca liked him the more she got to know him, and genuinely hoped they would stay in touch after the show.

"It was really nice out there before they started doing cannonball contests into the pool with bonus points for how many people got hit," Jesse informed her, making Beca take note of the water splattered across his shirt.

She grinned, "I take it you were a casualty?"

Jesse huffed, "And so was my plate of tacos. Those bitches."

Beca laughed at his words, lacking the heat of real anger. "And here I assumed it was the guys. Stacie and Amy?"

"And Aubrey."

"Never would have guessed."

Jesse shot her a look that said not to ask, so naturally she did.

"What's going on with you two anyways? I thought you were hitting it off with her."

Jesse pursed his lips into a thin line, refusing to answer her question. "What's going on with you and Chloe?"

Beca raised her eyebrows, retorting, "There's nothing going on with me and Chloe."

"Well you were super weird to her during our little impromptu picnic the other day," Jesse pointed out, reminding Beca that she was still as awkward as ever. "I thought you two were besties and shit and lately I haven't seen you talking to her at all."

When Beca didn't answer, he studied her with a more serious look. "This have anything to do with the challenge today? I can tell that you're upset about something Bec… maybe it'll help to talk about it."

Beca sighed, wondering if he was right. She knew she needed to tell Jesse… after all he was her perfect match and would probably be more supportive than anyone else in the house. Still, saying the words was becoming tougher and tougher as whatever she and Chloe had seemed to be moving in the wrong direction. Just as she decided to tell him the truth, a body flew over the back of the couch and landed heavily beside her.

"Bec! Let's go swimming!" Luke grinned, bouncing on the cushion and jostling her in his excitement.

"Yeah… no, Jesse and I will catch up with you in a bit," Beca bit back a grin as she took in Luke's bright red face and wondered just how many drinks he'd downed to get himself in such a state.

"Suit yourselves, losers!" Luke shouted, jumping back to his feet and racing out the back door.

Beca shook her head as she watched him go, face falling as Bumper, Uni, Fat Amy, and Calamity walked inside and sat down on the other end of the couch.

Jesse seemed to read her mind, leaning in to whisper, "Want to go for a walk or something?"

Beca nodded and let him help her up from the couch, ignoring the catcalls of the new group as they left the room. Unfortunately, they didn't have better luck finding some privacy outside, running into Theo and Flo early on and then finding Stacie and Tom in a less than decent state in a more secluded corner.

Jesse took her hand, saying, "I know where we can go. It's probably empty if Stacie and Tom aren't in it."

"Ugh, seriously? The STD Den?" Beca groaned, quickly following his train of thought.

"You got a better idea?"

Of course she didn't, and simply shook her head as Jesse led them back inside and up the stairs to the room. Beca stepped inside first, glancing around as the memories of the brief time spent in here with Chloe came rushing back. A click of the lock had her turning around to face Jesse, who took one look at the bed and grimaced.

"Maybe the floor?" he suggested, adding, "I do not want any part of whatever has happened in that bed."

Beca nodded in agreement, "You and me both, dude."

She sat down with her back against the wall facing the bed. Jesse hesitantly took the spot opposite her with his back leaning against the bed frame. Beca couldn't help but chuckle at his expression, watching patiently as he eventually gave in and leaned back against the comforter hanging over the end of the bed.

"It's fine, there's no way they left the covers on," Beca reasoned, trying to make him feel better.

Jesse nodded, but seemed far from convinced. "Yeah yeah… let's just not think about it, okay?"

Beca agreed, "Fair enough."

After a moment, Jesse reminded her why they were there in the first place. "So, we just gonna sit here all night or do you want to talk about whatever is bothering you?"

Beca took a deep breath, letting it out slowly as she mulled over how to tell Jesse the truth. "Well, uh… being open and shit with my feelings was never a strength," Beca started, pausing when Jesse interrupted almost immediately.

"No way," he deadpanned, pretended to be shocked. "Never would have guessed."

"Fuck you." Beca rolled her eyes as he burst out laughing, finally composing himself and holding his hands up defensively.

"Sorry, okay… I'm listening…. Serious face," he said, more to himself than her. "You suck at being vulnerable… join the club."

Beca sighed, deciding the easiest thing to do was to just say it. "I have feelings for Chloe."

Jesse stared at her, his expression going blank as the words didn't seem to be processing. "What?"

"I know I'm supposed to like you or one of the other guys or whatever, but I like Chloe," Beca shrugged, waiting for him to catch up. "I want to be with Chloe."

Jesse finally nodded, speaking slowly, "That… actually… makes a lot of sense."

It was her turn to be surprised, responding, "It does?"

"Well, yeah," Jesse said, now nodding along to the thoughts in his head. "I mean you guys were getting along really well and were super friendly and both of you crashed and burned with the guys you liked… but you're not happy about it so what's wrong? Does she not like you back?"

Beca shook her head, "No, I mean yes… she does. We like each other."

Jesse grinned, "Great!" He paused before asking again, "So…. I still don't understand what the problem is. Sorry, I feel like I'm not in on the joke or something. Is it because of the show? I guess it'd fuck things up pretty good if you both picked each other," he finished with a small laugh.

"The show is part of it," Beca explained, "CR and most if not all of the crew know. She said Gail doesn't know, but I'm not so sure about that. I feel like secrets don't stay secret around here for very long. It's amazing that no one else in the cast seems to know, but that could also be because Chloe… we've been avoiding each other lately."

"I did notice that," Jesse replied. "I just figured you two were trying to find your matches or something though, not that you were in a fight."

"We're not in a fight," Beca retorted, letting her frustration seep out.

Jesse shrugged, "I mean, I didn't think too much on it at the time but you were awkward as hell when she found us outside the other day."

Beca rolled her eyes, "Yeah, well I am awkward as hell."

"Bec…" Jesse's voice was soft, hesitating until she met his gaze. "If you both feel the same way about each other, what's been bugging you so much?"

It was the honesty and sincerity in his tone that had Beca spilling the truth before she could stop herself.

"I… I experimented a little with women in college and stuff, but I was never open about it with any of my friends or family. No one in my life back home knows I'm bisexual, and the thought of them finding out because of this show is fucking terrifying," Beca confessed. "And I know that Chicago is a dick and that Chloe doesn't like him, but they're still going on a date tomorrow and I'm just this small, awkward, pale… Jesse I don't even understand why anyone in this house likes me, let alone Chloe."

All the fears and insecurities came pouring out of her before Beca could even think about being embarrassed at her confession. Jesse's frown spread over his face, finally unable to keep from interrupting her.

"Hold on, Bec," he said, scooting over to sit next to her and wrap his arm around her shoulders. "First, you're awesome! You're smart and funny and… I mean, Bec you're really pretty. All the guys think so… hopefully that didn't sound too creepy, but it's true."

Beca shook her head, "That makes zero sense to me. And especially Chloe… Chloe is like, fucking sunshine and warmth and happiness and I'm…"

"A strong, successful, ATTRACTIVE…" Jesse's voice raised stubbornly on the last word, fixing her with a serious stare, "person who Chloe would be lucky to have." After a brief silence, Jesse asked, "So you're not ready to come out? You should just tell her… I'm sure Chloe would understand."

"I did tell her and she does understand," Beca sighed, thinking back to their poolside chat. "She's giving me space since things with us happened kinda fast and I got overwhelmed."

Jesse's expression turned confused again. "Isn't that a good thing?"

"Yeah… it is," Beca answered. "This is all just really confusing for me. I thought I needed space, but lately I'm not sure if it's making things better or worse. After seeing her with Chicago today… it just… she looked happy with him."

"Well, I'm here for you, Bec," Jesse's tone was supportive and encouraging. "Whatever happens."

Beca nodded as Jesse removed his arm from around her shoulders and got to his feet, extending his hand to her. She took it and let him pull her to her feet, taking an extra second to stretch her arms over her head. Jesse moved towards the door and opened it, turning to glance back at her.

"Thanks Jesse," Beca said, shuffling over to him.

He opened his arms and wrapped her in a hug, whispering, "Anytime, Bec. That's what friends are for."

Beca tensed for a split second before relaxing into his embrace, thankful that her perfect match ended up being a real friend. She wrapped her arms around Jesse's waist, savoring a moment with one of the few people in the house she trusted completely.

"HELL YEAH JESSE! GET IT IN!"

Beca immediately stepped back to see Bumper and Uni bumping against each other in the open doorway, drinks in hand and smirks in place.

"Called it that you guys were gonna bone before the show ended," Uni grinned, turning and yelling down the hallway. "Zeke you owe me twenty bucks! Caught Jesse and Beca in the STD Den!"

Jesse glared at him, "Dude, we weren't hooking up. We were just talking."

Bumper chugged the rest of his beer and winked at them. "Sure… if that's what you're calling it."

"Fuck off," Jesse snapped, stepping in front of Beca and crossing his arms over his chest.

Beca narrowed her eyes at the pair of them, breathing a sigh of relief when they shrugged and left the room.

"Whatever… I need another drink anyways," Bumper turned away and headed back down towards the kitchen with Uni following behind him.

Her relief was short-lived as she heard his next words before he was out of range.

"Oh, hey Chloe."

Beca glanced up at met Jesse's eyes, her stomach turning over anxiously as she stepped out of the room in time to see Chloe turn around and walk downstairs without looking back. She leaned against the wall in the hallway and covered her face with her hands.

Fuck.


Beca stayed in bed as long as possible the next day, knowing that when she finally wandered downstairs Chloe wouldn't be there. She wanted to keep herself distracted from the fact that the redhead was out on a fun snorkeling date with Chicago, and the first step in that plan was sleeping until Jesse regretfully woke her up around noon at the demand of one of the producers. He apologized sheepishly and Beca sighed and reluctantly left the comfortable isolation of the bedroom.

Once downstairs, she met up with Jesse in the kitchen as the man was pouring a cup of coffee. He met her gaze and seemed to understand immediately, offering her the cup.

"Thanks." Beca's voice was quiet as he grabbed a second mug from a cupboard.

"Try not to think about it," Jesse replied, taking a sip and turning to lean against the countertop. He lowered his voice and added, "Chicago is a douchebag. Today isn't going to change that."

Beca nodded, eyes bouncing around the kitchen as if Chloe would randomly appear and tell her she didn't go on the date after all. "I know."

The day dragged by despite Jesse's best attempts to distract her with random conversations and movie trivia. Beca really did appreciate his efforts and admitted they were semi-effective, but also couldn't escape thoughts of Chloe out swimming in the perfect Hawaiian ocean with Chicago of all people. It simply wasn't that long ago that Chloe was crushing hard on the guy, and even if he wasn't ultimately the one for Chloe, Beca had a feeling that the group was going to vote them into the Truth Booth tonight and possible prevent them from ever getting to have the conversation they desperately needed to have.

Finally, the day was coming to a close and Jesse voiced the words she'd been dreading all day. "Come on, it's time to cast our votes for the Truth Booth."

Beca closed her eyes, resigning herself to her fate. "Okay… let's get this over with."

Jesse wrapped his arm around her shoulders as they walked to the giant touchscreen in the main room to vote. Beca gave in after a few steps and leaned into his comforting embrace, slipping her arm around his waist.

"Thanks," she murmured, not wanting to make a big deal out of it but also wanting him to know she appreciated his friendship.

"I got your back," he responded, making her laugh and shake her head at the cool, yet out of character response.

They passed Stacie on the way to the main area, the brunette giving them a wink and a knowing look despite staying uncharacteristically silent. Jesse put a few feet of space between them when they arrived at the screen, hesitating and glancing between Beca and the screen as she took her time.

"I don't think I can do it, Jesse," Beca finally admitted, looking over at him. "What if they actually are a perfect match?"

Jesse hummed thoughtfully, "I don't think they are. I have my own suspicions and ideas of the right matches, and I don't think they are one."

"Who do you think Chloe's is?" Beca couldn't help her curiosity.

"Tom."

Beca breathed a sigh of relief. Tom was the one person she actually hoped was Chloe's perfect match. He was a genuinely nice guy, and the fact that he was completely hung up on Stacie didn't hurt either.

"I can see it," she replied. "They're both really nice."

"They look good together, and they're personalities mesh pretty well," Jesse continued. "Also, the Truth Booth shot down her and Luke. I really thought we might have gotten a perfect match right outta the gate in week one. I was disappointed when it said they weren't a match."

Beca thought back to week one, which seemed like a lifetime ago. "Yeah…" she trailed off, finding it difficult to remember how she felt about how things went after one week. No one was taking it too seriously at that point, and it didn't seem like such a big deal that they hadn't gotten a perfect match.

"Is… is everyone else voting for them?"

It was Jesse's turn to hesitate, finally admitting, "Yeah, I think so. Sorry, Bec."

Beca shook her head, "Don't apologize. It's the smart move, I guess."

Before she could think anymore on the subject, Beca reached out and tapped the pictures of Chloe and Chicago side by side on the screen. It flashed to confirm her vote and then returned back to it's previous state for Jesse to vote. He tapped the pictures of the same couple as well, waiting for the screen to flash before meeting her gaze.

"Want to get drunk?"

Beca couldn't ignore the sinking feeling in her stomach, nodding in agreement.

"Hell yes."


"Come on guys, everyone get to the couch! The lovebirds will be back from their date any minute now!"

Beca stared into her cup, only hesitating a moment before chugging the rest of her drink. Jesse did the same beside her, swaying slightly as he got to his feet.

"I still think this was a… fuckin' frantasic idea."

Beca frowned at his words, looking over at him and breaking into a smile. "You're really drunk right now."

He shook his head, insisting, "I'm not drunk, you're just blurry."

She laughed and reached out to push him in the chest. "Could you pass a sobriety test?"

Jesse leaned back a bit before swaying forward again. "Yep, and I come right back." His eyes narrowed as they focused in on her. "Why are you not more drunk right now?"

"I own a bar, Jess," Beca answered, her mouth curling into a smirk. "I don't understand why everyone has such a hard time remembering that I own a bar."

"Oh yeahh!"

Beca grinned, "Let's just hope you make it through the Truth Booth filming tonight and CR doesn't kill me."

Jesse wrapped his arm around her shoulders as they began walking through the house to the living room. "Don't worry, Becs. I got this."

Beca felt her knees buckle slightly under his weight as he momentarily lost his balance.

"Yeah, you're just fine. If we're gonna be friends… this whole situation," she pointed a finger at him and moved it around in a circle, "Needs to improve."

"My charming personality?" Jesse beamed at her.

Beca rolled her eyes, "You have the tolerance of a sorority chick drinking vodka cranberry's for the first time."

They made their way into the living room together where the rest of the group was assembling, Beca pointedly avoiding CR's gaze until they found seats on the couch. A quick glance showed the woman's eyes glaring their way, and Beca felt properly scolded without a word being exchanged. CR gestured and mumbled something to a producer beside her, who then walked over and stood in front of Jesse.

"How drunk are you? IV drunk or smelling salts drunk?"

Jesse stared blankly back at him, finally answering, "Drunk enough to tell you to get the fuck outta my face!"

Beca laughed, quickly covering her mouth with her hand. The guy rolled his eyes and left them alone, apparently reporting back to CR that Jesse would be fine for the shoot.

"I take it back, Jess… we need you to get this drunk more often and we'll be great friends."

Jesse grinned proudly, "I knew we were friends. You tried to fight it… but you can't fight friendship."

Stacie sat down on Jesse's other side, leaning forward to look at Beca. "What'd you do to him?"

Beca shrugged, "It was his idea to play drinking games all afternoon. I think it went downhill around the time we started playing poker using shots as chips."

"You think?" Stacie's eyebrow went up, but her tone revealed her amusement at the situation.

"Yeah, it's a bit hazy," Beca quipped, winking at the brunette.

Jesse butted in just as everyone was getting settled on the couches. "I won… it was all worth it."

Stacie replied, "Are you sure?"

"Yep, I won Beca's friendship forever," he answered, completely serious.

Stacie held her hands over her heart like it was the most adorable thing she'd ever heard at the same time Beca fought to keep her eyes from rolling into the back of her skull.

"That was disgusting," Beca shook her head at him. "Never say that again."

Jesse looked mildly concerned. "Are we still friends?"

"As long as you stop saying sappy shit like that."

"Got it."

CR clapped her hands to get everyone's attention, making Beca realize the three couples had returned from their date. Chloe looked too happy for her taste after spending the day with Chicago, and Beca didn't wait for the redhead to meet her gaze, instead turning her focus over to CR.

"Alright, let's get this shoot started. We all know the routine by now, so let's try to get it done as smoothly as possible. Where's Gail?"

The crew looked around, each as clueless as the next until one holding a hand to her ear spoke.

"One minute, CR."

CR sighed and shook her head. "Fucking hell, we're already late to start. What the fuck is it now?"

Another pause before the answer came. "Mic issues."

CR cursed loudly and strode out of the room, presumably to go to wherever Gail was prepping and try to help fix the technical difficulties. Thankfully, she returned seconds later with Gail right behind her. Whatever was wrong seemed to be fixed and they were ready to shoot. After a brief conversation between the women, Gail found her mark and CR retreated behind the cameras.

"Alright, Gail, whenever you're ready!"

Gail nodded, waiting a moment before addressing the group.

"What's up, guys? How are we doing tonight?"

Beca sounded off with the rest of the group, "Good!" and waited for Gail to continue.

"Awesome. Happy couples… how was your date?"

Beca clenched her teeth together at the way Gail addressed the couples from the date, knowing that description was far from accurate for at least two out of the three.

"It was great, Gail!" Chloe answered, still smiling widely. "We got to see so many sea turtles and fish."

Luke nodded, "It was a lot of fun. I'd never heard of SNUBA before, but it was pretty cool."

Gail's smile remained in place, "I'm so glad to hear that! Well, as you all know, while they were gone the rest of you voted one of these three couples into the Truth Booth. Bumper, who would you like to see go into the booth tonight?"

Bumper answered, "Chicago and Chloe. I know they had a falling out or whatever, but most of us still believe they are a match. It's time to find out."

"Logical," Gail replied, looking around the room. "Does anyone think they aren't a match?"

To Beca's surprise, Stacie spoke up from Jesse's other side. "I'm almost positive they aren't a match, Gail."

Gail looked a little surprised at Stacie's comment, asking, "Why is that? They look so good together over there."

Beca's stomach turned, glancing over at Chloe to see her smile frozen in place, bringing the smallest bit of comfort to see the redhead definitely did not agree with the host on that matter.

"I just think there are other people they match better with," Stacie said simply, not venturing into further detail.

Gail looked around the room again. "What about either of the other two couples? Could they get voted into the Truth Booth tonight?"

Uni chimed in, "I don't think so, Gail. We need to know for sure about Chloe and Chicago. I think most of the group voted that way."

"Alright, well… there's only one way to find out. Your votes are in, and the couple you're sending to the Truth Booth is…"

The television screen flashed and Beca's stomach dropped as photos of all three couples were replaced by two larger pictures of a single couple.

"Chicago and Chloe!"

The group clapped and whistled as Gail turned her full attention toward the couple.

"Chicago and Chloe! How do you feel about going into the Truth Booth tonight?"

Chicago answered, "I think we're ready. This has been a long time coming, and I'm ready to find out if Chloe is my perfect match."

Gail wasn't quite finished though, asking, "Chloe, how are you feeling about this decision?"

Chloe hesitated, answering, "I mean, I'm not surprised, but I'm kinda freaking out right now."

"Chloe, you're freaking out a little bit? What's going on?" Gail asked, suddenly concerned.

"Well," Chloe glanced around the room before continuing, "Chicago and I have had our ups and downs, and although I think he'll be a great match for someone… that someone is not me."

Gail pressed on, "So, what you're saying is that even if the Truth Booth reveals tonight that you two are a perfect match, you don't see any future for the two of you as a couple?"

Chicago cut in smoothly, "Gail, let's take this one step at a time. Chloe and I will have plenty of time to talk and figure things out in the Honeymoon Suite if we are a perfect match."

Gail's smile revealed her happiness with that answer, agreeing, "Excellent point. Never say never!"

Beca's eyes flicked to Jesse's before returning to Chloe, finding the redhead reluctantly nodding in agreement. The sinking feeling in her stomach grew, suddenly questioning everything that had happened in the house up until this moment.

Gail turned her attention to one of the other couples for a moment. "Luke? Are you surprised that you and Kommissar weren't voted into the Truth Booth tonight?"

Luke shook his head, "Not really. I think we could definitely be a match, but we couldn't miss the opportunity to send in Chicago and Chloe. Whatever the booth says, it gives us a lot of information on past matchups that could help us finally solve the puzzle."

"Luke, you and Kommissar still have one last opportunity to get voted into the Truth Booth next week, but for now it's Chicago and Chloe's turn. So you guys… head to the Truth Booth and good luck!"

Beca watched the pair of them send nervous smiles around the room before exiting through the back door, feeling Jesse's arm slip around her shoulders and give a small squeeze.

Gail turned her focus from the exiting couple to the remaining people in the room. "I don't know if I have to tell you guys this or not, but… uh, we're running out of chances here," she reminded them. "There are only two more matchups, and you guys only have two perfect matches. As you know, the second they find out in the Truth Booth, you guys will find out here… and I'll see you all at the matchup tomorrow night."

Beca said goodbye to Gail with the rest of the group as she exited the room, settling in for the long wait to find out if Chloe and Chicago were a match.


"NO MATCH!"

The words were imprinted in Beca's brain as she continued to stare at the screen while everyone around her groaned at the negative outcome. It was all she could do to hide the extreme relief flooding her body, focusing on keeping her expression neutral or disappointed or anything that wasn't gleefully happy.

"Guys, we got seven matches last time and now we know that Chicago and Chloe weren't one them," Bumper explained, trying to stay positive.

Stacie nodded in agreement, "Pretty sure Aubrey and Theo aren't a match either. What if we just swap those two and see if anything changes?"

Uni shook his head, "I don't think that's the way to go. We got three wrong last time, so we should make three changes."

Beca looked back to Stacie in time to see her incredulous expression. "That would be worse! We need to make a small change so that we know if we're on the right track."

Kommissar cut in, "It's a little late to be finding out if we're on the right track. We have two matchups left to figure this out."

"I agree with Uni," Bumper shrugged. "I say we make three changes and see what happens… and since the boys choose…"

Beca rolled her eyes at that. "You guys have fucked the matchups up for us the last two or three times it was your turn to choose."

Uni snapped, "I don't see you offering up any better ideas."

"Stacie literally just came up with a better idea!" Beca was growing more and more irritated at their inability to work together to solve the puzzle.

Luke stepped in, "Okay, guys, fighting amongst ourselves is not going to help. We need to work together!"

Beca shook her head and decided to remain silent, looking over at Jesse who seemed to have zoned out completely. "Hey, are you okay?"

He looked blearily at her, answering, "I'm pretty tired. Think filming tonight on top of all those shots is finally getting to me."

"Okay gramps, maybe we should get you to bed," Beca joked, drawing a smile out of him.

"Damn, Bec… at least buy me dinner first before offering to take me to bed," he shot back, reaching up to cover a massive yawn.

Beca shook her head at his corniness, standing up and helped him to his feet. Thankfully he'd mostly sobered up and was just tired, shooting her a sleepy smile as he stretched his arms over his head.

"How're you feeling?" Beca asked him, waiting patiently for his arms to return to his sides.

"Not bad… thirsty, actually," Jesse replied, looking around for his cup.

Beca nodded, "Yeah, let's get some water."

Jesse didn't argue with her, instead walking quietly beside her to the kitchen and leaned against the counter while she dug two bottles of water out of the fridge for them. She handed him one and bit back a smile as he immediately opened and chugged half of it down.

"I think you'll make it," Beca commented as Jesse finished the rest of his bottle, taking a few sips from her own before surrendering it to him.

Jesse grinned, quipping, "Is that your professional opinion?"

Beca winked, "As someone with plenty of experience in this particular field… yes."

"Good enough for me," he said, draining the rest of her water and tossed both bottles into the recycling bin. His eyes suddenly left her face to look over her shoulder.

Beca waited a second before turning around herself to see what he was looking at, seeing Chloe stopped a few feet away from them.

"Bec… can I talk to you for a minute?" Chloe's voice was hesitant as she studied the pair of them.

Jesse answered before Beca could, throwing an arm around her shoulders, "Bec was just about to escort me up to bed. Something about not being able to hold my alcohol… I'll work on it. Maybe you could help, too?"

Chloe's expression turned from hesitant to confused to understanding as he spoke, glancing at Beca for confirmation.

Beca caught on, nodding, "Oh, yeah. Chlo, you mind helping me with this drunk? He had a little too much this afternoon and is about ready to pass out."

"Sure, I'd be happy to help," Chloe answered, taking a few steps forward.

Jesse grinned and shifted so his other arm went across Chloe's shoulders, leaning on both of them. "Excellent."

Beca grumbled, "You're ridiculous. You're not even that drunk anymore."

"Shut up and let me help," Jesse muttered. "You two need to talk."

Chloe leaning forward to look at Beca. "You told him? Are we just telling everyone now?"

"What? No, of course not," Beca answered, leaning forward as well. "Today was just really shitty and I needed someone to talk to while you were on your date."

"I didn't even want to go on that date, let alone go into the Truth Booth tonight," Chloe responded, sounding slightly irritated. "You should be talking to me about this stuff."

Beca's eyes narrowed at that, thinking about how much Chloe had ignored and avoided her over the past week or so. "Maybe I would if you weren't completely avoiding me every second of every day."

"You mean like CR told us to do?" Chloe shot back, not budging an inch.

They reached the top of the stairs and Jesse stopped, letting his arms drop from their shoulders when they were out of sight of the rest of their housemates and the crew.

"Okay, you two find a quiet spot and talk," Jesse said, looking between them. "Sounds like you definitely need to clear a few things up."

Beca didn't reply as he looked between them before slipping past and walking down the hallway to the bedroom. She took a slow breath and turned her gaze to Chloe who was already looking back at her.

"Uh, well we could always go to…" Beca trailed off, gesturing to the empty STD Den.

Chloe nodded, walking inside the room instead of offering a verbal reply. Beca followed her and locked the door behind them. Hopefully if anyone noticed they would just assume Chloe was upset about the Truth Booth result.

Beca broke the silence, asking, "Are you really upset that I told Jesse?"

After a moment, Chloe answered, "No, not really. I'm actually happy about it. I… I was wondering if you were starting to develop feelings for him."

"What? For Jesse?" Beca chuckled and shook her head. "We're just friends. If it's because of that weird picnic thing from the other day…"

Chloe cut her off, smiling, "I know it wasn't a date, Bec, but really? The STD Den yesterday? The entire house was talking for hours about how you two hooked up. It was a visual I could have done without."

Beca sighed, trying to keep the irritation out of her voice. "Fucking Bumper and Uni. Two people I will not miss when this is over."

"I know." Chloe's eyes were shining with humor.

Beca took a minute to get her thoughts in order, finally confessing, "We ended up here because I needed a private place to tell him about you. I didn't want to lead him on and I thought he deserved to know the truth."

Chloe nodded, "I think that's great, Becs… really. I guess I'm just confused."

"Well it didn't come out as well as I would have liked, but I have wanted to talk to you for a while and we just never seem to have the chance." Beca frowned, thinking over the past week. "And for what it's worth, you didn't seem all that disappointed to be going on the date with Chicago today."

"That asshole? You think I like Chicago again?" Chloe's expression was incredulous.

"No! I mean, I didn't think so but then you looked so happy yesterday at the challenge and I started having doubts and it's honestly been driving me fucking crazy," Beca confessed running her fingers through her hair. "I hate not being able to just openly talk to you about this stuff. It's making me question and doubt everything."

Chloe took a deep breath and fixed her with a serious stare. "I don't know how to say this more plainly… I like you. You're the only one in this entire house that I want something more with. What I don't know is… is if you feel the same way."

"I do like you, you know that," Beca replied. "I just need a little time to figure out what that looks like outside of this house. I thought you understood that?"

"I do," Chloe answered quickly, "That's why it's so confusing to me when you need all this time to tell your family and friends, but you just spill it all to Jesse after a day."

Beca shook her head, "That's not fair. Jesse is my perfect match and he's been a really good friend to me here."

Chloe looked a little saddened by that statement, prompting Beca to ask why.

"What's wrong? What did I say now?"

Chloe shook her head, "It's stupid, I just don't like thinking of someone else being perfect for you. It's nothing."

Beca sighed, "It's not nothing. I should have said it differently. Jesse is not who I want to be with. I can't explain it… telling my family is different. Who knows if I'll ever see Jesse again after we leave this house in a week. I'll definitely have to see my family and friends and staff again after I tell them."

"No, it's fine… we both have to figure out who our perfect match is," Chloe reasoned. "Well, at least I do. I agree with you that Jesse is yours."

"Well, that's… good," Beca said, still feeling a little uncomfortable. "I guess."

Chloe shot her a small smile, "It's part of the show."

Beca shifted in the silence that fell between them, uncertain of where the conversation was going. Chloe seemed to have more to say and Beca wasn't used to her holding back.

"Chlo… whatever it is, just say it."

Chloe looked up from the floor. "I don't want you to think I'm pressuring you, because that's not it."

Beca hesitated, deciding to wait and see if Chloe elaborated. When she didn't, Beca prompted her, "… but?"

Chloe studied her for a long minute before finally answering, "It's not really a but… more just… I've been burned in the past and I promised myself I wouldn't put myself in that situation ever again."

"That situation?" Beca asked, confused as to what she meant.

"I met this girl in college and we hit it off," Chloe explained. "We had this immediate connection and started spending time together and texting all the time and things were great… until I realized that we only hung out alone. She said she wasn't out yet but that she was going to tell her friends and family. Long story short… she never did. I can't go through that again Bec."

Chloe looked down at her hands for a moment before meeting her eyes again. "I promise I'm not pressuring you to come out. I would never, ever do that to someone. All I ask is that you be honest with me now. That conversation we had by the pool kinda triggered all those feelings, and as much as I like you, I also need to protect myself. I can't be someone's secret again. I respect that you need time to figure it out, so I'm trying to give you that time."

Beca felt Chloe's words hit her deep down, unable to imagine feeling like someone's dirty secret. To feel like her partner was ashamed of her. It certainly explained Chloe's hesitance, and Beca realized she needed to get her shit together sooner rather than later.

"I'm really sorry that happened to you, Chlo," Beca said, adding, "And I appreciate you being so patient with me."

Chloe gave her a tight smile, "I learned a lot from that experience… mainly that I don't want to go through it again. So, take the time you need to figure out if you want to give this a real shot after this show ends. You already know where I stand."

Beca could only stand there with a familiar sinking feeling in her stomach, unsure of what to say to reassure Chloe in this moment. She wasn't sure how things would go when she returned back to San Francisco, and the last thing Beca wanted to do was make a promise she couldn't keep.

Chloe's voice was hesitant as she asked, "I mean… do you… are you okay with that?"

"Yes," Beca replied immediately, knowing that what Chloe was asking was more than fair. Of course she didn't deserve to be put in that position again, and it was the last thing Beca would want to do to someone else… especially someone she cared about.

"I'm just worried that…" Beca trailed off, searching for the right words. "I don't want to promise you something and then have it not work out."

Chloe gave her a small smile. "I appreciate that, Bec." After a minute she added, "You know I don't want to ignore you, right? CR told us to keep our distance and I thought you needed some space to figure stuff out. You said you didn't want to move to fast, so…"

Beca nodded, "No, you're right. I shouldn't have said that earlier. I didn't really mean it… I was just frustrated. Today really sucked."

"You think today sucked for you?" Chloe raised an eyebrow. "I had to go on a date with Chicago."

Beca grinned, "Valid. You win."

Chloe chuckled, "No shit. At least after tonight I won't have to be paired up with him anymore."

"How did the Truth Booth go?"

"Terrifying," Chloe admitted. "I was scared as hell that screen was gonna say we were a perfect match."

Beca stepped forward and slipped her arms around Chloe's waist, murmuring, "Thankfully it didn't and he's not your match."

Chloe hugged her back tightly, pressing her face into the crook of Beca's neck. Beca let her hand trail over Chloe's back as the emotions of the day caught up with both of them. She would have stayed that way for hours, though it only ended up being a few minutes before someone banged on the door.

"Open up, bitches!"

They jumped apart at the loud sound, Beca moving to open the door and reveal a very drunk Stacie and Tom.

"What are you two doing in here?" Stacie grinned, looking between the pair of them.

Beca answered smoothly, "Chloe was a little upset about the Truth Booth tonight. She just wanted a quiet place to talk for a few minutes."

Stacie seemed to sober up almost instantly, shooting a concerned look at Chloe. "You okay, girl? I know Chicago is a douche, so I figured you'd be relieved."

Chloe nodded, "Oh, I am… it was more the stress of having to spend all day wondering if we were getting voted in and then when we did… wondering if we were gonna be a perfect match. It was… a lot."

"I feel ya," Stacie agreed, before suggesting, "I'm pretty sure I saw Luke all by himself downstairs. This room is def taken, but maybe he could help you out with some stress relief… if ya know what I mean."

Beca could tell Chloe's smile was a little forced as she replied, "I just might have to go find him."

Stacie cheered, "Get it, girl! Now, get out of here so Tommy can help me with some stress relief."

Beca made a face and slipped past the couple, not interested in seeing or hearing any of that stress relief. Chloe followed her out of the room and they heard door shut and the lock click immediately.

Chloe was still smiling when Beca turned to face her.

"What's so funny?"

"Not funny," Chloe explained. "I think it's pretty crazy that the two of them are so cute even though they only met like a month ago. They seem like the real deal."

Beca shrugged, "Yeah, maybe they'll be the ones to prove this crazy experiment can actually work."

Chloe hummed, "Except they aren't each others perfect match. So does that say more about the us or the show?"

"No idea," Beca answered honestly. "At this point, I'm just trying to survive this craziness."

"Agreed. Want to go get a drink?"

Beca thought about it before ultimately declining. "Nah, probably better for me to go join Jesse," she sighed. "Keep up pretenses and everything. You should go find Luke. It'd be perfect if Stacie saw you guys together or something."

Chloe's face fell a little, but she nodded in agreement. "You're right. Thanks for listening to me tonight."

"Of course," Beca gave her a small smile.

Beca waited as Chloe turned and headed back downstairs to join the rest of the group before moving in the opposite direction down the hallway to the bedroom. She pushed the door open to find Jesse laying in bed staring at his phone, eyes flicking over to her when she entered the room.

"Well?" Jesse leaned up on his elbows, staring at her curiously.

Beca took a deep breath, collapsing on the bed beside him with her face in a pillow.

"That good, huh?"


Beca glanced around the room at the many frustrated faces of her housemates. They were currently in a heated discussion of the best way to figure out the final three perfect matches, mainly Stacie and Jesse facing off with Bumper and Uni. They had been arguing for the better part of the last hour, and Beca knew time was running short before they needed to be ready for the matchup ceremony.

"For the hundredth time," Stacie's exasperated tone emphasized her words, "I'm completely positive that the wrong matches were Chloe, Aubrey, and Flo. Those are the ones we need to be focusing on right now."

Uni shook his head, "No, Luke and Kommissar are definitely one of the wrong matches. They have to sit with other people."

Luke cut in, "I'm not so sure about that. You could have voted us into the Truth Booth yesterday and found out for sure."

"That's insane," Bumper cut him off. "We obviously had to find out about Chloe and Chicago. That narrows everything down a lot."

Jesse continued to back Stacie up, as he'd done most of the meeting. "I think Stacie is right."

A new voice joined the fray, Zeke standing up to gain the group's attention before addressing Tom. "I mean, Tom do you think you and Flo are a match?"

Tom shrugged, "We could be. Flo is great."

Beca's gaze shifted to the small woman who looked equally unsure. This definitely wasn't helping. Blindly guessing or hoping that a person was your match was not going to win them the money.

"This is stupid, we're past the time for guessing."

It was only mildly disconcerting to Beca that Stacie was reading her mind, curious to see where the brunette would try to direct the conversation.

Stacie's hands rested on hips as she pointed out, "If you would just go back through the matchups and realize we can eliminate certain possibilities based on the perfect matches we already have…"

Bumper interrupted her, "Yeah, yeah, you've told us this all before and while I think you're right, there's room for error and we still have two matchups left. We can make switches this time and it'll give us the information we need to get it right in the final one."

"Or we could just try to get it right this time," Stacie retorted.

Bumper stared at her, finally asking, "Do you think Aubrey and Luke could be a match? That would fit with what we have left."

Stacie thought about it for a few seconds. "Yeah, I would be okay with that."

Aubrey's voice cut through the room, asking, "Does anyone want to ask me or Luke if we're alright with that?"

Beca smirked at the blonde's annoyed tone, turning to Luke for his response.

"Should I be offended by that?" Luke grinned, and Beca was grateful for his attempt to break a little tension.

"No, that's not…" Aubrey sighed, shaking her head. "That's not what I meant."

Luke chuckled, "I know, I was just trying to get people to chill out a little."

Beca mumbled to him, "There is no way you two are a match."

"At this point, I'd believe you were my match," Luke replied, his voice equally low. "I have no idea who it is."

"We need to make a decision as a group that we can all live with," Uni said, glancing nervously at his watch. "We're already cutting it close."

Bumper spoke first, "I think we switch Aubrey, Chloe, and Kommissar."

Stacie shook her head but decided to back down. "You guys know what I think, but if that's what the group wants then so be it."

The rest of the group murmured for another minute or two before Kommissar said, "Okay, if we are switching me, Chloe, and Aubrey, we need to decide who we're switching to."

Bumper pulled out a little notebook. "So for those three… the pairs from last week were Chicago, Luke, and Theo. If Aubrey is going with Luke, then that means Kommissar is with Chicago and Chloe is with Theo."

Beca bit down on her lip hard to keep from bursting out laughing. The thought of Chloe and Theo being a match was more absurd to her than Aubrey and Luke. A quick look around the room showed that she wasn't the only one thinking along those lines.

"Guys, we're not seriously gonna do that, right?" Beca asked, her tone incredulous. "Chloe and Theo are not a match."

Uni argued, "You don't know that. They could be."

Beca's eyebrows rose, returning his stare. "Um, yeah dude, I do know that. They aren't a match."

Fat Amy hesitated, finally saying, "I'm with shortstack. That doesn't seem like a match to me and we're running short on time to put people up there that are blind guesses."

Bumper replied, "We're out of time guys. The information we get from this matchup tonight should make it perfectly clear who the correct matches are. Even if Chloe and Theo aren't a match, if one of the others are we are set for the final ceremony. They'll be taking one for the team tonight."

Theo had been quiet until this point, thinking over everything being said. "I will go along with this if it's what the group wants, but I don't think it's a good idea."

"Because it's a terrible fucking idea," Stacie commented. "No offense, Flo, but if anyone here besides me would work for Tom… it'd be Chloe."

Flo shrugged, "That's okay. Once when I was nine years old, my brother tried to sell me for a chicken."

Some of the light chatter died off at that comment, Beca frowning as she wondered if she'd misheard the woman. Theo's laughter cut through the relative silence, looking around the room as he realized no one else had the same reaction.

"What?" he said, still chuckling, "It was funny."

Stacie nodded, "Uh, yeah… sure. Anyways, guys… we are making a mistake doing this."

CR burst into the room before anyone else could respond, yelling furiously at all of them.

"What the hell is wrong with you? The matchup is in fifteen minutes and not a damn one of you is ready! Get changed! NOW!"

Beca would have laughed at the group's immediate reaction if the woman wasn't so terrifying, people scrambling off their seats and out of the room as fast as possible.

"She scares the shit outta me," Jesse said, falling into step with her as they climbed the stairs.

Beca nodded, "Hell yeah… you and me both dude."


CR's mood had not improved throughout the evening, thankfully mainly due to technical difficulties and not human error. Unfortunately, not being at fault didn't save them from her temper and biting retorts to any questions or confusion. They were finally ready to begin the matchup ceremony over an hour behind schedule, and the only positive thing about that was that Gail would have to limit her chatter between selections.

"Okay, let's try and get this done tonight," CR's stare went around the area, leaving no cast or crew member untouched. The unspoken promise of murdering anyone who caused a delay left everyone deathly silent.

Gail moved into position and Beca got comfortable in her chair.

"Boys, walk in on my cue!" CR yelled to the guys who were waiting just outside of the staged area.

Beca watched as they filmed the guys walking in and assembling in the proper location. CR must have been satisfied with the shots because she allowed Gail to move right into her greeting.

"Hey guys! How are you doing tonight?"

The group responded with the usual positivity, smiles, and a few stray claps.

Gail beamed at them as if nothing had gone wrong at all, continuing, "Let's welcome back our two confirmed perfect matches… Benji and Emily… and Donald and Lily. How have you four been?"

"Great," Donald grinned. "Things over at the honeymoon suite couldn't be better."

Benji nodded in agreement. "Yeah, we're having a great time, Gail, but both Em and I do miss seeing everyone else. We've been in the honeymoon suite for a while now."

"Cry me a river!" Bumper shouted sarcastically, causing everyone to chuckle.

Gail laughed along with the group, "I don't think you're going to find much sympathy from your former housemates, Benji. And unfortunately, we do not have another perfect match to add to your total tonight… Chicago and Chloe went into the Truth Booth last night but were not a confirmed perfect match."

DJ looked surprised at that fact, glancing over to Beca for confirmation. She shrugged and nodded, unable to say more in the moment.

Gail continued on with the usual matchup speech.

"Alright you guys, another matchup and another shot at one million dollars… are you ready?"

"Yeah!"

"Hell yeah, Gail!"

"Let's do it. We got it this time!"

Beca clapped along with everyone else, listening to the positivity being shouted out into the room and wishing she could feel the same way. Somehow the group had decided that Theo and Chloe were a perfect match, which was absolutely insane, and she knew they weren't going to be seeing ten beams lit up at the end of the matchup.

"You know you only have two more of these left, so you need to make them count," Gail reminded them. "Tonight, it's the boys choice. Gentlemen, when I call your name, step up here and select your perfect match and then the two of you will place your palms on the handprint touchpad locking you in as a couple. And remember, if you fail to add any new matches to the two you already have, that's a blackout and your prize immediately drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars." She paused for a few seconds to let that sink in before calling out the first name.

"First up tonight is… Jesse."

Beca breathed a sigh of relief as Jesse walked confidently up to Gail.

"Jesse, you look confident tonight," Gail commented as he reached the podium.

"I am, Gail," Jesse replied with a smile.

Gail beamed back at him, asking, "You sat at the last matchup with Beca… did this week help clear anything up there?"

Jesse nodded, "Yeah, I think so. We were able to spend a lot of time together this week and I'm feeling good about where our relationship is going."

"Well, let's not waste anymore time then," Gail said, continuing, "Jesse, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Beca."

Beca grinned as she got up from her chair and walked up to stand beside Jesse at the podium.

"Beca, how was your week with Jesse?" Gail asked.

"It was great," Beca answered, trying to sound as cheerful as possible. "Like Jesse said… we had a lot of time together in the house and that only helped us get to know each other better."

"Sounds like a budding romance to me," Gail hinted. "Jesse, Beca, please lock in as a couple."

Beca reached out and placed her hand on the touchpad beside Jesse's, watching the green bar scan up and down until the black boxes appeared across the screens declaring them, "LOCKED!"

They returned to Beca's chair and sat down together as Gail called Zeke up to pick next.

"Are you glad you went first," Beca whispered, as Zeke chatted easily with Gail.

Jesse whispered back, "Oh yeah. I did not want to be caught in the upcoming shit show at all."

Beca nodded in agreement, watching Stacie stride up to join Zeke at the podium and lock in as a couple. After letting Stacie and Zeke get settled back in Stacie's chair, Gail readied herself and called the next name.

"Next up is Uni."

Uni strolled up to the podium and greeted Gail as the group clapped.

"How are you doing tonight, Uni?"

He nodded, "I'm doing great. How are you?"

"Fantastic," Gail met his enthusiasm. "Uni, who is your perfect match?"

"Gail, my perfect match is Calamity." Uni answered confidently, turning to watch her walk up to the podium.

Beca glanced at Jesse, asking, "Do you think they're really a match?"

"I do," he murmured. "They'll never work as a couple but they have a lot of complimentary qualities. I think they are a match."

Beca hummed at his words as the pair locked in and returned to their seats, thankful for the way they were flying through the matchup so far.

Gail pressed on, "Three down, five to go. Next up is Theo!"

Beca's anticipation rose as she clapped while Theo walked up to the podium, wondering if he was actually going to choose Chloe as his perfect match.

"Hey Theo, how was your week?" Gail asked cheerfully.

Theo answered, "It was pretty good, Gail. I had a great time on the date with Aubrey even though I'm pretty sure we aren't a match."

Gail nodded, her expression turning thoughtful. "Any idea who your perfect match is?"

"I have some ideas, but tonight is more about going with the group and trying to use logic to figure out our missing matches," Theo explained.

"Ah, I see," Gail looked delighted at his answer. "So, Theo… who is your perfect match?"

Theo hesitated, finally answering, "My perfect match is Chloe."

Beca looked over at Chloe, who must have been working overtime to keep her expression neutral as she rose from her chair and walked up to the podium.

"Hi Chloe," Gail said with a smile. "What do you think of this match?"

Chloe gave Theo a friendly smile, saying, "I think Theo is a great guy, but he's not my match."

Theo shrugged, "I mean, neither of us actually think we're a match, but this is part of the plan and we're going along with what the majority of the group thinks is right."

"Well I hope the strategy pays off," Gail said, her tone encouraging. "Theo, Chloe, it's time to lock in as a couple."

This time Jesse was the first to comment on a pair, whispering, "How are you with… that?"

Beca stared at the pair as they returned to Chloe's seat, finally answering, "Weird. It's super, super weird to see them paired up as a couple… even knowing they aren't a match."

"What if they are?"

Beca held in the laugh. "They aren't. Trust me."

CR strode onto the set and called for a break. "Okay guys, we'll break now with half the guys done and come back in thirty for the other half. Paired couples don't forget to go get your reaction shots done."

Beca sighed and got to her feet, hooking her arm through Jesse's as they walked out of the matchup ceremony staging towards the waiting camera crews.


The rest of the selections passed without incident, as Bumper paired up with Fat Amy and Chicago stuck to the plan by choosing Kommissar. A few eyebrows raised when Luke chose Aubrey, with Tom and Flo rounding out the final couple.

Once they were all paired up in the chairs, Gail moved on to the second part of the ceremony.

"Alright you guys, remember… the matchup will confirm how many couples are correct, but not who those matches are. That's for you to figure out. Now, behind me are ten beams of light."

Beca closed her eyes briefly as the lights lit up and shined right at them before rising to shoot straight up into the night sky.

"There they go!" Gail's smile was wide as she watched the process. "Now each beam represents a perfect match. One beam," she paused again as all the lights went out and the first one re-lit up, "Is one perfect match. Ten beams," another pause as all ten lit up again, "Is ten perfect matches and one million dollars."

The group clapped and cheered as the beams lit up again, Beca doing her best not to lip sync Gail's speech along with her. She understood why the show was so addictive, but filming it was an absolute nightmare. Beca was sure she'd be hearing certain sentences and phrases in Gail's voice in her dreams for a long time after filming ended.

"Now tonight you guys get to start with two beams already lit," Gail informed them as the first two beams turned back on and blasted into the night sky. "Those beams represents your two confirmed perfect matches, Benji and Emily, and Donald and Lilly. Add eight more beams to that and you're walking away with one million dollars."

"However," Gail added after a moment, "If you fail to add any more beams to those two, that's a blackout and your prize instantly drops by two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

The group catcalled and had a few choice things to say about blacking out, but Beca knew it was all just a formality at this point. There was no way they didn't have at least four or five perfect matches sitting in the chairs, and hopefully they got to eight tonight. She knew Chloe and Theo needed to switch, and the most likely couple to switch them with was Tom and Flo.

Gail smiled at them, "It's time to find out." She circled around the podium as the lights flashed on above them and placed both hands on the touchpad. "The number of perfect matches is…"

They didn't have to wait long for the third beam to light up the sky.

Gail counted it out loud, "That's three!"

"Let's go!"

"There we go, baby!" DJ's voice cut through the cheers from the rest of the group.

"Let's see four, Gail!

"We want four!"

Beca felt the usual anxiety return during this part of the ceremony, knowing it was just as stupid as ever but also unable to stop it from happening.

A fourth beam lit up, followed quickly by a fifth.

Gail called out, "That's five! Halfway there!"

"Yeah!"

"Hell yeah! Now six!"

"Let's see six, Gail!"

The wait was longer this time, but finally a sixth beam came to life.

"That's six! Six beams guys!" Gail shouted excitedly.

The cheers were louder now, with more than a few people calling for seven.

Jesse mumbled to her, "Come on, we need at least seven. Can't go backwards now."

"No backtracking, Gail! Let's go!"

The wait was agony, and just when Beca was certain another beam was about to light up, the stage lights came back on and the sound signaling the end of the matchup rang out.

"FUCK!"

"Shit…"

The disappointment throughout the group was palpable, everyone knowing they dropped from seven matches last week to six this week.

"Six perfect matches this week guys," Gail announced, stepping around the podium to face them. "That's one less than last week. Whatever strategy you used, or change you made this week, is not working."

Beca glanced around at the solemn faces, knowing that this result was definitely a shock. Worst case scenario they expected to get at least seven matches tonight and were hoping for eight.

"You only have one more matchup to get it right," Gail reminded them seriously, holding up one figure. "One more matchup to get four more perfect matches. You guys have a lot of work to do this week. Get back inside and get to work, and I'll see you at the house for your next challenge. Say goodnight to your perfect matches!"

The goodbyes were more muted than the greetings had been earlier that night, despite the vote of confidence from both pairs. The walk back to the house was silent, but it didn't stay that way once everyone was inside.

"I fucking told you! You guys are such idiots," Stacie started in on Bumper and Uni, getting right up to the taller man.

Uni rolled his eyes, "Chill out, we learned what we needed to. We'll get it right next time."

"We fucking better," Stacie shot back. "Or it's gonna cost everyone in this house a million bucks."

Beca shook her head at Jesse as the group's frustration boiled over into multiple arguments. If this was how the next week went, they might as well kiss that money goodbye.

Chapter Text


The tensions from the previous night had not gone down at all, simmering dangerously through lunch until another argument broke out between Stacie and Uni. Zeke and Tom separated the pair, the group deciding it was best for everyone to take a little time to cool off before meeting up to discuss their new strategy for the week. Beca ended up outside in the backyard with Jesse, Stacie, and Tom. She could see Chloe with Theo not far away near the pool, sitting with her back to them to keep from wondering what they could possibly have to talk about.

Stacie was clearly frustrated, Tom rubbing her back beside her seemingly only mildly helping. "I'm so sick of these idiots. They can't handle the possibility that they are wrong, even after they were clearly wrong!"

Tom nodded, "I know, babe. But now we're up against it and they'll have to listen. We only have one more matchup left."

"Yeah, plus no one else in the house is gonna give Bumper and Uni another shot at it," Jesse reasoned. "I mean, they've been pretty bad so far."

Stacie rolled her eyes, "We'll see. They've had support so far. It hasn't mattered that I've been telling them they're wrong for weeks. Chloe and Chicago were NEVER a match."

Beca muttered, "A lot of people seemed to think so a few weeks ago…"

Jesse glanced at her, his eyes full of warning.

"A few weeks ago we didn't have half of the information we have now," Stacie countered. "Plus they were all over each other."

Beca winced at that, biting her lip to stay silent.

Jesse intervened, asking, "So what do we do now?"

Stacie replied confidently, "We need to get the entire group together and go through the previous nine matchups. I'm pretty sure that we can figure it out. After last night there are only a few possibilities left."

Tom nodded in agreement, "We should do that today. It could help us determine who should pair up at the challenge tomorrow."

"Do you really think that will work?" Beca asked, still unsure that the group would listen.

"Do you have a better idea of how to convince those Neanderthals to listen to anyone but themselves?"

Beca smirked at the term, glancing around as Tom and Jesse remained silent.

Stacie didn't say anything, waiting patiently through the quiet.

Tom finally spoke up, "Right. Let's do this."

Beca watched him get to his feet and send a sharp whistle across the backyard, yelling to the people hanging by the pool.

"HEY! GROUP MEETING ON THE COUCH RIGHT NOW!"

Jesse climbed to his feet and extended his hand, Beca reaching up and letting him pull her to her feet. They walked inside together, Beca only slightly surprised that the group by the pool had actually listened to Tom's shout. There was more yelling once they got inside the house, taking about five minutes to assemble the group in the main room. Most were sprawled out on the couches or the floor, with a few having dragged high-top stools in from the kitchen bar.

"Alright Tom, we're all here," Bumper said, looking at the man. "What's so damn important?"

Tom made no move to speak, instead turning his attention to Stacie. The tall brunette nodded and stood up, moving to the front of the room holding a small notebook in her hand.

"Okay, we've only got one more Truth Booth and one more shot to get all the matches correctly. We cannot screw this up," Stacie started, looking around the room.

Uni interrupted her, "But after the last matchup we already know who belongs with who. I don't see the need for this."

Stacie stared at him. "What makes you so confident? In case you've forgotten, you have completely fucked up our matchups at least twice now. Why is it so hard to listen to someone else?"

"I think going through the matchups is a good idea," Zeke offered. "Maybe through process of elimination based on our two matches we can actually figure out who is and isn't a match."

Stacie spread her arms out wide exclaiming, "Yes! Exactly… thank you!"

Aubrey spoke up, "I agree with Stacie and Zeke. Why haven't we done this already?"

"Because you need to have enough information to make it worthwhile," Bumper shrugged. "Otherwise it's like narrowing down the possibilities from a million down to a few hundred thousand."

Stacie nodded, "He's right. But we should have enough information now to at least figure out who should pair up together at the challenge tomorrow and who we should try to send to the Truth Booth."

Beca glanced around the room as a few more people chimed in their opinions about taking the time to go through each of the previous matchup ceremonies, pausing for a second at the way Chloe and Theo were sitting next to each other. Neither were speaking, but Beca was still confused as to when this random friendship blossomed when the pair had barely exchanged five words for most of their time in the house. She didn't have much time to dwell on it though, as Stacie had begun corralling everyone into the pairs from the first matchup ceremony.

"No, Flo you go over and sit by Luke… and Zeke you were with Fat Amy," Stacie was pointing at people to switch seats. "Beca, you need to switch with Chloe. You were with Theo and she was with Tom."

Beca nodded, silently getting up from her seat on the couch to move across the room to sit with Theo. Chloe had a cheerful smile on her face as she went to sit with Tom, never meeting Beca's eyes as they passed momentarily.

"Okay, that's it," Stacie confirmed, adding, "So me and Uni were paired up with Donald and Lily, so obviously those were not matches."

Chicago spoke for the first time, asking, "Can someone please explain to me how this helps us figure out who the matches are?"

Stacie shot him a look that Beca assumed most parents sent their children after one too many 'are we there yet's' on a long road trip. "Sure, here is why it matters. We only got two correct matches at our first matchup ceremony. Emily and Benji was one, which means out of all the couples in the room right now, only one is a perfect match."

Beca glanced around the room at the pairings, easily picking out several that were not matches.

Bumper was doing the same, offering up, "Well, we know Chicago and Calamity aren't a match. Neither are Theo and Beca, so that eliminates two couples from Truth Booths."

"Right, that's good," Zeke nodded, looking around the room. "I think the most likely couples are Bumper and Kommissar or Jesse and Aubrey."

Fat Amy commented from beside him, "Not Bumper and Kommissar. I'm positive Bumper and I are a match. We sat together at the matchup where we had seven right."

"Yeah, let's see who we sat with at the one we got seven right," Uni said, looking around as heads nodded in agreement.

Stacie argued, "No, we shouldn't skip that far ahead. We could potentially eliminate a lot of possibilities in these early matchups where we barely got any right."

Aubrey looked convinced, asking, "Well, we could do the one where we got seven matches, and then come back to the beginning ones… right?"

More heads started nodding and Stacie gave in, shrugging, "Sure… whatever." She glanced down at her notebook and flipped pages until she found the right one. "Okay, Fat Amy you're with Bumper…"

Beca already stood up from the couch and made her way over to where Jesse was sitting on one of the high-top stools. "Back together again," she joked, turning to stand between his legs with her back to him to lean against while Stacie ordered the rest of the group around.

"No, Flo you're with Tom and Aubrey… you're with Theo," Stacie directed, eyes trained on her notebook.

Jesse's voice sounded from behind her, "So looking around at these couples, the one that sticks out to me is Theo and Aubrey. No way in hell that one is right."

Beca nodded, "And we know Chloe and Chicago aren't a match. The problem is that Flo and Tom could be… and so could Calamity and Uni… and Luke and Kommissar. And technically I think Aubrey and Theo could be a couple."

"That'd be a fucked up match," Jesse mumbled. "She would murder him."

"He might murder her first," Beca countered, smirking at the thought of Aubrey and Theo trying to be a couple. "Talk about personalities that don't mesh at all."

Jesse chuckled, "You're not wrong."

Zeke spoke up first when everyone was standing with their correct partner. "Okay, so the first thing we need to know is if anyone is standing next to the same person as round one?"

No one spoke up, bringing more than a few groans.

"How is this even possible? Not a single pairing is the same?"

"We really suck at this, huh?"

Stacie tried to bring the mood back, saying, "Guys! That isn't that surprising. We only got two perfect matches the first week, and one of them was Benji and Emily."

Bumper sighed, "Yeah, but if we even had one couple that was the same that would basically be guaranteed to be the other perfect match from week one… and would eliminate every other week one pair."

"I'm aware, but unfortunately none of the week eight pairs are the same as week one," Stacie's tone was growing impatient. "So instead, we have to work backwards." After a moment, she continued, "Okay, so we know right now five of these couples are right. Who thinks they are standing with their match?"

The group looked around and there was a general consensus that Bumper and Fat Amy, Beca and Jesse, and Zeke and Stacie were probably matches. That left Uni and Calamity, Tom and Flo, Theo and Aubrey, Luke and Kommissar, and Chicago and Chloe.

Tom spoke first once everyone settled down. "We know Chloe and Chicago are not a match, so that leaves a fifty percent chance with the other four. After the last matchup ceremony, we went from seven matches down to six… which means the switch we made was wrong. Babe, what switches did we make last night?"

Stacie flipped a page in her notebook and studied it closely. "Kommissar was with Chicago, Aubrey was with Luke, and Chloe was with Theo.

Aubrey pointed out, "Wait a second. If we went from seven to six, that means the one that didn't change wasn't a match. Right?"

"No, not necessarily," Stacie countered immediately. "We could have changed two wrong matches and one right one and ended up with three wrong."

"But what are the odds of that?" Jesse asked curiously. "I mean, I know that's possible, but the odds have to be low. And the couple that didn't change was Flo and Tom, and I don't think they are a perfect match."

Stacie nodded along with Jesse's point. "That's also true. And honestly, no offense Flo, but if anyone here besides me would work for Tommy… it'd be Chloe."

Flo shrugged, not seemingly too bothered by that statement.

Bumper cut in, thinking aloud, "So, if we're going on the assumption that Tom and Flo are not a match, and Theo and Aubrey aren't a match… and we already know that Chloe and Chicago aren't a match, that means the two other couples were correct. Luke and Kommissar and Uni and Calamity."

"Yeah, well, you know what happens when you assume things," Fat Amy, giving Bumper a poke in the side. "Is there any way to be sure?"

Chloe spoke for the first time, offering, "Let's play out that scenario. If Luke and Kommissar are a match and Uni and Calamity are a match, that leaves me, Aubrey, and Flo. What guys are left?"

Stacie checked her notebook, answering, "Chicago, Theo, and Tom."

"Alright well for me it has to either be Theo or Tom. Chicago and I were not a match in the Truth Booth," Chloe finished, looking over to Aubrey.

Aubrey shrugged, "It could be any of them for me. I sat with Theo for the matchup where we got seven, and Tom the one before that where we got five. Does that make it more or less likely one of those two is my match as well?"

Stacie shook her head, "It doesn't really tell us much, unfortunately. That would leave Flo with Chicago. Have the two of you even spoken?"

Chicago glanced at the shorter woman, answering, "I mean, we've talked but I don't think anything really clicked for either of us."

Flo shook her head, "We have nothing in common. There's no way we are a match."

Bumper rubbed his face, his expression frustrated. "Okay, we're just going in circles and not actually figuring anything out. Let's take a break."

"We're actually making some decent progress for once, dude," Stacie snapped, her irritation with the man finally boiling over.

Tom stepped in, rubbing a comforting hand over her back.

Beca decided to speak up, saying, "I agree with Stacie. We've narrowed it down to three couples we aren't sure about. That's pretty good. We still have another Truth Booth, guys."

"Shocker you side with Stacie," Uni rolled his eyes. "How quickly you all forgot that all of that was based off an assumption that Aubrey and Theo aren't a match. I do think we're on the right track with going through the matchups and using logic to figure this out."

"Maybe we just need a break to grab a drink and stop thinking so hard," Bumper suggested, looking around to many nodding heads. "Okay, awesome. I know I could use a drink."

The group reached a consensus and a majority of them split off towards the kitchen in search of alcohol. Beca moved away from Jesse and shuffled over to where Stacie was standing next to Tom.

"I think that went well," she smirked.

Stacie sighed, "Yeah, except after this everyone will be too drunk to be productive."

Chloe joined them as well, Theo not far behind her. "I thought that was great, Stacie. I think we're right there… one more confirmed match will crack this puzzle. Do you think you know the matches?"

Stacie nodded, "I'm pretty sure Luke and Kommissar and Uni and Calamity are right, and that leaves you and Tommy, Flo and Theo, and Aubrey and Chicago."

Jesse shook his head, muttering, "Aubrey won't like that one bit."

"It doesn't really matter if she does though," Stacie sighed. "They make a weirdly good match, even if neither of them have taken the time to see it. Aubrey's father is some crazy high ranking general in the military and Chicago is in the Army, so she understands his lifestyle and isn't afraid of him. As a military guy he possesses a lot of the same qualities she respects and appreciates… it's not as crazy a match as you might think. He just got here and immediately decided to start fucking Calamity and that messed everything up for them."

Beca hated to admit it, but Stacie's logic made a lot of sense.

Theo shrugged, "I can see it. I mean, I definitely don't think she's my match. If it's between Chloe and Flo, it could be either one." He glanced at Chloe, "I mean, Chloe is awesome. I wouldn't have pictured us together but I get the feeling Chloe could get along with almost any guy in this house."

Chloe rolled her eyes, "Not Bumper. Hard pass."

Beca raised an eyebrow. "Bumper? Bumper is where you draw the line? Not Chicago?"

"Bumper is a special kind of obnoxious that only Fat Amy can handle," Chloe replied easily, thinking for a moment before adding, "Or maybe Kommissar. I still think that could be a funny pairing that just works."

Stacie shook her head, "Bumper and Fat Amy are the match. I'll have to look back over my notes but I'm pretty sure he and Kommissar got eliminated as a possibility by like week five."

The group fell silent for a minute until Luke appeared with his hands full of small glasses and a bottle of something tucked under his arm. "Okay, enough thinking for a while. Everyone take a shot and loosen the fuck up."

Beca smirked at that, definitely ready to let her mind stop working so hard. She took a shot and clinked it with Luke's, throwing it back and extending her glass for a refill.

"Keep 'em coming."


It wasn't often that she could say this, but Beca was definitely drunk. Too many shots to count later, here she was facing off opposite Chicago with Bumper passed out on the couch a few feet away. Most of the house was watching on in disbelief at the amount of alcohol consumed between the pair, but Beca never backed away from a drinking challenge. Bumper started it by boasting he could drink Chicago under the table, and Beca's reaction had earned her a seat at the proverbial table.

Jesse's voice floated somewhere over her head, saying, "Bec… maybe you should stop."

"I'm fine."

Thankfully she sounded a lot more confident than she felt, and Beca wasn't going to give in now with victory so close. Chicago looked slightly green, eyeing the next shot in front of him with a lot less enthusiasm than the ones before it.

Aubrey's voice pulled her attention away, looking towards the blonde. "This is ridiculous. At this rate you're both going to end up in the hospital… is that something to be proud of?"

Chicago shook his head, "I said I have the most olerance in the house and… I'm gonna fucking prove it!"

Beca laughed, "Keep dreaming! I… I drink professionally!"

"I've got a hunned pounds on you easistly," Chicago countered, slurring his words a bit. "Fuckin' tiny ass…"

"Shuttup." Beca narrowed her eyes to cover the fact that her brain was processing everything twice as slow as usual. "Talkin' a lotta fuckin' shit for someone getting' hiss ass handed to him," she taunted, grabbing the shot and throwing it back easily.

Chicago only hesitated a second before doing the same with his shot.

Stacie's voice rang out from her right, "That, ladies and gentlemen, was shot number twenty!"

Beca barely processed the murmurs and headshakes of disbelief, suddenly cocking her head to the side as a familiar song started playing through the speakers.

"Hey!" Beca exclaimed, looking around. "Someone turn that up!"

After a few seconds the song started blasting through the room, a few grins appearing as people recognized the iconic melody. Much to Beca's surprise, across from her Chicago jumped up to his feet and began using his shot glass as a microphone.

"IT'S FOREVERRRR! THIS TIME I KNOW AND THERE'S NO DOUBT IN MY MIIINNNNDDDD!"

Beca blinked a few times as he finished the chorus and sloppily transitioned into the second verse. "You know this song?"

It was Chicago's turn to blink at her for a few seconds, eventually nodding. "It's a classic."

Beca grinned, "Fuck yeah!" she shouted, joining in when it hit the chorus again.

Chicago stumbled forward and grabbed her shot glass, handing it to her. "Micropone."

Beca nodded, feeling completely loose and at ease as they shouted the lyrics at the top of their lungs in perfect unison. Chicago wobbled a bit on his feet, his arm ending up around Beca's shoulders as they sang.

"What is happening right now?"

"Why do they sound so good?"

"Definitely cut them off. This is too weird."

Beca vaguely heard the voices as the song wound down, dumbly exchanging grins with Chicago. "You like Kiss?"

He nodded, "Fuckin' love Kiss."

"Nice. Music is the best."

Chicago leveled his stare at her, finally saying, "You can fuckin' sing. Did you know that?"

Beca nodded. "Yep. So can you… did you know that?"

"Yep," Chicago agreed, his nod turning into more of a bobblehead motion.

"Cool," Beca grinned, shifting her weight and stumbling a few steps before regaining her balance. Gentle hands grabbed her arms, helping her straighten back up. She met Jesse's concerned gaze, taking a few seconds for his face to come into focus. "Thanks, Jesse."

Beca realized the room had gone relatively quiet compared to when she and Chicago were belting out one of Kiss' greatest hits, glancing around to see most of the group wearing stunned expressions. "What?"

Jesse cleared his throat, answering, "Uh, I mean… you two hate each other and just went from trying to drink each other into a coma to singing a pretty incredible impromptu duet to an epic love song. That's what."

Beca frowned as her brain wasn't able follow along with Jesse's complicated thought. "It's a great song," she finally voiced, her eyes locking into Chloe and the way the redhead's gaze was laser-focused in her direction. Beca took a step in Chloe's direction, wanting nothing more in that moment to be closer to her, but Jesse's hands were still helping her stay upright which only caused her to lose her balance again.

"Woah, okay… that's enough alcohol for one night," Jesse confirmed, directing Stacie to put the bottle away. "Bec, let's go get some fresh air for a few minutes?"

Beca shook her head, "I wanna talk…"

"I would LOVE to talk with you," Jesse interrupted, "Outside, and preferably with several bottles of water. Excuse us," he finished, ushering her through the backdoor as quickly as possible.

Jesse handed her a bottle of water once they were safely seated in chairs by the pool. "Drink that."

Beca rolled her eyes, "Okay, mom. You know I'm barely drunk, right?"

"Duet with Chicago drunk is way more than barely drunk," Jesse countered with a smile. "Or are you so drunk you've already forgotten that detail."

"It's a great song!" Beca defended, confused as to why it was such a big deal. "And he has a great voice!"

Jesse nodded, "Sure. Speaking of great voices… were you ever going to come clean about yours?"

Beca laughed, "Fuck no! Why would I do that? How do you even know?"

Jesse's eyebrows rose. "Seriously?"

"Whatever, it's not that big a deal anyways," Beca brushed it off, taking a sip of water. "I never sing in front of people. It doesn't come up."

"It might come up after the show airs," Jesse commented. "There is no way that doesn't make an episode."

Beca ignored that comment, looking around at the pool. "We should go swimming."

Jesse shook his head. "Maybe later. How about you drink some water first?"

"Where's Chloe? I want to talk to her. Why'd you bring me out here?"

Jesse quickly glanced around, thankful that no one else had followed them outside. "I brought you out here away from the group in case you said something you'd regret in the morning. You can't talk to Chloe right now."

Beca glared at him. "Why the fuck not?"

"Well, you didn't tell me exactly what was said, but you weren't feeling great after the last time you two talked. Do you remember how that went down?" Jesse asked, his voice gentle.

Beca wracked her brain trying to remember the conversation. Bits and pieces came back, but nothing she was going to share with Jesse. "Not really," she said, finally giving up. "I like her a lot, Jess."

Jesse chuckled, "Yeah, I know. I'm sure you guys will work it out."

"I just have to figure my shit out," Beca mumbled, staring intently at the bottle of water in her hands.

"What do you mean?"

Beca hesitated, her brain still not functioning properly. "I… I think I screwed it up."

Jesse's brow furrowed in confusion. "What do you mean?"

"You already said that." Beca let her frustration creep into her tone.

"Well I still don't understand." Jesse sat up a little straighter in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. "You have someone who you like who actually likes you back. It might not be exactly what the show had planned, but that's what every single person in this house is looking for."

Beca sighs, "I know, but I'm not exactly out of the closet. My family doesn't even know."

Jesse nodded, his tone softening a bit. "Well, are you worried they won't be supportive? Are they homophobic or something?"

"No, nothing like that. I just want to tell them first, you know?"

"Not really," Jesse hummed. "I mean, it's not like the show is live. And you and Chloe aren't immediately shacking up after we leave the house, right? So you'll have plenty of time to tell them after we wrap filming."

Beca pondered that for a minute, taking slow sips from the water bottle.

Jesse changed the subject after a minute or two of silence. "Are you worried that Chloe isn't the right person?"

Beca's head snapped up to look at him, but there was no judgement in his gaze.

"Have you ever been in love?" Jesse wasn't pulling any punches now, not waiting for an answer to his previous question.

"No." Beca's stomach twisted slightly at that admission, looking away back at the pool. "I haven't had the best role models for the whole happily ever after."

Jesse didn't stay silent though, replying, "You told me you feel like you never pick the right person, but if you're waiting to be one hundred percent sure… you might be waiting forever."

"I'm aware," Beca shot back, suddenly irritated. "I've let more than one potential relationship end because I let my fear and uncertainty get in the way."

"I'm not trying to attack you, Bec," Jesse said, lowering his voice.

Beca sighed, "I know that. I know you're just trying to help, but I just don't want to make the wrong decision."

Jesse scratched his head. "I don't think you can make the wrong decision. Even if those relationships from the past didn't work out, they still are experiences that are part of who you are today. Didn't someone say there are no mistakes… or something like that?"

Beca didn't answer, the two of them sitting in silence for a few minutes with that thought hanging over them until Jesse finally spoke.

"Chloe really cares about you, Bec… and she's one of the best people I've ever met. Don't just give up on something that could be incredible. Whatever happened between you two… I'm sure you can fix it."

Beca thought about that for a long minute. "What if I can't?"

"Well, if you never try… you'll never know." Jesse eyed her for a long second. "Just think about it."


Jesse's elbow nudged into her side, the man leaning in to whisper in her ear, "Wipe that smirk off your face. It's not nice to enjoy the misery of others."

Beca turned her gaze away from where Chicago was clutching a cup of coffee, clearly struggling through a massive hangover from their drinking competition the night before.

"How are you not suffering even a little bit after the amount of alcohol we witnessed you consume last night?" Jesse's voice held his disbelief, a slight shake of his head accompanying the statement.

"How are none of you understanding that my tolerance for alcohol rivals every single person in this house, including Bumper and Fat Amy," Beca retorted, keeping her voice low. "Not that I want either of them to be the next challenger. Just because I could drink anyone here under the table doesn't mean I should… or want to."

Jesse hummed, "Well, if it's going to end up in a duet or karaoke… it might not be so bad."

Tom and Stacie joined them on the couch, overhearing Jesse's words. Tom leaned forward to see around Stacie, offering, "You have a lovely voice."

Beca glared at him. "Thanks."

Stacie laughed, "What? You do, Bec. I can't believe you waited until the last week to start revealing hidden talents."

"That was one I would have rather kept to myself," Beca muttered, throwing a quick apology to Tom for snapping at him. Thankfully, he seemed unfazed and the easy smile never left his face.

Jesse changed the subject, offering her a lifeline. "Any guesses on what the final challenge will be?"

Stacie shook her head, "No idea. Probably something where we get mostly naked again."

Tom disagreed, "No, they don't tend to do similar things back to back like that. Last week was a lot of skin and a lot of physical activity. Maybe today will be more mental?"

"Then I think we can safely rule out Chicago winning," Beca grinned, her gaze flickering over to him again in time to see him flinch as Bumper sat down beside him with a large breakfast sandwich. "Ten bucks says he pukes before Bumper finishes his breakfast."

Stacie followed her eyeline, chuckling at the sight. "He does look pretty terrible. Maybe someone should put a little something in his next cup of coffee. Hair of the dog never hurt anyone."

Tom offered, "Maybe if you want CR to be pissed as hell all day. She's already seen him and the look on her face was… well… not good."

Beca groaned, knowing exactly how short CR's temper was on the best of days. "Does she know it's my fault?"

"Bec, she's the lead producer on the show. I'm pretty she knows exactly what happened last night," Jesse mused.

"True, but on the other hand," Stacie countered, "She didn't put a stop to it either. And she definitely knew at least one of you was going to be a shit show this morning because of it."

Beca sighed, "Yeah, well last night was probably some quality content. I remember it… it's a little hazy at times… but I think we put on a performance at one point."

Stacie grinned, "And it only took you 20 shots to do it! Speaking of… how are you not dying right now? Is it really just the whole… boss bitch who owns a bar thing?"

"I have always had a high tolerance, even being so small," Beca shrugged. "The owning a bar and constantly drinking doesn't hurt."

"FIVE MINUTE WARNING!"

Beca glanced around at the junior producer shouting up the stairs before heading out to the backyard. There wasn't any sign of CR or Gail yet, but the countdown clock was now in motion. It didn't take long for the rest of the group to trickle in from wherever they'd been hiding, flopping onto couches or chairs or the floor in preparation for CR's challenge briefing.

CR strode into the room almost exactly five minutes later, her eyes sharply looking over them to make sure no one is missing. Without hesitating, her gaze froze on Chicago.

"Are you going to live?"

He nodded, mumbling something weakly.

"Well you fucking better," she rolled her eyes, glancing at an assistant or intern a short distance away. "Go get him another coffee and put some brandy or whiskey in it. I don't have time for this."

Beca raised her eyebrows slightly at that instruction, noticing Stacie giving Tom the biggest 'I Told You So' look out of the corner of her eye. None to quickly, the producer's glare switched to her.

"Do I need to be worried about you, too?"

Beca shook her head, quickly answering, "Nope, I'm good. Perfect. Perfectly good."

CR continued to stare at her, finally rubbing her eyes and turning away to have a word with one of the other producers.

Jesse snorted beside her, whispering, "Nailed it."

"Fuck you."

CR clapped her hands, her voice loudly filling the room, "Okay! Let's get down to business." She paused as the intern returned with Chicago's coffee, handing it to him before scrambling out of the way. "You… I want that coffee gone by the time I finish speaking."

Chicago nodded bleakly, obediently taking a small sip.

"Today is the final challenge," CR began, a rare smile appearing on her face. "You can celebrate, I know you all want to."

Whoops and cheers filled the room, accompanied by clapping and a few sporadic high-fives. Beca knew that while the getaway dates were fun, the challenges were almost always a pain in the ass.

"Trust me, the crew feels the same way. We've decided to keep things simple for this last challenge, partly because we're lazy and partly because this final challenge is designed to help you find your perfect matches as much as possible," CR continued, looking down at her clipboard. "How it will work is you will split up into two groups, girls and guys, and each group will nominate one person to enter a 'Truth Booth.' Now, before you all panic, I'm not talking about THE Truth Booth. We've constructed a simple version that you'll see when you get to the challenge area."

Beca glanced around, seeing the confusion on everyone's faces. A second Truth Booth? As if they weren't having enough problems with the first one already.

"Here is how the challenge will work," CR explained. "Each group will nominate one person to enter the booth, where they will answer questions. The guys will try to predict how the girl will answer, and vice-versa for the ladies. The final person standing will go on a date with the person in the booth, and only the two final couples will be eligible to enter the real Truth Booth. Got it?"

Beca nodded, now mostly understanding what was about to happen. She was beyond thankful that there was no physical activity involved, but also realized there was about to be a massive issue of picking who went into the two Truth Booths.

Stacie asked, "So the two people we nominate are guaranteed to go on the date?"

CR nodded, "That's correct. They will go into the booth, and the rest of you will stand to the side and won't be able to see their answers. We have little boards and markers and shit for you to use to answer the questions. Gail will go over everything again as usual."

Beca muttered to Jesse, "It's about to go down when we have to decide who goes into the Truth Booths."

"I don't want to think about it."

"Well you better," Beca replied. "This could win us a million bucks or send us home with nothing."

Jesse hummed thoughtfully, "Even if we put the right people in… the other right person still has to match their answers and be paired up with them at the end."

Beca looked up as CR began talking again, not liking the irritated look on the woman's face.

"I can already hear you strategizing and just know that we expect every single one of you to answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. We can shoot this challenge as many times as it takes," she warned, her tone threatening and ominous.

Stacie murmured beside her, "Guess we won't be allowed to throw it to get the matchup we want."

"Okay, get up off your asses and get outside! If we get moving this should be a relatively short shoot!" CR shouted, striding across the room and out into the yard without a backward glance.

The room burst into chatter as Beca stood up from the couch, hearing vague snippets of people talking about who should go into the Truth Booth and who they should try to get matched up at the end. After hearing about ten different names, she shook her head and looped her arm through Jesse's.

"This is about to be a shit show and I'm just thankful that neither one of us is going to be nominated for the challenge today."

Jesse agreed, "Yeah, but it is a bummer that we also won't get to go on the date. I would have liked to go on one of these dates with you. I think we would have had fun."

"We definitely would have had fun," Beca answered. "I feel like all of mine were completely wasted… well, the one with Luke was fun but it was also the one where the whole Chicago and Chloe drama happened and that was a shitshow."

"It's okay, Becs, we'll have to have our own adventures after the show is over," Jesse offered, reclaiming his arm only to wrap it around her shoulders.

Beca grinned, "Deal."

The group had made their way outside into the backyard where they met the crew waiting to direct them where to stand. After receiving their instructions, they waited for everyone to get in place to begin filming. CR appeared after about twenty minutes, calling for final checks and places.

"Alright guys, let's get this challenge done. It's a nice, simple one, and shouldn't have too many complications. You'll be leaving here and jogging around that corner where you will see Gail standing next to the set. You all know what to do by now, so let's get it done," CR finished, moving out of their way to stand beside her assistant.

Beca waited patiently for the signal, letting a few members of the group start jogging ahead of her before finding an easy stride. She definitely was not a natural runner and this was part of the show that she was not going to miss in the slightest. Rounding the corner, Beca saw Gail standing beside a crudely constructed wooden frame. It looked simply like a couple of large boards connected to a sturdy base, easily tall enough for someone to stand inside and be obscured to those standing on the other side.

Gail smiled at them as they approached, gesturing for the boys to group on one side of the frame and the girls on the other.

"Hey guys! How are you feeling today?" Gail's excited voice got Beca's heartrate up a little. After the chorus of replied, the host continued, "It's time for our final challenge!"

They cheered and clapped again, Gail waiting until things quieted down before explaining how the challenge was going to work.

"Guys, you are going to vote one of the guys that you want to see go into the Truth booth," Gail began, looking at them seriously. "Ladies, same with you. You're gonna vote one of the girls that you want to see go into the Truth Booth, but those two people will not be going into the Truth Booth together. I'll give you a minute to decide."

Beca glanced over as the guys huddled up, Aubrey and Stacie quickly encouraging the girls to do the same.

"Okay, we need to be really smart about this," Stacie said, looking around the circle seriously. "I'm pretty sure the guys are gonna do something stupid, so we need to make our person count."

Aubrey nodded in agreement. "Flo, I think you should go in."

Flo looked around the group. "Why me?"

Aubrey answered, "Because if we can figure out who your perfect match is, we can solve the puzzle."

Stacie added, "And because I think it's Theo and the guys will never put him in. The worst thing that could happen right now is for us to put two people in that we think are a match."

Fat Amy asked, "Does anyone have an issue with sending Flo into the Truth Booth?"

The question was met with silence and all the girls broke into smiles. Beca felt encouraged by their teamwork even if she wasn't sure that Flo was the right person to put in. The two groups returned to their places and waiting for Gail to resume filming.

CR was standing beside the host, quietly discussing something with her before moving out of view of the cameras. "Alright, so far so good! Let's keep it rolling!"

Gail waited for another minute before turning her attention back to the group. "Okay ladies, who's the lucky one?"

Stacie called out, "Flo!" as the rest of the group clapped and cheered.

Flo stepped forward but CR interrupted proceedings. "Cut! Hey, let's have all the ladies say Flo's name at the same time please! I need this to look like a group decision. Take it back!"

Beca sucked in a deep breath as things reset, listening intently as Gail asked the question again.

"Okay ladies, who's the lucky one?"

Beca chimed in with everyone else this time, calling out, "Flo!"

CR remained quiet as Flo stepped forward and Gail gestured for her to stand on the other side of the wooden panel.

Once Flo was in place, Gail turned to the guys. "Alright gentlemen, who are you going to send into the Truth Booth to represent you?"

The guys caught onto the previous instruction, calling out "Chicago!" in unison. Beca clapped along with the girls, glancing over to see Stacie's impressed expression.

"Not expecting that?" Beca asked quietly.

Stacie whispered back, "No, but it's a great pick. He's causing all sorts of problems with our matchups."

Once Chicago was standing beside Flo and out of view of the rest of the group, Gail continued her explanation of the challenge.

"Okay, I'm going to ask a series of questions that deal with relationship dealbreakers," Gail's voice hinted at the drama to come, making Beca fight to keep from rolling her eyes. "Guys, you need to predict how Flo will answer, and girls, you need to predict how Chicago will answer. One wrong answer and you're out! Last guy standing joins Flo on the getaway date and last girl standing joins Chicago on the getaway date."

Gail paused for a moment to let that sink in. "Okay, we're gonna get things started with Flo and the guys… everyone ready to do this?"

Beca felt her stomach turn nervously, unable to help feeling the anticipation of the challenge. She wasn't sure which guy she wanted to end up with Flo, but sincerely hoped that Aubrey would end up with Chicago. A few crew members walked up to the set holding paddles, one side sporting a large letter A and the other side a large letter B. Once everyone had a paddle, Gail readied herself to begin the questions.

"Okay, we're getting things started with Flo and the guys. Flo, would you rather date someone that is A. Dumb and Good Looking, or B. Smart and Ugly?"

Beca grinned, knowing that the end of this challenge could be ugly if this was where the questions were starting.

Gail waited a few seconds for everyone to get their paddles up with their answers. "Okay, Flo, your answer is locked in? Alright, Flo's answer is A, she wants a guy who's dumb and good looking! That means that Jesse, Luke, and Tom are out."

"The next question is for Chicago and the ladies! Chicago, would you rather date someone who is A. Aggressive, or B. Passive-Aggressive?" After a moment, Gail asked, "Okay, ladies what are your answers?"

Beca thought for a moment before putting her paddle up. She was pretty confident that Chicago would rather have someone aggressive, and briefly thought of throwing the question before CR's prior warning scared her into answering honestly.

"Okay, Chicago answered A, aggressive," Gail announced, her eyes moving back to the group of ladies. "That means that Stacie and Chloe are out."

Gail waited as the pair dropped their paddles onto the grass before shifting back over to Flo and the boys. "Alright, Flo… would you rather date someone A. Unemployed and Always Home, or B. Workaholic and Never Home? What do you think guys?"

Beca hummed at the question, wondering if any of the guys had gotten to know Flo well enough to answer this question correctly. If she had to guess it would probably be B, but it was a total guess.

"Flo answered B," Gail said, "She wants a workaholic who is never home. That means Theo is out."

Beca heard Stacie sigh beside her, knowing that the brunette thought Flo and Theo were a perfect match. One down, but they still had a shot with Aubrey and Chicago.

Gail looked around at the group, recognizing some of the reactions. "What's going on, guys?"

Stacie hesitated a moment, finally answering, "We really thought Flo and Theo were a perfect match. It would have been awesome to get them into the Truth Booth."

Gail nodded, her voice turning sympathetic, "It's okay guys, obviously things on Flo's side didn't work out, but the ladies still have a shot. You can still do this!"

The group cheered and tried to resurrect the positive vibes as Gail moved on to the next question.

"Next question for Chicago and the ladies," Gail's voice was upbeat. "Would you rather live, A. Far away from the in-laws or B. Down the street from the in-laws?"

Beca decided this was a question she could bow out gracefully on, praying that she knew enough about Chicago to know that he wouldn't want to live anywhere near his in-laws. She held up her sign with the B facing Gail and waited.

"Everyone has their answer locked in? Alright, Chicago answered A. He doesn't want anything to do with his in-laws," Gail looked over at the group. "Beca and Fat Amy, you two are out."

Beca tried to look disappointed as she dropped her paddle into the grass, glancing around at the few still in the competition.

"Flo, would you rather date someone who is A. Well Read, or B. Well Dressed?"

Beca wondered what the guys answers were, not able to see them from the other side of the makeshift Truth Booth.

"We've got Uni and Bumper who are going with Well Dressed and Zeke is going with Well Read. Flo, is your answer locked in? Alright, congratulations Zeke! Flo's answer is Well Read!" Gail yelled excitedly.

Everyone clapped, though the enthusiasm simply wasn't there. They all knew that Flo and Zeke were not a perfect match, and sending them to the Truth Booth wasn't going to get them any closer to the million bucks.

"Zeke, you just won a getaway date with Flo!"

Zeke grinned, stepping forward to look at Flo inside the booth, "Let's do it! It's gonna be fun."

Gail got them back on track with the next question, asking, "Chicago, would you rather date someone who is A. Immature as a five-year-old or B. Serious as a forty-year-old."

Beca sent a quick prayer up to the heavens that Aubrey would get this question correct. She took a quick look at Calamity, wondering why the woman hadn't already answered a question wrong yet. They would be even more fucked than they already are if she ended up winning the date just because she knew Chicago better than anyone else in the house.

"Alright everyone lock in your answers! Chicago's answer is locked in with B, serious as a forty-year-old!"

Beca quickly looked at the boards up around her, sighing in relief when she saw that only Aubrey was holding up the letter B. Thank fucking God.

"Only Aubrey has the correct answer for this question! Congratulations Aubrey, you've won a getaway date with Chicago!" Gail's cheery voice. "Would the two winners please join your dates!"

Beca bit her bottom lip at the look of confusion and displeasure on Aubrey's face, almost as if she didn't understand how she had ended up in this situation. It had her wondering if Stacie wasn't really onto something with Aubrey and Chicago being a perfect match for each other without either of them taking the time to realize it.

Zeke and Aubrey joined Flo and Chicago in the makeshift booth and waited for Gail to wrap up the challenge.

"You four are going on the final getaway date and the rest of you will vote one of these two couples into the Truth Booth," Gail explained, adding, "The very last Truth Booth, so choose wisely. I'll see you guys back at the house tomorrow for the results."

The group merged back together as they walked back to the house, Beca gravitating toward Jesse until they were close enough for him to put his arm around her.

"How do you think we did?" Jesse asked curiously.

Beca shrugged, "Aubrey and Chicago are one of Stacie's perfect matches, so let's pray she's right."

Jesse hummed, "Stacie's pretty fucking smart. I think if anyone in this house knows who the perfect matches are… it's her."


Beca paused a step after entering the kitchen in search of a snack, her eyes tracking between Bumper and Stacie before deciding she wasn't actually that hungry. The tension in the house hadn't dissipated in the slightest, plenty of glares being exchanged between those that were happy enough with the results of the challenge and those who weren't. She wandered outside into the backyard instead, spotting Chloe and Theo sitting together near the pool. Their conversation died off as she approached, Chloe immediately mumbling something about needing to film some reaction shots and vanishing so quickly Beca briefly wondered if she'd imagined the redhead's presence entirely.

"You okay, Bec?"

Theo's voice drew her attention back to the man in front of her, still seated comfortably in a chair by the pool.

"Yeah," she answered, claiming Chloe's now empty chair. "Yeah, I'm fine."

Theo studied her for a moment, his eyes flickering to the backdoor Chloe used to disappear into the house. "She really cares about you… you know that right?"

Beca nodded. "I don't know what I'm doing anymore. This all got so complicated…" she trailed off, running her fingers through her hair. "You two have been spending a lot of time together lately."

Theo left the statement hanging between them, not at all rushing to respond. Eventually he replied, "Not really. It's easy to be seen together since a lot of the group thinks we might be a match, but we both know we aren't. Sometimes it's easier to go with the flow than fight the current."

"Who do you think is your match?" Beca asked, needing to change the subject.

"Flo." The response was immediate this time, a small smile crossing his lips.

Beca couldn't help but return the smile. "I didn't realize you'd spent a lot of time with her."

He shook his head, "I haven't. Kinda sucks looking back, but that seems to be the story for almost everyone in the house." After more long minutes of silence, Theo comments, "Don't keep her guessing, Bec. She deserves better than that."

Well that answered the question of whether Chloe had talked to Theo about her. The thought made her slightly uncomfortable, wondering exactly had been exchanged between the unlikely pair.

"I'm not sure it's any of your business," Beca's retort was sharp, immediately regretting it at the look on his face. "I'm sorry…"

"I didn't pry it out of her, if that's what you want to know," he said, his voice clipped. "I'm not going to pretend to know what you're dealing with, Beca, but just be honest with her if this isn't something you're ready for. I can guarantee that she will understand."

Beca looked down at her hands, thinking carefully over her response. "I'm terrified."

Theo broke into that soft smile again. "Yeah, I'd be surprised if you weren't. Just tell her that. She mentioned she's trying to give you the space you asked for, but you should know that it hasn't been easy for her."

"Me either," Beca sighed, "But I need to make sure I can give her what she's asked of me."

"Yeah, you do," Theo nodded, leaning back in his chair and turning his gaze over toward the house as sounds of shouting grew from within.

Beca groaned, "That sounds suspiciously like Stacie and Bumper. The producers are going to kill us for making the final episodes full of fighting and bitching. We're supposed to be working together to figure out the last piece of the puzzle and instead we'll be lucky if we all get out alive."

Theo laughed at that, standing and offering her his hand. "It's just a dating show… not a murder mystery. It'll be fine."

Beca allowed him to pull her to her feet and joined him in walking back to the house. They walked in to find about six people, Bumper and Stacie included, yelling at each other surrounded by empty solo cups seemingly strategically placed around the main room. Producers allowed it to go on for a few more minutes as Beca watched on before intervening and forcing the entire cast to scatter.

"CR's orders!" One man yelled, pointing fiercely at Stacie. "Outside to the pool or hot tub for the next hour!"

Stacie rolled her eyes at him, striding out into the backyard without another word.

A different producer was escorting Bumper upstairs somewhere, the rest of the cast dispersing on their own without assistance. Beca shook her head, looking briefly around for Chloe before heading upstairs herself, deciding that the sooner she went to bed the sooner this day would end.


"I can't believe you dropped out of Harvard," Beca said in disbelief, gaze trained on Stacie sunbathing beside her with her eyes closed.

Stacie seemed unfazed, replying, "It was seriously boring and complicated and I hated it. What's the point of anything in life if you're miserable. I chose to pursue something that makes me happy instead."

Beca shook her head, "What did your parents say?"

"They weren't happy about it, but they also don't get to have a say in my life so…" Stacie trailed off, stretching her arms over her head for a few seconds. "A lot of people wouldn't understand why I chose to live simply and teach yoga, but they don't matter. My family understands now that this is what makes me happy. That's what matters."

"What were you studying at school?" Jesse asked curiously, sitting behind Beca on a lounge chair.

Stacie answered, "Psychology. I was going to go the whole way and get my doctorate, but then it sucked."

Beca leaned back against Jesse, forcing down the awkwardness of how intimate the arrangement was.

Stacie cracked an eye open to look at them, "You two seem awfully cozy for a couple who insists on only being friends."

"Are you going to psychoanalyze us now?" Beca joked, feeling Jesse chuckle behind her.

"Maybe," Stacie hinted, her eyes holding a hint of mischief. "I feel like I've got a pretty good read on most of the people here by now."

Beca raised an eyebrow, offering up the challenge. "Oh yeah? What about me then?"

Stacie shook her head, "I don't think it's a good idea. Maybe if Jesse weren't here…"

"Aw, come on," Jesse whined, leaning forward to look at Beca for support. "Don't be a tease."

"I'm a lot of things, but a tease isn't one of them," Stacie winked. At Beca's nod, she only hesitated for another second before saying, "Okay then. I could be off, but I believe you two when you say there isn't anything romantic between you two. I just don't get the vibe. This is a crazy situation that is removed from reality, and if you guys were really all head over heels for each other… I don't know, there's just something missing for me. And Beca, I think you do have feelings for someone in this house… and they feel the same way. And I think it's cool." After a second she added, "And you can close your mouth now."

Beca snapped her jaw shut, shooting a quick look at Jesse who raised his hands up in self-defense.

"I never said anything."

Beca looked back at Stacie, who winked again. "You two weren't exactly subtle, you know. Or maybe you were since I don't think anyone else picked up on it, but you guys went from being super close to having one of the most drama-filled days in the house to barely speaking to each other…. But you also still look at each other when the other isn't looking. It's cute."

"We don't do that," Beca muttered, looking down at her hands.

"She's literally glancing over here every minute or so," Stacie responded breezily.

Beca rolled her eyes, "How would you even know? You haven't opened your eyes once in the past ten minutes."

"Is she looking at you now?"

Beca glanced over into the yard where Chloe was sitting with Aubrey and Kommissar, meeting the redhead's eyes briefly before Chloe looked away.

"Told you."

Jesse looked impressed, saying, "Okay, I'm a believer. No need to do me."

Stacie laughed, opening her eyes and sitting up on the lounge chair. "Bec, don't sweat it too much. Plus, I think you two would be fucking amazing together. Fuck the show… be happy."

Beca didn't answer, simply nodding once as Stacie stood up and walked toward the house.

"Well that was unexpected," Jesse commented, leaning forward and resting his chin over Beca's shoulder. "When can we stop acting like we're this super happy, perfect match couple again?"

Beca sighed, "The producers asked for a few hours of footage, so we're stuck for a while. And Stacie's right, she has been looking at us a lot."

"Hard to blame her when this is what she's looking at," Jesse responded. "Have you gotten a chance to talk to her so that she knows where this bullshit is coming from?"

"No, of course not. Reality television at it's finest," Beca's tone was sarcastic and frustrated.

Jesse offered, "Why don't you follow Stacie's advice and fuck the show and just go spend time with her? I think it would do you both some good."

"I can't," Beca answered, refusing to expand upon that statement.

"Well that's some bullshit, too," Jesse shot back. "You two hung out a lot earlier in the show and the producers didn't care. Why should now be any different? Chloe hangs out with Aubrey all the time and they don't make a big deal about that."

"Maybe because Chloe and Aubrey weren't caught making out on camera in the STD Den," Beca snapped, her frustration getting the better of her.

Jesse agreed, "Yeah, true. That was really stupid of you guys."

Beca rolled her eyes. "Thanks."

"I just think Stacie is onto something here… you gotta put yourself and your own happiness first. This whole thing is bullshit anyways, so take whatever good out of it you can," Jesse reasoned. "You're allowed to talk to her."

"She's giving me space, just like I asked her to the last time we talked," Beca countered, her voice sounding weary with none of its earlier fire.

Jesse pulled back, his expression confused. "I thought you guys figured all that out? I mean I know your last talk didn't go amazing or anything, but I thought you told her you wanted to be with her and it was just the show causing problems."

Beca shook her head. "She wants to be together after the show… like out and proud and everything. I'm not sure I'm ready for that. I asked her to give me space to decide."

"Well if she's doing what you asked… why are you so sour about it?"

"Because I still want to spend time with her!"

Jesse's expression turned even more confused. "That makes no sense."

Beca sighed, hiding her face in her hands. "I know. I'm the fucking worst."

"Let's take a break and go vote for Aubrey and Chicago to go into the Truth Booth," Jesse suggested. "We can talk more about this later when we aren't all coupled up by the pool and your future girlfriend isn't looking over here like a kicked puppy every couple of minutes."

Beca looked over and met Chloe's eyes again, cursing under her breath. "Fuck… okay, let's do that."

She clumsily got to her feet and stretched her arms over her head, feeling momentary panic as Jesse quickly hopped up and grabbed her around the waist as if he was about to throw her into the pool. A very high-pitched shriek left her lips, before swearing to Jesse he'd regret it for the rest of his life as the man simply burst into laughter clutching his side.

"I hate you."

"You love me."

"Whatever. Let's go do this stupid vote."


"Bring it in guys, Truth Booth time!" Gail's voice rang out over the light chatter in the living room, the group going through their assigned motions and getting settled into place.

Beca sat down on the couch next to Jesse and Luke as instructed, clutching a plastic cup full of something alcoholic. She had bit back her annoyance when CR briefed them on how the final Truth Booth night would go, not seeing the point for staging different introductions to the segment so late in the season. Gail waited patiently for everyone to get situated before speaking again.

"Hey guys, how's it going tonight?"

Beca obediently joined in with the chorus of "Good!" that rang out around the room in response.

"Well as you know, this is your final chance to send a couple to the Truth Booth," Gail reminded them, adding, "The only way to officially validate if they are a perfect match or not. Now, since this is the last Truth Booth, it's a little bit different than usual. Normally this would be that couple's final night in the house before they move to the honeymoon suite after the matchup tomorrow. Seeing as tomorrow is the final matchup, there is no honeymoon suite."

Gail paused for a moment before continuing, "Tonight, you had two couples to choose from to vote into the Truth Booth from yesterday's challenge." Gail turned to the photos on the screen beside her, announcing, "Zeke and Flo, or Chicago and Aubrey."

Turning back to the room to address the couples, Gail asked, "How was the date today?"

Flo answered first, "It was great. It was fun to spend time with Zeke even though we aren't each others perfect match."

Gail raised her eyebrows asking, "What makes you so sure of that?"

Zeke answered, "Well, I've been matching up with Stacie for a while now and we've done well at the matchups. I'm pretty sure Stacie is my match."

Gail nodded her understanding, directing her next question to Chicago and Aubrey. "Do you both feel like that puts extra pressure on you tonight? Do you think you two will go into the Truth Booth?"

Aubrey nodded, "Yes, I think we will. We all know that Flo and Zeke are not a match, so that only leaves us. But, I don't think we are a match either. The challenge didn't work out how we wanted."

"Or did it?" Jesse murmured from beside her, his arm wrapped comfortably around Beca's shoulders.

Beca whispered back, "We'll know soon enough."

"Well guys, it may not be the couple you would have hand-picked for the Truth Booth, but tonight could still be key result that helps you solve the rest of the puzzle," Gail said encouragingly, looking all around the room. "Let's find out what you decided."

The room fell silent as they waited for confirmation of what they all already knew.

"The couple going to the Truth Booth is…"

Beca watched the screen flicker and the four photos disappear to be replaced with two larger ones of Chicago and Aubrey.

"Chicago and Aubrey!" Gail's voice rose in volume but didn't hold any of the usual surprise or excitement. "You two were pretty confident it was going to be you tonight. How are you feeling now that you know for sure you'll be heading to the Truth Booth?"

Chicago shrugged, "Aubrey and I were prepared for this. Neither of us think we're a match, but you never know."

Gail looked around the room for some support. "This vote was unanimous," she informed them. "Is this a case of not really having a choice, or do some of you believe that Chicago and Aubrey could be a perfect match?"

Stacie didn't hesitate to speak up, calling out, "They're a match Gail! I know it!"

Beca bit back a chuckle at the look on Aubrey's face after hearing those words, not that she could really blame her. No one in the house save for maybe Calamity actually wanted to be Chicago's match. Chloe caught her eye after seeing Aubrey's reaction, and Beca could tell the redhead wasn't finding the moment funny at all. Beca knew how stressed Chloe had been about having to enter the Truth Booth with Chicago, and suddenly felt a rush of sympathy for what Aubrey was going through.

"Alright, well… it's time to find out. Chicago, Aubrey, head to the Truth Booth. Good luck!" Gail waved them goodbye out into the backyard before continuing on with her usual speech. "Okay, guys, when Chicago and Aubrey see the result in the Truth Booth… you will also see it on the screen here. Good luck, and I'll see everyone tomorrow for the final matchup."

They all waved goodbye to Gail as she exited the room, leaving them to their own thoughts and company to wait for the results.


Beca sat nervously on the couch waiting for the results of the Truth Booth. Aubrey and Chicago had been gone for almost an hour and they knew the screen was going to flash any second now. Several loud arguments had broken out during the wait, but now the entire room was silent in anticipation, knowing that this was potentially a million dollar moment. The screen flashed and a black box appeared across the screen, fluttering until the words finally came into focus.

"Perfect Match!"

The room exploded in cheers and clapping, Beca particularly enjoying the look of sheer disbelief on Bumper's face.

"Fuck yeah!"

"That's three bitches!"

"We've got it now. That's a million dollar Truth Booth right there!"

Beca grinned, turning to give Jesse a hug. "I think we just did it, Jess."

His smile was just as wide, agreeing, "I think so. That should clear the rest up."

Stacie was lining up shots, spouting off to Bumper and Uni about collecting on a bet. Beca watched on as each of the guys downed five shots in rapid succession as payment for losing. After about ten minutes the room settled down a bit, Chloe being the one to voice the most important question.

"How are we going to react when they come back in? Neither of them expected this outcome."

Beca felt the mood sober just a bit, glancing around as everyone processed.

"Look, it's not like they have to go to the honeymoon suite," Uni finally said, looking around. "The show is over after the matchup tomorrow, so if they never want to see each other again they don't have to. This is about all of us and winning a million bucks… all they have to do is sit next to each other for a few hours tomorrow night."

Stacie nodded in agreement, "This was huge… literally a million dollar Truth Booth. They don't have to like each other, they just have to sit together at the matchup tomorrow night."

Chloe didn't let it go so easily, "I understand that, I'm just saying we should be encouraging and supportive and not have them return to a big party because we just won a million dollars."

"Most of us have been through disappointing Truth Booths," Luke offered, standing up. "Just channel that feeling for a few minutes until we switch the focus off of them.

As if on cue, the back door opened and Aubrey stepped through with Chicago behind her. Beca studied the blonde closely, seemingly still in a bit of disbelief at the results.

"How are you guys after that?" Tom asked, audible concern in his voice.

Aubrey opened her mouth to answer, then closed it with a small shake of her head.

Chicago answered, "It was definitely unexpected. Um… I think we're still processing that we're a match. It's a lot to take in."

Beca watched as Chloe moved to wrap Aubrey in a hug, immediately feeling jealous of the blonde as her arms snuck around Chloe's back. Chicago moved around the pair towards the kitchen, followed by a small group of guys. Beca assumed he was on the hunt for a large amount of alcohol, deciding that the best course of action was to make herself scarce before any drama could break out.

Jesse followed her outside to the pool, a place she was definitely going to miss when she returned home to San Francisco.

"How are you feeling tonight?" Jesse asked, dropping into a chair beside her.

"Lost." Beca sighed, looking away from him at the pool. "How am I supposed to know if I'm ready to come out and be in a full on relationship with a woman in only a couple of months?"

Jesse hummed thoughtfully, "Well, you know you care about Chloe. If you want to be with her, that's what it's gonna take."

Beca ran her fingers through her hair, her voice turning slightly desperate, "I just don't know, Jess. I don't know if I can do it."

"Okay, well don't think about it like that then," Jesse suggested.

"How exactly am I supposed to think about it?" Beca tried and failed to keep the sarcasm from her voice.

Jesse didn't let it go, replying pointedly, "Sarcasm… not helpful or appreciated." He didn't wait for an apology, immediately moving on. "Look, Bec, I'm not sure it's something you can ever confidently be one hundred percent ready for. Instead, think about it like this… take a minute to think about your life after this show. After you go home back to the bar and your friends and family… picture what that looks like. Think about your life after all of this… how would you feel if Chloe isn't a part of it."

Beca felt her stomach drop at the thought of not getting to talk to Chloe anymore… not getting to see her or touch her or kiss her again. She had never felt something like this before for another person. It was unsettling and terrifying and uncomfortable, and provided her some much needed clarity.

Beca glanced at him, confessing, "I think I'm in love with Chloe."

Jesse chuckled, teasing, "You think?"

"The thought of not getting to see her ever again after we leave here… it's like that feeling you get on a big drop on a roller coaster," Beca admitted. "Like my stomach just dropped out. It's a terrible, empty feeling and not one I want. I want her in my life."

"Then you know what you have to do."

Beca bit her lower lip, worrying, "What if it's too late? What if I took too long to realize it and now she doesn't trust me anymore? What if it's broken and I can't fix it?"

Jesse gave her an encouraging smile. "It's not too late. Honestly I'm not even sure anything is broken. Chloe is pretty great, you know. She's very patient and understanding, and I think she's pretty crazy about you."

"I just want to make sure she knows I'm serious about her," Beca stared out at the water. "That even though I can't pick her at the matchup tomorrow, I want to end up with her."

Beca glanced over at Jesse, becoming slightly unnerved at his excited expression.

"Maybe you can," Jesse hinted, his eyes bright. "And as a super wise person once said… endings are the best part."


Beca raised her shot glass in the air with the rest of the group, toasting to the final matchup ceremony and hopefully the million dollars they were about to win.

"Cheers to all you bitches for the good times in this house, the crazy fights, the crazier challenges, and all of us leaving here with money in our pockets!" Tom yelled, clinking his shot glass into the pile.

Beca downed the tequila quickly, feeling it burn down her throat and quickly chased it with the gin and tonic she'd been sipping on. An arm came down around her shoulders attached to a body too tall to be Jesse, turning to see Luke beside her.

"Well, we did it," Luke said, a happy grin on his face. "We survived this insanity and figured out the matches."

"Barely," Beca laughed, leaning into him a bit. "But it's been good for me. My tolerance of people invading my personal space has grown exponentially in the past two months."

Luke smirked. "You mean like this?" he said as he wrapped his other arm around her, slightly smothering her in a hug.

Beca let out a muffled sound of annoyance into his chest, shoving her fists into his stomach doing absolutely nothing to deter him. He finally pulled back, laughing at her irritated expression.

"Yes, exactly like that," Beca shook her head, downing the rest of her drink and setting the glass down on the counter. "Do you really think we got all the matches right?"

Luke nodded, "Yep. We're pretty damn stupid, but I think we got it. Whatcha gonna do with the money?"

Beca hummed, "I kinda didn't think we'd get it, so I didn't let myself dream too much. I'd really like to expand the bar… maybe add a kitchen and serve food."

"Well that's awesome. Speaking of the bar, I can't wait to come out and visit," Luke said, his voice rising with excitement. "Jesse would go, and so would Stacie and Tom… we could do a little reunion."

"Did someone say reunion?!" Stacie popped up between them, arms slipping around both their waists. "Because I think we all want to go get super drunk at Beca's bar in a month or two."

Beca shook her head, "Only if you guys are paying. I'll lose the bar if I have to cover the tab for this group of drunks."

"Who are you calling a drunk?" Chloe popped up on Beca's other side, eyes shining brightly giving away the fact she was definitely a few drinks in already.

Stacie answered, "Beca won't let us drink at her bar for free when we all meet up there after the show ends. Imagine… some friend."

"I'll buy the first round," Beca countered. "And the last. I'm not a total cheapass… but I have a business to run," she added at the end, her voice turning slightly sarcastic as she lifted her nose a little higher.

Stacie laughed as Luke nodded in support. "There's the badass boss we knew lived inside your tiny body."

Beca smirked at him, turning to catch Chloe's gaze and sucking in a quick breath at the heat behind it. It vanished after a second, turning light again as the redhead laughed and agreed with Luke.

"Damn right! Beca's one of the only one of us here who actually as her shit together."

Beca rolled her eyes, "Professionally. My love life is a whole other matter."

Chloe set her glass on the counter and wrapped her arms around Beca's waist, causing the brunette's heart to race at the proximity. "I think you're doing just fine."

Stacie winked at Beca, agreeing with Chloe, "I second that, Bec. You're doing just fine."

A loud voice interrupted the group, shouting, "IT'S TIME FOR THE MATCHUP. GET YOUR ASSES OUT OF THIS HOUSE NOW!"

Beca flinched at CR's no-nonsense tone, looking quickly around trying to gauge if she had enough time to make one more gin and tonic. Instead, Jesse appeared beside her holding what was left of the bottle of tequila triumphantly.

"One more for the road, guys?"

They all cheered and located their shot glasses, Jesse handing the bottle over to Beca claiming they should let the professional handle the final round. Beca decided it was faster to just pour the shots than argue with him, quickly filling the glasses. They all raised them until the glasses clinked.

"To this fucking insane show and the lifetime friendships that come from it," Stacie toasted, all of them throwing back the shots with various stages of wincing afterwards. "Alright, now let's go win a million bucks."

Beca cheered along with the rest of their little group, catching Chloe's eye once more as they fell a few steps behind the rest on their way outside.

"I'm glad I got to meet you, Bec," Chloe whispered as they walked along the path toward the set for the final matchup. "A lot of this experience has sucked, but you were a bright spot."

Beca swallowed hard at Chloe's tone, unsure if the redhead meant it to sound like they were going their separate ways after the show or not.

"Chlo…" Beca started, pausing as Aubrey appeared on Chloe's other side, hooking her arm through the redhead's.

"I can't believe this is the final matchup," Aubrey said, leaning forward slightly to include Beca. "And that I matched with Chicago. I mean, I kinda see it, but he's also a total dingaling."

Beca's eyes widened as Chloe snickered into her hand.

"Bree, did you just say dingaling?" Chloe managed, carefully wiping at her eyes.

Aubrey nodded, not seeming affected at all. "There are other things I could say, but that seems appropriate enough."

Beca grinned, offering her support. "I couldn't have said it better myself. But you do still have to pick him tonight."

Aubrey rolled her eyes, "Yes, I know. I may not want anything to do with him romantically, but I'm not going to sabotage everyone's shot at the money. I want to take something positive home from this experience."

Chloe glanced at the blonde, asking quietly, "And what would you call Jesse? I know you two haven't talked much the past few weeks, but he's into you."

"I don't know, Chlo," Aubrey sighed. "We'd be long distance and it all just seems so complicated. I think it might just be best to let it go. Did any of us really think this would result in a happily ever after?"

Beca bit her lip as Chloe answered after a moment, "No, you're right. I guess we all have to come back to reality at some point."

"Exactly," Aubrey said, gesturing her hand out at the house and grounds as they approached the set. "These types of shows and grand gestures and romance aren't realistic. It's been like a dream at times, but now it's time to wake up."

Chloe hummed in agreement. "Yeah, true. It has been fun though."

Beca slowed her pace, letting the other two walk ahead and instead fell into step with Jesse who'd been trailing along bringing up the rear. He immediately noticed something was off, his arm slipping around her shoulders.

"What's wrong? We were all good like five minutes ago?"

Beca shook her head, "I waited too long. It's too late."

Jesse scoffed, "Please. It's never too late. Well, maybe sometimes it is, but now is not that time. Just wait until after the matchup and we're a million bucks richer and tell her you want to be with her. It'll be epic and romantic and she'll say yes."

Beca wasn't convinced, remaining quiet in thought.

They walked onto the set, suddenly surrounded by movement and chaos as the crew rushed to finalize everything for the shoot. Jesse stopped and turned to face her, looking into her eyes seriously.

"If you don't at least try, you'll always be wondering what if," he advised. "It's up to you, but at least you'd know for sure… one way or the other."

Beca stared up at him for a few long seconds, finally nodding. "You're right. I have to put myself out there at some point. Someone as amazing as she is deserves at least that much."

Jesse grinned, "Damn right! Now let me go sit down and wait for you to call my name."

Beca nodded and returned his quick hug, watching him stroll towards the small platform and take a seat in one of the chairs beside Benji and Emily.

CR appeared beside the girls, calling for quiet and getting it almost immediately. "Okay ladies, one last time of getting you walking into the matchup ceremony. You'll enter from over there and gather together on that platform over there," she said, pointing to make sure there was no confusion.

The initial filming of their entrance went smoothly, Beca managing to not trip over her long, flowy dress and successfully reach her spot on the platform.

"Hi ladies!" Gail greeted them as they walked in and got into position. "Welcome, everyone, to your tenth and final matchup ceremony!"

Beca clapped along with the rest of the group as several other members cheered or greeted Gail by name, feeling the anticipation hit her despite feeling very confident about how the night would end.

"Let's first say hello to our two confirmed matches, Benji and Emily… and Donald and Lily!" Gail's voice remained excited as the group clapped for their perfect matches, while the couples smiled and waved from their chairs. "And we get to share with our two couples…" Gail paused theatrically before continuing, "That a third couple was confirmed in the Truth Booth last night!"

Donald whooped as Benji and Emily cheered together, Lily remaining quiet as was her usual.

"Who is it, Gail?" Donald asked curiously.

Gail beamed as she answered him, "Aubrey, go join your match."

Beca bit on her lip to keep from laughing at the stunned expression on all four faces when Aubrey joined Chicago in his chair.

Donald shook his head, "No fucking way."

Emily looked stunned and Benji only offered a mild congratulations to the couple.

"I have to ask," Donald looked around at the group. "How did they end up in the Truth Booth together in the first place?"

Bumper answered, "Sheer luck, bro. Sheer luck… but we'll take it."

Beca felt Stacie prickle a little beside her as the two couples laughed at Bumper's reply. After a moment allowing everyone to settle back down, Gail continued with the matchup ceremony.

"Well, you all know that this is the final matchup ceremony. It is your absolute last chance to find your perfect match and go ten for ten," Gail spoke slowly, letting the weight of her words sink in. "If you do, you will leave here richer in both your hearts… and your wallets. And by that… I'm talking about a million bucks!"

The group clapped and cheered at those words, surrounding the stage with positivity.

"Feeling confident?" Gail asked, looking around.

"Yes!"

"Hell yeah, Gail!"

"Gail, we got this."

Beca looked around at the sure smiles on most faces, feeling very good about their chances. Stacie had walked most of the group through the final matches and why they were right, the whole process going a lot more smoothly after Chicago and Aubrey were confirmed in the Truth Booth.

"But remember, if just one of you gets it wrong and you're not ten for ten… you all get nothing."

"No sweat, Gail!"

"We're confident!"

"We got it this time!"

Gail smiled brightly at them. "I love it! The positivity is contagious!" She looked around at them for another moment, before gesturing towards the ladies standing on the platform. "Well, the ladies have the honor of choosing for the final matchup ceremony. Ladies, when I call your name, strut on up here and choose your perfect match. The two of you will then place your palms on the handprint touchpad, locking you in as a couple."

Gail paused again for effect, turning fully to address the ladies. "First up tonight for the ladies is… Stacie!"

Stacie grinned, strutting confidently up to the podium. "Hey Gail!"

"Stacie! You seem happier than usual this evening," Gail replied, her perfect smile in place. "Any reason for that?"

"Hopefully a million reasons for that," Stacie quipped, cheers sounding off behind her at the words.

Gail laughed, "Well, we're going to find out soon! Stacie, who is your perfect match?"

Stacie turned to face the guys, answering, "My perfect match is Zeke."

Zeke hopped up from his chair and joined Stacie at the podium.

"Zeke, how do you feel about Stacie as your perfect match when she's been open about her feelings for Tom?" Gail asked.

"Stacie is great," Zeke answered. "I definitely see why we were matched up together. I'm a little bummed that she hooked up with Tom on day one and never looked back, but they're a great couple and I'm happy for them. Our perfect match is a perfect friendship."

Stacie smiled at him, wrapping her arms around his waist in a hug. "Zeke is an incredible guy. I'm happy he's my perfect match and know that we'll be great friends."

Beca glanced over at Tom, not surprised at all to see the man smiling at the pair, perfectly at ease in his chair. She felt a pang of jealousy hit her, wishing for some of that security in her relationship with Chloe.

"I love that," Gail said cheerfully. "Alright, Stacie, Zeke, it's time to lock in as a couple."

The pair placed their hands on the touchpad and locked in, casually strolling back to sit down.

"Next up is… Amy!"

Beca grinned as Fat Amy walked up to the podium as if she was on the catwalk, turning to face everyone at the end with a hand on her hip. The guys cheered and Beca bit back a laugh as Bumper let out a loud whistle.

"What an entrance!" Gail chuckled, though she clearly approved. "How are you feeling about tonight, Amy?"

"I'm feeling like a million bucks, Gail," Fat Amy answered with a wink.

Gail replied, "I'm sensing a theme tonight from you guys. Love the confidence. Amy, who is your perfect match?"

"My perfect match is Bumper."

Bumper stood up and took a bow before joining Amy at the podium. "That's right ladies, sorry to disappoint but I've found my perfect match."

Beca rolled her eyes at his drama, knowing the producers were eating it up. That would definitely be making the cut for television. She tuned out the quick conversation Gail had with the couple, watching as they locked in and returned to the seats. Two down and five to go, making Beca wonder exactly where in the lineup tonight her name would be called.

CR called out from behind the scenes, "Okay, let's take a break! I need Stacie, Zeke, Amy, and Bumper for reaction shots! Also, Chloe and Luke by the pool! Move people, I don't want to be here all night!"

Beca shifted a few steps off the platform, stretching her arms. She couldn't help but watch as Chloe walked away with Luke towards the pool, feeling the time ticking away faster than ever. She had to find a way to talk to Chloe sooner rather than later, before it really was too late.


"Okay guys, settle down! Let's get back to it," CR shouted over the chatter on set. "Where are Chloe and Luke? They should have been done fifteen minutes ago!"

Beca looked around, not seeing either of her friends. After a long couple of minutes they appeared from the direction of the pool accompanied by a junior producer, all three looking frustrated. Chloe and Luke split apart and went to their respective positions while the producer went to CR and offered up a clearly unsatisfactory explanation. Beca caught a few choice words from CR she was glad to not be on the receiving end of.

"Alright, good. Are we all set in the right places? Did someone check the ladies for continuity?" CR called out, glancing around in search of someone else.

A disembodied voice from somewhere offset called out, "Chloe goes beside Calamity and then we're good!"

CR watched Chloe take her place before nodding and striding out of sight. "When you're ready, Gail!"

Gail nodded herself, taking another few seconds to get herself into host mode once more.

"Next up for the ladies is… Flo!"

Beca clapped along with the rest of the group as Flo walked up to the podium and greeted Gail. They exchanged small talk for a minute before Gail asked the all important question.

"Flo, who is your perfect match?"

Flo hesitated, finally answering, "My perfect match is Theo."

Theo smiled and got to his feet, walking up to join her at the podium.

"Hi Theo! How are you feeling tonight?" Gail asked him warmly.

"I'm doing well, Gail," Theo responded, standing comfortably beside Flo. "Ready to win some money."

Gail nodded, asking, "Have you sat with Flo before? I'm not sure I remember this pairing from any previous matchup?"

"Yes, once before," Theo answered, adding, "It was actually one of the key things that helped us determine that Flo and I were a perfect match."

"That sounds interesting," Gail said, pressing further, "How did that work?"

Flo took over at a look from Theo, saying, "We were able to go through the matchups and eliminate certain couples based on the confirmed perfect matches we had and incorrect matches from the Truth Booths. It took us a while to go through it, but it helped solve the puzzle."

"All it took was some teamwork," Theo added, smiling back at Flo again.

Gail beamed at them before directing her approval around to the rest of the group. "That's great, guys. Okay, Flo, Theo, please lock in as a couple."

Beca watched them press their hands to the touchpad and lock in, Theo gesturing for Flo to walk ahead of him back to the chairs. Once they were seated, Gail resumed the matchup ceremony.

"Next up is… Beca!"

Beca felt her heartrate rise, feeling the heat of everyone's gaze on her as she walked to the podium. It felt like an eternity before she finally arrived, even knowing she wasn't walking any slower than her normal pace.

"Hi Beca… you're the first one to look nervous up here tonight," Gail observed. "How are you doing?"

Beca steadied her breathing, trying to control all the thoughts of Chloe running wild in her brain and focus on the task at hand. "I'm good, Gail. Just a lot riding on tonight," she added, trying to insert some humor to settle her nerves down.

Gail laughed, playing along, "Yeah, only a million dollars. Do you know who you're picking tonight?"

"Well, I know who my perfect match is… so I'm gonna pick him."

Gail studied her for a moment, asking, "It seems like that's not the person you want to pick?"

Beca hesitated and glanced quickly to the side to look at Chloe, instantly making up her mind to do something either incredibly romantic or incredibly stupid. Fuck it.

"No, but if I pick Chloe then not only do we not win the million bucks, but two of the guys would have to match up and that'd be super weird," Beca said, heart pounding in her chest at the gasps and sounds of surprise echoing around the set.

Gail's stunned expression would have been hilarious if the moment wasn't so serious, Beca half horrified and half proud at being responsible for the host's first full break from character.

Beca turned away from the blonde host to look fully at Chloe, finding her with eyes wide in disbelief and both hands covering her mouth. Having already dove into the deep end, Beca decided to just roll with it since CR apparently wasn't going to stop things immediately.

"I just thought you should know that you're my first choice," Beca said, her eyes not leaving Chloe's beautiful blue ones.

Those words seemed to break Chloe out of her trance, the redhead shifting past Kommissar to step off the platform and walk up to her at the podium.

"Are you sure?" Chloe whispered, still looking a little stunned.

Beca nodded. "Positive. If you still want to give us a shot… I'm all in."

Beca could see tears forming behind Chloe's eyes, but didn't have time to process what they meant as Chloe leaned in and connected their lips. Her arms wrapped around Chloe's waist, the kiss only lasting a few seconds before Chloe pulled away and pressed against Beca's neck, hugging her tightly.

"I'd love that," Chloe whispered into her skin, pulling back with a happy smile and wiping carefully at her eyes.

Voices started murmuring around the set, some of it vaguely reaching Beca's ears.

"What is happening right now?"

"Did you know about this? Did anyone know about this?"

"GET IT BECS!" Stacie's loud cheer of support rang out above the others, making Beca grin.

Beca felt her smile stretch from ear to ear, unable to do anything about it as her eyes stayed locked on Chloe. "Cool."

Chloe rolled her eyes, seemingly finally coming back to reality as she glanced around the set. "We might be in trouble right now."

Beca looked over at Gail who was now composed and beaming a smile at the pair of them.

"Well, I must say I was not expecting this tonight," Gail quipped, looking around at the various expressions ranging from stunned to thrilled on the rest of the group's faces.

It was at that moment that CR yelled out "CUT!" from behind the camera somewhere, striding out to stand beside them at the podium.

"Everyone take five minutes!" CR shouted, focusing her attention on the three of them. "So much for keeping it quiet, Beca."

The tone was only mildly accusatory, making Beca realize that the producer wasn't all that upset with her. "So… you're only a little bit mad at me?"

CR sighed, "Why you all insist on making my job so much harder, I'll never know. Look, we can cut all this out in post…"

"No." Beca surprised herself with the interruption, wondering if she did, in fact, have a death sentence tonight "I mean…" she hesitated with a look at Chloe, continuing, "I'd be okay if you wanted to air it. I'm done hiding who I am. I'll st