Chapter 1: Barden Bliss
“Buddy, come 'ere.” The brunette called as she ran up the stairs, battling two at a time.
Quiet footsteps were heard for a few seconds before a small beagle puppy was trailing behind her. She grinned at the dog and continued to run up the stairs.
“Beca.” Beca’s stepmother called from the kitchen once she’d reached the second floor. “We don’t need another accident like yesterday.” She reminded her.
Beca scoffed as she thought back to the incident from the previous day.
She had just gotten home from school, instantly dropped her bag to the floor and ran to greet Buddy. The brunette was so pleased to see her dog after being apart for six hours that they ended up in a heap on the floor. Beca was fussing over him, giving him a belly rub and laughing at the dog's antics. She was too preoccupied to notice just how excited Buddy was, only noticing the puddle on the kitchen floor when it was too late.
“Sorry, Kat.” She shouted back.
Beca and Buddy scurried into her bedroom, shutting the door behind them. The puppy immediately jumped up onto her bed and made himself comfortable amongst her blankets.
The sight made Beca smile, knowing that even though Buddy was a family pet, he chose her room to sleep in every day.
The brunette shuffled over to her desk and reached for one of her vinyl records from her collection that had previously belonged to her mother. She placed it on the turntable, a smile tugging at her lips as ‘The Charming Man’ by The Smiths began playing.
The guitar riff at the start of the song was one of her most loved sounds.
The Smiths were her comfort band for a while, (as well as a collection of other artists). Their music really helped her get through her darkest times.
Beca released a sigh when she finally collapsed onto her bed beside Buddy.
As she gazed up at the empty ceiling, she pictured the glow in the dark stars her best friend had in her bedroom. Stacie had had them since she was a child and they were too difficult to ever remove without marking the ceiling. Beca had asked her parents for them in her room when she was younger, but her father had called them ‘tacky’ and shut her down pretty quickly.
Her head tilted to the left, her eyes drifting to the framed photo. It was a picture of Beca with her friends, Stacie, Jesse, Aubrey, Chloe and Luke, taken at The Pancake Shack last summer.
The brunette's lips curled upwards as she reminisced, remembering every laugh they shared that night. It was the second gig her band Kick Affiliation had performed, although the audience wasn't that big – they had only just started the band so they didn't expect much of an audience anyway – the applause they received had been a loud one.
The performance rush mixed with the alcohol she had consumed allowed her to drift blissfully the entire night and live life in the moment. It was seriously one of the best nights of her life.
The frame next to it contained a photo of her family – her father, Katherine, Emily and herself. Beca had a pair of headphones around her neck and was scowling at the camera so it may have looked like she didn't want to be there – but that was just how Beca was. Beca took her headphones with her everywhere.
Music had always been a part of Beca's life; her mother had taught her how to play the piano as she was growing up and her father was always playing music throughout the house. It was never quiet in the Mitchell household and Beca loved that.
To Beca, silence was always a bad thing. Unlike most people, Beca needed noise to be able to concentrate, whether it be muttered conversations from across the room, or music playing in her headphones. So, if it was silent, Beca’s thoughts would take over instead, forcing her to think about things she would rather not.
She loved noise. Until the noise in her house was no longer music, replaced by arguments and constant shouting.
After her Parent’s divorce, Beca's father left her and her mother for another woman, or as Beca liked to refer to her as: The Stepmonster. He took the noise with him when he left, Beca was finally free of the arguments, but her mom stopped playing the piano too. Her house was too quiet then, so Beca started creating her own music, making mashups of different songs to fill the void.
Sheila was kind of a bitch, and Beca hated her.
She had always blamed Sheila for her parents’ divorce even though she knew it was inevitable. Beca’s parents weren’t happy for years before the affair even started, but she was angry at her for stealing her father from her.
They moved to Atlanta and left Beca behind in Seattle. The two Mitchell women had two incredibly happy years together, just the two of them. Until Beca’s mother got into a car accident three years ago. Her injuries were fatal, and she died soon after arriving at the hospital.
Beca, only being fourteen, had no other option, so she was forced to move to Atlanta to live with her father and the dreaded stepmonster.
After a while, her father's relationship with Sheila started sinking, at first Beca blamed herself and her presence in their home, but soon learned that Sheila had cheated on him.
Beca had to admit that it was kind of ironic.
After another failed marriage for Wren Mitchell, he dedicated his time to his daughter, hoping to make up for abandoning her when she was twelve. Beca was reluctant at first but over time she grew fond of her father and their relationship started growing. The two still had arguments from time to time but Beca wasn’t as petty about them anymore, and Mr Mitchell was more adamant to fight for his daughter, instead of fighting with her.
At the beginning of last year, Beca could see that her father was missing something in his life, she could see he was lonely, so she attempted to spice up his love life, or lack thereof. After many failed dates, Beca gave up, claiming he was too fussy.
When Mr Mitchell started a new job at the Barden University teaching comparative literature, he met another professor, Katherine Junk and the two seemed to click immediately. They started dating a couple of months after, and last November Katherine and her daughter moved into the Mitchell home.
Beca was surprised by how much she actually liked her father's new girlfriend and her daughter. She wasn’t much of a ‘people-person’ but she loved the Junk girls. Emily was three years younger than Beca, but they got along well, finding a common interest in music.
Overall, Beca Mitchell was a normal kid, with a normal – if you count that as normal – family, and she had an amazing group of friends who loved the absolute shit out of her – they were definitely not normal, but they were her chosen family of awesome nerds.
She was normal...ish.
Except for one major thing that made her stand out more than her introverted ass would have liked.
Beca had a secret, one that no one else knew, and she'd been holding on to it for years.
Once ‘The Charming Man’ came to an end, Beca jumped up from her position on her bed and walked over to her turntable again. She suddenly felt the need to change the beat of the music, so she returned the vinyl to its allocated slot – she had them all ordered in chronological order – and selected her favourite Paramore album.
She slumped down on the chair in front of her desk, her head rested in the palms of her hands as she glared at the newest stack of assignments from multiple classes. Her phone started ringing before she even had the chance to start her homework, and she was more than grateful for the distraction.
She reached into her pocket to retrieve her phone. “Hi, Stace.” Beca answered the call.
“Oh my god. Have you seen the most recent post on Barden Bliss?”
“You're obsessed with that.” Beca groaned into the phone, “Do you need an intervention?”
Stacie laughed, but her tone stayed serious. “This one is a good one. Trust me.”
And because Beca did trust Stacie – but also because she secretly loved the gossip that Barden Bliss provided as much as Stacie did – she hurried to find her bag.
“Alright. I'll get my laptop.” She said as she picked up her backpack and pulled out her laptop.
Before Beca had sat back down, Stacie started talking again. “It's about a closeted bi kid at school.”
“What?” Beca’s head snapped up and her eyes widened. What? Closeted Bi kid?
Everyone has secrets that they’re holding onto, too afraid to let go of, but mine is starting to become a burden. I can’t say that keeping my secret is making me unhappy, because I am happy. But it's not just that. I am happy, excited and hopeful all the time, but I’m also terrified, paranoid, scared and lost. I feel so alone constantly. Keeping a secret as big as this is draining the life out of me. I don’t think I can do it anymore. I don’t want to do it anymore. I shouldn’t have to.
I can’t ask for a better family or friends. They make me feel completely loved every day. But just because I know they love me, doesn’t make this any easier. They don’t know the real me, and when it finally comes out, I’m scared that I’ll lose the people that mean the most to me. Hiding something like this from the people that love me the most in the world is tiring. I'm the same girl I've always been, but I’m just not ready for the whole world to know. I just need to tell someone, to finally make it real.
Nobody knows I'm Bi.
She'd been completely zoned out and almost forgotten that she was on the phone to Stacie, so when she spoke again, Beca was suddenly brought back to the present.
“Have you read it? I wonder who it is.”
Stacie was already extremely invested in finding out who it was, which gave Beca the urge to shout at her – to tell her to ‘sack up’ because whoever posted that was clearly still in the closet and didn't want to be outed.
Beca’s heart began to pound in her chest as she reread the last line. “Yeah. Uh – I - Em needs my help with something in the kitchen. I'm going to have to call you back.”
She didn’t wait for Stacie to reply before she pressed the ‘end call’ button and slammed her phone down on her desk.
Beca’s eyes scanned the screen again, as she read the post for the second time, reading the last four words over until her eyes stopped on the email address at the bottom of the post.
“Fuck it.” Beca muttered, then opened up a new search window, locating Gmail immediately. She waited for the website to load before she clicked ‘create account’ as she decided an anonymous email address was for the best.
Her fingers were shaking slightly as she looked around her room, hoping something would jump out at her and give her an idea for an email address. It wasn’t until she looked out the window that something sparked in her mind. She noticed it was raining and that the clouds were dark – almost black.
After alternating between a few variations, she finally settled on an email address. She hesitated for a minute and contemplated whether it was a good idea or not, before starting a new email.
I'm just like you. For the most part, my life is totally normal. I'm a somewhat normal teenager, with a family that I actually like, not that I'd ever tell my Dad that. I have an adorable doggo, and a great group of friends that I love. They're all total weirdos but we have each other's backs.
I drink way too much iced coffee and I listen to music 24/7. Sports really aren't my forte, but I'd run a mile if it meant I got the chance to meet David Guetta.
So yeah, I'm a normal teenager. My life is pretty awesome really – it's totally perfectly normal. But I just feel like nobody really knows me because I have one huge ass secret.
Beca had a moment of panic when she almost finished the email with her own name.
“It's fucking anonymous, you idiot.” Beca huffed to herself and quickly erased her name.
She began to scan around her room rather frantically, searching for an inspiration to hit. Her gaze bounced from her guitar to her bookshelf, neither of those things helped her in any way. She considered using one of the authors names on one of her books, but none of them seemed to feel right.
I'm just a girl and you're not as alone as you feel
We all got problems, don't we?
We all need heroes, don't we?
Be rest assured, there's not a single person here who's worthy.
Hayley Williams' voice drifted to her ears and a grin settled at her lips as she allowed the melody to take over her thoughts.
Although it wasn't perfect, it was the only thing she could think of, it was either that or 'Clifford' – she had a small cuddly toy of Clifford The Big Red Dog on her bookshelf from when she was younger.
So, Beca wrapped up the email with 'Melody' and quickly sent it, not wanting to give herself the chance to change her mind - or as she would put it: pussy out.
Chapter 2: Becawww
By the next morning, the only email Beca had received was a conformation of her new email account. Although she was disappointed, she didn't have time to dwell on it because she was already running late for school. She sacrificed her time to get ready by snoozing two of her alarms and sleeping for an extra half hour.
Beca slipped her headphones over her ears and placed the strap of her school bag over her shoulder. Her music started up as she dashed out of her bedroom.
As she approached the bottom of the stairs, her father looked up from where he was sat at the kitchen table. “Morning, Bec.” He greeted as he folded the newspaper and sat it on the table.
“Morning.” Beca mumbled mid yawn. Her sleep dazed state was still apparent, so she headed towards the coffee machine in desperate need of a fix.
She dropped her bag to the floor, slid her headphones down, and began to prepare her coffee. Buddy appeared at her feet, preventing her from moving elsewhere.
Beca pouted at the puppy, then reached for a tin of dog food from the cupboard, and emptied it into Buddy's food bowl. “Eat up, bud.” She said after she’d placed the bowl on the floor. He began to dig in to his breakfast almost instantly.
A small laugh escaped Beca as she watched the small puppy demolish the food. As Beca glanced up, she watched as Kat served up two fluffy pancakes onto a plate whilst Emily poured three glasses of orange juice.
She carried the glasses over to the table then returned to her mother's side. All of a sudden Emily burst into song. "Pour a glass and bite my tongue. You say I'm the only one."
Beca joined in, and took the next line, "If it's true then why you running, you running, ooh."
"If you're really being honest, if you really want this, ooh." Emily sang.
The following line was sung by Kat as she swung the spatula about. "Why you acting like a stranger."
"What's with your behaviour, ooh." Beca sang as she shuffled her feet side to side.
They collectively took up the next few lines of the song. "Say my name, say my name. If you love me let me hear you. Say my name, say my name."
No one had the chance to claim the next line because Kat turned abruptly. “Oh shit.” She hissed once she'd picked up the frying pan and examined the contents. “Does anyone want a burnt pancake?”
Spontaneous singing wasn’t rare in the Mitchell-Junk household. Beca, Emily and Kat sang together all the time and it made Beca feel more at home. She had missed the presence of music in her home, it filled the dark empty void, without music everything felt a little empty. But the house was beginning to become more alive, and Beca loved it.
“Can you girls go a day without singing?” Wren Mitchell groaned, but his tone was only teasing.
Beca stood up straighter, sending a playful glare in her father's direction. “Music is in my blood, Dad.” Beca said, “It makes me feel alive.” She added, with a slight chuckle despite being serious.
“Well god forbid you feel dead. Sing on my dear.”
Beca laughed at her father's foolishness then reached for her travel mug of coffee from the counter beside Emily.
Before she could escape her crazy family, Emily caught her wrist and span her back around. A plate was placed in her hand before she could resist, so Beca sulked over to the table and took a seat opposite her father.
Only one of the pancakes was eaten before Beca jumped up from her seat, declaring that she was going to be late.
She grabbed her black backpack from the back of the chair and shouted a vague goodbye before she slipped out the front door and headed towards her black Nissan Titan truck.
Before she set off, she connected her phone to the aux cord and pressed shuffle on her ‘car jams’ playlist. Once satisfied by the song choice, Beca backed out of the driveway and headed towards Stacie's house.
Beca’s family didn't have a lot of money, and the only reason she had her own truck was because it was her Grandad's before he died. He had purchased the vehicle only a few months before he passed and his will stated it be passed on to Beca. She had protested at first, claiming that they should have sold it and used the money for something the family as a whole needed, but her father had insisted that Beca keep it as it was one of the only things she had left of her Grandad.
After a few minutes of driving with the window down and blasting Stand Atlantic, Beca’s truck edged onto her best friend's driveway.
The passenger door opened only seconds later, and a leggy brunette entered the vehicle.
“Hey, Stace.” Beca murmured, then skipped the current song after she decided it was probably too depressing for a ‘fun’ car ride.
It didn't take long for the taller girl to put her seatbelt on and adjust her position. “Hi, Mitch.” Stacie replied, her tone slightly too enthusiastic for that time of the morning.
Beca didn’t understand how Stacie could be so awake in the morning. For the smaller brunette, coffee was an essential, and without it she wouldn't be able to function adequately. With that, Beca reached for her travel mug and finished off the remaining contents. Once the cup was back in the cup holder, Beca reversed the truck out of Stacie's small driveway, stopping outside the opposite house.
“Dude,” Beca turned in her seat to make eye contact with Stacie, “you gotta stop calling me ‘Mitch’, it’s weird.”
“I could call you Mitchum.” A grin cracked out on Stacie's face in response to Beca screwing her face up in disgust.
The smaller brunette shrugged, as she genuinely considered it. “I guess it's better than -”
“Becawww.” The squeal was followed by the back seat door opening to reveal Jesse. He grinned at his two friends before hopping into the truck.
Stacie couldn't contain her burst of laughter when she acknowledged the grimace on Beca's face. She knew how much that nickname annoyed her.
“Dickwad.” Beca muttered, then started to tap along to the beat of the song with her fingers on the wheel.
Jesse got settled in the back seat whilst Stacie reapplied her lipstick in the sun visor mirror. Beca's gaze flashed to the rear view mirror, her eyes drifted between her two friends.
The three brunette's had been friends since Beca moved to Atlanta her freshman year. She was standoffish at first, afraid of getting close to people at the risk of getting hurt.
Her lunch periods were spent in the music room alone and she always fled from school at the end of the day as soon as the last bell went off. Beca didn't socialise with anyone at school then locked herself in her room at home. She was pretty much a loner until Jesse Swanson and Stacie Conrad barged into the music room and wouldn't leave until she agreed to hang out with them after school with their other friends. She was hesitant at first, confused as to why anyone wanted to socialise with a weird loner freak like her, but Beca didn't stand out in their crowd, they were all pretty unique and it made her feel like she'd finally found her people.
Since then the brunette trio were inseparable.
Beca wasn't sure why she didn't just 'do it' and come out to her friends. She knew they would love her no matter what, at least that was what she hoped, but perhaps it was because coming out was her thing. Beca could only come out to them once, and she didn't want to do it wrong or rush it. It was her coming out and no one could take that from her. She wasn't quite ready for her friends to know but she knew they would be there for her when she was.
Her eyes were still locked on the rear view mirror and she watched as Jesse grimaced at something Stacie said. The corners of Beca's eyes crinkled slightly as her lips curved upwards into an affectionate smile.
She couldn't be more grateful to have those two dorks as her best friends.
“What are you smiling for?” Jesse questioned as he examined his friend's expression.
It was rare that Beca smiled - that was all part of her badass reputation that she claimed to have. Everyone that was lucky enough to know Beca knew that she was a big softie at heart, but they also knew how hard she could pack a punch so refrained from getting on her bad side. And teasing Beca for being a softie would have done just that.
But seeing Beca smile was still something that seemed so rare, and it made Jesse wonder what the hell Beca had in her coffee that morning.
Within an instant, Beca's face shot back to its original frowning form. All emotion rinsed from her face as she fired a glare back at her best friend.
“What? I'm not.” Beca huffed. She spared one more glance in the mirror then started up the engine again.
From the passenger seat Stacie smirked, “Mmm-hmm.”
“Shut up.” The small brunette muttered, her grip on the steering wheel tightened.
“Oh my god, did you see that post on Barden Bliss?” Stacie directed at Jesse. She even turned in her seat to face him so they could discuss it. Beca got the idea that their conversation would maintain the topic of the 'bi kid' for the majority of the journey so she put her head down and started towards their next stop.
“The post you sent to me four times? Yeah, I saw that.”
Instead of contributing her thoughts on the topic, Beca stared ahead at the road with the hope that her friends would find something better to obsess over.
Her friends had never been particularly homophobic before, they may have looked at an obviously gay couple in the street for a beat too long, or made a comment about a gay celebrity but they'd never said anything that pushed the boundaries. But that didn't stop Beca from being overly anxious about what they were going to say about the latest gossip.
“Who do you think it is?” Jesse questioned once he'd finished reading the post once more on Stacie's phone.
“My bets on Cynthia Rose.” Stacie confidentially said as she tucked her phone back into her bra.
Jesse nodded twice. “I agree.” He hummed.
Beca stayed quiet. She didn't want to say anything but she already knew Cynthia Rose was gay - not bi - so she wasn't the person who made the post, but it was quite amusing for Beca to listen to her friends try to figure out who the bi girl was when they had no idea that their friend is gay as well.
“I always catch her looking at me.” Stacie commented, “I don't blame her. Who wouldn't want a piece of this?” She gestured to her boobs with a smirk.
Beca caught onto Jesse's faint blush when he attempted to cover it up with a cough. She had to admit that Stacie was pretty hot, but Beca wasn't aware that Jesse thought so too. She always thought his type was blonde and annoying.
“What about you, Bec? Any bets on the bi kid?” Jesse reached his hand over the front seat and nudged Beca's shoulder softly.
“Um...I don't know." Beca mumbled. She didn't want either of her friends to acknowledge her mini freak out so she switched up the volume on her phone in attempt to distract them from their conversation.
Beca let out a heavy exhale when the truck pulled into the driveway of their blonde friends house. Neither of her friends had time to start up the conversation again because Aubrey slid into the back seat beside Jesse and the presence of Aubrey Posen was enough to distract Jesse from near enough anything.
"Hey guys." She gave a tight lipped smile to the three brunettes then got settled in her seat.
Jesse immediately began to ramble on about a movie he watched. He gave a detailed description of the plot to an eager Aubrey who seemed to hang onto his every word.
A poke to Beca's knee brought her attention back to the front of the car. She glanced sideways at Stacie who had her eyebrows raised and a smirk tilting her expression. Beca returned it with an equally amused look.
Beca blocked out Jesse's voice with the music now being controlled by Stacie as she drove towards the pancake shack.
The truck pulled up next to the drive through window and Beca ordered five iced coffees.
"Do you have an imaginary friend?" Jesse quizzed, and when Beca gave him a strange look in the rear view mirror, he added, "Who's the fifth coffee for?" Jesse didn't miss the sheepish look that flashed over Beca's face, but he didn't question it.
"Chlo." Beca admitted, just as the coffee's were passed to her. She thanked the man and handed the drinks to Stacie.
As Beca's truck pulled into the school parking lot, her eyes immediately located the redhead standing with their other friends. Even amongst their group of friends, Chloe Beale was the only one that stood out to Beca.
She parked the truck and they all exited the vehicle. The four friends made their way over to Chloe, Luke and Amy.
A grin slipped onto Beca's face when Chloe's eyes met hers and Chloe's own expression widened. The redhead fled from the others and walked directly over to the small brunette.
"Hey." Chloe grinned.
Chloe's smile alone sent a tiny bolt of nerves up Beca's spine, but the way Chloe's eyes and cheeks were embraced in the smile made Beca's breathing hitch.
Before Beca could do - or say - anything that would embarrass herself, or even out herself, Stacie appeared at Beca's side.
"Hey, Chloe." Stacie flashed Chloe a smile before she turned to the brunette. "Here's your coffee." She handed over the drinks then turned back to her conversation with Luke.
Beca took one of the coffees out of the cup holder and held it out towards Chloe. "This is for you. There's milk in it."
Chloe gushed at the coffee and let out an excited squeal as she took the coffee from Beca. "Thanks, Bec." She smiled from ear to ear.
"No biggie." Beca shrugged.
The two slowly made their way over to the rest of the group, where Jesse was still talking Aubrey's ear off about movies. Luke and Amy were discussing the plans for Friday night with Stacie piping in with ideas every now and then. Stacie looked bored, which was a rare sight because she tended to make her own entertainment.
"Is Stacie okay? She seems down." Chloe said, which confirmed her thoughts.
Beca frowned. "She was alright before. She does seem a little weird though. I'll talk to her." Chloe nodded, then laced her arm through Beca's which seriously caught Beca off guard.
The group emerged towards the school doors, Beca and Chloe's arms still attached. "Have you done the English homework?" Chloe asked, once the group had split in half. Amy, Aubrey and Stacie walked in the opposite direction towards their first period classroom.
"Fuck." Beca groaned, her spare hand hitting her forehead lightly. "Shit. I forgot."
A small grin appeared on Chloe's face as if she was expecting Beca to not do it. "It's okay. You can copy mine."
Beca didn't have time to thank her because the tall blond appeared at Chloe's other side. "Beale, I know you love me-"
"No, you can do your own work." Chloe said, and lightly nudged Luke away from her. He glanced over Chloe's shoulder at Beca, who stuck her tongue out at him.
"I hate you both." Luke groaned, before he pushed Jesse through the open door of their classroom and followed in behind him.
Beca and Chloe entered after them, and took a seat at the back of the room at the desk beside them. As soon as they sat down, Beca felt the loss of warmth from the lack of Chloe's contact. She squeezed her eyes in attempt to rid of the way she was feeling.
Jesse and Stacie were her best friends, but she treasured her friendship with Chloe differently.
She trusted Chloe, probably more than Jesse or Stacie. She hadn't known Chloe as long as the others but she clicked with her instantly. All Chloe had to do to convince Beca to join the Barden Bellas was flash her a smile and within seconds Beca had signed up to audition. The two girls connected on a different level entirely, and even though that frightened Beca, it also made her feel like she'd met someone that finally understood her.
"Becaw," Jesse called. Beca lifted her head and glanced over at Jesse, "Pancake shack after school?"
Beca shifted her gaze to Chloe, but avoided looking directly into her eyes. "You in?"
"Always." Chloe gave a quick squeeze to Beca's arm.
Beca looked over at Jesse and nodded, "Sure, but we have Bellas rehersal." He grinned widely and stuck both of his thumbs up goofily.
Although Beca hated English, it was made bearable by Chloe's presence. She'd laugh at Beca's jokes and stop her from getting distracted or zoning out for too long.
English was also Chloe's favourite subject. She had read every book before they even started studying it and knew every piece of poetry that their teacher quoted.
At times when Beca was completely lost, she would ask Chloe to explain the work in a way she would understand. Beca didn't miss the way the redhead's blue eyes would always light up whenever she talked about the literature, and even though Beca wouldn't really be listening to her, she would hang onto every one of Chloe's words.
After about twenty minutes of the teacher rambling on about their last set of essays, Beca perked up when she remembered the USB stick in her bag. "Oh shit. I forgot about this." She reached for her bag and took out the USB from her front pocket. "I think you'll like this one. It has some Kesha and David Guetta on it." She dropped it into Chloe's awaiting hand.
"Oh my god, Becs. Thank you." Chloe exclaimed, her hand reaching out for Beca's and she gave it a squeeze.
The small DJ grinned at the sight in front of her."It's...whatever."
It wasn't 'whatever'. Beca didn't let anyone listen to her mixes, choosing to keep them to herself instead, so giving multiple mixes to Chloe was quite a big deal. She had allowed Jesse and Stacie to listen to a few of her mixes and they had both loved them. Chloe had also convinced her to let her listen to a couple - they were drunk so Beca really didn't need much convincing.
But Chloe's opinion mattered more to her. She cared about what Chloe thought of her music, because she knew the redhead would give her honest opinion and she really wanted Chloe to like them. She was hesitant to give them to her, but the way Chloe's face lit up when she handed the USB over was totally worth it.
"I don't know if you'll like them but -" Chloe's hand came to rest on top of Beca's, pulling her from her rambling.
A chuckle fell from Chloe's lips as she gave Beca's hand a squeeze. "I'll love it. I love all of your mixes."
"You've only ever heard two." Beca deadpanned, which received a warm smile from Chloe.
"Well I loved them." Chloe said.
A slight blush began to heat up Beca's cheeks. She ducked her head in attempt to hide it from Chloe. "Okay."
Beca could tell that Chloe was still looking at her so she slowly lifted her head. The corners of Chloe's blue eyes crinkled as she stared into Beca's darker blues. The air between them shifted as the intensity of their gaze increased.
"Just don't show anyone else," Beca whispered, "They're...just for you."
It had only been one day since she sent the email, but Beca needed to know if the girl would ever respond. She didn't want to drive herself crazy over something that wouldn't ever happen.
Beca refreshed her emails once more and groaned when her inbox came up empty. She locked her phone with a heavy sigh and slammed her fist down on the table which made her lunch tray clatter slightly.
"What's up with you, Mitchell?" Jesse questioned, and set his half-bitten sandwich down to give Beca his full attention.
He wasn't the only one seated around the table that had acknowledged her frustration. Amy, Chloe and Stacie were watching Beca closely.
"Nothing." The small brunette muttered, too distracted to acknowledge the glances between her friends.
"Then why do you keep on checking your phone?" Jesse raised an eyebrow in question.
A smirk came from Amy across the table, "You got a hot date?" The blonde asked, which gained the attention of everyone else at the table.
"Fuck off." Beca said, her tone a little empty to be rude. She stood up from the table, grabbed her backpack and fled from the cafeteria as quickly as her short legs would take her.
She came to a halt at a bench next to the main school building and shoved herself down on it. She unlocked her phone and within seconds she had got up her sent emails. Her eyes scanned over the most recent one, taking in every word she had typed out.
What if I scared her away?
Beca didn't have time to digest her thoughts before Stacie settled on the bench beside her.
"You look how I feel." The tall brunette stated. She lifted her hips off the bench to reach for the packet of cigarettes in her pocket. "Want a smoke?" Stacie held up the pack and offered one to Beca.
Beca didn't smoke that often but due to the recent added stress from the email, she had been on edge all day. "Fuck it. Yeah, okay."
The two brunette's walked behind the building to a more secluded area before lighting their cigarettes.
After a couple of drags, Beca suddenly remembered the conversation she had shared with Chloe before school.
Stacie had been acting strange all day, granted Beca only had one class with her, but by the start of lunch Stacie still didn't seem like herself. If it was a normal day, Stacie would have jumped at the opportunity to tease Beca about a potential date, but whilst Amy and Jesse asked the questions Stacie just sat there.
It just didn't make any sense to Beca. Stacie was fine in the morning, especially when talking about the post on Barden Bliss. She seemed to be all over that.
Beca's eyes widened at the realisation.
Perhaps the only reason why Stacie was so persistent with the latest Barden Bliss gossip was because she was the closeted Bi girl.
Fuck. My gaydar really isn't great.
Stacie broke Beca from her thoughts. "If something is bothering you, I'm always here. You know that, right?"
"Yeah, of course." Beca said. She glanced over at her best friend and gave her a small, tight-lipped smile.
The attempt at a smile didn't pass by Stacie. "So...what's going on?" She pushed.
"I could ask you the same thing." Beca replied with a slight huff. "How come you've been a little quiet today?"
She didn't say anything for a while, Beca started to think that Stacie just wasn't going to answer her until she finally spoke up.
"I hooked up with Luke last night."
Okay...so, maybe Beca was wrong about the whole bisexual thing.
"Shit. Really?" Beca couldn't hide the shock from her tone.
"Yeah." Beca was expecting Stacie to at least smirk, but she simply nodded.
Beca had known that her friend wanted to get into Luke's pants for a while, but now that she had, why was she so glum?
"Was it like...bad or something?"
Stacie let out a laugh, "No. Luke is fucking good in bed." But she didn't give any further insight to why she was acting weird.
The small DJ frowned, "So...what's wrong?"
She didn't miss a beat before she replied. "Do you think Aubrey and Jesse will get together?"
Beca took a moment to think about it. "I think they both like each other," she admitted.
"Will it ruin us? The four of us are so close...what if they get together and it completely fucks us up?"
Beca raised her eyebrows at her friend, whilst forcing the grin off her face. "This is what's bothering you?"
"Yeah." Stacie whispered.
What if she had it all wrong? Maybe Stacie slept with Luke because she got jealous of Jesse and Aubrey. Did Stacie like Jesse? But that didn't make much sense either.
Why are straight people so confusing?
"Don't worry about us. We'll be okay. If being together makes them happy then we shouldn't stop it. If shit goes down we'll deal with it."
"You're right." Stacie sighed and dropped her head to her hands. "I've been so stressed lately. I'm just overthinking everything."
"I know how that feels." The small brunette replied as she picked at her thumbnail - a bad habit of hers.
Stacie looked up from her hands and acknowledged the glum expression on her best friend's face. "Want to ditch the rest of the day? I need a drink."
"Fuck yes." Beca said. "But I need to be back for band practice."
A grin spread across Stacie's face as she stood up from her spot on the grass. Just as Beca was about to do the same, the default alert for gmail sounded from Beca's phone. She unlocked her phone in a rapid motion only to find an email from an online clothing store with a ten percent discount.
"Fuck." Beca muttered after she'd pocketed her phone and shoved the lighter into her back pocket.
She was giving up hope that the mystery girl would ever actually write back to her.
Beca Mitchell was not the type of person to care too much about anyone - she knew just how much that could hurt her, yet she found herself wishing that she'd get an email back, and soon. She couldn't get her out of her mind, at times wondering who the hell she was, and if she already knew her.
Chapter 3: Band and Bellas
Two chapters in one week? Who am I?? :D
A slightly tipsy Beca entered the music practice room where Jesse and Luke were already waiting for her. She had intended on only having one drink with Stacie, but one beer soon turned to two and then another followed which caused her to lose track of time.
Beca was only ten minutes late but she didn't want to risk losing any practice time. They had cut their last practice short when Aubrey demanded Beca to ‘haul her butt into the auditorium’ for ‘urgent’ extra Bellas practice after their last performance went completely tits up.
Their band used the music practice room as frequently as they could in school time - typically their free period that they all shared. At the weekends they practiced in Luke’s basement, which had installed sound proofing and the instruments they needed.
Neither of her bandmates looked up at her, but she figured they weren’t yet aware of her presence as the door hadn’t shut behind her loud enough to alert them.
The tallest band member was sitting at the drums, twisting the drum sticks in his hands and pretending to start up a beat.
Jesse was sitting on one of the chairs, staring intently at his phone. Beca didn't need to see his screen to know he was playing candy crush.
The small brunette walked towards the guitar stand but her foot knocked against a chair in the process which caused the other brunette to snap his head up.
"There she is." Jesse said as he chucked his phone into his bag. His words made Luke look up and face the small brunette with a playful grin.
"Hi." Beca set her lips into a tight smile before she made her way over to another chair and rid of her jacket.
The two guys stared at her for a moment longer, both analysing her current mood.
"Bree said you left with Stacie.” Jesse started when they had been silent for too long. “Where'd you go?"
Beca didn’t really think it was any of his business, she could go wherever she wanted, whenever she wanted. She didn’t need his permission.
A frown settled at her lips in addition to the way her eyebrows furrowed as she assessed the snarky remark that sat at the tip of her tongue. But she quickly reminded herself that her defence mechanisms weren’t needed.
He’s probably just asking where you went because you totally flipped at everyone in the cafeteria earlier.
Stop being weird, you freak.
Beca didn’t need to close herself off from Jesse just because she was not in the greatest mood. Jesse was her friend. She used to distance herself from him when she didn’t feel like talking, but that was years ago - before they actually got to know each other.
She glanced up at her friends and grunted a response that she knew they wouldn't have been able to hear. Her feet carried her over to the guitar stand and she dumped her bags onto the floor.
"Went to Don's." She finally said once the guitar strap was around her shoulder.
"You went to a bar in the middle of the day?" Jesse asked, his tone somewhat surprised.
"Yeah?” She paused. “I don’t feel like talking. Can we just...?” she didn’t finish her sentence but it was enough for both of them to know what she meant.
"Well you don't seem wasted so...let's roll." Luke chuckled.
Beca was a little surprised when Jesse didn’t protest, but she was glad that he didn’t interrogate her anymore. She just wanted to push her thoughts to the back of her mind and let the music take over.
"That was fucking good." Jesse breathed. And Beca had to agree - they sounded pretty dope.
They had started off with a few covers: She's A God - Neck Deep, What's My Age Again? - Blink-182 and Coffee at Midnight - Stand Atlantic. Followed by a couple of originals, one that Beca had written alone, and another two that they all had contributed lyrics to.
Jesse slotted his guitar onto the stand then took a seat beside Beca. She allowed a lazy smile to spread across her face as she lifted the Red Bull to her lips and downed the contents.
Beca's expression was a lot less tense than when she arrived.
All she really needed was to sing - to let the music consume her thoughts and take over her feelings. That was all she needed whenever she was feeling down, angry, or even when she wasn't feeling anything at all.
"What were you two talking about when I got here?" Beca questioned with a smirk growing at her lips. She had picked up on the final few pieces of their conversation when she arrived, and was intrigued but wasn't in the mood for their stupid guy talk.
Jesse spoke quickly, "Luke's toner for Stacie."
One glance in Jesse's direction and Beca knew that he didn't know anything about Luke and Stacie hooking up. She wasn't going to mention it and betray Stacie's trust, and she didn't particularly want to do that to Luke either. He was an ass at times but Beca loved him nonetheless.
"Why the hell do you have to talk like Posen all the time?" Beca groaned at her friends choice of word.
She remembered the first time Aubrey accused her of having a toner. For Jesse of all people. She had laughed in her face at the thought of ever getting with Jesse, he was her best friend. Beca of course denied it but Aubrey didn't listen so Beca found herself going along with it because she didn't want to have to admit that she didn't have a toner for Jesse, but for one of their friends who happened to be a girl.
"Because he has the hots for her." Luke offered, and Beca figured that made sense. She just hoped he didn't start spontaneously singing 'The sign' or 'Turn the beat around' because that would have been hell.
"Dude, don't I fucking know it." Beca laughed, "They flirt in the backseats of my truck every morning."
It only took Luke a few seconds to come up with a response. "I'm sure that's not all they do in your back seats." He chuckled at the way Beca's eyes widened before her head whipped around to glare at Jesse.
"Don't fucking fuck in my truck." She said, her face cold as she continued to glare at the brunette.
Jesse smirked, but bowed his head when he acknowledged the spark in Beca's eyes.
"Don't worry, Bec. Posen is never gonna go for him." Luke commented, then dodged the arm that Jesse threw his way.
"That's true." Beca laughed at Jesse's saddened puppy dog expression.
The tall blonde turned to Jesse, and gave him a smirk. "Hey, man. Remember when you had a crush on Mitchell?"
"Oh my god, stop." Beca blurted out before she rested her head on her hand which was balled into a fist.
"If I remember, the two of you kissed." Luke teased, and wiggled his eyebrows which made laughter flutter from Beca's stomach.
"Best kiss I've ever had." Jesse joked, and followed it up with kissy noises in Beca's direction.
Beca could think of multiple replies to that, all of which were references to her sexuality, but she couldn't out herself right then so she allowed the thoughts to dwell in her mind.
Must have not been very good if it turned me gay.
But she knew she was gay before she kissed him - well, she actually thought she was bisexual at first, but she kissed Jesse and realised she had no attraction to him at all - to any guys in fact.
Beca knew Jesse was joking, but if that really was the best kiss he'd ever had then he was in desperate need for a do-over (with someone else) because two inexperienced fourteen year olds definitely did not know how to kiss.
"Oh shit!" Beca turned her phone around in her hand and the screen lit up which instantly informed her that it was quarter-past three. Bellas practice started at three. "Fuck. Fuck. Shit."
Both Jesse and Luke watched their friend in amusement as she frantically stood up and grabbed her bag.
"Posen is going to kill me." Beca groaned, but the look on her face made it obvious that she wasn't too bothered about being late. "Jess, take my guitar?" He nodded.
Luke stood up too. "Have fun singing those lame songs."
The smaller brunette turned and flashed her teeth in a quick grin. "See you later, dorks."
Before Beca had left the room completely, Jesse yelled after her. "Pancake shack?"
"If I haven't been murdered. I'll meet you there." She shouted back.
It took Beca a few minutes to walk across the courtyard to the auditorium. She could hear her fellow aca-nerds before she even entered the building.
"Look who finally graced us with her presence." Aubrey said when Beca finally made it through the double doors.
Silence quickly took over the group as everyone's attention shifted to where Beca was standing.
"Figured you'd like my company." Beca retorted as she made her way over to the bleachers. A few of the girls snickered, but ducked their heads when Aubrey glared in their direction.
"Now that everyone is here," Aubrey started, her voice calm, but her tone switched within an instant. "Fall in line, Bellas." She bellowed.
It was a weird demand so Beca ignored her. She placed her bag and jacket down on the ground beside Chloe's bright pink gym bag then returned to the group. Not one person had attempted to start the formation of the line, even Chloe was standing with her back to Aubrey.
"Hurry up, aca-bitches." The blonde said when everyone was still stood in the same place. That seemed to get the Bellas moving, yet somehow it took over a minute for everyone to form a line in front of the leader of the group.
Beca - stood (squashed) in between Amy and Chloe - glanced up at the redhead to find her with a small smile on her face. The small brunette didn't understand why Chloe was constantly smiling. Life wasn't all shits 'n' giggles, so what the hell did she have to smile about?
"Why are we in a line?" The blonde to Beca's left questioned in a hushed whisper.
"Fuck knows." Beca muttered. She heard Chloe let out a giggle from beside her which made a smile grow at the corners of her lips.
"Okay everyone, it's time for some cardio."
Beca raised her eyebrows. "Why cardio?" She asked.
Amy raised her hand to ensure that she was spotted by Aubrey. "Yeah, don't put me down for cardio."
Both of their comments went ignored by the captain. "Five laps around the auditorium. Up the bleachers too."
"Is she trying to kill us?" Cynthia Rose gasped and Beca nodded along in agreement.
"I've killed someone before." A tiny whisper was heard and Beca whipped her head around in Lily's direction. Lily was weird, and also kind of freaked Beca out at times with her strange and shocking remarks.
"What are you all waiting for?" Aubrey asked, which made a majority of the group groan, or make a noise of some sort. Chloe led the group up the stairs of the bleachers, first followed by Stacie, then Cynthia Rose, Lily and Jessica and Ashley. "Oh, and Beca?"
Beca span on the spot to meet Aubrey's squinted gaze. "What's up?" She questioned.
"You have two extra laps." Aubrey informed her, and Beca groaned rather loudly. She was about to argue back when Aubrey smirked. "Don't like it? Then don't be late next time."
The brunette walked away from the bossy blonde towards Amy who had very obviously been eavesdropping the entire conversation. "She's harsh."
Beca just nodded in response, then started up her first lap as she didn't want to give Aubrey another reason to shout at her.
She was out of breath by the time she finished her second lap of the auditorium but she pushed through it and got in another two.
Her tall best friend was at her side when Beca's heart felt like it was pumping out of her chest.
"Thanks for ditching with me. I really needed that." Stacie said, her breathing completely normal and she didn't even sound like she'd been running for the past few minutes.
Beca inhaled through her nose, and let out the breathy exhale. She nodded, "Yeah. Me too."
The taller brunette came to a halt, and Beca wondered if she could escape the last two laps, but Aubrey caught her eye and sent her a glare, so Beca carried on, as she pretended that every single one of her muscles weren't aching.
A few seconds went by before Beca was joined by a very enthusiastic redhead. Before Beca could ask what she was doing, Chloe beat her to it. "It's not fair you have to run alone just because you were late." Beca flashed Chloe a smile to show her appreciation- the best one she could whilst sweating and struggling to breathe.
Beca and Chloe finished up the final two laps then rejoined the group after guzzling down some water.
Aubrey barely waited for Beca to have a breather before she started the soundtrack. As soon as Beca picked up on the first few notes of Ace of Base, she zoned the song out and relied on her feet to get the steps right without paying much attention. The song was practically putting her to sleep. She was so tired of hearing the same boring shit on repeat, it was making her wonder why the hell she'd stuck around.
The only reason Beca joined the Barden Bellas in the first place was because her Dad wanted her to 'get involved in the high school experience' and he was afraid that Beca would distance herself from everyone after her mom died. Beca knew he had good intentions - he just wanted her to make friends, she was in her freshman year, in a new town where she didn't know anybody, but she was incredibly stubborn back then, so for a while she pretended that she didn't mind being alone as she fought off how lonely she felt.
But to Beca it didn't make sense why he supported her decision to join the Bellas but not the band. They were both music related and improved her social life drastically - what was the difference?
The heavy door slammed shut behind her as she left the auditorium, but Beca hadn't realised how loud it was because her headphones were already slotted over her ears. But the noise had attracted the attention of a few stragglers in the hallway - one in particular.
She paused the song on her phone then added two songs by The Neighbourhood to her queue.
“Hey, Mitchell. Wait up!”
Beca didn't turn around to locate the person yelling at her, she didn't need to. She'd recognise that annoying voice anywhere. She pulled her headphones from her ears and left them to rest around her neck. “What do you want, Chicago?”
She continued towards her locker and unlocked it, busying herself with the task of locating the folder she shoved in there earlier that day. Beca quickly noted that she really needed to clear out her locker, there were too many crumpled sheets of music, half finished song lyrics and probably missing homework.
“You’re friends with the redhead, right?” Chicago quizzed, as soon as he reached Beca's side.
“Dude, ‘The redhead’ has a name.” Beca replied, as she purposely avoided his eyes. She didn't like the way he was talking about Chloe, so if he was just going to be a disrespectful prick then she'd just ignore him or tell him to back off.
Guys like Chicago were bad news. They were jerks who acted however they wanted just because they had rich parents to back them up if it all went to shit. Beca had rich friends - Jesse, Aubrey, Amy, and Chloe - but they didn't act like they were better than everyone else just because they had money. They also didn't treat Beca any differently because her family didn't have a lot of money.
Beca normally fled from guys like Chicago, because wherever they went, trouble followed them.
“Chloe." Chicago nodded, "You’re friends with Chloe?”
The smaller brunette shrugged, her badass exterior fixed in place. “Yeah. What is it to you?” She questioned, whilst retrieving her English folder from her locker and swapping it for her notebook. She also collected as many of the loose pieces of paper as she could. She had so many lyrics ideas written down but rarely looked at them enough to actually form them into a song.
“I was wondering if you could help me score a date with her.” Beca grunted when Chicago put his arm up to lean against the locker beside hers.
She glanced up at him, quickly taking in his cocky smirk, before she slammed her locker shut. "Why would I help you?" She scoffed, challenging him with a glare.
"Come on, Mitchell." Chicago groaned, "I thought we put all that shit behind us?"
"We did." Beca nodded, her eyebrows furrowed as she considered her next words, "But I still don’t like you."
For a moment Chicago looked taken aback, as he wondered why anyone wouldn't like him - he genuinely believed that every girl at Barden High was head over heels in love with him. If only he knew. "Okay..?" He hesitated, "Will you help me or not?"
"No." She said firmly, "Chloe is too good for you."
Beca watched Chicago's face as he registered her words. He was known to lose his temper, so Beca wondered if he was going to hit her. If he did, it would have been worth it to see the look on his face a few seconds prior.
He didn't hit her, but instead he slammed his fist into the locker beside Beca's head which made her flinch.
“Fine.” Was all he muttered before he turned on his heel and walked away from her.
He really was a fucking prick.
Back at the Mitchell-Junk household, both of the Junk girls and the Mitchell father-daughter duo were seated around the dining table.
Beca scraped her fork around her plate, barely touching her food as she was too distracted by her own thoughts to eat. Her hunger had subsided as soon as she entered the kitchen in time to witness her father stood beside Emily at the stove. The two were mid-deep in laughter as they watched a piece of pasta fall from the ceiling and land by her fathers foot. Beca never understood why people threw pasta at the wall to check if it was cooked - why not just taste it? Kat had appeared behind them with a saucepan, which Beca guessed was containing homemade pasta sauce. Within seconds she had joined in on the laughter too. The three of them had seemed so happy and content together - without her.
It made Beca feel like an outsider in her own home.
When Beca was a child she always wished that her father would want to spend time with her and actually act like a father figure.
She would spend nights thinking she had done something wrong. All the times that he was over an hour late to pick her up from school she believed was his way of punishing her, and not because he was as drunk as a skunk. Or the time she asked him to help with her English homework and he had slapped it out of her hands claiming that he didn't have the time.
Growing up, all Beca wanted was her father back. The kind man that cuddled her when she was scared and read her bedtime stories and exaggerated all of the voices. But the father she longed for was gone. She was just holding onto the memory of him, too afraid to let go and lose her father altogether.
Just as Beca felt ready to let her father go, he was suddenly back in her life again. But it wasn't the same as when she was a child. She had spent years wishing for him to come back to her but now that he had it just felt forced, like something was missing. Her mother.
But it wasn't entirely her father's fault, Beca hadn't exactly tried to mend their relationship either.
She couldn't help think that Emily was the daughter he had always wanted.
Of course she is.
Nobody wants a broken girl like me for a daughter.
What would he say if he knew I'm gay?
Beca was broken from her spiralling thoughts when she heard her name. "Why aren't you eating, Beca?" Wren set his cutlery down to examine his daughter.
"Stomach ache." Was all Beca could muster, but she couldn't help but wonder how her father would react if she came out to him.
She imagined it would go something like this: "Dad...Kat...There's something I've been wanting to tell you guys for quite some time but I didn't know how to say it. I don't really know how you're going to take this - probably bad - so I think I'm just going to go for it. So, um...I'm gay." And her father would be shocked at first, his face flushed, but then figure out she must be joking, because his daughter most definitely is not gay. So he'd laugh, and say something along the lines of 'Good one, Beca' which would only push Beca further into the closet.
She didn't want to travel to Narnia any time soon so she decided it wasn't the right time to tell them.
But now that she had her family all together, she thought it was a great time to tell them about her upcoming gig. "Uh, guys, I - we - the band - has a gig on Friday night. I was wondering if I should save you some seats?"
Emily was the first of the three to respond. "O-M-G. I'll be there." The grin on her face widened and Beca mirrored the expression, happy that at least one person in her family was supportive of her music.
Beca noticed the glance shared between her Dad and Katherine, the dead air between them was not a great sign. She knew what her Dad would say.
"Friday? I'm so sorry Bec, I have a night shift at the hospital." Beca's expression faltered for a moment but then she acknowledged the sincerity that flashed in Kat's eyes.
"Dad? Will you be there?" She tried again, even though she knew he would make up an excuse not to attend. "You've never been to one of my shows."
Wren sighed, "Beca, this band of yours is not going to help you pass your exams and get into a good college."
Here we fucking go.
She dropped her fork onto her plate with a clunk. "Not everything in life is about college." Beca snapped back.
"Perhaps not." He said, then he lifted his fork to his mouth. He was ignoring Beca's gaze and that only increased her anger. After he finished the mouthful of spaghetti, he glanced up at Beca. "But college comes first, and then if you want to join a band or become a clown then you can do that." His tone was emotionless, which told Beca he was already bored of the conversation, but she wasn't ready to give it up just yet.
Frustration boiled through Beca's blood at her father's words. She almost couldn't believe that he compared her band to the fucking circus.
"Jesus christ." She grunted and shook her head in disbelief.
She watched her father shake his head, then scratch at his receding hairline. "I just think that you need to spend a little less time messing about with music and more time focusing on your academic subjects which are going to get you into college."
"I don't want to go to college, Dad. I want to move to LA, work at a music label and start paying my dues." She tried to get her father to really hear her - that was what she wanted, why didn't he ever fucking listen to her?
"DJ'ing is not a profession Beca." He stated firmly.
Beca's eyes flickered over to Emily across the table. The younger brunette had a nervous expression planted on her face, but when she caught Beca's eye she attempted to offer a smile. The sight of Emily - the innocent and most kind-hearted girl Beca had ever came across - made Beca's frown falter and the corners of her lips curve up slightly, not enough to form a smile but it was close.
But as soon as Beca's eyes landed on her father again, her anger was back and she wanted nothing more than to flip the dining table until he looked at her and actually listened to what she had to say.
"I don't just want to DJ. I want to produce music - make music, Dad." Beca sighed. She knew there was no point explaining anything to her father.
A light huff slipped passed Wren's lips. "That's an unrealistic dream, Beca." He told her.
"Right." Beca nodded, her fists were now clenched by her sides and her face furrowed. She tried to get her father to lock eyes with her one more time but he refused to even look up. "Fuck this." She muttered after she stood up from her seat.
Beca gripped onto her leather jacket and reached for her keys from the counter. Buddy followed her lead without her even instructing him to do so.
Her father didn't try to prevent her from leaving. He didn't even ask her where she was going. He simply stared into his lap, avoiding the glares from his daughter and the intense gaze from his girlfriend.
Kat tried to stop her, by suggesting that they talk it over, but Beca ignored her. She loved Kat, but she just couldn't be in that house any longer.
Beca fled out of the front door and jumped into her truck with Buddy in tow. She didn't know where she was driving until she pulled into a park and decided to get out.
Buddy loved the large areas of greenery and soon found interest in a stick which Beca threw multiple times until her arms started to hurt.
She slid onto the grass, her back came to rest against a tree and Buddy slotted in beside her.
Why won't he give me a chance?
Her eyes glossed over but she blinked away the unshed tears before they could fall. She wouldn't allow herself to cry, especially not over something that her father said. He wasn't worth it.
Maybe he's right. What if I am shit at this? All I have is music. What am I going to do if-
Her thoughts were abandoned when the alert tone she'd been longing to hear sounded from her phone. She scrambled for her phone from her pocket and stared at the screen. The single gmail notification made a shiver run over the entirety of Beca's body.
"Oh, shit, Bud. She replied." Beca said, and as if Buddy understood what she was saying, he jumped closer to her and started to rub his head against her arm.
SUBJECT: Re: hey
A huge ass secret, huh? Is it the same as my secret? If so, when did you know? Does anyone else know?
(PS – Titanium is my jam!!!)
Beca couldn't contain her excitement as she read through the email, granted it was a short one, it was still a reply. Red - now she actually had a name to call her - had actually replied to her and Beca couldn't quite believe it.
Buddy's barking interrupted her daze and she pulled away as a grin took over her face. "Holy shit, dude." Beca mumbled once the nerves had set in. "She knows David Guetta."
SUBJECT: when you knew
I’ve known my entire life that I wasn’t like most girls, little things like choosing to make mud pies and having sword fights with sticks instead of playing dress up or hair dressing with the other girl’s in my grade. Hating the colour pink, and asking for a skateboard for Christmas one year when all my friends asked for makeup and designer clothes.
Even though I knew from so early on that I was different, I only really figured out I was gay when I was fourteen. I started crushing hard on one of my friends, to the point where it was lowkey obsessive, (I’m not a stalker – I was just a baby gay) only then did I realise that what I felt for her was beyond what friendship should be.
I haven’t told anyone – except my dog, he’s a great listener.
When did you know?
(Hold up - You know David Guetta?)
Chapter 4: Let It Be
hey guys. just like most of my fics, i lost motivation for this story for a long time, so i’m sorry it has taken so long for me to update. i have so many ideas for this story that i want to keep writing so i am going to try to update more frequently but life is probably going to get in the way.
i hope you enjoy :)
Beca glanced out of the window of her truck. As she waited for Stacie to come out of the front door, her gaze drifted up the driveway towards the small brick house. Stacie tended to work at her own pace, so Beca was used to waiting for her, but she didn't get any less impatient. She was probably adding another layer of lipstick, or straightening her (already straight) hair, doing whatever she could to test the small brunette’s patience.
She stared back down at her phone and reread the email she sent to Red last night. Her eyes hovered over the first line of her email - 'I've known my entire life that I wasn't like most girls'. It wasn't until Beca first wrote to Red that she really understood her feelings. Finally spilling her thoughts into the email allowed her to dig further into her mind, back to when she first realised she was gay. At fourteen Beca thought there was something wrong with her, but knowing that she wasn’t the only one feeling that way took away some of her previous anxiety.
She wasn’t like most other girls, and she was okay with that. Beca had always been different, but for a while she tried to hide it by blending in with her peers. It took her years to finally embrace her true identity - now she wore dark makeup and tomboy-ish clothes as her way of expressing herself. She didn't want to fit in anymore, she was who she was and nothing would change that. Beca was comfortable with herself, so why hadn't she come out to anyone yet? She wasn't hiding, she was just...waiting. For what exactly, she didn't know, but she couldn't wait forever.
It was gone midnight when Beca got home the previous night, after replying to Red's email she had sat in her truck for a few hours, just listening to music and letting her mind wander. She thought about her Dad, and how much better their relationship had been since Katherine and Emily entered their lives, he was sober and he had completely changed himself to be a better person. They had been getting along great, but last night felt like there had been no progress; Beca's father still shot down her dreams and made her feel so unimportant in her own life.
Beca also thought about her Mom, how she wished she were still alive - Beca could talk to her about anything, and if she were still here, Beca would have definitely told her about her sexuality. She just felt so alone without anyone to talk to, but maybe her newfound friend could be that person for her.
She held her breath as she refreshed her emails, hoping with everything she had that Red would have replied. Her heart leapt into her chest at the new email sitting in her inbox.
SUBJECT: Re: when you knew
I was the girl who’d play soccer with the boys, then run inside and turn myself into a princess with the girls. I guess that was the bisexual in me.
It’s taken me a while to really get here, but I’ve been certain for about two years. It was a lot of little things that made me sure, starting with the major crush on Emily Fields, but also being completely in love with Caleb. There was a girl for me too. At first, I thought I wanted to be her because she was so cool, but then I realised it was more than that – I wanted to kiss her.
One of my first girl crushes was Emma Watson. I worshiped the Harry Potter series growing up (I still do) and looking back on it now, my slight obsession with Emma is the reason why I’d watch it so much.
Are you still friends with the girl you had a stalkerish obsession with?
A smile curled at her lips at the mention of Harry Potter. Although she hated the books she had to read for English, she had always had a soft spot for fantasy stories. Beca had always loved Harry Potter, and learning that her new companion also shared the same passion filled her with excitement. She’d never actually watched the movies, the books were more her thing. Beca wouldn’t let that slip just yet though, because according to Jesse, people who didn't like movies were spawns of satan, and not liking movies was like not liking puppies.
Putting the thought aside, she began to type a new email in response, an amused grin growing on her face.
The passenger side door shot open in a fast motion which made Beca jump out of her skin. The email had completely sucked her in, making her forget she was even waiting for Stacie.
“Holy shit, dude.” Beca yelled, her phone slipped from her hands and landed with a clunk on the floor of the truck.
The leggy brunette slid into the vehicle with a laugh, “Sorry.” She watched as Beca attempted to reach for her phone, but gave up when she realised her arms were too short. “I've got it.” Stacie said, before she picked up the phone and handed it back to her.
Beca was so grateful that Stacie hadn’t looked at the screen before handing it over. She wasn’t sure what would happen if someone found out about her secret, especially so soon.
“Go ahead. Finish texting your boyfriend.” Stacie teased, and wiggled her eyebrows in the process. Beca laughed at the comment even though it made her want to sink deeper into her seat. How would Stacie react if she told her the truth? She had been Beca's best friend for years, she wouldn't suddenly leave her if she came out, would she? It wasn't like it was a big deal - Beca was gay, it didn't change anything...right?
The smaller brunette stared at the screen for a moment before a small sigh escaped her lips and she started typing again. She finished the email quickly and sent it, not wanting to give Stacie a second opportunity to take a peek at the screen, or to tease her about her ‘secret boyfriend’.
SUBJECT: Re: when you knew
Wow. For me, Hanna Marin was always my favourite. Ashley Benson is gorgeous.
You know David Guetta AND you like Harry Potter! Damn, we’re going to get along just fine :)
Let me guess…Gryffindor? (you must be pretty brave to come out on Barden Bliss)
Yeah, I’m still friends with her. She’s totally straight and has no idea.
The brunette's head snapped up at her name being called from across the hallway. Her eyes landed on her friends huddled by the lockers across from hers. She gave them a rapid wave of acknowledgement before she made her way over to her own locker to swap her books.
She was already feeling completely emotionally drained from her fight with her father, but the fact that he hadn’t apologised or even acknowledged her existence since then had hurt her more than she would admit. Beca hadn't done anything wrong, yet she was the one that felt like she had to apologise and be the bigger person, and that just wasn’t fair.
“BM!” An Australian accent echoed throughout the hallway.
Beca groaned, she loved her friends, but she just wasn’t in the mood right then. All she wanted to do was shove her headphones over her ears and block out everything else. She closed her eyes tight as she pressed her head against her open locker. The corridor was getting gradually more cramped as people moved between homeroom and their first class, and Beca had the urge to shove people away as they brushed past her, but she kept her anger in check whilst rummaging through her locker for her gym bag.
She took another moment to brace herself before she stepped backwards and turned to her blonde friend. “Dude, stop yelling at me.” She huffed whilst she slammed her locker shut.
The brunette turned to look back at Jesse and Aubrey, who were a few paces behind Amy. The stern glare on Aubrey’s face made her groan louder. Beca was not in the mood for the aca-bitch side of Aubrey today. “Jesus Christ, I'm coming.” Beca yelled.
“That's what she said.” A voice piped in from behind Beca. She didn't even need to turn around to know that it was Stacie. The taller girl was constantly making crude jokes like that, but then again, so was Beca.
“You're fucking weird dude,” Beca laughed as Stacie joined Beca's side with a proud smirk on her face.
The two brunette’s began walking towards their friends, Beca’s mood already brightening slightly in the presence of her best friend. As they neared the three of them, Beca acknowledged the scowl on Amy's face which practically mirrored her own. Amy had never been one for exercise, unless it was wrestling crocodiles and dingoes, and Beca would rather sing ‘The Sign’ every day for the rest of her life than participate in a group sport activity with her classmates.
Beca nodded at Jesse, not having the energy to lift her arm to accept their normal form of greeting: a fist bump. He mirrored the action with a grin, before he turned back to Aubrey and the two took the lead in the group. Beca slumping behind the others, began to follow them in the direction of the gym for their first period.
She didn't have the energy required for any kind of physical exercise, so she sluggishly changed into her gym clothes then joined her classmates who were already doing the warm up routine. After half-assing the first few exercises, Beca edged closer to the bleachers alongside Amy, Benji and Cynthia Rose. She was only slightly disappointed to find out that it was volleyball. Exercise wasn't really her thing, and balls definitely weren’t.
Instead of paying attention to the ongoing game on her side of the courts, Beca's entire attention was zoned onto the other game next to them, which consisted of the more athletic kids, including Aubrey, Chloe, Stacie and Jesse. She watched as Aubrey and Jesse partnered up, working together to rally the ball, and whenever they would score a point for their team the two would high five.
Maybe they would be kind of perfect for each other.
She was lost in thought for a moment before the redhead on the opposing team caught her eye. The determined look on her face disappeared into a smile as her teammate sent the ball back over the net. Chloe let out a cheer when her team won a rally, but within seconds was tackled into a group hug, initiated by no one other than Chicago Walp.
Her previous conversation with Chicago by her locker flushed back into her head, instantly igniting rage inside her. Who did he think he was? Beca hated how he acted like he was better than everyone else, and just expected everyone to fall at his feet as soon as he flashed them that stupid grin.
The stupid grin I want to smack off his stupid face...
The group hug pulled apart and the game commenced. Beca would have looked away if it weren't for the way Chicago’s gaze would drift down to Chloe’s ass every few seconds. He was being so obvious about it too. She just wanted to throw the ball at him to make him stop, or maybe telepathically tell Jesse to launch it at his head - unfortunately neither of them became reality.
She sighed and turned to zone back into her own game of volleyball. Just as she did, a ball came out of nowhere and contacted with her cheek at full speed causing her to let out a yelp and stagger backwards.
The pain followed after a moment of numbness; her cheek instantly stinging and her eye began to water. She reached up her hand to cup her cheek, which heated up under her palm. She could already feel the right side of her face swelling up.
Beca acknowledged the loud splutter of laughter from her friend. “Not funny, dude.” Beca muttered, then attempted to glare at the blonde with her one good eye. “Fuck! That hurt.” She groaned.
Amy floundered over to the brunette and put a hand on her shoulder. “I did shout ‘watch out short stack’ but you were too busy ogling at them.” The blonde pointed to the opposite side of the court but Beca didn't look, she was too embarrassed that someone had witnessed it. “Who caught your eye? Was it Bumper? No...Jesse?”
Her head snapped up, her hand still covering her eye, “What? Dude, no!” Beca huffed.
When she acknowledged the adidas trainers on the ground in front of her, her eyes roamed up the semi-muscular legs, and her gaze settled on the volleyball in their hands. She knew who it was without even looking up, she recognised Chloe's pink fingernails. A small smile pulled at her lips at the thought of Chloe coming to her rescue - not that she needed saving.
Beca cautiously lifted her head, her hand still covering half of her cheek and her eye. A crooked smile found its way to her face as she glanced up at the redhead. The girl in front of her was slightly blurry due to her watery eye, but she could still see the crease in Chloe’s forehead that she got whenever she was super worried about something.
“Are you okay, Bec?” Her blue eyes shone with concern as she scanned Beca’s face. Chloe saying her name like that did something to her insides. Only few people called her ‘Bec’ and she loved that Chloe was one of them. “Do you need an ice pack?”
A snort reached Beca’s ears and she easily identified it as Amy. “Captain Chloe to the rescue.” She said and followed it up with a laugh.
Beca ignored Amy and looked up at Chloe. ”It’s fine, Chlo. It just stings.”
The redhead lifted her hand to Beca’s cheek to inspect the injury more closely. Her thumb brushed against her cheek and wiped away the lonely tear that escaped from her watery eye. Beca winced at the contact but didn’t move away from Chloe’s touch.
“She’ll be okay. BM’s a tough cookie.” Amy said. In response to that Beca stuck her middle finger up and scowled at her friend.
“You might get a black eye,” The older girl said as she removed her hand from Beca’s cheek and took a step backwards.
Beca lifted her own hand back to cover her eye and smirked, “It’ll make me look more badass.”
“You should get an eyepatch.” Amy suggested, “Then you’ll look like a pirate.”
”A badass pirate.” Beca insisted.
Chloe raised her eyebrow challengingly, “Come on clumsy pirate, I’ll take you to the bench.” Chloe took hold of Beca’s wrist and guided her around the court and over to the bleachers. Amy yelled an apology to her as they walked away.
“You don’t have to babysit me.” Beca said as soon as they both sat down.
Chloe nudged her elbow into the brunette, “You might have a concussion, I can’t leave you.”
Beca let out a laugh and nudged Chloe back. “I’ll be fine, honestly.”
Chloe’s bright blue eyes met Beca’s. ”Are you sure?” The redhead asked, “Because I really don’t mind.”
”Yes.” Beca nodded, “Go...do whatever you do in volleyball.” Her lack of knowledge for any kind of sport made Chloe laugh.
”Okay, if you’re sure.” She double checked that Beca was alright before she rushed back over to her game.
Beca’s eyes followed after her until she saw that Chicago was walking over to Chloe. She scoffed and forced herself to avert her gaze.
Chicago was not a good guy; he didn’t care about anyone but himself and disrespected girls at whatever chance he got. He would string them along only to ditch them after he got what he wanted. There was no way that Beca was going to let him do that to Chloe - not that Chloe would be stupid enough to fall for his tricks - but if he hurt her then Beca wasn’t going to let him get away with it.
But she couldn’t do anything to stop it if it were to happen. Chloe was her own person, she could make her own choices.
Her gaze shifted to the huge clock on the wall - five minutes left.
“Fuck it.” She muttered under her breath and took off in the direction of the locker room.
She was relieved to find it empty, she could finally change without having her eyes glued to the floor to avoid awkward eye contact with other girls.
She swung her backpack strap over her shoulder and sped out of the locker room. She stopped by her locker to retrieve her laptop bag and headphones. Beca decided she needed to clear her head so she walked out of the building and towards the only place in the school that she could actually get any peace. The music room.
The previous class was just leaving as she arrived so she waited for them all to walk out before she entered the classroom. The music teacher, Mr Evans, peered up from his computer when the door closed behind her.
“Oh, hello Beca.” He smiled up at her as he pushed his glasses onto the top of his head.
“Hey. Can I use one of the practice rooms?”
He nodded, “Of course.” Beca loved that he didn’t ask too many questions about what she was doing, he respected her privacy - something most adults didn’t do.
“Thanks.” She gave him a genuine smile then wandered into one of the small rooms in the back.
She took in the sight of the grand piano, she smiled as she sat down on the small bench and traced her fingers along the wood. Beca propped open the fallboard and ran her fingers along the keys. The only time she got to play piano was at school, she had a guitar and keyboard at home but it was nice to actually play the acoustic instrument.
Her fingers moved quicker than her mind, playing the first few notes of ‘Let It Be’. Her mind caught up pretty quick and she started singing along.
“when i find myself in times of trouble,
mother mary comes to me
speaking words of wisdom
let it be
and in my hour of darkness
she is standing right in front of me
speaking words of wisdom
let it be”
After a while she entirely zoned into the song, leaving behind her thoughts of Chicago, Chloe, her Dad and Red, and allowed the music to consume her.
Her Mom used to play that song all the time and Beca fell in love with it. After Beca picked up the basics, they would play it together side by side.
”let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
whisper words of wisdom
let it be”
Her fingers stilled on the keys as the song came to an end. She released a shaky breath and closed her eyes. It never failed to make her tear up, that song would always remind her of her Mom.
Beca loved her keyboard, but something about playing the piano always made her feel more free, and in a way she felt closer to her Mom.
After she’d collected herself she pulled her laptop onto her lap but when she tried to turn it on she found it dead. Instead of going to her truck to get her charger she decided to just use one of the computers in the classroom. Mr Evans smiled at her as she entered but Beca wasn’t sure if he had heard her play.
She took a seat at the computer in the farthest corner and logged on quickly. Letting her curiosity get the best of her she opened up gmail in the search bar and logged into her account.
There wasn’t any new emails but she spent the next five minutes carefully reading through their email exchange.
It was weird telling a stranger her biggest secret, she felt like she should be freaking out about it but instead she felt relieved that she had finally told someone. It was a serious weight off her chest.
She slotted her USB into the computer and opened up an unfinished mix that she had abandoned a few days prior. The remainder of her lunch period was spent editing it and cursing at herself for not managing to get it right.
A hand on her shoulder was what finally broke her concentration. She span around in the chair to see Mr Evans. “The end of lunch bell is about to go.” Beca thanked him and turned back to the computer.
She discarded her headphones and pocketed her USB just as a bunch of students entered the room. Not wanting to be bombarded by a group of people, she jumped out of the chair and rushed back into the practice room to grab her bag.
Beca waved to Mr Evans on her way out of his classroom and he reciprocated it along with a grin. He was one of the only teachers in the school that Beca actually liked, and vice versa.
As she strolled through the corridor, she unlocked her phone to find a bunch of texts from Chloe, Stacie and Amy. It was probably a shitty move for her to leave the gym without telling anyone especially because they normally walk to the cafeteria and sit together but Beca just needed to be alone.
Still feeling that way, Beca swiped away the text notifications and clicked on the gmail alert instead.
SUBJECT: Re: when you knew
I’m so glad that I’ve met another harry potter nerd ;)
My friends all say I’m a Hufflepuff and I guess I am. But I definitely have some Gryffindor qualities. What about you?
As soon as she stepped through the front door, the air grew tense. Her father was sitting on the couch when she walked into the living room; he looked up at her but averted his eyes immediately, obviously too stubborn to be the first to apologise.
Beca rushed out of the house early that morning so she could avoid seeing him and steer clear of another argument, but she hadn’t really thought about what would happen when she got home after school.
She figured that if he wasn’t going to speak to her then she wouldn’t speak to him either.
Her head was already throbbing from the ball to her face in gym and she didn’t have the energy to have the exact same fight about college and her future so she just walked past him and climbed the stairs.
She stopped outside Emily’s room and knocked twice.
Beca pushed open the door and stood in the doorway. “Hey, Em. How was school?”
The younger brunette smiled at Beca from her desk. “It was good. I’ve got a lot of homework though.” She lifted up a text book to show Beca that she was already working on it.
She put the book down and spun around in her seat to face her step-sister. “Have you spoken to your Dad yet?”
“No,” Beca sighed, “But it’s fine. This is what he’s like. He won’t apologise and then he’ll just act like nothing happened in a few days.”
Emily gave her a sad smile. “For what it’s worth, I think you’re amazing at what you do. I’m seriously excited to see you perform tomorrow.”
She was so glad that she finally had someone in her family that was on her side. When her parents were still together it always felt like Beca was just forgotten because they were always fighting. And then when it was just Beca and her dad, there was constant conflict between the two. So it was nice feeling like there was finally someone who wasn’t against her.
“Thanks Em, that means a lot. Anyway, we have to practice so I better go change.” Beca sent Emily a smile before she left the room.
Once she'd reached her bedroom, her bags cluttered on the floor before she swung open her closet door. Beca retrieved a jacket and a beanie as they were warmer clothes than she'd been wearing at school. When her beanie was fitted correctly, she made her way out of her room and back down the stairs.
Buddy was waiting for her at the bottom so she gave him a fuss before she headed into the kitchen. Beca grabbed a snack along with a red bull from the fridge.
She hesitated before leaving as she considered talking to her dad, but figured he was the father in their relationship, he should be the bigger person for once.
Beca got into her truck and sped out of the driveway and to Jesse’s house.
While she waited for Jesse to come out of his house, Beca pulled up her emails and responded to Red. “Slytherin. Obviously.” She mumbled to herself before pressing send.
SUBJECT: Re: when you knew
Well, Red. It looks like we're the perfect team. I'm slytherin, for sure.
“Where have you been all day?” Was the first thing Jesse said after he opened the passenger door. “I haven't seen you in any classes since gym.” He jumped in the truck but continued to examine her facial expressions.
Beca had taken some time since lunch to calm down, she had decided to take the rest of the day off rather than attend her classes, all of which Chicago, Chloe and Jesse were in. She drove through the Starbucks drive through then chilled at a park with her coffee before she went to her favourite record store.
"Yeah, I...I wasn't really feeling it. I was in the music room and then I went to get coffee.” Beca shrugged like it was no big deal.
“You bunked off school to get coffee?” Beca just nodded. “You know your Dad will kill you, and me, if you keep this up.” He said.
She rolled her eyes at him. “It was just a few classes, Jess. It’s not like I’ve never skipped before.”
“Exactly. You keep bunking classes. We had a test in math.” Jesse said.
Beca was starting to think that everyone had it out for her. What was she doing so wrong that was pissing everyone off so badly?
She released a sigh, but averted her eyes. “Calm down, Dad.” She joked.
“You know,” Jesse turned in his seat to look at Beca. “Em texted me.” Beca didn't even need to ask him to elaborate because she already knew where the conversation was headed.
She sighed but continued to stare out of the window. “Of course she did.”
Emily was a sweetheart, everyone that knew her, knew that she wouldn’t hurt a fly - she’d probably take it home and give it a name, but never once would she harm it, not intentionally anyway, but she could be a little clumsy at times. Emily was harmless. Everything she did, she did because she believed it was the right thing to do. And Beca loved her more than anyone, their family may be a little dysfunctional, but Emily was her sister, and she would love and protect her for as long as she lived. She didn’t show it often, but Beca would do anything to protect the people she cared about. And Emily was the same. Yet, sometimes Emily got a little too involved.
“She was just worried.” Jesse replied. Of course Beca knew that, Emily was a walking-worry-bot, but Beca hated when people worried about her. “She told me about the fight with your dad.” He added.
Jesse attempted to catch her eye once or twice, but Beca wasn’t in the mood for a heart-to-heart. She tilted her head slightly so she was staring ahead, still ignoring her friends gaze.
“Is that why you've been in a bad mood all day?” He attempted, but Beca still wouldn't budge. She didn’t want to talk to him - or anyone - about the fight with her dad, and she’d much rather keep her feelings hidden.
“Just put your fucking seat belt on so we can go. I’m not talking about this with you.” Beca snapped. She glared at him for a solid minute before he finally gave up trying to get her to talk. He sighed in defeat and buckled the seat belt.
Beca pressed down on the clutch and brought the engine to life.
Neither of the brunette’s spoke as the truck pulled out of the driveway and down the road. Beca stared ahead whilst gripping the wheel, turning her knuckles white.
It wasn’t long before Jesse opened his mouth again, this time his tone was a lot less patronising. “You know you can though, right? Talk to me, I mean. If you want to. You’re my best friend and I’m always here for you.”
Beca took her eyes off the road to glance over at him. She gave him a small smile before nodding, “I know. Thanks man.”
She pressed play on the truck’s speaker and within seconds the vehicle was filled with one of Beca’s favourite songs by The Script. The two brunette’s remained silent the entire drive to Luke’s except for Beca occasionally humming along to the song, and Jesse groaning whenever Beca would skip a song that he claimed to be his favourite. Even though Jesse knew something was up with Beca he didn’t push any further, and she appreciated that.
The only way Beca knew how to release her pent up emotions was through music. It was how she expressed her thoughts when they were too scrambled to say out loud. Beca had never been very good with words, but when they were turned into lyrics she could easily be swept up by the melody and allowing it to take control. She put everything she had into creating her music, losing herself in the sound. Because when she was creating music, everything flowed so easily; she didn’t need to hide or pretend she was someone she wasn’t. She could just be herself.
Chapter 5: Blackmail
yo! sorry for taking a long ass time to upload another chapter but thank you so much for being patient with me and not giving up on me. <3
Beca knew what she wanted to do with her life, she had big dreams and so much passion. It was such a rare thing for a seventeen year old to know exactly who they are and exactly what they want in life. Beca hadn't exactly figured out who she was, but she knew what she wanted. And she just wished that her father could see that. A lot of people go to college to figure those things out, but Beca didn't need to find herself, she already knew which path she wanted to go down in the future.
Their fight over dinner two nights ago still hadn't been resolved, both the Mitchell’s were too stubborn to admit they were wrong and neither one wanted to admit the other was right. Her father never apologised for anything he was at fault for, he’d just ignore it and pretend he never did - or said - anything wrong. And most of the time Beca would just let it slide so she could avoid the conflict that was bound to occur, but that usually meant that her Dad thought she had just accepted that he was right.
But this was something she couldn't let go. Beca's dream of becoming a music producer wasn't something she had just randomly decided one day, she'd put a lot of thought into it and worked so hard creating mashups and writing original songs for Kick Affiliation.
She loved the idea of having her sound out there in the world, knowing that her fingerprints are all over music that make people feel things the way her favourite songs made her feel. But her Dad just shot down her dreams whenever he got the opportunity, and it made her feel like she wasn't good enough, like she was never good enough. She was always only going to be a disappointment to him.
Beca never intentionally pissed off her parents, not at first anyway. She was a good kid, always did what her parent's asked of her, and she respected them. Until her parents no longer acted like her parents when they were together. Beca was ignored whilst her mother and father fought about something that they had already spent hours of their lives arguing about. It was around that time when Beca discovered she had a superpower she'd always dreamed of: she was invisible.
It was fun at first, she could do whatever she wanted and get away with it because her parents were too preoccupied with hating each other that they barely even acknowledged her.
She could eat whatever she liked because by dinner time, her dad was usually three or four drinks in and her mother had either gone to bed or was working late to escape the house before another argument was initiated. Her bedtime was practically non-existent so she could stay up late playing video games. Beca could skip her ballet classes because her mom was too stressed out to remember to take her to them. She hated ballet so that was definitely a good thing.
She thought being invisible was awesome, but then she realised how it really made her feel. She didn't have a superpower, she was just super lonely.
Beca missed her parents. She missed the way they'd read her bedtime stories and tuck her in at night together. She missed the family dinners and the times they'd sit around the piano sharing a moment as they sang and laughed together.
She decided that she didn't want to be invisible anymore, so she started acting out in attempt to gain her parents attention. She started skipping classes and stopped trying in school. Beca mouthed off to teachers and got into fights with peers. Her 'emo phase' developed and she started strictly wearing dark clothes and heavy eye makeup.
She stopped caring about things and stopped wishing for the way things used to be.
Her parent's divorce followed soon after, which led her to believe that it was her fault. But she didn't care. In a way, she felt like it was a good thing - the constant fighting had stopped and she didn't have to try so hard to be noticed, but Beca still wasn't happy.
When her Dad left, her Mom finally noticed how much Beca had changed and she tried so hard to take better care of herself and her daughter. And Beca tried too, but she still had so many years worth of pent up emotions and unspoken feelings that she had buried.
So her Mom took her to see a therapist and that helped for a while, but she was so angry all the time. Beca was angry at her Dad for leaving, angry at her Mom for not seeing how unhappy Beca really was, and angry at herself for being the reason her parents split up.
Beca was angry at the world and everyone in it.
That was a lot of anger for a twelve year old to manage, which is why it isn't a surprise when Beca said a big FUCK YOU to the world and stopped caring altogether. Not caring meant not feeling the anger, pain and guilt that she'd suffered with for so long. She shut herself off from everyone, and it was lonely, but it was easier than feeling.
But then her Mom died. And that hurt more than anything had ever hurt her before. She got ripped out of her life, leaving her truly alone for the first time. And she wished more than anything to turn back time to when she would sit at the top of the stairs listening to her parents shout at each other till early hours of the morning, she could deal with the arguments if it meant that her Mom was still alive.
She was even more closed off from the world, but at least now she didn't immediately suppress her emotions, she actually allowed herself to feel things before bottling them up. But sometimes that meant obsessing over those feelings until she was too consumed by the thoughts in her own head.
Beca was an overthinker, she would often dwell on a thought for hours at a time, which was why she sometimes she just needed to get out of her own head. So she reached for her laptop and opened up her emails.
SUBJECT: serious shit
This is probably not the kind of email that will give you a bright start to your day because it's serious and deep as shit so if you don't respond to me then I get it, but it's been on my mind for a while now and I feel like I have no one else to talk to about things like this because no one else would understand, but I figured if anyone would then it'll be you. Maybe it's because I find it easier to talk to you because I don't actually know who you are. I really hope this doesn't change anything between us because even though we've only been emailing for a couple of days I really feel like we have a connection.
So, here goes....
Do you know the muffin man?
SUBJECT: Re: serious shit
The Muffin Man? Yes I know the Muffin Man. Who lives on Drury Lane?
(DON'T EVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN! YOU SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME OH MY GOD. YOU'RE AN IDIOT ;) )
Beca stopped by her locker to grab her English assignment and exchange it for her math book. She was going straight to Luke's after school for one final band practice before their gig, so she didn't want to take her books with her.
She shut her locker then turned down the corridor towards her English classroom, already five minutes late. There was no point in rushing as she would be late either way, so as she wandered down the halls she prepared herself for the lecture that awaited for her as soon as she entered the classroom.
As she rounded the corner of the corridor she slammed into someone and stumbled backwards; she luckily caught her footing before she fell. “Fuck. Sorry.” She sputtered out as she took a step back. It was only then that she actually saw who she collided with. “Oh, it's you.” Beca groaned and continued to walk down the corridor.
“Mitchell.” Chicago yelled after her.
The fact that he ran to catch up with her told Beca that she was about to be pestered by him, which usually ended with her being pissed off. She really wasn't in the mood for anything Chicago-related that could potentially tip her over the edge.
He stepped in front of her to block her path, a stupid smirk on his face that only confirmed he was about to get on Beca's nerves. “It's funny we ran into each other, I actually need to talk to you.”
Beca groaned then attempted to shove him away but his masculine build hovered over her small frame. He reached his arm over her head to rest his hand against a locker and trap her further against the wall.
“Mitchell.” He said again, but instead of staying put and allowing Chicago to get to her, she lifted her foot and stamped on his as hard as her strength would let her. His hand slipped from the locker to grab his foot as he hissed in pain. “What the fuck was that for bitch?”
She shoved him against the lockers and moved around him. “Fuck off, Chicago.” Beca muttered and resumed her walk towards her English classroom.
She didn't get far before Beca was once again stopped by Chicago yelling her name, this time louder and evidently angrier.
The brunette stopped in her tracks and spun on her heels, Beca cornering him now. “What the fuck do you want?” Her fists clenched at her side as the anger in her chest grew. The smirk that reappeared on his face told her exactly what he wanted, and that only made Beca more pissed off. There was no way she was helping that jackass with anything.
“I've already told you, I'm not helping with Chloe.” Beca muttered.
Chloe Beale was so much better than Chicago would ever be, he didn't even deserve a chance with her, and Beca was not going to be the person to help him get what he wanted. She knew his intentions and she could predict what the consequences would be if she were to help him - and there was no fucking way that she would ever let her best friend be hurt by a guy like him.
Chicago chuckled in a patronising way as he looked down at Beca, “I think you want to hear what I have to say.”
Beca snorted. “I don't want shit from you. Leave me alone, I need to get to class.”
She ran a hand through her hair, tugging at the ends to release some pent up stress. She wanted to just shrug him off and get to class, but she also really wanted to smack the grin off his pathetic face. And that part of her was the reason why she didn't budge. She was too riled up to leave now; her English class could wait.
“See, that's where you're wrong,” he smiled at her innocently, “I know some seriously interesting stuff about you, Beca Mitchell.” The way he said her full name irritated her. Her nails digged into her palms, leaving crescent shaped indents in her skin.
After Beca fought through the anger that tempted to overcome her, she scoffed at his words and immediately called bullshit. He didn't know shit about her, and certainly nothing that was worthy of being labelled as 'interesting'.
“I saw your emails.” He simply said, and followed it up with a proud smile.
“What?” Beca asked with a bored tone. She hadn't understood what he had meant. If she had, she would have freaked out within seconds. Chicago saw her emails...so what?
The smirk on Chicago’s face was more prominent now. “You forgot to log off yesterday.” He said, “I used the computer in the music room after you.”
That was when it finally hit her. The emails.
Her dark eyes widened at the realisation that her secret was out, and that Chicago of all people was the one who knew. She could feel her cheeks heating up as he continued to watch her, waiting for her to slip up and admit defeat.
She didn't deny it - she couldn't.
“Why do you think they’re mine?” Beca's voice was low, but rumbling with panic. Was he going to out her to the whole school? The whole town, even?
“I’m pretty sure you’re the only one in this shitty school that knows how to use websites like this.” He waved his phone in front of her face and she managed to get a glimpse of the screen. It was the app she was using in the music room, and it still had her mashup of the two songs she was working on displayed on the screen. Why hadn't she logged out of anything? She was normally so good at remembering to save her mixes and log out, it was part of her routine. “And I saw you leave. I had that class after lunch.”
The panic she felt in her chest doubled in size. She had never hated him more than she did in that moment.
“What the hell?” She squeaked out, appalled that someone would do something like that without even batting an eye, even someone who's as much of a jerk as Chicago.
His lips formed a tight smile as he stepped closer to her. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to show them to anyone.” The way he said it sounded like he was expecting a 'thank you' in return.
“What? Wait – show? Did you take a picture of my emails?”
Chicago nodded then pulled out his phone again, he swiped through the photos until the screen displayed the first email thread between her and Red. He quickly flicked through the others to show Beca that he had taken a picture of every single one. And that also meant he had read every email sent and received by Beca.
She knew he was a horrible person, but she never believed he could swoop that low.
“What the fuck?” Beca yelled, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
He just shrugged in response, letting Beca know he wasn't bothered by her tone at all. “My cousin is gay. He’s a guy so it’s a little different, he’s into dicks not chicks, but I thought you’d be interested to know.”
Beca couldn't hide her anger any longer. “Why the fuck would I be interested?” She hissed at him, ignoring the burning feeling at her eyes.
Don't cry. Don't fucking cry.
There was no way she was letting Chicago get to her enough to make her cry in front of him. She would never let herself forget it if she did. And neither would he. But that was kind of the least of her problems in that moment.
“I'm psyched to find out who Red is. I bet it's someone really obvious like that chick who acts like she has a dick. Keep me updated will you?”
The strength she had to find to force herself to turn around and start waking in the other direction was unbelievable. She wanted to slam her clenched fist into his face and scratch away that smirk, but she wouldn't allow herself to swoop down to his level.
But he was hot on her heels. “Hey! Wait.”
“What the fuck do you want?” Beca's voice shook with anger as she narrowed her eyes at him. “No really, what the fuck do you want from me?”
“I need a favour.”
A dry chuckle escaped past her lips. “A favour? I don’t owe you shit, Chicago.” His name left a rotten taste in her mouth.
He wasn't showing any sign of giving up. “Well, think of it as more of an exchange. You do something for me and I'll do something for you.”
Beca was so fucking done with this conversation, but she couldn't risk her secret getting out, especially so soon. She had finally found someone she could talk to and actually be herself with, and she knew that as soon as Chicago opened his big fucking mouth then everything would change.
“Well, unless you want these emails getting around then you’re going to help me.” He stated.
“You fucking wouldn't.”
“Wouldn't I?” He fired back. “Barden Bliss has been a little boring lately, it would sure make things a lot more interesting around here.”
Beca would be outed, but Red would be in the clear right? Chicago had no idea who Red actually was, but if he uploaded the emails to Barden Bliss, would Red stop talking to her? Would she run away if she found out that Beca was the person she'd been talking to?
Chicago sighed, “Look, they won’t get leaked as long as you help me.” Did he really expect Beca to just be okay with him blackmailing her?
“What do you need? Another psychology essay? Free ticket to the gig tonight? What the fuck do you want from me?”
“What?” Beca was confused. Not only did chicago know she was gay, but he also threatened to leak the emails between her and another girl. Did he have a thing for Lesbians or something?
“Not with you. With Chloe.” Chicago confirmed.
Beca groaned. The guy seriously needed to quit it, but she knew there was very little chance of that happening. “I’m not helping with that.”
“The emails, Beca.”
“Fuck!” Beca yelled as her fist pounded into the wall. A jolt of pain erupted from her knuckles sending a tingling sensation up her left wrist. She grasped her left hand in her right, and bit down on her lip to mask the pain. She'd have rather it was Chicago's face but she couldn't risk it. She knew what would have happened if she'd hit him.
“Well that was stupid,” Chicago said.
That only made her bite down on her lip harder.
Beca only had two options.
She could walk away, and hope that it’s an empty threat. Or help him get a date with Chloe and he’ll delete the emails.
Or I could kick him in the nuts, punch him in the face and then walk away...
No. He would definitely leak the emails then. Chicago was a jerk, but was he capable of doing something like that? Probably.
Beca was fucked either way.
“So?” He nudged, “What’s it gonna be? What do you think everyone would say if they found out the school’s biggest loser was also a dyke?”
“Shut the fuck up!” She hissed, still gripping onto her hand that ached like hell. He raised his eyebrows at her outburst but didn't show any sign of backing down.
She just needed a minute to think, a moment to weigh out her options without Chicago making a snide comment. Beca knew that there was really only one thing she could do, but she knew she'd be setting herself up for months of misery if she went along with it.
“Fine,” Beca sighed in defeat. There was nothing else she could do to stop Chicago from leaking her emails. “I’ll put in a good word for you.”
He cracked a smile like a little kid on Christmas morning. “So, you’ll help?”
“I don’t have a fucking choice. You're blackmailing me, you prick.” Beca spat at him in pure hatred.
In response to that, Chicago put a hand on his chest and gasped, feigning hurt. “Thank you, Mitchell. But, you know, if you’re offering, a free ticket for tonight's gig would be pretty cool.”
She shot him a death glare, “Don’t fucking push it.”
“Alright.” He raised both hands in the air in fake surrender, then turned away from Beca with a smug look on his face.
Beca didn't wait for him to turn the corner before immediately rushing in the opposite direction. She slammed open the door beside the gym and ran towards the car park.
As soon as her bum hit the car seat, her fists slammed down onto the steering wheel. The anger soon turned into frustrated tears which resulted in a full breakdown. She was sobbing heavily into her hands on the steering wheel, releasing every pent up emotion. Her heart rate increased as she struggled to breathe through the heart wrenching sobs that racked her entire body.
She knew she needed to calm down before her panic mode sets in causing her to have a full blown panic attack, but she still couldn't manage to catch a breath. After a few seconds of attempting (but failing) to regulate her breathing, her ears began to ring, which got increasingly louder until her hearing fogged over.
Her hands were numb, but she wasn't sure if it was because of the force she used to slam her hands down onto the wheel or if it was because of the panic attack taking over her body. Beca clenched her eyes shut tight, wishing it would just pass so she would be okay.
But she wasn't okay at all; her vision had clouded over, she couldn't hear anything and she still couldn't fucking breathe.
It took her at least ten minutes to ride it out and calm down, using the breathing techniques her ex-therapist had showed her. She grasped onto anything she could touch, hear and see until she could feel her breathing slow down back to it's normal rate.
She contemplated texting Jesse or Stacie, but neither of them knew the extent of her panic attacks and anxiety, and if she told them about her current situation then she'd have to explain what got her so riled up in the first place and there was no way that was going to happen. Because then she'd have to come out to them and she wasn't ready for that, which is the exact reason why she hadn't just walked away from Chicago.
She needed to shut her thoughts up before she was engulfed by another panic attack.
Beca wiped at her eyes, rubbing any remaining eye makeup from her face. She released a deep breath before reaching for her seatbelt and starting up her truck.
The panic attack had left her so emotionally exhausted but she couldn't stay at school any longer, she needed to get away - to be anywhere but there.
Chapter 6: Heavenly
finally an update! sorry it's taken so long. i was prioritising my mental health and just life in general but i'm finally writing again. thank you for all the comments and support on this fic so far. i promise it won't be abandoned. i felt like i owed you guys a super long chapter for being so patient with me so here you go.
hope you enjoy :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The last thing Beca needed just hours before a gig was to have a mental breakdown in the front seat of her truck, but it is what it is.
She lifted her headphones from her head and rested them around her neck as her eyes flickered open and landed on the brick wall in front of her. She followed the red bricks with her eyes, counting each piece of graffiti on the wall in attempt to distract herself from her own thoughts.
Beca sped out of school without looking back and drove to an abandoned lot, her mind too preoccupied to think of somewhere else to go. And if she had driven any further, she might not have stopped after approaching the ‘Welcome to Barden’ town sign, and a part of her would have thought about never coming back.
Her hands still shook as she clenched the wheel, squeezing as hard as she could as if it would release every ounce of anger and anxieties inside of her. Even though she rode out her panic attack a few minutes earlier, Beca still couldn't calm herself down. She didn't fucking know what to do.
Beca wished she didn’t care, she wished she could just brush it off and go about her day without worrying every minute what Chicago could possibly do to make her life a living hell.
Chicago had something on her - something big - she couldn’t just pretend like nothing had happened. God, she fucking hated him. Did that dickwad really think he could just blackmail Beca into getting what he wanted? Would he really post the emails? How could someone be so cruel? This wasn't something she could let go lightly, Chicago was literally threatening to out her to the entire school. It wasn’t that she wanted to hide her sexuality, but it was her coming out, she wanted to be the one to choose when she came out, how she did it and who she told. It was her thing, and she wouldn't let Chicago take that from her.
So, she would help Chicago with Chloe, even though she would really rather not. She didn’t trust him, nor did she like him, but it was his only request, and Beca didn't have another choice.
Her gaze drifted down to her phone which was blowing up with texts from her friends. She ignored all of the notifications, instead taking note of the time. It had nearly been an hour since she left school, now dragging towards the end of third period. Beca’s music class was next, and that was the only reason why she forced herself to drive back to school.
Music was her lifeline. It was the one thing that could take her mind off anything, and right now she needed that more than ever.
Sneaking into school was just as easy as sneaking out, if anything it was even easier as their were only a few stragglers in the corridor.
As Beca waited for the bell to ring which signaled the end of third period, she took out her phone and flicked through her recent messages.
[Jesse] Your dad is going to be so pissed.
[Stacie] Dude if I knew you were skipping I would have come with
[Stacie] No fair!
There was also an unopened email sitting in her inbox.
SUBJECT: give me something real
I know we’ve only been emailing for a couple of days, but I feel like I know you, whilst knowing absolutely nothing about you.
So, give me something real
This person actually wanted to get to know Beca, the real her, which terrified the fuck out of her. Beca had never been very good at opening up to people. None of her friends knew about her anxiety, not even Stacie or Jesse. She didn't talk about her feelings because she found it easier to just push everything down into a tiny bubble in her brain.
But what scared her even more was that she actually did want to open up to Red, because those past few days felt so freeing. Red already knew her biggest secret that no one else knew, (except for Chicago). Beca felt like she could share anything with her, like she didn't have to hide who she was with Red, which was kind of ironic because they were literally hiding behind laptop screens and a whole other name.
As nice and as exhilarating as it would have felt to tell someone everything about herself without the fear of being judged, Beca didn't want to tell her too much about her life and who she was. What if Beca said something about herself that made Red somehow manage to figure out it was Beca she had been talking to, and then decided to just stop emailing her.
Beca didn’t think anyone would be too pleased to find out she was the person they’d been talking to. She was kind of a loner, or at least she used to be before she expanded her social circle. Beca was an introvert in a very standoffish way, she didn't like talking to new people or stepping outside of her comfort zone. She wasn't crazy beautiful like other girls in their year and she was kind of a big fucking mess. She just didn’t understand why anyone would like her or want to date her.
She had never been in a proper relationship, she has had her first kiss however, but kissing Jesse was not something she liked to reminisce. A few other kisses followed but none of them had felt right, they were all drunk kisses shared between friends which they laughed about afterwards. Although none of the kisses felt earth-shattering, she hadn’t expected to feel empty after kissing Luke and Donald.
She’d been close to kissing Stacie once, but Beca pushed her away after she’d realised Stacie was just trying to get a guys attention.
So Beca just didn’t see why she would appeal to anyone, guy or girl.
Unless Red was a complete weirdo herself, or maybe Red wasn't even bi, she (if Red even was a girl) could've been lying about that. She could've just be talking to ‘Melody’, trying to figure out who she was so she could out her to everyone at school.
Beca really wished she could talk to Stacie about this, but there was no way she could do that without outing herself.
SUBJECT: Re: give me something real
My favourite colour is green, although, not a lot of people actually know that.
But I’m guessing you were hoping for something more than just my favourite colour? I'm not one to disappoint, (unless you're my dad), so I’m about to get really real here, so put your feet up and enjoy the whirlwind that is my life.
Sometimes I think I don't even know myself. I mean, there are lots of small things that I know about myself; I like music, I’m not addicted to coffee...coffee is addicted to me, my favourite pizza is hawaiian, (pineapple does belong on pizza, don’t come for me!), and most importantly, I cannot stand romcoms, most movies actually. I get bored and can never make it to the end because they are all so damn predictable (they guy gets the girl, the kid sees dead people, Darth Vader is Luke's father, etc). But it’s the deeper things that I don’t know about myself.
A lot of the time it feels like I’m the only person in my life that doesn’t know who I am. I mean, my friends all think they know me, and yeah, they know more about me than anyone else, (except you, I guess), but sometimes I think, what if I’m just pretending to be that person just to please them? What if the version of me that they see or that my family sees, is not the real me? Which version of me is the real me?
Sorry if I lost you there, I’m just as confused as you probably are right now.
Anyway, just like the average person, I have dreams for my future. I dream of getting out, of exploring the world, living life to the fullest and finding myself.
I won’t go into too much detail at the risk of leaking my identity, (that makes me sound like a secret agent), but there is one thing in my life that makes me feel so alive and I am at my happiest when I’m doing it, and I know, that is what I want to do for the rest of my life. And as cliche as it sounds, I really fucking hope I make it one day. I want to prove to everyone, and myself, that I can do it. Sometimes I think about giving up, just give in to the negativity from others and go down a different path, but I honestly have no idea what my future holds, and that kind of scares the shit out of me.
On a lighter note, I wish I could be a secret agent, that would be pretty sick.
Is that real enough for you?
Your turn ;)
(Ps. This is like the longest email I’ve ever sent, it kind of feels like an essay. So, I’m sorry if this is messy but it's basically a bunch of head thoughts. Hope you enjoy.)
Beca settled for telling Red about herself without including too many details which could’ve potentially given herself away. There was kind of an unspoken agreement between them to not mention their friends names or give away details about themselves that would make it easy for the other to figure out their identity. In a way it kind of felt like a game of guess who, and Beca needed to be vague with her answers otherwise Red would've been able to figure it out way too quickly. But sometimes Beca wished that she knew who she was talking to, it would’ve definitely settled a few of her anxieties.
She didn’t want to sound like she had a massive ego, but Beca was well known at Barden High, she wasn’t popular, but everyone knew who she was and respected her because she was in a band. If Beca had told Red that she was really into creating music that would’ve cut out a whole load of people and Red might have figured out that Beca was Melody - it was way too soon for that.
SUBJECT: A secret Agent, huh?
Melody, (or should I say Agent Melody?)
Favourite colours, seriously? Although, I guess that is a pretty good start to getting to know each other, you can tell a lot about someone by their favourite colour. My favourite colours are yellow and blue.
I stand with you! PINEAPPLE BELONGS ON PIZZA! And anyone who disagrees is wrong.
How do you not like movies? Are you insane? Not even the super sad ones that make you sob?
I constantly feel homesick for a place I’ve never been. Like you, I would kill to be able to travel the world. I dream of exploring multiple countries and leaving a trace of me behind everywhere I go. Creating new memories and falling in love with the world a little more each day.
I’ve been dabbling in photography for a while now, and I think I’m starting to fall in love with it. I love seeing the world in a different light, being able to capture the beauty of a moment to keep the memory alive. I love that every photograph is perfect in it's own way, even if the photo itself is blurry or over exposed, it still locks that moment in place. Every photograph makes people feel different things, and I love the thought of being the person behind that. I think portrait photography might be my favourite, I love taking pictures of people because photographs don't lie, they capture the true emotions and personalities of someone.
Honestly, you don't need to worry so much about your future. I can’t decide what I want to do with the rest of my life and that's okay. We have the whole world to see and the rest of our lives to figure out who we are and what we want. We have so much time, so, it’s okay if you're scared, but you really don't need to be.
And as for which version of you is the most real, I believe all of them are. I think everyone sees us differently. The version of me when I’m with my parents is definitely different to the me when I’m with my friends. But I think all of those versions are the real me, I just portray myself differently around different people. And I definitely don't see myself the way other people might, so, I think you are all of those versions of you, and every one of them is 100% real.
I don’t really email people either so this is definitely my longest email too. And I’m glad it's to you.
And hey, when you become rich and famous you better not forget about me ;)
Honestly, Beca could’ve fallen in love with Red based of that email alone. The way she described her passion for photography practically mirrored Beca’s love for music.
Every photograph makes people feel different things, and I love the thought of being the person behind that.
That was exactly how Beca felt about her mixes, and that was why she wanted to be a music producer. She didn't have to be in the spotlight to have her fingerprints all over the music, she could still add her own ideas and passion and create something so powerful that people actually stopped to feel whilst listening to the music. It was literally food for the soul.
Red somehow managed to ease Beca’s anxieties by saying exactly the right thing she needed to hear. It was so surreal to Beca that she could connect with someone so easily without even knowing their real name.
SUBJECT: Re: A secret Agent, huh?
Why would I intentionally watch something that makes me cry? And you said I'm insane? If I wanted a good cry I would relive my parents divorce.
I'm no photographer, but I could picture you and I together.
Okay, that was so fucking bad, I apologise. I am cringing so hard right now. Currently wishing for the ground to swallow me up.
“I can’t wait for our gig later,” Luke said as he picked at a slice of pepperoni pizza, “it’s going to be awesome.” He dropped a piece of pepperoni into his mouth and discarded the rest of the pizza.
Beca nodded, her face creased into a slight frown. She wasn’t as confident as Luke that it would go well. Beca had a lot on her mind as of late, so she just hoped she could faze it all into the background to allow her to focus on the gig. Everything would be okay as long as she sung the right songs in key, doesn’t fuck up her guitar solo and the most important: does not trip or fall on stage.
Jesse nudged Beca’s foot with his own under the table. “Oh come on, Bec, surely you can’t be nervous,” he said between handfuls of fries.
Beca shrugged. She had to admit, she was nervous, but the gig wasn’t too the only thing on her mind.
A hand squeezed her own, which caused Beca to look up, into a pair of bright blue eyes. Chloe was smiling at her with her pearly white teeth. “You’re amazing Becs,” Chloe exclaimed, “You don’t need to be nervous.”
Chloe’s smile was almost contagious, her eyes softened, as if she was telling Beca everything she needed to through their connected gazes. The corner of Beca’s lips curled upwards when she couldn’t resist it anymore. Chloe always managed to build up her confidence, especially when Beca was losing faith in herself.
A calm silence settled over the group as everyone continued to eat their respective lunches.
“Will your teammates be there, Jesse?” She was glad Aubrey asked so she didn’t have to. Beca had been trying to figure out a way to bring up Chicago without it being weird.
“Why? Have you got your eye on someone?” It was the first time Beca spoke since sitting down with her friends at the start of lunch. She’d been unusually quiet which hadn’t gone unnoticed by her friends, but they’d all just assumed she was nervous about the gig.
Beca didn’t miss the glare Jesse fired her way, but she let it slide, honestly not caring if Jesse was pissed at her for saying that. It wasn’t her fault that he was jealous.
“Maybe,” Aubrey said, her tone was neutral and not giving off any indication to whether she did or not.
It must have been something to do with being her best friend for years, but Chloe seemed to pick up on a vibe instantly. Her eyes widened as she gushed at the blonde.
“Oh my god. Who?”
Aubrey shook her head, the faint smile at her lips disappeared as she stood up, lunch tray in her hand. “I’m going to take my tray back.” She strode away from the table without another word.
Beca pushed her own tray away from her, “Chicago will be there,” she said, hoping to sound casual as she slipped him into conversation.
Almost everyone’s eyes snapped to hers, “Walp? How do you know?” Jesse quizzed as he stared at Beca from across the table.
“He mentioned it,” Beca shrugged, as if it was normal to have conversations with Chicago beside her locker. She wasn’t going to tell them that Chicago had briefly mentioned that he’d be at their gig after blackmailing her which led to a panic attack.
Jesse’s eyes widened, “You two spoke?” Beca nodded. “And you didn’t kill each other?”
“I thought you hate him?” Stacie asked as she propped her elbows on the table and squashed her boobs together so her cleavage was on show.
Beca nodded, her eyes drifted from Stacie’s chest to her leftover fries. Stacie had a nice figure, which Beca definitely appreciated, but it was Stacie...her best friend, and that was definitely something that would never happen. Beca loved her, but NOT like that.
“I do,” Beca said, of course she hated Chicago, he was a prick.
Jesse nodded, unconvinced, “Then why are you speaking to him?”
Instead of answering him or reacting to any of her friends confused expressions, she simply stared at the table, yearning for a hole in the ground to suck her in. Even though she was the one that brought Chicago into the conversation, she wished they’d all just drop it.
Stacie interrupted as she noticed Beca's discomfort, “I’m willing to do whoever it takes for me to relieve some of this stress.”
Beca lifted her head up to smirk at her best friend. Stacie really was insufferable, but Beca was used to it and she loved her for it.
“You mean whatever it takes?” Amy piped in as she attempted to sneakily steal fries off Beca’s plate - she failed, but only because Beca was watching her take them one by one.
“Yeah,” Stacie nods, “I’ll do that too.”
“Well, Beca Effin’ Mitchell here gets eyefucked by every guy in the room at literally every gig we play,” Luke mentioned, a massive grin on his face as he watched Beca's cheeks redden.
Beca groaned into her hands, “Shut up.” She did not want all the attention on her. God, she missed being a loner, nobody used to notice her, and at least she could go about her day without anyone blackmailing her.
Luke laughed at Beca’s reaction, “I’m just saying, everyone thinks you’re hot, you should hook up with someone. Maybe then you’ll be a little less stressy.”
Aubrey reappeared at the table and took her seat between Stacie and Jesse. “Who's stressy?” She asked.
“Beca,” Jesse laughed.
“I’m not stressy,” Beca replied calmly. She raked a hand through her hair and tugged at the ends. She knew she was ‘stressy’ but it was kind of hard not to be with everything going on in her life.
“And I’m not fat,” Amy said.
Chloe leaned forwards, “Leave her alone. Bec is only stressy because she has to put up with you two everyday,” she eyed Jesse and Luke.
“Ooh, burn.” Jesse laughs, “Man, you just got told.”
“Shut up Jesse.” Aubrey, Luke and Stacie all replied simultaneously which put a smile on Beca’s face.
Aubrey and Jesse soon slipped into a conversation, as did Stacie, Amy and Luke, so it was kind of the perfect time to talk to Chloe about Chicago, but Beca was avoiding it entirely. How was she meant to just bring it up?
By the way, Chlo, Chicago likes you and wants to go on a date with you. The reason why I’m telling you this is because I’m gay and Chicago knows and is blackmailing me. Can you pass me some ketchup for my fries?
It was fucking bullshit. What did Chicago want from her? Was he just going to demand shit from her and expect Beca to just do it?
How was she meant to get Chloe to agree to a date with him? Beca literally could not stand this guy, and she wasn't alone in that.
Kick Affiliation performed three covers; Bad Habits (Ed Sheeran), Blinding Lights (The Weekend) and You Broke Me First (Tate McRae).
Beca loved all kind of music, every genre had a place in her heart, but rock music, specifically punk rock, was exactly what she needed right now. They had to be careful which songs they performed, especially because a lot of their gigs consisted of kids from their school, but Beca loved being able to take a typical pop song and turn it into something so passionate and alive.
Performing was a way for Beca to release a lot of pent up anger, stress and unspoken emotions. She was the type of person to bottle up everything, to hide her feelings from everyone until she exploded, but this was a way for Beca to set her anxieties and frustrations free without hurting anyone in the process. It was a win-win; Beca was happy, and so was everyone else. If only her dad saw it that way, she just wanted him to understand what music meant to her, but he wouldn’t even give her a chance. Beca wished that he would just come to one of her shows one day, and every time she played she caught herself scanning the crowd for her father’s face. And every time she had been disappointed, but not surprised.
Her hand ached and it had developed some bruising over the hours that followed since punching the locker. She had iced it after school but it still hurt. In hindsight, she probably should have got it checked out, but she didn’t have the time for that, plus, the doctors probably would’ve just told her to ice it and rest...what a load of bullshit. Jesse had questioned the bruising after their lunch period as they walked to Pre-calc together but Beca had just brushed him off and told him to focus on not fucking up their gig. He didn’t push her further because he didn’t want to upset her, Beca had a tendency for bunking off classes, and she was yet to complete her Pre-Calc test.
“I’m still into you.” Beca sang the final line, the song coming to an end and the crowd erupted into applause.
Paramore was much loved by all three of the band members so they had to slot at least one of their songs into their setlist.
Kick Affiliation had created a few originals but Beca preferred to sing covers. Beca had written the lyrics, and come up with the melody, with help from Jesse and Luke, but it was mostly her fingerprints over those songs. She didn’t want the backlash to fall on her if they performed them and everyone thought they were shit, because then they’d just be another cover band who failed at writing their own music. But at least with covers, most of the songs they played were already so well known and loved, Beca was afraid that no one would think her songs were good enough, and that fear was holding her back.
“Thank you guys,” Beca spoke into the microphone, slightly out of breath, “We will be back after a short break so don’t go anywhere, but for now...We are Kick Affiliation. Thank you so much for coming!”
Beca switched off the microphone and propped it back on the stand, turning to grin at her band mates. She was so fucking proud of them and how far they’d come as a group.
She caught the water bottle thrown at her from the side of the platform. Emily grinned as Beca thanked her for the water and lifted it to her lips, draining at least a third of the bottle. When Beca felt a little less parched, she popped the cap back on and dropped the bottle to the floor. Before she had even managed to take another step, she was embraced in a tight hug which caught her off guard.
“You are my hero.” Emily yelled into Beca’s ear as she pulled away from the hug.
Beca laughed, her heart booming at the way Emily’s excitement radiated off her. She really did love Emily with her whole heart, and she appreciated her so much for caring about her passion for music.
“Seriously? Not Captain America or cat woman?” Beca replied, a grin growing at her lips. She couldn’t hide her happiness, and she didn’t want to. This was her happy place, and she loved being so unapologetically herself. Well, except for that one little thing...
Emily giggled. “Are those the only two marvel characters you could remember?”
“Yes,” the smaller brunette confirmed, “But in my defence, you were taking like the entire time we were watching them.”
Emily had convinced Beca to have a marvel movie marathon with her starting from Captain America: The First Avenger, but Emily was the type of person to comment on every scene and dramatically react to plot twists in films she’d seen multiple times before. And Beca, well, she didn’t like movies, so they were a great pair.
“Seriously, Bec, you’re amazing. You’re gonna break the world one day,” Emily gushed.
Beca couldn’t resist pulling her step sister into another hug. “I love you, Em.”
The younger brunette smiled at her. “I love you too,” she replied just as Stacie jumped onto the platform beside Beca.
She handed a glass to Beca, “Liquid courage, not that you need it, you’re a fucking rockstar.”
“Thanks.” Beca smirked. They clinked their glasses together and knocked back the liquid in one. Emily watched as she sipped her soda through a straw, but still grimaced as the older girls swallowed.
Beca’s gaze landed on the redhead standing amongst the crowd talking to someone Beca recognised from their school. She was nodding along to whatever the girl was saying, and Beca couldn’t help but smile. Right then she felt alive and so fucking invincible. Chicago hadn’t shown, and Beca was hoping he wouldn’t, so she would forget all about that for a while and just live for tonight.
“Thanks for the drink, Stace.” Beca shouted before jumping off the platform and making her way past people until she found her friend.
"Hey Chloe,” Beca said.
Chloe’s whole face lit up when she saw Beca standing in front of her. The redhead was one of Beca’s best friends and one of the first people she trusted enough to share her passion for music with, so having her support at every show she played at was incredible.
“Bec, you were amazing up there,” Chloe exclaimed, “Your voice is insane.”
Even though all of her friends had showered her with compliments, Beca wasn’t so sure. When she was performing Beca didn’t even feel real, it was like she was watching everything play out in front of her but she wasn’t really there. That’s what music did to her, it took over and consumed her entirely. Sometimes it felt like if she just blinked, she would miss it.
“Really? I kind of messed up at the begining-” A hand squeezed Beca’s which stopped her thoughts from spiralling.
“You're really talented.” Chloe assured her, and squeezed her hand again, “don’t ever doubt yourself.”
Beca released a heavy sigh and grounded herself by squeezing the hand in hers. “Thanks Chlo. I just wish my Dad would think that too, or at least pretend to.”
Chloe frowned, and it looked so out of place for someone who was all sunshine and rainbows. “I'm sorry.”
“Eh, he thinks this is just a phase or whatever,” Beca shrugged, “which is kind of bullshit because he hasn't once even tried to come to a gig so it’s not like he’s even seen me perform.” Maybe it was the alcohol she consumed, or perhaps it was the ambience of the room, but Beca could've sworn she saw Chloe’s eyes drop to her lips in amidst her rambling.
“His loss. He could be having the time of his life right now.” Beca lightened up a little at that. She was ready to get back out there and sing her fucking heart out. If her dad didn’t want to be there then she didn’t care - she was doing this for herself, so he could fuck off. She decided right then that she didn’t care what he wanted, and she wouldn’t let him bring her down.
She pulled Chloe into a hug fuelled with adrenaline and laughed into her shoulder. Once they separated, she spared one final glance at Chloe and smiled like her life depended on it. Beca span around ready to ‘ace this shit’ until she locked eyes with the devil himself.
“That was quite a show, Mitchell.”
Every ounce of euphoria was drained from her body within seconds at the sight of Chicago. The arrogant smirk plastered on his face as he stepped closer to Beca.
She nodded, “Uh, yeah. Thanks for coming.”
Beca hoped she could have at least one night without Chicago appearing and ruining everything, but of course she wouldn’t be so lucky. She acknowledged the way he was staring at Chloe and felt nothing but hate and rage towards him. Chloe knew that Beca hated him so the confused stare she sent her way wasn’t unexpected. Beca wanted to just tell him to fuck off and walk away but she knew she needed to do what Chicago wanted.
“Hey so, uh, Chlo? This is Chicago.”
Chloe nodded, “Oh, yeah I know. We have English and gym together.” She smiled at Chicago which made Beca’s blood boil. Chloe smiled at everyone, she was nice to everyone, that was just who she was, Beca had never disliked anything about her until then.
“Right. I’m in that class,” Beca said. She was shit at this, whatever this was. What did Chicago expect her to say? Did he want her to tell Chloe that he was a good guy, that he was worthy of dating someone like Chloe? Because there was no way she was going to do that. Chloe would see straight through her lies anyway.
“Good to see you again, Chloe.” Chicago said, then held his hand out for Chloe to shake, shoving Beca aside in the process. Gentleman, my ass.
“You too. Congratulations on your win the other day.” Chloe replied, and Beca hoped her enthusiasm was fake. If Chloe wasn’t interested in Chicago then there wasn’t really anything Beca could do to help.
Chicago smiled as he gripped on to every word that Chloe said. “You were there? You’re a cheerleader, right?”
Beca knew how much Chloe loved being a cheerleader, so that was obviously a conversation that would last a while and Beca wasn’t needed anymore.
“Okay, I’m just gonna –” Beca pointed behind her, “I need to get ready for the next song.” As she began to walk away she realised that neither of them were even listening to her anymore, too consumed in each other.
Beca reached the platform and gestured to Jesse and Luke that she was ready. As she adjusted her microphone she forced herself to glare at her feet, because she knew if she looked to her right she’d see Chloe and Chicago deep in conversation, probably laughing and leaning into each other.
Jesse held his microphone in his hand and tapped it twice to test the speakers which caught almost everyone’s attention. The audience began to hover towards the band and Beca nodded to herself. She needed to just get through the last few songs and then she could drown her misery in alcohol - she didn’t even want to think about how much that made her sound like her father.
Beca gripped onto the microphone with her right hand, but the words wouldn’t leave her mouth. Chicago had got in her head and she could kill him for it. Beca rarely got stage fright anymore but she was just standing there, frozen in place. She looked behind her and caught Jesse’s eye instantly, he nodded, understanding exactly what she couldn’t say.
He took the lead in reintroducing the band whilst Beca attempted to chill the fuck out.
“Next up is an original, written by our one and only Beca Mitchell.”
That was her cue.
Beca looked out at the crowd, slightly blinded by the stage lights. Emily was standing beside Stacie and Amy, the three of them smiled up at her and cheered her on. She flashed them a grin and stepped towards the microphone.
“Hi everyone. Uh, this is actually the first time we’ve performed this song live so I hope you guys enjoy.”
"honey, i've waited so long for you
i wanna waste, waste away with you
we're moving slow with glitter on our face
i gotta stay, gotta stay in this place
this night is electric
and i won't forget it
you're so heavenly
you're so heavenly
but don't you know it
don't you know it, baby?"
"we can dance forever and pretend
i wanna, i wanna stay 'til the end
we can dance forever and pretend
i wanna, i wanna stay 'til the end"
Beca spared a glance back at Luke and Jesse as the instrumental break began. Before this song started she felt like absolute shit but as she watched the whole room light up and become alive in front of them she couldn’t not feel incredible. They were reacting to their sound - her sound, and she felt so fucking invincible.
"oh, nothing can feel this good
we're getting wasted on what we love
be the dream, be the dream in my mind
stay here wasting my time
this night is electric
and i won’t forget it
you’re so heavenly
you’re so heavenly
but don’t you know it, don’t you know it, baby?"
we can dance forever and pretend
i wanna, i wanna stay ‘til the end
we can dance forever and pretend
i wanna, i wanna stay ‘til the end
Beca powered through the rest of the song, singing her heart out as Jesse and Luke rocked behind her. Her feet moved to the beat as she danced along with the audience.
The crowd went insane as the song came to an end. The euphoric cheers rose as Jesse finished with a guitar riff and Beca shoved an arm into the air as the vibrations travelled through her, setting her soul alight. Their friends jumped up and down, screaming until their lungs couldn’t take it anymore. Beca exhaled as she took in every toothy grin in the audience.
That. That was what she lived for.
"You guys have been absolutely amazing tonight, thank you so much for coming and supporting us. We are Kick Affiliation. Thank you, and goodnight!" Beca shouted into the microphone.
Just like after the first half of the set, Emily engulfed Beca in a hug and screamed in her ear. Emily was her number one fan and Beca couldn’t have appreciated her more.
“Do you need a ride?” Emily asked. Beca looked at her questioningly, Emily didn’t drive...oh. “Your Dad texted. He's outside.”
So her Dad could wait outside in his car but he couldn’t even come in and watch his daughter’s performance?
“Uh, no, I'm good thanks. I'm gonna stay a while, but I'll see you at home?” She replied, her gaze already on the bar.
Emily nodded and hugged Beca once more, “See you at home, Bec.”
Beca looked up, the adrenaline poured out of her as her gaze narrowed down on her favourite redhead. She wasn’t staring at her with a massive smile on her face like she normally was after a gig, instead, her back was to the stage, with Chicago attached to her side, his arm around her waist as they walked out of the bar, together.
Fine, Beca thought. If Chloe liked Chicago too then he didn’t really need her help. Beca hoped he would just drop the blackmail and move on. She couldn’t dwell on that thought for long because arms wrapped around her and lifted her into the air. She was spun around twice before being dropped back onto her feet.
“Becaw, that was insane.” Jesse yelled.
Beca laughed, still feeling the effects of the adrenaline rush. “Dude, I know.”
“I could kiss you right now.”
She grimaced at the thought of his lips on hers, “Please don’t.”
“That was fucking sick.” Luke said from beside them, “Drinks on me.” He tucked his drumsticks into the back pockets of his jeans and jumped off the platform, heading straight to the bar.
Beca practically stumbled out of the passenger side of her truck, Jesse watched her closely as he stepped out of the drivers side, very soberly. He only had one drink after the show then stuck to soda as he kept a careful eye on Beca.
She pushed the door closed and wobbled towards her front door, completely missing the keys that Jesse threw her way. He ran towards her and picked them up himself, he gripped onto Beca as he slotted the key in the keyhole and unlocked the door for her.
“Come on drunky,” he said and pushed her through the front door, shoving the keys into her hand. “Text me in the morning so I know you haven’t choked on your own sick in your sleep.”
The front door closed behind her and she slammed her back against it. She closed her eyes and allowed the darkness to consume her in attempt to stop the world from spinning. She just needed to make it up the stairs and then she could just flop on her bed but her feet didn’t seem to be cooperating. Beca pushed herself up and stumbled forwards, nearly falling as she gripped onto the handrail.
The lamp closest to the stairs flickered on causing her to groan internally.
“What time do you call this?” Her father asked. Was he seriously waiting up for her just so he could grill her?
Beca stared ahead, her vision blurring in front of her. “I don’t know,” she sighed, “Ask the clock.”
He sighed heavily, clearly disappointed in her, but whatever, she was disappointed in him too.
“I’m going to bed.” She pushed past him and slowly made her way up the stairs, gripping onto the rail with every step.
Her head hit her pillow and instantly engulfed her. The dizziness was wearing off but every time she moved her head the entire room span. Something was digging into her stomach so she reached into her front pocket and pulled out her phone. The screen lit up and she had to clench her eyes closed to stop the light from effecting her.
Once she’d recovered from the momentarily blinding, her eyes flickered open and she scrolled through her notifications. A few messages from friends and a bunch of facebook and instagram notifications. Stacie had posted a bunch of photos from their gig on the band’s accounts, which seemed to have a lot of likes and comments. She made a note to look through them tomorrow and almost turned her phone off until she saw the gmail notification at the bottom of the screen.
SUBJECT: Kissing you?
Full disclosure, I’m a little tipsy but mostly just high on life right now.
This night is electric and I can’t stop thinking about kissing you, and how exhilarating it would feel to have your lips on mine.
“Holy shit,” Beca murmured as she propped herself up. Her eyes widened as she reread every word of the email.
This night is electric...
Was Red at the gig?
SUBJECT: Re: Kissing you?
Everyday I wake up and you are my first thought. I come home from school after a rough day and smile when I see your email in my inbox. I listen to music and think of you. My first sip of coffee in the morning is consumed by thoughts of you. I wonder how you start your day, if you eat breakfast or skip it entirely. I glance around the corridors at school, looking for you as if I would just know who are you by seeing your face.
I don’t know what you look like or even your name, but I think about kissing you all the time.
the song is heavenly by pale waves
Chapter 7: Secret Lover
It didn’t happen instantly, but once Beca had actually felt alive enough to brave opening her eyes, the previous nights events ran through her head.
Chloe walking out of the bar with Chicago.
Drinking and throwing back shots until she had stumbled out of the bar stool.
Jesse driving her home and walking her to her front door.
Her Dad waiting up for her and looking at her in disappointment.
Wait...she emailed Red, whilst drunk.
Beca had never sat up faster than she did then, her head throbbed as she reached for her phone. The thought of coffee and painkillers was shoved aside as she clicked on the unread email in her inbox.
I'm guessing from your last email you were a little intoxicated too? Were you at the Kick Affiliation gig?
I hope you had a good night.
I know last night I said that I wanted to kiss you, to know who are you, but I'm not ready for that yet. I was drunk and the truth is, our secret emails feel like my safe place and I don't know if I'm ready for everything to change. Trust me, I think about kissing you and holding you every day, and I want to meet you, but I can't let you know who I am yet.
Beca would have been lying if she'd said that Red's email hadn't made her heart sink to the bottom of her chest. She understood what Red was saying, Beca wasn't even sure if she was ready to come out either, but it still hurt to hear that. Beca really wanted to meet Red, because all she had been thinking about lately was being able to kiss her and even just hold her hand like normal couples do, it wasn't fair that they had to hide behind a computer screen.
She clicked on her last 'sent' email and braced herself for whatever the hell she had written.
“I sound like a fucking stalker,” Beca groaned, as her eyes flickered over the words ‘I wonder how you start your day.’
“Why did I say that? If you eat breakfast or skip it entirely. What the fuck was that about? God, I’m so lame.”
Beca froze as her eyes hovered over the words 'Love, Melody'.
No wonder she doesn't want me to know who she is, Beca thought.
SUBJECT: Re: hey
These emails are my safe place too right now - you are my safe place, Red, so if you aren't ready to reveal who you are then that's okay with me. I'm not going anywhere.
Beca trudged downstairs one step at a time, a hand on her head in attempt to ease the pressure. She stepped off the last step and inwardly squealed at the cold tiled floor against her bare feet.
She internally groaned at the sight of her father stood in the kitchen, right beside the coffee machine. There was no way she could make a cup of coffee without having some sort of conversation with him. She debated heading back up to her room and staying there all day, but god, she needed coffee.
She briefly remembered their conversation from last night after she stumbled through the front door, and she dreaded what her father had to say about that. But instead of prying or bringing up their interaction from last night, he simply reached for a second mug and started to make her coffee. If she wasn't so damn hungover she'd smile at the thought of her father knowing exactly the way she liked her coffee.
He turned to face Beca with a neutral expression, “How was your gig last night, Beca?”
She should have been happy that he even remembered that she had a gig, or the fact he even cared enough to mention it, but two days ago he didn't give a shit about her music, and he made it very clear that he didn't approve of her 'lifestyle'. It pissed her off deeply that he just switched on and off to caring about her life whenever he felt like.
“Dad, don't do that,” Beca sighed.
Her father frowned, which only annoyed her more. Was he really going to pretend like he didn't know what he was doing?
He placed Beca's coffee onto a coaster in front of her, whilst he continued to stir his. “Do what?”
“Don’t pretend like you care all of a sudden,” she snapped. Beca knew she was being harsh but she had spent so many nights turning her brain inside out from overthinking every argument they'd ever had. She blamed herself for every fight, every time her father came home with blurred vision and a roughed up face after the nights of drinking his body weight in alcohol, granted, he was sober now, but she still couldn't rid the guilt. Every time he was a crap father to her, Beca believed it was her fault, that she wasn't good enough to receive his love, or anybody elses for that matter.
She just wanted to stop blaming herself for everything her father had put her through. She shouldn't have to take all the credit for their shitty father-daughter relationship, he had a big part in that.
He released a heavy sigh, the one he'd always use when Beca was younger to show her that he was disappointed in her. “I do care. I was asking about your gig, but if you're going to be like this then I won't bother.”
Beca scoffed, of course he would turn it around on her and make her the bad guy.
“Do you have any plans today?” He asked, stirring away from the previous conversation. But Beca wasn't finished, she was sick of ignoring the conflict in their relationship.
“Oh, so now you're talking to me like normal after literally ignoring me for days?”
“What?” He straightened his stance, his hands now on his hips as he looked down at her.
Beca ran her left hand through her hair and tugged at a few strands to relieve some pressure. “You don't apologise, you just start talking to me like nothing happened.”
“Apologise for what, Beca? Nothing happened.” He turned his back to her again. “You just need to learn that I know what's best for you.”
Beca scoffed. She couldn’t just ignore it anymore, it was killing her to act like she wasn’t bothered by her father’s words. “So you can just abandon me for years then suddenly act like you give a shit again? That's not what being a parent is, you can't just chose when you want to act like a Dad.”
She wasn't sure why she brought that up again, she and her father had quite a few arguments over the years but they had gotten to the point of forgiveness when her father promised Beca he had changed for the better. Beca knew how hard he had tried to become a better (the best, even) version of himself, but there was something still holding her back from trusting him completely. She had lost her childhood to her parents arguments, her adolescence to her Mom's death and the grieving that followed, it seemed like she had never been able to catch a break from family shit.
After her father had fucked her around too many times when she was growing up, she had never been able to trust him entirely, but he had received her forgiveness - and for Beca, that was a big thing because she didn't forgive easily. She was the type of person to hold grudges against people and she'd build walls around herself so people couldn't hurt her again. But she didn't know why she had brought up the past, because she knew he was better, and she knew he loved her and Kat and Em. Beca knew he wouldn't fuck up again like he used to, but there was always a part of her that was waiting for him to relapse or even just turn on her altogether.
The thing is, he had never apologised. He begged her to forgive him and let him back into her life, but he never once said 'sorry'. She never really had much of a choice though. After her Mom died, Beca had to go live with her Dad because she had no one else.
“Beca.” Her Father's voice was stern, and she could see the irritation written all over his face. His eyes were scrunched up and the lines on his forehead were more creased than she had seen them in a long time. Looking at her father like that, all Beca could think about was how she did that - she caused him that pain.
Beca sighed as she felt the second build up of tears behind her eyes. “What?” Her voice was small now, she had realised her mistake and wished she hadn't said anything.
“Please can we move past this?” He asked.
Instead of blowing up at him once more, something that probably wouldn't have made anything better - although it might have made Beca feel better, she just sighed, admitting defeat. “Fine. Whatever.”
He nodded twice then moved past Beca to stand in front of the toaster. “Do you want some toast?”
Beca wanted to laugh at how ridiculous she felt. She knew even then her father was never going to apologise - apologies were foreign to him, but she was still expecting something.
“No.” She picked up her mug from the counter and blew the steam away before taking a light sip. “Stacie’s coming over. I’m going for a shower.” She turned and made her way back to her bedroom before her Dad could say anything else that would tip her over the edge.
Maybe their relationship just couldn't be fixed.
In the hour whilst waiting for Stacie to get there, Beca hadn't moved from her position on her bed. She couldn't muster up enough energy to shower or even get dressed. Her eyes were glued to her phone screen as she scrolled through tiktok, barely even watching the videos but at least they were stimulating her brain. Her coffee had been drank within minutes of returning back upstairs and it had done nothing to ease her hangover. She craved an iced latte from the pancake shack but could not bring herself to move.
The door swung open to reveal Stacie dressed in grey sweatpants and her blue Bellas hoodie. Her eyes were covered with a pair of sunglasses and her hair was up in a messy bun. Stacie was the kind of person to always dress up no matter where she was going, she believed that she always had to look good because who knew what that day had in store for her. So Stacie's appearance told Beca everything she needed to know about Stacie's mood.
Stacie walked into Beca's room and dropped her bag onto the bed. “I’m on my period, hungover and I am not in the mood to human today, want to eat junk, chat shit and watch movies?”
“Absolutely,” Beca grinned, but then her face fell slightly, “But do we have to watch a movie?”
“Yes we do, Beca,” Stacie said, “I will tie you up if I have to. I think I have a spare pair of handcuffs in my bag.”
Her best friend's presence was all it took for Beca to sit up and actually get out of bed. She reached for her tv remote and a pack of sour patch kids from her desk and turned back to her bed. Stacie had already claimed her position where Beca previously was.
“Dude,” Beca groaned.
“What? It's warm.” Stacie replied as she pulled the covers up to her chin.
Beca huffed, but couldn't stop herself from smiling at the blonde. She really loved that awesome nerd.
“There's snacks in my bag,” Stacie said, so Beca tipped out the contents of the bag; lip gloss, foundation and a nail file fell out as well as jolly ranchers, haribo and takis, and of course a pair of baby blue fluffy handcuffs. Beca laughed at the latter before she tossed them back into the bag.
She grinned at the selection of snacks, then threw them towards Stacie, put the makeup back into the bag and discarded it onto the floor.
Beca crawled onto the bed and dropped herself down beside Stacie, who was already loading up Beca's xbox.
There was a knock at her door just as they had gotten comfortable underneath the blankets and Beca groaned internally. Her Dad really needed to learn when to quit it.
“Come in,” Beca said, because she knew he would have just kept knocking until she answered.
The door opened slowly and Em appeared in the doorway. “Whatcha doing? I'm bored,” Em said, then noticed Stacie's presence. “Oh, hi Stacie.”
“We're shittin,” Stacie replied which caused Beca to choke on her water. Both brunette's simply stared at Stacie, Beca was grinning but Emily looked a little taken aback. “We're eating shit, watching shit and talking shit...shittin'.”
“Oh,” Em nodded.
“Want to join us?” Stacie asked, “You can pick the movie.”
Em perked up then and walked into the room entirely, the door swung shut behind her. Stacie moved closer towards the end of the bed so there was enough room for Em to squeeze in between them.
“As long as it's not a disney film,” Beca pleaded.
The other two girls shared a grin which caused Beca to groan and pull her pillow to her face, then groan even louder.
“You're outnumbered, Bec,” Stacie laughed.
Em patted Beca's head as Beca pulled the pillow away. “It's okay, I'll pick one of your favourites.”
“I don't have a favourite,” Beca stated, “Disney movies are for kids.” The blush on her face said otherwise. Beca claimed she hated movies because they were boring and predictable, but one time she was that bored that she watched a movie, on her own accord. Beca had started up her xbox ready to play a game of modern warfare but disney plus appeared on the screen from where Em was watching something. The movie that had been played about halfway through was Milan, and Beca had 'accidentally' clicked play. She watched it for about five minutes before skipping back to the beginning and watching the entire movie. She had never told anyone about that though, and she planned to keep it that way.
“Sure,” Stacie and Em replied simultaneously.
Beca picked up her phone and pretended to scroll through instagram whilst Em chose a movie. She ended up selecting Raya and the last dragon, which only took her twenty minutes to decide.
“I kissed someone yesterday,” Stacie piped up about halfway through the movie, around the point where Raya and Sisu were tied up in the cabin in Spine - not that Beca was actually paying attention.
“What? Who?” Beca sat up and put the sour patch kids down to pay full attention to her best friend.
Stacie popped another haribo into her mouth. “After the gig had finished. I was drunk, they were drunk, we kissed, it didn't really mean anything.”
Normally Beca would have believed her, but the way Stacie's eyes dropped to her hands instead of remaining in contact with Beca's, was something Stacie always did when she wasn't entirely telling the truth. The kiss meant something to her, Beca could tell.
“Was he at least a good kisser?” Em asked. Beca had actually forgotten that Emily was there.
“They definitely knew what they were doing,” Stacie smirked. “The way their tongue-”
“Nope,” Beca interrupted Stacie before she could tell them everything, in detail. She used that as an excuse to pause the movie. It had to have been Luke, but Stacie was avoiding the 'who' question. Maybe Beca could talk to Luke on Monday and try to get something out of him. But if Stacie's mystery kisser was Luke, then Beca definitely didn't need to hear about how good of a kisser he was.
SUBJECT: let's talk music
I already know you have a great taste in music.
The smiths are one of my comfort bands, I listen to a lot of their songs when I'm feeling down or out of place. My mom used to listen to them a lot when I was younger so the lyrics were practically drilled into my head. The Beatles too...I'm a sucker for the classics.
What about you?
SUBJECT: Re: let's talk music
The Beatles are one of my favs too!!! Yesterday is one of the best songs ever written! My house was full of life and music when I was growing up and all the songs have stuck with me to this day.
The oasis definitely has a place in my heart. As cliche as it sounds, wonderwall is one of my favourite songs.
And I'm a swiftie...
Beca's lips curved into a smile as she read the email. Red was literal perfection - she had the greatest music taste (except Taylor Swift...I mean, come on) and she was beautiful - granted Beca had never actually seen what she looked like, but she didn't need to, she really had a way for words and everything she wrote to Beca sounded soft and it always made Beca smile.
“Ooh,” Stacie gushed, “Who are you talking to?”
“No one.” Beca shrugged, then turned off her phone and tossed it beside her.
“Well you were smiling at your phone,” Stacie mentioned.
Emily glanced up at Beca then turned to Stacie. “She's always on her phone, smiling and typing,”
That seemed to pipe up Stacie's interest even more. The Tv was paused for a second time - the movie had finished and they were now watching pretty little liars.
“Do you have a secret lover?” Stacie squealed.
Beca frowned and shook her head. “I was looking at Barden Bliss,” she said. It was the quickest and most believable lie she could come up with.
The blonde squealed again so Beca threw a cushion at her head. “Oh my god.” Stacie laughed as she dodged the cushion, “And you say I'm obsessed?”
“I'm not obsessed,” Beca mumbled.
“Did you guys see the 'hot or not' scale?” Stacie questioned.
Emily nodded, “I don't think it's right that the guys are judging people based off their looks and categorising them like that.” She shrugged and pulled her knees to her chest, “It's kind of disgusting.”
Stacie continued to vent about the most recent post about her - which Beca was pretty sure she posted herself, but didn't say anything as Emily was doing a fine job of offering a response every few seconds. Beca stopped listening after that.
Aside from everything that was going on with her Dad, Beca couldn’t really complain about her life, everything seemed to be going smoothly. She had friends that loved her, a step sister who she adored more than anything and a band that was going up in the world (as much as a high school band could). Everything was going well with Red - they were emailing everyday, talking like old friends and flirting like lovers. Chicago had kind of chilled out; there wasn’t so many glares sent her way across the corridors or hushed conversations between classes.
But it still didn’t feel like enough. As much as she tried to convince herself that she was happy, there was always that longing doubt at the back of her mind. Her childhood dreams of feeling free and being herself were so far out of reach that they didn’t even feel like they could be a reality anymore.
Chapter 8: Stress, Suspicions And Spotify
hello people! it’s been a while but i’m happy to announce that i have been working on this chapter and the following chapter since i woke up this morning. i am on a role so i will continue to ride this wave until i fall asleep tonight. i might not get another chapter out next week because i have picked up a lot more shifts at work because i’m broke.
i hope you all enjoy this because i put a lot of time, effort and caffeine into it.
love you all
SUBJECT: how do people do this?
These exams are STRESSING ME TF OUT.
I'm getting around five hours a sleep a night, if I'm lucky and trying to make up for the lack of sleep with extreme amounts of caffeine. Consequently, I am a fucking zombie. Seriously, I feel like I’m constantly floating above my body at the moment.
How are you surviving? Please feel free to send all of your study tips and tricks my way.
SUBJECT: Re: how do people do this?
Remember to breathe.
I’m barely surviving either, but my study sessions are fuelled with double shot espressos and a lot of salty snacks. I've actually got a very good way at memorising things like facts and statistics. I come up with a song and by the end of the night I can't get the tune and the words out of my head. If that isn't your thing then my other favourite study technique is highlighting, my books look like frickin traffic lights.
Hope that helps?
Normally Beca would have thought that coming up with a song to remember information was lame - Music was meant to be fun, why would you ruin it with school shit? And if it was anyone else she probably would have, but it was Red. And ever since that first email, Beca had had a hard time getting Red out of her mind. Not that she wanted to, it was more that she needed to - it was becoming exceedingly more difficult to concentrate on school work, her friends and even her music.
Before Red, nobody had really filled her mind that way before, Beca was always stuck in her music; humming the lyrics of songs in the shower, turning two songs into a remix as she found similar melodies and blended them together, her head would spin as she attempted to write lyrics for her band. And if she wasn't creating original music, Beca was making spotify playlists and listening to record after record of her favourite artists. She didn't allow herself to occupy her time with a lot other than music, of course she hung out with her friends often, but Beca didn't really have anything else going for her.
That was why music was so important to her, and she was scared that if she let her guard down for even two seconds then her potential music career would come tumbling down. She didn't know if she could let Red, or anyone else, break down another wall.
Beca had always been the type of person to act on her thoughts, not allowing her heart to guide her like others. She didn't need those kind of distractions in her life, she needed to succeed in her music and things like that would've held her back, because love was weakness, right?
But recently her judgement has been a little clouded.
Beca could imagine Red sitting at her desk, colouring her book with different colour highlighters, each colour indicating something different; Green for the things she knows and was confident with, Amber/Orange for the stuff she wasn’t quite sure on and Red for the things she didn’t really know at all.
She wished she knew who Red was, because that would've been one less thing out of Beca's bucket of stresses that was keeping her from studying. That morning she opened her books with every intention to study, but it seemed that everything was a distraction to Beca, even herself.
She shifted from her position on her bed to throw an empty Red Bull can into her wastebasket before sliding her laptop back over to her.
SUBJECT: Re: how do people do this?
I might have to try that, but I don't want a song stuck in my head about algebra or Catcher in the Rye, I'd rather have fucking baby shark or something in my head. And I don't actually have any highlighters, I lost them the other day when my friend was annoying me so I threw pens at his head to try and shut him up. Pretty much the entire contents of my pencil case is somewhere in his room.
It’s all about the caffeine!!! Red Bull is my saviour, but I think once these exams are over I need an intense workout to help my heart to recover, (my dad keeps telling me I should stop drinking energy drinks as they are ‘the work of satan’ - he really needs to stop watching youtube, that women doesn't know what she's going on about, plus, it’s red bull not monster) but it’s the only thing keeping me going right now.
I must admit, I have always been shit at concentrating on things especially when people keep telling me it's important. So maybe I'll fail these exams and disappoint my father even more.
Sorry for being a downer, I just cannot on anything focus right now.
(Ps. I am cracking open another can of Red Bull as I finish up this email)
"Fuck this," Beca muttered. She had given up trying to study because there was no way even a single piece of information would go into her head. Her books slammed shut as she pushed them to the edge of her bed and stood up and wandered over to her desk.
The group were meeting at Stacie's in an hour to go over some of their notes, and Beca was contemplating texting and saying she was sick. There was no point in going somewhere to study if she knew she would not be able to focus for even five minutes.
But if she would have told her friends that she was sick, they would have been worried and questioned her further, which would then distract them from studying.
Beca just needed to get her shit together and put her head down. But it wasn’t like she could relearn the entire year in two months.
“Oh shit,” she muttered aloud. She only had two months of high school until she graduated. If she was graduating.
What if she doesn’t get to graduate? She should have studied more. Maybe her Dad was right, she had spent all of her time with the band or making mixes that she hadn’t left anytime for school.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.”
Panic began to rise through her, clamping onto her fingers first. It felt like thousands of tiny soldiers were stabbing at them with thousands of tiny swords leaving her fingers almost numb, except for a slight tingling sensation.
She wasn’t imagining it, her heart was speeding up. She could feel it pounding against her chest, could even hear the way it was making her blood pump faster. Beca continued to tell herself that it was just the effects of the Red Bull, but she knew it was more than that.
It had gotten to her lungs, the panic consumed them, leaving behind no air for Beca to breathe.
The open Red Bull got discarded onto the floor as her legs became unstable beneath her. Beca reached out for something to hold onto, to keep her upright but her fingers only clasped around empty air. She stumbled backwards as she felt the crushing weight come down on her chest again. The tiny soldiers were back, except this time they were much bigger and they all attacked Beca in the same place. There was a long sharp pain in her chest, the pressure made her legs finally collapse. Her bed was close, but she missed it entirely. She folded onto the floor, her back up against the wall as she breathed through the pain.
Her hearing fogged over and blocked out all noise except a slight ringing, which she was sure she was imagining. Meanwhile, spots of darkness appeared at the corners of her eyes as the room closed in on her. Her vision started to get darker and darker until everything was just a blur of shapes and colours coming alive in her eyes like a kaleidoscope.
She blinked, then again, and again until the pattern started disappearing, but a cloud of darkness took over, which blocked her vision entirely. For a minute, the blood pulsating in her ears was the only thing she could hear, until even that was gone.
Beca's heart was pounding in her chest, rattling in her rib cage, as if it was trying to break free. She could feel the sweat on her head that dampened her hair, threatening to drip down her face.
She reached out again, searching for anything she could grip onto and ride this out, but her hands were shaking so much that she dropped whatever it was she picked up.
She was fucked. There was no way she was getting out of this. How long had it been going on for? Was she going to die? All she wanted to do was crawl up into a ball and ride this out but she was panicking and everything hurt.
It was then that her hearing came back slightly. There was a small pop and then everything became a little clearer, but it was still quite groggy as if she had water in her ears.
"Hey, Beca." Emily's voice broke through it all.
Her vision was slowly coming back, everything was still a blur but she was no longer in the darkness.
Beca looked up, shocked, but still unable to snap out of it.
Emily dropped to the floor beside Beca so she could assess her closer. Beca's tear stained face and unsteady breathing instantly worried the younger girl.
"Beca? Are you okay?"
"Y-uh..Yeah," her voice shook, which confirmed Emily's suspicions that Beca was not okay.
She edged closer to Beca and reached for her hand, hoping that their connection would help Beca slip out of her state. Emily didn't know what was wrong, but she did know that whatever happened with Beca was serious, because Beca didn't cry, and she definitely didn't let other people see her upset. The whole scene in front of her made her uneasy, normally Beca was the one comforting Emily. She had never seen Beca like that before.
"Just breathe with me," She said, and squeezed Beca's hand with just enough pressure to keep her grounded.
After whatever that was, Beca could not be in the house any longer. She picked up her school bag, laptop and headphones then headed downstairs.
"I'm going out," she said to nobody in particular, but it was probably only Kat that heard. Her Dad wasn't home yet, which wasn't surprising because he'd been working late for the past few nights, but it kind of felt like he was trying his best to avoid Beca. Emily had gone out, she was meeting friends, and it took Beca ages to convince her to go. She was persistent that she would stay at home with Beca, but then Beca reminded her that she was studying with friends and didn't need babysitting.
She started up her truck then drove off, not exactly knowing where she was going. She still had half an hour until she needed to be at Stacie's so Beca pulled into Pancake Shack's drive through, but instead of ordering a coffee like she wanted, she asked for a hot chocolate. Beca figured too much caffeine was probably a bad thing. She had already had one panic attack, she didn't want another one in the same day.
"Thanks," Beca smiled at the worker as she passed over the hot chocolate. She dropped it into the cup holder and drove towards the park.
Once she'd parked up and stopped the truck, her headphones were placed over her ears and she reached for her laptop. Instead of opening up her usual mixing apps, she clicked on the spotify icon and found her playlist called 'Red' with a red heart emoji.
Yes. She was making a playlist for Red.
All the songs on that playlist were songs that made Beca think of Red. Some of the songs were classics, but some of them were not Beca's usual kind of music. She listened to them and the lyrics said everything she wanted to say to Red. As much as Beca wasn't ready to admit it, but she was falling for Red, and fast. She was on her mind constantly - whenever Beca heard a song for the first time she would question if Red has heard it. She wondered what Red's laugh sounded like. If she wore lipstick and what colour was her colour? What colour were her eyes?
Beca didn't know anything about her - well, she knew some things of course, like her interest in photography, Titanium was her 'jam', she liked Harry Potter and music. Her favourite colours were yellow and blue. She loved movies and had so many favourite songs. But they were all small things, Beca wanted to know everything. She wanted to know the girl she was falling for.
Chloe and Aubrey obviously knew more than everyone else about how to study the correct way because they had a bunch of highlighters, flash cards and mini tests, whereas Beca showed up with a pen, her notebook and a few textbooks. Once everyone had sat down and got into the zone, they all got to work. Stacie was focusing on physics because she had an exam the next day and was the only one in that class. Everyone else was working on Math, and Beca fucking hated Math.
Once again she couldn't concentrate, she didn't know why she thought it would be any different. There was no music playing because Aubrey refused to listen to music whilst studying, she pulled up studies on her phone of how listening to music whilst revising does not work. She claimed it would just be a distraction, so they continued to work in silence.
But it was too quiet. Beca could hear the tiny sighs coming out of Chloe's mouth every time she got stuck on a question. And Stacie was chewing gum, it wasn't even loud but once she'd acknowledged it she couldn't ignore it. Jesse was humming some bullshit song under his breath and Aubrey's pen scratched the paper multiple times as she was writing something down.
It was too quiet, but it was so fucking loud.
Beca's leg began to bounce underneath the table in attempt to release some anxiety. She couldn't sit still anymore because everything was driving her insane. She just wanted to shut it all off - shut her brain off.
Every few minutes Chloe would pull her phone out and check the screen, sigh, then drop it back into her bag. Beca just assumed she was waiting for a text from Chicago, which added to Beca's pile of distractions. Would Chicago just drop the situation now that he was in with Chloe or would he continue to torment Beca?
"Beca stop shaking the table," Stacie hissed.
Beca stilled her leg and apologised quietly before zoning out again.
What if Beca came out first? If Beca told everyone she was gay before Chicago had the chance to out her then he wouldn't have anything against her. Except the emails. But no one would care about a couple of emails between Beca and a potential love interest. It would be none of their business. But this was high school - kids were cruel. And Beca couldn't risk losing Red, but maybe that wouldn't have to happen. Beca was sick of waiting for her happiness to come, she wanted to be happy now, and she finally had a chance.
But Red had said 'I'm not ready for everything to change,' in a email. So what if Beca came out and Red learned that she was Melody, would she run away?
"Beca," Aubrey snapped.
Beca looked up at the sound of her name. "Huh?"
Aubrey's eyes looked like they were about to pop out of their sockets. "Can you stop that?"
She looked at the blonde, confused, until she followed Aubrey's gaze down to the pen in her hand. She must have been clicking it again, Beca tended to do that when she had too much on her mind.
Beca did not want Aubrey to toss her cookies again, especially because she was sat opposite her. "Sorry." She mumbled as an apology and dropped the pen onto her notebook. Her phone was in her hands again, too distracted to get anymore work done. There was a notification from her Gmail account from over forty minutes ago. How had she missed that?
SUBJECT: Re: how do people do this?
Just remember these exams aren't our finals. Yes, they use these exams to predict the grades we will get but they do not predict our future. If you fail these exams (which I very much doubt you will) then it isn't the end of the world. You still have another chance. And another. If you don't get the grades you need to get into the college you want to go to, then there's other colleges out there. Your life plan is not set it stone or predestined for you, you're more free than that.
If you need a break from this then take a break, grades and school doesn't define you, Melody, so don't let it stress you out so much.
If you need to talk, I'm here, always.
Beca's face visibly softened as she read the last line of Red's email. The 'always' stood out more than the rest, because people said 'I'm here' all the time but that extra 'always' made Beca's heart skip a beat. She didn't understand how Red knew the exact right thing to say to her when her brain was spiralling.
Beca sat back in her chair and released a breath she didn't even know she was holding in.
Everything was going to be okay.
"Are you okay?" Stacie questioned. She gave Beca a confused glance as she wondered why Beca looked happy and relieved all of a sudden.
By the looks of it, Stacie had also given up and had picked up her phone to occupy her. The only people who were actually still studying were Aubrey and Jesse. Chloe was in her own little world too, typing something on her phone as she frowned at the screen.
"Uh, yeah," Beca nodded and put her phone back on the table, "But I think my brains fried. Can we take a break?"
"Want to watch a movie?" Jesse piped in, looking overly hopeful at his suggestion. It must have surprised him when Beca agreed because his face was visibly confused.
"You," Jesse started, "The Queen of hating movies actually wants to watch a movie?"
Beca shrugged and gestured to the open textbooks in front of them. "Anything is better than this."
"She's right," Stacie said, "If I have to read another word on astrophysics I think I might die." Beca laughed at that and made the first move to stand up from the table.
Aubrey stood up too, and tugged on Chloe's sweater. “Actually, Chloe and I need to go. I’m helping her get ready for a date.”
“Oh.” Beca didn’t mean to react out loud, but it just slipped between her lips.
Chloe glanced up at her, a small frown was etching at her lips but the smile stayed present. “Sorry guys,” Chloe said.
“It’s alright, have fun,” Stacie replied, then jumped up from her seat to hug Chloe. The two started talking about what Chloe was going to wear and Beca took that as her cue to look the other way.
Her eyes landed on Aubrey and Jesse. She’d caught them in a hug, and it didn’t look like either of them wanted to let go anytime soon.
Why was all of her friends falling in love? It wasn’t fair that it wasn’t that easy for her and it never would be.
Arms enveloped Beca in a hug from behind which made Beca jump. She turned her head for auburn locks to fall into her face and she was instantly hit with Chloe’s sweet aroma.
“Oh hi,” Beca said.
“Try not to stress so much,” Chloe whispered into Beca’s ear. She didn’t know if it was Chloe’s breath that sent shivers down her spine or the words she used.
Chloe had to be Red, right?
God, it would make so much sense. She was the perfect girl, it would explain why so many of her feelings for Red also reflect the way she felt about Chloe. But why would Chloe be going out with Chicago if she was Red?
Jesse’s cheeks were hinted with pink when he turned around to face them.
“So, how’s it going with Aubrey?” Stacie questioned with a sly smile.
“Oh,” Jesse sighed gleefully, “It’s pretty good. We’re going out tomorrow night, I think she could really be the one.”
He looked genuinely happy as he spoke about her. Even though there were times that Beca and Aubrey didn't see eye to eye, she really wanted this to work out. Jesse was one of her best friend's and all she wanted was for him to be happy, and if Aubrey was the cause of that then she would be happy for him.
“You said that about Beca, remember?” Stacie replied as she examined her cuticles. “And that Jasmine girl you dated.”
Stacie seemed jealous almost, did she like jesse? Oh my god, was jesse the guy she kissed? Beca had thought it was Luke because they had hooked up in the past, but what if she was wrong?
Beca didn’t have time to think about other people's relationship drama anymore, her head was too riddled with thoughts of Chloe and Red.
“This time feels different,” Jesse admitted, "Good different."
The three of them headed upstairs to Stacie's bedroom and jumped onto Stacie’s bed, claiming their usual positions.
Beca rested her head against the pillow as she lay beside Stacie. Her eyes flickered over the ceiling, glancing between each glow in the dark star stickers. They had faded a lot over the years but they’d always brought a sense of calmness to Beca.
”Ooh, guys have you seen the pictures?” Stacie sat up quickly and pulled up facebook on her phone.
Beca didn’t have time to ask her what pictures she was talking about because Stacie shoved her phone in front of Beca.
It was the band’s facebook page.
Stacie created Kick Affiliation an instagram and facebook page soon after their band started performing gigs. She updated pictures and posts on their behalf, because none of the three band mates are capable of running a social media page according to Stacie.
"Dude, that picture is awesome." Beca pointed to the second picture on the screen.
She was singing into the microphone on the stand whilst her fingers were strumming on the guitar simultaneously. jesse was also strumming his guitar - the grin on his face was massive. Luke wasn’t grinning, but you could tell he was having the time of his life. The shot had captured him with his eyes closed, the microphone close as he sang alongside Beca. He once told Beca that he was at his most confident when he was performing, but also that he was the most real version of himself because there was nothing holding him back. And she really related to that. For Beca, performing was an escape, a chance for her to let all of her troubles disappear and simply be.
Stacie nodded, "Chloe took them, she took all of them actually."
"She did?" Beca was shocked. She knew Chloe could take decent photos, if her instagram (and Aubrey’s) was anything to go by, but she didn’t realise she was that good.
It hit her then like a truckload of bricks. Red liked photography too…
"She's really talented," Jesse said.
“Yeah,” Beca agreed, her brain lagging.
Stacie swiped to the next photo, which was a vertical shot of Beca only.
She had her eyes closed, one hand in her hair and the other holding onto the microphone. Beca’s mouth was open, and you could tell she was really singing her heart out by the way the veins on her neck and hands were prominent.
Chloe had managed to capture the lights perfectly, it was dark but the stage lights were shining bright and it made the photo look alive.
"Woah,” Stacie said, "You look fucking hot."
Beca remembered the way she felt when she watched Chloe walk out of the door with Chicago, but Chloe going out of her way to do that for them, free of charge...well, it made Beca reconsider. Chloe was only hanging out with Chicago because she had introduced them.
If Chloe was Red, then she was in a similar situation as Beca, she was in the closet and expected to be a certain way which would explain why Chloe was going out with Red. But Chloe was straight, wasn’t she?
SUBJECT: Re: how do people do this?
You are incredible!! I was about a second away from exploding but your email really calmed me down. I decided that I'm not going to let these exams kill me, so tonight I am fucking off the studying and having a good night.
Thank you so much for helping me realise that I needed a break.
She wanted to ask ‘Is it you, Chloe?’ but she couldn’t bring herself to write the words. Mostly because it would been really awkward for both of them if Red wasn't Chloe but also because Beca was scared of what could happen. A few emails ago Red had said she wasn't ready for things to change, what if she still felt that way?
Another email came through within minutes and Beca rushed to read it.
SUBJECT: Re: how do people do this?
I’m glad you’re giving yourself a break, you really deserve it. I hate thinking of you stressing out like that.
I heard a song on the radio earlier and I thought of you. I won't tell you what song it was because it's really cheesy and cliche and you will laugh at me, but it made me more sure of what I'm doing here. You've made me more brave, and I feel like there's less pressure to be this person that everyone expects me to be because when I'm talking to you, even though it is just over email (how I wish it could be in person), I feel like all the weight has been taken off my shoulders and I can just be...me. And I'm comfortable with being me because being me allowed me to find and create this relationship that we have.
I will be ready soon, I promise.
Beca put her phone away just as Jesse walked through the door with mini cartons of chocolate milk, oreos and a bowl of fresh popcorn. She raised her eyebrows at his selection of snacks.
“You can’t watch a movie, especially a classic like The Breakfast Club, without popcorn," He said and handed Beca the bowl of popcorn. Jesse slid into the space between Beca and Stacie just as the introduction to the movie started to play. The popcorn was passed back to Jesse and his goofy face lit up.
Their attention zoned onto the screen, the plot of the movie consuming them, except Beca. She'd never been a movie person, but today she really didn't want to sit there and watch a movie. She couldn't stop thinking about the fact that Chloe was on a date with Chicago. She wondered where they were going, what they were doing and what Chloe was wearing. Would Chicago call her beautiful and compliment her outfit or just call her sexy and try and get in her pants? Were they going to kiss? Had they already kissed?
Nope. Beca couldn’t think about that right now, she needed a distraction, and clearly watching a movie was not helping. She fiddled with one of her rings on right hand, spinning it faster as her thoughts went deeper. Even that small amount of stimulation didn't do anything to distract her from her own thoughts.
"Beca stop fidgeting, you're worse than a toddler."
“Um, guys, I need to go.” Beca jumped up from the bed and reached for her jacket on the back of the chair in the corner of stacie’s room. She had to get out of there.
“Why? Are you okay?” Jesse paused the movie and put his carton of chocolate milk on the bedside drawers.
Stacie sat up and pushed the half empty bowl of popcorn towards the end of her bed.
“Uh yeah, I just remembered I had something to do before tomorrow," She couldn't think of an excuse that fast so the fewer details the better. She couldn't just sit there and watch a film whilst her mind was on the verge of exploding.
“The Bellas thing?” Stacie quizzed, and Beca caught the way Stacie was looking at her, almost pleading her to go along with it.
Their eyes communicated until Beca realised what Stacie was getting at. “Yeah, Aubrey needs it done by tomorrow.” Beca realised she shouldn't have brought Aubrey into it but it was too late.
“Oh, I’ll come with,” Stacie stood up and grabbed her pink leather jacket from the back of her bedroom door.
Jesse turned off the tv and picked up the popcorn bowl as he got up from the bed. “I guess I’m leaving then,” he said, and it was only then that Beca remembered they were at Stacie's house not Jesse's.
“Yeah,” Stacie replied, “Sorry Jess, rain check on the movie?”
He nodded and slipped his feet into his trainers, then grabbed his keys from Stacie's shelf.
As the three walked down the stairs in silence, Beca was riddled with guilt. She knew she should have just told him the truth and she doesn't know why she didn't. Beca felt like the worst friend ever as she watched him walk over to his car and wave goodbye.
“Well that was fucking awkward," Stacie said once Jesse had pulled out of the driveway. “Why did we just lie to Jesse?”
Beca kicked a stone across the road. “Well, I just couldn’t sit through another minute of that movie,” Beca said, “But you were the one that said the thing about the Bellas."
Stacie groaned which made Beca laugh. “I didn’t really want it to just be me and him,” She admitted, “It’s just weird at the minute, with him and Aubrey. They’re too loved up it’s disgusting. I mean he doesn't shut up about her and I really don't want to listen to that.”
Even though Beca didn't quite believe her, she nodded anyway. “Want to chill with Luke?” Beca asked, “I kind of don’t want to be sober right now.”
“Okay,” stacie nodded and followed Beca to where Beca's truck was parked on the side of the road.
Luke was sat on his couch when Beca and Stacie walked into his house. His parents weren't home and the door was unlocked, so they just walked straight in as they had done multiple times before.
"Gimme five minutes to finish this game," Luke told them when Beca collapsed into the armchair and kicked her feet up on the recliner.
Stacie grabbed a few bottles of beer from the drinks cooler and joined them in the living room. She handed Beca a beer then sat down on the sofa beside Luke.
"Thanks," Beca popped the cap off the beer and tossed it into the wastebasket by the window.
She sipped at the cold beer as Luke grunted as he got shot in the game. Beca really appreciated the refreshing beverage. She knew a night like that was exactly what she needed.
"Motherfucker," Luke yelled at the TV, which made them all laugh.
Beca pulled up the spotify app on her phone and found the finished playlist. All of her other playlists were private and there was no other indication of her identity in her profile so there was no way Red would be able to tell who made it if Beca finally gained the courage to send it. She had hesitated sending it to Red earlier because she thought it would be weird, like Beca was coming on too strong and practically confessing her love to Red in the form of a personalised playlist. Basically, Beca was just overthinking like she always did. But Red had said she'd be ready soon, so maybe it was okay if Beca sent her the playlist. They both felt the same, didn't they?
Music is literally so important to me, and I love that it's something we have in common because I am able to share that part of me with you.
So, I made you something.
There are a bunch of songs on there that I think you'll really like. It's kind of chaotic - but my music taste is all over the place so this will definitely reflect that.
"Okay. Alright," Luke finally got up from the couch about twenty five minutes later, "Okay, I'm done. Let's get drunk."
They all jumped up and followed Luke into his basement.
"Wanna play beer pong?" Beca suggested with a grin once they'd all made their own drinks.
Stacie clapped, "Hell yeah. I'll go first."
Beca and Stacie stood at either end of the table and set up the plastic cups.
"Loser plays Luke," Beca said, and they all agreed.
Stacie finished filling up the cups with beer as Luke queued a bunch of songs on his phone that was connected to the huge speakers in the corner of the room.
Beca threw the first ball, it bounced once on the table then again, and it rolled onto the floor. She cursed then picked up the ball and handed it to Stacie.
Stacie got it in first try, much to Beca's dismay. She picked up the cup and swallowed the contents.
"We should mix this up a bit," Luke commented, then turned to Beca, "Truth or Dare?"
The smirk on Stacie's face grew as she watched Beca groan. "Uh, dare I guess," she shrugged.
"I'll start off light," Stacie smirked, "Take a shot."
Beca grimaced. "Of what?"
Luke reappeared with a bottle of vodka and poured some into a tiny clear shot glass. "Bottoms up," he said as he passed it over to Beca. She knocked it back and swallowed the vodka, unable to control the way her face turned sour afterward.
Beca got her next ball in.
“I dare you to kiss Luke,” She said to Stacie and laughed at the way she raised her eyebrows and accepted the dare.
Stacie struted over to Luke and cupped both of his cheeks in her hands, "Hi," she smiled at him before she leaned in and captured his lips with hers. It lasted for a few seconds but from what Beca could tell, there was no tongue involved.
"Easy," Stacie laughed.
Beca downed the dregs of her beer and added the empty bottle to the pile on the counter. She tipped some vodka into her cup before filling it up with lemonade, then walked back over to the beer pong set up. Stacie took her next go and got it in again, which made Beca huff.
Beca drank from the plastic cup then added it to the pile of empty cups behind her.
“Do you like someone right now?” Stacie said to Beca after she requested a truth.
She didn't answer, because she didn't know what to say. Beca did like someone, but she couldn't tell them that because they didn't even know she liked girls.
A squeal came from Stacie, “Oh my god you do.”
Beca gulped at her drink. “I changed my mind, I want a dare," she sputtered out.
"Noooo," Stacie whined, but she realised she wasn't going to get anything out of Beca, so she shrugged.
Beca just took another gulp from her cup, and she had to admit she was already starting to feel the effects of the alcohol. The slight buzz throughout her body made her feel warm.
"Fine," Stacie said, "I dare you to...do a handstand for one minute," she laughed once she'd realised what she said. It was a lame dare, but the alcohol was clouding her brain.
Beca put her drink down on the table and walked into the empty space by the wall. She figured if she did a handstand against the wall then it still counted. "If I do a handstand for a full minute then all the blood will rush to my head and I'll pass out," Beca said, but continued to prepare herself to do the dare. Anything was better than admitting who she liked.
Luke laughed at Beca's dramatics, "Thirty seconds then," He suggested.
She managed it for about twenty seconds before her arms collapsed and she fell onto the floor in a bundle. Stacie made her finish her drink for not being able to stay upside down for the last ten seconds.
The game continued on like that for some time until surprisingly Beca got the ball in Stacie's last cup.
"Fuck yeahhh!" Beca yelled and threw her hands up in the air. "You loser!" She taunted at Stacie.
The next game started off pretty much the same as that. Luke did a backflip with his eyes closed after downing the last of his drink and Stacie took her bra off without taking her shirt off.
Then Luke got another ball in one of Stacie's cups.
“How many people have you kissed?” Luke asked.
“Uh,” Stacie grinned, then shrugged, the smile remained in place.
“Come on, Stace,” Beca laughed, more than just tipsy now.
“Okay, okay.” Stacie reached for her phone and scrolled through it for a few seconds whilst both Beca and Luke stared.
“Eight,” Stacie finally said, "No nine."
Beca had only ever kissed one person - Jesse - and it wasn't even a kiss she really wanted, she was just trying to prove to herself that she liked boys, which obviously did not work.
"Well, damn," Luke said. He picked up the tiny plastic shot glass that he was meant to drink earlier, threw back the liquid then tossed the cup aside.
"I need a cigarette," Beca said. She wasn't a smoker, but she occasionally smoked when she was really stressed or drunk, and she happened to be both of those right then.
Luke agreed that he needed one also so they all headed out to smoke in the garden.
As she lit her cigarette then inhaled the smoke from her first toke, she relaxed into her chair. She felt very zen, the alcohol had numbed both her body and mind. She wasn't thinking about anything in particular and everything felt a lot more light.
She really needed a night like that.
SUBJECT: Re: hi
You made an entire playlist for me? That's one of the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. I will be listening to this on repeat for the foreseeable future.
Thank you so much Melody, you are the sweetest.
you mean a lot to me, and i don't know if this playlists reflects that because it's a mess but so am i. (i will continue to add songs everyday)
Wonderwall - Oasis
Yesterday - The Beatles
1950 - King Princess
It’s Gonna Be OK - BANNERS
Roll With It - Oasis
Under Pressure - Queen, David Bowie
Another Night On Mars - The Maine
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths
This Town - Niall Horan
She Moves In Her Own Way - The Kooks
Top Of The World - Greek Fire
Breathe Into Me - Red
If It Means A Lot To You - A Day To Remember
IDK You Yet - Alexander 23
Here's My Heart - SayWeCanFly