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if there's a light at the end (i choose you)

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Vierzon, France. October 15th, 1941

 

“The sun is setting. It’s almost time.” 

 

Curled up in a corner of the basement with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders, Chloe nodded. Her brother sighed and lowered himself next to her on the cold ground. 

 

“It’s going to be alright,” he murmured, squeezing her knee. “We’re almost there.” 

 

Almost there. Chloe had stopped counting the number of times she told herself that. From Poland, Belgium was the almost there, at the time. When the Germans moved in, Paris became their next supposedly safe place to go. And now, they were headed to Spain. 

 

But first, they had to cross the line between the French occupied zone and the free one.

 

After Paris’ most recent round-up, she and her brother headed south. They were now five kilometers away from safety, for however long it would take for the Germans to gain more territory.

 

Chloe was exhausted. Exhausted from the past week spent walking at night, exhausted from the freezing cold temperatures, but most of all, exhausted from the constant fear wreaking havoc within her for the past three years. 

 

The door to the basement opened less than an hour later. Their smuggler peered down at them, his cap screwed on his head as always. “Time to go.” 

 

Chloe rose to her shaky feet and hiked up the wooden stairs leading to the main room of the small cottage they had been hiding in since early morning. After thanking the family for taking them in and giving them food, Chloe, her brother Nicholas and a jewish couple followed the smuggler out into the woods. 

 

A shudder rolled down Chloe’s spine as they walked into the night, the cold quickly seeping into her bones. They made as little sound as possible, guided by the moon as their only source of light. Chloe held tight to her brother’s hand, reminding herself to breathe as her heartbeat hammered in her ears. 

 

The next two hours were quite possibly the longest of Chloe’s life. Palpable relief washed through her when she heard the sound of the rushing river ahead. They only had to cross it, and they would be safe. 

 

“Halte! Arrêtez-vous!” The deep voice made Chloe’s blood run cold, and her head snapped to the left to see a group of French soldiers a hundred yards away. "C'est des juifs!"

 

“Run, now!” Their smuggler hissed, and Chloe’s legs were moving even before her brain even registered his words. 

 

Shots were fired as they sprinted towards the river, a fence of barbed wire their only obstacle to cross it. Chloe felt a blinding pain in her upper arm, but she kept going, until her brother let her hand go. 

 

Chloe looked over her shoulder to see Nicholas drop to his knees, blood seeping from in between the fingers pressed against his chest. “Nicholas!” 

 

“It’s over for him.” The smuggler grabbed Chloe’s waist, yanking her forward. “Keep running!” 

 

“No!” Chloe shrieked, watching in horror as her brother fell forward in the dirt on the other side of the fence. “Nicholas!” 

 

Chloe’s instinct to save herself kicked back into gear when her feet hit the icy water of the river. She waddled through it and followed the smuggler and the couple, her legs seemingly on auto-pilot. 

 

They kept walking for another hour, maybe two. Chloe cried silently the whole way, feeling more despair than ever now that she was on her own. Eventually, they reached a cabin in the woods, and their guide ushered them inside. 

 

A group of three people standing in the middle stopped talking as soon as they entered, but Chloe paid it no mind. She flinched away when a hand came to rest over her shoulder. 

 

“Hey, it’s okay. You’re safe.” Watery blue eyes flickered up to meet stormy ones. “Here, have a seat.” 

 

Chloe sat down on the bench. Her whole body shook from a mixture of cold and shock. 

 

“You’re bleeding. I need to take a look at your arm, alright?” 

 

Chloe nodded. She tried to open her coat, but her numb fingers failed to undo the buttons. 

 

“May I do it?” The stranger asked, her features so soft and reassuring that Chloe once again wordlessly agreed. She glanced around her as the brunette worked her coat off. The couple was being tended to by another woman, while a man stirred something in a pot over the fire. 

 

She hissed when the girl peeled her coat away, the material grazing the wound on her upper arm. 

 

“Sorry,” she whispered, casting Chloe an apologetic smile before she inspected her injury. “It’s just a bullet graze. You’ll need sutures, though. I’m not so skilled, but Stacie will tend to you in a few minutes. Let me clean it up in the meantime.” 

 

Chloe didn’t say anything. She cast her eyes up when a stainless steel bowl filled with some sort of soup was set in front of her on the wooden table. 

 

The brunette returned with a cloth, and Chloe gritted her teeth at the sting as she pressed it against her wound. 

 

“You should eat. It’ll warm you up,” she advised once she was done. 

 

Chloe hesitantly reached for the spoon, taking a small amount at first. It wasn’t long before her hunger took over and she ate the rest quickly, as though fearing it might be taken away from her before she was done. 

 

To her surprise, the woman came back with a refill and a piece of bread. 

 

“Thank you,” Chloe murmured, nodding in gratitude. 

 

“Where do you wish to go?” She asked a little while later. Her friend had stitched Chloe and applied a bandage to her arm. Chloe was also given a blanket, which she wrapped around her frame in hopes to chase away the cold lingering in her bones. 

 

Tears burned behind Chloe’s eyes. “I don’t-- My brother was the one to organize everything.” 

 

“I’m so sorry about your brother,” she whispered. “We’ll figure something out. You won’t be on your own.” 

 

Reaching up to wipe a tear away, Chloe nodded. “Are we-- are we safe?” 

 

“Yes. You’re in the free zone.” Chloe had been told many times she was safe, and without her brother by her side, it was even harder to believe. “You should rest now. There’s a few beds upstairs.” 

 

Chloe didn’t sleep much, her thoughts reeling about where she was supposed to go next. Upon waking up, she headed downstairs to find the woman who helped her the night before and her companion. The other couple and smuggler were nowhere in sight. 

 

“They left early this morning,” she said upon catching Chloe’s questioning gaze. “Fernand told us your journey with him stopped once you reached the free zone.” 

 

Panic flashed in Chloe’s eyes. She and her brother indeed could only afford passage and would need to fend off for themselves once in the free zone. 

 

But her brother was dead, and Chloe was at a loss of what to do next. 

 

Probably sensing Chloe’s distress, the shorter woman took a few steps closer. “Jesse, Stacie and I are heading to Lyon in a few hours. You can stay with us for a little while.” 

 

Chloe swallowed. “But-- I don’t have any money left.” 

 

“We’re not looking for money.” She smiled softly. “Here sit, have some breakfast.” 

 

The journey to Lyon was only a couple hours. Even though she knew she was in the free zone, Chloe couldn’t quite let go of the fear she might be arrested until they safely made it to their destination. 

 

The house was large and welcoming, with lots of light and art pieces adorning the walls. 

 

Beca -- whose name she learned on the car ride while the three friends chatted -- showed her upstairs and to a decent-sized bedroom. A double bed stood in the middle and a piano was tucked in the corner. 

 

“Is this your bedroom?” 

 

“Yeah. But don’t worry, I’ll sleep on the couch downstairs.” 

 

Chloe blinked. “I can’t let you do that.” 

 

“It’s fine. You need a comfortable bed more than I do, after everything you’ve been through. I’ll take no objections. The bathroom is right across the hall. Towels are underneath the sink and um--” she moved to the closet, pulling out a shirt and a pair of pants, as well as undergarments. “This should fit you.” 

 

“Thank you,” Chloe breathed, accepting the clothes and tucking them under her arm. 

 

“I’ll be downstairs if you need me.” 

 

The hot shower felt heavenly on Chloe’s skin and muscles. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d used soap or shampooed her hair. She made it a quick affair not to abuse from her hosts’ generosity by using all their hot water, stepping out and drying herself with the towels provided. 

 

With the lack of sleep the night before, she crashed for a long nap in quite possibly the most comfortable bed she’d ever slept in. A knock at the door made her rouse. The bedroom was dark, the sun having set while she was asleep. 

 

“Come in,” she called out softly as she sat up against the pillows. Beca popped her head in first, then pushed the door further open, stepping inside. “Sorry. I fell asleep.” 

 

Beca set the tray she was carrying down on the bedside table. “Some food.” 

 

“Thank you very much.” 

 

Beca sat down on the side of the bed. “How does your arm feel?” 

 

“Not too bad,” Chloe murmured as she cradled the bowl of soup. Her eyes found Beca. “Are you sure I can stay here for a little while? I don’t know when I’ll be able to repay you.” 

 

“Yes. Don’t worry about that. Like I said, my friends and I aren’t doing this for the money.” 

 

Part of Chloe felt wary about all this; it just sounded too good to be true. “Okay.” She swallowed a spoonful of the vegetable broth. “My name’s Chloe, by the way.” 

 

“Chloe,” Beca echoed, smiling. “Nice to meet you. I’m Rebecca, but everyone calls me Beca.” 

 

“Is this your house?” 

 

“My parents’,” she replied, glancing around the room. “My mom died when I was ten and my dad was killed last year. He was part of the resistance, too.” 

 

Chloe’s heart lurched. She knew what grief felt like, after losing both her parents and her brother. “I’m very sorry.” 

 

“Thank you.” 

 

Her eyes flickered to the piano. “Do you play?” 

 

“Oh, um, yes. I haven’t had the chance in a while, though. What about you?” 

 

Chloe’s head shook. “I used to play the violin. I sold mine when we fled Poland.” 

 

“Beautiful instrument.” Beca cleared her throat. “I need to go back to work. Do you need anything before I go?” 

 

“No, I’m okay. Thank you for the food.” 

 

Beca pushed to her feet, casting her a polite smile. “Have a good night, Chloe.” 

 

*

 

Chloe regained strength and energy over the next week. When she wasn’t sleeping, she wrote in her journal or gazed out the window, watching people go by in the street below. Her heart felt incredibly heavy following her brother’s death, but she supposed she should feel grateful for being alive. 

 

During her second week at the house, Chloe started eating dinner downstairs instead of hauled up in the bedroom, meeting the rest of the occupants: Aubrey, Ashley, Jessica, Benji and Donald, all members of the resistance. She helped with cooking and cleaning, set on showing her gratitude to the group for taking her in, in any way she could.

 

She grew closer to Beca over the month of November, the two of them talking each night before going to sleep. There was something there, an attraction perhaps, but the current situation didn’t feel appropriate to act on it. 

 

“What you made was delicious,” Beca said one evening as she dried a plate. Snow had gathered over the kitchen window ledge and kept falling from the sky, reminding Chloe of home. “That potato pancake.” 

 

“Placki ziemniaczane,” Chloe provided, smiling softly. “It’s a very popular dish in Poland.” 

 

“Placki…” 

 

Chloe laughed. “Ziemniaczane.” 

 

“Ziemniaczane,” Beca’s attempt was terrible, and Chloe couldn’t help but giggle, which earned her a glare. “Hey. Don’t make fun of me.” 

 

Chloe pursed her lips in an attempt to tame her amusement. “Sorry. Polish is a difficult language.” 

 

Beca’s expression softened as she set the plate down, angling her body towards Chloe’s. “Hey, so… I’m gonna be gone for the next week or so. The guys and I have an important mission.” 

 

Chloe reached for the dish towel to dry her hands. “Is it... dangerous?” 

 

“It’s not... risk free. Nothing really is in these times.” Beca reached out to set a hand on Chloe’s forearm. “Jesse, Aubrey and Jessica are staying here to work on our next move, so you won’t be on your own.” 

 

“Okay.” Chloe stepped forward, looping her arms around Beca’s neck. She felt Beca freeze, then relax, her own arms loosely wrapping around Chloe’s waist. “Be careful.” 

 

“I will.” She pulled away, but her hands remained on Chloe’s waist. “And regarding your situation… the guys and I decided that you should stay. The situation in Spain is rather uncertain at the moment, and well, we like having you here.” 

 

Tears filled Chloe’s eyes as Beca’s words sunk in. She had tried but failed to bury her fear regarding the uncertainty of her future over the past couple weeks. A rush of relief coursed through her, because she trusted Beca with everything she had. “I-I don’t know what to say.” 

 

“You don’t have to say anything.” Beca reached out to wipe a tear which had escaped from Chloe’s eye, cradling her cheek. Chloe closed her eyes, leaning into her touch as it warmed her from the inside out. “Let’s just hope this war is over soon and we get to kick those fucking nazis out of the country.” 

 

*

 

Chloe didn’t sleep much over the next seven days, worry about Beca’s and the others’ safety keeping her up at night. The little sleep she did get was often distraught by nightmares featuring her dead brother or the nazis. 

 

She would often twist and toss in bed, whimpers and sobs bouncing on the walls. 

 

“Chloe, wake up.” A hand shook her shoulder. “Chloe.” 

 

Chloe shot up in bed, sucking in a lungful of air, then another one right after that. She was being chased by German soldiers. It took her a few beats to realize she was now in her bedroom, and that Beca was the one who had woken her up. 

 

“Beca,” she gasped, wrapping her arms around her neck and clinging to her. “You’re okay.” 

 

“I am,” Beca murmurs into her neck, stroking her back gently. “So are you. You’re safe.” 

 

Chloe backed away, swallowing. An oil lamp burned on the bedside table, enabling them to see each other clearly. “Forgive me, I’ve been… having bad dreams. I hope I didn’t wake anyone?” 

 

“No one was asleep, yet. We just got back.” 

 

“Oh. Is everyone else alright?” 

 

“Yes.” 

 

Chloe puffed out a breath, nodding. “That’s a relief.” She cradled Beca’s cheek then, observing her features. “You must be exhausted.” 

 

“I could use a good night’s sleep, yeah.” 

 

“You should take the bed. I feel odd about you sleeping on the couch because of me.” Chloe hesitated, sliding her hand into Beca’s. “Stay?” 

 

Beca visibly swallowed, before her head jerked in a nod. “I’ll settle in after I take a shower.” 

 

Chloe watched her go, something weird going off in her stomach at the knowledge that they would share the same bed for the night. She picked up her ongoing knitting project as a way to distract herself from her not so appropriate thoughts, looking up when Beca appeared in the doorway, clad in a henley long sleeved shirt and cotton sleeping shorts. 

 

“What are you making there?” She asked with a smirk, stepping inside and shutting the door behind her. 

 

“A scarf,” Chloe replied, holding it up and scrunching up her nose. “An attempt, anyway.” 

 

“It looks great,” Beca said as she rounded the bed, sliding in beside Chloe and propping herself on her elbow as she lay on her side. 

 

“You don’t have to lie,” Chloe quipped, smiling when Beca laughed. 

 

“I’m not lying! I’m sure it’ll make an amazing scarf a year from now, when you’re finally finished.” 

 

Chloe gasped in offense and swatted Beca’s shoulder. Beca laughed once more, catching her hand. 

 

“I’m kidding,” she murmured, her lips brushing across Chloe’s knuckles as her soft gaze locked with Chloe’s. Chloe's breathing hitched, and her heart thudded hard against her ribs. “I’m kidding.” 

 

Ignoring the little voice inside her head reminding her that she shouldn’t complicate things, or give in to her lusty thoughts when war was raging right outside, Chloe leaned up to press a kiss to Beca’s lips. Beca hummed, her hand letting go of Chloe’s to tenderly hold her face as she kissed back with equal yearning. 

 

“Are you sure?” Beca asked when they parted for breath. 

 

Chloe nodded. “Yes.” 

 

As Beca kissed her way down her body sometime later, Chloe closed her eyes and momentarily forgot about her pain and her fears; she let herself go, focusing on the incredible sensations Beca’s touch triggered. 

 

She fell apart with a broken cry, her back arching off the mattress and her fingers tightening their hold on Beca’s hair as her body froze. 

 

“Oh my goodness,” she breathed out as she came down, a disbelieving chuckle puffing past her lips. 

 

Beca smiled as she crawled back up and kissed her. “You alright?” 

 

“Mhm.” 

 

She waited until she had regained sensation in all four limbs before rolling on top of Beca to eagerly return the favor. 

 

Chloe slept hard after that, waking in the morning as the sunlight poured into the room through the large windows. She lifted her head from Beca’s shoulder, blinking sleepily as her eyes found the clock set on the opposite bedside table. 

 

“Time is it?” Beca mumbled, her fingertips feathering up and down Chloe’s forearm. 

 

Chloe rested her head back down, her read hair fanning out across Beca’s bare chest. “Just after 8.” 

 

“Too damn early,” her bed companion muttered before dropping a kiss into her hair. Her fingertips trailed down Chloe’s spine, then back up, goosebumps rising in their wake. “Let’s stay in bed a bit longer.” 

 

All too happy to remain in their bubble as much as time and events allowed, Chloe hooked a leg over Beca’s, snuggling closer. “Do you celebrate Christmas, Beca?” 

 

“I’m not much of a holiday person. The gang does, though. They make a pretty good dinner, so I usually join in on the party.” She cleared her throat. “And you celebrate Hanukkah?” 

 

“Yes. I haven’t since I fled Poland, however. Not properly, anyway.” 

 

“I’m sorry,” Beca said softly, pressing another kiss to her forehead. 

 

Chloe was silent for a few beats. “When is your next operation?” 

 

“Not sure yet.” 

 

“Can I help?” She asked, lifting her head to look at Beca. “Not… out there in the field, obviously. But with whatever else needs doing. My French is limited, but I’m a quick learner. And I also know German.” 

 

Beca smiled. “Sure thing. We could use all the help we can get.” 

 

*

 

Over the following week, Chloe spent her days helping the gang however she could, and her nights making the most of the worry-free bubble she and Beca created together. 

 

“I’ve got something for you,” Beca announced one evening. Or early morning, rather. She stood up, Chloe’s eyes roving over her naked form as Beca walked to her satchel tucked against the wall. She blushed lightly when she caught Chloe’s gaze, rolling her eyes as she extended a small wrapped present. “Here. Happy first day of Hanukkah.” 

 

Chloe sat up, not caring that the sheet fell to her waist as she worked the paper off. A bundle of chocolate. She couldn’t remember the last time she ate some. With the food restriction going on all over the city, Chloe had no doubt it had been difficult to find. 

 

Her eyes shone with gratitude as she kissed Beca softly. “This is very sweet. Thank you.” 

 

“You’re welcome.” 

 

The next day, Beca got her a novel in French so she could practice. The day after that, a warm pair of socks. A journal, roses, a puzzle and soap followed. On the last day of Hanukkah, she gifted Chloe the most meaningful item she had ever been given. 

 

“Beca…” Chloe whispered as she finished unwrapping the box set on the bed. “I can’t accept this. It’s too much.” 

 

Beca shrugged from her spot on the bed. “You’re gonna have to, since the store doesn’t offer any refunds, and I can’t play the violin to save my life.” 

 

Shaky fingers opened the box, a gasp escaping Chloe’s lips as she took in the sheer beauty of the instrument before her. “Oh my goodness. It’s gorgeous.” 

 

She picked up to admire it more closely, blinking away the tears blurring her vision. Setting it down, she shifted to straddle Beca’s hips, swallowing Beca’s squeak of surprise with a deep kiss. “You’re unbelievable.” 

 

Beca simply laughed, pecking Chloe’s mouth. 

 

 “I guess I should give it a go?” 

 

“Only if you’re comfortable. The owner of the shop tuned it for you.”

 

Pushing back to her feet, Chloe picked up the bow and tucked the instrument between her shoulder and her chin. She hadn’t played her favorite song in years, but her muscle memory was still very much there as her fingers flawlessly moved over the different chords. Her mother had taught her how to play, and she hadn’t anticipated the rush of nostalgia which flooded her midway through the song. 

 

Tears rolled down her face but she kept playing, in honor of her mother, father and brother, hoping they could hear it from wherever they were. 

 

*

 

Her first Christmas was one she would remember. The gang whipped up an amazing dinner despite the food restrictions, and for the first time since Chloe had moved into the house, they didn’t talk about their mission at the table, instead sharing fond memories of their respective childhoods. Games followed the meal, and Chloe laughed like she hadn’t in a few years. 

 

“I’ve got something for you,” Chloe was the one to announce this time around when she and Beca retreated to Beca’s room for the night. She fished inside the closet, lifting a pile of clothing borrowed from Beca. “Close your eyes, hands forward, no cheating.”

 

“Yes ma’am,” Beca teased, a smirk curving her lips as she did as told. 

 

Chloe set the folded, finished red scarf on her palms. “Alright.” 

 

Beca grinned when she opened her eyes. “You finished it!” 

 

“I know it’s not much,” Chloe murmured, blushing in slight embarrassment. 

 

“I don’t care about that,” Beca said as she draped the scarf over her shoulders. “I love it.” Her hands found Chloe’s hips next. “I love you. ” 

 

Chloe’s heart did a funny thing and her chest filled with warmth as she stared into Beca’s eyes. They had only been together a month, but Chloe felt like she had known Beca for a lifetime. “I love you, too.” 

 

“When this is all over,” Beca started, pecking her lips once. “We should move to America.” 

 

Chloe’s eyebrows shot up in a mix of surprise and interest. “America? And what would we do there?” 

 

“Mmm… we’d make music. And own a restaurant.” 

 

“Is that so?” She nudged her nose against Beca’s. It felt good to dream in times like these. “I really like the way that sounds.” 

 

*

 

Six months passed. 

 

Beca and the gang continued undertaking operations against the Nazis and helping jewish refugees cross over to the free zone. Alongside Jessica and Ashley, Chloe took care of getting the families settled in in a house nearby, giving them food and spare clothing. 

 

As the war progressed in favor of the Axis, Chloe attempted to keep her head above water and not let her fears take over. 

 

Every time they did, she thought of Beca, and how much they loved one another. She thought of America, music, and the restaurant they would open. 

 

Sadly, on a hot August afternoon, those weren’t enough anymore. 

 

“Chloe!” Beca called out as she burst into the shelter house around 4 o’clock. 

 

Chloe was helping a mom with her baby in one of the dorms upstairs when she heard her girlfriend’s voice. She met her at the bottom of the stairs, her heart falling to the pit of her stomach as she took in the panic in Beca’s eyes. 

 

“Jesse is waiting in the car outside. He’s going to take you home. If anybody stops you, say that you’re married.” 

 

Chloe shook her head in confusion. “What’s going on?” 

 

“They’re arresting foreign jewish people. You need to go back to the house, we have a plan to hide you.” 

 

“Beca--” 

 

Beca was the one to shake her head this time. She cradled Chloe’s jaw. “Go. I love you, I’ll see you back at the house.” 

 

The three minute ride back to the gang’s headquarters was uneventful, but Chloe could only breathe properly once they’d made it inside. Jesse led her to the basement, where she hid for the rest of the afternoon and evening, pacing the length of the room. 

 

The door eventually opened and Chloe flung herself into Beca’s arms. 

 

“It’s okay,” Beca whispered, holding her tight and rubbing soothing circles along her back. 

 

“The Germans-- they’re here?” Chloe asked as she pulled back, terror swirling in her blue eyes. 

 

“No, it’s not the Germans. The arrests were organized by the French police. Which means… this is no longer a free zone and it's only a matter of time before the nazis get here.” 

 

Chloe nodded, stomaching the news with difficulty. 

 

“Listen to me,” Beca said, cupping her face with both hands as her eyes shone fierce. “We have a plan to get you out of here and to safety. To Spain first and then to South America.”

 

“S-south America?”

 

Beca nodded. “I got you a passport for Argentina. It’s all been arranged.” 

 

Chloe’s head started spinning, fear gripping her insides in a vice grip. She felt like she was going to be sick. 

 

“I’m scared, Bec,” she croaked out, choking on a sob. "I don't wanna leave you."

 

“Me too,” Beca admitted as she rested her forehead against Chloe’s. “We’ll be together again. Let’s hang on to that.” She kissed Chloe gently, her own eyes turning misty. “I love you so much.”

 

“I love you, too.” 

 

Beca fished into her pocket and produced a ring. 

 

“I know we technically can’t get married, but—”

 

“Yes,” Chloe whispered, her head bobbing up and down as tears pricked behind her eyes. Those butterflies setting off in her belly felt shackled however, their current situation tinting what should be one of the happiest moments of Chloe's life. “Yes, my love.”

 

Smiling, Beca slid the ring onto Chloe’s left hand, raising it to her lips to kiss it. 

 

They bid each other goodbye the following morning. Jesse would accompany Chloe on the first leg of the trip, until they reached the Pyrenees. There, a trusted friend of theirs would take Chloe across the mountain chain to Spain. Chloe memorized the rest of her itinerary to Lisbon, where she would take a boat to South America. 

 

Beca gave her enough money to afford transport and food, slipping a letter for Chloe to read on the boat.

 

It took Chloe a week to complete her journey. A week of living in constant fear but having to act like she had nothing to be afraid of as to not raise suspicions around her. 

 

Once the boat departed Lisbon, she fished inside her coat pocket for Beca’s letter. 

 

Dear Chloe,

 

I hope more than anything that you are safe. Parting from you is the hardest thing I’ve had to do, after those wonderful six months we got to spend together. 

 

I never thought I would meet someone like you, especially during the war. Someone as beautiful inside and out, whose spirit shines bright even during dark times. I am truly grateful our paths met. 

 

I already miss you and I pray that we’ll be together again someday, when this is all over. 

 

I love you with all my heart. 

 

Your Beca.

 

Chloe wiped away the tears that had fallen down her cheeks without her noticing, re-reading Beca’s words over and over again. The journey to Argentina took seven days, and Chloe had no trouble with the authorities upon touching land, thanks to her Argentinian passport. 

 

Dear Beca,

 

I hope this letter reaches you quickly. I’ve just made it to Buenos Aires and my journey unfolded as planned. 

 

I got myself a room above a hotel-restaurant. The owner, Marisol, is a kind lady in her fifties who speaks some French and English. She offered me a job as a housekeeper starting next week. I’ll get food and board in exchange. 

 

Buenos Aires is beautiful and I’m looking forward to exploring the area, even if it seems odd to enjoy life with what’s going on across the ocean. I realize how lucky I am to be here when so many of my community met a different fate. 

 

I hope you are safe on the other side of the world. Write me back when you have the chance. 

 

Love, 

 

Your Chloe

 

The next two years and a half were spent working as a waitress during the day and singing in a bar at night. Chloe eventually made enough money to rent herself a small studio in the city centre, and having two jobs was a nice distraction from worrying over Beca’s well-being. She got one letter a month from her wife, keeping each of them in her bedside table drawer and re-reading them at night. 

 

When the war turned around as the Allies started gaining territory in France, hope bloomed in Chloe’s chest; she might be reunited with the love of her life. 

 

On May 8th, 1945, Chloe woke up to the sound of cheers coming from the street below her apartment. She strode to her window and opened it, stepping out onto the balcony. 

 

“¿Qué pasa?!” She shouted down to the people celebrating. 

 

A young woman looked up, beaming. “¡Se acabó la guerra en Europa! Alemania se rindió!” 

 

“Oh my goodness,” Chloe murmured, covering her mouth in shock. 

 

She headed back into her room and grabbed a piece of paper, settling down at her desk to write Beca a letter. 

 

Dear Beca,

 

Forgive my sloppy writing, my fingers are shaking with a mixture of excitement and relief. 

 

The streets of Buenos Aires are bursting with joy this morning after learning Germany surrendered. Congratulations, my love. You and the gang should be extremely proud of all the work you’ve accomplished and putting your lives at risk to save others.

 

I wish I could be in your arms to celebrate, but I know it’s only a matter of time before we can. 

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about America, and I think you’d love Argentina just as much. Will you join me here? I long to see you again. 

 

Love, 

 

Your Chloe

 

It was near impossible for her to focus on work over the following weeks, as she awaited Beca’s reply. Worry started to claw at her insides when twenty-two days passed with no news from her wife. 

 

Until… 

 

“Is the coffee any good around here?” 

 

Chloe froze in her motions, her heart doing a flip-flop as soon as she registered whose voice this belonged to. She’d been wiping the tables outside, quietly humming a song to herself. She whipped around to confirm her suspicions and took three quick steps, flinging herself into Beca’s arms. 

 

“Jesus,” Beca laughed, her arms wounding around Chloe’s waist. “Seems like you may have missed me a little.” 

 

“You’re here,” Chloe choked as she pulled away and tenderly held Beca’s cheek. She refrained from capturing her lips into a searing kiss, knowing they could get in trouble for doing that in a public place. “You’re okay.” 

 

Beca smiled. “I’m better than okay, now.” She licked her lips, glancing around. “When are you done with your shift?” 

 

Chloe’s eyes flickered to her watch. “In an hour.” 

 

“I’ll wait.” 

 

It was even more difficult for Chloe to focus on work now, with Beca sitting at the terrace sipping on a coffee. Marisol must have caught on and told her she could leave early and take the day off tomorrow, smiling knowingly. 

 

The second Chloe’s door was shut behind them, Chloe pushed Beca against the door, claiming her lips for the first time in nearly three years. 

 

“So what’s so great about Argentina?” Beca asked as they laid in bed a couple hours later, basking in newly found intimacy. 

 

Chloe was on the brink of dozing off, lulled by the rhythmic stroking of Beca’s fingers along her bare side. “Mmm… The music. The dancing. The food. The people. The list is pretty long.” 

 

“Oh, speaking of music…” Beca sat up, throwing on her henley shirt and cotton shorts before padding to her large backpack. She opened it and pulled out Chloe’s violin case. “I managed to bring this back with me.” 

 

“Oh my god,” Chloe croaked out, sitting up and opening the case. Her violin lay neatly inside, as good as new. “Thank you.” 

 

“You’re welcome.” Beca settled back on her side, draping an arm over Chloe’s middle as she propped herself on her opposite elbow. “I’m counting on you to teach me Spanish, then.”

 

Chloe blinked. “You’re-- you’re okay with staying here?” 

 

“Yes.” She caught Chloe’s hand, laying a kiss across her knuckles. “You’re my home. Wherever you wanna be, I’ll be.” 

 

Chloe leaned in to press a soft, lingering kiss to Beca’s lips. “I love you.” 

 

“I love you, too.” 

 

With the war now behind them, they would be able to write the first few lines to the next chapter of their lives, and Chloe had the inkling it was bound to be a much brighter one.