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I Guess

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“I guess.”

It is one of Beca’s favorite phrases and it drives Chloe up the wall. The first time Chloe remembered hearing it was after she came back for the team’s sophomore year.

“Why don’t you and Chloe both be captains,” CR suggested.

“Yeah, she has the institutional memory, you have the music.” Stacie agreed.

Chloe stared at the woman who said she valued cuticle care yet knew phrases like institutional memory. She was only shaken back into the moment when Beca shrugged and muttered, “I guess.”

 

It became a common refrain. “Beca? Would you run to the bookstore? Jessica ran out of post it notes and she is in the middle of her research.” Chloe would ask.

“I guess.” And Beca would roll her eyes, take her headphones off and head off to the book store.

Another time it was Chloe up to her elbows in the kitchen. “Beca! I forgot the ro-tel! This queso will be the worst! Would you please run to get some for me?”

Beca sighed and stood up, putting down the game controller. “I guess. Which one?”

“One hot, one mild and one with cilantro.” Chloe looked harried.

“I guess,” Beca muttered again on her way out the door.

 

Then there was the time they were all at the Treble house for a party. Beca was seated at a table with Jesse as they talked over a beer. Chloe walked over, Stacie leaning heavily on her. “Beca, would you help me get Stacie home?”

Jesse stood up, “oh my god, what happened?”

“I just twisted it in the grass,” Stacie admitted although she was slightly embarrassed.

“Let me drive you.” Jesse offered.

Chloe shook her head, “it’s your party, Jesse. Just let me borrow your girlfriend for a little while. I’ll send her right back.”

Jesse turned to Beca, “is that ok?”

Beca was already standing and slipping up against Stacie’s other side. “I guess.” She shrugged as she and Chloe helped the taller girl through the house and out the front door. Beca never did go back to the party that night.

 

The year Beca was a junior was the worst. Several girls from Chloe’s second senior year had dropped out and the team was back to eight of the girls Aubrey had helped pick and one new recruit. Chloe was worried she lacked Aubrey’s leadership skills and needed some support from Beca. “Can you show a little enthusiasm, Becs? We only have a week until finals. We have to get this right!”  Chloe finally erupted with frustration.

“I guess.” Beca shrugged but then put two fingers to her mouth and blew a note that cut through all the chatter of the other Bellas combined. “One more time, ladies.”

Chloe felt mollified, but still irritated at Beca’s non- committal initial response.

 

That irritation rose several times during Beca’s senior year. First there were the rehearsals where Chloe would remind Beca she needed the set to start choreography. If Chloe said, “I need the set list,” Beca would reply, “on it.” But if Chloe asked, “is it ready?” Beca would say, “I guess.” The next day, Chloe would have music, but something was still lacking. It wasn’t coming together.

Chloe barely kept herself from snapping back  on the way to the retreat. “Are we all ready to have fun and bond?” Chloe smiled from the front of the van as the others groaned. The only words she heard in response were, “I guess.” Only after the bear trap and campfire confessions did Chloe realize just how difficult it was for Beca to open up.

She tried to be more understanding. She thought they did pretty well with arranging the world’s set, training not only the Bellas plus their new recruit, but also the alumni who planned to join them in Copenhagen. But then there was graduation. “Come on Beca. I want a picture with all of us.”

“I guess.” Beca followed up her response with an epic eye roll and refused to smile for the picture. Still, she was in it, so Chloe didn’t complain, although Beca did when Chloe made it her Lock Screen that summer.

 

The next time Beca made Chloe crazy was after Worlds. They sat together on a bench overlooking the famous statue of the Little Mermaid. “I’m really gonna miss you, Beca.”

Beca grunted but didn’t say anything. Chloe sat with tears in her eyes, hoping the ocean spray hid them from view. Finally, Beca said, “you could come to New York with me. I mean if you really don’t have anything else planned.”

Chloe swallowed past the lump in her throat and smiled. “You want me to go to New York with you?”

“I guess. I mean, at least it’s something to do and some place to be, right? Bellas for life and all that.” Beca shrugged.

Chloe took her up on the offer, even if she wasn’t sure Beca meant it. When they shared the same flat with Amy she was certain Beca had just been kind, but she was in for a penny so stayed.

 

“Want Chinese for dinner, Beca?”

“I guess.”

 

“Want to help with the dishes?”

“I guess.”

 

“Want to go to karaoke night?”

“I guess.”

 

Three years of shrugs, eye rolls and “I guess” later, Chloe was sure she had wasted her life. When an army Captain paid her attention, actually smiled at her and made her feel special, she knew she was never going to hear that non-committal “I guess” again.

Then there was a kidnapping, a diversion, an explosion and Beca admitting they were all a family. There was Beca showing excitement when Chloe announced vet school. There was Beca studying her from the stage and hugging her after the show with tears in her eyes.

Chloe released Beca reluctantly. “There’s something I gotta do. Will you wait for me?”

“I guess.” Beca whispered as she let her arms drop. She managed a smile and a nod and for the first time, Chloe wondered if she had misunderstood what those two words had meant all of these years.

Chloe tracked down her army captain, and after two kisses and a dip, they said goodbye. While she did like his smile and the attention he paid her, she worried about how she would feel without a certain pair of stormy blue eyes watching her. She headed back to the party but didn’t see Beca anywhere. After asking around, she ran into Theo. “Have you seen Beca? She said she would wait for me.”

Theo coughed, “I’m sure she thought you would be indisposed for longer and wouldn’t notice.”

“I don’t understand.” Chloe looked puzzled.

“We came out onto the lanai.” Theo waited to see if that rang a bell. “Behind the theater.” When Chloe still didn’t respond he changed words, “the brick patio outside the stage door.”

Chloe’s eyes widened. “Oh no. She saw me with Chicago.”

Theo nodded. “We didn’t wish to intrude, so we headed over to the green room. I left her there so she could change out of the costume and take her hair down.” He added helpfully.

“Thank you!” Chloe reached up and kissed his cheek before she ran as fast as she could considering the skirt and shoes she was wearing. She caught Beca just as the singer was leaving. “Hey. I thought you were gonna wait for me.”

Beca smiled, although the emotion did not reach her eyes. “Well, it seemed like you were busy.”

“I was saying goodbye.” Chloe reached out and touched Beca’s hand.

“You didn’t have to,” Beca began.

“I guess.” Chloe interrupted with a small smile on her face. She bit her lower lip as her eyes held a question and hope.

Beca’s lips curled into a little smile as well. “Long distance with a soldier has gotta be hard.” She studied Chloe’s face. Chloe shrugged but didn’t say anything else. It was Beca’s turn to bite her lower lip. “Long distance relationships suck period, I think.”

Chloe felt her shoulders sag but managed to say it one more time, desperately hoping she hadn’t been wrong in her translation. “I guess.”

Beca’s eyes twinkled as she tilted her head to one side, “I was wondering if maybe you would put off Vet school and travel a little with me.”

“You were, huh?” Chloe’s smile broadened and she laced her fingers through Beca’s.

“It’d be ok. If you want.”

“Do you want?” Chloe teased, looking forward to hearing her two favorite words.

“I guess.”