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“Jake, come on! We’re gonna be late!” Beca shouted, scrambling around the living room to find her laptop.

 

“I can’t find my Spider-Man shirt!” a frustrated voice called out from somewhere in the apartment. 

 

“It’s in one of your drawers!” She finally found her laptop between two cushions and grinned in victory. “Okay, we gotta go now!”

 

“Mom, it’s not there!”

 

She sighed, now moving to the kitchen to zip up her son’s lunchbox. She grabbed her cup of coffee to take a quick sip and hissed when it burned her tongue. “Shit-- Jake, just put on another shirt. We’re late!”

 

“But I want my Spider-Man shirt!”

 

“Fucking hell,” she whispered to herself and then put everything down to go to her son’s bedroom where he was standing shirtless and pouting. “Kid, we have to go.”

 

“I looked everywhere and it’s not there!” 

 

Beca looked at the alarm clock on his night stand and groaned when she saw that no matter how much they hurried up now, they were still going to be late. Might as well find his favorite shirt. 

 

“Go look in your closet and I’ll check the drawers again,” she said, already on her knees. She was lucky her boss was so understanding of her being a single mom because she was pretty sure she would’ve been fired by now by the amount of times she had been late since the beginning of the school year. 

 

Beca had always thought the hardest thing would be to see her little boy finally get old enough to go to elementary school. Turns out, the hardest part was convincing him to wake up at 6 AM so they could get to school in time for 7. She supposed she could only blame herself for that since he was her child and he probably liked sleep that much because of her. 

 

She still remembered the first time she had laid her eyes on him, all red and fidgety after she had given birth to him and she couldn’t believe how fast these last five years had gone by. It had been a struggle raising him all on her own but she was proud of the little guy he was growing up to be and she wouldn’t change anything about their situation. It was him and her against the world. 

 

She opened the second drawer and released a humorless laugh when she saw Spider-Man’s face smiling at her, first shirt on top of the pile, all ready to be worn. It was his favorite shirt since he had gotten it for his fifth birthday back in May and she could already see it was getting slightly too small for him. She was afraid of what was going to happen when he was going to grow out of it and he wouldn’t be able to wear it anymore.

 

It wasn’t like he didn’t have at least 10 other Spider-Man shirts but he seemed to like this one the most. 

 

“Found it, Jakey,” she said and he turned around with a smile and lifted his arms in the air so Beca could put it on for him. She quickly pulled it over his head and laughed when it got stuck on his nose. 

 

“Hey!” he said and grabbed the hem of the shirt to pull it down way more violently than it needed to be. She ruffled his soft brown curls before getting to her feet, her knees thanking her. 

 

“Alright, let’s go.” 

 

They finally made it to the car after running around the apartment to find his coloring book and his coloring pens only to realize they had been in his school bag the whole time. She already felt exhausted even though the day hadn’t even started yet. She buckled him in his car seat and sat on the driver’s seat in front of him. letting herself breathe a little.

 

“Mooooom,” he whined as soon as she pulled out of the garage and got onto the Los Angeles’ streets where the traffic was already heavy. “Mommy, mommy, mommy.”

Each word was punctuated by a kick in the back of her seat and she kept her voice calm to answer him. “What?” 

 

“Can we sing?”

 

“No, not today.” 

 

“But I want to sing!”

 

“I’m not in the mood to sing, little guy.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because someone figured out how to turn off Mommy’s alarm clock and we woke up late today so now I just want us to get to school in silence.” 

 

Jake giggled like it was funny and she looked up in her mirror to glare at him but he looked so happy with himself, she couldn’t even afford to be that mad at him. It was those damn blue eyes that he had gotten from her that were so irresistible. 

 

It was her fault really; for letting him play with it while she got ready for bed but she thought the worst he could do was change the radio station, not change all her settings. 

 

He started singing loudly anyways and kicked on her seat a few times, harder than before. She tuned him out because that was the only thing she could really do when he got like that because she didn’t want him to throw a tantrum before getting to school when they were already late. He suddenly gasped loudly and she almost swerved into the next lane in panic but she regained control quickly and looked in the mirror.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

He had his small hands on the window and his forehead pressed against it. He tapped a finger on the glass and shouted. 

 

“Mom, that’s the Batmobile!”

 

She snuck a look to where he was pointing and saw a black lamborghini with tinted windows. 

 

“Batmobile?”

 

“Batman’s car! Mom!” he said like he was insulted she had forgotten and she nodded when she remembered. 

 

“Oh right,” she said and then got excited for her kid. “Do you think that’s him?”

 

“Obviously!” he said as if he couldn’t believe Beca would even ask. He had a bright smile on his face as he stared out the window and he pressed his nose against the glass clumsily. She cringed and made a mental note to clean the window soon because she could already see the stain of his little fingers on it.

 

He talked to himself for the remainder of the drive and she finally pulled into the parking lot of his school. She put on his Iron Man backpack on his back and she followed him slowly as he ran to the door of the reception. The fact that he knew what to do when they were late embarrassed Beca even more; she really had to figure out a way to make them get here on time more often. 

 

The receptionist gave her a cold glare, like she always did when they arrived late. Beca knew the receptionist pegged her as one of those irresponsible young moms since she first laid her eyes on her and it annoyed Beca to no end. It wasn’t because she was slightly younger than most when she got Jake that she was a bad mom, she liked to think she was doing pretty damn good. Jake seemed happy and that was all that mattered to her.

 

Jake hugged her and she kissed the top of his head before he walked to the receptionist. The latter put a hand on his shoulder. “Miss Sophie will be glad to see you’re here, Jacob.”

 

Her boy just nodded shyly, the grin that he had in the car gone and replaced by a nervous expression, the one he always had with adults he didn’t know well. He subtly moved away from the hand on her shoulder and gave his mom one last wave before turning the corner.

 

She fixed her black blazer and finally made her way back to her car to get to work. The drive to Atlantis Records was quick since she made sure she picked a school close to her place of work. 

 

She opened the door, making a little bell ring and the receptionist at the front didn’t even look up from her phone to speak.

 

“We’re closed.”

 

Beca rolled her eyes and leaned her elbows on the desk. “It’s 8 AM on a Monday, Amy. We’re definitely open.”

 

Amy looked up and discarded her phone when she saw Beca. “Hey Shortstack! Wondered if you were going to make it here today or the kid tornado was going to get ya,” she said in a thick australian accent. 

 

“Almost,” Beca answered. “Is Allen mad?”

 

“Nah, I don’t even think he noticed. He had a meeting as soon as he came in.”

 

“Okay cool,” she said and took a peppermint before walking to her desk. 

 

This summer, they had hired a bunch of interns but they were all gone now so the place seemed quieter. Not that Beca minded, she actually loved her place of work because there weren't too many people and she happened to like the person with the desk adjoining hers. Besides, Amy was loud enough to make the whole place seem chaotic without the help of any interns.

 

“Sup Beca,” Cynthia-Rose said from the desk in front of hers and Beca logged onto the computer and opened something in case Allen came out and she had to pretend she was working on something.

 

“Hey CR,” she said in the middle of a yawn. 

 

“Tough morning?”

 

She rubbed her face. “When did my child get smart enough to mess with my alarms?”

 

“He’s not a little kid anymore.”

 

“Ugh,” she breathed out and pouted. “Don’t even.” 

 

Cynthia-Rose chuckled and tossed her a muffin that Beca almost dropped but caught at the last minute. She looked at her coworker in awe and shook her head. “Marry me.” 

 

She didn’t have time to grab breakfast this morning because she had been too focused on cutting Jake’s toasts in little squares so this muffin was basically everything she had ever wanted.

 

“Happily engaged but I appreciate the offer.” 

 

She took a bite and moaned when she noticed it had chocolate chips inside. “You’re my savior.”

 

“I just know the little guy keeps you busy and someone has to take care of you, right?”

 

Beca rolled her eyes. “While I do appreciate this, I definitely do not need help.”

 

“Right.”

 

“I mean it! Jake and I are doing fine all on our own.” 

 

She had everything she needed. She had a job she loved that paid enough so they didn’t struggle financially. She had Jake who was a kid that was (most of the time) pretty calm and when she really needed help, she had her mom that lived in Seattle who could come by for a few days. 

 

“I believe you, Mitch. I’m pretty sure you’re the only one who could do all you do and not need our help but…” she trailed off and Beca looked away from her computer to look at her, unimpressed. 

 

“But?” 

 

“You need my muffin.”

 

Beca snorted at the double meaning and nodded. “You know it, CR.”

 

“Beca.” She looked to her right to see her boss waving her over from his doorway. “Come here,” he said before getting back inside where Beca could see a client was waiting. 

 

“The boss needs his best girl,” Cynthia-Rose teased with a grin.

 

She shoved the rest of the muffin in her mouth and flipped off her coworker before entering her boss’ office. 

 

--------------

 

She bent down to pick up Jake, who was running towards her and straightened up to hold him on her waist. He gave her a wet kiss on the cheek and she chuckled, happy to see him again. It was still hard for her to adjust to not seeing him all day when he was at school.

 

She was pretty sure he was the only person she could ever stand to spend the whole day with. She couldn’t believe how much love she had for her son, sometimes it felt as though it was going to burst out of her. Beca didn’t even think she was capable of loving someone that much until she first made eye contact with him on the hospital bed. 

 

“Hey bud! How was your day?”

 

“Good!” he said, shoving his face in her neck and his curls tickled Beca’s face a little. She grabbed his backpack that he had gotten out of to hug his mom properly and she walked to her car. 

 

“You wanna talk to me about what you did?”

 

He swung his legs while she buckled him to his car seat and nodded. “Today we counted to twenty.”

 

“Twenty?” she said with excitement in her voice. “That is awesome, little man!” She kissed his head before getting into her seat. 

 

“Yeah!” His smile dropped and it was replaced by an adorable frown. “But my teacher told us she was leaving because… because… she’s too fat.”

 

Beca’s eyebrows raised. “Your teacher is leaving because she’s too fat?”

 

He nodded, his nose scrunched as he tried to remember everything. “Her tummy is so big, Mommy. Almost as big as mine when we eat pizza!”

 

It finally clicked and Beca let out a soft laugh to not make it seem as though she was making fun of him. She did remember seeing his teacher at the beginning of the year and she was pregnant so it made sense that she would leave, she just didn’t expect it to be so soon. 

 

“Miss Sophie is going on maternity leave, Jakey.”

 

“Yeah! Matenitety leave!”

 

“Maternity,” she corrected and glanced at him through the rearview mirror. “So she’s leaving you soon?”

 

“Yeah,” he said and pouted, his perfect little eyebrows knit together. “I don’t want her to.”

 

“I get that, bud. I know you like her.” Beca did find it really unfortunate that Sophie was going to be leaving so soon. Jake had liked her pretty much instantly and it usually took a long time for him to get used to other adults. 

 

It took him weeks to get used to Cynthia-Rose and even more to get used to Amy. It probably didn’t help that Amy pretended to be a monster chasing after him every single time she saw him. 

 

She just hoped he’d warm up quickly enough to his new teacher when she’d get there. So far, he seemed to like school and she wanted that mindset to stay at least a year before he realized school was the worst .  

 

“It’s stupid.”

 

“Hey,” she said sternly and looked behind her when she got to a red light. “We don’t say that word.”

 

He just pouted and looked out the window, his arms crossed. 

 

“Maybe you’ll get an even better teacher.”

 

“No.”

 

“Jake, you remember how you weren’t sure about Miss Sophie at first but you ended up really liking her? I’m sure the same thing will happen.”

 

“But I don’t want another teacher! She’s gonna be st--” he stopped himself and Beca sighed to herself.

 

She could bet money it was Amy that taught him that word when she brought him to work last week when she had forgotten her laptop there.

 

She decided to change the subject before he started crying in her car. “What else did you do today?”

 

“I drew me and Spider-Man!” he said, instantly getting his smile back and she let out a sigh of relief. 

 

She just wondered if she had enough space on their fridge for another drawing.

 

Chapter Text

A week passed and it was finally the day when Jake was going to meet his new teacher. His teacher had mentioned it every day last week so they would remember and get used to the idea but Jake had only decided to understand what it really meant on the day of. 

 

He was currently in the living room in only his underwear and he was refusing to move. Having prepared for this, Beca had gotten early to make sure they wouldn’t be late and got ready on her own while he cried loudly in his room. After a while, he understood that she wasn’t going to come to him so he sat down on the floor and continued his tantrum. Her ears were about to burst and she briefly wondered if this was the day she would finally get kicked out of the apartment but she continued moving around the kitchen, pretending this wasn’t affecting her. 

 

When his lunchbox was ready and she had brushed her teeth, gotten dressed and put Jake’s plate in the dishwasher, she finally stood in front of him. 

 

“Okay, we’re leaving in 10 minutes, little dude. Time to get dressed.” 

 

He just stared at her and started crying even harder. She sighed, taking pity on him and sat down on the floor in front of him and opened her arms. He instantly scrambled on top of her, his knees kicking her in the stomach with force. She winced in pain and started stroking his back, feeling his wet cheeks on her neck. 

 

“Baby, it’ll be okay.”

 

“I don’t wanna,” he whined, wiping his snot on his mother much to her dismay. 

 

“You’ll have fun, I promise.”

 

“What if she’s mean?”

 

“She’s not going to be mean, Jakey. She’s gonna love you.” 

 

She took him by the head so they could look at each other and wiped his damp cheeks. He looked so sad and she felt her heart break. She briefly considered for a second keeping him here just so he could feel better but she knew that wasn’t a good idea. He needed to get through challenges, that’s how he could grow.

 

“But…But... “ 

 

“You’re going to be her favorite little man,” Beca reassured him with a smile. “You can just talk to her about superheroes, she’s going to be so impressed by how cool you are!” 

 

“You think?” 

 

“I’m sure. I bet she’ll even be jealous that you’re so cool and she doesn’t know that much about superheroes.” 

 

He smiled and Beca felt her heartbeat go back to normal. She knew she needed him to focus on getting dressed now and his favorite Spider-Man shirt was dirty so she needed to focus his mind on something else.

 

“Now you can either wear your Hulk t-shirt or your Ant-Man t-shirt. Which one do you want?” 

 

“I want Hulk!” he said, getting to his feet and she groaned when he stepped on her thigh. When did he get big enough to hurt her? She pushed that thought out of her head before it made her emotional and she followed him to his room. 

 

She didn’t know how but she finally managed to get him to school and he looked nervous but much better than before. He was chewing on the hem of his green shirt as she walked him to the entrance of the courtyard where kids were playing. She was especially glad they were on time today. If parents got medals, she definitely deserved one for this morning, right?

 

She bent down to be at his level and ruffled his hair, making him scrunch his nose. “Today’s gonna be a good day, kid.”

 

“How do you know?”

 

“Because you’re so strong and you can get through anything, right? You’re as strong as Hulk.”

 

He giggled and shook his head. “I’m not as strong as Hulk, Mommy.” 

 

“Yes, you are! Look at those strong muscles,” she said, touching his biceps and he laughed some more. She smiled at him and hugged him because even though she wasn’t the biggest fan of public displays of affection usually, she wanted to take all she could get before he got old enough to complain about the love she had for him. “I love you, okay?”

 

“I love you too.”

 

She kissed the top of his head and watched him walk into the crowd of people with his hands holding the handles of his backpack, never stopping to talk to anyone. She chewed on her bottom lip, hoping Jake was adjusting to school well and he was making friends. After all, it had only been a month, he still had time to make plenty of friends, right?

 

And it’s not like Beca had a big group of friends growing up either and she was fine with it. Jake was going to be okay. With that thought, she turned around to get to her work. They were meeting with a potential client and Beca was excited about it so quickly, her anxiety about Jake dissipated and she started preparing herself to make a good impression. 

 

------------ 

 

She probably should have been a lot more worried and held off on the praise she gave herself the first day because as soon as Jake came back from his first day with his new teacher, everything turned to hell. 

 

For some reason, Jake hated Miss Beale. 

 

He didn’t even want to talk to his mother when he got back from school from how mad he was and he finally blew up at the dinner table, explaining that Miss Beale was weird and she had a completely different style of teaching so he didn’t like going to school anymore. 

 

He was especially mad that Miss Beale wouldn’t let him draw whenever he wanted and forced him to participate in the activities she had planned. That was how Beca understood why Jake had liked Miss Sophie that much; she would let him draw in peace and not force him to bond with the other kids.

 

A part of Beca was heartbroken over the fact that her kid seemed so distressed about school now but another part of her was also glad maybe he’d finally be forced to make friends. She figured he would start playing with the other kids and understand that he didn’t have to be so shy and everything would go back to normal. Maybe things would get even better because Jake could have a friend. 

 

Obviously that wasn’t what happened. 

 

She entered the school on Friday, awkwardly pushing all the parents crowding the hallway so she could get to her kid’s homeroom because for some reason, he hadn’t been waiting for her at the school entrance. She quickly spotted him at his desk, playing with his Spider-Man action figure that he insisted on bringing to school and she walked to his desk, getting around the other parents in the room. 

 

He had tear stains on his shirt that had The Flash ’s logo on it and she instantly got a bad feeling on her stomach. He didn’t even look up at her when she bent down next to him.

 

“Hey buddy, are you ready to go?” 

 

“Excuse me, are you Jacob’s mom? Would you be able to talk for a minute?” a redhead asked sweetly, coming up to stand beside her. 

 

Beca straightened up, suddenly nervous. Her eyes roamed around the room as she watched the other children filter out with their parents, little hands grasping paintings and macaroni art. Meanwhile Jake sat artwork free, bashing Spider-man’s plastic head against the desk.

 

She easily figured it was Miss Beale that was talking to her and she nodded, hoping Jake hadn’t done anything too bad. The teacher sat down on a desk near Jake’s and Beca mimicked her, her hand never leaving her son’s back. 

 

She took a moment to finally observe the woman that was going to be with her kid most hours of the week until the end of the year. She had her red hair in a professional bun on top of her head and she was wearing a nice blue dress that made the blue of her eyes pop even more. She looked about Beca’s age and frankly, she was probably one of the most beautiful women Beca had ever met. 

 

“I wanna start by saying it’s nice to meet you! We haven’t really had the opportunity to speak properly yet. I’m Chloe Beale and I’m substituting Jacob’s class whilst Miss Sophie is on maternity leave.” 

 

She had a bright smile on her face and for a second, Beca thought nothing too bad was going to happen but that quickly disappeared when the teacher continued. 

 

“I just wanted to have a word with you regarding Jacob’s behavior over the course of this week.” 

 

Beca sighed, immediately thinking about how hostile Jake could be with new people. She should’ve known that if Jake had been so angry at home, he was showing it at school too. 

 

“I’m not sure how he usually behaves but we’ve had some unacceptable behaviour since Monday, haven’t we Jacob?” She looked towards the boy and was met with a scowl, to which Beca grimaced. 

 

“He’s been non compliant to join in with any activities we’ve planned, he’s not been sharing with the other children and he’s used some,” she paused, considering her phrasing. “unfortunate language towards me on more than one occasion.”

 

Beca felt her cheeks twinge pink as she looked at her son that was still too busy playing around with his action figure. She was pretty sure she had never been as embarrassed as she was now. 

 

“I’m so sorry, dude. He gets like this whenever he’s around new people but I didn’t know it was this bad. What did he say to you?”

 

The teacher laughed. “I’d totes tell you, but I’m not sure it’s repeatable in a classroom environment.”

 

Beca kicked herself mentally. Chloe probably thought she was an awful mom now so that was great. 

 

“Really? Shit. I mean, shoot! He can be such a little assh- uhh weirdo with new people but that’s because he’s so shy. He gets it from me unfortunately which means it’s my fault so that’s great, damn. Wait, no fuck-- Shoot! I’m so sorry.” The producer became increasingly flustered, stumbling over her words. 

 

“It’s okay, Miss Mitchell,” Chloe cut her off, a smile on her face probably taking pity on the stuttering mess in front of her. “I just wanted to have a chat about it.”

 

“Call me Beca,” she corrected instantly. She was still way too young to be Miss Mitchell . She was 27 (28 in less than a week) but sometimes, she still didn’t feel like she was actually an adult. Some parts of her still belonged to the awkward angsty teenager that she was and not much had changed except she now had the job of taking care of another human being. 

 

The redhead nodded and pointed to a little white board where all the names of the students were divided in three columns. It wasn’t hard to figure out why the name Jacob Mitchell could be found in the red column. 

 

“When I got here, Jacob’s name was in the green column. That Monday morning was the last time he was there.” 

 

Beca still felt like her cheeks were on fire as she glanced at her kid that was already looking at her. He quickly looked away when she looked down at him and he pretended to make Spider-Man fly in the air. He was a relatively chill kid for his age so she wondered what kind of shenanigans he did here to make his name be in the red column. That wasn’t how she raised him. 

 

“Jake,” she said so he’d look at her again and he had tears in his eyes that made her heart tug. She rubbed his back soothly. “What’s going on, kid? Don’t you want your name in the green column like before?”

 

He just shrugged at her, his bottom lip trembling. She looked back at the teacher that was looking at them with a sad smile. 

 

“What can we do to help make things better?” 

 

“Well, I had a chance to think about and I thought perhaps a behavior journal? We keep it here during the day and you take it home each evening and we can both fill out whenever we see any positive or negative behavior from Jacob. So we can keep on top of his actions?” she explained.

 

Beca nodded, pretty impressed with the idea. “I mean-- sure, yeah that sounds good. Really good actually.”

 

Chloe seemed pleased with herself. “Look, I know change can be hard and I want to do whatever I can to help him. I’m afraid I’m gonna be here for the rest of the year and we can’t just switch him from my class.” 

 

“It’s not you,” Beca quickly explained, somehow getting a sense of insecurity from the teacher. “He’s just really stressed around new people. I know he doesn’t talk to any of the other kids either.”

 

“Yeah, I noticed that. During play time, Jacob just stays at his desk without playing with the other children.”

 

“It’s always just been him and I,” Beca said and she tugged on Jake’s ear playfully to make him squirm. “So it’s been hard for him to accommodate.” 

 

Chloe looked at her for a while and unlike other people that would look at her with pity when they understood she was a single mom, all she got from the teacher was empathy. 

 

“I understand,” she said and looked at Jake with a smile. “Well, I’ll get the journal ready for next Monday and we can just exchange it at pick up time. How does that sound?”

 

Beca was thankful for the gesture. “Sounds great. Thanks, dude-- I mean, Miss Beale.” 

 

The teacher laughed and stood up and shook her hand warmly. “Thank you for staying for the chat.” 

 

She walked to her desk while Beca signaled to her son that they were leaving and she helped him into his backpack before taking his small hand in hers. Just before they walked out the door, she looked behind her. 

 

“He prefers Jake,” she said and then Jake groaned, tugging on her hand so she’d look at him. 

 

“I don’t want her to call me Jake. Only my friends can call me Jake,” he said and she really wished her kid knew how to whisper properly because there was no way Miss Beale didn’t hear that.

 

She looked apologetically at the teacher who had her shoulders slumped a little. She clearly just wanted the best for the kids and Beca wondered why her son had so much trouble getting used to that. Christ, was she that bad when she was his age?

 

“Well, nevermind,” she said awkwardly and Chloe shook her head. 

 

“It’s okay. Have a good weekend, Beca. Bye Jacob.” 

 

“Have a good weekend,” she managed to answer politely before Jake dragged her out with force. 

 

That night, Beca was sat with a bathed, teeth brushed, pyjama clad Jake somehow by 8 PM, a new record of theirs. The two were cuddled up in Jake’s tiny single bed, and Beca was reading one of the new comic books they had picked up at the mall out loud to the boy, who was curled into her side with his Marvel duvet pulled up to his chin.

 

He yawned for the thirteenth time and she closed the comic book. She almost let the whole thing go so he could sleep the day off but she knew they needed to talk about what happened today. 

 

“Hey sleepy boy,” Beca whispered as she placed the comic book beside his Iron Man lamp and flipped the switch off as she laid beside him. “I didn’t talk about it during dinner but you know it’s time to talk about what Miss Beale told me today, right? You’re a smart boy.”

 

He sniffled and hid his face in her mother for comfort. 

 

“I don’t like the fact that you used bad words. We don’t use them in this house, you know that.” And okay that was definitely a lie but she was his parent, she was allowed to do that.

 

“I said bad words because Miss Beale is bad! I want Miss Sophie back,” he began with a pout. “Amy said that when people are making me angry I can say words like motherfu-“ 

 

“Jacob,” Beca said sternly in her best mom voice, not wanting to hear the end of the word. “How many times have I told you you can’t repeat what Amy says? We can’t use words like that, especially not towards teachers. Miss Beale is there to take care of you while Miss Sophie has her baby.”

 

His hand stopped fidgeting with Beca’s flannel so he could sit up, a pout on his face. He pushed the flannel up her arm so he could see the beginning of her tattoos that covered her entire right arm and he started tracing all of them. Beca waited patiently until Jake answered her, not wanting to push him to talk because she knew how much that sucked. 

 

“I need Miss Sophie. I always see her in the day time and I always come home and see you Mommy and I play with my toys and I read comics and I eat my dinner and I go to sleep,” he rambled, listing off his routine as if Beca didn’t know. 

 

“Miss Beale coming to look after you is just a small change that you need to get used to,” Beca said, ruffling his hair. “Remember how Peter Parker got bitten by a spider and had to learn how to control his new powers?”

 

He looked up at her, his steel blues eyes suddenly really interested in what she had to say. 

 

“Well, that was a big change for him, right? But he dealt with it and he became a super awesome superhero. So if you want to be just like Spider-Man, you need to prove that you’re a brave boy and be nice to Miss Beale.”

 

“I want to be like Spider-Man,” he mumbled to himself and Beca smiled. “I’m scared, Mommy,” he admitted and curled up into her. He looked so much tinier and fragile than usual and Beca almost teared up at it. 

 

She stroked his back in a soothing way. “I know you are. It can be a scary thing to deal with change but I know how good and smart you are. You’ll be absolutely fine.”

 

He nodded sleepily and she figured she had done enough parenting for the night. 

 

“Time for sleep, little dude. Even superheroes need rest.” She kissed him on the forehead and slipped out of his bed. 

 

She watched as the boy shifted around to become comfortable, placing his thumb in his mouth and turning onto his side. Beca could remember how tiny he was when she had him, that little baby screaming for love whom she adored from the minute she laid eyes on him. Her eyes glistened with a hint of pride as she watched over her baby who seemed to be growing before her eyes, becoming more of a little person each day.

 

“Goodnight. I love you,” she whispered and waited until she heard a mumble back before closing the door behind her. 

 

She sat down on the couch to work on a mix to relax herself before sleep. She groaned and pulled out a Spider-Man figurine from under her butt and looked at it a little. She just hoped things would get better with Jake soon. 

 

Chapter Text

She got the first behavior journal the next Monday. The weekend had gone by without trouble; they had gone to the park and played on the swings for hours and they had read lots and lots of comics. 

 

It had been her birthday on Sunday but she hadn’t done anything about it. Other than her mom, nobody knew she was turning 28 so she had kept it on the downlow. She didn’t like having all the attention on her anyway.

 

She’d had Spider-Man’s theme song stuck in her head all day long, she was pretty sure Amy was close to killing her because of how many times she sang it since arriving at the studio.

 

Since they had had a good weekend, she half-expected Jake to have been good at school today but his name was in the red column and Chloe had offered her the book with a sad smile. 

 

“How did today go?” she asked as she buckled him in the car seat.

 

“It was okay,” he said and she looked at him. 

 

“Yeah, tell me what you did?”

 

“I drew Batman and Ant-Man.”

 

“Aren’t they from two different universes?” she asked, settling down in her seat and he looked angrily at her. 

 

“They can still be friends!”

 

She winced. “Right, sorry bud.”

 

She finally opened the little yellow notebook that was covered in glitter so she could quickly read what Miss Beale had noted from the day. 

 

September 23rd

 

Jacob refuses to pick one of the options he has before entering homeroom (they can either shake my hand, give me a high five or ask for a hug). 

 

He counts to 40 aloud with all the other kids. He participates during the songs.

 

During play time, he stays in his seat and draws instead of playing with the other children. A peer asked him to play lego with her and he said no. 

 

During recess, he reads (looks at the pictures?) of his comic book. (That boy really loves his superheroes-- it’s adorable.)

 

He solves the puzzles I give them easily! :)

 

During lunch, he eats with some of the children but he doesn’t talk to them.

 

He starts shouting when I ask him to paint the bowl of fruit I have at the front, calls the activity stupid and useless. He throws the canvas on the ground and I make him go to the withdrawal place where he sulks for the remainder of the activity

 

He reads during recess.

 

He stays quiet during nap time. 

 

He tells me to “go annoy somebody else” when I ask him what he’s drawing at the end of the day. 

 

Believe me that I don’t take any joy from writing this out, I just want him to enjoy his time at school! It can be a wonderful and magical place. How are you doing with all of this? Do you have any tricks you can give me? I was thinking we could schedule a meeting in a month to talk about his progress in person. Have a good evening! 

 

She sighed, closing the notebook and looked at the boy behind her. He stared at her, defiance in his eyes and she groaned, knowing that this tough act definitely came from her. He didn’t seem guilty in the slightest about what happened today, he even seemed pretty comfortable not mentioning any of the bad things to her. 

 

“So how was your day with Miss Beale?”

 

He looked away and rested his fist on his cheek. “I don’t like her.” 

 

“Right. Did you even give her a chance?”

 

“Can we get pizza?” he answered and she sighed, putting the car in drive. 

 

“Only boys that are good to their teachers deserve pizza.”

 

That set him off and he cried for the entirety of the drive home. 

 

As soon as she put him down in front of Batman reruns, he calmed down and she could thankfully prepare dinner without thinking her eardrums were gonna burst. The kitchen was adjacent to the living room so she could still keep an eye on him as she cooked the pasta. 

 

He was playing with one of his trucks as he looked at the TV with wide eyes and she wondered how her sweet little boy could act so rude during the day and act like a perfect angel at home. 

 

The rest of the evening went by as smoothly as it can with a five year old and he was in bed by 7:45 which gave her plenty of time to relax with a beer in front of the TV. She had received some texts coming from Amy that clearly indicated she was wasted in a bar on a Monday night and Beca was in awe of how different their nights were. 

 

Sometimes, she wondered how things would be if Jake hadn’t been born but as soon as she set her eyes on that tiny little human, she knew she didn’t regret a second of it. He was the best thing that ever happened to her and her whole life basically revolved around him and she didn’t mind. 

 

She didn’t need anything else. She had him and music. 

 

She opened Miss Beale’s journal and started writing on the page after how tonight had gone. About the outburst in the car and the drawing he did of her and him dressed as superheroes. She wrote about how he freaked out during bath time when he couldn’t find his action figure to go with him and how they finally found it behind the couch after an hour of running butt naked around the apartment. At the end, she made sure to reply to her personal comment. 

 

Don’t worry I know you’re not doing it to rub my bad parenting in my face. I do want him to have fun at school. He acts fine at home so I’m hoping it translates into school soon. I don’t have any particular tricks to give you unfortunately. He’s a simple kid, really. He likes superheroes and sleep. I’m good for a meeting in a month. Have a good day at school.

 

Soon after that, Beca easily fell into this routine of reading what Miss Beale wrote and documenting Jake’s actions in the night. It sucked reading about what kind of trouble your kid got into at school but his teacher always made sure to also talk about his accomplishments which Beca appreciated a lot. Miss Beale also seemed way too nice for her own good because she always made sure to leave a personalized message at the end for her. 

 

September 25th 

 

Your boy is smart behind that shy exterior, Beca. I can see it! But I bet that comes from his mom :) I’ve been trying to rack my brain to find an activity that he’ll love that’ll make him warm up to me. That makes me sound like a weirdo but I’m hoping you get what I mean. Jacob told Samuel he was born in LA. Does that mean, you’ve always lived there too? Have a good evening!

 

Her responses were usually pretty short. 

 

Thanks (for saying he’s smart, not for trying to bribe him). Born and raised in Seattle and moved to LA at 18. Have a good day at school.

 

 

October 1st

 

Happy October! It’s Halloween this month! While Christmas is my favorite holiday, Halloween is a close second. I think it’s because of all that candy. What’s your favorite holiday? I’m planning something fun for the kids at the end of the month, Jacob will talk to you about it when I tell them! I hope you’re doing good, Beca. Have a nice evening. 

 

Happy October. I never really thought about my favorite holiday? I guess Christmas with Jake is nice. Have a good day at school. 

 

… 

 

October 9th 

 

I’m glad he liked the fact that we sang the Spider-Man theme song for the song of the day yesterday! To be honest, I hoped that it would make a difference in his behavior for today too but alas, I had to move his name from the yellow column to the red :( I was glad to see him work on a puzzle with Kevin today, though! So what do you do during the day while I get the silent treatment from Jacob? Have a good evening, Beca!

 

At this point, I think he’s just being stubborn with you. My fault probably. I’m a music producer. Have a good day at school.

 

… 

 

October 12th

 

Finally announced the activity to them today! I’m hoping you can make it here on the 30th. Have Jacob tell you all about it, there’s also a flyer in his school bag that explains all of it. On another note, I can’t believe you’ve never been outside the country! You HAVE to visit Greece at least once in your life, I promise it’s worth it. Also Italy, France, Portugal, Mexico, … Is it obvious I want to travel the world? I just love discovering new things. I think the world is full of magical places and I want to discover them all. Have a good evening with your little hero :)

 

She looked up from the notebook with a smile. Miss Beale was kind of a kid in a grown-up’s body and the more Beca heard from her, the more it made total sense that she was a kindergarten teacher. Just from these little excerpts of her life, Beca could see she was definitely qualified as a teacher and she couldn’t understand why her boy didn’t like her. Alas, she was a new person in his life and just like Beca, when he decided he didn’t want to do something, he didn’t do it. 

 

Hence why bedtime was probably the hardest time of the day everyday. Along with getting ready in the morning, dressing up, bath time…  He was a hard-headed little dude, plus he was at that age where he was getting more independant and wanting to do stuff himself. This morning, they had been late to school because he insisted on putting his jeans on himself and he struggled with the button and zipper for at least 15 minutes. It led to a lot of shouting way too early in the morning and him ending up going to school in sweatpants. 

 

“How was your day, kid?”

 

“Mommy, you can come with me to school on Halloween!”

 

“No way! How come?”

 

“Miss Beale said we can dress up like we want and our mommies and daddies can come and we’re gonna do fun things and eat so much candy so you have to come with me and you can be a little kid just like me!” 

 

“That sounds super cool. I’m gonna talk to my boss but I should be allowed to come with you.”

 

He swung his legs happily in his car seat and she was glad to see him smile. It had been a while since he came back from school this happy.

 

“Are you going to have a costume like me? You can’t pick Spider-Man because that’s mine!” 

 

She chuckled. “I’m probably not gonna dress up, bud.”

 

“What?” Jake said, a look of distress on his face. “Why? It’s Halloween. You have to dress up.”

 

“Well, I don’t have to. I just don’t like dressing up, Jake, sorry. I’m still gonna come, though.”

 

“But-- But--”

 

“Use your words, baby.”

 

“But I want you to dress up with me!” He pouted and crossed his arms. “All grown-ups are dumb.”

 

“Hey!” Beca said, looking into her mirror and he looked at her. “That’s not nice, is it? What do we say when we say something that’s not nice?”

 

“Sorry,” he mumbled, looking out the window with his nose all scrunched up. 

 

“What did grown-ups ever do to you? Aren’t you happy about the activity that Miss Beale planned?”

 

“I don’t like Miss Beale,” he said simply out of pure stubbornness and Beca hummed. 

 

“Well, I think she’s super fun for planning this because that means I’ll get to go to school with you and that’s gonna be awesome, right?”

“Yeah! You’ll be little just like me!”

 

Apparently Miss Beale asked the kids in the school the day after what their parents were going to dress up as because when Beca got the behavioral journal that day, Chloe was practically scolding her for not wanting to dress up. 

 

She hoped Jake would just let it go but he would point to every superhero on the screen that wasn’t Spider-Man and shout “you could be him!” and one night, she went to bed to find a magazine with a bunch of costumes circled up on her bed. She chuckled as she saw her son either wanted her to go as a giant hot-dog or a nurse that looked pretty slutty. 

 

So basically for the next week or so, Beca’s only conversations with Jake and Miss Beale were about dressing up for Halloween. She didn’t understand the big deal, she was still going to go on the 30th to school, who cares if she was in a costume? She had tried talking about it to Cynthia-Rose and Amy but they just ended up talking about how lame Beca was for not dressing up for her kid so she gave up pretty quickly. 

 

Besides, she didn’t want to go into too much detail as to why she was talking to Jake’s teacher this much. She knew they weren’t going to think she was a bad mom because Jake struggled with his attitude at school but she still blamed herself for it. Miss Beale had been there for a month now and he had still barely made any progress. Maybe she coddled him too much and it was her fault he was this wary of other people? 

 

On the 23rd of October, she left work pretty anxious about her meeting with Chloe. She knew Jake was still rather cold towards his teacher, refusing to stick to the day’s itinerary and not mingling with the other kids and she was nervous about hearing Miss Beale talk about it out loud. She knew it was for the best, though and she hoped that Jake would settle down soon. 

 

She pulled into the parking lot and made her way to the homeroom where Jake lit up when he saw her. He ran at her with force and she took him in her arms, resting him on her right hip. She groaned when she felt how hot the air was in the room. Only in LA can you feel like it’s the middle of summer even though they’re well into autumn. 

 

“Mommy, can we go home?” 

 

She adjusted his shirt so the Superman logo would be in the center and shook her head. “Sorry, kid. Miss Beale wants to have a little chat with us so we have to stay.”

 

He groaned and hid his face in her neck and she chuckled when she felt his curls tickle her. His hair was getting so long, it was slightly out of control. She looked at Miss Beale who was talking to another parent and she lifted up a finger at Beca with a smile, telling her she was going to be done soon. 

 

Beca nodded, swaying Jake in her arms a little and she looked around the room for a second before her eyes went back to the teacher. She was wearing a yellow dress with white flowers on it with her red hair in a ponytail. There were a few strands of hair that had come out of the ponytail probably throughout the course of the day and Beca was impressed at how put together the woman managed to look after a full day of taking care of 13 kids. 

 

She didn’t work with any children and she still looked like the day had taken a toll on her. Her shirt that she had tucked neatly in her pants at the beginning of the day wasn’t tucked in anymore and her hair was messed up from wearing headphones all day. She also felt pretty sweaty and it wasn’t helping that it felt like 200 degrees in here. 

 

The parent that was with Chloe walked away with her kid’s hand in hers and Beca had to force herself to keep a steady face when she saw the biggest smile on the child’s face. Why couldn’t her kid just appreciate Miss Beale like the others? Damn Jake and his tendency to be way too much like her. 

 

“Hi!” Miss Beale said, gesturing at the seats in front of her desk so they could sit down. When Beca sat down, she grabbed Jake’s waist to move him to the other chair but he tightened his grip around her neck and she hissed when he pinched her skin. 

 

“Ow-- Jake,” she warned but he stayed on her lap without a word and she gave up. “Fine, stay here. Sorry, hi.”

 

Chloe smiled when Beca finally looked at her. “How was your day?”

 

“Good,” she said, nodding. “It was good. How was yours?”

 

“Good! We did paint by numbers today. Super fun, right Jacob?” 

 

Jake pulled away a little so he could show his paint covered hands to his mom who smiled at him.

 

“That sounds cool. I’m glad you didn’t get paint on your shirt, little dude.”

 

“Well, we put on aprons,” Chloe said and chuckled a little. “It was pretty hard getting him to wear it, I’m not gonna lie.”

 

Beca winced. “Yeah, I bet. Kids are so dirty, dude. It’s crazy. It’s like he wants to make things harder for me on purpose.” She was pretty sure she had done more laundry in the past five years of her life than she had in the first 23. 

 

Chloe laughed at the joke. “Yeah, I don’t have any children myself but I’ve been around enough of them to know that.”

 

“Are you always a kindergarten teacher when you substitute?” 

 

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I take any job I can get really but I am pretty happy I got this one. They’re so cute at that age and it's also the first time I’ll get almost a full year with students.”

 

“That’s awesome. You were telling me you moved to LA a year ago?” Beca recalled from what she read in their journal.

 

“Yes! Since then, I’ve only managed to get a few days of replacement here and there so this one is definitely gonna help pay the bills,” she joked and Beca smiled with the corner of her mouth.

 

Jake suddenly slid out of her arms, stepping on her foot clumsily before walking to a corner of the room where he could play with legos. He must have realized this conversation was not entertaining for him in the slightest and he got bored of it. They both looked at him for a second before turning back to each other and Beca chewed on her bottom lip.

 

“I guess we should talk about what we came here for, huh?” 

 

Chloe nodded casually, intertwining her fingers together. “Sure. Look, I’ve been keeping you up to date so you know how he’s doing. And I’m not here to complain about him or anything. I just wanna make sure that I’m doing everything that I can so Jacob can have a good experience here.”

 

“He’s getting a little better, though. Right?” she said, glancing at her son’s name in the yellow column. “At least, that’s what I gathered from the journal.”

 

“Of course. He’s started to talk to the other children more which helps a lot. But he’s still… very hostile with me. I don’t think he trusts me.”

 

“Fuck,” Beca whispered and then looked behind to make sure Jake didn’t hear her. Chloe was looking at her with an amused expression but she only felt embarrassed. She suddenly felt way too hot in the room and she took off her blazer so she could get some air. Chloe’s eyes dropped to her arms, specifically her right arm and her eyes widened slightly. 

 

Beca had always wondered why some people associated a tattoo sleeve with bad parenting and she was hoping Chloe wasn’t one of those people. Besides, Jake happened to love her tattoos and he specifically loved coloring them in so if anything, it made her a cooler parent. Miss Beale swallowed and then cleared her throat, shaking a thought out of her head.

 

“The only time that he participates in an activity without complaining is when it has to do with superheroes but I can’t make everything about Marvel,” Chloe said apologetically. “I have other children with different interests.”

 

“No, of course! Gee, just the fact that you try to do it once in a while is more than enough and you don’t have to do that. He has to understand that he can’t always do what he wants and still listen to his teacher.” 

 

Miss Beale nodded in agreement. “Sometimes, it’s not so bad. I told you about it in the journal, he’s in the yellow pretty often. I put him in the red only when he throws a tantrum. So today, because of the apron accident, he’s in yellow. I just want a day when he’s in the green all day, you know? I’m hoping we can get that on Halloween.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Well, you’re coming right?”

 

“Oh! Yes, of course.”

 

“I’m hoping that having his mother here will make him feel more at home in the classroom. You seem to be a great source of comfort for him,” Chloe said with a smile and Beca blushed slightly. “So I think if you get to show him he can act like himself even if he’s not at home and he has no reason to feel nervous, it’ll help.” 

 

That actually made a lot of sense and Beca was touched by how much thought Chloe seemed to have given the situation. 

 

“Sounds good,” she said with a small smile. “I’ll try to show him how to be nice but I’m telling you now-- it’s not a strength of mine either.”

 

Chloe laughed and tilted her head. “No offence but, I could’ve guessed that.” 

 

“That obvious?”

“You and Jacob are very similar. And I mean that in the best way.”

 

“Thank you?”

 

“You’re welcome,” Miss Beale winked. “What I think would help is dressing up.”

 

Beca laughed before she could even help it and Chloe seemed proud of herself. 

 

“Yikes. This again?”

 

“You have to dress up, Beca! It’s Halloween!”

 

“I think I’m a little too old for that.”

 

“Nobody is ever too old for anything,” Chloe said with sparkles in her eyes and she leaned back in her chair. “I think you should consider it. It’d make Jacob happy.”

 

She looked at her kid who was building a really high tower, his tongue sticking out as he concentrated on the very important task and she smiled. It would make him happy and it could even help make sure he stays in the green column all day like they want him to be.

 

“I’ll think about it,” she ended up saying when she turned back and Chloe’s face split in half when she smiled. Beca was pretty sure this woman had the most contagious smile she had ever seen because she couldn’t help but smile back. 

 

“Great. I suggest we stick to the behavior journal, we see if we can get him to stay in the green all day at Halloween and then we see where it leads us?”

 

She was about to answer when someone knocked on the open door and appeared in the doorframe. “Hey Chloe, a couple of us were going drinking and oh-- Sorry, didn’t see you were with a parent.”

 

Even Jake had stopped building when he heard another voice and he instantly rushed next to Beca who put her hand on his shoulder. 

 

“I am,” Chloe said and then gestured between them. “Beca, this is Jesse Swanson. He’s a teacher here. Jesse, this is Beca and Jacob.” 

 

The man offered her a charming smile and took a couple of steps in the room until he was right next to the desk. The closer he got, the more Jacob tried to curl up into her. 

 

“Hey Beca,” he said as if he was tasting the name on his tongue. He bent down so he was at Jake’s level and tapped him on the shoulder. “Hey buddy, how are you?”

 

Jake just looked at him with a blank stare and then climbed on top of Beca’s lap so he didn’t have to deal with him. His pointy knees dug into her thighs and she smiled apologetically. 

 

“Sorry, he’s pretty shy.”

 

“No problem,” the man said, straightening up. “He’s super cute. He looks just like you.”

 

“Oh um, thank you.”

 

Chloe looked between them and stood up. “Beca and I are almost done. I’ll go with you guys if you can wait for me?”

 

Jesse finally tore his eyes away from Beca and nodded. “Sure. Benji’s asking Emily right now so we’ll go right after.”

 

“Awes.” 

 

“It was nice to meet you,” he said looking at Beca with a confident smile and then walked out the room. She didn’t have time to think anything of the interaction because Chloe started talking. 

 

“So, what do you think?” she said, getting back to their conversation. Beca stood up, lifting Jake up so he’d stand next to her and she smiled. 

 

“Everything sounds good. Hopefully we’ll get the little dude to act super nice on Halloween, right buddy?” she said looking down at him and he just tugged on her pants with a shy smile. 

 

Chloe smiled at the interaction and extended a hand that Beca shook instantly. “I look forward to seeing your costume, Beca.”

 

Beca chuckled. “Right. We’ll see about that. Have a good weekend, Miss Beale,” she said as she put her blazer back on and helped Jacob put his Iron Man school bag on. 

 

“You too. Bye Jacob!”

 

The boy just seemed happy that they were finally done with the conversation and he tugged on his mother’s hand, making his slightly too big backpack almost make him tip over. 

 

As she drove them home, all she could think about was that no matter what her son thought, she actually quite liked Miss Beale.

 

Chapter Text

Beca looked at herself in the mirror and sighed. She looked absolutely ridiculous. She adjusted the brown hat on her head and looked down to see Jake trying to unclip the whip from her belt with his little fingers.

 

“Jake, stop that.”

 

The boy looked up and pulled the plastic mask up so it could rest on the top of his head. He was dressed in a tiny Spider-Man costume that had fake muscles and she had to say he looked absolutely adorable. His brown hair and goofy smile made him look like a mini version of Peter Parker and she had lost count of how many times she thought of how cute he looked since she had dressed him up this morning. Not to flatter herself too much, but she had made the cutest little boy ever and she was 100% sure of it. 

 

“Who are you?”

 

“I’m Indiana Jones,” she repeated for the thirteenth time that morning.

 

“Who is that?”

 

“He’s this character in a movie, he looks for treasure.”

 

“Woah,” Jake said, clearly impressed. “That’s so cool. I wanna be Diana Jones.”

 

“No, baby. You’re Spider-Man.”

 

“Oh, yes,” he said and then patted his fake abs a couple of times before looking up at her again. “Why are you Diana, Mommy?”

 

“Indiana,” she corrected and then tapped him on the back so they could get out of her room. “And I don’t know. It was one of the first things I saw when I got to the store and I used to really like the movies when I was younger.” She actually quite liked the whip and the leather brown jacket, it was the stupid hat that made her look like an idiot. 

 

“When you were little like me?”

 

“A little bit bigger.”

 

“I wanna watch the movies!”

 

“Maybe when you’re older, Jakey.”

 

“But--”

 

She kneeled in front of him and put his mask on his face to make him giggle. “Can you believe we’re gonna spend the whole day together? How fun is that?” 

 

He jumped in place and hugged her, still bouncing around. “It’s gonna be so cool, Mommy!” She hugged him tightly with a smile so big her face could crack. She felt slightly ridiculous in her outfit but it seemed to make her kid so happy and she didn’t remember the last time he seemed this psyched to go to school.  

 

She helped him into his backpack and opened the front door of the apartment at the same time that her neighbor came out. She blushed at the amused smile. 

 

“You guys look good,” she said and Jake smiled shyly. 

 

“Thank you,” he replied politely. “I’m Spider-Man.” 

 

Her neighbor was an old woman that probably had hearing problems if she was able to live next door to a five year old without complaining and moving out. Beca liked her, she was sweet enough. She had been there since way before Beca moved in during her pregnancy and she had offered her a welcome basket that was full of the most delicious chocolate the music producer had ever tasted. 

 

“I can see that,” she smiled at the little boy. “Happy Halloween, Jake.”

 

He waved a hand while Beca said “Happy Halloween, Mrs Green” even though it technically wasn’t Halloween until tomorrow night. 

 

---------------------

 

Thankfully, the first thing she noticed when she entered homeroom was that she wasn’t the only parent that had dressed up, which was a thought that kept her up last night. She released a breath and guided Jake to his desk with two hands on his shoulders. Every desk had an extra chair on it, Beca perched on the one beside Jake and the two of them quietly observed everyone’s costume. 

 

She put her hand on his back and pointed to a little boy in the other corner of the room. “Look, he’s dressed like Captain America.” Jake perked up and she could see the smile on his face just by his eyes that she could see through the mask. 

 

“What’s her costume?” he asked, pointing to the girl next to Captain America. 

 

“I think that’s Belle from Beauty and the Beast. You remember that movie? We watched it when you were younger.”

 

He nodded even though she was pretty sure he didn’t remember. “She looks nice.”

 

She smiled at him and ruffled his hair. He asked her to name almost everyone’s costume until Miss Beale finally walked in. It was quite loud with every kid and parent talking together but as soon as the redhead walked into the room, Beca’s eyes found her. She was dressed as Anna from Frozen, her red hair in two braids and the music producer found herself smiling. She should’ve guessed that she’d come in as a Disney princess and she truly looked as ethereal as one.

 

Chloe had clearly almost been late so she was hurrying at her desk to get everything ready and as soon as she was done, the bell rang to signal class had started. 

 

“I like her costume, Mommy,” Jake mumbled shyly to her and she smiled. When she made him discover Frozen, Jake had spent an entire year singing Let It Go. If she were to look into her laptop right now, she’d be able to find more than 7 mixes she made with that song. 

 

She didn’t know which phase was worse; the frozen phase or the superhero phase. Though, it didn’t seem like the superhero phase was stopping anytime soon. She didn’t mind it that much to think of it though, she quite liked her little superhero. 

 

“I like it too.”

 

Miss Beale finally got a chance to look at everyone and when she stood in front of the class, the chatter stopped. She had a smile on her face that somehow got bigger when she made eye contact with Beca in the back. Beca shyly looked away from the woman, ducking her head as though to hide under her hat.

 

“Hey guys!” she said happily.

 

“Hi Miss Beale,” all the kids said in unison but Beca couldn’t tell if Jake spoke so she took his mask off, putting it on the desk. He let her do it without a complaint. 

 

Beca didn’t think she’d ever seen a bigger grin than the one Chloe had on her face right now. “You guys all look so good! Grown-ups included of course.” 

 

There was a chuckle around the room while one boy randomly spoke up. “My mom’s a witch!”

 

Beca and Jake both looked to the left at the same time and the music producer laughed when she saw the woman wearing a big witch hat wave at everyone looking at her, slightly embarrassed. 

 

“That’s so fun! And what are you, Sam?”

 

“I’m a puppy!”

 

“Awesome! Tell you what, I bet you’re all very excited to tell everyone what you’re dressed as so we’re all gonna use circle time to tell each other our costumes, okay?”

 

Used to circle time, every student got up at the same time and the parents followed, pushing a few desks so they could all fit. Chloe sat down under the white board and immediately a few kids rushed to be the ones sitting at her sides. Beca sat down behind Jake and he used his little hands to open her legs so he could sit between them. She let him do so and looked at everyone in the class, smiling politely at the dad next to her dressed like a soccer player. 

 

“I thought I was going to be the only adult dressed up,” he whispered to her and she chuckled awkwardly, not good at small talk. 

 

“Okay, I’ll start and then Kiara can go after me and so on,” Miss Beale explained gesturing to the girl on her right. “I’m Anna from the Disney movie Frozen,” she said, playing with her braids and Beca had the hint of a smile on her face. 

 

The two Mitchells were on the opposite side of where they started so it took quite a while until it was time for Jake to speak up. They had seen every possible costume, from a kid dressed like Abraham Lincoln to a father wearing a nametag that said his name was Chris when his real name was actually Craig. Finally, all eyes were on Jake, and Beca could feel Chloe’s smile on them as she stared at her boy. He looked at his mom shyly and she nodded at him to give him confidence. 

 

“I’m Spider-Man!” he said loudly in a sudden burst of energy and Beca cringed when he dug his fingernails in her thighs. He looked at her and she replaced the grimace by a comforting smile which he seemed happy about. 

 

“You look like the real one, Jacob,” Chloe encouraged him and Jake nodded to himself, his fingers tracing the lines on the suit. The teacher looked at her and Beca adjusted her hat subconsciously. 

 

“I’m, uh, I’m Indiana Jones,” she said, kind of embarrassed about being dressed up in front of that many people. She knew they weren’t judging her since they were all in costumes too but she just wasn’t the best in front of crowds since she had never had to deal with them. That was kinda what happened when you moved to LA at 18 and immediately started working in a small recording studio that had 3 employees; you didn’t get used to people. 

 

Somehow the reassuring look that Chloe gave her made her feel better and she just looked to the person next to her so the attention could finally be off of her. 

 

After circle time, they sang a few songs and Beca had to admit she was impressed by Chloe’s voice. Then, Miss Beale announced the kids had to pair up two by two to either draw or build something to find out where the candies were hidden in the classroom. Jake looked shyly at her and Beca smiled, pointing at the little boy dressed like a superhero that was also alone. 

 

“Why don’t you go tell him that you really like his costume and you guys can draw together?”

 

“But--”

 

“I saw him look at your costume earlier. I bet he really wants to be your friend, Jakey.” 

 

She took her hat and put it on top of his head. It was slightly too big but it seemed to give him some confidence, like his mother was staying right here with him and he could feel it. He nodded nervously and Beca watched avidly as he went up to Captain America and she heard him say:

 

“I really like Captain America.”

 

The boy immediately smiled. “I like Spider-Man! You wanna draw with me?”

 

Jake nodded and then looked at Beca who gave him two thumbs up. She kept her eyes on him the whole time, appreciating the fact that Jake was sharing his coloring pencils when that was a problem that Miss Beale had brought up at the beginning. 

 

“What’s your name?”

 

“Harry. What about you?”

 

“Jacob, but my friends call me Jake.” 

 

“Can I call you Jake?”

 

“Yep.”

 

Beca had a proud mother moment where she nearly teared up right there and then but she held it together just barely. She looked at her son drawing a pumpkin in orange as he just made his official first friend and she couldn’t help but feel so happy for him. 

 

“Hi, are you Spider-Man’s mother?” a voice pulled her out of her thoughts and she looked up to see a woman dressed as Where’s Waldo. 

 

“Yes I am,” she said, standing up to shake her hand. “He usually goes by Jacob during the day. I’m Beca.”

 

“Gail,” the woman said with a smile. “I’m Harry’s mother.” 

 

“Jake was really glad to see another superhero in the class.”

 

Gail chuckled. “Harry too. He kept asking me if I could see the boy dressed in the Spider-Man costume.” 

 

They looked at the two boys giggling together until Gail spoke up again. 

 

“So what do you do?”

 

“I’m a music producer. What about you?”

 

“I’m a stay-at-home mom. My husband’s a lawyer.”

 

“Ah,” Beca said, tucking her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket. 

 

“What does Jake’s father do?” 

 

“It’s just me,” she answered simply and waited until Gail realized. It was always the same thing. It took them a couple seconds and then, there it was. The look of pity. The uncomfortable smile that everyone gave her as they thought “Oh poor her. Having to take care of a child without a husband.”  

 

What they didn’t know is that she didn’t need anyone. She and Jake were doing great, just the two of them together. 

 

“Oh.”

 

The silence became awkward and as if she had sensed it from the other side of the room, Miss Beale appeared out of nowhere by her side.

 

“I’m glad you dressed up,” she teased and Beca turned to her as Gail went to go help her son sharpen his colored pencil.

 

“I look ridiculous,” she breathed out in a laugh.

 

Chloe’s eyes roamed her body as she smirked playfully and spoke in a low voice. “I actually think you make it work.” 

 

Beca felt her cheeks heat up slightly and she cleared her throat. “Well anything to make the little dude happy.” They both turned to Jake who was looking at Gail as she sharpened his pencil and he murmured a quiet “Thank you” when she was done.

 

“I’m glad to see he’s making friends.”

 

Beca nodded instantly. “Yeah, me too. That’ll help him feel more comfortable here.”

 

“I told you Halloween would be a good day,” Miss Beale said, nudging her on the shoulder gently and Beca shook her head with a smile. 

 

“Yeah, yeah.”

 

“Mommy, mommy,” Jake said, waving the picture he and Harry had drawn. The blonde boy was next to him, looking just as excited. “Can we go look for the candies?”

 

“Well, you’re gonna have to ask Miss Beale, bud.”

 

He scrunched up his nose and he went silent. Harry looked at him, waiting to see if he was going to speak up again and when he saw Jake was done talking, he took matters into his own hands.

 

“Miss Beale, can me and Jake go look for the candy?”

 

“Of course!”

 

Harry took Jake’s hand and they sprinted away to go look for the candies hidden around the room. Beca looked apologetically at the teacher. 

 

“Sorry.”

 

“Hey, no. This is still good. He made a friend.”

 

Beca stared at Miss Beale, impressed that she somehow found the positive in the situation without caring too much about the negative. 

 

At lunch time, Jake and Harry sat together while Beca ate the pizza Miss Beale had bought for the occasion at her son’s desk. She didn’t mind being alone honestly because the amount of people in this room was kind of making her nervous so she was glad to have a moment to relax a little. 

 

This didn’t really count as a day off but she still appreciated it. She loved Jacob more than anything in the world but she hadn’t gotten a good night of sleep in the past five years. It truly was exhausting being a mother and unfortunately for her, the other people around her didn’t quite get it. After their day of work, Cynthia-Rose and Amy got to go chill at home, meanwhile the real work was starting from her. Picking her son up from school, entertaining him, cooking dinner, bath time, doing the dishes, the list went on. It was tiring. 

 

She kept her tired eyes on her boy, happy to see him chat with a kid his age. Her little guy was really growing up right before her eyes and she was scared that one day she’d wake up and he’d suddenly be a teenager.

 

Ugh, teenage boys were the worst. She wasn’t ready to handle that. 

 

Miss Beale was talking with some parents but she’d shoot Beca a smile from time to time who’d try to reciprocate it as well as she could. 

 

The rest of the day passed in a blur as her kid got more hyped up from all the candy he inhaled. He looked happy, though and he wasn’t causing any real trouble. He played around with Harry, running around the class and ducking between people’s legs clumsily. Beca already feared what bedtime was going to be like. And it would only be the same thing tomorrow when they were going to go trick or treating. 

 

When the bell rang to signal the end of the class, she didn’t want to ruin her son’s day but she was getting a headache from all the kids’ shouting and she honestly just wanted to go home. 

 

“Come on, Jakey. Time to go home,” she said and he looked up at her with puppy eyes, his Spider-Man mask resting on the top of his head. 

 

“Mom, can Harry come over?”

 

She thought of how messy the apartment was, the toys lying around the apartment everywhere and she thought of Harry’s mother with her lawyer of a husband and suddenly felt uncomfortable. She wasn’t ashamed of her living situation, she didn’t need a bigger place since it was just her and Jake and they had everything they needed. But she was aware this was LA and appearances were important to some people. 

 

“Maybe another day, okay?”

 

Gail looked at her before looking at her son. “Yeah, you’ll see each other next Monday, right?”

 

The two boys nodded sadly, patting each other on the shoulder and said their goodbyes. Beca awkwardly said goodbye to Gail and went back to Jake’s desk to gather all his things. He helped her out, taking the candy wrappers in his hands and she smiled when he went over to the garbage to dispose of them without her even asking for it. She had raised a good kid. 

 

When they were ready to leave, he lifted his arms in the air, making a grabby motion with his hands and she took him in her arms with a grunt. She took the hat that was discarded on Jake’s desk and put it on because she had no more hands to hold on to it.

 

“God, you’re getting big, kid.”

 

“I’m a big boy!” he screamed in her ear and she chuckled. 

 

“Indoor voice, little man.” She made sure that they didn’t forget anything and figured she needed to say bye to Miss Beale before leaving so she looked over at the teacher who was just finishing a conversation. 

 

“Happy Halloween!” she said to the boy Beca remembered from circle time as Sam and then Chloe’s eyes instantly settled on Beca when she looked away from the student.

 

Beca switched Jake to her other hip to get more comfortable and she approached the teacher who was smiling at them. When Jake understood where they were going, he made a little unpleasant noise but made no move to get out of his mother’s arms.

 

“Thanks for today,” Beca said and Miss Beale smiled warmly. 

 

“It was great, wasn’t it? And Jacob, look!” she said, pointing to the poster that displayed Jacob’s name in the green column. He looked over and he smiled with the corner of his mouth when he saw his name was in the good column.

 

Beca smiled proudly. “Did you have fun today, Jake?” He looked at his mother and only nodded so she continued. “How about you tell Miss Beale how fun today was?”

 

“It was fun,” he mumbled shyly.

 

“And?”

 

“Thank you Miss Beale.” 

 

Chloe looked at the exchange with a grin and bowed her head a little. “You’re welcome Jacob. You have a really cool costume. And so does your mom.”

 

Beca scoffed and swayed the boy in her arm a little. “Hey, remember what you told me about Miss Beale’s costume when you saw it? I think you should tell her, it would make her very happy.”

 

The teacher waited patiently as Jake fisted Beca’s hair a little and they had a little eye contact match. Beca crooked an eyebrow at her son and he looked at Miss Beale, resting his head on Beca’s.

 

“I think your costume is very pretty.”

 

“Why, thank you Jacob!” Chloe said happily, the joy in her face evident by the twinkle in her ocean blue eyes. 

 

“You look like a real Disney princess,” Beca said before she could stop herself and her cheeks turned crimson when she realized what she had said. 

 

“Thank you, Beca,” Chloe said, sinking her teeth into her bottom lip. They stared at each other for a while until Beca finally looked away, clearing her throat awkwardly. Jake shifted in her arms and she could feel his entire body buzzing from all that candy.

 

“Well, we’re gonna go home. Or to the park where I’ll make him run in circles until he powers down,” she tried to joke and thankfully, Chloe laughed. 

 

“Sounds like a plan. It’ll only get worse tomorrow too.”

 

“Ugh don’t remind me. Your part of the job is down now, you fed them candy and left us all to deal with the aftermath.”

 

The redhead smiled and waved goodbye at a parent before turning back to Beca. “You caught me. That was the plan all along.”

 

“You evil genius.”

 

“Have a great Halloween, Beca. You should totes keep that costume. It looks good on you,” Chloe said, once again checking her out with her eyes darkened. 

 

“Happy Halloween, Miss Beale,” she replied through a dry mouth and nudged the kid in her arm so he’d say it too. 

 

He mumbled something that barely sounded like “happy Halloween” and Beca just rolled her eyes, annoyed by her son’s ego. 

 

Beca walked away, her kid on one arm and his Iron Man backpack on the other and she knew it was going to be hard getting anything done tonight with the amount of sugar in her son’s body but she still had a pretty good day and she was satisfied. 

 

Hopefully, Jake was finally going to understand Miss Beale only wanted the best for him, even Beca could see it and it touched her greatly to see that someone cared this much about his happiness in class.

 

Chapter Text

Living in LA was still weird for Beca sometimes. She had been there for 10 years but the concept of it being so hot all year round still felt foreign from time to time. She had never liked the cold of Seattle and she was never into snow that much but she sometimes had to grieve the fact that Jake would never wake up and experience the joy of a snow day. 

 

She should talk to her mom about spending Christmas in Seattle this year. It would be nice to fly there instead of her mom coming over. 

 

It was the first week of November and since they were in LA, they only had light jackets on. Beca was wearing a black and blue flannel with skinny jeans while Jake had chosen to go outside in a hoodie version of Superman’s suit. It even had a red cape on the back and sometimes, Beca wondered what convinced her to buy that because it looked slightly ridiculous. But he seemed happy about it, walking around with his fist in the air as if he was flying so she guessed it was fine.

 

Things were slightly better since he made a friend. Miss Beale’s behavior journal told her that he was more often in the yellow than the red which was a nice change of pace. The only problem was that he was still kind of rude to her when he addressed her, still refused to do certain tasks and Miss Beale had noticed that when Jake needed something from her, he’d get Harry to do it for him. 

 

They also had been entertaining a conversation at the end of it for a few days now and Beca would be lying if she said she wasn’t fighting a smile off sometimes when she read Miss Beale’s messages.

 

They were walking around the neighborhood because Beca had needed to run some errands and Jake still had plenty of candy at home from Halloween so she figured she’d burn some sugar off from his system by making them walk. She had a bag of things from the drugstore in one hand and she had a vinyl record that she had treated herself with in the other. Jake was running around in front of her, hyped up on smarties and running between people. 

 

“Hey Superman!” she said when he got a little too far and he stopped in his tracks, waiting for her to reach him. 

 

“Mommy, I’m so close to flying!”

 

“I know, but try to stay close to me, okay?”

 

He stood by her side, trying not to step on any of the cracks on the sidewalk. They were still a good 15 minutes from home because the record store was farther than she thought it was on foot but Jake didn’t seem to mind.

 

“Mommy.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Mommy.”

 

“Mhm.”

 

“Mommy.”

 

“Yes, Jake?”

 

“Yesterday, me and Harry played soccer.”

 

“That sounds fun.”

 

He nodded, his tongue sticking out as he jumped over a crack. “And after we built this really really really big tower.”

 

“That big?” Beca said, distracted as she looked at the time. It was the middle of the afternoon and she wondered if she should go to the grocery store today instead of tomorrow like she had planned. 

 

“So big! Tara wanted to help us but I said no.”

 

“Well that’s not nice, Jakey. If she wanted to play with you guys, you could’ve let her.”

 

“But it was my tower! Me and Harry made the tower!”

 

She looked down and he stared back with his big blue eyes that looked just like hers and she felt her heart melt. 

 

“Try to share, buddy” is all she said and he nodded before sprinting off again with his fist in the air. 

 

“Weeeeee!”

 

“Jake!” she called out as he disappeared from her view when he turned right at the intersection. She sighed, picking up speed a little to catch up to him. 

 

She figured nothing bad could’ve happened in the 5 seconds that he wasn’t in her direct view but she couldn’t have been more wrong. She rounded the corner and was instantly met with Jake with wide eyes, guilty looking. In front of him was an adult with pink liquid running down their jacket, frozen in shock since they hadn’t seen the little rocket of speed coming towards them before it was too late.

 

And because Beca was lucky in life, the grown-up standing in front of her was Chloe Beale. 

 

Miss Beale’s mouth was stuck in an “o” shape as she stared at Jake who also seemed frozen at the mess he had just created and Beca’s jaw fell when she understood what had just happened. The teacher looked up from Jake to look at his mother and she seemed to really understand that it was in fact her student that she had just ran into when she recognized Beca. 

 

“Holy shit.”

 

“Mommy, you said a bad word!”

 

She snapped out of it and looked at Jake. “Yeah, you’re right. Sorry, don’t say that word.” She looked at Chloe who was now looking at her yellow jacket that was dripping with what was maybe a milkshake? Beca wasn’t sure. 

 

She moved things around so she could take Jake by the shoulder and make him stand next to her. She had a firm grasp on him as she realized what her kid had just done and suddenly felt extreme remorse.

 

“I am so sorry,” she said slowly. He was out of sight for 5 seconds. 5 seconds and this was what happened? Why did this kind of thing only happen to her?

 

Miss Beale looked up and a smile crept onto her face. “It’s okay. This jacket is waterproof.”

 

“No, I mean-- God, I can’t believe this. I’m so fuc-- I’m so sorry.” She looked down at her son, an angry expression on her face. “Jake, I told you to stay by my side. Look what happened.”

 

Jake’s eyes immediately filled with tears and Miss Beale took a step towards them, waving her hands in the air to distract Jake so he wouldn’t start crying.

 

“Hey, no no no. It’s fine, I swear.” She wiped a hand on her jacket and flicked some of the drink on the ground. “If you buy me another coffee, we’ll forget all about it,” she added with a wink. 

 

She looked behind Miss Beale and noticed the Starbucks that she had clearly just came out of and nodded without thinking. She honestly felt too bad about what just happened to think anything of the wink.

 

“Yes, of course.” 

 

Chloe took off her jacket and when they walked in, she headed for the napkins to wipe it as Beca walked to the counter to order. She figured she’d get something for her and her kid since they had been out for a while so she ordered a cold brew and an orange juice. She looked over at Chloe when it was time to name what she wanted. 

 

“Strawberries and cream frappuccino, please.” 

 

She repeated it and the cashier nodded, taking her name and she looked down at her kid who still looked really close to crying. She bent down to be at his level and looked at him with a stern expression.

 

“Go ask Miss Beale to sit down at a table with you and tell her you’re sorry.”

 

“But-- But--”

 

“Jacob, what you did was not fun. You need to tell her you’re sorry.”

 

He nodded sadly and walked to Miss Beale who had a smile on her face like the spill never happened and everything was right in the world. Jake took the sleeve of her shirt and dragged her to a table instead of actually asking her and the teacher shot Beca an amused look as she let herself be pulled.

 

“For Becky?”

 

She rolled her eyes and went to the counter to grab the three drinks, balancing the cup holder with one hand and her bag of errands in the other. She didn’t pay much attention to the actual drinks and walked to the table that Jake had chosen to have his very important discussion with his teacher. She settled next to him with Miss Beale in front of her and gave him his orange juice as she spoke up. 

 

“Did you say sorry?”

 

“Yep!” he said, already distracted by his orange juice. He tried to twist it open and failed so he handed it silently to Beca who opened it for him and he mumbled a quick “thank you” before diving right into it. 

 

A car drove by fast, making its tires screech on the road and Jake looked up, suddenly very interested in the outside world. A song started playing in the stereos of the Starbucks and Chloe smiled to herself softly, evidently recognizing the song. 

 

“Did he really?” she said, turning to Miss Beale who was already looking at them.

 

“Yes, he did. He said he was sorry he hadn’t seen me because he was busy flying.” 

 

“My very own superhero,” Beca mumbled to herself, looking at Jake who was sliding off of the chair to go put his sticky hands on the window. 

 

“He’s cute.”

 

Beca turned back and looked at the way Miss Beale’s fingers were tapping along to the beat of the song and finally noticed the drink that she was bringing to her lips. She snorted, checking Jake was out of earshot before immediately passing judgement. 

 

“What the fuck is that?” she asked, gesturing towards Chloe’s coffee which was pink, whipped and covered in sprinkles. Honestly, what else should she have expected from a kindergarten teacher? 

 

Chloe feigned offense, covering her heart with her hand. “It’s a strawberries and cream frappuccino? They’re literally the best. Sorry Miss I-think-I’m-cool-because-I-drink-black-coffee, didn’t realise enjoyment was a crime,” she joked as Beca cradled her cold brew.

 

“Hey, you don’t have kids. You have no idea how many mornings this has got me through,” Beca shot back as she watched Jake, who was now attempting to climb onto the table to look out of the window.

 

Chloe laughed, tilting her head to the side. “True, but I do cater to a whole class of them on a daily basis.”

 

“I have no idea how you do it,” Beca breathed out. She only had to take care of one and it completely exhausted her. She was pretty sure the deep purple marks under her eyes were permanent now, they weren’t going away anytime soon. 

 

“I love kids,” Miss Beale said simply with a smile on her face. 

 

“Mhm.”

 

“What, you don’t? You have one, you must like him at least a little, huh?”

 

Beca chuckled. “Well, I love him . But that’s pretty much the end of the list of kids that I enjoy.” 

 

Beca looked to her left where Jake was now enthusiastically drinking his orange juice, heavily breathing between sips and seated on the table next to theirs so he could look out the window. 

 

“Yeah, he’s pretty alright,” Chloe said to tease Beca and it worked because the latter looked back at her with an offended expression. 

 

“Pretty alright? He happens to be the coolest five year old around these parts, Miss Beale.” 

 

The teacher laughed before putting her coffee (if you could call that coffee) on the table. “I usually have people call me Chloe when I’m out of school.”

 

“Oh. Well, he happens to be the coolest five year old around these parts, Chloe,” she repeated without missing a beat, letting the name roll out her tongue easily. 

 

“Let me guess, because he’s your kid?”

 

“You know it,” Beca said, smirking.

 

“And you’re so cool.”

 

She gestured at herself smugly. “Have you ever seen anyone else’s mom look like this?”

 

“No,” Chloe chuckled and leaned back in her chair. “But we live in LA. The moms I usually meet are all blondes that use way too much spray tan so yeah, I’m not used to seeing young pale brunettes.”

 

“Is that a dig at me?”

 

Chloe raised an eyebrow with a smile and silently took a sip of her drink. She was moving her head to the beat of the song and Beca strained her ear, trying to identify what the song was. She wasn’t sure she knew it because it wasn’t her typical taste in music but it was actually pretty good. Chloe certainly seemed to love the song. 

 

“10 years in LA and I’ve never managed to tan. You gotta blame my mom for that one, I guess. And for the young part, well yeah that’s my fault.”

 

“Jacob was born here, right? Maybe he’ll have more chances than you.”

 

She chuckled, making sure that Jake was still doing alright before responding. “Hopefully. But I wouldn’t bet money on it. He’s pretty pale already so I doubt that’ll change. It’s a Mitchell trait.”

 

“I’m dying to find some more of these shared Mitchell traits,” Chloe said casually and Beca took a sip of her drink to cover the effect that sentence had on her. 

 

It was silent for a moment as they both stared at Jake making his half-full bottle of orange juice do backflips on the table. The song finished and Chloe hummed the last notes before an overplayed pop song came on and the woman didn’t care about the music anymore. 

 

Beca noticed two people walking towards the table, clearly about to ask if they could use it so she called Jake over who looked up at the sound of his mother and climbed on top of the seat next to her. He stood up on the chair and began playing with the hair that fell on her shoulder.

 

“Mommy, I wanna go to the park.”

 

She looked at the time and figured they had time to do so. “What do we say when we want something?”

 

“Please? Can we please go to the park please?”

 

“Well since you asked so politely, sure.” He grinned in victory and Beca looked at Chloe and the next words came out of her mouth before she could stop them. “You wanna go with us? I mean-- if you’re not busy. Maybe you were going somewhere before I don’t know.”

 

Chloe smiled and shook her head. “Yeah, sure. I was just walking around before, enjoying how beautiful today is. Well, before I got attacked by my own coffee.”

 

“I would hardly call that coffee,” Beca teased right back.

 

“Mommy!” 

 

“Yeah yeah, we’re going kid,” she breathed out, standing up and grabbing her things. “Might I remind you you made Miss Beale spill coffee all over her jacket.”

 

He pouted and ducked his head, embarrassed again and refusing to make eye contact with his teacher. She ruffled his hair and grabbed her coffee before gesturing at Chloe that she could exit the Starbucks first. They walked side by side, Jake having learned his lesson, staying right by his mother’s side and Chloe was on her left with her dirty coat on her arm. 

 

“So, you live in Seattle, you’re pale as a ghost and you’re 18,” Chloe said after a beat. “What makes someone move to LA? A sudden urge to see the Hollywood sign?”

 

Beca snorted. “Yeah, exactly.”

 

“Come on, tell me.”

 

“Well,” Beca said with a sigh. “I’ve always wanted to be a music producer and I figured I had more chances in LA than good ol’ Seattle.”

 

“Your parents just let you move to another state? Just like that?”

 

Beca felt a small hand grasp hers and she looked down at Jake who was once again concentrated on jumping over the cracks in the sidewalk.

 

“My dad was against it but he’s a dick so I didn’t care. My mom was chill about it.”

 

“Impressive.”

 

Beca shrugged in response and Chloe looked at her with a frown. 

 

“Beca, it’s really impressive that you moved here at 18 and here you are, doing what you love because you worked hard enough.”

 

The music producer sensed the uncomfortable feeling that she always felt in her stomach when someone complimented her and she shrugged again, her hands too busy to literally wave the statement off.

 

“Dude, don’t make it into a big deal.”

 

“I will! I think you’re aca-awesome.”

 

Beca’s eyes widened and she looked at the redhead to her left with an amused expression. “Pardon? What just came out of your mouth?”

 

“I think you’re aca-awesome,” Chloe said, unfazed.

 

“What the fu-- heck does that mean?” she said, catching herself just in time. It wasn’t like Jake was listening anyways since his reflection on the passing windows seemed to entertain him plenty. His hand was still firmly in hers and she smiled at him before giving her attention back to Chloe. 

 

“I did a lot of acapella in college.”

 

“Of course you did.”

 

“What is that supposed to mean?”

 

“You just seem like the type, that’s all.”

 

“It was actually really fun,” Chloe defended herself but Beca couldn’t help but snort at that. “What?”

 

“Nothing, it’s just-- it’s pretty lame.”

 

“Hey,” the teacher pouted and nudged her on the shoulder. “I was in a group called the Barden Bellas. We were the tits.”

 

“Yikes.”

 

“Do you sing?”

 

“Not really.”

 

“Mommy sings with me ,” Jake said quite possessively, jumping in the conversation.

 

“Well you’re a lucky little man,” Chloe said and Jake just stared at her before turning his attention back to the stores. “So you never went to college?”

 

“Nope. My dad is a college professor and he really wanted me to go but like I said before-- dick. He lost the right to tell me what to do when he moved to the other side of the country for his side-chick and left my mom and I alone,” she said and grimaced when she realized she had said way more than she intended to. “Yikes, sorry I shouldn’t have said that. That was weird.”

 

Chloe shook her head, putting a hand on Beca’s shoulder for comfort and removed it before Beca could even think to shrug it away. She wasn’t the best with physical touch for anyone else other than for her son usually. 

 

“Don’t apologize. So do you have a good relationship with your mom?”

 

Beca appreciated that Chloe didn’t drag on the dad thing and nodded. “Good enough. She still lives in Seattle so we don’t see each other as much as she’d like too but we call each other often.”

 

“Has she met Jacob?”

 

“Yeah, they absolutely adore each other. She was there a lot to help out when he was born.”

 

“Oh yeah, I can’t imagine that was easy.” 

 

She squeezed Jake’s hand subconsciously, remembering all the nights she stayed up, so close to tears as her son cried his eyes out for hours. Her mom showed up out of the blue two weeks before she had given birth with two suitcases and had said “ I’m gonna help you ” with a firm mom voice. Beca’s ego had taken a hit at first but as soon as Jake was born, she understood why her mom came to the rescue. 

 

She had stayed for the first two months and it had been the biggest blessing of her life. She wouldn’t have been able to do this without her mother’s help, because nothing could ever prepare you for how much work a newborn is. But now 5 years later as Jake got older, she liked to think she figured out the whole mom thing pretty well. 

 

Her mom came to help out sometimes of course, but Beca and Jake were good the two of them together. They didn’t need anyone else. When Jake had asked her about why he didn’t have a dad at the beginning of the school year, a conversation she had feared for so long, he had simply said “ I love you, Mommy ” after she had explained that all families were different and theirs happened to be a little smaller than some. 

 

“It wasn’t,” she breathed out. “But we got through it, didn’t we Jakey?”

 

“Yep!” he said even though he had no idea what they were talking about. He had been pretty silent the whole time, probably mad about the fact that he had to hang out with the teacher he disliked outside of school hours. 

 

“Mom and Jake, right?”

 

“Jake and Mom,” he replied automatically because of the number of times they had said that to each other. It was something she had started by herself when Jake was younger. She used to look at him, completely in awe of the human and she’d whisper that to herself to make her feel better about their whole situation.

 

She had cried the first time Jake had randomly repeated it to her and since then, it had kind of become a thing. 

 

Chloe smiled at them and they fell into a comfortable silence for the rest of the walk to the park. As soon as they stepped into the grass, Jake made a move to run but Beca caught him by the wrist, bent down and explained all the rules to make sure he wasn’t going to create more disaster than he already had. He nodded when she was done, accepted the kiss on the forehead she gave him before finally running off to the swings. Her and Chloe settled on a bench near so she could keep an eye on him easily the whole time. 

 

“So,” Chloe said and looked at Beca. “I have to ask, I’m sorry.”

 

Beca chuckled, already knowing what she was about to say. “Curiosity killed the cat, you know?”

 

“But satisfaction brought it back!”

 

“Go ahead.”

 

“What happened with Jacob’s father?” 

 

“He’s not his father,” Beca started with and Chloe winced apologetically. “I’m afraid it’s not that fascinating, though. We had been dating for like a month, I realized I was late and I did a couple of tests before telling him to make sure it wasn’t a false result. When I told him, he said he’d be there the whole time and then two days later he had me blocked on everything and dipped.”

 

“Asshole,” Chloe said immediately and Beca gave her an amused expression. “What? Teachers can curse too, you know.”

 

“I’m into it,” she teased and Chloe winked at her.

 

“You were so young, though. What made you keep him?”

 

“I don’t know,” Beca hummed. “I freaked out at first obviously and I thought about… you know. But I talked about it with my mom and the way she spoke… it was like having a kid was the most wonderful thing ever. And I knew she meant it because I was a fucking awful kid.”

 

Chloe laughed and Beca smiled at her before continuing.  

 

“Honestly, the pregnancy went by fast and before I knew it I was looking at him in my arms. I never imagined myself with a kid before and especially not at 23 but I don’t know-- I like it.”

 

“You’re a good mom.”

 

“I try,” she breathed out.

 

“Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of moms in my career. You’re one of the good ones.”

 

Beca felt the familiar heat creep up on her cheeks and she cleared her throat, wanting the attention of her now. “Anyway. No kids for you?” 

 

“Oh, I want one for sure,” Chloe said, both their eyes on Jake who was going down the slide over and over again, a smile on his face. “Haven’t found the right partner yet.”

 

“I find that hard to believe.”

 

Chloe looked at her, a twinkle in her blue eyes. “I thought I had found the one in Portland but I don’t think she felt the same way.”

 

Beca tried to let the surprise of the pronoun not show on her face. “What happened?”

 

“Went home early one day to find her sleeping with her ex in our apartment.”

 

“Shit. I’m sorry, dude.”

 

“Yeah,” Chloe breathed out. “I’m over it now but it was hard. It’s my best friend, Aubrey, who convinced me to come live with her for a while to get out of Portland. I’m still living with her right now. But I’m gonna need to find an apartment alone soon, I think her girlfriend and her are tired of me third wheeling their date nights.”

 

“Yeah, understandable. How are you liking LA?”

 

“I like it--”

 

“JAKE!” Beca interrupted her when she saw her kid trying to hold himself upside down on the monkey bars. He immediately got down and moved on to the next best thing. She looked back at Chloe. “Sorry. Continue.”

 

“No, it’s fine. I like it a lot. Beaches and warm weather, what more could you want?”

 

“An apartment where you’re not forced to third wheel all the time?” 

 

The redhead chuckled. “Yeah, then that’d be perfect.”

 

“My living situation is not better. He’s a terrible roommate.”

 

“I bet he doesn’t clean up after himself, huh?”

 

“He’s a massive slob. Sometimes, I wake up with an action figure in the eye, it’s hard.”

 

“Well, I don’t know,” Chloe said with a smile. “I think that still sounds better than having to hear your two friends doing it.”

 

Beca cringed. “Yeah, that’s pretty bad.”

 

“The idea of coming back home to Jacob instead of Aubrey and Stacie making out over dinner is still appealing to me. Even if he doesn’t like me.”

 

“Ugh,” Beca said, remembering how much trouble Jake was in class. “I keep trying to remind him of the good things you do for him but he’s stubborn-- he refuses to listen to me.”

 

“Ah, don’t worry about it. I’m just glad you think I do good things,” she said with a wink and God-- why was this woman always winking?

 

They chatted for thirty more minutes and Beca was impressed by how easy it was to talk to the teacher. They got interrupted when Jake fell while running and came crying to his mother, showing her his scraped knees. He was sobbing pretty loud and she cringed, taking him into her arms and swaying a little to calm him. 

 

“Alright, we’re just gonna go home and put a band-aid on it, okay bud? We have really cool Marvel ones,” she tried to say even though Jake was too busy crying to hear what she said. 

 

Chloe looked apologetically at her and dug into her purse before pulling out a pen. Before Beca could ask her what was happening, the redhead took her left arm that wasn’t holding her son and started writing on her skin after pulling her flannel up. Beca cooed at Jake and when she looked back at her arm, there were numbers written on it. 

 

“If you ever want to meet for a coffee that doesn’t ruin my jacket,” she said with a smirk and then looked at the back of Jake’s head since his face was hidden in his mother’s neck. “Hope your knee feels better soon, Jacob.”

 

“Uh thanks,” Beca said but Jake’s sobs so close to her ear was making it hard for her to concentrate on anything but him. She just bid her goodbye to Chloe before grabbing her bag and walking home which was thankfully very close. 

 

A couple of hours later, when Jake was sporting a really cool Black Widow band-aid on his knee and he was busy drawing on the dinner table while Beca was doing the dishes, she thought of how fun it had been to talk with Chloe today. She didn’t hang out with many people, preferring to spend her free time with her kid. Cynthia-Rose and Amy always asked her to hang out but she said no most of the time, because she didn’t have anyone to look after Jake and her coworkers didn’t really like to do kid friendly activities. 

 

“Hey, today with Chloe was nice, huh?”

 

“Who is Chloe?” Jake said without looking up from his picture and Beca froze. 

 

That was Jacob’s teacher she was thinking about. He only knew her as Miss Beale but here Beca was, with her phone number saved in her phone under the name “Chloe” after they had already exchanged a few texts. Was that even allowed? Was she allowed to just hang out with her son’s teacher like that?

 

Like Miss Beale could feel her questions, she felt her phone buzz in her pocket with a text from her and Beca unlocked her phone to see a picture of the yellow coat she was wearing earlier that was now clean. 

 

“See? No big deal :)” the text read and suddenly, Beca didn’t really care that it might not be allowed. 

 

She replied to Chloe’s text with a smile on the corner of her mouth and finally answered her son.

 

“Nevermind, Jakey.” 

 

Chapter Text

Another paper ball hit her in the face and loud laughter could be heard all around the quiet office. She looked up from her desk and caught Cynthia-Rose’s amused smile before looking at where the paper ball came from. 

 

“Amy.”

 

The receptionist grinned and ripped another piece of paper. “I’m not doing anything.”

 

“You’re literally making another paper ball right now,” Beca said, sliding her headphones down and Amy shrugged with an innocent smile on her face. 

 

“I’m doing receptionist business. Allen asked me to do this”

 

She grabbed one of the paper balls on the ground and unwrapped it before sighing. “Dude, this is a fax from a really important client. I’m pretty sure Allen didn’t ask you to make it into a paper ball and throw it at me.”

 

“Why do we even use faxes anymore?” Cynthia-Rose asked, turning her chair so she could look at both Beca and Amy. “It’s 2020 people, come on. Use email!”

 

“Couldn’t have said it better meself,” Amy said and she threw another paper ball at Beca.

 

“My 5 year old is less childish than you are.”

 

“Talking about the little man, when are you going to bring him back here? I miss him.”

 

Beca scoffed. “Last time I brought him, you taught him motherfucker and he repeated it to his teacher so I’m not letting you near him ever again.”

 

“Did he? That’s awesome,” the Australian said enthusiastically but her smile fell when she saw Beca’s face. “I mean, oh no. So bad. Sorry, Shawshank.”

 

Allen opened the door of his office and clapped to gather everyone’s attention. “Alright guys huddle up.”

 

Everyone walked in the conference room, Beca sitting between Cynthia-Rose and Amy and Allen waited until the rest of the employees filtered in to speak up. 

 

She felt Cynthia-Rose twist her arm and she looked over to see the girl observing her tattoos that had been colored in by Jake yesterday night. 

 

“Cute.”

 

Beca scoffed. “He really likes to color in the music notes. That’s his favorite.”

 

“He’s his mother’s child.”

 

Allen spoke up when everyone was seated. “So I just got a call from Snoop Dogg’s team. He’s interested in us to work on a Christmas album and he’s coming over today to start working on it.”

 

“Today? It’s 3pm,” a coworker said, confusion written on his face. Beca looked at the time and saw that it was indeed past 3. The day usually ended at 4 which was perfect for Beca since her son’s school ended at 4:15 but now she was kinda screwed.

 

“Yeah well this is Snoop Dogg so I’m gonna need you all to stay late tonight. I’m not messing this up. It’s December next week so we only have a few weeks to get this done. We only got this opportunity since shit happened with his last recording studio and now we got this last minute offer.”

 

“Fuck,” Beca muttered and Cynthia-Rose gave her a sympathetic smile. She knew there was no way Allen was going to let her go because no matter how much she denied it when her coworkers brought it up, she knew she was an important asset for Allen and he was going to need her.

 

“I need you guys to start thinking of ideas ASAP because there’s no way I’m letting him release another boring Christmas album.”

 

He waved a hand in the air to dismiss them and Beca followed Cynthia-Rose out until Allen called her out and gestured at her to come with him to his office. Her friends patted her on the back and she closed the door behind her. 

 

“Yes?”

 

He sat down at his desk with a huff and stayed silent for a while. Beca shifted on her feet awkwardly, waiting for him to speak up. 

 

“Do you like Christmas music, Beca?”

 

“Uh, I don’t know. It’s always the same thing, I guess.”

 

He clapped loudly, making her jump. “Precisely! It’s always the same thing,” he said and caressed his beard, looking lost in thoughts. “This is big, Beca. But I can’t have Snoop Dogg record the same 12 Christmas songs we hear every year without doing anything… special.” 

 

“Right.”

 

“You’re my best one, Beca. I want you close while Snoop is here. If you think of anything, please share it with me.”

 

“Oh,” she said, honored. “Thank you, sir.”

 

He nodded and cleared his throat. “Alright, go warn your kid’s school that you’ll be late or whatever. Figure it out because I need you here.”

 

“Yes, sir” she said and left his office. She ran her fingers through her hair and sighed, wondering what she was going to do. She sat down at her desk and figured out that she had no choice but to ask the only person who could help her in this situation. 

 

She quickly dialed the school’s number and it rang three times before she heard someone pick up. 

 

“Yeah, hi this is Beca Mitchell, Jacob Mitchell’s mother. I was wondering if I could talk to his teacher, Chloe Beale?”

 

“Miss Beale is in class right now.”

 

“I know but I really need to talk to her. It’s an emergency. Please?”

 

She heard a sigh on the other line and she crossed her finger until she finally heard “Fine. One moment please.” 

 

She turned her hand into a fist in victory and tapped her pen on the desk, waiting for Chloe. It took a few minutes but she finally heard shuffling on the other line. 

 

“Beca? Is everything okay? Are you hurt?” Chloe said as soon as she picked up in a worried voice and Beca cringed. Okay, maybe saying it was an emergency freaked out the teacher and that wasn’t the smartest idea. 

 

“Shit, yes I’m okay. I should have mentioned that.”

 

“Okay,” Chloe breathed out and she could feel the relief washing off her from here. “Good. So what’s going on? I’m in class right now.”

 

“I know, I’m just-- well I need your help with something.” She cringed just saying the word because there was nothing she hated more than asking for help but she had no other choice. 

 

Plus, they had been texting surprisingly a lot since Chloe gave her her number two weeks ago so she figured the redhead was her best bet to help her out. She was getting along really well with Chloe and she knew the teacher knew how to take care of a child.

 

“Yes?”

 

“This last minute thing happened at work and I need to stay late. I have no idea how long it’s going to take but can you just-- I don’t know, stay with Jake at school? Is that allowed? I’m so sorry to be asking you this. I just need someone to watch over him because this is too important for him to come hang out at the office like I usually have him do when I work late.”

 

“Well I can’t just stay at school but he can come to my place? Or yours? But I can totally watch over him, Becs, I don’t mind.” 

 

“Okay, yeah that's a way better idea,” Beca breathed out, twisting her thumb ring. “I’ll text you the address. I have a key under my mat, please just bring him home. You can buy pizza or whatever, I’ll pay you back and I totally owe you. Thank you. Thank you so much, Chlo.”

 

“No problem! Okay, I have to go now but I’ll text you once he’s home, okay? Good luck on your work thing! See you tonight.”

 

“Okay, thanks bye,” Beca said and sighed in relief when she ended the call. This was good. Chloe knew Jake already and even though he didn’t like her too much, she trusted her with him and Chloe really didn’t seem to mind covering for her. 

 

Even though it was a Friday night, Beca realized. God, she really owed the teacher for that one. She looked up and saw Cynthia-Rose looking at her with a strange expression. 

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing, you just-- you seem close to your kid’s teacher.”

 

Beca’s mouth snapped shut and she swallowed, shrugging. Unfortunately, her coworker continued.

 

“You have her number?”

 

“How do you know?”

 

“You said you would text her the address. And you also just let know you have a key under your mat? And she’s bringing your kid home? You called her Chlo .” 

 

“Dude, what is this, an interrogation? I didn’t have any other choice and I need Jake home so,” Beca snapped, putting her headphones back on to let Cynthia-Rose know she was done with the conversation. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Amy share a look with her deskmate but she chose to ignore it for the sake of her sanity. 

 

Chloe texted her from time to time but it was only a text to tell her they were still alive. Beca didn’t even have time to answer most of the time because she had no time away from Snoop Dogg since her boss wanted her next to him the whole time. 

 

They had been in the studio for what felt like hours, recording Winter Wonderland over and over again and everyone’s head felt like it was about to explode. Amy was sitting on the floor between Cynthia-Rose’s legs where she was sitting on the couch and the two of them were trying to catch goldfish in their mouths by throwing it in the air.

 

Beca was tugging on her hair and she was considering if she should just invent some crisis so she could get out of here. Next to her, Allen looked pretty much the same and he suddenly stopped Snoop Dogg halfway.

 

“Hold up, just hold up for a second.”

 

“Wait, hold up? Man, I sound awesome right now what are you talking about?”

 

“Nah, it’s not you. It’s a tech thing. Just go ahead and take five.”

 

“It better be a tech thing. Cause the way I sound in my eardrums? This is immaculate, man.”

 

Allen turned towards his team and let out a frustrated sigh. “There’s nothing special about the song yet, you know? Any ideas? Anything, really.” 

 

Amy put her hand in the air and Allen instantly shook his head. “Anything from anyone but you, Amy. We don’t need the best Tasmanian singer with teeth on this track.”

 

“Your loss.”

 

Something suddenly clicked in Beca’s mind and she got up from her chair. “Have him play it again. The same way.”

 

Allen looked at her curiously but he trusted her so he shrugged and nodded. He hit the button on the intercom so Snoop Dogg could hear him.

 

“Okay, let’s do it exactly the same way again,” he said, looking at Beca expectantly.  

 

She let Snoop Dogg sing the first couple of lines until she jumped in, singing Here Comes Santa Claus over his voice, making sure that the beats matched. Allen’s face relaxed but she stayed focused on tapping the right rhythm on the grid controller. 

 

When the song ended, she looked up at Allen who had a small smile on the corner of his mouth. As he told Snoop that everything was great, she looked behind her at her friends who both gave her two excited thumbs up. 

 

Allen turned back towards her. “You can sing.”

 

“Yeah,” she breathed out. “I usually only sing around my son, though.”

 

“That’s a shame,” he said before looking at everyone to make sure they were paying attention. “Team, look at this. Since Beca did such a good job, I’m gonna let her go home right now.” He looked at his watch and tapped his wrist. “It is almost 8 and the rest of you guys are not leaving until someone finds a better idea than Beca’s. Beca, you can go home.”

 

She stared at him until she realized he wasn’t kidding. “Oh, seriously. Oh!” 

 

“Seriously, yes. You earned it. Say hi to your son from me and see you next Monday.” 

 

She quickly gathered her things before Allen decided to change his mind. She stuck her tongue out at her friends who looked jealous as hell that she could leave and she saluted them before rushing to her car. 

 

Chloe hadn’t texted in a while and she just hoped that was a good sign.

 

Jake’s bedtime was at 7:30 so she wondered if Chloe had managed to get him to go to bed but that would have been pretty surprising. He was a stubborn kid and he hated bed time. 

 

When she opened the door of the apartment quietly in case her son was asleep, the first thing she saw was a lot of toys on the floor. Way more than usual. It looked like someone had taken Jake's toy chest and dumped it all over the living room.

 

She spotted Jake on the couch, asleep with his thumb in his mouth. She raised an eyebrow when she observed he only had one sock on, his pyjama pants and no shirt .Then, she looked over to the kitchen where Chloe was, her head resting on top of an open book, also asleep. 

 

She chose to go to her son first and she grimaced when she noticed his cheeks were red and damp. It wasn’t hard to guess he had thrown a tantrum. She sat down next to him carefully and started stroking his curls, briefly making a mental note to go to the hairdresser before Christmas. It didn’t take long for him to stir awake and his eyes flew open when he realized his mother was finally home. 

 

“Mommy!” he said, throwing himself in her arms which startled Chloe awake. She looked up with wide eyes and a gasp and relaxed when she saw it was Beca that was here. “Mommy! Where were you?” he said as he stood up on her thighs. She winced in pain and moved him so he’d sit down on her instead. 

 

“I was at work, little dude. I’m sorry,” she apologized and his face hardened again when he saw Chloe get close to them. 

 

“Mommy, I can’t believe you left me here with her .”

 

Chloe just sat down on the arm of the couch, still trying to wake herself up so she didn’t seem to mind the dig at her too much. She looked absolutely exhausted and Beca feared what Chloe was going to tell her about how the evening went. 

 

“That’s not very nice. Miss Beale was actually a really big help since Mommy had to stay at work late and we needed to get you home,” she said, poking his nose to make him smile but it was futile. He crossed his arms and scrunched up his nose, an angry expression on his face.

 

“No! I don’t want her here. I want you here!”

 

She didn’t feel comfortable having this conversation in front of Chloe who had clearly suffered enough for tonight. She glanced at the woman and looked back at her kid who was pouting.  

 

“I’m here now, okay? And I’m gonna read you a few pages of your comic book and then it’s sleep time. We can talk about it tomorrow.”

 

He huffed but she could see the tantrum he evidently had earlier took a lot of energy out of him so he let herself be carried to his room. She held up a finger at Chloe, telling her she’ll be back soon and the redhead nodded sleepily. 

 

Ten minutes later, Jake was asleep after putting on the rest of his pyjamas and reading two pages of his comic book. She switched off a couple of lights and joined Chloe in the living room, who finally looked awake. 

 

“Dude, I am so sorry,” she said before the teacher could say anything. She sat down next to her on the couch and Chloe shook her head.

 

“It’s okay, really.”

 

“What happened?”

 

“Long version or short version?”

 

“I feel like I’m gonna regret this but long version?”

 

“Well first, he got grumpy when I told him you were working late and I was the one taking him home. Then he got even grumpier when he understood I was actually staying with him. He sulked in the corner for a while so I decided to just put on that tv show you texted me he liked.”

 

“Spider-Man, yeah. He’ll stop any tantrum if you put Spider-Man in front of him.”

 

“Right. So we watched that for a while. He sat on the very edge of the couch and refused to acknowledge I was here for a while.”

 

“Don’t take it personal, he pretty much forgets about anyone when that show is on.”

 

Chloe chuckled and continued. “I ordered pizza and I let him eat in front of the TV. After that, he seemed relatively calm and I even thought I was making some progress getting through to him because I even made him laugh once,” Chloe looked proud of herself which made Beca smile. “He played with his action figures in his room for a while while I cleaned up.”

 

“Slightly embarrassed about you seeing the mess that is my apartment. It kinda shattered the illusion that I’m a good mother who has her shit together,” Beca cringed and Chloe looked shocked she would even say that. 

 

“Becs, come on. I really don’t care. It’s not a messy apartment that’s gonna make me think you don’t do your absolute best for Jacob.”

 

Beca smiled and then gestured at Chloe that she could continue talking about how the evening went. 

 

“But um, when it was time to get ready for bed, it all kinda went to hell. He realized fully how long you had been gone and he got super mad. He started shouting that he wanted his Mommy and that I couldn’t tell him what to do. Every single time, I tried to get close to him he would cry even harder and every time I tried to talk he would basically tell me to shut up.” Beca sighed, covering her face with her hands. “In the middle of putting on his PJs, he just stormed off into the living room and started throwing stuff.” 

 

“So this is why the living room looks like that,” Beca mumbled against her hands. 

 

“Yeah,” Chloe breathed out in a laugh. “In all honesty, I didn’t try to stop him because I was scared he was going to throw something at my face.”

 

“Jesus no, yeah. I don’t mind the mess, I’m just really fucking sorry you had to deal with that.”

 

Chloe put her hand on Beca’s knee and the younger woman straightened up, feeling the warmth of the touch on her leg. Chloe didn’t seem to notice Beca’s reaction to the action because she kept it there. 

 

“It’s okay. I didn’t expect it to go that smoothly anyways but I’m sure I’ll get through him someday. I got really close today. I can feel it,” she said with a warm smile.

 

“I just feel terrible because--”

 

“Hey. This is what friends do, right? Don’t worry about it.”

 

Beca’s mouth closed and she felt her heart tug at the word. They were kind of friends, weren’t they? They texted a lot and they still basically had their own little conversations at the end of Jake’s behavior journal. They had hung out that one time at the park and now, Chloe was the one she called when she needed someone to take care of her kid. 

 

Wow, Beca did not see that coming. She was friends with Jake’s teacher. 

 

“At least let me make you coffee or something. Are you hungry? I wanna make it up to you,” she said, getting up and Chloe’s hand slid off her knee. 

 

“Oh, um--” Chloe said uncomfortably, looking at the time of on her phone and Beca instantly felt stupid. 

 

“Oh, yeah. It’s late, you probably just wanna go home. Sorry I even kept you here on a Friday night,” Beca muttered, looking at the floor. 

 

“No!” Chloe reassured her, taking a step forward. “It’s just-- well, I have a date tonight and it’s at 9 so I just need to go home to freshen up a bit before.”

 

Beca stopped breathing for a second. “Oh. You have a date?” Her voice cracked a little and she cleared her throat, cheeks turning red.

 

“Um yeah. His name is Tom. He’s the PE teacher at school and he’s been asking me out since I first got here so I figured why not give him a try, right?” she laughed but it sounded forced a little.

 

“Sounds like Tom can’t take no for an answer,” she mumbled under her breath so Chloe couldn’t hear, kicking the heel of her foot on the floor.

 

“Sorry?”

 

“Nothing,” Beca said with a smile as she looked up. “Have fun on your date.”

 

“Thanks,” Chloe replied and there was a moment of silence until the woman suddenly surged forward and wrapped her arms around Beca’s shoulders. 

 

Beca froze for a second before forcing herself to relax, sliding her arms awkwardly around Chloe’s waist and getting a whiff of the smell of her hair. She pulled away before she started thinking of how their bodies seemed to fit together perfectly and cleared her throat. Chloe didn’t seem to notice the weird expression on her face and just grinned at her, a smile that Beca couldn’t help but reciprocate. 

 

“There’s still pizza in the fridge,” Chloe said, moving around to gather her things. 

 

“Oh, right. Let me pay you--”

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Chloe winked with a hand on her shoulder. “See you Monday when you give me back the behavior journal, yeah?” She squeezed her shoulder and before Beca could even argue, Chloe walked out the door with one last wave. 

 

Beca looked at the teacher turn the corner in direction of the stairs and she closed the apartment door, not sure how to describe the way she was feeling. It was kind of weird, the knowledge that Chloe had just been in her space without her even being there. That she had ordered pizza and took care of her kid and even tried to clean up. For someone that was usually very possessive of her things, she found that she trusted Chloe enough to not be bothered by the domesticity in which she had told her there was pizza in the fridge and then just left. 

 

She heated up a couple of slices, cleaned the apartment a little and checked on Jake quickly. She felt at ease when she saw his thumb in his mouth in the middle of a deep sleep and she rested her head against the doorframe, a happy smile on her face. 

 

She went to bed a little after that because she was exhausted from her day and her thoughts drifted back to Chloe easily. She couldn’t believe how nice Chloe had been even though Jake had been terrible to her and she was definitely going to talk to him about that. She felt a warm feeling on her stomach and realized that she was glad that Chloe was in her life now. It felt good to have a friend.

She hoped Chloe was enjoying the date, wherever Tim or whatever his name was had taken her. She deserved it, right?

 

Chapter Text

December had been a busy month for Beca and it went by dangerously fast. Snoop Dogg’s album was taking all her time and she found herself bringing Jake to work more than once after school. She knew she could ask Chloe but she honestly felt too bad from the tantrum Jake had thrown at her the last time so she didn’t want to ask her again. 

 

So he played at her desk while she worked in the studio and that was when she was at her most grateful to have a quiet-ish kid. Like her, he was pretty reserved and he was way too shy to really cause trouble at her place of work so he’d keep to himself. When she could feel him get antsy, she’d make Amy hang out with him and the Australian was always more than happy to oblige. 

 

Consequences, Jake now knew the word bitch. 

 

Not so good. 

 

They finally finished Snoop Dogg’s album in time for December 22nd and she had no idea how they managed that but the whole team was delighted. She had spent countless nights working on her laptop to make sure the tracks sounded great and she was very pleased with the results. 

 

When they passed the first physical copy of the album around the office, she felt a sense of pride seeing the name Atlantis Record on it. She had worked on it very hard and it felt good to know she was putting something she was proud of into the world. 

 

December 23rd was her last day at work and they had a Christmas party but Beca opted out of it, preferring to go home so Jake and her could go to bed early for their flight tomorrow. Her mom had been delighted when she found out Beca wanted to spend Christmas in Seattle and she had bought Jake a complete winter set in advance. Beca was oddly very excited to spend a snowy winter with him. 

 

She headed inside the school building in direction of Miss Beale’s class and when she entered it, the smile on her face slightly fell when she saw the teacher was nowhere to be found. It quickly went back up again when she spotted Jake and Harry at the back of the class and she joined them quickly. 

 

“Hey kid,” she greeted him and he got to his feet in an instant when he saw his mother. He hugged her waist and she ruffled his hair, kissing the top of his head.

 

“Mommy, look what me and Harry made!”

 

He showed her a drawing of two boys in superhero costumes flying in the air and she smiled. 

 

“These look awesome!” she said enthusiastically and then looked around at the adults behind her. “Jakey, do you know where Miss Beale is?”

 

“Dunno,” he said with a shrug and Beca frowned when she noticed Chloe had simply left his behavior journal on the desk instead of waiting to give it to her in person. 

 

“Okay, well doesn’t matter,” she said, disappointed that she wasn’t going to get to wish her Merry Christmas in person. “Time to go home.”

 

Harry tugged on Jake’s sleeve. “Can we play soon?” and Beca let her son answer him. 

 

“Can’t. I’m going to my grandma’s house. She lives in the snow!”

 

“Woah,” Harry said, impressed. “That’s awesome!”

 

“I know!”

 

“We can play when you come back.”

 

“Yes,” Jake said very seriously, like he had just agreed to a business meeting and Beca chuckled. 

 

“Alright. Merry Christmas, Harry,” she said, taking Jake’s hand and grabbing his backpack. She glanced at Chloe’s empty desk again, not liking the heavy feeling on her chest that represented disappointment but there was nothing she could do about it. Chloe was a busy person, it was understandable. 

 

They stepped into the hallway and she put her hands on her kid’s shoulders to guide him through the crowd of people when a man that looked a little familiar stopped her by the shoulder. She instantly took a step back so his hand would slide off of her. 

 

“Hey! I know you!”

 

“No, you don’t.”

 

“Yeah, you’re with Chloe, right? I mean, Miss Beale. Your kid’s name is Justin!”

 

“Jacob,” she corrected and the man looked up from her son with a smile. 

 

“Right. I’m Jesse Swanson. Miss Beale introduced us about two months ago.”

 

“Okay,” she replied in a bored voice, not knowing why she was supposed to entertain this conversation right now. She did vaguely remember Chloe introducing her to someone during their meeting to talk about Jake but it wasn’t like she cared enough to remember his name.

 

He crossed his arm with a smile on his face. “You know Miss Beale talks about you quite a lot.”

 

“She does?” Beca said, not even bothering to hide the surprise in her voice. 

 

“Yeah! She gushes about you. Almost makes me want to be close to you too,” he said with a wink and Beca cringed. 

 

“Right. Do you know where Chloe is?”

 

“I think she’s with Tom, the PE teacher. He said he wanted to talk to her before winter break.”

 

Oh. Right. Cause that was like… a thing now. They had gone on three more dates since Chloe had babysat Jake which was coincidentally the last time they had hung out. Beca had been so busy over the course of the month and every single time she had had free time and wanted to hang out with Chloe, the girl had either made plans with her roommates or she had a date with Tom.

 

Beca had never met the guy but for some reason, she had a bad feeling about him. She just chose to blame him for being the reason they hadn’t hung out in so long and now Beca couldn’t even wish her friend Merry Christmas because of him. 

 

“Oh okay. Well if you see her, tell her I’m sorry I missed her and I wanted to talk to her.”

 

“Will do,” Jesse said and she wondered why he always had that stupid smile on his face. “Merry Christmas to you two.”

 

“Yeah. Merry Christmas,” she muttered, unpleased by the situation and Jake seemed glad that their conversation was finally over and they could go home now. 

 

Beca felt the same. 

 

She had just gotten home and threw her keys on the counter when her phone rang. She answered it distractly in the middle of talking to Jake.

 

“Please don’t open your suitcase, it was very hard closing it!” she said, speaking louder as the sentence went on while Jake sprinted away to his room. “Yeah, hi?”

 

“What a lovely greeting.” She recognized Chloe’s voice instantly and smiled, letting herself fall on the couch. 

 

“Well you know me. I’m lovely.”

 

“That you are,” Chloe hummed. “So Jesse told me you wanted to talk to me?”

 

“Oh well I just wanted to wish you Merry Christmas in person before I left or whatever.”

 

“Aw, Merry Christmas to you too, Becs! I’m still sorry you can’t come to my party.”

 

“Well even if I had been there, I don’t know what I would’ve done with the kid but I’m sorry I can’t be there too.”

 

“It feels like by that amount of time that we communicate, we should’ve hung out a lot more than we have.”

 

Beca chuckled, fidgeting with an action figure that she found under her butt when she sat down. “Yeah, I feel the same way. I’ve been so busy with work this month honestly, I’m just glad I can finally relax. My mom hasn’t seen Jake in forever so she’s probably going to spend 24/7 with him and I’ll just eat potato chips on the couch in my sweatpants. Gonna be great.”

 

“Oh wow yeah that does sound great. I almost wanna trade the 15 drunk adults I’m gonna have at our place for your thing.”

 

“Should’ve been smart about it like me, Beale.”

 

She heard a giggle on the other line and smiled at the sound. Chloe’s laugh was strangely melodic. 

 

“I’m really sad we didn’t get a chance to see each other before break because I did have a little surprise for your boy and I wanted to give it to him in person.”

 

“What? You didn’t have to do that.” Beca said, confused. Why would Chloe go through so much trouble like that?

 

“It’s nothing, really. It’s basically just another attempt at making him like me.”

 

“Oh, so you’re straight up manipulating him now,” Beca joked. 

 

“I have to, Beca! He’s as stubborn as his mom, it’s hard.”

 

“Well, I seem to have taken a liking at you more easily than him so that’s different.” She realized what she had just said a little too late and felt a blush creep on her cheeks as Chloe made a happy sound. 

 

“Aw, I knew you liked me! I can check one half of the Mitchells off my list.”

 

“You’re so weird.”

 

“Thank you.” 

 

She heard a loud noise from Jake’s room and then an “I’m okay!” so she laughed to herself and went to her room to get undressed. She didn’t really think about the words coming out of her mouth before it was too late. “So, Tom’s still in the picture?”

 

It sounded passive aggressive which, it was, because frankly, she knew Chloe didn’t like him that much by the way she talked about him over texts or at the end of the behavior journal. So she didn’t understand why the man still needed to be here. 

 

“Yeah, I guess.”

 

“You guess? Haven’t you gone on like, three dates?”

 

“Four. And he wants to hang out during winter break.”

 

“Are you?” Beca said, putting the phone on speaker so she could take off her work shirt to replace it with an oversized band tee.

 

“Hmm, I don’t know. He’s a fun distraction.”

 

“Huh.”

 

“What?” Chloe’s voice said, sounding amused and Beca shrugged, jumping in place to put on her sweatpants. 

 

“I don’t know. He just seems boring.” He seemed like your average guy that thought a dinner and a movie was the ideal date setting and after stalking his instagram one night, she decided that he really wasn’t that hot. He was painfully average and Chloe was way out of his league. 

 

Most people were out of Chloe’s league. 

 

“He’s good in bed.”

 

“Jesus--” Beca said, scrambling to put the phone to her ear. “You were on speaker phone, dude.”

 

Chloe giggled. “Oops. Did he hear me?”

 

“Nah, but still.”

 

“You’re such a prude, Becs.”

 

“Am not.”

 

“Come on! Everytime I even hint at something sexual, you get all shy.”

 

“Maybe I just don’t want to know about your sex life,” Beca muttered, feeling the need to defend herself. She had a flash of what Chloe must look like in bed, her lips parted as soft gasps came out of her mouth and she instantly shook the thoughts out of her head. 

 

That was weird.

 

“When’s the last time you boned someone?”

 

“Boned? God, you’re so gross.”

 

“Just answer the question.”

 

“No!”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because I am not having this conversation with you right now.”

 

“You’re just ashamed of the answer,” Chloe said as Beca moved to the kitchen just so she could focus her hands on something other than this conversation. “Oh my aca-God, have you even slept with someone since you had Jacob?”

 

“I’m not telling you simply because the word aca-God just came out of your mouth.”

 

Chloe laughed. “Nope. I think it’s because I’m right.”

 

“You’re annoying.”

 

And okay, maybe Chloe was half-right. The last time she had hooked up with someone was three years ago and it was when she was out with Cynthia-Rose and Amy at a bar and her mother was babysitting Jake. She had hooked up with a random girl in the dirtiest bathroom she had ever seen and that was the last time she had gotten laid.

 

But it didn’t matter. She didn’t need anyone, she didn’t want anyone. She was satisfied with the way her life was right now. Besides, she was aware not a lot of people her age were looking for someone with a kid. It was more trouble for them and Beca didn’t need that on her conscience. Sure, it had been a while since she had someone romantic in her life and sometimes she felt lonely but then her eyes would settle on Jake and she’d find that she had everything she needed. 

 

“You should come by my place when you come back from Seattle,” Chloe said, suddenly changing the subject.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah! I’ll introduce you and Jacob to my roommates and I’ll give him his present.” 

 

“Yeah, okay sure,” Beca answered casually even though she was pretty happy to finally make plans with Chloe.

 

She only remembered after they hung up that Chloe giving Jake a present was probably not in the teacher's guidelines and neither was inviting him and his mother to her apartment. But Chloe had a way to make anything feel so comfortable and friendly that Beca could only feel excited from the invitation. 

 

-------------------

 

Jake absolutely loved snow. His smile had never been brighter than when he was wearing his red winter coat with his assorting red snow pants and he was making snowballs. Even if Beca had never been the snow type either, she found herself with her mom and her son in the park, chucking snowballs at each other as their laughs echoed around them. 

 

They had just finished unwrapping Jake’s many presents and she was pretty sure she didn’t have enough space in the apartment to fit all his new toys but the smile on his face was worth it. 

 

She hadn’t seen her mother in so long so it felt great to be back in her childhood home once again. Sure, she was forced to share a bed with her son who moved dangerously too much in his sleep and she had woken up with a plastic leg digging into her armpit more than once but it was still very relaxing to be back here.

 

It felt nice to finally be able to just sit down and let someone else do the work for her. Her mom was more than happy to tell her to sit down while she prepared dinner and the feast they had eaten yesterday for Christmas Eve had been the best meal she had eaten in years. 

 

Jake had woken her up at 5:30 AM this morning, screaming in her ear that Santa had came before running away in his red and green onesie. He opened multiple presents, all very unnecessary things like more action figures and some trucks while Beca had received a new laptop and a vinyl record from her mother. 

 

“You shouldn’t have,” she had said, staring at the new macbook pro with wide eyes. 

 

“You don't do enough things for yourself. I figured I would spoil you,” her mother had answered before kissing her forehead. 

 

When they came back from the park completely exhausted, Beca had flopped down on the couch face first and she felt two small hands on her back as her boy tried to climb on top of her. 

 

“Jakey, wanna help me make hot chocolate?” Her mother asked from the kitchen as if she understood that Beca needed a break and Beca thanked her mentally. 

 

“Yeah!” Jake said before Beca heard his feet scurrying away. 

 

She exhaled in relief and shifted onto her back, letting herself relax a little. She grabbed her phone, seeing a couple of texts from her friends and family members but the one that really made her smile was Chloe’s. 

 

Chloe - 11:36

Merry Christmas, Becs!! I hope Santa gave you everything you wished for under the tree this morning xx

 

Beca - 12:48

Merry Christmas, Chlo! Santa gave everything he had to Jake I’m afraid but my mom did give me some nice things.

 

Chloe - 12:49

Well as long as you got something, you deserve it ;)

 

Beca - 12:49

How was your party last night? Hungover?

 

Chloe - 12:51

I think I’m actually still a bit drunk which is to my advantage, it’ll take less to get drunk tonight!

 

Beca - 12:52

Jesus, another party?

 

Chloe - 12:52

I’m a party girl, Becs ;) you should’ve seen me in college.

 

Beca - 12:53

I think it's better I didn’t because I’m not sure I would trust you with my kid anymore.

 

Chloe - 12:55

Excuse you, I’m an excellent teacher. 

 

Beca - 12:56

I know. 

 

Chloe - 12:56

:) 

 

“Feels good to see you smile like that,” her mother startled her and she straightened up, accepting the mug of hot chocolate she was handing her. 

 

“Like what?” Beca said, blowing on her hot chocolate lightly when she noticed how hot it was. Jake sat down on the floor clumsily between her legs and the coffee table with a coloring book he had gotten this morning. “Be careful, kid. It’s really hot.”

 

He nodded and let his hot chocolate cool down on a coaster next to his pencil case, preferring to color anyways. 

 

“You just seem happy.”

 

“I am happy. Jake is--”

 

“No, no. It’s different than that. Who were you texting?” her mother said in a cheeky voice and she finally got where she was going with this. Her cheeks turned crimson as she rolled her eyes. 

 

“Mom, it’s not like that. It’s just this girl, we’re friends.”

 

April had a secret smile on the corner of her mouth that Beca didn’t trust. “What’s her name?”

 

“Chloe,” she said and cleared her throat awkwardly. “She’s um, she’s Jake’s teacher.”

 

Her mom’s eyebrows raised and she looked shocked. “Oh? Jake, did you know your mother talked to your teacher?”

 

He sighed heavily but she was sure it was more because he just got disturbed in the middle of his very important task. 

 

“Yep. They always talk. It’s annoying,” he said stubbornly and Beca chuckled. 

 

“We actually started talking because the little dude here doesn’t behave well in class.”

 

“Miss Beale is… bad!” he said but Beca could see he meant it way less than before. He was just saying it out of habit now. She had proof from the behavior journal that he was still rude from time to time,  but most of the time, he refused to do the activities without throwing a tantrum now. He was getting accustomed to the teacher more than he let on and Beca could see right through him.

 

She was the same way.

 

“You don’t like Miss Beale?”

 

Jake shook his head at his grandmother. “Mommy and her talk all the time and she’s stealing her away from me! She’s a stealer!”

 

“Kid, she’s not stealing me away from you. You’re still my number one. You know that,” she said, ruffling his hair and he gave her a toothy smile. 

 

April looked at them amused and then crossed her legs, taking a sip of her hot chocolate. “So you talk a lot?”

 

Beca bit the inside of her cheek to keep herself from smiling too big. “Um, yeah. She’s actually really cool or whatever.”

 

Or whatever ,” April mocked her. “God, you still sound like a teenager.” 

 

Beca scoffed, taking a sip of her hot chocolate to distract herself and hissed when she burned her tongue. Her mother observed her carefully and then smiled playfully. “So when do I get to meet her?”

 

“Why would you want to meet her?” Beca mumbled, picking up a coloring pencil that had rolled on the floor. 

 

“I wanna meet the woman who makes my daughter look at her phone like she’s watching the new Skrillex concert.”

 

“You’re so lame,” Beca breathed out in a laugh and then shrugged. “Uh, I don’t know. When you come to LA, I guess,” she said, almost awkwardly. 

 

She didn’t know why her mother seemed so interested in the woman. She was just this happy talking to Chloe because she wasn’t used to having friends that weren’t coworkers and it felt nice to talk to her. 

 

“Well, I’m glad you have a friend,” her mother said after a beat.

 

“Me too,” she replied sincerely. 

 

They spent two weeks in Seattle and they had been both very relaxing and tiring at the same time. Jake was filled with energy the whole time, wanting to spend every chance he got outside. It also wasn’t a surprise to Beca that sharing a bed with her kid didn’t make a restful sleep. She would wake up every hour basically from Jake kicking her or his stupid action figures that he’d take into bed with him. 

 

But thankfully, her mom had been there and had taken a load off her shoulders. She didn’t want to admit it but it felt pretty damn good to not always have the burden of being a parent only on her shoulders, so her mom’s help was a nice change of pace. 

 

They were both very sad to leave her childhood home and the flight back was a lot more chaotic since Jake had cried for almost an hour. He was going to miss his grandma and the snow and Beca was honestly not that happy about leaving Seattle too. 

 

Going back to LA meant going back to work and while she loved her job, she could’ve taken about 6 more weeks of break. They flew back on a Saturday morning and Beca and Jake both started school/work the following Monday so the break from real life was fun while it lasted.

 

After finally putting Jake to bed that day and cleaning the apartment, Beca found that even though she was disappointed to be back in LA so soon, she was also very excited about seeing Chloe tomorrow. 

 

They had texted so much during these two weeks but finally getting to see her in person was going to be even better and Beca felt silly when she wiped the smile off her face after she realized just thinking about their plans tomorrow made her lips curl up. 

 

She fell asleep, a warm feeling in her chest. She just blamed it on the fact that she was happy to finally have a bed to herself now. 

 

Chapter Text

“Okay,” Beca started, hiding a yawn in her shoulder. “Now I want you to be a good little boy today, right?”

 

Jake had had a pretty difficult morning. First, he had a problem with breakfast and then he had a problem with Beca telling him he couldn’t wear his winter coat anymore unless he wanted to die of heatstroke here. He pretty much found any way to start a tantrum over every little thing, starting as early as 5 AM and even though it was only 1 PM, Beca felt ready to end her day and go to bed.

 

She already missed her mother’s help desperately because sometimes being a single mom was really hard and she hated having to discipline him. Every time his steel blue eyes filled up with tears, she felt it twist her inside. 

 

She knew that going to Chloe’s apartment when Jake was this fussy today was probably not the smartest idea but there was no way she was going to cancel on her friend. They were in front of the apartment door and she could hear shuffling inside from the three people living there but she wanted to have a conversation with Jake before going inside. 

 

“Yes,” he said, his little hands turned into fists showing his determination. He looked better than earlier since she had managed to calm him down by playing with him for over an hour on the living room floor. 

 

She was glad nobody saw her play with Superman’s figurine because she was pretty sure she looked weirdly into it. 

 

“I want you to be nice to Chloe and her two friends.”

 

“Chloe is Miss Beale?” he asked for the millionth time and Beca nodded.

 

“Yeah. So are you going to be nice? I would really really appreciate it if you were nice,” she said while kneeling in front of him so she was at his level. She fixed his shirt so it looked straight and then adjusted the sleeves of her flannel so her forearms could breathe a little. 

 

Coming back to LA after being in the snow for two weeks had made Beca a lot more susceptible to the heat and she deeply regretted wearing only a flannel instead of her usual tank top - flannel combo. 

 

“Yes, I will be nice.”

 

“Great,” she said with a tired smile. She got to her feet and took his hand before knocking on the door. He lifted his arms in the air and she could feel he was a bit nervous so she granted his wish and grabbed him so he could rest against her hip. 

 

A tall brunette opened the door and instantly smiled when she saw who it was. 

 

“Hey! You must be Beca and this adorable little guy Jacob! Come in, come in,” she said, stepping to the side to let them through. 

 

Jake moved closer to her and she smiled at the woman before taking a quick look around the apartment. It was pretty big, way bigger than she expected and she smiled when she saw a present on the coffee table in the living room, assuming it was for Jake. 

 

“I’m Stacie, it’s really nice to meet you,” she said, extending a hand and Beca moved one of her hands away from Jake to shake it.

 

“I’m Beca but I guess… you knew that,” she finished her sentence awkwardly and a blonde came into her view as Stacie continued happily. 

 

“And you, little guy. How are you?”

 

Jake looked at her hand and then Beca who nodded to give him permission to shake her hand. Stacie’s smile got bigger when the boy grabbed some of her fingers and shook them. 

 

“Hi,” he greeted Stacie back.

 

She looked at the blonde and noticed her already staring at her, her eyes on her tattooed arm that was holding Jacob. She looked up to meet Beca’s eyes but she didn’t even seem guilty that she had gotten caught judging her.

 

“I’m Aubrey.”

 

“Beca.”

 

Aubrey nodded and her face instantly softened when she looked at the boy in her arms. 

 

“Well, aren’t you adorable? It’s very nice to meet you, Jacob!”

 

Jake seemed happy about the compliment and gave them a proud smile. He seemed to realize these were nice women because he relaxed in Beca’s arms and waved a hand. 

 

“Hi!” he repeated enthusiastically this time. 

 

“I’m just gonna go grab Chlo, I think she’s working on some stuff in her room,” Stacie said walking away and Beca had known Aubrey for about a minute but she already knew that she didn’t like the idea of them alone together; even if it was for 20 seconds. 

 

“Can I offer you a drink?” Aubrey said politely, showing Beca to the living room who finally put down her son. “We have white wine, red wine.”

 

“Uh, do you have any beer?” she answered while sitting down. Jake sat down next to her, his shoes on the furniture and she cringed, taking them off for him. 

 

Aubrey smiled but she didn’t know the blonde well enough to know if it was fake or not. “Sure. Jacob, do you want anything?”

 

He stood up on the couch and bounced a little as he thought about what he wanted. “Orange juice!” he finished by saying and Aubrey grinned at him. 

 

“No problem,” she said and walked to the kitchen at the same time that Chloe appeared followed by Stacie. As soon as she noticed familiar red hair heading towards her, her heart skipped a beat.

 

“Hi, oh my God!” the redhead said, rushing to Beca who instantly lit up. She stood up just in time for Chloe to swoop her in her arms and she weirdly found herself hugging back instantly. 

 

“I was only gone for two weeks,” she chuckled but still squeezed Chloe in her arms tighter before they pulled away. 

 

“But we haven’t hung out in so long,” Chloe whined playfully and Beca finally got a chance to look at her face for the first time in a long time.

 

Multiple alarms went off in her head when she noticed the glasses on Chloe’s nose that had never been there before. Now, Beca was aware Chloe was a beautiful woman. You had to be an idiot to not notice that and seeing her after two weeks only reminded Beca how truly beautiful she was. 

 

Chloe Beale was the kind of girl that when you were far away from and tried to picture her face, you thought “ there’s no way she’s that pretty. I must be exaggerating ” but then you’d see her again and nope, you didn’t exaggerate anything. She’s just that fucking beautiful that it takes your breath away every time.

 

And Chloe Beale with glasses, well that was just a sight that Beca wasn’t prepared for. Did they make her eyes seem more blue or were they always that color? She swallowed thickly and forced herself to continue the conversation before everyone noticed that she was about to collapse on the floor at the simple vision of Chloe in glasses. 

 

“Well someone was busy discovering snow,” she said, looking at Jake who was wondering when he was going to get his mother’s attention again. Chloe gasped happily when she saw the boy on her couch and bent down in front of him. 

 

“Hey, Jacob! 1, 2 or 3?”

 

Jacob scrunched up his nose as he thought about his answer and then held up two fingers. “Two!” 

 

Chloe smiled at him and held up her hand in front of him which he high-fived loudly. Beca looked at them with a confused expression and the teacher chuckled at her face. 

 

“1 is a handshake, 2 is a high-five and 3 is a hug. I make my kids pick which one they want before entering the class everyday,” she explained and Beca felt her heart warm up at that adorable little picture that this created in her mind. Chloe stood up and whispered the next sentence only for Beca. “It’s the first time he picked two, he usually picks 1.” 

 

Beca smiled at her, her teeth sinking into her bottom lip. Aubrey came back with a beer and a blue cup full of orange juice. 

 

“Thanks,” she said and then looked at Jake who had already started drinking his juice. “Hey bud, what do we say?”

 

“Thank you!” he said, barely pulling away the cup and continuing to drink as if it was the first drop of liquid he got in weeks..

 

“What do you want, babe?” Aubrey said, looking at Stacie. 

 

“Whatever you’re having.”

 

“I’ll take some white wine, please,” Chloe answered when the blonde looked at her and Aubrey disappeared for a minute and came back with three glasses of white wine. 

 

Jake put down his cup on the coffee table and dug in Beca’s purse to find three action figures she didn’t even know he had put in there. She had brought their iPad for entertainment but she didn’t think he’d bring some figurines too.

 

“Don’t lose them, okay?” she said because she couldn’t handle another panic like the one they had right before leaving for the airport in Seattle. 

 

“So how was Seattle?” Chloe asked her, sitting down on a chair that was in between the two couches; Beca and Jake on one and Aubrey and Stacie on the other.

 

“It was great,” Beca breathed out, looking at Jake. “You liked the snow, right?”

 

“Love it!” he said without looking away from Batman. 

 

“Yeah, we made a lot of snowmen and had a lot of snowball fights,” she said with a smile and the three other women chuckled. “But yeah, it was great. I needed that break from everything. My mother was a great help.”

 

“I bet,” Stacie said. “Being a single mother can’t be easy. I have no idea how you do it. I couldn’t.”

 

“Stace!” Chloe chastised her. 

 

“What? It’s the truth, is it not?”

 

“It’s okay,” Beca chuckled at Chloe’s embarrassment over Stacie’s lack of filter. “It’s hard at times but honestly we don’t need anyone else. Mom and Jake,” she nudged him on the shoulder. 

 

“Jake and Mom,” he answered, shifting closer to her instinctively. She looked back and noticed Chloe looking at them with a twinkle in her eyes. She was about to go crazy over the glasses still on her nose so she decided to address it. 

 

“So uh, you wear glasses now?” she said, hoping it sounded casual. 

 

Chloe’s hand flew to one of the branches in surprise. “Oh, I didn’t even notice I was still wearing them.” She pulled them up so they rested on top of her head and of course she still managed to look gorgeous like that. “I usually wear them when I’m working from home. That’s what I was doing before you got here.”

 

“Planning any fun stuff?”

 

“Oh yes,” she said with a smile and then addressed the five year old next to her. “Jacob, how do you feel about superheroes?”

 

Jake looked up, suddenly very interested in the conversation. 

 

“I’m thinking of making all the kids try to think of themselves as superheroes. They’ll draw themselves and then get paired up to explain their superpowers.”

 

Beca smiled at Jake’s expression. He was clearly very excited about the idea and it touched Chloe that the teacher tried this hard to find things Jake would like. 

 

“Awesome!” he said, swinging his feet in the air. Beca was pretty sure he couldn’t even understand the assignment properly; all he knew was that it involved superheroes and he didn’t need anything more. 

 

“So awesome, right?” Chloe grinned, probably very happy that her idea seemed to interest Jake. She looked to her friends and then Beca. “I’m really trying to make them think as heroes, show them that they’re anything they want to be, you know? Just make them feel really good.”

 

“That’s great, Chloe,” Aubrey said with a nod of approval.

 

“He’s gonna love that,” Beca added, ruffling his curls and he nodded.

 

“When?”

 

“This week probably,” Chloe answered him and Stacie laughed. 

 

“Look at him, getting the inside scoop before it happens. He’s lucky he has an in with the teacher.” 

 

Aubrey gave her a disapproving glare and Stacie shrugged at her. They communicated with their eyes for a second and Beca wondered what they were thinking about since it probably had to do with what Stacie just said. Chloe shifted in her seat awkwardly like she knew what they were talking about and it reinforced the idea that it was definitely about what had just been said. 

 

“So, what do you guys do?” she said to break the weird eye contact thing happening between the couple. 

 

“Mommy,” Jake interrupted them and she looked to her left. “Can I watch the iPad please?”

 

She nodded, grabbing the iPad in her purse and clicking on the Netflix icon. As it loaded, she handed him his Ant-Man headphones that he had gotten at Christmas from Santa Claus. 

 

She had seen them at Walmart and knew she had to get them for him. 

 

She was aware this conversation was not super interesting for him so she didn’t blame him for wanting to do something he liked. Aubrey handed him a blanket with a smile and he took it with a quiet “thank you” and then settled comfortably, his back resting on his mother’s arm to watch Spider-Man. 

 

Stacie answered Beca’s question when the latter looked back at the group. “I’m a Nuclear Medicine technician.”

 

“Wow,” Beca said, impressed. “Don’t know what the fuck that means but it sounds sciency as hell.”

 

Stacie and Chloe chuckled while Aubrey released a quiet sigh that Beca caught. 

 

“I run The Lodge at Fallen Leaves,” the blonde said after. “It’s this place where the corporate world sends its marketing divisions and digital groups to build teamwork skills.”

 

“Ah,” Beca said. “So you basically shout at people all day long, telling them what to do.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I don’t know why, I’m not surprised.”

 

“What is that supposed to mean?” Aubrey said, not letting Beca’s joke go over. 

 

“You just seem like the type.”

 

Aubrey opened her mouth to talk but Chloe beat her to it. “Aubrey was actually the captain of our acapella team in college so you’re kinda right.”

 

“Oh right,” Beca said, chuckling. “Forgot you were an acapella girl. Lame.”

 

Chloe laughed because she clearly knew Beca was messing around with her but the blonde looked offended. 

 

“Aca-scuse me? Synchronized lady dancing to a Mariah Carey chart topper is not lame.”

 

Beca raised an eyebrow, amused at the reaction. 

 

“Sure…”

 

“We played the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, you bitch!”

 

Chloe and Stacie both turned to Aubrey, surprised by her reaction while Beca smirked, thinking the way the woman was reacting was pretty hilarious. As if she would even know what the hell the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center was

 

“Aubrey!” Chloe said, obviously trying to be the peacekeeper. 

 

Jake, completely unaware of what just happened, handed Beca his blue cup that was now empty and pointed inside it. “More, please!” he said loudly because he was wearing headphones. She nodded at him, not really bothered to leave the weird tension in the living room that was there at the moment.

 

“What was that?” she heard Stacie say as she walked away after Chloe pointed her towards the kitchen. 

 

 “I don’t like her. Have you seen all her tattoos?” Aubrey started the minute Beca left the room. “Or all her piercings? I mean look at those ear monstrosities, she looks like an unruly college student! I bet--“

 

“Would you stop? She’s right there!” Chloe cut her off in an angry whisper. 

 

Beca sighed as she poured the carton of orange juice into the small blue cup for Jake, hearing the blonde talk about her clear as day through the thin apartment wall. Why should she care anyway? Aubrey knew nothing about her, it’s not like her opinion mattered.

 

She was used to people judging her because of her appearance. She was small and pretty young-looking so she knew that people didn’t expect to meet someone like her when they asked for Jake’s mother. The tattoos and piercings didn’t help her cause either but she happened to find them fucking awesome. 

 

She was just disappointed that Chloe called someone that would judge her like that her best friend. The redhead just seemed so different from Aubrey. But after all, Chloe was different from Beca also and it seemed to just make them get along better. 

 

The brunette continued with the task at hand as the blonde ripped into her from the other room. 

 

“I mean, come on Chloe, she looks like she hasn’t seen the sun in five years. I know it’s winter, but we’re still in LA!” Aubrey continued, getting herself more wound up by the second. “Plus, are we not going to talk about how young she is to have a 5 year old kid? He was clearly an accident. That’s just irresponsible if you ask me.”

 

It’s as if she had nothing better to do, Beca thought.

 

“Well nobody asked! Bree you literally don’t know her at all, she’s a great person and an aca-awesome mom! Don’t be so quick to judge,” Chloe fought back.

 

Aubrey sounded even more offended than before. “How dare you use an aca-extension talking about her!” 

 

Beca listened incredulously, putting the empty juice carton into the bin as she prepared herself to enter the room again.

 

“Grow up Aubrey,” Chloe snapped. Stacie seemed to choose this moment to finally join their conversation. 

 

“God Chloe, I’ve never seen you so defensive. Do you like her or something?” the tall brunette said in a teasing voice and Beca almost choked on her saliva.

 

Beca’s cheeks burned as Chloe immediately replied, “What? No! Of course not! I just think she’s cool and fun to hang around with!” she answered quickly and the music producer decided it was time to re-enter the room before she heard more of this conversation. 

 

Three pairs of eyes shot towards her as she came in, juice in hand. She acted oblivious to their conversation and she walked over to Jake who fortunately hadn’t heard a word of their head-to-head. She pulled his Ant-Man headphones down around his neck and paused the tv show he was watching before giving him the orange juice. 

 

“There you go,” she said, making sure she handed it to him with her right arm where her tattoos were on display. All the eyes were on them but they all looked at it in a slightly different way. She quickly took note of Aubrey’s disapproval, Stacie’s amazement and Chloe… Chloe looked at them in a way that Beca didn’t really understand. 

 

“Thanks,” he said and then showed her to screen. “Look Mommy, the Green Goblin!” 

 

“Oh no,” she said, matching his energy and he nodded seriously before playing the show once again. 

 

“So, what do you do, Beca?” Stacie said after a beat.

 

“I’m a music producer,” she turned back to the women. “I work for Atlantis Record.”

 

“She’s awesome,” Chloe said with a smile. “She worked on Snoop Dogg’s last album and every song that she worked on sounds absolutely amazing.” 

 

“Thanks, Chlo,” Beca said, pink coloring her cheeks and they both looked at each other for a moment. She suddenly remembered Allen had asked her to communicate with him before the end of the day and she made a mental note to call him soon.

 

Jake put the cup on the coffee table after he had chugged almost half of it and that’s when his eyes caught the present on the table. He looked up, surprised and then grabbed it even though he didn’t even know it was his. 

 

“This is for who?” 

 

Chloe grinned, sliding to the edge of her seat. “I think that’s for you, little man.”

 

His eyes were big with excitement. “Me?”

 

“Yeah. I found it in my room and I didn’t really care for it. I was about to throw it away when I thought: Wow, you know who would really like this? Jacob Mitchell .” 

 

“That’s me!” he shouted and all the grown-ups chuckled a little. He looked at his mother for permission to open it and she smiled at him, her heart leaping out of her chest. 

 

He rushed to throw the paper over his shoulder and stuck his hand in the bag with his tongue sticking out. He pulled out a comic book and he eyed it, instantly recognizing the red and blue suit on the cover. 

 

“Spider-Man!” he said and then showed it to her mother. “Mommy, look!”

 

“No way! You don't even have that one too!” she said and she saw Chloe relax at the words. Like she had been scared that she had bought a comic book he already had. “That’s really awesome, bud. What do we say?”

 

He cradled the comic book to his chest and then rushed to Chloe, taking them all by surprise when he tugged on her shirt so she’d bend down and he could wrap his arms around her neck. Her eyes widened and she looked at Beca over his shoulder and Beca wasn’t sure who had the biggest smile between her and Chloe. She hugged Jake back blissfully, wrapping her arms around his little waist. 

 

“Thank you, Miss Beale!”

 

“You’re welcome, Jacob.”

 

He pulled away and then threw himself on the couch next to Beca so he could start flipping through the pages, admiring the artwork. 

 

She looked at Chloe who was already looking at her and they shrugged at each other, a smile on their faces. Good job , Beca communicated with her eyes and Chloe seemed to get it. 

 

They resumed their conversation and about an hour later, Aubrey and Stacie had to leave because they had tickets to go see a movie. Beca quite liked Stacie but she couldn’t say she was disappointed that they left because Aubrey’s judgmental stare every time she spoke was beginning to aggravate her. Besides, she enjoyed the time alone with Chloe.

 

They had some more refills, their laughs becoming more frequent as they felt the alcohol in their body and it was pretty irresponsible since her kid was right there on his iPad next to her but she was having so much fun, just chatting about everything and nothing with the redhead.

 

Before long, she felt Jake shift beside her, the iPad now on the floor along with his headphones as he curled up into Beca’s side, moving her arm himself so it’d be around him. 

 

“Are you tired, little dude?” she asked, remembering how exhaustive the morning had been. It had all started with a 5 AM tantrum over being absolutely desperate for cheerios that he couldn’t find in the kitchen. Beca had finally got up and given him some but by that time, he was too mad and he didn't even eat them.

 

Jake shook his head, trying to fight sleep but Beca could see his eyes drooping. “How about you take a little nap? Maybe Chloe could read you some of your new comic?” she suggested, catching Chloe’s eye. 

 

Chloe seemed to immediately perk up at the suggestion, any trace of intoxication leaving her body as soon as the activity was mentioned. Surely she had enough of this at school? Beca thought, but was interrupted with a surprise.

 

“Okay,” the boy said simply and Beca’s jaw dropped as Chloe’s face lit up. This felt like a turning point to Beca, as Jake had never let anyone else but her read him his comic books before. It had always been a thing between the two of them. 

 

She was confused for a second, wondering why she wasn't feeling even a twinge of jealousy, but she immediately shook the thought as Chloe reached for the comic book on the coffee table.

 

“Where can I put him down for a nap?” Beca asked, scooping a half asleep Jake into her arms.

 

“My room is fine,” Chloe responded as she led Beca through, moving some books off her bed to make room for the five year old. Beca laid him down, tucking him into Chloe’s soft blankets as Chloe turned a small lamp on and took her place beside the boy. 

 

She looked at the two of them and smiled with the corner of her mouth. Jake looked so small in Chloe’s bed but he seemed pretty comfortable, using all the strength in his tiny body to pull the blankets to his chin. Chloe caught the action and helped him a little. 

 

“Just text if you need anything? I’m gonna call my boss in the meantime,” Beca whispered, assuring Chloe she would be okay alone for a little if it meant progress between the teacher and her son. Chloe nodded, smiling warmly as Beca left, closing the door and positioning herself back on the couch. 

 

She felt warmth erupt inside of her at the thought of Chloe reading to Jake as he fell asleep, it was crazy that just months ago he wouldn’t even speak to her without being rude. 

 

The time and effort Chloe had spent getting to know Jake as a person, catering to his interests and supporting him outside of the classroom meant so much to Beca. She usually did those things alone and to have someone pay attention to what he likes to make him happier at school or wherever left her with a content feeling in her chest. 

 

The music producer spent the next half hour on the phone, discussing tracks, mixes and radio edits that Allen wanted editing and finishing up throughout the next week, taking notes as she listened, practically forgetting where she was. That was until her phone chimed, Chloe’s name popping up onscreen.

 

Chloe - 4:56

Becs can you come through?

 

Beca panicked, wondering what Jake could have possibly done as her brain went straight back into mom mode, telling her boss she needed to go. She got up, weaving around the sofa hurriedly and she stopped in her tracks when she entered Chloe’s room, stepping into a completely different picture than she expected. 

 

Jake was sound asleep, thumb in his mouth and his little cheeks red as one side of his face pressed into Chloe’s ribs. One of the redhead’s arms was resting protectively around Jake’s shoulder, her hand laced into his brunette locks and the other gripping her phone as she looked up at Beca, a small smile playing on her lips.

 

Well I’m never going to stop thinking about this, Beca thought as she took in the adorable mess before Chloe spoke up.

 

“I wasn’t sure what to do. I don’t wanna move in case I woke him up,” she muttered, her eyes on the boy as she carefully shifted.

 

“He sleeps like a log once he’s down. I’m gonna leave him for another half hour because he’s had a long day today and then wake him,” she explained and offered a hand to Chloe to help her get up. Her warm hand slid into Beca’s cold hand and she tugged on it. 

 

They looked at each other for a second, their height difference seeming significant as Chloe stood right in front of her. 

 

“You wanna order some pizza?” Chloe whispered after a beat and Beca nodded, following the teacher out of her room with one last look at her sleeping boy. 

 

Chloe called up the local pizza place as Beca tidied up the action men and headphones that Jake had scattered over the floor, knowing as soon as he woke up he’d be ready to go home. He usually ended up pretty cranky after a nap, another trait he must have picked up from her. Sleep was important for the Mitchells. 

 

“20 minutes,” Chloe said as she flopped onto the couch, patting the cushion beside her for Beca to join. “Hopefully we can eat quick enough that we don't have to save him any,” she joked. 

 

They continued their conversation that had been interrupted 30 minutes ago as if they had never stopped. They bounced from subject to subject, never running out of things to talk about which was something that Beca had never experienced before. 

 

Chloe was in the middle of explaining to her that aliens did exist when she noticed the way Beca was looking at her. The brunette had been listening, watching Chloe closely as though she was assessing something.

 

Chloe smirked. “Did you want something?” she asked sarcastically and Beca rolled her eyes.

 

“Actually I was gonna compliment you, but forget it Beale,” she shot back, the nickname slipping out with ease.

 

Chloe’s eyes went wide before filling with utter dismay, and she lunged forward, leaning her hands on Beca’s legs. “Aw no come on! I’ve just read some boring comic to your kid for like four hours. I deserve a compliment,” she whined dramatically, removing her hands from Beca.

 

Beca wondered why she missed the warmth instantly instead of feeling grateful someone stopped touching her. 

 

“Firstly, do not call Marvel comics boring,” Beca said with sincerity, narrowing her eyes before softening her features completely. “But I’ll let you off because you truly did do me a favor there,” she added.

 

She had needed to talk to her boss so it had been nice of Chloe to take care of Jake, giving her the time to do so. 

 

Chloe smiled, staying quiet as she studied Beca’s face. She must have known the brunette was deep in thought as she chose not to interrupt. Beca furrowed her eyebrows, scrunching her nose as she tried to figure out how to phrase what she was thinking about when the teacher was rambling about aliens. 

 

Chloe giggled softly.

 

“You and Jacob look exactly the same when you do that, y’know,” she said, her head resting against her own palm, propped up by the elbow as she looked up at her.

 

Beca looked at her puzzled. “Do what?” she asked, unaware of what Chloe was talking about.

 

“The little nose scrunch thing that you guys do when you’re thinking really hard. It’s adorable ,” Chloe told her matter-of-factly. 

 

Beca felt her cheeks twinge pink at the words but chose to ignore it, dismissing Chloe’s comment with a signature eyebrow raise. She focused on what she was about to say, not wanting to sound like a total sap.

 

“I was thinking that I… really like hanging out with you,” she breathed out. “It’s nice. You’re good company or whatever,” she added, trying to sound nonchalant. She wasn’t used to admitting things like that, preferring to keep it to herself so she wondered if the woman could hear how hard her heart was beating right now.

 

Chloe laughed at Beca’s inability to be sincere. “I like hanging out with you too,” she said in a soft voice. “And Jacob, he’s definitely warming up to me now,” she added with a smile, absentmindedly twisting one of her rings.

 

“I really don’t know what you did to make him comfortable enough to fall asleep on you like that. My mom tried to read to him during break and he categorically refused, saying he wanted it to be me.”

 

“The power of manipulation,” Chloe lightly joked before the shrill doorbell interrupted their conversation.

 

Beca insisted to pay for the pizza and Chloe finally let her after almost starting an argument in front of the pizza guy. They ate while they got to know each other more with soft music playing in the background. At one point, Jake sauntered in the living room, his eyes half-closed as he bumped into everything on his way to his mother. 

 

“Can we go home?” he tried to whisper in his mother’s ear but Chloe definitely heard him because she chuckled. 

 

Beca smiled apologetically and lifted him up in her arms after wiping her hands on some napkins. “Sure little man. We can go.” An entire afternoon at someone else's place was pretty boring for him since he didn’t have all his toys with him and she didn’t want to risk another tantrum. 

 

“Did you have fun today?” she asked, tying his shoelaces and he nodded, his brows furrowed as he tried to wake himself up. 

 

“Yep.”

 

“The comic book that Miss Beale gave you is really cool, right? I think you should definitely thank her again.”

 

He looked at Chloe who was standing on the side, looking at the pair on the couch. 

 

“Thank you Miss Beale,” he said politely and Chloe smiled at him.

 

“You’re very welcome.”

 

They hugged each other goodbye, promising to hang out soon again and Jake gave her another high-five. Before she knew it, she was back home. She looked at the apartment, finding it oddly quiet and she put on one of her records so music could fill the space. 

 

She prepared Jake’s dinner as she thought that today really had been fun. She was glad to see Jake was warming up to Chloe because she had a feeling the teacher was going to stay in her life for a while.

 

She couldn’t be sure but she just had… a feeling.

 

Call it a mother’s intuition.

 

Chapter Text

“Are you dressed?” Beca shouted in the apartment for Jake. 

 

“Yes!” she heard back. 

 

She zipped their lunchbox and then grabbed their water bottles from the fridge. She had absolutely no idea where they were going but Chloe had texted her the day before telling her to keep her whole Saturday free so that’s what she did. She had sent her a list of things to prepare for the day and even though Beca didn’t really like surprises usually, she found herself buzzing as she moved around the kitchen to make sure they had everything. 

 

She was in the middle of applying sunscreen on her son’s face when she heard a knock on the door. 

 

“Shoot,” she mumbled to herself and looked for something to wipe her hands. She couldn’t find anything and just settled for awkwardly opening the door with her wrists. 

 

Chloe was dressed in a navy blue dress and sunglasses were on the top of her head. Her smile was as radiant as ever and she eyed Beca playfully when she saw how she opened the door. 

 

“Hey, come in,” Beca said, walking back to her kid that was standing in the middle of the living room. She continued with the task, Jake wriggling around with his face scrunched up as she just about managed to rub in the last traces of visible sunscreen.

 

Chloe was in the kitchen, looking at what Beca had prepared and she turned back with a cheeky smile.

 

“You ready?”

 

“Where we going?” Jake said, jumping in place. He had asked her that question about 17 times since she told him yesterday they were going somewhere with Chloe and every time, she had answered she didn’t know so he was about to go crazy. 

 

“It’s a surprise!” the teacher said and she laughed when Beca and Jake pouted at the same time. “You guys are adorable. Come on, let’s go. An adventure awaits!”

 

“You’re so lame.”

 

Chloe just opened the door and held up an arm so Beca and Jake could exit first. The brunette quickly grabbed the lunchbox and gave the water bottles to her son so he’d help out. Chloe was almost vibrating next to her and she seemed pretty happy about her little surprise which almost scared the music producer. 

 

Beca looked at her with a smirk as they walked down the hallway. “You’re excited.”

 

Chloe bit her lower lip. “I am! We haven’t hung out in so long.”

 

“Chlo, we saw each other three weeks ago. Besides, we see each other everyday at school.”

 

They saw each other morning and night when they handed each other the behavior journal but honestly at that point, that journal was just an excuse to continue the conversation they had at the end. They made sure to talk about Jake at first but it was pretty much the same thing all the time so there wasn’t much to discuss anymore. Her kid was getting better, especially since Chloe gave him the comic book, it really helped him see Chloe’s pure intentions.

 

He stopped complaining before doing the activities that Miss Beale had planned and he high-fived her everyday before going to class. There were little moments of weaknesses where he fell back into his old habits but he got over it quickly and Beca was glad to know he was finally getting used to the idea of Chloe being around.

 

He hadn’t even batted an eyelash when she told him they were going to be hanging out with her on Saturday.

 

“It’s not enough!” Chloe exclaimed with a wink and Beca rolled her eyes, unlocking her car. Jake climbed into the backseat and Chloe observed them as Beca strapped him to his car seat. 

 

“Well, I’m gonna need to know where we’re going since this is my car and I’m driving,” Beca said and Chloe pouted when she realized she was right.

 

“Fine,” she grumbled and got in the passenger seat and looked at the two Mitchells with a sparkle in her eyes. “Jacob, you said something in class that interested me the other day.”

 

Beca raised an eyebrow and Jake just tilted his head at her, his steel eyes that were so much like his mother’s staring at Chloe. 

 

“We were talking about animals. Do you remember when we talked about animals?” 

 

He scrunched his nose and then his face split into a smile when he remembered. He nodded, moving his head vigorously up and down.

 

“I said my favorite animal was a lion!”

 

Beca knew that already. Jake’s favorite animal had been a lion ever since he had watched The Lion King. He loved that movie, she didn’t know how many times he had made her watch it. 

 

“And when Kiara said that she had seen lions during winter break, what did you say?”

 

“You can see lions? How?” he asked incredulously like he had forgotten that Kiara had said that and Chloe chuckled. 

 

“Yeah, that’s exactly what you said,” the teacher replied and then her blue eyes bore into Beca’s until the latter understood where she was going with this. 

 

“We’re going to the zoo,” she spoke her thoughts out loud and Chloe grinned, nodding. Beca couldn’t fight the smile off her face either since she thought that the redhead’s idea was actually pretty fucking cool. 

 

Being a single mother, she didn’t really have time to plan big activities like that. She had so many things to do all the time; clean the apartment, entertain Jake, do the dishes, laundry,... the list went on. So she had never found the time to bring him to do these fun little things like the zoo or the museum. 

 

Besides, she was more of a person that liked to stay cooped up inside and Jake had never really known different so he was okay with it too. They quite liked their days where they would stay inside all day, making a mix on Beca’s laptop of songs that Jake liked. But this was different and she was excited for it. 

 

“The zoo? Where all the animals are?” Jake said, trying to get closer to the women in the front but he got stopped by the seat belt. 

 

“Yeah!” Chloe responded to him. “So you can see the lions!”

 

“Real life lions?” he said with wide eyes, his legs swinging in the air as he got more excited. 

 

“Real life lions!”

 

The redhead looked just as happy as him. Sometimes, Chloe had the same twinkle in her eyes as an excited kid and Beca actually liked it, it was pretty endearing. It made sense that the woman was a teacher and she really was good at her job. 

 

“Mommy, we’re going to see the lions!”

 

Beca shifted in her seat so she could look at Jake behind her and grinned at him. “We are! We’re gonna have so much fun, bud.” She could hear the eagerness in her voice and she surprised herself by not being ashamed of that. 

 

She hadn’t gone to the zoo in forever and that sounded like a really fun day with her son and her friend. Chloe seemed to notice Beca’s tone and her smile somehow got bigger. They stared at each other as Beca pictured Chloe hearing her son talk about never going to the zoo and then immediately planning a trip so he’d see his favorite animal. 

 

Beca was pretty sure the only person on earth who would do that was sitting right next to her. It was just so… Chloe. And she couldn’t believe she was lucky enough to know her. 

 

“Zoo! Zoo! Zoo!” Jake chanted, breaking their eye contact. Beca glanced at him before entering the coordinates to the LA Zoo on her GPS. 

 

The drive was more than 30 minutes long and Chloe decided to entertain Jake by singing along to Radio Disney. They were both screaming the lyrics to Do You Want to Build a Snowman-- well, Chloe was singing the actual lyrics, Jake was more mumbling to the beat because he didn’t know the whole song. 

 

“Mommy! Mommy, sing!” Jake said after three more songs being shouted in Beca’s ears and she chuckled, glancing to the woman on her right. 

 

“No, it’s okay. You guys are good without me.” 

 

She wasn’t used to singing with anyone else besides Jake but she was also content just listening to the redhead singing because she happened to have a beautiful voice. She was aware the girl did acapella so of course she could sing but Chloe’s voice kind of reminded Beca of honey, making her feel all warm inside and she liked just focusing on it.

 

Well, focusing on her voice mixed with Jake’s screeching. 

 

“Your loss,” Chloe said and then looked at the boy in the back to sing the chorus of You’ve Got a Friend in Me to him. 

 

She tried to stay concentrated on the road but every now and then, she’d look in her rearview mirror or to her right and she’d smile.

 

They finally got there and Beca almost had trouble unbuckling Jake’s seat belt because of how agitated he was, excited for the day. She lifted him up with a grunt and put him down next to her as she reached over to grab the things she needed. 

 

When she turned around, she was swooped into a hug and she froze, not expecting the touch. She relaxed after a second and hugged Chloe back with one arm before pulling away. 

 

“What was that for?”

 

Chloe just smiled at her. “We didn’t greet each other properly this morning,” she explained as if it was obvious before looking at Jake and held up her hand so he’d high-five her. He gathered all the strength in his body before clapping his hand against Chloe as hard as he could. The teacher pretended that it hurt and shook her hand in the air. “Wow, Jacob. You’re getting strong!”

 

“Like Superman!” he said, raising his fist in the air and Chloe laughed with him. 

 

“Exactly!”

 

Beca looked at the interaction with a smile on the corner of her mouth before taking Jake’s hand and gesturing to the entrance so they could start walking. She convinced Chloe to let her pay for her ticket to thank her for planning the idea and the redhead let her do it, the disaccord obvious on her face.

 

It was a beautiful day in January and even though they were still in winter, Los Angeles was warm and Beca was comfortable in her leather jacket and Jake had a wonder woman long sleeve on. Chloe was just in a dress and for a moment, Beca wondered if she was going to be cold but she looked over at her and knew it was futile. 

 

Chloe wasn’t going to be cold because it seemed as if the sun casted directly on her. It was like the light and warmth of the day was coming from Chloe and her smile put the sun to shame.

 

Chloe didn’t notice Beca staring as she looked at the zoo map with her sunglasses on the edge of her nose. Then she pointed in a direction distractly and spoke up. 

 

“M’kay, I think we start that way. With the Lair.”

 

Jake was about to run off but Beca grabbed him by his shirt before he could and bent down for a mom moment. “Jake, look at how many people there are here.”

 

He looked around before focusing on his mother again. 

 

“I can’t have you going in every direction, okay? You need to stay by my side. If you can’t see Miss Beale or me, that means you’re too far. You got that?”

 

“Yep,” he said and then tried to run off again. She chuckled, dragging him back to her. 

 

“I’m gonna need to hear you say it, little man.”

 

“If I can’t see Miss Beale or you, I’m too far,” he repeated solemnly.

 

They went to the left and Chloe was unhappy to find that the Lair was basically only reptiles. Jake found the snakes and frogs really cool as the redhead jumped every time a reptile did so much as move behind the glass. 

 

“You know they can’t get you, right?”

 

Chloe glared at Beca. “I know they’re thinking about it, though.”

 

They quickly moved on to much cuter things like koalas and kangaroos. They found the gorillas that fascinated Jake to no end and they continued to find the giraffes. The whole time, she could feel the energy coming from her son as he tried to refrain himself from running into every direction when he saw a new animal. What she didn’t expect was also feeling that same energy from Chloe. 

 

More than once Beca had needed to catch up to them because the two had spotted the same animal at the same time and had run to it without warning.  

 

After a good two hours, they finally stopped at a bench to eat lunch in front of the elephants from Asia. Jake ate his granola bar happily as Beca nearly downed a whole bottle of water in one gulp. It was starting to get hot and she wasn’t used to walking that much.

 

“It’s a beautiful day,” Chloe observed through her sunglasses and Beca didn’t want to admit it but she kind of missed seeing the blue eyes.

 

“It really is. We got lucky.”

 

Chloe looked at her. “Well, I picked this day on purpose. I checked the weather, duh.”

 

Once again, the image of Chloe planning all of this out made Beca’s heart tug in her chest. She wanted to tell the redhead how appreciative she was of all of this, how much this meant to her to see Jake this excited over something she organized for them.  For some reason, the words got stuck in her throat so she only smiled at her before taking a bite of her apple. 

 

They spent at least 35 minutes just looking at the lions. The LA zoo had two lions, one male and one female. From the moment he saw them, Jake had run off to the glass and pressed his entire body on it, his eyes wide as if that would make him see better. The female was asleep and the male just walked around, drinking water every once in a while and Beca got bored of it pretty fast. 

 

She walked over to a bench close as Chloe stayed with Jake, bending down so she was at his level. Beca couldn’t hear what they were talking about but the teacher seemed to be explaining something as she pointed things in the cage and then looked at Jake. 

 

She swallowed the feeling of not wanting to seem like a creep and decided that she wanted to remember that Chloe was here too and not take only pictures of Jake. She snapped a few pictures of their backs and she smiled at the one she had caught where Chloe was smiling at Jake and the boy seemed engrossed in whatever she was saying. 

 

“I can take a picture of the three of you if you want,” she heard someone say on her left and she saw an older woman on the bench sitting next to her. “In front of the lions.”

 

“Oh um--”

 

“You should be in the pictures too,” she said with a smile. 

 

Beca softened. “Yeah, okay.”

 

She walked over to Jake and Chloe with the woman following her and she put her hand on her son’s shoulder. 

 

“You guys wanna take a picture?” she asked in a way that she hoped sounded nonchalant. 

 

Chloe lit up and nodded, straightening her legs and Beca smiled. She took Jake in her arms after handing her phone to the stranger and she stood next to Chloe so that her boy would be in the middle. Usually, she wasn’t that comfortable when someone was taking a picture of her but this time, she let herself smile freely and she could see out of the corner of her eyes, Jake looked just as happy. 

 

“Beautiful,” the woman said before handing her her phone back and Chloe beamed at her. 

 

“Thank you so much! Have a lovely day.” 

 

They all huddled close to look at the pictures, Chloe’s head resting on Beca’s so she could see and the latter’s breath hitched before she cleared her throat. She swiped through the three pictures and she was pleased with the result; they all looked happy and the woman even managed to capture the lions in the back. 

 

“Aw, we all look so good! Don’t we, Jacob?”

 

He just stuck his finger on the screen where the felines were and said “Lion!”

 

Beca smiled at him and ruffled his curls that had already grown a lot since he got a haircut before Christmas. 

 

“Let’s go look at the tigers, little man.”

 

They continued their route and all three of them stopped their conversation when they all spotted red pandas. Beca and Jake looked at each other with a smile before they rushed to the fence to see them from closer. They were probably the cutest animals Beca had ever seen in her entire life. 

 

Beca grinned as she watched the fluffy creatures, Jake pressing his face against the fence as he studied them beside her. 

 

“What’re they doing, Mommy?” he asked, pointing at one red panda on the floor who seemed to be interacting with another across the water. 

 

Beca laughed, bringing her hands to her face in a pincer motion before imitating a panda climbing, making Jake giggle and do the same. Jake turned to Chloe, repeating the action and Beca watched as the redhead did it too, the three of them laughing at how silly and cute the small animals were.

 

Everything was going perfect for the group. Jake was loving running around and meeting all sorts of animals, although Beca was sure Chloe was having the most fun out of all of them.

 

The brunette was several steps behind them, watching the two run around together. She couldn’t help but snap a few more pictures on her phone. The sun was hot and Beca was not used to being outside this long, opting to spend most days with her son curled in front of the TV or huddled away in one of Atlantis Records’ spacious studios so her feet were killing her but she didn’t mind it that much. 

 

This was nice too.

 

Suddenly, faster than Beca could comprehend Jake was facedown on the gravel after tripping over his own feet. He did this often as kids do, but that didn’t stop the loud crying that immediately exited his mouth as he clutched his scraped knee. Before she could even get to her son, Chloe was already to the rescue, lifting him onto her hip and sitting down with him on her knee on the nearest bench.

 

She froze in front of them. Usually Beca would be straight by Jake’s side to make sure he was alright but it was clear Chloe had the situation under control. She let herself relax and observed the scene, curious to see what the redhead was going to do. 

 

“You took quite the fall, huh bud? You’re gonna be okay,” Chloe said in a sweet voice. 

 

She watched as Chloe reached into her bag, producing a pack of Marvel band-aids which Beca was sure she had bought just for this occasion. Chloe spoke to Jake the whole time, helping to clean his knee with a tissue and allowing him to choose which character he wanted. 

 

Beca had never seen someone so good with kids and she was impressed as she watched the two interact, Chloe gently bouncing Jake on her knee. She asked Jake questions about the superheroes on the band-aids, letting him talk about the things he liked to distract him from the pain coming from his knee. By the time the green Hulk plaster was covering his small injury, Jake’s crying had become nothing but sniffles and Beca was surprised he hadn’t called for her the whole time.

 

She finally decided to step in, wanting to make sure her son was alright. “What happened, Jakey?” she asked as she approached carefully, rubbing her thumb over one of Jake’s tear stained cheeks.

 

“I fell,” he muttered, pouting. “But Miss Beale fixed it, look! I have the Hulk!” he pointed excitedly to his knee, the pout on his face leaving quickly as he grinned. Beca smiled at Chloe gratefully and the teacher nodded, which Beca knew meant things were okay.

 

She hadn’t even noticed how easily they could communicate now without having to say a word now.

 

“Because you’ve been such a big brave boy, I think we deserve some ice cream,” Chloe directed towards the five year old who’s face lit up with excitement. “How does that sound?”

 

“Yes, yes, yes! Ice cream!” Jake squealed excitedly, scrambling off Chloe’s knee and running off towards the nearby stand.

 

“Careful or you’ll fall again!” Beca shouted after him, before turning to Chloe. “You do know if we feed him ice cream, we will be dealing with a ball of hyperactivity for the rest of the day, don't you?” she asked, unaware of how easy it was to use the plural pronoun which grouped them as one.

 

Chloe simply pulled the sunglasses on top of her head so she could wink at Beca and the latter felt relief when she finally saw those familiar ocean blue eyes again. She flashed Beca a beaming smile before chasing after the boy.

 

The three got their ice cream cones courtesy of Chloe, who had of course insisted on paying for all of them and were sat at a picnic table enjoying the treat. Beca felt a smile tugging at the corner of her lips as she wiped away chocolate with a tissue that had somehow managed to end up all around Jake’s mouth, despite only just starting eating it.

 

“Is that good, Jacob?” Chloe asked, taking a lick of her strawberry ice cream as she watched the boy appreciatively eat his small teddy bear cone, ice cream dripping down his fingers. The smile on his face hinted that he had long forgotten about the injury that happened less than 10 minutes ago. 

 

“Yes so yummy! You can call me Jake by the way. Can I have a tissue, please?” the boy responded, swinging his legs. 

 

Beca and Chloe’s eyes met suddenly, both filled with shock at what Jake had said and Beca could have sworn she saw Chloe well up for a second. The redhead's face was filled with silent excitement as she helped Jake clean his hands, the huge smile she was sporting not leaving her face once. 

 

Beca could only stare in awe as her son continued licking his ice cream with one hand like nothing happened. She hadn’t even thought of the possibility of Jake ever feeling comfortable enough to let Chloe call him by the name his friends called him. It was a small thing in appearance but him saying that meant he trusted his teacher now and Chloe knew that. 

 

“Well,” Beca said after a moment. “You can call him Jake.”

 

“I can call him Jake,” Chloe repeated and they both stared at each other with an amused smile as they took a lick of their ice cream. 

 

Several hours later, they had finally looked at all the animals one by one very carefully. About an hour ago, Jake had gotten too tired to keep walking but he didn’t want to leave so he had climbed on Beca’s back. 

 

He was certainly bigger than he used to be and her back was starting to give in so she nearly cried of joy when he said he was ready to go home. 

 

They finally reached the car and she put him in his car seat while Chloe settled in the passenger seat. 

 

“Hey Jake,” Chloe said as she buckled her seatbelt, adjusting Beca’s rearview mirror so that she could see the boy. He was sitting quite happily in his car seat as Beca buckled him in, cuddling the stuffed lion he had picked out in the gift shop. “You can call me Chloe,” she told him.

 

Beca glanced over to her, a smile growing as she watched the redhead talk to her son.

 

“Only outside of school! When we’re in the classroom it's still Miss Beale, but when I’m hanging out with you and your mom, Chloe is fine,” she added quickly and Beca looked over to see Jake grinning, probably feeling like a big boy now he was allowed to use his teacher’s first name.

 

She thought for a second about how that was probably not completely ethical but she couldn’t afford to care because she had had the best day with Jake and Chloe, her son now definitely trusted his teacher and Chloe seemed just as ecstatic as she was. 

 

“Okay Chloe!” he blurted, sounding as though he was testing the name out. Beca watched the interaction with adoring eyes, loving how comfortable the two were becoming with each other. 

 

She got into the driver’s seat and even though she was exhausted and usually after a busy day like this, all she wanted was to flop down on the couch and watch Jake’s TV shows with him until they both passed out, but right now, she found herself not wanting to leave Chloe just yet. 

 

Even though they had spent the last 5 hours together, she wasn’t done hanging out with her friend. 

 

“Hey, you wanna stay over for dinner?” she asked casually and Chloe looked at her with a smile that went from ear to ear. 

 

“I would love that.”

 

“Cool,” Beca said and put the car in drive. 

 

This time, when Jake asked her to sing with them, she couldn’t even pretend she didn’t want to. She started singing alone to the chorus of Hakuna Matata and didn’t miss the impressed look that Chloe gave her when she started singing. 

 

“You can sing!” the girl enthusiastically said and Beca shrugged humbly in response. 

 

As she waited for the water to boil as she prepared dinner, she watched Chloe and Jake dance together in the living room to the Spider-Man theme song. She smiled and took her phone to snap a few pictures of them. Before she even realized what she was doing, she clicked on the photos the stranger had taken of them in front of the lion and made one of them her lockscreen. She then put her phone back in her pocket so she wasn’t distracted and could live fully in the moment. 

 

There was nowhere else she’d rather be.

 

Chapter Text

Beca was humming along to the song playing on the speakers in the studio as she made her coffee. She gave a thumbs up to her coworker who was working on the song and then headed back to her desk, sighing when she saw the back of Amy, sitting on her chair, entertaining a conversation with Cynthia-Rose.

 

“Amy, get the fuck off my chair,” she said in a bored tone when she reached her. The blonde turned around with a smirk and the music producer groaned when she saw her phone in Amy’s hand. 

 

She made a show out of opening her phone so the screen would light up, revealing the picture she had taken at the zoo with Jake and Chloe over two weeks ago. She instantly rolled her eyes, knowing what was about to come and she caught CR’s playful smile which meant she was in on it. 

 

“Who’s the hottie, Beca?” her deskmate said in a teasing tone. 

 

“Do you know that ginger people are the spawn of Satan? I don’t think it’s good that your kid is hanging out with one.”

 

“Shut up Amy,” she muttered, snatching the phone out of her hand. 

 

“I have to know who that is,” Cynthia-Rose said, leaning back on her chair. “She single?”

 

“You’re not,” Beca observed, forcing Amy out of her chair. “Engaged, remember?”

 

“Gee Shawshank,” the receptionist said with her hands in the air after stumbling backwards a little. “Why don’t you wanna tell us? Since when are you hiding secrets from us, your best friends?”

 

“You’re not my best friends,” she said just to spite them.

 

They weren’t. Chloe was on her way there, though.

 

Since the zoo day, they had spent every weekend together. Even though Jake was now seeing his teacher 6 days a week, he didn’t seem to mind. The day at the zoo really made them bond and Jake was practically obsessed with Chloe now. 

 

Not that Beca could blame him.

 

They had gone to the park two weekends ago and then last weekend, they had grabbed coffee at the infamous Starbucks where they had bumped into each other a few months ago. Chloe had ordered the same disgusting sugar coffee and Beca had made fun of her for it and it had been nice. 

 

Plus, on the few times that the music producer got caught up at work a little too late, the teacher would take him home and entertain him for 30 minutes tops before Beca finally came home.

 

Hanging out with Chloe was easy and it was soon becoming the norm. They had dropped the behavior journal because Jake clearly didn’t need it anymore for how excited he was to go to school now that he liked Miss Beale. He had trouble knowing when was the right time to say Miss Beale and when was the right time to say Chloe but as long as nobody really heard him say Chloe in class, they should be fine. 

 

Because yeah, hanging out with one of your student’s parents wasn’t really allowed. Chloe had hinted at it but she refused to tell Beca how “not allowed” it really was. Beca didn’t really wanna complain in case it made the teacher not want to spend as much time with them so she let it go.

 

“Ouch,” Cynthia-Rose said, pulling her back into their conversation.

 

“Yeah, that was harsh B.M.”

 

“I don’t care,” she said and then put on her headphones only for Amy to pull them down.

 

“We’re not leaving until you tell us who’s your kid’s babysitter.”

 

She groaned. “Her name’s Chloe. And she’s not his babysitter.”

 

Cynthia-Rose perked up, her brows furrowing. “Wait, I’ve heard that name before.”

 

Beca was silent until she sighed in defeat.

 

“She’s Jake’s teacher,” she mumbled, almost hoping they wouldn’t hear her but their eyes widened. 

 

“Woah!” Amy said way too loud and Beca shushed her. “You’re boning your kid’s teacher?”

 

“What? No! We’re friends!”

 

“You’re friends with your kid’s teacher.”

 

She looked at Cynthia-Rose and shrugged. It wasn’t that weird. They were around the same age and they got along great. What was the harm in that?

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Huh.”

 

“Well, at least she’s a hot ginger,” Amy said and Beca looked at her weirdly. The fact that Chloe was gorgeous had nothing to do with her friendship. Sure, she was nice to look at her and Beca was sure she had never seen prettier blue eyes than hers but it wasn’t why she liked to hang out with her. 

 

She also liked hanging out with her because she was easy to talk to and Beca didn’t feel like she had to hide anything with her. She could just be herself, no matter how awkward that was and Chloe wouldn’t judge her. She liked that. 

 

She also liked how good she was with Jake, regardless of his behaviour.

 

“Amy Hobart!” a voice shouted loudly in the building, making the walls shake. Allen opened his office door violently and looked at her straight in the eyes and he looked angrier than Beca had ever seen him.

 

“What if I told you my name was actually Patricia?” the blonde joked and the brunette shook her head, knowing that was the wrong thing to say at the moment. 

 

“My office! Now!” he yelled and Amy seemed to notice he was serious so she glanced back at her friends with a terrified look before following him. 

 

“She’s dead,” Cynthia-Rose muttered. Beca snorted at that and immediately, they heard muffled shouting from inside the room where Amy had just disappeared into. 

 

Everyone in the studio was looking at the closed door with a scared look, wondering what was happening inside that was so terrible. About 10 minutes passed with no one going back to work until the door opened. They all looked at the receptionist coming out of the office, her gaze to the floor and then Allen came out, obviously frazzled. 

 

“Alright. Bad news, everyone. Because of Amy, we’re going to have to stay late again.”

 

Everyone groaned in unison and Amy just ducked her head again, ashamed of herself. Beca sighed heavily, her leg crossed over her other leg and she tapped her pen on the desk to contain her irritation with that news. 

 

“She double booked two of our artists at the same time and now we’re gonna need everyone on hand to make sure they’re treated with the respect they deserve. We can’t afford to lose another client from bad management,” he said, ending his sentence looking at his receptionist with a glare. 

 

“The more people, the merrier?” Amy tried to say but a voice from the back of the room stopped her. 

 

“Shut up!”

 

Beca looked behind her to try to see who said that but she couldn’t find anyone that looked suspicious so she just turned back, grabbing her phone to make sure Jake was going to be taken care of tonight. It was pretty easy to know who she was going to ask for help. After what Chloe did at the zoo when Jake got hurt, she knew she could trust the woman. 

 

Beca - 3:01

Can you take Jake home tonight? Call me when school is over. Sorry !! 

 

She didn’t expect Chloe to answer her because she knew she was teaching right now but she knew the woman checked her phone from time to time so she should be fine. 

 

Beca was absorbed in the mix she was making, her fingers sliding effortlessly over buttons as she waited for the two artists to get here until she was shaken from the zone by her ringtone. Pulling her headphones down around her neck, she checked to see Chloe’s name plastered over her screen and she answered the call immediately.

 

“Hey,” she said with ease. 

 

“Hey Becs, we’re just leaving class now, I’m totally fine having him tonight-- Jake, sweetie please hold my hand while we’re walking through the parking lot. Anyways, I’m good as long as I can mark some books at your place?” Chloe's voice came out of the speaker, a refreshing sound to Beca. She often forgot how much she loved hearing her voice, especially after spending time away from her.

 

“Of course. You’re a lifesaver,” she muttered thankfully. “We’ve got so much left to do tonight. Amy somehow managed to double book two artists, now we’ve got them both heading over in ten.”

 

“It’s no problem honestly, I love spending time with Jake now he can actually stand me,” Chloe teased. “What did you need me to call you for?”

 

She heard a loud honk and she pulled the phone away from her ear for a second from surprise. 

 

“Jake! Just sit down in the back, please? That’s not a toy. Sorry, yes?”

 

Beca chuckled for a second before she realized what she was about to ask Chloe, already dreading how disastrously the evening could go. 

 

“It’s Jake’s bath night,” she started. “He takes one Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday but we’ve missed out Tuesday this week because I was just so busy. I can't have him miss another.”

 

She thought about yesterday’s evening and how hectic it had been. They were stuck in traffic for two hours, not getting home until past six. They barely had time to eat before Jake was already falling asleep, so Beca had opted to put him straight to bed.

 

“That’s fine, I can do it if you need me to?” Chloe offered instantly.

 

“He’s never even let my mom bathe him before, I think he’s only comfortable with me,” Beca explained so Chloe knew what she was getting into.

 

“He has a Spiderman towel in the top drawer under the sink and let him pick out his own pyjamas afterwards. He usually spends about thirty minutes in there, he likes to play with his action figures. All you really have to do is help him in and out; wash his hair; and play whatever game he decides, he’s fine washing and drying himself. You can use whatever's in the fridge to make his dinner before his bath, then put him to bed afterwards,” she finished, short of breath after reeling off Jake’s routine.

 

“Got it!” Chloe replied cheerily. “Don’t worry, he and I will have fun. Right, Jake?” 

 

She heard her son’s enthusiastic reply and she sighed in relief. If it had been anyone else, the mother would have been worried but she knew Chloe was capable of caring for her boy. Her feeling of worry slightly faded after reminding herself of the two’s new found friendship. 

 

“If there’s any trouble, just give me a call okay? Just use the key under the mat again,” Beca suggested.

 

“Sure will. Honestly there's nothing to worr--” Chloe was cut off by a low voice.

 

“Why on earth is Jack Mitchell in your car?” She heard the male teacher ask, his voice filled with confusion. Beca suddenly became worried again, her stomach churning at the thought of Chloe getting in trouble over her. What was the guy’s name again? Jesse?

 

Also her son’s name was Jacob, it really wasn’t that hard to remember. 

 

She heard shuffling before Chloe’s voice filled her ears yet again. “Listen Becs, I gotta go. Finish your recording thingy and don’t worry about Jake and I, we’ll be just fine.” She assured, before hanging up the call.

 

Great, now I’ve gotten the only person who can stand me outside of this office in trouble, Beca thought as she dropped her head into her hands, rubbing her temples and closing her eyes. Her thought was interrupted by Allen entering the studio accompanied by the first of the two artists.

 

“I want you to meet Beca,” Allen said, directing him towards her. “She’s one of my best ones.”

 

Beca smiled humbly and shook the artist’s hands before following him into the studio so they could talk ideas. 

 

-----------------

 

Time flew by quicker than she expected and when she looked outside for the first time in a while, she noticed the sun had already set. 

 

She had a brief thought for Jake and Chloe but it was interrupted by Cynthia-Rose barging through the studio door. 

 

“Beca, your phone keeps ringing. I’m about to go insane, please answer it,” she said, chucking the vibrating phone in her hands. She saw Chloe’s name and immediately stood up, panic filling her body. It was past Jake’s bed time so something must’ve happened. 

 

“I have to take this. I’m so sorry, it’s my son,” she explained, quickly exiting the room. “Hey, is everything okay?” 

 

“Holy fuck, Beca. Where were you? Why didn’t you answer your phone?” She could hear crying in the background and it wasn’t hard to put two and two together and know that Jake was not doing well. 

 

Beca cringed. “I forgot it at my desk, I’m so sorry. Why is Jake crying? Is he okay? Do you need me to come?”

 

“I just--” she heard wailing in the background and Chloe’s voice sounded far away from the speaker. “Jake, we’ll find it soon, I promise!” The voice got clearer. “We can’t find his stuffed lion, he said he doesn’t want to sleep without it.”

 

“It’s probably behind the couch, he always drops stuff there,” Beca said and she could hear the exhaustion in Chloe’s voice. 

 

“I already checked,” she said and then sighed heavily. “Beca, he didn’t like the dinner I made him, bath time was hell, the pyjamas he wants are in the laundry basket and now-- I really don’t know what to do.”

 

Beca’s heart broke as she heard Chloe close to tears when her voice cracked. She knew it was going to be harder for Jake to have his whole routine done by someone else but she didn’t expect it to go that badly. She could also hear her boy crying in the background and she tried to stay calm so she wouldn’t be all freaked out when she drove home. 

 

“Okay, it’s okay. I’m leaving now, I’m gonna be home in like ten, okay?” Beca reassured Chloe and she heard a sniffle on the other line. “It’ll be fine. It’s not your fault.”

 

“Okay,” her friend said quietly before hanging up the phone without even saying bye. 

 

She was about to turn around to meet Allen but she saw him already nodding at her. “It’s okay. Go, we’ll have Cynthia-Rose take over.”

 

She thanked him profusely before basically running to her car so she could get home as fast as she could. She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel nervously, curse words falling out of her mouth at every red light. She had never heard Chloe sound like that before and she felt extreme remorse at the fact that she had let her deal with this alone. 

 

When she got to her apartment, she could hear the crying from the hallway and took a deep breath before entering. She was instantly met with the sight of Chloe’s legs, the rest of her body hidden under the couch. Jake was still crying from his room so the woman must have not heard her come in.

 

“Hi?” she said which was probably not the best idea because it startled Chloe and she heard a thud as the redhead hit the back of her head on the couch. “Shit, sorry.”

 

She rushed to Chloe and helped her up, her thumb absentmindedly rubbing the back of Chloe’s hand and Beca wiped one tear from her cheek with her other hand. She couldn’t believe how much of a disaster this has turned into and she would understand if the teacher never wanted to speak to her again after that.

 

“Hey, it’s okay. I’m home,” she said in a soft voice before Chloe had even said anything. “Sit down, I’ll take care of it.”

 

Chloe didn’t even have the strength to argue, immediately laying down on the couch that she was under a second ago. Beca glanced at her one last time before heading towards her son’s room. 

 

She found him on his bed, his bedcover on the floor along with about a third of his closet as he held his blanket with tight little fists. He was crying, his head on his knees as he rocked back and forth in only his underwear and Beca’s heart dropped in her chest.

 

“Hey, little guy,” she said quietly to not spook him and he looked up at her with wide eyes. His cheeks were all red and wet and he made a grabby motion with his hands so she’d get closer. She sat down on his bed and he instantly climbed on her lap, hiding his damp face in her neck. 

 

She let him cry it out, her hand rubbing his back in a soothing way as she hummed, knowing he found the vibrations comforting. Quickly, his sobs turned into quiet little sniffles as he found reassurance in his mother’s arms. 

 

“Wanna tell me what happened?” she whispered and he nodded, pulling away. He shifted so he was comfortable on her lap and he started playing with the hem of her work shirt like he didn’t want to look her in the eyes. 

 

“I want you for bath time,” he ended up saying after a moment.

 

“I know you’re not used to it but--”

 

“She’s always here!” he cut her off in a sudden burst of anger. She stopped, her brows furrowing. 

 

“I thought you liked Chloe?” she replied, not sure why Jake was suddenly irked about Chloe being in their lives. Just last weekend, they had looked as happy as ever together.

 

He scrunched his nose a little.  “You like her more than me now.”

 

“What?”

 

“You weren’t here today because you like Chloe more than me. I want you here with me but now she’s with me and you’re not here because of her.” 

 

She smiled softly, wiping one of his tear-stained cheeks.

 

“Jake, I was at work, this had nothing to do with Chloe,” she started with and his glassy eyes looked at her attentively. “I don’t like Chloe more than you, okay? I love you so so much. It’s always going to be Mom and Jake.”

 

“Jake and Mom,” he mumbled back.

 

“Exactly. I just asked Chloe to be here while I was busy at work because I thought you liked her. You even let her call you Jake now.”

 

He was quiet for some time and she let him gather his thoughts, continuing to caress his back. 

 

“I like Chloe,” he said after a moment. “I just missed you, Mommy.” 

 

She hummed and swayed him in her arms a little. “I missed you too, Jakey. And I know things are changing and we’re not used to it but it’s not because Mommy has a new friend that she doesn’t care about you, right?”

 

“Is Chloe my friend too?”

 

“Of course she is. And I think that’s why she’s a little hurt by what happened today, you know? Because you’re her friend but you told her you didn’t like her dinner and you had a hard time at bath time.”

 

“I don’t like broccolis.”

 

She chuckled a little. “I know. I should’ve told her that, next time there will be no broccolis.”

 

“I can’t find Petey,” he added, referring to his stuffed lion. 

 

“Okay, how about this,” she started and reached over to grab the blanket on the floor. “We’ll change you into your pyjamas, we’ll find Petey and then we’ll go say sorry to Chloe for tonight.”

 

“Did I make Chloe sad?” he said in a quiet voice and his bottom lip trembled. 

 

“She’s just very tired. Like you. I’m sure if you give her a hug, she’ll be happy again.”

 

“I missed you, Mommy,” he repeated, lunging forward to hug her and she wrapped her arms around his little waist, breathing in. She moved her head so she could give him a few kisses in his hair. 

 

“I love you, kid.”

 

“Love you too.”

 

He cooperated when she handed him his pyjamas and she made his bed in the meantime. She quickly found Petey in the second drawer of the bathroom counter and she had no idea how he had ended up there but she was just glad she found him. Jake had been attached to him since that Saturday at the zoo. Thinking about that day coincidentally reminded her that she had secretly bought something at the gift shop that she needed to give to Chloe soon. 

 

10 minutes later, she grabbed his hand and walked with him to the living room. Chloe had her eyes closed and for a second, Beca thought she had fallen asleep but the redhead opened her eyes when Jake stopped in front of her. She had bags under her eyes, her usual perfect bun messy with hair sticking out but she still managed to look beautiful.

 

“Hey you,” Chloe mumbled tiredly to the boy, straightening so her feet could touch the ground. She rubbed her face before smiling at them the best she could. 

 

The fact that she still managed to smile at Jake after everything he made her endure told Beca a lot about the kind of person that Chloe was. 

 

“Hi,” he said shyly. He shifted on his feet before gathering enough courage to talk, Beca standing right beside him to help him. “You’re my friend, Chloe. I’m sorry.” 

 

Chloe looked up at Beca in surprise who nodded, encouraging her. 

 

“You’re my friend too, Jake. It’s okay.”

 

“It’s not because Mommy likes you that she doesn’t like me and it’s okay because I like you too.”

 

Chloe released a breath. “Well that’s good because I like you both. Your mother loves you very much, I promise I’m not trying to steal her away from you.”

 

Beca figured Jake had said that to Chloe during the tantrum and she bit her lower lip but didn’t want to get involved in the conversation. This was Chloe and Jake’s thing.

 

He nodded solemnly before standing on his tiptoes so he could reach Chloe’s face. He took the adults by surprise when he planted a long sloppy kiss on her cheek before pulling away, sporting a toothy grin.

 

“Goodnight, Chloe,” he said waving a hand at her and Beca chuckled a little at the redhead’s expression after the kiss before scooping Jake in her arms so she could take him to his bed. 

 

“Goodnight, Jake!” Chloe called out after a few seconds. 

 

By the time her son’s head hit the pillow, he looked exhausted and he didn’t even ask her to read her a few pages of his comic book like usual. He took Petey in his arms and stuck his thumb in his mouth, already ready to fall asleep. It was almost 8:30 which was way past his bedtime and after the tantrum he threw, she wasn’t surprised all he wanted was to sleep now. 

 

“Goodnight, kiddo,” Beca said, kissing him on his forehead. “I love you.”

 

“Love you,” he mumbled back and closed his eyes. 

 

After closing his bedroom door quietly, Beca went through to see a still worn out Chloe splayed across the couch and she began making a coffee for the girl as a way of apologising for the ruckus.

 

“What did that Jesse guy have to say? Are you in trouble?” she asked, referring to the conversation she had heard the beginning of earlier in the evening. It was still in the back of her mind and she figured she didn’t want to start the conversation too harshly. 

 

“Oh you know, he just wanted to know why one of my students was in my passenger seat,” Chloe said, half playfully. “I hope you don't mind, but I kinda had to tell him you’re a single mom and sometimes you need someone to take Jake from school to his babysitter’s house while you’re at work.”

 

“Babysitter’s house?” Beca questioned as she watched Chloe roll over on the couch, rubbing her forehead with the palm of her hand. The brunette reached into the kitchen drawer and grabbed a couple of aspirin to go with Chloe’s drink.

 

“I couldn’t tell him the truth, he could get me into a lot of trouble,” the teacher explained as Beca brought over their drinks and handed Chloe the aspirin.

 

“What kind of trouble?” she pushed, but Chloe just smirked.

 

“You know he seemed pretty jealous I was hanging out with your kid. I think he’s into you,” she uttered. Beca could tell Chloe didn’t want to expand on the conversation so she decided not to question her any further. The woman had already suffered enough for the night. 

 

“Oh is he now?” the brunette replied, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

 

“Mhmm, maybe you should go there Becs. You could finally get some action,” Chloe said lightly as she took the pills and Beca could see how desperate the Chloe was to wind her up.

 

She was just glad Chloe didn’t seem to hate her because of what her kid had made her go through today. 

 

“Yeah, no, I’m good. I don’t need any action ,” she mocked, doing air quotes and she rolled her eyes at the suggestion.

 

“Hey, Mr Swanson is kind of hot, if you’re like, blind,” Chloe joked and Beca let out a quiet laugh, hitting her lightly on the arm.

 

“Shut up.”

 

“I’m serious!” Chloe said, as if she was really asking Beca if she needed any action from Mr Swanson. Beca looked at her weirdly.

 

“I really don’t need a man. There is only one man in my life and he is small, angry and superhero obsessed.” Beca answered as she glanced towards Jake’s bedroom door, and then back to Chloe who was watching her with a smile.

 

“I love how much you love him,” the redhead admitted, taking a sip of coffee. “It’s really nice to see you care for him like that. You’re a good mom.”

 

Beca felt her heart beat faster, a warm feeling enveloping her at Chloe’s words. She loved her son more than anything in the world, the last five years with him had been the best of her life and she honestly didn't know where she would be without a little human running around constantly demanding snacks. For someone else to notice how much she cared about her boy meant so much to Beca, validating her as a mom and making her feel as though she was doing the right thing. 

 

6 years ago, Beca was pretty sure she wouldn’t even have considered ever having a child because she had never been the best with kids. Plus, she had trouble taking care of herself, nevermind a child . But everything with Jake suddenly happened so fast and she found out pretty quickly that she did like being a mother and she wasn’t half bad at it. Everyday as a parent, she learned something new but she loved it. She loved Jake. 

 

“Thanks,” she breathed out and figured out that it was probably the time to really start talking about how tonight had gone. She figured she’d start by apologizing. “Hey, um--”

 

“Becs,” Chloe cut her off sweetly. “Don’t apologize.”

 

Beca blinked at her, not knowing what to say now.

 

The redhead chuckled, cradling the cup of coffee in her hands. “It’s not your fault. He’s a kid, they throw tantrums sometimes. It happens”

 

“Yeah but I shouldn’t have left you to deal with that. And I told you I would pick up my phone and then I just forgot it like an idiot and--”

 

“You were at work doing super important work stuff because your boss totes thinks you’re his best employee,” she said with a smile, nudging Beca on the shoulder. 

 

The music producer chuckled and leaned back on the couch with a sigh. “You’re really not going to let me apologize, huh?”

 

“Nope.”

 

They both stared at each other for a while, their heads resting on their palms and Beca assumed that Chloe appreciated the quietness of the apartment now that Jake had finally calmed down but she figured a girl like Chloe would appreciate music even more. 

 

She got up from her seat and set a vinyl on her record player at a low volume and let the music fill the living room. She looked back at the redhead who had observed her movements carefully and smiled when they made eye contact. 

 

“Tell me how work went,” Chloe said, closing her eyes and Beca took a breath before she started explaining every little thing that happened, knowing that Chloe needed to think about something else than how disastrous tonight had gone. 

 

She hesitated a little when she finished explaining what she worked on with the new artist but she figured her friend would get a kick out of knowing what Amy and Cynthia-Rose said about her. 

 

“Um you know my coworkers CR and Amy? Well they grabbed my phone while I was gone and they saw my lockscreen.”

 

Chloe opened her eyes and smiled. “What’s your lockscreen?” 

 

With a slight blush on her face, Beca showed her the picture. Chloe’s face split in half and she beamed at her. Probably to make her feel less embarrassed, she also showed Beca the lockscreen she had. It was a picture of Chloe and Jake at the park where they were both sticking their tongues at the camera and pointing behind them where she saw herself, her head ducked as she looked at the phone in her hand. It was taken at the park two weeks ago. 

 

“Gee, you really choose the picture that makes me look like an inattentive mother.”

 

She wasn’t usually on her phone at the park but since she knew Chloe was there playing with him, she had taken the time to check her emails and answer a few. 

 

Chloe rolled her eyes. “Of course not. Anyways, what’d they say about the picture?” 

 

“They were wondering who the hot ginger was,” she said playfully and Chloe released a chuckle.

 

“And what’d you say?”

 

“I said, what hot ginger?”

 

“Hey!” Chloe said, kicking Beca with her foot and the latter laughed. 

 

“I’m joking, I’m joking.”

 

“I am hot,” Chloe said, pouting. 

 

“You are,” Beca answered sincerely and then cleared her throat when Chloe’s expression changed. “But um, yeah they were just being nosy fucks.”

 

“I’ll have to meet them someday.”

 

“You don't want that.”

 

“Of course I do. You met my friends.”

 

Beca snorted. “Oh and that was such a success. I’m pretty sure Aubrey wanted to strangle me when we dropped you off to your apartment last weekend.”

 

“Ignore her,” Chloe said, waving a hand off. “She’s just tight-wounded. Stacie liked you by the way. And they’re suckers for your kid.”

 

“Well, I get that. Have you seen how cute he is?”

 

Chloe nodded with a laugh before pointing a finger at Beca. “But I do want to meet your friends.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Chloe smiled and then covered a yawn with her hand. Beca wasn’t surprised that Chloe was already and she looked at the time before looking back at her. 

 

“You should-- um I mean, if you think you’re good you can leave but you look pretty tired so if you want to stay over, that’d probably, you know, be best. ”

 

Chloe looked slightly surprised and then she seemed to understand that it was in fact better that way so she nodded. For some reason, Beca’s heart was beating hard against her chest and she took a sip of her coffee to hide her nervousness. 

 

They drank their drinks in silence, the soft music playing in the background and it was comfortable, it was easy. 

 

When they finished their coffees, Beca prepared her room, insisting that the teacher sleeps on an actual bed and the music producer would just sleep on the couch. She gave her everything she needed to get ready for bed and they wished each other goodnight, their arms wrapped around each other tightly. 

 

She pulled a blanket on top of herself and shifted uncomfortably on the sofa, trying to find a good position. She was probably going to wake up with a neck cramp tomorrow but it was still better than what Chloe had to deal with tonight. 


After what happened with Jake and Chloe tonight, Beca would cope with the most unbearable surface ever just so they were comfortable.

 

Chapter Text

Beca felt a light shake on her shoulder and she groaned, pressing her face further into the pillow. “What, Jake?” she mumbled, voice hoarse from sleeping. 

 

She heard a feminine giggle. “Becs.”

 

She frowned her brows and blinked her eyes open, turning her head in the other direction to see Chloe looking at her and she winced at the shooting pain in her neck.

 

“Oh,” she said, remembering why the redhead was here. “Shit, hi. What time is it?” 

 

Chloe was sitting on the coffee table in front of the couch, her body leaning towards Beca. “A little before 6.”

 

That meant Jake’s alarm would go off in a few minutes so it was probably better she got woken up anyway. She nodded, sitting up and trying to tame her wild hair. She was slightly embarrassed about Chloe seeing her like this because she knew she looked like a mess waking up while Chloe stood there, still as pretty as usual in one of Beca’s oversized band t-shirts.

 

She yawned, hiding her face in her hands and rubbed her eyes a little, taking a moment to collect herself. She could feel her neck had stiffened up and she cringed, stretching it a little. When she looked back at Chloe, the girl had an amused smile on her face. 

 

“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty.”

 

“Fuck off,” Beca said with a hint of a smile. 

 

Chloe chuckled. “Anyway, I have to go change clothes at my apartment and I thought it’d be rude to just leave without saying bye so I thought I’d wake you.”

 

“Wow, you’d be shit at one night stands,” Beca teased but Chloe’s face got serious. 

 

“Oh Beca, I am incredible at one night stands.”

 

Beca gulped. She wondered if whatever Chloe and Tom were doing ended with Chloe sneaking off in the morning or if they woke up together.

 

 “Right uh, you sure you wanna leave right now? I can make breakfast. Well, by that I mean I can put bread in the toaster.”

 

Right as Chloe opened her mouth to answer, Jake’s alarm started ringing and Beca held up a finger at the redhead. 

 

“Don’t leave yet,” she warned her and then walked to her son’s room. 

 

He was trying to wake up when Beca entered his room and she started stroking his hair. His eyes fluttered open and she smiled at him. 

 

“Good morning, little dude.”

 

“Mhm,” he grumbled and then turned on his other side to close his eyes again. Beca chuckled a little, her hand still trying to fix his dark locks that were going in every direction. 

 

“You have school. No more sleep.”

 

“No.”

 

“I know you’re tired but maybe you shouldn’t have exhausted yourself last night, huh?” she teased him, her fingers dancing on his stomach where his shirt had ridden up. He squirmed away, a laugh leaving his lips. 

 

“Stop it, Mommy.”

 

“Alright, come on. There’s someone that wants to say hello to you.”

 

He looked at her with confused eyes and she just shrugged, gesturing at his open door so he’d go look for himself. She looked at him as he threw the cover off of him and jumped off the bed, his little feet hitting the floor. 

 

She walked behind him and she caught the moment he saw Chloe because he instantly started running towards her and took his teacher by surprise by jumping on her, forcing her to catch him. 

 

He giggled as Chloe spinned him a little before she put him down. “Good morning, little man. Or should I say big man? You’re getting heavy!”

 

“I’m a big man! I’m 5!”

 

“Yes, you are!” Chloe agreed happily, putting one knee on the floor. “You’re gonna be taller than your mother soon.”

 

“Hey.”

 

Chloe flashed her a smile and then she gave her attention back to Jake when he tugged on a red strand of hair.

 

“Do you want to eat breakfast with me?”

 

She pouted. “I would but I have to go home and change. I don’t think the other teachers would like if I came to school dressed like this, right?” she teased and Jake started tracing the design on her shirt. 

 

“I like it.”

 

“It’s your mom’s.”

 

“Cool,” he said before looking up at her again. “You don’t wanna eat toasts with me?”

 

“I can’t, Jake,” she said apologetically and then straightened up to her feet. “But I’ll see you at school very soon! I have so many fun things planned for us.”

 

“Are we gonna sing?” he said, jumping up and down. 

 

“Duh,” Chloe answered with a smile. “We always sing!”

 

He seemed satisfied with her reply and skipped to the kitchen to try to grab the loaf of bread on the counter. Beca took a step towards Chloe and sank her teeth into her lower lip, an idea creeping into her mind. 

 

“Would you mind waiting just one more second?” 

 

“Sure.”

 

She jogged to her room and opened the drawer of her night table to grab the little red panda keychain that she had found at the gift store. She couldn’t help but buy it when she first saw it because the three of them had stood in front of those fluffy animals for more than 20 minutes when they first saw them and they had mimicked them, doing the little pincer motion, for the rest of the day. She had bought it with the idea of giving it to Chloe in mind but every single time they saw her after that day, Beca got weirdly nervous and started wondering if it was weird that she bought her something.

 

When she came back to the living area, she felt her mouth dry at the idea of giving it to her in person and she rolled her eyes at herself. It was just a stupid little keychain. She didn’t have to be anxious about it. Even though she had evolved so much in the past 10 years, it was hard to stop feeling like an awkward angsty teenager sometimes. 

 

Chloe was focused on Jake, helping him put two pieces of bread in the toaster so she used the distraction to put the red panda in the woman’s purse and then walked to the kitchen like nothing happened. 

 

“Alright,” she said to grab their attention. Chloe turned towards her with a smile and then squeezed Jake’s shoulder. 

 

“I’ll see you in class, Jake,” she said before wrapping her arms around Beca without warning. Beca hugged back instantly, used to the affection that Chloe gave her pretty often.

 

It just felt good to hug Chloe, she didn’t want to question it anymore than that.

 

“Bye Becs.”

 

“Bye Chloe,” Beca replied and then closed the door behind her. She looked back at Jake who was standing in the middle of the kitchen, a smile on his face. 

 

“She lives with us now?”

 

“What?” Beca said, turning to him in shock since she wasn't expecting to hear him say that. “No. Of course not.”

 

“Oh. Why not?” 

 

“Because… because she lives somewhere else, Jake,” she stuttered, not really knowing how to answer the question. Thankfully, he seemed to let it go pretty quickly.

 

“Okay. Can I have chocolate milk?”

 

——————

 

The rest of the day was spent massaging the back of her neck and her shoulders to try to release the tension from how she slept. In the middle of lunch, she got a text that made her laugh out loud, receiving some weird looks from her coworkers. 

 

Chloe - 12:34

So… a little friend appeared in my purse this morning. 

 

Beca - 12:34

A little friend? Did you kidnap Jake? 

 

She waited 5 minutes before her phone finally vibrated again. She opened the text thread to a picture of Chloe holding the key chain next to her face, her blue eyes to the side as she looked at the red panda with a smile on her face. 

 

Chloe - 12:40

Emily saw me take that picture. I’m not embarrassed. 

 

Beca - 12:40

Oh wow. He’s pretty cute. Wonder where he came from.

 

Chloe - 12:40

Me too because I know for a fact he wasn’t there yesterday and I haven’t been anywhere but your place since then.

 

Beca - 12:41

Hm. That is weird.

 

Chloe - 12:42

I think I’ll keep him, though. I quite like red pandas now. 

 

The music producer bit her lower lip to keep herself from smiling too hard but it was futile. She was just glad Chloe liked the keychain and that she knew it was from Beca. She ignored the look on Cynthia-Rose’s face in front of her and figured the best way to make sure her friend didn’t say anything was to make her other friend talk. 

 

“Hey Ames, how are your boyfriends?”

 

“Oh, I’m so glad you asked.”

 

She lifted an eyebrow at Cynthia-Rose who rolled her eyes before they both gave their attention back to the talking blonde who was explaining what she was going to do on Valentine's Day this weekend. 

 

---------------

 

The day after, Jake didn’t have school so Beca took a sick day so she could spend it with her son. They spent the whole day running errands and Beca just looked at all the hearts and teddy bears in every store with a bored expression. 

 

Valentine’s Day was Sunday but she had never understood the big deal with the holiday. It was a garbage day that only existed so companies could sell cheap chocolate and useless shit that nobody needed. The whole idea of dedicating one day to love was just stupid in Beca’s opinion. 

 

Did people really need a holiday to remind them they were supposed to love their significant other?

 

Beca was just finishing up a mix as Jake played in his room with his new action figures they had bought at the mall earlier that day. He had insisted they immediately go home so he could introduce them to the rest of his toys and Beca was too exhausted to disagree, her sleep schedule still not back to normal after spending a night on their uncomfortable couch. Her shoulders were still aching and her back felt practically twisted. She was sure that was punishment for leaving Chloe to deal with Jake’s tantrum. 

 

As she composed the finishing notes, a tune was knocked out on the front door in such a cheerful way that she knew it could only have been Chloe. 

 

Beca shut her laptop and flung open the front door, met by her favourite blue eyes and wide smile which she couldn’t pretend she hadn’t missed today on her day off. 

 

“Hello trouble,” she joked with a playful grin, already stepping to the side so the redhead could enter. 

 

“Hi,” Chloe greeted with a smile, stepping inside the apartment. “I just wanted to bring back the shirt I borrowed and your spare apartment key, I hope you didn't miss it!” she explained, holding out the neatly folded shirt in one hand and Beca’s spare key in the other.

 

“I didn’t, nobody uses it except you anyways,” the brunette replied as she took the shirt, kicking the door shut before placing her band tee on the arm of the couch. 

 

She suddenly got an idea, scrunching her nose as she considered how to word her next proposition. She had been thinking about it for a while now, especially with how often Chloe helped take Jake home when she worked late but she hadn’t really found the right moment to talk about it. 

 

She didn’t want to make it into a big deal because if she did, she would start overthinking it and that was the last thing she needed. Right now, she wanted to focus on the fact that Chloe was the person she trusted with Jake when she needed help and that the key under the mat was only used by her. 

 

“In fact, well, if you wanted maybe you could just,” she started, rubbing the back of her neck nervously. “Keep the key? I mean, you’re here like, all the time with Jake and you’re the only one that’s used that key since we moved in five years ago so-- you know, it makes sense or whatever.”

 

Beca couldn't gauge what Chloe was thinking for a split second before she broke out into a beaming smile, squealing loud enough to alert Jake in his room as she hugged Beca tightly. The boy sprinted through, skidding down the hallway in his socks.

 

“Chloe’s here!” he exclaimed with a pleased look on his face, forcing them to separate so he could have all the attention.

 

“Hey Jake!” Chloe practically shouted, dangling the key in his face when she kneeled down in front of him. “Look!”

 

“What is it?” he said with wide eyes.

“It’s a key to your home. Your mom just gave it to me, isn’t that the coolest thing ever ?” she said with a wink towards Beca. 

 

She was making the whole thing into a way bigger deal than she expected and Beca was getting nervous about whether or not she should have done that but it was too late now. Besides, Chloe seemed happy and she really was the only one who had used it in ages.  

 

Jake made a move to grab the key but Chloe moved it playfully from him before he could. She put her hand in the pocket of her jacket and dug out her keychain to attach the key right away to it and Beca bit her lip when she saw the red panda that was already there. 

 

“So you do live here now?” Jake asked, trying to make sense of the situation. “Mommy said you don’t live here when I asked but you’re always here to play with me and stuff. So I think you live here now. ”

 

Beca laughed, remembering how Jake had asked the same question yesterday morning. “Not quite bud,” she said, ruffling his curls. “But she does hang out with you a lot after school so it’s all hers now.”

 

Chloe was still grinning, clearly ecstatic at the advancement in their friendship and Beca observed her silently. Usually she hated when things got hectic and loud, used to the quiet (well as much quiet as you can have when you’re living with a 5 year old), but Chloe’s joy had always been somewhat infectious. 

 

“Are you staying for dinner?” she offered Chloe, making her way to the kitchen to look in the fridge. “I can make fajitas.”

 

“Are you kidding? Of course!” Chloe exclaimed, following her like an excited little puppy. “Aubrey and Stacie have been hinting that they needed time alone for some time so I’m sure they will be glad to know I’m staying over longer than I told them I would be.”

 

Beca smirked with her back turned to Chloe. She could have easily just given the shirt and key to Jake Monday, she didn’t need them back that soon. But a part of her liked to think Chloe liked hanging out with her as much as Beca liked hanging out with her. 

 

It was nice, having the redhead in the apartment. Everything just seemed brighter with Chloe around.

 

“Miss Beale-- I mean, Chloe,” Jake said, tugging on the hem of the teacher’s sleeve. “Do you want to watch a movie with me?”

 

“I would love that,” she replied with a smile, scooping Jake up in her arms and he seemed pleased by that because he started playing with her red hair. “I mean, if it’s okay with you,” she said, turning to Beca.

 

“Oh trust me, it’s fine. I prefer that you entertain him so he’s not in the way,” Beca answered in a light tone. 

 

“Mommy doesn’t watch a lot of movies with me.”

 

“What?” Chloe said in a dramatic voice as she walked away from the kitchen with him. 

 

“Yeah! She said she doesn’t like them.”

 

“That is so weird. Jake, I think your mom is a weirdo.”

 

He laughed loudly and nodded. “Weirdo!”

 

Chloe looked back at her and shot her a wink before turning back to Jake. Beca subconsciously leaned on the counter to watch the scene playing out in front of her, her heart racing in her chest. 

 

“Alright. What do you want to watch?”

 

“I wanna watch The Little Mermaid cause she has red hair just like you!”

 

“That is such a good idea. Let’s watch that,” Chloe agreed happily.

 

Beca only managed to tear away her eyes from the two facing their backs to her when Jake put Chloe’s arm around him and he leaned on her comfortably. With a smile, she turned back towards the fridge and started making dinner. 

 

Later that night after Jake had his bath and was now in bed after Beca read to him for 10 minutes, she joined Chloe in the living room who had been patiently waiting for her with a glass of wine. 

 

She accepted the glass that Chloe handed her and settled down on the couch next to her with a groan, the action making her neck go stiff. 

 

“You okay?”

 

“Hm? Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just not over sleeping on that couch. I’m getting old,” she joked and Chloe pouted. 

 

“You should’ve just let me sleep here instead. Or we can totes share a bed next time.”

 

The music producer nearly choked on her sip of wine at the words and shook her head. 

 

“I’ll be fine, Chlo,” Beca said with a smile on the corner of her mouth. She put the glass of wine down and started absentmindedly massaging the back of her neck. 

 

“You seem so tense. Do you need a back rub?” 

 

“Uh--”

 

“Come on, turn around.”

 

“Chlo--”

 

“Turn around.”

 

Beca gulped at the firm tone in Chloe’s voice before shifting so her back would face Chloe. She took a deep breath, straightening her back and she put her hair in a quick bun so it wasn’t in the way. Her heart was beating loudly in her eyes and she flinched when the fingers came in contact with her neck.

 

“Sorry, are my hands cold?”

 

“N-No, it’s fine,” Beca stuttered, trying to keep her voice steady as she felt the fingers dig gently in her neck. 

 

They moved on to her shoulders and Beca had to bite her tongue from letting a moan come out. She felt her face heat up and she closed her eyes tightly, wondering how the fuck she ended up in this situation. They stayed in silence as Chloe’s hands worked their magic on Beca’s back and the latter had to admit it felt really good. 

 

Chloe’s hands felt like heaven and she needed a distraction quickly before she combusted. She reached over to grab her glass and cleared her throat. 

 

“So, what's your plans for Sunday?” Beca asked casually as she took a sip of the wine, a treat that Chloe had forgotten at her place a few weeks ago. She didn’t really like wine, she much preferred beer but it was the thought that counted.

 

“Hm nothing,” Chloe said, digging her thumb directly on one of Beca’s knots and the latter pinched her lips to not make a sound. She let her head fall forward and took a big breath that made Chloe giggle. 

 

“Wait,” Beca said and turned around, making Chloe’s hands fall on her lap. She couldn’t concentrate with her hands moving on her like that and she wanted to make sure she heard what Chloe said correctly. “You don’t have anything planned for Valentine’s Day?”

 

“Nope,” Chloe said and she reached to take a sip of her wine, not saying more. 

 

Beca looked at her expectantly. “You’re not doing anything with the PE teacher?” she asked and then frowned when she realized that it had been a while since she heard Chloe bring him up in a conversation. 

 

She knew they had never been official or anything but Chloe still used to talk about him from time to time. Beca’s not complaining that she stopped, though. Tom was a very boring topic of conversation. 

 

“He asked me but I said no. I’ve been trying to ditch him but I don’t think he’s getting the message,” she said in a giggle, tucking her feet under her butt. 

 

“Why?”

 

“Dunno. You were right, he is really boring. Even the sex couldn’t save him.”

 

“Huh,” Beca said, surprised and Chloe narrowed her eyes at her. 

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing, I’m just-- surprised you don’t have any plans for this weekend, I guess.”

 

Chloe definitely seemed like the type of person to go crazy over any holidays especially after the way she forced her to dress up for the stupid halloween party so there was no way the teacher didn’t like Valentine’s Day. Plus, Chloe was gorgeous. It didn’t make sense that someone as beautiful as her would spend the most romantic day of the year alone.

 

Chloe shrugged. “What about you? Nothing I assume?”

 

“Excuse me, I could have a hot date for all you know,” Beca shot back, acting offended at Chloe’s assumption but the redhead just rolled her eyes.

 

“Cut the shit, Mitchell.”

 

Beca arched an eyebrow and then smiled. “I have a nice hot date with a Marvel movie probably. Jakey asked me to be his Valentine with the card you made them do this week and I couldn’t say no, it was too cute.”

 

“Aw, that was so fun to do,” Chloe smiled at the memory. “Well since we’re both doing nothing…” she trailed off and Beca looked at her, not wanting to assume anything.

 

“Yeah?”

 

Chloe rolled her eyes. “We should totally hang out!”

 

Beca’s heart skipped a beat and if she had been drinking, she was pretty sure she would have choked on her sip. She forced her face to remain neutral, years of practice during her teenage years paying off.

 

“On Valentine’s Day?”

 

“Yeah!” Chloe said with a shrug. “What’s Jake’s favourite place to eat?” she asked and Beca let out a belly laugh.

 

“You do not want to spend your Valentine's Day at McDonalds,” she joked with a smirk and took some popcorn that had wedged their way into two cushions from the Jake-tornado earlier.

 

“Okay you’re probably right.” Chloe hummed and she scrunched her nose, seeming deep in thought. Her face illuminated when she thought of something. “Oh my aca-gee, I’ve been thinking that Jake definitely needs to visit the aquarium for some time now, why don’t we go this weekend?”

 

“The aquarium?” Beca answered, surprised. She didn’t know what Chloe had been thinking about but she didn’t expect it to be the aquarium

 

“Well, he hasn’t been, right?” Chloe asked and when Beca shook her head, she continued. “Exactly! So I thought it’d be super fun for him. Also they have food there so that can be our Valentine’s Day dinner,” she said with a wink that made Beca’s mouth go dry. 

 

“Right,” she said through a forced chuckle. Jake would absolutely love that idea and if it was half as fun as the day at the zoo, Beca would have a blast too. She felt as though Chloe was taking them on more and more adventures as the weeks passed and she couldn’t thank her enough for her selfless ability to ensure Jake was always learning and enjoying himself.

 

“That sounds… awesome. But are you sure you wanna spend Sunday with us?” Beca asked almost timidly, making direct eye contact with Chloe.

 

Chloe looked at her with a confused expression. “Who else would I spend it with?” she replied simply as if the idea of not being with Beca and Jake for that day had never crossed her mind and Beca’s heart melted. 


She was sure she would’ve choked up if she responded to that so instead, she opted for a warm smile, turning the TV back up and basking in Chloe’s wonderful presence. For some reason, she was looking forward to Valentine’s Day now.

 

Chapter Text

“Are we going to see fishes?” Jake said, walking up the stairs of Chloe’s building, his little hand tightly holding his mom’s. 

 

Beca let out a chuckle. “Yeah, that’s kinda all there is in an aquarium, little dude. And we say fish even when there’s multiple.”

 

“Are we going to see dolphins?” 

 

“Probably.”

 

“Are we going to see sharks?”

 

“Yeah, I think I saw that there’s an exhibit right now.”

 

“What’s that, Mommy?”

 

“It’s when a museum or places like that present something special for the public.”

 

“What’s a museum?”

 

She looked at him with an amused look. “Someone’s asking a lot of questions today.”

 

He gave her a toothy grin as they finally reached the level where Chloe lived. 

 

“I’m excited!”

 

“Me too,” she replied sincerely. 

 

She knocked on Chloe’s door, still holding one of Jake’s hands and she heard someone shout “Got it!” from inside before the door opened, revealing Aubrey dressed in a nice dress. They both took a moment to look at each other, the blonde looking at Beca’s casual attire with a judgmental stare. 

 

She was wearing a black tee with a denim jacket so she didn’t think there was anything to really judge but Aubrey seemed to dislike everything about Beca. It was clear that because she was slightly young, had tattoos and piercings, Chloe’s friend had decided she was the worst person on earth by the few interactions they’ve had together. 

 

It’s not like Beca was her biggest fan either but whatever, she wasn’t there for her, she was there for Chloe.

 

“Hi Aubrey!” Jake said, oblivious to what was happening and the blonde’s face split into a grin. 

 

“Hey handsome!” she said, letting him in the apartment. “Don’t you look absolutely adorable in that little grey sweater.”

 

It was a sweater that Beca’s mother had bought him for Christmas and it was slightly more dressed up than his usual superhero themed shirts so she figured today would be a good occasion to wear it. 

 

“Thanks! Mommy said since today is Valentime’s Day and I’m her Valentime, we should dress really good!”

 

Aubrey eyed her denim jacket and Beca sighed, crossing her arms and daring the blonde to say something. The woman just hummed and turned her attention back to the boy. 

 

“Well, your mom is very lucky to have such a handsome Valentine.”

 

“He gets it from me,” she said cockily, finally speaking up and putting her hand on her kid’s shoulder. “Where’s Chloe?”

 

“Stacie is helping her curl her hair.”

 

“Cool,” she replied and then guided Jake to the couch where they could sit down. 

 

“You know it’s against the rules, right?” Aubrey said after a beat and Beca looked away from her son to look at her. 

 

“What is?”

 

“Whatever you’re doing with Chloe. It could get her into a lot of--”

 

“I’m here, I’m here!” She recognized the teacher’s voice call out in the apartment and she came out of the bathroom with Stacie right behind her. 

 

She was dressed in a romper that was the exact same color as the denim jacket, her hair was lightly curled at the end and Beca couldn’t believe she was the one that was going to spend Valentine’s Day with the redhead when she looked like that

 

“Where’s my favorite student?” she teased and Jake jumped off the couch to go hug her like they hadn’t seen each other in months when it had only been 36 hours. 

 

“I’m your favorite?”

 

“Duh. But you can't tell anyone,” Chloe said, bringing a finger to her lips. Aubrey sighed heavily behind them and Stacie put her arm around her, a smile on her face. When the redhead turned to Beca, she gasped happily. “We’re matching!”

 

Beca looked down at her jacket and chuckled. “Yeah. I can take if off if you--”

 

“No, don’t,” she said, shaking her head and bringing them in for a quick hug. “I think it’s cute. Happy Valentine’s Day, Becs.”

 

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Chlo,” Beca answered easily before pulling away. 

 

“Well have fun,” Stacie said while rubbing her girlfriend’s arm. “If you need anytime away from the kid, please contact us.”

 

“What?” Beca said confused while Chloe looked away, pretending that she was focused on Jake.

Stacie just winked at her and wiggled her eyebrows at her and the music producer understood it was a sex joke and she felt her cheeks heat up lightly. 

 

“Uh yeah, we won’t need that but thanks.”

 

“Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day, you never know when the love in the air will get to you.”

 

“Stace, that's enough,” Aubrey cut her off and Stacie looked at her girlfriend, rolling her eyes. “Chloe, please remember what I told you.”

 

The girl in question grabbed her purse and keys before forcing a smile at her friend. “Yep. Have fun on your date guys. Please don’t do anything in the living room.”

 

Beca glanced at Jake to make sure he didn’t understand what the girl had just said but he was busy playing with the keys he had snatched from Chloe’s hands and was now inspecting the red panda thoroughly. When he felt his mother’s eyes on him, he looked at her and did the little pincer motion a smile on his face. She did it back with a chuckle and then put her hand on his head. 

 

“Let’s go, Jakey.”

 

“Okay! Bye Aubrey. Bye Stacie!” he said, waving at them.

 

As Chloe closed the door, Stacie shouted “Have fun on your date too!” and the ginger looked up at Beca who felt her heartbeat speed up at the words. She waved a hand off.

 

“She’s just being annoying. I told her what we’re doing has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day.”

 

“Yeah,” Beca said with a forced chuckle. It was just a coincidence that it was Valentine’s Day, anyway. It had more to do with Jake than them, they were going to the aquarium for him.

 

The drive to the Aquarium of the Pacific was very similar to the zoo’s. So that meant Beca had to drive to concentrate on the road with two people belting out lyrics loudly, making the whole car vibrate with how loud the speakers were. Every time she looked at the redhead to glare at her because of how loud she was being, the girl's smile would only get bigger. 

 

They both knew Beca was only pretending to be mad anyway. 

 

The best thing about having a five year old child was probably that most of the tickets to go anywhere were free for him. So she happily paid for hers and Chloe’s tickets and entered the aquarium that had been decorated for the holiday with strips of hearts everywhere. 

 

Jake was jumping with every step and Beca was glad that she was holding his hand because he probably would have ran off by now. She probably shouldn’t have let him eat that much chocolate this morning but he had told her it was Miss Beale that had given it to them at school and she had just shrugged and let him eat it. 

 

“Alright bud, you know the rules. There’s a lot of people here so I want you to always make sure that Chloe or I can see you.”

 

“Yep!” he said and then he let go of her hand to go squish his face on the first tank he saw. She made eye contact with Chloe who chuckled at her before they both followed an already hyperactive Jake. 

 

This was going to be quite a day. 

 

Jake was as fascinated by the sea creatures as he had been by the animals in the zoo. He looked at them with awe through the glass and he moved fast from tank to tank to see them all. More than once Beca felt her anxiety spike up when she couldn’t find him only for him to pop up out of nowhere, tugging on her sleeve to make her go see a certain fish.

 

He had been entertained by a seal playing with a ball for over 20 minutes and she was pretty sure he had cried of joy when he saw a fish that looked just like Nemo. He had been fascinated by the giant turtles and the jellyfish where he still had trouble understanding that they weren’t ocean clouds. 

 

When they arrived at the stingrays, Jake’s mouth fell open at the sight of such a weird-looking creature. There weren't too many people around them and the aquarium worker assigned to that tank smiled at him. 

 

“You can touch them if you want?”

 

Jake’s eyes went wide. “Woah. Really?”

 

“Yeah. Come here, I’ll show you.”

 

Jake looked at his mother for approval and Beca thought about it, looking at the flat sea creature and cringing. It looked pretty gross to touch but if her son wanted to, she was okay with it. 

 

“Sure. Be careful.”

 

Jake nodded vigorously before getting closer to the employee and Beca observed carefully as he stuck his little hand in the tank and the man who had a name tag that read Mark helped him.

 

“Woah!” Jake exclaimed loudly when he felt the stingray under his hand. 

 

Chloe shifted on her feet next to her and Beca didn’t even have the time to ask what she was thinking about that the redhead took a confident step forward.

 

“Can I touch it too?”

 

Mark nodded easily. “Sure.”

 

Chloe flashed her a grin before kneeling down next to Jake to also touch the creature. Beca watched them with an amused smile and her hands in the pockets of her jacket, refusing to get close to it.

 

“It’s so soft, right?” Jake said, looking at the woman next to her and Chloe nodded in agreement with a beaming smile. After a couple of seconds, she twisted her neck to look at Beca.

 

“Becs, come touch it.”

 

Beca scoffed automatically. “No way I’m touching that thing,” she said categorically.

 

“Mom! You have to touch it!”

 

“Yeah, it’s soft you’ll see!”

 

“Mommy!”

“It won’t hurt you.”

 

“Please, Mommy?”

 

“You know you want to!”

 

“Touch it, touch it, touch it!” 

 

Beca looked at them back and forth as they encouraged each other by pleading her to touch the stingray. Mark was looking at them, clearly entertained and Beca rolled her eyes. There was no way she was touching a stingray, there was just no way. 

 

Chloe and Jake looked at each other before reaching over to Beca at the same time, their wet hands grabbing her on each side and forcing her to come closer to the tank. Their giggles were loud enough to muffle her yelp of surprise. 

 

Turns out stingrays were very soft in an odd way that Beca didn’t really want to understand. 

 

They continued their route until they were standing in front of the african penguins. Beca basked in the moment in silence, her son in front of her making funny faces at the animals. They were so concentrated on the penguins that Beca was almost startled when Chloe spoke up.  

 

“I wonder if any of them are gay.”

 

“What?” Beca said, turning to her friend in shock. Chloe looked at Beca as if she couldn’t understand why the younger woman was confused. 

 

“I wonder if any of them are gay,” she repeated. “You didn’t know penguins could be gay?”

 

“N-No, I did. I just didn’t expect you to say that.”

 

Chloe chuckled. “When I was younger, I wanted to go to the New York zoo to meet Roy and Silo so bad because of this video I saw of them on youtube. When my parents finally agreed to take me and my brothers there for a vacation, we found out they had broken up and Silo was now with another female penguin. I cried for hours.”

 

Beca smiled at the image of a tinier version of Chloe, crying in Central Park because the gay penguins she had wanted to see weren’t together anymore. It was a weirdly cute picture. 

 

“Very sorry to hear that,” Beca teased and Chloe’s shoulders shook with laughter. 

 

“Thanks. I’m still not completely over it.”

 

“Ah well if you’re lucky there’s some gay penguins over there,” she said, pointing at the glass.

 

“Oh to be a gay penguin living in the Aquarium of the Pacific with a little five year old sticking his tongue out at me.”

 

Beca laughed and glanced at Jake. “Sounds like quite the life.”

 

“Well, mine’s not that bad,” she said with a wink and then grabbed Jake’s attention. “I think it’s time to go see some sharks, bud.”

 

Jake’s face lit up and he took Chloe’s hand before running off, leaving Beca to catch up after them. She spared one last look at the penguins and smiled when she thought that she kind of hoped some of the penguins in there were gay too.

 

Beca approached Jake as he stared in awe at the great white sharks that were swimming around in the huge tank, his face squished against the glass trying to get as close to them as possible. Chloe was knelt beside him, her arm secured tightly around his waist as she pointed at the huge creatures and read him the shark facts plastered over the walls.

 

“You like the sharks, little dude?” she asked, placing a hand on Jake's head but the boy was in a trance-like state as he stared at them, both hands against the glass.

 

“I think we’ve found his favourite sea animal,” Chloe told Beca, a look of adoration in her eyes as she watched the boy which made Beca struggle to hide a smile. It was heartwarming to see how fond of Jake Chloe had grown over the time.

 

A thought popped into her brain and she cleared her throat awkwardly. 

 

“Hey um so Aubrey told me something weird earlier.”

 

“Ugh did she say something about your tattoos because I told her to never say it to your face. Don’t listen to her. I think they’re sexy,” she said with a wink as she got up.

 

Beca chuckled. “No, not about that but I’m glad to know you think my tattoos are sexy,” she teased but she quickly dropped the smile and got serious again. “She seemed to be hinting at the fact that what we’re doing could actually get you into some real trouble.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“I mean, the last thing I wanna do is get you fired or something, dude. I know you love your job.”

 

Chloe shook her head. “Hey, no don’t worry about that, okay? Besides, this is only a replacement job. I don’t even know if I’ll have a job after the summer,” she said and her smile fell slightly, vulnerability clear in the ocean blue eyes.

 

Beca swallowed, not sure what to say anymore. 

 

“Chloe, I--”

 

“Excuse me,” a voice came from behind them. The two women spun around simultaneously to be met by an older lady and her husband, both of which were watching them with kind eyes. “Would it be okay if you took a photo of us in front of the tank? I’ve never been able to work these cell phones,” the lady asked, holding out what looked like the very first version of the iPhone.

 

She briefly wondered how it still even worked but she chose not to question it. She took a few steps back and took a couple of pictures of the sweet looking couple, before giving the lady back her prehistoric mobile.

 

“We can take a picture of you too if you want? Your boy seems to love the sharks,” the lady offered to which Jake tore his eyes away from the tank to look up at Beca with hopeful eyes.

 

Her phone was beginning to be filled with random pictures of her son and Chloe which she secretly snapped whenever the three were out together. She really needed to invest in a bigger storage plan or else she would have no room left for anything else. 

 

She often found herself flicking through the pictures whenever she had a spare minute, at work or between caring for Jake at home. It always made her smile seeing how happy they all looked.

 

Before, her camera roll used to be filled with only pictures of Jake. Since Chloe had started hanging out with them, she now had pictures of herself with her son, of Chloe and Jake and of the three of them and she kinda liked having that diversity now. 

 

“Sure,” Beca replied, switching her phone onto camera mode and handing it to the woman with a friendly nod.

 

The three of them got into position, Chloe hoisting Jake onto her hip so that he was between her and Beca and the latter put her arm around the redhead’s waist so she could be as close as possible. She hadn’t even felt herself doing it as if it was just instinctive but she didn't think too much of it because her friend didn’t seem to mind.

 

The lady snapped several shots of them, cooing at Jake’s gappy grin before handing Beca her phone back. “You make a lovely little family.”

 

Beca and Chloe froze, their eyes meeting and Beca could see Chloe was just as taken aback as she was, her eyes wide and mouth slightly open in shock.

 

“Oh, we’re not--” Chloe started before she was cut off by Jake.

 

“Thanks! This is my mom and this is my Chloe!” he stated, gesturing to the two adults as if to show them off. The old couple smiled politely and wished them a happy Valentine’s day before making their way to the next tank.

 

They all flicked through the pictures, Beca’s heart beating hard in her chest as she saw the happy smiles on their face. Jake was showing all his teeth, one hand around some of Chloe’s red locks and his head leaning against his mother’s. In the background, you could see the sharks behind them and heart stickers on the glass and Jake clapped happily at that.

 

Beca was stuck thinking about the interaction for quite some time, trailing around the aquarium after Jake and Chloe as her mind was occupied with thoughts. She didn’t expect her life to turn all around like that but it was nice to have a friend, it was nice to have Chloe help out every once in a while. She didn’t like to admit it but it really did help to have a second person around to entertain Jake when she tried to cook dinner or do other small tasks like that. 

 

What Jake had said made Beca realise how much the boy had grown to like Chloe and spending time with her was an experience that left the both of them feeling fulfilled. Things always seemed more fun when the redhead was there with her contagious smile. 

 

But was it too much? 

 

Was she letting Chloe have too much of a place in their lives that when the woman inevitably met someone with whom she was actually going to build her own family with, it’d create a hole in Beca and Jake's life?

 

“Stop it,” a voice snapped her out of her thoughts. 

 

“What?”

 

“Stop thinking about what the couple said,” Chloe said. “Your nose is all scrunched up, it’s gonna stay that way forever if you think too hard about it.”

 

Beca exhaled and smiled at Chloe with the corner of her mouth. 

 

“It’s not a big deal, Becs. We’re out on Valentine's Day, it’s normal they don’t know we’re just friends.”

 

“Yeah, you’re right,” she said even though there was still a heavy feeling weighing on her chest. 

 

“Now let’s go eat. I’m starving,” Chloe said with a smile, grabbing Jake who was about to let his tongue touch the dirty glass wall and picked him up in her arms. “I’m so hungry I think I could just eat your arm.”

 

Beca finally let herself relax at the sound of Jake’s loud laughter echoing through the aquarium. She shook all the thoughts out of her head and let herself live in the moment.

 

They found the dining area near the seals and sea lions exhibit. It was a cute little place called the café scuba and both Chloe and Jake looked thrilled at the fact that they could keep looking at some sea creatures while eating. 

 

It didn’t take long for their food to come, brought on a tray by a friendly looking young man. “Children’s chicken nugget meal, pepperoni pizza and a burger with fries?” he asked, reeling off their order as he handed each of them their meal, his eyes landing on their empty glasses. “Any more drinks?”

 

“Orange juice!” Jake exclaimed and Beca gave him her signature mom look. “Please,” he added sheepishly.

 

“Sure thing,” the waiter said, writing on his little notepad. “Anything for your moms?”

 

He had asked Jake but directed the question at the two of them who were now in a state of awkwardness for the second time that day. Beca shook the feeling, deciding that Chloe was right, it was just because the three of them were together on Valentine’s Day that people kept mistaking them for a family. 

 

“Two more cokes please,” she asked, not bothering to correct the man. Chloe raised an eyebrow, scrunching her nose as she played with the red panda keyring on her purse, but Beca couldn't quite figure out what she was thinking.

 

The three of them tucked into their meals, hungry after exploring the aquarium not once but twice after Jake had insisted he absolutely must see the sharks a second time. Most people’s first instinct wasn't to go to the aquarium on Valentine’s Day so there weren't too many people and it was just comfortable enough for Beca.

“Can I have a bite, Mommy?”

 

She looked at him with her slice of pizza in her mouth and quickly swallowed, pointing a finger at the chicken nuggets. 

 

“Only if I can have one of your nuggets.”

 

He nodded and they both exchanged a piece of their meals to the other with a smile. She ate the nugget and ran her fingers through his hair at the back of his head. 

 

“Dude, how does your hair grow so fast? We’re gonna have to go cut it again.”

 

“No, I like it!”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Yep!” he said, shaking his head to make the curls bounce around a little. She snorted and nodded, taking her slice of pizza back and she looked at Chloe who still looked deep in thoughts.

 

“So is it everything you dreamed of for a Valentine’s Day?” she joked and it seemed to immediately make Chloe feel better as a grin appeared on her face. 

 

“Totes,” she said and chucked a fry into her mouth. “God, if I would have gone with Tom I would probably be in some fancy restaurant with a meal half as good for twice the price. This is much better.”

 

She laughed and glanced over at Jake, wondering for a second if they should have gone to a fancy restaurant in central LA rather than driving out to the sea. She was met with him chewing quite happily on a chicken nugget, tracing the little shark cartoons that were printed all over the table mat. It was definitely a good move. 

 

“Can’t believe you just ditched him like that.”

 

Chloe shrugged, not really seeming to care that much. “We weren’t official, it was just a casual thing.”

 

“Isn’t it going to be awkward with him now? I mean, you have to work with him and stuff.”

 

“Doubt it,” Chloe said nonchalantly. “I think we both knew we didn’t connect on every level, just--” she cut herself off and looked at Jake and it wasn't hard to understand what she was talking about. 

 

Beca hummed, not really knowing how to answer that so she just focused on her meal.

 

After they finished their food, which Chloe had insisted on paying because “Beca had paid for the tickets like a gentleman and it was her turn now”. They headed back through to the exit where they found themselves in a huge gift shop.

 

“Mom, look!” Jake shouted, his eyes sparkling as he pointed at a shark stuffie that was bigger than him, running over and wrapping himself around it. Beca was sure Jake already had enough toys, but watching her boy rub his face lovingly against it, she knew she couldn’t stand a chance. 

 

Damn, having a kid had made her soft. 

 

She had just finished buying the huge shark and she was putting the receipt in the bag when she suddenly felt a cap being put on her head. She looked up in surprise and saw Chloe grinning at her mischievously. She instantly knew the girl had done something and she took the hat off her head to see a baseball cap with a penguin wearing sunglasses on the front. 

 

“What the f-- heck is this, Beale?”

 

“Bought it for you,” Chloe said with a wink. “For the red panda,” she said and did the pincer motion. 

 

“There is no way I’m ever going to wear this.”

 

They walked back to the car, the baseball cap on her head and Sharky (Jake’s innovatively named shark) in her hands because her son was on Chloe’s shoulders. 

 

On the way back home, they invented a whole backstory for the gay penguin on Beca’s new hat while Jake dozed off in the back, his head resting against the blue shark. By the time Beca parked in front of Chloe’s building, Steve the penguin lived a very happy life with his boyfriend Richie. 

 

They awkwardly hugged over the console and said their goodbyes, Chloe pretty sad that she couldn’t say bye to Jake properly. Beca didn’t even want to imagine Jake’s reaction when he was going to wake up to Chloe not there anymore, that was a problem for future her. 

 

She watched Chloe walk to her building and waited until the glass door closed behind her to start the car again. Now she had the pleasure to take her Valentine home and probably fall asleep in front of superhero movies she had already watched way too many times. 

 

Not a bad day.

 

Chapter Text

The next few weeks flew by pretty quickly and the month of March was suddenly here. Beca settled into a nice little routine that she actually quite liked. Jake was now one of the students that participated the most in Miss Beale’s class and when the teacher would come home with Jake, Beca would be forced to hear them sing for hours.

 

(Okay, maybe she sang with them most of the time but that wasn’t important.)

 

Work was busy since they were getting ready to welcome a big artist next month. They were the ones that were going to work with Dua Lipa in producing her next album and Beca was secretly really excited about it. Since she was working hard at Atlantis Records, the music producer found herself staying late sometimes and she would only have to send a two word text to Chloe and her friend would take Jake home. 

 

Beca would always come back in time for bath time, though. She didn’t want to put Chloe through that again.

 

She was starting to feel guilty for taking all her time like that but Chloe made it clear that she and Jake were pretty much her only social life other than Aubrey and Stacie and she couldn’t handle feeling like a third wheel anymore. She’d pretty much find any excuse she could to get out of her apartment. 

 

Tonight was one of the rare Friday nights where Chloe hadn’t come and Jake and Beca had enjoyed a nice little dinner, trying to ignore how weird it was that she noticed Chloe’s absence. Bath time had been difficult because Jake had the idea of bringing Sharky in the water and when his mother told him he couldn’t because he was a stuffed animal and not plastic like his action figures, he took it pretty hard. 

 

It was getting late and Jake was finally sound asleep after Beca had wrestled him into his pyjamas whilst he ran around their apartment naked, screaming that he was allergic to clothing. Somehow, it wasn’t the first time that she’d had this problem with him. She had no idea where he picked that up from but she hoped it would go away soon. 

 

She washed up the last few pots before setting them to dry and taking herself through to her bedroom to get ready for the night's sleep she had been craving all day. She left her door ajar, searching through her drawers to find the comfiest band shirt and sweatpants combo she owned before peeling off her skinny jeans. She was in the middle of pulling her shirt over her head when she heard a noise, identical to that of her front door shutting.

 

Her eyes widened and she strained her ears to make sure she had heard it right. Sure enough she heard a couple of footsteps in the living room. Panicked, the brunette dropped her shirt on the floor and reached for the closest object that she could defend herself with. She cringed, looking around the room and grabbed her bedside lamp, deciding at that very moment that she was going to keep a bat in her room from now on. 

 

She edged her way out into the hallway, her only thought being to protect her son who was fortunately still asleep. Her thoughts immediately went to the worst case scenario. They had lived in the same apartment since Jake was born, and although it wasn't the safest of LA suburbs they had never had any problems before. Beca was breathing as quietly as she could as she tiptoed down the hall, listening to the shuffling and rustling sounds coming from the lounge. 

 

Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes for a second as if mentally preparing herself to face whoever had broken in. She dove into the room with the lamp close to her ear as though she was going to swing it like a baseball bat. 

 

The culprit spun around as soon as Beca entered.

 

“Hey Becs,” Chloe said with a smile and then her eyes dropped down to Beca’s body, widening a little as she realized Beca was half naked. She arched an eyebrow at her, her eyes roaming her body and Beca’s jaw dropped, her face flushing a deep shade of red. She exhaled and put the lamp down on a nearby table, the fear in her body being replaced by pure embarrassment.

 

“Do you make a habit of walking around in your underwear when Jake’s asleep?” Chloe asked without missing a beat, a playful but harmless smile on her face as she addressed the girl. Beca could have sworn she saw Chloe glance down and check her out a second time.

 

“Dude, you can’t just break into my apartment like this! I thought we were getting robbed, I could’ve killed you,” Beca exclaimed quietly, scrambling to the couch to grab a blanket and cover herself.

 

“With a lamp?” Chloe teased, making the music producer flush even more. “Besides, it’s not breaking in when I have a key. Don’t be dramatic,” she added with a wink.

 

Beca just stood staring at Chloe, an incredulous look on her face. Her shoulder slumped with a sigh and she struggled to keep the blanket tight around her body.

 

“I wasn’t really expecting a visitor in the middle of the night.”

 

“It’s 9 pm, weirdo.”

 

Was it? God, she was already on her way to bed. It was pathetic how tired she already felt, you’d think she was in her late 60s. Maybe Amy and Cynthia-Rose were right, she was lame. 

 

“I’m-- I’m gonna go change,” Beca said after a beat and Chloe giggled. 

 

“Okay. Nice rack by the way,” the redhead added jokingly before flopping down on the couch like she owned the place.

 

Beca’s cheeks burnt again as she walked back to her bedroom to cover up, still processing the eight thousand emotions she had been through within the past five minutes alone. She quickly picked up the shirt that she had dropped on the middle of her floor and changed into her pyjamas. 

 

“What are you doing here, anyway?” she asked Chloe when she went back to the living room where the woman was scrolling on her phone. 

 

“Aubrey and Stacie,” she explained simply. “There’s only so much moaning I can take.”

 

“Gross.”

 

“I mean, it’s not half as fun when I’m not involved,” Chloe said with a wink. 

 

Beca had no idea if she meant it with Aubrey and Stacie or someone else entirely. She didn’t really wanna know the answer. 

 

“So you just figured you’d come here and bother me?” Beca joked.

 

“Well yeah but I didn’t think I would get as lucky as I did,” Chloe teased right back and Beca rolled her eyes. 

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Who knew you were hiding all that under flannels and tank tops? Own it, Becs. You’re hot.”

 

Beca hid her face in her hands and shook her head. She wasn’t sure how to react to the compliment. It had been ages since anyone had seen her body and she wasn’t really expecting Chloe to be the one seeing it after all this time. 

 

“Does Aubrey know you’re here?” she said to change the subject. 

 

“Nope,” Chloe said, propping her feet up on the coffee table. “All she does is remind me that--” she cut herself off but it was too late and they both knew it.

 

“That?” Beca forced her to continue. 

 

 “That what I’m doing is not particularly ethical,” Chloe finished quietly. 

 

Beca released a breath. It was about time they had a real conversation about this. She had tried to make the teacher talk about it at the aquarium but she had been shut down and figured she’d wait for Chloe to bring it up again. 

 

Beca shifted on the couch, tucking her feet underneath her as the redhead sat opposite her, refusing to make eye contact. They stayed quiet for a moment, listening to the other breathe until Beca spoke up again. 

 

“Could you get fired?”

 

“it’s… frowned upon.”

 

“So why would you keep doing it? Don’t you love your job?”

 

Chloe finally looked at her again. “Of course I do. Being a teacher is everything to me and I love the kids in my class. But I figured I was just a substitute so it didn’t really matter, right? Turns out it does, Jesse-- Mr Swanson, told me,” she explained with a forced laugh.

 

“Even if you’re a substitute?”

 

“Yeah. It’s written in the guideline that we’re not really supposed to have external contacts with parents. Especially if Jake is still in my class.”

 

“Then why keep coming here?”

 

“Because I love you guys,” Chloe said simply. “I love hanging out with you and Jake. I don’t want to stop.”

 

“I don’t wanna be the reason you lose your job,” Beca said through the knot in her throat.

 

“Nobody knows, Becs. Jesse thinks I bring Jake to his babysitter’s house every time. We’re not posting any pictures on social media, the school board won’t find out.”

 

“Aubrey won’t tell them?”

 

Chloe scoffed. “Gee, no. She can be a little intense sometimes but we’re still best friends. She’d never do that to me.”

 

“By intense do you mean a complete bitch?”

 

Chloe gave her a look and Beca just shrugged. She wasn’t going to take it back.

“Anyway, I’m not gonna be his teacher next year. I just need to figure out what I’m going to do.”

 

Beca bit her lip at the thought of Chloe still being in their lives next year. Chloe was fidgeting with the blanket that Beca had used to cover herself with earlier and she looked so sad compared to the amused smile that she had when she got here (after she basically saw her naked, Beca’s gonna have trouble forgetting about that). It wasn’t the first time Chloe had brought that up either and it was clear she was insecure about what was going to pay the bills once this job was over. 

 

“Hey, you’re a brilliant teacher. Besides, I feel like everyone is always complaining we need more teachers, right? You’ll find something no problem.”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“I do,” Beca said, getting closer to Chloe who was chewing on her bottom lip nervously. “I have a feeling.”

 

Chloe smiled with the corner of her mouth. “Oh you do?”

 

“Yeah. Mother’s intuition, Miss Beale. Very strong.”

 

“I believe that,” she said with a chuckle and Beca was just glad she brought her smile back. 

 

She played with her thumb ring, hesitating to say what she wanted to say and then figured that Chloe deserved to hear what she was thinking about. 

 

“We love you too, by the way. Jake and I.”

 

Chloe looked at her, her eyes almost welling up. 

 

“I know.”

 

“You wanna watch The Great British Bake Off with me?”

 

“Beca Mitchell, I would love nothing more.”

 

About ten minutes in, Chloe forcefully grabbed Beca so they could cuddle under the blanket and it took about five more minutes for the music producer to finally let herself relax. She felt Chloe smile when she did but neither of them spoke up, keeping their eyes on the TV screen and making funny comments here and there. 

 

She ended up falling asleep before the episode ended, the effect having a boisterous little boy had on her. She only noticed because she was woken up by Chloe, who lightly nudged her on the shoulder as the credits started. 

 

“Huh?” she said, lifting her head fast and then blinking rapidly. “Holy shit, when did I fall asleep?”

 

Chloe chuckled as Beca rubbed her eyes. “A little before Dean dropped his cake on the floor.”

 

“Damn. That must’ve been good.”

 

“It was but you looked so tired I didn’t want to wake you.”

 

“Well I was on my way to bed when a stranger broke into my apartment.”

 

“Hey,” Chloe said with a pout and Beca laughed lightly. 

 

“I assume you’re staying the night?”

 

“Is that okay? Aubrey and Stacie are probably starting their 4th round by now.”

 

“Jesus--” Beca sputtered, cringing. “Of course, yeah. Take my bed,” she said nonchalantly, already getting up so she could prepare the couch.

 

“Only if you sleep with me.”

 

“What?” Beca spat out in shock, turning to Chloe.

 

“Not in that way,” Chloe said, laughing. “I meant, next to me. It is your bed and last time you slept here, it hurt your neck.”

 

Her heart started racing and she shook her head. “No, it’s fine.”

 

“Becs, I insist.”

 

She looked deep into her blue eyes and Beca managed to last 6 seconds before the puppy eyes finally worked and she sighed. “Yeah, okay,” she breathed out because she did like the idea of sleeping on her bed better than sleeping on the couch.

 

Beca could handle this. They were two adults. They were friends. It wasn’t a big deal.

 

She lent Chloe some more clothes for the night and Chloe used the same spare toothbrush that she had used last time she stayed over. When Beca came back from the bathroom, assuming the redhead had finished changing into her pyjamas, she entered her room only to be stopped in her tracks. 

 

Chloe was topless with not even a bra on as she took off her socks on the bed. 

 

“Woah!” Beca yelled in a whisper, looking away fast. It was too late, though, she had definitely seen everything that she could have seen. She felt heat creep on her cheeks and she swallowed with difficulty. “Fuck-- sorry.”

 

She heard a giggle. “It’s okay, Becs.”

 

Beca kept her eyes on the wall opposite Chloe, trying to shake the image out of her head but it seemed burned in there. Chloe’s body was hot. Really hot and she felt like a complete pervert now that she had seen it. She heard shuffling and Chloe spoke up again.

 

“You can look now.”

 

Holding her breath, she looked at the bed and Chloe was in fact all dressed now. She exhaled and finally entered the room, closing the door behind her. The ginger gestured to herself with a smile.

 

“I’m pretty confident about… all this.”

 

Beca let herself smile playfully. “You should be.”

 

Chloe raised an eyebrow and leaned back on her hands. 

 

“Anyway, it’s only fair to let you see the goods since I had a pretty good view earlier.”

 

“Dude,” Beca said, rolling her eyes and walking on the other side of the bed. “Are you going to get over that?”

 

“Maybe I don’t want to,” Chloe teased, eyeing Beca’s tattoo sleeve. 

 

Beca shook her head, way too tired to deal with the woman’s jokes right now and just crawled under the covers. Chloe followed suit and there was a beat where they both stared at the ceiling in silence. Beca briefly wondered if the woman next to her could hear how hard her heart was beating right now. 

 

“Goodnight, Becs.”

 

“Goodnight, Chlo.” 

 

-------------------

 

Beca opened her eyes slowly, her vision fuzzy as she became adjusted to the blinding light that was spilling through the shutters of her window. She looked at her alarm clock and was impressed when she saw it was 8:03. 

 

Usually she would be up at 6:30am, rushing around the apartment trying to make sure she was on time for work and Jake was ready for school, so lying there until the sun was up felt like a treat. 8 AM was late for Jake who was usually up and at them early on the weekends, ready to burst into his mom’s room anytime.

 

Beca wasn’t going to complain. 

 

Suddenly, she became very aware of the compromising position she was currently in. She could feel hot breath against her neck and a weight to one side of her. She briefly thought that Jake did come in her room but just fell back asleep but by the body holding her seemed way too big to be Jake’s. 

 

She remembered quickly falling asleep in the same bed as Chloe and alarms immediately started ringing in her head. The woman was flush against her, her head tucked into Beca’s shoulder and her arms and legs wrapped around Beca’s midsection as if she was holding on for dear life. 

 

Beca froze, not knowing what to do for a moment. Her heart felt like it was about to burst out of her chest and it suddenly became too hot with Chloe’s body around her so she leaped out of the bed without thinking. 

 

She instantly felt too cold without the redhead’s warmth. 

 

Chloe startled awake as soon as Beca had moved away from her. “Woah, Becs, what happened?” She asked groggily, stretching her entire body. Beca’s cheeks twinged pink as her shirt rode up, exposing her toned abs for just a second.

 

“Nothing, dude. Uh, go back to sleep,” Beca muttered, not moving from the spot she was standing in.

 

Chloe clearly could sense something was wrong because she propped herself up and stared at Beca with her big blue eyes that made her melt. “You okay?”

 

“Yep.”

 

Chloe’s brows furrowed and she patted the bed after checking the time. “Come back. It’s only 8.”

 

“I should check on--”

 

“Jake is fine,” Chloe reassured instantly. 

 

Beca hesitated, but she couldn't deny laying back down was tempting. Jake sleeping in this late on a weekend was a miracle in itself. She rolled her eyes, pretending to be opposed but crawled back in bed, making sure there was distance between them.

 

Within seconds, Chloe spoke up. “Becs,” she whispered and the brunette turned around to face her, awaiting a continuation but was instead left wondering.

 

“Yes?” 

 

“How’d you sleep?”

 

“Surprisingly well,” she answered honestly. 

 

Chloe’s lips curled up. "Surprisingly?"

 

“Well I didn’t know you could sleep that well with a leech wrapped around you,” Beca teased and Chloe let out a light laugh.

 

“I’m a sleep cuddler,” she said with a shrug.

 

Of course she was, what else would Beca expect from the redhead?  It wasn’t like boundaries were really her thing, if the other night was anything to go by.

 

The two laid in silence, practically nose to nose. The only sound being each of their breathing which seemed to merge together into one steady sound. Beca could almost see the cogs turning in Chloe’s head as she stared into her baby blue eyes, but she couldn’t work out what she was thinking.

 

She’d never been this close to Chloe before and there were so many new things to notice. The soft splattering of ginger freckles which were haphazardly placed all over her nose, and a small scar just above her eyebrow which somehow fit perfectly on her face as though it was meant to be there. Chloe always looked beautiful, but Beca had never had the chance to notice the extent of her beauty from that close.

 

She continued to study Chloe’s face up close, enjoying the comfortable silence as her eyes roamed over every centimetre of skin before settling on the redhead’s slightly parted lips. She felt her heart rate start to increase and it became much more difficult to breathe normally at the sight.

 

“Mom! I can’t find Sharky!”

 

The two sprung apart, Beca almost falling out of the bed as her son charged into the room, climbing on the bed. His knees dug into her thighs and she groaned in pain. 

 

“Jake, Sharky is literally bigger than you. He can’t have gone far,” she said, a disgruntled look on her face as she pinched the bridge of her nose, avoiding looking at Chloe.

 

“He might have swam away,” Jake whined, pouting at Beca as he began to jump up and down on the bed between them.

 

It might be rare that she got the chance to wake up this late, but 8 AM was still too early for this shit. 

 

“Hi Chloe,” the boy said without missing a beat before dragging Beca out of the room by her hand for the search for Sharky. 

 

Usually her son would’ve been ecstatic at Chloe’s presence and it confused Beca for a second. It was crazy to her that he had now become accustomed to Chloe being around. It was almost as if he had expected her to be there, which made Beca realise how much time they really did spend together.

 

Was that weird? Should she worry about that?

 

Nope. Still too early to open that door.

 

She found Sharky under his bed in less than a minute and she resisted the urge to laugh because she didn’t want him to think she was mocking him. He hugged his shark tightly, happy about this little reunion. He was dressed in his blue Spider-Man pyjamas and she felt her heart grow ten sizes as she looked at him.

 

She’d probably do anything for him. 

 

Mom and Jake against the world.

 

“I love you, bud.”

 

He looked at her, happy about what his mom told him and jumped into her arms. “I love you too, Mommy,” he said and gave her a wet kiss on the cheek. 

 

She held him on her right hip and walked to the kitchen where Chloe was already digging around in her fridge like she lived there. Jake wiggled in her arms so she’d put him down and as soon as his little feet hit the floor, he rushed to the living room to go play with his trucks that were still there from the night before. 

 

She turned back to Chloe who was now opening every cabinet as if she was looking for something. She raised an eyebrow and leaned on the wall next to her, amused to see Chloe move around the kitchen like that. Eggs, butter and milk were on the counter and the redhead made a happy sound when she finally found the flour and the sugar. 

 

“Can I help you?” Beca finally asked, a playful smile on her face. 

 

“As a matter of fact, yes,” Chloe replied. “I can’t find your baking powder.”

 

Beca went to the cupboard where she kept the baking powder and handed it to Chloe who thanked her quickly. 

 

“Are you making pancakes?” 

 

“Yeah! Awes, right?” 

 

Beca chuckled. “Yeah. Awes. Do you want me to help?”

 

“Nope. Get your cute butt out of here, I’ll make you guys the coolest pancakes you’ll ever see.”

 

“Weirdo,” the brunette teased before walking to the living room. She grabbed her macbook and opened her emails so she could catch up while keeping an eye on Jake who was talking to himself as he played.

 

20 minutes later, Chloe sang their names to call them over and Beca quickly took off her headphones, saving the mix she was doing. Jake rushed to the dinner table, knocking his knees on the chair as he jumped but he didn’t even seem to notice because he carried on climbing. Beca looked at the oddly-shaped pancakes on their plates and she smiled. 

 

“What are they?”

 

“Well,” Chloe said, taking off the apron and pointed to their plates one by one. “This is the hammer from that one superhero guy. This is a red panda. And this is a penguin.”

 

Frankly, none of the pancakes looked even remotely close to being what she described they were but Jake looked pretty excited at the idea of his being superhero related. The rest of the pancakes were in circles so the redhead must’ve just wanted to do something special for them. 

 

It was kind of sickeningly adorable. 

 

“What do we say, dude?”

 

“Thank you, Chloe!” Jake said before starting to rip his pancake with his hands to cut them into little pieces. 

 

Beca turned to the woman with a smile, warmth in her chest. “Thanks, Chlo.”

 

Chloe was absolutely beaming, the sun coming through the window making her eyes sparkle. “You’re welcome, guys!”

 

They ate breakfast together, laughing at Jake who had gotten maple syrup everywhere on his face. It was going to be a bitch to clean him up, especially since he had some in his hair but Beca couldn’t afford to care right now. She was too busy trying not to choke on her bite as she laughed wholeheartedly. 

 

The teacher left a little bit before noon because she had errands to run for school but just the fact that Beca’s morning had started like that, well it made her happy for the whole day. 

 

Chloe just seemed to have that effect on people. 

 

Chapter Text

Beca entered Atlantis Records absentmindedly scrolling through her phone when someone grabbed her shoulder with force.

 

“Ah!” Beca said, stumbling forward and catching her phone in the air. Amy was still dragging her to her desk and she finally let go of her in front of Cynthia-Rose. “Jesus fuck-- good morning to you too.”

 

Amy just clapped her back so hard it hurt. “Morning, Shortstack.”

 

“Morning, Beca.“

 

Beca looked at the two of them with a confused expression. “Can I know why I just got half kidnapped?”

 

“Come on, show her!”

 

CR smiled mischievously before handing her a white envelope. The music producer raised an eyebrow and grabbed the envelope with her friends’ eyes on her. She opened it and pulled out the card inside. She only read the first line before she understood what this was all about and looked up. 

 

“No way!” she exclaimed. “You finally saved a date!”

 

Cynthia-Rose raised her hands in the air with a shrug. “You know it! We’ve been engaged for a while now but yeah, Denise and I decided to finally get hitched in June.”

 

“Congrats, dude,” Beca said with a genuine smile on her face, giving her friend a fist bump. “That’s fucking sick.”

 

“I can only bring one of my boyfriends,” the receptionist complained instantly and Cynthia-Rose rolled her eyes. 

 

“Well I already know who my date is,” she joked and her friends blinked at her expectantly. “Jake. Duh.”

 

Amy snapped her fingers. “Damn. So close to getting it,” she said, making Cynthia-Rose laugh.

 

“What?”

 

CR shook her head, waving Amy’s statement off. “Well we’re not really planning on making this particularly kid friendly.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“I’m sorry, Bec. You know I love your kid but I wanna get wasted,” Cynthia-Rose said apologetically. “You can totally bring someone else, though. I gave you a plus one.”

 

“Yeah, right,” Beca breathed out, walking over to her side of the desk. “Who the hell am I going to bring?”

 

Amy grabbed her phone before Beca could stop her and she clicked on the home button to light up the picture of Beca, Chloe and Jake at the aquarium in front of the sharks. 

 

“There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”

 

Beca blinked at her. “Was that supposed to be some kind of pun because of the aquarium?”

 

“Not my best, I know.”

 

“Right well, I don’t know. You don’t want me to bring Jake, so.”

 

“So bring the hot ginger!” Cynthia-Rose exclaimed like it was obvious. “We really wanna meet her.”

 

“Why?” the brunette asked, logging into her work computer. What is it with people always wanting to meet other people? Beca was more than fine if Chloe never met her coworkers. They were embarrassing. 

 

“Because she’s the first person you’ve managed to befriend that doesn’t work with you and we want to know what kind of psycho hangs out with you on purpose.”

 

“Thanks, Ames.”

 

“I got you.” 

 

“Bec.”

 

Beca looked away from her computer and turned to Cynthia-Rose with a bored expression. 

 

“Ask her.”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“Don’t be a pussy.”

 

“I’m not! I just said I don’t know,” Beca said and when she saw Allen walk in in his office, she used the moment to slip out of the conversation. 

 

She was probably going to end up bringing Chloe because honestly, who else was she going to ask if she couldn’t bring Jake, but she didn’t want to give her friends the satisfaction of being right.

 

“Hey Allen,” she said, knocking on his door. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”

 

“Sure, come in.” 

 

She sat down in front of his desk and cleared her throat. “So my kid has a week off in April and I was wondering if I could take it with him? I know we’re going to be working with Dua Lipa during that month but I swear I can work for home. I just--”

 

“Sure.”

 

“What?”

 

He looked up from the paper he was looking at and nodded. “Yeah. As long as you work from home, I’m good.”

 

“Oh. Oh okay,” Beca sputtered, thinking she was going to have to work much harder to convince him. “Holy shit, thank you.”

 

“Uh huh, close the door on your way out?”

 

The music producer got up from the chair instantly and muttered a goodbye before leaving his office, a small smile on the corner of her mouth. 

 

She was aware Chloe was planning to fly to Portland during her week off to visit her parents and she didn’t know whether she was going to fly out to Seattle to maybe visit her mother with Jake but she was thankful her boss had been so lenient.

 

Things were looking up. 

 

----------------

 

It took her about a week to get her shit together and finally ask Chloe to be her date at the wedding. It was a Saturday night near the end of the month and Chloe had come over after dinner, claiming that Aubrey and Stacie were being overly lovey and she needed to work on school stuff in peace. She had clearly planned to stay over because she had brought a change of clothes.

 

Not that Beca minded. 

 

She went back to the living room after putting Jake to bed with difficulty. The boy had been buzzing with energy after playing with Beca and Chloe with his action figures for over an hour. After reading him some pages from the Spider-Man comic that Chloe had gotten him for Christmas that he had already read 13 times, he fell asleep with his little thumb in his mouth mid-sentence. 

 

She found the teacher sprawled out on the couch, reading glasses on her face and a pen in her hand as she marked stacks of work.

 

Opening the door to Chloe in those glasses had been the highlight of her week.

 

One of Beca’s vinyl records was playing softly in the background and all the curtains were closed, the lamp next to the couch shining a dim, relaxing light in the living room. 

 

“Hey,” she spoke up softly and Chloe didn’t even look up from her paper. 

 

“Hi,” she replied and Beca could hear the smile in her voice. 

 

“I need to ask you something. But it’s totally cool if you say no. Like, don’t feel obligated to agree to it if you don't want to or whatever.”

 

The teacher hummed in response as she drew a huge smiley face on some child’s drawing of a train. Beca was pretty sure it didn’t take that much brain power to focus on that, so Chloe’s reasoning for showing up on her doorstep seemed pretty exaggerated to say the least.

 

“So you know how I told you Cynthia-Rose was engaged? They finally set a date.”

 

“Oooh, when?”

 

“June.”

 

Chloe looked up for a brief second. “A summer wedding! I love that.”

 

Beca chuckled nervously, still standing next to the couch instead of just sitting down besides her. She wasn’t sure she could get the words out if she was close enough to smell Chloe’s perfume that left her brain hazy sometimes. 

 

“Yeah. Anyway, she basically forced me at gunpoint to like, ask you if you’d be my date or whatever,” the producer asked cooly, as if she wasn’t about to burst with anxiety at just the sound of the word date coming out of her own mouth.

 

Chloe nearly ripped a paper when her hand slipped in shock and she turned to Beca, looking at her with her insanely blue eyes. A smile split her face in half and Beca’s heart started racing. 

 

“Really?”

 

“Yeah. So you wanna go with me?” 

 

As she expected, Chloe practically leaped in the air, papers flying everywhere as she hopped over the couch and flung her arms around Beca. “Oh em aca-gee, yes!” 

 

The brunette didn’t flinch, now used to Chloe’s infamous hugs and she let herself sink into the gingers arms with a smile. They stayed like that for a moment before Chloe pulled away, bouncing from foot to foot with excitement.

 

“What should I wear? Is there a dress code? How far away is it? Are we gonna drive there? This is so exciting, I love weddings! A summer wedding! God, it’s so romantic.”

 

Beca interrupted Chloe’s rambling with a snort. “Jeez what is this, 21 questions? Chill out, dude. It’s in three months.”

 

The redhead rolled her eyes, slapping her forearm playfully. “Ugh, I know you think you’re too cool for feelings but I happen to love weddings. This is going to be super fun,” she said, clapping her hands before cringing when she remembered Jake was sleeping. 

 

Beca grabbed her hands without thinking about it. “Be quiet. I don’t want him to wake up, he was so hyper.”

 

Chloe kept their hands entwined and sank her teeth into her lower lip. 

 

“Thanks for inviting me.”

 

“Who else would I invite? You’re like, the only person I talk to,” Beca said, hating herself for not being able to say what she wanted to say. That even if she had more friends, she wouldn’t ask anyone else because Chloe was her best friend, the person she trusted the most. 

 

Chloe didn’t seem to mind, though. Like she could understand what Beca was thinking, she squeezed her hands before dragging her to the couch so she could sit down. 

 

“I have about 10 minutes left of this, afterwards we can watch something?”

 

“Sure, yeah.”

 

She cleaned up the toys all over the floor as Chloe worked and they both hummed to the song playing together, glancing at the other from time to time with a smile. After 10 minutes, Chloe took out her phone and smiled at the text she got. Beca raised an eyebrow, curious. 

 

“Some hot date?”

 

“Hm?” Chloe looked up and frowned. “No. Just my parents. They told me they’re excited to see me in a few weeks. I miss them so much. I haven’t seen them since l moved here.”

 

“That’s sweet.”

 

“It is,” Chloe said, typing out a quick text and gathering all the papers now that she was done. She moved her glasses to the top of her head when Beca sat next to her and Beca had to admit she already missed them on her face.  “What about you? What’s Jake going to do?”

 

“Don’t know yet. I convinced my boss to make me work from home, though, so I’ll get to stay with him. We might go to Seattle, I’m not sure.”

 

“You get so many free passes with your boss,” Chloe noted with a chuckle.

“Yeah,” Beca exhaled. “I’m not sure why.” 

 

“Because you’re like, the best music producer that has ever lived maybe?” the redhead said with a smile, nudging Beca with her foot and keeping her legs on top of her lap. 

 

“Yeah, right,” Beca said, her hands absentmindedly moving to hold onto Chloe’s ankles. “You’ve only heard what I did on Snoop Dog’s album and about 15 other people worked on that.”

 

“Okay then show me something you worked on alone.”

 

“What?”

 

Chloe looked at her expectantly. “Show me one of your mixes. I’ve been dying to hear one but I know you’re personal about that stuff so I didn’t ask.”

 

“Really?” Beca said, almost surprised. She didn’t know Chloe was even that interested in her work.   

 

“Totes!”

 

Beca fought through the nervousness and shrugged. Without taking off Chloe’s legs from her lap, she reached over to grab her laptop from the coffee table and opened up the program that she used. She motioned to Chloe to put on her headphones and slid her laptop so Chloe could look at the screen. Taking a breath, she hesitated to press play on the mix that she was working on at the moment for personal pleasure. 

 

“Becs, you already know I'm going to love it,” Chloe reassured as though she could sense Beca’s insecurity and Beca let herself believe the words and clicked play. 

 

Instantly a smile spread on Chloe’s face and much to Beca’s dismay, she kept eye contact the whole time she was listening. She made comments here and there, excited about the fact that Beca was singing and that she loved it. 

 

By the time the song finished, Beca had never seen someone look so excited about her work and she didn’t have time to ask Chloe what she thought about it before the teacher spoke up. 

 

“Play another one!” 

 

She ended up explaining everything to her friend who looked absolutely delighted the whole time. She told her all about how she chooses the song and what she does to make the beats match. Beca showed her a couple of the mixes that she made with Jake too that were absolutely horrendous to the ear but Chloe had a smile on the entire time she listened to them. 

 

“You’re incredible, Becs,” she said after Beca finally closed the laptop over an hour later. 

 

“Well it’s my job so--”

 

“And you’re incredible at it. I love it.”

 

Her cheeks turned crimson and she looked straight in Chloe’s eyes. “Thanks, Chlo. That means a lot.”

 

Chloe bit her lip and there was a moment of silence. They both stared at each other’s faces, Beca’s eyes subconsciously dropping to Chloe’s lips when the latter licked them and she swallowed with difficulty. A yawn suddenly overcame her and she broke eye contact and covered her mouth. The teacher chuckled. 

 

“I’m tired too. Let’s go to bed.”

 

Beca didn’t have the strength to argue with that so she let Chloe get ready in the bathroom while she prepared her room for them. Chloe had slept over a few other times since the first time and for some reason, Beca didn’t find it as weird as she should. The only person she could really handle sleeping next to had always been Jake. Even before, she never felt comfortable sleeping with a partner. It just felt too crowded. Except with Chloe, it felt normal to have her crawl into the covers next to her and to listen to their breaths sync. 

 

Her heartbeat calmed down when Chloe murmured a sleepy goodnight to her and the brunette fell asleep easily listening to the crickets outside. 

 

--------------------

 

A few hours later, Beca woke with a start. She was freezing cold even with the body next to her and she felt as though her bladder was going to burst. As quietly as possible, she slipped out of Chloe’s embrace, sliding out of bed and tiptoeing down the hall so that she could go to the bathroom which was at the other side of the apartment.

 

Half-asleep, she listened to the loud crickets outside as she went about her business. For some reason, it was really chilly in the apartment and she shivered when the cold water of the faucet hit her hands and she quickly turned the knob to get some hot water. She was already impatient to get back under the covers and into Chloe’s warm embrace. 

 

Beca didn’t know how but the woman’s hands were always warm which brought her to complain about how Beca’s hands always felt like ice. She’d roll her eyes and take Beca’s hands between hers and hold them until they felt warm again. 

 

After washing her hands, she trailed back to her bedroom. She stopped in her tracks when she heard Chloe’s voice whispering softly behind the door, alongside the sniffles of her son. Every part of her body was telling her to go in there and comfort Jake, but she fought her motherly urges to figure out what was wrong without startling the two because it could scare Jake. 

 

To occupy herself, she quietly went through the cupboard in the hall in search of a blanket to warm herself up. She stashed them right next to her room and she convinced herself that listening in was less weird if she had a purpose.

 

“They’re not real, Jakey,” she heard Chloe whisper and the sound of her son’s nickname in the redhead's sweet voice was enough to tug on her heartstrings, much like everything else Chloe did.

 

“How do you know?” her son said after sniffling.

 

“I just do. You’re absolutely safe here. You have your Mommy and me to protect you. Nothing can hurt you if we’re here.”

 

“I’m scared, Chloe.”

 

“It’s normal to feel a little bit scared, but you’re safe now. I’ve got you.”

 

“What if the bad guys get me?”

 

“Well, they’re gonna have to go through me first,” Chloe said in a reassuring tone and Beca appreciated how seriously she was taking this to make Jake feel better. 

 

“But they were so big and scary!”

 

“Yeah but they have nothing on you and I, you know why? Cause we have love here. A whole lot of it.”

 

“Love?”

 

“Yep. And love is stronger than all of the bad guys in the world. Love conquers all, do you know what that means?”

 

Jake didn’t respond so Beca assumed he had shaken his head.

 

“Love is the strongest feeling, it’s when you want to be around someone all of the time, you care about them and you do things for them to make them feel happy.” 

 

“Like you and Mommy?”

 

Beca’s eyes widened slightly, gripping tightly onto the blanket as she anticipated Chloe’s response.

 

“I guess so. I would say that I do love both you and your mom very much, and that is why you’re safe from the bad guys. There is so much love in this house that nobody will hurt you here.” 

 

“You promise?”

 

“I pinky promise.”

 

Beca’s heart exploded. She couldn’t take anymore of this, knowing she would absolutely cry if she heard anything else so she re-entered the room, blanket in hand.

 

She was taken back to a few months ago when she visited Chloe’s apartment for the first time at the sight. Jake was cuddled up to Chloe, this time awake, consciously taking shelter in the redhead’s arms as the latter rested against the headboard. He had curled into her side like a puppy, his head resting on her chest, one thumb in his mouth and the other absentmindedly stroking Chloe’s locks. Chloe stared down at him, placing gentle kisses on top of his head as she ran her hand protectively over his back, drawing gentle patterns. 

 

“Hey, you okay kiddo?” Beca said softly as she walked towards the bed and Jake nodded, not moving away from Chloe.

 

“I had a nightmare, Mommy,” he answered around his thumb and Beca got under the covers next to the pair. “But Chloe said you and her will help me.”

 

“Always, Jakey. I’ll always protect you,” she said, moving to kiss his damp cheek. He smiled softly at her and took the thumb out of his mouth to grab his mother’s face. She felt the wet finger on her cheek and cringed, glancing at Chloe who chuckled when she caught Beca’s reaction.

 

“They were chasing after me,” he explained and Beca pouted a little. 

 

“Well I bet you were faster than them, right? My little superhero.”

 

He seemed to light up at his mother’s statement, like he just remembered he was in fact a superhero.

 

“Yep.”

 

“Good job, buddy,” Beca encouraged him and he yawned, lifting his hands in the air and hitting Chloe’s chin in the process.

 

“Can I sleep here?” he mumbled in a quiet voice. “I don’t want the bad guys to get me in my room.”

 

Before the brunette could even answer, Chloe spoke up. “Of course, sweetie.”

 

Beca shifted so she could put the blanket on the three of them on top of the covers while Chloe helped Jake move to the middle of the bed so he could lay between the two adults. It was quiet for a moment until her boy spoke up again. 

 

“Can you sing something?” he said to no one in particular and Beca glanced at Chloe who was laying on her side, one hand stroking Jake’s curls. 

 

Chloe made eye contact with Beca and she opened her mouth, the chorus of Torn coming out of her lips gently in the dead of the night. Beca smiled, joining in after to harmonize with Chloe and the two of them sang softly until Jake closed his eyes and she felt his body relax. 

 

“Thanks,” he mumbled when they stopped singing. 

 

“I got you, bud,” Beca said, kissing his temple. “Mom and Jake.”

 

“Jake, Mom and Chloe,” he replied and then stuck his thumb back in his mouth, evidently done with the conversation and ready to go back to sleep even though the two women next to him now felt wide awake. 

 

Beca’s brows were to her hairline and she propped herself up so she could look over at Chloe who was looking at Jake like he had just grown a second head. 

 

“Did he…”

 

Beca’s mouth was too dry to answer the question properly so she simply nodded, confirming to Chloe that they both did in fact hear Jake say those words. Mom and Jake had been their thing since he first learned how to talk. It was basically their secret language; it told them that whatever was happening, they were in this together. 

 

It represented that it had always been just the two of them but they didn’t mind it because they were better that way, they were stronger together. 

 

It should have felt a lot weirder to have someone come into their life and shatter their routine, flipping it upside down. Beca, much like her son, was not good with change and when Chloe entered her life, she was surprised by how easy she let her slot into their routine. It had been harder for Jake but it was obvious now that he trusted Chloe as if she had always been in their lives.

 

Because that’s the way it felt. 

 

Like Chloe had always been there. She knew exactly how to talk and play with Jake and she broke down Beca’s walls easily, inserting herself into their home as a loving and comforting presence. 

 

Not only was Chloe a constant in Beca’s life, she was also a constant in Jake’s. He now considered her an important part of his life, enough for him to utter the words that indicated he trusted her to protect him from the rest of the world. 

 

Chloe and Beca looked at each other and they both knew there was nothing they had to say. They felt Jake’s words float around them, protecting them from the bad guys that had invaded his dream moments before. Beca laid back down, no longer cold but warm with the feeling of love surrounding her. 

 

Finding peace with the knowledge that she wasn’t alone.

 

Chapter Text

They were late. 

 

Obviously they were late. 

 

They were supposed to be leaving for the airport in five minutes to catch their plane to Seattle for Jake’s week off but obviously everything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong. 

 

First they had woken up late because Jake had messed with Beca’s alarm clock again as a “joke”. Then, she had rushed to make him breakfast and  ended up burning his toast and he screamed until she gave him more that wasn’t burnt. While he ate, she had finished packing her suitcase because she had procrastinated to the very last minute and she was now rushing to make sure she didn’t forget anything. Beca was sure that packing to go away for a week with Jake took longer than packing to move to a whole new state when she was 18.

 

Now, they were turning the apartment upside down trying to find Petey, his stuffed lion because it wasn’t in his bag and seemingly, not anywhere in the apartment either since they had been looking for it for 15 minutes now. Jake was whining loudly, tears streaming out of his eyes as he looked for it in his room and Beca tried to take deep breaths, looking everywhere else. 

 

“Mommy!” she heard him shout from his room.

 

“Yeah? Do you have him?”

 

“No! Where is he? Do you think Sharky ate him?”

 

“Of course not, Jake. We’ll find him.”

 

She had her head in the cabinet under the sink when she heard a key in the lock and she pulled away just in time to see Chloe enter her apartment with ease. The redhead’s eyes settled on her easily and stifled a laugh when she noticed Beca on her knees.

 

Chloe had graciously offered to take them to the airport this morning since her flight to Portland wasn’t until tomorrow and Beca had accepted, just glad she wasn’t going to have to pay for an Uber. 

 

“Good morning.”

 

“We can’t find Petey,” Beca offered as a greeting. 

 

“Did you check behind the couch?” Chloe said, setting her purse and keys somewhere so she could help out. 

 

“Duh.”

 

Chloe hummed, disappearing into the hallway to check another room. Beca went back to her task and checked about every cabinet in the kitchen, making sure the lion wasn’t hiding behind a box of cereal. At one point, she heard Jake loudly explain the intense situation they were in to Chloe and the latter had told him that they were going to find Petey and not to worry.

 

About 10 minutes after they were supposed to leave, Beca found Jake’s stuffed animal behind the TV set. She didn’t even want to know how he ended up there, she was just glad she had found him. 

 

“I got him!”

 

She heard little feet hit the floor and Jake appeared, instantly diving to hug his beloved stuffie. She wiped his damp cheeks and took a breath as Chloe calmly walked back to the living area. 

 

“You ready to go, Mitchells?”

 

“Yeah,” Beca answered, looking around to make sure all the bags were there. God forbid they leave anything behind, she couldn’t handle another week of tantrums like the time they forgot a specific single piece of lego that Jake apparently absolutely needed with him in Seattle.  

 

They finally headed out of the apartment after one last spot check to make sure she didn’t leave anything behind since she was going to be gone a week. Beca buckled Jake in his car seat and got in the driver’s seat since she could drive on the way there and just have Chloe drive her car on the way back. 

 

“Chloe.”

 

“Yeah, Jake?”

 

“Chloe.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Chloe.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Chloe, I think you’re really gonna like Grandma.”

 

Beca sighed, keeping her focus on the road as she felt the redhead’s confused eyes on her. “He’s been confused about this whole thing. He keeps asking me if you’re coming and I think it doesn’t really help that you’re in the car with us right now.”

 

“Oh,” she said and then looked at the backseat. “Jake, bud, I’m not coming with you guys.”

 

“Why? You don’t wanna see Grandma?”

 

Chloe chuckled. “Oh believe me I definitely want to meet your grandmother. I have a lot of questions to ask her.” Beca glanced to her right, nudging the woman on the shoulder playfully and Chloe grinned at her before continuing.  “But I can’t.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I’m going to see my family too.”

 

“You have a family?”

 

“Yup. Just like you. I’m leaving tomorrow to go see my parents in Portland.”

 

Jake pouted a little, trying to understand why Chloe wasn’t coming with them. 

 

“But you should come with us.”

 

“Maybe next time, okay?”

 

Beca chewed on the inside of her cheek, listening to the conversation. She wondered if the redhead only said that to make Jake feel better or she did really want to fly to Seattle at some point. That’d be crazy, right?

 

“So, you excited?” Beca asked after a moment. 

 

“So excited. I miss them so much.”

 

“You’re close to them?”

 

“Always have been. It’s been hard to be away from them for so long. When I lived in Portland, we tried to see each other at least twice a month.”

 

Beca had never been close to her family. She had a good relationship with her mom sure, but leaving at 18 hadn’t been overly hard. She liked being on her own more anyway. And her father well, he was an asshole and she didn’t miss in the slightest. But she could understand that for someone as close to her family as Chloe, it must be hard. 

 

She just wasn’t somebody that missed other people. 

 

“Any fun activities planned?”

 

“Nope. Probably just gonna hang around the house. Might visit one of my brothers and get drunk. You?”

 

“No idea. Maybe my mom planned something for Jake. I just need to make sure I need to work enough so that I’m not fired when I come back.”

 

“As if he’d fire you.” 

 

Dua Lipa had started working with them a week ago and even though Beca was definitely a fan, she had handled it professionally. She was excited about this album and she knew it was kind of a dick move to leave right after starting a contract with a pretty big artist so she wanted to make sure Allen knew he could still count on her to deliver even when she was working from home.  

 

“You’re gonna text us, right? Jake might go insane if he doesn’t hear from his favorite teacher for a full week.”

 

Chloe chuckled. “Well I think it’s not fair to say I’m his favorite teacher when I’m pretty much the first one he ever got.”

 

“Hey, there was Miss Sophie.”

 

“Right. For two weeks?”

 

“Still.”

 

“Of course I’ll text you. We could even Facetime or something.”

 

Beca smiled, taking a second to look at the redhead. “Yeah that’d be nice,” she swallowed and then pointed behind her. “For Jake, obviously.”

 

“Yeah. For Jake,” Chloe said, with a smile on the corner of her mouth like she could see right through Beca. 

 

They made it to the airport where Jake had forgotten all over again that Chloe wasn’t coming with them and they had to explain it to him again. They promised to Facetime at least once and they gave each other their goodbyes, Jake receiving a kiss on the head from Chloe and Beca getting a two minute long hug and then, they parted ways. 

 

Beca had to admit she kind of understood where Jake was coming from. They had become weirdly accustomed to Chloe being in their lives and Beca wondered what it would be like to be in two different states. 

 

It wasn’t like her to be this dramatic about this kind of thing. It was only a week, she’d survive for fuck’s sake. 

 

With one last wave at the redhead, Beca grabbed her and Jake’s suitcase and walked away, making sure her son stayed close to her.

 

Getting through airport security was going fine until Jake found out that he had to put Petey on the conveyor belt to be scanned, cue a huge tantrum that even had the security guards cringing. Beca had to sit on the floor beside her son, visibly embarrassed, and explain to Jake that Petey needed an X-ray to make sure he was okay. It seemed to work but Jake sniffled for the rest of the walk. 

 

When she got through all the security and finally sat down at their gate, she checked her phone and bit her lip when she saw a text from Chloe.

 

Chloe - 9:37

I’ll miss you too

 

Beca - 10:24

I don’t recall saying it first?

 

Chloe - 10:26

I know. But I also know you’re too much of an idiot to admit you love me and you’re gonna miss me so I’m pretending that you said it ;) 

 

She breathed out a laugh, liking the way Chloe seemed to know her by now and still didn’t judge her for her occasional awkwardness. She closed her phone, ruffled her son’s hair and let her eyes rest a little before the flight. 

 

-------------------

 

Being at her mother’s was easy and she always appreciated the extra help that she got whenever she went home. She settled into an easy routine of working in the morning, hanging out with Jake and her mom during the afternoon and then working for a couple more hours after he went to bed. 

 

Jake was having the time of his life on this vacation and he loved his grandmother more than anything. She made him waffles and eggs every morning and played with him all day but she could tell he still didn’t quite understand why Chloe wasn’t with them by the amount of times he brought her up. 

 

Her mother seemed pretty shocked when he told her Chloe often spent the night, which led to a very awkward Beca explaining that the teacher did hang out at their apartment an awful lot. It wasn’t the norm and she was aware but she couldn’t really afford to care that much. 

 

When she hung out with Chloe, she didn’t think about the fact that Jake believing that it was normal for his teacher to hang out at his home may be weird. They were too busy having fun. 

 

For the past three nights, he had asked her if Chloe was coming over soon and all she could say was “soon, bud” and hope that it didn’t lead to a breakdown. It was their fourth day in Seattle and they had mostly stayed around the house the whole time, just relaxing which was honestly a nice break. 

 

They were in the middle of lunch after Beca had worked all morning on the same 17 seconds of a particular song on loop. She had nearly pulled all her hair out in frustration and she definitely needed a distraction. 

 

“You guys wanna do something today?” 

 

“Let’s go to the museum,” April answered and Jake’s eyes went wide. 

 

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” he chanted, banging his fists on the table. 

 

“We have the Children’s Museum near here, remember honey?”

 

“Oh yeah,” Beca said, munching on a carrot. “That’s actually a really good idea. Let's go there.”

 

“Yay!” Jake exclaimed loudly and the two women chuckled at him, a smile on their faces. 

 

Beca had gone to the museum once when she was younger for one of her cousin’s birthdays and it really was a fun place so there was no doubt Jake was going to like it. They finished lunch quickly and got ready for their afternoon out. 

 

After Beca had changed out of her sweatpants and dressed appropriately, she took her baseball cap that Chloe had bought her and put it on her head. She would have never bought something like that for herself because the sunglasses on the penguin were pretty embarrassing but Beca was stupidly attached to Steve the gay penguin now. 

 

When their mother paid for their tickets, it suddenly hit Beca that this was the exact same kind of activity she did with Chloe and Jake. It almost seemed weird to not have the redhead by her side, complaining that Beca was paying for her. She looked at the empty space next to her mother with a corner of her mouth curled up, imagining how excited Chloe would be to be here. She was always just as excited as her boy in those kinds of places and it was the sweetest thing ever to see her and Jake running around together, their giggles echoing around the room. 

 

It was embarrassing, but also very endearing. 

 

“You okay, sweetie?” her mom said, snapping her back to reality and Beca blinked.

 

“Huh? Oh yeah. Sorry, just got lost in thought.”

 

April narrowed her eyes at her but she didn’t have time to inspect it further because the woman at the register handed her her receipt and they were ready to start discovering the museum. 

 

The place had changed a lot since she had come here the first time, all kinds of new exhibits that she had never seen before for the children to explore. It looked modern and Jake’s steel blue eyes were completely wide so he could look at everything the best he could. He had that twinkle in his eyes that made Beca’s heart squeeze and she took his hand. 

 

“Alright, little man. Like always, if Chl--Grandma or Mommy can’t see you, what does that mean?”

 

He looked up at her and scrunched his nose, trying to figure out what his mother wanted him to say. He smiled when he remembered.

“I’m too far?”

 

“That’s right,” Beca said proudly. “Now where do you wanna go first? Bijou dream or construction zone?”

 

"Construction zone!” he exclaimed.

 

The three of them together headed towards the construction zone where Jake was more happy to put on the orange jacket and the yellow hat. Beca could almost imagine Chloe putting on the hard hat and kneeling next to him so she could help him out and Beca felt her heart tug once again. 

 

She looked to her right where her mother was looking at Jake with a smile. It felt weird that for someone who usually didn’t miss anyone, she noticed Chloe’s absence so much. She had been more than fine leaving her house at 18 and most of the time, she didn’t miss her mother that much but it had been 4 days of being in a different state than Chloe and she missed her like crazy. 

 

Beca figured it was just because this kind of activity screamed Chloe and it was weird to not have her there for that kind of thing. 

 

She snapped a picture of Jake working on a piece of wood and sent it to Chloe, captioning it “he’s hard at work.” She waited a couple of minutes but the woman didn’t reply so she put her phone back in her pocket, ignoring her mother’s stare on her.

 

They explored more exhibits, Jake trying on every costume he could. She could tell he was having a blast and just seeing him this happy made Beca happy. They passed the Discovery Bay that was basically all about the ocean pretty quickly because it was for 3 and under but just seeing all those fish reminded Beca of the aquarium and she subconsciously adjusted the cap on her head, remembering the day with a small smile. 

 

Chloe - 14:06

Ahh!! He looks ADORABLE. A little working man! Wish I was there xx

 

Beca stared at the text and chewed on her bottom lip. It was stupid and she was mad at herself for thinking it but it almost felt weird to look to the woman on her side and seeing her mother and not Chloe. 

 

The teacher was the person that made Jake and Beca do something during weekends because before the woman came into their lives, all they did was play around inside. Now they went to the park and went out for coffees and they had gone to the zoo and the aquarium. The Seattle Children’s Museum was just very Chloe-esque and she would have loved hanging out with Jake there. 

 

An hour later, Beca carefully removed the lid from her black coffee, blowing on the steaming drink as her eyes followed Jake who was running around in a postman outfit with several other children. He seemed to really be enjoying the roleplay areas of the museum and any instance in which he’s willingly playing with other kids was promising to Beca. So she figured she wouldn’t make them leave that section until he was ready, instead buying them drinks to pass the time. 

 

They were stationed nearby enough to keep an eye on the boy while he played, yet away from the chaos in order to have their own conversation.

 

“Bec,” April’s voice shook Beca from her thoughts. 

 

She had been called Bec a trillion times in her life and it had never stood out for her, everyone called her that. She had noticed right away that Chloe called her Becs instead of Bec like everyone else and the music producer liked that. She liked that Chloe was different. 

 

She looked towards her mother expectantly as she stirred her coffee, occasionally glancing over to Jake.

 

“You’re quiet,” April stated simply, eyeing Beca up as though to analyse what her daughter was thinking.

 

“I’m always quiet.”

 

Her mother scoffed. “I know but you’ve been deep in thought all afternoon. Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine. Seriously. My mom alarm is just going off like crazy today with him darting around like that,” the brunette replied, shrugging off the comment as though it was nothing but April persisted.

 

“Rebeca Mitchell do not lie to me. I have known you for twenty eight years, you do not fool me,” she said sternly before her face softened much like Beca’s whenever Jake was upset. “I’m starting to think you can see ghosts and you didn’t tell me.”

 

“Wh-- Why?”

 

“You keep staring off into space like there’s someone there I can’t see.” 

 

Beca internally kicked herself. She should’ve known her mom would figure it out, she always seemed to know what the producer was thinking. Ever since she was tiny, April would always immediately pick up on a low mood and they would speak about it, one trait which Beca happily adopted for Jake. This time was different though, she really didn't feel like telling her mom what was going on inside her head.

 

“I’m gonna go check on Jake,” Beca tried to say but April spoke before she even had the chance to get up.

 

“You always use that same exact excuse to back out of a conversation, you know that right?” She asked, raising her eyebrow in the exact same way Beca does. “God, you’re so much like your father.”

 

Beca cringed. “Ew. Don’t say that.”

 

“I’m sorry but it’s true! You never want to talk about what you’re thinking, it drove me crazy with your father and it drives me crazy with you.”

 

“Sorry,” the younger woman mumbled, observing the coffee in her hands like it was the most fascinating thing she had ever seen. 

 

“So what’s on your mind?”

 

Beca didn’t even know how to respond, looking over at Jake as she wracked her brain for a way to explain without sounding like a complete idiot.

 

“I think Jake may have gotten used to having Chloe around for these kinds of activities or whatever.”

 

April leaned back, crossing a leg over the other. “Hm. Chloe. I seem to hear that name quite a lot.”

 

“I guess,” Beca shrugged. “He’s gotten so used to spending time with her, she’d usually be with us on days out like this. I know he loves being here in Seattle but he really misses her.” 

 

She was aware that it didn’t take much thinking to realise it definitely wasn't Jake who was missing the redhead.

 

“Days out? Does she take the kids on trips?” April asked, and Beca caved, knowing she was going to have to tell her mom at some point that she was thinking of Chloe playing with Jake here right now.

 

“No. She’s like… basically this crazy person that somehow has energy to do stuff all the time and she took me and Jake to the zoo and we also went to the aquarium once. So I guess it feels like she should be here with us today.”

 

April looked at her and Beca could not figure out what she was thinking for the life of her. Finally, she hummed. “I thought you guys hung out every once in a while, I didn’t understand it was that serious.”

 

Beca swallowed with difficulty, not sure why the word “serious” made her react like that.

 

“She’s um, she’s really great. We like hanging out with her a lot,” Beca said awkwardly. “And she’s a great help with Jake, I mean, she brings him home when I have to work late, she’s basically a lifesaver.” 

 

“That’s… nice, Bec. It’s great that he likes her, although is that not a little bit, you know, illegal?” April asked and Beca could tell she was trying to be careful with her words.

 

“We’ve discussed it, everything is fine,” she said, maybe a little too firmly. April arched an eyebrow and then chuckled. 

 

“I think you might be missing her just as much as Jake.”

 

Beca looked at her mother without responding. She did miss Chloe which was absolutely pathetic because it hadn’t even been a week and Beca wasn’t sappy like that. She guessed she had just settled into a nice routine over the past three months and to go from seeing her everyday at school to not at all shook Beca a little like it shook Jake. 

 

“Fine, I miss her too. Whatever.” She muttered, her tone dripping with teen angst which she apparently never managed to grow out of. 

 

Before April could even respond, she got up and chased after Jake who was now throwing parcels at the other children. Usually she would be mad at his behaviour, but anything that excuses her from discussing feelings was good enough for her.

 

She got a picture of Jake in every single outfit he could’ve tried on and she was already pretty excited to show Chloe all of them as soon as they saw each other. 

 

--------------------

 

Two more days passed and it was Friday, the day before Beca and Jake would fly home. 

It was getting late and Jake had spent basically all day outside, running around burning off his energy to the point of exhaustion. They had brushed their teeth together and now he was cuddled up beside Beca, thumb in his mouth as she flicked through one of the comic books they had brought for bedtime. 

 

“Spider-Man! Help!” she said in a higher pitch to mimic the woman in danger from the comic. She was about to speak again when she was interrupted by her phone ringing. 

 

When she saw Chloe’s name she broke out into a face splitting grin, showing Jake who was calling her on Facetime. He realised it was the redhead by the sweet picture Beca had set as her contact photo, Jake on Chloe’s back and both of them sticking their tongues out at the camera.

 

As soon as she answered the call, Chloe’s face popped up on screen followed by a squeal which erupted through the speaker. “Hello my favourite little people!” she shouted excitedly.

 

“Watch it,” Beca shot back with a fake scowl as Jake tried to paw Chloe on the screen.

 

“Not my fault you’re like 5’2,” Chloe retorted with an eye roll. Usually, any comments bashing her height would have put Beca into a state of frustration that would last the rest of the day, but she knew Chloe was just messing with her. “How’s the big Mitchell?” she said, clearly referring to Jake. 

 

Jake let out a bellowing laugh, beaming from ear to ear at the comment, any trace of tiredness having left as soon as Chloe had called. Beca knew it could take pretty long to get him back into a calm sleeping mode but she had missed Chloe’s smile too much to bring herself to care.

 

“Chloe, me and Mommy and Grandma went to the museum! I played with the bricks and the hammer and the boxes and the letters and I dressed up lots!” Jake exclaimed excitedly as he clambered on Beca so he could be as close to her phone as possible. Chloe laughed as he grinned centimetres away from the screen, the only thing she could see was his nose and his mouth. 

 

“That sounds super fun!”

 

He nodded and let his mother pull him back a little so he wasn’t so close. “I wish you played with me.”

 

“Aw me too, Jakey. But we’ll play together when we come back home.”

 

“Are you playing where you are?”

 

“A little,” she said with a smile. “I’m having fun with my mom and dad. Are you having fun?”

 

Beca managed to scoot over so that Jake was no longer perched on top of her chest, moving her phone so Chloe could see both of their faces.

 

“We’re having lots of fun with Grandma, aren’t we?” she asked her son and he nodded, still staring at the phone as if trying to figure out why he could see and hear Chloe but not touch her.

 

“You missing LA?” Chloe asked in order to start conversation with Beca.

 

“Missing my bed mostly. There’s only so many mornings you can cope waking up with an action figure digging into your side. Jake is not exactly the best sleeping buddy,” the brunette joked in response, shifting the camera so Chloe could see Jake who had now gotten bored trying to understand FaceTime and was instead arranging ten action men on the bed into sleeping positions.

 

“So, who is the best sleeping buddy?” Chloe joked with a wink that immediately made Beca blush a shade of pink.

 

“Well it’s between a plastic leg in the eye or limbs wrapped around me so tight I can’t move so honestly I don’t know which one to choose.”

 

Chloe let out a belly laugh and Beca smiled at her, proud that she made her laugh. Even over FaceTime Chloe’s joy was contagious.

 

“I know you love my cuddles, Becs. Don’t deny it.”

 

“What have you been up to?” the music producer asked to change the subject. Chloe hummed, setting her phone down and Beca watched as she applied lip gloss in the mirror.

 

“Just the usual stuff really. Spending time with my parents, shopping- My brothers came down earlier today and we’re going out soon for drinks. I feel like I haven't seen them in forever.” she explained, picking her phone back up as soon as she was finished with her makeup. 

 

“That’s cool.”

 

“Yeah. It’s like the first time we’re all single at the same time so we might try to be each other’s wingmen,” she said with a wink and Beca glanced at Jake even though there was no way he could’ve understood that. 

 

“Fun for you,” Beca answered, once again realizing how different life for people that didn’t have kids was. Even if Chloe hung out with them a lot, she could still go out to bars and get drunk, sleep with a stranger without consequences. 

 

Not that Beca was that into one night stands anyway but it still sucked sometimes she didn’t even have the option. 

 

“How’s work?”

 

“Oh it’s good. I sent a sample to Allen yesterday and he said I was heading in the right direction.”

 

“That’s great! You should totally make a playlist or something of all your mixes.”

 

“Why?”

 

“So I can listen to them. Duh,” Chloe said and then checked her watch. “I should go. I’m heading out in like, ten minutes.”

 

“Oh yeah, okay.”

 

“This ginger needs her jiggle juice,” she winked at Beca and the latter released a breath. 

 

“Right. Make good choices, weirdo.”

 

“Mhm, we’ll see. Alright, I’m going. Miss you, bye!” Chloe said, blowing a kiss at the screen before hanging up. Beca went onto her messages, typing a quick reply. 

 

Beca - 8:09

Miss you too, I guess

 

Chloe - 8:10

<3

 

She rested her phone on the table before getting comfy beside Jake, who had drifted off mid conversation with one thumb in his mouth and the other hand gripping an Ant-Man figurine tightly. A miracle after how excited he had been less than ten minutes ago. 

 

Speaking to Chloe had taken a weight off Beca’s shoulders that she didn’t even know was there, and she felt much calmer after hearing the redhead’s voice. She went to sleep pretty quickly, a slight smile on her face as Chloe’s laugh echoed in her mind. 

 

She felt content.

 

Chapter Text

Beca stared out of the plane window, thinking about the last words her mother had said to her. 

 

“As long as you and Jake are happy, I’m happy.”

 

She was happy. As she looked at Jake swinging his feet on the seat while watching something on Netflix, she thought he was happy too. 

 

“Hey,” she said, pulling his headphones down and he looked at her, confused as to why she would dare disturb him right now. “Are you happy?”

 

He scrunched his nose as though he needed to think deeply about this answer even though his understanding of the words happy and sad were pretty literal. Happy was when you were smiling and sad was when you were crying.

 

“Yes,” he said after a moment with a toothy grin. “Are you happy, Mommy?” 

 

“I am,” she said softly, reaching over to smooth his curls. “Are you excited to go back home?”

 

“I’m gonna miss Grandma but I like home. I miss Sharky.”

 

She laughed, envying how simple life was for him. 

 

“I like home too.”

 

“I start school again soon,” he explained to his mom as if she didn’t know. “School is where Chloe is Miss Beale but at home Miss Beale is Chloe.”

 

Beca chuckled. “Yeah. Is that confusing?”

 

He shrugged. “Dunno. Sometimes I call her Chloe in class and she makes me call her Miss Beale but she’s not mad at me.”

 

“Chloe’s never mad at you,” Beca assured him. 

 

It was true. Somehow, even when he was the brattiest little boy and threw a tantrum for the weirdest things and Beca was about to yell at him, Chloe always seemed calm. The teacher just wasn’t someone that got angry. She was pretty sure the girl was incapable of yelling.

 

“I know. I like Chloe.”

 

“I like her too,” Beca said with a smile and then cleared her throat. “Do you think she’s here too often?”

 

“Here?”

 

“Like, at home. Do you wish you only saw her at school sometimes?”

 

“No. She plays with me and watches Spider-Man with me at home. She can’t play with me at school.”

 

Beca laughed and nodded. “Good point, little dude.”

 

He pulled his headphones back on his ears and the brunette figured her son was done with the conversation. She released a breath and closed her eyes, hoping to sleep a little because Jake had woken her up at 5:10 this morning and she was exhausted. 

 

Chloe’s flight was arriving pretty late at night so they agreed to meet tomorrow at her apartment. It was kind of pathetic to need to make plans as soon as they could after they landed but Jake was probably gonna be very excited to see her again and they couldn’t afford to have him have that moment at school.

 

It was for Jake that they were doing this. Of course it was for him. 

 

---------------

 

Beca could feel her heart racing as she bent down to tie Jake’s shoelace, stood just outside Chloe’s apartment. She had missed the redhead over their week in Seattle, yet for some reason was so nervous to see her again. 

 

It was starting to get really hot again in LA much to Beca’s dismay. Yesterday, Beca had let her son color in most of her tattoos on her sleeve and she wished she could have worn a long sleeve today to hide all of it but it was too hot. Whatever, the praying mantis on her wrist was prettier in violet according to Jake.

 

Taking a deep breath she rang the doorbell, holding Jake’s hand tightly.

 

Pretty much instantaneously, the door swung open and Beca was enveloped in a bone crushing hug, Chloe’s familiar squeal ringing in her ears yet again. She needed no convincing to wrap her arms tightly around the redhead, burying her face in her neck as she took in the sweet scent of the woman that was so familiar to her now. 

 

Jake tugged on Beca’s shirt, annoyed at the fact that his mother was getting all the attention that he wanted from Chloe. 

 

“My Mitchells!” Chloe shouted, pulling away from Beca and picking Jake up. She spinned him in circles as the boy squealed delightedly, clinging tightly to Chloe’s arms. She hoisted him onto her hip, kissing the side of his head which made Beca smile softly. “Missed you, Jakey.”

 

Beca arched an eyebrow without saying anything and Chloe laughed. 

 

“I missed you also, Becs.”

 

“We’ve missed you too,” she admitted, vulnerable at the confession and Chloe caught her eyes with a grin. Those twinkling blue eyes that she had missed so much.

 

Beca followed Chloe in where she was met by Stacie and Aubrey sat comfortably on the couch, each cradling a drink. As soon as she entered the room Stacie broke out in a friendly smile, “Hey Beca! It’s been a while.”

 

Beca nodded as Stacie got up, and her eyes shifted to Aubrey who looked as displeased to see her as usual.

 

“Hey Aubrey,” she said politely in an attempt to calm the atmosphere.

 

“Beca,” the blonde replied with a nod.

 

The awkward interaction was interrupted by Stacie shouting “Catch!” and flinging a beer across the room to Beca who barely managed to catch it. “I remembered you like these ones right?”

 

Beca nodded, impressed that the taller woman had even paid any attention to her the last time she was over. “Yeah, thanks. I’m driving tonight so it’ll only have to be the one.”

 

“No problem. It’s Chloe that made sure we bought those ones because she said you drink them at your place.”

 

Beca tried to look at the redhead but by that point, Chloe had set Jake down on the couch and retreated elsewhere in the house so Beca made herself comfortable between the arm of the couch and her son. She could feel how buzzed he was to be here, his body practically vibrating as he bounced on his butt. 

 

“So how was your flight home?” Stacie said and Beca forced herself to reply politely even though she was the worst at small talk. 

 

“It was good. Not too much turbulence so that was nice.”

 

Thankfully, the small talk was cut short by Chloe returning from her room, carrying a huge bag. With a sparkle in her eye, she set it down in front of the two. “I brought gifts!” 

 

Of course she brought gifts. 

 

Without even waiting for the permission, Jake’s eyes lit up and he dove straight into the bag. He pulled out three action men, five comic books and one stuffed animal. Beca’s eyes were already wide by how much stuff Chloe had bought and then Jake dug out an orange jacket and yellow hard hat, almost identical to the ones he was wearing in the photo Beca sent to Chloe from the museum.

 

“He just looked too cute in that picture, I needed to make sure he could dress in that get up again,” Chloe explained when Beca looked at her. 

 

“Dude, you didn’t have to do this.” Beca hissed, immediately feeling guilty for not bringing Chloe anything back from their trip but the woman just grinned.

 

“When I told my parents about Jake, they said I should check out this store they used to buy my brothers their presents at. It’s called Excalibur Comics and it’s like the oldest comic book store in Portland. I found so much stuff, it’s so cool over there.”

 

Beca’s heart tugged at the discovery that Chloe was talking about Jake to her parents. Not only was she talking about him, she was talking about him enough for them to recommend her somewhere to buy him presents and that just made Beca emotional. Way more emotional than she normally was. 

 

“Yeah, but this must have cost you a fortune and-- “

 

“Becs,” Chloe cut her off. “I did it because I wanted to.”

 

Steel blue eyes bore into ocean blue eyes and Beca swallowed. Someone cleared their throat and they both turned to Aubrey who raised an eyebrow at them and then took a sip of her glass of wine. Beca wiped a sweaty hand on her skinny jeans and looked at Jake who was flipping through his comic books with one hand, the other holding a Hulk figurine. 

 

“Hey, what do we say when we receive a gift, bud?”

 

Jake turned to Chloe holding his action man to his chest and beamed. “Thank you, Chloe!” He rushed to her, climbing on her lap and she grimaced when he kneed her in the stomach but she quickly got over it when he wrapped his arms around her neck. 

 

“You’re welcome,” she said happily and Jake gave her a sloppy kiss on the cheek before sitting down on her lap, deciding he didn’t want to move away from her. Chloe rested her chin on the top of his head, making him giggle and she kept one arm around him as she reached over to grab her glass of wine. 

 

Stacie started talking about something that happened at work and Beca sat back, listening to three women talk, only chipping in here and there. She kept her eyes on Jake who had never seemed so comfortable in Chloe’s arms. 

 

She was rubbing his back in a soothing way, interested in what Aubrey was saying but always making sure he liked what she was doing. After a while, it became clear that it was helping him relax and his eyelids became heavy to the point he couldn't keep them open anymore.

 

Beca caught the exact moment he fell into a slumber and before she could stop herself, the words came out of her mouth. “He’s asleep.”

 

Aubrey stopped talking and looked unpleased by the interruption but then they all looked at Jake who was in fact already in deep sleep. He was sucking on the thumb in his mouth and his head was resting against Chloe’s shoulder, looking very cozy. 

 

“He’s so cute,” Stacie cooed and the redhead nodded, her eyes never leaving the boy in her arms. 

 

Then, Chloe seemed to remember something and she looked up at Beca. “I have something for you.”

 

“For me?”

 

“Yeah,” Chloe said, shifting very carefully so she didn’t wake him up. She let his head rest against a cushion of the couch and pointed at Aubrey and Stacie. “Watch him. We’ll just be in my room.”

 

Stacie opened her mouth, a smirk already on her face but Aubrey held up a finger. “No,” she said firmly and the tall brunette immediately shut her mouth. 

 

Beca followed Chloe to her room and sat down on the bed after the redhead instructed her to. She looked around the room, observing the pictures of Chloe with all her friends on the wall until she was told to close her eyes. 

 

She raised an eyebrow but did as she was told because even though she’d refuse if it was anyone else, she trusted Chloe. 

 

“Your colored-in tattoos are really cute by the way.”

 

Beca chuckled without opening her eyes. “Thanks. I’m his very own coloring book.”

 

“That’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard.”

 

The music producer blushed, not knowing what to say. She heard shifting and then Chloe’s voice sounded closer to her.

 

“I didn’t have time to wrap it.”

 

“Dude. You shouldn’t even have gotten me something in the first place.”

 

She felt something flat be pressed on her hands but she didn’t open her eyes, waiting for Chloe to tell her she could. 

 

“Becs, you always get things for Jake but never for yourself. I thought I would treat you to a little something since you deserve it. Open your eyes.”

 

She opened her eyes and was met with a vinyl record. On the cover, she could see two kids sitting on a bench and on the top left corner, she read what she assumed to be the name of the band and the title of the song. 

 

“The Cinematic Orchestra

To Build A Home”

 

Beca didn’t know that song and she wondered why Chloe chose it but she didn't have to wonder long because as soon as she made eye contact with her, the redhead spoke up. 

 

“So bear with me here,” Chloe breathed out. “Do you remember when we ran into each other in November? Well more like when Jake ran into me and I spilled my coffee all over myself?”

 

“Kinda hard to forget.”

 

Chloe smiled. “Well when we went back in the Starbucks, there’s a song that started playing as soon as you sat down. It was this one.”

 

Beca looked at the vinyl and Chloe back and forth, completely speechless. She tried to remember what Chloe was thinking about and she could only vaguely remember Chloe tapping her fingers to the beat of a song Beca didn’t know. 

 

“I’ve always really liked this song,” Chloe continued. “And when I saw it when I was out shopping with my mom, I just remembered hearing it as we talked and--” the redhead shook her head and shrugged. “I don’t know. That was like the moment that we became friends and you know how I am, overly sentimental, so I thought I’d buy it for you.”

 

Beca swallowed through the lump in her throat and smiled, feeling her eyes tear up. She lunged forward, wrapping her arms around Chloe and the girl made a surprised sound before reciprocating the hug. Beca closed her eyes and hid her face in Chloe’s red hair, taking a few deep breaths to calm herself down. 

 

No one had ever done anything like that for her. 

 

“You’re like, my best friend. I hope you know that,” she mumbled into her neck and she felt Chloe shake with laughter. 

 

“I do. You’re my best friend too.” 

 

They stayed wrapped around each other until Beca felt as though she was going to die from how fast her heart was racing. She pulled away and Chloe released a shaky laugh, clearly emotional. 

 

“Thank you. I’ll listen to it as soon as I’m home.”

 

“Tell me what you think.” 

 

“Of course,” Beca said, her eyes on the vinyl. She couldn’t wait to listen to it. 

 

They stayed silent for a moment, both observing the gift Chloe had given her. It was a comfortable silence as they could hear Aubrey and Stacie’s chatter in the other room. Jake was really a deep sleeper, as was Beca before she had him, so she didn’t mind if they talked next to him. 

 

“Um--” Beca said but Chloe spoke up at the same time and interrupted her. 

 

“I slept with my ex.” 

 

“What?” Beca nearly shouted and then repeated the same thing at a lower volume. “What?”

 

Chloe nodded, chewing on her bottom lip. “I slept with my ex,” she said for the second time, her voice quivering. It sounded like she had been waiting to get that off her chest for a while.

 

“Wh-- When? How? Why?” Beca stuttered, trying to wrap her mind around the whole thing. Didn’t Chloe’s ex cheat on her thus making Chloe move to a completely different state so she could finally move on?

 

“Friday. When I went to the bar with my brothers, we bumped into each other and we decided to catch up and-- and one thing led to another.”

 

“One thing led to another?” Beca repeated with her eyebrows to her hairline. “The fuck do you mean one thing led to another?”

 

“Well I mean that we were drunk and we started talking and we just-- she invited me to her place and I said okay,” Chloe said guiltily. 

 

“Why?” Beca said, a little bit louder. 

 

“I don’t know! I was drunk!”

 

“That’s not an excuse!”

 

“You weren’t there, okay? I just got-- confused.”

 

Beca scoffed, getting up to look down at Chloe on the bed. She clenched her jaw and stared into her eyes hard. She wasn’t sure why this confession was making her so mad but the thought of Chloe facetiming her and Jake before going to have a drunken hook up was fucking her up. 

 

The words were spilling out of her mouth before she could stop them.

 

“Right. Because it’s so hard to not sleep with someone. Especially when that person is your ex that broke your heart.”

 

Chloe frowned at Beca’s sarcastic tone and got up too so they could stare at each other from the same level. 

 

“Why are you reacting like this?”

 

“Because she cheated on you!” the brunette replied instantly. “Have you forgotten how she fucked you up so bad you had to move to LA to get away from her?”

 

“Of course I haven’t forgotten but--”

“But what? I can’t believe you’d do something like this.”

 

Chloe’s ocean blue eyes turned completely cold. “You don’t know what I’ve been through. I thought she was the love of my life, Beca. I think it’s fair that a part of me is still attached to her.”

 

“Right,” Beca replied with a humourless laugh. “Completely fair. Is a part of you still attached to the memory of her fucking her ex in your bed? Did you like that? Oh, you know what? Next time you should even call that ex so you can bond over that experience and all sleep together!”

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” the redhead said, raising her tone. “Of course I don’t wanna sleep with her ex.”

 

“Well, you stooped low enough to sleep with yours! Are you that fucking horny all the time that you can’t even keep your hands to yourself for one night? Do you need to always make the most pathetic choices?”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“Well, so far you haven’t really found the most interesting sleeping partners, huh? A fucking PE teacher who didn’t have an ounce of personality and now your cheating ex! Good job, Chlo!”

 

Chloe opened her mouth in disbelief and let out a scoff. “I don’t think the people I choose to sleep with are any of your business.”

 

“Well believe me I don’t wanna know either but you always make it my business by telling me about it!”

 

“Last time I checked, I’m an adult. I can sleep with whoever I want to.”

 

Beca raised her hands in the air mockingly. “Oh I’m aware you’re an adult, Chloe. But when are you actually going to act like a grown-up?”

 

“What is that supposed to mean?” she answered, crossing her arms in front of her chest. 

 

“It means you still act like a college kid most of the time. Sack up, dude!” Beca said, practically shouting at this point. “When we started talking, you told me you wanted a kid at some point. Well I doubt with your pathetic little hooks up that you’ll achieve that. Get your shit together.”

 

Chloe took a menacing step towards her. “You know what? I’m not gonna take advice from someone who got knocked up at 23 by mistake.”

 

Chloe’s words felt like a blow to the stomach and all the air was knocked out of her lungs. She felt her heart skip a beat and she took a step forward, their noses almost touching each other. 

 

“Fuck you, Chloe,” she spat out. 

 

“No. Fuck you , Beca.” 

 

“Will you guys stop!?” Aubrey shouted as she entered the room by opening the door violently. 

 

Beca instantly came back to reality and she turned away from Chloe to look at Aubrey who looked fuming. She released a breath and noticed that her throat hurt like she had been screaming. She heard weeping in the background and realized that Jake had definitely been woken up by the fight and was now crying because of the shouting. 

 

She rushed out of the room, bumping into Aubrey’s shoulder without a care. She found Jake in Stacie’s arms as the woman tried to calm him down but he was crying hysterically at this point. 

 

“Bec--” Stacie tried to say but Beca cut her off with a glare. 

 

She picked up Jake and rested him on her hip, his screams now next to ear but in all honesty, she could only focus on the way her heart beat even louder in her throat. Leaving the vinyl record in Chloe’s room and Jake’s bag of gifts in the living room, she walked away from the apartment without looking back. 

 

With a wailing Jake in her arms, she rushed to the stairs and stormed down them quickly. She felt as though she could only see red, the adrenaline pumping in her veins from the way the fight made her feel and she had her jaw clenched so hard, she felt it was about to dislocate.

 

She finally got to the parking lot and ignored the looks that she got from the people getting out of one car, walking to hers so she could finally get far away from this place. She buckled Jake in without even trying to calm him down and when she got in the driver’s seat, she allowed herself to hit her steering wheel with the palm of her hands once before putting the car in drive. 

 

She scoffed to herself when she remembered that up until 20 minutes ago, she believed Chloe was incapable of yelling. Oh, she had yelled alright. She had never seen the woman’s face so closed off before, her usually warm eyes completely icy as sharp remarks came out of her mouth. Beca bit her tongue hard in frustration, the words of the fight echoing in her mind. 

 

“You don’t fucking know what I’ve been through.”

 

“Is a part of you still attached to the memory of her fucking her ex in your bed?”

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” 

 

“But when are you actually going to act like a grown-up?”

 

“You know what? I’m not gonna take advice from someone that got knocked up at 23 by mistake.”

 

“Fuck you.”

 

A loud honk from behind her brought her back to reality and she looked up to see the red light had turned green. She swallowed and started driving again, her white knuckles tight around the steering wheel. Jake was still bawling in the back and it was only making things worse.

 

She couldn’t believe Chloe had thrown back the Jake thing in her face. Compared to most people she met, the teacher had always acted like getting pregnant with Jake was something Beca needed to be proud of, not ashamed. She had no right to act like Beca having her son was anything similar to her sleeping with her ex. 

 

Not only was she angry at the redhead for that, she was also furious with the idea that Chloe would just fall into bed with someone that had broken her heart into a million pieces. The thought of a drunk Chloe sleeping with this girl that had brought her so much pain made Beca absolutely furious. She didn’t understand why the teacher couldn’t see how fucking amazing she was and why she always slept with the worst people ever. 

 

Everytime Chloe talked to Beca about another one of her meaningless hookups, all Beca could think about was that they didn’t deserve to sleep with her.

 

But whatever. 

 

Chloe could do whatever she wanted, right? She could sleep with anyone she wanted, it shouldn’t matter to Beca. 

 

She seemed so confident screaming in the brunette’s face that she was an adult so it wasn’t Beca’s job to make sure Chloe was fine. For all Beca cared, Chloe could go back to her ex and it wouldn’t be any of her fucking business. 

 

Still as angry as before, she pulled up in the parking lot of her building, picked Jake up and kept him in her arms until she was in the apartment. He had calmed down a bit during the drive but tears were still coming out of his eyes when he entered his room. 

 

She took a few deep breaths in the kitchen, her hands leaning on the counter and tried to calm herself down. After taking a moment to herself, she walked to Jake’s bedroom and laid down in his bed next to him. 

 

He stared at her with his steel blue eyes that looked just like hers and she took him in her arms so his face was nuzzled in her neck. He wrapped himself around her so there was no space between their bodies. 

 

And she let herself cry. 

 

Chapter Text

Beca hated how fast life got back to normal. She had responsibilities, she had work and she had a kid and things to do. No matter how much she wanted to, she couldn’t flop down on her couch and stare at the ceiling for hours, wallowing in her own pity.

 

She took Jake to class every morning and picked him up every night without going inside the school. She spent her evenings doing chores, made Jake and her dinner, bathed him, read him to sleep and then she worked on some of her mixes in the silence of her room. 

 

It was boring. 

 

She had never noticed how repetitive her routine was until someone came into their life to flip it upside down. Now that she knew what it felt like to have Chloe’s presence in her apartment, to have her giggle with Jake as they watched cartoons and to spend their weekends in the park, watching him go down the slide on repeat; she had trouble coping with the loss. 

 

Beca had driven Jake to Harry’s very big and expensive house for a playdate last weekend so that had been fun for him.

 

It had been two weeks since she and Chloe fought and Beca hadn’t slept well since. The day after, her phone had buzzed signaling a call from the redhead but Beca had declined it instantly. Since then, Chloe hadn’t called her again and the music producer assumed she understood they needed time away from each other. 

 

Beca found herself in a difficult position. On one hand, she was still angry at Chloe for multiple reasons. For that comment about her pregnancy being a mistake, for sleeping with her ex and for not understanding that the people she slept with are pathetic losers. 

 

On the other hand, she missed Chloe like someone cut a hole in her. She missed the twinkling blue eyes and her contagious smile. Beca missed the hugs that Chloe gave her as a greeting and she missed waking up in a mess of tangled limbs. She missed cooking in the kitchen and listening to Jake talk to Chloe as they both colored in the living room. 

 

Jake was confused about the whole thing to say the least. He hadn’t truly processed the way Beca had grabbed him from Stacie’s arms and stormed out of the apartment and he didn’t understand why Chloe wasn’t coming to their home anymore. The fact that everyday, Beca had to listen to Jake as he explained every fun thing Miss Beale made them do that day and then have to tell him that no, Chloe wasn’t coming over tonight was getting heavy on her shoulders. 

 

The worst thing about the argument was that they were both in the wrong. They were both hurting by the things the other had said to them and she knew they both regretted it. Chloe had had no right to tell Beca she wouldn’t listen to anybody who got pregnant at 23 by mistake but Beca knew she had also said some things she shouldn’t have.

 

It had taken her a while to realize that but she kind of forced herself to get over herself after replaying the argument for the 134th time at 2 AM. She had been sitting up on her bed, the moon letting a dim light shine on the room. She could see just enough to look at the baseball cap on her dresser and feel the judgmental stare that Steve the penguin was giving her.

 

The music producer had finally been able to admit to herself that she shouldn’t have freaked out like that either. Chloe was right when she had told her she could sleep with whoever she wanted, it wasn’t any of Beca’s business. She just couldn’t shake off the feeling of unpleasantness when she thought of Chloe sleeping with those people. She couldn’t swallow the lump in her throat whenever she imagined Chloe in bed with someone else, with someone that didn’t deserve her. 

 

Sighing, she put her keys on the kitchen counter as Jake raced to his room after leaving his Iron Man backpack in the middle of the place. 

 

“Jake!” she called out so he’d get it and put it away but he was already in his dream land and couldn’t hear her anymore. 

 

She bent down and picked it up, figuring she’d check inside if there was anything she needed to take out like an art project that was getting crinkled. With a yawn, she looked through it and froze when she saw something familiar. For a second, she almost thought she imagined it but when she took it out, it was in fact real. 

 

She put down Jake’s backpack on the counter absently and walked to the couch, her eyes fixed on the vinyl record that Chloe had bought for her when she was in Portland. She hadn’t had the guts to listen to the song even though she remembered the title and could have easily listened to it on Youtube. She stared at it for a minute, not knowing whether she should put it on her record player and give it a listen.

 

The answer to that question came in the form of her 5 year old son that ran into the living room and started complaining that he was hungry. The moment was over and she put the vinyl record on the shelf where Jake knew he wasn’t allowed to go near and walked to the kitchen to make him a snack.

 

It was only a couple of hours later, when Jake was finally sound asleep that Beca sat back down on her couch and her eyes went straight to the vinyl. She swallowed with difficulty and rubbed her hands together, trying to figure out what to do. 

 

“It’s just a fucking song, Beca,” she whispered to herself after a moment and got up to carefully put the disk on the record player. She heard the familiar scratching sound that still gave her goosebumps and she stayed standing there as if she was unable to move as a piano started playing. 

 

There is a house built out of stone

Wooden floors, walls and window sills

Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust

 

Her breath hitched when the man started singing. She was taken back to that Starbucks café months ago, Chloe in front of her with her ruined jacket on the chair next to her. The small smile that appeared on her face when the song started playing. 

 

This is a place where I don't feel alone

This is a place where I feel at home

 

Her apartment that was filled with laughter, echoing when the redhead was there. She had lived here for 6 years but it had never felt as full as when Chloe was here. 

 

'Cause, I built a home

For you

For me

 

It honestly felt like one day Beca woke up and Chloe was sprinkled in her life everywhere. A bottle of wine she left in Beca’s fridge, drawings that she made with Jake hung up in his room, a jacket she had forgotten in the living room, her smell all over Beca’s pillows.

 

Until it disappeared

From me

From you

 

The way her apartment seemed quieter since Chloe wasn’t there to talk about everything and nothing. The redhead never ran out of things to say but Beca was always captivated by her words. She had a way of gripping everyone’s attention so they would listen to her and Beca had fallen victim to that quite happily. 

 

And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust

 

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds

There is a tree as old as me

Branches were sewn by the color of green

Ground had arose and passed it's knees

 

Hours spent in the park with Jake who was more than happy to have a partner to go on the swings with. Beca’s lips curled up at the memory of her behind the two, pushing them both on the swings and their giggles reaching the sky. 

 

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top

I climbed the tree to see the world

When the gusts came around to blow me down

I held on as tightly as you held onto me

I held on as tightly as you held onto me

 

Chloe’s arm around her middle, her face in dark locks as Beca tried to calm her beating heart at the feeling. The way it felt to have someone wrapped around her like they were trying to protect her. Beca had always been the protector. She had only had herself most of her life and now she was also protecting Jake. But in those moments, as the light shone through the blinds to cast a golden glow in her bedroom and Chloe’s body was holding her, it was nice to feel protected for once. 

 

And, I built a home

For you

For me

 

The apartment didn’t feel like home since she couldn’t hear Chloe’s key in the lock, showing up unannounced with a smile, always blaming it on Aubrey and Stacie being annoying. She could almost hear Jake’s little feet run on the floor to go greet her, always recognizing the sound of Chloe’s voice right away from his room.

 

Until it disappeared

From me

From you

 

She wasn’t ready to let all of that go. She wanted the teacher to stay in her life and in Jake’s life. She was so good to them and the thought of never seeing those dangerously blue eyes again made Beca’s knees almost give in. 

 

And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust

 

It wasn’t. It wasn’t time to leave and let all those memories of their days together fade into nothingness. She wanted Chloe around forever. For the rest of her life, she wanted to feel Chloe’s arms around her and hear her sing as she prepared dinner and to be able to turn around and see her dancing with Jake in the living room. 

 

There was no way she was moving on from this before she knew what it felt like to have Chloe’s lips on hers. 

 

The realization hit her like a truck and she stumbled backwards a little, barely managing to stay upright. As she listened to the last notes of the song, she let out a dry chuckle and brought her hands to her face. 

 

She scoffed, realizing that she had been crying and quickly wiped off her tears with the back of her hand. She stopped the record player because she wasn’t emotionally stable enough to listen to the song again and finally sat down on the couch to catch a breather. 

 

She was in love with Chloe. 

 

Of course she was. 

 

At this point, there was no way to know precisely when she fell in love. All Beca knew was that one day she wasn’t and the next day she was. It had been inevitable, she thought as she recalled the way she had let the teacher enter her and Jake’s lives so easily. Something the usually angsty woman had never done before. 

 

She felt something under her butt and dug out a Black widow action figure. She stared it, every little moment she shared with Chloe flashing before her eyes. 

 

“Now, what?” she said to the plastic toy in her hands. She looked at her as though she was expecting her to answer and sighed. She put the hero down on the coffee table, got up and went to bed. 

 

She fell asleep in minutes for the first time in two weeks.

 

-----------------

 

She had been standing in front of Chloe’s apartment door for 4 minutes now. She had raised her fist to knock about 12 times but every single time, she had freaked out. She wasn’t there to tell the girl about the discovery she made three days ago AKA how she was apparently massively and utterly in love with Chloe but it was still scary to be here after all this time. 

 

It had almost been three weeks since their fight and the Chloe-shaped hole in Beca’s life was becoming too prominent-- they needed to make up. She had a lot of things she needed to get off her chest and she figured the teacher did too. 

 

Jake was staying with Mrs Green, her neighbor who thought her son was the cutest little thing in the world because she figured him being there would just be confusing and she wouldn’t get the chance to say everything she wanted. 

 

She heard shuffling inside the apartment and figured being caught just standing there doing nothing would be weirder so she gathered all the courage in her body and raised her hand to knock. It took a few seconds and much to Beca’s dismay, it was Aubrey that opened the door.

 

The blonde raised her eyebrows, evidently surprised to see Beca there. She kept the door half-open without letting her in and crossed her arms. 

 

“You have a lot of guts showing up here after all this time.”

 

The music producer scoffed. “Is Chloe here?” she asked straight to the point because she frankly couldn’t give two shits about what Aubrey had to say. 

 

“No.”

 

“Well, where is she?”

 

“With Stacie,” Aubrey said, still not budging. “They went to get ice cream.”

 

“Is she coming back soon?”

 

“Don’t know.”

 

“Fine,” Beca said, just as stubborn as the woman standing in front of her. “I can wait for her.”

 

“What if I don’t want you too?”

 

“No offence but I don’t really care what you want,” the brunette said coldly. “I’m here for Chloe. I need to talk to her.” 

 

Aubrey clenched her jaw, looked at Beca from head to toe before finally taking a step back to let her through. Beca released a breath she didn’t know she was holding and entered the apartment. She swallowed with difficulty at the memory of what happened last time she was here and without a word, she walked to Chloe’s room to wait for her there. 

 

As soon as she stepped into the bedroom, she had to take a moment to collect herself when she smelled Chloe’s perfume everywhere again. After three weeks of not smelling it, it felt both familiar and foreign to Beca. Like coming back home after a long trip away. 

 

She took a hesitant step towards the bed, her eyes on the place where she had stood in front of Chloe as they both said things they shouldn’t have. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself down, hoping the lump in her throat would pass by the time Chloe got back. 

 

She tapped her foot on the ground, rehearsing what she wanted to say but it all went away when she heard the front door unlock and she heard Chloe’s melodic laugh mixed with Stacie’s voice. 

 

God, she had missed that laugh.

 

She shook her head, getting back into what was important. What she needed to say was too crucial for her to be distracted by the silly little fact that she was head over heels for the woman. 

 

“Wait, Chloe-” she heard Aubrey’s voice call out but suddenly the door of Chloe’s room was opening and Beca stood up at the same time that the redhead’s eyes settled on her. 

 

The smile that she was sporting instantly fell to be replaced by pure shock and her jaw dropped. Beca stood there, incapable of saying a single word through her dry mouth. She subtly wiped her sweaty hands on her jeans as Chloe got over the shock of seeing her here. 

 

Aubrey appeared behind her, “I didn’t want to let her in but she persisted.”

 

“It’s okay,” Chloe said, blue eyes still on Beca. She broke eye contact to close her door after whispering something to Aubrey and they were suddenly alone in the bedroom again.

 

Without uttering a word, Chloe sat down on the edge of her bed and patted the mattress next to her so Beca would sit down. 

 

“Hi,” she said when she sat down. 

 

Beca swallowed. “Hey.”

 

They were both staring in front of them, a couple of inches between their bodies to make sure they weren’t touching. 

 

“I didn’t-- uh I didn’t think you’d just show up here.”

 

“Yeah,” Beca breathed out. “It was kind of an impulse thing. Sorry.”

 

“It’s okay.” 

 

There was a moment of silence before Chloe spoke up. “Beca, I--”

 

“No, I’m gonna say something first,” she said with a sudden burst of confidence. She looked at the woman next to her and pushed through all the confusing feelings she felt towards her to say what she needed to say. 

 

“Okay.”

 

“Jake is not a mistake. Yeah, I didn’t plan for it to happen but he is, without a doubt, the best thing in my life. Say whatever the hell you want about me, I don’t care but if you ever insinuate that my son is a mistake again, I will walk out that door and make sure that you never see either of us again. You got that?”

 

Chloe released a breath and nodded. Beca had never seen the redhead’s face as serious as it was right now and she could see the vulnerability in those eyes. 

 

“Not a minute goes by where I don’t regret saying that,” Chloe started. “I just-- I felt so shitty and I was angry and it just came out of my mouth before I could stop it. I know it’s not an excuse but I am sorry, Beca. I’m so sorry--” she stopped herself a second when her voice cracked and Beca’s heart broke a little. “I can never be sorry enough and I hope that you can trust me with Jake again because I swear I love him so much and I’ve never ever thought of him as a mistake.”

 

Steel blue eyes stared straight into ocean blue eyes and Beca nodded after a moment. She could see the sincerity in Chloe’s eyes and it lifted a small weight off her shoulders. 

 

“It’s just-- he’s my kid, you know?” Beca said, fidgeting with her hands. “He’s everything to me.”

 

“I know, Beca. You’re an incredible mother and I can say that without a doubt because believe me I’ve seen all kinds of parents in my day and you’re just-- Anyone can see how much you try for him and it was wrong of me to even bring it up as if it was something to be ashamed of. You raised an amazing boy and I love being in his life.”

 

The teacher finally took a breath after speaking so much and Beca stayed quiet. Chloe had obviously been thinking about saying that because it all came out so fast and it meant a lot to the brunette that she hadn’t been the only one thinking over and over again about what to say to each other eventually. 

 

Chloe’s words had definitely hurt and she wasn’t going to forgive and forget right away but she knew the woman was sorry and that was a step in the right direction. 

 

“I shouldn’t have-- um that thing about you not being a grown-up? I shouldn’t have said that,” Beca said quietly after processing everything. “You should be allowed to still have fun. I mean, it’s not because I can’t go out for drinks with my friends that other people can’t.”

 

There was a certain bitterness that came with seeing everyone doing whatever they wanted when you couldn’t that overcame Beca sometimes. Chloe didn’t have a kid, she could still go out to bars and sleep with someone if she wanted to which was exactly the reason why Beca didn’t plan on telling her about her feelings. 

 

The redhead liked Jake sure but tying her down like that? Forcing her to lose the liberty that came with being a hot single woman in LA? The music producer couldn’t do that to her. 

 

Besides, there was no telling that Chloe reciprocated her feelings in the first place and Beca wasn’t known for being the most brave person around. The answer was pretty clear, she’d swallow her feelings until she moved on and in the meantime, she’d focus on what was really important; Jake’s happiness. 

 

Chloe didn’t speak up so Beca continued. “You’re a great teacher and you’re even better with Jake and you have… no idea how much everything you’ve done for him means to me. You are a grown-up and I had no right saying you weren’t. So, I’m sorry.”

 

“Thanks,” the redhead murmured. 

 

“And I also can’t tell you who you should or shouldn’t sleep with so I’m sorry for that too.”

 

“Well to be fair, you were right,” Chloe said letting out a dry chuckle. “I can do better than Tom and Alex. God, what was I thinking?”

 

Beca breathed out a laugh, sinking her teeth into her lower lip. “I don’t know.”

 

Chloe smiled with the corner of her mouth and they looked at each other for a moment. Beca’s heart sped up as she looked at the freckles on her nose, those perfectly pink lips and her blue eyes that reminded her of the sky. 

 

Chloe suddenly shook her head softly, looking at her lap. “Sometimes I’m scared that Alex was the one for me but I wasn’t the one for her. Like what if that was my one chance at love? I tried so hard to like Tom but I just--” Her voice cracked and she paused for a second. “I’m scared that I’ll end up alone.”

 

It suddenly made sense why Chloe had decided to sleep with her ex and Beca’s heart broke slightly at the words. How could someone so amazing think that she had to settle for someone that she found boring or someone that broke her heart because she was afraid nobody else would love her?

 

“Chlo, someone pathetic enough to cheat on their partner was not the one for you,” Beca whispered softly and Chloe looked at her.

 

“You think so?”

 

“I know so. You deserve so much, dude. Way more than what you’ve been hooking up with. You won’t end up alone, I guarantee that.”

 

Beca didn’t know if she deserved Chloe but she knew that if she was given the chance, she’d work her whole life to make sure the woman always got the very best. Whoever Chloe chose to spend the rest of her life with, that person should be someone that understood how lucky they were to be with her.

 

“Thanks,” Chloe said, almost shyly. “I’m sorry.”

 

Beca nodded because honestly she just wanted everything to go back to normal. She couldn’t stand being in a fight with her favorite person.

 

“I’m sorry too. We’re good now, okay?”

 

Chloe smiled gently. “Okay.” 

 

Beca wanted to hug the woman but she hesitated, leaning towards her a little bit and Chloe chuckled when she understood what she wanted to do. The teacher wrapped her arms around Beca easily and the latter felt like she could finally breathe again. She nuzzled her face in red hair and breathed in, the smell of home filling her lungs for the first time in weeks. 

 

“I held on as tightly as you held on to me,” she said without thinking and Chloe froze in her arms. 

 

She pulled away and kept her hands on Beca’s shoulders. “Did you just quote--”

 

“Yeah,” the music producer said with a shy smile. “It’s a really fucking good song.”

 

Chloe squealed, surging forward with so much force that she made Beca fall backwards on the bed with the redhead on top of her. She kept her hands in the air a little before relaxing and wrapping them around the woman’s waist and squeezing tightly. 

 

“You know who I missed?” Chloe said, rolling off Beca to lay beside her. 

 

“Hopefully me?”

 

“Well yeah but also Jake.”

 

Beca scoffed. “You see him everyday.”

 

“I know but it’s not the same.”

 

“You’re so weird.”

 

Chloe moved to her side and propped her head on the palm of her hand, leaning on her elbow. She looked at her expectantly and Beca chuckled, knowing what Chloe was waiting for. 

 

“It’s a school night, Miss Beale,” she joked and the woman rolled her eyes. 

 

“Come on. Please?”

 

“Fine. Let’s go.”

 

The teacher made a happy sound and she got Jake’s bag of gifts that she still had for him from her closet. They passed in front of Aubrey and Stacie who were watching TV in the living room and the blonde looked like she was about to say something when she understood Chloe was leaving with Beca but Stacie put a hand on her hand, silencing her. Chloe shot her a grateful smile and the music producer saluted them awkwardly before leaving. 

 

By the time they got back to Beca’s apartment, it was getting dark already. The brunette let Chloe inside, telling her to make herself comfortable while she went to collect Jake from her neighbour who had happily agreed to watch him for a few hours.

 

She knocked firmly on the door twice, before standing back and after a few moments she heard the latch being slid. Her neighbour, Mrs Green, opened the door with a warm smile on her face.

 

“Jake! Your mommy is here!” she shouted and the boy came lurching down the hallway, immediately jumping into Beca’s arms, clearly pleased to see her. She caught him with a grunt because he was getting bigger everyday and he wasn’t as easy to pick up as before. 

 

God, he was turning 6 this month. She couldn’t believe how fast the years had passed.

 

“Hey little dude! Did you have a nice time?” she asked him after kissing his forehead, and he nodded enthusiastically.

 

“We played games! I always won because I’m the best. I like Mrs Green,” he explained, his little face flush as though he had been running around. She hoped he hadn’t been too much trouble.

 

“Such a lovely boy,” the old lady said with a soft smile. “I gave him some dinner, I hope you don’t mind. He told me he was hungry so I made some soup and bread.”

 

Beca smiled thankfully, as it was one less job for her to do that evening. “I don’t mind at all. Thank you for having him.”

 

“Anytime, sweetie.”

 

Beca shifted Jake onto one hip. “What do we say to Mrs Green?” she prompted him.

 

“Thank you! Bye bye,” he said, waving at her as they walked back into Beca’s apartment. 

 

As soon as she shut the front door, Chloe came through from the kitchen, two cups of coffee and an orange juice balanced expertly on a tray. Jake immediately scrambled out of Beca’s arms, running over chanting “Miss Beale!” over and over again.

 

Chloe barely dodged the boy, the drinks wobbling on the tray as she just about managed to set them down on the table without a spillage. “Jake, you gotta be careful,” she warned before bending down to his level. 

 

He giggled, fidgeting on his feet a little by how excited he was. “Sorry.”

 

“It’s Chloe outside of school, remember?” she whispered to him as if it was a secret between the two of them, enveloping him in a tight hug. 

 

Beca felt a mixture of relief and sadness as she watched the exchange. It was nice to see her best friend and her little boy reunited, but Jake forgetting to call the redhead ‘Chloe’ really showed her how long those weeks must have been for him. She didn’t want them to be apart for that long ever again.

 

She placed down her bag on the kitchen counter before joining the two where they were now situated. Chloe had set Jake down on the couch and was knelt down in front of him so that they were on eye level. Beca could tell there was something the teacher wanted to say to Jake, so instead of interrupting, she sat quietly beside her son and cradled her coffee in both hands.

 

“I know all the shouting must have really upset you the other week right?” Chloe started hesitantly and Jake nodded, his eyes fixed on Chloe’s as she spoke. He must’ve understood it was important as well because he stayed completely still with not even his legs swinging like they usually did.

 

“Well your mom and I had a little fight. You know how sometimes you and Harry fight over who can play with the Legos first? It’s a bit like that. We got mad and we said some not very kind things but like I always tell you in class, it’s very important to apologize after we hurt someone right?” she explained, trying to use words that the boy would understand.

 

“Yeah,” he said while nodding vigorously. 

 

“Well, after what happened, me and your mommy had to take a little break so we could take a breath. Remember what we said about taking a breath in class?”

 

He inhaled deeply and exhaled after a few seconds like he had clearly been taught to do at school. 

 

“Just like that,” Chloe encouraged him with a smile. “And when we both felt calm, we said sorry to each other.”

 

“So now you and Mommy are friends again?”

 

The redhead nodded. “Best friends.”

 

“Fights are silly,” he said with his nose scrunched up and Chloe released a laugh. 

 

“Yeah. Fights are super silly. It won't happen again,” Chloe stated, looking up at Beca as she said it as though to confirm. Beca simply nodded, looking at Chloe in a way that was personal to just them.

 

Chloe took Jake’s small hands in her own, softly rubbing her thumbs over his skin as she looked him in the eye. Beca could tell Chloe was getting emotional and the love for her son that was radiating off of her was enough to make her feel emotional too.

 

“I really really love hanging out with you and your mom. More than anything in the world. You want that to happen again, don’t you?” she asked and Jake cocked his head in confusion.

 

“But we hang out all day at school!”

 

“You’re right, but I mean me coming here to play with you and us going on more adventures like the aquarium and the zoo.”

 

Jake immediately nodded his head so viciously that Beca was worried it might fall off. “I miss you when you can’t play with me.”

 

“I missed you too, Jakey,” Chloe said, her voice filled with sincerity and remorse. Beca had never seen her so visibly upset over something before, and it was clear to see that she meant every word of what she said.

 

Falling in love with Chloe was bound to happen. As she looked at the woman talking to her son right now, all she could think was that falling in love with Chloe was something that must’ve been written in the stars. 

 

“Okay,” Jake muttered simply, “Can we watch Spider-Man now?”

 

Chloe let out a breathy laugh, wiping a few stray tears from her eyes and Beca could see the relief in her eyes as she got up and sat beside the boy. She tossed Beca the TV remote and got comfortable as Jake shifted so that his head was resting on Chloe’s arm, looking expectantly at the television.

 

Beca didn’t know at what point Chloe had snaked her arm behind Jake and took the music producer’s hand in her own but it felt too right for her to mind. She closed her eyes for a second, reveling in the warmth and contentedness she felt having the woman by her side again, before being brought back to reality by Jake’s feet digging into her side.

 

This felt like home.

 

Chapter Text

Beca tapped her foot against the floor nervously, checking her phone every two seconds to see if she had gotten a text. Jake didn’t have school today and Dua Lipa was coming in to record some more songs today too so she hadn’t been able to take him to work with her like she usually did.

It wasn’t really a surprise that Chloe offered to spend the day with him because the two got along so well but Beca was still stressed out about it. Last time she left Chloe alone with him for a long time, it ended with both of them crying. 

She didn’t want that to happen again. 

It wasn’t even lunch yet so not much could’ve happened but she was still biting her nails, just waiting for Chloe to call her with the worst news possible. She tried to remember that when she left this morning, Jake had seemed absolutely ecstatic to spend a full day with his favorite teacher after not seeing her at home for so long. 

It was the Friday after they had made up so it was only 3 days later but they had fallen back into their routine easily and it wasn’t tense in the slightest between them. The day they made up, Chloe had slept over even though she had school in the morning because she said waking up earlier than normal to make sure things were okay between them was worth it.

Beca had nearly fainted at the words. 

They had some more heavy conversations about it but they both honestly wanted to put the fight in the past. It wasn’t surprising that Beca wanted to remember, being mad at Chloe sucked. 

“You good, Mitch?”

She looked up at Cynthia-Rose who was looking at her worriedly. “Huh? Yeah, I’m fine.”

“You keep looking at your phone. Are you waiting for a call or something?”

“Not sure,” Beca mumbled back which just confused her coworker more. 

“That’s my boy!” Amy suddenly shouted, scaring everyone who had silently been working. Beca looked at the entrance and suddenly she saw her own son run into Amy’s open arms. She stood up in a panic before realizing that he seemed perfectly happy so she didn’t need to worry. 

“Amy!”

Shortly after, Chloe appeared with a coffee in her hand and she looked around the room as if she was trying to find Beca. Her eyes settled on her quickly and she smiled when she spotted her. 

Beca glanced at her boss in his office who had headphones on and seemed deep into his work so she rushed to go greet them. Her boy was messing around with Amy so she went up to Chloe first, her arms already open for a hug. 

“What are you guys doing here?” she said and she could hear the joy in her own voice. Chloe wrapped her arms around her and squeezed before letting go. 

“We thought we’d surprise you, huh Jakey?” she asked to grab his attention and Jake seemed to finally remember he was there to see his mother so he pulled away from Amy and made a grabby motion with his hands. 

“Mommy!”

She grinned and hoisted him up, kissing the side of his head. “Well this is a really nice surprise,” she said to him. 

He seemed very pleased with himself.

“Mommy, Chloe said you would be jealous you were not here to play with us with us so she said we should come see you where you work.”

She chuckled, turning to Chloe who was leaning against the receptionist’s desk with a secret smile. The redhead probably knew Beca was going to be nervous to leave Jake alone with her all day so she figured she’d come say hi to show everything was going well. It was kinda insane how well Chloe knew her. 

She turned back to her son. “Well, Chloe was definitely right. I’d much rather be playing with you guys.” 

“Here,” Chloe said, pushing the coffee on the desk so it was closer to Beca. “Bought you a cold brew, I know how much you like those,” she added with a wink. 

She did like cold brews a lot and anything was better than the shitty coffee pot they had at work anyways. It was exactly what she needed. 

“You’re the best, you know that?” Beca teased, looking at her son who was making silly faces at Amy over her shoulder. 

“So, we finally get to meet the hot ginger from Beca’s lockscreen.”

Beca turned to her other side where Cynthia-Rose had gotten up to get to Reception too. She sighed, already knowing her friends were going to embarrass her. 

“Well unless Becs knows another ginger, that would be me. I’m Chloe,” the teacher said, letting out a chuckle, extending her hand. 

Cynthia-Rose shook it happily. “I’m Cynthia-Rose.”

“Oh, you’re the one that’s getting married!” she said happily and Beca’s eyes grew wide but it was too late to intervene. “I cannot wait for it. I love weddings!”

Amy and Cynthia-Rose both looked at Beca and she closed her eyes, putting her son down because he was starting to get heavy. He stayed close to her, playing with the rips in her pants. 

“Did I… say something wrong?” Chloe said after seeing the reaction she got from everyone. 

Amy was the one to answer. “Not at all, Gingah. Shortstack, you didn’t tell us you invited the hot ginger.”

“Yeah,” Cynthia-Rose chimed in. “I knew you RSVP’d with a guest but you didn’t tell me you really asked her.”

The redhead frowned and Beca panicked, knowing Chloe was probably thinking she was ashamed of her or something. 

“It’s not what you think,” she said quickly and then turned to her friends. “You guys are just fu-- really embarrassing and I’d never hear the end of it if I told you.”

Amy clapped her back with force. “You are definitely right about that.”

Cynthia-Rose chuckled and took a step towards Chloe. “How did she ask you? Was it lame as fuck because Beca is incapable of getting a sentence out like a normal person? Or was it sweet like--”

“Dude?” Beca cut her friend off. “Shut up, will you?”

Chloe just chuckled and winked at her when Beca turned to her. At the same time, a bell rang from the front door and Dua Lipa walked in. The music producer hissed under her breath, checking the time. 

The redhead’s jaw dropped and Beca instantly knew something bad was coming. 

“Holy shit, that’s Dua Lipa,” she said to herself but the singer definitely heard her because she pulled her sunglasses on top of her head and chuckled. 

“I am,” she answered Chloe before turning to Beca. “Is that your son?” 

She looked down at the boy who was hiding behind her legs since a stranger was here and she nodded. 

“Yes, sorry. They just came to say hello but they’re leaving now,” she said, looking at Chloe for the last part and Chloe snapped out of her trance to pick up Jake. She rested him on her left hip and turned her attention back to the artist. 

“I’m a huge fan. I absolutely adore your music. I totes showed my students your last single and they all loved it. I loved it too obviously. You have such a lovely voice. And I’d know since I sing too. I did acapella in college.”

Beca cringed at how fast Chloe was speaking. She probably should have mentioned at some point that the artist she was working with was Dua Lipa so she could’ve prevented that very embarrassing situation. 

She heard Cynthia-Rose snort next to her and Beca nudged her with her elbow subtly. 

Dua seemed amused by the situation. “Well, thank you. You guys make an adorable family,” she said, gesturing at Chloe, Jake and Beca.

“Oh um--” the music producer said, about to correct her but Chloe interrupted her.

“Thank you!” she exclaimed a bit too loudly and tried to look at Jake but he was hiding his face very deeply in her neck so he didn’t have to deal with the stranger. 

“Right,” Cynthia-Rose said after a beat.  “Let’s get you in the studio.”

Dua nodded and smiled at Chloe. “It was really nice to meet you. Beca, are you coming?”

“Yep,” she replied quickly. “Just gonna say goodbye and I’ll be right with you.” 

Beca nodded and Cynthia-Rose and Amy led her to the studio, lightly chatting with her. As soon as they were out of earshot, the music producer gently slapped Chloe’s arm. 

“Dude? Why did you just let literal Dua Lipa think we were together?”

“Because that’s Dua freaking Lipa,” Chloe said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “She could think whatever she wanted about me, I would let her believe it. No way in hell I’m letting her know she was wrong about something.”

“Oh my God,” Beca breathed out, rolling her eyes. She was already on the verge of collapsing everytime she looked at Chloe and Jake because of how much she was in love with her, this whole family thing was not helping her in the slightest. 

“As far as I’m aware, Dua Lipa has never been wrong about anything ever.” 

“Okay weirdo,” Beca said with a chuckle and glanced behind her. “Thanks for coming here and the coffee but I have to go.”

Chloe nodded and nudged the boy in her arms so he’d give his mother a kiss on the cheek and Chloe hugged her the best she could with one arm. 

“Have fun!” Chloe said and as Beca started walking, she spoke up again. “Oh by the way, we’re going to the beach for Jake’s birthday.”

The brunette stopped in her tracks. “What?”

“Your son turns 6 in a week.”

She rolled her eyes. “I’m aware.”

“So we’re gonna go to the beach.”

“Beach! Beach! Beach!”

She cringed at Jake’s shouting and nodded quickly so the two of them would leave her place of work before she got in trouble. 

“Okay, that sounds cool.”

“Awes! See you at home! Say bye, Jakey.”

“Bye Mommy!”

“Bye kid, love you.”

---------------------

On May 16th, she was woken up by a small body launching itself on her bed at full force. She startled awake and opened her eyes to see Jake over her, a huge smile on his face. 

“I’m 6!” he shouted in her face and she chuckled, wrapping her arms around him. 

“Six? No way.”

“Yes, I am. I’m a big boy!” he argued. 

She pretended she didn’t know what he was talking about. “Hmm, I don’t know, little man. Are you sure you have the day, right?”

He knit his eyebrows, frowning. “Yes! One and six! So I’m 6.”

She looked at the alarm clock next to her bed that also displayed the date and she hummed. “One, six,” she said pointing to the numbers and then turned back to her son. “Jakey, I think you may be right.”

“I am right! I’m 6, I’m the smartest now!”

“Yeah, you are,” she finally gave in and pulled him down with her. “You’re the smartest little man.”

“I’m big now, Mom!”

“The smartest little big man,” she corrected herself and he gave her a toothy grin. “Happy birthday, kiddo.”

She lifted her head to kiss him on the cheek and he turned to kiss her on the corner of her mouth. She smiled, feeling impossibly happy at that moment. She heard a knock on the door and frowned while Jake turned his head towards the doorway like a little puppy. 

They were only supposed to pick up Chloe in a few hours to go to the beach and the redhead didn’t usually knock anyway so Beca was quite confused about who it could be. She swung her feet off the bed and yawned, stretching her body a little. Jake stared at her with his big eyes and then mimicked her, stretching his arms. She laughed, ruffled his curls and walked to the front door. 

“Mom?” she said when she opened the door and saw April Mitchell standing there in all her glory. 

Jake had clearly heard what she said because he squealed and pushed her out of the way so he could jump on his grandmother. 

“Grandma!”

"Surprise!" she exclaimed, kissing his face until he squirmed away. Beca stepped backwards so her mother could enter the apartment with Jake in her arms and the brunette moved to grab her suitcase. 

“What are you doing here?” she asked bluntly and regretted it immediately after. She was glad to see her mother and it was an amazing surprise but she kind of had plans for the day and she wasn’t expecting her mother to crash them. 

“Relax,” her mother said in a chuckle. “I’m only here for the weekend. I just wanted to be here when my grandson turned six!”

Jake jumped in place, a smile splitting his face in half. “I’m six now! Look how big I am,” he said, lifting his arms in the air to make himself look bigger. 

Beca laughed and walked to the kitchen to make herself and her guest some coffee. She tried to not let it show that she was kind of disappointed that her day out with Chloe and Jake had suddenly gotten a plus one. Besides, if her mother was staying with her, it meant she’d sleep in Jake’s bed and Beca would sleep with Jake on her bed and that meant the teacher wouldn’t be able to stay over like they had planned she would.

She shook the thoughts of her head because she was acting like an ungrateful child and walked back to the living room to see her son open his brand new toy truck. 

------------------

After a few hours, Jake had finally settled down after the surprise of seeing his grandma and was playing with his new toys on the rug while April and Beca caught up over a coffee. The two chatted about things of little importance including what April had been up to in Seattle; Jake’s behaviour at school; and Beca’s luck with Dua Lipa’s album at work. Beca was mid sentence when all of a sudden her apartment door was being flung open.

Chloe practically skipped inside, kicking the door shut as both arms brandished several bags which Beca assumed were all the things she had brought to have the most fun beach day in existence. Without even glancing towards them, the redhead carried the bags to the kitchen, placing them down on the counter.

“I was at the mall this morning and I bought some new coffee mugs because you only have the two and I’m tired of always washing them. I’ve also got some really high SPF sunscreen for Jake because I figured if he’s anything like his mother, he’ll be burnt to a crisp within minutes this afterno--”

As she spun on her heels, she caught April’s eye, a look of shock coming onto her face as she cut herself off but it was immediately replaced with a friendly grin. 

“You must be Beca’s mom! You guys look the same!” she exclaimed, dancing over and shaking the woman's hand. By this point, Jake was already at Chloe’s feet, hugging her leg tightly like a little koala.

Both Beca and April were still in a state of shock at the woman’s sudden appearance, but April managed to compose herself soon enough. 

She smiled, shaking Chloe’s hand back, “Nice to meet you, it’s Chloe right? Beca talks about you all the time.”

Beca’s shock turned into embarrassment which she tried to shrug off with an eye roll. “Mom!” she hissed but the redhead had already formed a smirk as she picked Jake up with ease.

“Oh does she?” she asked, raising an eyebrow as she looked at Beca, a twinkle in her eye. She turned to Jake, tickling his stomach where his shirt had ridden up when he got in Chloe’s arms. “so mischief, does your mom talk to you about me?”

The music producer could feel her face heating up by the second. Chloe wasn’t supposed to know Beca talked about her to other people. That wasn’t part of their silent agreement that the music producer was too cool to talk about how much she liked the redhead to her face.

The last thing she needed was Chloe finding out she was in love with her.

“Chloe, I’m 6 today!” Jake said, completely ignoring the question. 

Chloe gasped comically. “What? Are you sure?” she teased, making the exact same joke Beca had made earlier this morning. 

“Yes!” Jake shouted, frustrated that nobody believed him and Chloe laughed and gave him a loud kiss on the cheek. 

“Happy birthday, Jakey!” Jake’s frown was instantly replaced by a smile and he tangled his little hand in red locks, tugging on them. 

“What’re you doing here, dude? I thought we were gonna come pick you up.” 

Chloe didn’t even tear her eyes off Jake to answer Beca.

“I know but I thought it’d be better if Jake could open his present here,” she explained. The six year old’s eyes lit up immediately, his gaze shifting to the biggest bag that Chloe had set down on the kitchen counter. He struggled out of her arms and she followed him through to collect the bag.

“She seems pretty comfortable here,” April observed as soon as Beca’s attention was back on her and the brunette shrugged.

“She’s here all the time, there’s no reason for her not to be,” she replied nonchalantly. 

“And she has a key?”

Beca rolled her eyes, “Mom, leave it. Any embarrassing comments and I’m sending you on the next flight back to Seattle.”

April laughed heartily and Beca hated how easily her mom could wind her up. Before she could make any more remarks, Chloe was dragging the bag through so that Jake could open his birthday presents in front of the family.

Chloe had bought him Marvel comic swim trunks and a Spider-Man plush toy. He had squealed with joy before hugging his new toy and the redhead had winked at Beca.

“So you don’t wake up with a plastic leg in the eye anymore.”

Beca had laughed while April had eyed them curiously. Ignoring the look, she took the trunks to observe them but she didn’t have that much time before Jake grabbed them right out of her hands. Suddenly, the three women were scrambling to keep Jake from taking off his pants right then and there in the living room. 

They made it to the beach about an hour later and even though April didn’t have a swimsuit, she had insisted on coming to spend the day with them. It was a beautiful day and they clearly weren’t the only ones that had thought of going to the beach since it was pretty crowded, but it was still nice. Jake was on Chloe’s back because the sand was too hot for his feet as they tried to find a place to lay down their blanket and plant their beach umbrella. 

They found the perfect spot after a few minutes and after they laid their stuff down, Beca looked up just in time to see Chloe take off her shirt. Her mouth completely dried up as she stared at the woman who seemed to move in slow motion to take off her clothes. She was wearing a blue and white striped two piece, revealing abs that Beca had only seen a glimpse off in the past. 

Chloe was completely oblivious to her staring, kicking her shirt and shorts to the side and pulling her red hair in a messy bun so it wasn’t in the way. Beca’s heart was racing and she had trouble keeping her eyes from dropping to the teacher’s body every two seconds. 

Yeah, Chloe had every reason to be confident about all this. 

“Bec.” 

“Huh?” she said dumbly and looked to the right where her mother was looking at her, the corner of her lips quirked up. 

“Can you pass me the sunscreen?”

Beca closed her mouth and nodded. She cleared her throat and glanced at Chloe for half a second before reaching into one of the bags to grab the sunscreen and she passed it to her mother. It seemed as though they were about to move to the beach by the amount of bags they had but the redhead had been excited to show the Mitchells all the fun beach toys she had brought and the cute little sandwiches she had prepared for them. 

She grabbed the second bottle of sunscreen that Chloe had bought for Jake and called her boy over so she could put some on him. He was wearing his brand new swimming trunks and he looked absolutely adorable in them and the fact that Chloe had bought them for him made it all better. She focused on Jake to keep her eyes off the teacher and when he was all done, she started putting it on herself. 

“I saw this lemonade stand by the entrance, who wants some?” April asked after everyone had pretty much settled down. 

“Me! Me! Me!” Jake chanted, jumping around and kicking sand everywhere on the blankets they had laid down.

Beca stopped him, a smile on her face. “You should go with Grandma to help her bring back four lemonades, yeah?”

She still felt bad about her mother not being able to go swimming with them so she figured she’d let her spend as much time with Jake as possible since they really didn’t see each other that often. Jake seemed happy about the idea and it wasn’t until she tore her eyes away from her mom and her son that she realized she was now alone with Chloe in a bikini. 

It was slightly pathetic of her to be this shaken up over a simple swimsuit but it had been almost 4 years since she had last gotten laid so you couldn’t really blame her. After all, Chloe was definitely the most beautiful woman Beca had ever laid her eyes on.

“Becs, can you put sunscreen on my back? I can’t reach it.”

Of course. 

Why the fuck not?

She swallowed. “Uh, yeah.”

Chloe grabbed the sunscreen and shifted so she was situated in front of Beca. She took a subtle breath and with a shaking hand, she started rubbing the sunblock on her back. The redhead’s back was already warm from the sun beaming on her and her skin was soft. She reacted to the cold lotion but then relaxed under Beca’s hands, tilting her head to the side and sighing happily.

Beca bit her lower lip and concentrated on rubbing it into her skin, going as far as massaging her shoulders a little. Chloe released another pleasant sigh and Beca’s cheeks grew red at the effect it had on her. 

“Done,” she said quickly because she couldn’t handle more of that and the teacher twisted her head to look at her.

“Thanks,” she replied easily, unaware of the way Beca’s heart was thumping hard against her chest. She moved so they were facing each other, both their legs crossed and Chloe didn’t shy away from blatantly looking at the brunette from head to toe.  

She was about to move her hands to her stomach to cover herself up until the redhead’s eyes settled on the thing on top of her head and smiled. 

“I’m glad you like the hat.”

She was wearing the baseball cap that Chloe had given her at the aquarium and even though she had said she wasn’t going to wear it when she got it, she found herself wearing it a lot. It just reminded Beca of that beautiful day the three of them spent together and she was now attached to that stupid little penguin wearing sunglasses. 

“Steve grew on me,” she said, immediately feeling embarrassed by the joke but Chloe barked out a laugh and suddenly she wasn’t so ashamed anymore. 

“It’s such a beautiful day,” Chloe observed after, her eyes roaming the sky and it made Beca smile softly. 

“It really is.”

Jake and April came back with the lemonades and they drank them pretty fast, excited to finally get in the water. Jake was the first one to finish it, complaining about his head freezing instantly and Beca had to comfort him until Chloe finished her lemonade too.

“Race to the water?” she said to Jake who immediately forgot he was hurting and flung more sand onto the blanket when he started running. Chloe got up and chased after him, making sure to let him win. 

“Go,” April said with a smile to Beca who was looking at them. The music producer put her lemonade down and sprinted to join them into the cold water. 

They spent what felt like hours there, splashing each other or competing against one another to see who could float the longest. Beca felt like a kid again and the smile on Jake’s face hadn’t left for one second. He was giggling and squealing as Beca or Chloe chased after him and he was especially excited for when his mother took him on her shoulders and they chased after Chloe. 

When they got out of the water, April joined them to play ball on the sand or pass each other the frisbee. They ate the lunch that the redhead had prepared and thankfully, the girl had prepared a sandwich extra in case one of them was hungry for more so April had one for her too. 

Beca was still amazed at the amount of preparation Chloe did for their days out together.  

It was a perfect day as far as Beca was concerned. The sun was warm enough to relax her but not hot enough to burn, an issue which she always had to deal with when out in the LA heat. After playing to the point of exhaustion, April was laid out on a sunbed beside her and Chloe was building a sandcastle a few feet away with Jake. She felt very peaceful. 

Within a few minutes she was drifting off to sleep, the sun gently warming her skin.

“He loves playing with you.”

Beca was awoken by the sound of her mom's voice. She had no idea how long she’d been asleep for, only that the sun was still beaming down on her. Since having Jake she had become the lightest sleeper ever, alerted by practically any sound in the apartment. Maybe it was a mom thing.

“I love playing with him. I like hanging out with the little Mitchells,” came Chloe’s voice in response. 

She had said it teasingly but Beca had to hide the smile from growing on her face when she still detected the sincerity in her response. She was going to roll over and get off the sunbed when April spoke up again.

“Beca always struggled getting him to feel comfortable with adults. She was never that good with other people either.”

Beca decided that hearing the rest of the conversation was much more important than reapplying sunscreen at the current moment and so stayed completely still, her dark sunglasses hiding that she was awake. She slowly moved her head to the side in order to watch the two talking without alerting them.

Chloe laughed a little. “Yeah, I’ve noticed that. Well, I mean Jake and I didn't get off to the best start either.”

“That’s why I was slightly confused when they came over last month and he gushed about you. Last time I heard about you had been on Christmas break and he had definitely not seemed fond of you. No offence.” 

“None taken,” Chloe said easily. “I’m aware that he really didn’t like being in class with me, his behavior was pretty negative at first. We used a behavior journal to get things on track and now he’s my best little student,” Chloe explained, placing a kiss on top of Jake’s mop of curls.

He looked at her, confused at the sudden affection since he had been too busy sitting between Chloe’s legs piling up sand to make what looked like a very messy volcano.

“We’re friends now, huh bud?” she asked even though he had no idea what they had been talking about. 

“Friends,” he said with a vigorous nod and went back to his very important task. Beca glanced over at April who was smiling at the interaction.

“I’ve never seen Beca like this before. So… carefree about being happy. I’ve never understood why she always was so reserved about feelings,” she told Chloe, making Beca roll her eyes behind her sunglasses as she had specifically told her mom not to make any more comments that would dilapidate her badass front.

Chloe hummed, wiping some sand off Jake’s back. “I’ve learned to understand that she shows that she’s happy in other ways than with words. I know she cares about me, she doesn’t have to say it out loud for me to know.” 

Beca was somewhat glad at the confession, she really did care about the redhead more than anything. She was in love with her, for God’s sake. But there was something very comforting about knowing Chloe knew she showed love in her own way. 

“And obviously I care about her too,” Chloe continued. “And Jake. I feel blessed to get to go on these little adventures with your grumpy daughter and her adorable son.”

Beca’s heart practically exploded at the words. It was as if she had delved into the music producer's brain and spoke exactly what she was thinking, reciprocating the happiness that their spontaneous little life brought her. Their life. Beca wasn’t sure at what point Chloe had become a staple part of hers and Jake’s existence, it was as if the redhead was a missing puzzle piece they needed all along. 

She felt a glimmer of hope that maybe, just possibly, Chloe might feel the same way as she did. 

Beca made a huge deal of stretching her arms, yawning in a way that was probably a little bit over dramatic in hindsight, but she needed the women to know she was awake or else hearing any more of the conversation may have sent her into an existential crisis. She couldn’t afford to go down a path and imagine what it would really be like to date Chloe. 

She couldn’t do that to the redhead. 

She just couldn’t.

She propped her sunglasses on top of her cap as Jake jumped up and ran over, clambering so that he was sitting on top of her chest. “Hi Mom! We made sandcastles while you were asleep!”

Beca laughed a little. “You’ve gotta stop climbing on me like that, dude. You’re getting way too heavy.”

“I’m big. I’m six.”

Beca grinned at her son, lifting him carefully off her and standing up. “Let’s see these sandcastles of yours, big boy.” 

Jake pulled her over excitedly to where Chloe was sat and the redhead looked up at her with a warm smile. One of those Chloe smiles that always made Beca feel as though she was floating.

She kind of felt bad about listening to the conversation she had had with her mother but at the same time, she was really grateful she did. She loved the confirmation that Chloe liked spending time with Jake and Beca as much as they did. 

After making a cake out of sand, they ate the real one that Chloe had bought this morning. Beca ate the chocolate cake, staring at the three people that she loved the most on Earth with a feeling of overwhelming joy in her chest.

Chloe caught her eye and her expression softened. Two different shades of blue met and Beca found herself falling in love all over again.

 

Chapter Text

April had absolutely loved Chloe. That was the takeaway from their day at the beach together for Jake’s sixth birthday. Even though they had planned for Chloe to sleep over, they both handled it like two mature adults and didn’t make a big deal out of it when the redhead said her goodbyes after coming back home instead of staying. Beca had fallen asleep with her son’s heel digging into her stomach instead of Chloe’s arms around her and it wasn’t what she had expected but it was still okay.

 

Her son was six now. 

 

It was scary how fast time flew by the more she grew up. She still remembered his first day at school like it was yesterday but here they were, nearing the end of the school year. Jake’s preschool graduation was towards the end of June and Beca didn’t even want to think about it because if she did, she knew she’d get emotional. 

 

After Chloe had closed the door behind her, April had turned to Beca and hugged her tightly, making the music producer stand there for a beat before she finally awkwardly hugged back her mother. 

 

“Jake absolutely adores her,” she had said in the hug. 

 

“We all do.”

 

“Mhm. I hope she sticks around for a while. Nice to have the extra help every once in a while, right?”

 

Beca had watched her mother walk away to join Jake into the living room and she couldn’t help but think the same thing over and over again. 

 

I hope she sticks around too. 

 

They finished recording Dua Lipa’s album and there were only a couple of things to fix here and there but work had finally calmed down. Chloe was preparing for the end of the year by making certificates for every of her students; she refused to tell Beca which one she was giving to Jake and it was driving her crazy. 

 

Cynthia-Rose’s wedding was June 6th, which was in about a week, and Beca was actually pretty excited about it. It was nice to see her coworker so happy and she tried to focus on that instead of the overwhelming anxiety that came with the knowledge that Chloe was going to be her date for the event. 

 

Turns out knowing about her feelings towards the woman just made everything a lot more stressful and Beca almost regretted figuring it out. It was way easier when she could pretend the way she felt about Chloe was strictly platonic.

 

It would be stupid to pretend it was normal for her heart to race and her palms to sweat anytime she did as much as make eye contact with Chloe but still, it would be easier. 

 

She was washing dishes when her phone started buzzing in her pocket and she groaned, trying to find a rag to dry her hands. 

 

“Jake!” she called out and he scrambled to her from the living room. She pointed to her back pocket with her chin. “Can you get that for me?”

 

He took the phone out and smiled when he instantly recognized Chloe’s contact photo, showing it to her. She was calling her on Facetime and Beca told Jake to click on the green telephone and prop her phone against the toaster so she could see them.

 

“Hey Mitchells,” Chloe’s voice came as soon as she saw their faces. 

 

“Hey,” Beca said, turning off the tap and finally finding a rag. 

 

“Hi Chloe!” Jake shouted way too loudly and Beca cringed. 

 

“Indoor voice, little man.”

 

“Is this a bad time?”

 

“Nope,” the brunette assured and took the phone to go settle down on the couch. Jake followed closely behind, making sure he was included in the conversation. “What’s up?”

 

Chloe hummed. “Nothing, I’m procrastinating.”

 

“What are you supposed to be doing?”

 

“Packing,” Chloe said, turning the camera the other way so they could see the mess of clothes on the bed. Beca frowned. 

 

“Where are you going?”

 

“Miss Beale, are you going on vacation?” Jake said and Beca laughed at the name. Chloe had told her he was getting slightly too used to saying her first name at school that they were trying to get him to say Miss Beale more often so he remembered. 

 

“I wish but no. Stacie’s mom is coming over for a week tomorrow and she’s gonna stay in my room so they’re kicking me out for a while.”

 

Beca’s eyebrows knit together, wondering why this was the first time she was hearing about this. 

 

“Where are you staying?”

 

“Emily’s.”

 

“Who’s Emily?” she said quickly, almost (definitely) feeling jealous. 

 

“This teacher that works at school.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Why did Chloe not ask her? Did she not want to spend that much time with them? Chloe spoke like she could read her thoughts.

 

“I would’ve asked you but I assumed with Jake it would be too complicated and I didn’t want to be a bother and--”

 

“Dude, no,” Beca interrupted her without thinking and then bit her lower lip. “You’re never a bother here. You’re actually the opposite, you help out a lot and you should’ve asked me.”

 

“When you’re here, you play with me!” Jake said, shifting so he could sit on his mother’s lap.

 

Chloe scrunched her nose as if she was deep in thoughts and Beca snorted. She remembered the redhead telling her she and Jake did that but turns out they weren’t the only ones. 

 

“I mean, I could always tell Emily I found somewhere else,” she said slowly. Beca bit the inside of her cheek to keep herself from smiling. “Are you sure?”

 

“Yes! Yes! Say yes, Mommy!” Jake chanted in her face and she smiled. 

 

“Well, Jake clearly wants you here, Miss Beale.”

 

Chloe smiled and arched an eyebrow. They both knew that Beca wanted her here just as much and the brunette liked that she didn’t have to tell Chloe. 

 

“Well, since Jake wants me there,” the teacher said in a teasing tone. Jake got closer to the camera, anticipating the words he wanted to hear so badly and Beca chuckled, moving the phone so Chloe could see both of them. “Sure, I’ll come over.”

 

“Yay!” Jake exclaimed, jumping on his mother’s lap and Beca groaned in pain, wrapping an arm around him to stop him. 

 

“One week with this guy,” she said to Chloe. “You sure you can handle it?”

 

“I can’t think of any better way to spend a week,” Chloe replied with sincerity and before Beca even had time to process the words, she continued. “Right, well I’ll get back to packing then. I’ll come by after school?”

 

“Sounds great.”

 

“Awes. Love you guys, bye,” she said quickly and hung up before either of them even had a chance to answer. 

 

Beca would have said it back. 

 

---------------------

 

Chloe arrived at the apartment the day after, just before dinner. Beca had seen Chloe enter her home with lots of bags so many times, it didn’t even feel weird to see her get here with a suitcase. Since she was going to be there for a week, Beca assumed it’d be better that Chloe slept in Jake’s bed and that Jake would sleep with his mother. 

 

In all honesty, she wasn’t sure she could handle a full week of Chloe cuddles. 

 

Jake was ecstatic about getting another buddy to play with him for a full week and at that point, her son was going to be seeing Chloe from morning to night without a break but he didn’t seem to mind. Beca couldn’t believe this was the same guy that used to complain about Miss Beale every day after school.

 

Things had certainly changed since then. 

 

It was Jake’s bedtime (well it was slightly later but he was so excited about Chloe being there for a while that it had been hard to calm him down enough for sleep) and Beca was stroking his freshly cut curls while the teacher waited in the living room. 

 

“I love you, you know that?” she said to him, looking deeply into his eyes. She could still see herself look at him for the very first time and almost crying of joy when she saw he had the same color eyes as her. 

 

He was situated in the middle of her sheets and he looked so small in that queen sized bed that she almost got emotional. 

 

He nodded, a happy smile on his face. “I love you too, Mommy.”

 

“You sure you’re okay with letting Chloe have your room?”

 

“Yeah,” he said and turned to grab Petey in his arms. “I left her Sharky so she doesn’t feel alone.”

 

She smiled gently. “Well, that’s very nice of you, Jake.” 

 

“Mommy, is she gonna stay with us forever?”

 

“Not quite, bud. Just for a week.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Why what?”

 

“Why can’t she stay here forever?”

 

Beca sighed, not knowing how to answer that question. At that point, she’d love if Chloe was a permanent resident of the Mitchell household but that’s not the way things worked. She had to let the redhead keep the freedom she still had.

 

“Because she can’t, Jakey.”

 

“Why?”

 

“You know how much fun it is to hang out at Harry’s house?” she said and he nodded. “Well no matter how fun that is, we still have to come back here because friends don’t usually live with each other.”

 

“Hm,” he said, scrunching his nose as he tried to understand. 

 

“But we still have fun together when it’s just Mom and Jake, no?”

 

His bottom lip trembled. “But Jake, Mom and Chloe?”

 

Her heart tugged and she took a breath. She didn’t know what to say so she simply bent down to kiss him on the forehead.

 

“Goodnight, kid. Love you.”

 

He turned to his side and mumbled his goodnight to her before putting his thumb in his mouth and closing his eyes. She walked out the room with a breath and joined Chloe in the living room, who was watching TV while scrolling on her phone. It just looked so right to see her there and Beca couldn’t help but think that her 6 year old made a compelling point by just saying their three names. 

 

“You finally managed to calm him down?” Chloe said when she spotted her and Beca chuckled, joining her on the couch. 

 

“Yeah,” she breathed out. “He even let you Sharky to sleep with.”

 

“Well, that’s very kind of him,” Chloe said with a genuine smile. “I have this activity planned tomorrow that involves lots of sharing so I’m glad he’s getting practice tonight. Your kid is not the best at sharing.”

 

Beca laughed, leaning back on the armchair and accepting Chloe’s legs that moved to her lap. “I think he got used to having all the attention all the time.”

 

“Oh, I know. He forgets about once a day that when we’re in class, I can’t just focus on him. I have 19 other kids to take care of,” Chloe answered in a playful tone. 

 

“You complaining that he loves you now?” Beca teased. “You’re the one who manipulated him into liking you.”

 

“I am not complaining. I love him too.”

 

Beca’s smirk turned into a soft smile and she looked away from the hypnotizing blue eyes. She played with the seam of Chloe’s pants and scrunched her nose, thinking about the way she wanted to word what she wanted to say. 

 

“So I was thinking.”

 

“Hm, that's never good.”

 

“Fuck off,” Beca said, breathing out a laugh. “Anyway, I was thinking that well, um since you’re a teacher at Jake’s school and we’re both going there morning and night, you shouldn’t-- uh I could just drive you both there at the same time,” she managed to finally spit out, thinking about how pathetic she was sounding. 

 

Chloe was looking at her with the corner of her lips curled up as if she was amused. Beca pinched her lips together, red creeping onto her cheeks that she knew the redhead could see. 

 

“Are you suggesting we carpool?”

 

“Gas ain’t cheap,” she said and then released a breath, embarrassed. She wasn’t sure she had any control over her mouth right now. 

 

It made Chloe laugh and she finally nodded. “Sure, it’s better for the environment, anyway,” she replied with a wink and Beca knew Chloe had caught on to what she was trying to do. It was just another way for Beca to show her appreciation for Chloe because she clearly had problems doing it with words. 

 

They went to bed after watching a few episodes of The Office and Beca crawled under the covers, careful not to wake her son. He was sleeping in the middle of the bed which was annoying but he was still small enough that she had enough space on her side. She laid there for God knows how long just staring at the ceiling until she suddenly heard footsteps in the hallway. 

 

Seconds later, Chloe entered the room and silently walked to the bed, laying down on Jake’s other side. Beca looked at her curiously and the teacher must have felt her eyes on her because she simply hummed, turning on her side.

 

“Couldn’t sleep.”

 

Beca’s lips quirked up and she let herself close her eyes, falling into a slumber easily. 

 

------------------

 

The next morning, she woke up to her alarm blaring loudly. She groaned, stretching her limbs and felt the bed move next to her as her two companions stirred awake as well. She turned to her side and was met with the most adorable sight she had ever seen. 

 

Jake was almost completely on top of Chloe, his head resting against her shoulder and the redhead’s protective arms around him to make sure he couldn’t fall. Jake’s hand that wasn’t in his mouth was holding on to a strand of her hair, Petey to the side since his owner had found comfort in something else.

 

Chloe’s eyes fluttered open, instantly making eye contact with Beca and the latter felt her heart leap out of her chest. 

 

“Morning,” she said with a groggy morning voice and Chloe smiled as Jake nuzzled his face in her neck to avoid waking up. 

 

“Morning.”

 

They got ready for the day hastily, Jake would have to get to school earlier than usual because Chloe had to be there earlier than the students as a teacher but he didn’t seem to mind. When Beca quickly explained it to him as he ate his toast, he just seemed happy to be treated like a big boy that was privileged enough to come in with his teacher. 

 

The drive to school was spent in a comfortable silence as Chloe checked what she had planned for the day with glasses on her face, which almost made Beca swerve into the next line when she finally noticed them. She pulled into the parking lot and they got out of the car in sync, Beca going to unbuckle Jake from his car seat as Chloe went over the rules once they were inside the school. 

 

“You have to stay calm and use an indoor voice, you can do that, right?” she said and he nodded, almost kicking Beca with his swinging feet. “And what’s my name when we’re inside?”

 

“Miss Beale.”

 

“That’s right.”

 

Beca picked him up to get him out of the car and she helped him into his backpack, bending down to his level to tell him her goodbyes. 

 

She made him kiss her on the cheek. “Be good with Miss Beale, okay?”

 

“Kay.”

 

“Chloe?”

 

Beca straightened up to see Jesse coming over to them. She sighed and felt Jake’s arm wrap itself around her leg. The male teacher looked at the two Mitchells with a confused expression. 

 

“What’s happening here?” he said, eyeing the three of them. It didn’t take a genius to figure out they had all arrived together. 

 

“Uh,” Chloe spoke up. “My car’s in the garage. Beca’s giving me a ride since we live close.”

 

Beca nodded immediately. She was pretty sure getting rides from parents wasn't ethical either but it was clear Jesse already knew Beca and Chloe were friends so it was better this than him finding out how they all had woken up this morning. 

 

“Oh,” Mr Swanson said, seeming to believe them. “Fair enough.”

 

“Are you going to live with us too?” Jake suddenly spoke up and Beca’s eyes widened as she looked down at her kid. Chloe let out a nervous chuckle and Jesse looked confused. 

 

“He’s just kidding,” Beca said awkwardly and gave Jake a mom glare to let him know he should stop talking now. He seemed to get it because he recoiled into her and looked away. 

 

“Anyway!” Chloe said after a beat and extended her hand so Jake would take it. “Let’s go, Jake. Mr Swanson, I’ll see you at lunch?”

 

The male teacher seemed to get the message and took a step back, still looking at them like he was trying to figure out what was really happening between the three of them. Beca gave Jake one last kiss on top of his head and waved at Chloe before going back in her car without even glancing at Jesse. 

 

She was just glad the man had believed them.

 

----------------

 

A few days later, the three were finishing up the delicious meal of spaghetti bolognese which Chloe had prepped and cooked herself. The redhead had insisted on cooking to pay them back for letting her stay over for the week and Beca had happily agreed since it was a change from the usual pizza and chicken nuggets they always ate. Beca wasn’t ashamed to admit she had the same food preferences as her six year old son but Chloe’s spaghetti was pretty darn good.

 

It was clear to see Jake had enjoyed it too as he was basically covered from head to toe in the sauce. It was smothered around his mouth; dripped down his shirt; and all over his hands. Beca studied him, wondering how on earth he managed to even get some on his ear. After using three napkins on him, she had given up and just let him do his thing.

 

“Right, what do we say to Chloe for that yummy food?”

 

“Thanks Chloe!” Jake exclaimed, flashing her a messy grin with his sauce covered mouth as he jumped down from the chair he was sat at. Beca grabbed his wrist quickly but gently before he could get away.

 

“You will not be touching anything in this house like that, mister. I think we better give you a bath. Or ten.” 

 

Jake huffed, crossing his arms comically as though Beca had just made the worst suggestion he had ever heard. The brunette ignored his reaction, taking their plates through to the sink before starting to head towards the bathroom.

 

“No! I don’t want you to give me a bath!” Jake shrieked.

 

She sighed. “Yes, I am.”

 

“No!”

 

“Yes.”

 

“No!”

 

“Dude, you’re covered in bolognese you need to ge--”

 

Jake cut her off. “I want Chloe!” he whined and Beca stopped dead in her tracks, an array of thoughts immediately entering her head.

 

For one she was shocked at the request. Jake had never been comfortable having anyone else do his bath time routine with him before, hell he barely cooperated when it was Beca that was the one bathing him. 

 

She was also dreading what might happen considering the volume of a tantrum he had the last time Chloe tried to bathe him, making her feel incredibly worried. She tried to tell herself that it would be fine, he had asked for Chloe so clearly he wanted her with him.

 

Chloe must’ve seen how deep in thought she was as she spoke up softly. “I can do it if that’s okay, Becs? Another try won’t hurt.”

 

Chloe Beale and her magical ability to fix any situation with only words. She looked between the two of them back and forth and she knew Jake’s puppy eyes were going to win her over soon. 

 

“You absolutely want Chloe to come with you? Remember last time when you both got pretty upset?” Beca asked the boy, anxiously chewing on her lip.

 

The boy nodded, grabbing Chloe’s hand and that was confirmation enough for the two women.

 

Beca spent the next fifteen minutes in a state of complete worry. She was pretty sure she had never been this nervous about something before and she had literally given birth to a child. It’s not that she didn’t trust Chloe with her son, she did more than anything, but that night had been so stressful for the three of them and she didn’t want a repeat of that. 

 

She tried to pass the time by making a new mix but having her headphones plugged in posed the possibility of not hearing any commotion so she instead sat in pure silence on the couch, waiting for something to happen. 

 

Without warning, Beca heard Jake’s high pitched squeal from the bathroom and immediately shot to her feet, ready to go save the situation from ending in a tantrum. Just as she reached out to open the bathroom door, the sound turned into a laugh which was followed by the sound of water sloshing against the wall.

 

“You little monster! I’ll get you for that!” came Chloe’s playful voice, followed by another splashing sound.

 

“No! Chloe, no!” Jake shouted through loud laughter. Beca relaxed, exhaling sharply and dropping her shoulders which she hadn’t even realised she was tensing. 

 

Get a grip, Beca. she thought to herself as she dropped back down onto the couch, knowing that Chloe and Jake were simply playing a game.

 

Within ten minutes, Chloe left the bathroom with Jake in her arms, who was wrapped in a Marvel towel. The teacher’s shirt was completely drenched on the front but she didn’t seem to mind it one bit and Beca smiled at the sight of the pair. 

 

She always thought Jake looked so much younger when his hair was wet so each time he got a bath, she would be transported back to a smaller, chubbier little Jake before he could even walk and talk. It was so hard to believe her boy was six now.

 

“We’re gonna go get this little man into his pyjamas now. We had lots of fun in the bath, didn’t we?” Chloe’s voice snapped Beca out of her thoughts.

 

“So much fun! We played splash!” Jake said excitedly, clinging onto Chloe, who cringed at the comment.

 

“I promise I’ll clean the water off the bathroom floor,” she mumbled guiltily, giving Beca an apologetic glance before going through to Jake’s room to get the boy ready for sleeping.

 

… in his own room. It was pathetic how fast they had decided Jake could keep sleeping in his bed and Chloe could sleep in Beca’s.

 

(They used Jake’s comfort as an excuse but really, Beca somehow slept better with Chloe there. She was a way better sleeping buddy than her son ever was.)

 

She walked up to the bathroom and her eyes bulged out of her head when she saw the mess. Usually, Beca would be mad about the almost flooded bathroom, but all she could bring herself to feel was utter satisfaction that they had a successful bath time without her interference. 

 

Chloe was still making progress with Jake every day and even though it made it harder for Beca to pretend that she wasn’t completely in love with the woman, she also loved the way it felt to see them be so close. 

 

-----------------

 

“Sorry, I’m so late” were the first words that came out of her mouth when she entered the apartment two days later. She had had to work late because of a last minute problem that Amy definitely caused and she was exhausted. 

 

Since she had been Chloe and Jake’s ride this morning, the two had had to take a cab back home and Beca felt awful about it.

 

“No worries!” Chloe said and Beca turned her head to see the woman painting Jake’s nails blue. 

 

Beca stopped in her tracks to observe them. Her son was looking at his nails very intensely and Chloe would move his head every couple of seconds so she could see what she was doing but he would move it back every time.  

 

“Mommy, Chloe is coloring my nails.”

 

“Is that okay?”

 

“Of course,” Beca answered with a soft smile. Chloe had the same colored nails and it wasn’t hard to assume she had been painting her nails and Jake had complained until she did his too.  

 

“Look!” he said and put his hands in the air, making the teacher mess up one of his nails and she breathed out a chuckle. Beca got closer to his son and from the amount of nail polish he had on his fingers, she deduced it wasn’t the first time that he had moved his hands.

 

“For the wedding?” Beca directed the question to Chloe while walking to her room to change into more comfortable clothes. 

 

“Yeah,” she heard Chloe reply from the living room as she started stripping. “I thought I’d make them match my dress.”

 

“What’s a wedding?” Jake’s voice asked. 

 

“It’s when two people that love each other decide to have a ceremony to celebrate that love in front of their families and friends and swear that they’ll stay together forever.”

 

“Will I have a wedding?”

 

“If you want to, Jake.”

 

“Are you having a wedding? Is that why you colored your nails?”

 

“No, me and your mom are going to one on Sunday, though.”

 

“Me?”

 

“No,” Beca said, walking back to the living area and getting a snack from the kitchen. “Remember how I told you you were going to be with Aubrey and Stacie Sunday?”

 

“Oh,” he said, frowning. “You won’t be with me?”

 

Beca sat down next to him with a sad smile and he was about to move but Chloe grabbed onto his wrists and looked up at him.

 

“Stop moving, little monster.” Chloe said with a smile and looked back down to continue her task. 

 

“I want to go to the wedding.”

 

“Sorry dude,” Beca said, ruffling her son’s hair. “The only people I’ll know there are Cynthia-Rose and Amy so it really won’t be that fun for me either.”

 

“That’s why I’m going too,” Chloe said, shooting the music producer a wink. “Your mom needs a friendly face.”

 

“You wouldn’t like it,” Beca continued to make sure Jake didn’t feel too sad about not coming. “It’s grown-up stuff.”

 

“What do you do at a wedding?”

 

“Well, at first we’re just going to sit there and wait for the couple to walk down the aisle and they’ll exchange vows-- that’s when you tell each other how much you love the other and then after we’ll eat and dance probably.”

 

“Are you going to e-eschange vows with Chloe?” Jake asked with his big blue eyes looking at his mother and Beca nearly choked on her spit. Even Chloe looked up from his hands to look at him in shock. 

 

“What?”

 

He scrunched up his nose. “Well you said a wedding is when two people love each other. You love Chloe, right? She’s not just my friend.”

 

She glanced at the redhead and then cleared her throat. 

 

“I do love Chloe but we’re not-- um we’re not going to exchange vows because we’re not getting married.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because couples do that. Not friends,” she replied through her dry mouth. It hurt to say but it was better this way. It was better that they stayed friends. Chloe looked at her for a second before focusing back on Jake’s nails. 

 

“What’s a couple?”

 

“It’s when a boy or a girl likes another boy or girl.”

 

“Like me and Harry?”

 

“Well it’s a bit more complicated than that,” Beca continued. “It’s more than being friends. It’s when you want to kiss them too.”

 

He grimaced and moved, making Chloe mess up a little again. “Ew.” 

 

The two women chuckled a little. 

 

“Yeah, so you kiss and if you want, you can have a wedding and have a family together. You become mommies and daddies. Some people have a mommy and daddy, some people have two daddies or two mommies.”

 

“Like us?”

 

“Well, you have me. Your mom.”

 

He looked at Chloe, making her look at him. “What’s Chloe?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Well, are you a mommy or a daddy?”

 

“Oh,” Chloe said, straightening a little. “Well, neither.”

 

Jake knit his eyebrows together as he tried to understand how come Chloe wasn’t a mother. The teacher looked at Beca but the latter found herself not able to hold eye contact and she looked away quickly. 

 

“You like your nails, Jakey?” Chloe said when she turned back to Jake and he instantly nodded. The tension was diffused and Beca got up to start preparing dinner. 

 

The whole time she did, all she thought about was that it was the second time her own son brought more compelling arguments than she could. At that point, she wasn’t even sure why she wasn’t dating Chloe because they were definitely acting like a couple. She wanted to let the redhead her freedom but it was clear that Chloe’s freewill only brought her here, in this apartment. So maybe she wouldn’t mind being tied down? Maybe this was what Chloe wanted after all. 

 

She spared a glance at her two favorite people in the living room, let out a shaky breath and opened herself a beer. 

 

She was going to need it.

 

Chapter Text

Beca looked at herself in the mirror, making sure her eyeliner was straight and that she looked okay. Today was the wedding and it had been a while since she had dressed up so fancy that she kind of feared she looked stupid. She had gone pretty simple, not wanting to draw attention to herself. 

 

She was wearing a marine suit with a white shirt underneath it, a clip-on tie attached to her collar. She didn’t know how to tie one so she figured the clip-on version was her safest bet. 

 

“Woah!” Jake said, suddenly appearing in the mirror behind her. “Mommy, you look like Tony Stark.”

 

She smiled, looking behind her and bent down. “Yeah? You like it?” He nodded, showing her all his teeth in a grin.

 

“You look awesome .”

“Thanks, little dude. You look good too.”

 

He was wearing a simple t-shirt with the Black Widow logo on it but she figured she’d say it too. He did look super handsome. That was her little guy.

 

“Alright, you have your bag of toys?” she said, straightening up and gathering all her things. 

 

She grabbed the present she had bought for the happy couple and Jake came back with his backpack that was filled with action figures, coloring books and iPad so he wouldn’t get bored with Aubrey and Stacie. Although, one of them did mention they could go to the pool or the park so she doubted he was even going to miss her for a second. 

 

She looked at him and thought about how one day he was definitely not going to miss her when she went away for the day. Like her when she was a teenager, he was just going to wish his mom would leave him alone. The thought brought tears to her eyes and she shook it off quickly with a smile. 

 

During the drive, she made sure she wasn’t going to have a repeat of what happened with Chloe last time she left him alone with her for a few hours. It wasn’t bath day so there was that at least but the wedding was probably going to end late and she knew bedtime was going to be a challenge for them.

 

“Now I want you to be good today, right?” she said, glancing at the rearview mirror. 

 

“Yep.”

 

“No bad words, no shouting. We use indoor voices when we’re inside the apartment.”

 

“Yep.”

 

“We’re gonna be kind to Stacie and Aubrey because they were really nice to offer to be with you while Mommy and Chloe are at the wedding. I might come back pretty late.”

 

“Are they gonna play with me?” he said, suddenly worried. 

 

“I’m sure they will.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Just like that, he was happy again. God, life was easy when you were a kid. She pulled into the parking lot of Chloe’s apartment and got him out of the seat, careful not to wrinkle her suit in the action. She looked at herself in the side mirror to make sure her tie was on straight and took his hand so they could enter the building.

 

She took a deep breath, adjusting her collar about 8 times and finally knocked on the door. She was kind of expecting Chloe to open the door so when Stacie appeared, Beca was almost relieved. It gave her more time to prepare herself.

 

“Holy shit.”

 

“Stacie said a bad word!” Jake said, pointing at her with his finger. Beca cringed, putting his hand down. 

 

“Pointing is impolite,” she mumbled and then pushed him inside lightly. 

 

“Sorry,” Stacie said sheepishly. “You look really effing good, Beca,” she continued, her hungry eyes checking Beca out without shame and the latter cleared her throat awkwardly. 

 

“Thanks.”

 

“You do look good,” Aubrey’s voice called out and Beca turned to the kitchen where the blonde was. 

 

She smiled politely. “Thanks. Oh and thanks for taking care of him today. I don’t know if Chloe told you but I’m still not sure when it will end. I’ll keep you guys updated, though.”

 

“No problem,” Stacie replied happily. “We already prepared a mattress for him in our office.”

 

“Great.” There was a beat of silence and she looked around like she was making sure she hadn’t missed Chloe somewhere in the room. She was growing antsy at the thought of seeing her. She had categorically refused on showing Beca what she was wearing and the latter found herself really excited to see it. 

 

“She’ll be out soon,” the tall brunette said with a secret smirk. Beca could almost feel the girl reading her thoughts and it was slightly terrifying. 

 

Beca stood in the hallway for what felt like forever but was probably only two minutes. She was so nervous, constantly adjusting her shirt collar as she scuffed her shoe against the floor like a highschool kid waiting for their prom date.

 

Finally, she heard the door latch open and the woman was coming out of the bathroom. As soon as Chloe stepped out of the room, Beca felt her breath immediately knocked out of her lungs, taking a step back as her eyes widened.

 

Chloe’s red hair was loose, her soft curls framing her face and cascading down onto her shoulders, a rare occurrence considering the teacher kept it up for school. Her makeup was light, blush cheeks, lipgloss and mascara to accentuate the ocean blue of her eyes, because let's be honest, Chloe was beautiful enough without the aid of makeup. 

 

Beca’s eyes roamed downwards to analyse the dress the redhead was wearing. It was baby blue, the kind that reminded Beca of summer and the sleeves were low, starting just below the shoulder. The dress was made of a light lace and embroidered into every layer were soft white flowers. It was completed with a darker blue bow which was secured just above Chloe’s waist, hugging her figure perfectly. 

 

Beca had never seen the redhead look so completely mesmerising. If the room was on fire, she wasn’t sure she could look away from the woman for even a second. 

 

“Becs, you’re staring,” Chloe uttered with a smirk as she walked over to Beca in her silver heels. 

 

Beca’s eyes went wide before looking away in every direction other than where Chloe was standing. She caught Stacie’s eyes and quickly moved on to something else because it was as though she could tell Beca what thinking. “Uh, sorry, I-- Sorry.”

 

Chloe laughed softly. “I’m messing with you.” With a light blush on her cheeks, Beca looked back at Chloe and observed her from head to toe again. 

 

“Why would you wear heels, that’s honestly just cruel,” she joked to hide the fact that her jaw had just dropped at the sight of Chloe Beale in that dress.

 

“I am not changing my outfit just because you’re tiny.”

 

“I’m not tiny! I’m… fun sized,” Beca shot back lamely with a huff.

 

“That you are,” Chloe muttered, her eyes dropping to study Beca’s outfit. Beca suddenly felt vulnerable under her gaze, immediately trying to deflect attention off herself.

 

“You look-- beautiful,” she blurted out, immediately kicking herself. God, why did that have to be the first thing to come out of her mouth? 

 

“You look like a princess, Chloe,” Jake said in awe from his seat on the couch.

 

“Thank you,” the redhead replied, completely unfazed as she shot them one of her award winning Chloe grins. “I have to say you do look smoking hot yourself, little Mitchell,” she said while looking at Beca.

 

Beca laughed at Chloe’s goofiness but deep down, she was thankful for the woman's ability to make any conversation comfortable as soon as she detected Beca was nervous. It was like an unspoken thing that the redhead always managed to save her from pure embarrassment. 

 

“You got everything?”

 

Chloe nodded, picking up a sparkly silver purse from the couch and taking out her apartment keys. Beca bent down to hug her son one last time and Chloe kissed his forehead gently, leaving a sticky lipgloss mark on his skin. 

 

“Let's hit the road, my friend!”

 

“Whatever, weirdo.” Beca said with an eye roll, before subconsciously opening the door for Chloe. She could almost hear Amy calling her whipped but at that point, she didn’t even care. She looked like a damn limousine driver next to the gorgeousness that was Chloe Beale and she was okay with it. 

 

She closed the door and looked back, suddenly worried about what her little boy was going to do to these poor women. Well, she was more worried about Stacie’s thoughts because it wasn’t like Aubrey’s opinion of her could get any worse. 

 

“He’ll be fine, Becs.”

 

She turned to Chloe and chewed on her bottom lip. “You think?”

 

“Of course. They’ll treat him well and he’s becoming more mature by the minute because of his incredible mother,” she said with a smile and Beca rolled her eyes. “Come on, I don’t want to be late.”

 

Beca glanced one last time at the door before nodding and started walking again. Chloe smiled in victory and looped her arm around Beca’s and they made their way to her car where Beca opened the door again for her. 

 

The wedding was held in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles so it was quite the drive for them. The two of them had looked the place up online during Chloe’s week at Beca’s apartment and their eyes had bulged out of their heads at the same time when they saw the pictures. The venue was called Doubletree by Hilton Hotel and it must have cost a fortune to hold a reception there because it must have been one of the most beautiful places Beca had ever seen. 

 

They made light chit chat during the drive and to no surprise, they both trailed off in the middle of a sentence when they turned a corner and they understood the wedding was held on the roof of the hotel. 

 

“Hardcore,” Beca had said after she had given her keys to the valet to go park her car. Chloe was looking up and simply nodded, completely in awe of what was before them. They hadn’t even seen what the Kyoto Garden looked like and they were freaking out. 

 

“I’m really glad you asked me to be your date,” Chloe muttered, her eyes not leaving the building and Beca chuckled. 

 

“You’re welcome,” she answered playfully before extending her arm so Chloe could take it. 

 

Their jaws dropped in sync when they got to the roof of the place and they could finally see the full set up. She didn’t even know where to look first; the plants, the flowers or the cascading waterfall in this half-acre oasis. She could see through the crowd of people white chairs in two rows, facing the place where Beca assumed Cynthia-Rose would stand later on.

 

“This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” the woman at her arm said and Beca could only nod. 

 

There must have been around 150 people there which Beca already hated but she was going to handle it for the sake of her friend. She observed the crowd, hoping to recognize a face soon but except a few coworkers she had maybe exchanged one word with since she started working for Atlantis records, there was nobody she knew. 

 

“Fucking hell,” she whispered to herself, taking a deep breath. The only way she was going to be able to deal with this was with alcohol. They could just take a cab home, there was no way she was dealing with that many people sober. 

 

“You okay?” Chloe asked, rubbing her arm in a comforting way. 

 

“Yeah, it’s just-- that’s a lot of people.”

 

The redhead hummed. “Don’t worry. I’ll stay right by your side the whole time,” she said with a wink and that just gave Beca more anxiety about something completely different. 

 

It didn’t take long for the wedding to start and Beca had managed to avoid talking to anyone when she went to get two glasses of champagne so she considered that a win. Cynthia-Rose looked amazing up there and it was nice to see her friend so excited about something. She could see how buzzed she was from her seat and Beca smiled at that.

 

Denise walked down the aisle in a beautiful white dress that made Chloe gasp dramatically and grasp Beca’s hand to squeeze it like she wanted to make sure they were both seeing the same thing. The brunette chuckled at that reaction but still thought that even the bride herself didn’t hold a candle to the way Chloe looked right now. 

 

Beca had never seen Cynthia-Rose look as happy as she did as they exchanged vows. She looked to her right for a second, making Chloe look at her too and they shared a soft smile before they turned their attention back to the brides. 

 

“You know it’s very fitting that they got married in June,” was the first thing Chloe said after the official ceremony was done and everyone was standing up from their seats. 

 

“Hm?” Beca asked absently, her eyes on Amy who looked like she was arguing with one of the waiters there. 

 

“June is pride month.”

 

That caught Beca’s attention. “That’s right,” she said as she remembered that fact. “It is.”

 

“Happy pride month, Becs.”

 

“Happy pride month, Chlo.”

 

Chloe looked at her with a smile and Beca had to look away after a few seconds because it quickly became too much to look at her when she looked this beautiful. She hoped the heat she felt on her cheeks wasn’t obvious and decided to point to Amy to change the subject. 

 

“Let’s go save that poor waiter.”

 

Chloe chuckled and nodded, following behind Beca. As soon as the blonde noticed her friends, she took a few bites from the guy’s tray and made a hand motion for him to leave. 

 

“B.M! Gingah. You both look hot,” she said with her mouth full and then gestured to herself. “I won best dressed in Tasmania. With teeth.”

 

Beca nodded, used to the weird shit that came out of her mouth sometimes. 

 

“You look great, Ames.”

 

“Damn right I do.”

 

“That was a beautiful ceremony,” Chloe said and Amy shrugged. 

 

“Don’t know. Me and Mark decided to watch it from behind the bushes, if you know what I mean,” she said with a wink and Beca grimaced.

 

“Gross.”

 

Amy pointed to a bush near the white chairs and shoved another bite in her mouth. “It’s this great spot over there. If you and Gingah need somewhere to--”

 

“We won’t need that,” Beca cut her off quickly and Chloe chuckled next to her. She turned to glare at the redhead but the latter only shrugged, an amused smile on her face and Beca rolled her eyes. 

 

A voice announced that the newlyweds were going to share their first dance and everyone turned to the dance floor. Beca looked at the couple dancing, smiles splitting their faces in half and she focused on drinking her champagne to keep herself from looking at the redhead next to her. One by one, more couples joined them on the dance floor and it didn’t take long before Chloe was putting Beca’s glass down and taking her hand. 

 

“No,” she said as she was being dragged. “I don’t dance.”

 

“Hm, I think you do.”

 

“I--” she tried to say but suddenly Chloe turned to her, making the dress fan out around her. Jake was right, she did look like a princess straight out of a Disney movie. Beca was half expecting to see birds fly around her and sing in harmony with her. 

 

They started dancing with all the other couples surrounding them, Chloe taking the lead and Beca stared deeply into her ocean blue eyes to focus on not messing up her steps.

 

“See, you do dance,” Chloe said softly after a moment. 

 

“I guess I do.”

 

Chloe smiled and looked at everyone around them, somehow never losing the rhythm. 

 

“I love weddings. I love love.”

 

“Yeah,” Beca breathed out. “That was really beautiful.”

 

“Do you…” Chloe started and then shook her head. “Nevermind.”

 

Beca frowned and squeezed Chloe’s waist gently. “Hey no, don’t do that. What’s up?”

 

“I just-- Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get that.”

 

“A wedding?”

 

“Well, yeah,” Chloe said shyly.

 

“Do you want one?”

 

“Duh. But I don’t just want a wedding, I want… a marriage. I want to feel loved.”

 

Beca looked at her deeply in her eyes and swallowed, wondering if a wedding was the right place to have a conversation about this. Especially given the fact that Beca was desperately in love with her but didn’t feel like she could tell her. 

 

“You are loved,” Beca said, trying to keep her voice from revealing too much. “And whoever you end up marrying will be the luckiest person in the world.”

 

Chloe looked at her, her bottom lip between her teeth. Beca thought that she had figured out every Chloe Beale emotion by now but the expression on her face was unreadable at this moment. Finally, the redhead cleared her throat.

 

“Do you think you’ll ever get married?”

 

Beca sighed. “I don’t know. I doubt it. With Jake and all.”

 

Chloe’s movements faltered and she quickly regained control, refusing to look at Beca. She didn’t answer and they kept dancing until the song finished and everyone started clapping, their eyes on the newly weds. 

 

The glasses of champagne kept coming and Beca had lost most of her tolerance after she became a mother so she found herself already tipsy before the sun had even set. She ate from the buffet to avoid getting drunk on an empty stomach but she was way more interested in the drinks. 

 

The amount of people at this reception was freaking her out and even though Chloe looked beautiful, it might have been a bad idea to invite her. Beca was starting to fear her heart was going to stop completely by the amount of beats it skipped whenever her eyes found the woman. 

 

Beca had finally gotten a chance to sit down with Cynthia-Rose during sunset. The sky was orange as the two of them sat with Chloe and Amy, chatting together. Beca felt the warmth of the alcohol in her chest and she could see the redhead next to her was also buzzed by how she laughed a little bit too much at Amy’s bad jokes. 

 

“I’m telling you, this is the same girl that was at the strip club.”

 

“Amy, I doubt the waiter at my wedding was the same girl from the strip club.”

 

Chloe giggled. “You went to a strip club for your bachelorette party?”

 

“Yeah, it was all Amy’s idea,” Cynthia-Rose said with a grin. “It was stupid but it was fun. I wish you could have come,” she added, looking at Beca.

 

“Sorry. You know how it is with the kid.” 

 

Chloe’s eyebrows knit together and she looked at CR and Beca back and forth. Beca took a sip of her beer, hoping Chloe wouldn’t comment on it but obviously, that’s what happened. 

 

“When was it?”

 

“Last Friday,” Amy answered. 

 

“Wait, two days ago?”

 

“Yeah,” Cynthia-Rose said in a chuckle. “I think I’m still a little hungover from that night.”

 

Chloe looked at her and Beca made eye contact with her, taking a bigger sip of her beer. She knew the teacher was thinking the same thing as her; Chloe was here last Friday so she could’ve easily looked after Jake if Beca had wanted to go. 

 

“Why didn’t you--”

 

“They’re not really my thing,” she said, cutting her off gently and Chloe frowned, downing her drink. There was a moment of silence where the two didn’t say anything and Cynthia-Rose and Amy both sensed there was something they didn’t know about the situation. 

 

“I’ll go get us a refill,” Beca suggested and didn’t wait for an answer before getting up from her seat. 

 

She could’ve gone to Cynthia-Rose’s bachelorette party but she hadn’t wanted to. It was either getting drunk with her chaotic coworkers or having a nice night in with her kid and the woman she happened to be in love with so the answer was pretty simple for Beca. She was 100% sure she had had more fun watching Paw Patrol with Jake and Chloe than she would’ve had if she had gone to the strip club. 

 

After getting more drinks from the bar she was beginning to be quite familiar with, Beca stumbled back over to where she had left Chloe, hoping that the awkwardness would have dissipated by the time she was back.

 

Much to her immediate dismay, she noticed upon approach that her coworkers had disappeared and been replaced by a guy she had never seen before. He was talking to Chloe, leant against the table beside her in a way that he probably thought was attractive. 

 

He was tall, brunette, muscly and what Beca saw as a complete and utter douchebag. She stared, an irritated look on her face as she took in his body language which seemed to be flirty and open, leaning in to Chloe and whispering in her ear. 

 

The redhead didn’t look uncomfortable, but Beca thought she better jump in and break up the meeting. Definitely for Chloe’s benefit and not because of her own jealousy. 

 

“Who’s this?” she asked quite rudely, nearly tripping on the grass but regaining her balance at the last second. 

 

“Hey Becs, I’m just talking to Chicago here. He’s in the Army,” Chloe said, nodding towards the guy with a friendly smile. 

 

Beca was still fascinated by how Chloe would speak to literally anyone sometimes. The redhead had some weird ability to engage in conversation with everyone and it was something she would truly never be able to understand.

 

“Wow, are all your friends hot?” the man said with a smirk, looking Beca up and down which angered her to no end.

 

Before Chloe could even respond, Beca was already speaking. She was probably way more drunk than she thought because she wasn’t sure she was actually controlling the words coming out of her mouth.

 

“She’s actually my date,” she slurred, her voice filled with venom as she shot daggers at the guy with her eyes. 

 

Chloe immediately let out a laugh. “Oh, is that right?” she said in a teasing tone. 

 

Beca nodded firmly. She had no idea where this burst of confidence had come from; probably the alcohol. She couldn’t hold it like when she was in highschool.

 

“Yeah, so Mr Army guy, if you’ll excuse us.”

 

Chloe was basically crying with laughter at this point and Beca could hear how embarrassing she was being but couldn’t bring herself to stop. She led Chloe away by the hand and the two of them settled at a table in the very corner of the huge space, out of the way of the main party.

 

It didn’t go unnoticed to Beca that they were right by the bush Amy had said was a good hiding spot to make out. Her eyes widened comically at the thought and she shook it out of her head. She felt as though her body was on fire with the jacket on so she took it off and rolled her sleeves to her elbows. She sighed in relief when she felt the cool air finally hit her skin and leaned back comfortably on the chair. 

 

She looked to her left to see Chloe had been staring at her the entire time she was taking off her jacket. She wasn’t sure if it was the lanterns that were making her eyes look like that but Beca was pretty sure her pupils were completely dilated. She gulped and even though she wanted to, she couldn’t keep her eyes off Chloe. 

 

“Have I told you that,” the redhead said in a sultry voice. “I think you look really sexy tonight?”

 

“Oh. Thank you?” she answered, almost unsure. 

 

Chloe chuckled at the nervousness and put her drink down so she could reach over to Beca and grab her tie. The music producer felt as though all the air got knocked out of her lungs and she looked down to see the woman rub the fabric with her thumb slowly. 

 

“Ties really suit you.”

 

Beca’s mouth dried up and she forced out a joke in a hope to dissolve how heavy this moment felt. 

 

“It’s a clip-on.”

 

“Still hot,” Chloe responded without missing a beat. She looked up and her dark, ocean blue eyes met Beca’s.

 

Their noses were almost touching because of how close they were and she wondered if she tried enough, she could maybe smell the alcohol on Chloe’s breath. She glanced down subconsciously and looked at the full lips that had been coated in gloss. She licked her lips at the sight and for the millionth time since she had realized she loved Chloe, she wondered what it would be like to have her mouth against hers. 

 

She wasn’t sure who leaned in first but suddenly they were both moving towards each other at a slow pace. Their lips were about to touch and Beca could feel her entire body shivering in anticipation. She let her eyes close and--

 

“Yo, lovebirds!” 

 

Beca’s head snapped to the right and she saw Amy looking at them with an amused smile. 

 

“The maid of honor is gonna give a toast. Come on.”

 

She heard Chloe let out a breath from her left but she didn’t have the courage to look at her just yet. She had almost just kissed Chloe. After everything that she’s been telling her for the past months, about how she couldn’t do that to the teacher and this was for the better. She had almost just kissed her and Chloe would have definitely kissed her back. 

 

Fuck.

 

Well this had definitely sobered her up. 

 

“More drinks?” Beca asked after a beat, avoiding eye contact. 

 

“Definitely.” 

 

------------------ 

 

“Wait-- shhh,” Chloe said mid-giggle as they bumped into the stair railing together. Beca tried to stop laughing but as soon as she looked at the redhead again, she couldn’t contain it and started giggling again. 

 

They were both way more drunk than they should be. The almost-kiss was at the very back of Beca’s mind as she had decided to deal with it by drinking until she couldn’t feel her fingers anymore. Chloe had done the same and it was now past midnight and they were stumbling up the stairs of the teacher’s building to get inside. 

 

When they reached her door, they both stared at it for a moment before Chloe finally remembered she was the one that had the key. She let her hand slip from around Beca’s waist and the latter leaned on the wall to keep her balance. She started laughing all over again when Chloe tried to fit the key into the lock a couple of times but she missed it everytime. 

 

“Stop!” Chloe said, laughing. “I can do it.”

 

Finally, Chloe managed to open the door and she grabbed Beca’s hand, dragging her inside. She might have done it with more strength than she had anticipated because the brunette crashed into Chloe and they both nearly fell. Chloe wrapped her arms around Beca to steady her and the music producer’s forehead bumped into Chloe’s chin. 

 

“Ow,” they both said at the same time and then looked at each other and started laughing again. 

 

The redhead brought her hand to Beca’s mouth after a while and the other to her lips. “Shh, Aubrey and Stacie are--”

 

“Awake now,” a voice spoke up and the two of them startled backwards when the living room light suddenly opened and they saw the couple standing there looking pretty tired. 

 

“Do you think they saw us?” Beca whispered into Chloe’s ear and Chloe chuckled, looking at her. 

 

“Yeah, I think so, Becs.”

 

“Hm,” Beca groaned, resting her forehead on Chloe’s shoulder. Aubrey and Stacie looked pretty mad but at this moment, she couldn’t afford to care. She had had a great time out with the teacher and nothing could wipe the smile off her face.

 

“We woke up around Chloe’s third attempt to open the door,” Stacie said and even though she looked a little bit annoyed, she also looked amused by the situation. 

 

Aubrey was straight up mad. “It’s pretty irresponsible for you two to just enter the apartment like that. I mean, Jake is sleeping,” she said sternly, looking at Beca.

 

Beca lit up at the mention of her son. “Jake! I gotta go tell him how much I love him,” she slurred. Her little boy who was so big now because he was 6 years old! She was so proud of him and she needed to go tell him that.

 

“The hell you are,” Aubrey interrupted her train of thoughts. “It took us an hour to put him to sleep because he wanted his mom to read him his comic book, not us. No one’s waking him up.” 

 

Beca smirked arrogantly. “I’m so good at reading comics, y’all,” she said and Chloe burst out laughing next to her which made the brunette laugh too. 

 

Stacie chuckled at their antics but Aubrey definitely had no patience left. She pointed towards Chloe’s room with her finger and raised an eyebrow. Chloe caught the message easily and took Beca’s hand to drag her into her room. 

 

By the time Beca had closed the door and shut the blinds, the redhead had collapsed into her bed. The brunette let herself fall down next to her and within seconds, they were both asleep. 

 

----------------

 

When Beca woke up, the first thing she noticed was that her head was absolutely pounding. She opened her eyes carefully, the morning light spilling through the blinds so intensely it made her vision blur.

 

Before she had time to think of anything else, she became very aware of her current position; Chloe was laid half on top of her, her arms wrapped around her neck and a pool of drool accumulating on Beca’s collarbone where Chloe’s head rested. It wasn’t weird for them to sleep close like that but Chloe was still in her dress, and apparently still wearing at least one of her heels because Beca could feel it digging into her shin, which was much more painful than Jake’s action figures ever were.

 

She tried to move to move the heel from leaving a permanent mark on her body and groaned when she felt her head spin. Chloe must have felt her slight movement as the redhead began to stir, smacking her lips as she stretched her whole body. Suddenly, her eyes shot open and she jumped off Beca, sprinting to the bathroom which was followed by some very unpleasant sounds of her throwing up.

 

Beca grimaced, hoisting herself up onto her elbows to take in the scene of the room. Both of her shoes and, as she had guessed, one of Chloe’s heels were strewn across the floor. The duvet was curled up at the end of the bed and Beca seemed to be wearing her entire outfit from last night, clip on tie and all. The air was heavy with the scent of alcohol, although Beca couldn’t decide how much of it was on her own breath.

 

Beca’s attention was stolen by Chloe walking sluggishly back into the room, her hand pressed firmly to her head and a look of discomfort on her face.

 

“I feel like death.”

 

Beca nodded in silent agreement, rubbing her face with her hands as Chloe dropped back down beside her, clearly not ready to be up and about yet. 

 

They stayed in silence for a few seconds before Beca’s thoughts were taken back to the events of last night. Most things were pretty hazy, she remembered being in shock at how beautiful Kyoto garden was; getting their first drinks at the bar; stumbling back into Chloe’s apartment late last night. She felt as though she was missing something, something important and tried to think of what it could be. 

 

Her eyes widened dramatically as she recalled what had happened. The two of them sneaking off, Chloe’s hand wrapped around her tie, steel meeting ocean and breath mingling as they slowly moved closer, centimetres from each other's faces. Everything came flooding back to her, how she had almost kissed Chloe Beale in the middle of her coworker’s wedding party. 

 

She could still feel Chloe’s eyes piercing her own and the redhead’s warm breath on her lips. Until Amy had interrupted them. She closed her eyes, trying not to groan out loud as she remembered the Australian girl catching them at the last second. 

 

She looked at the woman on her side and prayed that she couldn’t remember what happened. It would just make everything more complicated. She scrunched her nose and decided that it hurt way too much to think right now. 

 

She tried to relax and fall back to sleep for a little longer but having Chloe breathing beside her was just a reminder of what had happened so she instead rolled out of bed, deciding to go check on her boy after taking off her blazer.

 

As soon as she stepped out into the hallway, she was met by Aubrey’s judgemental glare as the blonde entered the bathroom but she shook it off and continued down the hall in search of Aubrey’s office. When she got there though, the door was open and the mattress Jake had slept on was empty.

 

Confused, she walked through the apartment, finding Stacie and her son sat eating coco pops in front of the TV.

 

“Good afternoon,” Stacie joked as soon as she noticed the shorter brunette, holding Jake’s bowl as the boy jumped up and attack-hugged his mom. 

 

Beca grimaced at the contact, stumbling backwards before picking him up with discomfort.  Not that she hadn’t missed him but she felt as though her body was about to collapse any second. She tried to ignore the pounding headache and kissed his temple. 

 

“You smell bad, Mommy.”

 

Beca usually would have let out a laugh at Jake’s comment, sometimes his lack of filter was incredibly humorous, but she felt too shitty to even react.

 

“Dude, what time is it?” she asked Stacie, placing her son on the floor as she noticed how bright the sun was through the enormous window in their living room.

 

“Almost nine,” Stacie replied, checking the watch on her wrist and Beca’s jaw dropped.”I’m leaving for work soon.”

 

Since having a kid, she had never slept in once; 8 AM being the latest of a lie in she could possibly get before Jake was jumping up and down on her bed begging to play. She was lucky it was a school holiday and she had taken the day off or else there would have been no way her and Chloe would’ve made it to work.

 

“Can I use your shower?” she said after a moment and Stacie nodded. 

 

“Sure. Towels are on the second shelf and just ask Chloe to lend you some clothes, I’m pretty sure mine wouldn’t fit you, maybe if you were a foot taller.”

 

She made sure Jake was concentrated on something else to flip off Stacie and when she got closer to Chloe’s room to go grab some of her clothes, she saw the door was half-closed and she could hear Aubrey in the middle of talking. 

 

“... so irresponsible of you, Chloe. I mean you always do this. You start to like something and then you let it consume you. It takes over your life until it explodes in your face and everyone involved is hurt.”

 

“Bree, I am frankly way too hungover to deal with your negativity right now.”

 

“There’s always an excuse. We’re talking about a mother and her son. Do you think this is some game? You let them take over your life until you can barely cope anymore.”

 

Beca’s jaw clenched at the words. Aubrey was right, she and Jake were a big commitment and it wasn’t fair of them to tie Chloe down like that. She realized she was eavesdropping on a very private conversation and knocked twice on the door before stepping in.

 

“Uh can I just borrow some clothes? I wanna get out of this,” she said looking down at her wrinkled suit. 

 

Chloe tried to smile as best as she could. “Sure. You know where they are.”

 

Beca grabbed some clothes quickly, never looking at Aubrey who stayed there the entire time, hands on her hips. She got out of the room as soon as possible and she only started breathing normally again when the hot water hit her body. 

 

When she came back, Chloe had changed into sweatpants and a tank top and she merely smiled at her before going to take a shower too. She ate to make herself feel better and watched the trashy reality TV show that Stacie had been watching before leaving for work alongside Aubrey. 

 

Chloe joined Beca and Jake on the couch smelling like fresh mangos and no one really spoke for the entirety of the morning.

 

No mention of the almost-kiss was uttered.

 

Chapter Text

Chloe didn’t remember the kiss. Well, the almost kiss.

 

Which was fine, really. It was way better this way. Beca had tried to ask in a joke if Chloe remembered anything about the wedding night and it had been clear that she didn’t remember the moment they shared. Or almost shared. 

 

Whatever, this was all a thing of the past now because Aubrey’s words still echoed in her mind and she knew that the possibility of this all blowing up in their faces was too high for her to risk it all. They seemed to have found a certain rhythm by being just friends-- best friends even so why risk it? 

 

“You thinking about your hot ginger?” a voice called out from in front of her and she jumped in surprise. 

 

She looked up from her computer to see Amy walking towards her. She sighed and looked at the clock on the wall. Only 10 minutes before she could leave for Jake’s graduation. She couldn’t believe it was already the end of the year and her boy was about to graduate preschool. Next year, he was going to learn how to read full books and write in sentences and do math and then it just wouldn’t stop until he was an entire adult right before her eyes. 

 

She got teary-eyed just thinking about it.

 

Amy sat down at Cynthia-Rose’s empty chair since she was on her honeymoon and the receptionist smirked at Beca. The music producer knew what was coming, she hadn’t heard the last of it since the wedding. 

 

“I gotta finish this before I leave, Ames,” she said in a bored tone before the other could even talk. 

 

“Before you leave to kiss your hot ginger?”

 

“No and she has a name, you know?”

 

“Oh, does she? Do you know it because you scream it---”

 

“Amy!” Beca cut her off quickly before looking around to make sure no one was listening. “We are at work.”

 

“Is it some kind of kink? Did you get turned on by teachers in high school too?”

 

“I will literally quit right here and now if you don’t stop.”

 

“Why don’t you just admit that you’re dating?”

 

Beca sighed heavily. “Because we’re not! We got caught up in the moment. It was a wedding. It was the… romance in the air or whatever.”

 

That was the most pathetic excuse she could’ve come up with in the moment and they both knew it. 

 

“You’re so full of shit.”

 

“And you’re annoying.”

 

She looked back at the music program opened on her computer and sighed. She wasn’t going to get anything else done today so she quickly saved what she was working on and got ready to leave. 

 

“I’m going to my son’s preschool graduation now. You can keep talking but I won’t be there.”

 

“Kiss Miss Beale for me!” Amy said as she was walking away and Beca raised her middle finger at her without looking back. 

 

After talking with her boss to make sure she could still go, she made her way to school, tapping her fingers to the beat of the song playing on the radio. Even though it was making her emotional that her son was already moving on to 1st grade next year, she was excited for the ceremony. 

 

Chloe had still refused to tell her which certificate Jake was going to get and she couldn’t wait to see what it would be. 

 

The graduation was held in the gymnasium of the school and there were rows of chairs facing a stage with a big black curtain. She could hear the familiar sound of squealing children behind it so she assumed that’s where her kid was. She was just glad Jake was mostly like her, quiet and reserved, so he wasn’t the one that was trying to burst her eardrums with their screams. 

 

A lot of parents were already seated so she quickly made her way to a row where she probably wouldn’t have anyone next to her but could still have a good view of the stage. She took off her blazer and put it on the back of her chair before taking her phone out, smiling when she saw she had a text from Chloe. 

 

Chloe - 3:45 

I see you. 

 

She looked around a little but couldn’t see the familiar red hair anywhere so she typed out a response. 

 

Beca - 3:47

Creep.

How’s Jake? He better not be one of the screaming children right now

 

Chloe - 3:48

Of course not. He’s working on a superhero themed coloring book with Harry in the corner. There’s a reason why he’s my favorite student.

 

Beca - 3:48

These children are so fucking loud? How do you do it?

 

Chloe - 3:51

No idea. I’m actually completely beat, I don’t know how I’m gonna make it till the end of the night. I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with them once school hours are over. And it’s finally summer!

 

Beca bit her lip, feeling bad all over again about how she was forcing Chloe to come home to a child sometimes when she was with them for 8 hours a day. She wondered if the woman had ever not wanted to go to Beca’s place because of Jake, because she had spent the whole day with children and she needed a break. 

 

Beca - 3:52

You're still coming over tonight though, right?

 

Chloe - 3:57

Totes!

 

“Beca?” 

 

She turned her head and saw Gail, Harry’s mother, standing next to her and resisted the urge to groan. She was going to have to do some small talk now. 

 

“Is this seat taken?”

 

Beca forced a smile and gestured at it and the blonde woman sat down next to her with a huff. The music producer stayed silent, hoping Gail would do the same. 

 

“So how’ve you been?”

 

Ugh.

 

“Good,” Beca said, looking at the woman. “The usual. You know how it is.”

 

“Me too. Any plans for the summer?”

 

“Not really. Jake might go to my mother’s for a while, work from home as much as I can.”

 

“Ah,” Gail said with a smile. “That’s what’s fun about being a stay-at-home mom. Don’t have to send him off somewhere.”

 

“Right.”

 

“Well you know Jake is welcome to spend a day with Harry every once in a while.”

 

Beca nodded. That was actually not a bad suggestion. “Yeah, that’d be good. They really like hanging out together.”

 

“Last time, he talked about Miss Beale by saying Chloe. I wonder where he picked that up from,” she said as if it was a silly little thing that Jake had started to do randomly.

 

Beca laughed awkwardly before turning away from Gail to grimace. Thankfully, the principal of the school walked on stage at that moment and she didn’t have to keep talking with Harry’s mom. 

 

Now she loved being a mother. She loved Jake with everything in her but she was pretty sure she was about to die of boredom. There were 4 other kindergarten classes and Jacob’s was obviously the last one so she had to wait until the very end for him. She was also trying not to slouch on her chair too much since Gail was next to her but she couldn’t remember the last time she had been this bored.

 

She was here for her kid, she truly did not care about any other children. 

 

Finally, they announced Chloe’s name and the woman who had stolen her heart walked on the stage. Beca straightened up instantly, her heart skipping a beat when she saw what she looked like. She was wearing a beautiful summer dress with yellow flowers on it and she had the glasses that Beca loved so much on the tip of her nose. 

 

She gave a little speech before about how proud she was of every single one of her kids, as she called them, and talked about how much she was going to miss them. Beca found herself smiling through the whole thing, liking the way Chloe seemed so comfortable on stage and made the other parents chuckle every once in a while. 

 

Finally, she started listing the names of her students in alphabetical order, giving them a certificate that ranged from the children’s talent at counting, coloring or all the other things kindergarteners did. 

 

“Jacob Mitchell!” she called after a while and Chloe’s smile somehow got bigger. Beca looked at her own little boy walk onto the stage and to Chloe where she could hand him his certificate. “You get most improved because I am super impressed by how much you matured this year, Jake.”

 

Beca smiled, tears springing to her eyes. The difference in his character from the beginning of the year to now was drastic, and she was immensely happy with that change. It had been quite a year but she was proud of herself for raising him that way and she was proud of him for growing up to be such a wonderful boy. 

 

Chloe handed him the certificate and bent down to hug him like she had done with every of her students. Jake hugged her back happily and even kissed her on the cheek, making the audience laugh. Beca chuckled too but for a completely other reason than the other parents. It was funny to know that the reason he had kissed her cheek was because he didn’t fully understand teachers hanging out at your house wasn’t a thing that happened usually and that Chloe was definitely an exception. 

 

Hopefully he’d understand it before he started to ask his 1st grade teacher to come home with him. 

 

Jake went back behind the curtain and Chloe went back to listing the rest of the names one by one. Beca was looking at her but she couldn’t stop thinking about how even though there were plenty of people watching, Jake felt comfortable enough to show affection to Chloe the way he did. 

 

There was something fascinating about the fact that Jake had started the year refusing to even shake Chloe’s hand to slowly letting her give him high-fives. Then, the more Chloe had inserted herself into their lives, the more Jake felt comfortable with her. Not only did he hug her now, he also kissed her, let her kiss him and Beca was still not over the time she had woken up and seen Jake safely asleep in Chloe’s arms. 

 

Chloe made their family more full and Jake trusted her as much as he trusted his own mother at that point. He let Chloe play with him, give him his bath, read to him before bed. 

 

Chloe was family. 

 

No matter how much Beca had tried to convince herself she didn’t want to tie the redhead down, it had already happened. And if she thought of the way the woman acted with Jake, she wanted it just as much as Beca. 

 

Mom, Jake and Chloe. 

 

-----------------

 

Jake and Harry were running in circles around her as she stood there, awkwardly waiting for Chloe to stop talking to the other parents. Gail was somewhere in the gymnasium, talking to the principal and Beca had been left in charge of looking after the two boys. 

 

The ceremony had been over for a while but it seemed as though the teacher was popular by the way everyone ran to her to make sure they had a moment to thank her for the wonderful year. Beca understood it, Chloe was an amazing teacher but she also longed for the moment she was going to have with her finally. 

 

“Harry, sweetie, careful,” Gail said as she came back and Beca smiled at her politely. Jake and Harry stopped running and decided to poke each other, making themselves laugh and Beca observed them absentmindedly. 

 

Finally, the row of parents in front of Chloe seemed to disappear and Beca put her hand on Jake’s head to grab his attention.

 

“Wanna go say hi to Miss Beale, bud?” 

 

His eyes widened and he didn’t even wait for her OK before running to the front of the gym where he knew Chloe was. Beca looked awkwardly at Gail and waved before following him. Parents were everywhere and Jake was able to sneak between their legs when Beca couldn’t. She lost sight of him for a second and pushed a dad on the back so she could get through and when she finally saw him again, he was already in Chloe’s arms. 

 

Chloe put him down quickly after but the smile on her face remained. To anyone else, the smile she had for Jake might have seemed as the same she had for everyone else but Beca could see the difference and it warmed her heart.

 

“You like your certificate, Jakey?” she said and he nodded, jumping in place. 

 

“Yep!”

 

Chloe eventually looked at Beca and hugged her as a way of greeting her. Beca hugged her back just as tightly and pulled away before anyone really noticed them. 

 

“Hey, that was great.”

 

“Thanks, Becs,” Chloe said happily. 

 

“Most improved. Cute.”

 

“I thought it was fitting.”

 

“Chloe,” Jake said, tugging on her dress.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Chloe.”

 

“Yes?”

 

“You’re like a red panda.”

 

Both Beca and Chloe looked at him with knit brows, not expecting to hear those words come out of his mouth. The weirdest thing about having a 6 year old boy is those random thoughts he seemed to have throughout the day that always confused Beca.

 

“How come?”

 

“Your hair is red. Just like the red pandas we saw at the zoo,” he said doing the pincer motion he had learned all those months ago.

 

Chloe chuckled and looked at her hair before nodding. “You’re right, Jake. I guess I am like a red panda.”

 

Jake seemed satisfied that his teacher agreed with him and made a grabby motion with his hands. Chloe looked around but she couldn’t resist his puppy eyes that he had definitely learned from her and she lifted him up. She rested him on her right hip and kissed him loudly on the cheek before pinching it gently to make him laugh. 

 

The whole thing just seemed so domestic and Beca’s heart soared. She looked around them in instinct and her heart nearly jumped out of her throat when she saw Jesse Swanson talking to the principal. Instantly, her mind raced with possibilities of what the two men could be talking about and if it could be about her and Chloe.

 

Jesse glanced at her while talking and then continued his conversation like nothing happened. Beca’s heart was now beating hard against her chest as Chloe and Jake’s chatter was now muffled in the background, her worries loudly blurring her mind. Was this the moment that Chloe would get in trouble and it would all be her fault? Just because Beca selfishly couldn’t stop hanging out with Chloe because of how amazing she was with her and Jake, she was going to lose her chance at having a job next year when teaching is the thing she loves the most?

 

“Miss Beale, I didn’t know you had a son!” a voice suddenly spoke up from behind them, pulling Beca back to reality and she turned around to see a blonde woman walking towards them. 

 

Chloe looked at Jake with a surprised face. “Oh, um--”

 

“He’s so adorable,” the teacher said and then cooed. “And he has your gorgeous blue eyes! That’s so fun.”

 

Beca was frozen in shock over the words that were being spoken and Chloe seemed also pretty unsure of the way she was supposed to answer this. Jake didn’t seem to understand what was happening, too busy trying to hide himself in red locks. 

 

“I’m Jessica Smith,” the teacher said, looking at Beca. “I’m a teacher in the first grade.”

 

“Nice to meet you,” Beca replied and she was surprised she still had the ability to talk by how dry her mouth was. 

 

“It must be so fun to have your son in class with you,” Jessica continued because she really seemed to be completely oblivious to what she was causing the two other women to feel right now. “Was it hard to discipline him sometimes? Is he a little troublemaker?”

 

Jessica poked him in the stomach and Jake hid his face in the redhead’s neck. Chloe subconsciously swayed him in her arms to let him know everything was okay and shrugged. 

 

“Um, no he’s… a very good student.”

 

“Well, I hope I have him next year then,” Miss Smith said with a smile and then decided to finally leave them alone after causing them both to have an internal breakdown. 

 

Chloe carefully placed Jake back down on the ground before turning to Beca, assumingly to break the tension. Before she could even speak though, a tall looking man in a suit cleared his throat behind them.

 

“Miss Beale, can I borrow you in my office?” he asked, with virtually no emotion in his voice.

 

Chloe glanced at Beca and a look of pure terror flashed over her face before she composed herself, turning to the principle with a polite smile.

 

“Of course!” she said before turning back to Beca, “Thanks for your time, Miss Mitchell.” 

 

Beca tried her hardest not to cringe at the sound of her name coming out of Chloe’s mouth so formally as the teacher walked away with her boss. She immediately went into panic mode, assuming the worst possible scenario. Jesse must have said something to the principal, about how they see Chloe leaving with Jake all the time and how he knows they arrived at school the three of them together for a full week because they’re in each other’s personal lives when it’s not allowed and now Chloe’s going to be in big trouble.

 

Jake had run off to find Harry again, yet at this moment in time she couldn’t even bring herself to care. The colour drained from her face as she realised she may have ruined Chloe’s entire career by being selfish and having the teacher help out all the time. She could have just gotten a babysitter, kept their relationship professional and none of this would have happened.

 

Five minutes passed, and then ten, and Beca was feeling increasingly guilty by the second, anxiously waiting for Chloe’s return.

 

“Beca, right?” a male voice called out behind her in a teasing tone and she turned around to see Jesse walking towards her. “Becaw!” 

 

She bit back a groan, wondering why he looked so smug after possibly ruining Chloe’s career. “Mr Swanson,” she replied politely.

 

“Ah, you can call me Jesse. You do the same for Chloe, right?” 

 

He was obviously joking but it still made Beca’s jaw clench. “Funny.”

 

“Look,” he started and Beca halted. “I know you guys are really close. As in, more that’s technically allowed.”

 

“Okay,” she said slowly, not sure where this was going. He smiled kindly.

 

“I don’t know if you guys are dating or whatever but it’s really not any of my business. Chloe seems happy and she’s my friend so that’s all that matters. Besides, she used to talk a lot about how Jake was difficult in class and now he’s the one that participates the most so she says. So whatever is going between you, it’s clearly working well for everyone. I’m not gonna say anything”

 

“Oh,” Beca answered after a beat, swallowing. He seemed sincere and she finally let herself relax because he clearly hadn’t done anything to jeopardize Chloe’s job. “Well, thanks. I really appreciate that.”

 

He winked at her and left when he saw Chloe approaching them once again. Beca watched him leave with a smile, thinking that he might be a little bit too into her business for her liking but he wasn't too bad.  

 

She didn’t have time to speak before Chloe grabbed her shoulders with a beaming smile on her face.

 

“I have a job next year,” Chloe said like she couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth. 

 

Beca was taken aback, all trace of guilt being replaced by utter shock and excitement for her best friend. “What? Are you serious?”

 

“Yes!” Chloe squealed. “Mr Nelson, the music teacher, is retiring and Mr James said he looked through my file and found out about me singing acapella in college and thought he’d offer me the job.”

 

“Dude that’s incredible! I’m so excited for you!” 

 

Beca couldn’t help but envelop Chloe in a warm hug, flinging her arms around the woman in a state of pure relief and she didn’t really care if anyone saw. She knew how much the teacher had been afraid for next year because she didn’t have anything planned. They had tried to talk about it a few times but it made Chloe sad and the latter never liked being sad for too long so they’d change the subject. After a moment, Chloe pulled away and Beca could almost see the light bulb on top of her head. 

 

“I have an idea.”

 

Beca raised both her eyebrows. “Another Chloe Beale adventure?” she asked with a smirk, she knew Chloe way too well at this point.

 

Chloe nodded, getting increasingly excited by the second. “Okay so, how about we go camping?”

 

Beca looked puzzled before Chloe continued.

 

“Well, Jake graduated preschool, you finished Dua Lipa’s new album and I won’t be homeless next year. We have to celebrate!”

 

Beca laughed. “And your idea of celebrating involves sleeping on the floor in the freezing cold surrounded by insects?” 

 

Chloe rolled her eyes, giving Beca a playful shove. “Don’t be boring. Besides, we’re in LA. Our problem is probably gonna be the heat and dehydration.”

 

“Oh cool, yeah that’s way better,” Beca said, her tone dripping with sarcasm and Chloe chuckled. 

 

“Where's Jake?”

 

Beca looked behind her. “Oh, I think he ran off to find Harry.”

 

Chloe gave her a mischievous grin, “Well, let’s go find out how he feels about camping. I’m sure he’d love the idea.” 

 

Before Beca could even respond, the redhead was weaving through the crowd in search of her son to propose the trip. Beca simply followed with a smile on her face, she couldn’t even pretend the idea of a camping vacation with Chloe didn’t excite her secretly.

 

They found Jake with his friend and Gail and when Harry’s mother saw Chloe approach, she stood up with a smile. 

 

“Ah Miss Beale, I wanted to thank you for all the incredible work you’ve done this year.”

 

Chloe tilted her head happily. “Thank you, Mrs Abernathy. Harry was a delight to have in class.”

 

Beca watched the exchange with a smile, noticing how Chloe’s voice changed when she talked to other parents compared to the way she talked with Aubrey, Stacie or her. It made the music producer feel good to know that she was a significant part in Chloe Beale’s life. 

 

“Well we better get going,” Gail said looking back at her son. “Say goodbye to Miss Beale and Jake, honey.”

 

“Bye Miss Beale!” Harry said with a wave and he turned to Jake, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You have to come play with me soon. I have a new trampoline.”

 

“Awesome!” Jake said, nodding. They smiled at each other and Gail put her hand on her son’s shoulder so they could walk away. 

 

Chloe waited until they were out of earshot and immediately lost all her professionalism, grabbing Jake’s waist and lifting him up to go sit him down on a chair nearby. He started swinging his legs instantly and the redhead took him by the shoulders.

 

“Jakey, we have a really big problem.”

 

“What?” he said with his big eyes. 

 

“Well, I really want to go camping with you guys but your mom seems to think it won’t be fun. You have to help me convince her it’ll be super super cool.” 

 

“What’s camping?”

 

“What’s camping?” Chloe repeated enthusiastically. “Camping is when we buy lots of marshmallows and we eat them under the stars and we sleep in the woods and it’s super fun.”

 

“I wanna go camping!”

 

“Right?” Chloe’s said, beaming. “I knew you would be on my side, little monster.” 

 

“Mommy, I wanna go camping!”

 

They both turned to her and looked at her with their blue eyes that were apparently similar according to that 1st grade teacher. She chuckled, knowing there was no way she could say no to her two favorite people. 

 

She shrugged. “Fine. Let’s go camping.” 

 

They both squealed and high-fived each other happily. A voice that sounded a little too much like Amy’s said “whipped” in her head but she couldn’t afford to care. If it made them this happy to sleep on dirt and not have wifi, Beca would follow them with only mild complaining. 

 

“Right,” Chloe said, straightening up. “I have to wrap up a few things here and say goodbye to some people but I’ll see you at home later.”

 

Beca nodded, grabbing Jake’s hand to make him understand they were leaving. She hugged Chloe and Jake let her kiss his forehead and she waved at them before walking off to go talk to a teacher Beca thought she remembered as Emily. 

 

It was only when she arrived at her apartment that she realized Chloe had called it home.

 

Chapter Text

“Are we there yet?”

 

Beca pinched her lips together to keep herself from saying something that would completely set Jake off. She took a deep breath to keep herself calm and heard Chloe chuckle next to her. She had no idea how the teacher managed to still laugh at that because after the 3rd time, Beca had already had enough. 

 

The drive to Lake Hemet was about two hours (not counting LA traffic that was somehow always there) and they had been on the road for an hour and a half now. Jake had lost his mind about 45 minutes ago, deciding that he was bored and had asked the women the same question about 32 times now. 

 

“Soon, little man,” Chloe answered for Beca.

 

“But I’m bored!” he said, shouting the last word. 

 

“Jake,” Beca warned in her mom tone and he crossed his arms, pouting. She sighed and glanced to her right. “Sorry.”

 

Chloe frowned. “For what?”

 

“Are we there yet?” she said in her best imitation of Jake. 

 

“Becs, I’m a teacher. I know how children are.”

 

“Still. I’m really--”

 

“You need to stop apologizing for having a kid that acts like a kid.”

 

That made Beca’s mouth snap shut and Chloe seemed pleased with herself. She twisted her head and looked at Jake who was sulking in his car seat. 

 

“You wanna play a game?”

 

He perked instantly. “What game?”

 

“It’s called “I Spy”. I’m gonna say that I spy with my little eye something of a certain color and you need to guess what it is.”

 

“Okay!”

 

Chloe made a big show of looking everywhere; outside of the car, inside the car, everywhere. Jake waited impatiently, swinging his legs and then the woman smiled. 

 

“I spy… something red.”

 

Jake opened his eyes the most he could and tried to spot everything that was red. He held up his Spider-Man blanket and Chloe shook her head. He tried his shirt, his coloring pencil, his school backpack that was full of toys but Chloe said no to every one of them. 

 

“Mommy’s hat?” he said, his nose all scrunched up.

 

Chloe grinned. “Ding! Ding! Ding!” Jake squealed, happy to have gotten it right and the redhead glanced at Beca. “It’s a wonderful hat.”

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Beca said, trying hard not to smile but she knew Chloe could see it. She was obviously wearing the baseball cap Chloe had gotten it because it was pretty much the only hat she wore now and she wasn’t even surprised Chloe had used it for the first round of I Spy. 

 

“You like Mommy’s hat, Jakey?”

 

He nodded happily. “Penguin,” he said, referring to the penguin wearing sunglasses on her cap. Chloe reached over and tapped the animal on the front, making Beca roll her eyes. 

 

“Our little Steve.”

 

“You’re so weird,” the brunette said but there was no trace of venom in her voice. She knew Chloe knew the smile on her face was genuine. 

 

Beca eventually joined their game and it made the rest of the drive bearable because Jake was entertained enough to not complain about how long it took to get there. 

 

They finally made it to Lake Hemet Campground and their first job was setting up the tent they had rented from a little camping store near Beca’s apartment. Beca figured she’d be good doing it alone and insisted Chloe should take Jake and go check them in at the reception building they had driven past.

 

She was wrong.

 

After about fifteen minutes of wrestling with the nylon Beca had basically given up. She was sitting in the middle of the mess, strings tangled around her legs and the entire tent still laid on the ground around her. Trying to open the huge list of instructions that for some reason were folded like nine hundred times, she cursed under her breath. Who knew camping was so damn stressful?

 

She heard a snort and looked up to see Jake and Chloe, the latter clearly laughing at her unfortunate position. 

 

“Do not start with me, Beale. This thing is literally impossible,” she huffed, glaring at the teacher.

 

Chloe wordlessy pulled her from where she was sitting, untangling the tent strings from around her legs carefully.

 

“Leave it to the professional.”

 

Beca scoffed, assuming that Chloe would have just as much trouble as her, but miraculously the redhead had finished setting the tent up in a matter of minutes and Beca struggled to hide how impressed she actually was.

 

Chloe saw her staring and shrugged arrogantly. “I used to go camping with my family.”

 

“Impressive,” Beca admitted and Chloe smiled at her. 

 

Jake was bursting with energy after sitting in the car for so long so after getting everything out from the car, they decided to go on a walk so they could explore the camping site. It was hot and dry and Beca was glad she had decided to only wear her shorts and a tanktop today. Chloe was wearing the same romper that she had worn at the aquarium on Valentine’s Day and it put a smile on her face to remember that day. 

 

Jake was walking alongside her, holding her hand and kicking all the rocks that were on his path and Chloe was on her other side, looking at the scenery in awe. Beca slapped her neck when she felt a mosquito tickle her and groaned. 

 

“I hate this.”

 

Chloe rolled her eyes. “Please. Look how beautiful this is,” she said, gesturing to the giant trees and blue sky. They could also see the water from where they were and Beca had to admit it really was beautiful. 

 

“It’s hot,” she added stubbornly. 

 

“It’s a beautiful day.”

 

“Stop saying everything’s beautiful.”

 

“You’re beautiful.”

 

Beca looked at Chloe who was smiling at her, her heart skipping a beat. She opened her mouth but no words came out and the redhead chuckled at her. She felt her cheeks flare up and she simply shook her head, looking away. 

 

“Jake,” Chloe continued. “You’re beautiful.”

 

The boy gave her a toothy grin and then turned back to kicking his rock on the ground. Chloe started talking about how this reminded her of the camping trips she had when she was younger and Beca started breathing normally again. 

 

They finally made it back to their tent after a while. Exploring the campsite had taken hours, with Jake wanting to stop and inspect every patch of woodland to search for red pandas, despite Beca telling him they didn’t just hang out in the LA trees. Once he was fully certain not a single red panda was in sight, only then could they return to the tent for food.

 

Beca was sure she was on the brink of actual starvation by the time they were all sat around the wooden fire Chloe had set up and so she was mortified when the only thing the redhead took out of the cooler was a pack of sausages.

 

“Dude, where is the rest of our food?” she asked, a warning look on her face as she prayed Chloe was going to produce something else.

 

“This is all of it! We can’t have a full blown meal Becs, that’s not what true campers do!” Chloe exclaimed in response, sounding utterly offended by the suggestion.

 

“I’m not a true camper, I’m a music producer who is going to starve to death if you try and feed me a single sausage for dinner,” Beca responded, a stern look on her face.

 

“Well it’s a good thing there’s enough for two each then, isn’t it!”

 

At that moment, Beca struggled to remember why on earth she had fallen in love with this woman.

 

Begrudgingly, she allowed Chloe to poke the sausages onto sticks, holding both hers and Jake’s over the fire. They took forever to roast and weren’t even that good, but she didn’t have the heart to ruin Chloe’s fun, instead shooting her an appreciative smile. Jake seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience apart from a mini tantrum about being able to hold the sausages over the fire himself, which Beca immediately shut down.

 

After eating, the sun was already setting and their fire was now just a small, calm flame flickering in the light breeze. Beca and Chloe were sitting together on a log chair, with Jake drawing pictures of superheroes in the mud with a huge stick he had found. 

 

“This is nice,” Beca admitted in a whisper.

 

“Yeah,” Chloe breathed out with a smile, resting her head on Beca’s shoulder as the two watched the sky change from a warm pink to a burning orange as the sun dipped below the horizon.

 

Usually Beca would freak out at the contact, thoughts about her love for Chloe entering her head and worrying her to no end, but tonight she felt too peaceful. She didn’t know what had changed within her, but having the redhead that close now just felt right.

 

It had been less than a week since Jake’s graduation where she had realized Chloe was basically part of their family at this point and after freaking out a little bit about it, she came to the consensus that she didn’t need to worry about it. She was happy with Chloe and so was Jake. The more the days passed, the more she found herself waiting for something to happen. 

 

A continuation of what nearly happened at the wedding, perhaps. 

 

She always tended to break any silence with a witty comment or remark, unable to handle the awkwardness, but this one felt so comfortable that it wasn't even necessary to do so. She instead just basked in Chloe’s calming presence, allowing herself to feel the warmth building in her chest and overtaking her body as the two existed alongside one another, two souls as one.

 

She put Jake to bed not long after that. It had been difficult because he wanted to hang out with them some more but it was getting late and after promising him a day full of fun activities tomorrow, he accepted. She slipped out of the tent carefully after putting him to bed in his tiny sleeping bag and zipped it shut.

 

She joined Chloe on the tree log they had been using as a bench with a sigh and looked up to the sky. The night had completely fallen at this point but it wasn’t even dark because of the amount of stars they could see illuminating the sky.

 

“Impossible to see that many in the city,” she observed and Chloe hummed next to her. 

 

“Pretty, isn’t it?” 

 

“It really is.”

 

“Admit it,” Chloe said and that made Beca look at her. 

 

“Admit what?”

 

“Admit this was a good idea.”

 

Beca chuckled and turned to the fire. “Yeah, it was a good idea.”

 

Any idea that Chloe had was a good idea frankly because she always made them do stuff and it was always so fun. Spending full days with the redhead and Jake were always the best days of Beca’s life. She had hundreds of pictures in her camera roll at this point that she had snapped in moments where she had truly been able to tell herself that she was happy. 

 

Beca had never considered herself a happy person. She was content with her life, yes but happy was a big word. She had always been a quiet, angsty person that went through life head down and making sure no one could get too close. Jake was the only person she needed by her side and she believed that firmly. 

 

Chloe had burst into her life like a ray of sunshine and Beca finally understood what the big deal surrounding happiness was. 

 

It was waking up with arms around you and knowing that someone cared enough about you to come closer to you even when they were asleep. It was seeing your son belt out the lyrics to a Disney song with the person you loved because that person loved your son just as much as you did. It was texts sent to each other when you were supposed to be asleep and calming your kid down together when he threw tantrums over silly things. 

 

It was looking at someone and them being able to know exactly what you were thinking because you understood each other. 

 

“Are you ever going to try to kiss me again?” Chloe whispered after a beat and Beca looked at her in shock. She wondered for a second if Chloe had been able to hear what she was thinking about. The redhead’s eyes slowly turned from the fire and ocean blue eyes met her steel ones. 

 

A million things swarmed into Beca’s mind. Every little moment they’ve shared together flashing before her eyes, the thought of Aubrey being so against Chloe getting closer to them, Jake saying “ Mom, Jake and Chloe ”, Chloe sleeping with her ex when she was in Portland, Beca listening to the song Chloe had given her on vinyl and realizing she was in love with her. 

 

Beca pinched her lips together and shrugged. “I can’t.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because you know what it would do. It would change everything,” she said and she felt her heart in her throat. “Right now, you’re free. You’re living your life doing what you want. I can’t ask you to drop that to be tied down with me and my kid. That’s a totally unfair thing for me to ask you to do.”

 

“Beca, I don’t care for that life. I choose you and Jake. I will always choose you and Jake.” Chloe whispered, her eyes not leaving Beca’s. 

 

Beca exhaled, not sure what she was supposed to say. Chloe made the decision for them by continuing.

 

“Nothing on this earth matters to me more than this life we’ve created without even realising. Yeah, nights out and drinking can be fun, but in what world would anyone choose that over what we have now? Over falling asleep on the couch with the two people I care the most about? If you let me love you, I swear not a day will go by that you’re not aware of how utterly proud I am of being a part of your family.”

 

She barely let the redhead finish her speech before she lunged forward and attached her lips to Chloe’s. The woman made a sound before kissing back instantly, her hands moving to cup Beca’s cheeks. It was a hungry kiss, one that was long overdue and it was clear in the way they were both kissing each other like there was no tomorrow. Beca pulled her closer by the hips so there was no space between them. 

 

Chloe’s lips moved against hers in sync, as if they had been doing it forever. They barely let themselves catch their breath when they changed angles before they were kissing again, Chloe’s lips sucking on Beca’s lower lip. The music producer felt a tongue poke her and she opened her mouth instantly, deepening the kiss.

 

She heard a moan that could’ve been either hers or Chloe’s, she didn’t care. All she cared about was that she was finally kissing the woman she had been in love with for so long and it felt so right. Everything she had been thinking about for the past few months, about not wanting to tie Chloe down, seemed so stupid at this moment when she could’ve been doing this all along. 

 

They finally pulled away, gasping for air and Beca rested her forehead against Chloe’s. She kept her eyes closed, trying to let her mind fully comprehend what just happened. When she opened her eyes, she was met with dilated pupils that were looking at her as if she was the only thing that existed. 

 

“I’m in love with you,” Beca blurted out as soon as she made eye contact with her and Chloe’s lips quirked up. 

 

“I have been waiting a long time to hear you say that. You are terrible at reading signals.” 

 

Beca breathed out a chuckle and looked at Chloe’s swollen lips for a second before she decided she wanted them on hers again. Chloe seemed to read her mind because she met her halfway through, this time opting for a slower kiss. A kiss that made everything in Beca’s life click together because no matter what happened, she knew Chloe would be there by her side. 

 

She tried to show how much she loved the teacher in the kiss and she felt the same feelings back from Chloe. 

 

“I love you too, by the way,” Chloe said as soon as they pulled away and Beca smiled. She cupped Chloe’s cheek and rubbed her thumb on the soft skin, taking the time to admire the freckles on her face and the eyes that had made Beca drown in an ocean of love from the first minute she met her. 

 

“This is a place where I don’t feel alone,” she muttered, her voice quiet as the sound of the crickets surrounded them. 

 

Chloe’s eyes teared up as she smiled. “This is a place where I feel at home.” 

 

They turned their eyes back to the fire and the redhead moved to lay her head on Beca’s shoulder after a few seconds. The crackling sound of the fire made Beca feel at peace and she rested her head against Chloe’s, inhaling deeply the smell of the woods around them.

 

“Do you think we can both fit in my sleeping bag?” Chloe asked after a moment and Beca burst out laughing.

 

----------------

 

Beca woke up to the sound of another family passing in front of their tent and she sighed, wishing she could have stayed in her slumber for longer. She opened her eyes and noticed that by how light it seemed outside, it must be the morning already. She felt as though her bladder was about to burst, so she entangled herself from Chloe’s tight grip and got out of the sleeping bag somehow without waking her or her son up. 

 

She stepped on a rock as soon as she put her foot down and slapped her hand on her mouth to keep herself from hissing out multiple curse words. She put on her flip flops and walked to the most disgusting bathrooms she had ever encountered in her life. 

 

When she walked back to their camp, she heard voices from inside the tent and assumed Jake and Chloe had also woken up. 

 

“Ouch Jake, that’s my body you’re kicking right now,” she heard Chloe say and she smiled automatically. 

 

She suddenly remembered everything that happened last night and halted. She had kissed Chloe. Chloe had kissed her. Beca had told her she was in love with her and well, it wasn’t that much of a surprise, but it was nice to know Chloe was in love with her too. 

 

She felt her heart tug when she remembered the way the redhead had told her she chose Beca and Jake. No one had ever done that before since Beca and Jake were both closed off; people didn’t really bother sticking around. But Chloe had proved time and time again that she was serious about being a part of their family. 

 

She should be freaking out about this because they haven’t even discussed the way it was going to work yet, how they would tell Jake or their families but yet, she wasn’t. She knew Chloe was going to be right along with her the whole time and they’d figure it out together. 

 

She unzipped the tent and stayed at the entrance to take in the picture in front of her. Jake had taken her place next to Chloe in the sleeping bag and his messy curls were going in every direction, making him look pretty funny. The redhead lifted her head to look at Beca and she immediately smiled. 

 

“Join us.”

 

“There is not enough space for the three of us,” Beca deadpanned, stepping inside the tent. 

 

“Please, you're both tiny.”

 

“Not me! I’m a big boy!” Jake joined and Chloe chuckled, trying to tame his hair. 

 

“You’re right. You’re the big Mitchell here, little monster.”

 

Beca squeezed into the sleeping bag and they had to leave it open because there was definitely not enough space for the three of them but it was still nice. Jake cuddled up into his mother and she kissed his temple happily and felt Chloe’s eyes on her. 

 

“Morning,” she said easily. 

 

“Good morning.”

 

Jake interrupted the moment before it could even begin by digging his hand in Beca’s abdomen so he could shift and be on his stomach. She groaned in pain and looked at him move comfortably between the two women. She wondered how she was going to explain it to him. Hopefully, he was going to take it as well as she thought he would because he already loved Chloe, right?

 

“What are we doing today?” he said, already bored from being awake and doing nothing for 5 minutes. 

 

“We could fish?” Chloe suggested and Beca snorted. 

 

“Fish. You want to fish.”

 

“Yes, Beca. I want to fish,” the redhead said, rolling her eyes playfully. 

 

“Fine. Whatever.”

 

“I’m hungry,” Jake whined and Beca nodded. 

 

“Let’s get some food in you, little dude.”

 

Jake scrambled off of her clumsily and she ignored the pain of his knee in her thigh and turned to the teacher who was already looking at her. She chewed on her bottom lip, not knowing how to communicate her worries over telling Jake with him right there. 

 

Chloe’s face softened. “We’ll figure it out,” she said gently and took her hand to kiss the back of it. Beca instantly relaxed and nodded. 

 

“Mommy!”

 

“Yeah, yeah,” she answered and the day had officially started. 

 

After breakfast, they rented a small boat that Chloe somehow knew how to drive because of her father. Beca had stared at her in surprise the entire time but it was nothing to the shock she got when she saw the redhead grab the fishing hook and show Jake, explaining everything that she was doing so he could understand.

 

When Chloe caught her staring, she smirked nonchalantly. “My brothers and I used to fish a lot.”

 

“I have no idea who you are right now,” Beca teased, leaning back against a wall of the boat and Chloe laughed. 

 

“Impressed, Mitchell?”

 

“Very.”

 

Chloe winked at her before turning back to Jake. “If you feel something pull on your cord, tell me and I’ll help you.”

 

“Are we going to eat the fish?” he asked and she shook her head. 

 

“No. We just fish for fun and then we put them back in the water.”

 

“So they go back to their families?”

 

“Exactly, little guy.”  

 

Beca had chosen to let the two try fishing and she closed her eyes, resting a little. She listened to Chloe and Jake’s conversation about fish families before it died down and then they stayed in silence for a while. 

 

“I’m bored,” Jake said two minutes later and the two women chuckled. 

 

She looked at Chloe and felt her heart leap out of her chest. It was a beautiful moment, with the sun beaming down on them as they gently swayed on the water. It seemed as though they were the only ones on Earth and Beca liked that. 

 

She had the realization that she could finally do what she had wanted to do for so long now and reached out to grab one of her hands. The teacher looked at her and intertwined their fingers easily, her thumb rubbing the back of Beca’s hand. 

 

“I love you,” Chloe mouthed and Beca felt her cheeks heat up from something other than the sun. 

 

“I love you too,” she let herself say back because she had been wanting to say that for a really long time. 

 

“Hello!?” 

 

They both jumped in surprise at Jake’s sudden outburst and turned to him. His head was above the water and he was swinging the fishing rod vigorously, making waves.

 

“Fishes? Hello? Come here!” 

 

“Jake, dude, they’re not gonna come if you scream at them,” Beca said with a chuckle. 

 

He turned to her with a pout and shoved the fishing pole in Chloe’s lap who let go of Beca’s hand to grab it before it fell in the water. Jake sat down next to his mother, his arms crossed and a pout on his face. Beca pinched her lips to keep herself from laughing and put her arm around his shoulders. 

 

“Why are you mad?” she asked softly. 

 

“The fishes don’t like me.”

 

Chloe had put back the hook in the water and waited until the water was calm before looking at Jake too. 

 

Beca stroked his hair. “Of course they like you. Maybe they’re just not that hungry.”

 

“Come help me, Jakey. This fishing rod is so heavy and you’re stronger than me.”

 

Jake begrudgingly came to Chloe’s help and they held it together. Chloe gave her a wink over Jake’s shoulder and Beca smiled softly, liking the way the redhead always knew how to help with Jake. 

 

They made a good team together. 

 

An hour passed before they finally caught the tiniest fish they could’ve ever gotten but Jake had been absolutely ecstatic about it. Chloe had held it while it was squirming in her hands and had let Jake pet it and name it Nemo before letting it back into the water.

 

For lunch, they ate sandwiches that Beca had prepared for them yesterday and they played soccer in an open space for a while. It was Beca and Jake against Chloe and they had let Jake score every single time. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea letting him win all the time because he had to learn how to lose sometimes too but his smile was too damn adorable. 

 

He would do a little dance every time the ball would go through Chloe’s legs and shout “I’m the best! I’m the best!” and it was just so entertaining that the music producer didn’t want to put an end to it. 

 

Then, Chloe found that there was a hiking path on the map of the camping site and looked at Beca with puppy eyes. The brunette looked away, already shaking her head. 

 

“Nope.”

 

“Come on, Becs. It’ll be so fun.”

 

“In what world is exercising fun?”

 

Jake was reading his comic book --well more like looking at the drawings-- on the ground, paying them no mind. Chloe scooted her chair closer to Beca and took her hands. 

 

“It’s so pretty here, I’m sure it’ll look even prettier from a higher point of view.”

 

“Just get Jake to take a picture while he’s sitting on your shoulder, that’ll be a high point of view.”

 

Chloe let her finger trace the lines of Beca’s palms gently, almost tickling her. Beca looked down at their entwined hands and then Chloe brought them to her lips. She kissed the back of Beca’s hand softly, making eye contact with her the entire time. 

 

“Please?”

 

“Walking already sucks and now you want to walk uphill for fun?”

 

Chloe just kissed her hand again as a response and gave her the best puppy eyes Beca had ever seen. She sighed and she hadn’t even spoken yet, but a smile crept onto the woman’s face because she knew she had won.

 

“Fine.”

 

“Yay!” Chloe said, quickly kissing the corner of her lips and rushed to Jake to tell them what they were doing now. 

 

10 minutes later, they were dressed in appropriate clothing for a hike. With her baseball cap on Jake’s head, they started walking behind two parents and their daughter. The girl was between her mom and dad, holding both of their hands and they could hear the two parents laugh as they made their daughter jump by swinging their hands high in the air. 

 

Jake seemed to catch on to that because he looked at Beca on his right and then Chloe on his left and grabbed both of their hands at the same time. The two women looked at their hands before looking at each other and smiling. 

 

Beca had no idea why she had been scared about everything changing. Less than 20 hours ago, she had kissed Chloe Beale and here they still were, perfect as ever. Jake was happy, Beca was happy and Chloe was happy. Nothing had changed because they had been acting like a family for a while now, crazy as that was. 

 

She loved Jake and she loved Chloe and that was the simplest thing in the world. 

 

-------------------

 

“And he’s down for the night,” Chloe said, crawling out of the tent and Beca diverted her eyes away from the fire to look at her. 

 

“Thank God.”

 

“You’d think he would have been tired after that hike but apparently not.”

 

“I have no idea where he gets all that energy from. Surely not from me.”

 

Chloe chuckled, settling down next to her and making sure their hips touched

 

“So here we are, alone at last.”

 

Beca raised an eyebrow and nodded at Chloe. “Seems like it,” she teased. She would have felt guilty over Jake being the reason why they hadn’t really had a chance to be alone but she knew Chloe was only joking. “What are you going to do about it?”

 

“Oh, there’s plenty of stuff I wanna do about it,” she said in a low voice and Beca didn’t even have time to react to it before Chloe attached their lips together. 

 

She felt like she could finally breathe again, tangling her fingers in red locks and making the teacher sigh against her lips when she pulled on her hair a little. Their lips moved with each other in a way that sent shivers down Beca’s back and she concentrated on the way it felt to be able to finally kiss her. 

 

“But first,” Chloe said, pulling away with a sound. “I wanna ask you something.”

 

“Hm?” Beca said, trying to come back to earth after the mindblowing kiss. 

 

“Do you want to be my girlfriend?”

 

Beca’s eyes fluttered open and she looked at Chloe with an amused smile. The redhead was looking at her with her bottom lip between her teeth and her hand fisted around Beca’s shirt, almost nervous.  

 

“What are we, teenagers?” Beca answered playfully and Chloe pouted. 

 

“Is that a no?”

 

“It’s a yes, you weirdo,” she said and she wiped Chloe’s smile off her face with a kiss. 

 

Her body was vibrating with excitement and happiness and she felt like a 16 year old kid all over again. Except, nothing like that had ever happened to her in high school but that didn’t matter right now. All that mattered was Chloe’s lips on hers and the amount of love she had for that woman. 

 

They kissed until Beca remembered that was the very reason they hadn’t talked about any of the specifics last night and she pulled away slightly, liking the way Chloe immediately tried to chase after her. 

 

“Wa-- wait,” Beca said, fully separating their lips. Chloe backed away a little and Beca lost her train of thoughts when she saw the woman’s face. The swollen lips and the dilated pupils, Beca couldn’t believe she was the one that had the chance to be with Chloe Beale. 

 

“Yes?” Chloe teased, like she knew exactly what Beca was thinking about at the moment

 

Beca breathed out a laugh and shook her head. “We need to talk.”

 

“Are you already breaking up with me?”

 

“Shut up,” Beca laughed, shoving the girl on her shoulder a little. “We need to like, figure out what the fuck we’re doing.” 

 

“Well, we were kissing…”

 

“Chloe.”

 

“Ugh, fine.”

 

Beca started playing with her hands. “So um you know that if we go down that path, we need to be really serious about it. I have Jake and he’s-- well, he’s my boy, you know? I don’t wanna do anything that’ll lead to him being hurt.”

 

“I know,” Chloe said, nodding seriously. “I am serious about this. I’ve been serious about it for a while. I love Jake too and I’d never want him to get hurt either. He’s the most important thing in the equation and I get that.”

 

The corner of Beca’s lips quirked up and she took a breath. She liked that Chloe seemed to understand just how important Jake was to her and that she cared for him just as much. 

 

“I want this, though. I want you.”

 

Chloe smiled, the reflection of the fire in her eyes making it look like the ocean was burning. 

 

“I really want this too.” She took Beca’s fidgeting hands and rubbed her thumb on the back of it. “Beca, I-- I’ve been wanting this for a long time and I never ever thought I would find myself here, especially when I used to think Alex was-- well you know, but an entire relationship with her has never made me feel as happy as one day with you and your son.”

 

“Our.”

 

“What?”

 

“Our son,” Beca said with a small smile, trying to hide that she was close to crying. “You’re family, dude. Get used to it.”

 

Chloe’s eyes welled up with tears but Beca knew she wasn’t sad; those were happy tears. She exhaled loudly, a weight lifting off her chest and she kissed Chloe softly on the lips. 

 

“Aubrey’s gonna hate me even more now,” Beca joked after pulling away and Chloe laughed, wiping a stray tear. 

 

“She’s gonna have to deal with it. When do you wanna tell them?”

 

“After we tell Jake,” Beca said, looking at the tent where her son was sleeping. 

 

“I wanna tell my family.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah,” Chloe replied with a shy smile. “I’ve been talking about you guys so much, they’ve been dying to meet you.”

 

“Well, looks like we’re gonna have to go to Portland soon.”

 

Chloe lit up. “I really hope you’re serious right now because I would love nothing more.”

 

“Well, I’ll have to talk to my boss but if I can convince him to let me work from home, sure.”

 

The woman squealed and surged forward with so much force that they ended up falling off the log and onto the ground. Beca was about to laugh but she was cut off by Chloe’s lips on hers and decided that was much better. 

 

Camping wasn’t so bad after all.

 

Chapter Text

The next morning Beca awoke in a similar position to the day before, her legs entangled with Chloe’s and the redhead wrapped around her in the sleeping bag. Chloe was comfortable but she was pretty glad they were leaving in the afternoon because she seriously couldn’t handle one more night on the hard ground.

This had definitely been fun but the music producer happened to like her bed at home. 

Carefully, she slipped out of the sleeping bag and went to wake up Jake, knowing if she didn’t do something she’d end up bored out of her mind.

“Hey sleepy dude,” she whispered, tickling gently under his chin and he immediately began to stir, instinctively moving away from the disturbance. He slowly opened his steel blue eyes to see Beca, his cheeks red and his hair tousled from sleep.

“Mommy,” he muttered with a soft smile, reaching out to her and grabbed her hand. 

Sleepy Jake was one of Beca’s favourite versions of her son; he just looked so sweet and little wrapped up in his sheets. She was sure it also had something to do with the fact he was too tired to create any real disruption, but she wouldn’t ever tell anyone that.

She lifted him out of his sleeping bag carefully, tip-toeing over Chloe so that they wouldn’t wake her and left the tent so they could both go to the bathroom. Upon return, Chloe was sitting on the log just outside their tent, still in her pyjamas as she piled up firewood.

“Good morning, Mitchells!” she chirped.

Beca had no idea how the woman managed to be this cheery immediately after waking up, or any time for that matter.

“What’s for breakfast?” Jake interjected and Chloe looked at him with a smile before reaching into the bag next to her.

“I know it’s not really a breakfast food but,” she pulled out a pink and white bag of marshmallows, a jar of nutella and a pack of graham crackers. “I think since it’s our last day we should have s’mores.”

Jake left his mother’s side excitedly, running over to where Chloe was starting the fire with a huge grin. Beca just knew he was going to be hyper for the rest of the day, but at least there were plenty of things to do at Lake Hemet that would allow him to burn his energy off.

------------------

By the mid morning, Jake was complaining about being bored but Beca was almost certain he was just jealous of the extra attention Chloe seemed to be getting. They had been feeding each other s’mores, almost choking a few times by how much they were laughing. Chloe had insisted on maintaining the fire with one hand since her other hand didn’t want to leave its place on Beca’s thigh. 

“Please, can we play games.” he whined, pouting and crossing his arms in frustration. Beca was pretty impressed by his use of the word “please” since he often forgot to be polite when he complained. 

He really was maturing. 

“Hey I’ve got a better idea,” Chloe said with a grin, bending down so she was on Jake’s level. “How about we go to the waterpark? You remember the big inflatables in the water that we saw when we took a look around the day we got here?”

Jake’s face lit up at the suggestion. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” he chanted, jumping up and down dramatically as Chloe let out a chuckle. She put her hands on his shoulders so he’d calm down and got closer to him. 

“Tell mom she has to come in with us,” she whispered in Jake’s ear before looking up at Beca with a mischievous grin.

“Chloe Beale, I heard that. There is no way in hell I’m going into a cold lake to fall off huge inflatable structures at my own expense,” Beca said, raising an eyebrow, “Plus, you have to wear life jackets and I’m way too cool for that.”

“Hey! Life jackets are so cool! Me and Jake are gonna look fabulous, you just wait and see.”

“Yeah, right.”

“You know what’s cool, Becs?” she said and then turned to Jake to ruffle his curls. “Safety!”

Sometimes, it was very obvious that Chloe was a teacher.

Beca rolled her eyes at her, an amused look on her face as she went to dig through Jake’s suitcase for his Marvel trunks, the only ones he would wear since Chloe bought him them on his birthday.

She helped her son get changed in the tent while Chloe went to the toilet block to put her bathing suit on and as soon as Chloe returned they set off for the lake, which was situated a short walk from the area of the campsite they were staying at.

Jake held onto both of the women's hands as they walked, a sweet habit he had picked up from the hike yesterday that he seemed to absolutely adore. 

They settled down on a couple of chairs not too far from the water and Beca grimaced at the amount of screaming children that were there. She turned her head back to her group and as soon as Chloe took off her shirt, Beca was met with the pleasant sight of the same two piece the redhead had worn on their beach trip. 

She recalled how utterly stunned she had been, unable to take her eyes off of the woman and so nervous about the immense crush she had on her. 

“Am I allowed to say I think you look really good in that bikini now?” she said even though what she really wanted to say was not appropriate for Jake’s ears. 

Chloe smirked as she climbed out of her shorts, placing them on the empty seat beside Beca. “I suppose.”

“I wanna go in the water, Chloe!” Jake pleaded from where he was sitting on the grass and Chloe laughed.

“See Becs? Stop flirting, our boy wants to go in the water.” 

Chloe leant down, giving Beca a small kiss before sprinting off, shouting to Jake that she was going to beat him to the lake.

She felt her heart beat faster at how Chloe had referred to Jake; theirs. It had been her and Jake since day one, but Mom, Jake and Chloe? Yeah, that sounded good. Leaning back against the seat, she allowed the warm sun to hit her face, the feeling of Chloe’s kiss lingering on her lips. She could definitely get used to this.

She spent the next few hours relaxing and watching Chloe play with Jake, the two of them chasing each other on the inflatables, crying with laughter whenever the other fell off. She had to admit, they did look pretty cute in their life jackets. 

Beca watched Jake, her son who had once hated Chloe, with the biggest smile on his face as he splashed her with lake water, absolutely delighted to be spending time with her. She couldn’t believe how drastically Chloe had flipped their lives upside down in less than a year, and yet she wouldn’t have it any other way. 

As soon as the two had finished playing together in the water and gotten out to dry themselves off, Beca was pretty much ready to go home, desperate for wifi so she could share her mixes with Allen.

“There is no fu- hecking way I’m taking the tent down,” Beca said, shooting Chloe a stern look as she rolled up her sleeping bag so it’d fit in the trunk of the car.

“You’re just not a seasoned camper like me,” Chloe replied, flipping her hair comically which made Beca roll her eyes.

“You’re so weird.”

“You love me though,” Chloe muttered with a shrug.

“Yeah, but you’re still weird.”

The redhead didn’t accept that and put her finger under Beca’s chin, making her look at her.

“Come on, say you love me.”

“I love you,” Beca admitted easily and she was about to lean forward when Jake appeared out of nowhere. 

“Mommy, where do I put this?” he said, lifting his bag in the air, almost making him stumble backwards. 

“Put it on the backseat,” she answered and looked at Chloe with a disappointed look. She figured they should get used to having their moments interrupted by Jake at one point or another because it was going to keep happening. 

They packed everything away and Beca watched as Chloe dismantled the tent, still having no idea how she did it so easily. How many strange hidden talents did this woman have?

Jake was no help, refusing to even come anywhere near the tent in case there was a ‘huge angry lion’ inside but Beca was pretty sure he just couldn’t be bothered to pack his clothes. She allowed him to sit in the car, playing with his action figures on the backseat while the two adults did all the work.

Once they had everything sorted and in the car, they began the journey home. This trip had been amazing and Beca was never going to forget it but she was longing for electricity and a real shower that lasted more than 1 minute under freezing water. 

“Oh my god, Becs!” Chloe squealed loudly before they could even leave the camping grounds. Beca slammed on the breaks at the sudden outburst, a look of shock on her face.

“Dude! What?”

“There’s a gift shop!”

Beca followed the teacher’s eyes and put her hand on her heart, trying to get over the heart attack she almost had. The woman had almost just made her crash the car to go in a gift shop. Typical Chloe behaviour.

“Can we go inside?” Chloe pleaded, giving her girlfriend puppy dog eyes.

“You are literally more immature than my six year old son,” Beca muttered but she pulled up in the parking lot anyway. 

They spent around twenty minutes in the little shop and Chloe had bought Jake a miniature tent that he could play with his action figures in. He was over the moon, insisting he must go back to the car immediately to make them go camping.

“Hey, can you go with him? I won't be a minute,” Beca said to the redhead just as they were about to leave, hoping Chloe wouldn’t question her.

To her delight, Chloe just nodded, taking Jake’s hand and leading him out of the door. With a comical smirk on her face, Beca picked up an item that had caught her eye and paid for it at the register. She could barely hide her laughter as she climbed into the driver’s seat of the car, shoving the bag behind on the empty backseat.

“I got you something,” she admitted, “But you can’t look until we’re home.”

Chloe looked at her excitedly and nodded, making Beca laugh again to herself. 

The entire journey home was a mix of Jake asking how close they were and Chloe begging Beca if she could look at her gift, both of them driving the music producer crazy. She ended up simply ignoring them, gripping the steering wheel tightly as she gritted her teeth, praying the two would shut up until she could finally sit down on her comfortable couch.

“Can I look now?” Chloe asked as soon as they stepped through the door of Beca’s apartment and Jake had sprinted to his room to say hi to Sharky and Petey. 

“Yes, jeez.”

Excitedly, Chloe sifted through the bag and pulled out the item, immediately bursting into a fit of laughter. It was a huge shirt, clearly made to appeal to middle aged men with the words ‘women want me, fish fear me’ emblazoned on it in white lettering, and when Beca saw it she knew Chloe had to have it.

“I will literally never take this off.” Chloe said in between chuckles, hugging it to her chest as though it was the most important thing she owned. 

Beca grinned, watching as the redhead stripped her shirt right there and then, replacing it with the fishing shirt as Jake walked back into the room after appropriately greeting his stuffed animals. Chloe picked him up in her arms, dancing around the living room with the biggest smile on her face.

Chloe somehow convinced her to join them with one look and she started awkwardly dancing next to her two favorite people on earth. 

---------------------

Beca was pacing around in her living room, muttering a few things to herself that she had prepared to say to Jake later. Chloe was on her way there after spending the day with her roommates so she could do some laundry and run some errands after their camping trip. 

She had spent the whole day relaxing with Jake while Chloe was away and it was pathetic how much she already missed her presence. Chloe had still taken the time to text her pretty much all day, talking about how excited she was to tell Aubrey and Stacie about them soon.

Tonight was the night they were going to tell Jake that they were dating and Beca was pretty nervous about it. She knew Jake loved having Chloe around and everything was probably going to be fine but it was still stressful to admit to her son that things were changing. 

Jake was her whole world and she just hoped she wasn’t making a mistake. 

She stopped pacing when she heard the key in the lock and seconds later, Chloe was walking in with a pizza box in her hands. Instantly, Beca calmed down and shook her head. 

She definitely wasn’t making a mistake.

“Hey love,” Chloe said happily and put the pizza on the counter so she could greet Beca properly. 

Chloe hugged her and gave her a chaste kiss on the mouth that Beca deepened subconsciously for reassurance. Her girlfriend made a happy sound and kissed her back before pulling away gently, cupping Beca’s cheek. 

“You’re nervous, aren’t you?” 

“No,” the brunette lied even though her heart rate had picked up again at the words. 

“Right,” Chloe said, seeing right through Beca. 

“You’re sure about this, right?” Beca muttered, playing with Chloe’s hand nervously. “Because once we do this, there’s no backing out.”

“Of course I’m sure, Becs. It’ll be fun!”

“You and I have very different definitions of the word fun.”

“Well, we knew that,” Chloe said before turning her head towards the hallway. “Jake, dinner!”

Beca looked at her with a horrified expression on her face. “Dude, we’re doing this right now?”

Chloe only had time to smile at her before they heard little feet scrambling on the floor and Jake appeared, racing to them with a smile on his face. He immediately spotted the pizza box on the counter and started chanting “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” until they were seated at the table. 

Beca was biting on her nail anxiously until Chloe swatted it away and put a slice in front of her. 

“Eat this instead.”

Beca shot her a glare but took a bite of her pizza. She looked at Chloe who seemed perfectly calm about the situation and tried to channel that for herself. She looked at Jake who already had tomato sauce all over his face and she laughed, immediately relaxing. 

They ate while talking about their day and Jake spent at least 20 minutes describing in detail the shark attack that Sharky did to Petey and Chloe had listened intently to what he was saying, making comments here and there to encourage him. Seeing the smile on Jake’s face whenever Chloe said “No way!” just made her realize that it was for sure going to be okay. 

“Hey buddy,” Beca started, trying her hardest to appear confident. “We wanna talk to you about something and it’s pretty important. You’re gonna have to be a big boy and listen, okay?”

Chloe put down her slice, understanding that Beca was ready to start the conversation and wiped her hands on a napkin. Jake didn’t feel the need for a napkin and opted to keep his hands full of sauce. 

“I’m a big boy. I’m six!” he said, proudly showing 7 fingers. He looked at his hands, scrunched up his nose and then put a finger down. 

“Yeah, you are,” Beca encouraged him and glanced at Chloe who smiled at her before turning back to her boy. 

“You like having Chloe come stay with us, don’t you?”

Jake nodded his head vigorously. “Yes, she watches Spider-Man with me and plays splash with me in the bath and it’s really funny but it makes Mommy angry sometimes so Chloe tells me we need to keep it a secret,” he rambled on and took a deep breath at the end. Beca looked at Chloe, amused and the woman chuckled a little. 

“Yeah exactly, she does all that.”

“Is Chloe staying forever now?” he asked, looking between the two women expectantly.

Beca chuckled, shaking her head. “Not yet,” she replied, casting Chloe a hopeful glance as though to suggest it was another conversation they needed to have.

“I’m not moving in right now Jakey, but I will be coming to play with you just as much as before,” she assured him.

Beca took a deep breath, running her fingers through her hair and trying to think of a way to explain the situation in a way a child would understand. 

“Do you remember when we spoke about how people have lots of different kinds of families? Some people have one mommy or one daddy, and some people have two mommies or two daddies?”

Jake nodded, a smile on his face as though he was proud of remembering.

“Well, this is our family. Mom, Jake and Chloe.”

“Jake, Mom and Chloe.” Jake responded, as always. He was still happily munching on his pizza, his feet swinging and he seemed fairly happy to continue the conversation.

“Because you’re such a big boy, you know that sometimes grown-ups like to kiss and cuddle to show that they love each other.”

“You kiss and cuddle me, Mommy. Does that mean I’m a grown up?” Jake asked, his eyes wide. Chloe smiled silently, and Beca could tell the redhead didn’t feel it was her place to interrupt the conversation.

“Not quite, little dude,” she said with a warm smile, ruffling his curls. “With grown-ups, it’s a bit different.”

She glanced over at Chloe for support, pleading with her eyes that Chloe helped her and Chloe seemed to catch on.

“I really love your mom and she really loves me too. Do you think it would be okay for us to kiss and cuddle?” she asked Jake and the boy sat for a moment as though the question was very difficult to think about.

“Would you both still play with me?” came his response. 

Beca smiled, a wave of relief crashing over her as she realised that Jake didn’t mind what happened between them as long as he still had somebody to play with. Oh, the simplicity of childhood.

“Of course, we’d play with you all of the time! We just wanted to ask you and make sure you definitely feel okay with it, nothing’s going to happen that you don’t feel comfortable with, okay?” Chloe explained and Beca was grateful for the way she just seemed to be able to help Jake understand with ease.

“Okay,” Jake said simply and that was enough indication that he had no objections to their newfound relationship.

The conversation had seemed to go much smoother than she thought. Jake didn’t seem fazed by the revelation at all and was much more focused on enjoying the pizza after the past few days of camping food. She didn’t even know why she had been so nervous to tell him. After all Chloe has basically been family all along, caring for Jake as though he was her own. 

The truth was, Beca loved her son more than anything else in the world and she always thought having a relationship and distributing her affection between more than one person was just impossible. Within the past year, Chloe had showed up and proved her totally wrong, showing her it is possible to love more than one person with your entire heart and soul.

The redhead had taken them to so many different places, providing Jake with activities and learning opportunities he never would have had before and Beca was so grateful for that. She had improved Jake’s life in ways Beca didn’t even consider. It honestly made perfect sense for Jake to love this happy little accident just as much as she did. 

They kissed for the first time in front of him as they were getting to watch some TV before it was bedtime. Chloe sat down on the couch and Beca had taken a seat next to her, quickly pecking her on the lips to see what Jake’s reaction would be like. He had just stared blankly at them and then did what he did best, dug his knees in their thighs as he tried to find a comfortable position between the two of them. 

He fell asleep with his head resting against Chloe’s arm and Beca had brought him to bed without waking him up, deciding that he had a long day and deserved the rest. She kissed him on the forehead, whispering her I love you’s to him.

Then, she went back to the living room and whispered “I love you” to Chloe too.

 

Chapter Text

“I still don’t understand why it needs to be at my house,” Beca complained for the 13th time in the last hour. She heard Chloe sigh from the other side of the kitchen.

 

“Because they’ve never been to your place and Jake’s going to have to go to sleep at some point.”

 

“He can sleep in your bed!”

 

Chloe stopped stirring the sauce and looked at Beca who was putting 5 plates on the dinner table.

 

“You want to be the one that wakes him up afterwards only to put him back to bed when we get back here?”

 

Beca’s jaw clenched when she realized Chloe was right and the latter caught it because she smiled in victory and went back to stirring the sauce. She continued putting the cutlery on the table in preparation for tonight. Aubrey and Stacie were arriving pretty soon for a dinner that Chloe had planned. 

 

The redhead had told her friends it was just so they could all hang out (another attempt at making Aubrey and Beca like each other) but she also somehow convinced Beca that this was the right night to tell the couple that they were dating. It had been a few days since the camping trip and Beca’s vacation days were coming to an end so they wanted to make sure they had the time to do this before the music producer got too busy. 

 

She had a lot to catch up on at work and Chloe had obviously said that she was going to look after Jake during the day so they figured it was better that they told Aubrey and Stacie before they started questioning why their friend would want to spend that much time babysitting Beca’s kid. 

 

Chloe told her they knew Jake was important to her but they didn’t truly understand how close the bond they had together was. By the way Chloe slipped so easily into a caring parent role for Jake, Beca bet they’d understand by the end of the night. 

 

The brunette wasn’t as nervous for tonight as she could’ve been; mainly because she didn’t care for Aubrey’s opinion about them that much but she knew it was important for Chloe that they all got along, so she hoped it would go well. 

 

“Do you think they know what we’re about to tell them?” Beca asked after a beat, concentrating on making sure the knives were perfectly aligned with the forks. 

 

“I mean, I don’t think they’ll be that surprised.”

 

“No?”

 

“They’ve known I’ve had a crush on you for a while, babe.”

 

Beca smirked, looking up at her girlfriend cockily and Chloe rolled her eyes. 

 

“Oh yeah what a shock, I had a crush on you.”

 

“How embarrassing,” Beca teased walking over to Chloe. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed her cheek, making her smile. 

 

“Mommy, I’m hungry.”

 

She turned around to her son and hummed. “We’re eating soon, little man.”

 

“Aubrey and Stacie are coming over, remember?” Chloe asked with a sweet voice and Jake nodded. “You excited?”

 

“Yep,” he said, trying to see what Chloe was doing but she moved him gently so he didn’t burn his fingers. “They played with me when you were gone.”

 

Beca let out a breath when she realized the wedding had been this month. So much had changed since then. 

 

“Yeah, I’m still sorry I left you with Aubrey,” Beca joked knowing it would get a reaction out of the woman. Chloe turned to her and shot her a glare before looking at Jake. 

 

“Your mom thinks she’s funny right now, Jakey.”

 

Beca let out a chuckle and Jake looked at the two of them, confused as to what was funny and finally just walked away because he didn’t care that much. She looked at him as he picked up a few action figures from the living room floor, leaning on the counter next to Chloe. 

 

“You better be nice when she’s here.”

 

“I’ll try, Miss Beale.”

 

“Becs, I’m serious. I really want this to go well.”

 

Beca turned to her with a soft look, putting her hand on her bicep. “I know, babe. It’ll go well. Stacie’s probably going to make way too many sex jokes in front of Jake and Aubrey will probably wait until I’m out of earshot to start complaing about me.”

 

“God you two are so stubborn, it’s infuriating.”

 

“Hey, you knew what you were getting into. Remember how Jake was at the beginning of the year? You knew that came from me.”

 

Chloe smiled, pulling the chicken out of the oven. “Yeah, but like an idiot I was too fixated on the pretty face and hot tattoos and now I’m stuck with this.”

 

“Hot tattoos, huh?” the brunette said and Chloe bit her lip, inching her face closer to Beca’s. 

 

“Really hot,” she murmured before capturing her lips. Beca kissed back, her hand flying to Chloe’s hair and she let the woman take control of the kiss happily. She let her lips slide against the redhead’s until they heard a knock on the door. 

 

“Got it!” Jake said and Beca pulled away quickly. 

 

“No you don’t,” she said quickly, hurrying to grab him before he reached the door. She scooped him up in her arms and looked sternly at him. “I don’t want you answering the door, Jake. I already told you.”

 

“Sorry,” he mumbled, pouting. She fixed his shirt a little and groaned when she saw the paint stain on it but it was too late to change it so she let it go. 

 

Chloe ruffled his curls in passing and opened the door, a smile appearing on her face when she saw her friends. She hugged them happily, a squeal leaving her lips and Beca looked at her lovingly. She liked the way that even if she had seen someone less than 24 hours ago, Chloe always made a big deal out of seeing them again; like she had missed them so deeply. It made anyone that came in contact with Chloe feel special. 

 

Beca simply smiled at them because Jake and Chloe were still the only people she felt comfortable hugging and Jake high-fived Stacie and gave a hug to Aubrey, a habit he must be picking up from Chloe. 

 

“You guys want wine?” Beca asked, already walking to the fridge. “It’s Chloe’s, I don’t know what it is,” she continued, picking the bottle with a frown. 

 

“Yeah, we’ll take some,” Stacie said and Chloe picked up three glasses after she saw Beca getting herself a beer and they moved in sync around the kitchen, preparing the drinks. 

 

“Can I have some?”

 

Beca looked at her boy with a smile. “Sorry, dude. It's for grown-ups but believe me, you wouldn’t like it.”

 

He pouted and then looked at Chloe, his head completely tilted upwards. “Can I have some apple juice?”

 

“I think there’s a word missing in that sentence, right?”

 

“Please?”

 

Chloe smiled, satisfied and then went to the fridge to grab the juice for him. Beca turned to Aubrey and Stacie who had watched the exchange unfold in front of them and then they shot each other a look. 

 

Yeah, they definitely knew. 

 

They sat down at the dinner table and Beca served everyone while the rest of the group made small talk which she was very glad to not be a part of right now. 

 

“I haven’t been doing anything, really. I’ve gone to the beach a few times.”

 

“Stace, you work 40 hours a week, when are you going to the beach?”

 

Stacie shrugged, looking at Chloe. “I find the time.”

 

Aubrey laughed and then looked at Jake, interrupting the huge gulp out of his glass that he was taking. 

 

“Did you like camping, Jake?” 

 

“Yes!” he said enthusiastically and Beca couldn’t see but she bet he was swinging his legs underneath the table. “We played I Spy and we played soccer and I was the best because I beat Mommy and Chloe and we caught fishes and we went to the park on the water and it was super cool.”

 

“Woah,” Aubrey said with a smile as Beca sat down between Jake and Chloe. “That sounds very… domestic.”

 

Stacie snorted and then winked at Beca when the latter looked at her. She pinched her lips together, ignoring it and gesturing to the meal in front of her. 

 

“This looks delicious, Chlo,” she said politely even though she had helped her make it. 

 

Chloe smiled sweetly, her blue eyes sparkling. “Thanks, Becs.”

 

“So camping was fun?” Stacie said, returning to the camping conversation. 

 

Beca chewed on the inside of her cheek and nodded, trying to keep the huge grin out of her face. “Yeah. Jake loved it which unfortunately means we’ll have to do it again.”

 

“You loved it too.”

 

“My back has yet to recover,” she teased looking at the redhead. 

 

“Oh, I’m sure Chloe can help you with that.”

 

Beca rolled her eyes and she heard Chloe chuckle next to her which made her glare at her. Used to it, the redhead just stuck her tongue out and went back to cutting the meat on her plate. 

 

“Are we going camping again, Mommy?”

 

“I don’t know,” she said and then before he asked another question, she pointed to his plate with her fork. “You need help cutting your chicken?”

 

“Yes, please.”

 

She helped him out by cutting it into little pieces and slid his plate back to him afterwards. As she turned to look at the group, she caught Aubrey’s eyes that were already on her. For the first time, the eyes didn’t have an ounce of judgment in them; the blonde even had a small smile on her face. 

 

Beca allowed her lips to quirk up a little and looked away to focus on what Stacie was talking about with Chloe. The plan was to have a nice dinner and then when they’d sit down in the living room after Jake had gone back to his room to play with his toys, they’d tell them. Aubrey would be at least on her second glass of wine at that time which Chloe said was going to help. 

 

Obviously, she should have prepared herself for that plan to completely fail. 

 

Aubrey was still on her first glass of wine when Stacie reached over and kissed her on the cheek after laughing about something and Jake’s finger immediately lifted up and pointed at them. 

 

“Mommy, Chloe. Look, they do what you do.”

 

Stacie and Aubrey both lifted their eyebrows in sync as Beca shyly put his hand down and told him once again that pointing people wasn’t polite. 

 

“Do you kiss on the mouth too?”

 

Stacie immediately bursted out laughing, startling Beca slightly and making Chloe rub her forehead with her hand. Even Aubrey looked amused at the situation as she tried to calm her girlfriend, who was slapping the table with her hand because of how hard she was laughing. 

 

“You just got outed by your kid,” was the first thing that came out of Stacie’s mouth after she had finally calmed down a little. The comment made Chloe let out a laugh too and Beca looked at her. 

 

“Dude, it’s your plan that just got messed up.”

 

“Yeah,” Chloe said, still laughing. “But it’s still pretty funny.”

 

Jake looked around, anxious at the reaction his question had gotten and he looked at Beca. She noticed the tears in his eyes and she smiled automatically, her fingers tangling in his dark curls and moving his head closer so she could kiss his forehead to let him know everything was okay. 

 

“Hey, no. It’s okay. You didn’t say anything wrong. Eat your food, little man.”

 

He scrunched his nose and then nodded, going back to eating his dinner. By that time, Stacie had finally stopped laughing and Aubrey was staring at Chloe, waiting for an explanation. 

 

“We’re together,” Chloe squealed out, taking Beca’s hand. 

 

The whole thing felt so childish but the smile on Chloe’s face was infectious and Beca couldn’t help but felt just as cheery as the redhead. Being able to kiss Chloe after wanting to for so long was the best thing ever and she didn’t think she could ever be this happy before. 

 

“I knew it!” Stacie said, her hand grabbing Aubrey’s thigh. “I told you, didn’t I? I told you they were going to tell us they hooked up.”

 

“Stacie!” Beca said, glancing at Jake and the woman grimaced. 

 

“Sorry.”

 

“Besides, we weren’t going to tell you…. that ,” she continued. “It’s a bit more uh--”

 

“Loving?” Chloe tried to finish for her. “I love Beca, this is a relationship.”

 

Beca looked to her left with a soft smile and intertwined their fingers properly. Stacie said something but Beca honestly didn’t hear a word, too busy staring at the redhead. The freckles on her skin and the ocean blue eyes that hypnotized anyone she was talking to; making them feel like the most important person in the world. 

 

“Bree?”

 

Aubrey looked at Chloe and Beca back and forth and then nodded. “This is great. I’m happy for you.”

 

“Yeah?” Chloe breathed out in relief. 

 

“Yeah. You seem really happy with her,” she said as if the music producer wasn’t even there but then she looked at her straight in the eyes. “If you hurt her, I’m going to mess you up.”

 

“Okay, let’s not threaten her in front of a 6 year old,” Chloe said slowly, looking over at Jake. 

 

He had basically inhaled all the contents of his plate and was currently wiping all the sauce with his hands and bringing his fingers to his mouth. Beca cringed and grabbed a napkin, rubbing his face. 

 

“Can I go play?” he asked after his mother cleaned him up and she nodded, watching him run to his room as if he was late for something very important. 

 

She almost envied him. 

 

“So how’d it happen?” Stacie asked, a smirk on her face. 

 

Beca sighed, not really liking the way her personal life was being dug into right now. Chloe seemed to get that because she squeezed her hand and shrugged. 

 

“We were just talking and then we kissed.”

 

“In front of Jake?” Aubrey said quickly. 

 

“Of course not,” Beca replied instantly. “He was asleep. It was like, late at night.”

 

The blonde analyzed them for a while and then nodded, getting back to her food. Stacie gave them a sweet smile and Chloe found a way to change the subject, making the dinner finally more bearable. 

 

They eventually moved to the couch, deciding they’d just do the dishes later and it didn’t take long for the conversation to go back to Chloe and Beca. 

 

“So, how’s it going to work?” Aubrey said. “With Jake. Are you even allowed?”

 

“I’m not his teacher anymore,” Chloe answered. “So yes. And we’re just going to keep doing what we always did and adjust if we need to.”

 

“He’s happy,” Beca continued. “He loves Chloe so honestly, it just gives him one more buddy and he loves that.”

 

“That’s sweet,” Stacie cooed. “You guys need us to babysit him so you can finally sleep together?”

 

“Jesus fu--” Beca said, shifting in her seat and Chloe slapped her own thighs before getting up.

 

“And that is my cue to go put Jake to sleep.”

 

Beca’s eyes widened and she turned her head from Aubrey and Stacie to grab Chloe. “Dude, you’re leaving me with them?”

 

“You’re a big girl, babe. You can do it,” she teased and pecked her on the lips before walking away. She heard Stacie snicker as she watched her girlfriend disappear into the hallway and sighed. 

 

She was aware that Jake had asked earlier if Chloe could read him his bedtime story tonight but she really didn’t think the woman would be evil enough to leave her alone with her two friends. 

 

The tall brunette seemed to take pity on her though because the next sentence that came out of her mouth was much more for the general audience. 

 

“So, you’re going back to work soon?”

 

Beca wasn’t sure small talk was that much better.

“Yeah. I’m probably gonna regret taking my week of vacation right at the start of summer but whatever.”

 

“Where do you work again? Atlantic something?”

 

“Atlantis record,” she corrected with a nod. “We just finished Dua Lipa’s album so that’s pretty cool.”

 

Aubrey seemed impressed. “Oh, that’s nice.”

 

“Yeah, she’s actually super nice which is different from the people we usually work with.”

 

Most of the singers in LA were snobby assholes. What a surprise.

 

“You like being a music producer?” Stacie asked, interested in her work. 

 

“I mean, it’s what I’ve been doing since I was 18 so yeah, I love it. It’s basically just having your headphones on all day and working in the dark with no one to bother you for hours. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

 

“Wow, you’ve been doing the same thing for 10 years already?”

 

“I guess, yeah,” Beca breathed out, realizing that what Stacie had just said was true. “I’m not… really good with change. But I have to say that coming home from that dark ass studio to Chloe has been-- I don’t know, she just makes everything brighter, doesn’t she?” 

 

Aubrey’s face softened and she tilted her head, not saying anything. Beca shrugged, playing with her fingers absently. 

 

“I guess she just made me realize that life doesn’t have to be, you know, this fucking dark pit or whatever. So, I like coming back home and having this like, happy person that lights up everything. Plus she’s so great with Jake.”

 

The blonde continued to stare at her without talking, like she was trying to figure her out and Beca looked away awkwardly, not sure what to say anymore. Stacie stayed silent too, a smile on her face and thankfully, Beca finally heard Chloe’s footsteps in the hallway. 

 

The redhead faltered when she noticed how quiet it was in the living room and she looked at all of them amused. “Did you guys really not talk the entire time?”

 

Aubrey let out a chuckle and shook her head. “No, we did. I was actually just about to tell Beca that um,” she looked at Beca to continue her sentence. “I've really enjoyed this evening.”

 

Beca was surprised a little at the words and nodded shyly. “Oh, well I'm glad. Me too.”

 

“Aw,” Chloe cooed, settling down next to Beca with her hands on her heart. “My two best friends.”

 

“Thanks,” Stacie said, feeling excluded and the redhead chuckled, reaching over to grab Aubrey and Stacie’s intertwined hands. With the other, she entwined her fingers with Beca’s and looked back and forth at them.

 

“I love you guys so much.”

 

Beca smiled and brought their hands to her lips so she could kiss the back of Chloe’s hand. She wasn’t used to PDA but she thought this felt right and it seemed to make the teacher even happier. 

 

After sharing that moment, they went back to talking about more normal things until it was time for the two women to leave. Beca said her goodbyes from a distance but Chloe wanted to talk to them privately before they left, so Beca went to start on the dishes before she got too tired to do them. 

 

10 minutes later, she felt arms wrap themselves around her waist and she instantly relaxed into the body. Chloe hummed, resting her chin on her shoulder at an angle where she could softly kiss Beca’s skin. 

 

“What did you say to Aubrey when I was gone?”

 

Beca scrunched her nose. “Uh nothing? Why?”

 

“She seems to like you now, you must have said something,” Chloe teased, nipping on Beca’s earlobe. 

 

The brunette shifted position so they could face each other to talk because she honestly couldn’t concentrate if Chloe was going to keep doing that. The redhead kept her arms around Beca and the latter put her hands on her shoulders. 

 

“Maybe she finally let herself succumb to the Mitchell charm like you did.”

 

Chloe breathed out a laugh. “She told me that she thinks you’re a really good mother after all and that you’re gonna be even better to me.”

 

Beca let herself be surprised by the compliment, her eyebrows raising and heat creeping up on her cheeks. 

 

“Really?”

 

“Yeah so I’m really wondering what you said back there because Aubrey’s opinion doesn’t usually change that quickly.”

 

Beca smiled, twirling a red lock around her fingers. “I don’t know, dude. I just like, talked about work and I guess I mentioned that you were nice to come home to.”

 

Chloe’s face softened and she leaned in, kissing the woman passionately on the lips. Beca brought her hand to her cheek, caressing the skin as they kissed. Beca decided at that moment that she was the one that would be lucky enough to kiss Chloe Beale for the rest of their lives. 

 

“I love you.”

 

“I love you too,” Beca replied easily. 

 

“And whatever you said, I’m just glad Aubrey likes you now.”

 

“Yeah, honestly me too.”

 

The main reason she didn’t like the blonde was because she didn’t like her so Beca could finally let her guards down with Aubrey if she knew the woman wouldn’t judge her anymore. Besides, she knew Chloe was going to be super happy about her girlfriend and her best friend finally getting along.

 

And Beca would do anything to keep her happy. 

 

----------------

 

Beca was deep into the mix that she was making when she was interrupted by her phone ringing. She saw that it was her mom calling and frowned; her mom knew that she was back to work after her week off and she didn’t usually call her during the day (or ever for that matter) so she was slightly confused as to why she was calling her right now.

 

Cynthia-Rose glanced at her before returning to her work and Beca decided to answer it in case it was an emergency. 

 

“Hey Mom, what’s up?” she said, trying to keep her voice steady. 

 

“Hey hon, I was just calling to catch up.”

 

Beca stopped her movements. “At 2 PM on a Wednesday? I’m at work.”

 

“I know but I was just scrolling on the Instagram and found a cute picture of you and thought, hey I should call my daughter who hasn’t called me in weeks and see how’s doing.”

 

There were so many things that Beca wanted to comment on in that sentence but she opted for a question. 

 

“A picture? I haven’t posted a picture in months.”

 

She very rarely posted pictures on Instagram and when she did, it was even more rare that it was a picture of her face so she wasn’t sure she understood what her mom was talking about. 

 

“No, Chloe posted it.”

 

“Chloe?” Beca said incredulously. “Since when do you follow Chloe on Instagram?”

 

“Since Jake’s birthday. I saw her on the app when we were at the beach and I asked if I could follow her.”

 

Beca closed her eyes, feeling embarrassed by that situation that she didn’t know happened. She rubbed her face and sighed. “God, that's fucked.”

 

“Oh hush. She was more than happy to let me see her account.”

 

“Still weird, Mom. I really wish you didn’t follow my-- Chloe on Instagram.”

 

“Well I’m glad that I did because she just posted the cutest little picture of the three of you and I wouldn’t have seen it if I didn’t follow her.”

 

Beca frowned, not even aware that her girlfriend had posted a picture of three of them. She knew the woman had been wanting to for a long time but hadn’t because she knew it was best to keep the fact that they were friends from the school board. Since Jake wasn’t her student anymore, the brunette guessed Chloe had finally caved and posted a picture. 

 

“What’s the picture?” she asked, curious.

“It looks like it’s from the camping trip.”

 

Well that didn’t really tell her which one it was because they had taken about a hundred pictures so she figured she’d just take a look for herself after the call.

 

“Oh okay. Cool.”

 

“So… nothing new you want to update me on?” April said slowly and Beca understood easily she had something specific in mind. Did she know about her and Chloe?

 

What the hell was that damn picture?

 

“Do you know something?” Beca said carefully. 

 

“I don’t know, do I?”

 

Beca grimaced. “Ew you sound like those annoying teachers right now.”

 

“Interesting you would talk about teachers…”

 

She sighed, understanding that there was no way around it. Glancing at Amy who was on the phone with someone that was definitely not business related, she got up and went into the conference room to finish her call. 

 

She had let Cynthia-Rose and Amy know that she was dating Chloe but even if it had been three days since she told them, they made a big deal out of it every time her girlfriend’s name was mentioned. There were only so many sexual jokes Beca could handle. 

 

“Fine. Chloe and I are dating. Happy?” she said and rolled her eyes at herself when a smile appeared instantly on her face at the words. 

 

“Of course I am!” April exclaimed. “Bec, that’s great.”

 

“Yeah,” she said, biting her lower lip and kicking the floor with her foot. “It’s been-- it’s been fucking amazing actually.”

 

“I knew it.”

 

“What?”

 

“I knew you liked her. I’ve never seen you look at someone like that before. I had a hunch when you came here and all you kept doing was checking your phone to see if she had texted you, but when I went to LA and saw her burst into your apartment like she owned the place, I knew.”

 

“You knew I was in love with her because she entered my apartment?”

 

Her mother chuckled on the other line. “Who have you ever met before that you would just let into your space like this? I wouldn’t even do that and I’m your mother.”

 

Well, she definitely had a point. Chloe was just… Chloe. She was different. 

 

“It’s pretty new. Since the camping trip.”

 

“Does Jake know?”

 

“Yeah. He doesn’t have a problem with it, obviously. He loves her.”

 

“Thank God he had a change of heart from the beginning of the year.”

 

Beca didn’t even want to think about how this would have never happened if Jake had never warmed up to the teacher. 

 

“Yeah,” she said in a chuckle. “She’s the one that’s looking after him right now. I’m just glad for these long ass summer breaks teachers get.”

 

“Is she going to move in soon?”

 

“Uhh,” Beca started, not really knowing how to answer the question. Chloe spent most of her time at the apartment sure but they hadn’t really talked about it. I mean they had been dating for a little over a week, it would be weird if she were to move in already.

 

Even though it was kinda like they had been dating for months and the redhead almost spent every waking moment at her place.

 

“Beca?” her boss interrupted her, knocking on the door. “Can you come to my office?” 

 

“Yep, be there in a minute,” she said and then talked into the phone. “Listen I gotta go but thank you for this invasion of privacy, I loved it.”

 

“Alright,” her mom said, ignoring her daughter’s sarcasm. “Call me soon, okay? I mean it. I love you, bye.”

 

“Okay. Love you too. Bye,” she replied before hanging up the phone. She walked slowly to Allen’s office so she could have the time to open Instagram to check out the infamous picture that Chloe posted. 

 

It was the first one that appeared when the app loaded and she stopped in her tracks when she saw it. It was a picture that they had taken on day 3 of their camping trip, on the beach after they had played at the waterpark for over an hour. Jake was on Chloe’s shoulders, the two of them completely drenched from falling into the lake about a million times. 

 

It was a picture that they had taken on a timer because Chloe had insisted Beca was in them too. She had made sure to keep her distance from them to not get wet but at the last second, the redhead had used the hand that wasn’t holding Jake’s legs to grab her by the stomach and forced her to get close to them. Chloe and Beca were mid-laugh in the picture, Jake showing off his best grin to the camera, tightly holding on to red hair.

 

They looked like a family. 

 

The caption read “Girls (and boys) just wanna have sun” which made Beca roll her eyes but she couldn’t wipe the smile that was currently splitting her face in half. She closed her phone, deciding that she’ll comment later. 

 

For now, she let the memory of that photo spread inside of her until she felt the happiness everywhere and thought that even if she had spent her whole life mixing songs and creating sounds, no music could ever beat the melody that is Chloe Beale.

 

Chapter Text

“Mommy, you’re wearing a dress.”

 

Beca turned around at her son’s words and glanced down at the red dress she was wearing, wondering if she looked ridiculous. She didn’t wear dresses that often but it was a really hot day in LA today and she knew it would be better to wear something light. 

 

“You look very pretty,” he continued and she smiled, bending down to kiss the top of his head. 

 

“Thanks, Jake. That’s very nice.” 

 

“When Chloe gets here, can she stay to color with me?”

 

Beca made her way to the bathroom to grab her lipstick and she heard Jake’s footsteps following her. 

 

“Sorry, little dude. Chloe and I have a reservation at 6 so she won’t have time.”

 

“Can I come with you?”

 

She put down the lipstick after she was done with it and leaned on the counter with one hand, looking down at Jake who was giving her his best puppy eyes. 

 

“I told you. Tonight is just for Mommy and Chloe. You’re gonna have fun with Aubrey and Stacie, though. I promise.”

 

Today was July 5th AKA the day that Beca and Chloe were going to go on their very first official date. Actually, it’d be one of the very rare times they’d ever hang out just the two of them together because usually they were always with Jake. 

 

Somehow, even if they were already dating, Beca’s heart was racing in her chest because of how nervous she was. 

 

She wasn’t an idiot, she had gotten ready for tonight thoroughly. She had washed the sheets on her bed because Aubrey and Stacie were coming over for the night and Beca was going to stay at Chloe’s. Jake wasn’t going to notice because he’d be asleep by the time he could realize that his mom wasn't coming back and that they were the ones staying. The only thing that was annoying was that Stacie and Aubrey definitely knew what they were going to do tonight which was slightly embarrassing, but at this point she couldn’t bring herself to care.

 

She had been dating Chloe for about two weeks now, had been in love with her for God knows how long and her girlfriend happened to be very attractive so yeah; Beca was nervous as hell about what was going to happen tonight but she could also feel how bad she wanted it everywhere in her body. 

 

She looked at herself in the mirror and was satisfied with the person that looked back. It had been over 6 years since she had last been on a date so she just hoped that she wouldn’t be awkward. Well, just not as awkward as usual. 

 

What if sex had changed in the last 3 years and she wasn’t up to date? Was that a thing that could happen? Could sex have changed? What if she didn’t remember how it all worked and she sucked at it?

 

Those thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door and Jake flew out of the bathroom, Beca running after him to tell him not to answer the door. She caught his shoulder last second, pointed at him with a glare and then wiped it off her face so that wasn’t the first thing that Chloe would see. 

 

She took a deep breath, trying to calm her beating heart and opened the door to reveal Chloe, Aubrey and Stacie. Beca’s heart fluttered at the sight of her girlfriend in her black dress and her red hair tucked in a ponytail.

 

“Woah,” she said, not even hearing the word come out of her mouth until Chloe laughed. 

 

“Woah yourself,” she answered, stepping inside to kiss Beca softly on the mouth. The latter reciprocated the chaste kiss, feeling her cheeks turn pink a little. 

 

“You look-- really nice.”

 

Chloe smiled, her hand brushing Beca’s tattooed arm. “Thanks, babe. You look really nice too.”

 

She looked down at herself with a sigh. “Yeah, I kinda feel ridiculous.”

 

“No, it’s perfect. Apparently Providence is really snobby so we need to pretend that we fit in there.”

 

Beca cringed at the idea. She was the one that suggested they should go on a date so Chloe had proposed they should go out at some fancy restaurant and Beca had obviously agreed because that was what you did on a date, right? Beca couldn’t remember the last time she had gone to a proper dinner and she just hoped the feeling that she needed to throw up would go away soon. 

 

“Can we come in or…” Stacie teased behind them and Beca suddenly remembered there were still other people around so she stepped back, her arm around Chloe so the two other women could enter the apartment. 

 

Jake jumped in place at the sight of his babysitters for the night and grabbed Aubrey’s hand, shouting that he needed to introduce her to his toys right now. The blonde looked back at them with a slightly concerned look and Beca just laughed before turning to Stacie.

 

“Okay so he already ate dinner but if he’s hungry later you can just feed him whatever he wants in the fridge. No chocolate milk after 7, though because it gives him stomach aches and he’ll complain for the rest of the night and trust me, you don’t want that. His bedtime is at 7:45 and I already put his pyjamas on his bed so you won’t have to look for them. All you have to do is entertain him for like two hours by like, coloring with him and it’ll be cool.”

 

Stacie nodded seriously and Beca took a breath at the end of her speech. She knew Aubrey and Stacie were used to hanging out with him since they had already done it once before but she was still nervous about tonight and leaving Jake alone all night. 

 

Like she could sense that, Chloe squeezed her bicep and gave her a reassuring smile. Beca nodded, appreciating the action and then checked the time. 

 

“Okay, I guess we should go,” she muttered because she figured fancy restaurants didn’t like when people were late. 

 

“What time are you coming back tomorrow?”

 

“Should be before Jake wakes up, we don’t want him to freak out seeing Beca hasn’t come home since last night.”

 

“Perfect,” the brunette said and then looked at Beca. “Listen, I know I don’t have anything to teach to Chloe anymore but I can totally give you some tips and--”

 

She was cut off by Chloe’s hand on her mouth and a second later, Jake appeared in the hallway followed by Aubrey. Beca shot her girlfriend a grateful look because she had truly not wanted to hear the end of that sentence. 

 

Unless she did need some tips? What if she did something that Chloe wouldn’t like and it’d just be awkward? She sighed, running her fingers through her hair and focused back on her son because she was only stressing herself out more. 

 

“You’ll be good with Aubrey and Stacie, right kid?” she said, bending down to his level and he nodded. 

 

“Aubrey said Sharky was the coolest shark she ever saw!” he said enthusiastically even though that didn’t answer Beca’s question in the slightest.

 

She smiled, moving his curls out of his eyes. “That’s because he is,” she answered and then kissed his forehead. “I love you.”

 

“Love you too. Are you gonna come back to read me my comic?”

 

“Sorry, dude. I won’t but I’ll make it up to you by reading more pages tomorrow. Deal?”

 

“Deal.”

 

Chloe stepped forward because she also wanted her moment with Jake and Beca observed as the redhead whispered something in his ear that made him giggle and then she kissed him on his cheek, leaving a faint red mark. 

 

“Love you, little monster.”

 

“Love you, Chloe,” he said with a big smile and Beca pinched her lips together, forcing herself to not tear up in front of people over this. 

 

She just loved seeing Chloe and Jake together so much. Their relationship had only improved since Beca and her had started dating because it’s as though Jake felt like he could really count on the redhead like a second parent now and Beca loved it. 

 

She also loved the extra help that came with the fact that Chloe was always here. Man, being a mother was exhausting and she was thankful for the numerous times that she had a chance to sit down and relax because Chloe was taking care of Jake instead of it always being her. 

 

Becar grabbed her purse, making sure the white envelope was still in it and then they said their goodbyes to Chloe’s roommates, thanking them once again for looking after Jake tonight. 

 

Chloe drove them to the restaurant, much to Beca’s dismay because she had nothing else to focus on but her nerves. She played with the ring she had around her thumb and she knew that the woman noticed it because she kept glancing to her right. 

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Beca took a breath and nodded. “Yeah. Just nervous about leaving Jake.”

 

She didn’t feel good about lying to Chloe but it wasn’t like it was a complete lie, it was just… half the truth. She was nervous about that but the main problem was that she was just so damn stressed out about having to sit down at some five star restaurant in front of Chloe. 

 

What if they didn’t find anything to talk about? What if she was just awkward and things got uncomfortable and Chloe realized Beca was just too inexperienced in the dating world compared to her?

 

“If you want we can just--”

 

“No,” Beca immediately cut her off and Chloe looked at her when they reached the red light. “I’m really excited about tonight, baby.”

 

Chloe smiled, biting her lower lip and she moved her right hand to Beca’s thigh. “Me too. I’ve never been to that place before but apparently it’s really good.”

 

Ten minutes later, they were off to a bad start. While they were being guided to their table, Chloe had put her hand on Beca’s waist and it had startled her so much that she had flinched and moved away from the touch on reflex. She had tried to explain the reaction to Chloe’s whose face had fallen but their waiter had started talking to them and Beca could only bite the inside of her cheek as he explained the specials.

 

Then, they had sat down and Beca had reached to grab Chloe’s hand but bumped into her glass that fell on her many cutleries, making a loud noise. When she pulled her hand back quickly, the wind made a napkin fly off the table and when she bent down to pick it up, she bumped her head into the corner of the table. 

 

The redhead had winced, asking her if she was okay but Beca’s embarrassment was growing by the minute and she could only nod and grab the menu to hide her face behind it. She concentrated on the words on the page and then her eyes bulged out when saw the prices. 

 

“Holy fuck, this place is expensive,” she said without thinking.

 

Chloe looked at her intently and then shrugged. “It’s okay. I’m paying.”

 

Beca looked up at her and was about to respond when the waiter came back to ask them if they wanted drinks. She quickly scanned the list of wines and when she spotted a familiar name that she knew Chloe liked, she asked for it. 

 

She absolutely hated that wine but it was okay because all that mattered was that her girlfriend liked it.

 

“What’d you do with Jake today?” Beca asked conversationally so she could finally focus on something other than how weird it felt to be here. 

 

Chloe smiled automatically. “We drew some mandalas I found online. He’s getting better at drawing inside the lines. Oh! And we also started practicing writing entire sentences. Punctuation and all.”

 

“No way,” Beca said, impressed. 

 

“Way,” Chloe answered just as happily. “He’s a little genius.”

 

“Well, he takes after his mother,” Beca said and it made Chloe laugh. She let herself relax a little and leaned back on her chair. 

 

She didn’t know what it was, but something about this whole thing felt… forced. Everything between Chloe and Beca had always been so gradual, happening effortlessly without them thinking about it. They didn’t need to try to be something they weren’t when they were together, they could just be. 

 

And this? Being at a fancy restaurant to celebrate their first official date as they both knew they were going to finally sleep together later was just stressful for no reason and that wasn’t what they were about usually. 

 

But Chloe had picked the restaurant and if that’s what Chloe wanted, Beca was going to go along with it. Besides, it was the thought that counted. It was nice to be out with her girlfriend like this and even though it was very far from the music producer’s comfort zone, she was going to enjoy it. 

 

She thanked the waiter silently with a nod when he came back with the wine and after clinking her glass with Chloe’s, she took a sip. She immediately grimaced at the taste and tried to hide it behind a smile but she knew Chloe saw it because she chuckled and put her glass down. 

 

“Alright, let’s go.”

 

“What?”

 

Chloe gathered her things and stood up. “Let’s go.”

 

“But… we haven’t even ordered yet,” Beca said, looking around confused. 

 

“Beca. Get up.”

 

Slowly, she stood up and after putting two 20 dollars bills on the table for the wine, Chloe grabbed her hand and they walked out the restaurant without a word. Beca let Chloe drag her out and didn’t speak up until they were both in the car. 

 

“What just happened?”

 

Chloe looked at her and intertwined their fingers. “We don’t need that.”

 

“Need what?”

 

“Fancy restaurants with 7 different forks that I know you don’t know how to use,” she said and Beca let out a laugh. “I just want to go out with you, Becs. It doesn’t matter where we are.”

 

The brunette exhaled, officially feeling all the nerves leaving her body as she looked at the woman that she loved. She reached across the console and kissed her deeply, not caring that they were both messing up their lipstick. 

 

Chloe pulled away after a moment, resting her forehead against Beca’s. “You wanna go get a burger?”

 

“God, I love you.”

 

15 minutes later, they were in the In-N-Out parking lot with their food on their lap and Beca’s feet on the dashboard, heels long forgotten. They were both trying not to choke on their bites as they laughed, recounting childhood stories. Beca shouldn’t be surprised that Chloe was the kind of girl in high school that got away with so much shit because she could make anyone forgive her with a bat of her eye. 

 

They had moved on to college stories and Beca was now listening to the redhead talk about Aubrey’s incident that happened during their junior year of college during the finals of their acapella championship. Beca grimaced, swallowing her bite with difficulty after hearing Chloe describe the vomit in detail.  

 

“Dude. Gross.”

 

Chloe chuckled. “It was awful. She’d be so mad if she knew I told you.”

 

“I wish you hadn’t,” Beca said with sarcasm and Chloe winked, shoving a fry in her mouth. 

 

“No more secrets between us, babe.”

 

“Oh that reminds me,” she said, wiping her hands clean so she could grab the envelope from her purse. “I have something for you.”

 

“My birthday’s in two days, Becs.”

 

“I know. Consider it… a pre-gift.” 

 

It had to do with her actual birthday so she had no choice but to give it to her before her birthday. She had never done this kind of thing before so she just hoped Chloe would like it. She was still new to being romantic since Chloe was actually the first person Beca had wanted to do this kind of thing for. 

 

Chloe looked at her for a moment and then the letter in her hands. She wiped her hands, moving her half-eaten burger to the side so she wouldn’t get anything dirty. She took the envelope carefully, an eyebrow raised the whole time and Beca took a breath as she watched her open it. 

 

Chloe pulled out the plane ticket and inspected it, her eyes roaming everywhere on the paper until she saw where it was going. 

 

“You got me a plane ticket to Portland?”

 

“Three, actually. Jake and I’s tickets are at home,” Beca corrected awkwardly. “I figured you’d-- well we didn’t need the three tickets to get the full effect. You get it.” 

 

“When?” Chloe said quietly, her eyes going back to the ticket. 

 

“We’re leaving the morning of the 7th. You talked about your family so much during the camping trip I figured you missed them and you’d like to see them for your birthday.”

 

“Becs, I don’t--” The woman looked at Beca with tears in her eyes and the brunette knew they were happy tears. She had done a good job. “I don't even know what to say. I love you so much. Thank you.”

 

“I love you too,” Beca said, proud of herself. “You’ll see, Jake is the worst on flights. It’ll be great.”

 

Chloe breathed out a laugh, a tear slipping from her eyes and Beca wiped it before they both met halfway through. Chloe’s lips took Beca’s lower lip between them and it didn't take long before Beca felt her tongue poking out, asking for permission. She opened her mouth to let their tongues meet and the kiss deepened, making the both of them moan gently. Beca shifted, hitting her knee on something but she didn’t even feel the pain, her five senses feeling overwhelmed from how good it felt to have her girlfriend’s tongue in her mouth. 

 

All too soon, Chloe pulled away and their blue eyes met with dilated pupils. The teacher had a firm grip on Beca’s hair and they stared at each other breathless until Chloe spoke up. 

 

“You’re done with your burger, right?”

 

“Uh yeah, sure.”

 

Chloe grabbed everything hastily and put it all in the white bag that their meals had come in with. She threw the bag in her backseat and started driving without another word, her hand on Beca’s thigh. Beca felt warmth at the pit of her stomach and used every red light to pull the woman into a kiss, addicted to her lips. 

 

Not a single part of her was nervous anymore and all she had in mind was Chloe and how much Beca wanted her at this moment. 

 

-------------------

 

Chloe was laid with her head on Beca’s stomach, her hair splayed out around her, tousled and messy. Her lips were swollen and you couldn’t even see she had put on lipstick earlier since all of it was probably smudged across Beca’s body. Wordlessly, Chloe traced her tattoo sleeve as the two laid in a comfortable silence in Chloe’s bed, their clothes still laid around the room after they had ripped them from each other’s bodies as soon as they entered her bedroom earlier.

 

“You okay?” the redhead asked in a whisper, moving so she could look up at Beca with a gentle smile.

 

The brunette was silent for a second before speaking up, admiring the freckles scattered all over her lover’s nose. “Yeah, I just forgot sex could be that,” she paused, collecting her thoughts. “Good?”

 

Chloe let out a small laugh, shifting positions so that her arms were wrapped tight around Beca’s midsection. Beca tucked her arms under her head so she didn’t strain her neck looking at her and she found that she wasn’t embarrassed to admit how good it had been. After all, it was pretty obvious she had liked it earlier. 

 

“I mean, six years of nun behaviour leads me to believe your previous experiences of sex weren’t really that pleasurable at all.”

 

“Just because I chose not to constantly fuck around does not make me a nun,” Beca replied defensively, rolling her eyes. “It’s just not easy for me to meet people with Jake and all. He’s pretty protective over me.”

 

Chloe chuckled. “You don’t say,” she said sarcastically and Beca snorted before shrugging.


“Plus, it hasn’t been six years.”

 

Chloe looked at her, puzzled.

 

“I met this girl on a work night out with CR and Amy. Jake must’ve been like 3 and my mom had him for the night. Anyway, I got talking to her at the bar and she was into the same music as me. I told her I was a music producer and she was like, mega into it. Chicks like that y’know.” Beca said in an arrogant tone and Chloe scoffed at the comment.

 

“One thing led to another and we ended up hooking up in the bathroom,” Beca finished with a sheepish grin, not entirely sure how to feel as she remembered the experience.

 

“Classy,” Chloe shot with a smirk. “But regardless, I’m sure hooking up with a random drunk girl in a bathroom has a very different vibe to sex with your girlfriend who loves you very much.”

 

“Love? Dude, you’re making this one night stand really awkward.”

 

“Shut up,” the redhead said, rolling her eyes. “I’m just glad I completely blew your mind by how good I am in bed.” 

 

“Don’t get cocky, Beale,” Beca shot even though Chloe totally had every right to brag. 

 

Chloe stayed silent, cuddling closer to her and Beca could feel the grin against her neck. She felt completely content, any trace of nerves from earlier that night had gone and been replaced by happiness. She loved Chloe and Chloe loved her. How could she have been so stressed out about this when that was all that mattered at the end of the day?

 

“I can’t believe you got tickets home for my birthday. That’s like, the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me,” Chloe said quietly after a moment, breaking their comfortable silence.

 

Beca had trouble believing that. Surely someone as beautiful as Chloe had spent her her whole life getting romantic attention from any guy who laid eyes on her, tickets to Portland weren't exactly groundbreaking.

 

“It’s nothing,” she said, tucking a strand of red hair behind her ear. “I know you think it’s hard to be away from them and you mentioned you wanted them to meet Jake so…”

 

“And you.”

 

“And me,” Beca repeated softly. 

 

“How did you even convince your boss to let you go?”

 

The music producer laughed. “It was a lot of begging, promises of working late and I’ll pretty much have to work the whole time I’m there but still it was worth it.”

 

Chloe smiled softly, kissing the corner of her lips. “My parents are gonna love you.”

 

“If they don’t, I can just use Jake’s cuteness to make them like me.”

 

Chloe laughed. “But he gets his cuteness from his mom.”

 

“I’m not cute, babe. I’m badass.”

 

“Mhm, whatever you say.”

 

Beca smiled, turning her head so they could look at each other. She was pretty sure Chloe had never looked as beautiful as now, her skin slightly glowing from the sweat, her hair all messy from Beca pulling on it and her lips still slightly swollen. Post-sex Chloe Beale was probably the most attractive thing on earth and the brunette couldn’t believe she was the one witnessing it right now. 

 

“For real though Becs. Thank you,” Chloe said sincerely. “I’ll call them first thing tomorrow to inform them.”

 

“Sounds good. And you don’t have to thank me. You deserve it. Plus, I've been wanting to meet your parents to find out where you get all the damn charm.”

 

“My parents will literally love you. And there is a high chance they will want to steal Jake.”

 

Beca feigned fear. “I am not leaving Portland without my son.”

 

Chloe laughed before snuggling up even more into Beca, their bodies becoming one. “You’re gonna fit in so nicely,” she said with a hum. “Plus I’ve got a pretty good idea of an activity we could do with Jakey while we’re down there.”

 

Beca broke out into a huge smile. Chloe always thought of Jake whenever they were going to do anything, knowing exactly what the boy would enjoy and it meant so much to her. Yeah, Chloe was a teacher and knew the kind of stuff little kids would find fun but for her to take time that they could spend alone and happily involve Jake was so perfect to her.

 

“Round two?”

 

“Hell yeah.”

 

Chapter Text

Beca dug her fingernails into her palms as Jake stood in front of her, his huge Shark held tightly in his arms. That thing was almost bigger than him but he was insisting that he needed to bring it for the trip to Portland, saying it was going to protect them. 

 

“Dude, no. Go put it in your room.”

 

“No!” he said, kicking the floor with his foot. “I’m taking Sharky with me.”

 

“Jake, I said no,” she said in a firm voice. 

 

“If he stays, I stay!” he shouted and then turned on his heels to go to his room. 

 

Beca glanced at Chloe who was sitting on a stool at the kitchen counter, looking worried. They weren’t late per se but they were going to be if Jake kept this up for longer. All their suitcases were at the entrance and the Uber was on its way, the only thing missing was a certain 6 year old. She groaned and walked to her son’s room with a clenched jaw. 

 

This was a really shitty start to Chloe’s birthday. 

 

Well actually, the day had started with lots of kisses and some light touches but that all had disappeared the moment her son started shouting that he needed to bring his giant stuffed animal on the trip. 

 

She found him on his bed, his face all scrunched up as he looked angry with Sharky next to him. There were tears on his face, slowly slipping out from his eyes. 

 

“Jacob! We’re leaving.”

 

“No!”

 

She was definitely angry at this point. “Kid, I’m not playing. I told you Sharky is too big, you can take Petey,” she muttered through gritted teeth and it was hard to say Sharky in an angry voice but she thought she did a good job. 

 

“I don’t want Petey! I want Sharky!”

 

“He’s too big! Your suitcase is already packed so grab your lion and we leave. Now!” 

 

“The Uber is here,” she heard Chloe’s voice call out from the kitchen and she tightened her hold on the doorframe. 

 

“Get up.”

 

“No.”

 

“Get. Up.”

 

“No.”

 

“I can’t believe you’re doing this today out of all days. Come on, I’m not asking you again. Get up.”

 

“No! I don’t like you so I’m not going! I wanna stay with Sharky!”

 

“Jacob Ethan Mitchell, I swear to--”


She felt a gentle hand on her bicep and she turned to see Chloe looking at her. Beca stared into those big blue eyes and sighed, walking away so the woman could deal with it. She stood in the kitchen, running her hand through her hair and trying to calm herself down. 

 

She could hear Chloe’s soft voice talking to Jake. 

 

“... We’re going to be safe there, I promise.”

 

“But Sharky--”

 

“We need someone to be here to protect the house while we’re gone, right? So if you take Petey, we can have him protect us in Portland and Sharky will protect home. But I swear, you’re gonna have so much fun over there that you won’t think about all of that.”

 

She heard a sniffle that came from Jake and then his voice. “Okay.”

 

She released a breath she didn’t know was holding and then turned towards the hallway where Chloe came out of his room, Jake in her arms, who was hiding his face in Petey. Still mad at her son, she just grabbed her suitcase and Chloe’s and opened the front door. 

 

Her girlfriend shot her a small smile that she wasn’t able to reciprocate at this moment but she was still feeling extremely thankful for her. The redhead grabbed Jake’s suitcase with the hand that wasn’t holding the boy and she walked out the apartment, letting Beca finally lock up so they could catch their Uber downstairs. 

 

Both stubborn, Beca and Jake didn’t say a word the whole ride to the airport. Chloe had tried making small talk with the Uber driver but after a couple of questions that were only answered in grunts, she went silent too. Beca stared out the window while Jake played with the red panda still attached to Chloe’s keychain to distract himself. 

 

It was just before they passed security that Chloe had snapped and turned to the two quiet Mitchells and crossed her arms. 

 

“Can we please be happy? Because I’m happy, it’s my birthday, I’m going to see my parents and all I want is my family to be happy too. Can we do that?”

 

Beca clenched her jaw, mad at herself that she was also ruining Chloe’s day right now and she nodded. Besides, how could she say no to something like that when Chloe had referred to them as a family?

 

“Yeah. Sorry babe.”

 

Chloe nodded, turning to Jake and bending to his level. “Jakey, I think you made Mommy a little upset this morning.”

 

The boy turned to his mother and tugged on the hem of her shirt. “Sorry, Mommy.”

 

“It’s okay, Jake,” she breathed out and kneeled down so she could accept his hug properly. He kissed her cheek, stepping on her foot clumsily and everything was back to normal. 

 

“Thank you,” Chloe said with a bright smile and she gestured at the airport behind her. “Now let’s meet several people that are just going to be rude to us for no reason and get through this together.”

 

“Jake, Mom and Chloe?” Jake said like he was asking a question, meeting his mother’s eyes.

 

She let herself smile at him, her anger completely dissipating. “Mom, Jake and Chloe.”

 

------------------

 

Beca sighed as she flopped down in her seat. They had gotten lucky and a kind lady had swapped so the three of them were sitting together in a row, Jake sitting happily between the two women with Petey held tightly in his hands. He had behaved through the entire airport customs after Chloe’s speech and Beca was hoping the tantrum he threw had tired him out enough for him to sleep through the whole flight. 

 

Within five minutes in the air, Jake had already drifted off sucking his thumb; Petey tight against his chest;  his head rested on Chloe’s arm; and his feet digging into the side of Beca’s thighs. Beca glanced at the redhead, knowing she must be in an uncomfortable position but didn’t have the heart to move and wake Jake up. 

 

“Are you nervous?” Chloe asked, shifting carefully so that Jake was laid against her stomach and both of her hands were free.

 

This whole morning fiasco had made her completely forget where they were actually going and it hit her all over again. They were on their way to Portland to meet Chloe’s family for the first time. 

 

Shit. 

 

“Kinda,” Beca admitted, a look of vulnerability on her face as she looked at Chloe, absentmindedly playing with her thumb ring. 

 

“Why?”

 

“I don’t know. it’s meeting the parents, that shit is always stressful.”

 

Chloe reached over Jake to grab her hand. “They’re just like me, they’re cool.”

 

“Well now I’m not nervous, I’m scared,” she teased and Chloe rolled her eyes. 

 

“You’ll be fine. They’ll love you,” she assured, giving her girlfriend's hand a reassuring squeeze.

 

“What about the whole single mom covered in tattoos thing? People don’t usually dig that,” Beca asked, an uncomfortable look on her face as she remembered the amount of disapproving stares she received in public whenever she took Jake out. 

 

“Okay, well first you’re not a single mom anymore,” Chloe said with a finger pointed up. “So try to remember that. And baby, come on they won't mind. The Beales are like, the least judgemental people you’ll ever meet.” 

 

Beca sighed, still nervous but knowing that if Chloe’s family were anything like her she’d be absolutely fine. 

 

They spent the next hour and a half in silence, Beca working on some studio related things so she’d have free time tomorrow for whatever activity her girlfriend had planned for them and Chloe was reading a book with Jake’s head on her lap where he had slid down. 30 minutes before they touched down, her son woke up, his curls sticking up and a grouchy look on his face. 

 

“Hey little man,” Beca muttered, taming his hair as he rubbed his face on Chloe’s thighs.

 

“Are we almost at Chloe’s house?” he asked immediately, making Beca chuckle.

 

“Not quite. You wanna color for a little? I’ve got your new Marvel coloring book in my bag,” she offered. 

 

He nodded, sitting up and rubbing his eyes as she searched through her bag for his new book they’d picked up the other week, complete with a set of five crayons. 

 

Drawing with Chloe gave them about ten minutes of quiet before Jake was complaining about being bored again. 

 

“We just colored a really cool Spider-Man, why don’t you show Mom?” Chloe offered in an attempt to stop the impending tantrum, pointing to the superhero they had just colored pink and orange at Jake’s request. 

 

“No, I'm bored, ” he whined, crossing his arms and furrowing his eyebrows, refusing to listen to Chloe. 

 

“We don’t even have that long left,” Beca said, trying to make him feel better but the boy was having absolutely none of it.

 

“I’m bored. I want to play,” he growled, his voice starting to rise as his face scrunched up and Beca dropped her head into her hands. 

 

She really wished he had picked another day than Chloe’s birthday to be grumpy but she knew it had to do with the fact that he didn’t know where they were going and that was stressing him out. Not knowing how to deal with his nerves, he instead let every single thing make him mad. 

 

He began to try and climb over Chloe and she hissed as he kneed her stomach trying to clamber towards the window. As soon as he looked out of the window, all hell broke loose. Beca had never let him have a window seat before in fear of him being freaked out by the view and it appeared her mom instinct was right yet again because he burst into tears immediately. 

 

“Jake what’s wrong?” Chloe asked, wrapping her arms around the boy who was now sobbing in her lap. A couple of people turned towards them and Beca gave them a glare so they’d face forward again. 

 

He tried to stutter something through his sobs but Beca had absolutely no idea what he said, only understanding that he was scared of being so high up. Chloe opted to simply close the window shutter that let them see the sky and pulled him closer to her. 

 

“Hey you’re okay, big boy. I got you,” the redhead assured as she rocked him gently, holding him tight. He hid his face in her hair, his screams right next to her ear but it seemed as though she didn’t mind it one bit.

 

Beca watched, her heart aching for her son as she hated to see him so upset but also feeling so tired even though the day had barely started. To offer support without interrupting, she reached over and placed a gentle hand on Jake’s back, rubbing it softly in circles. The two women comforted the boy until his panic subsided, his sobs becoming sniffles.

 

The whole time Jake was upset, Beca was anxiously glancing around the airplane to see if anyone was watching them. She was used to public judgement and a screaming six year old on a plane was pretty much a breeding ground for glares and grimaces. Chloe must’ve known she was nervous as she constantly shot her reassuring glances, nodding calmly to let Beca know everything was okay.

 

By the time he was calm, the pilot’s voice was heard through the speakers to let everybody know the plane would be landing in fifteen minutes, much to everyone’s delight. Jake moved from Chloe’s lap, choosing to dig his pointy knees into her thighs instead now. 

 

“See buddy, we’re almost there,” Beca told her boy, wrapping her arm around him as he cuddled into her.

 

“Almost at Chloe’s house?” he asked, looking up at her with his glassy blue eyes wide. 

 

“Almost at the airport. We’re going to rent a car to drive down to Chloe’s place. It won’t be long and you can look at lots of cool things out of the window cause we never came here before so you can explore so many new things,” Beca explained and Jake seemed pleased enough with this. 

 

Before they knew it, the plane had landed in Portland and everyone was standing up, getting their bags together and preparing to leave the airplane. Chloe, Jake and Beca followed suit, the latter holding tightly onto her son's hand as they navigated their way through a sea of people into the second airport of the day. 

 

Being so concerned for her boy to make sure he was fine the whole ride over, Beca only remembered all over again where they were going when Chloe pulled into the parking lot of a two-story house with beautiful flowers in the front. 

 

“Crap,” she said, catching herself from saying a harsher word at the last second. 

 

Chloe smiled at her. “It’ll be fine, love.”

 

“I know, I’m just-- I’m not good with people, you know me.”

 

“I do know you,” her girlfriend said, massaging the back of Beca’s neck to help her relax. “Which is why I know it’ll go super well.”

 

Beca nodded and they both looked at the backseat where Jake was having a conversation with his stuffed lion. Feeling their eyes on him, he looked up.

 

“Are we there yet?”

 

“Yes, we are,” Chloe said and he looked surprised, like he wasn’t expecting to finally hear a positive answer. “Do you remember who we’re going to see, Jakey?”

 

“Your mommy and your daddy?”

 

“Exactly! So you don’t have to be nervous around them, right? Because you’re not nervous around me?”

 

He shook his head vigorously and Beca watched the exchange with a smile, trying to calm her racing heartbeat at the thought of meeting Chloe’s parents. She knew Chloe was talking to Jake right now but it was still helping her a little.

 

“And they’re just like me, so they’re gonna love you and play with you and you’ll be a super nice boy with them.”

 

Beca continued after he nodded. “Today’s a really important day because it’s Chloe’s birthday so we’re all gonna be extra happy today and give her lots of kisses.”

 

He leaned forward as if he wanted to reach over and give her a kiss and he frowned when he was stopped by his seatbelt. Chloe chuckled and they all got out of the car, the redhead going to unbuckle Jake from his car seat as he kissed her on the cheek with wet lips. 

 

Beca grabbed the suitcases from the trunk and when the two walked over to her, she followed her own advice and gave her a kiss on the mouth which Chloe seemed to really appreciate by the smile on her face. 

 

Beca looked at the house and instantly cursed under her breath when she saw a couple looking at them from the window. Great first impression, Beca, she thought as she looked at the ground. Just kiss their daughter in front of them.

 

“Ready, Mitchells?” Chloe asked in a sweet voice and because it was her birthday, Beca ignored the sarcastic comment that she instantly thought about and nodded. 

 

“Yep, let’s do this.”  

 

As soon as the front door opened, Chloe squealed, letting go of her suitcase and making Beca almost trip on it. She was already holding onto both her suitcase and Jake’s so she didn’t have any more hands to bring it but she still tried her best to grab it, slowly approaching the entrance. 

 

Jake shyly hid behind her legs when he saw the two strangers and she put her hand on his head to reassure him, watching Chloe still in the middle of the hug with her parents. 

 

“Happy birthday, sweetheart!”

 

They looked nice enough, the woman being about Chloe’s height and the man looked about 6’3 which was slightly intimidating but the smile on his face told Beca he was a sweetheart. Chloe looked like a perfect mix of them, getting her ginger hair from her dad and it made Beca smile. 

 

They finally pulled away and the birthday girl gestured at them with a bright smile. 

 

“Mom, Dad, this is Beca and Jacob,” Chloe said. Beca found it so strange to hear her son’s full name leaving her mouth. It seemed as though Jake not letting Chloe call him by his nickname was another lifetime ago.

 

“Hi,” Beca said, giving them a little wave. Then she extended her arm so they could shake hands. “It’s really nice to meet you, Mr and Mrs Beale.”

 

The two adults looked at each other with an amused smile and Chloe’s mother surged forward for a hug before Beca could even process it. Caught by surprise, she flinched and froze but when she met Chloe’s loving eyes, she forced herself to relax. 

 

“Call me Daphne, dear,” the woman said as she pulled away and Beca nodded, turning to the father who also leaned in for a hug. 

 

More prepared this time, she awkwardly put her hand on his back and stood on her tiptoes to hug him back. 

 

“And call me Christopher.”

 

“Okay,” Beca said in a quiet voice. She turned around to introduce Jake to them but the boy was not behind her anymore. Chloe stepped forward, Jake in her arms and Beca figured her boy went to the other person he knew when he saw his mother talking to strangers. 

 

“Jakey, look this is my mom and dad.”

 

Daphne put her hands on her heart and cooed. “Hi, Jacob!” she said before turning to Beca. “He’s absolutely adorable.”

 

“Hey champ,” Christopher said, putting his hand up for a high-five. Jake looked at Chloe with wide eyes and she nodded to reassure him. He let himself trust them and his face split in half as he smiled, gathering his strength to high-five back Chloe’s father the loudest he could.

 

“Well, come in, come in!” Daphne said, grabbing Chloe’s suitcase. “I made lemonade!”

 

Jake perked up at the name of the sugary drink he loved so much and jumped off from Chloe’s grasp, sprinting inside. Christopher grabbed the two suitcases and Beca looked at the redhead, exhaling. 

 

“See? Not so hard.”

 

“You’re lucky you’re that pretty,” Beca said because she had a feeling the Beales were as energetic as their daughter and this was going to be quite a trip. 

 

Chloe winked at her and intertwined their hands so they could step inside. The first thing she noticed was how homey the house felt, pictures of family scattered everywhere, a warm feeling instantly enveloping Beca. 

 

Stepping inside that house felt like a Chloe Beale hug and she liked it. 

 

She spotted Jake in the kitchen next to Daphne, impatiently waiting as the woman poured the lemonade in a red cup. 

 

“Did you ask for it politely, little dude?”

 

He pinched his lips together and then looked up at the tall woman. “Can I please have lemonade?”

 

Daphne chuckled and handed him the cup. Beca shot him a look and he scrunched his nose before understanding what his mother wanted from him. 

 

“Thank you!” he said and then brought the cup to his lips, drinking it like his life depended on it. 

 

Chloe walked to them, putting her hand on the small of Beca’s back and looked at her mother. “Did you get Connor’s room ready for Jake?”

 

“Oh, we already arranged everything for you, sweetie,” her mother answered, waving a hand. “Come on, let’s sit outside, it’s a beautiful day.”

 

Beca smiled, used to hearing that sentence about everyday from Chloe because everyday was a beautiful day in Los Angeles according to her. The brunette had a feeling she was going to find out a lot about why Chloe acted the way she did in the next few days. 

 

Beca put her hands on her son’s shoulders, guiding him to the table on the patio in the backyard. It was a spacious yard with an in ground pool and a garden on the other side. Christopher was already there, placing snacks on the table and Daphne put the lemonade and glasses out for everyone to grab. 

 

“Pool!” Jake shouted, pointing at the pool with a toothy grin. 

 

“I hope you brought your swim suits,” Daphne answered and he looked at his mother, practically praying with his eyes that she had remembered to bring his swim trunks.

 

“Yeah, we did,” she answered, wiping his chin with her thumb and then thanked Chloe when a cup full of lemonade appeared in front of her. 

 

“How was your flight?” Christopher asked and Beca resisted the urge to grimace at the reminder of Jake’s tantrum. She was just happy he finally seemed calm. 

 

“It was okay,” Chloe said with a secret smile. “We had a bit of a… situation towards the end of it but we survived.”

 

Daphne seemed to instantly catch on to what her daughter was referring to and chuckled. “Right. It’s never easy traveling with a child. Connor was the worst so believe me I know what you went through,” she said, looking at Beca.

 

Beca quickly remembered that Connor was the middle child before answering. 

 

“It’s been quite a day. I bet the little guy will want to settle down for a while soon.”

 

Even though he had slept on the plane, she was pretty sure the tantrum afterwards had tired him once again and there was no way he’d last until his bedtime without a nap. 

 

Christopher nodded. “We changed the sheets in Chris’s room and Connor’s room, Chlo. We didn’t know where you wanted him to sleep because the guest room is pretty far away from your room.”

 

Chloe looked at Beca and shrugged. “We’ll decide where he wants to sleep later. If he wants to take a nap soon, we’ll just put him in my bed.”

 

Beca nodded, satisfied with that idea.

 

“So Beca, tell us about yourself. We’ve heard so much about you but it’s time we hear it from you.” 

 

----------------------

 

“Do you want Petey?” Chloe asked Jake as Beca carried him upstairs to settle him down for a nap. His chin was resting on her shoulder and Chloe was walking behind them so he could look at her. 

 

“Yes please,” he said in his sleepy voice and Beca couldn’t see him but she bet his eyes were droopy.

 

“I think it’s in his backpack,” Beca observed as the redhead was about to turn on her heels to get it from downstairs. 

 

“Oh okay, then it’s already in my room.”

 

“Oh my god,” Beca immediately breathed, her eyebrows raised as she entered Chloe’s bedroom, not even sure where to look as her eyes darted around the room taking everything in. 

 

The room was ridiculous, overflowing with things that were all so fitting to Chloe as a person. Photographs adorned the walls ranging from a crazy haired, gap toothed Chloe who couldn’t have been older than Jake, to photos that could easily have been taken yesterday. Beca observed each one carefully and Chloe must’ve known that she was focused because the redhead just stood beside her with a smile. There were photos of Chloe, of her family, her childhood friends, pets and scenery; it was as though Beca was watching every key moment from the redhead’s life. 

 

Her bed was a double made of oak with neutral white sheets and pillows, looking somewhat too modern next to her walls which were painted a shocking shade of pink, most probably from when the woman was young. She carefully put down a half-asleep Jake on the bed, distracted by the fact that it seemed like she just opened a door directly to her girlfriend’s childhood. 

 

Beca noticed shelves filled with trophies, stating collegiate acapella titles that the music producer couldn’t understand and it was clear Chloe was proud of her achievements to have kept them up over all these years. Directly in the middle of the trophies was a framed photograph of Chloe and several other women, all wearing what looked like flight attendant outfits, with award winning grins on their faces.

 

“That’s my acapella group,” Chloe told Beca, noticing the brunette observing the photo. “It’s the day we won our first competition.”

 

Beca just smiled in response, her eyes locking with Chloe’s ocean blue ones.

 

“If someone ever asks me to describe my girlfriend, all I have to do is show them this room,” she said, tearing her eyes away from her to take it all in again.

 

Chloe let out a chuckle, her eyes also roaming across her bedroom. “Are you trying to say I haven’t changed since I was five?” she teased.

 

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Beca shot back, her back to Chloe as she focused her attention back on Jake. She stroked his hair with a soft smile and his eyes tried to stay open but she knew his eyelids felt heavy.

 

She kissed his forehead gently, whispering her goodnights and Chloe bent down to do the same. Satisfied with the love he received, Jake stuck his thumb in his mouth and got into his favorite sleeping position, Petey under his arm. 

 

As the two left the room, gently closing the door, Beca spoke up.

 

“Why’s that stuff still there? You’re like, an adult.”

 

“My parents have a really hard time dealing with the fact that we’re not their kids anymore. Believe me, it used to be way worse.”

 

“Why not bring it all with you? The trophies and the pictures?” she asked, a puzzled look on her face as she tried to think of a reason that Chloe would just leave everything behind like that and not bring some of that stuff to LA.

 

Her room in her apartment had a couple of pictures with Aubrey that looked like they were old but most of the pictures were definitely recent because Stacie was in the majority of them. 

 

“It’s all memories of the past, Becs” Chloe replied with a shrug. “I had a great childhood and college was so much fun, but leaving home was like the end of an era, I guess. Everything is here waiting for me if I ever wanna come back and reminisce but now I'm happy making new memories in LA. I like living in the present and right now my present is you and Jake.”

 

Beca basically melted at the statement, wrapping her arms around Chloe as the redhead stumbled back a few steps, clearly not expecting it. It was so clear from the little comments Chloe made that she was gonna stick around for a long time, making memories with Beca and Jake and giving them as much overwhelming happiness as they gave her. It was the easiest thing in the world to fall for Chloe more and more every day.

 

“You’re the greatest ever you know that?” she murmured against Chloe’s neck and the latter turned her head so she could kiss Beca’s temple. 

 

“I know but it’s always nice to hear it again.”

 

The brunette chuckled and because they were alone in the hallway and Chloe’s parents were still waiting for them outside, she leaned forward to give her a kiss on the lips. 

 

“Best birthday ever, right?”

 

Chloe chuckled against her lips. “The best. You’re doing great by the way.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Totes,” she confirmed, her thumb rubbing Beca’s cheek gently.

 

They went back downstairs to continue chatting with Chloe’s parents,Beca getting way more attention than she was comfortable with but she fought through her anxiety for her girlfriend. They really were nice after all, very similar to Chloe, and by the time that Jake woke up just in time for the chinese food to get there, Beca was actually feeling comfortable with them. 

 

Her dad was this stereotypical dad that made way too many dorky jokes and her mother was just about the sweetest person Beca had ever met (after Chloe). They seemed like a tight knit family but they never once made the brunette feel like an outsider and she appreciated that. Jake curled up into her after his nap and Chloe had instantly reached over to tame his tousled hair, she caught Daphne’s eyes with a smile and Beca found herself smiling back.

 

Chinese was Chloe’s favorite food so they ate it around the dinner table, talking about what they were up to in LA and their jobs. After, they all sang happy birthday to Chloe as Christopher brought to the table the biggest ice cream cake Beca had ever seen. Everyone’s grin was splitting their face in half and Beca’s heart fluttered as Chloe asked Jake to help her blow out the candles. 

 

Daphne let Jake have way too much cake and he was pretty much hyperactive for the rest of the night until his mother forced him to go to bed. They decided to put him in Connor’s room because it was the one right next to Chloe’s and it still had a few superhero things that the ginger’s brother had left there when he moved out so it made Jake less anxious about sleeping somewhere he didn’t know. 

 

Chloe was downstairs talking to her parents as Beca read him a couple of pages of his comic book, finally calming him down. After 15 minutes and a promise for a really fun activity tomorrow, he let himself drift off to sleep in the middle of a page. The music producer smiled when she noticed and carefully moved without waking him up. 

 

“Love you, bud,” she whispered, kissing his hairline and she closed the lamp on the night table and joined her girlfriend downstairs. 

 

It was a few hours later that they all felt pretty tired too and they wished their goodnights to Chloe’s parents (that involved lots of hugging) and they made their way upstairs to get ready for bed.

 

She had been waiting for a moment to give Chloe her gift alone all day and now that they were alone, she had no more excuses.

 

Beca sat awkwardly on the edge of Chloe's bed as soon as she entered the room after her shower, her eyes not leaving the redhead as the girl raked through her suitcase for pyjamas still with only a towel wrapped around her. For some reason she was nervous, unable to stop thinking about what Chloe’s reaction to the gift she had for her could be. It was the first of Chloe’s birthdays the two were spending together and Beca couldn’t help but worry that what she had gotten the woman wasn’t good enough. 

 

“Babe, come here,” she said out of nowhere, her voice wavering as Chloe turned to look at her. Chloe looked understandably confused but joined Beca on the bed nevertheless after putting on boxer shorts and a tank top.

 

“Are you okay?” she asked softly, wrapping her arm around Beca’s waist.

 

“I got you something. It’s not much but it’s your birthday and I know I paid for the tickets here but I felt you deserved something else because it’s our first birthday together. Well, I know we spent Jake’s birthday together but that’s not really the same th--”

 

Chloe cut off her rambling by pressing her lips firmly against Beca’s, cupping her face with both hands. Beca instantly kissed back, her hand finding her girlfriend’s waist and slipping a thumb under her shirt. 

 

“Literally anything from you is perfect, dork,” Chloe teased gently after pulling away.

 

Beca took a deep breath, attempting to calm her nerves as she reached over to the bedside table in search of the gift. She grasped it tightly in her palm, before pressing it into Chloe’s hand worlessly.

 

“Happy birthday.”

 

Chloe looked down at the small object as Beca began to explain.

 

“Uh I made some mixes for you,” she started as Chloe inspected the USB. “There’s only a couple on there but I used songs I’ve heard you sing around my apartment or in the car. If you unfold the paper on the back it has a tracklist. I hope I got them right cause I had to google some of them by the lyrics since I didn’t know them.”

 

Chloe flipped the USB in her palm and carefully opened the tiny rectangle of paper that was sellotaped to the back to see the titles of several of her favourite songs in Beca’s scruffy handwriting. The brunette had added songs she knew Chloe liked, mixing them together to create mashups that were better than the ones she made for work, as observed by Amy when she sampled the USB on her. 

 

The last song on the list was To Build A Home by The Cinematic Orchestra, the very song that Chloe had gifted her on vinyl from the day they met in the coffee shop. She had spent hours trying to find songs with similar beats and chord progressions to mix with it but instead had settled on leaving it by itself. It was already perfect the way it was. 

 

“Beca, I don’t even know what to say,” Chloe whispered, tears filling up her eyes as she stared down at the USB.

 

“I know it’s not like, a fancy necklace or whatever but I thought you might like it,” Beca replied with a shrug and Chloe looked up at her with a warm smile.

 

“It's perfect. I love it. I love you, ” she replied, pulling Beca into another searing kiss before the music producer could even reply.

 

“I love you,” Beca muttered between kisses, out of breath but utterly happy. Chloe climbed on top of her lap and pushed her so the brunette’s back would hit the mattress and leaned in again. 

 

It didn’t take long for the kiss to deepen and Chloe’s mouth moved to her jaw, leaving open-mouthed kisses on her skin. Beca glanced at the closed door and tried to concentrate on talking even though the feeling of her girlfriend’s lips on her earlobe was making her dizzy.

 

“Your parents are right down the hall,” she breathed out heavily. 

 

“Then you’re just going to have to be quiet,” is all Chloe responded. 

 

“Are you sure?”

 

Chloe pulled away, her arms on each side of Beca as she looked at her with dark eyes. “I only have an hour of my birthday left and I wanna spend it giving you an orgasm, is that cool with you?”

 

Beca gulped, nodding. “Definitely is,” she said before grabbing her girlfriend by the neck and pulling her down for another kiss.

 

Chapter Text

Beca woke up on her own, her hand immediately reaching to the left side of the bed only to be met by a cold mattress. She opened one eye and groaned when she saw how much light was in the room. She turned around and stretched her body, yawning at the same time. Finally, she opened both of her eyes and was impressed when she saw it was 9 AM.

 

She stopped moving, straining her ears and she could hear the clatter of dishes coming from the kitchen downstairs. It was easy to assume Chloe and Jake were already up and the redhead had decided to let Beca sleep in late. 

 

She reminded herself to thank Chloe properly for that next time they were alone. 

 

She checked her phone for important emails from her work, responding to one from her boss, promising to send her the mix she was working on before noon and got out of the bed, her stomach grumbling. 

 

It took a couple of seconds before the four people moving around the kitchen noticed she was up. She leaned against a wall, observing Christopher flip a pancake at the stove; Daphne preparing coffees for everyone and lasty; Chloe feeding Jake a piece of pancake as they both swayed to the song that she was singing at the moment. 

 

Beca couldn’t believe how happy she felt at that moment.

 

Like she could sense her girlfriend was up, Chloe suddenly turned to her and her smile only got bigger. She continued the song while Jake rushed to her to jump in her arms. She grunted at the weight but rested him on her hip as Chloe walked to them. 

 

“Mommy, Chloe’s daddy is making pancakes!”

 

“That’s so cool,” she said to match his energy even though she was still waking up. She pecked his red, warm cheek and turned to the Beales. 

 

“Good morning, Beca. Coffee?” Daphne said and Beca nodded. 

 

“Good morning. Yes, please.”

 

Chloe stopped singing and gave her a kiss on the lips as a greeting. Beca pulled away with wide eyes, insecure about the PDA but none of the adults seemed to care and Jake just moved out of her grasp so he could have more pancakes. 

 

“Morning, love,” Chloe said with a gentle smile and the brunette let herself relax. 

 

“Morning. Thanks for letting me sleep in.”

 

Chloe winked at her. “The little guy came bursting in our room at 6 AM and you were sleeping like a log so I thought I’d hang out with him and let you sleep.”

 

Like he knew they were talking about him, Jake turned to them and smiled with his mouth full of pancakes, making him look like a squirrel. Beca chuckled and then they all took a seat at the table to eat breakfast together. 

 

“So what are your plans for the day?” Christopher asked and Chloe swallowed her bite before answering. 

 

“Well, Becs, you need to work this morning, right?” she asked and Beca nodded so she continued. “Yeah so we’re gonna hang around the house and then we’ll leave for our little adventure at around 1 PM.”

 

Christopher nodded and Daphne smiled. “I’m excited.”

 

Beca knit her eyebrows in question and looked at Chloe who suddenly seemed to remember to tell her something.

 

“Oh by the way, my mom’s gonna come.”

 

Beca nodded. “Sounds good.” It wasn’t planned but it barely changed anything because Beca did really like Chloe’s mom. “Can we know where we’re going now?”

 

Jake perked up, understanding that he was about to find out where they were doing today. Chloe smiled, super excited about her idea and by the expression on her parents’ faces, Beca assumed they already knew. 

 

“We have this really cool planetarium close to here,” she said happily and Beca smiled, leaning back on her chair. “We spent my 8th birthday there and I had the time of my life.”

 

The image of a little redheaded girl running around in a planetarium flashed into Beca’s mind and it was easy to imagine she would see that same smile on her face later today but also on Jake’s face. The two of them had a tendency to have the same look of awe whenever they were out on their “little adventures” as Chloe called them. 

 

“What’s that?” Jake said, his feet hitting Beca’s legs as they swung in the air. 

 

“We get to explore planets and space and find out so many things about them,” Chloe explained cheerfully and Jake’s eyes went wide. 

 

“Space!” he repeated, pointing up and everyone chuckled with him. Beca grabbed a napkin to wipe the maple syrup from his face before turning to her girlfriend. 

 

“How do you think about these things, dude?” she said to Chloe, impressed and the woman only shrugged with a smile and took another bite of her pancake. 

 

After breakfast, Beca excused herself to go work up in Chloe’s room, trying not to get distracted by the many silly little knick knacks the girl had scattered everywhere. The bedroom window faced the backyard and she could hear the squeals from her kid who was currently playing catch with Chloe’s dad. 

 

Apparently, Christopher was really into baseball. He played it growing up, then became the coach of the baseball team that Connor and Christopher Junior were in and when he found out Jake had never held a baseball mitt in his hands before, he ran to the garage to find some for them. 

 

The sight of Jake with the huge baseball mitt in his hand was both very funny and adorable at the same time and Chloe was taking way too many pictures of it, since she was sending one to Beca practically every two seconds. The two Beale women were outside with them and it was killing Beca to not be able to be with them but she powered through. The quicker she finished her work, the quicker she could be with her girlfriend and her son again. 

 

Beca ended up sending her mix in two minutes before the deadline, letting herself fall back on the bed after crouching her back in front of her laptop for hours. She closed her eyes, listening to what she had done in her headphones and smiled to herself, liking it. It was a new artist they were working with; the dude was an asshole and his music even worse but as always, she had been able to make something pretty good out of it. 

 

She felt the bed dip a few minutes later and she opened her eyes to see Chloe looking at her with a twinkle in her eyes. 

 

“Hey you,” Beca said, sitting up and pulling her headphones around her neck. 

 

“Hi,” Chloe responded, leaning in for a quick peck. “You done?”

 

“Yep. Hopefully, this time he’ll like it because he rejected my last three demos.”

 

“I’m sure he will,” the redhead said, taming Beca’s hair. “Lunch is ready. Are you hungry?”

 

Beca noticed that she was in fact, starving and nodded. They walked downstairs and Jake immediately started explaining how fun playing catch had been and she smiled the entire time, happy that her son was happy. 

 

Then, they were off to the planetarium, Chloe and Jake loudly singing like they always were. Beca was in the passenger seat, trying to hide herself with her cap from the people in the car next to them that could clearly hear Radio Disney blasting through their car. Daphne was next to Jake looking at them with an amused smile. 

 

Like always, Beca was pretending that she hated what was happening but the hand on her thigh and the smiles her girlfriend would shoot her from time to time just made her know she was getting bad at hiding her real emotions.

 

Chloe’s mother had bought the tickets online for them and when Beca found out, she had thanked the woman shyly, holding Jake’s hand tightly. Chloe had chuckled at the blush on her cheeks and Beca had shot her a glare that had just made her laugh even harder. 

 

They had a certain routine in these kinds of places at this point. Chloe grabbed a map to be the one guiding them and Beca had kneeled down on one knee in front of Jake to discuss the rules with him. 

 

“Alright, little man. You’re smart, you know what the rules are.” 

 

He smiled proudly at the compliment, lifting his chin up. “If I don’t see you or Chloe, I’m too far away.”

 

“Atta boy,” Beca said, straightening up and ruffling his hair. Chloe was looking at the map, trying to find out where they could go first and the music producer caught Daphne’s eyes and she felt the need to explain herself. “I don’t even know why I bother because Chloe is just as bad as him and they’ll run away together without me.”

 

Daphne laughed lightly and Chloe seemed satisfied with the little path she had created in her mind because she looked up at them. “Alright Mitchells, let’s start with the Curium.”

 

“What is it?” Jake asked with wide eyes. 

 

Chloe smiled at him and looked at Beca. “You’re gonna love it.”

 

Turns out the Curium was this place where kids from age 4 to 8 could make music, play with windpower and do tons of other stuff. Jake, as excited as his mother about music, grabbed her hand and they had spent an embarrassing amount of time making sounds together. Chloe and Daphne had even walked a circle around the room to explore other stuff only to find them still at the same machine when they came back. 

 

The Chemistry lab and the Physics Lab were attached to the Curium and they let Daphne help him out with the experiments as the couple stood next to her, smiling when Jake’s hair lifted in the air. 

 

“I sucked at physics,” Chloe observed and Beca hummed. 

 

“I didn’t even go to college, how do you think I was?”

 

Beca just hoped Jake was enjoying chemistry and physics as much as he could right now because when he’d get to high school, he’d find out quickly that his mother’s genes had definitely not given him the power to understand science. 

 

They moved onto the Space Science hall which was a beautiful space where big planets could be walked around and glass boxes with space rocks and things similar to that. Even Beca’s jaw had slightly dropped when they entered the room and Jake’s eyes were sparkling with excitement. He had grabbed Chloe’s hand and dragged her with him, running at full speed. Beca chuckled and walked around the planets, reading about them as Daphne did the same a couple of steps away from her. 

 

They could hear Jake’s giggle even though he was on the other side of the room but there were also about 30 other screaming children in there so Beca didn’t mind. At one point, she got dragged away too so she could go see this really awesome rock that Jake was in absolute awe of. 

 

It looked like a normal grey rock. 

 

But she had acted just as excited as him and his smile grew bigger and she could feel Chloe’s hand on her back and everything felt perfect. 

 

The Kendall Planetarium had a ceiling that made Beca feel as though she was actually in space. They watched a show on beanbags about black holes and discovered more about life on Earth and it was embarrassing how into it she was. Jake had grown bored and had started tracing her tattoos and poking her about halfway through but she kept her eyes on the ceiling. 

 

It all made her feel so little but it also comforted her at the same time. There was something special about knowing that Earth was over 4 billion years old and yet she was alive at the same time as Chloe. 

 

Just because a couple of people had decided to follow through the circle of life, Beca was alive and at age 23, she had gotten pregnant and 5 years later, Jake’s teacher had gotten pregnant. Then, this wonderful and weird and amazing and beautiful woman named Chloe Beale was suddenly a part of her life. 

 

A couple months pass and it’s today, with her right next to Beca on that beanbag, her hand in hers and Jake’s legs over her lap as the upper part of his body was on Beca. 

 

Beca looked at the constellations and then at Chloe and she thought about how no matter what happened, no stars could ever sparkle brighter than that woman next to her. 

 

They grabbed a bite at the Empirical Café before heading to the 2nd floor. As they drank their coffees, Beca got the chance to know more about Daphne, even finding out some amazingly funny childhood stories about Chloe which almost made her drink come out of her nose. Like her girlfriend had told her, her mother was extremely similar to Chloe and even though it seemed like the cheerfulness attitude would get on Beca’s nerves, it did the opposite. 

 

She let it grow on her until it warmed her up better than the summer heat ever could but instead of sweat, it was love that she could feel everywhere on her. The Beales were probably the nicest people Beca had ever come across and she couldn’t be more glad that they were now in her and Jake’s life.

 

She was also pretty proud of them for adjusting to Christopher and Daphne so easily when usually, everyone knew Beca and Jake weren’t the best with strangers. 

 

The Natural Sciences Hall had three different labs with fun activities for kids and Jake was more than happy to do all of them. They were in the Paleontology Lab and Chloe was sitting down at a table next to a sandbox with Jake on her lap as they both tried to find the fossils in the sand with a little brush. Beca watched them with a smile, adding a few pictures to her camera roll that was already full. 

 

“She’s always been really good with kids,” Daphne’s voice startled her and Beca realized she had almost completely forgotten she was also there. “When she was younger, she used to try to take care of her brothers even though she was the youngest. It used to drive Chris crazy.”

 

Beca laughed a little, her eyes still on her girlfriend and her son. “That sounds like Chloe.”

 

“I was so proud when she told me she wanted to be a teacher. I always told her she’d make a great one.”

 

“She is a great one,” Beca said instantly. “It wasn’t easy at first with Jake but the way she made him trust her… I can never thank her enough.”

 

Daphne stayed silent for a while but it felt very similar to what talking to Chloe felt like. It made Beca almost spew all her secrets out; there was just something about them that was so comforting. 

 

“He used to be so against her and she’s just-- she’d make them sing the Spider-Man theme song at the start of the day and she’d organize these activities every once in a while because she knew they would interest him,” Beca said with a dreamy smile on her face. “I still don’t understand why’d she try so hard for a kid that didn’t even like her.”

 

Daphne chuckled and shrugged. “Seems like it was worth it to me,” she said, nodding towards the pair. Chloe was resting her chin on Jake’s shoulder as he inspected the fossil they had found together and Beca’s heart squeezed when they high-fived. 

 

“It was. I don’t think Jake would be nearly as happy as he is right now if it weren’t for Chloe.”

 

“And Chloe wouldn’t be half as happy as she is if it weren’t for you guys,” Daphne responded and Beca tore her eyes from Chloe and Jake to look at the older woman. 

 

“I know.”

 

It was something new for Beca, to know that someone was as happy with you as you were with them. Not to have to worry about whether they like you as much as you like them. She knew Chloe loved them with her whole being and since they had kissed that first time on that camping trip, she had never doubted once that this isn’t what Chloe wanted. It was obvious in the way that she looked at them first thing in the morning to the way she looked at them as she kissed them goodnight. 

 

“Thank you.”

 

“For what?”

 

“For making my daughter so happy.”

 

“I--”

 

“Mommy, look at this big fossil me and Chloe have!” Jake interrupted them, running to her with sand all over the front of his shirt. She glanced at Daphne who just smiled at her and she turned back to her son. 

 

“That’s awesome, little dude. We’re going to change your shirt as soon as we get back, though.”

 

Chloe chuckled, trying to wipe some sand off but it was a lost cause. Jake was ready to move on to the next room so they found themselves on the Science Playground but it didn’t take long for Jake to get bored because it was more for little kids. 

 

He got tired of walking and begged Chloe for a piggyback ride until she finally accepted. She faked a groan when he got on her back, complaining that he was getting too heavy for her and he just giggled, pulling on her hair and Chloe flashed Beca a smile. 

 

They obviously ended up in the gift store where Beca bought her son a replica of a space rock (it was just a normal grey rock they could’ve probably found outside) and a book full of pictures of space. She figured it would be a nice change from the usual comic book.

 

Jake spent the entire journey home telling Beca and Chloe what he had seen at the planetarium as though they weren’t there with him. By the time they had reached Chloe’s house, the boy was swinging between them holding each of their hands and Beca couldn’t help but realise how big he was getting. 

 

“I saw planets!” Jake said, absolutely thrilled as they stood outside the house whilst Daphne searched her bag for the door key.

 

“I know! You had a really good day right?” Beca replied, letting go of his hand so she could reach down and pick him up.

 

He nodded, playing with Beca’s hair as Chloe helped her mom unlock the door.

 

“Surprise!” came the voices of at least five people as soon as the door was swung open. Beca tightened her grip on Jake subconsciously as Chloe stepped backwards with wide eyes. 

 

It was easy to guess these were all Chloe’s family members as the woman ran to them with a squeal, hugging everyone. The first person she ran to was a man who Beca assumed to be one of her brothers due to the unmistakable curly red hair and ocean blue eyes. Everyone was surrounding her with bright smiles and the music producer hung back, her brain entering panic mode. 

 

Meeting Chloe’s mom and dad was already nerve wracking enough, she wasn’t good in social situations at the best of times, but meeting the rest of the redhead’s family was a whole other level of fear. It was clear Jake felt the same way because Beca could feel his little fingers digging into her arm as he clung on tightly, burying his face in her neck.

 

She knew she couldn’t just stand outside the whole time so she took a deep breath and unrooted her feet, stepping into the entrance where all of the commotion was occurring. Chloe must have noticed the anxious look on her face and how Jake had buried himself in her shoulder because the redhead stopped mid conversation to come over and check on them.

 

“I didn’t know everyone was coming or I would have warned you,” she whispered, shooting Beca an apologetic glance as the crowd of Beale’s filtered through to the living room. There were at least 10 people that she didn’t know in the living room and she could see through the windows that there were also some people playing outside. 

 

Jake was close to tears at this point, having trouble getting over the shock of the loud “surprise!” everyone had shouted and Beca felt like a lump was stuck in her throat. She knew they were all probably super nice since they were Beales after all but it’s the fact that she hadn’t been able to mentally prepare herself for this that was fucking her over. 

 

Everyone was chatting amongst themselves quite loudly as Beca stood awkwardly, cradling Jake as her eyes darted around the room, trying to figure out who everyone was. 

 

“Baby, follow me.” Chloe muttered, grabbing Beca’s free hand and navigating them through the crowd into the huge garden out back. So busy talking between themselves, no one even noticed Chloe was leaving the party that was apparently for her. 

 

Immediately Beca saw three children running around with a ball and another red haired man standing in a makeshift goal post that they had created out of sticks. 

 

“Chris!” Chloe shouted, walking over to the man as all of the children surrounded Chloe, hugging her legs. The woman hugged back as best as she could and ushered Beca over. “Beca, this is my brother and my nieces and nephews.”

 

Beca shook the man’s hand politely, her nerves slightly dissipating as she was flashed with a smile almost identical to Chloe’s.

 

“Nice to meet you,” he said. “I’m Christopher, but that can get a bit confusing so most people just call me Chris.” 

 

"I'm Beca. This is my boy, Jacob,” she replied, stroking Jake’s curls to get his attention. He moved his head to notice the man and the children who were sitting on the grass with Chloe, chattering away. “Jake, this is Chris, Chloe’s brother.”

 

“Hi,” Jake said in a small voice. The familiar red hair and identical smile must have helped Jake relax a little because he stopped digging his fingernails in her bicep. 

 

“Hello Jacob! Do you like to play soccer?” Chris asked kindly, directing his question towards the nervous boy in a clear attempt to make him feel more comfortable. 

 

Jake nodded wearily, still holding onto his mom but Beca knew the mention of soccer interested him. 

 

“Would you like to play with us?” Chris offered and Jake looked up at Beca as though asking her permission. Beca nodded, kissing him gently on top of his head before placing him down on the grass.

 

It took a little bit of time for the boy to even go near the ball, but Beca was so proud of him for playing with the other children and Chloe’s brother. He never would have left his mom’s side this time last year, and it left Beca feeling thankful yet again for all of the work Chloe had put in to bring him out of his shell.

 

“He’s doing great,” Chloe said as she came to stand beside Beca as though reading her mind.

 

“He is. I think he’s even getting a bit too comfortable since he pushed that girl earlier,” Beca joked, folding her arms as she followed Jake around with her eyes.

 

Chloe chuckled, leaning her arm on Beca’s shoulder. “It’s all in good fun. Chris’ kids are sweet.”

 

Beca nodded because they seemed like nice children from the little she had seen. Watching her son play soccer with the Beales made Beca forget about the dozen people inside and it definitely helped to have Chris come back with three beers after he went inside for a break. 

 

“Who’s who?”

 

Chloe pointed at the blonde boy who currently had the ball. “That’s Archie, he’s eight. He’s really nice, I think him and Jake will get along very well.” Her gaze then shifted to the two identical twin girls who were trailing after Archie. “That’s Alice and Jane. Cutest little five year olds ever, I miss them so much when I’m back home.”

 

Beca smiled, imagining how good Chloe was with them the way she always had been with Jake. 

 

“You ready to go back inside?” her girlfriend asked and Beca took a long gulp of her drink before nodding.

 

“Sure, yeah. It is your party after all.”

 

“Ain’t no party like a Beale party,” Chloe said with a wink and Beca rolled her eyes. The girl laughed, leaning forward to kiss her cheek and forced Beca to get up. 

 

Jake was still into the soccer game and Beca figured he’d be okay there with Chris so she took a deep breath and slipped her hand in Chloe’s. Her girlfriend looked at her with a smile and they both headed inside where the rest of her family was. 

 

“You’re okay,” Chloe said simply, reassuring her instantly and she led her to the man Chloe had hugged first when she arrived home. 

 

“Connor, meet Beca, my girlfriend. Beca, meet Connor.” Chloe introduced the two as they shook hands, Beca trying her hardest to keep eye contact with those ocean blue eyes that looked so much like Chloe’s. 

 

“So you’re the girl that stole my baby sister's heart,” the man said with a cheeky smile, prompting Chloe to smack him on the bicep.

 

“Don’t be annoying. Plus you’re literally two years older than me,” she shot back, a playful grin on her face.

 

Connor just chuckled and Beca smiled a little, already seeing that the man was going to be just as sweet as Chris. 

 

“I think my son helped me with that but yeah, that’s me.”

 

Connor smiled. “I saw him. Really cute kid. My wife’s pregnant, actually so I’m gonna have one of those soon too.”

 

“Congratulations,” Beca said sincerely. “It’s hell, you’ll love it.”

 

Chloe and Connor laughed at the same time, a dangerously similar laugh that made Beca smile playfully and the man turned to his sister. 

 

“I like her.”

 

“Me too,” Chloe grinned and hugged him quickly before they kept walking. 

 

That encounter with Connor had already made Beca feel more confident in her ability to get through the party. Chloe obviously had an amazing relationship with her family members and Beca almost felt jealous. Not once could she remember her household feeling as complete and warm as the Beale household right now. 

 

Unsurprisingly, having a dad that cheats on your mom and then leaves you guys to go on the other side of the country with his new lover was not the recipe to a loving family. 

 

They moved on to see a couple who were much older than Chloe’s parents, both with grey hair and yet the woman adorned with the exact Beale smile that everyone in the household seemed to carry.

 

“Grandma, Grandpa, this is my girlfriend Beca,” Chloe introduced her yet again and the elderly woman pulled Beca into an unexpected yet comfortable hug.

 

“Lovely to meet you, darling,” she whispered. Beca breathed in her flowery scent and allowed herself to hug back, progress which she didn’t even expect to make herself. “What a beautiful eye colour you have! John, look at those eyes. Aren’t they beautiful?” the lady added as she pulled away, observing Beca’s face.

 

“It’s great to meet you both,” Beca responded with an unsure smile, unable to think of a way to respond to the compliment. Most of the people Beca had met today were graced with those ocean blue eyes that she had grown to love so much and so for Chloe’s grandma to compliment her eyes was strange to her.

 

“Chloe spoke about you on the phone. She seems very fond of that boy of yours. I’ll have to meet him,” Chloe’s grandpa said, looking around as though to seek out Jake.

 

“He’s playing outside right now but I’ll make sure to introduce you guys,” Beca barely had time to say before Chloe was dragging her away to the kitchen. 

 

She found Daphne with two other women, pouring cups of the sweet lemonade she had made for them yesterday.

 

“Beca, sweetheart, come meet my sister!” Daphne suggested as soon as she spotted the two in the doorway, and Chloe gave Beca the nod to go over by herself as she grabbed a tray of lemonade to distribute.

 

“Hi, I’m Daisy! You’re Chloe’s partner, aren’t you?” the woman said with ease.

 

She looked similar to Daphne only younger and Beca noticed that the whole ‘naming your children using the same letters at the start of their names’ thing was something that had come from Daphne’s side of the family, not Christopher’s.

 

“I love your tattoos.” Daisy continued, taking Beca’s arm to admire the ink. The music producer froze, letting the woman twist her arm multiple times so she could see the entire sleeve. Before Beca could even respond, the other lady to Daphne’s other side cut in.

 

“Is that your boy out there playing with my kids?” she asked. She was tall, thin and blonde and had the same green eyes as Archie.

 

“Yeah, I’m sorry in advance for him being a sore winner,” Beca replied, watching Jake out of the window as he kicked the soccer ball towards the goal, Chris making a huge deal of trying to reach for it but letting him score. 

 

“He looks just like you. I’m Julie by the way, Chris’s wife,” the lady said, shaking Beca’s hand warmly just as her husband had. “I love what you did with your eyeliner, it looks so good.”

 

“Right?” Daphne said. “And look at that rich healthy hair.”

 

Beca gaped at them, her cheeks heating up with all the compliments. Thankfully, Chloe appeared out of nowhere and she was off to meet even more people. 

 

By the end of it all, Beca had been complimented on her tattoos, her hair, her face, her son and she had even received a weird comment from a cousin that made her want to stay as far away from him as possible. She even got told that she was “healthy looking” which was a surprise because compared to the people in LA, Beca looked like a goddamn vampire. 

 

Chloe seemed absolutely delighted that everyone thought her girlfriend was pretty and she wasn’t shy about PDA at all since she kept kissing her cheek and wrapping an arm around her waist. 

 

When Chloe had asked Daphne how she planned all of this so fast since they only found out they were coming on the 6th, her mother had simply winked at her and waved a hand off in the air. 

 

“The Beales always find a way for family, sweetie.”

 

Her son came back with grass-stained knees and Archie by his side, calling him Jake and Beca hadn’t even minded that his shirt was even more dirty now because she was just glad he had had fun. 

 

They all ate outside at a huge table, Jake sitting at the kid table and every time she checked on him, he seemed to be having as much fun as her. Chloe seemed to think the same thing because she squeezed Beca’s thigh with a smile without interrupting her conversation with Connor’s wife. 

 

Jake ate even more cake than yesterday and Chris proposed that they go to the park to help the kids’ burn off all that energy. Chloe stayed home with her family as Beca went along with Chris, Julie and Connor and not once did it get awkward. Chloe’s brothers, much like their sister, always had more to say and they were eerily similar to Chloe which just meant Beca got along easily with them. 

 

They went home after the sun had set and Jake stayed way past his bedtime, but they were on vacation so why not enjoy it, right? He’d just sleep a lot on the plane tomorrow and Beca would catch up on all her work at the same time. 

 

She’d have to work late for the rest of the week but she knew that Jake was going to be taken care of at home so she didn’t even mind.

 

After everyone left, Beca finally let her back hit the mattress with a loud exhale. Chloe hummed, putting her phone on the bedside table to turn on her side. Beca mimicked her and smiled automatically at the sight of her girlfriend, tucking a strand of red hair behind her ear. 

 

“That was fun,” she said before Chloe even asked her. 

 

The woman smiled, her bottom lip between her teeth. “They all loved you so much.”

 

“I love you so much.”

 

Chloe softened, rolling on top of Beca to kiss her passionately. Beca wrapped her arms around her waist, enjoying the warmth that the day had ignited in her chest. She let her lips slide against Chloe’s, thinking about how she had never felt like this before.

 

Her family used to be her and Jake. Little by little, Chloe had inserted herself in their lives and not only was Chloe definitely a member of their family now, it felt as though her family had just grown exponentially in a matter of hours. 

 

And Beca didn’t have a problem with it.

 

Chapter Text

That day, Beca definitely woke up when Jake jumped onto their bed. He crawled between them, making Chloe groan and turn on her other side and Beca sighed, trying to adjust to the light as her eyes fluttered open. 

 

“Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, momm--”

 

“Yes, yes, I’m awake,” she rasped so he would stop poking her on the cheek. He moved around so he could get under the covers and Chloe suddenly hissed. 

 

“Oh my aca-God, your feet are cold,” she said to Jake who giggled like it was super funny and Beca felt him move again, probably so his feet were even more on Chloe. 

 

Chloe faced them once again and she yawned, not even bothering to cover her mouth. Jake tried to stick a finger in her mouth but she stopped him just in time and Beca looked at the scene with amusement. 

 

“You have way too much energy, little monster.”

 

“I’m hungry!” is what he replied with like that was an appropriate answer to what Chloe had just said. 

 

“Sucks to be you.”

 

“Mom!”

 

Beca breathed out a laugh, still trying to wake herself up. She rubbed her face and sat up so her feet would touch the ground. She observed the suitcase on the floor that was overflowing with clothes that she hadn’t bothered with sorting and got annoyed at her past self for doing that. Their flight was at noon and they hadn’t done any packing due to the party last night so this morning was going to be a little hectic. 

 

“When do we need to leave?” she asked and she heard Chloe pick up her phone to check the time. 

 

“About three hours.”

 

“Okay,” she said and then made a quick plan in her head before turning to the pair still cuddled up in bed. “We’ll eat, pack and then maybe we’ll have time to play a little before leaving.”

 

“Yay!” Jake exclaimed loudly because all he heard was that he could have some time to play. He climbed over Chloe, digging his pointy knees into her abdomen and then skipped downstairs so he could go eat. 

 

The woman looked at her and then just pointed to the door where Jake had just disappeared from. “That is your child.”

 

Beca grinned. “Hey no, you’re as much a part of this as I am now, Beale. Too late to get out.”

 

When they joined Jake downstairs, Chloe’s parents were already up. Christopher was making eggs and Daphne was preparing hot chocolate for everyone. Chloe greeted them with a kiss on the cheek each and Beca settled for an awkward wave. 

 

They ate breakfast around the table once again, talking about the party from last night. Chloe had ended up getting a few checks from family members which had made the redhead say she was going to “treat the Mitchells well” with the money and Beca had rolled her eyes to hide her smile. 

 

After, she helped Jake pack his suitcase and he was definitely his mother’s son because over the past two days, he had just thrown his clothes wherever in the room and they needed to clean up way more than they should’ve because of that. 

 

When they were all done, they had time to hang out a little and they figured they’d help Jake burn off all his energy by letting him play outside. They played soccer against Daphne and Christopher until the older man feigned he needed to take a break and asked Beca to come with him.

 

“Dad,” Chloe said in a warning tone but he just waved a hand off, ignoring her and stepping inside the house. 

 

Beca gulped, looking at her girlfriend one last time before following him. She was suddenly scared of what was going to happen. She thought that the weekend had gone well but maybe he was just about to tell her that she should break things off with Chloe. 

 

“Do you want some water?” he asked, filling a glass from the tap.

 

“Uh, sure, thanks.”

 

He nodded quietly and then filled a second glass. He handed it to her and she accepted it politely. He leaned against the counter and drank half the glass in one gulp as Beca took one sip, awkwardly standing in the middle of the kitchen. 

 

“I have to be honest Beca,” he started with and Beca closed her eyes, awaiting the worst. “I don’t know what you did to my daughter but… I never want you to stop doing it.”

 

She opened her eyes in surprise, catching his kind eyes. 

 

“What?”

 

He chuckled, looking out the window where Chloe was observing Jake run with the ball. “Look at that smile. I always told Daphne that smile was killer.”

 

Beca followed his eyes and let the corner of her lips curl up. “It is.” 

 

“I assume you heard about why Chloe moved to LA.”

 

“I did,” Beca breathed out, her face hardening at the reminder of Alex and what happened last time Chloe was in Portland. 

 

She remembered a conversation she had with Chloe when Aubrey and Stacie were staying with Jake a few days ago. Chloe telling her she didn’t know if she’d ever meet someone that could love her the way Beca and Jake did, that she felt as though she didn’t deserve it sometimes. Beca’s heart breaking when Chloe whispered that she had been afraid to tell Beca how she felt because she didn’t want to insert herself in their family if they didn’t need her and she didn’t want to feel like she was too much.

 

Beca had captured her lips and proved to her that they did need her, making sure that Chloe knew she deserved everything and more and that Beca would give that to her. 

 

“It was a hard year before she left and we were afraid we lost that smile forever,” he said before finishing his glass. “You brought it back.”

 

“Oh--” Beca said, a blush on her cheeks. 

 

“Do you know she calls us about once a week?” he asked and Beca nodded. More than once Beca had been a witness to Chloe talking to her mom for hours as she let her legs rest on Beca’s lap as the latter tried to finish some mix.

 

Tried being the keyword. It was hard to concentrate on something when you could hear Chloe’s melodic laugh through your headphones. 

 

“I don’t even know when we heard your name for the first time but since then, there hasn’t been a phone call that didn’t mention you at least twice.”

 

Beca chuckled. “I didn’t know there was that much to say about me.”

 

Christopher smiled and then put his glass down before crossing his arms.  

 

“Daphne thinks it’s too soon to tell you this and we’ll just freak you out but I’d be mad at myself if you left before we got the chance to tell you this.”

 

Beca straightened up. “Yes?”

 

“We want you to know that, whenever you’re ready and whenever you feel like it’s right,” he started, his blue eyes staring at her in a way that made Beca feel like she could trust him. “Daphne and I would be honored to be a part of Jake’s family. To consider him our grandson.”

 

“Really?” Beca replied without missing a beat, her eyebrows raising since she wasn’t expecting to hear that.

 

“We heard Chloe refer to him as her boy the first day she got there and after seeing the three of you together, there is no doubt that she does in fact, think of him as hers and yours. And so do we. You’re more than welcome into our family, Beca.”

 

She swallowed with difficulty, not even knowing how to process these words. She was never good at emotional talks, only having gotten used to it a few months ago with Chloe so that was certainly a lot to hear from her girlfriend’s father. She opened her mouth to speak but she truly had no idea what she could even say right now. Christopher seemed to understand that because he smiled and patted her shoulder a few times.

 

“Think about it, sport,” he said as he was walking away. She stood in the kitchen and watched him as he ran to try and take the ball away from Chloe. 

 

Beca shook her head before she could even think of tearing up and smiled to herself, letting out a breath to collect herself. It was all too much to think about right now so she joined the group back in the backyard and only smiled at Chloe when she looked at her with concerned eyes to let her know everything was okay. 

 

Before they left, Beca hugged Daphne and Christopher without hesitation, feeling comfortable with them now. She had even noticed Chloe’s parents called her son ‘Jake’ which meant he had probably mentioned to them that they could use that name at one point during their trip. They made promises to come back as soon as possible and Jake waved at them from the car until they turned a corner and the Beale household disappeared from their view. 

 

Chloe glanced away from the road to smile at Beca, her hand finding its place on her thigh. Beca smiled back, just as content as her girlfriend and she didn’t wipe it away from her face for the whole ride to the airport. 

 

---------------------

 

As soon as they got back home, life got busy for Beca. The interns they had hired for the summer absolutely sucked and for some reason, Allen had decided that it would be a good idea for Beca to be the one mentoring some of them. She basically spent most of the day telling them to stop touching shit, explaining how the music program they used worked and keeping Amy as far away from them as they could. Last time she had turned her back for five minutes, Amy had convinced three of them that it was a necessity they go buy lunch for her only. 

 

Beca barely had time to work on her own mixes so she ended up staying over late most of the time and even if she didn’t, she’d still work from home. She’d settle down in her room, headphones on her ears that only let her hear the muffled sounds of Jake and Chloe laughing. 

 

The only times that Chloe wouldn’t be at the apartment was when she was going back to hers to grab clean clothes and run errands. Even though the teacher was almost always there, Beca still hadn’t had the chance to talk to her about what Christopher had talked to her about. 

 

Not that she hadn’t been thinking about it. 

 

Since he had welcomed her and Jake into their family, it’s practically all she had been thinking about. Chloe had asked her what her dad had talked to her about on the plane ride home but Beca had just made a joke about how Christopher had threatened her with a shotgun and then Jake had decided to wake up at that exact moment so Chloe didn’t have time to have a reaction other than rolling her eyes.

 

What Christopher had told her had just made her think a lot about the little family they had created and Beca prefered to keep it to herself until she really found the right words to talk about it with Chloe. She’d lay awake at night as she listened to her girlfriend’s steady breathing and she wondered if maybe it was all happening too fast. 

 

The last thing she wanted is to make Chloe or Jake uncomfortable about anything but the knowledge that Beales wanted to call Jake their grandson only meant one thing; Chloe would be considered Jake’s mother too. 

 

They had talked about Jake being “theirs” a few times, Beca joking about how it seemed as though he got all his energy from Chloe once or twice and the two of them definitely considered themselves a family at this point. 

 

But it was a completely different thing to sit down with Chloe and ask her “Hey, do you want my child to call you his mother? No backing out now!”

 

The Mitchells weren’t good with change and no matter how much life had proved time after time that them officially dating hadn’t changed a thing; Jake calling Chloe “mom” or whatever would definitely be a change. The worst case scenario would be Jake freaking out about all of this and she couldn’t afford to let that happen. 

 

It hadn’t even been a year since Chloe had come into Jake’s life and that’s including the amount of time it took for him to actually like his teacher. 

 

They were approaching the month of August fast and Beca was reminiscing of all the time they had spent together in the middle of the night, Chloe’s breath hitting her neck as she slept soundly next to her. 

 

Maybe it was all happening too fast but Beca couldn’t deny that it also felt right. From the first little adventure they went on, something had shifted. Beca had been friends with Cynthia-Rose and Amy for years and they had a good relationship with Jake but Beca would have never gone to the zoo with them and her kid. But with Chloe, she hadn’t even questioned it. 

 

Going to the park together and Chloe taking pictures of Beca’s annoyed expression as she slid down the slide with Jake, being referred as a couple that time they went to the aquarium on Valentine’s Day, quiet afternoons where Chloe made Jake help her as they planned activities they could do at school the next week, Beca coming home late at night to see Chloe and Jake cuddled up as they watched a movie. 

 

They had fallen into this routine long before Beca had even realized she was in love with Chloe and even though they hadn’t been officially dating for long, they had been acting as a family for way longer. 

 

Maybe it was too fast but if they were okay with it, what was the harm?

 

“What are you doing?” she suddenly heard and Beca jumped to the side, turning to Chloe who was evidently awake now.

 

“Sleeping?” Beca said, clearly lying and the redhead’s eyebrows knit together as she switched position to be more comfortable. 

 

“You’re thinking so hard, it’s hurting my brain.” 

 

“How can it be hurting your brain?”

 

Chloe tucked her arm under her head and ignored her question. “What are you thinking about?”

 

“What your dad told me when we were at your house.”

 

Chloe perked up, suddenly really interested in where this was going. 

 

“He told me your mom and him want to call Jake their grandson.”

 

“Oh,” Chloe breathed out, clearly taken by surprise. “And… are you freaking out?”

 

Beca chuckled a little, finding it funny that Chloe knew her enough to say that. “Nah. I’m just… I’m thinking about it.”

 

“Care to share?”

 

Beca turned on her side so she could face her and lifted a hand to trace Chloe’s jawline gently. “I think that three of us are a family and if you want and if Jake wants to, I’d be okay with him considering you… his mother.” 

 

“Really?” came Chloe’s shaky response. Her eyes were glistening in the dark and Beca smiled, her fingers brushing the woman’s face. 

 

“Definitely.”

 

“You don’t think it’s too soon?”

 

Beca shrugged. “We don’t need to talk about it with him now. We have all the time in the world.”

 

It was Beca’s subtle way of saying she was planning on keeping around Chloe for a long long time and the redhead caught on to that. She turned her hand and kissed the inside of Beca’s hand.

 

“Okay.”

 

“I don’t know, think about it.”

 

“Okay,” Chloe repeated quietly, wrapping her arms around Beca again and hiding her face in her neck. Beca exhaled happily when she felt a kiss on her skin and held on just as tightly to Chloe. “I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

“Now sleep.”

 

Beca chuckled and closed her eyes. It didn’t take long before their breathing synced up and they fell into a slumber together. 

 

-----------------------

 

It was now August and even though the sun had set, the heat had still crept its way into the apartment and the three of them were all feeling pretty hot. That didn’t stop Chloe from forcing them to cuddle. Chloe had her head on the armchair, laying on her back and her legs on Beca’s lap. Jake had started on the couch, practically draped across Chloe’s chest but he had moved about 5 times since the start of the Batman episode and he was now on the floor, laying on his stomach. 

 

It had been a few weeks since Beca and Chloe had had that discussion in the middle of the night and yesterday, Chloe had told her she was ready to talk about it with Jake. The music producer was still a bit stressed out about how her son was going to react but she tried to comfort herself by acknowledging the fact that the two had been acting like mom and son for a while. 

 

Whenever Jake was upset or nervous, he would often seek shelter from Chloe, sometimes even if Beca was there. It was clear her son saw Chloe as a parental figure in his life.

 

“Should we ask him about the thing?” she asked in a whisper, completely out of the blue.

 

Chloe clearly wasn't expecting her to bring it up if the look on her face was anything to go by, but the redhead composed herself quickly and nodded. She shifted so her feet could touch the floor and Beca pressed pause on the television. 

 

“Hey Jakey, we need to talk to you about something really super important okay?” Beca spoke and he turned around in confusion. He saw that he now had space on the couch and climbed on it so he’d be in the middle of the two women. 

 

“So this summer has been really fun, right? We did a lot of stuff.”

 

He nodded. “Chloe and I go to the park everyday and now I can write so I’m gonna be the most smart in my class at school!”

 

Chloe chuckled, a proud look on her face. The teacher in her had been getting Jake to write almost everyday and he absolutely loved it so it just encouraged her to challenge him more everyday. 

 

“That’s right, but I was also talking about the camping trip and going to see Chloe’s mommy and daddy, remember?”

 

“Yeah!”

 

“Well they really loved you,” Beca said and Jake gave her a toothy grin. She took his small hand in hers and continued. “And you know, we’re a family together, the three of us.”

 

He nodded, looking back and forth at Chloe and his mother. Beca took a shaky breath, glancing at Chloe who was pinching her lips, also seeming a little nervous.

 

“So Chloe and I, we were thinking that if you want, you could maybe call Chloe Mommy too?”

 

Jake didn’t respond for a moment and Beca could tell he was confused, running his fingers through Petey’s mane as he scrunched his nose.

 

“You don’t have to decide right now. We can like, talk about it another time or whatever,” she offered, not wanting to pressure Jake for a response.

 

“I already have a mommy,” Jake muttered, his eyebrows knitted together as he looked between the women again.

 

“That’s right and I will always be your mom, but Chloe could be your mom too. She plays with you and bathes you and makes you food and loves you, that’s what mommies do, right?”

 

Jake broke out into a smile, nodding in agreement to the statement.

 

“If calling us both mom is confusing, you could call me something different, like mama. Whatever you want,” Chloe suggested, taming Jake’s curly locks with her hands.

 

“If you don’t want to, it's okay to still call her Chloe. Whatever you choose, we’ll always be right here,” Beca added as Jake continued to play with Petey, seemingly thinking about the proposition.

 

“Mama,” the boy whispered to himself, as though trying out the sound of it on his tongue. “Jake, Mommy and Mama.”

 

Beca and Chloe practically melted, both of them unsure whether to look at each other or the boy between them. Beca could see that Chloe had tears in her eyes and she honestly couldn't blame her, the brunette could’ve easily welled up herself. Instead of speaking, Beca just pulled Jake into a tight cuddle, her cheek pressed against the top of his head as Chloe wrapped her arms around the both of them. 

 

The way it had sounded was so right, so perfect, as though it was always meant to be them. Always meant to be Mom, Jake and Mama. 

 

--------------------------

 

It happened a few days later. 

 

Beca was lying on the couch, a beer in her hand watching some trashy TV show that Chloe had put on before she had been summoned by Jake for bath time. She was barely listening to the sounds coming from the bathroom of the two playing together because at this point it had become a regular thing for Jake to request Chloe instead of her, claiming the redhead was better at playing splash than her. 

 

At that point, she had given up on trying to convince them not to flood the bathroom every time.

 

So she focused on the way the woman on the TV was crying about how her boyfriend was probably cheating on her until she heard Jake’s voice clear as day. 

 

“Mama stop!” Jake shrieked in delight as a wave of water splashed noisily against the bathroom wall.

 

Beca almost dropped her drink, standing up and striding to the bathroom as quickly as she could and flinging the door open. Jake was sitting in the bath, a silly grin on his face and water was dripping down his face. Chloe was knelt beside the tub, completely frozen and the look on her face was identical to Beca’s. 

 

She looked up at Beca wide eyed with a huge smile splitting open her face and the music producer did the same, the two of them sharing a moment wordlessly. 

 

It was almost like knowing that the other had also heard it made it all more real. Before either of them could even process the situation properly, Jake was clearly bored of the silence as he slapped the water forcefully, sending a huge gush of water that practically  drenched Beca from her head to her feet. 

 

“You little monster!” she shouted teasingly, unable to even be mad after what she had just heard, but splashed him back nevertheless.

 

And just like that, the three of them continued playing splash in the tiny apartment bathroom without a care in the world. Beca never thought that in a situation where her shirt was dripping wet and her hair clung tightly to her face she could feel anything other than miserable, but here she was with the two people she adored most in the world, well and truly happy. 

 

As Jake was drying his hair way more violently than necessary, Chloe grabbed her and kissed her on the lips. Beca reciprocated the kiss, her hand grabbing Chloe’s wet shirt to pull her closer. They were both smiling too hard to kiss properly but the moment couldn’t have felt more perfect. 

 

Jake looked up at them, his hair tousled and damp and Beca couldn’t help but pick up her son to kiss his face multiple times, making him squirm as he laughed loudly. 

 

She felt Chloe’s hand on the small of her back and Jake in her arms and everything felt right in the world. Like a puzzle was finally complete.

 

Chapter Text

Beca’s eyes fluttered open as she felt soft lips on her bare shoulders. She sighed happily, enjoying the feeling of tangled limbs under the sheets. Chloe’s body was pressed into hers, like they were trying to fuse together and make one person. 

 

The light of the morning was bursting through the blinds, illuminating the room in a golden glow and she could hear the birds already singing outside. 

 

The lips were still there, brushing over her skin like a whisper. 

 

“Mhm morning,” Beca said in a low voice, and felt Chloe’s lips smile against her shoulder. 

 

“Morning, my love.”

 

Beca switched to her other side without making Chloe lose her grasp around her waist so they could look at each other. She was met with eyes that shone brighter than the LA sky and a soft smile that still ignited a passion in Beca. Tiny freckles scattered all over her face that Beca had tried to count multiple times but had never been able to because Chloe was amazingly distracting. 

 

“Happy birthday baby,” Beca said, her lower lip between her teeth. 

 

“Thank you,” Chloe responded, her finger tracing Beca’s bicep up and down. “Too bad I already unwrapped my present last night.”

 

Beca let out a laugh. “Idiot.”

 

“Hm,” Chloe said, shifting closer so she can attach her mouth to Beca’s neck again. “I wouldn’t mind another go, though.”

 

Beca’s eyes rolled to the back of her head and she forced herself to look at the time and licked her lips. “Jake is probably already up. We need to get dressed.”

 

“We have time,” Chloe mumbled between open-mouthed kisses. “Come on, it’s my birthday,” she pleaded like a child, but it worked because Beca turned her head so they could touch lips and she immediately lost all train of thoughts. 

 

Jake was old enough to distract himself for a minute while they were busy. 

 

It had been over a year since Beca had tasted Chloe for the first time and yet it still blew her mind every single time that she was the one that got to do this. 

 

After properly wishing her girlfriend happy birthday even though she had already done it yesterday, they finally got up from bed; ready to start their day. She put on an oversized Nirvana tee and when she looked up, she saw that Chloe was already staring at her and smirked. 

 

“Take a picture, it'll last longer.”

 

“I already have plenty of pictures, don’t you worry.”

 

Beca rolled her eyes, a playful smile on her face. “So what do you want to do today? You’re the birthday girl.”

 

“Hm I don’t know,” she answered, scrunching her nose in a way that made Beca’s heart flutter. “We could get ice cream, maybe? I really don’t care what we do, as long as we’re together.”

 

“Lame.”

 

Chloe stuck out her tongue and then opened the door, walking out as she put her hair up into a bun. Beca followed after her, finding a now seven year old Jake sprawled across the couch watching TV at a low volume.

 

“Hey Jakey.”

 

He looked up from the couch with a smile that proudly showed a gap in his front teeth. “Morning!”

 

“Good morning, little man,” Chloe said with a cheery expression on her face. She squished his cheeks and kissed one of them loudly, making him squirm. 

 

Chloe walked to the kitchen, practically skipping and Beca mouthed “It’s her birthday” to her kid to remind him even though she had told him last night. He had probably forgotten, his mind filled with important superhero business. Jake lit up and jumped over the couch to run to Chloe. 

 

“Happy birthday Mama!” he exclaimed, jumping on her back. He slid down her body since Chloe couldn’t grab him and the woman chuckled, turning over quickly and picked him up to make him sit on the counter in front of her. 

 

“Thank you, baby!”

 

“We should go camping!”

 

“Jake, we went camping last month,” Beca observed, preparing coffee. 

 

“But it was so fun!”

 

“Remember when Mom’s jacket caught on fire?” Chloe said to Jake who laughed loudly at the memory. 

 

Beca turned around to glare at them. “It’s not funny. I really liked that jacket.” 

 

Chloe just smiled before opening the fridge, giving Beca the perfect view of the family tree that Jake had drawn during 1st grade that displayed Beca and Chloe’s names as his parents. Chloe had cried the day he brought him home, making him freak out thinking he did something wrong but she had taken him in her arms and forced him to hug her for at least 15 minutes. 

 

Beca had only shed a tear in private when she hung it on the fridge later. 

 

“What do you want to do today, Jakey?” Chloe asked as Jake jumped off the counter. 

 

“Can we get ice cream?”

 

Chloe shut the doors of the fridge and looked at him intensely. “You are a man after my own heart, Jacob Mitchell.”

 

“Can it wait until after breakfast at least?” Beca teased and she watched as the two looked at each other with an exasperated look. 

 

They end up agreeing with Beca and Chloe proposed to make pancakes because they were her favorite. Jake stayed with them since he was at that age where he was practically begging to be more involved in everything to show how independent he was getting. Chloe let him pour the pancake mix on the pan as he tried to recreate a tree because he took his mama’s habit of trying to make shapes in the pancakes.

 

They both sucked at it. 

 

They were in no hurry to actually do that many activities, everyone enjoying the summer break. Beca was becoming increasingly more important at Atlantis Records; basically becoming Allen’s right hand for everything. That meant it was getting hard to work from home that often but the great thing about being with a teacher that worked at the same school that your son went to meant that she always had the same days off as him. 

 

It didn’t take long for the school board to find out they were dating and Chloe had a meeting with the principal last October. Apparently, it lasted about 2 hours where it was decided that since they didn’t pursue anything romantic while Jake was her student and he’s not anymore, it wasn’t a problem. 

 

Chloe absolutely loved being the music teacher, being able to share her passion with kids of all ages made her the happiest she had ever been. Even though she had a stable job and could definitely afford an apartment of her own, it didn’t take long for Chloe to move her clothes from Aubrey and Stacie’s apartment to Beca’s closet. The transition was smooth and Jake barely noticed that at one point, Chloe stopped leaving their home to go grab some more clothes. 

 

Picture frames started appearing a little bit everywhere over time. Chloe loved nothing more than a tangible memory and she loved printing pictures to commemorate a happy moment. More than once did Beca come home and see another picture of the three of them framed, whether it was taken on one of their little adventures or a trip to Seattle with her mother. 

 

Jake had trouble understanding that he couldn’t show up in Chloe’s class whenever he wanted, just excited to see his mama but still, he loved learning and Beca was just thankful he didn’t complain too much about school. 

 

They spent the morning in the living room, Beca’s clunky headphones on top of her ears so she wasn’t distracted by the show playing on the TV that Jake was watching as she answered some emails. Chloe was on his other side, answering the birthday wishes she had gotten from friends. 

 

They got Chinese for lunch at the nearby restaurant, laughing at Jake as he struggled with the chopsticks. It didn’t take long for him to just settle on stabbing his dumplings with one chopstick and bringing it to his mouth like that. 

 

“You’re not allowed to laugh at him when you’re currently using a fork,” Chloe said, pointing at her with her chopsticks and narrowed eyes.

 

Jake nodded vigorously. “Yeah, Mom!”

 

Beca scoffed, putting her fork down. “At least I know my own abilities.”

 

“Mitchells, I have to say your chopsticks skills disappoint me.”

 

“Hey, you’re a Mitchell yourself now so be careful what you say.”

 

Chloe smiled instantly, her eyes going to the silver ring around her ring finger that had been there for less than a month.

 

“Not a Mitchell yet, I still have time to make some jokes.”

 

“Right,” Beca said, the corner of her lips curled up as she shoved a wonton in her mouth. “Enjoy it while you can.”

 

“Oh, I will.”

 

Beca had proposed in June and like their whole relationship had always been; it had been simple. She had thought about taking Chloe to the fanciest diner she could find, taking her to the most beautiful LA spot and getting down on one knee in front of a crowd that would look at them in awe. That idea had been on her mind for approximately 30 seconds before she crossed it out. 

 

She had settled for something way more appropriate for who they were. Amy and Stacie had almost gagged when they told them the story but Aubrey and Cynthia-Rose had smiled at it. 

 

It was a few days after they had come back from their camping trip. Jake was in his room, reading one of his comic books and Chloe was cooking alongside her. Soft music was playing from Beca’s turntable in the living room and she could hear the redhead’s humming over the sound of the fan. 

 

She had still been mulling over ideas on how to propose when she looked over at the woman next to her and decided that there wasn’t a specific right time to do it when every moment with Chloe already felt perfect. She went to their bedroom without a word and dug the small velvet box out of her drawer. 

 

She had walked back without Chloe even noticing she had left and she cleared her throat, grabbing her attention. Chloe turned to her and Beca’s world quieted down so that everything around them would cease to exist. 

 

There was only Chloe and the ring in her hand. She lifted it up in slow-motion, Chloe’s eyes growing bigger as Beca flipped it open, revealing the ring she had picked out with Aubrey. 

 

“You wanna marry me?”

 

A wooden spoon falling on the ground, lips suddenly on hers, a shaky yes mumbled between kisses and all Beca could think about was that even though music was her job, Chloe would always be her favorite melody. 

 

“Ma, can we go have ice cream now?” Jake asked, making Chloe tear her eyes off from the ring.

 

“Sure, bud. There’s one near here, right?”

 

Beca nodded, eating the last dumpling on the plate and speaking up with her mouth full. “Like a ten minute walk.”

 

“Sexy,” Chloe teased and Beca winked at her. 

 

They walked to the ice cream shop, Jake’s hands in both of theirs when they crossed the streets. The sky was blue, the palms trees were standing tall and Beca was already sweating even though she was wearing a skirt with a tank top. The sun was beaming down on them and Beca squinted her eyes as she looked up, about to complain about how hot it was.

 

“It’s such a beautiful day,” Chloe observed before Beca could talk and the music producer turned her head, the complaint dying on her lips. The woman looked beautiful in a short pair of overalls and a rainbow striped shirt underneath, an expensive pair of sunglasses on her nose. 

 

“Yeah,” she said with a soft smile. “It is.”

 

“It’s so hot!” Jake whined for her and they both laughed, Beca adjusting the Marvel cap on his head. 

 

“Make sure that covers your face, remember that sunburn you got on your nose last time?”

 

He nodded absently and when the shop finally came into view, he raced to it so he could look at the menu and choose what he wanted as soon as possible. 

 

They sat down at a free table after walking around 6 other families all sitting there also enjoying a frozen treat on a disgustingly warm day. Chloe eyed her banana split like it was one of the 7th wonders of the world, Jake had already started digging into his hot fudge sundae with cherries before they had even sat down and Beca was happy with her vanilla chocolate swirl on a cone. 

 

In less than 3 minutes, Jake already had hot fudge all around his mouth and Beca gestured at it so he’d wipe his face. He grabbed a napkin and wiped his face and Beca noticed the chipped blue nail polish on his nails. 

 

“What color are you doing next?” she said, glancing at the matching blue nails Chloe was sporting that were still mostly intact since the woman wasn’t a 7 year old boy who was way too clumsy for his own good. 

 

Chloe hummed, putting her index in her mouth to clean some stickiness off of it. “I think you said you wanted green, right Jake?”

 

He nodded. “Yeah! Like Hulk!”

 

“Awes.”

 

“Sounds cool.”

 

They had tried to convince Beca to join them since they had started matching nail polish colors but the only time that she had said yes was when they had painted their nails black. She didn’t really want to walk around with neon pink nails and besides, she was fine with letting this be Chloe and Jake’s thing. 

 

She thought of one of the gifts she had for Chloe at home that was currently under Jake’s bed. She glanced at her kid who had been such a smart boy when they had discussed it together and smiled at the memory. She was nervous at the thought of giving it to Chloe but she knew it was probably going to end in happy tears so it’s not like she was scared her fiancée wasn’t going to like it. 

 

“So how’s working with Khalid? Spill!” Chloe said, referring to the contract Atlantis Records had picked up a week ago and Beca smiled, diving into a story about how Amy and Khalid’s first meeting went. 

 

They found themselves walking the streets of Los Angeles after so they could digest their lunch. Jake was buzzing with energy and Beca could feel Chloe’s happiness radiating off of her as they held hands with their boy in front of them. 

 

“What do you want to do now?” Beca asked after a while and Chloe bit her lower lip, a devilish smile on her face. 

 

The redhead stopped walking, putting a hand on Jake’s head and the other on Beca’s shoulders. 

 

“I know what we should do.”

 

“And what’s that?” Beca said, almost scared to ask because it seemed as though the woman had a plan in the back of her head. 

 

“We should get a puppy.”

 

Jake immediately started shouting. A mix of “Yes!” and “Let’s go now!” and some more “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as he bounced from excitement.

 

Beca looked at her fiancée and then led them closer to the wall so they weren’t in the middle of the sidewalk. She waited for a second, trying to wrap her mind around all of it. 

 

“You want a puppy?”

 

“Yes! Jake’s been begging us for months and I think he’s right.”

 

“I am?” he said, shocked and Chloe chuckled and nodded. Beca wasn’t so sure.

 

“He is?”

 

“Yes I am, Mom!” he exclaimed, tugging on her arm violently. “Can we go now? Now please?”

 

She turned to Chloe who had a twinkle in her eyes and Beca stuttered for a second. “I-- you really want a puppy?”

 

“Yep,” Chloe said confidently. “It’s my birthday and I think that we should get a puppy.”

 

Beca thought of their already messy apartment, trying to figure out where they could put a dog bed and then sighed. She looked at the two sets of blue eyes staring at her and she knew that she didn’t stand a chance.

 

Chloe pulled out her phone, researched the nearest shelter and before Beca knew it, they were on their way to get a puppy. 

 

Chloe’s squeals filled the entire room as Beca trailed behind her fiancée with the rescue centre owner, pretending Chloe’s excitement about them getting a dog wasn’t secretly the cutest thing ever. Jake was skipping alongside his mama, grasping tightly onto her hand as they observed the rows and rows of dogs that were barking and howling for attention. 

 

Jake had wanted a dog for ages but she had always shut down the idea because she barely knew how to take care of him, there was no way she could handle a puppy thrown into the mix. But it was Chloe’s birthday and if she wanted a dog, they were getting a dog. 

 

“Baby, look how sweet!” Chloe cooed as she pointed at a huge Great Dane lying in it’s bed at the end of a row, its eyes closed as it snored loudly.

 

“Dude, that is bigger than me. No way,” Beca replied firmly, crossing her arms and arching her eyebrow. Of course Chloe would immediately go for the biggest dog in the place.

 

“Doesn’t take much,” Chloe shot back with a smirk, making the music producer roll her eyes dramatically. They were barely halfway through the day and that was the second joke Chloe had made about her height.

 

They were interrupted by the sound of Jake laughing loudly and they both spun to face him, seeing him crouched down beside a cage where a tiny brown labrador puppy was licking his fingers through the bars.

 

“Mom look! He has brown hair like Peter Parker!” the boy exclaimed as his parents approached him, seeing that the cage was filled with four other puppies, all black in comparison to the one Jake had taken a shine to.

 

“You wanna hold him?” the owner asked with a smile and Jake’s eyes lit up, looking between his moms for permission.

 

They both nodded and the kind man unlocked the cage door, lifting out the tiny brown puppy and placing it gently in Jake’s arms. The puppy immediately put his paws on his shoulders, licking his chin. 

 

“He’s the runt of the litter,” the man explained. “He started off with nine brothers and sisters but people only seem to want the golden and black labs.”

 

Beca turned to where Jake was now laid on the floor, squealing as the puppy clambered all over him and licked his face enthusiastically, and she knew that had to be the one. She turned to Chloe to see what she thought and softened as she saw the woman gazed at the scene unfolding with nothing but love in her eyes.

 

“Mama, please can we have him?” Jake asked pleadingly as he petted the dog that was now curled up in his lap.

 

“I think that’s the one,” Chloe replied with a small smile, “Let’s take our little Peter Parker home.”

 

The puppy perked up like he could understand what was happening, letting out a tiny bark as his tail started wagging furiously.

 

“What are you going to name him?” the owner asked Jake with a kind smile. 

 

Her son scrunched up his nose, trying to find a name that was probably superhero related. Beca put her hand on his head, tangling her fingers in dark curls. 

 

“How about Parker?” she suggested as though to ask Jake if he approved but instead the dog barked again, jumping up and running over to Beca to claw at her legs.

 

Clearly this pup had chosen his own name and Jake and Chloe had no problem with it. 

 

The three followed the man through to the front desk, Chloe now holding the new member of their family tightly in her arms. As they went through the paperwork, Beca thought back to when Jake was born, that tiny screaming little boy who she held closely, full of love but so afraid. 

 

To think that her life was flipped so drastically the day Jake was born was an understatement because here she was in a totally different place than she had expected for herself. A wonderful son, a beautiful (almost) wife and now a sweet little puppy to tie their family together. At that moment, she couldn’t even think of how she didn’t want a puppy less than 30 minutes ago because she felt like the luckiest person in the world. 

 

They bought everything that a puppy needed and they had to take an Uber home because of how much shit they bought. It was expensive as fuck and Beca never pictured herself spending her hard-earned money on a pet but Jake and Chloe had the biggest smiles that she had ever seen on their faces so she figured she was okay with it. 

 

As soon as they got home, Beca could tell Chloe was antsy waiting for her gifts. After all they usually opened birthday presents in the morning so this was totally different. This year, Beca had bought her practical things rather than stuff she didn’t feel was important and even Jake had chipped in, spending his own pocket money to buy Chloe a present which he wouldn’t show his mom. 

 

It took about 20 minutes for Parker to get familiar with the house, sniffing everything on his way like he was discovering a whole new world. Beca did a quick sweep around the apartment to make sure he wouldn’t choke on any small toys and when she was satisfied, she walked back to the living area. 

 

“You wanna do presents?” she offered as they flopped onto the couch, watching Jake running around the living room with Parker.

 

Chloe nodded with a smile and Beca could see the excitement practically radiating off of her.

 

“Jake, you gonna help me with mama’s presents?” Beca asked as she stood up and the boy came to an immediate halt, nodding with a gap toothed grin. 

 

The two of them went through to Jake’s room with Parker following closely at their heels, rummaging under his bed to find where they had hidden the haul of gifts.

 

Carefully, they carried the pile through to the living room to place on the coffee table where Chloe could reach them. Beca situated herself next to her fiancée on the couch and Jake sat cross legged on the carpet with Parker on his knee, waiting for Chloe to start unwrapping.

 

“Did Jake wrap these?” the redhead teased, a playful smile on her face as she looked at the messy wrapping paper held together by what looked like an entire roll of sellotape.

 

“Shut up.”

 

Beca had gotten her fiancée mostly things she could use at school like packs of music related stickers, notebooks, music sheets and most notably a pen with a plastic red panda sitting on top. Chloe was delighted with every gift as though they were the best things she had ever seen and Beca was so grateful for her optimistic grin as she opened each gift.

 

After she had gotten through the small pile, Jake jumped to his feet and held out a large rectangular present which he had wrapped himself, unsurprisingly neater than Beca’s. 

 

“Thanks little monster,” Chloe muttered with a smile, pulling Jake onto her lap as she carefully unwrapped his gift. 

 

The two of them let out a huge laugh when Chloe produced one of the latest Marvel comics, which Jake coincidentally didn’t own yet. He smiled at their reaction and Beca leaned her head on her palm. 

 

“Maybe I can borrow it?” he asked immediately and Chloe just grinned, burying her face in his shoulder as she hugged him tightly from behind.

 

Beca looked at the two with a smile, her beautiful girl and their boy. Although it was Chloe’s birthday, she felt like having the two of them beside her was the best gift ever, more than she could ever ask for on any birthday of her own.

 

Jake was flipping through the comic with Chloe reading alongside him, one arm wrapped tightly around his waist and the other helping him hold the pages. Parker was on the floor, digging through the wrapping paper. Beca looked at them for a moment until she got up to grab the very last present. 

 

She grabbed the big yellow envelope with her heart beating hard against her sternum and Chloe followed her with her eyes until Beca handed the paper to her. 

 

“Jakey,” Beca said to grab her son’s attention and he closed his book to concentrate on them. Chloe suddenly surged forward, shoving her hand in Parker’s mouth and pulling out wrapping paper out of it and scolding him. 

 

When she looked back at Beca, her hand was covered in dog’s saliva and Beca laughed, asking Jake to go grab Chloe a towel. 

 

“I’ll just-- open it for you,” Beca said because her anxiety was making her go crazy and she needed Chloe to know what it was now. Chloe nodded, leaning her back on the couch. 

 

She slipped her finger under the yellow slip and took out the official court paper that she had printed online. She took a breath as Jake handed a towel to Chloe and she looked at Beca weirdly before grabbing the paper. 

 

It didn’t take long for Chloe to understand what the document was because Beca had read it and she knew the first line explained very clearly what the form was about. The redhead’s face froze and her breath hitched as her eyes roamed every line to make sure she was reading it right.

 

“Adoption papers?” she whispered mostly to herself but they all heard it. Jake smiled, leaning his entire body weight on Chloe’s side as he stood on the couch and Beca took one of her hands gently.  

 

“Yeah, that’s just the first page, though. There’s like, a hundred of em and they’re gonna be a bitch to fill out.”

 

“Language,” Chloe said absently and then looked up to stare at Beca. “Are you sure?” she added, like Beca would even have doubts about this. 

 

“Of course babe,” Beca assured. “He’s just as yours as mine and I want it to be… legally acknowledged or whatever.”

 

Jake shifted, his knees digging into Chloe’s thigh and the redhead looked at him. Her eyes were glassy and Beca could see she didn’t even know what to say right now.

 

“Love you ma,” Jake said and that’s what it took for Chloe to finally release everything. She lunged forward, taking him in her arms and reached out blindly to pull Beca into the hug. 

 

Beca’s head collided against Jake’s chin and if she stayed in that position long, she’d end up with a stiff neck but in that moment, all she did was breath out a laugh that conveyed all her emotions and wrapped her arms around Chloe and Jake. 

 

Parker jumped on them, clearly wanting affection too and she felt his wet tongue nipping on her neck. She finally pulled back and Chloe wiped a tear with the back of her hand as she scratched the puppy’s head with the other. 

 

“So… What do you say?” Beca said after a moment in a light tone. 

 

Chloe looked at her, her bottom lip between her teeth and she simply nodded. Beca smiled, wiping one of Chloe’s tears with her thumb and captured her lips. She heard Jake groan and felt him move away from the couch to go play with Parker. 

 

“I love you,” Chloe said with emotion. “I love you both.”

 

“I love you too,” Beca responded before looking at Jake on the floor with Parker. The boy gasped, grabbing his dog’s face gently so Parker could also look at his mothers. 

 

“Look! It’s Jake, Mom, Mama and Parker!”

 

And there was nothing else to say after that. 

 

----------------------

 

They played with Parker for the rest of the day as they set him up in the living room and fully explained to Jake the responsibility it was to have a dog. Beca answered some more emails, Chloe talked to her parents for over an hour on the phone and Jake read the comic book that he had gifted to Chloe. 

 

Beca was pretty sure her fiancée would never even have a chance to read it. 

 

They went to bed late at night because Jake was hyped up on cake and the excitement of finally having a puppy. After what felt like hours, they managed to put him down to sleep and Beca slipped into their own bed too, Chloe following her shortly after. 

 

She closed her eyes, not needing to see to cuddle up to Chloe because at this point, it was a reflex for them to wrap themselves around the other. She felt the redhead’s breath hit her neck and Beca sighed happily. 

 

“How was your day?”

 

“Best day ever,” Chloe said, punctuating her sentence with a kiss on her shoulder. 

 

Beca turned her head so she’d be able to look at Chloe and she slipped her hand under her shirt, fingers tracing her abdomen. 

 

“I can’t believe we have a dog.”

 

Chloe chuckled and Beca bit her lip at the feeling of Chloe’s abs flexing under her hand. “I can’t believe it either. I really didn’t think you’d say yes.”

 

“Me neither,” Beca said, rolling her eyes before groaning. “God, there’ll be so much shit everywhere.”

 

“We’ll train him.”

 

“I don’t know who ‘we’ is but it better not include me.” 

 

“Mhm sure,” Chloe hummed, her lips finding Beca’s earlobe. It wasn’t sensual and Beca knew it, it was more about Chloe wanting her lips to be on her fiancée just for the sake of kissing her. “Then we’ll have him trained.”

 

“Dude, I’m not spending any more of my money on this dog.”

 

“Sure.”

 

“I mean it. If we want to be able to afford a wedding, we need to start saving.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“I’m serious! Someone has expensive taste and weddings are so fucking expensive regardless.”

 

“And I’m saying okay.”

 

Beca rolled her eyes, knowing Chloe was riling her up on purpose. “Fine.”

 

“You gonna kiss me or not, Mitchell?”

 

Beca immediately grinned, biting her tongue and rolling over so she could be on top of Chloe. The girl looked pleasantly surprised and wrapped her arms around Beca’s waist with an arrogant smile.  Beca leaned down slowly and just before capturing her lips, she spoke up in a low voice.

 

“Happy birthday, Mitchell.”

 

Chloe replied in the form of a kiss, refusing to spend one more second with their lips not attached. Beca moved one hand to tangle her fingers in red locks and took Chloe’s upper lip between hers. Their mouths moved against one another with a rhythm that only they knew how to follow, reminding Beca of their entire lives together. 

 

Maybe they had moved too slow, maybe they had moved too fast; she didn’t know nor did she care. All Beca knew was that each day with Chloe was adding a new line to her favorite song of all time. Each month, a new verse was created and the best thing about it was that they weren’t even close to hearing the closing beat. 

 

-------------------------

 

The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from things you own. A huge house with soundproof walls and DJ decks in every room sounds good in theory, but what makes you truly happy is what’s hidden beneath those four walls. It’s the days spent watching Spider-Man in front of the TV, the impromptu trips to zoos and museums and aquariums, splashes of water against bathroom walls, pasta sauce smothered around little mouths, tantrums that are soon subsided and cuddles that should last a lifetime. 

 

Happiness is not measured by whether or not your boss likes the demo you sent, but by the time you spend with people you truly adore.

 

Beca was always content with the concept of being alone with Jake. Forever cooped up in dark little rooms with nothing but a chunky pair of headphones and a laptop. It wasn't until Chloe came along and spread that contagious lust for living that she realised life was so much more than just routine. Beca now understood that every time Chloe said it was a beautiful day, she didn’t necessarily mean the LA weather.

 

She meant life. 

 

Time spent together doing absolutely anything. That's what made each day that they had together so utterly beautiful and special. Coming home to your son who was once so tiny and yet gets uncomfortably closer to towering over you more by the day, or finally finding the right song to finish the mix you’ve been working on all week. Pancakes for breakfast shaped like things that are barely identifiable and dancing in the kitchen with your soon-to-be wife to the song playing when you first met. Misplaced tears and words of forgiveness after an argument that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. A fluffy red panda keyring dangling from a purse or a baseball cap emblazoned with a penguin wearing sunglasses. 

 

Happiness is everywhere, in everything. You just have to look for it. And for Beca, well she has to look no further than those two overexcited human beings that she spends her life with, her family.

 

Together, they had built a home. 

 

Jake, Mom and Mama, forever and always.