The keys turning into the lock draw Beca’s attention away from her laptop. She watches as Chloe steps inside, drops her keys into the bowl by the door, carelessly kicks off her heels, her jacket soon following as she pads towards the couch, where she unceremoniously face-plants with a groan.
Beca fights off an amused smile (Chloe has always had that tendency to be dramatic for pretty much everything, so she’s not particularly alarmed) and lowers her headphones so they dangle around her neck. “Have we found the one? ” She deadpans.
Chloe lifts her head from the surface just enough to glare at her. “Ha, ha. I’m laughing on the inside.”
Beca snickers. “What was wrong this time?”
Chloe has been on a dating stride lately, spending most of her Friday nights out with dudes she finds on Tinder. She tends to always come home in a grumpy mood, however, because none of her suitors, as Beca likes to call them, seem to be up to her standards.
With a huff, Chloe straightens into a slouched sitting position, propping her sock-clad feet on the coffee table. “Well first, he took me to a sports bar.”
“Yikes,” Beca says, closing her laptop and setting it on the coffee table, before pushing to her feet to head to the kitchen.
“And then,” Chloe continues as Beca retrieves two beers from the fridge. Their living space is small enough that she doesn’t have to raise her voice to be heard. “He talked about his cats for one hour. Their names, their age, what they like and don’t like… Trust me, I love animals, but I’ve never been so bored out of my mind.”
Chuckling, Beca hands Chloe one of the bottles, then lowers herself back beside her and uncaps her own. “You should have texted me. I would have called you for an ‘emergency’,” she says, air quoting with her free hand as she lifts the bottle by its neck and takes a swig. “Like my turtle died, or something.”
“Everybody knows that trick, even that guy,” Chloe mumbles, resting her beer on her stomach. “I didn’t want to make him feel bad.”
“You’re too kind to people, Chlo,” Beca states with knowing eyes as she rolls her head to look at her roommate. It’s one of the things she likes the most about Chloe, but she hates when she’s taken advantage of or too afraid of putting herself first because of it. “Maybe you should spare some of that for me,” she says. “I yelled at a complete stranger today.”
Chloe gasps, craning her neck to glance at her. “Oh no. Why?”
“Just this lady at the store being a Karen. I had a bad day and I lashed out on her more than I should probably have.”
“Oh, Karens don’t count, you’re good,” Chloe assures her. She heaves out a sigh then, her head coming to rest on Beca’s shoulder. “I’m tired of meaningless sex. I just want something real, you know? To have that level of comfort and connection that I’ve never felt with anyone before. Someone who makes me feel like my best self. Who gives me butterflies all day long and makes me laugh,” she pauses, her thumb scratching at the corner of the label stuck to her bottle. “Am I stupid for wanting those things, Bec?”
Beca swallows thickly. Had Chloe asked the freshman version of Beca, Beca would have rolled her eyes so hard they would have fallen out of her head. But that was before. Before the whirlwind that was Chloe Beale swept over her and demolished the walls Beca had spent years building and polishing off.
“No,” she says quietly, trying to ignore the way her heart squeezes in her chest. She wants those things, too. And she knows exactly who she wants them with. “It’s not stupid.” Beca clears her throat. “Wanna destroy me at Mario Kart?” That always seems to lift Chloe’s spirits.
Chloe giggles, straightening. “Hell yeah.”
Beca puts up a good fight, winning two rounds out of five (okay fine , one of those was by heavily leaning over Chloe and making her topple to the side) with Bowser, her faithful sidekick.
“Aaaand, I believe that’s another Beale victory,” Chloe boasts as she sets her controller down on the table.
“Yeah, yeah,” Beca grumbles, rolling her eyes. “I’ll beat you one day.”
“Sure,” Chloe says, but her tone lets Beca know she doesn’t believe it one bit. “I’m heading to bed.” Warm lips press a kiss to her cheek, making Beca’s breathing hitch. “Night, Becs.”
Beca’s skin tingles long after Chloe’s lips are gone. “Night,” she rasps once her voice works, long after Chloe’s left the room.
Beca comes home the following Friday from a long day at work dealing with the last adjustments on the track her boss entrusted her with. Beca’s dream of becoming a producer one day is so close within reach that she doesn’t mind staying at the office until eleven pm or running on five hours of sleep if that’s what it takes to land the job she’s always wanted.
She finds Chloe on the couch in her PJ’s, eating an ice-cream as she watches a movie which, from the music alone, sounds dramatic . Two major hints that her date definitely didn’t go well.
“Uh oh,” Beca says as she approaches, setting her laptop bag on the chaise opposite the couch. “Sad movie? Ice cream?” She cracks her knuckles and her neck. “Who do I need to punch?”
Her goal of making Chloe laugh works and Beca cracks a grin, hopping onto the couch beside Chloe and snagging a piece of cold pizza from the open box sitting on the coffee table.
“So?” She looks at Chloe expectantly. “Fill me in.”
“It wasn’t bad , per se,” Chloe starts, stabbing her ice cream with her spoon and setting it aside, then reaching for the remote to pause the movie. “He didn’t spend the night staring at my boobs or crying over his ex-girlfriend as some have.” She shrugs. “He was just, I don’t know. Boring.”
Beca hums as she chews, having nearly shoveled the entire slice in one go as she skipped lunch. “Maybe he was just nervous or something? He might be a great guy who was just awkward because it was the first date.”
Hold on. Why the hell is she arguing in favor of that dude?
“But I mean, you don’t want boring,” she pathetically backtracks after a bit, tossing the crust on the pizza box. Chloe snatches it and eats it, as she always does. “You need somebody fun, who won’t be scared off by all that dorkiness going on,” she points out with a general motion of her hand towards Chloe, the edges of her lips curling into a smirk.
A giggle bursts past Chloe’s lips. “You’re right.” She sighs. “How was work? You’re home late.”
“Yeah, I’ve been tweaking with Kiana’s track. It’s due Monday and I just want it to be perfect, so I need to keep working on it this weekend.”
“It is going to be perfect,” Chloe says softly. “No one gets music like you do.”
Beca’s heart swells with Chloe’s words. She has always been Beca’s biggest supporter, ever since Beca made her listen to one of her mixes back in her freshman year of college, the one to encourage Beca to get her music out there.
Without warning, Chloe reaches out and starts to knead the space between Beca’s shoulder and neck. “You also need sleep. You’re all tense.”
Beca’s spine grows rigid at first, because Chloe is touching her, but she soon relaxes, her eyes fluttering shut as Chloe’s smooth palm moves up to the back of her neck.
“I’m always tense,” she mumbles, tipping her head forward. She bites back the moan about to surface from her throat. “This feels nice, though. Thanks.”
Silence descends upon them over the next couple of minutes.
“Wanna watch the rest of The Notebook with me?” Chloe asks, her hand running down Beca’s back before it disappears.
Beca’s nose scrunches up with distaste. “Sounds corny. Is the chick from Pirates of the Caribbean in it? ”
Beca thinks she’s hot, whatever her name is. The perfect balance of sexy and adorable, kinda like Chloe.
“Keira Knightley?” Beca nods in confirmation. “No. She’s in basically every other period movie except this one.”
Beca makes a non-committal sound, one shoulder lifting in a half-shrug. “Yeah, whatever. We can watch it, I’m probably going to fall asleep on you anyway.”
Next thing she knows, Chloe is tugging a blanket over them and cuddling into her side, and they share the ice-cream spoon back and forth as they watch the rest of the movie. Beca cries because it’s the saddest shit ever, but she blames it on her exhausted state when Chloe calls her a softie.
She shuffles down the hall towards the bedroom with the blanket wrapped around her shoulders, grumbling as Chloe’s amused giggles fill the apartment.
hey. just wanted to make sure you were okay and that the dude wasn’t a serial killer?
Beca drops her phone back on the couch, pouting. Chloe isn’t home yet, which means she’s having a good time with whoever she’s out with. Brandon? Ryan? Trent? Or an equally douchy name.
She’s been staring at her ongoing project for the last hour, her sulking state preventing her from getting anything done as her mind keeps wandering to Chloe and how much fun she’s probably having with someone else.
Her phone lights up with Chloe’s reply, and Beca’s heart sinks to the bottom of her stomach at the sight of those happy emojis.
Hiiiiii!! It’s going great :D :D
Beca hates how jealous she feels, the pikes of green seeping through every corner of her body suffocating the happiness she wants to feel for her best friend. She closes her laptop with more force than necessary and heads to her bedroom, knowing sleep is the best escape to her reeling thoughts.
Beca is woken sometime later by the door slamming shut. She grumbles under her breath, making a note to herself to tell Chloe about it the following morning when a string of giggles makes her freeze.
Giggles followed by kissing sounds.
No. No, no, no, no, no.
Beca should have known this day would come when she asked Chloe to come to live in New York with her. Chloe loves sex. It’s a wonder three months have passed without her having anyone over, really.
As the sounds get closer while Chloe and what’s-his-name migrate to Chloe’s bedroom, Beca briefly considers smothering herself with her pillow. She picks the less-lethal option of listening to music, thanking her former self for dropping nearly $400 in these noise-canceling headphones.
When morning comes, Beca feels just as grumpy as the night before. She drags her feet to the kitchen to drown her bitterness in coffee, freezing around the corner at the sight of a shirtless man cooking at the stove.
He stayed over. Which means he’s not only fun to hang out with according to Chloe’s enthusiasm in that text, he’s also probably good in bed.
“Oh hey,” he greets with an easy smile when he eventually notices her. He’s got these perfect eyes and a gorgeous smile, and he actually seems nice, which makes Beca hate him even more. “You must be Beca.”
Beca casts him a tight-lipped smile and nods stiffly, not bothering to ask for his name in turn as she makes a bee-line for the coffee machine. She makes it stronger than usual and grabs her computer off the table on her way to her bedroom, not leaving it until she’s sure the two lovebirds are gone.
From then on, she tries to avoid Chloe as much as possible. She’s out the door before Chloe gets up and comes back from work well after she’s in bed. Beca knows this system is not going to be a forever solution, and it slowly dawns on her that she either has to move out or get over Chloe somehow.
She’s home for the first time in a week at a reasonable hour that Friday night. Like clockwork, Chloe is back around eleven pm, and a look of surprise crosses her features at the sight of Beca sitting at their small table.
“Wow,” Chloe breathes as she pads over. She thrusts a hand out. “Hi. I’m Chloe.”
Beca simply rolls her eyes.
“You kinda look like this roommate of mine I used to know, but then she just, poof , disappeared.”
Beca cocks an eyebrow, amusement tickling the corners of her lips as she leans back into her chair. “Poof?”
A nod. “Poof.”
“Sorry,” Beca mumbles, grimacing. Guilt sweeps over her for avoiding Chloe. “Busy week.”
Chloe sits down on the chair across Beca’s, cradling her chin in her propped-up hand. “You okay? I was worried about you. I knew you were still alive because there was an empty carton of milk in the fridge this morning, but still.”
They both have pet-peeves about living with one another. Beca leaving the milk carton next to empty drives Chloe crazy, while Beca hates when Chloe leaves dirty dishes to ‘soak’ for two days straight.
“Yeah,” Beca says, quietly. Her smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “I’m fine. How was your date? Was it with shirtless-McGee again?”
Chloe gives Beca a puzzled look. “Shirtless-McGee?”
“The dude you brought home the other night? He was cooking breakfast when I got up and was missing a shirt.”
Chloe giggles. “His name is Chad. And yeah, I was out with him tonight. I like him.”
Beca nods, swallowing roughly as her heart makes a painful lurch. “That’s awesome, Chlo.”
Chloe tilts her head to the side. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, just--” she shrugs. “Work’s busy.”
“We should go out tomorrow night. Get you drunk. It’s been a while.”
Beca’s lips curve into a tight, forced smile. Drinking with Chloe means some sort of close-contact dancing will come into play at some point during the night, so agreeing to going out feels like self-sabotaging. “I can’t. I gotta work.”
Chloe pouts a little. “Boo.”
“You should go out with Brad instead,” she suggests as she focuses back on her computer.
She knew that. “Right. Chad.”
“Well, I’m going to bed,” Chloe announces as she pushes to her feet. She squeezes Beca’s shoulder on her way past her. “Night, Bec.”
The second Chloe is out of sight, Beca drops her forehead to the table, emitting a low groan.
The next week brings, of course, another date.
Brad (sorry, Chad) seems to be a serious contender, but Beca is thankfully too busy with a track to spend the evening wondering how well their time together is going.
Keys turning in the lock make Beca inhale sharply as she braces herself for Chloe gushing about her new boyfriend, but the door never opens. The tale-tell sound of keys dropping to the floor has her stand up and walk over.
“Hi,” she greets as she pulls the door open, leaning against it as she watches Chloe unsteadily bend down to retrieve her keys. “Having trouble?”
“Bec!” Chloe chirps, eyes lighting up. “I’m drunk.”
Beca hums. “I can see that,” she says, amused. “Wanna come in?”
Chloe nods and nearly stumbles inside. “So Chad is a jerk,” she announces as she fights with her jacket to take it off.
Beca winces, shutting the door behind them. “Oh no. What did he do?”
“He stood me up. So I did shots with a group of strangers.”
Beca sighs, her lips curving into a sympathetic smile. “I’m sorry, Chlo.” And she means it; as much as she doesn’t want Chloe to date anybody else but her, she doesn’t like seeing her get hurt, either.
“Whatever, it’s not a big deal,” Chloe mumbles with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I’m hungry.”
Beca chuckles and pushes off the door. “There’s fried chicken left-overs in the fridge.”
“Score,” Chloe lets out in an enthusiastic whisper. She pads to the fridge and takes the cardboard bucket out, hopping up on the counter to eat it. “Ugh, why are men such jerks?”
“Beats me,” Beca says absent-mindedly as she pours some water in a glass for Chloe and pops two advil, carrying them over. “Take this once you’re done eating.”
Chloe pauses, pouting a little. “You’re so good to me.”
Beca’s eyes roll skyward. “It’s whatever.”
Chloe drops her half-eaten piece of chicken back in the bucket and licks each finger, her lids dropping as she does so.
“C’mon, let’s get you to bed, Drunky.”
Once Chloe has downed her glass of water, Beca follows Chloe down the hall, about to say something when Chloe takes a left instead of a right and plops down on Beca’s bed, lying down with a huff. “Ugh. I hate men.”
A snicker falls past Beca’s lips as she unzips Chloe’s boots for her. “You’ve said that.”
She lies down next to Chloe then, folding her hands over her stomach.
“You know what I’m thinking about?” Chloe asks after a little while.
Beca expects her to say something about craving ice-cream. She rolls her head to the side. “What are you thinking about, Chlo?”
“That the odds of existing are slim.”
Beca barks out a laugh, features scrunching up in amused confusion. “What?”
“The odds of existing are slim,” Chloe repeats, seemingly unfazed by Beca’s puzzlement as she stares up at the ceiling. “So the odds of you and I existing at the same time must be next to impossible, right?”
“I guess?” Beca murmurs quizzically, still unsure of where this is headed. Not that she’s overly surprised by the turn in conversation, as Chloe tends to launch into philosophical debates when drunk.
Chloe twists her head to look at her. “Well then I really lucked out, ‘cause I got the chance to know you.”
Beca feels her chest expand as she sucks in a sharp breath, her brain derailing as her gaze sweeps downwards to Chloe’s lips, then back up to Chloe’s compelling eyes. Their faces are so close that their lips would touch if Beca craned her neck just the slightest bit, but her insecurities come rushing back, stomping on the courage sparking in her belly until it’s out.
“Okay, weirdo,” she breathes out with a soft laugh.
“Can I sleep in here tonight?” Chloe asks then. Her bottom lip juts out in another one of those adorable pouts. “I need cuddles.”
Beca bites back a groan. Her resolve is sadly not puppy-eyed proof. “Sure. Yeah.”
She helps Chloe under the covers and heads back to the living room to turn off the lights, swinging by the bathroom on her way back to brush her teeth.
Chloe is snoring softly by the time she slides under the sheets, and Beca momentarily freezes as Chloe glues herself to her side, draping an arm over her middle.
“Love you, Bec,” Chloe mumbles, drawing a sharp breath from Beca.
“Love you too, dude.”
Maybe one day she’ll have the guts to tell Chloe exactly how.
The next couple of weeks are a living hell. Their AC breaks in the midst of NYC’s hottest summer yet. Which means Chloe parades around in minimal clothing, and Beca is positive she’ll either die from heatstroke or a Chloe-induced one.
Beca groans as a response as she flops down on her bed.
“Uh-oh. What did Chloe do now?”
“I can’t do this anymore,” she mumbles. “I just helped her pick out a dress for her date tonight.”
“Have you thought about, I don’t know, telling her how you feel?”
“Stace,” Beca warns.
A sigh echoes on the other end. “I know you’re scared of ruining your friendship with her, but come on, you’re miserable!”
“I can’t. There’s no way she likes me back like that, dude.”
She can nearly hear Stacie roll her eyes. “Jesus Christ, I wish I was in New York right now to slap some sense into you. So what’s your plan, then? Wallow in your sorrows until you become as asocial as the Grinch?”
“I’m already a grinch,” Beca points out.
“Well, if you’re set on never being honest with her, I only see two options: walk out of her life, or fuck her out of your system.”
“Get yourself out there and have some sex. Good ol’, meaningless hook-ups. Tinder is your friend.”
Beca’s nose wrinkles. “I don’t know…”
“What’s the harm in making a profile? You can just swipe at first, weigh your options, and flirt a little with your matches. You don’t have to meet any of them if you don’t want to.”
“I guess,” she grumbles. “Fine. I’ll think about it.”
As she scrolls through her Instagram after their call ends, Beca figures there is really no harm in checking out other people. She downloads the app and enters her information, spending entirely too long on taking a selfie she deems acceptable.
As a description, she simply puts: awkwardness is my middle name.
Once that’s done, Beca pours herself a glass of wine and curls up on the couch, swiping aimlessly. It quickly gets addictive, each match coming through giving Beca a little ego boost. She doesn’t reply to messages yet, too entertained by simply swiping left or right and judging the goods based on pictures alone.
It’s all fun and games until she finds herself staring at a familiar pair of blue eyes and a dazzling smile. So Chloe is also looking for girls. With a hard swallow, Beca goes through Chloe’s pictures, most of which she already knows.
The sudden sound of a car alarm makes her jump and nearly drop her phone, and Beca’s thumb swipes right in the process of catching it before it falls.
“No, no, no,” she rushes out, tapping her screen. “Abort! Abort!”
But the deed is already done. Chloe’s profile is no longer the one displayed, and there’s no way for Beca to backtrack on her like.
After a brief moment of heart-pounding panic, she realizes Chloe is unlikely to see it since she would have to like Beca back for them to match. Which, let’s be honest, would be absolutely ridic--
Her phone pings with a new notification.
Congratulations! You have a new match!
Licking her suddenly dry lips, Beca picks up her phone and opens the app. She realizes her hand is shaking as she taps on the talk bubble at the top of the screen, where a red dot signaling a notification sits. It could be anyone she’s liked in the last hour, but she really, really hopes it’s Chloe.
Chloe’s profile picture is now aligned with the rest of her matches, and Beca’s jaw slowly drops. The only thing that goes through Beca’s mind right at that moment is the Michael Scott gif from The Office.
Everybody stay calm. It’s happening.
Beca finds that it’s impossible to stay calm when you’ve just matched with your best friend on Tinder, and she pushes to her feet, shaking out her hands as she puffs out a breath. She paces up and down the length of their living-room for the next five minutes as she tries to think, but it seems like that ability is gone as well.
Beca freezes mid-step, her heart stuttering over a few beats as she slowly turns, finding Chloe in the doorway. She seems to be a little out of breath, her skin glistening with sweat like she ran over here, and her phone is clenched in one hand.
Beca clears her throat to make sure her voice is still working. “Hey. How-um,” her feet flutter in place awkwardly. “How was your date?”
“Pretty terrible,” Chloe says with a laugh, but it comes out strained like she’s nervous.
“So…” Beca drawls out. “Not the one?”
Chloe shakes her head as she steps closer. “Definitely not.”
“Good,” Beca finds herself saying, nodding. She smiles a little, and Chloe does too. “So I’m kinda new to this whole Tinder thing, how does it work to ask somebody out on a date?”
Chloe’s teeth rake over her bottom lip. “You, um, can start by saying hi? Or if you’re feeling bold you can even open with a pick-up line.”
Beca hums and nods, slowly making the remaining distance between them until they stand a mere foot apart.
“Or a kiss also works?” Chloe suggests then, a sheepish glint flashing in her gaze. “If the somebody you’re talking about happens to be your roommate, that is.”
Beca’s hands leave her sides to gently rest on Chloe’s hips. “I like that third option.”
Chloe beams. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” Beca breathes with a faint nod as she slowly leans in, brushing Chloe’s lips with her own in a tentative kiss. Chloe’s own hand drifts up to cup her neck as she tilts her head forward, her parting lips meeting Beca’s in a firmer one.
That thing that had been poking at Beca’s heart for so long suddenly vanishes as it dawns on her that this is very real, and it feels like she’s now floating on a yet undiscovered plane of existence as their lips move together in an effortless ballet.
Oxygen soon becomes an issue, and they part with a sweet pull, their noses bumping together sweetly.
“How long have you…?” Beca trails off, but she knows Chloe gets what she means to say.
“A while,” Chloe says softly. “I wasn’t exactly sure you were into women.”
Beca isn’t sure either; maybe she’s just into Chloe.
“So… all these dates?”
“It started off as a distraction from you. Then I figured you and I were probably never going to happen, so I started to take it a little bit more seriously.”
“You’re telling me that we’ve been two pining idiots this whole time?” Beca asks with a groan.
Chloe lets out a laugh that’s pure light. “Seems like it.”
“We should make up for lost time, then.”
A delicate eyebrow raises. “Any ideas?”
Beca smirks, leaning in to kiss Chloe again. She doesn’t think she’ll ever tire of that.
“I can think of a few.”