Beca can hear the music coming from the party as soon as they turn onto Caleb’s street.
She grips Chloe’s hand, wishing she’d brought road sodas for the subway journey to Brooklyn. The spiked seltzer she drank back at their apartment feels like a distant memory, and, truth be told, she’s kind of nervous.
“Becs, relax,” Chloe says, rubbing her thumb across her knuckles. “It’s just a party.”
“Hah. Just a party…”
“Well, it is! We had fun the last time, right? When we brought Aubrey and Amy?”
“Yeah, well. That was different.”
Chloe pulls Beca to a stop in front of Caleb’s building, turning so they’re facing one another. She takes both of Beca’s hands in hers.
“How was it different?”
Beca sighs, looking down at their interlocked fingers. She knows it’s silly, but she can’t help how she’s feeling.
“I mean. We weren’t, like, together then.”
Chloe tilts her head to the side. “I thought your coworkers cheered when you told them about us.”
Beca smiles, glancing away sheepishly. “They did…”
“So, what’s the problem?”
A few problems come to mind. Namely, how smug her coworkers are bound to be about how they “called it” even before Beca and Chloe realized how they felt about each other.
Then there’s the matter of drinking around Chloe in front of other people, for the first time since they got together. Beca had trouble keeping her hands off her before, when she was trying to hide it. What hope does she have now?
But an Uber pulls up to the curb -- a rowdy group of guys spilling out -- and she doesn’t say any of that.
“I dunno,” she says, shrugging. “It might be weird.”
Chloe waits for the guys to head up the front steps before she pulls Beca in by her hands until her nose is nudging Beca’s cheek.
“That’s okay,” she says quietly. “We can handle weird.”
They’ve been official for a couple weeks now, but being this close to Chloe still takes Beca’s breath away. Chloe kisses her softly -- just a brief press of her lips before she pulls back.
And there’s laughter coming from the end of the block and Beca can feel the bass of the music thumping beneath her feet, but as her eyes flutter open and land on Chloe, she doesn’t feel nervous anymore.
It’s nearly midnight and Caleb’s apartment is packed, allowing Beca and Chloe to slip into the party largely unnoticed. Beca’s relieved since it lets them to hightail it to the kitchen and make a couple vodka sodas before they see anyone.
She takes a couple sips of her drink, thinking that maybe this won’t be so bad, after all.
Then she hears Jason.
“Is that Beca?” he shouts from somewhere behind them. “And Wifey?!”
Beca turns and gives him a clipped wave, but Chloe’s already standing on her tiptoes and calling out excitedly.
Jason’s face lights up in an open-mouthed smile that Beca thinks makes him look like a puppy. It’d be cute, if Beca wasn’t so wary of her coworkers’ behavior tonight.
“Nice! You made it!” he says. Then he turns over his shoulder and yells, “You guys -- Beca and Wifey are here!”
Everyone in the kitchen is staring at them now. Chloe leans into it, saying hello to the people closest to them (“Hi! I’m Chloe. Or Wifey, I guess. Either works!”), while Beca glowers and takes a couple gulps of her drink. Jason disappears momentarily, but then Alicia is weaving through the crowd.
“Hi guys!” she says when she reaches them. She throws her arms around them both -- nearly knocking the Solo cup out of Beca’s hand -- and squeezes tightly before pulling away. “I’m so glad you’re here! Come on -- I saved you a spot.”
Alicia leads them to the living room, where Jason and Caleb are chilling on a couch, watching an intense game of Flip Cup being played on the other side of the room. Caleb gets up when they walk in, wrapping Beca in a bear hug -- nearly lifting her off the floor -- before greeting Chloe in a more civilized manner.
The guys give up the couch so the girls can sit, instead taking a couple of stray kitchen chairs that have been placed around the room.
“Sooo,” Caleb says, looking between Chloe and Beca. “What’s new?”
He and Jason crack up at this apparently hilarious joke. Beca even catches Alicia smothering a laugh behind her hand.
“Yeah yeah yeah.” Beca rolls her eyes. “Get it all out of your systems now.” She wiggles her fingers in the air and adopts her most sardonic voice “Oooh, they weren’t dating before but now they are dating, soooo crazy.”
“No, Beca, it’s cool,” Alica says. “We just think you guys look really cute together, that’s all.”
Beca scowls and sips her drink. “I mean, we look the exact same, so.”
“Oh man, here we go,” Jason says, glancing at Caleb and Alicia with wide eyes. “Feisty Beca is coming to play tonight!”
Beca’s about to unleash another cutting retort when Chloe places her hand on her knee.
“Don’t worry,” Chloe says, arching an eyebrow. “I know how to manage Feisty Beca.”
Beca’s coworkers’ jaws drop in unison before they start hooting and hollering. Jason and Caleb even high five.
Beca glares at Chloe, who just sits up straighter with this shit-eating grin on her face.
“I don’t know why you were so worried,” she says, squeezing Beca’s thigh. “Tonight is gonna be so fun.”
Chloe’s idea of managing Feisty Beca apparently involves signing them up for Flip Cup. It works, in a sense, because after winning a few rounds Chloe’s competitive nature comes out, and Beca has to physically pull her away when her smack talk starts getting out of control.
“That was bullshit, though,” Chloe yells as Beca steers her back to the couch. “We totally won that last round.”
“Calm down, Beale. There is literally -- and I can’t stress this enough -- nothing on the line, here.”
Chloe pouts, collapsing heavily on the cushions. “Just my pride.”
Beca presses her lips together, trying her best not to smile at how stupidly adorable Chloe looks right now.
“I know, Chlo.” She sits next to her and takes her hand. “For what it’s worth, I think we won too.”
Chloe exhales and smiles at her, features softening. She ducks her head and presses a quick kiss to Beca’s lips.
That’s when Beca hears snickering off to the right. She slowly turns her head, already glaring.
“Ugh. I forgot about you two,” she tells Caleb and Jason.
“It’s just that we’re so happy, Beca,” Caleb says, slurring his words a little. “Like, we knew you guys should be together. But we never thought it would really happen, like, you know? But then it did and you guys are just-- and we’re just-- You know?!”
Beca can’t help but smile, even as Chloe wraps her arms around her waist. “Yeah,” she says. “I know.”
The party starts thinning out a few hours later and soon it’s just the five of them in the living room. Beca takes control of the music and puts on a chill indie playlist, which fits the vibe much better than whatever Caleb’s roommates were blasting through the speakers earlier.
She feels much more relaxed now, thanks in large part to the alcohol in her system. Plus, she figures the worst of the awkward conversations are over.
It’s her turn to get the next round, so she heads to the kitchen and grabs a bunch of beers. Once she returns to the living room she hands them out to the guys and Alicia before walking over to Chloe.
She passes Chloe a can and moves to sit next to her, but Chloe seemingly has other ideas. Beca squeaks in surprise as Chloe grips her hips and pulls her down onto her lap.
Beca waits for the laughter and teasing to come, but her coworkers just crack open their beers and carry on with whatever they were talking about. She glares down at Chloe (because she has to glare at someone) and finds her smiling up at her, biting the corner of her lip.
“Hi,” she says sweetly.
Chloe rubs Beca’s back, going slow like she’s trying not to startle her, and Beca sighs in defeat. She shifts to get comfortable, sitting sideways in Chloe’s lap and leaning against her shoulder.
Chloe hums contentedly and wraps her arms loosely around Beca’s middle. “Are you having a good time?”
Beca nods as she takes one of Chloe’s hands and starts playing with her fingers. Despite her coworkers being (predictably) annoying, she has really enjoyed herself. But she’d have a good time anywhere, as long as she’s with Chloe.
“Yeah,” she says softly. She traces Chloe’s fingers -- up and down, up and down -- trailing her fingertips lightly across her skin. “I like being out with you.”
“Me too,” Chloe says, eyes trained on Beca’s hand. “I like getting to touch you whenever I want.” She leans in and kisses Beca’s jaw. “Kiss you whenever I want.”
Beca swallows thickly. “Hah, yeah. That is an, uh, added bonus.”
She turns Chloe’s hand over and draws slow circles on her palm. Chloe shivers and Beca feels it all over.
“Third down on the left,” Caleb says, making pointed eye contact with them across the top of his beer can.
Beca blinks. “What?”
“That’s where the spare room is. Since it looks like you need one of those.”
Jason guffaws and slaps Caleb’s knee as they both double over with laughter. Beca glances at Alicia, who’s just shaking her head.
“Wait, I’m sorry,” Beca says. “Was that a pathetic attempt at a ‘get a room’ joke? Wow, dude. You’re really off your game.”
The guys can’t seem to stop laughing and then Chloe’s joining in too, giggling against the side of Beca’s neck.
“It’s not a bad idea, actually,” she murmurs.
Beca’s eyebrows shoot up. “What?!”
“Not his gross spare room. Ew,” Chloe clarifies. “Our room, at home.” She squeezes Beca’s hip roughly. “We should get that room.”
And just like that Beca’s on her feet, pulling a surprised Chloe up with her.
“Now that is the best idea I’ve heard all night,” Beca says, turning and looping her arms around Chloe’s neck.
Chloe’s lips are still parted in surprise when Beca kisses her, leaning into her with her whole body. The guys are making cheesy “oww owww!” sounds behind them and Alicia even throws in a wolf whistle, but Beca couldn’t care less.
When she finally tears herself away, Chloe’s cheeks are pink and she’s smiling at her with dark, dazed eyes.
“Fuck it,” Jason says, pulling out his phone. “I don’t care what it costs -- I’m getting you guys an Uber.”