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Home Is a Person

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One year later

“The question remains,” Benji said, pulling his car into the parking lot at JFK airport, “when are you gonna learn to drive?”

“I don’t need to drive,” Beca said. “Not when I have you.”

“It’s really lucky for you that Chloe is so sweet,” he said, parking up. “Because there’s no way I’d be driving you to pick up anyone else.”

“I know,” Beca said. “I had a lot of time to think about it on the subway the last time I flew home from Barden.”

“And you couldn’t get the subway this time because?”

“Because Chloe always packs too much,” Beca said. “Her case will be super heavy. Plus we get weird looks when we make-out on the subway.”

“You’ll get more than a weird look if you make-out in my car.”

“You’re getting a free dinner out of this,” Beca said. “And gas money.”

“I’ve heard that before,” he said. “You still owe me for last time.”

“You know I’m good for it,” Beca said. She checked her phone. “Cool, she’s landed, be right back.”

Benji waved her off and Beca clambered out of the car.

“Flowers,” Benji called.

“Thank you!” She replied, reaching into the backseat before she hurried into the airport, her heart racing with excitement.

She hadn’t seen Chloe in over two months because she’d been so busy with school and her a Capella group. Now that that was done for the year, Chloe would be spending the entire summer with her, except the last two weeks which Beca would spend with Chloe and her parents in Barden.

She couldn’t wait.

Her boss at the coffee shop had given her most of the next three months off - a lot of it unpaid, but Beca had been saving her money so she didn’t mind too much - so she would only have to work the odd day while Chloe was visiting.

Their first year of being long distance hadn’t been easy for either of them.

Chloe had tried to focus on school and the Bellas as much as she could, and Beca had tried to focus on making music and sending it off to record labels as much as she could, but they both missed each other desperately.

It took Beca a while to get used to sleeping without Chloe’s arms around her. It was like trying to sleep without a blanket, or with her leg dangling off the edge of the bed. It just didn’t feel safe.

And while Chloe loved living with Aubrey, she found that Aubrey’s 7 am alarm was far more offensive than Beca’s 8 am alarm. 

She missed waking up and reaching out for Beca, pulling her close and having Beca slip her arms around her.

She missed the feeling of being touched. Of being reminded that she was real. Tangible. That she wasn’t still a ghost drifting unnoticed.

They texted and FaceTimed and called each other constantly, but it wasn’t the same, and they both knew it.

So when Beca saw Chloe turn the corner and walk towards her, she had to stop herself from squealing with delight.

Chloe didn’t bother stopping herself, and the noise she let out made at least three people around her jump.

Chloe, pulling her heavy case behind her, ran towards Beca, and the force of their collision nearly knocked her off her feet.

“Hi,” Beca said, laughing quietly as Chloe pulled her into the tightest hug imaginable. “It’s cool, I don’t need my ribs.”

“I missed you,” Chloe said, practically lifting Beca off her feet now. The flowers she was carrying had been dropped to the ground, and Beca returned the hug fully.

“I missed you too,” she replied.

“I live here now,” Chloe said, making no move to end the hug. “Hope that won’t be an issue.”

“It’s like the opposite of a problem,” Beca said, laughing.

She still wasn’t used to this feeling of being wanted - needed - by someone else. She had spent most of her life feeling like a burden, and the idea that someone as amazing as Chloe had chosen her to give their love to was baffling.

Chloe closed her eyes as she held onto Beca, breathing her in. Her hair smelled like coffee, and warmth. She felt like home.

“You’re really in the way you know,” someone huffed as they shoved past them.

They ended their hug with a chaste kiss, before Beca retrieved the flowers from the floor and handed them to Chloe.

She took hold of Chloe’s bag, and the pair made their way to Benji’s car.

“Good flight?” Beca asked, taking hold of Chloe’s free hand as they walked.

“Not bad,” Chloe said. “There was a couple with a crying baby in the seats beside me, but they felt bad and gave me some candy.”

They got to the car and Beca popped the trunk and loaded Chloe’s case in the back, before they climbed into the car.

When they arrived back at Benji and Beca’s apartment, Beca and Chloe wasted no time before hurrying towards her bedroom.

“You promised me a free meal tonight,” he said, taking a seat on their battered sofa and switching on the TV.

“Uh huh,” Beca replied, not paying attention.

“Tell Gail I regret agreeing to this whole set up.”

“Will do!” Beca called before shutting the bedroom door. “I’m so glad you’re here,” Beca said, as Chloe finally pulled her in for a kiss.

“Me too,” Chloe replied, her hands gripping Beca’s shirt as she pulled her close again.

After a heated make-out session, they finally broke apart with numb lips and heaving chests.

“How are your parents?” Beca asked, moving up the bed so she could rest her head on the pillows.

“They’re good,” Chloe said, resting her head on Beca’s chest, smiling as she heard the steady thumping of her heart. “I think they hoped I’d be home more this summer.”

Beca felt her stomach twist. “You know if you want to be at home you don-”

“Don’t even bother finishing that sentence,” Chloe said, lifting her head up so she could look at her properly. “I don’t want to be anywhere else. My parents had me every day for 18 years, they can last another couple of months without me.” She put her head back on Beca’s chest. “And besides,” she said. “You’re here. So I am home.”

Beca couldn’t have stopped the grin on her face if she tried. “Me too.”

They spent their next couple of months together living in their own little bubble.

They spent days wandering around Manhattan and Brooklyn, and days where they only left the bedroom for food, water, and the bathroom.

They took a trip up to Buffalo, and Beca showed Chloe where her grandmother was buried.

They would spend evenings watching Benji in his off-broadway show, getting drunk at random cast member’s house parties, and evenings where they ordered pizza and watched Netflix.

On days where Beca had to do a shift at the coffee shop, Chloe would either wander around the city, or just sit and drink coffee, watching Beca work. 

When Beca was at therapy, Chloe would tidy the mess they’d made over the last week, and cook them some dinner for when Beca got home. The domesticity of it made her feel warm.

Sometimes Beca would work on mixes while Chloe read books for school, and they would be perfectly content with the silence as long as they got to spend it together.

Every now and then Beca would catch Chloe frowning at her phone or computer, or she would excuse herself to take a phone call. But when Beca asked what was up, Chloe told her it was nothing, so Beca didn’t push her.

“So,” Beca said one evening, the credits of a movie she hadn’t been paying attention to were rolling in the background. “We fly to Barden next week.”

“Yep,” Chloe said, hitting stop on Netflix and closing Beca’s laptop. She sensed they were about to have a real conversation, and she didn’t want any distractions.

“And then you go back to college, and I come back here,” Beca said. “We’re one year of long distance down now. Only two to go. I just wanted to make sure… Chloe, this is still what you want, right?”

“What do you mean?”

“You still want… me. Us. I know this summer has been amazing, but the long distance thing is hard. And you’re at college, I just don’t want you to feel like you’re missing out because you’re stuck with me.”

“Stuck with you? Beca, I’m not stuck with you. I’ve never been stuck with you. I love you. Yeah, long distance sucks, but long distance with you is better than any meaningless fling I could be having at college. I’m not missing out on anything. I already have everything I could ever want,” Chloe said. “Is this still what you want?”

“Of course it is,” Beca said. “I’m sorry, I just… I wanted to make sure. I want you to be happy.”

“I am happy,” Chloe said. “You make me happy.”

Beca gave her the smallest smile that almost broke her heart. “You make me happy too.”

“Is this because of what that asshole said at the party the other night? That we’re too young to be tied down and long distance never works? Because you know he was only saying that to try and talk us into a three-way right?”

“I know,” Beca said, laughing. “I just had to make sure. I’m not used to people loving me.”

Chloe pressed her lips to Beca’s forehead. “I know.”

“I’m sorry if I freaked you out,” Beca said, her hand trailing up and down Chloe’s back, as the redhead moved so she was lying against Beca’s chest.

“You did kinda,” Chloe said, laughing. “Because I had some news I wanted to share with you, which would have made things super awkward if we’d just broken up.”

“What news?” Beca asked, sitting up in bed more so she could look at Chloe.

“So you know those days when you’re at work and I’ve been wandering around the city?”

“Yeah,” Beca said, warily.

“I’ve actually been meeting with someone. A professor. At NYU,” Chloe said. “Beca, Aubrey and I have been trying to get a transfer to NYU for the last couple of months. And it finally got accepted.”

“What are you saying?” Beca said, her heart speeding up.

“We’re gonna be moving to New York,” she said, letting out an excited squeal that she’d clearly been holding in.

“Holy shit,” Beca said, letting out a laugh of disbelief. “Holy. Shit! Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t want to get your hopes up in case it didn’t happen,” Chloe said. “But they’ve said our credits will transfer over, and we can start our second year of college at NYU in September.”

“This is… This is like the best news I’ve heard. Ever. But how come you want to leave Barden, I thought it was like your dream college?”

“Well, it was for a while. But Aubrey and I don’t really love it? We’re still in the same town we grew up in, so nothing is new or exciting. Our professor’s aren’t amazing, and the Bellas… It’s not really what we hoped it would be. Their leader is actually pretty toxic, and they have these unrealistic body standards and fitness regimes. We love performing, but it isn’t worth all the other stuff. I’m sure there’ll be some music based society we can join in NYU, even if they don’t have an a Capella group. But even if they don’t we could start one,” Chloe said. “And the fact that my girlfriend also happens to live in New York made this kind of a no-brainer.”

“I can’t believe this,” Beca said. “We’re actually going to be in the same city again. We’ll be able to see each other whenever we want.”

“It’s pretty fucking awesome, right?”

“And you don’t think you’ll miss home too much?”

“I already told you Beca,” Chloe said. “You’re here, which means I am home.”