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love isn't what I thought it was ('cause I don't remember living life before this)

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Beca sighs as she reads through the email open in front of her, informing her that if she cannot make this month’s rent (along with the last three months’ that she still owes), she will be evicted.

She had two options here.

One, she could move in with her boyfriend.

Two, she could get a roommate.

Her phone lights up with a text from Jesse, something about a new movie that she absolutely needs to see immediately.

Beca sighs again, this time more resigned, and starts putting an ad up for her spare room.

* * *

It’s not that Beca doesn’t want a roommate, it’s just that…

Actually, no, that’s exactly what it is. Beca likes her space, Beca likes her quiet. Beca likes having a place where she can sit in her room for thirty-six hours at a time without anyone feeling the need to check on her.

She’s always been fine living alone. The few roommates she’s had have been fine in the past, but for the most part she prefers being by herself. She’s more comfortable that way.

Beca doesn’t want a roommate, but desperate times call for un-preferable measures.

* * *

“You know, I wouldn’t need to find a new roommate if you hadn’t ditched me in the first place.”

Stacie shrugs from the other side of their booth. “Sorry, B, but Aubrey and I wanted to move in together. It’s been a long time coming,” she says, taking a sip of her coffee. “Some people actually like the person they’re dating, you know?”

“I like Jesse,” Beca mumbles into her own coffee. Her phone chooses that moment to buzz, the notification of a text from her boyfriend lighting up her screen.

“Is that why you’re dodging his texts?” Stacie quips smugly, eyes looking pointedly at the device.

Beca puts the phone on silent and slips it onto her lap without opening it, avoiding Stacie’s gaze with a roll of her eyes. “When’s Aubrey getting here, anyway?” she asks in an effort to change the subject.

Stacie hums a little and sits up straighter; looking over Beca’s head to see the front of the small café they’re in. It’s a usual hangout spot for the two of them, somewhere they’ve gone to get breakfast or decompress after a long day since their college days. The coffee is just passable most days, and sometimes their bagels are a bit stale, but Beca enjoys the familiarity of the space more than anything. It’s a nice, quiet place to work on her music, and that’s what matters.

The front door chimes to signal the arrival of a new costumer and Stacie’s eyes light up. Aubrey appears a moment later, sliding into their booth and pressing a quick kiss to her girlfriend’s cheek. “What are we talking about?” she asks, stealing a bit of Stacie’s muffin.

Stacie drapes one long arm along the seat behind Aubrey. “Beca can’t afford rent and needs to find a new roomie to help her out,” she supplies, ignoring Beca’s glare.

“You know, maybe you could make rent if you didn’t spend all your money on coffee and Chinese takeout,” Aubrey says, flicking her eyes down to Beca’s current coffee.

Beca curls a hand around her drink protectively and pulls it closer to her chest as if Aubrey is going to take it away from her. “You know, maybe you guys could actually be helping me instead of judging me right now,” she grumbles. “You don’t know of anyone that needs somewhere to live, do you?”

“Actually, I think I might,” Aubrey says, and Beca perks up in interest. “An old friend of mine from college is moving to New York, and last I heard she doesn’t have anything lined up for her living situation yet. I could mention your place to her, as long as you’re not a completely terrible roommate.”

Beca is about to protest the dig, but Stacie beats her to it. “Oh, Beca is actually a great roommate!” she says, reaching across the table to grab onto Beca’s wrist. Beca wrinkles her nose at the contact but doesn’t pull away. “She’s so small and quiet that sometimes it was like she wasn’t even there.”

Beca’s eyes squint at Stacie calling her small, but she pushes her offense aside for the sake of the support. “See? I’m a pleasure to live with.” She pats the table in between them to emphasize her point. “Glowing recommendations all around.”

Aubrey purses her lips and looks Beca up and down, and suddenly Beca feels like she’s taking some sort of test. She tries not to squirm in her seat as Aubrey scrutinizes her, her breath releasing in a puff when she gives a curt nod. “Alright, I’ll let her know. I suppose you’re better than her living with some random guy she found on Craigslist.”

“Is… that something she would do?” Beca asks, concerned.

Aubrey shrugs. “Honestly? Probably. Chloe isn’t really afraid of taking risks like that.” She grins. “Be ready to meet a one of a kind, Mitchell.”

* * *

Chloe is a vet, Aubrey tells her, which Beca thinks is cool.

A vet. Vets make good money, right? Vets can afford to pay their share of the rent. That’s all Beca needs to know, really.

As long as she doesn’t bring along a zoo when she moves in, Beca couldn't care less what she does for a living.

(And if she does bring along a zoo, they better be paying rent, too.)

* * *

Chloe moves in about two weeks later while Beca is at work, materializing seemingly out of thin air while Beca was gone.

A little notice would have been nice.

Which is why Beca is a little caught off guard when she opens her apartment that evening, Chinese takeout in hand, to see a stranger unpacking boxes in her living room. Pop music plays from one of Beca’s speakers lying around the apartment, and soft singing accompanies the tune. The girl’s back is turned, so all Beca can see is red curls that bounce along with beat of the song.

Beca clears her throat. “Um. Hi?”

The singing stops and Chloe turns around, a megawatt smile on her face that makes Beca feel the need to squint against so she isn’t blinded. “Hi!” Chloe says with much more enthusiasm than Beca had. “You must be Beca!” And then Chloe is crossing the room, smile still in place, and pulling Beca into a hug that nearly crushes her takeout between them.

Beca tilts her head back to avoid a mouthful of red hair, her arms awkwardly sandwiched amidst the hug. “And you must be Chloe,” she manages. “I didn’t know you were getting here today.”

Suddenly she is being released as quickly as she was seized, though Chloe’s hands remain gripping her upper arms. “Oh, yeah, I’m sorry about that,” Chloe says earnestly. She looks down at Beca’s squished food container, still pressed tightly against Beca’s chest. She wrinkles her nose a little. “And about that.”

Beca shakes her head. “It’s- no, it’s fine. I uh-” she moves to put her takeout on the kitchen counter, using that as an excuse to slip out of Chloe’s grasp. “I would’ve cleaned up a little if I knew you were coming today, is all,” Beca explains, scooping up some stray glasses and bowls and placing them in the sink.

Chloe waves a hand in front of her dismissively. “Oh, I didn’t think it was messy in here at all,” she says kindly. “I lived with three guys before this, so believe me when I say this is pretty much the peak of cleanliness I’ve seen in a while.”

The corner of Beca’s mouth quirks up in a little smile. “Well, it’s good to know my tidiness standards are up to par, then,” she quips. If possible, Chloe’s grin grows even wider.

There’s a silence between them, then, one in which Chloe studies her with an intensity that makes Beca want to hide in the cabinet under the sink to escape from. Instead of doing that, Beca clears her throat again. “So, do you need any more help with boxes?” she asks, gesturing towards the ones already opened in the living room.

“Nope,” Chloe says, popping the ‘p’. “Aubrey actually came by when I got here and helped me get everything up.”

“Oh okay, cool. Cool cool cool.” Beca rocks on her feet as the silence returns between them, Chloe’s smile unwavering and her feet unmoving. And since Beca has never been great with awkward silences, or meeting new people, or socializing in general, she decides to make her exit. “Well, I guess I’ll leave you to-” she waves in the general vicinity of the living room- “all this, then.”

Beca nods once as if to confirm her words before quickly snagging a beer from the refrigerator and scooping her precious takeout off the counter. She brushes by Chloe as she makes a beeline for her room, ignoring the way she can still feel the girl’s eyes burning through the back of her neck.

Blue eyes, Beca notes to herself. As if that matters at all.

* * *

“So what do you think of Chloe?”

Beca shrugs and takes bite of her bagel. “She’s… fine, I guess. She listens to too much Taylor Swift and walks out of the bathroom naked sometimes, but-” she shrugs again- “you know, she does dishes, so she’s alright.”

Stacie rolls her eyes. “Have you taken the effort to get to know her even a little bit?”

“Uh, yeah,” Beca says unconvincingly, trying to wrack her brain for something that Chloe has told her in the past week she’s lived there. “She…”

“It’s such a nice day today!” Chloe gushes as she sweeps into the living room. “I love it when it’s all sunny out, don’t you?”

Beca hums vaguely from the kitchen table as her answer, pushing the cups of her headphones over her ears.

“She likes sunny weather,” Beca finishes lamely.

Stacie places a hand on her forearm and looks into Beca’s eyes. “You’re hopeless, Mitchell,” she tells her sincerely.

Beca rolls her eyes and burns her tongue on hot coffee.

* * *

Chloe is usually sitting on the couch when Beca gets home from work, but today she’s at the table, books and papers and her laptop sprawled across the surface as she highlights sections of the page in front of her. She has one earbud in and her head bobs along to a beat that Beca can’t hear.

Beca slowly sets her bag down on the counter, not wanting to disrupt Chloe’s obvious concentration. Curiosity gets the better of her, though, and after a moment of watching Chloe work she decides to speak up.

“What’re you working on?”

Chloe’s head whips around in surprise until she can see Beca. The expression on her face is one of shock, as if she can’t believe Beca is actually talking to her, which, actually, is pretty fair since Beca has initiated conversation between them a total of two times now. She waits for a moment, almost as if waiting for Beca to back out of the conversation. When Beca stays put, looking at her expectantly, a smile stretches across her face.

“I’m just doing some studying for school,” Chloe says, holding up one of her textbooks in demonstration.

Beca’s brow furrows. “Aubrey said you were a vet,” she says, confused.

“Well I am!” Chloe interjects. Her expressions becomes sheepish. “Or, at least, I will be. I have one more year of vet school and then I’ll be a vet. For now I work at a shelter, helping out wherever I’m needed.”

“Huh,” Beca says absentmindedly. So not really a vet. Thanks Aubrey. “Well, that’s still cool,” she says lamely, reaching up to scratch at the back of her head. She swivels her head around and spots her abandoned bag and grabs it for something to do. “I’ll just be, uh,” she doesn’t finish the thought, gesturing instead to the direction of her room. She’s already halfway there when Chloe’s voice stops her.

“What do you do? For a living, I mean.”

Beca stops in her tracks and spins back around. The look on Chloe’s face is hopeful, the corner of her lip snagged between her teeth, blue eyes staring up at her imploringly. Beca finds herself entranced by just how blue those eyes are for a short moment before she remembers she should give an answer.

“I work at a record shop a few blocks from here,” she says, gripping both hands around the bag strap resting on her shoulder. She continues with some hesitancy. “I’m also a DJ.”

Chloe’s eyes light up. “That’s awesome!” she says excitedly. “What clubs do you work at? Or-” she cuts herself off with a gasp and Beca flinches- “do you open for anyone famous?”

Beca squeezes her bag strap tighter. “Uh, not exactly,” she says sheepishly. “I don’t really have any set jobs right now. Mostly I just work random events like weddings and bar mitzvahs.”

Chloe doesn’t look the slightest bit deterred. “That’s still very cool,” she says genuinely, smiling reassuringly at Beca. “You know, a good DJ can make or break any event. At one of my high school dances, the DJ was so high that all he played was obscure electronic music and kept shouting ‘are you ready’ into the microphone.” Chloe puts a fist to her mouth, miming a microphone, and does her best impression of warbled hype man phrases that the DJ must have been yelling that night. The display makes Beca laugh; a genuine, honest to God laugh, and Chloe laughs too, looking pleased with herself.

“At the very least I don’t think I’ve ever been that bad,” Beca chuckles, feeling herself relax, the grip on her bag loosening. “I… I want to make music, actually. That’s kind of my end goal. This other stuff is just temporary, I hope.”

The smile that Chloe is wearing at that is so blinding that Beca has to resists the urge to squint at it. “That’s really amazing, Beca,” she tells her, and Beca can tell that she is being sincere. “Could you play something for me?”

“Yeah, totally,” Beca says, and Chloe immediately starts clearing a spot on the table next to her before looking up at her imploringly. Beca blinks. Chloe continues staring at her, waiting. Realization dawns on Beca. “Oh, you meant like right now.” Chloe hums the affirmative and pats the place next to her.

Beca scrambles into the seat and pulls out her laptop, scrolling through her files until she finds one that she deems suitable to show Chloe.

Chloe leans in close to watch the music as it passes by, head bobbing along to the music and red hair brushing Beca’s shoulder.

Beca catches a whiff of some kind of perfume, or maybe shampoo. Smells nice, she thinks.

* * *

“She likes hamsters,” Beca announces.

Stacie stares blankly at her over the rim of her drink. “Who are we talking about?”

“Chloe.”

“Ah.” Stacie makes a noise of understanding. “So now you know two things about her. She likes sunshine and small rodents.”

“Well she likes all animals, really,” Beca clarifies. “Like, she likes dogs and cats. She’s going to be a vet, so of course she likes most animals. But her dad is allergic to cats and dogs, so when she wanted a pet growing up they got her a hamster, and now she has a soft spot for them.”

“Wow,” Stacie says in awe, a near manic grin on her face. Beca wrinkles her nose.

“What- dude, don’t look at me like that, it’s not a big deal.” Beca pretends to read through the special of the day just for something to do. “You told me I should get to know her so I got to know her. Nothing wrong with that.”

“No, nothing wrong at all,” Stacie says. “It’s just-” she wipes non-existent tears from her eyes and reaches her hands out towards Beca- “our little Beca is finally learning how to talk to people.”

Beca scowls and shoves Stacie’s hands away from her. “Fuck off,” she says, though there’s little bite to her words. She checks the time on her phone and sighs. “I gotta go. Dinner date with Jesse.”

Stacie rolls her eyes. “Why don’t you just break up with him already? At this point you’re dragging the poor thing along by a leash.” She thinks for a moment. “And not in the fun way, either.”

“I- what?” Beca asks as she stands from the table. She blinks. “I like Jesse.”

Stacie barks out a laugh. “Sure you do. Alright, go have fun with your boyfriend,” she says, reaching out to swat Beca’s butt. Beca yelps. “And say hi to Chloe for me later.”

* * *

Considering the late hour, Beca is expecting to come home to a dark apartment, so it comes as a surprise when the lamp in the living room is still on, a lone figure sitting on the couch illuminated in the low light.

Chloe’s looks up when she hears Beca come in through the door. “Hi,” she greets softly.

Beca smiles a little. “Hey,” she says, setting her keys down on the counter as she makes her way into the apartment. “I didn’t think you’d still be up.”

“It’s only eleven-thirty, Beca,” Chloe says, a playful smile pulling at her lips. “What do you think I am, some kind of grandma?”

Beca feels her cheeks flush and she’s grateful for the dim lighting of the room. “I just figured you were the early riser type,” she explains, coming to a stop just before she reaches the edge of the couch.

Chloe’s eyes seem to twinkle at that. “Who’s to say I’m not?” Her voice is teasing, but not in the same kind of way that Stacie’s usually is. It doesn’t make Beca feel defensive.

She shrugs her shoulders in response, almost in surrender.

“Where have you been off to, anyway?” Chloe asks, shutting the book in her lap and curling her fingers around the edges. Beca doesn’t catch the title, but she figures it’s something she has to read for school.

“Just a dinner date,” Beca tells her. “And then we watched a movie.”

Chloe’s eyes light up in excitement. “Ooooh,” she sings, shimmying her shoulders a bit. “Who was it with? Were they cute? Are you going to see them again? Did you do a little tango between the sheets?”

Beca’s nose wrinkles at the last question, but she can’t help but snicker at the enthusiasm. “It was just my boyfriend, dude. Nothing too exciting.”

“You have a boyfriend?” Chloe gasps, her jaw dropping in an almost comical way. “How did I not know this about you?”

“I don’t know, I just… it’s not really a big deal to me, I guess. I never felt the need to bring it up,” Beca says with a shrug.

“Well maybe you would have felt the need if you weren’t hiding from me all the time,” Chloe says pointedly, but that same teasing tone is laced through her words so Beca can tell she doesn’t really mean it. Chloe pats the cushion next to her. “Come show me what he looks like.”

Beca rolls her eyes but plops down next to Chloe without another word. She spends a minute looking through the pictures on her phone, a strange sense of guilt settling over her when she realizes how few photos of Jesse she actually has. Jesse is the one that is all about capturing memories and taking selfies, though, so she shakes the feeling away. If he takes all the pictures for them, then there’s no point in Beca going through all the trouble of doing the same, right?

She’s totally justified.

“Here,” she says at last, picking a picture of the two of them at a concert from a few months ago. Jesse’s arm is slung across her shoulders, a wide grin on his face, while Beca looks to be bickering with whoever was taking the picture. Aubrey, if her memory serves correctly.

Chloe slips the phone from her hand, holding the screen up close to her face as she studies the picture. “He’s cute,” she comments, humming appreciatively.

“Yep,” Beca replies awkwardly, nodding her head. “He is,”

A small smile appears on Chloe’s lips. “Are you always so grumpy?” she asks, zooming in on Beca’s face. Beca scowls.

“No,” she says defensively, snatching her phone back. “I just… don’t have the patience for dealing with other people’s bullshit.”

Chloe giggles. “I think that would classify you as grumpy,” she trills, pushing a finger into Beca’s shoulder.

Beca swats her hand away. “Yeah, well-” she glances again at the photo, intent on snapping back, when an uncomfortable feeling warms in her chest. “Maybe I just make myself grumpy sometimes.”

The playful demeanor seems to melt out from Chloe, her smile slipping and shoulders drooping just the tiniest bit. Beca stares at the phone screen in her hand and can’t help but wonder when she got so grumpy; when she decided that she wasn’t going to enjoy things the way she used to.

She can feel Chloe’s eyes on the side of her face, carefully watching her. Then, there’s a nudge to her shoulder. “Or maybe it’s annoying people like me who force you to be grumpy,” Chloe says, her tone laced in a lightness that is clearly meant to dispel whatever shadow had briefly settled over them. 

Beca shuts her phone off and forces an easy smirk onto her face. “Yeah, people exactly like you,” she quips back, bumping her shoulder against Chloe’s in return. Chloe sways with the movement and chuckles softly.

A moment of quiet passes over them, one that’s just long enough that Beca begins to feel antsy. She mumbles some sort of excuse about needing to wake up early tomorrow before dismissing herself for the night, Chloe’s murmured good night following her into her bedroom.

Something about their conversation doesn’t sit right with Beca, but she can’t seem to figure out why. She thinks that it’s maybe the fact that Chloe has never once made her grumpy. Nervous, yes, and at times uncomfortable, but never grumpy.

Beca thinks that Chloe couldn’t make her upset even if she tried.

* * *

They go over to Aubrey and Stacie’s for a movie night.

It’s the first time that Chloe will be hanging out with them, and while Beca knows that Chloe is already friends with both of them, it’s the first time that they will all be hanging out as a group.

She’s not nervous.

(She’s totally nervous.)

Luckily the night goes off mostly without a hitch, and aside from the obligatory teasing that Stacie puts her through every time they see each other, it’s nice.

Chloe snags a blanket for the movie and drapes it over both of their laps, leaning into Beca’s side in order to get comfy, according to Chloe. Beca guesses that the hand that idly traces up and down Beca’s forearm under the blanket is an attempt to get comfy as well.

It’s new.

It’s also nice.

* * *

“Stacie claims that you don’t like Jesse.”

Beca glances up from her grocery list. “Is that so?”

Chloe nods her head, humming the affirmative. “She mentioned you grumbling any time he texts you and… something about a leash?” Beca’s feels her cheeks heat up.

“One of these days I’m going to mail her to another country,” Beca mutters under her breath, pushing the cart in front of her down the aisle.

“Well is it true?” Chloe asks, hurrying to catch up. “Do you like him?”

Beca remains quiet for a minute, scanning the shelf in front of her. “I do like Jesse,” she finally says, letting out a sigh. “I mean, he’s my boyfriend, you know? We’ve been together for like…” Beca thinks for a second. “We’ve been together for a while now. So yeah, of course I like him.” She spots the box of pasta she’s been searching for on the top shelf and stretches on her toes to reach it, huffing when her fingertips come up just short.

“Do you love him?” Chloe asks, stepping up beside Beca and snagging the box just out of her reach. Beca drops her arms back down to her sides and turns to face Chloe, mentally startling when she realizes how close they’re standing. The box of pasta is held between them, still clutched in Chloe’s hands, and from this close Beca can make out the faint white line of a scar on Chloe’s forehead.

And Beca doesn’t know how she never realized it before, but Chloe is like… really pretty.

Really pretty.

Beca snatches the box from Chloe’s hands and steps out of her orbit, placing the pasta in the cart with the rest of their items.

“What kind of sauce do you think we should get?” Beca asks, once again pushing the shopping cart down the aisle. If Chloe notices that her question has gone answered she doesn’t let on, talking through the different pros and cons of each kind of pasta sauce that is available to them.

Later when Beca sneaks a box of sugar cookies in the cart she’s pretty sure Chloe catches that, too, but she doesn’t comment on it either.

* * *

Chloe bursts through the door of Beca’s room so unexpectedly that Beca almost smears black nail polish all over her hand.

“I want to watch you at one of your gigs,” she announces, as if declaring a new law.

Beca grips the nail brush tighter between her fingers. “Could you have maybe told me that without sending me into cardiac arrest?” she grumbles, although there’s little bite to the words.

Chloe grins. Shakes her head. Joins Beca on the bed without an invitation. Beca rolls her eyes and crosses her legs under her to make more room.

“I want to watch you at one of your gigs,” Chloe repeats.

Beca glances up at her. “So I’ve heard.” She looks back down at her task.

There’s a huff, and then Chloe is prodding at Beca’s knee. “Well?” she asks slowly. “What do you think?”

“I don’t really see the point,” Beca shrugs. “I mean, you’ve heard all of my stuff by now, right?”

“Yeah, but I want to see you in action,” Chloe says, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “Plus, you’ve seen me at my job. I want to see you at yours.”

It was true. A couple of weeks ago Beca had gotten a text from Chloe asking her if she could bring by the lunch that she forgot on the kitchen counter. Beca hadn’t been busy, so she’d complied, figuring it would be a quick drop off. Two hours of hanging out at the shelter with about a dozen cats later, Beca had ended up giving her a ride home, too.

“You’ve seen me at my job,” Beca points out, squinting in frustration at her nails. They looked like shit. She was hopeless with her right hand.

Chloe pushes at her knee again. “Your other one,” she chides gently. “As cool as seeing you stack dusty old records is, I want to see what you’re like in front of a crowd.” She pauses, and Beca just knows there’s that little crease between her eyebrows as she watches Beca. “You know, for someone who paints their nails a lot, you’re kind of bad at this.”

“I happen to like them this way,” Beca claims, but Chloe ends up taking the brush from her anyway. Chloe scoots closer to Beca on the bed and takes her left hand between her own, carefully applying the nail polish with steady strokes. From this close, Beca catches the now familiar scent that always accompanies Chloe; something fruity that she just can’t place, but is still undeniably Chloe.

Beca raises her eyes to Chloe’s face as Chloe continues to work in silence. She notices that Chloe’s bottom lip is trapped between her teeth as she concentrates, and Beca is hit by the sudden urge to free it with a swipe of her thumb.

She wonders if Chloe’s lips feel as soft as they look.

“I have a wedding that I’m playing at this weekend,” Beca says, snapping herself out of whatever trance she’d found herself in before she does something stupid. “I guess you could come with me to that, as long as you help me carry some of my equipment.”

Chloe finishes with Beca’s nails with a final swipe, then she looks up at Beca with a megawatt grin on her face. “Awes,” she says, leaning in. Beca’s stomach damn well flips into her throat, but Chloe only gives her a quick peck on the cheek before pushing off the bed.

“Don’t get nail polish all over your face,” Chloe tells her as she leaves the room, and it’s only then that Beca realizes she’d moved her hand to cover the place that Chloe had kissed.

* * *

“You’re going to a wedding together? Sounds romantic.”

Beca rolls her eyes even though Stacie can’t see her from the other end of the call. “It’s literally not. She just wanted to come along to a gig.”

“What are you going to wear? You have got to look super hot so you can sweep her off her feet. You know, really blow her mind.”

“Do you ever listen to anything I say?” Beca asks, closing her eyes and rubbing the space between her eyebrows. “Like, am I just white noise to you?”

“I’m thinking a suit,” Stacie muses, essentially confirming Beca’s questions.

Beca sighs. “Need I remind you that I have a boyfriend?” she asks tiredly. “There will be no sweeping anyone off their feet. Besides, I’m sure Chloe could do a lot better than me.”

“So you’ve thought about it?” Stacie says smugly.

Beca’s cheeks flush of their own violation and she peeks down the hall to make sure Chloe is still in the shower. “No, of course not.” Stacie makes a noise of disbelief. “Okay, I have thought about it.”

Stacie laughs triumphantly. “Beca Mitchell, in love with her roommate. Who would’ve thought.”

“I’m not-” Beca groans in frustration and lowers her voice. “This isn’t a big deal, alright? It’s just a weird, passing thing. I couldn’t do that to Jesse.”

Stacie sighs. “Look, B. I like Jesse. You like Jesse. But you don’t love Jesse.” Beca starts to protest but Stacie talks over her. “Tell me right now that you love Jesse and I’ll drop it.”

Beca opens her mouth to say the words. They’re right there on the tip of her tongue, yet they refuse to come out. She closes her mouth and remains silent.

“That’s what I thought,” Stacie says, and for once her voice lacks its usual smug tone. “When it comes down to it, you’re not happy with Jesse anymore. I can tell, Aubrey can tell, and I know that deep down you can tell, too. Even if this thing you have for Chloe isn’t something that you think will work out, I still think it’s time to end things with Jesse.” Stacie’s voice is surprisingly sincere. “I think it’s what’s best for you- for both of you.”

Beca hears the shower stop down the hall, the sound of Chloe singing reaching Beca’s room instead. “Maybe you’re right,” she admits.

“Of course I am,” Stacie says, jokingly. “And hey, for what it’s worth, she’s good for you- Chloe. And she would be lucky to have someone like you.”

The corner of Beca’s mouth twitches up a little. “Thanks, Stace.”

“Anytime, B.”

The call is ended just as Chloe exits the bathroom. She’s more humming under her breath than outright singing now, and it brings a small smile to Beca’s face.

She stands up and walks to her closet to find something for the wedding.

* * *

The newly Mr. and Mr. Hartman sure do know how to throw a party, that much Beca can admit.

It’s one of the more exciting weddings that Beca has been hired to DJ for, the guests all pleasant and friendly and obviously ecstatic for the grooms. The vineyard they’ve chosen is a little ways outside the city, but the view alone is worth the drive out there for Beca.

And also the fact that Chloe kept her company on the way there.

Plus they’re paying her bank, so.

The wedding planner didn’t seem to mind Chloe’s unexpected attendance at all when Beca explained that she was there with her, handing them each a drink and showing Beca where to set up her equipment. Beca, knowing that she needs to be sober, hands her drink to Chloe, who squeals in excitement and takes a sip from both glasses.

Chloe had watched Beca set up all her equipment with rapt attention, asking what different things were used for like she was preparing for a quiz on the whole thing later. Beca could feel the heated gaze of Chloe’s eyes on her for the whole ordeal, the back of her neck burning from the attention.

Hours later Chloe was clearly enjoying herself, splitting her time between Beca at her booth and socializing with the other guests at the party. At some point she manages to get both the grooms’ numbers and a promise to go out for lunch sometime after their honeymoon. Beca kept the music coming, transitioning smoothly between songs and taking requests from people varying degrees of intoxicated.

The best thing about her job, Beca thinks, is that it gives her the opportunity to people watch. She might not be the most sociable of people, but there’s still something so fascinating about how someone acts when they’re unaware they’re being viewed.

And Chloe Beale, Beca has decided, is no exception.

Chloe is captivating. There’s no other way to explain how she’s managed to capture Beca’s attention for the duration of the wedding. Everything about her – the way she moves, the way she so effortlessly mingles with the guests of an event she wasn’t even invited to, the sway of her hips as she dances with someone Beca doesn’t recognize – draws Beca in and leaves her feeling strangely lightheaded.

Through her careful observations, Beca is reminded yet again that Chloe is insanely pretty.

“Can I make a request, oh talented DJ?”

Beca looks up from her playlist to see Chloe approaching her booth. Her eyes flick across the faint flush spread across Chloe’s cheeks, most likely from dancing, before returning to her computer. “You know half the songs I’ve played tonight have been requests from you, right?”

Chloe pouts. “I haven’t requested that many.” She makes her way behind the booth and presses into Beca’s side, the alcohol in her system making her even more prone to touch. Chloe’s hands grip her arm and Beca feels a shiver run down her spine despite the warmth of the room. “Besides, this request isn’t a song.”

Beca turns to look at her with a curious eyebrow raised, waiting for her to continue.

“Dance with me?” Chloe asks, biting the corner of her lip hopefully. Her hand slides down the length of Beca’s arm until it reaches her hand, gripping loosely.

Beca feels her heartbeat quicken. “There’s a reason I usually stay behind the booth, you know,” she murmurs, eyes shifting between Chloe’s eyes to the little scar on her forehead.

“C’mon, just one dance,” Chloe insists, tugging on Beca’s hand. “I know you have, like, fifteen songs already queued up already. You have no excuses.”

Beca pretends to spend another minute deliberating the request, but in reality she knows she’s in a losing game. “One dance,” she says.

Chloe smiles and laughs victoriously, pulling Beca out onto the dance floor just as the previous, upbeat song fades into a slower one that Beca personally doesn’t like all that much but always gets requests for at weddings. They come to a stop in the middle of already swaying couples, and Chloe faces toward Beca. She keeps one of her hands in Beca’s and lays the other on her shoulder. Beca has a brief moment of uncertainty as to where to put her other hand, hovering near Chloe’s side before placing it on the other girl’s waist. That makes Chloe smile again and Beca feels some of the tension leave her body.

They sway kind of awkwardly at first, like two freshmen in high school at their first dance. Eventually Chloe huffs a little and tugs Beca closer to her. “I’m not going to bite,” she says teasingly, watching Beca’s reaction carefully.

Beca feels her cheeks flush. “I told you there was a reason I stayed behind the booth.”

“You’re doing just fine,” Chloe tells her. Her hand slides up and around until she can scratch gently at the back of Beca’s neck. “Besides, it’s just me. Nothing to be nervous about.”

Beca resists the urge to tell her that that’s exactly what she’s nervous about. “Thanks for coming with me tonight,” she says instead.

Chloe smiles gently and pulls her even closer. “Thanks for letting me come,” she replies. Beca’s arm tightens unconsciously around Chloe’s back. Chloe rests her temple against Beca’s. Her next words are spoken in a murmur by Beca’s ear. “And in case I haven’t mentioned it yet, you look really nice tonight.”

Beca closes her eyes and takes a deep breath in, the scent of Chloe filling her nose. “So do you,” she tells her.

Except Beca doesn’t know if “nice” really covers it anymore.

* * *

“How was the wedding?” Stacie asks.

Beca shrugs. “A gig’s a gig,” she says, but she doesn’t manage to stop a small smile from slipping onto her lips. She sips her coffee to hide it.

Stacie gives her a look. “Okay, so you might not like anything, but did Chloe enjoy herself?”

Images of Chloe throughout the evening flash in Beca’s mind, ending with the kiss on the cheek that Chloe had given her before ducking into her room for the night. A blush spreads across her cheeks and Beca takes another swig of coffee. “I think so? I didn’t really pay a whole lot of attention to her. I was, you know-” she gestures vaguely with her hands- “in the zone.”

Stacie barks out a laugh. “Yeah, I’m sure.”

Aubrey joins them before Stacie can interrogate her any further, and for once Beca is actually grateful for her presence.

* * *

At some point Chloe started calling her “Becs.” Beca doesn’t know when it started, can’t pinpoint even a general timeline, but at some point Chloe started calling her Becs.

And Beca really wishes that she hated it.

(She doesn’t.)

* * *

“Okay, you’re really gonna like this one, babe, I just know it.”

Beca snorts. “That’s what you said about the last one. And every single one for the past four years.”

Jesse places a hand on his heart. “You wound me, Becaw,” he says. Beca wrinkles her nose at the nickname. “But this time I’m certain. You’re going to love it.”

An hour into the movie and Beca is decidedly more interested in the popcorn on her lap then what’s happening on screen. Jesse is thoroughly engrossed, of course, his arm heavy around Beca’s shoulders as he steals handfuls of popcorn at a time.

Her phone buzzes with a text message and Beca clicks on her phone to see who it’s from. Once she sees that it’s from Chloe she swipes to open it immediately, a smile playing at her lips as she types out a reply.

Something happens in the movie that makes Jesse burst into laughter. He looks over at Beca with the twinkle in his eye that once made Beca feel like she could spend the rest of her life with him. The smile on her face becomes more of a grimace but Jesse doesn’t seem to notice, turning back towards the movie and snagging some more popcorn.

Chloe texts her again, and Beca knows that she couldn’t explain the plot of the movie in the slightest.

* * *

“Jesse and I broke up.”

Chloe looks up from her noodles in surprise. “Oh my gosh,” she says, the shock evident in her voice. “Are you… okay? Do you want to talk about it?”

Beca shakes her head quickly. “No, it’s fine- like really, I’m good. I broke up with him, so uh… I just figured I’d like, update you on that. Just so you know.” She shrugs, aiming for casual and most likely failing. “Yeah.”

Chloe blinks. “Okay, I mean if you’re sure,” she says, sounding unsure.

“I’m sure,” Beca says solidly. She meets Chloe’s eyes. “It was a long time coming, honestly. As much as I hate to admit it, Stacie was right; we just weren’t working out like we used to. Besides,” she continues, looking down at her dinner and stabbing her fork into some pasta. “Now that we’re over I can start focusing on…” Beca glances back up and allows her eyes to flit across Chloe’s face. She looks away and clears her throat. “Other things.”

“Other things,” Chloe repeats, and Beca knows she’s grinning because she saw it on her face.

“Like music,” Beca supplies.

“Like music,” Chloe echoes.

They don’t talk after that, but Beca allows Chloe to steal some of her food with little more than a fond roll of her eyes.

* * *

“So, hypothetically,” Chloe says, breezing through the doorway of Beca’s room. “If someone were to want to take someone out on a date, how long would be an appropriate waiting time after their recent break up to do so?” She pauses a beat. “Hypothetically, of course.”

Beca taps her chin thoughtfully, forcing a look of contemplation onto her face. “Maybe in this hypothetical situation the someone in question has no more waiting time and could be asked anytime.” She stares at Chloe almost daringly. “Hypothetically, of course.”

Chloe fights to keep the obvious grin off her face. “So, hypothetically, this someone would be free tomorrow night for dinner?”

“I’d say her hypothetical calendar is free.”

“Perfect.” Chloe stares at her for a moment longer with a twinkle in her eye before pivoting on her heel and leaving just as quickly as she came. The smile that Beca had been holding back finally breaks free and she covers her face in her hands, resisting the urge to squeal like a teenage girl with a silly crush.

The truth of the matter was that she was actually a grown woman with a silly crush, but Beca decided that she was kind of really okay with that.

* * *

Beca is staring.

Beca is staring and she knows it. Chloe knows it, too, based on the light blush dusting her cheeks under the attention. She glances up from her textbook every so often, eyes flicking over her pages to meet Beca’s unyielding gaze from across the couch for only a moment before focusing again.

And Beca can’t really explain why she’s staring at Chloe at this very moment. It’s not like she doesn’t have anything to do; her laptop is literally sitting open to a new mix on her lap at that very moment. Yet she stares like a creep anyway. All she knows is that they’ve gone on two dates so far and both of them have ended with more kisses on the cheek for Beca.

She kind of wishes those kisses had been placed somewhere else.

“Hey, um,” Beca starts. Chloe looks up at her curiously, bottom lip trapped between her teeth. Beca’s resolve strengthens. “I want- could you…” She closes her eyes to steady herself before opening them again. “Would it be alright if I kissed you? Like, now?”

Chloe smiles a little, still biting her lip, and nods her head. Beca’s heart flutters and she sets her laptop on the coffee top before crawling across the couch to reach Chloe. She lifts a hand and holds Chloe’s chin, swiping her thumb across that damned bottom lip to free it. They share a breath – or lack thereof, in Beca’s case – and then Beca is leaning in and softly pressing her lips against Chloe’s.

Her lips might be a little chapped and her mouth might be a little dry because of nerves, but Beca doesn’t think Chloe minds in the slightest when she pulls Beca closer by the back of her neck, deepening the kiss with smooth swipes of her tongue.

They’re both smiling by the time they pull away, and Beca retreats all the way to her end of the couch, placing her laptop back on her lap like nothing ever happened. This time it’s Chloe who’s staring, eyes trained on Beca with an intensity that Beca is sure surpasses her stare from before.

“Hey Becs?”

Beca looks up and raises her eyebrows. “Hm?”

“Would it be alright if we did that again?” Chloe asks, grin becoming sly. “Like, now?”

And Beca barely has time to say yes before they’re falling into each other again.

* * *

“I think I love you,” Beca whispers into the dark of her room. Their bare legs are tangled together beneath the sheets, and she feels Chloe’s breath catch from where she’s resting her head on Beca’s chest. “Is that cool with you?”

Chloe presses a kiss against Beca’s chest and props herself up so she can see Beca’s face. A strand of red hair falls in front of her eyes and Beca brushes it back behind Chloe’s ear without thinking about it. There’s a twinkle of mischief in her eye when she responds. “Totes cool.”

Beca groans and protests the use of totes in bed, but they both know it’s only for show. It makes Chloe laugh, though, and that makes Beca smile as they kiss again. Chloe murmurs that she loves Beca, too, against her lips, and Beca thinks that maybe this is the happiest she’s been in a very, very long time

* * *

“Look, all I’m saying is that maybe if you put a little more effort into talking to Chloe, she might actually be into you, too, B.”

Beca rolls her eyes. “I think I’m doing just fine, thanks.”

Stacie reaches across the table a grabs Beca’s wrist. “Come on, Beca, work with me here! If you and Chloe get together you can go on double dates with us!” She shakes Beca’s arm to emphasize whatever point she’s trying to make. “Aubrey, tell her that she should tell Chloe how she feels.”

Aubrey breaks a piece off of her muffin and eyes Beca warily. “I don’t know if can endorse that,” she says simply. Beca squints at her and drinks her coffee.

The front door of the café chimes open, and a moment later Chloe appears. She greets them all warmly before sliding into the booth next to Beca, pressing a quick kiss to her lips. For maybe the first time ever, Stacie and Aubrey are completely silent, and Beca looks away from Chloe to see the shock on their faces.

Priceless. She would take a picture right now if her hand wasn’t currently being held by Chloe.

Stacie and Aubrey burst into protests the next second, and at some point a stale bagel is thrown at her face, but Beca feels smug and Chloe is laughing beside her, so Beca decides that she doesn’t have that much to feel upset about at all.