Actions

Work Header

baby, i know places we won't be found

Chapter Text

Beca’s always turned her nose up at the concept of brunch.

She’s wary of the ambiguousness of it — the way it’s half breakfast, half lunch. Like, is there a need for that? Just pick one or the other!

Even though she’s not a ‘brunch person’ she’s learning that, like with baths, she’ll happily make an exception for Chloe.

It helps that the diner Chloe drove them to is really cute and private. The tables are spaced out and the windows are dressed with sheer curtains that let in the light while obscuring customers from passersby. It’s a popular spot among public figures.

Which, evidently, is something that at least one paparazzo has caught on to.

When Chloe asks her if she’s freaking out about it, once they’re seated in a secluded corner, Beca just shrugs.

“I mean, they’ll know we went to breakfast together. Who cares?”

Chloe’s eyebrows lift. “You’re handling this better than that other paparazzi incident…”

Beca leans forward, resting her forearm on the table. “Uh, you mean the one where they got a shot of me with my hand up your skirt?” she asks, voice low and incredulous. “Yeah, no shit I’m handling it better.”

Chloe grins as Beca sits back in her chair and crosses her arms.

“You were pretty handsy that night,” she says, biting her bottom lip. “And we hadn’t even kissed yet. Like, in a non-acting capacity.”

“Please, you rectified that about 15 minutes later — don’t act like I jumped the gun.”

Chloe twists her lips to the side and Beca prepares herself for whatever little bomb she’s about to drop.

“You know, Becs,” she starts, eyes briefly falling to Beca’s mouth. “When I suggested we practice kissing, I can’t in all honesty say I was strictly thinking about the scene…”

And sure, Beca kind of had a feeling, and they’ve come so far since then, but hearing Chloe put it out there so directly gives her butterflies.

Of course, the waiter decides that this is the right time to make an appearance. Beca orders a coffee and Chloe orders a pitcher of mimosas, and Beca wants to roll her eyes because it’s just so damn brunchy, but whatever, she’ll allow it.

They are celebrating, after all.

(That thought gives her butterflies, too.)

Once he’s gone Chloe leans in. She reaches beneath the table and places her hand on Beca’s knee.

“It was just an excuse. I was already dying to kiss you.” She squeezes Beca’s thigh. “Did you know?”

Beca’s face warms. She bites the inside of her cheek in an attempt to tamp down the giddy happiness bubbling up inside her.

“I mean, no…” she says, glancing away coyly. “But it could’ve been because I was distracted by how much I wanted to kiss you.”

Chloe smiles softly. “Did you really?”

“I did. You know, underneath my default reaction to all new emotions.”

“Which is?”

“Blood-curdling fear.”

Chloe tips her head back as she laughs. “Poor baby.” She rubs her thumb over Beca’s leg before pulling back. “You definitely hid it well.”

“Hah, yeah right. Maybe at first… which reminds me — we still should, like, actually talk.”

“We should,” Chloe says, clocking the waiter as he approaches with their drinks. “But not here.”

***

They order food (Beca chooses from the lunch menu) and stick to lighter topics, rehashing yesterday’s big premiere and gossiping about the party’s drunken antics.

“Good thing everyone was wasted,” Beca says after they finish laughing about how sloppy the sound guys got. “You and I weren’t exactly being subtle.”

Chloe juts out her bottom lip, like she does whenever Beca’s being ‘stupid cute.’

“Aww, Becs. I think they all kind of know.”

Beca blinks. “About us?!”

“Yeah,” Chloe says sweetly (and a bit condescendingly, if you ask Beca). “For a while, now.”

Beca’s still trying to come to terms with that revelation when she gets a flurry of texts from Josh — one of the few people who she’s exempted from her Do Not Disturb setting.

“Oh, woah,” she says, quickly scrolling through her messages. “My phone’s been blowing up.”

“Yeah? Mine too.” Chloe shrugs. “Anything urgent?”

“No, I don’t think so. The general gist is we should check our mentions.”

Chloe’s eyes light up at that. “Oh my god, the photos of us!” She scoots her chair closer to Beca’s and taps her wrist. “Let’s look, let’s look!”

Beca sighs and rolls her eyes, but she’s kind of excited too. With everything that’s happened, she’d forgotten that they had posed together on the red carpet.

She angles her phone toward Chloe and opens Instagram. And Beca knows people hate The Algorithm, but in this instance the Silicon Valley nerds have got it right, because a carousel post of her and Chloe is the first to pop up on her feed.

Chloe grips her arm as she advances through photo after photo taken in front of the step-and-repeat. It’s like she’s reliving the night — seeing her and Chloe walk onto the carpet hand-in-hand, then posing side-by-side.

But the majority of the photos in this post — and in the rest of her mentions — show the two of them standing pressed up against one another. There are so many little details that Beca hadn’t noticed in the moment — like how much she tucked herself into Chloe’s side, or how low Chloe’s hand was resting on her hip, or how intimately she placed her fingers on the side of Chloe’s neck.

“Wow,” she breathes.

“I know. We look hot.”

“Yes, that. And also like we’re definitely fucking.”

“Or like we’re in love.”

Beca glances up to find Chloe watching her with a soft expression. Beca smiles at her before her eyes drop to her mouth, following the movement of Chloe’s tongue as she wets her lips.

She’s about a half-second away from leaning in when she remembers where they are, and that any number of phones could be pointed at them right now. And while she mostly doesn’t care, it’d be a shame to come all this way only to have their relationship outed on a blind item site.

(She doesn’t even want to think about how Josh would react. It just might kill him.)

It takes practically all of her willpower to turn back to her phone. She expands the comment section, hoping they’ll be a good distraction, and boy they do not disappoint.

*SCREAMS* these pics turned me gay #bechloelives

wtf like they’re both so hot individually but together they’re exponentially hotter???!? like it’s insane??? (also their hands omg. harold…)

and with a single pose #bechloe decided to break the internet #blessed #bechloeisreal #becatops

oh wow um k. im definitely not having impure thoughts rn 👀 #chloetopsbtw #becawishes

omggg 1) i cannot WAIT to see this film and 2) they’ve had sex bYE. #sorrynotsorry #yeahchloetops #lol #obviously

***

Usually Beca avoids serious conversations like the plague. Experience has taught her that they’re awkward and forced and never lead anywhere good.

But, as with so many other things, Beca’s learning that her previous rules do not apply with Chloe.

She knows they still need to talk, and that she should be the one to initiate it. And she isn’t scared anymore — or at least, not in the way she used to be. Maybe it’s because she knows she’s safe with Chloe.

No, yeah, that’s definitely it.

There’s no other explanation as to why Beca’s actually looking forward to finally having this conversation. As soon as they get back to Chloe’s place they settle in on a loveseat on the patio, tucking their legs up on the cushion as they face one another.

It’s a perfect spring day, with sunlight filtering through the leaves of a nearby tree, and Beca briefly tips her face up toward the warmth. Chloe covers Beca’s hand where it’s resting on her leg — a patient, comforting touch — and the gesture reminds her of another sunny day when Chloe knew just what to do. And that’s where she starts.

“It was the flowers that pushed me over the edge, you know,” she says, eyes finding Chloe’s. “The ones in the frame by your bed. I was already kinda spiraling, alone in your room, and then I saw the flowers and remembered that day and everything just, like, clicked.”

Chloe wraps her fingers around Beca’s. “That’s why you were crying?”

“Yeah. Well, kinda. That was the start of it.” She bites her lip, warding off the tremble that runs through her at the memory of that dismal moment. She squeezes Chloe’s hand. “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I guess. It made me finally realize how I felt about you, and how I fucked so much up by resisting it for so long.”

She blinks rapidly as tears sting the corners of her eyes. She’s still so angry at herself.

Chloe lifts Beca’s hand and kisses her knuckles. “You didn’t fuck anything up, Becs.”

Beca huffs. “Only because you have the patience of a saint.” She smiles at Chloe before letting her gaze drop to their joined hands, now resting between them. “But I kinda did, though. When I think of what I put you through…” Her voice cracks, but she keeps going. “God, I’m so sorry, Chlo. I meant what I said last night — I’m such a fucking idiot.”

“I know I agreed with you before, but now I’m going to tell you to stop being so hard on yourself,” Chloe says, tears threatening to spill over her lashes. “I could tell you were battling with something. Sometimes there’s no rushing that.”

“Yeah, that’s for sure.” Beca laughs humorlessly. “It already seems dumb now, but I was just so scared. It was, like, crippling — a metal block I couldn’t shake. But after everything in New York, and how we left things, I knew I couldn’t just keep going like that. So I started racking up a crazy amount of therapy bills, talking about my shitty exes and my shitty parents and my shitty coping skills… And about how much I missed you.” She takes a long, shaky breath. “I was slowly making progress, but it was like walking through quicksand. It felt like I would never get there. Right up until I saw the flowers.”

Beca doesn’t realize that she’s crying until Chloe reaches out to wipe her cheek with the pad of her thumb.

“I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that,” Chloe tells her. “I wish I could’ve been there for you. I know that doesn’t super make sense, but still… I hate to think of you dealing with that on your own, you know?”

“Yeah,” Beca says. She catches Chloe’s hand and presses a gentle kiss to her palm. “I get what you mean. You’re so sweet, Chlo.”

Chloe blushes, even as she wrinkles her nose in disagreement. “I don’t know about that…” Beca opens her mouth to protest, but before she can say anything Chloe continues. “And before you go calling me a ‘saint’ again, you should know this isn’t all on you — I definitely could’ve handled things better myself, in retrospect.”

“Please, you were perfect. Short of forcibly upping the frequency of my therapy sooner, I don’t know what else you could’ve done.”

Chloe rolls her eyes good naturedly. “I could’ve been more honest about how I felt,” she says. “I think I got swept up in the fantasy of us, like, playing house when we were on location. It just felt like we were a couple for a while there, and I let myself believe it.” She smiles to herself. “I should’ve known better after Salem, actually. I don’t know if you remember, but I called our daytrip a date at the end of the night and you were kind of… tense… for the next couple days.”

Beca raises her eyebrows. “Oh, I remember. You kissed me goodnight like ‘a proper date.’ It was a good kiss…” She trails off, remembering the way Chloe kissed her softly and tenderly in the middle of the hallway. The way she made her feel delicate — like something precious. “So good, in fact, that I didn’t register that you’d called it a date until you went upstairs. I did freak out a little bit, though, once I realized your, uh, choice of words.”

“Yeah, I may have figured that out,” Chloe says, chuckling. “And I decided not to press it. I didn’t want to risk shattering the illusion, I guess. Especially since I was already falling for you…”

“You were?” Beca presses her lips together to hide her grin. She scoots in closer on the sofa and pulls both of Chloe’s hands into her lap. “Even then?”

Before then. I always fall hard and fast, but with you it was, like, light speed.” Chloe laughs sheepishly, looking at Beca through her lashes. “There was just always something between us, you know?”

“I do know. I was a moron in denial, but I felt it too. From, like, day one.”

“Me too,” Chloe says, her cheeks adorably pink. “I don’t think I fully realized just how intense my feelings were until the wrap party. I guess I just assumed we’d go home and, like, figure it out — be together. But then you said you wanted things to go back to normal and it was like a wall came down. Like part of you shut off.” She swallows thickly and Beca’s heart hurts. “I still should’ve said something that night. I should’ve told you…”

“It wouldn’t have made a difference,” Beca says quietly. “You’re right — I shut down. I was so afraid of my own feelings that even if you said something it wouldn’t have gotten through. My therapist calls it a ‘fear-based defense mechanism’ and it’s pretty fucking impenatrable. Besides, you put it all out there in New York and I still couldn’t get past my own mental bullshit.” More tears spring to her eyes as remembers Chloe standing beside her bed in the Park Plaza and asking her to try. “So you can’t blame yourself, okay?”

Chloe shrugs one shoulder as her bottom lip quivers. “I don’t really want to blame anyone. I’m just glad we’re on the other side of it now.”

Beca leans forward and kisses Chloe’s cheek, then the corner of her mouth.

“I am, too,” she whispers, lips ghosting over Chloe’s. “I’m so lucky to have you, Chlo. You’re probably sick of hearing it already, but I kinda love you, like, an absurd amount.”

“I love you, too. And I’ll never get sick of hearing it,” Chloe says before lifting her chin and kissing her.

***

They can’t stop kissing.

They never were very good at that.

They intend to head upstairs but get hung up in the kitchen, where Chloe presses Beca back against the island. It’s the same spot that she’d cornered her in the night before, when she slipped her hand in Beca’s pocket in search of an imaginary hair tie.

Beca grips the countertop to steady herself, just like she did last night, as she tries to keep up with Chloe (and keep from sinking to the floor). She’s grateful when Chloe lifts her onto the cold marble, because her knees were starting to wobble, and when Chloe tugs her pants and underwear off Beca watches her with hooded eyes.

Chloe holds her stare as she parts her legs and kneels to kiss a trail up the inside of her thigh. She pauses near the top to suck a bruise into her skin and Beca gasps and scratches her fingers into Chloe’s hair. She follows the sensation from Chloe’s mouth back to another countertop, in another city, in another time.

“I hated when the mark faded,” she breathes, bunching Chloe’s hair in her fist. “The last one. Before.”

Chloe hums and sucks even harder before releasing her with a soft pop, then grazing her teeth over the sensitive skin. She grasps Beca’s bare hips and pulls her to the counter’s edge.

“I had plans,” she says from her spot between Beca’s thighs. “Before.” Her eyes flick down to Beca’s center before meeting her gaze again. “But we ran out of time.”

With that she leans forward and parts Beca with her tongue, going slowly like they have all the time in the world.

And they do, now.

When her tongue circles Beca’s clit it’s unhurried and torturous and divine. Beca places both hands flat on the marble — just where Chloe put them on that other countertop, on that other night — and tilts her head back as she moans.

Time seems to slip away as Chloe licks and sucks and nips at her. Later, when she finally lets her come, Beca’s hands press down so hard she swears she leaves fingerprints in the stone.

***

The sun is starting to set when it occurs to Beca that she should check her messages again.

She and Chloe had spent the afternoon alternating between talking, dozing, and having sleep-soft sex until they could no longer ignore their empty stomachs. Chloe’s going through the fridge, checking if she can turn any of last night’s appetizers into some kind of meal, when Beca fishes her phone out of her bag.

She didn’t really consider the fact that post-movie premiere days might be as busy as post-album release days, but judging by the volume of notifications that seems to be the case. There are so many texts, missed calls, and voicemails that she can’t even begin to deal. She has 19 texts from Josh — an alarming number, even for him — so she slips into the other room to call him for a quick run-down.

“There you are!” he says as soon as he picks up. “I wanted to be the first to congratulate you, but that’s kinda hard when you aren’t answering your phone.”

“Sorry, I was just, um…” She trails off, pacing the carpet in Chloe’s living room. “Wait, congratulate me? You already did that last night, dude.”

“That was before the reviews came in. Have you seriously not seen any of my texts?”

“Alright, alright, hang on.” Beca takes the phone down from her ear — not bothering to put Josh on speaker, even as he continues to talk — and navigates to his messages. “Oh… wow,” she murmurs when she sees screenshot after screenshot of article headlines.

Triple Threat Alert: Singer and Producer Beca Mitchell Stuns in Acting Debut

In ‘The Last Note,’ Beca Mitchell and Chloe Beale’s Chemistry Is the Star

10 Sizzling Bechloe Scenes that Prove the Gays Always Win

“Holy shit,” she says, bringing the phone back to her ear. “I just saw the first few. Are they all like that?”

“Yes, honey, that’s why I’ve been so desperately trying to get ahold of you — you’re a sensation,” Josh replies, exasperation fading into affection.

Beca smiles as her cheeks warm. She wants to pinch herself to make sure this — all of this — is real. It seems too good to be true — to have everything that filled her with anguish and self-doubt vanish, one by one.

“That’s insane. And thank you. I um, god. I’m like speechless, this is so crazy. Good thing you were a pest and sent me that script, right?”

“I think so. Hopefully in more ways than one…”

He goes quiet, but Beca hears the unasked question clear as day.

“Yeah, about that. I, uh…” Beca’s heart flutters in anticipation of what she’s about to tell him. “I actually have more good news.”

Josh snickers. “You really haven’t seen my texts, huh?”

“What?”

“Nothing,” he mutters. “Please go on.”

“So, um. Chloe and I — we talked,” she says, voice low and breathless. “I told her, like, everything. We worked it out. We’re gonna do the whole couple thing. I’m all in. And she isn’t running for the hills for some reason.”

Josh sighs dreamily. Beca can just imagine him getting all sappy and pressing his hand to his chest.

“Oh, sweetie, I’m over the moon for you.” It’s the most sincere she’s ever heard him and it makes her eyes sting. “But also,” he continues, “I pretty much knew already. And… so might everybody else.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“Well… you were papped outside that diner this morning. With Chloe.”

“Oh yeah, I know. They caught us getting breakfast together — so what? I mean, I guess I can see how you might’ve jumped to conclusions, but why would anyone else?”

Josh is silent for a few beats — never a good sign.

“Maybe because the shirt you’re wearing is one Chloe was photographed in before.”

“Oh my god.” Beca pinches the bridge of her nose. “Who even notices things like that?!”

“Your fanatical hoard of Bechloe shippers, that’s who. They started posting side-by-side photos online this morning, and now I have emails from every entertainment publication asking for comment.”

***

yooo does anyone else think the shirt beca wore this morning looks *mighty* familiar?? 🤔🤔🤔 #justgalsbeingpals

ok not to be a creep but i zoomed in on beca’s neck on the one where she’s flipping the paparazzi guy off and uhhh that’s a hickey my dudes #bechloeconfirmed #bottombecaconfirmed #imgoingFERAL

i hate to say it but this is 100% a publicity stunt to sell movie tickets. there’s like no chance this is real - we never get good things. don’t get ur hopes up :\

AHHHHHH I”M GOING TO FUCKNG ALKJF:LSDJHFGLSJD

***

Beca and Chloe decide not to comment.

The studio and each of their publicists implore them to let the rumor slide — at least for now — and are elated that they both agree. When the movie opens nationwide it’s a huge box office success, selling out theaters and surpassing even the loftiest projections.

And it’s good. Great, even — especially when critics begin including them in their award season predictions. But even if the film had flopped, or if Beca’s performance was universally panned, she wouldn’t have cared.

The next few weeks are some of the happiest of Beca’s life, and nothing could diminish that.

She and Chloe are between projects, and while they initially agree to take things slow, that was never quite their speed. They hole up at Beca’s place in Malibu for a little while, hardly ever leaving the property or looking at their phones.

They stay in pajamas all day and lounge together on the couch, cuddling and half paying attention to reality TV.

They take relaxing baths and steamy showers that leave Beca with tile-shaped indentations on her skin.

They walk along the beach at sunset, holding hands as they let the waves wash over their feet.

They spend hours in the kitchen, cooking together or for one another, sipping wine and talking softly as they chop carrots and sauté onions.

(In fact, they only ever leave for runs to the Malibu Country Mart, donning sunglasses and baseball hats as they stealthily stock up on ingredients.)

Every morning Beca makes French press coffee and Chloe makes eggs and it all feels very domestic.

Because it is.

***

“I swear I’m gonna get laugh lines early,” Beca says one afternoon. “From smiling so much.”

“Me too.” Chloe grins and bites her bottom lip. “I kind of can’t wait. It’ll be, like, physical evidence that we’re happy.”

“I love that.” Beca traces the smooth skin beside Chloe’s eyes, knowing she’ll love her just as much when she has wrinkles. “I kind of can’t wait, either.”

They both smile even wider.

***

As time passes — and professional commitments loom — they begin to talk about the future.

They decide to live at Beca’s, primarily because of her studio, but also because the first time Chloe came over she proclaimed it “just felt like home.” And Beca has always loved her house — it’s her own little haven, her safe space — but when Chloe moves in everything becomes just that much brighter.

Beca’s work resumes first (it’s kind of insane how much she has to catch up on) but it’s nothing she can’t do from home.

Initially she thought it’d be hard to be productive knowing Chloe’s on the other side of the door, but the first time she sits down at the mixing console she feels inspired. The music part of her brain lights up and her mind shifts into a flow state, producing track after track without coming up for air.

On days like these, when she hyper-focuses, Chloe will slip in every few hours to bring her a glass of water or a piece of fruit. Sometimes she stays for a couple minutes to rub Beca’s shoulders and watch her fingers move across the board. Sometimes Beca gets distracted and leans back for an upside-down kiss before spinning her chair around and pulling Chloe into her lap.

(She goes into another kind of flow state, after that.)

When Chloe starts work on her next film, which is thankfully shooting in town, Beca misses the constant comfort of her presence. She checks in with her throughout the day, texting selfies and memes and thoughts that are so sappy she prays her iCloud is never hacked because she’d have to disappear.

She also distracts herself by working on music to play for Chloe later — recording melodies, layering harmonies, and building beats.

Soon what started off as a pet project begins to take shape, thanks in large part to Chloe’s encouragement, and Beca works with a songwriter to finesse ideas for lyrics.

She doesn’t mention it to Josh.

It isn’t easy, especially since they’re in contact nearly every day as new scripts flood in. (She guesses she’s caught the acting bug, because there are a handful she’s seriously considering.) While she doesn’t usually keep work things from him, she thinks it’ll be a nice surprise — a kind of thank you for dealing with her shit this past year.

Once the song is done she texts him a Dropbox link with no context or explanation.

She anxiously twists the ring on her finger until he FaceTimes her a few minutes later.

“It’s different, Beca,” he says. “A totally new vibe from you.”

“Being cagey again, I see. Come on — good or bad?”

Amazing.” His eyes are red, like he’s on the verge of tears. “It’s just so happy.”

***

The rumors don’t die down.

It’s kind of annoying since they’ve largely stayed out of the public eye, but “Bechloe” articles must drive a shitload of clicks because they just keep coming.

While these last couple of months have been so wonderful, being together in their own little bubble, Beca’s actually excited about announcing their relationship to the world. It’s, like, disgustingly cheesy, but she just loves Chloe so much and she wants everyone else to know it, too.

Their publicity teams basically lose their minds when they ask their advice on how to go public. (For a minute there Beca thinks Priya's head might actually explode.)

They float all the usual options — a joint statement, a high-profile TV interview, a cover story in Vanity Fair — but none of it feels right.

None of it feels like them.

***

“What are we gonna do?” Chloe asks, lips brushing the shell of Beca’s ear. “We can’t put it off much longer.”

They’re lying together on a chaise by Beca’s (well, their) pool, drying off after a swim in the late summer sun. They’ll have to move to the shade soon — Chloe can’t get tan lines because she’s still filming, and Beca’s probably about 90 seconds away from burning — but for now it just feels so good, all sun-warm and cozied up together.

“I think we’ve been overthinking it. Here, why don’t we… hang on.”

Beca grabs her phone from the table beside them and opens her camera. Chloe’s brow knits in confusion for a second, but when Beca holds the phone out above them she grins, getting the idea.

“Hey,” Beca murmurs, pulling Chloe’s attention back to her. She skates her fingers along the edge of her jaw and Chloe leans into the touch, turning to face her.

“Hi,” she says, eyes falling to Beca’s lips.

When Chloe kisses her, Beca forgets everything except for her. Chloe sucks gently on her bottom lip, humming happily as if she’s the lucky one. Beca smiles into the kiss, drinking Chloe in, wishing she could commit every detail of this perfect moment to memory.

And only then does she remember to snap the photo.

The first take is a keeper.

Chloe rests her head against Beca’s as they study it. “It looks like we’re in love,” she says, sighing.

“Yeah.” Beca presses her lips to her temple. “Yeah, it does.”

Chloe watches as Beca opens Instagram and types out a brief message. When she’s done Beca angles the screen toward Chloe to give it a final look. Then, with a deep breath, she hits ‘share.’

“Wow,” Beca breathes. “We did it. It’s out there.”

“I almost can’t believe it.” Chloe turns into Beca, draping an arm across her waist as notifications start coming in. “How do you feel?”

“Honestly? Kind of dreading how smug all those fan accounts are gonna be that their so-called ‘shipping’ was right.”

Chloe smothers a laugh against Beca’s neck, giving her goosebumps.

“You’re ridiculous.”

“Um, yeah. This is well established, Beale.”

“You’re also kind of the best.”

“Meh. Jury’s still out on that.” Beca playfully squeezes Chloe’s hip. “I must be doing something right, though. I nabbed the hottest actress in Hollywood. And now everyone knows.”

Chloe giggles. “It’s gonna be so weird not keeping it a secret,” she says, toying with the tie of Beca’s bikini string. “What if, like, the fire goes out of our relationship now that it’s out in the open?”

“Oh no, you’re right.” Beca leans back, frowning. “I can feel the spark leaving my body as we speak.” She shrugs. “Welp, it’s been real…”

She sits up and swings one leg onto the deck before Chloe catches her. They’re both laughing as Chloe grips her arms and pushes her back onto the chaise. She rolls on top of her, holding Beca down as if she’s a flight risk.

“You can’t escape that easily,” Chloe says.

“No? Why not?”

“I have way too much blackmail material, for starters.”

“Oh yeah? Tell me one.”

Chloe closes her fingers around Beca’s wrists before pinning her hands above her head. Beca’s lips part as she goes boneless under Chloe’s touch. Her breathing shallows and Chloe’s eyes grow dark.

“Why don’t I show you...”

***

The photo gets 17 million likes in three days.

It shows Beca and Chloe embracing on an oversized chaise lounge on a sunny pool deck.

Beca’s cheeks are pink and a few flyaways have slipped free from Chloe’s bun, forming loose curls beside her ear. The pendant of Chloe’s necklace is askew and Beca’s fingers, cradling Chloe’s jaw, are a little blurry.

Drops of water speckle Beca’s shoulder and a thin rivulet trickles down the back of Chloe’s neck.

Those are the details. But it’s not what people notice.

Because they’re kissing.

Because they’re lost in each other.

Because the light is hitting them just right, showing the peaceful softness of Beca’s features and the content curve of Chloe’s lips, smiling in a way that’s almost shy.

Because they’re so clearly — beautifully — in love.

***

The caption is simple.

#bechloelives