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to build a home (extra)

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“Mom, we're gonna be late!” came the impatient voice of a now thirteen year old Jacob Mitchell, who Beca could see out of the corner of her eye standing at their front door.

 

“I can’t find my damn keys!” she responded, her hand fumbling between the couch cushions in search of the car keys she used less than four hours ago. Her fingers were brushing against objects which she didn't even want to identify, meanwhile Parker jumped on and off the couch, clearly thinking they were playing a game. She slightly pushed him off when his mouth went for her hand and he unfortunately thought that meant she was finally playing with him back.

 

“You usually put them in your back pocket,” Chloe’s voice came which made Beca swivel to where her wife was standing beside their son, leant against the doorframe.

 

She reached behind her and patted her jean pocket, feeling the familiar metal ridges of the keys in the most obvious place in the world and groaned at herself.

 

Chloe raised an eyebrow mockingly.

 

Beca had been nervous for this day practically all week. It was Jake’s first soccer game against the 13-17 age bracket and his team was definitely going to be the youngest group there. She knew her boy was a good player but couldn't help but worry about him being up against boys twice his size. He had only ever played games against kids his own age since he started soccer in second grade, so this would be a challenge for the whole team.

 

She looked at him for a brief moment, stood with his soccer shoes tied tight, in that green jersey which was just a little too big for him since he hadn’t hit his growth spurt yet (which she was more than okay with, she dread the day he would officially be taller than her). Sometimes when she remembered the little guy that she had when Chloe came into their lives, it felt like it was someone else entirely. That sweet babyness she had loved so much, now replaced by a much older, but equally as soft aura. She had secretly cried each time he grew out of a soccer kit. 

 

“Let’s go, kids.”

 

Beca watched as Jacob said goodbye to Parker, giving the brown lab a soft pat on the head before running ahead of them to jump into the backseat of the car. She locked the door behind them and followed her wife to the car.

 

                                                                 --------------

 

The journey to the pitch had been uneventful, with Beca cursing at the fact that they seemed to hit every red light and Chloe singing every song on the radio a little too loud for her liking. She had glanced at Jake in the rearview mirror a few times, rolling her eyes at her wife’s antics, causing their son to chuckle.

 

They finally made it there and after searching for a parking spot for a good 5 minutes, Jake barely waited until the car was stopped to get out. At some point during their journey, the sun had dipped behind the clouds leaving the sky cloudy and dull.

 

“It’s so cold, you’re gonna freeze in those shorts.” Beca told Jake as she passed him his water bottle, locking up the car.

 

“Nonsense,” Chloe said with a frown, “It’s a beautiful day!” 

 

Beca had lost count of how many times she had heard that phrase come from the teacher's mouth in the last few years, but it made her smile a little every time. She would never let Chloe know that, though, as that would of course show that she had actual emotion, something she still wasn’t fond of admitting.

 

Just outside of the stadium, a man in a striped uniform greeted them with a kind smile, glancing down at a sheet of paper.

 

“Jacob Mitchell?”

 

Jake nodded his head with a smile, clutching his water bottle with one hand and holding out his other arm so the man could tie on a ‘PLAYER’ wristband. 

 

“That’s everybody then,” the man told them and Beca felt a little ashamed at the news that they were the last ones to arrive. Punctuality had never been one of her strong suits, “If you just follow the arrows on the walls you’ll be able to make your way straight onto the pitch for a warm up. Moms, the bleachers are just left through the doors.”

 

Beca watched as Chloe thanked the man and shot him an award winning smile, the kind that made everybody want to be her friend. She had known her for almost a decade and still had no idea how Chloe had such exquisite people skills. She was way better than she used to be before her wife came into her life but even then, the thought of small talk with strangers made her want to scream. 

 

Fortunately, Jake had taken after Chloe in that department in the years he had grown up around her. Beca had watched him slowly change from a nervous young boy with little interest in new people, to a kid who seemed to have a new friend around to hang out every week.

 

With the kind man's directions, the three of them made their way through the doors, reaching the place where their paths split until after the game.

 

“Are you nervous?” Chloe asked Jake gently.

 

Beca could see the cogs turn in his brain until he admitted to it with a small nod. Her boy often hid his emotions to appear confident, much like his mom, but Chloe’s sweet tone made it practically impossible to lie to her. She always managed to make everybody be the truest version of themself. It was the Chloe Mitchell way.

 

“I know it sounds pretty nerve wracking to be against the older kids, but you’re gonna be fine little monster. Do as coach says and things will run smooth as butter,” Chloe reassured as she basically sang the last part of her sentence. She kissed her son on the forehead and fixed the jersey which had slightly fallen from his shoulder.

 

“Your mom’s right. You’re gonna be awesome, my guy.” Beca announced, ruffling Jacob’s brown hair. She had no idea when she had started using the grown up nickname for her son, but every time it slipped out she caught the grin that overtook his face.

 

He pulled both the women in for a hug and Beca squeezed him as tight as possible before watching him run onto the pitch as he shouted one last “Love you moms!”

 

“He’s getting so big.”

 

“Don’t you dare.”

 

Beca knew that Chloe felt the same way about their boy entering his awkward teenage years some time ago. They had a conversation about it a few weeks back when the teacher came to her sobbing about having to buy him his first can of deodorant. And Beca wouldn’t even allow herself to understand how Jake's voice sometimes cracked as it was slowly dropping. They weren’t too shy to admit to themselves that they missed their little boy and couldn't help but mourn the cuddly co-dependent stage, but the person he was growing up to be was pretty darn cool too. Every milestone he hit felt like a kiss on the knuckles and a punch to the face. 

 

They settled on the bleachers far enough back that they were pretty much isolated, but still had a perfect view of the pitch below to watch the game. Beca had hated sports since she was a kid, but watching their son score his first goal had flipped a switch inside of her and she now loved attending his games.

 

Chloe loved to tease her by saying she only liked it because people saw the name ‘Mitchell’ on his back whenever he made a good play and yeah, maybe it was a part of it but it wasn’t all of it. She was also just really proud of her son. 

 

Soon enough, the team they were going to be playing against came out of the locker room and both Beca and Chloe instinctively grimaced.

 

Some of the boys looked like fully grown men. 

 

Beca hadn’t seen this much unshaved mustache hair and leg muscle since high school. The chances of Jacobs' team winning seemed slimmer with every player that walked onto the field.

 

She caught her son’s eye right across the pitch and could see the uncertain look on his face as he stood in line with his team, but his posture remained tall and confident. She gave him a reassuring nod, which he returned.

 

“They better not play dirty,” Beca muttered, nervously playing with her wedding ring. “They’re just kids, for fuck’s sake.”

 

Chloe took her hand and gave it a firm squeeze. “It’ll be fine. Ref’s there for a reason.”

 

                                                                  -------------

 

The game had only been on the way for roughly ten minutes out of 60 before one of the older boys had tackled one of Jake’s teammates so roughly that the boy had started crying. Beca could see this not going well.

 

“Yellow card!” she shouted angrily, before ducking down in her seat as parents turned to look at her.

 

Chloe laughed.

 

“It’s a kid’s soccer game not the world cup.” She teased, and Beca rolled her eyes with a huff.

 

“Doesn’t mean it can’t still be fair.” She argued.

 

The boy ended up being sent off the pitch for the move and instead of substituting, the team played a man down as a punishment. Beca could tell the referee saw an unfair age and size advantage in the team too, as he seemed to be extra diligent with his whistle whenever the boys got too rough.

 

Beca watched her boy with the ball, dribbling it effortlessly around the other teams players, a look of pure concentration on his face. He kicked it hard, a little over ten feet from the goal and it went straight into the top corner, missing the goalkeeper's hands by a mile. 

 

Their side of the bleachers erupted with cheers, Beca dazzled with pride as she and Chloe shot thumbs up at their boy, clapping along with the other parents. She had absolutely no idea where her son’s athletic streak had come from as she couldn’t so much as do a handstand, and the only sport his dad was capable of was running away. 

 

“He is awesome!” Chloe exclaimed, clutching the edge of her seat as her eyes were glued on Jake.

 

Beca took the opportunity to say something dumb. Obviously.

 

“Duh, he gets it from me.”

 

Chloe rolled her eyes, shoving Beca gently with her shoulder as a smile played on her lips, “You’re not funny, Mitchell.”

 

“Don't lie.”

 

Chloe placed a chaste kiss on Beca’s lips, which somehow gave the producer the same feeling inside as their first passion filled make out session under the stars. She glanced back over at her wife, who’s eyes were back on the game and felt a familiar wave of content wash over her. Since she was a kid she had never seen life as being easy. Her asshole father, inability to connect with people and general distaste for life had meant she struggled to understand how people sat back and enjoyed living. That was until she met the teacher. Loving Chloe was easy. 

 

“Your son has scored two goals in five minutes and you’re not even paying attention.”

 

Beca was snapped out of her thoughts by Chloe’s light scald, her eyes snapping back to the pitch where Jake’s teammates were shaking his hand and patting him on the back after his second goal.

 

 Yeah, her son was awesome. 

 

The next forty minutes of the game ran smoothly, the score in the last ten minutes evening itself out 3-3, which was pretty impressive considering the age and experience difference between the teams. Everybody was on edge and Beca could barely feel her hand due to how tightly Chloe was gripping onto it. Who knew teenage soccer games could be so intense.

 

“I don’t like how close that kid is to Jake.” Chloe muttered uncertainty, pointing out a huge boy who was shadowing their son’s every move.

 

Beca felt nervous, and it was like the two of them knew something was going to happen because seconds later the boy barrelled into Jake full force, knocking him into the dirt. Both women stood up instinctively, and Beca wanted nothing more than to run down onto the pitch and scoop her son into her arms but she stood still, gauging the situation. 

 

Jake groaned in pain and held his hand up against his forehead, where Beca could just about make out a trickle of blood. The crowd was silent.

 

She watched impatiently as the referee spoke in a hushed voice to the older boy, meanwhile Jake’s coach held an ice pack to his head. Soon enough, the younger boy was walked off the pitch and the game commenced without him. 

 

Hurriedly, Beca grabbed Chloe’s hand and the two of them ran back down the stairs where they almost bumped into Jake and his coach.

 

“Is he okay?” Beca spat out, immediately tilting Jake’s chin upwards to get a good look at the cut across the left of his forehead.

 

“Pretty deep cut, you might be best to take him to the emergency room just to be safe,” Coach said, placing a hand on Jake’s shoulder, “He took it like a champ though, and don't worry Mrs Mitchell, the boy from the other team will not be getting off without a scolding.”

 

Beca nodded. She understood that the coach cared for his players, and at the end of the day he ultimately cannot control the game. Her brow was still furrowed with worry as she watched Chloe tentatively hold the ice to their son’s forehead.

 

“I’m sorry about this, Jacob is a great player. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without him.”

 

“It’s okay, it couldn't be helped.” Chloe reassured, “Get yourself back to the rest of the boys, we’ll take Jake to the ER and call later to let you know everything is okay.”

 

Jake’s soccer coach gave him a pat on the shoulder and shot the two moms a final apologetic glance, before racing back off to the pitch.

 

“You took quite the hit buddy.” Beca said, wrapping her arm around Jake as they walked back to the car, “That’s gonna leave a nasty scar.”

 

“Hey, maybe it’ll be my cool superhero origin story.” Jake replied with a small grin, adjusting the ice pack on his head.

 

The three of them laughed, Beca having no idea how her two favourite people always managed to bring light to even the worst situations. She often worried when Jake hurt himself, still to this day, as although he was big enough to look after himself now she still had that motherly instinct to nurse him back to health.

 

                                                                 --------------

 

The drive to the ER was quieter than the journey to the game, Beca was tapping the steering wheel nervously, glancing at Jake whilst Chloe sat in the back seat with him, holding the ice pack and repeatedly wiping the blood that was falling from his wound.

 

Their wait in the ER was fast, apparently not many people got injured at 7pm on a Tuesday evening. Soon enough they were being ushered into a room by a tired looking nurse.

 

“What happened young man?” She asked, her tone sharp and bored. Beca didn’t like the way she was looking at her son over the top of her glasses.

 

“I was playing soccer and one of the bigger kids kicked me down.” 

 

“Ah. Sports wound. Typical.” The nurse muttered, jotting something down on her notepad.

 

Beca rolled her eyes, “What’s that supposed to mean?” She asked venomously. Quite frankly, she didn't have time for this ladies shit. She had dealt with professionals with an attitude her entire career, working in a recording studio really showed you how insincere most people were. She could barely stand people chastising her, nevermind her son who had done nothing wrong.

 

She felt Chloe place a gentle hand on her bicep, an action the woman often did to calm her down. With all of that angst in Beca, she often needed Chloe to neutralise a situation.

 

“Just that teen boys often come in from sports games, that’s all ma’am.” 

 

Beca could sense the fake niceness in her voice, but chose to sit back quietly for her wife and son’s sake whilst the nurse checked Jake’s cut.

 

She pulled some grass from around the wound with tweezers and washed it with something that Beca thought smelled like a rough night of her senior year in high school. The room was warm and filled with all sorts of emergency medical equipment, Beca hated it. She had always hated the ER, hospitals and any medical building, they had an awful atmosphere.

 

“He should be fine, it’s not deep enough for stitches so a gauze should do. It needs replacing twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening for the next two days. By then it should be fine to just wash regularly.” The nurse finally explained as she covered the injury with a large band aid and stuck a gauze to his head.

 

Chloe muttered a polite thank you as the nurse handed her a pack of gauzes, completely ignoring Beca which boiled her blood further.

 

“Dumbass.” Beca hissed as soon as they were out of earshot, grabbing her keys out of her pocket forcefully.

 

“At least she got the job done,” Chloe offered positively, “I was worried he would need stitches. I had them in my leg when I fell off my swing set in third grade. Hurt like a bitch.”

 

“How do you fall off a swing set bad enough to need stitches?” Jake teased in response and Chloe bumped him playfully with her hip.

 

“Watch yourself young man.” 

 

Beca snickered at their little interaction. Recently her son had been using sarcasm like it was going out of fashion, but unlike most kids he used it mostly respectfully. His little comments often had Beca laughing and although she hated to admit it, he was the funniest in the family. One thing she definitely liked more about her grown up son was the new ability to make jokes that he would actually understand. 

 

“Can we get Taco Bell?” Jake asked from the back seat as soon as they hit the road, catching Chloe’s eye in the mirror hopefully. Beca knew that their son always went to Chloe when he was asking for something, because the chance of her wife saying yes was much higher.

 

“I suppose. You deserve it after those two awesome goals.” 

 

Chloe was right, Jake had played super well despite what had happened. 

 

They pulled into the drive through and ordered their meal, Beca going with the exact same burrito and fries she had ordered since she was Jake’s age. Chloe ordered something different every single time and it absolutely baffled Beca, but when she asked her about it the teacher had spouted something about expanding her palette and testing her taste buds and she got bored pretty quickly. 

 

“I think Parker will be sad that we didn’t get him anything.” Jake’s voice came from the backseat as he clutched his taco.

 

“Parker doesn’t have to know we got fast food.” Chloe reassured.

 

Beca rolled her eyes, “Parker is a dog. He doesn’t have a single conscious thought.”

 

Chloe’s brow furrowed and she looked at the producer with a look of betrayal, “He does! I swear I saw him cry a real tear yesterday when I put his favourite blanket in the laundry.”

 

Her family was absolutely crazy. 

 

                                                                -----------------

 

By the time they got back home it was nearly 8:30pm, meaning they had been out almost four hours so Parker was more than excited to see them, running circles around them like a herding dog. 

 

“Hi Parker! Have you been a good boy? You’re so sweet!”

 

Beca watched as Jake dropped to his knees and fussed at their dog like he was still a tiny pup, scratching him behind the ear and kissing his nose. The pair had been absolutely inseparable since the day they brought him home, his little bed being ditched in a matter of days as he always ended up curling himself up at the foot of Jake’s bed instead. Back then, Beca thought getting a dog was too much of a responsibility for them, but their son proved to be a wonderful owner, taking Parker on walks every day and spending his pocket money on toys and treats. 

 

“Do you wanna feed Parker his dinner and then we can finish your school project? It's due tomorrow, right?” Chloe suggested as she hung her coat on the back of the door, kicking her shoes off.

 

Chloe absolutely adored her job at the school but Beca knew she missed Jake being there with her. His transition to middle school meant that she went to and from work alone as he took the bus with the rest of the kids, and Chloe wasn’t great at being by herself. Just after he had left the school, Chloe had occupied herself in her spare time by taking up art. The amount of times Beca came home from the studio to a new quirky painting on the wall increased over time, until their spare room became a little art room for Chloe’s creations. It also meant that when it came to school projects, the teacher was able to offer Jake her expertise. Beca left that to them.

 

She opened her laptop as Jake spooned a can of dog food into Parker’s bowl, collapsing on the couch and covering her ears with her chunky headphones. It was like slipping into her own world and she felt happy that she had music as an escape whenever she felt like it. 

 

The next hour passed quickly as Beca perfected a mix for Allen, a sample from a new artist that he had trusted only her with. Every so often she glanced at Chloe and Jake sat at the dining table with Jake’s art project which she had forgotten the theme of.

 

“Hey mom, we’re finished! Come see!”

 

It was 9:30 and Beca could hear the tiredness in Jake’s voice. She saved her mix and placed her laptop on the coffee table, swerving around the couch to see what the pair had created.

 

The project was a huge sheet of paper with a centre line of ‘Things that inspire me’. Jake had created pictures of his favourite superheroes, soccer players, something that vaguely resembled Parker and right at the top of the page an amazing painting of the three of them. 

 

She was amazed.

 

It was clear that Chloe had helped a lot with the stencils, but from the paint splattered up Jake’s arms Beca could tell he had painted everything himself. He had used newspaper clippings from his soccer teams matches; dried pressed flowers from their walks in the country; and old cut up polaroids to decorate the page. He had only recently decided to join the art classes his school offered for extra credit and this was the first piece assigned to them, an icebreaker to get to know each other. He would be moving to high school soon and wanted the best track record for extracurriculars possible. Although she recounted Jake telling her it was lame and he was way too old to be making something like that, it looked absolutely incredible.

 

“Dude this is awesome, seriously I’m so impressed.”

 

“Mom helped a lot.” Jake said bashfully, putting the paintbrush into the mug of water. He was the most humble person ever, he never liked to make a fuss about his achievements and so Beca and Chloe always liked to do it for him. Because let's face it, their kid was pretty cool.

 

“Your teacher is gonna be so pleased with this, good job little man,” Beca said, pushing his hair back to kiss his forehead, “Go clean yourself up and get ready for bed, me and mom will tidy everything up.”

 

Jake nodded, racing off to the bathroom to wash the paint from his hands. Beca used to pretend she hated running around after toddler Jake but sometimes she missed having to hold him up so he could reach the sink, or helping him choose what bath toys he wanted to play with. The day he had told Chloe he didn’t need her to help him in the bath anymore because he could do it all himself was pretty upsetting for the both of them. On the bright side, they hadn’t had to call a maintenance guy in a while to fix the water dripping through the ceiling after those eventful games of splash. 

 

“You’re the best helper Mrs Mitchell, but where’s all your extra credit for this?” Beca asked Chloe, nodding to the collage as she wrapped her arms around her wife’s waist.

 

“The smile on our boys face when we create something wonderful together is the only extra credit I need.”

 

Of course she had to say something cheesy, Beca thought. She kissed the teacher on the lips gently, brushing a strand of hair away and tucking it behind her ear.

 

“Sometimes I think you love him way more than you love me.” She teased.

 

“Maybe.” Chloe shot back with a smirk, quirking her eyebrow as she pulled away to start collecting the trash from the table.

 

They cleaned the mess in a comfortable silence, the only sound being the water running in the bathroom as Jake brushed his teeth. Parker had fallen asleep on the couch, probably dreaming of tennis balls and digging holes in their back garden.

 

By the time the table was cleared and Jake’s artwork left drying on the kitchen counter, Beca was exhausted herself.

 

“I’m gonna shower.” Chloe told her, pecking her lips quickly before walking off down the hallway to the bathroom. 

 

A part of Beca hoped Jake was still awake, because she knew he would be feeling slightly bummed about not getting to finish the game. She knew her boy put his heart and soul into his soccer team and so this loss would be heavy on him. She felt the same whenever Allen disapproved of a mix she sent in.

 

She knocked gently on his bedroom door, waiting to hear permission to enter. As soon as this was granted by her son's voice, she slipped into the room, shutting the door quietly behind her.

 

Jake was sitting on his bed on top of the duvet, his soccer shorts still on his body but the green jersey strewn on the floor. His phone was open and Beca could make out the logo of his soccer club on the screen. 

 

“What are you up to dude?” She asked, sitting on the end of his bed. She glanced around his room, noticing a considerably scruffy looking Sharky perched on the top shelf, looking over the room. Petey sat on his bedside table, still protecting him from the monsters that life had to offer. 

 

“Apologising to the guys. I left them a man down.”

 

Beca could hear the disappointment in his voice. She was right.

 

“Hey, you did amazingly. You scored two goals and didn’t have to bail until the final ten minutes. What happened wasn’t your fault. Those other guys were much older than you.”

 

She scooted closer to him and gently touched the gauze covering his cut, “You could’ve gotten injured much worse from the force that boy used.”

 

Jake didn’t reply, instead looking down at his lap with his brow furrowed. Beca could tell he wasn’t convinced.

 

“Look at me,” She gently tilted his chin upwards, “You are awesome. Me and your mom are so proud of you and that team is lucky to have you playing for them. Don’t stress out over something that’s already happened. Be at the next game, and do your best. That’s all they can ask of you.”

 

Jake looked at her in the eyes for a second before wrapping his arms around her tightly.

 

She adored their family of three, but it was rare she shared a moment alone with her boy like when he was young. It was as though one day he still seeked her comfort and reassurance, and the next he was all grown up. It brought a tear to her eye. She placed a kiss on top of his head before pulling away, overwhelmed with emotion. 

 

“They probably won’t want you at the next game smelling like that. Make sure your kit goes in the laundry basket, not on the floor.” She scolded gently, raising an eyebrow at the jersey next to his bed before shooting him another grin. 

 

“Night mom.” 

 

“Goodnight my guy.”

 

She left his room and shut the door, making her way to her own bedroom where Chloe was drying her hair with a towel. Somehow the redhead still managed to look beautiful even sitting in her huge fishing shirt with wet hair and a makeupless face. 

 

“Is he okay?”

 

“He’s okay. I told him we’re proud of him.” Beca recalled as she changed into a band tee from when she was fifteen. The perks of not growing meant she could wear the same pyjamas forever. She wished Jake would stop growing because replacing his clothes every few months was costing them a fortune. 

 

“He did so well. That’s our boy.” Chloe replied, tying her hair up loosely and slipping between the sheets next to her. Her feet were cold, but Beca didn’t mind. 

 

“Aren't we lucky.” 

 

“The luckiest.” 

 

Beca sighed as Chloe cuddled beside her, the feeling of her wife’s strong arms around her being her favourite part of the day. Sharing this spontaneous little life with Chloe still made Beca feel like the luckiest person in the world- each adventure they went on took her back to that night when everything changed for the better. She hoped the day would never come that Jake was too old for their annual camping trip. 

 

“I love you.”

 

Chloe was already asleep, but the producer didn’t need to hear it back to know just how much the redhead truly treasured her. She made it obvious every day.