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Chloe was still crying when she felt Beca squeeze her.

“You’re crying for a good reason, right?” she mumbled into Chloe’s shoulder. “Like, you’re not upset?”

Chloe laughed as she tucked her head against Beca’s. She felt the producer press a kiss into the stiff fabric of her dress.

“I’m crying for a lot of reasons,” Chloe sighed as she released Beca’s hands so she could wipe under her eyes. “I don’t know if you realized, but there was, like, a lot going on tonight. For a while, actually, not just tonight”

She felt Beca nod before she pulled away. Chloe finally turned to face her, and - oh.

Beca was mid-laugh, blinking at the ceiling as she wiped at her cheeks. She wore less make-up, but that didn’t stop the limited eyeliner from smearing where the tears had spilled. Her eyes were still glistening, still a little pink, but the rich, dark colors were amplified tenfold with the recent tears. Chloe felt another wave of tears flood her eyes as she looked at her.

Beca cast a glance her way, rolling her eyes as she brought a thumb to Chloe’s eyes.

“We’re going to have to go back out there,” she gasped out. “I’m sorry. You were trying so hard to keep your make-up in tact.”

Chloe caught Beca’s hand, turning it so she could press a kiss into the brunette’s palm.

“Worth it,” she whispered, and Beca laughed as she curled her hand so she could squeeze Chloe’s fingers.

“Yeah,” Beca replied, slowly, with awe and something like sadness. She sighed, and Chloe couldn’t help but giggle in return.

“Seriously?” the redhead teased. “How are you already sad? Are we, like, not doing this? Because I don’t think-”

Beca didn’t let her finish.

She leaned forward quickly, pressing hard lips against Chloe’s but pulling away before Chloe could respond. She pulled her thumbnail to her mouth and smiled around it as Chloe blinked in surprise, opening her mouth to speak, then closing it as she fought against a smile.

Chloe shook her head, distinctly under the impression that the kiss was meant to be stolen, not given.

Beca huffed, swinging a leg over the piano bench and straddling it so she was facing Chloe completely.

“We’re doing this,” Beca said, then faltered.

“If you want to, I mean. I want to,” she followed up quickly, and Chloe was already nodding as she went on.

“But there’s a difference between, like, doing this, and, ya know, coming out of the closet at your album release party.”

Chloe adopted a serious face, and she saw Beca’s face fall.

“Beca… you’ve been out for years,” she said, but she was already laughing by the end of her joke. Beca shook her head.

“You’re a dork,” she teased, diving forward to steal another kiss from Chloe, but the redhead was ready this time.

She shot a hand up her neck, holding the back of the producer’s head as Beca tried to pull away. She relaxed into the kiss, and Chloe hummed happily.

Neither tried to deepen the kiss or change the angle. They just sat there, holding their lips together, and Chloe felt her smile mirrored on Beca’s lips.

She kept her eyes closed as she leaned out of the kiss. She felt Beca’s thumb on the corner of her mouth, and she opened her eyes. Beca’s eyes were twinkling as she regraded Chloe with a fair amount of concentration.

“Your lipgloss was smudged,” she said. Chloe laughed - a big, full belly laugh - and Beca cocked her head.

“Not so good for your rep now?” Chloe teased, and she saw Beca flush, rolling her eyes playfully.

“I’m sorry,” she chuckled. “I was such an ass. But to be fair, you’re really fun to tease.”

Chloe gasped, reaching out to smack Beca across the arm. But her would-be target caught the limb instead, grinning madly as she pulled Chloe towards her again. Her eyes dropped to Chloe’s lips, and Chloe’s tongue darted out to wet them before they kissed again.

Beca was the one humming this time, letting out a low, content noise that rumbled through Chloe’s chest, and Chloe felt herself turning to face her fully, pushing forward, opening her mouth to try to-

Beca groaned as she pressed Chloe back, laying a hand against Chloe’s bare sternum.

“I can’t-” she started, then she huffed out a laugh as Chloe swung her leg over the bench. Chloe reached for her, and Beca smacked her hands away.

Seriously,” she warned, and Chloe sighed. “With you in that dress, in this room… I’ll get us both in trouble.”

“It’s sound-proofed, we’ll be fine,” Chloe tried, leaning forward again, but Beca only laughed as she held Chloe at arm’s length.

“Let me take you out this week, like a date,” the producer said, and Chloe finally sat up. Immediately, her face fell, and she chewed on her lip as Beca watched her.

“I have rehearsals tomorrow and, like, all next week,” she sighed. “And normally it wouldn’t be a big deal, but next weekend is the start of Coachella, and the band’s coming, so they’re not letting us leave, like, at all. Residual’s even bringing us food, for lunches and dinners, I guess, and-”

Beca brought a knuckle up to the corner Chloe’s mouth again, and Chloe took a deep breath as she leaned into where the rest of Beca’s fingers rested against her chin.

“I’ll come by,” Beca promised. “Tomorrow. We’ll find time. We’ll make it work.”

Chloe smiled and nodded, only forcing one more kiss on the brunette before Beca hoisted her up, off the piano bench. Beca told Chloe she’d wait, so Chloe stepped out first, stopping by the bathroom to touch up her make-up before returning to the party.

If anyone noticed that she had disappeared, they didn’t say anything when she returned. Well, except Fat Amy, who supplied the redhead with two more shots, demanding that she “skull a beer” with her after. Chloe laughed and took the shots, waving off the beer when Amy produced two comically large drafts.

Beca came back out to the party too, and Chloe watched, shocked, as she pulled some journalists aside to give them a comment. Chloe tried to celebrate with her team, but she found herself watching Beca as the producer laughed as she answered whatever questions she was asked.

And it didn’t hurt that, every time Beca would glance over and catch Chloe watching, she’d smile bigger.

The Bellas took over in the main seating area, holding court on both couches and all of the chairs as Fat Amy set up a game of quarters that Chloe would absolutely not be playing. She leaned into Stacie, giggling drunkenly as the party happened around her.

“Well, Bellas, I have to head out.”

Chloe opened her eyes to see Beca standing on the periphery of their group, at the end of the couch by Aubrey and Jessica.

“You’re leaving?” Chloe pouted, and she got up to stand, but Stacie held her still when Beca shot the taller brunette a look.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Chlo,” she murmured, glancing around to see if anyone was listening. No one who mattered was listening, but The Bellas were, and the group burst into teasing coo’s and aw’s at the gentle tone.

Aubrey glanced down the couch at Chloe, who was watching Beca with heart eyes and her lip tucked between her teeth, and she stood up next to the producer. Even with Beca in boots, Aubrey had considerable height on her. Beca stood up straighter as she steadfastly looked up into Aubrey’s eyes.

The blonde offered her a hand, and Beca took it.

“Thank you for your service,” Aubrey said.

“Uh- yeah,” Beca stuttered in reply. “Sure, dude, of course.”

The blonde pulled her closer, leaning down and whispering something in Beca’s ear, and the producer’s eyes widened. Aubrey leaned back, and Beca coughed awkwardly.

“Right,” she said, then she turned to Chloe again, but the redhead was already shouting across the room.

“Did you threaten her?” she asked loudly, and Stacie clamped down on her arm harder, giggling. She reached for Chloe’s drink and tried to shove it towards her mouth, but Chloe brushed it away.

“Don’t worry about it, Becs, she does that to all of my-”

“So we’ll see you tomorrow?” Fat Amy cut in loudly. “Good, okay, bye!”

The group laughed, and Beca shot a wink towards Amy before smiling at Chloe once more.

Then, she turned to make a hasty retreat towards the back stairs.

“Wait, I wanna go say bye,” Chloe pouted to Stacie. The leggy brunette just laughed, offering Chloe her drink again, and she actually took it this time.

“Yeah, that’s not the story we want out tonight,” Stacie replied. Chloe huffed petulantly.

“Buuuut, if you’re finally drunk and happy enough to tell me about the car sex...”

Chloe giggled around her straw, taking a big drink before leaning forward, whisper-screaming, “Well first of all, thank you for making me wear that skirt, because-”

Aubrey cut her off with a shrill hum, and the pair dissolved into giggles.

And Chloe knew that tomorrow’s rehearsal would be awful, that she’d probably be hungover and tired, but right then, she didn’t care.

And she’d be fine anyway.

Because Beca would be there.

*****

Hungover Chloe was actively trying out-drink the rehearsal space’s water supply when she heard the main door open. She turned quickly, ready to yell at them to get out, but Fat Amy beat her to it.

“If that isn’t a man selling churros, you’re going to have to leave,” she called across the room, laying flat on the ground. She lifted her head, cracked one eye, and added, “at least to get some churros, then you can come back.”

“I brought donuts,” Beca replied back. “Does that count for anything?”

The women swarmed the producer, who let out a small grunt as she tried to fend them off. She looked like her regular old badass Beca self, with a black plaid flannel over ripped skinny jeans. She had a low-cut tank top on, and her hair was down, with the pieces that typically hung around her face tucked behind her ears.

Chloe would’ve felt embarrassed in her neon workout top and matching shorts, if Beca wasn’t so blatantly checking her out.

Although that wasn’t what Chloe heard CR teasing her about as she walked up slowly.

“You know it’s almost noon,” the buxom woman said as she pulled the box away, opening it for the group, and Beca scoffed.

You’re welcome,” she said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. “It’s early for me, okay?”

“We’re going to have to work on that,” Chloe said with a wink as she plucked a sugar-covered donut from the box.

“Oh, we will, will we?” Beca shot back, and Chloe hummed affirmatively as she went to suck the sugar off of her thumb. She watched Beca watch as her lips wrapped around the top digit, and the producer rolled her tongue over her lips.

“Yeah, okay,” she said breathlessly. “I can get up early.”

“Okay, Bellas, break’s over,” Aubrey shouted, stepping between Chloe and Beca, interrupting their eye-line. Chloe darted her head around the blonde, but Aubrey stepped back in the way. “Finish the donuts, then back to the front of the room. Thank you, Beca, but-”

“I’d like to stay,” Beca cut her off. “I think that’s, like, fair? Right? I can help?”

Chloe watched as Aubrey squinted, turning to look at Beca’s open, encouraging expression, then sighed as she turned back to the singers.

“Fine,” she agreed, and Chloe saw Beca grin widely. She bit her lip as she smiled, and Beca winked at her as Aubrey kept talking.

The room got quiet, and suddenly Beca looked away.

“What?” she asked.

Chloe bit into her donut as she looked around the room too, seeing half of the eyes on her, and half on Beca. Stacie started laughing, and Chloe shot her a quizzical look. Then Jessica and Ashley joined, and Chloe saw CR shake her head.

Aubrey huffed loudly.

“I said, ‘you can stay as long as you aren’t a distraction’,” she sighed. Beca went to speak, but no words came out as she looked at the other women, most of whom were quietly giggling now.

But when her eyes landed on Chloe, she just melted into a smile again.

Chloe smiled back, then held up a finger. She forced the large bite of donut down before turning to Aubrey.

“We’ll be on our best behavior,” she said faux-solemnly. “I promise, I won’t even picture her naked that much.”

“Chloe!”

The room erupted in laughter at Beca’s outburst, and Chloe giggled as she pushed the last bit of donut into her mouth.

And for some reason, she didn’t feel hung over anymore.

The headache stayed away all afternoon as Chloe watched Beca watch them rehearse. She didn’t mess up any vocals too bad, but she did take a few extra beats to throw more hip into a few of the sexier dance moves, and Beca definitely noticed. Aubrey tried to get Beca to contribute some input a few times, but after Beca refused the third time, the manager gave up.

Chloe figured if Beca had something to say, she would.

But that was before she flipped her hair, running a hand between her breasts and tossing a wink at the producer as Beca leaned forward in her chair, hands on her knees and lip caught between her teeth.

And then, Chloe figured that if Beca had something to say, she’d probably save it for later.

It was after seven when they wrapped with the band, and the tour team told them that they could be done for the night. They’d meet the next day, take Sunday off, then rehearse all next week too.

Residual’s people would need to be at Coachella all day Friday through Sunday, but they still wanted The Bellas to rehearse for the acoustic set they’d perform on Saturday, including the covers and a few extra songs in case they needed a fill-in at the small bar venue off to the side of the main stages.

The women wanted to go to the shows, but when they asked, Residual’s tour coordinator said they only had enough extra passes for everyone for the second weekend.

And then they’d go on tour.

So in the mean time, they would practice and practice and practice.

“They’re working you guys hard,” Beca said as Chloe walked with her out to her car. “That’s good. I’m glad some of these guys work as hard as I do.”

Chloe nodded as she chewed on her lip. She had Beca’s leather jacket thrown around her shoulders, but she still shivered nervously. She wanted to ask something kind of serious, but they were in, like, a semi-public place, and she didn’t know if Beca would be upset.

But she was never able to keep a thought to herself - especially the important ones - so she heard herself asking anyway.

“And you don’t care, that they know? About us?” Chloe blurted. Quietly, but still, the words tumbled out as a hushed shout.

Beca chuckled, wrapping an arm around her as she pulled her against the side of the car. Chloe’s back met the hard surface as Beca fell into her, and she squeaked in surprise.

“No,” she hummed. “I don’t care.”

She leaned, capturing Chloe’s lips soundly, and Chloe smiled into the kiss.

And then a flash went off.

They both turned, shielding their eyes and blinking as another bright light clicked on.

“Beca! Who’s the new girl?” someone shouted, and Chloe kept her hand up as she tried to see anything besides the light that was shining from around the back corner of Beca’s car.

Where she had expected Beca to tense up in her arms, or get upset and try to explain herself, Chloe was shocked when she saw Beca looking at her.

Her expression was exasperated - frustrated, for sure - but when Chloe met her eye, she smiled, pulling the lapels of the jacket she’d lent Chloe and pressing a kiss against Chloe’s nose.

“No comment,” she said, but she never took her eyes off Chloe.

Chloe smiled a small, secret smile, and she leaned forward to whisper against Beca’s cheek.

“Can we get out of here?”

Beca nodded, and Chloe felt it against her cheek, and she giggled. Beca led her around the car, and the light followed them the whole time. The guy behind the camera kept asking questions, but Beca ignored them all as she opened the door for Chloe and ushered her in.

Then, she walked around the car and got in herself.

“Where to?”

Chloe looked up from her phone, where she had sent a quick I’ll see you guys tomorrow text and was now receiving a slew of inappropriate gifs and emojis, and she found Beca grinning at her. She hummed noncommittally.

“We could go to the club,” she said, and Beca laughed loudly.

“Or, we could go to your place?” she asked hopefully (or, at least, “hopefully,” as in, “hopefully not too desperately”.)

Beca rolled her lips in an attempt to hide her smile as she nodded, pushing the start button as the SUV roared to life.

The light was still in her window, meaning the camera was still on them, but, after shifting into reverse, Beca reached over, pulling Chloe’s hand to her mouth and kissing it.

And Chloe knew that, eventually, as they drove away from the light, the glow would fade, but she swore Beca’s eyes never stopped shining as they drove all the way across town, up to the fancy houses that were tucked into the side of the hill. But Chloe gaped as passed the mansions, driving further away, up into the dark as they wound their way up a hill.

“I, uh, I haven’t had company in a while,” Beca hedged as she slowed down, turning off the hill into one of the side roads. It looped down, and around, and Chloe couldn’t see the any of the houses through the dark.

“What, no one since Kalina?” Chloe teased, but she heard the way her tone was just a little clipped, her words slightly pointed and jagged.

“Aha, no,” Beca replied. She hit a button on the roof of the car, and the whole driveway lit up in front of Chloe as a private gate rolled away. She saw a modest, two-car garage that was opening in time with the gate, and - on the edge of the light pool - she could see a light blue wall of what looked like a one-story house.

“I haven’t brought a girl here in - god - years,” Beca laughed, and Chloe frowned. “Jesse came over last week, but I’m pretty sure that was to make sure I didn’t accidentally kill myself.”

“Did I overstep?” Chloe asked. “I shouldn’t have asked to come here, that was too much, wasn’t it?”

Beca pulled into the garage and killed the engine. She lolled her head to the side and gave Chloe a skeptical look.

“If you didn’t ask, I would’ve invited you,” she said. “Just because I never had Cara or Taylor over - Cara Delevingne, obviously, or Taylor Swi-”

Chloe leaned over the center console and cut Beca off with a kiss. She swiped her tongue against Beca’s lip, and Beca canted forward, but Chloe pulled away.

She nuzzled Beca’s cheek as she giggled.

“You already got me, Becs. You don’t need to name-drop.”

“I wasn’t-”

Chloe laughed, fully leaning back and opening her car door as she nearly stumbled out of the car. She felt drunk, or like a little kid. Free and happy and careless, and light, like she could float away if she wasn’t tethered to this moment of happiness.

Beca came grumbling around the car, and even that made Chloe smile wider.

“I wasn’t name-dropping. They’re, like, my friends,” the producer mumbled as she passed Chloe, and Chloe threw her arms around her.

“I know,” Chloe replied, even though it didn’t seem like Beca was really talking to her. “I’m sorry for teasing you.”

Beca leaned back into Chloe’s embrace, and Chloe closed her eyes, savoring the feel of Beca’s body against hers.

It was funny, looking back, that either of them tried to stop this from happening.

On this side of things, it felt inevitable that they’d be together.

Beca sighed, stepping forward, and Chloe went with her, clinging like a koala.

“I’m going to go in,” Beca said over her shoulder, and Chloe shrugged against her.

“Yeah, let’s go,” she replied, and she felt laughter bubble up through Beca’s chest. They waddled up the few steps, and they leaned down together so Beca could open the door.

“It’s messy,” Beca said as she pushed the door open. She used what limited section of arm she was allowed to flip the switch next to the cabinet, and warm light flooded the space around them.

Beca continued into the space, but Chloe stopped into the doorway.

Immediately, the whole space just felt so Beca.

They were standing in the kitchen, which had dark, dark grey cabinets with marbled countertops. The counter wrapped around and separated the kitchen from the adjoining living room, decorated with black furniture. A worn wooden floor - skinny planks, and Chloe wondered idly if they were original - gave way to plush white carpet, which was offset by mid grey walls.

And Beca wasn’t really lying - the kitchen counters had takeout containers and dirty dishes, along with a smattering of mail - but that wasn’t where Chloe’s eye went.

No, that went to the windows.

There were huge windows, along the wall of the kitchen and stretching around the corner, to the end of the room. Windows that opened out over a short deck, then further, over the valley that sparkled with the lights of the city.

They weren’t all the way up the hill, but they were high enough that Los Angeles lay out below them. It wasn’t close, but with the night around them, the twinkling lights were unmistakable.

“It was, like, the first house I looked at when I decided to buy,” Beca explained as she began gathering containers and shoving them in the trash. “There’s another bedroom downstairs, but I made that into a studio at the start of quarantine, so I’m just glad I don’t have anyone in my life that I like enough to invite out here…”

Chloe put a hand on Beca’s shoulder, stilling her movements, and the producer glanced over her shoulder at the redhead.

And Chloe knew what expression she was wearing.

It was the awe-inspired, teary-eyed, wide-smile one.

“It’s the most Beca-filled place I’ve ever seen,” she whispered, and Beca dropped her mug back on the counter as she turned in Chloe’s arms.

Chloe crowded her against the counter, pressing a hard kiss against Beca’s lips, opening slightly when the producer whined into her mouth. Corners still turned up in a slight smile, Chloe slanted her mouth over Beca’s, humming as Beca followed, tilting her head to meet Chloe’s every move.

Chloe let her tongue sneak through her lips, and she knew Beca felt it when the brunette’s lips parted. Liquid heat seared a line through Chloe’s chest as she surged into Beca’s mouth, claiming it with a curled tongue and a vibrating, strangled moan. Her hands tightened on Beca’s hips, and she felt Beca roll against them.

Beca pulled her head back, and Chloe allowed them to part, albeit unwillingly. She opened her eyes to see Beca still had hers closed.

“So do you want the tour now, or…?”

Chloe smiled as she leaned back in, lifting one of her hands to curl up Beca’s neck, under her curtain of dark locks, so she could pull Beca back to her.

“I’m okay,” Chloe murmured against her lips, and Beca hummed contentedly. “Although there is one room I’d like to see.”

“Is that so?” Beca giggled against her lips.

But then Chloe was the one who leaned back.

“Oh my gosh,” she sighed, dropping her head to Beca’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, we should, like, talk. You just get me so-”

She moaned roughly, tightening the hand on Beca’s hip, and she felt Beca laugh beneath her.

“We could talk-” Beca said, pushing Chloe back and grabbing her hand as she led her through her space.

“-about how Something in the Water is already a gold single, and it’s expected to go platinum or better,” she continued, reaching behind herself blindly for the door.

“Or about how you’re going to be Beca Mitchell’s newest conquest tomorrow.”

“Or about how I’m leaving in two weeks,” Chloe said, and Beca had turned, but now she stopped with hand on the door, stopped herself from pushing it open.

She turned around as she sucked in a deep breath. Chloe saw Beca’s pupils were blown out, almost black with lust, but she had her eyebrows pulled up with sadness.

“Yeah,” she blew out. “We could talk about that. Or-”

She pushed behind her, opening the door into the room behind her.

“-we could not.”

And Chloe wasn’t really sure what she was expecting out of Beca’s room, but as she stepped into what was basically a modified version of her real office at Residual, she wasn’t surprised.

The windows wrapped Beca’s room too, somehow showing even more of the LA skyline across another section of deck. The green headboard of the bed was interrupted by an insanely plush white comforter that was bundled like Beca had left it when she got out of bed that morning, and Chloe guessed that she probably had. There were dark grey sheets under it, with purple and grey striped pillows everywhere.

Off to the side, Chloe could see a record player and a smaller collection of albums, and a couple of doors that she could assume were a closet and a bathroom, but for the second time tonight, that wasn’t where she was looking.

But this time, it was because that it wasn’t where Beca was leading her.

Chloe let herself be pulled towards the bed, because it was easier than thinking about how she was going to leave.

She followed Beca across the room, because she’d follow Beca anywhere.

And when the brunette stopped at the edge of the bed, standing with her legs against it, and paused, just long enough that Chloe noticed that - again, and hopefully for the last time - Beca was giving her an out, Chloe decided that she was okay with talking later.

Because she had something more exciting to do right now.