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//

It's hard letting go
I'm finally at peace, but it feels wrong

//

Jesse is perfect. He’s got a boyish grin and warm eyes. Big, warm, brown eyes that are so welcoming that a simple look is like being hugged. And Beca loves him. She does. She does. Beca Mitchell is in love with Jesse Swanson.

He’s sweet and kind and he always looks out for her. He brings movies over – even if she doesn’t like them – when she doesn’t feel like going out. He brings her coffees after long days of work.

And she’s broody, sarcastic and slightly pessimistic, but she loves him. So she sits through his movies and talks to him about them afterwards (sometimes). She makes him cereal (as that’s the only thing she knows how to make without burning her entire apartment building down) before he wakes up on lazy Sunday mornings.

They love each other and they basically live with each other. I mean, Jesse does have his own apartment, but he goes to Beca’s after work and he lounges there with her on weekends, he stays over most of the time anyway – she doesn't know why, but she's never asked him to move in and he never brings it up, which is fine by her, really.

Despite all that, Beca can’t really see where their relationship is going, they’ve been going strong since his last year in college, two years ago. The relationship is just there. He hasn’t proposed nor moved in. She hasn't either. They love each other. It is perfect as it is and Beca’s fine with it all.

The short brunette is a small music producer and DJ, she has a decent sized apartment, a loving boyfriend, and she's content in the family side of things (she doesn’t give a flying fuck about her parents, so their problems don't concern her and hers don't concern them).

Her life is perfect without change.

That’s why it’s a surprise when she strides out of her elevator without looking up from her phone and collides right into a huge ass cardboard box in the middle of the hallway. Change. She's not used to that. She frowns, scrambling to pick up her phone felk into the box of… oh. Okay.

“Hey! What are you doing?” The voice hollers from behind her and she jerks up, phone in hand and eyes wide.

“I dropped my phone in your box, I swear I wasn’t stealing your… things.” Beca clears her throat, face beet red and knuckles white. “You also might want to keep your box of things shut... or something.”

The girl has the decency to look mildly embarrassed when she realizes what those things actually are. “Right,” she agrees wholeheartedly, nodding and closing the box, doing so without an ounce of shame after seemingly dropping any hint of embarassment. She turns to face Beca with a megawatt grin. “I’m Chloe, by the way.”

Beca nods, offering a hand out, only to be pushed back by an entire body. Why is it hugging her? Get it off. Why is she referring to her new neighbour as an it? “Um, Beca.” Pause. “Can you, like, get off me?”

Chloe obliges. “Well, nice to meet you, Beca. Do you live on this floor?” 

“Yeah, I do. This one actually.” She squirms further away from the eccentric girl and points to the door opposite the open door that Chloe had previously emerged from.

Chloe claps her hands and beams. “We’re across-neighbours!”

Jesus, Beca's sure this girl's an ex-cheerleader or something. “Yeah… Great. I’m just going to go now.”

The stunning redhead slants her head, giving Beca's arm a squeeze and twirling around to her own door. “I have a feeling we’re going to be fast friends, Beca.”

Beca doesn’t respond, instead, she smiles awkwardly and slams the door in Chloe’s face.

“Becaw! Did you see our new neighbour?” Jesse calls from the sofa, hand raised and gripping a spoon. Beca doesn’t notice how he says ‘our’ instead of ‘your’. “Also, have you watched Titanic? Actually, no, I know the answer to that. Sit your butt down.”

Huffing, Beca kicks her shoes off and drops her bags on the kitchen floor. She snags a bag of chips from the bowl on the counter and promptly falls onto her sofa, over Jesse’s legs. “Oh, I met the new neighbour and her huge box of kitchen appliances… and other electrical gadgets.”

Jesse raised an eyebrow at his girlfriend’s ominous tone. “Explain," he demands.

The brunette rolls her eyes at his command. “I flew into her box, dropped my phone and stuck a hand in to get it. What comes out isn’t a phone, in fact, the only things they have in common is that, one, they’re both electrical and, two, they vibrate.”

“You grabbed her vibrator.” Jesse guffawed, jolting and causing Beca to fall off the sofa. She scowls and flips him the bird. “…You grabbed her vibrator,” he repeated in an unbelieving whisper, “Her vibrator.”

“Yes. I did. Help me up, you asshole.”

“Aw, I’m sorry,” he says with a tease in his voice, pressing a kiss to her lips. “I’m surprised you didn’t run straight to the bathroom to bleach your hands.”

Beca stills. Fuck. “Thanks for the reminder.” She hurries out and rushes to her bathroom. “Also, call for pizza!”

“Will do, babe, now get back here, Titanic is waiting,” he yElla, chuckling as she trudges back into the living room, furiously wiping her wet hands down on her t-shirt.

She scowls at his amusement, leaning down for a quick peck on the lips before dropping her house phone on his chest and reciting her pizza order like he doesn’t already know it.

Jesse shakes his head with a small grin, watching with complete and utter adoration as she rifles through her fridge for a beer. He almost forgets that someone is asking him for his order until she turns and frowns at him.

See? Everything’s perfect.
.
It’s a week later that Beca runs into Chloe again, this time it’s not because Beca’s giving Chloe’s vibrator a sloppy hand job.

This time, Jesse’s late coming home from an audition for some movie and Beca’s home alone.

A loud knocking interrupts her in the middle of mixing songs. “Coming!” she calls out and swings the door open. “Oh, um, hi. Chloe, right?”

“Yeah! I was just wondering if you wanted to come over for dinner, I maybe, sort of, accidentally ordered too much Chinese food,” Chloe giggles, a sheepish smile on her face. “Unless you’ve already eaten or something, then I’m totes stocked up on leftovers for the next three days.”

Beca simply shoots a look over her shoulder, into her own foodless apartment, before she shrugs and slips on a pair of slippers. “Thanks. Sort of forgot to eat, so... Yeah. Thanks.”

Chloe’s grin only widens and she turns to open her own door, standing aside to allow Beca to slip in first. “Do you normally forget to eat?”

“Nah, my boyfriend normally calls pizza or Chinese over for us and we just crash on the sofa,” Beca says, feeling slightly out of place and attempting to casually loiter in front of Chloe’s bright blue sofa without actually sitting. “So, um, what do you do?”

The redhead disappears into the kitchen to grab boxes of Chinese food, placing them on her kitchen counter and gesturing for Beca to dig in. “I’m a music teacher at a high school,” she finally replies through a mouthful of noodles – which, ew. “You going to sit down this time?”

Beca's face heats up, but she narrows her eyes at the mirth in Chloe's tone. “Yes. Yes, I am.” She takes her Chinese food and raises her chopsticks with a nod. “Thanks for inviting me, I’m pretty sure I would have woken up at a, like, one in the morning to buy microwave pizza, because I was hungry.”

“Not a problem, you’re helping me out, too, remember?” the redhead reminds, rounding the counter and plopping herself down beside Beca. “What do you do?”

“I’m a music producer and DJ.”

“Oh my gosh, that’s so cool,” Chloe gushes.

Beca clears her throat, unused to being complimented by anyone but Jesse and the occasional artist she works with. “Not really, I’m not famous or anything.”

Taking out her phone, Chloe furiously taps at the screen before she glances up at Beca. “What’s your last name?” She pauses. “I’m Chloe Beale.”

Regarding her neighbour with a suspicious look, she replies, “Mitchell.”

A beat.

“Dude, are you searching me up on YouTube?” the brunette asks carefully.

A few seconds later, her question is answered with the intro of her song that blasts out of Chloe’s phone.

“Oh,” she says as the song progresses and a sweet, silky voice fills the room. 

“This is really good, Beca!” Chloe exclaims over the music. “Wow, this is seriously so cool. Who’s singing this? Is that you?” Chloe enquires as her eyes flutter shut and her head bobs to the music.

“Um, Emily. Emily Junk. She’s nice, bit young, but nice,” Beca finishes clumsily, fiddling with her chopsticks.

They continue shoveling food into their mouths and appreciating the music, well, Chloe’s doing the latter, Beca just squirms.

“So, what do you play?” Beca finally looks up from her food after the final part of the song cuts. “Like, instruments,” she elaborates.

Chloe throws her phone to her side, putting her empty box of Chinese down on the table in front of her. “I normally just sing and play the piano. What about you?”

“I'm capable of playing the piano, but I don’t play much anymore.” Beca gets up to put her empty box beside Chloe’s and peers around the (really fucking) vibrant apartment. “You settled in fast and well, huh?"

The redhead nods excitedly. “Yeah, the people are really nice here. The woman who lives in the next apartment is really nice, Aubrey, was it? She helped out.” She frowns when Beca wrinkles her nose. “What?”

“Aubrey Posen. She’s got a stick up her ass,” Beca can’t help herself when she grumbles out the words. “I play music out loud one time and she never lets it go,” she mutters this with a little scowl tugging at her lips, “one time.”

Chloe only laughs. “She can’t be that bad, she’s dedicated when it comes to doing stuff, I guess.”

Beca scoffs and turns to face Chloe. “Dedicated. Sure.”

“She is! Is she an interior designer or something? She’s the one who came up with the layout of this living room. I quite like it, I was gonna put the pictures up over the TV.” Chloe gestures to the frames behind their heads. They're photos of Chloe herself and her friends and family framed in simple wooden frames, neatly hung up side by side.

It wasn’t bad. Actually, it looked pretry good. For Aubrey. “She runs a camp or something, but she moved here when she got more money and could afford to hire people to do her job at the camp,” Beca says dismissively. “Moved here for her girlfriend.”

Chloe’s brows knit together at the way Beca huffs out the last word. “Is there something wrong?”

“Stacie Conrad, she flirts with everyone. Everything. Which gets Aubrey worked up and then there comes make up sex,” the brunette sighs in disdain. “Loud make up sex.”

“Oh, there’s that to look forward to, then," Chloe jones, grinning at Beca’s grimace, she gets up and offers another box of Chinese to Beca. “You can take this one later and give it to your boyfriend if he comes over?”

Beca accepts the noodles and opens her mouth to speak, only to be interrupted by her phone. She sends Chloe an apologetic look and picks up the phone.

“Becaw!” comes an accustomed screech. Chloe raises an eyebrow at that. “Are you late at work?”

The brunette growls at his greeting. “No, I’m at Chloe’s, the neighbour’s, house. She invited me over for Chinese food, which you forgot to order for me.”

Jesse boos on the other line. “I’m sure, you’re capable of ordering your own food, Mitchell.”

“I am, but you have to tell me if you’re not ordering, so I know if I’m supposed to order for myself, Swanson,” Beca retorts, sweeping her gaze back to Chloe, who's clearly amused. Rude. “Are you at my apartment?”

“Yup,” Jesse replies over the sound of shuffling. “You coming back soon?”

“Probably, now shut up, Chloe’s right here.”

Hi, Chloe! I’m Jesse, Beca’s bitc–” he manages to shriek over the phone before Beca quickly slams down on the red button.

“And that’s the boyfriend?” Chloe asks, smirking at Beca’s disgruntled huff.

“That’s the boyfriend.” Beca nods. “Unfortunately, I love him.”

Chloe’s lips stretch into a shit eating grin. “You two make such a cute couple.”

The brunette snorts. “I make it cute.”

“You do, you’re so small and it’s cute.” Chloe giggles at Beca’s glower.

Beca's frown slips into an indulgent smile (she's slightly concerned at how fast the two became friends, but whatever). Her stare doesn’t waver from the striking blues of Chloe’s eyes (seriously, how is it that blue, it looks Photoshopped or something) and Chloe holds her gaze.

The seconds tick by, grins on both of their faces and boxes of Chinese food spread between them. Wait. Chinese food. Beca’s head snaps down before the Chinese box in her hand slips from her loosening grasp and her other hand flies up to grab onto the chopsticks before they could roll off the top of the box.

“Fuck.” She blows out a breath and looks back up. “Well, better get going, don’t want the boyfriend to fuck up my apartment too much.”

Chloe’s eyes fly up from the Chinese food box to Beca’s eyes and she hurries around the counter to pull Beca into a hug. “Yeah, thanks for consuming with me.”

“Consuming?” Beca raises an eyebrow after successfully wriggling out of the hug. “You’re so weird.”

“Thanks, I’m feeling the love.” With those words, Beca’s concern grows by tenfold.

It shocks her, how easy it is for Chloe to slip the L word out in a sentence to someone she barely knows without batting an eye, it really fucking shocks her. But, hey, to each their own.

The brunette nods, gnawing at her lip. “Yeah,” she finally says. “Bye.”

And with that, she strides out the door with her slippers and Chinese food and slides into her own apartment which Jesse has unlocked.

It’s quite worrisome, how happy-go-lucky, doesn’t know the meaning of boundaries, across-neighbour Chloe Beale doesn’t bother her.

She doesn’t dwell on it though, she just continues on with life and focuses on what’s in front of her. Like, giving Jesse his Chinese food and pushing his legs off her sofa.

When Jesse gets the part in the movie Beca can’t give a shit about, it becomes a routine: Chloe invites Beca for a form of takeout and they lounge in her apartment while talking about anything or watching reruns of a crappy sitcom. More often than not, it’s at Chloe apartment, but on a rare occasion, they crash on Beca’s sofa.

Sometimes, Aubrey or Stacie drops in as well, but never both of them at the same time. Chloe learns and adapts, she knows if both of them are there, Beca will probably bolt, because when Aubrey and Stacie are in the same room, someone’s pants will be dropping. (Chloe also doesn’t want to clean the sofa whenever they come over. Seriously. Gross.
.
And like that, Beca gets three more friends (more accurately, two and a half, Aubrey is more of an acquaintance).

On one of the nights without Stacie or Aubrey, Beca gets a second encounter. With it.

“Dude, I need the bathroom, hurry up,” she groans as she bangs on the bathroom door that Chloe’s occupying while she redoes her makeup after Beca had smacked her in the face with a wet towel (long story short, don’t bother Beca Mitchell when she’s attempting to be an actual responsible adult by cleaning the dishes).

“Just go to the bathroom in my room,” Chloe huffs back. “This is your fault, Beca, you're the one who slapped my face with a rag.”

Beca sticks her tongue out at the door before marching down the corridor to Chloe’s door – the door with flower stickers near the bottom. “Don’t poke me when I’m being productive, then!” she yells as a retort and pushes the door open. “Also, flower stickers? Really?”

“Hey! They’re pretty! Don’t insult my flower stickers!” Chloe frowns into the mirror, it deepens when Beca doesn’t reply after a couple of seconds. “Becs?”

She steps out of the bathroom and makes her way to her own bedroom, colliding with a Beca who’s making a hasty escape from Chloe’s room. “What’s wrong? There’s not that much pink in my room, at least, not enough to make you bolt.”

“Seriously, dude, do you not clean up after yourself?” Beca replies with a question, face red and feet moving rapidly towards the bathroom Chloe had ditched.

Chloe turns after Beca slams the bathroom door in her face again (Beca slamming doors in Chloe’s face is not an uncommon occurrence) and pokes her head into her own room. She examines her floor, clean, then her bed, clean, then her bedside table. Oh.

The redhead let out a bark of laughter. “Seriously, that’s nothing you haven’t seen before,” Chloe calls out as she strides to her bedside table and grabs her vibrator, she yanks her wardrobe open and dumps it in before shutting the doors. “I’m sure you have your own.”

Okay, seriously, this girl has no shame anymore. Beca should have expected this reaction.

“Shut up, Beale,” Beca grouses as she paces past the amused redhead.

“You’re not denying it,” Chloe teases with a toothy grin.

Beca collapses into the other girl’s sofa and tosses a throw pillow at her when she follows. “Shut the fuck up, Beale.”

Grabbing the last slice of pizza, Chloe relaxes beside Beca, swinging her legs up and over Beca’s lap, not noticing how the brunette tenses. “Want the last piece?” she asks lazily. “I’m going to have it.”

“S–” A loud knock. “You expecting anyone?”

“Nope.” Chloe sits up and goes to open the door as she steals a bite of pizza. Regret. She opens the door with a mouth full of pizza and an amused looking Jesse. “Hey, Jesse,” she manages to mumble out through a big bite, though it comes out with a lisp.

“Hello, Chloe,” Jesse greets, amused. “Beca there?”

“Hi," Beca says, plainly, as she eyes Chlor warily, Chloe who's somehow inhaling her pizza without choking.

Chloe steps aside and allows Jesse to kick his shoes off and head to Beca’s side. “Thought…” she starts, only to stop and swallow the last chunk of pizza. “I thought you had filming tonight?”

Jesse slings an arm around Beca’s shoulders and shrugs at Chloe. “Too windy on the mountain, so they cut filming short.”

“What exactly are you filming again?” Beca cranes her neck up to look at her boyfriend, eyes flickering over to Chloe who sits on the other side of Beca before turning back to Jesse.

He sulks, brown eyes wide and, gosh, Beca’s eye twitches. Stop. The look. Stop. Seriously.

“How does my own girlfriend not know what I’m doing?” Beca simply rolls her eyes. “I’m filming for an indie film about some hikers who – You don’t really care, do you?”

Beca clears her throat, sending Chloe a silent plea for help. “…I do.” Jesse sends her a disbelieving look. “No. No, I do.” His expression only exaggerates. “Only a lil’ bit.”

“You have a couple of things to learn from me, Beca, I pay attention to your career,” Jesse says with a playful prod to Beca’s cheel, she glares. “I listen when you told me about Emily Junk-Hardon-Whatever!”

“That’s because who has ‘Hardon’ or ‘Junk’ as their last name?” Beca responds indignantly. She looks to Chloe who’s watching the exchange with raised eyebrows. “Chlo? Whose side are you on?”

Chloe shakes her head, raising her hands. “I’m not a part of this.”

Jesse smirks. “See? She’s on my side, but she wo–”

“Actually, the Hardon thing was just a tiny bit funny,” Chloe admits, wincing at Jesse’s kicked puppy expression.

The brunette doesn’t buy it. “Oh, stop it, Mister Actor-Man. Go guilt someone else with that expression.”

He huffs dramatically. “I feel ganged up on. You know what? I’m going to go back to my apartment, the place needs to be cleaned up.”

Pulling his arm away from Beca, he leans over and presses a soft kiss on her lips before standing up.

“Bye.” Beca waves lazily, falling into the place he had occupied and wrinkles her nose when Chloe once again props her legs over Beca’s body. “Don’t forget to throw out the gross ass milk in your fridge!”

“Thanks, babe.” Jesse salutes and slips out the door. “See ya, Chloe!”

Chloe manages to let out a disgruntled mumble as a farewell. “I’m tired.”

Beca raises an eyebrow, glancing over at her friend and quirking her lips. “Yeah? What do you want me to do about it?”

“Get me a pillow.” Chloe commands lazily. “You are the one who whacked it in my face like that towel.”

“I can’t exactly move with your fat ass legs on me, Chlo,” Beca points out.

Chloe moans and throws a hand dramatically on her forehead. “You’re small enough to escape.”

“Okay, keep on making comments at my height and you can get your pillow yourself.”

The redhead sighs in exasperation, making a big show out of moving her legs off Beca. “Actually, no.”

Before Beca can ask what ‘actually, no’ is supposed to mean, Chloe does some hardcore gymnastics and manages to dump her head of red over Beca’s lap. “Dude, no, how am I supposed to leave when you fall asleep?”

Chloe makes an apathetic sound, eyes fluttering shut and mouth curving slightly. “Sleepover.” A pause of silence. “Too much commitment, Becs?”

“Fuck off.”

That was their first sleepover.

Beca wakes up with a stiff back and Chloe already hopping around her kitchen making coffee. Beca, herself, scrambles up when she catches the time out of the corner of her eye and rapidly shouts a goodbye to a startled Chloe.

She doesn’t even put her shoes on, she just fumbles over the keys and barrels into her apartment to wash up and change before rushing out in under ten minutes to her car.

That sleepover is probably what set the ball rolling.

At work, since Beca enjoyed working with her for their first song, Emily Junk comes in again and they start to record an EP. Beca’s working hours become longer and Jesse’s got a role as a recurring character for a web series.

Chloe spends most of her time with Aubrey, occasionally Stacie, and rarely, but still, Beca. Jesse, however, starts to spend his time in his own apartment and the set of the show, he still comes over on Sundays for a couple of hours and generally spends the time lazing around and watching movies or just enjoying his time with Beca and to her chagrin, while her own music plays softly in the background.

On the rare night that Beca has time away from work and Jesse, she normally mixes or gets dragged away by one Chloe Beale. Her life is perfect once more.
.
Then, Emily Junk comes for a visit.

“Hey, um, I’m looking for Beca? Beca Mitchell?”

“Beca lives across from me,” the redhead answers, smiling and stepping forward to bang on Beca’s door for the young brunette. “Becs, open up. Miss…”

“Emily. I’m Emily Junk,” the brunette supplies, a tad taken aback by Chloe’s loudness.

“Emily’s here, Becs.”

A loud stomping startles the both of them. “Beale, shut the fuck up. I’m coming!” A moment later, the door swings open and Beca stands there with dripping hair and a look that could kill. “Do you never work?”

Chloe giggles, tugging Beca into a hug who returns it very inelegantly. “It’s Saturday and I’m a high school teacher, Mitchell.”

The shorter girl rolls her eyes, stepping aside. “Yeah, whatever. Come in. Chlo, you forgot to close your own door,” she reminds the redhead before she can step into her apartment, “and get your keys.”

Beca shakes her head, amusement dances in her eyes, and leaves the door open while she goes to get three beers for them. “Turn the TV on, if you want, Em.”

“I thought we were going to listen to some of your tracks that you left here?”

The brunette snorts, handing a beer to the smaller girl (who was barely 21) and settling beside the girl on the sofa. “Chloe–”

“Is here and listening to every word you say, so think carefully, Becs.” Chloe cuts in, closing the door and strutting to the sofa where her beer awaits.

“Chloe is a wonderful distraction,” Beca finishes, rolling her eyes at Chloe’s grin. “Wonderfully shitty.”

The redhead doesn’t bat an eye, sharing a smile with Emily. “Her world revolves around me, she’s just afraid to admit it.”

Emily giggles, awkwardly sipping at her beer and going along with wherever the conversation went.

“Oh, right, I forgot, how rude of me. I’m Chloe Beale, high school music teacher, nice to meet you!” Then, the redhead is maneuvering over Beca’s small body and giving Emily a hug.

“Dude, get off me!”

“Yeah, she’s prickly, isn’t she?” Chloe directs at Emily. “Anyway, I heard that song you made with Beca – it’s one of my favourites by her – what are you guys doing now?”

The younger brunette lights up (why does Beca get surrounded by these type of people all the time?) and begins to animatedly tell Chloe about the studio and her work.

A sound of jiggling keys interrupts their conversation and Beca perks up, she wasn’t that involved in the conversation and was just attempting to look casual. “Jesse!” she yells from her spot, eyes trailing after her boyfriend who trudges in, dripping wet. “Jesse. Stop dripping everywhere. God. Bathroom.”

“Says you, look at your hair!” he responds as he heads to the bathroom.

Chloe shouts out a greeting when he makes his way out of the bathroom with a towel in hand.

“Hey, Chloe!” he returns her greeting with as much enthusiasm as she did (seriously, she’s surrounded by these jolly people) and sits down on a stool he drags from the kitchen to the living room. “I’m Jesse.”

Emily introduces herself with a beam (these type of people) and their conversation continues. Wow, Jesse did jack-shit to save her from third wheeling.

The redhead eventually notices, she grips the half sulking brunette’s wrist and drags her up. “Becs, you might have left a pair of earphones at my place. I’m not sure if it’s yours or Stacie’s though, so come on.”

Beca sighs in relief, padding out of her apartment in bare feet and entering Chloe’s. “I invite all of you losers in my house and I end up needing to escape.”

Chloe laughs, giving the brunette a one handed hug, squeezing her sides. “Aw, Beca, it’s okay. I’m here to help you escape. But we do need to go back soon, earphones doesn’t take long.”

Scowling, Beca escapes Chloe’s grasp. “Why do you all have to be so cheerful all the time? Let me borrow a towel to dry off.”

“Do you want us to be miserable?” Chloe quirks an eyebrow, shuffling to her bathroom and returning speedily. “Not a really great friend, are you?”

“Shut up.” She takes the towel with a scowl, but her eyes give away her amusement.

In the other apartment, it’s not as laidback. In fact, it’s gotten quite tense. Blame Emily Junk.

Once the two had left – rather quickly, at that. Emily turns to face Jesse who returns from the kitchen with a beer and a smile.

“Beca and Chloe, they make a good couple,” Emily starts. Jesse nearly chokes on his beer. “Beca’s sort of whipped,” she says through a giggle.

Jesse clears his throat, setting the beer down as the burning in his throat subsides. “Um, Emily…” He coughs again. “Emily, Beca’s my girlfriend.”

Her eyes widen. She shifts uneasily in her seat and her throat clearing this time. “O-Oh. Sorry. It’s just… Uh… They’re, um, great. Like, ah, bants. Banter. Ah, uh, yeah. Friends.” Nailed it.

The boy blinks, opening his mouth before closing it and twisting around faster than Emily has seen anyone turn when Beca comes back in. He notes the dry hair and the lack of earphones, but dismisses it, could have been Stacie’s.

“Babe,” he says, giving Emily a discreet side glance. Beca hums a response, moving to the sofa, only to be pulled into Jesse’s lap where he presses a quick kiss to her lips before allowing her to leave. “Where’s Chloe?”

“She forgot that Stacie was going over today, so she stayed back there,” Beca answers with confusion on her face at Jesse’s behavior. “Yo, Em, want to go listen to those tracks now?”

Emily nods furiously. She can’t handle tense situations.
.
Thoughts of Beca and Chloe plagues Jesse’s mind for an entire week before he finally says something, but not directly, just a question. “Hey, babe, do you… Are you straight?”

Beca chokes on her lemonade (Chloe made it) and gags, she furiously thumps her fist on her chest. She swallows another gulp of lemonade before she deems it safe enough to croak out a meek, “What?”

“Never mind.” Jesse directs his gaze back to the TV.

The brunette sets her lemonade down and carefully tilts her head. “Jesse,” she calls for his attention warily, afraid of why he brought this up all of a sudden. “I’m bi, but that doesn’t really matter, right?”

“No, yeah. No, no. It doesn’t matter,” Jesse is quick to say, patting the spot beside him and grinning as he wraps an arm around her and buries his face in her hair. His smile drops and his eyes slide shut. Does it matter?

“I just thought it didn’t matter,” Beca continues to babble on, “I didn’t think to tell you? I mean, is that something you really have to tell? I just assumed that–”

He chuckles, pressing a kiss to the side of her head and turning back to the film. “Its fine, Beca.”

It’s not.

It took Beca over nine months into their relationship to say ‘I love you’ to him, which was five months more than it had taken him. Sure, he knew of her parents’ situation, the divorce and fights most likely got to her, but five months of saying it and not having it said back were painful.

It took Beca a month and a half into their relationship to be used to the hugging and the touching and feeling. It had taken three weeks for her to get used to Chloe’s attack hugs. She didn’t like them, but she didn’t threaten disembowelment anymore.

Maybe he should take it as a compliment, his affection made her more open to others. Maybe.

He loves her. He’s in love with her. She loves him.

That’s what he knows.

It has been three months since Chloe’s moved in and since then, he sees less of her alone, but she seems more… light. Happy. He doesn’t mind. He tells himself, he only cares if she’s happy. He doesn’t care.
.
The first time Beca cancels a date for Chloe, she comes back with a red nose from the harsh wind and a laugh at the tip of her tongue. He understands, it’s Chloe’s first high school concert and he would’ve went himself if Beca hadn’t told him so last minute and if he wasn’t already waiting at the cinema for her.

The second time it happens a week later. He’s with them, he was planning to go to the new carnival with Beca. He ends up going ice skating in winter with two ecstatic girls (Beca’s eagerness is hidden behind a false scowl). He doesn’t mind it this time, at least he gets to spend time with his girlfriend and he enjoys it.

What does it, is the third time, a month later, January. Jesse reserves a table at a fancy restaurant where his college friend, Luke, works at and manages. He’s dressed up in dress pants, a button up and a vest when he knocks on the door, it opens to reveal Beca. In flannel, ripped jeans and mismatched socks.

He frowns. “Dinner reservation at the fancy place Luke works at, remember?” comes out without a greeting or a smile. “Remember?” he repeats when she looks away.

Beca sighs. “Listen, Jesse, maybe another time.”

“Why?” he spits out. Brows furrowed and mouth twisted downwards.

His girlfriend’s shoulders slumped, she leans against the door and reaches out with one hand. He jerks back. She sighs again. “I’m sorry, okay? I’ll make it up to you, we’ll do it next week–”

“Beca, do you not understand how hard it is to get a reservation there?” he almost shouts, but instead it comes out as a low, throaty growl. “Beca, please.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Beca steps backwards, looking like she was contemplating whether to slam the door in his face or not. She doesn’t. “I’m sorry, but Chloe’s,” – He tenses – “got a new Xbox and I’m spending the night over.”

He rubs his temples, the flowers in his hand is probably crushed now, but he can’t find it in himself to care, the night’s ruined anyway. “Chloe. Always Chloe. Chloe this, Chloe that. Are you in love with her?”

Beca judders back, eyes hardening. “Excuse me?” she hisses. “You. You are my boyfriend. I’m in love with you. Why are you making such a big deal out of this? You said my bisexuality doesn’t matter, is it that?”

“No!” he defends. “It’s not that. Beca, it’s not that. It’s you blowing me off for her, I appreciate that you have other friends, I do, but I plan beforehand. plan ahead of time, so schedules won’t clash and then you go ahead and cancel last minute.

“Jesus, Beca, don’t turn this around on me with that shit about your sexuality, I don’t care about that. I love you, too. I love you so much, but you can’t keep doing this.” He throws the flowers down, backing up more. “Are you still going?”

The brunette regards him with a cool gaze. Unaware of the girl’s inner turmoil, Jesse clenches his fists.

“Sometimes, I don’t believe that you’re in love with me,” he mutters out, head hanging and hands loosening.

Wrong move.

Beca snarls. Actually snarls. “I love you. If you can’t see that, then I don’t know what the fuck more I can do.”

They glare at the ground together in silence and Beca hears whispering behind Aubrey’s door.

“I need time for myself, Jesse,” she whispers, approaching the defeated man opposite her and laying a hand on his cheek. “I love you, but I-I think you should leave,” she can barely keep the tremor from her voice.

He meets her eyes, the familiar tenderness tinging his brown eyes. “Is this it?” he murmurs back.

And Beca shrugs. Jesse can’t help himself when he laughs, because it’s such a Beca thing to do and she doesn’t stop it either, when she wraps her arms around his neck and chuckles along with him.

Their fit of giggles come to an end and the air becomes tense all too quickly. Her answer destroys him.

“I don’t know.”

It destroys him, because when it comes to love, you’re supposed to be sure. At least, after two years of love, you have to know something.

It destroys him.

//

Slow I'm getting up,
My hands and feet are weaker than before.

//

Jesse leaves. He fights tears, sluggishly picking up the flowers and trudging out into the snow and, only then, does he allow tears to fall.

She watches him as he disappears into the lift. She doesn’t know. It scares her. She used to know.

Before Aubrey and Stacie can come out of their door to check up on her, because, let’s be real, they listened in on the entire thing and they are semi-decent people, she tramps back into her apartment and slams the door.

When she makes it to her own bed, her shoulders heave and her breath is ragged. Taking a shaky breath, she manages to curl herself into her blankets.

She somehow forces herself up, willing her feet to take her to the bathroom. Cupping her hands under the tap, she splashes water on her face, wiping her face with a towel and stepping back to look at herself in the mirror. God, what a mess.

Her eyes are only slightly puffy and she knows she’s not done crying, but she manages to choke them down.

Beca spends the next half hour downing beers and sniffling with dry eyes. When seven thirty rolls around, her eyes lack any traces of tears and anything. They’re blank.

Dragging herself out, she fixes her shirt and closes the door behind her, just in time for Chloe to stumble down the corridor and towards her door. There’s flecks of melting white in her red hair and a grin stretched across her red cheeks.

“Hey, Becs, sorry I’m late. Work stuff. Anyway, come in!” She fails to notice that any sign of joy is gone from Beca’s face when she waves at her and swings her own door open. “Oh, make yourself comfortable, got some… whiskey in the fridge and the Xbox is set up already. I think.”

Chloe dumps all her things in her room, shedding layers and changing into something more comfortable, but before she walks back out, her phone chimes.

It’s a text from Stacie (or The Hunter [wink emoji] according to her phone). Once reading the short, two worded text, she swipes her phone up and rings Stacie.

“What’s up, Stace?” she says one it goes through. “Why the urgent ‘call me’ in uppercase? And don’t you think that’s a bit too much exclamation marks?” she jokes.

Instead of Stacie, Aubrey speaks, “Says you. Anyway, Beca had a huge fight with Jesse in the corridor, like, forty-five minutes ago, I’m pretty sure she was crying.”

The redhead instantly sobers up, straightening up. “Shit, I should have noticed. Thanks, Bree, where did Jesse go?”

After Aubrey squeezes the situation through the phone, Chloe hangs up and cautiously enters the living room. Beca is sprawled over the sofa with a bottle of Jack in hand and a controller in the other.

Without diverting her attention away from her Mario Kart game, Beca takes a swig from her bottle before setting it down by her legs and jamming the buttons on her controller. “Hey, Chlo,” she says and Chloe notes how it comes out throatier than usual, but not much is different. “Grab the other one, I want to whoop your ass.”

When Chloe doesn’t say anything, she pauses the game and finally looks over. “What took you so long in there?” The redhead still doesn’t reply, so Beca sighs. “They told you.”

It’s a statement.

“I’m fine, Chloe. C’mon, play.” She doesn’t move. “Chloe, I’m okay,” Beca forces out through grit teeth, frustration edging her voice.

Chloe wordlessly sits down beside Beca, eyes exploring Beca’s, noting every difference on her face and the way she moves. She lacks the eyeliner, it looks washed off, she isn’t as sarcastic, and there’s faint beer on her breath.

“Are you sure, Becs?” Chloe finally asks.

“I’m fine,” her voice falters when she answers, she prays that Chloe doesn’t notice.

Of course she does.

The redhead sighs, standing up and silently striding to the kitchen. She comes back with a spoon and an entire tub of chocolate ice cream. “I have Mean Girls and I think I have World War Z.

“Chloe,” Beca begins to speak, as if she was sure about something, but her voice cracks. “Mean Girls,” she eventually mumbles before insulting zombies and gulping down more whiskey.

Rifling through a box under the TV, Chloe inserts the CD in and starts the movie. She returns to Beca’s side and hands her the ice cream. “We can reschedule our Mario Kart showdown for another day, yeah?”

Beca gives a mute nod and shovels ice cream into her mouth as Regina George makes a bitchy comment on the screen.

The night progresses with Mean Girls 2High School Musical, whiskey, and the rest of Chloe’s ice cream supply.

Beca wakes up with her face pressed against Chloe’s sofa, a blanket draped over her, the living room tidy and an empty apartment.

She drags herself out of the apartment, barely making it to hers without breaking a bone, and curls up in her kitchen. Knocking back Advil and crunching on dry cereal, Beca slouches over the counter, feeling emptier than she ever has before.

Jesse doesn’t call or come over, Chloe is out for the entire day and Beca would sooner die than hang out with Stacie and Aubrey.

She wonders whether her parents would care if they knew what she’s feeling, she doubts her mother would care and her father would probably give her a lecture she doesn’t need to hear.

The day is spent slumped on her sofa with her phone on the highest volume and her mixes made without headphones.

Sunday is almost a carbon copy of Saturday, Jesse and Chloeless.
.
On a Wednesday, after dragging herself to and from work, she opens her door to one Chloe Beale.

Beca doesn’t know whether to break the redhead’s nose with her door or greet her full heartedly. She opts to standing aside and allowing her to enter without a word.

“I called for pizza,” Chloe states as she unties her boots and unwraps her scarf. When she turns, Beca is back in her spot on the sofa with her can of beer and a blank stare. “Becs?”

The brunette still doesn’t utter a word, she simply grunts and blinks.

Chloe sighs, kneeling between Beca’s legs and resting her arms on the brunette’s knees. “Look, I’m sorry for not talking to you since Friday. I’ve just… been a bit busy,” she explains, if that can even count as an explanation. “Are we good?”

“Great,” Beca finally scoffs. “A fucking text isn’t too hard to manage, Chloe.”

Avoiding eye contact, Chloe’s shoulders slacken, she scuffles around to face the TV and rests her head against the front of the sofa. “It’s just – I’m only – I – Aubrey told me everything about your argument.”

Beca frowns, finishing her beer and squeezing it. “What has that got to do with anything?”

“She told me what the argument was about,” Chloe says slowly. Beca lets out a small ‘oh’ and a sigh. “I thought I’d give you space and let you figure things out with Jesse.”

“Jesse.” Beca’s mouth punctuates the name as if it was foreign. “I haven’t seen him since Friday.”

“Do you want to see him?” Chloe asks, closing her eyes when Beca’s fingers fiddle with strands of red. “You have his number.”

“I don’t know what I want to do, Chlo.” Once the nickname slips out of Beca’s lips, she feels things slide back into place. She needs this. It’s normal and she needs normal. “Can we not talk about this?”

Chloe shrugs, clambering to her feet to grab herself a beer and plopping down beside Beca. “Sure, but just a notice, I’ve run out of ice cream.” A fond smile makes its way onto her face when she sees Beca rolling her eyes. “Oh, but I do have zombie movies for you to ridicule.”

Beca thinks that maybe things will go back to normal.

They do, for a while, well, as normal as it can get without Jesse.

The brunette goes back to her normal routine of Chloe, Stacie and insulting Aubrey, but she finds that there’s times when she’s alone in her house, when she’s got free time on a Saturday, or when she wakes up to a quiet house on a Sunday, that she misses him.

She misses Jesse and her perfect Jesse life.
.
She finally decides to go grocery shopping when spring forces its way into her life and Jesse’s spot stays vacant – she realizes pizza, Chinese, McDonalds and beer isn’t a healthy diet.

The rows of sauces and chips in the store astounds her, just how long has it been since she set foot in a grocery store, it’s usually Jesse (get out of her head) or Chloe who does shopping for her.

She glowers at the stacks of different type of fruit (what do you mean there’s more than two types of oranges?) and prods at an apple before groaning and just picking them up randomly and dropping them in a plastic bag.

Her basket gets fuller and heavier on the cart as she wonders closer to the cashier, she knows that maybe this is too much, but she never wants to go grocery shopping again, so she sucks it up and allows herself to spend her money.

Eyes lighting up, Beca does a subtle dance as she approaches the alcohol. Her fingers brush over labels and her middle finger juts out every so often when the prices spike up.

Then, she sees her dear friend, cans of beer at a regular price at the bottom of the shelves and she’s striding over – fuck, and she’s fallen over.

Thankfully, her cart is set aside and nothing was damaged except for her ego and her fucking elbow.

Dude,” she growls as she’s helped up off the floor by the dude who bumped into her. “Are you blind? How do you bump into someone like this in a grocery store?”

The man doesn’t apologize, instead, he offers a dumb, “Beca?

She freezes, eyes sliding up to meet soft brown. Her mouth can barely contain the acidic ‘fuck my life’ that rings through her head.

“Hey,” she lets out with a prolonged ‘ey’. Awkward. “Jesse. Hi.”

“Oh, um, sorry about… that.” He gestures wildly at her body. “Did you – Are you okay?”

She nods, pursing her lips and taking the smallest step back. “Dandy.” Why did she say that? “Fancy seeing you here.” It’s a public area, Mitchell.

“Yeah,” he blows out through a nervous laugh. “How have you been doing?” he tries to sound upbeat when he asks and it convinces Beca.

“Fine, well, I got a bruise on my elbow, but other than that, fine.” Beca clears her throat. “And you?”

His head moves up and down vigorously. “Good. I got another role in a movie, minor character, but still. How’s the EP with,” he hesitates, mind blanking, “Amelia going?”

Beca twitches at his mistake. “The album with Emily sounds pretty good so far, almost done, I think.”

“Oh, Emily. Right. Sorry.” He transfers his own basket from his left hand to his right, looking like he wanted to escape and possibly move to another country. At least, that’s what Beca’s thinking. “I… Can we talk? About Friday? Maybe?”

The brunette’s heart drops, hands getting clammy and mind racing. She doesn’t know what she wants yet. She needs more time. She can’t. “Sure.” Jesus. “After we’re done here, of course.” Christ. “Right after.”

True to her word, Beca finishes up her shopping (picking up more beer than she originally intended to) and awaits for Jesse in the Starbucks across the street.

He arrives five minutes after Beca gets comfortable in one of the plushy chairs by a window and sits down himself with a steaming cup of coffee.

“So–”

“I’m sorry,” Beca cuts in before he can make an awkward start to their conversation. “I’m sorry for blowing you off all the time and stuff. There’s, like, something wrong with me and I don’t know how to relationship.”

Jesse quirks an eyebrow, chuckling at her use of the word ‘relationship’. “Hey, no, you do. Two years under our belts, yeah?”

She lets a small smile twist her lips and brings the coffee closer to her face. “Yeah. Two years,” she whispers the last part wistfully. “But do you really think I’m in love with Chloe?”

Jesse stiffens in his seat, but forces his face to stay impassive. “To be completely and utterly honest with you, Becs, I don’t know.”

She doesn’t like how he uses ‘Becs’ in a sentence like that. She looks down into her cup.

“What does that mean for us?”

Are you in love with her?” Jesse sets his coffee down and focuses on his (ex?) girlfriend. “All I want is for you to be happy.”

Beca rubs at her temples, her hair falls over her face and blocks Jesse’s kind gaze, and she feels slightly better. “I’m not in love with her, she’s just my favourite friend.”

“The term is BFF, Beca,” Jesse says, amusement clear in his voice.

“Yeah, that. Chloe’s that.” Beca waves her hand dismissively, her hand stills and her muscles go rigid when Jesse reaches over and tucks her hair behind her ear. “Why do you have to be such a good guy?” slips out of her mouth in a breathy rush and like that, Jesse knows it is over.

He tries to stop his hands from shaking and his eyes from overflowing, the former is unsuccessful, but the latter, he accomplishes. His hand draws back and lands deep in his pocket, so Beca doesn’t see it.

His heart feels like it’s being teared apart by wolves and his brain throbs at the thought of his perfect future being ripped away from him, but his lips twist into a soft smile.

Beca avoids his eyes, knowing that she’ll break down if she meets the kind hues of his eyes and her body suddenly feels like it has been ran over by a fucking train. She stares as she fiddles with her hands during their period of silence until there’s rustling opposite her and until she feels moisture on her cheeks.

She finally raises her head, eyes never straying high enough to reach his eyes, but enough to see the crooked, warm smile on his lips.

When he speaks, there’s a sense of finality in it and Beca’s heart cracks even more, “Stay gold,” he says and Beca lets out a bark of watery laughter, because only Jesse would say that.

“For the record, I want you to be happy, too,” Beca replies as Jesse stands up with his bags in hand. “I want you to be happy with someone who is capable of loving you better than I ever did.”

Jesse’s eyes water, his lip almost quivering. Two years, he thinks as he waits for Beca to pull herself together on that plush chair in the corner of Starbucks where two whole years dissolves into nothing, God.

He holds out his arms and his chest reverberates with his chuckle when Beca rolls her eyes and wraps her arms around his torso with all her might. She’s afraid. She’s afraid of letting him go and she’s afraid of life after Jesse. She’s so afraid.

“Thank you, Beca,” he whispers into her hair. “Thank you for two years.”

Two years of love and two years of fun. The best two years of his life so far. Two years, he knows, that were never meant to happen, because it’s luck that gave him Beca and luck isn’t supposed to be a forever thing.

Beca sniffs and Jesse’s heart is stomped on by the wolves that ripped it when he realizes she’s shivering. He pulls away, she’s avoiding his gaze and he knows it.

“Thank you for two years,” Beca murmurs.

Two years of warmth in the cold world that she grew up in. Two years she doesn’t deserve, but two years nonetheless.

Then he says four words that Beca wants him to say, four words that she’ll always be thankful for, he says, “See you later, then.”

Four words that she appreciates with all her heart, because she loves Jesse. She loves him so much, but she’s not in love with him. She wants to be able to complain about her work on lazy Sundays and wake up to his monkeying in the living room and to watching shitty movies with him.

Four words that makes her love him that much more. She’s almost sorry that she isn’t in love with him. God, good guy Jesse, fuck him.

“See you,” she confirms with a nod and they share a smile before they part ways.

Two years comes to an end in the corner of a Starbucks on a plush chair, it’s bittersweet. There’s more years, though, more years coming that starts from a corner of a Starbucks on a plush chair and with four hopeful little words.

Beca smiles when she’s out of the coffee shop with grocery bags in hand. She laughs and doesn’t care when tears slide down her face. See you later, then, echoes in her head and she knows she’ll be okay eventually.

She’s so happy about the way things ended with Jesse, that she doesn’t even care about Aubrey’s pissed off complaints that will no doubt come in the morning when she barges back into her own apartment.

//

And you are folded on the bed
Where I rest my head,

//

It’s only a day after their break up that it finally hits Beca. She barely bats an eye when Aubrey bangs on her door and chastises her for being too loud – Stacie snickers behind her.

She receives her house keys from Jesse in the mail.

The brunette’s mind mulls over Jesse and his words and their breakup and Chloe and everything.

Hell, she even calls in sick; she thinks she and Emily deserves a break anyway.

Only when Chloe barges into her apartment (which she didn’t even know she kept unlocked) and dumps herself over the sofa and Beca’s legs does she finally pull her beer away from her face.

“Oh, Jesus, Becs, you won’t believe how frustrating some of these moody teenagers are!” the redhead vents out with her arms thrown haphazardly in the air. Beca snorts, but doesn’t say anything.

The redhead sits up abruptly, almost causing the beer in Beca’s hand to spill.

“What happened?” comes out of Chloe’s mouth, fast and sharp.

Beca waves her arm, the beer sloshing, and gives Chloe a lazy smile. “Nothing. At all. Ever again.” The brunette takes a swig from her beer can, and only now does Chloe realize the empty beer cans that litter Beca’s floor. “Nothing ever with Jesse. Whoop, there goes two years.”

“Oh, Beca,” Chloe sighs. She gently tugs the beer can out of Beca’s hand, surprised that the brunette allows it, and begins to clean up the messy apartment. “Holy, okay. Wow. How are you feeling?”

“Great! Amazing! I don’t know. We’re, like, friends now, but I know he needs time, but I need it, too, but I sort of miss him,” stumbles out of Beca’s mouth. “Hey, Chlo, I’m tired.”

Chloe nods with a hum, setting the empty cans down and wiping her hands down her jeans before helping Beca off the sofa. “Alright, let’s get you cleaned up, yeah?”

And Beca wakes up with never again ringing through her head. “Fuck,” she moans out as light hits her eyes. “Fuck.”

“Good morning to you, budding alcoholic,” sings Chloe’s cheerful voice from the doorway.

“It’s too early for you,” Beca grumbles under her breath, unaware of how that actually sounded until she looks up to see hurt flashing into Chloe’s startling blue eyes (fuck off, blue, it’s too early for you, too). “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant, it’s too early for your loud voice. Tone it down, Beale.”

A smile plays at Chloe’s lips. “Advil and water is on your bedside table.”

Beca grunts, shifting in her bed to avoid the sun that streams through curtains and to reach for the cup of water. “Yes, God, I love you,” flies out of her mouth before she can stop it. She stills, the rim almost touching her lips, and her eyes widen. “I–”

“There’s pancakes on the counter, Becs,” Chloe interrupts with a thousand watt grin lighting up her face and showing no sign of being bothered by Beca’s words.

The brunette clears her throat and sips at her water after throwing back the pill. “Yeah, thanks.”

“No problemo.” Chloe sends Beca another warm grin before she turns to go, but not before calling out a teasing, “I love you, too,” over her shoulder.

It only occurs to her when she’s scarfed down the pancakes that Chloe isn’t at work.

Chloe answers her question with a shrug and a nonchalant wiggle of her fingers. “Sick day off, because I need to make sure you won’t ruin your health by consuming all the alcohol in your fridge – which is a lot, by the way. Did you go grocery shopping? Since when do you go outside to use your money and shop?”

It’s not that Beca doesn’t go outside, she just doesn’t do it for fun or without an argument. She doesn’t hate using her money (she does) and she doesn’t exactly despise shopping (she does), she just doesn’t see the point in it if she can get someone else (Chloe) to so it for her.

“I did go grocery shopping.” Beca frowns defensively.

“Willingly?” Chloe raises an eyebrow, grinning when Beca flips her the bird.

The brunette chugs her orange juice down before she speaks again. “I bumped into Jesse at the grocery store and we’re officially broken up,” she mutters, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand and barely noticing it when Chloe fights off the urge to wrinkle her nose at her atrocious manners. “On good terms.”

Chloe gives her a supportive smile, rounding the counter and hugs Beca from behind. Beca doesn’t shy away, and Chloe masks her mild surprise with kind words that are muffled in the brunette’s shoulder.
.
The next two months blend together and it doesn’t take long for Beca to get used to. Sleepovers aren’t rare; the entire floor is basically one big apartment for Beca, Chloe, Aubrey, and Stacie anyway. Except Stacie is never invited to sleepovers and Aubrey never sticks around when Beca’s there (or vice versa). So, really, Beca and Chloe spend their night alternating between their apartments.

Mondays to Fridays are almost normal, sometimes, if she really wants to imagine it, she can still convince herself for a second that Jesse’s still going to show up after a long week with open arms. He doesn’t.

Saturdays and Sundays are spent either inside their apartments or out doing something – obviously it’s Chloe that drags a reluctant Beca around.
.
On the sixteenth of June, Beca returns to her apartment with a weary smile plastered across her face. She swiftly throws her bags onto the sofa and cleans herself up before she walks right back out the door and across to Chloe’s apartment.

Chloe swings the door open – the brunette doesn’t notice that it’s opened faster than usual – and greets Beca with an exaggerated wave, complete with a drawn out and tight hug.

“Jes–” she starts to whisper in Beca’s ear, but she’s interrupted by a meek ‘hi’ that comes from behind her.

The brunette gapes for a second, blinking dumbly, before pulling away from Chloe’s hug and responding with her own small greeting.

“Well!” Chloe claps, pulling Beca in and closing the door. She ushers them into the living room and offers them all beer, Beca accepts and Jesse refuses. Jesse.

Jesse Swanson with his brown eyes and warm smile.

“How have you two been?” he prompts with his standard cute smile. “I’ve been doing great. I got a good role in a movie after that web series flop.”

“That’s good!” Too much enthusiasm, Chloe.

Beca gives Jesse a nod, very subtly moving closer to Chloe on the sofa. “Yeah. Good.”

Trying to relieve the awkwardness, Chloe starts to spew out a story about the one weird kid at the back of her music class. She only stops when Beca gives her a light poke on the leg.

“You’re rambling, Chloe,” the brunette mutters before turning back to face Jesse with a tight smile. “We’ve been good, as you can see, Chloe’s still very… passionate about her job.”

Jesse chuckles, leaning forward to rest his arms on his knees, he turns his attention to Beca. “And you? How’s your job?”

The brunette shrugs, grateful for Chloe’s discreet thumbs up. “Emily’s EP is actually done–”

“Oh my gosh, really?” the redhead can’t hold back her excitement. “Yes! Why didn’t you tell us sooner? I heard that one track from your laptop about a flashlight and it’s amazing. It’s on YouTube, right?”

“It’s not on YouTube yet, but I have it all on my phone.”

“Congratulations, Beca,” Jesse praises after Beca allows her phone to be yanked away by Chloe who immediately swipes through Beca’s music library. “I know how long you’ve been working on that, so it must be really good.”

A shy smile flickers onto Beca’s face. “Yeah, well, I can’t take most of the credit. Emily was the one who wrote most of it and sang– Chloe, it’s not this playlist, it’s the other one.”

Jesse laughs as the redhead pulls a face at Beca’s exasperated expression.

It’s almost frightening how easy it is to fall back into this. Too easy. But then Jesse shoots her a smile and makes a bad pun, Chloe giggles and makes fun of her height, and Beca is okay with easy. Beca is fine with it.

But there’s a whisper in the back of her mind. A tingling feeling of no, it’s never this easy. She should have expected it.

Chloe goes to the bathroom and Jesse pounces.

“Are you going to tell her?” he asks with a knowing smirk. What the fuck do you know, Jesse?

“What?” Beca sips at her beer, unsure where her (ex-boy) friend was going. “Tell who what?”

The man snorts, giving her a look that she doesn’t know how to comprehend. “Wait– Really?”

She raises an eyebrow. “What?!

“Oh. Becs.” he says it in this disappointed parent voice, hey, she might have had a shit childhood, but she knows the voice. “Don’t play dumb. Come on.”

“Dude, I don’t know what you’re on about.” Beca shifts uncomfortably, taking another drink.

“You’re in love with Chloe?”

She almost spits her beer out.

It was too fucking easy.

“What?” she croaks out after swallowing the mouthful of beer that almost leaks out of her mouth. “Jesse. Jesse, no. We’ve been over this.”

Before Jesse can get a word out, the flushing of a toilet stops him and he winks at Beca. “Yeah, we have. Our conversation isn’t over though.”

Chloe frolics back into the room and swings an arm around Beca’s shoulders, her fingers brush against Beca’s throat and her voice fills Beca’s ears. “What did I miss?”

Beca gulps.

Too easy.
.
Sometimes, Beca really, really, really hates Jesse. Like, really.

She should have known he’d do something like popping up at her work and ambushing her.

“Jesse, what are you doing? Why aren’t you at work?” Beca gasps as she rubs at her sore wrist. “And, Jesus, if you’re going to wrench me from my work, at least watch your grip, you dick.”

“Sorry, Beca,” he apologizes, but she sees his amusement and she scowls.

Beca backs up until her back presses against the walls of the janitor’s closet (seriously, this isn’t a high school romance from a movie, Jesse needs to stop with those movies) and deepens her glare. “Sorry my ass. What are you doing here?”

“You’re so approachable,” sarcasm drips from his words as he sniffs pretentiously. “I wasn’t needed on set today, so I decided to drop in to say hi to my favourite Mitchell.”

“You only know one Mitchell,” Beca points out with raised eyebrows and unamused eyes. “Come on, cut the shit, what are you doing here?”

Jesse laughs. “Okay, holy, work on your people skills.” She doesn’t look remotely pleased. “Fine, I was bored at home, so I thought two birds one stone, let’s talk to Beca about her super homo crush on Chloe.”

“I don’t have a crush on her, she’s my friend. Is this because of the bi thing? Am I not allowed to be friends with anyone or you’ll think I–”

Actual anger contorts Jesse’s features, but he quickly pushes it down.

“No.” His face is blank. “Stop doing that thing, the thing where you turn things around on me. Stop. You did it that night as well and…” he stops himself before he can say anything he’ll probably regret, but he’s unsuccessful from keeping the bitterness out of his tone.

“I’m sorry,” she blows out through a sigh. “But I don’t like her, I’m not ready for anything like that anyway.” Not after you, not yet, goes unsaid, but it floats in Beca’s mind.

The man offers her a smile and a few seconds of tense air fades. “I’m sorry for bringing that up. I’m good, I swear. In fact, I scored a date with a girl in this library I go to. She’s nice.”

Beca gives him a nod of approval. “Smart girl, then. That’s really cool.”

“Yeah, it is.” He tilts his head as a cheeky grin spreads. “It is cool, lesbro.”

Beca’s head flies up. “No.”

“Yes.”

“Jesse, I’m bi.”

“But I don’t want to say bi, bro,” he complains with a straight face (right, actor.)

The brunette’s jaw clenches. “I will kick your ass if you make another bad pun in an enclosed space where I can’t escape.”

“Harsh.”

Oh, no. It’s getting too easy to talk to him.

“Are you this harsh with Chloe?”

Yeah. There it is.

Beca groans. “I don’t like her, dude, get it through your head.”

Jesse gives her a knowing smirk and a tiny shrug. “Sure.”

“I don’t.”

“Yeah, no, you don’t.” It’s the way he gives a small nod to confirm his words and the way his sentences end so abruptly that makes her so annoyed.

Swanson.”

He wiggles his eyebrows. “Mitchell.

I swear to god, I don’t. Leave.

“Of course,” Jesse drawls, pushing the door open and bowing. “Bi... bro.”

She fucking hates him.
.
Things become almost normal again. Jesse comes over less than he used to and there’s not too much affectionate touches, but he’s there and he’s still annoying. (He forces them – Chloe and Beca – to watch movies with him, he gives Beca thumbs ups when Chloe turns around and makes innuendos in conversations.)

It’s not only Jesse, though. Beca begins to second guess her every move when she’s around Chloe.

She notices how she doesn’t really mind it when Chloe’s head falls on her shoulder during movie nights, friends do that. She notices how she’s willing to give Chloe the bed (Chloe makes them both sleep in it), but that’s being a good host. She notices how she gives Chloe the key to her apartment earlier in their friendship than she did to Jesse, they basically live in each other’s apartments, it’s only logical.

If Chloe notices that whenever they touch, Beca frowns, she doesn’t say anything.

“Becs, did you run out of toothpaste?” Chloe peers around the doorway and gives Beca an infuriated look. “Do you ever go shopping?”

Beca scoffs. “Last time I went to the grocery store, I broke up with my boyfriend, so don’t blame me if I never want to go shopping again.”

The redhead’s gaze softens and the hand that grips her toothbrush drops to her side. “Are you okay?”

“Dude, yeah.” Beca glances up from her phone and smiles at the sight of an annoyed Chloe in a bright robe with ducks on it. Oh, Chloe. “That was like ages ago, I’m cool. I just don’t do shopping.”

“What do you mean you don’t do shopping?” Chloe imitates Beca’s voice. “I need toothpaste, so you can’t not do shopping.”

The brunette rolls her eyes, lifting her phone back up and pointedly glaring at it. “Go get toothpaste from your apartment.”

“You’re a shitty host,” the redhead all but whines before she raises her voice and shouts, “Bree, can I have some toothpaste?”

A moment later, a muted ‘wait a minute’ glides through the walls.

Beca lets out a snort at this, watching as Chloe struts to the door and sticks her toothbrush towards Aubrey’s door.

Chloe finishes cleaning up afterwards, allowing Beca her turn in the bathroom.

The brunette hears the front door open and close as she enters the shower. “Chloe?”

No response. Frowning, she shrugs it off as Chloe going back to her own apartment for something, and turns the water on. She hums to herself as the mist sticks to the mirrors and the hot spray beats against her neck.

Her tongue curls around familiar lyrics, mouthing the words, and before she knows it, she’s belting out the lyrics to the chorus. That’s her mistake, because she doesn’t hear the front door reopen and she doesn’t even realize it when the bathroom door opens.

I’m bulletproof,” joins her own and Beca shrieks.

She shrieks, then she yelps, and she’s grabbing her shower curtains. “Dude!

The curtain barely covers anything. “Dude. Get out.

Chloe only beams, holding out a tube of toothpaste. “Here, I remembered you didn’t have toothpaste either, so you owe me a tube. Also, you can sing?!

“Chloe, get the fuck out!” Beca huffs before she turns even redder – is that possible? Chloe rips her robe off and leans down to rifle through the laundry basket. “What are you doing?

She’s looking anywhere but at Chloe. Wow, her ceiling is looking nice. She’s never really appreciated it fully–

“Oh, here’s my clothes! I probably accidentally dumped it on there and it slipped in, oops.” Chloe looks up, positively glowing, and holds her shirt up. “Anyway, I’ll leave you to David Guetta and your totally amazing singing which we will talk about.”

Beca, behind her shower curtain and her beet red face, snaps out of complimenting her own ceiling and smiles awkwardly at Chloe. “Great.”

“Yeah.”

“Chloe. Chloe, leave.”

“Oh, yes.” Chloe smirks. “Sorry for interrupting your shower. I’m very confident with this.” She gestures to her body. Ceiling. Nice.

“You should be.” Beca wants to slap herself and die somewhere. The brunette growls, “Bye.

Chloe waves, twirling around and slamming the bathroom door shut, only stopping to put the toothpaste by the sink.

Beca turns the knob from hot to cold. Ceiling, Beca. Look at the Ceiling.

She comes out the shower fully dressed with brushed teeth and makes sure to knock on her own door before going in.

Chloe’s body is stretched across the bed (it’s not even her bed anymore) and is taking up far more space than she probably should be, but that’s Chloe for you.

The redhead rolls on her side to beam at Beca. “You didn’t tell me you could sing, short stack.”

 “You didn’t tell me you creep into other people’s showers when they’re showering in the shower naked without clothes on,” Beca shoots out without the grace she originally intended there to be.

“I think when people are in showers they’re generally showering and bare, and naked does mean without clothes on, Beca,” Chloe says with a giggle. “But back to the singing thing. You can sing, Becs, we’ve been friends for almost an entire year and I didn’t know you could sing!”

Beca flushes, gingerly sitting down on the bed and eyes on Chloe like a hawk. “It doesn’t matter, the singing thing is just there and I don’t have a use for it.”

“You don’t have a use for talent?” Chloe quirks an eyebrow and sits up. “Beca, you’re a music producer, you can mix songs, you can sing, hell, you can sing something that Sia sang. Sia!”

“You know David Guetta?”

Chloe snorts, casually flipping a strand of her red hair over her shoulder and sagging into the bed. “Of course, I don’t live under a rock. I actually live next to you. Practically with you. You, my best friend, the DJ-music producer, asked me, the music teacher, if I knew David Guetta.”

“I get it, Chlo.” Beca’s mind registers the term Chloe uses. Best friend. She’s never had one of those.

“I’m still mad at you for not telling me you could sing.

The brunette rolls her eyes. “It’s really not that–”

“Shut up, Mitchell, you’re talented. Amazing. Come with me to Take Your Kid to Work day.”

“I– What?”

“No, you could totally pass as my grumpy, emo teenager. You’re moody and you’re tiny.”

Beca jeers and flicks the redhead. “Fuck off.”

“Don’t get your panties in a twist, your petite body might combust,” Chloe teases, pulling the sheets over her body and waiting for Beca to follow. “We don’t even have Take Your Kid to Work days, Beca.”

“Whatever,” she mutters as she climbs under as well and get comfortable.

Chloe laughs at Beca’s frustrated expression, scooting over and slinging an arm around the brunette’s petite waist – she doesn’t seem to notice when Beca’s body goes rigid for a second. She presses her face into Beca’s shoulder and yawns.

The brunette stiffly pulls the blanket higher over them and nudges her shoulder to get Chloe off her.

“Night,” she grunts out as she reaches out to flip the lamp off before she settles down, very aware of the soft breathe that fans against her neck.

“Good night, Becs,” Chloe says through a yawn, arm weaving tighter around the brunette. “Sweet dreams.”

She doesn’t tell Jesse about what had happened that night. Of course she doesn’t, it’s basically asking him to make fun of her. Well, she doesn’t tell him on purpose.
.
Next time Emily and Jesse are alone together, she apologizes profusely. “Listen, Jesse, I’m so sorry about last time. I swear, I didn’t mean to say anything or offend you, it’s just that I’m a bit… Y’know… I just assume things and go with it. I’m sorry.”

He simply laughs, giving her a pat on the back before finding a seat in the McDonald’s near Beca’s house and shooting her a text. “It’s cool, Emily. Beca and I, we’re, well, we’re not together anymore.”

“Oh! This is awkward, then. I totally asked Beca if I could talk to you to apologize, I’m sorry. Again. Was that awkward?”

“Hey, hey, no. It’s okay. We’re friends,” Jesse blows out with a breathy chuckle. Talking to Emily was hard. “Ended on good-ish terms, I don’t think a relationship can actually end on good-good terms, right?”

Emily, who’s relieved to have gotten that over with, laughs and holds up some bills. “Do you want to order first while I keep the seat?”

Jesse shakes his head and allows her to go first. He starts to text Beca to hurry over soon when she jogs into the McDonald’s joint and locates Jesse.

She gives Emily a quick greeting and then waving to Jesse as she approaches.

Before she even sits down, Jesse wiggles his eyebrows and sends her a smirk. “Why are you late? You live the closest to here.”

“Chloe was–” She stops and glares at Jesse. “How did you know Chloe was over?”

“I didn’t.” Jesse snorts, his smugness oozes out of the knowing look and the grin. “You have your bedhead, so I just assumed you woke up late, because you were sleeping with someone. But this is better.”

She gives him a glare and pulls out her own wallet. “Whatever, Swanson.”

“Wait, were you sleeping with Chloe?” Jesse leans forward and rests his hands on the table. “You were!”

Beca gets up to join Emily without giving her friend another look.

By the time Jesse finally gets his meal, Emily’s already sipped half her coke and Beca was missing a couple of chicken nuggets. Healthy lunch, isn’t it?

“Emily, didn’t you say you needed the bathroom on the way over here?” Jesse reminds her as he sets his tray down with a clunk. “The line should be shorter now. I think.”

“Oh! Yeah, thanks,” Emily mumbles, quickly dumping her burger down and maneuvering around tables to get to the toilet.

The brunette narrows her eyes at him. “I wasn’t sleeping with her. I mean, I was. But not in the sex way.”

“Right,” Jesse says.

“Yes, right. We have sleepovers, like, almost every day,” the brunette explains, fiddling with her fries. “We have sleepovers, because we’re friends.”

Jesse rolls his eyes when she bites violently into her chicken nugget, she’s probably thinking it’s his brain that she’s biting into. “You eat together, joke together, and basically live together. She sees a lot of you, and you see a lot of her; sounds like a couple.”

“Oh, I saw all of her. Just a little too much of her,” Beca grumbles under her breath, “Ceiling.”

The man raises an eyebrow, prodding Beca’s face with a french-fry when she avoids his gaze. “Becs? It’s in the Bi-bro Bible that once a bi-bro says something very bi, they have to explain it to another bi-bro.”

Beca growls, throwing a fry at Jesse’s stupid, smug face, she grows even more aggravated when he catches it and pops it in his mouth. “Stop saying ‘bi-bro’.”

“Stop keeping things from me. Stop keeping these Bloe things from me.”

The brunette jolts up, eyes narrowing. “Bloe?”

Jesse laughs. “Yeah, I told the one who plays my best friend in my movie about you guys, and she gave you that ship name.”

“If you and your coworker never use the term Bloe or bi-bro again, I’ll tell you about what happened. Deal?”

Without a hesitation, Jesse shoots his hand out and shakes her hand. “Deal.”

But before she says anything, Emily returns, complaining about how the line was still there.

Beca gives Jesse a leer before grabbing her chocolate milkshake and bolting up. “Look at the time! Sorry, Em, Jesse. I gotta go!”
.
She only manages to avoid him for a day before he practically tackles her in her own home.

Becaw!” is his battle cry and what she hears before she’s tumbling onto her floor. “Beca-aw!”

The brunette had intended to go in her apartment and crash with Netflix until ten PM, but she barely has the door open before Jesse pounces. And now she’s losing her hearing and feeling in her left leg.

“Fuck! Fuck! Dude– Jesse! Get the fucking fuck off me!” She claws at the floor, her keys on the floor and shoes were scattered everywhere. “I swear to god, Jesse Swanson, you are a dead man!” she hisses through clenched teeth, “Get off me and get out.”

Jesse chuckles as he finally moves – thank the lords, her leg is saved!

“You’re such a drama queen, Becs–” His head whips down when Beca punches him real fucking hard in the chest. “Ow! Why?”

Beca glares at him, grabbing at the bag that’s slipping off her shoulder and attempting to straighten her clothes. “Because, you jumped on top of me, ruined my house, sat on top of me, cut off blood circulation to my legs, and then laughed and called me a fucking drama queen!”

The pouting actor, rubs at his chest and gives her puppy eyes. “Are you okay?”

She flips him off, gathering herself and nodding to the shoes that littered the ground. “You clean this up and then leave.”

He doesn’t leave. Of course he doesn’t, Beca didn’t even think about that actually happening.

After she comes out of her room, redressed and scowl in place, she grabs her last can of beer before sitting beside Jesse on the counter. “Okay, I get that you wanted to talk, but don’t ambush me like that ever again if you want your dick still attached to your body.”

“Then don’t ditch me,” he counters. “Now, explain or I’ll start up a Bloe fan page and tweet about it.”

“You’re not that famous, Swanson, it doesn’t matter if you tweet it,” the brunette scoffs.

He doesn’t reply, knowing that she’s stalling.

One extended sigh and a large gulp of beer later, she finally speaks, “Okay, basically, Chloe Beale doesn’t know the meaning of boundaries and walked into the bathroom while I showered and got naked, looking for her clothes.” She rolls her eyes at his raised eyebrows and gape. “Then, she left.”

“You guys are so, so, so gay,” he finally utters. “Also, how was it?”

She makes a guttural sound, reaching over and flicking him square on the forehead. “Don’t be a fucking perv.”
.
Because of that, she meets Jesse’s coworker.

“Hello.” Beca swivels around in her chair at the loud and heavily accented voice that sounds from behind her. “Jesse told me to come here while he flirts with the lady at the desk. I’m Fat Amy.”

Beca’s eyebrows shoot up. “Um, you call yourself ‘fat’?”

Fat Amy shrugs, crashing into the spare chair. “Yeah, so twig bitches like you don’t say it behind my back.”

“Can I just call you–?”

“Call me whatever you like, Pocket Rocket.” Amy pokes at a button on the sound board already losing interest and spinning on the chair to look around the room. “Hey, where’s your girlfriend?”

The brunette frowns. “Don’t call me that. I’m Beca.”

“I know who you are. You’re Abercrombie & Fitch’s gay BFF,” Amy states. “My gaydar is on point, Beca, and the thing broke when I stepped into the building, because the gayves – gay waves – were just too overwhelming. Tone down the butch.”

“I’m not gay,” comes out of her mouth too defensively. Realizing that might be a tad offensive too actual gays, she repeats herself, “I’m not gay. I’m bi. And I’m not butch.”

Amy snickers, rolling herself to a cabinet and beginning to prod around in it. “Yeah, well, baves doesn’t go as well as gayves, Butch-y McButchPants.” She gives Beca a quick onceover. “Flannel, check. Artsy career, check. Piercings, check. Do you have tattoos? Yeah, you probably do. My neighbour in Tasmania would be all over you.”

Beca hurries over and slaps Amy’s hands away from a CD. “Why are you here again?”

“Oi! In Tasmania, I’m the best actress with teeth, so be honoured!”

She only frown and wills Jesse to hurry over and get Amy out before she wrecks the place.

Thankfully, Jesse arrives and at least gives Beca an apologetic look before she’s dragged off to lunch with them, which goes much better than the prior meeting.

She gets back to her own apartment, making it in without being tackled, late at night to the sight of Chloe draped across the sofa (a sight she’s not unused to).

The redhead jolts awake when Beca trips over a blanket that was strewn across the living room floor and flies over to help.

“Sorry,” Beca mutters, “for waking you, but why is my extra bedding on the floor?”

Chloe goes from worried to sheepish in mere seconds, dusting Beca off and avoiding her gaze. “I was tired and I decided that dragging it any further was too much effort.”

“So you left it on the floor?” Beca raises an eyebrow, not sounding the least bit angry or annoyed, simply curious.

“Yeah. The annoying kid in my class wouldn’t stop talking, so yeah…” she finishes lamely. She treads to Beca’s room, knowing the brunette’s following, and crashes onto the bed. “Also, help me with tomorrow.”

Maintaining the conversation while cleaning up and changing in the adjoined bathroom, Beca yells through the door, “Tomorrow?”

“Yes, Becs, tomorrow,” Chloe’s reply comes muffled by the blanket that she throws over herself, “Tomorrow is my date with the person I met at the bar.”

“Oh.”

Beca knows exactly why she feels like she’s been run over by a bus and gutted like a fucking fish. She knows, but she absolutely, 100% refuses to acknowledge why, even to herself in the deepest corner of her brain.

She only deems it safe enough to emerge from her bathroom after twenty minutes and when Chloe’s soft snores fills the room.

Chloe and the word date is stuck in her head through the restless night and she barely gives her opinion when Chloe flips her apartment upside down looking for an outfit.

Before the redhead finally leaves, however, Beca grabs her arm and levels their gazes. “Who exactly is this?”

“Someone I met in the bar, I said.” Chloe states in confusion. She’s dressed in a pair of blue skinny jeans and a green blouse with flats. Beca likes it, but she can’t help but think that she’s seen Chloe looking even better than this – naked. Obviously, right after she thinks that, she chants ‘ceiling, ceiling, ceiling, ceiling’ in her head.

“No, I meant name, age, appearance, creep or not. That type of who.” Beca frowns at the way Chloe seems reluctant to answer. “Please, Chlo, I don’t want you to die by the hand of a secret axe murderer,” she admits with a slump.

Resting a reassuring hand on Beca’s elbow, Chloe smiles, though it is an uneasy smile. “Okay, um. My date is a she.”

They’ve never really been over their sexualities, most of it is up to assumption. It wasn’t seen as an important topic to cover to Beca and it barely crossed Chloe’s mind until now that she’s never actually told Beca about her sexuality. Well, it’s out now. She’s out now.

“Yeah. Okay,” Beca eventually says, playing it cool, even if her insides are twisting. “Axe murderer or not?”

Chloe doesn’t know what she had expected, but certainly not a response without a question about her date. “Uh, no. I don’t think so. Name is Cynthia Rose and she’s your age, 25. Dyed red hair, amazing voice, and pretty funny.”

Her face barely hold backs the venomous glare, but her muscles to clench for a second before she releases Chloe with a soft smile. “Have fun, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

“That gives me little to no restrictions,” Chloe teases, pressing a kiss to Beca’s cheek before spinning and twiddling her fingers.

“Yeah, yeah, get out of here, gingersnap.” She waits for Chloe to get in the elevator before she closes the door, but she quickly adds on as an afterthought, “Don’t come home too late!”

“Of course, mother,” she hears faintly.

Immediately once the door is shut, she sprints to her phone and her fingers speed over the screen.

In his own apartment, Jesse sets his Chinese food down on his table when his phone buzzes. He sinks deeper into the warmth of his hoodie as strides to his living room where it’s thrown on the sofa and enters his passcode with a frown at the lock screen preview.

Minutes later, he’s stumbling out of his apartment building, shoes in one hand, mobile in the other and keys barely in his back pocket.

-

BECAW [06:37 PM]:  Help.

BECAW [06:37 PM]:  I might be in love with Chloe.

//

There's nothing I can see,
Darkness becomes me.

//

.
A smile flickers onto Beca’s face, it’s lazy and not a bit of it is genuine.

Chloe doesn’t notice. She barely notices anything anymore. Or she does and doesn’t say anything about it. She does keep on prattling on about her date and how wonder-fucking-ful it was.

The brunette flicks through a magazine, nodding and grunting at random intervals like the good friend she is. Her phone buzzes repeatedly in her pocket, but she ignores it, knowing that it’s Jesse sending her a string of texts all in caps with a shit ton of emojis as moral support.

“…I arrived back later than I normally would, though,” Chloe finished. She looked over to Beca with narrowed eyes. “She’s an axe murderer.”

“That’s nice, Chlo,” Beca says, pausing before continuing, “Is that why you’re not murdered and mailed to me in pieces?”

Her friend pouts and moves from the counter to her sofa. “I thought you weren’t listening to me.”

To be completely honest, Beca had only missed a small part of the giant speech, and only because there was an article in the magazine about up-and-coming artists in the music industry (she almost pisses her pants when she sees the name Emily on it, unfortunately, the last name is a regular one and had nothing to do with genitals).

Half an hour goes by in silence, Beca fiddles with the magazine and scrolls through Jesse’s (continuous) texts, and Chloe scrolls through her Instagram feed.

She locks her phone after shooting off several angry emojis with a message telling the aspiring actor to shut up. “So, will there be a second date?”

At this, Chloe’s face drops. The date seems to go perfectly (in spite of the fact that the fancy restaurant ran out of caviar), unless Beca missed something important when reading the article.

“I don’t know. I mean, she’s nice, but she seemed a bit off sometimes.”

Beca sits up now, setting aside her magazine. “Axe murderer?”

“She’s more off, in a ‘hung over an ex’ way or a ‘gambling addiction’ way,” Chloe says thoughtfully, “Her phone kept on buzzing and she was subtly checking it for five minutes at the beginning of the date.”

Hope fills Beca’s body and a beam pulls at her lips, but she suppresses that quite quickly. “Oh, that’s too bad, then.”

Chloe sighs into her coffee and nods, but her mind seems to be caught up over something else.

“What?” Beca practically demands at Chloe’s puzzling. “What’s wrong?”

“When I… When I told you I was going out with a girl, you didn’t really care.” Chloe hesitantly leans closer. “Is it okay? You seem a bit off.” Ah, so she did notice.

The brunette’s eyes widen and she quickly sets her coffee cup down – she is capable of drinking something other than beer. “Yeah. Of course, Chlo, it’s fine. No, I totally accept you and stuff. It’s great.”

A sigh of relief escapes Chloe’s lips.

“Did you think I wouldn’t?” Beca frowns, feeling slightly insulted. “I mean, I tolerate Aubrey and Stacie.”

“No!”  Chloe exclaims. “No, it’s just I thought you’d ask some questions or something else, but not completely ignore the matter.”

“Yeah, I get it.” She doesn’t. Great, you’re into girls, so what? It’s not any of her business anyway. “Totally. Question: exclusively girls?”

The redhead shakes her head and casually wraps an arm around Beca’s waist as she sips her coffee. “Guys, too. Speaking of, there’s a cute one that works in your building.”

Of course. Beca melts into Chloe’s arm, might as well, seeing as time with the redhead is probably going to be cut short anyway. “Who? Dax? Please, not Dax.”

“The cute janitor.”

She almost spews her coffee all over Chloe’s living room. “No. Not Tom. He’s fucking, like, four different girls and I do not want you to get an STD.”

Chloe’s eyes widen, tightening her grip on Beca before she beams brightly. “Well, guess you’re stuck with me for the rest of your tiny life.”

“Wouldn’t mind,” comes out lightly and with amusement tinging at her voice, but she instantly snaps her jaw shut and her body stops moving. “Cause you can cook,” she follows up feebly. “Which you should do more often.”

The redhead laughs and everything is fine again. Beca breaths in and blows it out through her nose. “That means effort.”

Beca exhales again when Chloe’s shampoo cloud her senses and a head is on her shoulder. “Chlo? I’m glad you told me about your sexuality,” she mutters and can practically feel Chloe’s grin. “Also, same.

“What?” The redhead frowns, confusion etched in her face.

“Same. I’m bi,” the brunette clarifies. She stares into her swirling and steaming cup of coffee.

Chloe holds up a hand for a high five and Beca can almost convince herself that she’s okay.
.
Autumn ends quickly and their across-neighbour anniversary comes (Chloe’s idea). Their across-neigbourversary is spent holed up in Chloe’s room with Jurassic World and Disney movies.

They’re on their stomachs with Beca’s laptop set out in front of them, a thick blanket over them, and a bowl of popcorn that’s empty by now.

Frozen ends, but no one makes a move to change it. (Beca’s lazy and Chloe’s bored of Disney.)

Tangled or Big Her–”

“Time to get to know each other!” Chloe slams the laptop lid down (which incites an annoyed ‘hey’ from Beca) and twists to face the brunette. “20 questions!”

Beca gives her a sour glare. “Stop interrupting me and never abuse my baby again. I value it more than you.” That’s a blatant lie.

“Did you always want to be what you are now?” Chloe disregards Beca’s complaint and fiddles with the end of Beca’s hair.

The brunette ignores the warmth that floods into her chest and answers relatively smoothly, “It was always either that or DJing at some hot club.” Her own head scrambles for a question to ask back as she tugs the blanket higher over her shoulders, effectively brushing her hair away and lessening the nice feeling. “What about you?”

“Wanted to be a teacher for underprivileged kids or an exotic dancer,” she sings out the word ‘exotic’ and completes it with a waggle of her eyebrows. “Whichever one offered more money.”

“I think exotic dancing would make more money.” She was just offering her opinion, Honest to god.

Chloe gave her a cheeky smirk. “You’d like to see that, wouldn’t you?” It’s more of a statement. Beca scoffs in response, even if her heart is being more active than she has been in her entire life. “Okay, question two, why is your love life dead?”

“Gee, thanks,” the brunette responds dryly. “I don’t know.”

“You have your eyes set on someone?” Chloe means for it to be playful, but she’s surprised when she’s honestly curious.

Beca blinks. “No. Yeah. Sort of. No.” She huffs at her own incompetent answer. “It’s complicated, don’t ask. Why is your love life a wreck?”

The redhead frowns, but listens to Beca and doesn’t bring it up again. “It’s not my fault, it’s the other person’s fault,” she whines with a pout. “I am capable of dating, Becs, everyone else is just… not what I want.”

“What do you want, then?” Beca’s eyelids start to droop, so she begins to prepare for bed.

“Someone funny. Nice. Exciting.”

The DJ snorts. “Those are real general desires, Chlo.”

“I don’t know!” Chloe grumbles, cuddling closer to Beca’s body and snuggling into the blankets. “Are you going to be visiting your parents for Christmas?”

“No reason to,” Beca grunts out, turning away from Chloe. “Mother’s emotionally stunted and will probably be fucking her way through Christmas, and step-monster will probably poison me with her lovely home cooked meals while dad pretends not to notice and tries to convince me to go to college.”

Chloe sighs, she’s only seen Mr. Mitchell twice, the first time was somewhere in Barden and the other was when he was leaving Beca’s apartment a couple months back after a screaming match. She had immediately slammed Beca’s door open and bundled the girl up.

The redhead eventually giggles and an arm slithers around Beca’s wait, ignorant to the red that makes its way onto her face. “It’s nice being the big spoon for once. You’re tiny as hell.”

“You’re rude as hell,” she snaps back with a small smirk. “What about your plans?”

She makes a face in Beca’s hair. “Oh, my parents are still in love and still doing it, they’re touring Australia to escape the cold.”

Beca’s only met Chloe’s parents once, but she sure as hell knows more about them than Chloe knows about Beca’s parents. They were just as loud and just as happy, okay, they do know more about boundaries than Chloe does.

They had stayed for a night in Chloe’s room, causing said redhead to crash at Beca’s instead of on her sofa. To repay her, Chloe dragged her over for the most joyful morning she had ever experienced. Mornings were not meant to be joyful unless they had pancakes made by a member of the Beale family and/or without being caffeinated.

For some strange reason, when Beca looks back to that morning, it seemed to be that Mr. and Mrs. Beale knew exactly how the brunette felt about their daughter before she even knew. Maybe it was the wink Chloe’s father through at her when Chloe turned around or her mother’s knowing smirk that was plastered over her face.

The thought was quite nauseating. Ugh.
.
Jesse goes home for Christmas, Aubrey and Stacie are probably having the time of their lives in another state, and Emily travels to her boyfriend’s parents’ house. So Christmas is spent opening presents with Chloe, interchanging between the two apartments throughout the night.

“Becs, spoon.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Is a brief summary of their holidays.
.
Jesse drops in on a Wednesday lunch break when work starts up again, he arrives with a souvenir and his lips pulled wide.

They exchange news, Jesse tells her about his parents’ large house and Beca (reluctantly) tells him about waking up to the smell of pancakes and a bouncy redhead.
.
Everything changes when Chloe drags herself back into her apartment where Beca’s snoring on her sofa at four in the morning.

She sets her heels down and lets out a relieved sigh when she finally gets herself out of the stupid fucking dress that stops her from fucking breathing. Unable to sleep anyway, she lets herself into Beca’s apartment after cleaning herself up and begins to make breakfast for the two of them.

Beca wakes up at five thirty AM to Chloe awkwardly carrying plates of pancakes through the door, she gives her a half asleep smile and briefly thinks about going to sleep again when she notices the heels at the door and Chloe’s wet hair.

“Where were you?” Beca asks with sleep still heavy on her voice. “What time did you come back?”

The redhead almost jumps at Beca’s voice, but manages to keep the plates in her arms and not in pieces on the floor. It takes her minutes to reply, balancing plates takes a lot of concentration, Beca.

“Turns out that Cynthia Rose is still in love with her ex and does have a gambling problem. She felt bad, so she hooked me up with one of her friends. Came back early in the morning when it turns out he also has a gambling problem and he’s sort of a dick,” she explains halfheartedly, feeling down due to her date.

Beca’s eyes zero in on a spot on Chloe’s neck and she feels her heart ache. “Chlo, you might want to cover your neck when you go to work,” and with those whispered words, Beca pushes herself up, despite her still sleepy state, and disappears into her own apartment with a slam.

Chloe gets no reply through Beca’s door, she can’t make a racket, seeing as it hasn’t even reached seven in the morning and Aubrey is a monster in the morning without coffee, and she left her keys to Beca’s apartment inside Beca’s apartment. She leaves the pancakes she makes by the door, incase Beca is still in there and not at work.

Jesse knows something’s wrong when he shows up at Beca’s office and it’s empty. He knocks gently on her door, giving the pancakes a questioning look, and calls out to her.

The door swings open and thoughts on the pancakes is immediately forgotten, he pushes into her apartment, slamming the door and dropping the Chinese on the counter. He drags her into her own bedroom and inserts We’re the Millers into her laptop.

While the introduction of the movie plays, Jesse works quickly in her kitchen, replacing all the alcohol with water and pulling out all the junk food she has.

“Beca,” he whispers when he enters the dark room, smiling softly at her sleeping form and the loud movie that plays from her laptop. He cleans up for her and places water on her bedside table, leaving her to sleep.

When Chloe comes back from her good day at work – the annoying kid at the back was sick – she spots the cold pancakes on the floor and she picks it up with a sigh, warily, because she knows ants are creeping about underneath and ew.

Chloe tries again later in the night to get to Beca, but no one answers. She goes back to spamming the girl’s phone with question marks and sad faces.

The brunette wakes up with drool and a headache, she gives Jesse a thankful smile when she slinks into her kitchen for food.

Jesse sits in the living room with reruns of 2 Broke Girls playing softly and with a glass of almost-expired juice. “How are you feeling?”

“Shitty,” she grunts out and gives him a glare when he chuckles a bit too loudly. “Guessing you want to know what happened.”

He nods, but smiles. “You don’t have to, but it’ll make you feel better.”

Fucking good guy Jesse. She snorts. “Nothing too bad happened. I probably shouldn’t even be acting like this, she doesn’t even know why I’m avoiding her.” She slumps at her counter with a mug full of warm water. “It’s not even any of my business.”

Jesse only gives her reassuring looks and awaits for more of an explanation that he can actually understand.

“She came back after a one night stand with some fucker with a gambling problem and it isn’t even any of my business. At all. She’s not even at fault,” she mutters, “but it’s a reminder that she’s not mine, y’know?”

Jesse looks away, his smile weakening, but still there. “I know,” he whispers back and suddenly, Beca’s heart feels heavier than it previously was. “I know.”

Jesse knows the feeling so well, but he ignores it, and his smile is back along with eye contact and it was as if nothing has happened.
.
Beca manages to avoid the redhead for an entire two days before she’s ambushed by an angry redhead who’s wielding a ladle as a weapon.

“Mitchell!” comes her angry huff through grit teeth. “Beca effin’ Mitchell! You tiny, stupid, little, dumb, miniscule dimwit!” Chloe punctuates each insult with a light slap on Beca’s arm with her ladle.

All Beca can manage is a weak smile and a weaker, “You insulted my height and intelligence only. They’re synonyms.”

Chloe grounds her teeth and takes a deep breath before she’s able to properly communicate without taking off Beca’s head with her ladle. “That’s all you can say?”

“That’s about it,” the brunette shrugs and they fall back into friendship again, no one brings up Beca’s ignoring and Chloe’s ladle.

//

But I'm already there,
I'm already there,
Wherever there is you,
I will be there too

//

Beca treads lightly this time around, she takes extra effort to avoid showering in the same apartment and makes more time for Jesse.
.
A month later, Flashlight from the EP gets a million views on YouTube and Beca suddenly gets a couple hundred more followers on the Instagram account that she barely even looks at. Chloe celebrates with champagne that someone had stashed in the staffroom.

They sing David Guetta drunkenly with Emily, Jesse, Aubrey and Stacie, and chugs down more alcohol that Beca supplies (the damn DJ always has alcohol).

Emily goes home first before midnight, Jesse passes out, slung over the sofa with limbs uncomfortably splayed out, Aubrey and Stacie stumble out an hour later in each other’s faces, and Beca almost drifts off minutes later while Chloe attempts to make pancakes at two in the morning with no coordination.

Chloe gives up after she realizes she can’t reach the spatula that’s sitting on top of the fridge (she has a habit of trying to cook when drunk, so the spatula is always somewhere high up), she ends up crashing down by the brunette with a dopey grin which slides off her face soon enough.

“Becs?”

The brunette grunts as a reply.

“What did I do wrong?” She blinks her bright eyes at her ceiling with a pout. “We never watch movies together anymore.”

Beca pretends she’s asleep, but she lies awake for two more hours, feeling more sober than ever that night.

In the morning, the entire floor is quiet and everyone lumbers about like zombies, all of their embarrassing memories intact. Beca is nowhere to be found when Chloe awakes from the dead, she finds a note signed by Beca, it tells her not to worry and that she’s gone to work. It’s Saturday.

Chloe only blows out a breath before she knocks back Advil and heads to the bathroom. Noon comes and goes, still no Beca, so the redhead does what she reckons is the best solution. She clambers into her car and marches into Beca’s office.

“…sing it.” Emily’s voice floats through the door, and Chloe pauses, her hand hovering over the door knob.

Sing it?” the brunette repeats incredulously. “What do I sing? I don’t sing, that’s for other people to do, I just make it better.”

“Yes, sing it,” Emily responds, paying no attention to everything else Beca has said.

The sound of creaking chairs comes after, then, “How does that help?”

“It gets your feeling off, let loose, right? Maybe you’ll feel better about all this.”

She knows it’s a private conversation, she knows she shouldn’t be listening, but she can’t help herself.

Beca sighs loudly, her voice closer to the door, which causes Chloe to finally back up all the way down the corridor, until finally she’s slamming the button to the lobby and to her car, where she sits with a frown.

“Sing what and where do I even sing this?” Beca finally asks, submitting to the idea. “I’ll give it a go.”

Emily beams and follows Beca who treads into the recording studio. “I’ll help you write the song, you can invite everyone, including Chloe, to a bar and you sing it.”

At this, the brunette jerks back and almost falls to the floor. “What?” she barks out. “Dude. No. Are you high? No. I’m not singing to Chloe!”

“What do you mean? It only makes sense. If you’re mad at someone, you shout at them, and it makes you feel better. If you’re desperately and utterly in love with someone,” – Beca throws a nearby eraser at Emily’s head, it misses – “you sing a subtle love song to them, and you feel better.”

Yeah, Emily’s been clued in on Beca’s predicament.

Beca narrows her eyes at her, trudging over to Emily’s side with a pen and a notebook. “Write, then.”

“It’s your feelings, Beca.”

This is how Beca’s first time writing a song starts, it ends at a dirty bar surrounded by all her friends (and Aubrey) two months later in the middle of spring.
.
Rain pours outside the doors, giving the bar a more cozy feeling. They’re all squished in a booth with drinks in front of them (not too much, they’ve all had enough of alcohol (except Beca and Amy who chugs it down with a mutter about alcohol in Tasmania)).

It’s open mic night, so they’re all taking turns singing. It turns out when they’re not drunk off their asses, they’re that one group where everyone can sing really well. It’s actually slightly embarrassing to be sitting with them, since everyone else glares at them whenever one of them goes up and smashes a song.

After Chloe belts out the last note of her rendition of Titanium (Jesse gives Beca a cheeky wink, Amy pulls a sex face, and Emily gives her a thumbs up), Beca shoots up and high fives Chloe who hops off the stage. The brunette hands the man who runs the speaker system her phone with the music on it.

She nervously teeters on the stage before reaching out to grasp the mic stand with clammy hands. Her friends watch with encouraging glances, the three that know give her nods and thumbs ups, she only realizes it’s almost been a minute of silence when someone hisses at her to hurry up.

She takes a shaky breath and finally mutters a feeble introduction, “Beca. That’s me. Um, I’m… Right. Original. Enjoy. Thanks.” That could have gone better, but it was all Beca could stutter out before she shit her own pants. “Here we go.”

And then she opens her mouth and allows the words out naturally, the notes comes out the speakers soothingly and her eyes flutter shut as her voice fills the room. Whenever she cracks her eyelids open, she meets blue and they slide shut again.

The last note slides out of the speakers, she instantly ditches the stage with a speedy ‘thanks’ and yanks her phone from the man. She hurries past her cheering friends, who frown and move to get up, and into the pouring rain.

In the bar, Jesse and Emily stop the rest from going after her. Through the window, she sees Chloe frown and peer out to look for her in the dark street, but she ducks behind a car and breaths in the air as water slides down her face.

She doesn’t know why she agreed to singing it. “Fuck!” she yells through the pitter patter of the rain. “Fuck!”

Half an hour of navigating the dark and slippery streets later, Beca practically kicks her own door down and strips herself off the soaking hoodie and peels of her skinny jeans.
.
Her door stays closed for the rest of the night and the following day. Everyone comes over to get her out at least two times during the time. She ignores them. Every last one of them. Chloe, she ignores. Jesse, she tells to fuck off. Emily, she curses at. Aubrey, she ignores, too. Amy and Stacie, well, she snorts at their innuendos. Alcohol, she doesn’t even touch.

Beca doesn’t know why she agreed to it, but she doesn’t know why she ran either. She knows there’s no going back. She knows that when her eyes cracked open mid-way through the song and found Chloe’s, that she’d regret it.

She almost falls off her chair when Aubrey knocks for the third time, she’d assumed the blonde would only bother to do it twice at most. “Mitchell, I never really liked you all that much ever–”

“Gee, thanks,” Beca can’t help herself but say.

“Shut up, you aca-bitch,” comes through the door almost right after Beca says something.

The brunette’s eyebrows dip at the insult. “Did you… Were you in a capella? That’s so lame.”

She doesn’t get a response, so she gives herself a pat on the back and a satisfied smirk. Until her door swings open and an angry Aubrey who brandishes a hairpin and a murderous look storms in. Beca falls off her sofa this time and her mug of water spills all over her. She’s just that elegant and agile.

“What the fu–”

“Get yourself together,” Aubrey demands, slamming Beca’s door behind her and stomping over to the brunette. “Beca Mitchell, you are an absolute mess. I’ve known Chloe for more than a year now, she’s my best friend, and I don’t know why, but you’ve been a bitch to her for the last couple of months.”

Before Beca can get a word out, Aubrey’s tearing through her apartment and coming back with a trail of household objects in her wake and a towel in her hand. “And I’ve known you for about two and a half years, even if I only started actually being curt with you recently, I still know you a bit better than I know her.”

“You don’t know anything about me,” Beca mutter indignantly as she dabs at her shirt.

“Oh, yes, I do,” Aubrey hisses back. “I know you’re just as emotionally stunted as your mother who I’ve met, unlike Chloe, because she came knocking at my door, under the impression it was yours. I know your faces, I can read you. I know that you hate it when I play Ace of Base really loud – that’s why I do it.”

Beca blinks, shocked. “How do you even–”

“I saw your face when you walked past a stray puppy outside the apartment, so I know your ‘I love you, but I’m trying but failing to keep it as a secret’ face.” Aubrey brushes off with a wave of her hand. “Tell me, Mitchell, how long have you been in love with our best friend?”

The towel drops into her lap and Beca’s eyes flit towards the nearest exit, only to be knocked back into the conversation when Aubrey clicks her fingers in Beca’s face.

Beca’s face falls, her eyes drop to her fingers that anxiously fiddle with each other, and her back bends. “Since the start,” she doesn’t say it quietly, but firmly, yet somehow soft.

It was different from Jesse. The situation with Chloe. She was sure of her feelings. She knew, it doesn’t mean she likes it. No, not at all. She was completely sure that she was in love with Chloe Beale. Aubrey understands.

“Oh, Mitchell,” Aubrey mutters, frustration ebbing into her voice, “you’re such a dis-aca-ppointment.”

Beca snorts, finally looking up and glowering at Aubrey. “Stop with that. A capella is so lame, I still can’t believe you were in an a capella group.”

Aubrey sniffs snootily, getting to her feet and fixing her clothes. “Obviously, it isn’t that stupid, seeing as I, the former captain of the a capella group that won trophies, have my life together.”

“Dude, whatever,” Beca grumbles, “get out.”

The blonde doesn’t move, she stays with her feet planted to the ground and face scrunched up. “Tell her.”

“No,” Beca replies immediately, firmly. “She can do better. I’ll get over this eventually.”

“Getting over it entails not seeing her for five years and living in a temple miles from civilization, Beca,” Aubrey scoffs. “Chloe apparently likes you around, so I don’t think you will get over this.”

With that, the blonde turns on her heel and strides out of the messy apartment.
.
A day later, Chloe receives a knock on the door and the first thing she does when she realizes who is at her door is swing her arms around said person’s neck and hug until none of them can breathe.

“What happened at the bar, Becs?” Chloe asks after they’re seated across from each other on Chloe’s counter. “Are you okay?”

Beca shrugs. “I’m fine. Here’s the key to my apartment, I, um, I sort of lost it, that’s why I never returned it to you and I forgot until I found it yesterday.”

The redhead takes the cool metal between her fingers and smiles. “Thank you.” After a silence, Chloe speaks again, this time hesitantly, “Do you feel better?”

“Huh?” Beca glances up at Chloe.

“After singing. Did you feel better after you sang that song you and Emily wrote?” Chloe asks carefully.

The brunette feels her stomach churn. She never said Emily wrote it with her and she knows that Emily wouldn’t tell anyone beside Jesse and Amy (the fan club, basically). “I… How did you… No. No, I don’t.”

Chloe’s lips pull into a cute pout and Beca feels a smile stretching across her own face. “That’s too bad, Becs.” She grins and pulls the brunette in for a hug again. “I overheard your conversation with Emily the other day, not a lot, just a bit. I was looking for you, but I just ended up leaving.”

Fuck, Beca’s eyes widen, mind reeling and muscles tensing.

“Only a little, though,” Chloe reassures and pulls away. “Only knew you were trying to feel better. Wanna watch a movie?”

Chloe turns her TV off when the credits of Pirates of the Caribbean rolls in and turns to face Beca.

“Tired?” she asks.

Beca gives a short shake of her head as an answer. “Can we just talk?”

“What about?” Chloe raises an eyebrow.

“Anything. How is the annoying kid at the back of your class?” Beca’s eyes follow Chloe’s body as the redhead bustles around her apartment and returns with a blanket bundles in her arms. “How is your perv of a coworker?”

“Still annoying and less pervy,” Chloe’s reply is filled with amusement. There’s a beat. “Can I… Can I ask you about the song?”

The brunette clears her throat and lets out a noncommittal, “Sure.”

“Who was the song about?” Chloe asks with caution. “I just heard feelings and the lyrics of the song, so I put two and two together. So, um, who is the song about?”

Beca gulps, her fingers drum against her leg and her eyes flicker from Chloe’s blues to the door. “The song. It’s called Silhouettes,” she states after a while. Aubrey’s words bounce around her head, a chant of, tell her, tell her, tell her. “It’s for someone. It’s for someone I care about, a lot.”

“Jesse?” Chloe’s eyes probe for more information, a stray strand of red falls over her face and Beca has to restrain herself from reaching out. God, she’s such a goddamn mess. “Are you still in love with Jesse?” the way she says it is hesitant and if Beca was less dense, she’d see fear.

“What? Dude, no.” Beca’s eyes linger on the door, now. “It’s not Jesse. The song is for my favourite person in the world,” and before Beca can cover her mouth and throw herself off a building, “She’s kind. She’s funny. She’s fucking loud as heck. She… She’s just so amazing.”

Chloe doesn’t say anything for a while and the brunette concern grows.

Finally, “Do I ever get to meet her?”

The brunette breathes a sigh of relief; she doesn’t know. Yet. “No, you don’t. I mean, you do. Ish. It’s complicated. Okay. Um, you’ve met. You meet.”

“What?” Chloe says through a light laughter, she drops her head on Beca’s shoulder and fiddles with the brunette’s fingers. “What does that mean, Becs? Are you losing your mind?”

Beca doesn’t laugh and neither does Chloe.

“The girl I sang about. She’s, well, guess who it is. I’ll give you clues.” Beca clambers to her feet and stands in the middle of the living room. “She’s really… She’s a goddamn ray of sunshine.”

Chloe’s eyebrows pull together as she mulls over the options. “Stacie? Amy!”

She takes a step back. “What? God, no. Is that your definition of ray of sunshine?” She wrinkles her nose and smiles when Chloe giggles with a good-natured roll of her eyes. “Okay, she’s very independent.”

“…Emily?” Chloe lets the name role off slowly and filled with uncertainty.

“Dude, she’s, like, only barely twenty-two. No.” Beca clears her throat before speaking again, “She’s really different from other people.”

Chloe’s eyebrows shoot up when she utters her next guess, “Aubrey? Yeah, no. I didn’t think so.”

Beca looks like she’s physically wounded when the blonde’s name slips out. “Blonde bitch? No! Chloe, really?”

“Hey, I can’t think of many females that we’ve both met and know!” Chloe defends herself with a huff. “Come on, give me more or just tell me.

The brunette takes a deep breath as she side steps closer to the door. “Physical appearance, then.”

“Now, we’re talking.”

Beca gives her a tight smile. “Taller than me.”

Giggling, Chloe stretches out on the sofa as she says, “Everyone’s taller than you.”

“Whatever. She has the brightest blue eyes ever.” She takes the smallest steps to the door every two words. “She has the greatest smile. She’s got a great body from all the Just Dance she does. She’s got fiery red hair that I like a lot. Like, a lot.”

Chloe’s smile slips off as Beca continues on and moves closer to the door. Her hands subconsciously flies up to fiddle with a strand of her hair and she blinks repeatedly while sinking into the sofa.

“And to complete it, to make me sound like a hormonal teenager, boobs.”

Chloe opens her mouth to speak, but Beca beats her to it. Her tone is the most vulnerable Chloe has ever heard it and it’s barely a rasp in the room, but it’s there. “I wrote the song for you.”

She turns and the door slams shut.

//

There's nothing that I'd take back,
But it's hard to say there's nothing I regret.

//

As you can probably tell, Beca is the type to run away once things go to shit.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to Jesse when he opens the door to a soaking Beca. He only sighs when she says she’s going to move country.

“Chill out, Beca,” Jesse sighs. “Did she say anything to you? Did you even let her say anything to you?”

Beca stops in her pacing. “Um… No?”

Jesse lets out a long groan in exasperation and yanks her to his kitchen where he sits her down and forces her to eat. “You’re fucking dense. You’re stupid.” He tags on as an afterthought, “And I’m also still mad at you for completely shutting me, Emily and Amy out after the bar.”

The brunette opens another can of beer like the alcoholic she is and takes a big gulp, she shows no sign of pain when it burns a bit.

“How do you know Chloe doesn’t return the feelings if you didn’t wait for her to answer?” Jesse asks after he manages to pry the beer away from her grabby hands and forces her onto an arm chair. “How do you know anything if you run away from everything?”

“Because she looked at me like I ran over a puppy with a monster truck,” Beca huffs and ignores his second question. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, Jesse.”

The actor hands her a cup of water and sits down on the sofa with a slumped body. “I’ll let you crash here with me for a night max, but tomorrow you’re going to woman up and just talk to her.”

“No. I don’t like that plan.” Beca immediately shakes her head and gives the kitchen a longing look. “Why can’t I have beer?”

“Because I’m not you, I only have two more cans and I can’t have you draining that. They’re reserved for shitty work days, so you go to bed.”

Beca pulled a face at him. “Yes, dad, have a good night.”

She ends up crashing on his sofa for a whole week, Emily’s sofa gets acquainted with her ass for three days, and Amy allows her another month before she’s kicked back out to Jesse’s for another go. She only sneaks into her apartment during her own lunch breaks when she knows Chloe and Aubrey is at work.
.
“When was the last time you saw Chloe?” Jesse asks one day when she trudges through his door with headphones around her neck and frown in place.

The brunette glances up from her phone for only a second as she crashes beside him on the sofa. “I don’t know, dude, like, two months and something. Why?”

He doesn’t answer, so she narrows her eyes and slips her phone in her pocket. “Jesse. Why?”

“Nothing, just curious.” Jesse sighs. “Oh, I lost my headphones, can I see what headphones you have? I need a new pair and yours look high tech as hell.”

Beca slowly unplugs them from her phone and it takes some tugging for her to hand them over. “Give me your phone, I want to test the audio, dummy.”

She does as told without losing any of her suspicion.

He gives her a pointed look.

“What?”

“Go to my room and get me my bag, I want to go out and buy this now.”

Now, normally she would tell him where to shove it, but he’s been allowing her a roof over her head and a can of beer a week, so she’s been lenient. Beca pushes herself off her seat with a grumble and a middle finger directed at Jesse. “Fuck you.”

“Been there, done that,” he replies with the haughtiest smirk she’s ever seen on his face. “I’ll get it myself next time, I promise. Now, go.”

Sneering, she stomps to his messy room, only to hear the door slamming shut. She knows she’s royally screwed when she walks out to see a note on the table.

Beca,

I hold your bags, headphones, mobile, beer, and all batteries to electronic devices hostage in your apartment.

Have fun.

-Jesse S.

Her mind barely wraps itself around the situation when there’s a knock on the door.

Please. For the love of fucking god, please.

She hopes that Jesse forgot something and it isn’t who she thinks it is. The peephole is blocked by duct tape and she knows if she doesn’t open the door, it’s possible that she won’t ever see her things again.

Taking five seconds to prep herself, she takes a deep breath and swings the door open with eyes glued shut.

When she opens her eyes, Chloe smiles feebly and tilts her head.

Beca stands aside wordlessly, she shuts the door quietly and pads to the kitchen. She waits for Chloe to shed off her raincoat and shoes while she nurses her cup of coffee at the counter.

Chloe silently pulls a chair out and sits down minutes later. No one says anything for a while.

“Coffee?” Beca finally offers, cutting through the silence loudly and abruptly. Actually, it may have come out louder than intended. “I’ll go pour you some.”

She does just that with her back facing Chloe and takes as long as she can.

“Thanks,” the redhead mutters as she grips the cup that Beca carries over. “Listen, Becs–”

“Can you maybe not call me that?” Beca interrupts, she doesn’t sound angry and she doesn’t mean it unkindly.

The redhead nods and starts again, “Listen, Beca, I–”

“Actually, can I go first?” the brunette cuts in again, not seeming to notice the flash of annoyance on Chloe’s face. “Okay, I’ll make this short: friends?”

Chloe blinks.

“Long way, then?” Beca sighs. “I know that I totally made our thing awkward and completely avoided you for, like, two months, a week and two days, but if we can both find a way to ignore everything, then we can be friends. Right?”

“Beca –” Chloe finally manages to snap out of her stupor. “Jesus – I – Beca – Oh, this is hard.”

Beca downs her coffee quickly and practically throws it in the sink – it doesn’t break. “Friends. I get it. Friends. I give you my platonic love, Chloe. I’m platonically in love with you and I just want to platonically get hugged and platonically watch movies. How about that, gal pal?”

“Beca–”

“No. Everyone knows gal pal is code for a same-sex female couple, sorry. Friend.” Beca’s really regretting opening that door, now. Stop talking. Why can’t she stop talking? “Okay, Jesse’s got an entire shelf of movies, let’s watch Magic Mike or something. Channing Tatum, right? That’s what aggressive heterosexual girls like.

“I’ll go put that in and get some blankets or something. You just finish up your coffee and we’ll go platonic cuddle on the sofa.”

Beca’s really fucking dense, and Chloe can barely register the words that spew out of Beca’s mouth speedily properly before the brunette’s buzzing about the apartment.

Chloe Beale’s not stupid. She can see right through Beca Mitchell.

So, when Beca walks back in with a blanket in her arms, Chloe can’t help herself. She’s sure. She can see right through the tiny brunette. She doesn’t hesitate when she does it and only pauses briefly, when Beca stills in shock.

When Beca walks back in with a blanket in her arms, Chloe drops the cup of coffee – it breaks – and surges forward. 

//

Cause when I sing, you shout,
I breathe out loud,

//

It’s really fucking nice to be back in Chloe’s arms again.

To have a familiar hold around her waist and to have a body to keep her warm.

It’s nicer to have red hair falling directly in front of her face and to have soft lips pressed against hers. Exceptional.

It’s the nicest she’s ever felt, even if the kiss is sloppy (Chloe literally leaped over a table for this) and there’s a blanket in between them.

Beca seems to forget how to breathe after they pull away from each other. It’s only when she’s threatening to go redder than she already is, does she inhale sharply and suddenly. Her eyes fly open and she meets the vibrant hues of blue she’ll probably never get used to.

“You never let me talk, Becs,” Chloe murmurs with a small smile on her lips. God, Beca wants to kiss her again. “How does someone so small have so many words to say? Most of it is bullshit anyway.”

The brunette rolls her eyes, hugging the blankets a bit tighter and licking her lips before she goes to turn. Chloe has other ideas, she clasps her hands around Beca’s tiny neck and yanks her in for another kiss.

This time, Beca reminds herself to breathe in time and a grin takes up her face. “Someone so small with a lot of bullshit has you kissing them.”

“I like to show affection to my pets,” Chloe responds and helps Beca with the blanket. “You have two months, a week and two days of kisses to make up for, but first, clean up the floor.”

Beca scoffs, but does so anyway, because it’s Jesse who got her those kisses and she’s giving back to him by not being that much of an asshole.

The redhead is at home on the sofa with the movie playing when Beca tiptoes in from the kitchen. She doesn’t even look away from the movie when she lifts the end of the blanket for Beca to slip in. “Channing Tatum’s character just–”

“A lot has changed in the past few months, but I still don’t care about movies, Chlo.” Beca laughs when Chloe glowers at her.

“Interrupting people is a habit you need to break soon, Beca,” Chloe reprimands, but Beca knows she’s not that angry when she turns the volume lower on the movie and faces Beca. “If you don’t like movies, do you have any better suggestions?”

“Yeah, I do,” Beca lowers her voice.

Chloe doesn’t say anything more. She shrugs and turns back to the TV.

“Wait– What?” The brunette glares at the side of Chloe’s face where a smirk is evidently growing.

The redhead brushes a strand of red over her shoulder and casually sling an arm around Beca’s shoulder. “People go on dates before they make out on the sofa, Beca.”

Before Beca can respond with her usual sarcasm and wit, the door is pushed open and Jesse sticks his head in. He gives them only a glance and then his phone’s whipped out and he’s snapping a photo.

“Jesse!” Beca barks, getting tangled up in the sheets as she dives for his phone. “Dude, what are you doing?”

Chloe laughs when Jesse lifts the phone up, effectively stopping Beca from reaching it. Assholes.

“Hey, tiny, stop that.” He chuckles when she punches him on the arm. “Aw, that’s cute. Now, get out of here, you can make up and make friendship bracelets somewhere else. You have your own apartment to get back to and you better go before it begins to collect dust.”

They do just that. Beca returns to her apartment with Chloe in tow and gets herself situated after neglecting her home for two months. Her things are waiting for her back at her apartment (how Jesse managed to get in here, she doesn’t know, but she suspects Aubrey and her freakish skills had something to do with it).

Nothing much happens after. The elated feeling that doesn’t subdue in Beca and Chloe’s stomachs and they both drift off in peace with a grin on their faces.
.
It takes Beca two days at work and a pep talk (if you can call it that) from Amy to work up the courage to show up at Chloe’s door with flowers and dressed a bit nicer than usual (she ironed her flannel, folded the sleeves nicely and is actually colour coordinated).

Chloe opens the door dressed in her favourite pair of pyjamas and juice in her hands. “Wait. Am I supposed to be dressed for this?”

“Yes, Chloe,” the brunette huffs before pausing. “Actually, I think I forgot to tell you.”

Beca Mitchell: Dating Professional and Extraordinaire.

“You’re silly,” Chloe teases as she leaves the door open and scuffles to her room to get changed. “Casual or formal?”

“I’m in flannel and jeans, Red, what do you think?” Beca calls after her as she awkwardly stands in the middle of the living room to wait for Chloe with flowers in her tight grip.

The redhead giggles at the nickname, coming out of her room ten minutes later in a summer dress and with light makeup on. “You know, you could be nicer to your date.”

“You’re beautiful,” the smaller girl breathes out, not because of what the redhead said, but because she is. “I mean, um, yeah. You look nice.”

Chloe doesn’t laugh at the brunette’s dorkiness, instead she offers out her hand which the other girl takes with a red face. “Thank you. You’re looking like a well-groomed, stereotypical, butch lesbian.”

“Thanks,” Beca scoffs and leads them into the elevator. “You know, you could be nicer to your date.”

The redhead laughs and squeezes Beca’s hand as they wait for the elevator to reach the bottom floor. “You’re beautiful, too, Becs.”

With a red face, Beca tugs them forward to Beca’s beat up car and opens the passenger door for Chloe. “This really isn’t helping with the butch thing, is it?” she muses as Chloe gets seated in the car. “Seatbelt.”

Chloe waits for Beca starts to drive before she starts popping her questions. “Where are we going? What are we doing?”

Beca gives her a side glance and she feels a smile bloom on her face when Chloe pries one of her hands off the wheel to hold. “I’m not telling you. That’s a thing, right?”

“What’s a thing?” Chloe raises an eyebrow as she fiddles with Beca’s fingers.

“Not telling the dates where they’re going. That’s romantic, right? Element of surprise or something,” Beca mutters the last part under her breath.

The redhead chuckles at Beca’s lowkey worrying. “Hey, yes. It is a thing. I think you ruined the idea of it when you asked about it, though.” She presses a soft kiss to the back of Beca’s hand when worry flashes across her face. “Not a bad thing, Becs, it’s just so you.”

“That’s not the image I’m going for, Chlo, you have to think I’m badass,” Beca reminds with a grin, finally loosening up and allowing herself to actually enjoy the date.

“You ruined that image the moment you fell into a box with my vibrator in it.”

Beca’s face heats up at Chloe’s playful words. “Yeah. Um. We’re here now.”

How Chloe didn’t notice the car turning onto a dirt path, she’ll never know. She pushed the door open before Beca could round the car and stepped out. Her gaze swept over the scenery.

They’re in a small piece of land covered in trees, at the end of the treeline there is a cliff hanging over what sounds like a raging river. A good foot or so away from the cliff is a blanket that is pressed down by a picnic basket and a stereo.

Chloe’s eyes eventually makes its way back to Beca, she lets her lips tugs up and the brunette returns the smile with one of her own.

“Come on,” Beca’s voice is almost as quiet as a whisper, but not quite and it makes Chloe’s smile widen.

She grabs the brunette’s hand and they step over roots and dirt to get to the blanket. Beca crouches down to set the flowers neatly under the basket, the night is windy and she doesn’t want them to blow away, and gestures for Chloe to sit with her.

The blues in Chloe’s eyes seem to gleam brighter under the moonlight and the candlelight Beca sets up. “I told you. Romantic.”

“Whatever,” Beca grumbles, however there’s an upward twitch at her lips. She quickly pulls out all the food and sets it out, the sandwiches and Tupperware full of finger foods were all nicely made, and the large container of lemonade was quickly emptied sometime in the night.

When the sandwiches are all consumed (Beca hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so excuse her if she wants to scarf down half the supply in under fifteen minutes), Beca pulls a cardigan out of the basket and hands it to Chloe who’s shivering slightly.

Chloe pulls the cardigan over her arms and shoots the basket a dubious look. “What don’t you have in your basket, red riding hood?”

“Your vibrator,” the brunette replies with a smirk, “and I believe if anyone is red riding hood, it’s you, Red.”

“Red riding hood doesn’t necessarily have red hair, Becs.”

Beca grins at Chloe’s pout and resists the urge to just make out right there.

“There’s another reason why there’s a stereo here, not only for background music,” she says instead and leans over to fiddle with the nobs and buttons on the machine. “You like singing, I like listening to you sing, so if you want, you can sing along to the music and stuff.”

“Depends what songs you have, Ms. DJ.” The redhead perks up when the beginning of Titanium filters through the speaker. “Sing it with me.”

“No.” Beca refuses firmly. “I listen, you sing.”

They end up spending two hours singing together and Chloe even manages to get Beca to dance with her when Beca’s mixes blasts through.

By the time the last song Beca had queued up to play ends, Beca’s ironed shirt is crinkled up like the edges of both their eyes and a dopey grin is adorned on her face.

The brunette sighs in content when Chloe pulls her closer by her waist and presses a soft kiss to the side of her neck. “Romantic,” Chloe says against Beca’s skin with a curve on her lips. “You’re a sappy, romantic, tiny DJ.”

“You’re forgetting cool.” Beca begins to clean up, trying to move as little as possible as not to disturb Chloe, but what’s probably the highlight of the entire night happens when she moves too much and Chloe lifts her head off her shoulder.

Beca lifts the picnic basket up just as Chloe leans in, the wind picks up and the flowers blow into the air just as their lips connect. Beca’s pretty surprised when she doesn’t go into cardiac arrest from how funny her heart’s acting. She hums against Chloe’s lips and her grip on the basket loosens.

Flowers brush against their bodies as they’re blown away and when Beca opens her eyes, she can’t believe her eyes. Flowers are caught up in red hair, making the bright blues in Chloe’s eyes seem more cornflower and theirs a hint of pink on Chloe’s cheeks. And everything is perfect.

“That was completely by accident, by the way,” Beca whispers, a husk to her voice and a wide beam on her face. “Ice cream?”

“It didn’t melt?” Chloe pulls away and climbs to her feet, dress billowing around her legs.

The brunette snorts, cleaning up and picking things up. “We’re going to the ice cream parlor, there’s no way I’d risk bringing that up and I’m pretty sure you’d punch me in the face if I accidentally dropped ice cream of the edge.”

“There’s an incredibly romantic side of you, then there’s this side where you insult me by saying I’d hurt you.” There’s a pout on her lips and Beca really wants to make out now, but ice cream. She takes the stereo out of Beca’s hand and helps carry the blanket back to the car. “But I forgive you, because you’re cute.”

Cool. Because I’m cool.” Beca sulks in the car seat after she dumps everything in the back seats. She receives another kiss and a sarcastic ‘sure’ before she’s instructed to drive to the ice cream parlor.

Beca parks the car back under the apartment. “We can walk, since autumn’s actually not that shitty when you’re not on a cliff and the ice cream awaits, like, five minutes away.”

They walk hand in hand down the street towards the local ice cream parlor, taking longer than five minutes due to the giggle fits and random kisses they share, no one’s complaining, so no one makes an effort to stop it.

After they arrive and buy their cones – Beca has a scoop of chocolate and Chloe gets her cup with three scoops of different flavours (she slams the money down before Beca can reach for her wallet). They choose to sit in a booth by the window where their meaningless conversations continue.

“Are you sure you’re Beca?” Chloe asks suddenly, their conversation died down after an especially bad pun about llamas (“Chloe, why do you know that?”).

Beca quirks an eyebrow.

“Beca effin’ Mitchell with her cool job, ear monstrosities, dark boots, and tattoos – they’re nice tattoos, especially the script one, under your–”

“That’s nice, Chloe,” Beca interrupts, her face rapidly turning red.

Chloe grins at her. “You’re actually adorable, and sappy.”

The brunette rolls her eyes and leans forward to kiss strawberry ice cream flavoured lips. “You’re pushing it, Beale. I’m hardcore.”

“I’m convincing myself right now that Jesse didn’t come up with all of this and you just went with it, maybe put a salami in between bread.” Chloe continues, obviously not realizing the way Beca stiffens, “or Emily.”

Beca stands abruptly, pushing the ice cream away and stomping back a couple of steps. “Emily made the lemonade and Amy helped make a sandwich. Everything else was my doing.”

At this, Chloe finally notices. For someone who could read and understand people this well, she was quite dumb tonight.

“I put effort into this. I bought flowers and lemons for the lemonade. I bought the basket and the food and this pair of jeans for this.” Beca’s moved farther now. Her hands are shaking and theirs a coldness in her voice that sends chills down Chloe’s back.

Chloe doesn’t even have time to blink before Beca’s marched out the door. She throws the napkin she had been gripping in her fist and follows, but when she gets back to their apartment building, Beca’s door is jammed shut with what looks to be a chair and the lights are out.

Her freak out has a reason. Chloe knows this. She had meant the words to be teasing, but she knows Beca takes words to heart, even if she plays it off by acting like nothing affected her.

Beca’s parents split when she was only ten, because lack of effort to stay together. They drifted apart and Beca did nothing.

She watched as her father stayed later at work and her mother came home reeking of alcohol. She watched as her mother demanded reasons from her father one night. She listened as screams and yells woke the whole neighbourhood. She watched as Beca’s father dropped a large file on the dinner table and suddenly the fighting stopped and there was empty rooms in the house. She watched as the emptiness was replaced with coolers and shelves of wine, beer, she’s sure she saw a needle and pills.

And when Jesse turned away from her that cold night, she did nothing.

Chloe knows that this is her making up for it and doing something. Chloe knows.

It’s really stupid.

//

You bleed, we crawl like animals,
But when it's over, I'm still awake

//

.
She doesn’t want to wait another second, let alone two months, for Beca to open the door again (if Beca even does).

But Jesse won’t help her, Emily dodges calls, and Aubrey only consoles her.

Chloe calls in sick.

The door to Beca’s office swings open and when she looks up, it’s being locked. “I don’t want to talk to you.”

“I’m sorry.” Chloe ignores Beca’s venomous snarl. “I didn’t mean it, I swear to you, I didn’t mean it. It came out wrong. The night was going good and I ruined it, I’m sorry for that.”

Beca leans back into her chair with a blank face and waits for Chloe to finish.

“Listen to me, I’m sorry. I know what I said was wrong, I know, I didn’t mean it. Please forgive me, because I’m sort of really in love with you, so I don’t want you to slip away from me again. I really want to be with you and if you give me a second chance, I’ll prove it to you.

“I won’t joke about your badass-ness and I’ll make you feel like you’re worth it, because you are. I’ll fight for you, like right now.” Chloe stops when Beca gently puts her pen down and pushes up. “I’m sort of really in love with you, give me a second chance.”

The brunette rounds the table and leans against it, she opens her mouth, closes it, and opens it again. “I’m sorry that I overreacted. I know it was a joke,” she mumbles her own apology softly. “I… My mother never really tried to do anything, like marriage and stopping her…problem, so your comment hurt a bit.”

There’s barely any space between them now.

“I forgive you,” Chloe whispers as she pushes brown curls off Beca’s shoulders. “It’s mostly my fault.”

Beca tilts her head just a bit and their lips are a couple of inches apart. “I forgive you, too. I guess.”

Chloe laughs, but it morphs into a grunt when Beca shuts her up. She likes Beca shutting her up.

“Same,” the brunette utters against Chloe’s lips.

The redhead knows what she’s talking about. It’s really stupid and cliché, but she likes it, because they’re best friends who are sort of in love with each other.

“We don’t know how to date, do we?” Beca asks the moment they pull away from each other. “I run away half the time and we’ve only been on a date and we’re already saying ‘I love you’s. Even if it’s ‘I sort of love you’s.”

“We’ve known each other for almost two years, we’ve seen each other naked, and basically know everything about each other, so I’d say we can say 'I love you'.” The redhead pulls back. “Also, we’re a giant cliché, so that counts for something.”

“Cliché?” Beca’s arms hang loosely around Chloe’s waist and she tugs very unobtrusively when she asks.

Chloe rests her own arms on Beca’s shoulders as she replies, “Neighbours who become BFFs, then they end up together.”

“You should hear how Jesse got a date with me, it’s like the plot to one of those shitty romcoms he gets me to watch. I like ours better, it’s still got the shitty romcom plot and all, but we point it out and swear.”

The redhead laughs and, in the end, Beca gets zero work done and they spend the entire day in her office making out or talking.
.
Things are fine for the following month, they go on two more dates (Chloe takes the command for both of them) and they still act like virgin teenagers on their first dates. They don’t mention the love thing again.

“Pass me the extra pair of chopsticks, I dropped mine,” Beca says distractedly, watching the TV and tapping the side of the Chinese box. “Chlo?”

Her head swivels around when Chloe hisses in pain. “Chloe!”

The redhead is lying on the floor with a hand pressed against her forehead and a kicked puppy expression on her face. “I couldn’t find the spare chopsticks and when I was searching for them, a cereal box fell on my face.”

Beca can barely hold in her laughter, but she does so and helps her up. “You’re stupid.”

“You’re mean,” Chloe spits back and her tongue sticks out.

“But you love me,”

Chloe lights up the entire goddamn apartment with her beam. “I do.”

“I do, too.” And then she ruins the moment and pokes Chloe’s forming bruise.

Chloe yanks herself back before she growls out a, “Beca!” and slaps her arm with a grimace.

“I was getting your chopsticks and this is how you repay me?”

“This is how I repay you.” Beca lightly grazes Chloe’s injured forehead with her lips, then her cheek, then her nose, then her mouth. Multiple times. A lot.

Chloe vaguely hears ‘fucking shitty romcoms’ under Beca’s breathe in between kisses.

So what if they didn’t say ‘I love you’ properly to each other? They know they love each other. It’s enough.

//

A thousand silhouettes dancing on my chest,
No matter where I sleep, you are haunting me

//

.
“Shorty, where did you leave my blue pair of socks?”

Beca scoffs. “If that’s what you’re referring to me as, you’ll never know, gingersnap.”

“Beca Mitchell, your highness, ma’am, where’s my socks?”

“That’s more like it.” The brunette nods. She clambers out of the sheets of Chloe’s bed and pads lightly to the living room while she ties Chloe’s duck robe around herself. “Last time I saw it, it was behind the sofa.”

Chloe follows with a frown. “Why didn’t you pick it up?”

“I wasn’t bothered to,” Beca says it like it’s obvious. “Yeah, here it is.”

The redhead whacks her girlfriend over her head when she pulls the socks over. “You’re so lazy. No wonder you’re so small.”

“Could you make me breakfast, Chlo?” the DJ requests innocently, deciding not to bother with the height comments and pulling a face. “I’ll even hand you sugar and stuff.”

Chloe rolls her eyes, putting her socks in the laundry basket before stepping foot in the kitchen. “You should learn how to cook, Becs.”

The brunette dumps the sugar on the counter instead of replying.

“Beca, hand me the spatula.”

Beca pulls a random drawer out and mentally congratulates herself when the spatula sits at the top. “Here it is, babe.”

“Beca, pour us orange juice.” Chloe reminds when Beca tries to wander off with her phone.

The phone is discarded on the coffee table and the juice is emptied out.

“Beca, I love you.”

“I love you, too,” spills out without hesitation. “But I can’t physically hand you that.”

Chloe laughs, turning away from the pancakes to kiss Beca – careful not to make out too heavily, because no one likes burnt pancakes. “Well, I mean, you can finge–”

“Pancakes, gingersnap,” Beca cuts her off and breezes back into the bedroom while Chloe chuckles.
.
They keep their relationship after making up a secret for a month more to keep Jesse and his team of fangirls away, but he finds out from bumping into a make out session outside of their doors. They were coming back from a dinner date, but obviously, things got a little bit heated.

Jesse doesn’t do anything they thought he would, instead he turns around and leaves without a word.

The brunette frowns and presses a kiss to Chloe’s lips before following her ex-boyfriend out.

“Jesse! Jess! Wait up!” She curses under her breath when she almost falls into the thin layer of snow that covered the sidewalk outside of the apartment. “Dude, seriously? Can we stop with the storming out in shitty weather thing?”

He halts by a streetlight and leans against the cool metal with a small curl of his lips, but it’s more of a grimace then a smile. “Things are good?”

Beca clears her throat. “Yeah. Great.”

“Fist bump, bi-bro,” he tries to go for excited, but it ends up falling a bit flat.

Sure, he’s an actor. He’s great at his job, amazing, in fact, Beca’s surprised he hasn’t gotten an Oscar yet. But acting can’t beat two years.

Beca’s eyes slowly meets his. “What’s wrong?”

His arm falls to his side and the grimace-smile slips off. “What? Nothing. No fist bump, then?”

“Jesse. Please.” Beca frowns, she drops her head and kicks at the snow. “I know you.”

He doesn’t say anything for a while. “That’s what’s wrong,” he says it with so much pain and there’s a dangerous husk to it.

The brunette draws her red coat closer to her body and sets her foot firmly against the snow. “I thought… I thought we were okay.”

Jesse watches intently at the small girl who looks so fragile and worried. “We are. We’re okay, Becs.”

“No, we’re really not,” the brunette replies.

She meets his stare and stands a little bit taller.

“I thought you were supportive of me and Chloe.”

“I am!” he exclaims. “I am supportive,” he presses, as if trying to convince himself. “I thought I was.” He fails.

Beca sighs through her nose. “…Do you need time?”

She’ll miss her best friend fervently. She’ll miss his kind eyes and dorky thumbs ups and his shitty movies and his advice and maybe his beer, but she’s trying now. She’s trying, so she does what’s best and gives him what she can. Time.

Jesse glares at the night sky and Beca’s looking back down and kicking at white. He seems hesitant to speak. There’s a slight dim in the streetlight that only lasted a couple of seconds and only someone looking at it would notice, he does, and he takes it as a sign. “Yes, Beca. I do.”

Beca nods, but makes no move to leave, instead, she watches as Jesse scratches as the back of his head and hesitantly turns.

It’s funny, she thinks to herself when he’s almost around the corner, how two years ends with four words and this ends with four as well. She has hope, though. Both times he says four words and leaves like that, it sounds like he’s coming back. Third times the charm, right?

This time she goes back home with a frown, but ends up wrapped up in Chloe’s arms and laughter pulled across her face.
.
They break it to the rest of their friends on a snowing Tuesday night after work. They’re bundled up in Aubrey’s living room – she insists for it to be at her place – to watch a mix of comedies and horror with hot chocolate and tea.

Amy’s sprawled across the floor and hogging the thickest sheets Aubrey can pull up (“I’m not sitting on the couch, who knows what these two get up to on this. I’ve seen two dingoes in heat get up to–” / “Amy!”).

Aubrey and Stacie are cuddled up in a spacey arm chair with the thinnest, since they’ve got the most layer on anyway.

Emily and her boyfriend, Benji, are wrapped up in a relatively thick blanket on one end of the spacey leather sofa while acting disgustingly cute (“I love you, too, you know? I want you to know that.” / “Yeah, same as the last five times you told her, Benji.”)

Chloe takes up two thirds of the sofa herself, she’s lying, slightly curled up, with her head in Beca’s lap. They have their own blanket from their apartments draped over their bodies and a pillow from Chloe’s sofa behind Beca’s back.

Red curls spill over Beca’s thigh and brown tresses tickle Chloe’s face. Beca fiddles with the ends of Chloe’s hair and her eyes flit from Chloe’s face to the TV constantly, until she isn’t even bothered to resist it anymore and pokes Chloe’s cheek to get her attention.

“Chlo, can I kiss you?” she whispers.

The redhead giggles, nodding and sitting up to make it easier. “You’re not badass in anyway, Mitchell.”

“Yeah, yeah, Beale. You’re fucking gorgeous right now, so can we make out or what?”

“Sure, short stack.”

“Bitch.”

“Hey! Don’t be ru– hmf.”

Chloe pinches Beca’s side lightly, but otherwise kisses back eagerly, too.

“Whoomp! There it is! Lesbi-honest!” Amy yells over the sound of the screams of a girl being ferociously slaughtered. “Junk, keep your junk in your pants and check this out!”

Beca pulls away to give a malicious glare to her friend and fights off a smile when Amy receives high fives from everyone – Aubrey does it after some coaxing.

Aubrey narrows her eyes at Chloe when celebration is over which clearly says ‘we’re going to talk about this later, aca-bitch’.

Two more movies pass with make out sessions and muted giggles under their blanket.
.
Their across-neighbourversay is spent in Chloe’s bed. And in Beca’s. And on their sofas. And against a wall. And maybe one time on Chloe’s kitchen counter.

Her parents find out over the phone, but they don’t make it as big as a deal as Amy made it out to be, they’re accepting and they hang up not five minutes later (Beca’s sure her mother’s drunk anyway). Chloe’s parents make them pancakes and demands their presence over for Christmas and New Year’s.

Gift exchange between friends was short, they just hand over presents and stock theirs up under Chloe’s tree (Beca never bought one, so she shared it with Chloe) with promises of waiting for Christmas to open them. Amy breaks the promise a day later and Emily’s presents accidentally rip open in the three minutes after she gets them.

Everyone she knows (including herself) gets a present in the mail with Jesse’s name on the card, and he gets some in return. They don’t see him. They can’t, not yet, but Beca makes it through present opening without shedding a tear, but she does almost choke on her own spit when she opens Amy’s gift to find a vibrator. (“We match, Becs!” / “Chlo. No.”)
.
Fireworks burst in the background and cheers on the TV serve as a backing track for a heavy make out session where they’re stripped of half their clothes and Beca laughs at the end. It’s been a good year.

Chloe joins soon after. It has.

//

But I'm already there,
I'm already there.
Wherever there is you,
I will be there too,

//

.
Chloe lugs another box into the hallway and sighs as she leans against the wall. Her shirt is rolled up and her pants are scuffed, the hot weather does nothing to help with the air vents in the building. Jesus.

The redhead sighs as she gets back to work and pushes another box of belongings out of the apartment and into her own where there’s air conditioning. Sometimes, she hates summer (most of the time, she doesn’t).

Inside, Beca’s pulling her own stuff and placing them inside their shared apartment. “Where do I put this thing?”

“We already have one in the kitchen, Beca. How do you not know what was in your own apartment?” Chloe takes the random kitchen appliance out of Beca’s hands and dumps it in their trash box.

“It was probably a gift from dad, I don’t know.” The brunette shrugs as she moves onto the next box of her stuff.

Chloe gives Beca a chaste kiss on the cheek before she’s back to pushing the last box in. “Are you sure that’s everything you’re moving in here?”

Beca nods an affirmative and fiddles with another kitchen appliance she has no idea the function is. “Hi, blonde bitch.”

“Midget.” Aubrey bites back as she trots into the living room from the bathroom with a frown. “You have too much soap in there, by the way. Stacie should be back soon with the requirements.”

“What’s the requirements?” Chloe slings an arm around Beca’s waist and her smile brightens when Beca leans in.

Aubrey crinkles her nose at the sight. “More picture frames and you need to stock up on tissues.”

Man, moving is fucking annoying, especially when Aubrey Posen is your girlfriend’s best friend and your neighbour.

Beca lets out an overly loud, relieved sigh when the sun sets and they all go back to their respective apartments.

Chloe laughs at her dramatics and chucks a pillow at the brunette. “Don’t be mean, she’s my best friend.”

“She’s still annoying.” Beca groans when Chloe pokes her stomach. “We’re not doing another tickle war, Chloe.”

“It did end well for the both of us last time, though.”

“Hey, big man up there, how am I supposed to survive? Aubrey and Stacie are still my neighbours and Amy is moving into my old apartment with her kangaroos or something. Also, I’m not sure if my girlfriend is going to jump me.”

“I am.”

At least she gets a warning.

//

Cause I'm already there,
I'm already there,
Wherever there is you,
I will be there too.

//

.
By the end of summer, Beca’s already at home in Chloe’s arms and their shared apartment with the better view (“I’m Tasmanian, I can get whatever view I want, so you two have Chloe’s apartment and I’ll take yours, Pocket Rocket.”).

There were a few bumps in the road, obviously, it’s not like Beca suddenly got less dense and Chloe got less invasive. Those couple of nights in fighting were spent in tears and monitored alcohol (Aubrey was stricter on Chloe than Amy was on Beca when that happened).

Chloe’s been singing more often around the house, each time Beca’s enamored, and Beca’s working on a new album with a girl named Lilly, so they’re often merrier around the house – if you refer to Beca as merry to her face, she’d twitch and deny it ferociously, she’s badass.

Sometimes, Beca will give Amy’s door a longing gaze or a magazine advertising a movie a sigh when she walks past. On days like this, Chloe always ends up spooning her and reminding her of that one time Jesse fell off the sofa into Chloe’s hot pink underwear.
.
This is solved by a knock on the door in autumn, a couple hugs and movies.

Jesse comes back in her life as if nothing has changed and this time she’s okay with the feeling, because he’s got a girlfriend and he’s working with fucking Bumper Allen in a movie. She’s okay, because she’s got a girlfriend and a new album. Chloe’s okay, because she’s got a girlfriend and a higher budget for her music club thing that Beca calls Glee.

It’s not Glee.

The actor makes an effort to hang out with them weekly, the entire group actually meets up weekly, whether it’s at a bar or at someone’s home. It’s a great feeling to feel at home with a bunch of people she didn’t even know existed two and a half (ish) years ago.

It’s a great feeling to feel in heaven with a girl who owned the vibrator she handled two and a half (ish) years ago.
.
Midway through autumn, Jesse bangs on their door with a cage and hope brimming in his eyes.

“No.”

“Beca, yes.”

“I agree with Chloe.”

Beca glares at the two. “You just agree with her, because you’re the one trying to get rid of it. I still don’t know why you’re trying to get rid of it.”

Chloe elbows her girlfriend. “He’s cute.”

“Yeah, look at him! And I’m only giving him away, because I can’t take care of him and his billion other siblings. I promise, I got the calmest one just for you guys.” Jesse scratches behind the puppy’s ear and gives it a loving kiss on the top of its head. “Beca, look at him.”

“I can’t.” She knows if she looks, she’s going to fall in fucking love, and she can barely make instant noodles, so what makes him think she can take part in raising a dog.

The redhead spends a night convincing her to get the puppy when Jesse leaves with puppy dog eyes (stupid Jesse and his dogs).

They end up with a dog.

//

I'm already there,
I'm already there,
Wherever there is you,
I will be there too.

//

Chloe isn’t perfect. She’s got the widest beam and the most vibrant of eyes. Her hugs are given freely, randomly and tightly. Her cheeks flush in the cold, she smells like her lavender shampoo, and she has no idea what boundaries is. And Beca is so in love with her.

She’s loud and funny and welcoming and loving and just everything in Beca’s eyes. She brings back Chinese food after work – sometimes Pizza – and makes pancakes and waffles in the morning. She cuddles into Beca after long days and mutters nonsensical, sweet things into Beca’s skin when she’s half asleep.

Beca’s still broody, sarcastic and slightly pessimistic, but she’s head over heels for Chloe. She goes to her students’ concerts with flowers and chocolates (every single one of them). She makes her instant noodles when she’s sick (she can make that now) and worries over her.

Life’s not perfect. But it’s pretty damn close to perfect with Chloe Beale.