“So how did you learn to do this again?” The redhead asked as Beca once again tried to jimmy the car door open.
Beca was glad her back was to the other girl, as she wasn’t sure she’d be able to keep the pained expression from crossing her face as the memories flooded back.
She’d learnt with her, of course. Another useless attempt at impressing the girl.
The girl, who muttered curses at Beca the whole time she watched her pry the car door open and fiddle with wires. But Beca had seen the poor attempt she had made at hiding her smile, heard the softness in the girl’s voice.
So for that reason it had been worth it. And Beca would truly do anything to see that smile again, to hear the laugh bubbling from Alice’s lips as they sped out of Seattle, hair windswept and cheeks glowing pink.
They really had been invincible.
“It’s a long story, just…” Beca grunted, shoving the memories deep down, and pushing the extendable metal rod into the top part of the door, “Focus on keeping a look out.”
“Are you sure this is going to-” The redhead’s sentence was cut off as the truck door popped open.
Beca smirked, sliding into the driver’s seat. “You were saying?”
Chloe’s mouth opened and closed quickly, abandoning what she had been about to say. “Just hurry up. I still don’t like this.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Beca said as she reached into her bag, pulling out a flat-headed screwdriver.
“Why do you even have all this stuff?” Chloe asked, sticking her head through the door to watch.
“I thought you were meant to be on look out, Red.” Beca said as she jammed the screwdriver into the ignition and gave it a turn. “Fuck.” She muttered when it was obvious nothing was going to happen.
“Everything okay?” Chloe asked with a frown.
“Yeah, just a slight complication.” Beca sighed, pulling the screwdriver out from the ignition and starting to unscrew the bolts from the panels on the steering column.
“No offence but why did you actually think that was going to work?”
Beca rolled her eyes. “Sometimes old cars be started by wedging something into the ignition. Clearly not this piece of shit though.” She laughed, turning her attention to the redhead. “And no offence but you’re a terrible lookout.”
Chloe shrugged. “What can I say? It's boring.”
“Yeah well it beats jail.” Beca gently pried open the panels below the driver's column, exposing the two red and brown wires running to the ignition cylinder. “You don’t happen to have insulated gloves do you?”
“No.” Chloe shook her head. “Why?”
“Well I really don’t want to be electrocuted.” Beca muttered.
Beca ignored Chloe’s outburst, rummaging through her bag to pull out a pair of nail cutters. “Eh, I’ll be fine.” She said, cutting the red wires from the cylinder and stripping the ends with the thin blade. “Here goes nothing.” She winced before twisting the two wires together.
The radio sprung to life, followed shortly by the lights flickering on slowly.
“Okay that was actually pretty cool.” Chloe leaned in closer, watching with renewed interest.
Beca grimaced. “I’m not done yet.”
“You’re not going to die on me right?” Chloe asked with a laugh too strained to be genuine.
“Okay fine, definitely not.” Beca rolled her eyes. “But I am going to get thrown in jail if you don’t keep a lookout.”
Beca watched the redhead back out of the vehicle before returning her gaze to the wires in front of her. She steadied her hand and cut the first then second brown power wire from the cylinder, exhaling slowly as nothing happened.
“You still alive?” She heard Chloe call from outside and laughed.
“Yeah, you can come in now.”
The redhead slipped in beside her.
“I’m almost done, close the door. I don’t want to hang around here any longer.”
“Copy that.” Chloe answered, pulling the door shut.
Beca made sure not to touch the live wires as she stripped them with the scissors. “Last step.”
Come on, come on, come on…
She bit her lip and touched the brown wires together, a grin splitting her face as the engine spluttered to life. “Fuck yes!” She grinned, releasing the wires from each other. “Did you see that? Did you fucking see that?!”
Chloe nodded. “Impressive.”
“Do you have any tape?”
“Why…” Chloe blinked, “Why would I have tape?”
“I dunno.” Beca shrugged. “Thought you might be useful for once.”
“Hey!” Chloe laughed, whacking her arm. “Take that back.”
“Okay okay, sorry.” Beca raised her arms. “Just whatever you do, don’t touch the brown wires.”
“Why?” Chloe frowned. “What would happen?”
Beca moved her hands to the stirring wheel, looking straight ahead. “You don’t want to know.”
“So just another right coming up here?” Beca asked, her eyes darting to the redhead quickly.
“Well, that’s what it says.” Chloe replied, squinting at the large map in her hands.
“You sure?” Beca checked for what must have been the fifth time that hour. After Chloe’s initial attempt at giving directions with the map upside down, Beca had lost what little confidence she originally had in the redhead’s navigational skills.
Chloe let out a long sigh. “I can read y’know.”
“It wasn’t your reading skills that I was questioning.” Beca said, failing to stop the smirk spreading onto her face.
Chloe huffed. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”
Beca frowned at the jolt her stomach gave at the nickname. “Hm?” She replied with what she hoped was an acceptable degree of nonchalance.
“I was just wondering…is the fuel gage supposed to be that low?”
“What?” Beca cast her gaze downwards, noticing the redhead was right and that the needle was wavering dangerously towards the red line. “Fuck.”
Beca heard Chloe sigh. “Out of all the vehicles you could have stolen, of course you had to choose the only one in California with an empty tank.”
“Definitely not the only one,” Beca rolled her eyes. “And I didn’t know it was running low at the time, did I?”
“I know,” Chloe groaned. “Just…what do we do now? We don’t have enough money for gas and even if we did, we couldn’t just rock up at a station with a stolen truck.”
Beca’s lips quirked in amusement. “That’s actually not a bad idea.”
“And that was not an invitation.”
“Red.” Beca imitated with a smirk. “Come on, I’ll even let you drive, so you won’t have to do anything.” She glanced towards the redhead, wishing she hadn’t when she was met with a sharp glare. “It’s simple really. I get out and fill the tank whilst you keep the engine running. We’ll drive off before anyone notices.”
“There’s nothing simple about any of that. Besides,” Chloe muttered, “I’m not driving us anywhere without my license.”
“Let me get this straight.” Beca smirked. “You’re okay with grand theft auto, but driving without a license is where you draw the line?” Beca cast her eyes to the Chloe when she didn’t get a response. “Red?”
The girl mumbled something unintelligible, her body angled to the window.
“What was that?”
Chloe groaned, turning her head to Beca. “I can’t drive, okay?!”
Beca let out an incredulous laugh. “Look if you don’t want to do this that badly, you can just say.” She looked over to Chloe, the grin wiped off her face as she took in the redhead’s unamused expression. “You’re serious?”
Chloe nodded, “Dixie-chick serious.”
“Dude!” Beca gawped, quickly alternating her gaze between the redhead and the road in front of her. “You’re seventeen, why the hell can’t you drive?!”
Chloe shrugged. “I don’t know…Life just got in the way I guess.”
“Well, little miss cryptic, you’re just going to have to get the gas then.” Beca replied easily.
“Do we really have to do this?”
“Unless you want to steal another car?” Beca shrugged. “Which might I add, I would definitely be down for.”
Chloe sighed. “Point taken.”
They pulled into the nearest gas station ten minutes later, Beca being true to her word kept the engine running as she pulled up beside one of the pumps.
“You okay?” Beca asked with a frown, the redhead’s bouncing knee and clasped hands catching her eyes as she looked away from the road.
“Uh huh.” Chloe responded. “Totes doesn’t feel like I’m about to do anything extremely illegal.”
“Hey.” Beca said, putting her hand over Chloe’s knee to still the jogging. “I’ll be right here the whole time. Just remember our plan. In and out, that’s all, okay?”
“Okay.” Chloe nodded, taking a shaky breath and pushing open the door. Beca watched as she got out the car and made her way to the pump, her eyes darting between the redhead and the road.
Beca was so focused staring ahead, tightly grasping the steering wheel that she startled violently when she heard muffled voices coming from outside. Her head snapped sideways, cursing quietly as she saw a man walking towards Chloe.
“…Fill…engine… running…love?” Was all she managed to make out before she saw the man turn and move towards her, stopping as he reached the front of the truck. He bent down slightly and knocked on the glass.
Beca rolled the window down, fixing him with a questioning stare.
“Miss you need to turn the engine off to fill up the truck.” He said.
Beca glanced down at the two red wires entwined together, immediately regretting it as she looked back up to catch the man’s eyes following her gaze.
Sighing she slowly separated them, making the engine cut off. “Is that all?” She asked, directing the man’s gaze back to her.
“Um.” His eyes flickered back to the wires still on display, before snapping them up to Beca again, clearing his throat. “Yes. Thank you.”
The man straightened up and walked back to Chloe.
“Let me help you.” Beca strained to hear him say, and turned her head, stiffening as she saw him stood next to Chloe, eyeing the truck with narrowed eyes.
“No, I’m fine, thanks.” Chloe replied quickly, attempting to plug the pump into the side of the truck.
“Really, I insist.” He said, his hands quickly replacing Chloe’s as he started to fill the truck up with gas.
Beca met Chloe’s wide eyes and sent the redhead what she hoped to be a reassuring smile. Based on the glare she received, it wasn’t.
“Let’s go in and pay, shall we?” The man said once the tank was full, returning the pump to the wrack.
Chloe glanced back at Beca desperately before mumbling something and being herded away by the man.
“Shit.” Beca said quietly, watching the man usher Chloe into the shop. “Shit, shit, shit!”
Five minutes went by and Chloe was still nowhere to be seen. Just when she was about to get out the car to do something, anything, raised voices started to sound from the shop.
That was it. She had to move.
Beca was half way out the truck when the shop door burst open and out came the redhead running full pelt towards the truck.
“Beca! Get in”
Beca slammed the door closed as she heaved herself back into the truck, looking back at Chloe, who was now running round to the side of the vehicle.
“Go! Go! GO!” Chloe yelled, yanking the passenger door open.
In one swift motion, Beca twisted the power wires back together at the same time that the man from before came crashing out of the shop, clutching his nose and shouting.
“What’re you waiting for?!” Chloe hissed as she slid into passenger seat of the truck, banging the door closed behind her.
Avoiding the metal part of the brown wires, Beca pressed them together quickly, causing the engine to make a choking sound.
“Come on, come on!” Chloe’s panicked voice wasn’t helping her concentration as she tapped the wires together again.
“I’m trying!” Beca gritted out, sounding more calm than she felt as she spotted the man through the rearview mirror, growing closer to the truck.
“Well, try harder!”
There was a horrifying stretch of silence where Beca thought the engine wasn’t going to start, until a roaring cut through it, jogging the truck to life.
Beca slammed her foot on the accelerator, kicking up dust behind them as she sped out of the parking lot. But in her haste to get away, Beca failed to notice the small security camera outside the shop, it’s blinking red light following their car as they drove away.
“Holy shit.” Beca grinned, the adrenaline still pumping through her veins as she turned onto a narrower road, the station far behind them now. “That was fucking awesome.” She turned her head to the side as Chloe remained silent, recoiling slightly at the glare she received.
“Are you serious?” Chloe asked, maintaining her cool expression. “That guy almost caught us.”
“Yeah,” Beca shrugged, casting her eyes back to the road, “Almost.”
“Are you really not bothered by this? Like not at all?”
“Nope.” Beca said. “And you shouldn’t be either. I mean where’s your sense of adventure? That was-”
“Adventure?!” Chloe snapped, cutting her off. “Beca he could have called the police. I know that’s probably not a big deal for you, but it is for me. I can’t go home, okay? I can’t.”
Beca scoffed. “At least your family cares enough to want you back.”
“And you think yours doesn’t?”
“No.” Beca laughed. “They’re probably relieved I’m gone.”
Chloe frowned. “You don’t know that.”
“Yeah I do. You on the other hand have no fucking clue, so butt out.” Beca said shortly, directing her attention back to the road.
She hated the awkward tension that settled between them and to top things off, the radio chose then to cut off, abruptly being replaced by a gurgling static.
“Piece of shit.” Beca muttered, moving one of her hands from the wheel to fiddle with the dial controlling the music.
“I’ll do it.” Chloe said, batting Beca’s hand away to fiddle with the station. “Keep your eyes on the road.”
Beca was about to make a snarky comment, only stopping as her eyes landed on the redhead’s hands. Chloe was favouring her left to tamper with the channels but her right was cradled protectively in her lap, a slight swelling visible.
“Your hand…” Beca trailed off, a frown creasing her features. “What happened?” She asked, her gaze flickering between the redhead and the road.
“Oh, so now you care?”
Beca raised her eyebrows at Chloe, a sigh heaved from her in return.
“I punched the guy at the gas station.” Chloe finally said. “He wouldn’t let go of my arm and I kind of…freaked.”
Beca’s grip on the steering wheel tightened, jaw clenching. “That asshole. I knew he was…God I should have gone in with you or…or ran him over when I had the-”
“Beca.” Chloe stopped her rant. “I’m fine.”
“But your hand-”
“Will be fine.” Chloe finished before Beca could say anything else. “I’m okay.”
“But you…” Beca’s voice grew quiet then, not taking her eyes off the road, she said, “You got hurt because of me.”
“No,” Chloe shook her head, an incredulous laugh escaping her lips. “I got hurt because that guy’s face was a literal brick wall.”
Beca scoffed, her anger dimming slightly. “He did seem like he’d have a thick skull.”
After a beat of silence, Chloe spoke up again, “I’ve never actually punched anyone before now. Is it…” She trailed off with a wince. “Is it always this painful?”
Beca honestly couldn’t say she was surprised. Chloe didn’t seem like the type to get into fights, unlike her.
“I mean you get used to it, but yeah, usually.” Beca’s lip twitched. “Especially if your technique was off…which no offence yours probably was.”
Chloe snorted, “I guess you’ll just have to teach me sometime then.”
“Maybe,” Beca laughed, “but for now we’re going to get you something for your hand.” Seeing Chloe open her mouth to protest, Beca added,“Unless you want it to swell up like a balloon, of course.”
When Chloe remained silent, Beca smirked, turning the truck into a side road.
As soon as they walked into the corner shop, Beca made her way to the back, eyes locking onto the frozen foods section.
She scanned the shelves quickly before grabbing a bag of frozen peas. She turned around, pausing as she realised Chloe was no longer behind her.
Beca let out a yelp, dropping the peas she was holding as she spun around to the source of the loud noise.
“Dude!” Beca hissed, as her eyes landed on the laughing redhead who was clutching what looked like an airhorn. “What the fuck?!”
“Oh my god, that was priceless.” Chloe grinned. “You should’ve seen your face.”
“Whatever,” Beca scowled, scooping the bag of peas off of the floor. “It’s not like I’m trying to help you or any-”
“I’m sorry, what was that? I couldn’t really hear you.” Chloe said, her smile growing wider.
“Dude stop doing-”
“Oh my god.” Beca groaned. “Cut it ou-”
Chloe’s laughter echoed off the aisles around them and Beca was having an extremely hard time staying mad, finding the redhead’s giggling rather infectious.
So when a shop employee around their age appeared in front of them, killing their laughter as quickly as it had come, Beca found it hard not to be annoyed.
“You’re not supposed to use that in here,” He said, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Sorry,” Chloe smiled sheepishly. “I didn’t know that was a rule.”
Beca scoffed. As if.
“No worries. If it was up to me, I’d let it slide, but company policy and all that…” The guy shrugged.
The conversation seemed to have met a natural close, except the guy hadn’t left, and he was still looking at Chloe.
Beca only just fought back the urge to tell him to fuck right off.
“What are you guys up to today?” He finally asked.
“Nothing really.” Chloe said, looking to Beca before turning back to the man. “What about you?” She asked, apparently oblivious to the way he was eyeing her up and down.
“I finish work at three.” He grinned. “Then me and some mates are going to this bar down on Rose, if you want to come.” He glanced at Beca briefly. “You’d have to leave your sister behind though. They’re hella strict with ID’s.”
“I’m not her sister.” Beca said, glaring him down.
But what Chloe did next left Beca struggling to remember how to even breathe properly.
“She’s actually my girlfriend.” She said, sliding beside Beca and putting her hand around her waist, so that she could feel each of Chloe’s fingers tight against her hip and added. “Five months today.”
“Oh…Happy anniversary.” The guy seemed to deflate slightly then as he looked between them slowly. “Well, I should get back to work.” He sighed, his eyes lingering on Chloe for a beat longer before walking away.
The moment he was out of sight, Chloe’s hand retreated from Beca’s waist, and she took a few steps backwards. “Sorry.” She said. “I couldn’t think of another way to make him leave.”
Beca cleared her throat, taking the extra time to pull herself together. “Don’t worry about it…” She forced a smirk onto her face. “Babe.”
“Oh shut up.” Chloe smiled with a shake of her head. “Let’s go pay.”
They made their way to the counter and put the bag of peas in front of the woman manning the till.
Beca started to dig out some loose change from her jean pockets when Chloe stopped her.
“What’re you doing?”
“Paying?” Beca replied with a questioning stare.
“No, you’re not.” Chloe shot back. “It’s my hand, I’ll pay.”
“No,” Beca shook her head. “It was my dumb idea that got you hurt in the first place.”
“As much as I love listening to your pointless jabbering, I have other customers.” The woman interrupted.
Taking advantage of Chloe’s dumbfounded expression, Beca pushed the change towards the woman before she could make any further objections.
“Feel better?” Beca asked as they got back into the truck, eyeing the peas Chloe was using to ice her hand.
“I think so.” Chloe said. “It’s just sort of numb now, so I guess that’s an improvement?”
“Of sorts.” Beca chuckled before a slight frown crossed her face. “I’m sorry.”
Chloe sighed. “I already told you, it’s not your fault.”
“Still,” Beca replied, raking a hand through her hair. “I shouldn’t have pushed you. I just got a bit carried away with everything.”
“It’s fine. Besides,” Chloe grinned. “I can officially cross punching someone off of my bucket list.”
Beca smirked. “Along with grand theft auto?”
“Nope, strangely enough that wasn’t on it.”
“Yeah.” Chloe nodded. “But then again, neither was making friends with a delinquent, so there you have it.”
Beca scoffed. “Yeah well, befriending a smart-ass wasn’t at the top of mine either.”
A wide smile appeared on Chloe’s face, the brightness of it momentarily stunning. “Friends huh?”
“I guess you could say that.” Beca rolled her eyes, but couldn’t stop the smile from gracing her face as Chloe let out an excited squeal. “Don’t let it go to your head.”