Sitting at the small café, sipping from her coffee, Beca realized with a start, that she was actually nervous.
That made absolutely zero sense. She’d performed in front of thousands of people. She got fan-mail from dozens of fans all across the continent on a daily basis. She gave birth to a tiny human.
Why the hell was she nervous?
She was just here to meet a potential babysitter.
Then again, Beca reflected, she wasn’t the best with personal social interactions…
Seeing a redhead enter the café, awkwardly idling by the entrance as she looked around, Beca gave a small wave to get her attention. Checking the time on her phone, Beca noted the other woman was ten minutes early. Always a good first sign.
The redhead stopped at the table, taking off her knitted had and scarf. “Hi,” she muttered breathlessly. “I’m guessing you’re Mrs. Mitchell?”
Beca raised her eyebrows, a small smile playing at her lips. “I’m definitely not Mrs. Mitchell. That would require marriage.”
“Miss Mitchell, then,” the redhead nodded. “May I sit?”
“Oh, yes, of course,” Beca scrambled, grabbing her purse to free up the chair. “Also, just Beca, please. Seeing as you know my name, I imagine you’re Chloe Beale?”
“That’d be me, yes,” the redhead smiled, before expulsing a huff. “Glad I got here on time. I was worried I wouldn’t make it.”
Punctuality, check, Beca thought to herself.
“Want something to drink?” Beca asked, remembering, vaguely, how to be a proper human being. The other woman was here because Beca had invited her for this ‘job interview’ after all.
“Hot chocolate would be nice,” Chloe grinned. “It’s freezing outside.”
Waving one of the servers over, Beca ensured Chloe got her drink of choice in record time, watching as she gently puffed on her hot chocolate. “So, Chloe, tell me a little about yourself,” she started.
“Right,” Chloe nodded. “I’m twenty-seven,” she started, “and studying to be a veterinarian. I’m originally from Florida, my family still lives there and I try to visit them during the holidays whenever I can. I have three little brothers, all of them a pain in the backside, of course.”
“That sounds nice,” Beca smiled diplomatically, not having any siblings herself. “So, just to be sure, you don’t have a criminal record?”
Chloe raised her eyebrows with a surprised grin. “No. Definitely not.”
“Just making sure,” Beca shrugged. “I am, potentially, trusting you with my child, after all.”
At Chloe’s understanding nod, Beca continued. “So, why have you replied to the job opening?”
Chloe grimaced slightly. “Money’s… a little tight at the moment. I’ve been sending money to my parents because they had some… bumps in the road, you might say. Honestly, I’m just trying to keep out of debt. As much as possible, anyway…”
Beca nodded slowly. The redhead seemed honest, and her first impression was that Chloe was a kind, sweet person. It couldn’t have been easy to talk about financial issues with someone she’d only met literally three minutes ago, but she’d done so anyway. Beca guessed there was more to the story, but saw no reason not to move forward.
Besides, Chloe had passed her manager’s background check, so there was that.
“Can you tell me a little about your daughter?” Chloe asked.
Beca internally cursed Stacie for putting her child’s gender in the advert, or like, wherever Stacie found this woman. Then she remembered she was just Beca Mitchell right now, so there really was no need for her to go overboard on the privacy.
“Um, right. Yeah, sure. Okay, so, her name’s Rose,” Beca started, acutely aware of the fact that this subject was the only one she could talk about for hours on end. “She’ll turn six soon,” she continued, realizing that nugget of truth just as it slipped past her lips. “Damn, six already…” she muttered to herself.
“That’s a great age,” Chloe beamed. “They become so clever around that time, don’t they?”
“Yeah, Rose is definitely starting to be an annoying little wise-ass,” Beca nodded, before her eyes went big. “I didn’t mean-“
“I get it,” Chloe laughed freely. “I hope I’ll get to meet her.”
Beca nodded slowly. “A few logistic issues, if you don’t mind?”
At the redhead’s nod, she continued. “Okay, so I didn’t actually place the ad for the babysitter myself, so I’m not sure what exactly was in it. I’m hoping it made mention of my crazy work hours?”
“Nope,” Chloe chirped. “It was basically just ‘babysitter needed, e-mail to this address if you’re interested.’ Not much detail whichever way round.”
“Damn,” Beca sighed. “Can’t trust anyone to do their jobs nowadays. Anyhow, I have… pretty crazy hours. Mostly, I work in the evenings and at night, but there might be a few instances where I need a babysitter during the daytime as well. It might be necessary for you to sleep over, on occasion, too, if I’m away for an entire night.”
Chloe nodded. “That shouldn’t be a problem. None of my lectures are obligatory, and I can always copy notes from my friends, so it should be fine. What about weekends?”
Beca bit her lip in thought. “I try to keep my weekends free. To be fair, I don’t always succeed and may be in need of your services during the weekends as well, from time to time. Compensation, of course, will be fair, considering the irregular times and possibility of weekend hours.”
Beca could see the redhead wanted to ask what ‘fair compensation’ entailed exactly, but she could also pinpoint the exact moment she thought better of it, instead settling on a single, determined nod. “Sounds good so far.”
“Good,” Beca smiled awkwardly. “Because you appear to be a much better fit than the last candidate.”
“Oh, how so?”
“Eh, I got the distinct feeling he was more interested in me than in my daughter,” Beca shrugged. “Speaking of which, you’ll have to meet her before I can definitively say you get the job.”
“Of course,” Chloe nodded. “I’m free like, whenever.”
Beca pulled out her phone, checking her schedule and finding no pressing matters the rest of the day. "If you’re free, we could do it right now and get it over with?”
“Yeah, okay, sure,” Chloe nodded, draining the last of her hot chocolate. “Lead the way.”
Beca settled the bill and the two women walked out, where the brunette abruptly stopped. “Do you need to fetch your car or something?”
Chloe shook her head. “Took a cab.”
The brunette nodded, fingers rapidly tapping on her phone. Chloe’s eyes practically bugged out of her head when a sleek, black Audi pulled up to the curb, and the driver stepped out to open the door for them. “After you.”
Chloe bit her lip, contemplating that this was probably the way young, beautiful women like herself went missing, only to be found back in someone’s basement twenty years later. Still, Beca didn’t give off any serial killer vibes – what were those, anyway? – so she stepped into the car, the brunette sliding in right after her. “Take us home, please, Jesse.”
“Sure thing, boss lady,” the driver smiled, and before Chloe knew it they were off, zooming through the streets of New York.
Okay, so, the driver – Jesse, his name was – actually lets them out of the car when they reach their destination, and Beca seems more nervous and awkward about this encounter than Chloe herself is, so they are probably not a pair of serial killers.
What Beca does appear to be, however, is rich. Or, like, loaded. Extremely well off, judging by the honest-to-god villa they’re looking at right now. Rather, Chloe is looking at the villa, Beca is looking at her purse, trying to locate the keys to said villa.
“Hold on, I’m sure I’ve got them right here, somewhere, Jesus I need a smaller purse, where the heck- oh hey look there- no those are for the office, oh nevermind not the office after all,” the smaller woman muttered under her breath, leading Chloe to hold back her giggles.
Laughing at your potential employer wasn’t the best idea.
When she finally did manage to get the door open, it was as if they stepped into an entirely different world. The house was cool – thank god – and everything was painted in whites, off-whites, and other light colours. It was furnished in a modern way, yet it didn’t feel like one of those houses that are more of a trophy for showing off, rather than an actual home.
Little knick-knacks, toys, and drawings were scattered about as she followed the brunette into her home, betraying the presence of a little human.
“Emily!” Ms. Mitchell – ahem, Beca – called loudly, after which they followed the sound of the responding voice.
They found a younger brunette in the kitchen, doe-eyed, eating cookies straight from the jar. “And this,” Beca sighed, “is why I can’t let you babysit Rose. I’ve been trying for months to break that habit, wondering how she even picked it up.”
“I’m so sorry,” Emily mumbled, cookie crumbs flying around as she waved her hands in an adorable display of innocence. “I swear I-“
“It’s fine,” Beca sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose. “This is Chloe. She’s here to meet Rose. If they get along, Chloe will be babysitting her, and hopefully setting a better example than you have been.”
“Ouch,” Emily pouted. “Fair. But ouch.”
“Where is she, anyway?”
Emily grinned, proudly. “I left her in front of the TV with a Disney movie.”
To everyone’s surprise, Beca groaned. At the questioning looks she received, she explained. “She’s going to be sulky if we interrupt her movie, and she’s impossible to get along with when she’s sulky.”
Emily nodded solemnly. “Kind of like her mother.”
“Fu- I mean, gah, never mind. Don’t you have somewhere to be?”
At the older woman’s pointed look, Emily was quick to excuse herself. Despite their gruff interaction, Chloe got the feeling there was a strong bond between the women. “So, Emily is the babysitter I’m replacing?”
Beca scoffed amusedly. “Emily’s my adopted baby sister,” she sighed. “And one of the least suitable people I can imagine to look after a toddler. Not to mention she’s going to be in California for most of the year.”
Chloe followed Beca down another hallway, smiling as she nervously wrung her hands, stopping in front of one of the doors. “Okay, so. She’s usually pretty well-behaved, but um… Yeah… Rose takes her Disney very seriously, and she… might not be so happy about us interrupting.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Chloe smiled, hopefully appearing a little more certain of herself than she felt.
Beca slowly cracked the door open, and Chloe couldn’t help the little smile at the all-too familiar voices drifting out of the room. “Rose,” Beca called from the doorway. “There’s someone here to meet you.”
When they were met with absolutely no reaction, Beca tried again. “Rose, could you come over for a moment?”
Again, no reaction was garnered from the little girl on the couch, eyes glued to the screen. “May I?” Chloe asked, nodding at the child’s direction.
“Be my guest,” Beca sighed, clearly frustrated.
Chloe carefully stepped into the room, rounding the couch and taking in the little girl sitting atop it. She grinned as she realized the girl was, quite literally, a miniature version of her mother, having the same hair, facial structure, and even the eyes seemed the same. Whoever the father was, he hadn’t managed to leave much of a mark on his child.
Saying nothing, Chloe lowered herself, sitting on the ground in front of the couch, facing the television and patiently watching Mulan as she went through the preparations for meeting the Matchmaker. Waiting for Mulan’s song, Reflection, to start, Chloe silently sang along with the music, feeling the eyes of the toddler on the back of her head.
“You know Mulan!” she yipped as she paused the movie.
“Of course I know Mulan,” Chloe giggled. “She’s awesome!”
The little girl stared at Chloe for a long time, before grinning enthusiastically. “You’re awesome!” she cheered out of the blue, making Chloe laugh fondly.
“I’m not awesome, I’m Chloe,” she joked, winking at Rose, who poked her tongue out of her mouth.
“I’m Rose,” she responded, primly holding out a hand for Chloe to shake, which the redhead happily did.
“Well, that went better than expected,” came Beca’s amused remark. Chloe had almost forgotten she was there, still leaning up against the door.
“Momma!” Rose yelled, jumping up from the couch, racing past Chloe and practically tackling the brunette in a hug.
“Hey there, kiddo,” Beca beamed, heaving the girl into her arms. “How was your day?”
“Emily gave me lotsa cookies!” Rose proclaimed proudly, making Beca’s eye twitch.
“Of course she did,” the older woman mumbled.
“Momma? Who’s the pretty lady? Can she watch Mulan with me?”
“That’s Chloe. If you to get along, she’ll look after you when momma goes to work, okay kiddo?”
Rose seemed to overthink that statement for a little while, before nodding decisively. “Can we watch Mulan now?”
“Maybe later,” Beca smiled, bopping her daughter’s nose. “I have to go get lunch ready for you, remember?”
Rose scrunched her face up in an adorable way. “Momma, I didn’t mean you! I want to watch Mulan with Ms. Chloe!”
“Oh,” Beca muttered dumbly, awkwardly looking at Chloe. “I mean, I guess you should ask her if she wants to have lunch with us then, kiddo. If she says yes, you two can watch Mulan while I get the food ready!”
Practically leaping out of Beca’s arms, and miraculously making it to the ground in one piece, the little ball of energy ran up to Chloe. “Ms. Chloe! Momma says you can watch Mulan with me!”
“Oh did she now?” Chloe smiled down at her. “Maybe I heard wrong, but I think she said you could ask if I wanted to, didn’t she?”
“Yeah,” Rose pouted, before perking up again. “Ms. Chloe, will you watch Mulan with me please?”
“That’s more like it,” Chloe beamed, sitting down on the couch and chuckling as Rose clambered on as well, plopping down right next to her and grabbing for the remote.
“I’ll call you two when lunch is ready,” Beca called from the doorway. “If you’d rather just get on with your day, Chloe, don’t feel obliged to indulge the little demon.”
Chloe laughed. “It’s fine. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Mulan anyway.”
It wasn’t much later when Beca came to fetch them. Chloe paused the movie, ignoring Rose’s sulky pout, opting to lift her off the couch, tickle her sides, and carry her into the kitchen. By the time they stepped through the door, the little girl had stopped pouting, laughing and giggling freely.
The redhead hummed appreciatively as she surveyed the kitchen table, Beca standing beside it as she awkwardly wrung her hands. “I made ham and cheese sandwiches, PB&J sandwiches, and there’s some leftover chicken salad from last night. I hope that’s alright?”
“Yeah, of course, I mean, I wasn’t even expected to have lunch here so I’m definitely not complaining.”
The moment she sat down, her phone started buzzing. “Oh, excuse me one moment, please.”
Beca watched with quirked eyebrows as Chloe paced up and down the length of the kitchen.
“No, no, nothing like that. No, Bree, I haven’t been kidnapped. Yes, I just went to her home so I could meet- No, I didn’t take a cab, we drove here toget- Yes, Aubrey, I know I shouldn’t get in the car with strangers, but- It’s not like that, Aubrey. I’m sorry I forgot to let you know I wasn’t coming back straight away, but I’m fine. I’ll let you know when I leave here, okay?”
Beca schooled her expression when the redhead put her phone away again. “Sorry, my best friend. I forgot to tell her I was going home with you… She worries. A lot.”
“That’s alright,” Beca smiled in return. “Worrying is a sign she cares, right?”
Lunch was a rowdy affair, with Rose happily chattering away about absolutely nothing intelligible at all, Beca and Chloe exchanging amused glances, sipping their coffee as Rose drank her orange juice, and then darted off to play, movie entirely forgotten.
Chloe helped Beca clear the dishes, despite the brunette’s insistence she really didn’t need to. After they settled back down, fresh cups of coffee in hand, Beca took a deep breath. “Okay, so, do you like, have any questions?”
Chloe pursed her lips for moment. “Does that mean I got the job?”
“Well, yeah,” Beca chuckled. “I mean, you got her away from her Disney movie without a temper tantrum. I’d say that means you’re qualified.”
“Awesome,” Chloe beamed. “So, um, emergency contacts? Health issues I should know about? Allergies? Any rules, besides the ordinary ones?”
Beca chuckled at the avalanche of questions, figuring Chloe took this job pretty seriously. “I’ll hang a list with phone numbers on the fridge. No health issues or allergies that I know of. And I think most of my rules are mostly just common sense. No snacks before dinner, going to sleep at a decent time, no cursing or swearing, not eating cookies from the jar.”
“Right,” Chloe nodded. Another question popped in Chloe’s mind, and she already had her mouth open, but thought better of it before she could make a sound.
“Go ahead,” Beca smiled awkwardly. “Ask away.”
“No,” Chloe shook her head, biting her lip. “It’s none of my business, anyway.”
Beca scoffed. “I’m entrusting you with the safety of my daughter. I’m sure I can trust you with whatever you were going to ask.”
Chloe sighed. “I was just wondering about Rose’s father?”
“Ah,” Beca nodded slowly. “I guess that makes sense, yeah. Um, he’s not a part of our lives. I haven’t seen him in, I think four years? He chose not to be a part of Rose’s life, and we’re okay with that.”
Chloe nodded. “Okay. So, when do I start?”
Pulling up the schedule on her phone, Beca silently looked it over for a few moments. “I’d say Friday, if that’s not too short notice. I’ll have to leave for work around eight in the evening, and probably won’t make it back before midnight.”
Quickly looking over her own, Chloe nodded. “That’s fine. Want me to get here around six?”
Beca pursed her lips thoughtfully. “If you get here around five, you can have dinner with us first. Might be easier on Rose if we’re here together for a while before I leave.”
“Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Works for me.”
“Alright, cool,” Beca nodded. “Then I guess we won’t keep you any longer. I can ask Jesse to bring you home.”
“Oh, there’s no need. I can call a cab.”
“You could. But Jesse is already getting paid, so he might as well bring you home. Unless you really prefer NY cabs for some reason.”
“Okay, fine,” Chloe conceded. “I’ll just go say bye to Rose?”
Beca gave a nod, pointing the redhead in the right direction, before dialling Jesse and asking him to bring the car out front.
“Leaving the house twice in one day, Beca?” he joked.
“Nah. I kinda offered your services to bring Chloe home, if you don’t mind.”
“Sure thing, boss. I’ll get the babysitter home safely!” he chirped.
Sitting in the back of the Uber, Chloe realized she was nervous. For her babysitting gig. In hopes of distracting herself from those feelings, she pulled out her phone, browsing over her regular social media and news outlets, until something caught her eye.
DJ BM – The Man Behind the Mask
In case you hadn’t heard yet – which, like, how?! – DJ BM is performing in New York tonight! Sad to say, if you only found out now, you’re way too late, because tickets were sold out months ago. I think they were sold out within an hour of them being available, but hey, that’s nothing new, right?
I’m not here to talk about tonight’s show – which is going to be amazing, and I’m one of the lucky people to actually have a ticket – No, I’m here to talk about DJ BM. We all know all the things we don’t know about this performer. Which is basically everything.
Never gotten a real name. Never gotten to see his face. Never heard his voice, and all interviews done are via e-mail. What is DJ BM trying to hide from us, people?!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I get that this whole mystique is part of DJ BM’s appeal, and I know tons of fans would be disappointed if they find out who it was.
Anyhow, I’m gonna spoil you all, so don’t hate me for it. DJ BM is no one other than Bumper Allen, whose second name is Mick. You see what he did there? Bumper Mick. BM. DJ BM. Now, I know this sounds like speculation, but is it a coinkidink that Allen was spotted right here in NYC earlier today?
Yeah, I thought not.
Chloe closed the app with a scoff. She’d seen Bumper Allen perform, once, years ago. There was no way he had the skills to be DJ BM. She’d followed the mysterious performer’s career since it started five years ago. At first, like everyone else, she’d attempted to figure out the mystery behind DJ BM’s identity.
But whoever it was, DJ BM was meticulously dedicated to keeping their identity secret. Masks, hoods, loose-fitting clothes. There was literally nothing they knew about DJ BM’s appearance. After a while, Chloe had come to appreciate the mysterious air around her favourite performer, and decided to stop looking into it.
The rest of the world hadn’t reached that point yet, it seemed.
When her Uber pulled up in front of her destination, Chloe took a deep breath before exiting the car. She was both nervous and excited about tonight. It took a full minute before Ms. Mitchell opened the door, after which Chloe was immediately tackled by her daughter, who wrapped herself around Chloe’s legs. “Miss Chloe!”
Beca stepped aside so she could enter, so Chloe lifted the girl up into her arms, tickling her sides for a moment and easily carrying her towards the kitchen, where music was softly playing from the sound system.
“I’m just finishing up dinner,” Beca said, looking rather frantic. “I hope pasta is okay?”
“Yeah, totes,” Chloe hummed. “How about I take Rose somewhere out of the way?” she continued, guessing the girl to be the reason for Beca’s somewhat haggard expression.
“That would certainly make things easier,” Beca smiled. “You remember where her play room is?”
Chloe nodded, taking the exuberant girl by her hand before being pulled down the hallway.
As much as Beca hated herself for thinking it, it really was a relief to be able to focus on dinner without having to look after Rose. Her daughter had been in one of her moods, unwilling to go along with any of Beca’s suggestions today. Yet, as soon as the babysitter arrived, all that seemed forgotten in favour of playing with Rose’s Disney Princess dolls.
She observed the pair silently from the doorway, smiling at the little play they were performing with the dolls. It actually appeared as if Chloe was having a good time, which baffled Beca a little. She loved spending time with her daughter, of course, but playing with dolls? Not so much.
There’s no way she’d ever be playing dolls with someone else’s child. No way.
“Dinner’s ready,” she finally spoke up, startling the babysitter.
Sitting around the dining table with someone extra was odd, but Chloe was easy company to have around, making conversation with both Beca and Rose easily, about a variety of subjects.
“So, Ms. Mitchell, can I ask what kind of work you do?”
Beca cringed. “Please, please, don’t call me Ms. Mitchell again.”
“Right,” Chloe replied sheepishly. “Beca. Got it.”
“And my work is pretty boring. I work with computers, mostly. It’s all very technical.”
Beca wasn’t exactly proud of lying. Then again, it had become second nature for her by now.
“Is there anything you need tonight?” she continued, before the redhead had a chance to respond.
“No, I think we’re all set,” Chloe replied, all smiles.
“Good. I should warn you, though. Rose’s been in a mood all day, and she can be somewhat of a hellion when it’s time for her to go to bed…”
“I’m sure we’ll be fine, Ms- sorry, Beca.”
“I hope so,” Beca smiled tightly.
Beca loved her masks.
There had been a time when she had hated them. If there had been any other way for her to give Rose a normal life, out of the spotlight, she’d have taken it.
But over time, she grew fond of her masks, and had taken up the habit of using a different mask for every performance.
Tonight’s number was a black-and-white Venetian mask with an abundance of feathers decorating it. It went well with the black cape and hood she’d be wearing for tonight’s performance. Checking her outfit out in the dressing room’s mirror, she decided that it hid her curves well-enough.
No one in the club was going to be able to see much of her, anyway.
She’d just pulled her hood up when the dressing room’s door was slammed open and one of the technical crew barged in. “Okay, DJ BM, we’ll be ready for you in-“
“You’re not allowed in here,” came a much more familiar voice, and Beca gritted her teeth while Stacie started working the man out of her dressing room. Once the door was shut, she turned around, glaring daggers.
“We’ve talked about this, Stace. Shit like this can’t happen!”
“I know, Beca,” Stacie sighed, rubbing her forehead. “I’ll talk with the people in charge, get it all sorted out. Again. Did he see anything?”
Beca shook her head. “No, I was wearing my hood and facing away from him.”
“What about the mirror?” Stacie asked, biting her lips.
Beca shook her head again. “It was to my side. He didn’t see anything that could identify me in any way. Still, if this is how they’re treating my privacy here, we’re not coming back here for more shows.”
“That’s for later consideration, Beca,” Stacie breathed, clearly relieved. “For now, we need to get you on stage.”
Beca nodded, taking the Venetian mask in hand and tying it in front of her face. “How do I look?”
“That’s a pretty mask,” Stacie nodded. “Good choice, DJ BM. Now go crush it out there.”
Chloe let herself fall onto the massive couch in Beca’s living room.
While she wouldn’t have described Rose as being a ‘hellion’ tonight, it hadn’t really been easy to get the little ball of energy to settle down for the night. They’d finally agreed on singing three Disney songs together, after which the girl reluctantly closed her eyes.
Now, with nothing to do but wait for Beca’s return, Chloe took her phone out again.
DJ BM is NOT Bumper Allen
Okay, so even the best people make mistakes, right?
Bumper Allen was seen today at Club V, where DJ BM will be giving his awesome performance. But he didn’t go backstage, and instead got comfy in the club’s VIP section with Amy Wilson, better known as Fat Amy – whom he met on the set of that one reality show no one watched.
So yeah, he isn’t DJ BM. Which begs the question: who is? And why keep his identity secret? What does this mysterious man have to hide from us? This reported will try and sneak backstage tonight to find out.
But first, I gotta enjoy this party, fam!
Chloe chuckled wryly, taking one of her textbooks from her bag, ready to get some studying done. Queueing up the DJ BM playlist on her phone, she got comfortable for a long night.