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Joke's On Us

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~B~

“I’m sorry… you want me to… what?”

Beca leaned against the back of the couch in the Bella house and watched as Aubrey gave an exasperated sigh, though it was tinged with none of the aggravation she had shown most of the time they had known each other.

It was just a few weeks before Aubrey graduated and their friendship had spun a complete 180° from the moment Beca led them in their first mash-up in that empty pool. While Beca could remember how much Aubrey annoyed her on an almost daily basis it felt distant and generally viewed through a lens of fondness now instead. A fact that amused her as much as it made her nervous.

“I need you to go with me to the Treble back yard and be a lookout for me.” Aubrey explained patiently, though it still didn’t make any sense like she clearly thought it should.

“And why am I being a lookout? Exactly?” Beca gave a half laugh. “Are you taking Amy up on her dare to prank the Trebles?”

Aubrey hesitated the smallest second before nodding. “And I need to scout the house to find out what sort of approach would work.”

 “Wait. Seriously?” Beca beamed at her. “What changed your mind?”

“Chloe,” Aubrey said sheepishly.

“She’s such a bad influence on you,” Beca teased.

Aubrey’s nose crinkled, smiling even as she rolled her eyes. “She just reminded me that it’s okay to…” She hesitated again. “To be silly.”

Last weekend they had continued celebrating their ICCA win the weekend prior and they had gotten well and truly drunk. During the course of the night the conversation had meandered around until Chloe had made Aubrey tell the rest of them about the time her brother Aiden saran wrapped their older brother Asher to the recliner one Thanksgiving. It had led to a discussion of the best pranks they’d all pulled off or had done to them and Amy suggested that they do one to the Trebles before the end of the year.

Aubrey had declined participating - though not with the same Captain Posen finality that she had used to shoot down Beca’s ideas all year – citing that she’d never gotten along with them and there was no way they would believe it was all in good fun. They’d let it drop but Beca had noticed Chloe’s thoughtful look the rest of the night. Or at least until Beca had passed out face first on the couch and not moved until Stacie ran a finger down her nose the next morning.

Beca could see the uncertainty on Aubrey’s face now and she spoke without thinking to reassure her. “She’s right. There’s nothing wrong with being silly sometimes.” Except Beca was never silly if she could help it. Or at least she hadn’t been until the last few months as her new friends – family – finished working their way into her heart. “I think the guys will accept it as a truce and a final hurrah.” She waved her hand between them emphatically. “If you and I can get along, anything is possible.”

“I don’t think it would be possible if Bumper were still around,” Aubrey said with another nose wrinkle, this one of disgust.

“God no,” Beca shuddered. “I can’t even begin to imagine what sort of gross thing he’d do in retaliation.” She shook her whole body to try and keep any images from forming. “So what are you thinking of doing?”

“I don’t know yet,” Aubrey said, looking past Beca as if she could see the house through the walls of her own. “That’s why I need to do some recon and I need a lookout.”

“Why me?” Not that she was opposed in general and definitely not now that she knew it was Aubrey trying to reclaim even more of herself from the uptight person she’d been all year. For that alone she was already on board – not that she had any intention of letting Aubrey know that fact.

“Because you’re short.” Aubrey said flatly, looking her up and down. “You can hide easier.”

Beca sputtered indignantly for effect, something made harder as Aubrey’s lips twitched with amusement. “I… cannot argue that.” She narrowed her eyes. “But I can still say no.”

“Okay fine.” Aubrey all but stamped her foot as she let out a huff and Beca was hard pressed not to laugh. “I need you because I need someone who won’t get distracted or lose sight of the mission at hand.” Aubrey looked behind her as if she expected the rest of the girls to materialize behind her and protest that they would do none of that.

Except most of them definitely would.

“Plus Chloe’s at class then having lunch with Stacie. I really want to get the scouting done before the guys are back.” Aubrey picked a notepad off the table beside them. “I’ve been keeping track and I think they’re all in class or at least never home for the next hour or so.”

“Mission?” Beca’s eyebrows went up. “Scouting? Recon? Are you turning this into a military operation, Posen? Because I don’t know about you, but I remember trying to paintball last weekend and all your attempts to teach us hand signals ended up with half of our team ambushing the other half instead of our opponents.”

Aubrey set down the notepad with a sigh. “I would like to say I haven’t given up hope but even I think that ship sank before it sailed.” She crossed her arms. “Not a military operation at all, at least not when we involve the others. I think you and I can handle the…” She paused and Beca wondered if she was searching for a non-military word.

“Snooping?” Beca grinned when Aubrey’s hand reached out and lightly poked her in the shoulder.

“Recon sounds so much better,” she complained.

“Alright, alright.” Beca held her hands up. “I’m down for the recon.” She snapped her spine straight and put herself into the closest approximation of an at attention posture that she could get. “What are your orders, Captain?” She fired off a salute then ducked in case Aubrey decided to try and thump her.

“I should make you drop and give me twenty for the sass,” Aubrey said sternly until her laugh broke through. “But for now, let’s just go make sure the guys aren’t hanging out outside.”

“Aye aye!” Beca grinned impishly then laughed when Aubrey stuck out her tongue before leading the way to the back door. “Alright, I’ll stop.”

“Good, cause I don’t know how to take Soldier Beca seriously,” Aubrey said as she held the door open for Beca to step through. “Especially since she’s throwing Navel responses back at me and my first impulse is to make you drop and give me another twenty for the insult.”

“Good thing neither of us are taking me seriously because I am out if cardio is part of this mission.” Beca laughed as she walked outside. “Thanks, Bree.” As they made their way to the gate that led between their yards, Beca felt a thrill as the spirit of what they were doing settled into her.

“Just remember, act casual. We’re just going over to see Jesse.” Aubrey glanced down at her. “Not that I think they’re home, but having a story prepared is better than trying to think of one on the spot and panicking.”

“Why are we going to see Jesse?” Beca asked with a grin. “I mean, I know why I would go see him, but not you.” She gently bumped Aubrey’s shoulder as they walked.

“To apologize,” Aubrey said softly. “For the semi-finals.”

“Aubrey…” Beca hadn’t expected this sudden serious turn and she desperately wanted to turn it back around because sad Aubrey hurt Beca to see.

“I apologized to the rest of you,” Aubrey spoke over her, though not angrily. “But when we saw him at the ICCA’s, it didn’t seem…” She lifted her shoulder. “Appropriate. So it’s time I apologize to him for dragging him into my disaster.”

Beca wanted to protest that she didn’t have to, that Jesse wouldn’t hold that grudge… But she remembered her own awkward apology earlier that week and knew she’d felt better for having done it. So instead she reached out and squeezed Aubrey’s hand, feeling her stiffen in surprise. Not that Beca could blame her – it was the first time she’d ever touched Aubrey for any reason other than passing her something she’d asked for.

Well… Other than that time she ran into Aubrey’s chest during practice because she’d been so damn tired she forgot which direction to turn.

“I think he’d like that.” She smiled when Aubrey looked over at her and studied her for a few more steps.

“Then I’ll make sure to do it soon,” Aubrey said softly and, before Beca could let go, squeezed Beca’s hand in return. “Assuming he’s not here and ruins all my planning.”

Beca laughed as they mutually let their hands fall apart again though she felt the memory of that squeeze for far longer than it had lasted.

She’d made this walk a handful of times since Bumper had left – though some of the girls preferred the shortcut through the trees that replaced the fence halfway down the yard – but she found herself jumping at every sound simply because they weren’t just going to visit: They were Up to Something. The fact that she was worried about getting them caught was just stupid, she knew it, and yet she found herself hoping that she wouldn’t let Aubrey down.

Before she could start down that mental tangent – one she found herself on more and more lately – they reached the gate and Beca stepped forward to hold it open until Aubrey passed through.

Aubrey’s eyes scanned the lawn and Beca forced herself to look away because there was something in the professional manner she did it with that struck Beca in a way not at all conducive to spy work. Another tangent she found herself going down far more than she liked and one that came with an increase in her pulse.

“Looks like the coast is clear,” Aubrey said quietly. “I want to go all the way around the house and check out all the doors and windows – see if there’s any that might be easily accessible in case we want to fill the place with balloons or something.”

“Do you have something in mind already?” Beca crossed her arms because she found she wanted to reach out and touch Aubrey’s arm for no reason at all.

“No, that’s what I’m hoping to figure out today. See what I’ve got to work with.” She pursed her lips as she studied the back of the house. “There are a lot of possibilities but…” She turned back to Beca. “I was thinking you could…” She hesitated again, clearly uncertain how Beca would take what she was about to say. “Hide behind the planter?” She gestured at a long wide concrete planter holding flowers that Beca was pretty sure no Treble actually took care of. Unless Benji had done it before he became one, she mused.

“That’s why you wanted a short person,” Beca accused lightly. “Even I’m going to have to lay on the ground to hide behind it.” The planter was toward the back of the yard and angled to where anyone coming from either side of the house couldn’t see behind it. Aubrey thought of everything.

“Hardly. Crouch on your knees and look over it, maybe…” She grinned when Beca growled at her. “It shouldn’t take too long and if all goes well I’ll be coming from around the other side.” She nodded to their left.

“And what am I to do if I see someone?” Beca walked over to the planter and eyed it. “Seriously, this is low, Aubrey.”

“Distract them,” Aubrey said easily as she walked past Beca, studying the side of the house. “Talk loud or something.” She paused and looked over her shoulder, a seldom seen smirk on her lips and Beca felt her pulse spike again. “You’re good at that.”

“Ha. Ha.” Beca flipped her off. “Hope no one is inside hearing us plot.”

Aubrey froze and looked back at the windows for a long moment. “I don’t think so… But I better get started.”

Beca crouched down behind the planter, feeling all kinds of stupid as she did so, and looked around the yard like one of the Trebles was going to jump out at her.

“Guess I should’ve asked what my story is if they find me like this,” she muttered as Aubrey slowly made her way around the corner. After a minute she lowered herself to her knees, deciding she didn’t need her legs cramping from crouching so damn low. She tried not to think about how the fact that this meant so much to Aubrey offset her own sense of awkwardness as she peeked over the edge of the planter and through the flowers every few seconds.

Despite their completely rocky beginning at the Activities Fair, Beca had always thought Aubrey was beautiful. She and Chloe were a perfectly matched and gorgeous pair that had drawn her to the booth in the first place. But a capella was lame and she wasn’t quite that desperate to fit in at the school she didn’t even want attend. Aubrey’s beauty hadn’t diminished once Beca had joined, but it did take a backseat to all the constant knocks against Beca’s clothes, “ear monstrosities” and her refusal to hear any ideas but her own. She had ignored the fact that she often tuned Aubrey’s recollection of past Bellas out by staring at her lips or the way Aubrey moved her hands while she talked.

It wasn’t until after spring break, after all hell broke loose, that Beca had been able to realize that she’d been pushing where she hadn’t earned the right. She started to see things from Aubrey’s perspective and the two of them had spent a long time talking that night after the breakthrough in the pool. Once they realized that they both had the same goal – make the Bellas better albeit by different methods –  apologies came easily to them both. It only took a few days of awkwardness for them to put the past behind them and focus on beating the Trebles at the ICCA’s by working together as a group.

What she hadn’t expected was just how much she liked the woman behind the pitch pipe.

All year she had known that Chloe had been interested in her. Had even returned it to an extent. But something had constantly held her back from committing to anything. She’d told herself that the fear of opening up her heart, of letting people in only to be hurt and left behind was greater than anything. Plus with Chloe and Aubrey set to graduate - at least until they found out Chloe failed Russian Lit and she’d be staying – Beca was bound and determined not to start anything when the future was so uncertain.

What she was coming to realize, slowly and against her will, was that it hadn’t been her fear that had kept her from Chloe. It was her attraction to another Captain entirely.

An attraction that was just as stupid as the fact that she was hiding in the neighbor’s back yard while said Captain scouted the place for prime prank locations.

Maybe if they’d buried the hatchet sooner she’d have taken a chance, but… Nothing had changed despite their new friendship. Aubrey was still graduating in less than a month, though she was taking a year off before going to law school. She was still leaving Barden and while Beca had decided to stay, she didn’t know if she could do a long distance relationship. Or, more accurately, she didn’t know if Aubrey would consider her worth staying in a long distance relationship with. Assuming Aubrey was even interested in her that way.

The more time they spent together, however, the more she wondered if she shouldn’t maybe figure that out because she wasn’t at all ready to walk away from Aubrey Posen.

Running footsteps from the direction Aubrey was supposed to emerge from jerked her upright though still kneeling. She felt her mouth drop when Aubrey came running full speed around the corner. The second she saw Beca, she started gesturing at her and at the back of her mind Beca thought she was going to have another talk with Aubrey about how no one understood her weird military shorthand.

Aubrey threw herself to her knees beside Beca when she reached the planter and before she could ask anything, Aubrey threw an arm out across her chest as she pulled both of them to the ground.

“Aub-” Beca started to ask in shock but Aubrey hissed at her.

“Shhh!” She turned her head from side to side as if she was listening for something. She kept her arm across Beca’s chest to pin her down when she had tensed to try and sit up.

Beca stopped, wondering what on earth Aubrey could have seen that startled her so much, and thought, at the edge of her own hearing, she heard footsteps enter the backyard. She turned her head slowly to look at Aubrey, wondering what they should do and if they were actually in some kind of danger as every single horror movie they’d made her watch over the year ran through her mind.

“Shit,” Aubrey said quietly into Beca’s ear, breath warm and maddeningly distracting. “He’s not going away.”

“Wh-” Beca started to ask when Aubrey gave a startled jump as a twig snapped just a few feet away.

The next thing Beca knew Aubrey had shifted to rise up and half cover Beca’s body with her own and pressed their lips together.

Beca froze; her eyes wide and staring at equally wide eyes so close to hers that she couldn’t focus on them.  She could feel Aubrey’s heart pounding against her own but didn’t quite know which of them was trembling.

The moment dragged on, neither of them moving as they watched each other. Then, without any conscious directive on her part, Beca’s lips began to part. Not to speak, but to find out the answer of what it would be like to finally kiss Aubrey Posen.

A cleared throat above them reminded Beca where they were, that they weren’t alone and she looked past Aubrey’s cheek to see a very amused Jesse looking down at them.

“Am I interrupting something?” His tone was even more amused than his face, if that was possible.

Aubrey shifted to rest her own face on Beca’s shoulder and Beca could almost hear her mind working as she tried to come up with an explanation.

“I thought you weren’t home,” Beca found herself saying.

“What does that have to do with you and Aubrey making out behind the flowers?” Jesse asked cheerfully and Aubrey burrowed into Beca’s neck, breath warm and very distracting against her skin.

“Thought we’d be alone,” Beca said flatly, sure she hallucinated the touch of Aubrey’s lips against her neck. Or maybe the other woman had tried not to laugh and it was a coincidence.

“Doesn’t Aubrey live in the Bella house with just Chloe?” Jesse put his hands in his pockets. “Chloe who I just saw go into the café with Stacie? Leaving an empty house as the ideal place for these kinds of college hijinks?”

“Didn’t know when she’d be home,” Beca forced herself to say casually, wondering exactly what sort of hole she was digging for them. Not that she worried about Jesse telling tales, especially after she asked him not to later, but eventually someone was going to get drunk and this was going to come out. Probably from her.

“Still in the honeymoon stage?” Jesse laughed and stepped back when Beca kicked a foot at him.

“I will end you,” Beca growled at him. This time she was sure she heard Aubrey snicker in her ear, probably because that was Aubrey’s favorite threat.

“Hey, I’m not going to stand in the way of new love,” Jesse held up his hands and backed away further. “I’ll just… leave you two alone.” He took another step back. “But you may want to wrap this up cause the guys are coming home soon.” Without letting her get in a parting comment he turned his back and walked away.

Beca let her head fall back to the ground and let out a groan. “He’s gone.”

Aubrey immediately rolled off of Beca and sat up, facing away from her. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Beca said shortly, though she meant it. “No harm done.” Except to her libido and the no longer sturdy wall between what she wanted to do and what she thought she should do.

Aubrey got to her feet, dusting off the back of her jeans. “I saw him coming down the street and…” she trailed off as Beca stood up beside her.

“Panicked.” Beca made herself smile, still shaken by her own strong reactions, when Aubrey turned toward her though she still wouldn’t look at her fully. “First mission jitters, no big deal.” She reached up and felt Aubrey freeze beside her. “Though I think we’re going to need a shower and a change of clothes.” She finished her motion and plucked a small twig from Aubrey’s hair and showed it to her.

“My brothers will never let me live this down,” Aubrey said as she turned toward the gate, though she avoided looking in Beca’s direction.

“Do you have to tell them?” Beca fell in step beside her, her own skin feeling too small for all the things she was trying to conceal under her casual tone.

“Unfortunately we tell each other everything.” Aubrey held the gate for her and waited until Beca was several steps past before following.

Beca paused and watched Aubrey. It was clear the blonde was uncomfortable and avoiding Beca’s eyes like her life depended on it. She wondered if she had known that Beca had been about to try and kiss her for real and it had made her uneasy to remain in Beca’s presence. It made her feel terrible as well as sad and she didn’t want to make things worse by following Aubrey back into the empty house.

“I think I’m going to uh, head back to the dorm and change,” Beca finally said as Aubrey drew even with her, though still several steps away, as if she didn’t want to be close enough to be touched.

“Oh.” Aubrey said and fell silent, no hint of what she was feeling in tone or expression. At least it hadn’t been outright relief at her leaving, Beca thought bitterly.

She felt herself withdrawing, even from herself, as her mind whispered that this was why she kept people at a distance. Someone always fucked up and she was left behind.

 “I’ll…” She had to clear her throat as it tried to close. “I’ll be over for dinner, if that’s… still okay?” She trailed off, not sure why she’d asked it like that and hated the uncertainty she felt. Even at the height of their clashing over the old routine, Beca had never felt this level of anxiety at being in Aubrey’s presence.

Of course, until now she hadn’t realized she’d been falling in love and the knowledge of that fact made all the difference.

“Oh,” Aubrey said again, this time meeting Beca’s eyes as her head jerked up. There was none of the discomfort Beca expected which shocked her. “Of course.” Aubrey shook her head, her expression as open as it had been when they left the house. “That’s… of course it’s okay, Beca. You don’t ever have to ask that.” The honesty in it loosened the knot in Beca’s chest and she was able to breathe again. “This is your home now, too.” One corner of Aubrey’s mouth twitched up. “Even if I didn’t see that at first.”

The way she licked her lips caught Beca’s attention and she forced herself to look back up at Aubrey’s eyes.

“Then I guess I’ll be over later.” Beca waved goodbye, her smile feeling more natural this time.

“See you tonight.” Aubrey was watching her as she turned away and, when Beca looked back just before she turned the corner to the front of the house, still watching until she was out of sight.

Beca forced the tension from her shoulders as she walked across campus. She definitely needed a shower – her clothes were covered in dirt – but more importantly she had a lot of thinking to do.

Maybe she was wrong. Maybe Aubrey wasn’t horrified by the idea of kissing Beca for more than a cover story. Maybe she was just as afraid of reaching out as Beca was.

With the memory of Aubrey’s body on hers and the touch of her lips still lingering, Beca wondered if it was time to take a leap of faith.

 

~A~

Aubrey tightened the belt of her robe around her waist before picking up the bottle of lotion from her vanity. Moving toward her bed, she detoured to turn off the light, preferring the sunlight through her window. As she perched on the edge of her mattress, flipping the ends of her robe out to leave her legs free, there was a knock at the door.

Figuring it was Chloe back from lunch and since Aubrey was at the end of her post shower routine, she didn’t look up as she answered. “It’s open.” As the door opened she flipped the top on the bottle and squeezed some lotion out into her palm. “How was your lunch date?” She set the bottle aside and leaned over to smooth the lotion over her right leg, starting at the ankle and working her way up.

“I wasn’t hungry.” Beca’s voice surprised her and Aubrey jerked upright and stared at her doorway. “Think I was Chloe?” She grinned. “Sorry.”

“Yes.” Aubrey said belatedly, realizing she was still staring in surprise. “I thought… I didn’t expect anyone till dinner.”

“Oh.” Beca took a step back, hair still damp from her shower like Aubrey’s. “I thought… I didn’t have any classes so I thought I’d keep you company. But I can go if you’re…” She nodded at Aubrey’s legs. “Busy.”

Aubrey followed her gaze and realized that she was still holding her knee with both hands, having frozen mid-moisturizing. “No, you don’t… It’s fine.” But was it? The steadily increasing speed of her heart didn’t give any indication on if it was a good thing or a bad thing. “I’ll be done in a second.”

She quickly finished her leg, trying not to think about how it must look as she spread the lotion up and around her upper thigh. Beca had settled herself by leaning against the doorway as she looked around Aubrey’s room but she remained silent while Aubrey did her other leg and only spoke when she closed the bottle.

“I was thinking we should… talk… about earlier.”

Aubrey tried desperately to read anything into Beca’s tone but it was neutral. A quick glance at her face when Aubrey leaned to put the bottle on her bedside table wasn’t any good because she had perfected her resting bitch face long before they met.

“I shouldn’t have done it,” Aubrey said, pushing herself back a little in her bed and covering her knees with her robe. “And definitely not without asking you.”

“Guess that’s why you said having a plan in advance is better, huh?” Beca’s eyes twinkled in amusement. “In case of panic?”

Aubrey smiled back sheepishly. “I’m out of practice.”

“So why was kissing me your go to?”

It was asked so casually that the words themselves took a second for her brain to process.

It was the one question that she hoped Beca wouldn’t ask because Aubrey didn’t have a good answer. But of course she did because Beca Mitchell knew exactly how to get under Aubrey’s skin in all ways good and bad.

The second she had laid eyes on the Alt Girl at the Activities Fair, Aubrey known she was trouble. She had known even after Beca walked away that their paths would cross again. Despite what she said about her looks being ‘too alternative’ for the Bellas, Aubrey had been snared by the very things she professed to dislike about the brunette.

It had to be all surface, all hormones, but all Aubrey could think of some days was grabbing that smirking mouth and kissing it until all the words were gone. There were also too many nights all she could think of was making Beca moan her name.

Since their reconciliation it had gotten worse as she’d gotten to know the woman behind the snark and realized just how much hidden talent she had ignored all year. That there was heart and soul behind the eyeliner and Aubrey was inexorably drawn to her like a moth to the flame.

A quiet click brought her focus back to the woman in front of her and she blinked as she realized Beca had stepped into her room and closed the door. Even as Aubrey watched she leaned against it, her arms folded behind her back.

“I don’t know,” Aubrey finally offered. It was every clichéd movie scene come to life but honesty was the only thing her racing mind had latched onto. Probably because it had ulterior motives but those hadn’t been on the surface until after their lips had met.

Everything had changed once Beca’s lips had begun to part.

It was a small gesture, one that hadn’t even fully happened because they’d been interrupted. But Aubrey had been hyper aware of every millimeter their bodies were touching and though the space between Beca’s lips wouldn’t have fit a piece of paper, she’d felt it. Knew the second they were fully parted that her own would follow suit.

It was as inevitable as the tide and her tongue was already moving as she prepared to push herself closer.

Then Jesse had reminded her of why they were in that position and she couldn’t bring herself to face either one of them. So she buried herself in Beca’s shoulder and neck, abandoning her to do the talking. It wasn’t like Aubrey was going to do any good because clearly her lack of thought was what got them into that position in the first place.

She truly hoped that Beca hadn’t noticed when she’d gotten distracted by whatever perfume Beca was wearing and pressed closer; close enough that her lips had touched Beca’s neck and she’d had to force herself not to place a kiss there. Though, she’d thought later, it probably would’ve sold their lame story to Jesse even more.

“Panic,” Beca said softly. “That’s all.” Her eyes were unreadable, though maybe Aubrey was just afraid to try.

“Right,” Aubrey nodded, her eyes dropping down to Beca’s lips. “That’s all it was.” Her pulse sped up, remembering how Beca had felt underneath her.

“That’s all,” Beca repeated, pushing off the door and stepping out of her boots before crossing the floor to stand in front of Aubrey. She reached out and wound a lock of Aubrey’s hair around her finger.

Aubrey licked lips that had suddenly gone dry and was all too aware that she was naked under the thin fabric of her robe.

Even more aware that she wanted Beca to pull the knot on the sash and tug it free.

“I almost kissed you.” Beca gave a half smile. “Then Jesse happened.”

“I know.” Aubrey watched, fascinated, as Beca’s already dark eyes darkened further. “I wanted you to.”

“Did you kiss my neck?” Beca asked, a hint of amusement on her lips, moving forward until her legs brushed Aubrey’s knees. She reached out to touch Aubrey’s neck in the same place Aubrey’s lips had grazed hers.

“Maybe?” Aubrey tried to slow her racing pulse under that light touch. “I honestly don’t know if it was accidental or on purpose.” She wondered when she’d stretched out on her bed, only realizing she’d done it after her head settled on her pillow. Probably at the same time she’d taken Beca’s hand to bring her with, only aware of this second fact when Beca hesitated and Aubrey’s heart sank.

“I’m sorry, I… you said talk, not…” Too far, too fast, she berated herself silently as she quickly let go.  Too fucking touch-starved on top of unlocking the door to her feelings; it made her weak, made her pushy, made her –

“No,” Beca interrupted her self-recriminations, her hand taking Aubrey’s before she could withdraw it completely. “That’s not… it’s…” It was her turn to trail off as Aubrey looked up at her. The uncertainty had faded and… was that a blush coloring her cheeks?

Beca squeezed her hand and let go to reach for the buttons of her jeans. Unable to do anything but watch - utterly charmed by this self-declared badass flushing harder as the sound of her zipper filled the room - Aubrey waited as Beca slowly slid the jeans down her legs until they disappeared to land with a quiet thump on the floor.

Now clad only in a shirt and underwear that Aubrey only saw flashes of as Beca crawled on the bed beside her, she propped herself up on her right elbow as she stretched out along Aubrey’s side.

“Does it matter?” Beca’s hand settled on Aubrey’s stomach, her fingers brushing gently over the silk of the robe. The blush had faded and she searched Aubrey’s face, a soft smile on her lips.

It took her several seconds to realize Beca had picked up the thread of their conversation before Aubrey had slid onto the bed. “No.” Aubrey inhaled slowly, her senses already reacting to the heat of Beca pressed against her. The discomfort of their earlier confusion faded and her body relaxed under the light touch. “Not now.”

“No, I suppose not.” Beca said almost absently as her hand lifted from Aubrey’s stomach to trace along her eyebrow and down until she was cupping Aubrey’s cheek, so close she could see the widening of Beca’s pupils.

Aubrey’s mind clung to one last shred of control, wanting to make sure there were no more misunderstandings between them. “To be clear… you did say talk?” It came out far more stilted than she meant it, but her brain was too busy anticipating how it would feel to have Beca’s lips on hers. Yes, they were both mostly naked and stretched out on Aubrey’s bed. And yes Beca’s left leg was in the process of sliding over her own as she moved closer, but Aubrey didn’t want to… couldn’t… risk removing the last brick between her desire and what she desperately hoped was happening without being sure.

“I’ve never really been good with words.” Her thumb brushed the corner of Aubrey’s lips, her eyes rising to Aubrey's.

“Guess you’ll just have to show me,” Aubrey whispered, loosening the grip she had on the blankets under her; she hadn’t even realized she’d been clutching them to keep herself grounded. She lifted her left hand from between them, letting it rest on her stomach where Beca’s had been earlier, and her right came to rest on Beca’s left forearm.

 “Oh?” Beca teased, leaning forward until her lips hovered over Aubrey’s. “Is that an order, Captain?”

“Shut up and kiss me,” Aubrey laughed softly, half exasperation and half anticipation.

“As you wish.” Her grin flashed at the small growl Aubrey gave in reply but then she turned serious with the next heartbeat. The tenderness suddenly filling her expression pulled at Aubrey and she lifted her head to meet Beca’s mouth.

Aubrey had given a lot thought to what a first kiss with Beca might be like over the year; even when she found Beca to be most irritating she was still infuriatingly hot. It ranged from an expected contest of wills at the start to something tender and sweet in more recent weeks but everything she’d imagined paled in comparison to the reality.

Beca’s lips were soft on hers and while the difference between now and earlier – willing participant vs. frozen – was obviously something Aubrey had expected, the warmth it spread through her chest was not. It wasn’t just the heat of passion, though that was rising fast, but the sense of belonging that accompanied it took her by surprise, making her gasp as something inside her broke free from a cage she didn’t even know was there.

Beca took advantage of the moment and deepened the kiss, the first touch of her questing tongue making Aubrey’s right hand reach up to tangle in Beca’s hair. They shifted smoothly, as if they had done this before, each left arm sliding under the other’s right until Aubrey’s left arm was between her and the mattress, hand resting on Beca’s back and Beca’s gripped Aubrey’s shoulder from behind, both pulling the other closer.

Aubrey didn’t know how long they spent learning each other, but by the time they broke apart for more than a mere gasp of air, she knew if she pulled Beca’s tongue into her mouth and sucked on it, it made the other woman groan and press Aubrey harder into the bed as Beca’s hips rolled against hers. Beca quickly learned that Aubrey was a sucker for having her bottom lip gently tugged between her teeth and became adept at just the right amount of pressure to skirt the line between pleasure and pain.

Beca leaned her forehead against Aubrey’s as they tried to regain their breath. “Why the hell did we not do this sooner?” She moved to kiss Aubrey’s neck, nipping lightly with her teeth.

Tilting her head to give her better access, Aubrey gave a weak chuckle, trying to slow her heart before it slammed out of her chest. “We’re both prideful, stubborn idiots?” She skimmed her hand down Beca’s side and wished they didn’t have the layers of fabric between them.

“Sounds accurate,” Beca muttered against her skin. “God you feel good.” Her hand mirrored Aubrey’s and ran down to her hip. “Can I…” She pulled back to meet Aubrey’s eyes. “Bree, I need…” Beca reached out, slowly, giving plenty of time for Aubrey to stop her, and touched the knot of the sash.  “Is it okay?” Aubrey nodded, unable to answer with words as a desire so strong it defied description surged through her. But Beca hesitated, pulling the corner of her own lip between her teeth in uncertainty. “This… isn’t just an afternoon fling for me, Aubrey. I need you to know… because if that’s all this is for you… I don’t think I-”

“It’s not,” Aubrey interrupted, her heart speeding like a freight train as elation filled her. “Oh, Love… you are so much more than that even though I tried to deny it all year.” It took her a moment to realize what she said and then only because Beca had gone still against her, not even breathing in the wake of the unexpected admission.

It was Aubrey’s turn to freeze, though she felt the truth in her words settle over her. In the beginning it might’ve been just that, physical attraction, but even though they had fought in practice, early on Aubrey had begun to like the person Beca was out of practice. They somehow continued the tradition set after Hood Night and when they were the first two up after a Bella sleepover, Beca would make coffee while Aubrey would start breakfast. They wouldn’t talk much, but the silences were tension free and grew more companionable every time it had happened.

She had ignored the pangs of jealousy during horror movie nights when Beca would cringe into Chloe’s shoulder. Told herself that she only missed how Chloe had used to cuddle under a blanket with her. That they were better matched together than with Aubrey, as neither of them had the sharp edges of personality that she did. That she was better off alone because anything else would be a distraction.

But love had grown, hiding in the shadows until it could no longer be denied.

Beca didn’t answer right away, leaning down to kiss her before pulling back just enough to meet her gaze. “I love you too, Aubrey Posen.” It was said softly, the faintest bit of hesitation but Aubrey knew it wasn’t because the words weren’t true. She had known since the afternoon she gave up the pitch pipe that admitting to having feelings was new for Beca and to say them aloud – much less admitting them to Aubrey herself – must have been the most difficult of all.

There was a rush of cool air as the loose knot in Aubrey’s robe was undone and the fabric slid mostly down her sides, catching on her breasts to leave them covered. She watched as those midnight eyes didn’t leave her own and wondered if she would have the restraint to not immediately devour every inch of exposed skin if positions have been reversed. She doubted it. Beca’s hand settled on her stomach again and despite the way her own muscles jumped under the touch, Aubrey could feel the tremble in them.

When Beca slowly moved her hand upward, a gentle brand gliding along her skin, it was like every nerve lit up at her touch and goosebumps ran up Aubrey’s arms. A picture formed in her mind, a quick flash but long enough to identify it as one of the plasma balls that were so popular in the 80’s and 90’s. Her brother Aiden had had one and Aubrey had spent a lot of time with it, marveling at the way the electricity followed her fingertips. Beca’s fingers slid under the edge of her robe, lightning following everywhere she caressed Aubrey’s skin, filling all the dark and empty places that lived inside her with a soft blue glow.

Aubrey knew she would feel this first touch for the rest of her life and wondered how she hadn’t realized how far she had already fallen before now.

Beca dipped down to kiss her again as she cupped Aubrey’s right breast, pushing the robe out of the way on that side. Aubrey arched into it as Beca’s thumb stroked delicately around her already hardened nipple. She had a brief moment of hysteria bubble up inside her, picturing her breast as one of those plasma balls as every nerve came alight, but pushed it back, not wanting to interrupt the moment; she’d just have to try and explain it to Beca later, knowing she would be greatly amused at the visual.

Beca ended the kiss, tugging Aubrey’s lip with her own before letting it go. Only then did she look down the length of Aubrey’s body, her thumb still circling. Aubrey had thought she would want to squirm when this happened, having always felt self-conscious when naked in front of someone for the first time. But she didn’t have any of the nerves associated with her past experiences; all she felt was anticipation and… love. Maybe that’s what had been missing before. Or she was always wondering if she would measure up to whatever standards the men in her life had set for her. Beca had already seen her as her worst self and was still here. Had said the words that still rang in Aubrey’s heart.  Beca turned to look at her and Aubrey saw she was biting her lip.

“Is it disrespectful to tell you that you’re hot?” Beca closed her eyes and inhaled slowly. “Or lame to say you’re so beautiful you take my breath away?”

Aubrey felt herself flush. “I’d say we need to get you contacts…” She stopped when Beca’s eyes instantly fastened on hers.

“I wish you could see you as I do.” She reached up to cup Aubrey’s cheek again. “Even while we were fighting over the set, you’ve never been anything but beautiful, Aubrey.”

“But I was awful,” Aubrey started to protest but Beca’s thumb brushed her lips.

“Drill sergeant from hell, yes, but still beautiful on the inside.” Her lips twitched in a smirk. “And now that I see the outside…” She broke off laughing when Aubrey rolled her eyes, but sobered quickly. “You’re an amazing woman, Aubrey, and I’m sorry I let fear hold me back.”

It was absurd, really, to be lying here in her half open robe, on the verge of finally sleeping with the woman she’d been dreaming about for the last six months, and be so moved that she could feel the threat of tears.

“And you said you were bad with words,” Aubrey said softly. “We’re both guilty of that, but we’re here now. That’s all that matters.”

Instead of saying anything else, Beca pressed wet kisses down her throat, hair tickling Aubrey’s skin. She nibbled briefly at her pulse point before taking Aubrey’s breast into her mouth.

“Jesus.” Aubrey swept the curtain of Beca’s hair out of her way, overwhelmed by the need to see. As if she was reading her mind, Beca lifted her head just enough to part her lips so Aubrey could see her tongue extend and flick across her nipple. The double stimulation of watching it happen as she felt it had her twisting with every flick and swirl. “Oh, fuck…” she moaned softly.

Adjusting so she could look at Aubrey easier and not just out of the corner of her eye, Beca lightly blew over sensitive skin still wet from her mouth. As Aubrey shuddered, Beca’s trademark cocky smirk made an appearance. “So you like to watch?”

“Not until now,” Aubrey replied breathlessly, arching her back. She felt so much more with Beca than she thought possible and didn’t want to miss an instant. “Not until you.”

Beca’s left hand smoothed over her stomach to her hip and Aubrey’s body pulled in on itself with tension, anticipating the moment it would slide between her legs.  But it didn’t, instead it slid down the outside of her thigh and back up to once again run over her stomach, repeating in an almost soothing massage as her mouth returned to Aubrey’s breast.

Almost.

If she didn’t feel Beca’s body against hers soon she thought she’d die.

She tried to shift her left arm, still pinned under Beca’s body, but her robe constricted her reach, having shifted with her movements. When she let out a growl of frustration, Beca stopped and looked at her.

“Aubrey? Is it – should I stop?”

“God no!” Aubrey bit her lip as it came out far louder – and desperate – than she intended and Beca’s teeth flashed in a grin. “Stupid robe is in the way and needs to go.”

“Not for me,” Beca said cheerfully, her hand still smoothing over Aubrey’s hip and side before cupping her breast once more. “I’ve no complaints.”

“Well it is for me and also…” Aubrey hesitated, not sure how to phrase what she wanted despite the fact that she just announced that she was ready to be fully naked. Beca didn’t say anything but the smirk deepened as she leaned down to give Aubrey a slow, toe curling kiss. While Aubrey tried to regain her breath, Beca slid from the bed and Aubrey found herself frozen as the shirt Beca was wearing was removed and dropped to the floor, leaving her in a black bra and matching panties.

Aubrey had seen most of it before – sports bras not leaving much to the imagination – but it was a different matter entirely with the object of her daydreams standing next to her bed. It pulled Aubrey to her knees, robe forgotten, as she moved to the side of the mattress.

It was her turn to skim her hands across Beca’s stomach, watch the muscles jump at her touch, as she slid her hands around to the back of her bra. Beca had lifted her arms, both her hands threading through Aubrey’s hair to cup the back of her head as she leaned forward to lick down into her mouth, slow and firm. It took two tries, her fingers shaking, but Aubrey undid the clasp and ran her hands up and down the expanse of Beca’s back. She pulled back slowly, looking only into Beca’s eyes.

“You’ve always been beautiful to me too, Beca.” Aubrey hesitated, her hands moving to rest on the straps of the bra that was still hanging loosely between them.

“I thought I was ‘too alternative’?” Beca smiled to soften her words; they’d long since apologized for their hateful words to each other.

“I didn’t admit it to myself for a long time,” Aubrey said honestly. “Maybe not even fully until today. But maybe… maybe you scared me.” Beca’s brow knit but she remained silent, waiting. “I… haven’t really been… I guess more than ‘surface’ attracted to many women in my life.” Truth was it had been only four; the first of which was a girl in her senior year of high school and made Aubrey realize there was something she really needed to figure out about herself. The second was Chloe and though they had made out during spin the bottle last year, Aubrey had never told her best friend how she felt, unwilling to risk losing her though rationally she knew that would never happen. Stacie was complicated with her age; though Aubrey was constantly surprised at the maturity that the freshman displayed she kept her distance.

And then there was Beca. The one who made her feel like she was falling whenever they found themselves smiling at each other for one reason or another. The one who made her heart beat faster as she led an entire empty pool in song, something unheard of in Aubrey’s prior experiences with the riff-offs.

The one she almost let get away.

The one she was beginning to realize she couldn’t live without.

“And I knew – somewhere in the back of my heart - from almost the moment I first saw you that you… you could break me. And I let that fuel my attitude toward you and your ideas all year.” Otherwise she might have seen that Beca was slowly becoming a Bella despite herself.

“Aubrey.” Beca whispered, thumbs brushing her cheeks. “I would never… Not even when I was being an asshole… I never hated you.”

She smiled though she knew it trembled. “I know that now. But before… Captain Posen didn’t have time carved out for that. Or you.” She ran her index fingers under the bra straps, tugging them down ever so lightly. “Good thing she’s gone. Cause I would have regretted missing out on the possibility of you my entire life.”

Blue eyes twinkled at her. “Even with my ear monstrosities?”

Aubrey bit her lip. “Will you gloat if I admit I think they’re kinda badass and definitely hot?” She slid the straps all the way down, forcing Beca to lower her arms so the bra could be removed and tossed into the rest of her clothes.

“Probably,” Beca smirked. “But maybe only for a decade or four.”

Aubrey rolled her eyes. “How kind of you.” She stopped speaking when Beca moved her hands to the edge of Aubrey’s robe and started to slide it from her shoulders. She had been so focused on trying to tell Beca how she felt, to hopefully make her feel as special as she had Aubrey, that she’d forgotten Beca was naked except for her underwear. But she didn’t look down just yet, merely allowed Beca to help her arms slip out of the robe that was then tossed to the foot of the bed. Fingertips trailed up her arm and Aubrey shivered in anticipation.

“Do I still scare you?” Soft, somewhere between challenge and worry.

“Oh yeah,” Aubrey nodded slowly. “But it’s taking a backseat to being seriously fucking turned on right now.”

Beca laughed, taking half a step back to put her thumbs under the waistband of her underwear. “I’ll try and not let that go to my head.” She bent over and Aubrey forced herself to look to the side as Beca smoothly slid black lace down her hips and let them drop onto her jeans.

“No you won’t,” Aubrey said with a grin. “I can already see your ego inflating.”

One of Beca’s shoulders lifted. “Your own fault.” She stepped back to the bedside and Aubrey stopped resisting and, as Beca had earlier, took in the entirety of the stunning woman in front of her. “With the way you’re looking at me and all.”

Hearing the nerves under her words, Aubrey didn’t answer but put her hands on Beca’s hips for balance. She leaned forward, placing a kiss between her breasts and felt Beca trembling under her as she slid her lips to the left and along the curve of her right breast. As she hovered, she made sure her breath warmed the already hard nipple. Looking up, she let her tongue extend and circle the taut peak twice as Beca’s eyes locked on her mouth. That’s when she noticed something important had stopped.

“Don’t forget to breathe, love.”

Fighting back the urge to smirk, she waited until Beca’s ribcage expanded under her palms ; waited until Beca drew in a breath only to have it explode out of her when Aubrey took her nipple into her mouth, making sure to angle her head so Beca could see every move she made. She knew she wasn’t the only one who wanted to watch.

It made her feel bold and confident to know the anticipation of her touch had made Beca literally stop breathing. It also made her feel tenderness, realizing that she wasn’t alone in how much she wanted the other woman. It made her feel less stupid that she was moving so slowly, so… reverently… as she mapped her way from one breast to the other; memorizing every silken inch under her lips.

Aubrey didn’t even know why she was taking her time this way. She wanted Beca more than she had ever wanted anyone else in her life. She wanted to take and be taken – ravished was almost closer to the all-consuming desire coursing through her body – but she also wanted this to last forever.

She didn’t need to look up to know that Beca’s eyes were on her – though she did, feeling the spring inside her tighten each time their gaze met – she could feel the heat and weight of them every time her tongue reached out to flick and tease. Her hands had moved from holding Beca’s hips to roaming freely across the expanse of skin available to her; when both hands weren’t running up and down her spine one would migrate to the front, caressing and teasing the breast that was being neglected by her mouth.

Beca’s own hands had started off hanging by her sides, flexing rhythmically as if she either didn’t know what to do with them or was afraid to reach out, but eventually they had begun their own slow sweep of Aubrey’s upper body. When Aubrey slid both her hands down over Beca’s ass and squeezed, her groan of appreciation was twinned from above. Beca’s fingers slid into her hair at the back and tugged lightly, pulling Aubrey away from her chest. Aubrey made a small sound of protest as she was urged upward but that faded as Beca took her mouth in a searing kiss, plunging her tongue over and over until the grip Aubrey had wasn’t just to tease but to keep herself from falling over.

“Do you have any idea what you do to me?” Beca whispered as their lips slid together. “How fucking turned on I am right now?”

Aubrey, who had been supremely conscious of how wet her thighs had been getting almost since Beca had walked through the door, flexed her fingers again. “If it’s anything like how I’m feeling, I think I have some idea.”

“Oh yeah?” Beca pulled back for a moment, one corner of her mouth turning up in the smug grin that Aubrey had used to hate but now felt herself clench at.

“Mm,” Aubrey took Beca’s mouth in another kiss. “You’ll see.”

Beca’s body went still against her; a sudden indrawn breath the only movement other than her eyes closing. When they opened again Aubrey wondered who lit the air on fire because the expression in them made it difficult to catch her breath and waves of heat seared across her skin.

“Lay back on the bed.” Beca’s voice rasped between them and Aubrey shuddered at the command and sheer want that swam under it. She followed close behind Aubrey as she moved to comply and almost before Aubrey’s head hit her pillow Beca was kissing her again.

She’d thought having Beca against her had been bliss before. She had been wrong. So very wrong.

Beca’s naked body pressed against hers, the two of them sliding and twining together in a way they hadn’t done until now and Aubrey wasn’t sure she would survive the rest of the afternoon. Surely there was such a thing as feeling too much and they hadn’t even truly touched one another yet. Beca’s thigh slid between hers and instinctively Aubrey pressed against it with a quiet gasp, knowing Beca would easily be able to feel her arousal.

“Aubrey,” Beca whispered somewhere between surprise and need. Her left hand had been resting on Aubrey’s collarbone, her fingertips lightly pressed to her wildly pounding pulse but now it moved with purpose, pausing here and there, but always moving down.

Caressing  Aubrey’s breast.

Smoothing down her side to her hip.

Along the outside of her right thigh where she paused as she shifted her body slightly off Aubrey’s and to her left.

“Please,” Aubrey said softly, not sure she could stand being teased any more. “Beca…”

“As you wish,” Beca said again, tender and amused.

It hit Aubrey like a blow to the chest as she realized what those three words meant – what Beca had admitted first by saying them. The only question was if she’d said it hoping Aubrey would understand or hoping she wouldn’t realize what it meant; there was no way Beca had said it by accident. Though, since Aubrey had unknowingly admitted her own feelings four heartbeats later the point was moot and didn’t matter since they were clearly on the same page. What did matter was the way it matched the depth of Aubrey’s feelings even though every rational fiber of her being said that it was too fast too soon. This transcended logic or planning for best outcomes and for the first time ever Aubrey didn’t feel a sense of panic at not knowing where she was going because she wasn’t alone. They would figure it out together.

(Later that night Aubrey spent a lot of time trying to figure out if Beca had ever said it to her before that afternoon and she’d just been oblivious to the meaning. A few days later Amy overheard Beca saying it teasingly when Aubrey asked for a glass of water since Beca was going to the kitchen and immediately began calling her the Dread Pirate Mitchell. The rest of them had just as instantly jumped on the bandwagon and it stuck as a nickname. In the darkness of Aubrey’s room and the safety of her arms, Beca had admitted that she loved it. Her dad had either read her The Princess Bride or bundled her into the crook of his arm with her blanket and pillow to watch the movie every time she was sick. It was one of the few happy memories that remained untarnished from his leaving and one of the few movies that she was willing to watch over and over. Aubrey made a mental note to always have a copy handy in either medium in case she ever had to nurse a sick Beca back to health.)

“I wished for you.” Aubrey ran the fingertips of her right hand along Beca’s eyebrow. “Well, for love.” Trailed them to her ear and tugged on the ear spike at the top, smiling. “And then… I almost let you go.” She paused, knowing this was far too soon but unable to stop herself. “I want to keep you… for the rest of my life.” She wanted to shut her eyes, avoid the shocked gaze so close to her own, but she couldn’t look away, her heart ready to pound its way out of her chest as she wondered what the hell she was doing.

Instead of answering, eyes holding a glistening shimmer along the bottom of their lids, Beca merely lowered her head to kiss her while gliding her hand to cup between Aubrey’s legs. Her middle finger slipped easily along her center, bumping gently over her clit and caused more lightning to spark up her spine and explode behind her eyes. Aubrey gasped at the sensation only to have the sound disappear between Beca’s lips.

The brunette took her time, letting her fingertips trace every fold, every curve, before ever sliding two fingers gently inside. Beca broke the kiss, both of them letting out a shuddering breath into the miniscule space between them.

Beca.” Aubrey moaned, almost in surprise. It wasn’t like she didn’t know that was the plan, that it wasn’t all she’d been thinking about since they got back into bed. It wasn’t like she hadn’t had dreams about this moment since she had first watched Beca play the piano before practice one afternoon.  It was Beca’s reaction to her own actions that wound its way now around Aubrey’s heart and bound her to the woman trembling against her.

Aubrey’s hands grasped for something, anything, to hold onto as the thought of those long, talented fingers she’d watched dance over the keys made her clench around them. Her left hand reached up to grip the back of Beca’s left shoulder as her right once more clutched the bedding under her.

“Bree,” Beca whispered against her lips, sounding almost surprised as Aubrey had. “Oh god...oh fuck.” Aubrey opened her eyes long enough to see that Beca’s were closed, but then the other woman eased her hand back and Aubrey’s flew shut again at the slow withdraw. “God… Aubrey.” Head dropping to press against Aubrey’s neck, Beca slid into her again and Aubrey clutched her shoulder like a lifeline, hips rising, rolling, as she was filled over and over.

Beca built her up slowly - the heel of her palm providing pressure against her clit with every thrust instead of the more direct, and faster, stimulation that would end things quickly - and Aubrey was glad of it. She wanted this to last forever. In a distant corner of her mind, as far from her surface thoughts as Pluto was from the sun, she was all too aware of the little time they would have together before Aubrey graduated. But that was for later and now she was more than content to allow Beca to set their pace.

Aubrey found herself making hardly any sounds beyond Beca’s name slipping from her lips. What she felt for Beca was too big. It was too world changing to express. There would be time later for the porn star noises and moving together so hard and fast the headboard would dent the wall. (Something that Chloe and Stacie would tease them unmercifully about until the ends of time.) Now was only their quiet gasps and shuddering breaths; almost soundless in the room that was so full of Beca’s slow, steady touch and devastatingly soft kisses.

 Aubrey eyes kept closing and every time they opened Beca was either focused on her or looking down to watch where they were joined. Other times Beca’s forehead was pressed to Aubrey, her own breath coming in matching pants and gasps whenever Aubrey’s quickened. She could feel Beca shifting against her side, the hard points of her nipples dragging across her skin and the memory of them under her tongue drove Aubrey even closer to the edge.

Wishing she’d had her full length mirror at the end of the bed even though it made no logical sense to ever have done that, Aubrey moved her right hand. As she did so, knowing Beca would misunderstand for a split second and unwilling to have her hesitate even that long, Aubrey breathed out “Don’t stop,” as she covered Beca’s left.

If she couldn’t see, she could at least feel.

Beca shuddered against her with a quiet moan as realized what Aubrey’s intention was. “Jesus.” Beca kissed her, tongue moving in time with her fingers, a triple sensation pushing Aubrey up higher. “Under.” Another kiss, the need and hunger in it increasing exponentially. “Put your hand under mine.”

The lightning tracing every nerve in her body flared hotter as Aubrey quickly did as ordered, her right leg bending and falling to the side, opening herself more fully. She groaned as she used almost all of her self-control to only circle her clit a few times before sliding under Beca’s never slowing hand.

She was soaked.

She knew how turned on she was, this wasn’t a new fact. But this wet heat felt like so much more than she’d ever experienced in her life. Her fingers skated down along the curve of her body until she could feel Beca’s fingers sliding into her. The gentle strength in them as she pushed deep and flexed, the muscles in her shoulder shifting smoothly under Aubrey’s clutching hand. The way they would twist or scissor, pressing deep, before retreating, rubbing with varying degrees of pressure along the top of Aubrey’s walls. The heel of her hand had been almost maddening in the way it never provided enough friction to push her along and now it was Aubrey’s own palm that ground slickly against herself with everything Beca did.

She could feel it, that deep pulling sensation as her body began to coil in on itself, like a wind-up toy slowly approaching the point of release. She was both so very ready to come and yet trying desperately to push it back, wanting to keep this moment, the first of a lifetime, from ending.

The pressure of Beca’s hand on hers changed, urging her lower. Aubrey’s eyes flew up to meet Beca’s, her body jerking upward at the sheer need that she could see as clearly as she could feel Beca rolling against her side.

Unable to deny that demand any more than she could the other, Aubrey moved with Beca on the next inward thrust and they groaned in unison. Had she had anything left to think, Aubrey might have been concerned about whether or not the action would hurt. Might have hesitated and never known what it was to feel so fucking satisfyingly full. This connection, this striving together, feeling Beca against her, inside her, magnified everything to an infinite degree and any experience she’d had prior paled in comparison.

Aubrey’s left leg lifted and hooked over Beca’s beside her, heel pressed to the back of her thigh, tensing, tightening as her body rolled; pushing her hips down every time their joined hands pushed in. Beca’s knees bent and curled under her thigh, bringing them closer together. Her hand pressed Aubrey’s deeper, grinding slowly against that insanely sensitive bundle of nerves that had so far been only mostly teased. Aubrey felt herself clench as Beca held them there, the never ending awe of how they felt together washing over her.

Her orgasm hit her, locking all her limbs and expanding her chest though she could draw no air. Instead her held breath left her in the smallest of sounds that was also the loudest that she had so far made. A quiet, drawn out moan that barely would have reached as far as her door filling the space around them. She shuddered, her hand clutching Beca’s shoulder so tightly it would leave imprints from her nails though it didn’t quite break the skin. Within her, Beca began to move again while Aubrey was locked in place. Slow and deep, prolonging the tsunami that had swept her out to sea before finally carrying her back to shore where she collapsed back to the bed, limbs weak and boneless. Sated.

Happier and more content than she had ever been in her whole life.

She barely had the strength to lift her leg over Beca’s and let it fall back to the bed as Beca stretched her own legs back out, unmindful that their hands were still joined between her legs. Eyes still closed, shifting her free hand from shoulder to tangle in unseen locks, she tilted her head and found Beca’s lips waiting for her, warm and soft. As her body relaxed, her ears began to ring from the silent thunder that was her pulse raging through her. Still kissing her, Beca slowly pulled her hand away, bringing Aubrey’s with it, and up until they both rested on her stomach, linking their fingers together.

She knew there were things to say, things she wanted to say – ‘that was fucking incredible’ being at the top of the list, followed immediately after with ‘I’d like some more, please’ – but at the moment all that she could think was how much she wanted to feel Beca come undone around her. So when they finally parted so Beca could kiss down her throat, Aubrey hummed in appreciation.

“I want to taste you.”

Beca froze in the act of giving Aubrey a deep hickey far higher than PastAubrey would’ve liked, but NowAubrey didn’t give a shit where Beca marked her as long as she never stopped. Aubrey could feel the need coming off her in waves and had no desire whatsoever to make Beca wait any longer for her release.

“Aubrey?” Eagerness danced along the underside the question as Beca finally looked at her.

Instead of answering Aubrey lifted her head to kiss her, urging with her hands until Beca got the point and moved over to lie fully on top of Aubrey all without breaking them apart. Once Beca lay between her legs, Aubrey wrapped them around her, reveling the way they slid together and how grounded it made her feel. But she couldn’t let it last as long as she wanted. She had much more she wanted to give now than take.

“Can you move higher, love?” She bit her lip as she looked up into eyes that were confused for a whole three heartbeats before Beca was nodding, kissing her hotly before pushing up to her hands and knees. As Beca moved to straddle her waist, Aubrey quickly pulled her hair into a loose, unbound pony tail and tucked it behind her head. Less danger of accidental pulling that could distract at a crucial moment that way.

“Let me know when you’re done primping.” Beca was watching her with a smirk that lasted until Aubrey pressed up into her; both of them groaning as Beca ground down, painting Aubrey’s skin with her desire.

Wordlessly Aubrey nodded and Beca moved upward again as Aubrey shifted a little lower, giving Beca more room. Her knees settled on either side of Aubrey who immediately ran her hands up the back of Beca’s thighs and gripped her ass, giving an appreciative squeeze. Beca placed her hands on the wall above the headboard for balance and leaned forward, looking down at Aubrey. Tentative. Hungry. Eager.

Moving her hands to grip the front of Beca’s thighs from behind, Aubrey guided her down and eagerly took her first lick through Beca’s folds. Beca shuddered above her as Aubrey swirled around her clit and back down the length of her center.

Having Beca rising above her, feeling the tremble in the thighs braced on either side of her head, was everything Aubrey hadn’t known she needed. She had long ago made herself the goal of exploring every centimeter if Beca’s body if she got the chance; wanting to discover what made her ticklish, what made her moan. Find every hidden freckle or beauty mark. But with how eager she was to have Beca come undone above her, and how wet Beca was, she didn’t think she’d have that long right now.

At first she wasn’t sure if it was just because Beca had taken her cue from Aubrey or if she was normally not that vocal during sex, but her sounds were as retrained as Aubrey’s had been. But every time she looked up the length of the body slowly undulating above her, she could tell Beca felt it too. That same feeling of fate or destiny that had already bound them together and filled the room with everything they couldn’t yet say.

It was in the way she would lean her forehead against the wall, looking at Aubrey beneath her before her eyes would close again. In the way she would briefly reach down to run her fingers through Aubrey’s hair before once more place her palm against the wall. In each shudder. In each small gasp as Aubrey let her hands slide up and down, caressing as far as she could reach across the length of Beca’s torso. In the way braced thighs trembled as she rose over Aubrey, beautiful and everything Aubrey hadn’t known she needed.

Finding the angle was too awkward to do more than tease Beca’s entrance with her tongue, she moved her right hand, running it back down the curve of Beca’s ass to slip between her legs. The angle was almost as awkward but the looming threat of a wrist cramp was forgotten as Beca groaned deep in her throat and pushed down to meet her.

Aub…rey.”

Hearing her name break across Beca’s lips caused Aubrey’s whole body to clench on itself in pure reaction and she looked up the line of the body above her. The strained, almost ravenous approval in it as she bit her lip sent Aubrey halfway back up to another orgasm; one she desperately tried to keep at bay while she set a rhythm as steady and deep as Beca had taken her. There was no need to rush.

They had time.

~B~

Beca forced herself to open her eyes and found Aubrey’s already on her, the intensity of them making Beca feel both safe and vulnerable at the same time. It was something that would’ve made her try and escape not that long ago but was now a more familiar feeling as she felt more comfortable with her new chosen family. Now she could return that look and match it openly, not having to hide the truth from either of them anymore.

She pressed her forehead harder into the wall, trying to keep herself from rocking her hips in an attempt to pull Aubrey deeper. Between the way Aubrey’s tongue teased and swirled and her free hand scratching nails down Beca’s back, Beca was almost over stimulated and half mad with the need to come but trying to push it away. The last thing she wanted right now was to cause any interruption in the rhythm they had found but she had never wanted to move more than she did right now.

She wasn’t a virgin by any means, but apparently she’d been having sex with the wrong people because nothing she had done before felt this good. Never had this all-encompassing passion for her partner that pushed her faster than she had ever thought possible. Hell, making Aubrey come undone had almost brought Beca off which had never happened before.

She’d dreamt so long of that moment, planned how she wanted to make love to Aubrey for the first time, and she had half been afraid she was having the most realistic wet dream of her life. But her dreams had never come close to how soft Aubrey’s skin was under her palm or tongue, much less how wet she’d been when Beca had finally slipped into her. Never made her feel as tender as having Aubrey whisper her name had. Could never have imagined the sheer hunger she’d felt when Aubrey had reached down to touch herself while Beca slid inside her. How damn bold she could become when urging Aubrey to slide inside with her.

But feeling Aubrey thrust into her was sheer fucking nirvana and with the memory of Aubrey spasming around her still on a playback loop, Beca was definitely not going to last long. She shifted her hips, unable to help the roll against Aubrey’s sinfully talented mouth but stopped when that moved her tongue out of position. Whimpering, Beca bit her lip and clenched around deft fingers that hadn’t stopped their movements.

Baby.” Aubrey’s voice was nothing more than a whisper and Beca almost missed it under the rush of blood pounding through her ears. “You can move if you need to.” She lifted up and swirled her tongue around Beca’s clit before settling back. “I can’t think of anything I want more right now than to feel you - see you – move above me.”

Eyes locked on Aubrey’s, feeling the heat in them scorch her skin, Beca braced her hands on the wall. Slowly, carefully, she lifted herself up the few inches she had before Aubrey would slip out and then just as slowly lowered herself again. Her lip was between her teeth, muffling the groan as she was filled again, Aubrey pressing up at the same time. She clenched as she came back to her lowest position and gasped when Aubrey scissored her fingers apart, doubling the full sensation and tripling her pleasure.

Aubrey shifted her head and began to suck on the inside of Beca’s right thigh and Beca cried out softly, unable to hold it in as the pulling sensation ran a line straight to her core. She tightened around Aubrey, momentarily stopping both their movements as she froze in place at the unexpected sparks that rippled through her. With a groan of desire, Aubrey turned her head and took Beca’s left thigh between her teeth as she sucked, much harder this time. Beca cried out once more, louder as Aubrey marked her again and again, shifting higher each time.

Panting, Beca rocked her hips down as Aubrey pushed upward, shocked and fuller than she thought possible when a third finger was added. Beca clenched them tightly as her orgasm ran at her like a linebacker. She must have done something to change the angle because suddenly Aubrey’s mouth clamped down around her clit like a fucking vacuum seal and Beca felt like she was about to spin free from the gravitational pull of the earth with every rapid flick of her tongue. But it wasn’t the steady presence of the wall beneath her palms that kept her grounded as she shook with the force of it and Aubrey’s name bounced around her skull like a rubber ball in a sealed room as she came.

It was Aubrey. The warm weight of the hand pressed against Beca’s stomach that kept her tethered. It was the fingers still inside her, the way they pressed deep and twisted as she withdrew ever so slightly before doing it all over again. In the marks she could feel on her skin.

Her dreams hadn’t prepared her for how much love she would feel for the woman who had stolen her heart when she wasn’t looking. Or how right it would feel to claim and be claimed.

Slowly she came back to herself with no idea if her throat hurt because she’d screamed it raw or because she couldn’t express anything she was feeling. She also found she’d pressed her fingers so tight to the wall even her short nails left very faint crescents in the paint. Aubrey was still gently nuzzling against her, sending aftershocks up her spine.

Carefully, legs trembling like a fucking newborn colt, Beca backed up, Aubrey leaving one final mark on her thigh as she withdrew, until she was straddling Aubrey’s waist. Her hands were firmly planted on either side of Aubrey’s chest as the woman under her twined her hands around Beca’s neck to pull her down into a slow, hungry kiss that only ended when Beca couldn’t hold herself up anymore. When Aubrey didn’t make any move to release her, Beca sank down to rest on her fully, her hands sliding up behind Aubrey’s shoulders to grip them from underneath.

“Was I screaming?” Beca slid downwards just enough to lay her head on Aubrey’s shoulder and closed her eyes. “I can’t remember.” She took in a much needed deep breath and savored the lassitude in her limbs. She couldn’t ever remember being this tired and yet this exhilarated after sex.

Aubrey laughed, her left hand running through Beca’s hair. “No.” She paused and Beca easily pictured the pursed lips as she considered, her tone shifting to the embodiment of smug when she continued. “Then again, I was really distracted and your thighs were muffling my ears. So, maybe? Why? Are you worried someone overheard?”

“No,” Beca said, lifting her head to meet Aubrey’s amused gaze. “I mean, now that you’ve said it I’m going to live in constant anticipation and fear of Stacie’s ability to hear all things sex related.” She leaned forward and kissed Aubrey gently. “No. It’s…” It was her turn to hesitate though it was mostly out of ingrained habit to not reveal things about herself than any reluctance to share. “I don’t think I’ve ever come that hard and I kind of lost track of myself for a minute.”

Aubrey blinked. “I don’t know if I should continue feeling as smug as I do right this second or apologize for your lovers in the past.” She grinned then, slow and wicked and Beca felt heart triple thump at the sinfulness of it. “Either way, I can’t wait until I can really…” She nipped Beca’s bottom lip. “Truly.” Both hands ran down Beca’s back to grip her ass and squeeze. “Take my time.” Beca’s hands clenched convulsively on Aubrey’s shoulders at the promise and Aubrey’s chuckle was as wicked as her smile. “But Chloe will be home soon so I guess I’ll have to save that for next time.”

Beca let out a shuddering exhale and licked her lips at the thought of making Aubrey come again, this time with her mouth. She was also well aware of the way Aubrey’s eyes locked on them, so she did it slowly. “Can we text them that plans changed, to meet us for dinner somewhere and just…” She arched slightly, pressing herself back into Aubrey’s hands. “Not go?” She could tell Aubrey was considering, almost idly squeezing in a rhythm that pulled Beca down into her, before she sighed.

“No.” Her hands moved up to Beca’s back and wrapped around her. “That’s still not long enough for what I have in mind.”

“Holy shit,” Beca breathed, delighted and shocked all at once. “Are you a sex fiend?” She pushed up a little on her right elbow. “I would never have guessed prim and proper Aubrey Posen was a sex fiend.”

“Just because I want to take my time and reduce you to a helpless puddle underneath me does not make me a sex fiend, Beca.” Aubrey rolled her lips, trying not to smile when Beca whimpered in response. “I just… feel like we have a lot of time to make up for.” She looked away but not before Beca saw the regret in her eyes.

It wasn’t a new thing, she’d seen it a few times since Spring Break and always when Aubrey was remembering how terrible she’d been all year. While there had been complete forgiveness on both sides for the other, they each held on to a little bit of guilt and remorse for their own behavior.  But now Beca could do more to reassure both of them that that was the past and now… now there was a whole new future together to work on.

“Hey,” she said, tilting Aubrey’s chin around gently. “We’ve already forgiven each other.” She placed soft kisses at the corners of her mouth. “Maybe now we can help each other forgive ourselves.” Instead of answering, Aubrey pulled her down into another kiss, each touch of her tongue deeper than the last though designed to soothe more than arouse.

Eventually Beca slid off of and sprawled over her side, her head once more on Aubrey’s shoulder. Aubrey’s left arm was around her back and she was lazily stroking the bare skin of Beca’s hip. It was a moment of peace Beca had never really felt before.

As long as she could remember her mind had always been filled with music. It was a constant presence in the back of her mind no matter what she was actually focusing on. But here, in the slowly darkening quiet of Aubrey’s room, that constant, sometimes frenetic, beat was quiet. Or, she supposed, had been replaced for the moment by the steady sound of the heart beneath her.

A new melody for her to mix with her own.

She was almost to the point of drifting off in the quiet when there were footsteps on the stairs.

“Bree? Are you home?” Chloe’s voice grew louder. “Do you know where Beca is? She’s not downstairs but her jacket is on the newel post. Aubrey?” There was the rattle of the doorknob and a very solid sounding thump as Chloe bounced off the still closed door. “Why is your door locked? It’s not like I haven’t seen you naked before.”

In a reversal from earlier, Beca muffled a hysterical snicker against Aubrey’s neck as Chloe suddenly gave a startled and knowing “Oh!” after a moment of silence. She felt Aubrey take a breath to answer but Chloe continued without waiting, amusement filling her words.

“Right. It’s about fucking time ladies. I’ll be downstairs. Or… outside. Or something.”

Aubrey angled her head to look at Beca, one eyebrow high. “You locked the door? Someone was confident.”

“I wish I could say that was the case.” Beca lifted one shoulder. “But while I did want to keep us from getting interrupted, I really just thought we’d maybe finally be honest with each other about how we feel.” She slid her hand from where it lay on Aubrey’s stomach to cover a breast. “But then someone pulled me into bed…” She hesitated before reminding herself that she didn’t have to anymore. “And made me admit I was in love with her.” She let it sit for only a few seconds, feeling Aubrey’s heart speed up under her. “Then had her way with me.”

“I believe you had your way with me first,” Aubrey corrected, covering Beca’s hand with her own and squeezing. She groaned then groaned again, but in frustration. “We definitely don’t have time for a round two right now, damnit.”

Still able to feel Aubrey inside her, Beca reluctantly moved their hands back to Aubrey’s stomach. “I was worried that she’d be upset. I know she…”

“Had the hots for you?” Aubrey finally finished after Beca waited too long trying to find the right way to phrase it.

Beca gently poked her stomach. “Not in so many words, but yes.”

“And you for her.” Aubrey kissed her when Beca lifted her head to argue. “It’s okay, love.” Beca smiled into the kiss, the warmth of the endearment spreading through her. “I thought you two would end up together all year. Both because I had walled myself off and wasn’t going to make a move and because I thought you two would be good together.”

“You did?” Beca frowned. “I didn’t know that.”

“Cause I didn’t let you see.” Aubrey lifted one shoulder. “Any more than I let you know I was just as interested as Chloe was. If I couldn’t let myself be with you, I could still live with the thought of the two of you together.”

Beca studied her carefully. “That sounds like you also were interested in Chloe.” She stroked her hand down Aubrey’s side. “How come you never…?”

“Timing.” Aubrey looked away and sighed. “I just… never really allowed myself to try. And she’s my best friend. I couldn’t risk losing her.” She looked back and there was just the faintest shimmer of moisture in her eyes that tugged at Beca’s heart. “But with you… I couldn’t allow myself to not take the chance when I saw you in my doorway.” She brushed a few strands of hair out of Beca’s face. “I couldn’t let you slip away.”

“Do you think Chloe knew we were attracted to each other all along?” Beca lay back down and snuggled in.

“Yes.” Aubrey gave a rueful laugh. “She’s going to be insufferable that she was right. She’s been telling me all year that I needed to reach out and take a chance on love. Originally she was talking about Stacie but then she realized why I was being such a bitch to you.”

“Beyond me being a royal pain in the ass during rehearsals?” Beca let out a breath. “I also thought you were into Stacie, to be fair. But then when she and Chloe started their thing just before the ICCAs –Oh, I admit to some jealousy. Some sense of loss.” It had been difficult to wall that off, to not let any of them see. If she wasn’t going to let Chloe in, she didn’t feel she had the right to be sad that Chloe had moved on. But she’d felt as Aubrey had – seeing Chloe and Stacie happy together had been weirdly comforting.

“Cause of Stacie?” Aubrey teased lightly.

“Have you seen her?” Beca gave a chuckle. “But it was more the sense that time was running out. Something – someone – important was slipping away and I was helpless to stop it.” Aubrey’s arms tightened around her. “Until a random moment of panic showed me that maybe it wasn’t too late.”

“So we’re saying we owe Amy for us getting together?”

“Oh god,” Beca groaned. “Talk about someone being insufferable.”

“Are we going to tell them the true story?” Aubrey ran her thumb across Beca’s lips. “They’re never going to let us live it down.”

“Well, the alternative is to let them think we went to the Treble’s backyard to make out and I refuse to let that be a thing.” Beca frowned, thinking. “I don’t know which version is worse, actually.”

“We’ll figure that out later.” Aubrey looked at her phone on her bedside table. “Should I text Chloe to come back up and see why she needs you?”

Beca stretched out along Aubrey’s side. “Were you going to get dressed first or are you going to ask her to join us?” She still couldn’t get over how natural – how sinful yet comforting – it felt to press against her this way.

Aubrey looked down the length of their naked bodies. “Oh. Shit.” She laughed, loud and full, bouncing Beca slightly with the movement. “I forgot.”

“Can’t even blame it on panic this time.” Beca leaned up and kissed her cheek. “It’s adorable though.” She thought for a moment. “I admit I am enjoying the quiet of your room and it being just the two of us. But I also don’t want to go downstairs yet. I don’t mind if Chlo comes back up.” She held up a finger. “After we’re dressed.”

“Boo,” Aubrey pouted.

“You want Chloe to come up while we’re naked?” Beca stared at her in only partially feigned shock. “Or did you mean to join us? I am learning all kinds of things about you today.”

“Well no,” Aubrey shook her head. “But I’ve discovered I really like it when you’re naked. We could pull up a blanket or something…” She grinned impishly.

Beca closed her eyes as another wave of arousal washed through her and her thighs tensed in reaction. “Trust me, I feel the same way. But I don’t know that I’m ready to have Chloe in the room while we’re naked together under a sheet.”

“Fine, but I don’t see what the big deal is.” Aubrey lifted a shoulder. “She’s already seen us both naked. The sheet would be an improvement.”

“Aubrey Posen!” Beca pushed up in surprise. “You cannot be serious!”

“I’m not the one who just implied there might ever be a time that you want Chloe in the room while we’re naked. Especially knowing that she and Stacie are a package deal.” Aubrey tapped the end of Beca’s nose. “That was all you and now I know you’re an exhibitionist.”

“Says the voyeur.” Beca said automatically, not even mentally touching the rest of that statement with a ten foot pole. “Which was very hot by the way.”

“I’ll say.” Aubrey slid her fingers through Beca’s hair and tugged her gently back down. “I suppose I should go get Chloe, but first…”

Beca licked down into her mouth, knowing that it was only going to make it more difficult to let Aubrey leave the room but she was unable to help herself from deepening the kiss. There was so little time before the end of the year and she’d be perfectly happy to blow off the rest of her classes and spend all her time right here. Except she’d made the decision to stay at Barden and actually needed to pass said classes.

“But first, you should maybe clean up,” Beca said between sips of air. “Instead of talking to Chloe with me all over your face.” Aubrey moaned, her hand convulsively tightening in Beca’s hair as her kiss turned more ardent. Beca allowed it for a few minutes longer before pulling away and lying on her side next to Aubrey. The bed was barely wide enough to allow her to do so without touching Aubrey’s side but she managed.

“You are such a pain in my ass.” Aubrey closed her eyes and groaned. “Why’d you have to phrase it that way?” She started to push up then stopped to roll over on her side facing Beca. “Will you stay the night?”

“Of course,” Beca smiled at her, feeling shy and pleased at being asked. “You’re not going to be able to get rid of me.”

“Good.” Her smile widened.  “Maybe tonight we’ll have a talk about this whole ‘joining’ thing you’ve now mentioned twice.” Before Beca could answer with more than a startled laugh, she leaned forward and gave Beca a lightning fast kiss before rolling out of bed and walking around to where she’d thrown her robe to the floor. “I’ll let you know when I’m out of the bathroom, in case you want to freshen up yourself.”

Beca had rolled over in the bed to watch her and was reminded once again how attractive Aubrey’s confidence was. She stood at the foot of the bed and stretched, completely unselfconscious in her naked state. Even puling on her robe was done with a strange sense of grace that Beca rather envied.

“You’re beautiful, Aubrey.”

Looking over her shoulder with a small, pleased smile, Aubrey just unlocked the door and left, closing it firmly behind her.

Beca lay on her back, arms and legs stretched out like a starfish and stared at the ceiling.

This hadn’t been her intention, exactly, when she’d come back to the house early. She’d replayed the entire encounter during the walk to her dorm. She’d focused on that moment Aubrey’s lips had touched hers while she was in the shower. As she was getting dressed, she decided she had to know if that feeling of returned interest was more than her wistful imagination.

She hadn’t expected Aubrey to not be dressed yet. She definitely hadn’t expected how her own body had reacted to seeing Aubrey in a robe, her legs uncovered while her hair had hung in slightly damp tendrils around her face. She’d been so pretty – so sexy, which is not something Beca normally thought about people – and Beca had forgotten everything she had rehearsed on the way over. Aubrey’s surprise at seeing her meant she didn’t have the mask on that she normally did and Beca saw her own no-longer-secret attraction reflected back at her. It made her bold enough to say what she was thinking without overthinking it to the point where she said nothing at all.

She’d thought that maybe they’d kiss if it turned out she’d been right and, if things went well, maybe a little make-out session before dinner. But Aubrey tugging her into bed had been something Beca hadn’t even considered as she walked back to the house.

While she lay there, she spent a lot of time thinking about what she wanted – which firmly included Aubrey in her life – and her goals – to be a music producer – and how to make sure everything worked out. By the time the door opened again, she’d only managed to come up with a single idea for the immediate future.

Aubrey laughed as she came in. “I see you’ve made yourself at home.” Closing the door she stepped closer and Beca rolled her head to look at her. “You’re also making it really difficult to go downstairs and talk to my best friend when all I want to do is –” She bit her lip as she stepped closer, eyes darkening again.

“Do not finish that thought,” Beca said through a laugh though her body flamed hot. “I am a weak woman and will give in.” She wanted nothing more than to be naked and in bed with Aubrey for the rest of the evening. Week. Month. Their lives.

“That’s supposed to make me stop?” Aubrey sat down at the edge of the bed and ran her hand up the top of Beca’s thigh.

Beca closed her legs with a deep feeling of regret. “Yes. But only because I have something very serious to ask you.” She held up her hand and waited until Aubrey took it, then she pulled herself upward so they were facing each other. “I was thinking… I don’t fully know your plans after graduation in a few weeks. I know we were having Chloe’s birthday party for a big end of the year celebration before we all scatter – but…” She hesitated, not sure if she could make these kinds of requests yet. “Would you mind staying an extra week or two?”

“I could, but why…” Comprehension dawned on her face and with it a shy smile. “With you?”

“Yeah.” Beca picked at the sheet beneath her with her free hand. “I just… I’m not ready to be apart yet. I know we’re going to have to eventually, and maybe this will just make it harder. But I’d really like to have that time to maybe figure some things out together.” Her nerves seemed to have taken hold of her mouth and she couldn’t seem to stop talking. “Not like our whole future or anything, or even that we’ve got a ‘whole’ future but…” A finger on her lips silenced her.

“It’s okay.” Aubrey cupped her cheek, her expression soft and wondering. Pleased. “I understand. And yes, I can definitely stay here with you after graduation. I want to figure our future out too.”

Beca felt relief wash over her as Aubrey leaned forward to kiss her. It took her a minute to realize that in addition to combing her ‘just had amazing sex’ hair, Aubrey had minty fresh breath as well. When they parted she held back a smile. “Did you paranoia brush?”

“Of course I did,” Aubrey said casually as she stood, her left hand trailing up and over Beca’s breasts, making sure to thumb across her nipples. Firmly. Several times. “You still want Chloe to come up instead of going downstairs?”

After a sharp inhale, desire for Aubrey too close to the surface for even casual touches and these were definitely more than that, she finally answered. “It seems silly, but… yeah. I’m not really ready to break the bubble yet.”

“I know the feeling,” Aubrey sighed. “I’m sure she’s going to want to have a best friend talk first, so you’ll have a few to do your own freshening up. See you in a minute.”

Beca watched her leave again and resisted the urge to lay back down. It wasn’t that she didn’t have time to relax again – the best friend talk was guaranteed to last a while – but she needed a distraction from the waves of desire that had come back to life or she was going to take matters into her own hands and that wasn’t going to be as fun without Aubrey.

She slid out of bed and did her own stretching, happy when her legs weren’t as shaky as they had been earlier. She pulled on her underwear and picked up her jeans and frowned. She wasn’t ready to put them back on just yet, so she folded them and set them on the foot of the bed. As she reached for her shirt, she noticed Aubrey’s closet was open and, after arguing with her urge for a good five seconds, stepped over and peeked in.

While there were mostly nice blouses or sweaters, Aubrey surprisingly did own a few hoodies. Beca pulled one out that was a deep blue and pulled it on over her head. It was long enough that it covered all her important bits and she felt safe enough in walking through the upstairs hallway down to the bathroom. When she got there, she noticed a hairbrush and unopened toothbrush sitting on the counter and laughed. Trust Aubrey to think of everything.

After cleaning up she headed back to Aubrey’s room and closed the door behind her. She folded her shirt, tucking her bra between it and her jeans, and piled the pillows at the head of the bed. Straightening out the covers she crawled under them and propped herself up against the headboard.

It did feel a little weird to have no pants on, since Chloe was about to come in with full knowledge of what they’d spent the afternoon doing. She tapped the covers as nerves started to bleed through for the first time. Getting back out of bed she reached for her jeans again and this time noticed a basket of folded clothes sitting in one corner. Surprised that Aubrey hadn’t immediately put them away, she felt no guilt in snagging a pair of jogging shorts off the top and stepping into them. This time when she climbed back in bed, she felt less awkward and let the peace and quiet filled her once more.

As she waited, she tried to figure out where to take Aubrey on their first real date. By the time the door opened again and a blonde head popped in, she’d decided to be a walking cliché and take her to her favorite restaurant followed by karaoke on 80’s night. Which, she knew, would mean they would have some gatecrashers because there was no way the rest of the Bellas would be able to resist joining them. She could almost hear Amy now: ‘What? It’s a free country. Public spaces are for the public.’ She also knew Aubrey wouldn’t mind and in a lot of ways it would make a perfect finish to their date.

“You decent?” Aubrey called out as she looked in. Her expression immediately changed from teasing to soft and vulnerable the second she caught sight of Beca still in her bed. “You’re in my hoodie.”

“Is that okay?” Beca thought it was but the way Aubrey had walked over to the bed and was staring at her made her second guess herself.

“Yes,” Aubrey said immediately, one hand absently rubbing over her heart. “I can’t tell you how much I love seeing you in my hoodie and in my bed.”

“I might have an idea,” Beca laughed softly. “Probably about as much as I love being in both of them.” There was a cooing sound from the doorway and Beca jumped, looking around Aubrey to see Chloe standing just inside the room.

“I always knew you guys were soft for each other but this…” Chloe shook her head. “I think my heart is going to explode.” She closed the door behind her and sat down at Aubrey’s vanity. “Sorry to ruin the moment. Once I knew Beca was dressed I just…” She sighed happily. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine.” Beca pushed back the nerves that had risen again now that Chloe was in the room with them. It was stupid to be nervous or worried. Chloe was clearly okay with what was going on and was not the type to lie to them about how she was feeling, not even for their sake. Aubrey sat on the bed next to her, on top of the covers but her robe neatly tucked around her. Beca now had to work at not thinking about the moment she’d stripped it off or the amazing body that was hidden under it.

“I’m also sorry I interrupted… earlier.” Chloe’s grin turned impish. “I would never have tried to barge in had I known you two were finally together.”

“We didn’t know how the other felt until this afternoon,” Beca said, wishing she and Aubrey had discussed how much to tell her. Or at least knew how much Aubrey had told Chloe downstairs. They were both private people but in this Beca didn’t really want to hide it. She was not ashamed of their relationship, no matter how new, and Chloe’s joy in finding out was infectious.

“We’re both a little stubborn.” Aubrey took Beca’s hand. “It took a prank to fall through to realize I had already fallen.”

“Well that is cryptic.” Chloe leaned forward. “And I’m going to need you to explain immediately.” She sat back again. “Well, I mean if you’re okay with telling me. Which I really hope you are because I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment all year.”

Beca laughed. “Sure, but first – what did you need?”

“The story of how you two finally realized you both had giant toners for each other,” Chloe said. “Duh.”

“No, not that. Whatever made you come up here till you bounced off the door,” Beca explained patiently.

Chloe looked blank for half a second before her confusion cleared. “Oh!” She stood up and paced. “Right. I had this idea I wanted to run past you. I think you get the better end of the deal but…”

“Just spit it out, Chlo.” Aubrey threw one of her smaller pillows at the other woman.

“Stacie and I were talking at lunch and we were wondering if we could change the whole set up next year. Instead of you and Amy taking the attic room, we were wondering if we could have it instead.”

Beca tilted her head as if she were considering. In truth it solidified something that had been floating in her mind at the same time she asked Aubrey if she would stay after graduation. Aubrey turned to look at her, brows knit as if she were wondering what Beca’s problem with the swap was.

“Well,” Beca said slowly, enjoying the moment because she knew what she was about to say would make everyone very happy. “I guess that’s a much better solution than asking Stacie if she’d be willing to room with Amy.” She looked down at where Aubrey’s thumb was stroking across the back of her hand then back up at Aubrey from beneath her lashes. “Because I sort of was going to ask if I could have Aubrey’s room instead of Stacie.”

Since Chloe was going to be returning the following year, the plan had been for her to keep her room and Stacie was going to take Aubrey’s as the only other single. The rest of the girls would double up. Beca had wanted the attic so she could be away from everyone and work on her mixes. But now…

“To be close to her when she’s not visiting?” Chloe’s voice was so soft, so tender and it matched the way Aubrey was looking at her. “Oh, Beca.”

“Is that true?” Aubrey’s voice was even softer and filled with wonder.

Feeling strangely shy, Beca nodded and Aubrey leaned forward to kiss her. It was light and chaste but Beca could feel the thrum of hunger underneath the tenderness. She almost deepened it, audience be damned, but Aubrey pulled back before she could. Damn it.

“This makes me wish Aubrey were going to be here next year too,” Chloe said as she wiped the bottom of her eyes. “Seeing the two of you together every day, being cute like this instead of your normal prickly selves, would be awesome.”

Beca rolled her eyes. “Maybe we should have talked downstairs.” She could feel herself wanting to retreat, protect this newly exposed hole in her armor, but fought against it. “This is way too much ammunition for you to have.” She kept reminding herself she was safe with these two women and she didn’t need to hide anymore. She didn’t want to. This was family.

“Just wait until the rest of the girls find out,” Chloe said blissfully then tapped her chin. “I’ll have to ask CR who won the pool.”

“You guys bet on us getting together?” Aubrey sat up straighter in bed. “Seriously?”

“I thought we weren’t letting CR gamble anymore?” Beca said at the same time.

“Since this one was started before Spring Break, Denise said it was okay to let it ride.” Chloe narrowed her eyes. “I wonder if she’s the one who has the latest date.”

Beca leaned back against the pillows and closed her eyes. “I hate all of you.” She squeezed Aubrey’s hand. “Except you.”

“I’d hope so.” Aubrey leaned over and kissed her cheek. “But how on earth was this a bet before Spring Break? We definitely didn’t get along until after the whole mess.”

“We have eyes,” Chloe said simply. “Even though I was hoping to catch Beca’s eye, I knew where she was looking most of the time.”

“Chlo…” Beca looked over at her, unsure what she wanted to say but feeling the need to say something but Chloe held up her hand.

“I’m fine.” She waved her hand between them. “We’re fine. This?” Now she waved at the two of them in bed. “This makes me as happy as Stacie does. And I know she is going to feel the same.”

“I always wondered if Stacie had a thing for Aubrey,” Beca mused before it occurred to her that might not have been something she should have said out loud with these particular women.

“Try both of you.” Chloe was wearing a wicked smile when Beca gave her a startled look. “Maybe one day I’ll tell you some of the discussions we’ve had about it.”

“Oh my god,” Beca and Aubrey said in unison.

“But for now, tell me how this all got started.” Chloe leaned forward again. “That’s the important part here.”

“That’s all you, babe,” Beca said. “You’re the one who got us into this.”

Aubrey still looked like a deer in the headlights, a sentiment Beca shared as she tried not to think about what kind of ‘discussions’ Chloe and Stacie could have had, but she pulled herself together after another few seconds of staring open mouthed at Chloe.

“You remember when Amy wanted to prank the Trebles and I said I wanted to stay out of it? Well, I decided that maybe it was a good way to end the year after all. But I wanted to scout the place and needed a lookout. So I had Beca come over.”

“Because she’s short and can hide easier?” Chloe smirked at Beca.

“Exactly!” Aubrey turned to Beca immediately. “See? She gets it.”

“Now you’re just ganging up on me,” Beca muttered, not even bothering to hide her smile. “I see how it’s going to be.”

“You love it,” Chloe waved her words away. “Don’t even bother trying to lie. You’re sitting in Aubrey’s bed, in Aubrey’s hoodie, and have made out in front of me.”

“Her shorts too,” Beca said then scowled. “Hey, we did not make out in front of you!” She almost pointed out there had been no tongue but she was afraid Chloe would suggest they just get that out of the way and go for it. Beca’s body was still humming from earlier and she was afraid if Aubrey was game, it wouldn’t take much for her to say yes. And Aubrey was still in that way too easy to open robe. Jesus, maybe she was an exhibitionist.

“Not yet.” Chloe shrugged. “Wait – you’re in her shorts?”

“I decided being only in my underwear and stolen hoodie while you were in the room was weird. I was going to put on my jeans but then saw the shorts in the basket.” Beca gave Aubrey a bland look. “You’re not getting these back.”

“Taking my clothes and my room?” Aubrey shook her head. “I see how this is going.”

“Seriously, if you two don’t stop being cute enough to eat I’m going to jump in bed with you and that thing is too small for three people. Beca would have to lay on us both.” Chloe actually scooted the chair forward. “So tell me more about this prank.”

“It backfired spectacularly,” Beca said dryly.

“I don’t know,” Aubrey looked back at her. “I’d say it worked, but the joke was on us instead.”

Beca pursed her lips, considering. “I guess you could say that, in a way.”

Chloe made an impatient noise and twirled her finger. “Don’t keep me waiting!”

“When did you get so bossy?” Beca shook her head. “Nope, scratch that. I’ve known that about you since you barged into my shower and made me sing your lady jam.”

“Which is why I don’t understand why you felt weird being in your underwear around me, but to each their own.” Chloe shrugged and looked back at Aubrey.

“I had Beca hide behind the far planter while I went to scout the house.” Aubrey continued, clearly amused at the two of them. “I thought the guys would be gone but then Jesse came up the street. I ran around the other side of the house and Beca popped out from behind the planter –”

“She tried using that weird military hand gesture crap and I had no idea what it meant or why she was running. Then she tackled me to the ground.” Beca interrupted.

“Pinned you, eh?” Chloe’s eyebrows bounced. “And then you made out?”

“Pretended to at least,” Beca said casually and Chloe’s mouth dropped just like it had when Beca had begun singing ‘No Diggity’. “There was supposed to be a story behind why we were there if we got caught but someone panicked.”

“Guilty.”

“Okay but how does this lead you to making out – excuse me – to fake making out.” Chloe’s eyebrow went up as she looked at them.

“Because when Jesse came up to the planter, Aubrey kissed me.”

Chloe laughed. “Why was kissing her your go to?”

“I asked that very same thing,” Beca said, nodding.

“I still don’t know,” Aubrey shrugged. “But I’m glad I did.”

“And what did Jesse do?” Chloe’s grin was slowly widening as she waited.

“Other than laugh at us?” Beca scowled. “I still owe him a shin kick for that. But… Aubrey abandoned me to do the talking and I came up with this lame story that we’d come over to makeoutwithoutbeinginterruptedincaseyouandStaciecamehome.”

Chloe had started laughing in the middle of Beca’s explanation and only laughed harder the faster Beca talked. She laughed so hard she actually tipped over and fell off the chair where she continued cackling while on the floor.

“We broke her,” Beca muttered, watching as Chloe clutched her stomach.

“Well, you have to admit, it is pretty funny.” Aubrey snickered. “Though for the record: I will never take you elsewhere to make out so we don’t get interrupted. As Chloe demonstrated earlier, the door is pretty sturdy when locked and I prefer making out in a bed and not on the ground outside.”

“Yeah except Stacie can pick locks.” Beca pointed out as Chloe finally started to trail off.

Chloe blew out a breath and rolled over to grab the pillow Aubrey had thrown at her. “This is true.” She walked over to the bed and set the pillow so it was sort of between Beca and Aubrey. “Make room, I’ve got an idea.” She pushed on their legs until they each moved them to the side and Chloe settled down in the space between them, the pillow half resting on both their upper thighs. “Guess we can fit three people in this thing after all. I wonder…”

“I don’t know what you’re implying but no.” Beca said immediately.

“Sleepovers, Beca, not whatever you came up with.” Chloe lightly tapped Beca’s shin. “But we’re going to get a queen bed upstairs; you’ll just have to come crash with us so we don’t fall off the bed.”

“I don’t do sleepovers.” Beca had never been that girl. It was so not her scene and never would be.

“You should,” Aubrey answered, the traitor. “Chloe’s THE best cuddler when you’re lonely.”

“That I am.” This time Chloe patted Beca’s leg. “Don’t worry; we’ll ease you into it.” She wiggled to get more comfortable. “Now, tell me in detail how this whole tackle-make-out-lie fest happened. Hold nothing back.” She paused. “And if you want to tell me more about what happened after…”

“I will smother you,” Beca promised.

“You can’t smother my best friend, Beca.” Aubrey said sadly. “Then who would cuddle you when I can’t do it?” Beca just groaned and let Aubrey pick up where she’d left off.

But as she let the two best friends talk around her, she thought back to what she’d said at the ICCAs.

She really fucking loved these awesome nerds.