The morning sun creeps through the blinds and gently dances on a fresh morning face, waking Chloe up from her sleep. The redhead half-sits up in bed, leaning on one elbow and rubbing the sleep from her eyes with the back of her free palm.
It’s not that Chloe is not a morning person, on the contrary, she is the perfect example of a morning person. She’s always chipper in the morning. Back in college, when she would share a room with Aubrey, the blonde always told her that no one could be as happy as Chloe is before eight in the morning. However, Chloe wouldn’t categorize the emotions she’s feeling this morning anywhere near happiness or joy; it was a lot more than that. What she felt was more akin to euphoria, elation, ecstasy. One would think she was exaggerating, but Chloe Beale was ready to jump out of bed and dance around the room, pretending to be in a Disney cartoon with birds chirping around her.
Looking to her left, she is reminded why.
Laying on her stomach and hugging her pillow, eyes closed with the faintest breaths parting her lips is none other than Beca Mitchell. A smile finds its way across Chloe’s face without her taking notice of it. She takes in Beca’s face and revels in the peaceful minutes she has to enjoy its beauty. Beca’s eyes are closed but every so often her lids twitch before she lets out the softest sound and Chloe’s heart feels like it’s just about to burst. Her rosy cheeks betray the paleness of the skin the same way her relaxed features betray the tough exterior she tries to hide behind.
The first time that Chloe laid eyes on Beca, all she was able to see was determination and firmness - for the first few minutes at least. Chloe then got to look at her, really look at her. Immediately, she knew that the act of firmness and toughness that Beca puts on was a mere illusion of what rests behind it. Oddly enough, this enigmatic reticence silently sleeping behind the metal bars of an unphased, undaunted expression is exactly what drew Chloe to Beca in the first place.
With time, over the past few weeks leading up to this, she found out that she wasn’t mistaken about Beca. Chloe watched the brunette, once only a closed little bud, start to open up into an enthralling flower, showing the most vibrant of colors, and spreading around the most aromatic of perfumes. Throughout this process, a fleeting thought recurrently hits Chloe about the possibility of her falling in, too fast, too deep. It usually comes to her late at night, when the only person that comes to her before she closes her eyes for the final time is Beca. Sometimes, in the middle of the day, that thought is disguised as Aubrey who keeps telling her to be careful with whom she talks or how fast she gets herself involved. Chloe dismisses the thought. This is who she is, who she’s always been; giving it all a hundred percent or nothing.
“You’re totally watching me in my sleep, dude,” notes Beca, not once opening her eyes. Her voice brings Chloe back from her thoughts and for a split second, she’s taken aback by Beca’s remark.
“Can you blame me? You’re breathtaking,” comes Chloe’s reply when she recovers from the shock.
Beca then opens her eyes and twists her eyebrows in confusion.
“Do you always have those comebacks ready?” she asks.
Upon seeing Chloe’s smile, Beca’s face softens and relaxes, her smile mimics that of Chloe, and she says in a hoarse morning voice “Morning”.
“Morning, Becs,” Chloe leans in and plants a quick peck on the brunette’s lips. She feels the fluttering of her heart in her chest but is quick to silence it.
When the redhead sits back up, she asks, “Hungry?” to which Beca replies with an affirmation.
Chloe prepares her famous blueberry oatmeal pancakes for breakfast with two cups of coffee for Beca and herself. Beca had asked if she could take a shower before breakfast and Chloe showed her the bathroom and gave her everything she might need before departing on her way to the kitchen. Although, if you'd asked her for what she would have rather done, she would have definitely preferred helping Beca with her shower. She smiles at the thought of the things they could do in there.
As she sets down the cups, Beca walks into the kitchen.
“Nice house, dude! I almost got lost on the way here, actually,” Beca muses as she sits down.
“You did?” Chloe feigns shock and sits down facing Beca.
"Yeah, I think I even saw a giraffe or something."
At that, Chloe laughs heartily and Beca's smile grows at the sight. The brunette admires the way Chloe's body tilts forward just a bit and her eyes close shut as she lets out the most melodious laugh and covers it with her hand.
"I didn't peg you as a morning person, cracking jokes at 9 a.m," the redhead remarks.
"I'm usually not. But I'm in an exceptionally good mood today. I guess it depends on the mornings, right?" The younger woman says cheekily.
Chloe smiles, winks at Beca, and silently takes the syrup bottle to pour some over Beca's pancakes before she notices, "You know what's funny," and at Beca's raised gaze from the plate before her to the redhead's face, she continues, "This is the first time since we met where I'm the one getting you coffee. You should be grateful, Becs. I don't usually spoil my employees like that."
"Oh, I am. For everything. These are delicious." She replies, chewing on a piece of pancakes.
She lets out an appreciative moan as she digs in her plate. Chloe eyes her, a smile dancing on her lips, as she takes a bite of her own.
They slip into a comfortable silence for the most part but find themselves breaking it often for small remarks and comments on various subjects.
At one point, when revisiting last night's performances in one of their comments, Chloe is reminded of their circumstances. Reality seems to become suddenly a giant wall standing between her and Beca. It's not that she wasn't aware of their… situation. She was, always. This is what was holding her back in the first place. She didn't forget who she was nor who Beca was but now, for some unknown reason, the dreaded ghost of reality was looming over them, inciting her to speak out what they both already know.
"What?" Beca asks, catching on to the worried expression that took over Chloe's face.
"Beca, I think there's something we need to talk about before it gets too much of a problem between us."
"You're already regretting this, aren't you?" The brunette straightens up and puts down her fork to focus all her attention on the next few words that will come out of Chloe's mouth.
"What?" She asks, "No. No, of course I'm not." She's quick to reject the idea. "Beca, it's about us. I don't want this to be a one-time thing. I really don't."
"I," Beca hesitates before uttering the next words, "I don't want that either. I really like you, Chlo."
"I really like you too, Becs. And I wanna give this a try. I want to give us a try." Chloe replies, emphasizing the word 'us'.
"Then, what's the problem?"
Chloe searches Beca's eyes, stares into them, and makes sure she doesn't cause any hint of pain to appear in what so soon became her favorite scenery.
"We… we can't let anyone know, Becs. At least anyone inside the company. They can't know. There's a strict law that forbids relationships in the workplace; you know that. And I, personally, insisted on having it. If anyone knows we're together, It'll ruin me."
Beca sits stunned in silence for a few seconds. Chloe doesn't blame her. That's a lot to take in after one night with someone. In fact, Chloe wouldn't blame her if she chose to walk away right at this second and never look back. Dating is already hard. It gets harder when you're Chloe Beale. This is the reason she refrained from the idea of seeing someone for so many years and compensated by one-night stands occasionally. This wasn’t the same though.
Chloe can see the battle that goes on in the brunette's mind. She can see her pondering the possibilities and reflecting on her options. Beca slowly starts to nod her head, a habit Chloe has noticed she has whenever she's finally come to a decision, and says "Yeah, okay. I can do that. It's not like we need to fuck in the office, right? We go to work, as normal as two complete strangers do. And after that, we're free to be whoever we want and do whatever we want."
Swaying her head from left to right only once to emphasize her "Absolutely", Chloe purses her lips and goes on "Are you sure though? I don't want you to be uncomfortable or anything."
"I'm sure. I want to give this a try like you said."
The two of them find it easy to go back into the conversation. They soon find that it is almost noon and decide to spend the rest of the day in the privacy of Chloe's abode. Their day alternates between heavy conversations on dreams and future goals and milestones each would like to achieve and light bickering over what song to play next in the background, as they sit in a comfortable, domestic ambiance on the couch in front of the TV.
Beca discovers a lot about the redhead. She discovers that Chloe is a very competitive backgammon player who doesn’t tolerate losing. She also discovers her beautiful voice as they sing around the kitchen together while preparing lunch. Chloe is also quite the cook. One would think with such a busy life, the redhead wouldn’t have time for this but surprise, surprise, it’s Chloe Beale. Beca also finds out that Chloe likes what she calls ‘her Sunday tea’ with two cubes of sugar, because “there’s no such thing as too sweet, Beca.”
The sun in the sky steps down from its royal, midday throne and lies low beneath the sea, bidding farewell to yet another day. All the while, the two girls exchange small pecks and stolen kisses every chance they get and make the most of their day in a race with the time running out.
Sooner than she wanted, it’s time for Beca to go home to her two best friends who haven’t stopped calling and whose persistent messages she silenced with a quick “I’m alive. Stop intruding.” on the group chat.
“I’m gonna miss you,” starts Chloe with a smile, leaning on the door frame.
“I’m not doing the sappy shit right now. I’ll see you tomorrow, Chlo.” Beca elongates her body to plant a kiss on Chloe’s cheek, only to have the redhead turn and capture it with her lips, leaning forward to deepen what was intended as a small, innocent kiss. “Or maybe, I am,” Beca second-guesses after the two of them break apart and turns on her heels. "Bye Bye, Beale!"