Actions

Work Header

Clouded Judgment

Chapter Text

“As usual, good job. Here’s your bit. Don’t spend it all in one place.” Lily handed Chloe a duffle bag.

“Thanks.” Chloe didn’t bother counting. She’s known Lily forever and they’ve been at this for way too long.

“So I’ll pick you up here at the same time tomorrow?”

“No I’m good. I have my car. I just want to spend an extra night here to relax before going back to reality tomorrow.”

“You’re your own boss. No one’s forcing you to go back so soon.”

“I know but I miss it. So see you when I see you?”

“You sure you don’t wanna join us tonight? Boss would want you there.”

“Nah I’m good. You guys know me. She’ll understand.”

“Alright. I’ll hold on to the rest of your stuff for you.”

Chloe looked to the other bag in the back seat. She thought about taking it with her. “Yeah I think that’s best. Thank you.”

“Guess I’ll see you in the next one.”

“You got it.” She put the duffel bag over her shoulder and walked towards the hotel’s revolving doors.

Chloe met Lily when she started on this venture. She walks straight to the elevators and greets the hotel staff she passes on her way to her room.

Chloe just finished a job and these things always took a toll on her mentally and physically. She got into her room and wanted nothing more but to sit in the bath. She opened the duffel bag that carried approximately $100,000 in cash. She grabbed a couple packs of money and puts the duffel bag away in the closet then she called for room service.

She considered just getting drunk in her hotel room but thought where’s the fun in that. So before she even knew where she was going she was starting to get ready to go out. She went for comfortable and nothing too flashy. At least nothing that makes her to stand out at least. She applied light make up and left her hair down.

She just wanted to have a night where she’s not anyone. No jobs, no orders to follow, no people to shoot. The more she thought about going out, the more excited she got. She pocketed a bit of cash, her ID, her room key and left her earpiece, her phone and watch behind.

“Try to track me now, Lil.”

***

“Don’t worry too much Becs. We’ll get him.” Jessica was comforting Beca.

They have been working on this case together with their team for years now.

“It’s like he’s always one step ahead of us. How did we miss this? I don’t even know what’s worse, the fact that he doesn’t even care or he’s that confident we won’t catch him.”

“Hey. Don’t talk like that. We know him better than anyone else.”

“I just hate the feeling like we’re being played. I want to trust the system I really do, but I don’t like the feeling when we’re so close. What are we doing wrong?”

“Look. I think you need to loosen up a bit. Come out with us for a few drinks. I think you need it.”

“I don’t know Jess.”

“It’s your day off tomorrow right?”

Beca sighed. “It is. But I don’t know. I don’t think I can go out and let loose when there’s someone out there whose killing people for a living right under our noses.”

“That’s not on you Becs.”

“It is though. Every single passing day that we’re not catching this motherfucker, every single victim, his next kill it’s all on us.”

“Hey, we’re doing the best we can. This isn’t on you. Now what do you say? Just a drink or two. I know you’re frustrated and it is frustrating but I think this’ll be good for you. For all of us.”

“How can we even be drinking when there’s another victim and there’s a murderer on the loose?”

“Becs. I really think you need to just step away especially with this new investigation coming up.”

Beca knew Jessica was right. She knew when to push and when to leave her alone. “Fine. But I’m not staying past midnight.”

“That’s the spirit! We’ll pick you up at 7?”

“No need. It’s okay I’ll take an uber.”

“Promise you won’t ditch?”

“I promise.”

***

Beca joined Jessica, Ashley and a couple of guys from work at a bar Beca’s never been to before at around 9pm.

“Beca you made it! I was starting to get worried partner. What do you feel like drinking? Come on first round’s on me.”

Jessica was the first one to spot her. Beca hated how happy she looked. “I think I’ll have a cider to start with.”

“Gotcha. Glass of cider for Mitchell coming right up.” Jessica left her to walk towards the bar.

Beca rolled her eyes at Jessica, who obviously had a couple of drinks in her system already. Out of habit, she eyed the whole room and took note of the other people who were there.

Beca didn’t usually do this, going out drinking and stuff. For a couple of years now, she’s truly become a workaholic, borderline obsessing with work.

It was almost midnight and she still had no plans of going home. She already had one too many drinks; way passed her limit. But she had such a shitty day at work and not thinking about work even for a couple of hours is a huge weight off her shoulders. Jessica was right.

“Hey Becs. You ready to go?” Jessica was calling out to her.

“I already called for an uber. You guys go ahead.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I uhm.” Beca nodded to the bar and Jessica saw what Beca was pertaining to.

“Text me when you get home please?”

“I will. Now go on. You losers have work tomorrow. I get to sleep in.”

She wasn’t going to pretend like the alcohol hasn’t gotten to her. Beca wasn’t a big drinker and it wasn’t a secret. She looked around again and couldn’t hide her disgust. One thing she hated about going out was how guys treated girls like their prey. She’s seen it happen all night and if she saw one more guy hit on a girl who, in her opinion, just wanted to have a fun night out, she was going to do something about it.

She kept tabs of almost everyone coming in and she remembered when she first spotted the hot redhead by the bar sitting alone by herself drinking. She was alone as far as she could tell but she went back and forth to the dance floor and just came back to her spot by the bar to order another drink.

She was in the direct line of sight of where Beca was sitting so she ends up eyeing her most. Beca watched her for a bit and envied her a little. She would never have had the guts to go out alone and actually have fun like her.

Jessica and Ashley were saying goodbye to her when she spots the redhead at the bar again. This time, however, she wasn’t alone. There was a guy that was trying to get all over her. He touched her a lot and kept trying to invade her personal space by leaning in and putting his arms around her.

Beca tried to ignore it but she couldn’t help it. She could see how the redhead was moving away from him and almost flinched at his touch. Jessica even noticed her staring at them.

“Becs. I’m sure she’s fine.”

Beca downed her drink. “Yeah well I’m just gonna go make sure. You guys go ahead alright?”

“Okay. Please stay away from trouble. Do you want us to wait for you?”

“No it’s okay. I got this. You said I should enjoy myself right?”

She walked up to the bar when Jessica and Ashley left and went in between the redhead and the guy. She really insisted to squeeze herself between the two.

“Excuse you?” The guy said to her, which she ignored completely.

Instead, she eyed the redhead who was avoiding her gaze.

Beca nudged her on her shoulder. “Hey you okay?”

The redhead met her eyes for the first time and Beca had to hold her breath. “Wow. Your eyes are wow.” She said to herself. She wasn’t sure if the she said that louder than she intended and if she heard her.

“Is this guy bothering you?” She asked her louder.

The redhead just shrugged and signaled for the bartender to get her another drink.

Beca saw the guy has already given up and left. “Sorry about him. Some guys are total creeps.”

Beca still didn’t get a response.

“Wait. Don’t tell me you know him?”

It was a relief to hear her chuckle. “No. I don’t.”

“Oh okay. For a second there I thought.”

“I see. I see.” The woman beside her downed the shots in front of her before looking at Beca again. “You read it wrong. I didn’t need you to save me. I was perfectly fine. I can handle guys like him.”

Beca was surprised. This wasn’t how it usually went down when she was looking out for someone. “Sorry I didn’t mean it like you couldn’t handle him, I just couldn’t sit and watch him keep annoying you like that.”

“No that’s okay. It’s not your fault you don’t know me.” She lifted the empty shot glasses in front of her and raised them to the bartender again.

Beca watched as the bartender refilled her drink. She downed them both one after the other again and then looked at Beca for the second time. “This girl doesn’t need saving tonight.”

The redhead then stood up and threw a wink her way before heading off to the dance floor.

Beca was stunned. “What the fuck. Who is this chick?”

***

Chloe danced to her heart’s content. When she got tired, she returned to her spot at the bar. She was a little surprised to see the same girl who tried to ‘save’ her earlier still in the same spot where she left her.

Chloe took the same seat beside her but ignored her.

“You just let them touch you like that?” Chloe wasn’t sure if the girl was asking or telling her off.

She signaled to the bartender for more drinks and turned to the girl beside her, she said. “Were you just watching me the whole time?”

The other girl laughed. “Great. Now I’m the creep.”

Chloe was smirking. “Relax. It’s called dancing. Maybe you should try it out sometime.”

“I don’t dance.”

“Oh well that’s too bad.” Chloe watched as the bartender serve her drinks. “What are you drinking?”

“Are you buying me drinks now?”

Chloe just shrugged and the other girl followed up with. “Whatever you’re having.”

Chloe nods and makes eye contact with the bartender. “Shots for my friend here too.”

“So we’re friends now? Friends know each other’s names. I’m Beca and you are?”

Chloe takes note of her name but doesn’t give hers. “Not all friends do.” Chloe slides the two shot glasses filled to the brim in front of Beca.

Beca accepts them, suddenly feeling not so sure about her self and the situation she’s put herself in.

Without breaking eye contact, Chloe downs her shots. Beca copies Chloe as she downs hers and makes that face you do when you’ve drank your very first shot. To begin with, Beca wasn’t a heavy drinker and she’s been drinking a lot already before this so she just knew this wasn’t going to end well for her.

Chloe caught this and found it amusing. She taps on the counter again to grab the attention of the bartender.

“Wait. Again?” Beca’s eyes grew a little wide when another four freshly filled shot glasses were in front of her. “No no I’m good.”

“If you’re sitting with me, then you’re drinking with me.”

Beca stared at the drinks in front of her. “I think you’re trying to get me drunk.”

“And why would I want to do that?”

Two more rounds later and Beca and Chloe were grinding on each other on the dance floor. Beca was almost blind drunk. She’s lost control of her limbs. She’s never done this before and her head was spinning. Indeed she was at the mercy of her very attractive companion. Her choices were to either stay at the bar downing shots with the redhead or dancing with her. It was a no brainer.

One second they were jumping, then they couldn’t get their hands off of each other. Beca had her arms around Chloe and when they stared at each other’s eyes, she drowned in them. It was as blue as the ocean. She just wanted to dive in. Beca didn’t think twice. She closed the gap and kissed her. She was half expecting the redhead to push her off but instead she kissed her back just as hard.

It must have been all those shots but here they are making out in the middle of the dance floor. When they were able to pull away, it was Beca who leaned into her again and whispering in her ear.

“You wanna get out of here?”

Beca grabbed Chloe’s hand and pulled her towards the exit. Again she was not expecting her to go with her as easily. She’ll never forget how the redhead was laughing then looked back at her biting her lips trying to resist a smile.

Chapter Text

“An FBI detective?! How could you be so reckless?” Chloe was on her way to her studio and she had Kommissar on speaker. It wasn’t everyday that she got to talk to Kommissar when they weren’t on a job.

“Okay who told you? How could Lily have possibly known that already?”

“Chloe this is serious.”

“I know but in my defense, I only found out this morning. That’s why I left as soon as I did.”

“How could you not know who she was? Surely you had some sort of inkling or something.”

Chloe thought back to that night. If she had any inclination that the girl she just met was an FBI detective, she wouldn’t admit it to Kommissar. Maybe she did or maybe she just really didn’t care.

“It doesn’t matter okay. She doesn’t know who I am. She has no clue. Not even a name.”

“But she saw your face. Actually by the sounds of it, she saw more than just your face.”

“She was shitfaced drunk, she won’t remember anything.”

“That’s just great. You better be sure. What was her name?”

“Oh you don’t know her name? Interesting. I thought you’d know everything Sar.”

“I could if I wanted to. Why not just walk straight into their headquarters and give yourself up while you’re at it? Are you forgetting the FBI’s been on our tail?”

“When are they ever not? Look it’s fine. We got our money, everyone’s impressed, job well done to us. Now I don’t want to see your face or talk to you for at least a month.”

“You wish. You know when they get a whiff that it’s you again and they will cause you left a fuckin’ witness, they’re going to be all over it again. You’re lucky the clients don’t mind it when you have the FBI’s attention but I would definitely prefer that not to be the case.”

“I’m not sure whether you’re being sarcastic or you’re complimenting me but I’ll take it. I was thinking maybe we should start asking for more.”

Kommissar knew Chloe was trying to change the subject and she wasn’t sure whether she should give her more shit about last night. She sighed. “Let me take care of it. Now I know you usually like your breaks in between jobs but there’s this client who’s been making contact. I’ll let you know what happens.”

“Surely someone else can do it. I’m going to have to check my calendar. I have a couple of shoots I had to move around for the last job.”

“I know. I know. I saw.”

Chloe was nodding her head even though Kommissar couldn’t see.

“So about this detective, are you sure you’re in the clear?”

“Please. Do I even have to say it? They have nothing on us. You have absolutely nothing to worry about.”

“Okay. I’m just looking out for you cause you’re obviously not.”

Chloe parked her car. “I know and I do appreciate it. Okay I’m here. Gotta go. Bye.”

***

Beca woke up alone and naked and with a massive hangover. The ringing of her phone wasn’t helping the pounding in her head and was making everything worse. She pulled the blanket over her head trying to block out the sound.

“Fuck me.” She groaned as she wrapped the blanket around her body and started to look around. She was in her own bed in her room. At least there was that. She had to make the ringing stop so she forced her self to get up.

She found her phone on the floor along with her clothes but it stopped ringing. She was going to call Jessica back when she suddenly remembered the night before. Shots. So many shots that she shivered at the thought. Then she remembers red hair and blue eyes.

“You wanna get out of here?”

She tries to remember what happened when they left the bar. She can barely even remember the uber ride home. Everything was blurry. The next thing she remembers is she was pinned to her own bed. Unfortunately that was also the last.

“Fuck yes. Faster. Right there. Yes. Faster. Don’t stop. Fuck I’m so close.”

Beca gasped. That’s all she had. Random and torturous glimpses from the night before that came and go as they pleased.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” She says looking up to the ceiling. “Shower. Yup, cold cold shower. That’ll do it.” She was getting turned on. She was sore and sensitive down there so she knew it wasn’t a dream.

The cold shower helped with her hangover. Beca walked around her apartment hoping to find a note the redhead left for her or anything but there wasn’t any. The only thing she saw was a glass half-empty on the counter. She wasn’t even sure if it was hers and just placed it in the dishwasher. She didn’t even get a name.

Beca started rubbing her eyes. “Way to go me.”

Then she hears her phone started to ring again and she scrambles for it. Beca picked up at the first ring but didn’t say anything.

“Mitchell you there?” Jessica said in a hurry.

“Yep. Everything okay?”

“I know it’s your day off but we got the ballistics report and it’s the same gun. This is our guy. There’s also something else and I think you’re going to want to come in today even just for a few hours. There’s another witness.”

Beca and her team have been on the hunt for this hit man who was known as the Reaper throughout the Bureau. She’s been leading the investigation for the past year since the former lead investigator was promoted to Deputy Director.

The Reaper was unpredictable. His methods were inconsistent and he had reckless tendencies. He just didn’t care and this wasn’t the first time he’s left a witness. He just came and went as he pleased just like a phantom, hence the name. It’s almost like he didn’t exist.

He was known to be the Reaper because of his methods. It was rather simple. He came in with just a suppressed glock-19 and always killed his victims with a shot to the head. Reckless but calculated at the same time. There was rarely any sign of a struggle. It was always almost clean. He’s never left the weapon behind and reports say he always uses the exact same gun.

Eighteen victims, thirteen states and three witnesses in a span of two years with no real suspects and no consistent patterns. They had to make sure this wasn’t a threat to national security, which was why they couldn’t classify him as a serial killer yet. They had DNA sample that was no match in their database but they’re not sure if it’s the Reaper’s. It makes Beca sick knowing that in order for them to catch this guy, he has to keep killing and all they can do is hope he makes a mistake.

***

Chloe is a full-time photographer. Being a photographer was in fact her dream job and she never thought she’d end up actually doing it. After everything fell apart with the original plan, other things just started falling into place. She had her own studio and was slowly making a name for herself in the industry.

“Now what?” She said to Lily on the phone. “What did I say about wanting to take a month off?”

“Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t get rid of this witness? Boss says she’ll go along with whatever you say.”

“Cause we don’t have to? It’s a waste of time and energy? It’s unnecessary?”

“Be serious about this. We received information that FBI have custody of this witness and that she has information the other witnesses don’t have.”

“Relax. You have nothing to worry about. It’s only my face she saw. She didn’t see anyone else.”

“What do you mean she saw you?”

Chloe starts to laugh and Lily can only sigh and take a deep breath. She loves Chloe like a sister but she hates it when Chloe is like this.

“You guys are too easy.”

“You know what. Fine. It’s your call. But I’m serious. I’m asking you this one last time, do we get rid of this witness or not?”

Chloe didn’t even think about it. “You guys really need a vacation or another job or I don’t know. Something.”

“You’re impossible when you’re like this you know. If word gets out you were sloppy enough to leave another witness then maybe no one will hire us to do anything anymore.”

“Then great. It’s not their problem, alright? The job was to get rid of that guy period. There were no specifics about witnesses and stuff, so that is my call and I say it’s nothing to worry about.”

“I fear you might end up dead or in prison for being too cocky.”

“Lily, relax. Okay. Just breathe. Nothing will come out of this. Everything is under control.”

“I trust you. But please stop pushing your luck. Mind you, I will be monitoring this investigation closely. If anything comes up, we will deal with it accordingly.”

“Okay but quit worrying and take a day off. Have some fun.” Chloe then hears the doorbells chime. “Now if you’ll excuse me. I have a customer to attend to.”

Chloe hangs up and turns around to see an older woman smiling at her expectantly. “Hi. How can I help you today?”

“Are you Ms. Beale, the photographer?”

“Yes that would be me.”

“Were you away on holidays dear? I’ve been trying to get in touch with you.”

“I just got back today actually. How can I help you?” Chloe asked again.

“You were highly recommended by my friend’s niece. I’m not sure if you remember but it was the Long Beach wedding about three months ago now.”

“No, I remember it. It was a lovely celebration.”

“That’s great you remember. I know this is really short notice but my daughter is getting married in about two weeks and their wedding photographer just quit. It’s not cause they were terrible clients or something. It was just creative differences and it was amicable. Now the brides are fighting cause they lost their wedding photographer. But I told them not to worry cause I know someone. But that was a week ago now and things are a bit tense at the moment.”

Chloe smiled and reached for her hand and gave it a light squeeze. “What’s your name, Ma’am?”

“Beth. My name is Beth Smith.”

“Beth. I’m Chloe, it’s nice to meet you.” Chloe grabbed her phone and pen. “How about we continue this over there? Please take a seat.” Chloe led Beth to a corner table. “You want anything to drink? Water, tea, coffee?”

“Water’s fine.”

Chloe walked to the fridge to grab two bottles of water. “You want it cold or?”

“Cold please thank you.”

Chloe set the bottles down and sat across from Beth. “Alright, so when and where is this wedding?”

“August 26th, that’s a Saturday at 2pm. It’s just a simple garden wedding at my in-law’s estate. It about an hour and forty minute drive from the city.”

Chloe just nods and takes note of it. Beth tries to take a peek. “Will you do it? Are you available?”

Chloe smiled at Beth. “Well even if I wasn’t I’d work around my schedule just for you. I can’t say no to you now, can I?”

Beth’s whole face lights up. “Oh you’re a gem. You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that.”

“But the real question is do the brides even want me to be their photographer. What was your daughter’s name?”

“Jessica. Jessica Smith.”

“And the other bride’s name is?”

“Ashley Jones.” Beth was giddy Chloe was going to do it. “I can’t believe you’re actually doing it.

Chloe writes the names down in her notepad. “Now let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. I think it’s best if we set a meeting with Jessica and Ashley first then we can really start to make some progress.”

“I think that’s a great idea. I’ll let them know right away.”

“Here’s my card. It has my number on there. Give me a call or send me a message when they want to meet. We can meet here or wherever is convenient for them anytime, anywhere is good with me.”

***

Beca arrived at the headquarters an hour after Jessica called. “Sorry about that I tried to get here as soon as I can.”

“Oh. Someone had a big night.” Jessica teased Beca as soon as she sees her.

“Yes a big night I can barely remember and all that’s left is a fuckin’ hangover from hell. So this is our guy you said?”

“Exact same gun.”

“Anything else? DNA? Fingerprints? CCTV footages?”

“We’re still trying to get ahold of them footages. DNA and fingerprints were a logistical nightmare and is a bust.”

“Still no match?” Beca referring to the unknown DNA they had.

“None.”

“Okay and what about this witness?”

Jessica handed Beca a folder. “Emma Hicks. Ash is just with her now. She’s the one who called 911 and according to the medics on the scene, she says she saw the killer, actually ran into him. We can start questioning her whenever you’re ready.”

“How is she?”

“Just like the others, no injuries just scared and confused.”

Beca reads through the report but there wasn’t much. She couldn’t wait to talk to this witness. She didn’t want to get her hopes up but she will not leave any stone unturned in this investigation.

“I’m good. Let’s talk to Ms. Hicks.”

They walked to the interview room where the witness was kept in. They did their usual introductions. Beca studied the witness and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary in her demeanor or how she’s dressed. She was shaken up as one would be when put face to face with a killer.

“How long have you worked for Mr. Willoughby?” Beca began the questioning. Jessica was the one taking down notes and would ask questions of her own from time to time.

Emma cleared her throat before answering. “About eight months. I’m a junior editor there.”

“What were you doing in the office at that time? Do you usually work late nights?”

“Not always. I was working overtime on that particular night because I was behind with a couple of articles and deadlines were coming up.”

“What about Mr. Willoughby? Does he always work late?”

“It was sporadic. Some days he’d leave early, some days he’d stay late. We could never tell.”

“But on that day, do you know why he stayed back?”

“No I don’t. I didn’t work directly under Mr. Willoughby’s supervision. I wouldn’t be able to tell you his schedule for that day.”

“Who else has access to the building?”

“That I know of, uhm, I don’t know. I think all the regular employees do. I remember just getting keys and a key card to the building when I became a regular.”

Beca nods and turns to Jessica.

“Do you recognise any of these people?” Jessica laid out several pictures in front of Emma.

Emma looked at the pictures and then looks back up to the detectives. “Isn’t that his family?”

“Did you see any of them recently?”

“Not that I can remember. No.”

At this point in the interview Emma hasn’t said anything to set alarm bells ringing for Beca and Jessica.

“So walk us through what happened that night.” Beca began again.

Emma shrugged. “I guess I’ll start with the black out. The power went out at around 8pm and I remember cause I checked my phone as soon as it did. I thought about whether I should wait it out or just call it a day. I decided to wait and see if it was a short outage, but when half an hour passed I figured it was time to go home and I started to pack my things.”

“That’s when you saw the Reaper come in?”

“The Reaper?”

“Sorry. It’s what the Bureau calls this guy. We have expert reports confirming that this is the same guy we’ve been investigating.”

“So like a nickname?”

“Something like that. We’ve been on this guy’s tail for a while now. He’s very dangerous. But we can assure you, as long as you’re under our protection, he won’t be able to hurt you.”

Emma shakes her head. “No I think you got it all wrong. I don’t think this is your Reaper.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Well unless your reaper is a woman which I’m assuming it’s not cause you just referred to him as a man. Then this isn’t your guy.”

“Wait wait. A woman? What do you mean?”

“The person I ran into that night was a woman. She didn’t even try so hard and just walked through the front door. She didn’t sneak in. She literally walked right in like everyone else.”

Beca and Jessica just looked at each other. This was the first time that there was any mention of the possibility that the Reaper was in fact a woman.

“Are you certain she’s a woman?”

“Like I said I saw her and what made me sure was her voice. Ironically, your reaper, if she is or not, has the most angelic voice.”

“Wait you talked to her?”

Emma shook her head. “She was singing.” She said and shivered at the thought.

“How did you know she was the killer?”

Emma took a deep breath to try and compose her self. The hairs at the back of her neck stood up by the mere thought of it. “I didn’t initially. I remember I first heard the door then singing then the footsteps. I opened my office door, which was the one closest to the entrance and there she was. I was obviously shocked but she just stopped singing and looked at me. She was holding a gun.”

“What was it, do you know? Did you see?”

“The gun? It was small like a pistol with a long thingy uh silencer.”

“Like this?” Beca put a picture of a suppressed glock-19.

“Yeah. It looked like that but I can’t be too sure.”

“What else? What else was she holding?”

“That’s it. Just the gun on her right hand.”

“What was she wearing?”

“She was wearing a black hoodie over her head. She was average built average height. Not that much taller than me. I’m not sure. She could’ve been any girl really but not anyone I knew.”

“You saw her face?”

“Not clearly. She had something covering her face, like a scarf or something. To be honest I don’t think she put in that much effort to hide who she was, just enough. I think she had blonde hair, I can’t be sure and I couldn’t make out the colour of her eyes in the dark.”

“If you saw her again would you be able to recognise her?”

“I don’t know. Maybe? Maybe not.”

“So you heard her singing you take a look and she sees you then what? Did she threaten you?”

“Not at all. She stopped singing then she lifts her gun to her lips as if to shush me. Then I started to back up to my room and locked the door. It was quiet for a while. Then she keeps walking and went back to whatever it was she was singing.”

“I don’t mean this by anything at all. But if you’re saying she looked average and she didn’t threaten you at all, why were you so scared? What made you scared of her?”

“I can’t explain it but it was the vibe I got from her. She gave me absolute full body chills. Like never before.”

“But she didn’t point the gun at you or anything what so ever? She didn’t do anything to intimidate you?”

“No. But that’s the thing. I just knew she wasn’t there for me. I didn’t know what she was there for, if she wanted to steal something, I didn’t know. All I knew is she wasn’t there for me and I understood so I stayed away. If I got in her way I just knew she wouldn’t hesitate to kill me.”

“What do you mean you understood when she didn’t say anything to you? How do you know she wasn’t there for you?” Jessica asked.

“I can’t explain how I understood and I don’t know cause if she was after me then I’d be dead by now, right?”

“You think she knew you’d be there?” Beca was asking the questions again.

“No. I don’t know. She wasn’t surprised when she saw me though. But it’s almost like she didn’t care if I was there or not. She was a girl on a mission. It was unreal to be honest.”

“Then what?”

“Then nothing. I was curled up under my desk. I didn’t hear anything else but her singing again until it faded out and I heard the door again.”

“So you think she went out the same way she entered?”

“Yeah definitely. She didn’t even bother to check on me. I was frozen for I don’t know how long. I went out of my room. I was so scared that she’d still be out there waiting for me but there was no one. Then I saw Mr. Willougby dead in his office and that’s when I called 911.”

“Why didn’t you call 911 right away? When she left you in the room?”

“I don’t know. I was in shock. I just wanted to stay quiet. All I could think about was not getting in her way.”

“What song was she singing? Do you remember? Can you sing it for us?”

“I don’t know it.” Emma gets uncomfortable. Just remembering the singing gives her chills.

“You don’t know it as in you’ve never heard of it or you don’t know it that you just can’t remember?”

“I don’t think I’ve heard it before.”

“If ever you did hear it again, will you be able to remember?”

“Of course. It’s stuck in my head.”

“But you can’t sing it for us?” Jessica suddenly asked.

“I said I don’t know it but it is haunting me.”

“Anything else you can remember? Anything you want to add?”

Emma gulped as she turned to Beca. She doesn’t answer for a long time. “No. Nothing more. I’m sorry I can’t be of anymore help.”

Beca considers her answer as Jessica kept writing on her notebook.

“No no you were a lot of help. We’d like to put you under our protection.”

“From what?”

“He saw your face. I mean. She did. She may come after you.”

“You still think this is your reaper? Then why didn’t she just kill me right there and then? I’ve heard I’m not the first witness. The others are still alive, right?”

“Yes. But none of them had any relevant information like you did.”

“Like the simple fact that she’s a woman? The way I see it detective and I’m not the expert here you are, but I think she knows that she’s way ahead of you.”

“We will have field agents guard you 24/7 and here is our card, you call us anytime if you remember anything else.”

“We’re alive because she doesn’t really care about us. Because we’re not her targets.” Emma insisted she did not need protection.

“Was there anyone else with her?”

Emma paused. “I didn’t see anyone else.”

“Do you remember anything during the day that was out of the ordinary?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary that I can remember.”

“Any break through stories you were going to publish?”

“None that I know of that’s worth killing someone.”

“I’d still want you to be placed under the protection program.”

“I don’t think I need it.”

“You’re an important part of this investigation now. You can identify the killer. I’m afraid you don’t have a choice.”

“I sometimes catch myself wishing she killed me that night. Instead I’m living a life in paranoia. I feel like I’m being watched all the time.”

Jess and Beca exchanged looks. “You think someone’s following you?”

Emma shuddered. “I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being paranoid.”

 

***

Chloe was setting up her equipment all morning. She had a photo shoot later in the afternoon but right now she was off to a meeting. She was once again on the phone with Lily. She’s starting to feel like she’s being babysat.

“I don’t like this Chloe.”

“I’m just going to take their photos. That’s it.”

“Why are you really doing this?” Lily has given up at this point.

“I couldn’t say no to Beth.”

“Who’s Beth? Don’t even start with me Chlo. I vote against it. We all vote against it. Please don’t do it.”

“That’s funny I wasn’t asking for your permission.”

“You’re playing with fire here.”

“I’m just taking their pictures.”

“You’re smarter than this. Why are you ignoring all the risks?”

“Bye Lil.”

Chloe hung up the phone and started her car. The more she was told no the more she wanted to do it. Everyone should know this by now. It wasn’t always curiosity that killed the cat, she thought.

***

Half of the walls in Beca’s office were filled with anything and everything about the Reaper. She stared at the photos on her wall, reports, cctv footage stills. After talking to the witness, it made her question a lot of things in their investigation.

“Come on Jess, think. What made us think she was a guy?” She asked Jessica, who was standing beside her facing the wall too.

“Honestly. I don’t know. It just happened. Do you think it’s a copycat?”

“No we haven’t released to the press much information about this guy. I mean woman. Why would she reveal herself like that?”

“What if Emma’s got it all wrong? Or what if they’re a group?”

“No but the gun. What? They pass around the same gun for their kills?”

Jessica nods. There were a lot of things not adding up. “What do you think about this witness?”

“I believe her. I don’t know why but I do. There’s something about her. I feel like she knows more though. Did you notice? She’s so scared yet she’s trying to be tough.”

“Yeah. That was obvious. Maybe that’s how she’s coping. So the reaper is a woman and we possibly have a singing psycho on the loose? What are we gonna say to the Deputy Director?”

“Leave Posen to me. I’ll deal with it.”

Jessica’s phone started ringing and she looked at who was calling her. “Sorry it’s my mom.”

“Yeah no go take it.”

Jessica answers the call. “Hey mom.”

Beca just keeps staring at the pictures on her wall. She wants nothing more than to lock herself up in her office and review this case from scratch.

“Really? You did? And she said yes, right?” Jessica was talking to her mom.

She excused herself. “I’m so sorry Becs. I have to go. Wedding things.”

“Go, it’s okay. I’m not going to stay long. Did you need any help? I feel bad. I feel like as your maid of honour I should be doing more.”

“You’re doing so much already. I’ll talk to you later?”

“Sure dude.”

When Jessica left, Beca couldn’t take her eyes away from her wall, pictures of the victims, evidence, reports and a blurry figure in a black hoodie carrying a gun.

“A woman all this time. Who are you?”

Chapter Text

Chloe’s usual routine when it came to wedding shoots was to go on a couple of walkthroughs to visualize where everything would be and how she would want the photos to be taken.

She takes note of the angles and the backgrounds. She keeps note of how the lighting will vary at different times of the day.

She arrived at the venue hours before the event. It helped that her clients offered her to stay at a nearby hotel where most of the other guests were staying.

Chloe parked her pick up at the driveway at a spot designated for her. She eyed the familiar van that parked behind hers at the rearview mirror. It was Jerry, her assistant for the day, with his team.

Chloe has worked with Jerry several times in all sorts of events. He was lovely to work with. She got out the car and went straight to Jerry to greet him.

“Thanks again for saying yes despite the short notice. How was the drive? Not too bad?”

“It was good and of course I look forward to be of assistance to you today. I always like working with you and it’s been awhile since you last called us. What have you been up to?”

“Yeah I’ve been away. This is my first gig back. It’s good to see you too.”

The sliding doors opened and a good-looking guy with blonde hair wearing aviators stepped out with a smile on his face already.

“That’s funny. I don’t remember hiring you to help me out today.” Chloe teased him.

“Yeah cause you didn’t. Jerry here did. But are you happy to see me or what?” He lifted his sunnies to rest on top of his head and went over to hug Chloe.

Chloe still can’t believe he’s actually here but she did hug him back. When they pulled away, Chloe was all business again. “But seriously Luke. What are you doing here?”

“I’m your assistant’s personal assistant today. Anything you and Jerry need. I’m your guy. Lights, equipment, first aid you name it.”

“No that’s Jerry’s job.”

“Well today it’s mine too.”

Jerry started laughing. “I’m sorry Chloe. But I can’t say no to volunteers. I’ll leave you two for a bit.”

Chloe and Luke smiled at Jerry as he made his way to the back of the van to unload.

“Do you even know what you’re doing?” Chloe asked when they were sort of alone.

Luke scoffed. “Seriously, how hard could it be? I just have to follow you around all day. I’m a doctor you know. I’m very capable.”

“I can’t believe she allowed this. I don’t need a babysitter.”

“What? Do you think this is fun for me? Do you think I want to be bossed around by you all day?”

Chloe raised an eyebrow at him. “Actually I do.”

Luke laughed and playfully hit Chloe on the shoulder. “You’re right I do.” Then he leaves her to follow Jerry and help where he can.

Chloe shakes her head and goes back to her own car to pick up her equipment.

***

Beca sees Chloe first. She also arrived early at the venue running around to make sure everything was in order. She had a checklist in her head and she was mentally ticking things off as she went through her morning. Beca was on her way out to the driveway to meet the bridesmaids when she sees the redhead that she couldn’t stop thinking about.

She stopped in her tracks and just watches her. She was talking to two other guys and they were laughing or something. She wasn’t sure what was happening or why the redhead was here.

She watched her until she and the guys were walking to enter the house. That’s when she panicked and ran to the nearest corner she could find.

Beca knew she was being ridiculous. She should be laughing at herself for how she’s acting but she couldn’t find anything funny about the situation she’s in. She takes deep breaths and calm herself before slowly trying to take a peek.

“Who are we hiding from?”

Beca jumped when she heard someone beside her. “Oh my god Mrs. S! Don’t sneak up on me like that.”

“I’m sorry. I saw you run to this corner and I couldn’t help it. So what’s going on?”

“Nothing. I wasn’t hiding from anyone specific. I just needed a breather.” Beca lied through her teeth.

Beth didn’t look convinced but she didn’t press. Instead, she gave her an encouraging smile. “You’re doing fine and you’ve been great. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Beth then looks over Beca’s shoulder and gets excited. “Oh Beca dear. There’s someone I want you to meet.”

Beca dreaded turning around it could only be one person. She didn’t really want to meet her like this. When she was about to, her phone then started to ring.

“Oh. Sorry Mrs. S. Duty calls. I’ll see you later though.” Beca says as she starts to walk away.

***

Beca doesn’t know it but it was actually Chloe who saw her first. Chloe got in pretty late last night and she couldn’t sleep right away. She looks around her room and finds herself out on the balcony leaning against the railing.

The silence tells her everyone else has probably gone to bed. She could almost hear the crickets chirping. Chloe closed her eyes and took it all in. She yearned for the peace and quiet, the calmness amidst the chaos that was life.

She’s about to call it a night and try to get some sleep when she hears someone approach. Chloe doesn’t move as she waits for the stranger to appear. She didn’t feel threatened, She was mostly curious.

Not more than a minute later with Chloe frozen in her spot in the shadows of her balcony, she was so glad she stayed. She bit her lip when she saw who the stranger was.

Beca couldn’t sleep the night before her best friends’ wedding. She was anxious about her maid of honour speech. She has procrastinated too much and left it too long. To be fair she did have a speech prepared in her head already. Now all she had to do was write it down.

She couldn’t find pen and paper so she resorted to typing on her phone. She felt like her room was closing in on her so she decides a walk would do her good. She grabbed a light jacket, her room key and her phone and decided to go to the pool area.

It was quiet and completely empty just as she hoped. “Okay perfect perfect perfect. This is perfect.” She was going to sit in one of the chairs at the side of the pool but she knew she couldn’t keep still.

Beca then started pacing around the pool but kept her distance cause knowing her, accidentally falling into the pool was not unlikely.

She clears her throat and starts to type up her speech while dictating it.

Beca starts. “I have known Jess for so long now that I don’t even remember when and how we met.” She chuckled to herself.

“No I literally don’t remember cause we met while we were still in our diapers. I’ve known her my whole life. The only time I didn’t have Jess in my life was in high school and that was a shitty shitty time. Let’s not get into that.”

“Jess and her family has been one of the constants in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without her in my life anymore. If Ashley hadn’t come along I think I would’ve married Jess.” She chuckled to herself again and shook her head. “I also wish I was joking.”

“But seriously though it’s always been the two of us against the world. That was until Ash came along and I have never been more wrong in my entire life.”

Beca was getting teary eyed. She knew she was going to get emotional, it was one of the reasons she’s delayed preparing this speech. She had to stop for a moment.

Beca continued. “With Ash now in the picture, it’s now the three of us against the world. I now have one more person I trust my life with. Normally I would be annoyed at how happy they are, like they’re disgustingly happy but I’m genuinely happy for them. Everyone wants to have what they have, even me believe it or not.”

Beca stops again and rereads what she typed on her phone. Then she quietly taps on her phone. “God that’s so cheesy.”

Chloe hasn’t moved and just listened to Beca. She felt she was invading her privacy and it felt wrong to eavesdrop. She looked on as Beca sat by the pool and hasn’t looked up from her phone.

She sensed Beca about to look up so she started to back away slowly. Chloe didn’t really understand why she was reluctant to leave.

As if on cue, Beca looked up to the balconies. She sighed. She wanted to sleep but she was too anxious. She was really jealous of everyone who’s gone off to bed while here she was stressing about her speech.

“Lucky bastards.” She grumbled to herself.

Chloe was brought back when she heard the applause and whistles. The same day edit she did was just shown on the screen. She was standing somewhere in the sidelines at the back. While everyone’s eyes were at the newly weds. Beth, Jessica and Ashley were all smiling at her and they all blew kisses her way.

Luke playfully nudged her on the shoulder. “I gotta admit. That was actually really beautiful.” He said as he wiped a lone tear.

“What can I say? You’re the only one who’s doubted my skills.”

“Hey I’ve never.”

Chloe mouthed ‘you’re welcome’ to the newlyweds and lifted her camera to take a few more pictures. She looked around and spotted Beca looking at her too through her camera. She snapped a quick photo and lowered the camera to meet Beca’s gaze.

***

Towards the end of the reception where everyone was just drinking and dancing and celebrating, Beca sees Chloe in a familiar spot, sitting alone by the bar. She’s been watching Chloe the whole day. There were a few times when Chloe caught her staring and they would smile at each other. When she saw her alone at the bar, she finally got the courage to talk to her.

Chloe was facing the bartender when Beca approached her.

“Drinking on the job I see.”

Chloe just shakes her head when she heard her. She’s seen Beca coming from a mile away. She was surprised it took her this long to talk to her.

“You miss, are one hard lady to find.”

Chloe just looks at her with a raised brow and doesn’t actually give a proper response yet.

“So you’re a photographer.” Beca’s really trying.

Chloe thought she should end Beca’s misery. “Beca right?”

“Yeah.” Beca was actually happy to hear she remembered. “Which reminds me, I still don’t know your name. You know I can easily ask Jess for it so why not you just tell me now.”

Chloe glances at her quickly before going back to her drink. She swirls it around before downing it. “Do you really not know yet? I find that very hard to believe.”

“I honestly don’t. I swear.”

Chloe was about to say something to Beca but she saw her look over her shoulder, which makes her turn around and see Beth was on their way to them.

“Chloe. I’m so glad I’m able to see you before you leave. Thank you again so much for agreeing to do this.” Beth then goes straight to Chloe and gives her a big hug. “You have no idea how much we appreciate it. Everyone loves you.”

“It was my pleasure. I had a lovely time.”

“The same day edit was beautiful. I can’t wait too see your pictures.”

“Thank you. Just doing my job. I’ll send Jessica and Ashley digital copies then they can pick out the ones they want me to print and then it should be ready in two days tops.”

“We can’t wait.” Then she notices Beca. “Oh Beca dear I didn’t see you there. You’ve met Chloe right?”

“Of course. It’s so good to see you again Chloe.”

Chloe just nods. “You too. Well I better get going.”

Beth then reached for Chloe’s arm. “Nonsense. You can stay for as long as you want. I insist.”

“Yeah. Please stay. We insist.” Beca added.

“It’s okay. You’re too kind. I wish I could but I have prior commitments I have to attend to. Thank you again. I really enjoyed this too.” Chloe mostly kept eye contact with Beth.

“Until the next event then my dear. I’ve been raving about you and everyone’s been asking about you too. I’ve said all good things.”

“I really appreciate that. You’re so sweet. Thanks again Beth. Send my regards to the newly weds?”

“Of course. Til our next event?”

“I’m looking forward to it already. You know where to find me. Just let me know the when and where and I’ll be there.” Chloe curtly nods at them. “Enjoy the rest of your night.”

Beca could only watch Chloe walk away. Beth caught on Beca’s not so subtle attraction to the photographer. She gives her a little nudge. “Go on. It looks like you have more to say to her.”

Beca rolls her eyes but chases after Chloe. “I’ll be right back.”

“Hey.” She tries to walk her fastest in her heels.

“Hey Chloe. Wait up.” She calls to her again.

She hears Beca but Chloe doesn’t stop nor does she walk faster. She just maintains her pace towards her car. She reached for the handle and opened the door only for Beca to slam it back shut.

“Wait.”

Chloe just looks at an out of breath Beca. She doesn’t say anything to her as she waits.

“Where are you going?”

Chloe laughed. “You seriously ran after me to ask that?”

“You really can’t stay? Is it because of me?”

“It’s not you, silly. I really do have work.”

“Well what time do you finish?” Beca really wanted to spend more time with Chloe.

“Why do you ask?”

“I ran after you to ask you something else. Isn’t it obvious?”

“Not really, no.” Chloe said but she had a smile on her face.

“Okay. I don’t want to sound like a creep or be like a stalker or something.”

“I’m not judging you.”

Beca rolled her eyes. “I just. I thought I’d never see you again, you know? I was starting to think you weren’t real. Surely it’s not just me that felt the connection. I don’t know. There’s something here. Maybe?”

Beca was hopeful. She was waiting for a response from her and Chloe just shrugged. “What do you want me to say?”

“I don’t know. Anything I guess. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m being weird about this. I’m not usually like this I promise. I’m not at all like this. And I’m not saying I’m in love with you or anything.”

Chloe laughed because she was enjoying Beca’s ramblings. “It’s called a one night stand for a reason Bec. And of course I don’t think you’re in love with me, you don’t know me.” Chloe didn’t intend for the nickname to slip. She didn’t even know where that came from.

Beca would’ve backed off if it weren’t for Chloe’s playful tone. She crosses her arms and tilts her head. “That’s the thing. I want to get to know you.”

Chloe copied Beca. She crossed her arms and tilts her head right back at her. She knew she had to keep her distance from her but Beca’s making it really hard for her to do that.

“I mean I may or may not like who I get to know but I won’t know that until I do get to know you, you know?” Beca had to stop herself. “Fuck I said know too many times, didn’t I?”

Chloe genuinely found that adorable and funny and couldn’t contain her laugh. “I forgot how funny you were.”

Beca raised her brow at Chloe. “So who are you, Chloe?”

Now Chloe’s the one smirking. “Haven’t you heard? I’m the photographer.”

They were sharing some light banter until Chloe’s phone started ringing. “I’m now a very late photographer. I really do have to go.”

Beca opens the door for her. “It’s really good to see you again.”

Chloe just smiled back at Beca but didn’t say anything more. Beca stepped back as she shut her car door and Chloe began to slowly drive away.

“Chloe.” Beca said again as she chuckled to herself. “I finally found you.”

****

Beca would never admit she spent most of her weekend thinking about Chloe. It’s like she was a girl obsessed. Aside from her shop and her website, she couldn’t really find much about her. The moment she walked in the office, Jessica cornered her. “So. Spill. I had to hear about it from my mom?!”

Beca was blushing already. She ignored Jessica and went straight to her desk. “Well you were kinda busy getting married.”

“Our wedding photographer? How? When did this happen?”

“Shut up. There’s nothing to spill.”

“Nothing to spill? I can’t believe you. But I gotta say Becs.” Jessica whistled at her.

“Dude, you literally just got married.”

“So how do you know her?”

Beca was still blushing. “Remember when we went out.”

That was all the information Jessica needed. “Oh my god! Was that her? I didn’t see her face clearly.”

“So you were that drunk that night?”

Jessica rolled her eyes at her, which was not common. “So when are you seeing her again?”

“I don’t know. I mean, I’ve checked her out online and god your mom gave me her card too for Christ’s sake. So I kinda have her number already. But, like, I don’t want to just send her a text or something or walk up to her shop like a total loser.”

Jessica had that look on her face. Beca wasn’t quite sure if she was teasing, so she asked. “What? What is it? Come on just let it out.”

Jessica still had that smug look on her face. “Well what if you had a reason?”

“What do you mean exactly?”

“Our wedding photos should be ready in a day or two. I think your last duty as my maid of honour is to go and pick them up in person.” Jessica said with a wink.

Beca’s not a grinner but damn she couldn’t stop beaming at her partner.

“When?”

“Patience my friend.”

***

The day finally came when Jessica received a text from Chloe saying that the photos were ready. It was a Saturday morning and Jessica forwarded the text to Beca.

Beca was rushing to get to the photos but as soon as she was outside Chloe’s shop, she was a bit reluctant to walk in. She’s been looking forward to seeing her again but she was unsure of herself all of a sudden.

She looked around the street. It was a familiar street, she’s definitely drove past and walked past this street several times. Beca’s not sure how long she’s been standing there but she thought it was worse to be caught standing outside so she pushed herself to walk in.

She hears the chimes as she pushed the door but doesn’t see Chloe or anyone in the shop. She does hear, who she assumes to be Chloe, singing from the back. She rings the bell on the counter and the singing stopped.

“I’ll be right there.” Chloe calls out. Then Beca smiles as she hears Chloe go back to her singing. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t familiar with the song.

Beca walked back from the counter and took a seat. She was looking around the shop. There were equipment for sale and pictures on the walls and on display. With Chloe singing and humming in the background, the whole atmosphere was making Beca feel at home.

Everything was perfect until she hears the door open and Beca sees a man walk in but he doesn’t even look her way. He went straight to the back office as if he worked there.

He probably did but Beca felt that there was something off about the whole thing. She listens closely as it suddenly became quiet. She realised Chloe’s stopped singing. Beca slowly stands up from her seat and walked to the door where the guy entered.

It looked like an office of some sort. Beca stood by the doorway and she saw the man with his back turned to her facing Chloe. She could sense he was frustrated about something and could hear him a little but couldn’t make out the words. Chloe looked unfazed. She didn’t look scared or intimidated and seemed to be more focus on whatever it was she was doing.

“I really really need you to do this for me.” Beca heard the man say. He sounded desperate.

Chloe just sighed looked up at him. “I can’t help you.”

Beca could see the man tense up and was probably trying to control himself and she clears her throat. “Is everything okay in here?”

“Stay out of this.” The man said without turning to look at her.

“Chloe?” Beca waits for Chloe to look at her. “Is everything okay?” She asked when Chloe does.

Chloe smiles at Beca and giver her a slight nod. “Everything’s fine. Just wait for me at the front.” Chloe said but Beca doesn’t move.

“Look.” The man said to Chloe again. “All we’re asking is for you to consider it.”

“My calendar’s full. I can refer you to other photographers in the area, who may even charge a bit cheaper than I do but can do the shoot.”

“We don’t want anyone else and you know we don’t care about the money. We want you to do it.” He was careful with his words knowing that there was another person so he adds. “This is once in a lifetime.”

Chloe had to laugh at that. “Actually no. You can get married as many times as you want. Now how about you book me in on the next one?”

“She makes jokes too everyone.” The man said aloud to no one in particular.

Beca felt the need to say something. She couldn’t just stand there. “She’s not wrong you know, you can get married more than once.”

“See? It’s very common” Chloe adds.

The man continues to ignore Beca and turns to Chloe again. “Just say you’ll reconsider and then I’ll leave.”

“It’s a no big guy. I’m sorry. I wish I could be in two places at once. But I just have a destination wedding that same weekend and I physically can’t do it.”

He sighed and he was quiet for a bit then had a light bulb moment. “So not that weekend?”

Chloe shakes her head quickly and the guy got the message. “Okay. I understand. Sorry for barging in here like this.”

“Call next time maybe.”

“We both know you won’t pick up. I’ll be going now. Sorry again.”

The guy walked out and left Beca and Chloe. Beca eyes him the whole time but he doesn’t even acknowledge her.

“Don’t worry about him. Just a disgruntled client.” Chloe tries to assure Beca.

“God what was that about? Are you okay?”

“Yeah I’m fine, don’t worry. He just wants me to be their wedding photographer that’s all.”

“Someone’s marrying that guy? Oh my god. I feel sorry for her.”

Chloe just nods. “Love is indeed mysterious.”

“And damn, I knew you were in demand but wow the lengths people go to just to have you.”

“What can I say, weddings right? It drives people mad.”

“But I get it though.”

Chloe shakes her head. “What about you? What are you doing here?”

“Oh. Me? I was around the area so I figured.”

“Beca.”

“I’m kidding. No, I’m actually here to pick up Jessica and Ashley’s photos?”

“Oh right. This is it right here. I’m just about to finish packing them. Give me about ten minutes. I can meet you at the front when I’m done.”

“Would you mind if I hang around here with you?”

“Not at all.”

Chloe then got back to her packing.

Beca waited but it seemed like Chloe wasn’t going to try to make any conversation with her. Beca was preparing herself. There was something she’s wanted to get off her chest.

“I wanted to apologise.” Beca said.

“Hm? For what?”

“I’m sorry if I came on to you too strong at the wedding. But I was really happy to see you and I’m glad I’m here today.”

“I got it –”

“You got it handled I know. I just wanted to say I’ll stop being weird now and hope to see you around some time like a normal person. Please say hi when we run into each other or something.”

Chloe just nods but she didn’t like what she was feeling. She doesn’t show it though.

“Alright all done. If you could follow me to the front.”

“After you.”

Beca watched Chloe put the packed pictures in bags.

“Please tell me they’ve settled their bill already.”

Beca earns another genuine laugh from Chloe. “Yes they have don’t worry.”

“So that’s that, then?” Beca eventually says when she accepts the bags from Chloe.

“That’s all of it. I hope you have a good day and I hope you all like the photos.”

“I’m sure they’re great.”

Beca’s heart was slowly breaking but she was smiling. She was shifting her weight from one foot to another waiting for Chloe to say more.

Chloe thought about it. But she knew deep down her colleagues were right. She had to let go of whatever this was. She was crazy but she wasn’t about to risk anything. Chloe was about to apologise, she thought Beca deserved that much.

She was just about to but it was as if Beca saw it coming and she raised her hand to stop Chloe.

“Please don’t it’s okay really. I get it. But I feel like it’s my moral obligation to at least leave you my card in case you know more disgruntled clients that you can without a doubt handle come in here.”

“Thank you. That’s very thoughtful of you.”

“Yes please don’t hesitate to call me anytime if you need me.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Okay. So that’s me.” Beca does that awkward salute thing before walking away. “Bye for now I guess.” Beca offered her hand to Chloe.

Chloe looked down at her hand and nodded as she shook Beca’s hand. “Good bye, Beca.”

Chloe let go first and busied herself again with something on the counter. Beca reached for the door and her grip tightening on the handle as she contemplates whether she did the right thing. She looked back at Chloe one last time before stepping out of the shop.

Chloe kept her head down and only looked up as soon as she heard the door close. She ended up staring at the door and gave it a few more minutes before she even did anything. When she felt that it was safe to do so, Chloe sighed as she looked at the card Beca gave her.

Beca Mitchell. Special Agent – FBI

She twirls the card with her fingers as she decides what to do with it. How curious was the cat that it got her killed?

Chapter Text

Beca slumped on her chair when she arrived to work. That’s been the staple this past two weeks. The last time she’s spoken or seen Chloe was when she came to pick up the photos. She knows she’s being dramatic. There’s nothing to move on from.

“Hey Becs. Still nothing from our favourite photographer?”

“I don’t even know what I’m waiting for. She’s made it pretty clear she’s not interested.”

“Maybe she’s seeing someone?”

Beca sighed. “Yeah. Maybe.”

She’s thought about all the possibilities. It could be as simple as Chloe was just not interested. But then she’s brought back to the night they met and it was hard to believe Chloe wasn’t slightly interested in her. So maybe Jessica’s right.

When Beca saw Jessica’s worried look, she shook her head and sat up straight. “It’s okay. It doesn’t matter. I’ll be okay.”

“Did you want me to set you up? We can go on a double date. We know someone who would absolutely kill to have a shot with you.”

“God no. No offense but I’m good. Don’t worry about me. I promise, this too shall pass as they say. It’s called a one night stand for a reason, right?” Beca repeated Chloe’s words to Jessica. Maybe if she keeps saying it, she’ll actually believe it.

“Well partner I’m sorry to say this but today only gets worse.”

“What do you mean?”

“Mitchell. Smith. In my office now.” Beca heard Aubrey Posen, the Deputy Director call them from behind her then they hear the door slams.

“Wait. When the fuck did Posen get here? Don’t tell me she’s with –”

“She came alone. I don’t know why she’s here but it seems serious.”

“Guess we better find out.”

Jessica and Beca walked to Aubrey’s office. As soon as they closed the doors, Aubrey didn’t waste any time.

“What is this I hear about a breakthrough in the Reaper’s case?”

“We wouldn’t call it a breakthrough but we have a witness who claims she saw the reaper and that our guy’s a woman. We found her to be a credible witness.”

“But there’s no other evidence that supports that. Will a woman fit the profile? Don’t you think you’re being rash about this?”

“With all due respect deputy director, there’s also no evidence that supports the reaper is a man. This witness changes everything.” Beca said with conviction. “It changes the whole profile.”

“Who else knows about this?”

“At the moment no one outside this room.”

“And what’s your opinion Smith?”

“What if the Reaper isn’t just one person? What if we’re dealing with a group of cold blooded killers?”

“That’s very likely, which makes this all the more complicated. I want you two to prepare an up to date report for me and let’s meet in about two hours. We’ve received an anonymous tip about a possible target.”

“A tip? Is it reliable?”

“I’ll discuss everything at the meeting. Until then, none of this information goes out. Am I clear?”

“Yes ma’am.” Beca and Jessica said simultaneously.

***

Lily who worked as a bartender at an underground pub was a close friend of Chloe’s. The pub was less than a 10-minute drive from Chloe’s studio and she would often find herself driving there when she needed a drink after work.

Chloe drove straight to the pub after she decided to wrap up early with work that day. Though the pub doesn’t open to the rest of the public for a few more hours, a few of their regulars were welcomed earlier. Chloe parked at her usual spot in the alley and entered through the back door.

She saw Lily behind the bar already probably prepping for tonight. Other employees were already there and a handful of other regulars that Chloe in time became familiar with.

Chloe helped herself at one of the bar stools and Lily placed a beer in front of her right away.

“You were expecting me weren’t you?”

Lily shrugged. “I think I have an idea what’s gotten you so troubled.”

Chloe reached for the beer and raised it to Lily before drinking. “I appreciate this but I think I’m going to need something stronger.”

“It was the right thing to do Chloe and you know it.” Lily said as she placed two shot glasses in front of Chloe.

Chloe watched as Lily poured her two shots. “Why do I feel like shit then?” She grabbed the shots one at a time.

“Can you just leave the bottle here?” Chloe reached for the bottle Lily was putting away.

“No it’s okay. I’m happy to keep pouring them for you.”

Chloe sighed. “Thanks.”

Lily watched her friend bury her face in her hands. She was chopping lemon and lime. “What did you think would happen?”

“I don’t know. I just wanted to give it a shot.” Chloe then chuckled and raised her shot glass and drank. “Get it? Shot?”

Lily could only shake her head. “Okay let’s say you start dating, then what? You’ll pull off that double life shit? It’ll never work.”

“I am sort of living the double life shit my whole life already. Is it really that bad? Besides what if we never date? What if we become just really good friends?”

“Maybe with someone else it’s not that bad. Dating or not, it’s literally her job to catch you. Do you just like the thrill of it all?”

“It’s not like that.”

Chloe was quiet for a while. She was swirling the drink she’s holding like she always did. “What if I stopped? What if I walked away from this life?”

Lily was taken a back. She took her time and poured Chloe more shots instead. “You like her that that much?”

Chloe thought about it but shrugged eventually. “Wouldn’t know cause you’re right. It’s not going to work. Whether I walk away from this life or not, I can’t change who I am and I don’t think that’s exactly her type.”

Lily felt for her friend. “Of all people that you could have met and get on with that night, it had to be the one detective that’s investigating the case.”

“How was I supposed to know?”

“You can fool Komissar and the rest of them but not me.”

“Maybe I had my suspicions that she was a cop or something. But I really didn’t know who she was.”

“Beca Mitchell. You really don’t know her?”

Chloe shook her head. She didn’t know who she was. “Why? Am I supposed to?”

Lily was thinking how she would answer that question when both their phones buzzed at the same time. It could only mean one thing.

“We’re being summoned.” Lily confirmed.

Chloe didn’t even look at her phone. “No I wanna stay here and keep drinking.”

“I think we have time for one more round.” Lily started pouring her more shots. “I’ll drive us.”

***

Beca and Jessica we’re back with Aubrey as they went through their reports up to the interview with their latest witness.

“And where’s the witness now?”

“Secured.” Jessica said. Beca remained quiet.

“Any more leads there?”

“At first she was paranoid. She thought she was being followed. We have guys on her 24/7 and nothing suspicious has been reported.”

“Is there any threat?”

“As long as the reaper’s out there, there will always be a threat to her life.”

“But there’s no history of the reaper going after the witnesses, right?”

“No but we don’t want to risk it.” Jessica didn’t like where Aubrey was going with her line of questioning.

“I want to talk to her. Can you schedule that?”

“Yes Ma’am.” Jessica makes a note of it on her pad.

“So about this tip.” Beca said. “Have you verified this?”

“The tip came from Rafael Salazo Jr.”

That name sounded familiar to both Beca and Jessica. It was Jessica who voiced it out. “Why does that name sound so familiar?”

“He is the eldest son of Rafael Salazo Sr. The leader of the Salazo Cartel.”

Beca remembers now. “Our whistleblower. Isn’t he in one of the safe houses under our protection program?”

“Yes. He’s their target.”

“And how does Rafael Salazo Jr. know this?”

“Because he’s the one who’s paying them to do it.”

“Who’s them?”

“You both know that we have had our suspicions that the reaper is a hitman. Now whether or not she works for some organisation, we don’t know. But we do know she is hired to kill. So what better way to trap them than by playing their own game.”

“It can’t be this easy. How did he even contact them?”

“I’m not saying it is. I don’t know the details. It’s kinda hard to have a sit down with him these days. Why do you sound so worried Mitchell? Personally I thought you’d be thrilled.”

“This guy or woman or whatever. This group has been at this for years and we haven’t even come close.”

“I know that. In case you’re forgetting I was leading this investigation before you. I am just as familiar.”

“Exactly so you should know that this is a little too easy therefore, very suspicious. You’re telling me, just like that, someone who claims to have hired them to kill his own father approached us.”

“What do you want me to say Beca?”

“This Rafael Salazo Jr. sounds like a sleaze ball, how can we trust him?”

“Right now this is our best chance of catching these guys.”

“I guess what I want to know is if we only have one shot at this, then are you willing to risk it all with this guy?” Beca had her suspicions. “Did we approach him?”

Aubrey was quiet but didn’t back down. “What do you want to hear? I honestly don’t think whoever approached who is relevant.”

“If indeed we are dealing with the reaper here, I think we should give her more credit. If it’s true that she works with a group and I believe we can all agree that is the case cause one person could not have pulled this off, all the more we should think about our approach.”

Beca doesn’t know why she feels so strongly against this plan.

“Look okay. The director and I have been receiving a lot of pressure from the white house. The press is hungry for a story. They know something is up. They want an arrest. But in saying that, this has been well thought out and approved. So if you are questioning our due diligence, I take that personally. Maybe you should start giving us and our work more credit.”

“Don’t get me wrong deputy director. We wanna catch this guy just as bad as everyone else does. I just feel like we’re going in blind in this operation. Do you really think we can catch this guy?”

“That’s the reason I’m here. There’s a bigger chance we will if we help each other.”

“And if we fail?”

“Then we will all have to suffer the consequences then but let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.”

Beca and Jessica looked at each other and nodded.

“What’s the plan?”

***

Every time they had a prospective job, Kommissar would organise headquarters at a new secure place. They would never have it in the same place twice. The meeting started out as usual when they received jobs and Kommissar would always lead them.

Chloe was honestly barely paying attention and it’s not just because of the alcohol. The first meeting wasn’t always as detailed. She was sobering up a little as the meeting went on and her ears perked up as soon as she heard something quite odd.

“Wait. Why does he want it done on a specific day?”

Kommissar didn’t bother hiding her surprise that Chloe was slightly paying attention. “No Chloe he didn’t say to do it on a specific day but he does want it to be done on that particular weekend.”

“Why?”

“Who knows? Maybe cause his father might be moved to a new safe house? Maybe he has a solid alibi for that weekend? It could be for a number of reasons.”

“Am I the only one finding this odd?” Chloe looked around the room. Luke and Lily were also present at the meeting.

“What’s so odd about it? Under the circumstances, I think it’s reasonable.” Kommissar pressed.

Chloe wasn’t convinced but didn’t say anything more. She had her arms crossed and was sitting upright now. This meeting now had her full attention.

Kommissar continued with her briefing but was bothered by what Chloe wasn’t saying out loud.

“What is it?” She stopped and asked Chloe.

“I wasn’t saying anything.”

“Your face says it all. Just get it out of your system.”

“Why? What’s the point? You guys are obviously not bothered by anything so why should I?”

Luke and Lily looked at each other. They were getting worried. It wasn’t often that Kommissar and Chloe clashed but when they did, it usually doesn’t end well.

“Why am I getting the feeling that you don’t want to do this job? Like your heart isn’t really in it.”

“How dare you question my commitment?” Chloe snapped back at Kommissar.

“Okay everyone let’s calm down.” Luke finally said.

“We’re calm.” Komissar and Chloe said at the same time without looking away from each other.

“All I’m saying is that it’s a little suspicious.” Chloe insists.

“Just because of his instruction to do it on the weekend of the 12th, right?” I personally like this job. I want nothing more but to take this guy out. Think about it Chloe, a cartel leader falling into our laps.”

“Actually more than the specific date. Like you said, it’s too good. And you know what they say, if it’s too good to be true then it’s probably because it is too good to be true. Come on Sar, we have the same training, surely you feel there’s something off here even just a little bit.”

“I get it okay. But me and Lily have been watching this guy and he’s clean. He just wants his father dead cause he wants to run the cartel. So he’s a selfish ungrateful son and because he also doesn’t like it that his father is now a snitch for the FBI.”

“Are you kidding me right now? The target is in the custody of the FBI?” The red flags were going off again for Chloe.

“Why? Can’t do it? That never seemed to bother you before.”

“No it’s not that. But don’t you see why this isn’t helping with my suspicions at all?”

“Look. We’ve checked this guy out and there’s nothing Chloe. I bet you the FBI has done the exact same thing and knows how dumb and useless he really is.”

“Yeah? Like dumb enough to go with their plan of trying to set us up?”

Kommissar closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “That’s just outrageous. You know what? Cut the crap. Why don’t you just admit it? What’s the real reason you don’t want to do this? It’s for the right price, it’s a terrible person. And since when do you question the job when the FBI’s involved?”

“It’s not that I don’t want to do it. There’s just something here that doesn’t sit right with me. That’s all.”

“I would never put your life or anyone’s life here at risk.”

“I know and we’re way past that. That’s not even the point.”

“Okay. Let’s put on a vote then. Raise your hand if you want to do this.”

Kommissar raised her hand and so did Luke and Lily. Kommissar and Chloe were in a mini staring contest. It was Chloe who breaks contact first.

“Fine. I still want a full briefing though.”

“Done. Meet again in two days, does that work for you?”

“Yeah. It’s not like I have a say anyway. May I leave now?”

Chloe was about to walk away but Kommissar raised her hands in defeat. She doesn’t like arguing with Chloe.

“Chloe wait.”

“What?”

Kommissar bit her cheeks, she was going to say something else entirely but this is what she blurts out instead.

“You know the easiest way to know who’s right is to contact your friend at the Bureau.”

“That’s just low Sar. I too have been wronged, lied to and abandoned. But I will not cross that line.”

Chloe was just too easy to rile up when she’s in this mood. “But you’re the only one among us who has a potential insider.”

“You know what, fuck you. I might just contact her and let’s see who’ll be laughing in the end.”

Chloe walks away. Luke stops Lily and Kommissar from following her. “I’ll go. I got this.”

***

Beca had a long day at work. Her head was hurting from thinking too much. She worked a 9 to 5 job but in reality it was way more than that. It was now a little after 7pm and as if on autopilot, she finds herself parked not far from Chloe’s studio. She was disappointed to see it was dark and all closed up.

Beca was hoping to catch a glimpse of Chloe. She thought something as simple as that would lift her spirits. She knew it was pathetic but she couldn’t help it.

She looked around and saw there were several other cars parked along the street but none of them was the black pick up truck Chloe used at the wedding.

She takes her phone from the dash and scrolls through her contacts. She hovers over Chloe’s name but decides against calling her. Beca then opens a blank text message instead. She ended up just staring at the blinking vertical line.

“This is ridiculous.” She puts her phone back up in the dash. “What am I even doing here?”

Just as she was about to release the brakes and leave, she sees a car stop in front of Chloe’s shop. She holds her breath, Beca was sure it’s Chloe who was sitting in the passenger seat.

***

“Thanks for the ride Luke.”

“Did you want to talk about it? I have about an hour to spare before my shift.”

“No it’s okay. You go ahead. I just remembered I have a few things to finish for a shoot. It’ll be the perfect distraction to get my mind off things.”

“At this time? Alright. I better not hear from Lily you went out drinking without me again.”

“No promises. I’ll see you soon, Luke.”

“You too. Take it easy.”

Chloe leaned in to give Luke a hug before stepping out the car. She waved to him and watched him drive off. She sighed when he was out of sight. She was exhausted.

She takes out her car keys and started looking around for her beloved pick up. “Fuck. That’s right.” She remembers she drove to Lily’s pub earlier.

She checks the time quickly. She thinks about whether she has enough time to pick up her car. Right now she just wants to lie down first. She enters her shop and goes straight to the back office.

***

Beca didn’t know what to do. It all happened so fast. She wasn’t sure what was happening until she saw two men in suits pulling Chloe into an SUV that parked in front of Chloe’s shop. She couldn’t see clearly if they were forcing her in. She didn’t see Chloe struggle but Chloe didn’t look too happy either.

That’s how she found herself trailing this same SUV. She’s not yet sure if she should call it in. There really isn’t a threat yet but she can’t deny the concern that washed over her when she saw they were heading to what looked like an abandoned warehouse.

She saw the SUV make a turn and stop in front of the warehouse and it’s exactly what she feared. She stopped her car in the corner and waited. She was just about to reach for her gun in the glove compartment when someone knocked on her window.

She froze. Without even looking, she just knew she’s been caught. She looked to her phone that was on the dash when she heard the knock again. She turned to see it was indeed one of the men in suits that dragged Chloe and he was pointing a gun out at her. She raised her hands to show him she wasn’t armed.

“Unlock the doors and step out of the car. Don’t even think about doing anything stupid.”

Beca did as she was told. When she was out the car, the man who was still pointing a gun at her nodded to the direction of the warehouse.

“Walk.”

Beca nodded. She didn’t say anything but her mind was in overdrive. She was so annoyed that she didn’t have anything on her, not even a pocketknife. She didn’t even let her partner know what she was up to so no one knows where she is. If she ends up dying tonight, it would all be on her.

Once inside the warehouse, she sees more people bustling about. She was terrified but also very confused. This was not what she was expecting.

“Stop. Hands where I can see them.” She heard the man say again. He walks in front of her. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“My name’s Beca Mitchell. I uhm. I work with uhm the uhm.”

Brett didn’t look away from her once nor did he drop the gun. “What are you doing here?” He asks again as he cocked his gun.

“Brett let her go. She’s with me.” Beca heard Chloe say. She turned to her and could see her walking towards them. She had a camera around her neck and was carrying two tripods.

“With you?” Brett raised his eyebrows but lowered his gun.

Beca dropped her hands and breathes out a sigh of relief. Chloe hands her the tripods and gives her arm a quick squeeze.

“I called her. She’s my assistant.” Chloe says to Brett. “Now put that away. You scared her enough.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” Then he turns to Beca. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Beca could only nod and offered him a tight-lipped smile. She couldn’t trust her voice at the moment.

As soon as Brett walked away, Chloe pulled Beca to the closet room. Once inside, she grabbed the tripods from Beca and put them on the floor. She stands in front of her and looks at her face. She doesn’t hesitate to put both her hands on Beca’s arms and slowly move it up and down.

She saw how Beca was shaken up. “Breathe with me, okay. In through the nose and out through the mouth.”

Beca did just that. She could see how concerned Chloe was and whatever Chloe was doing to her was working.

“That’s good. Keep going. Are you hurting anywhere?”

Beca shook her head, still not trusting her voice. Eventually she stopped shaking and relaxed a little.

“You okay?” Chloe asked in almost a whisper.

Beca nods. “Yeah. But what the fuck is going on? What’s happening here?”

“We’ll talk more about it later. You have some explaining to do yourself.”

Beca almost forgot about how she got here in the first place. Before she could protest, Chloe continued. “But right now, I have a photo shoot to do and it’s really important. I’m taking pictures of a really prominent family and you’re going to assist me. The sooner that’s over, the sooner we can get out of here and talk. Okay? Can you do that?”

Beca hasn’t gotten over what just happened but this was her mistake and she brought this on to herself. “Wait. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to fuck this up for you more than I have already.”

“Hey.” Chloe lifted her chin gently. “You haven’t fucked up anything yet. I’m sure you’ll be fine. Just stay close to me and do as I say. It’s not that hard, I promise.”

***

Beca was determined to make it up to Chloe. She’s been watching Chloe work for some time now and she’s not entirely sure how long it’s been but she didn’t mind. She didn’t really do much. Every now and then Chloe would ask her to switch cameras or fix the lights and the background but really all she did was sit back while Chloe took photos.

“Alright. We’re all good. Next!” Chloe calls out. “Back in ten please.”

Beca stood up when she saw Chloe walking towards their corner. “Here let me.” She offered to get the camera off Chloe and gave her water too. “Drink?”

Chloe smiled. “Thank you.” She accepts the water. “Although to be honest I prefer something stronger.”

“Is that even allowed?”

“Of course. It’s my shoot.”

Beca was shaking her head. Chloe then caught one of the guys signaling for her to follow them to one of the offices.

“Hey Bec. Will you be okay here for a few minutes? I just need to talk to the client.”

“Yeah. I promise I won’t go snooping.” She meant it more as a joke.

“You better not.” Chloe was reluctant to leave Beca.

“Go go. I’ll be fine.” Beca actually felt a bit bad for disrupting Chloe’s work so if Chloe needed her to stay put then that’s exactly what she’s going to do.

“Alright. Sit tight. I’ll be right back.”

Chloe looked back at Beca, who was looking at her already, to see if she was really okay. Beca gave her one last reassuring smile and that was enough for Chloe.

There were two men guarding the door and they let Chloe in without question. Chloe saw Carter sitting on the desk.

“I think you’re in my seat.” Chloe said to him.

“Chloe.” Carter stood up to greet Chloe. “How are you? How’s everything? Business doing good?”

“Yeah you know the usual. Kommissar sends her regards by the way.”

“Ah yes. No offense to you but I was hoping she would come meet me this time.”

“Well you know her and that’s what I’m here for. Anyway, back to business, are we good? You have everything?”

Chloe was known to be the messenger and only a messenger for Kommissar. They figured keeping things that way was the best option for them.

“Everything’s here. You know we like you and that we’ve done a lot of business over the years. More than that, we trust you. You’re reliable and you get things done.”

“Yes and we share the same sentiments.”

“I’ll be direct. What’s the FBI doing here? Is the FBI trailing you now?”

“To be fair, she followed your guys.”

“That’s true. I will need to talk to them about that. But what’s really happening here?”

“It’s not the FBI that’s following me. It’s just her. Lets just say she fancies me.”

“Fancies you?”

“We met at one of the weddings I attended. I was the photographer. I turned her down and she’s just persistent I guess.”

The guy starts to laugh a hearty laugh. He leaned back and Chloe watched his Adam’s apple move up and down.

When he finally collects himself. He’s looking at Chloe again. “You’re serious?”

“Sadly.”

“Kommissar must be having a field day about this.”

“One of the few things I’m enjoying about this is how much she hates it. You have no idea how much shit I am getting from her.”

“Oh but I can imagine it. But seriously, you can assure me right? That this won’t cause any problems?”

“They are the least of my problems Carter. So you shouldn’t be worrying about them.”

“But you will tell me and let me know if it should start to become a problem?”

“Of course.”

“So what will we do now?”

“I’m almost done with the shoot. Don’t worry. I have everything under control.”

“Alright. Where should I leave the money then?”

“Just leave it in the vault. We’ll take care of it.”

“Very well. That’s sorted. It’s always a pleasure Chloe. Send my regards to Kommissar as well.”

“I will and you too.” And they shook on it. “And please there’s no need to pick me up next time. I’m happy to meet you here.”

“We just wanted to make sure you’d show up.”

“Who’s going to take the photos if I don’t?”

“I look forward to seeing the final output by the way.”

Chloe walks out of the office shaking her head. Right away she’s looking for Beca. She sees her in the same spot where she left her.

“Everything okay?” Chloe asked Beca when she saw her fumbling with her hands.

“Oh hey. Yeah. It’s just that, I think I left my phone in the car.”

“Oh. Did you need to call anyone? You can use my phone.” Chloe offered her phone to Beca.

It was honestly tempting for Beca but she ended up just staring at Chloe’s phone.

“You worked today didn’t you? And I’m sure you’re working tomorrow too. It’s almost 9 now, I’m sure you’re tired. I got this covered. You don’t have to stay. I just need a few more shots then I should be done.”

“No no if it’s okay, I want to stay. I don’t mind. Besides who’s driving you home if I leave you here?”

“Remember Brett? He’ll drive me.”

Beca snorted. “That guy? I’m definitely staying then. I don’t care what time you finish. Don’t worry about me I’m fine.”

“Okay. But how sure are you I’m riding with you?”

Beca was stunned once again. That was a very good point.

“I’m kidding. If you do decide to stay, then I’d really like that.” Chloe leans in closer to her only to grab her camera behind Beca.

Beca had to clear her throat before speaking. “I’ll be here.”

 

***

Beca should be tired. She came from work. She hasn’t slept. She’s barely eaten. But there was no place she’d rather be than here watching Chloe do her thing.

Right now, Chloe was showing the pictures she’s taken on a laptop and she can’t stop looking at Chloe, her passion and how proud she is of her pictures. She just lights up the room, she makes the people she’s taking pictures of feel the most beautiful and it shows.

“And that’s a wrap!”

Everyone in the room starts clapping and Beca’s not sure what to do so she starts clapping with them.

Chloe thanks the family and a woman walks with Chloe towards where Beca was sitting.

“Thanks for accommodating us tonight. This place is perfect and you’ve been incredible and very patient. You’re such a professional. I’m so glad Carter referred you to us.”

The woman couldn’t stop gushing about Chloe and honestly Beca couldn’t blame her.

“Thank you and it’s no problem at all. You make my job easier. I had a lot of fun.”

“We really appreciate you taking the time. Carter said you were very hard to book. So thank you for making time for us.”

“He’s exaggerating I’ll tell you that. It’s been my absolute pleasure.”

“Alright, I’ll let you go and rest now. Spend some quality time with your girlfriend. She’s so supportive just being here with you.”

It took Beca a moment that the woman was referring to her and she blushed profusely.

“She is a trooper.”

“Get home safe.”

“You too.”

***

Beca and Chloe were walking side by side to Beca’s car now. The turn of events in the past two hours alone were a little too crazy for Beca to handle but she wasn’t complaining. “So wait a minute. Did I hear that correctly? You own that place?”

“Sort of. The business does. If I need a location for shoots and stuff, I set up there.”

“I should’ve figured that out. You literally walked in and out of there bringing nothing.”

Chloe shrugged. “I’ll pack it up another day. It should be fine. Future me’s problem.”

“So uhm who did you just take pictures of by the way?”

“I honestly can’t say cause if I do I might have to kill you.”

“I see I get it. I understand those things are confidential. I have another question if that’s okay.”

“Shoot.”

“Why didn’t you correct her?”

“What do you mean?”

“That woman. She thought I was your girlfriend.”

“Oh. That. It’s nothing really. I didn’t want to embarrass her.”

Beca nodded. She’s amazed at how well Chloe was taking this. She pointed to her blue EcoSport. “That’s my car.”

Chloe only hummed.

“What? Don’t judge it. I love this car.”

“I didn’t say anything.”

They both settled in and fastened their seatbelts.

“So where do you live?”

Chloe enjoyed teasing Beca. “Wow you really really want to take me home.”

Beca couldn’t help it but blush. She walked in on that one.

Chloe reaches for Beca’s phone but stops just before to ask for Beca’s permission. “May I?”

“Yeah sure.”

Chloe turns on waze and puts in an address. “There.”

“Alright.”

It was the first time they sat in awkward silence at least for Beca. Chloe wasn’t that bothered. She was waiting for Beca to keep asking her questions. Chloe turns to look at Beca and watches her. She could see Beca was a bit tense just by how tight her grip was on the steering wheel and she was making sure Beca knew she was looking at her.

Chloe almost found it amusing how uncomfortable Beca was.

“Why are you following me?” Chloe asked when she couldn’t wait for Beca to say something.

She could see Beca thinking and giving up by how her shoulders dropped. “I’m not.”

“Okay. Let’s say for a second I believe that.” Chloe was smirking.

Beca rolled her eyes. She is such a creep. If she didn’t have a chance before, she definitely blew her chances with Chloe now.

“Fine here’s what happened. I was having a shit day. Just shit things at work and I don’t know. I was on my way home but I ended up on the street of your shop. I swear it just happened. I thought seeing you maybe would make my day better at least. But you weren’t there. Then I was about to leave but then you arrive.”

Beca quickly glances at Chloe and she shouldn’t have done that cause she was met with those eyes staring at hers already. Those same ones that were full of concern for her earlier. Chloe had been so gentle with her back at the warehouse.

“And then I waited too long trying to decide what to do next. Like should I just walk up to you or call you or send you a text or something. Then the SUV showed up and the next thing I know you were being dragged into their car.”

“I think being dragged is a stretch.”

“What was all of that about anyway? I never realised how dangerous it is to be a photographer until I met you.”

“It’s not. I just happen to deal with powerful people who want to keep their lives private. They’re going to be featured in a magazine and they wanted me to take their photos.”

“So do you work for the magazine?”

“Nope.”

“No offense and I know you’re very good at what you do. But why you?”

“Simple. People hire me for my discretion. I saved your life back there. When they found out you’re FBI, they would have killed you.”

“Why? Were they doing anything illegal back there?” Beca was worried Chloe would say yes.

“No but you know how rich people are and you’re not known to be very discreet.”

Beca relaxed a little. She was still getting used to Chloe’s sense of humour. “I disagree. We can be discreet.”

“Really? Like how you followed me there and got caught? Yeah you’re the epitome of stealth alright.”

“I’m sorry okay. I thought something bad had happened to you.”

“Why do you worry about me so much? You always assume I’m in trouble. Why is that?”

“That’s just me. I worry a lot about everyone and everything. I always expect the worst.”

“Oh and here I thought I was special.”

Beca wasn’t ready for it and she starts stuttering with her response. Chloe laughs at how much of a dork Beca is. Then Beca’s phone starts ringing. Beca looks at the caller ID quickly. It’s Jessica.

“I have to take this. It’s my partner. Is that okay?”

“You sure? It might be something confidential with work.”

“Nah you’re alright. You just let me in on a super secret shoot.”

Beca nods and clicks answer and Jessica’s voice is booming in her car.

“Becs! Where are you? I’m outside your house open up.”

“What are you doing at my house?”

“I was worried about you. I know how much Aubrey gets to you and I know you’ve been sulking already so I got you beer and pizza.”

“Dude what are you doing? You’re married now, where’s Ash?”

“Hey Becs!” Beca hears Ashley on the other side. “Come on get off your couch and open up.”

“Oh my god you two. Go home. I’m fine.”

“Are you with someone? Wait a minute. Your car isn’t here. Where are you? Rebeca Mitchell? Are you out on a date? What are you doing answering our calls?”

Beca can hear Jessica grabbing the phone from Ashley. “About time Becs. I’m so happy for you. Getting laid would definitely get your mind off our hot photograph-.”

“Alright, I’m hanging up now. Go home both of you.”

Beca’s sure Chloe heard it. She set herself up with that one. She should’ve known better. She’s not sure which was worse. The fact that Chloe was not saying anything or that she couldn’t think of anything to say to her.

Beca was so relieved when her phone suddenly says they have arrived which was the perfect distraction.

She looked around. “Where are we?” Beca asks.

“I had to pick up something here earlier and left my car parked up there. You can just park up here.”

“Right here we are.” Beca pulls up the hand brake.

“Yeah. Thanks for the ride.”

“Is it weird to say that I had fun with you this evening?”

“A little yeah. Considering what happened.”

“Why didn’t you ever call me?” Beca thought it was now or never. She might never be alone with Chloe like this ever again.

“I don’t think I understand what you’re asking.”

“I just don’t get it. I feel like we have this great connection but you’re closed off. And I’m not sure if it’s intentional or if there’s something. Is it because of what I do?”

“Didn’t you specifically say only to call you if there were disgruntled clients?”

“I find it hard to believe that you didn’t encounter at least one disgruntled client since we last spoke.”

Chloe decided to turn the tables on Beca. “Well it’s a two way street. Why didn’t you try calling me?”

“I’m honestly just a coward. I think I preferred imagining you rejecting me than you actually rejecting me. But if I did call you and asked you out on a date, would you say yes?”

“Will you stop following me if I say yes?”

This is what Beca liked and didn’t like about Chloe. She’s so witty and playful and she’s such a tease. “I can’t promise that but do you want to find out together?”

Chloe’s resolve was wearing thin and she knew it yet here she was playing with fire knowing she’s going to burn herself.

“Maybe try giving me a call first then we’ll find out.”

With that Chloe left her. She got out the car and didn’t look back. She took out her keys and as soon as she got in her pick up her phone rang. The little leap her heart did surprised her. But the moment was gone as soon as she saw who was calling her.

“I think I know why you’re calling and before you totally lose it. I am on my way to get the money now.”

Kommissar obviously heard from Carter about what happened already.

***

Beca waited until Chloe reversed out of that alley and went on her way before going the opposite direction to head home herself. It took her awhile but while watching Chloe drive off she reached for her phone and starts to call Chloe.

She felt like she was back in high school with how giddy she was getting when she heard it ring.

But then it kept ringing. She wasn’t picking up. Beca waited until she heard Chloe’s voice on the other end.

“Hey it’s Chloe. You just missed me. Leave a message?”

Beca hangs up.

Chapter Text

Chloe couldn’t sleep that night. She gave up pretty quickly after tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position. She was thinking too much and feeling so many things all at the same time. There was no way she was getting any sleep soon.

So here she was in her study nursing her fourth glass of whiskey. It was past 3am and she shouldn’t be drinking but if she was really being honest, it was the only thing stopping her from killing someone.

She’s annoyed that her left hand can’t swirl her drink as well as her right could. She feels her anger start rising again as she downs her drink.

“I’m gonna kill her.”

Five hours before…

Beca just dropped off Chloe. The moment she settles in her pick up, Chloe was on the phone with Kommissar while she watched Beca’s car disappear from her rearview mirror. She knows she had to go back for the money before she could head home so she soldiers on. Kommissar doesn’t let her go and stay on the phone with her until Chloe’s parked in the garage of the warehouse.

She was genuinely surprised to see Kommissar’s motorcycle also parked there. Chloe doesn’t remember her saying anything about meeting her here. If she did, it would’ve saved her the trip and Chloe would have been home by now.

This should annoy Chloe but at this point, she was too tired to feel anything. She finds Kommissar seated in the middle of the warehouse and Chloe can see the bags of money already by her feet.

They look at each other but Kommissar doesn’t move nor say a word but she saw Chloe arrive.

“What are you doing here?” Chloe says trying to sound casual. “I wasn’t expecting to see you tonight.”

She was tired of arguing with Kommissar. She sighed and just decided to grab the money and go. She figured everything Kommissar had to say she already said on the phone. But before she can take another step, a knife was flying her way. She swipes at it with her hand as a reflex and it cut her.

Chloe stares at her hand and could see blood seep out from the cut. “Are you out of your mind?!”

Kommissar scoffed. She stays where she is and holds out another knife. She’s throwing another one towards Chloe. Chloe had to think fast. She looked around and tumble rolled to her left. She flipped the table to use as a shield.

“Stop that!”

“Don’t worry. I only have about seven left. Think of this as a good reflexes exercise.”

Chloe hears another two that hit the other side of the table.

“Have you completely lost it?” Chloe shouts from behind the table.

“I don’t know Chloe. You tell me.”

Chloe looked down at her hand again. There was so much blood dripping from the diagonal cut that went from her pointer and middle finger to the middle of her palm.

“Goddammit Sar.” Chloe said under her breath.

She was looking for something to wrap her bloody hand in but had to forget about that for now when things became a little too quiet. She can hear Kommissar’s footsteps coming closer and a hand was on her shoulder. “Come on. Get up.”

Kommissar pulled Chloe up but Chloe pushed her as soon as she found her footing. “What is your problem?”

“My problem?” Kommissar was surging forward throwing a combination of punches at Chloe. “What is my problem?”

“I understand you’re mad. I already explained everything over the phone.” Chloe said in between dodging and blocking the punches. “I don’t know what else you want me to say. I don’t want to fight you. Stop it.”

“I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately Chlo. So I figured maybe I can beat it out of you.”

The blood was staining Kommissar’s knuckles and arms. Chloe winced from the pain coming from her hand. She dodged and blocked all but one that got her straight in the jaw. Chloe instantly puts a hand over her cheek and raised a brow at Kommissar.

Kommissar smirked and shrugged. “Oops.”

“Are you happy now?” Chloe asked.

“Not quite.”

Kommissar and Chloe were well versed with hand-to-hand combat. They trained together for years so they were extremely familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Kommissar was better with her hands and grappling. Chloe made sure to keep her distance but Kommissar was still able to connect another left hook and an uppercut to her body.

Chloe winced some more. She won’t show I as much but those hurt. Kommissar was out for blood. Chloe knew she wasn’t playing around with her. “Fine. You wanna fight? I’ll give you a fight.”

It was Chloe this time that went on a series of combinations of kicks and punches. She was even able to grab one of the light stands and used it as a fighting stick. She had a bit of an advantage now cause she was more proficient in Kali.

She got a few swipes to Kommissar’s body and face. Kommissar was stunned for a bit but kept surging at her and threw some more punches her way. Chloe was blocking them better with the light stand. She ends it with a counter turning sidekick, which hits Kommissar square in the stomach. She could’ve kept going but she didn’t.

Both women stood about two meters apart and were both out of breath. Kommissar was still bent over clutching on her stomach.

Chloe’s had enough and threw the light stand away. “This is ridiculous. What are we even doing?”

Kommissar stood up straighter now. She can taste blood in her mouth. “Yeah no you’re right. This is absurd.” She says as she wipes blood from the side of her lips. “You and that bloody stick.”

Chloe chuckled. She let her guard down for just one second and she let out a big ‘oof!’ as Kommissar tackled her. Chloe’s back slammed on a wooden bench that breaks and Kommissar falls on top of her. They both groaned and Kommissar rolled off of her.

“What’s wrong with you?” Chloe elbowed Kommissar’s side.

“What’s wrong with you?” Kommissar snapped back at her.

“Unbelievable.” Chloe tried to feel where it hurt. “My back ow and fuck my hand.”

They were both slowly sitting up. Kommissar reached in her pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. She hands it to Chloe. “Here. For your hand.”

“You’re a lunatic you know that?” She takes the hanky anyway and wraps it around her hand.

“About Beca. I’m not your mother. I’m not gonna tell you who you can and cannot date but I sure do hope you know how serious the situation was earlier.”

“You think I don’t know that? If I were just another second too late, Brett would’ve pulled the trigger on her.”

“That’s not even the worst case scenario. They would’ve killed you too if it came down to it.”

“I know. I know what we’re dealing with here.”

“Really? Cause it doesn’t look like you do. You sure you weren’t followed this time?”

“For the record, if they let me drive here earlier it wouldn’t have happened. I would’ve spotted her from the get go.”

Kommissar sighed. “Carter told me what you did.”

“I know what I did. But it was my fault. I was the reason she was here.”

“Tell me then. What are you planning with this whole thing? You want to be friends with her, get to know her, maybe date her? She’s an agent Chloe, you can’t just go sneaking around behind her back.”

“I don’t know Sar. She’s just so sweet and sincere and I don’t know why I’m being like this. I don’t even know her. I feel like everyone’s jumping to conclusions and I think I want to find out for myself what’s there.”

“Chloe I’m not saying you don’t deserve to have a life but you’re you and she’s her. You sure you can handle that?”

“I don’t know.”

Kommissar got up first and helped Chloe up. She then grabs a bag of money and hands it to Chloe. “I’ll deliver the money to the guys. Here’s your share. And this is my share for the cleaners and your medical bill.”

Chloe grabbed the bag with her uninjured left hand. “Thanks I guess.”

“I think you should call Luke.” Kommissar said pointing at her hand.

“Fuck you. I’ll deal with it.”

“No I really think you should call Luke.”

Before Chloe could ask why, she gasped and looked down. Kommissar stabbed her right forearm and walked away laughing.

“Try explaining that to your girlfriend.”

 

***

Beca jolted awake and had to take in her surroundings. The events of last night physically and emotionally drained her so much that she fell asleep on her couch. She looked for her phone first to check the time.

She found it on the floor and picked it up. She was pretty sure she’s forgotten to set an alarm again. The time was 7:30am and she did forget to set her alarm. She was going to be late for their meeting with Aubrey at 8:30 this morning.

She was supposed to be rushing but she saw something else in her notifications that caught her eye. She stared at the two text messages from Chloe and quickly opened her messages.

Beca (10:28pm): So I tried calling and that didn’t work. I thought I should try sending a text before showing up at your work. Are you free for dinner tomorrow?

Beca’s actually forgotten she even sent that text but she was so glad that she did.

Chloe (3:03am): I can’t tonight.

Chloe (3:11am): But I can do Friday. What time do you finish work?

Beca was too excited about Chloe’s text that she didn’t really bother with the time.

Beca (7:38am): Friday as in tomorrow? That sounds good to me. Pick you up at 6? Or is that too early?

She jumped from her couch and placed her phone on the table. She really had to get ready for work. But her phone buzzed. Beca whipped her head to look back at her phone.

Chloe (7:39am): 6 is okay if you don’t mind waiting a little. I’ll be coming from a meeting. How are you btw?

Beca (7:39am): Okay done I’ll see you tomorrow. Do photographers not sleep?

Beca ran to the bathroom with her phone. She was in the middle of removing her clothes when she hears her phone ring. She rushed back to her phone she left near the sink. It was Jessica looking for her.

“I know Jess. I’m up I’m up. I’ll be there before you know it. Just stall a bit for me, will you? See you soon.”

Then she heard giggling on the other end and it wasn’t Jessica’s. She quickly looks at the caller ID and it was definitely not Jessica.

“Bad time then?” Chloe said clearly amused.

Beca squeezed her eyes shut and banged her head on her bathroom mirror a couple of times.

“Can I call you later? I’m just gonna go drown myself in the shower now.”

Beca hears Chloe laughing some more. “You do that. I was just checking to see how you were. I know last night was intense.”

“Don’t worry. I’m okay. Are you forgetting I work for the FBI?”

There was a pause. “I wish I could. I’m glad you’re okay. Have a good day at work Bec.”

When Chloe ended their call, Beca could only look down at her phone. If this is what will get her into trouble at work this morning, Beca thought it was well worth it.

***

The pain meds were wearing off again and Chloe couldn’t move. Her back was killing her more than her hand at the moment.

“Chlo?”

Chloe heard Lily calling out for her. She groaned a little. “Here.”

“Oh my god. Are you okay?” Lily found her lying on the floor in her room. “Did you sleep on the floor?”

“It was more comfy than the bed. My back’s killing me.”

“Luke told me what happened. Why didn’t you call me?”

“I was basking in the pain. It was the only thing stopping me from killing Kommissar.”

Lily could only laugh at her friend. She did have the tendency to be dramatic but she knew she wasn’t kidding.

“I’ve had all my shoots today and tomorrow moved to next week. Can you do something for me?”

“Of course. What do you need?”

“My car keys are on the counter, can you get my car cleaned please?”

“How bad is it?”

“Not that bad. But it definitely needs some professional cleaning.”

“Okay. Anything else? I smell whiskey in here. Have you even eaten?”

“I’m on the floor and I literally cannot move. I’m just waiting for Luke to check on my dressing.”

“Okay. I’ll get you something to eat first then take care of your car. Stay there and don’t move.” Lily snorted and Chloe rolled her eyes at that.

“And refill my decanter?”

“You know it.”

“Love you!”

Chloe barely heard Lily’s response.

“Laughing hurts.” Chloe tries to turn and get up. “Ow. Nope. Everything hurts.”

***

Beca made it to their garage parking at 8:30 on the dot. She was rushing to find a park and was getting fidgety. She hated being late for anything.

It was another meeting about the reaper. There were five of them in the room. There with Beca were Aubrey, Jessica, and two younger agents Andrew and Ben. Aubrey had her back facing them when Beca snuck into the conference room easily. Or that’s what she thought.

When she was seated, Aubrey called her out. “Nice of you to join us Mitchell.”

“Sorry I’m late. Please proceed.”

Aubrey glares a ther then nods and lets it go. They had much more important matters to discuss.

She cleared her throat. “As I was saying. We don’t have confirmation yet that the reaper has accepted the job. However they also haven’t said no. Until we receive any confirmation, we will assume it is going ahead and that it’s happening in about two weeks sometime on the weekend of the 12th.”

Beca raised her hand asking for permission to speak.

“Yes, Mitchell.”

“How sure are we about that? What’s stopping them from coming tomorrow or the next day or any day actually?”

“Well, we’re not sure. You’re right they can come tonight, tomorrow, whenever they want. However, it’s in the profile that the reaper tends to follow instructions so that’s what we’re hoping for.”

Beca nods and flips through the brief. It’s ironic how calculated the reaper was but very reckless at the same time.

“Starting today I want all hands on deck. A group of agents have been monitoring everything within a two-block radius. I trust you’ve been reading the reports. As you know the safe house is in an isolated location and based on the reaper’s profile, that works in our favour. She may also come alone and most likely to attack at night.”

Aubrey was looking at Beca as if expecting her to interrupt again with a question. She didn’t have any.

“There’s another four who are monitoring the CCTV footages and listening to everything going on inside the building. We do have eyes and ears in the place but we can’t rely on them when the time comes. If this group is as professional as we think they are, they’ll easily be able to disable them.”

Everyone nods. This was very common and in the two years Beca was on this case, they never got recordings or proper sightings of the reaper.

Aubrey continued. “There are also currently three field agents who have gone undercover around the area. They’re profiles are all in the brief as well. There are too many variables and we’re not sure of the when, who and the how but one thing we are sure of is the where. So we will buckle down on that.”

Beca was unusually quiet. She was getting excited. She didn’t expect to feel excited about this. Are they actually going to get this guy? Will they finally be able to close this case?

“From page six of the brief is a map of the area, the building’s layout, and a list all known businesses and amenities and the neighbours. The goal is to be ready whenever the reaper decides to show. Now as much as we would love to catch the reaper alive, your safety is paramount. If there’s a threat to your life, you have permission to shoot.”

Beca’s mouth opened and closed. It was weird for some reason Beca didn’t want the reaper dead. There were so many questions that will be left unanswered. More than anything, she would love to have a sit down interview with her.

“Finally this weekend get ready and pack clothes for two weeks. On Monday, you will not be reporting here. We will all be staying at the apartments, which are about five blocks from the safe house. “

Nobody argued and everyone just nodded. There was no room for mistakes.

Aubrey looked around the room. “Any questions?”

***

All Beca did at work was prepare reports. By the time she got home, she’s been reading the brief like a bible. It was the first time since Aubrey told her about their plan that she actually believed it would work. Her suitcases were lying around the living room as well. She figured she should start packing this early, which was very unlike her.

She was in the middle of familiarizing herself of the building’s layout when she heard her doorbell ringing. She was expecting guests.

“Please tell me that’s not the pizza from last night?” Beca said when she opened the door to her two best friends.

“The one and the same.” Jessica proudly showed off the pizza she was holding.

Jessica and Ashley didn’t even wait for Beca to let them in. They just walked right in and made themselves at home. Ash went straight to put the beers in the fridge and Jess set the pizza down on the coffee table.

“So where were you last night?” Jessica asked as soon as all three of them were around the table.

“I uhm.” Beca knew they were going to want to know where she was. You’d think she’d be prepared with an answer.

“Oh my god sweetheart. She’s blushing.” Ash was nudging Jessica’s side.

“Yeah she really is.”

“Yeah yeah very funny. I will tell you two all about it but please no interruptions. Let me tell the whole story first then you tell me what you really think about all this. Don’t hold back”

So that’s what Beca did. She told them exactly what happened that night from ending up outside Chloe’s studio after work up until her phone call with Chloe this morning. She was actually expecting herself to sound crazier when saying it out loud but it wasn’t that bad.

When she finished, she couldn’t read her friends’ expressions.

“You can speak now.”

Jessica had to put her pizza down. “Oh my god Becs are you okay?”

“Yeah I mean that guy wasn’t really going to shoot me, right?” She waited for Jess and Ash to nod with her. “Come on it was a photo shoot.”

“I don’t know Becs. That sounds like shady stuff to me. You said so yourself, Chloe saved you.”

“Yeah she did.”

“Did you ask her anything else about the job? At least what magazine it would be on?”

“Why? Do you think she’s not telling the truth? Why would she lie about something like that?” Beca’s voice was rising.

Ashley held Jessica’s arm to stop her from saying anything else. “We don’t know and we’re not insinuating anything.”

Beca slumped down in between the two of them and crossed her arms.

“All we’re saying is that maybe you just want to check this girl out before you start anything with her. You’re a federal agent Becs. You don’t want to jeopardise that.” Ash put a hand on Beca’s lap as comfort.

Jess sighed and did the same thing. “Of course we’re not saying that she’s a criminal or something. We’re just looking out for you, okay?”

Beca then put her arms on both their shoulders. “I love you guys for that and last night was an unfortunate incident I admit. I promise to be more careful before diving into this but trust me too. I have a good feeling about Chloe and I really really like her.”

***

The next day in a different location and with another group of people, another meeting was taking place. It was the first time Kommissar and Chloe were going to see each other in person since Kommissar literally stabbed her.

Lily and Luke were there too. When Chloe entered she greeted them both but didn’t even look at Kommissar while Kommissar was on her desk busy looking at papers.

They didn’t even try to acknowledge each other.

Luke and Lily watched them and waited until Lily couldn’t take it anymore. “Guys this is absurd. You can’t be fighting when we’re on the verge of saying yes to a job. If you don’t make up right now, we vote no to this job. Right, Luke?”

“Yes. Everything Lily said.”

Kommissar sighed. “You’re right.” She put down the papers she was holding. Chloe was just looking at the bandages around her hand and lower arm.

Kommissar looked directly at Chloe. “I’m sorry. I was so mad I don’t know. I shouldn’t have done it. It was uncalled for.”

“Shouldn’t have done what, Sar? Throw knives at me, stab me or slam me on the bench. Which one of those shouldn’t you have done?”

“For all of it Chloe. I’m sorry. I was out of line. So if you don’t want to do the job or you don’t feel confident because of your injury, I’ll understand. We all would.”

Chloe looks at Lily and Luke who both gave her encouraging nods. She takes a deep breath and stands up. She walks over to where Kommissar was standing and offered her left hand.

Kommissar was surprised Chloe was so forgiving. She reached for Chloe’s hand and they shook on it. In one swift motion, Chloe pulls out an ice pick from her back pocket with her right hand and stabbed Kommissar with it. She stabbed her at a spot just between her shoulder and collarbone. Chloe twisted the ice pick then pulled it out just as quick. The stainless steel now covered in red.

Chloe then drops the ice pick and grabs Kommissar’s right shoulder with her injured hand. She pressed her thumb on the wound and watched Kommissar wince in pain.

“There. Now we’re even.” Chloe pressed one more time before letting go.

“Jesus Christ you guys.” Luke said who was now in between them.

Lily was on Chloe’s side and grabbed her hand to put pressure on her cut as it started bleeding from using too much force.

“No it’s okay. I deserved that. We’re good now.” Kommissar assured everyone. She then asked Chloe. “Right? Anything else you want to get out of your system?”

“Nope. We’re good.”

“Okay.”

Chloe then started laughing out of nowhere. She finds the absurdity of the whole situation funny. Kommissar shakes her head but joins her anyway.

“I swear you two are gonna end up killing each other someday.” Lily said but she was glad the two we’re okay now.

“All right so let’s take a break.” Chloe then pointed to Kommissar’s shoulder. “Luke you take care of that first. Then when you’re done with that, can you take a look at this?”

“Of course. This won’t be long.”

“Good. Okay. I’m going to go lie down for a bit. My back is killing me.”

“What about the job?” Kommissar asked Chloe.

Chloe rolled her eyes. “You can confirm it with the client. We’re doing it.”

***

Beca was excited to see Chloe again but she’s not going to deny that Jessica and Ashley’s words got to her. She started overthinking but she didn’t know how to ask Chloe or even bring it up. She didn’t want to accuse her of anything.

Beca (6:02pm): Hey. I’m outside your studio.

Chloe (6:05pm): I’m almost there. You can wait for me inside.

Upon receiving Chloe’s text, Beca turned the engine off and stepped out of her car. She looked around all of a sudden being a little too paranoid. She had to catch herself. This wasn’t a good mindset going into their date. Beca wasn’t even sure if it was one.

She enters the studio and the lights were all on but there wasn’t anyone in.

“Hello?”

A familiar guy was standing behind the counter. “Hello how can I help you?”

“Oh hi. I’m a friend of Chloe’s.”

“Oh you must be Beca. She should be here any minute now. Can I get you anything?”

“I’m good thank you. Who are you?”

“Oh. I’m Jerry. I assist Chloe from time to time.”

Beca nodded. “Right.”

Beca waited for almost ten minutes. She was getting anxious. She had to remind herself Chloe did warn her that she was going to be late. She jumped up when she heard the chimes of the door open.

“Bec. Hey. Sorry just give me one second.”

“No no take your time.”

Beca watched Chloe walk to the counter. Chloe was wearing a short black halter dress with black heels and she had her coat over her arm. She suddenly felt insecure with what she was wearing. She had her ripped skinny jeans with boots and a leather jacket over her sleeveless top.

Chloe smiled at her before turning to the guy at the counter. “Hey Jerry. Thanks so much for covering for me again.”

“No worries. You’ll be back by Monday right?”

“Yes. I will be here first thing Monday morning.”

“Okay. All good. I cleared my weekend for you.”

“Thanks Jerry.” Chloe turned to Beca and smiled. “Have you met Beca?”

Jerry just shrugged. “Yeah we’ve met.”

Chloe introduced them anyway to make sure.

“Jerry this is Beca. Beca this is Jerry. He was also the one who assisted me at Jessica’s wedding.”

“Oh right. That’s why you looked familiar.” Beca went to shake his hand. “Hi it’s nice to meet you officially.”

“You too.”

Chloe smiled at their interaction. “You good to close up?”

“Yeah I got it. You guys go have a good one.”

“Thanks Jer.”

Chloe opened the door for Beca. “After you.”

“You look nice by the way.” Beca said. She tried her best not too sound too shy.

“Thank you. So do you.” Chloe said with no problems.

Chloe then puts her coat over her shoulders. That’s the only time Beca noticed Chloe’s arm. Chloe’s palm and lower arm were wrapped in bandages.

“Oh my god. What happened to your arm?” Beca was reaching for Chloe’s hand. “What happened to your hand?” She held onto it not knowing where to hold her.

“It’s okay. Just an accident in the kitchen.”

“What accident? How? Are you okay? This looks painful.”

Chloe was caught off guard by how careful she was with her. She was being so gentle barely holding her by the wrist not wanting to hurt her.

“It’s okay. I’m okay. It’s just one of my clumsy moments.” Chloe tried to pull away slowly.

“Clumsy moments?” Beca then saw what Chloe was holding. A magazine. “What is that?”

“Oh. Yeah. Do you want to see? I mean I guess now it’s safe to tell you since it’s already out.”

Beca recognised the woman and her family on the cover right away. She can’t even begin to explain to Chloe how relieved she was. “Oh my god. It’s real. You’re on the cover of a magazine.”

“Not me. Don’t be silly Bec.”

“Wow. This is a big deal.” Beca was flipping through the pages, looking for more photos of the family.

“What did you mean when you said it’s real? Of course it’s real.”

“Nothing. Don’t mind me. I’m fangirling over you.” Beca said to her without looking up.

“So you had to see the magazine first to be impressed with me?”

“No. I’ve been impressed believe me. Now come on, I parked over there.”

Chloe let it go but she really found that comment odd. She followed Beca to her car. “Speaking of. Where are we going?”

“I hope you like steak?” Beca said while opening the door for Chloe.

“Thank you and I love steak.”

Chloe settled in and watched Beca run around to the driver’s seat.

“So I’m assuming you went to the doctor for that?”

Chloe laughed. “Yes I did. It was hard to get the blood off the seats, the steering wheel and the console. It was a bloody mess I tell you.”

“Are you crazy? You drove yourself to the hospital?”

“I wasn’t going to call an ambulance for this.”

“So you drove yourself instead?” Beca was shaking her head in disapproval.

“Yeah. I wasn’t going to lie around bleeding.”

“Call me next time.”

“What?”

“Promise me you’ll call me next time.”

Chloe didn’t respond and Beca persisted.

“When you have another one of your clumsy moments call me, okay?”

Chloe nodded. “I’ll keep you in mind for the next one.”

“Good. I want to be there for you. Was that why you were up when you texted me at 3 in the morning?”

“Yeah, I was getting stitches for this guy.” Chloe said pointing to her arm.

Beca inspects Chloe’s arm some more. “How the fuck do you stab yourself?”

“I’m very clumsy.”

***

Beca made reservations at this restaurant. It wasn’t that fancy but it wasn’t a cheap restaurant either. They were being served with wine and stuff.

“It’s good to see that you’re okay.” Chloe eased into their conversation.

“Now you’re the one worrying about me? You’re the one with the banged up arm.”

“You have to admit though even for an agent like you, last night was intense.”

“I’m tougher than you think you know.”

“It’s okay to admit you were shaken up by it.”

“Oh don’t get me wrong. You saw how I was right after. But I’m really okay now.”

“Okay. Good.”

Beca watched Chloe struggle with her steak but she doesn’t complain. Beca can see she was trying her best. She dropped her knife and fork. “Hand me your plate.”

“Why?” Chloe looked up from her plate.

“Just hand me your plate, Chlo.”

Chloe did what she was told and watched Beca cut up her steak for her. It was a very sweet gesture and it was these little things that tugged at Chloe’s heartstrings.

“How are you supposed to work with that hand?” Beca asked as she worked on Chloe’s steak.

“It’s getting better.”

“Is that why Jerry is watching your shop for you this weekend?” Beca was a bit reluctant to finish her question. It was obvious she was fishing.

“Not really. I’m actually flying out to Hawaii first thing tomorrow morning.”

“Oh. Wow. Hawaii. Work?”

“Yeah. Destination wedding. But I’ll be back by Monday. I usually stay longer but there’s just so much to do next week.”

“That’s cool. Do you go there a lot for work?” Beca passed Chloe her plate back.

Chloe smiled at Beca when she reached for her plate back. They ended up just staring at each other. Then Chloe cleared her throat and looked away. “Yeah actually. I go to Hawaii almost four times a year just for work alone.”

“That’s awesome. I’ve never been.”

“Really? Maybe next time you can come with me. I’ll let you know when I get an offer.”

Beca raised her eyebrows at this. She was waiting for Chloe to say she was kidding or something. “If my schedule permits it, then I’d like that.”

“Cool. You can be my assistant again.” Chloe winked at Beca.

“So I was quickly going through the magazine. Are you okay with not getting the credit for your work?”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t think I saw any mention of you or your studio in the magazine but I could be wrong.”

“No you’re right. It’s not there. I don’t know. I don’t do it for the recognition. I'm not too fussed about those things. I like what I do and it’s enough for me when my clients are happy with my work.”

“I still think you should take credit for them.”

“It’s enough for me that the people who matter know.”

“So how did you get into photography?”

Chloe wiped her mouth with a napkin quickly. “Well.”

They spent the rest of the night talking and laughing. They talked about anything under the sun getting to know each other slowly. For once, they were just Beca and Chloe. Chloe tried to be as open as she could with Beca. Beca avoided talking about work and spent most of their dinner gushing about Jessica and her family and how they took her in. Chloe talked about her family and how hard it was living away from home.

Time flew by and the next thing they knew Beca was dropping off Chloe back to her studio. Beca parked right behind Chloe’s pick up.

“Well thanks for dinner. It was very good.” Chloe said when Beca pulled the brake.

“Thanks for saying yes. Can I ask you something?”

“Sure. What is it?”

“Why’d you say yes to dinner with me?”

Chloe shrugged. “I figured what’s dinner between friends, right?”

Beca chuckled at that. Friends. “Is that what this is?”

Even Chloe herself had a hard time convincing herself but she nodded anyway.

Beca continued. “I really enjoyed tonight but will I make it weird if I was hoping this was a date?”

“No. But I don’t think I can give you what you want.”

“Do you even know what I want?” Beca intentionally glanced down to Chloe’s lips when she said it.

“You just said it.” Chloe whispered back.

Beca licked her lips and started to lean forward. Her lips curved upward when Chloe wasn’t moving away. She closed her eyes expecting to meet Chloe halfway for a kiss. She’s wanted to kiss Chloe since the first time she saw her again at the wedding.

But then she heard Chloe unbuckle her seatbelt and Beca opened her eyes. Chloe leaned back and put a hand on Beca’s shoulder. “I’m sorry but what if friendship is all I can offer right now?”

Beca saw she was flushed so she couldn’t figure out what was holding her back. She respected Chloe though and leaned back to her own seat. “You know what, I can do friends. But I will be honest, I don’t want to be just your friend but I want you to be a part of my life so if that means being your friend then I can do that.”

“But I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Either way you will.”

“I don’t want to hurt you anymore than I already have.”

“I can handle it. I may not look it okay, but I’m a tough one. I’ll be okay no matter what.”

“Okay then. I guess that’s settled? I should really get going now.” Chloe leaned in to give Beca a kiss on the cheek. She lingered and knew it was a mistake to look at Beca.

The moment their eyes locked, Chloe unconsciously bit her lip, which made Beca bite her own lips as well copying Chloe. Chloe’s grip on Beca’s shoulder tightened. She really did want to kiss Beca but she knew she couldn’t cross that line again. And the way Beca was looking at her wasn’t helping.

She reminds herself of the situation and clears her throat. “Sorry. Thanks for dinner again. I really enjoyed tonight too.”

“You’re welcome.”

“My treat next time when we’re both free?”

“I’d like that very much.”

***

Chloe was in the first flight out to Hawaii. She sent a text to Beca that she landed in one piece and they were sending texts sporadically to each other all weekend. Chloe was always locked in when it came to work be it taking photos or her other job. But this time, there was something going on with her. She wouldn’t call it being in a funk but there was something off about her and she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.

She loved being a wedding photographer and she loved weddings. She loved being able to witness love, celebrating love and commemorating it by her photos.

There were several photographers hired for the wedding and Chloe was assigned to take pictures of the groom and catch his every reaction. This was an unusual request but it wasn’t uncommon. Folks who had extra money to spend tend to hire more photographers so as not to miss any moment on their wedding day.

It started out like any other. Chloe was able to talk to the groom, Keith, briefly before the ceremony started to introduce her self. Keith was friendly and was very nervous. It was sweet. Chloe would see how his eyes light up at just the mention of his bride, Kristie, and how his voice changes when he talks about her. Or the way his eyes crinkled at the thought of her.

Chloe caught his reaction the moment he saw Kristie walk down the aisle. How he was trying so hard to keep it together and failing terribly. Chloe’s personal favourite would be when she catches Keith looking at Kristie without her knowing. Another one of her favourites is when she catches them laughing together. It’s always like they were in their own little bubble.

Chloe wished that someone would look at her the way Keith would look at Kristie. She wanted what they had. She wonders if Kristie knew. Then she caught them lock eyes and shared a quick moment for them selves in the middle of everything. It was a very intimate moment.

Chloe looks down at the photos she took and smiled. “Of course she knows.”

***

Beca spent most of her weekend drowning herself with work and packing. She tried her best not to keep replaying her dinner with Chloe and how it ended. She’s been trying to figure out where she went wrong or what she could’ve done better.

She knows its close to impossible but she had to try to set aside whatever it was with Chloe cause starting tomorrow all her focus must be on the reaper’s case.

Chloe (11:51pm): Are you awake? Can I call?

Beca was in the middle of packing and reviewing her notes when she saw the text. She hasn’t heard from Chloe since that afternoon. Her fingers had a mind of their own and pressed dial.

Chloe answered on the second ring. “Hey, everything okay?” Beca asked as soon as Chloe picked up.

“Hi. I hope I didn’t wake you or anything.”

“No no, I was awake. I’m just doing some last minute things. I procrastinated all day.”

“Oh. So you’re home?”

“Yeah. Just preparing for work. But don’t worry I have time to talk.”

“Okay.” Chloe was hesitating about something and Beca didn’t want to scare her away.

“So what time is it there?” Beca tried to make small talk to make Chloe a little comfortable.

“Close to midnight.”

“Really?” Beca double-checks the time on her phone. “Huh. That’s odd. Here too. I always thought Hawaii was ahead or behind by three hours or something.”

“It is. It’s behind three hours.”

“But it’s midnight here too.” It didn’t take Beca long to put two and two together. “Wait wait wait. Are you home?”

“Sort of.”

“Sort of?”

“If you’re asking whether I’m home in LA then yes but if you’re asking whether I’m home in my house, then no.”

“Oh. Are you at the airport then? Do you need me to come pick you up? I can do that. I don’t mind.”

Chloe sighed. “This is so stupid I’m sorry.”

“What? Wait. What do you mean? Chlo whatever it is. It’s not stupid. I can get in my car right now and come get you.”

“I’m outside your door.”

“I’m sorry. What?”

“I’m outside your door.” Chloe repeated. “I’m sorry I told you this was stupid.”

“No no. Stay where you are. I’m coming.”

Beca didn’t even care she was in her sweats or that her hair was up in a messy bun. She started running to her front door anyway. She only dropped her phone when she opened it and saw Chloe in the flesh.

“Oh my god. Have you been waiting out here long?” Beca looked around and saw Chloe’s pick up parked in front of her house.

“Not long. Hi.”

“Did you come here straight from the airport?”

“Yeah.”

“Come in, come in.”

“Actually I just wanted to tell you something.”

“Well you can tell me inside. Come on. I promise no funny business.”

Chloe laughed at that a little. She can’t believe Beca said that but she got distracted when she saw all the clothes in the lounge area. “Are you going somewhere?”

“Yeah. I’m going away for work for about two weeks actually.”

“Oh. Did you want me to let you finish first?” Chloe knew better than to ask Beca about work.

“No. Chloe it’s fine. I just need to stuff ‘em in a bag. Is everything okay? I mean I wasn’t expecting to see you again so soon after you know.” Beca couldn’t hide that she was worried. Chloe wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t serious.

“I know. But there was something I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole time I was there and it was disrupting my work and that whole thing felt so new to me.”

“Okay. What is it? How can I help?”

“I couldn’t stop thinking about you.” Chloe said it as if it was the most normal thing to say.

“Oh.”

“I know this isn’t fair after what I said. And I know I said friendship was all I could offer and I shouldn’t really be here. But we both know that’s bullshit especially with how much I want to kiss you right now.”

Beca was still in the middle of processing the fact that Chloe was here, that she was okay and that she was here because she wants to kiss her.

“I still don’t know if I can offer you anything more than friendship and it’s not you I swear. You’re nothing short of amazing and anyone would be lucky to be with you.”

This was very unusual for Beca. She wasn’t used to Chloe being the one rambling between the two of them.

“So I’m sorry for coming here unannounced. It was just driving me crazy and I had to figure this out cause if I’m distracted it’s going to affect my work and I can’t have anything affecting my work.”

Beca could see Chloe’s hand was still wrapped in bandages. She reached for it. “You sure it’s not because of this?”

Chloe looked down at her hand that Beca was holding and starts shaking her head. Beca was rubbing her thumb over her wrist and Chloe found it distracting. “No. I wish it was that easy.”

Beca took one step closer to Chloe. “Can I say something?”

“Please.”

“Stop apologizing and feeling bad for being here and for telling me how you’re feeling. I like knowing what’s going on in that pretty head of yours.”

Chloe rolled her eyes at that. She tried to pull her hand back but Beca just held on to it tighter.

“You’re not taking advantage of anything if that’s what you’re thinking. I stand by what I said. If friendship is all that you can offer then I’ll accept that. If there’s more but you don’t know yet or aren’t too sure about then that’s fine with me too. You don’t have to figure it all out right now. I can just be there with you while you figure it out. Maybe we can even figure it out together.”

When Beca felt like Chloe was about to protest, she shook her head and gently kissed the spot that her thumb had been caressing. “I want to be there with you while you figure it out and in case I haven’t made it clear, I’ve been wanting to kiss you too.”

Beca placed both of Chloe’s hands around her neck and wrapped her hands around Chloe’s waist like they were about to slow dance to something.

“How about we take things slow, at our own pace and see where it takes us? No expectations, no labels, no overthinking, no rules and no pressure. We just get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company. What do you say?” Beca sounded hopeful.

“Like friends with benefits?”

“No not like that. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind… that. We kinda did that already anyway and if it happens then I’m all for it but that’s not what this is about. This is more than sex. I want us to be something more exclusive, between just the two of us. Cause what’s the point of doing this if we see other people, right?”

“Right. So we tell each other if we do cause like you said this is pointless if we get to a point where we want to see other people.”

“Yeah. Exactly.” Beca was nodding.

“Okay.”

“Okay?” Beca tried to keep it cool.

“Why do you sound surprised?”

“Nothing. I just can’t believe you’re here and that you were in Hawaii, an actual paradise, but you were too caught up thinking about me.”

Chloe caught on to Beca’s teasing and started tracing the back of Beca’s neck with her fingers. “Now let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. You weren’t all that I was thinking about.”

“Shh… let me have this.”

Chloe just laughed at Beca’s antics but there was a shift in the tension between them.

Beca looked straight into Chloe’s eyes. “This would be the perfect time to kiss me you know. You have my permission.”

Chloe froze. There was nothing left of her resolve at this point. She already knew she was in trouble. She would just have to deal with the consequences later.

Beca was patient. She didn’t push Chloe any further than that. She said her peace. She wants this to be Chloe’s choice. So when Chloe gently tucked her hair behind her ears and cupped her cheek, Beca almost forgot how to breathe.

Chloe finally gave in. She closed her eyes and leaned in to kiss Beca. Beca met her halfway and kissed her back. Their kiss was gentle at first but not tentative. It wasn’t demure as well. They were open mouth kisses and it was a slow build as if they were getting to know each other again.

Chapter Text

“What? So you guys kissed and then she left? Is that a good thing? Did she say anything?”

Jessica picked Beca up this Monday morning since they decided to carpool to work. They were going to be in the remote office for the next two weeks and they figured it was convenient if they had just one car.

“Well we both had work today.” Beca said.

“So you kicked her out?”

“No of course not. She said she just needed to get it off her chest and that she got more than what she came for.”

“Which was?”

“This understanding we have now.” Beca felt weird talking about this with Jessica when she hasn’t been able to really talk to Chloe about it yet.

“So let me get this straight. She just got back from Hawaii then went to your house at midnight to tell you she couldn’t stop thinking about you and that you couldn’t be just friends cause she wanted to kiss you but she doesn’t know if she could offer you more than that?”

“Yes.” Beca answered simply.

“And then she agrees to your proposal that you should go on this set up to figure out your feelings and you tell her you want to kiss her too and then you guys kiss and then she leaves?”

“Exactly that.” Beca continued to nod.

“So it’s like you’re together but not?”

Beca hesitated for a bit then smiled. She had to look away from Jessica biting her lip. “I guess so.”

Jessica doesn’t seem to notice and was more distracted as she let’s this new information sink in. She was really considering the situation Beca and Chloe were in.

“Don’t judge her. It was my idea. I’m just glad she went along with it.”

“No I’m not judging either of you. I’m just processing.”

“I don’t know Jess. I couldn’t help myself. She’s smart, funny, she’s unapologetic.”

“Not to mention she’s gorgeous.”

Beca rolled her eyes. “Yeah that too. But it’s more than that I swear. I mean don’t get me wrong that is a huge plus. But you know me.”

“Have you talked to her since?”

“She texted me last night to let me know she got home safe.”

“What did she say about you being away for two weeks?”

“Nothing. I think she understands. Knowing what I do, she doesn’t really ask much about work, which I really appreciate. Can we please focus on the reaper’s case now?”

“Just one more question I promise.”

“Okay fine. What?”

“Did she say why? Why the sudden change of heart?”

Beca wondered about the same thing. She could tell from the start, there was something holding Chloe back. So she feels good that Chloe is willing to bet on her. “She said it was distracting her, it affected her work and she doesn’t like it when it affects her work.”

Jessica only hummed her response.

“Now can we please focus on the reaper?”

“Yes. But don’t think you’ve gotten off the hook already. We will come back to this. Ash will kill me if she finds out you have a girlfriend and I didn’t tell her.”

“She’s not my girlfriend. “ Beca grumbled back while crossing her arms.

“Whatever you say Becs.”

***

Luke and Lily spent the week doing drive bys around the area. There was no spotting of the target but the presence of FBI agents, there was always at least two in the building and several more outside, told them he was indeed there. Lily was more careful since she had the more tedious work of checking the security and giving Chloe a clean way in and out of the building.

Chloe may seem laid back but she was meticulous with the brief and instructions. It was too risky for her to do her actual viewing of the area knowing that the FBI is involved and relied on the reports of everyone else.

“Alright. Now that I have everyone here.” Kommissar as always headed their meetings. “Chloe how are we feeling?”

“Good.” Chloe didn’t follow it up with anything. No one questioned it either. If Chloe said she was good, then she was good.

“Okay. Have you read their reports?”

“Yup. It’s enough. Thanks guys I appreciate all your work.” Chloe smiled at Lily and Luke.

“Very well.” Kommissar clapped her hands together. “So final preparations, before anything else, I think we should decide and lock in on a date. Instructions are specific, anytime between Friday and Sunday.” Kommissar went around the table.

It still didn’t sit well with Chloe that they had to choose between those days only. But she lets it go. “I have a photo shoot on Monday so I would like to keep my Sunday free if that’s okay.” Chloe said.

“As usual for me, Friday and Saturday nights are really busy nights at the pub.” Lily said.

“I’m on call on Friday and Saturday but no work for me on Sunday.” Luke said.

Then finally everyone turns to Chloe. When it came to deciding the when, Chloe had the last say. After all, she was the one who’s going to be on the ground doing the actual work.

***

Tensions were high in their remote headquarters. Deputy director Posen confirmed a week ago that the reaper indeed accepted the job. Everyone was getting anxious cause in reality the reaper could come anytime. There had been nothing suspicious around the safe house. It was almost eerie. It was like the calm before the storm.

Beca was having a hard time sleeping cause how could she knowing the reaper was coming. She just got off her lookout shift and decided to grab lunch before heading back to the apartment. She was like a walking zombie when she crashed into someone.

“Oh my god I’m so sorry.”

She saw the familiar tripods and lighting equipment first. “Oh my god Chloe.”

Beca didn’t know whether she should be happy or nervous that she randomly ran into Chlo. She was supposed to be ‘undercover’.

Chloe was just as surprised as her. “Beca.”

“What are you doing here?” They both ask each other at the same time before they were both chuckling nervously.

Beca noticed again Chloe’s hands were full. “Do you need help? Here let me.”

Chloe stepped away from Beca. She had a camera bag over her shoulder, a couple tripods on one hand and a briefcase holding her gun with her injured hand. It wasn’t the best time to run into an FBI detective.

“No worries I got it. I have a photo shoot coming up so I picked up a few things from a friend’s gallery.”

Beca was still busy looking at her stuff then her injured hand that was clutching on to the briefcase. “You’re looking professional. What are you doing here?” Chloe asked again forcing Beca to look up at her.

“I’m in a conference. I was just going to grab lunch. Can I at least walk you to your car or something? Doesn’t that hurt your hand?” Beca offers to reach for the briefcase.

Chloe had to think fast. She didn’t want to be suspicious. “Are you sure? I don’t want to bother you or waste your time or something during your lunch break.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Beca gently tugged on the case. “I insist.”

“Thank you. Here.” She hands Beca the tripods instead. She holds her camera with her free hand and lifts the briefcase. “But I got this. These are my babies.”

“I get it. Lead the way.”

They were walking together in silence. It was awkward for very different but almost the same reasons.

“So how have you been?” Beca asked.

“I’ve been good. There are a lot of deadlines to meet but I’m not that swamped yet. You?”

“Yeah busy busy. I’ll have more free time in a week or two. Those reports aren’t gonna write themselves.”

“It’s okay. I know how busy you can get.”

Beca didn’t really know what else to say. So they went back to walking in silence. Then she saw Chloe’s pick up parked along the curb.

“Just put those in the back. Thanks.”

Beca does just that while Chloe went to the passenger side to put her stuff there. Beca patiently waits for her by the driver’s side.

When Chloe walks back around, Beca opens the door for her. “I’m sorry if I’m being weird. I’m really new to this.”

“Don’t worry you’re not the only one.”

“I really am happy to see you. You have no idea how tempted I am to ditch this conference. There’s nothing I want more than to hop in and just go wherever you’re going.”

“Me too.”

Beca’s phone then starts to ring. She looks at it and it’s work. “Fuck. I have to take this.”

Chloe “Hey. It’s okay. I understand you’re busy.” Then Chloe’s phone starts to ring as well.

Beca smirked. “Apparently we both are.”

Chloe sighed. “Yeah I guess you’re right.”

With their phones ringing simultaneously, Beca put her phone in her back pocket and reached for both of Chloe’s hands. “I know it’s hectic and I can’t promise that it will be less hectic but we’ll make this work. We’ll find time I promise and I will make it up to you.”

“I’m not worried. I’m sure we’ll both make it up to each other.”

“Can I get a quick hug at least before I let you go?”

“I think you can get more than a hug.”

“Really?”

“Come here.” Chloe pulled Beca in for a kiss but pulled back when she heard their phones ringing again.

“Don’t you dare leave me hanging here.”

“I’m sorry. I think we should really take these calls.” Chloe said.

Beca smirked and titled her head to the side slightly. “I can spare a minute if you can?”

Chloe rolled her eyes but she was laughing as she went in for the kiss. They became one of those cheesy couples that were laughing and kissing in the middle of downtown LA like they were a regular couple. Chloe forgets about the gun in the briefcase and Beca forgets the reaper’s case even for just a minute.

***

Since the beginning Luke or Lily had always dropped off Chloe at the location. However this time, they changed it up because the FBI’s involved. They weren’t sure how much the FBI’s covered when it came to safe houses but Chloe parked her motorcycle about three blocks away. She was in her usual all black ensemble and only brought her gun and pocketknife with her.

Chloe decided to get it done first thing that Friday. For her the earlier the better. She thought this was a quick job but she knew something was wrong as soon as she turned the corner. Her training was kicking in hard and she was on high alert. Instincts told her to run but she was being stubborn despite knowing she was potentially walking into a trap.

She was usually in the dark when she worked. She had zero communication and she didn’t bring a phone. Lily could only track her through her watch and she was glad she was wearing hers tonight.

There was something very unnatural about her surroundings. Thankfully she hasn’t caught anyone’s attention. She trusted the reports provided to her and went through with the plan anyway. For some reason Chloe couldn’t walk away. She watched the back door for sometime and walked closer when she thought she was alone.

All of a sudden the backdoor opened. A guy came out holding trash bags. Chloe looked small in front of him. She smiled at him and shrugged.

“Yes can I help you? You can’t be here Ma’am.”

Chloe didn’t speak cause she was worried the guy might be wearing a recording device. She also had a feeling the whole place is bugged.

She watched the guy’s face as it dawns on him who was actually in front of him. Before he could do anything Chloe had already taken her gun out and shot him in the chest twice.

At this point, Chloe still had a choice to walk away. She had no idea how much more men were in the building. It was now or never she thought but she still couldn’t find it in her to walk away. She knew where the target was, all she had to do was get there without being seen anymore and no one else would get hurt.

She was wrong. She ran into two more men and she both just shot them quickly. She looked into the coats of one of them and confirmed they were indeed FBI. Then she remembers running into Beca not too long ago and put two and two together. This was her assignment. They knew. Time was running out for Chloe, it wouldn’t take long for the rest of Beca’s team to find out that she was in the building already. She continued to make her way to the study.

She could smell cigar and there was light coming from underneath the door. She opened it and stepped in with her gun out already. Mr Salazo was there casually reading the news.

“So it’s true. The reaper was coming for me.” He said without looking up.

Chloe never hesitated and would usually shoot her targets on the spot. But this time it was different. This was a trap and she was going to get to the bottom of it. Chloe closed the door of his study.

“Wait I know you from somewhere.”

Chloe looked around the room for any cameras.

“Don’t worry. This is the only room that is not bugged. It was my only request. But of course in exchange I couldn’t keep my phone.”

Chloe wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth but she couldn’t help it anymore. “Pardon me if I want to skip the pleasantries but I had a very interesting run in with the FBI just now. They were waiting for me. Did you have anything to do with that?”

“What? Set you up? I’m quite offended you ask.”

Chloe doesn’t drop the gun. “But you know who did right?”

“Let me see. I can think of only one person dumb enough to try and set you up and make deals with the FBI.”

“And?”

“Who do you think?”

Chloe resisted from rolling her eyes. “Well, there is only one other person I’m sure who knows about this.”

Mr. Salazo looked Chloe in the eye. “I’ll make you a deal right now and I know we don’t have much time so I’ll make it quick. I’ll pay you triple and be indebted to you. I am a powerful friend to have.”

“You’ve seen my face. You know who I am. Why will I let you live?”

“Believe me when I say this, you are worth so much more to me alive and out of jail. You know what usually throws people over the edge. It’s what you and I have in common. Betrayal and heartbreak.” Mr. Salazo raised his hands in defeat. “Look you can kill me now then kill my son but we both know that you will be sending the wrong message. I don’t need to know why you do the things you do. But imagine the things we can do together. Let me prove to you that I can be trusted.”

Chloe doesn’t even think about it. She found it amusing that this man was even trying to negotiate with her.

“You know you’re not wrong. It’s nothing personal but you see Mr. Salazo. Killing you is sending a message to the FBI.”

“Wait but imagine what we can accomplish together. The FBI won’t know what hit them.”

“I have one question for you then.”

“Anything.”

“How important could you be if the FBI’s willing to use you as bait? They’re either risking your life cause you would be tempting to me and they’re confident they will catch me or you’re not actually worth much. Honestly I think it’s the latter.”

For the first time since they began talking, there was fear in his eyes. “Please think about this. You know I can help you. Don’t be stupid.”

Chloe starts to laugh at him and lowers her gun. Mr. Salazo starts laughing with her and adds. “I knew you were smart. I promise you won’t regret this. Together we will be untouchable.”

Chloe nods. “And you’re pathetic. Don’t worry, I’m going straight for your son after this.”

She doesn’t hesitate this time and shoots him in between the eyes.

***

Beca and Jessica had an alternating 12-hour shift with Ben and Andrew where the girls opted for the 4pm to 4am shift. This is what their schedule’s been like for the past week and they would walk back to the apartments after their shift. On that Friday morning when they finished just after 4am and swapped with the boys, they were half way to when Jessica receives a call from Aubrey.

Beca watched her partner take instructions. She anxiously waited for Jessica to tell her what was going on.

“What is it?” Beca asked her as soon as she got off the phone.

“She doesn’t want to blow everyone’s cover but one of the undercover agents isn’t responding.”

“What about Ben and Andrew?”

“They are in the building and reported no change in status. But she still wants us to check it out.”

They rushed back to the safe house. It was barely 5 in the morning so it was still a bit dark and almost no one in the streets. There was no change at the front and they were slowly making their way to the back.

There was no change and they were about to report clear until they realised there was no one there. They had one agent undercover watching this area. They both took their gun out and slowly approached.

Jessica reported it to Aubrey and they received instructions to enter the house. They tried contacting Andrew and Ben next. It didn’t help when neither responded.

They went through the back door but it was jammed. They tried pushing harder but froze when they heard someone groaning from the other side. They looked down and saw blood coming from under the gap. That’s when they realised it’s probably their missing agent. It pained the both of them to force the door open knowing they were hurting the guy but they had no choice.

Jessica stayed with the injured agent who was barely alive and called it in. Beca made her way inside the house. She didn’t want to think the worst but the moment she saw a bleeding Andrew, her heart stopped a second time.

She rushed to his side. “What happened?”

“I didn’t even hear her. She just shot me and left.”

“Is she still here?”

“I don’t know. Have you seen Ben?”

“No but I’ll find him. Hang in there. Medics are coming.”

Andrew choked on his own blood and started coughing. “Wait. Tell my mom I’m so sorry and that I love her so much.”

“No you’re going to be fine and you’re going to be the one telling her that.”

Andrew’s grip tightened and loosened. “Please. Promise me.”

“I promise but Andrew I need you to stay with me.”

“Thank you.” Those were Andrew’s last words to Beca.

“No no no no no no. Stay with me. Andrew. Andrew!” Andrew’s whole body went limp and Beca laid him down slowly blinking back the tears. She shut her eyes trying to compose herself.

“Fuck.”

Beca stood up with her gun out. She knows the building like the palm of her hand. She knew the reaper was still here and knows Mr Salazo is at his study at this time.

She didn’t see Ben on her way there. The door was slightly ajar but it was dark inside. Already, Beca had a bad feeling about it. She pushes the door open slowly and turns on the lights.

Nothing could prepare her for what she would see next despite it being a familiar sight. Beca had to catch her breath, she was too late. Mr. Salazo was on his chair with a bullet in his head. Then she sees some movement in her peripheral but that’s the last thing she remembers. A solid hit to the back of her neck and everything went black.

***

The moment Kommissar heard Chloe checked back into their headquarters she was all over her.

“Where the fuck have you been? What happened to your tracker?”

“I had to get rid of it. Sorry I’m late.” She dropped two duffel bags on the table. “Is Luke here?”

“Why what’s wrong and what are those? Where have you been?”

Chloe winced as she removed her jacket. “I think it’s a glass shard. It’s been poking my side.” She then tapped her bulletproof vest twice. “Plus it’s a good thing I wore this today.”

“Chloe what did you do?”

Kommissar and Lilly looked with wide eyes. Chloe has been shot several times. Before they can hound her some more, Chloe then faints and they caught her just in time.

“Luke!” Kommissar and Lily called out with an unconscious Chloe in their arms.

***

Beca was sitting at the back of an ambulance. The sun was up now but it was barely 8am.

“Beca oh my god you’re finally awake. Are you okay?” Jessica started checking Beca for any sign of other injuries as soon as she found her. “What happened back there?”

“I don’t know. It all happened so fast. Is Ben-?”

Jess shook her head. Ben was also found dead. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”

“No. I just don’t understand. She easily shot Andrew, Ben, Salazo, but left me unconscious on the floor. Why?”

“Who knows what’s going on in a psycho’s mind? I’m just glad you’re alive.”

“No. But why spare me? Is it because I’m a girl?”

It didn’t make sense to Beca. She had a hard time to accept that her life was spared while others lost theirs. Why her?

“Let’s not think about it right now. I understand you’re in shock. You could’ve died. I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you.”

Beca was clearly shaken up. “I know but I couldn’t just stand there knowing she was inside too.”

“I’m really glad you’re okay and I know that look. Don’t blame yourself for what happened. We all knew what we signed up for. We were all in this together.”

“How’s Posen?”

“Damage control I guess.”

“How bad is it?”

“We lost three agents and Salazo. Nothing could be worse than this.”

Beca’s mind was reeling. She felt like she was going to faint. She remembers the smell of blood, Andrew’s last moments and how she dropped her guard when she saw the victim.

“How could I be so stupid? She was right there Jess. We were in the same room. She was almost right next to me.”

Ashley then came running to them. “I just got a call. We have to go right now.”

“What is it? Where?” Jessica asked.

“Rafael Salazo Jr.”

“What about him?”

“He’s dead along with eight of his security team. The reaper came for him too.”

***

When Chloe woke up hours later, Kommissar, Lily and Luke surrounded her and were all looking down at her. She felt a rush of déjà vu for when she first met them.

“Great. You’re up.” Luke spoke first. “So nothing major. I stitched up your left side where the glass shard was stuck. I will be visiting you at least once a day to get that cleaned. Keep it dry at all times and restrain from physical activity at least until it heals.”

Kommissar stepped back and crossed her arms. She was trying her best to be patient.

“Here are pain meds if you need them. Take them only when necessary. You also have two broken ribs but no need for surgery. They should heal on their own. No rigorous activity for six weeks. We’ll get you another x-ray then to see how they’ve healed. If they start hurting just stop whatever you’re doing. You know the drill.”

Luke injected the anesthesia. “This should help for now and call me if you need anything. I’m sorry I’m rushing I have to go back to the hospital.”

“Thanks Luke.” Chloe finally said.

“You’re welcome. Take it easy. I’ll see you tonight.”

Luke packed up his things and turned to Kommissar and Lily. “Ladies.”

“Thanks Luke.” They both said.

As soon as Luke was out the door, Kommissar wasn’t holding back. “What the fuck were you thinking?”

“You gotta be more specific than that Cap.” Chloe could blame all the meds for her response.

“Don’t be cheeky with me now.”

Chloe sighed. “The FBI knew we were coming. It was a set up right from the start.”

“Yes and you still went for it. Why didn’t you abort?”

“I had a job to do.”

“A job? At what cost Chloe? What’s the point of all your training if you ignore the signs? This wasn’t worth it.”

“I just knew I could handle it. It’s only not worth it if I had died but I didn’t.”

“Yeah but look where that got you. And you killed Salazo Jr. Are you out of your mind? You can’t just walk in there.”

“That’s funny cause that’s exactly what I did. He was working with the FBI. He set us up and that’s what he got.”

“We should’ve at least talked about it first.”

“You want to talk about it? The same way you wanted to talk about the job. I told you from the start something was suspicious about this whole thing. So forgive me if I wasn’t very inclined to talk.”

“Okay I get it but you can’t be this reckless all the time.”

“Look I went there, got the rest of our money and kept our reputation. I don’t know why you’re so mad.”

“I’m not mad. I’m just having a hard time understanding. You leave witnesses alive but you just went on a massive killing spree. It looks like a massacre out there. I don’t want to think you’ve completely lost it but I’m seriously starting to get worried.”

Chloe found that amusing. She knew it was gonna hurt but she ended up laughing like a maniac anyway. It hurt so much. She was laughing and wincing in pain at the same time.

“Trust me. You would know if I’ve completely lost it. I understand that you would consider what I did as too reckless but I wanted to send a message and you’re welcome.”

“A message to who?”

“To all of them. I don’t know who approached who first and I don’t care. What I do know is one of them tried to set us up so everyone paid for it.”

Kommissar looked to Lily for help. She’s been very quiet. It was always hard to argue with Chloe. Lily may not agree with how Chloe did it but she can’t deny Chloe had a point. “She did hit two birds with one stone. No one will dare set us up now, not even the FBI.”

“Do you think they know about Chloe?”

“Of course not.” Lily assured her. “If they did, the Director would’ve been on the first flight out of Washington.”

“I actually want them to come for me. I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they realise I’ve just been here this whole time.” Chloe said.

Kommissar sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t hear you out.”

“We’re good, Sar.”

Kommissar looked her over and smirked. “I do enjoy seeing you in pain. Get some rest. Lily will take you home later tonight.”

“That’s it? So you haven’t seen the video then.”

“What video?”

Chloe just smiled and closed her eyes ready to sleep some more.

“There’s something you should see Cap.” Chloe heard Lily say before giving into sleep.

***

Beca was a wreck after that. Scratch that. The whole FBI as an organisation was a wreck after what happened. Everyone was in a state of shock. It wasn’t that they weren’t ready but the reaper came first thing Friday morning before the break of dawn. It all happened so fast.

They lost three agents and it hasn’t even been a full day since their last meeting in this exact same room.

The biggest question for Beca was how she got in and out so easily. The place was supposed to be foolproof. They were still in their remote office waiting for Aubrey to update them on what’s been going on. Everyone was quiet. There were no words to say in their current situation.

Aubrey wasted no time and went down to business as soon as she walked in.

“A report is being prepared by our audio and video team as we speak. I want everyone’s reports in by the end of this day. Our fellow agents will not die in vain. We will get this guy.”

Aubrey continued after a slight pause. “I’m sure everyone is aware that Rafael Salazo Jr was also murdered. So were eight of his security. His family thankfully is out of town. But we have a bigger problem.”

Aubrey played the video in the screen in front of them.

“My name is Rafael Salazo Jr. The FBI approached me and asked for my help in catching their guy but in order to do so my father was to be used as bait. I would never pay someone to kill my father. I felt cornered and I didn’t have a choice. They were going to frame me either way. FBI Director Abernathy-McKadden and Deputy director Posen put me up to this. How could I refuse? Me and my family were going to get immunity and protection in return.”

Then the screen went black. Beca couldn’t believe what she just watched. “Where did you get that?”

“My friends in the media sent them to me this morning as a heads up. It’s going to be everywhere in less than an hour.”

“How much trouble are we in?”

Aubrey sighed. “We don’t know yet. But we do have reason to believe the reaper was the one recording this. We have sent this video to our experts hoping to pick up anything.”

“So what now?”

“We wait. I ask you all to hang in there. The next few weeks will be tough but it will be taken care of. I thank you all for your work. But right now, take this time for yourself. I will see you all on Monday.”

***

Lily dropped Chloe off at her apartment that night as planned. She was glad to see Luke was already waiting outside Chloe’s door.

“Good you’re here. I have to go.” Lily handed Luke Chloe’s stuff. “Chlo I love you. Text me if you need anything. I’ll be back in the morning, okay?”

“I’ll be fine. Go go. Thank you for driving me.”

Luke held up the duffel bag and the briefcase knowing full well what Lily just handed him. “Seriously? You’re just casually carrying this around?”

Lily shrugged and turned to walk back towards the lifts. Luke was shaking his head. Chloe got her key out and unlocked her door with Luke following closely behind her.

“Right so where should I put these?”

“Just there on the counter. I’ll put them away later.”

Chloe grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and settled on her three-seater recliner chair in the lounge.

“How are you feeling?” Luke asked as he set up in front of her.

“Not good. My ribs are killing me.”

“I promise you it will only get better from here. Your ribs will take the most time to heal but it will be okay. Where does it hurt the most now?”

“Everywhere hurts. Hey Luke?”

“Hm?” Luke asked without looking up from his med kit.

“Am I a bad person? Be honest.”

“You and a conscience. That’s new. It doesn’t suit you.”

“Ugh be serious. I was so mad when I found out it was a trap. I couldn’t let it go.”

“I know. I know your triggers.”

Chloe sighed.

“Alright. So let me clean this up then I’ll give you more painkillers then leave you for the night to rest. I’ll be back tomorrow as well before my shift, okay? Do you need anything else?”

“Sure and I’m good. Thanks Luke.”

“You want me to help you to your room or you good here?”

“I think I’ll stay here for the night.”

Luke stood up and grabbed the blanket at the side table. He put the blanket over Chloe and said. “You may have done heinous things but you’re not a bad person. I can tell you at least that much.”

Chloe smiled anyway. “I know you’re just saying that but thanks anyway. I’ll take it.”

Luke chuckled. “Good night Chlo. I’ll see myself out.”

***

Yesterday was brutal and it wasn’t about to get better. Beca spent most of the night at the doctor’s clinic making sure she was cleared from a concussion. They were instructed to avoid and ignore the press and for what she’s been through, Beca was also encouraged to go on leave for at least a week.

For the first time she walked into her house that morning and it was a little too quiet for her. It made her think of Chloe and the last time they were here. Beca hasn’t talked to Chloe properly since the start of their assignment. She was really looking forward to share with her the good news but now that the Salazo family was suing them, the whole investigation was suspended.

If she was being honest, she wasn’t sure if she still had a job. Aubrey was handling it surprisingly well. Aubrey also said to them that her and the Director would be releasing a joint statement on behalf of the FBI.

Beca doesn’t remember falling asleep but she did. When she woke up in her own bed later that morning, it took her a second to remember where she was. She still couldn’t believe what happened in the last 24 hours. It was surreal. It felt like she was in the middle of her worst nightmare.

She reaches for her phone and went through several messages from Jessica and Ashley. Even Beth sent her a text. She wasn’t sure why she was even hoping to see a message from her mom but there wasn’t any. She also noticed there wasn’t any from Chloe. She checks the time and thought it should be a good time to call Chloe. She was going through her contacts when her phone rang. Chloe beat her to it.

“Hey. I was just about to call you.”

“Hey Bec? Did you just wake up?”

Beca sat up. Just by hearing Chloe’s voice, she could tell there was something wrong. “Are you okay? Chlo? You don’t sound so good.”

There was a slight pause before Chloe spoke again. “Remember when you said call you if I have another one of my clumsy moments?”

All of Beca’s worries about work disappeared in an instant. Right now, all she could think about was Chloe and to make sure she’s okay.

“What happened? What do you need? Where are you?”

“I’ll text you the address.”

***

Upon the release of the video, news broke out on the multiple deaths that occurred on Friday morning. The media has been eating up all the stories surrounding the incideny. The FBI was vague and ambiguous with their approach to the media but maintained their integrity and innocence. They will trust the legal process and intend to not comment on anything that they think will tarnish the sanctity of their investigations.

Chloe left it to Lily and Kommissar to decide what to do with the video. In the end Kommissar was the one who gave it to the media but before she did she contacted an old friend.

Ralph Salazo is the youngest son of Rafael Salazo Sr. He is now the leader of the Salazo Cartel and he is the one suing the federal government on behalf of his family.

Ralph was surprised to see Kommissar in his office. He had just gotten back from a press conference.

“You have quite the nerve showing up here Kommissar.”

“Honestly I wasn’t sure how you were going to take it.”

“I am forever indebted to your team. Whatever you need just let me know. But I have to ask, this guy the FBI’s after, one of yours?”

“First of all same here and likewise. Should you need any assistance please do not hesitate to call us. And yes, one of ours.”

“You see. I’ve done a lot of thinking. My brother’s death and my father’s death, who should I blame? What if lashing out on the FBI is not enough?”

“We are with you in your grieving but I will not impose anything on you. You should do what you think is best and what will give you peace of mind.”

“And if it’s your guy?”

“Then so be it. We will just have to deal with it then.”

Ralph offered his hand to Kommissar. “I appreciate you coming here but I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave. I’m sure you understand.”

Kommissar returned it with a firm handshake. “I wasn’t intending on staying any longer. Thank you for your time.”

Chapter Text

Beca was rushing. She was running around her house after receiving a call from Chloe. She shouldn’t be that worried. Chloe did assure her she was okay, just a little banged up.

Wallet… keys… phone… house keys… Fuck what else do I need?

Broken ribs. God. How did she even get her ribs broken? “I swear I should look into protective equipment for photographers.” Beca said shaking her head.

She was on her way out but when she opened the door she was surprised to see the one and only Deputy director standing outside her house.

“Going somewhere?”

“Yes actually. Can I help you with anything?”

“We need to talk.”

It sounded like an order and as much as Beca wanted to tell Aubrey she couldn’t stay she walked back in and stepped aside to let her in.

Beca led Aubrey to the living room and offered her to sit on the couch. “Can I get you anything? Water, coffee?”

“No I’m not staying long and you’re obviously in a rush to somewhere.”

Beca put a hand at the back of her neck out of habit. “Yeah.”

“It’s something to do with the reaper case.” This got Beca’s attention and she sat straighter. “I figured since you are leading the investigation, you deserve to know this but you can’t tell anyone. Not even Jessica. Not yet.”

“Okay.” Aubrey got Beca’s full attention now.

“The viral video was recorded on Rafael Salazo Jr.’s phone.”

“Did they find the phone?”

“Ralph Salazo has it. He said someone sent it to him. Maybe to help his case.”

Beca was nodding. “Okay. So will it? What will they find in his phone?”

“We’re not worried. They won’t find anything there.”

“Okay. Good good. So as far as we know, they don’t have proof of our communication with Salazo Jr.?

“Yes and they won’t find any.”

“Okay. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you communicate with him then?”

Aubrey looked away for a second then looked straight into Beca’s eyes. “We didn’t.”

“What do you mean? Surely you did somehow. Otherwise, how would we have known about all those things?”

Aubrey sighed. “I’m only telling you this cause I trust you and you’ve devoted a lot for this case.”

Beca nodded urging Aubrey to keep going.

“We didn’t because we weren’t working with him. We were working with Ralph Salazo.”

Beca was taken aback. “The same guy who’s suing us?”

“Yes and it’s only right that he should. The video wasn’t part of the plan. It complicates things but not so much.”

“Do we have a lead then? A lot of people died in this operation. Please tell me it wasn’t for nothing.”

“Ralph knows he can’t win the case but he says he has something so we will be having a settlement conference with him.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me. All those lives lost and we don’t even have anything. Is this even worth it?”

“It’s something Beca and we’re going to have to make it worth it. He says he knows who sent him the phone.”

“The phone. Only the reaper would have had it.”

“Exactly.”

***

Chloe tried to relax. She did her deep breaths while waiting. Beca was on her way. She made sure her apartment was clean. She was worried about seeing Beca. She knows what she did to her but she did her absolute best to cause as little damage to her as possible. There was a light knock that made her jump and caused a sudden pang of pain from her ribs. She figured she deserved that one for hitting Beca at the back of her neck.

Chloe opens the door to a wide-eyed Beca. “Hey. Come in.”

“What the fuck? This is where you live? I remember looking up these apartments, isn’t the rent at $4,000 a month or something?” Beca was like a little kid in her favourite store.

Chloe just hummed in response. “About.” It was actually $4,250 but Beca didn’t need to know that. “Want a mini tour?”

Beca followed Chloe around as she showed the bedrooms, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the living room and the balcony.

“Wow you have a two bedroom and a nice view. Where’s your roommate?”

“I live alone. Although my friends stay over often so I figured having an extra room would be convenient.”

“Dude. How much do photographers make?”

“I don’t know dude. Depends on the gig really.”

Beca looks around some more and shakes her head. She then took a long good look at Chloe and reminds herself the real reason why she came. “I mean this in the sweetest way, but my darling you look like hell.”

“I feel like it too.”

Chloe winced and walked back to her reclining sofa. “Two broken ribs. Right here.” Chloe points to her right side. She doesn’t lift her shirt cause Beca doesn’t have to know about the stitches.

Beca watched Chloe and can see her struggling a little. “Isn’t that painful? Why aren’t you in hospital?”

“I don’t want to stay in a hospital room. I’m fine here. Breathing and moving is a pain but the doctor says it should heal on its own.”

“What can I do?”

“Honestly. I just wanted to see you.” Chloe patted the spot next to her. “Come here. It’s comfy I promise.”

“Oh my god. Is that a La-Z-Boy?”

Chloe wiggled her eyebrows. “Yup. They’re my favourite.”

“Mine too. I’ve been saving up to get one myself.” Beca made herself comfortable beside Chloe. “I’m actually glad you called. I’ve been meaning to call you too. I’m not sure if you’ve heard cause it’s all over the news but something happened at work.”

“We don’t have to talk about it.”

“No it’s okay. It’s not that bad. I mean it is. Sometimes it just makes me think if it’s all worth it.” Beca only said it because of her earlier conversation with Aubrey. She shakes her head. This isn’t the time. “But you’re right. Let’s not talk about it now. Right now I have to take care of a very clumsy someone.”

Chloe chuckled but regretted it as soon as she did. “Ow. Don’t make me laugh. It hurts.” Chloe grabs a pillow to hug and puts it over her chest.

Beca stands back up. It was as if she couldn’t stay still in one place. “So what do you need? Do you need me to do the groceries for you? Since you’ve been working so much I’m sure you don’t have much food.”

Chloe just watched her move around her apartment while she was leaned back on the sofa hugging the pillow.

Beca opened the fridge and saw it was full. “Or not. It’s fully stocked.”

“A friend of mine actually did the groceries for me already.” Thank you Lil, Chloe thought.

“Oh. So, can I ask what happened?” Beca was leaning on the kitchen counter facing Chloe. She glanced slowly to Chloe’s ribs.

“Accident at work.” Chloe said simply.

Beca rolled her eyes at that. Work again. “Your work is really starting to worry me.”

Chloe was about to say something when there was a knock on the door. Beca put her hand up to stop Chloe from getting up.

“I’ll get it. Are you expecting someone?”

“That’s probably my doctor.”

“Your doctor?” Beca turned to Chloe with a raised eyebrow before opening the door. When she did, Beca saw the same guy she always sees around Chloe. She remembers seeing him at the wedding and he was the same guy that dropped her off that night at the studio.

As soon as the door opened Luke stepped in but froze when he saw someone else and not Chloe. His smile fell as soon as he realised who it was.

“Hi. Sorry so rude of me. Where’s Chloe?” Luke tries to play it off.

“She’s just inside in the living room. Sorry I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“No sorry I wasn’t expecting a guest. I’m Luke by the way. I don’t think we’ve met.”

“Beca.” She says shaking his hand. “Are you the doctor?”

“Yep believe it or not.”

Luke then walked past her and made his way to Chloe. It was obvious that he knew the place well and he was comfortable. It made Beca wonder how often Luke came over. Beca closed the door and the next thing she sees is Luke holding Chloe’s hand helping her up.

“You alright?” Beca heard Luke ask Chloe.

“Yeah. Thanks. No change in pain. I think it even hurts more today.”

“That’s just the drugs wearing off.”

All Beca could do was stare. She wasn’t sure if her mind was playing tricks on her but she definitely didn’t like where Luke’s hands were holding Chloe now.

“I’ll do the check up in her room if you don’t mind. We won’t be long.”

Beca cleared her throat and put on her best smile. “Nope not at all. Take your time.” She looks at Chloe who was nodding and smiling at her. That was enough for Beca.

She watched them disappear down the hall and hear a door click. She doesn’t like feeling this way but she couldn’t help it so she does everything she can to distract herself.

Luke helped Chloe lay down and lifted her shirt. There was some bruising and swelling.

“Are you putting ice every two hours?”

“Yup.”

“Okay.” Luke nods. He then starts to clean the dressing on Chloe’s cut in the right side. “The stitches look good and the bleeding is lessened. I’ll just clean it now. This might sting a little.”

Luke doesn’t turn to Chloe when he talks again. “I don’t want to meddle but I am your doctor and your friend so I’m obligated to look out for you. What is she doing here? The fact that I know she’s outside is making me anxious already. The things are still here, right?”

“I’m not stupid and don’t worry I locked them up before I invited her.”

“I gotta say I was not expecting that.”

“What?”

“Her being here in your apartment. You don’t do that because it’s risky. Only Lily and me come here. Even Kommissar doesn’t. It must be serious.”

Chloe shushed him right away. “Careful with the name.”

“Sorry sorry. But you know what I mean. What if she goes snooping and finds stuff?”

“She won’t.”

“Won’t go snooping or won’t find anything?”

“She just won’t. Shut up. The faster you finish that the faster we can get back out there.”

“What did she even say about your injuries? Oh my god does she even know? You can’t fake this Chlo.”

“Of course she doesn’t know about that one.” Chloe points to her wound from the glass shard. “But obviously I told her about my ribs.”

Luke finished cleaning and changing the dressing. He also gave her painkillers. “Alright. You know the drill. Keep that dry. I’ll be back later tonight and just in case I can’t I’m leaving the medical kit here and the painkillers are only when necessary.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

“Come on. Let me help you up.”

Beca’s head turned so fast when she heard the door open that she’s surprised she didn’t hurt her neck. She saw them walking together side-by-side laughing. She’s sure she’s exaggerating cause Chloe can’t even laugh properly because of her ribs.

She stands up when they entered the living room. Luke was smiling at her. “It was nice meeting you Beca but I have to go.”

“Nice to meet you too.”

Luke looks to Chloe and smirked. Beca can feel there was inside joke somewhere there when she sees Chloe roll her eyes and playfully slap Luke on the shoulder pushing him towards the door.

“Didn’t you say you were going to be late for work?”

“I’m leaving. No need to push. Now no rigorous activities, ice and plenty of rest please. Call me for anything.” Luke said as he was walking out.

“Got it. Bye.”

Beca and Chloe were left alone again. Beca sat back down and Chloe sat next to her.

“I see you have a lot of friends. Good ones too. They’ve stocked up your fridge, checked up on you and one that literally takes care of you. What do you need me for? It seems like you’re all sorted.”

“Actually I only have about two or three and you just met one of them. But you’re right, they’re a great bunch.”

“I totally get that. I’m the same actually. I just thought with your work and all I imagined you to have a lot of friends.”

“I make a lot of connections I guess. Thanks to work but you know what. I think Luke missed something.”

Chloe fakes having a headache and Beca falls for it.

“What? What is it? Does your head hurt? Should we call Luke again?”

Beca was about to get up when Chloe reached for her hand. “No no stay here.”

Chloe then rests her head on Beca’s shoulder. “I think it needs kisses.”

Beca rolls her eyes but she plays along anyway. “Yeah? Where does it hurt again?”

Chloe lifts her head from Beca’s shoulder and leans it back on the sofa. Then she turns to face Beca with a pout and points at the right side of her forehead.

Beca changes to sit Indian style facing Chloe then leans in to kiss the area Chloe just pointed to. Then Chloe points to a spot under her left eye. Chloe had her eyes closed but she heard Beca chuckle before she felt soft lips kiss the area she was pointing to under her eye.

Beca was about to move back but she ended up staring at Chloe’s face. Chloe kept her eyes closed still facing her. Beca watched Chloe’s finger hover over her face pointing to the bridge of her nose. Beca smiled even though Chloe can’t see and leaned down to kiss her on the nose.

Beca licked her lips as she watched Chloe’s finger tap her lips three times and leaned in to give Chloe kisses on the lips. They started as little pecks but Beca pressed for deeper kisses, which Chloe happily returned. Beca was careful not to lean against Chloe too much but she wanted more. She wanted to feel more of Chloe.

They were making out and Beca was holding Chloe’s face with her hands but then she felt Chloe wince in pain and Beca almost jumps away from her.

Beca tries to get up but Chloe held on to her arm. “No I said stay. You’ve been running around my apartment. I’m not as fragile. You can come near me. You can stay close to me and touch me. It’s okay. I’m okay.”

Beca grabbed Chloe’s hand and intertwined their fingers and ran her thumb through Chloe’s knuckles. She can still see Band-Aids and bandages on her fingers and arm but it’s not as wrapped up as before.

“It only hurts a little. I can take it.”

“Really? Says the one with an injured hand and now broken ribs.”

“I called you here because I wanted to see you and spend time with you and get some cuddles.”

“Cuddles? I think you’re overestimating me.”

“I think you’re the one underestimating your cuddles.”

“You say it like I’ve given you cuddles before.”

Chloe starts giggling even when it literally pains her. “Ah but my darling.” She says teasing Beca. “Do you really not remember anything from our first night together?”

Beca blushed and she starts to pull away again. Chloe groans in pain as she lays down on her side with her back on the sofa. They were now laying down facing each other. Chloe had her head on a pillow and wraps her arms around Beca’s neck. She holds on tighter to keep Beca from moving away.

Beca scared of hurting Chloe couldn’t move away and was pressed on to Chloe with her arm tucked underneath her and her other hand rested on Chloe’s hips.

“It’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed. And don’t move too much. It really hurts.”

“It says online broken ribs heal after about six weeks.”

“Okay doctor Google, what else did it say about broken ribs?”

Beca chuckled at that. “What I was trying to say is that I will be suffering six more weeks of manipulation like this.”

“As if. Don’t act like you don’t like it.”

“I don’t.”

“Okay. Then I’ll give you your space then.”

It was Beca’s turn to hold onto Chloe tighter.

“Ow ow ow.” Chloe looked up to a very concerned looking Beca and giggles again.

“Stop doing that. I don’t like hurting you. Even just the thought of hurting you I can’t handle.”

“Then don’t move. I’m comfy, aren’t you?”

Beca relaxes beside Chloe. They were now mirroring each other. “More than you know.” Beca whispers to answer Chloe.

“Good.” Chloe then lets out a big yawn and she’s pretty sure she already mentioned that yawning hurt too. “I want to stay awake and keep talking to you.”

“It’s okay. Let’s sleep. It also says online sleeping will do you good. Come to think of it even I haven’t had a good sleep for a while now.”

“Well then if that’s the case, my darling please, can you reach for that white remote on the table just there?” Chloe pointed to the one right beside the sofa.

“You’re not going to let it go are you?” Beca refers to calling Chloe my darling.

“I think it’s cute.”

“I call you my darling once.” Beca grumbles as she reached for the remote and hands it to Chloe.

Chloe was staring at the remote and Beca was staring at Chloe. “Do you want to move us to the bedroom? Are you really comfy like this?” Beca asked again.

“I am actually more comfy here. I slept here last night. It’s safer here than moving around my bed. You ready for this?”

“For what? What’s happening?”

Chloe clicks on a few things and all of a sudden the curtains go down and the room slowly goes dark. Then it’s perfectly matched with low dim lights.

“Holy fuck dude. What the fuck just happened? What the fuck is this place. Seriously, how much do photographers earn? I don’t think it’s too late for me to change careers.”

“It’s never too late to do anything.”

“I know. I’ve really been thinking a lot about it.”

“You’re already somewhat seeing a photographer. You don’t have to become one.”

“Somewhat seeing a photographer? I like the sound of that.”

“Of what? Not becoming a photographer?”

“No. Somewhat seeing one.”

“Good to hear.” Chloe says with her eyes already closed. She thinks the meds also made her sleepy.

“What about you?”

“What about me?”

“Are you liking the sound of dating an FBI agent? It’s pretty cool, huh?”

“Meh. I like the sound of dating Beca Mitchell more.” Chloe mumbles it but Beca hears her loud and clear.

Beca felt like she was about to explode. She didn’t say anything cause she didn’t trust her voice right now. Instead she kisses Chloe on the forehead and closed her eyes as well. She felt Chloe’s breathing to slowly even out and that’s what lulled her to sleep.

***

Beca wakes up first. She can’t tell how long they’ve been sleeping. There was buzzing in her ear and she looks up to see one of their phones was brightly lit.

She carefully untangled herself from Chloe and reached for the phone. Beca slowly got up and placed a pillow in her spot so Chloe doesn’t turn. She walked away from the living room and answered only when she felt like Chloe wouldn’t hear her anymore.

“Beca Mitchell speaking.” Beca answered the call without looking at who was calling.

“Where’s Chloe?”

That’s when Beca realised she’s not holding her phone. This was Chloe’s phone. Beca furrowed her eyebrows and squinted her eyes as she looked at the phone screen. “Captain Sour Pants?” She reads to herself.

Beca didn’t want to disturb Chloe’s nap. It’s true when she said Chloe needed all the sleep she can get so she decides to talk to this person and let her know Chloe is unavailable at the moment. She clears her throat.

“Hi sorry, she’s not feeling well and I don’t really want to wake her. Did you want to leave a message instead?”

This threw off Kommissar and she looks at the phone screen to make sure she called the right number. No one’s ever answered Chloe’s phone for her before.

There was a long pause from the other end and Beca does the same. She looks at the phone screen again to make sure the call was still connected.

“Who’s this again?” Kommissar eventually asked in a lower voice.

“This is Beca. I’m a friend of hers.” Beca stutters saying that sentence cause she knows she wasn’t just a friend and she didn’t want to be just Chloe’s friend.

Beca wasn’t sure if she heard it right but it’s like the person on the other end just scoffed. “Right. Tell her to call me as soon as she wakes up and that I sent her a package. It should arrive soon.”

“Okay. But who’s this?” Beca couldn’t even finish her sentence. The line went dead.

She wasn’t the type to snoop and Chloe’s phone was locked anyway. But she did see there were a couple of messages from Lilly, Luke, her mother maybe but nothing from this Captain Sour Pants and what is up with that name?

Beca heard movement from the living room so she walked back to where Chloe was. She remembers reading that sleeping on the injured side is okay as long as you don’t turn in your sleep. Beca saw Chloe leaning back on the recliner.

Chloe pressed for the curtains to open back up again and light was slowly entering the apartment. “Where’d you go?” Chloe asked.

“Oh. Sorry. Your phone rang but I didn’t know it was yours until I answered it. I hope that’s okay.” Beca says while handing Chloe’s phone to her.

“Of course. Who was it?”

“Uhm. Captain Sour Pants?”

Chloe froze for a second but recovered quickly. She just hummed her response and kept on tapping whatever on her phone.

“I don’t think she was very happy that I answered the phone for you.” Beca continued. She was trying to be subtle about it but she was curious and she was watching Chloe closely.

“I’m not surprised. She’s a rather difficult client. Please tell me you didn’t call her Captain Sour Pants.”

“I didn’t. It was tempting though. She also said to call her when you wake up and that there’s a package coming soon for you.”

“A package?”

“Yeah.”

Chloe shrugs it off and starts to roll her shoulders. Beca just watched her. “You okay?”

“Yeah just a little stiff.” She checks the time on her phone. “Wow a good two hour nap.” Chloe changes the subject then gets up slowly. Beca instinctively held her arm and offered support. Chloe smiles at her. “Sorry I have to call this client back. She’s not very happy about the delays cause of my ribs.”

“No no, you go. I’ll get lunch ready.”

“Thanks. I am starving.”

Chloe decides to make the call in her room. She was pacing while listening to the ringing. She didn’t even care what Beca would think for taking this call in the privacy of her room.

“What are you doing calling this phone? I have two phones for a reason.” Chloe hissed at Kommissar as soon as she picks up.

All Chloe could hear was Kommissar laughing on the other end.

“You’re dong this on purpose. Do you find this amusing?”

“I do actually. But first I want to confirm something with you. Do you think you’ll be ready in two months?”

“I should be. These things generally take six weeks to heal but why are you asking me and not Luke?”

“Cause you’re you. You know your body and its limits so I wanted to know from you if you can do it. How bad is it today?”

“I’ve had worst ones. What do you need me to do?”

“I’ll oragnise a meeting with everyone in a month. For now, focus on your healing.”

“I will. I’m hanging up now.”

“Wait.”

“What?”

“What about you? What are you doing having a federal agent at your apartment?”

“I have it all under control. It’s not like she’ll find random bags of money lying around. That’s what storage spaces are for.”

Kommissar sighed. “Why do you have to put yourself through this? We all know how it’s going to end.”

“No that’s where you’re wrong. We don’t actually know. Do you have anything else you want to say to me? Cause I am seriously hanging up now.”

“One last thing. I think it’s best you find time to go home. You finally have the time to visit John and Carol. I think its for the best.”

Chloe was quiet. This was the most sensible thing Kommissar has said to her today. She also tries to remember the last time she’s talked to her parents.

“Let me know and I’ll have someone organize your flights and plan your trip. My treat.”

“Okay. Let me think about it. I really have to go.”

“I repeat it’s my treat.”

“I heard you the first time and I said I’ll think about it. I’ll call you later.” Chloe ends the call there.

Chloe found Beca in the kitchen. It was something very new to her. She’s never had someone here that wasn’t Luke or Lilly.

“Everything okay with cranky pants?” Beca asked when she saw Chloe walking back towards her.

“She’s fine. She’s always been hard to please.”

“It seems like she’s fond of you anyway. The package arrived. It looks like a care package.”

“Oh yeah, thanks for receiving it for me. I’ll open it later.”

“What’s with the face?”

“I just realised I haven’t talked to my parents in weeks. I’ve just been so busy. I haven’t really had the time.” Chloe settles on the bar stool by the counter.

“Where are they your parents?”

“In Portland. I’m thinking of visiting but we’ll see.”

Beca nods and looks back down at whatever she’s cooking. Chloe knows better than to ask the same question back at her. She knows there’s a story there. But sensing Beca was getting a little uncomfortable on the topic Chloe decides to drop it. Instead she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath while she rests her elbows on the counter.

“That smells really good. What are you cooking?”

***

Beca and Chloe spent the weekend and everyday of the following week together. They were inseparable. Beca had to take a mandatory leave for what happened and Chloe wasn’t working so they got to spend their time off together. If anything it gave them a glimpse of what they could have with each other and what it would be like if they were in a relationship. Despite enjoying each other’s company, Beca hasn’t stayed the night and Chloe hasn’t asked her either.

They already had a routine going and one Thursday morning, Chloe could easily tell where Beca was going by what she was wearing and by the somber look on her face.

“I uh I have to go somewhere for work. I would love to bring you but.” Beca didn’t know how to say it without actually saying it. She felt like it was too early to talk about. Their relationship was still too fragile to deal with the realities of Beca’s job.

“It’s okay. I have to be somewhere too. I’m still not allowed to drive so if you have time to drop me off, could you.”

“Of course.” Beca cuts Chloe off. “I’d be happy to drive you.”

“Cool. Then you can just pick me up whenever you finish.”

“Okay. You sure you’ll be alright?”

“I’ll be fine don’t worry. I’ll just change quickly then we can go?”

“Yeah. Okay.”

***

Beca remembers this was the same place she dropped Chloe off that night when she picked up her car.

“Thanks for driving me. One of my friends work around here so I figured to stop by and say hello.”

Beca nods. “Okay. I’m not sure how long I’ll be.”

“It’s okay. Take all the time. Besides I can take a cab or something.”

“No I’ll pick you up. I’ll just text you when I’m on my way.”

“Okay. I’ll see you later then.”

Chloe unbuckled her seat belt but she heard Beca undoing hers first and getting out of the car. She watches her walk over to her side and Beca opened the door for her.

“You don’t have to do that you know.”

“I know.” Beca held her hand out for Chloe to take to help her step out of the car.

Chloe appreciated the gesture. The truth was it was painful getting in and out of the car.

“Thank you.”

Beca kissed her cheek. “I’ll see you later. Please let me know if you need me to pick you up earlier. If it gets too painful and you want to go home just let me know okay.”

“I’ll be fine. You go.”

Chloe watched Beca walked to the driver’s side and drive away before turning to the alley. It was earlier than the usual times she would visit Lilly but she knew Lilly would be here.

True enough Chloe finds her behind the bar cleaning. She never had to let Lilly know she was coming. It was part of Lilly’s job to know where Chloe was 24/7.

“How are you? You look good for someone who went on a suicide mission.” Lilly greets Chloe.

“My ribs are still killing me. How’s everything?”

Lilly gives Chloe an update on everything and everyone. It was hard to keep up to date when she was spending most of her time with Beca. Chloe and Lilly were able to talk freely since there was no one else in the pub at this time.

“Settlement talks? What do you mean there’s rumours of settlement talks?”

Lilly was telling Chloe that the Director was here and that she was meeting with Ralph Salazo in hopes of reaching a settlement to stop him from suing them in court.

“What is it?” Chloe asks Lilly when she hesitated on something.

“What?” Lilly was being defensive.

“You’re doing that thing again where you’re wiping the glasses too much.”

Lily puts the glass in place and flicks the towel over her shoulder. “Don’t you find it odd?”

“Find what odd?”

“Rafael Salazo Jr. isn’t the smartest person, everyone knows it and yet we couldn’t find anything on his phone or anywhere else.”

“Keep going.”

“It’s either he’s not actually that dumb, the FBI is that good or he’s not the guy that set you up.”

Chloe froze when that realization hit her. She doesn’t make mistakes like that. Was she a little too reckless this time? Should she have stopped and thought about her next move instead of running to kill him right away?

Lilly could almost hear Chloe’s thoughts. “I don’t mean to trigger you Chlo.”

“No it only means if he’s not the guy who set us up, the guy who did is still out there.”

“We don’t know that yet but I’m looking into it. Leave it with me. Focus on your recovery.”

“I know. I trust you. It’s just that I’m going to have a really hard time dealing with this if it turns out he wasn’t the guy that set us up.”

“I know but it’s not your fault. I will let you know as soon as I find out anything because I trust you too. So get better. How did you get here anyway? Are you even allowed to drive?”

Chloe smirked. “I’m not.”

Chloe hears something on TV that made her ears perk up. It was Gail, the Director of the Bureau, spewing more bullshit trying to save face. Aubrey, the Deputy director, was there too behind her. The worst part of it all was that it was working. The public still had faith in them

Chloe’s only consolation for now was that she caused enough waves to get their attention and made them come out here and release statements like that.

***

Beca arrived at the funeral service organised by the Bureau for their colleagues who they lost in their last operation.

She was looking for Andrew’s mom in particular. She feels bad that she waited this long to see her. She already saw Jessica with Ashley in a corner table. She was on her way to them when she heard her mom’s voice.

She turned around and true enough there she was. She couldn’t believe it. Her mom was here.

“Mom?”

Gail turned to Beca with a raised brow. “Agent Mitchell.”

“Sorry. I mean.” Beca cleared her throat. “Director. When did you arrive?”

“This morning. I came to pay my respects. I’m here for other business as well.”

“Of course.” Beca bowed her head a little.

“I’m afraid I won’t have time for anything else. But in my next visit maybe or when you’re in Washington, we can have a sit down and properly catch up.”

“It’s okay I understand. Don’t worry about it, Director.” Beca gave her a tight-lipped smile before turning to leave. “Next time it is.”

She didn’t have time to dwell on her mother and how she wasn’t ready to see her cause she saw Andrew’s mom by the coffee machine.

Beca approached her. She was glad to see her alone. “Mrs. Williams?”

Andrew’s mom looks up to her. Beca could see her bloodshot eyes from crying and it broke her heart. “Yes?”

“My name’s Beca Mitchell.” As soon as Beca says her name, Mrs. Williams puts her coffee down and puts her arms around Beca. As they were hugging, Beca knows she knows and for the first time Beca cries. She breaks down in the older woman’s arms before she could stop herself. All her bottled up emotions came bursting out.

“It’s okay child.” Mrs. Williams says while stroking Beca’s hair. “Thank you for being there with him in his last moments.”

Beca couldn’t say anything. She was trembling. She feels bad cause she was supposed to be the one comforting Mrs. Williams and not the other way around. Beca pulls away and looks at the older woman. She tries to say what Andrew wanted her to say but she couldn’t get the words out.

Mrs. Williams reached for her cheeks. “It’s okay. I know. I loved him very much too and I forgive him. I’m proud of him. I’m proud to be his mother.”

Beca was crying again. “I’m so sorry I’m such a mess.” Beca was finally able to say something.

“Don’t be sorry and stop blaming yourself. I can see it in your eyes.” Mrs. Williams said answering Beca’s unspoken question.

“Thank you. He’s very lucky to have you as his mom. I know you already know but can I say it anyway? Cause I promised him I would.”

Mrs. Williams just nods and patiently waits for Beca to compose herself to pass on her son’s final message to her.

Beca was crying again but she needed to say this. “He said he was sorry and that he loves you very much.” Her voice cracked in the end and she could barely make out the end of her sentence. She was crying uncontrollably again.

The moment she shared with Andrew’s mom made her understand that there really was a certain type of joy and peace that is only experienced through grief and that there is a type of love that is only experienced through sadness.

The funeral service was beautiful and it’s what their colleagues deserved. Beca hadn’t shed a tear since letting it all out earlier. She was ashamed to be there alive. It wasn’t fair for her to survive. She felt guilty. It made her wonder how her mom would react if anything happened to her. But she couldn’t stop thinking about Andrew’s mom and the things she said to her and how much comfort it gave Beca.

***

Beca picked up Chloe after a few hours. They were both quiet on the way back to Chloe’s apartment. Chloe knew right away something was wrong with Beca but she knew where she’d been. How could you comfort someone knowing you were the one to cause them such pain in the first place?

Beca was glad that Chloe was giving her space. She appreciated how well Chloe can read her sometimes. But Beca was too caught up with her own emotions that she didn’t pick up there was something also going on with Chloe.

She parked her car and walked Chloe up to her apartment. They both wanted to be alone. Chloe knew she wanted to be alone but there was an unfamiliar feeling that was unsettling to her that she’s never felt before. She unlocked her door but Beca doesn’t follow her inside.

Chloe doesn’t know what pushed her to do it but she finds herself reaching out to Beca. She clings on to her wrist and Beca looks down at it right away.

“Stay?”

Beca thought she wanted to be alone but the moment she heard Chloe asking her to stay, she finds herself wanting to stay with Chloe more than anything and that was new to her too.

When Beca doesn’t say anything, Chloe slowly let go of Beca’s hand. She tries her best to read Beca but she couldn’t and that was unusual for her.

“I’m sorry. You don’t have to. I’m sure you’d want to be alone or maybe go to Jessica. I know today has been hard for you too. Call me if you need anything?”

It doesn’t escape Beca that Chloe implied she was also going through something. Just like Beca, she also had a hard day. She was too distracted by her own grieving that she didn’t notice that there was something bothering Chloe but she also wonders if it was just Chloe reading her a little too well. Beca wonders if Chloe knows exactly what she is going through and worst, Chloe accepts her anyway and understands.

Beca starts to shake her head and chuckled. But her eyes were saying something entirely different. Tears started pooling in her eyes daring to fall again. Chloe has never seen Beca to be this vulnerable.

Suddenly Chloe was questioning herself. She doesn’t know how to approach Beca when she was being like this. It was good Chloe didn’t reach for Beca again cause she was on the edge of another breakdown.

She takes a deep breath and blinks back the tears. “I’m terrified. You scare me.” Beca says to her.

Chloe was very confused by this. She’s not sure if it’s her ribs but she was having a much harder time breathing than usual. She hasn’t realised it yet but she doesn’t like the thought that Beca was scared of her.

Beca holds both Chloe’s hands and kissed her knuckles gently. Then she holds Chloe’s face and kissed her forehead. She lingers there and Chloe closed her eyes. She has no idea what Beca’s thinking.

She opens her eyes and sees the tears are falling. She tentatively raised her hands and slowly wiped away Beca’s tears. She was giving Beca a chance to move away or stop her. Beca nods and leans into her touch.

“I’m sorry I can’t stay. I’ll be back tomorrow I promise. I just can’t be here right now.”

“No of course. Don’t be sorry.”

If she was being really honest, she knew she needed to be alone tonight too. She had her own issues to deal with and she had no right to seek comfort from Beca of all people.

Beca sniffs and clears her throat. “Do you need help with anything before I leave?”

“No I’m good. Thank you for driving me today.”

“Anytime. Call me if anything happens, please?”

“I’ll be fine Bec. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Chloe gives her best reassuring smile.

Beca was about to turn to leave. “Oh but come in the morning if that’s okay. I’m flying home tomorrow. I still can’t work so I figured I should make time and visit my parents.”

“Right. Okay. Can I drive you to the airport too?”

“Luke wants to drive me actually and I already said yes.”

“No of course. I’ll see you in the morning before you leave then.”

“Okay. Drive home safe.” Chloe closes the door on Beca with all that’s left of her resolve.

***

Beca went straight to Jessica and Ashley’s place. The whole drive there she was fighting the urge of turning back around and going back to Chloe. She knew it was a mistake not to stay the moment Chloe closed the door.

Jessica and Ashley were ready. They knew there was a real possibility Beca might come running to them tonight. Beca was in their sofa with Jessica on her right and Ashley on her left. They offered to make her tea but Beca wanted something else to drink.

“Hey I know today was really hard. Attending the funeral, seeing your mom, seeing Andrew’s mom. I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel.” Jessica says to Beca while handing her a bottle of cider.

She smiled her thanks. “Yeah. This is my least favourite part of the job.”

“Yeah me too.”

Beca takes a long drink of her cider almost drinking half of it. Jessica and Ashley exchanged worried looks. Then Beca turns to look at them both alternating left and right.

“How do you two do it? You’re both in this job, you’re both at risk, you know what could happen and yet you still choose to be together. I wish I was that brave.”

Beca was staring at her bottle then downs it. Now Jessica and Ashley were really worried. Beca never drinks this fast.

“More Cider?” Ashley offered.

“Yes please.” Beca says in almost a whisper.

When Ash came back with Beca’s drink, Jess scooted closer to Beca. “What’s going on Becs? What’s on your mind?”

Beca blinks back the tears in her eyes again. “I’ve lost a lot of people in my life and today I was reminded of the people who matter and who I care for. I think Chloe and me are going too fast. If I pursue this relationship with Chloe and we end up being together, there’s a big chance we’ll be happy and then something happens to me, I can’t let her deal with that. I’m also getting to the point where I don’t think I can lose Chloe and that scares me so much.”

“Wait. So this is about Chloe?”

Jessica knows where Beca is going with this. She knows Beca runs. It’s what she’s good at and she can’t blame her.

“I really see her as someone I could actually end up with like spend my life with and that’s scaring me. Spending time with her and getting to know her, it won’t be long for me to fall in love with her. But with our job, I don’t think I can do that to her. It’s not fair.”

“Becs. Don’t you think you’re getting a little too ahead of yourself here?”

“I really don’t know Jess. All I know is that I’m so scared. I don’t want to hurt her like that. I can’t hurt her.”

“I think you should give her the chance to at least make that decision for herself instead of you making that decision for the both of you. That is what’s fair.”

Beca buries her face in her hands. “Why do I keep running away?”

Jessica and Ashley just comforted Beca by rubbing her back and putting their arms around her. They let their friend cry.

After a while, Beca says. “And fuck my mom right? How can someone be so cold?”

They couldn’t help but chuckle at that. “There she is. There’s our Beca.”

Beca cried and laughed and drank more than she should that night. She ended up staying over and sleeping on their couch.

Beca wakes up to an alarm she doesn’t remember setting. She knew where she was right away. She always ends up here somehow. She reached for her phone to turn off the alarm and to check the time. She has a text from Chloe.

Chloe (6:22am): I was able to get an earlier flight so we’re on our way to the airport now. I’ll text you when we land.

Beca is frantically dialing Chloe’s number. She doesn’t know why but to call Chloe was her first instinct.

“Hey it’s Chloe. You just missed me. Leave a message?”

Beca’s heart did a summersault upon hearing Chloe’s voice but she hated that voicemail cause it gets her every time.

Chapter Text

Chloe was having breakfast with her parents. They haven’t been asking too much questions. They were just happy that Chloe was here. On the third day of Chloe’s visit, it was throwing her parents off that she has not once brought out her camera and go out and take pictures.

They knew something was wrong. It was obvious that Chloe was hurting. They were worried but it explained why she wasn’t too keen on going out and taking pictures and why she had time off work. It was also obvious to her parents that she was avoiding something or someone with the way she would look at her phone and leave it face down.

Carol would give John a nudge encouraging him to talk to their daughter. Chloe and her dad did always have the better relationship. John would signal to Carol that he’s got this. Leave it to him. That was where they were different, John was more patient and would wait for Chloe to come to him whereas Carol would always try too hard and force Chloe to talk to her even when she’s not yet ready.

And as if on cue, Carol starts a conversation. “So sweetie how long are you going to be staying here with us? Your father and I have been thinking about going camping next weekend and if you’re still here maybe you could join us.”

“I would love that. I think I’ll still be here by then.”

“What about your work?”

John gave Carol a look as if to ask her what the hell she was doing. Carol just ignored him and shrugged.

“I’m taking a break for a bit. I feel overworked.” Chloe answers oblivious to her parents’ silent exchange.

“Are you feeling sick or anything?” Carol pressed.

“No mom. I’m not sick. I’m fine.”

John sighed. “So you met someone then.” He said nonchalantly without looking up from his crossword puzzle.

Chloe looks at her dad with her mouth agape. She knew that tone very well. He was teasing her. But how could he deduct that she met someone from that exchange alone? Carol and John exchanged looks and Chloe went back to her neutral expression.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about dad.” Chloe knew it was a mistake to take the bait.

She focused on her food then but she could see her dad looking up from his puzzle and leaned on to the table. He tilted his head and looked to her direction. Chloe could feel his stare on her.

“Did my Chlobear get her heartbroken?” He said it in a very gentle tone.

Carol stopped whatever it was she was doing and was looking at Chloe too. Chloe was racking her brain trying to figure out how to respond. Was she heartbroken? She didn’t even know if she was. But why would she be heartbroken anyway? Is this what being heartbroken felt like?

“Oh dear.” Carol let out a gasp. “Oh my god John I think she did.” She whispers a little too loudly.

Her dad had that look on his face that Chloe was very familiar with. He was about to say something. Chloe knew she had to take control of this situation right now. “Guys stop it. Of course not. That’s ridiculous.” That was the best Chloe could think of. She’s not sure if it sounded convincing.

Chloe’s phone then starts ringing and Chloe sees it’s Beca calling her again. She rolls her eyes and lets it ring out. She then puts her phone on silent mode.

“Okay.” John eventually says. But Chloe knows how he is.

“What?” Chloe asked.

“What?” Her dad asks back.

Chloe shakes her head and looks at both her parents. “You guys are so annoying.”

Carol bites her lips and John clears his throat. He was focused on his crossword puzzles again. Just when Chloe looked back down at her plate, she hears her dad say. “I remember my first heartbreak.”

“Oh my god. I can’t with you two. I swear it’s not that. I decided to go on a break so I decided to come visit. That’s all.” Chloe said this with zero bite and walked away with her plate. She could hear her parents laughing to themselves.

It was an odd feeling though but she couldn’t shake it off. So were her parents right? Was she heartbroken?

***

It’s been three days since Chloe went home to Portland and they’ve barely talked. Chloe wasn’t answering her calls and the last text she’s received from her is that she made it to her parents’ house. That was three days ago.

Beca went to work this morning to attend a meeting on whether or not she should extend her leave. It was agreed that it was best she should. So she was going to have another week off work. She thinks of calling Chloe again but she knew she might just lose it when she hears Chloe’s voicemail one more time.

She sees an available computer on her way out and she had a light bulb moment. It was crazy and risky but she was desperate at this point. She looks around and sees everyone else is busy doing their own thing so she makes her way to the computer.

She was just about to look up ‘Chloe Beale’ when Jessica showed up behind her.

“Whatcha doin?”

Beca jumped but recovered quickly. “Nothing.”

“You know for an FBI agent, you’re really bad at this.”

“What do you mean? Bad at what?”

“Instead of risking getting in trouble by using our computers for personal use. Go to this place instead.” Jessica hands her a card.

Dr. Luke Harris, MD – Trauma Surgeon.

“But how did you? When?”

“I know you better than you know yourself sometimes. And besides a young good-looking modelesque doctor isn’t that hard to find. You should go to him, I’m sure he won’t be able to say no.”

“Thanks and I know how you feel about this.”

“I know and I’m still not a hundred percent for it but I figured the sooner you know the better for all of us.”

Beca ignored Jess but pocketed the card anyway. “Get back to work you crazy. I’m going to enjoy my week off.”

“Good luck!” Jessica calls out to her. Beca simply responds by holding up her middle finger as she walked away.

She goes home and starts pacing with her phone in her hand. Luke’s card was starting to feel hot in her back pocket.

Beca (2:17pm): Why are you avoiding me? Was it because of the other night?

Beca (2:20pm): Did something happen?

Beca (2:21pm): Chlo please. Just let me know you’re okay.

Chloe (2:21pm): I’m okay.

Beca (2:22pm): Can we talk?

Chloe (2:22pm): I’m really tired today. Maybe tomorrow?

That was the last push Beca needed. She takes out Luke’s card and packs her things. She had to go see Chloe. She doesn’t know how Chloe would react about all of this. She may not like it or really hate Beca when she sees her but Beca felt like at this point if she was going to lose Chloe, she was going to at least put up a fight

***

Chloe was having afternoon coffee with her dad. They were watching Carol do gardening. Chloe didn’t inherit the green thumb from her mom so it was best she stay away from the gardening.

“What’s happening Chlobear? Are you in a creative slump?”

“I guess you can call it that.”

“So about this someone you’re seeing.”

“Dad.”

“I may be getting old, but I know when I see someone hurting especially when she’s my own daughter.”

“I’m fine dad. I promise.”

“You know I was never worried when you never introduced us to anyone. I know you and you take these things seriously. I know how strong, independent and intimidating you can be.”

Chloe chuckled at how much that was an understatement.

“I understood when you were in the military. You probably never considered it. You were risking your life everyday. Every time you were deployed somewhere, even we didn’t know if we were going to see you again and it broke my heart but I was proud and I would support anything that you do.”

“Thanks dad. I know how hard those times were for you guys as well.”

“Now however I feel like I have to say something. Do you want to know my theory why you’re here?”

“Do I?”

John raised his eyebrows once. He took a sip from his coffee gathering his thoughts and Chloe braced herself. Her dad is a very intuitive person.

“Fine. Let’s hear it. This better be good dad.”

John took his time. “I think you met someone who slowly broke down your walls without you knowing and it caught you off guard. Now love is knocking at your door and you don’t know what to do about it, so you ran to here and I love that you chose to come here.”

Chloe was nodding. She knew her dad wasn’t done so she waited. She tried to keep her best poker face on; careful not to give anything away.

“I think you’re scared. Maybe you’re protecting yourself from getting hurt but Chlobear pain is the price we pay for love. To not feel pain is to never feel love. Is that a life you want?”

Chloe had to admit her dad was pretty spot on considering he doesn’t know about her other job. There was no point arguing with her dad about this. There was no point denying it too. Instead Chloe groans out her frustration. If only he really knew the reason why maybe he could tell her what to do.

Her dad smiled the biggest smile cause he knew what was coming. He could almost see Chloe’s walls crumbling.

“Ugh. I hate it when you’re right.” Chloe finally admits.

“That’s what I’m here for.”

“I don’t know what to do.” Chloe admits. It was a nice feeling being able to say it out loud.

“Choose love. You might be surprised.”

Chloe was torn. She loves her dad for this but he didn’t know the full story. It wasn’t that easy Chloe wanted to say. It was way more complicated than that. Some days she thinks they can get over it but there are just some things that love couldn’t overcome. When she decided to do what she does, she never realised the price she had to pay for it until she met Beca. That’s the real reason why she was heartbroken.

“Thanks dad.” Chloe says instead and her dad looked pleased. That was enough for now.

Her phone lights up then and for the first time since she’s arrived, she was not that annoyed that it was from Beca. But it wasn’t a text from her. Chloe’s eyes almost popped out when she read Luke’s messages. “Sorry dad, I have to take this call. I’ll be right back.”

Chloe went up to her room and almost slammed the door. She was pacing. Luke better pick up soon.

Chloe went off as soon as he did. “You gave Beca my parents’ address? Are you out of your mind?”

“Chlo calm down. Hear me out.”

“Don’t tell me to calm down. Oh my god, everyone thinks I’ve lost it but apparently you’ve gone insane. My parent’s address? Luke!”

“I had no choice. She was going to go all FBI on you.”

“What does that even mean?”

“I don’t really know maybe like look up your name. I figured it’s best to just tell her where your parents lived instead of her finding out things she’s not supposed to find out.”

“The FBI has nothing on me.”

“Well we don’t know that and we don’t really know for sure what she does and doesn’t know.”

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about right now and I swear to god when I get back there, you’re going to get it from me.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. I mean you invited her to your apartment.”

“That’s different!”

“Okay, maybe it’s a little different.”

“It’s a lot different. Where is she now?”

“I don’t know. But when she came to see me today, I won’t be surprised if she went straight to the airport after that.”

Chloe knows it was too late. There was no stopping Beca. She was probably on the plane now on the way to her.

“You’re furious now but I think you’ll thank me later.”

“Don’t push it. I will literally be on the next flight just to kick your butt.”

“How are you by the way?”

“Not now Luke.” Chloe ended the call.

She sat down slowly on the foot of her bed. Her mind was reeling. Not even the pain in her ribs was enough to distract her. She decides to call Beca but it kept going straight to the automated voicemail.

Chloe had to think fast. Beca was definitely on her way.

Chloe (4:35pm): You don’t have to come here. I promise we will talk when I get back.

A few hours later, Chloe was about to have dinner with her parents when her phone rang. The moment she saw Beca’s name on her screen, she excused herself and answered the call.

“Please tell me you’re not here in Portland.”

“Meet me.”

Chloe sighs. “Bec.”

“I’m sorry. But please.”

Chloe closed her eyes. At least Beca had the decency not to go straight to her parent’s house. “Where are you?”

“I just landed but name a place and I can meet you there.”

“Don’t move. I’ll come get you.”

Chloe then ends the call and borrows her dad’s car.

“Is everything okay sweetheart?” Her mom asked.

“Yeah mom. I have a friend who’s just arrived and I have to pick her up at the airport.”

Both her parents perked up when they heard that but didn’t say anything and they both had an ‘oh’ expression.

“I’ll be back soon. You guys eat ahead.”

Chloe didn’t wait for their response and walked out the door.

There was a decent amount of people waiting outside the airport. Chloe spotted Beca holding a medium sized carry on duffel bag in one hand and her phone on the other. Chloe’s heart did a little skip. She was happy to see Beca at first and then she was sad again. She stopped in front of her and pressed the window down.

Beca recognised her and got in. She put her bag in the back seat and stared at Chloe. She almost couldn’t believe Chloe actually came.

“Hey. Thanks for coming. I hope I wasn’t disturbing anything.”

“You didn’t have to come here.”

“I know. I’m sorry but I had to. I really needed to see you. We need to talk.”

Chloe nodded. “I know a place.”

Chloe didn’t know what to expect. She and Beca were quiet and Beca didn’t even ask where she was taking her. Chloe decided to drive to Director Park, which is about fifteen minutes from the airport. It was also halfway from her parents’ house. She figured it would be the perfect place for them to talk.

Beca should be anxious. They didn’t talk anymore after but Beca was happy to be with Chloe again. It was weird. She had this niggling feeling the past few days when Chloe was away that she wouldn’t see her again. So being here with Chloe was a huge relief but she was worried. She could still very well lose Chloe after tonight.

Beca then saw Chloe wince in pain in her peripheral that made Beca turn to her. Chloe had an unreadable expression. She sees the bandage on her arm and that’s when it hits her. Chloe’s ribs were still broken.

“Wait a minute, are you even allowed to drive?”

Chloe didn’t look too bothered. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

Beca shakes her head. “Pull over. I’m driving.”

“It’s okay. I’m fine.”

“Don’t fight me on this. Just pull over and let me drive.”

“We’re almost there. I promise I’ll let you drive from there.”

“Okay good. Doesn’t it hurt?”

“Just a little.”

Beca rolled her eyes. “It’s just me. You don’t have to act so tough.”

“I could say the same about you.”

It turned out it didn’t matter where she would take Beca cause they ended up talking in the car anyway. The rain was pouring down hard as soon as Chloe parked the car. They both looked out the window and listened to the sound of raindrops hitting the car’s roof.

Chloe pulled the hand brake and unbuckled her seatbelt. “What are you really doing here Bec?”

Beca did the same. “I owe you an apology.”

“For coming here unannounced or for coercing my friend to tell you where I was?”

“Well now that you put it that way then I guess I owe you several apologies then. But I really wanted to apologise for the other night.”

“And it couldn’t wait until I got back?” Chloe didn’t quite snap at Beca but she wasn’t happy about this either.

“No it couldn’t and whether you admit it or not you’ve been avoiding me since that night. I could literally feel you pulling away.”

“I was avoiding you. I can admit that. I’ve been thinking about things too while I’ve been here.”

“And?” Beca said slowly turning to face Chloe.

“I think we’re fools if we think we can work this out. We were blinded by the fact that we were both off work. I don’t regret spending that time with you. If given a choice I would choose to spend it with you still. But we can’t change our realities.”

Beca tried searching for anything in Chloe’s expression. “Are you breaking up with me? Cause it sounds like you are.”

“I am.”

“Well you can’t cause we’re not even together.”

“Oh then that makes it easier.”

Beca put her finger up. “Not quite. Technically you can’t break up with someone who you’re not together with.”

“Right. I’m sorry.”

“And even if we were together, what makes you think I’ll accept it? I’m not going to let you break up with me that easily.”

Chloe sighs. “Seriously why are you being so stubborn about this?”

“Cause you’re worth it. This, what we could have, it’s worth it. Why are you so convinced we won’t work out?”

“What do you want me to say Bec? You seemed pretty convinced when you ran off that night and don’t even deny it.”

“No you’re right. I did run. But I swear I regretted not staying the second you shut the door and I just needed time to process. I wasn’t giving up on us already and I kinda freaked when you left. That’s why I’m here. I messed up. I know I messed up but I’m not going anywhere.”

Beca took a deep breath before continuing. She’s been dying to talk to Chloe about that night.

“There was so much going on that day and I wish I could tell you all about it but you know I can’t. I know this is no excuse but I was overwhelmed. I needed some time to process my emotions. You know where I work and what I do and something happened. I feel like I escaped death and it made me guilty at first then scared. Then I realised how short life really is and I shouldn’t be holding back.”

Chloe was quiet. She knew what Beca was talking about. She even considered confessing right then and there to get it over with and save them both the inevitable heartbreak coming their way if they keep doing this.

Beca kept going. “If we do this, I need you to understand that there is a real possibility it won’t be a happy ending. I need us both to understand that.”

It was like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders when she let it all out. On the other hand, Chloe couldn’t look at Beca. She was scared that Beca would be able to see right through her if she did.

“What if it was the other way around?” Chloe asked almost just to herself.

Beca looks at Chloe almost with wonder and it wasn’t because she wasn’t expecting it but because she was actually hoping Chloe would ask her exactly that.

Since Beca was quiet, Chloe clarified and asked louder. “What if you were in my position, what would you do?”

Beca doesn’t know it but this was Chloe’s way to get that assurance she was looking for. It was that little push that she needed. Despite it being more like she was just making excuses for herself.

Beca reached for Chloe’s hand and smiled. She already knew her answer. She’s known it for a while. “You. I would choose you every time.”

Chloe turned to look at Beca for the first time. She wasn’t ready for the sweet soft smile that greeted her.

“So please. Choose me.” Beca answered Chloe with so much conviction that she didn’t really know what to do it. She was being sincere.

Chloe stared back down at their hands that Beca was mindlessly playing with. “I want to choose you. I really do.”

It was the truth. In any other circumstance, Chloe would be running to Beca; not away from her. “But I don’t know if I can be that selfish.”

Chloe slowly pulled her hand away but Beca reached for it back. “What if we were just Beca and Chloe? Don’t think about anything else.” Beca turned to her seat and was fully facing Chloe now.

“But that’s the problem. We’re not just Beca and Chloe.” Chloe said without taking her eyes away from the windshield. She was back staring at the park just outside and the rain drops that rolled down the windshield.

“What if when we’re together we are? I think we will both regret this if we don’t give this a real shot.”

“We can’t just pretend.” Chloe had to take a deep breath in when she felt her voice rising. “We can’t change who we are and pretend for the sake of having a relationship.”

Chloe could hear her father’s words in her head over and over. Choose love.

Beca could sense Chloe was conflicted about something. She knew this was a big deal but she can’t help but wonder if there was more to it. It was almost like they were talking about two very different things.

“What am I missing here? From the day we saw each other again, you’ve pushed me away. Why?” Beca was daring Chloe to look at her.

And Chloe did. She looked at Beca and Beca was stunned a bit. She’s never seen this look on Chloe before. She couldn’t explain what it was. She saw deep hurt and saw how broken she was but she didn’t know why.

Beca softened and reached for Chloe’s arm. She gave it a light squeeze and rubbed her thumb on the bare skin under the sleeves of her shirt. “Talk to me.”

“I just don’t think you know what you’re saying Beca. I can only reject you so many times, you know.”

“I know. So stop rejecting this. Maybe?” Beca shrugged. “I’m going to stop running away too. God I can’t believe I was going to run away from this.”

Choose love.

Chloe sighed. It was futile. It was hard to fight it when Beca was this determined. Chloe ran the different scenarios in her head. She thought of the best and worst things that could happen. She’s always been confident at what she does and she thought the only way she could ruin this with Beca was if she got caught. She’s pretty much living a double life already. Is it so wrong to live one of those lives to the fullest?

Choose love.

“For the record.” Chloe finally said and Beca was holding her breath. “This isn’t cool.”

Beca’s breath hitched. She felt defeated. “I know I wasn’t really thinking straight. I panicked and I missed you so much.”

At least she tried. That’s what Beca’s going to keep telling her self. She did and said what she came here for. She sat back with her shoulders slumped. She hit her head back on the headrest twice with her eyes closed.

She could feel the tears coming. She considered begging one more time. Then she felt Chloe’s hand wrap around hers and intertwined their fingers. She opened her eyes and watched Chloe lift her hand up to her lips and felt her kiss her knuckles softly.

“I missed you too. Have you even eaten?”

“What are you doing to me? Rhetorical question by the way. Fuck. I thought you were rejecting me again just then.”

“I was going to but you’re right. You’re worth it too. We owe it to ourselves to at least give it a shot.”

Beca lost all self-control at that point. She pulled Chloe and kissed her. Chloe was kissing her back and Beca was so into the kiss that she was moving towards Chloe about to go over the console when she felt Chloe wince again. Beca pulled back almost immediately.

“Oh my god. Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”

“I’m okay. It’s okay.”

“Fuck I’m sorry I got carried away.” Beca said suddenly feeling shy.

“I did too.” Chloe said biting her lip, which wasn’t helping Beca’s need to kiss her again.

“So food.” Beca said to distract herself. “I was thinking we could grab something before I go to a hotel.”

Chloe raised her eyebrow at that. “Did you actually book a hotel?”

Beca was blushing again. “No but I was going to”

“Come on. I’m sure my parents are wondering already where I went.”

Beca hesitated. She opened her mouth to say something only to close it again. The plan was to talk to Chloe and Beca hasn’t planned ahead of that but meeting her parents was definitely not part of the plan.

“What? Now you’re shy?” Chloe said to Beca.

“It’s not that.”

“Let’s talk about it on the way. My parents would be disappointed with me if I let you stay at a hotel. How long are you here for?”

“Just for a couple of days. I didn’t want to inconvenient you too much. What about you? When do you go back? You are going back, right?”

“Of course I’m going back. I might be here for another week or two or three actually. I haven’t booked my ticket. I could leave tomorrow, who knows?”

Beca wasn’t overwhelmed at how willing she was to drop everything and actually consider moving to Portland should Chloe decide to move here permanently. She kept it to herself though. She didn’t want to freak her out.

Chloe texted her parents that they were on their way back and she had her friend with her. It also stopped raining at this point. As she reached for her seatbelt, Beca stopped her.

“Don’t think I’ve forgotten. I’m driving.”

Chloe couldn’t even argue. Beca was already out of the car. She watched her go over to her side and knocked on her window before opening the door.

Beca didn’t say anything and Chloe shook her head. She surrendered and didn’t fight anymore. “Okay okay you’re driving.”

Beca offers her hand to help Chloe out. She was relieved that Chloe took it. She could see Chloe was putting up a strong stance but she could tell she was still in pain with how hard Chloe gripped her hand as she stepped out.

Beca was going to walk Chloe to the passenger’s side. “I can walk on my own. Thank you.”

Beca bit back her smirk and nodded. She reluctantly let go of Chloe and watched her make her way to the passenger’s side. She didn’t get in until Chloe did. In fairness to her, Chloe got in the passenger seat without flinching. As soon as she was seated, Beca reached over her and put her seatbelt on for her.

“Thank you but take it down a notch, my parents don’t know.”

“Are you keeping us a secret? I don’t mind I’m just curious.”

Chloe snorted out a laugh. “What are you talking about? I meant my ribs.”

“So we’re not a secret?”

“Just shut up and drive.” Chloe placed her phone on the dashboard with the directions.

Beca was proud that she got a laugh out of Chloe. “I’m only half joking. It’ll be our little secret.”

***

Carol was excited. The only friends of Chloe’s that she has met in the past couple of years are Luke and Lilly. She knows her daughter has such a vibrant personality and could get along with almost anyone but she was such a workaholic. Sometimes she worries that Chloe was letting her life pass her by and it makes her sad that Chloe didn’t live her life to the fullest.

She looks to her husband waiting to gush with him but she was weirded out by how nonchalant he’s being.

“You’ve read her message right? She’s coming back here with her friend.”

“I saw.”

“A new friend. Someone we haven’t met.” Carol pushed further.

“Mmhmm.” Was John’s only response.

They stared at each other for a while and it was Carol who looked away first. She busied herself instead with reheating the food for Chloe and her friend.

Chloe directed Beca to park the car in the open space in front of their house. Beca looked out and she doesn’t have a clue about their home but when she saw it, it was exactly what she expected it to be. Right away you can tell, it was a loving home. Something Beca never really had with her own family until she became a part of Jessica’s family.

“So this is where you grew up?”

“Yup. Welcome to our family home. It’s just my mom and dad here. My brothers aren’t home.”

“Brothers?”

“Yeah. I have two big brothers. The oldest is in Canada and the other is backpacking around the world.”

Beca was nodding with her eyebrows furrowed.

“What’s with the face?” Chloe asked when she saw it.

“Nothing. I can’t wait to meet them.”

“Stick around then maybe you will.”

“Oh I intend to.”

Beca suddenly felt nervous when she saw an older version of Chloe standing by the front porch. She already had a big smile on her face looking at the two of them.

Beca followed Chloe and her mom didn’t even wait for them to be introduced.

“Hi I’m Carol.” She says as she gives Beca a big hug.

“Mom meet Beca.”

“It’s so lovely to meet you Beca.” Carol said with Beca still in between her arms.

Beca was stiff and couldn’t even move her arms. “It’s nice to meet you too Mrs. Beale.”

Carol let go of Beca and Beca was still getting over the embrace when she saw Chloe’s dad walking towards them. She quickly straightened up and cleared her throat. She could already feel his intense stare on her. Alarm bells were ringing everywhere for Beca. This was not the best time to panic.

She’s never actually dated anyone to the point that she met their parents but this was exactly what her worst nightmare would look like. Chloe is after all his baby girl.

John wasn’t as welcoming and warm as he would normally be. Carol has never seen this side of her husband. Even Chloe was surprised by how her dad was acting.

He just stood there with his shoulders square eyeing Beca up and down. He had his lips pursed and eyebrow raised. Carol even went as far as positioning herself between them ready to intervene incase anything goes down. Not that John was that type of guy.

Chloe was trying to get her dad’s attention but he doesn’t look away from Beca.

“Dad. This is Beca. Beca this is my dad.”

“It’s nice to meet you sir. I’m sorry for coming here unannounced.”

John doesn’t let up. He raised his chin and spoke in a very stern voice. “So you’re the culprit. What did you do to my Chloe?”

Beca visibly gulped and Chloe choked on her own saliva. Beca now knows where Chloe got her toughness. Chloe was staring at her dad wide eyed. She mouthed at him ‘What are you doing?’

She then looks to her mom for help but she was just as confused as her.

Beca gulped again and cleared her throat. “Sir?” It was the best Beca could do.

“Are you dating my daughter?” John continued. Ignoring completely both Chloe and Carol.

“No sir.” Beca had to compose herself.

“But you want to. That’s why you’re here, right?”

Chloe was about to protest but Beca put a hand on her arm. She cleared her throat and held her chin high this time. “Yes sir. I do.”

All Chloe could do was shake her head and did a dramatic face palm beside Beca. Beca didn’t dare break eye contact with Chloe’s father.

Then there was a shift. He smiled and then lightly hits Beca on the shoulder. Beca was actually very scared. “Well then. That’s settled. The name’s John. I’ll leave it to Chloe and support whatever my Chlobear decides. Please come in. Don’t be shy.” John had that twinkle in his eyes back.

John finally looks at Chloe with his cheeky smile and winked at her. He was very pleased with himself. He also earned a slap from Carol in the process.

“John Edward Beale that was not funny.” Carol was hissing at John almost pinching his side.

Beca could hear Chloe’s dad chuckling to himself. “Oh come on sweetheart.”

Chloe gave her dad a hug and a kiss. “I hate you so much you know that.”

“Lighten up Chlobear. I just wanted to clear the air right away.”

It warmed Beca’s heart to see Chloe’s bond with her parents, especially with her dad. It was obvious that they were very fond of each other.

“Come on Bec.” It was weird for Chloe. She felt protective over Beca after that. She reached for her arm, gave it a squeeze and didn’t let go. “You okay?”

“Yeah of course.” Beca’s voice may have betrayed her a little bit there but she was more than okay. She was finally able to breathe. “Chlobear?” Beca couldn’t resist asking Chloe.

“Ah ah ah.” Chloe’s dad interrupts her again. “Only I get to call her that.”

“Right of course sir. It won’t happen again. I promise.”

“Dad stop.”

“What?” John said as if he was innocent.

Chloe’s parents, especially her mom, were like interviewing Beca over dinner. They got to know about her job, where she grew up and a little bit about her family. Chloe knows her parents were being nosy and sometimes she would intervene and assured Beca she didn’t have to answer if she wasn’t comfortable. But Beca was actually enjoying herself and Chloe appreciated Beca’s willingness to be open to them. Admittedly, she learned a lot about Beca too.

John was joking around with Chloe and Beca while they ate but Beca didn’t dare let her guard down. She knew he wasn’t kidding earlier. He may have laughed it off in the end but she knew what message he wanted to send across and she heard the message loud and clear. She loved how protective John was being and rightfully so.

“So Beca will you still be here on the weekend? We were planning to go camping. You are very much welcome to join us.”

“Mom no, she’ll be flying back home by then.”

“Oh. Well maybe next time then.”

Beca looked to Chloe’s dad as if silently asking whether he approves of her joining them as well. When he smiled and nodded at her, she gave him a smile back.

“Actually Mrs Beale. I will still be here and I would love to join you for camping.”

“Oh that’s wonderful.” Carol said with her hands clapped together.

“Alright ladies. This has been a delight but I’m afraid I’ll have to bid you good night. It’s way past my bedtime.” John says standing up from his seat.

Beca stood up when he stood up and she’s not sure why. Chloe found it cute and put a hand on Beca’s leg when she sat back down again. It didn’t go unnoticed by Beca that Chloe became a little more touchy feely especially after the unexpected and intense encounter with her dad.

John kissed the top of Chloe’s head when he passed her. “Good night Chlobear.”

“See you in the morning dad.” She smiled up to him.

Chloe then saw her mom moving about in the kitchen. “Mom. Leave that. We’ll clean up don’t worry. You should go and rest too.”

“Okay. Should I ready the guest room or?”

“We’ll figure it out.” Chloe said.

Beca saw Chloe’s dad stop in his tracks halfway up the stairs when he heard Carol ask about sleeping arrangements.

“I’ll take the guest room thank you. Honestly the couch would’ve been fine as well.” Beca said.

Carol was horrified. “Nonsense. You’re not sleeping on the couch. Not on my watch at least. I’ll ready the guestroom for you.”

“Mom it’s okay I can do it. Go rest.”

“No no it’s okay I want to do it. It won’t be long. Good night you two. Make yourself at home Beca. Chloe you make sure she doesn’t sleep on the couch.”

“Thank you again Mrs Beale.”

“Yes mom good night. I love you.”

Carol smiled at them both from the foot of the stairs before heading up. As always, her husband was right about Chloe again. She may not have the same bond with Chloe but never once did she feel jealous about their bond. In fact she felt the exact opposite.

“I have a confession to make.” Beca says to Chloe when they were alone and cleaning up. They were standing next to each other facing the sink.

Chloe doesn’t look up from washing the dishes. “Hm?”

Beca was the one assigned the drying. “I haven’t actually bought a ticket home yet. I wasn’t entirely sure how this was gonna go so worst case was me going back to the airport and getting on the next flight back to LA.”

Chloe really found rambling Beca adorable. It might be her favourite habit of hers.

Beca looked to Chloe. “What are you smiling about?”

“Nothing.”

Beca was curious but she didn’t press. Chloe smiling was a good thing. “So when do you plan to go back?”

“Luke wants me to get an x-ray in a few weeks so I figured I’ll stay here until then. Since I’m not working and all, I could just hang out with my mom and dad.”

“They’re pretty cool you know.”

“Yeah they’re alright.”

They stood there in silence again and went back to focusing on the tableware in front of them. Beca was almost blushing by how domestic this all felt. Chloe’s been thinking about how to apologise to Beca for her dad’s actions. She didn’t want Beca to feel ambushed or something.

“About my dad earlier.” Chloe began.

Beca put her hand on Chloe’s arm. “Please don’t. I’m scared shitless but I love what he did. I mean it sucks for me but if it were my daughter I would do the same.”

Chloe could see it but she was able to stop herself before her mind completely went there. It was hard enough to fathom a relationship with Beca but to actually envision a future with her too that included a house and kids. Chloe had to draw the line somewhere.

“Okay. Just tell me when it gets too much. My dad’s a prankster. He loves the game and right now you have a target on your back. As for my mom, well you saw how she was. So just give me a heads up.”

“Aww I’m flattered. You’re making me blush again. Careful Chlo. I might get the wrong idea here and think you’re worried about me.”

***

Beca usually struggled sleeping anywhere that wasn’t her house but she must’ve been exhausted. She would have slept some more if it wasn’t for the incessant ringing of her phone.

Beca answered without looking and just pressed the phone on to her ear.

“I’m gonna go ahead and say everything went well then? Or do I need to come get you?”

Beca groaned. “Everything’s fine Jess.”

“How was the make up sex?”

“Jessica!” Becca hissed. She knows it was impossible for anyone to hear from her phone. “I’m at her parents’ house.”

“Oh wow. You met the parents. How was that? I’m surprised you haven’t taken off.”

“I’m not doing that anymore and it went pretty good actually.”

Jessica was smiling to herself. “The sex?”

“Oh my god. Stop.”

“I’m kidding. I’m happy for you partner but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go easy on her.”

“Thanks but what do you mean go easy on her?”

“We have to set a double date. We’d like to meet her properly. We loved Chloe as our photographer but dating you is a different ball game.”

“Relax. Don’t scare her off just yet. I promise we’ll organize something when I get back. Don’t you have work to go to?”

“I’m actually just on my way. Also I thought you wanted to know, the Director’s back in Washington. You know you have a few more days.”

“Nope. Nope. I am not going to see my mom during a mandatory leave. I can already see the look of disgust on her face. I’m not dealing with that.”

“What about your dad?”

Beca thought about it. “Yeah maybe.”

“Okay good. I’ll let you go. Don’t have too much fun today.”

“Bye Jess.”

Beca tried to listen to any noise coming from the outside. But there was nothing but silence. It was impossible that everyone else was still asleep at least Chloe’s parents would be up for sure.

She opened her door slowly and took a peek. Her senses were flooded by the smell of coffee so she decides to follow that. It led her to the kitchen and Chloe who had her back to her. She didn’t mean to be a perv but Chloe was wearing boxer shorts and a tank top and maybe she enjoyed the view a little too much.

She cleared her throat and Chloe turned around. “Can I help with anything?” Beca offered.

“Oh hey, you’re up. Coffee?”

“Please but just show me where.”

“No don’t worry I’ll get it, take a seat. How’d you sleep?”

Beca reluctantly took the seat at the counter. “Yeah good. Where are your parents?”

“They went to the shops for the trip.”

“The camping trip? Wow they must be really excited. I thought they said that’s happening on the weekend.”

“I asked them if we could do it earlier. That way you have time to rest before you go back to work next week.”

“You didn’t have to do that just cause of me.”

“Don’t worry about it. They’re just happy the trip’s happening.”

“How are you feeling?” Beca asked pertaining to her ribs.

“Okay. Not great but moving around kinda helps. As long as I don’t carry anything heavy or do any sudden twists and turns.”

Beca took a sip of her coffee and Chloe continued. “So I know camping wasn’t part of the itinerary, did you need to buy anything? Slippers? Clothes, maybe? Underwear?”

Beca blushed at the mention of underwear like a teenager. “I think that’s a good idea just to be sure.”

***

Chloe wasn’t kidding when she said her parents loved going on camping trips. Beca couldn’t get over their mini camper van. They drove to a camping site about two and a half hours away with Beca and Chloe taking her parents’ car and convoyed.

John and Beca did most of the work of setting up when they arrived. She offered to help and kept on volunteering so Chloe won’t have to do much work. Eventually they were all settled and seated around the fire.

“You know why I love camping with Chloe?” John asked directly at Beca.

“Dad. You say this every time.”

“I know I know but Beca’s hearing it for the first time. So it doesn’t matter if I’ve said it thousands of times before.”

Chloe could only roll her eyes and didn’t protest anymore.

“My camping skills are god tier compared to the military. The food, the tent, my fire, location, the company, the ambience, what else can I say?”

Beca looked around waiting for the punch line. Carol and Chloe seemed to get it.

“Wait. Why compared to the military?” She was genuinely confused.

“Chloe served in the military for almost ten years.”

Beca turned to Chloe. “Ten years in the military?” She couldn’t believe it.

“I joined when I was 19 and he exaggerates. It’s really only maybe about seven or eight.”

“Seven or eight? Oh my god. What the actual fuck?” Beca quickly turned to Chloe’s parents. “Sorry sir. Sorry Mrs B.”

Chloe’s parents were just amused by Beca’s reaction.

“How did I not know this?” Beca asked Chloe.

Chloe shrugged. “I don’t know I guess it just never came up.”

“But photography had always been Chloe’s first love.” Carol says. “Personally, I do prefer her doing photography. It makes me sleep better at night. I worry about her brothers enough.”

Beca snorts and everyone turns to her. “I’m sorry. It’s just that Chloe is very very clumsy. I even worry about her doing photography if I’m being really honest.”

Her parents laugh cause this was common knowledge. Chloe gets it. Beca has said over and over again that she’s never realised how dangerous it was being a photographer until she met Chloe. Beca really believes being a photographer was not the safest profession.

They made smores and cooked marshmallows over the fire. Chloe’s dad even brought out his guitar and they all sang around the fire together. Even Beca joined in sometimes. They told stories about Chloe’s childhood and their favourite camping memories. Beca liked how she was slowly becoming part of their family or was that too soon to say?

Just before midnight, her parents called it a night and left Beca and Chloe sitting on a log by the fire.

“So you were in the military? How come you never mentioned it? I feel like a terrible girlfriend for not knowing that.”

“Girlfriend?”

“Yeah. I’m manifesting and who knows? You might slip up and agree with me. No take backs when that happens by the way.” Beca pointed at Chloe.

Chloe laughs. “You’re being childish.”

“Are you being shy about this? Is the almighty Chloe Beale blushing?”

“Stop. I’m not.”

“Oh you totally are. But seriously I always felt badass that I’m a federal agent but that’s nothing now compared to you being in the military.”

“Don’t get me wrong I’m proud to have served my country but I guess it wasn’t for me. Remember when I was telling you how I pursued photography when things didn’t work out. But listen and listen closely cause I’ll only say this once.”

“I’m all ears.” Beca leaned closer to Chloe and had her hand cupped to her ear.

“I’ll always think you’re a badass. It doesn’t matter what you do.”

“Now you’re the one making me blush and flustered.”

The feeling suddenly overwhelms Beca as she remembers watching Chloe work. She understands now one of the reasons why she loved watching Chloe take pictures. It didn’t matter whether she was using the most expensive camera or the cheapest phone. She was so in her element either way.

“You inspire me a lot you know that?”

“In what way?” Chloe was curious.

“Being a photographer is your dream right?”

“Yeah and I love it.”

“I know. So you’re living your dream. I want that too. You really inspire me. So much in fact that I think I’m gonna leave the Bureau when I close the current case I’m on.”

“What do you mean?”

“Being in the FBI wasn’t really my dream, it was my mom’s and I wanted her to be proud of me so much that I went for it and now I just feel stuck.”

“What’s your dream then?”

Beca looks down and starts taking interest on random twigs. “I haven’t really told anyone about it.”

“That’s okay. You don’t have to tell me right now. Whenever you’re ready.”

They were both staring at what’s left of the fire.

“I’m really sorry for coming here and please don’t get mad at Luke. It’s not his fault. I can be very persuasive and I don’t regret being here.”

“I was gonna go back and you already know where I live and work. I’m sure you still would’ve found me somehow eventually.”

“That is true. I guess I really am your stalker.”

“I know you can’t tell me much but I also know this leave was mandatory. How are you? Are you good to go back to work next week?”

Beca was blushing again. She can feel her ears and cheeks warm up again. But she has that smirk and she sighs.

“Now what?” Chloe had to ask.

“Nothing. I like it when you’re concerned about me. So this is what it feels like when you’re girlfriend worries about you.”

Chloe could only shake her head. “Seriously though, you okay? I mean I know we can’t talk to each other about work but it doesn’t mean we can’t be there for each other.”

Beca rests her head on Chloe’s shoulder. “I know it was weird and stalker-ish but I’m really glad I came. I needed this trip too. I feel ready to go back to work now.”

“I’m still going to rip Luke apart when I see him but I guess it’s not so bad having you here. I missed you too.”

Beca and Chloe looked into each other’s eyes and it was Beca that looks down to Chloe’s lips first.

“You know I would totally kiss you right now but I’m so scared that your dad might see and I want to stay in his good graces. I really do.”

Chloe leaned into Beca’s ear and brushed her lips on her ear as she spoke. “Then let me make it harder for you to resist kissing me.”

Beca shivered at that sensation. She didn’t even care how red she was now.

“I have something for you.” Chloe handed Beca an envelope.

Beca thought it was random but opened it anyway. “You got me a ticket?”

“Yeah for Sunday night. I’m sorry if I chose the second to the last flight, I just wanted to spend more time with you. I was going to fly back with you cause I figured that’s what girlfriends do but with my ribs and all I’m still off work. It’s very rare for me to have this much free time. I wanted to spend as much as I can with my parents as well.”

Chloe was having too much fun teasing Beca but she meant what she said. She stood up and offered her hand to Beca. “Let’s go to sleep?”

“Wait.” Beca reached for her hand but pulled Chloe back gently to face her. “What did you just say?”

Chloe gave Beca an incredulous look. “Sorry I booked you a late flight?”

“No, the other thing you said.” Beca took a step closer to Chloe.

“I wanted to spend more time with you?”

“No the other thing.” Beca took another step closer to Chloe. One more step their noses would touch.

“Bec I said a lot of things.” Chloe said softly.

Without breaking eye contact, she wrapped her arms around Chloe’s neck and whispered. “The one where you were supposed to fly back with me.”

Chloe rolled her eyes. “Oh that. Don’t you want to fly back with your girlfriend too?” Chloe said as a matter-of-factly as if she did not just shake up Beca’s world. “No? Just me?”

Beca bit her tongue but she had a smile on her face. This girl in front of her would be the death of her. She then starts feeling a bit emotional.

Chloe dropped the act when she saw Beca was about to cry. “Aw Bec. Are you crying?” Chloe said reaching for Beca’s face.

“Do you mean it?” Beca asked with a little sniffle.

Chloe kissed Beca softly on the tip of her nose before nodding yes. She was done teasing her.

Beca couldn’t resist anymore. She wraps her arms around Chloe’s neck and gave her open mouth kisses. She was laughing and crying like a crazy person. She was so happy.

“You’re my girlfriend.” Beca says in between her kisses.

Their make out session was getting more intense and Beca was leading Chloe to their tent. Chloe put her hands on Beca’s shoulder and slowly pulled back and Beca leaned forward chasing Chloe’s lips.

“I think we should slow down.” Chloe said a little breathless. She was getting a little frustrated too and the frustration was straining her ribs.

Beca nodded. “Right. No you’re right. Sorry.”

“No it’s my freakin’ ribs.”

“Ah fuck. I feel so elated I keep forgetting about that.” Beca then offers her arm to Chloe. “Come on. Let’s get you to bed my darling.”

Chapter Text

Chloe was rushing since she got out of her shoot. Beca and her had dinner plans and she was running late... again. Beca booked them in a fancy restaurant this time. She left her car to the valet and thanked him. She looked around for Beca as soon as she entered. She spots her seated somewhere in the middle and suddenly felt a little underdressed walking across the room.

“Hey Bec. I’m so sorry I’m late. We couldn’t get a certain style right.”

Beca’s face lights up as she sees Chloe. “Ahh there’s my perfectionist.”

“Hey it wasn’t me. It was the client this time.” Chloe put her hand on her shoulders to stop Beca from standing up and leaned down to give her a kiss.

“Have you been waiting long?” Chloe asked as she saw most of the food had already been served and Beca has started eating her main course. “I’m really sorry. I really tried to get here as fast as I could.”

“No. It’s okay. Sit sit. I’ll ask the waiter to bring out your food. I wanted to keep them warm.” Beca called for the waiter.

“Yes Madam?” The waiter was shocked to see Chloe like she was convinced Beca already got stood up.

“Can you bring the rest of our food out? Thank you.”

“Right away Ma’am.”

As soon as the waiter left, Chloe had Beca’s full attention. “How was your day? It’s good to see you in one piece. Any injuries I should know about?” It has become one of Beca’s favourite inside jokes of theirs.

Chloe rolled her eyes. “You don’t have to ask me that every time you know.”

“I know I joke about it but I really do worry. I’m glad everything’s okay.”

“I know you do. But what about you? How was your day? I’m so sorry I feel like we haven’t caught up properly since I got back.”

“No it’s okay. I understand. It’s probably chaotic for you. You’ve been gone for a while so I can only imagine the backlog with your work.”

Chloe stayed for another five weeks in Portland and has been swamped with work since she’s got back a few days ago. She’s gone on dates with Beca every other day since she’s got back and was late every time.

“Work’s been the same. Posen’s finally off my back for now. She’s still here unfortunately but she’s not breathing down my neck anymore so I’m taking that as a win.”

Chloe’s already gotten used to Beca ranting about Aubrey. She finds it amusing mostly but doesn’t really ask further questions.

Beca continues. “I can tell you though I have a babysitting gig coming up.”

“Babysitting?” Chloe found that odd. She knew what the underlying meaning of that meant and she couldn’t help herself. “Are you being punished or something? What did you do?”

“Being in the FBI had always been my punishment.” Beca answered casually. It was hard to tell if it was her just joking around. Chloe’s not too sure if she’s even conscious about it but it’s been happening more often.

“Stop it. You love your job.”

“I do. Anyway, as you know I’ve been doing a lot of surveillance this past few weeks. This new assignment will be a welcomed change. I really can’t wait to be out and about too but it won’t be for another month.” Beca was biting back a yawn that Chloe caught.

“Why do we always go on these dates again? I wouldn’t mind a nice night in too just so you know.”

“The truth?”

Chloe was intrigued but smirked at Beca. “No. Lie to me.”

Beca ignored Chloe’s teasing. “I just prefer it.”

“More than the comforts of the couch and eating in front of the TV?”

“That’s not fair. You know I would love nothing more than doing just that.”

“So why are we here then?” Chloe was fishing. She could sense Beca was being hesitant about something. “It’s not like we haven’t been to each other’s places before.”

“Yeah but those were different.”

“How are they different?”

“We weren’t dating then.”

“So?”

“I just. I don’t think I can trust myself to be alone with you yet and I wanted to really make sure that your ribs were okay. I don’t want to risk hurting you just because.”

When Chloe realised what Beca was implying, she laughed so loud that heads started turning towards their table. She was wheezing. She was actually worried she might hurt her ribs again. “Holy shit. You are so cute sometimes.” She had tears in her eyes. She had to grab her napkin to dab them gently.

“We don’t have to do anything you know. You don’t have to feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with.”

“It’s not that. I’m not uncomfortable or anything. I literally don’t want to hurt you. I know for a fact you haven’t done your x-ray so we can’t be too sure. Speaking of, you should really schedule that. I’ll even come with you.”

“I’ve been so busy since I got back and honestly at this point I’m just waiting for Luke to kidnap me and drag me to the labs.”

“Are you not talking to him because he told me where you were?”

Chloe shrugged. “Maybe.” She was the one being evasive now.

“Oh I get it.” Beca says all smug. “You’re more annoyed of the fact that he was right after all.”

“Right about what?”

“He said that you’d kill him if he gave me the address but he was willing to risk his life because he had a feeling you wouldn’t be too mad if everything worked out. I bet you he’s still waiting for a thank you.”

“On the contrary, I still don’t agree with him. We would have worked it out regardless.”

Beca blushed at that and she’s not sure why. Maybe it was the way Chloe sounded so sure of them two working it out.

“How did you convince him by the way? How did you get my very trusted friend to betray me like that?”

Beca laughed at Chloe who was feigning hurt but then blushed even more than earlier when she remembered exactly what she said to Luke. Chloe had been curious about this and wanted to hear Beca’s version more than Luke’s.

“I think betrayal is an overkill.”

“Nevertheless it is a betrayal. So? How did you do it? I’m serious I really wanna know.”

Beca reached for her iced water. Her cheeks and ears felt very warm. She cleared her throat and met Chloe’s unfaltering gaze.

“He didn’t tell you?” Beca was trying to buy herself some time before actually confessing.

“He just said that you were going to go full on FBI on me. I’m actually surprised you haven’t done that yet. Isn’t that one of the perks of being in the FBI?”

“It’s true I was going to but we actually do get in trouble for those things. Believe it or not we can’t use government resources to stalk potential girlfriends.”

“Really? Well that’s a shame.” Chloe teased back.

“You really wanna know what I said to him?”

“Yes.”

Beca took a deep breath and exhaled. “Okay so long story short. I met with Luke during his break at the hospital. He wasn’t going to give me the address. He kept apologizing, saying it wasn’t his place and to just keep trying to call you.”

Chloe nods but doesn’t say anything.

“And then I don’t know I was just suddenly overwhelmed with my feelings for you that I went on this whole speech. I explained to him how I was falling for you and I think I have. I said to him I think we could really make each other happy and each day that went was a day closer to me losing you for good.”

Beca suddenly feeling brave reached over the table and held Chloe’s hand. “I love you, Chloe. I really do.”

“Oh.” Chloe didn’t know what to say.

Beca would normally panic in situations like these. She knows they’ve only been dating for a while and surprisingly it seemed like it was Chloe who was panicking. Between them, Chloe is the impulsive one. Beca gave her hand a tiny squeeze.

“Hey it’s okay. You don’t have to say it back right now. I was just letting you know and honestly it feels good to say it out loud.”

Chloe finally squeezed back. “Thank you.”

Their moment was ruined by Chloe’s phone ringing. Beca noticed right away that it was a different phone that Chloe took out but she doesn’t say anything. It was the first time Beca’s seen it and she wonders how long Chloe’s had it.

“Hey Bec. I’m so sorry but I have to take this. It’s work and I’ve been dodging this client for weeks.”

“No no, please go. I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Thank you. I’ll be right back.”

Chloe walked out to the restaurant’s patio and made sure she was out of earshot before picking up.

“Lil. This better be good because your timing is terrible.”

“Okay I’ll make it quick then. When did you last talk to Cap?”

“Not since I left for Portland. So that would be about more or less maybe three months.”

Lilly was quiet. It was as if she was making the calculations in her head and trying to trace back Kommissar’s movement.

“Why? Am I in trouble?” Chloe knows for sure they already know about her and Beca.

“No no but the last time I talked to her was about two weeks ago. I’m worried. I can’t find her.”

Lily doesn’t get worried easily and for her to call Chloe about this meant it wasn’t to be taken lightly but for Chloe it wasn’t enough to raise the alarm about Kommissar yet.

“Okay. Talk me through it. What do you mean you can’t find her? I do that all the time, I like disappearing off the face of the earth.”

Lily at least chuckles at that one. “You going off the grid and her going off the grid are two very different things. No offense.”

“How is that offensive? You haven’t seen me actually try to go off the grid.”

“Chloe seriously. I need you to focus. The last time I was able to track her was five days ago and it was by accident.”

“So nothing for five days now. That’s okay right? She went missing for almost a month last time. What’s the problem?”

“Yes but I could still track her, even if it were a couple of hours delayed. I even tried the emergency number.”

“Wait hold on what do you mean when you say you tracked her by accident?”

“I was watching Ralph Salazo. Just to observe then I saw Kommissar was there. I think something big is going on.”

Lily wouldn’t say that if she weren’t serious. Chloe noticed she’s been out for too long. “Okay look. I’m out with Beca. I’ll meet you at the pub after. You’ll be there all night won’t you?”

“I’ll wait for you here then.”

“Keep me posted anyway. I’ll see you later. Bye.”

Chloe put her phone back in her pocket and stopped for a minute to breathe. She considered for a second if she should try calling Kommissar but she shook her head and decided against it eventually. “Relax. Don’t do anything rash yet.” She tells herself. “She’s okay.”

Chloe apologized again to Beca and had to make up a difficult client contacting her. She deflected by trying to focus on things outside of their work instead like the holidays and how Beca would celebrate. Chloe always had to work over the holidays and spend most of her time at Lilly’s pub.

She would celebrate with Luke, Lilly and Kommissar with Kommissar setting up headquarters for the holidays since it was too risky for her and Chloe to be spotted together, they almost never actually do.

Beca would normally celebrate her holidays with Jessica and her family. She would find time to at least meet up with her mom and dad once. Beca was actually born out of wedlock. Her dad was now married and she had two younger stepsiblings. Her mom never married. Beca would usually say she married her career and devoted her whole life to it.

Beca and Chloe brought their own cars and when it was time to say goodbye.

“What’s happening? Was she kidnapped? What was she doing? Where was it?”

“She didn’t look restrained or anything. But there was something. It seemed like they were arguing and then she got on to her bike and followed his car.”

“And that’s the last time?”

“Yeah then I lost them. I don’t know yet but I have a bad feeling about this. I also saw the FBI on to him. Here in LA. I don’t want you to be involved yet because with Salazos and the FBI, we both know who they’re looking for. But if something happened to her, you’re the only one who can save her.”

“Don’t worry about me. Keep an eye on Ralph Salazo. There must be a reason why she saw him. We’re going to get to the bottom of this.”

“Do you think she’s also thinking Ralph Salazo is the snitch?”

“Probably. I swear she’s so annoying when she goes doing things on her own.”

“I’ll find her.”

***

Beca was working overtime again with Jessica and decided to stay over at Jessica and Ashley’s place. It’s been a week since she’s dropped the L bomb on Chloe. She’s starting to overthink but overall it’s just mostly her missing Chloe too. They barely saw each other since that night.

“I’m trying my best to understand her. Sometimes I don’t know. She’s so. I don’t even know how to say it. I just can’t read her sometimes.”

“Maybe it’s an artist thing?” Jessica suggested.

“Yeah I’ve been looking up artists and how they work and it’s really interesting. It’s almost like when we have an investigation except I guess less risk and more flexible?”

“And we thought dating an FBI agent was hard, right?”

Ash walked in the room and joined them in the kitchen with drinks.

“I also just learned that she has two phones.” Beca added. She brought it up not that she was suspicious but because she felt silly to bring it up to Chloe.

Jessica and Ashley looked at each other and exchanged “oohs.”

Beca caught this. “What?”

“You know what they say about having two phones, right?”

“What do they say?”

“Sweetheart, don’t. You know how paranoid our friend can get.” Ashley says holding on to Jessica’s shoulder.

Then Beca gets it. “She’s not like that you guys. It’s her work phone I’m sure.” Beca asked again.

“Not important. Anyway, we have yet to officially meet her. When is that happening?”

***

Admittedly, Chloe had been distracted. She tried to busy herself with her work but she couldn’t shake the feeling that Kommissar might be in danger. Between photo shoots and trying to locate Kommissar, she barely had time to see Beca. It was a good thing that Beca was almost just as busy as her.

She rarely contacted Kommissar first. It was only for emergency as in life and death situations. Considering the circumstances, she considered this to be an emergency in their books so she’s been trying to call since last night with no luck.

She almost threw her phone at the wall. Kommissar never ignored her emergency calls before. Something isn’t right and she hates it. As much as she wanted to go over to Lilly’s again, tonight was going to be the perfect distraction. She and Beca were going on a double date with Jessica and Ashley. For Chloe this was like an initiation for her to be officially part of their circle.

Beca originally wanted Jessica and Ashley to come over to her house so all four of them could hangout. But she figured it would be nicer to go out and go on a proper double date. She made reservations at her and Jessica’s favourite restaurant.

She offered to pick up Chloe at her place. Her heart still flutters every time she sees Chloe and Chloe was really nice to look at to. She would blush just by the realisation of Chloe actually being her girlfriend.

Chloe got in and leaned in for a kiss. “Hey. You look great as always.”

“So do you. You ready?”

“Yup. Let’s go.”

Beca and Chloe made a bit of small talk. It was their usual when they would tell each other how their days went.

“Are you nervous?” Beca eventually asked.

“Not really.”

“It’s okay to be nervous.”

“I’m really not though. Should I be?”

Chloe was putting up a front. Deep down she was nervous. Of course she’s nervous but she will never show it.

The night before…

Chloe went to see Lilly when she got off work. She went straight to the pub from the studio. Beca had to work overtime so Chloe could visit her friend. She was in Lilly’s pub at her usual seat by the bar waiting for Lilly to serve her drinks.

“You got it?”

“Yup.” Lilly handed her a thumb drive but Chloe just stared at it. Lilly rolled her eyes and put the thumb drive in front of Chloe.

Chloe stared at it some more. She was reluctant to touch it. “That’s all of it?”

“Yup. All you asked for is in there.”

Chloe sighed. It was as if there was no turning back if she reached for it. “This is ridiculous right? I shouldn’t do it? Please tell me I’m being ridiculous and I shouldn’t take it.”

“No you’re not being ridiculous. You’re just being you. That’s how you were built. Is it okay if I ask why you needed those in the first place?”

“Because I want them to like me.”

“Chlo. You don’t need that for them to like you.”

“But I have to prepare for tomorrow somehow.”

Chloe asked Lilly to give her everything there is to know about Jessica and Ashley. Lilly’s report included everything, from their childhood, how they met, where they went to school, their family background, their careers, their relationships, likes and dislikes; everything.

“It’s not a mission. You don’t need a brief. Just be yourself.”

Chloe raised her eyebrows and smirked at Lilly. Now she was the one being ridiculous.

“Your other self. You know what I meant.”

Chloe kept staring down at her drink and the thumb drive. Then she downed her drink and grabbed the thing and put it in her pocket. Lilly just observed her.

“Let me ask you this. Why didn’t you ask me to do a background check on Beca? Is it because you knew enough or you didn’t want to know more?”

“No reason. I didn’t need to impress her. She already liked me and we just clicked. I didn’t want to look her up or something and maybe I wanted to keep our relationship authentic somehow. All things considered.”

“Okay.” Lilly said pointing to her pocket where the drive was tucked in. “Now how exactly do you expect that to help you tomorrow?”

“I honestly don’t know. But thank you for this. It does make me feel a little bit better now.”

“You sure it’s not the alcohol doing its work?”

“Shut up and just give me a refill.”

Lilly shakes her head at her friend. She’s never seen Chloe like this and it was amusing. It was a whole new side to her.

Chloe ended up not using the thumb drive and tucked it away in her drawer.

Beca and Chloe were stopped at a light still on their way to the restaurant. Beca relaxes a bit now. She glances at Chloe who seemed to be the same. She reached for her hand and intertwined their fingers.

“You’re right. There’s no reason to be nervous. This is going to be a fun night. They’re really nice and funny once they get comfortable with you. You already know how close we are so it’s expected that they can be very protective of me.”

Chloe chuckled at that. “Of course. They’re your people. What are you so worried about? It’s not like I haven’t met them before.”

“Yeah but that’s different.”

“Would you feel better if I said I was nervous?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why are you nervous?”

“I really want you to get along. I really want you to like each other. It would mean a lot to me.”

“We will. We all have something in common already.”

Jessica and Ashley arrived a few minutes before Beca and Chloe did. They stood up when they saw their friend. Beca introduced them and was very proud to be able to introduce Chloe as her girlfriend to the two most important people in her life.

They weren’t seated long when Beca realised there was no point in worrying. Right off the bat, Chloe got along with Jessica and Ashley. Chloe carried herself well and she had no problems joining in their banter. Everything was going perfectly well until Beca had to excuse herself to answer her phone.

“Sorry.” She turned to Chloe. “I know we promised no work tonight but I can’t really ignore Posen’s call.”

“No no it’s okay. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”

“Yeah Bec, we’ll take care of her for you.” Ash said.

“Alright. I’ll be right back you guys.”

As soon as Beca left the table and turned the corner, Chloe felt the shift in the air. She’s been waiting for it. She knew it was too good to be true and that it was all an act. Chloe saw their intentions a mile away.

It was Jessica who speaks first. “Chloe you know we like you as a person and we respect your work and what you do. We will forever be grateful for what you did for us at our wedding too no matter what.”

“It was my pleasure. I was just doing my job. I like you guys too. Beca’s really lucky to have you both.”

Jessica cleared her throat. She wanted to make sure Chloe understood this very well. “Okay. What we’re trying to say here is and please don’t take this the wrong way. Beca is like a sister to me. I’ve known her for more than half my life. It’s nothing personal to you. It’s just that this isn’t the first time she’s fallen for girls like you.”

“Girls like me?” Chloe raised an eyebrow.

“Yes girls like you. You know gorgeous, the prettiest ones in the room, bubbly, outgoing, glamorous job, can get along with anyone without actually giving anything away, you know mysterious. You’re probably sick of people throwing themselves at you. You can have anyone you want. Those kind of girls.”

Chloe just nodded. She knew better than to bite back. She stopped eating and dropped her knife and fork. She’s lost her appetite. She grabbed her napkin and gently dabbed the sides of her mouth.

“All we ask is you be careful with her. She’s not good with this relationship stuff. She cares about you. She may act all tough on the outside but she’s really a softie. We would hate to see her hurt.”

Chloe just smiled and nod to be polite. She bit her tongue. There was no point in defending herself. These were Beca’s friends. It was only right for them to be protective and to be looking out for her.

“Like I said. Beca’s really lucky to have you both.”

“We like you. We really do. But if this is just one of those casual flings for you, please save us all the heartbreak. Beca isn’t into that. She’s loyal. Maybe that’s your thing or maybe it’s not. We don’t know. But if it is just a game to you, then stop wasting our time. Beca doesn’t let people in that easily and for some reason she really wanted to be with you the moment she met you.”

It wasn’t just a casual fling for Chloe but knowing what she does, there was only really one way for her to break Beca’s heart.

She was prepared for what was coming. She wasn’t blindsided by it or anything but boy was she glad when she saw Beca was already walking back to their table. Beca had a smile on her face until she sensed the tension around the table.

“Hey. Sorry about that. What I miss?”

She looked to her friends who were back to their cheerful selves. Chloe had to take a deep breath and put a smile on her own face.

“Not much. Everything okay?” Chloe asked Beca trying to take the focus away from the tension.

“Yeah sorry it was the deputy director. I couldn’t ignore her call. But don’t worry its nothing too important.” Beca then turned to Chloe. She looked a bit tense almost frazzled. Beca couldn’t really read her. She reached over to her and squeezed her leg. “You okay?”

“Yeah yeah. I think I just ate too fast. The food’s really good though, which is a shame. It’s just I realised I haven’t eaten all day. But I’m okay, it’s nothing wine can’t handle.” Chloe said wiggling her eyebrows.

Beca raised her eyebrows at that. There was something she couldn’t put her finger on but she eventually looked away from Chloe and called a waiter to order her and everyone some wine.

For Beca, the night went perfect. It was better than what she expected. Her friends approved of Chloe and they got along just as she had hoped. It was supposed to be perfect but Chloe had been off and she doesn’t know why. It bothered her.

She pulled up in front of Chloe’s building and turned to her.

“What’s wrong? You okay? Is it still your tummy?”

“Yeah. Sorry. It’s nothing. I’m just tired.”

That’s the lamest excuse and they both know it but Beca doesn’t push. Instead she meets Chloe halfway for a kiss.

“I really enjoyed tonight. I appreciated your friends for making the time too.”

“Of course. They’ve been dying to meet you.”

“I was too.”

Chloe smiled what appeared to be a sad smile to Beca.

“Thanks for driving me. Drive safe and text me when you’re home, okay?”

“I will. Good night and I hope you feel better.”

Chloe smiled at that and kissed her again before stepping out of the car. Beca hated watching Chloe walk away and wanted to run after her but she was just so lost. What went wrong?

***

Lilly was finally able to track Kommissar. It was at an abandoned junkyard somewhere in the middle of a very low-income neighbourhood. They didn’t have much time to prepare or conduct proper surveillances. So Chloe was going to have to rely on her training and wing it really.

“Alright Chlo. We will only have a twenty-three minute window before the cartel is back.”

“You sure she’s in there?”

“Yes. But I can’t be too sure how many more are inside.”

“That’s okay.” Chloe tightened her vest and loaded her gun. She was in her usual all-black ensembles. The only plus side of going out during the day was she could complete her attire with her matching all black sunnies.

“You good?”

“Yup.”

“I’ll be here.”

“But you know the drill Lil. If I’m not back in thirty minutes, you drive away and leave me. Don’t wait a second beyond the half hour and keep driving. Don’t stop.”

Lilly never actually had to leave Chloe behind before but it was still a very unpleasant SOP. They both looked down at the clock. Chloe sighed.

“It’s time.”

“Good luck Chlo.”

Going inside the junkyard was easy enough. It was a little too easy actually. Chloe simply walked in. There was no one. It almost felt like someone walked in before she did and cleared the path for her.

True enough, she did see a lifeless body as she kept walking. She took her gun out. He still felt warm so she knows whoever did this was still in here somewhere. Then she heard scuffling noises from the other side of the pile of old cars. She slowly follows the sound wary of her surroundings.

She then sees Kommissar in the middle of four thugs trying to fight them off one at a time. At least she’s alive was Chloe’s first thought. Then she sees one of them taking out a knife and going for the stab. Kommissar was busy fighting the other three. With no hesitation, Chloe shoots him in the head. The others all looked to their friend then looked up to her.

Kommissar took that opportunity to finish the other two while Chloe shot another one in the head. Just by looking at the two guys with bullets in their heads, she knew it was Chloe.

“Chloe?! What the fuck are you doing here?” Kommissar looked around to make sure no one’s spotted them. “How did you find me?”

“First of all. Excuse you. Rude. I just saved your life. And second, Lilly found you. Not me.”

“Chloe be serious. This isn’t a joke.”

“I’m not kidding. You got us worried Sar. Now come on let’s go.”

“What?”

“I’m saving you. Now come on.”

“No you guys are mistaken. I didn’t need to be saved. I’m on a mission.”

“What mission? Lilly was worried and we couldn’t contact you. What were we supposed to do? We talked about this.”

“Well if you must know. We got it all wrong. It’s Ralph Salazo who’s working with the FBI.”

“I did have a bad feeling about that. That still doesn’t explain why you’re here solo and why would he help the FBI?”

“Business. It’s good for his business. But now he wants you. Well the “reaper” that the FBI wants.”

“Why?”

“That’s what I want to find out. I’ve known this guy for a while. I was trying to get him to trust me.”

“How?”

“Common enemies.” She points to the bodies on the ground. “The FBI, the government, America. I’m sure I can think of something.”

“Okay. Since I’m here now, after going through all that hassle. Can we just kill him and get it over with?”

“No we can’t do that. Not yet.”

“Why not?”

“He claims to have proof of your identity.”

“That’s impossible.” Chloe was tucking away her gun now.

“We can’t be too sure.”

“We both know he’s bluffing Sar. I bet you he’s just baiting the FBI.”

“I don’t know. He wouldn’t believe me when I said I was the reaper.”

Chloe scoffed. “Of course he wouldn’t. You don’t fit the profile. Surely you have a better plan than that.”

“What? It’s possible. Fuck the profile. I could very well be the reaper. Chloe this is important. You have to go.”

“In one condition. You can’t disappear. Let Lilly be able to communicate with you or at least track you.”

“Okay. Now go. I really need you to go right now.”

“I’m giving you a week or else I’ll go after Salazo myself.”

“Deal.”

“And just so you know, I cleared my day for this. You owe me every penny I lost today. Actually make that the past three days.”

“Yeah yeah whatever. Just get out of here.” Kommissar continued to shoo Chloe away and eventually Chloe made her way back to the van where Lilly was waiting.

***

It was a regular day in the office for Beca until a memo was sent around the office that there appeared to be an attempt to hack into their systems. IT is currently confirming that it was successfully blocked and which of their systems, if any, were compromised. To do this they had to reset the whole database. Beca was assigned an unusual assignment but she was happy to do it.

In the meantime, Aubrey had her own theories about the hack and called on her favourite agents, note the sarcasm, Agents Mitchell and Smith. On a more serious note, there was no indication that the reaper was involved in the hacking but as a precaution Aubrey wanted the witnesses to be transferred ASAP.

Knowing their dedication on the Reaper’s case, it wasn’t a surprise that they both agreed wholeheartedly with Aubrey’s orders. Beca was assigned to pick up Emma Hicks, who was their key witness in the latest reaper case, and escort her to her new safe house.

***

Ever since Chloe was somewhat assured that Kommissar wasn’t in danger and that she was on top of things, she was starting to slowly process the other night. She never did get over the Jessica and Ashley fiasco but she never brought it up to Beca. She couldn’t. She realised the reason she couldn’t bring it up was because if Beca felt the same as her friends, the hurt would be two-fold. She didn’t mind Beca’s friends to think of her that way but she wasn’t quite ready to face the fact that Beca shared the same views.

Kommissar was the perfect distraction for Chloe and eventually she was able to make more time for Beca. They both did and they got to spend more and more time together. After Beca’s never ending insistence that Chloe should get her x-ray done, she’s finally done it. As soon as she was cleared, Beca has slept over a few times at Chloe’s apartment and vice versa.

This weekend Chloe was staying over at Beca’s house. She didn’t have her own drawer yet or anything but their sleepovers were becoming more frequent. They found it to be a good balance when they were both busy with work. It was nice to come home to someone even though you only fall asleep next to each other and sneak in quick catch-ups over breakfast or before bed.

So Chloe was waiting for Beca. They already swapped keys to each other’s places and Beca said she was running late. They were going for a nice quiet night in. She was humming while preparing their dinner. Beca had texted her that a colleague was coming home with her and that she would explain everything at home.

Beca had to improvise last minute. On their way to Emma’s new safe house, Beca was informed that it wasn’t ready and it won’t be ready for maybe another day or two. Emma’s safety was paramount so she decided to have Emma stay with her.

Since she was under the witness protection program, Beca made a plan that she would introduce Emma as Emily. Emily is an agent in training who needed a place to stay and Beca was her mentor.

Emma was okay with that plan. She knows Beca and she trusted her. She was one of the good ones and she did feel safe with her.

Beca parked her car at her spot and led Emma to the house. She turns back to her before opening the front door.

“You ready?”

Emma just nodded yes.

“Don’t be shy. Like I said it’s just me and my girlfriend here. But don’t worry. She’s lovely and she won’t ask any questions. Let’s just stick to the story alright, Emily?” Beca winked at her.

It did help Emma relax a little but this was the first time in months that she’s not surrounded by agents in a safe house. It was a weird feeling. She followed Beca in and looked around.

Nothing was out of the ordinary until Emma heard a familiar tune as they walked closer to the kitchen. It was the exact same one she heard on the night of the killing of her old boss. The hairs on the back of her neck were up the moment she heard it. It couldn’t be.

“Chlo? We’re home.” Beca calls out.

Chloe stops her humming when she hears Beca. “Oh hey babe.”

Emma watched Beca walk over to where Chloe was and give her a kiss. She could almost feel her heart beating out of her chest. She couldn’t believe this was happening. Beca was still oblivious to what Emma was currently going through and Emma couldn’t get herself to look at Chloe.

“I have Emily here with me. She’s an agent in training. She needs a place to stay for a few days so I offered. I hope that’s okay?”

“Nonsense. Of course it’s okay. I don’t mind and it’s your house Bec. Don’t worry about me.”

Emma was still trying to breathe to keep herself from fainting.

“Okay then let me introduce you. Emily this is Chloe. Chloe Emily.”

Chloe looks to Emma and she’s not stupid. She recognised her right away but she didn’t give anything away and went with the flow.

“Hi. I’m Chloe. It’s nice to meet you.”

Emily was frozen in her spot. It’s like all the blood was drained out of her body. This was definitely the same person she saw that night. She was looking at Beca as if trying to telepathically send the message but then gave up. She has long since accepted her fate and now the reaper has come back for her and there was nothing she or Beca could do about it.

Beca was encouraging her and kept assuring her that it was okay. She felt guilty but she was a fighter. If she was going to be killed tonight, at least she could put up a brave front.

Emma took a deep breath and turned to Chloe. The moment they made eye contact, all Emma felt was fear. For the second time in her life… she had full body chills. Chloe didn’t flinch nor did she break eye contact. She kept a sweet smile that for a second Emma doubted whether this was the same person. She was disarming. But she’ll never forget Chloe and that voice. The reaper is standing right in front of them and Beca had no clue.

She cleared her throat. “It’s nice to meet you too.”

Then Emily turned to Beca. “You’re so very kind. But I think it’s best I stay at a hotel. I don’t really want to intrude.” Emma said to her almost begging.

Beca walked towards her with concern etched all over her face. “What do you mean? No. Don’t worry you’ll be safer and much more comfortable here.”

Beca noticed she was shaking and she felt bad for overwhelming her.

“You don’t have to be scared. Trust me. You’re safe here.” Beca said in a lower voice for only her to hear.

Emma was nodding but couldn’t get her feet to move.

“I’m sure you guys are hungry after a long day and you haven’t eaten. Find a spot at the table. The food will be ready in a few.”

Emma slowly lifted her gaze to meet Chloe’s and they locked eyes for a moment. She never did forget how blue Chloe’s eyes were but she never told that to the FBI. Somehow she’s scared that the reaper will find out that she’s ratted her out to them and that would give her reason to kill her. She’s not that surprised her hair wasn’t blonde either. It was obvious she was wearing a wig that night.

“We can order take out somewhere if you like to eat something else?” Chloe suddenly said to her. “Thai? Pizza? Chinese?”

“No.” Emma finally found her voice. “I’m happy with what we’re having. It really smells good too.” Emily cleared her throat. “Thank you.”

They ate and made small talk while seated around the table. Emma and Chloe were facing each other while Beca took the corner spot. When Beca had to excuse herself to prepare Emma’s room, Emma was beyond terrified. But this might be her only chance to maybe save Beca’s life at least.

Chloe was staring at her with a soft smile. Emma didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know what was going on. What was she doing here with Beca?

“That song you were singing.” Emma finally spoke up.

“Hm?”

“What is it? Where is it from?”

Chloe nodded. “My mom used to sing it to me a lot when I was younger. It’s always been stuck in my head. Do you know it?”

“I’ve heard it once before.”

Chloe nods and wipes her mouth with a napkin. “Why do you think you’re still under the witness protection program, Ms. Hicks?”

Emily’s fears were confirmed. Chloe did recognise her and knows who she is. Of course she did. “Exactly because of that. I witnessed something I shouldn’t have.”

“So the FBI thinkgs your life is in danger?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think the same?”

Emma looks up at Chloe. She was scared again. She doesn’t know how she managed to not cry and break down in front of her yet. It was terrifying for Emma how calm Chloe was being while having this conversation.

Emma cracked. “Please don’t hurt Beca. If you’re here for me, then just take me. Don’t hurt her or anyone else for my sake.”

Chloe starts shaking her head. “I know this isn’t the most ideal situation but I’m not here for you. I’m not here to hurt Beca either. And if you ask me, I don’t think you’re in danger. In fact I don’t really understand why you’re still under the protection program. You must have valuable information.” Chloe said with a twinkle in her eye.

“I’m not dumb. I’m not going to say anything.”

“I know you won’t. That’s exactly why you’re alive and I’m telling you your life or Mickey’s life or Mary’s life isn’t in danger. I can assure you that. But of course that’s still entirely up to you.”

At the mention of her family’s name, Emma felt defensive. She thought she was protecting them by keeping them away.

“What do you want from me?”

“Relax. I didn’t mention their names to threaten you. I mentioned it so you can continue to make informed decisions.”

“Why are you here then? Beca is one of the good ones. Please don’t hurt her. I can tell you, they have very little information about you. You don’t have to do this.”

“Fate played a cruel trick on me when I met her. I don’t know why I’m telling you this but we actually met by accident. I didn’t know who she was and she obviously didn’t know who I was.”

“And you’re together now? You and I both know how fucked up that is.”

“It is. Honestly if things weren’t the way they were, it would’ve been perfect.”

“I know I’m not supposed to be scared of you cause somehow I just know you’re not going to hurt me. But I can’t help but to be scared of you. I don’t want to offend you or anything but it doesn’t help that you’re normal. I think I would have preferred it if you were a monster.”

Chloe laughed. She found this girl very amusing. She won’t forget how brave she was and she’s doing it again tonight. “I get that. I’m supposed to stay over tonight but if it makes you feel better I can just tell Beca that I have to go home. She’ll understand.”

“No. It’s okay. You don’t have to do that.”

“You sure? You look like you’re about to faint.”

“Beca’s been looking forward to see you all day and it seems like you too are the same.”

Chloe tilts her head at Emma but doesn’t say anything. She won’t deny it. They’ve both been so busy with work and she does admit she would find herself missing Beca a lot of the time.

Emma was just watching Chloe and how her expressions softened at the mention of Beca.

“Oh my god, you really love her don’t you?” It was crazy even for Emma but maybe she has gone mad already but she was starting to feel more relaxed around Chloe.

Chloe doesn’t answer and just smiled at Emma. Chloe always went with her instincts and right now, it was telling her that she could trust this girl. Chloe was relieved. She could see how much Beca cared for Emma and the last thing she wanted to do was hurt her.

“I was wondering if you could help me out with something.” Emma spoke up again.

“Yeah? With what exactly?” Chloe was curious.

“I want my life back to the way it was. I’m sick of hiding and being scared stuck in a house that isn’t mine and will never be mine nor feel like mine. Or I don’t know. If things won’t go back to normal then at least a fresh start. I can’t keep living like this.”

Chloe nods. She understood. “Give me time and I’ll see what I can do.” She was being genuine.

“Thank you.”

Beca joined Chloe and Emma in the dining again. The first thing she noticed was the change in Emma. She’s no longer as tensed as she was before and is more relaxed. Chloe probably worked her magic.

“Hey you two. Em, you want to follow me upstairs so I can show you where your room is?”

“Sure. Thanks again Chloe. For the food.” Emma says to her before following Beca.

“It’s my pleasure.” Chloe says.

Chloe stands up too and starts clearing the table.

“Chlo please don’t clean up. It’s my turn. You already cooked. You had work today too. Get some rest.”

“Worry about your guest not me.”

Beca rolled her eyes. “I swear she’s so stubborn sometimes.” Beca says to Emma.

“How long have you been dating?”

“Three months maybe officially. It took her forever to say yes to me. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times she rejected me.”

“If you don’t mind, how did you two meet?”

“At a bar actually. Some random guy was hitting on her and I saw she wasn’t comfortable so I went over and shooed the guy away. Cute right?”

“Yeah. Wow.” Honestly Emma’s reaction was mainly due to the fact that she couldn’t imagine Chloe needing to be saved from some drunken guy.

“Well that’s what I thought at first but it turned out I misread the situation entirely. Instead she said to me that she didn’t need saving and that she could handle herself. I didn’t even get her name that night.”

Emma laughed. That’s more like the Chloe she knew, she thought to herself.

“Then by sheer coincidence, I saw her again at my best friend’s wedding. She was their wedding photographer.”

“She’s a photographer?”

“Yeah. She’s really good. And I’m not just saying that cause she’s my girlfriend. Alright so that’s everything. If you need anything else, please call me.”

After her conversation with Beca and Chloe earlier, she really wanted to feel okay and feel safe. But she still didn’t. Emma decided this was her best chance at running away.

***

“You’re okay with this right?” Beca sat next to Chloe on the couch. She opened her arms and Chloe leaned into her right away.

“Of course I’m okay with this. I love your cuddles.”

“I meant if you’re okay with Emily being here. It’s just for a day or two. I’m like her mentor so when there were issues with her roommate, I couldn’t help but offer her a place to stay.”

“I know you wouldn’t have been able to resist. And of course it’s okay. I like her.”

“Me too.”

“You’re not going to get in trouble for having her here, right?”

“Deputy director approved babe.”

Emma overheard this but she was still ready to bolt. She waited for them to fall asleep and that’s when she was going to run. She waited until midnight. She couldn’t sleep and she was too scared to make a sound. When it was time, she listened for a long time and heard nothing. It was quiet. She opened her door slowly and tiptoed down the stairs. She saw the lights were still on and stopped in her tracks when she turned to the couch. Beca and Chloe were curled together with Chloe holding Beca.

Emma suddenly felt guilty. She knew Beca would get in so much trouble for losing a witness under her supervision. She hated the feeling but this was her life. Then she felt scared, if she hurt Beca one way or another, she was sure Chloe was going to come for her. Emma stared at the door. One part of her wants her to just make a run for it but a bigger part of her is making her stay. She sighed and turned around. She couldn’t do it.

Chloe slowly opened her eyes and watched Emma walk back up to her room. She held on to Beca tighter and finally gave in to sleep. She knew Emma would do the right thing.

***

Emma ended up staying over for two nights. Chloe was there for both nights. After their weekend together, Beca was escorting Emma to her new safe house that Monday morning and Chloe went to work. The moment she got in to her studio first thing, Luke was already there to babysit her.

“You are in big trouble my friend.” Luke teased her.

“Shut up. How mad is she?”

It wasn’t that much of an ambush. She did see his car right outside her studio. She didn’t question him being there and just let him hang around the studio. A little later, Kommissar was calling her.

Chloe looked up to Luke first before answering. She could see he was trying so hard to suppress a smile. Luke always did find Kommissar’s lectures to Chloe entertaining and this was going to be a long one.

Luke only stayed in the studio when he didn’t have work. Otherwise, he would just follow Chloe around. Those were his orders. Just watch her. This happened all the time and Chloe didn’t mind it.

Sometime during the week, news came out that Ralph Salazo was killed. The official media release was that he was killed in a buy bust operation. Beca was already informed of what happened to him even before it hit the news. She’s been pacing around while waiting for Aubrey to get back to the office. She knows Aubrey met with Ralph Salazo earlier in the week.

“Please tell me you at least got something from him.” Beca wasted no time.

“It’s not a lot but there is something.”

“Okay. That’s great. We have a lead then. A lot of people died in this operation. Please tell me it was at least worth it.”

“We got a name from him. Kommissar.”

“Kommissar… You think that’s our reaper?”

“I don’t know. That’s all anybody has.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. All those lives lost and all we got is a name.”

“It’s something.”

“So what do we do know about this Kommissar?”

“That’s what you’re going to tell me in three days. Then we’re reporting it to the Director together. So get to work Agent Mitchell.”

“I know you said to keep Ralph Salazo between us but can I get permission to let Agent Smith know about this lead so she can help me prepare the report.”

“Yes. You have my permission to do that. Actually prepare a team of four. I expect a thorough report.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

Beca was at the door when she turned back to Aubrey. “Does the reaper have anything to do with Salazo’s death?”

“Maybe. There’s a team looking into his death. If it turns out the reaper has something to do with it then they will pass it on to you. But right now, I want everything there is to know about Kommissar.”

***

When Chloe heard the news of Ralph Salazo’s death, she felt sick to her stomach. She called Kommissar right away.

“I swear to god Sar, I didn’t do it.” Chloe says the moment she picked up.

“I don’t wanna talk about it Chloe.”

“Tell me what I can do.”

“Right now, there’s nothing we can do but wait. The FBI is currently investigating his death. Until we know what they have, we can’t do anything. I want you to lie low and rest. I want you to be 100% for the next job.”

“Okay. I’ll wait for your call then.”

The past month has been emotionally and mentally draining for Chloe. When it all comes crashing down on her and it becomes a little too overwhelming, she turned to alcohol to numb herself. She shuts the studio early and heads out. She drives to the other side of the city where she wouldn’t normally go. She wanted to be a nobody even just for tonight. All she wants is to be left alone sitting by the bar with a glass of whiskey.

She and Beca didn’t have plans tonight so she didn’t have to worry about Beca looking for her. So she parked her truck in one of the alleys and went into a pub. She left her phone in the compartment of her car and only brought cash with her.

She could feel eyes on her but she wasn’t interested. She had no plans nor was she interested in entertaining anyone, she wouldn’t do that to Beca and that’s not why she was here.

Chloe was able to enjoy about an hour of silence. She had her glass in front of her. She nodded her head slowly to the music. It was almost therapeutic to her. Until she heard the bell of the door and knew it was someone she knew just by pure instinct.

She didn’t need to turn to know who just sat beside her. “I don’t know if I made it obvious but I drove all the way here for a reason.”

“Well hello to you too.” Luke was cheerful. He ordered them more drinks.

“What do you want?

“Nothing. Didn’t you want company? And yes I may be following orders but honestly I don’t mind having a few bevvies with a friend.”

“Luke no offense to you or anything and it’s nothing personal I swear but I really want to be alone tonight.”

“So would you rather have me watch you from a distance and drink by myself?”

“I would rather you leave me alone, turn around, get in your car and just go home.”

“Well I can’t do that and I took a cab. Speaking of. Come on, hand me your keys.”

Chloe had a history of driving under the influence. It’s a miracle she hadn’t been booked for it before.

“I was really enjoying my me time.”

“Come on. I’m not that bad of a drinking buddy. And besides, I’m going to save you from any unwanted attention. It’s your choice. You let me drink with you or you open yourself up to anyone in this bar who wants to hit on you. Your choice.” Luke shrugged and took a sip of his drink.

Chloe sighed. She knew he was right. So she reached for her keys in her pockets and handed them to Luke.

“You won’t regret this.”

They had a few more drinks. They agreed to not talk about work. The more Chloe drank the more her mind wandered to Beca. Soon she started opening up to Luke about her and Beca.

Luke loved to hear it. He was secretly rooting for the two.

Beca worked overtime again and got home pretty late. She checked her phone and didn’t see any notification from Chloe. Out of habit she tried calling her but Chloe doesn’t pick up. Beca thinks she’s still working or already sleeping.

She stopped herself of thinking of other reasons why Chloe wasn’t picking up. It wasn’t fair to Chloe. She knows how hard Chloe works. She then decides to try again in the morning.

Beca was tossing and turning on her bed. She had her eyes closed the whole time and really tried to sleep. She was able to sleep a little already but woke up as soon as she heard her phone ringing. She saw it was Chloe calling and checked the time. It was a little after 1AM.

“Chlo?”

“Hey Beca it’s Luke.”

Beca sat up straight. “What’s going on? Is Chloe okay?” She hates how she always expected the worst.

“I’m so sorry to bother you. But I lost Chloe.”

“What do you mean you lost Chloe? Where are you?”

“We were having a few drinks and I went to the bar to order some more then I went back to our table and couldn’t find her anywhere. I was going to call her but as you can see she left her phone with me and I have her car keys. She’s been drinking and I wanted to make sure she wasn’t going to drive.”

Beca was already changing. She had so many questions. She knows Luke and Chloe were really close but sometimes she hoped that Chloe would go to her and not Luke.

“How long ago was this?” She asked Luke who still on the other end.

“I don’t know. Half an hour maybe.”

She opens her door and sees Chloe getting out of a taxi outside her house.

“Fuck thank god.”

“Why? Is she there?”

“Yeah. She’s here. Why don’t you drop by my place tomorrow?”

“Alright. I’m glad she’s safe.”

“Me too. Take it easy Luke. Bye.”

She ends the call and leaves her phone on the table. She goes to where Chloe is and hugs her. “Oh my god. I was so worried. Are you okay?” She could smell the alcohol and it was obvious Chloe was drunk but she didn’t care. When Chloe hugged her back, she hugged her tighter.

“It’s okay. I’ve got you.”

“I’m sorry. I know it’s late.”

“Never. I’m really glad you’re here. Come on. Let’s get you some water and get you into fresh clothes.”

“I’d like that.”

Chloe could barely stand up still or walk straight. She leaned into Beca who was guiding her towards the living room. This was probably the most drunk Beca has seen Chloe but she didn’t look like she was about to spew or pass out.

Chloe drank the water Beca gave her. Then Beca helped her up the stairs and to the shower. Chloe sobered up a little in the shower. She insisted she could shower on her own. Beca waited for her on the bed. She was listening in the bathroom like a dog. The last thing she wants is Chloe hurting herself.

It wasn’t long until Chloe stepped out of the bathroom wearing just one of Beca’s oversized hoodies. Beca had to admit Chloe looked really hot right now. Chloe was smiling at her and jumped on the bed literally falling on top of her. Chloe stayed literally on top of Beca and made herself comfortable. She loves it when Beca automatically puts her arms around her and lets out a contented sigh.

“You and your friends are wrong you know?” Chloe said before she could stop herself. The alcohol that was still in her system wasn’t helping.

Beca stopped rubbing soothing circles on Chloe’s back. “What do you mean? Wrong about what?”

“You’re my first. This is my first real relationship. I’m not some player. I mean yeah I slept around in the past but I never played with anyone’s feelings. I wouldn’t lead anyone on. I haven’t slept with anyone else since I met you. I’ve never even been in love before so just be patient with me. This is all so new to me.”

Chloe dropped all of that on Beca just like that and Beca was utterly dumbfounded. That was a lot to unpack.

“Wait wait wait. Hang on. You lost me. Let’s go back for a bit. Is that okay?”

Chloe nodded.

“First of all. What in god’s name are you talking about?”

Chloe was confused. “I thought I was pretty clear. What did you not understand with what I just said?”

“Okay. How about this.” Beca shook her head. “Where is this coming from?”

Chloe was still confused. It was like they weren’t on the same page. “You’ve been in serious relationships before right?” Chloe asked looking up to her.

Beca blushed and avoided Chloe’s gaze.

“Don’t be shy. It’s okay. You can tell me.” Chloe encouraged Beca.

“Yes. But they’re all in the past.” Beca quickly adds. “I’m with you now. I don’t dwell on my past relationships.”

“Don’t worry. I know. I’m not worried about that.”

“What are you worried about then? If you’re worried my friends don’t like you, they do. They just have a weird way of showing it.”

“I’m worried that you and your friends are jumping to the wrong conclusions about me. Maybe you’re right; maybe I can have anyone I want. Did I ever make you feel that I’m not serious about you? Or are you worried that this is just some fling for me?”

“What? Of course not. Why would you even think that?”

Chloe just sighed and then it all clicked for Beca. It all made perfect sense now. That night when Chloe met Jessica and Ashley, Beca was so sure there was something that happened that night. It bothered her at her wit’s end. But no one was saying anything. She was left at the dark. She was left to believe that everything was okay. Maybe that’s what she convinced herself to believe.

Now after hearing Chloe being so unsure of herself and knowing Chloe felt like this since that night. Beca started to feel so many things at the same time, anger, rage, guilt, shame, hurt.

“Is that what they said to you?”

Chloe closed her eyes. She could feel Beca stiffen and see her jaws clenching. “I don’t mean to start anything.”

“I don’t know exactly what they said to you that night but if they said anything along the lines of questioning your commitment to this relationship, I don’t share that sentiment. Yes I may have the tendency to feel jealous but I would never doubt you.”

“Thank you. It’s nice to hear you say that. I’m sorry if I even thought that.”

“No. Don’t say sorry. You have nothing to be sorry about. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not noticing. You should tell me these things. I want you to be comfortable enough with me to talk to me about these things.”

“I know. I was just scared of the possibility you know.”

Beca kissed the top of her head. “I’m sorry. I hate that you had to carry that for this long.”

“Can we talk about something else?”

“Of course.”

They were both quiet for a while. Beca knew Chloe was still awake. She was expecting Chloe to be humming something by now.

“So you’ve never been in a relationship before?” Beca asked.

“Nope never. Well at least never serious. Just casual flings and hook ups.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. I just accepted that maybe it just wasn’t in my cards. There was no room for love in my life.”

“I find that very very hard to believe. You’re one of the most loveable persons I know and you’ve never been in love.”

“Is that really that hard to believe?”

“I’m sorry I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I’m just really surprised by that.”

“Why?”

“Cause you’re you.” Beca said as a matter-of-factly.

That made Chloe smile for real for the first time that night.

“Hey promise me something.” Chloe said.

“What?”

“Don’t get mad at Jessica and Ashley. They love you.”

Beca’s jaws clenched again. She hated what her friends said to Chloe. She wasn’t happy about them right now. And if it wasn’t for Chloe almost using her as a pillow, she would’ve headed off to their place already and demanded answers and an explanation.

“They will hear it from me alright. That’s for sure.”

“Please don’t. They’re being good friends.”

Beca wanted to keep arguing. Chloe was defending her friends that were clearly in the wrong.

“One more thing Bec.” Chloe mumbles. Beca can feel her hot breath on her neck, which sends shivers down her body.

“Hm?”

“I’ve never been in love until you.”

Beca’s emotions were all over the place. One second she’s fuming in anger thinking about what her friends did then Chloe says things like that and she’s all flustered and blushing. She was just processing what Chloe just said when Chloe followed it up with. “I love you too. Sorry it took a while.”

“Shh go to sleep and say it again in the morning.”

“Okay. Love you.” Now Chloe couldn’t stop saying it.

“I love you too.”

Chloe nuzzled into Beca’s neck some more. “You’re right. It does feel good to say it out loud.”

She could feel Chloe giggling on top of her. “Go to sleep Chlo.”

They were quiet again and Beca thought Chloe was sleeping already.

“Love you.” Chloe would whisper to her ear.

And Beca would always answer her with. “I love you too.”

They went back and forth until Chloe’s ‘love yous’ were replaced by light snores.