Beca stared at her phone, currently open to her mom’s contact page. She didn’t click call though, instead she stayed in place on her bed. There used to be days when she could push it all down and use her mixes to work things through. But, this was Chloe and she’d stopped being able to bottle things up somewhere around the time the blue-eyed a capella captain had handed her a flyer.
Her arm dropped to her side, thinking maybe calling wasn’t a good idea with how late it was. She tossed and turned a few more times in bed before she remembered the 3-hour time difference between Barden and Seattle. She lifted her phone back up and hit call without further thought. It rang twice before the line picked up.
“Hi, mom,” Beca said, glancing over the room to double check Amy wasn’t there.
“What’s wrong? And, don’t say you’re just calling because you miss me.”
“Well, I do miss you.”
“But, that’s not why you’re calling and I know it.”
“Sometimes I hate how perceptive you are.”
“For the record, I miss you too. Now, what’s going on?”
Beca let out a chuckle that was far more watery than she’d like.
“Jesse broke up with me,” said Beca.
“Don’t be silly that man adores you and he’s your soulmate.”
“What do you mean?”
Beca told her about their fight the previous week, her eyes fixated on the leather cuff the whole time. But, stopped her story there.
“So, he broke it off because your tattoo disappeared?”
“We had problems before that too.”
“But from the sounds of it, he was mostly fixated on the tattoo.”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Well that’s foolish.”
“I-I don’t blame him.”
“You can’t blame yourself.”
“But, it’s my tattoo that disappeared.”
“Yes, but you had no control over that and neither did he... Do you think it’s over, or that some space would do you two good?”
Beca sighed, but answered truthfully, “it was almost a relief when he left me. I mean it hurt, but now I know I was happier as friends.”
“So, you’re okay?”
“I’m still processing, but yeah I know I will be, about this anyway.”
Her mom was silent a moment, but Beca knew she was going to bring up the semantics of her last sentence.
“What else happened?” said her mom, voice soft from years of experiencing Beca’s backlash at being pushed too far.
“Um, it’s…” Beca took a deep breath in, her voice trembling for the first time since hearing her mom’s voice. “It’s Chloe, she thinks we should date.”
“And, what do you think?”
“I think I got dumped less than a week ago.”
“Tell her to give you time then.”
“Maybe,” said Beca, not really taking that suggestion seriously.
“Forget about Jesse for a moment. What do you think about Chloe?”
Beca wasn’t ready to answer that yet and instead asked the question she’d wanted to since she first pulled up her mom's contact info, “do you regret marrying dad?”
“Of course not, I got you out of it.”
“Ew,” Beca said with a shaky laugh. “That was way too sentimental.”
“But, you always knew either one of you could leave the other, why risk it?”
“We were young and loved each other. And, for a very long time we were happy. Yes, it sucked when he left, but I wouldn’t change the choices I made.”
“I’m worried that when Chloe leaves me, it’ll break me.”
“If, not when. And, it might, for a while at least. That’s the risk of any relationship, honey.”
Beca remained quiet so her mom spoke again, “do you love her?”
She really didn’t want to open that bottle, but it slipped from her fingers and shattered into an impossible puzzle, “I love her so much, mom. But, I feel guilty about it. How can I move on from my soulmate days after he broke it off?”
“You’re the one that always said tattoos shouldn’t dictate feelings.”
“What a stupid thing for me to say.”
A soft chuckle came from the phone speaker before her mom said, “go be happy, Beca.”
“But, it won’t be forever.”
“You don’t know that and I think you’ll regret not taking the chance, especially when I think you’ve loved her for a long time without letting yourself acknowledge it. You talk about her constantly you know, I can’t remember a single conversation we’ve had where you didn’t bring her up since you met her.”
“I can’t lose her as a friend mom, I need her in my life, always.”
“Tell her that.”
“Okay, but - ”
“I get that you think you’re making the same mistake I made, but I don’t think it was a mistake at all. Not now that I’m on the other side.”
“But - “
“No more buts, Beca. Follow your heart.”
“Gross,” Beca muttered, smiling when she heard her mom chuckle on the other end. “Goodnight, mom.”
“Goodnight, sweetie. I love you.”
“Yeah. I love you too, or whatever.”
Sleep proved evasive as Beca thought about her convo with her mom. Part of her wanted to tear down the steps and find Chloe, the other wanted to sleep on it first. Despite the turmoil, she had accepted one thing, she was in love with Chloe.
She focused on the music filling her ears through her headphones, drowning out the sounds around her. So much so, that Beca didn’t notice when a rock hit her window. Or, when Fat Amy stopped mid snore - having returned home an hour or so ago - and grunted as a second rock hitting the window. She did, however, notice when Fat Amy stumbled out of bed and flung open the window.
“What d’you want, aca-dick-head?” Amy called.
Beca didn’t hear a response, but faint music started to clash with the song still playing through her headphones. She hit pause on her playlist and slipped the headphones from her ears.
“Are you seriously trying to Say Anything her right now?” said Amy.
“Amy?” Beca mumbled. “What’s going on?”
“Your ex-soulmate is trying to Say Anything you,” said Fat Amy, then louder, “with an IPhone.”
“Yeah, I have no idea what that means,” said Beca, accepting she wasn’t going to get a peaceful night and slipping out of her covers.
“You know, it kinda makes sense you two aren’t soulmates anymore.”
“You wound me, Amy,” called Jesse from below.
“It’s a movie,” said Amy, looking at Beca’s confused expression. “An iconic scene, actually. A little overdone now though, two of my boyfriends have done it. A third nearly did, but then he dropped his brother's boombox and ruined it.”
“Right…” said Beca.
Instead of going to the window, Beca grabbed a hoodie to throw on and made her way downstairs. She vaguely heard Amy telling Jesse to meet her out front, but didn’t really care either way. There was a little fumbling as she made her way through the Bella house half-awake and in the dark, but soon she stepped out onto the front porch where Jesse was waiting.
“Thanks for - ” Jesse started, but was cut off by Beca.
“It’s late, Jesse. What do you want?”
“I was wrong, Beca. I shouldn’t have walked away from us like that, or ended a good thing over a tattoo.”
“This couldn’t wait until the morning, you had to come tell me this now?”
“Well yeah, I was trying to do a grand romantic gesture.”
“And, I was trying to sleep.”
Jesse’s resolve started to crack, Beca could see it in the way his body tensed for a second before returning to normal.
“Fine, I’ll uh let you sleep, but please tell me we’re not over before you go?”
“You’re the one that broke it off. And, you were kinda a dick about it too.”
“I’m trying to fix that. I was wrong, and reacted poorly. You’re still my soulmate, tattoo or not.”
Beca looked over at him, there was something in his words or tone that threw her.
“I change my mind, we should talk now,” said Beca, trying her best to keep frustration from seeping into her voice.
“You used a movie to try and get back with me, why?”
“Because it’s romantic.”
“Romantic to who?”
“You, I hope.”
“Think it through, Jesse.”
He did seem to think about it, but Beca couldn’t tell if anything was clicking, “maybe a movie reference wasn’t the best choice. But, we could take the movie out of it, it’s still a gesture to you.”
“Then you should’ve waited until a time I’d be awake, and maybe used a song that actually meant something to our relationship. Like, Don’t You Forget About Me?”
“You’re critiquing me?”
“No… maybe. Look, I’m trying to make a point. You don’t get me.”
The words ‘but, Chloe does’ were on the tip of her tongue, but Beca managed not to let them escape.
“We’re soulmates," said Jesse. "We stick together.”
“And, yet you broke up with me.”
“I already said that was a mistake,” Jesse pleaded. “I’m sorry, please let us be us again.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Beca said, opening the front door once more, but pausing when Jesse spoke again.
“Please, Beca. You’re my soulmate.”
Those words made something click within Beca, “are you afraid that without me you don’t have a soulmate anymore?”
“That’s not… Beca, come on.”
“No, I get it now,” said Beca, an odd sounding chuckle escaping her lips. “You’re as scared as I was when I thought you’d break up with me.”
“Of course I’m scared.”
Beca laughed once more, “sorry, this isn’t funny. It’s just, I could use your own words against you right now. I’m not going to, but I could.”
“Because you’re taking me back instead?”
“No, because I have the decency to give you an explanation. I am never going to like movies, and I don’t think you’ll be happy with someone that doesn’t geek out over the latest whatever film like you do. And, I really, really hope you find that someone one day. As for me, I need someone that lets me be me.”
“I can be happy, Beca. Let me be happy with you.”
“We don’t work as a couple, Jesse.”
“So, this is it? We’re both not going to have soulmates now?”
“Somehow I don’t think we were ever soulmates, Jesse, even if our tattoos once said we were.”
Jesse finally switched off the music and turned away, Beca watching as he stepped off the front porch.
The next morning, Beca woke earlier than she usually would for a Sunday and slipped something comfy but still cute on, leggings and one of her favorite flannels. The walk to Chloe’s room was a slow one full of turning back and mini pep talks. Even standing in front of the door lasted longer than it should, in a probably creepy way if Beca wasn’t too in her head to realize it.
Beca hadn’t heard any footsteps, but one moment the hall was empty save for Beca and the next Lilly was there pulling Beca away.
“Lilly, you need to stop fucking doing that.”
Instead of answering, Beca stared wide-eyed at Lilly.
“It’s all my fault, and I am so sorry,” said Lilly before Beca couldn’t understand her again.
It wasn’t that Lilly was talking too quietly again, though that was definitely a factor; it was more that Lilly threw in words and phrases like “capacitor,” “space-time continuum,” “1.21 gigawatts of power,” and “butterfly effect.”
After what felt like an hour of Lilly talking, she seemed to wind down and said, “I got us back on the right timeline though. And, I’m really sorry for all the pain I caused because of it.”
“Oh, um, that’s okay,” said Beca, her tone making it into more of a question.
Lilly smiled, then took the needed steps to get to Chloe’s door and knock.
“Why would you do that,” Beca hissed, but Lilly winked and disappeared again.
“Come in,” Chloe’s voice called from behind the door.
“I’m pretty sure Lilly just told me she built a time machine,” Beca said as she opened the door, lingering there.
“And that she like altered time or something, but fixed it?”
“Weird... is that why you came down here?” said Chloe from between the notes and textbooks she had on her bed.
“Oh, um no, sorry. She just…” Beca trailed off, waving towards the hall. “Right, um, not important. Can we talk?”
“If this is about yesterday, can we please pretend I never said anything?”
“If that’s what you want, but I’d really like to say something first.”
“Beca…” Chloe started, but then seemed to stop herself.
“No matter what, I need us to be okay. So, please let us talk this through?”
“I wasn’t fair to you,” Chloe said. “I wasn’t thinking, I mean Jesse just broke it off with you and I know what happened with your parents. God, I’m so sorry, Beca. I shouldn’t have put you in that position.”
“Please, please don’t apologize for that.”
“I wasn’t there for you like I should’ve been.”
“You’re the reason I’m not more upset by him leaving,” said Beca, finally closing Chloe’s bedroom door and taking a seat in the small open space left on Chloe’s bed. “You helped me so much.”
“I am? I did?”
“Yeah," Beca said, meaning to get into her rehearsed speech next, but instead continued with, "you’re worth the risk, Chloe. So, please ask me again.”
“Ask to be my person.”
“I can’t do that, Beca. I can’t ask you to get hurt like your mom, no matter how much I lo- I mean, want to.”
“I love you, ask me.”
Beca almost laughed when Chloe’s jaw dropped, but managed to contain it to a smile.
“Did you just…”
“You love me?”
“Yes, longer than I ever realized.”
“But, you said it’d break you.”
“It might. And, I won’t ask you to promise you’ll never leave when you meet your soulmate. I only ask that you never leave my life, be that as friends or as something more. I love you, Chloe, and I won’t walk away again, not until you tell me to. So, please ask me.”
“Can I be your person?”
“Yes. Can I be yours?”
“Yes, and I love you too.”
"I know," Beca said with a grin that she couldn't hold back even if she wanted to.
Chloe made the next move, face inching forward until soft lips met Beca’s. It burned, not in an unpleasant way, but in an addictive, all consuming kind of way. The way Beca knew writers described soulmates kissing for the first time. But, this wasn’t the universe choosing, rather Beca and Chloe accepting that they loved each other despite the hurt they thought was to come in their perceived situation. Perceived because neither Beca nor Chloe knew the full facts while their lips moved together, slow and explorative. Because, below the leather cuff bound on Beca’s wrist, a splotch of red was coloring her skin and in the days to come that red would get outlined in black and two little wings would appear with three dots each.