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 “Do you do, do you remember / when we drove, we drove, drove through the night / and we danced, we danced / to Rancid, and we danced, we danced / and I confessed, confessed to you / riding shotgun underneath the purple skies / and we danced, we danced / with windows down, and we danced, we danced … / you were the song stuck in my head / every song that I’ve ever loved / played again and again and again / and you can get what you want but it’s never enough / and I spin for you like your favorite records used to”
favorite record, fall out boy


Beca’s not entirely sure what she expected when Chloe Beale asked her to go on a road trip with her after graduation.

The first thought that came into her head was how. Neither of them had a car – not that Beca knew of, anyway – and she’s not exactly sure where, or who, to borrow one from. And, like some people tend to forget, money can be an issue. Not much so for Beca, or not as much as one would expect, because her dad is thankfully very generous when it comes to money. He’s still wary about her wanting to become a music producer, but since she’s held back on wanting to move to L.A, he can’t really complain. Plus, she still has at least twelve thousand dollars in her savings account from her grandparents, and seeing as she didn’t have to pay for her college fund – again, thanks to her dad – she hasn’t really had an excuse to spend it. Until now, apparently. She’s not reckless though, so she decides, before she even knows where they’re going, not to take it all; just half of it. Six thousand dollars should be enough for one person on a road trip, and if not, then she’s just going to have to deal with being 6k down in cash. Plus, a road trip with Chloe Beale could result in anything, and she’s not taking any chances.

The second thought that came into her head was why. Sure, they’ve both just graduated, and they kind of both deserve a break before they start their jobs at the end of August. But they’re both living together and, shouldn’t that be enough? She can guarantee, Chloe will end up getting sick of her, and they’ll probably fight – they’ll definitely fight – and yeah, maybe a road trip together is destined to be doomed.

But apparently not, because Chloe asks her on the twenty second of May, a week after graduation – only two days since they moved in together – if she wants to go on a road trip. And Beca should know better, but of course, she doesn’t even hesitate when she asks Chloe where they’re going. But then Chloe says, “That’s the magic of road trips! You don’t need a destination. Just a car and a friend.” And Beca tells her that she’s ridiculous, and she asks her if she has a car, and Chloe tells her not to worry about it. But this is her best friend, and of course, she’ll worry about it.

She worries about it until Chloe pulls up outside their apartment building four days later, in an old Ford Thunderbird that looks like it’s just been stolen from the scrap heap, and she’s smiling brighter than Beca has ever seen her as she makes her way outside, and Chloe stands up on the driver’s seat with her arms out and she says, “I told you not to worry about it.”

The only response Beca can muster up is a smile, because of course, she didn’t have to worry about it. This is Chloe Beale, for God’s sake.


They decide to set off on the first of June.

Or rather, Chloe decides, and Beca just goes along with it and asks her how long she should pack for. Chloe tells her a month, maybe a little longer, and Beca is still convinced that this whole thing is destined to be doomed. Chloe doesn’t even know where they’re going on this road trip.

They have an old beat up Thunderbird convertible, ten thousand dollars between them, and no destination in mind. This could very much be the worst decision both of them have ever made.


Beca tells Jesse the next day.

He’s just moved in to a studio in down town Atlanta, which is an hour away from Beca and Chloe’s apartment, so she doesn’t tell him face to face. She decides to call him when she’s on the Subway, on the way back from seeing her dad, and he doesn’t pick up at first, so she waits five minutes, before calling him back. She thinks it’ll go straight to voicemail again, but then he answers with a “hey, one second, okay?” and then she can hear him talking with someone about a soundtrack.

As Beca waits, she receives a Snapchat from Chloe. It’s a picture of her with a snapback on and she’s captioned it ‘guess who bought taco bell!!!’, and Beca smiles as she screenshots it.

She tells herself that she screenshots Chloe’s Snapchats because she likes to hold the embarrassing photos for leverage, but Chloe hasn’t sent her any embarrassing photos for a while now, yet Beca still finds herself saving every single selfie Chloe sends her. The amount of photos of Chloe on her phone is kind of worrying.

It’s not weird though, because Chloe saves Beca’s selfies too, and that’s what best friends do.

She sends Chloe a selfie back – a close-up of her face, with the caption ‘My hero! I’ll be home soon’ – and she tries her hardest not to make it obvious to the people around her that she’s taking a selfie. As soon as she sends it, she hears Jesse on the phone, and if it wasn’t for the green banner at the top of her phone telling her she’s in a call, she would have completely forgot about it.

“Hey.”

“Hi, sorry.” He says, and he sounds tired. “This new company is on my case about a new soundtrack for a game.” He says, and then he goes on about how he doesn’t want to score games, he wants to score movies, and if he would have known they wanted him to score games, he wouldn’t have accepted the job. Beca should listen to him, but her phone vibrates again and she knows it’s another Snapchat from Chloe, and she kind of hates ignoring Chloe, even when her boyfriend is obviously upset about something.

But honestly, she doesn’t see the problem. Jobs have certain disadvantages, and you can’t really do one thing without having to do another thing. That’s like taking World History and expecting to just learn about the Cold War. That’s like interning at a recording studio and expecting the producers to not put you on coffee and burrito duty.

She realizes that she’ll be getting off of the train soon, so she interrupts him in the middle of his rant about his boss, and she tells him, “I’m going on a road trip with Chloe on Monday.” And he asks her, “this Monday?” and she says yes, and he’s silent for a while, and she has to pull her phone away from her ear to see if he’s still on the line.

“Jesse?”

“Yeah? Yeah, that’s cool. That sounds fun. How long for?”

“A month.”

“A month. Wow.”

She can sense that he’s nodding, because he does that a lot when Beca tells him something he doesn’t agree with. He nods like one of those bobble head toys you used to get in McDonald’s happy meals when you were a kid, and Beca used to think it was cute.

She makes up an excuse that she has to go because Amy needs her, and he says “okay, call me,” and she hangs up before she can hear him say “I love you.”


On the first of June, her alarm goes off at 7AM, and she wonders why in God’s name she agreed to this.

It’s too early. She can tell, because she doesn’t even remember setting her alarm, which means that Chloe probably set it for her, and she should be mad, but she always finds a reason not to be mad at Chloe. Chloe tends to do little things for Beca a lot, like set her alarm, or make her coffee on a morning, or remind her not to forget her keys, and Beca’s learned to just let it happen. She kind of likes it.

She rolls over, groaning out incoherent sounds, kind of hoping that it’ll stop the music from blaring out of her phone so she can go back to sleep.

It doesn’t work.

She reaches over for her phone, feeling around on the table beside her until she finally finds it, and she mumbles something about “five more minutes” to the empty room as she presses the snooze button. Then she turns over, and she’s hoping to get at least three more minutes in bed, but then she hears Chloe coming towards the door, and she doesn’t have enough time to prepare herself before Chloe is bursting into the room.

“Wakey wakey, rise and shine!” Chloe yells as she opens the curtains, and Beca’s head is poking out of the covers just enough for the sun to shine straight in her eyes, and she groans out something unintelligible as she covers her whole head.

Not for long though, because Chloe is asking her if she’s packed any sunscreen, and she can already hear her looking through her suitcase in hopes to find some, and only Chloe Beale would plan a month-long road trip, but then forget to pack sunscreen.

She sits up in bed and rubs her eyes, and it’s not until her eyes fully adjust to the light that she actually sees Chloe. She’s practically half-naked, and it’s not like Beca minds. She doesn’t. Not in that way, because Chloe is Beca’s best friend, and she’s used to it. She just wishes she would have warned her, but it’s okay. She’s her best friend, and there’s nothing weird going on here.

Chloe stands up straight and puts her hands on her hips, and Beca’s definitely not responsible for the way her eyes roam down her body. She’s not one for objectifying women, but Chloe looks too good for 7AM, and Beca doesn’t even know what to think, but then Chloe looks at her, and Beca’s eyes shoot back up to look at her face – and only her face – and she tries not to smile, because it’s too damn early. But Chloe is wearing a bright pink bikini top, and her hair is pulled up in a high ponytail, and she’s wearing these light denim shorts with holes in them, and she looks cute, Beca can admit that. Really cute.

The sun shines through the window onto her body and it’s just not fair.

"Are you just gonna sit there and stare at me all day?"

“It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.” She says, and she doesn’t even know where that came from. She can never really keep herself together around pretty girls. Especially ones who are stood in front of her wearing barely anything.

“Wow. That was almost a compliment.”

“You know I save all my best lines for the afternoon.”

Chloe laughs at her, and tells her that if she hurries up and gets ready she’ll buy her breakfast, and she walks out of the bedroom before Beca can even reply.

She ignores the way her eyes follow Chloe out.

Her alarm goes off again, and she immediately turns it off. She looks around the room a few times before throwing her head back into the pillow with a groan, covering her eyes with the back of her hand, because a month on the road with Chloe Beale will surely be the death of her.


She drags herself out of bed when she hears Chloe singing at the top of her voice.

I'm feeling tip top, I'm not gonna stop tapping my shoes.” She sings, and Beca can hear her tapping her feet on the floor. “I ain't got a clue, got nothing to lose, so watch me move. It’s a brand new day, I’ma hit you like a hurricane.

She tries not to smile, but Chloe’s good mood is contagious. She’ll never admit that though.

Beca is still in her pajamas and her hair is messy on the left side, and she yawns as she sits down at the table, crossing her arms and resting her head in them. Chloe places a cup of coffee on the table in front of her, and Beca thanks her with a mumbled “thk’you.”

She thinks it’s funny, because she doesn’t ever remember telling Chloe how she liked her coffee. Somehow, she just knew.

“We’re setting off in a half hour, Becs.” Chloe tells her as she makes her way into her bedroom. “You better get dressed if you don’t want to be late!”

Beca finds herself smiling at the irony, because Chloe Beale is late to everything.

“I think I’ll manage to get ready in thirty minutes.” Beca shoots back, and she lifts her head up off of the table and takes a sip of her coffee, and she rolls her eyes when she hears Chloe singing again from her bedroom.

A few minutes later, Chloe comes back in to the kitchen, and she’s wearing a shirt now, so Beca finds it easier to actually keep her eyes from wandering, because while she loves her best friend, she’s not sure if she could survive another minute with her stood in her bikini. Not that she’s attracted to her or anything, but because, come on, who doesn’t want a body like Chloe Beale’s? She’s just a little jealous of her figure, that’s all.

“Beca.” Chloe says as she sits down at the table opposite her. “Please get ready.”

“It’s not even eight in the morning, why the hell do we have to set off so early?”

Chloe’s reply comes as a roll of her eyes and she says something about wanting to make the most of the month-long road trip, but Beca isn’t even listening because everything seems to go in slow-motion whenever Chloe talks really fast like she’s doing now. And it’s too early to even concentrate, so she doesn’t even question it when she finds herself staring at Chloe’s eyes.

She has nice eyes. She knows how to appreciate someone who has nice eyes. It doesn’t mean anything.

Chloe eventually stops rambling about – whatever it is that she was rambling about in the first place, and Beca just nods with a tight-lipped smile and hopes to God that Chloe didn’t ask her a question, because it’s kind of rude, not listening to your best friend when she’s telling you something.

Beca’s good at that. Not listening to people.

Her excuse is that she’s tired, and that’s… her only excuse.

It’s not like she was too distracted by Chloe’s eyes and lips to notice what she was saying, because that would be ridiculous.

Except Chloe is looking at Beca’s lips too, and Beca’s hoping to God that Chloe isn’t waiting for an answer from her because all she can focus on now is Chloe’s eyes, and then Chloe makes eye contact and Beca’s a goner. However, the moment – Beca can call it a ‘moment’ because it included eye contact for more than five seconds which is like, a record for her – is short-lived when Chloe's phone starts to ring, and she groans as she leans forward so she can pull it out of her back pocket. She answers it without even looking at the caller ID.

Beca recognizes the voice on the other end as Aubrey’s, and she tells Chloe to say hey to her, so she does, with that smile that Beca is sure can move mountains.

“Yeah, Beca says hey…” she turns her attention to Beca. “Aubrey says hi, and she also says get dressed.”

“How does she know I’m not dressed?”

“It’s before eight, you’re never dressed before eight.”

“Whatever.”

Chloe diverts her attention back to Aubrey as Beca stands up. “Nothing, we’re just about to set off… yeah, she’s had her morning coffee. Yes, she does want to come on this trip with me. No, she doesn’t want to speak to you.”

Beca mouths ‘thank you’ to Chloe before she finishes the rest of her coffee, and she doesn’t even need to listen to know that Aubrey is probably talking about her ‘moody attitude’, but when Chloe defends her, Beca makes sure to smile at Chloe, and it’s as if they don’t even need to use words sometimes. It’s weird, because Beca’s never had that with anybody before. Where they’re close enough to be able to just, get each other.

She tells herself that it’s no big deal.

(It’s a big deal.)


After getting changed into a red and white baseball shirt and a pair of black skinny jeans, Beca walks out of her bedroom with her suitcase. She starts to say something about how she’s definitely still taking Chloe up on that breakfast offer, but she stops talking when she sees Chloe stood in front of the long mirror in the living room. She’s holding the bottom of her shirt in between her teeth, and she’s messing around with the front clip on her bikini, and Beca gulps as Chloe turns around.

“Do you know how to work front clips?” she says, her shirt still between her teeth. “It came undone and I can’t fasten it.”

“Um, no.” Beca says, shaking her head, and her brain is screaming at her, telling her to turn around right now, because she cannot survive a month with Chloe in bikinis and short shorts, especially if she’s going to be doing stuff like this. But she can’t really move, and then Chloe is asking her if she can try and fasten it, which Beca, after a few seconds, decides she’s fine with. Chloe is her friend, and friends do this for each other.

Her shaky hands have nothing to do with the fact that Chloe is stood practically topless in front of her.

She tries her hardest not to touch Chloe’s boobs as well, but the clip is really hard to fasten, and Chloe is laughing at Beca’s concentration face, and she moves forward when she laughs, and Beca’s knuckles brush across her skin and Beca feels like her whole face is just going to set on fire any minute.

Eventually, they both get the clip fastened, and Chloe mentions something about Beca missing her chance to cop a feel, and Beca’s stuttering out incoherencies before she even realizes that Chloe is joking.

“Are you ready, you weirdo?” Beca asks her, extending the handle on her suitcase. She picks up her bag that she packed yesterday with her necessities in. Laptop, headphones, iPod, pretty much everything she needs for her mixes, because if Chloe thinks that she’s going to leave her mixing equipment behind for a month, she has another thing coming.

Chloe puts her sunglasses on the top of her head, and she says, in a deep voice, “we'll be drinking margaritas by the sea mamacita”, and Beca swears she has never seen Chloe look more offended than when she asks her what the hell that even means.

“Thelma and Louise? Come on, Bec, you cannot tell me you haven’t seen Thelma and Louise.” Beca just shrugs, and Chloe pushes her shoulder playfully as she walks past her to get her own suitcases from her room.

“I don’t watch movies.”

“It’s a classic!” she yells from the room, as Beca pulls her phone out of her pocket when it vibrates. She sees it’s a text from Jesse, telling her to call him.

“It sounds shit.” She says, locking her phone and putting it back in her pocket.

“You don’t even know what it’s about.”

“No, but you’re gonna tell me aren’t ya?”

“Not with that attitude.”

Chloe walks out of her room, pulling two suitcases behind her, along with a bag that Beca is pretty sure is big enough for them both to fit in, and of course, Chloe Beale is one of those people who takes about nineteen bags on vacation with her.

“So where are we going for breakfast?” Beca asks, and she rolls her eyes when Chloe winks at her and tells her it’s a surprise.

Destined to be doomed, she keeps telling herself.


Beca lasts ten minutes on the road before she’s asking Chloe if they’re almost at the diner.

“I swear to God, Beca, I asked you on this road trip because you’re my best friend, don’t make me change my mind. I can totally replace you with Emily.”

Beca slouches in her seat as she mumbles “geesh, I was only asking because I’m so excited for this roadtrip” but Chloe can tell she’s being sarcastic, so she ignores her as she turns the radio up. Helena Beat by Foster The People is on, because Beca’s iPod is connected up to the car, and Chloe starts to sing along.

It takes a while, but eventually Beca joins in.

As if there was any question that she wouldn’t. She’d do anything for Chloe Beale and she knows it.


“Get your feet off of the dashboard.”

“Or what?”

“I’ll tickle you.”

“Okay.”


Beca sighs as she scrolls through her iPod in search of a song. "I'm not saying it's the best series, but I do think that it has some of the best episodes in."

"What about series five when they go to Vegas and Ross and Rachel get married?"

"Yeah, I mean... that's funny. But it's not the best episode." Beca scratches the top of her nose.

"Which is your favorite episode?"

"Chloe, you can't have one favorite episode of Friends. It's impossible."

"I've asked all of the Bellas which is their favorite and they all have an answer."

"Fine, what's Aubrey's favorite episode?"

"The last one."

"What?!"

"It's true. She must have watched the last episode at least fifty times."

“Well,” Beca pauses when her phone vibrates in her pocket. “She’s wrong.”

She carries on scrolling through her songs on her iPod, until she decides on Diane Young by Vampire Weekend, and her phone vibrates in her pocket yet again. She doesn’t know why she feels the need to ignore them, but Jesse is becoming too much for her lately, and who knows, maybe this trip will be more beneficial than she thought. She only has to text Jesse a few times a day, and that’s good enough. At least then he won’t expect her to always go over to his apartment to watch a movie, because as much as she loves him, she’s absolutely sick of his ‘moviecations’, and maybe that has to do with him insisting on romcoms, whereas whenever she watches a movie with Chloe, they always watch action or adventure movies.

She shouldn’t be comparing Chloe and Jesse, but sometimes it’s hard, especially since they’re both so different.

She texts him back, telling him that the signal is bad where they are – truthfully, she doesn’t even know where they are – and she locks her phone and puts it back in her pocket, and she sings along with Chloe because maybe if they sing loud enough, it’ll drown out the sound of her phone vibrating every five minutes.


They eventually reach a small diner simply named ‘Tim’s’, and Chloe parks as close to the entrance as she can, and Beca is out of the car before Chloe can even turn the engine off.

She finds a seat straight away, and something tells her that she probably should have waited for a waitress to seat them, and yeah, she probably should have waited for Chloe as well, but God, they’ve been on the road for like, a million hours, and she’s starving.

She’s looking through the menu by the time Chloe arrives at the table, and she’s noticed that almost everything on the menu has the word ‘jumbo’ in the title, and she’s not exactly sure if she could eat a jumbo stack of pancakes right now, despite how hungry she claims to be. Chloe sits opposite her, and she’s typing something on her phone, and for a brief moment, Beca wonders who Chloe might be texting, but then she tells herself that she shouldn’t even be bothered, and she goes back to reading about jumbo waffles and jumbo pancakes and jumbo everything.

“Hey Chloe, look at this. Jumbo salted coconut pancakes with caramel sauce and slices of banana. Oh my God.”

“What did you just say?”

“I said Jumbo salted coconut pancakes w–“

“–No, I mean,” Chloe interrupts. “Say carmel.”

“Caramel.”

“It’s not caramel, it’s carmel.”

Beca puts the menu down as she sits back in her chair, and she frowns when she sees the serious look on Chloe’s face. “It’s caramel.”

“Carmel.”

“Chloe.”

“What?”

“Carmel is the name of a city.”

“I’m pretty sure carmel is… whatever you’re talking about. Some sort of confectionary. Carmel sauce.”

“No, that’s caramel.

“That’s what I’m saying! Carmel!”

“Oh my God.”

“Do you girls know what you’re ordering?”

Beca looks up to see one of the waitresses stood looking at them both, and then she looks at Chloe, who is still looking at her with a determined look on her face, and Beca says, “Chloe what do you want?” and Chloe squints at her before she tells the waitress that they want a stack of pancakes to share.

Beca smiles. “Do you want–“

“–Carmel?” she interrupts. “No thank you.”

Beca smirks, and she looks up at the waitress, who was most likely listening to their debate about how to pronounce caramel, and she tells her that they also want two cups of coffee, and the waitress walks away with a smile on her face.


After their breakfast – after Beca eating more than half of the stack of pancakes, and Chloe complaining about her not being fair, and Beca offering to buy Chloe another stack, but Chloe turning it down nicely – the two are both sat in silence as Chloe messes around with her phone, and her brow is furrowed and she looks like she’s concentrating too hard, and Beca knows that when Chloe concentrates too hard, she gets a headache.

“Hey.” Beca says, reaching over to poke Chloe’s wrist, and Chloe looks up at her, smiles, and then looks back down at her phone. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good. Just trying to find out where we’re going from here.”

“You don’t know where we’re going?”

Chloe looks up again, and Beca has to divert her eyes for a second, because with the way the light is shining through the window of the diner, Chloe’s eyes are like, really blue, and they’re practically gleaming, and Beca is weak for Chloe’s eyes when they’re like this.

“I told you, you don’t need a destination. Just a car and a friend.”

“Oh my God, Chloe. I thought you were joking.”

“Why would I be joking?”

“You can’t go on a road trip without knowing where you’re going!”

“Excuse me, I have a map in the car, we’re gonna be fine!”

“We are not using a map. Do you remember in Copenhagen? We both suck with maps.”

“Speak for yourself, I was fully aware of where we were going in Copenhagen. You’re just stubborn and you never listen to me. We’re using a map.”

“Don’t you have a GPS?”

“See! Stubborn!”

Beca opens her mouth to argue back, but before either of them can say anything else, they hear someone laughing from the booth beside them, and they both look at each other and frown. Chloe turns around and Beca looks over Chloe’s shoulder to see an old couple looking at them with smiles on their faces.

"Are all your conversations like this?" the woman asks. She has a thick southern accent, and for a minute, Beca is convinced that they’ve been on the road for days and ended up in Texas or Oklahoma or Tennessee, and then the old man laughs again, and Chloe looks at Beca with a confused smile.

"It's just that, we heard you two earlier arguing about which is the best way to eat potatoes, and... you guys are real cute together."

Beca lets out a soft laugh, looking back and forth between Chloe and the old couple.

"We're not together. I mean... we're together, but we're not... together, together."

Something about the way she says they’re not together makes Beca feel uneasy, but she passes it off as just being full from the pancakes.

The woman looks genuinely shocked as she looks back and forth between them. "My apologies dears. You two look like a couple."

"Thanks." Chloe says with a smile, and she turns back around and smiles at Beca.

Beca just smiles back and tries not to think about it.

Chloe goes back to messing around on her phone, and Beca plays on Candy Crush as she waits, and she occasionally steals a glance at Chloe and she finds herself smiling, because Chloe’s eyebrows are furrowed and she’s biting her lip and her eyes are scanning her phone, as if she’s waiting for something miraculous to happen.

Eventually, Chloe puts her phone down on the table and sighs, and Beca looks at it to see that Chloe is looking at a map, and Chloe runs a hand through her hair, and she looks stressed.

“What’s up?” Beca asks, and she doesn’t know why, because she knows Chloe will tell her anyway.

“Nothing. Planning a road trip is stressful.”

Beca reaches out to pick up Chloe’s phone, and she sees that it’s a map of Pensacola, and she looks up at Chloe to see her looking nervous, and she asks her, “why Pensacola?”

“It was gonna be a surprise, but I used to go there all the time when I was younger. I grew up in Tampa, so me and my parents and my older brother would drive up to Pensacola every summer, until my mom eventually bought a house there, and so, I was hoping we could drive down and stay in the house for a couple of days. Except my mom isn’t answering her phone, so I don’t know whether anybody is staying in the house at the moment, and I’m sorta freaking out because I wanted this road trip to be great, but now I just feel like it’s gonna be–“

“–Hey.” Beca reaches out and puts her hand on Chloe’s, and she smiles at her. “Breathe.”

There’s still some things about Chloe that scare her, like the way she rambles like this and she ends up not being able to formulate sentences, and then she ends up crying, and Beca hates it when Chloe cries, because she’s never been good at consoling people. She wants to, though. She wants to tell her that everything is okay, and that there’s no need to stress out, because she is not having a repeat of what happened before the Worlds, where Chloe would cry herself to sleep, and Beca would just sit and stroke her hair because she didn’t know what else to do. She’s not going to be that person who doesn’t know how to console their best friend.

So she rubs her thumb across Chloe’s hand a few times and she smiles at her – the most heartfelt smile that Chloe has ever seen – and she tells her, “I know I don’t seem excited for this road trip, but trust me, I am.” And Chloe gives her a small smile, but Beca knows that it’s forced, so Beca gets up out of her seat, and she sits beside Chloe. She’s not very new to having a best friend, because she and Chloe have been best friends for three years, but she’s still new to comforting people. From what she’s learned from Chloe, she knows that she likes hugs, so she puts her arm around her shoulders, and she says, “Who cares if we don’t know where we’re going?”

And truthfully, she cares. She doesn’t want to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere, being murdered by a psycho, or mauled by bears, but she doesn’t voice that though, because she knows that won’t help at all, and Chloe is still sniffling, so she hugs her tighter.

“Come on.” She says, poking Chloe’s rib with her phone that’s still in her hand. “Tell me about Pensacola.”

Chloe smiles, and Beca listens to every word she says. She talks about the museums there, and the beach, and the weather, and she tells her that she’s glad she remembered to pack sunscreen, because she doesn’t want her turning into a lobster, and Beca tells her that she’ll be the best looking lobster there is, and they don’t stop talking until Chloe is crying with laughter at the stupid comments Beca keeps making.

Chloe decides to text her mom again, and Beca takes her mind off of it for a while because she doesn’t want Chloe to keep refreshing her messages in hopes that she’ll text back. So she tells her that they should plan the trip together, seeing as they’re going to be spending a month on the road together, and that all the stress shouldn’t be on Chloe. And it takes a while, but Chloe tells her that it’ll be good for them to both plan it, and then she runs out to the car to get her map book, and Beca is still adamant on buying a GPS. But Chloe tells her that this is going to be an old-fashioned road trip, and Beca can’t say no to her. She never has been able to.

They end up ordering a milkshake each, and Chloe’s mom eventually calls her and tells her that they can stay in the house for as long as they want, and Beca can see the relief in Chloe’s eyes, and she can see her mood getting back to normal with every idea they throw around. Beca suggests going to New Orleans, and Chloe suggests somewhere in Texas, and Beca suggests Las Vegas, and before they know it, they have about fifty places jotted down in Beca’s phone that they both want to go to.

It takes another hour, and two more milkshakes, but they eventually have a rough idea of their month-long route, and Beca won’t tell anybody, but she’s getting excited. She’s never been on vacation, apart from the week she went to Disneyworld when she was seven, before her parents got divorced. She got sunburned so bad that she had to spend two days of the vacation in the hotel room though, so as far as holidays go, Beca doesn’t have a lot to compare it to.

When she tells Chloe this, Chloe assures her that this road trip is going to be the best ever, and maybe it’s the way Chloe seems so sure of herself when she says it, but for some crazy reason, Beca believes her.

Chapter Text

"Throw it away / forget yesterday / we'll make the great escape / we won't hear a word they say / they don't know us anyway / watch it burn / let it die / cause we are finally free tonight. / Tonight will change our lives / it's so good to be by your side / we'll cry / we won't give up the fight / we'll scream loud at the top of our lungs / and they'll think it's just cause we're young / and we'll feel so alive"
- the great escape, boys like girls


 

Content warning: brief mention of blood

///

They set off from the diner at around eleven, with Panama City Beach being their first destination.

Neither of them have ever been, and judging by the reviews on TripAdvisor, it’s supposed to be a really good vacation destination. It’s supposedly popular with teenagers and young adults, especially during Spring Break and summer, which, to be honest, Beca’s not exactly ecstatic about. She just hopes to God Chloe won’t drag her to any clubs or parties, because if she’s going to make Chloe happy by coming with her on this trip, she’s gonna have at least a fraction of a say in what they’ll be doing together. All Beca knows is that it’s in Florida, so it’s bound to be warm, and it’s not too far away from Chloe’s family beach house. Chloe said that they’ll be staying at a cheap resort there, before they set off for Pensacola the next day.

Which kind of doesn’t make sense, because Beca thought Chloe would be one to stay for at least a few days, so they can take part in tour guides and activities and other tourist shit that she’s not too fond about, and maybe this road trip won’t be so bad after all.

The road they’re driving on is practically empty, and Beyoncé is playing so loud that Beca is pretty sure the speaker is going to burst any minute, but Chloe is smiling, and Beca can admit, she’s enjoying herself. Although she is worried that if the speaker does break, the whole car will probably end up blowing up, like something out of a poorly budgeted action movie, because already, neither the passenger or driver doors open without having to kick them a few times, and the cigarette lighter socket is broken, so they can’t even charge their phones, and don’t get her started on the sound of the engine.

Plus she changed into some shorts earlier, and her legs are starting to stick to the leather seats because it’s so warm, and she looks practically bald from the way the wind is blowing her hair back. Other than that, she’s enjoying herself.

They’ve only been on the road an hour and a half, and Chloe has managed to force Beca to listen to the whole of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, and Beca has never seen Chloe look so excited than she was when she told her that she enjoyed listening to Style. Chloe took that as a reason to play it again, and Beca complained, but obviously she didn’t mind.

She doesn’t even question it when Chloe puts One Direction on.

She’s been friends with Chloe long enough to know that Chloe doesn’t take no for an answer. Especially when it involves them both listening to music, and as much as Beca would like to say that she objected, she kind of… didn’t. She didn’t object at all, actually. Of course, she’ll never admit to anybody that she’s quite enjoying Midnight Memories, no matter how catchy the song may be.

Chloe brings out this side of her that nobody has ever seen.

Not even Jesse.

It’s strange to her. Exciting. Here is this girl, probably the happiest – and she can admit, sometimes a little annoying, – girl that she’s ever met, who puts up with Beca and doesn’t take her shit, and it feels nice. She keeps her grounded, and Beca is still confused, daily, as to why they’re even friends. They’re complete opposites, and Chloe is always so optimistic, and she sees the good in everybody, and she honestly tries so hard to make people happy. And of course, Beca is getting better at the whole ‘opening up and not shutting people out’ thing, because if three years of being friends with Chloe Beale has taught her anything, it’s that you need to confide in people if you ever expect to feel something. And she feels a lot of things when she’s with Chloe. Which isn’t a huge deal. Best friends make you feel things. Chloe makes her feel things; some things that she never even knew could be felt.

But that’s a good thing, because Chloe Beale says that it’s good to feel new, exciting things, and Beca trusts her judgements, no matter how ridiculous they can sometimes be.

Except the whole “we’re doing this road trip the old fashioned way” thing. She doesn’t really trust that. Chloe is adamant on using just a map and road signs, and Beca’s not one to brag, but once they make a wrong turn, she’s definitely going to be using the words “I told” and “you so.” Because come on, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong. They’re Beca and Chloe, and something always goes wrong. Like in her freshman year when they decided to bake a graduation cake for Aubrey, and they got more icing all over themselves than on the actual cake. Or in her second year when Chloe found a cat on the street, and let it loose in Beca’s room because she didn’t want the other girls seeing it and it tore up Beca’s favorite shirt. Or in their senior year, when their newly established choreography got them kicked out of the Convention Center. It’s not their fault that things go wrong, and it’s gotten to the point where Beca just ends up shaking it off instead of worrying about it. She knows that the minute they get lost, she’s rubbing it in Chloe’s face that she was right.

Which probably makes her a real dick, but Chloe can take it. She’s used to Beca’s teasing, and her all round “I’m an asshole and I don’t care” nature. Beca wouldn’t be Beca if she wasn’t occasionally a dick, and Chloe has learned to take it with a pinch of salt.

Although, she’s not actually as much of an asshole when it comes to Chloe, but she passes that off as her just returning the favor of Chloe being so nice to her.

“Oh my God, this is my jam!” Chloe yells over the sound of the wind, and Beca is starting to wonder why the hell Chloe bought a convertible, because the wind is making it hard for her to even breathe, and she can hardly hear Chloe over the sound of it. It doesn’t seem to bother Chloe though, because she turns the music up, and Beca tries not to overthink the way her stomach churns when Chloe smiles over at her.

They both sing along to I Wanna Be Sedated, and it’s not until Chloe asks her if the Ramones still make music, that Beca realizes what an absolute treasure Chloe Beale is.

In between singing along to whatever song comes on, the two of them talk about pretty much everything there is to talk about. And it’s easy with Chloe, because there’s no awkward silences or obligations to speak. When they’re not talking, they’re singing, and when they’re not singing, the silence is so comfortable that it scares Beca. It’s a nice scary though. It’s not the kind of scared she feels when she’s watching a horror movie, or riding a rollercoaster – because she’s honestly terrified of rollercoasters, and if Chloe decides to go to any theme parks on this road trip, she might just have to make a run for it, – and it’s not the type of scared she felt when she got arrested that one time in freshman year, or when Jesse first met her dad when they officially started dating. It’s a type of scary that excites Beca, and doesn’t make her want to run for the hills. Which is a first.

The scary feeling only lingers for a while, until Beca realizes that she’s gonna be spending a month with Chloe on the road, and they’re close enough to know that she has nothing to be scared about when they’re together.

Chloe talks a lot, and Beca has just learned to just let her. She’s used to not listening to people when they’re talking to her – she’s had a lot of practice with Jesse and her father – but for some reason, she finds herself hanging on to almost every word that Chloe says. And it’s probably because everything Chloe says, she says it with such excitement. She talks about music as if it’s her lifeline, and she talks about Florida as if it’s her favorite place in the world, and Beca likes the sound of her voice when she yells over the wind.

Chloe tells Beca about the stuff there is to do in Florida, and with every sentence, she makes it out like this is gonna be the best trip of their lives. Maybe it is, or maybe everything will go wrong and they’ll end up having to take a bus back to Atlanta, and they’ll cheers each other for at least trying, and Beca doesn’t really mind that.

She’s still gonna tell Chloe “I told you so” when they get lost.


She gets a few more texts from Jesse after two hours of being on the road, in the middle of them both singing along to Dark Horse by Katy Perry, and she’s trying her hardest to ignore it, but she’s starting to feel bad.

[11:15] Jesse: It’s been a few hours, when are you gonna call me?

[11:17] Jesse: Miss you

[12:09] Jesse: Becaw. Text me or call me when you get this

[12:41] Jesse: I don’t know if you’re getting my messages. Call me

He’s being kind of dramatic, and Beca hates it, because it feels like a punch in the face every time she feels her phone vibrate. They’ve only been driving for two hours, and already, he won’t leave her alone, and she’s not sure which is worse; the fact that he won’t stop texting her, or the fact that she’s ignoring every single one.

She turns the radio up when the next song comes on, and drowns in the sound of Chloe singing Outlaws at the top of her voice.

Don't you know that we're outlaws? Giving the finger to death itself.” Chloe holds her middle finger up and shoves it in Beca’s face, almost punching her square in the nose, and Beca laughs as she pushes Chloe’s arm away. “We got no one to hide from, we got no one to toast our health. Come on, Bec, sing with me! Rules were meant to be pushed and pulled, we were meant to be sparks of light!

Beca shakes her head and laughs.

She joins in ten seconds later.


They don’t make a pit stop, which Beca is honestly surprised about.

She expected Chloe to stop at every gas station they see, because she knows how much Chloe loves to buy little trinkets and souvenirs. She found that out when they went to Copenhagen, and Chloe spent most of the money, that was supposed to be spent on food, on fridge magnets.

They do, however, in the middle of Chloe singing Jesus Take The Wheel, break down in the middle of the highway.

Which is just great.

“What’s happening?”

The engine doesn’t seem to be making any noises different to what it was making before, but Beca is still ready to jump out of the car at any minute, just in case. She told Chloe earlier that the engine is not supposed to be making that sound, and if they break down then it’s definitely not on her. She didn’t think they’d actually break down though.

Chloe pulls onto the side of the road, and turns the engine off, and she sighs when Beca says her name. Her eyes are closed and she looks like she’s about to scream.

That still doesn’t stop Beca.

“Hey.”

“Don’t.”

“I told–“

“–Don’t even say it.” Chloe immediately interrupts her, and puts a hand over her mouth.

“–you so.” Beca finishes, her voice muffled by Chloe’s hand, and she’s grinning but Chloe can’t see, because she still has her hand over her mouth. It’s not hard to tell though, because Beca’s eyes scrunch up when she grins, and Chloe knows that it’s the grin she uses when she’s being a cocky little shit.

Which she has every right to be, because she told Chloe that it wasn’t normal for the engine to sound like a tractor, and now, they’re stuck on the middle of the road, and no cars are around, and it’s just like when they broke down on the way to Regionals in her freshman year – only they can’t exactly call the Trebles to come and pick them up – and Chloe looks like she’s about to cry.

“Oh no.” Beca says, taking her seatbelt off and moving closer to Chloe. “Oh God, don’t cry. Are you crying? Please don’t cry.”

“I just wanted to–” she gasps, but no tears are coming out of her eyes, so Beca holds back. “–Go on a nice road trip, and escape from life for a while and I thought that this was gonna be a really good trip but now it’s just turning to shit and everything is shit and I can’t do anything right.”

Beca can’t help but laugh as she reaches out and puts a hand on Chloe’s thigh. “Hey,” she says, tilting her head to look at Chloe, who is breathing heavily from talking so quickly. “Snap out of it, you wuss. This is our first day and I’ll be damned if I let this ruin our vacation. I’ll fix it, okay?”

Chloe nods, and Beca taps her thigh, before turning around to open the door.

Except, of course, the door doesn’t open.

“This door, I swear.” She mutters as she stands up on the seat, and she jumps over the door, and if this was a movie, she probably would have looked cool as fuck. But this isn’t a movie, and her foot gets caught in the seatbelt, and she falls face first straight out of the car onto the gravelly pavement.

“Oh my God!” Chloe bursts out laughing, taking her seatbelt off and climbing over into the passenger seat, where she looks over the door to see Beca laid on the floor, her arms spread out and her eyes closed, and there’s a graze on her knee. “Oh my God.” She repeats, covering her mouth to try and stop herself from laughing.

“Am I dead?” Beca says from her spot on the floor, and Chloe laughs harder this time, holding her stomach as she tries to get out of the car.

She makes sure not to do the same as Beca, because if she fell out of the car after laughing at Beca, she’d probably never live it down. She manages to gasp out apologies in between laughs, but Beca is laughing as well, while still laid on the floor, and it’s nice to hear Chloe laughing just after she’s been crying – or whatever that was. It makes Beca feel somewhat accomplished, despite the fact that she feels like she’s just fucked her kneecap up.

Chloe helps her up, and her hands are sweaty, but she wraps Beca up in a hug as Beca tries to balance on one leg, and it’s probably the feeling of blood running down her leg that makes Beca’s insides feel warm and fuzzy, because she’s never been good with blood. It’s definitely not the hug that makes her feel like that.

“Let me take a look at the engine.” Beca says as she pulls away from Chloe, and Chloe tells her that she doesn’t have to, because she’s just hurt her leg, but Beca doesn’t mind. She hops over to the front of the car, and there’s no sign of any smoke, which is a good thing.

Her father may not be good with technology, but he’s good with cars, which is why she kind of knows what she’s doing. Kind of. She’s watched her dad work on cars with her uncle, and she managed to learn a few things from them before. Like how the average car has thirty thousand parts to it, and that if you hold a remote car key to your head it doubles its range because the human skull acts as an amplifier, and that keeping a full tank keeps your car healthy, and that your fuel gauge tells you which side your gas tank is on. They’re not exactly useful facts, but it’s nice to know things, for emergencies like this.

But the engine shows to have nothing wrong with it, which is confusing, because she could have sworn that there would be at least something wrong, if the noises it was making earlier was anything to go by.

“Chlo, start the car.” Beca says, and while Chloe does that, Beca looks down to see the blood on her knee. It’s stinging like a bitch, and she hopes to God that there’s a gas station close so they can get some antiseptic wipes.

Chloe turns the car on, and the engine starts, and everything is fine. It’s still making the noise it was making before, but Beca is guessing that that’s just how it is, because there’s nothing indicating that there’s something wrong with it, and it doesn’t seem to be leaking or letting out any smoke.

She pulls her phone out, to see if she can google what’s wrong it, but of course, “God damn it, it’s dead. Chloe, check if you have signal on your phone.”

“Of course,” she says, sarcasm evident in her tone. “You want anything else while I’m at it?”

“Fuck off, I’m trying to see what’s wrong with the damn car.”

She hears Chloe mimic her, and sighs as she walks around the car to where she can see Chloe, who just looks up at her from the car seat with a grin.

“Don’t sass me. Is your phone working?”

“Nope. No 3G.”

Beca groans, because of course this would happen. She called it before they even set off, and it was only a matter of time before something went wrong. Those two hours on the road were all too good to be true, apparently, because now they’re probably going to have to wait for someone to drive past so they can hitch a ride, because neither of their phones are useful, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of a gas station or a phone box anywhere near them.

“Fuck.”

“What’s wrong with the engine?”

“I don’t know.” Beca mutters, limping over to slam the bonnet shut. “It doesn’t look like anything is wrong with it. It seems to be working fine so I don’t–“ Beca pauses, and Chloe looks at her, confused as to why she stopped in the middle of her sentence. And Beca is looking down at the back wheel of the car, and she says “are you fucking kidding me?” and Chloe stretches her neck to see what she’s looking at and of course, the tire is flat.

“We have a flat tire.” Chloe says, and Beca rolls her eyes.

“We do. Please tell me you have a jack and a wrench.”

“You know how to change a tire?” Chloe hops out of the car, and Beca thanks the heavens that Chloe is prepared when it comes to stuff like this. There’s a jack on the floor in the back, and Chloe pulls it out with a grin on her face.

“My dad is like, a genius with cars. He taught me when I was like, fourteen.” She moves to the back of the car, where luckily, there’s a spare tire mounted on the rear bumper.

“Damn. That’s hot.”

“Chloe just go get me the wrench.”

“Yes, sir.”

It takes her about thirty minutes to change the tire, with Chloe talking her ear off about one time in middle school when her family went on vacation to England, and the rental car got a flat tire in the middle of the road, and there wasn’t a spare tire in the trunk, so they had to wait for three hours for someone to come and help them, because it was winter, and they were on a road where nobody was around. Kind of like right now. Beca made sure to nod occasionally as she was changing the tire, letting Chloe know that she was listening to her, even though she wasn’t really taking it all in. It’s hard to concentrate on listening to someone when you’re trying to change a car tire.

Eventually, after the tire had been changed, and everything seemed to be in place – and after the two of them almost broke their backs trying to get the flat tire back in the external cover – they finally set off again.

“Chloe and Beca’s mighty road trip, take two!”

Beca shakes her head as Chloe pulls back onto the road.

Ten minutes in, and Chloe is singing along to Riptide at the top of her voice, and it takes Beca about a minute to join in, which is like a record for her.


They eventually arrive in Bay County at 4:50PM.

Chloe pulls up outside a hotel named Beachside Resort, which looks way too fancy for the two of them, but Beca’s not going to question it. She just wants to get inside and charge her phone so she can finally text Jesse back. Because yes, ignoring her boyfriend for six hours is pretty shitty, and the least she could do is text him and tell him that they’ve arrived safely. Although she’s still convinced that she’s fucked up her knee, even though Chloe had used an alcohol wipe to clean it, and put a bandage around it. Because yes, Chloe Beale packs absolutely everything apparently, because “who knows what could happen, Bec, it’s always good to be prepared!”

She’s pretty sure Chloe Beale has the whole of their apartment in her suitcase. She’s gonna start calling her Mary Poppins from now on.

“This is a little classy.” Beca says as she tries to open the door, and it takes a few pushes, but it eventually opens.

She just wishes she would have tried that when they broke down earlier. It would have saved her from falling out of the car and making a fool out of herself.

“It’s nice, right?” Chloe says as she gets out of the car, and she takes her sunglasses off and she’s smiling up at the building, and Beca can’t help but smile back at her. She just looks so happy despite the fact that she’s been driving for almost eight hours, and if it wasn’t for Chloe’s upbeat mood, Beca probably wouldn’t even be excited about staying in this hotel. But Chloe looks proud of herself that she found it, so of course, Beca tells her that it looks great.

She’s looking at Chloe when she says it, but she knows what she means. The hotel. The hotel looks great.

They take the bags that they need out of the backseat of the car, before Chloe puts the roof up and makes sure to check that she’s locked the car a few times. Checking in is not a problem, and they manage to make it up to the room without a fuss. And to be honest, Beca was kind of expecting it to just be a room with two single beds, but it’s actually really impressive.

It has two queen size beds, and a TV mounted onto the wall. There’s a small kitchen as well, with a microwave, a coffee maker, and a full sized refrigerator, and it’s not like they’re going to use them, but it’s still pretty neat.

“Woah.” Chloe says as Beca shuts the door behind her, and Beca mentions something about having to charge her phone and her laptop, and Chloe is already opening the double doors where there’s a small balcony overlooking the sea. “It looks like a painting!” she says with a grin as Beca puts her bag down.

“It’s definitely something.” She says, rooting through her bag for her phone charger.

She hears Chloe say something about taking a shower as she waits for her phone to turn on, and she just nods as she walks over to take her laptop out of her case. If she’s lucky, Chloe will let her work on a mix before they go out, because she doubts that she’ll get anything else done on this road trip. Plus, Chloe has been driving all day, so she – hopefully – doesn’t want to go out.

Except Beca is wrong. So wrong.

Chloe gets out of the shower singing On Top Of The World by Imagine Dragons, and when she sees Beca hunched over her laptop with her earphones on, she stops singing and she yells “Beca!” but she can’t hear her. So she takes the towel off of her head, and she twists it around, and she whips it towards Beca, cringing at the sound it makes when it hits her thigh. And Beca visibly jumps, as if she’s just been shot, and Chloe finds it hilarious at the high pitched noise Beca makes.

“What the fuck, dude?!”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you that hard!” Chloe gasps in between laughter, and Beca is now stood up as she rubs her thigh, scowling at Chloe.

“You’re an asshole.” She grumbles under her breath, but Chloe is still laughing, and she looks adorable.

Beca’s phone vibrates on the nightstand, and she walks over to it and is surprised to see that it’s not actually Jesse, but Stacie.

[5:42PM] Stacie: when the fuck were you gonna tell me you were going on a road trip with chloe?!

Chloe eventually stops laughing, and she plugs in her hair dryer and starts to dry her hair, but Beca can hear the occasional chuckle over the noise, and it makes her smile.

[5:43PM] Beca: oh yeah, I’m going on a road trip with beale

[5:44PM] Stacie: no shit. I had to hear from bumper of all people. How did he know before me ?? your best friend????

“Hey, Bec, you gonna get ready?”

“What, where are we going?”

“I don’t know, the beach? A bar? It’s Florida, where do you wanna go?”

“No, Chloe, I’m already tired as it is.” Beca turns around, and her eyes widen when she sees that Chloe doesn’t have a shirt on. “Oh Jesus!” She closes her eyes and quickly turns back around. “Warn a girl, would ya?”

“It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, stop being dramatic.”

Beca just rolls her eyes as she texts Stacie back, telling her she’ll call her later, before putting her phone back down on the bed.

She gets in the shower, making sure to take some spare clothes in with her so she can get changed, and the two of them are both finally ready by 6:15PM, which is an accomplishment in itself, because Beca’s pretty sure her eyeliner takes about eight hours to perfect.

Chloe mentions something about there being a Tiki bar, and Beca rolls her eyes so hard that she almost falls over.


They walk along the beach first.

Beca’s starting to rethink changing back into her skinny jeans after her shower, because it’s still really warm, and Chloe told her that she’d be too warm, but she didn’t listen, and now it’s biting her in the ass. She’s actually jealous of the bright dress that Chloe is wearing, and she never thought she’d hear herself thinking that.

She’s humming Bad Blood under her breath when she feels Chloe’s hand slip into hers.

She doesn’t stop humming, because if she stops humming she’ll think about the fact that Chloe is holding her hand – and it’s nothing new, but it still takes her by surprise every time – and if she thinks about Chloe holding her hand, then she’ll probably get all sweaty and Chloe will eventually let go.

And she doesn’t want Chloe to let go.

She’s used to the whole PDA thing with Chloe. She tends to hold her hand or link their arms together or wrap her arms around her, so it’s not like it’s a new feeling. Chloe does that with all of her friends. But maybe it’s just today, with them walking across the beach in Florida with their feet burying in the sand and the sun shining on their skin, which makes it feel a whole lot different.

An hour and a half passes before they even realize, and they’re still holding hands.

There’s a strip mall with an ice cream parlor called Pink Pelican Ice Cream Bar, and you would think Chloe was a six year old with the way she gets excited when she sees it. They try some of the flavors, and Chloe even feeds Beca, much to Beca’s dismay, but she’s got to admit, the ice cream is really nice. Someone makes a comment about how cute they both are, but she’s too busy drooling over the ice cream to even notice. Chloe orders a Cookie Monster ice cream, and honestly, she’s so excited about it that Beca doesn’t even have the heart to tease her. It takes some time, but Beca finally settles on Sea Salt Caramel, which doesn’t sound too appetizing, but it sure gets a few moans out of her.

They walk back to the beach with their ice creams, and Beca tries not to think about how much she misses Chloe’s hand in hers as they both sit down on a wall. And it takes Beca a few tries to get up, but she manages it, with a few teasing comments from Chloe about how she’s so tiny she can’t jump high enough, and Beca replies with a mouthful of ice cream and it sounds something like, “I’m gonna ignore vat becauthe I’m in a g’mood.”

She eats more ice cream to try and stop herself from smiling at the sound of Chloe’s laugh.

The sun is starting to set, and the sky looks like candy floss, and Chloe makes a comment about how beautiful it all looks, and how strange it is, that they woke up in Atlanta, and they’re now watching the sunset on a beach in Florida, and Beca is looking at Chloe the whole time.

“Yeah, it’s pretty neat.”

“Come on.” Chloe says, nudging Beca’s arm. “You can say it, I’m not gonna tease you.”

“Say what?”

Chloe looks at her, as if to tell her that she knows exactly what she means, and there’s something in Chloe’s eyes that show that she’s telling the truth about the whole teasing thing. She watches as Chloe puts another spoonful of ice cream in her mouth, before looking out at the sun setting over the sea.

“Fine.” Beca says, breathing out a sigh. “I’m really glad you asked me on this road trip, even though I fell out of the car and almost died.”

“You didn’t almost die, Bec.”

“I kinda did.”

Chloe laughs, and holds her bowl of ice cream up in front of her.

“To Florida.” She says, and Beca repeats it with a smile as she clinks their bowls together.

“To Florida.”

Chapter Text

"He said, she's got a method of kidding / pulling you in like you're gonna start kissing / fooling around until you've lost all feeling / sucking your blood until your heart stops beating / before we started, it was over / I feel our bodies getting colder / she gives me, a feeling that I can't find / and it's the road that leads to nowhere / but all I want to do is go there / she's got me, running from the daylight / daylight. / I got a taste for it and I'm obsessed / lying here no fear in the darkness / now I'm not happy unless I'm close enough to you / and all these dreams I'm dreaming / freaking me out I wish I knew the meaning / doesn't make sense because I'm just not seeing / how I'm alive it feels like I'm not breathing."
daylight, 5 seconds of summer


 

Not being able to say no to Chloe Beale has become one of Beca’s biggest problems.

It probably started when Chloe burst into her shower only a month after she started Barden. In her defense, she did tell Chloe to get out of the stall, but when there’s a naked girl in front of her telling her to sing, it’s kind of impossible to say no, because God knows what could have happened if she didn’t actually sing with Chloe.

She knows now, that Chloe would never do anything to hurt her or make her uncomfortable like that again, but back then, it was either sing for this girl, or get murdered and left for dead in a shower stall. Maybe that wasn’t the case, but she has a knack for jumping to the worst conclusions. And yeah, Chloe apologized to her after she auditioned for the Bellas, a few times actually, but Beca told her not to worry about it, and that it was fine – except it wasn’t fine at all, because walking into somebody’s shower and making them sing with you, naked, is kind of really fucking messed up. But there’s just something about Chloe Beale that makes Beca not want to say no to her.

Maybe it’s just the fact that Chloe spent all of Beca’s freshman year pretty much kept on a leash by Aubrey, and Beca just wants to be a nice person by saying yes to her as much as she can. Which is a first for Beca, because she has never really cared about being nice to people.

But Chloe looks like a sad puppy whenever Beca says no, and it’s not really fair.

So, because Beca has a thing about not being able to say no to Chloe, she finds herself at Sandpiper’s Spring Break Tiki Bar, paying $9 for a drink that, after taking a sip, tastes like absolute shit. But Chloe is ordering her own drink and she’s smiling and bouncing like a little kid, and Beca doesn’t have the heart to tell her that she kind of wants to leave, even though it’s only just past 8PM.

And okay, it’s not like it’s the worst place to be. They are in Florida after all, and Chloe has been talking her ear off about how it’s the best place to be during spring break, and she tries to tell Chloe that spring break has been and gone, but she can’t really get a word in edgeways.

But it’s nice seeing Chloe like this, so happy and relaxed, so she just lets her ramble on about the different things they can do at the Tiki Bar, like play volleyball, or go swimming, or dance, or sing karaoke, or enter different competitions.

If Beca has her way, she won’t be doing any of that.

They had taken a cab from the ice cream parlor, seeing as it probably would have taken them about two hours to walk to the actual bar, because someone decided it was a good idea to fall out of the car and hurt her knee. But still, Beca’s not really used to the whole ‘getting drunk in another state’ thing. It’s kind of scary and, she won’t voice this, but she’s hoping to God that she doesn’t let Chloe out of her sight.

Chloe is a very sociable drunk person, so whenever they go out together, she always ends up wandering off and making friends with somebody. Seriously. For Beca’s twenty first birthday, the Bellas went to a club just outside of Atlanta, and Chloe ended up in the bathroom talking to these two, admittedly very creepy looking twins, about blood sacrifices and how they’re an actual thing. The only thing Beca could do is steal Chloe away from them, because she’d rather her best friend not take part in any sacrifices, whether bloody or not, and she’s pretty sure drunk Chloe will do anything.

It doesn’t surprise her, when the dude behind the bar starts to flirt with Chloe. She doesn’t blame him, because come on, her best friend is beautiful. Plus, Chloe has somehow managed to turn her dress into a skirt, and she only has a bikini on her top half, and Beca’s not objectifying her, not at all, but she definitely thinks that Chloe is probably the best looking girl at this bar. So, really, she’s not surprised that this guy looks like he wants to rip Chloe’s clothes off and take her on the table.

It doesn’t mean that Beca is comfortable knowing that though.

It’s not even subtle flirting. He’s literally looking at her like she’s a piece of meat, and Beca has to hold herself back, because Chloe knows exactly what happens when Beca doesn’t like the way someone is treating her best friend. There has been many guys – guys that Chloe insists she wasn’t even interested in – that have been on the receiving end of one of Beca’s right hooks. And it always ends in the same ‘Beca you can’t just punch anybody you don’t like!’ speech, which Beca, most of the time, just responds with ‘yes I can.’ Which is probably not the best comeback, but Chloe never really says anything else, other than roll her eyes and pretend to be mad at her.

She’s never really liked the way guys treat Chloe. From the three years she’s known her, she’s never once seen Chloe in a relationship, but she’s seen, and heard stories, of her hooking up with guys. Almost all of them, though, never really treated Chloe how she should be treated, so honestly, they deserved every single punch. If Beca was a guy, and she was dating Chloe, she’d treat her with the utmost respect, and she’d never make Chloe feel inferior, and she would be – try to be – the best person she could be for her.

But Beca isn’t a guy, and as far as she knows, she’s not gay either.

And she has a boyfriend, so really, these thoughts are a little inappropriate to be having. Especially about her best friend, who she only has platonic feelings for.

“Hey Chlo.” Beca says, poking Chloe’s arm, and she swears she sees the bartender glare at her for taking Chloe away from him, but she’s not really paying attention.

It’s hard to pay attention to her surroundings when Chloe is looking at her like that.

“You okay?” Chloe asks her, taking her drink off of the bar, not giving the bartender a second glance once she realizes that Beca looks uncomfortable.

“Yeah. Can we go sit down somewhere?”

She nods, and then she takes Beca’s hand again, and it feels warm and sweaty, but Beca’s not about to complain, especially since it’s been a solid twenty minutes since Chloe last held her hand.

Chloe mentions something about how they should have stayed at this place instead of at Beachside Resort because it looks amazing, and Beca just agrees with a small smile as the two of them make their way around the bar, looking for an empty table they can sit at. Some EDM track that Beca has never heard is playing on the speakers, and it’s dark out so the strobe lights are flashing everywhere, and Chloe is saying something about a contest, but Beca can’t really hear her over the sound of the music and people yelling and singing, so she just makes sure to smile every time Chloe looks back at her.


“Hey Chloe, do you think fish know they’re wet?”

Chloe furrows her eyebrows, and Beca expects her to make an offhand comment about how weird she is.

But then Chloe goes into an in depth drunken story about how when she was younger, her fish died while she was at school, so her mom had to call her grandparents and ask them to buy her another fish to replace the dead one. Except her grandma misunderstood, and she ended up going to the grocery store and buying her some tuna fish, so Chloe returned home from school to find her fish dead, and a tuna salad on the table.

It still doesn’t explain Beca’s question of whether fish know they’re wet or not, but it makes her laugh so much that she ends up choking on her drink, so really, she doesn’t care.


At midnight, Beca gets a text from Jesse asking her to call him.

She’s sitting at the bar with Chloe, talking about the different places they’re going to visit on their trip, and the two of them are slightly drunk. Chloe, more so than her, which Beca had noticed when Chloe had asked her earlier if they would be visiting St. Basil’s Cathedral, and it took Beca a while to explain, through her laughter, that St. Basil’s Cathedral is in fact, in Russia.

The music is loud, so it’s kind of hard to hear what Chloe is saying half of the time, which is why they’re sitting so close. Beca pretty much melts every time Chloe leans in to tell her something, because every single time, she can feel Chloe’s hot breath on her ear, and it’s honestly driving her crazy.

She just passes that off as being tired from the drive here, which honestly, isn’t her best excuse. She’s going to have to start thinking of better reasons to cover her feelings up.

She’s actually glad to get Jesse’s text, the only reason being so she can take a little break from having Chloe Beale’s face so close to hers every time they talk. She excuses herself, pointing to her phone and telling her that she’ll just be a minute, before she makes her way out of the crowded area until she finds some steps that lead down to the beach, and she dials Jesse’s number as she makes her way onto the sand.

He picks up on the third ring, answering the call with a way too quiet, “hey, you.”

“Hey, speak up.”

“Where are you?”

“What did you say, sorry?”

“Where are you?” he says, a little louder, and Beca walks further onto the beach so she can get away from the noise.

“Panama City Beach. Chloe dragged me to some Tiki Bar. How you doing, are you okay?”

“Yeah,” he pauses, and Beca stops to take her shoes off so she can walk in the sand easier. “What time did you get there?”

“About, eight-ish. Why are you still up? It’s past midnight.”

“I’ve just been figuring some stuff out with this album, and I wanted to hear your voice.”

Beca smiles as she starts to walk along the beach again, and she tells him that she misses him, and that she wishes he was here with her, and it’s not all a lie. She does miss him. She’s used to seeing him every day, and now that she’s moved in with Chloe, she hasn’t been able to see him half as much, due to his new job, and his apartment being so far away. The last time she saw him was probably when they won the worlds, which was only two weeks ago, but it feels like forever. The Bellas had gone to Copenhagen straight after graduation, and he had flown over to support her, but the day after they arrived back in Atlanta, Beca had to dive back into getting all her stuff packed from the Bella house and moving it all into hers and Chloe’s apartment, and it’s been so hectic that she hasn’t had chance to see him.

She’s a little surprised, though, when Jesse doesn’t say it back. He’s normally the one telling her he misses her, and that he loves her, and that he wishes they were together. Which isn’t insinuating that Jesse is a sap, but out of the two of them, he’s definitely the cheesiest.

“Why have you been ignoring me all day?”

She stops walking, and looks around her. She doesn’t know why. Maybe she’ll find something that will give her a reason for why she’s been ignoring him, but all she can see is the lights from the bar shining onto the ocean, and she suddenly has an urge to throw her phone in to it so she doesn’t have to have this conversation with Jesse. But of course, that wouldn’t be the best idea, and she found out the hard way that she can’t run away from her problems forever.

“I haven’t been ignoring you. The signal has been really bad, and as soon as we got here, it’s kind of all been, you know… all over the place. Chloe won’t really give me a break, you know how she is.”

The pain she feels in her chest at blaming this on Chloe is unbearable, and she hates herself for saying it as soon as it comes out of her mouth. But she can’t take it back, and she doesn’t really know which is worse right now. Blaming this on Chloe, or the silence at the other end of the phone. “Are you mad at me?”

“No, I’m not mad, Becs. I’m just… can’t you tell Chloe to not be so… controlling?”

She frowns, and she opens her mouth to say something, but stops. What can she say to that? She’s basically just told Jesse that Chloe was controlling, so it’s not like she can reprimand him for saying it. And it hurts even more, because she’s never talked badly about Chloe behind her back. She’s never talked badly about Chloe at all, because talking badly about Chloe Beale is about the equivalent of kicking a puppy.

“Beca.”

“Yeah. Sorry.” She shakes her head as she turns around and looks at the bar. She’s walked pretty far, which is surprising seeing as she has a bad knee, and it’s past midnight, so she thinks it’s probably best if she heads back in case she gets murdered out here. “She’s not controlling, she just… she’s just excited, that’s all. I think this is her first road trip without her family, and she wants to like, do everything there is to do around here. Tours, activities, clubs, you name it.”

“It’s only been a day.” He says, which Beca doesn’t really understand. It has only been a day, so why is he so bothered about her ignoring him? They’ve gone a few days without speaking to each other before, and that was when they lived next door to each other, so she doesn’t know why it’s any different now.

“What’s your point?”

“Well you haven’t been there long. You can’t have been that busy.”

“Jesse, don’t. Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“That thing you do, where you make it out like I’m the bad guy for hanging out with my best friend. Chloe has been hung up on the worlds for so long that she’s forgotten how to have fun, so the least I could do is come on this road trip with her. She just needs a break.”

“I just don’t like the way she treats y–“

“–Please don’t finish that sentence.”

“Okay. I’m sorry, Becs.” She shakes her head and closes her eyes, because the way Jesse says her name like that sounds absolutely nothing like the way Chloe says it, and it makes her stomach clench.

“I know.” She says, opening her eyes to look at the view in front of her. It’s dark, but she can see the small waves on the sea, and if it wasn’t for the music from the club, she’d probably be able to hear the waves as well.

“Just make sure she doesn’t corrupt you, okay?” his voice is playful, but Beca cringes nevertheless as she sets off walking again. “I don’t want her turning you into a party animal. You know I love you the way you are.”

“Of course.” She fakes a laugh. “I’m gonna go now, but I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”

“Hey, don’t I get an ‘I love you too’?”

She shakes her head with a smile, and she almost trips over her feet due to the sand, and she looks ahead of her to see that the bar isn’t too far away now.

“Goodnight, you big nerd.”

“Goodnight, Becs.”

She kind of feels bad, for not saying it back to him, so she texts him “love you” a minute later, and he responds with the smiley face emoji, and Beca can’t help but notice that it makes her feel different to how Chloe’s excited face emoji makes her feel.

That’s a stupid comparison though, so she doesn’t think much of it.


At exactly 12:28, she loses Chloe.

It’s not as drastic as she makes it out to be.

After talking on the phone with Jesse, she had made her way back to the bar to find Chloe again. Except when she got there, Chloe was nowhere to be found, and she looked at her phone to check the time, seeing that it was 12:28AM.

She thinks that maybe she’s just gone to the toilet, so she waits at the bar for a while and orders another drink. She doesn’t really know the name of it, so she just explains it as “that drink with the coconut water and vodka which is like seven dollars”, and luckily, the bartender knows what she means. It’s not the same guy from earlier, she notices, and she thinks that maybe his shift has ended and he’s gone home.

Only, when she looks around the bar, her eyes land on a couple dancing, and she recognizes, after squinting her eyes for a while and trying to figure out who else has ginger hair and a skirt like that, that it’s Chloe.

With the bartender from earlier.

It shouldn’t bother her, really. She’s found Chloe, so at least now she knows that she’s okay, and not being held for ransom with some unknown Floridian drug dealers, so she shouldn’t be mad.

She keeps her eye on Chloe, and she doesn’t even tear her eyes away from them when she pays for her drink. The guy is dancing way too close to her, and his hands are roaming around her body, and if it wasn’t for the fact that Chloe looks like she’s having fun, Beca wouldn’t hesitate on jumping in to save her.

But Chloe is grinning, and she’s grinding into him, so Beca just stays where she is, looking away whenever his hands move too low for her liking.


It’s another ten minutes before Chloe even realizes that Beca is back.

She catches her eye through the crowd when she turns away from the guy she’s dancing with, and she smiles so big that for a second, Beca forgets that she angry about this guy touching her best friend in places that shouldn’t be touched in a public place. Chloe shouts something as she starts walking over to her, and the bartender is following behind her like a lost puppy.

When Chloe approaches her, she puts her arms on the bar at each side of Beca, and she leans in closer than usual, and Beca can smell the alcohol on her breath, and it makes it hard to breathe. And then Chloe is telling her that she missed her, even though it’s only been a half hour since she left to talk to Jesse, and then Chloe says, “This is Jacob” and she motions to the guy with a smile, and Beca can only smile awkwardly at him, before looking back at Chloe.

“Can we go?”

“Is something wrong?”

She shakes her head, and she doesn’t say anything else, before she’s putting her drink down on the bar and taking Chloe’s hand. She leads them both out of the club, and she feels Chloe tighten her grip on her hand, and it does nothing to help how she’s feeling about the fact that Chloe was just dancing with some random guy, who is now stood at the bar looking confused.

She enjoys the tiny bit of victory she feels knowing Chloe picked her over him.

At one point, she feels someone knock into her, and she pulls Chloe closer to her as they make their way through the crowd, out onto the beach where she had just been talking to Jesse.

“Bec, slow down.”

“We need to find a cab.”

“Hey.” Chloe tugs on her arm, making her turn around. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, I just want to go back to the hotel.”

“Bec, tell me what’s wrong.”

“Nothing!”

Chloe lets go of Beca’s hand, and immediately, Beca can sense that she upset Chloe by yelling at her. She hates it, but every time she ends up arguing with Chloe, she always feels like something is weighing her down, crushing her more and more until she apologizes to Chloe. But Chloe had left her when she went to talk to Jesse, and if Beca hadn’t seen her dancing with Sleazy McDoucheface, then her mind would have instantly gone to the worst scenario, and she’s not sure if she would have been able to live with herself if Chloe ended up missing.

Maybe she’s being a little dramatic, but she’s drunk and she can’t bring it in herself to think realistically right now.

They end up hailing a cab to take them back to the resort, and neither of them say anything in the ten minutes it takes to get back.

Chloe doesn’t really seem to be paying attention to the fact that Beca is in a mood, so when she grabs a hold of Beca’s hand as they’re making their way up to the room, she’s surprised to feel Beca pull away from her.

“Bec.” She says in a whisper. “Beca.”

“What?”

“What’s up grumpy butt?” Beca just rolls her eyes, not bothering to look at Chloe as they walk up the hall. “Come on, tell me. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong.”

“Tell me.”

She feels Chloe poke her back, and she turns around, a scowl on her face as she steps closer to Chloe, making her take a step back.

“I said nothing’s wrong!”

“Why are you so angry at me?” Her voice is in a hushed whisper, trying not to wake the people asleep at the resort, seeing as it’s almost 1AM. But Beca is scaring her, because her nostrils are flaring, and Chloe can see that her fists are clenched, and it’s not so much that she’s scared of Beca, she’s just scared of what the reason could be that’s made her so angry.

“I’m not angry at you, okay? Just drop it.”

They reach their room, and Beca pulls the key out of her pocket, and she glances beside her to see Chloe messing with the clasp on the front of her bikini, and she hopes to God that Chloe doesn’t end up asking her to sort it out like she did this morning, because she doesn’t think she could take that right now.

She opens the door with a sigh, and Chloe asks her, once again, why she’s angry, and Beca clenches her jaw as she walks over to where her suitcase is still lying on the bed.

“I’m fine.”

“You’re obviously not, since you were just yelling at me a minute ago, and you keep clenching your fists.”

Times like these, she hates that Chloe Beale knows her so well.

“Okay.” She stands up. “I’m not angry, but I’m pissed off. Because I came back and you weren’t at the bar, and I had no idea where you could have been.”

“I was with Jacob, I–“

“–I know that you were with Jacob now, but I didn’t before. You could have been anywhere, Chloe. And who knows, he could have been tricking you into thinking he was a nice guy when really he–“

“–Don’t you dare,” Chloe interrupts, and she’s holding her finger up, and she’s scowling at Beca which, honestly, makes her feel a little uneasy. “Don’t you dare make me feel bad for wanting to have fun.”

“I’m not-I’m not trying to make you feel bad. I just don’t want you sleeping with some random dude you don’t even know.”

“Beca, we were dancing!”

“He was feeling you up!”

“So what?! You went to talk to your boyfriend and he asked me if I wanted to dance with him so I did! Excuse me for not wanting to sit like a loner all night.”

“I was gone for fifteen minutes, Chloe.”

“Not the point. You have a boyfriend, why can’t I hang out with a good looking guy?”

“It’s different!”

“Why? Tell me why it’s different!”

They’re yelling now, and all thoughts of trying to be civil about this have flown out of the window – they probably flew out right after Beca had stated that the guy was feeling her up, because the glare Chloe had given her almost made her want to just stop talking until the two of them were forced to get back in the car tomorrow and forget this ever happened.

She honestly doesn’t know why it bothers her so much, that Chloe was dancing with somebody else. Maybe it’s because Chloe always dances with her, and she felt left out, or maybe it’s because Beca had noticed the tension between her and Jesse on the phone, and she wanted someone to confide in. Not just any someone, but Chloe, because Chloe is always the one who makes her feel better whenever her and Jesse fight.

Either or, she’s still upset about it, and Chloe is doing that thing where her bottom lip quivers, and even though she’s drunk, Beca can clearly tell that Chloe is upset too.

“Why is it different, Beca?” Chloe repeats.

“Because he’s not good enough for you.”

“How would you know?! You don’t even know him!”

No, but I know you, and I know that you deserve the world.”

“That’s really sweet of you, but what’s your point?!”

“I just don’t want you to leave me! I don’t want you to leave me for some… very good looking… sleazeball who only wants to get in your pants.”

“Good looking sleazeball? Really?”

“Shut up.” Beca grumbles, looking away from her.

“Beca, I’m not gonna leave you.”

“I didn’t mean it like that, I just… I got nervous. I thought that maybe if you went home with him or something, you’d end up getting murdered or sold to a prostitution ring and it would be my fault for letting you–“ She stops talking when Chloe starts to laugh. “It’s not funny.”

“It kind of is. You’ve been watching too many documentaries.”

“It’s happened before, people get kidnapped and all sorts of stuff happens to them! Have you seen Taken?!”

“Wow, that’s an intense movie for someone who claims not to like them–“

“–Chloe. Look, just… just please don’t leave me again.” And there’s something about the way Beca says the last four words, that makes Chloe’s face soften. “Don’t do that to me.”

“I’m not gonna leave you.”

“You’re my best friend, okay, and I don’t want to wake up not knowing where you are, because we’re in a different State and it’s not like I can call Aubrey or Stacie to ask them where you are. I just… I–“

“–Beca.” Chloe interrupts, taking a few steps forward and grabbing Beca’s hand, and this time Beca doesn’t pull away. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“Okay.” Beca breathes out a sigh, and she looks up at the ceiling and she tries her hardest to blink back the tears that have been threatening to come out throughout the whole of this exchange, but it doesn’t really work. “I need some air.”

She can feel Chloe’s eyes on her as she walks over to the double doors, and she yanks them open, and she doesn’t even have chance to take in a deep breath of air, like she was planning to, before she feels Chloe hugging her from behind.

“I hate when we fight.” Chloe mumbles into her shoulder, and Beca quickly wipes the tear that falls down her cheek with the back of her hand.

“Me too.”

“I’m sorry I yelled at you.” Chloe moves her head, and Beca can feel hot tears on her neck, and it’s not really helping with the whole crying thing. Because once Chloe starts to cry, there’s nothing stopping the inevitability of Beca crying even harder.

Beca has cried a few times in front of Chloe in the duration of their friendship, but the two of them have only ever cried together once, and that was when they said goodbye to the Bellas after the Worlds. And Beca found out that night, that once they both start to cry, there’s nothing stopping them, until one of them ends up saying something stupid and making the other laugh.

So that’s why, without even thinking much of it, Beca says the most stupid thing that comes into her head.

“Is that a phone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”

“Oh my God.”             

She feels Chloe pull away from her, and she quickly wipes the rest of the tears from her eyes, before turning around to look at Chloe. Her eyes are glistening, but she still looks beautiful, and for a second, Beca feels a little lost. But then Chloe hugs her, and she’s telling her that she never wants to fight with her again, and Beca just manages to nod as she buries her head in Chloe’s shoulder.


She wakes up to Chloe yelling something about them sleeping in and wasting the day away, and Beca should be groaning something about how she’s hungover and hasn’t had enough sleep, and that she needs coffee in her before they even think about going anywhere.

Except, she just yawns and gets out of bed, and doesn’t even question when Chloe starts to sing Paradise City, but replaces the Paradise with Panama. Because if she’s gonna be spending a month with Chloe, she might as stop pretending that she’s not excited to be on this road trip with her.

Chapter Text

"You're more than a lover / there could never be another / to make me feel the way you do / oh we just get closer / I fall in love all over / everytime I look at you / I don't know where I'd be / without you here with me / life with you makes perfect sense / you're my best friend / you're my best friend, oh yeah / you stand by me / and you believe in me / like nobody ever has / when my world goes crazy / you're right there to save me / you make me see how much I have / and I still tremble / when we touch."
my best friend, tim mcgraw


 

They decide to skip any sightseeing in Panama City and head straight to Pensacola.

The beginning of the drive down there is spent singing along to songs, most of them consisting of Beca’s old mixes or some top 40 – thanks to Chloe – and talking aimlessly. Although it’s pretty hard to talk, because Chloe had taken the roof down again when they left the resort, saying that it gives them “the full road trip effect” if the roof is down. Beca doesn’t even question her, even though she’s pretty sure that Chloe hates the roof being down as much as she does, because it messes her hair up, and it stops her from being able to annoy Beca with her way-too-cheery singing, to songs that Beca claims that she hates.

They end up talking about the Worlds, and how it feels so weird to think that they only won it two weeks ago, and at one point Chloe almost cries, because Beca mentions how she’s gonna miss hanging out with the Bellas all the time, and Beca knows exactly how Chloe feels about the whole ‘leaving the Bellas’ situation, so she really shouldn’t have brought it up. But then she starts to sing along really loudly to Shut up and Dance with Me by Walk the Moon, and Chloe is soon laughing at her.

Beca takes small pride in knowing that she brought Chloe out of another one of her emotional episodes. She doesn’t want a repeat of happened last night, with the two of them almost bawling over something stupid, so she turns the music up, and they both sing along.

They get dirty looks from a few passers-by, but all Chloe can see is Beca.

And it’s becoming a bit of a problem for Chloe. This whole ‘being in love with your best friend’ thing. Chloe’s pretty sure that being in love with Beca is the third worst thing that’s ever happened to her – the first being something she avoids mentioning, and the second being diagnosed with nodes. It’s not that she doesn’t want to be in love with her. Because Beca is beautiful and hilarious, and awkward and dorky, and she’s so talented at everything she does, and she pretends not to care about people, but deep down Chloe knows that she cares way more than she lets on.

There could be worse people to be in love with.

But it’s just so painful. And she’s heard the stories about girls falling in love with their straight best friends, but she never, in a million years, figured it would happen to her. She’s confident about her sexuality, and she’s slept with girls before, but no girl has ever made her feel the way Beca Mitchell does. With just a smile, she can make Chloe’s whole day, and it’s getting worse and worse. Seeing her every day and not being able to be with her is slowly breaking Chloe’s heart.

She knows it’s toxic, to carry on like this, and she knows a line should be crossed. But being Beca’s best friend comes before anything else, and if Beca doesn’t want Chloe, then Chloe would rather deal with that than lose her.

As long as she doesn’t think about the fact that Beca has a boyfriend, then Chloe can carry on thinking that maybe someday, Beca might see what’s right in front of her.


Beca falls asleep an hour after them being on the road.

It doesn’t surprise Chloe, because they didn’t get to sleep until 2AM, and Chloe woke her up this morning at 9AM, and everybody knows that seven hours sleep is just not acceptable for Beca Mitchell.

She has to have at least eight hours, and that’s not including the extra half hour she ends up spending in bed, checking Twitter and Tumblr on her phone. Chloe’s more of an Instagram person, but she’s seen the way Beca can be with social media. She either hates it and doesn’t use it for weeks, or she lets it take over her life, and there’s no in between. Right now, she’s kind of thankful that Beca’s in one of those ‘God I hate Tumblr’ phases, because she’s been there before. She knows that ‘five more minutes’ on Tumblr ends up being two more hours. And she knows for a fact that Beca would be complaining about how she’s used up all of the data on her phone by now, if she still went on Tumblr. But Beca must have some data left, because she’s still going on about using that damn GPS, but Chloe isn’t going to cave.

She has her maps, and Beca is going to have to deal with that.

They’re in the middle of singing along to Get It Right by Oh Honey when Chloe notices Beca stops singing her part to muffle a yawn.

“You okay?” she asks her, turning the music down a little bit.

Beca just hums in response as she looks ahead of her at the road. Chloe shuts the music off altogether, and Beca looks at her, eyebrows furrowed, and Chloe just smiles at her. She can’t help it. Beca is adorable when she’s tired. The car is driving slow enough for the wind not to be making too much noise, and Chloe tells her to go to sleep if she wants, and she’ll wake her up when they’re in Pensacola. Beca doesn’t hesitate in slumping in her seat and closing her eyes.

By the time she’s asleep, she’s not aware of Chloe taking pictures of her using her polaroid camera as soon as they stop at a red light. And she does it with almost every red light they stop at, because Beca is just too damn cute when she’s asleep. She furrows her eyebrows, and every now and again a small smile will appear on her face, and Chloe has to keep reminding herself to look at the road instead of at Beca, if she wants to actually survive this drive.

Beca wakes up twenty minutes later when she hears Chloe rocking out to Tongue Tied.


Everything seems to be going well on the drive down. They don’t break down. The car tires are in perfect condition. Beca doesn’t fall out of the car. It’s going great.

Until Chloe takes a wrong turn.

The signal is now fine on Beca’s phone, and she has a GPS installed that can tell them where to go, but Chloe still insists on using the damn map, so it doesn’t surprise Beca when Chloe mumbles something about how she doesn’t recognize the street they’re driving up.

“We’re lost.” Beca says, after five minutes of Chloe driving around aimlessly, trying to look for a familiar road sign or restaurant – something to tell them that they’re at least heading in the right direction – and Chloe sighs.

“We’re not lost, Beca. We’re–“

“–Stray? Stranded? Off-track? Going round in circles?”

“You’re really funny.”

“I know I am.”

“Stop talking to me, you’re putting me off.”

“It’s because we’re lost.”

“Fuck off.”

It takes them another fifteen minutes, after Chloe begrudgingly has to admit she’s wrong – and that they are in fact lost – before they get back on the right route.

Beca was seconds away from reaching down and pressing the break for Chloe and getting out of the car to ask somebody where the hell they are, when Chloe noticed a street sign leading to Interstate 110, which she recognized from when she was younger. They had driven for a while, before they met a sign telling them that it was two more miles to Pensacola. And Chloe had given Beca the hugest grin, and Beca forgot, for a second, that Chloe had gotten them lost in the first place.


They finally arrive at the house at 1PM.

It still looks the same as Chloe remembers it. The steps leading up to the porch, and the bushes surrounding it, and the table and chairs on the balcony; where she spent most of her time with her brother playing chess, or listening to her dad read her books. She hasn’t been in so long, and a rush of memories seem to wash over her. The nostalgia is a little overwhelming, but then she feels the passenger door slam shut, pulling her out of her reverie.

“Jesus, Chlo. When you said your family has a beach house, I didn’t expect this.”

“It’s great, right?” she says, standing up on the seat so she can jump over the door, and she mentally high fives herself for not falling out.

“It’s huge.”

“It’s not that big.” Chloe smiles.

Beca scoffs, mumbling something that Chloe doesn’t quite catch, and Chloe watches as Beca pulls her case out of the back of the car. She shouldn’t stare, but Beca’s wearing a tank top, and she can’t tear her eyes away from her biceps as she picks up the heavy case. She swears, she gets more beautiful every day, and it’s kind of not fair.

She looks away as soon as Beca turns around, though, hoping to God that Beca doesn’t notice her staring.

Chloe gets back in the car and puts the roof back up again, as Beca takes their bags up to the porch. She watches as Beca struggles to get her big suitcase up the steps, and she gets out of the car and goes to help her, making a comment about how she doesn’t want her to break her back carrying something that’s twice as big as her, and Beca just laughs as she pushes her shoulder, muttering “shut up, Beale” under her breath.

And it shouldn’t make Chloe feel excited, to have Beca touch her arm, but it does, and she can’t stop it. She never has been able to.

It’s the same feeling she gets when she holds her hand, or when they link arms, or in the rare times that Beca lets Chloe cuddle up to her. Chloe’s body has never fitted so well with another person’s body before, and she loves it. She loves the way Beca’s head fits into the crook of her neck perfectly, and she loves how when they hold hands, Beca strokes the pad of her thumb across Chloe’s without even realizing, and she loves that Beca is the perfect size for spooning.

Aubrey has told her that she shouldn’t be doing all this with Beca. Holding her hand, cuddling with her, spooning her, falling asleep in the same bed. Because Aubrey knows how much it hurts Chloe knowing that Beca will never want her the way she hopes she does. Aubrey’s had her fair share of sleepless nights listening to Chloe crying in her room, insisting that she’s fine, and she’s lost count of how many times Chloe has called her in the middle of the night, drunk off of red wine, and crying over how she wishes that Beca loved her like she loves Beca.

And maybe Aubrey is right. That Chloe shouldn’t be pining over Beca like this. But Chloe’s love life is pretty much defined by Helen Fisher’s Three Stages of Love – 1. lust, 2. attraction, and 3. attachment – and it’s actually worrying how fast it took Beca Mitchell to get from one to three.

Two months. It took two months, and Chloe should have known she was a goner as soon as she saw Beca at the activities fair.


The house is pretty big, but it only has two bedrooms with actual beds.

One of the rooms belongs to her parents, one belongs to her and her brother, and the other room is Chloe’s study, which her dad had decorated for her when she was fourteen. She’s always been really into art, so for her fourteenth birthday, her parents had driven her down to the beach house and presented her with the room, and it was the only room in the house – other than the bathroom – that looked out onto the ocean. It has a small balcony, where Chloe puts her easel, and she can paint for hours, kind of how Beca can be engrossed in her mixes. Which is why Chloe has never really been bothered when Beca ignores her when she’s on her laptop, because Chloe knows what it’s like to be so passionate about something that it feels like you’re being taken away to some magical land whenever you do it.

She loves art as much as she loves Beca Mitchell.

They both enter the house, and Chloe watches as Beca looks around, her mouth gaping wide, and her eyes lit up.

“This is beautiful, dude.” Beca says, and Chloe nods with a smile.

“It’s our home for the next two days, so get comfortable.”

And something about the words “our home” makes Chloe’s insides feel funny.

“Two days? That’s all?”

“Yeah.” She smiles, watching as Beca walks into the kitchen. She runs her hands over the worktops, and she’s smiling as she looks around the room. She looks like a little kid seeing a candy shop for the first time, and it’s adorable.

“Man, I could get used to this, Beale.” Beca says as she approaches the sliding glass door that leads to the beach. And Chloe sighs, her eyes fixated on Beca.

“Me too.”

She hears Beca ask something about her room, and Beca turns around and she has a grin on her face, and Chloe has never seen Beca like this before. So happy, and relaxed. She actually looks happy to be on this road trip, and not just like she’s tolerating it.

When they set off yesterday, Chloe wasn’t fully convinced that Beca wanted to be on the trip. And it kind of sucked, because going on a road trip has been on Chloe’s bucket list since as long as she can remember – probably since sixth grade when she actually made a bucket list for the first time – and sure, the other things on the bucket list included meeting the president, and going back in time, and going to the moon, but out of the other stuff on there, Chloe never thought that going on a road trip would be one of the things that came true. And here she is, the second day into her road trip, with Beca Mitchell smiling at her like she put the stars in the sky.

It makes her feel warm inside, to know that she’s made Beca Mitchell smile like that.

“We’ll put our bags away and then go to the beach. That okay?”

“Perfect.” Beca says, clicking her tongue and giving Chloe a little salute, before walking past her to pick her bags up.


“Don’t laugh at me.”

“I’m not gonna laugh at you.”

“Good, because there’s some old pictures in there, and we haven’t decorated since I was like ten, and just… promise me you won’t laugh.”

“Chloe, I’m not gonna laugh.”

Chloe opens the door to her room, her old room that still has posters of Justin Timberlake and Leonardo DiCaprio on the walls, and it has her old trophies sitting on the shelves, from when she used to enter dancing and limbo competitions every time her family came down here for the summer. It could look worse, but then again, Chloe likes Beca, and she doesn’t want her judging her on the fact that she doesn’t want to throw out her old stuffed animals because she’ll feel awful for betraying them.

It doesn’t surprise her, when Beca laughs.

“I told you not to laugh!”

“I’m not–I’m not laughing.” She smirks anyway, and Chloe just slaps her on the arm before Beca takes a few more steps into the room and drops her bag on the floor beside Chloe’s bed.

One half of the room belongs to Chloe, and the other half belongs to her brother. It’s easy to tell which is which, because one side is bright and colorful, and the other side is dark and boring, and Chloe’s side has more pink, and her brother’s side has more racecars.

“This is your side, right?” Beca asks, pointing to her brother’s bed, and Chloe just shakes her head with a laugh. “God, I’ve never seen so much pink before in my life, and I roomed with Amy for two years.”

“I told you, we haven’t decorated since I was young.”

Chloe bites her lip, and she watches as Beca picks up a picture frame, and she turns around with a grin, holding it up and pointing to the picture of eight year old Chloe, dressed head-to-toe in green.

“Nice shorts.”

“Oh shut up.”

Chloe takes the frame out of Beca’s hands and puts it back on her dresser, and she can feel Beca looking at her.

She doesn’t think much of it. Beca always looks at her, and she thinks Chloe doesn’t notice, but she does. She always notices. But this look is different, somehow. Maybe she’s just tired from the drive, and Beca isn’t in fact staring at her like she hopes she is. It’s making her feel a little warm, so she’s relieved when Beca turns her attention back to her dresser, so she doesn’t have to put up with the extreme urge of wanting to kiss her best friend.

Because that’s all Beca is to her. Just her best friend.

It doesn’t make her not want to kiss her though.

She busies herself with changing the bed sheets as Beca looks around the room. They haven’t been to the house in a while, and Chloe doesn’t really want to be sleeping on years-old bed sheets, no matter how clean they may look. Of course, her parents come down every once in a while to make sure the house is okay, and to make sure it hasn’t been broken into. But they have neighbors that they’ve known for years, an old couple named Frank and Barb, and they make sure to look after the house on the odd occasion that Chloe’s parents can’t make it down. Which they haven’t been able to for two years now.

It takes her a while to do both beds, with Beca offering to help, and her turning it down with a polite “it’s fine, I’ve got it” before she’s patting down the creases in the bright pink covers.

She stands back and watches as Beca picks up a picture frame. It’s a picture from when Chloe was twelve, and she’s sitting on the floor with her brother and her mom, and her dad is wrapping his arms around them all. She just hopes that Beca doesn’t ask her about it, and it feels like she deflates with relief when Beca places it gently back on the shelf.

“Where’s this from?”

She looks at the trophy Beca is holding up, and she tells her that it’s from when she won a hula hooping competition, and then Beca goes on to asking her all about her other trophies, not realizing how much it actually means to Chloe every time she mentions something like “dude, that’s so cool” or “I bet you were awesome.”

Because nobody has ever really shown interest in her like this before. Nobody has picked up one of her trophies and wanted her to explain what it means down to a tee, or asked her about her dancing competitions and told her that it’s awesome that she has so many awards for them. It all feels a little too much, and it’s doing nothing to help calm the intense feelings she’s been having for Beca lately.

At one point, she looks at Chloe with a smile, and makes some comment about how she bets she was the “cutest dang cowgirl to win a line dancing medal” and the urge to kiss her is getting too much.

Beca carries on like this, until Chloe mentions something about changing the subject. Because honestly, she doesn’t really know how much longer she can take Beca’s comments about how cute she looks in the pictures, and how awesome it is that she came first place in a booty shaking competition when she was seventeen. She doesn’t voice that part though.

“Is there something wrong?” Beca asks her, putting the trophy back onto the shelf above the dresser, and Chloe just shakes her head as she sits down on her newly made bed. Beca follows suit, sitting down beside her and nudging her with her shoulder. “Hey. You know you can talk to me.”

Chloe looks at her, and Beca gives her an awkward smile, and it’s just so Beca. She’s never really been good at being sincere, but she tries, and that’s all Chloe can ask for. Chloe doesn’t know what it is, but there’s something in Beca’s eyes, something telling her that this is not one of these moments where she’s going to shut her down or call her weird like she has done so many times before. It’s weird, though, that she can read Beca like this. That they can read each other like this. It gives her hope that maybe Beca could feel the same way she does.

She doubts it though, so she tears her eyes away from Beca, and she looks down at the floor.

“It’s nothing-it’s just… almost everyone I know, or knew when I came down here every summer, didn’t really care.”

“Didn’t care?”

“They weren’t really bothered, you know? Like, they didn’t ask me about my trophies. And like–I’m proud of them, you know? You know when you’re proud of something, and you really want someone to mention it, but they don’t, and you’re kind of just like… oh.

Beca laughs, and Chloe keeps her eyes trained on the ground. Of course Beca would laugh at her. Of course she was wrong about Beca maybe feeling the same way. She was stupid to think otherwise.

She can feel Beca’s arm against her own, and it does nothing to help the way her heart is still pounding from the way Beca was just looking at her.

“I do know.” Beca says quietly. “It’s even worse when people do mention it, and then tell you that it’s not good enough–that… you’re not good enough. That was… my life. Pretty much every day when I was younger.”

Chloe frowns, and she looks at Beca again, but Beca isn’t looking at her. She’s looking around the room, and Chloe can see the tears forming in her eyes as she looks up at the roof, but she doesn’t say anything, because she knows that Beca doesn’t like people telling her that everything is going to be okay when she’s on the verge of tears. Instead, she touches Beca’s arm, and her skin is soft underneath her fingertips, and she slips her hand down to hold onto Beca’s, and she can feel the pace of her heartbeat getting faster.

They stay like that for a while, just sitting on Chloe’s bed, holding hands; the only sound being the occasional sniffle, and their soft breathing.

“You are good enough, Becs.” She feels Beca look at her, and she blinks a few times, before smiling at her. “Whoever says you’re not can… kiss my ass.”

Beca laughs again, and maybe it’s just her imagination, but Chloe could have sworn that Beca looks down at her lips. But then Beca is smiling at her, so sincerely, so affectionately, and Chloe looks down at their joined hands, and she feels Beca rest her forehead against hers.

She feels like she can’t breathe.

“Thank you.” Beca whispers, her breath hot against Chloe’s face, and Chloe gulps.

She shifts closer to Beca, their foreheads still resting against each other, until their thighs are touching, and she can feel Beca breathing against her face, and she’s hoping to God that she doesn’t scare Beca away right now. Because she can feel it, in the way that Beca is stroking her thumb across her hand, and the way that she isn’t tense like she normally is when they’re this close. She can feel that Beca might want this too, and it’s scary. It’s one of the scariest thing she’s ever done, or will ever do.

What’s more scary, is the way Beca’s head tilts, and she presses her face forward, until her lips come into contact with Chloe’s cheek, and Chloe is pretty sure she’s going to melt into a puddle on the floor.

But then Beca pulls back, and she lets go of Chloe’s hand, and she says “enough mushy stuff, Beale. You promised me we’d go to the beach.”

And then she’s gone before Chloe can even open her eyes.


Being at a beach with Beca Mitchell isn’t one of the easiest things in the world either.

Especially when Beca Mitchell is currently trying to build a sand castle.

In a bathing suit.

And Chloe thinks it’s hilarious, how Beca can look so hot while doing something childish like building a sandcastle. Her skin is really pale, and Chloe tries not to think about what’s under the bathing suit, because if she does, she’ll think about the last time she saw Beca nude. And as much as she’s drawn that image of Beca naked under the shower out in her mind, she’ll never really be able to convey how much that shower incident changed her. Because that was the moment she fell in love with Beca Mitchell, and she would have never guessed that right now, three years later, she’d be remembering every little detail of it.

From the water on Beca’s bare shoulders, to the way Beca’s eyes looked her up and down, and from the way they sang together in perfect harmony, to the way Chloe truly thought that there may be something between them.

Chapter Text

"City cold, moonlight bright / mountains old, I watch the water / someone's old friend, someone's lover / someone's sister, someone's daughter / isn't she beautiful / isn't she beautiful / isn't she everything you need / isn't she everything you need / child of earth with gentle hands / wind in hair and toes in sand / make you laugh, she'll make you listen / nothing's broke and nothing's missing."
– beautiful, hedley


Destined to be doomed.

That's what Beca Mitchell told herself when Chloe Beale asked her to go on a road trip with her.

And already, on the second day, she realizes she was wrong. And it takes a lot for Beca Mitchell to admit that she's wrong. She doesn't like being wrong, but right now she's not even mad about it, because even though they're only on the second day of this supposed-to-be-doomed road trip, Beca can tell that the next month isn't going to be as bad as she makes it out to be.

Because come on, she's with her best friend, travelling the country, and she has enough money to actually survive a month on the road, so she doesn't need to worry about that part. She's sick of worrying. She doesn't know what she's going to do at the end of the month, when all she has left in her bank account is half of what she had before, but Chloe always tells her that she should live in the moment – as cliché as that sounds – and not worry about the future. She spent her whole senior year worrying over her future, and she's done worrying.

And it only took one and a half days on the road with Chloe Beale to realize that.


The beach is right behind the house, so they don't have to walk far at all. Which Beca is thankful for, because Chloe had woken her up early this morning, and she can't even fathom the thought of trekking miles for a beach on barely eight hours sleep. She's bad at saying no to Chloe, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. There are some steps at the back of the house that lead down straight into the sand, which Beca had nearly fallen down because there was a branch that she didn't notice on the second step, and all she got from Chloe in response was, "calm down eager bean. Or beaver? Eager beaver?"

She tried not to laugh, but Chloe is just too adorable when she's confused.

Of course, the first thing Beca does when they settle down on the beach is make a sandcastle. Or at least, she tries to make a sandcastle. It's kind of hard when all she has is an old tiny bucket that Chloe had dug out from the basement, but at least it's something, and she wonders why people don't believe her when she says she's twenty one years old.

"I'm gonna go get some shells to decorate it." Beca says, standing up and rubbing her hands together to get the sand off of them. She wouldn't exactly call what she's made a sand castle – more like a sand pile – but Chloe told her that "it looks great and if you squint it kinda looks like a mini Mount Everest!" and Beca can't really argue with that.

Chloe does that a lot. She sees the good in everything.

And it's doing nothing to help the way Beca's stomach flutters every time Chloe is nice to her, but it's fine, really. She's fine. They're fine.

The beach is surprisingly not that busy. Or not as busy as Beca guessed it would be. She's never been to Pensacola so she's not quite sure what she expected, but she definitely figured there'd be more than twenty people on the beach. Right now, not including her and Chloe, there are about fifteen other people; some, she guesses, couples on vacation, tourists, a few families, and some people with their dogs. It's quite nice, seeing all these people she doesn't know, all with different stories, all with their own lives, and all with different reasons for being here.

She almost wishes she could talk to everyone – find out their story, figure them out – but she's way too socially awkward for that.

As she's collecting a few shells from further down the beach, she can't help but glance over at Chloe. She's putting some sunscreen on her arms, and she has her hair up in a bun, and a blue bikini on, and she tries not to stare, but it's hard when Chloe looks so good. And she shouldn't be thinking that about her best friend, but ever since the little moment they shared earlier, Beca has started to feel more and more nervous around Chloe. And she shouldn't, because Chloe is her best friend, and she hasn't been nervous around Chloe since freshman year, but they're close now, and it's different, and she has absolutely nothing to be nervous about.

But she can still almost feel her forehead resting against Chloe's, and she can still feel the ghost of her lips pressing against Chloe's cheek, and she tries so hard not to imagine what would have happened if she'd kissed Chloe on the lips instead.

And it's worrying that the thought of kissing Chloe excites her.

She shakes herself of the thoughts though, because this is just a small, miniscule crush. It's so small it might as well not even be there, and she knows she's going to be over it within a few days. She's just confused, and still caught up in the moment they shared. So she gathers up a few more shells, and makes her way back to Chloe.

"That guy looks like he's married to a pornstar." Beca says to Chloe when she gets back, putting all of the shells next to her sandcastle.

"Who?" Chloe sits up straight, lifting her sunglasses up so they're sitting on the top of her head, and Beca nods her head over to a man laid on a lounge chair similar to the one Chloe is sitting on. She noticed him on the way back. He looks small, barely five foot, and he's quite fat and hairy, and Beca's pretty sure that his hair is a wig, because there is no way that someone that old can have hair as good as that. "He looks like Danny DeVito with hair." Chloe says, and she smiles when Beca bursts out laughing, sitting down on one of the towels that Chloe has laid out for her next to the chair.

"He looks loaded. Like, 'I'm-not-good-looking-enough-to-be-a-pornstar-so-I-became-rich-and-then-married-one-instead' loaded."

"Hmm, I don't know. How old do you think he is?"

"He's in his early fifties, maybe. He has two kids. They hate him. His wife is in her thirties, maybe late twenties. She hates him as well, but he works for some big company that pays enough for him to be able to afford two houses and a car for each one of the three garages in them. He sometimes directs the pornos she's in and pretends that he's not jealous when she swallows–"

"–Beca!" Chloe puts her hand over Beca's mouth, and Beca pushes it off with a laugh, her hand holding onto Chloe's for a second longer than normal. Chloe doesn't seem to notice though, as Beca let's go of it with an awkward cough. "Ya know, I kinda see it. He's got that vibe going on." She pauses as Beca puts all the shells in a line. "What vibe do I give off?"

Beca looks up at Chloe, her eyes squinted due to the sun, and her mouth parted slightly – and she tries not to look down at Chloe's body, but it's hard when she has a bikini on – and she blows out a breath of air. "I'm gonna go with… Floridian surf instructor by day, popular bartender by night."

"What?" Chloe laughs. "Why a surf instructor?"

"Well the shell necklace and the anklet for starters. You look very surfer-esque."

"That's not a word." Chloe says, her fingers brushing over the shells on the necklace around her neck.

"Whatever. You just look like someone who knows how to surf, and you look patient enough to be able to teach people to surf, ya know?"

"Really?"

"Yeah. You look approachable, which brings us on to the bartender part of it. You're beautiful, so it's obvious that people will hit on you, but you have that friendly look, meaning people won't actually expect anything from you, because you're too kind to leave anybody out. You're everybody's favorite bartender, and you get the most tips out of anybody, and you use that popularity to advertise your surf school. See? It's a vicious cycle."

"I like it. You just have a moody teenager vibe. That's all I can say."

"Fuck you."

Chloe smiles, looking out onto the ocean, and Beca finds herself staring at Chloe again. Not in a creeper way or anything, she just knows how to appreciate someone with a nice face, and Chloe is even more beautiful up close, and the sun is making her glow like some sort of summer goddess and Beca wonders, for a second, if she's actually befriended a female version of Helios or something, because there is no way that someone can be that radiant without having some sort of relation to a solar deity. It's just not physically possible.

But then Chloe looks down at her, and Beca looks away quickly as she starts to decorate her sand mountain, and she can feel Chloe's eyes on her for a while until Chloe lays down on the chair again.

Beca's phone rings a little later, once she's placed a few of the shells on the castle for the windows, and dug a little moat around it, using a big leaf as a bridge. There's no water in the moat, but she's proud of it either way, and Chloe said it looks great.

She brushes the sand off of her hands before digging her phone out of her bag.

"Becaw!"

She smiles. "Hey, Jesse."

"How you doing?"

"I'm good, we're just at the beach. "

"Did you make it to Pensacola?"

"We did." She looks at Chloe, who is looking down at her own phone. "All in one piece. Dude, it's beautiful here."

"Nice. How's Chloe? She okay?"

"She's good, yeah."

"Good?" She hums. "Are you gonna elaborate?"

"Why would I?" she furrows her eyebrows, and Chloe looks at her, mouthing 'what?', but she just shakes her head as she stands up.

"Well when I normally ask you about Chloe, you always elaborate. You never just say 'she's good.'"

"Oh… well, I don't know." She taps Chloe on the shoulder and motions towards the house, and Chloe nods in understanding. "You know, she's good. She likes it here."

She starts to make her way to the house, and looks behind her to see that Chloe is still looking at her own phone.

"Do you like it there?"

"Yeah, like I just said, it's beautiful." She finally looks away from Chloe. "And the beach is like, right behind the house."

"That's cool. So listen, I'm meeting Aubrey, so I'm sorry to cut this conversation short, but I'll talk to you later, okay? I just wanted to make sure you got there safely."

"You're meeting Aubrey?"

"Yeah, I ran into her and she told me she has a week break from… what's it called? Lodge of falling bees or something. So we're just getting coffee."

"Oh." She smiles as she makes her way up the steps that lead to the house. "I didn't know you two were close."

"Well, we're not. But you know, it's nice to see a face that's not Benji or Bumper's. Plus, I haven't seen her since she graduated, and I think she actually tolerates me now."

"Right."

"I'm just catching her up on what's been going on."

"Okay. Cool. I'll talk to you later then?"

"Okay, I love you."

"Love you too."

She hangs up, and makes her way into the house, putting her phone down on the counter.

She's not mad. She's not one of those girls who controls her boyfriend and tells him who he can or cannot hang out with. She thinks girls like that need to relax a little and have more trust. And that's coming from the girl with more trust issues than the issues of vogue Chloe has stuffed under her bed – which is a lot. She's been with Jesse for three years, and she knows that he'd never do anything to hurt her, so she doesn't worry about it.

While she's at the house, she goes to the toilet and washes the sand off of her hands.

As she makes her out of the bathroom though, she sees a door to a room that Chloe hadn't showed her on the mini tour she gave her when they arrived. Chloe and her brother's room is on the left, down the hall, and her parents' room is right in front of the stairs, with the bathroom beside it. But this door is on the right, and she doesn't know how she missed it before. It's pretty obvious that it's there. She thinks she maybe shouldn't go in there, for some reason. Maybe Chloe is hiding something in there, or maybe it's a door to Narnia, or maybe there's a giant wasps nest in there and Chloe hasn't been in there for years; who knows. But she finds herself holding on to the door handle before she can even realize, and then she's pushing it open slowly.

Immediately, her eyes widen when she sees the walls, all black with pictures of planets painted on them, and there are canvases laid out on the floor and propped against the walls, and there are shelves with tubes and palettes of paint on them, and a couple of easels in front of the window, and there's a sheet on the floor, covered in dry paint splatters.

"Holy…" she looks up at the roof, seeing some more paint splatters, and there are a few lights hanging from the roof as well, and it looks like heaven, but for artists.

What catches her eye, is what looks to be another canvas, a bigger one, leaning against a desk on the wall next to the window, and it's covered by a sheet of some sort, and she doesn't know why but she walks further into the room, and she feels exposed. This whole room feels like nobody has been in it for years, and it feels cold, despite the sun shining through the window. It sends chills down her spine when she hears the door creak behind her.

After looking back and making sure that there isn't anybody there, she walks over to the canvas, and crouches down in front of it, and she slowly pulls the cover off. It's an unfinished painting, and Beca's not quite sure what it is, but it's beautiful. It looks like a car, and she can distinctly make out the image of a face, and there's a lot of black and red in the background, and there's a small galaxy in the corner, and what looks to be a few clouds around some flowers. It's all pretty confusing, but it's beautiful nonetheless.

It still feels like she's intruding though, so she puts the sheet back over the canvas and stands up, making sure not to stand on any of the pieces of paper on the ground as she makes her way out. She stops, though, when she sees a particular drawing of someone laid on some grass. They have a plaid shirt on, and they're lying next to a MacBook, and they have headphones on, and a grasshopper tattoo on their arm, and – holy shit, it's her.

She picks up the drawing, her eyes scanning over it and her fingers tracing over the lines – tracing over the small signature in the corner of the page, signed C. A. Beale – just to make sure that she's not dreaming. Just to make sure that this is in fact her. And it's a beautiful drawing, and Chloe has managed to capture her beautifully, she can admit that, but it's still strange though, seeing herself drawn out on a piece of paper like this. Chloe said she hasn't been to this house in years, so either Chloe was lying, or she's predicted the future and known that they were going to meet all along, or maybe she works for the CIA and she's been forced to track Beca down, and she's been watching her for years.

Which isn't likely at all, but Beca can't shake the feeling that Chloe is hiding something from her.

Like, oh, how she's a fucking art prodigy; that could be something she's hiding from her. Beca never even knew that Chloe was interested in art, never mind being able to paint like Picasso. Which, okay, that's probably a stretch, but Chloe is seriously amazing, and she doesn't know why Chloe would keep something like this from her. The most she's seen of Chloe's drawings are the little doodles in the margins of her Russian Lit homework, and it's not like they show off her talent, because anybody can draw two little stick people holding hands, or little hearts and stars and swirls. Out of all the things she guessed Chloe is good at, she never thought art would be at the top of that list.

She scratches the top of her nose, and she puts the drawing on the desk, and she takes one more look around the room, before she walks out and shuts the door.

When she gets back to the beach, Chloe is talking to an old couple, and she takes a deep breath before walking over to them.

"Oh, speaking of the devil," Chloe says when she sees Beca. "This is Beca Mitchell. Beca, this is Barb and Frank, the couple I was telling you about? They watch the house for us."

Beca forces a smile, and she thinks back to the drawing, and she realizes that Chloe must have been to the house in the last three years at least, if the drawing is actually of her. Chloe had mentioned that her parents haven't been in two years, but she never said anything about her not coming here.

She doesn't worry about it though, because if Chloe hasn't told her, then she obviously doesn't want Beca knowing.

"It's nice to meet you, dear." Barb says, holding a hand out, and Beca takes it with a small smile.

"You too."

It takes Beca a while to convince herself that it's not really a huge deal that Chloe hasn't told her about her art skills, because maybe Chloe wants to keep it a secret for a reason, and she's not about to push her for answers. It takes her another ten minutes to forget why she was even worried about Chloe in the first place, because Chloe is suggesting places they could go to tomorrow, and telling that they're going to her favorite restaurant tonight, and her voice soothes Beca.


There are three things that Beca dislikes most about vacations, despite only having been on two in her whole life.

Fancy restaurants that have names that she can't pronounce, and having to spend money unnecessarily. (The other is tourists who take too long deciding what they want to eat, but that part doesn't matter right now.) What matters, is that Chloe has dragged her to a restaurant – and she's not even going to try to pronounce the name – and it's probably the poshest, most expensive restaurant that Beca has ever seen, let alone been inside. But Beca knows she can't say no to Chloe, which is the whole reason she's on this trip in the first place.

"You do realize that if we keep this up, we're gonna be broke by the end of the week." She says to Chloe when they sit down at the table, and Chloe smiles as she picks up a menu.

"We're treating ourselves."

"This whole road trip is a treat."

"Awww."

"Oh, shut up."

She takes a look at the menu, and she's not surprised to see that it's all in another language. She thinks it's French, judging by all the accents and all the 'la's' and 'le's' and 'au's.' She's never really been good with other languages, other than the small amount of German she learned in middle school. Which, still, didn't really come in handy, or else she would have used it to her advantage with that tall, gorgeous, German DSM leader.

"What's les horse divorce?"

"What?"

"Les horse divorce." Beca holds the menu out so Chloe can see, and points to the place she read it from.

"You mean Les Hors d'oeuvres." Beca's eyes widen as she pulls the menu back, and Chloe looks at her with a confused smile.

"What? Why are you looking at me like that?"

"You can speak French?"

She's an artist, she can speak French, she can sing, and she's beautiful. This is getting harder and harder for Beca with every passing minute.

"I've been coming to this restaurant for years, I picked up different phrases."

"Say it again."

"Hors d'oeuvres."

Beca puts the back of her hand to her forehead and sighs. "Madame, you made me swoon so hard I think I forgot my own name."

"You're a dork."

"We're in a French restaurant, I think that makes me a la dork."

"Oh my God." Chloe shakes her head with a laugh, bringing the menu up to cover her face.

"Now tell me, what's a 'les oofs'?"

"Oeufs." Chloe corrects her with a smile, just as the waiter approaches their table.

"Bonjour. Do you ladies know what you are having?" he asks, in a thick French accent, and Beca smiles up at him as she rests her head in her hand.

"Do you sell snails?"

Chloe just closes her eyes with a sigh.


"What's her deal?" Chloe asks, nodding her head over to a blonde girl sat on her own a few tables down from them, and Beca pouts, eyeing the girl up and down.

"She's half-Swedish." She says. "Early twenties. Waiting for a date. My guess is she's gay."

"How do you know she's gay?"

"Have you seen the haircut?"

"That's very stereotypical of you."

"Maybe, but…" Beca smiles. "Oh look, there's a woman sitting down at her table. And look, they're kissing each other on the cheek. She's blushing, so she's obviously nervous." She looks at Chloe. "It's a date."

"She could be bisexual."

"Or pansexual."

"You're good at this."

"I'm just observant."

"Or you're just a creep."

"Potayto, potahto."


Four glasses of wine each, and they're both holding each other up as they make their way back to the house.

Beca asks Chloe, through a yawn, if she actually knows where the house is, and Chloe tells her of course she knows where the house is, but Chloe is leaning on Beca, making them walk in a diagonal line almost, but they're both laughing, and Beca doesn't mind. She doesn't mind Chloe's arm around her waist – her nails digging into the small amount of skin showing – or Chloe's head so close to hers that she can smell the alcohol on her breath, and it's kind of gross, she can admit, but still, she doesn't mind.

And the worst part is, it doesn't even surprise her when she realizes that she likes that Chloe is pressed against her like this.

It's getting harder and harder to convince herself that she doesn't, in fact, have a thing for her best friend. Which is a problem, because she has a boyfriend. A boyfriend who is sweet, and kind, and doesn't deserve being treated this way, but at the same time, a boyfriend who is more like a best friend or a brother to her, and a boyfriend who she hasn't had sex with in weeks, and a boyfriend who has been acting like a kicked puppy ever since Beca told him that she was going on a road trip with Chloe. But she can admit, she's kind of in the wrong too, because she's been ignoring his texts ever since he called her telling her he was hanging out with Aubrey, and she shouldn't be jealous because for God's sake, she's Beca Mitchell. She doesn't care about this sort of stuff, and she is not someone who gets jealous easily.

But she's managed to get jealous twice within the past two days, and she doesn't know what's happening to her.

Tonight isn't about Jesse though, so she pushes all thoughts of him to the back of her mind.

Chloe starts to sing cheerleader, and Beca has to shush her a couple of times because it's getting late, and they're both drunk, and when Chloe is drunk she's louder than Fat Amy on a normal day – which is loud – and it takes them a while, but they finally get back to the house at around 11PM.

"Hey. Psst, Chloe."

"What?" Chloe says, her back leaning against the door as she tries to look for the keys in her purse.

"What's–what's Forrest Gump's password?"

"I d'no."

Beca smiles, and she lets out a small laugh as she looks at Chloe, and Chloe looks up at her with a smile, and she says "one Forrest one" and she bends over laughing as she hears Chloe smirk, until the two of them are laughing hysterically. Chloe manages to breathe out a "that's not… fuckin' funny." But Beca is too busy laughing and trying to balance on two feet to even notice, and then she's throwing her head back, and she loses balance, but then Chloe grabs onto her arms and pulls her into her.

She falls against Chloe and holds herself up on the door, pinning Chloe against it, and they're both still laughing as Beca buries her head in Chloe's neck.

"Serious, Bec, that wasn't even funny." Chloe says, but she's still laughing, and Beca can feel her hand on the small of her back, and she pulls back, letting out a few breathy laughs, before she bites her lip to stop herself from laughing any more. And Chloe is looking right at her, and she can hear the sound of the keys jingling in Chloe's hands, meaning that Chloe has found them, and the minute Chloe looks at her lips, Beca pulls away.

"You okay?" Chloe asks her, and Beca nods, mumbling "I'm good, I'm good" before she stands up straight and watches as Chloe unlocks the door.

They both decide it's probably best to go to bed because they have to be up early if they want to actually do anything on this trip, and Beca tries not to be disappointed when Chloe tells her that they'll be sleeping in separate rooms.

But it's a good thing, probably, because despite how many times they've both slept in the same bed together, she thinks that it'll be harder now, due to her realizing that perhaps there's a small chance she might possibly have a slight crush on her best friend. Which isn't a big deal at all. She's not gay, and she has a boyfriend, and she knows for a fact that this so-called crush is probably just a small realization that Chloe is a great person, and she's beautiful, and Beca is thankful to have a best friend like her. It's nothing, and it's all under control, and it'll probably mean nothing in the morning, because it's probably just her drunk mind thinking for itself.

Chloe bids her goodnight, with a sloppy kiss on her cheek, before disappearing into her parent's bedroom, meaning Beca will be sleeping in Chloe's bed. Which is fine as well, and the scent on Chloe's bedsheets does not bother her at all.

After tossing and turning in bed for a while, Beca realizes that she probably won't be getting to sleep any time soon, and it's making it harder having Justin Timberlake and Hello Kitty staring down at her. Her laptop bag is on the floor at the end of the bed, so she leans over and pulls her laptop out, and she loads up the internet. Thankfully, she had made a note of the WiFi password on her phone earlier, so she types it in with no problems, and then she finds herself searching for places to visit in Pensacola.

There's a few museums and theatres, and there's a lake – which she notices, after searching on Google Maps, isn't too far away from the house – but what catches her eye, is the Museum of Art that's only a fifteen minute drive from the house. She figures that if they go there, Chloe might tell her that she loves art, and that, you know, she has a whole room full of canvases and paintings and sketches and drawing pads. And if she still doesn't tell her, then that's okay too, because Beca likes art, and she hasn't been to an art museum in years, so it will be nice to share Chloe's passion, even if Chloe isn't aware that Beca knows about it.

Just as she clicks on the website, the bedroom door opens, and she quickly closes the tab, and she looks up to see Chloe hovering in the doorway.

"Hey." Beca says, her voice gentle, and Chloe tells her that she can't sleep, and Beca tells her that she can't either, and then Chloe walks over and sits beside her. She smiles at her, because even now, with her hair messy and her pajamas on, she still looks beautiful. "Hey." She whispers again, and Chloe yawns as she puts her head on Beca's shoulder.

"What're ya doing?"

"I was just gonna listen to some music to help me get to sleep."

She hears Chloe yawn again, and then Chloe takes her laptop off of her and types YouTube into the search bar, and Beca watches Chloe. It's dark in the room, but the light from the laptop screen is shining right on Chloe's face, and her eyes are glistening, and she has a small smile on her face.

"I can feel you staring at me, perv." She whispers, before looking at Beca, and normally Beca would look away and blush, or say something defensive back, but all she can do is smile a little wider, because she's never seen anybody quite as beautiful as Chloe Beale.

"Just do your thing, Beale." Beca says, looking at the screen.

"What do you want to listen to?"

"Anything. Whatever you want."

Chloe smiles, and Beca doesn't even complain when she puts One Direction on.

A half hour later, the music is still playing, and Chloe is fast asleep with her head resting on Beca's shoulder. Beca doesn't sleep a wink, afraid that if she moves Chloe might wake up, but it's fine, because the music is kind of keeping her awake anyway.

It's certainly not the way her heart is pounding in her chest at the realization that falling asleep with Chloe Beale feels so right.

Chapter Text

I don't have much to give, but I don't care for gold / what use is money, when you need someone to hold? / don't have direction, I'm just rolling down this road / waiting for you to bring me in from out the cold / you'll never know the endless nights, the rhyming of the rain / or how it feels to fall behind and watch you call his name / Pack up and leave everything / don't you see what I can bring / can't keep this beating heart at bay / set my midnight sorrow free / I will give you all of me / just leave your lover, leave him for me / leave your lover, leave him for me / we sit in bars and raise our drinks to growing old / oh, I'm in love with you and you will never know.
– leave your lover, sam smith


Chloe wakes up to the sound of Hurricane by The Vamps playing, and it takes her a few seconds, after wondering when she even fell asleep last night, to realize that she’s actually laying on top of Beca.

She notices because Beca is laying on her arm, and she can smell her Dolce & Gabbana perfume because her nose is pressed into her collarbone. She’s asleep, judging by her steady breathing and light snore, and Chloe realizes, after getting off of her and looking around the room for the source of the noise, that the song is coming from Beca’s phone. She wonders, for a brief moment, why the hell Beca uses a Vamps song for her alarm, because she could have sworn Beca had complained about Chloe showing her their songs yesterday, and she’s pretty sure Beca hates The Vamps as much as she claims to hate One Direction.

She turns the alarm off, and throws the phone on the bed, stretching her arms and yawning.

“Bec.” She says, reaching out and poking Beca’s cheek. “Hey. Wake up.”

It takes a few more pokes on her cheeks, and a few more whispered “hey”’s, but Beca eventually wakes up, swatting Chloe’s hand away, murmuring something about it being too early.

“Get up, we’re going to the beach.” Chloe says, pulling the covers completely off of Beca, laughing when she curls up into a ball. And she’s out of the room before she can hear Beca’s reply about needing her beauty sleep.


The laugh Chloe lets out as Beca almost trips down the steps again on the way to the beach is embarrassing, at the least, but Beca is, weirdly, in a good mood and she’s laughing as well, and then Chloe doesn’t feel so bad.

Beca’s like a puppy, with the way she gets excited over small things. She likes to think she’s not one to get excited, but Chloe can see right through her, and she knows that Beca loves the beach, and she knows that Beca is more excited about this trip than she lets on. “I’m just excited to get a tan,” Beca had told her, but Chloe’s not an idiot. She knows Beca likes spending time with her – loves spending time with her – and plus, everybody knows that Beca Mitchell doesn’t tan. Chloe’s lost count of how many times she’s heard the Bellas make jokes about Beca being a vampire – the pale skin, the way she sleeps until midday, the way she’s always holed up in her room. And not to mention the fact that she doesn’t like garlic bread, which Chloe is sure has got to be some sort of sin.

But because she wants to get a tan, Beca is wearing a bikini today instead of a bathing suit, because it’s warmer, and it’s doing nothing to stop the way Chloe seems to be, unintentionally, checking her out every five minutes.

That’s a lie, though.

It’s intentional.

It’s always intentional.

She’s thankful that Beca is oblivious to stuff like this though, because as much as she hates when people objectify women, and she hates even more that Beca doesn’t realize she’s staring at her half of the time, she just can’t help but admire Beca’s body and the few freckles dotted around on her back, and the way that the sun shines onto her and makes her glow. And she really should stop, but she’s weak for Beca Mitchell and she doesn’t really care who else notices. She knows that Beca won’t notice. She hasn’t noticed the way Chloe looks at her, like she hung the moon and stars, in the three years they’ve been friends.

It’s kind of frustrating for Chloe, but she tries not to think about it too much.

They make their way over to where they were yesterday, and they both set their things down on the sand. Beca still insists on using just a towel to sunbathe on, letting Chloe use the chair, and Chloe shouldn’t be so moved by it. It’s a god damn sun lounger – her god damn sun lounger – and Beca has done nicer things for her before, like made her mixes or done late night Taco Bell runs when Chloe was stressing about her Russian Lit homework, so Chloe shouldn’t be acting like Beca has just done something wonderful for her. It’s not every day though, that Beca Mitchell puts other people before herself. It’s not that she’s selfish, she just… doesn’t really care.

But she cares about Chloe.

Of course she cares about Chloe.

It’s around 8:30 when Beca tells Chloe she’s going to get some ice cream, and she says it right after Chloe offers to put some more sunscreen on her back for her, so Chloe tries not to be offended that she pretty much downright rejected her. But Beca asks Chloe what flavor ice cream she wants, and before Chloe can reply, Beca says “mint, right?” and she doesn’t know how Beca knew, but she doesn’t really give it much thought. She gives Beca a few dollars, and Beca takes it with a small smile, telling her she won’t be long.

Chloe tries her hardest to avert her eyes as Beca walks away, but she looks too damn good in her bikini to pass that opportunity off.

Her phone rings a few minutes later, after she’s been watching a few kids playing volleyball further down the beach, and she looks at the caller ID to see that it’s Aubrey.

“Hey.” she answers with a smile, sliding her sunglasses up to rest on the top of her head.

“How’s the trip with Tweedle Dum?”

Chloe shakes her head with a laugh, and she tells Aubrey that Beca is fine, and that she’s just getting them some ice cream because they’re at the beach, and then suddenly Aubrey is asking Chloe if Beca has finally admitted that she’s in love with her yet, and all Chloe can do is sigh with a murmured, “you’ll be the first to know if that ever happens, which, it won’t.”

“That girl, I swear.” Aubrey says.

“Aubrey.”

“Sorry. I didn’t call just to have a dig at her.”

“Sure, sure.”

“How are you doing?”

She sighs again, and she looks over at Beca, who is standing in a line at a small ice cream cart, run by a guy who looks vaguely like a ginger Ty Burrell. “I’m okay,” she says.

“You sure? I know it must be hard, being there and all.”

“I mean, it is. It always will be.”

“Beca better be looking after you.”

“I’m fine. I don’t need looking after, Bree.”

And Aubrey must sense the finality in Chloe’s voice, because she doesn’t push any further, which Chloe is thankful for. Instead, she tells Chloe she has some news, and Chloe responds with “ooo, tell!” as she moves so she’s sat cross-legged on the chair.

“I’m moving to L.A.”

Her eyes widen. “What?!”

“I’m moving to L.A!”

“What–why?!”

“I’m gonna set up my own retreat.”

“You’re… what? Wait! No more Lodge of Fallen Leaves?”

“Afraid not. I might call it The Lodge of Aubrey Leaves. Get it? ‘Cause I’m leaving?”

Chloe laughs, and she tells her “good God, that was worse than Beca’s pick up lines,” and then Aubrey is laughing and Chloe doesn’t really know if Aubrey is joking or not.

“Are you messing with me?”

“No, I’m not. Well, I am about the name. I’m not gonna name it The Lodge of Aubrey Leaves, that would be ridiculous. But I am moving to L.A.”

“When?”

“In a few days. I’ve kind of known for a while that I’ve wanted to branch out, but I was never one hundred percent sure. And then I thought, why not? You know? I have most of my things packed, and my Aunt Trish – you know, the one married to that composer dude? – has a friend who owns an apartment building. She talked to him and got me a good deal on a two-bedroom apartment. I just need to find a roommate.”

“Oh my God! Bree!” She’s grinning, and she looks over at Beca, who is walking back with two ice cream cones in her hand. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Like I said, I was never one hundred percent certain. I wanted to make sure it was all real before I told you.”

“Okay. Are you sure, though? This is all so sudden.”

“How bad could it be, Chlo? What’s your motto? Don’t worry about the future? Live in the moment, and all that jazz? I’m taking a huge step here. Barden is just… boring for me now. And I am not moving back to Indiana.”

“I’m proud of you. But… I mean, this is huge. No more Atlanta.”

“No more Atlanta.” Aubrey repeats, and Chloe smiles as Beca approaches her, handing her the mint ice cream cone.

“Hey Bec, guess what?”

“What? Who are you on the phone to?” Beca sits down on the towel.

“Aubrey. She’s moving to L.A.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah!”

“Dude, that’s awesome.”

“Beca’s happy for you.” Chloe says, and she hears Aubrey laugh through the phone.

“Tell the midget thanks.”

“Hey, I heard that!”

Chloe laughs, and she talks to Aubrey about L.A, and where she’ll be living, and Chloe tells her that they’ll visit her when they make it to California in two weeks, and Beca whispers something like “oh God, do we have to?” but Chloe knows she’s joking, so she just shoves her with a small laugh.


“So I was thinking we could go to the art museum today.”

Chloe looks down at Beca. She’s looking out at the sea, and she’s picking up handfuls of sand, letting it sift through her fingers, and she repeats the action a few times before she looks up at Chloe, who, after hearing Beca say her name, realizes that she still hasn’t replied.

“What?” Chloe asks, even though she knows what Beca said. She’s just not sure why Beca would want to go to an art museum.

“When I couldn’t sleep last night, I was looking at places we could go. And, I don’t know, you know this… area,” she motions around her with her arms, “more than I do, so you’ve probably already been, but the art museum looks cool. And it’s only ten dollars admission. Which… I’ve now just realized, is kind of expensive… I think?” she squints her eyes as the sun comes out from behind a cloud. “I don’t know, I don’t really go to museums, and I always thought they were free. Is it expensive? I think–“

“–The museum sounds great.” Chloe interrupts with a smile, and Beca smiles back at her, looking down at her hands again as she runs them through the sand.

Chloe can see that Beca has already caught the sun, because her nose, cheeks, and shoulders are turning pink, and before she even knows it, she’s reaching out and putting the back of her hand on her shoulder. Beca looks up at her, and Chloe grins.

“You’re turning into a lobster.”

“Bite me.”

Chloe laughs, and then she stands up, and Beca asks her where she’s going, and Chloe watches as Beca starts to get up as well, as if to follow her. And then Chloe says “last one to the sea has to pay for entry to the museum!” and then she’s sprinting towards the sea, with Beca struggling to get up behind her, mumbling something that sounds like, “God damn you and your games, Beale.”

But despite the fact that Beca is tiny – okay, she’s only two inches shorter than Chloe, but still, tiny – she’s actually really fast, and apparently acquired a skill, God knows where from, in running on sand. Because she overtakes Chloe just a few yards before the sand starts to get damp from the sea. And Chloe is yelling something about her cheating, but Beca carries on running until she’s treading through the water, and it’s absolutely freezing, and Beca slows down, gasping out incoherent phrases, and all Chloe catches is, “it’s so cold I can’t feel my fucking toes.”

And Chloe is about to say something back to her, maybe something witty like “can anybody really feel their toes?” but her legs don’t seem to stop, and she crashes into Beca, causing the two of them to fall over and crash into the water, the small waves engulfing them both as they try and stand back up.

Beca sputters out a few more swear words, and she’s holding onto Chloe’s arm, pushing her over as soon as she’s found her footing.

“I fucking hate you so much,” she breathes out, blowing the water out of her nose, and she flips her hair back so it’s not in her face, and Chloe stands up, with the water up to her waist, and there’s a huge grin on her face as she splashes water at Beca.

Chloe is very aware of the way her heart seems to start pounding in her chest when Beca walks towards her, panting, her eyes squinted due to the sun, and her face and body dripping with water.

“C’mere.” Beca breathes, reaching her hand out, and Chloe flinches and takes a few steps back, and she mutters something about not trusting that she won’t just push her over again. In reality, she’s terrified that if Beca touches her right now, she’ll wake up and this would have all been a dream. Because Beca is looking at her, staring at her, dripping wet, sunburned, with her wet hair stuck to her head, and it’s probably the prettiest Chloe has ever seen her. But then Beca breaks the little daydream, and she says “dude, you have seaweed in your hair” as she walks closer to Chloe again.

She lets Beca pull the tiny bit of seaweed out of her hair, saying something about it not being a very good look for her, and Chloe tries to ignore the way Beca’s breath hitches when they make eye contact.

“Thanks.” Chloe whispers, out of breath, and Beca just smiles at her as she throws the piece of seaweed back in the sea, making a disgusted face at it and rubbing her hands together.

“This is really beautiful.” Beca says as she faces the ocean, putting her hands on her hips. Chloe just nods, moving closer to stand beside Beca, and Beca’s elbow touches Chloe’s ribcage and she breathes out a sigh. The sea is up to their waists, and her body is getting used to the feeling of the cold water, so it doesn’t feel that bad anymore, and occasionally a small wave crashes against her stomach which kind of feels nice.

The sun is shining on the sea in a way that makes it glisten, makes it look like it’s covered in a thin layer of glitter, and Chloe finds herself comparing it to Beca’s eyes before she can even realize that Beca is making her way out of her water.

The feeling of sand on her feet when they’re wet freaks her out, it always has done, so she quickly shouts “wait!” to Beca, and then she jumps on Beca’s back, almost taking her down again.

“What are you doing? God, you’re so heavy.”

“I don’t like sand on my wet feet, it feels gross.”

“Good God woman, you could have given me some kinda warning.” Beca hoists Chloe further up her back, and Chloe wraps her arms around Beca’s shoulders as Beca’s grip on her legs tighten. She carries Chloe all the way back, with only minimal protests, and Chloe tries not to think too much about how good Beca’s skin feels against her own.

And yeah, that ‘accidental’ brush of her hand against Beca’s hip when Beca puts her down may not be accidental at all.

It’s kind of ridiculous, all the different things Chloe does, or says, that could pass off as being more than platonic. Holding Beca’s hand, or putting her arm around her, or kissing her cheek, or insisting that she’s cold just so Beca will give her her jacket, or the fact that Chloe only ever seems to want to talk to Beca when she’s feeling down, nobody else. Yet Beca still hasn’t noticed, how Chloe has gradually stopped doing all this stuff with other people except her. Chloe doesn’t hold Aubrey’s hand or hug her from behind, and she doesn’t kiss Cynthia Rose on the cheek as much as she used to – because they formed a bond that Beca never really understood when she joined the Bellas – and Chloe doesn’t really hang out with guys anymore or go on any dates. Beca just thinks it’s because Chloe doesn’t feel like dating, or maybe she’s been too busy with all the stress from keeping the Bellas afloat.

Really, Beca just looks for any excuse to tell herself that Chloe is very, very unavailable.

But Chloe, after a small conversation with Cynthia Rose – the conversation that actually established their friendship – realized that she’s not going on as many dates as she did before Beca came to Barden, because she has feelings. Feelings, for Beca, that blur the line between friends and more than friends so much that it might as well be non-existent. And, like always, Beca is oblivious to all of this, and she has been for three years now.

And if it wasn’t for Cynthia Rose and Aubrey keeping Chloe sane, she probably would have had a mental breakdown long before the Bellas’ terrible performance at the Convention Centre.


God, I dreamed there was an angel, who could hear me through the wall. As I cried out like in Latin, ‘This is so not life at all!’ Help me out, out of this nightmare, then I heard her silver call. She said ‘Just give it time, kid, I come to one and all.’” Chloe closes her eyes as she stands under the shower head, washing the conditioner off of her hair. “She said give me that hand please, and the itch you can't control. Let me teach you how to handle, all the sadness in your soul. Oh we'll work that silver magic, then we'll aim it at the wall. She said love may make you blind, kid. But I wouldn't mind at all. It's the bitch of living.

At first she thinks it’s her imagination, when she hears “bitch, just the bitch” being sang just outside the shower curtain, but then she hears the tap turn on, and figures that Beca has come in to brush her teeth, like she always does when Chloe is in the shower, so she carries on singing.

Nothing but your hand.

Just the bitch, yeah.

Just the bitch of living, as someone you can't stand.

She listens as Beca takes Georg’s verse, and she finds herself grinning, especially when she hears her sing “and those breasts, I mean God please just let those apples fall.

And she steps out of the shower, with the towel around her body, and she says “that’s super gay, Becs.”

Beca’s reaction is something akin to a white mom in a horror movie who is just about to get killed, and she yells “Jesus!” as she drops her toothbrush into the sink. Except, it sounds more like “Jeethus” because her mouth is filled with toothpaste, and Chloe laughs as she walks past her, telling her that the shower is all hers.

She smiles when she hears Beca sing, “oh God, what a bitch” as she shuts the door behind her.


They go to the museum, after they have both showered and removed damp sand from the places where sand probably shouldn’t be, and Beca insists that she drives – even though she doesn’t really know where the hell she’s going – because Chloe has been driving a lot these past couple of days, and she needs a little break. Every now and again, Chloe tells her which turn to take, and after only one missed turn, they finally arrive at the museum twenty minutes later.

It’s quite busy, despite it being the middle of the week, and Chloe notices – after overhearing a few people speaking in, what she thinks is, Polish – that most of the people here are tourists. There’s a few families around them as they wait in line, and Chloe is reaching down for Beca’s hand before she can even realize.

Beca doesn’t say anything, but she has a smile on her face when Chloe looks at her, and that’s enough for Chloe to keep holding her hand until they reach the welcome desk.

She’s been here countless times before, which Beca is unaware of. It’s not a big deal though, because she hasn’t been in about three years, and there’s most likely new exhibitions and new pieces of art on display which she’s excited to see, so it all feels like the first time.

She actually volunteered at the museum when her family came down for the summer after 9th grade. They normally only drove down and spent two weeks at the house, but Chloe’s dad thought it would be a good idea to spend the whole summer there instead, because her brother was going to college after the summer was over. She formed a tight bond with one of the older tour guides, and he would teach her how to play chess on their breaks, and she would show him some of her favorite songs, and he always said that he hated them, but Chloe knew that she made his day just a little bit better whenever she worked. She found out, a few months into her Freshman Year at Barden, that he had moved to Australia, which she was a little devastated about.

So while he’s not there to show them around, she does recognize the woman at the welcome desk; the short brown curly hair, which is now greying, and the purple glasses attached to the bright pink cord, and the familiar croaky voice.

“Well, well!” the woman says, pushing her glasses further up her nose, and Chloe smiles, and she can feel Beca looking at her.

“Hi Helen,” she says, letting go of Beca’s hand and pulling her purse out of her bag. And then Helen tells her that it’s been so long since she’s seen her, and Chloe doesn’t tell her that she’s only just graduated college, but she tells her that she misses her, and she’s missed Pensacola, and then Chloe looks at Beca, who has been silently watching their exchange from the sidelines.

“Oh, Helen, this is Beca.”

“Hello, dear.” Helen smiles, and Beca just offers her a small smile and a wave. “Is this your girlfriend, Chloe? She’s a pretty one.”

“Oh,” Chloe shakes her head, looking at Beca, and then looking at Helen with a shy smile. “No, we’re just friends.”

The line is slowly starting to get longer, so Chloe buys them both in – after Beca had reminded her that she was the one who lost the race this morning, so she has to pay – and they both make their way inside.

Chloe doesn’t notice Beca watching her every move, smiling at her when she sees Chloe’s eyes light up at the paintings on the walls.


They’re both looking at a watercolor painting of a shark – apparently named the Dark Knight by a wildlife artist named Dr. Guy Harvey – when Chloe’s phone rings.

She lets go of Beca’s hand – she honestly didn’t even know when that had even happened – and pulls the phone out of her pocket, seeing the caller ID. She tells Beca she has to take it, and Beca nods with a smile, taking a few steps sideways to the next painting.

Chloe answers the phone with a “hey mom” as she makes her way to the other side of the room, and there are enough people in the exhibition room to drown out her voice, so she doesn’t need to worry about being too loud.

“Hey, how are you doing, sweetie?”

“I’m good.”

She asks how Beca is, and Chloe tells her that she’s fine, and that they’re at the museum, and she waits for it – the inevitable question – and she doesn’t have to wait long at all.

“Have you been t–“

“–No.” she sighs, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she looks around for Beca. “No, I don’t–she’ll ask questions, and… I don’t want to pile that on her.”

“Honey, maybe she could help you.”

“She can’t.”

“If you just tell–“

“–I said no, mom. This isn’t something that can like, fix me, okay?”

There’s silence on the other side of the phone, and she feels bad for snapping at her, but then her mother, quietly, says “honey, I’m not saying you need fixing. You’re not broken.” And Chloe feels like she’s been punched in the gut.

“I feel it.”

Her mom tells her that she’s sorry, and it’s the same conversation almost every time, and Chloe makes up an excuse that she has to leave, and they both bid their goodbyes. Chloe doesn’t even need to see her mom to know that she has a sad smile on her face.

She looks around for Beca again, her phone gripped tightly in her hand, and she stretches her neck up, and she can see the back of Beca’s head.

And in the three years that Chloe has known Beca, she can honestly say that she’s never seen her look as beautiful as she does now – apart from when they were at the beach this morning, and just thinking about that makes her stomach churn, in the best way. Her hands are behind her back as she looks up at one of the paintings, her eyebrow furrowed and a small smile on her face, and she looks deep in thought, and Chloe can’t help herself. She unlocks her phone, taps the camera app, and lifts her phone up to take a picture of her.

“On to the next painting, madam?” Chloe asks when she approaches Beca, and the smile that Beca gives her is big enough to make her heart do a million backflips.


They get out of the museum at 5PM, after Beca had to practically drag Chloe out of the museum gift shop.

Apparently she has some sort of thing about buying souvenirs everywhere she goes, which, to be honest, Beca finds adorable.

She won’t ever voice that though.

They had spent most of the walk around the museum talking about the different types of art, and occasionally Chloe would talk about how she loves some of the different contrasts between the colors, and that she loves how unique the paintings are, and it would take her a while to realize that she was kind of rambling. But once again, Beca found it adorable – absolutely endearing, actually – but she was still kind of worried about why Chloe hadn’t told her exactly how passionate she was about art.

But she could feel it, in the way that Chloe would talk about the different color schemes and shades, and how she was unaware of the way her grip on Beca’s hand tightened when she talked about them – dropping words like impasto, hatching, modernity, and assemblage into the conversation; words that Beca was unaware were even real words.

“You know so much about art.” Beca had said, hoping that Chloe would tell her. Not particularly tell her that she’s amazing at art, that she’s like a female Van Gogh, but maybe tell her that she’s a little interested in it. But all Chloe had said was that her father used to love art, and she moved on to the next painting, and Beca felt defeated.

But she didn’t push, because Chloe clearly didn’t want to tell her. And that, topped with the fact that Beca still felt maybe a tiny little bit annoyed that Jesse was meeting up with Aubrey, kind of put her in a bad mood.

And she doesn’t know why, because it’s not like Jesse can’t have other friends. She’s not the type of girl to forbid her boyfriend from hanging out with other girls. But maybe it was the fact that their relationship has had a strain on it for quite a while now, and she’s afraid that he’s going to find someone; someone better, prettier, smarter than her. Because she knows Jesse can do better, and she knows that he deserves better, and it’s selfish to hold him back. It’s selfish, but she can’t help that she can’t give him everything she wants to give him.

But Jesse loves her, and she doesn’t want to know what it feels like to have somebody not love her. To have somebody not love her like she wants to be loved.


In the time it takes for them to drive to a gas station, fill up the car, buy some snacks and alcohol, and then get home, Beca’s phone rings a total of seven times.

And she can feel the question on the tip of Chloe’s tongue; “why aren’t you answering that?”

But Beca’s not in a state of mind to talk to Jesse right now, and she knows it’s Jesse calling her. She knows that a phone call will lead to an argument, and she knows that an argument will make her mood even worse.

So she’s thankful when Chloe doesn’t ask her.

It’s not until later that night, when they’re both watching Dirty Dancing, drunk on the two bottles of wine that they had bought from the gas station, that Chloe asks, “are you and Jesse fighting?”

And Beca has never been able to keep her mouth shut when she’s drunk, which is why she doesn’t like to get drunk with Chloe often. She tends to say things that she’d never dare say when she’s sober – she had found that out a few weeks after she joined the Bellas, and Fat Amy and Stacie thought it would be a good idea to play Truth or Dare. And because Beca is weak for Chloe’s pleading eyes and pout, that pout that makes her heart hurt, she had admitted to a few things that she would have never even thought of admitting if it wasn’t for the girls getting her to open up.

And she’s grown up since then, but that doesn’t stop her from turning her filter off whenever she’s drunk, and they’ve been drunk for the past two nights, and the same sentence has been on Beca’s lips, threatening to spill out, for a while now. And all she can think, is that the third night’s the charm.

“I don’t think it’s working out between us anymore.”

And it feels so good to get it off of her chest.

And she’s never felt more relieved about something in her whole life, than when Chloe doesn’t push – doesn’t say anything that she wouldn’t say if she didn’t have a bottle of wine in her.

They’re both sat side-by-side on the floor, backs leaning against the sofa, necks craned up as they watch Johnny and Baby dance on stage to Time of my Life, and Beca personally thinks it’s the cringiest thing she’s ever watched; maybe worse than the one movie Jesse made her watch with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

She kind of forgets where she is for a while, until she feels Chloe’s hand on her knee, and then Chloe is resting her head on her shoulder with a soft sigh.

“Maybe you should leave him. I mean, if you’re not happy.”

And she hesitates, but she doesn’t really think about what she’s going to say. Doesn’t think about how it will make Chloe feel. “I love him.”

“Just stay here, then.” Chloe whispers, her tone light and playful. “Stay here forever. Fuck Atlanta. Pack up and leave everything behind.”

“Yeah.” Beca laughs.

It scares her to death knowing that she wishes Chloe wasn’t joking.

But doing that, staying here, leaving everything behind, would be stupid, and reckless. She learned, ironically, from Chloe Beale, that she can’t just run away from her problems, no matter how big or small they are, and she’s slowly been getting better at sorting her shit out. She managed to save her relationship with Jesse once before, and she – with the help of Chloe – managed to find the Bella sound again. She’s not an expert, but she knows a problem when she sees one, and to ditch the problem – act like it’s nothing but a minor hinder – would be a very foolish thing to do.

“That would be pretty perfect.” Beca whispers, but she can hear Chloe breathing heavily onto her shoulder, and she stretches her neck down to see that she’s asleep.

And she doesn’t move, in fear of Chloe waking up and asking any more questions. The remote for the TV is just in reach, so she switches the movie off in the middle of the credits rolling, and she eventually falls asleep, for the second time on this trip, to the even breaths of Chloe Beale.

The last thought on her mind is that sleeping next to Chloe is probably the easiest thing in the world, and that scares her more than the inevitable conversation she’ll be having with Jesse tomorrow.

Chapter Text

We light it up in the darkest hour / our dreams only getting louder / I love it, lo-lo-love it / love it, lo-lo-love it / this is our turn now / nothing left to think about / baby, let your hair down / (I love it, lo-lo-love it) / down, down, down / (love it, lo-lo-love it) / these are our last words / gonna be the last ones heard / baby, when we crash and burn / (I love it, lo-lo-love it) / burn, burn, burn / (love it, lo-lo-love it) / we're just kids setting stuff on fire… / …nights are red, days are gold / the sun goes out, moon is full / just us kids letting go / just us kids letting go.
– just kids, alex & sierra


evanescent-almond:
i did not fall in love with the way your bones move with grace
but fell in love with the passion stored within them.
i fell in love with the light of you that you did not reveal on purpose.
i fell in love with your brimming secrets i didn’t even ask about
& little quirks you hate but i like.
i fell in love not with the idea of you
but i fell in love with you as a beautiful human being
(imperfections knitted together with endearment)
& it was the most mending fall i’ve ever felt before.

Chloe lets out a sigh, reblogging the text post as she stirs two sugars into her cup of coffee.

She had woken up at 7AM with her face pressed into the floor, and Beca’s knee digging into her back. She didn’t quite know how, or when, that had happened, but she had woken up with indentations in her cheek from the carpet and a bad kink in her neck, and she hadn’t been able to get back to sleep. And Beca’s currently still asleep on the floor – having slept through Chloe stubbing her toe on the way to the kitchen and pretty much screaming in pain – and she’s sitting upright with her head tilted back resting on the couch, and Chloe thinks it’s adorable how she keeps letting out a little snore every now and again.

She runs the spoon under the tap, wiping it clean, before putting it back in the drawer, and turning to pick her cup of coffee up off of the counter. She thinks about waking Beca up, but it’s still pretty early – especially for Beca Mitchell – so she locks her phone and puts it on the kitchen table, before silently making her way upstairs, blowing on the cup in her hands. She thinks about maybe going back to bed, but she knows that wouldn’t be a good idea, seeing as she has plans for today that require them having to be out of the house by ten at the least.

Her legs seem to carry her to the room on the right-hand side of the hall. The room that she hasn’t been in for two years. The room which she has been psyching herself up to enter since they arrived. She takes a few steady breaths before opening the door and it feels like a swarm of bees, the nostalgic smell that washes over her, and the way everything seems so untouched and nothing is out of place.

It’s quite scary.

She maneuvers her way around the room effortlessly, like she has so many times before, but it doesn’t feel the same as it used to. It feels altered. Foreign, almost. The room is cold, damp, and it feels so different to the normal, warm and welcoming impression it used to give off. The floor boards creak underneath her as she walks over to the desk, and she puts her cup of coffee down as she sits on the chair, wondering why it took her so long to work up the courage to actually go into the room. But she figures she can’t avoid it forever, and it’s kind of nice, seeing the different pieces of art that she’s done over the years, memories rushing back to her.

She picks up the drawing that’s in front of her, and she smiles at the image of Beca laying on the grass – the plaid shirt, the headphones resting on her head, the laptop sitting next to her, eyes closed and mouth parted slightly – and she remembers drawing it. Remembers the frustrated groans she had let out when she couldn’t quite get the proportions right. Remembers how easy she found it to draw Beca’s tattoo, because she has ran her fingers over it so many times. Remembers the sound of Beca’s voice a few minutes after she had finished the drawing, calling her to tell her that she was bored and she missed her.

It was two years ago, when she came up to the house during spring break. Beca was spending spring break with her dad and Sheila, and she would text Chloe every day, complaining – nothing but complaining – about the way her dad would bring up her grades every five minutes, or the way Sheila’s chicken pot pie didn’t taste as good as Chloe’s food, or the way she couldn’t sleep without knowing what Chloe had been up to during the day.

And that’s a type of thing that, three years ago, Beca would never admit to. But somehow, within a year, Chloe managed to unlock a part of Beca that even she never even knew existed.

It was a spur of the moment decision. She had called her mom and asked her if anybody was at the house, and it had taken her mom a few moments to realize that she was talking about the beach house. She was thankful that she didn’t ask why she was going. She just told her to call as soon as she arrived, and to let the neighbors know that she would be there for a while. And it was kind of ironic, that she expected all these texts and calls from Beca, because she had decided to go to the house to get away from Beca. Not in a bad way, she just needed to sort her feelings out, but of course, as soon as she had heard the familiar tune of Titanium – the ringtone she had assigned to Beca after she joined the Bellas – there was no way that she could ignore her.

Just looking at the drawing of Beca brings back all the memories; driving down to Pensacola using a car she had borrowed from one of Aubrey’s friends, listening to nothing but sad Carrie Underwood and Adele songs, hair blowing in the wind as she tried her hardest not to burst into tears when she turned the radio on to hear Titanium playing.

Just thinking about it kind of makes her heart hurt.

It’s hard not to think about it though.

And all these memories now, rushing back to her like a tidal wave, is giving her the urge to draw, or paint, or do something, because it all feels like she’s been blasted into two thousand and eight again, when she spent most of the summer holed up in her room practicing different techniques and styles. Not a care in the world as she measured out different angles on certain pieces, spending hours perfecting them, and then going wild on the others, splashing paint on the blank canvases until no more white background could be seen, and timing herself for five minutes before moving on to the next one.

And she misses it – misses the feeling of a paintbrush in her hands and the feeling of dry paint under her fingernails – and she wishes she could do it again.

But she can’t.

So she puts the drawing of Beca back down on the desk, and she picks her cup of coffee up, taking a sip of it, before making her way out of the room and back downstairs. And Beca is still asleep, head lolled back with her mouth open, and Chloe can’t help but smile, despite the tamper on her usual good mood.

She puts her cup on the table, and rushes back upstairs, trying to be as quiet as she can, and she fetches her polaroid camera from her bag. She makes sure to turn the flash off before she takes a picture – laughing at how deep of a sleeper Beca is, even though she’s in such an uncomfortable position – and she waits a few minutes for the picture to develop.

“So cute.” She whispers to herself as she walks back into the kitchen, shaking her head at the picture.


Beca finally wakes up at 9AM to Chloe singing along to her iPod in the kitchen.

She’s gotten used to this. Chloe randomly bursting into song, waking up to hear Chloe’s voice either flowing softly through the house, or singing loud enough to wake up the people down the street. She’s singing Beyoncé, and Beca can’t help but smile as she makes her way to the kitchen, rubbing the back of her neck to get the kink out of it, and stifling a yawn.

–You need a real woman in your life, that's a good look.” Chloe sings, a towel over her shoulder as she stirs something in a bowl. “Taking care home is still fly, that's a good look. And I’ma help you build up your account, that’s a good look, better yet a hood look, ladies that’s a good look. When you're in them big meetings for the mills, that’s a good look. It take me just to compliment the deal, that’s a good look. And anything you cop I'll split the bill, that's a good look, better yet a hood look, ladies that's a good look–

–Partner let me upgrade ya,” Beca joins, causing Chloe to pause momentarily as she turns around “Audemars Piguet ya, something something tie to purple labels. Upgrade ya, I can up, can I up, let me upgrade ya. Partner let me upgrade ya.

Partner let me upgrade ya,” Chloe grins as Beca sings the “hey”’s in the background. “Flip a new page, introduce ya to some new things and upgrade ya, I can up, can I up, let me upgrade ya. Partner let me upgrade ya.

Beca grins as Chloe winks at her, turning around to finish mixing whatever is in the bowl as she carries on quietly singing along.

“Whatcha making?” Beca asks, her mood slightly too upbeat for this time on a morning, as she walks over to stand beside Chloe, tapping a beat on the counter. The song is still playing, coming from Chloe’s iPod dock, and Chloe reaches over to turn the volume down a little bit.

“I went to the store this morning and I thought I’d make us scrambled eggs and bacon.”

“Why didn’t you wake me?”

“You looked tired.”

Beca smiles as she reaches over to pick up a piece of bacon, but before she can get it, Chloe slaps her hand away, telling her to be patient and wait until the eggs are done. Beca just huffs, walking over to sit down at the table.

“I feel like someone broke my neck in my sleep.” She groans, rubbing the back of her neck, moving it around in circular motions.

“I can give you a massage if you want.”

She looks over at Chloe, who is putting the scrambled eggs in the microwave, too distracted to notice the small blush on Beca’s cheeks.

“I’m fine. Thanks though.”

Chloe turns around and asks her if she’s sure, and Beca wants to say yes to the massage. God, she wants to say yes. But something feels different lately. She’s starting to recognize the way Chloe looks at her. It’s the same way Jesse looks at her when he tells her he loves her. But for some reason, the way Chloe looks at her makes her feel so much more excited than Jesse ever could ever make her feel, and that scares her. And she’s realizing that she’s spending a lot of time staring at Chloe too, and kind of wishing she could do things with her. Like hold her hand forever, or put her arm around her when they’re watching TV, or kissing her. That would be good too.

And it’s a little weird, to feel all these things about her friend. Her best friend. But Chloe is beautiful, and Beca hasn’t seen Chloe in a relationship for the whole three years they’ve been friends, and she just wants to let Chloe know how special she is, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

She doesn’t really trust her voice right now, so she just nods, saying “I’m sure,” as she picks Chloe’s phone up off of the table. Chloe goes back to making breakfast, not really questioning when Beca unlocks her phone and starts playing on it.

They’re both content with listening to Chloe’s iPod, which is currently playing La Vie Boheme from RENT – and Beca curses Chloe’s obsession with show tunes, because as much as she pretends to hate them, she actually doesn’t really mind this song – and it feels nice. Comfortable. Beca gets up to make a coffee after completing a level on Candy Crush on Chloe’s phone. And no matter how many times Chloe tells Beca “nobody plays that game anymore, Bec,” Beca just can’t seem to stop. It’s probably not a healthy habit, playing silly little phone games, but it helps pass time, and plus, Chloe’s only on level twenty two. Beca’s just helping her catch up.

She waits for the kettle to boil and plays on the game until she feels Chloe’s hand brush over her hip, and hears her mutter something about needing a plate as she opens the cupboard above Beca’s head. And Beca would be fine with it, if it wasn’t for the fact that Chloe’s hand is still resting on her hip, and her neck is stretched up, perfectly in line with Beca’s eyes, and she doesn’t even realize she’s staring until Chloe looks down at her. She’s smiling, as per usual, and Beca just gulps and looks back down at the phone, once again not trusting her words.

Chloe goes back to the microwave and opens it, reaching inside for the bowl of scrambled eggs. Except – because despite how smart Chloe is, she’s a little ditzy – she pulls her hand back with a hiss, muttering swearwords under her breath as she runs to the sink.

“Are you okay?” Beca asks her, and she’s by her side within seconds – milliseconds, even – putting her hand on Chloe’s shoulder, and Chloe has a grimace on her face as she holds her fingers under the running water. “What happened?”

“The bowl. In the microwave.” She laughs. “I burned my hand.”

Beca shakes her head, hand still resting on Chloe’s shoulder. “You’re an idiot.”

“Oh, don’t worry about me, Becs. I’m fine. Honestly, no need to stress.”

Sensing the sarcasm in Chloe’s voice, Beca just shoves her shoulder, taking a step back to give Chloe a little more space.

Beca decides to plate the breakfast up, making a comment to Chloe about how she doesn’t want a repeat of what happened a few months back, when Chloe decided it would be a good idea to put her finger in a boiling pan full of pasta “to check if it was hot enough” and ended up almost burning her finger print off. Of course, at the time Lily had made a comment about how she can get away with any crime now, just as long as she only used one finger. Which was followed by a very none PG-13 comment from Stacie along the lines of, “that’s a shame, I’m pretty sure any sane girl uses more than one finger,” and it had taken Beca a while to figure out that Stacie wasn’t, in fact, talking about committing a crime.

The two of them sit down at the table, plates of bacon and scrambled eggs in front of them, Beca with her cup of coffee and Chloe with a glass of orange juice she had bought from the store this morning when she went to buy the eggs and bacon.

“I think we should stay for one more day.” Chloe says, swallowing a bite of her eggs. Beca looks up at her, giving her a questioning look. “I just… I have kind of a surprise.”

Chloe. I hate surprises.”

“But this one is fun! It’ll be like, an all-day type of thing. You’ll love it, I promise.”

“Why don’t I trust you?”

Chloe opens her mouth to say something, but then pauses. And she doesn’t say anything, until Beca gives her a reassuring look as if to tell her, “go on, spit it out.”

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to. Forget it.”

“No.” Beca reaches a hand out instinctively, placing it on top of Chloe’s. “I don’t mind staying another night.”

And when Chloe grins at her, Beca’s pretty sure she actually feels excited, rather than scared, for the surprise Chloe has for her.


“No way.”

“Bec–“

“–Absolutely not.”

“Oh come on! It’s fun! It’s Sam’s Fun City!”

“I am not going to a theme park for infants, Chloe.”

“It’s not for infants!”

“I can see a fuckin’ merry-go-round.”

“Every theme park has a merry-go-round.” Chloe grabs Beca’s arm, immediately turning the puppy eyes on. “Please. I used to come here all the time when I was younger and I haven’t been in years. Please.” She drawls out the end of the ‘please’, fluttering her eyelashes for added effect, and Beca curses whatever higher power is up there for not giving her the strength to resist Chloe Beale.

“You’re the worst.”

Chloe grins as Beca takes her seatbelt off, pushing a few times on the door to open it, before stepping out. She has her sunglasses on but Chloe can tell that she’s scowling, or at least pretending to. Because despite how much Beca claims to dislike the idea, Chloe knows deep down that she’s excited.

“This is gonna be so fun!” Chloe stands up on her seat, using both arms to keep her balanced as she hops out of the car.

“You’re not giving me a say in this, are you?”

“Nope.” Chloe says, popping the ‘P’. “We’re already here and I booked the tickets already.”

“Kill me.”


Turns out that Sam’s Fun City isn’t as fun as Chloe, or Google, made it out to be.

And there must be something wrong with the park, because even Beca is too tall for some of the rides.

Yes, too tall.

The Taxi Jet, the Truck ride, The Super Bee, all of Chloe’s favorite rides when she was younger, they’re both apparently too big for them. And really, Beca’s convinced that the world is just out to get Chloe Beale today, because some of the rides that they were both actually small enough to ride were broken down, and she’s honestly never felt so bad for Chloe before. Because she seemed so happy about this, and now they’re both stuck on a bright yellow Antique Car, which is attached to a track that doesn’t really scream “fun.”

They can’t really go anywhere on the car, other than the track, but at least Chloe looks a tiny bit happier.

And Beca – Beca “I’m awkward and I don’t know how to cheer people up” – has made it her personal goal to cheer Chloe up, or at least make her smile, because nobody, especially Beca, can cope with a sad Chloe Beale.

“Where to, miss?” Beca asks, her hands on the large wheel, and she can practically feel the way Chloe brightens up at the reference, knowing that Beca had paid attention to Titanic when they had watched it a few weeks back with the Bellas.

She links her arm with Beca’s, and she moves closer to her, so that her mouth is right next to her ear. “To the stars.” She whispers.

And as Beca gulps, she thinks about whether it’s a good idea to turn her head just slightly, because Chloe is still there. So close to her, and making her feel so many things. But she knows that if she does turn her head, she’ll be tempted to do something that she’ll soon regret. So she knocks Chloe’s head with her own, making Chloe sit back a little, as the car sets off.

She tries not to think about how Chloe’s eyes are on her the entire duration of the ride.

Which doesn’t last very long – and is full of Beca complaining about how slow the cars go and Chloe telling her that they wouldn’t be able to survive the drive around if Beca was driving, due to the twists and turns on the track, because Beca isn’t the best driver around – and before Beca knows it, she’s being dragged towards another ride.

“A train? Really?”

“Oh come on, it’s fun!” Chloe grins.

“It goes like, two miles an hour.” Beca says, and Chloe groans, her hand still in Beca’s as they make their way to the line of about twelve people. “I did not pay thirty dollars for us to ride on a shitty little train that looks like it could break down any second.”

And then she looks at Chloe, and she regrets it straight away, because she’s doing that thing with her eyes again where she flutters her eyelashes, and her bottom lip is jutted out the slightest bit, and Beca can feel her resolve slowly crumbling. As if she would be able to get away with saying no to Chloe. She never has been able to, so she doesn’t know why she’s trying now.

“Please,” is all Chloe has to whisper, before Beca begrudgingly mutters, “ugh, fine.”

And after waiting in line for a while, the two of them eventually get into the second cart on the train, Beca mumbling something about it being too small, and Chloe following the comment up with “nothing is too small for you, Becs, you’re practically a toddler.”

“Really? Height jokes?”

“It’s not my fault you’re so tiny.”

Beca just rolls her eyes, sitting back in her seat and moving her arm so it’s resting on the seat behind Chloe. And she thinks about her thoughts earlier. About how she wants to do stuff with Chloe, like hold her hand and put her arm around her. But it’s not technically putting her arm around her if she’s not actually touching her, or at least that’s what she tries to tell herself. In reality, despite them being on a kids’ train ride, this whole thing feels sort of intimate, and what’s worse is that Chloe doesn’t even say anything about it, because it all feels so normal to them both, as if they do stuff like this all the time.

And they do, and that makes Beca feel a little uneasy. She probably holds Chloe’s hand more than she holds Jesse’s, and Chloe probably kisses her on the cheek more times than Jesse has ever done. It’s confusing. And what’s even more confusing is that Beca’s never really noticed it until now.

Her thoughts are interrupted by her phone vibrating in her pocket, and she uses the hand that’s not on the seat behind Chloe to pull it out of her pocket.

“It’s Stacie.” She says, after Chloe looks at her, and she answers it with a “sup” as Chloe looks back out of the mini window as the train sets off.

“Hey midget!”

“Really? You too?”

“What? Chloe been picking on your size?”

“As per usual.”

Stacie laughs, and Chloe turns to Beca and tells her to say hey to Stacie for her. So she does, and Chloe laughs as she hears Stacie yell “hey ginger!” through the phone.

She’s been texting Stacie every now and again for the past couple of days, the occasional “what you doing today?” and “you better bring me something nice back!” text, but they haven’t had chance to talk on the phone.

“Sorry I haven’t called, Chloe’s been keeping me hostage.” Chloe slaps Beca on the arm, and Beca laughs, saying “I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” when Chloe threatens, jokingly, to hit her again.

She almost chokes – on what, she doesn’t really know. Her dignity? – when Stacie asks her if the two of them have, and I quote, “banged yet.” And apparently Chloe doesn’t hear her, because she looks so confused when Beca starts sputtering out incoherent words and sentences, trying to get across to Stacie that no, they haven’t “banged” yet, and they won’t be “banging” any time soon, but not exactly using the word “bang”, because she doesn’t need Chloe to ask any questions.

“Why not? God, I thought that four days would be enough for the two of you to finally get your heads out of your asses and at least kiss each other. You two are no fun.”

“Jesus, Stacie.”

“What? Am I wrong though? You two clearly–“

“–You know what, I’m hanging up on you now.”

“Because you know I’m right!”

“Goodbye, Stacie.”

Beca hangs up before she can hear Stacie’s reply, and she puts her phone back in her pocket with a small sigh. And Chloe looks at her, as if asking her what’s up, but she just shakes her head with a whispered “never mind.”

Chloe goes back to looking out of the window, and Beca can’t stop thinking about her conversation with Stacie, and how much she wishes that what Stacie said about them finally getting their heads out of their asses was true.


After getting something to eat from a restaurant at the theme park – a place called Bullwinkle’s, which Beca had laughed at for about ten minutes – and driving back to the house, the two decide to get showered and go out to a bar. Jesse had called Beca on the way back, and if Beca was paying attention to Chloe, she would have noticed the grimace on her face when Beca greeted him with a “hey, babe.” But of course, she had to be oblivious to everything apparently. Even the strain in Jesse’s voice when he asked her how Chloe was.

He had eventually, after pointless small talk, asked her why she was ignoring his calls last night, and she had told him that she was out with Chloe and she didn’t really want to be rude. Of course, this earned her a sarcastic comment about how she doesn’t usually care about texting Chloe whenever she hangs out with him, and if Beca wasn’t in such a good mood from her day with Chloe, then she probably would have told Jesse how she really feels. How she feels like she’s falling out of love with him, and how she wants to be able to go a day without feeling guilty for ignoring his calls.

But instead, she told him that he was breaking up, and she picked up a wrapper from one of Chloe’s bags of candy corn, and she scrunched it up in front of the microphone, until he eventually hung up.

She realizes that it’s probably childish of her – it’s actually very, very childish of her – but she’s kind of tired of having to explain herself to him. She just wants to spend time with her best friend without having him breathing down her neck every five minutes. And she kind of knew that Chloe was listening to the whole conversation, trying not to be nosy. But when she had picked up the wrapper and started to tell Jesse she couldn’t hear him, Beca noticed the amused look on her face, and the way she kept smiling every now and again the rest of the way back.

It’s probably not the best idea to go to another bar, seeing as they’ve been drunk for three nights in a row now, and if they keep this up, they’re probably going to end up spending all their money on taxis and drinks, and they’ll have none left for gas to actually get them to their next destination. Which is apparently New Orleans, and Chloe is hoping to set off at 8AM, but she already knows that Beca won’t get up that early.

At 10:30PM, the two of them are already drunk, and are sitting at a table in the furthest corner of the room, with their current drinks half empty.

 “Does this mean we’re officially adults?” Beca asks Chloe, after taking a sip of her beer. “We’d rather go drinking than have fun at a theme park?”

“Bec, it’s a theme park for kids.”

“That’s what I told you!”

Chloe laughs, but Beca can tell that there’s some kind of falseness to it.

“I overestimated how good it would be.” Chloe says. And she pauses, taking a sip of her vodka and coke. “I kind of just wanted to relive my childhood, I guess.”

Beca’s eyebrows furrow, and she moves her stool closer to Chloe’s, and puts her hand on hers.

“I had fun.” She smiles, and Chloe won’t meet her eyes, but she can see the tension start to dissipate. “That train ride could have been longer, but I liked it. Thank you for taking me.”

Chloe turns to look at her, and there’s a shine in her eyes that Beca is not really used to. The only time she’s ever seen that shine, was in the tent at the Bella retreat, when Chloe had told her that she regrets not experimenting enough in college. And okay, Beca could have handled that conversation better back then, and she’s made a vow to herself that whenever Chloe tells her something like that again, she won’t call her a weirdo and turn her down. Because only last week, Chloe had admitted to her that she was kind of upset that Beca had brushed it off.

And just the thought of Chloe being upset physically hurts Beca.

“Sorry I’m being such a downer. I just think today could have gone a lot better.”

“Well, it’s kind of too late now.” At Chloe’s frown, Beca starts to wonder why the hell anybody ever gave her permission to have a voice, because clearly, she tends to just fuck everything up with whatever she says. “Sorry, that wasn’t the best thing for me to say.

“It’s fine.”

“Okay, uh…” Beca pauses, thinking about the joke that she remembers Stacie telling her a few weeks back. “How did the nucleus escape from prison?”

Chloe looks confused, when she asks, “what?”

“Through the cell wall.”

And Beca swears she’s never seen Chloe roll her eyes so hard before. But she’s laughing, and she can’t help but laugh either, because Chloe’s laugh may be the best thing she’s ever heard; like music to her ears. And then suddenly she has an idea.

“Stay here.” She says, ignoring Chloe’s questioning look as she downs the rest of her drink.

A few people have been singing on the karaoke throughout the night, but there doesn’t seem to be anybody singing right now, just the sound of people talking and laughing throughout the room, with the occasional song playing as background music.

She goes to the bar and waves at bartender – a quite overweight man with a red polo shirt and a moustache – and asks him for the song book. And she looks over at Chloe, whose eyes are wide with amusement as she’s taking a sip of her drink. She smiles at her, before going back to flicking through the pages, looking for a certain song.

She eventually finds it, and shows him which song she wants, and he looks at her with an amused smile, telling her “if you’re sure, darlin’.”

She gets up on the stage, accepting the microphone from one of the other bartenders, and she suddenly feels really nervous. Which is stupid, because just two weeks ago, she had performed for more than five thousand people at the worlds, and Beca Mitchell doesn’t get nervous in front of small crowds like this.

She takes a deep breath when the music starts, and she doesn’t need to look at the screen with the lyrics on.

No I'm not trying to be rude,” she starts, “but hey pretty girl I'm feeling you. The way you do the things you do, reminds me of my Lexus coupe. That's why I'm all up in yo grill, tryna get you to a hotel. You must be a football coach, the way you got me playing the field.” She looks out at Chloe, who is grinning pretty much from ear to ear, and it spurs her on to continue with as much effort as she can manage. “So baby gimme that toot toot, lemme give you that beep beep. Running her hands through my 'fro, bouncing on 24's, while they say on the radio. It's the remix to ignition, hot and fresh out the kitchen. Mama rolling that body, got every man in here wishing. Sipping on coke and rum, I'm like so what I'm drunk. It's the freaking weekend baby, I'm about to have me some fun.

The whole bar is pretty much staring at her now, as she repeats “bounce bounce bounce,” trying not to make too much of a fool of herself. And she wonders why the hell she’s doing this, but then she looks at Chloe again, who is grinning and mouthing along, and she remembers. Of course.

Now it's like murder she wrote, once I get you out them clothes. Privacy is on the door, still they can hear you screaming more. Girl I'm feeling what you feeling, no more hoping and wishing. I'm bout to take my key and stick it in the ignition. So baby gimme that toot toot, lemme give you that beep beep–

She trails off when she looks at Chloe again, to see another guy sat with her, and where did he even come from? She looked away for at least three seconds, and suddenly this – admittedly quite good looking – guy think he can just sit down with Chloe. And she continues singing, trying not to let it get to her too much, until she catches Chloe’s eye. And she looks uncomfortable, and the guy is sitting way too close to her, way too close to be friendly.

“Sorry.” She says into the microphone, before dropping it on the floor, leaving the music playing in the background.

She makes her way off of the stage and approaches the table, nudging the guy on the shoulder with her hand. She can feel the people in the bar still staring at her, but this guy thinks he can just take a seat and hit on Chloe, who clearly looks uncomfortable, and obviously she’s going to have a problem with him.

“Dude,” she says when he ignores her, and she can feel Chloe’s eyes on her but she doesn’t take her eyes off of this guy, who is now turning around and standing up, and “holy shit, you’re tall.”

“I’m trying to talk to someone here, what’s your problem?”

“That someone is with me, and she clearly doesn’t like you being that close to her. So just,” she pauses, gulping as he steps closer to her, “back off, okay?”

“Are you kidding me?” She’s looking up at him, almost straining her neck because he’s at least six foot, and she knows that she probably looks ridiculous right now. But she’s not having some sleazy guy hitting on her best friend and obviously making her feel uncomfortable.

“No, I’m not kidding. Back off.”

“Yeah? What’re you gonna do if I don’t?”

And Beca is about to show him exactly what she’ll do if he doesn’t, but then Chloe stands up and rushes around the table, and she’s by Beca’s side in a matter of seconds, and Beca immediately reaches down and grabs Chloe’s hand.

“This is my girlfriend.” Chloe says, looking up at the guy – who immediately takes a step back – and she pulls Beca closer to her. “Sorry, I’m not interested.”

He looks between the two of them, and Beca looks around the room to see that practically everyone is looking at the three of them, probably waiting for Beca to sock him in the jaw. Which, if she’s completely honest, she probably would have done if Chloe hadn’t stopped her.

“Apologies.” He says to Chloe, putting his hands up in surrender as he takes a few more steps backwards. “You got yourself a scrappy one there.” He points to Beca, who rolls her eyes as she turns around and pulls Chloe out of the bar, everybody moving out of the way for the two of them.

“I’m sorry.” She says, letting go of Chloe’s hand and turning around, waiting for Chloe to start yelling at her for resorting straight to violence. But what she doesn’t expect, is Chloe’s body to crash into hers, pulling her in to a tight hug.

“Don’t apologize.” Chloe whispers. “Thank you.”

Beca tells her it’s fine, and that it’s no big deal, and Chloe pulls away from her with a smile, her hands still resting on Beca’s shoulders.

“I should apologize. You didn’t get to finish your song.”

Beca laughs as she puts her hands in her pockets.

“I was killin’ it up there, wasn’t I?”

“Hell yeah,” Chloe nods, removing her hands from Beca’s shoulders, and Beca tries not to think about how she misses it already. Which is stupid, because Chloe has practically been touching her all throughout the night. Occasional brushes of their hands, or punches on her arm when she would tease her. They’re only small gestures, but it makes Beca’s heartbeat speed up every time.

She pulls one hand from her pocket, and she reaches down for Chloe’s again. And Chloe doesn’t question her, which she’s thankful for. She doesn’t really know how she can explain to Chloe that she can’t seem to function properly anymore without holding Chloe’s hand. Which freshman-Beca would have hated, but this new, adult-Beca can’t go a day without having some sort of physical contact from Chloe, and something about that scares the crap out of her.

Chapter Text

The songs on the radio are okay / but my taste in music is your face / and it takes a song to come around to show you how / she's the tear in my heart, I'm alive / she's the tear in my heart, I'm on fire / she's the tear in my heart, take me higher / than I've ever been… / …you fell asleep in my car, I drove the whole time / but that's ok, I'll just avoid the holes so you sleep fine / I'm driving here I sit, cursing my government / for not using my taxes to fill holes with more cement.
– tear in my heart, twenty one pilots


They take a cab back to the house, and Chloe notices – after several minutes of mostly silence – that Beca hasn’t let go of her hand since they got out of the bar.

It doesn’t bother her. Doesn’t bother her at all, really. She’s just not used to this. Not used to this Beca. This Beca who actually initiates contact with her, who holds her hand first, and hugs her, and stands up to tall, scary men for her, and gets up on stage and sings R. Kelly just to cheer her up. Beca’s always been nice to her, always made exceptions for her, but not like this. It’s all so new and exciting, and she likes this side of Beca. Loves this side of her. If she could form any real thoughts right now, she’d say that maybe Beca is starting to like her. But she can’t form any coherent thoughts because Beca’s hand is still clasped in hers, and her thumb is running over Chloe’s knuckle, and it feels like all the butterflies in her stomach could explode at any moment.

And it’s doing nothing to help the way Chloe feels about her; to help Chloe get over her. It’s almost as if Beca’s a different person on this trip, compared to the Beca in Atlanta.

And Chloe just doesn’t know which one is real.

Beca ends up rushing upstairs when they get back, telling Chloe that she needs to pee really badly. And while she does, Chloe goes to pour them both a glass of water, to maybe sober them up a bit, because it’s past midnight and they have to be up early if they want to make it to New Orleans before lunch time tomorrow, so they can carry on to Louisiana.

She texts Aubrey back – after looking at her phone to see that Aubrey had texted her earlier on, telling her that she’s waiting for the plane to go to L.A. because she managed to find an earlier flight – and Chloe wishes her a good flight, and tells her to be safe. Aubrey tells her she’ll be in L.A. by tomorrow, so she’ll probably be too busy unpacking and sorting out her new apartment to call Chloe, so they both organize a Skype call for Monday, giving Aubrey a few days to get settled. Chloe’s sure that Beca will let her borrow her laptop.

By the time she gets upstairs, Beca is already passed out on Chloe’s bed, curled up in a ball with only a tank top and her underwear on, all her clothes thrown on the floor beside the bed. And she tries not to look, she really does, but Beca Mitchell is practically half naked on her bed, and of course she’s going to look. She puts Beca’s glass of water on the table beside the bed, and reaches down to cover her up with the Hello Kitty blanket.

She wonders if Beca would mind if she climbed into bed with her. These past two nights, the two of them have practically been sleeping on top of each other, so she doesn’t really see a problem with it. But for some reason, she feels a little uncomfortable. As if the room is telling her to get out of there. As if she shouldn’t just expect Beca to be okay with it. And she takes one more look around the room – her eyes landing on one of the model cars resting on the shelf on her brother’s side of the room – before frowning and making her way out, gently closing the door behind her. She intends on going back downstairs to see if she can fall asleep on the couch, but again, just like earlier, her legs carry her to her art room.

And it feels just slightly more welcoming the second time around.

She still feels a little uneasy though, as she flicks the light switch on. It doesn’t come on, and she flicks it on and off a few times, before realizing that the bulb must have blown. Luckily though, there’s a lamp on her desk, and after almost tripping over a few empty paint pots and canvases, she makes it to the desk, feeling around for the switch. The lamp illuminates the room immediately, and Chloe looks around, with her fingers playing with the belt on her dress that she hasn’t bothered to change out of yet, and it looks much more different than when the sun is shining through the window. Much more homely.

She doesn’t exactly know why she’s come in here again. All it does is make her sad, and wonder why she ever stopped painting in the first place. But then she sees little reminders; drawings hanging from strings on the ceiling, and canvases propped up against the walls, and she remembers. One particular canvas catches her eye, and she can pretty much feel the air leaving her lungs when she looks at it. She could have sworn she covered it up the last time she was here, but apparently not, because it’s sat there in front of her, taunting her, telling her what she’s been doing a damn well good job of ignoring since she arrived.

She thought that by bringing Beca to the house, it would help her come to terms with it, but even after all these years, she still can’t believe that it happened. And it’s a sore subject, mainly at family dinners and reunions, at thanksgiving and Christmas. Nobody really talks about it other than Chloe’s mom, and it’s hard, accepting that it happened, despite the fact that she’s told herself over and over that it’s okay. It’s not okay, though.

She’s not okay.

She stands up, and she walks over to the painting – a black background, with red paint splatters, and a red Mini Cooper blending in to it. The galaxy in the corner, which she remembers took her hours to perfect, and the white and grey clouds dotted around the blue and pink flowers in the other corner – and it’s weird, looking at it. It’s like when you look at yourself in the mirror for too long, and you don’t look like you anymore, and you realize that, woah, you’re an actual person with feelings and facial expressions and flaws. It feels like that. And she doesn’t even realize she’s crying until a few tears fall down onto the canvas, running down the length of it. She quickly brings a hand up to wipe her eyes, and she puts the canvas back down on the floor, leaning it against the wall gently.

When she turns around, ready to leave the room, she’s surprised to see Beca standing in the doorway.

“What are you doing?” she says, quickly turning around to turn the lamp off, and then rushing over to the door, the floorboards creaking underneath her.

“Chlo–”

“–Get out!”

“Hey!” Beca frowns when Chloe pushes her out of the room, fingers pressing into her chest, before closing the door behind her. “What’s the matter?”

“Don’t go in there.” Chloe hisses, using the back of her hand to wipe the rest of the tears that managed to form in her eyes. She doesn’t need Beca seeing her like this; Beca, who looks tired herself, and who looks so small and vulnerable, in a hoodie that Chloe recognizes as one that Jesse wears all the time. (Of course.) And she looks beautiful, despite the fact that her eyeliner has smudged around her eyes, and her hair is now up in a messy bun, and she’s squinting because of the light in the hall, and Chloe curses herself for not being able to stay mad at Beca for invading her space like this.

“I’ve already seen it.”

“What?” Chloe breathes out.

“While you were at the beach the other day, I went in,” she motions to the closed door, “Chloe, why didn’t you tell me? You’re really good.”

“You had no right to go in there.”

“I…” she pauses, as if sensing Chloe’s anger. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s private.”

“I didn’t know. I’m sorry.” She repeats, and Chloe doesn’t say anything.

She doesn’t know what to say. She’s done a good job of hiding this from Beca for the three years they’ve known each other, and now it’s as if she’s laid completely bare in front of Beca. And it’s only a matter of time before Beca realizes that and runs away, because it’s not like she can expect anything more from her. It’s what Beca does.

“You’re an amazing artist, Chl–“

“–Please don’t.”

“Why don’t you do it anymore?”

“I don’t want to talk about i–t.” her voice cracks, and she breathes out a sigh. And then Beca is reaching out to hold onto her hand again, when she sees tears forming in Chloe’s eyes, and she immediately pulls her in for a hug.

“I’m sorry.” Beca whispers, and she has to stand on her tiptoes for Chloe to be able to rest her head on her shoulder comfortably. “Hey. It’s okay.”

And Chloe, even though Beca doesn’t show any signs of running, is scared to death. She probably seems crazy right now; crying for a stupid reason, being mad at Beca for going in the room, and yeah, she probably should have told her that she’s not allowed in there, and Beca may be special, but even Chloe’s not going to make an exception for her. Her art room is the only thing she has that she doesn’t share with people, other than her parents and her brother, and she’s not having a girl – a girl that she’s in love with, but a girl, nonetheless – jeopardizing that.

Her head is telling her to be angry. To push Beca off of her, and yell at her for invading her privacy. But she’s crying – sobbing – into Beca’s shoulder, and she doesn’t have the energy to fight it anymore. Years of pent up emotions bubbling over, now pouring out onto Beca’s– Jesse’s hoodie, and soaking Beca’s neck as she wraps her arms tightly around Chloe. And the way that Beca is shushing her, telling her not to cry, in the softest tone that Chloe has ever heard, is doing nothing to stop the tears that are flowing so freely down her cheeks.

It’s doing nothing to stop the way that Chloe seems to be falling more and more in love with Beca with every small thing she does for her.

“Come on.” Beca whispers pulling back from the hug, but still keeping her hands resting on Chloe’s arms. And it’s the only thing keeping Chloe’s head above water right now. “Hey, you okay? You wanna go to bed?”

“Can we, um…” Chloe stops, wiping her eyes again. “Can we sleep on the couch? I–I wanna sleep on the couch.”

“Of course.” Beca smiles gently. “Anything you want.”

And Chloe really wishes she hadn’t said that.

What she wants is Beca. The only thing she knows Beca can’t fully give to her.


She wakes up with Chloe’s back pressed against her front, a mouthful of hair, and a dead arm.

Last night, after Chloe’s – she doesn’t want to call it a breakdown, because she’s actually seen Chloe in worse states before – bout of sadness, the two of them went downstairs, away from the room that Chloe oh so badly didn’t want Beca to see.

Which, if she’s honest, kind of hit Beca hard. Chloe has always been so open with her. She told her what her lady jam was while they were naked in the shower together, for God’s sake. She’s never been one for subtlety – see: announcing, with their faces an inch apart, that she regrets experimenting in college – and she’s never had any problems with telling people how she really feels; no problems with laying down the truth. But now, on this trip, it’s as if she’s slowly shying away from Beca. Slowly keeping more and more secrets from her. Drifting apart. And Beca gets it. Of course she does. She’s a very secretive person herself. She’s quite the opposite of Chloe, in fact. She’s not an open book, and she does shy away from private things, and she kind of gets why Chloe was upset about her invading her space. She’s had her fair share of tragedies, so she doesn’t dwell on it too long.

The past should be left in the past, and all that.

Which is why she doesn’t mention last night when Chloe wakes up.

And it’s as if none of it even happened, because Chloe gets up, her face much brighter and bolder than last night, and she tells Beca she’s going to brush her teeth because she can still taste the vodka that she was drinking last night, and she’s bouncing upstairs before Beca can even think of what to reply.


They arrive in New Orleans at 1PM.

Chloe thought it would have taken a little longer to get there, due to them having to stop halfway for gas – and Chloe would like to claim that she tried to resist taking a few pictures of Beca, curled up in the passenger seat asleep, but of course she didn’t. It was too cute of an opportunity to pass up – but it had only taken them a little over three hours, and then an extra twenty minutes driving around, looking for the Restaurant that Chloe had told Beca about on the way. A venue called Rock ‘n’ Bowl, which she had found on TripAdvisor.

And after bickering a little bit about whether they should eat there – “Chloe, honestly, we’re gonna waste our money and it’ll be all your fault”, “we have over 10k, Mitchell, I think we’ll be fine”, “at this rate, we’ll probably be living off rice and beans by the time we get to Vegas”, “oh, stop being dramatic” – Chloe eventually persuaded Beca, telling her that they sold cheese fries, and Beca only agreed because “I haven’t had them in so long. You haven’t won anything, Beale.”

Beca knew for a fact that she’d lost, though, even before Chloe had asked her if she wanted to eat there, because she had been watching Chloe – for no reason at all, she just happened to be looking at her, of course – and the minute Chloe spotted the restaurant, her face completely lit up. Beca knew then and there, that she wasn’t going to let that smile disappear. And if that involved playing bowling and eating cheese fries at an overpriced restaurant, then so be it.

She tried to draw the line when Chloe made her try the fried pickles though.

(“What the fuck is that?” Beca asks, as Chloe holds out her fork.

“A fried pickle, try it!”

“I’d rather throw myself off the Empire State Building.”

“Come on, just try it.”

“It looks disgusting.”

“Please!”

“No! I hate pickles.”

“Why must you wound me like this?”)

She just had to roll her eyes, because there was no way that Chloe thought she was going to get her to try a fried pickle. She didn’t like normal pickles, and frying them just made them ten times worse.

She tried it, eventually.

Of course she tried it.

She hated it, but the look on Chloe’s face when she spat it out into a napkin was enough to make her forget about the God awful taste in her mouth.


“Are you kidding me right now?” Beca whispers to herself, stretching her neck up from her spot in the driver’s seat, to see that there are several potholes in the road, and even more further ahead. “Potholes? Seriously? What am I–in a fuckin’ movie or something? Why is there potholes? Why does the government hate me? I swear to God.”

Chloe stirs beside her, and she quickly shuts her mouth, hoping to God that she hasn’t woke her up. Chloe has been doing most of the driving, and it took a while for her to get to sleep last night, so it’s only fair that she has a nap in the car before they make their pit stop at Baton Rouge. So Beca took over driving, but she’s starting to regret taking the short cut, because there are potholes in the road, and it’s kind of ironic, because not only a half hour ago, her and Chloe were jamming out to Tear In My Heart by Twenty One Pilots, and if Beca wasn’t so hell bent on dodging every pothole, then she’d probably think it was freaky how the lyrics are so relevant.

And all is going well – meaning Beca has managed to dodge all of the potholes and succeeded in not waking Chloe up – until, out of the corner of her eye, she sees a pair of red and blue flashing lights in the wing mirror, and then hears the sirens.

“Oh, fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck! Chloe,” she takes a hand off of the steering wheel to hit Chloe on the arm, “wake up. Chloe! Hey!”

“Wha–I’m awake, I’m awake!”

“We have a slight problem.” She starts to slow the car down, and she hears Chloe whisper “fuck” when she notices what’s happening. And she eventually comes to a stop at the side of the road, sighing when the police car pulls up behind them.

“Oh God, I’m gonna shit myself.”

“Calm down, Becs.” She stifles a yawn, obviously not happy that her nap has been interrupted. “Why did they pull us over? Were we speeding?”

“No, it’s a forty five road. I was going like, forty two.”

“Why did he pull us over then?”

“I may or may not have been dodging the potholes in the road because I didn’t want to wake you up.” She spits it out as fast as she can manage, her eyes never leaving the mirror, watching the police man get out of his car and approach them.

Becs. That’s so sweet.”

She looks at Chloe, who is smiling brightly, as if she hasn’t just woken up – and as if they haven’t just been pulled over by the cops – and her eyes are trained on Beca, and Beca tries her hardest not to get lost in them.

“Beale.” Beca whispers, almost inaudibly, and Chloe blinks a few times, looking up just as the police man stops beside the car.

“Ladies.” He says, and Beca can already tell that he has a thick southern accent. He looks like a typical cop; his blue shirt tucked into his navy pants, aviator sunglasses, a thick moustache, complete with the hat and of course, a toothpick in his mouth. He couldn’t be more cliché if he tried.

And Beca thinks back to her earlier thoughts, it feels like she’s in a fucking movie. Only, this isn’t the type of movie that she’d like to be in, if she was in one. How the hell do you explain to a police officer that you’re driving all over the road because you might have a crush on the sleeping girl next to you, and you don’t want to wake her up because she needs to rest? You don’t, is the simple answer. So of course, she lets Chloe take care of it.

“Hello Officer…” Chloe pauses, squinting to look at his name badge. “Cowley.”

“Crowley.” He corrects her, taking his sunglasses off. He doesn’t look very amused. But then again, it’s a ninety three degree evening, and he’s probably been on duty all day, judging by the tired, almost empty, look in his eyes.

“What can we do for you, officer Crowley?”

“Were you aware of the way you were driving, miss?” he looks down at Beca, and she just gulps, shaking her head before looking at Chloe.

“She’s mute.” Chloe says, and Beca’s eyes widen. “She has a perfectly good reason for how she was driving, sir. There’s potholes, you see, and she’s afraid of them. Deathly afraid. She was in, um… a car accident,” Beca could have sworn she heard Chloe’s voice crack, before she clears her throat and carries on, “because of a pothole in the road. It was the cause of her muteness. She’s been kind of PTSD about the whole thing ever since.”

“Wow.” He breathes out a sigh, and Beca looks up at him, shocked to see that he seems to be buying the story. Which is ridiculous, because Beca never even knew that muteness was a thing. And then he says “I’m sorry about that, kiddo,” and Beca scowls because – how old does he think she is?

“Yeah, it was a tragic time.” Chloe says, and Beca almost chokes when she sees Chloe lean over the center console, giving the police officer – and Beca, although she’s trying not to look – a perfect view of her cleavage. “If you just let us be on our way, we’ll drive more careful.”

“Sure, uh…” he stutters out a few words that sound like, “maybe you should drive instead of her,” and Beca can feel her temperature rising even more – more than she thought was possible – when she feels Chloe’s hand on her neck, and then she reaches over, almost putting her boobs in Beca’s face, to shake hands with the policeman.

“Thank you so much, officer.” She says, and Beca closes her eyes to stop herself from gawking at her best friend, because she can only go so long with Chloe’s boobs in her face before she starts to feel like she’s being violated. “She’ll drive more careful, won’t you, Becs?”

Beca just nods, starting the engine again, and looking up at him with a shy smile.

“Okay well,” he puts his sunglasses back on and tips his hat, “You girls drive safe now.”

“Thank you, officer.” Chloe grins, and Beca rolls her eyes as she starts the car, looking in the wing mirror to see if there are any cars behind her, before she pulls back onto the road.

“Mute? Really?”

“It worked, didn’t it?”

Beca doesn’t even need to look at Chloe to know that she has a smug grin on her face.


They finally get to Baton Rouge at around 8PM, and Beca is surprised when Chloe tells her she already knows where they’re staying. There’s a Motel 6 that has cheap rooms and is not, surprisingly, infested with cockroaches or ants, despite the vibe it gives off from the outside.

They decide not to go anywhere for tonight, seeing as they’ve spent the past few nights drunk, and they’ll be setting off to Texas early in the morning. And Beca was kind of confused, because she figured that Chloe would want to go sightseeing in Baton Rouge, especially to the Art Gallery or the Rural Life museum. But then Chloe had mentioned that she wanted to get to Austin because she’s never been before, and Beca finds it pretty hard to say no to Chloe on regular days, never mind days like these, when she’s realizing exactly why she finds it hard to say no to her.

There’s two movies in their motel room on top of the old box-like TV, a DVD of Grease, and a VHS tape that just has the words ‘T & L’ on it. And Beca knows it’s a red flag, because she thinks back to the Thriller that Jesse made her watch a while ago – something about a man and a woman staying at a motel and finding VHS tapes of people being murdered in that particular room – but of course, she doesn’t voice that. She kind of has to uphold a little bit of her ‘I’m-not-scared-of-anything’ reputation, even though she’s finding it pretty hard not to yell at Chloe when she picks the VHS up and puts it in the player.

“I wonder what it is.” Chloe says, settling down next to Beca, who is laid on her side, with her elbow propping her up. They’ve already changed into their pajamas – or rather, Chloe has changed into a pair of pajamas with frogs on them, and Beca has changed into some shorts and a t-shirt – and it’s nearing 9PM when the two of them finally settle down, eating some candy from the vending machines they had found near the check-in desk.

“What if it’s a sex tape?” Chloe asks, causing Beca to choke on one of her gummy bears, and Chloe laughs at her, her whole body shaking as Beca tries to calm herself down.

“You’re the worst.” Beca mutters, shoving more gummy bears into her mouth.

“Oh my God!”

“What?!” Beca’s eyes widen as Chloe sits up, clapping her hands together. “What is it?”

“It’s Thelma and Louise! How cool is it that I made that reference when we set off?! It’s like, fate! I love this movie!”

Her face is lit up, and if Beca had any dignity left, she’d tell Chloe to turn the TV off. But obviously she doesn’t, and she sits through two hours of something she’s not even paying attention to, because someone is acting as if it’s Christmas day. And it’s not Beca’s fault that Chloe’s facial expressions are more interesting than a stupid movie.

There’s two beds in the motel room, but Beca eventually falls asleep, and wakes up with Chloe’s body draped across her own.

She actually wakes up to her phone vibrating on the dresser beside her, and she picks it up to see that it’s Jesse. And she hates waking Chloe up when she’s sleeping – which was shown when she was dodging every single pothole in the road like some sort of whipped girlfriend, which she is not – so she quietly, and quickly, untangles herself from Chloe, before making her way out of the room.

“Hey.” She answers, and she hears Jesse sigh in relief, she thinks, at the other end of the phone.

“Hey. I’ve been texting you.”

“Yeah, I was asleep, Jess.”

“Since yesterday morning?”

She closes her eyes pinching the bridge of her nose with her thumb and her forefinger. “If you’re calling me to yell at me for ignoring your calls, go for it. Get it over with.”

“Beca, what’s gotten into you?” he sounds upset, and as much as he’s getting on her nerves lately, Beca hates hearing the hurt lacing his voice when he tries to reason with her. “You’re acting so distant. I thought you were over that.”

“Over what?”

“You know, the shutting me out?”

“I’m not shutting you out, Jesse, I’m–“

“–You are.” He interrupts her, and she breathes out a heavy breath, clenching her jaw as she leans against the motel door. “It’s like you never want to talk to me anymore. I just want to know how you’re doing and you just don’t seem to care.”

“I just want to spend time with my best friend, that’s all I’m asking.”

“Because Chloe is more important than me?”

She wants to say yes. God, she wants to say yes. But it’s too early for the backlash, and she knows that it’ll hurt Jesse’s feelings much more than he’ll let on. “I never said Chloe was more important than you, stop putting words in my mouth.”

“Okay, well…” he pauses, and Beca closes her eyes, running a hand through her hair, “I’m hanging out with Aubrey again today, so if you need me then…”

“Then what, Jesse?”

“I won’t be available.”

She lets out a laugh, because of course he would do this, and she honestly thought that she’d be able to have a civil conversation with him, without him acting like a child, but apparently not. “Is that what this is? Revenge?”

“No. I’m just tired of you blatantly ignoring my calls–lying to me.”

“For fuck’s sake, Jesse. I’m tired of you making me feel guilty for wanting to hang out with Chloe! I just want to spend a month on vacation with my best friend, is that too much to ask? Fuck! Six days, Jesse. That’s how long it took you to ruin this for me.”

“Oh, so now I’ve ruined your vacation?”

“Yeah. You have.” And before she can hear his reply, she hangs up, and maybe if she clenches her fists tight enough around her phone, it will shatter into a million pieces so she doesn’t have to listen to the God awful sound of it vibrating every ten minutes.


It’s kind of ironic, how Something That We’re Not by Demi Lovato comes on in the car when they’re on their way to Austin.

The lyrics feel like a constant punch in the face to Beca, and she’s relieved when Chloe skips it, offhandedly mentioning how she’s not really fond of the song. She tries not to scream in frustration when Twenty One Pilots’ cover of Can’t Help Falling in Love comes on, and it doesn’t help that Chloe is singing along to it, sounding like an absolute angel, as per usual.

It’s frustrating, because if it was Jesse sat in the driver’s seat instead of Chloe, singing along to a cheesy song like this, Beca would hate it. She’d end up rolling her eyes and skipping the song to something more upbeat, just to drown out all the mushiness. But she joins in, and she tries not to think too much about it when Chloe looks at her as she sings, “take my hand, take my whole life too.”

But it doesn’t mean anything. Chloe also looked at her while she was singing Sleeping with a Friend by Neon Trees. It doesn’t mean Chloe wants to sleep with her.

She looks too far into things, and she has done ever since she can remember. She looked too far into her parent’s divorce, convincing herself that it was all her fault, and she looked too far into the Bellas being suspended from ever competing, convincing herself that the last three years she spent with the group was all for nothing. She’s good at that. Looking too far into things and finding the worse in almost everything she does. It’s a talent that she’s perfected over the years, just like she’s perfected making mixes, and just like Chloe has perfected painting.

And of course, she has looked too far into that as well, and convinced herself that Chloe doesn’t want her to see her artwork because Chloe doesn’t trust her as much as she thought she did. And she tries not to take it personally, but her best friend – her best friend who is open about every single thing she does – is keeping a huge secret from her, and it kind of hurts.

And thinking about it reminds her that they haven’t talked about what happened back at the house, and maybe if they do, it’ll relieve some of the light tension that she’s been feeling ever since that night.

“Hey.” Beca says, looking over at Chloe, who is currently singing along to a Dark Horse/Sexy Back mashup that Beca had made. “You wanna talk about the other night?” And she sees Chloe freeze, and she immediately shakes her head, muttering “or not, it’s fine if you don’t want to,” as Chloe tightens her grip on the steering wheel.

“It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it. I just don’t like talking about it.”

“That’s cool. Honestly, you don’t have to–“

“–I stopped two years ago.” Beca blinks, keeping her eyes on Chloe as she puts the blinker on before turning a corner, keeping her eyes on the road as she does so. She didn’t think Chloe would dive straight in, but she’s never really been one for beating around the bush. “Something happened, about… six years ago. Before I came to Barden. I, um… it kind of ruined art for me. I don’t know.”

“You don’t have to talk about it.”

“I stopped two years ago,” she continues, “and I thought that going to the house would make me want to start again, you know? I thought I’d get inspired or something, but… yeah, that didn’t work.”

Beca wants to ask what happened, she really does. But this is the most Chloe has told her about it, and she doesn’t want to rush her into telling her anything she’s not comfortable with.

“I’m sorry for going in there.” Beca whispers, playing with one of the buttons on her shirt. “I didn’t know how much it meant to you. Or like, how much you didn’t want me to go in there.”

“You don’t have to apologize.” Chloe smiles, and Beca breathes out a sigh of relief. Because somehow, having a conversation with a non-smiling Chloe Beale is probably worse than having an argument with Jesse. And seeing Chloe smile is probably the equivalent of seeing a puppy in the street, so she makes sure to bask in as much smiley-Chloe-Beale as she can, before it goes away.

She kind of lives for the moments where she makes Chloe smile, because her whole face seems to light up, and her left eye crinkles just a tiny bit more than her right one, and it’s adorable.

“Still,” Beca says, looking out at the road ahead of them. “I still feel pretty bad about it. It was private, you know?”

“Yeah, but… It’s fine. I’m sorry for yelling at you, and,” she slows down to a stop as the traffic light turns red, “going all crazy psycho and crying all over Jesse’s hoodie.”

“Yeah,” Beca laughs nervously. “It kinda kills me seeing you cry, so maybe don’t do that again.”

And then Chloe looks at her, with a shy smile – something that she’s not used to seeing, because Chloe Beale is never shy – and she has to resist the urge to reach out and hold her hand, or put her hand on her thigh, just to let Chloe know that she’s there for her. But she’s kind of had enough of all this mushy, heartfelt stuff, so she picks up Chloe’s iPod, and the two of them sing along to Hedley as they get closer to Texas.

Tonight, I let you drive.” Chloe sings at the top of her voice. “Becs, I love this song! You can take me all the way. We're like Bonnie and Clyde making off with Mary Jane. Even God don’t know where we're goin', and I sure as hell don’t care.”

'Cause if you and I could stay this high with heaven in our headlights, I swear that we can make it anywhere.” Beca grins, as Chloe turns the music up. “I’m up for pushing our luck; we could do it our way. So light up and show me some love, you crazy little runaway.

For the first time in six days, their singing isn’t interrupted by her phone vibrating, and it’s never felt so good.

Chapter Text

Trigger warnings: mentions of dead family member and homophobic slurs


"You told me 'girl look the other way' / you told me 'girl, bite your tongue' / yes that's not the way / yeah that's not the way / ah that's not the way that friends behave / ah that's just not the way that friends behave / you lined me up / across the room / two falling sparks / one willing fool / and I, I always knew / that I would love you from afar / you told me 'girl look the other way' / you told me 'girl hide those hands' / but I've been living on the crumbs of your love / and I'm starving now / and that is just the way that we remain / ah that will be the way that we remain."
– from afar, vance joy


Beca's dying.

Her legs are sticking to the plastic seat she's sat in, her arms and legs are burning from the sun, and she's pretty sure that Texas weather is hotter than Hell.

Okay, so maybe she's overreacting just a little bit.

They had arrived in Texas an hour ago, and they've stopped walking the streets – they had been trying to find "cute little knick knacks" as Chloe had so proudly put it – to have a cold drink at a small Café that they had found down town. And Beca, despite complaining that she doesn't want to spend her money on unnecessary crap, is on her third glass of lemonade already, and she still feels like she's going to die of dehydration if she doesn't get out of the sun soon.

"This is what it feels like to die, isn't it?"

"You're so dramatic," Chloe says, before taking a sip of her iced tea, and Beca groans as she slouches in her seat.

Chloe's wearing a cowboy hat, which she had bought for ten dollars at one of the stores they had passed. And as much as Beca hates being a 'typical tourist' she had bought one as well, but only because Chloe wanted her to, just so she didn't feel out of place. And yeah, she can admit, that Chloe looks absolutely adorable in it. Especially since she's wearing one of Beca's plaid shirts over a white tank top – although the shirt is now tied around her waist because it's so warm – and a pair of 1970's style denim daisy dukes, and her converse look a little out-of-place, but she's Chloe Beale, and she makes it work.

Beca hasn't taken her eyes off of her all day.

"There's a book store down the street that looks cool."

"Yeah? We would be able to go, but I'm afraid I'm dying."

Chloe laughs, and Beca is positive that it's the cutest sound she's ever heard.

She's absentmindedly playing with the Band-Aid on her knee, picking at the corners of it, when Chloe tells her that they should probably set off, because she's starting to get tired, despite it only being 3PM. They decide – or once again, Chloe decides, Beca follows – to go to the book store and buy each other a book, so they can go check in at a Motel and rest, maybe read or listen to music. Because they'll be having a busy day tomorrow, because Chloe wants to make the most of it before they head to San Antonio. And there's somebody signing books at the store, but neither Chloe nor Beca recognizes them, and it takes them a little longer than they expected to find books that suit each other.

But eventually, Beca finds a perfect book for Chloe, named 'Kissing in America' by Margo Robb – a story about two friends going on a road trip from New York to California, to follow a boy – and she thinks it's kind of cheesy, to buy that for Chloe. But she had seen the words 'road' and 'trip' and she knows how much Chloe is a sucker for YA romance novels, and she thinks it's a perfect coincidence. Chloe takes a little longer, but eventually chooses a book named 'Only a Kiss' by Ines Bautista-Yao – a book about two childhood friends realizing their feelings for each other – and she knows that Beca doesn't read books often, and she probably hates the typical YA novels, but the book actually sounds interesting, and maybe they could swap them once they've finished. She tries not to think too much into it, when she sees Beca looking visibly nervous when they exchange them once they get to the Motel.

So instead of going out again, the two of them spend their night in the motel room – on separate beds this time, much to Chloe's dismay – reading the books they had picked out for each other.

It's late when Chloe finishes chapter five, and looks over at Beca, ready to make a comment about how disgustingly domestic this is. But Beca is asleep, with the book resting on her chest, and Chloe can't find it in her to wake her up.


Chloe had previously looked on TripAdvisor – the ever-so-reliable website that she thinks she'll be using for every destination they stop at on this trip – and she had found a nice looking pool, named Hamilton Pool Preserve, not too far away from their motel. Although it is $15 to park there, but she managed to convince Beca that they can swim in it and cool down. Because the amount of times that Beca has offhandedly mentioned something about "dying of excessive heat intolerance" – which Chloe didn't even know was a real thing – since they arrived yesterday, is starting to make her wonder if it is actually possible for Beca to die from all the heat. Because Beca is tiny, and surely too much heat isn't good for her small body.

Which is why after parking up, and listening to Beca complain about it being too expensive to park – and Chloe shutting her up by telling her she'll buy her another lemonade later – the two of them make their way down to the preserve, surprised to see that it's not that busy.

It's a natural jade green pool, surrounded by a limestone grotto, and there's a fifty foot waterfall flowing into it, and it looks so breathtaking that Chloe has to stop and admire it for a while. She read that swimming in it is sometimes restricted, due to it not being chemically treated, but there are a few people in the water – a couple, she notices, splashing each other, which reminds her of Beca and herself in the sea a few days ago – so she tells Beca to strip, and then she's pulling her shirt up over her head.

They had only brought two towels and their bottles of water, and left the rest of their stuff in the car so they, thankfully, don't have to worry about someone stealing their stuff. Although Chloe thinks that if that happened, Beca, the ever-so-feisty one of the two, would probably chase whoever dared to touch her stuff, and end up jumping on them until they gave them back.

"I don't think it's a good idea, Beale." Beca says, although Chloe turns around to see her already taking her shorts off. She turns back around and looks at the water, taking her own shorts off.

"Have you seen it? It's beautiful!"

She hears Beca groan from behind her, and she finds herself smiling as she hears her mutter something like, "don't blame me if we grow extra limbs," despite how the pool is probably one of the clearest pools she's ever seen.

And it's cold – "it's fucking freezing," is how Beca words it – and it takes a while to actually get Beca into the pool, but eventually, after Chloe dives in, Beca follows suit, muttering "fuck it" as she does a cannonball, and Chloe thinks it's hilarious how she hardly even makes a big splash. And she thinks it's adorable, too, how Beca swims. The water isn't too deep, but it's deep enough for Beca not to be able to reach the bottom, and she swims like a dog towards Chloe, who is laid on her back, floating towards the waterfall.

"I'm dying, Beale," Beca gasps out, as she paddles over to Chloe, and Chloe smiles, adjusting her body so that she's upright in the pool, instead of floating on her back. She uses the hair tie around her wrist to put her hair in a bun, and then she puts her arms back in the water, running them back and forth as she watches Beca paddle over to her.

"Bec." Chloe grabs one of Beca's hands, and she's glad that she can reach the bottom of the pool – on her tiptoes, sure, but she can still reach it – because Beca is flapping about like a dying fish, and she kind of needs her to stop being so dramatic, just for a moment. "Hey! Calm down."

"I'm gonna drown."

She shakes her head, pulling Beca towards her, and guiding Beca so that she has her hands resting on her shoulders. Their legs brush, and Chloe swears she hears Beca's breath hitch. "Is that better?" she asks.

And it seems to take Beca a few seconds to register what Chloe had asked her, because she can't seem to take her eyes off of her hands resting on Chloe's shoulders, as if wondering why and how she got here. "Much." She says, spitting a bit of water out of her mouth. "Thanks."

Chloe smiles, trying to keep her heart from exploding out of her chest at the feeling of Beca's hands on her shoulders, her thumbs casually stroking her neck, and their bodies gradually floating closer to each other. There's a few wet strands of hair sticking to Beca's face, and Chloe takes one hand out of the pool, the other staying where it is – somehow it found its way to Beca's hips, but she tries not to think about the feeling of her bare skin under her fingers or else she'll go crazy – and she tucks the hair behind Beca's ear. And she watches, as droplets of water drip from Beca's eyelashes, and her eyes look so much brighter, so much more beautiful, with the reflection of the water on them.

"Hey." She whispers, when Beca finally makes eye contact with her, and it feels like all the air has left her lungs when Beca smiles at her. It's not just a half-assed tight-lipped smile, like she's used to. It's a smile only reserved for Chloe Beale. A smile that lights up her whole face, and makes the corner of her eyes crinkle, and she has to bite her lip to stop it from splitting her face. And it's only making Chloe's heartbeat speed up, making her breathe harder, because the way Beca bites her lip just does things to her – things that she's certain Beca would blush at if she ever voiced them – and it's kind of not fair.

"You're really pretty like this, you know." She whispers, and she's pretty sure she's never been this close to Beca before. Their chests are almost touching, with the way that the water seems to be making them float closer to each other, and it's taking everything she has in her not to kiss her.

"Shut up." Beca mumbles, as she lets go of Chloe's right shoulder for a brief second, to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear, before slowly putting it back.

"I'm serious." Chloe smiles when Beca laughs. "You're the most beautiful person I've ever met."

And this time she definitely hears Beca's breath hitch, and she watches as Beca looks down at her lips for a fraction of a second, and she feels like she's on fire. It feels like this is a dream, because surely Beca doesn't want to kiss her too. Beca has Jesse, Beca loves Jesse, and Beca isn't the type of person to cheat on someone. Beca doesn't like Chloe that way, and after three years, Chloe is starting to finally accept that. But knowing all that still doesn't stop her from drifting closer to Beca, and she feels like the most selfish person in the world, but she doesn't know when she'll get the courage to do this again.

And this is so cliché, she thinks, as the waterfall splashes behind them, and it feels like time is slowing down the closer they get to each other. And just as she starts to lean in, she hears Beca say her name.

"Yeah?" she looks down at Beca's lips, and she can feel her eyes getting heavier.

"What happened six years ago?"

She blinks, eyes flicking up to look into Beca's eyes, and she frowns, pulling her head back slightly.

"What?"

"You said that… you said that something happened six years ago."

Her mouth opens to say something, but no words seem to come out, because she doesn't exactly know why Beca would bring that up right now. And it only makes her feel worse about keeping this from Beca, because she knows for a fact that Beca won't judge her, or laugh at her, or do anything to upset her. She proved that the other night, when she went out of her way to make sure Chloe fell asleep comfortably, in the arms of the girl she's in love with.

She knows now, that Beca won't run from her. Knows that slowly, Beca is opening up to her as well.

It still scares her though, and she doesn't really know what she's doing until she's swimming away from Beca, pushing herself out of the pool and walking towards the rock where they left their towels, bottles, and clothes. And Beca is following behind her, paddling over to the rock that she had previously jumped off of, and pushing herself out of the water, albeit less gracefully.

Neither of them say anything as they dry themselves with the towels, and Chloe can feel Beca occasionally looking at her, and while she kind of feels vulnerable right now – after having almost made a complete fool out of herself by kissing her best friend. Her best friend who is in a relationship – she knows that Beca is only doing it to make sure she's okay. She's gotten used to reading Beca, and right now she knows that she's worried about her. Probably more worried than she will ever care to admit, and that's one of the things that Chloe loves most about her.

She wraps her towel around her shoulders and picks her water bottle up, and she makes her way over to one of the dry rocks, sitting down on it with a sigh. And she looks back at Beca, who is stood a few feet away, looking at her as if waiting for her to say something. So Chloe smiles at her, which is enough to let Beca know that she wants her to come and sit next to her. And it's silent between the two of them, until Beca says "you don't have to talk about it" with a nervous laugh, and Chloe thinks it's adorable, how she can be so charming at times, but then be a nervous wreck whenever the two of them show any signs of vulnerability.

"My brother, Chris." Chloe whispers, looking out at the water. "He died."

She breathes out a heavy breath of air, automatically feeling so much lighter voicing it out loud. And she feels Beca's hand on hers, wordlessly letting her know that everything is okay; wordlessly letting her know that she's there for her. And Chloe knows this, even though Beca doesn't say anything. She just scoots closer to Chloe, and she holds her hand, resting it on her own lap as she strokes circles on it with her thumb. It's something that she does when she wants to comfort Chloe, to let her know that she's listening if she wants to elaborate. So Chloe does.

"A month before I came to Barden," her voice is quiet, and she can feel Beca's eyes on her as she talks, "he, um… He had just graduated from San Francisco State. He was driving up to Bodega Bay for a job interview." She clenches her teeth, when she feels the familiar sting in the back of her throat.

"It's okay." Beca whispers, squeezing her hand. "I'm here."

She sucks in a deep breath and turns her palm over, and Beca starts to play with her fingers, running her own fingers up and down the length of each one. It calms Chloe, knowing that Beca isn't going anywhere. "He was on the highway," she continues, "and a truck tried to overtake him. Didn't realize that he was turning, and the truck pushed his car off of the road. He crashed through a wooden fence and… and the car fell down a cliff. He died–died on impact."

"That's terrible."

"Yeah." She laughs bitterly. Pausing for a brief moment. "I was pretty… depressed after it happened, and I had to go on medication for a few years. I actually came off of them a few months before mine and Aubrey's senior year."

"Aubrey knows?"

"Yeah." She nods, using the hand that Beca isn't playing with to wipe her eyes.

"That's good then. That you weren't alone." Beca says, and there's another pause again; this time longer, and slightly more comfortable than before. Not exactly comfortable, but easier. And it's always been easy with them, but not this easy. They're not the type of best friends to be constantly having heartfelt moments – it's kind of hard to have a heartfelt moment with Beca, without her making some sort of sarcastic comment or self-deprecating joke – and it's a rarity that anything like this happens.

The first time they had a heart-to-heart, a few months after they met, the two of them had been drunk in Beca's dorm, and Chloe had told Beca that she was worried about Aubrey; worried that her controlling attitude would destroy their friendship. Beca had explained to Chloe that she's not really used to having a girl best friend, but she knows that what Aubrey and Chloe have is not something akin to a middle school friendship – where you promise to keep in touch, but then the daily text messages become weekly, and then monthly, until you eventually stop talking altogether, and then when someone asks you what happened to that friend, you just shake your head and say "we just lost touch," – Beca knows that that's not the type of friendship that Aubrey and Chloe have. And of course, it was followed up by a joke about the two of them having a joint wedding and being pregnant at the same time, but Chloe appreciated that Beca had tried to cheer her up.

And Chloe knows that the friendship that Beca had explained to her, about eventually losing touch, is not something she wants to happen between the two of them. They may not be always having heartfelt moments like this, but Chloe knows for a fact that she's going to be best friends with Beca for, hopefully, the rest of their lives. She's not sure if she could take it if they ever stopped being friends.

"You know," Beca sniffs up, scratching the top of her nose, before putting her hand back on Chloe's to draw patterns on her knuckles. "I–I don't know him but… I think he'd be proud of you."

"Why? I intentionally failed college for three years just so I could be with y–with the Bellas."

"Yeah but you've graduated now." Beca says, and Chloe thanks God that Beca didn't catch her almost slip up. "It doesn't matter how long it took you. You graduated with a degree and you–you took the Bellas to Europe, Chlo. We couldn't have done half of what we did without you."

She lets out a shaky breath, and her bottom lip trembles, and she internally curses herself for being like this; for crying in front of Beca all the time, and for making her feel uncomfortable. And she doesn't even realize she's sobbing until she feels Beca's arm drape around her shoulders, pulling her in so that she can rest her head in the crook of Beca's neck.

"Sorry," she wipes her eyes. "I don't really talk about him often. I haven't cried over him in a long time."

"It's okay. Sometimes it's good to open up and talk about this stuff."

And she realizes, after feeling Beca press her lips to her forehead, that she hasn't made Beca uncomfortable. Beca 'I-need-my-space-and-I-don't-know-how-to-comfort-people' Mitchell, is holding her, for the second time in less than a week, telling her that everything is going to be okay. And it normally takes a lot for Chloe to believe that, but somehow, hearing it coming out of Beca's mouth makes her feel much more hopeful. Makes her feel like maybe their connection is deeper than she thought.

"Beca?"

"Yeah."

"Please don't leave."

Because nobody else knows about her brother, other than Aubrey and her family, and it takes a lot for Chloe to talk about this kind of stuff. Much more than she lets on, actually. She's an honest and open person, but this is one of those things that, like Beca, she's not very open about, and it takes a lot of trust for her to be able to admit. And she doesn't want to lose Beca like she lost Chris.

She can't lose Beca.

"I'm not gonna leave you."

And one look from her, a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, is enough to let Chloe know that Beca's not going anywhere.


They've been driving in relative silence for fifteen minutes, the only sound being the radio playing as background music, when Beca turns the music off and takes a deep breath.

"My mom died when I was sixteen." She spits out.

She feels Chloe look at her for a brief second, but Beca's eyes are trained on the road in front of her, afraid that if she looks at Chloe, she'll end up crying. Because Beca knows Chloe well enough to read her, to know exactly what she's thinking, and right now she's positive that Chloe has turned on those sad puppy dog eyes, and Beca hates that she can't keep it together when Chloe does that.

"She wasn't the best mom in the world. She would make comments to me about… about how I was never going to be good enough to be a music producer." She sniffs up, scratching her forehead. "It's why I kind of… I don't know, it's why I didn't tell you or the Bellas about the internship. I didn't want to fail, so I thought that if nobody knew about it, then maybe it would hurt a little less if I didn't do well."

"I can't," Chloe pauses, shaking her head as she looks at Beca, before looking back out at the road. "I can't imagine how hard that must have been for you. I'm sorry–"

"–Don't apologize." She sighs. "The point is, I'm okay now." She looks at Chloe. "When she died–even though she was a shitty parent, I was devastated. I never thought I'd be okay again. I shut everyone out, and I turned into this–this shell of a person. I blamed my dad for her death. I blamed him for a lot of stuff, and I pretended I hated him. And then he married Sheila, and I thought that… I thought that if he can replace my mom so easily, then he could also replace me, you know? And I love him, but I couldn't bear the thought of knowing that he could just replace me with another, better kid, with Sheila. So I shut him out. Something I regret doing every single day. But I am okay now. It just takes time, is all. I know that our situations are different but, you'll be okay. Eventually. And you're… you're not alone."

She watches as Chloe smiles out of the corner of her mouth, slowing the car down as they stop at a red light.

"Thank you." Chloe says, looking at Beca with a smile that could make Beca melt, and Beca smiles back at her, reaching over and turning the music back on, glad that Chloe doesn't say anything else. Nothing else really needs to be said.

They pass a sign that reads Bee Cave, and it takes Chloe a few minutes to explain to Beca that "no, they don't need to put the roof up, because it isn't a literal cave full of bees, it's just the name of the city," and it's not as tense in the car as it was earlier. And Beca is thankful for that, because she hates it when Chloe is too sad to even sing her favorite song. But now, as they pull up outside a building called Poodie's Hilltop Bar & Grill, Chloe is quietly singing along to Paramore's Aint It Fun, even when she turns the car off and the music turns off with it.

"This place looks nice," Chloe says, stopping her singing, and Beca would hardly say it looks nice – it looks kind of shady, if she's honest – but she agrees with a soft hum, as the two of them get out of the car.

There are a few guys standing outside smoking, and Beca frowns when one of them whistles at Chloe. The rest of them don't seem to be paying attention to him though, and they all walk back inside, leaving him standing in the entrance to finish his cigarette.

"Chlo." She says, catching Chloe's attention as she starts to walk inside. And Chloe turns around and smiles at her, asking her if she's okay, and Beca nods. "You sure you wanna stop here?"

"Yeah, I'm starving." Chloe says, before turning back around, making her way to the entrance. And Beca watches as the guy stands in front of her, blocking her from going inside.

"Hi there." Chloe says with a polite smile, and Beca rolls her eyes at the fact that Chloe doesn't notice that this guy is a douchebag. Of course he's a douchebag. He's wearing a fedora, for God's sake.

"You new aroun' here?"

"Just visiting."

Beca can tell by the tone of Chloe's voice that she doesn't sound interested in him, but she still tenses when she sees him take a step closer to Chloe. She makes her way over to her, and she watches as Chloe holds a hand out behind her, as if wordlessly asking Beca to hold it. So Beca does, and she looks up at the guy, who is blocking the entrance with a smug smile.

"Hey." Beca says to Chloe, letting go of her hand to wrap her arm around her waist. "You alright?"

"Your friend here is very nice on the eyes, I must say." He says to Beca, and her eyebrows knit together as she watches his eyes roam up and down Chloe's body. It kind of makes her skin crawl, seeing some dude eyeing Chloe like she's some chunk of meat.

"She's not my friend, she's my girlfriend, and she's not interested." And she knows that she's just saying this to stop him from bugging Chloe, because she can tell that Chloe doesn't want to talk to him, but it still makes her heart flutter when the words come out of her mouth.

"Aw, come on. I'm not buying that," he says, throwing his cigarette on the ground.

"Excuse us." Chloe says, trying to walk past him, but is suddenly stopped by his hand on her shoulder, pushing her back.

"Hey." Beca snaps at him, pushing his hand off of Chloe's shoulder. "Don't touch her."

"Come on." He looks at Chloe. "You're way too hot to be a dyke."

And Beca knows about Chloe's sexuality; remembers the proud, "I'm pansexual" from a night in with the Bellas, when they had to go around the group and tell them all a fact about themselves. She knows that Chloe is proud of who she is, and just the thought of this asshole making Chloe feel uncomfortable about her sexuality, is enough to make Beca lose it.

"What the fuck did you just say to her?"

"Beca, it's fine–"

"–No it's not fine," she tells Chloe, before turning her attention back to the guy, whose chest is puffed out, the smug grin still on his face. And she gently pushes Chloe so that she's standing behind her, and the next thing she knows, she's cradling her fist in her hand, and the guy is groaning on the floor.

She hears Chloe yell her name, but it's kind of hard to pay attention to something other than her hand, which is absolutely throbbing already. And she looks down at the man, hearing him mutter something about a "psycho bitch," and she's about to kick him when she feels arms wrap around her, pulling her away.

She knows it's Chloe, but she pushes her off anyway, taking a few steps back towards the car.

"Get in," she says, pointing to the passenger seat.

"Wh–where are we going?"

"Anywhere but here, just get in the car."

Beca pulls on the door handle a few times, prying it open and getting in the driver's seat, slamming it shut behind her. She manages a glance at Chloe, checking to see if she has her seatbelt on before she starts the car, reversing out of the parking space and leaving a trail of smoke behind as she drives away.

"You know I hate when you do that." She hears Chloe sigh, and she clenches her teeth, but it does nothing to stop the pain in her hand. It doesn't help that she slams both of her hands on the steering wheel either, and it feels like steam is coming out of her ears because – how the hell can Chloe be so calm about this?

"Do you know what he fucking called you?!"

"Yes, but–"

"–But what?! You think I'm gonna let some asshole call you names and not do anything about it?"

"Beca, please," Chloe whispers, "you're scaring me."

Beca, sensing the fragility, the vulnerability, of Chloe's voice, takes a deep breath, and she has to stop herself from slamming on the breaks. From screaming at Chloe that she's sorry, that she didn't mean to scare her, and that she just wanted to protect her from that stupid, homophobic asshole. Protect her from everything else in this world, because nobody should be able to say stuff like that to Chloe and get away unscathed. And she wants to hug Chloe, to kiss her and tell her that everything is okay now, and tell her that she loves her.

And that last one scares her the most, because she's realizing that this crush she has on her best friend isn't a crush at all.

It's so much more than that, and it always has been.


She drives for a few hours, until she pulls up to a stop in, what looks to be, the middle of nowhere.

"I'm sorry." She whispers, taking her hand off of the steering wheel to wipe the corner of her eye.

"It's okay."

"No, it's not." She sighs. "I shouldn't–I shouldn't have yelled at you. I'm not sorry for punching him, because what he said was really shitty, but I am sorry for yelling at you. For scaring you."

She feels Chloe's hand on her thigh, and she looks at her to see that she has a small, shy smile on her face.

"It's okay."

But it's kind of not enough. It's not enough to know that it's just okay. Because she had scared Chloe, made her feel like she was unsafe, and she hates herself for it. She hates that she had made Chloe feel that way, especially after Chloe had just revealed something personal about her life that she doesn't share with everybody. Beca knows that it took Chloe a lot to admit that to her, which is why she told her something equally as personal. She doesn't talk about her mother, ever, but she had told Chloe about her because she felt the need to let her know that she's not alone, and that everything will be okay.

But now, it's not okay. It's not okay at all.

"Hey." She hears Chloe whisper, leaning in closer to her. "You wanna watch the sunset?"

Beca looks around them, seeing that the sun is, in fact, starting to set. She doesn't exactly know where they are, but when she feels Chloe's hand on hers, it kind of doesn't matter. All she knows is that Chloe is here and that's enough.

It's always enough.

They sit on the front of the car, hands resting behind them as they watch the sunset. The blues turning to yellows, turning to oranges, turning to reds. It's beautiful, and it looks like something out of a painting. And Beca would take a picture of it, but she can almost feel Chloe's hand touching hers, millimeters away, and she daren't move. And then she feels it. A soft thumb brush over hers. Feels the way Chloe hesitates before putting her hand fully over Beca's, and she tries, so hard, not to think too much into it. Tries so hard to ignore the pounding in her heart, and the way it feels like there's fireworks going off in her stomach right now.

She looks at Chloe, not surprised to see her already looking at her.

"I thought you wanted to watch the sunset." Beca says, and Chloe smiles gently at her, shaking her head. And she looks like she's about to say something, when the sound of Don't You Forget About Me by Simple Minds playing from Beca's pocket interrupts them.

And Beca sighs, because Jesse has the absolute worst timing, but she's kind of glad he called. Because she's pretty sure that she was just about to do something really stupid.

"Sorry." She says, taking the phone out of her pocket, and she's about to answer it when suddenly Chloe snatches it out of her hand, pressing the red 'Decline' button.

And Beca's kind of not really sure what just happened, because Chloe isn't a rude person. Chloe doesn't go around doing stuff like that, and she surely doesn't show any signs of annoyance whenever Beca talks to Jesse on the phone, so she doesn't know why the hell Chloe felt the need to hang up on him.

"Um," Beca takes the phone back out of Chloe's hand, and she knows that something is wrong when Chloe refuses to make eye contact with her. "Chlo? What the fuck?"

"I just… want to go a day without him interrupting us." Chloe says calmly, but Beca can see the way she's clenching her jaw, and she's not calm. She's not calm at all. "This is supposed to be our vacation and he just–"

"–That doesn't give you permission to hang up on him."

Chloe looks at her, and Beca gulps. She has a scowl on her face, similar to the one she had when they fought at the Bella retreat, and it kind of scares Beca. There's a lot of things that Chloe does that scare her – like when Chloe cries, it terrifies Beca. And when she tells Beca that she's beautiful, or she offhandedly mentions that she loves her; that frightens Beca the most – but this scares her too, more than she cares to admit. Because she knows that when Chloe is angry, she cries, and when Chloe cries, it makes Beca feel like the worst person in the world.

"So you're allowed to go around being jealous of guys hitting on me, yet when I show any signs of jealousy, you go off on one?"

"What–I was not jealous, Chloe. Do you know what that guy said back there?"

"Not him. Before that. The bartender in Panama? The guy at the bar in Florida?"

"I wasn't jealous, I was getting them to back off because you obviously looked uncomfortable, and you deserve better than that. Jesse is my boyfr–"

"–You've been ignoring him for days!"

"What's your problem?!" she snaps, and there it is. The tears in Chloe's eyes, as her anger rises.

"Nothing!" she shouts back. "I just–I just need a break from the real world, and I asked you on this trip because I wanted to just… escape for a while, with the only person I can tolerate right now."

"So what, I'm not allowed to talk to my boyfriend at all on this trip?!"

"I never said that! This isn't about J–"

"–You implied it!"

"What's the big deal?!"

"We're fighting, okay?!" she pushes herself off of the car, running both hands through her hair, before turning around to face Chloe. "We fought this morning and he probably wants to apologize or something–I don't know."

"Well, I'm sorry, but this is our vacation and I don't want him ruining it!"

"Is he really the one ruining it, Chlo?"

"That's what you said!"

"What? When?"

"I overheard your fight."

Beca frowns, remembering back to her argument with Jesse yesterday morning. Remembers the way he told her that he was hanging out with Aubrey, and that he won't be available to talk, remembers how he told her she was acting distant and shutting him out, and she remembers the finality in her voice when she told him that yes, he is ruining her vacation.

And Chloe is right. Jesse has ruined it.

But Beca is stubborn – she's practically famous for it – and she's not letting Chloe win so easily. Which is childish, but it's as if she can't help it. As if she can't stop her mouth from forming words, spitting them out with nothing but coldness in her tone.

"That doesn't matter. You shouldn't just–just hang up on him like–"

"–Look," Chloe snaps, holding her hand up to silence Beca. "If you don't wanna be here. If you don't want to be with me, then that's fine. Leave. Just don't lie to me and make me think that you actually want to spend time with me on this trip!"

"You think I don't want to spend time with you? Why the hell would I be on this trip if I didn't want to spend time with you?"

"I don't know, to get away from Jesse? You know, the boy you've been ignoring for the past like, week?"

"That's my own personal shit, though, Chloe. I can deal with Jesse on my own, I don't need you getting involved."

"Well, I think you should re-evaluate your relationship because the last time I checked, you don't ignore the people you're supposed to be dating."

"Wow, okay." She laughs bitterly. "Are you done?"

Chloe doesn't answer her. She just pushes herself off of the car, and gets back in the passenger seat, taking her phone out of the cup holder, as if to distract herself with it. And Beca's phone vibrates, and she looks down at it to see a simple text, saying "message received" from Jesse, and she frowns. What message?

And if this was five minutes ago, she would have ignored the text. She would have put her phone on silent and sparked up a conversation with Chloe to take her mind off of it. But the words, "if you don't want to be with me" – the words that Chloe had practically spat at her – are ringing in her brain, and she needs to do something to escape from it, to stop herself from going crazy.

She unlocks her phone, walks away, and calls Jesse.

And he doesn't answer. Of course he doesn't.

"Hey, it's Jesse. Text me."

She sighs, looking behind her to see Chloe sat in the car, her face illuminated by her own phone. She's far enough away for Chloe to, hopefully, not hear her.

"Hey." She breathes out. "Sorry for ignoring you. Um… it–I… Ugh. Sorry, I can't speak right now. Just, um… call me when you get this. I'm sorry. Again. I lo–" she swallows, as if her throat is preventing her from saying it. And she has to clear her throat, and take in a small breath, before she whispers, "love you."

Her eyes are on Chloe when she says it, and she suddenly doesn't know who she's saying it to.

Chapter Text

"I am up against the wall, the wall / for I hear them coming down the hall / I have killed a man and all I know / is I am on the run and go / don't wanna call you in the night time / don't wanna give you all my pieces / don't wanna hand you all my trouble / don't wanna give you all my demons / you'll have to watch me struggle / from several rooms away / but tonight, I'll need you to stay / cold nights under / siege from accusations / cerebral thunder / in one-way conversations."
– the run and go, twenty one pilots


Beca wakes up – albeit very reluctantly – on the floor of a Motel room.

She figures that Chloe must have driven them to a Motel, because she remembers almost falling asleep while she was driving, and Chloe asking her if she wanted to sleep in the passenger seat until they got to a Motel. She wonders, for a brief moment, how she actually got in the room, because with the way Chloe was acting last night, she doubts that she would have carried her there. But then again, Chloe is the type of person to carry someone – someone who she's just fought with – into a Motel room just so they can be comfortable. It's one of the things Beca loves most about Chloe; her sheer kindness.

Which makes this whole situation even worse, because despite how she feels like everything between her and Chloe is kind of maybe all fucked up, she's still listing off reasons why she loves her.

She's not in love with her though. It's as simple as that. She's not in love with Chloe Beale.

And her mind isn't hazy like it was before. She blames that on the minerals – or whatever – in the pool. She's not confused. She's actually fairly certain that Chloe's not in love with her either, because if she was, she'd tell her. Chloe isn't someone who gets scared easily, and she certainly isn't scared to go after what she wants.

Like when Chloe was trying to get Beca to audition for the Bellas, she certainly wasn't scared about approaching her at the activities fair, or cornering her in the shower. And when the Bellas weren't doing well with the set list, she wasn't scared of agreeing with Beca and telling Aubrey that maybe they should try something new. Or when they were in the tent, she wasn't scared of telling Beca about how she regrets not experimenting in college, with all the Bellas around them, listening to their conversation. And whenever Beca is acting like an asshole, Chloe's not afraid to call her out on it.

It's what makes getting along with Chloe so easy. Chloe keeps Beca grounded, keeps her from acting up, or holing herself away in her room, and keeps her from doing things she shouldn't be doing.

Chloe Beale is the type of person to go after what she wants, and Beca shouldn't be an exception to that.

She can hear Chloe's light snores coming from one of the beds, and she stands up with a quiet groan, trying not to wake her up as she looks over at her. Her back is rising with every long breath she takes, and Beca approaches her, cringing when the floor board creaks underneath her. And she seems to freeze in place as Chloe stops snoring, and she doesn't even realize she's holding her breath until she releases it when she hears Chloe start snoring again.

Chloe looks so peaceful when she's sleeping. Beca's always liked this side of Chloe. There's no permanent smile etched on her face, just her lips set in a thin line, and her eyebrows furrowed slightly. It's nice, seeing her looking so calm, and not excited about something that they'll be doing. Because other than the argument they had last night, and the mishap with the art room, Chloe has been acting like an excited child; constantly bouncing in her seat, constantly smiling, and constantly letting Beca know how awesome this trip is going to be.

And Beca believed her.

A week ago, when they were in the diner and Chloe assured her that the road trip is going to be the best ever, Beca believed her. Of course she did. She'll believe anything Chloe says, because she knows that Chloe Beale doesn't lie. And it's odd, seeing her not acting so excited. Part of Beca blames herself. She shouldn't have yelled at Chloe last night, and while it was a pretty shitty thing for Chloe to hang up on Jesse – because that really wasn't her choice to make – Beca knows why she did it. Jesse has been calling and texting nonstop ever since they set off, and she knows that Chloe isn't Jesse's biggest fan, despite how she's always asking Beca about him, and if he's okay, and if they're okay. Beca knows that she's just being polite. She knows that Chloe doesn't really care.

And she wishes she could say the same about herself, but she knows how big of a lie that would be. She knows that she can't not care about Jesse. Of course she cares about him. She loves him, for God's sake. He's the first person she ever loved, but it's just the matter of whether she's in love with him that's the problem. She doesn't know when, or how she fell out of love with him; truly, she doesn't know if she was actually in love with him at all.

All she knows is that she needs time.

Something that seems impossible to find right now.

The Motel looks like it's in the middle of nowhere, which is convenient. Beca doesn't really feel like being in the presence of others today. She can only be around a certain number of people before she starts to go crazy. The only other building in the vicinity is a coffee shop, directly opposite the Motel. So she makes sure her phone and wallet are in her pocket before making her way out of the Motel room. And she should be ashamed that she hasn't even bothered to check how she looks, but she can't find it in herself to care in the slightest.

Which is proven, when she approaches the counter of the café, and the woman behind it tells her, "my my, you look like shit," in a thick, Texan accent. And she just thanks her because she really doesn't have time for this today. She orders a black coffee with two sugars to go, and pulls her wallet out of her pocket, taking out a few dollars and cents, and putting them on the counter. She goes to sit at one of the tables after the waitress gives her the correct change. It's fairly empty, apart from the waitress and two men in business suits at the other end of the shop, which means she can actually breathe and not worry about doing anything wrong.

As she waits, she takes her phone out of her pocket to check the time, noticing that it's almost 7AM and Chloe will probably be waking up soon. Part of her doesn't really care, isn't really bothered about Chloe waking up alone. The other part of her feels like leaving Chloe alone, making her think she's gone, is the equivalent of tearing her beating heart out of her chest.

And she just doesn't know which part of her she wants to go with. Doesn't know whether to go with her head or her heart. Doesn't know what her heart even wants right now. And doesn't know whether it's a good idea to even stay here. Because the sound of Chloe telling her to leave – the sound of Chloe telling her "If you don't wanna be here. If you don't want to be with me, then that's fine. Leave." – feels like it's taking permanent residency inside her brain, reminding her of everything she's been trying to ignore. Screaming at her over and over until she feels like her head is going to explode.

"You okay?"

She jumps at the sound of the voice, looking up to see that it's the waitress from behind the counter, except she looks a little different (maybe it's somebody else) and she watches as she sets her coffee down on the table in front of her. She doesn't even have the energy to say anything, just nods at her with a tight-lipped smile. And her eyes follow her as she walks away, before turning to look out of the window. There seems to be nobody around, no cars driving past; the only sign of life being inside the coffee shop, and what looks to be the Motel owner standing outside the Motel with a cigarette in between his fingers.

Taking a sip of her coffee, she stands up and makes her way out of the coffee shop, muttering a "f–uck," as the coffee burns her mouth. And she hears the thrum of an airplane from above her, the sound of its engine echoing in the sky, and she looks up to see it lower than she expected, flying away from her. She sighs, and takes another sip of her coffee.

This time she doesn't even flinch when the hot liquid burns the tip of her tongue.

She kind of just stays there, standing outside of the coffee shop. She counts three airplanes fly past, and two cars drive past, before she feels her phone vibrating in her pocket. She doesn't even look at the caller ID before she answers it with a "hello?" still looking up at the sky.

"Beca?"

"Hey," she swallows, "Jesse. Hi."

"Hey. Did I wake you?"

She shakes her head, finally tearing her gaze from the sky to look down at the ground. "No. I, um… Look, about last night–"

"–Yeah, I got your voicemail."

"Yeah, Jess, it wasn't me who hung up on you. It was Chloe."

"Why?"

She breathes out a sigh, and she tells him that she doesn't know. Because she still doesn't. Doesn't know why Chloe did that. Doesn't know what made her angry enough to start a fight with Beca after having such a nice day.

(Well, if you don't count the crying at the pool and the homophobic asshole at the roadhouse, then it would have been a nice day.)

So she tells Jesse she doesn't know why Chloe did that, and she tells him that she's sorry. Sorry for ignoring him, sorry for Chloe's behavior, sorry for being so distant, and sorry for everything. She tells him that she's sorry until she feels tears stinging her eyes. And she doesn't know why she's crying, exactly. Maybe it's because she feels bad that she has been such a shitty girlfriend to Jesse, or maybe she's crying because she's still upset about the fight with Chloe, or maybe it's because she wishes that it was Chloe telling her, "hey it's okay, Becs, don't be sorry, it's fine," instead of Jesse.

And Jesse asks her – after a long pause – if she's okay, as she runs a hand through her hair, and no. No, she's not okay.

"No," she shakes her head. "I don't think so."

"Where are you? Do you want me to come pick you up?"

"What–no. No." That would be a really bad idea, she keeps to herself. "We're in Austin, or San Antonio, or… somewhere. Somewhere in Texas."

"I can pick you up."

"No, it's fine." She shakes her head again. It's the only thing she seems to be capable of doing right now. "Don't… don't do that."

There's another pause, this time on Jesse's end, and if it was any other time, Beca would try and think of something to say. Try and think of something to fill the silence. Instead, she just listens to the quiet sound of Jesse breathing into the phone line, and she looks over at the Motel, where their–where Chloe's car is parked.

"Seriously, Becs, are you okay?"

She blinks a few times, her grip tightening around her coffee cup. "Yeah," she nods, clearing her throat. "Yeah, I'm fine. I'm fine. I'll, um… I'll talk to you later?"

"Sure, sure. Call me if you need anything."

And she knows that he really means, "call me if you want me to pick you up," and she has to breathe in and out a few times, slowly and surely, before telling him that she'll text him later.

Neither of them say I love you, but Beca doesn't even notice.

It's like she doesn't notice anything. She doesn't notice another two planes flying past, and she doesn't notice her coffee going cold, and she doesn't notice the two men from the coffee shop walking out, almost hitting her with the door, before saying sorry. She doesn't notice the owner of the Motel come outside to smoke another cigarette, and she doesn't notice the fly that lands on her hand.

She doesn't know how much time has passed when she decides to go back to the room, and she doesn't check either. She's been in her own head for long enough now, and she knows exactly what she's going to do.

Chloe is still asleep when she opens the door, and she tries to be as quiet as she can. She goes over to the night stand and picks the car keys up, making her way back out of the door and towards the car. Her suitcase, backpack, and laptop bag are all on the backseat, and she gets them out with no trouble, locking the car, before running back to the room – luckily the room is right in front of the car, so she doesn't have to worry about someone stealing her stuff, if there even is anyone around to steal her stuff – and she puts the keys on the table by the doorway. And she takes another glance at Chloe, seeing her calm sleeping form on the bed, before closing the door gently.

She leans up against the wall, trying to shush the voices in her head. The voices telling her that she needs to accept her feelings for Chloe – because God forbid she can have a minute of silence without thinking about Chloe Beale – and they're telling her that she's stupid for falling for Chloe, and for thinking, for a brief moment, that Chloe might feel the same way. Which is why it's best that she shakes her head, as if trying to shake the thoughts from her mind, before going to collect her luggage.

"Where's the nearest airport?" she asks the man in the Motel office, before he even has chance to notice her. He looks confused, but he doesn't question her. Just tells her that it's a two hour walk "that way" as he points out of the window, and Beca follows his finger to see him pointing up the road. And she thanks him, before adjusting the straps on her backpack, and she makes her way out of the Motel reception, dragging her suitcase behind her.

Hitchhiking isn't exactly something that Beca is a pro at, and it takes her an hour – a half hour walking up the road, and another half hour holding her thumb out for the odd car driving past – to finally hitch a ride.

It's a silver minivan, with the cliché, way-too-happy-for-this-time-on-a-morning family inside. You know, the kind that loves each other too much. A Southern father with a cowboy hat and a kind moustache, and a blonde mother with a white and red plaid shirt and three-quarter shorts, and a thirteen year old son playing on his PSP, and a four year old daughter bouncing in her car-seat, dancing along to whatever country track is on the radio. She's stuck in the middle of the kids, and she knows that it's only a matter of time before they ask her why she's heading to the airport so early.

The little girl reaches up to touch her hair, and for a fraction of a second, it feels a lot like the way Chloe does it. She looks down at the girl though, and it's not Chloe, and it occurs to Beca that she's leaving because she needs to get over her, so why the hell she keeps thinking about her, she'll never understand.

And it actually takes them longer than she thought, to ask her about where she's going. But when they do, Beca can't really seem to formulate words.

"I… I'm, I don't," she pauses, clearing her throat and scratching her nose. "I don't really know–I'm not–I don't do this."

"Travel with strangers?" the mom asks – she had said her name was Meredith – and Beca just nods, looking beside her to watch the son – Joey – playing Fifa on his hand console.

"Well honey, you better know where you're going when you get to the airport, or that'll be a real problem." Meredith says with a small laugh, and Beca just smiles.

Despite how she's hitching a ride from these strangers, she kind of just doesn't want to talk right now. She's finding it pretty hard to avoid it though, especially when they keep asking her questions every two minutes. Where she's from, why she's going to the airport, why she only has a suitcase, a backpack, and a laptop to her name, what she's doing in Texas if she's from Atlanta, why she's going to the airport, whether she needs any money for the plane ticket, whether she likes country music, why she's going to the airport. It doesn't really stop, and Beca manages to dodge most of the questions until they finally arrive.

"And we're here," the dad announces, and Beca takes her seatbelt off, kind of glad to finally be out of the car, even though it only took them about fifteen minutes to get there.

"How much do you want?" Beca asks, once she's out of the car, taking her wallet out of her pocket, and she feels a hand on hers, and she looks up to see Meredith smiling down at her.

"We don't want your money, sweetie."

"Are you sure?"

"I insist," she smiles. "Think of it as an act of kindness. Just don't forget to pass it on."

"Yeah."

"It was great getting to know you."

"Okay." Beca nods, even though the most that she had spilled about herself was that she was twenty one, and she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her friend. "You too. Thank you so much for the ride, I really appreciate it."

"Our pleasure," she hears from the car, and she looks inside to see the dad – she doesn't actually know his name, she didn't ask and he didn't say – smiling at her, as he tips his hat. "Just make sure you figure out where you're going before you get on a plane. Don't wanna end up in Europe or something."

She just lets out a small laugh, before hoisting her laptop bag up on her shoulder, and smiling up at Meredith again.

"I'll see you, then."

"See ya later, honey," Meredith says, before opening the car door, and Beca waves at the kids in the back, before extending the handle on her suitcase. She hears them all say goodbye once more, before they drive off, leaving her standing in front of the airport entrance.

And she takes a deep breath – a few, considering how warm it is, and she really wishes she'd brought a bottle of water – and she takes her phone out of her pocket. It's almost 10AM, and she figures that Chloe should be awake now. She thinks about just leaving it, letting Chloe text or call her first, to probably yell at her about where she's gone, and how she's making a huge mistake, and that she'll never forgive her. And she truly doesn't expect Chloe to forgive her either. But she knows why she's doing this. She knows that if she spends another day with Chloe – another minute with Chloe – her feelings will only get stronger. And she cannot be in love with her best friend. Cannot fall into that trap that she's only heard of in lame pop songs. She has a boyfriend, and the only way to figure out her feelings, to let them disappear, is to stay away from Chloe for a while. She knows that this is for the best, and she just hopes that Chloe understands.

She ignores the voices – those damn voices, they're like demons in the back of her head – telling her to just leave it, though, and she types out a text – types out a few texts – before settling on one, and presses send.

[9:52AM] Beca: Flying back to Atlanta. Please understand this is something I need to do.

She called it from day one. She knew this stupid trip was destined to be doomed.

And she doubted herself. Thought it would take a little longer than a week to realize, but apparently not, because here she is, standing outside an airport ready to run away, ready to turn her back once again on Chloe, like she has done before.

Like the time she left regionals in her freshman year, telling the Bellas, "if this is what I get for trying," before she stormed out of the room. And like both times at the retreat when she had turned her back on Chloe, once in the tent, and the other the next day when they fought, telling her that she's sick of hearing about the Worlds, and that "we all leave eventually." And she was right, because it's true. People do leave. The hard part of people leaving, though, is accepting that sometimes they don't come back. Aren't supposed to come back. Like her mom, and Chloe's brother, and the hamster she had in third grade, named Mr Bok Choy. And the inevitability that one day, in the near or far future, Chloe will leave – will never come back – absolutely terrifies her. So she figures that leaving now, before things can escalate, before she realizes her true, true feelings for Chloe, is the best thing to do.

Not for her sake, but for Chloe's sake. Because she'd hate to be the one slowing Chloe down, making Chloe question her own feelings if she ever told her how she truly felt about her. How she wishes she could kiss her, and be with her, and travel the world with her, and do everything that people with feelings for each other are supposed to do. How she could tell her that she loves her.

But Chloe doesn't have feelings for Beca, and she's just going to have to deal with that in the best way she can. In the only way she can.

By leaving.

"Hi," she says, when she finally gets to the front of the ticket line. "Do you know if there are any flights to Atlanta, Georgia? Going out today?"

The woman types something on her computer, and Beca distracts herself by tapping a beat on the desk in front of her. Taps her thumb twice, and her index finger twice, and her middle finger once. Over and over. Over and over and over, until the woman looks up at her, with a – clearly fake – smile on her face.

"There's a flight to Hartsfield–Jackson at five."

"That's perfect, thank you so much." She pulls her wallet out of her pocket for the third time that day, flicking through the notes. "How much?"

"One hundred and forty five dollars and sixty cents."

"One, two, three, shit. I only have one thirty."

"You can pay on card." Of course, doy. The woman pushes the card machine towards Beca. "We accept debit, credit, Visa, American Express, and MasterCard."

"Awesome. Thank you."

And sure enough, about an hour later, she's sat in a knock-off Starbucks in the airport – named Sunbucks. It even has a similar logo and everything, but there's just a sun firmly replacing the mermaid's face – with her laptop in front of her, and a one way ticket to Atlanta on the table beside her. And she keeps looking at it. Wonders that if she looks at it long enough, it will turn into something else, or tell her something; like how she's probably making the biggest mistake of her life.

So she distracts herself by making a mashup. She presses shuffle on her iTunes playlist, and she uses the first two songs that come up.

"I hope you're feeling okay, I hope you had a good day, and when you–"

"–Fuck. Off." She stops the music, clicking on a different playlist and pressing shuffle again.

She almost throws her laptop when Chloe by Emblem3 comes on a few songs later.

(Honestly, why she even has that song on her computer, she'll never know.)

Of course, every song that comes on, despite her clicking on the playlists that she had made without Chloe in mind, have to be songs that remind her of Chloe. But really, practically every song in the world reminds her of Chloe right now – even Upgrade Ya by Beyoncé, thanks to their small jam session the other day – and it's kind of not fair. Chloe's taken over the parts of her brain that she didn't even know could be taken over; like her five senses. Like if she reaches out to pick up her coffee, she can feel Chloe's hand on hers, telling her not to drink coffee in front of her laptop just in case she spills it. And if she closes her eyes, she can see Chloe in the pool, watching her as she paddles over to her, before reaching out and putting her hands on her shoulders. And if she sniffs up at the right angle, she can smell Chloe's perfume, because Beca had noticed – when she was in the bathroom – that she's actually wearing one of Chloe's shirts. And then, if she listens to a certain song on her laptop, she can hear Chloe's voice singing over it. Whether it's the soft, melancholy rhythm of The Civil Wars, or the fast beat of Billie Joel's 'We Didn't Start The Fire', and she can always hear how Chloe makes up her own lyrics because she doesn't know the words, and it's stupid, but Beca thinks it sounds better than the original.

Chloe is taking over her, and she has to remind herself – on more than one occasion – that what she's doing is the right thing. It's the most painful thing, but it's the right thing.

Before she knows it – after finishing her mashup of Jamie All Over and Alone Together, and then starting on another mix consisting of three different One Direction songs – the boarding call for her flight is announced over the speakers. And it's amazing, how fast seven hours pass when she's making music.

She saves her mix, and turns her laptop off, before closing it and putting it back in the case. Her suitcase has already gone through customs, and should hopefully be on the plane by now, so all she has is her backpack and her laptop case, and she hoists them both up on her shoulder. She makes sure to pick up her ticket, before making her way to the gate.

By the time she gets there, there's already a line of people, ready to go back to Atlanta, and she joins the end of the line, making sure to double check that she has the right ticket. And she checks her phone as she waits, hoping to see a message from Chloe. But all that shows is the picture of them that she has saved as her lock screen; a selfie of them with Chloe kissing Beca on the cheek, both with big smiles on their faces.

She clenches her jaw, locks her phone, and puts it in her back pocket.

It takes another ten minutes waiting in the line before she finally gets to the front, and she looks behind her to see that there's only a few other people waiting. And she hears the final boarding call, as she hands her ticket over to the man in front of the terminal.

And then she hears her name, and everything freezes.

She hears it again, closer this time, and she daren't turn around, because this is not happening.

"Beca!"

She closes her eyes.

She is not the type of person who gets chased through an airport.

"Beca Mitchell!"

She is not in a movie.

"Beca, wait!"

And she turns around, and then she sees her.

"Chloe–what? What are you doing?"

And she looks angry. Of course she looks angry. But Beca is too shocked that she's here to even notice anything else. Like how Chloe is crying, and how she still has her pajamas on, and how her hair is up in a messy bun, just how Beca likes it.

"What am I doing?" Chloe says when she finally reaches her. "What are you doing?" She prods Beca's shoulder when she says 'what', and then prods her again, harder, to emphasize the 'you.' And Beca finally notices that she's crying, because her voice is hoarse and shaky, and it's killing Beca, knowing that she's the reason for Chloe's tears. For Chloe's sadness.

"I'm–"

"–Yeah, you think you can just run away?" she interrupts, her bottom lip trembling, and Beca is convinced that Chloe is going to punch her or slap her, so she takes a step back. "Is that it? Is that what you're doing?"

"How did you even–"

"–I'm not done talking!" she puts her hand up to silence her, and she doesn't even bother to wipe the tears. "You're an asshole, do you know that?! You can't just leave me because you don't like admitting to yourself that you need me!" Beca takes another step back. "You can't just run away from your feelings, Beca!"

"My feelings?–Chloe–"

"–No! Don't talk." And then she takes two, inhumanely big strides, and she grabs the back of Beca's neck, and she pulls her in, and their lips crash together in the most cliché kiss that Beca only thought was possible in her dreams.

And Chloe runs her hands up from Beca's neck to hold her face, as she kisses her with everything that she is. And Beca kisses back, and she can feel Chloe's tears on her cheeks, and it takes a while for it to sink in that this is actually happening. That Chloe Beale chased after her, and is kissing her. Kissing her in the middle of the airport, like any cheesy 90's romantic comedy, and Beca is kissing her back, until she feels Chloe let out a sob, before pulling away from her, running her hands down her arms until she's holding both of her hands.

"Chloe," she says, looking beside her, to see the man in front of the terminal watching them with a bored look on his face, as if this happens every day. And the people in the line are the same, not even batting an eyelash at them, and it occurs to Beca that everything seems to have slowed down. Seems to be going in slow motion, because that's how Chloe makes her feel.

"You can't leave me." Chloe whispers, and it's killing her. God, it's killing her.

"I'm sorry."

"Beca."

"I'm sorry," she repeats, prying Chloe's hands from hers, watching the confusion wash over her face when she takes her ticket back from the man beside her. "I'm really sorry." there's tears in her eyes, and oh God, she's so sorry.

"What are you doing, Bec? Beca."

She feels like she's going to throw up, as she turns around and heads down the terminal, tears streaming down her face as she hears Chloe's cries get quieter and quieter.

Chapter Text

"Backpack on my back, walking down a railroad track / oh, I've been wanting to see you / eyes upon the rows of trees, an endless sea in front of me / oh, I've been longing to see you / you've been on my mind, talk about a lonely time / you don't know how much I need you / once I feel the downy snow, the only home I've ever known / I'll hold you close when I see you… / …and it seems to me / we sing soft and low / such a sweet hello / backpack on my back, standing on a railroad track / it won't be long 'til I see you / why do I always have to leave the only one I'll ever need? / now hold me close while I breathe you."
– the backpack song, bear attack


The plane feels like a cage.

Or a knife, maybe.

Ripping through the sky, reminding Beca of the way it felt like her heart was being stabbed, then ripped from out of her chest when she decided to leave Chloe behind.

It was only a matter of time before she started to regret her decision.

And she probably shouldn't take drugs from strangers, but when the woman next to her asks her if she wants something to help her sleep, she really can't seem to say no. Like, physically. She doesn't even realize that she's holding her hand out for them until she feels two small pills drop into her palm. And she feels like if she stays awake any longer, she'll end up jumping out of the plane, and yeah, she'll die, but at least then she won't be fifty miles away from Chloe.

(Which, right now, sounds like the worst thing in the world.)

Okay, so maybe the plane isn't that high up, but it feels like it. With every bit of turbulence, with every time her ears pop, and with every time the woman beside her asks her if she's okay – she feels like she's going to throw up. Which, ironically, is what she'd feel – and much, much more – if she was fifty miles up in the air. Like she isn't even here. Honestly though, she's not sure that being that far up would hurt as much as the thought of Chloe standing on her own in the airport, pleading for Beca not to leave her, begging her to stay.

But she knows what she's doing. Knows that Chloe will be better off without her. It's cliché, and she feels like such an idiot – a huge, idiotic, stupid, stupid idiot – for thinking all of this without talking it out with Chloe, but she knows that it's for the best. She's the rain and Chloe is the sunshine. She's a bolt of lightning and Chloe is the bright blue cloudless sky. She's a thunderstorm, and Chloe is the calm waves riding up and down the sandy shore.

Ugh, if Chloe knew she was thinking this way she'd never live it down.

So she orders a water, takes the tablets that the woman next to her gives her, and gets her laptop out. And again, because apparently God, Jesus, Joseph, Mary, Lucifer–everyone hates Beca Mitchell right now, the first song that comes on is 'I Got You' by Train.

It's probably karma.

And she laughs.

Because it's ironic, really, that she's leaving the one behind who she said she'd never leave.

Only, it's not ironic at all.

(It's fucking stupid.)

She listens to her music until she feels herself falling asleep, hoping that she can at least escape from Chloe in her dreams.


When she wakes up to the wind blowing on her face, and the sound of Train's 'I Got You' still playing, she knows that something is wrong.

Or not wrong at all.

Right, maybe.

So very right.

She looks beside her, hissing at the pain in her neck from sleeping so awkwardly, and she sees Chloe, and it feels like all of the air has left her lungs.

"Driving home on a summer night, singing old black water, keep on rolling til the time is right." Chloe sings quietly, in that sweet, beautiful voice that Beca has grown so accustomed to. One hand on the steering wheel and her other elbow resting on the car door, as she runs her index finger over her own chin. "I don't care if it rains I'll be just fine, sit back enjoy the ride until, I got you. I got you. You're the sun through my window, warming my skin, oh you. I got you. Like Sonny and Cher except I'll be there for you, I got you. Let old black water bring us togeth–oh hey." Chloe reaches out to turn the music down, looking down at Beca again, who hasn't taken her eyes off of Chloe since she woke up and noticed that holy fuck, Chloe is here, and she's not on a plane to Atlanta, and she doesn't even realize she's crying – silently sobbing, actually – until Chloe pulls up on the side of the road and asks her, "oh Becs, what's wrong? Are you okay?"

And she nods – nods frantically until she feels like her head is gonna fall off of her shoulders – and she wipes her eyes with the back of her hand, and she feels kind of dumb. Really dumb. And she's still curled into a ball, worried that if she moves, she'll wake up and realize that this is actually a dream, and she's still on the plane.

Thinks, for a moment, that this is probably the drugs she took, making her hallucinate. Because it all felt so, so real.

"Yeah, no." She says, sniffing up and moving, finally, so that she's not in an awkward laying-down-with-her-neck-pretty-much-bent-in-half position. And Chloe is still there, and she looks really beautiful right now, and she can't take her eyes off of her. Doesn't want to take her eyes off of her. "I just had the weirdest–the worst dream. Ever."

"What happened?"

"I… Nothing," she shakes her head and blows out a laugh, wiping her nose, "nothing important. It doesn't matter."

And she tries to stop crying, but the lump in her throat is kind of like, permanent right now. Has been for a while, it seems. She hates crying in front of people because they always want an explanation for why she's crying, and she can't exactly tell Chloe, "oh I realized that I'm falling for you and I had a dream that I fucked everything up, and I kind of never want to sleep ever again if it means I'll never have to experience a dream like that again."

She watches Chloe, watches the way the breeze softly blows in her hair, and the way she moves her sunglasses up to rest on the top of her head, and she watches her hands tap on the steering wheel as Anna Sun comes on. And the car isn't moving, but Beca still feels like they're driving at ninety thousand miles per hour, with the wind blowing in her face so much that she can barely breathe.

She digs her nails in her arm, and she hisses at the pain, and Chloe looks down at her again, and asks her, "seriously Becs, are you okay?" and she doesn't really know what to do.

So she sits up, and she takes her seatbelt off, before she launches herself at Chloe, giving her the tightest hug she can manage without knocking Chloe out. And she feels Chloe's hand tap her shoulder a few times, before saying "wow, a hug from Beca Mitchell?" and God, it all feels so right.

She pulls back slightly but still keeps her arms wrapped around Chloe's waist, and Chloe laughs and it's the most beautiful sound Beca's ever heard.

"Hey," she says, and Chloe turns to look at her, raising her eyebrows as she starts the car again. "Um," Beca pulls away, moving back to put her seatbelt back on, as Chloe looks out at the road in front of them and sets off. "I'm sorry," Beca whispers, "about last night."

"It's… Okay. It's okay, Becs. I'm sorry for acting like a child, I shouldn't have–"

"–no, stop. Don't talk."

"What?" Chloe looks at her again, and Beca repeats herself, with a smile this time, and Chloe just nods, looking back and forth between Beca and the road a few times.

"You're so beautiful." A grin spreads on Chloe's face, and she tells Beca to shut up, and Beca reaches out to turn the music up as Smile by Mikky Ekko comes on.

"Have you been driving all night?"

"Yup," Chloe nods, "I couldn't really sleep, and I figured that driving to San Antonio would be better than just sitting around in the car, so… Oh, and I put your playlist from your phone on. You don't mind, do you?"

Beca shakes her head, and she can't stop the smile from spreading on her face, as she says, "no, I don't mind. Not at all."

Chloe starts to sing along again, and Beca still hasn't taken her eyes off of her.


They arrived in San Antonio at 9AM and Beca hasn't gone five minutes without thinking about the dream.

(Except for when her and Chloe decided to passionately sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody. That occupied her mind for at least seven minutes.)

It's dumb, really. It was a dream. She's had hundreds of dreams before. She once had a dream that she was dating Aubrey in freshman year. Sure, she couldn't look Aubrey in the eye for like, two weeks afterwards, but it passed. It didn't mean anything. But despite how clueless Beca Mitchell can be, she knows for a fact that she can't just simply shrug this dream off like it was no big deal. There's only so many times she can tell herself, "no Beca, you do not have feelings for Chloe Beale," before she realizes that she's wrong.

So very, very wrong.

And it's a scary thought, but if her dream taught her anything, it's that running away will just make things a billion times worse. And even though she's 90% certain that Chloe won't chase her through the airport in her pajamas and kiss her at the terminal, she's still not going to risk it. Dream Chloe and Real Chloe might be different, but Beca knows one thing. And that's that if she ever left Chloe standing on her own at the airport, crying her eyes out, Chloe would never forgive her. And she'd never forgive herself, if she's honest. Hell, she almost can't forgive her dream state for leaving Chloe there, only hours after telling Chloe that she'll never leave her.

And God, she meant that. She can't imagine what it must feel like to no longer have a Chloe Beale in her life to keep her grounded – to keep her sane. And as much as the thought of getting too attached to Chloe scares her, nothing scares her more than the thought of leaving Chloe, or Chloe leaving her. Because Chloe is wonderful, in so many different ways that Beca never thought could be possible. Chloe is as close as it gets to perfection, and for Beca to purposely screw that up would be stupid.

So she has a crush on Chloe Beale. She's kind of maybe finally accepting that now. What she doesn't know, is how the hell she's going to deal with that when Chloe is acting so perfect all of the God damn time. Like forgiving her for being an ass last night. All Chloe wanted to do was spend some time with Beca without Jesse interrupting, and Beca knows that now. She knows that Chloe must've been pissed off at him for calling and texting 24/7 which is precisely why she chose to hang up. What Beca doesn't understand though, is how Chloe can forgive her so easily for being a dick and yelling at her.

And she apologizes a few more times during the day; tells Chloe that she's sorry – really sorry – for yelling at her, and Chloe tells her that it's fine. Then she apologizes again (she kinda can't help it) but Chloe is nothing but patient with her, and she tells her, again, that it's fine, it's okay, it's no problem, it's in the past, it's over now. Beca appreciates that, more than she'll ever know.

While it's kind of unusual, to be acting so normally around Chloe after having a dream like that, and after fighting with her last night, it's kind of nice. It's not awkward or uncomfortable. Beca is aware that Chloe has forgiven her, and Chloe is aware that Beca has forgiven her as well, for hanging up on Jesse. And it's just so them.

It's so Beca and Chloe.

It's kind of how it's supposed to be.


When Beca finds out that there's a zoo in San Antonio, she humbly agrees to go.

When she finds out that there are red pandas in said zoo, she loses her mind.

She's not even embarrassed at the squeal that escapes past her lips when she sees them. And maybe she should be – embarrassed, that is – at the scene she's making; pressing her hands and forehead against the fence hard enough to make permanent indentations, watching the little furry animals' every move, gasping whenever they so much as turn their heads.

When one of them looks at her, she almost screams.

And Chloe, bless her heart, has to put up with a hyper Beca Mitchell for the rest of the day, which is probably worse than a drunk Beca Mitchell. She's pretty sure that the people at the zoo are convinced that Beca is nine years old with the way she's acting, and when she insists on buying Chloe a t-shirt with the zoo logo on it, Chloe can't even find it in herself to stop her. Beca also buys herself a red panda keyring – "his name is Troy," she announces with a huge grin – which she happily attaches to Chloe's car keys.

By the time they get out of the zoo, Beca's practically forgotten all about the concern that came along with her dream. It's strange how things have gone back to normal, but she doesn't question it. Because Chloe tells Beca that there's a Whataburger nearby, and Beca doesn't know when they started holding hands again, but she doesn't really let go until she needs to.

By the time they find a Bed & Breakfast to stay at, Beca's almost falling asleep.

She's kind of in her own little world – her own little world of everything Chloe Beale – which is why, when Chloe asks her if she's talked to Jesse at all, she feels like she's been punched in the face. Because the day they just had was all kinds of perfect, and holding hands and joking around with Chloe kind of makes her forget about her problems.

So much so that she actually forgot about hers and Jesse's fight in the first place.

She remembers that she left him a message last night, but he hasn't called or texted her since, and she has no idea whether he actually got the message or not. He tends to do that a lot, forgets to check his voicemail. So it's kind of the right thing to do, to call Jesse – again – and apologize for hanging up on him. And even though she knows that Jesse wouldn't actually drive all the way to San Antonio to pick her up, she is kind of terrified that he'll offer, and it'll remind her of her dream, and she'll end up crying again.

So she tells Chloe that she's gonna wait for him to call her, and excuses herself to go take a shower.


Complimenting Chloe isn't something Beca does often.

It's why Chloe has to remind herself to keep breathing when Beca tells her – sat in the passenger seat with a smile on her face, after having just been crying at some bad dream she had – that she's beautiful.

It doesn't happen much, but when it does, Chloe doesn't really know what to do.

She could tell Beca that she's also beautiful or say something equally as kind to her, but Chloe knows, from experience, that doing so would just result in Beca telling her how much more beautiful Chloe is, and she can only take so many compliments from Beca Mitchell before she starts to feel lightheaded.

But they keep coming throughout the day. Occasional comments about how nice her hair looks today ("seriously, you look like the actual sunshine"), and how good she looks wearing those converse ("black converse really suit you"), and not to mention how she would blush whenever Chloe said anything nice back to her; comments which, normally, Beca would just respond to with a sarcastic comment or a, "duh, I know, I'm awesome."

Chloe's not sure that Beca is even aware that she's doing it, and it reminds her of when she kept complimenting the Kommissar whenever they had a run in with DSM. And it's kind of cute, seeing Beca spew out constant compliments, and flushing straight afterwards, trying to act like nothing even happened. And Chloe doesn't mind at all, really.

Still doesn't seem to stop the way her heart swells every time she does it though.

While Beca's in the shower, Chloe shouts in and asks her if she can use her laptop to Skype Aubrey and of course, Beca tells her – after stopping her solo of I Knew You Were Trouble – that she can. She types in Beca's password – because if four years with the Bellas has taught her anything, it's that she should not leave her stuff around if it has easy access – and she's not surprised to see that Beca's wallpaper is the picture that Emily took of the Bellas in their cap and gowns at graduation. She remembers Beca's, "we're taking the photo with or without you, we are taking the photo with or without you", as Stacie and Fat Amy were in the living room taking selfies, almost making them late to the ceremony.

And it's weird, to think that they only graduated three weeks ago. She still remembers the Bellas yelling, "Bellas for life!" at Emily before she took the same photo that's sitting in front of her on Beca's laptop. She still remembers how Beca refused to say anything – or even smile – for the photo, but then two minutes later, she was laughing at something that Amy said; laughing so much that she almost cried. She still remembers Beca's face when she agreed to move in with her two weeks before they graduated, after Chloe had brought up the idea over dinner. Remembers the feeling in her stomach when Beca told her that she was staying in Atlanta for a few years before she even thought about moving to L.A. Remembers the two of them finding a nice apartment in Atlanta that's equal distance to their new jobs that they'll be starting once they get back. And she remembers the quiver in Beca's voice when they stood in their new living room together, and Chloe told her that she's proud of them for making it this far.

By the time she's finished reminiscing about the photo, Beca's already out of the shower, padding around the room in her gym shorts that she wears as pajamas, and the t-shirt that she had bought Chloe from the zoo. And even though Chloe hasn't even worn the t-shirt yet, it's kind of nice, seeing Beca in her clothes.

"What did Aubrey have to say?"

"Oh," Chloe looks back down at the computer and clicks on the Skype button, "I haven't talked to her yet, I was just… texting my mom."

"Ugh, you mean I'll have to talk to her as well now?"

"Oh shush, you love her."

She hears Beca laugh, and she has to remind herself to sign in to Skype before Beca asks any more questions. She can't exactly tell Beca that she's been daydreaming about their graduation, and how far they've come since then despite it only being three weeks ago.

Luckily Aubrey is online when she signs in, and she presses call, surprised when Aubrey answers straight away. She's met with Aubrey's blurry face grinning at her, and she can't stop from smiling back. She hasn't had chance to Skype with Aubrey since the retreat, due to them both being super busy. The last time she saw Aubrey was at the Worlds, and even then, she only saw her for two days.

In between frustratedly trying to find better signal around the room, and mumbled, "oh for fuck's sake, Skype" whenever it would crash, they talk about how their days went. Chloe tells Aubrey that they're in San Antonio and they visited the zoo and Beca lost her shit over the pandas (she's never gonna let her live that one down), and she laughs when she hears Beca mumble, "I'm weak for them, okay" from across the room.

"Who would've thought," Aubrey says, taking a sip of her tea, "Beca Mitchell is a sucker for cute animals."

"Bite me, Posen."

"I have much higher standards than that, Mitchell."

Beca laughs sarcastically as she sits down beside Chloe, leaning into her with her arm behind Chloe to support her. Chloe watches as Beca looks at Aubrey on the screen and laughs at the sight of her, no make-up on with her hair in rollers.

"Jesus Christ, did you age like fifty years?"

"Beca!" Chloe slaps her on the arm, but they're all laughing, and it all feels so nice.

Aubrey tells her about the new retreat that she's setting up, tells her that it's not up and running yet, but she's managed to find some people – along with her Aunt Trish's help – that can help her with paper work, business plans, hiring people, all that jazz. And if all goes well, it should be up and running within a few more months. She hasn't found a roommate though yet, and Chloe has to hold back her laugh when Beca asks her, "is that because you've stated in the ad that you don't want anybody who smokes, drinks, has any pets, makes any noise…" and then continued to list off traits that, in all honesty, wouldn't surprise her if Aubrey had actually stated them on the advertisement she put out.

They talk for a few hours until about 11PM, when Aubrey states that she has some paperwork to go over before bed, and they agree to Skype again soon.

When Beca falls asleep, it's to the soothing sound of Chloe humming along to Imagine Dragons.


Turns out Dallas is even hotter than Austin and San Antonio.

And once again, Beca is dying.

They set off a little later than usual, thanks to Beca and her inability to wake up, even when Chloe is practically jumping on her. The heat, on top of driving non-stop for four hours until they arrived in Dallas, was enough to make Beca want to be back in Atlanta, where at least it didn't feel like she was dying from dehydration every two minutes. The only good thing is that it's slightly less humid. (Chloe had pointed that out, and trust Chloe Beale to find the silver lining in everything.)

They find another Bed & Breakfast and book a room, before they go get something to eat at a restaurant. Luckily, there's a nice Italian place down the road from the Bed & Breakfast that has good reviews on TripAdvisor, which Chloe has been using a lot these past few days.

Beca thinks it's kind of ridiculous, judging a place by how other people have rated it. People have different opinions. Some people thought Adolf Hitler was a good person, it doesn't mean they were right. People are like stars, in the way that every single one is different, unique, extraordinary. Letting other people decide your fate isn't exactly something Beca Mitchell likes to do.

Then again, it's only a restaurant, and Chloe wants to go, so she agrees with only minimal complaints.

It has nothing to do with the way Chloe pouts at her.

By the time they get back to the Bed & Breakfast, it's already getting late, so they just decide to stay in and watch a movie on Beca's laptop, seeing as this is the only place they've come across that actually has decent WiFi. She signs into her Netflix account (she doesn't even know why she has it, Chloe uses it more than she does) and she lets Chloe choose a movie as she gets washed and brushes her teeth in the bathroom.

When she walks back into the room, Chloe is laid in her pajamas – the adorable pink ones with the elephants on them – with her back against the headboard and an empty space beside her for Beca to sit.

"Hey Chlo?" Beca says, sitting next to Chloe, smiling at how Chloe instantly moves closer to her. And Chloe looks at her, urging her to say whatever it is she wants to say, and she gulps quietly at just how bright – just how beautiful Chloe's eyes are. "You said you stopped drawing two years ago, but your brother died six years ago."

Chloe frowns. "Yeah."

"Why… did it take you so long to stop?"

She thinks Chloe is going to ignore her, which she's fine with. That was pretty forward of her, but she's been thinking about it for a while now; been wondering why Chloe would suddenly stop four years after her brother's death.

But then Chloe sits up, holding onto the laptop so it doesn't fall off of her lap, and sighs. "My dad and my brother have always been crazy about art." Her voice is quiet, and if Beca wasn't so close to her she'd probably struggle to hear. "Two years ago, my dad left my mom. I guess it just hit me really hard, and whenever I draw or paint, it reminds me of what he did to my mom."

Beca's eyebrows knit together, "two years ago?" she shakes her head, "we were friends then."

"Yeah."

"Why didn't you tell me? I could have… I don't know, helped?"

"I don't know," she breathes out a sigh. "I guess, because you told me about your parents' divorce… I didn't want to make you uncomfortable."

"You could never make me uncomfortable."

"What, even if I barged in on your shower?"

"Shut up." She smiles, reaching over to press the spacebar on her laptop. "What are we watching?"

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."

"Isn't that a TV show?"

Chloe nods, making herself comfy against Beca's side. "You don't like movies, so…"

Beca smiles, tilting the screen so Chloe can see it better.


It's amazing how much Kimmy reminds Beca of Chloe, minus the whole 'mole woman' thing (which, by the way, is incredible. How the hell that reverend got away with keeping four women hostage for that long, she'll never know.) But Kimmy is so bright and bouncy and excited all the time, and not to mention the way her smile lights up her whole face; just like Chloe.

They watch about four episodes before Beca starts to feel tired. Chloe is still awake though, judging by the occasional giggle that seems to vibrate through her body. Beca thinks it's adorable. However, she kind of has other plans before they go to bed, so when the fourth episode finishes, she presses the escape button and closes the window.

"C'mere," she tells Chloe as she turns her laptop off and shuts it, sitting up and taking Chloe's hand. She pulls her off of the bed and toward the doors opposite them, and there's a small balcony that overlooks the lake opposite the Bed & Breakfast, and the way that the moon is shining on the lake makes it look like a painting.

What's even more beautiful though, is the hundreds of stars in the sky above them.

"We missed the sunset but I figured we could watch the stars," Beca says, leaning against the railing on her elbows, and she feels Chloe do the same, their arms touching as she looks up at the sky. "My phone is on silent in my coat pocket," Beca says, before looking at Chloe, to see her already looking at her. "No distractions."

And Chloe smiles, before taking Beca's hand in hers, and looking up at the sky.

Beca's always loved the stars; loves how it always looks like you can reach out and grab one, no matter how many millions of miles away they may be. Loves the way the stars make up the different constellations – Boötes being her favorite – and she loves how you can make almost anything if you trace the stars with your finger. Loves the vast blackness of the sky, consuming practically everything except the stars and the moon, and she loves the different stories behind every single one.

"Look how beautiful they are," she hears Chloe say. "They're all burning so bright."

Beca wonders what it's like to scoop them all up; to hold the universe in her hands.

She thinks that holding Chloe's hand is as close as she'll get.

"You burn brighter than any star in the sky," Beca whispers, head tilted up, eyes darting around the sky as she looks for Ursa Minor. She can feel Chloe looking at her, and she smiles when she feels Chloe's lips on her jaw.

The stars have nothing on Chloe Beale.

Chapter Text

"You look so wonderful in your dress / I love your hair like that / the way it falls on the side of your neck / down your shoulders and back / we are surrounded by all of these lies / and people who talk too much / you got the kind of look in your eyes / as if no one knows anything but us / should this be the last thing I see / I want you to know it's enough for me / cause all that you are is all that I'll ever need / I'm so in love, so in love / you look so beautiful in this light / your silhouette over me / the way it brings out the blue in your eyes / is the tenerife sea / and all of the voices surrounding us here / they just fade out when you take a breath / just say the word and I will disappear / into the wilderness."
– tenerife sea, ed sheeran


Out of all the places in the world, Chloe never thought she'd be here.

Standing on a balcony of a Bed & Breakfast in Dallas, watching the stars with Beca Mitchell. It's quite extraordinary actually, the way her life turned out, and it just goes to show that not everything goes to plan. Chloe wouldn't say she has a plan, but she has something. Something she knows that she'll figure out soon enough.

When she kisses Beca on the jaw, it feels like everything in her life is finally right.

It takes all she has in her not to kiss Beca again, properly this time; really kiss her. To pin her against the railing and place soft, tender kisses on her lips; kisses down her jawline, down her neck, across her collarbone. To wrap her arms around her neck and kiss her until she can't feel her lips. How could she not want that? Ever since this morning, Beca's been saying the sweetest things to her. Things that Chloe hasn't ever heard Beca say to anybody else (not even the Kommissar, and Chloe knows exactly how out-of-control Beca was back then). But Chloe knows that doing that – kissing Beca – would just make things messy. She doesn't want to be the person who Beca cheats on Jesse with. As much as she, low-key – high-key – wants Jesse out of the picture, she knows it's not right. Knows that that's incredibly selfish of her.

And it probably isn't the best idea to kiss Beca on the jaw because two minutes later, Chloe sees it. The way her eyes look down, instead of up at the stars, and the way her smile falls as she untangles her hand from Chloe's, placing them both awkwardly on the railing in front of her.

"You okay?" Chloe's voice is quiet when she asks. Probably because she's scared to know the answer, or maybe it's because she's still taken aback by what Beca had said to her. So when Beca just shakes her head, forcing a smile as she squeezes her eyes shut, Chloe knows something is wrong. "Hey," Chloe whispers, resisting the urge to grab Beca's hand again, because she clearly doesn't want to hold hands, so Chloe respects that. It still scares her though, how Beca still hasn't opened her eyes yet. "Becs."

"Yeah," she breathes out a laugh. "I'm fine."

"You don't look fine."

"I'm just… I don't know. It doesn't matter."

"Okay, this… is how this story goes," Chloe says, touching Beca's hand with the tip of her finger as she faces her. "I'm Chloe, you're Beca. Hi," she smiles encouragingly as her finger taps Beca's hand. "We've been best friends for four years; you're all shy and closed off and I'm open about most things. When I ask you questions, a few chapters later you eventually tell me what's wrong with you. I don't like that story and neither do you, so can we skip some of the angst by being honest with each other?"

"God, I wish it were that easy."

"Hey, it can be."

When Beca looks at her, Chloe can't help herself. She slowly leans in again, placing a kiss on Beca's cheek this time. Her lips linger for a moment, before she pulls away slightly, but her body is closer to Beca's now, and Beca is looking up at her with that look in her eyes that makes Chloe's insides go crazy.

And it's stupid, how much of an effect Beca has on her. How Beca can look at her with a small smile and Chloe feels like all of her troubles have gone away.

It's really stupid.

Because all of her troubles are still here, standing in front of her and going by the name Beca Mitchell.

"Becs." She resists the urge to lean in again as Beca finally looks at her. Really looks at her. "Are you okay?" She watches Beca's eyes; watches as they flick back and forth between her own eyes, before slowly making their way down her face, eyeing her lips for a fraction of a second longer than she normally does, before looking away.

"I think I'm gonna break up with Jesse."

Chloe opens her mouth to say something, but quickly shuts it, because really, what do you say to that? ("Congratulations!", "That's great buddy, way to go!", "That's awful!", "That sucks, I'm so sorry!") Chloe is normally excellent with words, but tonight it feels like the wire that connects her brain to her mouth has been cut off, and no matter how hard she tries, she can't for the life of her think of what to say.

"I just…" Beca sighs, shaking her head again before looking up at the sky. It's quiet for a moment, but Chloe doesn't look away from Beca. And she can see her, side-eying her as she pretends to look at the sky. It'd make Chloe laugh if it wasn't for the fact that she's actually really worried about her. "Do you know about Selene?"

"Who?" Chloe asks, confused at the change of subject.

"She's a Goddess of the moon." Chloe shakes her head. "She… Nah, forget it, it's stupid."

"It's not. Nothing you say is stupid." Chloe smiles. "Except when you pronounce the 'a' in carmel."

"It's caramel!"

Chloe laughs, leaning against the railing again, bumping shoulders with Beca. "Tell me," she whispers.

"She… was the daughter of Gaia and Uranus," Beca says after a short pause. Her head is still craned up, looking at the sky above her. "Selene was one of the Titans, the 13 immortal children of Gaia and Uranus. She and her brother, Helios, were responsible for controlling the movements of the sun and moon across the sky. The ancient Greeks believed that Selene would drive a white chariot – the moon – across the sky each night. Helios would do the same thing each morning in his golden chariot – the sun. People described her as a beautiful woman with long, flowing hair."

"Like me," Chloe says, flipping her hair over her shoulder dramatically. And Beca just laughs, looking at Chloe for a brief moment before rolling her eyes and looking across the lake.

"One night, Selene saw a man – a mortal – sleeping on the earth. His name was Endymion, and according to most legends, he was a shepherd tending his sheep in the countryside, although some people say he was an astronomer. Anyway, Selene was entranced by him, so she asked Zeus to give him eternal life and to make him sleep forever. He agreed and Endymion stayed young and asleep for all of time."

"Why would she ask for that? For him to sleep forever, if she loved him?"

"So he wouldn't ever leave her." Beca finally looks away from the lake, locking her eyes on Chloe's as she subtly moves closer. Chloe feels it though, like a shift in the air. Like she's suffocating, but in the best way. And with Beca looking at her like that, it's becoming harder and harder to resist leaning in again.

"She shouldn't have to ask for him to stay. If he loved her then he would've stayed regardless."

"He was in love with her, but she was immortal and he wasn't. In some stories, Zeus woke him and asked him what type of life he would choose to lead. Endymion asked that he might sleep forever beneath her light."

"That's beautiful."

"Then he banged her and they made fifty babies that represent the lunar months."

Chloe bursts out laughing, slapping Beca on the arm as she leans back, taking a step away from her. "You're the actual worst," she mutters. And Beca laughs, but Chloe watches as her face falls serious again. And it's strange. Even though Beca is joking around, this feels incredibly intimate. Like Beca is revealing things about herself that she's never told anybody else.

"There's a poem that my dad showed me called "Selene" by Anna Hempstead Branch. It's fucking long, like almost five hundred lines, but… I really like the first few lines. It's kind of–I don't know. It's nice."

"Can you tell me it?"

Beca pauses, eyes trained ahead of her, looking like she's thinking of how it goes. And Chloe watches the way her eyes squint and she purses her lips, until her eyebrows raise, and she says "but when Endymion, wandering alone, with youth and love of loveliness forlorn. Being greatly sorrowful with beauty, came upon the silence of a moonlit lake." Beca pauses again, this time keeping her eyes on Chloe. "Deep in a sacred grove; and when he saw how in the water a pale presence shone, so he might touch that ancient loveliness, yet never lay a hand upon the moon."

Chloe gulps. "He wanted her but he didn't dare to try and get her."

"Yeah."

She bites her lip, feeling the words that she's been desperately wanting to say for four years; feels them on the tip of her tongue, ready to come out. Ready to tell Beca that all that she has to do is say the words and she can have her. That she already has her. Just those four words, and it'll all be out in the open.

"You can–"

"–Enough cheesy shit anyway, I'm tired and we have to be up early tomorrow." She turns around to walk back into the room, but stops when she notices that Chloe was speaking. "Sorry, what were you gonna say?"

"I… nothing," Chloe shakes her head. "It can wait."

And Beca smiles, walking back into the room, but Chloe grabs her hand, turning her back around. She thinks that she could just do it now. Just kiss Beca and get it over with. It's kind of hard to resist, especially after all of that. She's already kissed Beca twice tonight, so a third time won't do any harm.

Except she knows that's a huge lie.

"C'mere," she whispers instead, pulling Beca towards her with a gentle smile, wrapping her arms around her shoulders. And Beca hugs her back straight away and it's not a kiss but it feels amazing. It's one of the things Chloe loves about Beca. They don't normally hug often, but when they do, it's all kinds of perfect. Beca's head fits perfectly in the dip of Chloe's neck, and Chloe doesn't have to strain her neck too much to rest it on Beca's shoulder either. And it feels even better when Beca wraps her arms around Chloe's waist and squeezes, because it's not often that Beca returns her hugs.

And Chloe knows that Beca doesn't trust easily. Knows that she creates a barrier between herself and everyone she knows, which is why Chloe is so thankful for this; that Beca is telling her things like this. She doesn't trust easily, but she has so much love in her, and Chloe can see it in the small things she does. Sees it in the kind smiles she gives every now and again, and the soft tone of her voice when she whispers things late at night; things that she only tells Chloe. She has millions of thoughts and words tangled up in her mind, and Chloe can see it in the way she zones out and looks ahead, as if she's somewhere else. Life isn't easy, and it certainly hasn't been easy on Beca – Chloe can see it if she looks into her eyes for long enough – but she's strong. She's so strong.

She's a masterpiece, and Chloe thanks God every day for leading her to Beca Mitchell.


They arrive in Lawton, Oklahoma at 12:30PM the next day.

The two hour drive is spent with Beca softly humming along to Cheap Trick and Lynyrd Skynyrd as Chloe reads her book in the passenger seat beside her. Chloe's not sure how one can softly hum along to bands like that, but Beca somehow makes it work because she's perfect, obviously. And Chloe likes it; likes the domesticity of it.

They don't need the music on full blast to be comfortable with each other. And despite the awkwardness last night after their chat, when Chloe wasn't sure whether she should climb into bed with Beca or get in her own bed because she didn't want to cross a line, it was as if nothing had changed.

Chloe knows that something has changed though. Beca clearly had something on her mind when she was opening up to Chloe last night, and she doesn't want to jump to any conclusions, but she's pretty sure that maybe, there could be a slight possibility that Beca might like her too. Which is probably stupid to assume, but ever since her dream, Beca has been acting different; a good different. She's opening up more, telling Chloe things that she had no idea about – like how she's actually really smart, which is one of Chloe's weaknesses.

Or maybe Beca is just Chloe's weakness.

(If Chloe Beale was Superman, there's no doubt that Beca Mitchell would be her kryptonite.)

They go to The Holy City when they arrive, with Beca complaining that it's too hot – once again – most of the way around. It's beautiful though. There are gravel paths winding up hills, different years-old structures, memorials for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, a Veterans Walkway, the World Chapel, and a beautiful white marble statue of Christ of the Wichitas. Plus, there's music throughout the gardens, and even though neither Chloe nor Beca are particularly religious, they actually find it incredibly interesting seeing all these historical structures. (Even Beca does, which is surprising. But it turns out she loves history, and Chloe wonders how the hell she hadn't known this before.)

There's a couple who operate the gift shop who tell them about the pageant that is presented there every Easter; tell them that people act out a three hour story of the resurrection of Jesus, and Chloe has to stop herself from snapping a picture of Beca listening so intently as they tell them about it. She buys a magnet from the gift shop, and they eventually part ways at around 5PM, after the couple tell them to make sure to visit again soon.

Beca almost shits herself when she sees a few long horns and buffaloes on the way out.

"They're real!"

"Of course they're real, Becs, what did you–"

"–I've only ever seen them in textbooks or on the internet!"


It takes three glasses of wine, after they stop at Harlow's later that night, for Beca to get drunk. There's a football game playing on the TV's in the bar, but Beca hasn't taken her eyes off of Chloe since they got here.

She's wearing a black dress, and it's really nothing special, but Beca hasn't seen the dress before, and she looks beautiful in it. She always looks beautiful, but tonight, it's like the beauty has doubled. Tripled, even. When Beca looks at Chloe, it feels like the whole world could end right now, but it wouldn't even matter. As long as she gets to look at Chloe for a minute longer, she'll be fine.

She should be terrified, really, that she's feeling all these things. People have come and gone throughout her life, ex-boyfriends, childhood friends, pets, her mother, even her dad for a short amount of time, but Beca knows – knows without a doubt – that that's not the case with Chloe. Chloe isn't just going to be one of those friends that you eventually lose touch with. Beca knows that Chloe is sticking around, and she realizes that she's been oblivious up to now; oblivious about her feelings for Chloe and just how much she likes her. She knows now, that she's falling for Chloe. She might even love her. And the thought of that excites her more than she'll ever care to admit.

She should've seen it coming, because honestly, who doesn't have a crush on Chloe Beale? She's practically perfect, from the way her eyes light up when she's excited, to the way her left leg always crosses over her right one when she sits down. And it's kind of crazy, that Beca hadn't noticed all of this before; hadn't noticed just how entrancing Chloe Beale is.

"What?"

"What?" Beca blinks.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Like what?"

Chloe smiles, looking down at her glass of orange juice. "I don't know," she glances back up. "Like you want to tell me something important."

"I think you look wonderful tonight. That's important."

"You're drunk."

"Doesn't mean my eyes don't work."

Chloe laughs, shaking her head as she sips her drink. She kind of wishes that she could have a glass of wine like Beca, but she had offered to drive them to a Motel after they hung out for a while. Had she known Beca would be getting this drunk though, she would've told her not to bother drinking. It kind of kills her when Beca's drunk, because she tends to be really touchy-feely, and most of the time she says things that Chloe knows she'll regret in the morning.

She just hopes tonight is different.

But judging by the way Beca is looking at her, she doubts it.

She has that look in her eye that, if Chloe wasn't aware she had a boyfriend, would look like she wanted her. And just the thought of Beca wanting her makes Chloe's stomach turn, so she busies herself by looking around the bar.

There are a few tables scattered around the room, but Chloe and Beca are sat next to each other at the bar, and the seats are incredibly comfy. It's actually quite busy with couples – most of which are middle aged, sure, but they're not really the type of people that Chloe and Beca try to avoid. That title goes to the tall, jock-type looking boys who are way too young to be in a bar like this. Although Chloe is pretty sure that Beca hates everybody in here, if the comments from earlier are anything to go by. ("Ew, why would you bring your kid here, is that even legal?", "Why the hell do they look like they hate each other?", "Ugh, get a room.")

One thing that Chloe has noticed since they arrived though, is that Beca hasn't stopped staring at her. And it would be fine, if it wasn't for the fact that this look is different somehow. It's giving Chloe false hope, and she doesn't really know how longer she can take it. But what she's also noticed, is that Beca's also been staring at the woman behind the bar all night. And it's not really her place to be acting jealous, because she's had to put up with three years of Beca and Jesse, so she's used to it. But having Beca staring at someone else, someone who isn't her; it doesn't really sit well with Chloe. Which is another reason why Chloe regrets offering to be the designated driver for tonight, because the more Beca's eyes follow the waitress walking past, the more it feels like Chloe is drowning in her own jealousy.

Which is probably how Beca felt with Jacob back in Panama City, but Chloe manages to convince herself that the situation is entirely different.

"Chlo," Beca says, pulling Chloe out of her reverie, and Chloe hums, blinking a few times. "I said will you dance with me?"

Chloe's eyebrows knit together, and she smiles as she hears the beginning notes of a song that she's not familiar with.

"Wow," she says, standing up. "Beca Mitchell wants to slow dance?"

"Shut up, nobody said anything about slow dancing. I'm about to whip the robot out."

"Oh God, no." Chloe laughs, grabbing Beca's hand and pulling her towards the couples that are already on the floor, arms wrapped around each other as they move to the soft, slow melody.

It's probably stupid. Actually, it is stupid. And risky, and reckless, and probably dangerous too. Chloe's aware of the state of Oklahoma; aware of the homophobia, and how it's with the few other states in America still discriminating against the LGBTQ community. But she manages to sweep her eyes across the room, and there are already two women dancing with each other, so she figures that it's safe.

If not, then she's a fast runner, and Beca has a mean punch.

Beca's hands on her waist interrupt her thoughts again, and she realizes that this is the first time that they've ever slow danced together. All of the other times they've danced, it's always been to fast-paced songs, and there have always been other people jumping all over the place around them, rubbing up against them and causing them to separate. But now it's just the two of them, with no Bellas dragging them away from each other, and no Jesse wanting to dance with Beca.

It's just the two of them and it's perfect.

And Chloe listens to the song; listens as her fingers tap along on Beca's shoulders, her thumbs touching the bare skin on her neck.

One night to be confused, one night to speed up truth

We had a promise made, four hands and then away

Both under influence, we had divine scent

To know what to say, mind is a razor blade

To call for hands of above, to lean on

Wouldn't be good enough, for me, no

"This isn't awkward," Beca says, interrupting the song.

"No, it's not."

"Kinda thought it'd be a little awkward."

Chloe smiles, shaking her head. "You're kind of always awkward anyway, so…"

"So this is awkward for you?"

"No," Chloe laughs. "It's perfect."

"Oh, well thank you Madame." Beca winks dramatically, flicking her hair out of her eyes for added effect. "Just don't stand on my toes."

"I'll try not to."

One night of magic rush, the start a simple touch

One night to push and scream, and then relief

Ten days of perfect tunes, the colors red and blue

We had a promise made, we were in love

She can feel her hands sweating; can feel the way Beca's hands stay just where they are on her hips, not too high or not too low. Can feel Beca's body close to hers, and no matter how many times Chloe breaks eye contact, she can still feel Beca looking at her, until she gives in and eventually looks back down at her. And each and every time they move, every time they step sideways, Chloe feels like they're floating. Just the two of them, with nothing else to interrupt them.

When Beca closes her eyes and leans in, Chloe almost faints. But then Beca rests her head on her shoulder, and she lets out a heavy sigh as her hands wrap tighter around her waist.

She swears she hears Beca whisper, "you're my Selene," into her shoulder, but her heart is pounding way too loud to focus on anything right now.


Chloe has decided that being in love with Beca Mitchell is the most sexually frustrating thing that has ever happened to her. Ever.

It turns out that when Chloe is drunk, she doesn't notice just how touchy-feely Beca is. But when Chloe is sober, it feels like their roles have reversed completely. She's normally the toucher, the one who initiates hugs and dances and hand-holding, and holds eye contact for more than four seconds. But when Beca is drunk and doing all of that stuff, it feels like Chloe is a twelve year old boy who has a crush on his babysitter; constantly telling herself to act cool, and trying not to look away in embarrassment whenever Beca says something even remotely nice to her. She's getting much worse at this whole 'keeping her feelings from spilling out everywhere' thing.

It's like Beca is a completely different person.

They hold hands a lot, sure, but Beca hasn't let go of Chloe's hand since she came back from the restroom earlier, after Chloe had told her that they should go find a Motel to stay at because they have to be up early to head to Albuquerque in the morning. And Chloe loves holding Beca's hand; loves how Beca always strokes her thumb across her skin, and the way their wrists press against each other, like they're just meant to be together. She loves it. But it's kind of hard to concentrate on anything when she has a Beca Mitchell attached to her arm at all times.

Even when they're not holding hands, Beca somehow always manages to touch Chloe in some way, and not even in suggestive places, either. She'll tap a beat on Chloe's wrist, or she'll make sure their knees are touching when they sit next to each other. She does that a lot, Chloe has noticed. Touches her distractedly, and it's not just tonight. When they were watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt last night, Beca would drag her fingers over her skin every now and again, feeling the shape of Chloe's bones, like it's comforting for her to know that she's there.

She's not used to this, and yes, it's frustrating. So much so, that it's taking everything she has in her not to just pull the car over and kiss Beca.

But she keeps telling herself – as much as it hurts to say it – that Beca has Jesse. And even though she said she was going to break up with him, she hasn't spoken to him all day, and Chloe isn't going to make any moves until she knows that Jesse is out of the picture. She may be sexually frustrated, but she's not about to make Beca's life even more complicated than it already is.

Instead, she focuses on the road, looking around for a Motel that they could stay at.


It's just her luck when the Motel they find only has single rooms available.

But it's nearing midnight, and Beca is almost falling asleep, slumped against her, and Chloe doesn't have the energy to drive anywhere else tonight. Plus, she has already packed a pair of pajamas each and a spare pair of clothes for tomorrow into Beca's backpack, to save herself from carrying their luggage up to the room for one night, and Beca is telling her, "I'm so tired, Chloe, I can see the galaxy behind my eyes."

She makes sure to keep telling Beca to stay awake, in case she ends up dropping on the floor and falling asleep in the middle of the lobby, and as she's paying for the room, she feels Beca pull away from her. She watches as she walks over to a stand of leaflets, and she picks one up and turns around to show it to Chloe, a huge grin on her face as she yells, "we went there today!"

"Shhh, Becs, you have to be quiet."

"Why?" Beca's eyes widen as she walks back over to Chloe, handing her the leaflet.

Chloe takes it with a 'thank you' before saying, "because people are sleeping and you know how important sleep is." And she smiles when Beca nods, mimicking zipping her mouth shut and throwing away the key.

It doesn't really surprise Chloe when the room is cold and dark, even after she switches the light on. It's kind of like something out of a horror movie.

"I'm scared," Beca whispers, her voice still quiet in case she wakes anybody up, even though there's nobody else around, and Chloe responds with a nod of her head.

"Me too, Becs."

And despite her recent statement that she's scared, Beca is the first to fully walk into the room and flop down onto the bed. And Chloe is too distracted by trying to look for something wrong with the room to even notice Beca stripping off, until she's in only her underwear.

"Chlo."

"Yeah?"

"I'm cold."

She turns around, eyes widening when she sees Beca curled up in a ball, practically naked.

"Jesus."

"No, my name's Beca."

"You're a pain in the ass."

"Thank you."

She helps Beca into a pair of pajamas, before excusing herself to go to the bathroom to change. Of course, she almost cries when she sees just how disgusting the bathroom is, and she daren't even use the water to wash her face in case it's infected with something.

When she comes out of the bathroom, there's already a lump in the bed where Beca is laying, and Chloe smiles as she walks over and gets into bed with her, making sure to leave as much as a gap in between them as she can. That plan backfires however, when she feels, at the other side of the bed, Beca shivering. And it's not like she's particularly warm herself, so she figures that it's only morally right for her to move a little closer to Beca.

"Becs."

"Hm."

"Becs, are you awake?" Beca mumbles something that Chloe doesn't quite catch in response. "Are you cold?"

"Yeah."

"C'mere." She moves closer to Beca, her front pressing against Beca's back as she wraps her arms around her.

Morally right, translating to; literally any reason to cuddle Beca Mitchell.

"Hey, Chloe?"

"Yeah?" Chloe closes her eyes.

"If I tell you something now, can you promise me it won't get weird?" Her speech is still a little slurred, but she still sounds serious.

"Of course."

"I…"

Chloe counts the breaths that Beca takes; One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.

"You what?"

"I've been a little confused lately, about, um…" she pauses, clearing her throat, "about a lot of things. But for a while, I've kind of… God, this is harder than I thought–"

"–Hey," Chloe pokes Beca's side, but Beca doesn't move. "It's okay," Chloe whispers, pressing her mouth against Beca's shoulder, and she mumbles, "I'm not gonna run."

"I think I might like girls."

It takes a second for it to sink in, because she was not expecting that. She doesn't quite know what she was expecting, but it wasn't that. And it doesn't particularly shock her that Beca told her, but it still manages to take her by surprise a little bit. Eventually Chloe smiles though, and she hugs Beca tighter, and presses a soft kiss to the back of her neck.

"Goodnight, Bec."

Chapter Text

 

"She's got big blue eyes and tangled hair / voguing in her underwear / and nothing is better / than doing nothing together / now she got a toothbrush as a microphone / belting out the Rolling Stones / and I'm the last one to stop her / can't believe that I got her / we get so close / kissing like eskimos / it's a little bit much, I know, I do / isn't she cra-crazy beautiful? / isn't she strange, strange and wonderful? / I think I love her more than I even understand / she got a classic style that's all her own / a smile you can hear through the telephone / and she says she's a rebel / but she's way too sentimental / and she's precious even when she's mad / gets angry and I start to laugh / and I know that it's nothing / she's just pushing my buttons."
– crazy beautiful, andy grammar


Beca wakes up to Chloe singing The Rolling Stones.

It doesn't surprise her, really. Chloe tends to do that a lot, and she doesn't really care if she's being too loud; she kind of just gets caught into this little world where it's just her and whatever she's currently using as a microphone (right now, her toothbrush). Beca's woken up to worse things before, like Kimmy Jin staring at her as if she's plotting her death or the times Fat Amy would dirty talk Bumper over the phone throughout her senior year, claiming that 'it's just one of my boyfriends' when Beca knew full well that it was Bumper even before she fully woke up. Perhaps waking up to Chloe singing is one of Beca's favorite things.

Probably not.

Maybe Beca's favorite thing is just Chloe Beale in general.

That sounds about right.

Albuquerque is next on their destination list; the one that's still saved in Beca's phone that they made just over a week ago in the diner – which feels like forever ago – and they both get showered and dressed as fast as they can before saying goodbye to Lawton.

When Beca said that this road trip was destined to be doomed, she never really thought much about it. Never thought she'd be wrong, because for God's sake, they started off with an old heap-of-trash convertible that Chloe has now named Henry, and no set route in mind. They still have a heap-of-trash convertible, and slightly less money than they had before, but at least they have somewhere they both want to be.

Beca's not quite sure where she wants to be now, though.

Beca's always lived her life with a plan. She's always had a plan. It started off as just a simple, get through middle school. She did that, easy. Then, it was graduate high school with my friends. (Friends; meaning the two kids she grew up with in Portland: Jack and Wade.) And she figured she'd skip out on college. "Rock stars don't go to college," is what Jack used to say. She wouldn't quite describe her preferred career choice as being a rock star but sometimes that's how she feels when she comes up with a good idea for a mashup – a sick beat, is how Luke used to describe them – and it makes her feel even more like a rock star when Chloe gushes over them, telling Beca that she's proud of her for coming up with such an awesome idea.

So maybe her plan of graduating high school with no problems shattered when her mother died when she was in tenth grade, meaning she had to transfer to a high school in Atlanta for her last two years. And she was so set on moving to L.A. after graduating high school, that the thought of going to college never even crossed her mind. Not until her dad and Sheila sat down with her a week before graduating high school and explained that if she could do one year at Barden University, then they'd help her move to L.A., and of course, it sounded like a plan, so she went with it. Begrudgingly, but she still went with it.

And then Chloe Beale walked into her life.

Or, her shower.

And then the Bellas came trailing in afterwards, one by one, (into her life, not her shower; that'd just be weird) until Beca had no room left for anybody else; just the Bellas. And Jesse.

But Chloe Beale is starting to fill up all the empty spaces inside of her that nobody else can fill.

Chloe Beale is kind of taking over her life.

Chloe Beale is slowly pushing Jesse out of the way.

It was only a matter of time, really. Who isn't in love with Chloe Beale? Chloe's like the sun on a warm Saturday, spreading rays of joy to everyone around her. Sometimes Chloe is the moon, so beautiful and far away, and sometimes Chloe is the stars in the night sky; each part of her different and so unique than anybody else Beca has ever known. Chloe is everything that Beca never knew she needed.

If somebody asked Beca eleven days ago what she wanted, she'd probably say something like a strawberry smoothie or a peanut butter sandwich. If somebody asked Beca this morning, when she woke up to Chloe singing The Rolling Stones, what she wanted, she'd say nothing.

Everything she needs is right here.

It's like Chloe put a spell on her. A spell that affects her so much that all she wants to do is pause time and just stare at Chloe forever. She's so nice to look at. Her eyes are big and beautiful, and her hair is radiant and beautiful, and her face is just so beautiful, and everything about Chloe Beale is just simply beautiful.

Kind of like Selene. A Selene-type of beautiful.

Only, Chloe Beale is so much more than that.


"I saw her today at the reception. A glass of wine in her hand," Beca looks at Chloe, frowning when she recognizes the song; the same song she woke up to this morning. "I knew she was gonna meet her connection. At her feet was a footloose man… You can't always get what you want–"

"–Chloe, quit it–"

"You can't always get what you want. Sing with me! You can't always get what you want…"

Beca rolls her eyes but sings anyway, slowly mumbling, "but if you try sometimes, well you might find…"

"YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED!" Chloe yells, throwing her hands up in the air, and Beca quickly slaps a hand over Chloe's mouth as a few people in the park turn to stare at them.

"You're gonna get us kicked out!" Beca hisses, but Chloe sticks a tongue out and licks Beca's palm, and she pulls it away with a scrunched up face as she mutters "gross" and wipes the spit on Chloe's leg.

They arrived in Albuquerque at around 3PM, and after checking into a Bed & Breakfast and dropping their bags off, Chloe thought it would be a good idea to go hiking. What possessed her to think that, when she's with Beca Mitchell, Beca will never know. Because they haven't even started the hike yet, and already, Beca is complaining about not having enough energy.

Typical, really.

She wouldn't be Beca if she didn't complain.

Now, they're sat on a rock in Elena Gallegos Park, with the food they bought on the way here. A few sandwiches, five bags of gummy bears, about fifteen billion grapes, and too many bottles of water to even carry.

Best picnic ever, if you ask Chloe.

Most tragic picnic ever, if you ask Beca.

It's a hot day, though, and Beca's not sure that the food they have will be enough. She keeps reminding Chloe of that every time Chloe suggests they pack up and start the hike, and after persuading her to sit for a few more minutes, the two of them fall into a comfortable silence.

"Wasn't High School Musical filmed in Albuquerque?"

Beca laughs, shaking her head as she looks at Chloe, because out of all the questions she would've thought Chloe would interrupt the silence with, she never guessed that. "I don't know, Chlo."

"I think it was," she says as she pops a grape into her mouth. "Can we go yet?"

Beca just rolls her eyes, standing up as she starts to put all the food back into her bag. "You're incorrigible."

"You love me though."

I do, Beca thinks. I do, I do, I do.

"You're okay," she mumbles, and Chloe grins and tells her to hurry up so they can get to the end of the trail before the sun starts to set.

She does love her, and the thought of it doesn't even scare her anymore.


"You know, I was serious last night."

Chloe's eyebrows knit together, looking beside her momentarily before averting her gaze back to the path in front of her.

Chloe has this thing about always having to look down at the ground in front of her when she's walking, in case she stands on something or trips over. She can be pretty clumsy, which was proven about twenty minutes ago when she stood on a small rock, throwing her arms up in the air and claiming that she's 'king of the world'. Not a second later though, her foot managed to slip off of the rock, and if it wasn't for Beca being in the way, Chloe would've probably fallen into the nettles beside the rock. Instead, she fell right into Beca's arms. Sure, the both of them went tumbling to the ground, but at least Beca saved Chloe from a whole lot more pain.

Which is kind of ironic.

And yeah, Beca had managed to fall on to the knee that she had grazed when she fell out of the car that had only just started to heal up, causing it to start bleeding again, but the look on Chloe's face when she claimed "you saved me" was enough to make Beca forget about the blood running down her leg yet again. It reminded Beca of the Disney musical Chloe made her watch a few weeks ago about these two kids who get sucked into a 1960's beach movie. All they needed were the 60's outfits, the background music, and the ping on their teeth when they smiled at each other.

And maybe Beca noticed Chloe looking back and forth between her eyes and lips a few times, but she managed to finally snap out of it and help Chloe up. The two of them had been silent for the past twenty minutes though, the only sound being their feet on the ground and the people on the trail around them talking to each other.

It surprises Chloe that it's Beca who interrupts the silence though, which is why it takes her a while to respond.

"I know," she says, and maybe she could've said something else, but she doesn't quite know if this is happening or not, because Beca's never one to open up this much to her. It should be a compliment.

"That's all you're gonna say?"

"What is there to say?" She smiles as she looks at Beca. "I'm proud of you. You know I'm proud of you."

"I just thought I'd feel–I don't know. Free? It doesn't matter."

They carry on walking until Chloe asks, "what about Jesse? Have you talked to him?"

"No, he isn't answering my calls. That's karma, I guess." She laughs nervously.

"Are you gonna tell him?"

"I don't… I don't know."

"When are you gonna–"

She's interrupted by Beca saying, "–Look, I don't want to talk about Jesse. And you… don't want to pretend to care about Jesse, so let's just enjoy this," and it's in that tone that Chloe recognizes as her not wanting to talk about that particular subject, so she lets it go.

"How did you know?" she asks her instead, as they come up to a clearing with a picnic area, where the Jemez Mountains are much more visible. It looks beautiful, and Chloe can't take her eyes off of it all. That is, until Beca starts speaking, and she looks at her, and she realizes that Beca is so much more beautiful than just a bunch of mountains with the sun slowly setting behind them.

"I guess–I don't know." She shrugs. "I was just thinking about it while we were at the bar, and… I don't know."

"It was the hot waitress wasn't it?"

"No. Shut up."

Chloe laughs, reaching down to hold onto Beca's hand as she pulls her towards the picnic area, telling her that the sooner they eat, the sooner they can watch the sunset.

Everything feels kind of perfect.


The sunset is even more beautiful than Chloe could have ever imagined.

She read that the picnic area is probably one of the best places to view the sunset in Albuquerque, and they were not wrong. She's always loved sunsets. There's something about the way the colors all merge together and the way the sky slowly changes from blues to pinks to oranges to reds that just makes Chloe inexplicably happy. Maybe it's because she likes to witness the way the solar system is working; witnessing the earth turning on its axis, and the sun rising somewhere else miles and miles away.

And it's even better with Beca beside her.

Then again, everything is better with Beca beside her, so she's not sure if this counts. It's still pretty amazing though, and it's even better – sort of more intimate, even – when she feels Beca scoot closer to her on the bench and rest her head on her shoulder.

"Bec?"

"Yeah?"

"What's your favorite constellation?" She can feel Beca smile against her shoulder, and it makes her smile too, knowing that she's the reason for it.

"Boötes or Selene," Beca says.

"Tell me about Boötes?"

"Sure, um… there are a few myths, actually. Some of them are weird, which is probably why I like them so much–I don't know." She breathes out a nervous laugh. "Anyway, so Boötes represents Arcas, who is the son of Zeus and Callisto. He was brought up by Lycaon, his grandfather, who one day decided to test Zeus by serving him his own son for a meal, which is fucking weird." She laughs distractedly, and Chloe grins as she keeps her eyes on the sun setting in front of them. "Zeus saw through Lycaon's intentions though, and he transformed him into a wolf, killed all his sons with thunderbolts, and brought Arcas back to life."

"Whoa."

"Yeah. So Hera, after hearing about Zeus' betrayal, transformed Callisto into a bear. Callisto roamed the woods until, years later, she met Arcas, who was now grown up. Arcas didn't recognize her, though, and began to chase her. Callisto hid herself in a temple, where Arcas couldn't hurt her without risk of being convicted to death for defiling a sacred place, so to avoid a tragedy, Zeus placed both of them in the sky; Callisto as Ursa Major and Arcas as Boötes."

"That's pretty cool," Chloe laughs.

"Yeah. In another story, Boötes represents Icarius, a grape grower who once invited Dionysus to visit his vineyards." She lifts her head up to look at Chloe.

"Isn't Dionysus the guy from the Selene story?"

"No, that's Endymion. Anyway, Dionysus was so impressed with the vineyards, he gave Icarius the secret of making wine. Icarius followed the recipe and invited all his friends to try it. They, however, enjoyed it a little bit too much and, when they woke up the next day with bad hangovers, they assumed Icarius had tried to poison them. They probably acted the way you act when you have hangovers."

"Hey!" Chloe laughs, slapping Beca's arm. "I'm not as bad as you."

"Oh no, you're much worse."

"Carry on with the story, asshole."

Beca smirks, her eyes widening a little at Chloe's language. "So after waking up with a hangover, they decided to murder Icarius in his sleep. As you do. And after Dionysus found out about his death, he decided to place Icarius among the stars."

"That's sweet." Chloe smiles, and Beca nods as she looks at the sky again.

"There are other myths, but those two are my favorites. In another one, Boötes is credited for inventing the plough, which prompted Ceres – the goddess of agriculture, I think – to place him in the heavens."

"So no matter what story you choose to believe, Boötes dies in all of them."

"That's kind of what happens in most stories, unless the Gods are immortal. You know death is inevitable, right?"

Chloe laughs, shaking her head. "No I know, but aren't there any happy stories? Like, where one of the Gods or Goddesses, or even a non-binary God, falls in love with someone, and they live happily ever after? No deaths, or being blamed for poisoning, or being turned into bears?"

"It's not always that simple, Chlo. Especially with the Greeks."

Chloe can feel Beca's eyes on her, and it takes everything she has in her not to turn. Because she knows that if she turns to look at Beca, she'll end up wanting to kiss her again, and she's not sure how much longer she can take it without just going for it, which wouldn't be a smart idea.

"Did you know," Beca says, averting her gaze once again, "that the brightest star in the Boötes constellation is Arcturus which is also the third brightest star in the night sky?"

"No, I did not know that." Chloe smiles. "I never even knew you liked all that stuff. Why didn't I know this about you?"

"I don't know, I never really… When I was younger people used to… ya know how kids can be. They called me names and stuff."

Chloe frowns. Mainly because she has no idea why anybody would want to pick on anybody for being interested in space and mythology, especially Beca Mitchell. And also because she never knew Beca was bullied when she was younger, and just hearing about it makes Chloe's skin crawl. Sure, Beca can be a bit of an asshole, but the thought of her being bullied just makes Chloe sad.

"I think it's amazing," she says. "I think… knowledge is the most attractive thing about a person."

"That's not true."

"Oh," Chloe raises her eyebrows, pursing her lips. "It's not?"

"I think the most attractive thing about a person is their smile." Chloe smiles, and Beca nods. "See, look at that smile." She points at her. "I love it."

"You think I'm attractive?" Chloe asks with a cheeky grin and a flicker of her eyelashes, and Beca can't seem to help herself. She slowly moves her head forward, until her mouth is inches from Chloe's ear, and Chloe gulps as Beca whispers, "you know I think you're attractive" and adds in a wink for added affect, and Chloe doesn't really know what's happening. Beca's never been a flirter; she's way too awkward to flirt, but it seems to work, because Chloe just stares at her, even when she moves away and looks back out at the mountains in front of them, and her stomach is doing that thing where it feels like she's on a rollercoaster again, and it's not fair.

The sun is hanging lower in the sky now, creating an orange glow on the mountains, which only makes it harder to not look at Beca. Because Chloe's looked at Beca before while they're watching the sunset, and she knows that Beca's eyes seem to light up, like some sort of magical sunset fairy, making them brighter and bluer than they normally are. Chloe's finding it harder and harder to resist those eyes.

She just referred to Beca as a magical sunset fairy, and she's not even embarrassed.

"It's always nice to hear it from somebody else," Chloe says, nudging Beca's arm. There's a sort of sadness to her tone that she can't help, and she watches as Beca licks her lips before she turns to look at her again.

And Chloe can see that Beca is looking at her; actually looking at her properly this time, for the first time today. And Beca notices the way the sun shines perfectly onto Chloe's hair, and the way there's a tiny bit of sweat on her forehead, and the way she has a bit of mascara smudged on her left eyelid. She notices that she's wearing the same shorts she wore at the retreat, and there's a sad smile on Chloe's face as Beca keeps her eyes on her.

"You're the most beautiful person I've ever met," Beca whispers. And I love you, she wants to say. I love you so much and I will tell you that every day until you believe it.

She doesn't say anything else, which could probably be a good thing and a bad thing. Normally Beca would have an inappropriate joke up her sleeve, especially after admitting something like that, but instead she looks away; just keeps looking at the sky, not doing or saying anything.

"Hey," Chloe says, after a few more minutes of silence. The sky is starting to get darker now, the reds and oranges slowly merging into darker blues, and the moon is shining above them. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"You said I was your Selene yesterday…"

"I did."

"You remember?"

"It's blurry but yeah, I remember."

Chloe smiles slightly, looking at the ground. "What did you mean?"

"It's hard to explain without going into detail."

"Go into detail."

Beca stays silent, and she knows that Chloe can hear her gulp; knows that Chloe senses the tension, because she puts her hand on Beca's knee, to let her know that she's here, and she's not going anywhere, but it's too hard for Beca right now.

There's only so much opening up she can do before she starts to feel like she's breaking her own rules of not opening up to people.

Which is a stupid rule that Beca breaks every single day with Chloe.

So instead, she stands up and starts to pack their stuff away, mumbling that they should start to head back before it gets too dark. And she can tell that she's probably made it awkward by dodging the question, but she doesn't know how she can explain to Chloe that she's in love with her, without letting Chloe actually know that she's in love with her. Because while she's not scared of the fact she's in love with Chloe, she is afraid that if Chloe finds out, it'll just make things ten times worse. That, and even though she knows that she's more in love with Chloe than Jesse, she doesn't want to cheat on him. She doesn't want to be that girl.

The drive back is mostly silent, but surprisingly comfortable. They talk about different constellations and Greek myths, and Beca tells Chloe the stories about Cupid and Psyche, and how they went through several obstacles before they could finally be together. It's kind of foreshadowing, and Beca can't help but realize that Jesse is probably the obstacle between her and Chloe, which sort of makes her feel a little bit worse than she already did about this whole situation.

She's always hated love triangles, which is probably why she's waiting for Jesse to call her so she can finally break up with him, seeing as he's ignoring her messages. Again, that's probably karma though, and Beca does feel bad about it. Of course she does. She's been with him for three years now, and a relationship with someone for that long is not something you can just brush under the carpet. She cares about him, and of course she feels guilty for being such a bad girlfriend to him these past few months.

It kind of makes her worry as well, because there's a chance that Chloe could notice this; notice that Beca has been a shitty girlfriend, and call her out on it, and tell her that she doesn't want to be with someone who acts so shitty. It's one of Beca's biggest fears, to get turned down by Chloe. Just thinking about it scares her, which is probably why she feels so bad for turning Chloe down so much over the years.

To help her forget about the guilt though, or at least put it off until another day, as Chloe drives them back to the Bed & Breakfast, Beca tells her about Orpheus and Eurydice. Chloe tells her that there is no way that some random guy with a guitar can serenade the three-headed dog who guards the underworld, and Beca has to remind her that these are all myths, before Chloe goes on a tangent about how unrealistic it is.

It's kind of ironic, because Chloe loves romantic comedies, and she's a sucker for a cheesy romance plot that's probably as realistic as Beca being a rock star, yet she still questions Greek myths, and says that they're totally unrealistic. It's funny to Beca though, because watching Chloe get worked up over it all is probably more entertaining than telling these stories to her.

She does love the way Chloe smiles when she talks about them though, which is why she carries on telling her stories until they arrive back at the Bed & Breakfast.


They spend the rest of their night watching movies on Beca's laptop, much to Beca's dismay. But Chloe's had to put up with her stories about Greek Mythology all day, so Beca doesn't complain too much.

Except when Chloe puts High School Musical on.

"Come on," she says, pouting. "We're in Albuquerque; it's like, the law!"

"Yeah Chlo, I don't think that's a thing."

"Well it is now. We're watching it."

Beca groans, but sits back against the headboard, and of course, she can't stop herself from smiling when Chloe rests her head on her shoulder again as the movie starts.

She manages to get through most of it with only minimal complaints, until she feels herself falling asleep when Troy starts to sing 'Breaking Free.' She can hear Chloe whispering the lyrics, and it's so cute that Beca almost forgets that she should not be enjoying High School Musical. But then again, if it's a movie that'll make Chloe sing, it's probably not that bad, seeing as Chloe has the most beautiful voice in the world. Or something like that.

When she wakes up an hour later, it's to the sound of Simple Minds coming from her phone. Immediately, she recognizes the song as Jesse's ringtone, and she quickly pushes her laptop off of her lap, slowly resting Chloe's sleeping head on the pillow without waking her, before making her way out of the room.

"Hello?" she answers, yawning as she wipes her eye.

"Hey, sorry if I woke you. I don't know where you are so I don't know what time it is."

Beca frowns. "I'm uh–we're in New Mexico." She pulls her phone back to read the time, seeing that it's just turning 1AM. "What time is it there? Why are you awake?"

"Like you care," he mumbles, and Beca's eyes widen.

"Excuse me?"

"It's true, isn't it?"

"What? What are you–"

"–Don't." he interrupts. "Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about."

She opens her mouth to respond but no words seem to come. Maybe because she doesn't have an excuse, or maybe because she doesn't know what the hell to say to that. She does know what he's talking about; she's not an idiot. She knows that she's been distant lately, more so than usual; knows that Jesse is probably sick of her being a shitty girlfriend. She doesn't blame him. Which is why she's not as mad as she would usually be.

"I called you because…" he pauses, and Beca swears she's never held her breath for so long before, waiting for the inevitable. She knows it's coming, but it doesn't stop it from hurting. "I can't… do this. I can't do this anymore, Becs."

There's something about the way that he says her name, something about how it's so different than how Chloe says it, that makes her crack.

"Can't do what?" she asks, feeling the tears pooling her eyes.

"I don't want to date you anymore."

She doesn't say anything, because she's afraid that if she opens her mouth, she'll end up crying, and if she ends up crying, Chloe will want to know what's wrong when she goes back into the room. And it's kind of hard to lie to Chloe.

And she shouldn't be thinking about Chloe right now, which just makes her feel even worse, because this has nothing to do with her.

"I can't carry on pretending that nothing is wrong," he says, and she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, holding it for three seconds before letting it out slowly.

"I'm sorry," she whispers. "I'm really sorry."

It reminds her of her dream, when she apologized to Jesse over and over; apologized for ignoring him, for ruining their relationship, and for not being the girlfriend that he deserves. Because she's known Jesse for three years now, and he's amazing. She knows he deserves more than she can give him, but she also knows that this is for the best. Because she can't carry on being with Jesse when she knows that Chloe has her heart. She'll never repeat that though, because just the thought of saying that out loud kind of makes her cringe. It doesn't make it any less true though, because she knows full well that Chloe has her heart, and she knows that one day Chloe will have all of her.

"I'm sorry too," Jesse tells her, and she's never really had someone break up with her before, so she doesn't exactly know what to say now. Is it always supposed to be over this quick? Isn't there supposed to be screaming matches or begging for forgiveness? The movies make break-ups look so easy, but this is much harder than she could've ever imagined. She knows now how it must've felt when Tom broke up with Chloe in her fifth year, and how Chloe was crying on her bed until Beca cheered her up by letting her listen to her mixes.

She's not quite sure listening to her own mixes will cheer herself up though.

"So," she says. Way to make things more awkward, she thinks. "So this is it?"

"I guess so," Jesse responds, sighing through the phone. "I'll, um… do we–what do we do now?"

"That's what I was thinking, like… are we friends, or…"

Jesse laughs, and the sound makes her smile slightly. "I think we should probably take some time to, um… to get over it?"

"Yeah," she nods. "No, yeah, totally."

"Bec?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm really sorry it had to come to this."

She wants to say that it's okay, but she knows that's wrong, so she says "me too," and they say goodbye awkwardly, before hanging up.

It takes Beca another fifteen minutes to work up the courage to go back into the room, and when she does, Chloe is still fast asleep on the bed with Beca's laptop on the edge of the cover.

She quickly walks over and turns her laptop off before putting it on the floor next to her suitcase at the other side of the room. And she pauses to look at Chloe, thinking that it's probably not fair to wake her up when they have to be up early in the morning, because Chloe looks so peaceful when she's sleeping.

But at the same time, Beca could really do with a hug or something right now, and it's not like she can go wake up whoever is sleeping in the room next door and ask them for a hug, so she makes her way over to the bed and sits down, reaching over to tap Chloe's shoulder.

"Hey," she whisper-yells, poking her shoulder again. "Chloe. Chlo. Wake up. Hey!"

"Wha–the frogs aren't–they're not mine."

"What?" Beca laughs as Chloe sits up.

"What?"

"You were just talking about frogs."

"I must've been–" she trails off as she yawns, "–dreaming about frogs."

"Right," Beca nods.

"What's up?"

"I, um… I just got off the phone with Jesse."

"Oh." She notices Chloe's face fall, and wonders for a brief moment why, but then Chloe is scooting towards her, and she doesn't even realize that she's crying until she feels Chloe pulling her into a hug.

"I'm sorry," Chloe whispers, stroking Beca's hair and placing a kiss on her hairline. "I know things have been off with you two but I never thought–"

"–It's fine." Beca pulls back, wiping her eyes with the back of her hands. "It's fine. I'm fine."

"Okay," Chloe smiles at her, putting her hand at the back of Beca's neck, and she takes a deep breath as she feels Chloe lean in, placing a kiss on her forehead before pulling the bed covers back. "C'mere, get in."

"What?"

"Get in, we have to be up early to head to Arizona and I know how much you love your sleep, and I know you're gonna tell me that you don't need cuddles but I know you do, and I give the best cuddles, so get in."

"I can sleep in my bed, it's–"

"–Bec, just get in the bed."

Beca smiles, sniffling as she moves to get in. "Geez, Beale, if you wanted me in your bed, all you had to do was ask."

"Ha ha," Chloe says sarcastically, pulling the covers over them, but deciding against it when she notices just how warm the room is. Instead, she moves closer to Beca until they're in the same position as last night, and places a kiss on the back of her neck as she wraps her arms tighter around her.

"Love you," she whispers, closing her eyes.

"Hate you," Beca replies, smiling when she feels Chloe laugh against her neck.


When Beca wakes up to Chloe's arms wrapped around her, and her breath warm on her shoulder, she almost forgets what had happened last night.

Then, she realizes that this may be what she wants to wake up to every day from now on.

Chapter Text

 

"Hello, good morning, how you do? / what makes your rising sun so new? / I could use a fresh beginning too / all of my regrets are nothing new / so this is the way that I say I need you / this is the way that I'm learning to breathe / I'm learning to crawl / I'm finding that you and you alone can break my fall / I'm living again, awake and alive / I'm dying to breathe in these abundant skies / hello, good morning, how you been? / yesterday left my head kicked in / I never, never thought that I would fall like that / never knew that I could hurt this bad… / …so this is the way I say I need you / this is the way that I say I love you / this is the way that I say I'm yours / this is the way, this is the way."
– learning to breathe, switchfoot


Despite Beca's best efforts to not react badly over what had happened between her and Jesse, she finds herself still really sad about the whole thing. It's kind of hard, having a three-year relationship end with just a two minute phone call. It almost feels like it meant nothing.

Which she knows is not true. She knows that deep down she cares about Jesse more than she lets on. Jesse was her first real relationship – if you don't count that guy Devon she dated in her junior year of high school who turned out to be gay, which is kind of ironic – and she knows that Jesse truly did love her. Maybe he still does love her. Maybe he's still in love with her, and he feels like Beca doesn't love him quite as much as he deserves. But he didn't give an actual reason for the break-up, other than 'I don't want to date you anymore' which is kind of what hurts the most about it all.

She's kind of trying her hardest not to break down sobbing, which is cool. She loves that feeling, obviously.

And it's not like Jesse to just say something like that without explaining further. Jesse can normally talk for Europe, but the call last night; Beca's had Mentos that have lasted longer than that phone call.

But she also knows that the two of them have been having problems long before she came on this road trip with Chloe. Maybe it was at the beginning of her senior year, when things started to get more serious, and she was spending more time on her work than with Jesse. He explained, countless times, that she has a tendency to get too wrapped up in her work and ignore people, but she thought nothing of it. That was until she got the internship, and the first thing she wanted to do was tell Chloe, not Jesse.

But she realized, after watching Chloe stress to the Bellas that them being kicked out of competing in any more collegiate competitions is the worst thing that has ever happened to them, that telling Chloe about her internship would result in Chloe being more stressed about Beca not focusing solely on the Bellas.

And maybe it was because she hates seeing Chloe so worked up, but she figured that keeping it from her was just the right thing to do.

Her instincts about things like that are almost never right though. (See: her dream-state thinking leaving Chloe to go back to Atlanta was the right thing to do, for some stupid reason.)

She still hasn't forgiven herself for that.

Keeping her internship from Chloe was a stupid idea though, because seeing Chloe blow up at the retreat, on the verge of tears, telling Beca that of course she's realized that she's been a little checked out lately, isn't quite something she likes to remind herself about. Except whenever she thinks about the retreat, or whenever Chloe offhandedly mentions it, the only thing she can think about is her fight with Chloe and how heartbreaking it felt to see Chloe so angry.

And she hates fighting with Chloe, probably more than she hates the sunburn on her shoulders right now as she stands under the lukewarm shower water. And as she thinks about her call with Jesse, trying to hold back tears, she realizes that she'd rather die than have her friendship with Chloe end just like her relationship with Jesse did.

She had woken up at 6AM, for some reason, with Chloe's body draped over her. After laying for a while staring at the ceiling, thinking about the fact that she's actually single now, and there probably won't be any interruptions to stop her from doing something she'll most-likely regret, she figured that she should get up and shower. Because the feeling of Chloe laying on top of her, with her hands on her thighs, was starting to take its toll on Beca.

And she's lost count of how long she's been in the shower, but the water is starting to get colder so she figures she's been in quite a while.

All she can think about is Jesse though, which is probably not the best subject to be thinking about in the shower. Especially since he did such a shitty thing last night. Of course, the break-up was kind of mutual, because she's been wanting to break up with him officially since her and Chloe reached Texas, but she just hasn't been able to get in touch with him, so technically Jesse beat her to it. But still, it was a shitty thing, not giving her an actual explanation.

But she was tired last night, and it was probably the emotional turmoil from the past few days after realizing that she's in love with her best friend, that made her not want to dig for answers or reasons. She just wanted Chloe to hold her, because even if she did try and fight Jesse – tell him that he's wrong and that they can work it out – she knows it would have been a huge lie. She knows there's nothing else to salvage.

She knows that it's not what she wants.

Not even two weeks into the road trip, and she feels like she's a new person.

So instead of thinking about Jesse, she thinks about Chloe. Which is incredibly easy. She loves thinking about Chloe.

It's all she does, really.

She thinks about how nice her eyes are, and how they always seem to be dilated when they look at each other – she doesn't really know what that means, but it's cute – and she thinks about the first day they met, and Chloe had pointed out her grasshopper tattoo, claiming that she also has a tattoo and proceeded to show her a little pee-sized lady bug on her wrist. That was cute too. And she thinks about how selfless Chloe is, and how she's always so nice to people, and always so happy. She's so, so happy. She can see it in her eyes, and the way the corners crinkle when she grins, and her smile; her smile is definitely the most beautiful thing about her, for sure.

Beca feels like a part of her is falling apart whenever she looks into Chloe's eyes.

But then Chloe smiles, and it puts her back together again.

It's a beautiful paradox.

When she finally gets out of the shower and changes into her clothes for the day, she walks out of the bathroom to see Chloe sat against the headboard doing something on her iPad. Then Chloe looks up, and quickly locks it, standing up off of the bed.

"Hey, you."

"Hey," Beca smiles. "How long have you been up?"

"Like, ten–fifteen minutes."

Beca nods, walking over to her suitcase that's sitting on top of the bed that she was supposed to be sleeping in last night before Chloe had insisted that they cuddle (not that she was complaining.) She takes her laundry bag out and puts her dirty clothes in, mentioning that they should probably do laundry soon before they run out of clothes.

When she turns around, she's surprised to see Chloe with her hands behind her back, nervously biting her lip as she shifts from one leg to the other.

"How are you feeling?" Chloe asks her, and she smiles as she sits down on the bed.

"I'm okay, I guess."

"Do you, um… do you need some time alone today? We can stay one more night here if you want, and I'll go out while you make a mix or something, or you can take the car out and I'll stay here."

Beca smiles, shaking her head. Partly because she doesn't need time alone right now, she kind of just wants to be with Chloe, and partly because Chloe is an absolute angel, and she's always amazed by how selfless Chloe is, and of course she's putting Beca's needs before hers. She always does.

"No, I don't. I don't need time alone. I'll be fine."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive."

When Chloe smiles, Beca can't help but smile too, nodding as Chloe tells her that she's gonna take a shower before they set off to Arizona.

Beca checks her phone as she waits for Chloe, and decides to text Stacie. She's not sure what time it is in Atlanta, but when Stacie texts her back a minute later, she doesn't bother asking.

She tells Stacie about Jesse, and she's not surprised when Stacie immediately offers to call Lilly to do something to his apartment, but Beca's not sure that'd be helpful. She just tells her that she's fine and that they're visiting the Grand Canyon today, which will probably take her mind off of it.

Plus, Chloe is great at distracting her, if only with her beautiful face and voice – she obviously doesn't say that to Stacie.

But when Stacie finally asks her about Chloe, she's finding it harder and harder to not just spill everything; to tell Stacie that she officially told Chloe she's bisexual (okay she told her that she likes girls, but she thinks Chloe is smart enough to figure that out) and to tell Stacie that yes, it's true, she does like girls, and yes, it was Chloe who helped her realize that – not the waitress at the bar, like Chloe thinks.

Instead though, Beca just tells her that she had a dream about her, and Stacie replies straight away.

[7:24AM] Stacie: BECA MITCHELL!

[7:24AM] Beca: Not THAT kind of dream get your head out of the gutter Conrad

And despite there being nobody in the room with her right now, she still tries to hide her blush over the fact that Stacie thinks she had a dirty dream about Chloe.

She would never.

[7:25AM] Stacie: oh boring. What happened in it?

Just as Beca starts to type out a response, Stacie calls her, and she smiles when she sees the caller ID, a picture of the two of them in their sophomore year at a party after they won the ICCA's again. They're both drunk and Beca is on Stacie's back, her red cup of one of Fat Amy's concoctions pouring out onto the floor. She remembers the moment after the photo was taken clearly, Stacie yelling at her because she spilled a little on her favorite shirt. Stacie couldn't stay mad for long though, and the two of them burst out laughing after just a few seconds.

She misses that.

"What did you dream about?!" Stacie yells through the phone, before Beca even has a chance to greet her.

"Hey to you too."

"Where's Chloe? Is she there? Can you tell me now?"

"She's in the shower, and it was nothing important, really. I dreamed that I just left her, and… I don't know man, it just–it sucked a lot."

"Left her? Where?"

She runs a hand through her damp hair before telling Stacie a cut-down version of her dream, surprised that Stacie doesn't interrupt her throughout the whole thing.

"And then I woke up and realized that it was a dream, and it kinda changed things. Changed… everything, I guess."

"Woah."

"Yeah."

"She's literally the girl of your dreams."

"Stacie," Beca groans, "come on."

"Well what do you want me to tell you? What I've been telling you for like five years now, that you have a huge toner for Chloe Beale?"

"We haven't known each other for five years."

"Not the point, Mitchell."

Beca sighs again, noticing the way her breath is shaky when she does so. The shower is still running though, so she doesn't have to worry about Chloe coming out and seeing her so worked up.

"I don't know what to do, Stacie." She breathes out.

"You love her, don't you?"

She closes her eyes, shaking her head slowly. It's the first time anybody has said it out loud, and despite what happened in her dream a few nights ago, the urge to run away is so overwhelming, and her body starts to tremble at the thought of it.

She could do it. Just leave now, while Chloe is in the shower.

Not necessarily to go back to Atlanta, but she'll go somewhere.

Maybe somewhere that's not actually a destination on their road trip, like Canada or Mexico. Maybe she could drive up to Portland and visit her mother's grave, just to tell her that she was right, and that Beca has turned into her father. They're both cowards.

"Beca?"

She shakes her head, ridding herself of the thoughts.

No matter how much she tries to convince herself that she wants to run away, she knows now that there's no way she can do that to Chloe. She's not going anywhere.

"I do love her." She nods. "I really do."

She can practically see Stacie's grin through the phone.

"Finally!"

"Shut up."

The two of them talk for a few more minutes, mostly with Stacie constantly asking when Beca is gonna tell Chloe, and Beca can't wipe the grin off of her face throughout the whole conversation, no matter how hard she tries.

There's something about admitting it out loud that really puts her in a vulnerable position, which is why she ends the conversation when she hears the shower turn off, telling Stacie that she has to finish getting ready.

Which isn't a complete lie. She does have to blow-dry her hair and do her make-up. At least then she'll actually feel like there's some sort of barrier between her, her feelings, and Chloe Beale.

The façade of having her shit together fades away though, when Chloe walks out of the bathroom in her towel, because let's be real, Beca Mitchell can never keep her shit together when Chloe is around.

"Hey, can you throw me a tampon?" Chloe asks Beca as she turns around to pick her phone up, and Beca smirks as she tears her eyes from Chloe's back, rooting through her bag for one before throwing it to Chloe. "I expect to be treated brilliantly today, I'm a very sensitive person right now." Chloe winks at her, and despite the fact that what she said wasn't flirty at all, it still makes Beca's insides tingle.

"Yes ma'am."

Yeah, she definitely loves Chloe Beale.


Chloe drives for three hours through New Mexico to Arizona until Beca offers to take over.

They stop at a shady looking gas station in Holbrook, and while they're there, Chloe decides to fill the car up with gas and the two of them get some snacks and go for a bathroom break before they have to drive for another three hours.

When Chloe picks up some sour patch kids, Beca has to remind her that she probably shouldn't eat them because she gets hyper when she does, but Chloe groans, telling Beca that she has horrible period pains and they'll make her feel better and of course, Beca caves.

What can she say, she's weak for Chloe Beale.

On the drive from Holbrook to the Grand Canyon, Chloe looks on her phone for other places to stop at on the way, and she finds out that there's a pretty cool attraction that she thinks Beca will like only an hour away, and it's luckily on the same route that they're taking.

"Hey," Chloe says, turning the volume down. "Do you trust me?"

"Of course." Beca glances beside her to see Chloe smiling. "What? What is that smile for? What're you planning? I'm already scared."

"Just don't question me when I tell you to take a turn, okay?"

"Why? I thought we were going to the Grand Canyon?"

"We are, we're just taking a little detour to somewhere. Trust me."

"I do trust you."

Chloe smiles, turning the radio back up, just as one of Beca's mixes comes on; a mash-up of Ed Sheeran's 'Give Me Love' and Paramore's 'The Only Exception'.

Beca takes her eyes off of the road every now and again to look at Chloe, and every time she does, Chloe is already looking at her.

That shouldn't be giving her any hope, but it still does. Just a little bit.


"Holy shit."

"Right?"

"Holy shit."

"I know!"

She feels Chloe's hand slip into hers, and their fingers immediately clasp together, and Beca can feel that her hands are clammy but she doesn't even care. It's the hand that she had used to punch the guy at the bar the other day, and despite it still being a little sensitive, all that seems to disappear when she feels Chloe's fingers stroking over her knuckles.

"This is… dude."

"I know."

"I'm speechless." She tears her eyes away from the scene in front of her to look at Chloe, and Chloe is smiling as she looks ahead of her.

"And Chloe Beale has succeeded yet again."

Beca smiles as she looks back out at the view, muttering "shut up" under her breath.

Chloe had found a meteor crater in Winslow, just off of Route 66. While Beca wasn't exactly sure what to expect, it definitely wasn't this. Sure, it was eighteen dollars to get in, which is kind of excessive if you ask Beca, but it's so worth it now that they're there.

("How did you even find out about this?"

"Trip advisor."

"Of course you did.")

They had been to the visitors center first, and Beca spent about ten minutes staring at the Holsinger meteorite that they have on display; a fragment of the meteorite that created the actual crater. She was kind of overwhelmed that a piece of history was right in front of her, and obviously she couldn't resist touching it, ignoring Chloe when she told her that she's not sure you're actually allowed to. Beca just told her "if it's on display then you're allowed to touch it, Chloe, why would it be out here if it wasn't supposed to be touched?" and Chloe couldn't really argue with that logic, so she let Beca do her thing.

There was also an Apollo test capsule which Beca insisted on taking a selfie in front of, despite how she's not a huge fan of taking pictures. Chloe had agreed to take one straight away though, holding her phone in front of her and saying through her teeth, "Say big gaping meteor crater!"

All Beca could do was laugh, and the photo captured her with her eyes closed as Chloe grinned at the camera, but she set it as her lock screen straight away. It was kind of adorable, but she'll never admit that.

There was an astronaut wall of fame too, which Beca had stared at for probably longer than necessary, naming off all the astronauts that she'd heard of. She tried to ignore the fact that Chloe was staring at her the whole way round, but she still wondered why Chloe would be looking at her when there's all of this interesting information about the meteor in the small museum. Like how the meteor was one hundred and fifty feet, and how the crater was formed nearly fifty thousand years ago.

It was all a little too much.

And now, as they wait for the tour to start, she's kind of overwhelmed with just how beautiful it is.

All of it, including the girl currently glued to her arm.

"Are you crying?"

"What?" Beca's eyes widen as she turns away from Chloe and lets go of her hand. "I'm not crying, why would I be crying?"

"You're crying! Beca Mitchell is crying over a crater in the ground."

She wipes the tears from her eyes before turning around to face Chloe again, trying her hardest to act like she's not in fact crying at a huge hole in the ground.

"I'm not crying. I had meteor dust in my eye."

"Yeah and I'm the Queen of England."

"Shut up," Beca sniffs up, laughing as Chloe steps forward and slips her hand into hers again. "It's just overwhelming, you know? It makes you realize how small we actually are. How fragile our existence is. How everything can just disappear–" she snaps her fingers, "–just like that."

"I guess you're right."

Beca can feel Chloe's eyes on the side of her head, but she keeps her eyes in front of her, lifting a hand up to shield them from the sun.

The tour isn't as exciting as Beca hoped it would be. The tour guide just tells them the information that they had already learned about in the short video in the museum. It's kind of hard to listen to the tour guide anyway, when she keeps getting distracted by Chloe Beale and her need to bounce around like a child, singing whatever song she had in her head at that moment.

She's the most beautiful distraction though, so Beca forgives her.


They finally make it to the Grand Canyon at around 6PM.

They decided to check into a Bed & Breakfast in Williams which, again, Beca complained about the price of. Chloe had changed into a pair of shorter shorts, because despite it being the evening, it's still really hot in Arizona. She kept her grey tank top on though, and accompanied it with a hat that she had stolen from Beca two years ago.

They had driven up Highway 64 until they finally reached The South Rim of the Canyon. After parking up and going through the visitor center, they took the rim trail down and stopped at Mather Point. The minute they actually looked out at it, taking it all in, Beca almost felt like crying again.

She figures that crying over yet another huge gaping hole in the ground is in fact, not something Chloe will let her live down. Ever. Instead, she just grips Chloe's hand a little tighter – she honestly hadn't even noticed when they started holding hands again – as the two of them walk over to lean against the railing.

"Jesus." Chloe whispers, taking her sunglasses off and clipping them to her belt loop. "It's so big."

"That's what she said."

"Shut up."

Beca smiles when Chloe hits her arm, automatically leaning in a little closer so they're shoulder to shoulder. "It's two hundred and seventy something miles long."

"How do you know that?"

"Eh. Useless trivia." She says, and she looks at Chloe, noticing that she's giving her a pointed look. "M'kay, I read it on the back of a cereal box."

When Chloe giggles, Beca can't help the smile that spreads on her face.

They had made a pit stop at a gas station on the way to pick up some food for a picnic, along with several bottles of water, which is all kept in Beca's backpack. So as Chloe grabs Beca's hand again, claiming that they need to find the perfect spot to have their picnic as they watch the sunset, all Beca can do is let herself be dragged along with minimal protests.

She's hot and sweaty, and she kind of just needs food, so she doesn't complain too much.

That is, until Chloe drags her to a clearing where there's like a fifty million foot drop in front of them.

"Oh look, this is perfect, let's go sit over there!"

"I don't trust it, Chloe." Beca stops in her tracks, causing Chloe to stop as well as she pulls on her arm. "I don't trust it."

"Relax."

She shakes her head. "We're gonna die. Look how big that drop is, I don't wanna die, Beale."

"Becs, I'm not gonna let you die. We don't have to go near the edge."

"I don't trust it."

"Babe, we're not gonna die."

Beca opens her mouth to say something, but stops as soon as she realizes exactly what Chloe had said. The only time Chloe has ever called her babe was when they used to act like a married couple with the Bellas, whenever the Bellas would call them mom and dad, and they sarcastically called each other pet names. Beca opted on the more ridiculous pet names like Schnookums and Pookie Bear, but the two of them haven't really acted like that since graduation.

The way Chloe said it though; it wasn't sarcastic at all. In fact, it sounded so normal – so natural – that Chloe hasn't even noticed.

So instead of dwelling on it, Beca just sighs as she shakes her head, but she moves forward anyway, letting Chloe guide her to a rocky part near the edge that they can sit on together.

"I wonder how it formed." Chloe says as she sits down, pulling Beca down with her.

"I mean, nobody knows for sure. There are different theories." Beca moves, trying to get comfy. "People say that the Colorado River was around before the Canyon existed, and when the, um… what's it called? Plateau… began to uplift, the river cut its way through as it rose." She takes her backpack off of her back and passes it to Chloe. "Since the upper layers of the Plateau are sedimentary rock, it was easier for it to erode. But now the river runs through granite, which doesn't erode as easily."

"Okay," Chloe looks at her, "how the heck did you know that?"

"I paid attention in school, Beale."

Chloe laughs, shaking her head.

She pulls out a picnic blanket from the bottom of Beca's bag and passes Beca her ham and cheese sandwich, and gets her own out – a BLT – and then two bottles of water. Immediately, Beca opens the water, gulping down almost half of it as Chloe tells her to stand up so she can put the blanket down.

They sit beside each other again, and Chloe sighs as she takes a bite of her sandwich, looking out at the Canyon.

"It's so beautiful."

"It is." Beca can't help but look at Chloe when she says it. "It's gorgeous."

An hour later and the sun is starting to set in the sky, and they're still sitting in the same spot. A few other people have been and gone, talking about how pretty it looks, and taking a few pictures, before leaving to view it from a different spot.

Beca and Chloe have been sitting in the same spot though, their shoulders resting against each other, and their hands intertwined.

It's all kinds of perfect, and Beca finds herself a little disappointed when Chloe lets go of her hand and picks up her backpack, standing up as she pulls her polaroid camera out.

She's been taking a lot of pictures on her phone, but Beca knows that Chloe only ever pulls her polaroid out for the most important pictures. Which is why it kind of surprises her when she asks somebody to take a photo of her and Beca in front of the canyon. Normally Chloe's polaroids are landscape pictures, and almost none of the ones that she's actually seen have people in them. It makes her feel a little bit more special, that Chloe wants to take one with her.

Chloe's arms slip around her as the woman holds up the camera, asking them if they're ready. Beca tries not to smile, but then she feels Chloe hug her tighter, and a small smile forms on her face. It's kind of impossible not to smile when Chloe Beale is hugging her like that.

She thanks the woman as she takes the camera back, waiting for the photo to develop.

After another ten minutes of sitting down next to each other, Chloe checks the photo and the smile on her face is probably enough to move mountains. She holds it out in front of them, and Beca can admit that the photo is kind of cute.

Okay, maybe a lot cute.

"I'm gonna keep this forever!" Chloe grins, holding it close to her as she looks at Beca, and Beca just smiles with a shake of her head, wondering how in the hell she managed to make it here with Chloe.

"Hey," she says, nudging Chloe with her shoulder.

"Hi."

She smiles at Chloe's grin, closing her eyes to take it all in. "I may not say this a lot, but…" she opens them, "but I am really glad that we met."

"Aw. I am too."

"I, um… I think I n–" she clears her throat, looking out at the canyon. "I think I need you more than I care to admit. And that's… kinda scary."

She closes her eyes again, despite there being a beautiful sunset happening in front of her.

The truth is, she hates depending on people. She hates needing someone, and she hates the fact that despite her constant 'I don't give a shit' façade, it always seems to fall apart whenever she's around Chloe Beale.

And it's not that she's embarrassed. Quite the opposite, actually. If this was a year ago, she'd hate herself right now for admitting this to Chloe. Sure, she's changed since freshman year; she's decidedly less angry than she was back then, but it's still strange, saying these things to Chloe without worrying about the consequences.

It's nice to not worry for once.

"It's okay to need somebody. Becs." She hears Chloe whisper, and she smiles as she turns her head to look at Chloe.

"Yeah?"

Chloe nods, and Beca's breath hitches when Chloe's eyes drop to look at her lips for a split second, before she says, "I need you too."

It's honestly all a little too much, especially since she can't take her eyes away from Chloe. Plus, she can't hear anybody around them, meaning they're alone, which probably makes this worse.

Or better, who even knows right now?

All Beca knows is that Chloe's eyes keep flicking down to look at her lips, and she can feel herself doing the same thing, looking back and forth until she suddenly feels that infuriating urge again; the urge to tell Chloe just how much she means to her, and to kiss her until she believes it.

"I…" she swallows, feeling herself leaning in slightly. "I want to…"

"What?"

And she's not sure what has given her so much courage tonight. Maybe it's the fact that they're at the Grand Canyon with nobody around to interrupt them, or maybe it's just because Chloe looks really pretty right now, or maybe she's looking to get back at Jesse for breaking up with her, or maybe it was the realization today at the crater, that literally anything could happen.

She decides that it's just the fact that this is Chloe Beale sitting in front of her looking at her lips, and she'll probably never get the courage to do this again, that makes her speak up in a voice that Chloe has to strain her ears to hear.

"I really… want to kiss you."

She watches for Chloe's reaction; watches her lick her lips, watches the way the corner of her mouth twitches upwards into a small smile, notices – when she looks up into her eyes – the way her pupils seem to be dilated again, more so than they normally are.

She notices just how much love Chloe is looking at her with.

"I don't think that's a good idea."

She snaps out of her daze, pulling away as she blinks. Maybe if she blinks enough time it'll get rid of Chloe's face right in front of hers, or maybe it'll get rid of the feeling of wanting to kiss her. She doesn't even know at this point. "You're right," she shakes her head. "I'm sorry, that was inappr–"

"–No." Chloe stops her, putting a hand on her thigh. "No, I just think… Jesse broke up with you yesterday. You don't want to rush into anything."

She smiles and shakes her head, whispering, "You don't know what I want" under her breath.

"What do you want?"

The words are coming out of her mouth before she can even comprehend, and she blames the canyon for giving her this false sense of hope, because there's no way that Chloe wants this too. If Chloe wanted this, she wouldn't have stopped Beca.

"I want you," she whispers, looking down at the floor.

"Bec, you can't say that."

"I'm sorry." She stands up, picking up her backpack and stuffing the bottles of water and their trash into it, making sure to check if her phone is in her pocket before she tells Chloe, "let's just go" before picking the picnic blanket up and walking away.

It doesn't take long for Chloe to catch up, shouting her name from a few paces behind her. It's kind of ridiculous, how she can tell just how far away Chloe is by listening to the distance of her voice, so much that it's kind of scary.

She slows down and Chloe catches up to her, falling into step beside her as they walk back to the car.

It surprises her, when she feels Chloe's hand slip into hers again, but then she feels Chloe tugging on it, until she turns around and Chloe seems to pounce at her. She wraps her arms around her as tight as she can, burying her head into Beca's neck as she pulls her closer.

"I just don't want to ruin anything," she whispers, when Beca finally hugs her back. "I think you need some time to get over Jesse before you rush into anything."

"I'm over him."

She feels Chloe shake her head. "You can say that as much as you want but I know you care about him."

With a sigh, she closes her eyes and strokes a hand up Chloe's shoulder, nodding her head slightly. Because it's true. Jumping into a relationship with Chloe a day after breaking up with her boyfriend probably isn't the best idea, especially since Chloe is right, and she does still care about Jesse. Maybe not in a romantic way, but like she said. They've been in a relationship for three years, and it takes a little time to accept that.

No matter how perfect the moment was, kissing Chloe would've just resulted in complications, and she'd rather her relationship with Chloe be complication-free.

They almost get walked into by a few people on the trail, some of them telling them to stop hogging the footpath. And it's kind of a long time to hug your best friend, but a few minutes later, they eventually pull away from each other, continuing up the trail ride at a slow pace.

Chloe still holds Beca's hand, which Beca thinks is a good sign.

Maybe Chloe wants her too.


Despite what happened at the Canyon, things still seem to be okay between them.

They sing along to Fort Minor on the ride back, mostly with Chloe surprising Beca by knowing the words to most of the songs. Then again, Beca had recommended them to Chloe last year, and Chloe always seems to listen to whatever music Beca recommends, so it shouldn't have surprised her that she took a liking to the band.

When they get back to the Bed & Breakfast, it's only 8:30PM, but the two of them are tired from so much walking. That, and Beca doesn't particularly feel like going out anywhere, due to the sunburn on her neck and shoulders. Chloe had rubbed some aloe cream on it this morning, as well as some sunscreen, but it doesn't seem to be helping at all.

She collapses onto the bed with a groan, and Chloe smiles as she walks out of the bathroom and sits on the other bed, her hands behind her as she strokes the covers.

"This is probably the best place we've stayed so far."

"It better be, it cost enough," Beca groans, flipping over onto her back. "It's just so warm."

"We're in Arizona, Becs, it's bound to be warm."

Beca groans again, standing up and walking into the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. After a few minutes, she comes back out, claiming that the acoustics in the bathroom are excellent, and it reminds Chloe instantly of their shower encounter.

She doesn't really need to be thinking about that though, so she just laughs as she watches Beca pull her laptop out of her case, booting it up and laying on her stomach on the bed.

"I don't think this place has WiFi," Chloe says, sitting beside Beca.

"I know."

"Whatcha doing then?"

"You'll see."

As Beca clicks around on her laptop, Chloe can't help but watch her. She likes to watch Beca; likes the way her back arches when she's laying on her stomach, and the way her jaw always sets firmly in place when she's concentrating, and sometimes her eyebrows raise, as if she's surprised by something happening on the screen.

"You wanna make a mash-up?"

Chloe frowns, "what? Me? Why?"

"I figured since we're not going out we could entertain ourselves, and what better way to entertain ourselves than with music?"

Chloe can think of one better way to entertain them, but she's not quite sure that would be appropriate to say. Instead, she just shrugs, and watches as Beca smiles, standing up and walking over to get her microphone out of her bag, before taking her laptop into the bathroom, beckoning her to come and follow.

The acoustics, she notices, are in fact kind of great in the bathroom. And it's kind of ridiculous, the two of them making a mash-up in the bathroom, with Beca sitting on the toilet seat and Chloe sitting on the edge of the bathtub. It's nice though, especially when Beca starts to sing Latch by Disclosure.

Chloe likes to get lost in Beca's voice.

"You lift my heart up when the rest of me is down," she sings, holding a finger up to her mouth to tell Chloe to be quiet as she records it, "you, you enchant me even when you're not around."

She then pauses the recording, and Chloe watches as she presses a few more buttons, before holding the microphone up in front of Chloe, telling her to sing two particular lines from One Direction's Stockholm Syndrome.

When she nods and presses record, Chloe starts singing, "I know they'll be coming to find me soon, but I fear I'm getting used to, being held by you."

Beca smiles, ending the recording before singing the next lines of Latch as she records again. "Now I've got you in my space, I won't let go of you. Got you shackled in my embrace, I'm latching on to you."

Again, she tells Chloe to sing a certain part of Stockholm Syndrome, until she decides Chloe should take the next verse.

"I'm so encaptured," Chloe sings, "got me wrapped up in your touch. Feel so enamored, hold me tight within your clutch. Now I've got you in my space, I won't let go of you. Got you shackled in my embrace, I'm latching on to you."

They carry on like this, singing different parts of both songs, and creating their own background sounds with their mouths, until they eventually lose track of time. It's not until they hear a knock at the door, do they realize that it's already past midnight.

Of course, Chloe answers the door, and she's not surprised to see one of the owners of the Bed & Breakfast, telling her that they've received some noise complaints from their room. Which is kind of rude, because who would complain about their singing, she thinks. They're awesome singers.

However, the woman is very understanding, and Chloe promises that they'll keep it down. Luckily, they've finished recording the voice and instrumental parts of it, and all Beca needs to do is add it all together to make the finished product.

It always surprises Chloe, how talented Beca is with music. She's always been a huge fan of music, but she's never quite understood music quite like Beca does. Music seems to run through Beca's veins.

Music to Beca, is what art is to Chloe.

It's that thought that reminds Chloe that she hasn't put pencil to paper in such a long time, that maybe she could try it again. Beca doesn't know, but Chloe has been occasionally drawing on her iPad. She downloaded a drawing app, which is surprisingly really good, and while Chloe is more of an old-fashioned artist and prefers to use paint or pencils and paper, the iPad has served for a very versatile replacement lately.

She's not really drawing much, but it's an achievement in itself that she managed to even get past downloading the app, judging by how long it's been since she even thought about it.

And it occurs to her, that it's not the free downloadable drawing pad on her iPad that attracted her to drawing again, because there's only been one person she's been drawing for the past couple of days.

It's Beca Mitchell.

As if it could be anybody else.

Beca, in all her beautiful five foot two glory, with her sarcastic attitude and surprisingly loving nature, is Chloe Beale's muse.

And she thinks that maybe she's Beca's muse too.

Chapter Text

"I used to wanna be / living like there's only me / but now I spend my time / thinking 'bout a way to get you off my mind / I used to be so tough / never really gave enough / and then you caught my eye / giving me the feeling of a lightning strike / look at me now, I'm falling / I can't even talk, still stuttering / this ground of mine keeps shaking / oh oh oh, now / all I wanna be, yeah all I ever wanna be, yeah, yeah / is somebody to you… / …I used to ride around / I didn't wanna settle down / but now I wake each day / looking for a way that I can see your face / I've got your photograph / but baby I need more than that / I need to know your lips / nothing ever mattered to me more than this."
– somebody to you, the vamps


Fighting the urge to kiss Chloe Beale is about as hard as it probably sounds.

It had all started last night when Beca took her headphones off to hear Chloe snoring lightly at the other side of the room. Well, no. It started at the Canyon yesterday, but thinking about that kind of makes Beca's heart hurt, because Chloe had turned her down. She tries not to think about it.

It started last night.

She had continued, after they got a noise complaint (rude), to add all of the vocals and music together on the mix as Chloe was messing around on her iPad. She didn't ask her what she was doing on it, but she didn't really need to. It was nice, the way it all seemed so domestic and relationshippy. Normally Beca didn't like that. Normally she'd run away at the first thought of the D word (not that D word, the other D word), because with Jesse it all seemed too forced – throughout pretty much their entire relationship – but with Chloe it's different. She likes being the D word with Chloe.

And she really needs to stop comparing Chloe with Jesse.

Really, she'd like to just stop thinking about Jesse all together.

So she finally finished the song at two in the morning, and at that point, Chloe was already asleep. Occasionally she would mumble things, and Beca could hear her voice a little bit over her headphones, because she didn't have the music on too loud in case Chloe wanted to talk to her. She didn't know it'd take so long, but she wanted to finish the song before they had to set off for Vegas in the morning, and plus, Chloe was excited to hear it.

And everything was fine, up until the moment the song had finished processing into her '2015 Mashups' folder, and she wanted nothing more than to wake Chloe up and tell her that it's complete and for them both to listen to it together, and she wanted to watch Chloe's reaction; watch the way her eyes would light up and her smile would widen and her hands would do that thing where they just grab the nearest object, just out of sheer excitement.

And she wanted to kiss her.

Tell her that she's awesome, and she's glad that she's here, and she's grateful to her for helping her with her music.

But Chloe was fast asleep in her own bed and they had to be up early, so she transferred the mix onto her phone, shut her laptop off, and went to sleep.

Of course, Chloe's face was the center of every single dream she had.

She's not even surprised anymore.

And then it happened again when she woke up – surprisingly before Chloe – and she remembered the mashup. She remembered how beautiful Chloe sounded last night; how awesome they sounded together, and how Chloe had been so excited to listen to the final product. She remembered Chloe telling her that she's gonna make an aca-awesome music producer, and that anyone who works with her when she's big and famous will be the luckiest person in the world.

Beca feels like the lucky one though, being here with Chloe.

So after contemplating waking Chloe up or not, because it was already eight thirty and they both needed to shower before they set off, she decided to get out of bed and pad her way over to Chloe, and she was snoring, but it was so fucking cute.

And she almost did it.

Almost climbed into bed with Chloe and kissed her until she woke up, and she almost told her that she's the most beautiful person that she's ever met, and she's kind of the luckiest person in the world having her by her side.

But of course, that would have been stupid, if the result from yesterday is anything to go by, so she knelt down on the floor next to the bed and watched Chloe for a while. And she felt like the whole thing was just some creepy little Edward Cullen type shit, but she didn't really care, because Chloe was looking so beautiful, as always. She watched the way her back rose and fell with every breath because she was laying on her stomach. Watched the way her arm swung a little because it was hanging off of the bed. She watched the way her fingers twitched every now and again, and the way her lip jutted out a tiny bit every time she breathed out a heavy breath.

She watched her. Memorized – as best as she could – every single dip and curve, and every little freckle on her face, every fair bit of hair on her cheeks, and every strand of hair that fell into her face whenever she moved her head. Of course, she couldn't really stop herself from moving the hair out of her face, biting her lip and trying not to wake Chloe up. She memorized her like she was made of marble.

Better than marble. Stronger.

Like she was made of titanium.

She watched her, until she couldn't take not being able to kiss her.

So she stood up, got into the shower, and she tried not to think about Chloe, but Chloe tends to take up all of the room in her mind; every single light and dark corner, and every single crack and crevice. It's getting kind of ridiculous. Chloe's face. Chloe's hair. The small scar on Chloe's forehead. Her lips and how they always look so soft to touch. Her eyes and how blue they are, and her teeth and how even though they're not perfect, they're so Chloe. Chloe is always at the forefront of her mind, no matter how hard she tries to stop it.

She showered until she felt a knock on the door, and then Chloe walked in without even giving any warning, and as Beca stuck her head out of the shower, shielding her body with the curtain, she almost fainted. Because Chloe was standing there in only her underwear, walking around the bathroom like nothing weird was going on as she sang some Shawn Mendes song that was playing from her phone.

"Um, Chlo?" she had said, making her presence clear. But Chloe just smiled at her and told her to hurry up before she started to brush her teeth, and the urge to kiss her was there again.

So after getting out of the shower, dodging her way past Chloe and managing to get out just in time to avoid Chloe stripping off her underwear, she had sat down on the bed and tried to catch her breath. Because Chloe, with her stupidly perfect body and her stupidly perfect face and her stupidly perfect hair and her stupidly perfect need to just not have any boundaries at all when it came to being naked, was making Beca dizzy.

And all she could think about – other than wanting to kiss Chloe – was yesterday at the Canyon. Which involved wanting to kiss Chloe.

'Kiss' and 'Chloe' were pretty much the only words in her vocabulary. Preferably in that order.

And she kind of didn't believe what had happened yesterday, because there was no way in hell that anybody, not even Chloe Beale, could get Beca to admit that she wanted to kiss them. If freshman-Beca was here right now, she'd be shaking her head, rolling her eyes, and calling present-Beca weak.

But it had happened, and the thing that hurt the most is that Chloe wanted to kiss her too.

And it didn't help that Beca found an envelope of polaroids when she was looking through Chloe's suitcase for her blow dryer. Polaroids of every place they've been to so far, and polaroids where Beca Mitchell was present in almost every single one of them. Pictures of her looking out at the sea, pictures of her chewing on a Twizzler, leaning against the car, trying to figure out what the map in her hand says, sleeping in the passenger seat, eating ice cream, watching the sunrise. It was kind of weird, but she knows how much Chloe loves taking pictures of stuff. It still made her smile though, and the urge was there again. To just run into the bathroom and jump into the shower with Chloe and push her against the wall and kiss her. Kiss her until she forgot her name, and forgot the fact that they would be under the shower naked together, but that didn't even matter.

She just wanted to kiss her, damn it.

The urge kind of gets worse throughout the day too, which Beca thinks is ridiculous. She's gone this long without wanting to kiss Chloe, so why the hell does it keep getting stronger every time Chloe so much as looks at her?

But, no. She kind of knows why.

Because you're in love with her, idiot, her brain keeps telling her, and she doesn't even have the heart to ignore it. Maybe her heart doesn't want to ignore it. Maybe she just wants to be with Chloe, and that's all there is to it.

(Well, she wants the other stuff that comes along with it too, but that's not the point.)

She wants Chloe.


"Gonna sell my car and go to Vegas," Chloe sings, immediately smiling when Beca says, "don't sell your car, how're we gonna get home?"

"Cause somebody told me that's where dreams would be. Gonna sell my car and go to Vegas," she carries on, and she watches Beca smile out of the corner of her eye as she pulls into the Motel parking lot. "Finally see my name upon the Palace marquis."

They decided to check into Motel 6 rather than stay at some big, expensive hotel, because everybody knows by now how much Beca hates wasting money.

("What's the point in spending like, a hundred dollars more just for a slightly bigger room and breakfast in the morning?"

"That's not the point Becs, we need to have the full experience!"

"I'm not doing it Chlo, we'll stay in a Motel next to MGM–"

"–Oh, so we can watch everybody having fun but not take part in any of it?"

"Chloe."

"Fine.")

It was probably the first time Beca hadn't give in to Chloe, which she was actually really proud of. But when Chloe asked her, when they found out there wasn't any double rooms left, if they could just get a single together rather than paying for two separate rooms, she couldn't really say no. Plus, she couldn't stand the thought of being in a different room to Chloe, but she won't admit that out loud.

It's crazy how much she's started to rely on Chloe.

So they check into the hotel with no setbacks, and Beca is about to collapse onto the bed for a nap when Chloe beats her to it, groaning and holding her stomach and mumbling about how she feels like she's going to throw up and that she doesn't think she'll be able to go on any longer and oh God, what if she's dying?

"Chloe? Are you dying?"

"Yes."

She knows what it is, because Chloe has been complaining about cramps all day, and she kind of hates seeing Chloe in pain like this. Even if she probably does deserve it for using her feminine wiles to always get her own way for most of this God forsaken trip.

"Is it cramps? Is there, um…" she rubs the back of her neck. "Is there anything I can do?"

"I have a headache," Chloe says, not really answering Beca's question.

"You want Advil?"

"I've already taken some." She curls up into a ball on the bed, and Beca's not really an expert on comforting people, everybody knows this – Chloe knows this – so when she sits down on the bed and reaches out to stroke Chloe's hair, she's surprised to feel Chloe lean into it, her eyes closed and a small smile on her face.

And then she's opening her eyes, and she's looking up at Beca with that look that Beca recognizes as her 'I'm about to get my own way' look.

"Can you massage my head?"

And there it is.

The flicker of her eyelashes, and the jutting out of her bottom lip, and the look in her eye that Beca just can't resist, no matter how hard she tries.

"Sit up."

The grin that Chloe gives her is enough to let Beca know that she's happy that she's got her own way again, like she always does with Beca.

Beca's happy too, but not in the way that Chloe is.

Beca moves to sit against the headboard, her legs spread out as she waits for Chloe to sit in between them. They've done this countless times before, but she's normally the one being massaged. Chloe gives the best back rubs, and it's only a matter of time before that happens again, because it used to be a weekly thing in senior year. Beca's just not sure if she'll be able to control herself once it happens.

"I finished the mashup last night," Beca says, shifting on her butt a little so she can reach Chloe's head properly without her arms aching. She starts soft, like she always does. The tips of her fingers resting on Chloe's temple as her thumbs stroke the back of her head.

"Did you put it on your phone?"

Beca takes her phone out of her pocket and passes it to Chloe, telling her that it's under the 'Chloe' folder, and she doesn't even realize she's said it until it's out, and there's nothing she can do about it.

"You have a folder for me?"

"It's just songs that you've recommended to me and songs that remind me of you, don't make it into a big deal."

"It's totally a big deal."

She smiles as she watches over Chloe's shoulder, her thumbs still stroking circles gently on Chloe's head; watches as she looks through all of the songs – okay, there's only like, twenty – before clicking on the mashup labelled 'Grand Canyon' and putting the phone down on the bed beside them both.

Beca shifts on her butt again, her thumb working concentric circles over Chloe's head.

She almost faints when she feels Chloe's hands on her bare legs, slowly stroking up and down as she hums in approval.

"That feels really good," she whispers. "When did you get so good at this?"

"A masseuse never reveals her secrets." She laughs when Chloe slaps her leg, calling her an idiot.

She studies every single one of Chloe's reactions. The way her head leans further back when Beca's thumb gently presses down just above the nape of her neck. The way she tilts her head sideways when Beca's finger tips run over her temple. She listens to the quiet hums and groans, and she feels Chloe's hands stop drawing patterns on her leg when she removes one hand to scratch her eyebrow.

"Don't stop," Chloe whispers, and Beca can't stop; mostly the thoughts entering her head that if this was any other time, and the two of them were on the bed and Chloe was groaning and telling Beca "don't stop", her first guess wouldn't be that she's giving her a head massage. But she also can't stop massaging, because the feeling of Chloe against her is kind amazing. She doesn't want it to stop.

She tries to tell her brain to shut up when Chloe moans again, but her thoughts are too loud. Too loud to even hear the song playing in the background.

As time passes, Chloe somehow manages to slouch further down Beca's body, until her back is pressed against Beca's front, with her shoulder just by Beca's chin. Her finger tips are tapping a beat on Beca's shins as she sings along to Want To Want Me, and her legs are bent at the knee, and Beca kind of wants to reach out and touch her thighs because she's always loved Chloe's legs. Always loved how freshly shaven they look, and she knows that Chloe takes time and effort into looking good, but she can't help but feel that she's just so effortless in the way that she manages to be sexy. It's like she doesn't even need to try.

And Beca's not really a brave person.

Despite the fact that, in the past thirteen days, she's managed to come to terms with her sexuality – although that's kind of still setting in – survive a break-up, save Chloe from some douchebag at a bar in Texas, and even managed to survive the worst dream of her life to date, and not to mention the admission to Chloe yesterday. (She doesn't remember much, but she thinks the words "I want you" actually came out of her mouth at one point.) Despite all of that, and more, she's still scared. She's scared that Chloe will turn around and tell her that she turned her down at the Canyon because she wanted to be polite, and she doesn't actually want her, and she doesn't want to kiss her. She's afraid that Chloe will tell her that she's her best friend, and she loves her, but that's it.

She's actually terrified.

But somehow, that terror turns into courage, and she manages to work up enough of it to slowly massage her way down Chloe's head, down to the back of her neck, and across her shoulders. And Chloe moans, as if they're actually doing some other activity that involves this much touching, but Beca's not sure she'd be able to survive that. The thoughts are enough to make her brain almost go into overdrive.

It doesn't help that Chloe breathes out a "oh God, right there," as her grip on Beca's shins tightens slightly when Beca presses into her spine. And Chloe shifts against the mattress but Beca daren't move. She just carries on massaging, and she didn't really expect Chloe to have this many knots in her shoulders, so she rubs away the tension as much as she can; trying and trying and trying to ignore Chloe's moans.

Something seems to take ahold of her – terror, courage, whatever people call it; Beca certainly doesn't know what it is – and she counts to three, closes her eyes, moves Chloe's tank top and bra strap off of her shoulder, and replaces it with her mouth.

She hears Chloe's breath hitch, and she knows she's crossed a line, but Chloe doesn't do anything to stop it, and it's that thought that pushes Beca to continue.

Chloe's shoulder is warm on her lips, and her skin is so soft that Beca has to stop herself from asking Chloe what moisturizer she uses, because really, now is not the time to be discussing hygienic products.

Her hands are still massaging Chloe's shoulders. Or really, her left hand is; fingers pressing into her shoulder and thumb pressing circles into her back. Her right hand is kind of just resting on the straps that are now on Chloe's bicep, and Chloe's breathing is heavy and labored, as Beca places a soft kiss on one of the freckles on her shoulder.

And then another.

She swears she hears Chloe moan again, but all she can think about right now is how stupid this probably is, except it's not. It's not stupid at all, because it all feels so right. So good. So loving.

She kisses her way slowly – probably the slowest she's ever moved – up Chloe's neck, making sure to cover almost every bit of skin there. She listens as one song ends, and another starts, and then suddenly Like I'm Gonna Lose You is playing, and she had no idea that she even had this song on her phone. But she doesn't waver, and her terror doesn't waver, and she continues with the small, tender kisses. Makes sure to take her time.

Makes sure to show Chloe how much she wants this.

How much she wants her.

It's a risk, she knows it is, but again, some sort of courageous entity has taken over her brain, and she softly bites down on the soft bit of skin where Chloe's neck meets her shoulder, and she stops. She halts in her tracks, and the only movement between them is the way her thumb is still managing to massage Chloe's other shoulder, and the way Chloe's breathing seems to be heavier, more labored than before.

Beca doesn't blame her, because she's struggling to keep her own breathing in check too. But she manages to continue, and she bites down again, harder this time. Not too hard, but enough to draw a moan out of Chloe, and she slides her right hand down Chloe's arm until it's resting on her forearm, fingers splayed out on her skin. And she kisses the spot that she'd bitten, and Chloe is tilting her head in response, and oh my God, this is really happening.

I'm ready to wake up now, she tells her brain. Wake me up. I'm ready. Before it's too late.

But she doesn't wake up, and her mouth is still on Chloe, and Chloe is still breathing heavily in her arms. Beca's never been one to get her own way much, and now she knows how Chloe feels whenever Beca gives in to her all the time.

Relieved. Happy. Blessed.

She wants to say something, but she's afraid that if she does, Chloe will realize what's happening, and she's not sure if she wants to stop yet. Not sure if she can continue doing whatever it is that they're doing, without being able to touch Chloe. Her thumb is still digging into her shoulder, and the circles she's making are pressing deeper, until she feels Chloe slowly arch her back, and the hand that had travelled down to rest on Chloe's forearm slowly pulls back, and it's on Chloe's hip now.

Don't do anything to scare her, her brain tells her.

She's a masterpiece, it tells her.

Worship her, it says.

She presses another gentle kiss to her neck again, slowly making her way to the nape, and she's always liked Chloe with her hair up and this is why. There's just something about Chloe's neck that does things to her.

It reminds her of the shower incident in freshman year, and the way Chloe had showed off like she was a model walking a runway, and the way her neck looked so nice and tanned when she turned around to get Beca's towel for her. How, unlike anybody else who would end up looking at other things when a naked Chloe Beale is standing in front of them, Beca managed to momentarily memorize her shoulders and her neck and her collarbones, and the dip just above her clavicle.

Like everything else about Chloe Beale, these little parts of her are simply perfect.

Her hand grips Chloe's hips as she goes to press another kiss on the nape of her neck, and then Chloe seems to catch on to what's happening, and she's suddenly scrambling up off of the bed, all thoughts of her headache and period pains out of the window as she starts to pace around the room. Beca knows she's trying to make herself look busy, and she knows that's one of Chloe's nervous habits.

"Chloe–"

"–Don't say anything," Chloe holds up a finger, like she normally does when she's angry, and Beca finally realizes that what she was just doing should not have happened, and it was out of order and, "–God, that felt good."

"Wait, what?"

"I swear, Becs, one day you're gonna end up killing me."

Beca's eyebrows knit together, and she shakes her head as she finally finds the courage to stand up, so that they're both standing opposite each other.

"You… I'm sorry. I don't know what happened–I'm… I'm sorry."

"No, it's…" Chloe runs a hand through her hair, as her other rests on her hip. "You don't have to say sorry, but just… don't, um–maybe just warn a girl next time, okay?"

"Okay." She can tell she looks confused, but Chloe looks equally as confused, and seriously, when did everything become so confusing?

"We should, um… we should get ready."

"Where are we going?"

"Just like a club or something–I don't know, I just…" It's weird, seeing Chloe so flustered and stuttery, and it sets in that this is all her fault. It's kind of a rare moment, seeing Chloe like this. "Just get changed, and we'll go out and have fun, 'kay?"

Beca nods, and she can tell that something is wrong with Chloe, but she's rushing into the bathroom before Beca can even ask her if she's okay.


That night, when Beca has lost count of how many drinks she's had, and Chloe blurts out "let's get married," she's not quite sure if tonight is even real.

Maybe it is a dream. Maybe Chloe, who is down on one knee right now, after Beca told her that just because they're in Vegas it doesn't mean they have to get married, asking Beca "Rebecca Mitchell, will you be the honor of doing my wife?" isn't actually real, and it's Beca's unconscious state just being ridiculous again.

But then again, Chloe had just said "will you be the honor of doing my wife" so she can't really focus too much on the negatives, because Chloe is adorable when she's drunk.

But then she glances out of the corner of her eye to see some old woman – the type who can get away with anything, because she looks so sweet with her small grandma fanny pack and her little walking stick – start to chant "say yes, say yes, say yes", and then suddenly everybody is joining in and Chloe is smiling up at her holding out a dollar bill that somehow is representing the ring apparently, and for some reason it all feels so real and she doesn't know what to do anymore. Doesn't know if this is serious – if Chloe is serious – or if it's a dream, and she wonders if this is what people feel like when someone is actually proposing to them for real.

She says yes.

Right after she drowns in those stupidly adorable Chloe Beale puppy dog eyes.

She can't even remember when they got here – honestly, she doesn't even know where they even are – but all she knows is that Chloe Beale just won fifty dollars on a slot machine, and then proposed to her using a dollar bill and that smile that can pretty much convince her to do anything.

Chloe seems to have forgotten about what had happened earlier, which she's kind of grateful for. Or maybe Chloe hasn't forgotten, and things are more awkward than she actually thinks, and the alcohol is just shooing all of that awkwardness away. She honestly – half of the time – doesn't even know what's happening, because she's just following Chloe around like some little child. (A little child who is drunk out of their mind, but still.)

When they're standing at the bar with their free drinks, and Chloe tells her they should get married more often – even though technically, they haven't even got married – she thinks that maybe the fluttering in her stomach isn't just because of the alcohol.

And although the 'wedding' consists of Chloe just yelling out, "I MAY KISS MY BRIDE!" before planting a wet kiss on Beca's cheek, Beca's actually having the time of her life.

She managed to win thirty dollars on a slot machine (although she thinks she actually spent twenty dollars trying to win that money) and she has Chloe by her side, not dancing with anybody else, and she's having fun.

That is, until she feels her phone vibrating in the back pocket of her skinny jeans, and she takes it out to see Jesse's name and picture on the screen.

She tells Chloe that she's just going to get some air, before making her way out of the building, to somewhere where she can actually hear him.

"Hello?"

"Becs?" his voice is clear on the other end, and she tells him that she's in Vegas so she can't really talk for long, and then suddenly he's making small talk, which isn't really helping the whole 'having a good night' thing she has going on right now.

"Why did you call me, Jesse?" she asks him, one hand over her other ear as she hears some loud men come stumbling out of the casino doors.

"I wanted you to know that I'm–"

"–WHAT?"

"I'm in L.A!"

"Wh–right now?"

"Yeah."

"What are you in L.A for?"

He tells her that he's been given a chance to work with some big names for a movie soundtrack, and he says that the company flew him out there and he'll be living there for a while.

"But you've just moved into your apartment in Atlanta, why would you–"

"–The company is paying for it."

And then she gets it. That's the explanation that he was keeping from her when he broke up with her the other day. That's why he broke up with her, because Beca will be in Atlanta once she's back home, and he'll be in L.A, and he knows how Beca felt about him getting the internship in L.A in their senior year. It's why he turned it down, because he wanted to stay in Barden with Beca.

She wonders what's changed. Wonders why suddenly he wants to break up with her because of a job offer again. Wonders why he chose a job over her.

"Is this why you broke up with me?"

"It wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment decision, Becs," he says, the nickname sounding different on his tongue now. "I've had the offer sitting with me for a week and a half now, and I needed to know what I wanted."

"You don't want me."

"I don't want to hold you back, that's all."

Bullshit, she wants to say. Because she knows. Deep inside her, she knows that Jesse knows that he deserves better than her. She knows that Jesse wants someone who can make time for him, and who he doesn't feel obliged to stay for.

Jesse needs a constant, and Beca's note sure she can be that.

"Anyway," he says, and Beca wasn't entirely aware of how quiet she had been. "I've been looking at places to stay and Aubrey says she needs a roommate so I think I'm gonna live with her. Just try it out, maybe, before I find a real place."

"You're moving in with Aubrey?"

"Yeah. I just wanted to tell you before you heard from somebody else."

"Oh," she breathes out a sigh, and she wants to be angry. She wants to yell at Jesse and tell him that she's happy that he's found someone so quick, but that would be the most hypocritical thing she'd ever say.

And it's not like Jesse is outright telling Beca that she's been replaced – although she does feel like she has, just a little bit – because all he's saying, in short, is that he's following his dreams. He's living in L.A, and he's gonna be living the Hollywood lifestyle that he'd spent countless nights telling Beca so much about as they watched movie after movie. The juice cleanses, the plastic surgery (she's not 100% sure he'll go with the plastic surgery), and everything that comes along with being a celebrity.

He's just not going to do it with her, that's all.

And she's kind of okay with that.

Okay, she's not okay. But she feels like she could be, eventually. So she tells him that she's happy for him, and at first it sounds like she's being fake and sarcastic, but she's not, she's just happy. She's actually really happy.

Jesse is going after what he wants, and she thinks, maybe she should too.


When she finds Chloe that night, she's dancing with somebody else, but Beca doesn't even care.

She knows that Chloe doesn't like this dude. She knows it's just part of a dance. She knows, from the way she's memorized everything about Chloe Beale, that the way she's smiling with him isn't the way she smiles with her.

Currently, she has her 'I'm having fun' smile on, but when Beca approaches her and tells her they should go back to the Motel because it's getting late, she gives Beca her 'whatever you need' smile.

Beca gives Chloe her 'I love you a lot' smile, but she's not sure Chloe catches on.


When Chloe hugs her as soon as they step into the Motel room, nothing but alcohol and tic tacs on her breath – and the dinner they'd eaten earlier on in the night – Beca's reminded of Jesse, and how he's following his dream – his heart, maybe – and after two days of thinking that it's her who's not good enough for him, she kind of gets why he's done it.

Jesse knows that Beca needs something different, and when Chloe collapses onto the bed with a content sigh, Beca knows that the something different is laying right in front of her.

When they're laying together, Beca asks Chloe to do that thing where she plays with her hair, and Chloe complies immediately, as she cuddles further into Beca's back. Despite things being semi-okay – or what she thinks it semi-okay – between her and Jesse, she's not quite sure if being in L.A will help right now.

She needs different, and L.A – despite her never visiting there before, and despite how big it actually is – is way too familiar. It's hers and Jesse's thing, and she needs her and Chloe to just continue on with their thing. Whatever it may be. Wherever it may consist of.

"I don't want to go to L.A if Jesse is there," she tells Chloe. She's knows that Chloe is drunk, because her breathing is louder than it usually is, and after three years of sharing beds with Chloe Beale after Bellas' nights out, she's grown accustomed to how she sounds when she's drunk.

Chloe tells her, "That's okay, we can skip it, we'll do whatever you want," and the courage – terror, whatever – from earlier takes over again.

"You know what I want."

"You're drunk and emotional," Chloe says, "and you need friend Chloe right now."

She's not that emotional. Or maybe she is. She just hasn't noticed because it's hard to notice anything when Chloe Beale is pressed against her back and playing with her hair.

"You're too good to me," Beca tells her.

"I love you," Chloe says, and she closes her eyes.

She wishes Chloe wouldn't say that.

Because no matter how many times she hears it, even if she can sense the urgency and seriousness in Chloe's voice, her brain doesn't seem to let her believe it. It tells her that Chloe is her friend, and that when Chloe says she loves her, she means she loves her as a friend, and that's it. That's it, and that will always be it.

Maybe Chloe is being serious though, or maybe this is still the dream that Beca is convinced she's been having since this day started. Maybe this whole trip is a dream, and maybe Beca meeting Chloe Beale and spending four years with her was all a dream. Maybe she's in a coma and she's dreaming about a life she's never thought she deserved.

Or maybe Chloe Beale loves her.

"Not the way that I want you to love me," she whispers.

She's just drifting off to sleep when she feels Chloe press a small kiss to the back of her neck, and then she can feel her forehead resting against her shoulder.

"Maybe one day you'll realize," she mumbles into Beca's shirt.

Maybe has always been a dangerous word.

Chapter Text

"It's twelve o'clock and I need your attention / it's like the alcohol / making my head spin / your scent is the rum / the room is a bottle / keeping me hopeless 'til I wake tomorrow / if tonight ever makes a difference / the way that I feel / the way that I'll remember it / i'll take this down until the glass remains / swallow the words that I was meant to say / it's a long drive back to Vegas skies / so why don't I make one more wrong turn tonight / to say goodnight / our first goodbye / i've only got forever and forever is fine / just take your time / we'll stop the clock together and know that the timing was right / all of these guards they stand tall and defensive / putting up walls around what once was innocent / they won't let me in, but I'm stronger than that / 'cause you stole my eyes and I've never looked back / girl, last night I forgot to mention / the way that I feel, the way that I'll remember this / when we're this young / we have nothing to lose / just a clock to beat and a hand to choose."
– vegas skies, the cab


The first thing Chloe notices when she wakes up is the God awful taste in her mouth. It tastes like she's eaten a flip flop full of sand, or something equally as gross.

The second thing she notices is that Beca is no longer wrapped up in her arms like last night, and she feels some kind of sadness wash over her before she even has chance to open her eyes properly.

And they're there immediately. Flashbacks of the months she spent pining over Beca when she got with Jesse after the ICCA's. The first time she could tell that Beca and Jesse had had sex. The first time Beca and Jesse kissed in front of her. The first time Beca told Chloe that she was in love with Jesse. The first time Chloe woke up without Beca in her arms after a Treble party. The first time Beca had asked Chloe for advice because she'd got into an argument with Jesse and wanted to make it better. The first time Chloe had to lie to Beca, telling her that she was too busy to meet her, simply because the thought of sitting through another two hours of Beca talking about Jesse would've killed her.

It all seemed to wash over her in that moment, like a tidal wave of memories; worse than any nightmare she could ever have. And she could really do with not thinking about it right now, because she'd rather be thinking about the fact that she told Beca she loved her last night – even though she didn't mean it in that way – but her mind seems to go into overdrive without Beca here to keep her sane.

She told Beca she loved her last night.

And now Beca is gone.

She shouldn't worry. It's not like Beca can go anywhere. There's only one thing that a Beca Mitchell plus Las Vegas equals, and that's disaster. The city is way too big and Beca is way too teeny weeny.

Despite that though, she still feels a little disappointed that Beca isn't in bed. Maybe she freaked out when Chloe said the L word last night, or maybe she figured out what Chloe meant, despite her drunken stupor, when Chloe said that maybe one day she'll realize just how much she loves her, and maybe Beca is freaking out the same as Chloe is right now, or what if she's taken the car and just decided to leave Chloe at this Motel that has no air conditioning, or maybe…

Maybe Chloe's just being ridiculous, because she hears the toilet flush a minute later, and then Beca is walking out and getting back into bed, and Chloe doesn't even realize that she hasn't opened her eyes yet until she feels Beca curling into her, and she knows that Beca still thinks she's asleep.

She loves these small moments of vulnerability from Beca. How she can cuddle up to Chloe but only if she thinks Chloe is asleep, or how she can whisper sweet nothings into the air, so quiet that Chloe has to strain her ears to hear them. She does hear them though. She always hears them.

The "You're my best friend" that was whispered into her neck at one of the parties they attended in Beca's freshman year.

The "I'm really glad you're here" that was mumbled into the pillow when Chloe comforted Beca after her first fight with Jesse.

The "I really want to kiss you" that was murmured in the small gap between them at the Grand Canyon.

It's not often that Beca opens up to her, but on this trip, it feels like Beca is finally coming out of her shell, and finally letting Chloe see her for who she truly is.

A big softie.

Chloe shifts slightly, and she feels Beca slowly wrap her arms around her a little bit tighter, and it's all kinds of adorable. If this was Freshman Beca, she'd be shying away from Chloe's cuddles, never mind actually initiating them. Maybe that's how Chloe knows that when Beca told her that she wanted to kiss her the other day, she truly meant it. And okay, it's not like she didn't believe her. Just the look in Beca's eye at the Canyon when she started to lean in told her that she meant it. But there's kind of a line, where no matter how much you want to kiss someone, you should probably wait more than twenty four hours after her boyfriend just broke up with her before you kiss her.

Because even though Beca will say she's completely over him, she knows that it's not true. She knows that if Beca was over him, she wouldn't want to skip out on L.A, and she knows that if she was over him, she wouldn't have been bothered about whatever he told her last night. She didn't really explain much, but Chloe figured that Jesse is moving to L.A, maybe for good or maybe just for a few months, who knows; all she knows is that it's bothering Beca, even if she might not admit it.

Which is why she turns away when she feels Beca's breath on her collarbone, because there's absolutely no way she can put up with this any longer.

That, and she's scared.

Of course she's scared.

She's been in love with Beca since the shower incident – okay, it wasn't really an incident because Chloe knew exactly what she was doing – and it's kind of hard to accept that the object of your affection wants to actually kiss you. And Chloe knows that Beca's not the type of person who would kiss someone just to get back at her ex, but it still scares her.

It scares her that Beca doesn't – and will never – love her as much as Chloe loves her.

And she hopes that maybe Beca will get the message; that Chloe has turned around because she needs Beca to just stop being so close to her all of the time, and making Chloe feel like they're dating even though she knows that they're not. The false hope is starting to eat away at her, and she knows that she can solve it by just kissing Beca, giving her what she wants, but she needs to know that something serious is what Beca wants before she goes around kissing her. She can't stand the thought of kissing Beca once, and missing her chance at them being together. Call her selfish, but it's all or nothing with Chloe, and she won't accept a kiss from Beca if she knows that's all she's going to get.

But Beca cuddles up to Chloe's back, her forehead resting against her shoulder blade, and she whispers, "Morning," and it makes Chloe's stomach churn because she's never felt like this before. Never felt so weak by just one word being whispered into her back, and she's never felt so loved.

It's one thing to fall in love with your best friend, but it's another thing to have her falling for you too.

She's not quite sure how to deal with it.

Chloe's pretty sure that she'll never truly believe that Beca actually might like her as more than a friend. It's too surreal to even think about. She's spent three years trying to prove herself to Beca; trying to make Beca see what she's missing, only Beca has been too oblivious to see it. So after a while, Chloe kind of figured that nothing would ever happen between them, so she gave up trying to impress her, and she tried her hardest to get over her.

But all that needs to happen is one look from Beca, or one word said in the small distance between them, and she falls in love over and over again.

"Does your stomach still hurt?" Beca asks, and Chloe can't even find the right words to respond with right now, so she nods her head and she can't help but press herself further into Beca when she feels her cold hand on her stomach.

"Your hand is freezing, Becs," she breathes out with a laugh, and she feels Beca smile against her shoulder blade, before she lifts her head and puts it over her shoulder.

"Sorry," she whispers, and Chloe's not sure why they're being so quiet, but she daren't even move. Beca's hand is cold on her stomach, and it's doing nothing to get rid of the butterflies, but just the thought of Beca trying is enough to make all that dissipate, and then the butterflies are replaced with love.

"Becs?"

"Yeah?"

"You don't have to answer, but… I was just wondering if, oh God" she breathes out a sigh when Beca's cold hand rubs over a warm spot on her stomach, and she feels Beca smile again. "Your hands are cold, stop that. I was just wondering, uh, you know–I was…"

"Spit it out, Chlo," Beca says, and her breath is hot against Chloe's ear, and Chloe wants to turn around but she's afraid that if she does, Beca will be looking at her with those 'I want to kiss you' eyes again, and she's not sure she'll be able to carry on speaking.

"Okay, sorry," she says, and she's not one to be nervous around Beca, and she thinks that maybe this is what it feels like to be falling in love all over again. "Sorry, I just… can you maybe stop doing that? Your hands are just cold and I can't concentrate."

She immediately feels Beca's hand retract, and she feels like kind of a dick, because Beca is reaching out here, and she's getting comfortable with her, but now she probably feels like she's gone too far, and she doesn't want Beca feeling like she can't touch her – sexually or none sexually – because frankly, it's what Chloe has been waiting for since forever.

So she turns around, despite the voice in her head telling her not to because she'll be tempted to kiss Beca, and she smiles as she places a hand on Beca's hip.

"I didn't mean I didn't like it. I just… it's hard to concentrate when you touch me."

"Sorry," Beca smiles.

"Um, okay. So, what did you mean," she clears her throat when she sees Beca look at her lips. "What did you mean when you said that I'm your Selene?"

"That rhymes."

"Beca," she smiles.

And she hears the cogs turning in Beca's head before Beca can even fully take the question in, and she knows that it's kind of a loaded question. But she's been thinking about this for days, and she knows that Beca wouldn't have said it if she didn't mean it.

"Okay, so… okay." The corners of Chloe's mouth tug up into a smile when she feels Beca's hand brush away the hair from her face, and she thinks that this is closest they've ever been, and she can practically feel Beca's breath on her face.

It smells kind of gross, but she won't tell her that.

She can barely breathe as it is.

"So, as you know, I um…" Beca trails off, closing her eyes as she exhales out of her nose, and Chloe shivers slightly. "Okay."

"Becs, spit it out." She repeats Beca's words, and she can't help but grin when she tells her to shut up.

And then Beca's forehead is pressing against hers, and she's pretty sure she's forgotten how to breathe all together now, because Beca is trying to get closer to her, and it's making her heart jump every time she feels Beca's fingers brush over her cheek to move her hair away.

"Okay, so…" she moves her head down slightly, so their foreheads are still pressed together, but their mouths are a little further apart. "So, people say that Selene is of Greek origin, and her name comes from the word Selas, which means light. And I think you've gathered by now, that I kind of… that I, you know. I like you, and stuff."

"And stuff?"

Beca laughs, shaking her head as her hand falls from Chloe's hair onto her shoulder, and Chloe moves her head back, seeing that Beca's eyes are closed.

"Open your eyes."

"Endymion asked Zeus," Beca whispers, when she opens her eyes, "if he could sleep forever beneath Selene's light."

And Chloe nods, her eyes flicking down to look at Beca's lips again.

"What does that mean?"

"You're kind of the light in this… this dark abyss called my life."

"That's sad," Chloe whispers with a smile. "But it's beautiful."

"Sad can be beautiful." She watches Beca look down at her lips again. "You're beautiful."

She breathes in, holding her breath for two seconds, before slowly breathing out.

"Can you tell me that poem again?"

Beca closes her eyes with a small smile. "But when Endymion, wandering alone, with youth and love of loveliness forlorn. Being greatly sorrowful with beauty, came upon the silence of a moonlit lake. Deep in a sacred grove; and when he saw how in the water a pale presence shone, so he might touch that ancient loveliness," She opens her eyes, keeping them on Chloe's. "Yet never lay a hand upon the moon."

"Does this mean you're my Endymion?"

Beca lets out a small laugh, pushing Chloe's shoulder.

But despite that, she nods slightly, and Chloe wants nothing more than to lean in and kiss her, and tell her that she's beautiful too, and she's honored to be her Selene – however ridiculous that may sound – but Beca is rolling away from her and getting out of bed, and the little bubble that they were previously in has popped, and she's shot back into reality.

"So what's on the agenda for today?" Beca asks, as she walks over to her suitcase, and Chloe watches her; watches the way her hair falls over her face when she leans down to pick some clothes out. Watches the way she casually tucks the hair behind her ear, no matter how many times it falls back down again.

She watches the way she's so focused on the task that she doesn't even notice Chloe staring at her. Or maybe she does. Maybe she loves the attention, and maybe she likes knowing that Chloe doesn't see anything else in the room but her.

She studies her. Commits every inch to memory, as if Beca is leaving her, and if Chloe is going to suffer through that loss, she wants to know just how beautiful the thing that's killing her is.

Chloe thinks that maybe Beca knows. Maybe she knows that Chloe's heartrate speeds up every time she says something nice to her, and maybe she knows that every time she looks at Chloe, it scares her that she could destroy her at any moment; maybe she likes having that power over someone. But maybe Beca knows that Chloe doesn't care anymore, for being destroyed by Beca would be an honor.

She watches her, and she wants to tell her.

Wants to shout it from the rooftops, spell it out with fireworks, or project it onto the side of a building. She wants Beca to know exactly how much she loves her.

But when she opens her mouth, she's cut off by Beca's phone ringing on the nightstand.

Maybe she could wait.

She's managed three years, another few hours won't hurt.


Beca's not one for keeping calls particularly private, but when she sees that it's Aubrey calling her, she excuses herself and goes outside, despite still being in her sleepwear.

"Hello?" she answers, and she can hear the sound of Mariah Carey playing, and she laughs because it's so Aubrey.

"Hello, Beca," Aubrey says, her tone sounding business-like. "I'm not gonna bore you with small talk because that's not me so I'm going to apologize for anything Jesse might've said last night and while it is true–"

"–Aubrey," she interrupts, "Slow down. You don't have to explain to me."

"No, no. I feel like I need to. You're a little brat, okay?" And there's the Aubrey that I'm used to, Beca thinks. "But I would never do something to purposely hurt you. While you and Chloe were in Pensacola, I met up with Jesse and he told me about the job offer. He asked if I knew anybody in L.A who needed a roommate, and I knew that I was gonna be living out there, so we decided it'd be easier if we shared an apartment, just until he managed to find a proper place to live. If you're upset about it, we won't do it. But you have to know that I never meant to jeopardize anything and there's nothing going on between us, I promise."

"It's okay."

"I know you care more than–"

"–Aubrey," she interrupts again. "If this was last week, I'd probably be yelling at you or… or something. I'd be mad. But frankly," she takes a deep breath. "I'm in love with Chloe." And she notices the air leave her lungs, and the way her heartbeat speeds up at that sentence. "And you could be pregnant with Jesse's baby and I'd still be in love with her. I don't want to be known as Jesse's ex-girlfriend. He doesn't want me, and I've accepted that. I want to be with Chloe."

It's silent on the other end of the phone, and she doesn't even realize that she's pacing until she feels someone walk into the back of her. She turns around and apologizes, seeing that it was just an old man walking over to the Motel pool.

"Holy shit," Aubrey says, and she laughs, because yes, holy shit. She's never actually thought about saying it out loud, but now that she has, it feels so much better than keeping it all in.

"Yeah. God, it feels so good saying it out loud."

"I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting that."

She laughs, shaking her head. "I wasn't expecting to say it, but it just came out."

"I mean, I obviously knew. I think everyone knew. I just didn't think you'd ever finally come to your senses."

"If everybody knew, why the hell didn't anyone tell me?" She hears Aubrey laugh. "What? What's so funny?"

"You can't tell someone who they love, Beca. You have to let them figure it out on their own."

She rolls her eyes, because it's so Aubrey, to think like that. Wise and all-knowing.

If she wasn't so shocked about her actually admitting that she's in love with Chloe out loud, then she'd probably be agitated that Aubrey hadn't even mentioned it to her.

But then Aubrey tells her that she has to go but again, she's sorry if she's jeopardized anything, and Beca tells her that it's okay, because honestly, it is. Beca was telling the truth. If this was last week, or two weeks ago, she'd be upset that her boyfriend is living with another woman. But there's something about Chloe that makes Beca forget everything bad in the world, and maybe it's for the best; to have a change that makes her feel happy. So they say goodbye and hang up, and Beca makes her way back to the room.

It doesn't surprise her when she hears Chloe blasting Fleetwood Mac from her iPod as she gets ready.


They set off for Mono County at three thirty, after walking around the shops in Vegas for a while – and of course, Chloe had to buy another souvenir, telling Beca that she didn't buy one while they were at the Grand Canyon so she has to buy one in Vegas.

Beca may have bought her a pack of paints for if she wants to paint again.

Of course, Chloe didn't tell her that she's been thinking about starting again; she just accepted them with a gracious smile, wondering what she ever did to deserve someone like Beca Mitchell.

They were pretty expensive for paints, Beca thinks, but the kiss on the cheek she received as a thanks was totally worth it.

Chloe had asked about the call with Aubrey, and Beca explained everything. After all, it's kind of hard to lie to that face. The first thing that Chloe had asked Beca was if she was okay with it all, and of course, she told the truth. She still didn't particularly want to go to L.A though, no matter how big it is.

She doesn't want to be reminded of the past when all she can think about is the future.

After taking a few wrong turns – by accident, Beca claims – they finally arrived at the hotel in Mono County at ten.

They had stopped for some food and drink on the way to the Motel, which isn't particularly the best-looking one around, but Beca was starting to get tired after driving for six hours with only two stops, so they used the GPS on her phone to look for one that looked to be available. And it was available – Beca's pretty sure they're the only ones here – but it's also creepy as fuck, and she thinks that she saw someone hiding in the bushes when they were shown to their room. Either that, or she's just being paranoid. Either way, it's creepy, so of course, the only solution Beca has is to get drunk from the rum that she had bought when they stopped for gas.

Beca should've known that Chloe would end up making her play drinking games after the two of them get drunk.

"Let's play truth or dare!"

"Oh God," Beca groans, shaking her head. "No. Don't torture me like that."

"Come on, it'll be fun!"

Chloe's voice is doing that thing that happens every time she's drunk, where it gets higher with almost every word she says, until she's practically squeaking. Beca would find it annoying, if only Chloe wasn't so damn adorable.

"Truth or dare?"

Beca groans. "Truth."

"Scaredy cat. What was your first time like?"

"Jesus," Beca sighs, laying her head on the headboard behind her. "You don't play around, do you?"

"Go hard or go home, Mitchell."

She watches as Chloe takes a gulp of the rum and coke she's drinking, her eyes lingering on her neck for a little longer than usual. Of course, she's reminded of yesterday, when she thought it would be a good idea to start practically seducing Chloe while giving her a massage.

She wonders where all of that courage has gone.

"Come on, what was it like?"

"It was..." Beca pauses, taking a small sip of her drink. "Awkward."

"You can't just say that, I need details!"

She closes her eyes and shakes her head, before looking at Chloe to see the smug grin on her face.

"I hate you."

"Tell me."

"Okay. You know Luke?"

Chloe's eyes widen. "Radio station manager Luke?"

Beca bites her lip, nodding her head as she tries to hide behind her glass. But Chloe's mouth is widening and she's looking at Beca like she's just told her she's a millionaire, and it's doing nothing to help the blush on Beca's cheeks and neck.

"You slept with Luke?!"

"Yes! Jesus."

"When? In freshman year?"

"It was before I even started to like Jesse. Luke invited me to this club and he was really nice."

"You lost your virginity to Luke the station manager?"

"Yes, okay, you don't have to say it so loud."

Chloe laughs, pushing on Beca's leg. "I can't believe you! Man, now I feel like a slut for losing my virginity at sixteen."

"Shut up, you're not…" she shakes her head. "You're not a slut."

"Okay, okay. I pick truth."

"Scaredy cat," Beca says, repeating Chloe's words to her, as she shifts so she's sitting cross-legged. She tries to think of a question like Chloe's. She doesn't want to end up asking a shitty question which she's not even bothered about the answer to.

She ends up taking longer than expected, up until Chloe tells her to hurry up as she refills their drinks.

"Okay, okay," she says. "Have you ever faked an orgasm?"

Chloe 'oooh's', and Beca smirks as she busies herself with the fraying piece of string on the bed cover, taking a drink of her own drink as she looks down and winds her finger around the string while Chloe thinks of her answer.

"Okay, I did once." Beca looks up, eyebrows shooting up. "It was with Tom, and we were having sex in his car. I noticed the time and I knew that the Bachelor was starting and I hadn't taped it, so I faked it so we could get home quicker.

"Oh my God!" Beca immediately chokes on her drink, slamming her glass down on the table at the side of the bed, and she only laughs even harder when she hears Chloe giggling, doubling over and trying to catch her breath. "Okay," Beca breathes out with a laugh, "Okay, okay, you win. Let's just stop right there. You win."

Chloe laughs again, reaching over the bed for the bottle of rum to put more in her glass.

"Are you literally drinking straight rum right now?"

"There's no more Coke!"

Beca laughs, shaking her head. "We might as well just drink it out of the bottle then."

And then Chloe is smiling, telling Beca "good idea" as she stands up and puts her glass on the table next to Beca's. Then she's pulling Beca up by her hand with the bottle in her other hand, leading her outside and ignoring Beca's questions of "what–Chloe, what're you doing? Where are we going? What about the game?"

She shuts the door after she makes sure that she still has the Motel key in her pocket, and the two of them don't say anything as Chloe sits down on the doorstep, pulling Beca down to sit next to her.

And the view isn't especially great – it's just a parking lot, and a sign with the Motel name on it and 'Vacancy' underneath it – but Beca gets comfortable anyway as she takes the bottle out of Chloe's hand, and Chloe notices the way she doesn't leave a gap between them.

She thinks about how far they've come, from Beca shying away from her every touch in freshman year, to now, where Beca is usually always the one to initiate contact. Even if it's just the two of them holding hands, or making sure their legs are touching when they sit next to each other, or even making sure that their shoulders brush against each other every now and again.

Chloe lives for the brief touches that Beca gives her.

They never fail to make her feel so alive.

Despite the shitty view, the two of them sit and look up at the stars, and they're not as clear as they were in Texas, but they're still visible enough. They're beautiful, Chloe thinks. And right here, with the two of them sat together in this shitty Motel looking up at the stars, she almost wants to tell Beca everything; that she's been in love with her since the shower, and that she's never once felt like she doesn't love her, and sometimes when it's just the two of them being their silly awkward selves, she feels like she could spend the rest of her life by her side.

Of course, the only thing that comes out of her mouth is, "I'm cold" despite the fact that it's not true at all. It's surprisingly pretty warm to say it's almost midnight.

And then Beca's putting the bottle down on the floor and standing up, and Chloe is confused because they've only just sat down.

"Key?" Beca asks, and Chloe frowns as she takes the key out of her pocket and hands it to her.

She watches as Beca unlocks the door and walks back into the room, and she holds her hand out as if waiting for Beca to come back to her.

"Goodnight, goodnight!" Chloe says, trying – and failing – to sound posh, "Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow!"

"Are you really quoting Hamlet right now, Beale?" Beca asks her from inside, and Chloe rolls her eyes.

"It's Romeo and Juliet, you uncultured–"

"–Don't finish that sentence."

Chloe grins as Beca comes back, looking up to see her holding one of the thin bed sheets from the Motel bed. She sits back down – Chloe notices she sits closer this time, which makes her smile – and she wraps it around them both before picking the bottle back up and taking a swig.

"This rum isn't making me any less drunk," Beca says, and Chloe laughs as she rests her head on Beca's shoulder.

"That's the idea, idiot."

"You really know how to wound a girl, Beale."

She smiles, taking the bottle out of Beca's hands.

"I'm glad we're here, you know."

"Me too."

"I do wish we were back in Vegas though."

"Why?"

"The Motel wasn't as creepy and it was a lot warmer."

She hears Beca laugh, and she thinks – no, she knows – that Beca's laugh is her favorite sound.

"I like you like this," Chloe whispers, handing the bottle back to Beca.

"Like what?"

"Relaxed. Like you're not afraid to be yourself."

She feels Beca lift her shoulder up slightly, signaling for Chloe to remove her head. And she does, and when she looks at Beca, Beca's already looking at her, mouth set in a thin line and eyes flicking over her face.

"I'm always myself."

"Deep down," Chloe says, smiling, "you're a total softie. You don't pretend to be a badass when you're with me."

"Maybe I just don't want to intimidate you."

Chloe laughs, snatching the bottle back and taking a gulp.

"You're about as intimidating as a ladybug."

"But still intimidating, right?"

And then Beca smiles at her in that way that Chloe hasn't had chance to prepare herself for, and she can't help herself anymore.

"I think I might want to kiss you tomorrow."

Beca's eyes flicker down to her lips, and she gulps.

"Why tomorrow?"

"We're drunk right now. I want us to both be sure it's what we want."

When Beca smiles again, she's pretty sure she's going to melt in a puddle on the ground.

But then Beca is leaning in slowly, and Chloe closes her eyes, despite her saying that they should wait, and she can feel herself being drawn to Beca like a magnet. But then she feels Beca's lips on her cheek, and she breathes out a heavy breath, tilting her cheek further towards Beca as she keeps her lips there for a second longer than usual.

She pulls back with a small smile, resting her forehead on Chloe's cheek.

Tomorrow can't come soon enough, Chloe thinks.

Chapter Text

 

"It's so good / what we got / you and me / we love a lot / we're just friends / simple as that / I don't want it to end / but I'm falling in love / with the best friend I got / they say you don't really wanna fall in love / you don't really wanna mess this up / you don't really wanna fall in love / cause falling in love just breaks your heart / if we kiss / if we touch / all of this / could get rough / ain't no thing / ain't no strings / ain't no I love you, you love me / we won't get caught up in the stuff that breaks."
– falling in love with my best friend, matt white


'Tomorrow' is practically all Beca can think about, from the minute she wakes up, to the minute they're in the car on the way to Mono Lake, and then from the minute they're singing along to whatever song comes on in the car, to the brief seconds that they look at each other longer than usual on their journey.

She's pretty sure waiting to kiss Chloe Beale is one of the hardest – but most rewarding, probably, when the time eventually comes – things she's had to do.

And it's not that she's scared or anything. Chloe made it very clear last night that she wanted to kiss her. So yeah, okay, she should be more excited about the fact that Chloe freakin' Beale wants to kiss her, but she's too busy worrying about how and when exactly Chloe is going to do it to think about that. And maybe she's a little impatient – or at least the butterflies in her stomach are – because every time Chloe so much as glances at her, the butterflies are already there, flapping their wings so hard that Beca feels sick; begging to be released, as she waits for Chloe to make the first move.

That's not to say she's not actually scared though. Of course she's a little scared. She doesn't get scared of much – clowns, freaky Chucky-like dolls, and when people can dislocate their joints – but the thought of Chloe Beale wanting to kiss her is pretty much the scariest thing she's ever experienced. And yes, that beats the time at the retreat when she almost died in the bear trap. Sure, she thought she was going to die, or at least get a few injuries from falling, but realistically she knew that Chloe would be there to catch her on the way down.

Maybe that's what helps settle the flapping in her stomach though. That even though she's scared of Chloe kissing her – scared of falling deeper and deeper, crashing into the ground face first at the end of it all like at the retreat – she knows that in both circumstances, Chloe will be there to catch her.

And that might be what prompted her to greet Chloe with a kiss to the cheek when they woke up that morning.

Sure, she had to psych herself up for a few minutes beforehand, but she did it. And the smile that appeared on Chloe's face when she pulled back was probably the cutest thing she's ever seen, not including Chloe Beale herself. And then Chloe greeted her with a tired and husky "morning" whispered in the small space between them, and Beca almost melted.

"You're chipper," Chloe had said, when Beca smiled back at her. And Chloe shifted closer to her and closed her eyes again, resting her head on Beca's shoulder.

It took all Beca had in her not to tell Chloe that she's the reason that she's happy. She's always the reason that she's happy.

Instead, she told Chloe that it's because she's a hardass and she doesn't get hangovers, but they both knew that she was lying.

It's kind of strange. How two weeks ago, on the first day of the trip, Beca had absolutely no idea about her – or Chloe's – feelings. How even though it's been pretty obvious in the past couple of years – and she can see that now, finally – she had no idea exactly how much they meant to each other. She knew that Chloe was special. Knew that she was special from the day she walked into her shower a few days before auditions; knew that Chloe would make a huge impact on her life. Maybe Chloe already made that impact when they met at the activities fair, but now she just continues to make bigger impacts. Making Beca realize huge things about herself – like oh, that she's bisexual – and making Beca see that what she truly wants has been right in front of her all along.

As cliché as it is, that in itself is something worth holding onto. Because sure, she has – had – Jesse, but that ship has sailed now, and people say that if you're in love with two people at once, always choose the second. If you were really in love with the first, you wouldn't have fallen in love again. And Beca's not sure why that particular quote has affected her decision so much. Maybe it's because she knows that it's true, or maybe she's just looking for more reasons why she should be with Chloe.

She's not sure why though. She loves Chloe – she's in love with Chloe – and the best part of it all is that she's pretty sure Chloe loves her too.

At least, that's what it feels like.

It's what it feels like when Chloe wakes up on a morning and greets her with a tired "g'morning" and a kiss to the cheek, and it's what it feels like when they're both sat in the car listening to one of Beca's playlists, singing along to whatever song comes on. Love is just Chloe Beale, and even if that doesn't include the mornings and the evenings spent with each other, she's still fairly certain that it's good enough.

She's not sure what it's like to have someone be in love with her, wholly and completely, but she knows what it feels like to be in love with somebody else. She feels things that she's never felt before. Not with Jesse, not with Luke – although that was a one-time thing, she still had a little crush on him in freshman year – and not with Devon, the gay boyfriend from high school. And it kind of goes like this:

Chloe is practically all she thinks about. When they're not with each other, she'll go out of her way to take a picture of a Husky on the street because they're Chloe's favorite breed of dogs, and then she'll text her a picture of it with another text telling her that it made Beca think of her. Or when they are together, both of them just scrolling through Tumblr separately, she'll show Chloe a particular post that she thinks she'll like, or she'll show her one of those funny six second videos that Beca never gets the point of, but Chloe loves them, so she does it anyway. Even when they're together, Chloe is all she thinks about.

Maybe that's how she knows that there's nobody else she'd rather be with.

Maybe that's why she's mad at herself for not realizing sooner that she's completely in love with her best friend.


Mono Lake is beautiful.

And that's not just because Chloe Beale is currently in a bikini floating on her back in said lake, eyes closed with a content smile on her face.

It's beautiful with and without Chloe Beale.

(But more with her.)

And Beca would join her – in a heartbeat, she'd join her – but there's millions of shrimp and flies in the water and it's fucking gross. At least, that's the excuse she comes up with when Chloe asks her why she's not coming in the water. In reality, she's just not sure how long she can go without wanting to just tackle Chloe and kiss her until neither of them can even feel the shrimp surrounding them. And their lips too. Maybe she just wants to kiss Chloe until neither of them can feel their whole bodies.

But again, Chloe asks her to come in, and it's not that Beca is whipped or anything; she's just weak for Chloe Beale. So she peels her shirt off her back, takes her shorts off, and makes her way into the water. She grumbles complaints and curses as she makes her way in, getting to waist-level before she feels like maybe it's far enough.

Of course, Chloe is there when Beca almost turns around, pulling her by the hand and dragging her further into the water.

"Try not to get the water in your eyes," Chloe says, as Beca looks around at the millions of shrimp under the surface. "It stings like a bitch."

"Chloe, I can feel the shrimp touching me." And in all honesty, it's the most disgusting thing she's ever felt on her body. Worse than the seaweed she felt on her foot while they were swimming in the ocean in Florida. Worse than feeling Chloe's burning touch on her skin whenever they sleep in the same bed together and knowing that she can't touch her like she wants to.

(Or maybe it's not as bad as that.)

But Chloe tells her that they're not harmful, and it should make her feel better but she's scared that there's something else hiding in the water here, like a great white shark or something equally as terrifying, and she really doesn't want to be in here.

Chloe's hand is still in hers though, and she feels like Chloe can sense her discomfort because she grabs onto both of her hands and pulls her towards her, and she says "don't focus on anything but me," and suddenly it all feels like too much. It all falls into place.

It feels like the urge to kiss her is getting stronger.

(Chloe is all she focuses on anyway; whether they're surrounded with shrimp or not.)

But then Chloe carries on walking backwards, pulling Beca towards her, until the water is almost to their chests, and Beca can feel the heat of the sun on the back of her neck, and all she can see is how blue Chloe's eyes are. How beautiful Chloe's eyes are.

How beautiful Chloe Beale is.

The lake has nothing on her.

And Beca is too focused on looking at Chloe, that she doesn't even realize that the water is now up to her chin, and Chloe is grinning at her before she even has a chance to notice. She shouldn't panic, because she knows that Chloe wouldn't have brought her this far out if she didn't plan on holding Beca up, but she's not the best swimmer there is – Chloe found that out at the retreat – so of course, she grabs onto Chloe's shoulders and practically wraps herself around Chloe, clinging onto her like a koala bear. And it should be embarrassing but Chloe is smiling at her like nothing bad can ever happen to her and it makes her feel safe.

Chloe always makes her feel safe.

"You're not gonna drown, Becs," Chloe laughs, instinctively wrapping her arms around Beca's waist to keep her upright. "You're literally two inches smaller than me and I can touch the ground, you're fine."

"Those two inches don't stop you from picking on my height every other day, what's changed now?"

Chloe laughs, and she automatically pulls Beca closer to her when Beca tries to let go, and suddenly Beca realizes just how close they are right now. Their stomachs pressed against each other, and their foreheads almost touching.

She still wraps her arms around Chloe's shoulders though.

You know, just in case she drowns.

"Beca?"

"Yeah?" she gulps.

Chloe has a serious look on her face, completely opposite to the face she was wearing just a few seconds ago, and it kind of worries Beca. Worries her more than she'd care to admit. It's nothing like the expression she was wearing last night, when she leaned close to Beca and whispered that she'd like to kiss her while they're sober. It's completely different to that now.

Maybe that's what terrifies Beca. That, even though Chloe never says things she doesn't mean, it could have just been the alcohol talking.

Or maybe it was all a dream and Chloe doesn't love her like she loves Chloe.

"Once this trip is over…" Chloe pauses to blow a bit of hair out of her face, "we're gonna be okay, right?"

And Beca smiles, because that's a no-brainer. "Of course we are, you nerd. What makes you think we won't be?"

"Nothing," Chloe shakes her head. "It doesn't matter, I was just… you know. I kind of still don't want this to end. I don't wanna go home."

"I already feel like I am home, kind of."

Chloe's eyes flick down to look at Beca's lips, and if Beca wasn't so focused on trying to breathe due to Chloe being so close to her, she'd probably look at Chloe's lips too. Let her know that she wants this as much as she does. If she does.

She knows that she does.

"I feel like I'm home when I'm with you," Beca whispers, eyes on Chloe's, and her mouth tugs up into the smallest of smiles, but Chloe won't look at her, no matter how many times she nudges her forehead with her own, and after a few nudges it starts to worry Beca. Not because of what she said – she means every word – but because Chloe's not the type of person to not make eye contact with her. Chloe always looks at her.

"Chloe?" And Chloe closes her eyes and bites the inside of her cheek, and it looks like she's trying not to cry, and it's scaring Beca.

Maybe she shouldn't have said that.

"Hey," she whispers, tapping Chloe's shoulder with her wet hand. "Look at me."

"It's nothing."

Beca frowns. "Please. What's wrong?"

"I–it's not a big deal, I mean… I'm fine."

"Chloe, don't lie to me. Look at me," she moves her head down so she can look Chloe in the eyes. "You don't have to lie to me."

"I'm afraid to say it."

"Why?"

"Because if I say it then it makes it real," she says, and she finally lifts her head up to look Beca in the eye, and Beca can see the tears threatening to spill out. "If I don't say it then I can just carry on pretending."

Beca gulps, and her eyes dart between both of Chloe's own, and she removes one hand from where they're both gripping Chloe's shoulder, and she lifts it up to wipe underneath her left eye. She watches as Chloe closes her eyes and leans in to her touch, and she sees the small content smile on Chloe's face as she wipes her other eye.

And then, before she even realizes that her mouth is moving and forming words by itself, she asks "do you like me?", and Chloe's head immediately flinches away from Beca's hand, and it kind of hurts. Hurts more than Beca could have imagined. And she feels like she should probably give Chloe some space right now but she's scared of drowning, and she kind of doesn't want to let go.

But Chloe still has her arms wrapped around Beca's waist, holding her upright, so she thinks that maybe Chloe's not too mad at her for asking. "It's okay," Beca says quickly, her hands resting on Chloe's shoulders again. "It's okay if you do."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize," she laughs, but Chloe is crying now, and it's kind of killing her. "Please don't cry. This is supposed to be a good moment."

Chloe's bottom lip trembles, and she looks at Beca again, her eyes momentarily looking down at her lips before looking her in the eyes again.

"How long?" Beca asks.

"Since the shower."

"Jesus."

Chloe sniffs up, and Beca realizes that she's pretty much on the edge of bursting into tears, so she does the only thing that her brain can even think about right now, because Chloe Beale likes her.

She tells Chloe, "I'm gonna kiss you," and she moves her head forward slightly, stopping millimeters away to make sure that Chloe wants this right now as much as she does.

And she waits. She feels Chloe's breath on her lips, and she feels her forehead rest against her own again, and she moves her hands up to cup both of Chloe's cheeks – legs still wrapped around Chloe's waist – and she waits.

Waits for Chloe to catch up, and she waits for her breathing to get back to normal – that won't be happening any time soon though – and she waits, and waits. She'd wait for a thousand years if it meant that Chloe would be comfortable.

But she is, Beca thinks.

Because Chloe's lips are on hers in a matter of seconds, and they're kind of chapped due to the water, but all Beca can think about right now is trying to suppress the sob threatening to spill from the back of her throat because she's kissing Chloe Beale, and Chloe Beale is kissing her back.

Maybe knowing that – truly knowing that Chloe is kissing her back right now – is what urges her on further. It's what makes her kiss Chloe slowly, making sure to take her time just like Chloe has took her time for all these years now, and she makes sure that her kisses are patient and that her touches are soft and not rushed.

She makes sure to kiss Chloe like she's never been kissed before.

Maybe if she tries hard enough, she can forget about all the flies and the water and the shrimp.

And Jesse.

Maybe she forgets about Jesse, and maybe she forgets about every other person she's ever kissed before. Because all she can see and feel is Chloe, and just a fraction of that is good enough for her.

But she knows that she doesn't just have a fraction of Chloe. She knows that from the way Chloe is holding her – holding her like she never wants to let go – and she knows that from the way Chloe is making sure to kiss every part of her mouth, that Chloe is giving her whole self to Beca; knows that nothing can stop Chloe from fully giving in to Beca right now and kissing her like she can't remember anything else in the world.

This is definitely what home feels like.

She wants to say something. She wants to tell Chloe that she likes her too – that she loves her, more than anything in the world – but Chloe is still kissing her, and she's trying her hardest not to mess it up. So she breathes out a sigh, and she feels Chloe smile against her and then oh– Chloe's tongue is on hers, and she pulls her closer, making a quiet unrestrained moan pour from Beca's mouth.

It shouldn't be embarrassing. Chloe's seen her in worse states than this – Chloe invaded her shower for God's sake – but that still doesn't stop her from slowly pulling away from Chloe, feeling her kiss the corner of her mouth, and then her cheek, and then eventually resting her forehead on Beca's again.

"Did that really just happen?"

Beca laughs, shaking her head and resting her hands back on Chloe's shoulders again. And she makes the courageous decision to open her eyes, and her breath catches in her throat straight away because Chloe's eyes are open too, looking straight at her, and she's never felt so safe under somebody's gaze before.

"As much as I love this moment," Beca whispers, smiling when Chloe leans forward slightly, "I can feel the shrimp all over me and I hate it, so can we leave?"

When Chloe grins and pecks Beca on the lips, telling her they'll find a Bed & Breakfast where they can shower, Beca thinks that Mono Lake is now her second favorite place.

Chloe's arms being her first.


So maybe driving another five hours down to San Francisco isn't quite what they had in mind, especially not so late anyway. But Chloe had heard about this Hotel called Hotel Des Arts, and after telling Beca about it – about how they have different pieces of art up in the hallways, and murals by local and international artists in the rooms – Beca couldn't find it in her to say no.

So Beca drove halfway, and Chloe drove the other half, eventually arriving in San Fran at just past 10PM. Due to there not being any parking outside though, they had to park a few blocks away, which wasn't exactly convenient, but neither of them complained.

All Beca could think about was the lake, and how badly she wants to kiss Chloe again.

And maybe that she's excited to shower, because she currently smells like crap. They had stopped at a Hotel on the way, and although Beca's not quite one for breaking rules or anything, when Chloe led her to the back so they could use the outside pool showers, she wasn't exactly complaining. It had only taken them five minutes, and they were soon on the road again; sitting on towels to avoid the car seats from getting soaked.

Now though, as they get to their room, Beca can't even find the energy to look at the art on the wall, because it's almost 10:30PM, and all she wants to do is shower and go to sleep, because there's no doubt Chloe will be wanting to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow, and she's going to need as much energy as she can for that. Waking up early isn't particularly her forte.

So as Chloe checks the room out, Beca grabs her shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel, and she goes into the bathroom, trying to figure out how to work the shower before she strips off, pulling the curtain across and sighing in relief when the warm water pours down on her.

She should've known Chloe would be right behind her.

Not literally though.

But she hears the curtain get pulled back, and she's about to turn around but then Chloe's hand is on her shoulder and she coughs out a sharp gasp because her hands are freezing and they're both naked. At least she thinks Chloe is. She kind of doesn't really want to be the only one naked here.

She lets Chloe continue though. Lets her pick the shampoo bottle up and pour some onto her hand, and she lets her cradle her head as she runs the shampoo through her hair.

She holds her breath though.

She thinks that if she tries to breathe right now, she'll end up choking, because feeling Chloe like this – entirely different from how they've felt each other before – might be the hardest thing ever.

"Stop tensing Becs, I've seen you naked before."

"Not like this," she breathes out, her hands clenching into fists, nails digging into her palms as she feels Chloe's hands running through her hair. She doesn't quite know what to do. Doesn't know where to put her hands, or what to say, or whether she should turn around and look at Chloe. Let Chloe know that she's comfortable with this.

As if sensing her thoughts, Chloe asks her, "this is okay, right?" and Beca just nods, eyes fluttering closed when she feels Chloe push her towards the running water.

And it shouldn't surprise her when Chloe starts going through their plans for tomorrow. Only Chloe Beale would get in your shower, wash your hair for you, and then start talking about tomorrow's schedule, as if you're both not completely naked and dripping wet.

Not in that way.

Beca manages to keep her cool though. Even when Chloe turns around and asks Beca to 'do her', meaning that she wants her to wash her hair, and nothing else, get your mind out of the gutter. And she keeps her cool when she hears Chloe moan quietly as she runs her hands through her hair, reminding her of the other night when she was giving Chloe a head rub, and she's so tempted to kiss her again. To turn her around and push her against the wall and kiss her until they're both breathless. But she knows that wouldn't be right. Knows that they should take it slow rather than dive in head first.

It doesn't help though, when Chloe turns around.

"Are you gonna wash it off or just carry on rubbing it into my skull? You trying to get to my brain?"

Beca laughs, watching as Chloe sidles past her to stand under the shower head, holding her head back so she can wash the shampoo suds out of her hair.

And she watches her. Watches the way her back arches as she holds her head back, and she watches the content smile form on her face when the warm water pours down onto her, and of course, she looks at her body too. Who else can stand in a shower with a naked Chloe Beale and not look at her? And normally she'd feel guilty for looking, or she'd feel like she's crossed a line, but Chloe is slowly becoming hers – Chloe likes her, and she likes Chloe – and she doesn't care what her brain is telling her; about being guilty or embarrassed.

She can look at Chloe, so she does.

Still, when Chloe is done washing her hair and she looks at Beca, smiling at the way she's looking at her, Beca can't help but look away immediately.

"Like what you see?"

"Shut up."

"Make me."

Beca looks up at Chloe, smiling when she takes a step forward to stand in front of her.

"Miss Beale, are you trying to seduce me?"

"Well that depends," Chloe says, reaching out to rest her hands on Beca's shoulders. She then leans closer, dropping her voice an octave as she whispers in Beca's ear. "Is it working?"

Beca breathes out a sigh, and Chloe chuckles in amusement, the sound sending shivers down Beca's spine as she unconsciously presses her thighs together at the unbearable amount of heat down there. And then she feels Chloe's lips on the shell of her ear, and all thoughts of trying to keep her cool fly out of the window, because yes, it is working. Of course it's working.

Lips parted, she breathes out a heavy breath again, head leaning in to Chloe's lips as she kisses her way down Beca's cheek, eventually reaching her mouth.

"Do you have any idea what you do to me?" Chloe asks, hands sliding down Beca's arms until they eventually reach her hands.

"I'm not doing anything."

"You're just you. That's enough to drive me crazy."

"Okay, Romeo," Beca laughs, closing her eyes and resting her forehead against Chloe's. "If we stay in here any longer we might get charged double for the water bill."

"Who cares?"

"Hello? Do you even know me?"

"Okay, okay," Chloe breathes out a laugh, quickly pecking Beca on the mouth before turning around to turn the shower off.

"Last one in bed has to buy dinner tomorrow!"

Chapter Text

"Lyin' here with you so close to me / it's hard to fight these feelings when it feels so hard to breathe / caught up in this moment / caught up in your smile / i've never opened up to anyone / so hard to hold back when I'm holding you in my arms / we don't need to rush this / let's just take it slow / just a kiss on your lips in the moonlight / just a touch of the fire burning so bright / no I don't want to mess this thing up / I don't want to push too far."
- just a kiss, lady antebellum


Beca wakes up in the middle of the night, and it's to the sound of Chloe snoring lightly in her ear.

Which, in any other circumstance, would probably lead her to pushing Chloe off of her and retreating to the furthest corner of the bed and probably mumbling something about needing personal space. But because all her brain seems to be thinking about is yesterday, all she can do is smile and just let Chloe be.

For at least another ten minutes, until she eventually falls asleep again to the soothing feeling of Chloe's warm breath on her neck.

And okay, maybe waking up to Chloe yelling at her and telling her they're gonna fall behind on their schedule if they don't set off in five minutes isn't as good as waking up to a sleeping Chloe Beale, but it's still kind of cute. Chloe does this thing when she's angry where she clenches her right fist, as if she's ready to punch someone in the face, but all she does is move it around in the air or lightly tap her thigh with it. Beca's not sure what Chloe is hoping to achieve by doing that, but it's funny to watch.

Except when she looks at the time on her phone, eyes still squinted due to the sun shining through the window – Chloe's fault for not closing the curtains last night – and sees that it's only 7AM, all she wants to do is pull Chloe back into bed and go back to sleep for another eight hours.

But Chloe is rambling on about how they're going to the Golden Gate Bridge today and okay, Beca will go anywhere with Chloe if it means she'll carry on talking like this. So excited and happy; like a child finding out they're going to Disneyworld.

She's pretty sure that Chloe could ask her to go to the moon and she'd do it with no questions asked.

(Well, obviously. It's the moon. But that's not the point.)

Beca's not sure what the point is. Maybe it's that she doesn't want to be anywhere if Chloe's not there. Maybe it's that wherever Chloe goes, she hopes she'll be right there beside her.

That should scare her but instead it just makes her happy.

"What are you smiling at, you weirdo?" Beca hears from the other side of the room, and she grins as she sits up, stretching her arms out and making a satisfied noise.

"I'm just happy," she replies, letting her arms fall down onto the bed. And there's something that seems to leave her when she breathes out a content sigh. All her worries fade away, and all she can see is Chloe Beale.

"Okay well, you can be happy while you get dressed. Come on, up up up!"

And all Beca can do is laugh, because yeah. She's happy.

And she manages to make it out of bed, but it's far too much of a stretch to even think about getting ready right now. Her eyes are closing every now and again, even with the sound of Chloe humming along to a song that Beca's not familiar with, and all she wants to do is get back in bed.

So yeah, she manages to button her shirt up wrong and put odd socks on – one black and one green with little pictures of Yoda on them – but when Chloe stops her and puts her hands on Beca's shoulders, leaning in closer to her than necessary and telling her to stand still, Beca's kind of glad she's still half asleep.

"You're useless in the morning, you know that?"

Beca nods because of course she's aware of the fact that she's about as fast as a snail on an early morning like this, but who isn't? Apart from Chloe Beale, because apparently she's just the perfect human being, which Beca's not complaining about one bit.

It's pretty cool, that she's manage to bag herself the most perfect human being.

So she nods, and she manages a small smile before she yawns for the fifth time in fifteen minutes, and the only thing that her brain seems to register is the fact that Chloe is unbuttoning Beca's shirt.

"Excuse me Miss, we're running late," Beca says, eyes falling closed as she lets Chloe undo each button. "We need to be out here by seven forty five, captain's orders."

"You're not funny."

"Yes I am, or you wouldn't be smiling right now."

She opens her eyes just in time to see Chloe's smile drop, and she can tell that she's faking it because she's doing that thing where she purses her lips and the corner of her mouth is twitching, and Beca knows that this is what she does when she's trying not to smile.

"I'm not smiling."

"Are too."

"Are not."

"Are t–"

And being cut off by Chloe's lips, Beca decides, might be one of her favorite things. Along with everything else to do with Chloe.

Especially the way she's still managing to do up Beca's shirt while they're kissing, and especially that thing she does where she pulls back a little and lets Beca's mouth chase her own.

And kissing Chloe is great – the greatest thing about this trip so far, Beca thinks – but she has morning breath, and she doesn't want to drive Chloe away because she wants to kiss Chloe again and again, and maybe for the rest of their lives. But Chloe won't kiss her if she has morning breath, and Beca's not ready to stop this new habit just yet.

So she puts her hands on Chloe's waist and she's about to stop kissing her but her hands fit on her hips so well, and it's like Chloe has a magic hold on her. Some kind of force that's keeping them together, and all she can do is give in.

The kiss doesn't last long, but it's enough to set the butterflies off in her stomach and make her feel like she's floating, which Beca has never felt before. She's never kissed anyone and felt like she's floating.

Maybe this is what it feels like to be in love, she thinks.

The kiss is still going on long after Chloe's finished buttoning Beca's shirt up. In fact, it only stops when Beca's ringtone interrupts them, and if it wasn't for Chloe quickly jumping and standing back, Beca probably wouldn't have even heard it because she feels like she's in another world whenever she's with Chloe, which is cliché and gross, but it's true.

"Hello?" Beca answers, not bothering to check the caller ID, and she smiles when she hears Emily's voice on the other end of the phone. "Hey."

"Who is it?" Chloe asks.

"It's legacy, say hey." Beca holds the phone out, smiling when Chloe yells out "hi Emily!"

And of course, it doesn't take Emily long to ask Beca about her and Chloe's relationship, and Beca's guessing that Stacie told her about it. Ever since Emily joined the Bellas, she and Stacie have been practically joined at the hip, which is kind of weird to witness. Beca's never seen Stacie get close to anybody like she's close to Emily, so she's not surprised that she told Emily about the two of them.

Beca's not really a fan of speaking on the phone when it's so early, so after asking about how Emily's summer is going, she tells her that they're kind of in a rush so they have to get moving. Which isn't a total lie, so Beca doesn't feel too bad about it.

And she's glad she hung up because as soon as she puts her phone in her pocket, Chloe is holding her hand and dragging her to the door, telling her that she'll buy them pancakes if they leave right now.


They stop at a small diner just five minutes away from their hotel, and it reminds Beca of the diner they stopped at on their first day. Except she doesn't have to worry about keeping her suppressed feelings at bay, because Chloe feels the same way about her and she's never been happier.

They both order a small stack of pancakes; Beca's with golden syrup and Chloe's with caramel sauce and whipped cream. They also get two coffees to go, and Beca's heart kind of melts when she realizes that Chloe knows her coffee order by heart.

Which she already knew. Chloe has been buying and making her coffee for three years now, and she probably memorized it back in Beca's freshman year, but it still doesn't stop the smile from forming on her face when she realizes that Chloe knows her. She knows how she likes her coffee, and she knows that Beca can't function on a morning without food, and she knows that even though Beca won't say it out loud; she loves the fact that she knows so much about her.

"How are your caramel pancakes?"

"My carmel pancakes are good, thanks for asking."

And all she can do is tell Chloe to shut up, because despite how much things have changed in the past two weeks, they're still them.


It's those three words that bring Beca back to reality fifteen minutes later when she's sat in the passenger side of the car, with Tracy Chapman playing quietly in the background.

She wasn't really expecting to hear them so soon, but she can't deny the fact that it makes her smile like an idiot when Chloe says them.

"What?" Beca asks, even though she heard Chloe perfectly.

"I said, what are we?"

She reaches over to turn the music down and adjusts her position so she's facing Chloe.

"Humans. Or are we dancers?"

"Shut up."

She smiles. "We're us."

"I know, but… but what are we? Like, are we just friends or–or are we, you know. Are we more than that?"

"You can say the G word, Chloe, nothing bad will happen if you say it."

And Beca notices straight away. The way Chloe's eyes seem to light up as she realizes that yes, Beca understands exactly what she's asking her; she just likes to tease her before giving any serious answers out. But she's ready. They both are. She can feel it in the way Chloe reaches over the center console and grabs her hand, and the way she hasn't stopped smiling since their conversation started, and how she can't hear anything else other than the rapid beating of her heart in her ears.

So Chloe says it – the G word – and it makes Beca smile so wide that she thinks her face will split, and it's the only thing that she can actually concentrate on right now, other than trying to keep her breathing in check.

Girlfriend.

If she's honest, she's not quite sure what Chloe asked her; whether she asked her to be her girlfriend or if she asked her if they are girlfriends, or something completely different. She just can't get that word out of her head.

"Becs?"

"Hmm," she looks over at Chloe again, who looks so beautiful with the sun shining down on her; her hair blowing and whipping in the wind, and the smile that's still planted on her face. "What?"

"Come on, don't make me repeat it."

And she loves seeing Chloe shy. Loves the fact that her smile grows wider and the creases by her eyes become more prominent, and there's a little hint of a blush on her cheeks as she lets go of Beca's hand and returns it back to the wheel.

It's not until Chloe pulls the handbrake and turns to face her that Beca even realizes they've pulled up on the side of the road, in a small empty parking lot behind some trees.

"Beca."

She senses the urgency in Chloe's voice. Hears the slight tremble when she whispers her name, and she's so certain that her stomach is about to explode with butterflies any minute now.

"Chloe."

"I like you," Chloe whispers, moving a little closer, and Beca can see that Chloe's leg is digging into the seatbelt buckle and it can't be comfortable, but it does mean that Chloe is closer to her so she doesn't mention anything. "I like you so much."

Beca smiles. "I know."

And Chloe sighs, reaching her hand out to hold onto Beca's again, and Beca never gets tired of the feeling of Chloe's hand in hers.

"You like me too, right?"

"No. Of course not. Gross."

"Bec."

She grins. "Of course I like you, Chloe."

"So will you be my girlfriend?"

And she's not quite sure what happens next. One minute she's saying 'yeah sure, I guess I'll be your girlfriend', and the next minute she's being pressed into her seat, warm hands pinning her against the cushion and the taste of strawberry lip balm being pushed past her lips.

And she wants it to continue, she really does. But she's never really been the exhibitionist-type, and she's pretty sure there's people in the cabin at the other side of the parking lot. Either they'll call them out for public indecency or they're actually axe murderers ready to make Beca and Chloe their next victims.

Plus she's pretty sure Chloe is still on her period so her hormones are probably just all over the place. So she slowly stops Chloe from kissing her – which takes a lot, because Chloe's doing this thing with her tongue that's kind of driving her crazy – and she tells her not here. Not right now.

And Chloe knows.

She knows that Beca doesn't want their first time to be in some shady parking lot behind some trees, where potential axe murderers reside. And Chloe's kind of embarrassed, Beca can tell, because she slowly slips off of Beca's lap, back into the driver's seat, mumbling an apology as she tries to make herself look like she hasn't just been making out with her girlfriend in the passenger seat of her beat up convertible.

Girlfriend, Beca thinks.

She could get used to that.


They make it to the Golden Gate Bridge at 10AM, after parking the car in a parking lot just five minutes away.

Of course, Chloe insists on walking all the way over it, which Beca protests against for about five seconds before she eventually caves.

(And maybe she only caved because Chloe used her pout and puppy-dog eyes against her, but she won't admit that.)

But she can't be mad at Chloe. Even if Chloe did laugh at Beca when she got scared out of her wits by some guy sitting on the ground pretending to be a bush on the way to the bridge. And if it wasn't for Chloe holding her hand – holding her back – she probably would've ended up kicking him in the face, because she hates being jumped out on.

But it made Chloe laugh and she loves the way Chloe laughs, so she let it slide.

They stop a few times so Chloe can take pictures and the occasional selfie, which Beca begrudgingly smiles for. Chloe uploads a few to Instagram, and it's not long before Aubrey is commenting, saying that she's never seen Beca smile like that before so there must be something wrong with her.

And she can't argue. Only, nothing's really wrong.

She's just in love.

And nothing has ever felt so right. Especially when she goes to like Chloe's Instagram pictures and sees that she's tagged their selfie with #girlfriend. That maybe makes her insides shake around a little.

"Why is it so cold?" Beca asks, surprised at how different the temperature is on the bridge. She thinks it's maybe all the cars speeding past, but she doesn't really have much time to think about it before Chloe is wrapping her hoodie around Beca's shoulders.

And it's not like Chloe was using her hoodie – she had tied it around her waist when they set off – but she still kind of feels bad for taking it. Only, it smells like Chloe and the smile that Chloe gives her shows Beca that she doesn't mind. So she thanks her with a small smile and reaches down to hold Chloe's hand again, their fingers entwining so casually that Beca thinks maybe they were made for this.

It takes them an hour to walk over the bridge, including Chloe stopping every ten minutes. And if this was two weeks ago, Beca would get bored of all the selfies and photos that Chloe is taking, but just watching Chloe's face light up when she shows Beca the polaroid she'd taken of the water makes Beca's knees weak, and she just can't get mad at Chloe, no matter how much she acts like she doesn't care.

They decide to take the bus back over the bridge, after Beca complains that her feet are killing from walking over, and Chloe doesn't seem to protest. Yeah, she calls Beca a lazy shit but seconds after, she kisses Beca and tells her she's hungry, and Beca forgets where she is for a few moments.

Kissing Chloe is the best, she decides. Way better than cuddling, or holding hands, or even back rubs.

Kissing Chloe makes her feel like the world has stopped spinning, that the stars have stopped shining, and the sun has stopped burning.

She knows this is what love feels like.

And it's scary, but she'd rather be scared with Chloe by her side than be anywhere else right now.


They're at a small bar that Beca can't remember the name of at The Castro when Chloe asks Beca if she can draw her.

And it shouldn't make her almost cry but it does, because she knows that Chloe doesn't do that anymore. She knows that Chloe stopped two years ago and hasn't picked up a pencil since. But she still says yes, and she watches as Chloe takes the drawing pad and pencils that she had bought the other day out of her bag, placing them on the table before getting comfy in her seat.

"Do I have to like, pose or something?" Beca asks, because she's never been a still-life model before, and she's not quite sure what to do. But Chloe tells her to just act natural, so she goes back to watching the 49ers game on the TV in front of her, smiling when Chloe tells her that she looks beautiful.

She picks up her glass of lemonade, looking at Chloe as she draws her. And she watches the way her eyebrows knit together and the way her tongue peaks out of the corner of her mouth and Beca can't help but smile because Chloe is the purest, most attractive human being Beca has ever met, and she can't believe that this girl is hers.

And yeah, when a gay couple around their age tells them that they're adorable together, and Beca almost tells them that she's flattered but they're not together, she reminds herself that yes, they are together, and it makes her insides feel fuzzy all over again.

"Thank you," Chloe says to them, and they look at Chloe's drawing and tell her it's beautiful, and Beca's pretty sure they're the kindest couple she's ever met and she's never felt happier.

Later that night when Chloe finally shows Beca the drawing of her, Beca can't help herself.

She kisses Chloe like she's the last person in the world. Kisses her like their lives depend on it. And the best part is, Chloe kisses her back the exact same way.


They wake up at 8AM the next day and within an hour, they're already on the road to Lovelock, Nevada.

It was Chloe's idea to go. She told Beca that she had something planned, which simultaneously excited and scared Beca. But she goes with it, because out of all the places they've visited so far in the past 17 days, the places that Chloe has picked have been the best.

She's starting to think there's absolutely nothing that Chloe is bad at.

And it takes six hours – the last two hours taken over by Beca because Chloe started to get cramps again – before they eventually make it to a Chevron gas station, where they pick up some drinks and a few other supplies. They had made pit stops at Sacramento and Reno too, mostly so Chloe could take a few more pictures and Beca could stretch her legs. And when they saw a small art store, Beca couldn't help herself; pulling over and taking Chloe inside and letting her choose whatever she wanted.

At 3PM, they finally make it to their destination, and Beca asks Chloe where exactly here is, but Chloe just tells her to trust her and to pull up in a parking lot to their left.

And Beca should have known, really.

The place is called Lovelock, for God's sake.

"What is this?" she asks.

They're standing in front of a few green posts with hundreds and hundreds of locks attached to them, right next to the County courthouse. There's a sign in front of them with the words Lovers Lock in big letters, and Beca's not sure why she asked because she knows exactly what this place is.

"I know that couples," Chloe starts, reaching down to hold Beca's hand, "couples who are in love normally do this. But I'm doing this because you're my best friend, okay, and I feel like we're going to be friends for, like a really long time." She looks at Beca, who is already smiling at her. "And I do love you, Becs, but like–and I just think that this is a good idea. Like a pinky promise, except, more meaningful."

"Yeah," Beca grins, and then she's pulling Chloe towards her and she stands on her tiptoes so she can reach – because Chloe is wearing heels for some reason – and she kisses Chloe to stop her from rambling, and she loves being able to do that whenever she wants.

It only lasts a few seconds, but it still leaves Beca craving more, as always.

Chloe pulls out a padlock from her bag, and Beca's not sure when she got that but she doesn't question it. She just watches her every move, watches her take out a sharpie before pulling the lid off with her teeth.

"I know it's not Paris, but…"

She writes their names on the lock. Just a simple 'Beca + Chloe', and Beca's reminded of the time they once carved their names into a tree back when she was in her sophomore year at Barden. Remembers how Chloe had stolen Beca's pocket knife and it took her fifteen minutes to write their names in a way that was so Chloe that Beca's surprised it took her this long to realize she's in love with her.

"Where should we put it? I feel like it should be somewhere we can remember, you know, just in–"

"–Just attach the lock, Beale."

"This is supposed to be romantic!"

"We don't do romantic," Beca smirks, looking up at Chloe, but she tells Chloe she should put it at the edge next to the post to the left, and she knows that she's only saying it to make Chloe happy but the look Chloe gives her is worth being a sap for.


It's kind of strange, really, how easily things have fallen together between the two of them. How things that started off awkward and cautious are now routine. How even though Beca's still not 100% comfortable in her own skin, she kind of doesn't mind walking around in a towel while Chloe is laid on the bed painting. If this was a year ago, she'd have taken her clothes into the bathroom with her and gotten changed in there. Yet here she is, stood in front of the mirror in the single room they're sharing at a small Bed & Breakfast in Lovelock, drying her hair in nothing but a towel as Chloe sneaks glances at her from across the room.

And sure, she's not 100% comfortable in her own skin, but when Chloe kisses the back of her neck before going into the bathroom, she feels like maybe she could be, in time.

And she's not really one to think too hard about stuff like this, but when she's finished blow drying her hair and put her pajamas on, sitting on the bed with her laptop on her lap as Chloe lays beside her painting; she's satisfied.

And okay, she's just got out of the shower but when Chloe asks her if she can paint on her back "like people on Tumblr do", she can't really say no.

Which is how she finds herself laid on her stomach with Chloe sitting on her butt, using probably way too much paint than necessary to paint a picture on the expanse of her back.

"Jesus, it's so cold," she whispers when Chloe touches her with the paintbrush again, and it tickles, the way she moves it up and down. But it feels nice, and it feels nice knowing that Chloe is painting again.

She knows that her brother and father would be proud of her.

"I'm almost done," Chloe mumbles, leaning down to kiss the back of Beca's neck, and she smiles because the feeling of Chloe's lips on her is her favorite thing ever.

"That feels nice," Beca says, immediately followed by a quick sharp gasp as Chloe bites the back of her neck softly, and she wasn't expecting this to feel so good. To make her insides clench the way they are now, and to make her crave more and more, until she feels like she'll explode.

Maybe this is how Chloe felt the other day.

But Chloe soon stops, and as much as she wants to just let her be, she can't help but ask; "Why did you stop?"

She's never been good at keeping her feelings at bay.

"Not yet," is what Chloe responds with, as she carries on painting on her back. "Plus I need to finish this before it dries."

Beca knows what she means though. Not yet, it's too soon. Not yet, she's not ready. Not yet, she wants it to be special.

It doesn't make her want Chloe any less though.


When Chloe's finished painting Beca's back, she takes a photo of it before shyly showing it to Beca.

It surprises them both when Beca immediately bursts into tears.

Which is not like Beca at all, so Chloe immediately thinks the worst and she tells her that the paint is washable, and she stands up off of the bed and immediately starts packing her art supplies away. But Beca is up in seconds and she's hugging Chloe and telling her that she loves it and for a second Chloe thinks she hears Beca's heart pounding, or maybe it's her own.

"You do?" she asks, and Beca pulls back with a watery smile and she sniffs up and nods her head, and Chloe has never seen Beca look at her like this before. Like she put the stars in the sky.

She's starting to wonder if this is how Beca has been looking at her all along but they've both just been blind to it.

"Why are you crying?" Chloe asks her, holding her cheeks, and Chloe has paint on her hands but Beca doesn't care really. As long as Chloe is holding her, everything is fine.

"I don't know." And she honestly doesn't, because really, the painting is nothing special. It's just a picture of space; dark blue merging into purples and pinks and reds and dark oranges, with hundreds of white stars dotted around, but it's still beautiful. "It's just this whole trip," she continues, shaking her head and sniffling with a broken laugh. "This whole thing is just perfect and I'm afraid I'll wake up and it'll all be a dream."

But when Chloe kisses her – properly kisses her, like there's nothing bad in the world – Beca knows this isn't a dream.

It's real, and it's the happiest Beca's ever been in her whole life.

And it's dangerous too, but as long as Chloe is here with her then she's ready to take on the world.

Chapter Text

 

“I don’t know if you’re ready to go / where I’m willing to take you girl / I will feel every inch of your skin / and you know I can rock your world / imma be the calm in the storm you’re looking for / I’ll be the shipwreck that takes you down / I don’t mind if you lie in my bed / we can stay here forever now / turn off the lights / take off your clothes / turn on the stereo / give up the fight / I’m in control / why don’t you let it go” – kiss you inside out, hedley


There’s times when Chloe looks at Beca – really looks at her – and wonders how she managed to get this girl to fall for her.

She looks at the way Beca’s back rises when she’s sleeping next to her that morning. Watches the way her lips purse into a small smile every now and again. She watches as her eyes sometimes squeeze tighter when she’s dreaming. Watches the way she lets out small breaths; breaths that are almost close to being snores, but way cuter and quieter, and so Beca-like.

She watches a piece of hair fall down in front of Beca’s face, and she immediately reaches a hand out to gently move it away.

She watches in awe and she can only smile, because this beautiful girl, who looks at Chloe like she hung the moon, is her girlfriend.

She watches her and she loves her.

Only, Chloe’s smile is soon gone when Beca quickly turns over and her hand flies out from under her, hitting Chloe square in the face.

Beca is awake immediately though, eyes wide as she hovers over Chloe and tells her she’s sorry, she’s sorry, she’s sorry. She’s cupping Chloe’s face in her hands and kissing her nose and her cheeks and her forehead, and Chloe doesn’t have it in her to be mad.

Her nose hurts but God, Beca is adorable. All she can do is laugh.

“I’m sorry!” Beca blurts out in between laughs. “God, babe, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know y–“

Chloe waves her hand dismissively, telling Beca that it’s okay, she’s fine, and it’s okay; trying not to swoon at the fact that Beca called her babe. She’s still getting used to that. The pet names and the love that Beca gives her. Beca still kisses her face and tells her that she’s sorry, but they’re both laughing and Chloe loves her girlfriend more than she’s ever loved anything in the world.

Beca makes it up to her by getting dressed and going to get coffee from the Motel diner while Chloe takes a shower and gets ready. She returns with mediocre tasting coffee, bagels and two bottles of water for when they’re on the road, and Chloe thanks her with a small kiss to her forehead as she finishes blow-drying her hair.

It’s perfect.

//

Beca holds her hand out of the window and smiles to herself. The breeze feels nice wafting through her fingers, and she makes wavy motions that fit perfectly with the beat of the Disney song playing through the car’s shitty speakers, as Chloe drives way too fast for comfort. It’s maybe the best feeling in the world.

They had done some laundry this morning at the motel and are now on the way to Salt Lake City. They’ve only been on the road for two hours, but when Chloe complains that her leg is starting to cramp, Beca suggests they stop at a gas station to get some snacks and maybe a magazine for Chloe to read when Beca drives.

And Beca thinks nothing of it when she says it, but the way Chloe stops and looks at her after she’s parked the car makes her stomach flip and she thinks maybe she’s said something wrong.

“Or not,” Beca says, shaking her head, her eyes widening a little. “You could draw, maybe? Or read one of the books we bought?”

“Shut up.”

Beca’s eyes widen even more as she moves her head back a little.

“That’s not a–”

“I love you.”

“–nice way to speak to your girlfriend, Miss Beale.”

“Beca?” She sounds desperate. Scared. “Did you hear me?”

She heard.

She takes her seatbelt off and leans over to stop the music. It cuts off in the middle of Sebastian singing Under the Sea as she turns to look at Chloe who looks terrified.

“I did,” she says. It comes out as more of a whisper and she doesn’t even realize she’s practically breathless until she feels Chloe’s hand close over her own.

She gulps.

“I don’t want to hear it back,” Chloe tells her. “Well, I do, but… Of course I want to hear it back. But I’m not expecting you to say it. I just want you to know.”

Beca rolls her lips and gives a small smile, squeezing Chloe’s hand. “US Weekly or Glamour?”

Chloe smiles.

“Marie Claire. Do you even know me, Beca Mitchell?”

“Unfortunately I do,” Beca jokes as she gets out of the car, watching as Chloe gets out and locks the car behind her, feigning shock.

//

They decide to play a license plate game when Chloe announces she’s bored for the fifth time and that she’s finished her magazine. (She’s even used a pen to draw unnecessary doodles on the models in the fashion section.) The aim of the game is to look at the plates of the cars in front of them and try to make the best acronym out of the first three letters.

“A-W-D,” Beca announces, nodding towards the car in front of them. “What’ve you got for that one?”

Chloe purses her lips and thinks for a few minutes.

“Aliens Walking Dogs.”

“Aww, Walt Disney.”

“Aubrey’s wooden dildo.”

“Oh my God!” Beca almost chokes – on what, she’s not sure – and she can only laugh harder when Chloe laughs at her with that look on her face which Beca’s started to become more accustomed to on this trip. A look that holds nothing but love and fondness in it, and a look that has Beca’s heart melting because her girlfriend looks beautiful with that big genuine smile on her face.

And then Chloe grins when a car pulls in front of them which has B-I-G in the license plate.

“Look!” Chloe says, pointing at the car. “Beca Is Gay.”

Beca laughs, shaking her head. “My God, I hate you.”

When Chloe grins at her, she has never been more wrong about something in her life. She could never hate Chloe Beale even if she wanted to.

“Liar. You can’t hate me, I’m perfect,” Chloe says, and Beca grins.

She’s right. She’s in love with her and no amount of bad three word sentences can change that.

//

They arrive in Salt Lake City at 2PM.

And it’s beautiful for the most part, until they come across the Motel they’re supposed to be staying at for the night which they had booked that morning. Now Beca’s not exactly one to complain to any managers or owners. She may be a snarky little shit but if she ordered a steak at a restaurant and they came out with fish, she’d shut her mouth and dig in. She doesn’t complain.

But this place has “you’re going to get murdered here” written all over it. She’s pretty sure she saw this place in an episode of The Walking Dead.

Chloe, on the other hand. Chloe’s like a Chihuahua. Beca’s always described Chloe as secretly feisty, because as beautiful and sweet and innocent as she is, if something doesn’t live up to Chloe’s satisfaction, she will complain until they get a refund.

(One time Chloe stormed into KFC, straight past the line of people, and demanded they give her some gravy because they forgot hers. Which Beca understands a little because KFC gravy is the best thing ever in her opinion, but it was still embarrassing for her and she wasn’t even there.)

So that’s how Beca finds herself waiting in the car as Chloe argues with the manager of the Motel for a refund, because this is not the place that was advertised on TripAdvisor.

It’s another five minutes before Chloe comes out and gets back in the car with two bags of mints in her hand.

“You good?”

“Yup. They refunded our money and even gave us free mints!”

Only Chloe Beale.

//

After checking into another Motel and dropping their suitcases off in their room – a single room with one bed, Beca notes – they go to Memory Grove Park per Chloe’s request.

The park itself is beautiful. Especially since it’s a hot day and the sun is shining perfectly onto the fountains. Beca still has a bit of sunburn, but Chloe has the sunscreen ready to apply every twenty minutes, which Beca finds adorable.

They see many dogs, which has Chloe swooning every five minutes. One couple mentions that their dog doesn’t tend to like people stroking him, but Chloe kneels down at a respectable distance, and the dog is soon in her lap, licking her thighs and rubbing his ears over her arms as his owners both watch in awe.

Once again, Beca is speechless at just how amazing Chloe is. No other word can describe her.

They walk along the freedom trail holding hands, and it’s so normal now that Beca doesn’t even notice until Chloe lets go to get her bottle of water out of her bag.

“Hey,” Beca says, getting Chloe’s attention. Chloe turns towards her as she takes a sip of her drink.

“Hmm?”

“We should stay.”

“What?”

“We should stay here. Not here, but…” Beca looks around. “Everywhere.”

“You’re making no sense, Becs.”

“We should travel. Forever.” Chloe laughs, handing Beca her bottle of water, and Beca takes it with a gracious smile. “What’s so funny?”

“I wish it was that simple.”

“Come on,” Beca reaches out for Chloe, pulling her towards her by the waist. “We could become nomads. Travel forever.”

“Yeah?” Chloe grins, cupping Beca’s face in her hands. She feels Beca’s smile against her lips as she pulls her in, kissing her bottom lip softly.

“I’d go anywhere as long as I’m with you,” Beca whispers into her mouth, before capturing Chloe’s top lip in between her own, eyes squeezing shut as she concentrates on kissing her girlfriend; on making Chloe’s head spin as much as hers is right now.

She just knows that Chloe will be there to hold her up if she gets too dizzy though. She always will.

//

They buy some food on the way back to the Motel, and they’re quickly changed into their pajamas and laying together on top of the duvet, eating as they listen to some music that Beca is playing from a Spotify playlist on her phone.

“What’s this?”

“Um,” Beca looks over at her phone, checking the song. “Dive In by KYKO.”

“I like it,” Chloe says, pausing to put a forkful of noodles in her mouth. “You should use it for a mix.”

“Is this you asking me to make a mix for you?” Beca smiles.

Chloe shakes her head with a smile, “This is me giving you ideas, weirdo.”

“Are you calling me unoriginal?”

Chloe rolls her eyes, throwing her head back onto the pillow. “I can’t win,” she murmurs, closing her eyes.

She feels Beca’s hand on her thigh, telling her she’s joking and that she’ll make a mix using the song when she gets some free time in between travelling and sightseeing, and Chloe opens her eyes to see Beca looking over her with a fond smile.

She has a noodle stuck to the corner of her mouth but she’s never looked so beautiful.


Beca should be used to it now, but when Chloe wakes her up at 6AM so they can set off to Denver, she still can’t help but mumble “5 more minutes” into her pillow as she feels Chloe shuffling around the room.

Somehow, Chloe has a way of making waking up at this ungodly hour worth it.

She offers to drive for the first few hours, and tells Beca that she can be in control of the music today, and soon enough they’re on the road singing along to Here’s To Never Growing Up by Avril Lavigne.

Beca drives the rest of the way when they stop 4 hours into the drive at a small gas station so Chloe can buy more fridge magnets.

They finally arrive in Denver at 2PM, and both make a mutual decision to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art after buying a couple of sandwiches for their lunch.

When Chloe starts to talk about the different pieces of art, Beca tries really hard to follow along, she really does, but when the words assemblage and triptych are used, Beca has to take a step back.

She listens but she also watches. Watches the way Chloe’s eyes roam over the paintings. Watches her hands twitch as if she’s holding herself back from touching the artwork. Watches as her mouth parts slightly into a smile when she sees a piece she likes. Watches as she holds her hand out subconsciously for Beca to take it.

And Beca takes it.

Just as their hands touch though, Beca pulls her hand away which catches Chloe’s attention.

“What’s up?” She asks, finally pulling her eyes away from the painting in front of her to look down at Beca.

“Sorry ma’am, signs say I’m not allowed to touch the masterpieces.”

Chloe’s rolls her eyes, grabbing Beca’s hand and pulling her along to the next painting as she tells her she’s a dork. It doesn’t stop her from grinning though, especially when Beca holds onto her hand twice as tight as she laughs at her own joke.

//

They stop at a place called Denver Cat Company when they come out of the museum, and it takes all Chloe has in her not to adopt one or maybe all of the cats that reside there. Instead, she makes sure to give as many of the cats as much love as she can, babying them and promising them that she’ll be back to visit them again.

It takes Beca a half hour to convince Chloe that they cannot get a cat together, especially since they’ll both probably be broke after this trip.

(She doesn’t say anything about the fact that the thought of owning an animal with Chloe doesn’t even scare her, no matter how many times her brain tells her it should.)

Eventually, Beca buys Chloe another coffee and tells her that they can stay twenty more minutes before they go find a Bed & Breakfast to stay in for the rest of the night.

Chloe’s in the middle of talking about Aubrey’s new job when she notices that Beca’s head seems to be somewhere else.

“Hey,” she says, taking her hand away from one of the cats she’s stroking – Riley, his name is – to hold Beca’s hand on the table. “You’re a million miles away.”

“I’m just thinking.”

“Yeah? What’s on your mind?”

Beca doesn’t hesitate.

“You.”

Chloe’s smile is big. The type of smile where she’s trying really hard not to let it take over her face, but Beca is adorable and everything she says makes Chloe’s day. Makes her feel all sorts of emotions.

“You’re so cheesy,” she says, tapping Beca’s hand before taking it away and having a drink of her coffee.

“I may have already mentioned this but… I’m really glad you asked me to come on this trip with you.”

Chloe looks down at the cat on her lap, looking back up at Beca through her eyelashes. “I’m glad you said yes,” she says, running her hand through Riley’s fur.

“You love that cat more than you love me, don’t you?”

Chloe laughs, putting her mug down on the table.

“I’ll never love anything as much as I love you.”

She says it with such ease that it catches Beca off guard. Chloe can see it in her eyes. The way they widen slightly as she lifts her head up a little and picks her cup up, eyes darting around the room at anything other than Chloe.

“Becs…”

“I’m so in love with you.”

It’s whispered into her empty cup, but Chloe still hears her loud and clear.

Her hands slowly stop stroking Riley, and soon enough the cat is uninterested; jumping out of Chloe’s lap to head over to another table.

It’s weird that neither of them really say anything after that, but at the same time, it’s not weird at all.

They both know how they feel, and nothing more needs to be said.

Chapter Text

“I'm the one who stole the stars for you / I'm the fool who lost it all and I'd lose it all again / I'd like to think that you’re the same as me / but something tells me that you’re not / quite lost without me / I should have been a little bit stronger / I should have tried a little bit harder / or maybe just a tiny bit wiser / cause we are stars / we are lights / we are golden in the night / we are planets in this sky / waiting to appear / in your atmosphere.” – we are stars, callum beattie


They leave the cat café at around 6

And Beca’s still getting used to reality.

The reality where she’s madly in love with a girl – with her best friend – and she’s not settling for anything less than she wants or needs. Because Jesse was sweet, and he tried to make her happy, he really did, but he’s not Chloe.

The difference between Chloe and Jesse is that Chloe doesn’t have to try to make Beca happy.

Of course, she loves Jesse. She always will. It’s not like the past four years with him mean nothing to her, because that’s far from the truth. But there are two endings to a relationship. Either you marry them and are together until one of you dies or decides to get a divorce, or you break up before all that pain can come.

And the truth is, Beca never pictured her and Jesse as the married type. Don’t get her wrong, she’s always wanted to get married. Always wanted that connection with somebody; a connection that doesn’t go away, even after years of being together. She always wanted domesticity and married couple arguments and everything in between.

That’s how Beca knew Jesse wasn’t the one she wanted to marry. Because the connection was gone long before Beca realized she wanted to break up with him, and she’s accepted that now. Not everybody lasts. Not everybody gets married and lives happily ever after. Not everybody has an unbreakable bond with somebody, so strong that you never want to be apart from them.

And it’s not like she pictures her and Chloe getting married and being together forever either, because nobody really knows what the future entails. For all she knows, Chloe could get sick of her and move across the country and they could never see each other again. As much as that would kill her, she thinks that sometimes, that’s just the way the world works.

But the thing is, she does picture some sort of a future with Chloe. Now that they’re together, now that they’ve admitted – finally – that they’re very much in love (and maybe Beca can’t stop thinking about it), she sees something there for them.

When she was with Jesse, the future that she tried so hard to picture was just a blurry black and white image. Jesse talked about it all the time. The dream life. The West Coast Lifestyle. The juice cleanses, the fish tacos, the hikes, and even the plastic surgery (though she always hoped that was a joke.) He’d tell her that they’d be that couple that would go for morning jogs together and they’d never fall into a boring routine.

She could never imagine it.

No matter how hard she tried, the life that Jesse picked for them didn’t look right. It looked like Beca was underwater, and there was a layer of glass on the surface that she couldn’t quite see past, despite how much detail Jesse would go into about it all. She should’ve known that it was a problem. That it should’ve been a red flag. Because she never wants to settle for a life that she doesn’t even see herself having in the first place.

With Chloe, she doesn’t imagine them anywhere but together. She doesn’t know where they’ll be ten, twenty years from now. All she knows is that she hopes that they’re still together, and the blurry image that she could never make out with Jesse is right here with her now, clear as day.

A blue convertible from a scrapyard in Atlanta, driving way too fast for comfort with both her and Chloe singing along, voices echoing down the highway.

//

It starts to rain on the way back to the Motel, and if Chloe was prepared for this, she would’ve put the hood up long before they left. But the world seems to be against her because the hood gets jammed and everything in the car is starting to get soaked, and she’s just glad that Beca’s music equipment isn’t in the backseat.

And as much as Chloe would love to just sit and stare at Beca as she tries to protect their suitcases from getting wet-through, because her shirt is riding up and Chloe has a perfect view of her back and her pale skin, she thinks Beca would appreciate if she actually tried to help. So she gets out of the car, looking around at the empty road they had pulled up on, and runs to the trunk.

“Go press the button!” She has to yell because the rain is getting heavier and the sound of it smacking against the concrete as well as the car engine, is enough to drown her voice out, and she’s not sure if putting the hood up will even matter anymore because their stuff is soaked.

But Beca does as she’s told, pressing the button to lift the hood as Chloe smacks it and pulls it and gives it a few pushes. Eventually, the hood slowly rises up and over the car, and Beca pulls it into place before winding both of the windows up. She gets out of the car, looking over at Chloe, and her hair is drenched and she has to keep blowing it out of her face and it’s so ridiculous that all Beca can do is laugh.

“What’s so funny?” Chloe asks, looking at Beca, but with the way she’s laughing as well, Beca can tell she’s not as mad as she sounds.

“This! It’s ridiculous!”

Chloe’s not really sure why they’re still standing outside in the pouring rain, but she figures that they’re already soaking wet, so they might as well make the most of it instead of struggling to get dry in the equally soaking wet car.

She walks over to Beca, a grin lighting up her face, and holds her hand out.

“May I have this dance?”

Beca opens her mouth to say something, but nothing comes out. It’s rare that Chloe makes Beca speechless, so she knows that whatever Beca has going on in that brain of hers, there’s nothing telling her that this is a terrible idea.

Beca shakes her head, rolls her eyes, and takes Chloe’s hand.

“We have no music,” Beca says. She doesn’t have to yell now, because they’re holding each other close, and Chloe loves the sound of Beca’s voice when she’s unsure about what’s happening.

“We don’t need any music. We can dance to the rain.”

And if Beca thinks it’s a stupid idea, she doesn’t voice it. Instead, she pulls Chloe closer and rests their foreheads together, and it’s all kinds of perfect.

//

Chloe’s surprised to learn that Beca loves country music.

She should’ve known, really, when Beca had sang Carrie Underwood at the riff off that one time, and now that Chloe looks back on it, she remembers that Beca also used to sing a few Florida Georgia Line songs every now and again when they would hang out in Beca’s dorm back before they moved into the Bella house.

But it turns out that Beca knows a few more country artists. John Pardi, to be exact, and Chloe only finds this out when she walks in on Beca humming Head Over Boots in the shower.

“You’re full of surprises,” Chloe says, stepping into the shower behind Beca, and she knows that Beca wasn’t expecting her because she jumps and she grins as she playfully hits Chloe’s arm when she wraps them around Beca’s waist.

“You scared the shit out of me.”

Chloe hums, pressing a kiss to Beca’s neck before resting her chin on her shoulder. Beca’s the perfect height to do it without stretching her neck too far, and it feels perfect. Like everything nowadays.

“You like country music.”

“You got me. You found out my dirty secret.”

“Show tunes? Country music? What else don’t I know about you Miss Mitchell?”

“Well since everything’s out in the open, I’m not saying I can’t rap Nicki’s verse in Monster.”

Chloe laughs, telling her that she’ll have to prove it, and Beca shakes her head, laughing. She tilts her head to the side a little as Chloe’s lips attach to her neck.

I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight,” Chloe sings against her skin, swaying their waists from side to side. “I wanna love you and hold you tight. Spin you around on some old dancefloor. Act like we’ve never met before, for fun.” Beca slowly turns around in her arms, and Chloe grins as she leans in and rests their foreheads together, just like they had done earlier in the pouring rain.

’Cause, you’re the one I want,” Beca joins in, closing her eyes, and it reminds Chloe of how she had joined in singing Party in the USA in her freshman year. Beca knows she can sing, and it’s times like this, when she’s acting all smug about it, that Chloe remembers that music is Beca’s life and she shouldn’t be surprised that she knows all the words. “You’re the one I need, baby, if I was a king, you would be my queen.

They sing together until Chloe eventually forgets the words, and they giggle as Beca makes fun of Chloe for not being a true country girl. And not once does Chloe think about how they’re both stark naked in the shower together, and how they both love each other, and how they could be doing something else rather than shampooing each other’s hair and blowing bubbles in each other’s faces as they sing country music.

It’s not until Beca turns around and asks Chloe to rinse the suds out of her hair that she even remembers that sex is a thing that couples tend to do in the showers.

It’s ironic, because that’s exactly what she was doing when she and Beca met all those years ago.

She figures that if Beca wanted to have sex with her in the shower though, she would have initiated it by now. So she doesn’t do anything. Doesn’t mention it or give any hints that it’s a possibility. Instead, she runs her hands through Beca’s hair, occasionally kissing her neck and shoulder, as she rinses the suds out.

They kiss and hug, and hold each other as close as they can, and Chloe is content.

When Beca kisses her and tells her she loves her, her stomach flutters and she swears the world tilts on its axis.

She’ll never get bored of the way Beca makes her feel.

//

They don’t get much sleep because of the couple in the room beside them, so they set off for Cawker City at 4AM.

Beca drives first, and it’s not until Chloe wakes up parked on the side of the road a few hours later to see Beca fast asleep, hunched forward with her head resting on the steering wheel, that she notices exactly how tired the two of them had been. It can’t be comfy though, laying hunched up like that, so she’s about to reach over to tap Beca and wake her up when she hears a tap on the window beside her.

She jumps and turns to her right to see a police officer outside the car. Beca stirs beside her, looking around and mumbling something that Chloe doesn’t quite catch.

“Shoot,” she mumbles, winding the window down, smiling at the officer as he leans down at eye level.

“Ma’am,” he says, nodding his head. It’s so formal. Definitely not something you’d expect a cop whose probably about to give you a ticket to say. “You shouldn’t be parked here without a permit.”

Chloe looks to her left towards Beca, seeing her awake now, and then out of Beca’s window. She was wondering why the officer had come to her side of the car, but now that she’s aware of their surroundings she can see that another big, expensive looking car is parked beside them.

She turns back to the officer, looking at his badge.

“Officer Smith,” she says. Unlike the officer that had stopped them a couple of weeks ago when Beca was swerving all over the road trying to dodge the potholes, this officer seems nice. Maybe even friendly. “I’m so sorry,” she lowers her voice. “My friend here has narcolepsy. We pulled up because it was too dangerous for her to drive in case she fell asleep.”

The officer looks into the car at Beca, who now that Chloe has turned to look at, has an annoyed look on her face.

“She’s a grumpy sleeper,” Chloe says, eyes still on Beca before she turns toward the window again. She leans in a little towards the officer and bats her eyelashes. “If it’s okay with you, we’ll be right on our way.”

He gulps and Chloe can see him checking her out, and she’s not quite sure if they’ll be lucky enough to get away from a ticket a second time. But the officer nods his head and tells them that they’ll let them off, and then Beca is turning the engine on and pulling away before the officer even has time to stand away from the window.

“Why am I always the one with the conditions?” she asks, irritation in her tone, and Chloe laughs as she switches the radio on.

And Chloe, finally letting Beca get her own way, types their destination into her phone, trying not to roll her eyes when Beca tells her how helpful Google Maps can be sometimes. She still thinks it’s more organic to use a map rather than a GPS, but Beca had told her that they’ll end up getting lost before they make it to Cawker City and they won’t have time to see the attraction that Chloe so desperately wants to see.

Which is a complete surprise to Beca, because Chloe had told her that if Beca knows what they’re going to see then she’ll think it’s lame, and even though Beca had told her that she won’t think it’s lame, Chloe still insisted it should be a surprise.

So naturally, when they finally reach the destination, and they both stand in front of the World’s Largest Ball of Sisal Twine, Beca looks shocked, to say the least.

“What the fuck am I looking at?”

“This is history, Becs!” She tears her eyes away from where she’d been observing Beca to see what her reaction would be, and she turns to look at the huge ball with a grin on her face.

“It’s a massive ball of string.”

“Twine.”

“A massive twine of string.”

Chloe laughs. “It’s a ball of twine, Beca. Stop being a grumpy guts and take my picture.”

Chloe hands Beca her phone, and Beca rolls her eyes, but she does as she’s told, as Chloe practically skips over to stand in front of it. She takes a few photos, one of Chloe smiling normally, then one holding her arms out widely, then one of her looking at the huge ball. The last one is when she’s walking back towards Beca, holding her hand out for Beca to pass her phone back.

Despite Beca smiling at the photos though, Chloe senses that something is wrong. She’s sensed it since this morning, but figured that giving Beca some time until she brought it up would be best. She knows that Beca doesn’t like being pushed to tell her things, so most of the time Chloe waits patiently for Beca to talk about it.

She’s being mopey though, and Chloe thinks that Beca knows she’s noticed.

“You okay, babe?”

Beca nods, handing her the phone. “You’re looking at that ball of twine with so much love, need me a freak like that.”

Chloe laughs, looking at the pictures. She reaches down to grab Beca’s hand so they can walk hand-in-hand back to the car, but Beca is already walking away.

“Hey,” she jogs towards Beca, falling in to step with her as she pockets her phone. “Something’s wrong.”

“I’m fine.”

“Becs,” Chloe stops, and she grabs Beca’s arm, making Beca stop too. “You’re mad at me over something.”

“I’m not.”

“Yes you are, you always do this when you’re mad.”

“Do what?” Beca pulls her hand away, and Chloe tries not to show how much it hurts, that Beca doesn’t want to touch her.

“You shut down. You avoid me.”

“I do not–”

“–You know, it’s kind of hard to avoid someone you’re on a road trip with. I’m kind of your ride for the next month so you’re gonna get nowhere without me.”

“I’m not mad at you.”

Chloe thinks about the day they’ve had. Nothing really stands out. She’d woken up in the passenger seat to a sleeping Beca, and then a police officer had told them to–“Wait,” she interjects her own thoughts. “Is this because of the cop this morning?”

“No, just drop it,” Beca turns away then, continuing her journey back to the car.

“It totally is! Is it because I told him you’re narcoleptic or because I got us out of another ticket? Beca Mitchell, are you jealous?”

“I am not jealous.”

Chloe grins, catching up to Beca again, and she loops her arm through Beca’s, thankful that Beca doesn’t pull away this time.

“Remember what I said?” Chloe says. “About me not liking the part of the story where you keep things to yourself and continue to be mad without telling anyone?”

“I don’t recall,” Beca responds, but Chloe knows she’s joking.

“Come on,” Chloe nudges her, “you can’t be mad at me for long anyway.”

There’s a long pause where neither of them say anything until they reach the car, and Beca stops at the passenger seat because Chloe had told her earlier that she’ll drive the rest of the way to the Bed & Breakfast.

“Can I at least pretend to be mad at you?” Beca asks, leaning against the car door, and Chloe smiles as she puts both hands on either side of Beca, leaning in close enough for Beca to have to move her head backwards to see Chloe without her vision blurring.

“Come on,” Chloe pokes Beca’s side. “You can’t be mad at me.”

And Beca sighs, eyes looking anywhere but Chloe. And usually Chloe would tilt her head to try and get Beca to look at her, but she knows that Beca doesn’t like to make eye contact when she’s in a vulnerable state like this.

“I don’t get possessive,” Beca whispers in the small space between them, eyes trained on the ground beside them, “or jealous or anything but I just… you were… you called me your friend.”

Chloe licks her lips and swallows, guilty that she’s made her girlfriend insecure about their relationship.

“This town…” Chloe starts, pausing as she reaches up to tuck Beca’s hair behind her ear from where it had fallen in front of her eye when she looked down at the ground. “We can’t just… go around telling people we’re together, you know? It’s not like that here. It can be unsafe. People are… they don’t like it.”

“I don’t give a shit what people think about us, Chloe. I thought you didn’t either.”

The sudden accusatory tone causes Chloe to flinch, and she’s pulling back slightly, removing her hands from where they’d been resting on the door.

“It’s not like that.”

“Right.”

“Becs.”

“Let’s just go find this stupid B&B,” Beca retorts, turning around to try and pry the car door open, causing Chloe to take a few steps back. And Chloe grabs onto Beca’s arm, gasping suddenly when Beca pushes her arm away.

“Please don’t do that,” Chloe pleads. “Don’t shut me out.”

“Jesus Christ, you sound just like Jesse.” Beca mutters.

Chloe ignores the sensation she gets in her stomach at that, trying not to let it show on her face that it hurt her. But Beca isn’t looking at her anyway, she’s still trying to force the passenger seat door open, mumbling under her breath about the stupid fucking door and never opening when she needs it to.

“We have to talk through this kind of stuff.”

“We don’t have to do anything.” Eventually, after pulling at the handle a few more times, the door opens and Beca’s about to get into the car when Chloe quickly pushes the door shut again and grabs Beca’s hand to turn her around. “Chloe what the hell–”

“–This thing we’re doing? It’s called being in a relationship. And people in relationships talk to each other. They don’t–”

“–Really? You’re gonna tell me what to do in a relationship?” Chloe takes a step back as Beca takes one forward, and she hates angry Beca. Because she knows exactly what to say to cut you deep. She’s had enough practice with her father over the past few years, and especially with Aubrey in her freshman year. The amount of times they’d get into spats and fights was almost unbearable, and Chloe was always the one left to clean the mess up.

She’s not about to let this ruin her and Beca though. She doesn’t want to be the type of couple that keep secrets from each other.

“How about,” Beca raises her voice slightly, “not calling me your friend, for starters. If it’s that embarrassing having me as your girlfriend in the first place, maybe we shouldn’t be–”

“Beca, please don’t–”

“–What, Chloe? What do you want me to say? That it’s okay that you flirted with that police officer this morning? That I’m okay with the fact that you’re comfortable calling us just friends?”

“I want you to stop being an asshole!”

I’m being an asshole?”

“Yes! You’re being a huge asshole!”

Beca laughs, and it’s not the type of laugh that Chloe’s fallen in love with. It’s the type of laugh that’s usually followed by Beca storming away, or yelling, or shutting the door in Chloe’s face. “You know what, fuck this.” And just as Chloe guessed, Beca pushes her way past her.

“Where are you–?”

“I’m done, Chloe.”

Chloe turns around, her hands clenching by her sides tight enough to leave indentations in her palms, and she stamps one foot on the ground.

“Beca, stop!” she yells after her, “You do not get to walk away from me. Not now! Not after everything we’ve been through to get here!”

Beca doesn’t stop but she slows down, and she turns around, and Chloe tries not to think about how this reminds her of the retreat and how Beca had walked away from her then as well. Only, this time there’s no bear trap to stop her. So Chloe decides to become the bear trap, and she starts to follow her, ignoring Beca when she tells her that she needs to cool off.

“I swear to God, Beca, you’re not walking away from me. Not again.”

Beca watches, still walking backwards slowly, as Chloe advances on her. And neither of them say anything but their eyes are locked and Beca wants nothing more than to just scream. To yell at Chloe about how she loves her and she doesn’t want Chloe to be embarrassed about them being together. She wants to shout from every rooftop in the world that she and Chloe Beale are in love and anyone who tries to come between that can fuck themselves.

But the scariest thing, Beca thinks, is the possibility that Chloe doesn’t feel the same. That Chloe doesn’t want to scream from the rooftops about their love. And as soon as that thought enters her mind, Chloe is pulling her in for a hug, their chests colliding with much more force than either of them had expected.

And she immediately drowns in the familiar scent of Chloe Beale, and she can hear Chloe whimpering into her shoulder as they both wrap their arms tightly around each other. And as much as Beca tries to convince herself that this isn’t what she needs right now, there’s no doubt that being this close to Chloe brings her some sort of calmness that nothing or nobody else can achieve.

It feels like a movie. If she can imagine hard enough, Sleeping At Last or The Civil Wars or some equally somber band is playing in the background, and the rain is pouring down on them and the setting sun’s glow reflects in both of their eyes and everything is okay.

“You know,” Chloe whispers, voice muffled into Beca’s neck, and Beca knows that Chloe’s crying because she can hear the lump in her throat and the roughness in her voice that only happens when she’s upset. “I don’t want anybody else.” It kills her, knowing that she’s done this to the woman she loves. “I’ve been waiting four years for you, I’m not gonna give you up that easy.”

Beca closes her eyes, breathing in everything that is Chloe Beale, and she lets out a small whimper when she breathes out. And it’s not unusual for her to cry in front of Chloe. She’s pretty sure she’s cried in front of Chloe more times on this road trip alone than she has in her entire life. But rarely does she cry over something bad that she’s done. Because she had been an asshole, Chloe was right, but when Beca’s mad or jealous or whatever she is – was – she has no filter, and she’s always been known for ruining whatever good thing she has in her life.

Only, she knows that’s not the case here. They may have fought, and Beca won’t blame Chloe if she walks away right now – if she breaks up with her and never wants to see her again – but part of her knows that Chloe’s not going to do that, nor will she any time soon. She knows that they’re going to be okay, because there’s no way one argument in the middle of Kansas will be the end of them.

“I’m sorry,” Beca murmurs, nuzzling further into Chloe, and she can hardly breathe due to how tight they’re holding each other but she doesn’t care. If she dies of asphyxiation right now in Chloe’s arms, it’d be the best way to go.

She feels Chloe turn her head and press a kiss to her temple, and she sniffs and brings up the back of her hand to wipe her nose.

“I forgive you.” Chloe’s voice is mumbled because her mouth is pressed into Beca’s cheek, and Beca smiles because feeling Chloe this close to her is one of her favorite things, and she’d be an idiot if she ever let this go that easily. “And I’m sorry too.”

“I love you. So much.”

It’s not the first time she’s heard Chloe say it, but when Chloe pulls back slightly, hands coming up to hold Beca’s face as she leans in and whispers it into her mouth before they kiss, Beca knows that they’re going to fight.

She knows that they’ve fought like this in the past and she knows that they’ll fight like this in the future. And she’s okay with that because if she’s learned anything from Chloe Beale, it’s that you don’t run away from the people you love, no matter how mad you are.

Chapter Text

Well I found a girl beautiful and sweet / I never knew you were the someone waiting for me / 'Cause we were just kids when we fell in love / not knowing what it was / I will not give you up this time / but darling, just kiss me slow, your heart is all I own / and in your eyes you're holding mine / baby, I'm dancing in the dark with you between my arms / barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song / when you said you looked a mess, I whispered underneath my breath / but you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight / well I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know / she shares my dreams, I hope that someday I'll share her home / I found a love, to carry more than just my secrets / to carry love, to carry children of our own / we are still kids, but we're so in love / fighting against all odds / I know we'll be alright this time."
– perfect, ed sheeran


The drive to the city is spent mostly in silence.

There’s still a tense air between the two of them, as there always is after any argument, but Chloe senses that maybe things will go back to normal once they’ve both cooled off. Arguing with Beca is never fun. Beca’s the type of person who hates confrontation if it means she has to open herself up, so Chloe stays mostly silent for the three hour drive to give Beca some peace.

That still doesn’t stop her from singing along when Fleetwood Mac comes on though, and when Beca joins in, Chloe knows that they’re going to be okay.

They arrive in Kansas City at 7PM and check into the B&B that Chloe had already pre-booked.

Chloe doesn’t worry that it takes a while for Beca to be able to look her in the eye when they get settled in their room. She knows that Beca probably feels guilty for the fight they had earlier, so she lets Beca shower without her and have some time to herself.

Still though, she doesn’t worry. Even when Beca gets into bed and rolls on her side away from Chloe. She doesn’t worry because if she worries, she’ll start to panic, and if she panics, she knows that all her emotions will end up tumbling out and she’s not sure Beca can handle that right now.

It takes a while, but Beca eventually turns over to face Chloe, who has been scrolling through Instagram on her phone for what feels like hours. She’s scrolled so much that she’s seeing posts from almost a month ago, and she only exits out of the app and puts her phone down when she feels Beca poke her leg.

She looks down, smiling at the way Beca looks up at her with hooded, tired eyes. Like a puppy ready to be scolded, or a child waiting for bad news.

“Hi,” Chloe says, prompting Beca to sit up properly so the two of them are sat with their backs against the headboard. The bed isn’t as comfy as the last motel they stayed at, but it sure beats sleeping in the car.

Chloe thinks though, that as long as Beca is with her, she doesn’t mind where they sleep. She’d gladly take sleeping on the floor with only a couple of blankets, as long as Beca is with her, curled up with Chloe’s front pressed against her back.

“I don’t like this.” Beca says, looking down and tracing the leaf pattern on the bed cover. Chloe turns her body sideways a little, her thigh pressing against Beca’s leg ever so gently, and the contact immediately makes Chloe feel safer. As if just one touch from Beca can ground her, bring her back to earth, back to a place where she’s no longer ignoring that the fight happened.

“What don’t you like?” She knows exactly what Beca’s talking about, but she wants to hear it to make sure they’re on the same page.

“Fighting. It’s all tense and weird and I don’t like it.” Beca sighs. “Are we still supposed to be mad at each other?”

Chloe smiles. “I’m not mad at you,” she whispers, reaching out to put her hand on Beca’s.

Beca finally looks up at her, and Chloe gives her another gentle smile when she sees how scared Beca looks. How vulnerable.

“I’m not mad at you either. I… I had no reason to be in the first place.” She sniffs up as she looks down again. “It was stupid.”

“Hey,” Chloe squeezes Beca’s hand, prompting her to look up at Chloe again. “It wasn’t stupid. We’re both to blame, not just you.”

“I just…” Chloe waits for Beca to gather her thoughts. She knows that talking about her feelings doesn’t come as easy to Beca as it does to Chloe, so she waits. “I’m not good at this. Opening up and…” Her eyes cast down again, and Chloe lets her. “You know. You know me more than I know myself, you know that I can’t-I don’t do this kind of stuff.”

“I just think…” Chloe threads her fingers through Beca’s as she talks, and like always, her hands feel burning hot against Beca’s cold ones. “You need to trust me more. You’re scared to talk about certain stuff and I get it,” she nods in understanding, tilting her head for Beca to look at her again. “I do. I get it, Becs. But I’m… I’m yours. And I won’t judge you.”

“I’m not afraid of you judging me. I’ve been judged my whole life, I don’t… I don’t care about that.”

“What is it?”

Beca pushes a heavy breath out and Chloe knows it means she doesn’t want to say it. So she’s just about to tell Beca that it’s okay, that she can take her time, but Beca cuts her off before she can even open her mouth.

“Losing you,” she whispers. “I’m so fucking scared that I’m gonna say something that… makes you leave. Like… everyone else has.”

“Bec.” Chloe reaches out with her free hand, cupping Beca’s cheek and smiling when Beca immediately relaxes into the touch and closes her eyes. “I’m not leaving you.” she says, bringing Beca closer as she simultaneously moves her head forward until they’re resting their foreheads against each other. She can feel the way Beca immediately sinks into her embrace, letting go of Chloe’s hand and bringing both of her arms to wrap around her waist.

The angle of the hug is awkward and Chloe’s knee is pressing hard into Beca’s thigh but Chloe returns the hug nonetheless, letting Beca rest her head in the crook of her neck, and she breathes out a tired but content breath.

“I didn’t like that you compared me to Jesse. That wasn’t fair.”

“I know.”

“But I forgive you. And I know it wasn’t cool of me to flirt with that police officer.”

“It wasn’t.”

“But… you forgive me?”

“Mmhm.”

“And I don’t like that you walk away when things get hard. That isn’t fair. You need to stop doing that.”

Beca nods into Chloe’s neck. “I’ll stop. I’ll be better.”

“And,” Chloe pauses, pulling back so she can look at Beca. “I didn’t enjoy calling you my friend but… You have to understand that not everybody is accepting of… of us.”

“I know. I know that. It was stupid of me to get upset over.”

“It wasn’t stupid, baby. If it makes you upset then it’s never stupid.”

The corners of Beca’s mouth curl up, and they’re both smiling at each other as Chloe gently runs her hand through Beca’s hair.

“I like that.”

“What?”

“You called me baby.”

Chloe laughs, but Beca looks beautiful right now and she loves her, and she’d do anything to see her smile like this. Looking so happy and free and content.

When she leans in for a kiss, Beca meets her halfway. And kissing Beca never fails to take her breath away, but it also feels so serene at the same time. It’s like the minute you step off a rollercoaster. Your heart is thudding in your chest and you can’t stop smiling and you’re still out of breath from screaming so loud, but you’re calm and composed.

Kissing Beca is the aftermath of a rollercoaster. The calm and the adrenaline at the same time. And Chloe thinks it’s a beautiful contradiction.

“So like…” Beca mumbles into Chloe’s mouth, halting the kiss for a second. “You’re not like… leaving me? Ever?”

Chloe smiles, kissing Beca once more before pulling back, resting her forehead against Beca’s. “Never. I feel like I’ve waited a lifetime for you, Bec.” She whispers. “And I’d wait a lifetime more if I had to.”

She opens her eyes just in time to see Beca roll her own eyes, pulling back and wiping a stray tear, but she’s smiling. “Quit saying mushy stuff that makes me wanna cry, Beale.”

She’s smiling, and she’s the most beautiful thing that Chloe has ever seen.

“I love you,” Chloe laughs, cupping Beca’s face and pulling her close again. “So, so much.”

//

Chloe’s the first to wake up the next morning, and it takes her a second to realize that Beca is behind her instead of in front of her like most mornings. The thought of Beca - her tiny Beca - being the big spoon, makes her smile. So much that she shakes her head and wonders how on earth Beca has managed to turn her into this mushy mess every time she so much as thinks about her.

She turns around as slowly and as quietly as she can, making sure to try and not wake Beca up in the process. It doesn’t really take much, since Beca is a pretty heavy sleeper anyway. But she still makes sure to keep as still as she can, even as she brings a hand up to stroke Beca’s face while she watches her.

She’s surprised, when Beca wakes up, that she doesn’t make a comment about it being creepy that she’s watching her sleep. Instead, Beca smiles, her eyes flickering open with a slight squint at the bright room.

“Mmhey,” she murmurs, closing her eyes as she scoots closer to Chloe to bury her head in her neck, and Chloe’s heart hammers in her chest.

She’s not sure she’ll ever get bored of this. Waking up to a sleepy Beca Mitchell. Seeing her first thing on a morning and last thing at night. Most nights she doesn’t want to sleep because she’ll miss Beca, and she knows how ridiculously cheesy that is, but Beca’s the best thing in her life right now, and she’s still in awe every time she remembers that Beca is hers.

“Morning,” Chloe whispers, kissing the top of Beca’s head as she strokes her back, and Beca nuzzles closer.

“Time is it?”

“Dunno.” Beca looks up, and Chloe has to move her head back slightly, so their faces don’t smush together - not that she’d complain - and it’s only when Chloe whispers “hi” that Beca seems to realize how close they are.

Chloe’s eyes flicker down to Beca’s lips, and her stomach turns when Beca does the same. She’s not sure who starts to lean in first, but it’s only seconds until their lips are touching.

Suddenly though, Beca pulls back abruptly.

“Morning breath. Veto, veto.” Chloe laughs, letting Beca pull away to reach over for her phone on the bedside table. “Ugh, it’s eight. Five more minutes?”

Chloe shakes her head as she watches Beca, unable to form words because of how adorable her girlfriend is being. And she’s not even doing anything remotely different, she’s just being Beca, but she’s still the cutest thing that Chloe has laid eyes on, and she can’t help the way her eyes dance across her features.

The remnants of mascara on her eyelashes, the way they flicker - almost like butterflies - as she blinks. The way her lips are always a little chapped on a morning, and the way she yawns loudly as she rubs her left eye. It’s always the left eye. And she always takes a few seconds when she wakes up to look around the room. As if she forgets where she is for a moment. As if she’s figuring out whether she’s waking up where she fell asleep.

“What are you staring at? Do I have something on my face?”

Chloe grins, putting her hand on the back of Beca’s neck as she leans in. She stops just before their lips touch, ready to pull back if Beca gives any indication that she doesn’t want to kiss her, but it never comes. Instead, Beca closes the gap between them, forgetting about her morning breath for a second as she lets herself enjoy their first kiss of the day.

//

They set off for St. Louis after getting ready, and Beca spends most of the ride singing the chorus to St. Louis Blues. She begs Chloe to sing a different song to help get this song out of her head, but Chloe loves Beca’s rendition of it, so she keeps the radio off as she listens to Beca’s beautiful voice fill up the car.

Eventually Beca has to google the lyrics because she’s sick of only singing the same part over and over again, and she hooks up her phone to the car so they can listen to the full song as they both sing along.

And they’ve been on this road trip for three weeks now and somehow neither of them are bored of spending time with each other. Sure, before this trip they’d seen each other every single day, since they live together and have lived together in the Bella house before graduating. But on this trip they’ve spent every waking moment together, and Beca finds herself dreading going back home because they won’t see each other all the time due to their jobs.

Still, she’s looking forward to their life when they move back home. She’s looking forward to being domestic with Chloe, sleeping in the same bed and waking up together every day. She’s looking forward to making breakfast together and ordering takeout on the weekends while they watch TV shows, stealing kisses as they get ready for work and rushing around each other when they accidentally sleep in.

Suddenly Beca’s pulled out of her little daydream when she sees a hand waving in front of her face, and she realizes the entire time that she’d been staring at Chloe.

“Where did you just go?” Chloe asks her, smiling.

They’re parked outside of a B&B, Chloe’s phone in her hand with the TripAdvisor page open. Beca guesses she’d been looking at places they can go while they’re here, and the thought makes her smile. She wouldn’t mind just chilling in their room together, cuddling and listen to music, but she finds it so endearing how Chloe wants to spend most of their time sightseeing and travelling. She’s always looking for places to go and things to do, and Beca loves that she’s always so excited for everything.

“I love you.”

A small smile grows on Chloe’s face as she bites her lip, and Beca leans forward, immediately capturing Chloe’s lips in a soft kiss that has Beca’s heart pounding in her chest.

“How do you do that?” Chloe mumbles into her mouth, and Beca pulls back slowly, smiling when Chloe’s mouth follows her for a moment before realizing that she’s pulling away.

“Do what?”

Chloe shakes her head. “Make me feel so… loved.”

Beca laughs nervously, sitting back in the seat and resting her head on the headrest behind her, turning to look at Chloe with a gentle smile.

“I’m your girlfriend, pretty sure it’s my job.”

//

They spend most of the day at Forest Park.

They hold hands as they walk through the gardens, and Beca watches Chloe excitedly take hundreds of pictures on her phone, before they set up with a picnic blanket beside the benches. Chloe had bought them sandwiches and a few snacks, so they sit together and eat. And they spend most of the time eating in a comfortable silence, up until Chloe asks Beca to throw a grape to her to see if she can catch it in her mouth.

Of course, Beca wouldn’t be Beca if she didn’t make it more difficult for Chloe. So she starts off throwing them gently, one by one, cheering excitedly with Chloe whenever Chloe catches one. Eventually though, she starts to throw more than one at once, sometimes throwing them with more force than necessary. It makes Chloe giggle until they’re eventually just throwing grapes at each other.

They stop when Beca throws a grape so hard into Chloe’s eye that she starts to cry - with a mixture of laughter too - and Beca hugs Chloe as she kisses her eye and repeatedly tells her that she’s sorry through her laughter.

It’s the most she’s laughed in what feels like forever, and she shouldn’t be surprised that she feels herself falling more and more in love with Chloe with every passing second.

They go to a theater nearby and Chloe drags Beca to watch Hook, telling her that it was her favorite movie when she was a kid. And if it was anybody else Beca would complain the whole time, but seeing Chloe get so excited over the movie has Beca smiling the whole time, draping her arm over Chloe’s shoulder and letting Chloe lean on her.

Sure, they end up making out for most of the movie but neither of them are complaining.

//

“Are we seriously getting into bed at eight?”

“I’m tired!”

“Oh God,” Beca throws her head back dramatically, “we’re old. We’re an old couple. Before you know it we’re gonna be sitting in armchairs criticizing every dish on Cutthroat Kitchen even if they look delicious.”

Chloe laughs as she gets into bed, turning on her side and leaning up on her elbow to look at Beca. “Is that what old couples do?” she asks, reaching out to pull Beca closer to her by her waist.

“I guess? I think so. Oh God wait,” Beca’s eyes widen. “Haven’t we actually done that before?”

“We were criticizing the dishes on Chopped actually.”

“Oh God,” she feigns disgust, “we’re old!”

Chloe laughs again, pushing Beca onto her back as she throws one leg over her and straddles her hips. Beca’s hands land on her hips on instinct and Chloe can’t help the way her breath hitches at the look Beca gives her as she leans down towards her face.

“We’re old?” she asks, lips inches from Beca’s. “Do old couples do this?”

She puts everything into the kiss, hands cupping Beca’s face as Beca’s grip on her hips tighten. She kisses her deeply, making sure to let Beca’s mouth chase hers as she tilts her head to the side, smiling into the kiss when Beca lets out a small whimper. The sound has her heart pounding in her chest and she grinds her hips forward involuntarily, breathing out a content sigh as Beca’s tongue strokes across her bottom lip.

It doesn’t take long for Chloe’s face to start burning up and her stomach to feel like it’s turning, and it only feels this way with Beca. She’s never had this. Someone who makes her heart pound with one touch, and her hands tremble as she’s pulled closer.

That thought has her slowing the kiss down, opening her eyes as she pulls away to see Beca looking up at her with so much love, that Chloe’s not sure she’s ever felt this way, and she’s not sure she’ll ever feel this way with anybody else.

“God,” Beca breathes out, dilated eyes roaming over Chloe’s face. “I hope they don’t.”

//

They set off for Cincinnati at eight the next morning and arrive just after lunch time.

Chloe calls Aubrey to tell her about the past few days while Beca goes out to grab some food for them to eat in the hotel room, since they both agreed they were too tired to go out anywhere.

The domesticity of it all has Chloe grinning as she’s telling Aubrey what’s going on. How they’ve both said I love you, and how Beca is being the sweetest, most patient person Chloe has ever known. How she feels like her life has been building up to this moment. How she feels like they could possibly be together for the rest of their life.

It’s not until Beca comes back that Chloe realizes she’s been gushing to Aubrey for an hour.

“Still on the phone?” Beca asks, pushing the door closed with her foot as she holds two bags in her hand.

Chloe greets Beca at the door with a kiss, phone still pressed to her ear.

“I have to go Aubrey, Beca’s back. I’ll text you tomorrow?”

“Of course, have fun Chlo! Tell the midget I said hi.”

“Wanna talk to her?” Chloe asks, and she smiles when she sees Beca’s eyes widen as she shakes her head frantically, mouthing “please no” at her.

“As riveting as that sounds, I have to get back to work,” Aubrey answers. “But I’ll talk to you later. Love you.”

“Love you too, bye!”

Beca lets out a relieved sigh, finally leaning in to press a kiss to Chloe’s cheek as Chloe puts her phone in her back pocket.

“She was so excited to talk to you.”

“I’m sure she was.”

“Come on, she loves you,” Chloe says, reaching out to take one of the bags from Beca. “What did you get?”

“Chinese. That okay?”

“As long as you remembered the cookies.”

Beca smiles, reaching into one of the bags and pulling out two fortune cookies, accepting the kiss that Chloe places on her cheek when she hands her them.

They eat their food with one of Beca’s playlists playing in the background, occasionally talking. Chloe brings up what they could do when they go to Ohio, and Beca agrees with a mouthful of noodles, trying not to spit them out when Chloe makes her laugh.

Eventually Chloe admits defeat with only a few mouthfuls of noodles left, telling Beca that she’s stuffed and she’s gonna need a four hour nap to get her energy back. It makes Beca laugh though, when Chloe reaches for their fortune cookies and hands one to her.

“Thought you were stuffed?” Beca asks, opening the wrapper.

“This doesn’t count.” Chloe fiddles with the cookie, discarding the wrapper into their bag of trash before breaking the cookie in half and pulling the strip of paper out. “If you never give up on love, it will never give up on you. Hmm.” Beca’s eyebrows raise at the quote and Chloe smiles before eating her cookie. “What does yours say?”

She snaps the cookie in half and pulls out the strip of paper, turning it the right way around so she can read it. “Your shoes will make you happy today.” She reads. “What the fuck does that mean?”

Chloe bursts out laughing and Beca is quick to follow, both of them leaning into each other as they laugh. And it takes a while for them to calm down, Beca joking that this is a sign to buy herself a new pair of shoes and Chloe telling her that she has to compete with a pair of shoes to make her happy now. And they’re still laughing occasionally about it as they lay together in bed, idly chatting and listening to music.

And it’s not the most perfect way to spend a night but it is to them, because they’re together and anything they do together is fun. Chloe jokes that they could watch paint dry together and it’d still be fun, which seems to remind Beca of something.

“Close your eyes,” she says, leaning over to pick up one of the bags that she’d brought back earlier. Chloe complies and immediately asks Beca excitedly if she can open them yet, which makes Beca laugh. She puts the bag back when she takes the object out, and holds it in front of Chloe. “Yeah okay, open.”

Chloe opens her eyes to see a new pack of pencils in Beca’s hand and a nervous smile on her face.

“I don’t know if these are good or not but I passed an art store when I was getting the food. The dude who worked there said that they were good pencils but maybe he just said that so I’d buy them, I don’t know. Are they okay? I can take them back if-“

She’s cut off by Chloe grabbing her face and pulling her towards her, placing several kisses on her mouth before mumbling “thank you” over and over, kissing her forehead and cheeks and all over her face.

“Okay, enough of that,” Beca says, jokingly pushing Chloe’s face away, laughing. She stops though, when she sees the way Chloe is looking at her. And that look never fails to amaze her. To take her breath away and cause her stomach to do somersaults. Because Chloe is looking at her with so much love, eyes glazed over with, what Beca hopes are, happy tears.

“These are perfect,” Chloe says, looking down at the pencils. They’re not the best brand but they’re good quality, and Chloe is about to ask how much she owes Beca for them when she hears Beca speak.

“Yeah, well. You’re perfect.”

She looks up, a smile growing on her face, and she has to bite her lip to stop it from growing too big because she’s sure that her face will split if it does.

So she leans in to kiss Beca again, trying to convey all her emotions into the one kiss. Her thank you’s and I love you’s and you’re the best girlfriend in the whole world’s.

And Beca gets it. Because she kisses back with the same emotion.

Chapter Text

Drinking in the morning sun / blinking in the morning sun / shaking off the heavy one / heavy like a loaded gun / what made me behave that way? / using words I never say / I can only think it must be love / oh, anyway, it's looking like a beautiful day / someone tell me how I feel / it's silly wrong but vivid right / oh, kiss me like the final meal / yeah, kiss me like we die tonight / ‘cause holy cow, I love your eyes / and only now I see the light / yeah, lying with me half awake / oh, anyway, it's looking like a beautiful day” – one day like this, elbow


Beca wakes up to the smell of coffee, and it takes her a second to realize the reason she’s awake is because of somebody pressing their body into her back. She’s not surprised because she’s woken up this way for the past several days now, ever since she and Chloe made their relationship official.

Relationship. The thought of it makes her stomach twist. She’s still not over the fact that she’s in a relationship with Chloe. A girl who, only a few weeks ago, was only her best friend. Now she’s her best friend and her girlfriend, and she finds herself smiling before she’s even fully awake.

“Baaabe,” Chloe whispers, kissing the back of her neck, and Beca hums as she slowly turns around in Chloe’s arms.

“Too early,” she grumbles, eyes still closed, but she still smiles when she feels Chloe kiss her gently on the mouth. It’s hard not to, really, especially when Chloe pulls her close and mumbles that she doesn’t care when Beca tells her that she has morning breath.

“I brought coffee from downstairs,” Chloe whispers into her mouth, and Beca pulls back slightly, finally opening her eyes.

“Is it good coffee?”

“Nope.” She laughs and pecks Chloe once more before she sits up and lets Chloe move off the bed to get her coffee from the table beside them. “Tastes like crap but we can get more somewhere else.”

A moan comes out of her mouth when she takes her first sip of the coffee, and she watches as Chloe shifts on the bed.

“Or not. You like it?”

“It’s coffee and I’m tired. It’s perfect.”

Chloe laughs, leaning over to kiss Beca again.

She puts the coffee down at the table on her side of the bed, stretching and letting out her usual morning yawn, which is way too loud and unnecessary if anybody besides Chloe were to ever hear it, but Chloe always says that it’s cute, and Beca’s become accustomed to believing her girlfriend when she compliments her. And that’s totally not because Chloe does it a lot, but because she does it with so much honesty that it’s impossible for Beca to doubt her.

Still though, she doesn’t think she’ll ever get used to Chloe looking at her the way she is now, eyes sparkling with something that Beca’s not quite sure of, as she pulls the covers off herself and gets out of bed.

“What?” Beca asks.

“Nothing, I just love you.”

With a grin, she leans down to kiss Chloe again. “I love you too.”

//

They each shower separately before packing their stuff up and setting off to Columbus.

Chloe stops at a diner and they share a huge stack of pancakes, talking about what their plans are for today. Chloe tells Beca that she wants to buy some more paints since she used most of them when painting Beca’s back. The thought of it makes Beca smile; the emotion she felt when she saw the picture that Chloe had taken on her phone coming back to her, because she’s reminded of how proud she is of Chloe. Of the joy she felt when Chloe had excitedly shown Beca her work after having kept it a secret for so long.

She can practically still feel Chloe guiding the paintbrush over her skin. The cold sensation of the paint as she layered it on thickly, mixing blacks and purples and blues together to try to make her painting of space as realistic as she could. She can still feel the gentle press of the tip of the brush as Chloe dotted stars all over her back, as well as the feeling of Chloe’s lips on her neck when she’d finished.

The memory has her smiling before she even realizes, and when Chloe asks her what she’s smiling at, all she can do is shake her head.

“Nothing. I love you.”

She’ll never get bored of saying that.

//

When Chloe starts to sing Summer in Ohio when they arrive in Columbus at 12PM, Beca rolls her eyes at the memory of Chloe forcing her to watch the movie that starred – according to Chloe – a woman who looked scarily like Beca. Beca personally didn’t see the resemblance, but she had admitted that she was very pretty.

“It’s because she looks like you,” Chloe had said with a grin.

All Beca could do was roll her eyes and tell her to shut up.

“I don’t know why Cathy complained,” Chloe says as they walk through a local park close to their hotel. “Ohio is beautiful.”

“Her husband cheated on her, Chloe.”

//

As Chloe promised, she drags Beca into an art store that she had found on – you guessed it – TripAdvisor, and spends what feels like hours scanning the shelves for a very specific type of paint that she likes.

Of course, Beca doesn’t complain. She loves watching Chloe when she’s in her element, eyes lighting up at the hundreds of paints and pens and pencils and canvases and every type of art material that you could think of. She watches as she picks up a small pot of expensive gold paint, delicately holding it in her hands as if she’s afraid to break it. She watches her when she picks up a big paint brush and holds it out to Beca, rubbing the soft bristles on Beca’s face which makes her laugh because it tickles. She watches her fingers roam across a shelf of journals, of different colors and sizes; her hand immediately stopping on a dark blue one before pulling it off of the shelf.

“This is the same color as your eyes,” Chloe says, holding the book out for Beca to take, and Beca smiles as she looks up at the shelf. She spots another blue journal, but this one significantly lighter, and she reaches up on her tiptoes to pull it down.

Your eyes,” Beca says with a smile. “You want to get these?”

“Yeah,” Chloe nods. “I still need paints. Oh! There’s another room through here!”

Of course, Beca can’t complain, because she’s so insanely in love with Chloe, and she’ll spend the rest of the day in here if it means Chloe will carry on smiling like she is now as she drags her through to the other room.

They leave with two bags. One of them holding some small canvases and the two journals that Chloe had told Beca she was excited to draw in using her new pencils that Beca had bought her yesterday, and the other bag holding a bunch of paint pots and brushes. Beca had even excused herself to go to the bathroom at one point while Chloe was looking at the watercolors, but instead of going to the bathroom she sneakily bought Chloe the expensive pot of gold paint that she had gushed over.

She pulls the small pot out of her pocket and holds it out in front of her.

“Oh my God, Beca,” Chloe’s eyes widen as she stops in her tracks and places her hand on top of Beca’s, not actually taking the pot but instead resting her hand on top of it. Then she looks around suspiciously. “Did you steal this?!”

Beca’s eyes widen. “No! Oh my God, no! I bought it! I bought it for you.”

Chloe’s shock turns to relief, and then that relief turns to awe, and she finally takes the pot. “You didn’t have to do that.”

Beca shakes her head with a smile, wondering how on earth Chloe can be so adorable. “I know,” she says. “But I love you and I saw the way you were looking at it.”

When Chloe pulls her in for a kiss, mumbling that she loves her too, Beca thinks that even though the paint was way too expensive, it was definitely worth it just to see the look on Chloe’s face.

//

Chloe tests out her new paints when they’re sitting in a small coffee shop. Beca looks through her phone at something for them to do while they’re here, and Chloe pulls out her paints and a paintbrush, along with one of the small canvases she bought

“I’ll be right back,” she says, before getting up. She places a kiss on Beca’s head before she leaves, and she knows that Beca watches her as she approaches the man at the counter with a friendly smile. She comes back with a plastic cup half-filled with water and sets it down on the table in front of them.

“Whatcha doing?”

“Painting,” Chloe says, setting up a little work area, unaware of Beca staring at her. It’s not until she looks up at her that she does a double take and notices the look in Beca’s eyes. “What?”

“I’m so proud of you.” Chloe grins, reaching over to move her coffee cup to the left slightly and replaces it with her paints, lining six small pots side by side. “He would be too, you know.”

Chloe looks up again, eyes wide slightly, and Beca wonders if she’s said the wrong thing. Wonders if it’s wrong for her to assume that Chloe’s brother would be proud of her. After all, she doesn’t know him. Never even knew Chloe had a brother until just over a week ago. But she knows that he’s related to Chloe Beale, so he’s bound to be amazing. And she’s proud of Chloe, so why wouldn’t her brother be?

It’s not until a small smile tugs on the corners of Chloe’s mouth that Beca notices the tears in Chloe’s eyes.

“Oh, fuck, I didn’t. I’m sorry. I shoul–”

“–Beca, it’s,” Chloe lets out a half-laugh, half-sob, and the sound makes Beca feel warm and breaks her heart at the same time. “He would be,” she nods, sniffling as she blinks back tears. “He is.”

Beca gives her a soft smile, nodding as she watches Chloe finally sit down after organizing her little work area.

The two of them sit in relative silence as Chloe paints and Beca continues to look for something to do later, as well as getting distracted when she gets a text from Stacie asking if they’ve had sex yet.

[3:42PM] Beca: No. stop asking me that, weirdo

[3:43PM] Stacie: you’ll tell me when you do though, right?!?!?

[3:43PM] Beca: Again, no. go to sleep.

[3:44PM] Stacie: we’re literally in the same time zone

[3:45PM] Beca: Goodnight

[3:46PM] Stacie: ur mean

She ignores the text in favor of looking up at Chloe to ask her if she wants to go out to a bar tonight, but before she can ask, she’s stopped by the fact that Chloe is already looking at her, canvas tilted towards her so Beca can’t see.

“Are you painting me?”

Chloe hums with a nod, looking back down at her work, and then back up at Beca. And Beca watches the furrow in her brow as she concentrates, and she wonders if Chloe gets the same feeling that she has right now when she watches her work on music. Because Beca knows that she gets distracted when she’s making music; when she’s in her element. She knows that she can be prone to spending hours perfecting one track without eating or speaking or taking any breaks. And she knows that Chloe is in her element right now, if the adorable frown on her face as she pokes her tongue out of the corner of her mouth is anything to go by.

She wonders if Chloe looks at her when she’s working and thinks ‘man, I am so in love with you’, because that’s exactly what she’s thinking right now.

“Beca?”

She blinks herself out of her trance, noticing that Chloe has stopped working and is now looking at her.

“Yeah?”

“I think you’re my muse.”

“That… was the cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”

She watches Chloe huff and roll her eyes, but it’s all good natured. Because she’s smiling as she puts down her paintbrush, careful not to let it roll off the table.

“You always have to ruin the moment.”

“Oh, was this a moment? Shit. Please, tell me again.”

“No, the moment has passed.”

Beca laughs at the pout on Chloe’s face, and she stands up as she walks around the table to lean down and kiss Chloe’s temple. “You’re cute when you pout,” she says, resting her hand on the back of Chloe’s chair.

Chloe looks up at her, the pout being replaced by a soft smile, and Beca finds herself leaning down to kiss Chloe before she can even think about the fact that they’re in a public coffee shop. She kisses her softly, gently, until Chloe’s breath catches in her throat and she pulls away.

“Hey,” she whispers, looking down at Chloe as Chloe looks away from her, making sure to still keep the canvas tilted slightly so Beca can’t see it. “Babe.”

Chloe looks up again at the use of a nickname that she never thought she’d ever hear Beca say, especially to her, and her eyes seem to twinkle under the lights as a small smile grows on her face at the look that Beca is giving her.

“What?” she asks, looking down at Beca’s mouth.

“You’re mine too.”

//

They go to a small local movie theater to see Jurassic World after Beca asks Chloe what she wants to do. Chloe knows Beca doesn’t like movies, but she knows that she likes history and has a weird thing about dinosaurs, and she’s seen the many dinosaur and planet earth documentaries on Beca’s browser history on her laptop.

So Beca agrees to go with her, just as long as Chloe buys the snacks, and they sit at the back just like they had done when they went to watch Hook. Beca reaches up with both arms, faking a yawn, and even though the move is cliché and dorky, it still makes her seem charming. So much that Chloe has to stop herself from kissing Beca and straddling her lap and completely ignoring the movie that is about to start.

And okay, Beca gets into the movie way more than Chloe had expected her to. If she’s honest, she’d expected for Beca to start to kiss her neck like she had done last time, whispering that she’s bored and she wants to make out. That wouldn’t have surprised her. What does surprise her is when Beca gasps when someone on screen says that the visitors are getting bored of the dinosaurs.

“What babe?” she asks, and Beca looks at her with a frown.

What?! Why–fff–who gets bored of dinosaurs?! THEY’RE DINOSAURS!”

Chloe laughs at Beca’s raised voice, which catches the attention of some people a few rows ahead of them. They turn around, shushing Beca, and Chloe whispers her apologies with nervous laughter as Beca huffs beside her.

“It’s just a movie, Becs.”

It surprises Chloe even more when Beca starts to rant quietly, whispering in case the people in front of them turn around to shush her again. She rants about the inaccuracies of the Jurassic World dinosaurs to modern and past findings, and she goes into detail – after Chloe hums in acknowledgement – about how big the dinosaurs should actually be compared to the humans, how they should have feathers, and more stuff that Chloe finds herself smiling at.

“Badass Beca Mitchell likes feathers?”

“Feathers on dinos are badass!”

“SHHHH!”

//

The next day they arrive in Washington DC at 4:30PM.

Chloe immediately feels a sense of familiarity as they pull up in the parking lot that they’d pulled up in last year. Only, there were significantly more people with them that time, excited to be performing at the Kennedy Center Honors in front of the President of the United States.

They’d decided to stay in the same hotel as they did back then. Anyone else would think it would be weird, to come back to a place that holds such an embarrassing memory – especially for Amy, and especially since it caused so many of Chloe’s breakdowns in senior year – but they had been excited to see something familiar, even if they have only been here once.

“Looks the same,” Beca says as she pulls out Chloe’s suitcase and hands it to her. “You sure you wanna stay here?”

“Yeah,” Chloe shoots back with a smile, looking up at the hotel. “Too bad the Bellas aren’t here.”

“God, it’d be a mess. Hey, do you remember what happened last time we were here?”

“Stop bringing that up.”

“Not that,” Beca laughs. “The fact that we went for a walk before our performance and they wouldn’t let us back in because we didn’t have our keycards or ID.”

“Oh, that,” Chloe smiles at the memory. Even though she was pretty sure she and Beca wouldn’t be able to make it to the Kennedy Center in time for their performance, she loved the feeling of being alone with Beca. The two of them walking in relative, comfortable silence to calm their nerves before the show. It had been oddly intimate, and back then Chloe had accepted the fact that her love for Beca would always be unrequited. She never thought they’d be here a year later, this time as girlfriends.

There’s been many times where things have gone wrong for the Bellas. Pukegate, when Beca got arrested in freshman year, a wardrobe malfunction at Nationals in Junior year that Jessica handled like a champ, another bigger wardrobe malfunction just last year, one that had caused so much stress that Chloe never knew she was capable of feeling.

But she’s not here to think about that. She’s here with Beca now because she wants to feel that nostalgia that she felt at the beginning of the trip. The feeling she got when she saw her childhood beach house, and the feeling she gets whenever she and Beca relay college memories late at night.

Don’t get her wrong, she loves all these new things. Like getting to kiss Beca whenever she wants to, and hear Beca call her babe, and wake up to the feeling of Beca’s breath on her neck, and sometimes shower with Beca when they’re both rushing on a morning. She loves it. But she loves college – loved college – and she wants to experience this again before they eventually head back to Atlanta, back to their new lives. Their adult lives. With jobs and responsibilities.

There’s still a crack in the sidewalk leading to the hotel. Chloe remembers her walk with Beca before they’d realized they forgot their cards and ID. She’d seen the crack before Beca, and she’d held her hand out to stop her from standing on it.

“Stand on a crack, break your mother’s back!” Chloe had said, guiding Beca to walk around it. Thinking back to that day, Chloe knows now why Beca hadn’t said anything. Hadn’t even laughed or made a sarcastic comment about how of course Chloe believes in stuff like that. Because Beca’s mother had died six years prior, and Chloe finds herself wondering why Beca hadn’t ever told her about that particular part of her life before.

She doesn’t dwell on it though. She knows now. She knows more about Beca now than she ever thought she would know, and Beca wants her; wants to be with her and kiss her and hold her hand and love her. That thought has Chloe smiling as she feels Beca slip her hand into hers.

“You good?”

“Mmhm. Let’s go.”

//

“Oh my God, Becs! We’re on the same floor as we were last time!”

“Sweet. I wonder if the painting that Amy knocked down is still there.”

“I think the gum she used to put it back up would’ve dried up and made it fall back down by now.”

“Ha! Lets go check!”

//

They go to Rock Creek Park and Chloe takes a million photos of the lake and the trees and the footpaths, and even some pictures of a few dogs that they pass while walking. They take selfies and Chloe uploads one to Instagram captioned with the sunshine emoji, and she immediately gets an influx of likes and comments from the Bellas.

The initial shock of Beca and Chloe actually dating had worn off a couple of days ago. They’d all spammed their iMessage group text with questions about why Chloe had captioned one of her Instagram photos with #girlfriend; comments about them finally getting their heads out of their asses, keyboard smashes from Jessica and Ashley, comments about being happy for them, and questions like “who asked who?”, “when did this happen?” and – from Amy – “who’s the bottom? It’s totally Beca isn’t it? Called it.”

Chloe loves every single one of her Bella sisters, and she loves it even more that she can keep up with them on social media and vice versa. She loves them, but she couldn’t handle having to call every single one of them separately to tell them that she and Beca are dating. Don’t get her wrong, she would do that, because she’s insanely proud that she got herself someone like Beca, but she’s glad that she can upload a photo with one click of a button for the Bellas and the rest of the world to see.

And yes, she loves them, but she still keeps her iMessage chat muted and pockets her phone after checking just a few of the notifications. Because this trip is hers and Beca’s, and she’s so glad that they’re here together.

//

“How long have we known each other?”

“Four years.”

“Yeah, so I know when you’re lying. Tell me if it sucks or not.”

Chloe smiles, and Beca sees the telltale signs of her thinking of what to say. She knows that Chloe doesn’t want to offend her by telling her that the food she’s just made is bad, but she also knows that she’s not exactly the best cook in the world.

“I think it’s,” Chloe pauses and holds her fork up, a piece of scrambled egg falling off and back onto the plate, “eggcellent.”

“Chloe.”

“I’m so eggcited to finish this.”

Chloe,” Beca repeats, this time with a laugh and a shake of her head.

“Okay, it’s kinda disgusting.”

“Yeah?” Beca grins.

“Yeah.”

“Okay.”

“I’m still gonna eat it though.”

“No, you don’t–no,” she tries to reach out for the fork but Chloe pulls away, shoveling more of the eggs into her mouth with a grimace. “Chloe. No–don’t… don’t do that.”

“It’s eggtacular.”

“Okay,” Beca breathes out a laugh. “That one was terrible.”

“Like these eggs.”

//

They visit the Smithsonian at 1PM after taking a few photos in front of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

“This is all so cliché, I feel like such a tourist.” Beca had said as she took a photo of Chloe looking like she’s leaning against the Monument. Chloe just laughed, and told Beca that they are tourists.

It was Chloe’s idea to go the Smithsonian, but when Beca sees that there’s a ‘The Last American Dinosaurs’ exhibition, she freaks out a little. And she drags Chloe through the museum so quick that Chloe can’t help but laugh and fall in love with Beca a little bit more.

“Duuude,” Beca whispers, looking up at the giant T-Rex skeleton. “What the fuuuuck?”

Chloe grins, squeezing Beca’s hand. “Go stand next to it, I’ll take your picture!”

//

“You can play piano?” Beca turns around at the sound of Chloe’s voice behind her. “That is so cute!”

“It is not cute.” She turns back around to face the keys again as Chloe sits next to her on the small bench.

“It’s adorable!”

“If you don’t shut up, I will play every song from the Thelonious Monk Trio album.”

“You know the full album?”

“Shut up, it was mandatory in high school.”

Chloe laughs, placing her hand on Beca’s thigh. They had returned to the hotel when Chloe said that she was getting tired, which Beca understood. It feels like they’ve been driving nonstop for the past few days, as well as walking around doing touristy things. And it’s only eight, but they need their rest for their drive down to New York tomorrow.

Before they could get in the elevator to head up to their room though, Beca had spotted a new addition to the hotel that hadn’t been there last year. A ball room, with circular tables lining the back wall, and a grand white piano next to the huge windows.

“Play something for me?”

“What do you wanna hear? A Little Rootie Tootie? Some Trinkle, Tinkle?”

Chloe throws her head back laughing, slapping Beca’s thigh as she leans in to her.

“You’re such an idiot.”

Beca laughs, her tongue caught between her teeth in a way that has Chloe staring for much longer than she should have. Because as well as being beautiful and hot and everything that Chloe’s sure she’s mentioned before, Beca is absolutely adorable. The way she does the tongue thing, and the way her nose scrunches up and her eyes squeeze shut and–

“Earth to Chloe?” She blinks when Beca snaps her fingers in front of her face and she shakes her head as if it will clear her mind. “You good?”

“Yeah,” Chloe nods. “Play for me.”

She watches as Beca thinks, twisting her mouth as she squints, and then she lifts her chin up and turns to the piano. She rolls her shoulders back and positions her hands on the correct keys, before tentatively pressing down. She seems satisfied with the noise, so she then licks her lips before she starts to play.

Her right hand plays a fast melody as her left index finger and thumb presses the same keys over and over again, and she can hear her tapping her foot to keep herself on beat. She watches as her eyes flit over the keys, eyebrows scrunched slightly as she concentrates, and Chloe smiles softly as she rests her head on Beca’s shoulder.

Saw her walking on the side of the road,” Beca sings, “on the sidewalk chalk from my balcony window.”

She lifts her head up from Beca’s shoulder, watching as Beca momentarily looks away from the keys to smile at her.

First sight she made me look twice, 'cause I never seen someone walk as light as the wind blows. I caught up to try to get your name, and quickly wrote a love letter turned it into an airplane.

She doesn’t know the song but she listens closely to the lyrics and watches even closer as Beca plays and sings at the same time. And she knows that she has goosebumps on the back of her neck, because she always does whenever Beca sings. The fact that they’re the only ones in the small ballroom – with the dim lights and the piano echoing around them – makes this much more intimate than Chloe thought it would be.

You looked up and that was enough 'cause you let out all the butterflies that couldn't be contained,” the tune quickly changes, and a small, soft smile forms on Beca’s face as she gets more comfortable singing. “Some dreams never do come true, some love doesn't hit the target. I've been wishing upon you, darling I've been wishing my hardest.”

Chloe initially wanted Beca to just play her a little melody, not knowing that Beca was this talented. She’s not exactly surprised, since she knows that Beca makes her own beats and chords when she’s making songs for work, or for Bella setlist samples, or just when she’s messing around. She’s not surprised, but she’s still surprised.

Because right now, watching Beca play the piano for her and sing in an octave that has always made Chloe weak, Chloe has never been more attracted to her.

Cause you've got me seeing stars brighter than ever. Shining just like diamonds do. I know that in time it will be all ours, brighter than ever. Our love is such a dream come true, I know, I know, I know I need you.

Chloe leans in to kiss Beca’s cheek, not being able to stop herself from wanting to be closer to her right now. And Beca falters a little, but she still carries on playing. She’s stopped singing but the sound of the piano is still echoing around the hall room, and Beca still has that wonderfully beautiful smile on her face as Chloe presses another kiss to her jaw.

“You’re distracting me,” Beca whispers, the melody faltering again, and Chloe smiles against her cheek as she stops Beca from playing. The room is immediately silent, save for their soft breathing and the occasional sound of a kiss being pressed to Beca’s cheek and jaw, until eventually Chloe pulls away.

“Is there anything you can’t do?”

She expects Beca to smile and say something witty in response. Make a joke about how she’s bad at math or how she can’t do a French braid or cook scrambled eggs. But Beca’s eyes are hooded as she stares at Chloe’s lips, her chest rising with every intake of breath, as if she’s finding it hard to breathe.

“I…” she pauses, eyes flicking up to look deep into Chloe’s eyes, and Chloe can see how dilated her pupils are. She thinks she read once that that happens when someone is looking at something or someone they love, but she can’t really think right now. Not when Beca is looking at her like that. “I can’t,” she swallows. “I can’t look at you without falling more and more in love.”

Chloe’s aware of the audible way her breath catches in her throat, and she’s aware of her now labored breathing and the way tears are starting to form in her eyes.

“Beca?”

“Yeah?”

She rests her forehead against Beca’s, willing herself not to kiss her yet because she knows once she starts she won’t be able to stop. And she doesn’t know what Beca’s thinking, but when she feels Beca’s hand cover the one that she has resting on her thigh as she presses closer to her, she thinks maybe tonight they’re on the same page.

So she closes her eyes and sucks in a breath.

“Take me to bed.”

Chapter Text

 

“Need someone’s hand to lead me through the night / I need someone’s arms to hold and squeeze me tight / and when the night begins and until it ends / oh baby I need your love so bad / I need someone’s lips to feel next to mine / I need someone to stand up and tell me when I’m lying / and when the lights are low and till it’s time to go / mmm I need your love so bad / so go home and give it up baby, bring it on home to me / write it on a piece of paper so that it can be read to me / tell me that you love me, stop driving me mad / oh cause I need, I need your love so bad / I need a soft voice to talk to me at night / don’t you worry baby, we won’t fuss and fight / so listen to my plea and bring it on home to me / ohh I need your love so bad.” – need your love so bad, irma thomas


It’s those four words that has Beca’s heart pounding in her chest and her palms sweating as Chloe’s lips ghost over her own.

She knows that her hand is trembling on top of Chloe’s as the two of them sit as close as possible on the piano bench, the whole room so silent that Beca’s afraid Chloe can hear the thudding of her heart in her chest. But she wants this, she has wanted this for a while now, and Chloe wants this too. Wants her.

So, she takes Chloe’s hand and stands them both up, stepping around the bench while not taking her eyes off the woman who’s currently looking at her like she’s her everything. Like she’s the reason for living, like she put the stars in the sky, like she’s so in love that she doesn’t know what to do with herself. And Beca knows for a fact that she’s looking at Chloe the exact same way.

And it’s not like Beca knows what to do, because this is not only the first girl she’s been with, but it’s the first person she’s been with who she’s completely head-over-heels in love with. So she doesn’t exactly know what to do, but when Chloe tells her to take her to bed, she does. She grips Chloe’s hand in hers and pulls her through the ball room, out of the doors and towards the elevator. The hotel clerk gives them a friendly smile, and the paranoid part of her brain tells her that he knows exactly where they’re going and what they’re going to do. The rest of her brain tells her that it’s not even a bad thing that he knows – if he knows – because hello, she’s about to have sex with Chloe Beale.

The elevator ride feels like it lasts hours.

Beca had expected Chloe to jump her as soon as the doors closed, but she didn’t. She’d stepped in with a patient smile, still holding Beca’s hand, and leaned over to press the button to take them to the sixth floor. And it’s silent, and kind of a little awkward, but Beca can feel the tension building. The kind of electricity and yearning that she’s never felt before. And as much as she wants to pin Chloe up against the elevator door and have her way with her, she knows that Chloe wants this to be special; wants them to take their time and give the other a chance to change their mind.

Beca knows, though, that there’s no way she’s changing her mind. Not when Chloe pulls her into the room and drops the keycard on the table near the entrance and turns around with twinkling eyes and a smile tugging at the corner of her lips.

Her legs are approaching Chloe before her brain can even catch up, and the last thing she sees is Chloe’s eyes flutter closed before they’re kissing again. She brings her hands up to rest on Chloe’s hips, finger tips gripping just tight enough to anchor herself to reality. A reality in which she’s making out with Chloe Beale in a Hotel room in DC. A reality where she’s about to lay Chloe down on a bed, undress her, make love to her, and let her know just how much she means to her.

Because she meant what she said to Chloe. She can’t look at her without falling more and more in love with her. Can’t even think about her without falling more in love.

Ever since Beca realized that her feelings for Chloe are more than platonic, she’s noticed things about Chloe that she never knew she was in love with before, and now everything makes sense. Like how adorable she looks in sweatpants and one of Beca’s t-shirts, hair up in a messy bun as she plays a game on her phone. Or just how kind she is. She’ll go out of her way to help one of her friends or to make someone feel better or simply just compliment someone, and even though Beca never fully appreciated that before, she does now. Because Chloe can make her whole day with just one comment about how her hair looks nice today, or how she smells good, and she loves the effect Chloe’s words have on her.

And she knows it’s dangerous, to give herself wholly and completely to somebody else, but she trusts Chloe. She trusts her more than anything and she knows that she wants her, and she wants this, for maybe the rest of her life. She’s fucking terrified, but Chloe makes her feel safe; makes her feel a type of comfort that she’s never felt until now.

She feels Chloe’s hands cupping her face, and she can’t help but compare it to Jesse, which she promised herself she wouldn’t do. But Jesse’s hands were big and rough; gentle but coarse. Chloe’s are delicate and careful as she slowly strokes the pads of her thumbs over Beca’s cheekbones. And she feels like she might cry with how soft and loving Chloe is being, even though all they’re doing is kissing.

She puts one foot behind the other, pressing her toe into her heel to help her shoe come loose, and their lips part as Chloe looks down to see what Beca’s doing. She smiles, breathing out a soft laugh before pulling Beca into another soft kiss, reaching down to pull her own shoes off. Beca kicks her sneaker off before doing the same with the other, as well as pulling away again to remove her socks. It makes Chloe laugh again as she tries to carry on kissing Beca while they remove their shoes and socks, and then Beca is laughing too.

“You good?” Chloe asks when Beca drops her remaining sock down on the floor next to her shoes, and Beca nods with a grin. Then Chloe is pulling her further into the room, the laminate floor cold on their bare feet.

Her thumbs stroke Chloe’s hips, and she moves them up a couple of inches until her shirt is high enough for Beca to feel Chloe’s warm skin beneath her fingertips. And Chloe’s breath hitches at the feeling but she smiles into Beca’s mouth, and Beca can’t help but smile back, knowing that Chloe is okay with this.

She lifts the shirt higher and higher until Chloe removes her hands from Beca’s cheeks to hold them above her head. And Beca knows that they’ll have to stop kissing for a second while she takes Chloe’s shirt off, so she tilts her head slightly to place a soft kiss on the corner of Chloe’s mouth before pulling back and lifting her shirt up over her head.

“Bec, I–wait. It–” Chloe breathes out a laugh and Beca frowns before she notices that the shirt is stuck.

“Oh, shit,” she snorts, standing on her tiptoes to help Chloe pull her elbow out of the shirt. And Chloe is giggling and usually Beca would be embarrassed over the fact that she can’t even remove her girlfriend’s shirt properly, but Chloe brings a calmness to Beca that she’s never felt before; makes her feel welcome and relaxed and like she’s doing okay.

“My ear,” Chloe says. “Ear is stuck.”

Beca laughs again, and with a few more pulls and tugs, the shirt is finally off. She drops it to the floor with a smile, before Chloe pulls her back in by her shoulders, hands gripping the material of Beca’s flannel.

“Can I?” Chloe asks, and Beca doesn’t exactly know what she’s asking but she immediately nods, as best as she can while kissing Chloe. And she kind of wishes that her shirt was buttoned up so she can process the fact that Chloe is undressing her, but her shirt is slowly being pulled down her arms and then it’s on the floor next to Chloe’s.

She’s fully aware of the fact that Chloe is shirtless, wearing only a bra on her top half, and she’s fully aware of the fact that if she moves her hands a little higher up Chloe’s torso, she’ll be touching her boobs, but she focuses on the kiss more than anything. Because Chloe’s lips are smooth and so kind against her own, and even if they don’t have sex tonight, just making out with Chloe will keep her satisfied.

“I like kissing you.” It’s murmured into Chloe’s mouth, and she can feel a smile growing on Chloe’s face again as delicate fingers dance across the back of her neck.

Teeth lightly nip at her bottom lip, and she opens her mouth in a quick gasp as Chloe’s nails gently scratch over the nape of her neck. Chloe suddenly pulls back at the sound, looking at Beca with questioning eyes.

“You okay?” Chloe asks, concern evident in her voice, and Beca just nods before leaning in again

“Just tickles,” she whispers before their lips meet, and then Chloe’s fingers are scratching the back of her neck again. She expects it this time, but it still causes a shiver to run down her spine, because it feels really nice, and she’s not surprised Chloe knows all the right places to touch her to bring a reaction from her.

And then she runs her fingers up to tangle in Beca’s hair, and something snaps inside of Beca.

She breathes out a “fuck” as Chloe lightly tugs on her hair, pulling it back so their lips part and Beca’s chin juts up slightly. And before Beca can ask what’s happening, Chloe’s mouth is on her neck and she feels like she’s in heaven. And due to Chloe being a few inches taller, Beca has to stand on her tip toes, back arched as she hugs Chloe’s shoulders as Chloe kisses her neck. Her eyes are closed, a content smile on her face as she runs her hands through Chloe’s hair, and she bites her lip to stop herself from moaning.

Chloe’s hands run from her head down her back until she’s hugging Beca’s waist, and only then does Beca realize she’s kissing her way down her chest. She opens her eyes, looking down at Chloe as she places open mouth kisses down the swell of her breast until she reaches the hem of Beca’s tank top. And Beca desperately wishes she’d taken that off too so Chloe could carry on with her kisses, but she doesn’t think about that too much. Because Chloe is lowering herself to her knees, and Beca has to keep her fingers in Chloe’s hair because she’s afraid she’ll faint if she doesn’t have something to hold onto.

She lets the strands of Chloe’s hair twist around her fingertips, and her hair is soft and silky; feels so nice around her fingers, and she loves it. She loves how she can smell Chloe’s shampoo, even though Chloe is currently on the ground focusing on Beca’s jeans. She loves it and she loves Chloe.

She looks up at Beca, her hands hovering over Beca’s button and zipper. And despite Chloe’s whispered plea earlier, she still stops before she carries on. “Baby,” she whispers, and Beca nods at her, scared eyes roaming over every inch of Chloe’s face as if trying to read Chloe’s mind. “Is this okay?”

The question is sugary sweet when it escapes her lips, and Beca can’t help but smile. And even though she knows she looks scared, she’s quick to respond with a nod and a breathless, “yeah.”

She watches Chloe’s every move. The way she licks her lips before unbuttoning Beca’s pants, the way her gentle fingers pull the zipper down before opening them slightly, and the small smile that forms on her face before she leans in and presses a kiss to the skin at the top of Beca’s black underwear. Her hands work slowly as they tug at the belt loops and pull Beca’s jeans down, past her thighs and knees and calves until Beca is using Chloe’s shoulder to balance as she lets Chloe pull each leg out.

Chloe places a kiss on the top of her right knee, and then another a couple of inches higher. Then she moves to kiss Beca’s other knee, pressing soft kisses upwards as her hands stroke the back of Beca’s thighs. It’s when Chloe presses a kiss higher up, on Beca’s inner thigh, that Beca lets out a soft whimper. Her hands stroke through Chloe’s hair as she kisses her thighs, and her chest rises quickly with each hitched breath.

Beca thinks that maybe Chloe’s going to go down on her right there, right now, and she starts to panic. She doesn’t want to be standing up for this. She wants Chloe to lay her down and kiss her some more and take her time. And she’s about to ask Chloe to stop when she feels one last kiss being pressed to her thigh before Chloe is standing up again and resting her hands on her waist.

“Hi,” Chloe mutters over her lips, her voice lost as Beca pulls her in by her face and kisses her again.

Chloe’s hands immediately grip the bottom of Beca’s tank top tightly until she feels Beca mumble “take it off” against her lips. So she does, lifting up the thin fabric and breaking their kiss momentarily to pull it up over Beca’s head. It doesn’t get stuck, unlike Chloe’s, but Beca still laughs.

“What’s wrong?” Chloe asks, smiling, and Beca shakes her head.

“Nothing. Nothing at all.”

Chloe leans in again, her eyes fluttering shut as she presses closer and brushes her nose against Beca’s, before their lips come together in a deep and sweet kiss. Chloe’s heart pounds in her chest, exhaling heavily when Beca’s hands cross her stomach. They rest there for a moment until she slides them down slowly, fingers dipping into the waistband of Chloe’s skirt.

“Becs,” she murmurs softly, and Beca doesn’t even need to ask to know that Chloe wants her to take her skirt off. And Beca knows that once she does, all they’ll be wearing is their underwear, which will make this even more real, and the thought of it terrifies as well as excites her. So she pulls Chloe’s skirt down her thighs until it drops to the ground and Chloe steps out of it.

She feels Chloe pull her closer by her waist, and she thinks maybe Chloe just wants their bodies to be closer. But then Chloe is stepping back, breaking their kiss to look behind her at the bed. She carries on pulling Beca towards it, finally turning back to look at Beca when they do, eyes bright with wonder and love and lust, and Beca sighs.

God,” she whispers with a shake of her head. “How are you that beautiful?”

Chloe bites her lip, and she can feel her eyes watering at how easy it is for Beca to make her heart feel like it’s going to burst inside of her. She reaches down for Beca’s hands, sitting down on the edge of the bed before pulling Beca towards her.

Chloe looks up at her with so much love that Beca’s pretty sure her heart stops beating for a second.

She places her left knee on the bed beside Chloe first, before following suit with her right, straddling Chloe’s legs as Chloe drops her hands to rest on her waist. Her own hands rest on Chloe’s shoulders, momentarily worrying about falling backwards, but then one of Chloe’s hand slides around to rest in the small of her back, and Beca feels safe again.

The hand resting on her back slides up slowly as they kiss, pausing at the clasp of Beca’s bra strap, and then Chloe stops. She pulls back, but this time she doesn’t voice her question. She looks into Beca’s eyes as her fingers rest on the clasp, and Beca exhales with a sharp nod. It’s enough of an answer for Chloe, and she smiles before leaning in to kiss Beca’s collarbone, quickly undoing the bra. She places another soft kiss on her shoulder, before reaching up to pull the straps down Beca’s arms and pulling back.

Chloe’s staring at Beca’s chest as she drops the bra down on the floor next to the bed, and Beca suddenly gets the urge to cover herself up. To blush and tell Chloe to stop looking at her like that. But then Chloe looks up at her, eyes shining, and presses a soft chaste kiss to her lips, before pulling her closer by the waist. The action causes Beca to grind her body into Chloe’s, and Beca’s breath catches in her throat at the feeling.

She bites her lip when Chloe kisses the swell of her breast, hands running through Chloe’s hair again to keep herself anchored. Her eyes shut when she feels Chloe’s hand come up to cover one of her breasts, the other hand placed on her back as her lips press against Beca’s skin. Her hips involuntarily grind against Chloe again when Chloe bites down gently, and she lets out a quiet whimper.

She knows that they’re supposed to be taking it slow – they have been taking it slow – but there’s an ache in her stomach and her center that she’s never felt before and she doesn’t quite know how much longer she can take this. So she decides to move things along slightly, reaching behind Chloe to unclasp her bra like Chloe had done with hers, letting it drop behind her as she looks down at Chloe’s head buried in her chest.

“Chlo?” Chloe looks up, her cheeks tinted red and her lips swollen from all the kissing. She looks beautiful – this might be the most beautiful Chloe that Beca has ever seen – and all Beca can think right now is that she needs her. “Please,” she murmurs, bracing her hands on Chloe’s shoulders. “I need–please.”

“What do you need, baby?”

It’s the name paired with the fact that Chloe’s fingers are now gently scraping down Beca’s stomach that draws a whine out of Beca. And she’d be embarrassed at the noise if she wasn’t so turned on and ready, and she knows that the sound she made effects Chloe. Because Chloe parts her mouth slightly, a hungry look in her eyes, and she nods.

“Okay,” she says, even though Beca never told her what she needs. “Okay,” she repeats, the fingers on her right hand dipping into Beca’s underwear as her other hand returns its position on her back.

“Chlo–” she cuts herself off with a sharp gasp when she feels Chloe’s thumb rub over the material of her pants, her other fingers splayed out across Beca’s abdomen. And she bites her lip, grinning as Chloe shoots her an innocent smile before stretching her neck up to place a quick kiss on her smiling mouth.

“Relax,” Chloe whispers into her mouth before her wrist moves with precision until her hand is in Beca’s underwear. And she hasn’t touched her yet but Beca can practically feel her fingers between her legs already, moving slowly and experimentally and touching all the right places. The ghost of them against her has Beca’s hips grinding forward already, needing Chloe to touch her now.

Chloe presses another kiss to her collarbone before she finally moves her fingers up and against Beca, pulling out another soft gasp from her as she hugs Chloe.

“You’re so –”

“–I know.”

She knows. She knows how worked up she is, how little effort it took for Chloe to turn her on; so much that she’s pretty sure her underwear is ruined forever. She knows, and she knows that if she hears Chloe tell her how wet she is, she’ll combust. Because Chloe’s voice does things to her. Things that make her think maybe she won’t even last five minutes and then Chloe will laugh at her and she’ll have to curl up in a ball forever.

She feels Chloe smile against her collarbone as she whimpers at the feeling of Chloe touching her, two fingers pressing against her so softly that Beca has to move down for more friction. Because although it feels good, it’s not enough, and it’s slowly killing her. And part of her can’t believe this is happening. Can’t believe that Chloe is touching her right there, cold fingers trailing through wetness and pulling out sounds from her that has her red-faced and breathless.

But Chloe doesn’t seem to mind because she keeps going, kissing Beca’s heaving chest as she pushes two fingers inside.

Oh, shit.” Her stomach muscles contract at the sensation, hips moving forward on their own accord, eyes squeezed shut as she hugs the head that Chloe has pressed against her chest. Her breath comes out in a gust of air and she inhales sharply as she feels Chloe’s palm press against where she’s most sensitive. She already feels like she’s close, because Chloe is really good with her fingers, and if her brain hadn’t turned to mush approximately ten minutes ago, she’d probably wonder whether Chloe is this good with her mouth too.

When Chloe’s lips attach to her neck, Beca can’t stop the moan that escapes her throat; husky and drawn-out and so full of need. She needs Chloe to keep going. She needs her to kiss her, mark her, love her. She needs it more than anything, and she knows that Chloe knows too. Because Chloe speeds up her actions, placing a kiss on Beca’s neck before biting down, drawing another sharp gasp out of her.

“Fuck,” she rasps, head burying into Chloe’s hair as Chloe sucks at her neck. Her lips are right next to Chloe’s ear, and she whimpers as she grinds down onto Chloe’s hand. She knows Chloe’s hand is probably aching from the angle, but Chloe keeps going anyway, speeding up her pace as she buries her head in Beca’s neck.

It’s when she pulls her fingers out and starts to rub quick circles on Beca’s clit that Beca cries out, followed by quick gasps, sounding like the beginning of words that she’s unable to form. Her stomach is clenched, fingers gripping Chloe’s hair desperately.

“Oh, shit. Oh god, C-Chloe.” She feels Chloe nudge her head with her own, and she looks down just as Chloe looks up, bringing their foreheads together as she squeezes her eyes shut. If her eyes were open, she’d see the serene determination on Chloe’s face as she looks up at Beca, mouth parted, breathing heavily against Beca’s mouth.

Her hips grind forward again, and she feels the wave building up inside of her, ready to crash. Her muscles start to clench, and she opens her eyes to take it all in; to look at Chloe and convince herself that this is actually happening.

Just as she feels herself start to tumble over the edge, Chloe opens her eyes to meet hers. Hooded and wondrous and sparkling, and Beca gasps, her breathing suddenly stopping and her mouth parted.

“I love you,” Chloe whispers, and then it snaps inside of Beca and she’s crying out.

Her legs shake and her grip on Chloe’s hair tightens and her eyes don’t leave Chloe’s as tears start to form in her eyes. They spill over and she’s so overwhelmed with love that she just lets it happen. So overwhelmed at the fact that this is real and Chloe is here, loving her and trusting her and wanting her.

Her fingers untangle from Chloe’s hair as Chloe’s fingers slow down, gently stroking her through it with her lip caught between her teeth. Beca lifts her chin slightly, sniffling as she presses a kiss to Chloe’s forehead.

Fuck,” she murmurs against Chloe’s head, bringing the back of her hand up to wipe her eyes. She smiles at the satisfied hum that Chloe releases when Beca tucks her hair behind her ear.

Chloe strokes Beca a few more times before removing her hand from her underwear, and she looks up, a pleased grin on her face, before bringing her fingers up to her mouth.

“Chloe,” Beca breathes out, but Chloe’s smile slowly falls into a flirtatious smirk as she sucks both fingers into her mouth, revelling in the quiet whimper it pulls from Beca.

“You taste good,” Chloe whispers when she removes her fingers, stretching her neck up to kiss Beca. “’nd you sound good.”

“Chlo–” Chloe cuts her off with a kiss as she pulls Beca in closer by the back of her neck, and Beca moans into her mouth as Chloe’s other hand runs up her thigh.

The kiss is slow but it still leaves Beca breathless as she’s recovering from the orgasm she just had, her thighs twitching and her stomach fluttering. Chloe pulls back, smiling up at her so softly that Beca feels like she might cry again. And then, like a lightbulb flicking on in her mind, she’s brought back to what just happened.

“I really just cried, didn’t I?”

“Yeah.”

“And I lasted like, a minute.”

“Yep.”

“Kill me.”

Chloe laughs, kissing Beca again. “I thought it was cute.”

“Shut up.”

She grins, wrapping her arms around Beca as she suddenly flips them over, causing Beca to squeal and laugh, and Chloe feels herself falling in love again. She hovers over Beca, and Beca pulls her down desperately into a kiss as Chloe’s thigh presses between her legs. Then she feels Beca’s hand pushing at her shoulder and she pulls back, confusion evident in her voice when she asks, “are you okay?”

Beca nods, smiling, but Chloe can tell that she’s nervous. And she knows why. She knows that this is a first for Beca, and she’ll understand if she’s not ready yet. They could stop right now, maybe make out for a little longer, before cuddling and falling asleep together.

But then Beca is pushing Chloe onto her back, turning over so she’s hovering above her, straddling her waist.

“Baby,” Chloe whispers, but Beca is leaning down to press a kiss to her neck, trailing more kisses down her chest and to the swell of her breast, crawling backwards off Chloe’s body before she lifts her head and looks up at her.

“I’m sorry if I’m bad,” she says, and Chloe smiles with a shake of her head.

“It’s okay.”

She feels Beca’s nimble fingers tug at her underwear, and she lifts her hips up off of the bed so Beca can pull them down. And she expects her to climb back on top of her, maybe kiss her some more to build up more courage to be able to touch Chloe. But she doesn’t. And she knows she’s nervous, but that doesn’t stop Beca from standing up beside the bed and looking down at Chloe.

“Chlo?”

“Hmm?”

Beca lowers herself to rest on her knees beside the bed, tugging on Chloe’s legs. And Chloe gets the message. She shuffles her way down the bed so her legs are hanging off the edge, and she rests back, using her elbows for support as she looks down at Beca. And she feels her hand come up to rest on her knee, the other one coming up to rest on the other as she moves forward a little, as if judging whether she’s in the correct position or not. Her eyebrows are furrowed, and her lip is caught between her teeth, and she looks anxious.

“Babe,” Chloe murmurs, sitting up and resting a hand over one of the hands that Beca has resting on her knee. “You’re trembling.”

Beca shakes her head, looking up at Chloe from where she’s kneeling on the floor, and Chloe thinks maybe Beca won’t be able to do this. And she’s about to tell her that it’s okay – that she’s okay – when Beca whispers something quietly.

“What?”

“I want you.”

Chloe smiles, threading her fingers through Beca’s.

“You have me.”

“Just don’t let go of my hand, ‘kay?”

Chloe nods, opening her legs when she feels Beca’s free hand press against her inner thigh. She lies down again, the bedsheets smooth against her back, and she closes her eyes when she feels Beca press a soft kiss to her leg.

Beca knows immediately that the kiss has an effect on Chloe, so she places another kiss against her warm skin, and then again, a little higher up. And she knows that Chloe is worked up and doesn’t need this, judging by her already heaving chest and the fact that Beca can see how turned on she is. But she revels in the fact that she’s managing to pull these sounds from Chloe without touching her yet, and she thinks maybe she can do this.

She’s nervous, but the second her mouth presses against Chloe’s center, all of that fades away.

She feels Chloe squeeze her hand, and she smiles as she kisses her again, a little lower down and with a little more force. She lightly runs her nails up the back of Chloe’s thigh, draping Chloe’s leg over her shoulder as she levels herself properly, and Chloe breathes out a sigh as she opens her legs wider.

Please, Bec.”

She doesn’t even have it in her to be sarcastic and ask Chloe what she wants, because she’s ready to taste Chloe, make her feel good and watch her writhe against the bedsheets. Something she’s been wanting for so long now.

The first lick has Chloe sighing, a hushed “oh” as she digs her heel into Beca’s back. The second has her hips lifting off of the bed for more as she squeezes Beca’s hand, and the third has her whimpering as her other hand threads through Beca’s hair.

Shit,” she breathes out when Beca attaches her mouth fully, tongue flicking up and down while her nose rests against her pubic bone. “Up,” she moans. “Up a bit, Bec.”

Beca obeys immediately, fingers gripping Chloe’s thigh as she starts to suck on her clit. And she’s never done this before but judging by the sounds Chloe’s making, she’s doing it right. Her eyes flicker open and she’s met with Chloe’s stomach breathing in sharp breaths as her hips grind up into Beca’s face, and it’s all a little unreal. If Beca thought Chloe was beautiful before, she’s ridiculously beautiful now; hissing and whimpering and breathing out profanities that Beca’s never heard Chloe use before. Her chest is flushed red and she’s biting her lip, her eyes closed, and her eyebrows knitted together into an adorable frown.

And Beca’s not sure how Chloe looks adorable like this, but she does.

Her grip on Beca’s hair tightens, and her thighs start to close, and she’s panting as she lifts her head up to look down at Beca.

“Beca,” she moans, locking eyes with her, and Beca hums as her tongue presses flat against Chloe. “Fuck, that’s so good, keep– k-keep going. Just like that.”

Beca hums again and the sound – the vibration – of the hum against her makes Chloe gasp, and the gasp turns into a breathy laugh as she lets go of Beca’s hand to bring it up and squeeze her own breast. And even though Beca told Chloe not to let go of her hand, she knows it was a good call to make. Because Beca immediately brings her hand to Chloe’s center, pushing two fingers inside as she continues to suck.

“Oh, jeez,” Chloe breathes out, her gasps and laughs coming out quick and shaky, and Beca smiles against her as she continues her administrations. She knows that Chloe’s not laughing at her, and the fact that she can pull these sounds from Chloe when this is her first time doing this makes her whole body swell with pride.

It’s when Chloe’s “ohh’s” start to get louder that Beca realizes that she’s close. She’s out of breath; panting heavy, husky breaths out into the silence of the hotel room. So Beca brings her free hand up to rest against Chloe’s stomach, fingers splaying out, and Chloe immediately rests her hand over Beca’s, back arching as she grinds her hips up into her mouth.

“I’m–Bec, I’m s–” her sentence turns into a loud moan as Beca’s thumb starts to rub at her clit, pulling her mouth away to watch Chloe’s reaction as she continues to quickly pump her fingers inside her.

And the reaction is everything that Beca hoped it would be.

It’s euphoric.

She sucks in a sharp gasp, her body tensing and breathing stopping. Her back arches as her hands fall down to grip the sheets beneath her. She stretches her neck out, and Beca desperately wishes that she could kiss it and suck it and mark Chloe like Chloe marked her. Instead, she keeps going, and she watches in awe as Chloe finally exhales a trembling moan, thighs clenching around Beca’s hands. Beca stands up, removing the hand that was rubbing her clit, but still using her other to push two fingers inside her as she climbs over Chloe’s body.

She helps Chloe through her orgasm, pulling out and rubbing slow circles on her clit before propping herself up on her free arm and leaning down to kiss Chloe’s neck. Chloe’s chest is heaving and flushed, and Beca grins against her skin as she feels Chloe shudder underneath her.

“Oh my God, Bec.”

Beca pulls back, looking down at Chloe who now has her eyes open, tired and lazy and glazed with something that has Beca’s heart twisting inside of her. She trails her fingers from Chloe’s center up her stomach until it’s resting on Chloe’s heart, and smiles.

That,” Beca exhales, “was awesome!” Chloe breathes out a laugh, pushing Beca’s shoulder and causing her to fall to her side. “I’m serious! You were there, you saw how cool that was, right?!”

“Oh my God,” Chloe covers her face, grinning when Beca’s fingers dance over her skin, over her chest and up her neck, ghosting over her jaw before they come up to move Chloe’s hands away from her face. And Chloe thinks Beca is going to say something, or maybe kiss her again, but then she’s running the tips of her fingers over Chloe’s lips, and that’s when Chloe feels the wetness on Beca’s fingers.

She immediately opens her mouth, letting Beca slip her fingers inside, and she sucks on them with a content sigh until Beca pulls them out and replaces them with her mouth. And she can taste herself – both on Beca’s fingers and on Beca’s mouth – and it makes something inside her spark up again, and suddenly she needs more and less at the same time.

“Baby,” she mumbles into Beca’s mouth, shuddering when Beca’s hand runs down her chest and scratches under the swell of her breast. She’s always been ticklish in that area but having Beca’s fingers there is a new experience. “Becs.” Beca pulls back, opening her eyes to look down at Chloe. “Just give me a sec to catch my breath.”

“Sorry,” Beca says, but judging by the look on her face, she’s not sorry at all. She’s grinning, eyes bright and glistening with love, and Chloe lets out a content sigh.

When Beca asks “you came, right?” Chloe can’t stop the laugh from escaping her pursed lips, eyes squeezing shut as she rolls away and doubles over, and she laughs so much that a tear escapes the corner of her eye. “I’ll take that as a yes,” Beca whispers, hugging her from behind and pressing a soft kiss to her shoulder, then one to her neck. Chloe turns around, taking in the look that Beca is giving her, and she could cry with how much love she can see in her eyes.

“You were great.” She leans in to kiss Beca’s smiling mouth. “Awesome. Incredible. Extraordinary.”

Beca laughs, mumbling “shut up” into Chloe’s mouth as they kiss, and it’s so perfect that Chloe feels like she could just pause time, stay in this moment with Beca forever. To have Beca like this all the time, giggly and glowy and naked and so, so beautiful.

“Chloe?”

“Hmm?”

Beca pushes closer, making Chloe turn to lie on her back, and she presses a kiss to Chloe’s chest as she lies her head down.

“I love you.”

Chloe smiles, turning to kiss Beca’s forehead.

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

 

"Check one, two radio / East coast, West coast / Gulf shore, Mid-west / Maine down to Texas / deep south, up north / LA, New York / I'll be there wherever you are / yes because I'm only breathing / when you're near me / girl your touch / keeps my heart beating / anytime you ever need me / I'll be there wherever you are / baby, you should never be lonely / baby, you should never be lonely / but, baby, if you're gonna be lonely / be lonely with me / and I don't ever want you to worry / I can run to you in a hurry / so, baby, if you're gonna be lonely / be lonely with me / you could be in / London, Rio / Paris, Tokyo / Dubai, Beijing / Rome to the Phillippines / Sydney, Kenya / Mexico to Canada / I'll be there wherever you are / cause there's nothing that they can do / that's ever gonna stop me from getting you.” – lonely with me, parachute


Beca never really understood when people would describe other people as glowing. That word was reserved for jellyfish and glowsticks and your white t-shirt under the fluorescent lights when you’d go bowling as a kid. She recalls her aunt being pregnant with her cousin, and her uncle describing her as glowy. She remembers Stacie coming back from a night out in sophomore year, telling the rest of the Bellas that she just had the best sex ever, and Chloe yaying and saying, “yeah you did, you’re glowing!”

She never understood it, just like she doesn’t understand why people put other people’s names together, or why people use emoji’s all the time. But when she wakes up and turns over to see Chloe asleep next to her, the morning sun shining through the open certain and onto her naked body, she gets it.

Chloe is beautiful all the time, and at this point it’s old news. But this morning, she’s a different type of beautiful. Beca thinks Chloe’s the prettiest woman in the world, and she’s told her that. From the way her hair always looks good, to the shine in her eyes when she laughs, to the smile that could light up a thousand suns. She’ll never get tired of looking at Chloe; of noticing new things every time she watches her and admiring the things she already knew before.

But this is different. This is the after-sex glow that Chloe and Stacie would talk about all the time. This is the sun shining onto Chloe’s tanned back and shoulders; bright, and radiant, and wonderful, and glowing.

She doesn’t even realize that she’d said anything – a quiet “holy shit” – until Chloe stirs and mumbles something that sounds like a “what?” but comes out as a groan. And she can’t help but smile, her eyes shining with tears. She’ll never get used to this. To the effect that Chloe has on her. To the fact that Chloe is hers.

They’d spent most of the night not sleeping – even though Chloe had said she was tired from driving all day – so it doesn’t surprise Beca when she looks at the time on her phone to see that they’ve slept in until ten. And as much as she wants to lie here in this moment forever, watching as Chloe peacefully sleeps, they need to set off to New York if they want to stay on schedule.

“Chlo,” she whispers, moving over to place a hand on Chloe’s shoulder. Her skin is warm and smooth, and Beca can’t stop herself from leaning down to place a kiss on one of the freckles on her shoulder. “Chloe, wake up.”

Chloe mumbles back something unintelligible and Beca laughs, her breath blowing out onto Chloe’s back, making her squirm.

“Tickles,” Chloe murmurs, and Beca smiles again as she places another kiss on Chloe’s shoulder. Then another, on top of the freckle next to it, and then another just because she can. It’s when she bites down gently on the spot where Chloe’s shoulder meets her neck that she finally gets a response – a quiet gasp as she turns her head to finally look at Beca.

“Hey,” Beca whispers, her hand stroking Chloe’s back, and Chloe smiles.

“Morning, beautiful.”

“Shut up.”

Chloe grins, finally turning over so she’s lying on her back. She scoots closer to Beca, and Beca meets her in the middle, her hand instinctively wrapping around Chloe’s middle as her other arm props herself up, so she can look down at Chloe.

And she’s incredible. She’s stunning. She’s the reason Beca doesn’t panic right away, after realizing what had happened last night. Because this is Chloe and she’s disgustingly in love with her, and she’s pretty sure last night was the best night of her entire life.

“Baby.” It comes out as a hushed whisper, and Beca’s eyes immediately fall shut at the softness in Chloe’s voice, and the feeling of Chloe’s hand cupping her cheek. She turns her head slightly, pressing a kiss to Chloe’s palm, before opening her eyes.

Chloe’s eyes are shining, twinkling in the morning sun, and Beca feels like she stops breathing for a second.

“What is it?” Chloe asks, and her knuckles are grazing across Beca’s cheek so lightly that it sends tingles down Beca’s spine, and her heart is hammering so hard in her chest that she feels like maybe Chloe can hear it. But she takes a deep breath and shakes her head, because despite how much she feels like she should be, she isn’t scared. Not anymore.

“I’m gonna love you forever, Chloe.”

She sees the effect that it has on Chloe immediately. Her eyes widen just a little bit, and her mouth parts and she lets out a soft breath, and her eyes look back and forth between Beca’s eyes and her mouth, and then she smiles and they’re kissing.

The sheets rustle as Chloe leans up, pushing on Beca’s shoulder until she’s the one hovering over her, and she stops when she sees that Beca is already breathing heavily. And her brain tells her not to look down, because Beca isn’t hers and it’s wrong. Just like it has been for the past four years now. But then she remembers that Beca is hers, and she can look. She’s allowed to kiss and touch and love, and the happy tears are in her eyes before she even realizes.

“Okay,” Chloe whispers into Beca’s mouth, pulling back and smiling down at her gently as Beca wipes her tears away with her thumbs. “Alright,” she whispers again, leaning in to press her lips against Beca’s as she moves so she’s straddling her.

Sometimes, Chloe feels like her heart is going to burst with just how much she loves Beca.

She never – ever in a million years – thought that she’d have Beca like this. Stripped down so bare, whispering things like that to her, like it’s a secret that only Chloe can hear. She never thought Beca would ever love her like she’s always wanted her to. And part of her accepted that. Part of her told her to move on, just like she had done from the Bellas, just like she had done from the heartbreak of losing her brother and her father. But there’s always that one part of her that doesn’t fully move on from that. Always that one part of her that hoped. That told her to continue waiting; to be patient and trust that Beca will notice her.

And she’s so glad that she waited, because right here in this moment, she can’t imagine ever loving or wanting anything or anybody else. And she can’t describe how happy her heart feels when she remembers that Beca loves and wants her too.

When her thigh moves to rest in between Beca’s legs, the moan she gets in response is music to her ears. The breaths that fill the space between them as Chloe pulls back to watch Beca are delicate and hushed, and the look on Beca’s face when Chloe finally touches her is entrancing. Her eyes are dark and so full of love that Chloe thinks, for a second, that this is all a dream.

“Oh my g–” Her own moan cuts her off as Chloe continues to move her fingers against her; soft and graceful and too slow for Beca, apparently, because she’s lifting her hips up and whimpering and silently begging for more, and if Chloe wasn’t so focused on watching her, she’d give her that. But she’s focused on the crease in Beca’s brow and the love in her eyes as she looks up through hooded, tired eyelids, and the needy, quiet moans coming from her parted lips, and she doesn’t want this to stop.

“Chloe.” She breathes her name out like a prayer as her nails scrape lightly over Chloe’s ribcage, and Chloe is nodding, kissing, loving; everything she can to let Beca know that she too, will love her forever.

She’s like a masterpiece. A piece of art that Chloe could never replicate, no matter how much she’s practiced over the past few years. She could never capture the shape of Beca’s lips or the twinkle in her eyes or the softness of her skin, and part of that makes her sad. Makes her wonder if – when Beca’s gone – she’ll be able to remember how she feels underneath her finger tips, or how she looks when she’s just woken up, or how she smiles when Chloe says something dumb to cheer her up.

“I’m here,” Chloe whispers, leaning down to kiss her again. It doesn’t last long, because Chloe wants to watch this play out. Wants to watch Beca’s facial expressions change and wants Beca to breathe out her pleas as she looks her in the eye. And it’s the most intimate she’s been with anybody in her life, but it’s Beca, so she isn’t worried.

God, Chlo, I love you,” she moans again, “I love you so fucking m-much.”

“I know.”

She’s mesmerized by Beca. By everything about her; from the way she grinds her hips up for more friction, to the way she bites her lip to stop herself from moaning too loud when Chloe speeds up her actions. She’s so pretty like this. Her hair is a mess and her makeup is smudged and her chest is flushed red as it heaves with each long breath, and she’s absolutely captivating.

Her hips cant upwards, her legs move to the side to give Chloe more access, and her fingers play melodies on Chloe’s skin as quiet whimpers turn to desperate whines.

She’s overwhelmed with the amount of love she holds in her heart for this woman.

“I love you,” Beca whispers again, her eyes closing. “I’m so in love w-with you.”

It’s like years of pent up emotions are pouring out, and Chloe’s aware of the tears that are dropping out of her eyes, and she can’t bring it in herself to stop. But she wants to see Beca fully, not through blurry tears, so she sniffles, and then she’s choking out a gasp, and then Beca’s eyes are open again.

Her hands immediately come up to cup Chloe’s face, wiping her tears away before she pulls Chloe in and kisses her hard. It’s messy and wet, due to their soaked cheeks, and Chloe chokes out a sob into Beca’s mouth, eyes squeezed shut as she wills herself to stop crying.

“I’m–Shit, I’m c–”

Chloe nods, pulling back as she helps her through. She smiles at her; smiles at the way her hands move from Chloe’s face to her shoulders, digging her nails into Chloe’s skin just hard enough for Chloe to hiss, and she smiles at the way Beca’s mouth opens to moan something, but no sound comes out.

She smiles at the way Beca comes, pulsing around her, and she presses soft kisses to her forehead as Beca finally lets out a heavy, shuddering breath and relaxes underneath her. Her legs tremble and her head lulls to the side and she lets out a soft, adorable laugh.

Chloe nudges her wet cheek with her nose as she pulls out and wipes her fingers on the bed sheets, and Beca turns to look at her; looks at her with nothing but absolute wonder and amazement and pure love in her eyes, and Chloe’s stomach clenches.

“Sex with you is the BEST!”

Chloe immediately bursts out laughing, throwing her head back before collapsing on top of Beca, muffling her laughs into her neck as one of Beca’s hands rest in the dip of her back and the other draws patterns on the back of her shoulder.

Beca’s laughing too, still breathless and still beautiful, and everything about it just feels so right.

/

When Chloe insists that they play I spy as they drive to New York, Beca’s pretty sure that there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.

“I spy,” Beca says over the song currently playing – Pink Skies by LANY, per Chloe’s request – as she looks out of the window at the passing cars. “Something beginning with G.”

“You didn’t say ‘with my little eye’,” Chloe says, tapping a beat on the steering wheel, and Beca laughs, turning to look at Chloe.

“I don’t have little eyes,” she says, and when Chloe turns to look at her as she stops at a stop light, she sees that Beca is purposely widening her eyes, and she laughs as she pushes Beca’s shoulder, calling her an idiot. “Come on, guess! Something beginning with a G.”

Chloe thinks for a moment, lifting her sunglasses up to rest on the top of her head before the light turns green and she sets off again.

“Green.”

“Nope.”

“Gooo- gold!”

“No.”

“G… G, G, G,” Chloe repeats, as if it will help her think of a word. “Grrr- Greenery!”

“No.”

“This is hard.”

“Dude, you wanted to play,” Beca says, switching the song as it comes to an end. Chloe immediately perks up at the sound of Green Light by Lorde playing over the speakers.

“Green light!”

“Oh my God,” Beca laughs. “It has nothing to do with green, okay?”

Chloe makes a left turn, sighing as she flicks her glasses back down over her eyes. She keeps her eyes on the road but Beca can tell she’s thinking. She can practically hear the cogs in her head turning over the sound of the music in the car. It’s adorable and completely Chloe-like when Chloe slaps her hands onto the steering wheel and huffs.

“I give up!”

“You want me to give you a clue?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s you.”

Me? Chloe?”

Beca laughs. “That’s your name, isn’t it?”

“Chloe begins with a C, Beca.”

Duh. It’s a word to describe you.”

“Um…” She goes back to repeating G over and over until she sounds like she’s doing Aubrey’s voice exercises that they were taught when they were back in college. The Gee’s and the Hmm’s and the Shh’s – it causes Beca to laugh at the memory.

And then Chloe perks up, gasping, and Beca immediately looks over at her to see her tapping excitedly on the wheel.

“I got it!” She says. “Gorgeous!”

Beca’s eyes widen, a smile quickly forming on her face, and she nods.

“Good job. Your turn.”

Chloe looked so excited when she’d thought of the word, Beca doesn’t have it in her to tell Chloe that she was actually thinking of the word Ginger.

/

They arrive in New York at 4PM.

Chloe convinces Beca to let them stay at The Benjamin. Not only that, but in the Benjamin Suite, one of the most expensive rooms.

“We’re gonna be here for three days Bec, can we stay just one night?” she had asked as Beca looked around in amazement at the hotel foyer. “We’ve been staying in gross motels for the past couple of weeks, pleeeease can we stay here tonight?”

Like Beca could ever say no to those eyes.

(Maybe the Hotel clerk thinks she’s whipped but she doesn’t care.)

It’s when they walk into their room and drop their suitcases onto the double bed that Beca realizes that they only have a few more stops before they’ll be back in Atlanta. The thought of it scares her and excites her all at the same time. She’s excited to start a new chapter of her life with Chloe. One where they’re officially living together as girlfriends instead of roommates. One where they’ll be waking up together every day and making dinner together and showering together and being with each other for–

Woah.” She shakes her head, pulling herself out of her little trance as she looks over to where Chloe’s voice had come from. “Bec, look at this tub!”

Beca follows her to the bathroom, smiling down at the wide bathtub. Her mind immediately goes to the things they could do in that bathtub, and she clears her throat while nodding, her cheeks already tinted pink.

“Yeah, it’s…”

“Spacious,” Chloe says, waggling her eyebrows, and Beca laughs, nudging Chloe’s shoulder.

“Weirdo.”

They check out the rest of the suite; the long, curtained windows, the comfy velvet couches, the beautiful terrace outside, and the huge bed that Chloe bounces on excitedly.

“This is aca-awesome!”

It’s huge. Way bigger than their apartment back home, and way too fancy – and expensive – for either of them to be staying in, but it’s nice. It reminds Beca of a honeymoon suite, and she has to take a few deep breaths before she ends up going down that road, because it’s way too soon to be thinking about stuff like that.

She does think though, that if she ever has a honeymoon, she’d want it to be with Chloe.

But before she can dwell too much on that thought, Chloe is pulling her towards the mirror in the living area and she’s taking her phone out, telling Beca they need to take selfies. Her arms immediately wrap around Chloe, and she looks down at Chloe’s phone screen while Chloe grins widely, snapping a few photos. They look good together and Beca can’t help the way she looks up at Chloe instead of the phone, licking her lips as she smiles at Chloe’s small pout and the way she runs a hand through her hair to sort herself out in the mirror before taking more photos.

Everything after that seems to move in slow motion. Chloe is laughing when she realizes Beca is looking at her instead; looking at Chloe so intensely and with so much love that she ends up dropping her phone onto the table in front of them with a thud as Beca captures her lips and tugs her hips towards her.

“You’re so beautiful,” Beca murmurs into Chloe’s mouth, and all Chloe can do is smile as Beca leads them to the bedroom.

/

“I’m never gonna get used to that,” Beca breathes out, falling backwards onto the many cushions and pillows at the head of the bed. “You’re so good at that.” Chloe laughs, wiping her chin as she crawls up Beca’s body, collapsing on top of her and causing Beca to breathe out a heavy laugh. “Good God, you’re gonna crush me.”

Chloe rolls off of Beca with a chuckle, pushing Beca forward a little so she can fit behind her snugly.

“I love you,” Chloe whispers, pressing a kiss to her shoulder. She feels Beca let out a long, content breath, before she responds.

“I love you too.”

And Chloe’s just about to ask if Beca wants to do anything tonight – or if they should just stay in and make the most of this extremely expensive hotel they’ve paid for – when they both hear a vibrating sound.

“Is that yours?” Beca asks, and Chloe shakes her head.

“Mines on do not disturb.”

Before Chloe can protest, Beca is sitting up, reaching over to pick up her jeans from where she had discarded them before, and rooting through the pockets for her phone. And Chloe can’t resist the slap she gives Beca’s ass when she notices how Beca hasn’t made a move to cover herself. The squeal she gets in response makes her giggle, and Beca is swatting her hand away before she can do it again.

“Ugh, Jesse,” she says, sitting up against the headboard before answering it. “Hey.”

“Becaw!”

“Jesus.”

“How you doing?”

“I’m,” Beca looks over at Chloe, shrugging at the questioning look she gives her. “Good. Great. How are you?”

“I’m good. Where you at?”

“Oh, New York. We arrived here like, uh, two hours ago.”

“Nice!”

“Yeah,” Beca clears her throat. She wants to say something else, but Chloe is watching her with something in her eyes that makes Beca’s heart pound and her stomach tingle, and her throat goes dry when she sees Chloe lie back on the pillow, hand coming down to rest on her bare stomach as her other rests on her thigh.

“How are things going with Chloe?”

“Uh,” she licks her lips, watching as Chloe shifts again, before she turns her head to look at Beca, and Beca’s breath catches in her throat at the look she gives her. “Things are great. How are things with Aubrey?”

“Not bad, I mean… she’s a cleaner roommate than Benji.”

“Right.” Beca watches Chloe’s eyes flutter closed and she looks down to see that –oh God.

“I didn’t leave you for Aubrey, Beca.”

“Yeah, no. I… I never…”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” she nods, finally tearing her gaze from Chloe, who immediately lets out a soft whimper, and Beca’s heart clenches at the sound. “I’m good.”

“We’re cool, right?”

“Yeah,” she nods again. “I mean, we will be. Eventually.”

“Alright,” she can hear Jesse’s smile at the other side of the line, and she smiles back. “Cool. I’ll leave you to it then, but uh... Just wanted to check in. I really want us to be friends, Bec.”

“Yeah, me too. I’ll talk to you later.”

She hangs up before she hears Jesse respond, throwing her phone down onto her pile of clothes beside the bed before turning around and moving up to hover over Chloe.

She takes Chloe’s hand, the one between her legs, and moves it, holding it up over Chloe’s head and smiling at the groan that Chloe lets out when she does. She wants to whisper something about that being her job; wants to tell Chloe that she would’ve taken care of her if she would’ve just waited. But Chloe is pulling her closer and scratching her back and whimpering into Beca’s mouth as Beca grinds into her, and she can’t seem to form words.

Beca thinks that though neither of them voices it, they’re in a mutual agreement to stay in tonight.

/

To be young and in love in New York City.” Beca rolls her eyes at the song choice but she watches Chloe anyway. “To not know who I am but still know that I'm good long as you're here with me. To be drunk and in love in New York City.

She’s mesmerizing when she sings. There’s just something about her that Beca can’t quite put her finger on. Something that makes Beca’s stomach twist and her heart ache, in the best way possible.

Midnight into morning coffee. Burning through the hours talking. Damn!” Chloe looks at Beca. “I like me better when I'm with you.

Beca’s too busy watching Chloe to notice that she’s stopped singing and she’s now looking at Beca, both of them walking hand-in-hand through the busy streets of Manhattan.

“This song was written about us, Becs!”

“How are you even real?”

“What?”

“You’re… such a dork.”

Chloe throws her a bright, proud smile, and Beca falls in love with her yet again.

/

They make it to Central Park at midday, and Chloe bounces – literally jumps up and down – when she sees the gazebo near the boathouse where Jamie proposed to Cathy.

“Now I really feel like I’m in The Last Five Years, Becs!” she says excitedly, and Beca laughs as she lets go of Chloe’s hand and watches her run to the gazebo, holding onto one of the poles as she spins around to face Beca, a bright smile on her face that causes Beca’s breath to catch in her throat.

Is that one John Lennon?

“What?”

That’s the Sanremo! Isn’t that the museum? Can we go see the dinosaurs?

When Chloe starts to sing The Next Ten Minutes, Beca can’t help but notice that feeling lingering again; the same feeling she felt earlier in the day when she watched Chloe sing. She watches her every move. The smile on her lips when she sings, the way she hugs the pole as she looks at Beca, the way she holds her hand out for Beca to take – and Beca takes it immediately – and the little gasp she sucks in as she looks out at the water in front of them, and the way she squeezes Beca’s hands as she sings “I will never be complete until I do.

“You’re not proposing to me are you, Beale?”

Chloe laughs, pulling Beca in to place a kiss on her cheek. “Shut up.”

And Beca thinks they might stay here for a while, but then Chloe is pulling her away from the gazebo and down the path, eyes gazing in wonder at everything; the trees and the flowers and the lake. She takes a few photos on her phone, including some selfies which Beca now happily obliges to, and posts one to Instagram – the one that shows Beca wrapping her arms around Chloe’s shoulders as she places a kiss on her cheek, both of them grinning as the sun glares down on them.

“What if I did?”

“What?” Beca asks, turning to look at Chloe as they walk up the footpath. There are people all around them, either walking or cycling or sitting on the benches, and though they’ve been here many times before for the ICCA’s, they’ve never walked through Central Park during the day. Never walked through without the stress of whether their set is good enough or if their outfits are pretty enough.

It’s warm and busy and if Beca wasn’t so busy looking at Chloe, she’d say it was beautiful too.

“What if I proposed?”

Beca thinks back to the feeling she felt at the gazebo, and then the feeling she felt before the gazebo, and the feelings that she’s been having ever since she realized she’s in love with Chloe. And it all makes sense.

“Okay.”

“What?”

She doesn’t even need to think about her answer.

“I’ll marry you.”

“Wait, no!” Chloe’s eyes widen in panic, tugging on Beca’s hand and stopping them both in their tracks. A man behind them scoffs as he walks past them, but Beca doesn’t notice. “No,” Chloe repeats. “I was–I was kidding! This isn’t how I planned it–I didn’t–”

“–Oh, so you’ve planned it?” Beca asks jokingly, but Chloe looks away, blushing. “Wait, really?”

“Well,” Chloe looks embarrassed now, and Beca squeezes her hand to reassure her that it’s okay. That she doesn’t mind this conversation. “I always knew, ya know. Not knew but I always hoped. That we’d... Ya know.”

Beca’s not sure what timeline she’s in or how she got here, but one thing she does know is that she’s not afraid. It’s impossible to be afraid when she’s here with Chloe. When Chloe’s holding her hand and looking at her like she’s her everything.

“Get married?”

“I hoped we’d get together. Then I–I don’t know. I may have… daydreamed about it.”

She nods, pauses, then swallows. “We’re gonna get married, Chlo.”

“Wh-what? Seriously? Now? Did we just get engaged?!”

Beca laughs, “Calm down, I don’t mean now. I mean, I’ll marry you. When we’re ready. When it feels right for us.”

“You’re serious?”

“Yeah, I mean…” Chloe looks elated, and Beca can’t stop smiling as she pulls Chloe closer. “I love you. You’re it. I can’t really imagine being with anybody else.”

“You’re not just saying that to make me feel better about the fact that I just accidentally proposed to you?”

Beca laughs again, shaking her head. “Let's forget that happened. Ask me again in a few months.”

Chloe just grins, reaching up to cup Beca’s face as she pulls her in for a kiss. And maybe it’s the fact that they’re in the middle of Central Park, with the summer breeze wafting through their hair, and the sound of a busker playing in the distance, but it’s perfect. Everything about it is perfect, from the way Beca is smiling into the kiss, to the way Chloe’s delicate hands dance across her neck.

But Beca thinks that Central Park has nothing to do with how perfect this moment is. The only thing making it so perfect is the fact that it’s Chloe kissing her, and the thought of spending the rest of her life with this woman makes absolute perfect sense.

Chapter Text

Am I asleep, am I awake, or somewhere in between? / I can't believe that you are here and lying next to me / or did I dream that we were perfectly entwined? / like branches on a tree, or twigs caught on a vine? / like all those days and weeks and months I tried to steal a kiss / and all those sleepless nights and daydreams where I pictured this / I'm just the underdog who finally got the girl / and I am not ashamed to tell it to the world / truly, madly, deeply / I am foolishly, completely falling / and somehow you kicked all my walls in / so baby, say you'll always keep me / truly, madly, crazy / deeply in love with you / in love with you.
– truly madly deeply, one direction


We don't have to lose all the groove, babe, grab your favorite record and we'll move like they used to.

Chloe joins in on the “Ooh, ooh-ooh” and it makes Beca smile as she focuses on applying her eyeliner in the motel mirror. It’s not as big and clean and fancy as the mirror back at The Benjamin, but she has a perfect view of Chloe dancing around the room behind her, so she figures it’s good enough.

We can rock, we can roll, don't let pops steal the show. Ditch that MP3. Come on dance the vinyl with me.

Her hair is up in a loose ponytail and it whips around as she dances to the song playing from Beca’s phone, a few strands falling in front of her face. Beca stops singing halfway through the chorus, watching as Chloe frowns and blows the strands of hair away from her face before bending over to pick up two pairs of shoes.

“Which ones?” Chloe asks her, and Beca’s been smiling so much that her cheeks hurt, and she meets Chloe’s eyes in the mirror as she slowly lowers her eyeliner pencil.

“I love you.”

Chloe tilts her head with a smile; the kind of smile that lets Beca know that she’s happy but surprised. That she wasn’t expecting her to say that, but she appreciates it anyway. And then she’s practically bouncing as she makes her way over to Beca, the song still playing, and leans down to kiss her head.

“I love you too.”

“I like the black ones.” Beca tells her. Chloe turns back around, throwing the black pair onto the bed and the blue pair back into her suitcase. “Did you find a bar yet?”

“Yup!” She thinks Chloe’s going to elaborate but she doesn’t, and she pops the cap onto the eyeliner before turning around, raising her eyebrows. “It’s a surprise.”

She’s sitting on the bed, redoing her hair. Beca thinks she looked perfect before, but she has no doubt that she’ll look beautiful no matter what style she decides to wear it in. She used to be jealous of that; the fact that Chloe can look so effortlessly beautiful without trying. Whether she’s dressed up to go out to a bar, or wearing gym clothes, or just a towel with her wet hair dripping on the carpet. She’s always beautiful, and it always causes Beca’s stomach to jump and twist and shake.

She used to be jealous, but now she’s just amazed.

“What?”

Beca blinks, standing up. “What?” she repeats back to Chloe. She originally stood up so she could change out of her gym shorts into her black jeans, but Chloe is like a magnet, always pulling her towards her, and she stops when she realizes that she’s standing in front of Chloe, who is currently sitting on the bed looking up at her.

“Why are you looking at me like…”

Beca smiles as Chloe’s hands come up to rest on her waist, and she tugs until Beca is in her lap. It reminds her of the other night, the first time they’d had sex, and her heart is hammering in her chest as she looks down at Chloe, cupping her face.

“Like what?” she asks.

Chloe stretches her neck up to kiss her but she can’t quite reach, so she kisses her chin, and Beca lets out a breathy laugh against her nose. “The way you were just looking at me.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Beca’s aware of the fact that her knees are resting on Chloe’s skirt and she’s probably creasing it, but Chloe is wrapping her arms around her waist and pulling her closer into a hug, and her eyes fall shut when she feels Chloe press a kiss to her neck.

“I like it,” Chloe murmurs, kissing Beca’s collarbone. “I like the way you look at me.” Her lips trail across to the other side of her neck, and Beca lets out a quiet whimper at the feeling that she’ll never get bored of. “You make me feel,” she pauses, pulling back to look up at Beca. “So beautiful.”

“You are so beautiful,” she whispers as she tucks Chloe’s hair behind her ear, leaning down to press a kiss to her forehead. “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.”

Chloe laughs and blushes, burying her head into Beca’s neck as Beca wraps her arms around her. “I’ve heard that before.”

“That makes it like, double true.”

When Chloe’s lips touch hers, Beca’s aware of the fact that Chloe’s lipstick will be smudged against her own lips, but she can’t find it in herself to care all that much. Especially when Chloe hugs her tighter, and kisses her deeper, and does things to her heart that nobody else has ever done before.

The only reason she pulls back is because they have dinner reservations before they head to whatever bar Chloe has found – probably on TripAdvisor – and they should really head out before they’re late.

When she pulls back though, Chloe is looking up at her with hooded eyes and a small, content smile. The twinkle in Chloe’s eyes remind Beca of the day that Chloe had referenced earlier, back in Albuquerque; the two of them watching the sunset in the Elena Gallegos Park picnic area, Beca telling Chloe stories of her favorite constellations and the Greek Gods, and Chloe watching Beca with such intensity that Beca felt something change inside of her. Like a shift in the universe that caused her stomach to twist, and her heart to pound, and her hands to shake, and her insides to tremble.

She had noticed the way the sun shone perfectly onto Chloe's hair, and she’d noticed the small amount of sweat on her forehead, and the tiny bit of mascara smudged on her left eyelid, and that she was wearing the same shorts she wore at the retreat. She had noticed the sad smile on Chloe’s face when Chloe had told her “It's always nice to hear it from somebody else,” when Beca called her attractive, and she remembers the tug in her stomach and how she felt so full when she realized that Chloe is here with her, willingly, watching the sunset and sharing secrets and stories with her and only her. Beca felt so full that she thought she was going to burst.

She could never quite put her finger on what had happened that day, but now she knows.

Her hands rest on Chloe’s shoulders, and she slides them up to cup her face, and she smiles.

“You wanna know a secret?” Beca asks quietly. Chloe hums, nodding, staring at Beca’s mouth. Her lips are like a magnet and they’re pulling Beca in before she realizes, and after a few more moments she pulls back from the kiss, absolutely full to the brim with love and adoration for Chloe Beale. “I fell in love with you that day.”

She sees the surprise in Chloe’s eyes before they turn soft, twinkling with adoration, and then Chloe hugs her tighter.

“You and Jesse broke up that night.”

She’d been trying to avoid that memory, and maybe if it was a few days ago, that statement would hurt her. Maybe she’d feel a shot of pain through her heart at the thought of losing her best friend – because besides Chloe and Stacie, Jesse is her best friend and she hopes he always will be – but she doesn’t feel that pain. She’s reminded of the fact that if that breakup had never happened, she wouldn’t be here right now. She wouldn’t be admitting these things to Chloe as she sits on her lap and kisses her before they go out on their first official date.

Sure, when she thinks too hard about it in the middle of the night without Chloe to distract her, she feels terrible that she fell in love with Chloe while still being with Jesse. But Jesse still wants to be her friend, and she thinks that someday they can go back to normal; back to how they were in freshman year, before everything changed between them.

“Yeah,” she nods, and she doesn’t really know what else to say. She knows that if she thinks about it too much she’ll fall down the rabbit hole of thinking that she’s a terrible person, so she shakes her head to rid herself of those thoughts, and she kisses Chloe.

“You wanna know when I fell in love with you?” Beca pulls back, nodding, a little breathless from the kiss. She sees the hesitation in Chloe’s eyes, and she strokes the back of her neck with her fingers to soothe her. To let her know that she can tell her anything and it wouldn’t change how she feels about her. “Um,” Chloe pauses, pressing her lips together and closing her eyes.

“Hey,” Beca whispers. Her voice is quiet and soft, and Chloe leans into the hand that she presses against her cheek.

“Shower,” is all Chloe can say in a quiet voice before leaning forward and burying her head in the dip of Beca’s neck.

And God, Beca’s heart stings more than it has done in her entire life, as Chloe breathes into her neck. She bites her lip to stop herself from crying, because she can’t imagine the amount of pain Chloe went through for those four years. No number of breakups or fights could ever hurt Beca the same as Chloe had felt; every time she saw Beca kiss Jesse, or every time she had to console Beca after a fight with Jesse. And it hurts Beca knowing that she was the cause of Chloe hurting for so long.

“Sorry,” Chloe whispers, laughing nervously, and Beca shakes her head as she hugs Chloe tighter.

“Don’t ever apologize for loving me.” She hears Chloe sniffle before pulling back, and the tears in her eyes break Beca’s heart as Chloe looks up at her. “I don’t deserve you.”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s true,” she runs the pads of her thumbs under Chloe’s eyes, wiping her tears away, before kissing her forehead. “You’ve been in love with me for years and I was completely oblivious.”

“That doesn’t,” Chloe pauses to clear her throat, “it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve me. Good things take time.”

“But almost four years, though, Chloe.” She laughs, nervous and terrified and wracked with guilt. “I’m… I’m just really, really sorry.”

“Don’t be. We’re here now.”

“Yeah.”

Chloe smiles, tapping Beca’s leg. “Let’s go.”

/

Chloe ends up taking her into a gay bar that Beca forgets the name of once she’s had a few cocktails in her.

She doesn’t really know what she expected a gay bar to be like, but this certainly isn’t it. And maybe it’s the alcohol or maybe it’s the new feeling of being surrounded by people who are just like her, but she feels insanely happy and safe as Chloe wraps her arm around her waist, leaning against the bar as she waves at the bartender to order two more drinks.

“Two tequila shots!” Chloe says, and then Beca is pulling her closer, capturing her lips with a smile so big that the two of them just end up laughing together instead.

Chloe pays for the shots as Beca keeps her arm wrapped around her, not wanting to let go for one second, and she never really thought she’d be the type of person to do that – to always want her hands on someone else – but she figures it’s not the only thing Chloe has changed about her since they met, so all she can really do is accept it.

“Ten year old me…” Chloe says, pulling Beca out of her reverie. She hands Beca the tequila shot, and Beca moves closer so she can hear Chloe better. “I had dreams of becoming a chef. My favorite chef was Rachael W- Rachael Ray.”

“Rachael Way?”

“Shut up.” She laughs, accepting the change that the bartender hands to her. “She said things like ‘yummo!’ and made f- uh t- thirty-minute meals. I…. I caught wind that her dog died, and I felt bad, so!” she throws the shot back, wincing at the taste, and Beca watches in awe as she continues to tell her story after slamming the empty glass back down onto the bar. “I wrote her a fan letter saying ‘Hi Rachael I’m a big fan, I’m so sorry your dog died. Can you send me an autographed photo?’ And… In retrospect. Probably a little insensitive. But! She never replied and I’m still bitter.”

Chloe is pouting, waiting for Beca’s reaction, and all Beca can do is laugh and lean in and kiss Chloe’s forehead, because damn it, her girlfriend is fucking adorable, and she’s not surprised that Chloe would do something like that.

She throws the tequila shot back with less grace than Chloe had, and squeezes her eyes shut to focus on not throwing it back up. When she opens them, Chloe is smiling at her; a smile so big that it has Beca wondering if she has something on her face or if she did something wrong when taking the shot. Before she can ask though, Chloe is kissing her cheek and whispering in her ear that she loves her, and all Beca can do is smile back, just as big.

/

When Beca comes out of the bathroom to see that Chloe isn’t at the bar where she left her, the panic sets in immediately.

And okay, Chloe is famously known for being a sociable drunk – and for not doing what she’s told when she’s drunk – so Beca’s not surprised that she’s no longer waiting at the bar. That doesn’t mean she isn’t worried, though. She asks around for Chloe, trying to avoid looking like she’s hitting on people, until eventually, she finds Chloe in the corner of the room at the DJ booth.

Only, the DJ isn’t there, and Chloe is scrolling through the laptop that’s hooked up to the speakers, determination on her face as she tries to focus on typing correctly.

“Dude,” Beca says, catching Chloe’s attention immediately. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you, what are you doing?”

Chloe at least has the decency to look a little embarrassed, but then she’s pointing to the screen, telling Beca that she’s the DJ now, and Beca can’t help but laugh.

“I change the song!”

“You can’t do that, Chlo!”

“Yes, I can, it’s why the laptop is here!”

Beca laughs again, leaning over to see what song Chloe is trying to put on. She’s not surprised when she sees that she’s written ‘Hannnah Mpntana’ in the search bar.

“Hannah Montana? Really?”

“I want Hoedown Throwdown!”

“Oh my God.”

And Beca knows that they shouldn’t be back here, but she helps Chloe out anyway, because there’s no way she can resist that adorable smile. She types the song in and then the beginning of Hoedown Throwdown is playing and Chloe is looking at her like she hung the moon, and everybody is screaming and heading to the dancefloor, and Beca’s positive that there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.

“Dance with me, Becs!” Chloe yells over the music, already grabbing Beca’s hand and pulling her onto the dancefloor. Beca tries to respond; tries to tell Chloe that she doesn’t know the dance, but she’s so in love and nothing feels better than having Chloe’s hand in hers as she tries to teach her the dance moves. Of course, Chloe is laughing and grinning too much to be able to teach Beca properly, but Beca wouldn’t change it for the world.

/

“Look at dog!” Chloe yells at one in the morning when they’re coming out of the club. “Dogs being friends!” she turns to Beca, grabbing her arm and pointing towards the two dogs standing next to their owners. “They don’t care about politics, they don’t care about race! There are different types of dogs and they love each other anyway!”

“Okay, Chlo,” Beca responds, laughing as she helps Chloe stand upright. “Let’s get you home.”

“Taxi!”

“It’s okay, I’ll order an Uber.”

Chloe gasps, which immediately causes Beca’s eyes to widen in panic; worried that something has happened in the two seconds that she looked away from her, but then Chloe is talking about free candy as she snatches Beca’s phone out of her hands. She closes one eye, so she can see better as she looks for the Uber app, and then Beca is laughing as Chloe starts to talk about all the candy that she wants to eat.

“It’s so rare that Uber drivers have candy, babe.”

“What is this?!”

“What?”

“Beca Mitchell, you have the Yelp app?!”

“What? No!” Beca quickly snatches the phone back from Chloe, holding it away from her so Chloe can’t take it back. “Why would I–”

“–This is a TripAdvisor only household!”

Beca laughs. “Noted,” she says, leaning in to press a kiss to Chloe’s cheek. “Now let me order this Uber before you change your mind and drag me to another bar.”

“Can we still get candy?”

Beca looks up, taking in the pout and the puppy dog eyes, and all she can do is roll her eyes.

“Sure, anything you want.”

/

“What is that vibrating?”

“Is it your phone?”

Chloe “ohh’s” and then pulls her phone out of her back pocket, and Beca laughs as she looks back out of the window at the city lights.

“Mom? Hello mom!” Beca turns to Chloe again, watching as Chloe points to her phone and mouths “it’s my mom” to her, and she laughs and rolls her eyes because yeah, she got that. Still, she can’t find it in herself to respond sarcastically. The only thing she can do is watch because that’s recently become her new favorite thing.

“Hi mom! I love you and you’re my favorite mom,” Chloe hiccups, “and you gave birth to me and I’m sorry that I had to come out of you, but I think I turned out pretty well! Wait, why are you up late? What time is it? It’s so late! Here, look, Beca’s here, can you see?”

Beca snorts out a laugh, and she hears the Uber driver laugh too, and then Chloe is handing her the phone and telling her to say hello.

“Hi Mrs Beale,” Beca says. “I’m taking care of her, don’t worry.”

Chloe’s mom responds with “thanks, Beca, honey,” and before Beca can say anything else, Chloe is snatching the phone back.

“I’m at- mom? Hi. I’m drunk.”

Beca doesn’t have the heart to tell her that she accidentally hung up when she snatched the phone back.

/

When Beca wakes up the next morning, it’s to a pounding headache and Chloe Beale’s body pressed into her side.

She takes a minute to watch Chloe, just like she does every morning. She watches her body rise and fall with each breath she takes, and she listens to the sound of her quiet snores and takes her appearance in; the freckles on her bare shoulders, and last night’s smudged makeup, and the tiny bit of drool in the corner of her mouth. Usually she’d think that’s gross, but it’s hard to put Chloe and gross in the same sentence.

And she’d love to just lie here and watch Chloe until she wakes up but her head is still hurting and she needs to drink something before she dies, so she presses a kiss to Chloe’s forehead before getting out of bed and throwing some sweatpants and the shirt Chloe was wearing yesterday on.

She gets two coffees from the Hotel bar, along with two portions of waffles, and takes them back to the room. And she expects Chloe to still be sleeping when she struggles to open the door with the keycard but when she finally makes it back into the hotel room, Chloe is sitting up in bed scrolling through her phone.

Her face immediately lights up when she sees Beca, and she locks her phone and puts it back on the nightstand as Beca drops the keycard onto the table by the door.

“You didn’t hear me struggling to get in?”

“I did but I’m comfy.”

“Ass.”

Chloe smiles, pulling the sheets back for Beca. She accepts the coffee and box of waffles with a “thank you” and a kiss to Beca’s cheek, instinctively moving closer when she realizes there’s still a gap between them in the bed.

“You look cute in my clothes.”

“Ah, no, technically this is my shirt, you just stole it from me back in college.”

“Finders keepers.”

“That’s-that’s not how it works.”

Chloe smiles, leaning forward and pressing a kiss to Beca’s lips. And Beca expects Chloe to pull back after; to go back to eating her breakfast and teasing Beca about how cute she looks on a morning, but she doesn’t. Beca swallows her bite of her waffle as Chloe’s mouth hovers over hers and then she’s pushing forward, slotting their lips back together again.

“Chloe,” Beca mumbles, but she doesn’t exactly know why. She has nothing to say, really, and she’d be lying if she said she wanted this to stop.

She blindly reaches behind her to put her cup of coffee on the table beside the bed, before moving her box of waffles out of the way, just as Chloe crawls over to straddle her lap. And Beca’s never really wanted to choose making out over eating, but she thinks maybe she can make an exception this morning.

She pushes her hand up into Chloe’s hair as the other rests on Chloe’s hip, and her eyebrows furrow in concentration as Chloe’s hips push forward, bringing out a moan from Chloe that Beca didn’t expect to hear this early in the day. Still, she doesn’t complain. It’s hard to complain about anything when she’s making out with Chloe in a hotel room in New York; the morning sun shining through the open blinds and the sounds of the city filtering through the gap of the open window.

When Chloe eventually pulls back, resting her forehead against Beca’s, they’re both breathing heavily.

“Good morning to you too,” Beca whispers, opening her eyes.

The smile on her face slowly fades, though, when she sees the look on Chloe’s face, and part of her starts to worry that maybe is something wrong. But Chloe’s eyes are twinkling as she looks down in awe at Beca, and it feels like the air has been knocked out of her lungs when a small smile tugs at the corners of Chloe’s lips.

“You good?” Beca asks, and Chloe nods, cupping Beca’s face as she kisses her again. “As much as I love you,” Beca mumbles, voice muffled by Chloe’s mouth, “and this,” she adds. “Our breakfast is going cold.”

And Chloe laughs, kissing Beca once, twice, three times more, before she finally pulls back and reaches for her waffles.

“You gonna stay on my lap?” Beca asks, half-expecting Chloe to get off of her, but she’s not surprised when Chloe just nods, before shoving a forkful of waffles in her mouth. All she can do is laugh, and try not to drop her coffee when Chloe occasionally presses soft kisses to her face in between mouthfuls.

/

As much as Chloe would love to stay in bed all day, alternating between making out with Beca and eating hotel food, there are a few more things she wants to do in New York before they head to Philadelphia in a couple of days.

First, they visit Times Square and Chloe buys some new clothes. At one point Beca almost gets lost in the crowd of tourists and angry New Yorkers but Chloe doesn’t let go of her hand, and she buys Beca lunch as an apology for almost getting her killed.

They drive down to Battery Park to see The Statue of Liberty and Chloe lets Beca control the music for the half hour drive. It mostly consists of Zedd and Walk The Moon, until she finally lets Chloe put on one Disney song. That one song eventually turns into a whole playlist, until they’re pulling into a parking lot loudly singing along to The Little Mermaid.

They take the Liberty Cruise out and Chloe takes a million photos and immediately uploads a selfie of her and Beca to her Instagram. The Bellas, again, are quick to comment about how cute they are and how they’re jealous that they’re still on vacation while the rest of them are working. Beca even uploads a candid photo of Chloe to her own Instagram. She’s leaning against the boat, looking out at the water with a huge smile on her face.

If it was anybody else, Beca would be bitter that it’s the most liked photo on her Instagram page, but because it’s Chloe, she’s okay with it. She’s glad people know how beautiful her girlfriend is.

“It’s what you deserve,” Beca tells her when she sees how many likes the photo gets. All Chloe can do is laugh and pull her closer.

They get ice cream afterwards, and Beca spends way too long picking which flavor she wants. It reminds Chloe of when they were back in Panama City, and she’s shocked when she remembers that back then, they were just friends. She’s always amazed when she remembers that Beca is her girlfriend now, but she’s equally as amazed when she realizes that they’ve only been dating for a small amount of time. To her, it always feels like forever.

“What’s up?” Beca asks her, just after she asks the employee for another sample of the caramel ice cream. “Am I taking too long? Sorry, I–”

Chloe cuts her off with a peck to her lips, smiling when Beca immediately blushes.

“Take your time,” she tells her, hugging her side. “Are you getting carmel?”

“Oh my God, get away from me, it’s caramel!”

/

Later that night when they’re lying in bed together listening to music, Chloe is positive that this month has been the best month of her entire life.

And she knows it’s cliché, but she still has to pinch herself every now and again when she remembers that she and Beca are dating; when she remembers that Beca loves her, and wants to be with her, and won’t run when things get serious. She’s proved it over and over, and it’s gotten to the point now where Chloe finds it impossible to worry about whether her relationship with Beca will work out.

She knows for a fact that it will.

She knows for a fact that there’s nobody else that can make her feel this way; there’s nobody else in the world that Chloe wants to be with more than Beca.

A month ago, it’d be a shock to her, but now, she knows that Beca feels the exact same way.

Chapter Text

 

“well, holy moly me oh my / you’re the apple of my eye / girl, I've never loved one like you / man, oh, man, you're my best friend / I scream it to the nothingness / there ain't nothing that I need / well, hot and heavy pumpkin pie / chocolate candy, Jesus Christ / ain't nothing please me more than you / home, let me come home / home is wherever I'm with you.” 

– home, edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros


Beca’s not entirely sure what she expected when Chloe asked her to go on a road trip with her after graduation.

The first thought that came into her head was how. Neither of them had a car – not that Beca knew of, anyway – and she’s not exactly sure where, or who, to borrow one from.

The second thought that came into her head was why. Sure, they’ve both just graduated, and they kind of both deserve a break before they start their jobs at the end of August. But they’re both living together and, shouldn’t that be enough? She can guarantee, Chloe will end up getting sick of her, and they’ll probably fight – they’ll definitely fight – and yeah, maybe a road trip together is destined to be doomed.

//

“Hey Becs, remember when you told me that this road trip was a bad idea?”

“Yeah.”

Destined to be doomed, I think you said.”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“Do you still think that?”

Beca laughs. “No way. C’mere.”

//

They’re walking up Sixth Avenue when it starts to rain.

Beca is ready to sprint into the nearest building – a bank, she thinks – when she feels Chloe grab her arm and spin her around.

“What are you doing?” Beca asks her, holding her hand above her head as if it will stop the rain from soaking her hair, but it’s no use, really. Chloe is looking at Beca with that smile that makes her legs weak, and she knows that whatever Chloe wants, she’ll give it to her.

She lowers her arm down to her side, and Chloe takes it in hers, threading their fingers together.

“Last time we were here was with all the Bellas,” Chloe says as she carries on walking, not bothered by the rain. Beca follows, squeezing her hand for her to continue. “I’m gonna miss it. It’s weird not having them here.”

“Do you remember what you told me last time we were here?”

“You were worried about whether you’re going to make it as a music producer and,” Chloe looks at her. “I told you that I think you can do anything.”

“You still believe that?”

“I know you can do anything, Becs.”

The truth is, Beca knows this. She knows that Chloe wouldn’t tell her this if she didn’t mean it. She knows that Chloe is her biggest fan; the one person that Beca isn’t afraid of showing her work to when it’s still in progress. Beca will experiment with new sounds and different genres, and Chloe will listen intently to every second until the very end. She’ll hand Beca her headphones back and she’ll tell her that it sounds incredible, and that she can’t wait for the world to hear Beca Mitchell’s music.

She knows Chloe is telling the truth, but that doesn’t make the whole thing any less scary.

“I’m scared.”

That’s another thing about Chloe Beale; she unintentionally makes admit things that she wouldn’t to anybody else.

“Why?”

“I just… I’m worried, ya know. That I won’t be able to make it. At least, not without you, anyway. You’ve kind of been my rock these past four years. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”

“You would. You would’ve just got here a little slower, is all.” Chloe squeezes her hand, and Beca laughs distractedly. It’s not until Chloe stops them in their tracks, pulling them out of the way of the pedestrians around them, that Beca notices she hasn’t said anything else. “What’s wrong, Bec?”

“I don’t think I can do this without you.”

“Hey. I’m not going anywhere.”

She sighs, but she lets Chloe pull her closer, and she welcomes the hand that Chloe brings up to comfortably rest on her shoulder.

“You’re gonna be the best music producer out there. Everyone will want to work with you. Sammy will regret never listening to your work sooner. He’ll kick himself for ever doubting you.” Beca laughs at that, looking away. “And Becs, I’ll be by your side the entire time.”

“Promise?”

Chloe grins, sliding her hand up Beca’s shoulder, across her neck, and up to her cheek, where her other hand joins it. Beca looks at her, blinking.

“I promise.”

Standing there in the middle of New York in the pouring down rain, with Chloe cupping her face and looking at her in a way that sets off a fire inside of her, Beca falls in love again.

Chloe’s lips capture hers and she melts, her hands coming up to rest on Chloe’s waist to stop her legs from giving out underneath her. The rain is soaking their hair and clothes, but Beca doesn’t find that she minds it anymore. She gives in to Chloe – into the kiss – and she falls in love.

Chloe pulls back, eyes twinkling with love, her hair stuck to her face and rain drops dripping off the end of her nose.

“I’ve always wanted to kiss someone in the rain like that.”

Beca smiles, leaning up to kiss her again.

//

They go to Coney Island, a place that Chloe says she has always wanted to visit. They only have a day left in New York before heading to Baltimore tomorrow, and then down to North Carolina before they finally make it home in a couple of days.

Home, Beca thinks.

As much as she’s loved this road trip, she can’t wait to get home.

With Chloe.

“What are you thinking about?” Chloe asks her. “You look like you’re somewhere else.”

All Beca can do is smile, pulling Chloe over to the Candy store ahead of them.

She buys Chloe a candy apple and some popcorn for herself, and they eat them together as they walk along the boardwalk. It smells like sugar and hot dogs and pizza, and Beca laughs when Chloe notices a little store where she can buy another fridge magnet.

Chloe drags her onto the beach and they take their shoes off to feel the sand on their feet. She holds Chloe’s hand the whole time, realizing that the warmth she feels when her feet touch the sand is nothing compared to the burning in her chest when she looks at Chloe.

“Look!” Chloe says, pointing ahead of her. Beca follows her finger to see that she’s pointing at a dog, and she grins, tugging Chloe along.

“Hi, uh, can my girlfriend pet your dog?”

He looks up at them and she thinks, for a second, that maybe saying that wasn’t a good idea. Maybe this guy is a dick. Maybe Beca got lost in her own happiness and thought that outing them both would be a good idea. The panic rises quickly, and she squeezes Chloe’s hand.

He smiles at them though, and tells them of course, and then Chloe is letting go of Beca’s hand to kneel down and pet the dog. It’s a brown-haired spaniel, Beca thinks, and he licks Chloe’s hand as she coos over him.

“You’re a beautiful little guy, aren’t ya? What’s his name?”

“Dolly,” the man says, and Beca barks out a laugh.

“Oh,” Chloe laughs as well. “Sorry, dolly.”

Beca watches, heart hammering in her chest at the sight of her girlfriend petting the dog.

Eventually Chloe stands up, thanking the man. They make small talk; he asks them how long they’ve been together, where they’re from, what brought them to New York. Beca zones out as she watches Chloe talk. She watches her eyes crinkle as she smiles, and her tongue poke out to lick her lips. She watches her bring a hand up to tuck her hair behind her ear, and she feels everything all at once.

“Let’s get a dog.” She blurts out.

Chloe turns to look at her. She’s already smiling but she smiles even bigger when their eyes meet.

“Really?”

“I… yeah.”

The man tells them that’s a great idea, he loves dogs, and then they’re parting ways. Chloe links their hands together again, pulling Beca closer to her when they reach the boardwalk again.

“What kind of dog do you want to get?”

“I don’t know. Anything you want.”

“I’ve always wanted a Labrador!”

Like Beca could ever say no to that.

“We’ll get a Labrador, then.”

//

“No.”

“C’mon, Becs!”

“I’m not going on that thing! It’s a deathtrap!”

“It’s a rollercoaster babe, and it’s safe!”

“It looks as old as my grandma.”

“It probably is.”

“You’re not making a strong argument here, Chlo.”

“Please. For me.”

“Fine.”

//

“Oh. You have to be 60 inches tall to ride it, sorry Becs.”

“Fuck you.”

Chloe giggles, pulling Beca towards the small line of people waiting to get on the ride.

“Are you excited?”

Terrified would be the right word, I think.”

“Aww,” Chloe pulls Beca into a side-hug, wrapping her arm around her shoulder. “Don’t worry babe, I’ll keep you safe.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

The ride is rickety and old and Beca’s like, 100% sure that this is where she dies. Which sucks because she was really looking forward to getting that dog with Chloe. Becoming a real family.

She feels Chloe’s hand rest on her knee, bringing her back to the present, and she turns to look at her. She knows how terrified she looks – this is a God damn death wish – but Chloe just leans in and presses a kiss to her cheek as they make it to the top of the ride.

The butterflies she feels in her stomach are definitely from the ride, she thinks. Not the fact that Chloe – looking way too beautiful for a casual day out to a theme park – is looking at her like she put the stars in the sky. The ride tips over the edge, and her stomach twists with every drop and turn. It reminds her of how she feels when Chloe kisses her.

She’s pretty sure she gets whiplash from the ride, but it’s worth it to see Chloe having fun.

//

They go on the Wonder Wheel and although Chloe has just made her go on a rollercoaster, they ask for one of the white carts – the ones that don’t swing – and it makes Beca feel warm inside, knowing that Chloe does that for her.

“We could’ve gone on a swingy one,” Beca says as she steps into the cart to sit beside Chloe.

“I know but you went on the rollercoaster for me, so I didn’t want to make you feel sicker than you already look.”

Beca’s eyes widen, but Chloe quickly laughs and nudges her, telling her “I’m kidding, you look beautiful.”

Beca just smiles as the wheel sets off.

Five minutes into the ride, Chloe’s hand finds itself on Beca’s thigh. Beca knows it’s because she’s internally freaking out about how high the wheel is, and part of her wonders how the hell Chloe does that; it’s almost as if she can read Beca’s mind.

“Hey.” Chloe says. Beca’s got a death grip on the rail, and she only notices how tightly she’s holding it when she feels Chloe reach out and take her hand in hers. She lifts their hands, placing a soft kiss against Beca’s knuckles. “Relax, babe.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Look, we’re almost at the top.”

Beca scoots closer, leaning over Chloe to look out of the other side of the cart. They’re high up, but not high enough for Beca to start freaking out. She’s not really afraid of heights; it’s the falling part that terrifies her.

“Everyone looks so small, don’t they?” Chloe asks her. She nods, smiling as she turns to look at Chloe. There’s wonder in her eyes; a type of amazement that Beca should be used to by now, but it still takes her breath away.

Every time she looks at Chloe, it takes her breath away.

“Yeah.” She rasps.

Chloe looks at her, blinking.

“Bec–”

Their lips meet softly, and this time Beca knows that the butterflies in her stomach have nothing to do with the ride, or how high up their cart is.

Only Chloe Beale can make her feel the way she feels right now.

Her hand comes up to cup Chloe’s face, thumb brushing over cheek softly and surely. There’s a hitch in Chloe’s breath as Beca pushes closer, parting her lips slightly and stroking her tongue over Chloe’s. If it was anybody else, Beca would hate it. She’d think this is the most cliché thing they could do; kissing on the top of a Ferris Wheel, but this is Chloe. Chloe, who looks breathtaking, and who kisses her back with as much love as Beca gives. Chloe who, Beca is sure, is the love of her life.

//

“One thing you don’t know about me, is that I,” Beca puts the credits down and accepts the bucket of twenty rings that the employee gives her, “am a boss… at the ring toss.”

“Oh my God.”

Beca smiles at Chloe, accepting the kiss Chloe places on her cheek before she picks up the bucket of rings. She squints, breathes in, breathes out; counting to three in her head, before tossing the ring.

She misses.

Fine. Okay. She has nineteen more rings.

She tosses another.

“A boss, yeah?”

“Shut up.”

She hears the person manning the stall – Mark, it says on his name tag – laugh, and she changes her tactic, throwing overarm instead of under. She throws with too much power though, and the ring just bounces off one of the clear bottles.

Okay, so the overarm tactic isn’t working. She tries to throw it like a frisbee.

She misses again.

“Fuck, damn it.”

Chloe puts a hand on her shoulder, squeezing slightly. “Relax, babe, you got this.”

She picks up five rings, throwing them all one after another. They all miss, and she sighs.

She picks up another five, throwing them a different way. One of them bounces off the top of a golden bottle and she stamps her foot, groaning.

“This game is rigged.”

“Hey, don’t blame the game,” Mark says.

She counts how many rings are left. Six.

“You want a turn?” She asks Chloe, holding a ring out. Chloe takes it with a smile, taking a step back and positioning herself adjacent to the bottles.

Beca counts for Chloe, watching as she flings it on the count of three. It collides with one of the clear bottles, but then bounces to the floor.

“Give me another.”

With four rings left, Chloe tosses one of them and it lands on the neck of one of the clear bottles. Beca’s eyes widen as Chloe starts to cheer. Mark laughs and tells Chloe “hell yeah!” and then Chloe is pushing Beca’s arm playfully.

“Who’s the boss now?!”

Beca shakes her head, laughing.

“What the fuck? That was a lucky shot!”

“No way, it was pure skill!”

“Asshole.”

Chloe is grinning as she leans over the counter to get a closer look at the prizes. Mark tells her she can pick any of the big ones, and Beca watches as she genuinely thinks about which stuffed animal to take home.

“Today, babe,” she says after Chloe spends another minute deciding, and Chloe laughs as she tells her that there’s too many to choose from.

“You pick for me.”

“The dolphin,” Beca says, and Mark asks her if she’s sure before he hands it to her.

Beca looks at Chloe.

“Chlo?”

“Yeah, the dolphin.”

He’s just about to hand Chloe the dolphin when Beca quickly takes it from him.

“Hey look, I just won you this giant dolphin all on my own.”

Chloe smacks her arm and takes the dolphin from her, and Beca laughs as she pulls Chloe into a hug. She’s not surprised when Chloe pulls her phone out to take a selfie of the two of them with the dolphin, quickly posting it to Instagram.

Beca pulls her phone out when it notifies her that Chloe has tagged her in a post.

chloebeale: Say hello to the newest member of our family! Thank you @becamitchell for winning Dolly for me. xo

She shakes her head, grinning.

“You won it.”

“Yeah but they don’t know that,” Chloe says, tapping Beca on the head with the stuffed animal. “Gotta keep up your reputation as the ring toss boss.”

//

The drive to Philadelphia is spent listening to Lord Huron’s Lonesome Dreams album.

Chloe drives the whole way, singing at the top of her voice as the wind drifts through her hair. Her voice echoes down the highway and Beca has never felt more at home in a state she’s never been to before.

They go to LOVE park and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Chloe drags her around the different exhibits with the excitement of a child, and Beca listens to every single thing she has to say about the pieces of art.

They arrive in Baltimore at seven, dropping their bags off at the motel before getting ready to go out for dinner. Beca keeps it casual with a red plaid shirt and black jeans, and her breath catches in her throat when Chloe emerges from the bathroom in a blue plaid dress.

“Is that...?”

Chloe nods, raising her shoulders and holding her arms out.

“The dress I wore when we first met.”

Beca walks over to where Chloe is standing, reaching out to grab her hips and pull her closer. Chloe’s hands instinctively come up to rest on Beca’s shoulders.

“Any interest in joining our acapella group?” Chloe asks, and Beca shakes her head as she breathes out a soft laugh. She looks up at Chloe, smiling softly.

“You look beautiful, Chlo.”

Her eyes close as Chloe leans forward and presses a gentle kiss to her forehead, lingering there for a few seconds before pulling back.

//

It takes six hours to drive from Baltimore to North Carolina.

Beca drives for the first three hours before they stop at Charlottesville for a break. Chloe buys them both sandwiches and snacks for the road and drives the rest of the way until they arrive in Danbury.

“I feel like this is where we die,” Beca says as they check into the Farmhouse Inn. It’s whispered between them as they wait for the man running the place to give them the key to their room, but Chloe still shushes her as she looks around the room and taps on the desk.

“Dude, there’s like nobody here. He could murder us right now and nobody would know.”

“We’re not getting murdered, Becs.”

The man returns with their key and shows them up to their suite. It’s old-fashioned and smells like wood and old people – something that Beca points out as soon as they’re alone in their room. Chloe just laughs at her as she drops her suitcase onto the bed and opens it.

It’s when she watches Chloe like this that Beca feels all of her worries fade away. She approaches her slowly, wrapping her arms around her in a tight hug and pressing a kiss to her shoulder. Chloe’s hand covers hers, and Beca breathes in her scent.

“You always smell good,” she murmurs against her back, and Chloe laughs.

“Thanks, sweetheart.”

//

They drive up to Hanging Rock and hike along the Indian Creek Trail.

Of course, Beca complains the whole time. Her feet ache, she’s pretty sure the back of her neck is sunburnt, and there’s water in her shoes.

Still, when they reach Dan River, she can’t deny how beautiful the view is.

“C’mon!” Chloe says, dropping her bag and toeing her shoes off.

Maybe it’s not as beautiful as Chloe Beale, but what is?

//

They fall into bed together as soon as they get back to the Inn.

Beca’s skin burns from the sun, and Chloe’s hair is still damp from swimming in the river and from standing under the waterfalls. Beca thinks back to how she felt in that moment, watching as Chloe stretched her arms out by her sides, looking up, squeezing her eyes shut as she let the water cascade over her. Her mouth was open, and she was grinning so widely that Beca couldn’t help but mirror it. The sun glistened off the droplets of water on her skin and her eyes shone with pure joy as she looked over at Beca, yelling out for her to come join her.

Now, Chloe’s skin smells like river water and sunscreen as Beca breathes in this moment; the last time they’ll be in a bed that isn’t their own. Her nose rests snugly against Chloe’s cheek, and she can feel her heart pounding out of her chest when Chloe reaches up to cup her face with one hand, pulling her closer.

They’d undressed each other moments ago, but Beca had stopped to catch her breath; to let her brain catch up with her heart.

Finally, Chloe’s whispered “please” is enough for Beca to close the distance between them.

She cups Chloe’s face, eyebrows furrowing in concentration as she puts her whole self into the kiss. Her heart is racing, and her body feels like it melts down into nothing but love and adoration for Chloe, and she thinks, for a second, that she might cry.

Their lips part slowly and delicately.

Chloe’s eyes open before Beca’s, so naturally, when she opens them to see Chloe looking at her with heavy eyelids, it sets off a fire inside of her that she can’t quite explain.

She pushes forward, capturing Chloe’s lips again, and she doesn’t stop pushing until Chloe’s back hits the mattress and her head hits the pillow. The bed creaks beneath them, and the headboard bangs once against the wall. The whimper Chloe lets out against her mouth causes something to tug at her heartstrings, and suddenly she feels like she’ll die if she doesn’t hear that sound again.

Their skin is warm and flush as their bodies melt together, and when Chloe moans as Beca’s thigh presses into her, Beca swears it’s the best sound she’s ever heard. She’s moaning because of her, pulling Beca closer because she wants her; the thought has Beca’s mind spinning, wondering how on earth she has managed to get herself someone as perfect as Chloe Beale.

She reaches down to grip Chloe’s hip, pulling her waist up towards her, and Chloe lets out another whimper as her center grinds against Beca’s thigh. The sound has Beca humming as she kisses her way down Chloe’s neck, finding new bits of skin to kiss and bite; new areas of Chloe’s skin that taste like falling in love.

It doesn’t take long for Beca to get breathless. She thinks maybe that has to do with how fast her heart is beating and how she feels like the air is being pulled out of her lungs every time Chloe’s tongue touches hers.

She pulls back slightly, smiling when Chloe’s mouth follows hers.

“Baby,” Chloe whispers, and Beca’s eyes fall shut as Chloe cups her face and pulls her head towards her, kissing her again. She rests one hand on the pillow beside Chloe’s head, the other on Chloe’s stomach.

It takes a few more seconds for Chloe to realize that Beca’s not moving, so she decides to give Beca a little push, and okay, Beca’s fine with a little push.

“Please, touch me,” Chloe whines, as she rests her hand over Beca’s and slides it down until it’s dipping in between her legs. Beca’s breath immediately catches in her throat when she feels how wet Chloe is for her. She pulls in another deep, ragged breath, before slowly pushing two fingers inside her.

Chloe gasps at the feeling, followed by a breathy moan, and it fills Beca’s chest up entirely; so much that she thinks, maybe, she might die.

Chloe raises her hands above her head, immediately gripping onto the wooden bars on the headboard. She closes her eyes and loses herself in the feeling of Beca making love to her. Her fingers are delicate and soft, and it’s almost not enough.

Chloe doesn’t lose patience though, and soon enough, she can feel the familiar coil in her stomach.

“Faster,” she moans. She’s aware of the bed creaking beneath them; aware of the noises she’s making. She can’t really find it in herself to care though. She feels Beca sit up, but she can’t focus on anything but letting this last as long as possible. She’s not ready yet.

Her eyes drift shut as Beca’s free hand comes up to caress her face, and she immediately leans into the touch. She’s about to press a kiss against Beca’s palm before she feels the hand drift down her face, past her jawline, and stop to rest on her neck.

Fingers on one side of her neck and her thumb on the other, Beca slowly presses down.

Chloe opens her eyes, gasping.

“Beca–”

Her own moan cuts her off as Beca squeezes a little harder as she continues to pump two fingers inside of her. Chloe’s not sure if it’s Beca’s thumb or her palm pressing against her clit, but she doesn’t find that she minds. She’s so close, and she never thought she was into this until now.

Her hips jerk, making Beca push in deeper, and she’s never felt this much pleasure before in her life. Her eyes lock with Beca’s and there’s a question in Beca’s eyes that Chloe knows that whatever it is, her answer is yes.

Beca’s fingers flex against her throat, squeezing a little tighter before she leans forward and crashes their lips together.

Her legs shake as she comes, pulsing around Beca’s fingers, whining into Beca’s mouth as she helps her through it.

She feels Beca whisper something against her cheek as she comes down from her high but she can’t focus on anything right now. The hand wrapped around her neck finally slips down to rest against her chest though, and she opens her eyes to see Beca looking down at her, breathless.

“You’re…”

Chloe blinks, chest heaving.

“What?”

“That was the best thing that I’ve ever done. Ever. In my whole life.”

Chloe wheezes out a laugh, rolling over and pressing her face into the pillow. She feels Beca slot herself behind her, wrapping her arms around her tightly as she presses soft kisses to her shoulders.

/

“We’re going back to Georgia tomorrow.”

“I know.”

Chloe looks up from where she’s resting her head on Beca’s bare chest. Beca’s hand is stroking her shoulder and she’s breathing calmly with her eyes closed. The sunset lights up the room in an orange glow, and all Chloe can do is stare.

Maybe it’s the fact that they’ve just finished round three, or maybe it’s because she’s sad about leaving their little Beca and Chloe bubble that they’ve been in for the past month, but she finds herself tearing up.

She thinks maybe it’s because she’s scared.

She’s never loved anybody like she loves Beca.

Never trusted anybody like she trusts Beca.

“I kinda… don’t want to go home.” Chloe says. “Not yet.”

“Me neither.”

“What’s gonna happen?”

Beca opens her eyes and finally looks down at Chloe, instantly frowning when she sees how scared Chloe looks. “What do you mean?”

“Like… we’re still gonna be together, right?”

She sounds nervous, shy, timid; something that Beca’s not used to when it comes to Chloe Beale. She sits up, bringing Chloe with her, and takes her hand in hers as she uses her other hand to keep herself upright.

“Of course, why wouldn’t we be?”

“I don’t know, I just,” she looks down, swallowing, trying to ignore the fact that they’re both still very naked, and Beca’s still very beautiful. “I wanted to make sure, I guess. I don’t want this to just… be a summer thing. I don’t want to be with anybody else.”

“Hey. I know that it took me a long time to, like, finally realize I have a thing for you, but that doesn’t mean I want this to end just because we’re going back home.” She lets go of Chloe’s hand and reaches up, nudging Chloe’s chin with her knuckle. When Chloe looks up at her, there’s fear in her eyes, but the second their eyes meet they turn soft. “I love you, Chloe.” She whispers. “I’m… honestly, I really am so in love with you. I… oh God, don’t cry.”

The second Beca pulls her into a hug, the tears that have been threatening to fall, finally do. She hugs Chloe tightly, using her actions to tell Chloe that there’s no way things will change when they get home. There’s no way she’s giving up the one good thing she’s got.

“I’m sorry, I just…” She breathes in and out a couple of times, calming almost instantaneously when Beca shushes her and rubs her back. “God, I’ve been in love with you for so long. I can’t believe you’re actually mine. I… I don’t think I’ve ever loved somebody as much as I love you.”

Beca’s smiling so beautifully when she pulls back, stroking Chloe’s face, wiping her tears away.

“I promise Chlo, I’m not going anywhere.”

/

When they get back home – home, Beca thinks, and she can’t help but smile – and Chloe pushes Beca into her bedroom, telling her that they have four years of ‘Atlanta Sex’ to make up for, Beca doesn’t care about how doomed she thought the road trip would be.

Chloe’s kissing her, choosing her, loving her.

It was the best month of her life, and she’s no longer scared to admit that.

“You should move your stuff into my room,” Chloe says when they’re done, both still panting and trying to catch their breath. She feels Beca smile against her shoulder before pulling back. She turns on her side so they’re both facing each other, and she reaches up to stroke Beca’s cheek with the back of her hand.

Beca kisses her knuckle once, twice, and runs her hand up Chloe’s back.

“I love you,” she murmurs. Her fingers dance across Chloe’s spine and it makes her shiver.

“I love you too.”

“Say it again.”

Chloe grins. “I love you.”

“I love you too. Say it again.”

“Oh my God.”

Beca pulls her closer. “Please.”

“I love you, Beca.”

Beca closes her eyes, pressing a kiss to Chloe’s lips. She pulls back, her eyes soft and beautiful. “We sound like a broken record.”

“Yeah,” Chloe laughs, leaning in to kiss her again. “But it’s my favorite record.”