Hey, guys. So, here it is, the sequel to Tragedy Strikes When You Least Expect It (or as I like to refer to it in my head 'TSWYLEI'). I hope you guys like this, but I have a feeling you'll be extremely disappointed in/upset with/angry at me because honestly I'm mad at myself for this right now and I haven't even actually written it yet… so just bear with me, alright? Yeah. Also, this is taking place 11 years after the end of TSWYLEI. Just a heads up, I know it says that in the description, but… yeah.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pitch Perfect or any of the characters from that movie. I do, however, own the characters I create/created for this story and the actual story.
I follow Beca as she throws the bedroom door open and storms down the stairs into the living room, cursing under her breath. "Beca, please." I say desperately, grabbing her arm. She whips around, wrenching her arm away from me, her eyes flashing with anger and pain. So much pain.
"Don't." She growls, her voice lower than I've ever heard it. "Just don't, Chloe."
"Moms?" Our eleven year old daughter, Molly, says as she freezes in the doorway. "What's going on?"
Our fifteen year old son, JJ, pounds down the stairs, his two 17 year old twin sisters Alix and Rose running closely behind, their eyes all wide. JJ flicks his shaggy bangs off away from his eyes as he comes to a stop beside us. As Rose steps up beside him, I notice Alix split off and say something to Molly, who rolls her eyes and stomps up the stairs. Alix turns around and walks over to us slowly, almost cautiously, and Beca shakes her head. "Go upstairs, kids." She says, and her voice is stern.
Surprisingly, they all ignore her words, JJ scowling at us. "Why are you guys fighting?" He asks, his voice deep and raspy, just as it's been since he hit puberty.
Beca forces a fake optimistic smile. "We aren't fighting, we're just having a slight disagreement."
JJ crosses his arms, and Rose and Alix place their hands on their hips. "Then where are you going, mom?" He asks, directed at Beca as he eyes her jacket and shoes, which she haphazardly pulled on in our room.
Beca sighs. "JJ, Alix, Rose, if you don't go upstairs right now, you're all grounded. I'll be back soon, I just need some air."
JJ runs a hand through his hair as he sighs. "Fine, but don't think for a second that I buy that. When you're ready to tell us the truth…" He trails off, running up the stairs. Rose follows quickly, hastily walking up the stairs, but Alix hesitates and lags behind.
"You guys aren't… you're going to be okay, right?" She whispers, and Beca sighs, pulling her into a hug.
Alix slides her arms around her mom, locking the short brunette to her. Beca whispers something to Alix and then pulls away, planting a kiss on her cheek. "Go upstairs with your siblings, Alix." She whispers. As soon as Alix obeys, Beca turns to me, her eyes wary.
"Are we going to be okay, Beca?" I whisper, almost afraid of her answer.
I know I was right to be afraid when her eyes dim even more and tears fill them. "I don't know, Chloe." She whispers back, her voice cracking. "I really don't know. I'll be at Kaylie's tonight, and I'll be back tomorrow afternoon." She pauses for another moment and then looks up at me. "I don't think we will be okay." Before I can respond, she's out the door, leaving me speechless as I let out a choking sound. The door closes with a slam and I drop to our couch, burying my face in my hands as I start to cry.
Heavy footsteps thump down the stairs and I smell JJ's cologne before he drops beside me. "What's going on, mama?" He questions softly, and I rub the tears away, sniffling as I look up at my son. His shaggy chin length hair is slightly curly around the edges, seeing as he didn't straighten it today, and as he flicks his very curly bangs out of his face once again I find myself looking straight into Beca's dark blue eyes. At that thought, tears gather in my eyes, tears I try to hold back because I don't want to lean on my child.
"I made a mistake." I pause for a moment before adding "A lot of mistakes, actually."
JJ furrows his eyebrows together. "So what?" He asks after a minute, raising one of them. "Everyone makes mistakes, that doesn't mean that mom can just walk out like that." He points out.
I shake my head, pushing his bangs aside to look at his eyes again. "Oh, buddy, I'm so sorry." I whisper, leaning forward and kissing his cheek. "Your mom has every right to what she just did, and so much more."
JJ pulls me into a hug, his burly arms more like those of an eighteen year old instead of the fifteen year old he actually is. "I'm sure whatever it is, mama, you'll work it out." I force myself to give him what I hope is an optimistic smile, even though my thoughts are anything but that. After a few moments, he stands up and walks back upstairs. I flop back onto the couch, racking my mind for reasons why I did what I did. Why I kept on doing it. I think of Beca, of all of the sweet things she's ever done for me, for the kids. I think of how they'll react when they find out what I did. Tears gather in my eyes as I think of what she said. I don't think we will be okay. I feel acid and bile rising up in my throat, and the only two people I can think to call would be Beca and Aubrey, but neither of them are an option of comfort right now.
Rose storms down the stairs, coming to a stop before me as her eyes flash with anger. "Why'd mom leave?"
"Rose, that's between your mom and me." I tell her, suddenly feeling even more exhausted than I did.
She crosses her arms, her naturally curly red hair bouncing slightly as she glares down on me. "When it involves the possibility of our family falling apart, I think it's between all of us, alright?"
"Don't speak to me like that ever again, Rose." I warn her. Then I sigh, rubbing my hands across my eyes. "I made some mistakes, Rose." I tell her, and Rose's eyes narrow.
Suddenly, her whole posture stiffens. "No."
I whip my eyes to hers, trying to convince myself that no matter how advanced Rose's intelligence is, she couldn't have figured it out that fast. "What?" I ask, hoping the nervousness I'm feeling is masked.
Rose takes a slight step back, her face shocked and pale. "Did you…" She trails off, seemingly not wanting to voice it. "Did you cheat on mom?" I know, by the look on her face, what she wants to hear. She wants to hear me say no, for me to tell her that she's ridiculous for even thinking it, but I can't force anything past the lump in my throat, so I drop my eyes from hers. "Mama, tell me you didn't." I don't respond, instead staring at the ground, refusing to look at her. And then, my sweet, carbon copy little girl, speaks again. Her voice is filled with sadness and confusion and pain as she breathes out raggedly "Who are you?" I lift my gaze to her's.
"I'm your mother, Rose." I whisper desperately, but she shakes her head fiercely.
"My mother never would have cheated on my mom, never would have done this to her. My mother would never have done this to all of us. So I don't know who you are, but you're sure as hell not my mother." Before I can respond, she's running up the stairs.
I bury my face in my hands, crying again, shamed. She's absolutely right. I can't even bring myself to be angry at her words, because she's saying the truth that Beca wouldn't say, that she refused to say. The truth that I deserve to hear.
My hands fisted at my sides, I sit in silence on the door step. After a few minutes, Jesse and Aubrey pull into the driveway. They both get out of the car, looking worried, and my nails cut into my palm as I stand up. I push past Aubrey, ignoring them both as I get into the backseat of the car. They climb in and as we drive away, Jesse begins to talk. "Beca, are you alright?"
I swallow harshly, suddenly getting choked up, and force myself to nod. "I'm fine." I choke out, and then Aubrey's turning around to face me. Not willing to look at her, I stare at the floor.
"Beca," She says softly. "What happened?"
I rip my eyes to hers, glaring at her. "You know damn well what happened, Posen."
Aubrey looks down guiltily. "She told you?"
I slam my fists down on the leather seat, barely missing my legs. "Yes, Aubrey, she told me." I flick my eyes to Jesse. "The real question is, have you told him? I'm assuming not because he's not royally pissed." I growl.
Jesse's eyes lock on mine in the rearview mirror. He raises his eyebrows. "Why are you taking out your anger on Aubrey, Beca?" He asks. There's a disapproving tone to his voice that I hate.
"Are you going to tell him or should I?" I question her, and she visibly gulps, looking at him with sadness and shaking her head.
"I will. Just… not now." She tells me, her eyes begging me.
I shake my head. "Nope. Tell him now or don't tell him at all, but I'll tell him." I offer my ultimatum, and she shakes her head as tears gather in her eyes. "He deserves to know, Aubrey. We both deserved to know a long time ago."
Aubrey turns back around, her voice ragged as she whispers to him. "Jesse, pull over." He does as she asks immediately, turning to her with a worried expression on his face, obviously waiting for her to explain. "Jesse…" Tears gather in her eyes as she sucks in a deep breath. "Jesse, I cheated on you."
His eyes go wide, and he shakes his head. "No."
She nods, tears streaking down her face. "I've been cheating on you, for around six months. I've been cheating on you."
He sucks in a deep breath, tears streaking down his face as well. "Why? And how does Beca know this, but not me?" Now he looks at me, and I feel my own tears start to spill.
"Tell him the rest, Aubrey." I choke out, and Jesse's wide, panicked and disbelieving eyes lock onto mine and stay there as Aubrey tells him the rest.
"I've been cheating on you with Chloe." She chokes out, and Jesse's face goes deathly white. He turns around, gripping the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles match his face, and then he speeds towards Kaylie's house. No one speaks, besides Aubrey's voice pleading every once in a while for Jesse to slow down, to calm down, but he doesn't answer. When we pull into the driveway, Jesse cuts the engine, leaving us in deadly silence.
After a moment, he speaks. His tone is cordial, the tears no longer falling, as he says curtly "I'll be staying here tonight with Beca. Aubrey, you can take the car back to our apartment. We can discuss this when I come to get my stuff tomorrow."
He turns to get out, but Aubrey grabs his arm. "That's it? We aren't going to even talk about this? It's just over?"
He doesn't turn around as he pulls his arm out of her grasp. "I haven't been enough for you for at least six months, Aubrey. I don't think you need me anymore." Before she can respond, he's out the door. I pull the lock up and open the door.
Aubrey whips around towards me, her eyes unreadable. "Beca, I'm so sorry." She whimpers, but I ignore her, getting out and running to the door with Jesse. We ring the doorbell, and Kaylie opens it, her eyes sorrowful. I texted her while we were driving the rest of the way here.
"Come in, come in." She says gently. "Jamie's here, Elizabeth is at the store, and Xavier is out at a party at a bar." She tells us, rolling her eyes. It's still hard for me to wrap my head around their ages. Elizabeth is twenty seven, Jamie's twenty four, and Xavier just turned twenty one.
She walks off, towards the kitchen, and Jesse grabs my eyes. The mask is down, pain filling his eyes, so I wrap him in a hug. "I know, Jess. I know." I sniffle into his shoulder, and then we walk into the living room.
"Aunt Beca! Where's Chloe?" Jamie asks, standing up and engulfing me in a hug. "'Sup, Jess?" I stiffen at the mention of my wife and Jamie immediately notices and releases me. "Woah, did something happen, Becs?"
"Leave it alone, Jamie." Kaylie advises him as she brings two plates of food into the room, handing one to me and one to Jesse with a small, sympathetic smile. "Beca and Jesse are going to stay here tonight." She tells him, and he nods slowly, his eyes slightly narrowed.
Just then, Elizabeth bursts through the door. "I'm back- Aunt Beca!" She shouts. She runs over to me, pulling me into her arms. Although Elizabeth was short growing up, in high school she hit a growth spurt and is now well taller than me. Last year she took to calling me 'mini Lizzie'. "Where's Chloe?"
I stiffen again, and Elizabeth holds her hands up in surrender as Kaylie repeats "Leave it alone."
After Jesse and I finish eating, we head to the guest bedroom. "I can't believe they did this to us." He whispers, the pain raw in his voice. He's on the bed, as per my insistence, so I look up at him from the ground as he looks down at me.
I blink away tears, ashamed that I feel this way. "Yeah, Jesse. I can't either." We sit in silence for a while before he begins to snore loudly. I sigh, staring at the ceiling, resigned to the fact that I'm not going to get any sleep tonight. Not like I would've anyways. Chloe cheated.
"Beca, I've been cheating on you for the past six months." I whip around towards Chloe. When she'd said that we needed to talk… I hadn't known what to expect, but quite frankly it wasn't this.
"What?" I breathe out. "Is this a joke?" My voice takes on an edge. "Cuz this isn't funny, Chloe. Not at all."
She just shakes her head at me, tears gathering in her eyes. "I'm not joking and I'm not lying, Beca. It's true."
I drop onto the bed, seeing nothing. My vision blurs. How could she have done this to me? I yank my head towards hers, clearing the tears I didn't notice as I blink them back. "Who did you cheat on me with?"
"What?" She asks, confusion seeping into the regret I see now in her eyes. Regret for telling me, regret for cheating, or both? Either way, I could care less. She has no right to be in pain right now. I do.
"Who. Did. You. Cheat. On. Me. With. For. So. Long?" I ask, careful to not let her see the pain yet.
She shakes her head before blurting it out. "Aubrey."
I can't stop myself from gasping, the sharp intake of air, snapping her gaze back to me. I quickly force the emotion out of my eyes, flattening my lips into an indifferent line, but Chloe can see through it. She's always seen through it. I close my eyes, not able to look at her as I whisper one word. "Why?"
Chloe swallows audibly, and I have to force myself to not go to her, comfort her. I plant my feet and dig my hands into the comforter as she chokes out her response. "I don't know, Beca. She was just there when we had that huge blowout fight six months ago, and then we just… kept on doing it."
I whip my eyes open, glaring at her. "That's all I get? 'It just happened'? Is that all you can think of, Chloe? I don't even get a real reason why? What did I do wrong?" At that, my voice breaks, tears flooding my eyes and starting to fall.
"No, baby, you didn't do anything wrong." She says desperately, reaching for me as she walks towards me. I jump up, backing away from her.
"Don't touch me." I order, grabbing my jacket and slinging it on as I shove my shoes on my feet. "I can't be here right now. I can't even look at you."
"Beca, please!" She cries, following me to the door.
"We're not going to talk about this with the kids in the house, Chloe. I was ten when my parents started fighting, when my mom found out my dad had cheated on her, and I know what it's like to be at that age when your parents are fighting all the time. I won't do that to Molly, JJ, Rose or Alix, no matter their ages. They don't deserve to be hurt that way." I turn to the door again and throw it open, stalking out, hoping she won't follow. She does follow, of course, and then I have to make myself seem like the bad guy to the kids. Alix's question strikes my heart, so I hug her as I whisper "I'll be back, Alix, I'm not going to pack up and leave, alright?" I wouldn't do that to my kids. I'm not my dad. I can't say the same about Chloe, because I used to believe that she wouldn't ever cheat on me.
I listen to Rose's voice raise, still not able to make out her words, and then I hear her footsteps pounding up the stairs. She runs into the room, her eyes wide with tears streaming down her face. "Woah, Rosie, what's wrong?" I ask, and she shakes her head. I run over and pull her into my arms, JJ and Molly coming up behind us.
"Rose." JJ says softly after Rose's tears subside. "What did you and mama talk about?"
Rose pulls away from me, her eyes now burning with anger. "We talked about the fact that she cheated on mom."
I let out a slight gasp, and turn to our younger siblings. Molly's eyes widen and then fill with tears. "Are they gonna get d-divorced?" She whimpers, and I pull my black haired, blue eyed sister into my arms.
"It's okay, sweetie, don't worry." I kiss the top of her head as she wraps her arms around my waist, shooting JJ and Rose warning looks. "Everything will be okay." After twenty minutes of crying, Molly finally goes to her room. After about ten more minutes, Rose creeps over to Molly's room and looks inside, checking to see if Molly actually is asleep. When she decides that she is, she walks back in to our room. Since Rose and I share everything, we have the biggest room out of the kids, and we share it. Literally, the only thing that makes it easy to distinguish us from one another is our hair. I always straighten mine, whereas Rose leaves hers in wild curls. I guess that kind of describes us, I'm calmer, more straight edged, while Rose is wild, willing to bend the rules. And also willing to confront one of our parents about cheating, apparently.
She flings herself onto her bed, and JJ joins her, sitting with his back against the headboard. I sit next to her, intertwining our hands. She squeezes mine, shooting me a grateful look as she explains her 'conversation' with mama. "I can't believe she would do that to mom." JJ sighs, running a hand through his floppy hair. Everyone else calls it shaggy, including Rose, but not me.
"I can't believe you let your hair grow that long." I joke tensely, and JJ scowls when Rose laughs. After a few moments, he joins in. We all sober a few seconds later.
"I mean… that's just… can you imagine how mom feels right now? She never did anything to deserve this." Rose whispers. "But of course she'll blame herself, just like she blames herself for everything that's ever gone wrong in her life."
I nod, and I don't realize I've gone still until Rose nudges me with her shoulder. "Al? You okay?"
I nod slowly, and then I let out a deep sigh. "What if they do get divorced?" I whisper.
JJ crosses his arms defiantly as he says blatantly "I'll go with mom. She didn't do anything, and she doesn't deserve to lose us too."
I feel my jaw drop, and I close it with a snap. "JJ, you can't really say that, can you? Yeah, mama cheated, but she doesn't deserve to lose us either!"
JJ's eyes get somewhat darker. "Yeah, well. She can deal with the visitation rights." He snaps. "I was just down there comforting her, when I should've been yelling at her. I don't even understand why… why mom wasn't enough for her."
Rose rolls her eyes and squeezes my hand as she places her free one on JJ's shoulder. "Hey, don't talk about them divorcing as if it's decided. Mom probably found out today and then left immediately, which probably means that they didn't talk about it. So nothing's been decided yet. And mom is tough, she won't let this defeat her." Rose sighs. "We've got to stick together, through all of this, and that includes Molly, alright? We need to protect her from this. And we need to let both of our moms know that we love them through all of this and whatever decisions they make because we do." She tells us. "I went off on mama down there, and I told her that I don't know who she is. While that's not a lie, I didn't say that I don't love her because I do. We all do. Right?"
JJ pauses for a second before responding. "Yes." He sighs. "No matter what."
They turn to me. I flash them a wry smile that fades pretty fast. "Mama said she'd be back tomorrow, so maybe we should get out of the house for a day? Take Molly to Wild Waves and go for ice cream after?" I suggest.
Rose nods. "Yeah, that'd be perfect. It gets us away so they can talk and stops Moll from asking questions."
JJ sticks his hand out, hovering over the middle of the bed. Rose follows suit, and they both stare at me expectantly. Rolling my eyes, I stick mine in too. "Family forever, no matter what." Rose states clearly.
JJ and I smile at her, saying "Always." We say it perfectly, one fluid word with no hesitation, years of practice aiding us. JJ leaves soon after that, waving goodbye while dropping out a quick joke and cracking a small smile before fleeing to his room.
I walk over to my bed after hugging Rose, laying down with a small sigh. After about twenty minutes, Rose sighs, rolls over and starts to speak. "Alix?" She whispers. "Are you awake?" I don't respond, scared that if I do she won't say what she's about to say and my sister and I will grow farther apart. "I know you think I'm strong and a leader, Alix, and that nothing fazes me anymore, but that's not true." I think back for a minute, deciding that I do in fact believe that about her sometimes, until suddenly she's talking again. "And I try to be strong for you and JJ and Molly, although honestly it's mostly for you. You don't know how much you mean to me, Alix. You're my best friend." She sighs again. "I kinda wish you were awake right now. That way, I wouldn't have to work up the courage to say what I'm about to say. Here goes, I guess. I'm scared, Alix. Of a lot of things. I'm scared that one day you're going to get sick of me bossing you around, and you'll hate me. I'm scared that Molly's going to end up like me, scared to show people just who vulnerable she is. I'm scared that one day my apologies aren't going to be enough for you to still forgive me. And the only stable things I really have are family. I have our bond and JJ and Molly and I know they need me. I'm not so sure about you. And I thought that mom and mama would always be loyal to one another, you know? But what's going to happen if our family falls apart? What if we get separated?" She pauses, her breathing really fast. "I'm stressed out, Alix, and I wish you were awake right now because… what would you say to me? What would you say? I guess I'll never find out, Al." Her breaths become quick and shallow, the way they do when she's trying not to cry. "Sometimes I think back to a day, before Molly was born, when we were in our moms' room. I clearly remember it. I hit you, and you didn't accept my apology until mama told you that you were the one who was in the wrong if you didn't accept it. And Alix, I was scared then, too. Scared to lose you. Ever since then, I've been secretly scared that when you accept my apologies, you just do it so that you're being the better person. I love you, Alix." She rolls over abruptly, and I let out a long sigh. I swing my legs over the edge of my bed and drop to the ground, walking across the room to her. I climb over her, snuggling into her. She relaxes slightly, resting the right side of her head against my forehead. I don't realize she's crying until some tears fall on my neck. I wipe them away, wrapping my arm around her shoulders.
"You don't need to be scared to talk to me, Rosie." I whisper after a few minutes, and Rose shakes a little as a sob escapes her. "You're my best friend, too, and you don't have to be so strong all the time. You can be scared, off all of those things, Rosie, and I won't think any less of you. Ever. You're my sister. Forever."
Rose doesn't respond, but her breathing slows down and the shaking stops, and she clings to me even as she falls asleep.
I walk to the doors of my children's rooms, starting with Molly. She's asleep, so I walk over and plant a soft kiss on her forehead. "I'm sorry, Molly." I whisper. I move to JJ's room, only to see his light still on. I push the door open. He's sitting on his bed with his back against the wall, glaring at me. I have no clue how long he's been sitting like that. "JJ…" I start hesitantly, but he shakes his head, the venom in his eyes cutting me off.
"You know I'll always love you, mama, but I really hate you right now." He tells me, his voice quiet enough so that the girls can't hear him, but loud enough that I can. Before I can start to respond, he cuts me off. "I mean, how could you do that to mom? What did she ever do to you but give you her heart? And you just… crush it?"
I sigh, walking towards him. I sit on his bed, far enough away from him that he doesn't move away. "I take it Rose told you? All of you?" JJ nods, his eyes slightly guarded. "JJ… I can't explain this to you guys, at least not until I explain it to your mom first. There is no excuse for what I've done, and I can only hope that your mom can give me another chance to show her how much I truly love her, but if her decision is to get a divorce… she has every right." I swallow harshly, fighting back tears. "And I'm sorry that you hate me right now, but I hope one day you could forgive me."
He tilts his head before nodding once slowly. "I hope so, too, mama. But if you guys do divorce, and we have the choice of who we live with, I want you to be prepared for me to choose mom. I'm not trying to be malicious… I just couldn't do that to her. She's done nothing wrong."
I nod, standing up. "I love you, JJ." I tell him and then I walk out of the room. I pace outside of Rose and Alix's room for about a half an hour, before finally pushing the door open. When my eyes adjust to the dark, the first thing I realize is that Alix's bed is empty, suddenly frightened, my gaze flicks to the window, only to see it shut firmly and locked. Moving my gaze to Rose's bed, my heart calms, only to pick up again as I register Alix's bright blue eyes staring back at me. My eyes. There's so much hurt and sadness in them that my heart breaks just a little bit. "How is she holding up?" I ask softly, trying not to wake Rose.
Alix smiles a little bit, albeit hesitantly. "She's strong." She responds, not really answering the question. I decide to let it slide. Alix swallows visibly and then says "Mama, you really messed up. But mom loves you and we all love you, even Rose." Tears well in my eyes and I shake my head.
"Your mom… I might've broken her this time, Lix." I tell her honestly, and she nods slowly.
"I know, mom. I know." With that, she rolls over and wraps her arms protectively around her twin, leaving me to walk back to my empty, Beca-less room.
Okay, guys so maybe you all hate me for starting this off so depressively, but there's only so much fluff I can handle at one time, all right? So, yeah. I hope you all liked this. :) Please R&R