A/N - Here you go folks, the final chapter. I can't believe it's taken me nearly four years to finish this off but I'm glad it is done. Thanks for sticking with me!
I'm currently writing a new Bechloe fic if anyone is interested in reading along. No pressure as I know the fandom is dying out a little bit but it would be great to take you on the journey with me.
I hope the ending to this story is worth the wait. xx
.o0o. Chapter Twenty Seven - Forgiveness .o0o.
"They've got this house on the right, up here." Jesse said, indicating a large white building with a neatly laid lawn to the front of the house.
Beca raised an eyebrow, as she stood at the bottom of the path, at the sheer size of the property in front of her. She could just make out a substantial back yard as well to the back of the house and what seemed to be a hot tub and a porch style swing.
It looked nice, homely and the sort of place she had hoped to own one day, when she'd dreamed big and let her imagination run riot. She felt a lump in her throat when she realised it probably wouldn't happen now that she had two little ones to take care of first. Her priorities needed to change but she still held on to a little hope that Chloe, Amy and Aubrey wouldn't hold a grudge against her for her outburst earlier.
"It's absolutely huge for the three of them." Beca muttered, turning to Jesse.
"It's pretty nice inside too, quite big. I've only been in it once but yeah, it's definitely a girl's place. Aubrey's Dad is paying for this; makes him feel better for being so absent, according to Bree. But there's a whole host of the girls from the Bella's living in there now. Six of them, I think. It's quite a party place although I think Aubrey runs a tight ship with a list of rules!"
"Yeah, well, I guess it works for them." Beca whispered, more to herself. "Someone needs to organise us girls… I mean them."
"You'll get back in the Bella's, Beca. Don't question it."
"If the girls talk to me again."
"Well, there is only one way to find out." Jesse said, giving Beca a little push towards the house.
"Maybe I'll come back tomorrow?"
"Why?" Jesse said, looking a little confused, thinking he had missed something.
"I don't see the car here…"
"Who's car?" Jesse asked.
"Aubrey's car." Beca confirmed.
"And Chloe will have gone out in it because…?"
"Because I don't want her to be in so I'm hoping the car not being here means she's not home either."
"Why?" Jesse asked, raising an eyebrow in Beca's direction.
"Because I don't want to deal with this right now."
"Well, it won't get sorted out until you do. The ball is in your court. It's time to throw the ball back, not bounce it on your own anymore."
"What the heck does that even mean? You are so weird and-"
"-And besides, this stress can't be doing you or the babies any good."
"Of rejection. Listen, can you crash with me at my Dad's place tonight?" Beca asked, still staring up at the house. "Be like old times. We can watch a couple of movies and discuss the futu-"
"No? Dude…? What the hell?"
"No, because you need to get this fixed. If it falls apart, then call me but you need to get this sorted so you both know where you stand. If you want her, fight for her like she fought for you."
"Do you know how weird this is?"
"You giving me relationship and life advice."
"Yeah, well, that's what best friends do. Apparently."
"We seem to have let go of each other pretty easily. You sure you are okay with all of this. I don't think I could handle-"
"Becs, we're cool!"
"I love you Jesse."
"I love you too Beca." Jesse said earnestly, gesturing towards the house. "Now get your skinny ass up the path and get this sorted out so I can walk you over to your Dad's."
"Okay, okay." Beca said, dragging her feet a little as she walked up to the front door.
"Who is it? Are you The Grim Reaper? Are you Jesus? Are you the Easter Bunny?" The unmistakeable sound of Amy bellowing loudly resonated through the building towards the front door. Beca shot Jesse a look as if to question her friend's sanity but he just grinned widely as she took a step back from the door. "Who's there?"
"It's, it's um, Beca."
"And Jesse." He said with a grin, before taking a couple of steps backwards himself, ending up on the bottom stair, trying hard to keep out of the way.
The door swung open with a flourish and Amy, dressed in a unicorn onesie with damp hair from a shower, stepped aside to let them in.
"Enter Um Beca and Jesse." She said, bowing so low that she struggled to stand upright again.
"You okay there, Ames?" Beca asked, not entering the house, feeling like she wanted to flee but wanting nothing more to make things right with her friends at the same time.
"I'm good cobber. Well, not bad for spending five days in a car! I've dropped a smash since I got in, called Bumpy and he's coming around for some stress relief later on, after he finishes work. He's Campus Security, yoos know. Anyhoo, I've got a few knots from sitting so long and he's gonna work 'em out for me." Amy answered, without any hint of malice in her tone and oversharing as usual. She leaned against the door jam. "So, what's up? Why are yoos both here?"
"Is Chloe around?"
"She's out." Amy stated, nodding towards the street.
"Is she really out or just out to me?" Beca asked.
"She's really out. Went to get some food with Aubrey. Cynthia Rose and Stacie didn't get to the store while we were gone."
"Can I wait for her please? I'm delaying heading over to my Dad's."
"Of course. Yoos are welcome here." Amy said, looking a little puzzled.
"Is Jesse coming in too or is he too busy checking out the crack in the bottom step?" Amy asked, giving Jesse a funny look.
"-I'll come in." Jesse said, walking back up the steps and glancing suspiciously at Amy as she gave him her best pirouette as he passed by.
Beca and Jesse walked through the door into the girls' apartment and Beca was surprised just how nice the front room was. Painted in light colours, off set with dark furniture and with dark wooden floors, it carried an air of sophistication about it. The bold, block coloured rugs and matching cushions gave the lounge area a softer, almost cosy feel and the pictures that adorned the walls showed just how much the girls had made the house their own.
It looked comfortable and inviting with an overly large sofa and a couple of huge bean bag chairs all centred around a large, square coffee table that clearly was their social meeting point. It made Beca happy seeing it, knowing how important friends were now. There was a huge flat screen on the wall with a stack of films underneath and enough potted plants to give the room some life and freshness.
Beca looked around at the very obvious signs of Chloe's embellishing, the sweetly decorated photo frames filled with smiling people and happy memories, the weird shaped stones festooned with googly eyes and woolly hair and stacks of homemade mementos that showed the love in the house.
She gulped down her own remorse and missing out on the opportunity to live there as she took in the photos of the Bella's performing, both recent and from the traditional era.
"Want me to show yoos around?" Amy offered as she shut the door behind them.
"Please." Beca said before Amy grabbed her hand and almost pulled her over.
"So, this is the lounge where we all hang out. Chloe organises nights in and… well, it's nice. She puts a lot of effort into it all, like waaay too much effort... well, yoos know that about her already!" She guided Beca towards the kitchen. "And this is where the magic happens. Food is created here. And it's awesome."
"Are we okay?"
"What do yoos mean?"
"Me and you. Are we good? I mean, after today… well, after everything?"
"Of course. Why do yoos need to ask?" Amy asked, genuinely looking puzzled by the question.
"Well, I yelled at you all and-"
"-Mate, as far as I care, yoos had a moment. Wouldn't stop me bring friends with yoos. Aubrey has shouted at me way worse but she's one of my best friends. Don't sweat it, okay, Short Stack?" Amy finished off by pulling Beca into a bear hug. "The others are gonna be so stoked yoos are back as well. There's only Stacie and Cynthia Rose at home right now but yeah, I know the others are gonna be excited as well when they get back. Oh, it's gonna be so great. Come on, I'll show yoos the bedrooms while yoos wait."
Beca was leaning on the kitchen counter still chatting with Amy, Stacie and Cynthia Rose and Jesse when they heard the front door open and then close with purpose. They heard the sound of a set of keys being flung onto the small table by the door and low voices coming from the foyer as they finished up their drinks, leaning up against the kitchen counters.
Beca had really enjoyed catching up with the other girls, none of whom seemed to be holding a grudge for her summer of madness. As the footsteps got louder, Beca shot a look to Jesse and then blatantly stiffened when she saw Aubrey first, closely followed by Chloe who was reading the back of a pizza box as she walked behind her friend.
"Oh. You're here." Aubrey commented bluntly as she saw the group in the kitchen, stopping abruptly in the doorway, making eyes at Beca. Chloe walked into the back of Aubrey with a soft oomph.
"Is that okay?" Beca asked and Aubrey looked thoughtful for a microsecond before nodding kindly. Aubrey nodded to Jesse and he smiled back, shooting a soft wink in her direction that went unnoticed by most people. "I came to talk to Chloe."
"Hi Beca. Hi Jesse." Chloe said sharply, placing the three boxes of store bought pizza on the kitchen counter and swinging the bag of salad and chips onto the table. She walked over to the oven and stood staring at it for a moment, as if unsure what to do.
"Chloe, hi!" Beca said brightly.
"What can I do for you?" Chloe asked formally, not turning around. Her manner caused all of the group to look her way; it was the most un-Chloe tone they'd heard coming from her and Stacie shot Cynthia Rose a look, silently asking what was going on. Cynthia Rose responded with a headshake and shrugged her shoulders.
"Can we talk?" Beca asked, taking a tentative step towards Chloe.
"Sure." Chloe said, folding her arms across her chest. She tilted her head to one side. Beca could see that she was gulping hard and wished with everything she had that she could have taken her attitude from the afternoon back.
"Um, in private?"
"Here's fine." Chloe said, finally turning around. Beca saw that the shine had disappeared from Chloe's usually brilliantly blue eyes.
"I'm not..." Beca started to say as she looked around at the other Bella's who were doing their best to at least pretend to ignore what was happening around them. "... quite ready to share all of my life with everyone just yet."
Chloe sighed heartily and turned, with an attitude Beca noted, towards her bedroom. Beca shot Jesse a look before she dutifully followed a moment later.
"Do you need me to come?" Aubrey asked, torn between wanting to give Chloe and Beca their space but wanting to hear their gossip.
"No, it's okay." Chloe said as she opened the door to bedroom. She turned to Beca. "After you."
"Thanks." Beca stepped past Chloe into the room and blew the air out of her mouth. Her feet were itching to leave but her heart and her brain were telling her that she needed to make this right.
Chloe kept her head down, still unable to meet Beca's eye as she followed behind her friend. Beca jumped a little as the door was shut with a loud bang behind her.
"Did the door upset you? You slammed it pretty good there." Beca asked, trying a little humour to cut the tension.
Chloe snaked her hands onto her hips and cocked her head to one side. Beca couldn't read her expression but Chloe didn't move, waiting for Beca to talk.
"You have a nice room." Beca said, looking around the room. The soft blue and purple tones, slightly haphazard furniture placement and piles of 'stuff' screamed Chloe. There were stacks of letters by the side of her bed, a few different coloured pens and a large writing pad laid just to the side caught Beca's attention. She noticed the stuffed teddy bear, clearly a favourite from her childhood, buried between the two set of pillows on her bed. She looked over to Chloe's closet, the door slightly ajar and controlled the twitch in her mouth, seeing the disorganised mess inside which suggested that Chloe had better things to do than tidy up her shirts once in a while.
She cast her eyes over to the desk area, where Beca's eyes lit up at the sight of her own laptop and phone. What now seemed like a lifetime ago now, she would have snatched them up but she had realised there was more to life now.
"Thanks." Chloe said, clearing her throat, bringing Beca to the moment.
"Is that us?" Beca asked, pointing to the picture frame on Chloe's desk, and promptly rolling her eyes at the stupidest question she'd ever asked.
"It's a nice photo."
"I know." Chloe said sharply, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Beca noticed she had yet to drop her hands from her hips or move from the spot. Chloe coughed again.
"Are you okay?" Beca asked, biting on her lip as she looked up to Chloe.
"I'm just tired, stiff and hungry." Chloe said, looking over to her bed.
"Okay." Beca said, swallowing hard. This was going to be harder than she thought. "I'm sorry, I should have come back in the morning. I just wanted to get this over with before I go and find my Dad. I won't take up too much of your time."
Chloe shrugged her shoulders but Beca could see the pain on her face. She didn't know what to say or how to get over this awkwardness. Usually she would have just walked away and not looked back and she hoped Chloe would notice that she wasn't trying to bolt for the door and hoped it scored a point for effort.
Chloe flinched as she heard Jesse and Aubrey laugh in the kitchen area, his deep chuckle echoing throughout the house. Neither of them could hear what was being said and the laughter soon stopped. Beca twitched on her toes, her back was aching and her belly was about to growl. She instinctively rubbed her small bump which was an action not lost on Chloe.
"Does Jesse know?" Chloe asked, after a minute of sickening silence. She raised her hand to brush her hair out of her face.
"Yes, I've told him." Beca said, glad that that particular question was out of the way early on.
"Right." Chloe said sharply.
"I thought it was best to not keep it from him."
"I hope he took it well."
"He seemed to be okay with it. Gulped quite a bit but yeah, we're doing this."
Chloe nodded briskly and sighed. She looked to the door.
"Did I do the right thing by telling him?" Beca questioned. "I mean, I wanted you to know so I told you when I felt the time was right and then we kissed and-"
"-Your call, I guess."
"Chloe, I…" Beca started to say but didn't know where to go after that. She fidgeted for a few moments. "… I'm really sorry for the way I acted in the car earlier. I was really surprised to hear that Jesse is alive and kicking. But I shouldn't have overreacted and walked off."
Chloe shrugged her shoulders in response.
"Do you have anything you want to say?" Beca asked, taking a step towards Chloe, noticing straight away that she flinched and took a half step backwards.
"God, this is so difficult." Beca said after a few more awkward moments.
"Is it? I hadn't noticed."
"Chloe, please. I came here to apologise. To try and make this right between us." Beca waited for Chloe to say something but the redhead was quiet. "Will you please hear me out?"
"But are you? You aren't saying much."
"What do you want me to say?" Chloe asked, looking at the floor like it was the most interesting thing she had ever seen in her life.
"What's on your mind, would be a good start. This is a weird role reversal moment going on here. Me doing all the talking and you shutting down in front of me."
"Oh…" Chloe scoffed. "… you do not want to know what's going on in my mind!"
"Yeah, I actually do." Beca said, starting to get a little frustrated.
"To be honest Beca, I'm done."
"Why?" Beca said, her voice thick. She couldn't quite process that after everything that happened in the last few days and the previous commitments they had made to each other, it was going to be over just as quick as it had started.
"I don't think I want to hear any more excuses or false promises."
"I didn't give you any fal-"
"-I need to move on from this."
"I-" Beca tried to speak but Chloe was now on a roll.
"-I've got to get my stuff together for next week. I'm going to take an extra credit course and apply… oh what does it matter to you."
"I'd like to hear-"
"-Aubrey and I were just talking about to do with the Bella's this semester so that will keep me busy." Chloe continued and Beca could see that she was almost talking to herself and not to her. "Obviously, Beca won't be around to help and we need to-"
"-Why won't I be around?" Beca interrupted. Chloe blanched, as if temporarily forgetting Beca was even in the room, pointed at Beca's stomach and clicked her tongue. "Okay, yeah, I can't be the top of a pyramid anymore but I can still sing, if you want me to. I can help put together some mash ups, throw ideas around or come up-"
"-It's funny..." Chloe scoffed. "... five days ago, you were all up for staying in Las Vegas on your own, living out of a plastic bag with nothing to your name and now you are back, happily reattached, preparing for the future and ready to sing with a group that you spent so much of last year rejecting."
"I didn't reject anyone. It was hard for me to make friends. I explained all that, before we won the ICCA's. Remember, Aubrey threw me the Bella whistle, it landed in her puke and-"
"-I remember." Chloe said flatly.
"This is getting us nowhere. Look, I know I've made you angry but can I please explain?"
"It's okay. You don't need to tell me anything anymore. We're not… you know, we're not… well, you don't owe me anything so, I'm done."
"What do you mean, done?"
"I have to let you go Beca."
"Let me go? Where? I just got here and-"
"-I can't handle any more disappointment right now. I need to move on and you being here is not actually helping." Chloe said, a slight wobble to her voice. Beca hated that she had made her friend so angry and upset. "I'd like you to leave. Please."
"No. I'm not going anywhere."
"-I came to say sorry. I am truly sorry for yelling at you in the car after everything you have done for me. I am sorry I lost it, I was shocked and freaked out all at once. My emotions were all over the place after last night and how much it meant to me to be so close to you, sharing what we did and just curling up in your arms for two nights and then, it all came crashing down, back to Earth with a bump. Suddenly, Jesse is alive and I don't know what to do, how to handle him and manage not to let you down. I was having a hundred thoughts, none constructive but that is no excuse. I should have listened and I didn't. I'm sorry. I am truly, truly sorry." Beca said and Chloe was quietly impressed at the sincerity of the apology.
'Something has changed in Beca after all.' She thought to herself.
"And I happily accept your apology." Chloe said quickly, running her fingers through her hair. Beca noticed that her hands were shaking quite violently.
"So, you still want me to leave?"
"You can stay for pizza, if you want." Chloe said graciously. "You can catch up with the others, and Lilly when she gets home. No doubt Amy has told the other two as well. They'll be happy to spend some time with you, I am sure. I need to go the library and catch up on some reading so I won't be here anyway."
"I thought you were tired and hungry. Why are you planning on going out?" Beca asked. She knew that last part was a lie as Chloe had already told her she was caught up, ready for the next semester and had planned to lay in bed with a movie that evening.
Chloe shrugged her shoulders in response. Beca sensed she was losing Chloe and had a fleeting thought that she might not be able to come back from this. She felt sick.
"Can I sit down?" Beca said, suddenly feeling a little warm. She blinked a couple of times, light-headedness taking over as a hundred thoughts dashed through her brain.
"Sorry, yes of course." Chloe said quickly, her tone much softer as she saw Beca's flushed face. She indicated the desk chair and pulled it out quickly.
"Sorry, just been a crazy few days and last night was-"
"-I understand. Do you need some water?" Chloe asked, concern etched on her face which she desperately tried to hide. She didn't want to think about the night before. It hurt too much and the ache in her heart was painfully evident.
"I don't know what-"
"Yes?" Chloe called out.
"Everything okay in here?" Jesse said, as he poked his head around the door.
"We're fine." Chloe said, her back stiffening. She wanted desperately to yell 'You win!' to him but knew she had to behave herself; Aubrey would only put her straight about her actions later on and she didn't need that going on as well.
"-Can I get either of you anythin-"
"We're fine." Chloe repeated, through her teeth. Jesse looked surprised at the change in her manner since their phone call just a couple of hours before. Beca opened her mouth to say something but snapped it shut, knowing she might just make everything worse.
"Okay. Just thought I'd ask." Jesse pulled his head back around the door, disappearing out of sight. Chloe sucked in her breath.
"Congratulations by the way." Chloe called out unenthusiastically to Jesse.
"Thanks." Jesse said warmly, peering around the door again. "We're pretty excited, aren't we Becs? Chloe, thank you again for getting this girl back home safely."
"You are welcome." Chloe said with a soft smile.
"Jess, can you give us a minute?" Beca asked.
"Oh yeah, sorry. Aubrey's going to put the pizzas in the oven. They'll be about twenty minutes."
"Thanks." Beca said and Jesse nodded as he closed the door behind him. Chloe busied herself with a couple of pieces of paper on her desk and sighed sadly as the door clicked shut.
"What can I do to make this up to you?" Beca asked. Chloe pulled a face but didn't say anything. Beca realised Chloe was desperately fighting back the tears and it broke her heart a little more. She was so afraid that this might how it was going to be going forward. She knew if she could just get Chloe to start talking, they'd get to the bottom of it. "What have I done to you that has made you unable to even look at me?"
"What? Nothing? Chloe, this isn't what we are. I normally can't shut you up and now you won't even look-"
"-I hope you'll be happy together." Chloe stated thickly.
"You and Jesse."
"Jesse and me? What do you mean?" Beca asked.
"You are back together."
"Together?" Beca questioned, not following.
"Yes." Chloe said simply before she repeated Beca's earlier statement. "'This changes everything', you said."
"Well, yeah it does."
"So, I wanted to wish you well then." Chloe said, turning her back to Beca and walking over to her bed where her small weekend bag was laid out, still unpacked. She reached out an unsteady hand to being taking things out, doing all she could to stop herself from crying at the situation. "Is that so wrong?"
"Is what so wrong?"
"I wanted to offer my congratulations for you and Jesse being a couple again."
"A couple again? What do you mean? We aren't… oh God, Chloe, no! I meant about Jesse not being dead changes everything, not that he and I are getting back together... oh dude, fuck no, no and no! Whatever made you think we were back together? Dude?"
"I saw you hugging him in the Quad. I followed you so I could make sure you were okay. I was watching you. You were very close and he kissed the top of your head. It certainly looked very cosy and-"
"-Awww, sweetie, no." Beca said, catching herself using her first ever pet name for someone. She choked back a laugh which didn't go unnoticed by Chloe. "That's not what was happening… at all."
"I'm confused." Chloe said, turning around, her hand still on a stack of shirts.
"What do you think was happening? That I would give you everything one day, get intimate with you, share something special with you and then switch it off the next because Jesse turns out to be alive? I explained to you how weird things were with Jesse, even when I was with him, it didn't feel right. Not like it has felt the last couple of days, when suddenly I suddenly feel like baking cookies and wanting to steal one of your tee shirts to sleep in so I feel close to you. I realise now, that Jesse is more like a brother to me, than anything else in the world. And he feels the same way about me."
"But, you… but you were hugging him."
"You… don't do hugs." Chloe blurted out.
"I also don't do swapping saliva with girls but things change." Beca deadpanned.
Chloe's eyes widened. She set her shirts back on the bed and waited for Beca to continue.
"I've not seen him in months so yeah, I gave him a hug. Just as I hugged Aubrey, Amy and you when I saw you. Look, I care about him, the same way you care about Aubrey or Amy. Jesse is the father of these babies." Beca said, patting her belly gently again. "I'll always love a part of him for that. He's given me something I never thought I wanted. You have to understand that."
"I get that part. I swear, I get it." Chloe said, nodding along as Beca spoke.
"But…" Beca continued. "… I'm here now, with you, trying to make amends because I think I've just fucked this very important thing up. I'm not sitting outside with him, grabbing a slice of pizza and laughing the last of the summer away. I'm. Here. With. You. Fixing. This."
"But Jesse…" Chloe started, her voice barely above a whisper. "… it changes everything."
"I thought he was dead. He's clearly not so instead of having just me (and possibly you) as parents, these kids also have him too. Two parents if you don't want to be involved. Three if you do. You accepted my situation so readily, easily and were fully involved from the second you knew a couple of days ago. He's done the same thing. Not one person has called me an idiot or thought I couldn't do this. You allowed me to get a little excited by it. Surely, that's what a parent does? So, yes, it changes things and by that, I meant that he'd be around and part of my life… our life, yes and he wants to be involved with the twins but that's it."
"-He had a girlfriend over the summer."
"Yeah, Elena. She's…" Chloe said, trailing off as she realised Jesse hadn't sat around the entire summer, mourning the fact his girlfriend had gone off. He gotten back on the dating horse and moved on.
"Jesse and I... we just aren't meant to be together. He... well, he's gonna be in my life forever, we're now connected through the future as I've already said but we're not getting back together. Is that what you meant when you mentioned reattaching earlier?"
"-You thought wrong." Beca said, sighing heavily as the truth of Chloe's weird behaviour finally came to light.
"What does this mean then?" Chloe said, walking towards Beca.
"Jesse knows how I feel about you. He understands and knows he and I don't have a future except for the babies. We've got so much to discuss and talk about but there's time for that. It's important for me to get it sorted with him but so is this. I haven't asked for my stuff back yet because I wanted to make things right with you. I haven't even been over to my Dad's to see if he's returned home either. You are more important to me right now. I needed to fix this."
"But Jesse…" Chloe started again. "… he's letting you go, just like that? Doesn't want to try again?"
"Jesse knows my heart lays elsewhere. He's the one who could see that you and I mean something to each other. What that is, I don't know yet." Beca half shrugged her shoulders.
"So… I do mean something to you?"
"Yeah." Beca nodded.
"Don't use too many words here." Chloe said, her voice still tight but certainly lighter than before.
"Says you." Beca's voice broke a little, happy that Chloe was talking to her again. Chloe's eyes hadn't left her face in three minutes. "I know this is hard for me to verbalise but yes, you really do mean something to me. I wouldn't be here, in your room, back at Barden if you didn't. Remember, I was 'going to stay in Las Vegas with my plastic bag'."
Chloe half smiled as she realised Beca was right.
"Sorry. I'm all over the place. I didn't mean to sound as if-"
"-It's fine. Really. All I can say about Jesse is that I'm here, right now, because he told me to pull my head out of my ass and sort this out today. I was all for hiding out at my dads for a bit when I realised you weren't home." Beca said, reaching out her hands for Chloe to take.
"I'm so afraid." Chloe said, blindly grabbing at one of Beca's hands.
"That you are going to get back with him."
"Well, I'm not. For someone who is so clever and smart, you've certainly read those signals… us hugging like old friends, all wrong."
"So, to answer your question, what does this all mean, then that is up to you. I'm not attached to anyone but in that same respect, I don't expect anything. I come with a lot of baggage now. I don't expect or want anything from you, if this is too much and you need an 'out'. I know you spent months looking for me and for that I will forever be grateful that you cared about me enough to do that. I'll spend as much time as I need to making it up to you but I'm not going to force myself to beg you. We can just put this down to a wonderful experience in college, something to talk about when we are in our eighties or we go our separate ways now. Call it quits before it starts so no one gets hurt."
"Is that what you want?" Chloe asked, chewing on her lip.
"What do you want Chloe?"
"I asked you first. Do you want to walk away from me now before we get in too deep?"
Beca looked at Chloe's earnest face and took a moment to think clearly. Chloe's face began to crumble as the nanoseconds went by and Beca didn't answer. She started to pull her hands away from Beca's.
"No." Beca said quietly.
"No, I don't want to walk away from you. I meant what I said in the car, you've made me fall in love with you."
"Oh Beca." Chloe said as she burst into tears. Hot, fat, thick tears trailed down Chloe's face, dripping off of her chin.
"I've had a rough few months. I've still got a lot of explaining to do. I ummmed and ahhhed over these babies, trying to decide what was best for them, for their future but you made me see that actually, I might be the best thing for them. There's so much that has happened and one day, I'd like to sit down and tell you about it. But for now, I'd really like to give us a chance."
"I don't want to be without you."
"I've thought such terrible things about you since we got back and-"
"-And that's okay. I deserve it!"
"No, it's not."
"Well, how about you never tell me, we draw a line and then it's over?" Beca said and Chloe nodded.
"Can we start afresh?" Chloe asked.
Beca looked thoughtful for a moment before rolling her eyes in Chloe's direction.
"Of course we can." Beca grinned widely.
"Just like that?"
"Hi! I'm Beca. I'm a student here and I'd just like you say that you are really pretty. Can I take you out for a coffee some time?" Beca held out her hand, formally, towards Chloe.
"I'm Chloe, it's really nice to meet you." Chloe shook the outstretched hand and smiled broadly. "And I'd love to get a coffee with you."
Chloe pulled Beca to her feet, placing her other hand under Beca's elbow to steady her as she stood. Beca snaked a hand around Chloe's waist and pulled her closer towards her. Chloe fisted a handful of Beca's hair and tilted her face downwards, as Beca reached up for a kiss. It was both explosively hot and frantic, all the pent up frustration, irritation, worry, happiness and the promises of a new beginning was poured into it. Chloe's tongue disappeared between Beca's lips as she held her head steady, exploring her mouth deeply. The kiss was different, arousing but soft.
"My God…" Chloe breathed out as they pulled away. She kissed Beca gently on the mouth again. "I have to stop."
"Why?" Beca hissed. "This was just getting interesting."
"Because… if I don't, I'm going to get carried away and there's a whole host of people outside that I don't think are going to want to hear it."
"Screw them." Beca said.
"I'd rather just screw you again." Chloe muttered and Beca rolled her eyes in response. Chloe turned for another kiss, peppering Beca's face gently with delicate, lingering kisses. In response, Beca tucked her head into Chloe's shoulder and wrapped her other arm around Chloe's waist, holding her tightly.
"Are we okay?" Beca asked quietly.
"Yes, we are. Can you forgive me for being so difficult this afternoon?"
"Yes, absolutely. You are able to forgive me for everything I've done, so it goes without saying! I know the road ahead might be bumpy, but I think if we can get over the past few weeks, we can get through anything. No one has ever done anything like what you have done for me recently. I'll not forget it. Thank you. I think my life would have turned out quite differently if you hadn't come for me. The future terrifies me. Absolutely frightens me to death, in fact."
"Why?" Chloe asked. "Why does the future frighten you?"
"I mean, my Dad might be able to help with housing but I don't know how it works with kids in halls but for now, I've got nowhere to live for a start."
"Yes, you have." Chloe said, in response.
"I don't want to go and live at my Dad's. Not if Sheila is there. He'll only give me hell about my situation anyway. So, yeah, I gotta try and find somewhere to live."
"You have somewhere." Chloe stressed again, dropping Beca's hands and indicating her double bed across the room.
"What? Here, with you?" Beca asked.
"Why not? There's room… for now, anyway. We can figure the rest out later."
"I can't encroach on your space."
"Because all this is yours and-"
"-And if we are going to make this work, we'll be spending a lot of time together and you'll be over here most of the time anyway. For the last couple of days, it's all I have been thinking about; where to make space if you agreed to try this properly, how to make it work. I don't think I'm rushing with this. I know because you didn't push me away that night. You didn't run. You stayed, in my arms, where you belonged."
"See, that's something else that freaks me out."
"What?" Chloe asked, moving her bag off of her bed and placing it on the floor. She sat down on the bed and wiped her face with her sleeve before looking at Beca.
"See this from my side of things for a moment."
"I've never even thought about... well, about you in that way before. I mean, I never considered being with a girl. I know, I know..." Beca held up her hands in mock protest as Chloe opened her mouth to speak. "... that you said that you shouldn't label yourself but here I was, happily attracted to dudes and then you show up and become my friend. I hadn't had many friends who were girls, and I do now. And you, with all that love in your heart, show me what it's like to become a friend. I love you for that. I didn't have anything to compare it to so I just thought it was just a normal feeling for a friend, even though I don't feel the same about the others."
"I understand." Chloe said, nodding along.
"See, in my mind, I'm not gay." Beca continued, ignoring the twitch in Chloe's face. "I didn't go searching for a woman. I just realised that it was you that I was falling for. I didn't fall in love with your boobs, the shape of your shoulders, the scent of your shampoo or your lack of stubble. I fell for you, for Chloe. You could have been a dude and I'd be saying the same thing."
"So, what you are saying is...?" Chloe asked.
"I don't want to be labelled. Like you said in the hotel room in Las Vegas and I get it completely now, I'm just Beca. I happen to have fallen in love with a girl called Chloe."
"Oh Beca..." Chloe began to cry again.
"Please don't cry." Beca said, walking over to the bed to sit next to Chloe. She reached around and held Chloe's face in her hands.
"These are happy tears." Chloe said, as Beca used her thumbs to wipe the tears away.
"You are beautiful when you cry."
"I'm really not."
"You are to me." Beca said honestly.
"This is so weird."
"What is?" Beca asked.
"You sound so different, in such a short space of time."
"Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I needed someone to unlock that part of me."
"I'm so glad it was me." Chloe said, leaning towards Beca and planting a soft kiss on her lips. "Is this okay?"
"Of course." Beca answered.
"It's just, we have a few minutes before the pizza is ready."
"I'm really not hungry anymore." Beca said.
"Well, you need to eat."
"I've really got a lot on my mind. This was at the top of my list to sort through."
"Agreed, but planning your entire future won't get sorted tonight. You said that too. There's so much to consider. And you need to eat something. There's plenty. One pizza for Amy and two for the rest of us." Chloe said, kissing Beca again.
"I know but I've got worries."
"Well, as much as it will be okay for a few months to stay here with you, I need a proper place to live. Sure, I'm small but there's two kids turning up soon and I have nowhere to store them."
"We have a small storage room here. It's got a window, it's just like a tiny bedroom. They could sleep in there until we get our own place... I mean, if we..."
"Seriously?" Beca said, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes. It's only storing your things right now."
"I guess it could... well, it's an option I suppose."
"Exactly, it's a choice. Would you like to move in here with us? With me?"
"Yes, I really would." Beca kissed Chloe this time, sighing contentedly, feeling some of the weight on her shoulders lifting.
"What else is worrying you so much? I've enrolled you for the next semester, you have a place to stay, you have your things again… or you will as soon as we have finished here."
"I've got no money for these babies. That's a pretty big problem. I need to pay rent, buy food, books and soon probably more diapers than I'm ready for."
"Will your Dad help out?"
"Doubtful. He's got some shocks coming his way. His daughter is in love with a girl and pregnant by her ex boyfriend. He'll probably just insist I move in with him or something."
"Do you want to?"
"He has more space."
"He has a troll monster for a wife." Beca snorted. "Besides, he raised his kid already. And I turned out to be a bit of a disaster."
"Don't say that."
"Well, it's true."
"It's not so... just don't." Chloe sighed heartily. "Listen, I can't promise you the world but I'm okay for money right now. I've got some in savings, quite a bit."
"I am not taking your money."
"I'm offering it."
"It's not your place to give me a few hundred dollars for-"
"-It's a little more than that."
Beca ran her hand through her hair.
"Well, whatever it is, I'm still not taking it."
"Well, how about you know that it's there and if you need it, you can borrow it. Besides, you'll be a rich and famous soon enough and then I'll live off your wages while you work and I lay around making lunch plans."
"-We'll manage until we don't and then we'll wing it from there." Chloe said, giving a little nod.
"Just like that."
"Well, no, of course not silly. But it's something that none of us have control over so it's something almost trivial to worry about. I believe you will make it in the music industry so-"
"-Yeah right, like that will happen."
"Why wouldn't it?"
"Childcare is expensive. Can't make my fortune if I'm paying it all out. I'm not going to get far if I need to bring two kids along to meetings because I'm going to be that Mom that won't leave them with anyone because I love them too much."
"There's me, Jesse, Aubrey and Amy for starters. We'll help out. Everyone will. Except maybe Lilly."
"Oh God, no." Beca said, smiling through her worries. "I'll get a job and make it work. I appreciate the help and suggestions."
"We'll make it work." Chloe said, interlinking their fingers.
"Hello?" Chloe called out.
"Pizza's ready." Aubrey said from behind the door.
"Be right out." Chloe answered before looking at Beca. "Are you ready?"
Beca nodded and both girls stood up. Chloe reached around Beca's waist and they hugged for a moment.
"We fit so well together." Chloe said into Beca's hair.
"I hope so."
"Come on, let's go eat. The boring, adult, responsible stuff can wait. Let's live in the moment until it's time to be accountable."
They left Chloe's room together, holding hands until they reached the kitchen area. By now, Lilly was home and Ashley and Jessica were over for the evening and they were all delighted to see Beca back safely. It wasn't until half an hour had passed that Beca was finally handed a piece of pizza.
"Thanks Jesse." Beca said, taking the paper plate from him.
"You doing okay?" He asked, wiping his mouth with his napkin.
"Yeah, I'm good."
"And you and Chloe?"
"Yeah, we're good too. I mean, who knows but for now, we're okay."
"I'm pleased Becs. Really. Listen, we need to talk soon, get some things discussed but not tonight. I'm going to take off, meet the guys and get some much needed time to myself to think unless you are heading to your Dads."
"Okay Jesse and no, I'm not, I'm going to stay here for a little while. I'm in desperate need of a hot shower, clothes that don't have hearts and flowers on them and some quiet time with Chloe. I've decided that I'll go and speak with my Dad tomorrow."
"Do you want me to come?" Jesse asked but Beca shook her head.
"It's probably best I go and see him by myself. I'll text him when everyone has gone and meet him tomorrow."
"Okay, no problem."
"Thanks again for everything and I really am looking forward to hanging out with you soon."
"I'll bring the juice pouches."
"I'm not bringing Rocky." Beca said, mock sternly. Jesse grinned and hugged his friend tightly. "I'm really glad you are home. Catch you soon and don't forget to send me those pictures."
"Take care of yourself."
Beca walked Jesse to the door and watched him stroll down the path to the street where he headed back towards the college. She waited by the door until she couldn't see him anymore. She still couldn't believe he was alive and whilst it had been a crazy, surreal day, she was glad to be back, where she felt she finally belonged.
"You okay?" Chloe asked as Beca returned to the kitchen. She was talking with Aubrey and Ashley in the corner of the kitchen area.
"I'm really good." Beca said, looking around at everyone. She was so thankful that no one had made a huge fuss about the fact she had taken off without any warning, although she knew it would come out over the next few weeks. She decided she would take the eventual teasing with as much humour as she could muster. After all, she was going to be planning their Bella performances and could always throw in some extra cardio, should the teasing become too much. She settled her gaze on Chloe, watching as she kept touching Aubrey's arm as they spoke, a Chloe trait she was being to love. "Hey guys, can I say something?"
Everyone stopped their conversations and turned to look at her. Amy adjusted her bra while the noise died down. Chloe, talking happily with Aubrey, smiled broadly as the alternative girl, who hid behind her hair for months was finally able to open up to people.
"I just want to say thank you to you all. For being who you are… my friends… my family. I'm not great at speeches, I'm not good at this whole sharing feelings crap but I thought you might all want to know that..." She held out her hand to Chloe, who walked over to her side and held her fingers tightly. "... Chloe and I are... um, well we are..."
"Spit it out Short Stack."
"Thanks Amy." Beca rolled her eyes. "Guys, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm in love with Chloe."
"And I'm in love with you." Chloe said, sliding close to Beca. "Does this mean I can officially call you my girlfriend now?"
Beca nodded, slightly shyly, as the other girls began talking animatedly and offering congratulations as they stepped forward to hug both of them.
"Yeah, I think that would be okay with me!"
A/N – Thank you sincerely for all the follows, favourites, reads and reviews. It has truly meant a lot to me. I'm hoping to come back with some more stories, if you'll have me but for now, it's been a pleasure xx