just the way you are

summary: Baby, seasons change but people don't.
disclaimer: Victorious is not mine. Neither is Fall Out Boy, whose lyrics I used for the summary, or Bruno Mars, who's song is the title of this fic because I'm original enough to think of my own title/summary.

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unfold your paper heart & wear it on your sleeve

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When Cat is six years old, she realizes how much she loveslovesloves Beck's smile. He's missing his two front teeth and he has chocolate on his upper lip, but when he grins at her over his snack at recess, she can't help but smile back and scoot over closer to him and whisper her secret.

"You are the coolest boy ever," she says, smudging frosting from her cupcake on his sleeve without really noticing. He glances down at the frosting and laughs, making Cat frown because she doesn't understand what's so funny about that compliment.

"What?" She asks, pulling away from him and staring at him indignantly.

"Nothing," he defends, taking his index finger and wiping the frosting off of his sleeve, "My dad just told me not to get this shirt dirty, and now I have to tell him that a cute girl got her cupcake on me." He looks at her with a smile in his eyes and she laughs, suddenly and loudly, like she's just gotten the joke.

She decides then and there that Beck is definitely the coolest boy she knows.

\\

When she's seven, a boy named Alan tells everyone she has cooties.

"Gross! Cat has cooties, don't get around her!"

"I do not, Alan!" Cat exclaims, putting her hands on her hips and glaring at him, even though he doesn't pay any mind to her as he starts chanting, Cat has cooties! Cat has cooties!

"Stop it!" She screams, stomping her foot. "Stop it Alan, you big bully!"

It doesn't stop, and by the time recess comes around, three mean girls push Cat off of the swing set and a boy she doesn't know tugs at her brown locks of hair, muddying the tips because his fingers are so dirty. She ends up wandering along the edge of the fence, her eyes downcast and her lower lip quivering (but she keeps her head down so nobody will see).

When Alan comes up behind her and pushes her down, she scrapes her elbows and starts crying as he runs off, laughing with his friends. She sits up and leans against the fence, covering her face with her hands (her fingernail polish is chipped and ohmygosh this day stinks!).

The fence rattles and Cat hides her face even more, thinking it's a teacher or another bully to come and make fun of her.

"Cat?" The person says, and she finally glances up because she recognizes the voice. Beck is standing there, short hair moving as the wind goes by. She covers her face again. "Oh, come on, don't be a baby." Beck jokes, but Cat's shoulders heave and suddenly she's crying even more, and Beck feels so bad that he sits down beside her and apologizes and pats her awkwardly on her back.

"What's wrong?" He whispers, and she sniffles and wipes her hands on her jeans.

"Everyone's being mean to me! Alan told everyone that –" she cuts herself off because she's afraid that Beck will leave if he finds out she might have cooties.

"What?" Beck asks, setting the tennis ball he's carrying onto the ground. It rolls to the left, then settles on the ground. Cat stares at him with her eyes shining. She takes a breath and lets it out, wringing her hands together in her lap.

"He told everyone I have cooties," she whispers, so quietly that Beck has to lean closer to her to hear, "And now nobody wants to be my friend." Her head droops and she stares at her fingernail polish. Suddenly, Beck laughs and stands up, causing Cat's head to shoot up in alarm.

"Please. Cooties aren't even real." He says, reaching over to grab the tennis ball from the spot on the ground, "That's just some rumor someone started to make people sad. Here," he holds out his hand to her, "I'll play with you today. I'm not scared of cooties like all those other sissies." He puffs out his chest a little.

Cat wavers before she reaches up and takes his hand, and he pulls her to her feet easily.

"Come on," he says, grinning, "We can go play on the jungle gym together."

(She feels better. Plus he gives her a SpongeBob Band-Aid for her scraped elbow.)

\\

Cat is in third grade when Beck doesn't come to school for a week (she spends all of her recesses inside coloring because she hates being out there when Beck's not there to make everything better if it goes wrong).

When he comes back the following Tuesday after a long weekend, he's covered in bandages and his head is shaved. She asks him what happened and he grins around and tells everyone it was an accident ("I fell down the stairs because I'm kind of dumb,") and then grabs a sharpie and demands that everyone signs the cast on his arm.

(Cat knows that something's not quite right but she signs his cast with a pink marker and a smiley face.)

He can't play at recess, so she stays inside with him and lets him color with her in her My Little Pony coloring book. They work on the same page and they color the ponies all different colors and everything is fine until he tries to color the rainbow black.

"What are you doing?" She demands, grabbing the marker away from him, "Rainbows are supposed to be bright!"

Beck stares at her and then huffs, "Well, ponies are supposed to be black and brown and we colored them green. So I can color my part of the rainbow whatever color I want."

"No," Cat insists, handing him a yellow marker, "Rainbows are pretty!"

"Black is pretty."

"Black is ugly!" Cat yells, shoving the sunshine yellow marker into his hand, "Now color the rainbow pretty!"

Beck slams the marker down on the desk and shoves the coloring book into her chest.

"You can color by yourself." He snaps, slamming the fist that's not covered by a cast against the desk. They sit in a stony silence and Cat's eyes start to water but she puts the coloring book gingerly back onto the desk and bites her lip to keep from crying. She shakily picks up the yellow marker and colors the top of the rainbow, then grabs an orange and colors the next streak and uses red for the next.

Beck sits beside her with a frown on his face and his elbow propped up on the desk.

Cat finishes the rainbow and turns the page, glancing at Beck twice as she does so.

"Do you want to color?" She whispers, drawing back a little when he shoots her a glare and flatly declines her offer. She narrows her eyes and turns her back to him, shifting the coloring book into her lap and grabbing a purple marker. She hears him wiggle in his seat.

She keeps coloring for a minute or so before she glances behind her and watches him drum his fingers on the desk. She almost asks if he's sure he doesn't want to, but he meets her gaze and averts his eyes so quickly she's not even sure if it actually happened.

"Beck?" She asks softly, her voice wavering a little. He doesn't acknowledge her, but she takes a deep breath and swivels around, placing the coloring book in between them and pushing a few of the markers to him. She looks at him with a determined gleam in her eye and he glances from her to the coloring book to the markers.

He takes the black marker, reaches over to flip the page, and scribbles over the colorful rainbow before dropping the marker onto the book.

"Beck!" Cat says, shocked. "Why did you…How could you do that?" She demands, her shock quickly turning into anger. "I was being nice to you!"

"I don't care." Beck says, sticking out his tongue.

"You're mean, Beck!" Cat yells, grabbing the black marker and reaching over to mark out her name on his cast.

"Hey! Quit it!" He cries, jerking away from her and grabbing a red marker. He uncaps it and colors on her arm.

"Stop!" Cat gasps, marking on Beck's hand. He reaches over and manages to mark her cheek, and she draws a line over his nose and he returns the favor and soon Cat is covered in red stripes and Beck is covered in black.

"Look what you did!" Cat screams, throwing the marker onto the book. "I was trying to be nice to you and then you went and acted like – like – like a big butthead!"

"You're the one who made a big deal about the rainbow!"

"Rainbows can't be black!"

"Why not? Is it against the law or something to color a rainbow black?"

"They're not supposed to be black!"

"Shut up!" Beck yells, "Shut up, shut up, shut up! You're so stupid!"

Cat pushes her lips closed and wonders if she should do what he said to or to yell at him even more (except she's trying to keep from sobbing, so she keeps her mouth closed while her eyes water). Beck doesn't look at her for a long time; instead, he stares at the projects hanging on the walls and stills his movement. Cat stares, maybe a little expectantly. He says nothing.

"What happened?" She finally asks, her voice barely above a whisper. "Does it hurt?" She asks, motioning towards his cast with her eyes and scanning over the rest of his body.

Beck closes his eyes and lays his head on the desk and mutters something she doesn't hear.

"What?" She questions, leaning closer even though she's sort of afraid he'll get angry at her again (boy, she really doesn't like Beck being angry at all).

"They made me cut my hair," he groans, sitting up.

"It'll grow back," Cat reassures without skipping a beat. "And you still look cool, so –"

"Cat, it wasn't an accident." Beck interrupts, and she stares at him.

"You cut your hair on purpose?"

"No," Beck says, letting out a breath, "This wasn't an accident," he motions to his cast, to the bandages over his body, "I was pushed down the stairs."

Cat thinks this is an appropriate time to gasp, so she does because it makes her feel like she's in a movie.

He stares at her, expecting some sort of response. She doesn't speak; only stares as her mind processes what he's just told her. Finally, she manages to mumble out two words, and she whispers like she's telling him a secret he already knows.

"By who?"

Beck hesitates, then holds out the pinky of his right hand. "Promise you won't tell." It's a demand, not a question, and he pulls his hand back a little when she reaches for it without promising, "Cross your heart and hope to die." Cat pauses before using her index finger to draw an X over her heart.

"Cross my heart."

"And hope to die?" Beck asks, pushing his pinky closer to her. Cat swallows.

"And hope to die." She says, locking her pinky with his.

"My mom pushed me." He says, his gaze unwavering. She tries to unlatch her pinky but he holds on tighter so she just has to stare at him.

"Beck…" she murmurs, brown doe-eyes wide, "Really?"

The bell for recess to be over rings and Beck lets go of her pinky.

"You promised." He reminds her, and she nods, sealing her lips with an imaginary zipper.

\\

She's nine years old when people start suspecting she's c r a z y.

The teacher asks her a question and she gives a blurb about piglets or happiness or talks about a funny thing that happened to her yesterday and kids start giggling and whispering behind their hands. Cat doesn't notice, and laughs with them when someone says something mean (it's better to laugh with them than to be laughed at).

She tries to make friends, but the mean girls tell her she's not cool enough and the nice girls tell her that there's already somebody sitting in that seat and the other girls just turn their backs to her when she walks by (she doesn't even have Beck in her class this year and that's the worst part of it). She sits alone at lunch and picks at her food without eating much until a tray is set in front of her and someone asks if they can sit there.

Cat glances up with a smile, halfway expecting Beck, but instead she sees a boy with glasses and curly brown hair trying to smile back. The light in her eyes fades a little, but she nods and motions for him to sit down.

"I'm Robbie," he says, stammering slightly and pushing his glasses further up on his nose. He shakes a little as he picks up an apple from the tray on the table, "I'm new this year, which is why you probably don't know, and…" He trails off before he manages to get out, "I really like your hair." (His words are crammed together and she can hardly understand him but it's cute.)

"I'm Cat," she answers, smiling a real smile for the first time since school started, "I like unicorns."

They eat lunch together for a week, then Beck starts sitting with her again and he shares his brownie with her and doesn't care what anyone else says, so Robbie fades into the background.

(He starts sitting at a different table with a puppet named Rex – Rex is cool and good with the ladies and suave; Cat knows because she's talked to him once. Robbie keeps on fading. Cat eats half of Beck's brownie.)

\\

When she's ten, Cat and Beck try out for the annual fifth grade play together and Beck gets the lead. Cat plays a tree, and she's probably ten times more excited than Beck (she's just happy she got a part because a girl named Charlotte didn't get one at all). Oh, and Cat is also the female lead's alternate, so she has a ton of lines to remember.

The play goes on for three nights, and at the rehearsal for the third, Nina loses her voice and Cat has to play lead. (And guess what? She only messed up her lines once and she hit every note she had to sing and a few people told her she was better than Nina!)

Her mom and dad take her out for ice cream, and she invites Beck, whose hair is starting to get really long, but he says he has other things to do and he leaves with his dad. Cat wonders where his mom is and still doesn't really understand how serious Beck was when he told her that it was his mom's fault he fell.

She keeps her pinky promise, though, and smiles and orders vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and M&Ms.

Beck doesn't come to school the next day, but she doesn't think about it until he misses the next (and the next). He comes back and he looks normal, but there are bags under his eyes and he doesn't really talk to anybody. She secretly drops a note on his desk that asks him what's wrong in sloppy, elementary school handwriting, and he writes down a response and pretends to throw something away so he can place the note into her hand.

My parents are getting divorced.

Cat stares at the note for a long time before she realizes that Beck is taking extra time at the trashcan so he can get the note back before he heads to his desk. She quickly scribbles down an answer and hands it back to him as he walks by.

It says I'm sorry :( even if she's not entirely sure what getting a divorce means. He doesn't give her a note back, but he says it's not her fault when he sits down beside her on the swing at recess.

"Why are they getting one of those, anyways?" Cat asks slowly, pushing herself back and lifting her feet off of the ground so she moves idly back and forth on the swing. Beck shrugs his shoulders even though they both know the answer.

"They're not in love anymore." He answers.

"It'll grow back."

Beck stares at her from his swing and then laughs at her (and it feels good to see him actually smile so she doesn't mind).

"It's not hair, goober."

\\

They grow apart in junior high.

Cat makes a friend and Beck starts dressing in grey and black everyday (he's decided he doesn't care what people think, so people are still drawn to him whether they want to be or not), and they end up in completely different classes (they don't have recess at all, so they never talk to each other), and the only time they see each other is in the lunch line and on the sidewalk while they wait to be picked up by their parents (Cat is talking to Robbie again but he rides the bus home, so she stands alone most of the time).

"Hey."

She swivels around to see Beck, and he smiles, running his hand through his hair (it's short again and it kind of suits him). She can't help but grin and wave excitedly.

"Hi, Beck!" She says, and she wonders if that's too childish for middle school but Beck doesn't seem to care, so she doesn't either. "How have you been? I never see you anymore!" Cat pouts and fidgets with the strap of the book bag on her shoulder.

"I know," he nods, turning his attention to the road for a brief moment before his eyes move back to her, "I heard you're hanging out with that Robbie kid again – and uh, what was her name? Molly?"

"Marley," Cat corrects, nodding at him, "They're really nice. Marley has a pool right in her backyard! She says she'll invite me to her house if her mom will let her," she beams, proud of herself for making such a great friend. Beck chuckles and runs a hand through his hair again out of habit.

"Sounds fun."

"I hope so," Cat agrees, nodding, "I don't swim very much, but if I get to go to her house, I'll probably buy a new bathing suit. With polka dots!"

They both laugh, although Cat's not really sure what's so funny (she tends to just laugh when Beck does). It turns into a silence that Beck doesn't seem to really mind, but drives Cat crazy. She needs to talk about something, but she can't think of anything.

"I got a cell phone," Beck blurts out after a moment, fumbling to pull it out of his pocket. It's sleek and black and – oh, there's a crack across the screen already.

"Cool!" Cat says anyways, smiling and reaching for it. He passes it to her, and she holds it gingerly in her hands, careful not to ruin it, "When?"

He puffs his chest out.

"Last week."

"And it's already broken?" Cat giggles, handing it back to him.

"Hey, not broken. Just scratched," he says, pushing it back into his pocket, "At least I have one." He playfully sticks out his tongue and Cat copies him, and they fall back into a compatible quietness. "Cat," he says suddenly, pulling a pen out of his pocket and grabbing her hand. His palms are rough against her hands, which smell like sweat pea lotion, but he uncaps the pen with his teeth and writes a number down on her skin.

"What's that?" She asks when he lets go of her hand. She inspects it with big brown eyes before a smile overtakes her features. She glances up just in time to watch him shoulder past her to his ride.

"Call me sometime." He grins at her as he opens the car door.

"Okay!" She yells back, waving him off as the car speeds away, his dad in the driver's side. She looks at her hand and memorizes the number just in case the ink comes off.

(It does – then she and her family go out for ice cream and she forgets to call him; then she forgets the number. Then she forgets to ask.)

\\

During the summer before seventh grade, she goes over to Marley's house for a pool party in her new polka dot bathing suit and a bowl of punch gets poured on her by two girls named Heather and Leslie. Marley laughs and Cat asks why and she gets called a freak.

She doesn't want to be Marley's friend anymore, so she spends the rest of the day sitting on the bathtub and trying to get punch out of her hair. It stains the water red velvet and Cat thinks it's pretty (and suddenly she forgets why she's upset and goes out to have a cupcake when Marley's parents call the girls in to sing Happy Birthday).

Before school starts again, she dyes her hair red.

Marley says it looks ugly (they're not friends anymore). Rex says it looks stupid and Robbie shushes him and then asks why she did it. A teacher tells her that little girls shouldn't be dying their hair crazy colors, and Cat starts to give up – she wants to be a brunette again because it was natural and everyone thought it was pretty.

But then Beck comes up and says it suits her and that he likes it and it makes her feel lovely and pretty and nice so she decides to keep it.

(Her parents take her to the doctor. They didn't approve of this.)

\\

She has to take a lot of pills now, every morning before she goes to school and every night before she goes to bed. Pills medicine drugs – itdoesn'tmakehercrazyright?

(She hears her parents talking and they say there's something wrong with her but she pretends like she doesn't hear. She sits in her fairytale princess castle and orders her loyal subjects to do her biddings. They love her they love her they really love her!)

She goes to school and talks too much and everyone knows if you give her candy she'll shut the fuck up.

(Beck never tells her to shut up. Beck thinks she's funny. Beck is the only person that she wants to impress, so she keeps talking even if everyone else hates it because Beck doesn't.)

He sits next to her in math one day and people start talking behind their hands, and for once Cat gets upset about it.

"Are you sure you should sit with me?" She whispers, holding her head over her math work. He stares at her for a long time, like he's unsure of how to answer.

"I probably shouldn't."

Her head shoots up and without thinking she shouts, "What's that supposed to mean?" The class quiets and so does Beck, who touches her arm and shakes his head.

"You didn't let me finish," he murmurs, and everyone in the class can hear even though he's hardly speaking above a whisper, "I was going to say that I probably shouldn't, but I'm going to anyways, because I think you're one of the coolest girls I know. And I don't care what everyone else thinks about that."

Suddenly everything is okay again.

"Oh, okay!" Cat smiles and people look around and the teacher doesn't know what to say because Cat gets right back to work and Beck pretends like it never happened.

They're inseparable for a month and a half, and then Beck starts missing school again and this time, he doesn't really tell anyone why. Cat asks, but the more she does the more he tries to avoid her, so she stops because she doesn't want him to hate her. She can't go on without Beck and everyone knows that – he's walking on eggshells just to keep her alive.

\\

In eighth grade a talent scout comes to their school and the principal makes an announcement on the intercom to try out for a spot in Hollywood Arts, a special school for really special people.

Forty-two people try out (gotta be the best, gotta get out of this place!). Three people get in; Cat sings a song from Wicked, Beck acts out a scene from Les Misérables, and Robbie performs a ventriloquist act with Rex (so maybe four people got in).

Cat's suddenly popular.

She goes to Hollywood Arts her freshman year and if it weren't for Beck she knows she'd be on the bottom again. But she smiles and dances and sings because she's good at it, and people actually congratulate her for talking too much and people here like her hair color (and people still give her candy so she'll shut up, but she likes candy so she doesn't mind so much).

\\

On their second day, Beck meets Jade, and Cat doesn't like her very much. She's mean and pale and has a red streak in her long hair. She dresses in all black and sits alone at the lunch table and glares at Cat when she tries to sit down beside her (it was Beck's idea, not hers).

"I'm Beck – Beck Oliver. And you must be my guardian angel. Tell me, did it hurt to fall all the way from heaven?" He gives her a lopsided grin and asks for her name and she gives it to him only after she pours lemonade down his pants and walks away. Cat's mouth drops open but Beck ends up with a smirk on his face as he turns to watch her walk back into the school.

"Beck, are you okay?" Cat asks, jumping up with a couple of her napkins. She hands them to him but he doesn't really pay attention.

"I think I like her," he says, and because Beck says it, Cat has to agree.

"Me too!"

"Oh, so you like that she poured lemonade down my pants?" He asks, chuckling and shrugging his jacket off of his shoulders to wrap around his waist in attempt to hide the lemonade stain. Cat giggles and walks him to the front office where he gets a free pair of Hollywood Arts sweatpants to wear for the rest of the day.

(Jade West is in their drama class. She's a really good actor and she maybe cocks a brow at Beck when he walks into the room but aside from that, she's just bitter. Cat doesn't like bitter things; she likes candy corn and waffles and strawberries. Cat really doesn't like Jade.)

\\

Three weeks and four days later, Beck and Jade become a couple.

Cat's heart hurts and she can't, for the life of her, figure out why. She skips school for the first time and no one finds her (no one really notices she's gone) but she wishes Beck would have.

\\

The next day she smiles and no one notices that it's not real, so maybe she's talented after all.

(But she's still sort of hoping Beck will ask her what's wrong. No, he's too involved with kissing his new girlfriend to notice Cat sitting alone against the wall. She closes her eyes and pretends she's back in primary school and wishes Beck would bring her a band-aid for her hurting heart.)

When she opens her eyes she notices Jade glaring at her and her throat closes up and her mouth opens slightly with unsaid words. Then Jade gets up, walks over to her, and holds out her hand.

"You're friends with Beck, right?" She asks. Her voice is harsh and cold and Cat really doesn't like it, but she swallows and nods her head yes. Jade pauses for a moment, then sighs, "You can sit with us if you want."

"Really?" Cat asks, her voice suddenly brighter than before.

Jade pauses, spares a glance at Beck who is staring expectantly at both of them. Then she nods her head. Cat jumps up so quickly and throws her arms around Jade that she almost topples over.

"Yay! Thanks!" Cat squeals, and suddenly she actually does like Jade (but she still sort of wishes Jade wasn't there).

\\

They become a trio, then a quartet – a boy named André who can play the piano meets Beck in history class, and Beck invites him to lunch. Then Robbie comes up and awkwardly asks for a place to sit at the table one day, and both Beck and Cat say sure while Jade gives a brisk no.

Cat stares for what seems like hours before Beck gives Jade a look and, grumbling, she backs down, sliding over closer to Beck to make room for the boy with the puppet.

Robbie looks relieved, so he sits, but he doesn't talk much. Cat likes having him there because she doesn't talk much, either; not around Jade.

\\

In October of sophomore year, Tori Vega gets accepted into Hollywood Arts.

Beck looks at her almost the way he looks at Jade (something is different, but it's practically the same look nonetheless). But Cat likes Tori; Tori is a star – she shines, she glitters, she's beautiful, she's nice, and she's everything Jade isn't (she's everything Cat thinks Beck should want, because Cat's nice and pretty, too, isn't she?).

Beck and Tori kiss, and Cat knows she should be angry about it, but it just means he's one step closer to breaking up with Jade. And then Cat feels bad about thinking such a thing, so when Jade drags her outside after class to yell about what her boyfriend just did, Cat comforts her, says she's angry at him, too.

(But she's really not.)

\\

In junior year, Beck and Jade break up for good.

Cat has to sit in Jade's room for three hours, listening to her friend cry.

"What does Vega have that I don't?"

"A tan?" Cat supplies, not intending for it to come out the way it did. Jade stares at her, then, with shaking fingers, she points to the door.

"Get the hell out."

Cat leaves quickly, and the first thing she does is drive to Beck's house and knock on the RV door. He opens it after a moment's delay, grins when he sees her. He steps backwards so she can go inside.

Cat sits on the bed and smiles at him.

"What's up?" He asks, leaning against the wall.

"I was talking to Jade…" Cat says, trailing off. Beck's smile falters, "She's really upset."

"I'm not getting back together with her," Beck says quickly, meeting Cat's gaze for a brief moment, "I can't."

"Why not?" Cat asks, more out of curiosity than concern for her friend. He looks at the ground and runs a hand through his hair while Cat sits with her shoulders slumped and her eyes on his face.

"I don't love her anymore," Beck finally says after a breath. Cat presses her lips together.

Then, smiling, she says, "It'll grow back."

He laughs.

"It won't."

\\

Tori is the valedictorian when they graduate; she delivers a speech that moves Cat to tears, and she grips Beck's hand the whole time and he doesn't seem to mind, even if they're just best friends. Instead of going to the graduation party at André's house, they sit outside on his parents' driveway and watch the sunset.

"I guess this is it, then," Beck murmurs just as soon as the last rays of light disappear from the sky, enabling them to see the stars. Cat looks at him curiously, but he keeps his gaze straight ahead, deep in thought, "I thought I'd be happier."

"Why aren't you happy?" Cat asks, concerned. She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and watches him.

"I don't know," Beck answers, shrugging his shoulders and smiling at her, "I guess I am."

She knows he's lying. But she's Cat, and she's not supposed to know, so she pretends that she actually doesn't. Instead, she smiles and says, "That's good."

She kisses him without thinking.

He kisses her back.

\\

They don't stay together, in the end.

Beck marries a woman named Natalie, and Cat's invited to the wedding. She goes even if she's not completely over him, smiles and says she's so happy for them, because that's just who she is.

\\

She's sitting alone in Starbucks when someone sets down their coffee and takes the seat in across from her.

Her gaze lifts up, and she can't help but smile at the person in the other chair.

"I knew I recognized that red hair," Beck Oliver says, grinning, toying with the lid of his cup.

"Beck! What are you doing here?" Cat asks. They're older now; her hair is longer and he's wearing square rimmed glasses and sporting a goatee.

"I'm on a short break," he answers, nodding, "What about you?"

"Same," Cat replies, still smiling too much, "How have you been? Gosh, it's great to see you!"

He chuckles, taking a sip of his coffee, "It's great to see you, too."

When he sets down his glass, Cat notices there's no ring on his finger.

\\

a/n: first beck/cat fanfiction! it's been a work-in-progress for who knows how many months now, and i just now finally got around to finishing it, thanks to kat (lovely valentina), lol. written for ava (lovely amelie)'s fic challenge. hopefully i sort of followed the prompt, although i'm really not sure what any of this has to do with it. xDD also, sorry for the abrupt(?) ending. i kind of wanted to end it in a way that kept you guessing. ;) so, thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed it! :D