Being miserable is miserable, but Beca's not been much in the mood for anything else. She hasn't left her dorm for two days, which means she's now missed four Bellas' rehearsals and Aubrey's ready to kill her if the threatening text and voice messages are anything to go by. Jesse stopped by once, but she dismissed him with a glare Kimmy Jin would probably be proud of, but that's been the extent of her human interaction since Chloe left.

Knowing it's her own fault doesn't make her feel any better.

Not seeing Chloe is the worst part of all of it, mostly because Beca's pretty sure they haven't spent more than 24 hours apart since hood night. She hasn't called or texted or Facebooked (Well, Beca can't completely rule that one out because she hasn't actually checked Facebook in almost a week.), and while Beca's well aware that she's the one who asked to be alone, she's surprised Chloe has actually allowed it.

It's scary, actually, that Chloe's managed to stay away when Beca's every waking minute has been filled with the desire to call her. Her fingers have itched to text, but her brain has yet to come up with a perfect apology. She checks her phone for what feels like the millionth time in the last hour and flops back down against her pillow, ignoring the rumbling in her stomach. Apparently the Pop Tarts and Red Bulls aren't cutting it anymore.

-xxx-

Beca's unsure how long she's been relaxing there, weighing her options of scrounging up food from finding food in her mini fridge or actually showering and going to the dining hall, when a knock at the door startles her.

"Go 'way," she mutters, hoping it's loud enough for the person on the other side to hear. When they knock again, Beca stumbles out of bed and jerks the door open, surprised to find Chloe on the other side. "Oh. Uh, hi."

"Hi," Chloe replies shifting awkwardly and clutching a binder to her chest.

Beca lets her eyes drift over her girlfriend's (Hopefully maybe still?) body and suddenly feels self-conscious. Chloe looks good. A little tired, maybe, but she looks clean, showered, and at least mostly human, and Beca can't decide if she should feel good about this or not. Beca knows her hair probably looks like a tiny woodland creature has taken up residence in it and she's been in the same clothes for going on 48 hours now and just generally feels gross, so the fact that Chloe looks mostly her normal self isn't exactly making Beca feel like this conversation is going to go the way she wants it to.

Maybe Chloe decided she was wrong. That it's best to let go and just be free. Maybe she doesn't love Beca as much as she thought.

Before Beca can say or think anything else, Chloe's handing over the binder with a smile. "Look at this," Chloe says, and then she's turning on her heel and headed down the hall, leaving Beca staring after her, confused.

A few seconds later, her phone buzzes so she pads back into the room to check it. Her heart jumps when she sees Chloe's name on the screen, despite just seeing her, and she immediately swipes the screen to read the text.

And go shower. And eat. You look like hell.

Thanks, Beca types back, hoping her sarcastic tone makes its way through somehow, and she drops her phone to the bed. She holds out the binder to inspect it but there's nothing telling about the outside, just plain white vinyl, so she slides it on to her desk and decides to take Chloe's advice about the shower and food before investigating further.

-xxx-

Thanks to the wonders of hot water and grilled cheese from the dining hall, Beca feels a little less zombieish when she gets back to her dorm. She hasn't been able to stop thinking about what could be in Chloe's binder so she climbs into bed and pulls it in to her lap, eager to discover the contents.

The first thing she notices is a flash drive taped to the center of the front page, with a note written around it.

Beca -

I might not be the bad ass DJ extraordinaire (Copyright Chloe Beale, 2012) that you are, but I know music. I know how music makes me feel and think; I know how much music makes /you/ feel. It's one of the things I love so much about you; you'll never look at me like I'm crazy when I get carried away talking about the new song or artist I fell in love with.

I fell in love with a new artist six months ago. Her voice blew me away at first, but then I realized she had an even more incredible talent because she blended beats and lyrics in ways I couldn't even imagine. I can't wait to see her make it. I can't wait to stand by her side as she does. And I can't wait to see everyone else's faces when they hear her for the first time, because that's the closest I'll ever get to hearing her music for the first time again.

Anyway, I might not be able to make you feel the way I do when I hear one of your tracks, but I am hoping I can make you feel the way I do when I hear these songs. This is my Beca Mitchell playlist; it's not really in any particular order, but it is every song that reminds me of us or you, since the very beginning - and it's something I add to almost every day.

Love you always,

Chloe

PS - You're not allowed to judge me for the pop music. You know it's on my workout mix.

Beca stares at the note, skimming it once more before twisting around to grab a pair of scissors from her desk drawer. In a very un-Beca-like manner, she carefully cuts the tape away to free the drive - Normally she would have just ripped it off the page, but she takes care not to destroy Chloe's note - and opens her laptop.

After she loads all the music into iTunes, she settles back into the pillows and starts in on the rest of the binder. The next few pages after Chloe's opening note are a listing of songs - everything from the playlist, she assumes - each with a little blurb underneath. She skims the list, wanting to be mostly surprised with the selections, and is actually surprised at the lack of cheesy pop music. There's the occasional one, of course, but not as much as Chloe's note made it seem.

(The first one she actually notices is Ke$ha - "Your Love Is My Drug," and it's half way down the second page with a note that says Okay, I know it's Ke$ha but the beat is great and it's kind of the truth. Do I make your heart beat like an 808 drum, Beca? She laughs and shakes her head at that.)

She still stops and reads whenever one catches her eye though.

The Lumineers - "Ho Hey" I added this one back when I still thought you were into Jesse. I'm pretty sure it was on repeat for a week straight.

Beca smiles at this, remembering how many times she caught Chloe humming the catchy song at practice, even joining in with harmonies from time to time.

David Guetta/Sia - "Titanium" I'm sure this one isn't a surprise. It's pretty much our song. And yeah, I've thought of you every time I've heard it since that night in the shower. Wink wink.

This one makes Beca blush as she thinks about Chloe's very active imagination. That was something she found out about one night after she made her way back to her own dorm, only to receive a call from Chloe describing - in very vivid detail - exactly what she was doing to herself and where she wished Beca's hands were.

The few songs Beca doesn't recognize catch her eye too, like The Baileys - "Falling in Love" (This one is just so cute, but I think you'll like it. The way it relates love to music and the talk of California; it's just so you. So us.) and William Beckett - "Oh Love" (This was one of those early songs that reminded me of you when we were still just friends. I heard Luke play it on WBUJ and was just sort of hooked. It just felt like this perfect play on our friendship. I was so hooked on you and you'd just come in and turn my world upside down. I didn't think we'd ever go anywhere but I didn't mind it; I just wanted to do anything for you. To be near you.)

Despite her feelings earlier in the day, Beca finds herself smiling so hard that her cheeks hurt. She ignores the tears in her eyes, refusing to admit - even to herself - that she's crying over something so ridiculously sappy.

The next pages are a scrapbook of sorts, littered with pictures of the two of them, either alone or with their friends, along with mementos of dates they've been on or things they've done together, like a coaster from that sports bar the celebrated at after semis. There are also photocopies of pages with random anecdotes - a journal, Beca assumes, though she wasn't aware Chloe actually kept one. Beca takes the time to read these carefully; sometimes there are entire pages and sometimes just a scrap with a few sentences highlighted.

-X-

I hope activities fair wasn't as big of a bust as it seemed. If we don't get back to Nationals, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with Aubrey.

There was a girl who listened to our whole pitch but then blew us off - I feel like maybe she does know how to sing but just... didn't want us to know or something. I don't know, but I think she could be good for us. I'm kind of hoping I run into her on campus and can talk to her without Aubrey; that made things a little tense.

(Plus she's kinda cute so I just want an excuse to talk to her again anyway.)

I found activities fair girl again! Okay, so maybe I kind of busted into her shower, which was mega awkward but I think I pulled it off? Well, she showed up at auditions today anyway, so yeah, I guess I did. I thought Aubrey was going to kill her with some sort of laser beam eyes or something, but she was good. Really good, actually. Aubrey thinks she'll be trouble but I pulled rank and she's in.

-X-

She stops there, thinking about the argument the two of them probably engaged in considering Aubrey's attitude toward her at first. She can practically hear Aubrey's protests and laughs out loud, proud that they've come so far in the past few months.

She browses more of the pictures - one that Chloe took of Fat Amy carrying Beca out of the rehearsal space on her back after claiming she couldn't weigh more than a koala during practice, another that Beca captured of Chloe staring at Stacie in frustration as she continued to grope herself during choreo (Aubrey had yelled about no phones out during rehearsal after that one), and yet another one of all of the girls during the riff off - and hums along to Best Coast's "Crazy for You" playing from her laptop.

-X-

Feels like forever since I wrote, but we've been spending so much time with the new Bellas, I've just been exhausted. I spend a lot of time with Beca too. I was right about her being good for us. I just have to convince Aubrey of that, too. She says it's just me thinking with my toner, but I know it's more than that. It's not like anything will ever happen, anyway; I'm pretty sure she's into that Treble kid, Jesse. (Aubrey doesn't like that either.) Still...

I kissed Beca last night. I was drunk, but I remember everything about it and... ugh. It was everything I wanted it to be but then this morning Beca brushed it off like it was nothing. I guess I was wrong about her developing feelings for me.

-X-

The Black Keys interrupt her concentration, memories of Chloe's tipsy lap dance flooding her brain. She closes her eyes and thinks back to the night. Amy had found a hole in the wall just off campus that didn't check IDs and dragged them all - even Aubrey, who showed up with some convincing from Stacie - over one Friday night. Despite the bar's sketchy appearance from the outside, it was relatively clean on the inside and the bartenders were laid back and friendly, turning a blind eye to the few of them who were definitely under 21.

Amy had managed to talk them into a night's worth of free play on the jukebox since they were the only patrons, something all the Bellas were eager to take advantage of, giving out free impromptu performances all night long. Beca was content to relax on the couch and watch, maintaining her buzz by sipping on her drinks instead of going through them like water. When "Everlasting Light" came on, though, Chloe climbed into her lap and whispered, "I played this for you," her hips moving in time with the music.

They didn't stay much longer after that.

-X-

I made Beca start watching Buffy with me a week or so ago. She complained the entire time about how stupid it was because, in her words "A blonde cheerleader who fights vampires? Whatever. So lame." But she came over tonight and she's like 15 episodes ahead of where we left off. She's totes into it; I think she connects with the sarcasm and banter, even if she'll never admit to actually liking it.

Looking for apartments is so nerve wracking. Graduation isn't that far away and I don't even know where I'm going afterward. I mean, I could stay in Atlanta but there are a lot of good publishing houses out there. I want to talk to Beca about it, but I'm scared she'll think I'm moving to fast or something...

-X-

The last journal entry sandwiched between two pictures of them together - one Aubrey snapped at a Bellas' sleepover, with Chloe on the couch and Beca curled into her side, both of them sleeping and the other of them after semis, holding the trophy with wide grins on their faces that are directed more at each other than the actual camera - trigger more tears which she wipes away furiously, determined to get through the entire book.

The next page is a phone bill, which is confusing, until Beca sees all the highlighted calls to numbers she doesn't recognize in Los Angeles and Atlanta. The bill is followed by a series of emails with resumes going out to companies in both cities and inquiries on apartments as well, all of them with dates long before three days ago. Beca feels her chest constrict, her heart beating erratically against her ribs when she realizes that she's been wrong the entire time.

When she reaches the end of the binder, there are three words scrawled on the back in Chloe's girly handwriting, and those simple words hit the hardest.

Sometimes they stay.