So... this is a thing, I guess! I can't even say I'm sorry enough to make up for the fact that I was absent for two years. I'm sure most of you probably gave up/didn't believe me when I said I was still working. But... here I am! Many thanks to Cuz for talking me out of apprehension about posting this.
I know this is a short chapter, but I've already started on the next one and I promise it won't be nearly as long between updates. Things have settled to the point where I actually have time to write and I quit the job that was keeping me too stressed to write, so not only do I have updates ready for this, but I've also started on a few one shots and updates for the other multichaps I have going on.
Thank you so, so much for all the kind words I received, even during my two year hiatus - it was all you guys who kept me wanting to come back! So without further ado...
Beca absentmindedly traces over the letters on the back cover of the binder, letting everything she read sink in. She remembers the quote from an episode of One Tree Hill that Chloe made her watch and smiles, thinking of how she managed to talk her into that show after their Buffy marathon. ("Beca the soundtrack is so good. You'll love it, I promise," Chloe said. Beca just rolled her eyes, but Chloe was right. Of course.) (She usually is, but Beca's really careful not to let her know things like that.)
From the very moment she walked out of Chloe's room that day, she knew she was being ridiculous. But knowing she was wrong - really knowing; having tangible proof - certainly changes things. For better or worse, she isn't quite sure, because while it leaves her relieved, she feels equally as awful and guilty about how she acted toward Chloe about it.
She sighs, shaking her head at herself and picks up her phone to tap out a single word to Chloe.
It barely takes a second to for a reply to light up her screen, and a smile breaks out across her face as soon as the message arrives.
Beca has never felt such a sense of relief at such simple words and she writes and rewrites her follow up message - ranging from long winded apologies to a simple I'm sorry - before settling on a final message.
i love you, chloe beale.
Chloe returns the words and the weight that Beca has been carrying in her chest for the past few days feels infinitely lighter.
are you busy? she types, but before she can hit send, another text from Chloe comes in.
can i see you?
yes. Beca texts back immediately. and then: of course
i'll come by then?
sure. i even showered like you asked. ;)
:D! i'll be right there!
When she thinks back on it later, Beca will realize she should have known to brace herself, because when she opens the door five minutes later, she's met with a red-headed ball of energy and light that hits her with a force that damn near knocks the wind out of her. She's wrapped up in Chloe's arms, being squeezed so tight she's actually a little scared that she might end up with a cracked rib or two.
Chloe just squeezes for what feels like an eternity and Beca can't feel her arms, but she also can't wipe the grin off her face because there are absolutely no words for how it feels to be back in Chloe's arms. It's only been a few days and she can't imagine how it's going to be when - if, she mentally corrects herself - they end up in different cities at the end of the year. For now, though, having Chloe's energy and enthusiasm thrown in her direction - meant only for her - is overwhelming in the best possible way.
When Chloe loosens her grip, Beca sags against her chest with a deep sigh of relief, feeling Chloe's heart beat beneath the skin. Chloe presses a kiss to the top of Beca's head and inhales deeply, her fingers scratching and massaging at the nape of Beca's neck.
"I love you, Beca Mitchell," she says quietly.
Beca sighs and leans into Chloe even more. "I love you, too, Chlo," Beca says as her fingers slip underneath Chloe's blue sweater and she traces over her hip bone. She feels Chloe's muscles tense and Beca's lips curve into a crooked smile. Without looking up, she says, "I'm sorry I'm a dick."
"You're not a dick," Chloe replies as she takes a step back. She crooks a finger under Beca's chin and tilts it up slowly. "Maybe a little dense," she says with a smile. "But you're not a dick."
Beca sighs. "I don't know what I'm doing."
"Neither do I," Chloe admits, taking Beca's hand and leading her over to the bed. She sits down, legs tangled up in front of her, Indian style. She doesn't let go of Beca's hand as she continues to talk. "I've never done this either, Beca. And I don't know what I want to do after this year is over, but I do know I want you there. Whether you are physically there or not, this decision is... it should be... ours."
Beca fidgets with the rings on the fingers of her free hand as she tries to figure out what to say, but her eyes don't leave Chloe's. "I should have talked to you," she finally says. "Instead of leaving. I just... I'm not good at this, but I should have talked to you and not come up with my own conclusions. But that's the thing, Chloe... that's what I do. I close myself off and shut down to avoid getting hurt, but I don't want to do that with you."
Chloe nods and reaches out to still Beca's fidgeting hands. "As long as you eventually let me back in, I think we can figure it out."
Beca nods and bites her bottom lip before leaning forward and pressing a kiss to the corner of Chloe's mouth. She feels Chloe smile before turning her head ever so slightly to meet her in a full kiss. It is brief, but she drags her teeth lightly over Beca's bottom lip before she pulls back and brushes their noses together.
"I know we should probably actually start discussing these things, but is it bad that I just want to curl up in this bed with you and make up for this awkward week?" Chloe asks, lips ghosting over Beca's again.
Beca shakes her head. "Not at all. But I do have one question first."
"On a scale of one to ten, how much is Aubrey going to kill me tomorrow?" Beca asks with a sigh, already knowing the answer.
"Probably 11," Chloe says without a hint of joking in her voice. "You should probably wear the comfortable shoes because you're probably going to spend most of practice running stairs."
"Oh god," Beca moans, flopping backwards dramatically on the bed. "I'm going to die. I hate cardio."
"You're the one that missed practice for three days."
"I know. I know," Beca sighs. "It's all my fault."
Chloe laughs as she leans forward and sinks down next to Beca. "I'll give you a massage after, if it will make you feel better," she says as she cuddles up against Beca's side.
"I'm not even going to be alive to enjoy it, but thanks for the offer," Beca snarks before turning to face Chloe. "I guess you better enjoy the last few hours of our time together, before your best friend kills me."
Chloe laughs and her whole face lights up, quite literally taking Beca's breath away. It takes her a brief moment to remember to breathe as she studied the look on Chloe's face, the crinkle of her nose and the way her eyes seem that much more blue when the amusement reaches all the way to her eyes. She tilts her chin down and meets Chloe's mouth with her own, silently wishing for the ability to always make Chloe as happy as she looks in this moment.
"Ugh why did I let you talk me into joining this group?" Beca moans as she face plants on Chloe's bed out of pure exhaustion. The Bellas' practice was brutal, which she was prepared for to an extent, but certainly not this level of brutal. Aubrey had made her do cardio for most of practice - as expected - but then made her stay for another hour to learn all the choreography they'd gone over on the days she had missed.
Chloe follows her and sits down beside her in a much more graceful manner than Beca's and moves to lift the hem of Beca's shirt for the massage she promised the night before. "Ugh. Don't touch me. I'm all sweaty and gross."
Chloe laughs. "Okay, fine. But you joined because you couldn't resist these big blue eyes," she says, batting her eyelashes exaggeratedly when Beca turns her head slightly to look. "That and your massive lady toner for me."
"Ugh. Please don't say that ever again. I think I'm starting to rethink my choices," Beca says, rolling over on to her back with a grunt.
"Is that so?"
Beca nods. "Pretty sure I'm dead right now and you're just talking to ghost Beca."
"You're not dead. I'll prove it," Chloe says and then she's reaching for the hem of her tank top and pulling it over her head, exposing her toned abs.
Beca arches an eyebrow in challenge and refuses to break eye contact with Chloe just to prove her point, but Chloe's skin is pretty much glistening (not even remotely as sweaty and gross as Beca knows she looks right now which is totally not fair), so it's really, really hard to focus.
Without a word, Chloe shifts so she's straddling Beca's hips, and she leans forward, resting on her elbows that she places on either side of Beca's head.
"Still think your dead?" She asks and Beca forces herself not to look even though she knows that a quick glance just a few inches lower would definitely kill her. If she wasn't already dead of course.
They stare at each other challengingly until Beca relents with a sigh of defeat.
"You're the worst," she whines.
"Yeah?" Chloe asks, smug smile threatening to break across her face, but despite the fact that Beca lost, she just finds it endearing.
"I'm too dead to even get to enjoy this properly," Beca complains before she reaches up and pulls Chloe down, their lips meeting in a messy kiss.
"I can do all the work," Chloe mutters against Beca's mouth, lips curving up into a smile.
Beca chuckles and shakes her head. "The worst," she whispers, bringing their lips together once more.