Nude drawings weren't new territory for Beca. She was a 2nd year art major and she was fairly used to sketching nude bodies for life drawing class. As a freshman, she'd been taken aback by the idea, almost letting the mere thought of having to do a nude drawing deter her from majoring in the field she was most passionate about. Her parents would've been ecstatic to find out that their daughter was doing something more "realistic" with her life, though, and she couldn't give them that kind of satisfaction.
Her class had been informed that they would be beginning a weeklong session of sketching their newest nude model on Monday and would continue doing so until Friday. Beca didn't really think much of it when she strolled into class that day, her sketchbook safely nestled in her bag as she took her typical seat near the front of the class.
A redheaded girl with piercing blue eyes sat on the stool in front of her easel, clad in a silky purple robe that she clutched against her. She was smiling as she looked around the room at the students filing in. Her eyes settled onto Beca's.
Immediately upon making eye contact with the girl she assumed was to be their model today, Beca felt a strange sensation in the pit of her stomach. She tried to ignore it as she took out her materials and set them up for the class.
Her professor, Dr. McMannis (he preferred to be called Dan) stepped in front of the class and explained what they were going to be doing today. Then he turned the floor over to the model, introducing her as Chloe and giving her the chance to say something about herself if she wanted to.
"Hi, everyone!" she sounded excited as she spoke, making animated gestures with her hands, "I'm Chloe Beale, I'm a junior here at Barden and I'm an English major. I've been nude modeling for Dan's classes since last year and I totally love it. Don't feel awkward or weird looking at me, because obviously we're all born naked and it's not a huge deal or whatever. I don't mind at all and…yeah." she smiled, taking a seat.
Dan took over again, reminding them of some drawing techniques, etc., all of which Beca already knew about. Instead of listening to a speech she'd already heard, she was looking at Chloe, whom she swore kept sneaking glances at her. The older girl took a long drink from her bottle of water and when Dan announced it was time, she disrobed and sat back down on the stool.
She sat in a typical thinker sort of pose, the expression gone from her face, no trace of the smile she'd been wearing moments before. Ever the professional, she tried her best to keep her eyes trained forward and stayed remarkably still while Beca and her classmates drew her form.
Beca began with the general outline, trying again to ignore the fluttering sensation in her stomach as she concentrated on perfecting the beginning stages of her sketch. She couldn't help but let her eyes linger on Chloe's form, noticing every curve of her body and smiling to herself when she noticed a freckle or imperfection. Each of these things did not diminish her beauty at all; in fact, they only served to make her even more breath-taking.
She stared at the girl so hard that she felt as if the image of her nude body sitting on that stool was burned into her brain. Beca almost felt as if she could finish the drawing at home solely based on her memory. When class was over, she realized she had a headache, probably caused by her serious lack of blinking in the past 45 minutes.
Chloe slipped her robe back on and Beca found herself waiting up for her at the end of class, transfixed by the model and wishing to speak with her. Besides, she had a sizeable break between classes and talking to this girl would give her something to do to pass the time, since she was already caught up on her readings for her art history class.
"Hey, Chloe, right?" Beca asked, even though she knew her name. She didn't want to come off as creepy for remembering it, though.
The other girl nodded, smiling a bit. "Yeah."
They continued to walk down the hallway and Beca thought about how weird it must be walking through the halls wearing only a robe.
"I'm Beca," she announced hesitantly, glancing over at Chloe, "Listen, uh, if you need some clothes to change into, you're welcome to borrow some of mine. You're a little taller than me, but I think maybe they'd…fit." She stopped when she noticed Chloe grinning at her like she was an idiot.
She held up her red duffel bag embroidered with the school logo.
"I thought ahead. I brought some clothes to change into. Thanks, though, for being thoughtful."
"Right, well. I wouldn't want you to be…cold?" Beca said lamely.
Chloe laughed, stopping next to the women's restroom. She glanced at Beca for a moment, chewing thoughtfully on her bottom lip.
"If you're not busy right now, would you wanna grab lunch with me?" she offered, gesturing toward the bathroom door, "After I get dressed, of course."
Beca's face brightened.
"Yeah! That would be awesome!" Realizing how overexcited she sounded, she took her voice down a decibel, "I mean, yeah, sure."
Chloe told her she'd just be a minute and she headed into the restroom to get changed. That left Beca standing awkwardly in the hallway waiting for her. She leaned against the wall with a sigh, contemplating taking out her iPod to listen to while she waited.
"Hey, Beca!" A familiar voice called out.
It was her friend Jesse, a guy who had been in her drawing 101 class last year and whom she'd hung out with a couple times. He was pretty dorky but he made her laugh, so she didn't mind it that much.
"Hi, Jesse, how's your semester going?" Beca asked politely, fiddling with the strap on her bag.
"It's going pretty great, you know. I just started dating this girl, she's pretty awesome. She's a sorority girl! I know, right, who knew? Anyway she's like drop dead gorgeous, leggy blond, a little uptight but an animal in the sack…"
As he was telling her all this, Beca couldn't help but be amused. When she'd told him casually a year ago that she was a lesbian, he'd been ridiculously excited about the prospect of them chatting about girls together. She thought it was pretty idiotic, seeing as how he had plenty of guy friends to do the very same thing with, but she never complained about it.
On occasion she would make a comment about a girl passing by, but she hadn't really dated anyone since she started going to Barden, unless that hookup she'd had at the frat party counted. And there was no way she was telling Jesse any details of that encounter.
As Jesse continued talking about his new girlfriend, Chloe emerged from the women's restroom wearing a pair of jeans and a V-neck shirt. Beca tried to ignore the massive amount of cleavage she was showing, thinking back to how her bare breasts had looked only ten minutes earlier.
When Chloe approached them, she looked at Beca and then at Jesse, realizing that they knew each other and laughing in disbelief as to how small the campus really was.
"Oh my god, Jesse, hi! How are you?"
Beca wondered how they knew each other and instantly began feeling a little jealousy at their friendly interaction. Stop it, Beca, she's obviously straight, she told herself once she realized that she had already developed a very stupid crush on the redheaded model.
Halfway through tuning out of their conversation, Beca listened in again, realizing that the girl Jesse had just been telling her about was Chloe's roommate, Aubrey. Or was it Audrey? She hadn't been listening closely enough. She was more focused on the idea that Chloe was probably a sorority girl, too, if her roommate was. They probably lived in the sorority house on campus together. Beca wasn't the sorority type, the mere thought of living in a house with a bunch of catty girls made her want to dry heave.
A wave of relief came over her as the conversation drew to a close and Jesse said goodbye, Beca feeling oddly thankful that Jesse was dating this other girl. The girl code would prevent Chloe from ever being even remotely interested in Jesse. Not to say she'd be interested in Beca. But better someone else than Jesse.
"So, how do you know Jesse?" Chloe made conversation as they walked together toward the dining hall.
"Oh, we took a drawing class together last semester," Beca explained nonchalantly.
"I thought he was a drama major?"
"He is. He needed a credit, I guess? I don't know. He barely passed. I'm telling you, that kid can barely draw a straight line," she laughed.
"Oh, okay," Chloe laughed too, her duffle bag slapping against her jeans.
"You said you were an English major, right?"
"Uh huh. I'm a total nerd," she indicated as they walked up the hill.
Beca's eyes drifted over to Chloe.
"No way, you're totally hot!" her face reddened slightly at her own choice of words, "I just mean, you don't seem like a nerd."
"There's all kinds of nerds, and I assure you that I am one of them," Chloe paused, "Go ahead. Quiz me on something English-y."
"English-y? Yeah, you're off to a great start, that's not even a real word."
"Shut up," the older girl giggled, swatting at Beca playfully, "Seriously, ask me anything."
"What's your favorite book?" It's the only thing Beca could think of.
"That's like the meanest question ever to ask an English major! It's like asking me to choose between my children!" Chloe said desperately as they neared the building, "Overall, probably the Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. That's kind of cheating because there's so much in it, but whatever. I mean, I love Shakespeare too. I'm a big fan of Sylvia Plath—like, super big. And a lot of writers you've probably never heard of…"
"You're a literature hipster, aren't you?" Beca teased while opening the door.
"I am not. How dare you call me a hipster!" Chloe gasped, allowing the door to hit the brunette after she walked through it.
"Only hipsters get mad when you call them hipsters," she pointed out with a smirk.
Chloe hung up her bag in the designed bag area.
"Why am I having lunch with you again?" She asked with faux-rudeness.
Beca grinned. "Because I'm awesome?"
"Okay, your turn. What's your favorite book?" The junior prompted as they got in line, swiping their school IDs to pay for their meals.
"IT IS NOT," Chloe shrieked, grabbing a plate from the food bar, "Tell me you're kidding."
Beca's face dissolved from a serious expression into a wide smile. She laughed.
"I almost got you there. Mmm, and what if I'd have said I loved 50 Shades of Grey?"
"Ugh, gross. That's even worse. Don't talk to me about that trash," Chloe muttered, piling lettuce onto her plate and making herself a salad.
Beca watched her with interest, having absolutely no desire to eat rabbit food.
"I'm gonna let you think about it and try to guess what my favorite book is. I'm gonna grab some pizza."
She migrated over to the pizza area, grabbing a few slices along with an M&M cookie. She found a table and sat her things down, possessively glaring at anyone who looked over at the two-seater table. Then Beca went to get a drink and came back to the table with a bowl of lucky charms.
Chloe was wandering around looking for her.
"Hey, red! Over here!" Beca yelled, causing Chloe to turn around.
As the redhead sat down at the table Beca had chosen, she remarked on the strange array of food that her new friend had arranged on the small table.
"What? I didn't want to have to get up again until it was time to leave," she explained as if it was the most natural thing in the world, taking a bite of her pizza. The warm cheese curled around her bottom lip and she shoved it back into her mouth. "So, what's my favorite book?"
"Well," Chloe started, picking at her salad with her fork, "You're artsy and pretentious so I'm going to go with Kerouac's On the Road."
Beca wrinkled up her nose in disgust, sipping loudly from her glass of soda.
"Kerouac was a pretentious douchebag and I'm not. You weren't even close. My favorite book is a graphic novel. Ghost World. Ever heard of it?"
"Oh! Yeah! I saw the movie. Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson, right?" Chloe brightened.
Beca nodded. "The movie was pretty decent. The casting," she held up her thumb in a positive gesture. "I really like the art style, and how Daniel Clowes manages to convey an emotion or a thought so well just through simple things like color."
"I'd like to read it sometime."
"You can totally borrow it; I have it in my room. We can drop by there after we're done eating. I mean, if you don't have some more nude modeling to do," she raised her eyebrows.
"I'd love to. Gosh, you're really monopolizing my time already for someone I just met," Chloe took a bite of her tomato, watching Beca's face turn a similar color.
"I, um, I'm sorry? I didn't mean to," she stammered.
"You're adorable. I was kidding. Sorry, I thought we had this back and forth teasing thing going on and, well, sorry. But I happen to think you're pretty cool. So monopolize all you want."
A comfortable silence settled between them as they continued with their lunch, Chloe getting up to get something else while Beca sat in her chair, shoving spoonfuls of cereal in her mouth. When her new friend returned to the table, she made a comment about how much less effort she would've had to make if she would've just gotten her soup while she was already standing earlier.
"Oh, my bad, I didn't know I was watching Life Tips with Beca. Should I get out my tiny notebook and take notes? I don't want to miss anything important," she wondered with a chuckle.
"Do you really have a tiny notebook?"
Chloe pulled something out the pocket of her jeans. It was, in fact, a tiny notebook. She placed it on the table and when Beca reached for it, she slapped her hand.
"Now, now. It's sacred. Like your sketchpad probably is to you," she chastised, scooting the notebook off to the far side of the table.
"I get it," Beca nodded before slurping milk from her bowl, "So you're a writer?"
Chloe shrugged. "I dabble. Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, fanfiction…"
"You write fanfiction?!" she spat out a bit of her milk laughing and she grabbed a napkin to clean up the mess, "I thought fanfiction was only for pimply Star Trek nerds living in their mother's basements or something."
"Fanfiction is a perfectly valid form of expression," Chloe defended herself rather huffily.
"Can I read some of your fanfiction?"