The first thing Beca registers when she wakes is cold. Not quite ready to wake up, she fumbles for the blanket, which she had apparently kicked to the ground sometime during the night. As soon as she pulls the blanket up to her chin, her eyes snap open, remembering that she had fallen asleep wrapped around Chloe the night before. Her chest instantly tightens when she realizes Chloe is no longer there and she briefly wonders if the sharp pain is anything like Chloe felt months before.
However, the panic quickly dissipates when her brain registers the scent of something delicious and she smiles, sinking back into the couch. Her eyes drift to the kitchen to find Chloe cooking, wearing nothing but an oversized white button down. She swallows hard, following lean, tanned legs up to the hem of the shirt, and finds herself cursing the fact that it's not an inch or two shorter.
"Hey you!" Chloe exclaims when she notices Beca staring at her. "You're not supposed to be awake yet!"
Beca blinks. "I'm not supposed to be awake yet?" she asks, confused.
Chloe laughs and turns down the stove, moving from the kitchen to the couch. She takes a seat next to Beca and leans down to give her a quick kiss on the cheek. "I was gonna make you breakfast in bed. Or in... couch? Either way I was making you breakfast."
"You can still make it; I'll pretend to be asleep, if you want," Beca tells her, letting her fingers dance over the smooth skin of Chloe's bare thighs.
"Well of course I'm still going to make it. I just wanted it to be a surprise when you first woke up."
"I'm plenty surprised," Beca tells her with a smile, sitting up slightly. "How much longer? And what exactly smells so good?"
"That would be the Chloe Beale breakfast special. I can at least keep that a surprise. It'll be about 5 more minutes, unless I burn it 'cause I'm sitting here talking to you." Chloe leans in and kisses Beca softly before she stands up, heading back into the kitchen.
Beca, for her part, just smiles and sinks back against the couch, waiting to try the "Chloe Beale breakfast special." If it tasted half as good as it smelled, Beca was certain she'd never want to leave Chloe's again.
Other than venturing out for food, the last five days of Beca's visit are spent locked up inside Chloe's apartment. They write music together, watch movies (Beca discovers that watching movies with Chloe isn't that bad because it really just means making out on the couch for a few hours), and make good use of Chloe's bed.
On Beca's last night, they lie in bed, snuggled together under a soft sheet with only their body heat to keep them warm.
"I don't want you to go," Chloe mumbles, her face buried in Beca's neck with soft, delicate tendrils tickling her nose.
"I don't want to go either," Beca tells her honestly. She's gotten used to Chloe's company quickly, a zone of comfort she still hasn't slipped into with Jesse despite his constant presence in their apartment, and she's not looking forward to its absence. Her plane doesn't leave until the next night, so they have a little over twenty-four hours together and Beca won't exactly mind if they don't move from this spot the entire time. Well, food and bathroom breaks excluded.
"So don't," Chloe says. "I'm not in school."
"And look how you turned out," Beca teases.
"Hey now!" Chloe complains, biting at Beca's collarbone in playful reprimand.
"Mmmm," Beca moans softly, loving the sensations Chloe manages to draw out of her. "Keep it up and I'm not gonna let you leave this bed."
Chloe props herself up on her elbow, looking down at Beca and raising her eyebrow in question. "Who said that wasn't the plan?"
Beca smirks and pulls Chloe on top of her. "You're going to be the death of me."
The morning of Beca's flight back to Georgia, she wakes up before Chloe. She thinks about getting up, about making breakfast or coffee (or maybe buying it, because cooking just seems like way too much effort on her last day there), but Chloe's cuddled up against her back, left arm thrown haphazardly over her waist. She contemplates what it would take to move without waking Chloe, but then the other girl mumbles under her breath and nuzzles further against Beca's back, and suddenly Beca doesn't mind being trapped without food or caffeine.
"Your birthday's coming soon, yeah?" Chloe asks, stabbing at her salad lazily but not really eating.
"Yeah," Beca says with a nod. "26th of February."
"Hmm..." Chloe mutters, poking around at her salad some more before finally dropping the fork.
Beca slides her hand under the table and squeezes gently. "Eat," she urges, hating to see Chloe in such a melancholy mood. "Why'd you want to know?"
"Figuring out when I'll see you again."
"Aren't you guys recording the new album in February?"
"Yeah, but it's your birthday. I can take a few days off. It's not like my gi... greatest girl in the world turns 20 every day."
Beca laughs, but it comes out sort of strangled with the way it sticks in her throat. She wills her mind to ignore Chloe's almost slip-up, silently praying for the panic to settle down. They haven't really discussed what was going on between them, but Beca can't really blame Chloe for the use of the term girlfriend after the last week they've spent together. It's what most logical people would do. Beca, however, knows she can be more than a little illogical when it comes to matters of the heart, and she's not quite ready to process the full meaning of the word or the emotions that tag along with it. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, pushing it all to the back of her mind before looking back at Chloe and smiling.
"Yeah? You'd want to do that?"
"If it were up to me, I'd be seeing you before that."
Beca takes a bite of her sandwich, chewing slowly as she thinks. "My schedule is obviously more rigid than yours, but I... wouldn't be opposed to seeing you before then."
"Really?" Chloe asks, looking up in surprise. "I thought maybe you'd want some space for awhile."
"I think the 800 or whatever miles is enough space, yeah?"
"I meant more like time and space," Chloe tells her, smacking Beca's knee playfully under the table.
"I know," Beca says, and in a sudden rush of confidence, she leans out of her seat and across the café table, pressing a quick kiss to Chloe's mouth.
Chloe's face is a mix of shock and happiness, and Beca just settles back into her chair and smiles.
After lunch at the café, they make their way back to Chloe's via a walk through Central Park, fingers linked together as Beca rambles about what's coming up in the next semester. Chloe is quiet - even quieter than she had been at lunch - and when Beca asks a question that goes unanswered, she stops walking and pulls Chloe to a stop as well.
"Hey," Beca says, cupping Chloe's cheek gently when she realizes the other girl is crying. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. I..." Chloe shakes her head, ducking away from Beca's touch. "It's stupid."
"It's not. Talk to me," Beca urges, concerned about the dramatic difference in Chloe's mood in just minutes.
Chloe smiles through her tears, trying to put on a brave face. "It is, really. I'm just a crier. Sorry."
"You don't have to apologize," Beca says, pulling her into a hug. Her hands glide over Chloe's back soothingly, her lips pressed against her neck. "Can you tell me what's wrong?"
"You're leaving," Chloe mumbles into Beca's hair and then laughs because it sounds so ridiculous. She pulls away and slips her hand back into Beca's to continue their walk. "I told you it was dumb."
"Okay, so maybe it's a little ridiculous," Beca says with a smile. "But it's definitely an ego boost."
Chloe elbows her in the ribs but laughs, even as she's sniffing back tears. "You're mean. Taking pleasure in my pain."
"I'm sorry," Beca says sincerely, even though she knows Chloe is only teasing. "Promise me something?"
"No more crying while I'm here."
"I don't know about that," Chloe laughs, tugging Beca closer to her. "But I'll try."
"You know you don't have to actually ride to the airport with me," Beca says as they step on to the elevator.
"I wish I could wait with you at the gate," Chloe says quietly.
"I know," Beca says with a gentle squeeze of Chloe's hand. She frowns when she looks over at the girl, noticing that she is on the verge of tears again. "Hey you. No crying; you promised."
"I know, I know," Chloe laughs half-heartedly. "I can't help it."
They make their way out to the waiting taxi and Beca hands her luggage off to the driver before opening the back door, holding it open for Chloe before sliding in as well.
"So chivalrous," Chloe comments, snuggling up to Beca's side.
Beca wraps her arms around Chloe, happy to just hold her as they ride to the airport in comfortable silence. The entire trip was a whirlwind of emotions, but they've been weighing on her mind even more since Chloe's near slip-up in the diner, and none have been as overwhelming as the emotions she is feeling in this moment, a mix of sadness and happiness, relief and dread, but most of all, contentment. She had never imagined feeling this way for anyone, let alone someone that, in reality, she'd only spent a few days with.
As they sit in traffic on the Queensboro Bridge, Chloe speaks, drawing Beca out of her own mind. "I feel like I'm being too clingy," Chloe whispers, but she doesn't bother to let go.
"You're not," Beca reassures her. Chloe's actions - the tears and the constant contact - would never be Beca's "thing," but she's not so emotionally stunted that she doesn't understand actually missing someone. After a long pause, she speaks again. "I'm gonna miss you, too, y'know."
"I know," Chloe sighs, shifting against Beca's side and watching the New York lights go by.
When they arrive at the airport, Chloe follows Beca out of the taxi, standing on the arrivals curb while the driver grabs Beca's bags.
"You'll call me when you get home?" Chloe asks, her face buried in Beca's neck as she hugs her tightly.
"Of course. You too, yeah?" Beca questions as well. She can feel Chloe's tears against her skin and holds her tighter.
"Yeah. And we'll Skype and text and all that fun stuff?"
"Yeah," Beca says, pulling away from the hug so she can hold Chloe's hands. "And you'll come visit soon. And maybe I'll come up for a weekend."
Chloe smiles and releases Beca's left hand to wipe away her tears. "Okay," she says, and then hesitantly adds, "Can I kiss you right now?"
In lieu of an answer, Beca simply leans in and presses her lips to Chloe's. It's tentative at first, but quickly escalates as Chloe's hands drift to her hips.
After a few moments, Beca pulls away, breathless. "Okay, if you keep that up I'm going to miss my flight," she teases.
"Who said that wasn't the plan?"
"You like that line, don't you?" Beca asks with a smirk.
"Only when it comes to you."
Beca laughs, rolling her eyes at Chloe. "Such a sweet talker."
"I'll see you soon?"
"Definitely," Beca says, and after one last hug, she turns to head into the airport, her heart heavy in her chest with their temporary goodbye. The logical part of her brain knows that they'll fall back into their same routine as before, but the more cynical part can't help but think it won't last - that out of sight means out of mind - and she feels the need to grasp on to something a little more solid. Something more than an unspoken understanding of what they are to each other.
She stops, turning to watch Chloe climb back in the cab, and then suddenly calls to her. "Chloe!"
Chloe turns, one foot already in the cab, and Beca rushes back over the best she can with all of her luggage.
"Yeah?" Chloe questions when Beca stops, taking her hand and gazing at her hopefully.
"I..." Beca hesitates as she stares into Chloe's bright blue eyes, seemingly brighter through all of her tears. Her thoughts swirl in her head; a jumbled mess she can't seem to make sense of. There are a million things she could say in this moment, but the one thing she knows will mean enough is the one that terrifies her the most.
"Thank you," is what she finally settles on, and Chloe looks at her confused. She shakes her head, knowing that thank youwill do nothing for the unrelenting knot of worry in the pit of her stomach, but she still can't find the strength to say it.
"Just, thank you," Beca repeats, whispering it quietly as she looks at their joined hands. Her left thumb traces a small heart on Chloe's palm, and she knows it's the closest she will get to expressing the words she knows she is already feeling. She just hopes Chloe gets it.
"Beca, I..." Chloe starts, and Beca looks up to find the unshed tears that were glistening in her eyes now running down her cheeks. Chloe tries to continue but is cut off by Beca's lips against her own.
"Shhh," Beca says. "I just... wanted you to know."