Here's the truth: Jesse doesn't know how to tie a necktie.

Not properly, at least. If Bumper were here, he guesses that all the Treble Ties would be under strict quality control management. But because being an embarrassment to manliness is not on his list of things to accomplish in New York, he lets it be. Benji and Unicycle don't have socially-acceptable necktie knots, either. At least, he's not the only one. That's one consolation (on the infinite list of consolations that he tells himself).

Standing backstage in Lincoln Center is not the momentous, life-changing event he had expected it to be. Sure, the air smells like the fervent nagging of competition and he swears he can hear the fucking drive to win from every corner of this hallowed infrastructure. Everything, from the security guards to the other acapella groups (who are intense, by the way), to the shrill sound of vocal warm-ups, everything is fine tuned to the swell of competition. Still. He's not really impressed.

(Because there are some things in life that, once you experience them, take away a little bit of everything else.)

As the first strains of The Final Countdown is heard, the Trebles make their way to the wings of the stage.

"Where's Benji?" Donald asks.

...

Running down the length of backstage, Benji makes a run for the west wing, turning a sharp corner.

And bumping into Beca.

"Whoa, dude," she says, being knocked off balance.

"Oh my god! Are you... sorry!"

"Am I what?" Beca laughs. Nerds are so easily discombobulated.

"I mean, I'm so sorry! Are you okay, Beca? I'm so—"

"Calm down, Benji. I'm fine," she says, brushing off his confused and terrified look. But her eyes dart to his necktie, and she chuckles, shaking her head. Damned nerds. Can't even tie their own neckties.

"Dude," she says, as she reaches for the loose loop around him and properly straightens it and fits it, biting back a giggle at Benji's flustered face. "Can't have you going to your debut in this monstrosity," she adds with a kindness that Benji has seldom seen on her (it suits her).

"Thanks, Beca." Benji's face is brimming, but she can tell that he's nervous as hell.

"Don't sweat it, you'll be great," she says, before he darts off again. But not before opening his mouth to say something, and closing it before he actually does.

He was going to tell her that Jesse was lucky to have her, but he realizes that Jesse doesn't. And it makes him sad for his two friends. He doesn't know what happened between them, but beneath Beca's quietness, he could sense a little nervousness there, too.

...

"Hey, Becky—sorry—Beca, get me lunch?"

She sees Jesse's jaw tense. He would have probably broken something (along the lines of Luke's nose), had she not given him a really fast, really sneaky side smile, as if to say Yes, Luke is an asshole. Don't worry. We both know.

"Yeah, okay," she replies, as Luke heads back inside the booth.

Who would have thought that Luke's lunch order would change Jesse's life.

...

As the University of Virginia's Hullabahoos belt out The Final Countdown, Jesse feels a little different...

The feel of the few moments before being on stage, as far back as he can remember it, is like the overwhelming ammonia of raw fear. Strong, overpowering, it was sheer terror that made him invincible once he steps onto that platform, and the spotlight welcomes him. His is the moment that the previous moments of terrifying pressure had built on.

But that was before Beca.

There are some things in life that, once you experience them, take away a little bit of everything else. Beca Mitchell is not one of these things; she is all of them, combined into one convenient complication, the bane of his world and the love of his life, two sides of the coin of his fucking existence. The puzzle he will never complete, and he adored her, with a past tense.

Which means now, he can barely care.

Standing in the wings, watching the Hullaba—what now, he doesn't even know. But he's not nervous, and it's a little strange. How silly is that?

...

The silly thing about romcoms is that they never really tell the whole story.

Like, how there's always this one between the two, who has to be won over. She knows this from John Cusack. John Cusack taught her that people like her will always find reasons to push people like Jesse away. She did that for the whole year, after all. And Jesse is the kind of guy who holds boomboxes outside windows, and she's the kind of girl who tosses and turns, but doesn't acknowledge that there's a guy outside who's arms are getting tired from holding up a goddamned boombox.

So she returns with Luke's lunch, and to Jesse's smile.

(That small, tired smile that she knows she doesn't deserve.)

"Did you get him—"

"His regular? Nope," she replies, as they stack side by side. She feels him chuckle fifteen inches from her, and it feels like fifteen miles. She can't take it.

"Jesse..." she starts again. His name feels weird in her mouth, without any insult, or malice. Without a ready quip. She knows, he can tell, but he doesn't say anything, merely waits for her to continue. Forever waiting for her. And she's waiting for herself to get the right amount of guts to actually... say anything.

...

The Hullabahoos end with a final note to punctuate the energy-driven air backstage.

"Alright guys, this is it. It's game time," Donald says to the huddle of Trebles before him. "Let's put on a show. And remember..."

He directs his next words to Jesse.

"...Let her do her thing."

Which is an awefully weird thing to pep-talk about pre-performance, especially because the rest of the Trebles have no clue as to who "she" is. But before anyone can protest, the hands are in, and the swag is on.

"One, two, three... Swag!"

The rest of the Trebles take their formation to get ready for their entrance, Jesse left to his own thoughts. He doesn't get ten seconds to internalize Donald's words before a small voice from behind him...

"Hey."

He turns around, slowly, tentatively, because everything about her is plagued with a ridiculous uncertainty.

...

"I, um..."

She doesn't know what to say. Literally, doesn't know what to say.

She doesn't know how to communicate it, but she knows how it feels. It feels like her entire being is weirdly attached to him, like he's permanently intruded in her life. It feels like missing him even when he's around. It feels like the emptiness between them, right now, stacking beside each other. It's the feeling of missing him so much, too much, because he's missing from her.

Now, to put that into words...

"I like... your movies."

Which wasn't even remotely what she intended to say, but she tries to meet his eyes, and they soften, for a moment.

A single, brief moment.

...

"Hey," he replies.

"Good luck."

There is a brief moment that exists, between the first and second pumping of his heart, when he lays eyes on her.

(That brief moment contains everything that he has ever wanted to tell her, but never did.)

"Thanks. You too."

The smallness of her, how the distance between them is so painfully there, everything about this is all so wrong, that he feels his heart wreaking havoc in his chest, speeding up to the tempo that he is probably gonna have to match, in a while. The heart that used to only beat for her, and now that she seems so gone, it starts beating wildly again.

And then, he's nervous (finally, normally), poised to give this performance his all.

(Because she's Beca Mitchell, and she has that effect on him.)

He turns around, faces the stage, but he doesn't look back to see if her eyes are still on him. They don't have to be.

...

"I like your... movies."

"Really? Wow. This is... some kind of historical moment, isn't it?" He jests with words that she knows aren't completely sincere, as he moves towards the desk for more CDs.

"So, does that mean you'll be watching Star Wars reruns with Luke now?" he adds.

That was supposed to be a joke. One, gigantic, funny joke between the two of them, of how their relationship has progressed through the last months, and how, of all things, she just might end up with Luke after all. It's supposed to be hilarious. Supposed to be.

(But it's not. Not for him, anyway.)

And he's waiting for a sign. Of how she would react. Of clarity to the blur that she always is. Instead of getting one, he feels a pinch of hurt when, out of nowhere, she suddenly smiles.

The ghost of a laugh barely making it through, she smiles. Fucking smiles.

Why is that?

Then she looks up at him and her eyes are sparkling and she's biting her lip with that smirk (god, that smirk), like she knows something that he doesn't, and he forgets what it was that he said in the first place. He's not supposed to fall all over her again and again everytime her eyes light up, but he decides to let this one slide. Baby steps, he tells himself.

...

So he whips out onto the stage, eyes front and into the heat of the moment and the rest of his life without her.

...

Beca watches him go, as the perfect harmony of Cee Lo's song is washed over with blue and purple lights while The Barden University Treblemakers take their places on stage, Jesse's effortless charm pulling the panties from underneath all the girls skirts. And let's not forget that (goddamned lucky) mic stand.

"I've been living for the weekend, but no, not anymore. Cause here comes the familiar feeling, that Friday's famous for."

She watches him harness music the way he always has, and she is brought back to Kelly Clarkson and the impossible heights of his voice when she watched him from the wings of that small stage, so many months ago.

"I've been looking some action, and it's out there somewhere. You can feel this electricity, all in the evening air..."

She watches him sing.

And she's wringing her microphone as he's soaking the air with ridiculously sexy moves (seriously, damn son.) that she had traded for LA, once upon a time. He's dancing with the mic stand and engaging the audience and fucking playing with the set with his necktie hanging carelessly over his unbuttoned collar and she cannot believe, not even in the slightest, what in god's name she was thinking all those months.

The Bellas join her in watching their opponents stride into a powerful performance. At least, she doesn't have to watch him alone.

...

"So, does that mean you'll be watching Star Wars reruns with Luke now?"

That one question hits Beca like an unexpected burrito.

One day, she thinks she knows herself. And then the next day, something... clicks.

It's the click of the universe, telling her what has been going on, all this time. It's the explanation of why she punched that Tonehanger, and what that small voice has been telling her about Jesse for so long. It's why she became his Valentine, and why she told him not to talk. It's that stupid girlfriend comment, and it's what she's been afraid of.

It was this, all along.

But the realization is too much, and it makes her smile.

(She cannot believe how entirely "right" Stacie was; she was so in denial. That shit wasn't healthy.)

...

In fact, the Bellas are right about a lot of things. Come to think of it.

"Bright lights and bigger city, it belongs to us tonight... Ah..."

The tune drops a key, and out comes the pigeon-caring, magician friend of hers. There's a lingering pause in the air, when she sees Jesse give his best friend a nod, and let's him have the stage...

To the tune of one of the songs on her mix.

She has to tell herself not to laugh.

Because of all things that could possibly happen in the finals, she has drowned her brain in thoughts of failure and rejection. The image of Jesse walking away is seared into her mind, even before it happens, because she's a pessimist like that. The Finals is terrifying not because it's the Finals, but because of him and what he would possibly do (or not do/feel). So when she hears Benji take the stage, his voice ringing true through the melody and causing girls (actual females) to start fangirling, she never expected this.

Well, would you look at that. At least Benji has his happy ending.

(And the song from her mix is a pleasant surprise as well, but then... BAM.)

In a sudden explosion of rythm and perfect harmony, Donald practically jumps out onto the spotlight, in his signature hair and signature swag, and the girls go absolutely bonkers.

"These tricks that I'll attempt will blow your mind..."

With a flurry of fantastic footwork, Donald, Benji, and Jesse start "magically" freezing the Trebles, one by one, and she can't help it. Such dorky, brilliant choreography could have only come from the three of them, the nerds. All while singing perfect harmony and with the facial expressions to match, to the screamning background of the auditorium's female demographic.

And goddamnit, she is so frikkin proud to be their archnemesis right now.

"I've got the magic in me!"

The Trebles end with a performance worthy of their lyrics.

...

The announcer starts introducing them as Beca turns around to face her Bellas. Her Bellas. She's proud of that. And they're all jittery and nervous, but she isn't. Whatever happens tonight, the knowledge that she has her Bellas is still something to hold onto.

"I love you, awesome nerds," she says.

She does. She really does.

"Yeah, you guys are the best," Fat Amy says, on the brink of tears. "Even though some of you are pretty thin, I think that you all have fat hearts, and that's what matters."

The rest of the group are all pretty damn emotional at that. But Fat Amy isn't done.

"I'd do anything for you guys... Except for running, jogging, or, um, climbing stairs... but anything else, I'm like there for you, dudes. And I just wanna say I love you guys more than puppies and sea(Beca needs to pull Amy's mic away to avoid an awkward broadcast)-seafood."

"And... no matter what happens, we're all winners. And we have good hair. And we got bikini waxes and that's gonna last at least six to eight weeks so we, we still have that, even if we don't walk away with a trophy. Except Stacie."

(Because Stacie has a Brazilian.)

Was this a weird, pre-performance peptalk? Yes. Very much.

"'Kay, ley's just smash this!" Fat Amy smiles.

Alrighty, then, Beca thinks. Here goes nothing.

(Here goes everything.)

...

One thing that they don't tell you about performance is that it takes a lot of carbohydrates.

Which is why Jesse could feel the faint strains of pounding in his head upond descending the stage. He hasn't exactly eaten much in the last days, and he can't really count on two bananas and a juice pouch to deliver the kind of swaggery like he just did.

And he did deliver, by the way.

He was so in his game, he's sure they must have it in the bag. And he could not have been more proud of his team at that moment. They closed it strong.

He takes a seat, and as the Bellas are being called out on stage, he has to wonder how they would do.

He hopes they do well.

(Even if it hurts to see her.)

There are rumors that they're planning something big to take the title from the Treblemakers. And if anything, it would seem as though they're different today. Going onto the stage in a different formation, with different clothes...

Wait, is that... Beca? With the pitch pipe?

Huh.

"One, two, three, four..."

Beca counts down, and all at once, the female voices of perfect harmony start singing Jesse J's Price Tag. It stings a litte, he must admit, because he recalls a time in his life when Beca didn't know about that song. Hell, he introduced that song to her. Oh, well. It's not like he didn't do the same thing, taking a song from her mix.

(To be fair, Bumper and Donald had chosen the set, not him...)

"We're paying with love tonight..."

There's a lingering pause in the air, before the entire place is assaulted when somebody (is that even... what is that? Are the Bellas taking in male members now?) drops the bass down low.

(And shit, is that Lilly? Creepy Lilly?)

"It's not about the money, money, money... We don't need your money, money, money..."

Oh, wow. The Bellas. Just... wow.

They didn't just step up their game. They're raising the whole bar. Here they are, ten beautiful ladies, dancing, swinging their hips, the purple lights of the stage and a deep baritone that he swears can't possibly be female, wrapped in the cocoon of a very distinct style. But of course.

The audience around him are wild with enthusiasm, but all he can do is watch that one girl, in the last line. All he can do is strain his ears for the sound of her voice above eveyrone else's. On top of his slight headache, no less. And he shouldn't be so wrapped up in her "oh, whoa-oh"s. He has to, for a moment, cater to the pounding in his head, resting it on his hand.

(Because, again, it hurts.)

And then, he hears it.

He doesn't recognize it at first. At first, it sounds like once upon a time, to him, like a vague melody he must have dreamt of...

But he knows that voice. He could hear a million different names, a million different sounds in his lifetime, but when it's all over, the sound that's going to stick with him, is the sound of that voice.

The voice that's singing the soundtrack of his life, apparently.

"Won't you, come see about me. I'll be alone, dancing you know it baby..."

What.

He lifts his eyes up to see the one and only Beca Mitchell, center stage, and his brain fries itself.

"Tell me, your troubles and doubts, giving me everything, inside and out..."

The audience is wild, but Jesse, Jesse doesn't know what to do anymore.

Well, shit.

"Don't you (you're amazing) Forget about me (just the way you are)..."

An estimation of about 300% of Jesse Swanson has, right there and then, regressed into his previous predicament of being head over heels for this woman. The Breakfast Club song, the perfect ending to any movie, is being sung by Beca. That statement in itself is enough for him to question the validity of whatever the shit is happening here...

But the audience is screaming, and he's looking around at them. They can hear it too.

My god.

Then the Bellas are forming a line formation. (A line straight to his heart.)

"As you walk on by, will you call my name..."

He blanks out because...

...

"So, does that mean you'll be watching Star Wars reruns with Luke now?"

That comment, he supposes, is meant to be a little mean, with a touch of bitterness. So when she pauses and bites back a smile, turns to him, breaks him apart and puts him back together with those eyes, he wants nothing more.

"He doesn't even know my name," she says, her eyes aglow.

...

There are moments that are meant to never be equaled in a lifetime.

(This is one of those.)

And then she's breaking formation, and she's taking center. There, on stage, and here, in the middle of his frantically-beating heart.

...

"I didn't tell him my name for an entire year," she adds, smiling to herself and shaking her head in that small way.

...

In the same, small way that she's singing to him, right now, because she's telling him something, like everything that has ever passed unspoken between them. It's a plea, a quiet question, the two of them all alone between three eights in a Simple Minds song.

"As you walk on by, will you call my name..."

Everything stops.

Her eyes meet his, and everything loses meaning. This is what it must feel like, when you're seconds away from death, and your life flashes before you.

Only, it's the complete opposite.

His life, the rest of his life, is in front of his eyes. Singing to him. From Luke that first day at the station, up to this moment, there exists a small, unspoken whisper between them. There is a reason why the station manager kept calling her Becky. A reason why she punched that guy straight, why she went to jail for him, why she gave him her mix. The reason that they never talk about. She's telling him that she wants him to know her name, call her name, because now, now she knows. She knows what this is. This is that reason.

This is her, asking him if he knows that.

This is her, asking in the only way she knows how.

And this is him, completely and utterly taken. She may have been blurry all throughout the year, but now, it's all so clear. And it makes his eyes sweat. But he. does. not. care. Because, yes.

He will call her name. With a birdcalll, on a sticky note, whispered, sung, and screamed. In the middle of class, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the quad. On Valentines Day and on Thursdays. At the station, in front of that smug asshole of a station manager, before going to get a burger, or after. To all the Bellas, to all the Treblemakers, and all the aca-people in between. When she's angry, sad, hormotional, or otherwise. Walls or no walls, he'll shout it through the eighteen inches of steel or concrete that she wraps herself in, because now, now he knows. He gets it.

God, yes.

...

"As you walk on by...

She has a feeling.

That the faint edges of his mouth, over there at the fifth row, are curved into the smile that has ruined every other smile for her. It's her turn to sing to him, and she has a feeling that he knows what she's doing here. Her doubts melt away, replaced by a funny memory of the taste of Capri Sun.

"...will you call my name."

...

In the dim light of the audience, their eyes connected, their hearts on the line, he knows she must see him, because he can just catch that look...

He raises his fist. Of course, he raises his fist.

...

There are no words, no clever puns or wit, there is nothing in the world, that can describe what she feels when she sees that faint image of a fist pump.

Hell, yeah.

...

There she is.

A fist pump in response to his, and he thinks he's going to burst. Explode. Combust. That's Beca Mitchell, badass movie-hater, singing his song back to him. He would have held his arm up, kept it up for six more hours and forever after, if he had known that was all it would take. Because in that infinity within a second...

To see your eyes like this, that's all I can ever hope for.

And god, if this moment isn't the culmination of his movie-worthy life.

(Or maybe it's the stage lights. He reminds himself to give the lighting technician some flowers and a basket of fruit, because goddamn, if the lights weren't perfect in that moment.)

But of course she would take it all back and remix it with Pitbull. How can she not?

"Tonight, I will love, love you tonight..."

Because she's Beca, and she's unpredictable and wild and crazy and fanfuckingtastic at what she does. She braids the harmony and the melody and the sopranoes, altos, mezzos. She takes a line and puts it in another, and twists it and morphs it and made it more perfect than anyone else on this planet ever could. Chord progressions, bass lines, downbeats, every single element falling, and falling together.

Just like the two of them, all throughout the year.

(Also, holy mother of all things, that redhead can bass.)

"Forget what they say, all my cares they play..."

Beca runs her hand along the curve of her hips, and Jesse needs to breathe.

There should be a rule against this.

The Bellas are gracing the stage with probably illegal amounts of sexy, and he can just make out that his teammates are so damned intoxicated from all the talent that their competitors are giving away for free. Every single one of them with their mouths dropped open, staring, bobbing their heads. Thank you, John Mayer, for making sure that Bumper, that incorrigible asshole, isn't around to ruin this moment.

"Grab somebody sexy, tell 'em hey..."

There must be a rule, somewhere in the handbooks, against that kind of Bella-to-Bella action. Which, okay, he doesn't really wish there was any, but there should be. For the sake of the collective jaw-hanging along the fifth row. It's kind of amazing that none of his teammates have yet to... oh, wait. Kolio is the first one to drool.

(From the corner of his eyes, there's Donald, a finger to the upward curve of his lips, eyes locked in pure adoration, watching a certain, tall blonde who had just removed her jacket.)

Oh wow. Now they're rapping? Damn.

Hip thrusts from stage right and ridiculous levels of hotness to stage left. Well, hell. No way the Treblemakers stand a chance now. Aca-history is being made. And to think that all they want is to make the world dance.

"Excuse me, but I might drink a little more than I should tonight..."

Fat Amy's solo suddenly comes on, and christ, if that woman doesn't know how to solo. Yet, through every harmony, every pitch perfect melody, Beca's signature mixing style rings true, her words forming little pockets of lyrics in between, making his heart stop every time.

(Because she's Beca Mitchell, and she has that effect on him.)

"And I might take you home with me if I could (Don't you) tonight (forget about me)..."

And then she takes it all back, twists the tempo and throws it all again, eyes ablaze with a fire, the lust and the passion that she has always possessed.

And that isn't a PG-13 sound she makes, either.

Holy shit.

(Insert completely inappropriate thought, right here.)

"Don't you forget about me..."

It's no longer a declaration, or a question. This is her exclamation to the world, and Jesse isn't about to blink for one fucking second, because he will drown in every bit of her that he can possible have, like he's been drowning in the past year. This is Beca, her heart on the stage, her voice in his ears, and he's drowning. Falling. Fallen. This is Beca, her music, her soul, and he does not need air.

As far as he's concerned, he has died and gone to heaven.

"We might not get tomorrow, let's do it tonight!"

...

The silly thing about romcoms is that they never really tell the whole story.

Beca is exhausted, but in a good way. In a great way. And she can't stop smiling and that's a good thing. She doesn't want stop smiling. In fact, she only wants one thing right now.

The Bellas are on high, on top of the world that is Collegiate Acapella. They made it through, with the sound of the roar of the audience as their proof. She led them here, to this moment, and Aubrey is hugging her again, and every one is all hugs and she doesn't fucking care, because as much as a badass she is, sometimes, it's okay to like hugs. There's nothing wrong with hugs. Or kisses. Or other people.

The thing with romcoms, as she would later tell him, is that they're predictable. But they don't tell the whole story. Because the guy holding the boombox, sometimes, he gets tired. And then what? She's not about to toss and turn for the rest of her life, waiting for him to get un-tired.

Sometimes, you just gotta hold the boombox yourself.

That is, if you want the endings to be the best part.

(Which she does.)

She descends the stage and everything can go melt, because all she cares about is the nerd down at the fifth row.

He says something, which barely registers, because he's such a weirdo.

Her weirdo now. That fist pump sealed the deal.

(She throws her microphone away in careless abandon. She doesn't need it anymore.)

So she closes the distance between them. In every sense of the word.

...

There are some things in life that, once you experience them, take away a little bit of everything else.

Kissing Beca Mitchell is one of those things.

Because Beca Mitchell is all of those things.

And his heart still does this thing, around her. Except that it doesn't hurt anymore. Not even in the slightest. Not with her lips smiling against his, her eyes crinkling, matching his own, and he can't even pinpoint the moment that she pulled him close, because he has always been pulled close. He was, is, and always will be pulled impossibly close to her.

This kiss? Totally inevitable anyway.

He called it. Best friends and/or lovers.

(But now that they're both, he can die a hero.)

...

Here's the truth: Beca doesn't know how to communicate feelings for shit.

She doesn't know what to say, she doesn't know how to wordify, because English is a drunk bastard that makes no sense.

She does, however, know how to make music.

Between her and Jesse, it's the only way she knew how to tell him. Simple Minds. The metaphorical boombox under Jesse's window, because she's alternative; gender specifics be damned. She needs him to to understand that she will push him away, she will tug, she will refuse his help, and she will refuse him. She will put up walls, time and again. But she will never, ever, want him to forget about her.

Because from now, up to forever, she's going to try.

(Which includes kissing him. It's really not too bad. Her heart is going a thousand beats per minute, which should count as cardio. She'll have to do this more often.)

...

"Told you you they won't french it," Stacie says to Amy as they watch the culmination of a year's worth of sexual tension, making out in the middle of the audience.

"Damnit." Amy hands Stacie a twenty, from deep within the crevices of her ample cleavage.

...

"Strong with him."

"The Force is."

Donald leaves out a palm which Benji automatically low-fives, neither of them looking away. Watching their third member get lucky at the fifth row, they both heave a sigh. Ah, finally. It took long enough.

There's a bit of a ruckus beside the seats, as caused by the two aca-groups, right before the announcer comes to introduce the next performance. So Donald doesn't expect a light tap on his shoulder. He turns around.

"Hi."

He smiles.

"Hey, Bree."

...

When they pull away (because he might not need air, but she's still breathless from the heights of her music directed to him), his brain is overheated enough to be able to fry a sunny-side up.

Because thinking of eggs is easier than trying to understand whatever the hell it is that he did to deserve this. Or her. The crowd is still clapping, and it seems like an applause he doesn't deserve, a standing ovation for the ridiculous ending that she just gave him, and he's just, maybe, a little drunk from the intesity of it all.

"Why'd you do that?" he mindlessly asks.

(The smirk that graces her features is all the answer he needs.)

"'Cause I knew you wouldn't."

It is at this point that he finally tells himself, with a resolve to match his unyielding heart, that this is the woman he'd like to spend eternity with. And then some.

...

Love is complicated.

Especially between a nerd and the girl with the earspike.

But once you get over the whole earspike thing, the nerd thing, the not liking movies and the being a total dork, once you get over the pride and the denial, get over the fear and get over the rejection, it becomes a little bit less complicated.

Love is what this is, after all.

Took them both a while to get that. But now that they do, love is pretty simple:

It's meeting the other, halfway there.

fin

.:.


Author's Note: Warning, this is the longest Author's Note you will probably encounter, but this is it. Roll credits.

Music: From Pitch Perfect (2012), Bellas Finals and Treblemakers Finals

Movies: The Breakfast Club (1985); Say Anything (1989)

CREDITS:

If you've come to this point, and if you have read my other AN's, then I hope you know how grateful I am for your reading this. This fic and pairing has taken over my mundane life, and writing it has been a sincere pleasure. I can only hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed watching the movie, like, eighteen billion times.

You are all wonderful nerds who deserve a round of applaus for sticking with me through this. I thank thee.

:)

I kept on writing and rewriting this chapter, before I told myself to "screw it, let's just do it". I only hope that I did the ending some justice. I just knew that it had to be this way, with the revelation and the name thing, when I watched the deleted scene, with Beca going out with Luke. It's a testament to the brilliance of Kay Cannon (scriptwriter), the moment that Beca says "I don't know" when Luke asks her why she didn't tell him her name. So there, that's my reason.

I finally decided to put an end to the whole Donald mystery. I wasn't supposed to mention it again, but okay. That one came from my love of Anna Camp, and my love for Utkarsh Ambudkar, among other reasons. See if you can find that one deleted scene which made my mind go cray cray.

Finally, here is a bunch of names of aca-awesome dorks, with whom I have become friends with, whether they like it or not:

ohchan - My beautiful beta, to whom I dedicate all the subtext in this chapter, because she gets me.

PitchPerf - If I could, I'd give you a juice pouch right now.

wheresmywings - I swear, sometimes I just wanna post a chapter to read your live reviews.

MissLiv - We stick together till the end.

amateur-hourd - You're the nerd to my dork. The Jesse to my Benji.

Hate Finding Usernames - (To everyone who is reading this, you know who this person is. You know who she is, or I'm judging you so hard right now.)

stopthenrewind - Why do you even grace the pages of my reviews. Why. I don't understand.

theasbofive - (Again, you dorks. If you don't know who this is, we can't be friends.)

Grey - For all I know, you could be Kay Cannon... oh my god...

filmyfurry and .792 - Every single page, you're there. And I appreciate how you take the time. Thank you. :)

And finally, this chapter is brought to you by Bianca and Jill, who wrote "Pitching it Perfectly" and "Source Music", respectively. They're the reasons I started writing this in the first place, so if you like this fic, go thank them. :))

And now, I'm off to focus on my other project. And I just have to say, thank you so much again. I realize I'm such a sappy fool in my ANs, but I get real crummy sometimes, it happens. But then, your words of encouragement are too much. I love every single one of you. (Yuck, feelings. But it's true.)

But since you read all the way up to the end of the Author's Note, here's a little goodie, as inspired by wheresmywings...


Bumper doesn't realize that he's standing in the middle of a sand ocean as he yawns and sleepwalks out of the bus, which speeds away as soon as he's off. (Because even vehicles don't like him.)

"Los Angeles, here I co-"

He opens his eyes to the wonderful emptiness of nowhere, in particular.

What the fuckles?!

...

*ef you, ef you very very much...*

Chloe's phone rings, so she wipes her hands and takes her phone out, cradling it between her head and shoulders.

"Hello?"

"Who is this? Is this John Mayer's new assistant? Where's Mr. Zee?" Bumper's voice on the other end sounds shellshocked.

Whoops. Chloe chuckles, and shoots the other Bellas a funny little look. They're eating some shawarma, courtesy of Jesse's insistence on some form of "after-credits" scene, with his arms wrapped around Beca, with her, sitting on his lap. He can barely grin from all the mouthfuls that he's biting from her food when Beca wrinkles her nose up at him.

The Bellas perk up to listen to Chloe put on a show.

...

"I am afraid, Mistah Allen, that John Mayah won't be needin' your service any longah."

Bumper's face scrunches up from the low boom of Mr. Zee on the other end. Wasn't he just talking to a woman?

...

The Bellas are spurting little bits of mayonaised cabbage and beef, trying to contain their laughter. Chloe shoots Amy an inquiring look, which Amy ponders.

Oh, alright. You may.

"I hope your sandals are as good as you say they are, Bumper, because LA is kind of far."

"Chloe?!"

"It's Mistah Zee, to you," Chloe says, quickly changing to baritone, right before hanging up. Ah, yes. Her nodes are the best thing that has ever happened to her.

...

Bumper hangs up his phone, the sun shining on him in what could be the Sahara, for all he knows. And he doesn't even have sunblock.

Goddamnit, John Mayer.