Author's Note: This is how I imagine the morning after the night of the final competition would go. I'm not sure if I want to continue it, so let me know what you think of this chapter and/or if you would want to read another chapter. Thanks :)
Beca turned the faucet, her hand heavy with tiredness. As the water came down on her, she shook her head. She should be happy. It was perfect, everything was perfect. She should be happy.
It was far too early for her to be awake, but she hadn't been able to sleep. The excitement of winning the competition and the tingling feeling of Jesse on her lips had kept her from sleepiness until about 3 am. Then, in the dark of her room, the excitement and the kisses that she had always thought she wanted subsided. An emptiness filled her chest and she spent the next few hours watching the small square of light the moon left on the ceiling. She had done it, she had let people in. Right? Why did it feel off? Had she done it wrong?
Those were the thoughts that carried her to 6 in the morning, at which point she pulled herself out of bed, grabbed her shower caddy, and made her way to the showers. She needed to move, she need to quiet her thoughts.
As she began to wash herself, she sang, not thinking of why this song of all songs would come to her that morning.
You shout it out, but I can't hear a word you say
She washed her face and her shoulders and her neck. She scrubbed at her skin until it turned red.
I'm talking loud not saying much, I'm criticized but all your bullets ricochet
Her voice was quiet, naked just like her. The tiles around her bounced her voice back and forth amongst themselves, so that her small and wavering voice filled the room.
You shoot me down, but I get up
And another voice joined hers.
I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose, fire away, fire away
The other voice was thin, it was delicate, it was only a shadow of the strong voice Beca knew it could be, and yet she recognized it. How could she not?
Ricochet, you take your aim, fire away, fire away
Together, their voices grew stronger. Both naked, both exposed, from different shower stalls, the voices held onto each other.
You shoot me down but I won't fall, I am titanium
Beca continued to wash her body, still singing. Still singing and still listening to the other voice. The other voice's harmonizing made her heart flutter. It touched her further beneath her skin than anything else ever had.
You shoot me down but I won't fall, I am titanium
So this was what it was to be vulnerable.
I am titanium
There was such a sadness to the two voices, to the notes they filled the room with, as they both bared their souls to the falling water and each other.
I am titanium
They continued to sing. It was just them, their voices, the echoing tiles, and the water that fell steadily and filled the room with steam.
When the last I am titanium rang through the room, Beca took a deep breath and turned the faucet. The water stopped and she stood there for a moment, shivering, before grabbing her towel and wrapping herself up in it.
She could still hear the other shower going. She wanted it to stop, she wanted it to stop so badly, why wouldn't it –
The water stopped abruptly and Beca imagined that she could hear the other voice breathing a few stalls down.
Beca pushed the shower curtain aside and stepped out. Another shower curtain was pulled open, and Beca smiled slightly at the sight of Chloe in her towel. She seemed so bashful, especially considering the fact that she had been so open about her body the first time they had sung together in the shower.
"I couldn't sleep," Beca offered.
"Neither could I."
Beca nodded, aware of the silence in between their words, aware of her hair dripping and the goosebumps forming on her arms.
"So.." Chloe stepped a bit closer. "You must be happy. You got everything you wanted."
"So did you."
"You didn't answer my question."
"It wasn't really a question."
Chloe met Beca's eyes, no longer bashful. Fierce. Probing. Asking. Begging.
"Are you happy, Beca?" she asked as if this were the only question that mattered.
"I – " Beca stopped herself. She owed it to Chloe to answer honestly. "It turned out that maybe everything I thought I wanted wasn't everything I wanted. Does that make sense?"
Chloe nodded. "What do you want?"
Beca sighed and took in all of Chloe. Her skin, slightly red from the shower. Her hair, wet and darker than it looked in the sun. Her eyes, glistening, tired but still vibrant. Her figure, her curves, her –
Beca shook her head. "Now, looking back…I just feel like I chose the wrong…I took the wrong path."
Chloe looked slightly puzzled. She desperately wanted Beca's words to mean what she thought they meant, but she didn't allow herself to jump to this conclusion.
"What about you? Aren't you happy? I mean, with the a capella competition and everything. Didn't you get everything you wanted?"
Chloe smiled sadly. "The competition wasn't everything. Maybe it seemed like it was, but there were other…can I ask you something?"
They both smiled at that, but then Chloe's face grew serious as she drew the courage to ask her question. "Do you really love Jesse?"
Beca was taken aback. "Love?"
"I like him. I really do, Chloe. But then last night, I just – as happy as I was…I just kept wishing I was with you."
Chloe smiled. This time it wasn't sad or small. She opened her mouth to say –
The bathroom door opened and another girl walked in. Chloe closed her mouth quickly as she and Beca nodded to the girl, who mumbled "morning" as she passed by. It occurred to both of them how ridiculous it was to be having this conversation in the showers, naked and shivering and dripping wet, each clutching a towel to their bodies.
Chloe quickly grabbed her shower caddy, but as she passed Beca on her way out she stopped. "It's not too late to choose the other path, you know. It's not too late for you to have everything you want."
And then she left. The door to the shower room closed behind her and Beca exhaled deeply, unaware that her breath had caught in her throat at Chloe's last words. She listened to the other shower turn on and then she grabbed her own caddy and left.
She couldn't think about the trophy or the group hug the Bellas had shared or how Aubrey had looked at her with nothing but respect or the way Jesse had kissed her or the way she had kissed him or the way he had professed his undying love for her or the way she had just shifted uncomfortably, wondering if this was what love really was.
All she could think about was Chloe. All she could feel was the way her heart pounded when she thought of her eyes meeting Chloe's from across the room, of her voice meeting Chloe's from across the showers.