The moment Beca left, Chloe gingerly tore open the letter from her maybe not-so-secret-anymore admirer, and began to read eagerly, searching for a connection to Jesse that she so desperately felt must be there. After the fifth reading, Chloe finally felt prepared to answer the questions contained within the note that accompanied the newest drive of what she was sure were beautiful songs. Really, given her lack of knowledge of the Treble, she felt that she should feel more apprehensive in corresponding, but her desire to learn more about the creator of the mixes overrode her apprehension. She placed the flash drive to the side of her desk, firmly making the internal decision to revisit it after she replied to the awkwardly adorable letter.
To my very own dear and wonderful DJ,
I loved your letter; your words pulled at parts of my heart that haven't been moved in so very long, and it was both a pleasurable and worrisome experience for me. I am good with words, at times, though I have the unfair advantage of being a senior English Lit. major; however, your ability to wind song lyrics and rhythms to match my emotions are far superior to any missives I may produce. If you're wondering about the odd use of the word worrisome, it is purely because you have, in such a distanced way, broken through so many barriers I seldom let people know even exist, and almost never let people know. Despite that, I feel an undeniable connection to you, and it is with my heart open and soul bared that I continue along this, whatever this may be, in order to get a better sense of who you are. First, you wish to know the humble origins of my ladybug tattoo; it's interesting that you even noticed it, as it is tiny and unremarkable, but your attention to detail is clearly an asset to your DJ skills, so here goes.
I mentioned before that my parents were never really around that much on a day to day basis, but the person who was each and every day from birth until my teens was my Nana. My mother's mother was a remarkable woman. She lived for both music and words, for her, neither could exist without the other. In her youth, she wrote and sang radio jingles for national and local products, and brought life and vitality to all those around her. Her favorite place was a small community garden a block from her house, and as soon as I was old enough to accompany her, she would take me there. As I grew older, she taught me the names of each plant, and with it, the beauty and stillness that nature could afford. Each year for a few weeks, the garden seemed to crawl with ladybugs, and I was always fascinated by their movement and resilience. Nana started calling me her little ladybug, as I always seemed right at home in the garden, as though there was no other place I could think to exist. We'd spend hours there, singing old jingles and making our own, and the day she passed away, I went to the garden, which at that time of year should have been teeming with our small red friends, but I saw only one solitary ladybug perched on her favorite flower. A year later, when I turned 18, I got the tattoo to remember her, and so that I would feel a little less alone in this world.
This took a depressing turn, I am so sorry! I will reply about the scar later, as it requires reenactment for the full effect, but my favorite color is blue. Not bright blue, or sky blue, but more of the grey blue the sky is in the late afternoon. Finally, if I could only take three things with me on an island for a year, I'd take a notebook and pencils to write with, and someone who I really connect with, as I believe there is no substitution for human connectivity. Now, my strange and mysterious suitor, I wish to know more about you! Why haven't you told me who you are? What is your favorite color? What three things would you take with you on an island for a year? Do you have any tattoos, and if so, why did you get them?
I think of you always, you know, and since the day I first found your first mix, I've listened to almost nothing but your music; it's become my own personal rhythm, and for some reason, I needed you to know that.
I wanted you to know that my song has finally found it's rhythm.
Checking the letter for errors, Chloe smiled, hoping that perhaps Jesse might reveal his identity soon enough so she could get to know more about him. After all, he was the one who seemed to know her so very well, it was only fair that she get to know more about the person who had paired and composed symphonies for her. She wasn't surprised to find her letter gone the next morning, having taped it to her door again with the words, "For you" scripted boldly on the front. Not wanting to wait around too eagerly for response, she prepared for the day and headed to her early morning class.
Exiting her Feminist Modernist Literature class, very pleased with her answers regarding interpretation of h.d.'s Helen in Egypt, she wanted to bounce ideas regarding the reticence of the DJ to share their identity publicly with her. Scrolling through her cell, she sent Aubrey a text. "What're you up to after class this afternoon? Hang-time with your roomie?" A moment later, Aubrey's reply flashed across her screen. "Can't, research party in the lib all day, but you're welcome to join if you want." Contemplating getting a head start on her final research paper, Chloe decided against it, figuring she'd work on it over Thanksgiving Break. After politely declining the blonde's invite, her thumb hovered over another name in her phonebook for a moment, then pressed down decisively, and she sent another message. "Hey, it's Chloe, got your number from Aubrey's rehearsal list...what're you up to this afternoon?" Beca's response came a minute later, indicating that her last class ended at 2 and she had no plans the rest of the evening. Chloe's face lit up when she received the text from the younger Bella, and hastily tapped out a response. "I hate to get coffee alone. Join me at Java Juice after class?" The redhead unconsciously bit her lower lip in nervous apprehension, but Beca's response again seemed instantaneous. "Sure, sounds good. See you then." The day was just beginning, but Chloe felt as though it somehow had many wonderful things in store for her.
Chloe was sitting at a small cafe table outside the coffee shop when she saw Beca approach. Standing quickly, she wrapped her arms around the smaller girl in what she hoped wasn't an invasion of personal space. Feeling soft but strong arms return the embrace, she sighed in relief, catching a whiff of jasmine from the brunette's shampoo. Stepping toward the coffee counter, Chloe realized her arm was still wrapped around Beca's, but Beca wasn't resisting, so Chloe shrugged it off. It felt good to be close to someone, especially knowing that the someone wasn't prone to being touchy-feely. Chloe felt a sense of pride swell realizing that Beca must trust her to let her close. Noticing a strange look in Beca's eyes, Chloe took a step away, releasing the younger girl's arm, and ordered a latte. Beca requested a plain drip coffee, black, and Chloe made mental note of the other girl's coffee order. Who knows when it might come in handy? Walking back to a small table, Chloe saw that Beca looked a little on edge. More so than usual, anyway.
"Everything okay?" Chloe asked, hoping that her actions didn't offend the more withdrawn Bella.
"Yeah, I'm good, I was actually just, uh, I mean..." Beca's voice trailed off and looked around searching for a distraction.
Noticing that Beca seemed flustered, Chloe smiled reassuringly, trying to put her friend at ease. "It's okay, you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to." She hoped her sincerity was evident, and seeing Beca return a smile, she felt a flutter in her stomach. Beca really had beautiful eyes...blue and grey, just the color of late afternoon in fall. Her smoke colored eye shadow completed the skyscape and Chloe couldn't stop staring.
"No, really, it's just that I like this person, you know, I mean I don't know why I feel so drawn, but they are pretty much everything I've always wanted; well, wanted to be around, and something about it just makes me want to be close to them, like all the time. Dude, I know, I sound like such a creeper, but really, it's kind of a new feeling for me. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet." She finished with a laugh, the tension melting from her body evident in her relaxed posture.
Chloe bit her lip, and hearing her order called, stood up quickly to go retrieve her drink. Inside, she mentally kicked herself, wondering how the hell she always ended up in predicaments like this. Of course Beca liked Jesse. The same Jesse that seemed to be in love with her, if the mixes were any indication, and returning to the table, she sighed in relief to see a familiar form approaching. She had never before been so glad to see Tom in her life.
"Hey Chloe, party at ZBT tonight, you coming?" He leaned against a pillar, flashing a large confident smile.
She hadn't seen Tom in so long, she had basically forgotten about him. A business major with little ambition outside of carnal pleasures, he no longer seemed to fit in Chloe's life. Panicking, her eyes flew to Beca's face, silently begging her to invent a reason she wouldn't be able to make it. Finding Beca staring intently at her coffee, Chloe blurted, "Well, Beca and I had plans tonight."
"That's cool," Tom said, rearranging his long arms to lean down on their table, "why don't you bring her too?"
Looking up, Beca answered, unable to mask the irritation in her voice. "Uh, hi, shower guy, right? Thing is, I'm not exactly a party kind of girl. But I'm sure Chloe and I can reschedule so she can make an appearance."
"Great. See you tonight, Chlo." And with that, Tom was gone, and Chloe was now committed to going to a party she really didn't want to attend. At least not alone.
"Beca, can I be completely honest with you?" Without waiting for a reply,Chloe continued, "Tom and I were casually hooking up, but then I started falling for someone else, so I've been avoiding him; will you please, pretty pretty please, come with me tonight?" Looking intently at Beca, Chloe held her breath awaiting a response.
Beca sighed, hoping that the gut wrenching pain at hearing Chloe was falling for someone wasn't reflected in her face, and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, for you. Damn, Beale, can anyone say no to you?"
Chloe laughed, and pretended to think for a moment.
"Probably, but no one I like, so I suppose that's all that matters, right?" For the second time in as many days she had said she liked Beca; she chastised herself for being so blatant, and immediately began worrying about how she could avoid getting too drunk. Looking at Beca with sober eyes already gave her butterflies; plus she tended to be a very chatty drunk. What if she let it slip that Jesse was apparently in love with her? Chloe winced, vowing to monitor her consumption of alcohol, as it would definitely be a terrible idea to be intoxicated around the brunette. Making eye contact, she felt her heart flutter, and couldn't help but wonder what kind of drunk Beca was. She mentally slapped herself at the next thought, but it filled her mind anyway, paying no heed to the cortex smack. God she hoped the younger girl was a touchy-feely drunk.
Chloe wasn't wrong. Not only was Beca a touchy feely drunk, but she was talkative and seemed to be really opening up with her. It felt good to get to know Beca more, but at each story, each description of her parent's divorce or her inability to fit in at school, Chloe wanted to wrap Beca in her arms and just hold her tightly. Beca's sarcasm and snark were gone; what remained was an adorable girl who had endured more pain than kindness in her life, and Chloe needed nothing more than to show her how beautiful she really was. After downing her 5th or 6th Jack and Coke, Beca pulled Chloe closer and whispered to her. The still sober Chloe felt the warm breath caress her ear, and the hand that Beca placed on her knee almost burned her skin with the contact. Realizing she didn't actually hear a word that was spoken, she apologetically asked Beca to repeat herself.
"What...what do you want to do after school?" Beca asked a second time, her blurry eyes trying to focus.
Chloe smiled, setting her drink down. She had learned early freshman year that appearing drunk was better (and often safer) than actually drinking. Realizing that no one drinks tonic water earnestly, she navigated countless parties guzzling tonic water with lime, nearly always without gin, and so far, no one had ever been the wiser. Smiling, she said, "I want to write. Novels, yes, but I see that as a hobby. As for a career, I'll likely end up copy editing or indexing at a publishing company somewhere. What about you?" Beca's eyes had drifted closed, and Chloe realized that the younger girl was probably close to passing out. Taking the still full drink from Beca's hand, the taller girl helped Beca stand, and they left the fraternity house, heading back toward the dorms. She had no idea what room Beca lived in, and when asked, Beca seemed to only mumble, so with her arm around the shorter girl, the redhead guided the stumbling drunk back to the room she shared with Aubrey, hoping that her roommate was asleep.
As luck would have it, the blonde was completely out of it, her long practice of sleeping with headphones drowning out even Beca's drunken stumbling and laughter. Navigating her to the bed, Chloe tripped over the carpet and both girls tumbled onto the mattress, Chloe sprawled on top of Beca's soft form.
"You're so beautiful...I see music notes in your eyes." Beca was too drunk to hear the words come out, and Chloe, looking down lost herself in the sky of Beca's eyes. Knowing she shouldn't take advantage of the intoxicated state of her guest, Chloe tried to think of something else, anything else, but when she felt Beca's tiny hands snake across the base of her spine, Chloe gave into the fire she felt within. Leaning closer, noses brushing slightly, Chloe could feel Beca's breath against her lips, and closing her eyes, Chloe gently collapsed onto Beca, their lips melding together. The moment their lips touched, Chloe felt a current run through her body, from her heart down between her legs, and she eagerly deepened the kiss, moaning. As her lips parted to release a sigh, she felt a warm tongue swipe slowly against her bottom lip, as if asking for entry. Chloe couldn't help but smile, and wished more than anything that she could taste only the sweetness of Beca's mouth, and not have to search for it beneath layers of booze and soda. Beca's hands traced circles up Chloe's back, sliding cautiously under her shirt, and for a moment, Chloe could swear she felt Beca gently tapping a rhythm along the back of her rib cage. Feeling her pulse quicken, Chloe slid her own fingers under Beca's black tank-top, her flannel shirt already discarded on the floor somewhere. With a moan, Beca reacted to Chloe's fingers by unconsciously sliding her jean clad thigh between Chloe's legs, her dress riding up near her waist. As the redhead felt the fabric brush against the thin fabric of her thong, she let out a low purr that Beca reacted to immediately by applying more pressure with her leg. Chloe was panting, and tried to control her ragged breaths, but felt Beca's fingers entwine in her hair, crushing their lips together again. Suddenly, Beca pulled back, shock and fear written on her face.
"I'm so sorry!" the smaller girl said, tears blurring her eyes. Before Chloe even had a chance to utter a word, or question why she was sorry, Beca had vanished out the door,. Alone except for the lightly snoring Aubrey, the click of the latch reverberated in Chloe's ears. Fighting back her own tears, the redhead picked up a blue and grey flannel from the floor, and wrapped it around herself, deeply breathing the scent of Jasmine and Beca in. Emotionally drained, she drifted off to sleep, the taste of Jack Daniels and cola still on her lips.
A/N: I know it doesn't seem like it right now, but I assure you, happiness will come, good things will happen, and issues will eventually be resolved. This truly ended up a little more angst-ridden than intended, so hopefully it's working itself out. That being said, what is currently weighing on my mind is deciding what, exactly, caused Chloe's scar; suggestions or ideas are always welcome, feel free to provide input! :)