Quick A/N: Prompted by saving-from-falling - Beca tries to keep herself from falling for Chloe, struggling with her internal trust issues along the way. I decided to make it a bit more challenging for myself and chose Jesse/Chloe's POVs.
It's an amicable split.
"I liked us better as friends."
"Me too," you lie, because well, what choice do you have? You can go out guns blazing and be forever memorialized as a grade-A asshole, but you know you'd never be able to face yourself again.
"I hope there are, like, no hard feelings," she says, her mouth set into a grimace, and you allow yourself to think that maybe she's genuinely interested in protecting your feelings. "I mean, you're sweet and I want to be your friend still. I like hanging out with you."
"Yeah, we'll definitely hang."
Audiences like a little tension in the relationship. There's always an obstacle to overcome before the sweet ending.
Surprisingly, Beca holds you to your promise, and you kind of think she's just trying to make it up to you when she asks to watch the Godfather with you. But when she genuinely gets into the movie, even arguing with you about the outcome, you find yourself joking and smiling with her without effort. You try not to, because you can still feel the cracks of your heart trying to mend, but she's beautiful, and you fall all over again. Well, you kind of trip head first, but minor details.
So when you see her making out with someone else at a party the week after, there's this burn in your chest that weighs heavily on you, making it difficult to breathe. You're equal parts jealous and hurt. There's so much rushing in your head that you almost walk over to clock the dude in the head, but you're not that kind of guy. It takes a lot for you not to say anything to her the next day.
It feels like nowadays Benji is the only one who gets you. You find yourself telling him everything, even things you wanted to keep secret. He's sympathetic for the most part, but you can tell that you're quickly moving out of the "heartbroken" category and edging into the "complaining" one.
"Jesse, I think you're thinking about it too much."
"Yeah," you agree, "I am."
You stumble. It's actually not because you're drunk this time, it's because you see Beca at another party making out with a different person from last time.
It's worse, almost, because you know who it is. And it's a girl. You wonder if that's why Beca's broken up with you, because she's struggling with her sexuality or something. But that can't be it, because she was making out with a guy just last week.
You're angry, watching from afar, and you know it's time to head back, but you can't help but to continue watching. Beca's hands are trailing down the other girl's shoulders to grip her waist. It's confusing, because Beca isn't an affectionate person, even when drunk, but you're watching her as her hands disappear to grab at Chloe's ass.
You tear yourself away because your eyes are literally stinging with tears. It's time to move on then, right? Or maybe, this is just the plot twist in your story. The girl turns out to be bisexual or bi-curious, but in the end realizes after exploring with all kinds of people that the one she's loved all along has been right there waiting for her. Right?
Beca shows up the next day at your door, and you're ready to turn her away, but she has the Godfather 2 in hand and you can't say no to that. Sure, you're just making excuses for your own behavior now. You can feel Benji's disapproval from across the room, but Beca's already settling into your bed waiting to watch the movie.
There's less joking this time, and the banter is tense instead of playful. By the end, she looks like she regrets coming over, and you're almost sorry for that. When her scarf loosens at the end, you find yourself pointing to her neck.
"Did something attack you?"
Surprisingly, her face flushes a light pink, and, "Oh," you say in realization. "Oh, I see."
"Uhm, I better head back," she says as she gathers her belongings.
You should let her go, but you want to hear her explanation, "Are you and Chloe a thing now?"
"No," she says nonchalantly, and you think she's lying, but she continues, "It was just a one-time thing. We were drunk, and you know how Chloe is when she's drunk." She must see your pained expression, because she rushes to add, "God, I'm such an asshole, I'm sorry, Jesse."
"You shouldn't be," you say, because you're a nice guy and that's what nice guys say. "I just didn't expect you to move on so fast, I guess."
"I didn't break up with you because I wanted to be with someone else," Beca says, and you're believing her, because you need to. "I just can't do a relationship."
"So you're just making out with a bunch of random people?" Your face contorts as you ask her this.
"It's easy," she whispers, her eyes downcast. "It's fun."
So, you're surging forward without thought and you've gripped the back of her neck gently and your lips are on hers. You feel like your chest is on fire again, and her fingers reach up to your neck, leaving behind a trail of ice. But she pushes against you, and you won't force it.
"Why not with me?"
"Because you're in it for the feelings, Jesse," she's backing away. "I'll just hurt you, and it won't be fun for either of us in the end."
"You're already hurting me."
"What do you want me to do, then? We can stop hanging out if you want. I just really wanted to stay friends with you. You're a decent guy, you know?"
It's not fair of you to ask for her to wait until your heart is mended. What is the protagonist supposed to do in this situation? "No, you're right. I like being friends with you, Beca."
"Okay, well I do have to go, actually." You mumble a goodbye. Benji looks at you with something akin to disappointment.
After she leaves, it starts to make sense though. She can't commit as a result of her experience with her parent's divorce, right? It's because she knows what relationships can get like when they're falling apart, so she doesn't want that for herself. This is the part where Beca will find that love isn't so hopeless. Maybe she'll also realize some relationships just aren't meant to last, but they're still worth the experience.
Auditions for the acapella groups keep you distracted as you and the other Treblemakers scout for talent. Luckily Bumper isn't here, or that geeky looking kid with an amazing voice would never be allowed on the Treblemakers. You try to ignore the way your heart pounds when Chloe, apparently the Barden Bella's new "vocal advisor", leaps into Beca's arms. You leave the room as the redhead is swinging the other girl around with much protest from the brunette.
"She's not worth it," Benji's followed you out of the auditorium.
"I feel like we're right for each other though," you try to explain your mindset. "Like my positivity to her negativity. My bright smile to her dark glare. We're like Dharma and Greg."
"Some girls, in college, they just want to have fun," he replies, putting a comforting hand on your shoulder. "That's all they really want."
"You think Beca's like that?"
"I think she wants a chance to be free," he answers, and you think, maybe. Maybe.
It's initiation night and you plan on spending it much like last year; drunk and head over heels for a girl who has no interest in you. It's even the same girl. Hey, you're nothing if not predictable. When the Barden Bellas arrive, you go over and make nice with some of them.
"Hey, Beca," you drunkenly wave at her, nearly tipping over.
"Wow, even you can't deny that you're drunk this time."
"Want me to get you a drink?" You ask, because you're still a gentleman even with the world spinning. "You need to get on this level." It's just like last year, but you were naïve, you thought you'd gotten the girl then.
"Someone's already getting me one," she replies with what looks like a guilty quirk of her mouth.
"Oh, uhm," you try to figure out what the appropriate response to that is.
You're not given a chance, however, when Chloe appears in a blur of red and blue next to Beca's side with two cups. "Hey Jesse," she grins, and you want to hate her, you want to resent everything she represents. But it's Chloe, and she's a lovely person.
"Hey, Chloeeee," you pull her name long with a sloppy smile, "You staying for graduate school?"
"Pretty much," she matches your smile and goes in for a hug. You nearly do fall over backwards with surprise, "Whoa, how much have you had, buddy?"
"I don't think I can count that high."
"He's super drunk," Beca laughs.
"Well," Chloe hands the brunette one of the cups and toasts you, "Bottoms up, then!"
One of the new Treblemakers has passed out on the bleachers, so you make your way over to him as people are doodling things on his face. After he's up and on his way home, you look around for Beca, and see her not too far from you, with her arm around Chloe's waist. It looks like they're struggling to stay upright as Chloe drunkenly giggles into her ear. You make your way over to them, but on your way you overhear Chloe loud-whispering, "Your ass looks amazing in these jeans, I want to rip them off you."
That stops you in your tracks. Beca's face is flushed, but it surprises you when she doesn't shrug Chloe off. Instead, she whispers something back into the ginger's ear and they're leaving the party as inconspicuously as they can.
You promised yourself that you wouldn't get jealous anymore. However, the look in Chloe's eyes when she looks at Beca is the same look you give her. It's inevitable, isn't it? That Beca will realize it, or Chloe will say something, and then the brunette will understand that trying to keep feelings out of things is messier than having the feelings.
The inevitable fallout between Beca and Chloe never comes. Are they just both oblivious to it? You're more confused than vindictive, because it's not that you want them to fight, it's just that you expected it. All the signs had pointed towards it. In the movies this should be around the climax, where the girl's just gone after red herring #1 (or sometimes #2, or 3) and things blow up in her face. But for a climax, it's awfully…eventless.
Actually, the next week when Beca shows up to watch Godfather 3 with you, she's dragged Chloe along too. In her defense, Chloe flashes you an apologetic smile, which you return with a shrug and a good natured laugh.
"Are you two ganging up on me?" Beca's eyes dance with amusement. "Doing that weird telepathic communication and stuff." Chloe gives you a mischievous smile, and you pick up the hint, circling so you're behind the brunette. "Oh no…that's not funny, you guys."
You two pounce on her, tickling her sides as she giggles wildly begging for the two of you to stop.
"Say uncle!" The redhead is surprisingly aggressive, her fingers digging under Beca's rib as the other girl screams. The flailing girl's foot catches you in the stomach and it's enough to send you backwards onto your bed. You're laughing so hard, because the whole situation is just ridiculous, but when Chloe wrestles Beca to the floor and straddles her, the laughter suddenly dies in your throat. Detachedly, you note that the two of them would look good on screen together, the red hair cascading down over Chloe's shoulders are in sharp contrast with the mess of dark brown curls. In fact, you even know what kind of music you would pen for a scene like this, a score with a heavy drum, underlined with a sexy bass line. Chloe's hands pin Beca's to ground as she leans forward, hoarsely whispering, "Say it."
There's a lusty look in Beca's eyes that you've never seen from her before as she whispers back, a bit overwhelmed, "Uncle."
This is a potentially awkward situation, but as always, Chloe smooths it over effortlessly, "And Chloe is the Queen of the Hill!" She flexes her arms jokingly and pulls Beca to her feet. "So are we watching Godfather 3 or what?"
Surprisingly, you enjoy it more than you ever expected to. The three of you fight over the middle seat, and of course Chloe wins with a killer pout and puppy dog expression. Then Beca and Chloe bicker over who gets to hold the popcorn (which Chloe wins again) as you watch on with an amused smile. Usually it's annoying when people talk during movies you enjoy so much, but as Chloe acts out Al Pacino's part with a deep voice and fake cigar in mouth, you find you don't mind.
As they leave, you see their hands joined together and Chloe not so subtly leans over to peck Beca's cheek. You swear you hear her whisper, "I love you," but you can't be sure. Beca's shoulders tense, but her back is to you, and you can't tell what her reaction is. You're shocked when she whispers back, "You're not so bad yourself, Beale."
Chloe's never considered that she might ever be more than a minor character in Beca Mitchell's story. She's that cheery best friend type of girl who is the foil to Beca's dark and angry look. If she's particularly lucky (or unlucky) she might even be involved in a subplot.
However, she never figured she'd be part of a romantic side story with the other girl. Barely two weeks after Beca's broken up with Jesse, the two girls are pressed together at a party, dancing and being way too handsy, but it's okay, because there's enough alcohol in their systems. It doesn't take much effort to pull the brunette away from the middle of the crowd to a more secluded area. Chloe's not even sure what she's doing as she firmly kisses up Beca's neck.
"Are you sure about this?" The last thing she wants is to ruin their friendship.
A whine escapes Beca's lips and damn, Chloe's never been so turned on. "Goddamnit, yes."
"No, I mean, seriously. Hormones aside, are you sure?"
"This is just something fun," her breath is fanning against Chloe's lips breezily. "It doesn't have to mean anything."
"Okay," Chloe gasps in return and returns her attention to Beca's mouth and then plants open mouth kisses down her neck, pausing to suck on her collarbone. "Okay," she repeats, and tugs Beca down the street and into her car. But Beca can't wait and she pushes the redhead into the backseat.
Chloe switches their positions as best she can so she's on top. Her hands trail down Beca's smaller frame and her fingers fumble with the button of the other girl's jeans. Beca's more dexterous hands have managed to slide Chloe's top off and unsnap her bra. The jeans are quickly pulled off and tossed to the front of the car followed by a pair of underwear, and Chloe's mouth begins its descent. As she flicks her tongue out, Beca's lower half raises off the seat with an exasperated moan. "Don't tease," the brunette's voice is filled with need and Chloe can do nothing but obey as Beca's fingers tangle in her hair. Even though the other girl pulls a bit too hard at some points, it's still the hottest and dirtiest thing Chloe's ever done with anyone (including that shower stint).
It doesn't mean anything in the car. Or against the door of her apartment. Or on the couch. Chloe starts wanting it to mean something when they make it to the shower. So she bites softly along Beca's neck long enough to leave a mark, just so there's proof at least that she can't erase what's happening. By the time they're on the bed, it's back to not meaning anything.
When the morning rays of sunshine splay along the covers, a naked Chloe wakes up next to a still very much asleep and equally naked Beca. It didn't mean anything, but she kind of wished it did.
Fortunately, Beca doesn't freak like Chloe expects, in fact, everything's normal. It's the same, just sometimes they end up screwing each others brains out. And Chloe can deal with that. She reminds herself that she's not the romantic protagonist, written opposite the dark mysterious girl with such serious trust issues that she makes Katniss Everdeen seem trusting. Chloe is the afterthought, a plot device and no more for Beca.
They have fun. Lots of fun. Sometimes they'll just watch TV all night snuggled against one another, or they'll share a tub of dark chocolate mint ice cream, or they'll try to watch a porno, but end up laughing too hard to get into the mood, or they'll try to study and end up studying each others anatomy instead. There's really no best part, it's all in good fun. For now, Chloe's content with it.
It might be her imagination, but she thinks maybe Beca doesn't want it to be this way. Really, Chloe's not being arrogant or assuming, but the small things convince her that maybe there's feelings involved somewhere in the mix. Like when they sing whatever song happens to be on the radio and Beca points at her during the extremely sappy lines ("My universe will never be the same, I'm glad you came."). Or when Chloe cooks something delicious for them, like lasagna, or mac n' cheese (Beca's secret favorite food), and the brunette moans after the first bite, "I should marry you." Usually Chloe can tell the difference between genuine and sarcastic Beca, and after the first few times, it's almost like the other girl means it.
So it's a surprise when the usually closed off girl opens up bit by bit. It starts after Parent Trap, the old version with Hayley Mills.
"Divorces never end like that," Beca murmurs into Chloe's neck after the movie. "They get divorced and they stay divorced for a reason." There's really nothing she can say to that, so she doesn't, she just buries her nose into the girl's hair.
It's brought up again a week or so later. This time it's seemingly out of nowhere, in fact, it's as they're studying for their respective exams.
"God, I will never marry."
"I thought you were marrying me for my cooking skills," Chloe replies back as cutely as she can manage.
"Only your cooking is worth the pain," Beca offers back jokingly, but it's still in a serious line of thought.
"Usually people don't get married to be in pain."
"Yeah, I know." There's a short silence. "It just ends up that way."
"A lot of the time," Beca's face gets dark, and she knows the discussion is over.
Honestly, Chloe doesn't expect to breach the subject any further, and she's alright with that. But apparently she's the plot device to open up the main character, get her to realize that sharing pain is better than shouldering the burden alone.
"Chloe?" Beca says her name one night when they're snuggled against each other in bed, trying to fall asleep. "Are you awake?" For some reason, she decides not to answer, to pretend that she's asleep. "I broke up with Jesse because I was afraid, and I couldn't do it." Chloe thinks maybe this is the part where Beca confesses that she's still in love with the guy. "I can't be in a relationship and run the risk of what happened with my parents. Like, it always starts out great, but the end is so shitty, that I never want to put anyone else or myself through that." Okay, Chloe thinks, she can understand that.
It sounds suspiciously like the brunette is crying, but Chloe doesn't want to ruin the moment. She's just spilled her heart out, her most private thoughts are out in the open, and the redhead doesn't want to clue her in that they're not private anymore. "You're so beautiful, Chloe." And idiot that her heart is, it jumps. "I don't want to hurt you, but I can't be without you."
Soft lips press to her forehead, and Chloe wistfully dreams about a story where she's not a secondary character.
A/N: Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it! If you're in the mood to leave a review, that'd be great too ;) Part 2 will be up in a couple of days.