Beca hates animals. All animals, whether they be cats, dogs, rabbits, monkeys, pandas, possums, giraffes, polar bears, or squirrels. They're just not her thing. So when her next door neighbors ask if she can look after their pet cat for a week she says no. But then they give her that look.
We shoveled your sidewalk every time you were too lazy to. We helped fix the leak in your roof during the rainy season. We called the police when we thought there was a burglar trying to break into your house, even if it was just you climbing through the window drunk. We-
"Okay," she says. "Okay, yeah I'll look after him."
"Her," they correct. "Okay, well great! Here's a list of things you have to remember, when to feed her and etcetera. Uh and here's a list of phone numbers, the vet, the pet store, the animal control center."
Fantastic. This is exactly what she needs. Just shoot me now. On a side note, at least the cat looks as unhappy to see her as she is to see it.
"Oh don't worry," she says to the goddamn annoying neighbors, "We're gonna have lots of fun, me and her." It's supposed to be sarcastic, but when they nod and hug her excitedly, Beca knows they've missed the point.
"Don't touch anything," Beca tells the cat seriously. "That," she points to the smaller half of the living room, "Is your side. And this," she gestures to the side with the couch and TV, "Is mine. Do not cross." The cat meows at her in agreement. "Good, this might work out."
At about noon, she checks the long list of things she's supposed to remember for the cat. "Holy fuck," she exclaims, "This is harder work than babysitting." The only reason she's following the list is because she doesn't want the bigger problem of a dead cat on her hands. She'd really rather not piss off her neighbors, so she gets out the cat food they've left and pours it out into a bowl.
"Fatty," she reproaches the cat as it follows her around with the cat food in hand.
"Fine." Beca places the bowl on the ground, but the cat looks at her expectantly, waiting for something. She consults her list of all things relating to cat, and she curses.
Bubbles does not eat unless you sing to her. Preferably clean songs, so as to help her digestion.
"Really? Who sings to their fucking cat?"
"Yeah, okay," she sighs. She's alone, so it doesn't matter, right? Surely her dignity will still be intact after this. To hell with clean songs, whatever that's supposed to mean.
"It was somethin' about this dude I couldn't stand, somethin' that coulda made his ass a real man. Somethin' I wanted, but I never was pushy, the motherfucker never ate my pussy," Beca raps, even adding the hand motions and tapping her foot to the beat. "I don't want dick tonight, eat my pussy right." The words "eat" and "pussy" seem to resonate with the cat and it sniffs the food a little suspiciously before gnawing on a piece. "Thank God," even though she's not religious.
Later, it's watching her from its side of the room. Jesus Christ, the cat's eyes are ridiculously scary, glowing and shit in the dark (because she's been too lazy to flip on the lights). There's nothing good on TV, just Pirates of the Caribbean, yet again, and Beca knows she can't make it through a shitty night sober. As she takes a trusty bottle of beer from the refrigerator, she notices that the cat has followed her into the kitchen.
"Scram," she shoos the cat with her hands, but it doesn't seem to quite get the message. Beca sighs, resigned to the shadow, and returns to the couch unceremoniously sprawling down onto it. The cat's damn eyes stay trained on her throughout her fourth and fifth beers. By the end of Pirates, she needs something stronger and brings back two bottles, one of Pimms and the other of fruit punch, not even bothering with a glass. She just alternates chugging the bottles and it's the same result really.
At about midnight, she realizes that the cat is meowing quite loudly and she glances at the list, noting something about the litter box and an extra bowl of water for the night. So, Beca grumbles as she gets to her feet and does the two tasks. The cat laps at the water without so much as a thank you. But she's glad she's done it. Gives a whole new meaning to drinking responsibly.
When Beca's eyes peel open the next day at around noon she finds herself situated on the couch still, but as her head turns to the right, she groans. "Oh hell no," she grits through her teeth, "We went over this yesterday. This is my side, not yours. Now off." The cat looks at her with what she swears is a hurt expression and leaps off the couch reluctantly. Now the headache and hangover hits her. "Ugh."
How she manages to drag her body off the couch and into the bathtub is beyond her. The turning on the water part isn't tricky, but then she realizes, "Shit," that she's forgotten to undress. It's whatever, two birds one stone; less laundry and her body is getting cleaner at the same time. Beca's fingers can't seem to get a grip on the shampoo, so she just ends up pouring it on her head and clothes messily.
"Jesus fucking Christ!" She exclaims as she falls sideways in the tub, the water splashing all over her eyes. "No! No! You do not come in here while I am taking a shower." There's a towel somewhere next to her as she grasps blindly around for it, shampoo and water stinging her eyes. "You scared the fuck out of me."
Finally she rubs her eyes with the towel and can see the cat sitting there with a judgmental look on its face. "Mreow," it growls.
"You're not my mother," Beca hisses back. "She's fucking dead anyway, so I wouldn't be listening either way. So what if I'm showering with my clothes on? Greatest thing about being an adult, you can do whatever you want." Wearily though, she decides to strip her sweats off, but before she takes her top off, she gives the cat a killer glare. It takes the cue and marches out of the bathroom, its nose stuck high in the air. "Fucking hell, it thinks it's the Queen of Sheba or some shit."
After an impromptu lunch (lots of water and a few crackers), Beca picks up the cat-list and blurrily tries to make out the next line for the second day.
Take Bubbles to see the Vet – Tacoma Center of Animal Care.
"Are you kidding me? I have to go out?" She looks angrily at the cat, but still gets dressed. Once she's got on a grey hoodie and matching sweats, she tops it off with a pair of sunglasses. "You really need a new name, what self-respecting cat would ever answer to Bubbles?" She swears the cat rolls its eyes. "Kalinda?" No answer. "You're right, shit name. Uh…Bonnie?" A blink. "We'll work on that."
Beca's in her car by the time she realizes that she doesn't know where the Center of Animal Care is. The cat looks a bit disoriented being plopped in the middle of the backseat. "Well buckle up while I look this shit up," she demands to it. Tacoma Center of Animal Care, she punches it in and-
"Turn right on Maryland Ave."
"Hells yeah," Beca celebrates with a fist pump. Though she hears quite a few unhappy noises from the cat in the backseat, she navigates her way just fine to the Tacoma Center of Animal Care. The cat hisses at her when she gestures for it to come out of the car. "Come on, you've got to learn to walk one of these days." It obliges rather stiffly and follows her through the front door. "Chin up," she whispers, as many pairs of eyes, human and animal, direct their attention at them.
"How may I help you?" Asks the bored clerk at the desk with a snap of his bubblegum. Bumper, according to the name tag.
Beca's nose wrinkles at the sound, "Uh, I'm here for a check-up. I mean, the cat's check-up."
The clerk looks at her. Duh. "Well, what's the name?"
"Bubbles," she sighs exasperatedly, wishing for the millionth time the cat had a more badass name.
The clerk looks at her with the same expression, "Your name."
"Oh, this isn't my cat. It should be under Swanson or Posen."
"Okay, take a seat, the doctor will call you when it's your turn," he says in the same monotone.
Beca salutes and backs away, the cat following her to the seat. As she wedges herself uncomfortably into the plastic chair, she points at the cat, "Michelle." Still nothing. "Okay, fine, don't be the first lady. Paprika?" The cat swishes its tail lazily at the suggestion. "Okay, no food names, got it. Lauren?"
The elderly woman next to her taps her should and interrupts, "Could I perhaps ask you a question?"
"And another one after the one you've just asked?"
"Are you the Mitchell girl?"
"No, definitely not," Beca shakes her head, her sunglasses nearly falling off. "Nope, you're mistaken."
"You just look so much like her," the old lady marvels, "Such a sad story."
"I wouldn't know," she denies again vehemently. "I probably wasn't born when it happened, in fact."
"Why, she would be about your age."
"Lots of people are around my age." The cat meows in agreement. "Thank you, Cecile." A blank stare. "Fine, I will find a name for you, though."
"Can you just take off your sunglasses?"
"I really can't." The lady is digging into her purse. "What are- what are you doing?"
"Bubbles?" A new voice saves the day, and she leaps out of the chair and practically sprints to the opened door. "I'm Dr. Beale," the woman says, and Beca's breathe catches in her throat.
"Please, I owe the Mitchells so much," the damn old lady follows her to the door with something clutched in her hand. "If you know where she is, can you give this to her?"
"I really don't know-"
Beca sighs heavily, and takes the trinket from the old woman, "Yeah, I'll see what I can do." Finally, fucking finally, the elderly woman leaves her alone. She turns her attention back to the doctor with a mumbled apology, and tries her hardest not to blush. Dude, this lady is gorgeous. Like her ginger hair is mussed up and it's just hair porn, and her eyes are bright blue and her smile, Jesus. Snap out of it, Beca!
"Yeah, I'm Bubbles," wait that doesn't sound right, "No, I mean I have Bubbles with me."
"Alright, come follow me," Dr. Beale gestures towards the inner part of the center and Beca follows her. The woman could've said anything like, Follow me into the 9th circle of Hell, and she probably would've followed her anyway. It's ridiculous, this woman has minimal make up on, she's wearing doctor clothes and what the fuck, why is Beca freaking out?
"So you've brought her here for a check-up?"
"Uh yeah, I'm just taking care of this cat for my neighbors and they told me to bring her in for a check-up of some sort," Beca rambles as the cat makes itself comfortable on the fluffy table.
"Oh, Bubbles and I know each other very well," Dr. Beale laughs, Beca swears her laugh is like the sound of a million bells tinkling softly in harmony or something. "I'm very good friends with Aubrey, she told me you might be bringing my baby in today." The doctor's hand affectionately rubs against the cat's cheek and scratches underneath its chin causing it to purr. Seriously? Beca's never heard it so happy before; this lady must be magical.
"Okay, well, uh, I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do, should I just sit over there?" Beca feels like a fucking middle school kid with her awkward hand motions and body language.
"Do you want to watch?" Dr. Beale's hand has already reached out and caught hers. The doctor pulls her closer to the table, and she tries to protest, she really does. "Come on, it'll be fun. Your first time," Dr. Beale says with a quick wink that has Beca flushing. The cat snuggles closer to the doctor's hand and rubs its head against her outstretched fingers repeatedly.
Beca just gapes. "How…How do you do that?"
"I swear Kendra just glares at me every time I try to pet her."
From the cat's lack of response to the name, Beca sighs, "Bubbles is no name for a cat. She needs a dignified name."
"To keep her tail perpendicular?" Dr. Beale stifles a laugh as she bites down on her bottom lip. She's doing something weird with her stethoscope as well.
"No way, you actually know what I'm on about?"
"The Naming of Cats, T.S. Eliot," the doctor offers as if it's common knowledge. For the third time in five minutes, Beca finds herself completely overwhelmed and speechless. Seriously, this chick can't be for real. At her dumbfounded expression, Dr. Beale finally lets loose a chuckle, "Her peculiar and dignified name is Quill."
Surprisingly, the cat meows and blinks twice, indicating that yes, the doctor chick is correct. "How did you know?" She's genuinely considering that the lady is not from this world.
"I asked her and she told me." It's said with such a degree of sincerity that Beca finds herself believing it. "But not the last name, you never ask a cat for that."
"Well, the cat would never tell you," Beca finds herself saying, a bit dazed.
"Certainly not," Dr. Beale replies with a smile that breaks Beca out of reverie. "There, all done."
"Thanks, Dr. Beale," Beca says, waving at Quill to follow her. The cat does so, but very reluctantly.
"Please, call me Chloe," then she's grasped Beca by the wrists and pulls her forward so that they're leaning really close to each other. "I'm glad you remembered to stop by. I have a feeling we'll be fast friends."
"Well, you've seen my pussy," the brunette tries to flirt back, then aghast at what she's just said, "Okay, wow, I need to leave now. Look at the time!"
But Dr. Be- Chloe, just laughs at her. "Come by again in two days for the follow-up, Beca."
"Will do," Beca says and stumbles her way out into the lobby and out of the center. Only as she's plopped Quill down in the back of her car does she realize, "Wait, I never told her my name."
Back at home, Beca fills up Quill's bowl with food and gets a new bowl of water.
"Okay, a song. Hmm." She thinks hard for one moment before breaking out into another rap, "Told her back it up like erp erp, and I made that ass jump like jerk, jerk, and that's when she lick me like a lollipop. She lick me like a lollipop, she lick me like a lollipop, she lick me like a lollipop." Quill looks at her for one beat longer before obligingly eating the food.
As she's taking off her hoodie, something drops to the ground with a tinkle. She looks down to see the small metal bell that the old woman from earlier gave her. Delicately, her fingers curl around it and she looks at it, the light glinting off the sides. Then she's dragging out a trunk from under her bed and she tosses it in with hundreds of other similar bells. Just as quickly, the trunk is closed and stowed again.
Sighing, she heads back down to the living room and plops in front of the TV, turning it to a random show. Quill grumbles on the other side of the room. "No," she's firm. "This is my side. We have ground rules for a reason."
"If you bring me alcohol, then okay," Beca says, fixing it with a glare. "But you don't have thumbs, so I guess I need to get it myself." So she's up again and comes back with some sort of alcohol, she's not really sure, it's just been lying around for awhile. She takes a swig straight from the bottle, the alcohol burning down her throat and she laughs. The cat looks at her like she's fucking crazy, and she snipes back, "You're not my dad either, so fuck off. Oh wait, he's dead too," she laughs again. "Great, I'm sitting here, talking to a cat and laughing for no reason." The only thing to amend that is to drink more.
When Beca's eyes flutter open the next morning she's still on the couch and the TV is still on, but Quill is nowhere to be found. "Fucking," she swears, "Where is that dumb cat?" Now, she's beginning to panic, and flips over the cushions of her sofa and tossing newspapers left and right.
"Oh thank God," she says, clutching her heart. "Dude, you scared me."
"Look, I'm sorry about last night," she apologizes and walks over to pet it. "I get crazy when I think about my parents." Surprisingly, Quill sniffs her fingers and allows her to touch its head. "Didn't mean to take it out on you."
"Meow," the cat pushes something towards her feet. Beca bends down to pick up a business card of some sort.
"Really, Quill? I don't think she's the answer to my problems. She's a pet doctor, not a crazy insane people doctor," Beca says, flipping over the card so that Dr. Chloe Beale faces away from her. "Well, I mean she's a lady doctor. You know what I mean."
Quill makes a noise low in its throat, obviously displeased.
"Oh, you're trying to be a wingman now? Wing…cat?"
The cat shakes its head at her and turns on its heel and walks towards the kitchen for food.
"Don't you turn your back on me," she's indignant that even a cat can deem her unworthy. "Great, I guess I'm starting on the alcohol a bit earlier today then." Just to make sure though, Beca checks her cat-list and sees the regular stuff, yada yada yada.
As an apology she lets Quill sit next to her on the couch as she watches one of the Harry Potter movies. Halfway through, she finds herself stroking Quill's back gently. "Harry was lucky, you know? He never knew his parents before they died." The cat closes its eyes as she scratches behind its ear. "It's more painful when you've grown up with two people who are permanent fixtures in your life and suddenly one day, they're just gone."
"Oh, I guess you sort of know the whole orphan thing, don't you?" Beca pauses for a moment before continuing, "My parents were very well respected by the community, they were rich, sure, but they gave back to those less fortunate. It's a lot to live up to, sometimes." She's not sure why she's telling these things to the cat, possibly because she knows Quill would never tell anyone else about this. "Was sent to live with my Godfather. I mean, he was a great guy, looked after me like I was his own. He had no idea what he was doing, the parenting scene really wasn't his, but he took good care of me. I think the only thing that hurt more than my parents' death was his."
"Fucking hell, yes, this is depressing, let's get drunk," she chuckles morosely. "Or, I mean, you can watch me get drunk." Quill licks her fingers reassuringly. "Thanks for listening."
When Beca's eyes twitch open, she notices Quill snuggling on her chest, the two of them still sprawled on the couch. Her mouth threatens to turn into a grin, but she reigns it in.
"Okay, Quill, dear, I think we're nearly late for your follow up," she nudges the cat as gently as she can possibly manage. It blinks lazily at her before hopping off her chest. Beca quickly takes an aspirin and dresses in jeans and a tank top.
"No, I'm not trying to impress her," she denies. "If I was trying to impress her, I'd be wearing my birthday suit."
"Seriously you need to give up on this crazy idea."
"Mreow," Quill growls disparagingly and walks away from her.
"I do not have the hots for Chloe!"
Beca adjusts her sunglasses quickly before walking into the Center with Quill in her arms, still upset. The clerk is a much friendlier guy this time, Benji, if his nametag is anything to go by, and even the cat seems to take a liking to him.
"Bubbles. Beca!" She whirls around to a face full of ginger hair as the doctor gives her and Quill a tight hug excitedly. "I'm glad you remembered to come!"
"How come you address the cat before me?" It's not meant to be said accusingly, but it certainly doesn't sound teasing enough.
"Well, a cat is entitled to expect this evidence of respect."
Beca's jaw drops again, "The Addressing of Cats! T.S. Eliot again."
Chloe giggles at her expression and pulls her out of the waiting lobby into the inner sanctum. As she's lead to the room from the appointment before Beca's mouth finally catches up to her brain, "Why aren't you calling her Quill, anymore?"
"I don't think she'd appreciate if everyone knew that name," the doctor replies with a shrug, "Cats like to keep a bit of mystery around them."
As Chloe examines Quill again, Beca remembers to ask, "How do you know my name, then?"
"Quill told me."
"So like, you don't actually know about me," she tries to phrase it in a way so that the ginger doesn't know what's she's really asking. Do you know about my parents' death?
"Only what Quill's told me, you live next door to her, you're very stubborn, and that you like your alcohol," Chloe's scratching behind Quill's ear now, eliciting another satisfied purr.
The brunette glares at Quill, but directs her question to Chloe, "But you don't know about my family, or anything?"
"Just everyone in this town knows and gossips, so I just thought, yeah," Beca feels foolish and a bit self-centered.
Chloe jots something down on a notepad, and hums, "Hmm, well I just moved here last year so I haven't had any time to listen to the gossip."
"Oh, well that's good," Beca muses. "I mean, it's not good that you haven't integrated with the community, not that it's your fault. I'm sure it's these-"
"Come have dinner with me," thankfully Chloe interrupts her word vomit.
Uh, what? "Uh, what?"
"Come have dinner with me," the ginger repeats.
"Uhm, I don't think that's a good idea."
"I'm not really good at social situations," Beca admits.
"But I've already seen your pussy," Chloe says with a damn smirk.
"You're never going to let me live that down, are you?"
The redhead pulls her into a loose embrace and rests her forehead on Beca's, "Come to my house for dinner and I'll never mention it again."
Beca's not big on having her personal space invaded, and certainly this makes for an awkward position considering she's just met this woman not even two days ago. It must be her damn loneliness that causes her to accept, "Sure, okay." Then she shoots a look at Quill, "Don't think I didn't see your triumphant smirk."
"So, do you mind if we have pizza?"
"I love pizza," Beca answers honestly as she sets Quill down on the carpet of Chloe's apartment. It's the exact opposite of Beca's house; where her house is filled with antique furniture, Chloe's apartment is lightly furnished, where her place is dark, Chloe's is bright and colorful, where hers is lonely and large, Chloe's is homey and cozy.
Chloe gets out some cat food and begins to pour it into a plastic bowl.
Beca feels the corners of her mouth lifting, "So the vet has no pets."
"Well, I feel like it'd be unfair to them. I'd be out every day with other people's animals and I'd come home smelling like them. My pets would always feel cheated and not loved enough," Chloe explains patiently as she fills another bowl with water.
"You're plenty loving, though," the brunette answers, "I mean, from what I witness with Quill." The cat in question meows.
"Exactly, my pets would get jealous." She sets down the two bowls and softly sings, "How can a person like you bring me joy under the pale moon where I see a lot of stars? Is enough, enough? I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes. I saw the sign, life is demanding without understanding."
"You sing well," Beca says in awe as Quill bends its head to eat the food. "But seriously, Ace of Base?"
"Says the woman who rapped Nikki Minaj?"
"It was Lil Kim," she defends. "And how'd you know?" Chloe's eyes flicker to Quill for a brief second, and Beca whirls on the cat, "Really? Private information, Quill!"
"And Lil Wayne," Chloe says.
"Seriously, Quill? Is nothing sacred anymore?"
"So, tell me about yourself," the doctor relaxes as she takes off her work coat and top.
"Whoa, don't think that's first date material," Beca averts her gaze.
"So this is a date, huh?" Thankfully the doctor has a tank top on now. "And here I thought it was just a friendly dinner between two friends."
As hard as she tries, Beca can't keep the blush off her face, "Well why do you want me to tell you about myself? I bet Quill's told you everything already."
"Oh just a little bit, something about your parents and your Godfather," Chloe says as she offers a glass of wine to Beca.
"That cat has no sense of what the word private means."
"Well, I was born in Michigan," the ginger smiles warmly, "I'm twenty-six years old, I've been on only three rollercoasters in my lifetime, and I had a huge crush on Michelle Pfeiffer when I was twelve."
"That's all I get to know about you?"
Chloe tells her more small fun facts while they eat pizza on the couch. After they finish, Chloe pulls out another bottle of wine.
"So this whole time we haven't even talked about your job."
"I love all animals," she finally acquiesces.
"Humans are animals, too," Beca decides to point out. Great job, Captain Obvious.
"Precisely, I love all animals."
"I don't know, I hate people a lot of the time," the brunette admits as she sips her wine. "They let you down and just leave."
"What about me?" Chloe asks with a mischievous quirk of her mouth.
"Oh, I didn't mean it like that, you're fine," it's word vomit, just absolute crap coming out of her mouth. "Not that you're not human, just that you're a good human. Not in a patronizing way though."
"Meow." Even Quill finds it's too painful to watch.
Chloe leans closer to Beca's side of the couch with a laugh, "So tell me about yourself then, Beca."
"I'm, uh, twenty-two. I'm unemployed. I do like alcohol."
"And your parents?"
The only reason Beca answers is because that Chloe could find this information out from anyone in town, or even Google, that's the only reason she answers. "They died in a car crash nine years ago."
"Is that why the old lady gave you the bell?"
Really, Beca shouldn't even be surprised that the redhead noticed that. It's the wine speaking when she answers, "My parents were very kind people. They gave to homeless shelters, charities, all that. At a few particular homeless shelters that they helped keep alive, they went there in person to talk to the people. They gave each of them a small silver bell." Chloe doesn't say anything, just simply looks at her. Now her tongue feels leaden as she continues, "My mother would say, 'You're like this bell. You might think you're small and insignificant, but when you ring it, the most beautiful sound comes out. No matter your size, no matter who you are, you are important to me.' And they would cry and thank her."
"Your mother sounds like a lovely woman."
"Yeah well, I've got a trunk full of those bells," Beca sips more wine. "It must be the wine, because I've never told anyone that."
"Maybe I'm special," Chloe jokes lightheartedly and holds her in an embrace. "I can't imagine what it was like for you."
"You don't have to feel sorry for me, you know?"
"I don't," which surprises Beca. She's used to pity and apologies and consolations and tears.
"Then what are you feeling?"
"Love," she says simply. It's so unexpected. And so confident. And so unexpected. And so genuine. But still unexpected!
"We've just met," the brunette decides to state the obvious, "Not that I'm not flattered."
"Then you must be special," Chloe smiles warmly, clearly not expecting something back.
"I have to go," Beca says as she stands up abruptly. "Like, I have to go."
"Okay, do you want to take this wine back with you?"
"I should probably say no, but it's really damn good, so yes, I would," she answers as Chloe hands her the bottle. "Come on, Quill."
"Now is not the time," Beca huffs, "We'll discuss this at home." Quill grudgingly paws out the front door with her. "Thanks for dinner, and the wine, and everything," she says to the doctor, "And-"
She's cut off by a swift kiss to the cheek.
When Beca's eyes unwillingly crack open in the morning, she's in her bed and the clock on the stand tells her that it's the afternoon. There's clothes strewn everywhere on the ground and Quill has taken it upon herself to curl up on top of one of Beca's sweaters.
"Great," she groans. "I'm not even hungover because I didn't even drink enough."
"Yes, I am planning on drinking when I get downstairs." Quill follows her down the narrow staircase and into the kitchen. She is surprisingly quiet as Beca pours herself a glass from Chloe's bottle of wine. "You're not going to criticize me?"
"Damn right I'm a lost cause."
"And don't you forget it."
It must be around midnight when Beca's finally drunk enough to be relaxed. Some shit love story is on, Gone With the Wind or something. Really, Beca shouldn't be held accountable for her actions, because she's drunk. So when Quill meows at her for the millionth time that night, she snaps.
"Fine, okay, I will then," Beca growls at her and picks up the phone that she hasn't used in maybe a month. "What's her number?"
"Okay," she dials it in quickly. "Hiii Chloe."
"Who is this?"
"M'am, I think you have the wrong number."
"I probably do, 'cause you sound like a guy."
"That's because I am a man, m'am. Good night."
The tone signals the end of the call. "Great," Beca turns towards Quill accusingly. "You gave me the wrong number."
So she tries again and this time she's met with the clear and unmistakable voice of Dr. Beale. "Chloe Beale speaking."
"I love the way you answer the phone," Beca mumbles into the phone.
"That way people know right away if they've got a wrong number or not."
"I try my best. What's up, Beca?"
"So I've spent about two hours watching Gone With the Wind trying to work up the nerve to call you."
"That's a good movie."
"I can't particularly say it made an impact on me. But anyway, Quill's here just looking at me and telling me, 'I have 9 lives, so I don't have to live life to its fullest. But you, you idiot, you only have one!' So I felt like I should call you."
"Quill's actually on her fifth life or so though, so she's been lying to you."
"Damnit, Quill," Beca swears and she tosses the wine bottle in the cat's general direction. There's a smash, but luckily she's shit at aiming and Quill's alright. "I just thought you should know that I never tell people anything about me. Actually I never really go out of the house."
"Sometimes the outside world can be a little much, I understand."
"I lied to that old lady, obviously. I am the Mitchell girl."
"No, you're not. You're Beca, remember?"
"Well, I'm better known around here as the Mitchell girl. The one whose parents died in that awful car crash and was sent to live with her Godfather. Yeah that one. And then my Godfather died, heart attack." There's a long pause of silence and she's a little worried that Chloe's hung up. "Chloe?"
"Just making sure you're still there," she slurs. "I inherited my parents' fortune when I turned eighteen and so I moved back here, to my childhood home. That's why I don't work, because I don't have to, and I don't know what I would do anyway. I just sit at home, get drunk, watch TV."
"And does that make you happy?"
"What is happy? I just don't understand it."
"You know what it is, Beca. I know because I've seen you smile."
"You stay out of this, Quill," she demands, "I don't know what makes me happy."
"Well I know what makes me happy. When people stay."
Beca doesn't really know what to say to that. What is there to say to that?
"Quill likes it too. She was taken away from her mother when she was very little and then her first owners abandoned her in an empty lot. Her second home wasn't much better and she couldn't adjust to living with other cats, so the people took her back. Third time's the charm I suppose."
"Chloe, are you going to leave, too?"
"Only if you want me to."
"I kind of don't want you to."
"I didn't want to leave anyway."
"Tell me about your family."
"Well, we have this huge extended family tree where everyone meshes together at family get-togethers. My mom has three brothers and a sister, Grandpappy died last year, but Granny is still okay. Dad has-"
When Beca feels a rough wet tongue lapping at her fingers, her eyes protestingly snap open. After a groan, she manages to lift herself off the couch, but she quickly tumbles to the floor.
"Quill, why did you do that? Why?"
"Oh God, I can't believe you convinced me to call Chloe and blabber my life to her," Beca massages her temples. "I need aspirin."
One aspirin and lots of water later, Beca's wobbling to the couch with a bag of chips. The phone rings in the middle of Big Bang Theory and Everybody Loves Raymond and she actually is so startled she jumps into the air. By the third ring, Quill is hissing at her.
"What if it's Chloe?"
"What if she talks about the phone call we had yesterday?" This question earns Beca a glare from her. "I told her like, everything. Everything. I never even told my therapist that much." Finally the phone quiets and the brunette lets out an exhale. "I'll deal with it tomorrow. Just let me get drunk in peace today."
Ends up that she's too lazy to get any alcohol, and she sure can't talk to Chloe sober, so she just doesn't answer the phone at all the subsequent three times it rings.
"Quill, stop pouting. I'm not answering the damn phone and that's final." The cat stares, pinning Beca with her gaze. "What if she thinks I'm crazy? Worse, what if she still wants to talk to me after that?"
"Shut up, I didn't ask you." After a few minutes, Beca regrets snapping at her, "Listen Quill, your real owners are coming back tomorrow, and I don't want to end things on a bad note."
"Okay, I'll get you some more food," Beca grunts as she moves her weary muscles and heads towards the kitchen. "There," she places the bowl in front of Quill carefully. "Seriously, you're gonna make me sing?"
Quill blinks her eyes once.
"Shorty get down, good Lord, Baby got 'em up open all over town. Strictly bitchy, she don't play around cover much ground, got game by the pound," she sings as best as she can manage. "Getting paid is a forte, each and every day, true player way. I can't get her out of my mind, I think about the girl all the time."
"You refuse to eat? What is this, Iron Jawed Angels?"
"You can starve, see if I care." Beca taps her foot, waiting. "Really? You're gonna do this to me? After all we've been through? Rush Hour 1, Rush Hour 2?"
"Goddamnit, okay, I'll call Chloe, just let me get some alcohol first," she grabs two bottles from the cabinet and heads back to the living room to get the phone. She doubles back to the kitchen as she presses speakerphone.
"Chloe Beale speaking."
"Quill refuses to eat."
"What awful song did you sing to her?"
"No Diggity, and it wasn't awful."
"That's actually a good song."
"I know, right?" A low growl from Quill reminds her of the purpose of the call. "But what do I do?"
"Am I on speaker?"
"I hopped off the plane at L.A.X. with a dream and my cardigan. Welcome to the land of fame excess, am I gonna fit in?"
"No, hold up hold up," Beca interrupts. "You are not singing Miley Cyrus to Quill. She deserves better."
"Ah, but you knew it was Miley Cyrus!"
"Not the point, she deserves better."
"Alright, you choose a song then."
"I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose," Beca starts, a bit unsure, Chloe's not heard her sing before.
"Fire away, fire away,"Chloe joins in, taking a top harmony effortlessly. "Ricochet, you take your aim. Fire away, fire away." They sound, dare she think it, good? "Shoot me down but I won't fall, I am titanium. Shoot me down but I won't fall, I am titanium."
"Uh, well, Quill's eating now."
"We sounded good together."
"Yeah, we did," Beca says, wondering if that's supposed to mean more. "I wanted to apologize for yesterday."
"Why? I had a good time."
"I was totally wasted, but I think you could tell, and it was just absolute random shit coming out of my mouth."
"I like talking to you."
"Were you, like, serious about what you said the other day?" She just has to know. Quill's in the corner rolling her eyes, but Beca needs to know.
"The l-loving part," it comes out all stuttering and no confidence.
"Why? I mean, I'm a loser. I have all this money, and I just use it on booze. I'm an alcoholic, I never think about other people, I'm like the dumbest person ever. And I've displayed an extraordinary amount of immaturity in the few days you've known me. How can you love me?"
"I just do."
"Like, you're perfect. You're smart, beautiful, nice, confident, caring, and just so damn amazing. There's nothing you don't know. Just I don't understand."
There's a long silence before Chloe answers, "You're the girl who talks to a cat even when other people are around, the one who has kept a trunk of monetarily useless bells for sentimental reasons, the one who takes T.S. Eliot's words to heart, the one who raps to a cat like it's nobody's business, the one that calls me in the middle of the night to talk about random things on your mind. How can I not love you?"
"Those are signs of a mentally ill person, not someone you want to love," Beca insists, ignoring a particularly high pitched yowl from Quill. "I'm not a good person to be around."
"You keep calling me though."
"Well, I mean, I can't help it. You serenaded me with I Saw the Sign."
"I serenaded Quill." Chloe corrects.
"Well, now I feel like you love her more than you love me."
"Oh, her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they're not shining. Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying. She's so beautiful and I tell her every day."
Beca lets her get through the song before whispering, "I still don't get it. How do I know you won't leave me, too?"
"You're like the bell, Beca. No matter how small and insignificant you think you are, you're important to me. I'd be a fool to leave that."
"Tell me about Michigan." It's the only thing she can manage to say. Anything else is too much.
"We lived in a small house in a sort of suburb, and I shared a room with my older sister, who hated the arrangement. There was this huge maple tree in our front yard and I loved it so much. Sometimes in the winter-"
They talk all night and the alcohol sits on the counter forgotten.
Beca's up before noon in a surprising twist of events and she's packed up Quill's things by the time lunch comes around. She holds the cat, stroking her softly, as they watch a Xena marathon. At around two the doorbell rings.
"This is it, Quill," Beca sighs to her. "We've had a good run."
"I mean, we'll still see each other once in awhile."
"Okay, I'm getting the door now."
Seriously, Beca's debating booze. But instead, she takes a bottle of wine and gets into her car. She nervously presses the buzzer after dialing in the room number.
"Chloe Beale's apartment."
"Come on up."
So she does. Beca enters Chloe's apartment with as much grace as she can muster while in heels.
"So to what do I owe this pleasure?" Chloe smiles graciously.
"I want to take you on a real date. Like not today, but another day."
"Was our last date not real?"
Beca stammers, "Was our last date even a date?"
"So what will we be doing on this date?"
"It's a surprise."
Chloe considers that for a moment, "But I want to be appropriately dressed."
So she reluctantly gives in, "I'm going to go adopt a cat, and you will help me. I want the kind like Quill. A mutt or whatever."
"Mutts are dogs, dear," Chloe laughs as she settles down onto the couch. "Quill is a tabby."
"So that's a yes?"
"Did you ever doubt that I would say yes?" Beca gives her an awkward side hug before the redhead takes control and wraps her into a tight embrace.
"I'll fix myself up," the brunette promises, "I'll go back to college, I'll drink less, I'll get a real job, I'll prove that I'm worthy."
"Beca," Chloe cuts her off with a short kiss. "I already said yes."
"Oh, right. But I'm still doing all of that."
Chloe Beale loves animals. All animals, whether they be cats, dogs, rabbits, monkeys, pandas, possums, giraffes, polar bears, or squirrels. And Beca is starting to understand that. She might like animals too. And maybe people as well, especially people like Chloe Beale.
A/N: Thanks for reading! If for some reason you've stuck to the end of this whack story, I'd like to tell you how much I appreciate it. Leave a review if you're in the mood to. See you in a couple of days. Spoiler: Taxi.
1. I wanted to try my hand at non-angst and thus this was born.
2. This will be a collection of AU (Alternate Universe) one-shots all based around the theory that it doesn't matter which universe you place them in, Chloe and Beca get together each and every time.
3. Borrowed format from MGMK's Fifty First Times: Brittana-style/Spashley style. The content, however, is all my own.
4. I'm on tumblr: amiphobic . tumblr . com. In the "FF Extras" section there is a picture of what Quill is supposed to look like, if you care, which you probably don't. But just in case :D
Thanks once again!