A/N: So here's the thing: I wrote this with every intention of turning this into a series, but, as it always turns out, as I was writing it went in a different direction than I had originally planned. I will write more to this, but I can't promise when. Also, this fic will NOT contain smut (it's more implied) so sorry if that disappoints you.
It starts halfway through Chloe's freshman year.
It's her first frat party. Jen, a senior and leader of the Barden Bellas, snags the group an invite. Chloe makes her way through the crowd, eyes wide, with explicit instructions from Jen to "not fuck anything up". The music pulsates so loudly it resonates in Chloe's chest and sends tingling vibrations down through her fingertips. She's pulling a wary Aubrey through the crowd on the makeshift dance floor in search of the drinks table. It's her first college party, and she's going to do it right.
She fumbles with the keg for a moment before someone steps in to help.
Her name is Alyssa, and she's a junior. Marketing, if Chloe recalls correctly. Alyssa has dark, wavy hair, and the most impressive green eyes Chloe has ever seen. She fills Chloe's red plastic cup to the brim with cheap-tasting beer and asks her if she wants to find a quieter place to talk. They find a couch in an alcove of a relatively empty room and sit a little bit closer than a friendly distance away from each other. Aubrey has somehow disappeared, and Chloe will later get (and ignore) a text saying she found her way back to their dorm on her own.
Chloe's not quite sure how it starts. One moment, they're talking about Alyssa's marketing research project, shifting slightly closer to each other until their knees touch and Alyssa's hand rests on top of Chloe's, lightly tracing patterns on the back of her hand.
The next, they're kissing.
And then, Alyssa's tugging Chloe towards the nearest bathroom and slamming the door shut behind them.
The next morning, Chloe wakes up with a fuzzy memory, a massive headache, and a neck decorated in small purple marks.
Aubrey just shakes her head.
It happens again seven weeks later. Not with Alyssa (Chloe hasn't spoken to her since she saw her sticking her tongue down the throat of some guy on the baseball team out on the quad) but with Sarah, a senior in high school, who's at Barden visiting her brother for the weekend. Sarah has unnaturally blond hair and tastes like cinnamon gum. They meet at a party (Jen, for all of her bitchy tendencies, seems to have a lot of party-throwing friends). The novelty of being underage yet having access to an abundance of booze has yet to wear off on either of them, so they drink their fill and then grab a couple of beers for the road back to Chloe's dorm room.
In the early hours of the next morning Aubrey, who had been pulling an all-nighter at the library, is nearly run over by Sarah, a pair of heels dangling from her fingers, in the hall.
Aubrey sighs and places a bottle of Advil next to Chloe's bed for when she wakes up.
It doesn't end there, though.
Chloe burns through most of the female members of the Gay-Straight Alliance before she meets Haley at the end of her junior year. They actually don't meet at a party—Chloe catches Haley fumbling with the controls on the treadmill at the gym and stops to help. Haley, a senior, is one of the most striking girls Chloe's ever seen; she has shiny, wavy brown hair, steel-blue eyes, and a peace sign tattooed on the inside of her left wrist. They strike up a conversation about their workouts and Chloe leaves the gym that day with Haley's number scribbled onto the palm of her hand and a smile on her face.
Two days later, they meet up for drinks (at an actual bar, because Chloe's finally 21) and after an hour or so Haley grabs her hand and kisses her—short, hard, and desperate. She tells Chloe that her parents are devout Catholics and staunchly opposed to homosexuality and then starts crying.
Haley, it proves, is a very weepy drunk.
The only thing Chloe can think to do is hug Haley hard, stroking her hair, and doesn't object when their lips meet again and they somehow make their way to Haley's apartment.
When they wake up the next morning, Haley panics, clutching her shirt to her bare chest and swearing Chloe to secrecy.
She apologizes, and says it was a one-time thing, but turns up on the doorstep of Chloe and Aubrey's shared apartment four days later with a bottle of tequila.
It happens again. And again. Until it becomes a "thing": Haley, usually tipsy, backing Chloe onto the nearest surface, lips attached to skin.
But Haley never stays in the morning.
She graduates three weeks later and moves to Virginia with a promise to keep in touch.
Aubrey's not surprised when Chloe doesn't hear from her again.
This year is going to be different. Senior year. Study hard, party less, win ICCAs. Not necessarily no distractions—because no distractions equals no fun—but fewer distractions
But damn it, Chloe's distracted.
It's a Friday night and that's as good an excuse as any to have a party. It's at the Treblemakers' fraternity-style house and although a cappella season hasn't officially started yet, the house is packed with kids from all of the groups (and a lot of kids who don't sing, too). Aubrey had refused to go, calling the house "the Douchecastle" and switching on the TV, signaling the end of the conversation.
So Chloe takes a couple of shots by herself and pushes into the middle of the throng of dancing, sweaty bodies. She dances with a couple of guys and tosses suggestive winks to a few girls before her feet start to hurt. Spotting a couch in a corner of the room, she stumbles out of the crowd, takes another couple of shots, and plops down on the black leather, breathless.
There's a girl sitting on the other end of the couch, eyeing Chloe with a raised eyebrow and a beer bottle in her left hand. She's tiny, with narrow shoulders and delicate fingers that tap out a sporadic rhythm against the arm of the couch. Her eyes are a grey-blue and outlined in black, and Chloe spots a grasshopper tattoo on the inside of her left wrist when she pushes a lock of brown hair off of her forehead. She seems vaguely familiar, and Chloe is inexplicably intrigued.
"I have a bug tattoo," Chloe says, extending her right arm for the girl to see. The girl raises her other eyebrow to meet the first, and nods slowly.
"You know what they say about girls with bug tattoos, right?" the girl says with a self-assured smirk and shifts closer to Chloe. Chloe furrows her brow in confusion and the girl leans in conspiratorially, her breath hot on Chloe's cheek. "They're fucking hot."
Chloe laughs lowly. "You have a way with words."
"It's worked for me in the past," says the girl as she brushes her thumb over Chloe's ladybug tattoo, sending shivers up her spine.
"I'm Chloe," Chloe says, twisting her arm out of Beca's hand to run her fingertips lightly over the ink-made grasshopper.
"Beca," says the girl, using her free hand to brush a few strands of red hair off or Chloe's sweaty forehead. The intimacy of the gesture causes a wanting knot to form low in Chloe's abdomen. There's a pause, two of them just looking at each other, until Beca surges forward and presses her lips onto Chloe's. It's forceful but not frenzied, and Beca gently runs her tongue along Chloe's lips until they part and Chloe tangles her fingers in Beca's wavy hair. Chloe drags her lips to Beca's jawline, peppering light kisses along it before moving to her pulse point and biting down gently. Beca inches her fingers just under Chloe shirt and traces light circles at her hipbone before reattaching their mouths. They finally part for air, panting, one of Beca's legs thrown haphazardly across Chloe's.
"I have a roommate," Beca says, sliding her hand up Chloe's thigh.
"Oh," Chloe says, frowning slightly before a look of realization passes over her face. "Oh." Beca smiles as Chloe rises from the couch and tugs Beca out of the house.
When Chloe goes to parties, Aubrey tries to avoid their apartment (Chloe had sworn she wasn't bringing anyone home this time, but history has a habit of repeating itself). She's spent the night at a friend's (from her History of American Law class) dorm room. Aubrey had thought that 11 am would give whomever Chloe had brought home sufficient time to tiptoe out the door, but as she made her way down the hall, a small figure slips out of her apartment door. Her shirt is on inside-out and her hair is mussed and Aubrey can spot the bruises on her neck from down the hall. They make a brief moment of eye contact before the girl turns and scurries towards the stairs. Aubrey lets out a heavy sigh and lets herself into the apartment. She spots Chloe in the kitchen, staring dejectedly into a mug of coffee.
"Chloe?" Aubrey says cautiously, sliding into a chair across from the redhead. Chloe doesn't respond, but looks up. "Who was that?"
"Beca," Chloe says, tracing a fingertip along the rim of the mug. "She, uh, had to go to class." Aubrey reaches across the table and takes Chloe's hand in hers.
"I thought you weren't going to do this anymore," Aubrey says gently. Chloe sighs and presses the heels of her hands into her eyes, shoulders drooping.
"She's different," Chloe says as if she's trying to convince herself of her words. "She just had to go to class."
"Right," Aubrey says, groaning internally. "I suppose it's a coincidence that she looks an awful lot like Haley?"
Chloe's head snaps up. "She doesn't look like Haley," she says defensively. Aubrey puts her fingertips to her temples.
"Just… be careful, okay? Don't turn this into a Haley thing."
"I'm not. It's not. Beca's not like Haley." Chloe's gaze doesn't quite meet Aubrey's, her eyes fixed on a point above her head. Aubrey opens her mouth and then closes it again, watching as Chloe absently runs her fingers along the ladybug tattoo on her arm.
Beca's not like Haley.
After much fumbling, Chloe finally fit her key in the lock of her apartment door. Yanking Beca over the threshold, she spun the smaller girl around and backed her against the door, slamming it shut. Chloe hesitated for a moment, her nose an inch away from Beca's, before kissing her passionately. Beca's hand traveled up to cup Chloe's cheek.
Beca's not like Haley. Haley kissed roughly, desperately, teeth clashing and noses bumping.
Beca gently slipped Chloe's coat from her shoulders before shedding her own zip-up. Chloe nudged Beca towards her bedroom, kicking off her shoes in the process. She pushed Beca onto her bed and nipped at her neck, running the flat of her tongue over the red marks. Beca hissed at the pain and pulled her t-shirt over her head. Chloe paused, staring at the exposed porcelain skin, her gaze following the dip of Beca's hipbones and up to where white turned to simple black cotton. She pulled her own top over her head, discarding it on the floor. Beca's breath hitched audibly.
"You're so fucking beautiful."
Beca's not like Haley. Haley didn't give Chloe compliments.
Chloe climbed onto the bed and pulled Beca close, running her fingers up Beca's sides, causing the brunette to shiver. Their lips met again, deep and sensual. Chloe nudged her thigh in between Beca's legs. All of a sudden, Beca paused, hands posed to unclasp the back of Chloe's bra.
"Are you sure about this?" she asked.
Beca's not like Haley. Haley never asked.
As soon as Chloe met Beca's gaze, she crumbled. Tears fell inexplicably as she shook her head. Beca removed her hands and wrapped her arms around Chloe.
"I'm sorry," Chloe sniffled, clinging to the brunette desperately.
Beca turned so she was looking into Chloe's eyes. "Don't apologize."
Beca's not like Haley. They didn't have sex.