Disclaimer: Characters you know don't belong to me. The title comes from the book Delirium by Lauren Oliver. In that book, love is a disease called Amor Deliria Nervosa and it was while reading the third book in the series that I was somewhat inspired to write this oneshot. I might shamelessly steal from Lauren Oliver and revisit that concept another day, but until then you're stuck with this. Sorry.
A/N: Yeah, so, here we go again. My obsession with Pitch Perfect continues and I now lack the ability to stop myself from writing any idea that pops into my head. This is random and...yep, definitely random. This story is also for theasbofive; I wish I could give you something better but oh well, this is all I got. Hope everyone enjoys!
"Amor Deliria Nervosa"
So, yeah, of course Jesse Swanson believes in love at first sight. You can't be a total Hollywood-freak, movie-buff and not believe in that type of thing. It basically invalidates the lesson of every movie ever. And yeah, he's not delusional; he knows that life isn't like the movies and things don't always work out as perfectly as they do on celluloid but he does believe in happy endings. What's wrong with that?
And so, the first time he sees this short, skinny girl with heavy eye makeup and a scowl on her face, Jesse feels like there needs to be some sort of magical movie moment to commemorate the feeling he gets when they lock eyes. There should be some song swelling in the background. But the only thing he has to work with is Kansas playing on the radio so he just looks at this girl and sings to her. Plays her the air guitar and everything. Bringing out the big guns.
The first time Beca Mitchell looks at him with that smirk and that you've got to be kidding me look in her eyes, Jesse Swanson falls in love with her. Not like, love love. Of course. He knows the difference between honest to God moving mountains love and what he feels the first time he locks eyes with her from the backseat of his parents car. He might not know this girl but Jesse hopes that he gets the chance. Because there's just something about her.
There are a lot of people at Barden. Like a lot. Enough to make finding one girl seem like an impossibility. Or maybe it's just the beginning of some romantic comedy and Jesse is definitely no stranger to those types of story lines. Hey, cut him some slack, okay? If he really hopes to make his mark in Hollywood, he needs to be well versed in every genre.
Jesse finds himself thinking about that girl long after his parents have left and he's more or less moved into his dorm room. Benji is already asleep underneath his Star Wars comforter but Jesse can't quite get comfortable. Maybe it's being in a new place; maybe he's having a hard time adjusting to the sounds of so many other people around him. Or maybe he's too busy thinking about that girl and replaying their first meeting (okay, encounter) in his head. She looked charmed, yeah definitely impressed. Jesse smiles to himself in the darkness of his new home. Yeah, he definitely impressed her.
The first time Jesse actually talks to Beca, he swears he falls in love with her. Just a little. Well, a little bit more. It's not like their first conversation is particularly Earth-shattering. In fact, normal people might consider it a bit of a disappointment. But Jesse, see, he's the type of person who sees victories even in the smallest things.
They're stacking CDs in silence now that their first attempt at conversation has dropped off. Jesse watches her from behind a row of CDs that he's supposed to be alphabetizing. She's much more interesting. She picks up each CD and turns it over to look at the track listing on the back; it makes for slow progress but he likes watching her study the track names and he wonders which ones strike her as interesting. He can tell which ones are her favorites because she gets a little half smile on the corners of her lips and taps her black painted nails against the case. Jesse knows that feeling, because it's exactly how he feels when he picks up a favorite movie.
"I was kidding about the ear-spike, you know." Jesse remarks, dropping his CDs onto the shelf and coming to stand next to her. "You can leave it in. I kinda like it."
She rolls her eyes at him. "Great. I'm so glad I have your approval."
Jesse smiles at her. "No need to get snarky, Becky. We're going to be spending a lot of time together, we might as well skip this whole hard-to-get-stage."
"It's Beca." She corrects him quickly and her eyes look just a little bit murderous. "Don't ever call me Becky again."
"Sorry." Jesse holds up his hands defensively. "Didn't El Capitán over there just call you that?"
Beca-Never-Becky just continues to glare at him. "I didn't get a chance to correct him because you came in." She points at CD case at him. "So, it's Beca, okay? Or, on second thought, you don't have to call me anything at all. We can just ignore each other."
Jesse continues to grin at her. "What would be the fun in that?" He arches an eyebrow. "I doubt you can resist my charms for long."
Beca rolls her eyes. "Wanna bet, nerd?"
"Yes, yes I do." Jesse follows her as she takes a stack of CDs over to one of the shelves. "No one has ever effectively given me the silent treatment, I don't think you can either. So, I take that challenge. Beca? Did you hear me? Beca?"
She glances over her shoulder at him and arches a single eyebrow, a smirk on her face. But she doesn't say anything. Jesse gives her an impressed look. "Well played. But they all start out strong."
Beca just continues to stack and move CDs, humming to herself whenever he tries to engage her in conversation. He loves her just a little bit because she keeps up the silent treatment for an entire week.
But he loves her even more when she finally gives in and starts talking to him.
The first time he hears her sing, Jesse swears he falls in love with her. A little bit more. He should have been gone but he left his jacket behind in the auditorium and when he turns around to get it he sees her sitting there on the stage. Her head is down, watching the movements of her hands but her motions look sure and confident to him and he assumes that her inability to look up has more to do with her lack of confidence in herself. He wants to clap for her when she's done singing; her voice is beautiful and he wants to hear it again. But he just hangs back by the door, afraid to draw attention to himself.
At Hood Night, when he sees her walking up with the rest of the Bellas, Jesse can't help but smile. Beca doesn't exactly strike him as the plays-well-with-others type but he's glad that she's joined the Bellas, even if they are supposed to be his rival group. He hopes this means that he'll get the chance to hear her sing again and he wonders if one day he'll be able to ask her to sing just for him. And maybe teach him to do that cup trick, because it was pretty impressive.
The first time he touches her, Jesse swears that he falls just a little bit more in love with her. It's an accident, honestly. Because Beca's not the type of initiate any sort of physical contact. Jesse has known her for several weeks and still remains convinced that underneath her surly exterior is a girl who doesn't want to push the world away. Beca might deny that until her last breath, but you can't change Jesse's mind.
They're stacking CDs (of course) and Beca comes walking out of the store room with a milk crate piled high with records. She's already tiny and she looks almost comical trying to carry the crate across the room. Jesse stops what he's doing and hurries over to her. "Let me help you."
"I got it." Beca grunts. "It's not that heavy."
Jesse reaches for the crate anyway and his hand brushes against hers. That's it. That's the extent of their touch. Beca hands the crate over to him and walks back toward the rows of shelves, instructing him to put the box on the table. But Jesse still feels a bit of a tingle in his fingers where they brushed against Beca's skin. Yeah, it's pretty lame, considering the touch lasted about five seconds and it probably couldn't even be considered much of a touch at all. But now Jesse's mind is running ahead of him, wondering if the rest of her skin is as soft as her hands and what it would be like to be able to reach over and touch her or hold her hand or God forbid even kiss her whenever he wanted.
"Uh, hello? Earth to Jesse?" Beca's voice pulls Jesse out of a few thoughts that he's glad no one else is privy too. "Are you going to bring those over here or just keep staring into space?"
"I think I'll just keep standing here." Jesse informs her frankly. "I need to work on my pensive expression. Girls dig thoughtful guys, you know."
Beca rolls her eyes. "Dork." She says it like it's a sentence all it's own; it's not necessarily an insult, but it's not exactly friendly either.
Jesse sets the crate of records down on the desk. "You should get some new material Beca. I might not mind that you just recycle the same old stuff but there are some people out there who might dock you for your lack of originality."
Beca takes a few of the records out of the box. "Do you even listen to yourself when you talk? Or do you just say whatever comes to your mind?"
"I don't have to think up these pearls of wisdom." Jesse assures her. "They just come right out."
Shaking her head, Beca has to work hard to resist the urge to roll her eyes at him. "Just put this on the shelf behind you, okay?" She holds a record out to him.
When Jesse reaches to take it from her, Beca's fingers lightly brush against his wrist and he feels that same electric sensation that he felt only seconds before. Beca just turns away from him and goes back to sorting through the records so Jesse figures that he, alone, is aware of their electric (pun intended) connection. As he shelves the record, he can't help but think about one thing that would be better than being able to touch Beca: having her touch him. Yeah, not a horrible thought at all.
The first time they kiss, well…it's love as far as Jesse's concerned. The applause of the audience and the fact that Beca has just pushed her way through a crowd of people to get to him does nothing to lessen the fact that this whole thing seems like the perfect ending to a movie. All that's missing are the opening lines of some cheesy pop song. Not that Jesse has much to complain about, seeing as Beca is pulling him to her and they're kissing and yep. It's love.
Someone wolf whistles at them and Beca pulls away, her face flushed and slightly embarrassed. "I…"
Jesse has seen her get that look in her eyes before; he can tell that she's second guessing herself and whatever this just was. He's not about to let that happen, because he definitely enjoyed whatever this just was. "Let's get some air."
Beca's eyes flick over toward the rest of the Bellas but she nods anyway and follows him out of the packed theatre just as the next group takes the stage. Jesse wants to grab her and kiss her again; he wants to pull her to him and kiss her for all the times he just wanted to grab her and kiss her before. He wants to say something that accurately expresses how much the past few months have sucked, but he also wishes that there was a way to say I'm done with all that bullshit, let's just start over, can I kiss you again? But he doesn't want to push her away, because that would be a tragedy as far as Jesse's concerned.
Outside the Lincoln Center, night has fallen and the city is bustling with people moving from one place to another. No one spares them a second glance when they step out onto the sidewalk. Beca glances upward, toward the buildings that tower overhead, blocking out the sky and the stars above.
"So I take it you watched the movie." Jesse says after a beat of silence. Beca gives him a slightly confused look. "The Breakfast Club. Wasn't it life changing?"
Beca shrugs. "I mean, it was okay." Jesse gives her a shocked look. "It's not like I cried or anything."
A slow grin spreads across Jesse's face. "You did, didn't you? You totally cried." He pokes her in the side. "Just admit it. Beca Mitchell actually likes movies."
"Whoa, don't jump to conclusions." Beca ducks away from him when he tries to tickle her again. "I liked one movie. One. And I didn't love it or anything, it just didn't make me want to kill myself."
Jesse arches an eyebrow. "So why did you watch it? What made you change your mind?"
Beca sighs and glances down at her feet. "I just…I wasn't sure what else to do." She mutters. "I tried to apologize but…I still couldn't tell you the truth. I couldn't…" She lets out another, more frustrated sigh and glances up at him. "I'm not good with words, okay? That's why I like music. Music makes sense."
Jesse nods, leaning against the wall of the Lincoln Center. He wonders how long they've been standing out here and how many more groups have to perform before that coveted trophy is given out. He already knows that it's going to be the Bellas who stand up on stage to receive it; they deserve it.
"I know what you mean." He tells Beca. "That's how I feel about movies. They have a beginning, a middle and an end. It all makes sense, it's orderly and, you know, sometimes I like it when the endings are predictable. I like it when you know that the good guy is going to win and the guy is going to get the girl."
Beca rolls her eyes at him. "That's because you're a dork. A cheesy dork." She informs him frankly. "But life isn't like a movie. You don't know what's going to happen."
Jesse shrugs. "Yeah, but that shouldn't keep you from finding out." He points out. "You don't know what's going to happen when you go to L.A. but you want to go anyway."
"I do know what's going to happen." Beca tells him and she doesn't sound pompous and snotty. She just sounds confident. "I know what's going to happen because I'm in control. It's just me. You can't predict what's going to happen when you bring someone else into the equation."
"So that's your whole plan? Just depend on yourself and keep everyone else out?" Jesse questions. He's trying to keep his tone casual, so it doesn't sound like he's trying to tear her down or so that he doesn't sound panicked at the idea that even after their movie-moment worthy kiss that she could still be considering pushing him away.
Beca shrugs. "Yeah, pretty much. It was a pretty good plan."
There's something in her tone that catches Jesse's attention. He searches her face, trying to read the mixture of emotions there. "Until…?" He prompts.
Beca groans and gives him a little shove. "Don't make me say it, dork." She grimaces at him. "Look, I'm still," she waves her hands around like she's trying to pull the words from thin air, "all fucked up. But I did…I like spending time with you." She mumbles this, as though she's embarrassed to speak the words out loud. "I want to…keep spending time with you."
Jesse smiles at her. "I don't blame you, I am pretty awesome." Beca whacks him on the arm. "I missed you, Beca." It's much easier for him to say the words than it is for her, but he's not going to fault her for that. Progress is progress, no matter how small. "I want to keep spending time with you too. We still have so many movies to watch."
"Oh no, I'm not signing up for that." Beca informs him. "Don't get ahead of yourself."
"Okay." Jesse takes a step toward her, reaching out and putting a hand on her hip. When she doesn't move away, he draws her closer to him. "I can take it slow." He dips his head to kiss her.
And yeah, the second time they kiss…that's love too.
The first time Beca lets him call her his girlfriend, Jesse's pretty sure he falls a little bit more in love with her. By this point, he's given up on the idea that you reach a point where you're completely, one hundred percent in love with someone. It just doesn't work that way; he finds new things to love about Beca everyday. And this just happens to be one of them.
The holidays are rapidly approaching, bringing with them the end of their sophomore fall semester. Jesse's pretty pleased with his grades, considering that he's balancing his internship at the radio station with Trebles practice and still finding time to study and, of course, spend time with Beca. Plus he's never been the best chemistry student and definitely doesn't have a knack for foreign languages. (Even though, it turns out, that Beca really does know German thanks to some weird guy her mom dated after her dad left but even her tutelage can't help him) Jesse's ready to start spring semester, when he's actually going to be able to start taking classes geared toward his major.
The only downside about the impending end of the semester is the two week break that comes with it. It's not like he's a little kid who can't stand the idea of being without his best friend/girlfriend for two weeks but that doesn't mean that he's looking forward to saying goodbye to Beca and talking to her via text message and Skype for the next two weeks. It's just not the same as being in the same room with her. And he's not just talking about the physical stuff either, so get your heads out of the gutter.
Jesse is lounging around on Beca's bed while he watches her throw some stuff in a bag to take back to Boston with her. "Sure you don't need a ride to the airport?" He questions, watching her carefully slip her laptop into its case.
"Oh, do you have a car hiding around here that you're not telling me back?" Beca questions, arching an eyebrow. "Because it would be nice not to have to take MARTA to the record store anymore."
"Sorry to disappoint you honey." Jesse says, ignoring the glare he gets for the nickname. "My parents are coming to pick me up; I know they won't mind giving you a ride."
Beca shrugs and shakes her head. "No, that's okay. It's out of the way. I can take a taxi. I'm used to it by now." She zips up her bag and gives a little nod, satisfied that all her stuff is packed.
Jesse pushes himself into a sitting position and beckons for her to join him on the bed. "You should at least meet my parents before you go." He remarks, giving her a pouty look when she stays where she's at. "Don't play hard to get, Bec. We aren't going to see each other for two weeks."
Beca rolls her eyes. "Don't be a baby, I think you'll survive." But she walks over to him anyway and lets him pull her down onto the bed beside him. "And don't call me Bec."
"It's cute." Jesse tips her head back and kisses her. "And so are you."
Beca makes a face and wiggles out of his grasp slightly so that she's lying more comfortably across his chest. "You are a dork. How do you even stand yourself?"
Jesse shrugs and kisses the corner of her jaw line, right below her ear. "I find myself ridiculously charming." He kisses her again, effectively bringing an end to any snarky comment she might make. "What time is your flight?"
Beca sighs. "My cab will be here in ten minutes."
Jesse wrinkles his nose. "Yeah, my parents will too." He rests her forehead against hers. "How will you manage without me?"
"Oh, I'm sure I'll be fine." Beca assures him. She starts to sit up, but she allows him to pull her back down and doesn't complain when he starts kissing her again.
A side glance at the clock (unfortunately) puts an end to their goodbye kiss(es). Beca sits up again, pushing her hair away from her face. "C'mon weirdo. You can carry my bag downstairs."
Jesse gets off the bed, really wishing that Boston wasn't so far away. But it's only two weeks. Two weeks really isn't that long; they made it through the summer, after all. Even though Beca protests that she was only kidding, he picks up her bag and slings it over his shoulder. She wouldn't budge on not letting him carry her laptop case however.
"So, yes on meeting my parents?" Jesse questions as they take the elevator down to the ground level. "I promise I'll restrain them so they don't make you late for you flight."
Beca groans. "Why? I'm not exactly the type of girl that parents want their son to date." She's actually heard the once before. Junior year of high school, the first and only time she actually thought about dating someone. The dude's mom told her to her face that she wore too much makeup and was too surly to be around her son.
"What are you talking about? They'll love you." Jesse assures her. "You're my girlfriend, why wouldn't they love you?"
Whoops. He didn't mean to say that. To be honest, he's not even sure that Beca would be comfortable admitting that they were even dating. Yeah, it's been almost seven months since that fateful kiss at the Lincoln Center and in Jesse's mind that pretty much constitutes as a relationship. But this is Beca-I'm-Still-Not-Sure-How-To-Deal-With-Human-Emotions-Mitchell and the last thing he wants is to put a label on something that she is not comfortable labeling.
Beca is silent for a minute and Jesse really wishes that he knew what was going on inside that head of hers. This is definitely not how he wanted to start his winter break.
"Girlfriend huh?" Beca says finally, glancing over at him and arching an eyebrow.
"Yeah…well…I mean…" Jesse clears his throat, trying to remember how to string sentences together like a normal human. "You don't have to…you know…"
"Call you my girlfriend?" Beca supplies, smirking. "Good. Because I think that would confuse a lot of people."
Jesse smiles at her and feels relieved at her words. It's not exactly a ringing endorsement as to the status of their relationship but she's not telling him to take a hike either so Jesse considers that to be pretty much a victory. Baby steps. It's all about baby steps with Beca. And Jesse doesn't mind.
And when Beca calls him her boyfriend one night at an end of the year party, Jesse swears he couldn't love her more.
When they break up, Jesse realizes why some people consider love a disease. He understands why some people are so against the idea of opening yourself up to another person and bringing them into your life. Because, yeah, everything is great and wonderful when things are good and you can't imagine things any other way. Then when things go bad, it's like the person that you were before doesn't even exist anymore.
Jesse is definitely a happy ending type of guy. Maybe it's stupid or naïve or childish but he never considered any other alternative for his relationship with Beca. They'd graduate from Barden and ride off into the sunset of the real world together and whatever happened next would happen and it would all be okay because they'd be together. Cue the closing credits.
It's not like they don't fight. Because they do, of course they do. All couples fight, even his happily married parents. Beca does things that really bug him and he does things that grate on her nerves; she's much more vocal about those things but they always manage to work through whatever stupid bickering match went too far. But one evening, things escalate much too quickly and Beca frankly informs Jesse that she's done with him and rather than be hurt or panicked Jesse lets himself feel angry and his retort, "Well color me surprised. It's not like you haven't always had one foot out the door, just waiting to leave. Just like your dad," just sort of slips out.
Okay, yeah, he's an idiot. Jesse's not even sure where that response came from. They've talked about her dad a few times throughout the course of their relationship and Jesse knows that Beca still struggles with opening up about her family even though she's starting to repair her relationship with her father and she feels comfortable enough with Jesse to share just about anything with him. So he's not sure why his mind assured him that her resentment over her dad leaving her when she was younger would be perfect ammunition during a stupid fight that probably would have been over if he'd just kept his mouth shut.
And the look in Beca's eyes is enough to make Jesse want throw himself on his own sword (metaphorically speaking, of course). It's not just surprise or anger. It's betrayal, which is definitely worse. What also sucks is the fact that she won't listen to him as he tries to stammer out an apology and reassure her that he didn't really mean it, honest, he's just a big dumb idiot. "I'm done." Is all Beca will say and yeah, that's definitely more than a little scary.
Jesse tries to give her time to cool down; the last thing he wants to do is exacerbate the situation by pushing her or trying to force his apology and explanation down her throat. He tries to convince himself that Beca is actually going to accept his apology and it's going to be all good between them. He'll do some super cheesy thing as a way to make it up to her and it'll annoy the hell out of her but she'll secretly love it and their junior year can proceed as normal.
But she doesn't call and she doesn't text and she doesn't come by the dorm and (it's not like he's stalking her or anything) she doesn't go to her Tuesday classes and Jesse wonders what it would really be like to break up with her. To just not have her in his life anymore. Wham, bam, no more Beca. That line of thinking…it sucks. And that's when Jesse realizes just how shitty love can be. Because he loves Beca, that much is obvious, but that's not doing anything to help him right now. In fact, it's really only making things worse.
Another day passes and Jesse realizes that playing it cool is just not his style. He feels like he's stuck in limbo because a part of him still refuses to believe that Beca really meant those final two words and he's just biding his time until she decides she's not pissed at him anymore. And there's another part of him that realizes he's just being an idiot and Beca isn't one to mince words and she probably never wants to see him again and has already burned all of his stuff in some sort of creepy ceremonial ritual with the rest of the Bellas. So, yeah, love sucks a little bit. And what's the point of love if you feel this way about someone and you can't have them?
So Jesse goes to her dorm and bangs on the door until Beca finally lets him in. Her frosty glare and stony exterior do not make her any less beautiful to him. He just wants to grab her and never let go but something tells him that type of apology isn't going to fly with Beca.
"What?" Beca crosses her arms over her chest and fixes him with a stare so unfriendly and devoid of emotion that it puts the old Beca to shame.
"I'm sorry. I'm really, really fucking sorry. I'm an idiot. And I don't know why I said that. Because you're nothing like your dad, Beca, you're not. And I shouldn't have even said anything like that at all." Jesse realizes this apology isn't really making sense but the idea of leaving this room without things being alright again makes it hard for his brain to work. "I just…I was afraid because I didn't want to lose you and I said the first thing I could think of to hurt you. And I know that's really counterproductive but-"
"You did hurt me." Beca interrupts. She doesn't look amused by his rambling, the way that she often has before. "So congratulations. That feeling sucks. I don't want to do it again."
It takes Jesse a minute to realize what she's implying. "So that's it then? You don't want to get hurt so you're just going to shut me out again? Close yourself off? Go back to how things used to be." Beca doesn't say anything. "That's really shitty Beca. And really fucking stupid."
Beca's brow knits. "Yeah, you're doing a wonderful job apologizing. Thanks for showing up here and making me feel worse than you already have."
"I don't know what you want me to say Beca. I'm sorry, okay? You have no idea how sorry I am. Because the past few days have been really, really horrible and I just…I love you, okay? And I don't want to not be allowed to love you anymore. And I can't promise that I'm never going to hurt you again but that's not going to change the fact that I still love you and if you think that being alone just to keep yourself from getting hurt is better than being without me then…no, you know what, fuck that. I'm not going to let that happen. You're wrong. You can't just close yourself off and shut out the people who care about you. I'm not going to let you do that Beca."
Beca just stares at him and Jesse falls silent because he suddenly feels like an idiot. What was he thinking, showing up here without any type of plan and letting his thoughts go unfiltered?
"The night before my dad left…I saw…he was packing his stuff." Beca says finally and even though Jesse's not really sure where this is going he just stands there and watches her because this is better than her throwing him out of her room. "I asked him not to leave. I begged him to stay. But he left anyway. While I was at school. He just walked out. He let me go."
It takes Jesse a second, but he hears those unspoken words; he understands what Beca is really saying. "I'm not going to let you go." Jesse assures her, taking a tentative step toward her. "Don't shut me out, Bec. Things might not always be perfect, but we can work through them. I promise."
Beca hesitates for a moment before stepping into his arms and Jesse pulls her against him and kisses her temple and exhales. Love might be a disease but when he's not suffering through it alone, it's not so bad.
Jesse is not the type to take his time and feel out a situation before rushing headlong into it, so when Beca tells him that she loves him, it only confirms what he's known all along. That he loves her too; that he has for, like, a while.
They've been drinking because it's Stacie's birthday and while Stacie has many talents, knowing how to throw a party is definitely one of her best. It somehow turns from a quiet get-together amongst friends to a party that attracts the majority of the Barden student population and Beca's mixes are thumping out of the speakers and there's a keg and alcohol that's being passed around like it's no big deal and before Jesse knows it he's tipsy and Beca is definitely drunk. They dance and drink and enjoy the party atmosphere until campus security shows up and shuts down the party. He and Beca manage to slip out while Stacie is giving one of the arresting officers the bedroom eyes and Jesse really hopes that Stacie doesn't go to jail for sexual harassment as well as underage drinking.
Beca is laughing as he takes her hand and pulls her into his bedroom. Benji is still at the party (poor Benji) so it's not like they have to be quiet for any particular reason. "Your face." She laughs, not for the first time. "When the cops walked in. I thought you were going to have a heart attack."
Jesse wrinkles his nose. "I thought we were going to jail. I really didn't want to have to make that call to my parents." He points out. "Plus, do you know what happens to guys like me in prison?"
Beca sits down on his bed and ends up teetering over, resting her head against his pillow. "I've been to jail. It's not so bad." She assures him.
"That's right, I forget you're a hardened criminal." Jesse flops down next to her, giving her a little push so that she scoots over enough to make room for him. "I should have left you and rescued Benji instead. You would have been fine in lockup."
Beca shakes her head. "You wouldn't have left me." She informs him with the conviction that only a drunk person can manage. "Because you love me."
Jesse smiles and reaches up to brush a curl behind her ear. "Yeah, weirdo, I do."
"And I love you too." She responds, like this isn't the first time she's ever said those words to him. Like it's perfect naturally for her to just express her feelings.
Jesse just keeps a smile on his face and tries not to look like he's been waiting nearly two years to hear her say those words. He tries not to look like it's a big deal. Like he doesn't know that the only reason Beca said them is because she's currently intoxicated.
In the morning, Jesse doesn't say anything to her about those three little words. He just brings her some water and aspirin for her budding hangover and lets her use his chest for a pillow.
"I remember last night." Beca tells him at some point during the afternoon. She's finally caved and given into his request to watch a movie on his laptop while they lounge around and recover from their wild night.
Jesse smiles at her. "You sure about that, Mitchell? You were doing some pretty serious drinking." He teases.
Beca rolls her eyes. "You make me sound like an alcoholic." Jesse makes a thoughtful noise and she jabs him in the ribs. "I mean I remember last night. Here, in your dorm. What I said." She lifts her head off his chest. "I love you. I don't know why I've been afraid to say it."
Jesse's pretty sure that he's never smiled wider in his life. "'Bout time. I was starting to develop a complex."
"No you weren't." Beca rolls her eyes again for good measure.
Jesse leans in to kiss her. "I love you too, Beca."
Even though she smiles, Beca says, "Let's not get cheesy, okay Swanson? We don't need to be that kind of couple."
And, true to her words, Beca isn't the type of girl who needs to say I love you after every phone conversation or before they go their separate ways to class or acapella practice. When she does say it, Jesse can't help but smile because he loves her too. He's pretty sure that he always has, so it's about time that she caught up.