It's just, Chloe always kind of thought she'd know it when she was married.
Aubrey sure as hell did. "I got married!" she said, voice cracking with glee.
"Congratulations," Chloe said politely. "Joan e-mailed me just to say I needed to come pick up all of my old records, or she's going to sell them on Ebay."
A few seconds of silence. "That sucks, Chlo," Aubrey said finally. "But you've got Mark, right?"
Mark was nice and hot and smart and Chloe'd had a thing for him for awhile, but she wasn't lying when she said he wasn't her love story. "I guess," she said. "Sort of. In a way."
"You should have someone," Aubrey said.
"I'm working on it."
The soft whushcrackle of Aubrey sighing into the phone. It was kind of like old times, minus the promise of sex later on and plus the threat of Luke strangling her. "You always are," Aubrey said, sounding just about as exasperated as a person could.
"Kiss a few frogs, right," Chloe said, and because Aubrey was nice, she didn't say what they were both thinking: Chloe built her life around fairy tales not being true.
So, yeah, Aubrey was married and it was all she talked about. "Aubrey's married," Chloe told Beca that morning over the breakfast Beca had threatened and blackmailed her into. "It's all she talks about."
Beca paused in her chewing to say, "'as I ool-reds 'uck."
"Newlyweds do suck," Chloe agreed, "but Aubrey's not a newlywed, she's Aubrey."
Beca gave Chloe a long look that Chloe chose to interpret as 'you are exceptionally beautiful early in the morning' instead of what she thought it probably was, which was 'duh, you moron'. "Okay," Chloe said. "She's a newlywed, sort of."
Beca shook her head and went back to eating his eggs.
Chloe had a photo album.
She'd started scrapbooking after the whole nodes thing, because according to her therapist she needed to heal her soul.
"I can't believe you have a photo album," Cynthia Rose said, snickering and leafing through the pages.
"Whatever," Chloe said. "You're the one looking at it."
"Oh, hey, it's you and Beca. Again." Cynthia Rose was on the fifth page of the Beca Section, which was 25 pages—almost 2/3 of the book—long. She had a lot of pictures of Beca, or Beca and Chloe, or Beca and Computer. Most of them included Chloe being a dork. All of them included Beca being cute.
"That's an old one," Chloe said fondly. In the picture, she was giving Beca a wet kiss to the cheek. Good times.
"Yeah," Cynthia Rose said. "Man, you two sucked back then. You never stopped talking about her."
"She was my discovery," Chloe said. "Like Jupiterniam."
"Jupiterniam isn't an element," Cynthia Rose said.
Chloe beamed. "Exactly."
"Move your feet," Beca said, and sat on them anyway.
"Hey," Chloe said, poking Beca's butt with her toes. "You suck."
"You wish." Beca nodded to the TV. "Two-player?"
"Sure," Chloe said, and tossed her a controller. "Put Mario Kart in, we can race."
"Awesome," Beca said, and shifted off of Chloe's feet. Chloe lifted them, draping her legs over Beca's lap when she'd settled again.
Two hours later, when the score was fifteen to twelve and they were thumb wrestling for the victory ("You cheated," Beca said. "Your mom!" was Chloe's only retort), Stacie came over.
She saw them sitting together and snorted. "What?" Chloe said.
"Nothing," Stacie said, and sat down in the spot Chloe had vacated in favor of Beca's lap. "Nothing at all."
"Seriously," Mark said when he dumped her, "I told you I broke up with my last girlfriend because I didn't like living in someone else's shadow."
No matter how many hours she stayed awake thinking about it, Chloe couldn't figure it out.
"It's not you," Beca said, "it's me."
Chloe hugged a pillow and glared balefully. "You're leaving me," she said. "You're going to give me even bigger abandonment issues. How cold-hearted can you get?"
Beca sighed. "We've talked about this," she said, too gently. "Fat Amy's apartment is closer to Janice's house. I really like her, okay? She...she could be important."
And Chloe respected Beca's happiness, and her friendship, and her ability to lead her own life. She did. But... "You won't be here," she whined.
"That's kind of the point. Being closer to Janice," Beca added, practically puking the words out. Chloe didn't blame her; Fat Amy had trained her monkey up to be kind of scary. Moving into that house would take balls of steel. "Fine," she said. "Fine. Whatever."
"We'll still be best friends," Beca said, hugging Chloe lightly.
"But not roomies," Chloe said sadly.
Beca didn't answer.
"It's cold," Chloe said. "It's cold and I miss her."
"I thought she'd had her own room," Aubrey said, sounding less puzzled than someone who didn't know Chloe would.
"She did, but usually I crawled into bed with her," Chloe said. "Her room doesn't make any sense without her. The bed doesn't even sag right. Why are you sighing?"
"I'm not," Aubrey said, and the sighing stopped.
"Oh, okay. The worst part is the coffee, though. I can't make it like she did. Every time I try to pour it the sound echoes off the walls. It's like all my furniture's missing—what's that?" Chloe said, straining to make out the muffled thumping noise on the other end.
"Nothing," Aubrey said. "Feel free to ask me about my wedded bliss."
"How's Luke," Chloe said dutifully.
"Awesome," Aubrey said. "I fall asleep next to him every night, and in the morning he makes me coffee and we play footsie under the table. When he's out of town I almost always wind up sleeping in one of his hoodies, because the bed feels lonely without him. Our room is as weird as a Surrealist painting without him in it. I'm completely married and in love."
Chloe digested this. It sounded kind of like Aubrey was trying to tell her something, which—
"Hey," she said, epiphany descending upon her, "I get it!"
"Finally?" Aubrey sounded wary. Her lack of faith, Chloe thought, was seriously disheartening.
"Of course I do," Chloe said. "Hey, I'll talk to you later, okay? I'm going to drive down to Amy's and steal one of Beca's hoodies."
This time, the thump was right into the phone. Chloe frowned as she hung up, making a mental note to check with Aubrey and make sure all was well. Luke didn't seem like the abusive type, but hey, you never knew.
Halfway to Fat Amy's, she screeched to a halt. The light was red; also, Chloe had just had an epiphany. For real this time.
"hey", she texted Aubrey.
What now, loser?
"i think im kind of in love with Beca. the forever kind."
FINALLY. Haha Stacie's going to be furious, I won that bet.
Chloe grinned and stepped on the gas.
"Hey, Amy, I think we're out of Froot Loo—um."
Chloe looked up and smiled. She'd seen Beca just yesterday, but she was pretty sure Beca hadn't been glowing like an angel then. "Hi."
Beca flushed deep, dark red. Chloe watched with interest. "Why are you sitting on my box of records reading Kerouac?" Beca said finally. "Hey, why are you sitting on my box of records at all? Those things are valuable! I can't believe you'd—"
"I love you," Chloe said. "And I think we're kind of married, which means you're estranged right now. So you should come back."
Beca froze. "It isn't nice," she said finally, voice quiet and level, "to tell shitty jokes like that."
Chloe shook her head. "I'm not joking. You're married to me. We're totally in love."
Beca crossed her arms. "You're delusional," she said, glaring, "and a dick."
She probably should have expected this. Chloe sighed. "Beca," she said, closing her book and getting up, "Beca, Beca, Beca."
"Congratulations, you remember my name." Beca's hands were clenched into fists. Chloe closed her fingers over them, tugging until Beca dropped her arms, then moving them back, pinning Beca's hands behind her back.
"I remember a lot of things," Chloe said quietly, watching Beca's face carefully for a reaction. So far, so good. "I kind of miss making you pancakes."
"Stop," Beca said weakly, but she wasn't struggling. "You—marriage means you're really in love, Chloe, you can't just joke like that."
"You broke up with Janice. No, you totally did," Chloe said when Beca opened her mouth to protest, "or you're going to, whatever."
Beca looked away. "I was never dating her," she said, sounding like Chloe had dragged the confession out of her.
Chloe managed to contain her glee. Sort of. "Good," she said. "I don't like helping people cheat." And she leaned in to kiss Beca.
Beca jerked away at the last possible second. "Chloe," she said, eyes wild. "Don't. Please, don't make me think—"
"I love you," Chloe said again. "Beca, I love you, I want to fuck you and I want to wake up next to you and I want to get old and wrinkly and have cane battles. And I want you to come home."
For a horrible, panic-inducing second, Beca just stared. Then she smiled, laughed a little. "Oh," she said. "Okay, then." And she tugged her hands free, bringing them up to frame Chloe's face and kissing her firmly.
Chloe smiled into the kiss and wrapped her arms around Beca, hands tangling in her hair.
"Married," she said, satisfied, when Beca finally pulled back.
"Married," Beca said, and yanked Chloe's pants down.
Two Weeks Later
"Me and Beca are in love," Chloe announced from her spot on Beca's lap.
"Cool," Fat Amy said. "Pass the Doritos."
"Please don't get a commitment ceremony," Cynthia Rose added, handing Amy the bag of Xtreme Cheez Doritos. "Those are lame and reinforce a dying, heterocentric society."
"No," Chloe said. "No. I mean, we're really in love. Like." She kissed Beca, messy and with a lot of tongue.
"We get it," Fat Amy said. "Please don't fuck in front of us."
"Can't say I'd complain," Cynthia Rose added with a lascivious wink.
Beca blinked. She'd always thought it would be a bigger deal than this.
"Congratulations," Fat Amy added around a mouthful of Doritos.
"Hi," Aubrey said pleasantly, and Beca screamed.
Aubrey frowned. "Did I disturb you?"
"It's three AM!"
"...you're on your computer, though," Aubrey said, and shut Beca's bedroom door.
"You're in my bedroom," Beca said. Her voice was a little too high-pitched and she knew it, but seriously—seriously, she'd always thought all those rumors about Aubrey being a serial killer were just rumors. Chloe was going to get back from LA and find Beca's dead body in their bed. "You're in my bedroom at three AM."
"Yeah," Aubrey said calmly. "Also, you're wearing Batman boxers. It's okay," she added as Beca went to pull up the covers, "Luke has a pair just like that. More raggedy, though."
Beca couldn't stop staring. "Is there a reason you're in my bedroom at three AM?" she said finally, feeling more than a little helpless.
Aubrey sat down on the edge of the bed. "I heard you and Chloe were officially dating," she said. "Well, actually, Chloe texted me about it. Thirty-two times."
The blush spread over Beca's cheeks before she even had time to think about not blushing. "That's, um," she said. "Nice, I guess."
"Yeah, I'm happy for her." Aubrey smiled, shifting the shadows thrown over her face by the light from the desk lamp. Beca blinked, remembering Chloe and Aubrey and Barden, and thought: oh, that's why. "She's out of her mind with joy. I've never seen her like this before."
Beca couldn't help but return the smile, a little shakily.
"Which is why," Aubrey said lightly, lips still upturned playfully, "I'll kill you if you hurt her."
Beca did a double take. "What?"
Aubrey just cocked an eyebrow. "I got into your bedroom without you noticing, I promise you I can kill you. Luke will help me hide the body."
"You," Beca said, spluttering. "I."
"And I know you're kind of a bitch when you're mad," Aubrey said thoughtfully, "but with the element of surprise on my side, I don't think it matters."
"You made her cry," Beca finally said. "I—she wrote song after song about you. She didn't talk to anyone for three solid days once you broke up with her after graduation!"
"But she's fine now," Aubrey shot back, "and whole enough to fall in love with you, right?"
Beca couldn't answer.
"Exactly," Aubrey said. Her fingers wound through Beca's sheets, tenser by far than the rest of Aubrey's body. "Think of how much worse it'll be if you break her heart."
The thought had crossed her mind, once or twice or ten times. Beca shuddered. "I won't," she said. "I can't."
"Good." Aubrey let go of the sheets, fingers going lax. This time, her smile was rueful. "I'm bad at murder anyway. Or at least I think I'd be. And after all these years I've grown to like you, Mitchell—I don't want to have to kill you."
Beca shook her head. "You're ridiculous," she said. "What does Luke know about hiding bodies, anyway?"
"I've never asked," Aubrey said, and laughed. "Seriously, though, I'm happy for you. Both of you. And I think...she's always looking for happily ever after. But I think she might get it this time."
And that was—yeah. Kind of bigger than Beca had let herself imagine. "I hope so," she said, quietly enough that Aubrey leaned forward a bit. "I want it. With her, I mean."
Aubrey smiled. "Then you'll probably get it," she said, and reached out, shutting Beca's laptop gently. "Now go to sleep. I know for a fact you're not the insomniac of the relationship."
"I am when she's out of town. It's hard to sleep alone when you're used to someone passed out naked on top of you." And, wow, TMI, but Aubrey didn't even blink.
"Yeah," she said, "I know what you mean. Luke's snoring is practically a sleep aid for me now." She got up and walked to the doorway, hitting the switch that turned the lamp off.
"How did you know that was there?" Beca said suspiciously.
Aubrey smiled her creepiest smile. "I just did," she said, and left the room before Beca had time to get up and kick her in the shins.
Beca slumped back against her pillows, feeling more than a little stunned. After a few minutes she lay down completely, yanking the blankets over her head and texting Chloe.
"I'm going to kill you you know."
Aubreys protective its her thing did she tell you about that bonemelting project she read about
:) see u got off easy go to sleep
ps i love you
"I love you, too."