A/N: I just want to say I know that it took me forever (seriously FOREVER). It's embarrassing. I wasn't trying to torture you on purpose.
You have every right to be angry. Many of you might have forgotten what happened before in the story. I don't blame you. After this chapter there will be maybe two more chapters. I'm terrible at making promises as for when will be the next time I can update but as I have said earlier I will finish this piece. Come hell or high water. I'm making a serious attempt to finish the next chapter in two weeks' time. That would benefit everyone's mental health including mine.
I am humbled by your continuous support. This chapter is for anyone who still follows and reads the story. Thank you. And now bring on the cliches!
This was the end. Chloe was sure of it. From the corner of her eye she saw several hooded figures holding cameras in their hands. When the flashes went off Chloe instinctively squeezed her eyes shut and screamed. Chloe clung to Beca for her dear life as tears started streaming down her cheeks. She felt Beca wrap her arms around her protectively and then firmly move her behind the petite DJ. Chloe wasn't sure how much the DJ was physically able to shield her with the DJ's petite frame but she was grateful of the effort.
Chloe's body pressed against Beca's back and she could feel how the brunette's petite body was trembling from yelling at the photographers. Chloe was still too shocked to make out what exactly was being said but she heard Beca yelling words like 'private property' and 'lawsuit'. The next half an hour or so went in a haze and afterwards Chloe didn't have a clear picture of what happened. She remembered vaguely seeing the gym owner Cynthia Rose enter the the room with security guards. CR had the guards manhandle the paparazzi out of the yoga studio with Beca following suit and using various rude hand signals and words to express her opinion on the photographers' actions.
When the room fell quiet Chloe finally felt how her knees gave in from exhaustion and she collapsed on the floor. Tears were starting to die down a little but she was still shaking like a leaf. Chloe had never experienced anything like this in her life. They had been attacked by the paparazzi. She couldn't even imagine what would be the aftermath of everything but above all she felt an overriding guilt wash over her. Why had she let this thing with Beca get so out hand? If she had had the guts to end things between them when she realized they were doing some serious crossing the lines nothing like this would've never happened. Suddenly Chloe felt very cold. She realized that in her heated moment of passion with Beca she had discarded her shirt somewhere but when she looked around her in the studio the shirt was nowhere to be seen. Chloe hugged herself tightly and shivered. She hoped someone would be back soon. She didn't feel like she was able to move anywhere anytime soon. The experience had left her so emotionally exhausted that she didn't even begin to think how the photographers had made it into the yoga studio in the first place.
On the other side of the building both Cynthia Rose and Beca huffed angrily and tried to slow down their breathing as they watched the three photographers as they were put into police vehicles. Beca felt outraged by their actions. Celebrities might have fewer rights when it came to their privacy in public places but in California photographers weren't allowed to photograph celebrities on private property. That's why they were usually patrolling outside restaurants where celebrities dined or gyms where they worked out. These paparazzi had blatantly ignored the law and Beca thought that would be enough to sue the photographers and stop the photos from getting published. Beca had given a statement to the police officer and urged them to book the photographers and smash their cameras. Apparently they weren't going to do the latter but it was worth a shot anyway. Beca had already called Luke. Her manager had promised to hire the best lawyers money could buy them to deal with the case. Beca was more than eager to hear what would be the defense's argument on these photographers' actions. Beca shook her head. At least no one got hurt this time...
"Chloe," Beca cursed when she realized the redhead must still be in the yoga studio as she hadn't followed Beca and Cynthia Rose. Beca started running towards the studio. Beca had been so angry and she had wanted to make sure the situation would be handled in a right way that she had totally forgotten about the redhead who must feel absolutely horrible right now.
Beca wasn't quite used to this level of confrontations photographers but she had had her fair share of stalking. Chloe on the other hand must be in complete and utter shock because of the recent events. Beca felt guilty for not realizing that earlier. She could have let Cynthia Rose take care of the necessary arrangements to get the paparazzi out of the building as fast as possible and stay with Chloe.
Beca felt her insides turn upside down when she reached the yoga studio. The redhead was crouched down on the floor, hugging herself and shaking all over. Beca immediately ran to the redhead and wrapped her arms around Chloe. Beca tried to convey that the worst was now over and that they would get through this.
"I'm so sorry Chloe. I should have not left you here. You're cold."
Beca heard Chloe sniff against her shoulder.
"It's all my fault. If I had told you earlier we can't go on like this nothing would have happened. This is my fault and -"
"Shh, stop it. None of this is your fault. You didn't know that they were going to come here. It's me who should be sorry. I've been playing hard to get with the press all my career so they might have grown tired of it and attempt something ridonkulous like this. I'm sorry you had to go through this."
"Are there going to be pictures?"
"Those photographers have no idea what they just got themselves into. My lawyers are going to make sure that those pictures will never get published. They broke the anti-paparazzi law by entering private property and trying to take pictures so they have no chance. You're safe. We're safe."
"Thank heavens for that," Chloe breathed as she buried her face in the crook of Beca's neck.
For a few moments they remained like that in silence.
"Beca," Chloe's voice seemed to come from somewhere far away. The DJ finally reacted when Chloe gently removed her arms around her and pulled them both to their feet. Chloe's hand however didn't leave Beca's when the redhead looked at the door. Beca followed Chloe's gaze only to realize Cynthia Rose's commanding presence in the room. The gym owner didn't look pleased when she observed the two women in front of her.
"I hate to break your little moment here but didn't you learn anything from what just happened ten minutes ago? You're being watched."
Cynthia Rose entered further into the room and eyed the the two women angrily.
"Will you tone it down? We just got attacked by cameras and flashes."
"When I look at you two I would say you just brought this on yourselves. It doesn't get much juicier for the paparazzi than getting a shot of an A-list star going down on her personal trainer. How long have you played your schemes to get Chloe wrapped around your little finger?!"
Beca got pushed against the wall for the second time that day and this time she felt genuinely scared for her safety. Cynthia Rose was acting like a bear mother whose cub Beca had just poked.
Chloe found her energy again when she saw Cynthia Rose push Beca against the wall roughly. She'd never seen the gym owner so angry.
"Cynthia Rose please calm down. You're scaring me."
There was no impact.
Beca cleared her throat when she faced CR's flashing eyes.
"If I were you I would try to focus how those photographers got into your gym in the first place. Apparently your security guards aren't doing a very good job."
The gym owner's eyes shot daggers at the woman who looked very short next to the tall gym owner.
Chloe tried to intervene again. Chloe loved both of them for different reasons and the last thing they needed right now was a fight between the two.
"CR please don't. Beca didn't harass me -" Beca shot a grateful look at Chloe when the gym owner turned to look at the redhead with an expression that clearly demanded Chloe to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
"Okay maybe there was a point when Beca tried to seduce me-" Beca was now shaking her head furiously to Chloe behind Cynthia Rose's shoulder. The brunette's eyes screamed Chloe to stop talking. Chloe couldn't help the rambling because of how nervous she felt.
"But the point is that seducing was mutual. I tried to seduce Beca as much as she tried to seduce me."
There, she had said it. Mutual attraction. Both were pursuing each other.
Cynthia Rose furrowed her brow at Beca.
"You hear that, Midget? Red is trying to defend you so chivalrously here. But I still have my doubts about how this whole thing went down. She's the one with no shirt on after all…You won't get away with fooling around just because -"
"It wasn't fooling around," Chloe squeaked. Cynthia Rose and Beca both shot her a look that said really? If this isn't fooling around then I don't know what is. Cynthia Rose turned back to glare at Beca when Chloe made a final attempt to get the gym owner's attention.
"I meant it's more than that."
"I'm sorry, I'm not sure if I quite caught that," Cynthia Rose stated slowly as she turned back to look at Chloe.
The redhead balled her fists. It was now or never. Chloe drew breath and belted from the top of her lungs.
"I'M NOT JUST FOOLING AROUND! I FELL IN LOVE! I'M IN LOVE WITH BECA MITCHELL!"
Beca's mouth fell right open. The DJ gaped at Chloe and forgot to breathe for a few seconds.
What did she just say?
Apparently Cynthia Rose needed a double take as well.
"What did you just say?"
The gym owner looked like she had been hit in the head with something. Figuratively speaking that was very much the case.
"I fell in love. I. Love. Her," Chloe repeated more calmly now. It felt weird talking about the target of her confession when Beca was standing there right next to her but Chloe chose to focus her eyes on Cynthia Rose for now. One step at a time.
There was a lengthy silence before anyone said anything. Cynthia Rose finally released her grip on Beca's shoulders and took a step back, shaking her head.
"Wow. I knew you had the hots for her for a long time already but I never knew you actually love her."
"I do. I've known it for a while."
Chloe finally chanced a glance at Beca who had temporarily lost her ability to speak and was gaping at the redhead with an expression that threatened to spread into the brightest of smiles.
Cynthia Rose cleared her throat before the two women had completely disappeared into la la land. She was about to dose them with some tough love because that's what they would face if they were really thinking about getting into a relationship.
"I can tell the attraction is mutual. Unfortunately it doesn't change the fact that this is the worst moment imaginable for Chloe to even think about throwing yourself into a relationship with Beca fucking Mitchell! Do you have any idea what this would do to your career if the word got out? It would be all over! All the hard work you've done! Not even mentioning your hopes of returning to competitive figure skating one day! Can you imagine focusing solely on training with the media frenzy that this relationship would surely generate? You would be under the microscope for everything you do especially when you announce you're attempting a comeback for the Olympic year. I can see the headlines already: 'First openly gay female figure skater dating an international music superstar Beca Mitchell - can she pull it together for Olympic success'". Do you think that what you experienced today was horrible? It's going to be worse times five! Your privacy will be lost forever. It's the equivalent of painting a big red target on your forehead!"
"Wow. You really have a way to make a girl feel good about herself Cynthia Rose. And besides, you can't know for sure what will or won't happen", Chloe sighed as she massaged her face with her hands.
Cynthia Rose shook her head again.
"I'm just saying you've worked so hard to get where you are now. It would be a shame to see it all go down because you got involved with a client."
"Not just any client", Chloe stated quietly. Beca felt the faintest flutter in her stomach.
Cynthia Rose scratched her head and let out a breath. Chloe was being much more stubborn than she had expected.
"Okay, think about it this way. What if things don't work out with Princess Charming here for some reason? She will be the one who is able to bounce back in no time but you will have a lot of explaining to do to your clients. What will they think about your level of professionalism when they hear that you're the one who dabbled with your client? They're more likely to choose someone more trustworthy. They might even think you would do it again to get something out of your client."
"Okay that's just absurd. It's like you're saying Chloe is some working girl who blackmails her clients for money," Beca blurted out. Cynthia Rose immediately shot her an angry glare.
Beca decided to focus her attention on Chloe. She turned to look the redhead in the eye.
"I know I'm not in the best possible place to talk right now but obviously Cynthia Rose has given you a lot to think about. I just want to say that you mean the world to me Chloe no matter what happens. Even if you decide to go back to competitive figure skating...?"
When Cynthia Rose mentioned 'comeback' Beca had the feeling she knew even though they had never touched the subject with Chloe. She could tell Chloe missed skating. The love for skating was embedded so deep in the redhead that the flame wasn't going to die down anytime soon. Chloe was a fiercely competitive athlete who had dedicated her life to the sport and had been devastated by the disappointing result in the home Olympics. Somehow Beca knew Chloe wouldn't rest until she had used each and every measure to try and claim that crowning moment for her career.
And the time was literally now or never. At 22 years of age Chloe was young by any other standards except figure skating or gymnastics perhaps. Those were sports that were ruled by teens whose career was often bound to be over when they reached their early to mid-twenties. Making a successful comeback in their twenties was something only a handful of people had really succeeded in. The people who followed these sports closely knew too well what happened to Nastia Liukin in gymnastics for example. Coming back was a tough act.
Chloe turned to look at Beca and nodded with an apologetic expression on her face.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I've been thinking about it a lot lately when I've been training for the gala and the thought just keeps coming back to me. I feel like I'm meant to do this. It's my dream."
Beca was taken aback by the genuine determination and passion in Chloe's voice. The redhead had really paid thought to everything.
"The only thing I'm not sure of is this" Chloe motioned slowly in the empty space between herself and the DJ and continued.
"I don't know what to make of it at this point. I think I need more time to think things through. I know how I feel about you but I feel like I'm not able to make a decision. Some of the things Cynthia Rose said really got me thinking. We wouldn't be able to keep exactly a low profile. And I don't want to have to hide how I feel about you in public. I've done enough of that. I don't want this to be some dirty secret. When it's time I want everyone to know."
Beca shook her head. The lump in her throat was growing by the second. How could Chloe talk about something that was so raw, primal and pure like it was a business investment risk analysis for her?
"Love is not something you should have to think about. You should just feel it – inside you. Like laughing gas injected in your brain that makes you feel lightheaded and holy at the same time. And if you feel it you shouldn't have to think so hard about it. As cliche as it is love will find a way. Don't you feel it?"
Beca looked straight into Chloe's eyes. For Beca there was only one acceptable answer. Chloe shrugged.
"It's not that simple. Sometimes it takes detours, but –"
Beca never let Chloe finish her sentence. If she had Chloe would've continued "- but all I know is that you're my soulmate". Beca had no way of knowing that though. Chloe's response brought back memories from years and years ago that she didn't want to delve into ever again. She was being turned down and it hurt.
"There shouldn't be any buts. It's a simple question with a simple answer." Beca was on the verge of tears now. Chloe wasn't far either.
"Beca please let me finish-"
"I'm going to make this easier for you Chloe. I'm letting you go. I'm breaking our contract. From this day on you will no longer be in charge of my training."
Beca made it to the end until her voice cracked at the last word. She quickly turned around to hide her tears from the two very shocked looking women in the room. Beca absolutely hated crying in front of people. This was the second time Chloe had made her cry and that was two times too many.
"So you're saying this is it between us? You're quitting us?" Chloe whispered in a shaky voice. She couldn't believe Beca. This was all her fault. Why did she have to imply she had doubts about entering a relationship with Beca? She had really chosen her words poorly. She never questioned her love for the petite brunette. It was just everything that was happening around them that made this moment 'the worst moment imaginable' as Cynthia Rose had said. And Chloe wanted a relationship with Beca. She was ready to fight for it to make it happen. Chloe reached out her hand to touch Beca's shoulder and was about to explain all this to Beca but then the DJ moved away from her touch, startling Chloe and causing the redhead to lose her train of taught for two critical seconds.
"Was there ever such a thing as 'us'?" Beca questioned, still refusing to look at Chloe or Cynthia Rose. Silence ensued.
Chloe felt like she was hyperventilating. Why was there so little air to breathe all of a sudden?
"Thought as much. Take all the time you want Chloe."
With that Beca walked out of the yoga studio without another word and then she ran. She didn't care when people made angry sounds when she pushed them out of her way. She wanted to get out of this building and out of Chloe's life as quickly as possible. It didn't seem to matter now that only a few minutes earlier Chloe had openly confessed her love to Beca. Only thing Beca could think of was that Chloe was so unsure if things would work out between them. And that was just too much to bear from a woman who Beca thought was her soulmate, her missing half.