A/N: This is a friendship fic, although you can totally read it as pre-bechloe. You're always welcome to send a prompt my way - I can't promise I'll fill it, but if it inspires me I will. And either way, it's always nice to hear from you guys. Thanks to anyone who has reviewed my other Pitch Perfect stories. This fandom is full of lovely, supportive people. Hope you enjoy!
Christmas is just another day.
Beca figured she should be used to those words by now. She'd said them a lot over the past month. Well, typed them, mostly. That sad little sentence glaring at her from her iPhone screen just before she pressed send. Sad? Sure. Fucking depressing? That too. "But true. I'm fine, Cynthia Rose," she tersely told her empty apartment as her fingers skimmed across the screen. She wrote, I'll see you in New York for New Year's, and then tossed her phone away.
She had been invited all over the country for the holidays and she had—with thinning graciousness—refused every invitation. She didn't want to go through all the rituals (strained gift-giving, It's A Wonderful Life, tipsy arguments smoothed over by more alcohol) this year, and least of all in someone else's home.
Beca sank back into the couch cushions and exhaled. As the air left her lungs, she listened. Silence, finally. After the circus of the touring for her new album, all she really wanted for Christmas (hahaha) was… quiet. A comforter over her head; the world blocked out for a while.
There was a loud knocking on her door. Beca breathed in. This time when she exhaled, it was unsteady—frustrated. "Go away," she muttered. She breathed in. More knocking. Out.
"Hey, Beca!" a voice yelled. "Let me in!" Knock, knock. "I'm gonna drop this stuff. If you end up with coleslaw all over your step, it's not my fault!"
With all the calmness she could muster, Beca walked to the door. She opened it an inch.
"Chloe," she said in a low voice, "I thought I said—"
"Yeah, yeah." Chloe pushed at the door with her shoulder and bustled—actually bustled—past Beca and into the apartment. "Christmas is just another day. Whatever. Today is Christmas Eve. And my mom made all this stuff for you."
With a flourish, Chloe emptied her arms of half-a-dozen Tupperware containers and foil-wrapped packages. They tumbled onto table and—true to form—one of the containers bounced onto the floor, cracked open and spilled a cheerful sludge of vomit-like coleslaw onto the expensive hardwood floor.
"Oops," Chloe said, remorselessly.
Beca crossed her arms across her chest. "What are you doing here?" she asked shortly. "I'm kinda busy," she added, despite the fact that she was, like, the least busy person in the history of not being busy.
"Yeah, right. You're, like, the least busy—"
"Chloe," Beca said sharply. "What d'you want?"
"My mom made all this food." Chloe shrugged and began attacking a package of cookies. "These are made with tofu," she said between mouthfuls. "They're pretty good."
For a moment, Beca's confusion overcame her annoyance. "Why did she make me tofu cookies?"
"I think"—Chloe swallowed hard, licking extravagantly at her bottom lip—"she thinks you're vegan or something."
"Why does she think that?"
"Well." Chloe considered. "She asked what you were doing for Christmas and, you know, I told her the party line." She rolled her eyes and adopted a sarcastic sing-song voice. "Christmas is just another day." She paused for breath. "Anyway! She was pretty horrified, so I had to do some damage control."
Beca was growing increasingly exasperated. "How does that involve me being vegan?"
"Well," Chloe began again. "I was trying to skim over the whole"—she dropped her voice—"atheist thing. Because, I mean, she probably wouldn't come round here and set you on fire. Although, jeez, Christmas makes her kinda crazy so"—she made a face—"can't be too careful. Anyway! I told her you were doing your own thing. Finding your own spiritual path." She grinned. "She liked that one a lot. But I think I went a bit far and made it sound like you'd joined some kind of hippyish cult. And to her that means… veganism."
"Right." Beca let out a sigh. "Makes perfect sense."
There was a long silence. Chloe continued to eat the tofu cookies. Beca toed at the puddle of coleslaw, swirling it into a circle using the tip of her Converse.
Chloe's cookie-eating slowed. "You know," she said carefully, "you could still come over for dinner. I can almost guarantee you won't have any fun! It'll suck. It'll be a totally and completely sucky Christmas. Except… you won't have to be alone."
Beca stared blankly at her.
Chloe hurried on, "It wouldn't really be celebrating. It would just be… eating! It wouldn't mean any disrespect to your mom's memory, if that's what you think, Bec."
"You think I want this?" Beca exploded. "You think I want to stay holed up like this? I would rather be anywhere else! But I have to…" She was aware of herself running out of steam, the anger draining from her body. "I need to…" She mouthed the word fuck and turned away.
It was almost a full minute before she managed to say, "Just leave me alone, Chloe. I'm fine."
Beca heard the hollow ring to her voice, but she didn't care. She just wanted the warmth of her bed; heavy silence like a blanket.
Beca's apartment was blank—stylishly so. She had bought it using her first royalties check. The realtor had advised her to keep it neutrally decorated, uncluttered, minimize wear and tear. That way she could flip it for a nice profit in a few years' time. It was a pretty good excuse—to not paint the walls; to not buy anything except IKEA furniture. Part of her was just waiting for Tyler Durden to show up and blow it all to hell, but even if he didn't, Beca would be able to sell her apartment, make a profit, and all without developing any emotional connection to the place. It was fine.
Her bed was like a island in the middle of her empty bedroom. She'd deliberately pushed it away from the walls; she enjoyed the incongruity, the way it dominated the space. She had been dating Jesse at the time she'd bought the apartment and he had helped her move in—if sneeringly second-guessing every decision she made counted as helping.
"You're not gonna buy a wardrobe even? Where are you gonna put your clothes?" he'd asked, meaning, where am I gonna put my clothes?
"'s why they call it living out of a suitcase," she had mumbled.
Also on the list of things she'd rejected: curtains, cushions, striped teddy bear, bedside table, lamp.
(For the record, top of the list of things he had rejected: her.)
Beca woke up in her big island-bed on Christmas morning and felt… alone. It was a precise, irrefutable feeling, like the beginnings of the flu. Because she had no curtains, a bright shaft of sunshine entered her room, blinding her, and sending her burrowing back under the covers. Sleep came easily, even though she was no longer tired. When she awoke a second time, it was to the sound of her front door banging open.
Also on the list of things she'd rejected for her bedroom: anything that could be used to defend herself against a home invader.
…shit. She sat up in bed. As far as lame ways to die went, being killed in her bed by an intruder on the first Christmas after her mother died was very possibly something that even the CSI writers would reject.
"There's nothing to steal!" she yelled, entirely truthfully. She sank back into bed with a defeated sigh.
Chloe poked her head around the bedroom door. "Sure there is! Your soul. Your virtue." Chloe shot her a filthy look and then continued, "And my mom's food. Which, by the way, you should probably call and thank her for. Otherwise she'll ask God to smite you—and just between you and me, I think he's kind of in her pocket."
Beca squinted up at Chloe. "How did you get in here?"
"I stole your key yesterday," Chloe said cheerfully. She added, "And the fact that you never even noticed means that you haven't left your apartment in, like, 24 hours." She gave Beca a disapproving look.
"That's, like, a massive invasion of privacy," Beca said faintly.
"Oh, whatever. What's a little B an' E between friends?" Chloe sat down on Beca's bed and bounced lightly. "I knew you'd just stay indoors and cry all day if I didn't come over."
"I'm not crying." Beca frowned. "I was trying to sleep."
"It's four in the afternoon! I've been up since six, Beca. My little cousin invited all her friends round and they used me as jukebox and pulled my hair when I tried to leave the room!"
Beca smiled in spite of herself. "You loved it," she said.
Chloe grinned. "Whatever."
They lapsed into silence, until Chloe began untying her shoes. She shrugged out of her jacket and began burrowing under the comforter. "Scoot over," she muttered, and when Beca didn't move, she swatted at her. "Move."
Warily, Beca rolled over, onto the left side of the bed. She closed her eyes, feeling the soft bounce of the mattress as Chloe fitted herself into place behind Beca. Chloe accidentally kicked her and Beca retaliated, making a face. Finally, the mattress stilled, and Beca felt the warm, solid weight of Chloe behind her; the warm pool of breath on her neck as Chloe adjusted her voice to a whisper.
"You sure you're okay, Beca?"
"Yeah, dude," she said, her voice only wavering slightly, "I'm fine."
Chloe's voice in her ear was serious. "Yeah, but really. You're not fine, you're not fine at all."
Beca was glad she didn't have to look at Chloe. She sighed. "I just wanna sleep. I just wanna sleep and feel better."
"You know, there are other ways—more fun ways to feel better," Chloe said suggestively. Beca felt a light snap at the waistband of her sweatpants.
"Shut up," Beca mumbled, trying unsuccessfully to keep the smile out of her voice.
"Okay, okay. We'll sleep. You and me. World-class sleeping. Sleeping for America."
"I usually see sleeping as kind of a solitary activity," Beca said, even as she leaned into the slight nuzzle of Chloe's cheek against her neck.
"Nope," Chloe said resolutely, "not anymore. It's you and me, sweets. We'll visit each other in our dreams. Go dream kayaking, play dream volleyball, go see the dream Beatles reunion tour. It'll be awesome."
Beca felt the heavy promise of sleep seeping through her limbs; the warmth of Chloe's words filling her head. She smiled and murmured, "Okay."