Notes: I had this in mind for a month now, but only found time to work on it like a few days ago (because my last month of college ever was complete torture). Also my first time writing from Jesse's POV, too, so I'm not sure if I got his voice right… This happens sometime during Beca and Jesse's junior year, I suppose?
For Hate Finding Usernames – who's awesome as hell and whose PP stuff you should read asap if you haven't already done so – as promised. (Hope you like this!)
I wonder why it is,
I don't argue like this,
With anyone but you,
I wonder why it is,
I won't let my guard down,
For anyone but you
It's Fat Amy who first makes the observation, complete with sexual innuendo and several inappropriate comments and gestures, because that's just the kind of thing she does.
"Beca almost never comes home to our room anymore," she's telling the Bellas, both old and new, at aca-initiation night, already a little drunk over the "little bit" of tequila Stacie's smuggled from somewhere. "She's always at her man candy's new apartment, humping up a storm."
"Well, I for one am in full support of this," Stacie says, looking like the only sober one in the group, like the large amount of alcohol she's just consumed has no effect on her whatsoever. "Get laid every day, I don't care; just as long as you make sure to maybe mix it up a bit, you know, try different positions, and always stay–"
"I don't – what the fuck, guys?" Beca protests, eyes wide and maybe a bit horrified, as she feels Jesse's arms encircle her waist from behind her, his mouth curved into a smirk against the top of her head. "Why are we even discussing this?"
"Oh, sorry, are you getting turned on?" Stacie asks, looking too innocently surprised for her to be sincere; Beca really feels like flipping her off, and she wonders if that would be rude to do in front of ten other people. "Because I could just–"
"Oh my god, can we not?" Beca exclaims, crossing her arms over her chest as she feels the redness start creeping onto her cheeks, and she elbows Jesse hard on the ribs when he starts nibbling on the shell of her ear. It's making her mind go haywire, and she's already embarrassed enough as it is. She still finds her body leaning involuntarily into his, though, until her back's pressed against the warm expanse of his chest, with his fingers tracing the skin under her shirt and above the waistband of her jeans. Damn him and damn these gross feelings she always gets around him. "And in public? Really, guys?"
"Well, it is true, Beca," Amy says matter-of-factly, as Beca tries and fails to ignore the tingles running down her spine as Jesse slides her hair gently over one shoulder and continues to place feather-light kisses down the exposed skin of her neck. (He's not even being subtle about it, oh god; Stacie's already making inappropriate sex sounds with a thumbs up and a "Didn't know you had in you, Swanson," and he smirks at the way she's turning into fifty shades of red.) He is so fucking doing this on purpose, the sneaky bastard. "You're always at hot stuff's new place, acting like a pair of horny teenagers and/or a married couple all the time. It's like you're practically moving in!"
Beca freezes from where she's trying to shove Jesse's arms off of her, to the amusement of everyone watching the exchange (seriously, don't they have anything better to do with their lives?), because what?
"We're not – I'm not–" she sputters, but she fails to string a whole, coherent sentence together, especially because Jesse's arms are around her again, his body trembling from trying to hold in his laughter. She really feels like punching everyone in the fucking face right about now, especially Amy. No, wait, Stacie. No, no, Jesse. Yep, she thinks, as Jesse buries his face in her neck, shoulders starting to shake from laughter at her state of complete and utter distress. Definitely Jesse.
"She is, she practically is," Jesse tells Amy, and Amy shrugs, chugging down a shot of some questionable-looking reddish brown liquid that Lily hands her.
"Aw, come on, no one's really surprised, Flatbutt," Amy says, the contents of her glass sloshing around the sides as she gestures dramatically, as if trying to reassure her. It's not working. "Everyone knew it would happen sooner or later. Although to be honest, it just kind of hurts that you prefer hot man candy over here over hotter Fat Amy as a roommate. Seriously, Beca."
To say that Beca's a bit horrified when she realizes that holy shit, Amy kind of maybe has a point, is a bit of an understatement.
She's – yeah, she could really use like ten shots of whatever the hell Fat Amy's having right about now.
Jesse watches Beca's face turn from pink to red to tomato red to fire-engine red in about ten seconds, and it's too freaking funny for him to ignore. He always finds Beca unbelievably cute (seriously, he thinks it should be illegal to be this tiny and adorable all the damn time) when she's embarrassed, which she usually is if he (and the Bellas) has anything to do about it.
It's just funny, okay? She's adorable beyond belief when she's embarrassed. And also when she's annoyed, which she definitely is right now.
"This isn't funny!" she hisses in his ear like she just knows what he's thinking, shoving at his chest a little as she turns around to face him without extricating herself from his arms. There's a crease forming between her eyebrows but the tiniest of smiles is pulling at the corners of her mouth, making his heart tighten in the best way possible.
"Relax, Beca," he says, clenching his fingers together at the base of her back, smiling down at her trademark annoyed-as-fuck expression. "It's not that big of a deal, and she kind of has a point, you know. You are kind of moving–"
"I'm not," she huffs, adorably so. She crosses her arms stubbornly, lips pursed and eyes narrowed, and it really does nothing but make him want to kiss her right now. "It's funny how you think I can handle being with you 24/7."
There's a huge scowl on her face when she says it, but her eyes are sparkling as she stares up at him from behind her lashes, and – yeah, okay, he just really, really wants to kiss her, so he puts his fingers around her belt loops and tugs her forward until his hips are cradling hers, and that's exactly what he does.
"Don't panic, okay?" he mumbles against her lips, and she smiles a little.
"I'm not," she says, though there's a trace of uncertainty there, and yup, she's panicking, "because Fat Amy's far from the truth."
He rolls his eyes, but then her tongue's sliding oh-so-slowly across his bottom lip, and all his thoughts fly instantly out the window. Damn it.
(Maybe his heart still does this thing whenever his mouth touches hers, where it jumps erratically (ridiculously, pathetically) from beneath his ribs and doesn't stop for a long moment. It's kind of embarrassing, but Beca's smiling against his lips and her fingers are scratching lightly at the back of his neck, and he's not sure if he'll ever get used to feeling like this around her, but yeah, he's really not complaining.)
It starts with something almost random yet natural, like the way things between them usually start.
Jesse's in his new apartment which is barely a week old, struggling through a paper and humming along to The Lumineers, when Beca bursts into the living room, looking tired as hell – and irritable.
This does not look good.
He pauses, biting back a quip with his fingers hovering above the keys, and his eyes follow her as she shrugs out of her leather jacket, revealing an old The Killers concert T-shirt, and toes out of her boots and socks. She then proceeds to the couch where he's currently perched, and slumps face-down amongst the cushions, letting out a long groan.
He grins a little as he shifts his leg so she has more room (not that she really needs any, because holy shit, she is tiny), and fingers the outer edge of her right ear. "I'm sorry, do I know you?"
"Seriously, miss; under any other circumstances, a girl just bursting into my apartment would be the ultimate dream come true, but I have a paper and my scary, badass girlfriend's probably gonna be mad, so."
Her head lifts a little as she glares up at his amused smirk. "Shut up."
His hand moves slowly down her arm until his fingers are fitting into the spaces between hers, and she rolls over and shifts so that her head's resting on his left thigh, their hands resting on top of her stomach. "You okay?"
"Yeah," she says, voice soft and eyelids fluttering closed, "just tired. Fat Amy wouldn't quit making all the new girls do the harlem shake as a stupid initiation rite for an entire frigging hour."
He laughs, then shoves his computer away from his lap as the fingers of his free hand find their way to her hair. "Must've been fun."
"I'd love to see a video."
"Jessica filmed the entire thing."
He chuckles, because he was kind of kidding, but she sounds far from it. "I'm guessing you're pissed."
"Whatever gave you that idea?" she grumbles, and it makes him laugh.
"Want me to order a pizza for dinner?"
"No." Her other hand lifts until it's resting around their already-joined fingers. "I just wanna sleep. Can I crash here tonight?"
He wonders why she's even asking, because she's made her way all over to his apartment at nine in the evening, and in no way is he letting her out of his sight right now. "Yeah, of course."
He turns up the volume of the music on his laptop, watching Beca as her chest heaves up and down in time to her breathing. His free hand plays with the tips of her hair as he sings softly along (Slow it down, Angie, come back to bed), watching as the edges of her lips lift slowly into a smile, her fingers tightening involuntarily around his.
He sucks in a breath, because yeah, Beca's smile still has this insane effect on him.
(Rest your arms, and rest your legs)
He ends up sleeping on the floor next to the couch, and he smiles at the way she grumbles at the loss of warmth, the loss of skin; he descends into nothingness, remembering the way she refuses to let go of his hand the entire night.
(She washes her old shirt and leaves it in the apartment before she leaves, and he folds it up neatly, tucks it into the empty top drawer of his dresser. The next time she sleeps over two nights later, it's what she dons over her head as she presses her body next to his.
"I'm cold," she insists, sidling even closer until he has to make sure he's still breathing. "You smell nice. Ugh." She smiles into his chest, where he's sure she can feel the way his heart's beating a thousand miles per minute.
It's kind of embarrassing.)
(Only love can dig you out of this)
Her books come next.
At first, it's just a book or two – an old copy of High Fidelity she's currently perusing ("For inspiration," she explains, throwing down her headphones in frustration. "I'm stuck on this stupid mix, and Aubrey's still beating my ass about it even though she technically doesn't go to school here anymore…"), a barely-touched book for English Lit ("It's a waste of time!"), a thick book on music theory ("I hate this fucking class."). She just comes to his apartment whenever she feels like it, always laden with books and papers that she scatters around on the coffee table in a weird, messy system that only she understands.
("I can't study at my place," she says, not glancing up as she frowns at a worn-out copy of Moby Dick. "Fat Amy's put another sock on the doorknob."
He blinks. "Isn't that the third time this week?" He mentally checks; yep, it's only Wednesday.
She just glares up at him from behind the book, and he bites his lip to hide a grin.)
So yeah, it's totally normal for him to come home from Treble practice to find her books all over his coffee table, pens uncapped and papers askew, with her head resting on top of all of her crap, fast asleep.
He kneels beside her and pushes her hair away from her shoulders, leaning down to press his lips to skin that joins her neck and shoulder.
She stirs, rotating her head to the side to smile sleepily up at him without lifting her head. "Hey, dork."
He just – that freaking smile – he thinks he needs a moment to catch his breath.
"You are so gonna ace your exam tomorrow," he says, and she rolls her eyes, shoulders lifting in a shrug.
"I'm trying to see if I can learn all this crap through osmosis," she replies, and he laughs.
(She rarely brings any of her books back to her dorm, and he starts clearing space off his bookshelf, making room for all of hers.)
Somehow, her CDs and records find their way on his shelf, too.
She frowns up at it, hands on her hips as Jesse makes his way to her, lugging a huge crate filled to the brim with her CDs. "Damn, it's all organized and shit."
"Well, of course," he shrugs, "I need a system for all of my stuff or I wouldn't be able to function properly."
"Yeah," she rolls her eyes, "I can see that from the way you have a day planner and post-its all over your bulletin board. Your bulletin board, Jesse."
He just laughs, and it kind of makes her smile a little, at the way that he doesn't care how much of a nerd he is. It's kind of endearing, but Jesse has an abnormally large ego, so. Yep. Never gonna give him the satisfaction.
She can feel Jesse's eyes watching her, amused, as she drill-sargeants her way up and down the length of the shelf, eyes narrowed as she scrutinizes his collection with mock-seriousness. Then she gasps, arm darting out and pulling a CD off the shelf, thrusting it in his face with a grimace.
"Dude," she says, trying not to smile at the way his lips are trembling from trying to suppress laughter, "the Biebs has got to go."
"If we're gonna be – you know – this–" she waves her hand carelessly, and he rolls his eyes at her inability to acknowledge that they're a – you know – couple or whatever, "you gotta get rid of Bieber. It's him or me."
Apparently he thinks she's kidding, because he laughs really loudly and swings an arm around her neck. "I have most of these CDs, you know," he says before she can protest, gesturing to her crate, blatantly ignoring her previous quip. "We can just share most of these to make room, and then sell some of others or something. I don't know. Whatever."
"Well, yeah," she says, "but what if we…"
She bites her lip, because yeah, she is so not going there.
It's just – what if they, you know – "part ways" – where do the CDs go?
Great, now she's imagining what it'd be like if they did break up, and oh god, her mind's going on overdrive; what is this, what are these feelings; what is her heart doing, beating that loudly, he might hear, oh god, how does she make this stop–
"Hey, hey," he says, and she looks up to see his eyes widening in alarm. She thinks he's probably seen the sudden panic in her eyes, and she turns away from him, her walls flying upright, enclosing her. He refuses to let them do so, firm hands on her trembling shoulders as he spins her around to face him; he refuses to let her walls come between them again, trying time and time again to tear them apart. No, he pushes, tears through those damn walls, and it makes her chest ache at his effort, at his persistence, at the way he doesn't stop trying.
"Jesse…" Ugh, why does her voice sound so shaky? "It's nothing–"
"Bec," he sighs, then fits his arms around her waist and pushes her into his chest. Her face comes in contact with his neck, and she breathes in the familiar, comforting scent of him that clings on to her wherever she goes. "It's not gonna happen, okay? We're not gonna let it happen."
She sucks in a breath, because goddamnit, is this boy a mind-reader or something? She presses her lips against the base of his throat, and she nods, hands clenching around his neck as if to hang on to him, as if to never let him go.
"Welcome, you've reached the Swanson mansion."
"Dude. Seriously? That sounds incredibly dorky."
"Beca, would you stop interrupting me while I'm trying to record my–"
"No, I will keep interrupting you until you change your stupid voicemail message to a normal one. Like a frigging normal person."
"But this one's genius; I was even thinking of inserting an evil laugh in there–"
"Seriously? An evil laugh? An evil laugh."
"I'm planning to reference a bunch of movies! Come on!"
"You're such a freaking–"
He starts finding a T-shirt of hers slung randomly over his desk chair, or a pair of the boy shorts she likes to prance around in inside his laundry basket.
(The top drawer of his dresser starts filling up with piles of her neatly-folded clothes, and they don't really say anything about it.)
She starts noticing he has several weird habits.
("They're not weird," he protests when she tells him as much, looking almost offended. "They're meant to be adorable."
She just laughs, because he actually pouts at her, like something like that's gonna change her mind.
Yeah, okay. Maybe he is kind of cute. Sometimes.)
Like, he uses toilet paper for everything because he can't be bothered to buy proper tissues. He eats cereal for dinner because he can't cook to save his life. He drinks milk straight from the carton (and it makes her buy a separate carton for herself, because no, she will not drink from his). He picks out all the tomatoes off his salad and trades them for the cucumbers in hers. He's extremely obsessive-compulsive about his DVDs, and has this insane need to watch every movie at least twice, no matter how much he's loved or hated them.
He is so, so, so weird.
But it's the kind of weird that's endearing. The kind of weird that makes her smile like a lunatic whenever she discovers a juice pouch among her things, or whenever she pelts popcorn at the side of his head and he retaliates by trying to suffocate her with his weight. The kind of weird that makes her heart thump unnaturally whenever she hears him sing, even though it's often in public.
(She pretends she doesn't know about all these weird habits because she spends so much time in his apartment. Nope, not going there.)
He stays up late cramming a paper, which is such a pain in the ass, because Beca's sprawled out on his couch in a tank top (a tank top! Beca!) and incredibly short shorts that should be made illegal in 50 states, or at least on her (but wait, no, he takes it back, it should be mandatory, really). And all he wants to do is climb on the cushions with her and take her laptop away and kiss her senseless.
But no, he's stuck here trying to write a 10-page paper, single-fucking-spaced, for his film studies class. Which was supposed to be a really fun class, but no. Frigging Satanic professor intent on ruining his life. He drops his head on his desk and groans, loudly.
(Okay, maybe he's trying to catch her attention.)
Beca glances up at him from her computer, eyebrows furrowed. "Dude, is that paper eating you alive?"
"It's trying to. But I'm fighting, no worries."
The corners of her mouth quirk upward. "Wanna watch a movie while I pretend I'm listening to all the pointless trivia you always share over the actual movie?"
"You don't know how much that sounds so tempting right now. Even if you did call all my fun facts pointless."
He sees her bite her lip; she puts her laptop away and slowly makes her way towards him, slumped over like a pathetic loser on his desk chair. "Know what else is tempting?"
He feels his heart race when he looks up and sees a smirk dancing its way across her mouth. That look in her eyes looks familiar…
"Uh." He swallows hard, and Beca laughs a little when his breathing hitches as her hand slides up his thigh. "I might have an idea."
She grins, then proceeds to distract him by sliding onto his lap and curling her tongue around his.
Yeah, it definitely is more tempting.
(He doesn't get to work on his paper again until three hours later.)
She's sitting on his kitchen counter, scarfing down a bowl of Kellogg's while she tries to scan her notes at a rapid pace. She's afraid it's a lost cause, though, because she's retaining zero of what she's reading right now. God, she is so gonna fail this test, and her dad's gonna kill her. Damn Fat Amy and her sexcapades making her retreat to Jesse's place in the middle of the night.
So yeah, maybe she's a little distracted right now. "What's weird?"
"Amy's stopped texting me to ask if you're here."
"Did she use to do that?"
"Yeah, practically on a nightly basis. It's sweet that she remembers me and all, but…"
"Well, she knows I'm here, so. That's probably why she's stopped sexting you. It's not really a secret that I'm always here…"
"Damn," he says, "you are always here, aren't you?" He smirks, like the smug bastard that he is."Do you miss me that much? Be honest."
She sticks her tongue out at him, and she knows it's childish, but suck it, this is Jesse she's talking about. "I just needed a place to study where Amy's not in the next room humping some random-ass dude – who is sometimes Bumper, which, yeah, is another thing entirely – or watching YouTube videos of some weird-ass animals. In the wild. Doing God knows what."
"I – what?"
She shrugs, trying not to laugh at the scandalized look on his face, though she's not sure if it's because of the animals bit or the Bumper bit. She thinks it's probably both. "Amy has different views on sex and porn. And her Internet history has some of the weirdest shit known to mankind." When he opens his mouth to respond, she quickly adds, "Don't ask."
He smiles a little, shaking his head, as if trying to clear off the image of…whatever's going on inside his mind right now. She sincerely hopes it's not a bunch of dingoes in heat, because she doesn't know how she's ever going to live with that knowledge. "Amy doesn't wonder why you're always here anymore, huh?"
"So what if I'm always here?" Why does she sound so damn defensive right now? "It's not like I'm–"
She pauses, because she remembers aca-initiation night, remembers Fat Amy's comments, remembers–
Oh, shit, she's so never gonna hear–
"If I didn't know any better," he begins with a big shit-eating grin, "I would say you were trying to move in with me."
"It's not moving in until I have my toothbrush here," she huffs in protest, crossing her arms across her chest, cereal abandoned. She wonders if she can blame the redness on her cheeks on the unnatural heat today, because she's fairly sure her face is on fire right about now.
There's a pause, where they're just kind of staring at each other, when Jesse says, "So do you want me to go pick up a toothbrush for you, or–"
"Don't even think about it."
She honestly…hasn't thought of it that way before.
Yeah, sure, she does kind of spend some (okay, fine, a lot) of her time at his new apartment, but it's mostly because of Fat Amy, and because Jesse has an awesome sound system and his neighbors are a bunch of cool people who don't get so pissed off when she wants to play her mixes out loud.
Yeah, she's made friends with some of his neighbors. So what? The weird guy who plays ukulele on the third floor seems pretty cool, even though he does look like he hasn't showered in days. And the old couple on the first floor always invites them over for dinner, and that's pretty cool, too.
And yeah, maybe she has a drawer all to herself, but that's just because she doesn't want to keep stuffing her bag with a change of clothes – it's already heavy enough with all her other crap. And yeah, maybe they shop for groceries together and she cooks sometimes, but that's mostly because Jesse's a lazy ass who won't go to the grocery store unless absolutely necessary, choosing to live on Pop Tarts and takeout or go on days without any shampoo in his bathroom. Someone has to take care of him, okay? He's such a mama's boy, he needs someone to take care of him. It's not like it's her first choice.
And okay, maybe her dad notices, but he just sounds weird over the phone when he calls her in the morning and Jesse picks up (awkward, but nothing she can't handle), and he doesn't really say anything to her about it. And maybe Fat Amy notices, too, of course; she doesn't stop complaining that she doesn't have a late-night ice cream buddy anymore for three days until Beca agrees to stay in for a ladies' night.
But it's Fat Amy, and she always notices the smallest little things, so Beca doesn't really want to make too much of her sly comments.
It's not a big deal. It's nothing. She's not moving in.
But it's not just the Bellas. It's the Trebles, too.
"Dude." Unicycle emerges from his bathroom, a bottle of pink shampoo in his grip. He's frowning, and Jesse kind of wants to laugh at the confused look on his face. "You use Suave? Isn't this a chicks' shampoo?"
Benji looks a bit offended. "It's not just 'for chicks'; that's highly–"
Jesse cuts him off with a shrug, though. "It's not mine," he says, turning back to the television screen where the Hulk is currently beating Loki senseless. "It's Beca's."
His eyes are glued to the screen, so he misses the way the guys exchange smirks and knowing looks.
Beca tries to hide the way she cringes slightly at the unwanted nickname. "Hey, George."
George grins widely at her, waving his ukulele around enthusiastically. She didn't know anyone could be a bigger dork than Jesse (or even Benji), but this guy could give both of those two nerds a run for their money. "You should come over with Jesse sometime; I wrote a new song I think you two would like! And bring your mixes!"
She smiles. It surprises her how genuine it is. "Sure thing."
"This is Captain Swanson. You have reached my humble abode–"
"Oh my god, I'm putting a stop to this right now."
"Wait – Beca – no–"
"Ow – Jesse – let – go–"
"No – don't – Beca!"
"I'm this close to punching you if you don't let go of my wrist right now–"
"No, I'm not gonna let you throw my–"
When they get into an argument, she knows it was only a matter of time.
"Stop pushing," she says through gritted teeth. "I told you to drop it."
He shakes his head stubbornly, and it irks her to no end. Why is he so damn persistent? "No. No, Beca, we gotta talk about this–"
"No, we are not going to my dad's wedding." She bangs her books down on the coffee table and glares up at him. "I don't give a shit about him and the step-monster or their fucking devil's spawn on the way – we're not. Going. To talk about it."
He runs a hand over his face, looking as frustrated as she feels. "Beca."
"Oh my god, Jesse!"
She leaves ten minutes later, a crumpled bunch of her clothes stuffed to the brim inside her bag as she goes.
They don't talk for six days.
It drives her crazy.
He keeps finding traces of her everywhere in his apartment.
It's annoying as hell, because she is literally everywhere he turns.
She's in the stuff she scribbled on his calendar to annoy him, in the way she deliberately erased some of the things he wrote down and replaced it with rap lyrics. She's in her favorite Twinkies he keeps inside the fridge. She's in the tiny smileys she drew all over his post-its. She's in the music playing on his iPod, in the pair of boots strewn haphazardly by his door, in the scent clinging to his clothes and his couch and his sheets.
She's fucking everywhere, a painful reminder of what he's had, of what he's almost lost.
He puts on 21 Jump Street, but not even Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum pretending to hump the criminal they caught can cheer him up.
He throws himself on the cushions and listens to the sound of her voice blending in the mixes she's made, and he feels his heart crack at the thought of how lonely his apartment is without her in it.
She listens to The Lumineers again, to that song he sang to her the first night she's slept over at his place, as she fulfills her end of the rom-com by sitting by her window and looking out into nothingness.
Fat Amy tries to cheer her up, thrusting her laptop at her and persuading her to watch this "really adorable video of a sneezing panda that'll make even your ice-cold heart melt," but she barely manages a smile at the end of it.
"Damn, Shawshank," Amy says, actually looking concerned as she puts her head too close to her face. "Do you want a date with two men I know called Ben and Jerry?"
"Oh god, yes, please."
Fat Amy goes on a twenty-minute rant about the pressures of swimsuit season in Australia and how "those dickheads won't be able to handle this jelly," but Beca barely listens as she shoves spoonful after spoonful of Chunky Monkey into her mouth.
There's a hole digging its way into her heart, longing for something just out of her reach.
"Dude," Kolio says with a sympathetic shake of his head. "You are so fucking whipped."
Jesse sighs, trying not to stare at Beca as she walks across the quad with the other Bellas. "Thanks, man."
"Look, this is getting stupid." Stacie tsks as she stands in front of Beca with her hands on her hips, looking like a female Rambo in her shorts and tank top, complete with a bandanna around her forehead. She'd actually be scary right now, if only Beca would stop remembering how she knows about Rambo in the first place. "Just kiss and have all the hot makeup sex already!"
Beca sighs, because Stacie's really not helping.
It's pathetic, but he leaves Beca's side of the bed (the right side, always the right side) empty.
She crawls under her cold, almost unfamiliar blankets, and calls him on the seventh day.
Her heart drops when it goes into voicemail, and she just listens to the sound of his voice. Why is his cell phone's voicemail so much more normal than the one for his apartment's landline? This freaking weirdo.
She almost smiles, but then she remembers he hasn't picked up, so she hangs up with a heavy weight in the pit of her chest.
She doesn't leave a message.
He calls back five minutes later, because holy shit, Beca actually called and why the fuck did he have to be in the shower, using her shampoo, at the time?
Oh god, her voice. He missed that voice.
"H-hey," he stutters, then curses when he stubs his toe on the leg of his dining table. Fucking furniture always getting in his way.
He can hear the smile behind her words, and his heart leaps to his throat for no real reason at all. "It's three AM," she says, like she's not the one who first made the call.
"I know. I'm sorry. I was in the shower. When you called."
There's an awkward tension that stretches into the silence that falls between them. Jesse can feel the steady thumpthumpthump of his heart rushing in his ears.
Holy shit, he needs to breathe.
"No," she immediately interrupts, "I need to–"
"No, don't be silly, it was me who–"
"Oh my god, stop blaming yourself–"
"Well, it really was my–"
"Wow, okay. Jesse." She pauses, and he pauses, because he strains to listen to her voice. He wants to listen. He's done trying to push. "I'm really tired and fucking sleepy right now, and…I'm just. I'm sorry. Okay? I'm sorry."
There's a smile in his voice when he says, "I'm sorry, too."
He's kissing his way up the expanse of her chest, and her back arches, her hands fisting in his hair and her hips grinding against his, making him pause in his ministrations, trying to catch his breath. She tugs at his shoulders to bring his face level with hers, and catches his mouth in a gentle kiss.
His fingers rest against her stomach, pushing ever-so-slowly downwards, trembling above the button of her jeans, and she shivers at his touch.
"Jesse," she breathes into his mouth, and she can't even hate herself for how needy she sounds, how desperate and longing.
He takes his time, fingers dallying on the skin above her panties through the open zipper of her jeans, and his mouth glides across her jaw and down to her neck, where it suctions on her collarbone, making her body arch involuntarily into his.
"I love you," she thinks she hears him breathe into her skin.
She freezes, because this is the first time he's ever said those words to her, and she tries to catch his eyes, but he looks guilty, almost embarrassed, and then he's kissing her again, leaving her with no coherent thoughts. They don't really do a lot more talking after that.
It kind of scares her, though, it really fucking scares her, at how much she wants to say the words back.
He doesn't know why he's so fucking stupid.
He just said those three freaking words to her. While they're in bed. Having sex after a week of not talking. Oh god, oh god, oh god. Someone kill him now, because that – he doesn't know what came over him, but that was not the way he wanted to say it, when they were both a little tipsy and too overcome by emotion and lust and whatever the fuck they were.
He might as well just help her move all her stuff out of his apartment at this rate.
So fucking stupid.
Okay, so, like. She kind of hates him now.
Well, okay, not really. Of course not really. He's just told her he loves her (loves her!), and she's not mad. Far from it.
She feels the way she does whenever she finishes a new mix. Whenever the Bellas do something incredibly silly that makes her laugh. Whenever Fat Amy says something, anything, out of the blue and completely stupid that barely makes sense to anyone. Whenever her dad calls her his little girl. Whenever she glances at her shelf and sees the first place trophy gleaming there in all its glory. Whenever she scrolls through her phone's album and sees the smiling photo of her and her mom.
It's the little things, she thinks. It's the little things that make her smile like this, that make her sing as if her life depends on it, that make her heart swell in a way that both soothes and burns, in the best way there could possibly be.
It's all of that combined. It's all of those little things, all held inside the large portion of her heart, where another equally large portion belongs to this incredibly dorky boy who sang to her from the backseat of his parents' car.
Her heart pounds stupidly in her chest, and these freaking butterflies flutter uncontrollably inside her stomach, but she grips her fingers more firmly around his and smiles.
Yeah, she doesn't hate Jesse. Not even close, not even at all.
It only took her two years, but yeah. There it is.
She's maybe, kind of in love him. It's as simple as that.
So, she ignores him for three days, because. Yeah. How the fuck is she supposed to tell him this?
Every time they're together, she feels her tongue, dying to say the words, but then her mind intervenes, resisting them at the same time.
She's ignoring an incoming call from him on the fourth day, when she's glancing absentmindedly at her mixing equipment, and this plain, simple, innocent thought crosses through her brain: I need to get this stuff to Jesse's place if I want to mix songs more properly…
She looks at her almost empty shelves, at the glaring space inside her closet, at the empty shoeboxes and the lack of records hanging on the walls.
And then it just…clicks.
He's standing in his kitchen making popcorn and pancakes and trying to ignore the little warning signal in his brain, because Beca hasn't called him or texted or met up with him in four days, claiming she was "tired" or "busy" or that "your apartment's too far from campus," because – when has that ever stopped her before?
So yeah, maybe he's panicking a little.
Especially when she arrives, unannounced, just as the kernels have stopped popping, and he watches her, at the way she's standing in his kitchen looking small and unsure, sounding quiet and weird. He's already prepping himself for the worst.
"Look, Beca," he heaves a sigh, taking off his oven mitts, which is not an easy thing to do when his hands are shaking. "Just say it."
"What?" She sounds surprised – and panicky.
Oh no. Oh god. This can't be happening. He closes his eyes, because if there's one thing he's known for, it's his love for dramatics. "If you wanna, you know…break up with me, just say it."
He opens his eyelids a little, and frowns when he notices her fighting off a smile.
She can't believe this. He is the biggest freaking idiot in the world.
This fucking dork of a guy. Why oh why must she fall in love with this fucking dork of a guy?
She takes a deep breath, then says, slowly, because she maybe wants to torture him a little, "Okay, here goes," and watches the way Jesse winces.
She tries to keep a straight face. Which is really hard, considering. "I brought my toothbrush with me today."
She avoids his gaze, telling her shoes, "Well, I can't always keep using my fingers to clean my teeth whenever I accidentally leave my toothbrush at my dorm, you know; it's kind of disgusting. I do practice good hygiene habits–" She stops, because she looks up, and why the hell is he looking at her like that? He needs to stop because it makes her palms sweat and her heart thump almost painfully and out of control inside her chest, and it's so loud that she almost doesn't hear his next words.
"You brought – I – a toothbrush with you?"
She bites her lip, because seriously, what is that look on his face? "Don't – don't you want me to?"
She almost retreats, already putting up the first wall to defend herself, already deciding to hibernate in her room for the next three months or so until she can get over this humiliation, when Jesse's face breaks into the wildest grin she has ever seen on his face.
And yeah, okay, maybe there's a grin forming on her face, too.
His arms are wrapped around her waist and his lips are on hers, gentle and sweet, in three long strides, and her hands slide down his chest to bunch the material of his shirt in her tiny fists. She smiles into the kiss, and she feels Jesse's heart beating steadily against her own, almost as if as one.
So, no one's really surprised when they give "the big announcement," as Jesse stupidly likes to call it, during a joint Bella and Treble dinner.
"About fucking time!" Stacie exclaims, the same time that Fat Amy bellows, "Flatbutt, you're leaving me? No! I'll fight for your hand against this pretty boy who's stealing you from me!"
"As much as I fear what you're going to do to me, and that's a lot of fear right there," Jesse grins and slides his arm around the back of Beca's chair, not-so-subtly (because when is he ever subtle?), "I'm afraid I've already won this one."
Fat Amy launches into a long rant, and Beca just laughs, promising to come over for a Ben & Jerry's date twice a week until Amy shuts up, looking a teeny bit more satisfied.
Beca catches Jesse's eye, and he sticks his tongue out at her and nudges her foot beneath the table.
The words slip out of her mouth in the most random way possible, it's almost embarrassing.
They're painting their new room (their new room) a pretty shade of blue because Beca can't stand its whiteness, and he's dancing goofily around to one of her mixes, wagging his eyebrows at her, singing "Sexy and I know it," to annoy the hell out of her.
So, she's laughing when she says, "I love you," the words leaving her mouth of their own accord.
Her eyes widen the same time that Jesse's paintbrush clatters to the floor. It would be funny, really, especially when he turns to face her with a surprised look in his eyes, but really, she can barely register anything over her speeding pulse.
He finally relaxes, then walks slowly towards her, as if gauging whether she'll freak out and suddenly turn on her heel and flee.
She smiles up at him the same time he does, because yeah, she's done fleeing.
They make love on (their) bed, and when he pushes into her, he laughs breathlessly into her mouth, and she pulls away and rests her forehead against his. Her lips ghost the shell of his ear, breathless, overwhelmed, yet calm: "I love you" comes out in a bated breath, but nevertheless genuine, nevertheless certain.
His eyes find hers, and he slants his mouth over hers and whispers the words back, making her topple over the edge as he empties into her.
"Hey! You've reached Beca."
"Fine. And Jesse."
"You don't have to sound so dejected. Come to think of it, this was originally my apartment, you know."
"Do you want me to move out? I swear to god–"
"Please leave a message after the beep! Bye!"
"What even – Jesse!"
It's Fat Amy who makes the observation again, because she wouldn't be Fat Amy if she didn't. "You two are a married couple."
"Really, Beca," Stacie says, making a face. "I'm all for shacking up and having healthy sex lives and all, but you two are sometimes so disgustingly cute, it makes me wanna–"
"Shut up," Beca whines, but Jesse just laughs and pulls her against him 'til she's leaning against his chest, their fingers tangled loosely together on Jesse's lap, hidden from view. It's almost natural, Beca doesn't even really give it a second thought anymore.
"Should've known moving in together would make you so damn domesticated," Stacie grumbles, bending her head over her milkshake. "You look almost disgustingly happy, ugh."
"Yeah," Amy interjects, pumping her fist for emphasis, "what happened to alt girl Beca who wanted to burn the world down?"
"Still here, still wants to burn the world down. Though probably not as often as I used to." Beca glances up at Jesse before she throws a piece of popcorn in Stacie's direction, which she dodges gracefully and Fat Amy catches cleanly in her mouth.
Beca just rolls her eyes, because really, how typical. She snuggles more closely against Jesse's chest, and she feels his lips press against her temple for a long moment.
She smiles and closes her eyes, her fingers tightening involuntarily around his like they're melded together, her body fitting next to his like she belongs there, and maybe she does.
Yeah, maybe she is pretty fucking happy.
So yeah, that just happened and took on a life of its own… I don't know what I'm doing anymore hahaha. Hope you liked it anyway?
References: Slow It Down by The Lumineers; Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO; High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (it's a book about music, guys, and it's a fantastic read, if you wanted to give it a go);The Avengers (2012); 21 Jump Street (2012); Rambo (2008)
Title from Like A Star by Corrine Bailey Rae (song fits them to a T)