Beca had never been too big on Christmas. Well, OK, never might be an exaggeration. She did vaguely remember some sort of excitement and anticipation during her childhood years.
However, way too early, the yelling and fighting had started, and Christmas had gone from games and hugs to tears and anger. Soon, the Holidays had started tasting a lot like loneliness and absence.
Eventually, her mother had gotten better and able to see the end of each year as a moment for celebration again, but by the time she did, Beca had already gotten over all the fuss. She found all the commotion pointless and stressful, so all she and her mother really did was exchange gifts between the two of them. She would let her mother put up a Christmas tree without giving her attitude, but “it looks OK” was all the compliment she would give.
And it wasn’t because she wanted to upset her Mom – the two of them actually got along fine. Beca supposed she just wasn’t a Christmas kind of girl anymore. Indeed, with each passing year, she would become more sarcastic, see the Hollidays as sillier and sillier, and distant herself from them.
That is, until Barden. Until she found herself among a bunch of a capella nerds, among people who actually wanted to be with her. Like, all the time. Way more than she was comfortable with.
Well, don’t get her wrong. She was happy that people genuinely enjoyed her company and wanted her around, even if she would never say so. She just wasn’t thrilled that a bunch of crazy girls could never really get the meaning of personal space, and would drag her to a ridiculous amount of crazy parties and events, and never understand that she wanted to be left alone in her room to work in her mixes, even when she explicitly said “get the fuck out of here or I will punch you in the face”.
Clueless, all of them.
And, obviously, each of those annoying nerds was a big Holiday’s fan. Amy would yell about all these crazy Tasmanian traditions that just had to be a lie (or Beca would be seriously frightened to ever go there), Stacie would plant an insane amount of mistletoes everywhere, because “the second best thing in the world is kissing. The first, and it may come as a surprise to you that I think that, is sex”, Jesse would prepare endless suffering hours of themed movies for them all to watch together, and Benji would incorporate Holiday props in his magic tricks.
Cynthia-Rose would normally be responsible for the Christmas playlist, Flo would decorate the entire house and make it look sickeningly cute, Aubrey would get crazier and more control-freaky than usual (which was completely scary), Jessica and Ashley would cook traditional foods, and Lily would only use the fireplace to enter and leave the house throughout the entire December (honestly, how did Beca get associated with these insane people? Sometimes, she still thought this was some kind of elaborate, tremendously long nightmare). And Emily, the new addition, was extremely excited about the Holidays, too – as she was about everything else, really.
And then… and then, there was Chloe. If people were told to think about the opposite of the Grinch, they would probably think about Santa, or Rudolph, or an Elf, or something. And they would all be wrong. The true anti-Grinch was one Chloe Beale, blue eyes shining even bluer during December (and honestly, how was that even possible?).
Chloe would join in all the activities previously mentioned. She would bake gingerbread with Jessica and Ashley, make ridiculously strong eggnog with Amy, help in Cynthia’s and Jesse’s selections. She would also make the girls go caroling around campus (and Beca had no idea how the red-haired convinced her to do all those things she had sworn she would never do, but if it might have anything to do with the hopeful eyes and megawatt smile flashing her way, well, she would never admit it). She would wake up singing Christmas songs, and no one could really be mad at that angelic voice (again, not that Beca thought about that in those sappy, lame terms), even if it was early in the morning.
And Chloe would knit sweaters for each of them – and in her second Barden Christmas, not yet knowing how completely crazy Chloe was, Beca had suspected all those knitting hours had had something to do with why the ginger had failed Russian Literature. She was, basically, the Christmas spirit incarnated, and for some reason, she always made sure Beca was with her for every singular silly tradition.
And the worst tradition, Beca thought, was the secret santa thing. Which, of course, they called Pitchmas Santa, because they were all huge nerds. And yeah, she could admit that getting presents was nice, but the part that really drove her nuts was giving gifts.
Beca wasn’t exactly the most sensitive person in the world, so she had a hard time choosing something that she believed would make someone else happy. Luckily, she had had it pretty easy so far. First Christmas celebrating together, she had gotten Stacie, and bought her some weird sex toys, for which the tall brunette was incredibly grateful and sincerely touched that Beca had picked on her interest in bedroom (“well, not restricted to the bedroom, really”) activities. Like Beca said, clueless, all of them.
Second Holiday in Barden, Beca had pulled Aubrey’s name (yeah, she still went back each year to celebrate with them) out of the Santa hat (because Chloe would not have it any other way). And against all odds, Beca had actually made Aubrey really happy, too.
If it were anyone else (with the obvious exception of dork Chloe Beale), giving them a huge, boring-looking collection of a capella rules, competition records and old pictures would seem like a joke.
But, of course, not Aubrey. The blonde had hugged Beca for several minutes and said, “there really might be hope for you yet”, which had seriously freaked the brunette out. And in order to receive permission to leave Barden again, Aubrey had had to promise Chloe she would lend her the book.
Third year around had also been considerably simple. Having gotten Amy, Beca just saved herself the trouble of thinking too hard and got the Australian an obnoxious amount of booze. It did the trick. Amy even said much more than she should have, pointing out how all the alcohol would definitely make her and Bumper more creative, something Beca really, really didn’t want to know.
This year, however, that was supposed to be the last one and free her from having to fulfill the thoughtful duty of a present giver, she just had to have the worst luck possible. She just had to pull out of the hat the name of the worst possible person to gift: Chloe Beale.
It wasn’t that Chloe would ever complain or dislike a present. In fact, just the concept of someone being thoughtful enough to give her a gift would make Chloe Beale beam. Girl was all made for feelings and cuteness like that.
No, the problems were others.
First, there was the matter that Beca had already given Chloe stuff throughout the years, so it would be hard to be original. For some reason, the red-headed was the person she more frequently thought of, so it wasn’t exactly rare for the DJ to see a little plushy toy, think Chloe would like it and get it for her, or see the ginger’s favorite candy bay when buying coffee and take it to her. And the mixes, well, Chloe was about the only person who had gotten more than one dedicated just for her. So see, Beca was in a struggle for creativity here.
The second issue was that Chloe was the most amazing gift giver ever. She was insanely considerate and would notice things in people that barely anyone else did. Like back when the Bellas did not know Stacie was a fricking genius, and Chloe arranged her a visit to Space Center Houston, because of course she had known. Beca had kind of felt ashamed of the sex toys thing, but hey, Stacie claimed to have loved them both equally. She was complex and amazing like that.
And when it came to giving Beca presents, Chloe was no worse. She had given the brunette amazing (and expensive) headphones and one of those neck pillows that Beca had declared ridiculous and unnecessary. “Oh my God, Beca, just stop being so difficult and try it,” the red-headed had pleaded, exasperated. The DJ had ended up accepting to do so, just to show how right she was – but boy, had she been wrong. Their next bus trip was incredibly more comfortable, and Chloe had obviously bought her a headphone-themed pillow, in which you could plug earphones and rock on. She wondered if it was possible that Chloe had noticed how severe her neck and back actually were – she tried to conceal it -, but really, she should have known better. Chloe always knew.
And then, of course, there was the V.I.P ticket to the David Guetta thing, the arrangement for Beca to be a DJ in a small local club on the night of her birthday (really, how could this girl charm everyone and get them to do what she wanted?), and the summer rescuing.
Ok, that hadn’t been exactly a gift, but it was the best thing anyone could have done for her at the time. Even though Beca had improved her relationship with her father a lot, she still wasn’t thrilled about spending two weeks with the step-mons – sorry, Sheilla’s family. The brunette knew just how uncomfortable she would have ended up feeling, so she was extremely grateful when Chloe talked to Dr. Mitchell and asked if Beca could spend those weeks with her family in the beach instead (again, Chloe knew). Of course, the request of a golden Literature student had been heard, so Beca spent a good part of her summer swimming by the day and going to clubs by night. It was one of the best vacations she had ever had. The place was beautiful, Chloe’s family was incredibly nice and funny (which was refreshing), and Chloe’s company was… well, Beca Mitchell didn’t really do feelings, but she hoped the awkward “thanks” she said when the Beales had dropped her off told Chloe just how much she had loved that summer.
Yeah, basically, Beca had no idea what she could do that would get even close-ish to what Chloe truly deserved.
Still, she tried. That’s why she, one afternoon, found herself staring at three wide-eyed, incredulous girls.
“You want to… what?”
“Who are you and what did you do to Beca Effin’ Mitchell? ‘Cause besides being a short stack, you’re nothing like her.”
“Cut it out, Amy. I am Beca, so what you’re saying doesn’t even make sense,” the DJ complained, pushing away the hand that had been aiming at her forehead.
“You’re not making sense, you want to cook!”
“Well, yeah, that’s perfectly normal, OK? Like, it totally happens. Sometimes.”
“Uh, sorry, Beca, but it never happens,” Ashley cut off, looking a little shy.
“Yeah. We’ve been living together for three years and the only kitchen activity I ever saw you engaged in was attempt cookie stealing,” Jessica added, raising an eyebrow.
“OK, so I’m not really a cook, so what? People can feel like learning new things,” Beca said, a little defensive.
“Why now?” Amy asked, squinting her eyes at the DJ.
“It’s… for a friend.”
“Friend like Amy-friend, best friend in the world, or friend like lesbi-friend Chloe?”
“I’d never give someone baked stuff as a ‘let’s be friends’ gift, Amy. Too much trouble and new people weird me out,” Beca answered, rolling her eyes, because she really thought they would know it by now.
“That’s not… you know what, never mind. You Americans tend to have a thick skull. It’s the lack of the Tasmanian sun, if you ask me. Also deprives you of all of our hotness, so I’m deeply sorry for you.”
Knowing replying would be pointless, Beca decided that getting to the point was really all she wanted, “So, are you two helping me or not?”
“We’re three, Beca,” Ashley answered, frowning a little.
“Oh, Amy is just here to eat the dough.”
“She’s not wrong,” the blonde answered, shrugging.
When Chloe got home, she was startled by squeals coming from the kitchen. By the time she entered said room, she was utterly confused, because Beca Mitchell was near the stove.
“Ok, what exactly is happening here?” The ginger asked, unable to contain a big smile.
“Beca is… uh… cooking, if you want to call it that.”
“Beca is what!?” And the DJ had to grimace at how sharp the sound was.
“Will you all just quit acting so surprised? It’s like, whatever.”
“It’s not whatever, Beca, this is a beautiful bonding occasion! I want to help!”
Chloe, not surprisingly, looked extremely bubbly and excited. Beca rolled her eyes, but the smirk she couldn’t really hide might have ruined the “I’m supper annoyed” act.
“Oh, thank God you’re here. She tried to heat up plastic, Chloe!” Jessica whined, hugging her captain.
“You said it would be our secret! And it didn’t look like plastic, ok? It looked like… stuff you put in the fire.”
“Don’t let Stacie hear you not knowing your materials and their properties,” Chloe snorted, gently squeezing Jessica’s arms before getting close to the oven.
“Beca, do you remember Fried Green Tomatoes?” Chloe asked, a few minutes later.
“Uh?” A really concentrated DJ inquired in return.
“You don’t? Jesse brought it over for Bellas-Treble movie night once.”
“Yeah, one more I must’ve slept through, what’s new?” And Beca was actually proud of that, smirking smugly as she answered.
“That’s a shame, then. I just might have to remind you of one the scenes, see if it helps bring back memories of the movie.”
“Chlo, what on Earth are you… what the fuck, Beale!?” Beca squealed loudly, because really close to her was the red-headed, laughing hysterically as she spread chocolate on Beca’s nose with a wooden spoon.
“Do you remember it now, Beca?”
“Is this the one that ends with the murder of a ginger? Because yeah, let’s reenact that!”
Soon enough, they were all in a messy, loud food fight. The Bellas that arrived just joined them, not even batting an eye lash, which just proved to Beca how crazy her life actually was. And when food started coming from the fireplace, they saw Lily and the DJ just had a frightening feeling that the girl had actually been in there for the whole “Beca Mitchel wants to cook episode”, as it would become known.
And then, ok, cooking was down – but she knew it was not enough. But that was fine, because Beca had a plan – hopefully.
“OK, so… what exactly are we doing here?” Stacie asked, lifting her eyes from her nail filing. She and Benji were sitting side by side, having suddenly been summoned by Beca.
“I needed the two biggest nerds I knew. Like, fucking smart nerds, not dorks, because that would be literally everyone I know here,” the DJ declared, sighing.
“Well captain Mitchell, you made the best choice possible,” the tall brunette said, smirking at her two friends. Beca answered with a smirk of her own, while Benji looked extremely proud and totally embarrassed.
“OK, so say someone wants a good book. What do they read?”
“Harry Potter,” said Stacie, without missing a beat.
“I’d go with The Dark Tower. It’s fantastic,” Benji replied with a sweet smile.
“Uh, ok. Noted. But I’m looking for something a little bit more… classic?”
“Why?” Stacie frowned.
“Uh, no reason.”
“You’ve been doing a lot of experimentation lately, Mitchell.”
“Cooking, looking for classics,,, what’s going on?”
“Just want to try new things, is all.”
“Oh, do you want to try magic? I could show you a lot of fun stuff I’ve been learning recently!” And when he looked excited like that, Beca could really see why Benji and Emily hit it off so well. She hoped that whatever was going on between the two of them would go well.
“Thanks, Benji. I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Oh, are we pitching ideas? ‘Cause you know, I could give you really good advice for stamina in b…”
“Ok, Stacie, no. Just no.”
The tall brunette pouted, “you’re ever only nice to Benji and Chloe. I shouldn’t help you.”
“Come on, Stace, you know I love you.”
“You what?” The smile on her face was so conceited that Beca had to roll her eyes,
“Nope, I’m not saying it again. Now, focus. Classics, guys. I need them.”
“I’m more of a sci-fi and fantasy guy. Sorry, Beca.”
“Yeah, I’m not so sure I can really help you, either.”
“What? You’re my nerds! You can’t fail me here!”
“You’re looking for the wrong kind of nerd, baby girl. We’re more of calculus geniuses. By the way, Benji, how is Professor Danes’s class going?”
“Oh, I’m doing ok. Those exercises you sent really helped. Actually, I wanted to show you this project I was thinking of developing…”
“No! You two lose focus very quickly, Jesus. And I share a room with Amy. You guys have to help me!”
“Wow, someone is whiny today. OK, Beca, what you want is a book genius. Have you talked to Chloe or Flo?”
“Flo?” The DJ asked, purposely avoiding the suggestion of her ginger best friend.
“You really don’t know what which of us study, huh? Even now.”
“Chloe majors in Education and minors in Literature and Music,” Beca answered automatically.
“Of course you would know hers,” Stacie sighed. “Anyway, Flo majors in International Relations and minors in Spanish Literature. Girl knows a lot about History, Philosophy, etc, etc. I mean, not that I don’t - I’m far from dumb, but mama Flo is a pro.”
“Wow,” Beca replied, a little taken aback.
“You’re damn right, wow. So, my suggestion is we call her and Chloe.”
“Can we call someone else instead of Chloe?”
“Oh, we can. Someone who knows a lot about Philosophy, too. Someone who reads a lot. You’re gonna love it.”
But the smirk Stacie had on told Beca otherwise.
In only a few seconds, they were on speakers with Flo and…
“Beca? You’re calling me? Now, that’s a surprise.”
“I’m not! Stacie is!”
And she sounded so childish that Benji couldn’t hold back a laugh.
“Do I hear a Treble?”
How did she get that from just one laugh? Beca had to give it to her: she was insane, but she was good.
“Oh, hi, Aubrey. It’s Benji,” and even through the phone, he blushed, feeling intimidated by the once Bellas’ captain.
“Hey, Benji. You’re decent, actually, so I can tolerate you.”
“Thanks,” he smiled brightly. Kid really had a good heart, God bless him.
“Oh, of course, call Flo and ignore her, she has nothing better to do anyway,” came an annoyed voice through Beca’s phone.
“Right. Sorry, Flo. So, uh, I kinda wanted to… ask you two for book recommendations…”
“Hum, it got interesting! What kind of book, captain?”
“Very good, Mitchell, not vague at all.”
“Come on, Aubrey, go easy on her. She’s trying to do something nice.”
And Beca thought something about Stacie’s tone had sounded a little… suggestive. Before she could ask, though, Aubrey let out a little “oh”.
“Ok, Mitchell. How about English literature?”
“Spanish?” Flo piped in.
That went on for a while, and Stacie’s face kind of suggested she was in on a joke that Beca couldn’t, for the love of her, get. Finally, though, Aubrey said what she had been waiting long enough to hear, “Hm, it’s getting difficult… how about… Russian?”
“Well, you know what? Russian actually sounds nice. ‘Cause, you know, I’ve never read it before. So, yeah. Could be a good try.” And Beca mentally patted herself on the back for sounding so casual.
“Right. Why didn’t you ask Chloe?” Flo inquired, and the DJ thought she could hear a smile in her voice.
“I, uh, I was going to, but you know, she’s been busy with worlds, so I didn’t wanna like, distract her, or whatever.”
“What do you think of War and Peace, Aubrey?”
“Oh, such a classic! Crime and Punishment is incredible, too. Although…”
“Although I feel I should mention Chloe’s favorite. Is that ok, Beca?”
“Yeah, sure, if you want to.”
Again, she thought she did a good job on sounding nonchalant.
“Anna Karenina. You know, it’s one of her true loves. That book certainly means a lot to Chloe.”
“Yeah, she has talked to me about it before.”
“Well, girls, you know what? I think three suggestions are enough. It’s gonna take me a while to read them all, anyway.”
And when Beca thanked them and they said their goodbyes, she was sure the girls were smirking at her. She was afraid, for a moment, that they had figured out whose name she had gotten out of the hat. However, Benji looked as lost as she did, so she got to the conclusion that her friends were only being their weird selves, which was nothing unusual, really.
It took some effort (ok, like, a lot of effort), but Beca managed to find a signed, beautiful, old edition of Anna Karenina, and she really hoped it would make Chloe smile. The girl did have a great smile, after all.
Thing was, she didn’t know when to stop. When was the gift good enough for Chloe? She kind of had the impression it might never be, and somehow she kept having these ideas to improve it. It was nice, because sometimes she would second guess herself and think that Chloe might be disappointed. Other times, though, she felt that red-haired would be very happy, and picturing her reaction, her smile and sweet words kind of made Beca feel weird. She thought it was a good weird, though.
And now, here she was, having been lead by one more of those ideas. The DJ was drinking coffee with Jesse on the campus café, and still had a good hour before Bellas’ rehearsal.
“Are you asking me for a movie suggestion? Beca Mitchell, is this really you?”
And really, the smirk on his face was unbearable.
“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” Beca sighed, running her head through her hair.
“Ah, yeah, Benji told me about your sudden interest in classical literature. Are you listening to classical music too, Ms. Mitchell?”
“Shut it, you jerk. I’ve always liked classical music.”
Jesse laughed, “Yeah, I know, just wanted to make you embarrassed.”
“I am not embarrassed! Classical music is great.”
“And yet, you gave Aubrey crap for keeping it traditional,” he exaggerated a sigh.
“One, it’s not the same classic. Two, that’s a whole different story and you know it. Three, you’re an asshole, so I don’t feel like you deserve my energy and, therefore, I’m not going to get into that. Now, will you help me with the movie thing or not?”
“Of course, Becaw, even though you’re a tiny, rude meanie. I’m your official moviecator, come on.”
Beca cringed, “I have forbidden you, multiple times, of calling yourself that.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever, you love me, I’m your best friend. Ok, Christmas movies?”
“Yeah, but it can’t be the ones we have already watched the other years, even though I still think they are all the same,” when she saw Jesse’s scandalized face, she hurried to continue before he could interrupt and start a lecture, “but it also has to be good.”
“Oh, that’s a challenge. I mean, we saw a lot of the amazing ones. Yes, Beca, they were amazing,” the Treble glared at her when she snorted. “But hey, seriously, can’t you tell me why you’re suddenly into literature and Christmas movies? It might make it easier for me to suggest you something.”
Beca hesitated for a moment, but she figured that maybe it would be ok to tell Jesse. For starters, it was a Bellas-only secret santa, so she wouldn’t really be spoiling anything. Second, he was one of her best friends, even though he was a pain in the ass most of the time. And third, Beca really needed an opinion to know how well Operation Chloe was going. And yes, she had named it, but only because the red-haired had dragged her into a Once Upon a Time marathon and that kid’s obsession with naming projects had kind of rubbed on her. Shit. Apparently, dorkiness was contagious.
“I’m Chloe’s secret santa,” she decided to confess.
“Pitchmas Santa, you mean.”
“I’m not calling it that.”
“She’ll make you call it that when you guys are giving the gifts,” Jesse shrugged.
And Beca couldn’t reply, because saying “I won’t” would be a lie and they both knew it, and saying “ok, but she can” sounded ridiculous even in her head.
“But ok, let me focus. Chloe… well, Chloe likes movies almost as much as I do, and she absolutely loves Christmas movies. She must have seen most of them, so to be creative… oh. Oh.”
His smile was too satisfied, and Beca really, really thought she wouldn’t like what it meant.
When she saw a trailer that could only be described as what the fuck!?, she was proven right.
“No. No, no, no. That looks like it is worse than most of the movies we have watched, and that’s saying something.”
“Becaw, come one! Krampus would make you guys laugh, I’m sure, and it’s also horror, which is perfect for a d…,” and he had a small cough fit after that, “a day. In the movies. With your best friend.”
“No. This is a bad idea, even for you.”
“Yeah? Let’s check it with who really matters, then.”
And before she could ask what he meant, Jesse was waving and calling a recently-arrived Chloe to their table.
“Oh, hey you guys!” She greeted, smiling brightly at them. “What are you up to?”
“I was just telling Beca what a piece of art I think Krampus must be.”
“Oh I know, right? I really wanna see it!”
And when Beca’s mouth opened in disbelief, Jesse’s smirk only grew.
“I think I might be scared to go alone, though. I’ll need to recruit the Bellas. You’ll cuddle me if it gets too spooky, right, Beca?” And when Chloe winked at her, Beca got more of that weird feeling she had been getting lately, so all she could do was nod weakly.
“Great! Anyways, I’ll get going, guys, I want to get everything ready for the rehearsal. Please, don’t be late, Becs.” With a wave to Jesse and a kiss to Beca’s cheek, she was gone. Still feeling dumbfounded, it took the DJ a few seconds to be able to absorb Jesses’s words and glare at him when he said “Should we book two tickets for the amazing Bellas’ captains, then?”
(And of course, they did book them, because Chloe had said she wanted to go, so Beca didn’t have much of a choice. She had to congratulate herself on how much she was trying, and all for this secret santa thing.)
Ok, maybe she was exaggerating. But so far, she had the gingerbread, the book and the movie. And it was cool, actually really cool, so in her confident moments she was sure Chloe was going to love it.
But well, she now needed something that was her. Something that said Beca, that gave a part of herself to Chloe. Which, you know, made perfect sense, if you considered that the red-headed needed to guess who her Santa was. See? Everything the DJ was doing was perfectly logical.
Last part, then, was music. She called Emily and Cynthia-Rose to the studio where she had been doing her internship, after asking her boss to do her such favor. Emily was chosen because she and Beca had been collaborating on really nice things together, and Cynthia had a crazy knowledge about Christmas songs, in addition to her beautiful voice.
“Deejay B., this is some good idea you had. I just think the girls should be here too,” Cynthia-Rose declared, entering the booth recording.
“Don’t worry, CR. We’ll call them for the next sessions.”
“Damn right we are. We need our sisters.”
“Can I just say how excited I am? I love Christmas! And your voice is so amazing, Cynthia-Rose! And you, well, Beca, you’ll be like a total famous producer, very soon, so I’m really honored to be here, so thank you for calling me! Seriously! I’m going to do my best to honor your faith.”
“Woah, Legacy, chill. Breathe. It’s cool, ok? You’re very talented, so you don’t have to worry about it. CR, what song selection did you make?”
And the next hours were spent exchanging ideas about songs, recording and mixing their voices and sounds. Beca, of course, sang some parts too, and she decided to add some files of Chloe singing that she had in her laptop
She knew that the red-headed was definitely going to be all right with that. The biggest problem they had that first day in the studio was probably calming Emily down, because the youngest Bella would almost knock everything over when she got super excited during a passage in which they had sounded particularly good together.
By the end of day one, Beca asked the two girls to keep their recording sessions a secret.
“And why is that, Deejay B.?” CR asked, squinting her eyes at the brunette.
“Cause a surprise for the girl will be nice?” Beca tried, keeping her face serious.
“Hm, good thinking. Now it makes sense that they are not here. You know, Chloe will be particularly proud.”
“I hope so,” Beca let escape, and the knowing smile Cynthia-Rose gave her kind of got the DJ by surprise.
“You two are seriously the best, Beca,” Emily declared, smiling dreamily at the brunette. “One day, I hope Benji and I…”
“Ok, Legacy, that’s wonderful, girl! Come here, what can you tell me about that new song you were writing?”
“But I wasn’t,” and before she could continue, Cynthia-Rose interrupted the tall brunette again,
“Come on, don’t be shy, girl. Don’t be shy, don’t be modest. Let’s leave Deejay B. setting things up here and talk outside.”
And while the two exited, Emily looking confused and Cynthia-Rose sporting a very freaky and very fake smile, Beca couldn’t help thinking that her gang of weirdos had been acting even stranger those past few weeks.
Nonetheless, even with all the weirdness, by next Tuesday, she had some very good Christmas mixes, and even an original song, and she finally thought Operation Chloe might be complete. Oh well, she would find out for sure soon enough.
When Pitchmas Santa night arrived, Beca was back to feeling a little nervous. And yeah, she did think she had put together a good present, but it was Chloe. It had to be perfect, because perfect was what Chloe deserved.
All of the Bellas – including honorary Bella Aubrey – were gathered in the living room, telling stories, laughing, eating and drinking. They opted for lighting the fireplace, so Lily couldn’t sit there, like she had wanted to. Beca thought she heard the Asian say something like “I’ve lived inside the fire before”, but she just shrugged it off as her never understanding the murmurs of the other girl. Emily, however, had looked very shocked and made sure to stay away from the fireplace for the rest of the night.
When they started opening the presents, the nervous feeling Beca had in her stomach increased. She laughed and shouted with the girls when Jessica was Ashley’s Santa for the fourth year in a row, saying that “Dude, ok, this can’t be real, you two are some dirty little cheaters”, but the uneasy feeling was ever-there.
She didn’t know why she felt that way. It was only Chloe. Chloe, who had given her a thousand presents during those four years. Chloe, who she’d given gifts to on multiple occasions as well. It just made no sense to suddenly feel that nervous around the person with whom she was always the most comfortable with in the world. However, it was there, and the way the red-headed would smile so sweetly at her each time they caught each other’s eyes was doing nothing to help it. And wow, did her eyes look blue that night. Beca felt enchanted. She also felt, however, that those other weird girls she called friends were smirking at her all night. Seriously, what the fuck was going on?
When Chloe was revealed as Emily’s Secret Santa, having prepared her an extensive collection of Bella’s goods that included things like the lucky bracelet she had worn on her first performance and the set list of every Bella performance ever, Beca knew the time was close. While Emily was caught between crying, smiling, hugging Chloe and thanking her profusely, the captain took deep breaths, trying to steady herself.
A few minutes later, Chloe was by the coffee table, picking the package that had her name on it.
She squealed when she saw the gingerbread Bellas, a replica of each one of them. They were a little messy if you asked Beca, but hey, she had done her best, and they were recognizable, as Chloe was excitedly pointing at the gingerbread and then at the person it was, screaming excitedly. The DJ noticed how the ginger was avoiding her gaze, and sighed. Chloe had already figured out who her Santa was, because Chloe always knew.
When the girl got the rare, signed Anna Karenina edition, her eyes filled with tears. She ran her fingers lovingly through the cover, opening the book with eased practice into her favorite passages. She hugged it to her chest, and her smile was a surprised, grateful, tender one. It was beautiful, and it was even better than what Beca had been wishing for. She could feel she was smiling too, because Chloe was smiling, and for once, she did not care.
When the red-headed got to the movie tickets, she finally gazed at the DJ. She was looking at her with such tenderness and affection that Beca’s breath caught in her throat.
“There are two,” Chloe declared, simply.
“Yeah,” Beca answered, and it came out hoarsely because of her dry throat.
“So you’re going with me,” and Chloe’s smile got even sweeter.
“You’re not… you’re not supposed to guess yet. There’s more,” the DJ swallowed, hard.
Chloe, however, went on, “You hate movies.”
“Well, yeah, but you like them. And I like your company. So I figured it couldn’t hurt, and you were afraid of going alone” she explained, scratching her forehead. When Chloe just kept looking at her with tear-filled eyes, it became too much for Beca, “Uh, there’s one more, Chloe. And it’s not big or special or anything, but…”
“It’s your music. It’s my favorite, Beca. It’s always my favorite,” her fellow captain said, alternating her gaze between the CD and Beca.
The brunette could feel how charged the air around her was. She was aware that there were other people in the room, but that just added to the heavy atmosphere. She could swear that during her four years at Barden and three years living with them at the same house, there had never been a moment of silence like that. There were no weird declarations from Amy or excited squeals from Emily. Aubrey was not barking orders and Stacie was not talking about sex. Everything just stood still.
And then, Chloe’s hands grabbed hers, pulling Beca to her feet. They stood close, and they eyes never left each other’s. Beca didn’t know what was happening, what it meant that they stood for minutes just looking at one another while her heart beat madly in her chest.
And even though she could not explain what was happening right there, when a cloud of uncertainty glazed Chloe’s bright blue eyes, the red-headed murmured a timid “thank you” and dropped her gaze, Beca felt that something precious was escaping through her fingers.
Before she could stop it, before she could apologize to Chloe for whatever it was that she had done wrong, Stacie was speaking.
“Oh Beca, I forgot to say, but the package with your name is outside. I thought of bringing it inside, but meh, too much trouble.”
And Beca wanted to protest and say it didn’t really matter right now, but the brunette kept insisting that she went. Taking her hand from Chloe’s kind of physically hurt, and Beca was lost the minute she let go of the ginger. She was not sure how, but the DJ managed to make it outside, feeling numb and hopeless.
“You should go help her look, because oh my Goddess, is that girl dense,” Stacie sighed, talking to Chloe.
“I don’t know if that’s really a good idea right now. I mean, I almost… I almost…”
At Aubrey’s voice, the ginger looked up. She always listened to her best friend, after all.
“Go there. Just now, it meant exactly what you thought it meant.”
“But what if…”
“Chloe, when have you ever seen Beca baking for someone?” Jessica asked, looking pointedly at her captain.
“She gave me booze. I mean, I love it, but I bet the girl can’t tell me a single Australian song, let alone a piece of literature.” Amy added, making a face.
“She asked Aubrey for advice, Chloe,” Stacie piped in, while Aubrey smiled smugly.
“One more sweet victory in my life.”
“Girl, it has to be the first time in her life that she is willingly going to a movie theater. She sure as hell wouldn’t do it for me, I’m telling you,” Cynthia-Rose shrugged, her expression impressed.
“I kinda thought you guys were already a couple and so I’m really confused right now?” Every one of the girls in the living room turned their heads to look at Emily.
“Well, Legacy, if you’re the aca-child, we sure know which aca-mom’s wit you’ve inherited. I’m sorry for you, child,” Amy patted her on the back, and Emily had a vague sense that she should be offended.
Finally, Chloe smiled at them and nodded confidently to herself.
“Right. You’re right. It meant exactly what I thought it meant.”
And while she inhaled deeply and readied herself, they heard a shout from the porch.
“There’s nothing here, Stacie! This isn’t funny!”
“Go, Chloe, go!”
In a few hurried steps, the red-headed was next to Beca. Before either of them could say something, though, the Bellas had gotten to the window and Stacie was piping in again.
“Oh, captain, you’re looking at the wrong place.”
“What the fuck, Stace? You told me to come outside.”
“Yes, but you’re looking on the floor. You should look up, you know.”
And as Beca turned her head upwards, she saw it. Her name, scratched on a mistletoe. And as she looked down again, there was Chloe, right in front of her, underneath the mistletoe too.
The DJ gulped, because she had no idea what to do. Well, she knew what stupid traditions said they should do now, but realizing that maybe she wanted (like, really wanted) to do it it scared her senseless.
As if things weren’t hard enough already, her Chloe mix CD started playing (damn you, Cynthia-Rose). And when Chloe heard her own voice, she gasped.
“I had some old Christmas files saved.”
Chloe nodded, and then they were silent again. Beca couldn’t stand it for long, though.
“We don’t have to…”, and not knowing how to say it, she awkwardly pointed upwards.
Chloe, however, stepped closer. Ready for a heavy moment, Beca was really caught off guard when Chloe smiled brightly and sang to the recorded sound of her own voice.
“All I want for Christmas is you.”
“Oh, no. No, no, no. That’s the dorkiest thing you could do right now, and I won’t take it. You stop it right now, Beale.”
Chloe laughed happily. When it subsided to a sweet smile, she took Beca’s hands in hers again.
“I want to, Beca. I’ve wanted to for years. And I think you want it too, but I prefer hearing it from you, so I know that kissing you is ok. Because, again, I really want to kiss you, Beca Mitchell.”
Beca shuddered. Both because Chloe fucking Beale was talking about kissing her, and because the tenderness with which the red-headed was looking at her and touching her was unbearable. She was reminded of lyrics she loved, “have you ever been touched so gently, you had to cry”, and then it hit her. She knew the perfect words. They were not hers, but Chloe had to know what they would mean.
“Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?”
And when Chloe gasped and her eyes widened in surprise, Beca gulped nervously and continued.
“Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.”
There she was, bare. She hardly had time to second-guess herself and stare nervously at Chloe’s eyes, begging her to understand, because in a few seconds, the red-headed’s lips were on hers. Of course she knew. Chloe always knew.
When they finally broke apart, they ignored the hollers coming from the windows behind them. Breathless, Chloe touched her forehead to Beca’s, softly caressing her cheeks with her fingertips.
“You read it.”
“Well, it is your favorite book, or so I’ve been told.”
“You memorized parts of it.”
“It was your favorite book, Chlo. I didn’t know why I was paying so much attention or why I was even reading it. I’d never read a book just because I was going to give it to someone before. I didn’t know why I did it, but I do now.”
Chloe chuckled quietly.
“You’re really clueless, Beca Mitchell.”
Beca made a face, biting on her lip.
“What? What’s wrong, Beca?”
Sheepishly, the DJ opened her eyes and looked at cerulean eyes.
“Uh, in my head, sometimes… I would think of all of you crazy nerds… as clueless.”
This time, Chloe laughed more openly.
“Oh, no. You’re definitely the clueless one, Beca Mitchell.”
“Shut up, Chloe Beale.”
“Make me,” Chloe defied, arching an eyebrow at the shorter girl.
And when they kissed again, it was good. It was great, even, it was perfection. And if Beca thought something cringe-worthy like Chloe being her Christmas miracle, well, she would never say it. She had already found out she was more clueless than those idiots. She really, really couldn’t bear being the dorkiest one too. Like, take that moment: Stacie was screaming about how she was the best Santa ever while Chloe and Beca kissed, and Beca couldn't be dorkier than that idiot, right? Like, she was thankful and all, but she definitely couldn't be dorkier, right?
Right now, though? Right now, all she was was Chloe’s, and Beca figured she could live with that.
Like, she kind of really, really wanted to live with that.