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Just the Way You Are

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There is one thing about the ending of the Breakfast Club that is really bothering her. Yeah, the film is fairly predictable but that isn't necessarily the exact thing that irks Beca about it. Overall the predictability doesn't annoy her as much as it should, and what actually ends up bothering her most is Allison's makeover. Personally, she thinks the girl is cool and kind of a badass, finding the basketcase to be her favorite character throughout the movie.

When she gets to the makeover scene, she can't help but be irritated at yet another film that illustrates that the weird girl needs to change to get someone to like her. Beca considers herself to be a weird girl of sorts and she isn't going to sacrifice herself just to fall into someone's favor, or at least she hopes. Despite the fact that she does indeed cry over the ending (something she probably wouldn't admit to anyone but Jesse, if he ever even talks to her again) that aspect continues to bother her even hours after she's finished watching it.

Even though it had been Jesse who introduced the film to her and forced her to watch the ending, Beca keeps thinking about the Simple Minds song and how cool it would be to sing it with the Bellas. Not that it matters, though, because Aubrey is pissed at her for taking control at regionals. She finds herself surprised that despite what happened between her and Aubrey, Chloe doesn't seem to be angry with her at all. She had actually tried to stand up for her, which was pretty weird considering the senior was Aubrey's best friend and right hand man for god-knows-how-long.

Somehow Beca seemed to have broken through the group dynamic and shown the girls what they could really do if they wanted to, and she thought things really could change…but it just didn't seem so possible now. In the end it was Aubrey who ran things and if she didn't want Beca to be a part of the Barden Bellas, it didn't matter what anyone else wanted, even Chloe.

From her usual position at her desk with her headphones on as she works on one of her newest mashups, she doesn't hear the knock on the door. It's okay, though, because her guest takes it upon herself to just come in, probably because she figures that the resident is hard at work as usual. When Beca feels a hand on her shoulder she jumps, but when she sees that it isn't her father or Jesse or her surprisingly rude Asian roomie, her lips relax into a smile. She shuts her laptop and slides off the headphones before spinning the chair around so that she can get a good look at the redhead standing before her.

"Working on another mix?" Chloe asks her, leaning against the desk.

"Uh, yeah. It's pretty much all I do these days besides go to classes and watch movies. Without Bellas practice or hanging out with Jesse, I don't really have anything else to do." Beca admits, knowing how pathetic she sounds. But Chloe doesn't make fun of her or even give her a glance that indicates that she feels bad for her. Instead she grins and shrugs.

"Well I guess I couldn't have better timing then, could I? Consider me your new hangout buddy. Aubrey's freezing me out but even if she wasn't, I'm pretty ticked at her, and I just keep finding myself thinking about you and what you did at regionals. It was really brave, Beca." She gushes without apology.

She doesn't care how goofy she might sound and her confidence is something the younger girl really admires about her.

"I mean, I've been Aubrey's friend for like four years and I've never been able to really stand up to her the way you did. I just think it was really cool. I'm sorry she's being cranky about it, but I'm going to try to get her to see your point. It's the least I could do and the Bellas are boring without you. It's like everyone's spark went away."

"That's nice of you to say. But why are you guys practicing if we didn't – I mean, you didn't…advance any further in the competition?"

Chloe laughs. "Aubrey says it's important we stay in shape and well, you know how she can get."

"Yeah, I know. So what are you doing for spring break?" Beca asks curiously, knowing that Chloe has got to have better plans than she does for break. After all, she's going to be spending her break in the same place she is now, on campus, except she is going to be DJing for the campus radio station. She finally has the chance to play her music on the station which is something she'd been going for all semester. At least she has one thing to look forward to…

Chloe hesitates at the question because she's going to be having her node surgery during break and she's already promised herself she wouldn't tell anyone. She hasn't even told Aubrey, she doesn't want to worry her and she wants to tell Beca even less.

"Going home to visit my parents, nothing too exciting." She feels guilty for lying and she isn't able to meet Beca's eyes when she neglects to tell her about her already scheduled surgery.

She's just sick of everyone feeling sorry for her all the time and the surgery will definitely mean loss of some of her register, but the doctor's already told her he can't predict just how much. Even though the thought of being unable to hit the notes she can now, the surgery remains unavoidable. Complications from forgoing the nodes could cause her to lose her voice completely, which would basically crush her dreams forever. She can do with the loss of a few notes here and there, she thinks as she keeps her eyes trained on the wall.

Beca nods, noticing Chloe's hesitance and the way her face reddens and she looks away when she tells her plans for spring break. But she isn't the type of person to push her friend about whatever she's thinking or feeling right now.

"That sounds better than my spring break plans. I'll be on campus monitoring the radio station. Woo…" She spins her finger in the air in a gesture of false excitement.

Chloe laughs softly. "Yeah but you get to play whatever you want, right? It's like your dream."

"Kinda. I mean, I'm not much for crazy bikini clad 24/7 cocktail drinking spring breaks anyway. It could be a lot worse, I guess." Beca admits, glancing over at her stack of DVDs.

Lately they've been her coping mechanism and she's found that she actually has more of an attention span than she used to. She's been able to finish ten movies in the past week alone.

"You said you wanted to hang out right? Pick a movie, we'll watch it together." She offers as she gets up from her chair, approaching the door. "I could go to the lobby and make us some popcorn if you want."

Somehow Jesse's habits have rubbed off on her. It doesn't mean anything except that whoever decided popcorn should be eaten during movies was extremely correct in their opinion.

Chloe agrees and she chooses from Beca's small pile of DVDs, putting the disk into her friend's computer and bringing the laptop over to the bed so they can watch it together. She can't help herself and she pulls on the headphones, listening to what Beca was working on when she'd come in.

She finds herself dancing alone without regret to the amazing mix the girl has created and she stops when she smells fresh popcorn, her cheeks tinged with pink as she removes the headphones and apologizes for snooping. Beca doesn't seem to mind though and they talk about her mixes before they settle in and watch the movie. It's nice and they enjoy each other's company, sitting close together on the bed in the dark room lit only by the computer screen.

Chloe can't help but look at Beca every few minutes, curious as to how she's enjoying the movie. It's something about the other girl that she's been magnetized to ever since that day in the quad when she first saw her milling around with the spike in her ear and chipped black nail polish, a magnetism that only grew more upon their duet in the shower and continued throughout all the time spent together at Bella rehearsals. Chloe thinks she sees something in the freshman that she herself lacks, it isn't just that edgy part of her either but she can't quite figure out what it is.

She thinks that Beca is gorgeous, too, in the way that she doesn't have to try. The fact that the brunette isn't confident about herself is even more appealing somehow because she's never been that way and she doesn't understand why a girl as talented and beautiful as Beca doesn't own it the way she could.

Even as all these thoughts run through her mind, Chloe doesn't say them out loud. Her thoughts feel too weird, too…gay. It isn't exactly normal to like a girl this much or think about her the way she does and it makes her feel pretty uneasy. Feeling nervous is new to Chloe, she has never had much of a reason for nerves before and just being around Beca overwhelms her sometimes.

She thinks about Aubrey and how angry she will be if she ever finds out the feelings she's harboring for her recently dubbed public enemy number one. She thinks about Fat Amy and how she would tease her relentlessly. But then she thinks about Cynthia Rose, so secure in her sexuality that she doesn't feel the need to even mention it since everyone has it figured out already. As she tells Beca goodbye and gives her a lingering hug, she decides she'll call Cynthia Rose on her way back home. Maybe she can help her.

Chloe finishes stuffing her bags into her trunk and scurries into the car, shoving the key into the ignition as she shivers. She turns on the heat and takes a breath before she goes through her phone, sending a message to Cynthia Rose asking if she's busy. She is thankful when her teammate replies quickly, saying that she's not up to much and asking what's up. Chloe shoots her another text asking if it's okay to call and when she receives a message to the affirmative, she pushes the call button and places her Bluetooth in her ear so she can talk while driving.

"Yeah? What's up, girl?" Cynthia Rose seems genuinely surprised and happy that she's called.

Chloe breathes nervously, trying to figure out how to word her predicament as she pulls out of her parking spot.

"Sorry. I'm driving. I'm actually driving home for break. But I wanted to talk to you about something. You're kind of the most qualified to help me with my problem." She hopes that her wording isn't too weird and she hears a chuckle at the other end of the phone.

"I knew it." Cynthia Rose laughs and she smiles at the sound, wondering if she's really this transparent. "You got a thing for Beca, don't you?"

Biting her lip, the redhead lets out a soft groan. "Is it that obvious?"

"Nah, nah, not too bad, really. I just got a eye for these things. I'm not gonna say anything to anyone though. Whatchu need my advice for, though?" Cynthia Rose asks.

"Well, you're gay." Chloe answers her matter-of-factly as she stops at the traffic light ahead.

Cynthia Rose is laughing at her again and she doesn't know whether she should be offended or not. Before she has the chance to say something, her friend responds.

"You're right about that one. So, are you wonderin' if she likes you too or something? Cause I don't really know, she seemed to be sweet on that Jesse kid but from the looks of what happened after regionals I'm thinking that might be done and over. You great though, for real. Real sweet, talented, pretty. She'd be dumb not to like you."

"Hah. Thanks Cynthia Rose. But maybe she doesn't like girls. I didn't even really know I did until the day I saw her." She feels pretty dumb admitting this to someone who's so secure in her sexuality. She doesn't even know what she is, she just knows she really likes Beca, who happens to be female.

"I dunno, Chlo. She's alternative or whatever right? Girls like that tend to be more open-minded than most, in my experience. You don't know unless you make a move. Say something. Kiss her. Do something or she's never gonna know you have feelings for her. You can't expect her to read yo' mind."

"I guess you're right. Maybe when I get back from break I'll tell her." She considers.

Chloe hears the other girl whoop at the other end of the phone. "Good. You tell me how that goes. Don't leave out no details. And if she ain't interested, call me back alright?"

Chloe laughs at her forwardness. "I'll do that. Thanks. Have a good break!"

"You too."

She feels better when she hangs up the phone and she spends the rest of the drive singing along to the RENT soundtrack, trying to get some use of her voice before it all goes kaput. She's not too far away from home and in the morning she has the dreaded surgery. To say she's nervous would be putting it lightly. When she gets home she takes her stuff inside and sends Beca a text to let her know she made it, smiling to herself when her phone vibrates against her leg with a reply from the girl she's been thinking about all day. It's late though and they don't talk for long. Chloe is starting to feel pretty scared and she almost tells her about the surgery but when the other girl doesn't reply to the message she's sent her, she figures that Beca's fallen asleep. Taking it as a sign, she pulls the covers over her body and goes to sleep herself.

When she wakes up from the surgery, Chloe feels like crying. She's not sunshine and daisies as usual because she knows she's going to figure out soon what the prognosis is for her voice. She can't remember ever being so anxious about something in her life. She drinks water and swirls her spoon around in her vanilla pudding, gasping when she receives a text message from Aubrey.

GOT THE MOST ACA-AWESOME NEWS! Just got a call and turns out that black boy who suspiciously hasn't hit puberty yet? Not a college kid. So we're back IN! EMERGENCY BELLAS MEETING THE DAY spring break is OVER!

The message causes her to start shaking with joy and she hastily sends a reply before she decides to write her own to Beca. She knows Aubrey wouldn't dare text her about the news but she has a right to know and she hopes maybe if she shows up at the meeting, that Aubrey will let her back in. Or she'll have to make her somehow.

Beca, Aubrey just texted me with the most amazing news! Bellas are back in business! That other acapella group was disqualified which means we're going to go in their place! She wants us to meet at our usual time Monday.

As she's explaining the news to her parents, she realizes her voice sounds remotely normal. At least she isn't mute…and she hears her phone chirp signaling a response. She picks up her cell phone and glances at Beca's somber reply.

That's really great for you guys. I'm happy for you.

Sighing, Chloe practically breaks her letter keys typing back to her, upset that Beca still thinks she deserves to be ousted from the group.

Stop! Be happy—for US. All of us. Including you. You're coming to the meeting. Please? For me? I'll get her to listen to you I swear.

Only for you. She squeals when she gets the message, thanking Beca a million times before she places her phone back on the bedside table. The doctor comes in and tells her that the surgery was a success, warning her again that he can't tell how her voice will be affected. He says that she should avoid singing for several days while her vocal chords heal and she groans, wondering how on earth she's going to go without singing even for a matter of days. Chloe's the type of person who sings all the time, whether she's doing the dishes or taking a walk. It's going to be difficult not to fall into old habits, but she promises that she won't sing before she's able.

The day of the meeting finally comes and goes. With Chloe's help and the eventual help of the rest of the Bellas, Aubrey lets Beca back in again. They start working hard on their set. It turns out that Chloe has lost some of her upper register, but in turn she's gained a new found, startling low register. Beca has the most brilliant mashup plan and she brings them through it, she's combined what seems like random song choices seamlessly into the coolest mix yet. Her song includes Just the Way You Are, Give Me Everything, Price Tag, Turn the Beat Around and Don't You (Forget about Me). It's so ballsy it seems like it wouldn't work but it does, and the more they practice the better they sound. After a few days of intense rehearsal they're on the road to finals.

It feels so amazing when the Bellas take the stage, dressed in their own clothes armed with relevant songs and better choreography. The crowd goes absolutely insane and before they know it, it's all over, they've won. Chloe looks around for Beca because now's the perfect time to tell her about her feelings. If she's so happy about winning she's less likely to freak out, right?

But as her eyes find Beca in the crowd, she sees the girl she's been crushing on all semester pull Jesse in for a kiss. Her heart drops and she crosses her arms, looking away immediately. It's too late for her now, any hope she had for Beca to like her back are completely gone if she's with him. Sighing she tries to act happy about their win even though she's really disappointed. Cynthia Rose shoots her knowing looks but she refuses to talk to her or anyone about it.

After finally detangling herself from Jesse, Beca slinks back over to their group. She's got a strange look on her face and she grabs Chloe by the arm, pulling her into the hallway. "We have to talk," is her explanation and Chloe doesn't have time to react to the strangeness as she's brought into the isolated hallway of the center.

"What?" Chloe stares at her cluelessly once they reach the vacant white hallway.

Beca puts her hand on her shoulder. "I talked to Cynthia Rose, and she—"

"Oh god. She said she wasn't going to say anything!" She exclaims, her face turning red as she realizes that the girl she trusted has told her secret. She braces herself for the worst but it doesn't seem to come. Beca's being so nice to her and she doesn't understand why when she should be disgusted.

"No, you don't need to be mad at her, she did you a favor. You really should've talked to me, though. What were you so afraid of?"

"Wha—I—that you'd hate me?" Chloe gasps.

Beca gives her a grin and her knees weaken. "I could never."

"But Jesse. You're with him now right? I saw you kiss him."

Beca doesn't answer her. Instead she circles her arms around her neck and does the strangest thing. She brings their lips together. She smiles as she kisses Chloe.

"I'm not with Jesse. This is going to sound dumb, but do you know how most movies have this predictable ending where the girl and the guy get together just like you knew they would all along? It's kind of like that. I kissed him because I felt obligated to, because it was like the end of the movie. But just because it felt like I should doesn't change how I feel." She takes in a breath. "Jesse is a good guy, for sure. But I just don't feel anything when I kiss him. It's weird because I thought I would but I don't. And when Cynthia Rose told me that you liked me I realized that you're the one I wanted to kiss all along. I just didn't see it because it wasn't predictable."

"That makes sense." Chloe's forehead rests on Beca's. "So how'd it feel when you kissed me?"

"It felt amazing." Beca assures her as her hands fall to the other girl's waist.

Grinning, Chloe initiates their second kiss, this time full of all the passion she can muster, and when she pulls away she hears an audible gasp. It's Fat Amy.

"Wha—but—three of you? Three lesbians in our acapella group? That's like, porno logic." She sounds baffled.

The girls laugh, not bothering to tell Amy that they aren't lesbians. They swear her to secrecy because they want to tell the group together and they all pile into the bus, being reminded of the last time they were here. Things have changed so much. The drive home seems to take forever, or at least that's what Chloe and Beca think, because they're trying not to touch each other or even look at each other. Chloe can feel Cynthia Rose staring her down likes she knows something and she exchanges a look with Beca, solidifying the fact that they're going to come out right now. Beca nods and Fat Amy continues driving them as she slides across the bus and sits next to Chloe.

"So remember that whole confessions circle thing we did?" Beca asks and listens to sound of affirmation from the Bellas. "Well, I've felt closer to you girls ever since we did that and even more now. We won this thing, for real! But the thing is…there's something that Chloe and I need to tell you."

Aubrey raises her eyebrows, regarding them with bewilderment. She mutters something under her breath and Chloe shoots her a glare.

"Wow, yeah, so I really like Beca." She finally says, feeling weirdly nervous about admitting it. It's mostly Aubrey's reaction she's worried about.

Beca's fingers thread through hers. "And I like her too. So we're going to be a thing from now on, I guess." She smiles and looks around for her teammate's reactions.

From the driver's seat Fat Amy screams about seeing them kissing, swearing that Chloe's tongue was in Beca's mouth, but they ignore her and they all give their surprisingly positive reactions.

Cynthia Rose beams at them. "I kinda hooked them up. Not a big deal or anything, but you guys totally owe me big time."

"You've been gay this whole time?" Stacie asks.

The two girls don't know who she's asking, but find it a good time to explain that neither of them are gay. They assure the group that neither of them has ever had feelings for a girl before and that it's all new to them. They don't really know what they are and right now they don't really care, they say, and most of the girls take that for an answer.

Aubrey has been staring at them the entire time with her mouth open. Chloe doesn't really know whether her best friend is going to be angry or disgusted or happy for them. After all, Aubrey doesn't really hate Beca anymore. She might be slightly jealous of her but she has to admit that Beca knows what she's doing and so she doesn't really have a right to be angry. She closes her mouth as all the girls turn to her expectantly, waiting for a reaction.

Aubrey squints her eyes at Beca. "You better not hurt her or I'll rip out your vocal cords and make sure you can never sing again." She warns her viciously, before letting her gaze fall onto her best friend. She sighs. "Why didn't you tell me you liked her? I'm your best friend, Chloe…"

"Honestly? Because you hated her." Chloe admitted.

"But I don't. I didn't. I was being a jealous control freak. Beca, I don't hate you." She feels bad that Chloe thought so, and she realizes that everyone probably thinks that. "I really don't. I love all of you girls. You're like my weird little family. We're all so different but it's like, real, you know. Like I've even got the crazy family members that I love but am secretly ashamed of." Aubrey gestured toward the front of the car and the girls all laughed.

"I feel the same way. I don't hate you either, Aubrey." Beca smirks.

The rest of the way home is spent singing. Chloe puts her iPod on shuffle and some of the weirdest songs play. The Thong Song is probably the most memorable. Somehow they all know the words and it's the funniest thing ever, Chloe laughs so hard she thinks she's going to puncture a lung or something and her head falls onto Beca's shoulder. When the next song starts, Time After Time, Chloe takes a break from singing and she gazes at the younger girl adoringly.

"You're amazing." She says, her voice just low enough for her to hear. Beca's arm curls around her and the brunette kisses her cheek.

"Just the way I am, right?"

"Yes, just the way you are."

Without even a shade of doubt, Beca knows that Chloe accepts her for who she is. There would be no changing herself to get her to like her, because she's liked her all along. She doesn't have to have some stupid makeover or become some lesser version of herself just for Chloe to look her way. That's the best part of it all.

It's the night before graduation and Beca's lying in Chloe's dorm bed. She sighs as she pulls herself closer to her girlfriend, her head dropping onto her chest. She can hear the older girl's heart beating and she closes her eyes, smiling as she listens to the beat. "Your heartbeat would make a cool beat for a song," Beca murmurs.

Chloe leans down and gives her a soft kiss on the lips, her cold fingers pressing against Beca's cheek and causing her to shiver slightly.

"I'm going to miss you. I can't believe I'm graduating tomorrow…but Aubrey and I have talked about getting an apartment together nearby. We wanna go to L.A., but I told her I wouldn't go without you. So I guess we're going to wait a few years." She tells her girlfriend.

Beca takes her hand and squeezes it, trying to warm it up as she thinks about what Chloe's just told her. It sounds nice albeit a little ridiculous.

"You're going to wait three years for me to graduate?" She asks, sitting up.

Chloe nods. "Yeah. Gives Aubrey and I time to save up some money, Los Angeles isn't cheap. I don't really want to go right away, anyway. Maybe some of the other Bellas will come with us. And if we can, Aubrey and I would love to help the Bellas even though we're not going here anymore."

"But…what if we break up?" Beca wonders, furrowing her brows. Chloe sits up with her and brings her lips to her forehead.

"We're not going to."

She sounds so certain when she says it that Beca actually believes her.