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It’s not often Beca gets the Bella house to herself, so when she comes home on a Thursday evening to see that nobody is in, she knows immediately that she should make the most of it.

She tests the waters first, just in case any of them are hiding away in their rooms. She shouts, as loud as she can, “there are cookies on the table!” because she knows for a fact that if anybody was in, they’d been down the stairs within seconds, wanting to get the cookies before they’re all gone.

And then just to be extra safe, she gets her laptop out and plays her music through the Bluetooth speakers in the living room as loud as she can. She knows from experience that somebody will come downstairs and complain about the loud music when they’re trying to study. Once again though, the only form of life in the house is from Beca herself and Stacie’s pet snake, and she sighs happily, thankful to have some peace before everyone gets back from class in – she looks at the time on her phone – probably around forty minutes.

She changes into a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt, before going into the kitchen for the Cheetos she has stashed at the back of her designated cupboard. Amy tends to steal from her – both her purse and her food cupboard – so she’d punched the back of the cupboard in and hid the sealed bag behind it. Sure, she’ll have to pay for the damages, but it’s the only place she can hide her things in without at least one of the Bellas stealing them.

After pouring herself a glass of coke, she takes her snacks into the living room and places them onto the table in front of her. And maybe she doesn’t use a coaster, just to be extra rebellious, because she knows Chloe would kill her if she saw that she wasn’t using a coaster, but she doesn’t care. She has the Bella house to herself and she–

She hears the door open, and then the sound of shoes scuffing against the doormat and then.

Emily.

“Yeah no, it’s fine. I’m here now anyway so I’ll just hang out for a bit. I have homework to do. Okay. Okay, yes, okay. Love you too, Chlo. Bye. Oh, hi Beca.” Beca blinks, mouth open to say something, but nothing comes out. She blinks again a few times, closing her mouth and swallowing. “Are… you okay?”

What are you doing here?” She doesn’t mean for it to come out harshly, but she just sat down, in the house that she’s supposed to have to herself, and she looks dreadful, and she desperately wanted to be able to listen to Mamma Mia in peace without someone making fun of her.

“I meet Chloe here every Thursday after Bio class. She usually takes me for ice cream but she had to cancel.”

Beca reaches over for the throw on the back of the couch to put over her bare legs and nods.

“Right. Why does she take you for ice cream at,” she looks at her phone again, “5PM on a Thursday?”

“Oh, um,” Emily drops her bag on the floor and walks further into the living room, sitting down on the couch beside Beca. “On Thursdays I have a really shi-crappy professor.”

“Shicrappy?”

Emily laughs, pulling her feet up so she’s sitting cross-legged, and Beca watches as she scoots a little closer. Way too close than a normal person would be, but Beca concluded a few weeks ago that Emily Junk is not a normal person, so she lets it slide.

Not normal in the best way, of course. It’s completely endearing, and absolutely adorable. Two words that Beca will never ever say out loud.

“He just… sucks. He’s mean and… he jokes about stupid stuff. Stuff that shouldn’t be joked about.”

“Need me to beat him up?”

Emily laughs again. “No thanks, but I appreciate that.”

“Dope.”

She does not think about the fact that she’s never said dope before in her life, because if she does think about it she’ll realize that it’s Emily who’s making her feel so awkward and nervous, which is stupid because Beca Mitchell is not awkward and nervous.

Instead, she thinks about how the smile on Emily’s face slowly falls, and her eyebrows knit together as if she’s thinking of something bad, and Beca gets a weird urge to hug Emily. Like maybe a side hug or maybe just a pat on the knee, because Emily looks sad and Beca hates it.

“Are you okay?”

Emily looks up at her, “yeah,” she says, nodding quickly, but Beca doesn’t believe her.

“You want some Cheetos? It’s not ice cream but,” she holds the packet out to her, “it’s all I have to offer.”

Emily smiles, reaching in the bag for a chip and politely saying “thanks” as she sits back against the couch. “Were you working on something?”

“Oh,” Beca looks at the laptop that she has resting on her lap, the Spotify app open on a playlist that she’d been playing when she last used her laptop this morning before class. “Just listening to music.”

She presses the spacebar, momentarily forgetting that her Spotify app is connected to the Bluetooth speakers that she’d just been using to determine whether anybody was in the house. And before she realizes, the music is playing at full blast, causing Emily to jump as she brings her hands up to her ears to block out the loud noise.

“Oh my STARS, why would you DO that?! It’s so LOUD, can you–” Emily cuts herself off when she realizes that Beca is laughing at her, and she quickly joins in, shaking her head. She’s laughing more at the other girl’s laugh, because this is the first time she’s seen Beca laughing since she met her a few months ago, and it may be the best thing she’s ever witnessed.

“Your face!” Beca puts a hand on her own stomach and throws her head back, another loud laugh erupting from her throat. “I’m sorry! That was priceless!”

“Can you TURN it DOWN?!”

Beca lets out another roar of laughter, smacking her leg a few times to convey just how funny she thinks this is, using the other hand to reach up and wipe a joyful tear away that had started to form in her eye. And she watches as Emily leans forward, reaching out to press the spacebar again.

The music stops abruptly and the two of them are both still laughing. It’s not until Beca’s apologized a few more times for scaring her, and Emily has made a few jokes about how she thinks she’s going deaf, that their laughter dies down and Beca notices that Emily is still leaning forward. Her crossed knees are pressing into Beca’s thighs and one of her hands is pressed against the couch just next to Beca’s head.

“It wasn’t that loud,” Beca says through another laugh, looking Emily up and down after she notices how close they are.

“Tell that to my burst ear drums,” Emily shoots back.

“Oh my God, you’re so dramatic. Are you always this dramatic?”

“What?!” Emily says, raising her voice and pointing to her ear, while leaving her other hand resting next to Beca’s head, “I can’t hear you, I’m going deaf!”

Beca laughs again, shaking her head, which then prompts Emily to laugh. And Beca watches her carefully. The proximity making it easier to notice things that Beca’s never really paid attention to much before. Like the crinkle in the corners of Emily’s eyes, and the way her nose scrunches up at the top, and her red cheeks, and the little gap between her two front teeth, and the shine in her lips, and just how naturally beautiful Emily is.

And Beca can feel her heart pounding, but she blames it on the fact that she was just laughing so hard that she could hardly breathe, and definitely not on the fact that Emily is still leaning into her, the hand that she had resting beside Beca’s head now slowly pulling away, and before she realizes what she’s doing, Beca makes a quick decision.

“Wait,” she grabs Emily’s hand and puts it back to where it was resting. Only, she makes sure to move her head closer towards her hand until she feels Emily’s thumb brush against her neck. And then she feels it again, an experimental brush of Emily’s thumb against her skin, and then Beca finally releases Emily’s hand. And she thinks Emily’s going to leave it there, pressing against the sofa with her thumb reaching out to lightly touch Beca’s neck, but Emily also makes a quick decision.

She moves her hand to cup Beca’s neck, the pad of her thumb coming up to stroke Beca’s jaw, back and forth until Beca’s eyes flick down to look at Emily’s mouth again. Emily’s hand is warm against her neck and she can still feel the other girl’s knees pressing against her thigh. She slowly turns on the spot, blindly placing her laptop beside her on the couch before bringing one leg up so that they’re now facing each other, and not once does she take her eyes off of Emily’s lips that seem to have a nervous smile on them.

She looks down for Emily’s other hand, smiling when she sees it tapping a beat on her knee, and she reaches out to place her own hand over it. The tapping stops, and then Beca looks up at Emily again, giving her a warm smile. And she watches as Emily licks her lips as she looks down at Beca’s lips, and Beca’s never felt this sort of natural pull towards anyone before in her life. She can feel herself leaning forward, as if she can’t control her own movements, and she gulps when she notices that Emily is leaning forward too.

“Beca.”

It’s said in the softest whisper, so quiet that Beca thinks maybe she imagined it. She looks up at Emily’s eyes again, watches the way they flick back and forth between Beca’s eyes and Beca’s mouth. And Emily’s lips part, as if to say something else, but nothing comes out.

She pulls Emily’s other hand toward her, just like she’d done with the other, placing it on the other side of her neck, before she drops her hand down to rest on Emily’s knee. And she’d gladly sit here with Emily’s hands on her neck for the rest of the night, but then they come up to cup her cheeks, and Beca’s entire body feels like it melts. Because Emily’s thumbs are gently running across her cheekbones as she starts to pull her face closer, and Beca has to put her other hand on Emily’s other knee to keep herself from turning into putty.

The last thing she sees is Emily’s mouth part and her eyes close before her own eyes drift shut on their own accord, and then they’re kissing.

Her chest feels like it’s tightening with every second that passes as she sits there, Emily’s hands cupping her cheeks as they both kiss each other gently. So gentle that Beca feels her breath catch in her throat when Emily tilts her head to the side to deepen the kiss. Her nose presses against Emily’s cheek and her eyelids feel heavy, and everything about this moment is so soft that it feels like she could cry.

Emily’s lips feel soft against her own and it’s nothing like the other first kisses she’s shared with people. Not like her first kiss with Jesse and not like her first drunken kiss with Stacie back in freshman year when Amy insisted they play truth or dare. This kiss feels like there’s a fire burning in Beca’s chest. Like she won’t be able to breathe if they ever stop kissing. Like everything in the universe has aligned, fallen together perfectly to form this very moment.

Eventually though, their lips part slowly and Beca feels her bottom lip tremble as they rest their foreheads together.

“H–” She pauses to clear her throat, blinking her eyes open to look at Emily again. “Holy shit,” She breathes out.

Emily smiles, thumbs still stroking against Beca’s cheeks.

“What was that? I think I’m still deaf.”

Beca laughs, shaking her head as she leans forward and hugs Emily.

So dramatic.”