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i'm talking loud, not saying much

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There is nothing—literally nothing—positive about this stupid new arrangement.

For the last few years, things have only seemed to go from bad to worse for Beca. First there was her deadbeat mother abandoning her, then her overzealous father ended up moving them from their quiet, comfortable hometown in favor of shacking up with Lady Tremaine—uh, Sheila, halfway across the damn country, and Beca’s life had effectively been thrown into a tailspin.

It is bad enough that she has to share a home with Sheila and her daughter, Juliet—unfortunately Beca’s age, unfortunately much taller, much prettier, much more popular than Beca—but to have to share a bedroom with her, too? God, that is...yeah, that is just the icing on this particularly terrible cake.

Now, she is expected to spend her free time with Juliet? When she really could’ve gotten their room to herself for the night?

Seriously, that is bordering on child abuse.

“I swear to God if you embarrass me…” Juliet mutters under her breath as they make their way up the winding path toward her friend’s obnoxiously large house, effectively breaking into Beca’s pity party of bitter thoughts. A long arm outstretches to drum a balled fist against the pristinely painted wood of the unfamiliar front door, and despite her sour mood over having to bring Beca along with her tonight, Juliet pushes a bright smile to her lips the second the sound of approaching footsteps begins to chime from the other side of the door.

Beca only rolls her eyes, thumbs looping through the straps of her backpack to hike it more comfortably into place.

Why she hadn’t protested more strongly before, she really does not know.

Beca usually loves Friday nights. Considering Juliet’s social status, she generally has Friday night plans, so Beca gets their shared room all to herself. It is just about the only time she ever has to unwind, in fact, but when her dad had made a big deal about how Beca needs to try to put herself out there and make some friends in Atlanta, and Sheila had suggested Juliet bring her along to Olivia’s sleepover tonight, no amount of groaning from either soon-to-be step-sister had been enough to shut their parents up.

“You’ll have so much fun, Bec! Sleepovers are great, you’ll really get to know all of the girls!” Her dad had stated much too enthusiastically while Beca had begrudgingly thrown items into her backpack.

“I hope you know I’m calling CPS later,” Beca had grumbled as she’d climbed without haste into the backseat of his car, earbuds quickly stuffed into her ears to drown out the sound of Juliet’s overly-peppy phone conversation radiating from the passenger seat.

That same pep—totally forced, Beca would argue; she has seen what a grumpy monster Juliet really is at home—returns effortlessly as the door swings open to reveal a beautiful brunette holding a bowl of what looks to be freshly popped popcorn in one hand and a brand new rose gold iPhone in the other.

“Jules!” Olivia greets pleasantly, though her expression falls slightly as her bright gaze shifts from Juliet’s dazzling smile and toward Beca’s tightened jaw. “Oh… You weren’t joking about bringing your sister.”

“Step-sister,” Beca grumbles quietly under her breath, gaze cast down toward her beat-up looking Vans. She can feel Juliet’s heated glare burning into the side of her head without even bothering to look up.

“Nope, not joking,” Juliet responds with a pop of the P, not-so-subtly shoving Beca out of the way to breeze into the house.

With a heavy sigh, Beca pushes away one last fleeting thought of turning and running away to sleep on the streets for the night, and forces herself to shuffle inside behind her.

“Guys, Jules is here!” Olivia announces as she leads the way through the entrance hallway and toward what Beca can only assume by the number of doors they pass is one of multiple living rooms. The other sleepover attendees erupt into a chorus of Juliet’s name, before Olivia continues, “And, uh…”

“Beca,” Juliet says through gritted teeth.

“Right, yeah,” Olivia nods, “her sister.”

Beca bites back the urge to correct her again—they are not sisters, they will never be sisters—and instead offers the room of expectant eyes a forced, tight-lipped smile, before she goes back to staring dutifully down toward her feet.

All anybody has to do is look around the room for half a second to see that Beca is entirely out of place among this particular group of people. They all sport full faces of makeup and wear their hair in neat, pretty styles, while Beca hides behind a layer of questionably thick eyeliner and limp tresses that have had nothing more than a comb pulled through them all day.

Unsurprisingly, none of the activities to commence now that they are all here—Juliet loves to be fashionably late—are of any interest whatsoever to Beca. She doesn’t care to call the boys they all think are sooo cute and promptly hang up when they answer, and when she refuses to pick dare on her second turn in Truth or Dare—she shrugged and said “pass” when asked if she’d ever ‘done anything with a boy’ after picking truth in the first round—they all seem to give up on halfheartedly trying to include her, so Beca shrugs and plugs her ears with her earbuds, and sits off to the side with her back to the couch, contentedly listening to music.

Beca can lose herself for hours in music. Among all of the huge, rapid changes in her life, especially in recent years, music has been her one constant. It is that one form of solace for Beca, so she doesn’t mind being left out, nor her presence being all but forgotten until she eventually has to answer nature’s call.

“Uh, where’s the bathroom,” Beca asks Juliet with a small tap on her shoulder, thumb sweeping over the pause button on her phone’s music player.

Clearly enraged to have been interrupted from her circle of friends, Juliet stares back at her with a face like thunder. “I don’t know. Go find it,” she scoffs, offering Beca nothing more than a shake of her head, before turning back to the talkative group.

Beca simply stares for a moment, before rolling her eyes hard enough that she can practically hear them rattling in her skull, then pushes herself lazily to her feet.

It is a big house—an obnoxiously big house, in fact—so it is probable that there is at least one bathroom on the ground floor, but Beca doesn’t feel like trying every door and potentially running into Olivia’s parents in one of the other living rooms, so she decides it is safer to check upstairs.

The first door she tries leads to an extravagantly decorated but empty bedroom, so Beca promptly steps back out and closes it behind her, before moving quickly onto the next. That one turns out to be another empty bedroom, too, so Beca hopes that it will be third time lucky, and meekly tries the next door.

This one is a bedroom, too, only this time, it is not quite empty, and Beca jumps slightly as she realizes she is intruding on someone’s personal space. “Oh, whoa. Sorry,” she says quickly, widened gaze landing on the sight of red curls and a nose buried deeply in a book.

“Hm?” The redhead questions, evidently too enthralled by her reading material to have even noticed Beca’s presence beforehand. Her eyes lift to land on the stranger in her room, though, and Beca finds herself slightly taken aback by just how intensely blue they are.

“Sorry,” Beca says again, her pale cheeks heating up with a splash of what she is positive is a very obvious shade of crimson. “I didn’t realize this was—I was looking for the bathroom.”

“Oh,” the other girl nods, neatly setting down her open book on the mattress before her. She offers Beca a friendly smile despite the intrusion. “That’s okay. The bathroom is two doors that way,” she says, pointing in the right direction.

Why Beca finds herself staring, she really does not know, but she catches herself after a short moment and quickly clears her throat. “Right, got it. Thanks.”

“Mhm,” the redhead smiles, bright eyes remaining on Beca. Beca is about to leave, though she notes the way the other girl seems to be studying her curiously, before piping up with, “Are you my sister’s friend? I don’t think I’ve seen you before.”

“No,” Beca shakes her head, though realizes how bad that sounds and corrects herself quickly. “Uh, I mean, yeah. Or...I don’t know. My step-sister is friends with Olivia. She’s here for the sleepover, and my dad and her mom made her bring me.” As she speaks, Beca can hear just how ridiculously pathetic she sounds, and proceeds to mentally kick herself. “I guess I’m new to town or whatever.”

“Mm, that would explain why I haven’t seen you before,” the other girl nods, flattening her palms to the mattress to smoothly shift to her knees. “What’s your name? Or are you, like, peeing yourself and you have to leave right this second?”

“No,” Beca chuckles awkwardly, the bathroom almost forgotten about for a minute there. “No, it’s fine. I’m Beca,” she says. “My step-sister is friends with Olivia.”

“You said that already,” the redhead grins, to which Beca only mentally kicks herself again. “I’m Chloe, I’m actually Olivia’s step-sister, too.”

“Oh yeah?” Although she knows it is entirely possible for step-siblings to have healthy, good relationships, Beca can only assume judging from the scene before her that their situations may be somewhat similar. Chloe looks to be around their age, after all; surely she would be invited to the sleepover party going on in her home if she and Olivia were close, right?

“Mhm,” Chloe nods. “Which one is yours?”

Assuming Chloe is referring to which one is her step-sibling, Beca responds with an almost cautious, “Uh, Juliet Lyman.”

At that, Chloe immediately winces, and Beca cannot help the grin that breaks onto her lips in response.

“I’m sorry,” Chloe says with an apologetic look. “That was super mean.”

“No, it’s okay,” Beca promises with another small chuckle, this one much less awkward sounding than the last. “She’s kind of a dick.”

While she still looks a little bashful, almost like she feels that she spoke—or winced—out of line, Chloe’s stiffened shoulders ease then, and she offers Beca a gentle nod of her head. “Mm, I guess that makes sense. None of Olivia’s friends are particularly nice.”

Like something of a vampire, Beca rarely enters a room without invitation, so it is almost surprising to her that she seems to shift slowly inside now, but Chloe doesn’t seem to be put off. If anything, she only sends Beca a friendlier smile, and nods as if to tell her it is okay.

“I guess you’re not having a ton of fun down there, huh?” Chloe says somewhat sympathetically, motioning toward the door for Beca to close it behind her.

“Uh, yeah, no, I guess you could say that,” Beca frowns, following Chloe’s silent instruction to close the door. Much too focused on the pretty redhead whose privacy she accidentally invaded, she hasn’t taken much time to really study the room, but her eyes do a quick visual sweep now, and she finds that, while still beautifully decorated much like the rest of the house, this particular bedroom feels much more comfortable, much more homey than anywhere else. So as not to seem like a total weirdo, however, she brings her gaze back toward Chloe, then drops it to the book flattened on the bed before her. “What are you reading?”

“It’s called Looking For Alaska,” Chloe explains with a brief motion toward the book. “It’s really good so far. I’m halfway through and I’m dying to see how it ends.”

“Oh, right, yeah,” Beca nods. “Yeah. You should totally get back to that.”

“No,” Chloe shakes her head. “No, that’s not what I meant. I don’t exactly enjoy being locked away in my room,” her nose wrinkles. “I actually kind of appreciate the company. There’s a bathroom right there, by the way,” she motions toward the adjoining ensuite, “if you still have to go.”

“Oh, yeah. Thanks.”

Chloe flashes her another kind smile while Beca shuffles by the bed and toward the bathroom door, then disappears inside.

Unlike Chloe, who apparently appreciates awkward new company, Beca is definitely more of a lone wolf. She prefers her own space, and will generally engage in as little social interaction as possible, but she finds that she does not feel completely uncomfortable with Chloe. In fact, after being ignored for the last hour in a room full of people, she would go so far as to say she is actually kind of glad she walked in here.

Upon returning from the ensuite facilities, Beca wonders where to go from here. She wonders if it is weird to try to stick around, if she should begrudgingly go back downstairs and rejoin the party, but she finds that Chloe has pushed her book aside, and pats the mattress to invite Beca to sit.

“Are you sure?” Beca questions, though she makes her way toward the bed regardless.

“Totes,” Chloe nods. “I told you, I like the company, and you’re not having any fun down there, so.”

“True,” Beca agrees, shuffling over to plop neatly onto the end of the bed.

“Do you go to Barden?” Chloe asks conversationally, head tilted slightly and eyes trained curiously on Beca’s face. Again, she seems to be studying her, and Beca doesn’t quite understand why she is not more weirded out.

Beca frowns in response, though eventually nods her head. “Yeah, I do. I don’t really like it, though. My old school was...well, it was still high school. I guess I was just more comfortable there or whatever, though.”

“I get that,” Chloe says with a somewhat sympathetic smile. “We moved here halfway through freshman year, and I was super sad to leave my old school. It’s hard trying to fit into a new place where everybody already knows each other, huh?”

“Yeah,” Beca nods, a hard sigh escaping through her flared nostrils. “Tell me about it.” She pauses then, this time eyeing Chloe curiously in return. “Wait, but you, like, made friends since then, right? I mean, how long have you been here?”

“Oh, yeah, tons,” Chloe says with a nod of her head. “Just not Olivia’s friends. I’ve been here almost two years now.”

“So you’re a junior?” Beca asks, to which Chloe nods again. “Me too. It’s kinda weird I haven’t seen you around.”

“It is,” Chloe agrees, bright gaze still comfortably studying Beca. Eye contact has always been a difficult thing for Beca, but she finds that it is somehow easy to hold Chloe’s. “I definitely haven’t seen you at school, though. I feel like I would’ve remembered you.”

“Yeah?” Beca questions with an awkward laugh and a lift of her brow. “I’m not the most memorable of people.”

“I would’ve remembered you,” Chloe repeats, her curious expression smoothing into something of a somewhat knowing smile, under which Beca feels her cheeks rapidly beginning to heat up again. Chloe lifts a hand to motion toward Beca’s earbuds, the wire of which hangs limply down her chest. “What are you listening to?”

“Uh, I think it was David Guetta,” Beca responds with a scrunch of her nose. “I don’t remember, I turned it off before I came up here. I have Titanium stuck in my head, though, so it was probably that.”

“Titanium is awesome,” Chloe says with an approving smile as she scoots back to rest against the headboard with the pillows stacked up behind her. “Can we listen together?”

“Oh,” Beca glances toward the space beside Chloe. “Uh, sure. If you want.”

“I do,” Chloe nods, patting the empty spot for Beca to join her.

Shuffling to sit beside her, Beca arranges the spare pillows to make a backrest, then offers one of the wired buds out to Chloe, who takes it with a gracious smile, before slotting it into her ear. Beca does the same with the other, before hitting play on her phone screen. She had the volume up pretty loud before, but makes sure to turn it down a few notches as Titanium begins spilling through the buds in the place she’d left it off before.

“This was my audition song for the Bellas,” Chloe hums fondly, shoulders relaxing as she eases back more comfortably into her stacked pillows.

“The what?” Beca questions with a curious side glance.

“The Barden Bellas. It’s our school’s a cappella group. That’s actually where I met most of my friends.”

“A cappella,” Beca echoes, lips pulling inward in a failed attempt to bite back an amused smile. “Like...synchronized nerd singing?”

“It’s not nerd singing,” Chloe giggles, lightly swatting at Beca’s arm. “It’s fun. And all of the girls are super nice. We’re like a little family.”

“Whatever you say, dude,” Beca chuckles, and finds that she has very comfortably slotted into this little space beside a person who was a total stranger to her only moments earlier. It is an odd feeling for her, but it is certainly not an unwelcome one. “So, you sing?”

“I do,” Chloe says proudly. “I love to sing. Do you?” Before Beca gets the chance to respond, Chloe sits a little further upright, eyes lighting up with excitement. “Oh, you should totes audition for the Bellas!”

“Whoa, slow down,” Beca warns with another amused chuckle. “I’m not nerd singing with anybody. Besides, I don’t even sing.”

“That’s a lie,” Chloe says, “everybody sings. Whether you sing well or not is another story, but everybody sings.”

“Yeah?” Beca lifts a brow. “Not me.”

“I bet you do,” Chloe counters, motioning toward Beca’s phone where the current track is winding down to its end. “I bet when you’re alone, you turn up the volume and you belt out this song to your empty bedroom.”

“Shut up,” Beca grumbles with a fond roll of her eyes and a hint of amusement lacing her grumbly tone.

While Chloe giggles quietly, she relaxes back into the pillows again. “You would love the Bellas. You’d make a ton of friends, and it’s super easy to sing when everybody else around you is doing it,” she says, reaching down to tap on the back-skip button on Beca’s screen, effectively restarting the song. “Sing with me. This can be your audition, and if you’re good, I’ll tell the others.”

“Dude, no,” Beca frowns, shaking her head as the beginning of the song starts to filter through her one earbud again.

“You interrupted my reading time,” Chloe states with a lifted brow and a smug smirk painting itself onto her lips. “The least you could do is sing with me.”

“Sing with you? Right now? That’s so weird. You’re so weird,” Beca says, her brow lifting the same way as Chloe’s. Despite her protests, she can feel her resolve softening already. Like Chloe whose last name Beca doesn’t even know apparently just has some kind of weird, calming spell on her. It helps that, despite saying she doesn’t sing, she actually very much does—and she is pretty freaking good at it, too.

“Just the chorus,” Chloe presses, pushing herself upright again and pointing animatedly toward her phone. “Look, it’s coming up. Just sing it with me.”

Beca scowls in response, so Chloe sends her a bright, encouraging smile, and when Beca does not outright protest again, Chloe excitedly nods her head.

Sucking in a deep breath through her nose, Beca’s jaw sets for a second, but she can feel herself preparing to start singing. She has a feeling Chloe knows she is going to, too.

“I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose…” Beca starts through gritted teeth along with the song, though she softens some at the way Chloe’s eyes instantly light up all over again.

“Fire away, fire away,” Chloe chimes in, and Beca finds that she has to pause for a second, because even with the actual song filtering into one ear, she can hear how good Chloe sounds in the other. In fact, she can hear how good they both sound as they begin to effortlessly harmonize.

As the chorus ends, they both come to a stop, too, and Beca had not realized before, but it turns out that their eyes were trained on one another’s the entire time. She doesn’t quite register it until her gaze falls to Chloe’s excited smile—the same way she doesn’t register her own smile, though once she does, she quickly wipes it away.

“I knew you were lying,” Chloe says triumphantly. “I knew you could sing. And you sounded so good, too. You have to audition for the Bellas.”

In true Beca Mitchell fashion, Beca’s cheeks have heated up, though she hopes her frown will distract from the redness in her face. “What? Dude, I thought you said that was my audition.”

“So you want to join?” Chloe asks hopefully, to which Beca immediately pauses.

“I didn’t say that,” she eventually says, arms folding tightly across her middle.

“Well, I’m gonna tell the girls how good you are, and Aubrey—she’s our captain—will be on your case until you agree to join, so.”

“You’re so annoying,” Beca chuckles, sinking back against the pillows. “You’re really persistent, huh?”

“When I want something,” Chloe shrugs, trailing off to hum along quietly with the song.

“Yeah?” Beca lifts a brow. “And what do you want?”

“You,” Chloe says casually, and Beca’s mouth opens when that seems to be the end of Chloe’s response, though she pipes up again then, “to join the Bellas.”

“I—” Beca falters, and registers the way her heart rate has for some unknown reason increased slightly. She tells herself it is simply due to the impromptu duet—she may sing when she is alone, but she never does it in front of anybody, and certainly never with anybody—though she has an odd inkling that that is not solely the case. “I’ll think about it,” she grumbles, turning her focus to her phone screen.

Chloe grins brightly at that, clearly very pleased with herself. “Awes.”

For the next little while, they remain in their comfortable position side by side with their backs against the pillows, listening to Beca’s playlist and casually conversing. Much like she had found Chloe easy to be around right away, Beca finds that that same feeling only continues. In fact, it almost intensifies—it is not often that Beca Mitchell finds herself this comfortable with a new person, but she really is strangely comfortable with Chloe.

In fact, Beca doesn’t even realize how much time has passed until her phone screen lights up with a new text message notification, and she glances down with a frown when she sees who it is from.

Juliet
where are you?
i swear if you went home and told your dad we were leaving you out or whatever i’ll deny it and all of the girls will back me up

In response, Beca sucks in a deep sigh through her nostrils. “She’s so annoying,” she mutters, gaze flickering toward the much later time. She knows that she should probably leave, that she should go rejoin the party at which she was having absolutely no fun, but the thought of doing so is draining, and Beca sinks even further back into the pillows behind her. “God, I don’t wanna go back down there.”

“So don’t,” Chloe shrugs, glancing toward the open text message on Beca’s cracked phone screen.

“It’s, like, almost twelve,” Beca frowns, using one finger to lazily type out hanging with olivia’s step-sister in the chat bar. “You’re gonna wanna sleep, and I probably should, too.”

“You can sleep in here,” Chloe hums, stretching out her legs and wiggling her toes beneath her socks. The cartoon corgis adorning the fabric are pretty freaking adorable, though Beca totally won’t say so.

Instead, her brow crawls a little higher in response. “What, like in your bed?”

“You think I’m gonna make you sleep on the floor?” Chloe counters with a look of fond amusement.

“Uh, no,” Beca shakes her head. “Yeah, I guess that’s—dude, isn’t that weird?”

“You’re at a sleepover with a bunch of people you don’t even like, you were gonna be sharing a bed with at least one or two of them,” Chloe shrugs, then gently shakes her head. “It’s not weird, you can sleep in here.”

“Uh,” Beca pauses, thinking it over for a second. “Are you sure?”

“Totes,” Chloe nods, eyeing Beca for a moment. Her lips twist into something of an amused grin when she clearly notes her apprehension. “What, do you think I’m gonna try to make a move on you or something?”

Beca’s instant reaction is not the one she expects. She expects to splutter and for her tired eyes to shoot further open, but instead she only stares at Chloe with an arched brow. “I don’t know, are you?”

“What if I did?”

At that, Beca’s mouth hangs open slightly, the same way it had earlier. In response, Chloe only giggles brightly again, and Beca registers that there is something almost melodic about the sound. “I’m kidding,” she promises, amusement lacing her tone as she removes the earbud and begins to push herself up from the mattress. “I’m gonna get ready for bed. Go grab your stuff and come back up here.”

Although Beca’s shoulders sag with something akin to relief, she doesn’t quite understand why a wave of disappointment washes over her, too. Does she want Chloe to make a move?

Does Chloe want to?

What even is a move, exactly?

Either way, Beca attempts a nonchalant shrug as she rises from the bed, a feeling of slight dread coursing through her at the idea of having to go back downstairs, even if only to grab her things.

It turns out, however, that the worry is needless, because nobody even entertains her with so much as a glance as she enters the large living room in pursuit of her belongings. Well, nobody but Juliet, and even then it is only for her to shoot Beca a quick glare before she goes back to talking to her friends.

Deciding that it might be a little weird to change for bed in Chloe’s room, Beca makes her way back up the stairs and toward the bathroom she hadn’t gotten to before. She momentarily holds her breath as she opens the door, worried about the idea of bumping into another peppy stranger, but it turns out to be the correct room, and Beca changes and washes up quickly, before making her way back to Chloe.

“Oh, whoa—” Beca’s response is much the same as last time, except this time she lifts a hand to quickly cover her eyes, the crimson color in her cheeks rising toward the tips of her ears.

“What?” Chloe questions, evidently entirely unperturbed despite Beca walking in on her in the process of pulling on her pajama top—under which she is not wearing a bra. “Oh… They’re just boobs.”

Beca practically chokes at that, blindly making her way into the room and shoving the door closed behind her. “Dude, I don’t need to see them.”

Chloe’s amused giggle rings through the air. “Sorry. In my defense, this is my room, and I figured you’d knock before you came in,” she says, taking a second or two to adjust her pajamas, before Beca hears her gliding toward the bed. “It’s safe for you to uncover your eyes.”

That considered, perhaps sharing a bed with Chloe for the night is not the most awkward thing anymore, so although cautiously, she lowers her hand from her face, lips pulled inward as she makes her way toward the bed. “I’m guessing that’s your side?” she asks, motioning toward the spot Chloe had taken before.

“Yep,” Chloe nods, peeling back the comforter to slip beneath it. “Sometimes I curl up in a ball in the middle, but I always at least start out on this side.”

Why the mental image is so cute to Beca, she opts not to question, and instead simply slides into the other side. “Cool. My bed’s a single, so I guess I don’t really have a side.”

“Single beds are super cozy,” Chloe hums, reaching behind herself to flatten the previously propped up pillows, before shuffling to make herself comfortable.

“They suck,” Beca frowns. “I’m actually kinda jealous of you with this. Your room is, like, bigger than my dad’s house, in fact.”

“Your dad’s house?” Chloe echoes, twisting onto her side once Beca has laid herself down, too. “It’s not your house?”

“Doesn’t feel like it,” Beca shrugs, automatically twisting her body to face Chloe.

In response, Chloe sends her a somewhat sympathetic smile, so Beca only shrugs once more. “How long have you been there?”

“Too long,” Beca grumbles, sticking one arm out of the comforter to rest her palm against the pillow by her head. Her cheek rests against the back of her hand, and Beca notes that she only feels more and more comfortable with Chloe by the second—and not just because of the ridiculously comfortable mattress. “About four months now.”

Chloe seems to consider for a moment, before eventually nodding her head. “You’ll start to feel better about it soon,” she promises in a softer voice, her hand reaching out to settle delicately over Beca’s for a short moment, before sliding it away.

It is interesting, the fact that her father has told her the same thing a million times, but that each time, Beca has only scoffed in response. For some reason, though, when it is Chloe telling her, Beca cannot help but believe her, and responds with a soft sigh, followed by a small smile of her own.

“I’m gonna turn out the light,” Chloe says, before commanding Alexa to do just that. Soon, the light in the previously bright room grows dimmer, until they are engulfed in a blanket of darkness—seriously, what a relief; Juliet makes them sleep with a night lamp on every night.

Considering it is still difficult, after four months of living there, for Beca to fall asleep in her bedroom, she expects it to be the same here. It is still something she considers unfamiliar territory, so Chloe’s room should be even more so, but as the room around her grows still, she finds that her eyes begin to grow quickly heavy. The soft sound of Chloe’s quiet breathing seems to help somehow, too.

“Beca,” she hears after a moment of silence, Chloe’s voice much softer than it was before.

“Yeah?”

“Thank you for walking in here tonight,” Chloe continues, and soon Beca feels a hand laying across her own once more. Her natural instinct would normally be to pull away, but she doesn’t. She doesn’t understand why, she just...doesn't. “I really do appreciate the company.”

“Yeah?” Beca chuckles quietly, her own voice growing quieter with those telltale signs of tiredness. “It’s cool. I liked it, too.”

“Mm,” Chloe hums, the tips of her fingers stroking feather lightly over the back of Beca’s hand. Again, Beca does not pull away. In fact, she actually kind of likes it. “I really hope you do join the Bellas. I kind of wanna keep you around.”

Although she is positive Chloe just wants someone to add to their singing group, something about the statement causes Beca’s heart to flutter slightly. Honestly, she is just not used to someone actually wanting her around—it is not like Juliet does, and she is pretty sure Sheila doesn’t, either—but it is particularly nice to her that Chloe wants her around specifically.

“Ditto,” she mumbles, her thumb instinctively rising to brush softly over the side of Chloe’s pinky finger.

There is a stillness to follow, a calmness that Beca is not altogether used to, but again, it is something she welcomes. Something she has been yearning for for months now, in fact. No, years.

Although she feels sleep beginning to instantly overtake her, and she really doesn’t want to break the comfortable silence, a nagging voice in Beca’s head instructs her to do so. The kind that causes her heart to race again, and Beca licks over her now dry lips as she wonders if she will actually do it or not.

“Chloe,” she murmurs quietly, a part of her hoping Chloe is one of those people who can fall asleep pretty much as soon as their head hits the pillow—but a stronger part of her hoping not. Either way, she continues in a quiet voice, “If you did wanna make a move, you can.”

There is another silence to follow, a short stretch in which Beca’s heart thunders and she wonders if perhaps Chloe is already out, before she feels soft fingers slotting through the gaps in her own, then registers her sleepy, whispered response,

“I just did.”