Chapter 1

Chloe rushed around her small apartment searching frantically for her cell phone. Checking her watch for the fifth time in the past minute, she muttered, "Of all days to lose my phone." As she's digging through the sheets on her bed, Pat Benatar's Hit Me With Your Best Shot starts playing loudly from near the front door. Chloe sprints to the table by the door and grabs her iPhone from under her bag, eying her mom's face on the caller ID. "Hey mom, I can't really talk now. I'm about to be late to work," she says breathlessly.

"Oh honey, I just wanted to wish you luck on your first day! I still can't believe you moved across the country to teach at that new school. What was wrong with staying here in Tennessee? Townsend High wasn't so bad was it?" her mom asked.

"I needed a change mom," said Chloe, shoving her planner into her bag and sliding her sunglasses on top of her head. "Plus Barden made me a great offer. I couldn't turn it down."

"I just miss you already. It's not the same without you 10 minutes away."

"I know mom, believe me." Chloe grabbed her travel mug, locked the door behind her, and walked quickly to her car. "I really have to go. I'll call you soon, love you bye!" She hung up before her mom could distract her again. It had been three weeks since she relocated from Tennessee to sunny San Diego, California and her new teaching job at Barden Academy. She wasn't lying, the school had made her an outstanding offer to teach freshman Biology and AP Biology, especially since she only had two years of experience under her belt. Chloe had attended Townsend High, and they had welcomed her with open arms when she applied for the teaching position after graduating college with dual degrees in Biology and Education. For the next two years she split time between her teaching responsibilities and taking online classes to get her Master's degree, before deciding it was time to leave the bubble she had spent most of her life in. The past few weeks had comprised of moving her life across the country, an orientation week at her new school, and getting her new classroom set for the school year. Now she was finally on her way to her first day of work at her dream job, and she wanted to be ready for her students.

Chloe pulled into the parking lot and found a space near the back. She grabbed her purse and her bag, sipping her coffee as she made her way through the school to her classroom. Settling in behind her desk, she turned her computer on and thought to herself, 'I've totally got this.'


Beca reached over and blindly slapped at her alarm clock, completely missing it and hitting the corner of her nightstand instead. "Fuck me," she mumbled, opening one eye and hitting the snooze button before the thing could utter another BEEP. The clock read 6:30am, at least 5 hours earlier than Beca had woken up all summer long. The first day of senior year had finally arrived, despite how often she wished she could skip it altogether and move to LA to pursue her dream of producing music. Just before she could roll over and go back to sleep, her dad's voice cut through the quiet house. "BECA! DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT GOING BACK TO SLEEP! Get your ass out of bed and to school on time, for once!" Dr. Mitchell banged on the door for extra emphasis on his way downstairs to start breakfast.

"Jesus Christ! Okay, I'm awake," Beca yelled back through the door. She flung the blankets back and crawled out of bed, shutting off her alarm clock that had started beeping again to signal the snooze period was over. She sat on the edge of her bed for a minute, running her fingers through her hair and rubbing her eyes before heading into her bathroom to shower.

Forty-five minutes later, Beca joined her dad at the kitchen table for breakfast. He smiled at her. "See that wasn't so hard, now was it?"

She glared at him, pouring herself a bowl of cereal before stealing a slice of bacon off his plate with a smirk. "Was the banging really necessary?" Dr. Mitchell snagged a few pieces of Cap'n Crunch out of her bowl before replying, "It worked, didn't it? Don't forget, I've got an evening lecture tonight and Sheila isn't back from New York yet. So you're on your own for dinner."

Pouring milk into the bowl, Beca nodded her understanding. Benjamin Mitchell taught Comparative Literature at nearby Barden University, while her step-mom was a well-renowned fashion photographer. Sheila was currently in New York for a shoot. The two had dated for two years, before tying the knot three years ago. Beca's mom had passed away from cancer when Beca was 8. She and her father had been on their own for a while before Sheila entered the picture, and their relationship was a close one. The one thing they disagreed on, and fought constantly about, was Beca's determination to skip college. It had taken some time, but Beca actually liked Sheila. They connected through their art, and Sheila was the one who had encouraged Ben to support Beca's dream of moving to LA and producing music.

Beca's phone chimed, and she pulled it from her pocket to see a text from Stacie.

Stacie [7:28AM]: Can you pick me up? Car's still in the shop

Beca [7:29AM]: Sure…be there in 10

She switched her phone off and shoveled down a few more bites of cereal before dumping the bowl in the sink. "Gotta go dad, Stace needs a ride to school."

Dr. Mitchell looked up from his morning paper. "Drive safe. Have a good first day back!" Beca rolled her eyes mumbling "not likely" under her breath, grabbed her backpack, and headed out the door. She slid easily into the driver's seat, running her hands familiarly over the wheel. There were few things that Beca really treasured. Her laptop, mixing equipment, and her car were at the top of the short list. It wasn't anything fancy, just a black Mazda 3. It was a present from her dad and Sheila for her sixteenth birthday, and she fell in love the moment she laid eyes on it sitting in the driveway with a giant red bow on top.

Beca backed smoothly out of the driveway and made her way three streets over to Stacie's house. They went to the same school since Stacie moved into the neighborhood 8 years ago, and had instantly connected. Beca grinned as she pulled up to Stacie's house to find the brunette waiting outside for her. "You're late." Stacie slid into the passenger seat, flicking Beca's ear.

"Get out," Beca deadpanned. "You can walk to school."

Stacie had already pulled down the visor and was touching up her makeup in the mirror. "Shut up and drive." She glanced over at Beca, who sighed and started driving to school. Stacie started to put on mascara when Beca changed gears, forcing the car to leap forward jerkily, causing her to smear a black line away from her eye. She slowly turned to Beca, who was smirking with her eyes on the road.

"Sorry Stace, I wanted to make that light," Beca said, without a hint of apology in her voice.

"Fuck you. You're lucky I have some makeup remover wipes in here." Stacie fixed her makeup as Beca smoothly changed gears, navigating the rest of the way to school without incident. "What classes are we taking again?"

Beca tapped her fingers on the wheel as she thought back to the schedule they'd picked out at the end of last year. "Calculus, Physics, AP English, AP Biology, some History class, Spanish…" Beca trailed off as she counted the classes off on her fingers. "…and I decided to drop music and just have a free period with you this year."

Stacie looked over at her surprised. "Why'd you drop your favorite elective?" Beca replied, "I want to focus more on my mixes than whatever assignment Swanson can come up with." She pulled into the school parking lot and found a spot. "Nice, we're early. Dad would have killed me if I was late on the first day."

The two girls got out of the car and headed inside the building. They reached Stacie's locker first, Beca heading further down to find her own. Just as she popped it open she heard a voice behind her call out, "What up Shawshank? Why are you so early?" Beca grinned and turned around to see Fat Amy walking towards her, a half-eaten donut in her hand. "Stacie needed a ride. Otherwise I wouldn't have shown up at all," Beca responded, looking over her class schedule and letting out a long groan. "Fuck! I have General Posen first period. I knew I should have stayed in bed."

"Language Ms. Mitchell!"

Beca closed her eyes for a brief second, before turning to see Ms. Posen glaring at her. "Morning," she said lamely, knowing she was in for a long one. Fat Amy was stoic beside her, and out of the corner of her eye Beca saw Stacie watching the exchange sympathetically.

"Don't expect to get away with language like that in my class. I'll see you in exactly 3 minutes." Beca watched her march away sighing, "I'm so screwed."

Amy laughed and patted her on the back before leaving for class. "Good luck, Shawshank!" Stacie had joined them, and she slid her arm around Beca's waist, leaning down to whisper in her ear, "You know, she's kinda hot when she's being all bossy like that." Beca shivered slightly before squaring her shoulders and shoving Stacie away. "Gross, dude." Stacie grinned and nudged Beca's shoulder before heading down the hall towards English. "Come on, how bad could she be Becs?"

One hour and one week of detention later, Beca all but sprinted out the door of Ms. Posen's AP English class. Stacie followed behind, her long legs catching Beca quickly. "Ok, maybe it could be pretty bad," she said laughing. Beca glared at her. "Stacie, she hates me. All I did was point out that instead of studying the Odyssey, we could journal daily about what it takes to survive her class."

Stacie rolled her eyes. "Yeah Becs and if that wasn't enough, you also asked her if she is that bitchy to everyone or if she was giving you special treatment, since that would be unfair to the rest of the class." Beca smirked at the memory, then frowned remembering it had gotten her a week of detention. She sighed and followed Stacie down the hall to their next class, wondering how she was going to get through senior year.

The rest of the morning passed without further incident, thankfully. Beca and Stacie met up with Fat Amy and Cynthia Rose on the way to the cafeteria for lunch. "How did you manage to piss Posen off on the first day, Becs?" CR asked her. "I figured you'd at least wait until day two." Beca rolled her eyes and replied, "I didn't do anything. She walked in, took one look at me, and said, 'I don't like you. I'm going to make your life miserable. A week of detention.' And that was that." Beca pulled open the door to the cafeteria and the four of them walked inside.

"Uh huh…." CR said, grinning at Stacie rolling her eyes behind Beca's back before Amy spoke up. "Speaking of judging, anyone care to guess what they're trying to pass off as meatloaf?" Beca glanced at the food along the lunch line and stopped dead, causing Stacie to run into her from behind. "No way in hell I'm eating that. You guys want to go out somewhere?" The other girls exchanged glances. Seniors were allowed to leave campus for lunch, but not during the first week of school. "I don't know Becs, I'm not trying to join you in detention for a week," Stacie said, with Amy and CR nodding beside her.

Beca smirked at her friends before replying, "Come on you wimps. I dare you."