Chapter 32

Beca shifted uncomfortably in her seat, the green graduation gown making her feel like she was on fire. The ceremony was being held in the gym, and it was beyond hot. Glancing around at all the parents desperately fanning themselves with their programs, she couldn't help but chuckle at how funny it was.

Someone behind her muttered, "Is the A/C even on?"

She had to agree, wondering what the school was thinking. It wasn't an overly hot day outside, but with all the bodies crammed into the single space, the gym was sweltering. The ceremony had paused momentarily, and no one knew what was going on. A few minutes passed before the sound of a machine kicking on rang out above them, and mercifully cool air rushed in. Beca sighed gratefully as the icy blast circulated around the room, praying that it didn't turn into an icebox instead of a sauna.

Dr. Williams returned to the podium and apologized for the inconvenience, his opening remarks taking far longer than Beca would have liked. After a few shorter speeches, he returned to the front to announce the Valedictorian of the senior class. Beca smirked, wondering if anyone knew it was Stacie.

"This young woman has worked incredibly hard during her time here at Barden Academy, and she has impressed us all with her poise and maturity," Dr. Williams began, and Beca snorted at his words, quickly ducking down in her seat to muffle it with her hands, missing whatever he said next.

"Her teachers have told me on many occasions that she is a bright, engaging young woman. She will be attending Stanford University this fall, and we are honored to have her there representing Barden. Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm proud to introduce this year's Valedictorian, Stacie Conrad."

Stacie rose from her seat with a wide smile, her family and brothers cheering her on from the audience as she took her place behind the podium. Beca clapped loudly as well, holding back the laughter at the astonished looks on her peer's faces.

The guy beside her leaned in and asked, "Is this for real? Stacie is the smartest person in our class?"

Beca smirked at him, replying, "Judgmental much? She's a fucking genius. Open the book next time, although you wouldn't be the first to be distracted by the cover."

She rolled her eyes at his confused expression and turned her attention to the podium, listening attentively as Stacie spoke of her time at Barden and dreams and how they were all capable of changing the world despite what anyone else may think or say. Beca knew she'd worked hard on her speech, and was thrilled for her best friend when she nailed it. Stacie received a standing ovation for her thoughtful and encouraging words, blushing slightly as she returned to her seat.

Dr. Williams returned to the podium, thanking Stacie and complimenting her on her words. Beca looked around the audience as he introduced the next speaker, some board member that was going to drone on about the same shit Stacie had just talked about for another twenty minutes. She did her best to pay attention, but eventually became distracted, tapping a beat out on her knee while she waited for him to finish. She looked up startled as everyone began clapping, realizing that he was done speaking, and sent a thank you skyward.

Beca sighed as Dr. Williams returned, knowing that it was time for them all to cross the stage and receive their diploma. She waited patiently while row after row stood up and shuffled forward, crossing the stage one at a time. When it was finally her turn, she carefully navigated her way in the heels that Stacie and Sheila insisted she wear to match the dress hidden under her green robe.

Upon reaching the Principal, she muttered, "Shake with the right, take with the left." It was the mantra that they'd been lectured on more times than she could count, making sure that they were in the perfect pose for the photographer positioned below the makeshift stage.

Dr. Williams gave her a wide smile, saying, "Congrats, Beca. I'm glad you stuck it out."

Beca quirked her eyebrow at him curiously, saying, "Thanks. This year wasn't so bad."

"I told you it'd be better if you stayed out of trouble," he replied. "You had a fantastic year. Congratulations."

Beca nodded, and they both turned to smile at the photographer before she moved on, clutching her diploma with one hand and circled back around to her seat.

Thankfully, the rest of the diplomas were handed out fairly quickly and the ceremony ended soon after, with all the graduates getting to exit the gym first, spilling out into the California sunshine yelling happily. Beca found Stacie and gave her a giant hug, before they both tossed their caps into the air in celebration.

"Dude, you killed that speech!" Beca yelled, unable to contain her happiness for her best friend.

Fat Amy appeared beside them, apparently having overheard what she'd said. "Yeah, Lady Lumps. You crushed it. Who knew you were more than just the sluttiest of us all?"

Stacie winked at her and said, "Aw, thanks Fat Amy! That's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me."

Beca laughed as Benji and CR found them as well, all of them now missing their caps.

"I can't believe high school is over," Benji said, shaking his head in disbelief.

Beca nodded. "Yeah, it's weird. I never thought I'd be kinda sad about it."

CR nudged her shoulder, saying, "It's a big deal. Remember when you didn't think you wanted to finish?"

"Yeah, but now I'm really glad I did," Beca admitted, wrapping an arm around the taller girl's shoulders. "I'm gonna miss you guys next year."

Stacie pounced on that opportunity, shouting, "GROUP HUG!"

Before Beca could protest, Stacie's long arms had wrapped around her and CR, with Fat Amy and Benji joining in excitedly. It took a solid minute for Beca to escape the middle of the pile, glaring furiously at all of them.

"I take it back, I can't wait to get away from you jerks," she said, the heat of her words dissolving quickly in the wide grin she was unable to remove from her face.

"Yeah, okay. I'll believe you as soon as you stop cheesing like you're about to meet Beyoncé," Stacie said, rolling her eyes.

Beca's eyes went wide, pointing a finger at Stacie. "Do not joke about Queen Bey."

"Who's joking about Beyoncé?"

Beca spun around to see Nick strolling up to join them, a grin on his face.

"That's no joking matter," he continued, giving Stacie a wink.

Beca shook her head, giving him a light shove. "You're all a bunch of assholes," she said with a laugh.

Nick chuckled and quickly wrapped her in a hug before she could get away, lifting her off the ground.

Beca squealed in a completely undignified way, before threatening that he'd better carry her forever because she'd kill him the minute he set her free.

Nick rolled his eyes, setting her back down and happily high-fiving Stacie.

Fat Amy snickered, saying, "Damn Shawshank, I've never heard your voice go that high."

Beca glared at her, replying, "And you never will again. Nick's might though, because I'll castrate him if he ever picks me up again."

Nick's hands flew protectively to his crotch, taking a step away from Beca. "I'm sorry," he said, instantly apologetic, ignoring the way Stacie was now laughing at him and making a whipped motion.

Beca started laughing at Stacie, before spinning around at a tap on her shoulder to find her parents behind her, only having a moment before they wrapped her up in another group hug. It was one she didn't mind, hugging them both back happily.

"We're so proud of you, Becs," her dad whispered into her ear. Pulling back, he continued, "I know you didn't want to finish high school, but I'm so proud of you for sucking it up and doing it anyways."

Beca grinned, replying, "I know, dad. But I was wrong, and I'm glad you made me stay and finish."

"Who are you, and what have you done with Beca," Sheila quipped, pulling her into another hug.

Beca rolled her eyes, shrugging when Sheila finally let her go. "Some good stuff happened this year, that would never have happened if I hadn't come back for senior year."

Ben nodded in agreement. "I can see one of those things headed your way right now."

Beca spun around as Chloe approached them, pausing to say hello to Stacie's family and watched as her friend insisted on a picture with the redhead. She smiled when Chloe gave Stacie a hug, before making it the rest of the way over to them.

"Dr. Mitchell, Mrs. Emmerson, so nice to see you again!" Chloe greeted them warmly, shaking each of their hands.

Beca didn't miss the wink that her girlfriend traded with her stepmom, before turning to her.

"Congrats, Beca!" Chloe said, stepping over and giving her a hug that was over far too quickly for Beca's liking.

"Thanks, Ms. Beale. And thanks for all your help with my college applications. I ended up getting into San Diego State and UCLA," Beca said, her voice rising in exaggerated happiness in case anyone happened to be listening.

Chloe beamed at her, saying, "That's incredible! Have you picked one?"

Ben stepped in, saying, "Beca is being far too modest. She's also received a recording contract from a label in Tennessee, which she plans on signing first thing Monday. Right Becs?"

Beca hesitated, glancing between her parents and Chloe, before deciding not to answer either question. "I'm still weighing my options," she said diplomatically, much to her father's displeasure. "I haven't decided what I'm going to do next year."

Stacie interrupted the conversation, dropping an arm around Beca's shoulders, saying, "Beca is totally going to sign that contract and go be a Rockstar! You're gonna get me VIP tickets to your first show, right?"

Beca laughed and leaned into her best friend. "Sure, dude. Whatever you want."

Chloe smiled politely, knowing she was lingering longer than she should. "Well, I know you'll excel at whatever you choose to do, Beca. From the sound of it, you can't choose wrong."

Beca shrugged off Stacie's arm as Chloe turned to walk away, saying, "Wait, Ms. Beale! I need a photo with my favorite teacher. I never would have graduated, or applied to college without your help!"

She shoved her phone into Stacie's hands as Chloe spun around, giving her a small eye roll before allowing Beca to slip an arm around her waist as they smiled for the picture. Chloe pulled away as soon as Stacie lowered the phone, wishing them a great summer before disappearing into the crowd.

Beca sighed and took the phone back from Stacie, spinning to glare at her dad. "Thanks a lot. That was great."

Ben shook his head, giving her a warning look as Stacie's parents approached. Addressing them, he suggested, "Why don't we all go out and celebrate! You two girls are about to have some amazing adventures."

The Conrad's happily agreed, and the two sets of parents began discussing where to go. Beca and Stacie didn't wait any longer before stripping off their gowns, grabbing two random caps off the ground before their parents caught them, demanding they put the graduation ensemble back on for pictures.

Beca groaned seeing Sheila had her camera out, knowing that this was not going to be quick. She was more than right, as Sheila insisted on pictures of the girls separate, together, with family members, Stacie with her was like prom night all over again. To make matters worse, their friends barged in right in the middle, and Sheila laughed as she took a bunch of candid photos of the whole group.

"Oh, Nick, sweetie, get in with Beca for a picture. You two are just adorable," Sheila said happily, snapping pictures of the two of them.

"Stepmonster, we are not a thing," Beca muttered, letting Nick wrap his arm around her waist, doing the same to him.

Nick feigned offense, replying, "I see how it is, Becs."

He burst into laughter at the look she threw him, moving his arm around her shoulders into much more of a friend pose. "Better?"

Beca couldn't help but laugh at that, deciding keep her arm around his waist and refusing to smile for the picture.

"Beca, you look like you belong at the morgue," Sheila complained, lowering her camera. "Think of something happy and smile!"

Beca quipped, "You mean like leaving your dungeon of a house?"

"Whatever it takes," was the response.

Nick cracked up at their exchange, Beca chuckling alongside him as Sheila snapped the picture. Nick's mom appeared, saying hi to Beca's parents and allowing them a moment to chat.

"So what are your plans for next year?" Beca asked curiously. "How have we not talked about this?"

Nick hesitated, before replying, "Because I haven't told anyone yet. Not even my mom. I got into West Point, Becs, and I'm going."

Beca's eyes went wide as she realized what that meant. "You're joining the army?" Smacking his arm she continued, "And you haven't told your mother?!"

He didn't budge, looking over at his mom for a moment. Meeting her gaze, he said, "No, I haven't. I'm going to do it tonight. And yes, I'll eventually be an officer in the U.S. Army."

Beca didn't say anything, looking nervously over at his mother and wondering if she was going to be okay with the news.

Nick saw her look, drawing her attention back to him. "Hey, it's my choice. She'll understand, but I need to do this for me. It'll be fine," he said with a smile.

Beca raised an eyebrow, replying, "Sure, it's fine for now. How about when you're in active service after you graduate?"

"That's what we train for. I'll be prepared and ready when the time comes," he countered. "But it's great that you're so worried about me," he added with a wink.

Beca rolled her eyes and gave him another shove before her dad interrupted them.

"Beca! Nick! Come on, we're going out to eat!" Ben called, waving them over to the rest of the group.

Beca walked over to her parents, glancing at Nick out of the corner of her eye as he accepted a hug from his mom. They chatted for a few more minutes about where to go, finally deciding on a Japanese Steakhouse that had enough variety for everyone.

They split up, Stacie choosing to ride with Beca instead of with her parents, stating she'd had enough of the Twin Terrors already. Beca chuckled as Stacie's mother shot her a warning look at the nickname, before the pair of them escaped to her car.

"What are you gonna do without me?" Beca joked as she got behind the wheel. "You'll have to actually spend time with your brothers."

Stacie groaned, "Ugh, don't remind me. Thankfully I'll be away at college most of the time."

"Not until August," Beca reminded her, laughing when Stacie cursed under her breath as they pulled out of the parking lot.


Chloe unlocked the door to her apartment, checking her phone again in hopes of a text from Beca. She hadn't heard from her girlfriend since their brief conversation after graduation, and Chloe was really looking forward to having a night with just the two of them. She knew that Beca would probably celebrate somehow with her family, and maybe even go to a party. Chloe had attempted to distract herself by sticking around Barden and congratulating the few seniors she'd taught that year.

Afterwards, Jesse had invited her to grab dinner at a nearby restaurant. Having nothing better to do, she accepted, and was stunned to find him standing next to Aubrey when she arrived. As tempted as she was to just leave, she decided it was better to try and patch things up with the blonde, if that's what she was here to do. As angry as she was with Aubrey, Chloe had a lot of time to think about what happened that night, and knew that Aubrey was only doing what she thought was best. It was really an impossible situation, and Chloe knew that she couldn't be sure of her own actions had the roles been reversed. She also missed her friend, not having many close ones here.

Aubrey had apologized to her, and Chloe had waved it away, simply hugging the blonde tightly. She hadn't realized just how much it had been weighing on her, the way their friendship had taken a turn for the ugly. Chloe hated being angry or upset with people. It was against her sunny nature, taking an especially large toll when she knew she was the one who had caused the situation in the first place.

Chloe had been overjoyed when Jesse slipped his hand into Aubrey's, and revealed that they were dating. She squealed and hugged the blonde again at the shy smile that had appeared on her face at the small action. They'd had a fun time over dinner, catching up on the past month or so, with Chloe doing her best to limit her smugness at knowing the pair would eventually date.

She quickly changed out of her dress and heels into shorts and a tank top, collapsing onto the couch and turning on the television. As she was channel surfing for something to watch, her phone chimed with a new text. She anxiously opened it, seeing it was from Beca.

Trouble [8:24PM]: Hey babe. Can I come over?

Chloe [8:24PM]: YES!

Trouble [8:25PM]: K. Be there soon

Chloe frowned at the short response, then shrugged it off, figuring Beca was already in her car and made a mental note to remind her not to text and drive.

True to her word, Beca arrived about ten minutes later, carrying her backpack and still wearing her own dress and heels from graduation. Chloe locked the door behind her, turning to run her eyes appreciatively up her girlfriend's body, lingering on her bare legs.

Beca dropped her backpack and stepped closer, commenting, "I'm taller than you, for once."

Chloe chuckled, slipping her arms up around Beca's neck. "You're really sexy when you wear heels. How bad do your feet hurt right now?"

Beca dropped her forehead onto Chloe's shoulder, mumbling, "So bad. They hurt so bad. Heels are the stupidest thing ever."

Chloe laughed again, kissing her neck and stepping back, gesturing towards her bedroom. "Go change. Give your feet a break."

Beca didn't hesitate, grabbing the pack and making her way into the bedroom. Chloe resumed her place on the couch, waiting patiently as she continued to flip through channels, finally settling on an episode of Chopped. Beca emerged a few minutes later, sighing happily as she dropped down next to her.

"Hey," Beca said softly, leaning up for a kiss.

Chloe smiled, leaning down and pressing her lips to the brunette's. "Hey, yourself. How does it feel to be a graduate?"

Beca leaned back, answering, "It feels fucking amazing!"

Chloe laughed, shifting slightly to face her girlfriend. "You should! It's kinda a big deal."

Beca sat up as well, turning completely sideways to face her. "Yeah, it is. I told my dad that I was really happy he made me come back for my senior year. If he hadn't, I wouldn't have met you."

"True," Chloe agreed, her smile growing wider. "And you probably wouldn't have an awesome recording contract! I'm so happy for you!"

She wasn't prepared for Beca's face to fall slightly, morphing into an unreadable expression. Chloe frowned a little, asking, "What's up? Why don't you look happy about that?"

Beca ran her fingers through her hair, before taking a deep breath. "Chlo, I'm not going to sign it."

Chloe knew her jaw dropped at the words, not even bothering to try and hide it. "What?" she asked in a low voice. "What do you mean you aren't going to sign it?"

Beca shifted uncomfortably, answering, "I meant what I said. I'm not going to sign the deal. I'm going to enroll at SDSU in the fall and take Luke up on his offer to record a single."

Chloe knew her emotions were all over her face, but she couldn't help it. "Beca, you have to sign the contract. It's everything you want!"

"I want you," Beca countered, her demeanor oddly calm. "All that other stuff, it doesn't matter if we're not together, Chlo. The music isn't the same without you."

'This can't be happening,' Chloe thought, desperately trying to think of how to change Beca's mind. There was no way she could let Beca turn down this deal. It was all her dreams coming true, and she was willing to throw it away for her. A small part of her flooded with joy, knowing that Beca really did love her, if she was willing to sacrifice so much, but she forced herself to shove those feelings aside.

"Beca, think about what you're saying! It's ridiculous! I want you to sign the contract!" Chloe shouted, rising off the couch, unable to stay seated.

Beca stood as well, starting to get angry herself. "I'm doing this for you! For us! Long distance relationships never work, Chloe! I love you, and I'm not going to just leave now that we can actually be together," she said angrily."

Her words stunned Chloe, realizing that this was much more serious than she anticipated. Beca was going to do it; she was going to turn down the deal to stay with here with her. She knew she couldn't let that happen, and quickly tried to figure out how to get Beca to go.

Chloe shook her head, replying, "Listen to me very carefully when I tell you, I don't want you to stay for me! Don't stay here for me. You belong in a studio with a big label that can offer you everything you deserve. I know you, Becs, and you don't want to go to college. You don't belong there, and we both know it."

Beca fought back, snapping, "Don't fucking tell me what I want, Chloe. I've had my dad telling me what I want for most of my life. You know what I really want? I want someone to fucking listen to me when I tell them what I want. Not what I think someone else wants me to do, but what I want to do. And I want to stay here with you."

"But I don't want you to!" Chloe exclaimed.

A silence fell over the room as they stared at each other, neither sure of what to say next.

Chloe took a shaky breath, saying, "Beca, I don't want you to stay here for me. You shouldn't base this decision on me, or any relationship. You need to think about yourself right now, and your career."

Beca seemed to still be stunned at Chloe's outburst, her voice weaker when she spoke again. "Chlo, I thought I knew what I wanted. I thought I had it all planned out. Then I met you. You changed me, and made me better. I can't do this without you."

"Yes, you can! Beca, you're so much stronger than you realize!" Chloe insisted, wondering if underneath it all, Beca was scared that she wouldn't succeed. Or if she was scared to start over. "You have been preparing for this for a long time, and you're going to be a star. I'm sure of it."

Beca shook her head, crossing her arms over her chest and replied, "Maybe, but I've made up my mind. It was the hardest decision I've ever made, but I'm not signing the contract."

Chloe took in Beca's firm tone and decisive stance, starting to feel desperate. "What about what I want for you? What about what your parents want for you, what your friends want for you? Beca, you deserve this chance. You deserve to have the chance to work with the people at Big Machine. You have to know that we all want what's best for you."

Beca shrugged, seemingly unaffected by Chloe's plea. "Chlo, if they want me now, why wouldn't they still want me in a few years? Besides, if I can work hard enough to market myself, I won't have to bend to the will of any label. I can just make music, which is what I've always wanted to do."

Chloe realized that she had no rebuttal for that argument, her mind grasping at straws for something to say. Suddenly, she remembered the conversation she'd had with Stacie, the brunette's words searing themselves into her mind. 'I don't really care how you do're the one that can convince her to go.' Immediately following that, she recalled the lyrics that had come to mind as she sat alone at her desk.

Taking a deep breath, Chloe steeled herself, knowing she had to keep it together at all costs.

"Beca, you can't stay here for me," she said simply.

Beca looked at her seriously, responding, "Yes, I can. I'm not leaving, Chloe."

Chloe shook her head, forcing the anger into her voice. "No, you can't, because I'm breaking up with you."

Beca froze at the words, taking a moment to study her. Chloe felt her heart pounding in her chest as she kept her emotions in check.

"Not funny, Chlo," Beca scoffed. "This isn't exactly a joking moment."

"I'm not joking," Chloe responded, her voice more even.

"What the fuck! One week we're fine and now you're breaking up with me because I want to stay here?" Beca threw her hands into the air. "Low blow, Beale, but fine...I'll play along. Why are you breaking up with me?" she asked, calling her bluff.

Fuck. Chloe hadn't thought this far ahead, searching quickly for a response.

"I'm not in love with you anymore," Chloe threw out, gritting her teeth and internally kicking herself for how lame it sounded.

Beca rolled her eyes, before giving her a hard stare. "Seriously? That's what you're going to say to me right now? This whole argument is ridiculous, Chloe. I know you love me. You told me so last weekend when we spent all day having makeup sex, and several times this week via text message," Beca was angry now, Chloe could tell by the look in her eyes.

Chloe sent up a prayer for forgiveness for what was about to say, but she was out of options. She promised Stacie that she would convince Beca to go, and she was going to keep that promise, not only because she meant it, but because getting Beca to go to Nashville was the best thing for her. 'Only know you love her when you let her go.' The lyrics came to her as she steeled herself for what she had to do.

"FINE! You want to know why I want you to go?" Chloe's eyes were blazing now, and she saw Beca's expression falter for a second at the intensity in her tone. "I want you to leave because I met someone else, Beca. When we were apart, I met someone else, and I fell in love with him. And I should never have let you in last weekend. It was a mistake. I'm not in love with you." Chloe's voice was sharp and piercing, and she knew her words took effect.

Beca's face was stunned, and she was speechless for a minute as she processed the words. "Chloe..." her voice was weak. "You're lying," she said, a desperate quality to her tone that broke Chloe's heart.

"No, I'm not. I met someone my own age, and I chose him. Come on, Beca, this was never going to be forever. I don't love you, and I don't want to be with you. Go to Nashville," Chloe said harshly, praying that Beca would believe her and leave. She wasn't sure how much longer she could hold it together.

Beca's anger returned, snapping, "This is bullshit, Chloe. I don't believe any of the words that just came out of your mouth. I thought you would be happy about me staying and going to college, since it's so important to you. And you expect me to believe you fell in love with someone else in the two weeks we were apart?"

Chloe focused on the fury in Beca's voice, using it to generate some stronger emotions of her own. "You know what, Beca? Do whatever the fuck you want! Stay here and go to college...leave and go to Nashville...I don't care what you do. It doesn't change anything. I never should have gotten involved with you in the first place. It was all a mistake."

Beca looked on the verge of tears as she asked desperately, "What happened to 'we can do long distance?' You said I wouldn't lose you…"

"I lied!" Chloe exclaimed, throwing her hands up. "Is that what you need to hear? I met someone else and figured things between us would just end when you left, so I lied."

Beca stood frozen at her words, and Chloe took advantage of her silence.

"It's time to grow up, Beca. You don't belong here," Chloe said, her voice cold. "Go to Nashville."

Beca shook her head, a look of disbelief in her eyes as tears ran down her cheeks. She silently turned away, quickly grabbing her things and walked out of the apartment.

Chloe practically ran to the door, twisting the lock as her free hand came up to cover her mouth, the tears already flooding down her cheeks. Leaning back against the door, Chloe slid down to the floor, equally stunned and horrified at what she'd just done. The feeling was unbearable, something that she had never experienced before, and wouldn't wish upon her worst enemy. The guilt and pain of pushing away the love of her life was completely overwhelming, her body shaking as she broke down, sobbing uncontrollably.


Beca grabbed her backpack, slinging a strap over one shoulder and glanced at the security checkpoint. It had been two days since graduation, and she knew her eyes were still red from crying. Beca took a deep breath and shifted her expression into a determined one. Turning around, she gave her parents and Stacie a weak smile.

"Guess this is it," she said, her eyes shifting from one to the other.

Sheila wiped a few tears from her eyes, stepping forward and pulling her into a tight hug. "I love you so much. I'm so sorry for the way things worked out, but I'm also so excited for you. Promise you'll call if you need anything, okay?"

Beca hugged her back just as tightly, mumbling, "I will," into the blonde's neck. "I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you too, kid," Sheila said as she pulled back, glancing hesitantly towards her husband. Stacie took the initiative, moving in for a hug of her own.

"You deserve so much better than her, Becs," Stacie whispered. "I know it hurts, so call me anytime. I'll come visit as soon as you get settled."

Beca hugged her best friend, not trusting herself to say anything about Chloe. "I'll hold you to that, Conrad. I'm gonna need my best friend."

Stacie pulled back, giving her a grin. "You're gonna kill it in Nashville, Rockstar. I know it."

"We'll see," Beca said, already feeling nervous about the move. "I'm gonna miss you, dude."

"I know. Me too, Mitchell, me too," Stacie said, her eyes looking glassy as she tried to hold back the tears.

Sheila motioned Stacie to join her, the two women leaving Beca alone with her dad to say goodbye.

Ben wasn't even trying to put a lid on the water works, wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand in a move that Beca immediately recognized, having performed it many times herself.

"I'm so proud of you, Beca," Ben said, pulling her into a crushing hug. "You've been through so much, and are so much stronger because of it. I'm going to miss you, but I know that this is where you're meant to be. Your mom would be so proud of you..." he trailed off as a few more tears escaped.

"I know she would be. She's still here with me," Beca said, tapping her chest over her heart. "I'm gonna miss you too. You better come visit me."

Ben chuckled. "Nothing could keep us away. Call me when you get there so I know you're safe, okay?"

Beca nodded, replying, "I will. I promise."

He pulled her into a last hug, saying, "I love you, Becs. I'm always here for you."

Beca felt the tears welling up behind her eyes as she hugged him again. "I love you too, dad."

She pulled back and glanced down at her watch. "Fuck. I'll be pushing it if I don't go now."

He nodded, beckoning Sheila and Stacie back over. All three of them surrounded Beca in another hug, before she gave them a small smile and turned around, showing her ticket and license to the TSA agent and entering the security line.

Once safely through, she waved at them one last time, before making her way to the gate. It wasn't too much longer before the flight started boarding, the gate attendant calling for first class passengers. Beca stood up, hesitating slightly for a moment, unsure if she could really do it.

Gathering up all her nerve, she muttered to herself, "Get on the fucking plane, Mitchell. I dare you."

A/N: All mistakes are my own.

So, before you all start freaking out and leaving nasty reviews, I'd like to say that there will be a sequel! I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to another long story so soon after finishing this one, but like you all picked up on, there's a lot left unsaid in this little Bechloe world. Keep an eye out for the first chapter this week.

Okay, BREATHE! This is not the end! :-)

I'd just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has Read, Fav, Followed, and/or Reviewed this story! You all have definitely inspired me to keep writing and not give up halfway through. Even if you're reading along anonymously, thank you!

**EDIT: The first chapter of the sequel is out! It's called "I Promise You", so go check it out!**