After they have found their sound, it didn't took long for the Bellas to disperse and do their own thing on their last night at the lodge. It was Chloe, Aubrey, and Beca who was left behind at the bonfire.
Beca and Chloe are just talking about their last moments at Barden when Aubrey chimed in, "Uh, Beca?" the woman looked up with an expectant look on her face. She looked happy now and free, compared to the agitated one she saw earlier. She clenched her jaw as she remembers how Beca flaked out in front of Chloe and told her bunch of things that Aubrey's certain hurt her best friend.
"What are your plans for the Worlds?" Aubrey might have some ideas but she wanted the brunette to first think on her own. Beca scrunched her nose, deep in thought about her question. The woman in front of her has grown a lot from the distant alt girl she met during her freshmen into this senior that has given her life to the Bellas, the same institution that she has given her life to.
"Well, I'm thinking if this is the swan song of the Bellas," she looked endearingly at the redhead beside Aubrey, who tries not to blush, "I want it to be memorable and be about woman empowerment, but I don't want it to be like our previous performances with a lot of props, I want it to be bare and pure acapella." She said proudly and Aubrey was impressed at how much thought Beca has already put into it.
Chloe looked impressed too, she looked enamored by Beca's idea and Aubrey can tell that she was already thinking of choreography that will go with her idea. Aubrey felt a tug in her heart, she wished Chloe would look at her the way she looks at Beca. She's her best friend but Aubrey has been harboring deeper feelings for Chloe. But it's too clear to her that her best friend has eyes on someone else.
"I have a suggestion that could maybe tip the scales of our chances in winning" she said and Beca was all ears to her. She perked up at Aubrey's suggestion, if there's anyone who has the same drive to win, it is most definitely the blonde before her.
Beca came to this retreat with a big doubt that this could even help the Bellas to win the World's championship, this is a very new territory for them, it's not just collegiate A capella anymore. They're going to face the champions of different countries and Beca knew for sure that she hasn't been this nervous.
But seeing Aubrey kind of brought her back to her freshmen year when the blonde was still in charge. Even if she hated Aubrey's song choices, she can't argue with her methods, dedication and leadership to the Barden Bellas. Seeing Aubrey felt a twinge of hope rise within Beca at winning this thing.
It was kind of shaky when she left and Chloe's kind of in a limbo during her second senior year. Beca barely held it together but the redhead beside Aubrey came through and lead the Bellas with her. Though she was thoroughly confused as to why she intentionally failed Russian Lit three times even if she knows that Chloe's not dumb. If anyone could even rivaled Aubrey's intelligence, Beca was sure it would be Chloe.
Speaking of Chloe, the redhead could already feel the exhaustion taking over her body. The strain of the exercises that the Bellas went through was no joke. She forgot how serious Aubrey is when it comes to cardio. One time she made her jog with her at the quadrangle four times just because she wants to build Chloe's stamina.
But above the exhaustion, Chloe knows it is because of Aubrey's presence that she's finally feeling relaxed and calm. Aubrey always has this effect on her that whenever she's in control, Chloe knows she's in good hands.
Chloe felt Aubrey's arms wraps around her as she leans more of her weight to her. She sighed in relief as she feels her warmth, she missed Aubrey a lot. After Aubrey left after graduation, she was kind of lost and stuck, and fear got the best of her, three times.
"But let's discuss that tomorrow, I know you're tired. You might have a hard time taking it in." Aubrey teased Beca that earned her a frown but after a moment, a small smile crept through her face and nodded in agreement. Beca slowly grew on her skin and inevitably made her warm up to the idea of being friends with her. Though they weren't able to spend time as friends because she graduated, she left Barden knowing that she has found a family that she could go back to, people who can call her own.
It was terrifying at first, being on her own and no Chloe to help her or be her cheerleader. She almost succumb to the pressure and back down, but she's a Posen and a Posen never backs down. She can't always rely on Chloe to help her, she has decided to stay and leave her to face the outside world alone. She was bitter at first and admits that she might have secluded herself and talked to nobody outside of her job.
But once you're a Bella, you're always gonna be a Bella. That's what happened, Beca finally called her stating that Chloe's kind of in a funk and really not helping her lead the team so she resorted to the blonde. She helped as much as she could, until Chloe came back to her senses.
"But before anything else, here" Aubrey reached out and Beca held her hand without question, she has learned to trust Aubrey when it comes to Acapella or the Bellas. Those are the only things that they have in common but those are also the things that matters both to them, at least for the moment. She has realized that her internship has to wait until she has finally finished what's on her plate and that is the World Championship.
She was unfair to the Bellas and to Chloe for her outburst but she has never been that uncertain in her life. She felt that there's a big chance that she will fail at both things that matters most to her and that she will be alone for the rest of her life. But after that eye opener of a bear trap, Beca realized that she will never be alone because she's gain a family when she begrudgingly joined the Bellas few years back and it was the best decision she has ever made in her life, thanks to one Chloe Beale.
Chloe saw that it was the Bella pitch pipe that Aubrey asked for when they arrived at the lodge, it was also the symbol of the team's leadership. It still amazes the redhead that Aubrey was able to utterly trust Beca with the group she dearly loved. She thought that she won't let the brunette back in and she's ready to quit the Bellas that time because she knew that they don't have a shot at winning trying to fit into the Bella mold that she and Aubrey has grown into.
She remembered how many times they fought about letting Beca in or breaking the tradition of the old Bellas. Aubrey has a hard nutshell that's hard to break, it took awhile for the new Bellas to see the Aubrey that Chloe knows. She saw how Aubrey finally lets go and embraced that they're not the old group anymore, they are new and better. It was beautiful to watch and hear, the new Bellas making their first music together as a real team at the empty pool.
"The Bellas are yours again, take care of them. Trust them, Beca" Aubrey looked intently at the brunette. "Don't do what I did, you know more than I do what our Bellas can do." If senior Aubrey could hear her, she would have puked at how complacent she has become. She wanted to remind Beca to not let the pressure get to her and not forget to have fun and love what she's doing.
Aubrey looked at the woman in her arm who was pretty much dozing off. She felt kind of bad because Chloe looked really exhausted physically and emotionally. She regrets not knowing anymore what's running on her best friend's mind. This woman helped her to let go and to not be too controlling, she almost lost Chloe when she was being stubborn but the redhead kept on understanding, accepting and forgiving her. Sometimes she asks herself what have she done in her past life to deserve Chloe.
"She misses you, you know" Beca admitted as she saw how Chloe closed her eyes and dozed off, looking comfortable in the arms of the blonde. The adoring smile on Aubrey's face says a lot that she feels the same way. They looked so perfect together; physically and personality wise, they really make a good contrast. Beca saw how Chloe's light dimmed when Aubrey left after graduation, she saw how Chloe gradually change from being bright and sunny into that obsessed to winning Chloe that has been in appearance for a year.
She felt guilty that she hasn't notice quickly the change because she was focused on her own that she neglected the Bellas and Chloe. Beca kind of understands now where Chloe's obsession to win came from and was happy that they have finally resolved things. "I'm sorry" she whispered, she felt she owe the blonde an apology since they kind of had this silent agreement that Beca would look out for Chloe when Aubrey was gone and she kind of failed in doing that.
"It's not your fault" Chloe heard Aubrey say to Beca, she really dozed off but Aubrey's voice pulled her back from slumber. Even if she can't see it, she can imagine the sad smile that Aubrey gave Beca when she said those words. She can also hear a hint of disappointment from the blonde which made Chloe felt bad because she thought Aubrey was disappointed at her.
"It's kind of my fault because I neglected her. After knowing that I will graduate without her, anger quickly consumed me and I left without notice. I should have known that Chloe won't take that well." Chloe can see without really opening her eyes the frown on Aubrey's face. She felt her heart twinge as she hears the blonde's confession.
"I should have been the best friend she needed and took the time to ask her what happened. But I just thought that we're in this together, that we would graduate together and face the world together." Chloe felt like crying, she felt bad that she didn't even tell Aubrey what's happening on her mind when she decided on her own that she'll not graduate. She can feel Aubrey's pain as she continue to listen to her with a crack on her voice.
"It was just easier, you know" Aubrey don't know where her boldness and confidence came from as she confess to Beca. She don't expect the brunette to get her but she looked like she perfectly understands what she's talking about. It was easier for her to be mad at Chloe, at least they are thousand miles apart than continue loving the redhead and missing her when she can't do anything about it because of the distance and circumstances.
Aubrey wanted to add how it was easier for her to accept that Chloe must have failed intentionally because of the brunette in front of her when she's far away from the redhead. She was afraid to directly ask Chloe if that was the case, even now that they're starting to be on equal footing again, she's terrified to know if Chloe don't really feel the same way for her. It's easier not knowing.
Beca nodded thoughtfully, she fully, well not fully but she kind of understand Aubrey's reasons. If freshmen Beca would see her right now, she would totally laugh at her because since when did she became this perceptive towards other people. But three years in acapella and the presence of Chloe, really changed her. The redhead wears her heart on her sleeve and that slightly rubbed off on her. She's still pretty much closed off but when it comes to her family, she has learned to let go.
Chloe became her best friend, her guide towards human emotions, just by looking at her deep big blue eyes, Beca can already tell what the redhead was feeling. Her sarcasm has no match for Chloe's genuine care and concern for her or the people around her. It just amazes Beca at how much Chloe could give herself without expecting anything in return.
"I love her" it was quiet and just above a whisper. Chloe almost didn't get it if she's not basically draped over the blonde. Her eyes almost shot open in surprise with Aubrey's confession.
"Yeah, who doesn't love Chloe?" Beca snickered and Chloe could imagine the smirk on her lips that she perfectly wears. Aubrey's small laugh brought Chloe's attention back to her.
"No, Beca. I'm in love with her" Aubrey clarified, this time little louder but for Chloe and Beca's hearing only. Chloe made a small gasp and she felt Aubrey stiffened under her and she tried to act cool, made a steady breathing as if she's still sleeping. This is unusual for the blonde, she never willingly admitted her feelings to someone else. In Chloe's opinion, you have to literally knock her off for her to open up.
But this, this is a new side of hers that she hasn't seen before, yes she's used to Aubrey opening up to her coz that's kind of their thing, but Aubrey opening up to Beca about her feelings for Chloe is a whole new level of Aubrey. The outside world has really changed her best friend, and she's so proud.
"What?!" It was sharper than Beca intended because she did not expect this from the blonde. Aubrey didn't repeat what she said because she don't have to, it was just the initial shock that made her ask that question. Beca already got it, crystal clear. "Have you told her?" She asked as if Chloe wasn't with them. If Aubrey's in love with Chloe it must have been for a long time. Finally, everything made sense to the brunette; Aubrey's initial attitude towards her, how she will cut her off every time Beca has something to say, her adamant self not to consider her as a Bella, and all other things that she showed her before they came together as a team was maybe because Aubrey felt threatened by Beca.
She almost wanted to laugh because of how fast she has deduced all those things, Aubrey might not admit that but Beca knows that's partly the reason. She gave an understanding nod and this time she really meant it.
"I don't have the strength to tell her, I'm afraid she might not love me the way I love her" it was small and it keeps eating up Chloe's insides as she hears her best friend say those things. If Aubrey just knew what she has been through when she left, she won't feel that way.
"Why? Don't you think you're not that lovable?" Beca's voice was full of concern and a hint of fondness towards the blonde. This made Aubrey chuckle and it was music to Beca's ears. She's just getting used to this side of Aubrey who's not a slave driver leader of the Bellas, she's seeing her in a new light of her having human emotions rather than anxiety and anger. She can see that she's not flaw less, she has weaknesses that she's just good at hiding them.
"Partly yes but mostly because I think she has set her eyes on someone else", well this is news to Chloe. How did Aubrey deduced that she has feelings for someone else. She wasn't there for the last three years so she can't know anything about Chloe. Chloe's insides were fuming and it's taking a lot of self restraint not to scold her sometimes stupid best friend.
"Take it from someone who has seen Chloe twenty four seven for the last three years, I assure you that I don't think she has set her eyes on someone else" Beca assured the blonde, and this is a fact and not just some thing she said to make her feel good.
Because it was you, Idiot. Aubrey wanted to add but it's not her story to reveal to the brunette, she don't think Chloe would appreciate that and it's just her hunch, nothing is confirmed yet by the redhead. She smirked as she looked at her peripheral, Chloe still thinks she can fool Aubrey.
She knows it's a coward thing to do; not tell Chloe directly how she feels but it's easier this way. At least Chloe can't reject her yet. Saying it out loud kind of gave Aubrey the feeling of freedom. If ever her best friend don't feel the same, at least in her own way she was able to tell Chloe. Now it is up to the redhead if she'll continue acting as if she didn't hear anything or save Aubrey from the agony of telling her how she feels. Either way, Aubrey knew that she'll accept her decision because she's her best friend.
Aubrey shook her head lightly and shrugged, she really don't have anything to say to the brunette who is still deep in thought.
"I still think you have to tell her, I think it's worth a shot because she's worth it, Aubrey." Beca threw a wistful smile at the blonde, she don't want for Aubrey to regret not expressing herself. She has done a lot of that in her past, and having regrets was really not a good feeling. She saw Aubrey nodded, not quite sure if Aubrey would heed her advice or she's just being passive.
Beca's exhaustion is taking its toll on her body, the physical activities plus the emotional turmoil she went through and Aubrey's confession made her feel so tired. She let out a big genuine yawn, it's time for her to listen to her body. She stood and dust herself off, she was just thankful that Aubrey finally let them in a cabin so no woods bed for the Bellas on their last night.
"I'm gonna go, are you gonna stay here?" She asked Aubrey who is still holding Chloe in her arms while staring at the fire before her, still deep in thought. Aubrey nodded with a grateful smile.
"I'll wake her up in a few", Aubrey smirked, she knew she don't have to wake her best friend because she's very much awake. She might have perfected the steady breathing but the fast heart beat of the redhead tells her that she heard everything and would probably want to talk. Beca nodded in understanding and went on her way leaving Aubrey alone with Chloe.
When she was sure that Beca is already gone, she squeezed lightly Chloe's arm. The redhead's eyes slowly opened and she stared directly at the fire before her. She enjoyed the silence between them, only the crackling sound of dry leaves burning and the distant noise of their friends are what they can hear.
"Bree" the way Chloe said it was so soft that Aubrey smiled at how her heart beats fast when she heard it. Aubrey hummed in acknowledgement of her call.
"I was not asleep" it was a simple statement and Aubrey knew what it meant.
"You're in love with me?"
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Would it change anything?"
"I don't know."
"Do you love me?"
"You know I do."
Aubrey gave her a sad smile. That's not quite the answer she was expecting. Of course that's what she'll say, she's Chloe.
"But not the way I want to."
"You don't know that."
Chloe is still in her arm as they talk. As much as she wants to face the redhead, their position is kind of nice and warm. Aubrey wants to protest but found no strength to. There's no point because she thinks they're not on the same page.
"Can you say it to me?"
"That you love me?"
Aubrey paused and looked at Chloe for the first time. It almost took her breath away at what she saw, Chloe's hooded expectant blue eyes, puffed lips and soft expression. It's beautiful, Chloe's so beautiful. Her hesitation was gone, there's no point at hiding it. Beca's words came back to her, she's worth it. She has basically admitted it to Chloe, might as well gather her balls to say it to her face.
"I love you."
Author's note: This is a one shot based on the bonfire scene at pitch perfect 2 after their moment. Tell me ehat you think.