Author's 1st Note: I'm still here!
Hey, guys! How is everyone? Hope every is staying safe and healthy and enjoying the holidays despite the craziness going on.
This has been the longest I've gone without updating and I'm so sorry for that! My art has really taken off and I'm constantly busy with work. But don't worry! Despite the long gaps, I always keep my promise to never abandon a fic, so although it might take me a while, have faith that I will always eventually update.
Hope you guys enjoy! :)
Chloe had been standing just outside the room, a part of her still hesitant to leave, and she jumped when she suddenly heard the loud crash of the makeup mirror breaking.
Her initial instinct was to immediately drop her things and open the door to rush back inside, but after everything Beca had just said…
Chloe shook her head. No. She had to be stronger than that.
Reluctantly, Chloe closed her eyes and inhaled deeply before pushing herself to walk, her vision gradually becoming blurred by new tears. She needed to get away from everything; Away from Beca, away from her emotions.
And there was only one person she knew she could run to.
Aubrey may not have been the perfect friend, but she was always there for Chloe whenever she needed someone to talk to, and with everything that had happened, Chloe definitely needed someone to talk to.
She stopped when she reached the elevator doors and wiped the tears that had rolled down her cheeks when a couple of other passengers walked by and eyed her curiously. She selected Aubrey's number from her list of recent calls and desperately waited for her to answer.
Chloe couldn't believe Beca. Well, a part of her could believe her, afterall their past history had proven Beca to be particularly hurtful towards Chloe, but still. After everything they had been through these last couple days and with the amount of growth that had formed between them, Chloe genuinely thought that things would be different between them.
But Beca proved that nothing was going to change between them.
Chloe snapped out of her thoughts when she heard Aubrey's voice come through the phone speaker.
"Aubrey?" she gasped.
"Yeah. Are you okay?" she asked. "Where are you?"
Chloe instantly felt another rush of tears coming forth because, no. She was definitely not okay.
"I–" Chloe whimpered. She felt sick. Like she was going to throw up or pass out. Maybe even both. "Can you please come to your room?" she asked, sniffling as she wiped a fallen tear off of her cheek. "I need you."
"I'll be right there."
By the time Aubrey and Stacie arrived at their room, Chloe was curled up into a ball on the floor, leaning back against their door with her bags sprawled around her.
She was crying.
"Chloe!" Aubrey said, instantly dropping down to her knees, despite the difficulty from wearing a dress, and wrapped her arms around her in a comforting hug. "Are you alright? What happened?"
Chloe welcomed the hug and reciprocated it, shoving her face into Aubrey's shoulder as she continued to cry.
"Stace, can you open the door, please?" Aubrey asked, nodding towards the door.
"Shit, yeah," Stacie said, fumbling through her purse in search of her key card. She found it quickly and used it to unlock the door and push it open.
"Come on, Chlo," Aubrey quietly said, lifting her friend off of the ground. "Let's go inside."
Stacie grabbed Chloe's bags, which were still on the floor, and followed them inside.
Chloe was standing and walking, but she couldn't bring herself to lift her head away from Aubrey's shoulder just yet. She trusted her best friend to lead the way and continued to follow her blindly until she felt the edge of a bed brush against the backs of her legs.
"You want to sit?" Aubrey asked, feeling Chloe gently nod against her. "Okay." She carefully lowered them down and Stacie mimicked the action by grabbing a seat by the corner table.
They sat there for a while, in silence, aside from the muffled sniffles and whimpers that came from Chloe. Aubrey continued to hold her as she cried and alternated between caressing her hair and rubbing her back in supportive comfort until Chloe finally lifted her head to look at them.
"Thanks for coming," she said, wiping any remaining wetness off of her cheeks.
"Of course," Stacie said, leaning forward in her seat.
"Yeah, of course, Chloe," Aubrey said, tucking a loose strand of Chloe's hair behind her ear to get it out of her face. "You don't have to thank us for that. We'll always be here for you."
Chloe nodded and took in a deep breath. "I'm sure you have a lot of questions," she quietly chuckled. "So–"
"Um, well, actually…" Aubrey's brow curved as she looked over at Stacie, guilty. "Don't be mad but–"
"Stacie told you," Chloe said, closing her eyes and nodding, already knowing the answer.
Aubrey chewed on her lower lip. "Yeah…"
"Shit, I'm sorry, Chloe," Stacie said. She got up from her chair and walked over to sit on the floor, in front of Chloe's feet. "Please don't be mad at me. After what happened with Chicago, Aubrey was really confused and I just felt bad that–"
"Stacie, it's fine." Chloe reached out a hand and placed it over Stacie's. "Aubrey was eventually going to find out and–" She looked at Aubrey with apologetic eyes. "I'm sorry I lied to you."
Aubrey sighed. "I can understand why you did. And don't take this completely the wrong way, but–" Her higher pitched emphasis on the word made Chloe hold her breath. "Beca? Really? Out of all the people on this ship you could have slept with, you chose to sleep with that little sour note?"
Aubrey chuckled at her own joke but when Chloe pressed her lips together and glanced down at Stacie nervously, her laughter slowly died. "What?" she asked, confused, her eyes darting between them. "What am I missing here?"
"So I guess you didn't tell her everything, huh, Stace?"
Stacie nibbled on the corner of her lip. "Well… Aubrey wanted to know who you had slept with, but... I didn't think it was my place to tell her the rest."
"The rest?" Aubrey looked confused.
Chloe nervously bit down on her bottom lip. She wasn't sure how Aubrey was going to react to "the rest." A million scenarios popped into her head. Most of them ending in the worst possible ways. But Chloe knew it was time for her to lay it all out and be completely honest, not only with Aubrey, but also with herself.
Chloe sighed and took in a deep breath, "Okay. Let me start from the beginning."
The next hour was spent with Chloe's– almost too descriptive– tale of adventures she had shared with Beca since the beginning of their vacation. Aubrey had remained silent for the entirety of the story, simply listening to Chloe's word vomit with what Chloe assumed was pure shock.
When she finally reached the end, Chloe glanced at Stacie nervously before swallowing hard.
"So… I guess what I'm trying to explain is that I–" Chloe hesitated. There was no turning back at this point. "Aubrey… I'm in love with her."
The air grew thick when Aubrey didn't respond right away. The anticipation made Chloe's heart race and she worried about how Aubrey was going to react to her confession.
Once Aubrey seemed to finally process it all, she slowly blinked and looked over at Stacie before raising her brows and turning her attention back to Chloe.
Aubrey squinted her eyes and Chloe gulped. "You're in love with her?" Chloe's brows curved and she slowly nodded. "Beca Mitchell." Chloe nodded again. "The weird little alt girl who's default emotion is moody bitch and who has treated you like shit the entire time you've known each other?"
Aubrey wasn't entirely wrong, but Chloe snickered softly. "Well to be honest, she was actually pretty nice to me when we first met, but…" She paused and sighed. "Then she found out who my mom was and from there on she just…" Her shoulders fell. "She hated me."
"Wait a second." Stacie had been silent for the entirety of Chloe's speech, but the knowledge of this clarified information made her sit up straight. "So the fact that her dad cheated on her mom with your mom is literally the only reason why she's hated you all this time?"
Chloe half shrugged, "It seems to be. She mentioned it again tonight. Pretty much said that we couldn't be together because she was afraid of how her mom would feel about it."
"Seriously?" Stacie said, her eyes narrowing. "That's so stupid!"
Her exclamation made Chloe chuckle. "Yeah, tell me about it." She had to admit, her profound confession had been easier to reveal to Aubrey than she initially thought it would. Aubrey's reaction to it was definitely the opposite of what Chloe had been expecting.
Thank God she didn't throw up…
With the air feeling lighter, Chloe cleared her throat and decided to touch on another sensitive topic.
"Yeah, so uh… Now that you're caught up–" She dropped her gaze to play with her fingers for a moment before looking back up at Aubrey. "Do you guys think I could maybe–"
"Stay here with us?" Aubrey asked, smiling at the way Chloe nibbled on her bottom lip and softly nodded her head. "Of course you can."
Aubrey reached forward and pulled Chloe in for a tight but comforting hug, chuckling when Stacie quickly joined in and wrapped herself around them both.
"We're here for you, Chloe," Aubrey said. "No matter what."
The warmth of the hug was exactly the kind of comfort Chloe needed. So she squeezed herself into them more and tried to convince herself that everything would be okay.
Though that night she didn't get any sleep at all.
The same could certainly be said for Beca. With Chloe's usual side of the bed left cold and empty, Beca found herself tossing and turning all night long.
It was maddening. She could still feel the ghost of Chloe lying beside her. Could still smell her scent on the pillows and sheets. Every time Beca closed her eyes all she could see was Chloe. Her hair, her eyes, her smile and the pained look on her face after Beca finally pushed her away forever.
"Fuck!" Beca shouted, sitting up straight and gripping her hair in frustration. She looked over at the glowing alarm clock and read the time.
Her eyes were heavy with sleep deprivation and her head still pounded with stress. Four o'clock in the morning was not a time to be awake, but Beca knew there was no use in trying to sleep.
With an exhausted groan Beca dragged herself off of the bed, put on a bra and slipped on a pair of sweatpants. She wasn't sure what she was going to do or where she was going to go. Most of the ship was closed for the night, but she didn't care.
Beca just needed to get out of the room.
Her aimless stroll began in the hallway. She wandered until she reached the nearest elevator and entered it before pressing the highest floor number she possibly could.
When the silver doors opened, Beca found herself on the lido deck. It wasn't as lively as she had grown accustomed to, however. In fact it looked like a ghost town.
The sun hadn't risen yet, and it was cold, though Beca felt numb to the chill. She walked in silence, feeling the humid morning air on her skin as her thoughts continued to spiral around Chloe.
Pushing Chloe away had never been this hard. Beca never had to deal with these looming consequences that consumed her. It had only been a few hours but it already felt like the ghost of Chloe was going to haunt her forever.
Beca wasn't sure how much time she had spent sulking against one of the deck railings, staring out at the dark ocean thinking about nothing but how much she already missed Chloe and how badly she had really fucked things up with her.
Beca shook her head in disappointment and sighed. She really was an idiot.
With the sun beginning to peak out from the horizon, and her stomach suddenly interrupting her thoughts with a rumble, Beca decided it was time to give her sulking a break in favor of finding herself something to eat.
By the time she made it to the buffet restaurant, Beca found there were now a few other passengers up and about. She knew she looked like shit, and although she would usually worry about strangers seeing her at her worst, at this point, Beca couldn't care less.
She grabbed a plate, fully aiming to fill it with breakfast food, but as Beca stood in front of her choices she realized her stomach was in knots, and though she knew she was hungry, she found that at the same time she didn't have an appetite.
With an annoyed grunt, Beca put the empty plate back, and instead, made her way over to the drink area. Her stomach didn't seem up for any solids, but perhaps she could fill the void with a mimosa… or six.
Beca was on her third mimosa when her eyes suddenly landed on someone she was certainly not in the mood to see. Granted she wasn't really in the mood to interact with anyone, but Jesse was definitely one of the firsts on the list.
She chugged whatever drink she had left and crouched down as she carefully snuck her way out of the restaurant.
Damn. Now she was going to have to find alcohol somewhere else.
Chloe hummed quietly as a very pleasant dream of Beca slowly faded away. She stirred in the bed, forgetting where she was for a moment, and smiled at the weight she felt lying next to her.
When she opened her eyes, her smile quickly fell and she gasped when she was greeted by Aubrey's sleeping face. It was then that the horrible memories of the night before registered in her brain, and Chloe felt like she was going to cry all over again.
She pushed away the tears, trying to reassure herself that it was the best decision to distance herself from Beca, despite the aching desire to do the exact opposite. Beca had hurt her. She really, really hurt her, and she made her choice. Now she was going to have to deal with the consequences, even if that was the last thing Chloe really wanted.
Chloe remained in bed, though she couldn't fall back to sleep. Thankfully it wasn't long after that Aubrey's alarm went off and Chloe was joined by her other Bella sisters.
"Hey," Aubrey muttered, sleepily, facing Chloe after she turned the alarm off. "You okay?" She reached out a hand and softly caressed Chloe's arm.
Chloe pressed her lips together in a tight smile, "I'm fine."
"Did you sleep?"
"Yeah," she lied. "A little."
A short silence fell between them as Aubrey stared at her with her brow slightly curved. Chloe knew that look, but for once she didn't want it. She didn't want Aubrey to feel bad for her. If Chloe wanted to move on from Beca then she was going to have to stay strong.
"I'm fine," Chloe said again, adding a firmness to her tone. "Really." She sat up and stretched out her back and arms and sighed with a smile as she looked over at Stacie. "Morning Stace."
Stacie quirked a suspicious brow, "Morning."
"I'm gonna go take a shower," Chloe said, hopping off the bed and grabbing her things before strolling over to the bathroom. "Let me know what's on the itinerary for today when I get out." She smiled and quickly shut the door, leaving Aubrey and Stacie very confused.
"Is she okay?" Stacie asked, looking at Aubrey. "Why is she acting so weird?"
Aubrey's gaze hadn't left Chloe's direction and she sighed in defeat before shaking her head. "Because she is definitely not okay."
The second Chloe had the bathroom door closed, she collapsed her body against it and let the tears she had been holding back fall. Pretending to be strong and indifferent was not going to be easy, but Chloe was up for the challenge. As much as she was sad and hurt Chloe was still also very angry.
She wasn't going to give Beca the satisfaction of seeing her weak.
After washing away the weight of the night before, Chloe exited the shower and got dressed, mentally preparing herself for whatever the day might throw her way.
When she stepped out of the bathroom Chloe was surprised to find both Aubrey and Stacie staring at her with an expression she couldn't quite read.
Chloe furrowed her brow, "What?"
Aubrey cleared her throat and lowered her head. "So… I texted the girls to let them know about our plans on St. John today and–" She paused to glance at Stacie before looking back up at Chloe. "Beca wrote back and said she wasn't going to join us."
The news took Chloe aback for a moment, a part of her disappointed that she wasn't going to see Beca, but she quickly snapped out of that feeling, reminding herself that it was better that she didn't see her.
Yeah… it was better.
"Okay," Chloe shrugged, walking over to her bag to put her pajamas inside and get her makeup bag out.
Aubrey and Stacie looked at each other again.
"Are you… okay with that?"
Chloe stayed focused on her rummaging. "Sure," she said, trying to ignore the way her stomach was knotting. "Why wouldn't I be?"
It was a rhetorical question that all three girls already knew the answer to, but Aubrey and Stacie could recognize what Chloe was doing, and decided to go along with her coping mechanism.
Stacie hopped up to her feet. "You're right," she said cheerfully, walking over to the main dresser drawer. "We don't need that little grouch." She grabbed a pink shirt and twirled it around as she popped a leg up to her butt. "We're gonna have fun on our own shopping, eating and enjoying this vacation."
Stacie was glad her little antic elicited a small chuckle out of Chloe. She knew Chloe was still very much upset, even if she was trying to act like she was. But if Stacie could help her friend feel even a little bit better, then she was happy.
"Now let's hurry up and get dressed because this aca-bitch," she said, smacking her butt for emphasis. "Is starving." This earned her a laugh from both Aubrey and Chloe and she grinned before disappearing into the bathroom.
As Chloe pulled her makeup bag out and stood up, she could feel Aubrey's presence behind her.
"You sure you're okay?" she asked, and Chloe had to squeeze her eyes shut for a moment to keep another tear from shedding.
"Aubrey," she mustered her strength and turned to face her best friend. "I told you I'm fine, okay? Trust me–" She knew she was lying and she was sure Aubrey knew it, too, but she hoped it would be enough to get Aubrey to stop asking. "I'm fine."
Aubrey's expression softened and she sighed before giving in. "Okay," she said. "But if you need to talk or take a break at all today, please let me know. I'm here for you."
Chloe nodded weakly and with that Aubrey finally left her alone. Chloe hoped Beca's lack of presence would help her get through the day, though she knew it was still going to be a challenge to not think about her.
Author's 2nd Note: Aww... my poor babies. It hurts to put the through this, but it must be done!
Stay tuned for the next update! Happy Holidays! :D