So this is it, the final chapter. I'm kinda gutted that it's come to an end but it felt like the right timing. Loved writing all the fluffy chapters, and even the angsty ones, though they are much harder. Anyway, thanks to all that have followed this little family, thanks for reviews too. Hopefully gonna spend some time on y other multi chapter fic now, as I've definitely mildly abandoned it.
Two days after the funeral, Chloe was trying her hardest to act like she wasn't completely broken. She's still not sure if life will ever be normal again. Back when Beca was first diagnosed, she had begged her regularly not to grieve for too long if the treatment didn't work and the cancer took her life. They'd had their life together and it had been everything she had dreamed of. She didn't want Chloe to be sad, because nothing hurt her more than seeing her wife upset.
The last eleven days since Beca passed away had gone by in a blur. Both Aria and Bella were a mess of tears and anger at the situation. Leo was clearly upset but stayed strong for his sisters and Mom. He had done house work, helped organise the funeral and was a shoulder to cry on for his sisters.
Chloe had desperately tried to do as Beca asked. She tried not to spend all day crying, but the moment she was alone the dam burst. She had spent the past eleven days sobbing herself to sleep, clutching onto Beca's pillow and burying her face in it, desperate to feel any tiny amount of comfort from the smell of her wife that still lingered on the sheets.
She hadn't washed that one pillow case. Beca hadn't slept on it for a couple of weeks now, having spent the last three days of her life in hospital. Chloe's taken back to the night her wife died every time she sees or smells something that reminds her of Beca.
** Beca had endured the stress of surgery to remove the lump, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Her body becoming increasingly weaker over the last seventeen months. She had fought so hard to fight the cancer. There had been times that Beca had slipped into a depressive state, hair having completely fallen out from the treatment, she was slimmer than she had ever been and the chemotherapy had made her so sick, but on good days, she wore a smile and tried to act as normal as possible around her children and grand daughter.
Six weeks ago, they'd given Beca the all clear, only having to receive two more rounds of chemotherapy before her life could start to return to normal. Obviously she would still have regular check ups to make sure nothing returned, but the chemo and radio therapy would be over, her hair would start growing back and she would get stronger again by the day.
Just days before her final round, the brunette developed a sore throat and slight temperature. It wasn't quite high enough for Beca to need immediate medical attention, but Chloe kept a regular check on it. They'd gone to sleep that night with Beca's temperature having dropped ever so slightly.
A few hours later, Chloe woke from the heat radiating beside her. She jumped up in bed, hand immediately finding her wife's forehead. ''Bec, wake up babe.'' Chloe tried to wake her but was met with a groan.
''Beca,'' she tried again, shaking her slightly. When that didn't rouse her, the redhead leant over to turn on the bedside lamp and grab the thermometer. She quickly took Beca's temperature, a reading of 103F sent a bout of panic rushing through her.
She took her phone, immediately dialling 911 and frantically asking for an ambulance. Once off the phone with the operator, she pulled back the sheets, trying to cool Beca down a little but not too quickly, knowing that with her body still weak from chemo, it was cause her to go into shock.
Chloe shouted out down the hallway to get Bella's attention and was met a few seconds later by the girl, rubbing sleep from her eyes as she walked out of her bedroom door. ''Go unlock the door and wait for the paramedics please.''
Bella looked at her confusion lacing her features. ''Why? What's happened?''
''Your Mom's not well sweetie. Just go please, they will be here any minute.'' With that, Bella ran down the stairs whilst Chloe re-entered the bedroom, kneeling on the floor next to Beca, desperately trying to rouse her again. She bit down hard on the inside of her mouth, trying to prevent herself from crying.
A matter of minutes later, the paramedics were let in with Isabella guiding them to the bedroom. She stood in the door way watching as they did some checks and asked Chloe some questions before retrieving a stretcher and wheeling Beca into the back of the ambulance.
Bella had followed behind Chloe, waiting at the back of the ambulance as the redhead stepped up into it. ''Mom, I wanna come.''
''Sweetie, you need to stay here with Eloise okay. Your Mom will be fine. I'm sure by this time tomorrow, she will be home.'' Chloe tried to reassure their daughter. Really, she was trying to reassure herself too. This whole past year and a half had had her on edge more often than she ever admitted. Seeing her wife look so sick after being cleared of the cancer was terrifying.
At the hospital, Beca had been put on a high dosage of IV antibiotics after being diagnosed with sepsis after contracting tonsillitis. The cancer treatment had wrecked her immune system. They knew this could happen and were always careful not to be around anyone who was sick, but clearly not careful enough.
Luckily, after forty eight hours, Beca had perked up slightly. The antibiotics appeared to be working, lowering her temperature a little. It was still quite high but had decreased. The doctors kept a close eye on the brunette, regularly taking her blood pressure and blood tests.
Chloe and Isabella had been by Beca's side on day three. Leaving the later visiting hours for Leo and Aria, who was currently babysitting Eloise. Beca had been a little more with it and awake for longer periods of time. She still looked exhausted and sick though. She woke around lunch time, eyes opening blearily, a tiny smile gracing her lips as she noticed her wife and youngest daughter sat in the chairs next to her bed, doing a crossword puzzle together from the days news paper.
''Hey,'' she croaked, voice gravelly from lack of use of the last few days.
''Hey beautiful,'' Chloe replied, standing up and stepping towards the bed to place a gentle kiss to the top of her wife's head.
Bella stayed sat down, looking a little nervous. ''Hi Ma,'' Bella spoke, looking down at her hands, worry etched across her features.
Beca coughed hoarsely, attempting to clear her throat a little. It didn't help much, her throat felt like it was on fire. ''Bells, come here.'' She tapped at the empty slither of bed next to her, using as much energy as she could muster. Which really wasn't a lot.
Isabella tentatively shifted over to the bed, still unable to make eye contact with her mother. She had been absolutely petrified over the last few days especially, but both women knew that the past seventeen months of treatment, along with being a teenage Mom had really taken it's toll on their youngest. She had always been the over thinker.
They sat and chatted for a short while, before Beca once again became tired and closed her eyes, falling asleep mid sentence. Chloe and Isabella decided to go get some lunch in the hospital cafe whilst Beca slept, figuring they had at least an hour or two.
Once they'd eaten lunch, in relative silence, they made their way back up onto the ward where Beca's room was situated. As they got to the door, they heard their names being called, as they both turned around, they were greeted by Aria and Leo.
''Where's Eloise?'' Bella asked, eyebrows knit tightly together in concern.
''Don't worry, I haven't left her home alone. She's with Lucas. Figured he could get in some practice,'' Aria laughed, rubbing a hand over her large bump. She was only six and a half months pregnant, but already bigger than Bella was at full term.
They all walked through the corridor doors chatting away about something funny that Eloise had done that morning. At just over sixteen months old, she was already learning that pulling certain faces elicited laughter from the adults. She had been the perfect distraction for them all during the tougher times over the past several months.
Chloe suddenly stopped in her tracks, looking through the window to Beca's room. Inside, there was a team of doctors working on her wife, giving her CPR. It took just seconds for their children to look in the same direction and realisation hit.
''What's happening?'' Aria asked. ''Mom?''
''Go back to the relatives room,'' the redhead whispered, eyes not moving from the scene in front of her.
''Go. NOW!'' Chloe shouted. There was no way her kids should be seeing this. She hated that she had to shout at them, but panic was rapidly rising within her.
Leo dragged both his sisters away from the window, Aria giving in easily but Bella tried to pull out of his hold. ''Bella,'' He chastised. ''Come on.''
Chloe desperately tried to make her limbs move. To go into the hospital room and demand to know what the fuck was going on and why so many doctors and nurses were surrounded her wife. Why they were pressing down on her chest so hard. Didn't they know she's tiny and fragile. She wanted to scream at them when they shocked her with paddles and her entire top half jolted off of the bed. She wanted to shout at them not to hurt her.
Then everything stopped. There was a few seconds where the doctors stepped back from her wife and just watched her as the beeping from the heart monitor still flat lined. She watched as a doctor called time of death. Chloe blinked several times, praying that this was all just some messed up dream. She walked backwards, crashing into the wall behind her and sliding down it just a doctor walked out of Beca's hospital room.
''Mrs. Mitchell-Beale. We did everything that we could. Unfortunately, your wife's body could no longer fight the sepsis. Her heart rate rocketed and her body went into shock.'' **
Chloe was never more grateful to have her children around her. They had barely left since Beca passed away, meaning there was always a source of comfort for whoever needed it. Eloise was a great distraction, the little girl having learned a couple of months ago to call her Nanny. She always thrust her arms towards the redhead the second she saw her for a snuggle.
She sat on the couch resting her eyes with Eloise sleeping on her when the doorbell rang. Aria's husband Lucas got up and answered it, attempting to make himself useful.
''Hey Chlo.'' A voice drifted through the living area, immediately pulling her into a completely conscious state. She daren't move through fear of waking the dozing toddler on her. Poor Eloise had been a bit unsettled at night over the past couple of weeks, clearly picking up on her Mommy's anxieties.
''Hi.'' The redhead greeted her, no where near as delighted to have a visitor as she usual would be. It was perfectly normal, she lost her wife, she didn't really feel up to visitors just yet. If she didn't have kids, she probably would have shut herself away and never come out.
''I, uh. I have something for you guys.'' Aubrey paused, chewing on the corner of her lip. ''Here.'' She passed over a small box with a label on that read, 'My Mitchell-Beale's'
''What is it Bree?''
''It's, umm, a video. From Beca.'' The blonde was met with a confused look from her best friend. ''She made it months ago and made me promise that I'd give it to you if anything bad happened.''
Chloe felt her throat dry up.
Aubrey left shortly after, not before making Chloe promise to call her if she needed anything, and hugging each of the kids. After dinner that night, which consisted of the women just picking and the guys scoffing what was left, Chloe informed her kids of USB stick that Aubrey had dropped off earlier in the afternoon.
She asked them if they wanted to watch it, giving them a non-judgemental out if they weren't up to it. They all agreed that they wanted to see what was on it, and that they would do so after Eloise was in bed asleep for the night. Unfortunately the toddler had other ideas. She fought sleep for so long that Bella decided just to bring her back downstairs.
When they all made their way to the lounge area, Leo had already set up the laptop to connect to the television. Chloe sat in the middle of the couch, with her daughters either side, Leo perching on the arm next to Bella, who had Eloise sitting in her lap, and Lucas next to Aria, already holding her hand to comfort her. None of them knew what was on the USB stick, but all were a little anxious.
Placing the USB in the port, Leo loaded it up and clicked on the single file saved to it. It was a video file, immediately showing a still of Beca. He quickly glanced over to his family, asking, ''You guys ready?'' and when he received their nods, he pressed play.
''Nana. Nana.'' Eloise bounced in her place on her Mom's lap and shouted as she noticed Beca on the screen.
''Yeah baby, that's Nana.'' Chloe said, eyes full of tears already.
''I guess if you guys are watching this, then I kinda died…'' Beca grimaced at her own words. ''...and for once Aubrey actually did what I asked. Don't give me that look Bree.'' Beca looked over the top of the camera, smirking at the person behind it, clearly Aubrey. Beca looked pale, eyes sunken slightly with dark circled under them. She was wearing a backwards baseball cap on top of a bandanna to hide her bald head. Chloe had always joked with her that she looked like a 90's wanna be teen rapper.
Beca quickly looked back at the camera and cleared her throat. ''Aria, my beautiful girl, I don't think I can fully express just how proud I am of you and the women you have grown to be. I remember the day you were born. God, you were this tiny little bundle and I was petrified, I couldn't believe that I was suddenly responsibly for this tiny human being.''
Beca visibly gulped and looked up at the ceiling, clearly attempting to quell the tears that were so obviously pricking at her eyes. ''Thank god I had your Mom there, or you definitely wouldn't have turned out to be so polite and caring. I'd definitely have messed up this parenting lark.''
Aria chuckled lightly to herself, swiping away the relentless stream of tears streaming down her face. It was something her mother had said to her so many times over the years. Whenever she accomplished anything, Beca would always say that it was down to Chloe's influence on her. Aria didn't believe it though.
''Do you remember your first day of kindergarten? You were the smallest in your class by at least two inches. You were wearing your black skinny jeans and your ACDC shirt with bright pink glittery DM's. Your backpack was nearly as big as you. Every other kid there was crying, clinging onto their parents legs and you just gave me and your Mom this huge grin and waved goodbye and tottered off into your class without a care in the world.'' Beca smiled at the memory. ''And, god, I was heart broken. I was so convinced it was because you didn't love us enough, but after a few days, I realised it was all because you were so eager to learn.''
''You have always been so intelligent, which worked in your favour during your teen years, but don't for one second think that I didn't know you would sneaked in and out when you were meant to be grounded. I knew, I just trusted you to never do anything intentionally stupid.'' A single tear the brunette had so desperately tried to prevent falling, rolled down her cheek.
Aria blushed. ''I always thought I got away with that,'' she whispered as the rest of the family chuckled lightly. She turned slightly to look at her husband who sat next to her, hand rubbing gently up and down her back in an attempt to comfort her. She was wearing her long pyjama pants and a vest that barely covered her humongous (so she felt) bump. Her tears have left a wet patch at her chest, but she couldn't care less, she knew she wasn't the only one because she could hear the sniffles of her Mom and sister.
''As I'm filming this, you are currently nineteen weeks pregnant, so I don't know if by the time you see this, well,if you ever have to see this…'' she corrected herself before continuing. ''...you will have had the baby. I can only hope that I got to meet him or her. Enjoy every second with your baby, they don't stay little for long. There will be times when you want to pull your hair out, there will be times that you think you are doing it all wrong, but being a Mom is the best thing you will ever do and I know you are going to be amazing.''
Tears once again pricked at the brunettes eyes, not being able to hide them this time. ''Never forget how proud I am of you baby girl. I love you so much. Oh, and Lucas, take care of my daughter and grandbaby. I promise I will haunt you if you even think about hurting either of them.'' She blew a kiss directly at the camera.
Both Aria and her husband let out an airy chuckle. He had been given the Mom talk nearly every single time they visited, even on their wedding day, just over a year ago, before Aria had walked up the aisle, Beca stepped towards Lucas, making it look as though she straightening his bow tie. She quietly pointed to the row of Barden Bella's, informing him that Lilly knew where to hide a dead body. She was only semi-serious, it was amusing putting the fear of god into him.
''You know, I don't disbelieve that she would haunt me.''
''Leo, my little man. Yes, I know you are six foot tall and in your twenties, but that changes nothing, you will always be my little boy.''
He rolled his eyes at being called her little boy. Usually, whenever she called him that, he would walk up to Beca, scruff her hair up and put her in a gentle head lock until she took it back. It had been the same since he was a teenager and grew taller than her.
''The day we met you, I knew you would fit into our crazy little family just perfectly. You were such a dare devil and would climb literally everything. I once found you hanging from the curtain rail.'' Beca let out a watery chuckle whilst shaking her head lightly. ''I was convince you were going to give me a heart attack.''
Letting out a puff of air before taking a deep breath Beca continued. ''You amaze me every single day. You always show such determination in everything you do and it shows in all that you have accomplished. I am so gutted that I will never get to watch you play basketball again and see the smile on your face the entire time you are on court.''
He was gutted too. His Ma hadn't missed a single game apart from when she was too sick from treatment. She could always be heard cheering him and his team on from the side line. It never failed to make him smile. Especially when she would kit herself out in his team colour.
''I know right now, you will be trying to the tough one, and taking care of your sisters and your Mom. It's what you've been doing since my diagnosis, but make sure you take care of you too okay. I'm so proud of you and I love you so much, never forget that.''
Again, she blew a kiss straight at the camera.
''Bella boo,'' Beca's voice broke with emotion. She had gradually got quieter as the video went on clearly finding it harder and harder. ''My beautiful girl. I know that this whole journey has been tough on you. I know because you still live at home, you have seen more of the bad days than your brother and sister, and for that, I am sorry.''More tears sprung to her eyes, lacking the ability to hide them now. ''You have been such a help to you Mom and me over the last couple of years whilst also going through your own journey.''
Bella couldn't prevent the tears from spilling at the memory. It's true, she had seen it all. Had been there to hold her mothers hair back when she was vomiting. Had been at the receiving end of her mood swings. Had witnessed her mother break down more in the last year or so than she had in her entire life. She cuddled into her daughter in her lap a little tighter whilst also receiving a comforting squeeze of the hand from her Mom.
''I am proud of you. I am proud that you have continued with school and are raising Eloise at the same time. I know when you first told me that you were pregnant, I was mad. I was mad because I was scared and I was scared because my baby was having a baby and I had no idea how to deal with that.'' Beca tried to silence the left her throat. She took a deep breath before a small smile graced her lips. ''Nothing makes me happier than seeing Eloise's big toothy grin and hearing her laughing her head off. I hate that I wont get to see her grow up, but I feel honoured to have been her Nana.''
Bella could feel her chest tightening and her throat felt constricted. Out of all her thoughts recently, her daughter growing up without her Nana in her life, was one she had most regularly. She let out a small sob at thought, immediately feeling her older brother wrap his arm around her shoulder and pull her into a side hug before dropping a kiss on the top of her head.
''You and me are a lot alike kiddo. We hide our feelings sometimes, we try to act like total bad asses, but if there is one thing I have learnt, is that you can still ask for help and be a bad ass at the same time. So don't shut people out okay? Give that beautiful little girl a kiss and cuddle from me. I love you both to the moon and back.''
This time, Beca blew two kisses towards the camera. Bella immediately blew a kiss back, coaxing Eloise to do the same thing.
The video cut for a brief moment, causing Chloe's heart to sink. She would be incredibly gutted not to get a little video from her wife. To have it there to watch when she felt sad or just wanted to see hear Beca's voice again. Suddenly, the screen cut to different part of the house with Beca sat in her studio chair.
''Hey Chlo.'' Beca said, smiling shyly. ''I uh, I don't really know where to start.''
''You have been my life so long, I don't really remember what it's like without you in it. When I first met you at the activities fair, I never for a second thought that we would be where we are now. Though I guess you accosting me in the shower should have given me a clue.'' She smirked at the memory. ''And babe, you should definitely still be confident about all that,'' she said with a wink.
Chloe blushed. Her younger self had absolutely zero shame. Though she doesn't regret it. It lead to Beca auditioning and joining the Bella's where they became fast friends.
''Sometimes I wonder what our life would be like now if we had actually admitted our feelings for each other back in college, but I think we made the right decision to wait.'' She paused in thought. ''We did good though didn't we? Look at our kids. They're awesome right? Thank god you were there to teach me how to do this Mom thing. There is no way I could have done it without you. I'd definitely have messed them up.''
Chloe shook her head. It's a conversation they'd had numerous times over the years. Beca was an amazing Mom, who absolutely doted on her children.
''I know we've had our tough times over the years. I know you've put up with me being moody and selfish and just a bit of a dick.'' Beca dug around in her pocket before she held up a dollar with a grin on her face. ''Don't worry, I'll put this in the jar.''
All of them chuckled. Beca was most prone to cursing. Chloe had put the curse jar in place back when Aria was a toddler. Whenever it was filled, they would use it for a family day out. They all loved those days, even as the kids got older. Family time was definitely Chloe and Beca's favourite.
''I will never understand how I got so lucky to be loved by you.''
''I'm the lucky one.'' Chloe barely whispered in response.
''You are the most beautiful women, inside and out. You have always pushed me to be the best version of myself.'' The brunettes tears were again rolling down her cheeks. She rolled her eyes, internally chastising herself for not getting through this without looking like a blubbering mess.
''Without you, I would genuinely be nothing. You're like...the ketchup to my fries, the cream to my coffee and the harmony to my music.'' She huffed out a laugh as and placed a palm to her face. ''God that was cheesy.''
The watery grin Chloe was wearing said otherwise. She loved when Beca would say things like that. It didn't happen very often, and really rarely at all since the cancer diagnosis.
''I know we've discussed it before, but I mean it when I say that if I do die and the opportunity arises, I want you to find love again. That heart of yours is too big to let it go to waste. I hope whoever gets to be loved by you next realises just how lucky they are.''
Beca was now openly crying on camera. No matter how hard she brushed away the tears, they just didn't stop falling so she had just given up trying. ''I love you so much Chlo. To the moon and back.'' She pressed a lingering kiss to her palm before blowing it at the camera.
''Forever and always baby.'' Chloe replied as she always did before Beca's passing. She closed her eyes, picturing the grin that the brunette always gave her at those words, before the screen went blank and a familiar song played in the background. 'When it feels like this' – the song Beca had written when they first started dating...where the rest of their lives began.
Three months later, the family found themselves at the cemetery, visiting Beca's grave for her birthday, bringing flowers and a balloon.
''Hey Ma, I, umm, I wanna introduce you to someone. This…'' Aria spoke, voice breaking slightly as she looked down at her son in her arms. ''...This is you grandson, Kobe Beck Samuels.''