This isn't how Beca had imagined graduation day going. Everything had started out so good. All the Bellas walked across the stage receiving their diplomas they worked so hard for. They were supposed to be at a graduation party right now. Celebrating their long four years of work, or in Chloe's case seven. Then in a few days they should have been headed to Copenhagen for the World's. Instead, here they all sit in the cold, sterile waiting room of one of Atlanta's biggest hospitals. Beca feels completely numb, ever since she found out, it's like she's been floating through some awful nightmare. Everyone else seems to be feeling similar, not much more than a word has been spoken between them. Beca feels someone grasp her hand, which was resting on the arm of the chair she hasn't moved from in over an hour. She looks over at Aubrey, the two wordlessly communicate with each other through the connection of their hands. She's going to make it. She'll be ok. It isn't the end. But why does it feel like it?
Beca beams with joy as all the Barden University graduates flood out of the giant auditorium. It's a sea of green and Beca has a hard time picking out who is who. She knows who she's looking for, she's known ever since she crossed the stage. She scans the crowd for red hair and bright blue eyes. Beca had a revelation during the ceremony, something she just doesn't think she can hold in for any longer. She needs to find Chloe, because Beca has finally realized that she loves her. She's in love with Chloe and she wants to scream it from the rooftops. It took her four years to realize it and she desperately wants to let the redhead know before it's too late.
The first person she spots is Amy, who pulls her into a bone crushing hug, "We did it Shawshank!"
"Yea Ames, we did," she mumbles into the Australian's shoulder, "have you seen Chloe?"
Fat Amy releases her from her choke hold and thinks, "Nope, haven't seen Ginger since she crossed the stage."
"Ok thanks, see you at the party," Beca says before swerving through the crowd once more.
Before she can continue her search, she runs into two more Bellas. Just when she sees the back of who she thinks is Chloe, her dad appears in front of her.
"Beca!" he hugs her tightly, "I'm so proud of you."
The universe seems to be giving Beca a sign, maybe she'll just have to tell Chloe when they all get back to the house. After what feels like years, Beca finally makes it back to her car. She's anxious to get back to the house, hoping she can get Chloe alone for a moment before everyone else shows up. Beca gets in and cranks the music up loud. For most of the drive back to the Bella house, Beca just feels happy and light. The world feels right. She's just about to start singing along to one of her favorite new David Guetta songs before flashing red and blue lights catch her eye up the road. It looks like a few cop cars and an ambulance. She drives by it as slowly as she can, which isn't very slow since there are cars behind her. It looks like a nasty accident, a head on collision of sorts. She can barely make out the car that got the most of it, it's halfway in the ditch and the nose is crumpled up like an accordion, it looks like it might be upside down. The pickup that hit it doesn't look like it sustained much damage. That's all she can see before she's past. Well, Beca hopes whoever was in that little car is ok.
When Beca finally pulls up to the Bella house, the driveway is already packed with cars. Seems weird, she figured most of the others would have hung after longer. She gets out of the car and the second she walks in the door; she knows something is wrong. Every Bella is sitting in the living room, solemn looks on their faces. Ashley and Jessica have tears softly streaming down their faces.
"Why didn't you answer any of our calls Beca?" Stacie snaps at her before she's even all the way through the door.
"I forgot my phone here…what's wrong guys?" Beca asks worriedly.
It feels like her stomach falls to the floor when she realizes Chloe isn't in the living room with everyone else. Stacie must see the panic flash through her, so she takes her hand and leads her over to the sofa to sit down.
"Ok I need you to stay calm when I tell you this," Stacie says slowly, her own voice wavering with emotion, "there's been an accident."
"What?" Beca asks confused, not putting the puzzle together.
"Chloe was hit by a drunk driver on her way home from graduation. They airlifted her to Atlanta, it's not good," Stacie's own façade cracks, and a few tears escape her eyes.
Panic, white hot but somehow ice-cold at the same time, rushes through Beca. The accident she saw on the way home. That was Chloe. She feels like she can't breathe or hear. No this can't be happening, she never even got to tell her, "But I love her," Beca manages to choke out before a sob escapes her.
Stacie pulls Beca into her arms, and for once Beca doesn't shy away from the touch, "I know you do Beca. I know."
Beca lets herself break for a few minutes. She lets herself be vulnerable and raw, and cry in the arms of her family.
All the Bellas are surrounding her when she finally starts to come back to herself, "What are we doing sitting here? We have to get to the hospital."
By the time they all get to the hospital, they find out that Chloe is in surgery. Her parents and two older brothers had been sitting nervously in the waiting room when they arrived. For a moment, her mother's eyes had brightened at the sight of all Chloe's friends. Beca felt like she was going to be sick when Chloe's father started to tell them all what had happened.
A drunk driver swerved out of the oncoming lane and ran right into her car. Since he was driving a giant pickup and Chloe a prius, it wasn't much of a match. The truck had been going so fast, it was enough force to flip the car and essentially bulldozed it past the guard rail and into the ditch, the entire front end of her car had been destroyed. Beca's anger ignites, the flames of it flickering wildly inside of her. She's seeing red when she gets the next part of the story, the guy who hit her, walked away with barely a scratch.
Beca feels her anger bubble over dangerously now, and she shoots up from the chair she was sitting in, "It's not fair!"
Hot, stinging tears roll down her face. How could someone be so careless. She feels a strong set of arms wrap around her from the side. She lets the person sit her back down gently, she's only remotely aware that she's actually shaking. Beca looks over and sees the mystery person was Cynthia Rose.
"Are you ok?" CR asks carefully.
Beca shakes her head, "No. I'm not."
It's the next morning before anyone besides her immediate family is allowed to see Chloe. Beca didn't want to go home, but Aubrey, who had been with all of them for graduation, managed to get her to leave. As soon as the clock hit an acceptable time to be awake, Beca had forced herself out of bed, she hadn't slept at all anyways. She didn't wait up for anyone else before driving to the hospital. Which in hindsight was the dumbest idea she's ever had.
One of Chloe's brothers is standing outside of her room in the ICU when Beca gets there, the oldest one. Jack, that's his name, Chloe has talked about him before. Beca never met him, even with all her trips to the Beale household.
"Prepare yourself Beca," he looks down at her with tired blue eyes, that look exactly like Chloe's, "it's not pretty."
Beca swallows hard, maybe she should wait for someone else to get here, "How do you know who I am?"
Jack laughs, but it's a hollow empty sound, instead of a full happy one, "You're all Chloe can ever talk about, I think the entire extended family knows who you are."
Maybe Chloe has always felt the same as Beca, "Um, what is all wrong with her?"
"A lot," Jack runs a hand exasperatedly through his copper curls, "she's on a machine to help her breath, they have her in a medically induced coma since there was so much swelling in her brain. She's got a broken arm and a broken leg."
Beca laughs grimly, "Wow, ok. That's a lot, that's all right?"
Jack sighs deeply, "She's got spinal cord swelling, so when they finally wake her up, she won't be able to walk. When the swelling goes down, she'll have to have extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation, if she wants a shot at using her legs again."
Beca suddenly feels very dizzy, she reaches out to grasp the wall next to her. Her breaths come out fast and heavy. She feels a hand on her back, presumably Jack's, which seems to help tether her to reality. She tries to calm her breathing, after a few minutes the world seems to finally stand still again. She looks up at Jack, who looks pretty concerned.
"You good?" he rubs her back soothingly.
"Yea I'm good, it's just…that's a lot to take in," she wipes the moisture off her face, she hadn't even realized she was crying.
"I know, do you want me to go in with you?" Jack asks carefully.
"Where are your mom and dad, and brother?" Beca asks, avoiding the question for now, she needs a few moments before she can see what's behind that glass door.
"Dan convinced them to go home and get some sleep," Jack looks like he could use some sleep, "they didn't want to leave Chloe by herself, so we both offered to stay. Dan is getting us some coffee."
"Maybe you should try and get some sleep too, you look exhausted," Beca says sympathetically, "I could sit with Chloe?"
Jack looks like he's thinking about it, "Why don't we go in and see her, before you decide you can stay."
It's a fair statement, Beca could barely pull herself together just hearing about her laundry list of problems. She knows she can do it though. Chloe is going to need someone strong when she wakes up. She's going to need everything Beca can give her and she'll be damned if she can't do that.
"Ok, yea let's go in," Beca nods, and Jack pushes the sliding door open.
The room is cold, only one light is on in the corner of the room. There are so many machines hooked up to her. The sound of beeps, buzzes and whirring fills Beca's ears. She looks so small, so fragile, like if Beca touched her she would fall apart. There's a tube down her throat and quite a few different IVs in her arms. A blanket is covering most of her body, but there's a few cuts and bruises on her face. It's like she's not even the same person, the sunny disposition that could light up the entire room is nowhere to be found. That warm, sunny, bright happiness that has filled Beca's world for so long is buried under all the bandages and bruises. Beca walks up to her slowly, until she's at the edge of the bed. The arm not in a cast is lying on top of the blankets and Beca automatically reaches for her hand. She's careful not to disturb the needle stabbing into the back of her hand as she encompasses it with her own.
"Oh Chlo," she whimpers, she can't help the tears that spring into her eyes. She turns around to look at Jack, "can I have a moment alone with her?"
He nods, and steps out of the room, "Of course."
Beca pulls a chair from the corner of the room to the bed and sits down. She pulls Chloe's hand into her own again and looks at her emotionless face, "I wish you could hear me; I wish you knew what I was saying because Chloe you need to come back to me. You need to get better because I don't think I can do this without you. I can't live in a world where you don't exist. Chloe Beale I love you with my whole heart and I'm going to be here for you."
Beca doesn't move from her spot for hours. Nurse and doctors filter in and out, Chloe's family make their appearances. All the Bellas come by at least once. But Beca doesn't leave.
It's been a week since the accident. Beca stops by the hospital every morning, she doesn't stay the whole day anymore but she comes back before they stop allowing visitors to say goodnight. This morning she has a vase with bright daisies of all colors, Chloe loves daisies. She walks into Chloe's room and her parents are standing nervously over her.
"Is everything ok?" Beca asks worriedly, setting down the vase of flowers on the bedside table.
"They have to bring her back into surgery," Chloe's mom chokes out, "the swelling in her brain is getting worse, they're going to take a little portion of her skull off to alleviate the pressure."
"Oh god," Beca is glad she set the vase down, or it would be in pieces on the floor, "when?"
"Very soon, they're going to come prep her as soon as they can," Jack supplies the information, Beca hadn't even seen him.
Beca's feet carry her to Chloe's bedside before she can even process it. She presses a light kiss to the side of her head, lacing her fingers with Chloe's free hand.
"I love you," she whispers as she pulls away, "please be ok."
Soon, a few nurses enter the room, kicking Beca and Chloe's family from the room. Before Beca can walk away to the waiting room, Jack pulls her back.
"Hey, you want to grab a coffee? My treat?" he asks.
Beca nods, happy to have a distraction, "Yea that'd be great."
They head to the little coffee stand on the first floor, and take a seat in the armchairs in the main waiting area of the hospital.
"So, Beca. Chloe never said anything but are you guys together?" he raises his eyebrow curiously.
Beca blushes, it really must be obvious how she feels with her constant presence at Chloe's bedside, "No. I couldn't get my head out of my ass soon enough for that to happen, but I love her. I was going to tell her after graduation."
Jacks takes a sip of his coffee and nods, "The way she talks about you, I kind of assumed you were. She loves you too. I know it."
They sit in silence digesting each other's words, watching the flurry of the hospital around them.
"She's going to need you when she wakes up," Jack breaks the silence after a few minutes.
"I know. I'm not leaving, I will be there," Beca replies quickly, without thought because she wouldn't even consider anything else.
Another wave of silence washes over them but it's ok. They both need it, they need to not have to think for a little bit.
Both their coffee cups are empty when Beca speaks again, "All the girls flew out to Copenhagen for the worlds this morning. They said we should drop out but I told them to go."
Jack actually genuinely smiles for once, "Good. That's what she would have wanted."
"That's what I said. I told them they need to go kick some German ass and win for Chloe. If she wakes up and the Bellas are dead because they didn't compete, she'll be furious," Beca's smiling now too.
"Why didn't you go too? Aren't you the leader?" Jack asks in confusion.
"I couldn't leave Chloe," she shrugs.
Because she can't leave Chloe. What if something happened while she was an entire ocean away? She would never be able to forgive herself.
It's been a month since the accident. Chloe's still in a coma, but she no longer needs a machine to breathe. The doctors say that's a good sign. She had two more surgeries after her second brain surgery. For a while it wasn't looking good, Beca will never forget the night she coded. She's never felt so afraid in her life, but they brought her back. She survived. Now only if she would wake up.
Life had to go on, even with Chloe in the hospital. The Bellas won worlds and Beca couldn't be prouder. Now most of the girls have moved to different parts of the country to start the next part of their life. Beca hasn't left Georgia. Her, Amy and Chloe should be in New York, but life has a funny way of changing plans sometimes. Instead, Beca was able to get a full-time position at Residual Heat, where she had been interning. Amy didn't really have a plan, so she agreed to get a place with Beca in Georgia.
"Amy?" Beca calls out through their small apartment, "have you seen my keys?"
"Nope!" she calls back from wherever she is.
Beca groans, "For real? I need to get to the hospital before work."
Amy appears from the shadows, practically sending Beca through the roof, "Do you really need to go to the hospital every morning?"
"Jesus dude!" Beca screeches, clutching her chest from the scare, "and yes I do!"
"Chloe doesn't even know you're there, give yourself a break," she knows Amy is trying to look out for her, but it just makes her angry.
"I think she does know I'm there," she snaps, "and what if she wakes up and I'm not there?"
"Well there's a good chance you'll be at work when that happens anyways…" Amy mumbles.
"I'm going to pretend you didn't say that," Beca grumbles, suddenly spotting her keys on the floor next to the fridge, "Ha! There they are!"
Beca's out the door before Amy can say anything else, her sole focus is on getting to the hospital in enough time to sit and talk with Chloe and not be too late for work.
It's been two months since the accident. Chloe's still in a coma. The swelling on her brain has gone down considerably, enough that they can start to try and bring her out of the coma. Her broken bones are healing well, the cuts and bruises healing. She's starting to look more like herself again.
They decided to lighten the meds keeping her under today, so Beca took the day off from work. She's been sitting at Chloe's bedside, waiting. The doctor says it could be a long time since she's been in the coma for so long, but Beca feels hopeful. She thinks it might be today. Chloe's parents are feeling just as hopeful. They both have been in and out today, waiting on bated breath, just like Beca.
Beca is slouched back in the uncomfortable chair next to Chloe's bed. She's tired, and her eyes have been fluttering shut all day. Just as she's about to fall asleep, when she hears a light murmur. It must have been herself; she was almost asleep anyways. It happens again. This time Beca shoots forward, suddenly awake. She grabs on to Chloe's hand, watching her face intently for any sign of consciousness. Another noise falls from Chloe's lips, this time a small groan. Beca's heart races and her hands shake, this is it. She's waking up.
"Chloe?" she says quietly, "Chlo? Can you hear me?"
Chloe's eyelids start fluttering like she's trying to open them and Beca freezes. It's another minute or so before Chloe makes another noise, this time her eyelids move more. She's trying hard.
"You can do it Chlo, come on. Wake up," she encourages her, rubbing the back of her hand softly.
Finally, her eyelids open. Cerulean eyes meet Beca's again for the first time in what feels like years. Beca feels like she could cry.
"Beca," Chloe manages to rasp, her voice rough from being unused.
"Yea Chloe, I'm here," Beca cries, unrestrained, happy tears pour down her face now.
Beca is still clutching Chloe's hand and she feels it squeeze weakly against hers for the first time. Beca squeezes back, letting her know she's here.
"Beca," she says again, her voice still gravely but a little bit stronger as she continues to come around.
Beca simply brings their joined hands to her lips and kisses the back of Chloe's hand, "I'm here."
Chloe squeezes Beca's hand again, like she's trying to communicate something to her.
"I love you," Beca says softly, squeezing her hand back.
Chloe grips her even harder now, but still weaker than anyone's grasp should be, "I.." she takes a moment to swallow, her throat must be dry, "I love…you too."
Beca drops her hand and Chloe looks confused until Beca leans to wrap her arms carefully around her. She hugs her lightly, unsure if it will hurt her or not. Beca can feel Chloe make a miniscule movement to lean her head against Beca's. Beca pulls away after a moment and steps back to wipe away her tears. She's awake. Chloe is back.
The next few hours are a hurricane of excitement. Doctors and nurses are in and out, running tests and doing checks. Chloe's brothers and parents have been buzzing around her happily, drastically cutting into the time Beca has with her. But she stays in the corner, watching the scene unfold. Beca has been in constant communication with all the other Bellas since Chloe woke up, those of them who are within driving distance will be here tomorrow to see her. Those who need to fly are doing their best to get here. Beca is still sitting on pins and needles for one specific reason, one very horrible thing that is going to upset the mood very quickly. Chloe still hasn't figured out she can't use her legs.
Chloe's parents are talking with the doctors in the hall and her brothers went to go get some lunch. Beca has been sitting with Chloe just talking with her while everyone is gone. She's completely aware now and her voice is getting better, she's just weak.
"So they really won?" Chloe asks excitedly, her eyes sparkling for the first time since she's been awake.
Beca nods, pulling out her phone to show her a picture of everyone at worlds with the trophy, "They did it for you Chlo."
"Becs, why didn't you go?" she looks sad that Beca wasn't there.
Beca grabs her hand and Chloe squeezes back tightly, it seems to be a comfort thing for them now, "I had to be here for you."
"I love you Beca, thank you," Chloe smiles.
Beca wonders if now is the right time for this, but she has to, she can't risk not doing it and losing her again, "Chloe I have to tell you something and I waited way too long to do it. If this has taught me anything it's that you don't get unlimited chances for the things you want in life, so you should tell people how you feel about them."
Chloe nods as best she can, her eyes swimming with unshed tears, "Tell me, I want to know."
"I love you Chloe. I'm in love with you and I have been for a long time. I was going to tell you right after graduation, I told you I loved you every day you've been in this hospital but now I can really say it," Beca doesn't think she's ever been able to speak about her feelings this easily, but maybe this has changed who she is too.
The tears are freely rolling down Chloe's cheeks now and she's smiling, "I knew that was you."
Beca's mouth drops open in surprise, "You heard me?"
"Every day. I knew you were talking to me, I don't remember what you said except that you loved me," Chloe replies, she stretches her fingers out trying to reach for Beca's hand.
Beca doesn't hesitate to take Chloe's hand into her own, she's not sure what to say so she just squeezes her hand.
"I'm in love with you too," Chloe says it so truthfully and freely, it makes Beca's heart swell with joy.
"Chloe would it be ok if I kiss you?" Beca asks shyly, "I don't want to do anything to hurt you."
"Please kiss me, my lips aren't broken," Chloe jokes.
Beca stands up on shaky legs and leans over Chloe, her long hair falling down around their faces like a curtain. Chloe is looking at her with such love it makes her heart pound loud in her ears. Beca keeps leaning forward until their noses are brushing. Before she can connect their lips, Beca feels a hand slowly slide up her arm. She knows Chloe is weak still, it must be taking a lot for her to do even such a small simple movement. Beca finally closes the gap and moves her lips softly against Chloe's. Beca pulls back from the simple kiss after a few moments, not wanting to push Chloe past what she can handle.
After Beca has sat back down in her usually spot, Chloe looks at her worriedly, "Beca can I ask you something?"
"Of course, what is it?" the look on Chloe's face is making Beca concerned.
"I'm never going to walk again am I?" she pauses momentarily, before continuing, "I realized I can't feel my legs about an hour ago and I thought I heard the doctor say something about it. I've been too scared to ask anyone else."
Beca's not sure how to answer it, she doesn't want to lie to her though, "I don't know if they're sure if you will be able to or not. Your brother Jack told me the night it happened that you're going to have to go through lots of therapy if you want to walk again."
Chloe nods, another tear rolls slowly down her face, this time it's not a happy one, "I just wanted to know. Thanks Becs."
"I'll be there for you Chlo. I'll help you through therapy, help you walk again," Beca leans forward to wipe the tears from Chloe's cheeks.
"But what about your dream, you need to go to LA or New York. You need to start living your life, I'll be ok."
"There will be time for that later," Beca replies, her thumb still brushing lightly over Chloe's face, "as far as I'm concerned my life is being here with you right now. You are what's important right now."
"God you turned into a softie while I was out," Chloe is smiling now, "did we reverse roles?"
"Considering you just answered my heartfelt sentiment with a joke, I'm going to go with yes," Beca smirks, her hand moving away from Chloe's face and back into her lap.
When the doctor finally comes back in later, Chloe gets the real news about her legs. Beca doesn't think she'll ever be able to un-see the hurt and anguish that etched all over Chloe's face. Beca was right for the most part, she's going to have to go through intense therapy to try and use her legs again. So, for now, she's going to have to learn how to live life from a wheelchair. The doctor reiterated many times the importance of having a strong support system to help her through recovery. Beca knows she does because she's a part of it.
It's been two weeks since Chloe woke up. Chloe has been working so hard in occupational and physical therapy. It's that blind determination and drive Beca has always seen in her. Since they took the cast off her arm, she's been acting like a pro with her wheelchair. Last week Beca had offered to wheel Chloe down to the cafeteria for food and she had wheeled herself the entire way there. Physical therapy has definitely been the harder of the two. Beca remembers the first day of it vividly. The therapist just wanted to have her stand with help. It took the therapist and a nurse to lift her from her chair and she had crumpled almost instantly. They've been moving a lot slower ever since.
The hardest part by far has been deciding where Chloe is going to live when she leaves the hospital. Her parents have been lobbying for her to come stay with them. Beca has been urging her to come live with her and Amy. Her parents don't even have a first-floor bedroom for her, she would end up living in their living room for months. Beca and Amy have a first-floor unit, granted it's only a two bedroom but Beca is more than willing to take the sofa for as long as she has to. Plus, Amy doesn't even work, she's essentially a freeloader. She'd be there to help Chloe all day when Beca couldn't be. But, in the end, it really is up to Chloe.
It's Friday and Beca has been trying to leave work early, so she can get to Chloe quicker. She's been feeling more and more cooped up, since she hasn't been out of the hospital in almost three months. Beca decided she was going to surprise Chloe with a "date" since she's been feeling a little down. She's picking up Chinese form Chloe's favorite place and she's bringing a variety of movies and games for them to choose from. Beca hopes it helps lift her spirits a little.
When Beca finally manages to leave the studio, she rushes to go home and get the games and movies. She'll swing by the Chinese place on the way there. Honestly, she didn't make bad time. About forty minutes later she's walking down the hallway to Chloe's room.
"Hi Beca," one of the nurses smile at her warmly, she's been here so much, most of them on this floor know her now, "Chloe is going to love that. She's been complaining about the hospital food for a couple days now."
"Good, she'll be extra grateful for it then," Beca chuckles, "how has she been doing today?"
"Bored, waiting for her girlfriend to get here," nurse Jackie smirks, "get your butt in there and make her happy."
Beca says her goodbye and eagerly makes her way to Chloe's room. When she gets there, Chloe is lying in bed, she looks like she might be asleep. Beca walks up slowly up sets the bag of food down on the table next to her bed.
Chloe's eyes snap open, "Is that smell what I think it is?"
Beca laughs, "If you think it's orange chicken, low mein and crab rangoons from your favorite Chinese restaurant, then yes."
"Beca Mitchell you are the best girlfriend ever," she says excitedly, already digging into the bag.
"I also brought a few different movies and some games, I thought it could be like a little date night," she says showing the tote bag full of fun still in her hand.
"That's so sweet Beca," she scoots over as best she can and pats the space next to her on the bed, "get over here."
Beca hops up onto the bed, it's a tight fit but it works, she doesn't mind the chance to be so close to Chloe. As soon as she's settled, Chloe doesn't miss the chance to lean in and kiss Beca soundly. Beca gladly kisses back for a couple minutes before they eagerly unpack the food and start eating.
"So anything new today?" Beca asks in between bites of orange chicken.
Chloe swallows what's in her mouth before answering, "All my tests came back clean, and I'm doing well enough in therapy that they think I might get to go home tomorrow."
Beca's eyes widen and she practically spits chicken everywhere, "Tomorrow! Chlo that's great!"
"Yea, I'm excited to get out of here and see the real world again," Chloe grabs Beca's hand that isn't holding a fork and squeezes tightly, "even if it's the world from a wheelchair."
"So, have you decided where you're going to live yet?" Beca kind of needs to know before tomorrow if it's with her and Amy, so she can make sure everything is ready for her.
She nods her head, "I was going to tell you sooner, but I didn't know I would be going home tomorrow…but Becs, home is wherever you are. I want to live with you."
Beca responds by leaning in to kiss her deeply, Chloe moans lightly into the kiss, completely taken by surprise.
"I love you," Beca mumbles against her lips.
When Beca gets home that night, Amy is thankfully still up and in the living room, watching some trashy reality TV show.
"Dude!" she yells the second she walks in the door, "Chloe's coming home tomorrow!"
"Like here?" Amy lifts her hand from the bag of potato chips and shoves a handful in her mouth.
She nods, "She's going to live with us."
"Awesome," Amy says through a mouthful of chips, "as long as you didn't offer my room up as sacrifice."
Beca spends most of the night after Amy goes to bed, making sure the apartment will work for Chloe and her chair. She wants to make sure she can get around easily. She rearranges the living room furniture a little, makes sure things are mostly accessible from chair height and makes sure there is a clear path to the bed in her room. Beca's not too sure what else they'll need to do, but they can figure it out together. She just wants to make the transition as easy as possible.
Beca wakes up to a buzzing noise, she opens her eyes, her vision still blurry with sleep. She hadn't slept much last night because she's so excited for Chloe to come home.
"Ughhh," she groans, grabbing her phone the bedside table, realizing that's the source of the buzzing.
She looks at the screen and sits up, suddenly wide awake when she sees who it is.
"Chloe hey what's up?" she answers tiredly, the phone pressed to her ear.
"You sound like you're still asleep," Chloe giggles.
"I just got up," Beca yawns only proving her point.
"Well get your cute butt moving, because they're discharging me as we speak."
"Oh wow, dude that was quick," Beca gets out of bed and starts rummaging through her closet for clothes, "I'm getting ready right now, I'll be there soon."
Chloe's parents are in the room when Beca finally gets to the hospital. It sounds like the doctor is going over any instructions or precautions she should be taking. All of Chloe's belongings are in a couple duffle bags sitting on the hospital bed and Chloe is sitting eagerly in her wheelchair. Chloe's face lights up as soon as she sees Beca enter the room. Beca walks over to her and Chloe immediately reaches out for her hand. She doesn't hesitate to take Chloe's hand into hers, giving it a light squeeze.
"You excited?" Beca whispers, not wanting to disrupt the doctor.
She nods happily, her red curls, which have grown exponentially during her hospital stay, bounce along with her. Beca listens patiently to the conversation, taking mental notes of anything she should know that will help her. When the doctor says his final goodbye and leaves the room, Chloe's parents look over at the two girls.
Her mom walks over and wraps up Chloe in a tight hug, "You sure you don't want to come back home for a little while?"
"Mom, my home is with Beca, I told you I'll be fine," Chloe reassures her mom as they pull away from each other.
"Well if you change your mind, you are always welcome, you know that," her dad says, smiling warmly at her.
Now Chloe's mom looks to Beca and for once in her life, Beca is scared of the woman who is the equivalent of a warm apple pie and new born kittens, "Take care of my baby girl and please call us if you need to."
Beca knows they've all been through hell and back in the last three months and that the older woman just wants to make sure that Chloe is in the best hands possible, and she is, "I will but you don't have to worry, I will take care of her."
At her words, the woman steps forward and pulls Beca into a tight hug, "Oh I know you will. Thank you Beca."
After all the sappy goodbyes have been made, Beca and Chloe finally make their way out of the hospital together. As they leave the main entrance, Chloe turns to look one more time, "I am not going to miss that place."
"Too bad you still have to come back for therapy twice a week," Beca laughs, earning a slap on the arm.
When they get to Beca's car, she's suddenly concerned about how they are going to make this work. Is she going to be able to get in by herself? Beca looks down at Chloe worriedly.
"Are you going to open the door? Or are we going to stare at the car all day?" Chloe smirks.
Beca grabs the keys from her pocket and unlocks the car, "Uh yea, sorry."
"If you're worried about me getting in the car, you don't have to," Chloe really can read Beca like an open book, "I practiced this in occupational therapy."
Before Beca can ask any questions, Chloe opens up the passenger side door. She wheels herself right next to the seat and grabs the handle above the door frame on the inside, swinging herself into the seat with a thud. She has to admit, that worked pretty well.
"Wow that was really cool," Beca says, grabbing the chair, to put in the trunk.
"Wait until you can see what I can do Mitchell," she winks suggestively at Beca.
Beca can feel her cheeks flush, good to know Chloe didn't lose her ability to completely fluster her. Beca struggles to get Chloe's chair folded up and into the trunk of the car, she's going to have to work on that.
"So," Beca says as she starts the car, "I was thinking, if you're up to it, we could stop by the Bella house and get some of your stuff? Emily has been keeping it safe for you."
Chloe nods, "Sure, that'd be great."
Chloe's been pretty quiet the whole way to the Bella house, which is pretty uncharacteristic of the usually bubbly, talkative red head. When Beca finally pulls into the driveway of the oh so familiar house, she looks over at Chloe, who looks like she might cry.
"Hey, you ok?" Beca place a hand on her shoulder.
"It's just a lot you know?" she says, sniffling, "The last time I was here was the morning of graduation,"
She doesn't have to say anymore, Beca knows exactly what she's thinking, "Take your time. We don't even have to stay if you don't want to."
"No, I want to go in," Chloe wipes her eyes, "just give me a minute."
"Hey, look at me," Beca unbuckles herself so she can lean to the other side of the car.
Chloe turns to face her, eyes glassy and Beca pulls her into a hug. Chloe leans into the hug, tucking her face in the space between Beca's neck and shoulder. They stay wrapped up like that until Beca can feel that the tension has completely sept out of her girlfriend's body.
They don't stay long at the Bella house, just enough to say hi to Emily and to get some of the more important things from Chloe's old room. Chloe is excited to get back to their apartment and get settled and still is uneasy being at the old house. Beca gets that. Someday she'll be ready to come back here, but not yet.
It's been a week since Chloe has moved in with Beca (and Amy). It's been a bit of an adjustment, but they are figuring things out. Chloe has been getting increasingly more frustrated with trying to do things, understandably so. Although she rarely asks for help from Beca or Amy, she's determined to do things on her own. There are times where Beca has intervened, just so she doesn't hurt herself.
Beca hears a frustrated cry from the bathroom.
She hops off the sofa and runs to the door, "Chloe are you ok?"
"No." she says angrily.
"Do you need help?"
"No," Chloe snaps, then changes her mind, "yes."
Beca puts her hand on the doorknob, turning it slowly, "Ok, I'm coming in."
Chloe is sitting in her chair looking utterly defeated. Her head is in her hands, and angry tears roll down her face.
"Chlo, what can I do?" Beca kneels down in front of her.
"How am I ever going to live normally again if I can't even go to the bathroom without help?!" she cries, but mostly screams.
Beca runs a hand through her hair in an attempt to calm her down, "You'll get there. It's all new yet, we'll figure out how to make things work for you here."
"I'm just so sick of this," Chloe cries even harder and Beca just pulls her into her arms and lets her get it out.
"Now do you want me to help you?" Beca asks when she's finally stopped crying.
Chloe nods and they fumble around together to get her pants off and get her sitting on the toilet.
"Ok, I'll just be outside the door," Beca puts her hand back on the doorknob, "let me know when you're done and I'll help."
Chloe just nods, her face expressionless. Beca leaves the small room and shuts the door. She can understand why Chloe is so upset. Even the smallest of tasks is like climbing a mountain, not to mention having to have someone help you use the bathroom has to be some awful level of dehumanizing. Chloe is strong and determined and she'll figure this out, but she now understands why the doctor had stressed having a strong support system for recovery.
"She ok?" Amy walks by the bathroom, pointing at the door.
Beca nods, "She'll be ok, she was just having some trouble…there's not really much in there for her to grab onto to help lift herself out of her chair."
"She did it fine on her own yesterday?" Amy says curiously.
"I know," Beca talks quieter so Chloe can't hear her through the thin door, "I think she's just feeling a little more frustrated than normal today."
Amy nods knowingly and continues on down to hall to her room. Beca can tell there is something wrong, she just hopes Chloe opens up to her about it.
Beca and Chloe are lying in bed later, both trying to fall asleep. Chloe is tucked into Beca's side, arm wrapped around her middle.
"Beca?" Chloe asks, piercing the dark, quiet night.
"Yea?" Beca says sleepily, she had almost been out.
Chloe moves her hand lower on Beca's stomach to play with the hem of her shirt, "You asked me before if something was bothering me, well I'm ready to talk now."
"Ok, what's up?"
"I was just really upset today…about everything. I feel like I'm stuck in limbo, nothing is right anymore. I can't work, I can't do anything on my own it feels like. I just want to walk again," Chloe sighs, her voice shaky, "I just want things to go back to normal."
Beca rubs Chloe's back comfortingly, her other hand joins Chloe's on her stomach and she laces their fingers together, "It has to be really hard, but you're doing so good Chlo. Think about how far you've come."
"Remember when you could barely push your own chair down the hall at the hospital, now look at everything you can do," Beca tries her best to reassure her.
"Do you think I'll ever walk again?" Chloe sounds relatively unsure.
Beca nods earnestly, "I think you will, if you want it bad enough."
"I do, Becs, I'm going to work so hard to walk," Chloe gives Beca's hand a squeeze, "it just seems impossible some days."
"I know Chlo, but you can do it. I know you can."
It's been one month since Chloe moved in with Beca. She's a pro at pretty much everything now. Chloe hardly ever asks for help and Beca isn't worried about her needing it anymore. It feels so good to see her regaining her freedom. She's starting to act more like herself again and Beca couldn't be happier. She's been working so hard at physical therapy. It's gotten to the point where she can stand on her own for almost 30 seconds. They've started to have her walk, but that usually entails a walker and two other people holding her up. Beca knows she's going to walk again, but more importantly Chloe is starting to believe it too.
She knew that Chloe might try something stupid sometime. She's anxious to walk and getting overconfident, Beca has told her not to try anything without her or Amy. Beca knew her strong-willed spirit would get her in trouble eventually. She's almost not surprised when she gets home from work to find what she does.
The second she walks in the front door she knows something is wrong, Chloe's chair is sitting right outside the kitchen without Chloe in it.
"Beca?" she hears a panicked cry from in the kitchen.
Beca throws her stuff down on the floor and races to where the voice is coming from. She gasps when she sees the scene before her. Chloe is lying down on the floor, just inside the kitchen, it looks like she's been crying.
Beca kneels down next to her, "Chloe what happened?"
"I wanted to try and walk to the fridge," she sniffles, "I thought I could make it."
"How long have you been lying here?" Beca can't believe she would try something like that.
Chloe starts to cry again, "I don't know, I didn't have my phone on me, but probably a couple hours."
"Oh my god Chlo," Beca helps her sit up and pulls her into her arms.
"I tried to get over to my chair but I couldn't do it," she blubbers, crying harder into Beca's shoulder now, "but these damn legs just don't do what I want them to!"
"You shouldn't have tried that," Beca pulls her as close as she can, letting her get out her frustration.
"I know, I just wanted to so bad," Chloe's crying slows down and she pulls away from Beca slightly.
"You'll get there Chlo, I know it."
Chloe leans in and kisses Beca hard on the lips, "I love you."
"I love you too," Beca replies before connecting their lips again.
After the kitchen incident, Chloe started pushing harder than she was before. She wants to walk and she's going to make it happen. Beca's convinced her sheer determination is what's making the recovery go so quickly. Last week when they went to physical therapy, her doctor commented on how other patients in her situation hadn't gotten this far in a couple months. Beca is so proud of her. She's gotten strong enough that she can walk with a walker on her own. At home, she still uses her chair a lot but she makes sure to try and walk for at least part of the day.
Beca looks up from her spot of the couch, peeling her eyes away from the pages of her book, "Yea Chlo?"
Chloe is making her way slowly into the living room, using her walker now instead of her wheelchair, "Can you help me with something?"
Beca nods, "Of course, what?"
"Can you help me walk without this?" she looks down at the walker sheepishly.
"You sure that's a good idea?" Beca's not sure how safe that would be.
"I swear it'll be fine, I know I can do it," Chloe pleads, she must really want this.
"Ok let's do it," Beca stands up from the couch, setting her book down, "but if you feel at any point that we have to stop, let me know."
Beca walks over to where Chloe is and slides her arm around her, letting Chloe lean her weight mostly on Beca. Chloe slowly moves an arm around Beca's shoulders, the other still gripping the walker.
"You doing ok? We can stop?"
"I'm fine," Chloe takes a deep breath and completely lets go of the metal frame in front of her.
"Ok, let's try and get over to the sofa?" Beca isn't sure how much walking Chloe wants to do.
Chloe nods, "Ok."
They start out very slowly, Chloe takes miniscule steps, being careful so they don't both end up on the floor. After a minute or two and only having moved a few feet, Chloe picks up the pace. Now they are almost halfway to the couch. Beca can feel Chloe's whole body shaking with strain and effort.
"Doing ok?" Beca checks in when Chloe grips onto her shoulder even tighter.
"Let's just get over there, I can do this," Chloe grunts, clearly overexerting herself.
After another excruciating minute they make it over to the sofa and Beca leads them both down onto the soft cushions. Beca looks over at Chloe, who is a little sweaty but absolutely beaming.
"I did it! I've never done that!" her eyes are sparkling with joy.
"I'm so proud of you," Beca smiles brightly as Chloe's success.
They look at each other happily for a moment, Chloe's gaze drops down to Beca's lips a few times. Beca leans in slowly, brushing their lips together before kissing her soundly. Their lips move softly against each other's, Beca's hands move to tangle into Chloe's red locks. They pull away from each other breathless after a few minutes. Even though these last couple months have been pretty hard for both of them, Beca has never been happier. Chloe makes her so happy.
"You're going to walk down the aisle in a white dress someday I know it," Beca says softly, their faces still only inches from each other's, "and I'll be waiting at the other end for you."
Chloe gasps, and pecks Beca quickly on the lips, "Did you just ask me to marry you?"
"What dude, did I?" Beca sputters, I guess that's what she was implying with her words.
Chloe giggles and nods, "I'm pretty sure you did."
"I guess I did," Beca feels heat creep onto her cheeks.
"Yes," Chloe says simply.
"Yes, I'll marry you. If you meant it, I say yes," Chloe smiles softly at her.
Beca's heart soars at her answer, this isn't how she had imagined this moment, but if she's learned anything with this. Sometimes life doesn't always go how you plan it.
"Wait here," Beca stands up from the sofa abruptly, and runs to their bedroom.
She rummages through the little box full of jewelry on her dresser, she knows it's in here somewhere. Bingo, she spies what she's looking for at the bottom and runs back into the living room where Chloe is waiting confused.
Beca drops down onto her knee in front of her girlfriend, "Chloe Beale, will you marry me?" she holds out the ring her mother had given her when she was thirteen. It had been her grandma's, then her mom's, then Beca's, now hopefully Chloe's.
The smile Chloe gives her could have blind the entire neighborhood, "Yes Beca. Of course."
Beca slides the ring onto her finger, it's a perfect fit. Chloe grabs her hands and pulls her up into a searing kiss.
It's been one year since Chloe's accident. One year since Chloe had to fight for her life. One year since she thought she would never walk again. One year since a drunk driver wrecked her car and almost took away the chance that Beca is being given today. Now here she stands, in a white dress in front of all her friends and family, waiting for that same person who fought so hard to get here, to walk down that aisle and into her arms.
Beca grips the bouquet of flowers she's holding tightly, holding her breath in anticipation. The music starts and suddenly Chloe is standing there, looking more beautiful than she ever has. Beca fights hard to hold the tears back, this moment means so much. For a while they never thought she'd get here, that she would never walk. There had been many meltdowns, fights and failed attempts but they had pushed through them all together.
Chloe starts walking and Beca doesn't think she'll be able to hold it together. It's like time slows down around them the second they lock eyes. The closer she gets to Beca, she can tell that Chloe's eyes are just as glassy with unshed tears as her own.
Chloe finally reaches her and hands her own bouquet off, Beca turning around to hand her own away. Their hands find their way together instantly, and they turn to face each other.
"You did it," Beca whispers.
Chloe beams, her grasp on Beca's hands tightening, "I couldn't have done it without you."
*Huge shout out to my friend EAB13 for all the ideas and help with this story, you're the best Go check out their stuff!*