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Stained Glass

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Beca wakes to someone knocking on the door. She groans, burrowing deeper into the warm sleep she’d been pulled from, breathing in deep of strawberries and--

Strawberries?

She cracks an eye open, blinking until her vision clears and she can make out the red curls tucked into her neck and chest. And the fuzzy warmth solidifies into a hand on her hip, just under the hem of her shirt, and breath on her collarbone. Chloe, pressed as close as she could get and fast asleep. And it’s strange for a moment, because even though they’ve fallen asleep around each other, they’d never fallen asleep together. If someone had asked her a few days ago, though, what it would be like sleeping beside Chloe Beale, she would have described probably this exact situation.

She doesn’t snore. Beca’s always kinda hated it, because, really, how is it fair that Chloe can be all the great things she is and not snore?

The knocks come again, louder. Chloe’s back arches as she breathes in deep, her nose in the crook of Beca’s neck and her toes dragging down Beca’s leg as she stretches. The blanket falls away and Beca’s sure the rush of cold air is why she shudders when Chloe’s fingers tighten around her hip for a moment.

Then Chloe is rolling out of the chair, careful not to tip it over, and padding for the door. Her shirt is twisted and partly tucked in on the side and her eyes are still mostly closed, but she grabs the knob on the first try and pulls the door open.

Beca closes her eyes, pulling the blanket back up as she listens to Chloe chat with what sounds like their neighbor (a very nice old lady that even Beca can’t help but be nothing but polite to). Where Chloe had been laying is so warm and she burrows into the spot.

“Bec, breakfast. From Ms. McKinney.” Chloe returns with the smell of French toast and Beca temporarily forgets she’s a grumpy morning person. It’s hard to be, when she’s warm and her favorite chair smells like her best friend (a title Chloe flaunts constantly) and said best friend is holding a plate of French toast and rubbing sleep from her eyes in a move that should not be as cute as it is on a grown ass woman.

So she follows Chloe to the kitchen for breakfast without complaint for probably the first time ever.

As Chloe plops the plate in the center of the bar and grabs forks for them, she says, “Thanks for the cuddles, roomie.”

Beca grunts, swinging up into one of their bar stools. “If anyone asks, those were forced under duress.”

“Oh, really?” Chloe slips closer, eyes shining. “And what duress did I put you under to make you cuddle me?” She says “duress” like it should be accompanied by a strip tease.

Beca tries. She really does. But she’s still warm and fuzzy. “...I’m not awake enough for banter. Gimme my fork.”

Chloe laughs, dropping immediately back into sweet and sleepy as she passes the utensil over, hopping into the other stool.

They eat in silence, both leaning forward over the single plate, their legs bumping between them. Chloe bats her toes against the bottoms of Beca’s feet. Beca steals pieces straight off Chloe’s fork every now and then, laughing when Chloe wrinkles her nose at the scrape of their forks. Chloe knees her in the thigh. Beca snatches the plate to steal the last bite.

Once the plate is empty, they sit back. Beca has her eyes closed, debating whether she should take another couple hours of sleep or get some work done. Chloe hums to herself, tapping her fork against Beca’s until she taps back and it turns into a miniature sword fight. “You know. You really don’t have to do this.”

Beca lifts her head from where she’s slumped it over the back of the stool. “Do what? This?” She jabs her fork at Chloe’s again.

Chloe laughs, catching her wrist. “No. Be my fake date.” Her shoulders lift and she rocks forward a bit. “I know it’s stupid.”

The morning light is shining through their stained glass kitchen window, sending streaks of red and purple and blue and green across the kitchen tiles. This is the time of day Beca likes the window the most, because everything close to the window gets quilted in color, including Chloe’s arm, lying across the countertop, and the plate of syrup between them. She plops her fork down in a ray of purple. “Well, you’ve had other ideas that could be considered dumb and they worked out pretty great. Come on. It’ll probably be fun.” She shrugs. “Lord knows I could use a vacation.”

Chloe’s smile is slow and half-hidden behind the fist she’s resting her chin against. Her nose wrinkles up. “It will be fun. Now that I’ve got the best roommate after Colin Firth as my date!” She reaches out, poking Beca’s cheek. “You’re gonna love Georgia! And--” she gasps. “My family’s place is so huge. And--I mean, it’s super hot, like, all the time. And dusty. And--”

“Chloe,” Beca says, propping a foot up on Chloe’s stool and spinning her side to side. Chloe giggles. “You do remember I grew up in Louisiana, don’t you?”

The way her eyes widen tells Beca she, in fact, did not remember. “Oh my GOD, that’s right! I totally forgot. It’s so hard to believe you’re from the South, you know? You’re so…” She waves her hands about, indicating all of Beca. “So northern-y.”

“That’s not a word.”

“You’re just so far from a Southern Belle, Becs.” Chloe shrugs, still letting Beca push her stool around.

“And you are the epitome of it. Opposites attract, right?” Beca winks, spinning her own stool away to hop off of it. She notes the thrilled smile on Chloe’s face when Beca’s comment registers. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I should go get caught up on some work so nobody gets bitchy when I take a month off.”

“I owe you!”

“You bet your pretty ass you do!”