Aubrey Posen had always considered herself an incredibly observant person. It was one of the few beneficial byproducts of the way that she had been raised. Her observation skills were even more pronounced when it came to her best friend, Chloe Beale. Aubrey knew Chloe like the back of her hand. She knew what every frown and every tilt of the head meant. She knew when Chloe was smiling genuinely, and when she was putting on a show.
That was how she knew that Chloe, in the middle of a restaurant in Copenhagen, surrounded by Bellas – current and former, was having an anxiety attack. The first time the redhead had had an anxiety attack was after their first performance with the Bellas, after their captain had torn into them for being a disappointment to the Bellas’ legacy.
Since then, Aubrey had been privy to several of Chloe’s anxiety attacks and she had helped keep them from all the other Bellas, past and present, because she had made a promise to Chloe to do so, and Aubrey Posen was nothing if not a woman of her word. That was why she had spent more than 10 minutes trying to formulate a plan to get Chloe away from the table without alerting anyone else to her condition. Before she could make a decision, something strange happened.
Beca Mitchell, who had been sitting to Chloe’s left, and had looked like she wasn’t paying much attention, leaned over to Chloe.
“Come with me outside for a bit,” She said “I need to get some air.”
She had spoken so quietly, if Aubrey hadn’t been sitting directly opposite them, she would’ve missed it.
Chloe’s only response was a nod, before she pushed herself into a standing position and let Beca lead her out of the restaurant.
As the two of them walked away, Aubrey turned to look at her Bellas, shocked at their lack of response. Instead of the suggestive teasing and ridiculous ‘Bhloe’ jokes she expected to be directed at the two co-captains, Aubrey was surprised to find concern and understanding on their faces. Even Amy looked disconcertingly serious.
“This happens sometimes,” Stacie spoke quietly to Aubrey’s left, startling the blonde out of her reverie “Red has these anxiety attacks. We try to help as much as we can, but no one gets through to her like Shorty does.”
“Beca helps her?” Aubrey couldn’t keep the skepticism out of her voice. She just couldn’t imagine the perpetually grumpy, emotionally constipated Beca ‘sarcastic is my default setting’ Mitchell willingly dealing with somebody’s emotional distress. Even if that somebody was Chloe Beale.
“Yeah, Cap is great at it,” Cynthia-Rose interjected from her place on Aubrey’s right, wary of being overheard “it’s kind of freaky how fast she calms her down.”
As much as she wanted to believe her former team mates that Beca had the situation handled, Aubrey just had to check on Chloe herself. It didn’t take her long to spot the two women sitting by the river, however, Aubrey’s jaw dropped at the sight of their position. Chloe’s head was resting on Beca’s shoulder, which was neither novel nor surprising – the redhead famous for her disregard of personal space. The surprising part was Beca’s position. Her head was leaned against Chloe’s, and she had wrapped an arm around the older woman’s waist.
Aubrey stood rooted to the spot, unwilling to interrupt the moment, and yet unable to walk away
“Do you feel better?” Beca asked, her tone gentler and warmer than Aubrey had ever heard it.
“Yeah.” Chloe replied, and then paused for a moment “Can we stay here for a bit though?”
“We can stay as long as you need, Chlo.”
Aubrey turned around and walked back into the restaurant as unobtrusively as possible, even as her mind reeled from the scene she had witnessed.
She couldn’t stop thinking about it throughout dinner and as they made their way back to the hotel, where the plan was to meet up with the handful of Trebles that had travelled to Copenhagen. Stacie, Amy and Flo were talking to some of the older Bellas about a club they absolutely had to go to, but Aubrey had trouble paying attention to them, her gaze drawn to the way the two current Bellas captains gravitated towards each other. Something had changed in their relationship, though Aubrey couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was.
If possible, her confusion grew when they met with Beca’s boyfriend and his Treblemakers, and the brunette barely acknowledged him.
“We’re gonna stay at the hotel and go over some details for the performance,” Beca informed them, gesturing to herself and Chloe. No one believed her excuse, but no one seemed interested in questioning it, either. “you guys have fun.”
As she watched them walk towards the elevators, Aubrey made a split second decision, and ran after them, calling Beca’s name.
Beca murmured something in Chloe’s ear, and then turned around to face her former captain, as the redhead got onto the elevator without meeting Aubrey’s gaze.
“What’s up?” Beca prompted expectantly.
“I can stay with Chloe,” Aubrey got straight to the point “if you wanted to go have fun with Jesse and the others.”
Beca gave her a strange look “Jesse’s not here for me, Aubrey.” She informed her “Go have fun with the Bellas, they’ve missed you.”
“I’ve got Chloe.” Beca stated confidently, before getting on an elevator, leaving Aubrey even more confused then she had been.
“Beca dumped Jesse.” Stacie had seemingly materialized out of nowhere, once again answering Aubrey’s question before she could ask it. Everyone else had left the hotel lobby while Aubrey’s back was turned.
“And Beca and Chloe?” Aubrey raised an eyebrow.
“They aren’t hooking up as far as I can tell,” Stacie shrugged as they made their way out of the hotel “but they are all couple-y all the time.”
Aubrey decided to put the question of Beca and Chloe, and why her best friend hadn’t told her anything about that development, on the backburner for the night. The alt girl had been right about one thing – Aubrey needed to have fun with her friends.
By the time Beca had ended the conversation with Aubrey and made her way upstairs to the room she shared with Chloe, the redhead had already started her shower. In an attempt to keep her concern for her co-captain at bay, Beca busied herself with the unread messages on her phone. There were a few from her parents and the step-monster, one from Sammy about Emily’s song, and about a dozen from Jesse. They all basically said the same thing. How much he missed her, that they needed to talk, that they could fix the relationship no matter what.
Beca heaved a sigh, running a hand over her face. Breaking up with Jesse had been painful, not because she was still in love with him, but because she genuinely cherished him as a friend. She didn’t want to hurt him, but she didn’t know how to make him understand that there were no romantic feelings left on her side, if ever there were any.
Her feelings for Chloe were another matter entirely, if not completely unrelated. She really had no idea when the shift from ‘love Chloe’ to ‘in love with Chloe’ had happened, but she wasn’t going to fight it.
“Did Bree go out with them?” Chloe interrupted Beca’s train of thought as she stepped out of the bathroom, dressed in pajamas.
“After some convincing.” Beca nodded, pushing herself into a standing position.
“You could’ve gone too, you know.” Chloe murmured, gaze cast downwards. “I don’t need a babysitter.”
“If you think I’d rather be at some club with hundreds of sweaty strangers instead of here with you, I’m gonna have to rethink this entire relationship, Beale.” Beca countered, keeping her tone light even though the sight of Chloe’s bloodshot eyes was like a knife through her heart.
Before the redhead could formulate a response, Beca pulled her into a hug, her hold tightening when she felt Chloe’s breath hitch.
When she pulled back from the hug, Chloe was wearing a smile. It was tiny, but it reached her eyes and that was enough for Beca.
“Beca Mitchell initiating hugs,” Her eyes widened in pretend surprise, making Beca roll hers “did I fall into a parallel universe?”
“Drop the sarcasm, sunshine,” Beca replied as she made her way to the bathroom to shower and change. Though she was rolling her eyes and scoffing at Chloe’s remark, she was secretly grateful her friend felt better. “it doesn’t suit you.”
“Oh honey,” Chloe called out playfully “everything suits me!”
Beca had no response, aside from a well-practiced eye-roll, because as smug as Chloe was, Beca couldn’t exactly say she disagreed.
Half an hour later, they had settled on one of the twin beds, lying side by side as some ridiculous Danish game show played on the TV, when Beca’s phone buzzed with yet another text from Jesse. Before she could swipe the notification away, Chloe’s spotted it and her whole body tensed.
“You sure you don’t wanna talk to him?” Chloe prodded, and though it seemed like a fairly straightforward question, Beca could hear the loaded meaning behind it loud and clear.
“Jesse and I are done, Chloe.” She stated simply, keeping her voice as even as possible. She hated that Chloe still had doubts about Beca’s feelings, and she hated that those doubts were Beca’s own damn fault.
“But nothing.” Beca cut in patiently, as she cradled Chloe’s jaw with her hand “I know you want us to postpone talking about this, about us until after Worlds, and I respect that. But, Chlo, I need you to know I’m 100% in this, and I think I have been for a while.”
“So, Jesse has no shot?” Chloe asked, looking almost afraid to hope.
“None.” Beca confirmed, and she felt the tension leave Chloe’s body “And if he doesn’t take the hint, I will sit him down and explain everything. Either way, you have nothing to worry about.”
“Okay.” The redhead nodded, laying her head on Beca’s shoulder once more.
On the other side of the city, the Bellas had decided to end the festivities around midnight. Or rather Aubrey had made the decision for them. Once a captain, always a captain, she thought humorously to herself. The Worlds were the next day, and they needed to be rested and prepared, not hungover.
They made it back to the hotel and up to their rooms with minimal property damage, by Bella standards at least. Aubrey was almost ready to call it a night when the Legacy, Emily, had the brilliant idea for the Bellas to have their very own pajama party.
It didn’t take long for the other Bellas to jump on board, making plans about alcohol and sleeping arrangements before Aubrey could say ‘Ace of base’.
“Wait!” Cynthia-Rose stopped the planning, as everyone turned to look at her questioningly “We can’t have our last Bella pajama party without our Captains.”
“Why don’t we text Beca?” Jessica, or was it Ashley, suggested, eliciting murmurs of agreement.
“I’ll stop by their room.” Aubrey cut in, and nobody tried to contradict her. She was their former Captain, and Chloe’s best friend, so the respect for her authority on the matter was not unwarranted.
After showering and changing, Aubrey made her way to the room Beca and Chloe were staying in, but she stopped herself before she could knock. She didn’t know what Chloe’s state was, and she didn’t want to make matters worse by barging in. Instead, she texted Beca, who promptly informed her that Chloe was okay.
“Hey,” She offered a smile as she stepped inside the room, trying to keep her expression neutral when she found them cuddled up on one of the beds “the girls are having a pajama party in CR and Stacie’s room.”
“I love pajama parties!” Chloe gasped, her grin widening as she sat up suddenly, much to Beca’s displeasure.
“I guess we’re having a pajama party.” Beca grumbled, rolling her eyes. Aubrey was pretty sure she did it mostly out of habit, instead of actual annoyance, though the tiny DJ would never admit that to anyone. “Do we need to bring anything?”
“Just yourselves.” Aubrey responded distractedly, her gaze drawn back to her best friend. She had been in a really bad shape just a few hours before, so bad she hadn’t even talked to Aubrey, and yet here she was excited about a Bella party.
“Let’s go, then.” Beca grabbed her phone, and her charger, and moved towards the door.
“Actually Beca, I need to talk to Chloe for a second.” Aubrey told her, and before she responded, the brunette locked eyes with her co-captain. It was only after Chloe gave her a nod, accompanied by a smile, that Beca actually left them alone.
“How are you doing?” Aubrey wasted no time in getting to the point, never one to see much value in small talk.
“I’m okay.” Chloe answered, earning herself a doubtful look from her best friend “I promise I’m fine, Bree.”
“You had an anxiety attack at the restaurant.” Aubrey stated, as if Chloe wasn’t the one that had experienced the attack.
“I’m aware.” Chloe smiled at her bemusedly.
“I’m just saying,” The blonde took a seat on the bed next to Chloe. She didn’t know what it was about the redhead that triggered her protective instinct, but it had been that way since the day they became friends. “it’s okay if you need more time.”
“I don’t.” Chloe replied, not unkindly “I was starting to spiral, and then Beca helped ground me, and now I’m good.”
“Really, the elf helped ground you?” Aubrey couldn’t stop herself from asking.
Chloe just shot her a warning look “Aubrey.”
Aubrey raised her hands in fake surrender “You know I say it with love. But, seriously, Beca?”
“Why not her?”
“I don’t know,” Aubrey offered with a little shrug “she’s all…sarcastic and indifferent.”
“You must realize by now that’s not who she is.” Chloe sighed, somewhat tired of having some version of the same conversation with her best friend.
“I do.” Aubrey conceded “But, is she good enough for you?” Chloe’s eyes widened for a moment, so Aubrey decided to push through “I know there’s something going on between you two.”
“There’s nothing going on,” Chloe shook her head, not letting her best friend interrupt “because I asked her to wait until after Worlds.”
“And after Worlds?”
“We’ll see.” Chloe said, wearing a smile that was half nervous and half excited “She said she wants to give us a shot.”
Aubrey opened her mouth and then shut it just as quickly, not wanting to get into a fight with her best friend.
“Spit it out, Bree.” Chloe prompted without so much as a look directed her way.
“Are you sure she’s not using you as a rebound?” Aubrey blurted out, regretting it immediately when she saw the flash of hurt in Chloe’s eyes.
“She isn’t.” Chloe clenched her jaw, a defiant look in her eyes “She wouldn’t do that.”
“Alright, I’m sorry.” Aubrey pushed herself into a standing position “I just want to protect you.”
“You don’t need to protect me from Beca.” Chloe told her simply, before grabbing her phone, and the room keycard. She made it clear that the conversation was over, and Aubrey wasn’t going to push her.
They made their way to CR and Stacie’s room in tense silence, which made Aubrey grateful for the eruption of noise that greeted them when the door swung open. Music was blasting loudly, as a few of the Bellas cheered Fat Amy on in her quest to chug a whole bottle of some Danish liquor, the rest – dancing around to the beat.
“Chloe!” Emily yelled over the music “Thank God you’re here, Flo challenged Lily to a drinking contest!”
“Em, you do know Beca is here, right?” Chloe put on a smile for the younger Bella’s sake. Aubrey just shook her head at the Bellas’ determination to treat Beca and Chloe like their aca-moms.
“She agreed to be their judge!” Emily announced – eyes wide.
“Beca!” Chloe immediately called out, looking around the room in an attempt to spot her co-captain, and fellow aca-parent.
“Yes dear?” Beca replied in a familiar drawl from her place in the armchair, wearing that trademark smirk of hers.
“Did you or did you not agree to be a judge in Lily and Flo’s drinking game?” Chloe demanded, coming to stand before Beca – arms crossed.
“Someone had to make sure it was fair.” Beca shrugged, not looking even a little apologetic. It was at times like these that Aubrey couldn’t understand what Chloe saw in the small music producer.
Chloe stared at the brunette for a long time, ocean blue meeting icy blue, neither looking away.
Finally, the redhead huffed, plopping down on the arm of Beca’s seat dramatically “Fine. But, I’m gonna be a judge, too.”
The room exploded with cheers, bets going around as Flo and Lily prepared for their made-up game. As soon as the attention was diverted from them, Beca leaned over, resting a hand on Chloe’s back.
“Totes!” Chloe assured her with a smile, genuine this time “I’ll tell you later.”
Beca sat back, satisfied with the answer, but she didn’t remove her hand from its place on the small of Chloe’s back.
Watching them interact, communicate both with words and through their touches, seeing how tuned in Beca was to Chloe's feelings, Aubrey recognized that she might have been wrong about Beca.
And the next day, after they had done the impossible, after they had become World Champions of Acapella, after they had celebrated appropriately, Aubrey finally admitted to herself that not only had she been wrong about Beca, she had been wrong about their relationship too.
As she watched them walk away from the crowd, leaving the cheering Bellas behind, she came to the realization that they were absolutely perfect together.
Chloe wasn’t Beca’s rebound, she was the person Beca was always meant to be with. It had just taken her a while to realize that. Now that she had, Beca looked happier than Aubrey had ever seen her before. As her arms slipped around Chloe’s waist, Beca’s lips broke into a smile that radiated with pure, genuine, and probably for the first time ever, unrestrained happiness. Chloe’s expression was almost a mirror of the brunette’s, both of them seemingly lost in each other’s eyes, oblivious to the rest of the world.
Aubrey Posen was an incredibly observant person. That was how she knew that Chloe Beale and Beca Mitchell had the kind of love that came along once in a lifetime. They had the kind of love that would last.