The muscles in Beca's legs twitched as she hurried down the steps. She needed to get away from here and quickly, before...
Busted! But at least it wasn't Chloe. It was Aubrey who was leading the other Bellas - sans Chloe, because Chloe was probably still face-sucking Chicago - down the steps after her.
Beca turned. She'd almost made it to her car, to the limousine DJ Khaled had insisted she ride in. But sometimes there was no escaping your best friends.
"What is going on? We thought we would celebrate tonight. Where're you going and where is Chloe?"
"Oh, Chloe is..." Beca vaguely pointed to where she'd left her friend tonguing Pretty Boy. Just the thought of it, though, had Beca make that face again. That face you made when you remembered how you once accidentally walked in on your parents doing the nasty.
Only, it was somehow worse... it was... Beca closed her eyes. This was not the moment, this was not the time. And she wasn't gonna cry. And why would she anyway? Chloe was happy, and she should be happy for her. Beca nodded to herself, but as she looked at her friends, they seemed puzzled about whatever her face had done while she was in conference with herself.
"She's with Chicago, okay?" It sounded sharper than she'd intended it to.
"Chicago? Uh-oh," Cynthia Rose made.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Just... oh, come on, Beca. Do you really want me to say it? There's a thing called gay-dar, y'know, and I happen to have one. Do you?" CR gave back.
For a moment, Beca was stunned. Was CR saying what she thought... did she know? And almost panicking she looked at the others, but neither of them looked especially shocked or even surprised.
"Hey, guys, what's going on?" And now here was Chloe - with excellent timing, but at least without her Ken doll escort.
"Beca was about to leave," Emily said.
Amy gave a dramatic sigh and Chloe turned to her. "Oh, I don't know. Maybe she had just too much fun celebrating her success. But then why would she make that particular face?" Amy pointed at Beca
She squinted her eyes at Amy, but that probably didn't help her cause at the moment. Why couldn't they just let it go? They usually did. Beca and Chloe wouldn't have gotten away with half of the weird stuff that seemed to inevitably happen between them if they didn't. Even just on this tour, they'd gotten away with Chloe feeling her up, for heaven's sake!
"I'm not doing anything with my face," Beca insisted through clenched teeth.
"Oh, right. That's just your regular I-hate-my-life-right-now-face. Not your I-hate-my-life-because-Chloe-is-snogging-Captain-America-face. You know they are pretty similar, right?"
A ball of fire was forming inside Beca's stomach, her fists clenched at her sides. How dare Amy? How dare all of them standing there accusing her... and of what really? Being jealous. So, maybe! But it wasn't like... it wasn't...
"You don't like Chicago?" Chloe asked, her voice sounding weak and hurt.
Oh, God, now she'd done it. She'd hurt her. "Chloe, no, he's... nice."
"He's really pretty." Goddamnit, what was she doing!
"Pretty?" And now irritation tinged Chloe's voice. "Nice and pretty? Well, thank you so much. We can't all have boyfriends like the perfect Jesse Swanson fill our lives with sexless romance."
"Sexl..." Beca's mouth opened without being able to finish the word. There just didn't seem enough air in her lungs. "Wh..." But there really wasn't anything she could say after this, was there?
"Okay, maybe we should all--"
"Maybe you should shut up, Legacy. I'm not leaving this drama," Amy interrupted Emily who'd made some signs for them to go inside. Possibly to leave Beca and Chloe to solve their problem on their own.
To their credit, all Bellas except Amy looked pretty awkward, but they also didn't move as Emily had suggested. Beca let her eyes rest on each one of them, it had the advantage that she didn't have to look at Chloe and see her anger, her disappointment.
"What is this all really about, Beca?" Chloe now asked.
Beca clenched her jaw together, she wasn't gonna say anything. Not now, not ever. This was all over. "I'm jealous."
She wasn't even sure how the words had gotten out of her. One second, they were in her head, the next, out in the open.
It got so quiet between all of them that they could hear the music from inside, the night's noises around them. Beca's confession seemed to have sucked air and thought and drama from all around them.
Looking at Chloe, Beca saw several conflicting emotions cross her face before she settled on frowning. "Well, that's tough luck then, because I like Chicago now," she then said.
The pain Beca felt was acute and drowned out anything but the anger on Chloe's face. But why anger? Why was Chloe angry at her? She hadn't done anything.
"Chloe, that was a little harsh, don't you--"
"That was harsh, Aubrey? How about you tell someone that you like them and would like to explore this liking and are shut down with 'you're weird,' Aubrey? Is that not harsh?"
"I didn't say that!" Beca said.
CR cleared her throat. "You kinda did."
"What? No. When?"
"At Aubrey's torture camp, the first night. We all heard," Flo supplied helpfully.
"But that was..." Beca remembered now. But that hadn't been about... it was just Chloe being... weird.
"Ah, yeah right. You didn't just say it to me, you said it in front of all of our friends, too. Had almost forgotten how humiliating that was." Chloe wasn't usually sarcastic, but this reply was dripping with it.
"I didn't know... how you meant it, Chlo. If you meant it at all. And I was also still with Jesse. It was kinda inappropriate of you anyway."
"You're right, but that was three years ago. Three years, Beca. I gave you soo many signs."
"Signs?" Beca asked, trying to think of any. Was she oblivious or was Chloe making this up? "What signs?"
"Well, if we talk recently: you remember what I sang during the riff-off when we arrived at base?"
Beca thought back, past the humiliation of losing another riff-off, beyond her annoyance, to those moments before when they were having a great time, when they were finally singing together again. Chloe had been aggressive... she'd sung with Aubrey... and then... 'Love me harder!' she could hear it now in her head in Chloe's perfect, clear voice. Oh, boy!
"I... how... I mean, how was I supposed to know it was directed at me?"
"Because everything I do... I mean did was directed at you. You were just not seeing me. And now, when I finally move on, finally find someone sweet who is paying attention to me, you discover your feelings for me? I'm sorry, Beca, but no. This ginger is closed to you."
Beca wasn't the only one looking slightly confused at that last part. But the rest of it certainly made an impact: it hurt. And not just Chloe's words, her own inability to read Chloe's signs. Though the mystery remained why use signs at all?
"Why didn't you say anything, Chlo?"
"I did. I did during the camp and you shot me down. I tried again, and again, Beca... you just didn't get it... me."
A low sniffling sound interrupted the silence following and they all looked around. Jessica looked at them wide-eyed, her tears had left trails of mascara running from them. "I'm sorry, I just... This is so sad."
"Yes, it is," Ashley agreed, laying an arm around Jessica.
Beca found herself nodding. She was sad, too. Chloe wasn't wrong. She'd been focused, on the Bellas, on her internship, on her job - always the music. Even Jesse had complained in the end that music would always come first with her. She'd not been sorry then, but she was sorry now. Chloe wasn't just someone she'd met and liked, she was her friend, part of her family. She was possibly the most important person in her life, and she'd never told her.
She deserved to lose her.
"I'm sorry," she said because there simply wasn't enough time or space to say all the things she needed to say to make this right.
"I know," Chloe said with a small smile. "You know I love you. We're still Bellas, Beca. Always."
Beca took a deep breath while nodding. "I love you too. I love all of you," she hastily added. "And I'll see you in the morning because... I'm really tired now. Anyone want to come back to the hotel with me?"
They all had the decency to decline the offer and Beca made her way to the limo alone. She'd just waved at everybody and felt their eyes on her back as she walked away. Sure, there was always tomorrow, this was not some kind of ending - it just felt like one.