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"Beca, Chloe, you are to stay away from each other today," Aubrey said, staring hard at the couple who were cuddled up together in the back of the bus. "I'm aca-serious, you two," she added when she saw Beca ready to argue.
Beca wasn't going to just sit back and let Aubrey push her around, whether she was aca-serious or not, and she glared at her as she demanded, "Why?"
"Because we are going to an elementary school to work with their music classes for the day as the mandatory community service project we must complete in order to maintain our chapter's standing as a legally sanctioned club at Barden."
"Yeah, I know that," Beca retorted, rolling her eyes. "But why do me and Chloe have to stay away from each other?"
"Because you two are freaking bunnies whenever you're within arms' length of each other," Stacie pointed out.
Chloe frowned. "I don't think that's very fair for you, of all people, to say, Stacie."
"Yeah," Beca said, nodding vigorously.
"They argue vehemently as they have their hands up each other's shirts," Fat Amy mock-whispered.
"We do..." Chloe's voice trailed off as she realized that Fat Amy was right. "Oh. I don't know how that happened," she murmured as she pulled her hand out from under Beca's shirt.
Beca glared at Fat Amy and defiantly left her hand where it was. "We can control ourselves when we have to."
"Be that as it may, you are still to remain at least five feet away from each other at all times when there are young, impressionable children present," Aubrey said, nodding for emphasis before she turned around in her seat and placed her headphones back into her ears.
"This is stupid," Beca muttered petulantly.
"She means well," Chloe said, smiling as she slipped her hand back under Beca's shirt. "Besides, there aren't any kids around now, right?"
Beca grinned and nodded as she leaned in to capture Chloe's lips in a slow, sweet kiss, moaning softly at the taste of her watermelon-flavored lip-gloss. "You're right," she murmured, groaning as Chloe's tongue flicked lightly across her lips.
Three rows ahead of them, Fat Amy turned to Cynthia Rose and said, "I've got twenty bucks that says they get caught going at it before the school-day is over."
Cynthia Rose laughed and nodded. "End of the day? You're giving them too much credit. I say they'll get caught by lunch."
"What are we betting on?" Lilly whispered.
"What?" Fat Amy asked, leaning forward and putting her ear right in front of at Lilly's mouth so she could hear.
"I said - what are we betting on?"
Fat Amy grinned. "How long it takes Beca and Chloe to jump each other today."
"I want in!" Stacie squealed. "I have recess. If Beca sings at any point this morning, you know Chloe is going to lose it."
"She does have a thing for Beca's singing," Cynthia Rose allowed. "But she is also usually pretty obedient when Aubrey lays down the law like she just did."
Hearing her name over the melodic beat of The Sign, which was her personal lady jam, Aubrey turned around and leveled a serious glare at her team. "What are you doing?"
Fat Amy gave Aubrey her best innocent smile and said, "Nothing."
Aubrey frowned and looked at Cynthia Rose, who she knew was mildly afraid of her. "What's going on?"
"We were just taking bets on when Beca and Chloe will go at it today. Geez."
"You know that you shouldn't be gambling," Aubrey pointed out with a stern warning finger. She sighed as her eyes wandered to the back of the bus where Chloe was straddling Beca's lap and kissing her passionately. "What's the pool looking like?"
Cynthia Rose grinned. "Fat Amy says end of the school day, I say lunch, and Stacie says recess."
Aubrey nodded thoughtfully and said, "Put me down for on the bus when we're on our way home."
Fat Amy fist-pumped and let out a loud whoop as their bus pulled into the elementary school parking lot. "It's on now!"
Aubrey grinned and nodded, but her smile fell when she saw the Treble Makers' bus parked in the bus loop in front of them. "Aca-'scuse me?! What are they doing here?" she asked as their driver pulled to a stop behind the hideously painted bus.
Bumper grinned cheekily up at them from the sidewalk and gave a jaunty little finger wave. "Hellooooo, ladies!"
"God, I hate that guy," Aubrey muttered as she stormed down the bus stairs to confront him. "This is our service project," she yelled as she went toe-to-toe with the Treble captain. "What are you doing here?"
"We," Bumper drawled, smirking over his shoulder at his cronies, "are here to show the kids what a real a cappella group sounds like."
"Bullshit," Aubrey growled and, behind her, the Bellas all shared a look of amused disbelief. If Aubrey was swearing, shit was about to get real.
"Put me down for five bucks on the angry blonde," Beca muttered in Cynthia Rose's ear.
Cynthia Rose laughed. "I know, right? Keep your money, Romeo, ain't nobody taking that bet."
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you looked at it, the school's principal showed up before anything more could happen. "I am so glad you could all make it!" he called out, clapping his hands excitedly. "The kids are so excited for your visit! They are all in the auditorium now, and I thought we could begin with each of you doing a small performance before breaking the kids into groups?"
Aubrey bit her lip and nodded stiffly as she looked at the principal. "That sounds like a wonderful idea."
"Yeah!" Bumper enthused. "We can do it like a battle of the sexes thing. Whattaya say?"
The principal grinned. "I think that's a great idea! It'll be a great way to build some school spirit with the students while fostering a healthy sense of competition."
Chloe groaned and nudged Beca in the side. "I gotta go talk her down before she blows a gasket," she whispered in her ear as she hiked a thumb at Aubrey.
Beca grinned. "Please don't."
"Hush, you," Chloe chuckled, smacking Beca on the arm. "Play nice."
Beca waggled her eyebrows suggestively and retorted, "And if I don't?"
"Then I won't play nice later," Chloe drawled, smirking as she watched Beca's brow drop.
"Ooh, burn," Fat Amy murmured.
"Shut up," Beca muttered, scowling as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"You are so pussy-whipped," Cynthia Rose chuckled.
Beca's jaw dropped and she turned to argue that she was not pussy-whipped, thank you very much, when Aubrey strode angrily over to where the Bellas were huddled together. "Bellas!" Aubrey yelled, scowling at her team. "We will not lose to these douchebaguettes today, you hear me?!" she added in a quieter voice.
Eyes wide with fear, everyone nodded and Chloe sighed as she reached out to place a calming hand on her best friend's arm. "Breathe, Aubrey," she muttered.
"I am breathing," Aubrey hissed. She licked her lips as she looked at her girls and nodded. "Let's go kick some Treble ass!"
"Excuse me, Miss?" The principal frowned. "I'm really going to need you to watch your language."
Aubrey flashed the principal her fake stage smile and nodded. "Of course. I'm sorry."
Fat Amy coughed into her hand, "Bullshit."
Aubrey grinned and arched a brow at the Aussie. "Game on, Aca-bitches," she drawled under her breath as she sauntered after the principal, jockeying for position with Bumper as they neared the front doors of the school.
"That's a nice hickey, Becs," Jesse drawled, hands stuffed into the pockets of his cardinal red Treble jacket as he sidled up to her.
Beca smirked, refusing to rise to the bait. "Thanks. They're betting on when we have sex today," she told him.
"You heard?" Fat Amy groaned, smacking herself on the forehead.
Beca laughed and nodded. "You're not exactly quiet, you know."
"I am," Lilly argued.
Beca looked at the little Asian and frowned. "What?"
Jesse laughed. "Well played, Lilly." He looked at Beca and added, "You guys are going down."
"Well, I know I'll be going down later," Beca drawled with a suggestive smirk, "but that really has nothing to do with you aca-losers."
Fat Amy let out a bark of laughter and smacked Jesse on the back so hard that he stumbled and almost face-planted on the sidewalk. "Wow, you need to hit the weight room. Now, get outta our way. We got a competition to win."
Four hours later...
The principal's office was standing room only as the Treble Makers and Bellas all tried to cram themselves into the space. Everybody tensed as the door slammed shut behind them, and they all watched nervously as Bennett Easton, the president of Barden University, pushed his way to the front of the room and clambered up onto the desk so could see them all. He shook his head as he took in the groups' bedraggled appearance. Spaghetti sauce was splattered all over their clothes and all but a few had noodles stuck in their hair.
"I don't want to know, I really don't," Easton muttered as he looked at the kids he usually considered ambassadors for the university, "but duty demands I ask: what in the name of a cappella happened here?!"
The room exploded, each team pointing at the other as they yelled, "They started it!"
"Enough!" President Easton yelled. He turned his attention to Aubrey and lifted his chin questioningly. "What happened?"
"Well, sir," Aubrey said, straightening her posture as she glanced at her teammates. "Bumper made a joke about Fa-" She cut herself off and amended, "my esteemed aca-sister Amy's size and the portions of the lunches we were so graciously served by the food services staff here at this wonderful school."
"Suck up," Bumper coughed, and he at least had the grace to look mildly abashed when the university president glared at him.
President Easton made a circling motion with his hand. "And what happened next?"
Aubrey took a deep breath, stalling for time as she got her story straight because this was where it got tricky. "Well, sir, Amy obviously took offense at Bumper's comment."
"Perfectly understandable," the president agreed.
"She dumped her plate of spaghetti on my head!" Bumper yelled.
"Well, son, it sounds like you deserved it," Easton snapped.
"Thank you, sir," Fat Amy purred, smirking at Bumper. "Anywho, Bumper retaliated by throwing his lunch at me only he missed, sir."
"Who did he hit?"
"That would be me," Cynthia Rose said, holding up her hand. "And, as a minority so often victimized by the white patriarchal establishment because not only am I a strong black woman, but also a lesbian, I felt I had no option but to protect myself."
"This just keeps getting better and better," Easton murmured as he ran his hand through his hair. "And I'm assuming that this is the point at which the rest of you joined the fracas?"
"Yes, sir," Aubrey confirmed. "I'm sure you understand, being president of a university that hands out rape whistles to incoming female freshmen, that we-" she waved at herself and her fellow Bellas, "-have been indoctrinated into a system where we are all but told 'you will be attacked and you need to learn to protect yourself'."
"Those fucking whistles," Easton muttered under his breath. He cleared his throat and looked at Bumper. "You and the rest of the Treble Makers will clean the cafeteria until it shines, and when you are done you are all to report to my office on campus."
"But-" Bumper started to argue, but he wisely shut-up when Easton glared at him. "Yes, sir."
"Bellas, you may return to campus."
Aubrey smoothed her hands over her skirt and nodded. "Thank you, sir."
"Yeah, cheers, mate," Fat Amy piped up, grinning. She looked at Bumper and mouthed, "Boom, bitch."
"Just go," Easton groaned, waving at the door. "Boys back to the cafeteria. You will not leave until Principal Belding is completely satisfied."
"That'll be forever with that lot," Fat Amy whispered in Cynthia Rose's ear.
Cynthia Rose laughed and tried to cover it with a cough. "Sorry."
"Aubrey, take your team and go before I change my mind," Easton said.
"Bellas," Aubrey called out, tilting her head at her team, "back to the bus."
The Bellas filed out of the principal's office without another word and managed to keep from laughing until they were standing in front of the school.
"Oh my god, that was awesome," Stacie laughed.
"Aca-perfect," Aubrey agreed.
"Where are Beca and Chloe?" Fat Amy asked, frowning as she looked at the group.
"Weren't they with us?" Lilly asked.
"What?" Aubrey said, arching a brow at the quiet girl.
"Um I think I found them," Fat Amy said, laughing as she pointed across the parking lot at their bus that was parked under a large tree. The driver was standing a good twenty yards away from the vehicle that was rocking slowly from side to side.
"Damn," Stacie murmured, obviously impressed.
The group stared at the bus for a moment in silence before Aubrey yelled, "I win! I win, I win, I win!" She jumped up and down and clapped her hands excitedly. "I called on the bus on the way home!"
"But we're not on our way home," Cynthia Rose pointed out.
"Please," Aubrey scoffed, holding her hand out, palm up and wiggling her fingers, "we are done at the school, and they are on the bus. I win. Pay up."
"Give her the money," Fat Amy drawled, rolling her eyes.
"Fine," Cynthia Rose muttered, pulling a wad of cash from her pocket and slapping it into Aubrey's hand. "You win, Aubrey."
"Yay!" Aubrey squealed, literally vibrating with excitement.
Everybody's eyes wandered back to the bus that was rocking more forcefully and Aubrey grimaced. "Jesus, Chlo."
"I didn't know Beca had it in her," Cynthia Rose chortled.
"Oh, I did," Fat Amy piped up. "Girlfriend's tiny, but she's a powerhouse."
Aubrey rolled her eyes and considered their options because she was not going to go interrupt Chloe and Beca. "Since we're only a few miles from home, I say we walk it."
"Does this count as our cardio for the day?" Stacie asked.
The faint sound of Chloe's scream carried across the parking lot and Aubrey nodded as she started walking toward the street. "Yes."
"Good," Fat Amy said as she started after Aubrey. "Because I think I pulled something with all the horizontal running I did yesterday. And we passed a Dairy Queen on the way here."
Another scream echoed across the parking lot and Aubrey picked up her pace. "I'll buy everybody an ice cream cone with my winnings if we can get out of here before Chloe screams again."
"Good luck with that one," Fat Amy muttered. "Beca can play her like a musical instrument," she added, waggling her tongue for emphasis.
Aubrey chuckled and nodded. "And she said she didn't like making music with her mouth," she muttered, glancing over her shoulder at the bus.
"So, anyone wanna bet on when they get home tonight?" Cynthia Rose asked as she punched the crosswalk call button.
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