|Meant to Be
Author: GreysAddictJ PM
Shortly after the alt reality episode, "If/Then." What happens when Callie and Arizona decide to celebrate their success? Will two unhappy souls be drawn towards each other? Are they really meant to be, no matter what universe they're in?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Callie T. & Arizona R. - Words: 4,620 - Reviews: 29 - Favs: 30 - Follows: 68 - Published: 02-03-12 - id: 7802543
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Meant to Be? 1/1
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. No infringement intended. Also, I don't use a beta, so all mistakes are mine.
Summary: This takes place shortly after the alternate reality episode, "If/Then." What happens when Callie and Arizona decide to celebrate their success? Will two unhappy souls be drawn towards each other? Are they really meant to be, no matter what universe they're in?
A/N: While I've got some ideas for how to keep this going, as of right now, this is just a little one shot. Enjoy. For those awaiting an update on my other fic, Covert Affairs, don't worry. It's coming today or tomorrow. Just wanted to get this down while the episode is still fresh in everyone's mind. Thanks to my favorite starchy tuber for being a good sounding board.
Callie paused and took a deep breath before she headed through the door of her dream house, on her way to greet her supposedly perfect family. She couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt at the shiver of dread that ran through her in that instant before she entered her home.
She had it all. Exactly what she'd always dreamed of. Exactly what she'd always planned for. She had a successful career. She was a cardio goddess. She'd thrived under the mentorship of Ellis Grey. She was a rock star in her field. And despite her devotion to medicine, she'd managed to have the family she'd always wanted. A smart, sexy, talented husband who was not only a great doctor, but a great father. She had three perfect kids. What more could she want? Yet beneath that façade of perfection, of happiness, she couldn't help but feel that this dream of hers wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Owen's PTSD problems were only the tip of the iceberg. If she was honest with herself, she hadn't been happy for years. Not really anyway. But maybe it was just a case of "the grass is greener on the other side." She wouldn't trade her kids for anything. It was just sometimes . . . well, she felt a bit empty.
Callie's thoughts were cut short as Allegra came running into the room squealing her name. No longer reflecting on what could have been, or what might be missing from her storybook life, she grinned at her adorable daughter and scooped her up. "Hey there, munchkin. How was your day?"
Allegra rambled on about the things she'd done that day, the new friend she'd made, and myriad other things that occupied a child's mind. Callie loved her daughter and genuinely cared about the things that interested her. Which is why she felt even guiltier that her mind kept drifting to her encounters earlier that day with Dr. Robbins.
She couldn't quite put a finger on it, but their interactions had definitely unsettled her. Made her feel something. Which was so different from the numb existence she'd been living lately. She really knew next to nothing about Dr. Robbins, other than that she was a rock star in her own right. Despite their butting of heads over their patient's treatment, Callie knew and respected Robbins' work. Maybe they could be friends. She could use another friend – after all, Addison, her only close friend, was going to be wrapped up in new motherhood soon enough. Maybe she'd take Arizona up on that offer for a celebratory drink sometime.
Callie again allowed her focus to return to her daughter. As they talked, she prepared dinner. Many wouldn't look forward to cooking after a long day at work, but for Callie it was a stress reliever. It was something she truly enjoyed and it allowed her to express herself creatively. Granted, her creativity had been a bit dampened by the palates of her children, but she still loved to cook, It was a way she could show her love and affection for her family.
Owen came up and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek as she cooked and then put the twins in their high chairs. She grabbed his bandaged hand. "Let me take a look at that later." She reminded him. He nodded and mumbled an assent before heading upstairs.
Callie turned back to her cooking, She couldn't help but reflect on how much of a stranger Owen felt like since he'd returned from Iraq. She wished that he'd let her help him. She felt so helpless. He clearly was hurting, but he wouldn't let her in. And ever since that choking incident, she had lived in fear of her own husband. While she knew that he'd never knowingly or willingly hurt her or their kids, she was worried that he'd snap one day and do something really serious. He claimed things were better, and true to his word, there hadn't been another incident. But at the same time, she felt as though it was just bubbling under the surface, that he was a live bomb ready to go off at any moment. And he refused to get professional help. She sighed as she plated the food, serving it up to her kids. She and Owen would eat after they were settled in for the night. It was already late.
After clearing things, she bathed the kids and tucked them into bed. She let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding. The house was eerily silent. She used to look forward to these quiet moments alone after the kids went to bed. Time to spend with her husband. Now . . . it was just weird. Awkward. Like they were strangers living under the same roof. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a thought of Dr. Robbins flashed before her. It brought an unconscious smile to her lips. She and Arizona really had done something great today. Too bad she didn't have anyone to share it with. Owen was too wrapped up in his own little world to care. She shook her head and headed to find Owen. Maybe she wasn't giving him enough credit.
As she headed into the bedroom, she saw him with his back to her, hunched over his laptop. He was talking. Probably Skyping with that Teddy guy, she thought. At least he was talking to someone, she mused. Even if it should be with his wife. As she drew nearer, she saw it was a woman. A pretty blonde woman. When he noticed Callie, Owen snapped the laptop shut.
"Uh, hi." Owen said, clearly feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
"Who was that?" Callie asked.
"It was just a friend from Iraq." Owen said.
Callie got the odd sense that he felt guilty. "Who?" She asked.
"Teddy." He replied.
Her heart sank. Teddy was a woman? "Ok." She said, managing a half-smile. "Didn't mean to interrupt." She turned on her heel and headed out the door. She didn't know what to think. Of course, Owen could have worked with women in Iraq. But somehow the fact that he hadn't wanted to talk to her in favor of this Teddy was a lot less threatening when Teddy had been a man. She sighed and went to watch TV. She tried to focus on whatever cheesy reality show was playing before her eyes. Instead, her thoughts flitted back and forth between her depressing situation and the little of ray of sunshine she'd had that day. A ray of sunshine named Arizona Robbins.
The next few days flew by in a haze. Callie had had plenty to focus on – she'd been in the OR more hours than she'd care to count. But it was a welcome distraction. Owen had been even more distant, if that were possible, since she'd interrupted his Skype session with Teddy. And though she didn't know why, she couldn't get a certain peds surgeon out of her head. She didn't know why, but she just felt this need to be near her. It was like she'd breathed a bit of life into her otherwise mundane existence. Unfortunately, there hadn't been any pediatric cardio cases and Callie had been much too busy to invent a reason to bump into Dr. Robbins.
As she headed down to the pit for a consult, Callie saw a group of nurses huddled together – clearly in the midst of some gossip. While she didn't purposely eavesdrop, she did overhear a bit of their conversation.
"You saw him?" One asked.
Another nodded. "Yeah. He was arguing with Yang about a patient and then just totally lost it. Put his hand through a window. He's nuts, I tell you. It's only a matter of time before he hurts someone. It's a wonder that Dr. Grey keeps him on. I don't care how good a doctor he is. He's a liability."
"I don't know how Dr. Torres does it. Those kids . . . what if he . . ." The nurse didn't finish the thought.
But she didn't need to finish it. Callie's mind did that for her. Her heart sank. She'd convinced herself things were fine. Apparently not. She believed in marriage. She believed in giving it her all. But she had her kids to think about. She'd warned Owen before to get help. But he hadn't. And if she were being honest, she wasn't happy to begin with.
After Callie finished her consult, she found her husband and pulled him into an empty exam room. "Owen. I need you to pack a bag and get out of our house." She said, trying to remain calm, trying not to convey the doubt she felt.
"What? Why?" Owen said.
"Because I know how you hurt your hand. Because I will not, cannot risk our children's well being. And because, if we're both being honest, this isn't working anyway. Neither of us is happy."
Owen's eyes darkened. "And I don't get a say in it?"
"Owen . . ." Callie began.
"You're just going to take my kids? Tell me to get out?" The instantaneous rage took Callie's breath away.
"Owen, you need help." She said. "And you won't let me give it. Or help you get it."
"I don't need help. I need time. And my family. Damn it, Callie!" He threw a tray of instruments across the floor.
"And this does nothing to disprove my point, Owen. I'm sorry. But I have to do what's best for us. For our kids." She turned and headed from the room, struggling not to cry.
Somehow, things were going smoothly, given the way she and Owen had parted. He'd calmed down and moved out. The fact that he really didn't fight her, beyond insistence on seeing the kids, told her everything she needed to know.
Owen had the kids for the first time since their separation and she was worried out of her mind. She knew it would be fine, and he'd even agreed to have his mother over to supervise, but she still was worried.
Callie was so lost in her thoughts, she didn't notice where she was going.
"Ooof!" A cheerful voice cut through Callie's thoughts as a very supple, very warm body bumped into her. Callie looked up to see Dr. Robbins.
"Oh . . . uh. Sorry. Long day. Didn't see you there. Are you alright?" Callie asked sheepishly, her hand lingering for just a moment too long on Arizona's shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Really. Long day, huh? You look like you could use a drink. Care to go celebrate our artificial lung kid? I've got time for a quick drink at Joe's." Arizona smiled at her hopefully.
Callie felt a little shaky. Arizona had dimples. They suited her. How had she never noticed them before? She should say no. She should go check on her kids. She should . . .
"Calliope?" Arizona said, cutting through her reverie.
"Oh uh . . . No one calls me . . . never mind." She couldn't bring herself to correct Arizona on her name. "Yeah, sure. What the heck. I could use a drink. Meet you at Joe's in 30 minutes?"
"Super." Arizona said. "See you then."
Callie arrived a bit late. For whatever reason, she'd spent too much time in front of the mirror , trying to make herself look good. She felt like a schoolgirl getting ready for the prom. Which was ridiculous, she knew. This was just a drink with a potential new friend. That was all. Just a drink. So why did her heart flutter as her eyes settled on Arizona from across the room.
Arizona smiled as she spied Callie enter the bar. Though they'd gotten off on the wrong foot, she had quickly warmed to Dr. Torres. Okay, more than warmed. There was something there, at least on her end. She was comfortable enough in who she was and in her own sexuality to acknowledge it. Calliope Torres did it for her. She was very hot. Very sexy. But also very straight and, up until recently, very married. She still was married, but the Seattle Grace gossip mill had informed her that Callie and Dr. Hunt were on the outs. But that made no difference, since this was simply a drink between friends. Still, she didn't have to mind that her drinking companion was easy on the eyes.
Their one drink turned into two and then to three and then to six as they chatted, learning about each other from their upbringings to their likes and dislikes and everything in between. Callie couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so free. She didn't know exactly what she was feeling, but she knew she didn't want the night to end. Then it hit her – she knew what she was feeling. Happy. Safe. Carefree. Things she hadn't felt in a long time. And something else too, though she couldn't . . . or wouldn't put a label on it.
Arizona was fascinated with the woman across from her. Her smile lit up the entire room. It was breathtaking. And so sad how infrequently she'd seen it before tonight. Dr. Torres was clearly a warm, vivacious woman. But there was clearly a damper on that sunlight. On that warmth.
Eventually, as the alcohol took affect, their talk turned to Owen.
"So, I hear that you and Dr. Hunt are um . . . never mind. It's really none of my business." Arizona said, regretting she'd brought it up.
"No. It's fine." Callie said. "Don't feel like you can't ask."
"Are you sure?" Arizona said, leaning forward slightly and putting a caring hand on Callie's arm. "It must be hard."
Callie struggled for breath. Where Arizona was touching her, she felt sparks. As if literal electricity were passing between them. Just this stupid little touch made her feel more alive than an entire night in bed with Owen. Neither woman sought to end the contact. Callie swallowed hard and focused on the conversation. Anything to distract herself from Arizona's touch. "It is hard. My kids don't really understand. But I need to protect them."
"PTSD?" Arizona asked.
Callie nodded. "I feel awful, because I know that it's my job as his wife to support him. But I have my kids to think about. And if I'm being honest, we weren't happy. Not really. Not for a long time. Even before Iraq. I think we just stayed together because it was what was expected. It was the right thing to do for our kids. I still feel like I'm letting them down." Callie sighed and looked down.
"But it is the right thing, Calliope."
A shiver went through Callie's spine as Arizona uttered her full name. She'd always hated it. But it felt right coming from Arizona. Somehow, it felt as though it belonged.
"To stay with him simply out of obligation wouldn't be fair to you. Or to Owen. Or to your kids. They'd have sensed that. The best thing you can do is make a life where you're happy. Make a happy home for them. Even if that's a single parent home . . . or a home with someone else. If you're not happy with yourself, it'll rub off on your kids. Trust me. I've seen it all too often with my patients." Arizona said, her crystal blue eyes sparkling as she gazed at Callie. Callie's eyes were shimmering slightly with unshed tears. "Calliope. I can see how good a mother you are. You are devoted to those kids. Trust yourself. You'll do the right thing by them. Even if it's not the easy thing."
A tear escaped and rolled down Callie's cheek. All she could do was nod and offer a weak smile. She struggled to keep her composure. Why did alcohol always make her emotional? Before she knew what was happening, Arizona reached up and brushed the rogue tear away. Callie jumped as if shocked. The soft, almost sensual touch of Arizona's thumb sent her mind reeling. What was this woman doing to her? In that moment, all she wanted to do was to wrap herself in Arizona's arms and weep. But she was not that kind of woman. Even when slightly drunk. Instead she excused herself. "I'm uh . . . going to hit the ladies' room. I'll be right back."
Arizona nodded and watched Callie as she walked away. This woman was special. So special. And yet she didn't see it. Not really anyway. Her heart ached for her. She could see the bright, vibrant woman beneath that cool, collected façade. Beneath all that grief and depression. And Arizona longed to bring that out. She also longed for more. She'd never felt more drawn to another woman. But it made no difference. There would never be anything more than friendship with Calliope Torres.
Arizona waited for a minute or so, chewing on her lip. She knew that Callie's real reason for going to the bathroom had been to regain her composure. She was clearly not comfortable with crumbling in public. And while Arizona wanted to respect her need for privacy, she also felt the intense urge to make things better. Any way she could.
After a moment's hesitation, Arizona headed to the restroom and opened the door. She found Callie leaning over the sink, dabbing at her eyes.
"Hey." Arizona whispered.
"Hey." Callie replied, trying her best to look composed.
"Are you all right?" Arizona asked.
"Yeah. Just . . . damn liquor. Always makes me emotional." Callie said, looking down at her hands.
"Want to talk about it?" Arizona asked.
Callie shrugged, still looking down. She didn't want to talk. She didn't like opening up – it made her feel vulnerable. But something about this woman just undid her. Made her feel carefree and a little reckless. Or maybe it was the booze. Hard to tell. "I'm afraid." She mumbled.
"Afraid of what?" Arizona asked.
"Afraid that I'll end up alone. I mean, here I am. My marriage is over. I've got three kids. I work a lot. I'm not exactly 23 anymore. I'm afraid my chances of finding real happiness are over. Which is ridiculously selfish. I should not be upset about such things." She sighed deeply as she ended her ramble. She ran a hand through her raven locks. "I'm . . . I'm sorry I just unloaded on you." Callie said, glancing up and meeting Arizona's deep blue eyes. How was it that just looking at this woman, just being in the same room as her, made her feel . . . well, whole?
"Calliope. You have sooo much to offer. I know I don't know you that well, but you are a beautiful, amazing woman. Anyone would be lucky to have you. So, when you're not upset. When you're over being upset, there will be people lining up for you." Arizona said. And she had no doubt that it would be true. She just wished she could be at the head of that line. Maybe in an alternate lifetime…
Callie locked gazes with Arizona as her heart fluttered. She had clearly had a little too much to drink. She was not usually this affected by kindness. She broke the tension by laughing. "You wanna give me some names?" She smirked at Arizona. She knew she was right. There would not be a line. She was damaged goods. Full of baggage. Arizona smiled at her, not for a second dropping her eyes from Callie's. Before Callie knew what was happening, Arizona had leaned in, and then gently cupped her cheek and kissed her.
Though in reality, it had only lasted a few seconds, it felt like an eternity. Arizona's lips were so soft, so very different from Owen's. Where he was all hard and rough angles, Arizona was all smooth curves. Callie was enveloped in Arizona's scent. She'd found it comforting before. All of a sudden it wasn't just comforting. It was intoxicating. Entrancing. Before she knew what was happening, she felt herself responding, leaning into the kiss, capturing those soft lips with her own. Arizona flicked her tongue across the seam of Callie's lips for just a split second before pulling away.
"I think you'll know." Arizona said before slipping from the bathroom.
Callie leaned back against the sink, struggling for breath. When Arizona's lips had left hers, she'd felt this void, this nothingness, this emptiness. What in the hell had just happened? She wasn't gay. Never. She liked penis. A lot. And yet, why did it feel as though the hole in her life had just been filled. As if she'd finally found where she was meant to be?
After a few minutes, Callie left the bathroom. As her eyes scanned the bar, she saw that Arizona had gone. She was both relieved and devastated at the same time. But it was probably for the best. She didn't even know what to think, what to feel right now.
Callie headed home and slipped into her bed. But she didn't sleep. She tossed and turned, thoughts of Arizona, of her touch, of her lips, of her scent, running through her brain.
Arizona woke the next morning with a pang of regret and guilt. Yes, it was true – sober Arizona was just as attracted to Callie as drunk Arizona was. But she also knew that she'd overstepped. Callie was reeling from the breakup of her marriage. She wasn't gay. She wasn't ready. And let's face it. Even if Callie had any interest in her, it wasn't right for what she, Arizona, was looking for. She'd allowed herself, in that moment of drunken weakness, to kiss Callie. But was she really looking for a relationship with a newborn? If Callie even decided she was interested in women? She'd been down that road before and it had ended terribly. And she was definitely not looking to be some experiment for a woman who'd just broken up her marriage. And then the kids. True, she loved kids. But other people's kids. Kids that she could play with, cheer up, make better, and then send home to their parents. Her dream was not Callie's dream. It involved bikinis on the beach in Spain with a pitcher of sangria. Not diapers and boogers and watching Spongebob on TV. Kids were great, but they were a commitment, a burden she just wasn't cut out for. She'd just have to apologize to Callie and hope that she hadn't completely ruined their budding friendship.
Callie had finally fallen asleep and had awoken the next morning with a plan. There could be nothing between her and Arizona. She was not in a place to begin a new relationship and she certainly had no desire to be with a woman. That kiss, well . . . it had been a moment of drunken confusion. She didn't feel anything beyond friendship for Arizona. She was straight. Straight as they came. She'd just . . . gotten confused was all. Confused the need for comfort with something more. She'd just have to set Arizona straight and hope there wasn't any awkwardness. She just hoped she'd have some time to figure out how to say it tactfully. She'd just ignore the swirl of emotions in the pit of her stomach. They'd pass soon enough.
Callie sighed as she got into the elevator. If she could just avoid Arizona for the next 10 minutes, she'd be golden. She had a surgery that would probably take the better part of the day. Surely she'd have enough time to figure out what to say by then. Yang was taking the lead and she was just supervising. Plenty of time to plan. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't notice until too late that the doors had opened and Arizona had stepped onto the elevator as well.
"Hey." Arizona said, a bit sheepishly.
"Hey." Callie replied, feeling very uncomfortable. She told herself the discomfort came from the awkwardness of the situation. But deep down she knew it was something else. It came from the fact that the fire that had been lit deep within her last night was still smoldering. And threatening to grow into an inferno at any moment. She stared ahead, hoping to avoid conversation until later.
Finally, she could take the silence no longer. She needed to say something. Though what, she didn't know. She just knew she was inexplicably drawn to this woman. "Arizona . . ." Callie said, almost a whisper.
Callie's voice, almost pleading, almost desperate, struck a nerve deep inside Arizona. She'd been fighting with herself, trying to maintain a cool distance since she had entered the elevator. Newborn be damned. Possibly straight? Oh well. Tied down with kids? Whatever. Before she could reign in her emotions, Arizona spun, pressing Callie back against the elevator wall.
This was not the chaste kiss of the night before. No propriety, no awkwardness, no reservations. Tongues dueled as they melded together in a frenzy of heated passion. The cool of the elevator wall contrasted with Callie's body, which felt as though it were literally on fire.
Arizona had never known such a kiss. Every nerve ending in her body was on edge. Soft lips, soft tongues danced as Callie's curves were pressed against her. Fingers scraped through hair, a small moan escaped someone's throat – though whose it was hard to tell. They were as one. Until the annoying ding of the elevator brought them back to reality. They came up for air. Arizona hesitated, gazing into Callie's eyes before dipping in for a second kiss. At the last moment she pulled away and turned on her heel to leave.
What had just happened? This was not how things were supposed to happen, Callie thought. This was not her destiny. This was not in her plans. But maybe some things were just meant to be . . .