Callie greets Owen at the apartment door abruptly. "Deal with your girlfriend."

"Nice to see you too," he laughs, entering. Callie merely points towards Cristina's bedroom and stomps off to her own room.

Owen looks in through the open door and snorts. "Is every piece of clothing you own on the bed?"

"I can't decide what to wear and Callie is no help!" Cristina complains. She's dressed in a towel and holding up two dresses. She looks up at him. "Nice suit."

"Thought I'd look respectable for your mother," he smiles. He looks at the explosion of clothes. "Um, anything I can do to help?"

"Read my mother's mind and find out which dress she will hate the least," Cristina snaps, digging through the pile on her bed.

Owen smiles and reaches into his jacket. "Wear something that shows off your neck."

"Of course you'd say that!" Cristina stops digging when Owen hands her a long, flat box.

"Breathe," he suggests, coming up behind her and taking her in his arms.

Cristina smirks and opens the box. She smiles when she sees an antique strand of pearls inside. "My my. For me?"

"For you," he whispers in her ear.

She gently touches the pearls. "What's the occasion?"

"I love you," he murmurs, kissing her neck.

She smiles and lifts the necklace out. "Fasten it for me?"

"With pleasure."

She places the pearls against her neck and he fastens it for her, hot breath warming her neck. She turns and kisses him. "Thank you for the pearls, lover." Her eyes light up. "I know what to wear!"

He laughs as she digs through the clothes on the bed again. She triumphantly pulls out a strapless black dress and holds it up against her. "The classic little black dress to go with classic pearls."

***

Ten minutes later, Cristina is dressed and ready to go. "Maybe I should have gone with the red dress," she muses, as she and Owen go downstairs.

He sighs. "What is it about your mother that brings this out in you? This – indecision?"

"Oh, just wait," Cristina says darkly. "Within five minutes of meeting you, she will have discovered all of your flaws."

He looks at her sideways. "What have you told her about me?"

"The basics, that's all. But she'll still find something to hate."

"Moms love me," he insists. "I do make a good first impression, you know."

"Ha!" She looks at him closely. "I should have told you to trim your beard."

"I did trim my beard," he protests, holding open the door to his truck for her.

"With what, a Swiss Army knife?"

***

A few hours later, Cristina storms back into the apartment, an impatient Owen right behind her. She stops and stares at Callie and Meredith, sitting on the couch and drinking beer. "What?"

"We – were waiting to see how it went with your mom," Callie offers lamely. "You look nice…"

"That bad, huh?" Meredith smirks.

"Ask him!" Cristina yells, pointing at Owen. She then turns and runs into her bedroom, slamming the door in his face. He sighs and heads for the kitchen, opens the fridge, and gets out a bottle of beer. He opens it, drinks half, then comes over and sits with Cristina's friends.

"Well?" Meredith demands playfully, leaning in for the gossip. "What did Helen hate about you? What did she hate about Cristina?"

"She liked me," Owen says, frustrated. "She said nice things about what Cristina was wearing and I thought we had a nice dinner together."

Callie and Meredith exchange confused glances.

"Apparently," Owen continues, "it's a crime to like your girlfriend's mother and stepfather. Apparently, you're not supposed to do things like suggest they stay an extra day so they can meet your mother and –"

"Oh Owen," Meredith sighs. "You didn't."

"What is so wrong?" he demands. "She won't tell me!"

"You're supposed to take her side against her mother," Callie advises.

"And you're not supposed to suggest spending more time with Helen than previously arranged," Meredith adds. "Amateur."

Owen sighs and undoes his tie. "Is any of this written down somewhere? Is there a rulebook I can study?"

Callie and Meredith laugh. "I'll go check on her," Meredith decides, standing up. She disappears into Cristina's bedroom. Owen drinks some more beer and removes his suit jacket.

"Are you allowed to like Arizona's mother?" he asks Callie. She laughs.

Meredith quickly exits Cristina's room. "You should get in there," she advises Owen. He finishes his beer and stands up. Squaring his shoulders, he enters Cristina's room, closing the door behind him.

He's surprised to find her on the bathroom floor, searching for something on her hands and knees.

"I'm really sorry," she says. "The necklace broke when I tried to take it off."

She looks up at him glumly, holding open her hands, which contain a few pearls.

"I didn't check the necklace too closely when I bought it," he shrugs, getting down on his knees. "I'll help you."

They silently look for pearls on the bathroom floor, until Cristina thinks they've found them all.

"I'll get it restrung," she says quietly, pouring them into her water glass.

"I'll do it," he says, reaching for the glass. She moves it away from his grasp.

"I'm the one who broke it," she insists.

"It was my gift to you," he insists back.

They look at each other and then start laughing.

"Sorry your mom liked me," he grins. "Sorry I liked her and Saul."

She rolls her eyes. "I can't believe you tamed the beast. Sorry I was – a little angry."

"Sorry I bought you a necklace that made you pick out a dress that your mother liked,"
he says, leaning in for a kiss. "I robbed you of something to complain about."

"You're terrible," she murmurs, kissing him back. "Charming my mother and turning her into a woman I didn't recognize. And suggesting they stay longer? That one I actually am a little irritated about."

"A little?" He smiles at her. "I'm not apologizing for that one."

They look at each other, on their hands and knees, and laugh again.

"I suppose I can try to get used to dating someone my mother approves of," she smirks, standing up.

"I did warn you that I make a good first impression," he grins, getting to his feet.

She smirks. "Do you ever." She takes his hands. "So – let's see you handle 40 years of getting along with my mother."

"Well, if I'm willing to handle 40 years of you …"