"We did a series of shorter surgeries, so his lungs and heart could stand the anesthesia. It was grueling for the patient, but worth it in the end."
My super hot girlfriend, Calliope, looked so much calmer than she did earlier. She was such a wreck this morning, huddled over the toilet back at home, constantly emptying out the contents of her stomach. Even when she had chicken pox, she was still a lovely sight. But seeing her in that state had me a little worried. I had never really seen her so frightened before. It was like dealing with one of my patients, trying to convince them that the Boogie Man didn't really exist. Those same tactics I used to calm their nerves didn't really apply when it came to dealing with an adult.
She sat comfortably on the edge of the stage. Some of our fellow doctors had to lean forward in their seats in order to see her. But, that was a good thing. It meant she finally had their attention. Calliope had connected with her audience. I was so proud of her. She couldn't have looked more beautiful, wearing the dress I picked out for her lecture. Normally, she was a t-shirt and jeans type of girl. Nothing wrong with that. In addition to bouts of nausea, Calliope was incredibly indecisive. She took nearly everything out of her closet and dumped on our bed. I always liked her in that black wrap dress with the white feather pattern. I liked it even better every time I got her out of it.
Focus, Robbins. Focus.
I couldn't think of her as my girlfriend at the moment. Instead, she was Dr. Torres, my esteemed colleague. But, it was hard to remain focused and professional as enticing as Calliope looked sitting in front of me. My Valentines's gift, a silver heart shaped pendant, dangled slightly above a hint of cleavage. It was so cute and adorable when she clutched it for comfort. The necklace was what I was referring to. Not her cleavage. Although, that totally would have worked for me, in spite of it being very inappropriate for the occasion. I was wearing a matching gold necklace that she gave me the same day, concealed underneath the collar of my navy blue scrubs top. Calliope's well toned legs were crossed so lady like. I liked them so much better when they were wrapped around my...
I totally went there again, didn't I? But if you ever saw how insanely gorgeous Calliope was, you wouldn't have blamed me at all for having the attention span of a lovesick teenager.
All the other hospitals I worked at looked down upon openly dating a co-worker. I could see the reasoning behind that. But once I got to Seattle Grace, I quickly saw that unwritten rule had been thrown out the window long before I arrived. I even attended the wedding of two of our residents, along with Calliope.
"Show them the x-rays." Alex Karev, sitting right behind me, was one those residents. His wife, Izzie Stevens, was a casualty of the merger with Mercy West. Karev, who was still an intern at the time, worked with Calliope on the case that she chose to discuss for her lecture.
"Oh, yeah! It is so cool." Calliope quickly walked over to her laptop. I glanced back at Karev, grateful that he helped her with the presentation. She cautiously cued up the image of her patient's x-ray. Everyone, myself included, was amazed how Calliope was able to transform his horribly deformed leg into a fully functional one. The audience applauded. I couldn't possibly any more prouder of her. She flashed that smile that made me melt, accompanied by a girlish giggle. Calliope was finally comfortable enough to continue the rest of her lecture on her own.
"It was...it was amazing. After the final surgery, we just...we celebrated that night!"
Maybe, she was a just a little bit too comfortable. If I didn't know any better, "celebrated" was a euphemism for something Calliope shouldn't be sharing with our colleagues in the audience.
"Man, we ever celebrated!"
As the crowd gave her final round of applause, I looked back at Karev. Long before he settled down, Alex gained the reputation of being quite the ladies' man. But even he looked a little uncomfortable with what Calliope implied about that night. A female resident sitting over in the next seat turned towards him as she clapped. Judging from her lingering glance, I wasn't the only one who read in between the lines. It finally dawned on Calliope that she shared more than she should have, her face wearing a look of regret. She knew we would be having a conversation about this later.
After she gathered her belongings on stage, Calliope took her seat beside me. She didn't say anything, her faint smile attempting to mask her embarrassment of saying too much. I wasn't upset with her, just stunned. I patted her thigh, assuring Calliope that I wasn't angry. We were all surprised when Richard Webber took the stage. Our new Chief, Derek Sheppard, invited him at the last moment. Dr. Swender, from oncology, was scheduled to do a presentation. I believe she had to back out because of a family emergency.
Calliope sat quietly, fully focused on Webber as he discussed being a resident back in the early 80's, when AIDS was still known as GRID. What a scary time that must've been, not knowing how to properly treat a disease. I noticed that my girlfriend glancing back at Karev, probably wondering if he was upset with her. Knowing him, after the initial shock, it wasn't really that big a deal. Calliope later cracked a joke, piggybacking off what our former Chief said not being allowed to beat interns with sticks, but punishing them with scut instead. She whispered to me that she would rather have been beaten with a stick than having to speak in front of such a large crowd. I couldn't contain my laughter, even though Webber was in the middle of his speech. When she wasn't being such a nervous wreck or spilling out too way much info, my Calliope could be quite the comedienne.
After spending the rest of my day following up on my patients and catching on paperwork, I headed on home. Calliope and I were practically shacked up at this point. I had my own set of keys, which I used to enter the apartment conveniently located across the street from the hospital. Calliope rested comfortably on the couch watching Definite, Maybe for the millionth time, as she nursed a bottle of ginger ale. She came home right after the lectures were done. Gone was the lovely feather print dress. Instead, she was decked out a pair of black jeans that accentuated her curves along a low cut green top that gave a better view of her necklace. After placing my keys on the end table, I gently kissed her on the forehead.
"Still feeling queasy?" I ran my fingers through her jet black hair as she nodded yes. There was a half eaten pack of saltine crackers sitting on the coffee table. I planted another kiss in the exact same spot before I dropped off my stuff in our bedroom.
Sitting on the opposite of the couch, Calliope paused the movie to give me her undivided attention. She looked a little leery to hear me speak as if she were mentally prepared to have a full blown argument.
"I'm just going to get right to the point. You and Karev. You guys had a thing back in the day, correct?"
She sat there in silence, clutching her silver heart shaped pendent.
"Calliope, I'm not upset with you. Not at all. I'm just asking, because there was something about the way you emphasized the word 'celebrate' that implied that it didn't require any clothing."
"Yeah." Clearing her throat, she loosened her grip on the pendent. "Me and Karev...we had a thing. That's not going to be a problem for you, is it? I mean, you got him on your service now."
"Are you saying that I can't be professional?"
"No. No, not at all. I'm just saying...wouldn't it be weird knowing that your new student has seen your girlfriend naked?"
"It wouldn't be any less weird than knowing that the neighbor across the hall had seen you naked. Which is not so not the point I was getting at. My reason for asking is that I'm well aware that you've had past relationships, and flings, with men. I don't have a problem with that. I was just shocked that you didn't tell me about Karev. I thought I pretty much knew everything there is to know about you. I never thought I'd be proven wrong, especially like this."
Calliope scooted closer to me on the couch and held me by the hand. "What else do you want to know? You can ask me anything."
"You don't have to do this."
"Go ahead. Ask. Please, I insist. Think of me as an open book."
"Okay." I thought carefully about what I should ask, not wanting to open Pandora's box. "Fine. Ummm...was there anybody else you happened be to be involved with at the hospital that you never told me about?"
"Hmmm. Well, first there was Karev. That was just a one-time thing. There was a syphilis outbreak here shortly after we hooked up. Word got around that somebody beat Karev up because he passed it on to one of the nurses who then passed her boyfriend at the time. So that just killed whatever attraction I had towards him. I was so glad I dodged that bullet."
"Ewww." Pandora's box was definitely was definitely open.
"Okay, maybe I shouldn't have been so open a book."
"Calliope, I can handle it. Yeah, I'm a little grossed out at the moment. But, I can definitely handle it. Please, continue."
Gazing deep into my eyes, she searched for a sign of assurance. Once she found it, Calliope cleared her throat before she continued.
"After Karev, I went out on a couple of dates with Dr. Savoy."
"He's not at Seattle Grace anymore. He got let go because of the merger. Good riddance. What a world class jerk. After Izzie Stevens cut Denny Duquette's LVAD wire, there was an M & M. A lot of doctors were gunning for Bailey, saying it was her fault that her interns went rogue. He was the one leading the charge. He was trying to say that Bailey having a baby made her incompetent."
"No, he didn't say that about our Bailey. Incompetent? Never."
"Yeah, she's three times the surgeon he'll ever be. Hell, she's an attending now, while he's out of a job. Who's incompetent now? Thank God I never slept with him."
I couldn't help but grin when she said that.
"Then, shortly after I ended things with Savoy; that's when I met George." She smiled, fondly remembering her ex-husband."With him it was different than the other guys. With him, it was love at first sight. But, it was never meant to last. But at least, we were happy. For a short amount of time, we were definitely happy. And I believe you know the rest."
"Yes, I do."
"As you can see, I had to kiss a lot of frogs before I found my princess."
I could've just melted right there on the spot when she said that. "Personally, I prefer queen. But, I totally get your point."
"Queen of what, may I ask?"
I held my gold heart-shaped pendant. "Take a wild guess."
"Hmph. I should've known."
"Shut up and come here."
Calliope obliged with a smirk on her face, edging her way closer to me on the couch. I made myself more comfortable as she sat across my lap. I pulled my girlfriend closer, allowing her to snuggle up against me. She felt even more at ease as I began stroking her hair again.
"I hope I didn't make you uncomfortable by bringing up the past."
"Ari, I told you. It's fine. I don't make any apologies for any of it."
"Nor would I ever ask you to. I just want to know you, that's all."
Craning her neck upward, Calliope drew me even closer for a kiss. I was definitely in the zone, until a couple of minutes later when she suddenly pulled away.
"Hold up. Wait a minute."
"Huh? Wha...?" I was understandably confused by what she did. "What's wrong?"
"What about you?"
"What about me?"
"Were you ever involved with anyone at the hospital before you met me? Ever romanced any hot young nurses or interns?"
"No." I sat upright upon the couch, while Calliope sat Indian style facing towards me. "I never dated anybody at the hospital before you."
"Before I came to Seattle, I was a firm believer in the phrase 'don't poop where you eat'."
"Actually, it's 'don't shit where you eat'."
"Well I say 'don't poop', Calliope. Swearing isn't sexy."
"You didn't seem to have a problem with swearing the other night." My girlfriend flashed me a devious grin.
"In my defense, I was completely at your mercy." I was completely flustered, briefly recalling our little play fight after work the night before that led to a marathon session of hot sex that left us both weary. "Anyway, back to your question, until I met you. I chose to date outside of the hospital. I figured it would be less complicated. The first girl I dated after I moved here, Marlene...well, she proved me wrong."
"Marlene was very possessive. She smothered me. Constantly calling me, checking in on me. Then she came here and caused a ruckus in the lobby. I was in surgery while it happened. From what I was told, it took three or four security guards to take her down."
"Wait a minute. That was your crazy ex-girlfriend?"
"Yup. Guilty as charged." I looked away from Calliope, slightly embarrassed even though that incident occurred nearly a year and half ago.
"Oh my God! When I heard about that, I teased Mark about it so bad. Everybody thought it was some girl he screwed over coming back for revenge. Cristina told me that she heard the same rumor about Karev."
"Nope. That was me. When the Chief-Chief Richard, not Chief Derek-took me in his office, I was mortified. The police were there to take a statement. They asked me if I wanted to press charges. I didn't really see the point in doing so. I realized she was definitely a sandwich sort of a picnic. But, I didn't think throwing her in jail would've helped matters either. At least I didn't at the time. I read in the paper that she got arrested for assaulting another woman not too long ago. I'm guessing that she was Marlene's girlfriend. I felt so guilty. I probably could've prevented that from happening."
"Ari." Calliope reached over, placing her warm hand on top of mine. "It's not your fault Marlene was coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs."
I couldn't resist cracking a smile at my girlfriend's remark, no matter how serious the conversation was. Little did she know, it was about to get even more serious.
"After the whole debacle with Marlene, I figured I'd take a little break from dating and focus on my work. At least that was the plan up until I met Cynda. We met at the supermarket. We were reaching for the last raspberry yogurt at the same time. Our hands touched."
"Cynda and I, we struck up a conversation, really it off, and exchanged numbers before we left. She certainly didn't waste any time calling me. We went out on a couple of dates. She insisted on picking where we would go. But then, things started to run hot and cold with her. She was eager to spend time with me, but she seemed so nervous whenever I touched her. I just chalked it up to her not being real big on PDA. I could understand that. I figured maybe she wasn't officially out yet. But, it started to happen whenever we were alone, too. Needless to say, it took us quite awhile before we got around to having sex. And once we finally did, she cut me off completely."
Calliope's jaw dropped. It dawned on her what may have happened with Cynda before I even had the chance to say it.
"A couple of weeks later, I saw Cynda again at the same supermarket with some guy. Once she saw me, Cynda took him by the hand and high tailed it out of the frozen food section. She called me later that evening and explained everything. It turned out that I was her first. Well, her first with a woman. The guy she was with at the supermarket, that was her brother. She freaked out that he could've found out about us. She wanted to continue seeing me, but by that point I had completely lost interest. If she would've been up front with me about everything, maybe I would've been a little more understanding. Instead, I couldn't shake the feeling that I had been used."
"The whole thing about me being a 'newborn', that's why you turned me down." Calliope's dark brown eyes started to well up with empathy. "You were hurt by one before."
"I was devastated to say the least. I really started packing on the pounds. I bought so many donuts during that time that I probably kept Krispy Kreme in business during the recession." Calliope and I shared a brief laugh. "So, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to go back to yoga class. That's where I met Julie."
"I still can't believe I crashed your date. Even though, I ended up benefiting from that."
"Julie and I weren't really clicking anyway. On paper, she seemed like the type of person I should be dating. She was already out. She knew exactly who she was and what she wanted out of life. We just didn't have any chemistry. Julie was basically my rebound girl. I started hearing about you. About what happened with you and Erica. Somebody pointed you to me in the cafeteria. I thought to myself Hahn must've seriously been out of her mind for leaving someone so gorgeous. The girl who pointed you out , she was a scrub nurse on the surgery you told me about. When you rebuilt that homeless guy's legs out of titanium rods. That was impressive. I thought that was so hardcore. I really wanted to meet you."
Calliope's eyes lit up. "So, I was your 'heart in the elevator' guy?"
"Mmm-hmm." I nodded.
"Wait a minute." Calliope looked unexpectedly puzzled. "So, if I'm correct, you kissed me-in a bar bathroom-while you still dating Julie?"
"Uh...uh..uh, well, you slept with Alex thinking he was George."
My girlfriend's brow quickly furrowed. "That doesn't make it even, Arizona." She returned her attention back to the TV. The image of Rachel Weisz singing to Ryan Reynolds remained frozen. As she aimed the remote towards the DVD player, a tuft of her long, curly jet black draped over her face.
"No. But that does. For the other night, I mean."
Calliope swept the hair away from her face before caressing the back of her head. She looked towards me in shock.
"No, you did not just hit me in the back of the head with a pillow." My girlfriend looked so sexy even when was annoyed with me.
"Yup. Sure did."
"Oh, you are so gonna get it, Arizona Robbins."
Immediately, I ran towards our bedroom, screaming playfully like a school girl. Calliope was hot on my heels. My attempt to barricade the bedroom door was futile. She was much stronger than I, having broken bones for a living. My girlfriend edged her way towards me, wearing that same devious grin from earlier. I began screaming again like a little girl as I climbed backwards on the bed. Calliope grabbed my ankle and carefully yanked me off the bed. Once I was on the floor, I found myself again at her mercy. She became the Tickle Monster, her nimble fingers attacking my midsection, my neck and my feet. My legs were flailing away in every direction as I laughed uncontrollably. My girlfriend abruptly ended her tickle attack, allowing me a moment to catch my breath. I looked up directly into her eyes. The way she looked at that moment, I swear never wanted her more.
"Is that the best you got?" My voice was still breathy from laughing so much.
"Not even close."
My body quivered in anticipation for what Calliope would do next.