Title: Just Because (16/16) - FINAL CHAPTER!
Author: iheartcallietorres (laurenxx3 on LJ and The Grey's Fanfiction Board)
Summary: AU - What if Callie had already had a child when Arizona had kissed her in the bathroom at Joe's? Knowing what we know now, how will Arizona react when she finds out that not only is Callie a 'newborn,' she has a newborn?
Disclaimer: You know the drill. All characters belong to Shonda Rhimes/ABC. I don't own anything. Any similarities to real life situations/persons are purely coincidental. Not for profit; for entertainment purposes only.
A/N: I have absolutely NO medical knowledge beyond what I see/hear on Grey's Anatomy, so forgive me of any medical-related errors. Also, this is un-beta'd, so all mistakes are mine. Please let me know if you come across any. As always, comments are much appreciated (and will encourage me to write more fics in the future - *hint, hint*).
A/N 2: Alright, folks! This is it! The last installment of Just Because. It's been a long journey and I've really enjoyed writing this and reading how much y'all love this, too. Y'all are the best! I'm dedicating this last chapter to my lovely BABs. You know who you are. Thanks for all the love and support as I've written this, especially to my girl, Becca. I'd have been completely lost at times without your creative ideas and endless support through everything. : ) I love you all!
Things were pretty quiet the next several of months. Liliana was growing like a weed. She said her first word about a week after we moved into our house. I'd been egging her on to say "mama" for several weeks. Her first word? "Donut."
I shook and grinned my head at the memory. Arizona had raised her hands in victory and danced a little dance. I had glared at her at first, but was so overwhelmed that my baby girl had said her first word that I couldn't stay annoyed.
Two months after that, Liliana had taken her first unsure steps.
My baby was growing up.
Arizona and I were also going strong. Our relationship unfolded pretty naturally after I admitted to Arizona, and myself, that I was in this for the long run. Shortly after, I had purchased a ring.
And, unbeknownst to me, so had Arizona. She'd beaten me to proposing by two days. I had planned to do it on a Saturday that we both had off, but she'd popped the question the Thursday before, presenting me with an almost identical ring. The only difference between the two rings was that I'd gotten her a yellow gold one and she'd gotten me one of white gold.
Arizona had dropped onto one knee one night after we'd put Liliana down for the evening and asked me to be her wife.
I hadn't been able to hold back the laugh that bubbled out of me. Arizona had looked a little panicked until I dropped to my knees in front of her and pulled out the ring that I'd kept stashed in my pocked since I had purchased it. Understanding had dawned on Arizona the moment she saw the ring nestled in the palm of my hand.
We started planning our wedding the next day.
Of course, we realized that same-sex marriage wasn't recognized by the state of Washington, but we agreed that a commitment ceremony was more than enough for us. We would file for a domestic partnership at that time and, if in the future Washington decided to recognize gay marriage, we'd "legally" marry. But the commitment ceremony would be what we considered our true wedding day.
I called my mother the next day to tell her the news. Though my family had come around, I was still unsure of how they'd respond to the news that I was marrying a woman.
My mother surprised me. "It's about time, mija," she said.
"What?" I asked, confused.
"The first time I spoke to you after your father finally came to his senses I could already tell you had fallen hard for Arizona," she told me.
I hadn't known how to respond to that and was thankful when my mother changed the subject.
It was also decided that the ceremony would take place in Miami at my parents' house, the same house I'd spent the first 18 years of my life. Much of Arizona's family was in the Southeast and all of my family was in Miami, so it would be easier to get everyone together there rather than in Seattle.
So the main ceremony would be in Miami, but we agreed to have a small reception back in Seattle when we returned for people who couldn't make it to Miami.
My mother went into mother of (one of) the bride(s) mode and took over the planning. Which neither Arizona nor I minded. Planning a wedding was a lot of work, which we didn't have much of these days.
We arrived in Miami a week before the ceremony. It was Arizona's first time actually meeting my family. Other than my father, that is. She'd talked on the phone to my mother and sister several times, however, just as I had talked to Arizona's parents a few times a week.
My father sent a car to pick us up at the airport and we rode to the house, anticipation high for both of us.
"Nervous?" I asked Arizona, noticing her fidgeting with her blouse. I wanted to comfort her, but Liliana's car seat, which my father had already had secured in the back seat, was between us.
Arizona looked over at me, a slightly panicked look one her face before she could hide it with a more neutral one. "Uh, no. No, I'm good," she said. "Just… hot. It's a lot hotter here than in Seattle."
"I'm nervous, too," I reassured her.
Arizona sighed. "Okay, I'm nervous," she mumbles.
I reached across the car seat where Liliana was fast asleep and took a hold of her hand, gripping it tightly in reassurance. "They already love you, Arizona. How could they not?"
She gave a small smile just as we pulled into the circular driveway of my childhood home. "Whoa," she said in awe when she saw the massive structure. "You grew up here?"
"Yeah," I muttered. I busied myself getting Liliana out of the car seat.
"Callie!" I heard a screech coming from behind me. I turned and came face to face with a younger version of me in the form of my sister, Aria.
I broke into a huge smile and handed Liliana to Arizona just before I was nearly bowled over by my little sister.
I laughed and hugged her back. "I missed you, too," I said. I really had. Twelve years my junior, I'd been old enough when she'd been born to appreciate having a little sister. Yes, we fought as all siblings do, but she and I had a special bond while I'd still lived at home. That bond had weakened over the years of our separation, but we were still close.
She finally let me go and glared at me. "That's because you never come home anymore! It's no fun around here without you!"
"Sorry," I mumbled sheepishly.
But Aria ignored me and turned to face Arizona, who had come to stand next to me, still cradling Liliana in her arms. Aria gave Arizona the once over, looking her up and down, hands on her hips. "So, you're the one who finally managed to sink her metaphorical claws into my sister, huh?" she asked, her tone serious with a hint of malice.
I saw Arizona's eyes widen in surprise and she shot me a pleading glace.
"Oh, stop it, Aria," I commanded. "She's already nervous as it is."
Aria shrugged. "Sorry," she said before stepping forward to enveloped a surprised Arizona in a warm hug, careful of Liliana still in her arms. "Welcome to the family," Aria said when she stepped back, a smile on her lips. "Sorry if I scared you. I do that to all the newbies. Gotta make sure they can handle the Torres clan."
"The… Torres Clan?" Arizona questioned, still looking nervous.
"Don't listen to her," I assured, shooting Aria a warning glare. She'd always loved to pick on the people I dated. "You'll be fine."
Aria rolled her eyes and turned her attention to Liliana. Her face lit up like a Christmas tree as she reached for the small child. "There's my niece!" she exclaimed, cradling the baby to her chest. "You've gotten so big! Last time I saw you, you were only a few days old."
Liliana cooed and reached out to tangle her hand in Aria's long black hair, letting out a laugh when Aria winced.
"Atta girl," I teased, but reached out to help untangle her hand. "That's why I wear my hair tied back whenever I hold her," I said with a chuckle. "Oh, and don't wear dangly earrings either. She'll go right for them. Right, Arizona?"
Arizona nodded, automatically reaching up to massage her still tender earlobe.
"Come on," Aria said. "Mama and Daddy are waiting inside."
I don't think I've ever been inside a house so huge before. I'll be lucky if I don't get lost at some point, I thought in awe as we stepped inside. A man I didn't recognize took our things, saying that he'd put them in our room for us. I smiled graciously at him, trying to act like I was used to this.
I had known Calliope came from money. Just how much, though, I had been unaware. The house was massive, but no lacking in personal touches. It was not cold and unfriendly. Rather, the décor was warm and inviting. Family photos lined the walls of the long hallway we traveled down, Calliope gripping my hand tightly.
Aria, still holding Liliana, led us to a large room that I determined was an office of sorts because of the large, mahogany desk that I immediately identified as Calliope's father's. There was a sitting area with several chairs and a couch across the room, where the older couple sat close together, talking quietly. They did not hear us enter the room and only looked up when Aria cleared her throat.
I immediately recognized Carlos and was relieved when a smile spread across his face as he stood. He stepped forward, a tall, older version of Calliope right behind him. This had to be her mother.
"Calliope!" the woman exclaimed, pushing quickly past Carlos to rush forward and pull a well-prepared Calliope in a tight embrace.
"Hola, mama," I heard Calliope say. I smiled at the obvious close relationship between Calliope and her mother.
"How dare you stay away for so long!" her mother scolded playfully when she pulled away. "I hardly recognize you anymore!"
Calliope rolled her eyes with a laugh. "I'm sorry, mama," she said. She turned to me and smiled. "Mom, this is Arizona."
I smiled at the older woman and stuck out my hand. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Mrs. Torres."
Calliope's mom looked down at my hand, a mild look of disgust in her eyes and I felt my heart sink. "Oh, no," the woman said. "We hug in this family!" With that, I was pulled into a tight hug, surprising me and Calliope. I returned the hug, relaxing a bit. "And please, call me Gloria," she said as she stepped back.
I smiled, my nervousness completely disappearing. For now. The most nerve wracking part would be in a few days when the rest of Calliope's family arrived.
We all sat and conversation flowed easily. Gloria asked us about work and I couldn't help but brag about Calliope's recent medical marvels. She'd managed to create cartilage out of Jell-O; something the Bioengineers had deemed impossible. I was damn proud of my Calliope.
"Daddy, Arizona and I are both tired," Calliope said after about an hour. "We were planning on taking a nap before dinner."
"Okay, mija," Carlos said as we all stood, kissing her forehead. "You're in your old room. We haven't touched or moved anything since you left for school." I smiled, anxious to see where Calliope used to sleep. "Arizona, you'll be in the guestroom across the hall from Calliope."
I did my best not to show my disappointment. This was, after all, his house.
Calliope, however, did nothing to mask her feelings about it. "Daddy, that's ridiculous," she huffed.
"Calliope," he warned.
"We live together," Calliope pointed out. "You know that. We have for nearly six months. What? You think we sleep in separate rooms? Guess what? We don't. We sleep in the same bed every night and, you got it, we have sex! A lot!"
"Calliope!" I admonished, eyes wide and my cheeks burning with embarrassment.
"Well, it's true," Calliope said with a shrug.
I gave a nervous laugh, turning to a shocked Carlos and Gloria. "The guestroom will be perfectly fine," I said.
I shot a warning glare at Calliope, effectively stopping her protest. "Thank you so much," I said to her parents, pulling Calliope out of the room. "We're gonna take that nap now."
"Dinner's at seven," Aria called out, already having deemed herself official babysitter to her niece through the next week.
I nodded and closed the door behind us. "Calliope! What the hell was that?" I hissed.
"What?" she asked. "It doesn't make any sense for us to have separate rooms," she insisted, leading me up the stairs and down the hallway. "They know we live together. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that we share a room at home."
"But Calliope, this is your parents' house. If they don't want us sleeping in the same bed, then that's their choice. It's their house."
She stopped in front of a closed door and turned to me, hands on her hips. "It's their house? You weren't a very rebellious teenager, were you?"
I shrugged. "Not particularly."
Calliope sighed. "It's just…" She bit her lip in hesitation.
"What?" I prompted.
"I can't… sleep without you," she said. "Whenever you're working and I'm not, I can't sleep. Not until you get home. Remember the conference you went to a few months ago? The one in Cleveland where you were gone for three days?"
"I couldn't sleep then and that was only three days!"
I sighed and stepped forward, placing my arms around her waist and my head on her shoulder. "I have trouble sleeping without you, too, Calliope. But please try? I don't want to give your family any reason to not like me."
I felt her relax and wrap her arms around me. "It's… it's more that," she said softly after a few moments. She stepped back and looked me in the eye. "I just, have this fear, this deep, internal fear that they aren't as okay as they claim to be about all this."
"What?" I asked, my voice softening. "About you being with another woman?"
She nodded. "I'm probably being paranoid," she said, running a hand through her unruly hair and casting her gaze downward. "I mean, they're planning the wedding and even offered to let us use the back yard…" She trailed off.
"Hey," I said, forcing her to look at me. "It's only normal for you to have doubts. It took me a long time to know for certain that my parents were okay with it. But for what it's worth, I really believe your parents just want you to be happy. Especially your dad. Did you see the pride his expression when we were discussing your cartilage?"
That made her smile and I stood up on tiptoe to kiss her lightly. "They love you, Calliope," I said softly, my arms twining around her neck. "Just like I do. Just like your friends do. So, we'll survive this week because after Saturday, we'll be married and there's nothing anyone can do to keep me from walking down that isle with you." I looked up at her. "Okay?"
She nodded while taking a deep breath. "Okay," she said. "But I don't have to like it," she grumbled. "But this doesn't mean that we're going an entire week without sex, right?"
I tilted my head, pretending to consider the possibility. "Hmm," I said. "A whole week of no sex would lead to an amazing wedding night…"
"Arizona Marie Robbins," Calliope said. I winced slightly at the use of my full name. "You cannot possibly expect me to-"
"Oh, relax, Calliope!" I admonished. "As if I could keep my hands off you for three days, let alone an entire week." I grinned. "Now, I want to see the room you grew up in."
I was less than thrilled to be sleeping in separate rooms. Actually, I was downright angry. Of course, that could be because it was three o'clock in the morning and I had yet to get to sleep.
I sighed and shifted in the bed, rolling onto my side and staring at the empty spot beside me. I hadn't been kidding when I said I always had trouble sleeping without Arizona by my side. I know it's sad and kind of pathetic, but it's true.
I groaned in frustration and threw back the covers, threw on a robe and left my room. I thought briefly about going to Arizona's room, but decided instead to go to the kitchen. Growing up, whenever I couldn't sleep, I'd always go to the kitchen, pour a glass of milk and steal a homemade cookie.
I did just that and sat at the table, nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie and thinking about how lucky I was to have found Arizona.
"Still stealing my cookies, I see," I heard from the doorway, causing me to jump.
"Jeez, ma!" I coughed, choking on the sip of milk I'd just taken.
"Oh, I didn't mean to startle you, mija," my mother said, sitting next to me, patting my back softly.
"It's okay," I said. I eyed her. "You knew I used to steal cookies in the middle of the night?"
"When you couldn't sleep," she said, nodding. "That's why I always had them around. And why I made a fresh batch this morning."
"Why can't you sleep, mija?" she asked, pushing my hair over my shoulder.
I sighed. "You'll think it's stupid," I muttered, looking down at my half-eaten cookie and nearly empty glass of milk.
"Try me," she said.
I bit my lip and took a deep breath. "It's just… I can't sleep without her. It's pathetic, I know, but I can't, so… yeah. That's why I'm sitting here eating cookies when I should be sleeping."
My mother sighed. "Your father has his reasons, you know."
"Hmm," I grunted.
"He's fully come around, you know. He may not completely understand, but he just wants you to be happy and it's obvious that you are. But Calliope, you know that it would be no different if Arizona were a man. You'd still have separate rooms. Until you were married. Just like Aria did when she brought Kyle home to meet us a few months ago." Kyle was Aria's boyfriend of three years. "It has nothing to do with the fact that she's a woman."
I looked at my mom and saw the seriousness and honesty in her expression. "I… hadn't thought of it like that." Actually, when I thought about it, I did remember Aria complaining to me on the phone that she and Kyle had separate rooms. I sighed. "That still doesn't change the fact that I can't sleep," I murmured.
She chuckled, standing and leaning down to give me a hug. She kissed the top of my head. "I don't know how to help you there, mija. Just don't worry about your father. He loves you and Arizona. And you know that precious little girl of yours has him wrapped around her tiny little finger."
I laughed, remembering the way he'd played with Liliana today. He was a natural with babies. "Thanks, ma," I said. "You should get back to bed."
She nodded and left. I finished my milk and cookie quickly and returned to my own room. I crawled under the covers and felt my body relax. After talking with my mother, sleep came a lot easier. I was asleep within minutes.
"Calliope," I cooed into her ear. "Time to wake up."
"Don't wanna," came her muffled reply.
"Wakey, wakey, Calliope Torres," I said a little louder. I pulled at the covers, revealing her sleep attire-a tank top and shorts.
She finally rolled onto her back and rubbed her eyes. They popped open and immediately sought out the clock on her bedside table. She groaned when she saw that it was eight thirty in the morning. "Ugh, I need more sleep, Arizona," she groaned, attempting to pull the covers back up.
"Oh, no, you don't," I said. "You already slept through breakfast and I let you because your mother told me you had a hard time falling asleep last night, but we have to get a move on. We have a fitting at ten and then we have an appointment with the catering company. So get up!"
She groaned again, but sat up. "Alright, alright. Coffee. Need coffee."
"I'll get you some, just start getting ready, okay?" I kissed her softly. "And I missed you last night."
She whimpered. "I missed you, too," she said against my lips. I started to leave, but she stopped me, pulling me down to sit on the edge of the bed. Her lips brushed mine again before she captured my lips in a breath taking kiss. I moaned softly, which she echoed as my hands slid around to the back of her neck.
"I really missed you," she said, pulling back slightly.
I smiled. "Me, too," I said. "Now get ready and I'll bring you some coffee, okay?"
She nodded and I left to get said coffee.
"She awake?" Aria asked as I entered the kitchen where she and Gloria were waiting.
I nodded. "I had to promise coffee," I said. "But she's up."
"When are your parents coming?" Aria asked as I poured a cup of coffee, already feeling at home in the large house.
"Wednesday," I replied. "Are you sure they can stay here?" I asked Gloria while adding cream and sugar to Calliope's coffee. "I mean, they said it's not a problem for them to stay in a hotel and you'll have all of your family here as well…"
Gloria chuckled. "Arizona, this house is big enough for everyone, dear. It's just your parents. The rest of your family is just driving down the day of the wedding, right?"
I nodded. "My aunt and uncle are planning on staying for a while afterwards, but they already have reservations at a resort somewhere."
"Then it's settled. Your parents are more than welcome here. I'm looking forward to meeting them. Now, take that to Calliope and tell her to get a move on. We have to leave in twenty minutes."
"I'm ready, ma," I heard Calliope say from the doorway. I smiled as she entered the room, kissing her mother on the cheek before joining me, eyeing the coffee in my hands with want. I chuckled and handed her the cup, which she took and inhaled deeply. "Thanks," she said. She smiled at Liliana who was nestled comfortably in Aria's arms.
We left shortly after, our day full of appointments and fittings. Calliope had tried to make her mother keep things simple, but hadn't had the heart to tell her that it was too much. I didn't really mind, though. I've always dreamed of a bit white wedding.
"I'm so exhausted," Calliope said as she fell onto the couch once we arrived back at the house. We'd been out all day having met Carlos for dinner before returning.
I grinned, sitting close and nuzzling her behind her ear. "Too tired for a walk on the beach?" I asked. I was amazed and delighted to learn that about a mile behind the house was a half-mile stretch of private beach.
"Only as long as you wear that new bikini," she murmured into my ear.
I laughed. "Deal."
I was grateful that our families seemed to get along. My mother and Arizona's seemed to bond instantly and immediately began discussing the wedding. I'd talked to Arizona's parents, Daniel and Traci, so many times that it was like I'd already met them. Even though it was our first in-person meeting, there was no awkwardness at all, for which Arizona and I were both grateful.
I still had trouble sleeping without Arizona by my side, but less so after my chat with my mother.
The morning of the wedding, Arizona and I didn't even see each other. We both thought it was a little ridiculous, but both of our mothers insisted on keeping up the tradition. So we humored them.
So Arizona left with her mom before I'd even woken up. My mother cooked me a big breakfast, but I was so nervous I couldn't eat much of it.
I stood at the kitchen window, observing the backyard that now had about a hundred chairs facing the elegant handmade arch that was covered in purple lilies. In less than six hours I would be walking down that isle to marry the love of my life.
"Calliope," I heard my father's voice from the door behind me. I turned to see him standing there, already dressed in his nicest suit, looking nervous. "Can I speak with you privately?"
I nodded, following him down the hallway towards his office. He shut the door behind him and led me to sit on the couch. He sat across from me and studied me.
"What?" I asked after a minute, nervous.
"I've never seen you so happy before," he said quietly, his voice serious.
I couldn't stop the smile that spread across my face. "I am happy, Daddy. Arizona… she's who I want to spend the rest of my life with. And…" I took a deep breath. "I really hope you're being sincere when you say that you're okay with that."
He nodded. "Your mother told me about your late night kitchen discussion the other night," he said. "I know I was a little rash at first."
"A little?" I couldn't help but ask.
He looked sheepish. "Okay, a lot. I was worried, Calliope."
"You don't have to worry about me, Daddy."
He smiled. "I will always worry about you. It's a dad thing. Just like you'll always worry about Liliana."
I nodded. "Thanks, Dad. For everything. It really mean a lot that you've accepted all this. It means everything, to me and Arizona."
"She's a good girl," he said. "Don't let her go."
"I don't plan on it."
He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a small box. "This was your grandmother's," he said. "And your mother wore it at our wedding." He opened the box to reveal a stunning necklace with hundreds of tiny diamonds and a brilliant blue sapphire that just so happened to be the exact color of Arizona's eyes.
"Dad," I breathed out. "It's… gorgeous."
He took the necklace out of the box and I turned to allow him to put it on, sweeping my hair to one side. He clasped it and I lifted my fingers to trace the delicate stones, tears coming to my eyes. At least my makeup hadn't been done yet. I turned back to face my father and saw the pride in his expression as he moved to hug me.
"I love you, mija," he said.
"I love you, too, Daddy."
I walked down the isle with my father by my side first, my stomach in knots with excitement. Today was the day that Calliope became my wife.
My father kissed my cheek and sat in the front row next to my mother. Calliope and her father appeared then and made their way down the isle towards me. I felt my breath catch in my throat at how beautiful she looked in her simple, yet elegant dress. She was miraculous. Breathtakingly stunning. I'll never be able to stop looking at her.
Our eyes connected as she walked down the isle and she broke into a big smile as her father "delivered" her to me, kissing her on the cheek. I took her hand and gave it a squeeze.
"I love you," she mouthed. I felt tears well in my eyes. Good tears. Happy tears. I'd found the love of my life and I couldn't wait to begin our life together.
"I love you, too," I mouthed back before we turned to face the preacher.
He smiled at us and began to speak. "Dearly beloved…"