Sitting on the bed in her room at the hotel where all the staff she took to Africa with her were staying, Arizona Robbins looked at the phone in the room. Stared was more like it. She had lifted it off the hook 100 times over the last week, but was never able to dial all the numbers before. With a deep breath and her eyes a little blurred with tears already fighting to break free she finally dials the cell phone number she knows so well.
Groaning as she fumbles for her phone Callie contemplates just ignoring it. She's been working as much as legally possible since Arizona left, and she finally feels like she's at the point where sleep might finally come. Not bothering to check caller ID since it was probably just Mark calling to check up on her, again, she opens it.
"Hello?" She croaks out groggily.
Arizona doesn't answer for a second, in fact she nearly hangs up. She could hear the blood rushing in her ears though she wasn't sure how since she was pretty sure her heart had stopped at the sound of Callie's voice.
"I made it to Malawi." Arizona rushes out, needing to say something before she explodes. She wasn't sure if Callie knew who it was or if she would just hang up once she figured it out.
"I know. I check your flight online." Callie says softly, swallowing the massive lump that's rapidly rising in her throat.
Arizona felt a ghost of a smile fall on her lips and her eyes closed to prevent a wave of tears. "I couldn't let the last thing I said to you be the last thing I said to you." She whispers, a lump forming she can't fight back.
"It wasn't one of our finer moments." Callie agrees, grateful that she made it home before this phone call because she's not sure how much longer she can keep from breaking down.
Arizona didn't say anything for a moment, she was too tired to laugh and too proud to beg Callie to get on a plane and fly to her. "I wish more than anything that I'd won this three years before you and I met. I wish that I was finished with this chapter of my life before I found you. I can't not live this dream, but I wish I lived it before I found you."
"Ya well, the universe always has enjoyed fucking with me." Callie mutters bitterly. "But...at least you did find me. Having you, even for a little while, is better then nothing." She says sadly.
Arizona felt a few drops of salt-water fall down her face at the tone of Callie's voice. It was a tone she had never wanted to be the cause of. "I meant every word I ever said to you Calliope. Every loving utterance, every word spoken in a moment of passion, every passionte plea for you to talk to me. I meant them all and I will remember them always."
"I...I know you did. That's who you are, who you were raised to be." Callie murmurs, wiping away a few rogue tears. "You know that I meant everything too right?" She whispers, almost afraid of the answer.
"I know you did sweetie." Arizona whispers, moving her hand up and slowly wiping her tears away, only to have new ones spring forth to take the place of the ones on her hand. "I wish we were fixable. I wish me flying home or you flying here was a solution. I wish saying I could see myself with our daughter or son between us in bed on Christmas morning was a treaty like it was after the shooting." She forces out, her voice tightening noticeably.
"What am I supposed to do without you?" Callie whispers, her throat threatening to close up. "I...I thought I'd finally learned, finally stopped fucking everything up. But you're there and I'm here and...and I don't know what to do." She forces out, scrunching her eyes tightly shut in a vain attempt to stem the tears.
Arizona's breathing slowed as her heart broke even more. "You go to work and change people's lives, build legs and arms from nothing like God. You work on perfecting your cartilage so you can save even more lives." She whispers, that was the easy part to say. "You date and find someone who makes you smile again. Who makes me laugh and who will brush puke out of your hair when you get sick before public speaking. You move on and you learn from what we had. So next time, next time there won't be yelling in an airport, or a fight over babies that breaks you up. You find the person you were meant to be with." She chokes out as bile rises in her throat. As much she means the words she just said she still hates herself for saying them.
"I can do that, some of that. Work, that I can do." Callie says before clearing her throat. "But the rest...the person I'm meant to be with already has my heart." She whispers so softly she's not sure Arizona even hears. It's not a fair thing to say, for either of the, but she just can't help it.
"Calliope." Arizona closes her eyes, tears falling faster than she thought were possible. "I will be in Africa for at least three years. After that if things go as well as we hope I'll be going to another country to put this model into place." She whispers, telling Callie what she already knew. "You want babies and marriage and a stable life. You want Christmas in Miami and vacations in Spain."
"I want you." Callie forces out past her steady stream of tears. "I want babies with your dimples and golden curls that grow up to say words like awesome and act way too perky for their own good. I want to make you that sangria I promised and serve it to you on our private beach in Spain on our honeymoon."
"I can't give you what you need anymore. I can't give you what you deserve anymore." Arizona whispers, the pain of that truth settling over her for the first time. "As much as it hurts, and fuck does it hurt, you and I are aren't headed in the same direction." As she says the words she's certain there has never been a more bitter truth.
"Why can't I just hate you?" Callie says, letting out a desperate sob. "I've tried, god have I tried, but I can't. I love you, I love you so fucking much. If I could just...not...maybe it wouldn't hurt so bad." She whimpers weakly. She hates how weak she sounds, how weak she is, but she's got not defenses left.
"I wish you could hate me too." Arizona whispers, meaning it from the depths of her shattered heart. If Callie just hated her she would feel better. She would feel like Callie would get to move on. If she was out there loving her from Seattle her heart would always be broken. "I love you more than I have loved anyone I have ever been with. I may always feel that way, but we can't be together 10,000 miles away. It's not fair to either of us."
"I know it's not. You need someone who can hold when the tiny coffins haunt you. Someone you can pick a fight with when you're scared. Someone to be there. And I...I can't from 10,000 miles away. I can't be who you need." Callie sighs shakily, her words like a knife through her already shredded heart.
Arizona looks down at the floor, her eyes dancing over the swirls in the wood. "Promise me that you will move on one day from this." She whispers softly, knowing how selfish it os to make Callie commit to that. "Promise me you won't become the crazy manwhore lady, taking in stray Mark's from all over the city."
"Oh Ari." Callie chuckles weakly. "I won't make you a promise I can't keep. You deserve more than that. So, I won't promise you that I'll move on because I'm honestly not sure I ever will. But I will promise you that I won't turn into someone you wouldn't recognize, someone you wouldn't love. Ok?" She croaks outs, wondering if it really is possible to die of a broken heart.
Arizona chokes on her own tears when Callie calls her Ari. She hated that nickname, hated it from anyone that wasn't her Calliope. Except…she wasn't hers anymore was she? "I promise I will make you proud. I'm already planning to have a whole orthopedic wing in the hospital. The tiny humans break a lot of bones you know. Maybe one day you could come see it." She whispers, breathing in and letting it out slowly. She shouldn't have made that offer, it's not fair, it's not going to make this easier. But try as she might to not need that sliver of hope of one day seeing Calliope again, she does, she needs it more than air.
"Let me know when it's done, I'll be there for the grand opening." Callie murmurs. "And...I am proud of you. So proud. I know I never told you that and I should have. I'm sorry about that." She adds softly, regret lacing her tone.
Arizona smiles brighter than she has in a month. "Thank you for saying that. You were the first person I wanted to tell then I heard the news. I wanted you to be proud of me." She closes her eyes again before she speaks the next words, maybe the most difficult of this entire conversation. "I have to go now. I have to be to work in about half an hour."
"Right, of course. Tiny humans to save." Callie says, trying to sound upbeat and failing miserably. "I...I don't want to say goodbye so I'm just going to say I love you ok baby?" She whispers, clinging to her last shred of control for dear life.
Arizona starts crying silent tears, enough to fill on ocean, when Callie calls her baby. She always got the goofiest grin on her face when she heard Callie call her that. Now it feels almost like a slap to the face. "I love you, goodbye." She whispers, hanging the phone up quickly before she breaks down sobbing. She's doing the right thing for both of them, she knows that, but…doing the right thing has never felt more wrong.
Callie breaks completely when she hears the telltale click followed a dead silence letting her know that Arizona hung up. Forget about dying of a broken heart, she's pretty sure she doesn't have anything left to break. She can't help but wonder if the dull ache that's settling in her chest will ever go away. Deep down she knows Arizona's the only person who could ever do that.