A/N: So we are finally here at the final chapter of this story. I know some people may think I'm ending this suddenly but you'll just have to live with that. But its run its course. And I was watching the Lion King while writing this so it crops up a bit. I would like to thank everyone who reviewed this story as every one was appreciated. Special thanks to those that have been with this story from the beginning and given me that continuous push to finish this story. And to anyone that alerted and read this story– thankyou as well.
Waking up the next morning curled up against her wife's body, for the briefest second Arizona forgets about yesterday. She forgets that yesterday was supposed to be the start of the rest of her life but instead could turn out to be her last. But as Arizona's mind slowly turns on, the memories come rushing back in a torrent of pain. Arizona flinches as if she's been physically hit as the air rushes from her lungs as she's crippled by the memories. Slowly slinking out of Callie's embrace, Arizona is infinitely glad that she'd woken before Callie could question her presence. But Arizona knows better than to push her luck further and remain on the side of the bed that is no longer her own. Turning back once before she leaves the room, Callie has already replaced Arizona with her pillow and remains in a deep slumber, snuffling softly as she settles back down. As much as Arizona wants to talk about "them", Callie's excessive alcohol consumption from the previous night has thrown a spanner in the works. And Arizona knows better than to poke the bear because Callie hung over is an ugly sight to see.
Walking into the living room, Arizona's eyes are immediately drawn to a photo sitting on one of their cabinets. As forgettable as their wedding experience was that fateful night in Vegas, Yang had been keen for the memory to live on right from the very beginning. While the couple had been at each other's throats, Yang had taken to putting up the weddings snaps in varies places around the apartment to satisfy her own perverted sense of humour. Pictures were discovered on the shower door, inside cupboards and even laying on bed pillows which annoyed the hell out of both wives. Yang had even gone as far as to break into Arizona's locker at the hospital and paste the pictures all over the walls which had earned the cardio-god in the making a couple of days of Paediatric rounds. As often as both wives had threatened bodily harm or a month long Ortho rotation, Yang remained persistent with her game. But once the relationship had become real, the couple had been less concerned about the photos and Yang had lost interest with one nicer one remaining on display in the apartment.
Picking up the photo, Arizona looks down and sees her and Callie in happier times. Callie is standing behind Arizona with her arm wrapped around the blonde's waist. Arizona is looking back over her shoulder at her wife as both women have that goofy, adoring look on their face in this candid snap. This is the look that Arizona wishes Callie always looked at her with rather than anger, disappointment or sadness. Running her finger over Callie's face, Arizona decides that it is time to bite the bullet and put her plan in action.
Punching a string of numbers into her phone, Arizona begins to nervously chew at her fingernails as this conversation could go either way. The person could hang up without a second thought or alternatively could listen to what Arizona has to say. Arizona is desperately praying for the latter.
A gruff hello rings through the line as Arizona stutters out her response, "Hello Mr Torres, it's Arizona Robbins. I was wondering if you had time to talk?" Pushing down her bed hair as if the eldest Torres can see her through the line, Arizona prepares herself for the second most difficult conversation she will have today as it times to face the music. Arizona has learnt the hard way that secrets can destroy relationships so it's time to tell the truth.
After her conversation with the Callie's father, Arizona still has ample free time as she waits for the bear to wake and she decides to clean the apartment. A neat freak to the extreme, the repetitiveness of cleaning calms down Arizona's whirling mind as things are slowly falling into place. There is still the nagging fear that she shouldn't have chased after Callie and instead allowed the fiery Latina to return home at her own accord. Although Arizona has come to (reluctantly) accept Callie's reason for leaving and preventing an anger filled argument ending in divorce, the pain watching the love of her life walk away is infinite and something the blonde never wants to experience again. Arizona is a fixer and simply couldn't twiddle her thumbs and wait for Callie to come home.
Finally, the Latina stumbles out of her bedroom and Arizona breathe catches in her throat as she looks upon the woman that is the master key to her happiness. Unbeknownst to the blonde, Callie had been awake for some time as she sorted through her jumbled feelings and emotions. Lying in her bed, Callie had finally got the closure she needed for her relationship with Erica. Before, Callie had worked through this issue with the Counsellor but the wounds had only been taped up and had easily been ripped back open with the exertion of Erica's proposal. But this time, Callie had done it by herself and the wounds had been sutured shut for good and Erica truly held no power over Callie. Callie's thoughts had then drifted to the predicament she finds herself in with Arizona as Callie mulled over what she wanted her future to be.
Arizona was everything to Callie in every sense of the word. But that didn't change the fact that the blonde had lied for the duration of their relationship thus far. The ring in Erica's possession didn't bother Callie; it's the lie that had made her toss and turn all night. Callie hadn't been as asleep as Arizona had thought and knew the blonde had joined her in their bed. But like Arizona, Callie needed this closeness as it gave her the hope that this relationship would be ok. Callie wanted to put this issue behind them and move on with their life but she knew this was irresponsible. They needed to talk about this as responsible adults which is something that Callie is hoping they can do.
"Good morning," Arizona says in a chirpy voice as she pours her wife a large cup of coffee which boarders on the size of a pitcher. Callie grunts out a reply and takes the offered coffee as if it is nectar from the gods. As Callie sips the hot coffee, Arizona observes her wife and attempts to get a reading on her mood. It seems that a full night sleep has done Callie the world of good as she seems to be in a better frame of mind for a conversation. Not that Arizona is going to take no for an answer today.
Allowing Callie time to finish her coffee, Arizona decides it's time to get the ball rolling. "I miss us Calliope and I know that it's only been a day…" Arizona says as she contemplates how to continue. "So we need to talk about this."
Pondering what Arizona has said, Callie moves to the other side of the bench and begins to cluck around in the kitchen to keep her hands occupy and put some distance between the two of them. Taking Callie's silence as a sign to continue, Arizona pushes through the awkwardness. "I'm so sorry for what I did Calliope. I should never have kept this secret from you and that blame is solely on me," Arizona adds, feverously hoping that this apology is met with open arms. Arizona knows that love never dies a natural death but it dies out of blindness, deceit and errors and the fear remains that this lie will be too large to overcome. But Arizona hopes that Callie still loves her and will fight the Latina every step of the way until she admits the truth.
"Why are you telling me something that I already knew? I never doubted your apology. I could tell you were sorry when you adopted the expression you get when you find out Mufasa dies in the Lion King every time you watch it," Callie retorts as she slams shut a kitchen cupboard to hammer her point home. Callie had accepted the apology soon after leaving the courthouse and although she's can't accept her reasoning; the blonde hadn't intentionally tried to hurt her and had eventually told the truth even if it had been months too late. But Arizona had once told her that she needed something to prove that she's the one for Callie. And now Callie needs that from Arizona so the blonde needs to step up to the plate and hit a home run.
Arizona has to physical bite her tongue to prevent a sharp retort from leaving her mouth as she follows Callie's path into the kitchen. And Arizona doesn't want to be reminded that Mufasa dies as that's the saddest moment in cinematic history and still brings tears to her eyes.
Also, Arizona is getting sick of everything that she says being thrown back in her face and continuously being re-painted as the bad guy. Arizona decides that a bit of hard lovin' is the way to approach the large African mammal in the room because an apology is clearly not enough. "Fine, now that we've got that out of the way and you accept my apology, I want you to stop running away from our problems. A heart wasn't made to be broken so stop breaking mine by deflecting everything I say. And let us talk about this. Or have you been secretly enjoying this gigantic elephant in the room," Arizona says as she stands up and invades Callie's personal space causing the Latina to backpedal away from her.
"Ah…" Callie stutters, not sure what to say to the blonde that is stalking her across their apartment as the couple move into the living room. Up until now, Arizona has been remorseful and guilt ridden so this change in character is surprising.
"So I lied and I will apologise to you every day for the rest of my life. But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. Because I love you and you love me and we are married. When we are old and frail, is my lie going to be the defining moment in our relationship? Are you going to sit back in your rocking chair and wonder if being with me was the wrong decision because of my lie?" Arizona continues in a stern voice, not given Callie time to butt in and start an argument.
"Well…" Callie starts as she watches her wife's eyes harden to a steely blue.
"That was a rhetorical question," Arizona cuts in as she is far from finished her speech. "We are married Calliope and this isn't a field trip. You can't just walk away from me when I do something wrong. You can't hide from our issues. And I know that my communication of this issue is less than stellar but I promise to never do that again. So let's start having the promises in this marriage mean something. Especially the one of till death do us part."
"You lied to me," Callie says and immediately realises that she's sounding like a whiney bitch as she's acting like a child. But the similarity between Arizona's and Erica's secret keeping had rocked Callie's confidence and she felt like her relationship was crumbling down around them. And she needed some space to get perspective but Callie has that now. They do need to talk about this but Callie knows that she needs to meet the blonde halfway and stop fighting her every step of the way. Callie knows that her less than stellar record with relationship has skewed her expectation and once she had seen the ring she expected the eulogy of her relationship to follow soon after.
"I know what I did Calliope. And if I ever lie to you again, I give you permission to kick me out of our bed and make me sleep on the couch. But if you ever walk away from me again, I will kick the crap out of you," Arizona says as she corners Callie against their couch with the Latina's only option of escape back flipping over the back of the piece of furniture and Callie's pretty sure she's not that flexible. "Are we clear?"
Seeing the blonde slowly creep ever closer, Callie mutely nods her head as Arizona's speech tells Callie all that she needed to know – Arizona wants her. Callie has never had someone fight for her before as no one had ever thought she was worth the effort. Callie had always been the replaceable partner – but not anymore. "Good," Arizona says in response as Callie's legs hit the couch and she falls into the seat. Arizona leans down and places her arms on either side of Callie's shoulders and tenderly kisses her wife, needing a physical reconnection as well. Callie gladly reciprocates the kiss as she has been desperately craving her wife's company. The kiss isn't filled with anger, grief or remorse; instead it's filled with faith, hope and love as the couple reassert their relationship status with each other.
"You can give a speech like nobody's business," Callie mumbles out as she allows Arizona to set the speed of the kiss. Wrapping her arms around her wife's waist, Callie pulls her down next to her; Callie knows that this is where she belongs. "And the sternness is pretty hot as well."
"I'm very talented, but you should already know that," Arizona responds as she rests her head on Callie's shoulder, her arms draped around Callie's neck. "And stop saying I'm hot when I'm stern because I act like this when I tell off Karev. I'm starting the think that's the reason he gets a glazed over expression on his face," Arizona adds as a small pout graces her face.
Letting out a snort of laughter, Callie then settles down and asks the all-important question, "So are we ok?" Callie slowly asks as she plays with the hem of Arizona's shirt. Back at the courthouse, Arizona had asked this very same question and got a negative response which ended up with a meeting in an airport.
"We'll be ok. We'll just need time to talk," Arizona says as detangles her body from her wife's embrace and takes Callie's hand.
"I'm sorry that I left you. I was just so scared that I'd lash out at you and cause us to permanently separate. I just needed to calm down and get perspective," Callie says; glad that this debacle can start being put behind them. They may not be fine yet – but they will get there in the end.
"I know," Arizona replies. "But if you had truly wanted space, you would have got on that plane. And I shouldn't have pushed so hard for you to accept what I did. I should have given you space because you and I are still newborns at this relationship thing."
"I think I was hoping you would find me – eventually. I am pretty irresistible," Callie jests as she settles down on the couch. "I just couldn't stay and possibly destroy our relationship because I was so bitter. I just needed some time."
"I know," Arizona replies for a second time as Callie has really become transparent to her. "And I'm sorry…"
"Arizona, if you say you're sorry again I'm going to put the Mufasa death scene on rerun," Callie threatens as she knows that Arizona is sorry and never intended to create this mess. And Callie knows she's not entirely innocent either with the threat of fleeing the state and the initial ring giving did occur in the scheming stage of their relationship. Callie really just wants Arizona to stop beating herself up about this and stop shooting her wounded puppy dog looks.
"Please, just let me say this." Arizona pleads as she needs Callie to hear this. "I'm a coward, I should have told you. But I…we were so happy and I knew I could ruin it. And while Erica was in New York, the pretty pink bubble we were living in was intact."
"Pink bubble?" Callie questions as her eyebrows shoot up and she grimaces slightly at Arizona's colour choice. "Why pink? Red is more hardcore or even black."
"Because there is no better colour than pink and a black bubble, Calliope? That's a bit morbid – but that's not the point. I was so scared that I would lose you because I lied. I knew how you felt about lying and I wanted to somehow lessen the damage, preserve what we have. And that was wrong, I should have told you but I was so scared. Before I met you, I simply existed in the world and went through the motions. I know that it sounds so cheesy, but I couldn't lose you as I wouldn't survive. You became the reason for me to get up every morning. I can't lose you," Arizona voice hitches at the end as she realises just how close she came to losing everything.
"Oh Arizona…" Callie breathily exclaims as she pulls her wife into her lap as Arizona clings to her body, scared that her wife might disappear. "I'll never leave you. I was angry, I was hurt and I was bitter. But I no longer feel that way."
"Promise?" Arizona asks in a small voice. Arizona has always been a person to hide her vulnerability as she was raised to be a good man in a storm. But Callie is the person that has got through all of her well-constructed walls and Arizona couldn't hide from her wife even if she tried.
"I promise you an eternity of me. But well…maybe." Callie begins to stutter at the end as she's unsure of Arizona's reaction to her suggestion that she had thought of while lying in her bed this morning.
"What? What is it Calliope?" Arizona asks as she begins to panic at Callie's evasiveness and nerves.
"We should continue to see our Counsellor," Callie says quickly as the words jumble into each other and become indiscernible to Arizona.
"I'm sorry, what?" Arizona stutters out as her panic begins to make her hyperventilate.
Taking a deep breath, Callie mumbles out her suggestion for a second time. "We should continue to see our Counsellor," as Callie continues to avoid looking at Arizona. Although both women had come to see the merit of counselling, they didn't exactly skip into their sessions either. At Callie's suggestion, Arizona's mouth drops open in shock but as she ponders the idea she can see that this can have a positive influence on their relationship.
"Ok," Arizona agrees as she forces Callie to look at her. "We could use a bit more outside help so we can really obtain that clean slate we are always talking about. I love you so much so I'll do anything to make sure that this works," Arizona adds as she leans in for a second kiss. Running her tongue along Callie's bottom lip, Arizona is immediately let in as their tongues tangle in a passionate kiss.
Leaning back, Callie replies with "And I love you too." At the words, Arizona knows that there has never been a more perfect time to do something she has wanted to do ever since they shared those three little words in Miami a mere six weeks ago. There road may have been the path less travelled, but it had turned out to be the perfect route for them.
"Oh, as this is now a full disclosure relationship, I told your father about our marriage in Vegas." Arizona casually says as Callie squeezes her hand in a vice like grip in response.
"Why would you do that? My father is going to hate both you and me." Callie exclaims, already imagining the wall which has Arizona's name on it. "Can you imagine the headline when he kills me?" Seeing a Spanish rant coming from a mile away, Arizona knows that's it's time to cut Callie off or this conversation is going to get off track.
"Calliope, no Spanish – because I don't understand it other than some choice bedroom words which isn't really going to help me at the moment," Arizona says sternly. "And anyway, after I explained everything, your father was fine with it. Well, maybe fine isn't the right word. He accepts that we are married and that we love each other. And I had to tell them because I had to ask your father one very important question which required me to tell the truth. As I'm a traditional kind of girl, I needed to know if I have his blessing." At Arizona's somewhat cryptic comment, Callie develops a bemused look on her face.
Slipping off the sofa, Arizona kneels down at Callie's feet and reverently whispers "Calliope". Arizona opens the jewellery box that she had planned on giving Callie after the hearing. "Will you marry me?" Arizona asks, the nerves showing in the tone of her voice. "Again?" Arizona amends as they are already married. The speech that the blonde had planned escapes her as she chastises herself for the slight bastardisation of a traditional marriage proposal. Pushing through, Arizona continues to speak.
"I never realised that the biggest day of my life was happening when I met you. I didn't recognise it until weeks later. The biggest day of my life was the day I committed to you and the day I met my soul mate. That was the day I realised that I wanted to live forever because there would never be enough time at your side. That was a perfect day. You deserve the world and I want to do my best to give you that. I want to stand before all our friends and family and announce that I will be at your side for all eternity," Although they were already married and the answer is essentially assured, Arizona had a never actually proposed to Callie and felt that this is a necessary step towards a clean slate.
At Arizona's actions and speech, Callie mouth drops open in shock as she struggles to articulate her answer. Arizona continues to stare a Callie, waiting for some sort of response. As the silence continues to stretch between them, the hope starts to dim from Arizona's big, blue childlike eyes as she starts to look defeated and so vulnerable. Arizona's shoulders begin to slump and she begins to examine the carpet in detail as she starts to believe that a marriage proposal is a step too far.
"Yes, I'll marry you – again," Callie finally whispers causing the blonde's head to shoot up. Callie silence hadn't been a sign of her indecision but the fact she had been blown away by Arizona's love for her.
At the words, a large grin spreads across Arizona's face as the world just seems so much brighter. Slipping the ring on Callie's finger, Arizona notes that is looks like the ring was made to adorn her wife's finger. Getting to her feet, Arizona gently caresses her wife's cheek. "We're getting married." Arizona says as she kisses her wife for the first time as an engaged couple.
"Again," Callie giggles out as she continues to use Arizona's unique marriage proposal. "So we are going to do this? The whole nine yards?"
"Whatever you want Calliope although I have a feeling that both sets of parents would like photos which don't involve us drunk. And our fathers would probably like to walk us down the aisle. Although, our parents would probably settle for just being in attendance this time round."
"Our first wedding was classy," Callie says with fake sternness. "Nothing says I love you like please hold my hair back while I puke."
"You and vomit, it just comes up in every conversation." Arizona says with a laugh, as her mind comes up blank trying to remember their first wedding. "And look at it this way, our second wedding can't be any worse than our first."
"True," Callie replies. "I'm glad you found me and fixed me," Callie adds seriously as Arizona lays wet kisses on her neck and shoulders. "Arizona, I'm trying to have a conversation here." Callie says with fake sternness as she gives Arizona more room to work with.
"Well, you can keep talking but I have a feeling that you are going to want me using my mouth in a different way."
"Arizona, you are a terrible singer," Callie replies which earns her an incredulous look from the blonde as the Latina tries to maintain a serious face.
"Hey, I'm a great singer." Arizona says with a pout which is quickly chased away by a kiss from Callie.
"You just keep telling yourself that," Callie replies as she has listened to Arizona mangle the lyrics of Disney songs for the last four months and knows all too well that the blonde doesn't have a musical bone in her body.
"And anyway, I was talking about the make-up and engagement sex we can know take part of. Joining those two together is going to be epic," Arizona says with child-like enthusiasm which contrasts with the topic of conversation. "But if you aren't interested, I can always take care of myself," Arizona adds nonchalantly as she slips off Callie's lap and heads towards their bedroom, already stripping off her top.
Humming the "Circle of life" under her breath, Arizona hears Callie nearly falls over in her rush to follow after the blonde. Arizona hopes that this passion between the two of them is something that doesn't change after they obtain the holy grail of their relationship – a clean slate. Arizona's almost certain that lesbian bed death is never going to be an issue in this relationship.
Following after Arizona, Callie can't help but stare down at the engagement ring on her finger as she just misses running into her doorway. Life can't get much better than this, Callie thinks to herself as she tackles her wife onto their bed.