June 23, 2010
The gravity of what happened in the airport doesn't hit her until she's standing alone in a house the size of the studio apartment she lived in during college.
After boarding the plane in Seattle, she took more than the recommended dose of Ambien and passed out until she had to catch her connecting flight. She spent the next flight in a sleepy haze, failing to follow the latest Kate Hudson movie on the plane. The hours after that were spent meeting people and going over plans for her first day in the clinic. Even after getting dropped off at her new house, Arizona was able to busy herself with unpacking and going over charts.
With the files read and suitcases empty, there was nothing keeping her thoughts from drifting to the brunette who was supposed to be sitting next to her. Callie's devastated look filled her mind and Arizona did everything she could to push it away again. She couldn't afford to dwell on what happened. She had to focus on helping the children in Malawi. Avoidance was all she needed now.
July 28, 2010
The first month passed in such a blur that Arizona was sure Teddy was exaggerating when she said as much in her email. She and her best friend mainly talked about Malawi, patients, and Teddy's dating life. They never mentioned Callie, only in veiled statements like, "How's everyone in Seattle" and "We all really miss you."
Arizona was proud of that first month. She was able to lose everything and keep moving. She was a good man in a storm after all.
Still, the emptiness would hit her at odd times. She'd be in the middle of surgery and wonder what she and Callie would have for dinner or she'd wake up from a nap and expect a warm body to be there. Then, like a punch to the gut, Arizona would remember and a wave of loneliness would hit her.
November 26, 2010
"Are you okay?"
Arizona's head snapped up from her chart and the unexpected voice. It was Masamba, her trusted nurse. She wouldn't have survived the past six months without his help and guidance. He was an older man, about Chief Webber's age she guessed, and always seemed to know just what to say.
"It's not my place, I know, but you don't seem happy Dr. Robbins."
"I'm happy Masamba."
He just smiles and nods, too polite to push the issue further. She sits and stares at him while wondering how transparent she is.
"I miss my girlfriend," she says quietly. It's the first time she's said it out loud. After six months of pent up emotion, Arizona finds herself silently crying when the weight of the words hit her.
"Do you want to go home," he replies with an understanding smile. "Can they replace you?"
She shakes her head no, but hears herself say, "Yes."
It's absurd. She is not leaving Malawi, everything she's worked for, because of a broken heart. She's not the type to potentially damage her career or shirk her responsibilities for some girl, but she suddenly understood why people do. Callie was more than "some girl."
That night, after she's talked to the Carter-Madison board and booked a flight, she emails Teddy to tell her the news. She intends to keep it short and sweet, but six months worth of words flow out of her. She talks about the crying and how she thought no one noticed. She gives her the flight details and ends with a "see you soon." Arizona knows it won't be easy, but she feels hopeful for the first time in a while.
December 2, 2010
"Today's the day Bailey!"
"Have you heard from her yet?"
"No," Teddy said falling into step with her fellow attending. "I offered to pick her up from the airport, but I think she wanted to go straight to Callie's."
"Well, let me know when she gets in. First round of celebratory drinks is on me."
Eleven hours later when she scrubbed out of surgery, Teddy expected to have a missed call or a text from Arizona, but had nothing. She called the blonde to check on her, but her cell went straight to voice mail. The board showed that Callie was in surgery so she went in search of Mark.
"Have you seen Callie recently?"
"We had breakfast together this morning and I saw her when she got in a few hours ago. What's up?"
"She didn't have any visitors last night?"
"No reason. Thanks Mark."
Teddy was starting to worry. Her friend was supposed to get back last night and she hadn't heard from her since their email exchange a few days ago.
December 4, 2010
"A-R-I-Z-O-N-A. Robbins, yes. She's a doctor at the new clinic," Teddy said frustrated. She was on the phone with the US consulate in Lilongwe and was getting nowhere. She had contacted the airline and found that Arizona never checked in to the flight, then she called the direct line to the clinic and a nurse told her Arizona had left for the airport days ago. Teddy was officially worried. "I already told you she's been missing for two days!"
The nurses turned to look as her voice rose and Bailey appeared next to her looking concerned.
"They said they already filed a report with local authorities, but they can't do anything else," Teddy told her covering up the end of the phone with her hand.
"Can't or won't?" Bailey replied with a raised eyebrow. Teddy had a feeling things would get done much faster if these people knew they would have to deal with Miranda Bailey.
She opened her mouth to reply, but then refocused her attention on the other end of the line.
"That's not acceptable. There has to be more you can do! . . . Oh, come on. . . . Do your job and find her or else I'm going to come to Malawi to find her myself!" Teddy yelled and slammed the phone down. These people were insufferable.
"If they don't call back with news in the next five hours, I'm booking a ticket," she told Bailey.
"Uh, is everything okay?"
Teddy froze. Callie was the last person she wanted to see right now. She had hoped to keep everything from her until they had real news, but it was hard to have secrets in this hospital.
"Callie, I don't want you to panic, but Arizona may be missing," Bailey said, saving her from breaking the news.
"Arizona is . . . how do you know?"
"She was coming home, Callie," Teddy said slowly. "She was supposed to get in Thursday night, but she didn't make it. I thought she went to find you, but when it became clear that didn't happen, I called the airline and they said she never checked in."
"Did she actually leave the clinic?"
"And no one knows where she is?" The grave looks on the doctors' faces told Callie all she needed to know. She felt like the wind had just been knocked out of her. "I-I need to sit."
Teddy put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I'm going to make sure they find her." Callie just nodded absently. Arizona was missing. In Africa. Images ran through her mind and Callie tried to keep the panic from rising. Why was Arizona coming back in the first place? It didn't take Callie long to answer that question. She put her head in her hands and began to cry.
December 7, 2010
"Dr. Altman, you have a phone call."
"I'm a little busy. Have them take a message," she told the nurse without looking up from the heart she was sewing back together.
"Dr. Altman, I think you want to take this now," something in the nurse's voice made Teddy's blood run cold.
"Yang, take over. Page me immediately if anything goes wrong." She hurried out of the OR and took the phone from the waiting nurse.
"This is Dr. Altman."
"Hello, Doctor. I'm with the Carter-Madison Foundation. We've done some digging into Dr. Robbins whereabouts and I'm sorry to tell you that she was in a car accident and is presumed dead."
Teddy lowered her head and let out a shuddering breath. "Are you sure?"
"Dr. Robbins' taxi was hit by a truck near the airport. There was a fire, but rescue teams found a passport and clinic ID that belonged to Dr. Robbins."
"What about . . . what about the body?" she asked trying to keep her tears at bay.
"I was told it was too . . . badly damaged," the man said trying his best to be delicate about the situation. "She's been buried, but of course arrangements can be made to bring her body home."
"I, uh, I'll talk to her parents and get back to you. Thank you." Teddy hung up the phone and sat in shocked silence. Arizona was dead. Arizona was dead. How could this happen? A thousand thoughts went running through her mind. She had to call Arizona's parents. She had to tell Bailey. She had to tell Callie. Oh God, she had to tell Callie. Arizona was supposed to come home and everything was going to be okay again. How the hell did this happen?
January 30, 2011
"Dr. Kelly, it's good to hear from you. Sorry I couldn't take your call earlier, I was called into surgery."
"Not a problem. Derek I have a special Jane Doe case I want you to look at. She was in a car accident and had some pretty severe brain injuries. We've done all we can, but we don't have the resources of Seattle Grace."
"Sure, what's the problem?"
"Retrograde amnesia. She's lost all of her episodic memory. Her motor functions are more or less intact, but she has a little trouble with certain movements or it takes her brain awhile to process what she wants it to do."
"Hmm. There could be a number of problems. Can you send me her file? I can take a look at the scans and see if there is anything I can do."
"Of course. I'll have them sent right away. Thanks Derek."
January 31, 2011
"Dr. Shepherd, those files from Vancouver General just arrived."
"Great. Thanks," Derek said taking the folder. He grabbed some coffee and headed to his office to look through the file and do some paperwork. Things at Seattle Grace Mercy West had been slow the past few days, giving the staff some much needed breathing room. Things had spiraled out of control after the news of Dr. Robbins death hit. Teddy had gone to Africa for a week, leaving them without a cardiothoracic surgeon, then they had a memorial service, which contributed to the air of sadness that filled the hospital. All of that on top of the usual holiday influx of patients and everyone in the hospital was a little on edge and exhausted.
Derek opened the file and glanced at the scans briefly before setting them aside. Apparently, the patient had been in a coma for a few days before she was transported to Vancouver General. Before that, she had rudimentary surgery in a hospital in . . . Africa. Mid-thirties. Female. Car accident in Africa. He rifled through the papers hoping Dr. Kelly included a photo of the patient. He knew it couldn't be true, but there was a nagging in the back of his head that told him to be sure.
Derek Shepherd had his demons, but he was never one to believe in ghosts until he saw the photo of Arizona Robbins staring back at him. He grabbed his phone and dialed the number of Vancouver Gen.
"I need to speak with Dr. Kelly right away."