Disclaimer: This is AU. I do not own any of the characters from Grey's Anatomy. I just manipulate them to my will. Also, any line or phrase or setting that seems remotely familiar from any other show, movie or book, also not mine. I borrow…
AN: Welcome to the 192nd and final chapter of Country Girl at Heart: Part 3. Enjoy!
It's hard to believe that a year has passed since my life has been put on its head. The birth of my daughter was one of the most amazing, and at the same time most frightening, moments of my life. Just a year ago my wife and I were stuck in an elevator just as Callie started going into labor. I never dreamed of being the one to deliver our little girl, but now I can't image it happening any other way. The bond that was created in that moment, where it was just me, Calliope, and our new baby girl, is something that can never ever be broken.
And now all our family and loved ones have come together to share this special occasion with us. Momma flew in, as well as Callie's parents, even Jose' has come back to Seattle for this party. When Teddy, Addison and their little boy, Henry, show up, it's a full house.
"Zona, honey, do you need any help?" Momma asks as she enters the kitchen and see's me struggling to plate some food.
"Nah, I got it." I tell her.
"Barbara, do you-" A deeper voice calls, and I look up to find Jose' joining us, the man stopping when he sees it's not just my mother in the kitchen. "Ah, Arizona! Do you have anything… harder than the beer?" He asks.
"Yeah." I drawl, silently commenting on the fact this man is looking to drink during a one year olds birthday party. "It's uh, it's in the den. The key is on a hook just behind the liquor cabinet." I answer. Jose' smiles then kisses my mother on the cheek before leaving us in search of my best alcohol. "Little early to be drinking, isn't it?" I ask with a tone but just get that 'don't start' look from my mother.
The older woman hangs around for a couple seconds and I immediately know she is nervous about something. That's what she does when she has something to say but doesn't know how to broach the subject. She hovers, and knit picks.
After she repositions a plate for the third time, each timing moving it a fraction of an inch only to move it back, I say "Alright, what is it?"
"What's what, dear?" She asks in a shocked tone of voice.
"Whatever it is that's got you hovering right now." I tell her, dumping a dish into the sink to be cleaned later. "Just tell me."
"Well…" Momma sighs, then rounds the island to come and stand closer to me. "I need to talk to you about something, hon."
My stomach drops from my body and my blood turns to ice. "What's wrong?" I ask in a breath. "What happened? Are you sick? Is it the farm? What? What is it?"
A dimpled smile forms on my mother's face and she brings a wrinkled hand up to my cheek. "Oh, darlin, it's nothing bad. It's just… I'd like to sit down and talk to you about something."
I start to tell her to just tell me now but Callie's voice calls from the other room "Arizona? Where are you?"
"Kitchen." I yell back, then turn back to my mother. "What is it? Just tell me now."
The next second I feel the warm of my wife at my back, and she asks "Tell you what?"
Blue eyes look between myself and the Latina behind me, and Momma smiles "It can wait. Right now it's all about my little angel." Grabbing a plate of appetizers, she exits the kitchen to join the rest of our guests out in the living room.
I watch her go, trying to figure out why a weight is still resting heavily in my stomach, and I ask my wife "Did you talk to her?"
"Talk to her about what?" Callie counters which earns her look from myself. "No, I didn't. I haven't told anyone yet."
It's been just over a week since Callie came home from work looking confused and dazed. After very little goading, she told me that some doctor guy from The Mayo Clinic pretty much just handed her a job on a silver platter. We've talked about it. A lot. But we're not yet at a place where we want to tell our family and friends that, yeah, we may be moving half way across the country.
"Did you look into that guy? That Dr. Barker guy? Because I still say he sounds kind of sketchy." I ask the ortho goddess in a low voice, not wanting to be overheard by the rest of the part.
"Yeah, I googled him and he's the Dean of Medicine at Mayo. …I also saw pictures of their Orthopedic ward. It's sweet." Callie answers a small smile playing at her lips just thinking about all the new toys she could possibly have at her disposal. Quickly shaking herself from her little fantasy, she asks "Have you talked to Teddy at all?"
"No." I sigh, and run a hand down my tired face. Along with this whole job thing our best friends seem to be stuck in a huge fight. Neither will let us in, which Callie and I understand, but it just seems to be eating away at them. Even at this party it is evident that Addison and Teddy can't stand to be around each other. They put up a front and they act civil for Henry's sake, but it is so easy to see them edging away from one another.
We put on a pair of smiles when Carlos enters the kitchen for a bottle of water, but when it's just my wife and I again our looks become serious.
"She dropped the 'D' word yesterday." Callie whispers, her rich brown eyes staring into mine.
"Divorce?" I gasp. "What? No! No no no. Why would they-"
"There you are, Z." Teddy interrupts, and both Callie and I jump like we've been shocked. "We gonna get some food soon because the mob is hungry."
"Yeah. Yeah, real soon, Teds." I tell her, and I know full well that the smile on Callie's and my face is anything but natural. The trainer gives us each a weird look before awkwardly backing out of the kitchen, leaving just the two of us again.
"God this sucks." I groan because I feel completely useless right now. My best friends are falling apart and I can help them. A strong hand reaches out and tugs at the front of my shirt, pulling me into a warm embrace.
"I love you, cowgirl." Callie whispers in my ear while her tanned arms are wrapped tightly around me.
"I love you too, Calliope." I reply, pulling my face out of her neck enough to reach up and kiss her. "Now, let's get these people fed before they start to scavenge for themselves."
Throughout lunch the conversation is kept light while the grandparents and godparents all get along. Ali is all dressed up in a pretty new dress for her special day, and even though she has no idea what is going on, she loves all the attention. Callie's parents have more than made up for any sort of mistreatment that was given during her early months, and Rosia is like a whole new person. I'm sure she still has issues when it comes to thinking about Callie and myself together, but she's always kind and gracious, never once implying anything that could be taken as she doesn't approve. And Ali? Well… that little girl will never know what it means to be unloved.
When it comes to the birthday cake, Momma and Callie made Ali her own little cake to destroy. And that she does. The blue and yellow frosting on her tiny cake gets smeared all over her face, making for some very precious photo ops. And when little Henry joins the party, it's like a cuteness explosion.
"Alright, present time." Carlos calls, reaching into his suit jacket pocket and pulling out an envelope. He hands it to the little girl and says "This is for your future, Alijandra. Not to be wasted on vices and toys, but to be invested into yourself."
Callie opens the envelope for our daughter and as I peek over my wife's shoulder my jaw drops when I see what it contains. "That's a lot of zeros." I mumble, turning my gaze to my father in law. "This isn't necessary, Carlos."
"I know." He replies sternly. "But Alijandra is a Torres, and every Torres gets a trust fund set up in their name when they reach their first birthday. …And they have it until they show they don't deserve it. It's up to you and Calliope to decide on when she is able to access it, but it is hers to use as she likes for her future."
I try to talk him out of it but after a minute it becomes apparent that Ali will have this whether Callie and I approve or not. So all I can do is thank him and move on.
"Alright, Squirt. Time for your mommies present." I coo, taking the little one into my lap and pulling a rumpled package from the corner of the table. Tiny hands take it from mine and my daughter tears into the package, more amused from the crinkling of the paper than that of what she uncovers.
"Horsey!" She squeals when she connects the dots and recognizes the stuffed animal. "Horsey."
"That's your horse, baby girl." I tell her, big brown eyes looking up at me with a big gummy smile. "This time next year, a baby horsey will be all yours." I know she can't understand me but that doesn't mean I don't see the joy in her eyes. Besides the whole 'running the company thing' the biggest reason I went back to Colorado almost a month ago was to pick which mare was going to carry by daughter's first foal.
"This horsey is going to be yours and you have to take care of it, ok? You take care of it, and it will take care of you." I add, kissing her chubby cheek. "They'll be your very best friend."
When present time is over and the little munchkins have been hosed off, the two tiny humans are coming down off their sugar high and crash big time. We put them up in the nursery and the grandparents split off, Momma and Rosia taking up residence on the couch while Carlos and Jose' move out onto the back deck to smoke a couple cigars.
I'm clearing away some dishes when Teddy grabs a couple herself and follows me into the kitchen. "A pony, huh? Setting the bar high, you know."
"Yeah, I know." I reply with a smile. "Guess next year I have to give her two ponies. …I need to build another stable." We share a laugh then I turn and meet her gaze. It's the first time in a long time that I've ever really looked at Teddy, like actually actively looked at her. There's exhaustion and sadness etched in her face, and those tiny lines just starting to crop up around her eyes seem alittle more set than the last time I saw her. There is definitely something going on, and it hurts my heart that she hasn't sought out my help. …Atleast for a person to talk to about it all.
"Teddy…" I whisper, not knowing how to broach the subject.
Her eyes narrow and she cocks her head to the side, then finally a flash of realization. "You know."
"That bitch." She growls, taking a step back and running her hands over her tired face. "Look, just leave it alone, Arizona. Ok?"
"We just want to help." I tell her, staying where I am because I don't want to push her. "Anyway we can."
"Well, it would help if you and your wife minded your own damned business." My friend sneers, dropping a few pieces of silverware on the counter with a loud clanging before turning on her heel and tearing ass out of the kitchen.
It's not long after our encounter that the icy couple takes their leave with their sleepy son, leaving just the family left. Ali is up soon after they leave, and we end up camped out in the living room where Ali entertains us all with her attempts at walking. She's getting so close, any day now it will happen, and the grandparents have all their cameras at the ready.
I end up back in the kitchen, my mood soured by my interaction with my friend, and Callie comes in search of me.
"There you are." She says while opening the fridge and grabbing a bottle of water. "You ok, cowgirl?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." I answer.
"Mmm… 'fine'." Callie drawls, rounding the island and coming to stand in front of me. A finger hooks under my chin to pull my eyes up. "What did Teddy say?"
"Nothing." I reply. "Just… Ughh, I feel so helpless. And it's all my fault." At this I get a disbelieving look from my wife and I explain. "I hooked them up! I pushed them together."
"Oh, yeah. That's right. Your 'gay push'." Callie says, chuckling lightly before leaning in and placing a soft kiss on my lips. "Look, there's nothing we can do, baby. It's their relationship, it's their problem. All we can do is be there when they need a friend. Right?" I nod weakly while playing with the material of her shirt. "Now… about that pony. Are you bringing it up here?"
The shuffling of another pair of feet alerts me to another presence in the kitchen but I don't look over my shoulder to see who it is, and I answer "Yeah. It shouldn't be a problem. Whenever she is ready, I'll move her from Colorado. It's not a big deal."
"She told you already?" A voice asks, which prompts me to peek over my shoulder to find it was Jose' who entered the kitchen. "We wanted to tell you together."
"Tell me what?" I ask, but he doesn't hear me because my mother enters the kitchen just then.
"You told her we're moving in together?" Jose' asks my mom with a smile.
My jaw drops and my gaze locks onto Momma's, her own eyes showing shock and surprise. "Excuse me?"
"I asked Barbara to move in with me, and she accepted." Jose' answers proudly, wrapping an arm around my mother's shoulders and pulling her in tight. "I'm opening a West Coast branch of my business and I've decided follow it over here. …I've lived in Miami my whole life, time for a change."
I try to process this information, but it's like my brain has short circuited. "Calliope… what does a stroke feel like?" I ask softly.
"Arizona, don't be dramatic." My mother tells me. "I'm sorry you found out this way but… it's true. I'm moving with Jose'."
"You didn't tell her?" Jose asks.
"No, I hadn't yet." Momma answers, her eyes staying fixated on me, waiting for my reaction. "Honey, we… we love each other." In that moment it feels like I'm going to be sick.
"Oh god." I groan, leaning over to brace myself against the counter. "Do you smell toast?"
"Arizona." Callie whispers, placing a comforting hand on my back. "I think she's waiting for your approval."
I look up at my wife, then back at my mother to find she and Jose' standing there, staring at me. "I… Momma, I love you. So…" I take a deep breath, turning my gaze to the man next to her, and say "…If he makes you happy, then I'm happy." A high pitched squeal makes me jump and before I know it I'm wrapped up in a tight hug from my mother. Jose' approaches and holds his arms out like he's waiting for his own hug but I just offer him my hand for a handshake. I'm accepting, but there is still a line.
Later that night Callie comes in from the nursery after getting Ali put down for the night and she finds me sprawled out on the mattress, my eyes locked on the ceiling above me as I replay everything that happened today. I feel the bed dip as she climbs in and shuffles over to me. A leg weaves between mine and a warm hand slips under the fabric of my shirt, playing at the soft flesh of my stomach. Plump lips nip and suck along my jaw line before finding my lips.
After a minute of her attention goes unreciprocated, Callie pulls away and says "I'm using all my best moves, cowgirl. How about a little focus?"
"I can't." I answer, the image of my mother and Jose' just down the hall doing… God knows what.
"Sure you can." Callie purrs, rolling ontop of me, dark hair cascading around us and creating our own little universe. Her hips come flush with mine and her lips are making all the right moves, and my body reacts on its own volition.
"You're thinking too much, Arizona." The Latina says softly when our lips part.
"There's a lot to think about." I reply, a lock of silk black hair wrapped around my finger. "And we have a big decision to make." We've weighed the pros and cons, everything from my college courses to our friends, to Ali's future. It's all been discussed, at length. Over and over and over again. And strangely… it's Callie that is putting on the breaks.
"Why do you want to move so badly?" She asks in a whisper.
"Why do you not want to move so badly?" I counter.
"Everything I know is here." My wife answers as I keep playing with her hair. "This is my home. …It's a great offer but, I don't know. …It's scary."
"It is." I reply softly. "But Daddy used to say 'If it scares you, it's probably a good thing to try'." A small pout forms on her lips and it makes me smile. I pull her close and wrap my arms around her, breathing in the scent that is uniquely hers, and say "It's your decision, Calliope. I'll support you and follow you either way. I just want what's best for you. Nothing more, nothing less."
Warm brown eyes seep into my soul, and Callie whispers "You're what's best for me."
We drift off to sleep just like that, wrapped in each other's arms as the soft and even breathing of our little girl flows in through the baby monitor. It's quiet, and familiar, and perfect. I never knew I could be content living like this, no danger, no adrenaline rush, no raging bulls. But I've changed. Callie's changed me, for the better. I want this. This is my dream. A dream I never knew I had. But damn… I sure am grateful for that dislocated shoulder all those years ago. Because without it, I would have never met the best thing that has ever happened in my life.
AN2: Congratulations ya'll! You made it to the end of the epically long Part 3 of Country Girl at Heart. Whoop whoop! So most ya'll voted for a Part 4, and I plan on continuing. Probably won't start it for a while, I want to finish For Love and Softball before starting anything else. Anyway, put me on author alert so you will find out when I do start Part 4. And of course, thank you so much for sticking with me this far! You all are so so so awesome! Much love!