AN: Holy Hell…I know… Anyway, here's the final installment of this story. I totally loved writing it (even if I suck at updating). It makes me super happy to know that anyone enjoyed reading it. So, thank you all so much!
I was thirty-six and Callie was thirty-four the day I became her wife.
"I can't help thinking that this is all just a little strange."
My eyes flicked to the reflection of Aria as she stood in the doorway behind me. I grinned lightly and smoothed my dress before turning to face her. "And, why is that?"
"When I was twelve, my parents died and my little sister and I were put into foster care." My heart clenched at the blunt and unexpected statement, but I remained quiet and allowed her to continue. "I thought that that was the worst it could get, that we hit rock bottom and we had nowhere to go, but up. Then, you were placed with us." My jaw dropped and I squared my shoulders, fully prepared to tell her where she could shove it. It was my wedding day and I didn't have to take whatever she was about to lay on me. However, Aria held up a hand, prompting me to wait. "It turns out, bottom was being split from your sibling in foster care, after your parents died. I know that you were split from your brother as well, so you can actually understand that kind of loneliness. There was a while there that, I didn't believe we were going to make it through. Callie always had an amazing heart. She's passionate and open and loving. I've always admired that about her. I was so scared that she was going to lose that after everything she went through."
Aria paused, taking a few steps toward me and tucking a piece of hair back up into its pin.
When she didn't continue right away, I asked quietly, "Why are you telling me this? Why right now?"
She smiled at me, "I didn't really believe she could ever be as happy as I know she is now." A surprised grin spread across my face as I soaked in her words. "I know that we haven't always gotten along, but I'll never be able to express exactly how grateful I am to you for what you've done for her."
Wiping away a stray tear, I flourished a dismissing hand, "There's no need, I've only done for her, what she's done for me."
"Need or not, as her big sister, I thank you. And, also, if you hurt her, I'll end you." Aria quipped, only partly kidding.
"Noted." I replied, nodding solemnly.
"Ladies, I'm sorry to interrupt this strange bonding moment, and even more sorry if you were about to fight, but I'm ready to get this show on the road."
Leaning around Aria to glare at Mary, I asked with sarcastic consideration, "Oh, you're ready. I didn't realize we were holding up your show. It's not like the brides are quite as important as you in this wedding."
Mary nodded graciously, "I accept you apologetic sentiment. And, unless I misunderstood, you seem to imply that all of this is somehow not about me. I feel that I must gently remind you that I magnanimously offered to officiate the wedding for you and your future wife, so I am kind of the VIP of this party." Her lopsided grin took the edge from her words, allowing me to be simply amused by her off-kilter personality, instead of irritated by her incessant narcissism.
Arching my eyebrow, I smirked, "Magnanimously offered? Do you want to correct that statement?"
"No. That's the truth." Mary rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically.
Chuckling lightly, I shrugged, "If that's what you want to believe…" A few months ago, I officially asked Mary to be my maid of honor. Her answer was a calm and unexplained, 'No, thanks'. When I scoffed and asked why the hell not, she announced that she would be officiating the wedding, and therefore could not perform the duties of both roles. (Which did not stop her from wearing a bridesmaid dress). Seeing that she chose to stare expectantly at me, I added, "We're almost done, just get your ass to the front and be ready to make Calliope my wife. Okay?"
"Yes, ma'am!" Mary mock saluted and turned to leave, spinning at the last moment and pointing at me, "You, my rock star of a best friend, look phenomenal. Knock 'em dead." With a wink, she skipped out of the room.
"She's crazy." Aria stated as we both continued to gaze at the empty door way.
Laughing, I took one last glance in the mirror, "Would it surprise you to know that you are not the first person to tell me that?"
Aria chuckled, "No, it would not. Now, I have to go get my sister so I can walk her down the aisle…I'll see you there?"
Smiling, I nodded as gleeful butterflies waltzed in my stomach, "Absolutely."
In all honesty, I don't really remember getting to the alter. Logically, I know that my mother walked me down the aisle, crying pretty much the whole way. I was vaguely aware of the gorgeous view from the floor to ceiling windows that lined the large room of the lake house. I remember a small flash of a dashing young Ryan standing in place as Callie's best man, a beautiful Teddy and Addison as our maids of honor, and a small supportive and smiling crowd. However, all of that faded into the background of my memory as I waited completely impatiently for my almost-wife to appear.
I waited a long time.
For an unapparent reason, Callie didn't immediately follow me down the aisle. I stood alone, shifting from foot to foot, barely restraining my desire to hunt her down. I'm not sure how long I waited. But, I'm sure it was the longest wait of my life.
"She probably just had a last minute wardrobe glitch…relax." Mary whispered to the back of my head.
I gulped, and briefly nodded. She was coming. She had to come. After, what I was sure was, an unreasonable amount of time to be late to your own wedding, I felt myself doubt for the first time, and panic set in. I fully believed that we were past the whole freaking out phase…but, what if I was wrong? I needed to know what was going on. As I began to tremble with trepidation, I dropped my eyes, then turned to my best friend. Letting a small, barely masked whimper of desperation, I pleaded with my eyes, "Mary?"
Mary gulped then sucked in a breath, opening her mouth to answer. However, before any words came out, she paused and laid a hand on my forearm, smiling softly, "Hey, take a deep breath and stand up straight. Your bride is coming."
Her eyes flicked behind me and her smile widened. Quickly processing her response, I brought my gaze back to the end of the aisle in time to see Callie and Aria stumble hastily into view and begin ungracefully walking toward me. Feeling my pulse quicken for an entirely different reason, I let out a relieved breath and locked eyes with Callie. A broad smile from her was all I needed to right my world again.
About half way through her unnecessarily long journey, I lost Callie's gaze as she shifted to glare at a smirking and nearly laughing Aria. Finally noticing the pair as a whole, I took in their flustered and breathless appearance. Aria seemed thoroughly amused by something that Callie felt entirely different about. As the sisters reached the alter, Callie hissed at Aria through a wide smile, "Shut up!"
Aria giggled again and kissed Callie's cheek, "Nope. But, we'll discuss it later. Go marry your girl." With a smile and nod to me, Aria stepped to the side and I finally grasped Callie's hand and met her eyes.
Callie squeezed my fingers that had intertwined with hers, breathing, "Hey."
My dimples popped in sheer joy from the way she looked at me in that moment. Nothing felt half as good as the way her eyes glowed with love and admiration. "Hey, you. You look miraculous."
A sexy blush colored her cheeks as she replied in a shaky tone, "Thank you. And, you are more stunning than ever."
Mary loudly cleared her throat, interrupting our moment and bringing the room's attention to her. "Ladies and gentlemen, you all know why we're here today, so I'm not going to bore you with details-"
"Oh, god…" Callie groaned. Leaning a little toward me, she whispered out of the side of her mouth, "Why didn't we screen her plans for the ceremony before hand?"
Smirking, I nodded and whispered back, "Yeah, that might have been a mistake on our part."
Clearing her throat again, and very loudly, Mary glared at us before continuing, "I'm not great with words," Catching Callie and I exchange disbelieving glances, she added, "I have a lot of words, but I'm not so good with being eloquent, or romantic, or mushy, or appropriate…" The crowd laughed lightly, allowing Mary a moment to look softly into my eyes before resuming, "But, talking about these two is easy…I don't have to explain how much they love each other, I don't have to say why I think they're made for each other, and I don't even have to talk about the amazing future these two have ahead of them. I don't need to do any of that, because every person in this room has met Callie and Arizona. And, anyone who has met them has already experienced their wonderful, complete, unyielding, and slightly nauseating love. It really leaves no doubt in anyone's mind about the compatibility of these two women." Callie squeezed my hand, as I tried not to cry. Mary grinned, "So, I'm-"
She was cut off by a small hand tugging at her dress, and a small voice, "Mom?"
"Babe, Mommy's kind of busy, right now. What do you need?" Mary smiled warmly at the five year old.
All eyes turned to Ryan, as he whispered urgently, "Mom, I have to go poop."
Only the wedding party could hear his statement, and all of us struggled with our laughter as Mary nodded and looked into the seats to find her husband. "Hey, Toby, we have some official best man business that needs your immediate attention." Toby was already out of his seat and on his way toward the front. Mary patted Ryan's shoulder, "Hon, go get Daddy." Ryan nodded and quickly pushed past the silky material of Addison's dress and ran to Toby.
Taking the moment of distraction as an opportunity, I leaned toward my glowing bride, "So, you went for the dramatic entrance, huh?" I was still a little concerned about how long it took her to get to me.
Callie shrugged, "Not exactly…more like unintended and unwelcome delayed entrance…"
When I just looked at her with perplexed contemplation, Aria supplied, "By that she means, she fell on her face trying to get out of the room."
My jaw dropped, "Um, what?"
Aria snorted, "Yep, stepped on her own dress and face planted. We were late because I had to fix her hair and dress." This sent Aria into another fit of giggles, while Callie scowled at her.
Seeing Callie start to sulk, I bumped her shoulder with mine, "Aw, I think it's cute you were so eager to marry me that you fell on your face."
"Ladies, are we ready to continue?" Mary waited a few moments as Aria, Addison, Teddy and I all attempted to settle our giggles, while the crowd looked to one another in confusion. "Well, as I was saying, before the joys of motherhood and teenage girls interrupted, I'm going to jump right into the vows."
Callie and I said our vows. They were nothing fancy. They were nothing we didn't already know, or hadn't expressed to the other before. They were perfect.
When I kissed her, officially making her my wife, it felt like every event and fraction of time in my life was designed to lead me to that very minute. I never felt as incredible as I did in that moment…until the day my daughter was born.
I was thirty-eight and Arizona was about to turn forty when our daughter started kindergarten.
"Mom! We're gonna be late!"
I rushed down the stairs buttoning my pants, "Blame your Mama, it's her fault."
I heard a stumbling in the hall followed by a glaring blonde, "Calliope Robbins-Torres don't you dare lie to our daughter, you're the one making us late…and we're not late, just slowly on time."
As she passed me, I whispered harshly in her ear, "You're the one that suggested we shower together to save time."
"And, I'm pretty sure that, your hands wandered first! On our child's first day of school. Shame on you, Callie." I might have felt reprimanded if her eyes weren't sparkling brightly, and her hand wasn't grasping my ass.
I stuck my tongue out at her, "Just go start the car and I'll get her lunch." I hopped into the kitchen, tugging on my shoes as I went, "Layla, go with your Mama out to the car and I'll be there in just a sec."
"Ok, make sure you put pudding in my lunch. Pudding makes me cool." My perfect four-year-old daughter, who looked exactly like her mama, bounced out of the room.
Watching her leave, I yelled out, "And, you cannot wear your Heelies to school!"
"Mama said I could!" Was the impressive bellow I received in return.
"No Heelies!" She was more like Arizona every day. And, I loved it. Arizona had insisted that she carry our first child because she was older, and I enjoyed every second of my pregnant wife.
We pulled up in front of the school with a few minutes to spare, thanks to the speed demon driving of my wife. "See, we're not late, Calliope. You were soooo worried."
"Shut up. I was not worried, she was." I playfully pointed to our pig-tailed little girl already hopping out of the car.
"Don't say shut up, Mom. It's not nice." Layla scolded lightly as she surveyed the scene.
Before we could say anything to her, Layla tapped a small boy on his shoulder. "Hi, I'm Layla Illene Robbins-Torres, who are you?"
The dark haired boy turned shyly to her, "Luke Jacobs."
"Oh, hi, Luke Jacobs. I like your shirt." She glanced back to us, "Look, I made a friend. His name is Luke."
We both grinned at the boldness of our girl, "Well, Luke, it's nice to meet you…Are your parents here?" I figured we might as well get to know some other parents, and we might as well start with Luke's.
"My mommy and daddy died. I live in a new home now. I don't really have parents." He said it almost matter-of-factly, like it wasn't a big deal. Arizona and I exchanged empathetic looks, uniquely qualified to understand his situation. We'd come so far since we were him.
"That's ok, Luke. I have two mommies instead of a mommy and daddy like lots of kids. So, we can be weird together. Sound good? Ok, let's go." With that, she grabbed his hand and started to lead him into the bustling school.
"She gets the bossiness from you," I said through a laugh as we watched the exchange. "Uh, hey, missy, don't we get a hug or something?"
Layla immediately turned around and ran into our waiting arms, "Whoops, sorry, I almost forgot." I clung tightly to my small, but fantastic family. It almost hurt how much I loved them.
"Remember what I told you, baby girl. Make friends, be polite, do your best, and have fun." Arizona said through watering eyes.
"Got it, Mama. And, you have fun with Mom when I'm gone today." She placed a kiss on her cheek, then mine, then ran back to her new friend.
"You heard the little lady. You have to have lots of fun with me today. In our empty house. With no child and prying ears." I let my voice get low and gravelly, hoping to distract us both from the fact that we just dropped our ever-growing child off for her first day of school.
She slipped an arm around my waist and leaned her head on my shoulder, "I can definitely get on board with that…You think that Luke kid is ok? I mean, a good influence on Layla?"
I laughed and placed a tender kiss on the top of her head, "Well, you know how crazy foster kids can be…they might just fall in love and get married…" I chuckled at her incredulous look and squeezed her shoulders, "I think that they're a little young to worry about that."
"I'm always going to worry, Calliope."
"Yeah, me, too. It'll probably help us out if our son is a little less audacious than Layla. You know, more like me, than you." I smirked, ready for some sort of witty retort, but none came. Arizona lifted her head and stared into my eyes, a strange look on her face. "What's with the face?"
"Son?" The word was barely above a whisper, but filled with awe.
Realization hit me like a freight train. My eyes went wide and I clamped a hand over my mouth as if that would rewind the last minute and take the words back. When she just continued to stare at me, I slowly lowered my hand and nodded, "Yes, our son. Babe, I'm so sorry for blurting that out. I know you wanted to be surprised, but I couldn't wait, so I called and asked the doctor after our last check up. I'm so sor-" I cut off when she placed her soft lips on mine, and a tender palm on my small bump of a belly.
When she pulled away, a dazzling smile lit her face, "We're having a boy?"
Grinning back, I nodded again, "Yeah, we're having a boy."
A bright smile overtook her face and I could almost feel the happiness pouring out of her. Suddenly, she whirled out of my embrace and turned to the couple next to us, "Hi. I'm Arizona Robbins-Torres and this is my wife, Callie Robbins-Torres, and we're having a boy!" I chuckled as we all exchanged handshakes, while my wife bounced around excitedly. Layla was definitely her mama's daughter.
Grabbing her hand to physically keep her on the ground, I gently led her back to the car, "Come on, we have four hours to celebrate. Lets make 'em count."
AN: Thanks again for being patient and continuing to read my story. I'm out.