I HAD SO MUCH TO JAM INTO THIS.
Mistakes are my own on this one.
They had only just arrived and Callie could already tell that their second visit to the UCLA Medical Center was going to be an entirely different experience from their first. Instead of standing outside, they headed straight through the front doors, Arizona holding Callie's hand as she walked leisurely by her side, giving her a chance to look around, instead of dragging her along behind her at breakneck speeds. They even used elevators and didn't take weird labyrinthine-like routes like they had done before and Arizona took the opportunity to point out areas of interest she thought Callie would like.
As they made their way through the pullulating hospital, Arizona happily stopped to talk to anyone who flagged her down, Callie standing quietly by her side like the proud partner that she was. And every time they met someone new, Arizona would say, "This is Dr. Callie Torres, my fiancée" with evident pride and joy in her tone. And every time, Callie felt her heart nearly explode at the words and the accompanying array of smiles that she had fallen in love with so long ago and continued to fall in love with on a daily basis. Then Callie somehow got roped into a conversation about her cartilage research and when she happened to glance over in the middle of it, she caught Arizona looking at her in that way that clearly said she couldn't believe she was hers. Callie was sure her heart actually did explode.
When they finally made it to the NICU close to an hour after arriving, Arizona flagged down a nurse to have Addison paged. They decided to wait outside the ward, out of the way, since they were informed it was an unsurprisingly hectic day. New Year's Eve and the following day guaranteed all sorts of stupidity and accidents. It wasn't long until they spotted their friend approaching them through the window.
"It's about time you two showed up," Addison said breathlessly as she came rushing through the sliding glass doors in scrubs and pieces of surgical garb she hadn't bothered to take off. "I dropped you off after we went ring shopping hours ago and you said you'd come right over."
"We fell asleep."
Addison stood with her arms akimbo and narrowed her eyes. "You fell asleep?"
Arizona nodded, looking guiltier than ever. She never did outgrow that.
"Ugh, I'm burning those sheets. Or, better yet, just take them with you when you leave."
"Wait, you went with her to get my ring?" Callie asked, slowly catching up to the conversation.
Grimacing, Addison nodded. She knew she'd be in trouble the moment Arizona's face lit up when she saw that ring. She was hoping to avoid it for a little longer. Until she got home later that night and had some alcohol in her, at least. Judging by the look on Callie's face, she had been correct. She was most definitely in trouble. She sighed. Being the best friend of those two sucked sometimes.
"Yup! I needed her opinion." Arizona grinned, ignorant of what was happening between the two women.
"Let me see it." Addison grabbed for Callie's hand. "Ugh, this looks so perfect on you."
"Right?" Arizona asked.
The three woman turned to see Maia and a few other residents from the New Year's party waving her over to the work station they were huddled behind. Arizona waved a hand back at them.
"Don't just wave. Get over here!" Maia yelled. "Come teach us something mind-blowing."
Arizona shook her head. "Sorry guys. I'm busy."
"Boo!" they chorused.
"Go on, babe," Callie said as she nudged the blonde. She could tell Arizona wanted to go. "Adds and I will be fine."
Addison begged to differ. She silently pleaded with Arizona not to leave her alone with Callie, but she didn't even look her way.
"Okay." Arizona didn't have to be told twice. "I won't be too long." She gave Callie a kiss, eliciting a round of wolf whistles from the small group of residents and they both laughed.
"What do you teach those guys in this hospital?" Callie asked.
"Oh, like the residents at Seattle Grace are any better?" Arizona challenged.
"They behave just fine."
"Have you met them?"
"Touché," Callie conceded with a smile.
Arizona laughed again and turned to head towards the group, who cheered when they saw her coming. "Alright! Alright! Calm down!"
"You let her get this?" Callie asked, waving her left hand in Addison's face, as soon as Arizona was out of earshot.
Even though she had been expecting it, Addison recoiled. "I didn't 'let' her do anything. You know damn well she does whatever she wants and so do you!"
"You didn't think to maybe try and get her to look at something else?"
"There was no way. As soon as she saw that one, she was dead set. And so what if you guys will have matching rings? It's cute..." Addison made a face, "or something."
"They're not exactly the same, but pretty damn close."
"So what? This just proves that you two are so freakishly well matched that you have the same thoughts and ideas. And she already had a picture of what she wanted. It was chosen in her head weeks ago. Even if I wanted to, there was no changing her mind."
"Really?" Callie smiled and sighed as she looked at her ring. It really was perfect. She wouldn't want anything else. And the reasons they both picked out the style were exactly the same. They were really well matched.
"You look happy." Addison smiled at her friend, hoping to distract her.
"I know I already said this last night, but I honestly couldn't be happier for you guys. You both deserve this more than any two people I know."
"Aw, Adds, thank you." Callie reached out to hug the other woman, pulling her close. "Seriously, thank you. For everything."
"I didn't do anything."
"Yes, you did." Callie squeezed her harder. "I love you, you know that?
"Yeah and I love you, too," Addison replied, struggling not to cry. She was not a crier, especially over mushy feelings. But it felt so overwhelmingly good to be loved and appreciated for just being her. Something both Callie and Arizona had showed was possible her over the years.
"Trying to steal my fiancée?" Arizona grinned when the two women jumped then parted.
"No way," Addison laughed as she subtly wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "I don't want to get hurt."
"Done with playtime already?" Callie asked teasingly.
"Lyle just texted me. He's out of surgery now and said he'd meet us in the cafeteria."
"Okay. Adds, you coming?"
"No, I need to get back to work. I'll see you guys tonight? It's our last night and we have to make it worth it."
"Yup. Callie's making us fajitas. I'll make the margaritas. You can just relax."
"I'll make sure to be home early then." Addison grinned. She'd never miss a home cooked meal. They came so rarely.
"Awesome," Arizona said as she started to pull on Callie's hand to get her moving. The women said their goodbyes before going their separate ways.
"And I'd always find her up on the damn roof!" Lyle said with a boisterous laugh.
"Doesn't surprise me at all," Callie chuckled.
"Hey!" Arizona exclaimed, interrupting. Her mentor and fiancée had been talking about her at a brisk pace for a good twenty minutes as if she wasn't sitting right there. Before that they had told him the cliff-note version of their story they had become so accustomed to telling. "It was a good place to go when I needed an escape from things." Which, unfortunately, was often.
"I know," Lyle smiled warmly, "but pretty inconvenient for me."
"You know all you had to do was page me and I'd always come running, so I don't know what you're complaining about."
"That is true. Arizona was quite obsequious, not to mention pedantic," Lyle told Callie, winking at her with a playful sparkle in his eye. "Seriously, she would do anything to make sure she was ahead of the bunch. I even once saw her trip a fellow resident to get to a patient in the ER first."
"Excuse me, that was an accident," Arizona defended when Callie roared with laughter. "Shut up! I was just really good at my job."
"That too." Lyle smiled. "That's why you were made Chief Resident. You earned it. You really became an amazing surgeon. You're one of my greatest accomplishments, I hope you know. Brag about you all the time. Drives everyone crazy. You really set the bar high."
"You made me into a pretty great teacher too." Arizona grinned. She did work hard and chances to get recognized for that were rare. She turned and blushed when she saw the proud smile on her fiancées face. "What?"
"You're amazing, Arizona," Callie said as she leaned in to kiss her cheek. "I always knew you would be. That's all."
"Thank you," Arizona said with a soft kiss in return.
"So, Callie, how does she run that place up in Seattle?" Lyle asked before he lost the couple's attention completely.
"Like an old pro. People love her."
"I wouldn't expect anything less." Lyle sighed when his pager went off. "I can't wait to retire," he grumbled. He downed the remainder of his coffee as he slowly stood up. "I'm sorry to have to cut this short."
"It's okay. We understand. It was so good seeing you," Arizona said, standing up to give the older man a hug goodbye.
"You too, Arizona. Don't be a stranger. Visit more, yeah?"
"We definitely will," Callie answered for her as she stood up for a hug too.
"It was nice meeting you, Callie."
"You too," Callie said sincerely. She was highly attracted to the man's joie de vivre. It was impossible to be anything but happy in his presence. She was grateful for him and the role he played in Arizona's life. She hugged him hard again, much to his confusion, and cleared her throat as she stepped back. "I hope we'll get to see you again soon."
"I better be invited to that wedding," he said, giving them a look that said he meant it.
"Good. I'll see you ladies later."
The women smiled and waved as they watched him leave.
"I like him a lot," Callie said as they sat back down to finish their drinks.
"He seemed more excited than Addy when we you told him about us getting married."
"He's just like that," Arizona laughed. "He's excited about anything and everything. Reminds me a lot of my mom, actually. I think that's what really drew me to him. I didn't talk to him much after Tim died, but just having him there helped a lot, I think. He was my only true friend for a while. He was being nice earlier, I was kind of a full-on horror show during my residency. Even more so after Tim. Didn't make me a lot of friends."
Callie reached over for Arizona's hand. "I'm sorry, honey."
"It's okay." Arizona shrugged. "Got me to where I am today. The head of an entire department at one of the best teaching hospitals doing what I love and already at my age. Not too bad, right?"
"Right." Callie smiled and squeezed her hand.
"And it got me to Seattle."
"Yes, it did." Callie grinned wider. "And I am so glad."
"Me too." Arizona smiled back. She turned and used her free hand to point toward a table to their left that was full of exhausted and barely awake interns. "I was sitting alone at that table right over there when I got the phone call. I didn't come back in here for years. Not even kidding. Whenever I wanted something, I sent an intern or walked all the way to the cafeteria next door."
Callie didn't need to ask what phone call. She stared at the table for a moment before looking around the cafeteria. It wasn't anything special. Bright, white, clean, smelled like a mix of different foods, and full of strangers. Vending machines lined one wall and large windows dominated the opposite wall, giving them a view of abutting buildings and trees. Callie couldn't comprehend that this was where Arizona found out her brother was never coming home to her. And she was all alone. Callie felt a wave of sadness wash over her and couldn't hide it from her face as her eyes found Arizona's smiling ones again.
"Please don't look like that, Calliope. Everything is good now. So, so good," Arizona said as she spun her ring around her finger.
"I know. I just wish I was there with you."
"Me too, but you're here now." Arizona smiled.
"I am and I'm not going anywhere again," Callie said with conviction.
"So, I'm thinking we should probably call your parents ASAP," Callie said, changing the subject, as she leaned back in her chair. "We really should tell them before we tell anyone else."
"I feel like we should tell them this in person." Arizona thought for a moment, before lighting up. "I know! Let's push our flight back a day. Drive down there tomorrow."
"And then back here?"
"Yeah, why not? We don't have to be back at work for another few days and I bet Addy would come with us, so we can get some extra time with her. I know it's a long time in the car, but-"
"Arizona, of course," Callie interrupted with a kiss. "I want to tell them in person too."
Callie nodded with a grin. "Your mom is so going to flip."
"I know." Arizona laughed. "I'm excited to tell her."
"I'll make the flight arrangements as soon as we get back to Addy's and we'll go."
"Okay." Arizona looked down at her their linked hands and smiled. "You want to get out of here now?"
"Um, well..." Callie looked around the cafeteria uneasily.
"I made a promise to you that I really don't want to defer."
Arizona's heart sank. "Oh."
"Callie, don't worry about it. Really."
"No, I have to. I feel awful."
Arizona sighed. "Fine. Addy told me she works over in the PICU now. I'll call and see if she's there."
Callie nodded and they got up together, discarding their trash before leaving the cafeteria. They went to the nearby information desk and Arizona was easily able to charm the student volunteer into letting her use the phone, against hospital policy. She dialed the direct extension to the nurses' station she also got off the volunteer and tapped her foot impatiently as it rang.
"Yes?" A gruff female voice answered, early distracted by something else.
"Uh," Arizona frowned. "Who is this?"
"Who is this?" she asked instead of answering.
"It's Dr. Robbins."
"I don't know a Dr. Robbins."
"I'm looking for Rebecca Sanders."
"Is she there?"
There was a short pause before the woman answered, "She's here."
"Is she busy?"
There was a click before the generic recorded hospital information hold message started to play loudly in her ear. The jolly woman's voice was in the middle of telling her all about the newly remodeled waiting area in the South wing when there was another click.
"Arizona?" Rebecca asked softly into the phone.
"Oh. Hi," Arizona said tersely. She had not been expecting her to be put on the line so quickly or at all.
"Are you busy? Can you talk?"
"Yes, of course. I'm sorry to bug you. Bye."
"Arizona!" Rebecca said loudly before she could hang up.
"I have about fifteen minutes if you want to meet me in our old on-call room for privacy."
"Uh," Arizona glanced at Callie for the first time since making the call. She was leaning over the information desk pretending not to listen. "Actually, can you just come down to the main cafeteria?"
"Sure. I'll be there in a minute," Rebecca said before hanging up without waiting for a response.
Arizona pursed her lips as she slowly handed the receiver back to the volunteer. "Thank you, Ethan."
"Well?" Callie asked.
"She's going to meet us in the cafeteria."
"Okay, let's go then."
Arizona nodded and took a step forward, but stopped when she saw Rebecca coming out of the door that led to the stairwell. She didn't seem to see them and headed toward the cafeteria, but was stopped by a colleague before she could go further.
"What?" Callie asked when she saw Arizona staring.
"Really?" Callie squinted at the smaller blonde who was dressed in light pink scrubs and had a chunky black headband in her hair. She could easily pass for someone much younger "Huh... I guess I didn't recognize her out of her floozy costume."
"Calliope!" Arizona couldn't help but laugh.
"I'm sorry!" Callie really didn't understand why the nurse made her so mean. But, at the same time, she did.
"She's leaving. We should go meet her."
"Actually, wait here," Callie said before taking off after Rebecca. Letting her go, Arizona didn't say anything. She really had no interest in speaking with her ex. Callie had been right the night before, she said what she had to say and she was done.
"Rebecca, wait!" Callie called out, surprised when the nurse actually stopped and turned around. The shorter woman didn't seem to recognize her at first, but Callie saw the moment in her eyes when she did and was surprised again when she didn't run. "Hi," she stuck out her hand. "Callie Torres. We never got properly introduced."
"Uh..." Rebecca reluctantly shook her hand, her eyes darting around as if searching for help, making Callie feel terrible all over again.
"I'm not here to start anything. I just wanted to say I'm sorry... for the thing... last night... that I did." Callie scrunched her nose. That was eloquent. She was turning this more and more into an imbroglio than it needed to be.
Rebecca snorted and shoved her hands in her scrub top pockets. "You mean assaulting me?"
"Kind of a strong word, don't you think?"
"Would you like me to look up the definition for you?"
Callie took a deep breath, biting back the first caustic remark that popped in her head. "It's just that I love Arizona more than anything."
Rebecca fixed her eyes on Callie, her expression bleak. "That's your excuse?"
"And when people say not so nice things about her," Callie continued, "it kind of makes me crazy. There really is no excuse and I am so sorry I let myself lose control like that."
"I have to go." Rebecca turned slightly to leave. "I'm meeting someone."
"You were meeting me. Well, Arizona and me. Both of us."
"Oh?" Rebecca softened her stance as she looked around. "Where is she?"
Callie waved a hand in the general direction of where she left her fiancée. "Over there."
"She didn't want to see me," Rebecca sighed and dropped her head. It wasn't a question.
"She said all that needed to be said."
"Yeah." Rebecca nodded.
"She really is sorry."
"Yeah. Can you tell her I'm sorry too? I really didn't mean those things."
"Thanks," Rebecca sighed again, looking deflated.
"You okay?" Callie inwardly rolled her eyes at herself. What a stupid question.
"I will be. I knew we were really over, but I still had some hope left and it just really sucks when that last string of hope you've been hanging onto gets cut off. That was last night for me. It's still fresh."
"I know that feeling all too well." Boy did she know that feeling. "And, trust me, I also know what it's like to think you have everything figured out and then have it ripped out from under you in an instant."
"I'm not going to lie, I was pretty devastated when I read that email. We were supposed to go out that night and then nothing. Suddenly, I was single again instead. I had no idea it was coming."
"I don't think devastated is a strong enough word for me," Callie said as she ran her hand through her hair. Why were they even talking about this?
"You're getting married?" Rebecca asked upon seeing the ring on the other woman's finger, her eyebrows shooting up behind her bangs.
"Yeah." Callie couldn't suppress a grin. "We are."
"Wow. I really didn't think she had it in her. I mean, she hasn't even been gone for that long? Seems kind of fast."
"We were actually together for a while a long time ago. We had something really special and we spent our entire adult lives trying to find that again with other people. But it never worked out and seeing each other again proved that that something never went away and only existed between us, which is why we couldn't find it anywhere else. So, it may seem fast, but picking up where we left off and loving her now is simple and right and... and..." Callie bit her tongue to keep herself from rambling more. She was sure her maundering on about their relationship was the last thing this woman needed. "What I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry you got hurt."
Rebecca vacantly blinked a few times, making Callie laugh, even though she wasn't entirely sure what was funny. This was one of the most awkward conversations she's ever had.
"So, again, I'm sorry," Callie said. It was all she had.
"It's okay. That actually kind of makes me feel better in a strange way."
"I was afraid she had changed her mind about the whole newborn thing, which did not help my insecurities at all."
"I only dated men up until a couple of years ago. She's only the second woman I've ever been with. She initially turned me down because of it, but she eventually changed her mind and asked me out."
"Ouch. I probably wouldn't have given her another chance."
"Yes, you would have."
"Maybe." Callie shrugged before smiling. "I should go now."
"Yeah, me too."
Callie turned to leave, but Rebecca saying her name stopped her. She turned around again and frowned when she saw the grim expression on the other woman's face.
"Did she- I mean, you-" Rebecca hemmed, growing frustrated with herself. She both had to know and didn't want to know the answer to the question she was trying to ask. "I'm sorry. What I'm asking is, did she leave here for you?"
"Were you guys... talking while we were together? Or... more?"
"Oh! No, no, no. Arizona would never hurt you like that. She did care about you a lot in her own way and she still does. I promise that we didn't even talk until she was already moved up there."
"Okay," Rebecca let out a ragged breath. She felt like such an idiot. "It's just that my boyfriend before her he... and... yeah. I don't exactly have the best track record."
Callie reached out and rubbed her hand up and down the other woman's arm in a comforting gesture. "I hate to be that person now, because when people used to say what I'm about to say to you to me, it really fucking pissed me off every single time, but you'll find someone. Someone really special who will love you with everything that she or he has and who you love back just a much. Who will love you in all the right ways and who will appreciate your love."
"I hope so." Rebecca nodded with a heavy sigh. The other woman's hand was still rubbing her arm and it was starting to make her uncomfortable. "Do you want to know a secret? Arizona doesn't even know that I know it, even though I've tried really hard to drag it out of her."
"Um, sure," Callie said, pulling her hand away and making a fist as she lowered it back to her side. It may have lingered on Rebecca's arm much longer than she intended.
"She really, really loves those singing competition shows. Every single one of them. But she will never admit it. You have to turn it on and pretend to watch it, then she'll sit. Personally, I find them mind numbing."
"Seriously?" Callie chortled then cleared her throat. "I mean, that's surprising."
"Yup. She even votes when she thinks you're not looking." Rebecca smiled for real for the first time since Callie encountered her. "I thought it was cute."
"I'll have to remember that." Callie tilted her head, studying the other woman as she fought an inner battle. What she wanted to ask next was so wrong. She glanced at Arizona, who looked completely immersed in something on the information desk that Callie couldn't see, before taking a step forward and lowering her voice. "What else?" So, so wrong.
"Chickens," Rebecca answered matter-of-factly.
Callie furrowed her brows, trying to decide if the other woman was messing with her. "Chickens?"
"Yup. She has a weird thing about chickens."
"Like to eat?"
"No, to raise."
"We're talking about Arizona Robbins, right?"
Rebecca nodded, smiling. "I know. It sounds crazy, but it's true."
"I'll watch the dumb shows for her, but I'm not so sure about the chickens."
"Yeah, I guess I dodged a bullet there," Rebecca said, making them both chuckle awkwardly. "I kind of really hate that I can't make myself hate you like I want, by the way."
Callie threw her head back and laughed loudly, catching Arizona's attention from where she had been studiously reading every single pamphlet displayed on the information desk. "You're not so bad yourself."
"Thanks?" Rebecca laughed again too. She couldn't help it, the brunette's laugh was infectious and this whole interaction was getting stranger and stranger.
"Calliope, you ready to go?" Arizona asked as she came up behind the brunette. She didn't know how to feel about her ex and fiancée laughing it up like they were the best of friends. They both looked happy. It was massively confusing and slightly unnerving.
Rebecca raised an eyebrow. "Calliope, huh?"
Callie shrugged, smiling at Arizona as she snaked her arm around her lower back and pulled her closer.
"We all good here? Can we go?" Arizona asked again.
"Yeah, we're good," Rebecca said with a smile. "We're all good."
"Really?" Arizona asked hopefully, finally addressing the smaller blonde.
"Yes. I'm sorry about last night. You know me. I'm not usually that crazy. I didn't mean to-"
"It's okay. I'm sorry too," Arizona interrupted. They didn't need to dredge it all up again. "Like you said, we're all good."
"Really? We're good?"
"Yes, Arizona!" Rebecca laughed then shrugged insouciantly. "Callie said I'll find someone better than you anyway."
"That is not at all what I said!" Callie defended when Arizona stepped away from her and gave her a look. "Okay, time to go. We need go call the airline to change our flight. I'm not sure if there's a cutoff time or not."
"Yeah and I should get back to work," Rebecca added.
"Sorry again about the whole slapping thing."
"Really, Callie, it's okay. I would have done the same thing."
"Okay, we're going," Arizona said.
"Oh my god, this is getting ridiculous." Rebecca laughed as she turned to walk away. "Maybe I'll see you guys again."
"Bye!" Callie yelled after her.
Rebecca waved a hand over her shoulder before stepping onto the elevator, the doors closing and blocking the couple's view of her.
"Okay, what the hell was that?!" Arizona asked, throwing both arms in the direction of the elevator Rebecca had left in.
"What? I was just being friendly. Her and I are good now."
Arizona shook her head and laughed. "Only you, Calliope, only you," she said as she patted her shoulder.
"What does that mean?"
"Nothing." Arizona shrugged and headed towards the doors.
"Arizona!" Callie called after her, but was dismissed with a wave of a hand. She growled before heading towards the doors herself. Seriously, what did that mean?
"Ready for this?" Callie asked as they pulled into the driveway of the Robbins residence the next day. The drive had been a smooth mostly traffic free ride, taking almost half the time to get there than it did to get to LA just a few days earlier.
"I am so ready." Arizona smiled as she turned in her seat. "Addy?"
"Hmm?" Addison looked up from her cell phone.
"It's not my news. I'm just here for the food and company."
"I think we missed breakfast. They eat super early."
"I'm sure your mom has something," Callie said.
"Probably." Arizona laughed. Barbara Robbins was always prepared for guests. "Okay, let's do this."
They unbuckled their seat belts and exited the car together. Stepping onto the porch, the newly engaged couple took a few deep breaths, suddenly nervous for no apparent reason. Arizona turned the knob on the front door, unsurprisingly finding it unlocked, and turned to smile at Callie before pushing it open.
"Mom? Dad?" she called into the house as they let themselves in. Her parents had no idea they were coming, adding to their surprise.
Barbara peeked her head into the entry hall from the kitchen, her eyebrows knit tightly together. "Girls?" she said as she came more into view. It was clear from her flour covered apron that she had been baking, which she only did when she was lonely or was expecting guests.
"Hi, Mom," Arizona said as she received a hug. "You remember Addy, right?"
"Of course, dear. It's good to see you again," Barbara said with a warm smile and a hug.
"You too, Mrs. Robbins."
"What are you three doing here? Not that I'm always happy to see you, but I'm confused."
"Is dad here? We need to tell you guys something." Arizona made a point not to look at Callie, because she knew if she did, she'd give away the whole thing and she wanted to tell her parents together.
"He's been out back doing God knows what," Barbara said, her eyes shifting between the three woman. They were all looking back at her with blank expressions. "Is this serious?"
"Yes," Callie answered shortly, struggling to keep her smile in check. She was about to burst.
"Okay, I'll go get him. Why don't you girls go wait in the dining room. You missed breakfast and my rolls aren't quite finished, but I can heat us up some leftover apple pie to tide us over until lunch."
"Mom, you don't have-"
"I love apple pie," Addison cut her friend off. "Do you have ice cream?"
"Oh, Addy, you fit right in here," Barbara laughed as she headed for the kitchen.
"So, is that a yes?" Addison asked, looking between her friends, who both laughed at her before leaving her alone to go to the dining room. "Hey!" she called after them. "Do I get ice cream with my pie or not?"
Fifteen minutes later they were all sitting around the dining room table, each with a plate filled with ridiculously large portions of both pie and ice cream. Callie and Arizona sat side by side in their old spots, watching across the table as Addison dug into her slice, both thinking the same thing. That was Tim's spot. They ate a number of meals there during their visit, but they had sat across from each other to balance out the table, but this was different.
"What?" Addison asked when she caught them staring.
"Nothing, sorry," Arizona said with a smile before stabbing at her piece of pie with her fork, Callie following suit, both stuffing their mouths to avoid having to talk. They suddenly had no idea how to say what they came there to say. They were excited, beyond excited, but merely blurting it out seemed wrong. This was the one and only time Arizona was going to tell her parents she was finally getting married. And to Callie, no less. It had to be special. So, they ate their pie, eyes remaining glued to their plates.
"Sweetie, we already know that you're gay," Daniel joked after a long silence. He already had shrewdly figured out what this was about, he hoped. But he was sure his wife had not. He wasn't about to ruin the kid's news, but he needed to push this along since he wasn't sure how long he could keep himself in check.
"Dad..." Arizona rolled her eyes. He thought he was so funny.
"I wouldn't object to either of you being pregnant, but I would have some questions," Barbara said.
"What? We're going to keep guessing until you say something."
"Moving?" Daniel asked.
"Back home?" Barbara added hopefully.
"Ooo, I like that idea!" Addison mumbled through a bite of ice cream.
"No, we like Seattle," Callie said, bursting all their bubbles. Even Addison's, who knew that wasn't it.
"Rehab?" Barbara guessed.
"Just tell them," Callie leaned over and whispered.
"How?" Arizona whispered back.
"How about, 'we're getting married, hooray!'?"
"Seems so blah."
"How is us getting married blah?"
"Not what I meant."
"Do you want me to tell them?"
"No, I want to do it."
"Then do it."
"They always like this?" Addison asked Barbara as her friends whispered back and forth at an infuriatingly low volume.
"Yeah, pretty much. Might as well make yourself comfortable and have another slice of pie. We could be here a while."
Addison rolled her eyes and kicked out a pointed boot. Judging by Arizona's yelp and scowl, it was her leg she hit.
"One of you needs to tell them right now or I am. I do not have the patience for this."
"Okay, okay." Arizona reached over for Callie's hand, pulling it into her lap. "So... Callie and I have decided to... I mean, Callie asked me to..." she sighed, getting frustrated with herself. This wasn't very special and now she was stumbling for no reason. She felt Callie squeeze her hand and turned to grin at her. "We're getting married," she said mostly to her fiancée, who matched her grin as the words came out of her mouth.
"What?" Barbara asked, unsure if she heard correctly.
"Callie and I are getting married, Mom," Arizona repeated, facing the older woman, who blinked back at her, mouth agape, completely silent. "Mom?" Arizona turned to her father, who was staring at them with a similar expression. "Dad? Did you still think we're not ready? Or it's too fast? Because you're wrong if that's the case. And, frankly, quite ridiculous."
"Are you kidding?" Daniel asked, gently putting down his fork.
"I don't know. We were expecting something a little more-" Arizona was interrupted by a loud sob-like outburst coming from her mom. "Well, a little more that," she said with a smile as they watched Callie jump up from her seat to hug Barbara, who clung onto the brunette as she cried into her shoulder.
"Arizona, for years we hoped you'd bring someone home we all loved enough to add to our family. But you never did. You never even mentioned dating anyone. You kept getting older and didn't seem interested in finding anyone. We could never figure out what you were waiting for."
Arizona glanced at Callie, who was still locked in her mother's embrace. "I guess I was waiting for her."
"I know." Daniel smiled softly. Arizona swore she detected a hint of sadness in his tone. "It's really no surprise you're here now telling us this."
"Yeah, I guess not." Arizona smiled when she felt Callie's arms wrap around her neck from behind.
"I am so, so happy right now," Barbara said as she used her napkin to wipe her face. "I really thought you girls were going to drag this out forever."
"Me too," Addison agreed, smiling when her friends rolled their eyes at her. "It's true. I was prepared for all kinds of nonsense."
"Well, we're not. We're doing it now, because there really is no use in waiting. Calliope could get in an accident at any time and I'd have no rights."
"Kind of morbid, don't you think?" Addison asked.
Arizona shook her head. "Practical."
"Gee, thanks," Callie scoffed.
"Oh and I love you." Arizona grinned.
"I know. I love you too." Looking around the table, Callie took a deep breath before sitting back down. "So, there's something else," she started, pausing to take another steady breath. She was about to say something she hasn't even brought up to Arizona yet. Only Bailey.
"Calliope, what?" Arizona asked softly, unable to hide the worry in her voice.
"I want to take the Robbins name."
Arizona didn't know how to respond to that. Barbara and Daniel were equally as stunned. Addison was starting to feel very out of place.
"If that's okay," she quickly added when no one said anything.
"If that's okay?" Barbara looked at Daniel, her mouth hanging open. "If that's okay?" she said again in a near squeak.
"Calliope," Arizona grinned as she took her fiancée's hand, "of course that's okay. If you're sure."
"I'm sure. I used to want to have it so bad. That hasn't changed."
"We need to celebrate!" Barbara clapped her hands together, a wide grin on her face.
"We did plenty of that New Year's Eve," Addison said with a smile. As soon as the two women told her, she had forced them to have more champagne (the really good stuff she had hidden) and stay up with her to celebrate after everyone left before letting them have their privacy.
"We sure did." Arizona winked at her future wife before grinning. "And New Years Day."
"Arizona..." Callie groaned. Whyyy?
"You can never celebrate too much," Daniel said, laughing.
"True that." Arizona nodded emphatically, earning herself a hard slap on the arm from her supposed beloved. "Ow! Mean."
"Rings! I need to see rings!" Barbara jumped up suddenly, startling the group. Lost in her joy, she had completely forgotten about that very important part.
Callie held up her left hand with a smile so wide it almost hurt. Barbara fawned over it before turning to Arizona and grabbing her hand before she had a chance to stop her.
"That's the same ring from before, isn't it?" Daniel asked when he saw the surprisingly still familiar ring on Arizona's finger.
"Yes. I have her real one at home," Callie explained. "I didn't know this was going to happen and didn't think to bring it."
Arizona sighed. "Dad, what?"
"Sweetie, I promise it's nothing. I was just remembering the conversation that went with Callie giving that to you. I'm surprised you still have it."
"Of course I do and I plan on wearing it forever."
"Really?" Callie asked.
"What about your engagement ring? It won't go with that."
"I'll just switch hands. I don't care if I'm an adult wearing a butterfly ring. I'm keeping it. It means more to me than anything," Arizona said adamantly.
To stop herself from crying, Callie leaned over and pressed a firm kiss on Arizona's lips. Pulling away, she smiled before kissing her again. She couldn't help it.
"So, how much is this wedding going to cost me?"
Daniel smiled as he looked between his daughter and wife. "I'm just kidding. My little girl is going to get whatever she wants."
"We're not doing anything big and we're fine paying for it ourselves," Callie said. "Something with just our family and close friends, which we both don't have very many of."
"In Seattle?" Barbara asked.
"Well, we were thinking we would do it down here. On the beach we got engaged on. Addy already said we can use her house. Maybe this June? That way the kids will be out of school for the summer and Arizona wants to do a bonfire."
"That sounds absolutely perfect." Barbara beamed. Bouncing on her feet, she could hardly contain her excitement. She wrapped her arms around both the girls and squeezed them together in a tight hug. "You've made this old woman extremely happy. I never thought I'd see my children get married and now I get to see two of them do so. And to each other!"
"Um, Mom. That sounds creepy. Don't say it again, especially outside of this house."
"Oh, psh." Barbara slapped Arizona's shoulder. "You know what I meant."
"Yeah." Arizona smiled and took Callie's hand under the table.
"Okay, I need to know all the details of how this happened," Barbara said gleefully as she returned to her seat.
"You want to tell it or should I?" Callie asked Arizona.
"Go for it."
"Okay." Callie turned to Barbara and grinned before starting to tell the story. The details she felt worth telling, at least.
"So, we should probably get going," Arizona said once they were all finished eating not too long after Callie was done talking and Barbara was done grilling them.
"What? Already? No!" Barbara protested. "You just got here. You can't just dump news like that on us and run! What about lunch? And my rolls?"
"We need to drive back and we still need to pack before our plans tonight. Our plane leaves out of LAX early tomorrow."
"I guess I should be happy you came down to tell us in the first place."
"Yeah, look at it that way," Arizona said as she stood up, everyone doing the same.
"I just love you all you girls so much." Barbara squeezed the trio in an awkward hug. "I'm so happy!"
"Barbara, you're hurting us," Callie laughed.
"Sorry," Barbara said as she released them. "Are you going to finally start calling me Mom?"
"Uh..." Callie balked. It seemed too weird to call her that, even though she had always felt like a mother to her. "We'll see."
"Well, whatever you want, honey. I'm just glad I get to call you my daughter for real now."
"Mom, we really need to go," Arizona said.
"One more hug," Barbara insisted, capturing Callie, who was the closest.
"Dad, help!" Arizona pleaded.
"It won't kill you to hug your mother or your father," Daniel said as he trapped Arizona in his arms.
"Not helping!" Arizona laughed as she returned his hug. He was right, it wasn't going to kill her.
It was another thirty minutes and countless more rounds of hugs before the three women were able to escape to their freedom.
"I love your parents. Can I marry you too?" Addison asked Arizona as soon as they were back in the car and headed toward the freeway. She had a whole frozen cherry pie sitting in her lap that she was not planning on sharing with anyone. A bag of freshly baked rolls sat next to her.
"Hmm? Maybe. What can you bring to our relationship?" Arizona asked, winking at Callie, who rolled her eyes and smiled.
"That's all you got?"
"You two already have everything else."
"Then sorry, buddy. Going to have to say no."
"Boo." Addison huffed and sat back in her seat. "You guys couldn't handle me anyway."
Arizona leaned over and whispered in Callie's ear, "It's us she wouldn't be able to handle."
"I heard that."
"The first time ever I saw your face, I thought the sun rose in your eyes and the moon and the stars were gifts you gave to the dark and the endless skies..." Callie sang softly to herself as she pulled her new laptop out of her bag and set it on the breakfast bar counter in front of her. Arizona had given it to her for Christmas just so she could Skype her nieces and nephew in Florida. Getting to see and talk to them on Christmas Day, even though it was a brief encounter, was the third best gift Callie's ever received, behind her car and her ring. Arizona really was spoiling her. Callie opened the lid, her eyes locking on the ring on her finger as she did so. She stared at it as she waited for the system to start up.
"And the first time ever I lay with you, I felt your heart so close to mine and I knew our joy would fill the earth and last till the end of time, my love..." Something within the computer made a loud dinging noise, startling Callie. A quiet chuckle coming from in front of her told her her little jump didn't go unnoticed. She stuck her tongue out before getting back on task. Opening a program, she grinned when she saw exactly who she was looking for was online. She double clicked the icon and waited, smiling wider when her eldest niece's face popped up on the screen. She looked a bit disheveled in a plain black tank top that was too big on her, crooked glasses that Callie has never seen before, and her hair piled on top of her head.
"Aunt Callie! Hi!"
"Hey, Cam. How was your New Years?"
"Not too bad. Yours?"
"The best. Are your sisters and brother around?"
"The twins are at the store with Mom and B1 is out with B2."
"It's what we all call Brandon and Brian now. Dad came up with it. We think it's funny, but they hate it, which makes it even better."
Callie raised an eyebrow. "Your dad?"
Cameron nodded with a smile. "He's really coming around and he actually apologized to Brandon. They're working on it. It helps that Dad and Brian are total football freaks and always have been. They spend every Sunday together locked in the basement."
"That's... kind of weird, but really great."
"Yeah. It's the only time I get alone time with Brandon now."
"Aw, you jealous?" Callie teased.
"No," Cameron answered too quickly.
"Sure you're not." Callie winked. "Sounds like things are going well then."
"Things are really great, actually. Better than ever. Mom and Dad seem to be liking each other again and B is a whole new person now. I love seeing him this happy. Before he was just so depressed all the time."
"Having to hide who you are is really hard. It takes a heavy toll."
"I'm sorry you guys ever had to go through that."
"It's okay. We survived." Callie shrugged it off. This was supposed to be a happy call. "When will everyone be back?"
"No idea." Cameron turned her head when she heard a door slam and two sets of feet thundering up the stairs. "Actually it sounds like Mom and the girls are back," she said just as Gaby and Lucy came lolloping over each other through her bedroom door.
"Cammy! Mom said we can go out to dinner tonight! Abuela is coming too!" the girls said in unison as they bounced on either side of her chair, their energy exhausting her.
"Guys," Cameron pointed to her computer screen, "I'm kind of busy here."
"Aunt Callie!" they greeted happily. "Hi!"
Callie laughed, feeling her heart swell. She still couldn't believe how in love she was with those kids. "Hi, girls."
"Cam!" Aria yelled from the bottom of the stairs before starting up them. "I asked you to do one thing for me while I was gone! It takes five minutes to unload the dishwasher. It's not that hard!"
"Not my fault! Aunt Callie distracted me!"
"Hey! Don't blame me!" Callie rolled her eyes when Cameron stuck her tongue out, not caring that they were immature actions on both their parts.
"Cal?" Aria questioned as she came into the room, smiling when she saw her sister on the computer screen. "Hey!"
"Hey, Ari." Callie smiled back.
"I was hoping everyone would be home. Arizona and I have something we want to tell you."
"Where is she?"
"In the kitchen." Callie smiled over the top of her laptop. She had the perfect view of her fiancée futzing around the kitchen from where she was sitting at the breakfast bar. As if she could sense her staring, Arizona turned around and grinned back as she set three wine glasses on the counter.
"Cal, we're still here," Aria teased.
Blushing, Callie looked down again, wondering how long she had been staring. Her screen was now filled with the faces of her sister and all her nieces, who had arranged themselves so they could all see and be seen. "When's Brandon going to be home?"
"Probably not for a while," Aria answered. "He's on a date with Brian. Since school's on break, we said they could stay out later. Apparently they will die if they don't get to spend every possible second together."
Callie couldn't help the proud smile that formed on her face at how easily Aria was able to say those words. Her sister has come a long way from her initial freak out.
"Hello?! Anyone here?!"
"Abuela!" Gabby and Lucy yelled before running out of the room. They came back a minute later, dragging Lucia in behind them.
"There are way too many people in my room," Cameron groaned.
"Why are we all in here?" Lucia asked.
"Calliope?" Lucia spun around, trying to figure out where her youngest's voice was coming from.
Cameron leaned to the side to unblock her grandmother's view of her desktop. "Over here."
"Calliope!" Lucia marched right up to the screen and stuck her face in it. "I'm so happy to see you, mija."
"Mama, it's good to see you too, but you need back up." Callie laughed. "All I see is your forehead."
"Oh, I'm sorry." Lucia pulled her head back and smiled. "Better?"
"A little, but I still can't see anyone else."
"Abuela, here." Cameron stood up and let Lucia have her seat. They all rearranged themselves again so they could see. Luckily Cameron had one of the largest screens Apple had to offer. "Okay, spill. I'm dying here."
"Spill what?" Aria asked.
"Aunt Callie said she and Arizona had something to tell us."
"Arizona?" Lucia asked. "Where is she?"
"Right here, Mrs. Torres," Arizona said as she slid onto the stool next to Callie, handing her a glass of wine. "Oh wow," she said when she got a good look at the screen. "Hi everybody." She laughed when she got a chorus of hellos back.
"Okay, she's here. Now tell us," Cameron demanded.
Callie shook her head. "I really want B to be there too."
"You can't just leave us hanging!" Cameron protested.
"How would you feel if we left you out?"
"I'd be pissed."
"See?" Callie asked.
"I have an idea," Cameron said, ignoring her mom. She shifted to the side and pulled her phone out of her pocket. She pushed a few buttons, waiting for her brother to answer before holding it up. "Ta-da!"
"Um, what's happening?" Brandon asked. All he could see was movement that was making him a bit motion sick. Then the phone stilled and he saw a clear view of Cameron's computer with Callie and Arizona smiling back at him. "Oh, hey!"
"Hey, dude," Callie greeted. "How are you?"
"Everyone's here," Cameron said, growing impatient. She panned her phone around her so Brandon could see.
"Oh, jeez." Brandon was taken aback by seeing most of his family jammed into such a small space. Only his dad was missing. "What's going on? Did someone die? Should I come home?"
"No!" came a disembodied male voice from somewhere on his end of the line. Brandon hushed him before turning back to his phone.
"Do these look like the faces of mourners?" Cameron asked.
"Well, no, but this is really weird."
"If you'd shut up Callie and Arizona could finally tell us why they're calling."
"Don't tell your brother to shut up."
Callie and Arizona silently sipped their wine with small smiles on their faces as they watched the family bicker back and forth. After a while, they wondered if they had forgotten about them.
"Um, guys," Callie tried, but went unheard. "Guys!" she yelled louder, getting their attention back that time.
"Tell us, tell us, tell us!" Cameron was getting excited, but didn't know why.
"Hey, where's my wine you promised me?" Addison asked as she entered the kitchen. She stopped short when she saw the computer screen. "Um, woah."
"Adds, this is my family."
"Your family?" Addison asked with interest as she moved closer. There was no doubt that the faces staring back at her were related to her friend. She'd heard all about the kids, but had yet to even see pictures of them.
"Yup. My mom, Lucia. Sister, Aria. Nieces, Cameron, Lucy, and Gaby, and on the phone is my nephew, Brandon," she introduced as each person waved a hand. "Everybody, this is our best friend, Addison."
"Hi everybody," Addison greeted. She hoped she didn't actually have to remember any of those names. "I know it's only four, but I ordered us some food. All we've had today was coffee, pie, and ice cream and now we're already opening the wine. Should probably eat something more substantial."
"Sounds good. We're starving."
"Okay, good." Addison pursed her lips as she stood there awkwardly looking around, unsure of what to do with herself.
"Your wine is over on the counter, by the way," Arizona said, giving her friend an out. Addison smiled gratefully, snagged her glass, and hightailed it out of the room.
"Okay, now will you tell us before anything else happens?" Cameron borderline whined.
"Well..." Callie paused, laughing when her niece groaned.
"Okay, okay. Arizona and I are getting married." Callie and Arizona grinned at each other when the speakers filled with cheers and congratulations. They loved that part. It was never going to get old.
"Is that allowed?" Aria asked when everyone calmed down.
"Mother!" Cameron exclaimed, horrified.
"I'm so sorry. I wasn't thinking," Aria said sheepishly, lowering her eyes. "I really didn't know. A lot of this stuff is still beyond my ken."
"Aria, it's okay. It was a valid question. And, yes, it is allowed here. It's going to be something small at the end of June in California and we were hoping all of you could be there."
"All of us?" Lucia asked, unable to hide the surprise in her voice. After everything, she didn't think she'd get the honor of being at their wedding.
"Yes, Mama," Callie smiled warmly, "all of you."
"I wish I could give you a hug," Lucia said, wiping tears from her eyes. "Can I come out there now? Enough of this over the phone stuff. I want to see you. Please?"
"Me too!" Brandon said.
"Us too!" Cameron, Gabby, and Lucy quickly added.
"We're not even home from vacation yet!" Callie laughed at their eagerness. "Give us some time when we get back and then we'll see."
"And you guys have to go back to school soon," Aria pointed out.
"We can go over Spring Break," Cameron suggested, grinning at her brilliant idea.
"Yeah!" her siblings agreed.
"When is that?" Callie inquired.
"Last week of March."
Callie looked hopefully at Arizona. "What do you think? Think we can handle four kids for a week?"
"Definitely, but where would we put them?"
"We can figure it out."
"Is that a yes?" Cameron asked, trying desperately not to look too excited or squirm like a dork.
Callie looked at Arizona again, who nodded with a smile. Like she'd ever be able to tell her no. She looked just as excited as the kids, if not more. She knew just how desperately Callie's been wanting to spend some quality time with her nieces and nephew.
"That's a yes," Callie confirmed, resisting the urge to plant a kiss right on Arizona's lips in front of everybody.
"Yes!" the kids cheered. Gaby and Lucy started dancing around the room, making the adults laugh. It would be their first trip away from their parents. Cameron and Brandon always got to do the fun stuff like that and they were thrilled to finally be included.
"I hope you know what you're getting yourselves into," Aria laughed. "I'd normally advise against it, but a whole week with no children is not something I'd turn down. Especially since I trust you guys and won't have to worry about them."
"Thanks, Mom. Love you too," Cameron said, rolling her eyes.
"You know I love you four more than anything."
"Yeah, yeah. Let's not get all mushy here."
"Maybe your dad and I can take a child free trip together," Aria thought aloud, grinning. "Cam, I think this is the best idea you've ever had."
"I know." Cameron smiled. "I am the genius in this family."
"Okay, we really need to leave for dinner now. Your dad is probably already there waiting," Aria said, pushing the twins towards the door. "Let's go get ready. Say bye."
There was a rowdy round of goodbyes and more congratulations before only Cameron, Lucia, and Brandon on the phone remained.
"We should probably get going too," Arizona said. She knew Addison was waiting for them on the back porch.
"Okay," Callie agreed. "We'll see you guys soon, yeah?"
"We can't wait," Cameron enthused. "Our last trip out there wasn't exactly fun."
"This will be fun. I promise."
"There's no pressure," Brandon said. "We just want to come hang out with you guys."
"That we can definitely do. I'll even take the whole week off." Callie smiled, growing even more excited.
"Sounds good. Bye Aunt Callie. Bye Arizona." Cameron cocked her head to the side. "Or is it Aunt Arizona now?"
"You can call me whatever you feel comfortable with."
"I like Aunt Arizona. It has a nice ring to it."
"Okay." Arizona grinned. She liked the sound of that. After Tim, she never thought she'd be an aunt, though the idea always appealed to her.
"Bye guys. Bye Mama," Callie said with a grin that matched the blonde's. She could tell that her niece just made Arizona's day.
"Bye, Calliope," Lucia said. "I love you."
"Love you too."
"You too, Arizona. I'm looking forward to finally getting to know you better and as my future daughter-in-law."
"I look forward to it too. Bye, Mrs. Torres," Arizona said before disconnecting the call and closing the laptop. "That went well."
"Really well." Callie nodded and leaned over for a kiss. "Is it March yet?"
"Excited?" Arizona asked, even though the answer was clearly written all over the other woman's face.
"Very, but not as excited as I am for June."
"We have a lot to look forward to."
"We do," Callie smiled when the doorbell rang, "but for right now I just want to sit on the back porch listening to the ocean with the love of my life and my best friend while we eat, drink, and chat before we head back to the real world tomorrow."
"Sounds perfect," Arizona said as she got up to answer the door before Addison could. She wanted to pay and she didn't want to have to fight over it. Callie grinned as she watched her full on run out of the kitchen, her hair flowing behind her. Looking forward to the rest of their evening, Callie continued smiling as she packed up her laptop before following her girl. She was determined to make the last night of their vacation special.
"You want the window?"
"I had it on the way up."
"Yeah, but you love it."
"So do you."
"Not as much as you." Callie reached behind her and grabbed Arizona's arm, pulling her forward and stepping aside so the blonde could slide into the row of seats ahead of her.
"You're too good to me."
"Giving up the window seat is a small price to pay to make you happy." Callie waited for the other woman to settle before sitting next to her.
"This was a very productive trip," Arizona declared as she buckled her seatbelt, pulling on the end of it to adjust the fit.
"A productive trip?" Callie laughed, buckling her own seatbelt. "Yeah, I guess that's one way of putting it."
"Okay, it was the best vacation I've ever been on."
"Me too," Callie agreed. Yawning, she sat back in her seat and closed her eyes, wanting to get a little rest before she needed to be more alert.
"Very. We stayed up way too late for having to get up so early." They had stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking and laughing amongst themselves with Addison like giggly school girls as they drank. All three had been thoroughly humiliated by the stories and dirt they had on each other from various stages of their lives. Even with her monster headache now, it had been worth it.
"Why did we have to get up so early again?"
"I just wanted to make sure we were back in Seattle in time to go shopping before our reservations."
"Reservations? What reservations?"
"For dinner." Callie lifted her head and smiled. "Did I forget to mention that I'm taking you some place special tonight?"
"Uh, yeah, ya did." Arizona grinned, excited. "What kind of place?"
"A nice one. We are going to get all dressed up and hot."
"I like the sound of that. Where are we going?"
"Not telling. It's a surprise."
"Callie, come on." Arizona knew that they both knew exactly how much she hated surprises.
"Not telling. You'll like it, I promise," Callie said with finality. "I love you. Just let me do something nice for you."
Arizona inhaled deeply, letting her breath out slowly before deciding to let it go. The look Callie was giving her was so full of love. The kind of love only she could give and Arizona knew she was lucky to be the recipient. If Callie wanted to take her out and surprise her, then so be it.
"Thank you," Callie said gratefully with a kiss. She was excited about her surprise and didn't want to give it away prematurely.
"Looks like they're getting ready to close the door," Arizona observed as an older woman with long silver hair traveling alone sat in the empty seat next to Callie.
"We'll be okay," Callie said with a reassuring smile as she squeezed Arizona's hand.
"I know. I still don't like it," Arizona mumbled before turning to look out the window.
As the flight crew finished getting ready for take off, Callie and the stranger exchanged pleasantries while Arizona stared blankly at the happenings on the ground below them. Before they knew it, they were moving and the flight attendants were doing their usual spiel.
Knowing how much Arizona hated take offs and landings, Callie leaned over and kissed the blonde's cheek, letting her lips linger as they barreled down the runway. The instant the wheels left the ground, Arizona closed her eyes and leaned into Callie, not feeling the slightest bit embarrassed as she let her fiancée mollify her as the plane climbed. Once they were at cruising altitude, she let herself relax, Callie giving her another kiss on the cheek before pulling away without saying anything, knowing Arizona wouldn't want her too. Exchanging a few words, they each took out a book and settled in for the remainder of their flight.
"You girls leaving or going home?" the woman who had earlier introduced herself as Vi asked an hour into the flight.
"Vacation's over. We're heading home," Callie answered, marking her spot in her book and putting it in the seat pocket in front of her. Normally she hated small talk, but the woman seemed nice and she was in a good mood.
"Me too. I was visiting my sister in Burbank for the past two weeks, but I missed my big dumb husband too much to stay away any longer."
"Ah," Callie laughed quietly. "How long have you been married?"
"Eight years. He's my third. I'm positive this one is going to stick this time." Vi smiled when the brunette's eye almost imperceptibly twitched. "The best part is that I'm a retired marriage counselor. Go figure."
"Oh?" Callie had no idea how to respond to that.
"How about you? You married?" Vi asked with an inquisitive smile as she eyed the woman who was dead asleep on the brunette's shoulder. She had noticed their sweet exchanges earlier and it was clear they were more than just mere friends.
"Newly engaged, actually." Callie grinned. "This is my fiancée, Arizona, by the way," she said as she softly stroked the blonde's hair, being careful not to wake her.
"Thank you. We're pretty excited."
"You're probably going to get all kinds of unsolicited marriage advice from people who think they're experts, me being one of them, but I always like to tell couples two things. One is don't be afraid of conflict. It's inevitable and avoiding it is much more destructive than facing it head on. It's normal in any healthy relationship and if you handle it the right way, it can actually strengthen it. And I'm talking about real conflict here. Not the crap kind people make up out of nowhere because they're bored or trying to avoid a bigger issue. That's no good either."
"I work in a hospital, so I know exactly what you mean. What's the second thing?"
Vi smiled as her eyes dropped to Callie's lap where the couple's linked hands were resting and back up again. "Never stop doing that."
Callie frowned as she tried to figure out what the older woman was referring to. "Doing what?" she finally asked.
"Holding her hand."
Callie looked down and smiled when she saw their hands. She honestly hadn't realized Arizona's hand ended up in hers. They did tend to cling onto one another while sleeping.
"Oh, well, that's easy."
"And make sure you two are in agreement on what you want your married life to look like beforehand."
Callie only nodded. She was starting to get irritated. She knew what she was doing, but she also knew that the woman was just trying to be helpful.
"What do you think love's enemy is, Callie?"
"Uh..." Callie blinked at the random question.
"You don't have to answer. It's just one of my favorite questions to ask people."
"It's okay... I guess for me, in previous relationships, it has been indifference. More recently it's been a mix of self-doubt and fear."
"I'm assuming you fought those?"
"Yes, hard, and I won," Callie said with a small smile. "She helped a lot."
"What do you think about time as an enemy?"
Callie inhaled deeply as she pondered that for a moment. Exhaling, she looked down at their linked hands again and shook her head. "No... I feel like time is supposed to be on love's side to help keep it alive and grow." Sighing, she paused to gather her thoughts. "I mean, time can definitely change people and situations, so I can see how that can kill love. But maybe those people were never meant to be in the first place."
"And there are so many other things that have to be factored in."
Vi raised her eyebrows. "Maybe or maybe not."
Callie smiled when Arizona whimpered, waiting a moment to see if she'd wake up. "I think the essence of a person can stay the same over time, even if a lot has changed. I think that's what is important."
"Time really hasn't been my friend in the past, though," Callie shrugged with the shoulder Arizona wasn't sleeping on, "so I don't really know."
"What do you mean?"
"I've lost a lot of it, it goes too fast, it goes too slow, it's hardly ever right, and what's that saying? Time heals all wounds?"
"Something like that."
"Well, that's bullshit." Callie didn't have anything more to say on the topic, so she picked up her book again and opened it. Vi took the hint and didn't press further.
"Do you know how I'm sure this husband is going to last?" Vi asked after a couple of minutes.
Callie sighed inwardly. "How?" she asked, looking up.
"Because I didn't choose him."
"It's more like he was chosen for me. Even after meeting hundreds of couples, it took me a very long time to figure out the difference."
"Oh." Callie grinned. She understood completely.
"Judging by that smile, I have a feeling you know exactly what I'm talking about."
"Yeah, I really do."
"Cal?" Arizona murmured as she lifted her head enough to rub her itchy nose on Callie's sleeve before resting her head on her arm again.
Callie couldn't help but chuckle. "Let me get you some water."
"How about both?"
"Mmmk," Arizona said before smacking her lips and sighing as she melted into the brunette again.
"She'll probably go right back to sleep," Callie told Vi as she lifted her hand to wave down the flight attendant who happened to just look up at her.
"Not uh." Arizona sat up and stretched out her arms and legs as best she could in the cramped space before turning to Callie. "I'm wide awake." She gave Callie a groggy lopsided smile. "See?"
"Humph," Arizona protested just as the flight attendant approached them. While Callie spoke with him, Arizona looked around the cabin.
"Morning, Arizona," Vi greeted with a smile when the blonde caught her eye.
Arizona blinked at the stranger several times in confusion. She didn't remember meeting her or telling her her name. "Um... Morning?"
"This is Vi," Callie said. "She's been keeping me company since you passed out on me."
"Sorry," Arizona said sheepishly. She really hadn't meant to. Her book turned out to be boring and Callie was too comfortable.
"It's okay. You need your sleep for tonight."
"Oh, right. The surprise."
"Surprise?" Vi asked curiously.
Callie nodded. "She's getting spoiled tonight."
"She spoils me every night."
"And I love doing it," Callie said with a soft kiss to the blonde's lips.
"Aww, how nice," Vi smiled between the two women, who were obviously still in the honeymoon stage of their relationship. "You're going to be quite the uxorious wife, aren't you Callie?" she teased.
"So?" Callie shrugged. "It's a win-win for both of us."
Their conversation was interrupted by the steward coming back with the cart, each receiving a cup of coffee, a water, and some snacks. The three women continued to chat as they ate until it was time to clean and pack up.
"I have no doubts you two will last," Vi concluded after their conversation.
"Ha. You know nothing about us," Callie said with a smile. Arizona looked between them, confused, but said nothing.
"I can just tell. It's a feeling I get. One I really should have listened to when it came to my own marriages."
"We'll take it." Callie also had no doubts.
Smiling, Arizona leaned in closer and whispered in her fiancées ear, "She's right. I love you."
"Love you too," Callie whispered back.
They started their descent into Seattle soon after, Callie taking Arizona's hand again and placing it back in her lap. They exchanged smiles before they both focused their attention on the clouds out the window.
When the plane touched down, Arizona let out a small sigh, smiling to herself when she felt Callie squeeze her hand. They made it. She felt different from when they left. Lighter. Like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. A weight she didn't even know was there until they were back in California.
Still looking out the window, Arizona could see that it was lightly raining and it looked cold. The opposite of the warm and sunny state they had just left. She found she didn't mind too much, though. She planned on spending the rest of her days in this beautiful city with the love of her life. The woman she would soon call her wife. Even though she's only lived in Seattle for a few months, it already felt like her home.
"Have you ever danced in the rain?" Arizona asked softly as she watched the drops splashing in the puddles below become thicker and heavier, the drizzle turning into a downpour.
Callie was unfazed by the randomness of the question. "I can't say that I have."
"Promise me you'll dance with me."
Smiling, Arizona finally turned to look at Callie, who smiled back. "Thank you."
"Of course. I'll dance with you anywhere."
"May I ask where that came from?"
Arizona shrugged. "I want to learn to love the rain."
"Ah," Callie said as if the explanation made all the sense in the world. "Ready?"
Arizona nodded and stood up with Callie once Vi stepped out into the aisle to give them more room. They gathered their belongings as the passengers from the front of the plane began to disembark.
"Remember what I said," Vi said to Callie once they were off the plane and walking toward baggage claim.
"Good. I didn't check anything, so I'm heading that way." Vi pointed to the exit. "It was lovely meeting you ladies. Maybe our path's will cross again."
"It was nice meeting you too. Bye."
Vi waved her goodbye before heading towards the doors.
"What do you have to remember?" Arizona asked once the older woman was gone. Stopping in front of the baggage claim to wait for their luggage, she turned to Callie and raised her eyebrows.
"Don't worry about it." Callie smiled and reached out for one of Arizona's hands, clasping it between hers. "Oo, the thing is moving."
"I don't know how, but it always seems like my bag is always last," Arizona pouted as they watched person after person grab their belongings off the moving conveyor.
"At least this way we don't have to push people out of the way to get to it."
"True." The crowd was definitely thinning out. She sighed and settled into Callie's side to wait some more. How many bags could possibly fit on a plane?
"So, I read somewhere that The Voice starts this week and I want to watch it. Can you please remind me to set the DVR? You know how I always forget," Callie said casually after a short silence. Truth was she had spent a good amount of time at the airport before their flight secretly googling premiere dates of every show she could think of.
Arizona wrinkled her forehead. "You actually like those kind of shows?"
"Love them," Callie lied, keeping as straight a face as possible. It wasn't really a lie, she told herself. It was more like she's never had an inclination to watch one. She was sure she could learn to love them though.
"Oh my god! Callie-"
"Hold that thought." Callie let go of Arizona and sprang forward. Whipping their biggest suitcase off the conveyor, she set it behind her before grabbing two more in succession. By some miracle they had all stayed together. Talk about good luck. Maybe it was a sign of some sort.
"I'm sorry, what were you saying?" Callie asked when Arizona stepped forward to grab one of the bags while she managed the other two.
"I was going to say that I love them too. Like, a lot. To the point of obsession. Just don't tell anyone else. I have a rep to protect." Arizona frowned when she saw the wide grin Callie was suddenly giving her. She couldn't quite figure it out. "What?"
"Nothing." Callie dropped the two bags she was rolling in the middle of the walkway, uncaring of the glares she received from passersby, and reached out to pull the other woman into a tight hug. She was ecstatic Arizona so willingly trusted her with her deep dark secret, as silly as it was.
"You're being weird," Arizona said, voice muffled by Callie's shoulder.
"Sorry." Callie pulled away. "I'm just tired. I didn't get to sleep on the plane like someone I know."
"Let's get home then."
Callie nodded before picking up the handles of their bags again, eager to get home. Home. She hadn't realized how much she truly missed it until that moment. She's lived in Seattle for nearly ten years, but it never really felt like her real home before and now it finally did. She glanced sidelong at Arizona as they walked through the doors and straight into the cold rain, turning her head and smiling when she saw she was already looking at her too.
Callie looked up, smiling wider when she saw Mark and Lexie waving at them from his car. Apparently they had a productive couple of weeks too, because when they left those two still weren't speaking. Mark jumped out of the driver's seat and rushed to the women.
"I missed you," he said as he gave Callie a bear hug before doing the same to a less receptive Arizona. "It's not the same without you guys."
"I missed you too," Callie said sincerely.
"Yes, Mark," Callie laughed at his sad attempt to hide his surprised expression.
"Okay then," he said mostly to himself before grabbing the women's luggage to put in his trunk.
"Hey, Lex," Callie greeted as she slipped into the back set, scooting all the way over to make room for Arizona to climb in after her.
"Hey, Lex," Arizona echoed.
"Hey guys. Ready to return to normal life at Seattle Grace?"
Callie snorted. "I don't think there's anything normal about it."
"It's your normal."
"Yeah, I guess that's true. I do really miss everyone."
"They miss you too. Bailey would never admit it, but she's asked Mark at least ten times when you're coming back."
"Really?" The thought that Bailey actually missed her made Callie's heart swell.
Mark opened the door and plopped down in his seat before Lexie could answer. "Alright, ladies! We only have a thirty minute drive and a lot of hospital gossip to catch you guys up on," he said gleefully as he buckled his seatbelt.
"Wait, what are you guys doing the end of June?" Callie asked, winking at Arizona.
Mark and Lexie exchanged glances before shrugging.
"Nothing that we know of," Lexie answered. "Why?"
"Because we're getting married and we want you both to be there."
Mark whipped around in his seat so fast, his seatbelt locked, choking him. With his mouth hanging open, his eyes shifted between the two women. "Excellent," he finally said with a grin after determining that Callie was being serious.
"We'll definitely be there," Lexie said.
"Absolutely." Mark turned back to face forward and started the engine. "Okay, so about that gossip..."
When he started in, Callie looked at Arizona and rolled her eyes playfully, making them both laugh quietly to themselves. She reached over and linked her pinky with Arizona's, whose hand was resting between them. They smiled at each other before turning to stare out the opposite windows.
As they got closer to home, Callie and Arizona found themselves only half listening to Mark and Lexie rattle on about their friends, their colleagues, and the interesting surgical cases that had come and gone. They both had somehow become too consumed by their thoughts about their vacation and how excited they were to start the next chapter of their lives to fully pay attention. But, when they pulled up to their apartment building and saw Bob's smiling face as he rushed towards them, they only had a single shared thought on their minds: it felt so damn good to be home.