Summary: Dr Arizona Robbins is close to desperate; she needs a business analyst to help manage her tiny biomedical company before the bank takes everything she's ever worked for. The one person that seems capable of taking control is Callie Torres. But is Callie interested in taking control of more than just Arizona's finances?
Disclaimer: The recognisable characters portrayed in this story belong to ABC Studio & Shonda Rhimes etc. No infringement intended etc etc. No profit being made.
Previously on Bailero
"Arizona, look at me, tell me what you're thinking."
Arizona raised her head and tilted it ever so slightly. She stared at Callie as if examining something new and not wholly pleasant under her microscope.
"I was wondering when you'd get round to telling me."
And now the continuation
"I said, I wondered when you'd get round to telling me that you were a ... billionaire ..." Arizona paused for a moment, her hand gesturing vaguely to the universe. "I don't know ... mega-billionaire ... a multi-billionaire ...what is it you call yourself these days? The super-rich?"
Callie felt her heart plummet to the very depths of her being.
"You … you knew? Why didn't you say anything?" Her voice was faint, there was no strength to it, it was a feeble and shocked whisper that barely reached its intended recipient.
But Arizona heard the question without problem and her blue eyes flashed dangerously.
"Why didn't I say something? Are you kidding me? Why didn't you say anything, Calliope? Why didn't you explain who you were?" Arizona's words were spat out rapidly, her face suddenly flushed with heated colour.
"How long ..." Callie's breath caught in her throat and she was suddenly breathless, unable to speak, unable to think.
She looked wildly around the room, seeking desperately ...for what? For what? What did she want?
She took a deep breath and started again.
"How long have you known?" she asked, her voice a little ragged. She couldn't work out what was happening, what it meant for them. It was one thing for her to have concealed her identify, to have lied by omission to Arizona. That Arizona might have known who she was, all along but said nothing... Callie couldn't credit what she was hearing.
"Not very long…" Arizona tossed out, casually. She picked up her fork and actually took a mouthful of her meal, chewing her pasta slowly.
"And what …. You were waiting to see if I ever told you … all the while sharing my bed…" Callie suddenly felt a rush of blood to her head, she could feel the adrenaline speed through her. She was certain that there was a huge throbbing vein in the middle of her forehead, heralding her emotions to all and sundry.
"You really can't claim the moral high ground, Callie." Arizona let her fork clatter noisily into her china plate and stuck her chin forward, pugnacious and Callie was transported to their early meetings, nearly a year ago when everything was tense and brittle and so very distant. She couldn't stand for them to return to that again.
She swallowed her anger, her fear.
"No, you're right, I can't. And I'm sorry … I honestly didn't mean to lie to you… or Martha." Her voice was soft, quiet, she made no attempt to hide her pleading.
She watched Arizona's face closely and saw it, just for a second, that hint of softening, the merest hint of a thaw in those eyes she loved so much. And then Arizona shrugged, almost carelessly. A passing waiter paused at their table and topped up her water glass and she smiled her thanks at him.
She looked over at Callie and her expression carefully, deliberately went blank. She began to toy with her cutlery again and tossed a glance in Callie's direction, offering a another small, almost inconsequential shrug.
"Fine. Actually, I didn't know. Not really. Not until just now."
Callie shook her head, her face questioning.
"I saw a picture of you in some paper or magazine or something. It had been bothering me... but I forgot about until now. It was just … your hand in your hair, your silver rings…" she looked down at the table and twisted her lips.
"They're pretty distinctive …" She looked up again at Callie, her face shadowed … closed.
Arizona leaned forward in her chair for a moment and then settled back, Callie could see her jaw clench, she could see the rapid flutter of her pulse as she allowed Callie's words to sink in.
"You have yourself quite the reputation, don't you Callie Torres Rodrigo? I mean we both know my knowledge of financial dealings is almost non-existent but even I've heard of CalTech." She pushed her plate away, the crockery clinking loudly in Callie's ears and slowly took a sip of her wine, her eyes still fixed to Callie's face.
"I mean, I'm pretty sure I once read that you were the female equivalent of Gordon Gekko …"
Callie sighed. Whether the accusation was valid or not, she was just going to have to suck it up. Arizona had every right to throw accusations at her.
"That… that was a long time ago and the report was exaggerated," she finally replied.
"Well, if it was a long time ago, I guess it's alright, then. Nothing for me to be bothered about?"
Arizona's eyes wandered about the restaurant, not looking at Callie, she sat there, with impeccable posture, her spine ramrod straight and neck swan-like as she looked around, ignoring Callie's questing eyes. She eventually brought her eyes back to Callie's face, their brightness only emphasising their cold, cold gaze. She flipped her hair over a shoulder in a simple supple movement and Callie felt her heart stop. Callie felt skewered on that gaze, she couldn't move from it, she couldn't escape and didn't want to. Arizona was fucking imperious right now, regal, untouchable, cold and remote.
"I really would like a response from you, Calliope. Can I assume that there's nothing for me to be worried about? Or is that asking too much?"
Callie blinked, shaken from her stasis by the crisply worded question.
"There is nothing for you to be worried about." Callie quickly confirmed, the words tumbling out; hurried and insistent.
"Oh, I'll just take your word for that, shall I?" Arizona shot back, without pause. "Suddenly everything makes sense."
Arizona picked up her napkin and delicately touched the corners of her mouth, her eyes fixed on Callie's face. Her hands were trembling and Callie's heart ached at the sight.
"Are you working with Grant or were his attempts to buy me out at the same time as you just a sick coincidence?
This time Callie let common sense and calculation fly away and reached out and grasped Arizona's hands, holding on tight as the other woman tried to pull away. She didn't care if it turned into a public tug of war, or if she drew the attention of other diners. There was no way she was going to let Arizona think that she was intent on taking ownership of RMB.
"No, please don't think that things made sense because they don't. Arizona, I swear I have never… never, given any thought to buying you out…. Not in the sense that you mean. I swear it."
Arizona forcibly yanked her hands away.
"Do you really think that I'm that naive?"
Callie sighed, feeling her shoulders slump at the question.
"No, Arizona. I don't.. not at all and I never have."
She tried to quell her rising panic.
Arizona was being cold and difficult, she was angry, rightly so, but she hadn't got up and walked away. She hadn't left.
There was a glimmer of hope that this ... that they wouldn't all turn to ashes, she just had to hold onto her nerve and make Arizona understand.
She took a breath and then another, watching Arizona's face closely. That chilly blue gaze was directed squarely at her, demanding an explanation.
"Arizona, I'm going to try and explain, ok. I want to tell you everything."
"Knock yourself out." Arizona's expression didn't soften and she took a sip of water, her eyes not leaving Callie's face.
"I tried to tell you who I was, Arizona ... so many times but ... it ..." She trailed off for a second, realising how weak her words sounded, how foolish her explanation.
"But what, Callie?" Arizona filled the silence quickly. "You had ample time to tell me ... you had months and months and instead you deliberately chose to ..."
"No, Arizona. No. there was nothing deliberate about this." Callie interjected quickly, trying maintain the reins of the conversation.
"This was never about deceiving you, this wasn't even about you ... not at the beginning. I never intended to lie to you ... This was about me, Arizona... about protecting myself."
"Protecting yourself from what? Me?" Arizona's question was filled with distain.
"No, Arizona, not from you, not specifically, I was protecting myself from ... from the world. I already told you about George..."
Callie watched Arizona's face closely. She stared right back at Callie, her eyes flinty, her jaw held firm and her arms folded tightly across her chest. Callie cleared her throat and started on a different track, she wasn't about to use O'Malley as an excuse or try to gain Arizona's sympathy.
"When I came to you, all those months ago … I just wanted a job. I just wanted to find some company that I could use my expertise and help. That's all I wanted to do. This was just about work. I ... I didn't need the baggage of who I was or what I was worth clouding the issue. I wanted to do a short term contract and then move on, Arizona." Callie paused and took a deep gulp of water, trying to gauge Arizona's reaction.
There was none.
The blonde shrugged and raised her eyebrows slightly.
"Sounds simple enough, why didn't you? Why didn't you move on ... your contract was up months ago. What happened?" Arizona's voice was conversational, she sounded like she was talking about the weather.
Callie leaned over the table, willing Arizona to understand.
"You happened, Arizona. We happened. And... and your work ..." Callie let a out a half laugh, almost in wonder.
"I became captivated by you and everything you did, by RM Biomedical's potential ..."
"You became captivated by RM Biomedical's potential ..." Arizona interrupted silkily, a sudden hint of animation crossing her face.
Callie was prepared to take her punishment but only for what she was due.
"Nope. Arizona. No. Don't say it like that. You know what I mean."
"Whatever, Callie." Arizona tossed a sarcastic smile her way.
Callie soldiered on, trying to find a way to break the deadlock.
"Yes, I have untold resources at my disposal and yes, I could and can buy out RMB in a heartbeat but that's not what I wanted…. I wanted to help … I wanted to do some good somewhere. I wanted to be ... useful." Callie looked down at her hands as a realisation flashed into her brain.
I wanted someone to need me.
Callie looked up and swallowed, complicated feelings of shame at her vulnerability and guilt warring with her determination to be heard and understood. Did she even deserve Arizona's forgiveness?
Her eyes dropped again.
"I just wanted to help," she muttered again.
Arizona's jaw was tight and she flicked her hair over her shoulder impatiently.
"You wanted to help … what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"I told you… during my interview, I said that I needed … something … to make me whole… I'd been looking for a venture that I could support, bring my expertise to, without who I was being part of the bargain … that way it had in the past. And I found you. I found RMB and you… you blew me away, Arizona. Everything about what you were doing was… amazing. Everything about you. Arizona, was amazing ... is amazing … I just wanted to be a part of it. I knew I could help you and I did … at least with the financial side to things … you know I helped."
Callie could hear the pleading in her tone but right now didn't care.
She looked into Arizona eyes, wiling her to concede this point at least, willing her to understand, even though she knew she hadn't gone far enough in explaining her motives.
"You helped? Of course you helped. It doesn't change the fact that you lied to me…"
"I concealed who I really was. I concealed the fact that I was … that I am capable of buying RMB … I concealed the fact that I own one of the largest companies on the NYSE. I've never actually lied to you, Arizona." Callie ran her hands through her hair at the expression that crossed Arizona's face. It wasn't good.
"And I know that it sounds like I'm splitting hairs but the thing is that I was running away … I was running away from everything and letting people knowing who I was had been nothing but trouble. But I never lied, Arizona .. I never lied to you."
"10 points to Gryffindor," Arizona murmured sarcastically.
At the baffled look Callie shot in her direction she sighed, blowing the air out noisily from her pursed lips.
Arizona shrugged her shoulders and raised her eyebrows.
"What do you want from me, Callie? A medal? So, you could have pulled the wool totally over my eyes and you didn't. Is that supposed to make me feel better? Less duped? Should I feel marginally less stupid and ... and frikking naive at your generosity?"
Each word was slightly louder than the last, a little more sharp, a whole lot more hurtful and Callie flinched as each word landed, as if the lash of a whip was cutting into her flesh.
She pushed her tongue into her cheek, trying desperately to figure where they went from here. She couldn't work out if Arizona was just lashing out in hurt and anger or whether she actually believed what she was saying.
"Arizona, please. Please." Callie could feel the prickle behind her eyes and sank back in her chair. She caught a tear as it trembled on an eyelash and she looked away, trying to compose herself. She hadn't earnt the right to cry in front of Arizona, not now.
Arizona expression, for a moment cracked at Callie's distress. And there was a brief silence.
"I'm telling you the absolute truth, Arizona. I never had any intention of buying you out or taking you over."
Whatever sympathy Arizona might have felt at Callie's distress was dissipated at her words. She snorted in derision, a sour, hard smile twisting her lips.
Callie sighed and looked around for a waiter. There was no real point in carrying on, at least not right now.
She looked over at Arizona.
"You're not stupid, Arizona and you're not naive. I think that ... that you're brilliant and amazing and deserve every accolade that comes your way. What you have achieved defies description and I ... I just wanted to be part of that ..." Callie heard her voice catch and stopped for a second, clearing her throat and sitting up straight. "But the rest, me not telling you who I was ... in the beginning ... that wasn't about you, Arizona. It was about me." She leaned in and even though she knew her voice was wavering and that she couldn't control the tremble of her lip, she carried on.
"I know I've made you the centre of my universe, Arizona and that's on me. But not everything is about you. Not this time. I...I'm not trying to call you out or ... or tell you that you're being self-involved but what I've just told you is the truth. I am ... sorry that I lied to you, I'm sorry that I concealed my identity from you. I had my reasons, they might sound stupid ...but they were my reasons and at some point they were important to me." Callie slumped back in her chair, the last vestiges of bravado gone. She needed this night to be over.
Arizona's expression had smoothed out, her arms were no longer folded defensively across her chest. She didn't look entirely pleased at Callie's implied rebuke but she still hadn't stormed out. That had to count for something, Callie tried to tell herself.
She let out a trembling sigh.
"Let's just get the bill and go." She looked round and caught the attention of a hovering waiter, her eyes downcast and her heart leaden.
Arizona found herself standing outside the restaurant with no clear picture of how she got there. Her mouth was dry but there was strange coppery taste on her tongue. She could feel the rapid beating of her heart. She could feel a pressure burning between her eyes, behind them and couldn't work out if it was tears or a tension headache that was threatening. She needed to get away from this place and looked about her for a second, looking up and down the busy street. Despite the lateness of the hour, it was summer and a weekend, dusk had barely settled and evening revellers thronged the city street. The sounds of merriment almost sounded obscene to her at this minute. It was a warm, balmy night but as she looked at Callie, Arizona felt a chill fill her and she pulled her pashmina closer about her bare shoulders.
She stared a Callie for a second, not a single thought in her head. And Callie stared back at her, her expression was… hard to read. Her face was careful, watchful, un-animated, her eyes shadowed and Arizona couldn't tell what she was thinking. That wasn't entirely the truth. Arizona couldn't tell what Callie was thinking but what she was feeling was plain for Arizona to read. Some how, the ability to divine Callie's emotions had become second nature to her, so naturally had she acquired this ability, it was almost instinctive. The darkness of the evening and the unnatural white of the street lighting cast an eerie glow over Callie's still face. Arizona could read her misery and pain in the curve of her mouth, the crease between her brows. She could read it in her beautiful, beautiful eyes.
And it hurt her.
And it infuriated her.
"I can't believe you. I just cannot believe you." Arizona said the words calmly. They were the only words that came to mind. There was a part of her that wanted to rip into Callie, to scream and shout and ...
Arizona shook her head and the unbridled fury bubbling within her dissipated as quickly as it formed. She shook her head and turned away, taking a few steps towards the curb. She needed to get a cab. She needed to be away from Callie right now.
As she raised her arm to hail an approaching cab Callie gently grabbed her arm and guided her to a small doorway, next to the restaurant where a large tip had been left in apology for the uneaten meal.
Tonight was meant to have been a celebration.
She yanked her arm free and looked up into Callie's face.
"I am sorry, Arizona. Please hear me, please believe me. Please, believe me. I am sorry for deceiving you. I'm sorry for not telling you who I was in the beginning and ...and for not explaining ... not telling you later on when I had the chance. I was just scared that you'd think ..." Callie stopped and shook her head slightly, her hair ruffled by the light evening breeze. "I was scared that you'd think what you're thinking right now, that I was only out to get RM Biomedical and Compound CLT-X 9343. It's not true, Arizona. I ... I wasn't. It wasn't ever about that."
"I don't care." Arizona replied.
The words came out of her mouth instinctively, with neither forethought nor malice. At this point, Arizona had reached her limit with everything. She just could not take on anything else. She could see the shock on Callie's face but this time braced herself against the onslaught of emotion that she would feel at Callie's distress. She wrapped her arms about herself and looked away from her distraught expression.
"Arizona ..." Callie voice was faint.
"Callie ... just don't."
"Arizona, listen to me..."
Despite herself, Arizona turned to look up into Callie's face. The shocked dejection had gone from her tone, to be replaced by something firmer, there was determination in her voice and it captured her attention.
"There's more ... that you need to know...I've had some dealings with…"
"You know what? Save it." Arizona snapped out, her eyes flitting about the street again, not really taking in the scenes of the night but not able to look at Callie.
"No. You can keep it. I don't want to hear it…"
"Arizona … I'm trying to tell you everything… you told me you wanted the truth…"
"Yeah, well… whatever. What difference does it make now? Hmm?" Arizona allowed the flippant words to fall from her lips, negating the crushing sensation in her chest. Could things possibly get worse? She didn't know what the worst-case scenario was and right now, she was just too weary to want to find out.
"I own part of Dibble & Grubb. I met with James Dibble and ... and ... it doesn't really matter about the exact details but I now own part of Dibble and Grubb." Callie's words came out in a forceful, determined rush, her body straining towards Arizona and her eyes intent. But she was practically wringing her hands and kept shifting her weight from one foot to the other, her body language in direct contrast her the forcefulness of her voice.
Arizona blinked and for a second, there was just white noise. She wasn't sure if Callie was still speaking to her or not. So, was this what worst-case scenario felt like?
"I don't get it... Are you telling me that you own RM Biomedical? Lock, stock and barrel?" Arizona suddenly slumped back against the wall as all the strength and fire drained out of her.
"I don't own RMB lock, stock and barrel, Arizona," Callie replied slowly, her words clear and deliberate. "Dibble and Grubb still have the deeds to Flask Drive and they still own the loan for RMB. I just own some of the shares to the bank. It's not the same thing."
Arizona stared at Callie, feeling a coldness settle throughout her being. She watched as Callie stared back at her.
"So...you own me." She said the words simply, feeling them, tasting them in her mouth like bitter fruit.
She watched, devoid of feeling, as Callie's shoulders slumped a little and her hands fell limply by her sides.
"Arizona, that's not true."
Arizona shook her head slightly, wonderingly.
"Everything. Everything I've ever worked for now belongs to you..."
"Arizona, I hold shares in the company that has the loan to RMB, that is all."
"Those are just semantics, Calliope and you damned well know it, so save me the bull crap," she snapped, the words speeding from her lips. The fire re-ignited within her, chasing the coldness, the numbness away.
"You own me ... my business, Callie ... and that makes me mad." She waved her hand, gesturing to the restaurant, indicating Callie's earlier confession. "All that talk about not wanting to take over RMB was just crap ..."
"It was not ..."
"You know what? Just get lost, ok?" She turned away, intent on getting away from Callie.
"And you can get your own frigging cab. I can't even look at you right now."
Arizona could feel the blood rush through her, her nerve endings were tingling and there was a crushing pain in her head .. in her heart ... in her whole being.
"Arizona ..." Callie's voice was subdued ... a gentle voice behind her and she ignored it.
"You're going to have to go home tonight ... to ... to Flask Drive. Coming back to mine ... isn't a good idea. Not tonight."
Arizona spun round to face Callie, her hair flying about her shoulders at her rapid movement. There were bright spots flashing in her eyes and for a moment ... for a moment Arizona was lost. Completely. Utterly. She couldn't make her brain work and her body shook with emotion. Bright, hectic splotches on either cheek marred the paleness of her face.
"What in ... in absolute hell would make you think that I planned on coming home with you?" She finally managed to splutter a response out, her throat dry.
She could read the sympathy, the kindness and the pain in Callie's eyes and she wanted to scream. Callie looked at her, Callie saw her, all of her. Callie knew her.
Arizona crossed her arms tightly about her chest and gritted her teeth and denied everything swirling about within her. Denied to herself what Callie knew.
"Jesus, Callie... I always knew you had a ego on you but this is ... this is something else."
Callie twisted her lips. It wasn't exactly a smile and she still looked so sad.
"If we went home together tonight, Arizona, we'd make love. You know that. And you would like it, we both would. And we'd do it again and again. We'd spend the night making love and for a while you'd forget that you're insanely angry with me." Callie's voice was a low whisper and she took a step closer, entering into her personal space, encompassing Arizona in her warm and perfect scent. Arizona resisted the urge to step away. She resisted the urge to step closer. Callie raised a single finger and stroked Arizona's cheek, her dark eyes watching Arizona closely.
"I can only imagine how mad at me you are, right now. And I know I deserve it. I ... I don't want anything to distract from that, Arizona. I need you to come to terms ... with what I've done without me using ... us ... what we have between us to manipulate the situation." Arizona closed her eyes at Callie's touch, just for a moment, heard her words and bit her lip. She wasn't going to respond. She wan't going to cry.
Nostrils flaring, she watched as Callie raised her arm to hail a passing cab.
She watched silently as Callie gave her address to the driver, hand over a number of crisp £20.00 notes and then open the door for her to get in.
For a second, Callie just stared at her hard, her dark eyes travelling over her face, her hair, her eyes, her mouth. She laid a hand on her shoulder, buried her long fingers in Arizona's blonde hair and gripped tightly, just for a second. Her hand felt heavy and warm and she could feel the rings on her fingers pressing into her skin. Arizona could feel how hard Callie was shaking. But her gaze was steady.
"Arizona, I want you to call me tomorrow." She stated and without waiting for a response or reaction leaned forward and dropped a kiss on her forehead before bundling her into the cab and closing the door shut.
As the vehicle pulled away, Arizona sank her head back into the leather seat and closed her eyes.
Her heart hadn't stopped pounding, it seemed the streets were flashing passed at a frightening rate and the back of the hackney cab seemed to close in on her, the space getting tighter and smaller, the air becoming thinner. Despite not having eaten very much at dinner, Arizona squeezed her eyes shut hoping that she wasn't about to vomit.
How on earth had she managed to let this happen to her again?
If she gave it any thought, perhaps her blood should be high. It should be positively zinging through her veins. Adrenaline should be pumping through her, she should be hopping mad. Arizona considered her emotional state as she quietly let herself into the apartment. An emotion of some description should be screaming out from within her and there was but she was honest enough to know that she couldn't define it.
Arizona wasn't angry.
Not at this very minute.
Her feelings for Callie, at this moment were far more complex than mere anger. She had a right to be angry and in a way, she was. But it was more than that.
Callie had lied to her.
She had deliberately concealed something vital from her. And Arizona was …. simmering with something ... everything. She felt flayed and raw. Exposed.
But more than just uncomplicated anger percolating within her, Arizona seethed and boiled and felt betrayed and hurt.
She hurt for herself and she hurt for Callie.
And Arizona was pissed that she hurt for Callie.
For the woman that had needed to run away from herself and her world.
She was pissed that Callie's explanation, ridiculous and outlandish though it was, made a perverse kind of sense. It was the modern-day billionaires equivalent of running away to join the circus.
Despite the lateness of the hour, she made no attempt to conceal her presence, striding down the hall and through the lounge, her short heels clicking loudly in the silence of the apartment. Arizona didn't pause as she passed the bedroom but noted the glow of light coming from under the door. She doubted that Callie routinely slept with the light on.
Striding through to the kitchen, Arizona retrieved a bottle of water from the bright red Smeg and swallowed down a few gulps, looking around the darkened kitchen. Despite her thoughts about the kitchen in general, She loved the colour of the refrigerator. She loved the refrigerator. It was big and bold and bright and beautiful and demanded to be seen and taken note of.
It reminded her of Callie. Of her Callie.
Arizona dropped her bag on the floor and walked back to the bedrooms off the hallway.
She didn't even take a deep breath to steady herself before pushing open the door and stepping into the dim light.
Perhaps it might have been wise to have achieved some level of calm before confronting Callie but the thought didn't occur to Arizona.
Callie was awake, it didn't look she'd been asleep at all. Her face was washed clean of her evening make up, her hair wavy and a little damp, free from the sleek pony tail of earlier. She looked almost defenseless.
Arizona walked into the room and strolled up to the foot of the bed, her eyes roaming Callie's half reclining form. It was as if she had been waiting for Arizona to show up.
She was propped against multiple pillows, one arm tucked up behind her head and the other resting on her duvet covered lap. It was just resting there, the palm facing upwards and her beautiful, strong fingers were half curled, like a stranded crustacean in the sand. She was wearing her tatty Muppets tee-shirt. The faded pink tee that was stretched out of shape that hung loose on her luscious frame. The tee that had little nicks in the neckline and when Callie bent forward the neck droop dramatically, showcasing her breast. Arizona loved Callie in that tee shirt.
The emotions swirling within her coalesced into an implacable determination. The fire of her anger tempered into something else. Something different.
She unbuttoned her shirt and slipped it off her shoulders, allowing the soft cotton to float to the ground.
Callie watched her quietly, saying not a single word, her dark eyes watching every move that she made. Her face was impassive.
"You're awake, Callie."
Arizona pulled her tan leather belt through the loops and dropped it with a clatter the wooden floorboards.
"I'm being honest when I say I don't even know how to deal with you right now. I haven't got the first damn clue." She used first one toe and then the other to push her brogues off without untying the laces. They landed on the floor with a soft thud. Her eyes didn't leave Callie's face.
Callie's eyes didn't leave hers.
"I've been thinking and thinking about you, Callie, you know that?"
Callie barely moved but her eyes were fixed to Arizona's face.
"OK," she responded evenly.
Arizona unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans and hooking her thumbs under the waistband of her panties, pushed them and the jeans down her legs. Straightening up, she kicked them and her socks aside and tilted her head, her eyes still trained on Callie's face.
Callie's eye's flickered downward, taking in Arizona's near nudeness but gave no other indication that she was affected.
"Ever since I got home you've been on my mind. And not in an especially good way. I keep thinking back over all our chats and our meetings and the times we've spent together I'm trying to spot the lies …" Arizona paused, her hands resting on her hips and stared at Callie, watching her, waiting for a response. Callie's jaw tightened but she still didn't move.
Again her response was short and without inflection and Arizona felt her hands twitch slightly. She was clad only in her bra and despite the emotion burning within her chest, there was an entirely different kind of heat igniting elsewhere. In was both incongruous and intolerable that she could feel this way at such a time but Arizona couldn't help it.
She could not help it.
This fire within her would not be slaked.
She unhooked her bra and dropped it watching Callie closely.
"OK? Is that all you've got to say for yourself? I tell you that I'm working out how many lies you've told me and all you can say is ok?" Arizona demanded. Callie eyes had not left her face, despite the fact that she was now literally hovering over her, breast unrestricted, nipples pink, crinkled and hard.
"What else would you like me to say, Arizona?"
"I want you to tell me why … why the hell you lied to me. I want to know what else you lied to me about." Arizona's words burst out of her, hurried, distracted, pissed.
"I already told you why and that's not why you're here anyway."
"No? What am I here for then?" Arizona challenged, her chin pushed out and her words dropping from her mouth like little hard pebbles.
For the first time since she strode into the darkened room there was the slightest hint of a response from Callie.
Callie's eyes dropped to Arizona's bare breasts and her eyes turned to a melting pool of swirling darkness. Beneath the thin tee-shirt, Arizona could see Callie's nipples visibly harden.
She felt her throat constrict and her mouth dry up at the sight.
"I wasn't expecting to see you tonight," Callie responded instead, her words still low and expressionless.
"I thought it would have made more sense for you to have a bit of time to …" Callie paused, for the first time hesitating over her words.
"To what …Callie? To calm down? To come to terms with what you've done to me?"
She saw Callie blink rapidly. Her reaction was almost imperceptible but Arizona noted it and felt a glimmer of satisfaction.
"A little distance right now, wouldn't be such a bad thing, Arizona." Callie finally ventured, sitting up and leaning forward. Now both her hands were on her lap, both palms facing up.
"Well, tough." Arizona didn't care how unreasonable she was being right now, she had to get this boiling cauldron of emotion out of her or she would drown in it.
She climbed over the foot of the bed and crawled directly onto Callie, straddling her covered thighs and forcing her on her back.
She looked down at Callie and leaned into her, each hand braced either side of Callie's head, her breast almost swaying in front of the reclining woman's nose.
"So, those gems you sent me, when I was in Bhutaq, you actually brought those for me, didn't you? They weren't a loan, were they?" Arizona asked one of the many questions that had occurred to her while she paced and seethed at home.
"No. They weren't a loan. They were beautiful and I wanted them for you." Callie agreed, her face expressionless.
Arizona felt her heart catch for a second, an irrational thought filling her head. She wrapped her fingers in Callie's hair, not caring how tightly she pulled.
"Did you engineer my Lasker Award?"
Callie laughed at her, a short burst of genuinely amused laughter escaping into the quiet of the room
"Don't be ridiculous. I'd have more chance of trying to rig the presidential election than that." Callie's face relaxed a little and despite any discomfort, she pulled herself up and pushed her face into Arizona's, their breath mingling.
"I've told you what I've done. I've told you why I've done it. Stop scouting around for something else to kick me with, Arizona. If you want to punish me, fucking get on with it."
Arizona felt her face flush.
"You cannot take the moral high ground with me, Callie. I thought we already established that?"
Callie straightened her shoulders and offered Arizona a strained and sour smile.
"I'm not taking any ground with you Arizona. In case you don't get, you have all the power here."
It was perhaps the wrong thing to say to Arizona at this point.
"Are you frigging kidding me?" She burst out, falling back on her heels, her hands clenched beside her.
"You have taken everything ..."
"I haven't taken anything from you, Arizona. Don't say that."
"Were you just expecting me to roll over and beg you to tickle my tummy while you stole RMB from under my nose?" Arizona taunted, leaning forward again her breath coming faster, her heart pounding in her chest.
Now there was a reaction, Callie nostrils flared and her eyes flashed. Arizona could see the tightening of her jaw as she sat up straighter.
They were practically nose to nose, their breath intermingled, their unrestrained chests bumping lightly, Arizona's knee's were pressed into Callie's thighs, trapping her, holding her tight. But they both seemed unaware of their proximity, of the dam of emotion within both of them that was so close to bursting.
Callie drew in a ragged breath and then another, her body straining forward even as she attempted some kind of conciliatory gesture. Her body language belied the gesture if not her actual words.
"Arizona. I … I get that I made a mistake by concealing my identity. I get that you're pissed off at at me but Arizona, baby please, I'm not fucking kidding, do not keep saying that. This was not some elaborate scheme to swindle you and you fucking know it."
Whether she meant to or not, Arizona smiled.
"Oh, so now we have some spark, do we?"
"What?" Callie fairly snarled the question.
"I am … I am so mad at you, Calliope. I'm mad or …or something and I'm damned if I'm going to have you sit there and look at me all impassive and stoic like you don't know what you've done."
"I have fucking loved you. That's what I've done." Callie's eyes widened as the words burst out of her, hard and fast and unexpected.
The slap was sudden and not especially hard but it was equally shocking.
To both of them.
Arizona looked down at Callie's stunned face and crushed her mouth down, her tongue forcing its way into Callie's mouth, sinking into the sweetness that she had been craving for so long.
She pulled back, panting.
"Don't you dare tell me that now. Don't you dare. If you want to love me Calliope, then fucking you me, don't throw it at me like it's some bargaining chip. That is not how this is going to go."
Callie surged up, practically growling, thrusting her hands into Arizona's pulling her closer, crushing their bodies together. She returned the kiss with interest, this time her tongue forceful and seeking, stroking into Arizona's mouth, taking her pleasure where she found it.
Arizona moaned at the velvet muscle stroking her, sucking avidly, Callie's fingers tugged hard in her hair, making her scalp sting. She supposed it was only fair.
"Fuck you, Arizona. At least I have love to give." Callie dragged her mouth down Arizona's throat, hot, wet open mouthed kisses that left a trail of fire.
Arizona felt a harder tug of her hair.
"Don't ever strike me again, because next time I'll hit you back." Callie's teeth sank into her shoulder and she yelped, feeling her wetness grow.
"Is that what you want? To hit me?" Arizona muttered the words without thought.
Callie arms slackened, shock distracting her for a moment.
"What the ...?"
Arizona took advantage of Callie's distraction and shoved her back down on the bed using her weight, grabbing Callie's wrists and pinning her down.
"Stay," she ground out.
Callie's body was writhing beneath her, hot and supple and hers. Arousal and anger and something undefinable screamed through her, shutting out conscious thought.
Her mouth sought out Callie's again and she availed herself of all the pleasure that Callie offered. She had done something almost unforgivable just then, she had said words that were intended to hurt but Arizona and Callie were beyond mere words right now. They had become a raging inferno of heat and anger and resentment. But burning even hotter, even brighter in the heart of that inferno was the passion and love between them, barely acknowledged but it was there, stoking the flame between them higher.
Arizona ripped at Callie's teeshirt, yanking it off her up raised arms, almost tearing it in her hurry to reach her bare skin, knowing what was waiting for her, just out of sight.
Confronted with the hardened dark brown tips of Callie's breast, Arizona lunged forward latching avidly onto one nipple, her mouth working furiously. Callie's body rose beneath her, braced, attempting to flip their bodies over and the tension within Arizona rose again.
She ripped her mouth from Callie's breast and yanked the bedclothes away, immediately straddling Callie again, her hands pushing at the woman's sculptured shoulders, holding her firm.
"Stay where the hell you are, Callie."
She could clearly read the turbulence and desire in the darkness of Callie's eyes, the warring need to submit coupled with her innate obstinacy.
Arizona leaned her full weight into Callie, her kiss hard and demanding, searching. She had no intention of giving Callie a choice in the matter. Her free hand, the one that wasn't firmly pressing Callie to the bed, reached out, fumbling and grasped a breast, her fingers massaging the soft flesh. She revelled in the electricity that crackled between them, in the tight grasp of Callie's fingers, digging into her, holding their bodies close.
She could never be described as being inarticulate, quite possibly the very opposite but neither heaven nor hell could drag the words out of her mouth; the things that she wanted to say to Callie right here, couldn't come. It wasn't just that she didn't know how to say the words; it was that she couldn't express them. She barely knew what they were. Arizona didn't know how to communicate to Callie how she felt, what she felt. She couldn't name the emotions that rampaged through her and so she used the only thing that made sense to her, the single means of communication between them that needed no words. Arizona used their passion for each other, that unrelenting, unceasing desire, that undeniable craving that she had for Callie.
Arizona used her body where she couldn't use her words.
It was primitive, instinctual and it was savage. It was strange to feel this way or at least it would have been for Arizona, who prided herself on her analytical and detached mind. Right now though, all thought was lost.
Right now she was burning, She was burning in Callie's arms.
Arizona was burning for her and that they both might be scorched by the flames was inconsequential.
Callie's hand buried itself within her hair and pulled her closer, their tongues and lips and teeth playing that game of tussle, stroke and retreat. Their kisses were long and hard and they broke apart only to snatch a hurrid breath before smashing back into one another, fast, bruising kisses and still they vied for dominance. Arizona's hands again held Callie down, pinning her to the bed. That Callie had the strength to break loose wasn't in question but Arizona had no intention of relinquishing her hold without a fight. They often tussled and wrestled, in the short time that their intimacy had become completely physical they had learnt many secrets about each other in bed and they were usually both willing to give way to the other.
But this time was different.
This time, Arizona would not give way, she would not yield and she rose to her knees to lean over Callie, her hands, once again gripped Callie's wrists forcing the woman beneath her to remain immobile.
For a second, for a heartbeat, Callie resisted her shoulders rising up and Arizona thrust her tongue into Callie's mouth and forced her back down.
She raised her head from Callie's bruised lips, enough for her to stare in the aroused darkness of Callie's turbulent gaze.
"I told you to stay put."
The words were simple enough but Callie's eyes drooped even further and her skin flushed, the tide of colour rising slowly from her chest, filling her skin with a wild, glorious shade.
Arizona watched as Callie's arousal literally heightened at her command and her throat went dry at the sight.
Sinking back into the bed, Arizona felt Callie's body relax under her onslaught, her thighs spread further to accommodate Arizona's body. But that simple act of submission served only to fuel Arizona's ardour higher. She moved her legs and settled herself between Callie's open thighs, taking her time, brushing herself intimately against Callie, smiling a little at the gasp that came from Callie's lips. The heat between them rose higher and sheen of sweat covered their bodies, Callie looked oiled and slick in the dim light and Arizona knew that before the night was out she would lose her herself entirely within Callie's arms.
She bent her head low and pressed her open mouth to the gap between Callie's breasts. She could taste her skin, feel the texture smooth under her tongue, she could taste Callie's freshness, the scent of a recent shower clinging to the flesh. She lapped up beads of sweat, drinking in her aroma. Closing her eyes, Arizona applied a long hard lick up between the valley of her breasts until she reached Callie's throat, pausing at the wild flutter that trembled beneath her tongue.
She heard her name, eased out on a breathless whimper, Callie undulating, pressing upwards, but not struggling to free herself.
There was something about that wild uncontrolled flutter, that unfettered whimper of need that went straight to Arizona's head like a hit of pure speed. It wasn't that her arousal needed any help, her entire being was straining to meld with Callie's flesh but the broken whisper that fell from Callie's lips ratcheted the tension higher.
Her hands tightened, her fingers curled around each of Callie's wrists, pressing her down into the bed. She ground her pelvis into Callie's and felt the crush of bones as Callie raised her hips to meet her thrust.
Balancing her weight precariously, she buried her face into Callie's shoulder and continued her journey, re-discovering the taste of flesh beneath her questing tongue, her teeth grazed skin and as the taste and scent and sound of Callie enveloped her, Arizona felt every last element of her control wither away. As if compelled by something other than herself, she sank her teeth deep into Callie's flesh, feeling the muscle quiver and tense under her tongue. Callie jerked and hissed in both pleasure and pain.
Despite the furies that raced through her bloodstream, Arizona laughed at Callie's reaction and moved her mouth back down Callie's straining torso, dropping hard bites where her fancy took her. She sucked and nuzzled at Callie's full bosom, torturing her stiff nipples to near painfulness, her teeth sinking into Callie's stomach, her hip bone and then she gentled at the crease where the softness of her stomach gave way to her pubis. She looked up at Callie, resting her chin on the hip and watched the emotion scream across her lovers face.
Callie's free hand pushed her matted, damp dark hair off her face and looked down into Arizona's eyes.
Arizona wondered if she could read pleading and regret along with the love and desire she could see in the brown eyes.
It didn't really matter.
Arizona released a wrist and moved down the writhing body, her mouth pressed into to flesh, searing it with her touch; her need to taste, to consume, to totally possess Callie was her overriding desire at this point.
She slithered down and uncaring of her roughness grabbed at Callie's hips and pinned them down, crushing her face into the burning heat of Callie's core, ignoring the panties and lashing her tongue against the sensitive flesh obscured, inveigling her tongue around them and thrusting deeply.
"Oh … fuck …" Callie panted out, as if shocked at the ferocity of Arizona's tongue.
Scooting back a little Arizona yanked the panties all the way downor at least out of her way and dived back in, her mouth eager to propel Callie into her release.
Normally she would be teasing or gentle or something in between, she would treat Callie's flesh as sacred, she would worship it, she would worship Callie. But now there was nothing teasing or gentle about her intentions. She intended to drive Callie out of her mind.Her mouth and tongue worked in tandem to send Callie on a path to complete oblivion and despite her determination to brand herself into Callie's consciousness, she found herself lost in the taste, the feel, the heat of the woman who had such a grip on her. Callie's heels were planted into the bed but her hips thrust upwards into Arizona's mouth and her fevered Spanish pleas, panted out on short, desperate gasps floated about them, unheeded.
Somewhere, somewhere deep and silent and dark within her, Arizona knew that she was intent on imprinting herself onto Callie. She didn't know why it was so, she didn't know why it was necessary and she wouldn't have been able to explain had anyone asked. But with her tongue buried as deeply as was possible she rapidly thrust Callie to her release she sought to drive out of Callie's consciousness the memory of any other lover.
Arizona's body clutched and fluttered and she groaned as her own orgasm shuddered through her as Callie came undone in her mouth.
The rush of sweetly tart moisture, the fluttering of her muscles, her trembling thighs; Callie's guttural moans of satisfaction prolonged Arizona's release and she squeezed her eyes shut as the sensations careened through her. Relishing every second, Arizona didn't care that Callie hadn't touched her, she didn't care that her body was screaming out to be touched by Callie, she didn't care. Callie needed to come and come again and by no one but her.
Arizona didn't raise her head but shuffled closer and used the flat of her tongue to lay a long firm lick along Callie's still quivering flesh.
She used the point of her tongue to explore, this time slow and gentle; she allowed Callie to settle, just a bit, to catch her breath and lean up on her elbows and look down on Arizona.
"Querida, déjame mostrarte mi amor ... please .. let me love you …" Callie's words whispered softly but she ignored them as she did the hand that landed on her head. She could feel the fingers softly raking her scalp and it soothed her.
But her tongue would not cease and as she sought out every nerve ending, she fluttered and probed and felt Callie once again tense. Her tongue finally focussed in on Callie's hardened knot of nerves, flickering and teasing and without warning, even as Callie's moans turned into whimpering cries, she trust two fingers deep inside and felt again that curl of unadulterated pleasure as Callie's orgasms, a second and then, fast and hard, a third sent her into a tailspin. Callie's heels pressed into her back and Arizona knew that before the night was out, they would both be covered in bruises, her nails digging into Callie's hips, holding her in place as she continued to ravish her.
Arizona finally paused, lay still, panting her jaw and mouth tired and aching and watched as Callie's head rocked distractedly from side to side. She had collapsed back against the pillows, unable to hold her weight upright and now was murmuring quietly, her eye's half closed and burning. One hand was still buried deep in Arizona's hair, the other white-knuckled, gripping the bed sheet.
Arizona crawled up over the sweating and boneless body, plastering her heated flesh into Callie's as she made her way over the unresisting body. Straddling her again, Arizona rolled her hips into Callie's allowing her super-charged, heated core to rub directly into Callie's burning centre. They were both slick and wet and soft and they both groaned out at the sensual erotic contact.
"Oh Christ… Arizona… what the fuck …. You're going to kill me…" Callie muttered distractedly.
"And so we both die." Arizona responded, having not the faintest idea of what she was saying. Her body insisted on its release but this time only at Callie's touch.
Rolling her hips, once, twice she allowed a smile to come her her mouth, it was more of a feral tear in her face at Callie's almost violent response. She grabbed at Arizona's hips, again her fingers digging into to Arizona's flesh, holding her her fast. Her eyes were half closed but Arizona could see them glittering at her under the lowered lashes, she could read the madness in her eyes. For it was a kind of an insanity that descended upon them, neither able to control their response, their bodies or their hearts. Arizona pulled herself away from Callie's body, ignoring her protests and grabbed at her ankles, holding them wide apart and aloft. Callie stared at her but didn't resist and then sucked in her breath sharply as Arizona spread her own legs and crouched slightly, resettled herself over Callie, this time their cores in complete and direct contact.
They moaned in unison at the touch of each other, and using Callie's legs for balance, Arizona began to slide herself against Callie's hot moist centre.
She couldn't help the moans that fell from her lips and her body wouldn't, couldn't slow down.
It felt too good.
Callie's legs were incredibly strong and Arizona fought to hold on as the they both began to lose control. Callie grabbed at her ankles, holding them herself and Arizona leaned her weight forward, her hands braced either side of Callie's head. She stared into Callie's eyes as she quickly took them both into the abyss, their mouthes open, harsh breaths, pleasure-laden whimpers and sex-fuel cries filling the silence.
They came together, more than once and still it wasn't enough.
Arizona allowed Callie to lower her legs and then leaned forward and took Callie's mouth, plundering it with abandon and relish. Fumbling slightly, she reached out for one of Callie's wrists, directing her hand, her strong fingers to where she needed them the most.
"Oh god, Callie..." Arizona burst out as Callie filled her exquisitely. She settled herself and slowly began to ride, watching Callie watch her.
This time they were both silent, almost eerily so, this time the only sounds were the slick sounds of flesh meeting, melding, burning with flesh. But as Callie used her her thumb to circle Arizona's clit and curled her fingers within, Arizona lost hold of whatever control she had left and cried out as her orgasm flooded through her, collapsing, senseless onto Callie's chest.
Arizona felt herself falling, falling fast and … shuddered herself awake. She opened her eyes, already aware of the heat coming from the pliant body beneath her. She loosened her grip from around Callie's wrist and flexed her fingers for a moment, trying to relieve the cramp that had seized her digits. Her other hand was still tangled deep within Callie's thick hair and as she raised her head she met Callie burning gaze head on. Freeing her fingers from Callie's hair, Arizona half rolled off her, feeling their skin, still slick with sweat, cleave together. She gritted her teeth against the instinctive moan that came to her lips as she felt Callie's fingers trail along her still sensitive womanhood as she disengaged their lower limbs. It seemed almost strange to Arizona that she could have fallen asleep, even for a few minutes with Callie's hand still cupping her so intimately. That had never happened to her before. But then, nothing that had taken place in the last 24 hours had happened to her before. None of her actions this night had been familiar and Arizona could barely recognise herself or what she had done.
Her thigh was practically glued between Callie's thighs and there was another slight gasp, this time from Callie as she shifted her weight away off her body, pulling their warm, musky flesh apart.
Arizona sat up, pulled her knees to her chest and pushed her hair out of her face, unable to form a thought in her head. She must have dozed off after her last release; her body drained of both strength and will. Arizona ground her teeth again; feeling another surge of … what was it? What was it that churned within her so, so badly? So desperately that she could find no purchase on her emotion. She could not escape them nor explain the visceral violence that had stormed through her.
Her bare back was presented to Callie and she could feel the other woman's eyes boring twin holes into her flesh. She chanced it and looked over her shoulder, meeting Callie's stare. She didn't look like she'd slept at all dark smudges under her eyes, her hair wildly mussed, not doubt from Arizona hands tangling in it during their ….interlude?
What was it that they had just shared?
That it was consensual wasn't in doubt. That they both had found multiple releases, both together and not, was also without question. That her heart was filled to overflowing with heat and light and rage and love ….
Arizona blinked and her mind skittered away.
What they had just shared wasn't just sex; it was so much more than that.
But to call their joining love-making … it didn't seem … appropriate.
If that was how they made love to each other… It meant that they could never, ever fight. She doubted either one of them would survive it.
Her eyes returned to Callie, who continued to stare silently back. She was inscrutable, the faintest of quirks adorned her beautiful bruised lips, an almost imperceptible rise of an eye brow indicated … what?
Without a word, Callie extended her hand and trailed a finger along Arizona's spine and she shivered with the pleasure of Callie's touch.
Arizona allowed her eyes to examine that lush body, from which she had derived so much pleasure and this time as she looked she allowed herself to feel. What was it? Satisfaction? Domination? She couldn't tell.
The bite marks were vivid against Callie's skin. In one of two cases they had already begun to change colour, a dark blu tinge tinge around the perimeter, the indentations of her teeth clearly visible. Arizona looked at her hands, her fingers. Despite the bluntness of her nails, she knew, she could vividly remember raking them down Callie's back.
"Did … did I hurt you?"
She asked the question slowly her eyes still fixed on the largest of the bites. Almost against her will, her hand reached out and traced the mark on Callie's stomach. She could feel the muscles tense slightly under the soft flesh as her fingers probed and despite everything, Arizona wanted Callie again in that minute. She swallowed her desire and looked into Callie's dark and watchful gaze.
"Did I hurt you?" she repeated, her voice low, almost urgent as if something important rested with her response.
"Does it matter?"
"Of course it matters if I hurt you," Arizona couldn't help from answering sharply.
"Did you draw blood?" Callie asked, conversationally.
Callie traced the bruise herself, her fingers slowly running along the darkening edge.
"What were you trying to prove?" She asked the question quietly, almost casually.
Arizona shook her head immediately.
"Nothing?" Callie let out a small snort of unamused laughter.
"Well, that's a whole lot of nothing you've branded into my skin ... tattooed into my ass. Were you trying to hurt me? Repay the favour?"
Arizona gritted her teeth, unwilling to answer.
That wasn't true. It couldn't be.
"Look I'll make it easy for you, ok?" Callie shifted a little in the bed, making herself comfortable, no doubt trying to avoid the dampness of the sheets.
"Maybe you think I own RMB and by extension you... but you've pretty much just branded me, Arizona. You've placed your mark all over me for everyone to see."
Arizona looked up into Callie's face. She didn't know how to respond.
"And I let you."
Callie implicitly acknowledged Arizona's dominance.
"Maybe I do own your business," Callie continued, when it was clear that Arizona wasn't going to speak.
"But you own my soul now, Arizona. You own my heart, my mind, my flesh ... my everything." Callie pushed her hands through her tousled hair, it was wild and glorious and Arizona wished she would leave it alone.
"I get that you're still pissed at me, hon and I know I deserve it but you have something of mine now. Maybe that makes us even, I don't know. I guess I'll let you figure that one out."
Arizona stared at Callie for a moment longer but she didn't care to get the import of Callie's words wouldn't let them sink in, still holding fast to that seething, roiling emotion that bubbled away, just out of sight.
With a low grunt she pushed herself off the bed and began looking around for her discarded clothing. She spied a striped sock and hopped about for a second as she pulled it on. Callie had been laying with her arms folded behind her head as Arizona got out of the bed but as she scouted around for her clothes Callie sprung upright, her movements a blur of bouncing, dark-tipped breasts and flying hair.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Her words snapped out, sharp and fresh and urgent, the feigned laconic demeanour quickly abandoned.
Arizona shot her a look and dropped her gaze immediately.
"You were right, coming here tonight was a mistake."
"Well I guess that's too bad; you came. Several times if I recall. You're not going anywhere. Get back into bed."
Arizona straightened up, now clad in both socks but nothing else and pushed her hair out of her face. She gave Callie a pointed look and then turned away, moving the end of the bed where the rest of her clothes were lain discarded. She couldn't find her bra.
Callie resumed her former position, reclining with her hands folded behind her hear, but there was a tension vibrating through her body, it was almost a visible was a steely quality to her tone, her eyes hardened to polished obsidian.
"I'm not kidding, Arizona. Do not fucking try it.
"This might come as a surprise to you, Callie but I'm still mad at what you... at what you've done. You can't expect me to ...to just ..."
"Forgive me?" Callie supplied. "No Arizona, I don't expect you to forgive me just because I made you see stars. And, yeah honey, like I said, I get that you're still mad. I get that message loud and clear but you are not going anywhere tonight."
"It's barely 01:00. I'll get a cab if it'll make you happy..."
Callie's eyes flashed in the darkness, her brows lowered and creased. She looked like she was about to spit flames.
"I couldn't give one single fuck about what time it is, Arizona. You need to hear me right now. You can be as mad at me as you like, you'll either get over it or you won't but I am damned if you're going to leave my bed after that ... after what we've just shared."
Arizona opened her mouth, she wasn't sure what she want to say; she wanted to refute it, she wanted to deny Callie's assertions. But she couldn't. It was undeniable. Whatever it was that they had done to each other, whatever it was that they had shared; beautiful and savage and painful and loving, it had forged something profound between them. She might want to dismiss it, to pretend otherwise but the flaming glare Callie had trained on her, wouldn't let Arizona wriggle free.
She tried to hold fast, raised her chin and stared Callie down, determined to hold her ground and Callie simply stared back. She allowed her lip to curl, just a little; a hint of amusement and a dash of menace lurking within the depths of her dark and hooded gaze.
"You will always be my equal, Arizona, you know that. And I'll be yours. And sometimes, like tonight, you'll dominate me completely and I'll happily accept your control. I'll crawl on my belly and worship at your feet, I'll debase myself just for your smile. I will do these things and a hundred things more because I love you. But sometimes, my stubborn little angel, you need to heed me." She bared her teeth at Arizona, it wasn't quite a smile but Arizona had pretty much stopped breathing at this point, breathless at the intensity of Callie's declaration.
"You need to heed me now when I say I will not have you leaving my bed. Not tonight, Arizona. Not tonight."
Arizona ground her teeth. And then she flung her shirt on the floor, ripping off her socks, her eyes spitting fire at Callie.
"That's what I thought," Callie responded to Arizona's actions, her voice even and quiet.
"Now, get your skinny ass back in here before you catch a cold."
Arizona flung herself into the bed and made a performance out of presenting her back to Callie and crushing her arms across her chest. Despite her utter domination of Callie earlier, Arizona, for the first time in her adult life, understood an inkling of what it was like to be overwhelmed by the sheer will of another. She ground her teeth again and squeezed her eyes so tightly shut, that she could see stars. She hugged herself tighter still, determined that neither her incandescent rage or her all-consuming arousal would lead her to flinging herself into Callie's arms. No one had ever done this to her before. No one had ever made her feel this way before. She could not, not for the very life of her figure out if this was very good or so very bad.
"I'm in your frigging bed, what the hell else do you want?" She spat out instantly, her hands clenched into fists. Perhaps a raging screaming match would make her felt better.
"Roll over and look at me for a second." Callie's voice was quieter, more gentle than before.
"You have got to be kidding."
"Just roll over and look at me for a second," Callie repeated. Arizona thought she could detect a hint of amusement in Callie's tone and she felt the heat rise through her body, fury gaining an edge over the arousal.
Flinging herself around, she moved her head back a little and stared into Callie's face.
Callie didn't say anything at first, she just looked at her, examining her face for a moment. Her eyes were still dark and a little bit hard.
Callie reached down and pulled at one of her hands, her thumb inveigling its way into Arizona's closed fist and spreading the fingers open. Bringing the open palm to her face, Callie dropped an open-mouthed kiss at the centre and then held it against her own cheek. She closed her eyes and released a trembling sigh at the contact and Arizona felt the tension melt away from the other woman's body.
"I didn't mean to make you mad ... upset you, Arizona. It's the last thing I would ever do and I'm sorry for it." Still holding tightly to Arizona's hand, her eyes lowered and the lashes fluttered for a moment.
"And I didn't mean to tell you that I loved you, not ... not right now, not like that. It was manipulative, even if I didn't mean it to be. But I won't take it back, Arizona. I won't pretend that I didn't say it, that I don't mean it it with every fibre of my being. But ... but that's all ...it's out there now, do with it what you will..." Arizona watched her throat move as she swallowed a few times, she took note as Callie's lashes continued to flutter, had they been standing upright, Callie would have been pacing.
The fury and the arousal melted away and somethingintangibletook their place, something else.
Callie leaned forward and rubbed her nose against Arizona's. It was an unexpectedly sweet and tender gesture and despite everything an involuntary smile came to Arizona's lips. It hovered there for a second before the solemnity took over.
Arizona bit her lip and dropped her gaze.
Callie rolled Arizona back and rather than spooning her tightly as she normally did, simply created a little space between their bodies and placed a light hand on Arizona's hip.
Arizona sighed. She didn't know if she could sleep. She wished she could name that emotion that swirled about her right now. She wished it wasn't tinged with resentment and disappointment.
She closed her eyes and hoped for sleep to come.
Arizona let herself into the apartment and dropped her set of keys in the gourd on the side cabinetin the hallway. Callie's keys were still there, she hadn't left yet. Arizona hadn't yet taken the rest of her luggage home and took advantage of that fact this morning to grab her running gear.
She walked down the hall, vaguely aware of the tingle in her shins. She had woken from a troubled night and needing to expend some energy before she spoke to Callie that morning, she went out for a fast run. Sprinting along the cobbled streets of the Square Mile wasn't the most sensible of solutions to her problem, she could have used the state of the art gym that Callie building boasted but she had desperately needed fresh air. She needed to compose her thoughts and she needed to calm down.
Last night had taken her to a place that she never thought she would find herself.
Shame and loathing had settled within her stomach like a sticky black ball of tar and she had run like a wild thing, knowing that she was running away from herself.
She had run to calm and compose herself but as she approached the room she had shared with Callie, Arizona's hands were shaking and her heart was beating out of her chest.
Callie was dressed and ready for work, standing in high heeled court shoes and an immaculate but understated black business suit. She was swiping through her iPad, the glow of the screen illuminating her face.
The bed had been stripped bare, the bedsheets and duvet heaped in a pile at the foot of the bed.
"Callie ..." Arizona faltered, her voice breaking at the first attempt.
Callie looked up and narrowed her eyes slightly.
"You went for a run." It wasn't really a question but Arizona nodded dumbly anyway.
"I've a meeting this morning with some people from the stock exchange ... we're getting closer to setting the share price. We'll have to start working on a press release pretty soon."
Callie's voice was expressionless but she watched Arizona's face closely, almost assessing what was going on behind her blue eyes.
Arizona bit her lip and then took a step towards her and then another until she was standing directing in front of the other woman. She had to crane her head up for a moment.
"Callie... please sit down... I ... I've got to talk to you."
Callie blinked rapidly and opened her mouth, already shaking her head.
"Please... please I ... I just need you to hear me out...please, Callie."
Swallowing hard, Callie paused and then nodded once, sitting down at down on the bare bed, the mattress protector crinkling as she primly pinned her knees together and folded her hands.
Her lashes fluttered for a second as she looked into Arizona's face but then she dropped her gaze. She was twisting her rings round and around.
Arizona sat down beside her and held the wringing hands tightly in her own.
"Callie ... I am so ...so sorry ... for slapping you ... last night..." Arizona pushed the words out quickly and then clenched her jaw shut. She wanted to look at the floor or at their hands ... or anything than at Callie's face but she couldn't look away.
Callie's eyes shot to her face and widened before falling back down to their entwined fingers.
Arizona took a breath and then another.
"I have never hit a person before and I swear I ... I will never ever do that to you again ... Callie, I am so... so sorry. I ... I ... don't know why I did it...It wasn't to ... to punish you ... or to hurt you... I lost control ... it was my fault and ... and I'm sorry."
Callie's eyes flickered up to Arizona's face and the ball of tar expanded within her belly at the closed expression.
But all Callie did was sigh.
And then look at her watch to check the time.
"Arizona ... a lot happened last night ... and I know you haven't come to terms with ... well ...with me. Not yet and ... and that's fine, I guess." She shrugged, her eyes back on their hands, they were still, immobile in her lap, Arizona's paler digits gently clasping her fingers.
"As for ... the ... rest ... the ... the slap...? Let's just draw a line under it, ok? I ... I don't want to talk about it right now, Arizona. Let's ... just leave it, ok?"
But Callie pulled her hands away and got to her feet, checking her watch again.
"Arizona, I accept your apology. I believe you when you say you'll never hit me again. Believe me when I say that I'll never let you, not again. Let's ... just ... leave ...it ... there. Please."
As Arizona looked up into Callie's face and for a tiny moment she saw it, just behind the surface; panic, maybe fear. Not for her. But for something and the ball of tar grew ever bigger, heavier.
"Callie..." It was all she could offer.
Callie unexpectedly bent low and kissed her, their lips instinctively moulding together, each offering a kind comfort to the other.
"I've got to go. I'll see you at work."
Callie left a few minutes later and once the door had closed Arizona buried her face in her hands and allowed the ball of tar to expand up into her throat and explode into a shower of tears.
Callie waited for a moment or two, her eyes fixed on the message on the screen of her IPad.
"Come on. Come on." She murmured to herself, one foot tapping quickly on the marble floor, creating a hollow sound that echoed in the empty stall. She was sat on the closed toilet lid in one of the more salubrious rest rooms in the City of London. Callie's meting had ended satisfactorily, despite her distraction but now that she was free, she had to make this call.
Nerissa's face popped up on the screen and despite the hour in New York, looked immaculate and unfazed by Callie's call.
"Callie, it's late… and you appear to be calling from what looks like a swanky rest room. What up?" She greeted evenly.
Now that she had her attention, Callie felt her shoulders slump and she bit her lip, trying to come up with the words.
"Are you alright?" The question was quietly worded but Callie could hear the concern. It calmed her a little.
"No. Not really ….I'm …I don't know."
"Did you have another episode? Have you hurt anyone?"
Callie's eyes open up sharply.
"No … no. It's not that …I …. I …told Arizona who I was …" Callie paused and sucked in her breath. Now that she had started talking, the pressure within her, that threatened to boil over, subsided.
"OK. And … she took it well?"
Nerissa could always be relied upon for a dose of sarcastic wit. An involuntary smile came to Callie's lips.
"Not even a little bit … but … but that's not why I called."
"So…? You didn't call for my charming face. Spit it out."
"I … umm … I also told her that I loved her. I didn't meant to … but it kind of came out."
Nerissa's face was, as always, impassive but Callie could read the flicker of surprise in her eyes.
"Unexpected development. How did she take it?"
Callie shot Nerissa a glance before looking about for inspiration.
"She slapped my face."
Nerissa allowed the merest hint of a raised eyebrow at this.
There was a silence as they considered the state of affairs.
"And how are you feeling about that?"
Callie shook her head and then ran her fingers through her hair. She shook her head again.
"That's … that's the … thing…I don't feel anything about it."
Nerissa had started scribbling some notes down but looked up sharply at Callie's response.
"Nope. You feel plenty about it. But we'll come to that later. Are you scared of her…"
Callie shook her head vehemently.
"Do you think that this is a pattern of behaviour?"
"No. No. She … she said that she'd never struck anyone before."
Nerissa made no comment and Callie's eyes filled with tears.
"Please don't say it…"
"I can hear the sarcasm, it's coming through your pores … I'm the first person she's ever struck, I should be honoured, right? Or… or if she slaps me when I tell her I love her, what's she gonna do when I burn her dinner …"
Nerissa tilted her head.
"I'm hard on you Torres but I'm not cruel. You're upset and your perception is clouded right now."
Callie was shaking her head.
"I'm sorry … I know you're not cruel but part of me feels … I feel… " She stopped and took a breath, filling her lungs with air, slowing her heart rate.
Think, Torres. Think. She commended herself.
"When she hit you, what did you do?" Nerissa moved on.
Callie licked her lips.
"We… we ummm… we we're screaming at each other and … and I screamed that I loved her and she slapped me. She umm … she said that I … couldn't just throw my love in her face…"
"So, a volatile situation? Tempers running high?"
"And what happened next?"
Callie twisted her lips and looked up at Nerissa through her lashes.
"Umm well … next we had sex. Pretty wild … rough … energetic sex." Callie's lashes fluttered and a ghost of a smile curved her mouth in reminiscence. "Lots of sex."
Nerissa looked at her without comment.
"You don't appear to be unhappy with that outcome." It wasn't a question.
Callie took another deep breath and got to the point.
"Despite … umm all that … Arizona was still pissed at me when she went to sleep. This morning she apologised for hitting me." Callie shook her head and again, she felt the tears fill her eyes.
"She'd been running but she looked like she wanted to be sick … she sounded so sorry …"
Nerissa kept her counsel for a minute and waited Callie out.
"I had forgotten, I think or … or .. something. When she came up and told me she wanted to talk to me, the only thing that went through my mind, the only thing that bothered me was that she …she…"
Callie looked down and knew that the tears were running down her face.
"All I was scared of was that she might want to leave me… that she might want to end our relationship. That was all I was scared about. Nothing else."
"You need to blow your nose, Callie, you're getting snot on that lovely suit of yours."
Callie snorted, her broken laughter echoing through the tiny chamber.
"Gee, Nerissa, thanks for that," Callie grabbed a handful of tissues, precariously balancing her iPad on her knees and gave her streaming nose a hearty blow.
Nerissa waited silently for Callie to compose herself.
"OK?" She asked gently and Callie nodded, trying to gather her thoughts.
"So, Callie you have some limited … history of having to deal with an abusive partner. Now, this woman, for whom you've declared your love, has demonstrated a behaviour that is detrimental to you. What do you want to do about it?"
Callie raised her eyebrows and shrugged, almost in wonder.
Callie shook her heard again.
"That's the thing. It's … it's like I forgot that she slapped me … or maybe I just don't care…" Callie tried to explain the fear that had shot through her that morning.
"Nerissa I'm scared that … that I'm attracted to abusive people or .. or that I'm willing to put up with anything from her. After everything that happened with George.. how could I possibly be so … so fucking ok with her hitting me? What the fuck is wrong with me?
"There's nothing wrong with you, Callie. And you clearly weren't ok with her need to understand your motivations.. for accepting her apology. Walk me through what happened after her apology this morning."
Callie blinked and tried to recall what else had been said. At this point, all she could recall was the dullness of Arizona's eyes and the blotched redness of her face. Callie remembered her heart aching.
"She … she said that she'd never do it again and I believed her. I told her that she needed to believe that I'd never let her do it again …"
"So even though she acted in a manner that is unacceptable, you stood up to her and stated your boundaries?"
"You don't sound so sure, Callie? What else?"
"I did tell her that but … but I don't think that I meant it." Callie shook her head again.
"I'm scared that .. that I'm going to let her walk all over me …I'm scared that I don't care that she might be abusive …"
"Ok. Slow down, Callie. Take a breath." Nerissa leaned forward and peered closely at Callie's face.
"She hit you. That is not ok. You already know that, right? But labelling her abusive. Do you really think that of her?"
"No." Callie's response was immediate and emphatic.
"No. Stop and think about it, rationally, try and set your emotions to one side, just for a moment and think."
"Ner, she's not abusive, she's not.."
"Has her behaviour been controlling, does she try to isolate you? Does she belittle or berate you? Does she withhold her affection? Make you feel bad about yourself."
But Callie shook her head again, slowly.
"No. No. None of those things." But her eyes dropped away from the computer.
"Callie? Talk to me."
"She's… been scared to show how she feels. She… I think she was hurt In the past and kind of struggles with admitting her feelings."
"Did she tell you she loved you back?"
"No. but I didn't expect her to, not right now. She's not there yet." Callie said.
Nerissa jotted down a note but made no comment.
"And I'm ok with that," she added.
"Callie look at yourself. Examine your accomplishments. Remember how you dealt with George O'Malley and his abuse. Do you really think that you're even capable of taking abuse, physical or emotional from anyone without fighting back?"
Callie shrugged, her shoulders hanging low and slumped and she rubbed her hand over her face, she figured that she was probably smudging her make up.
"I don't know," she said quietly.
"You know that's not good enough. Forget about your love for this woman, which is untried and untested and think about what you know of your own person. Think about what you know about yourself, what you've proved about yourself. Think on that for a moment, Callie."
Callie blinked at her.
"Now, Callie. Close your eyes now and think about that for a moment."
"Nerissa," Callie protested weakly. She was holed up in this toilet and though it was an individual cubicle, someone was bound to come in soon. Callie knew that she was just trying to get away from thinking things through.
"Do it, Torres."
Callie closed her eyes for a moment and thought back over the last 15 years, of all that she had seen and done, both the good and the bad.
"Now open your eyes and look at me, Callie." Nerissa instructed.
"Have you ever taken anyone's crap? Ever?"
Callie quirked her mouth in a half smile. No one could ever accuse her of being shy and retiring.
"I guess not … but …but Arizona is different…."
"OK, fine. You love her. You want to be with her. Do you want to put up with her controlling you or would you prefer to be a push over?"
Callie gave her a look.
"Of course I don't want to be a pushover."
"So … If I love her and want to be with her she has to accept me on my terms?"
Nerissa squinted at her.
"What? I'm tired and emotional and I'm fresh out of good ideas right now. A little help?" Callie's words were acerbic and Nerissa grinned at her.
"A healthy relationship is a partnership, Callie. Sure she has to accept you on your terms but you have to accept her on hers. You both need to navigate your emotions openly and challenge each other. That includes standing up for yourself if she is being abusive, letting her know that you will not ever tolerate. Challenging each other should be encouraged but it should be done appropriately. Not with physical violence."
Callie scratched her head, her fingers raking her scalp.
"I know this," she muttered, half to herself.
"Of course you do," Nerissa responded. She smiled at Callie a trace of gentleness in her eyes. "You might want to get this girl of yours to see a professional." Nerissa gave Callie a pointed stared. "Seems like it wouldn't hurt for her to speak with someone."
Callie laughed mirthlessly. "I can barely get her to talk to me about her feelings."
Nerissa shrugged. "Anyway, you're my main focus, right now." She leaned back in her seat and steepled her fingers, looking, for all the world, like she conducted her sessions whilst her clients were holed up in a public convenience all the time.
"Torres, as much as you think you love this woman, you know, deep in your heart that you'd never allow her to make you a punching bag, even if that was her inclination. It's not in your nature to take crap lying down. Today… you were just tired and emotional and you had a bit of a shock."
Callie nodded slowly. Sometimes the workings of her mind completely eluded her.
"And Callie, take some comfort in the fact that despite the pair of you being all emotional with each other and what not, you didn't lose your handle on your temper. That's progress."
Callie felt an involuntary smile come to her face.
She still didn't know what Arizona's reaction to her real identity was going to be but she'd take a silver lining wherever she could.
"I guess you're right on that score."
Nerissa tutted at her.
"Please. Like you've ever known me to be wrong."
"I can't stand the fact that you lied to me..."
Callie was at Reception handing some files over to Robbie when Arizona walked straight up to her.
Robbie's bright eyes darted between them, taking in the strained and tired expressions on both faces and, showing an unusual level of maturity, immediately made himself scare.
Callie turned to look at the other woman and sighed. It wasn't that she was expecting Arizona to just accept what she had done ... but after last night and this morning, she had at least thought that Arizona had gone through some sort of catharsis about the situation.
"Arizona ..." She reached out her hand to try and stroke Arizona's shoulder, to offer some acknowledgement of her distress.
"You could have told me ..." Arizona ducked away, avoiding her touch and Callie swallowed hard.
"Arizona, be real. Be honest. You never would have believed that I wasn't trying to get hold of RMB. After what happened with ... whatever his names was... that guy I replaced ... and especially not after what the love of your life had done... You would never have accepted that all I was trying to do was help."
"You could have been honest in the beginning."
Callie paused and took a breath, her lips twisted as she looked down at the floor.
She looked up and the was a hard sheen in her eyes.
"Yes, Arizona, we've pretty much established that I could have told you who I was from the very beginning. And I chose not to do that. I chose to hide my public persona away from the world. Maybe that was a mistake. Perhaps you wouldn't have been completely suspicious of my motives, perhaps I wouldn't have felt exposed and vulnerable. Who knows, maybe you would have hired me, maybe you'd have told me to get lost. I don't know what would have happened but I do know what I was scared of, Arizona. Those fears, you might think that they're irrational but they were my fears, my anxieties and I dealt with them the best way I knew how."
Callie finished her heated defense and lowered the finger that she hadn't even realised that she had raised and had been pointing at Arizona.
She closed her eyes from a moment and gathered herself, visibly taking a deep breath before looking at Arizona, entreating her.
"Arizona, I'm sorry I lied to you and I'm sorry my actions hurt you but you've got to work out what this is all about... is this about me lying to you? Is it that you can't trust me anymore? What? Or is it simply because someone you loved did something a long time ago and now you think it's happening all over again?"
Arizona's arms folded up about her chest in a flash and she swung away, her eyes looking anywhere but at Callie.
"Don't be ... you don't even know what you're talking about..." She spluttered, indignation and something else colouring up her cheeks. "This has got ... nothing to to ... with ... that time ...with ... with her."
"With Peggy O'Neill." Callie supplied. She quietened down and tilted her head, examining Arizona's face closely.
"You can't even say her name, Arizona."
The blonde looked away without responding, her dark lashes fluttering and concealing her thoughts. Her body was held stiff and unyielding, her jaw was tight.
Callie blinked and felt her stomach sink. A thought that had never once occurred to her suddenly and inconveniently presented itself to her brain and she shoved it so far away, unwilling to acknowledge it, let alone present it to daylight.
"Are you still in love with her?" She asked the question anyway, though the thought made her sick.
"Callie for god's sake will you just drop it." Arizona looked at her, incredulous, her eyes very bright and very angry. "Stop trying ... to ... to deflect. My ... hurt and anger and upset with you and ... and what you did has got no bearing on my past relationships."
Callie twisted her lips. Arizona was emphatic, her response leaving very little room for doubt but she was still unsettled.
She asked another, perhaps equally hard question.
"Do you really ... honestly think that I'm trying to take control of your company?" Perhaps it it was a stupid question to ask because Callie wasn't prepared for the consequences of Arizona's response. She hadn't given herself enough time to consider what she would do, how she would feel, if Arizona said yes.
She wanted to take the question back, to turn back time, to do anything to take away that look Arizona had on her face. To take away the ever growing ball of despair forming in her gut right now.
Arizona's arms dropped and her shoulders rose and fell, so very slightly. The bright hard sheen had faded from her eyes and what was left made Callie fight the prickle behind her eyes.
There was a ghost of a smile on Arizona's face, but her lips were downturned and her eyes now shadowed.
"Do you ...?" Callie faltered, her voice breaking. "Do you really think that of me, Arizona?"
"Callie ...no ... I don't know. I... I just need ...I need some time to think."
At her halting response, Callie took step backwards, her complexion paling to a strange grey. A single tear hovered on her eyelash before splashing down on her cheek. Slowly she used a finger and flicked the moisture away.
Her throat moved up and down as she swallowed a few times and Arizona looked like she was rooted to the spot.
"I'm ...I'm sorry you feel that way, Arizona," Callie began, her voice hoarse. "I ... I don't know how you can think it ... but I guess I'll leave you alone right now. Give you that time you need to think."
"Callie ..." Arizona paused and then sighed as if she didn't know what to say. She grimaced at Callie and shook her head slightly.
Callie began to turn away but paused and looked at Arizona, stared at her, took her all in.
"I am in love with you, Arizona. And I know I did you wrong but you've just told me that can't trust me as far as you can spit." She looked about her and shrugged. "I really don't know what to do with that information so ... I think that ... I'll just go back to work..."
Arizona hovered at the main reception and waited for Martha to get off the phone.
The wooden counter had been polished to a high shine and the scratches left by the force of a heavy crystal bowl being smashed into its surface had been buffed out. For once the office was pretty quiet; their FCO out at a meeting with Callie and the other staff attending a seminar.
Martha finished her call and looked Arizona over.
"We need to talk," she began quietly and then led the way to her office, Martha following without comment.
"You look like you lost a shilling and found a ha' penny." Martha commented, her hazel eyes taking in Arizona's wan appearance. It was coming close to the end of the semester and her time at the university was dwindling as exams approached. She was casually dressed as she often was when teaching but her complexion was pale and drawn. At Martha's words a faint smile came to her face.
"I'm pretty certain that your not old enough to know a half penny was," Arizona sat down and invited Martha to do the same.
"They withdrew them from circulation in the early 70's, I'd have been 23 or 24 at the time, what's the matter, Arizona?"
Arizona blinked and felt a suffocating sensation within her. Even though this had no real impact on Martha or indeed any of the other staff, Arizona still felt at sea with what she had to reveal.
"Callie and I ..." She paused, stuck.
Martha adjusted her glasses and tutted.
"For heaven's sake, Arizona. None of us are blind, we know that the pair of you have been at it for months and I, for one, am relieved. You need someone like her in your life. Is she moving in with you?"
Arizona dipped her head for a second.
"No, Martha ...it's something else. She told me last night that ... she's the head of CalTech. It's a ...Fortune 500 company... she's worth billions. Her real name .. or .. or her full name is Callie Torres Rodrigo." Arizona started and finished quickly.
Martha stared at her for moment.
"She's not leaving is she?"
Arizona blinked and then frowned.
"No ... no ..well ... we haven't got to that stage of ...Did you hear what I said? She's ... she's richer than Croesus, she could have brought us out a dozen times over..."
Martha frowned for a minute.
"Is...is she buying you out ... are you selling to her?"
"No!" Arizona snapped out. "Martha ... she lied to us about who she was..."
Martha shook her head slightly, a frown adding to the wrinkles on her brow.
"Arizona, we always knew that there was more to her than met the eye. You must have known that there was something extraordinary about Callie..." Martha paused and gave Arizona a strange look.
"Didn't you ever wonder about her? Didn't you ever Google her?"
Arizona sat back in her chair and stared at Martha.
"You don't seem surprised... did you ... did you actually know about this?"
Martha shrugged, her bony shoulders moving under the thin jumper she wore.
"I didn't know about her but I can't say that I'm surprised." She gave Arizona a hard look.
"Don't tell me you fought with her over this..."
"Martha, she's been lying to us for months ... she could have snapped RMB up from under us... she still could..."
"Ahh, don't be soft, girl. Callie wouldn't do that."
Arizona closed her eyes and thought back over the last year.
"Did you know who she was?" Arizona blurted out, her eyes wide. "Why wouldn't you have told me something … so … so important?" She added without waiting for a response.
"Don't be ridiculous, of course I would have told you if I thought that there was something to tell…" Martha put Arizona straight without rancour. Arizona snapped her mouth closed and dropped her eyes for a second, a little shamed by her accusation even though a rebuke hadn't been made.
"I did look her up once but I only got some stuff about Harvard ..."
Martha cocked her head a little and smiled without saying anything.
Arizona swayed her head and closed her eyes.
"Oh Martha, just ... spit it out. Don't stare at me with that smirk on your face."
"You didn't look very hard, did you, Arizona? Admittedly there wasn't much information on the internet but you could have done a bit of digging, you could have ... asked her outright..."
"Asked her what? I didn't know who she was..."
"But you knew that there was more to her, we all did, Arizona."
Arizona swallowed and looked away.
"You didn't want to look any further, did you? What were you scared of finding out?"
Arizona opened her mouth to deny Martha's claim and then closed it, trying to look within herself for answers.
Whilst she had been captivated by Callie's knowledge, enthusiasm and sheer ebullience at the time the brunette had joined RM Biomedical, Arizona had been almost overwhelmed by one disaster after another. She had desperately needed someone to take the reins and though she fought Callie for control, she hadn't put up much of a fight. She had given up her control to Callie. It had been within her purview to have taken just a little extra time to find out more about her business partner. But she hadn't.
And she had no one to blame for that but herself.
It was true that it had taken time for her to actually warm to Callie, she remembered finding the other woman difficult to quantify, impossible to control, strong-willed and authoritative but also funny and kind and a breath of fresh air but Arizona had never questioned her credentials, she had accepted, perhaps as her due, that her work and RMB's small but significant reputation would attract the brightest and the best.
Had she deliberately avoided looking too deeply into Callie's background?
Had she, yet again, buried her head in the sand about something she didn't want to have to deal with, hoping that it would go away of its own accord?
"I hate this." Arizona shook her head, trying to dismiss her unsettling thoughts.
"Arizona ..." Martha's face took on an expression that Arizona found intolerable.
She gritted her teeth and ran both hands through her hair.
"You know I can't stand being lied to... I can't stand it."
"Ah, hen, dinna fret so. Callie's no like the other one. You know that, so you do."
The gentle lilt of Martha's accent, so rarely apparent, soothed her, for a moment.
"She should have told us, right from the beginning." Arizona repeated firmly.
Martha pulled her lips down at the corners and made a moue, not dismissing Arizona's complaint.
"Perhaps, but so what if she didn't? In the grand scheme of things it hasn't made much of a difference to us, has it?"
It had made a huge difference.
Callie had brought, not merely her own expertise but the use of her contacts, her legal representation, the fact that she hadn't drawn a salary.
All these things, easy to quantify and the other things, the things impossible to quantify; her steadfast support, her humour and encouragement, her unwavering belief in Arizona's abilities. They made a difference.
They had made an unimaginable difference.
And that didn't even include whatever it was she had done with James Dibble.
"That's not the point though, is it?" Arizona persisted; shoving to one side the undeniable boon that Callie had been to her, both professionally and personally.
"What is the point then, Arizona? You tell me exactly what is the point, other than your hurt pride? Callie had the opportunity to screw you over but she hasn't has she?"
"She still could though," Arizona said the words quietly and wouldn't meet Martha's glare.
"Och child, yer muss be goin soft in the nonce if yer truly believe tha." Martha pronounced roundly and got to her feet.
"I've got real work to be getting on with. Don't you have a stack of exams to grade?" Martha put an unceremonious end to the conversation, moving on to what she considered to be more important things.
Arizona looked at her, her jaw stuck out and her brows lowered.
Callie had lied to her.
And it didn't matter what the reasons were. She had lied.
It was the very act that hurt her the most.
How could she ever trust Callie again?
Martha quietly let herself into Callie's office and placed some documents on her desk.
The women considered each other for a moment. Callie was leaning back in her leather chair and despite her open laptop and files on her her desk, it was clear that she wasn't actually working. She was twirling her pen about on her polished desk, her eyes watching it as it spun round and round.
"Arizona has gone for the day."
Finally Martha spoke up when Callie remained silent. She indicated the letters that she'd placed in front of Callie.
Callie nodded and continued to mess around aimlessly with her pen.
"And they're not going to sign themselves, you know," she added for good measure, indicting the pile of letters.
Callie twisted her lips and pulled the papers towards her.
"Martha, I'm sorry I lied to you about ... about my ... real identity." Callie paused and looked up into the older woman's face, as if gauging her reaction.
"I never meant to stay long enough for it to matter ... This wasn't about me deceiving anyone."
Martha allowed one of her rare crinkly smiles to grace her face.
"Well, if Arizona is making life difficult for you right now, no doubt you deserve it. She can't abide a liar, too much has happened to her because of liars and I doubt she'll forgive you in a hurry but for what it's worth, I believe you."
Callie looked up, her expression lifting a little at Martha's words.
"Do I believe that you never meant to deceive us or do I believe that it's not your intention to steal RM biomedical up from under Arizona's nose?"
"Oh aye, I do. I also believe that it was a damn foolish thing to do, you should know someone like you could never stay hidden." Martha paused and clearly decided to swallow her tirade, Callie looked like she was at her wits end.
"I'm sure you had your reasons, Callie and that's good enough for me. Arizona though ..."
Callie looked up, as if hoping for answers from the other woman.
"Arizona is stubborn, you know that now, as well as anyone."
"Will ... she come round?" Callie's question was subdued.
Martha reached over and patted her hand.
"Only time will tell."
Callie was sprawled out on her sofa, a sheaf of files and papers piled haphazardly on the floor beside her. There was an freshly opened bottle of white wine, still full, sweating on the coffee table in front of her, along side a single empty wine glass.
The television had been playing quietly and as Arizona entered the room, Callie used the remote to pause the action on screen.
She made no movement, other than to slowly lower her hand back to her lap.
She raised an eyebrow.
"If you're here for another booty call, you can forget. Store's closed up. Tight." Her words were evenly spoken but succinct.
Despite everything, Arizona fought the urge to laugh.
"I'm... I'm not here for a ... a ... booty call, Callie." She placed the heavy shopper down with a little thud and wiped her hands along the sides of her jeans.
"I wanted to talk to you ... to apologise. And you've hardly any food in the fridge so I made some soup... and those kofte meatballs you like."
Callie barely shrugged in response.
"OK." She might have been agreeing to have her nails buffed while at a spa.
Arizona sighed and settled herself. She gathered that keeping her emotions in check, being remote and uncommunicative was Callie's self-defense mechanism coming into play and she would have to learn to get round them, rather than reacting like she had done last night.
"OK," she agreed and then went to sit next to Callie.
Callie raised an eyebrow and scooted back a little as Arizona got up so close she was practically crawling into her lap.
"Calliope ... I believe you when you say that you have no designs on RM Biomedical. I'm ... I'm sorry I didn't say that right away, when you asked me earlier today. I know that hurt you a lot and I'm sorry for it."
Callie looked her over carefully, her dark eyes examining Arizona's face.
"I ... I also believe you when you say that you didn't really intend to deceive Martha and I about who you are." Arizona stared at Callie intently, waiting a response.
She felt Callie slowly release a huge sigh, feeling the warmth of her breath wash over her.
But she didn't move other than to press her lips tightly together as if swallowing her words. She stared, her dark eyes roaming Arizona's face, examining her even more closely.
"You couldn't tell me that this afternoon? You needed all day to decide whether or not I was a thief and liar?"
Arizona was shaking her head as Callie spoke but rather than get irked by the tart comment she shifted even closer, swinging round on the sofa to face Callie head on. She reached out and grabbed her limps hands, holding them, rubbing warmth into them. "Darling, I'm not like you.. things ... emotions don't come easily to me. I'm a scientist, through and through. Even though I guess I should have accepted everything you said on faith...I'm ... I just have to analyse stuff ...especially when I'm left with no choice. Sometimes it's so much easier to pretend that nothing's wrong but ... but when I have to ...I need to think things through, I analyse them to death. It's ... it's the way I'm built, Callie ...it's the way my mind works.
It's the way my heart works.
Callie looked up at her without comment and Arizona struggled not to fidget under her stare. She hadn't yet been tossed out on her ass, which Arizona took to be a positive sign.
"So, what did you come up with then?" Callie finally asked her.
Arizona shook her head, not understanding the question.
"What rationale did you come up with ... or formula or whatever to convince you of my ... innocence?"
"Cal, you can cut the sarcasm. I do have good reason to be pissed off, you know?"
Callie cocked her head at her in a manner that shrieked "I couldn't really give a shit" but she didn't actually say anything.
Arizona sighed and marshalled her thoughts. She was done fighting. She was not going to fight with Callie, not anymore, not over this.
"I ... don't ... quite ...know," she began slowly, casting her mind back to her ruminations during the day.
"Yeah, you're lying. Did you sit down with a spreadsheet and run a debit and merit list, highlighting my pro's and con's?"
"I did not." Arizona burst out, reddening.
"And now you're just making it worse, Arizona. You forget, I know you."
Arizona could feel the warmth under her skin and tried to find something other than Callie's dark eyes to stare at. But she couldn't shake herself free.
There, just there, she caught it, the amusement, no more than a glimmer but there, deep in the liquid depths of Callie's eyes, Arizona saw the faintest hint of an emotion and the tightness within her eased. She knew what she had to say, she just didn't if she could say it.
"I didn't actually write up a list ... I ... just thought about it ...I thought about you ... just for a while. Callie ... you have been wonderful to me ... right from the very the beginning, even though you were a pain in the ass ..."
"And you were a obstinate little brat ..." Callie countered immediately.
Arizona paused at that, about to refute the allegation. She decided not to let the comment send her off track.
"But .. the thing is... you're right... you never really hid anything from me ... and if you had wanted to take RMB, I guess you have done so already ...right?"
Callie shrugged, her shoulders moving slightly under the thin shirt she was wearing. The neckline dipped and though it was totally respectable, the way the material clung to her frame distracted Arizona. Purple suited Callie.
Arizona pulled her thoughts back and decided to say her piece.
"Callie... I can't stand being lied to... I will not have it ... Do you understand?"
Callie nodded slowly, her eyes glued to Arizona's face.
"No... I mean it ... I can't bear to feel that way again, before ... back then ...I felt powerless, useless, tossed aside. Being lied to ... makes me feel ..."
"I made you feel that way?" Callie stared at her, her eyes dark. "You're saying that I make you feel that way? Useless?"
Arizona shook her head.
"No. No. It's not that ... it's..."
She paused and licked her lips, her mouth dry, she still hadn't come up with a rationale for being here. She absolutely did not want to delve back into the mire of her past, all that was over and done with, she would not revisit it.
She felt Callie draw in a deep breath, her body was held terribly still and stiff.
"What is it that you're trying to say to me, Arizona?"
"I came here tonight, because ... there is ... there's no other place that I wanted to be. I ...I had to be here, with you. Despite... everything."
"So, despite your better judgement, you're giving me another chance, is that what you're saying?" Callie's question held no heat, no rancour. She spoke quietly, emotionlessly, her face devoid of expression, her gaze dark and watchful. Arizona hated it when Callie did that, when she closed herself off. She shook her head vehemently, loosening a few stray tendrils of hair. They fell about her neck and ears and she pushed them away, intent on making Callie understand.
"No, Callie. No. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that my better judgement was that I needed to be with you ... As much as it hurts that you... that you lied to me... I kind of don't care. I can't care because you ... you're just too important to me, Callie. I can't be ... without you."
She had said it.
As much as she was able.
Callie continued to stare at her, but Arizona could feel the tension melt away, she could see an flicker of hope deep within Callie's eyes.
"Don't hide things from me .. just ... just come to me ... we can talk about anything.. ok? Please ... don't do stuff behind my back..." Arizona needed Callie to understand how important this was for her, how important it was for them.
"Okay ... Okay. I understand ..." Callie interrupted, her voice contemplative. "I get it ... I do understand... and I'll come to you, I won't hide stuff from you...ok? Arizona...ok?"
Arizona nodded and then squeezed her eyes shut for a moment.
Somehow this conversation had been even harder, more intense than she expected but perhaps they had found their way through the storm.
Arizona leaned into Callie, wrapping her arms around her neck and burying her face into Callie's shoulder.
Finally Callie responded by enveloping Arizona in her arms, tightening them around the blonde's waist. They were both trembling slightly, light tremors that shimmered through them, emphasising how close their emotions were to the surface.
Callie pulled back slightly and forced a smile to her face as Arizona looked at her closely.
Unexpectedly, she crawled onto Callie's lap, settled herself in and wrapped one arm about Callie's neck. She cupped her cheek with the other hand and stroked her face.
Callie looked at her, nonplussed. Perhaps her smile hadn't been that convincing.
"My poor baby, you look so sad. Tell me what can I do, Callie? What do you need?"
Callie smiled again, her eyes dropping. She tried to meet Arizona's eyes but couldn't, she couldn't hold the smile on her lips and the hollow within her grew bigger. She shouldn't feel this way, not now, not when things had apparently turned out for the better.
But something was making her feel even worse.
"You know what I want, Arizona…" she mumbled, trying to keep her voice from trembling.
This was why she hadn't wanted to fall in love again.
This feeling right here.
Callie didn't wear vulnerability well, she struggled against it, her heart thrashed against the chains that bound it. She looked up at Arizona's, took in the freshly scrubbed face, free from make up, a faint sheen on her nose, the tiny crinkles at the corners of her eyes. God, how she loved those eyes. How she loved that face. Arizona had tied her hair up into a tousled bun on the top of her head, damp, wavy tendrils falling about her neck.
"You know what I want Arizona. I've never hidden it. The love I've given you has never been in doubt .. I love you … But I want your love, Arizona. I want you to love me."
Arizona flushed for a second, but she stared steadily into Callie's face, her bright blue eyes glittering with emotion. But she remained silent.
Callie could feel heart beat in her chest. She could hear it pound into the silence.
She could hear Arizona's heart thud loudly.
And in there, in between their combined silence and roar of beating, frightened hearts, Callie watched as the tips of Arizona's ear's turned pink.
But still she remained silent, finally her lashes fluttered and she looked away, her hand still cupping Callie's cheek, her thumb gently stroking the curve of Callie's mouth.
Arizona leaned into her, pressing their lips together, gently finding her way into Callie's mouth with her tongue and slowly stroking her.
"You know I do, Callie. You know I do."
Callie felt her heart shudder and stop. She hadn't expected Arizona to admit it. Not yet. Not now, not after everything they had just gone through. And even though Arizona hadn't said it in so many words, she had said it. Callie felt ashamed, because, somewhere deep inside she didn't think Arizona really had the courage to give her love. Seemed she was wrong.
She pulled Arizona closer to her and held her tight. She didn't want to ruin the moment by crying but she knew she was close to tears.
Arizona nestled into her, resting her head into Callie's chest.
"I already knew you loved me, you know. I mean, before last night. I already knew."
Callie rolled her eyes, even though she knew Arizona couldn't see her.
"I wear my heart on my sleeve, I know. I've been told."
Arizona shook her head though it felt more like she was rubbing her face into Callie's boobs. She peered down at the blonde head on her chest and Arizona pulled back slightly to look at her. There was something sweet and gentle about her expression and Callie felt her insides flutter and dip.
"No, I mean you already told me."
Callie gave her a look.
"I think I'd remember."
"It was ... that night. That night you made love to me for the first time. You told me that you loved me."
"Oh. I ... I did?"
Callie was stumped.
"Umm ... sorry?"
Arizona smiled and shook her head, reaching up to place a gentle kiss on the corner of Callie's mouth.
"Don't be sorry. You were beautiful to me, Callie." She paused and narrowed her eyes as she considered her.
"No one has ever made love to me like that before ..."
"You mean asleep..?" Callie was only partly joking, partly pissed off at herself.
Arizona smacked her gently on the shoulder.
"I don't mean like that, I mean with such love and ... devotion ... you were ... you are so beautiful to me, Callie."
Callie felt the warmth come to her face at Arizona's words. Yeah, she wore her heart on her sleeve and it seems she did even when she was asleep.
"What else did I say?"
"You quoted half of The Power of Love to me after chasing away a serial killer."
Callie stared at Arizona.
Arizona shrugged and faint smile coming to her face at Callie's incredulous face.
"Hey, this was your ... thing. I was just a spectator."
Callie shook her head, deciding not to unpick it for now. She snuggled into Arizona and closed her eyes for a moment, just enjoying the feel and weight of the other woman.
They stayed that way, silently for a moment or twenty until Arizona's knee landed on the remote control and the TV burst into life.
Hearing a familiar voice, Arizona twisted within Callie's arms to look at the television.
Sliding off Callie's lap, she gave her a sly smile.
"I've not seen this episode yet, are you telling me that you're now so gripped that you're watching Downton without me?"
Callie smirked at her, unabashed.
"I couldn't focus on work ... I needed something mindless to distract me."
Arizona gave her a sour smile.
She looked over at the pile of work Callie had beside her; she'd witnessed the other woman working 12 hours straight. Needing a distraction from work was a new one.
"You needed a distraction from work?"
Callie straightened her top but didn't avoid Arizona's inquiring gaze.
"No, Arizona. I needed a distraction from thinking about us. Work couldn't cut it. "
"Oh. Oh... Sorry." Arizona pointed her gaze downwards.
Callie looked at her for a second and a strange grin came to her face. She pulled Arizona towards her and dropped a hard kiss on her surprised lips.
"You're not even a little bit sorry."
"What?" Arizona said innocently, trying to keep her lips straight.
"Look at you, you're like the cat that's got the cream. You love that you can drive me to distraction. You love that power you have over me."
Arizona was smiling but she could hear the serious note in Callie's voice.
Callie reached out a hand and stroked Arizona's face, her smile gentled, became tender.
"It's ok ... it's infuriating and as sexy as hell all at the same time." Callie's smile deepened, her eyes darkened.
"But you know that already, don't you my little fireball?"
Arizona's mind flashed back to last night and her inability to dismiss Callie's command. It had excited and pissed her off. But she wasn't going to share that with Callie right now.
She crawled back up onto Callie's lap, her smile as warm and sunny as she felt inside.
"So, we're going to have a moratorium on endearments and pet names. Brat and fireball are out."
Arizona observed Callie from the corner of her eye. For once, she wasn't distracted by the goings on of Downton Abbey, her attention consumed by the silent woman at her side.
Ostensibly, Callie was watching the show, but Arizona could tell that she was barely paying the TV any attention. She was chewing her full lower lip and there was a faint crease between her brows. Her fingers played incessantly with her rings.
"Callie, tell me the truth. Are you still upset with me?" Arizona turned to her and asked. Right now there was little that could rock the boat any further.
But Callie was shaking her head, even though she wouldn't met Arizona's gaze.
"Arizona…" Callie sighed and then turned to look at her. Her face was soft as were her eyes, her smile.
"I'm not upset with you." Arizona aimed an arch stare at her. "I'm not," she protested and then sighing, scratched her head. "I guess it's been a tough couple of weeks. I'm … I don't know…just a little flat."
"Flat?" Arizona's eyebrows rose.
"I just told you that I'm here with you … because I can't be anywhere else and you're flat?"
Arizona's plaintive indignation had a strange yet welcome effect and Callie laughed out loud at her expression and leaned over a blew a noisy raspberry into her neck, causing her to squeal and squirm away.
"I didn't mean it like that … I guess it's all the adrenaline and tension. After last night … this afternoon, I didn't know what to expect and, to be frank it's all been a little stressful." Callie leaned her weight into Arizona, forcing her on her back.
"I know it's been stressful for you as well, Arizona. I know I gave you a massive shock." She pressed another kiss into her neck.
"This time, I'm processing, ok?"
Arizona narrowed her eyes, not entirely certain that she bought Callie's explanation. They had hurt each other, perhaps unintentionally but last night had been fraught. Today had been fraught. It had been pretty horrible. Even though they had cleared the air, perhaps it was short-sighted of her to expect things to return to normal immediately.
What even was normal for them?
She sucked Callie's lip into her mouth for a second, nibbling the flesh.
"It's like we've had several years' worth of relationship stuff in the space of a few weeks," she murmured, leaning back to allow a sliver of space between them.
"I know, right?" Callie agreed.
But their playfulness clearly relaxed Callie, her previous tension completely dissipated, her grin mischievous and her eyes brightly amused.
"So, did you bring all that food just for decoration or were you planning on feeding me anytime soon?"
"I know both your hands work just fine because they're playing where they shouldn't be playing."
Callie's head shot up and she automatically snatched her hands away from the buttons of Arizona's blouse. She'd been idly flicking them open but now had a guilty expression on her face, which then turned sly.
"What?" She asked with faux innocence. "I figured you could feed me topless."
Arizona pushed her off and laughed.
"Dream on, gorgeous. Grab the bag and we can heat up what you fancy."
With a small amount of pinching and tickling, they made their way to the kitchen when Arizona's phone began to ring.
Perching on one of the stools to take the call, Arizona smiled as Callie began serving the food. She grinned at the Caller ID.
She saw Callie's head whip round at her greeting.
"Hello stranger. Or do you get some special title now that you've been awarded the Nobel Prize."
The faint Welsh accent came through and Arizona's smile widened at the comment.
"Very funny, you know full well it wasn't the Nobel Prize. How are you doing?"
"You say that like I'd even know the difference between one science award and another. Although I guess I would remember if it was an Oscar. That would have been useful. I could actually brag about knowing an Oscar winner."
Arizona laughed out and caught the side eye Callie shot in her direction as she fiddled with the microwave.
"Sorry to disappoint you."
"I'm kidding, you're amazing. And congratulations again."
"I got the flowers, they were beautiful, thank you."
"Peonies, right? That was your favourite flower?"
Arizona paused for a second. Olivia had sent her peonies and they were her favourite flower. But she was also certain that she had let Olivia know that she wasn't intending to renew their … thing. She avoided Callie's eyes and cleared her throat, hoping that Olivia was just playing with her.
"Umm… yes they are. Listen Olivia..."
"So .. I was thinking maybe we could do something…"
Olivia's voice had lowered, become a little more intimate and Arizona blinked rapidly, certain that she didn't want to have this conversation in Callie's kitchen, with Callie in it. Glaring at her.
"Umm Olivia, I'm … I'm out right now but perhaps we can catch up later…"
"I have this little place in mind…"
Arizona jumped off the stool and turned her back to Callie, who was now making no attempt to hide the fact that she was trying to listen in.
"Olivia … what … we've … we've had this discussion…" she began, aware that all and sundry could probably hear the panic in her voice. She stopped speaking and closed her eyes at the peals of laughter that came through her phone.
Olivia was still trying to catch her breath.
"Not funny. Not even funny." Arizona's heart was beating fast and she half turned to Callie, offering her a sickly smile. Callie's hands were on her hips and her eyes were narrowed at her. It was kind of clichéd. It was also kind of hot. She shrugged slightly and returned her attention to her friend.
"You're with Callie now, aren't you? You should have heard your voice, you sounded like you were about to lay a brick."
"I'm so glad I could amuse you, Olivia and yes, I am with Callie right now. Is there anything else I can do for you tonight? A card trick perhaps, Maybe an illusion or something." Arizona's voice was caustic.
"Oh, don't be like that, it was funny. I did actually call for a reason."
"I haven't heard from you in a while, you doing ok?" Arizona relented and realised that she had neglected her regular film buddy and drinking partner.
"I'm great thanks and if it makes you feel any better, I've just started seeing someone. Geeta. She's fun."
"Good. That's very good." Arizona drawled. It wasn't that she expected Olivia to be hung up on her. They had settled on friendship some time ago but she could do without the sceptre of a still interested and unattached ex hovering about.
"You've forgotten what date it is, haven't you?"
Olivia still had a lot of mirth in her voice and Arizona wondered what she had forgotten this time. It wasn't a new experience for either of them.
"You signed up for the LGBT family weekend, remember?"
Arizona closed one eye and stuck her tongue in her cheek. It often aided her memory process.
"Of course you don't," came Olivia's resigned reply.
"Well, it's this weekend. A couple of hikes in the countryside, a lovely country inn, fine ale, warm nights etc. You can't back out now."
"Oh 's this weekend?" It all came flooding back. Arizona had agreed to the weekend months and months ago. Long before her troubles with Benjamin Grant and long before Callie came into her life. She turned back round to face Callie, who was now serving up steaming plates of food.
"It's this coming weekend and you've already paid for it. The weather is meant to be gorgeous. Come on, I'm sure you need a break."
Arizona did need a break. So did Callie.
"Can I br…"
"If you can convince the landlord to convert your room to a double, of course you can bring Callie. Though you have to promise that she won't tear me to bits. Last time we met I'm sure she wanted to pound me to dust."
"You're exaggerating," Arizona avoided Callie's glare. "Listen. We're about to sit down to dinner but we're both in."
"Excellent. I'll email the rest of the details. Come prepared. It's going to be fun."
"I thought it was a family thing?"
"Still going to be fun. See you soon."
Arizona hung up and turned to Callie, fixing a bright smile to her face. This might be a tough sell.
"So, you remember that time I said I'd take you hiking?"
Ok, so maybe that was just a little intense.
Believe it or not, I'm still thinking about this chapter, I might share my thoughts some other day.
Thank you, all of you that take a couple of minutes each chapter to share your thoughts or tell me how much you're enjoying the story or hating the cliffhangers … (see, I listen… no cliffhanger this chapter). I appreciate it, I love reading your responses. And just so we're clear … I love getting reviews!
See you all next time,