A/N #1: Sorry for the delay in getting this posted. I got back logged on some school stuff that took precedence for the time being. Thanks to all of you who read/reviewed/followed/favorited this story. You are all awesome!
A/N #2: For the sake of the story, I am assuming that Callie and Arizona's marriage remains unrecognized legally (so as if same-sex marriage is not legal in Washington). The reason for this is that I wanted to tell the story from that perspective given the wedding and Sofia's birth at the time occurred under those circumstances. I also want the story to reflect a situation a dear friend of mine is going through in a state where she is unable to be recognized as a parent of the child in question.
"What if the noise I heard was her? What if she heard me, Callie?" Arizona asked crying at the thought of her baby hurting so much.
"C'mon, I think you need to have a chat with Miss Sofia."
Addison was sitting on the couch reading a journal article when she heard a tentative knock on the front door. She looked over her shoulder towards the stairs where Mark had gone up, wondering if he was expecting company. She got up to answer the door and was surprised to see Sofia standing there. Her big brown eyes were wet with tears and she was tugging on the cords of her backpack which she had securely attached to her back with the head of her favorite teddy bear sticking out the top zipper.
"Sofia, honey, what are you doing here?" asked Addison as she stepped aside to allow her boyfriend's daughter into their home. She quickly glanced down the street to see if Sofia's mothers were visible. The street was empty as she curiously cocked her head to the side. She closed the door as the little girl walked in.
"I… I… Can I please live here with you and daddy?"
"What are you talking about, honey? Do your moms know you're here?"
"My Mami doesn't know I'm here."
Noticing she only mentioned Callie, "What about your Momma sweetheart?"
Sofia visibly tensed and her jaw tightened. She balled her little hands into fists tight at her sides and her lip started to quiver. "M..mom…Ari…Arizona is…" she drew in a big intake a breath "not my Momma!" The little girl practically screamed the last part, eyes wide, feet and body set in a stance that was meant to communicate she was angry but all Addison could see was hurt, sadness and maybe even a little fear.
Addison slowly reached for her and Sofia flinched and backed away, tears now falling from those big, expressive eyes. Her body seemed to deflate some and in a smaller voice she said "I'm not hers. She has her baby now and doesn't need me. Can I stay here please? Pretty please?"
Addison had no idea what was going on. 'A baby? Is Arizona pregnant? Is that why Sofia is acting this way?' She reached again for Sofia and not met with resistance this time, pulled a tearful and scared little girl close to her. Sofia snuggled a bit into her side and Addison rubbed her back, hoping to help soothe her best friend's daughter. She then placed her arm around Sofia's shoulder and guided her to sit on the couch. Sitting down on the coffee table in front of Sofia, Addison took one of her hands in hers and stroked the top of it while trying to meet Sofia's eyes.
"Tell me what this is all about Sofia. Maybe I can help?"
Sofia shook her head no rapidly and quietly spoke. "You can't fix this. You can't make me her baby."
"Sofia, your Momma loves you."
"Stop calling her that!" Sofia snapped and then fell apologetically silent, realizing her outburst may have been too much. "S..s..sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you. Y- y- you can't fix this. I'm not really hers." Sofia's tears resumed and Addison struggled with how best to try and console the very distraught young girl. Despite not having a biological tie, Addison knew that Arizona and Sofia had a very special bond, one that both Mark and Callie admitted being jealous of from time to time. Sofia adored her Momma and it was obvious in the way she talked about her, in the way she listened to her, and in the way she just looked at her. In Sofia's eyes, the sun rose and set around one Arizona Robbins and all the adults in Sofia's life were well aware of it. So for Sofia to dismiss her Momma like this meant something really significant had transpired and there was only one way to fix it.
"Sofia, honey, I know you are really upset right now and I know I don't exactly know what's going on but you can stay here as long as you need to, Ok?" Given how upset Sofia was, Addison decided to table the talk, rather lecture, about leaving her moms' house without permission and worse yet walking the 7 houses down the street alone.
Sofia nodded affirmatively as she used her sleeves to wipe at her eyes and then her nose. The emotion laden night had taken its toll on Sofia and Addison could see the exhaustion in her eyes and in her body. Addison regarded the little girl with a slight tilt of her head and she noticed the little girl just looked spent.
"Sofia, why don't you go lay down in your room. Your daddy will be out of the shower soon and I'll explain everything to him."
Sofia looked at her hesitantly but Addison just smiled at her to reassure her and gestured with her head to go to her room. Sofia gave in and slowly trudged back towards the hallway which led to her room. When Sofia was sure to be out of earshot, Addison grabbed her cell and dialed her friends.
At Arizona and Callie's
"Arizona, we came up here so you could talk to Sofia. It's been an hour and you still haven't left our room."
"I know, Callie. I'm giving her some space, some time to calm down. You saw how upset she was."
"I think you're stalling. Honey, the faster you get this worked out the better you will both feel. And frankly I don't want a frantically anxious wife and a daughter who is a mixed bag of sadness and anger together in this house. I'm not sure our house could take it." Callie joked. "And our little one," Callie affectionately stated as she reached to caress Arizona's abdomen "wants Momma to make a nice and cozy home for him or her and that means no stress" Callie more seriously stated. She placed a loving kiss upon her pregnant wife's lips and slowly backed away while signaling with her hand towards the direction of their daughter's room.
"Ok, I'm going."
As Callie watched her wife walk out of their bedroom, Callie's cell phone rang.
"Don't hey me," Addison interrupted. "First, you are going to tell me why the cutest little girl in the whole world showed up at my doorstep with sad eyes and a quivering lip asking permission to live with her dad and me. Second, you are going to tell me why your very best friend and likely stepmother of your daughter didn't know your wife was pregnant. And you are going to tell me now. Ok? Go."
As Callie was about to respond, Arizona came rushing into the room flustered and nearly out of breath.
"Sofia 's missing!"
Callie, pointing to the phone, "Yeah seems like she went AWOL to Addison and Mark's."
Arizona grabbed her jacket and darted out the door.
"Addison, we'll be right over."
After arriving at Addison's and Mark's…..
"So how do we handle this?" asked Mark. He had just finished checking on Sofia after Addison, Callie and Arizona had caught him up to speed regarding her unexpected visit.
"We don't do anything. This is between Arizona and Sofia, Mark," said Callie.
"I made this mess" Arizona solemnly stated. "This is about what she heard me say. Based on what she told Addison, she picked up on all the things I've heard people say about my relationship with her. She heard it out of context but that doesn't matter. She heard it and I need to fix it."
Arizona turned from Mark and her eyes flicked between the three other adults as tears threatened to fall, "I'm really sorry, guys. I never meant for her to hear about the pregnancy this way."
Callie took her hand as a show of comfort and Mark's face broke out in that patented Sloan smirk. "Well, Blondie, it's about time you made a mistake. Sofia thinks you're more perfect that Mary Poppins. It's hard for Callie and me to keep up." Noticing Arizona still about to break down into tears, Mark continued, "Listen Robbins, we all know how much you love Sofia and we all know, all too well, how much she loves you. You are her Momma. No matter what you hear people say, you are her Momma. Now go in there and make sure she knows it, just like we do."
A small smile broke out onto Arizona's face and with one final squeeze of her hand from Callie, she went to speak to her daughter. Addison leaned in towards Mark's ear and whispered, "I always knew you had a soft spot for Arizona."
"Whatever, I just hate seeing her cry. It's like seeing Tinkerbell depressed. It's unnatural." Addison and Callie just laughed.
Arizona slowly entered Sofia's room and cast her gaze upon her little princess. She was in the fetal position on her bed, cuddling her favorite teddy bear, Brownie, as she slept. Brownie was the first teddy bear Arizona had given her and Brownie had gone from the crib, to the toddler bed, to her big girl bed and everywhere in between. It comforted Arizona to know that even with how angry Sofia was at her, she held onto Brownie. Arizona slowly approached the bed and knelt down next to her daughter. She pushed a few stray hairs away from her forehead and Sofia began to stir.
"Momma, what's happening?" asked a sleepy and clearly disoriented Sofia.
"Hi babygirl. You're at Daddy's. You walked here on your own." A heavy pause before she continued, "Do you remember why?"
Wiping the sleep away from her eyes and sitting up as she slowly started coming into the present, Sofia's eyes grew wide as she remembered why she was at her dad's and Addison's house.
"Y..you are having a baby. A baby that's yours. A..an..and I'm not yours." That was all it took as Sofia's tears flowed yet again and her body started to tremble with the weight of her sobbing.
Arizona's eyes again filled with tears seeing her little girl so upset. She quickly sat up on Sofia's bed holding her to her side, despite Sofia's attempts to squirm away. "No baby, just listen to me, ok? I know what you heard but you didn't hear everything. Let me explain, ok?"
Sofia, desperate to hear an explanation that didn't involve her not being her Momma's daughter, sucked in a breath and slowly let the fight drain from her. Sensing that Sofia was calmer and willing to listen to her, Arizona took Sofia's hand and moved to sit so she was no longer sitting next to her but sitting almost across from Sofia, looking at her straight on. She blew out a big breath to help compose herself as Sofia looked on anxiously at her. Arizona knew this was as important a conversation as she would ever have with her daughter and she was determined to get it right.
"Sofia, I am so very sorry that you heard those things the other night. I know you are hurt and confused and… and angry with me, and I hate that you feel these things. I'm so sorry," Arizona rasped out, fighting to control the losing battle with her emotions. Sofia, ever her Momma's protector, looked on with growing concern as her Momma seemed to be losing her composure right in front of her. She squeezed her hand a little as a means of offering Arizona comfort.
Gaining some strength from the gesture, Arizona continued on, "Sofia… I never meant to hurt you. What you heard… was only part of the story. I was talking to myself and you only heard part of what I said."
She continued, "Honey, I know it's been hard to understand even when your Daddy, your Mami and I have worked really hard to explain this to you… but you remember how we told you that you came from your Mami's belly?"
Sofia nodded her head affirmatively.
"And you remember how we told you that the reason you look both like your Mami and Daddy is because they made you?
Again she nodded demonstrated her understanding.
"Well, because I wasn't a part of making you, sometimes people… people who don't know our family or don't know how much we love each other… they say things that are hurtful. They gossip."
"You mean like how Auntie Cristina and Meredith do?"
Arizona huffed in annoyance. She did not like that her daughter was privy to their gossiping. "Yes, like they do."
"Well, sometimes the gossip is about how you're only Daddy's and Mami's daughter… that I'm not really your Momma. Some people think that because most families are made up of 2 parents, that there's no room for me… that there's no place for me." Arizona noticing that Sofia's brows started to furrow in confusion, "I know this is hard to understand so I need you to tell me if something doesn't make sense to you, Ok? It's important that you understand."
Arizona continued, "There's this thing called parental rights and it's basically a piece of paper that has to do with the law. It's something that you don't have to worry about. It's a big people thing but sometimes people say that that piece of paper only belongs to your Mami and Daddy. And because I don't have that piece of paper, I'm not really your Momma." Arizona's voice broke as she spoke of this issue, an issue that she still had a difficult time swallowing.
"Baby, what you heard the other night was me repeating some of that gossip I hear. But honey, the gossip is wrong. I am your Momma because you are very much my daughter." She placed her hands on her daughter's shoulders and met her daughter's eyes to emphasize the point, "Sofia, YOU ARE MY DAUGHTER. No matter what you heard, the most important thing you hear me say now is this. You are my daughter. You are my baby. And I know you hate it when I call you a baby but you will always be my baby, my first born. It doesn't matter whose belly you came out of or whose nose you have, you are my daughter and I am your Momma. I loved you and wanted you from the moment I heard your heartbeat for the first time and I could never imagine my life without you."
Sofia, slowly starting to feel like her world was right again, still expressed her concern, "But the baby, it's still not fair. The baby will look like you and I want to look like you too. People will say the baby looks like you and I won't. People won't think I'm yours."
"Oh baby, but you are perfect the way you are. I love everything about you, everything that your Mami and Daddy gave you. I wouldn't change anything about you. Someone could ask me to picture the perfect daughter and I would describe you. Your beautiful brown hair and eyes, your cute Sloan nose, your big, bright smile that reminds me of Mami every time I see it. You are beautiful, my babyboo, the prettiest little princess I've ever seen."
"Do I have anything of yours, Momma? Even just a little?"
Callie spoke up from the doorway. "Oh you do, Sof." Arizona and Sofia looked up at Callie as she wiped away some of her own tears.
"You have so much of Momma in you. The best parts of you are full of Momma. You have Momma's heart and her spirit. You have her kindness and compassion."
"Callie…" Arizona began to admonish.
"Shh… she does. Sofia, that part of you that always wants to help people, that wants to make people feel better when they are sad… that part of you is from Momma. That part of you that makes everyone smile, that lights up the room when you walk in… that part is Momma too."
"Really?" asked Sofia with the first smile on her face in what felt like years. She looked to her Momma and Mami.
Arizona was touched by her wife's words and smiled at her as Callie continued, "Yes babygirl, really, really."
"I got pieces of all of you then."
"You sure do. You are lucky because you have three parents who love you and are raising you to have the best parts of all of us." Callie stated.
"I got the pink part from Momma, didn't I?"
Arizona laughed as Callie rolled her eyes, "Yep, you got the love of pink from me."
Sofia returned Arizona's laugh with a big toothy grin and catching her Momma off guard, she threw her arms around Arizona and whispered, "I'm sorry Momma. I'm so sorry."
"It's ok babygirl. I love you so much. So very much. Never forget, ok? You are my daughter."
"I'm yours" sighed Sofia contentedly.
As she pulled away from her mother, she placed her hand on her Momma's abdomen and said, "And I'm your big sister. And I can't wait to meet you."
Finally, Sofia's world was back on it's axis.
6 months later… on Mother's day.
"Sof, you ready for bed?" asked Callie after a long day of Mother's Day celebrations.
"Almost Mami. I have one last gift to give Momma. Can I do it now?"
"Are you stalling, Sof? You already said good night to Daddy and Addison."
"I know, but I really do have one more gift and I want to give it to Momma now."
"Alight mija but hurry ok? The baby has been a bit fussy today so Momma needs some rest."
"Ok, um but can you come to? I want you all to see it."
Not waiting for an answer, Sofia took Callie's hand and led her into the living room where Arizona was sitting on the couch, wrapping up conversations with
Addison and Mark.
"Arizona, Sofia has one last Mother's Day gift she wants to give you."
"She does, does she?"
Sofia excitedly nodded her head.
"Were you guys in on this last surprise?" asked Arizona as she glanced at the other adults in the room.
They all looked back at her with confused expressions, clearly not in on this surprise.
"No Momma, this is my surprise for you."
"Oh, ok babygirl. What is it?"
"Here," Sofia handed Arizona a piece of folded up paper.
Arizona opened up the paper and she covered her mouth with her hand to stifle a sob.
"Arizona, what.." Callie asked concernedly.
Arizona shook her head to keep the other adults at bay. She cleared her throat, swallowed her tears, and read from the document Sofia had given her.
"To the world's best Momma, this piece of paper says you are mine and I am yours, so now you have the paper that Daddy and Mami have."
"Sof," Callie said, her voice clearly breaking with emotion.
"That's what you needed Momma, right? The rights thing?" Harkening back to that night and their conversation.
"Now you are the same as Mami and Daddy and no one can say that you aren't anymore, right?" Sofia asked. "Even though they are wrong," she added.
Clearly moved by his daughter's gesture, Mark spoke up, taking Callie's hand in his, "You got it, Sofia. She's the same, always has been and always will be. No one can ever say otherwise."
Arizona smiled at him and then at her wonderfully amazing daughter, "Thank you, babygirl. You have no idea how much this means to me. I love you."
"I love you too, Momma. And I love being yours."
THE END. Reviews, as always, are welcome.