To Ship the Impossible Ship Part 4
Arizona x Leah
Disclaimers in Part 1
This is the last chapter and it's super long I couldn't really find a place I wanted to cut it. Hope you don't mind
"Alright, go make yourself comfortable and I'll make some chicken soup and a sandwich," Arizona ordered, not waiting to make sure Leah complied before heading into the kitchen.
"Good luck," Leah muttered numbly as she sat stiffly on the sofa. "I don't cook a lot and haven't been to the grocery store in a while."
Arizona checked the cabinets and the refrigerator and discovered Leah wasn't exaggerating. There was a carton of juice and that was about it.
"Leah, this is really sad. You know that right?"
"I do alright. I eat at the hospital most of the time."
"Yeah well we've seen how well that turned out," Arizona retorted as she took out the juice from the refrigerator and checked the expiration date. She wasn't surprised to see it was about two days away from being expired. She poured a glass and took it to Leah.
"So, here's what's going to happen. You're going to lay here on the sofa or in your bed and I'm going to go to the store and then come back and make you something to eat and then we are going to talk."
"Arizona, I don't think…"
"Good. I'll be back and be sure to let me in. I'd hate to have to pay to have your door replaced again."
Once again, Arizona got the final word as she quickly left the apartment, leaving Leah struggling to keep her heart from giving in to the hope that Arizona's seeming concern was stirring inside of her. She couldn't….wouldn't let herself be used again. She knew herself well enough to know she'd never survive Arizona kicking her out of her life again.
As she laid down on the sofa, she considered turning on the television but instead her thoughts turned to the hazy memory of a tender kiss and sweet caring words and she drifted off to sleep, her fingertips tracing her lips hoping to recall the sensation of Arizona's lips on hers.
Somewhere in her slumbering conscious, the soft gentle words turned into cold sarcastic taunts as Arizona told her angrily to get out of her apartment and told her she never cared for Leah. Leah had only been the means to scratch an itch while the woman she really loved got over her anger.
You don't really think I could be serious about an intern do you? Arizona laughed cruelly. "Especially one who is clingy, an obvious suck up and barely competent. I slept with you because you were there and you were easy.
Pain shot through Leah as she heard the sharply spoken words and mocking laughter. "No. It's not true," Leah pleaded in her sleep, tears beginning to sleep down her cheek.
You know it's true. Nobody even cared enough to visit you when you were laying here sick. I only came by to find out why you felt you didn't need to show up for your rotation.
"No. You said you were worried about me. That you cared."
It was pity Murphy. I have my life back. My wife, my daughter. I don't need you anymore Leah. I never really did.
"But I love you," Leah sobbed. "Please don't send me away
A soft caress of her cheek caused Leah to whimper and curl deeper into the sofa cushion. Arizona's own eyes stung as she watched the young woman's struggle. She'd come back to the apartment in time to hear Leah's mumbling and at first she smiled because she'd never heard her talk in her sleep before but then as she started to empty the grocery bags, she heard he first little moan and Leah pleading with someone and she froze, wondering what trauma Leah may be remembering. Then she heard the rest and her heart shattered. Leah was dreaming about her and it wasn't pleasant. She quickly went to the sofa and sat down beside Leah.
"But I love you, please don't send me away."
Arizona's eyes slid closed at the pitiful sound coming from the sleeping woman. Oh God, what had she done to her? "Leah," she said softly, shaking her arm lightly not wanting to scare her but Leah didn't wake up. She just continued to cry.
"Leah," Arizona said louder, this time brushing hair from her eyes. "Come on Murphy," she said firmly and it was almost amusing how quickly the firm command had the woman sitting up as if she'd been caught sleeping at work.
"I'm awake," Leah said quickly and then swiped at her cheeks wondering why they were damp.
"Good," Arizona said with a smile that quickly faded. "You were dreaming."
Leah blinked at the voice coming from right beside her and she jumped when she saw the woman who had been tormenting her in her sleep.
"You need to go," she said shakily as she sat up and tried to distance herself from the woman who threatened to destroy her.
"Nope," Arizona said breezily, even though the fear on Leah's face struck her heart.
"Why?" Leah practically cried. "I'm trying to do what you told me. I'm trying to move on."
Arizona swallowed. She hadn't realized this would be as hard as it was proving to be. "What if I don't want you to?"
Leah shook her head, refusing to let the flicker of hope flourish. "No. I'm not going to let you do this to many anymore. I don't deserve to have you sit here and say all these things knowing you're just going to rip my heart out tomorrow or…"
Not even thinking about it, Arizona leaned forward and captured Leah's lips, cutting off the hurtful words before they could continue. She'd kissed Leah before, but then it was different. She had deliberately kept herself from fully experiencing the feel and taste of Leah's lips but now...now she let herself feel every tremble and taste the sweetness mixed with the salt of her tears and it was more powerful than she'd ever imagined.
Leah whimpered and broke the kiss, more confused than she'd ever been. "Please Arizona," she begged as tears continued to fall. "If you ever cared for me at all, don't do this to me."
Arizona swallowed against the lump in her throat, once again berating herself for having broken the vulnerable woman's spirit. She slid a hand around Leah's neck and kept her from pulling away. With her free hand she gently wiped away Leah's tears. "How is it," she spoke softly, "that someone so intelligent, talented and beautiful has so little confidence in herself?"
Leah tried to look away and grew frustrated when Arizona made no attempt to let her. "Maybe because people keep treating me like I don't exist. Like I don't have feelings," she snapped angrily.
Arizona studied her closely. "Leah you told me yourself. You don't let people in. You don't let people see the good heart that I know you have."
"So it's my fault."
"No," Arizona replied patiently. "I can't speak for anyone else but I know that I treated you unfairly. I knew you had feelings for me even though I was trying to get back with Callie and I shouldn't have kept stringing you along and I shouldn't have sent you home that night the way I did."
Leah got to her feet and went to look out the window. Arizona's nearness, the soft pleading in her expressive eyes were beginning to crumble the walls she'd been trying so hard to rebuild. "I have never felt so worthless in my entire life than I did at that moment," she admitted in a whisper barely loud enough to be heard.
Arizona was on her feet and standing behind Leah as quickly as she could manage. She slid her arms around the taller woman and rested her chin on the slender shoulder. "I'm so sorry," she said. "You're not worthless. You…"she paused as she tried desperately to find the words to get through to the woman who had surprisingly little self-esteem.
"Leah, when we started seeing each other I really didn't know you that well," she said slowly. "I knew you were a good surgeon but I never really saw you outside of a professional level until the fundraiser. But each time we were together, I got to see how special you really are, despite how hard you try to hide it." She felt Leah stiffen and suspected the woman was about to bolt so she let her thumb slowly caress over her stomach while she nuzzled against her neck.
"I watched you with the patients and I saw how good you are with them. Especially the kids. You have such a big beautiful heart that I was so lucky to be given a look into and so foolish as to turn away from. You took care of me, you lowered your guard for me and I took you for granted."
Arizona's sweet warm breath on her skin and her tender words had Leah trembling violently. She was trying so hard not to fall into the same trap again.
"Why are you doing this to me?" Leah whispered desperately. "You have the woman you want. You have your wife back. Why are you trying to hurt me?"
Arizona turned Leah around and cupped her face. "I told you Leah. Callie and I had a very long talk and we….well it's over."
"So I'm your back up again?" Leah asked bitterly.
"No. I…" Sighing in frustration, Arizona leaned forward and kissed Leah with a gentleness she's never allowed herself before. This wasn't the hurried kisses that had only been a quick segue into sex. Their encounters for her had never been about intimacy and Arizona had known at the time if she had let herself, she would have easily succumbed to Leah's feelings for her.
Now, however, she held nothing back as her lips played over Leah's. Sensing the younger woman's fear, Arizona kept the kiss gentle and exploring, as she tried to show Leah that she was so much more to her than a 'backup'.
Leah's head was swimming. Arizona had never kissed her like this before, as if she truly wanted to and as if she liked it. Forgetting everything she'd told herself about letting the older woman in, she lifted her hands to Arizona's hips and instantly her back was against the window and Arizona was pressed tightly against her.
As always happened when Arizona touched her, arousal shot through Leah like a brushfire and her head flew back against the glass, not even feeling the pain as silky lips began sucking her throat.
"You are not a backup Leah," Arizona whispered hotly in Leah's ear before she nibbled on it. "You're not a rebound or a replacement. I care about you. A lot." She slowly trailed kisses across Leah's jaw, finally letting herself experience the sweet softness of her skin. She couldn't help but grin at the resulting whimper that came from Leah's throat
Leah opened her mouth to reply but quickly found it covered once more by Arizona's and her mind went blank.
Arizona didn't push to deepen the kiss, no matter how badly she wanted to. It had been so long since anyone had touched her with desire and she'd missed it. However, this was Leah and she was content with the gentle passion that was rising between them, needing Leah to know that this moment was about her and about them, not anyone else. And then Leah's tongue flicked innocently against her lips and Arizona groaned low in her throat. She granted Leah entrance and let their tongues dance until she came close to ripping the still recovering intern's shirt from her body and she pulled away.
"I'm sorry," she panted, running her hands through her hair. "I didn't mean to get carried away," she smiled ruefully. "Come here." She took Leah's hand and led her back to the sofa. She sat and pulled the skittish woman down to sit beside her and immediately pulled her into her arms before Leah thought to scoot away.
Leah had absolutely no idea what was happening and she was more afraid than she could ever remember being. Even the horrible hours before finding out the results of the HIV test from the guy who bit her, hadn't shaken her this badly but strong arms tightened around her and she had no choice but to sigh and surrender. Unable to help herself and afraid to meet Arizona's gaze, she leaned her head on her shoulder and tried not to shiver at the long surgeon's fingers, stroking through her hair.
"I need you to listen," Arizona said quietly, "and don't run away. Okay?" She waited until she felt Leah nod against her shoulder and then continued.
"The truth is, when we started up…I was using you." She felt Leah stiffen in her arms and held tighter to keep her from moving. "Let me finish," she chided and placed a kiss on the soft blonde hair.
"I've always liked you Leah and I think you have a lot of potential to be a great surgeon, but up until that night we first got together, I never saw you as anything but another intern. I had so much going on in my life and then all my focus was on trying to get Callie to forgive me and then you happened."
Leah heard the smile in Arizona's voice but refused to look up, afraid she'd see either mockery or pity. "I took advantage of you," she admitted. "I'm sorry about that."
Arizona shook her head. "No…well kind of. Why did you? I mean why did you take care of me that night?"
Leah was quiet for so long, Arizona thought she'd fallen back asleep. "Because you were hurting and needed someone," she said simply. "And I told you before, I've always liked you and I guess I just wanted you to notice me."
Arizona shook her head, saddened again by the reminder of just how little confidence this woman had in herself and how she hadn't helped that at all.
"You are a beautiful, intelligent young woman Leah. How can you not see that?" Leah answered but Arizona hadn't expected her too.
"I know what you think….what I made you think, but after those first few nights together, it had become more than staving off loneliness. I realized that I truly cared about you." Arizona admitted.
Finally Leah lifted her head at that. "You did?"
Arizona smiled into the innocently hopeful and red rimmed eyes. She raised her hand and gently wiped away the tears from her cheeks.
"Of course I did," she replied. "How could I not? You are…an amazing lover. The way you touched me, you really are very good with your hands you know," she teased, "but more importantly, the way you looked at me….how could I not fall just a little bit?"
"But it wasn't enough," Leah replied. "I wasn't enough."
Arizona cringed hearing the same words she'd tossed at Callie thrown back in her face. "I am sorry Leah. I did know you felt more for me than you should have and I took advantage of it but at the time, I didn't want your affections and I sure as hell couldn't let myself reciprocate them."
"What changed?" Leah asked, and then she frowned. "Let me guess, Callie hurt you again."
Arizona shook her head, refusing to lose her patience with the stubborn woman. "No. And Callie isn't to blame for anything," she explained. "I'm the one who screwed up my marriage. I can't blame her for being so unforgiving. I probably would have acted the same way."
"No you wouldn't have," Leah said sincerely. "You would have been hurt and angry but you would never have humiliated her in front of the staff and you wouldn't have said she was dead."
Arizona smiled again and shook her head. She picked up Leah's hand and twined their fingers together, unable to take her eyes from the sight. "Leah you have some pretty big blinders on about me," she said and then met Leah's earnest gaze. Again she wondered how she'd overlooked this woman's naiveté. You've seen firsthand that I'm more than capable of hurting people."
"Well yeah," Leah admitted, hating that she had actually forgotten the way Arizona had turned her back on her.
"One of the things that drew me to you was how much faith you had in me," Arizona admitted. "You were attracted to me despite knowing what I'd done to Callie and despite…" she gestured at her leg.
"Of course I was," Leah said confused. "What happened between you and Callie, well it's not my business but I don't believe you cheated because she was there. I just think you had lost yourself and were under so much pressure you found the only outlet that didn't remind you of what you'd lost. And as for your leg," Leah cautiously placed a hand on Arizona's thigh, just above the prosthetic, "how could I not love something that meant you got to live? This doesn't make you less, it just proves how strong you really are."
Tears sprung to Arizona's eyes at the words that she'd so needed to hear from her wife. "How can you say such things after how I treated you?"
Leah shrugged, "because that doesn't change the facts and at any rate, I can't really blame you for how you ended things. As you say, I knew why you were with me and I knew that the moment Callie came back you'd be gone. It wasn't your fault that I got carried away. That's just what I do."
"So are you saying that you've moved on?" Arizona said with a teasing smile but feeling a flicker of uncertainty.
Leah shook her head. "I know that people think I'm flighty and don't take me seriously, and to be honest I'm sure that it's deserved, especially when it comes to my feelings, but what I feel for you…it's not going anywhere. I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry," Arizona urged. "I don't want them to go away."
"You don't?" Leah willed her heart to stop the mad pounding in her chest, but without success. Hope was the worst feeling in the world when it was unrealized.
"No. Look Leah, I have to be honest. Right now my feelings are so screwed up I don't know which way is up. I do still love Callie, you have to understand that."
And the breaking of her heart began again. "Oh. Well of course I do. She's your wife," Leah said numbly and tried to move away.
"Stay put," Arizona ordered with a chuckle, not letting the woman out of her arms. "I'm not finished yet. Callie and I finally had a talk we should have had months ago." She paused as she remembered the painful conversation and the fact that the marriage she'd fought so hard to fix was over.
"Did she hurt you?" Leah asked angrily, pulling away and studying Arizona's sad face.
"So protective," Arizona couldn't help but smile. "No. She didn't hurt me. The sad fact is we hurt each other. Callie and I have been through a lot almost from the moment we met," she explained. "Unfortunately a marriage is only as strong as the biggest crisis it has to face and the plane crash and everything that happened was just too big. And then there's you."
"Me? What did I do?" Leah looked confused and borderline defensive.
Arizona couldn't help but laugh. "You, my persistent little intern, managed to shove your way under my skin and I'm not as upset by that as I should be."
Leah managed to pull away, her heart racing and hope threatening to choke her. "What exactly are you saying Arizona? Does this mean you want…you want to be with me?"
Arizona reached out to caress the sweet face. "Yes it does," she said honestly, her heart breaking a little at the way Leah's face lit up, afraid of the power she had over this woman. "I have to be completely honest with you, okay?"
Leah's smile faded a little at that, wondering which shoe was about to be dropped. "Okay," she replied warily.
"I do want to be with you Leah, but I'm sorry that I can't tell you that I feel the way you do," she said as gently as she could trying to ignore Leah's flinch. "I can't tell you that right now because I'm still trying to reconcile how I feel about Callie and what I feel for her… it's not going to fade overnight."
"Oh. That's okay," Leah said with the fake enthusiasm Arizona was becoming all too familiar with.
She shifted so she was certain that that Leah would truly see her. "No sweetie, it's not okay. You should never be content to settle. You deserve so much more than that."
Leah shook her head. "I don't understand Arizona. You said you wanted to be with me?"
"I do Leah," Arizona assured her. "I just want to ask you to be patient with me. When we were together before, I found myself starting to feel more for you than I should have. I never would have let it continue past that first time if I hadn't, but I couldn't let myself have feelings for you. I wasn't really free. Do you understand?" She waited for Leah's nod before continue. "But I am now. I'm free to show you how amazing you are. Of how amazing you make me feel when you look at me with those big eyes of yours," she smiled. "I want to try and I'm hoping that you forgive me for how I treated you before and let me."
For the first time she could remember, Leah had no idea what to say. She stared at the blonde looking at her with more tenderness than she ever had and she had no idea what to do. "I…okay," she blurted lamely, surprised when Arizona simply laughed.
"Wow, try and curb your enthusiasm," Arizona teased.
Leah's eyes widened. "Oh. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…I mean, yes I forgive you and I promise not to say anything at the hospital because…" a long warm finger over her lips stilled her rambling.
"I appreciate that," Arizona interrupted kindly. "It's not that I'm ashamed of us but even though Callie knows, I don't want to hurt her any more than I already have."
"Oh. Well I can understand that."
"Good. Let's just take things slow okay? Maybe we can actually date for a while?"
Leah frowned. "Does that mean no sex?"
"Well not tonight, no but we'll get there." Arizona laughed as she watched the pout cross Leah's face and she cocked her head and smiled, totally charmed by the expression. Unable to resist, she reached up and poked Leah on the nose the way she did that first night. "You really are adorable you know," she grinned and then before Leah could reply, she pulled the blonde closer and covered her lips until they softened and finally moved beneath her own.
Damn but Leah Murphy could kiss, Arizona thought several minutes later as Leah broke away only to trail her enthusiastic lips down her throat. "This is real isn't it?" Leah panted into Arizona's neck.
Arizona's fingers tightened in Leah's long hair as the younger woman began to nip and suckle against her skin.
"Yes Leah it is. We really need to work on that self-esteem of yours," she breathed, only half teasing and gently pushed the eager woman away. "But now, you're still recovering so you're going to get into bed…alone," she added with a smirk at Leah's hopeful expression which quickly fell into disappointment.
"I'm not going anywhere," Arizona assured her seriously. "I'm off for the next two days, as are you so I'm going to be here to take care of you." She got to her feet and led the taller woman into her bedroom. While Leah put on her pajamas, Arizona changed the sheets and then tucked her charge into bed. She bent over and kissed her forehead, feeling her heart warm at the innocence looking back at her.
"I'm going to finish making the soup I had planned on making earlier, and which you're going to eat by the way and then…"
"Will you stay with me tonight?" Leah asked tentatively. "I mean not for sex or anything like that, but I just like having you next to me and…"
"You're rambling again," Arizona teased fondly. "And of course I'll stay. Now just stay put and watch some television or something and I'll be right back."
"I do love you, you know," Leah whispered.
Arizona's eyes slid closed and guilt flashed through her. "I know," she said, hating that she simply couldn't say it back to the woman who so deserved to be loved.
"I'll wait for you as long as it takes," Leah said with a rare smile of understanding and some of the guilt lifted as Arizona knew that Leah truly did understand.
She kissed the intern gently and then left the bedroom, feeling a contentment that she hadn't felt in longer than she could remember. She knew, however, that things weren't going to be easy. Leah was still an intern and she was an Attending. Callie was still feeling betrayed, and Arizona was still heartbroken that she'd messed up her marriage and hurt such a wonderful woman so badly. Then there was the fact that Leah was in love with her. Part of her wanted to believe that it was just a young woman's infatuation, but she couldn't. The way that Leah looked at her and the almost adoring way she touched her told Arizona more than words how the younger woman felt and the strength of it shook her to the core, but it hurt her to know she didn't feel as strongly. Not yet. She desired Leah….a lot and she knew that she felt far more for her than mere friendship but she still wasn't sure that part of it wasn't just gratitude for being wanted just the way she was and she couldn't bear to hurt her again.
These thoughts swam through her mind as she finished the soup and prepared a tray with a bowl of soup, some crackers and a glass of Pedialyte but they evaporated as soon as she entered the bedroom and saw Leah. She was casually stretched out on the bed watching the television, sheets low on her hips and one bare arm folded beneath her head against the headboard emphasizing the surprisingly sexy muscles in her slender biceps. The tank top hugging her body had ridden up slightly, exposing a mouthwatering expanse of very taut abs. Jesus she thought, desire ripping through her. She'd seen Leah Murphy without clothes before, but she had no idea the woman was hiding this level of sensuality.
"Dinner's ready," she managed to rasp out, once the blood flow returned to her brain.
Leah turned and offered Arizona an endearingly unaware sleepy smile that only added to the sexiness. "You didn't have to," she said even as she shifted up on the bed.
"Nope I didn't," Arizona said casually, pushing the unexpected lust to the back of her mind. She carefully placed the tray on Leah's lap and then to Leah's surprise, she carefully slid onto the bed beside her.
"Oh my God what are you watching?" Arizona said bursting out into laughter as he looked at the colorful mess on the large television.
Leah shrugged. "You work in Pediatrics Arizona, I'd figure you'd be aware of SpongeBob Squarepants by now."
Arizona opened her mouth and then shut it and shook her head, completely charmed by this side of Leah Murphy. "Alrighty then," she finally said as seriously as her twitching lips would let her and sat back to watch the annoying little yellow sponge, though her gaze more often than not wandered to her bedmate. Her heart swelled in her chest as she allowed herself to appreciate the childlike innocence wrapped up in a seductive package. Unable to help herself she leaned over and quickly kissed Leah's cheek before sitting back and staring at the television, a smirk on her face as she felt Leah's shocked gaze. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Leah shrug then go back to her soup and she thought happily that yeah, this could definitely work and at that moment Arizona suspected it wouldn't be difficult at all to lose her heart to the woman sitting beside her. The smile remained on her face as she snuggled closer to Leah and waited for her to finish her dinner.