Arizona spent the entire dinner party feeling like an idiot for going off on Callie with another one of her nonsensical rambles. She knew they had a deal – one of them got to be crazy while the other picked up the pieces – but it didn’t make her feel any less stupid for choosing a public place to do so.
She had seen the concern in Callie’s eyes and declined to discuss it further, wanting to enjoy their evening out with friends instead. It was ironic how badly she wanted to see and hold their daughter, though, considering how excited she and Calliope had been earlier that day to get a child-free date night to themselves. Now all Arizona could think about was kissing those chubby little cheeks and snuggling in the rocking chair by Sofia’s nursery window, telling her stories and promising her a pony for her tenth birthday. She could tell Callie was watching her like a hawk through most of dinner and every once in a while Arizona caught brown eyes spying from across the room. The best she could do at the time was smile reassuringly and send her wife a quick wink to let her know everything was okay now.
When they picked Sofia up from her daddy’s and brought her home, Arizona immediately offered to change her and tuck her back in, needing the quiet bonding time to quell the fleeting panic that rose in her chest at the mere thought of anything ever happening to her baby again. She’d been there, done that, and the very idea of not being allowed to see her own daughter made her nauseous. Arizona may have wanted to kill Karev at the time for sticking his nose in where it didn’t belong, but he was right.
Technically, she was still nothing. Not until they had those second-parent adoption papers signed.
“There you go,” Arizona cooed, lifting Sofia from the changing table and smiling at how cute she looked in her pink and white footie pajamas. “Snug as a bug in a rug; all ready for bed. How does that sound?”
Sofia seemed to concur with the general idea, her eyelids already drooping as she rested her cheek on her Mama’s shoulder.
Arizona melted at the tiny warmth snuggled against her chest and spent a long moment rocking Sofia in place, smelling her freshly bathed hair and running a hand over her tiny back. All past hesitancies about parenthood were long obliterated from her mind; nothing mattered other than she loved her daughter so fiercely it terrified her sometimes.
Sofia let out a wide, cute yawn, and the blonde reluctantly concluded that it was time for bed again. So she kissed their tiny human on the cheek and eased her down into the crib, pulling her blanket up and making sure everything was perfect.
“Sweet dreams, baby girl,” she called softly, slowly heading for the door without taking her eyes away from Sofia’s sleepy form. When she reached the doorway, Arizona lingered for another twenty or thirty seconds, then stepped out into the main room and closed it most of the way.
Sighing to herself, she turned around and began taking her earrings off before she even reached the master bedroom, feeling the stress of the week and the late evening beginning to take its toll. Having Derek ride her for answers all day while doing her best not to kill his child was cause enough for a good, long nap in her opinion.
As she was setting her jewelry on the dresser, Callie emerged from the bathroom and Arizona sent her a tired smile. “How great was it to drink wine and talk with adults again?” she mused, removing her necklace and glancing forward into the mirror. The dark circles under her eyes were a little more pronounced than she’d like them to be, though she supposed the permanently exhausted look was ‘in’ with parents these days.
Wrapped in a fuzzy white robe and still towel-drying her hair, Callie paused just outside the doorway and fixed Arizona with a patented smile. “This is how we’re gonna do it, then? Go about our nightly routine like nothing happened and pretend you didn’t have a minor freak out about how you suddenly think our daughter isn’t our daughter?” She dropped the towel to the floor and padded over to their walk-in closet.
Arizona stiffened but didn’t turn around.
Callie watched out of the corner of her eye, pulling her favourite silk night gown off a hanger and untying the sash around her waist. She pushed it back off her shoulders and tugged the freshly laundered material over her head. “She is your daughter, Arizona. I don’t need a stupid piece of paper to tell me that.”
Smoothing the gown down her front to where it stopped around mid-thigh, Callie walked across the room and slid both arms around her wife’s waist, resting her chin on a warm shoulder. She locked eyes with the deep blue shade reflecting in the mirror in front of them. “What’s been going on in that beautiful head of yours, hm?”
Arizona automatically leaned back, reveling in the warmth of Callie’s embrace and the calming presence that accompanied it. “To you it’s just a piece of paper,” she said after a beat of silence, “to me it’s the difference between seeing her in an emergency room and getting told I’m nothing.”
She could see Callie’s brow knot up in the mirror and placed a hand on top of the ones clasped around her waist. “I know she’s my daughter, and I know you would never say otherwise, but Calliope – that’s about as far as my rights go. I’m her Mama, but some doctor o-or lawyer or whoever could just as easily point out that it’s not my name on her birth certificate.”
“What brought this on?” Callie whispered, tightening her hold.
Swallowing hard, Arizona closed her eyes and tried to sort out her thoughts. “Karev.”
Callie’s eyes widened. “Oh, he’s deader than dead.”
Arizona had to laugh at that. “No, he didn’t mean it that way. It’s just – with Zola coming in today, and Meredith and Derek being told she’s not their daughter and they can’t see her…it hits close to home, you know? And Sof spent the first four months of her life in the NICU; if I didn’t work there then none of the doctors would have let me see her. The idea of something happening to her and not being able to do anything about it scares the hell out of me.”
Despite her best efforts to keep it together, blue eyes automatically welled up with unshed tears. “She’s my baby girl, Callie.”
Callie felt her heart break at the pain laced within the blonde’s words. She’d been so blissfully happy for months now that she didn’t even consider the possibility Arizona wasn’t in the same boat – the same bubble. “I’m so sorry, honey,” she whispered, dropping a loving kiss to the bare shoulder beneath her lips. “You must think I’m terrible for not doing something sooner.”
“No,” Arizona said with a quick shake of her head. “This isn’t you. You’ve never made me feel like anything less than her parent, too.”
“Still,” Callie sighed, pulling back while keeping her arms locked around Arizona’s waist. She gave her a gentle nudge until she turned to face her, so she could look her in the eye for these next few words.
“It’s not a stupid piece of paper,” she stated firmly, “and I shouldn’t have called it that, I’m sorry. If you want it in writing that she’s as much yours as she is mine or Mark’s, then of course we’ll do it. I’ll get you a whole shoe box full of papers, I promise.”
A small smile finally appeared, tugging at the corners of Arizona’s mouth as the heaviness in her chest finally began to lift.
“But know this,” Callie continued, slipping her hands down to rest on the curve of Arizona’s hips. “With or without that paper, if anyone ever tried to keep you from her, they’d have me to deal with. And it wouldn’t be pretty.” She brushed her fingers over the smooth dress beneath them. “Sofia loves you, Arizona, and she knows how much you love her. There’s no piece of paper or anything else in the world that could ever touch that.”
Eyes still shining with unshed tears, Arizona relaxed at Callie’s words and the sincerity behind them. Callie made her feel like a mother every second of every day, and she loved her for it. Raising Sofia with her was the most rewarding experience of her life.
The only reason she hadn’t been pushing harder for the legal side of things these days was because it really did feel like they were in the clear – for now, at least. Sofia was growing like a tree; so far she was extremely healthy considering how she’d come into the world, and she was a happy little girl. Even Mark had gone out of his way to let it be known he felt the same way when it came to her place in their baby’s life.
And really, neither of those two stood a chance when Sofia woke up screaming in the middle of the night. Arizona had lost track of how many times she’d needed to trek across the hall on Wednesday nights or weekends just to help Mark get her back to sleep at a decent hour.
“I’m so crazy about her,” she admitted, laughing once and feeling silly for getting so worked up. “I mean, she’s literally like a miniature version of you. I never even stood a chance.”
Callie’s gentle smile grew as she dipped her hands a little lower on slender hips, pulling Arizona’s body in closer. “She’s totally crazy about you, too,” she whispered. “Something she gets from me.”
Briefly closing her eyes, Callie leaned in to seal her words with a lingering kiss. She could feel Arizona relax into it, and when she pulled back a few moments later she chuckled when her wife’s eyes were still glued shut, a dazed look on her face.
“You know,” Callie began, her voice low, “she’s probably gonna be asleep for at least a few hours.” Unable to resist the urge, she ran her tongue along her bottom lip and dropped her gaze down the neckline of Arizona’s dress.
An impish grin appeared. Arizona knew that look – Callie always got that smirk on her face whenever Arizona’s boobs came into the equation.
It was super endearing.
“You like my dress, hm?” she teased, stepping closer and circling both arms around Callie’s neck. “Because I bought it for you. I had to look good for my hottie wife if I wanted to trick her into sleeping with me tonight.”
A small groan escaped Callie’s lips as she bunched her fingers around the red material at her wife’s hips. “I love it,” she replied with a soft husk, forcing her eyes up from the ample cleavage. “If you don’t mind me saying so, I’d love you even more out of it.” She figured there was no reason to play coy here. Besides, she’d always been a very forward person, the blonde had to be used to it by now.
Laughing to herself, Arizona threaded her fingers through dark hair and gave a playful tug, steering Callie into a slow, loving kiss. She parted her lips and moaned when it suddenly deepened, that familiar flare of desire igniting in the pit of her belly.
It didn’t take much when it came to Calliope Torres; Arizona could be turned on like a light switch.
She could already feel fingers pulling at her dress and felt them both migrating back towards the bed. “Mm, wait,” she murmured, reluctantly breaking the kiss and halting their progress. “You’ve showered. I still have make-up on and I smell like surgery.”
Without missing a beat, Callie resumed the kissing and backed Arizona towards the master bathroom instead. “That can be fixed,” she said with a husky laugh, pulling the zipper on the back of the dress down and letting the material slip from Arizona’s shoulders.
Grinning, Arizona stole another playful kiss, then paused in the doorway. She could see Callie’s frustration mounting and reached up to cup both hands around her face, immediately becoming more serious.
“Soon?” Arizona brushed both thumbs along her wife’s smooth jaw line. “We can get the papers soon?” She just knew it would be eating away at her until it happened.
Callie smiled reassuringly and nodded once. “I’ll call the lawyer tomorrow,” she promised, her hands moving up to slip the dress the rest of the way down her lover’s body. She watched as the material pooled at her feet, heart pound harder in her chest. “But right now, I think I need another shower.”