As she was sitting and waiting by the nice looking table, she was giving herself a pep talk, trying to assure herself enough to at least stop the scratching.
If this habit was to continue, she thought, she would have to do a self intervention and those rarely ever worked, right?
She pushed these thoughts away and went back to the pep talk inside her head.
She could do this, right? She could ask her best friend this question. It was just a question, an hypothetical thing. No biggie.
Worst case scenario, said best friend could say no and that would be it. Things won't be awkward and her best friend won't hold it against her.
Because that's what Arizona Robbins was to her, her best friend. Ish. At least Callie thought so.
Best friend, person she went to when she needed to vent or talk about her recent relationships, other mother of her child, ex-wife extraordinaire – Arizona Robbins.
It wasn't always like that. It wasn't always calm and comfortable between them. The first couple of years were rough. Arizona was still hurt. They both were. Callie understood, and felt guilty and responsible, but she couldn't change the way she was feeling. She couldn't change what she wanted for them.
But then, Arizona finished her fellowship, Callie's research was becoming more and more successful by the day, and Sofia brought home that A+ in history from school, and something shifted.
Callie knew they were truly, finally okay when Arizona started calling her Calliope again, even if it was only in a friendly way. She missed it not being said in a friendly way, but they were finally good. First just good, and then eventually so so good.
Callie was so happy when that day came. She missed Arizona in her life. They might've not been together anymore, but Callie always loved who Arizona was, and she missed Arizona as a person. Feeling like they could finally be a part of each other's lives again, confide in each other, joke with one another, meant the world to her. She suspected it meant the world to the other woman as well.
So if Arizona felt comfortable enough to come and tell her about cases, and about her dates, and about this interesting story she read in yesterday's newspaper, Callie could ask her this one question, right?
As Callie was pondering on the matter, the perky blonde appeared at the entrance to the restaurant. She spotted Callie, waved eagerly and let her dimples pop, which made Callie smile in return.
Two seconds later and Arizona was by the table.
"Calliope!" she said excitedly to the woman who stood up to greet her with a warm hug, "you chose a really nice place!"
"Thanks. They have some of your favorites, so I figured…" Callie let her words dissolve into the air, not sure what else to say.
"Well that was awfully nice," Arizona said cheerfully. "Not that I'm complaining about a night out spent in great company, but what's the occasion?" she asked as she was sitting down.
"Well, hmmm… I… I've been thinking, and I have something I need to ask you. Or… of you, I don't know."
"Uh oh, do you owe money to someone in the black market?" Arizona asked jokingly.
"I guess that depends. Will you help me if I do?" Callie countered.
"Of course not, dummy!"
"Oh, thank god. I got so worried. What was I suppose to tell Sofia when her mother's guts suddenly appear in a box on the doorstep?"
"Grotesque much?" Callie said, disgusted expression on her face.
"You scared me! I had no time to process logically!"
"Well, I wasn't the one who… wait, this argument is beyond silly. As you can see, I'm completely intact and intend on remaining so," Callie promised.
"And thank god for that."
The waitress approached the table to take their orders and while Arizona didn't get a chance to look at the menu, she went with Callie's recommendations, knowing the other woman probably knew what she would like.
"So, what is it that you wanted to ask, Calliope?" Arizona inquired once the waitress left them alone again.
The restaurant was nice, Arizona thought. Classy. Quiet. Intimate. She figured Callie had something quite serious on her mind if she took them somewhere they could talk, somewhere neutral, she realized. Callie wanted them both to be on equal ground and away from their child. Arizona didn't know if all of the above was suppose to worry her or excite her.
"Well," Callie started, "I don't know how to say this…"
"Like a band aid, honey, like a band aid," Arizona said and offered a smile.
"It's not the band aid kind of talk," she explained. "It's the planning in advance and over analyzing kind of talk. Give me a second to sort out my words," she asked, and Arizona granted, sitting patiently and giving Callie the time she needed.
"Okay," Callie started after a few silent moments, "just… let me do the whole speech please. Then you can laugh at my face as much as you want."
"Noted," Arizona replied with a soft smile.
"I think… well, we're getting along pretty well lately, right?"
"Wait, am I waiting to the end of the speech or am I answering the question?"
"Answering the question, Arizona," Callie said while rolling her eyes.
"Hmm… yeah, of course we are! And if by lately you mean for years now, then yes!" Arizona replied genuinely.
"And… Sofia is turning up pretty great, true?"
"She's turning up incredible, Calliope," Arizona said, starting to get more and more confused as to where their conversation was headed.
"Look, Arizona, I know it wasn't always easy, but nowadays I consider you my best friend, you know that, right?"
"Aww, that's sweet of you to say, Callie, you are my best friend too," Arizona admitted. It was the truth after all.
"Right, thanks," Callie replied, too busy being nervous to appreciate the sincere moment the two of them just shared.
"So," she continued, "if we are best friends and we really in tune when it comes to co-parenting, and we get along pretty darn well…"
Callie was trying hard to finish her sentence, but additional words refused to come out.
"Callie?" Arizona asked in concern.
"I want another baby," Callie finally blurted out.
"What?" Arizona asked in a momentary shock.
"Just, just hear me out, okay?"
Arizona said nothing, just looked at Callie with a funny expression on her face.
"I've heard about divorced couples who get along pretty well, and raise a child together, but, you know, apart, I suppose, and… well, some of those couples want another child, and for the sake of giving that child two loving parents, the same loving parents as their older sibling, they do it together. Because they already know they agree on so many important things when it comes to parenthood. And I mean, of course they only do it if neither of the parties is involved and… wait, you aren't? Are you? Involved I mean?"
"No, Callie, I'm not. You know I would've told you, but…"
"Yeah, so... there. And I just figured… this isn't meant to fix anything, it's just… I want to have another child. I want Sofia to have a sister or a brother, and I want that child to have another parent. And I wouldn't want to do it with anybody else, so I figured we could try this? And I think that now we might actually have some time for a newborn."
"Now that you got your Harper Avery and that's out of the way, you mean?" Arizona asked with a soft smile on her face.
"Right. That. So…yeah. And I know it's a bit unorthodox, but hey, when did we ever play by the rules, right?"
"So… yeah. I think with Sof being nearly nine, she'd be so happy. And we already know we parent well together, so I figured, you know. I'd ask. And now I'm done… asking," Callie finished and took a big breath.
Arizona stared at her intently for a long moment but said nothing.
"What?" Callie asked anxiously.
"Well," Arizona started, "I don't know how to say this…"
"Woha, déjà-vu," Callie said and made Arizona smile. "It's okay," she continued, "it was a long shot. I'm sorry if this made things awkward or if I made you feel uncomfortable."
"I wanna carry," Arizona blurted out suddenly.
"I understand, don't worry about it and… wait, what?" Callie asked in confusion, not entirely sure she heard correctly.
"I…" Arizona tried to speak but chuckled instead. "This is ridiculous. I was having very similar thoughts to yours."
"You were?" Callie asked in surprise.
"Well, I didn't go as far as the co-parenting part like you did, but yeah," she said and made Callie blush.
"Hey," Arizona said soothingly and took the other woman's hand in hers, "don't feel insecure. I think it's a great idea."
"Yeah, all I meant was… lately I've been feeling like I wanted another child too, and I was also thinking I'd like to carry. I'd like to experience that once in my life, and… I'm ready now, you know?"
Callie smiled softly and nodded.
"I wasn't… back when… you know…"
"Yeah," Callie said softly.
"But I am now. I want to. And if I had an extra week to think about it, I'd probably get a similar idea to yours. I love parenting with you, Callie. You and I? We've achieved quite a lot, together and apart, but Sofia is probably the best thing either of us has ever done."
"Sing it!" Callie said and Arizona smiled widely.
"And she is so awesome, because we made her awesome. We did this, Calliope, together."
They smiled at each other, understanding the magnitude of what has been agreed upon.
"So, is that a yes?" Callie asked finally, hopefully.
"Well it depends. Can I carry?" Arizona asked, already knowing the other woman won't ever deprive her of that chance.
"One condition," Callie said, smiling.
"I'm gonna move in," Callie said, and as the words came out of her mouth, she was already thinking that this wasn't necessarily the best of ideas.
"Done," Arizona agreed in a heartbeat.
"Really. I'd ask for the same thing if the roles were reversed," Arizona admitted.
Callie might've thought this wasn't the best idea, and Arizona might've agreed, but one thing Callie knew for sure – she wasn't gonna let a pregnant Arizona Robbins, the mother to be of her child, be all alone with no one to go out at all sorts of crazy hours just to get her some disgusting food combo she might crave. It was also about safety. The safety of both the mother and the baby. Arizona understood that, and appreciated Callie's gesture.
"I just want to take care of you, at least at the beginning. Make sure you don't do any heavy lifting," Callie said and winked.
"I figured as much, and I'm okay with that and grateful for the offer, but are you absolutely sure you wanna do this?" Arizona asked. She wanted them to do this right, to not mess this up. All cards on the table, everything out in the open.
"I do," Callie assured.
"Good because I was planning on doing so much heavy lifting," Arizona said teasingly
"We just need to be smart and think how to break this news to Sofia," she added.
"Oh goodness, I didn't even think about that," Arizona said, "what are we gonna tell her?"
"Well, I think she might be old enough to understand."
"Right. 'Hey, sweetie? Mommy and mommy aren't together anymore, as you know, but they still care about each other very much. And they love you and want to bring you a brother or a sister. So, just for a while, mommy's gonna leave daddy's apartment and will be staying with us.' How does that sound?" Arizona asked the other woman.
"It sounds to me like she'll be asking for ice cream every night before bed," Callie said.
"Because… I might've given her some every time she stayed with me?"
"Still wanna co-parent another child with me?" Callie asked with a smile.
"As long as I get ice cream every night too."
"I thought you were about to say as long as there's no ice cream involved," Callie admitted.
"Please, Callie, you know me better than that."
"I really really do. So, we are actually doing this?"
"One condition," Arizona countered.
"There's that déjà-vu again. Name it."
"You're gonna put your Harper Avery Award on the top shelf in the living room," Arizona said.
Callie raised an eyebrow and looked at Arizona with the best poker face she could muster.
"What? Don't judge me. It's gonna look great at dinner parties," Arizona explained and they both smiled at each other contently.