Callie walked into the bedroom and was welcomed by her new favorite sight. All three of her girls were napping. Sofia snuggled into Arizona who also had Tamara on her chest.
Callie thought she was going to die of happiness, and she cursed her stupid research for still getting her out of the house occasionally, even during her maternity leave.
'How many important moments am I going to miss because of this freaking job?' she wondered but also knew she was being unrealistic. Arizona was going to be in a very similar boat once their maternity leave ended, not to mention that Callie wasn't really, technically, missing out on anything. All Tamara did was eat, sleep and poop, and there was always more from where that came from. So if Callie was being honest, she wasn't missing much other than the occasional family power nap.
"But I love family power naps," she said quietly and pouted.
"And family power naps love you," Arizona said, quietly as well, letting Callie know she was awake.
"I thought you were sleeping," Callie said softly, leaning on the doorframe.
"I was, but I kinda felt your presence."
"Okay, no, Sofia is probably poking my kidney, but hey, I got to open my eyes and see you standing there by the doorway, and you look really pretty."
"Oh, I'm glad I look nice, because I smell like lab."
"C'mere," Arizona said, using the hand that was wrapped around Sofia up until a moment ago to gesture Callie to join them.
"But, lab smell."
"Calliope, these two are the daughters of two surgeons. Lab smell is in their blood. And this tiny one better get used to it sooner rather than later."
"Yes, I'm sure our 6 week old would appreciate the chemicals when she's older and has two heads."
"Stop it, there's a bear hug situation going on here and it's missing its fourth participant. Come and pay your dues."
Callie finally lied down on Sofia's other side, her arm stretching all the way through Sofia's waist to Arizona's stomach, were Tamara's butt was situated.
Sofia, not surprisingly still sleeping, turned around from facing Arizona, and snuggled into Callie's body. Callie felt at ease in an instant.
"See? Family power naps love you too," Arizona repeated.
That was when Tamara started stirring and decided to burst into a cry. It was time to eat.
It made Callie snort.
"You were saying?"
Not two days went by, and this time Arizona found herself standing in the doorway, staring at Callie who was reading in bed, not realizing she was being watched. Watching Callie had become one of Arizona's favorite pastime activities. Correction, it became one of her favorite pastime activities again.
Watching Callie reading in bed, watching Callie standing in the doorway, watching Callie cook or paint the nursery (these were extra great for Arizona because it involved Callie using her fingers,) watching Callie coming out of the shower. Arizona could watch Callie forever.
It wasn't just about Callie's body. All of Callie's features created that person Arizona was head over hills in love with. Her smile showed her kindness, her eyes showed her love, her body expressed her warmth, and her posture reflected the safety Arizona felt around her. Everything about Callie's features was a testament of the bigger picture that was the other woman, and Arizona couldn't get enough.
She sighed in contentment, still leaning on the doorframe, and Callie put her reading material down, finally noticing her.
"Hey," Callie said softly, "how long have you been standing there?" she asked, well aware of Arizona's newfound hobby. She had a similar one.
"A while," Arizona admitted.
"See anything you like?" Callie teased.
"I can name a few things, yes," Arizona played along and climbed on the bed next to Callie.
"What are you reading?" she asked.
"Orthopedic neonatal surgery articles. Or looking for those, anyway. Surprisingly, they aren't easy to come by. Okay, maybe not surprisingly," Callie rambled.
"Oh, you were serious about that whole neonatal orthopedics thing," Arizona said casually.
"Wait, you weren't?" Callie asked in concern. She was so excited at the prospect of collaborating with Arizona and she figured the feeling was mutual.
"Oh, I don't mind it it's just…"
"Don't mind it? I thought you wanted to do it."
"Callie, you're doing that 'not listening to me 'till I'm done' thing," Arizona said, not scolding, just doing as she promised Callie she would - telling Callie when she was tapping into old habits.
"I'm sorry, you're right, please, do continue," Callie said without missing a beat.
"I thought you were just excited in the heat of the moment. Do you even have the time to do it? I mean, between your other two researches, a newborn, Sof, and a girlfriend with a healthy sexual appetite, when will you find the time?"
"Are you kidding? It'll just give me an excuse to spend more time with my sexually insatiable girlfriend. Hey, we never had sex in the lab."
"That's kinda shocking," Arizona said when she realized it was true.
"Can we still do it if we're parents? Or is it too slutty?"
"I guess we'll have to wait and see."
"Is that a yes, then?" Callie asked excitedly.
"It's an 'I'm listening.' Pitch to me, Calliope."
"Look, no one gives me a time line, Arizona. These are my projects, I can time them as I see fit. You don't have time now, either, I'm just… laying down the foundation so when things loosen up a bit, we can at least brainstorm. I feel inspired all the time lately, and big part of it is thanks to you. I know it's like the cheesiest cliché…"
"I love when you are being a cheesy cliché," Arizona admitted, and leaned in to kiss Callie tenderly, which made the other woman moan softly.
"Mmm… see?" Callie teased. "That, right there, was very…"
"Inspiring?" Arizona finished and made Callie smile.
"I just really wanted us to get to work on something exciting together. There's no time stamp on that," Callie explained softly.
"Well, brainstorming is definitely something we can do," Arizona relented.
"In like six months," Callie added.
"Right. Give me something to read," Arizona demanded.
Callie smirked. "Tam Tam is sleeping, Sofia is over at Mer's and that's what you wanna do, oh, insatiable girlfriend of mine?"
"I have brainstorming scheduled in six months time. I need to catch up. I mean, what else would I want to do on the rare occasion of a deserted, quiet house?" Arizona asked.
"Hmm… sleep?" Callie offered innocently.
"I don't think so, Calliope," Arizona said and threw the papers from both their hands. Then, she straddled Callie. "I think, that you were suggesting the sex."
"I really wasn't, but I mean, if we must," Callie feigned a sigh. She loved hormones free Arizona. Well, pregnancy hormones free Arizona. Pregnancy hormones free Arizona wanted sex just as often as pregnancy hormones raided Arizona. But hormones free Arizona brought way less crazy to every aspect of their lives. 'Way less chocolate too,' Callie thought all of a sudden.
"I'm inspired again," she said and jumped off the bed.
"Where are you going?" Arizona asked in disappointment. "I was just about to have my mouth all over your body," she added and Callie felt a shiver goes down her spine.
"I…" she said and coughed, "I told you, I feel inspired. I want to do some painting tonight," she explained and turned to leave.
"Calliope," Arizona said seductively and made Callie turn and look at her, "what are you getting?"
"A variety of things," Callie said and finally left the room.
'Hormones free Arizona is about to have a little feast,' Callie thought.
The most important part about hormones free Arizona was that she loved Callie with all her heart, and if Callie had any doubts that things will change between them after the birth, hormones free Arizona soothed these doubts. By some post birth miracle, she tried to sooth these doubts at least twice a week.
It was a short, but a glorious evening, and Callie wasn't sure how long it would last before Tamara would finally wake up. She knew it couldn't be that much longer.
"When you think about it, this was really two birds, one stone," Callie said while they were still basking in the afterglow. "We had sex, yes, but technically it was also a date night."
"How so?" Arizona asked in confusion, sleep threatening to take over even though she knew her daughter's cries will come through the monitor at any moment.
"It's as if I took you to an ice cream parlor," Callie said nonchalantly.
"That doesn't count, Calliope," Arizona said after she realized what specific syrup-y activity Callie was referring to. She then yawned.
"It does count, and it's very impressive that the mothers of a newborn still have the time for dates and what follows said dates," Callie exclaimed.
"Mmm… okay, you win," Arizona said and Callie knew she was losing her by the minute, so she just wrapped her arms around Arizona and brought her closer.
Callie felt bad, knowing that Arizona was probably exhausted yet would have no actual rest in the near future. She lied in silence, thinking that she should untangle herself from the other woman and make sure Arizona stayed awake. But Callie couldn't let go. She was thinking how she was never going to let go, how every time in the past when they did let each other go, it didn't take.
"You know I would have followed you, don't you?" she asked so quietly, not even realizing her thoughts were being verbalized.
"Hmm?" Arizona asked sleepily. She was almost with the Sandman, Callie pulled her back.
"Africa," Callie said. One of their new rules was to follow through once you started. Never take something back unless it was said in a hurtful way. Never avoid.
Now Arizona was wide awake, and turned around to look at Callie.
"What are you talking about, Calliope?"
"I can't believe I woke you up for this. It's stupid. I didn't mean to."
"No, tell me," Arizona said seriously. She could tell it wasn't stupid at all.
"I think…" Callie started, "god, I was so miserable without you when you left. I think that if more time had passed, I would eventually pack myself and come to you. Maybe by that point I'd get all the cranky out of my system, too" she admitted for the first time ever.
"Well, it didn't help that I basically made it an all or nothing kind of thing, even if I never said so out loud," Arizona offered.
"I guess we have a history of not letting each other process, ah?" Callie said and smiled softly.
"I guess we do. Never again, I say."
"And I concur," Callie nodded in agreement.
"Why did you never tell me this before?" Arizona asked.
"Because every time Africa was brought up, it was under angry circumstances. I didn't think it would matter to you. Or worse, I thought you'd assume it was just an excuse," Callie admitted sadly.
"I hope I wouldn't have, but I really can't honestly answer that. What I can tell you now, is that it's nice to know you would have come for me. Even after all this time," Arizona admitted and put her hand on Callie's waist.
"Yeah, you were just quicker to process," Callie said.
"Callie, I know it's a sore subject, but I wouldn't change how things unfolded. If anything was even slightly different we would have never had Sofia."
"No, we wouldn't have," Callie agreed. "So, no regrets," she stated.
"Except for one," Arizona said quietly, looking away.
"I hope one day you'll be able to look at me when you talk about this," Callie said softly, putting her finger under Arizona's chin and making her look into Callie's own eyes.
"I don't know if I'll ever be able to do that, Callie. But that has to do with me, not with you."
"You will," Callie promised, "you're doing it right now."
"I guess I am," Arizona chuckled. "Maybe instead of talking about regrets we should talk about how we shouldn't let our past be… present anymore," she offered.
Before Callie had a chance to agree, the baby monitor finally came to life, and Tamara's cry was filling the room.
"Yeah, you're right," Callie said, "right now I think it's our future that's present."
Arizona sighed. "I don't wanna get up," she whined.
"Flip you for it?" Callie asked and Arizona glared at her. "What? Reminiscing isn't allowed either?"
"Oh, it's allowed, it's very much allowed. But right now, Calliope, there will be no flipping, other than you, getting out of this bed, and bringing me this flippin' baby!" Arizona demanded.
"Ah, yes, the love of a mother," Callie said and got up.
"Oh my god, did I really just say that?" Arizona said in shock.
"Remember, Arizona, no regrets."
"Except for this one."
"Arizona, you're such a party pooper."
"No I'm not, I was looking directly at you when I was saying that."
"Smarty-pants," Callie said and Arizona snorted. "What?" Callie asked in confusion.
"I just realized that I'm a party pooper and Tamster is a poop partier!" Arizona announced cheerfully and burst into an uncontrollable laughter.
"You really need to sleep, don't you?"
"I really, really do," Arizona pouted, laughing done as suddenly and sharply as it began.
"Formula," Callie whispered mischievously as she glided outside of the room, knowing very well that Arizona heard her. She turned around to see the verdict.
"Fine!" Arizona gave in. She was too tired, and she thought maybe formula was better than a comatose breastfeeding.
"The world needs a few stupid babies. Not all babies can be smart," Arizona reasoned and Callie snorted.
"Sleep tight, my love," Callie said, turned off the light, and left the room.