Arizona walked into the house and groaned.
"I know, baby, I know," Callie said from her place on the couch in the living room. "First days suck, but come here, you need to see this," she added and stretched her hand towards the entrance door to encourage Arizona to come further into the living room.
Arizona couldn't imagine what was so exciting about their living room, but the closer she got to the couch the better she heard the joyful sounds of kids' play, and when she finally came in front of the couch, she saw what was hiding behind.
Sofia had a semi-sitting Tamara between her legs. Sofia's arm was protectively wrapped around Tamara's mid-section, and her other hand was holding a fluffy doll in front of Tamara's face. Tamara was absolutely delighted.
She kept trying to reach the doll but every time she almost touched it, Sofia would raise it further above her head, which made the baby giggle.
"Oh my god," Arizona said and flopped on the couch next to Callie who immediately scooted closer and put her arm around Arizona's shoulders.
"Have you ever seen anything cuter?" Callie asked.
Just as the question left Callie's lips, Sofia grabbed a huge panda bear doll, designed to be lying down, and laid Tamara on it in a similar fashion.
"I think I just did," Arizona answered.
Sofia made sure to support her sister who was happily lying on her stomach, cuddling into the fluffiness that was the doll.
"Does this count as tummy time?" Callie asked in hope.
Tamara giggled as Sofia rubbed her back.
"She's actually enjoying herself, so I say it does," Arizona stated.
Tummy time was meant to help babies strengthen their upper bodies so they could crawl, roll over, push themselves up, and eventually stand. Many babies hate the notion of lying with their faces down. Unfortunately, Tamara was one of those babies.
"Does it actually help, though?" Callie asked her baby expert girlfriend.
"I doubt it. I mean I wish, but this thing is too soft. She needs to push against a hard surface and sadly, I don't think the panda qualifies."
"Well, at least it's adorable, so it's not a total loss" Callie said. Arizona nodded and took her phone out to snap pictures. Seeing Sofia enjoying playing with Tamara like that warmed her heart.
Sofia has been happy and curious about Tamara since day one. The relatively big gap between their ages was potentially going to prevent many conflicts in the future. But Sofia, not a young girl anymore, had more understanding of consequences. Unlike a child with no cares and worries, Sofia was afraid to do something wrong when it came to Tamara. It saddened the women but it also made them happy as they realized Sofia's caution was due to her instinctual love for Tamara.
As time went by, Sofia became more and more at ease around the younger sister whom she adored. Callie and Arizona made sure to include her, and show her. Family naps helped a lot because that way they could all share intimate space together and Sofia could see that she could be physically close to Tamara without harming her. They taught her how to hold Tamara and after two and a half months she finally agreed to try. Ever since then, she wouldn't let go. When she had the chance, she would even ask for the bottle so she could feed Tamara.
"Sisterly love, or an obsession with a new shiny living and breathing doll?" Callie asked one day when they were watching Sofia feeding Tamara.
"I really hope it's the first one, because dolls you get bored with," Arizona said.
"Well, luckily this is the kind of doll that learns new tricks all the time."
But it was clear that it wasn't just a game for Sofia. The nine year old had the same expressive eyes as her biological mother. The truth of her feelings was evident in them and after a while the women had no doubt that Sofia truly loved and cared for her younger sister, and took the role of Tamara's protector very seriously.
"Look at them," Callie said, "they're totally ours, can you believe that?"
"Can I believe that two awesome people created two awesome people? Yes. I can. It doesn't mean that they aren't blowing my mind on a daily basis, though," Arizona replied and Callie hummed in approval.
"Are we all good for tomorrow," Arizona asked and leaned her head back on Callie's hand while turning to look at her.
"Yeah, I'll drop Tamara at the hospital's day care, pick you up, then I'll drop you off after, pick Tamara up and continue to pick up Sof from school," Callie explained.
"Your domesticness is a turn on, Calliope. We'll need to attend to that later," Arizona flirted. "How was the first day of Callie's maternal leave 2.0?"
"Oh no, what happened?"
"It was so great, I don't know how I'm gonna give it all up again!"
"Well, look at it this way - we'll finally be back at work at the same time. That's potential for a face to face conversation during daytime right there!"
"Did you just meh our daytime face to face conversation?" Arizona challenged.
"I like my baby more. I'm sorry," Callie said in a tone that exhibited no remorse what so ever.
"The baby will be at the hospital, Callie. Potential for daytime face to face conversations and baby visitations. Maybe even together! Oh, and lunch!"
"Cafeteria lunch," Callie stated, unimpressed.
"You know what? That's it. You're on a vacation. I just went back to work yet I'm doing all the comforting and you're doing all the whining. I demand a role reversal right now."
"Oh, Arizona, look at us bickering. Just in time for therapy," Callie teased.
"Well, that's something we can agree on," Arizona said and turned her face to kiss Callie's arm right on the point where she just leaned on.
"So, ladies I haven't seen you in a while," Doctor Dawson said.
"Yeah, things got all sort of hectic," Arizona explained.
"You guys had the baby."
"Yeah, about three and a half months ago," Callie said happily. "Tamara. She's perfect."
"I'm glad to hear that, congratulations. I'm sure you've got your hands full."
"We do, but it was also a bit of a bubble for all of us," Arizona said, "a much needed family time."
"So things at home are good?"
"Other than us being back at work, well, sort of back at work, things are great," Callie confirmed.
"And specifically between the two of you?"
"We did surprisingly well, I think. Considering we haven't been here in a while," Callie said.
"Why are you surprised? The whole point of the treatment is that we find tools and you integrate them so you're not always hanging by a thread," the Doctor explained.
"I don't think we've been feeling like we're hanging by a thread in a very long time," Arizona said and turned to Callie for confirmation. The other woman nodded and smiled.
"Okay, good. Then we absolutely made progress. I think we learned that even before your little… hiatus from therapy, but checking in a few months later and seeing that things are solid is yet another good sign of successful therapy," Doctor Dawson explained and the women smiled.
"So why did you decide to come back now of all times?" she asked.
"We're trying to get back into our routine, and this is something that is important to both of us and that we want to be part of that routine," Arizona explained.
"I think we learned over the years that maintenance is incredibly important. Coming here in itself might be one of those tools you mentioned. You know, for said maintenance," Callie added.
"Right," the Doctor said and examined them quietly for a moment.
"What?" Callie asked, feeling uncomfortable under the scrutinizing, somewhat doubtful stare.
"Why don't you give me a little summery of what you've been up to since the last time you've been here."
"Well," Arizona started, "we had a baby."
"And lots of sex," Callie said. "But also a lot of talking!" she added when she saw the way the Doctor was looking at her.
"Good, on all fronts," Doctor Dawson said and smiled. "I'm guessing, anyways. Good talks?"
"Yes, and good sex," Arizona replied happily.
"You find the time? With a newborn?"
"We try to," Callie explained, "some weeks are harder, but, I mean, it's almost like a new relationship. We want to, all the time."
"But we're also absolutely fine with just having a quiet night with the girls," Arizona added what they were both thinking.
"You said it shouldn't be about escapism, and it isn't," Callie started, "we used to do it instead of talking, to avoid things some times. I mean, it was always enjoyable but sadly we sometimes used it as something else, and now…"
"Now we need to plan carefully so we can do it just for fun," Arizona chuckled. "An effort has to be made, so we can enjoy ourselves that way, and when we do, it's all about the enjoyment, and not about anything else."
"So long talks, the healthy kind of sex, family time, what else?" Doctor Dawson asked.
"Hmm… oh! We started a new research together!" Callie said excitedly. "Well, sort of. We started the foundation of starting a research together. Ha, everything we do these days is sort of."
"And how did that research come to be?"
"Callie felt inspired," Arizona stated.
"Oh, yes. And more accurately, she said I make her feel inspired."
"You do," Callie confirmed.
"And since Callie makes me feel inspired too, and also since this is just a cause for us to both spend more time together and be innovative, I was all for it," Arizona continued.
"Do you guys have the time?"
"We are our own bosses, well... you know, sort off," Arizona chuckled. "And there's no time stamp on it," she explained smiling at Callie, who smiled in return, hearing Arizona using her own words, and knowing that once again, there were on the same page.
"Well, sounds like you guys are doing very well indeed. Anything else worth mentioning? Was there anything you didn't agree on?" The Doctor inquired.
"Well, our parents came to visit six weeks ago," Arizona mentioned cautiously.
"That's hardly interesting or worth mentioning, Arizona," Callie said confused.
"What is it, Arizona?" the Doctor asked.
"So they came over. They weren't there for the birth. Actually we hadn't told them until very late in the pregnancy," Arizona explained.
"Because we feared that they wouldn't approve of the way we did everything, and that they'd be worried about us getting back together," Arizona continued.
"Is that it?" Callie asked. "Did you want to tell them earlier and you didn't for my sake? Oh my god, I'm so sorry! Why didn't you say anything? You could've had your mother by your side during the birth!"
Arizona snorted. "Heck no. You're the only person I wanted by my side during that birth, trust me. And don't you dare go thinking that I didn't tell them for your sake. We both had our reasons. I know you'd never prevent me from having them around during the pregnancy. It's a choice we made together."
"Then… what is it?" Callie asked, confused yet attentive.
"Well, I guess I'm just worried about your mother."
"What about Callie's mother?" the Doctor asked.
Arizona looked at Callie cautiously.
"Go ahead," Callie said softly and put her hand on Arizona's back. She had a feeling she knew where this was going.
"Callie's mom, well, in a lack of a better word, disowned her when she came out."
"Oh," Doctor Dawson said.
"Yep!" Callie feigned a cheer.
"To be fair," Arizona added, "Callie's mom is on the more religious side."
"So is daddy and he came around, thanks to you," Callie said, looking at Arizona. "My mom, however, wouldn't recognize Sofia as her grandchild, nor did she come to our wedding. I don't want her anywhere near Tamara."
"But she tried to make amends, Callie," Arizona claimed.
"Yeah, she waited until Arizona and I broke up to come and see if I was over my phase," Callie said to the Doctor bitterly. "I explained to her that just because I wasn't with Arizona didn't make me a non-sinner all of a sudden, then, lo and behold, Arizona and I got back together."
"I see," the Doctor said.
"Arizona, we already talked about this," Callie said then turned to the Doctor, "I explained to Arizona that I didn't want my mom back in my life just so she could bolt again the moment I'd start dating a woman. I don't want to experience losing my mom twice. It was hard enough the first time, but I came to terms with it."
"Calliope, I know we talked about it already. But things change. It's been six weeks. Tamara grows more and more every day. Your mom missed this stage with Sofia. Maybe she'd like the chance? I mean, maybe you'd like the chance to share it with her and I don't want to be in your way."
"Arizona, you're the furthest thing from being in my way. If anything, you're by my side. She didn't approve of Sofia, do you really think she'd approve of me raising a baby that isn't even biologically mine? And with another woman?"
"Are you sure it's not just me who's the problem? Maybe she just doesn't like me?" Arizona asked vulnerably.
"Only a crazy person won't like you, Arizona," Callie said and took Arizona's hand, "she never even tried to get to know you. This isn't your fault, nor are you affecting my choice."
"I just don't want you to miss out on anything. I want you to have everything," Arizona admitted quietly.
"Are you kidding me?! I have the girls, and I have work, and god, I have you. How can you possibly think I don't have everything? I have the whole world, don't you see that?"
"You are such a poet," Arizona teased, but she felt incredibly emotional, And Callie knew that.
"Arizona, if something ever shifts, I have a pretty decent spy at the Torres household. Daddy will let me know, and she'll come to us. But until that day, if it ever comes, I'm gonna enjoy my life. I'm not gonna hold my breath, and I'm not gonna regret anything. I've been so darn happy in these past few months, do you believe me?"
"You know it," Arizona said and chuckled even though she started to tear. They haven't used that specific tool in a while.
"Great," Callie said and turned her head forward, "can we not talk about her anymore? It's annoying enough that daddy used that visit to mention that Tamara is a second child out of wedlock."
Arizona looked surprised and somewhat intrigued. Callie, who wasn't looking at her directly, didn't notice, but Doctor Dawson did, and she knew this wasn't the last she'd hear about this during sessions.
"Okay," Arizona finally said. "We don't need to talk about her anymore."
"Thank you," Callie said and sighed in relief.
"Good, girls. I like what we've discussed today," the Doctor said as their time was up. "I see that you weren't kidding. The talk is indeed good."