It took them a while to get back to a 100% regular routine (or as regular as could be) of two working moms, but when they finally did, the days of staying at home seemed long gone. So is the way of routines.
Some nights, Arizona got home late, and some nights, Callie did. When they could, they'd leave the hospital together, and have a nice family night at home.
Work seemed to never end for both women. Callie had research and cases, Arizona had two departments to lead, cases, and her research with Callie. Four and a half months after Tamara was born, and time was still too tight for them to invest in their research. Every now and then, though, they had a conversation. They laid down steps. They knew that they were headed somewhere, somewhere groundbreaking, eventually. Even if it was going to take forever, for now they just enjoyed that they got the opportunity to do it together.
They knew that not extremely long down the road, things would get easier. In a couple of years time, Sofia would be able to watch over Tamara herself (at nearly ten, she was already arguing that she could), the workload would ease on both of them, the baby wouldn't require a 24/7 guarding.
Until then, things were hectic at all times, but very satisfying. When they could, they'd bring their work home with them so they could still share the space while working. They were busy. But that didn't mean they had to give up on intimacy. Callie would read medical magazines in bed, with the light from the lamp on the night stand on, while Arizona breastfed on her semi darkened side of the bed. Arizona would sit on one of the two rocking chairs in the nursery and fill forms, while Callie, seated on the other chair fed Tamara from a bottle.
They could always put their work stuff away, and just watch each other in awe, taking turns with their daughter.
It was their very specific kind of bliss and they cherished every second of it.
"You're gonna ruin your eyes," Callie whispered softly.
"You always say that. There's enough light, Calliope."
It was the middle of the night. Arizona came back from work not an hour earlier. She took a shower and got ready to join her sleeping girlfriend in bed, but when not a moment later, Callie bolted to the nursery, hearing Tamara crying through the monitor, Arizona decided to join her and get some work done. She was already on a roll anyways, her mind still in work mode.
She sat in the rocking chair, just under the night light, which shed soft light on her papers. It was just enough for her to manage to read.
"Mama is gonna go blind," Callie told Tamara in her baby voice. "She is silly, little one. Yes she is! She's gonna go blind, and need glasses. It'll be a very sexy librarian look on her, Tam Tam, and there's a chance I'll have to address, well, undress that situation, but on the downside, she won't be able to cut," Callie added, still addressing the baby. "And then, when she's mad with longing for her ten blade, she will throw all of us out of the window in an act of madness! Yes she will!" Callie cooed."Yes. She. Will!"
"What are you teaching that baby, Calliope?" Arizona asked, half amazed, half annoyed, but mostly, considering buying a pair of fake glasses.
"Just letting her know that she should be careful around windows," Callie teased. Arizona smiled at her and each woman went back to her own task.
After a few moments, Arizona raised her head to look at Callie. The room was dark beside the night light, but the moon bathed Callie's face in light. Arizona thought that she looked breathtaking.
She put her papers down on the floor, and stared at the love of her life, who seemed so peaceful and content, feeding their daughter. The whole scene made Arizona's heart flutter.
"We should get married. Like, married for real," she finally said, breaking the silence, surprised at her own words, but definitely not regretting them.
"What?!" Callie was shocked, caught completely off guard. She dropped the bottle and managed to catch it just before it hit the floor. That would mean sterilizing it again.
"We totally should!" Arizona said, now completely excited. She jumped off the chair. She realized she wanted to say these words for months.
"Arizona Robbins, you have a history of the most romantic proposals ever," Callie mocked. Should I be worried that a wrecking ball will come through this wall any second now?"
"I'm serious, Callie," Arizona said, eyes sparkling as she placed the other chair next to Callie and sat beside her.
"What? Think about it, why not? You said years ago that you don't want to try and fix us anymore, and I understand that about then, but... don't you want to try now?" Arizona asked, hope in her eyes.
"Arizona, I don't want us to have to feel like we need to fix anything. Kinda beats the purpose of a new beginning," Callie said cautiously.
"Well, it's a good thing then that I don't feel like we need fixing. Just… healthy maintenance. Your words, I believe."
"Arizona, come on…"
"What, Callie? What is it? What? You can't see yourself with me forever? Because, really, I have loved you forever, I just forgot, for a time."
"Arizona, come on, of course I can see myself with you forever. No, that's not the right way to put it. It sounds hypothetical. I know I will be with you forever. I keep tying myself to you in more and more ways, technically, emotionally, I'm never going away."
"Then what's the problem?"
"Do we have to talk about this when I'm feeding the baby?" Callie asked. She was in a bit of a distress and she could tell Tamara was sensing it. The infant started to wiggle restlessly.
"Are you using our four and a half months old daughter to distract me from the fact that you don't wanna marry me?" Arizona asked.
Tamara finally finished the bottle and Callie got up to lay her in her crib, waiting to see if she would go back to sleep.
"Really, Callie? You never answer straight away when I ask you this question! It hurts a girl's ego, you know."
Callie turned to look at her, the anger in her eyes made Arizona gulp. She took Arizona's hand, dragged her across the hallway and into their room. She then shut the door and finally looked at Arizona again.
"I never answer straight away, Arizona? Seriously?! Because if memory serves right, the first time I never got the chance to answer straight away due to, you know, the whole car crashing and the nearly dying thing, and right now there was a semi-sleeping baby in the room! What's with the accusations?"
Arizona stared at the floor, ashamed.
"I admit I may have over reacted," she said quietly, still not looking at Callie.
"May have? What's going on? Because this isn't even something we discussed. I didn't think it was something you wanted."
"Does that mean you don't want to?" Arizona asked, now searching Callie's face.
Callie said nothing.
"Oh, I get it," Arizona said, disappointed evident on her face.
"What? What do you get?" Callie said, getting irritated and very doubtful towards any understanding Arizona might think she just learned.
"A girlfriend you can leave if things don't work out, a marriage…"
"No, Arizona! It's not that! You know it's not true! I just told you I know I will be with you forever and the fact that you can even think otherwise just shows me that this is risky. We already ended a marriage when things didn't work out."
"Yeah and it's not something you want to go through again," Arizona stated, hurt.
"Of course not! And neither do you! But that's not what this is about! Do you believe me?"
"Yes," Arizona replied immediately. Rules. "But then what is it? Why won't you take that leap? Are you scared?"
"It's just hasn't been that long, Arizona. It's only been like 9 months."
"It's been ten years, Callie."
Callie said nothing, she needed time to process.
"You said you didn't want our past to be present," Callie finally whispered. "Remember?"
When Callie asked her that so softly, she realized that Callie was scared. Arizona couldn't fault her for that. It wasn't about them, not exactly. It was Callie being scared of herself and of her feeling that she might ruin things. It was Callie needing more time to see with certainty that they are where they need to be in order to never hurt each other again, in order for Callie to try something that she already tried twice before and failed at. Arizona was one of these two times. It wasn't that Callie didn't want to go through potential suffering with Arizona, specifically. It's that she didn't want to fail for the third time.
"You know what," Arizona said without a trace of anger, "you are right. I'm taking it back. My proposal I mean."
"What?! You can't take it back! We're not taking things back. Rules!" Callie demanded. She didn't know why she was arguing. She just told Arizona it was too fast, and yet, when the opportunity was slipping through her fingers, she felt like she had lost something incredibly important.
"I can, and I am. For now. I love you," Arizona said, kissed Callie softly on the lips, smiled at her as to show her that everything was fine between them, and left the room.
"Wait, where are you going? You're not sleeping on the couch tonight, are you?" Callie asked in concern, but got no reply.
Callie saw all the hurt and doubt fade away from Arizona's eyes when she said her pre-departing words. It left Callie confused and jealous. Arizona's doubts where somehow gone even though she didn't get the answer she was hoping Callie would give her, yet Callie's doubts just started to emerge.
Question whirled around her brain and made her dizzy.
Why does Arizona even want to get married? We tried this before and failed.
Why does she wanna get married now? What made tonight the right time to ask me?
How come she's not angry? All of the hurt just washed off of her.
Will we talk about this some more?
Will she ask me again or did I just lose this chance forever?
Is she coming back tonight?
Callie lied down in bed, trying to not think. The thing that bothered her the most was the thought that Arizona might be spending the night away from her, but just when she was finally on the edge of sleep, depressed but accepting of her fate, she felt a soft, glorious body wrap around her from behind, and a quiet, tender voice spoke in her ear.
"Good night, beautiful, I love you so much."