"Callie, you already look like you have something to say," Doctor Dawson said to the fidgety woman. Callie and Arizona were in a good place which usually meant the therapist had to bring up points of discussion at the beginning of almost every session. It was a good thing. Today, however, she could see something was on Callie's mind.
"Two weeks and she acts like everything is the same," Callie blurted out, irritation evident in her voice. It didn't stop Arizona from rolling her eyes.
"It is the same," Arizona argued.
"How can you say that?!" Callie demanded, then turned to the doctor. "She won't talk to me about this at home, but she can't ignore this here. Rules," Callie reminded and Arizona sighed.
"What exactly are we talking about here?" the Doctor asked. The couple didn't come every single week anymore with so many things on their plate, so she had no idea what Callie was referring to. Today wasn't even their regular time.
"She asked me to marry her, and then she took her proposal back," Callie spat.
"Temporarily, Callie," Arizona said and turned to the Doctor, "I took it back temporarily," she explained.
"But why would you do that?!" Callie asked in frustration.
"Because you weren't ready for me to ask you that, which is okay," Arizona responded calmly.
"Oh, and you were ready to ask?"
"Hmm… yeah, hence the asking. What's the big deal? You didn't want to anyways," Arizona said in confusion. She wasn't the tiny bit upset. When she proposed to Callie, she hoped to hear a yes, but it really hit her when Callie didn't respond, that still, Callie wasn't going anywhere. They had time.
After the crash, she used to be afraid of time, knowing that anything can happen, so at some point in her life, she refused to wait before taking a leap. But she wasn't the same, she didn't feel the need to chase after things anymore, and she didn't mind waiting for this, because even if something bad happened, Callie would be there, she knew without a doubt.
"Well, maybe, but I'd appreciate the option of at least considering it. Isn't that the point of a question? Someone asks you something and you get to consider?" Callie asked.
"And you'll get to consider again, later on. I promise. I want to marry you or I wouldn't have asked."
"But how are you not terrified?" Callie asked quietly.
Doctor Dawson was happy with what she was hearing. She was happy that Arizona felt like marriage with Callie was something she wanted again, she was happy Callie didn't flat out say no, and she was happy at the honesty present in the room. There was fear, yes, but it wasn't the kind of heartbreaking fear that made you hang on to something with all your might. It was the fear of not doing things right. Not the fear of saving something that was vanishing, but the fear of embarking on a new adventure.
"I'm not terrified because I want to be with you forever," Arizona stated.
"Okay, then why not just decide that we'll be together forever? Why do something that failed before?"
"Therapy also failed before, Calliope. We failed before. Yet here we are, in therapy, I personally think it's going well, and we also have a beautiful family."
"Isn't that enough?" Callie pleaded.
"Nope. I wanna get to call you my wife again. It's not just about making you mine, it's about giving myself to you completely," Arizona explained softly and took Callie's hand in hers.
"But I already feel like we belong to one another completely," Callie said without missing a beat.
"See? That's what I mean. I feel ready, you don't. We feel the same way about each other and our future, but we treat it differently. It's okay, Calliope. I think that you feel like you've already been married to two different people and it didn't work out with either of them. But I was only married to one person, the person, and I want a second chance to do things right this time around with that person. I want everything with you, don't you know that? And for everything, I'm willing to wait until you'll be ready."
"Why are you not mad?" Callie asked in concern.
"Because I love you, and I know you are not going anywhere, and I know that when I go to bed tonight you'll be there, and when I wake up tomorrow morning, you'll be there, too."
"I know. And that's why I wanna marry you. Do you believe me?" Arizona asked, already knowing what the answer would be.
"Yes. But then where does that leave us?"
"Wait and see," Arizona winked and made Callie groan.
Doctor Dawson smiled at them in amusement. Every now and then, they made her job extremely easy.
They walked into the parking lot hand in hand. Callie felt better about things, mostly, but she was still somewhat lost in thoughts. For her part, Arizona was lost in Callie, trying to read the expression on her lover's face, hoping that she really managed to sooth her fears.
This is why they didn't notice a third woman coming towards them, lost in her own world as well, until it was too late and they all ended sprawled on the ground after an unavoidable bumping accident.
"I am so so sorry!" Callie said, trying to get herself up. "This is all my fault," she added, gave a hand to Arizona and finally, to the other woman.
"Many things are your fault," the woman said and looked up at Callie who was suddenly speechless, "this is not one of them."
"Maureen?" Callie asked in confusion. Arizona looked at Callie with an unreadable expression on her face.
"The one and only," Maureen said and finally took Callie's offered hand. "Thank you," she said, stood up, and won a glare from Arizona that luckily she didn't notice.
"I'm sorry, I really didn't notice where I was going," Callie said.
"Neither did I," Maureen said softly and they all stood in a stalemate.
"I'm guessing you are Arizona," Maureen said matter-of-factly, "the actual one and only."
"Maureen…" Callie pleaded.
"I'm Maureen, clearly," she introduced herself, "did Callie ever mention me at all?"
"Of course she did," Arizona hurried to clarify. She wasn't sure what else to say. "She really liked you," Arizona added and regretted it straight away even though she was just trying to be kind.
"Yeah, just not enough," Maureen stated, her voice sounded void of emotion.
"Maureen, please, this isn't Arizona's fault," Callie explained.
'It kinda is,' Arizona thought, and Callie turned to look at her so intently that she suspected the other woman could read her thoughts.
"Who's fault is it, then?" Maureen asked.
"The universe's?" Callie offered.
"Callie, what are we? 2?"
"Maureen, I lived with Arizona for months and not once did she try to pursue anything. On the contrary, she tried to give me as much freedom as possible and encouraged me to see you!"
"So what happened?" Maureen asked, finally letting her hurt show.
"The universe," Callie stated, now seriously.
"Callie, come on."
"I mean it, Maureen. We didn't plan it, heck, we're here nearly a year later, leaving therapy and still trying to figure stuff out. Yet, this was supposed to happen," Callie said whole heartedly.
"But you guys are together, aren't you?"
"We are," Arizona confirmed softly.
"Is this why you and I never… you know," Maureen asked Callie.
"I don't think that's why, Maureen. I think there were reasons, and maybe some weird subconscious mechanisms, but honestly, and without trying to be mean, I'm glad we didn't. It would have made everything harder on both of us," Callie admitted.
"Maybe," Maureen nodded.
"I really did care about you, and I think you are great," Callie said and she could feel Arizona's hand squeezing hers tighter. Arizona didn't really mind Callie saying those things, Callie knew, yet instinct was instinct and Callie knew that too.
"I believe you," Maureen said and Callie could hear Arizona's barely audible gasp. Declarations of belief was their thing, their pact. Callie wanted to clear the air with Maureen, but not making the love of her life miserable mattered to her more. She needed to get them out of there.
"What are you even doing here?" she asked casually, hoping small talk will divert them from the heavy subjects and soon after into the goodbyes.
"Same thing you guys do," Maureen admitted and pointed at the entrance to the therapist's office.
"Oh no, I didn't made you go to therapy, did I?" Callie asked in horror.
"Not everything is about you, Callie," Maureen said and started leaving.
"But are you okay?" Callie asked in genuine concern.
"Just because you're in therapy doesn't mean you're not together and in love, and just because I'm in therapy doesn't mean I'm falling apart. Have a nice day," Maureen said.
"Take care now," Callie replied, got a glare from Maureen and cringed.
They walked the rest of the way in silence, but when they sat in the safe confines of their car, Arizona finally spoke up.
"So that was awkward!" she said in fake cheer. "Now I'm kinda happy you didn't have an engagement ring on your finger."
"It was more awkward to me than to you," Callie said bitterly.
"I don't think so, Calliope. I'm the other woman, remember?"
"Arizona, you were never the other woman. For there to be another woman, one needs to know another woman is interested and act upon said interest."
"And then you did know, and then you acted on it, and then I was the other woman," Arizona argued.
"Hmm, no. Then I knew, and then for a moment there you were another woman. Not the other woman, but another woman, and then that moment passed oh so fast, and you were the woman. Maureen was never the woman at any point in time."
"Do you feel guilty?" Arizona asked cautiously. She was touched by Callie's words, but she knew her girlfriend always took it to heart when she hurt people, and Arizona didn't want Callie to carry this alone.
"I feel guilty about how it ended," Callie explained. "I never tried to deceive her. When I didn't know you and I were an option I really didn't think about it. Maureen and I had a lot of fun. I was always very honest with her about the situation, and that means I was honest at the end, too. When I finally realized what was happening I told her straight away. I mean we were seeing each other for a few months, but you know that if I saw her more than every other week it was a miracle."
"I think Tamara was subconsciously vagina blocking you," Arizona joked.
"Look, I didn't know if I wanted something serious in all the craziness that was our lives back then, and Maureen and I really liked each other but I think she, too, tried to figure out at one point just how deep she wanted to get into the madness. A few weeks later she made a decision one way, I made a decision another way, that's all."
"So guilt about hurting her but no guilt about the process?" Arizona asked.
"Something like that."
"I'm sorry. Maybe if I told you sooner…"
"Neither of us would have been ready. It was a slow burn. We needed that time, Arizona. The time without the added weight. Time to act towards each other a certain way based on instinct and not because a label, an obligation guided our choices. Do I make sense?"
"Yes. And so next time when I ask you to marry me, you'll say yes. Not because a label of our relationship is guiding you, but because it'll be your instinct to say yes," Arizona reassured. She knew what Callie meant, and she wanted Callie to understand that fully.
"Okay," Callie finally said. "Everything is the same, isn't it?"
"Yes, Callie. We live together, we're gonna be stuck with each other forever, we're raising two beautiful daughters, and today, when an ex took your hand, I still wanted to hit her with a brick even though she really didn't do anything wrong. Everything is the same."
"Same, but getting better and better every day."
"You know it."