Chapter 20 Just Sleep
The movie they had been watching was now forgotten. Laying face to face Callie was a bit overwhelmed at what she had just seen and the look on Arizona's face was hard to read. It was blank, like a empty white sheet of paper and it frightened Callie. She had always been good at reading people's facial expressions, the way they talked or their body language. Seeing Arizona this way made her even doubt herself and her skills of analysing individuals.
The blonde tried to avoid eye contact at any cost and the few times their eyes had met, Callie felt like she was staring into nothing. "What are you thinking about? How are you feeling?" Callie finally asked.
Arizona shrugged without emotion. The latina frowned in concern when she got no verbal response. She sighed and gently grabbed a hold of the blonde's nearby hand. "How do you feel about me seeing your scars and your body? What do you think I felt and thought when I saw them?"
A few seconds of silence passed between the two before Arizona finally spoke . "Disgust." It was more like a whisper than anything else.
Callie felt her chest ache as Arizona said the word 'disgust'. Scooting a bit closer to the small frame Callie placed her palm on a smooth cheek and let her thumb stroke the delicate skin just beneath Arizona's eye. "Sweetie, if I thought for one second that you were disgusting I wouldnt be laying this close to you, I wouldnt be holding your hand, I wouldnt be comforting you and holding you when you're sad to make you feel better. I wouldnt be here... but I am because I think that you are the most extraordinary, awesome, amazingly beautiful, considerate woman I've ever met." Callie paused for a second and stroked blonde hair away from a troubled face. "I want you to stop having such horrid thoughts about yourself, sweetheart. You are none of those things." The brunette felt her eyes sting and knew she was not far from tears herself but still continued.
"I know its gonna take awhile before you can see yourself in a better light and in a different prespectie but I promise you that some day you will. Im not giving up on you, honey, and neither are you. I wont let you. Im right here and I'm not leaving."
A lone tear trickled down the latinas tanned cheek but she ignored it as if it wasnt there. Arizona's eyes were now resting on Callie's and the taller woman could make out dark circles underneath the blue orbs. She smiled slightly and squeezed the hand she was still holding. "You look tired. Why dont you try and get some sleep. Its almost time to go to bed anyway."
"Can I sleep in here, with you?" Arizona quietly asked.
"Of course you can, sweetie. Come on, lets get ready for bed."
Ten minutes later the lights were out and the two women were laying close but not touching. Callie wasnt sure if Arizona would appreciate physical contact right now and she didnt want to make her feel trapped or scared. By listening to Arizona's breathing, Callie could tell that she was not relaxing or anywhere near a sleeping stage. The air in the dim lit room was filled with tension and anxiety. Turning to her side, Callie could make out the blonde's profile in the dark and found a hand that she tightly held onto.
"Try to relax, sweetie. Breath slowly, in and out. Its okay, you're safe here. No one is gonna hurt you." A few minutes passed and Callie could hear a difference in Arizona's breathing but it was still not relaxed or calm. She would never be able to sleep if she didnt calm her breathing down. "Talk to me, honey. What are you thinking right now? Whats making you so anxious?"
Arizona closed her eyes tightly, willing the memories away, but they were still there playing right before her eyes and no matter how hard she tried she couldnt make them disappear. Arizona was terrified of the bad dreams she knew were coming and she didnt want to go to sleep because of it. "Arizona please, baby. Talk to me?" Callie pleaded.
Finally the blonde mustered enough courage to speak up, even though her voice was weak and shaky. "Im... Im af... afraid of... the nightmares." She managed to say. "I dont want to go back there, Callie. Please, dont make me go back there." Arizona started to sob and she curled up into a tight ball on her side and hid her face in her hands.
Callie swallowed her own tears as she scooted closer and wrapped her arms around the crying woman, bringing a blonde head into the crook of her neck and held it there with one hand while the other was rubbing her back. "Oh, sweetie." The latina said with feeling. "I know how scary nightmares can be but they cant hurt you. He cant hurt you anymore, honey." She felt the salty drops spreading across her collarbone and held Arizona tighter. "I wish I could take the bad dreams away but I cant. All I can do is comfort you and hold you when you wake up and, you may not believe it now, but talking about them will help you, I promise you that. You can always talk to me, you know that, or you can talk to your therapist about them. Whichever you prefer and feel most comfortable doing."
The blonde was still sobbing but not as hysterical as two minutes ago. Arizona could only nod against Callie's neck as words would not be able to pass her throat. The brunette continued the reassuring touches and the sushing noises until there was only the occasional sniffle remaining. "Nighttimes are the worst." Arizona admitted. "Every time I close my eyes and try to sleep I see him and I... I... I just cant... I..."
"Shhhh, sweet girl. Dont work yourself up, its okay." Callie continued to stroke the blonde tresses. "How did it all start, sweetie? Do you think you can tell me?"
Arizona took a deep breath and swallowed her fears. "I fell in love. I was young and naive. He was so charming and handsome, any parents dream for a son in law. We were always together, almost inseparable." She sniffled and took another calming breath. "My parents adored him but when he asked me to marry him, the flipped. They said I was too young and that I didnt know what was best for me. My eighteenth birthday was not far away so we planned on running away together and marry when I was legally an adult."
It was hard for the blonde to relive these memories again and again. The safe haven in Callie's arms made it just bearable to speak about them. "Our plan was to run away and get married and then come back after a couple of weeks, hoping that things would have cooled down a bit, when it came to our families, but..." Arizona went quiet for a while, Callie waiting patiently for her to continue. "God, I was so stupid." She finally said.
The latina pulled back so she could look into Arizona's eyes. "Stop doing that to yourself. Nothing is gonna come of it. You have to stop blaiming yourself for his wrong doings. What happened to you was not your fault."
The blonde just sighed and closed her eyes in a resigned manner. "He um... He brought me to this... horrible place and I remember thinking why he would bring me there. It was an old, run down farm house somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I remember him showing me around the old house and I remember feeling a bit... uneasy. I had no idea why he was showing me this place and I couldnt wait to get out of there. I told him I wanted to go and that the place was giving me the creeps." She made a brief pause to collect herself. She couldnt believe she was actually revealing this to Callie but she felt like she owed it to her and to herself.
"He wanted us to move into that house and build a family together. I laughed at him first, thinking he was just joking, but when I saw the look on his face I knew he was serious about it." Tears started to build up once again and a big lump was forming in her throat. "I told him no, that I wanted to go back home and live close to my family but he wouldnt listen." The blonde sniffled, took a calming breath and tried to fight the headache that was forming deep inside her skull.
Callie just wanted to wrap her up in a warm cocoon where nothing and no one could ever hurt her again but she kept her distance, thinking that Arizona would want her space and not to be distracted. Instead she just lay there, listening to what was the beginning of Arizona's horrible experience.
"We fought about what to do and I remember turning around cause I'd had enough and then... then he um,... he..." Her heart was beating so fast she thought Callie might acually hear it hammering through her chest. Swallowing repeatedly, trying to get rid of the lump in her throat, Arizona curled up into a foetal position, ignoring the slight ache in her knee.
"Go on, sweetie. He what...?" Callie reassured but it sounded more like a plea.
It took a few minutes for the blonde to calm herself enough to keep going. "He um... he must've hit me at the back of my head with something large and heavy cause I remember a sharp pain and then I was falling. When I woke up I was laying on my side, my hands and feet were tied and I couldnt move." Her chin started to quiver and she knew it wouldnt be long until she broke down again. "I was left there for two days without any food or water." Looking into Callie's eyes she was surprised to see tears rolling down olive skin.
"When he finally came to the little concrete basement he just laughed and said, 'You're mine now and I can do whatever I want. Nobody knows we're here and there is nobody around for miles. You can scream all you want but nobody will ever hear you." The tears were coming in full flow and it was difficult to speak but she was determined to finish. "He... he untied my... my hands and my ankles and... and left a plate of cold porridge and... and a glass of water and then he left." She burst into sobs and violent hiccups and with each one she could feel her head pounding like a sledgehammer. "I cou... I couldnt understand why... Why he did it and I... I... I just..."
It was too difficult to speak. She couldnt get another understandable word out and Callie could no longer contain the strong need to comfort. Watching Arizona struggle to get air into her lungs she decided to sit them both up against the headboard. It was easier for the blonde to breath this way and Callie was desperate to try and prevent a full blown panick attack.
She placed a hand on the blonde's chest and wiped away the tears with the other. "Calm your breathing, sweetheart." She spoke soothingly and calmly. "It will pass and you're safe here. I promise you, you're safe." When Arizona's breathing wasnt so erratic, Callie removed her hand from her still slightly heaving chest and brought her head onto her shoulder so Arizona could hide her face in the crook of her neck for extra comfort.
"Thank you for trusting me enough to talk to me about it. It means a lot to me, Arizona. Whenever you need or want to talk Im here, okay? I'll always be here and listen and try to help. Dont ever believe otherwise." She kissed the blonde hair, scooted them both down onto the bed and covered them with the duvet. Callie coninued to hold her even though Arizona was almost asleep. When the sniffles had stopped completely and the room was dark and silent, Callie brushed a nearby ear with her lips.
"I love you, Arizona. Sleep now, I'll be right here if you need me. Just sleep, sweetheart, just sleep."