DISCLAIMER: Grey's Anatomy and all its characters are the property of Shonda Rhimes and ABC. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Set at the end of "Stand by Me" (episode 5x17).
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Nora C. Parker
"You were late for the face transplant."
Callie Torres raised an eyebrow at the comment, and then smiled. She couldn't help but smile any time Arizona Robbins came near. "I had to sober up." As she made the admission, she realized how lame the statement sounded.
The response from Arizona was a similar sly smile. "Sober up? Is this a story I want to hear."
"Well, it involves a man." Callie considered the participants. "Three men, actually." At that count, Arizona was beginning to look confused. With Callie's romantic history and their far more brief history of dating, she wanted to hurry to the actual truth of the situation. Still, she couldn't resist tacking on, "and a woman."
Given they were both in street clothes, and it was the end of the day, Callie decided that maybe there was a benefit here in the way she'd let Arizona know that any implications were just teasing.."It's not bad. Just trying to do a favor that, maybe, backfired. And, maybe, would be best told at Joe's over a drink."
"Are you asking me out?"
"I am. Are you accepting?"
The smile on Arizona's face eased any residual tension. "I am indeed."
At the bar, Callie brought the drinks to the table that Arizona had grabbed for them and took the seat next to the blonde woman.
"So, back to your morning." Arizona had a look of earnestness about her questioning; one more thing for Callie to find incredibly endearing.
"This morning Bailey asked me to do a favor."
Arizona held up a finger. "So, that's the woman?"
"Yup, that's her. And, despite my aversion to anything related to nature or camping, I agreed to go try to fetch Derek Shepherd."
"The plot thickens," Arizona noted, holding up a second finger.
"Right. I figured I'd go, give him a little pep talk, and no problem. I can be very persuasive."
"I'm sure you can." Arizona flashed her dimples. "But there was a problem?"
"Problem was, he was making sense. Talking to him reminded me of a patient that I lost due to my own mistake."
Again Callie's thoughts drifted to the patient and his wife and she began her internal recriminations. Pulling her back to the present, though, was the feeling of a hand on her thigh, just above her knee. The warmth from Arizona's touch seeping through her jeans made Callie smile.
"We've all been there, Calliope."
Callie put her own hand over Arizona's. "I know, but, it was a down mood. And he asked me how I lived with it. And he had beer."
"So that's where the not sober comes in."
The only response Callie could think to give was a slight shrug.
"Aren't we still two men short?"
The timing of Arizona's question coincided with George O'Malley walking by. He grabbed the chair across from Arizona. "You need two men?"
The intrusion left Callie with her mouth, literally, hanging open. Arizona pulled her hand away and stood up. "I'll let you handle your last man for today," she whispered into Callie's ear, giving a playful quick lick before pulling her face away and heading to the bar.
With Arizona's departure, Callie turned her attention to her ex-husband. "George, hi."
"Sorry, I just heard what Dr. Robbins said. I thought, you know, maybe I could hang out with you guys. And I can find another guy if you want, or she wants. But I figured maybe for you since I don't want you to feel like we're on a date."
Looking over George's shoulder, Callie caught a glimpse of Arizona at the bar. The pair traded smiles, and Callie knew that while she should spend a moment explaining things to George, what she really wanted to get Arizona back to the table.
"George, I am on a date."
"Well that's good." His smile was genuine. "I'm really glad to hear that."
The genuine sentiment about seeing others made Callie feel a bit better.
Better until George continued with, "that Doctor Robbins is kind of cute. Do you know if she's seeing anyone."
"Yes, George. She's seeing someone."
"Oh. Are you waiting for him, too?"
Despite feeling that the whole hospital had heard about Erica Hahn and her, George had somehow missed that bit of gossip. Perhaps the stories weren't as prevalent as she'd thought. Arizona had heard them, though, and that thought warmed Callie. Arizona really had been asking about her.
"Arizona's seeing me. We're dating."
For a moment he looked stunned. Then he smiled. "You almost got me with that one."
"George, we can talk about this sometime, but not now. Now, I'm on a date. With Arizona. And I'd like to resume that date."
His response was to laugh. Callie put a hand to her forehead. So much for simple explanations. She shot Arizona a pleading look, eyes wide.
"That's not possible," he said finally. "You like, you know, man bits."
"I like people, George. I'm attracted to people. I've learned a few things about myself, and started putting people, the person, over the bits."
"So really, who's Robbins seeing?"
Setting two fresh drinks on the table, Arizona answered for herself as she reclaimed her seat. "I'm seeing this really amazing and gorgeous ortho surgeon."
"Thanks." Callie leaned over and brushed a kiss over Arizona's lips. As she attempted to sit back, Arizona lifted a hand to her cheek and responded with a deeper kiss before she'd let Callie pull away.
"Oh. OH." The light bulb moment had occurred. "I'll just," George motioned towards the other side of the room before stumbling out of his seat and heading in the direction indicated.
"I think you've traumatized him," Arizona whispered, trying to hold her smile while still talking.
"Not my fault if he didn't listen." Callie licked her bottom lip. "He'll be fine. I'll talk to him some other time if he's still weirded out."
"I don't want to talk about my ex right now." Callie had yet to break eye contact.
"And your two other men?"
"Don't need them, either. Don't need any men."
That pronouncement earned Callie another kiss. "You realize that this is a big step, Calliope. Being out in public together."
"I realize that I'm with the hottest woman in the place. Nothing for me to be ashamed of." Callie took hold of Arizona's hand, this time above the table.
As Callie felt she could easily lose herself in the happiness and warmth radiating from Arizona's blue eyes, she realized how true those words were. Whatever other people though, if they thought anything, she didn't care. She was here, and she was with Arizona. For now, that was enough.
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