Cosima felt herself being pulled out of a light slumber by a sporadic drip of water onto various locations of her bikini-clad body. She slowly became aware of the fact that her precious sunlight was being blocked and as she opened her eyes, she found wavy blonde hair and a smiling face leaning over her. Rubbing her eyes, she took in the just slightly blurred edges of the woman's face, her glasses setting on the table beside her chair with her cell phones. She couldn't stop herself from smiling back. "Hello, Gorgeous." She accepted a soft kiss that was presented to her. "You're totally blocking my rare opportunity for a suntan."
"Bonjour, mon rayon de soleil." Delphine sat down on the seat beside the woman, her body still beaded with the crisp chlorinated water. "You do not need the suntan, Cosima." She ran her fingertip over the forearm that was already taking on a golden hue. "You are beautiful already."
A genuine smile spread across Cosima's face. "Thank you, but I know you're just biased." She pulled the woman over to her own reclined chair, not happy until the woman was spread out beside her. "Hey, Doc." She ran her hands through the wet hair, sorting out the tangles.
Delphine couldn't resist being this close to her. She caressed the woman's jaw line, tracing the soft lips with a fingertip before leaning forward to kiss her again. There was no resistance from the brunette and she allowed the gentle kiss to turn aggressive and demanding.
Cosima locked her fingers in the blonde hair and wrapped her other arm around the woman's waist, pulling her closer. She returned the woman's kiss fully, gently raking her fingernails over the woman's hip. She growled against the soft lips, tangling her legs with the long, lean limbs, wanting more.
Neither woman expected the wave of cold water crashing over their bodies.
Cosima sat up sputtering, wiping the water from her eyes. She glared at the medium-height man who had a smile that reached all the way to his grey sideburns. He held a now empty bucket as he laughed. "Oh my god, Dad."
Mr. Niehaus's laugher continued. "You girls looked like you could use some cooling down." He tossed the bucket into the nearby grass with a final chuckle. "Your mother sent me out to announce lunch is ready." He headed back into the house, still laughing silently.
"Oh my god, Delphine..." She looked at the blonde and saw the woman had both hands firmly over her mouth and was holding back the laughter. "That was totally not funny!" She stood up and grabbed the towel from the table, dabbing away the water. "I totally just got high school flashbacks."
Still laughing, Delphine stood up and captured the shorter woman around the waist, leaning down for a quick kiss. "Get caught a lot in high school?"
A blush coloring her cheeks, Cosima slipped on a sleeveless tunic dress before checking her phones. "Maybe once or twice..." Cosima gave the blonde her usual coy smile she gave when she was trying to be mysterious.
Delphine had slipped on a pair of short jeans shorts and a tank top, towel-drying her hair. "So should I feel jealous?"
Sliding on her glasses and everything into her messenger bag, Cosima gave her a genuine smile, slipping a finger in the loop of her jeans, pulling her closer. "Oh believe me. Jimmy Newman had nothing on you and neither did Becky Christiansen." She raised to her toes so the blonde wouldn't have to bend down so far, kissing her softly. "C'mon, before my dad comes back out here." She grabbed her bag with one hand and pulled the blonde toward the main house with the other.
Mrs. Niehaus was in the process of filtering the iced tea when the younger women entered. "Oh good, you're still in one piece. When your father came back in here laughing his silly head off I was actually a little scared." She made a quick and efficient task of dropping the sweet lime slices in the pitcher and handing it off to her daughter. "Table please. Your father is in the smoking room if you would like to join him."
Cosima flashed her winning smile at the blonde who looked at her knowingly as she set the pitcher on the table. "I'm actually getting over a chest cold so I'm taking it a little slow." When the words left her mouth she knew she should have chosen a different lie by the way her mother's body froze.
"Chest cold?" The woman stopped what she was doing. "How long ago was this? How bad was it?" She pulled a stethoscope out of one of the kitchen drawers, hold up a finger to stop any protests. "Are you experiencing any shortness of breath? How is your sleeping?"
Rolling her eyes, Cosima took a deep breath when told to, feeling her chest tighten just slightly and hoping she didn't have a coughing fit. "I'm fine, Mom. That's why we're here. I'm taking it easy for a bit."
Mrs. Niehaus narrowed her eyes at the woman, hearing a rasping in her daughter's chest. "Did you get a chest x-ray? God knows if those Minnesota doctors are competent in any way..."
Capturing the woman's hands, Cosima smiled softly. "I'm fine. Really." She pulled the woman into a hug, giving Delphine an apologetic look over her shoulder.
The older woman gave her a soft look. "You know I worry about you, so far away from us. You were always a sick child."
Cosima rolled her eyes. "I was not always sick. You were just convinced I was dying every time I sniffled." She held her mom at arm's reach. "I love you, but sometimes having a doctor as a mother is a pain in the ass." She smiled to keep the bite out of it. "I'm fine."
"You know I just worry about you." Mrs. Niehaus gave her a worried smile.
"I know." She looked over at Delphine who was watching the scene with that ridiculously cute puppy dog look on her face. "You...stop giving us that look."
Delphine smiled, her palms pressed together, she pressed her steepled fingers to her lips. "You and your mother...C'est un tel spectacle étonnant." She paused for a minute to think about the words. "It is beautiful to watch."
Cosima rolled her eyes as she set out the glasses. "You guys are totally whack." She saw the look on Delphine's face and grinned. "Hah...don't know that one, huh?" She set the glasses out, laughing softly to herself.
"You are such a brat." Delphine bumped her softly.
Mrs. Niehaus watched the two women set the table. It was cute, really, the way they almost danced around each other, exchanging casual touches and looks. She had, of course met a few of her carefree daughter's partners, both male and female, but usually it was a bit more awkward, and almost tense. She never thought her daughter was very serious about any relationship, which had worried her in the past. This however, was significantly different. "How did you two meet again?"
Cosima paused for a minute. "At school. She was in the lab doing some work and I was working on my case studies."
"I had to leave and left some paperwork behind in which your daughter chased me down to return." Delphine added. They had decided to stick as close to the truth as possible, keeping out any mention of clones and monitors. "A few days later we ended up going to a lecture together. She was so charming that I was instantly drawn in."
"Hah!" Cosima interrupted the blonde's story. "I was not charming. I insulted the lecturer and she called me a brat. Then I may have stole some wine from the meet and greet and we bonded over being chased down." She grinned at her mother who rolled her eyes.
Mrs. Niehaus handed her the plate of sandwiches. "You are a brat. You were always smarter than your peers and never afraid to show it." She smiled at the blonde before retrieving a tray of bowls from the fridge. "I blame her father. He's always given her everything she wanted growing up. The curse of being the only child I think."
Delphine took the tray from her and brought it to the table. "I can definitely see that side of her." She watched Cosima placing the bowls in front of each seat and followed suit.
"I'm totally right here, guys!"
"And it took you a long enough time to visit." Mr. Niehaus entered the room. He pulled his daughter into a hug. "And then you come visit us and spend all your time trying to make lesbian babies by the pool."
"Oh my god." Cosima pushed Delphine into a chair. "Ignore him."
Laughing, Mr. Niehaus took his normal seat at the head of the table. "So, Delphine. Are you a student at UofM as well?"
Pouring the glasses of tea, Mrs. Niehaus bumped her husband playfully. "They were just telling me about how they met."
"And then somehow branched into telling me how spoiled I was." Cosima dropped into the chair beside Delphine, grabbing one of the finger sandwiches from the tray and inspecting it to see what sort of concoction was hidden between the white bread slices.
"Stop that." Mrs. Niehaus gave Cosima a familiar look. "Always picking things apart. It's just crab salad."
Giving her a suspicious look, Cosima sniffed it. "There's no mustard in here is there?"
Mrs. Niehaus put down the pitcher and gave her daughter a questioning look. "Who would put mustard in crab salad?" She gave Delphine a smile. "I asked Cosima if you had any food aversions or allergies. We normally live a close to vegetarian lifestyle around here but we're not adverse to cheating."
Delphine smiled. "No allergies and I was raised to eat anything that was put in front of me, but this... This is very beautiful."
"Thank you. It's chilled avocado soup with crab and yogurt." Mrs. Niehaus pointed a spoon at her chewing offspring. "This one refused to eat anything yellow growing up but put anything green in front of her and it would disappear in minutes."
"Yellow?" Delphine rose her eyebrows. She looked at Cosima who was poking around in her soup for bits of crab.
Cosima shrugged as she swallowed a spoonful of the soup. "I had a theory relating yellow food to yellow caution signs for toxic waste." She smiled at the blonde who laughed and continued to consume the soup. It was light and refreshing and reminded her of a lot of lunches growing up. "This is great, Mom. Thanks."
The older woman smiled proudly. "Thank you." She picked up a sandwich for herself. "Your father and I are going out after lunch. We have plans with Chuck and Betty Christiansen. You remember their daughter Becky, right?"
Cosima coughed as she nearly inhaled the green soup. She looked at Delphine who was giving her a concerned look. "I'm fine." She gave her mother a look. "Thanks, Mom. Thanks a lot."
"Well." Mrs. Niehaus gave the blonde a wink. "What's the point in having children if you can't torment them once in a while."
Cosima closed the door and leaned against it, watching as Delphine poked around her childhood room. "My parents are so subtle."
Delphine smiled as she picked up a picture of a very young Cosima wearing an oversized lab coat and showing off a medal. "Aw, mon petite cherie. You were so cute." She set it back down and looked at one of the several trophies on a case near the desk. "Your parents are very loving." She smiled at the shorter woman. "You are very lucky."
Cosima shrugged, pushing herself off the door and over to where Delphine was poking around. "So, my parents are gone for the afternoon, we're on vacation, and I'm not dying." She grabbed the edge of the blonde's shorts, pulling her close. "We haven't had any life or death situations in the past 2 days. I think this deserves a celebration, don't you?"
Caressing her cheek, Delphine smiled at her before leaning down for a kiss. It was soft and brief and she pulled away, tracing the soft lips with her fingertips. "Every day with you is a celebration for me." Another brief kiss. "Savez-vous combien Je t'aime?"
Smiling, Cosima pulled her down for another kiss. "I know."
Delphine gave her a surprised look.
With a laugh, Cosima unfastened the woman's jeans, letting the material slip down long legs. "What can I say? It only took a month knowing you before I picked up a copy of French for Dummies." She pulled the woman down for a deeper kiss, not pulling away until they were both gasping for breath. "And you know I love you too right?" She slipped the woman's tank top up and off, letting it drop to the floor. "It's completely indescribable, how in love with you I am."
Delphine captured the woman's face in her hands, kissing her gently. "I love you." She confirmed in English. She slipped the woman's dress up and over her head, letting it fall to the ground. "You are breathtaking." She ran her fingertips down the woman's side, pulling her closer.
Cosima pushed her onto the bed, straddling her lap. She rested her arms on the woman's shoulders, using her temporary height advantage to good use. Strong hands caressed her back, finding the laces of her bikini and quickly removed the offending barrier. Suddenly her world twirled as she found herself pinned to the bed, the long length of the woman's body pressing against her as she felt a soft chuckle against her lips.
A little over an hour later, Cosima was curled against the woman's side, tracing patterns against the woman's abdomen. She felt the shudder run through the woman's body and hugged her closer. "Have I told you lately just how good you've gotten at that?"
Delphine released a short laugh, reaching up to wipe away the tears that always overcame her. "I had an expert teacher." She brushed her lips across the woman's forehead.
Cosima laughed at that. "Expert?" She rolled onto her stomach and pushed herself up onto her elbows, giving the blonde an amused look. "You know that's pretty close to saying I'm kinda slutty." She grinned at the woman's shocked face. "Just kidding." She leaned forward for a kiss. "I know what you meant." The next kiss was interrupted by the sound of a ringing phone. "Oh no..." She let her head drop the rest on the woman's chest.
The phone rang again and Delphine sighed as well. "You must get it."
"I'm on vacation." She growled softly.
"I know, mon cherie." Delphine kissed her forehead. "But you must still answer."
Cosima groaned as she reached for the pink phone that was sitting on her bedside table. She looked at the caller and rolled her eyes. "Hello?"
"Oi Cos! You were supposed to call once every two days so we know you're safe." The harsh British accent poured out of the phone.
"I'm on vacation, Sarah." Cosima smiled at the blonde, running her fingertips over the smooth expanse of the pale abdomen.
"That doesn't matter!" There was a perturbed response. "Cos, both Alison and Beth knew their monitors for years."
Cosima rolled her eyes, her fingernails gently raking over the blonde's hip. "I'm well aware of this, Sarah."
"Then you know there's a big chance someone in your home town could be a monitor."
"I'm not exactly partying up the town." Cosima wiggled a little closer to the woman. "The only people I've seen are my parents and Delphine."
There was a pause on the phone before a higher voice responded. "Who goes on vacation to just lay around the house all day?"
Cosima grinned. "Hello to you too, Alison." Despite not wanting to be on the call, there wasn't anything that could really put her in a bad mood right now.
"We just want you safe, Cosima."
Alison sounded a little worried and Cosima was starting to feel a little bad before a hand slipped around her waist, nails raking over her skin and leaving a path of fire. "I'm safe. Really. We haven't really gone out since getting here. Just a lot of...lounging around the pool and stuff." She grinned up at Delphine who gave her a knowing look. "No one except my parents know I'm here. Just relax." She looked down as she felt teasing fingertips making small circles as they slid down the center of her abdomen. "I'll be fine. I'm nice...nice and safe." She arched her back into the woman's touch as it became more intimate. "I'll talk to you guys in two days." She hung the phone up and dropped it to the ground, capturing the woman's hand and pressing it closer to her. "Brat."
"Oui." Delphine agreed. "I can stop..." She began to pull away.
"No!" Cosima growled, pulling her closer and showing her just how much she needed the blonde's touch to continue.
Delphine could feel consciousness tugging at her like an incessant child, pulling her out of a pleasant dream involving Cosima, ice cream, and the Eiffel tower. When she opened her eyes, she could tell it was late, the sun shining in the window far brighter than it really should be. Cosima was gone and had been for a while judging from the cold bed and she felt a brief wave of panic that sent her searching for her phone. Of course they'd turned their phones off last night so they could sleep in. "Merde." She cursed as she scrolled through the two missed calls and several text messages. She turned the ringer back on before shooting off an apologetic message to Cosima who was apparently at the market.
Although she didn't mind sleeping in on occasion, she always felt disoriented when she did. She made a quick task of washing her face and changing, pausing to make the bed and pick up some of the clothes Cosima had left on the floor after changing. It was a common routine despite the not so common surrounding. She loved the short brunette, but sometimes she was worse than a child when it came to some things like tossing her clothes everywhere. Not sure of what else to do, Delphine headed downstairs, descending slowly as she admired the many photos on the wall of family photos. Looking at a picture of a young and bright Cosima at the beach, she nearly jumped out of her own skin when a phone rang.
Delphine recognized the voice of Cosima's mother immediately.
"I told you not to call me on this line."
There was an odd panic in the older woman's voice that made her stop and pay attention.
"No…No…they're gone." There was a pause that lasted for nearly an entire minute. "She says it was just a chest cold."
Delphine felt a chill run down her spine.
"I could hear fluid in her lungs." There was a pause. "No of course she won't." Another pause. "I'll try again but you know there's no forcing her if she doesn't want to."
It took everything Delphine had in her to stay where she was. She wanted to grab their stuff, find Cosima, and escape.
"No I'm not going to do that. I'll ask again…" The sound of a car arriving caused the woman to stop briefly. "She's back, I have to go."
Delphine hard the phone beep and quickly ran back upstairs, glad the carpet muffled her steps. When she got to Cosima's door, she opened it and closed it a little louder than necessary, turning to head down the stairs at what she hoped was a relaxed pace.
emerged from the den. "Oh Delphine! I had no idea you were here. I though you want with Cosima."
"Non." Delphine gave her an exasperated look. "It seems I was more tired than I thought. I just woke up to find her gone."
"It's the sun and swimming. It just zaps all the energy out of you." The oldest woman gave her a tight smile.
The front door swung open forcefully, revealing Cosima struggling to carry about 20 bags.
"Cosima!" Delphine quickly jumped forward to help only to be refused by the shorter woman.
"No!" She swung away from the helping hand. "I got this." Cosima grinned widely as she made her way into the kitchen. Setting it down on the prep table, she rubbed the red marks on her arms, giving the blonde a triumphant grin. "Morning, sleepyhead." Pulling the taller woman close by the edge of her jeans, she rose up to her toes, brushing their lips together softly. The kiss was cut off by her father entering the kitchen carrying a large box that clinked when he set it down. "You owe me twenty bucks." She exclaimed as she pulled away and pointed at her father.
"I didn't see you carry it in." He protested indignantly. "For all I know Delphine helped you when you got to the door." He started pulling out wine bottles, inspecting each label and bottle.
Cosima put her hands on her hips, giving him an outraged look. "No way, Man! She did not!"
"What? You saw her with both arms full of bags and didn't help her?"
Delphine's jaw dropped. "But…"
"Oh stop harassing the woman, Richard." Cosima's mother entered and started poking around the bags.
"She tried to help, but I told her no." Cosima leaned against Delphine, having missed her presence in the two hours she'd been gone. "C'mon old man. Fork it up." She held her hand out, not happy till her father unhappily took out his wallet and handed her a twenty. "Thank you, good sir. Fabulous doing business with you." She looked at the blonde and just then noticed an odd look on her face. "Hey, are you okay?"
Delphine tilted her head slightly. "I am ok, but I have a bit of a headache. I could also go for a bagel or something."
Cosima paused before nodding. "Yeah, ok." She smiled. "Hey guys we're gonna head out for a bit. Delphine's hungry."
"You don't have to go out. I can make you something." offered.
Cosima shook her head. "It's cool. I wanna show her some of my old hangouts."
They drove for a few miles in silence, neither saying anything. Cosima glanced at Delphine in worry. The truth was, the blonde hated bagels. She thought they were an insult to baking, preferring instead softer, flaky breads like croissants. Cosima didn't enjoy them any more either after surviving nearly an entire month in her early college years on just bagels alone. No, "bagels" was their code word. They had settled on something ordinary enough to not be noticed by others, but out of character enough to be noticed by each other.
Pulling into the parking lot of a deserted park, Cosima excited the car first, pulling her coat tight against the wind that chilled her right to the bone. She heard the blonde following her and led the way to a bench, looking around to see they were alone. When Delphine sat beside her, she took a shuddering breath, feeling everything crashing down on her in an instant. "I should have just kept my mouth shut." Cosima leaned forward, holding her head in her hands. "I tempted the fates yesterday with that stupid comment about not being chased for two days." She took another shuddered breath. "What happened?"
Wrapping an arm around her shoulders, Delphine described the call she had heard, including the tones of fear and panic in her mother's voice. When the woman didn't say anything, Delphine tried to comfort her. "It is not solid proof of anything, Cherie."
"I know that." Cosima pulled away, standing up and pacing. "I'm so sick of not being able to trust anyone."
Delphine stood and captured her around the waist, pulling her into a hug. "What do you want to do?"
Cosima sniffled, reveling in the warmth surrounding her. "I need to know, Delphine." She leaned against the strong frame, her arms slipping under the woman's coat and hugging her. "Part of me wants to just say forget this, sever all ties to everyone I've ever known." She shook her head, resting her ear against the warm chest. "But they're my family."
"Oui." Delphine rubbed her back, wishing she could do more. There was no way she could even begin to imagine how she felt. "Whatever you want to do, I will help." She placed a kiss against the woman's forehead. "We must tell Sarah and Alison."
"No!" Cosima pulled back, shaking her head furiously. "They'll just tell me to leave. They'll tell me it's too dangerous to be here, but I can't just leave." She reached up and wiped away a tear slipped out. "I can't just leave without knowing for sure that they're a part of this."
Delphine's brow furrowed. "Lies have not gotten us very far, ma Cherie."
Another head shake. "This is different. I'm not lying. I'm just not telling them. We don't know for sure they're involved." Cosima locked her eyes with the ones studying her. "Just give me two days to find out what's going on. Then we can go back."
With a worried look, Delphine caressed her cheek, leaning forward and kissing her lightly. "Two days." She sighed softly, still unsure. "Until then, do not go anywhere without me, d'accord?"
"D'accord, obvs." Cosima confirmed.
As it turns out, pretending like nothing weird was going on was much different around family than it was with neighbors and at school. Cosima downed her third glass of wine and watched her father chatting with Delphine as he grilled some vegetables. Delphine looked almost at home sipping from a bottle of water, her hair messily pulled up into a loose and wild bun as she wore one of Cosima's old t-shirts with the sleeves rolled up. They were in what looked like a serious discussion about possibly biology or possibly hunting as she used her free hand to make some sort of gesture Cosima couldn't translate.
"I don't remember you being such the drinker."
Cosima looked up as her mother refilled her glass before sitting down across from her at the picnic table. "I don't normally." She smiled. "But I'm at home, so what's the harm?"
There was a silence between them as they both watched their significant others through the hazy smoke. "So...it's been about four years since you've brought someone home, and I've never seen you so...attached to someone." The older woman sipped her own wine as she switched her observation to the tall blonde woman. "How serious is this one?"
As if sensing the eyes on her, Delphine looked her way and Cosima smiled, watching it returned fully but briefly before Delphine returned to her conversation, occasionally casting quick glances her way. "I can't imagine life without her anymore." She looked up at her mom and she couldn't help wondering just what was curiosity, or if the woman was doing research. "We've been through a lot and it's good to have someone I can trust completely and lean on."
"Don't forget us." Her mother spoke up after a silent moment. "Your family is always here to talk to if you need us, Cosima."
With as much of a smile as Cosima could muster, she took a sip of her wine. "I know, but it's different with her."
Cosima's mother rolled her eyes, nodding. "I know, I know." She gestured towards her husband and Delphine. "Everything is different with love." She leaned in conspiringly. "You know, they did away with prop. 8 here."
Leaning back, Cosima gave her a shocked look. "Um...but...uh..." She looked over at Delphine who was giving her a worried look and was about to come over. Instead she waved her off, shaking her head slightly before turning to her mother. "I mean...it's been only 6 months."
"Are you saying that you'll feel differently in another 6 months? In a year?"
Taken aback slightly, Cosima stared into her wine. She wasn't supposed to be focusing on matters like this. She was supposed to be finding a way to establish if her parents were monitors or not, not thinking about proposals and marriage. "Yes." At her mother's questioning look, she smiled again. "Every day that goes by, I love her more than the previous day." She watched Delphine for a minute before returning her eyes to her mother. "What?"
Her mother hummed as she drank the rest of her wine. "Well...that was positively sappy." She shook her head in amazement and reached out to squeeze her offspring's hand. "I'm happy for you. You should definitely marry her. We'll have a grand ceremony here, invite all your cousins and friends. We can even invite Becky Christiansen so she can see what she's missing out on living with that silly boy she's married to now."
Cosima sighed softly. To be honest she didn't know how she even felt about marriage. She wasn't the kind of kid that imagined getting married when she grew up. She was always more focused on science journals than romance novels. It wouldn't be bad, marrying Delphine. The woman looked fantastic in white. The guest list would be horrendous. How could she get her family and friends in the same room as her clones? That is if her parents weren't monitors that were set on spying on her and ruining her life. She could feel the little joy the thought of marriage brought to her melt into sadness and let herself be distracted by that. When a hand landed on her shoulder she nearly jumped out of her skin. A familiar warmth surrounded her and she looked up as Delphine straddled the bench right beside her, her hip being hugged by the woman's thighs.
"Est ce que vous allez bien?" Delphine rubbed the woman's lower back.
With a small smile, Cosima nodded, leaning into the touch. "I'm fine."
Delphine tilted her head. "Es-tu sure?"
Another nod. Cosima looked at her mother who was watching with interest.
"Since when do you speak French?"
It was Delphine's laugh that answered. "Sorry. I do not mean to laugh, but Cosima does not speak French." She smiled at the shorter scientist who was giving her a wry look. "Non, she can understand some things, sometimes more than she lets on."
Cosima gave her a genuine grin. "Whenever she gets super excited or angry, it's like all French."
"But you don't speak it?"
Delphine and Cosima both shook their heads. "Non. Cosima sounds too much like an American and trips over every word." She smiled and kissed the woman on her cheek. "Drink water, okay? Do not forget we have plans after dinner tonight."
Cosima's mother sat up straight. "Plans?"
Before Cosima could answer, Delphine nodded. "Oui. I am afraid it is my fault but since this is my first time in San Francisco, Cosima has agreed to be a tour guide." She pat Cosima on the back, hoping the woman would not object to something they hadn't previously worked out. "She has promised me a night in the city with a view of the bridge and it's pretty lights and a tour of the prison island in the morning."
"Alcatraz." Cosima added wryly, nudging the blonde softly. She smiled at her mother. "Sorry, I can't believe I totally forgot. I don't even know what day today is."
"Well then, I'd hate to be the one to keep you girls from your date in the city. Let me see if your father is done burning that eggplant yet."
When the older woman was far enough away, Cosima turned to the blonde. "Um...something you forget to tell me?"
Delphine shrugged. "Is it too much to want you to myself for at least one night on our supposed vacation?"
Cosima smiled brightly, leaning forward to kiss her quickly. "No. I didn't know how much I needed that until right now."
Both women jumped when a plate of grilled vegetables was set on the table loudly.
"So! Your mother tells me you girls will be spending the night in the city?" Cosima's father set the second platter that contained grilled oysters.
"Oui. At the Mandarin." Delphine supplied.
Cosima's mother set a pot on the table along with a stack of bowls. When she lifted the cover, the hearty scent of cioppino filled the air. "That's a pretty pricy place."
Delphine smiled as she accepted a bowl for Cosima and a bowl for herself with the fish and seafood stew."This smells heavenly." She handed her partner a spoon. "It is only one night."
Cosima nodded, her mouth already full of soup-soaked sourdough bread.
"Well good." Cosima's father handed out small plates for the vegetables and oysters. "Go use all the hotel's hot water with your hour-long showers."
Cosima began coughing as she nearly inhaled the bread.
Delphine felt the heat rising in her own cheeks as she pat Cosima on the back.
Cosima sat on the couch, flipping through an old furniture catalogue she'd found on the coffee table. She had showered, changed and packed a quick overnight bag and was just waiting for Delphine who had a ridiculously long hair regiment to go through whenever she wanted to get dressed up. She couldn't complain really. She loved the end result, but at the moment she was completely bored. Her lungs still felt a bit jilted from the soup incident earlier and she couldn't stop herself from coughing sporadically. She was at least glad she didn't taste any blood.
"Is that chest cold still bothering you? How long ago was it again?" Mrs. Niehaus sat on the one-seater that was perpendicular to her.
"A few weeks ago." Cosima lied. The truth was it was well over a month ago that they had come up with the treatment that had stopped the degeneration of her lungs. It had been a long month of breathing treatments and sleepless nights, but they'd pulled through. She still carried a nebulizer and a few bottles of the serum they'd created just in case of emergencies. She, of course, couldn't tell her mother that.
Mrs. Niehaus frowned. "I think you should really come by my office tomorrow." She held up a hand to stop the protests. "After your tours. I'll be at the office till 7. Surely you'll be done before that." She could see her daughter's hesitance. "I just want to take a few x-rays and make sure everything is ok."
Cosima looked up the stairs, wishing Delphine could come down and whisk her away so she could avoid the question. She didn't want to get tested on. What if it was a trap? What if Leekie would be waiting there for her? What if they tried to inject her with something?
Then it hit her. This was her family. She grew up not fearing confrontation. She was never one to run away. Even when she knew Delphine was her monitor, she faced it head on. This would be the best way to see if anything was going on. So instead of declining, she smiled. "Ok. Just to make you feel better, I'll stop by." She held up a hand at her mother's response. "No needles."
"No." Cosima held firm.
Taken aback slightly at her daughter's firmness, Mrs. Niehaus blinked. "Ok…no needles." She smiled. "Just some x-rays…maybe an EKG…a swab or two…" She went over a mental checklist.
"Hey hey hey." Cosima interrupted her.
"Why all the shouting, ma Cherie?" Delphine appeared, setting the overnight bag down on the couch beside Cosima.
All speech was cut off as Cosima took in the sight of Delphine, her wavy blonde hair perfectly formed as if she'd stepped out of a salon. She was dressed not unlike when they first met, a white blouse tucked into a black skirt and the longer black coat that was Cosima's favorite. "Hey." Cosima grinned widely, standing up and being rewarded with a quick kiss. "You finally ready?"
Delphine caressed her cheek, nodding. "Oui. Let us go." She grabbed her bag and Cosima's bag, leading the way to the door.
Cosima rose a hand and waved at her mother but found her arm grabbed by the elder woman.
"Seriously, you need to marry that woman." Mrs. Niehaus commented softly for only her daughter to hear. "You're almost 30 and you will probably never find another person who is that smart, that beautiful, and completely in love with you."
Rolling her eyes, Cosima pulled away. "See you tomorrow, Mom."
It wasn't until they were in the car pulling away that Delphine brought up Cosima's mysterious conversation with her mother. "What was that all about?"
With a soft sigh, Cosima looked out the window, watching the other people on the street. "I agreed to go to my mother's office tomorrow for x-rays."
"I know I know." Cosima shrugged. "You don't have to come with me if you don't want to, but I would prefer if you were there. I mean, what's the harm in a few x-rays. We've taken a million of those over the past month. There's nothing she's going to find." She turned to look at the blonde who had a worried look. "I already told her no needles." She smiled softly. "You look very beautiful tonight."
Delphine's nostrils flared. "Thank you, so do you, but you cannot change the subject."
Cosima bit her bottom lip, grinning. "Sure I can." She ran her fingertips over the woman's jacket. "I don't want to think about what could happen tomorrow." She tugged on a lock of blonde hair. "I want to think about my genius girlfriend who managed to come up with an awesome idea so we didn't have to worry about monitors or tests or betrayal."
Delphine smiled. "Ok, but I am going with you, ma Cherie."
"I know." Cosima grinned knowingly, watching as the blonde drove. It wasn't long before they were out of the residential area and in the bright lights of the city. Cosima watched as familiar buildings went by. The museum she visited more than once, stores she'd shopped at.
Delphine cast a look at Cosima, smiling. The GPS indicated they were getting very close and she could feel a thrill running through her body. They had spent so much of the last 6 months researching and looking for a cure or in a fight helping Sarah find Kira. This entire vacation was supposed to be down time and here they were again caught in the mystery and drama.
She risked another glance at Cosima to find her watching her with a smile.
The hotel was bigger than Cosima remembered. She'd never stayed there, but she remembered seeing it from the outside a few times. She smiled at the uniformed man who opened her door, offering her a hand as she stepped out. She grinned even wider when Delphine joined her, offering her hand. The long thin fingers wrapped around hers, pulling her inside.
She should have figured it out. When the front desk clerk lit up at Delphine telling her name, or the way the bell hop insisted on helping, she should have put it together. Of course she couldn't understand much of what was being said because for some reason the conversation was being held in French. People tended to do that when she was with Delphine and anyone who understood a word of French heard her accent. Apparently the concierge was fluent. She recognized the words for preparation and privacy but beyond that the conversation went too quickly.
The concierge opened the door for them and Cosima stopped in the doorway. "Holy shit."
The concierge smiled knowingly. "Let us know if there is anything we can do for you."
"Merci." Delphine pressed a bill into his hand, closing the door behind him. She wrinkled her face in distaste before leaning against the door, watching as Cosima moved to the center of the suite, turning in a circle. "Is it ok?"
"Holy shit." Cosima moved to the door for the terrace which was lit by a row of candles. The dusk sky was a light purple and there was a beautiful view of the bay and the bay bridge lit up in all its splendor. "Is it ok?" She asked incredulously.
Delphine moved and captured the woman around the waist, caressing her cheek softly. "I asked them for a room that had the most breathtaking view, but all I see is you."
Cosima leaned into the taller woman, their lips meeting in a tender exploration. The hand that caressed her neck sent a sensual wave through her and she found herself pressing closer. When Delphine pulled away, Cosima felt her knees buckle for a brief moment before she got ahold of herself.
"Come." Delphine pulled her out onto the terrace where there was a bucket with two bottles chilling, two flutes and a silver dome covered tray.
"Oooh secret munchies." Cosima lifted the cover to reveal a variety of sweets from chocolate covered strawberries to tiny bite sized cakes. She grinned as Delphine popped the cork on one of the bottles of champagne. "Why miss Cormier, if you are intending on getting me drunk and having your way with me, I think you're on the right path." She accepted the flute of Champaign.
Delphine laughed softly as she filed her own glass. "I do not think that would take much effort, ma Cherie."
"Well, look who's the cheeky one now." Cosima laughed. "Ok so do we need a toast?"
"Oh, oui." Delphine nodded looking down at her glass. "I know this is not the vacation we planned on, but it has already been the best one I have been on." She smiled. "It's funny because when I took the job as a monitor, I thought you were in danger and I had to save you. Really I was the one in danger and you saved me. If not for you I would still be stuck in there, not knowing what I was doing, and what I was missing out on." She cleared her throat. "Now I cannot imagine my life without you. You're on my mind all day, every day and you make it impossible to get any work done. In 6 months you have managed to become my entire world." She paused, trying to gather her thoughts. "What I am saying is thank you for making my life that much more relevant and amazing."
Their glasses clinked together and after a small sip, Cosima leaned forward for a kiss, deepening it by slipping her free hand behind the blonde's neck, pulling her down. "I love you." She whispered when they finally broke apart. "You did save me, remember? Without you, we wouldn't have come up with a cure and I would probably be dead by now." Cosima smiled. "I know exactly what you mean. When I'm not around you, I'm thinking about what to do with you when you get home. Even when I'm sleeping, I dream of you." She laughed softly at the ridiculousness of it. "So in case you were wondering, you're pretty stuck with me, because you're not the only one with a one track mind."
Another kiss and she smiled, leaning back against the woman as she looked over the bay. It really was a remarkable view. The gears in her head started turning as she sipped the crisp champagne. "This room had to be crazy expensive." She felt the woman behind her shrug. She looked down at the cakes and picked one up, sniffing it slightly before taking a bite. "Hmmmm." She offered the other half to the blonde who closed her lips around her fingers, nibbling the skin briefly. "Raspberry and white chocolate. Either they were really lucky guessing my favorites or someone specially ordered this."
"Maybe they were lucky." Delphine gave her an innocent look. "Raspberries and white chocolate are not so rare."
"True." Cosima nodded and picked up one of the strawberries, sniffing it before showing it to the blonde. "However, nutella dipped strawberries are not common in California."
Delphine couldn't hold back the smile and buried her face in the woman's shoulder. "Non. They really are not."
"Delphine." Cosima tilted her head to look in the woman's eyes. "When did you reserve this room?"
With a soft sigh, Delphine looked out over the bay. "Maybe a month ago or so right after you started reacting positively to the breathing treatments."
Cosima looked at her curiously. "So you had this planned all along. Do you mind if I ask why?"
Leaning back against the railing, Delphine bit her bottom lip. "Well, one night when you were sleeping I started thinking about us. I mean our entire relationship prior, there was the possibility of you dying." She paused to gather her thoughts again. "That was the first night that I could let myself believe that we had a future." She swallowed. "That night I realized that I had come to depend on you so much and I don't know what I would have done if I lost you." She sipped her champagne, her throat suddenly dry. "I didn't even know that I was holding back part of myself. I just…I was so scared of losing you and losing myself if you ever died."
"I'm not going anywhere, Delphine."
"I know, but you could have died. I could have lost you. I was so scared of losing you that I did not want to open myself up to that pain." She shook her head. "Merde, I am not making sense."
Cosima shook her head. "I understand what you're saying. I get it."
Delphine refilled both their glasses. "So on that night I decided I wanted to do something special." She smiled. "Because I do love you, so much that I wanted to let you know that I'm not holding back anymore." She felt the tears that were threatening to spill. "Even if you get tired of my silliness eventually and leave, you've ruined me for anyone else because I will never stop loving you."
Cosima was silent for a minute, trying to decide on how she wanted to respond. She decided honesty was always the right course. "Good." She grinned at the shocked look. "You're mine." She dipped her finger into the edge of the blondes skirt, pulling her forward. "As long as I'm alive I don't want you thinking about anyone else." She brushed her lips against the blondes. "You know I've never really been one to think about long term relationships. For me it's always been carefree…casual…whatever. I never thought about marriage, or children, or growing old with someone." She grinned at the woman's suddenly intense gaze. "My mom actually got me thinking about it today. I could totally see the two of us as old ladies, me with blue hair, you with a horrible blonde dye job, sitting on the porch somewhere talking about how it's too damn quiet or how the neighbors are too damn loud." She grinned at the blondes laughter. "I'd be so up for that."
Delphine smiled, caressing her face. "That would be delightful." She brushed her lips across the woman's, enjoying the softness for a minute before pulling back. "Now, about this growing old together." She held up a small box.
Cosima looked down, blinking. "Holy watershed."
Cosima stared at the box for a long moment before she reached for it, surprised when her shaking hands stopped her. "I don't know if I can open it." She closed her hand and opened it a few times. When Delphine took pity on her and opened the box, Cosima gasped. "Dude…no way." The princess cut diamond was bracketed by two smaller rubies set in what she guessed was a white gold band, checkered with inlaid, alternating rubies and diamonds. "Delphine this is way too much."
"If the moon and stars were for sale I would find a way to purchase them for you." Delphine took Cosima's hand, bringing it up to her lips to kiss the back of it before slipping the ring onto the slender finger. "Marry me, Cosima. Marry me so we can grow old together and yell at the neighborhood kids together."
Cosima looked at the ring on her finger, running her thumb over the inside band. "You know you could have proposed to me on a bench with an aluminum ring. You didn't have to get suite or…wow this ring is crazy."
Delphine shook her head. "Non. You deserve much more than that."
Cosima held her hand up, watching the ring flash, still not believing it was sitting there. "What a trip."
Cosima was still looking at the ring, smiling. "Hmmm?"
Delphine captured the woman's head between her hand, gently forcing her to look up. "Merde, you are so frustrating some times. Always with the shiny objects. Answer the question, ma Cherie, or do I have to get down on one knee to get you to marry me?"
"Oh!" Cosima grinned. "Of course I'll marry you…totally obvs." She laughed as the hands on her face pulled her forward and soft lips crushed against hers. She felt the blondes arm slip around her waist, pulling her closer. Their tongues brushed against each other, tasting champagne and cakes.
It was Delphine who ended the kiss, leaning her forehead against the shorter woman's, licking her lips. "Thank you."
Cosima laughed. "You just went all out, no holds barred, Casanova on me. What are you thanking me for?"
"For saying yes." Delphine supplied.
Another laugh and Cosima tucked her head under the blondes chin, enjoying the simple feeling of being loved and held. "Did you really think I would say no?"
Delphine thought about that for a minute. She had gone over a thousand possible outcomes in her mind. "Non. I thought you would take some time to think about it before saying yes." She kissed the top of the woman's head. "I thought you would think it is too fast at first."
"Hmmm." Cosima traced the woman's collarbone. "That's so weird. When my mom mentioned marriage earlier the first thing I thought was its only been 6 months, but as I thought about it I could totally see it." She paused before narrowing her eyes, a few puzzle pieces snapping together to form a bigger picture. "Did you talk to my mother about this?" When the blonde looked away her jaw dropped. "Oh my God, you didn't!"
Delphine gave her a small smile. "I um…I don't know the protocol for such things so I wanted to speak with your parents about it." She took a long sip from her glass.
"What did they say?"
Delphine shrugged. "Your mother was excited." She leaned against the railing. "Your father said he did not think it was a good idea."
Cosima's brows furrowed. "What?"
Another shrug from Delphine. "He said it was too soon."
"What did you say?"
Delphine gave her a half smile. She could tell the woman was nervous. "I told him that even though I respected his opinion, I was not asking permission." She chucked softly at Cosima's shocked look. "I told him that although it was possible that he might hate me for going against his wishes, I would gladly endure the hatred because you were worth it."
"You…" Cosima leaned against her, pressing closer. "You are unbelievably romantic."
Delphine laughed. "Apparently your father thought so because he pulled me into a hug after that."
Cosima buried her face in the woman's neck, laughing softly. She breathed in the scent of the woman's perfume. "So…do you think it's too soon?"
"Non." Delphine laughed softly. "If we got married tomorrow it would not be too soon."
Cosima thought about that. "Hmm." She grinned. "I bet 6 months ago you wouldn't believe you'd be here in San Fran proposing to a woman."
Another laugh. "C'est vrai." Delphine took a moment to refill their glasses, feeling relaxed finally now that her anxiety of the night had seeped away. "I worked a lot and in truth I could not even conceive the notion of marriage. Maybe this is why it was such a shock when I found myself looking at rings."
"I'll bet." Cosima smiled over the rim of her glass. "I never actually thought about marriage either. Not that I didn't want to, it just never occurred to me." She looked over the bay that reflected the city lights against the now dark sky. A gust of wind blew through and Cosima shivered slightly.
"We should go inside." Together they grabbed the desserts and champagne, escaping into the warmth of the suite.
"So..." Cosima set down her glass, slipping out of her coat. "Did you talk to the sibs about this?"
Delphine grimaced as she slipped out of her own coat. "Oui. I did speak with both Sarah and Allison." She sat down on the couch that was facing an artificial fireplace, patting the space beside her so the woman would sit.
"I bet they were thrilled." Cosima winced at the sound of her own sarcasm as she sat down, wiggling closer until she was pressed against the blonde's side, smiling as the arm draped over her shoulders.
"You know they have a different perspective, ma cherie." Delphine kissed her temple. "Allison was polite as always. She wishes us the best but her words were very...what is the word...insincere."
Cosima nodded. "Yeah. Sounds about right." She huddled closer, her hand slipping around the woman's waist.
Delphine entwined her fingers with Cosima's. "Sarah was not so happy. She went on and on about it is too soon and..." She furrowed her brow. "She murmured something about you being in the kitchen with no shoes on and pregnant? I mean you do not wear shoes anywhere in the apartment."
"Oh god." Cosima laughed. "She did not say that. Tell me she did not say barefoot, naked and in the kitchen." She shook her head, covering her eyes. "It's a stupid saying that's meant to degrade women. It's based on a misogynistic belief that women are only useful for breeding and cooking." She shook her head. "She's such a bitch." She looked at their joined hands and smiled. "She doesn't get it. She doesn't get us." With a grin she moved and straddled the blonde's lap, leaning forward to kiss her softly. "I think we should stop talking about everyone else."
Unable to stop her hands from wandering, Delphine slipped her hands up the outside of the woman's thighs, inching up her dress slowly. "What do you want to talk about?" She smiled against the lips that covered her own.
Cosima hummed softly. "We can talk about how big and fluffy that bed looks." She ran her fingertips along the woman's arms, her eyes locked with the blonde's. "I think we mentioned you having your way with me."
OK so disclaimer: This chapter is pure smut and you can skip it if you're not into it.
Hands…Cosima moaned softly as she thought about how much she loved Delphine's hands. They left a wake of delicious burning across her skin as they touched, caressed, and stroked. Those hands brought her to the brink of madness while offering her a loving security. They would move against her, a touch bringing her to the edge of what she thought she could handle, before backing off and denying her satisfaction.
The words were whispered in her ear before lips kissed their way down her neck, a hot tongue stopping at her breasts and coaxing a whimper from her as she locked her hand in blonde hair. She was normally more in control, and maybe it was the champagne, but she felt as if she was tumbling in a wave of sensual pleasure, her entire world revolving around the hot tongue that was making its way down her body and the sure fingers that were slipped inside her. She was torn between wanting to pull the woman back up to stare into her eyes and kiss her lips, or pushing her lower so that hot tongue could reach its destination.
The inner debate ended when the tongue pressed against the center of her being. It was too much and not enough at the same time. She wanted to squeeze her thighs shut against the onslaught of raw sensations but her thighs spread wider on their own accord, giving the blonde more access, opening herself to the extra finger that slipped in as if the woman read her mind. "Shit." She moaned as her hips rolled with the blondes thrusts, her back arching and muscles trembling as her body threatened to tumble of the precipice of madness. Every nerve ending was awake to the onslaught and she felt herself pushed over the edge, her body arching up and every muscle clenching as Delphine's name spilled from her lips what seemed like a dozen times.
Her body fell limp and weak back to earth as the blonde slipped her three fingers out, but slipped two back in. The tongue never stopped, but instead of short quick strokes, became slow, firm and consistent pressure. She released the blondes hair, clawing at the sheets instead for an anchor, her legs spread achingly wider. She didn't care. Her entire world revolved around the fingers and tongue. She whimpered and felt the tongue press firmer against her. It was an eternity that lasted nowhere near long enough before she was falling again, her hips lifting off the bed and her body shuddering in release.
A dozen 'I love you's spilled from Cosima's lips as the blonde kissed her way up the limp form. Their lips met and Cosima kissed her hungrily, her short nails raking trails down the pale back. She just needed a minute to recover and smiled as the blonde broke off the kiss. "You are crazy beautiful, you know that right?"
"In your eyes, ma Cherie."
Cosima rolled her eyes, tugging on a lock of blonde hair. "In everyone's eyes." She pulled the blonde down for another kiss, this time rolling over so she was covering the longer body. "You have the most beautiful chin." She brushed her lips against the woman's chin, getting rewarded with a laugh. "And the most beautiful neck." She brushed her lips down the long expanse of skin, feeling the heavy beat of the woman's heart. "Your collarbone is just divine." She licked the soft flesh, tasting the thin sheen of sweat. "Ooh and one of my favorite sections, you have crazy sexy breasts."
Cosima grinned at the warning tone as she pressed a soft kiss against one nipple before taking it into her mouth, swirling her tongue around the nubby flesh. She heard the blonde's shuddering breath and she couldn't help adjusting her position, slipping a thigh between her legs, pressing close against the woman's heated center. The response was a high pitched gasp and she chuckled softly.
"Brat!" Delphine moaned. As if against her will, her hips rocked up against the strong thigh, moaning softly.
Returning to the woman's lips, Cosima pressed her thigh closer, feeling another rumbling moan against her own lips. Her tongue sought out Delphine's, feeling the nails raking down her back. She loved the way the blonde reacted to her touch. Pressing her fingers into slick warmth, she felt the woman arch into her, breaking off the kiss in a sudden gasp. Using her thigh as leverage, she began a steady rhythm of sliding in and out, pressing the heal of her hand against the bundle of nerves. Delphine's eyes were squeezed shut and Cosima applied feather soft kisses to the lids.
"Je t'aime. Je t'aime . Je t'aime." Delphine mumbled over and over, her hips moving against the fingers.
Cosima began kissing her way down the center of Delphine's body before a hand on her face stopped her, pulling her back up. She found hazel eyes staring into her own and she smiled, instead leaning down to kiss her deeply. "I'm right here." She whispered, nuzzling the blonde's neck. She felt the hand on her back pulling her closer, leaving a trail of fire over her skin as nails found purchase.
Delphine felt like her whole body was turning inside out, every nerve exposed to nothing but pleasure as their bodies moved together. Their bodies were slick with sweat and she moaned as teeth nipped at her neck. She thrust her hips hungrily against the woman's thigh, feeling the fingers pressing as deep as they could go and a surge of pleasure every time her hand brushed against her center. "Cosima..." She breathed the name as if it was life, and for her it was.
She could tell the blonde was close. Each breath was a whimper or a moan, hands trying to pull her closer despite the fact that they were so close that not even light could pass between them. She could feel the trembling coursing through the woman's body. "I love you." Just a whisper and Cosima gasped slightly as the blonde bit her shoulder, pulling her even closer as her body arched, shuddering and throbbing for a deliciously long moment. Eventually the blonde collapsed back on the bed, weak and limp. Cosima grinned wickedly as she began to remove her fingers, only to slip them back in. She found her wrist captured in an iron grip almost instantly.
"Non." Delphine begged. "Enough." She removed the woman's hand, hissing softly.
Cosima laughed before meeting the blonde's lips in a kiss that was both lazy and loving. "I think this marriage thing...is going to be awesome." She curled against the woman's body. "I can't think of anything better than spending the rest of my life in bed with you." She nuzzled the woman's neck.
Delphine laughed, hugging the woman close. "Non, ma Cherie." She kissed her damp forehead. "Neither can I."
"Deep breath and hold it." The female tech gave her a cheerful smile.
Cosima took a deep breath as the tech disappeared. She gripped the bars on either side of the chilly equipment her chest was pressed against, trying not to move and waiting for the soft click before exhaling. Through the window in the door she could see Delphine watching patiently.
"Ok. That was the last one. You can go back and get dressed."
"Thanks Pauline." Cosima rubbed her arms as she stepped out, finding a jacket draped over her shoulders almost instantly. She smiled warmly at Delphine. "Thanks. That was the last one."
Delphine opened the door to the exam room for her, closing it as she stepped in. "My pleasure." She stepped up behind the woman, helping her out of the hospital type gown. "You are a little red back here." She brushed her lips across the back of Cosima's neck after fastening the woman's bra.
"Yeah I wasn't expecting it to be so sunny. That prison was just sweltering." She felt the woman's hands sliding over her skin and she cleared her throat, trying to remember she was putting clothes on and not taking them off. Slipping the top over her head, she soon found the blonde standing in front of her with a smirk. "What?"
"Your cheeks are burnt too."
Cosima shook her head. "No that's just what you do to me." She leaned into the woman and was rewarded with a kiss. "You know, I love visiting my folks, but I miss having you all to myself."
Delphine chuckled, sitting on the edge of the elevated bed. "I miss our bed. It's much bigger than your bed."
Laughing softly, Cosima slipped on her coat. They had spent the day touring Alcatraz as well as the fisherman's wharf, having lunch in a small bistro. They finally showed up at her mother's office an hour ago. She'd refused everything invasive, but allowed the xrays and even an ekg while saying no to ct scan. Her mother had chided her for the weight loss but so far everything had been normal.
As Cosima picked at the straps of Delphine's purse, a flash caught her eye and her eyes were drawn to the ring. Her mother had been ecstatic, cooing over the ring in excitement. "This wasn't too bad."
"Non. It's very…routine." Delphine hesitated saying anything more. After all, the call was still in question, and if there were any tests that were going to be done, she knew dyad would not stop until they got them.
"You're still suspicious." It was a statement and not a question.
Delphine shrugged. "Maybe just a bit."
Cosima's response was cut off by a knock before the door opened. "Hey." She smiled as her mother entered, a large folder in her hands. "So am I dying?"
"Ha ha ha." The older woman turned on the lamps before snapping in the x-ray films. "Did your lungs collapse?" She frowned as she pointed to a section. "You have some scarring here."
Cosima nodded. "Just the left one." The look she got from her mother was almost scary. "I didn't want to worry you."
"And this rib looks like it was broken."
Cosima winced. "I fainted when I was sick and hit the bathtub."
The older woman sighed. "There's still some fluid in your lungs but it's minute. If this happens again…call me." She pointed at Delphine. "Or you call me. God knows she's too thick-headed." She shook her head. "This isn't making me feel any better about you being all the way across the country."
Cosima nodded. "I know I'm sorry." She pressed her lips. "I know you worry and I just didn't want to make it worse. It was a long winter and it was pretty miserable." She looked up at Delphine who was trying to keep a neutral expression. "But now we get to focus on other things like planning a wedding." She hoped it would deter further questions.
The older woman sighed as she pulled the film down. "I'm serious, Cosima." She looked pointedly at her offspring. "You don't have to tell me about every cold, but if it's bad enough you end up in the hospital…" She shook her head. "Ok enough of that. So, the wedding. Any idea of where it will be?"
Cosima relaxed as she leaned against Delphine, listening as arguments were made for where to have the wedding.
Later, Cosima leaned against the door of the rental as she watched Delphine driving. "Where do you want to get married?"
Delphine smiled, just the thought of a wedding filing her with joy. "Well, you are the one with thefamily, ma Cherie. I always thought I would have a small wedding, in my mind it was always back home because that is all I know." She shrugged. "But I am not against a big family wedding."
Cosima nodded, thinking about that. "I never thought about weddings, even as a hormonal teenager." She grinned. "I don't know if I want a huge wedding. A tiny one sounds awesome."
"What will you do about your sisters?"
Cosima wrinkled her nose. "I don't know." She sighed softly. "I don't know what to do about that call, Delphine." She gave the blonde a worried look. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do."
Delphine bit her lip, not exactly sure what to do. "You could maybe just come out?" She offered. "I mean, Sarah told her foster mother the truth. Both of your parents are educated people."
"What would you have done?"
Her brow furrowing, Delphine quickly glanced at the woman, seeing a troubled expression on her face. "What do you mean?"
Cosima looked out the window, seeing the familiar landmarks go by. "What would you have done, as my monitor, if I'd told you that I was a clone?"
"You cannot compare the situations." Delphine winced. She looked at the woman again to see a wry look on her face. "Fine. If this were before I completely fell in love with you, I would probably have lied to you." She pulled into the driveway that was completely empty.
Another sigh, Cosima didn't comment further, stepping out and moving to the back of the car, watching as Delphine grabbed the heavier of their bags.
"Hey." Delphine paused and stepped up to the silent woman, caressing her cheek softly. "Je t'aime, Cosima." She leaned forward, kissing her softly. "You are everything to me." Another kiss and she felt hands slipping up her side. When she pulled away, the woman was grinning. "Come."
It was barely a whisper but Cosima felt herself drawn in by the one word as she followed the blonde to the front door. She breathed in the scent of her perfume as she reached past the blonde to unlock the door. Stepping in, they found themselves in complete darkness, which was odd. All the curtains and blinds were closed, blocking out all light. "Weird." She uttered just as a quick moving form impacted against her side.
A wave of panic coursed through Cosima's veins, accompanied by a thousand thoughts at once.
A thousand possibilities.
The familiarity of the high-pitched squeal forced Cosima to stop from reacting. It took a minute for her to place the voice and to be overcome with complete confusion. "Taylor?"
Delphine fumbled to find the light switch before flipping it on.
Cosima froze. The room was full of people from aunts and uncles to high school classmates. "What the…" She looked down to see a young girl with blonde hair hugging her around the waist. Her heart was beating what felt like a million beats per second and she was very sure she had a look of sheer panic on her face before she could even manage to speak. "Oh my god, look at how big you are." She knelt down to give her young cousin a hug. "What's going on?" She asked as her father stepped up with two glasses of wine.
"You know us, we'll turn anything into a party." Her dad handed her one glass and the other to Delphine. "It was going to be a welcome home slash you don't love us anymore party." He laughed softly. "Your mom might have let slip that you were coming home and everyone was going on and on about how they never hear from you and how it's been over a year since you've visited." He looked pointedly at your daughter. "But then your mother called while you were getting x-rays and we changed it to an engagement party." He pointed to the hastily drawn 'Congratulations' sign. "Man the look on your face." He laughed.
"Merde." Delphine bit her bottom lip as Cosima stood back up and they were suddenly surrounded by a mob of people.
"Whoa whoa whoa." Cosima held up her hands to still the mob. "Hey guys long time no see." She grunted as she was pulled into a hug by one of her aunts. She pat the woman on the back only to be pulled into another hug by a much larger cousin that was closer to her age. "Ok…hey…" She laughed and pulled away. "Hey everyone…meet Delphine." She tugged the blonde closer. "Delphine, this is everyone."
"Bonsoir à tous." Delphine smiled. "It is nice to meet you, everyone."
It was almost magical, Cosima decided, as she watched almost everyone's faces light up in surprise at the blonde's accent.
"Okay okay. Give the girls some room."
Cosima turned to find her mother entering, closing the front door behind her.
"Shoo shoo." Her mother made a flicking gesture to everyone who slowly began to back away. "There's plenty of time for all your questions, just give them some room to breathe."
"Oh my god." Cosima tipped all the contents of the glass into her mouth, swallowing hastily. Despite the smile she managed to get in place, she felt like her heart was beating out of her chest. Luckily she felt a coming wave from Delphine's hand on her back, rubbing circles.
"Okay?" Mrs. Niehaus pat her on the shoulder. "Sorry, your father thought it would be fun to scare a few years out of you." She shook her head. "Why don't you girls go put your stuff in your room and I'll go play hostess." She kissed her daughter on the cheek before pushing her towards the stairs.
When the bedroom door closed, Cosima found herself pulled into Delphine's arms. "Shit." She mumbled into the woman's chest, breathing in the comforting scent. "That just scared the shit out of me."
Delphine nodded as she pulled back slightly, kissing the woman's forehead. "Your family…merde…" She shook her head, failing to find the words.
"Yeah." Cosima laughed and took a deep breath, pulling away and slipping off her coat. "Ok, so I'm pretty sure I saw most of my family that lives in the Bay area, including two or seven high school friends." She stripped out of her clothes before finding a more comfortable top to slip on, choosing to put on her only pair of jeans. "They're all pretty cool, they ask a billion questions, and I haven't seen most of them in a year."
Delphine took the rare opportunity and hooked her finger in the belt loop of the woman's jeans, pulling her close. "Have I told you today how beautiful you are?"
Cosima felt the flush in her cheeks as she melted against the woman's taller frame. "You might have mentioned it once or twice today." She closed her eyes as a hand caressed her cheek.
"Is that all? You deserve far better than that." She leaned down for a kiss, tasting her lips. She could feel the woman's lips tighten into a smile.
Pushing her back with a quick nip to her bottom lip, Cosima grinned. "You are too damn romantic for your own good."
Delphine winked as she slipped into a more comfortable top, keeping her white jeans. She offered her hand to the shorter woman, taking a deep calming breath.
It was a whirlwind of exchanged names and Delphine barely kept any of them straight. She could not remember which one was Cosima's cousin Lauren, and which one was the high school friend Penny. She had traded a few stories of how they met, the proposal, etc, for the unending amount of childhood stories about her partner. Occasionally she would get rewarded with a blush from the woman, or in some cases, the stories were cut off a few words in with promises for the stories to get explained when they weren't surrounded by older family members.
After Delphine had been introduced to everyone at the party, Cosima leaned against the doorframe, watching the blonde mesmerize one of her younger cousins who had wrangled her into a discussion about infectious diseases. Just a freshman in college, her cousin Andrea was considering majoring in epidemiology which of course meant she had a thousand questions for the immunologist.
"I'm pretty sure your cousin just fell in love."
Cosima laughed before giving her father a wry look. "Yeah, looks that way." She sipped from the bottle of beer she was drinking, the familiar local flavor being one she missed living half a country away. She wasn't a jealous person really. She knew Delphine loved her . Of course that didn't mean it didn't take a lot of willpower to stay where she was when her cousin would occasionally touch Delphine on the knee or on the arm when making a point. "Thanks for scaring the crap out of me, by the way."
"You're welcome, Kiddo." Mr. Niehaus pat her on the shoulder. He cleared his throat. "Your mother told me about your tests today." His smile faltered slightly. "You know we were only doing those to distract you so we could get this party together. Didn't think we'd find anything."
Cosima winced. "Yeah, totally sorry I didn't tell you guys that stuff. I just didn't want to worry you." She shrugged.
"Well now your mother is worried that the next time something like this happens, we won't know." He cleared his throat before taking a sip of his own drink. "I know you have your own life out there. You're busy working on your PhD and wooing the ladies, I get it. Just let us know the next time you're dying."
Cosima's answer was cut off by one of her uncles pulling her into a hug. "Umph…Hey Uncle Charles." He was one of her bigger uncles, bulked up in muscles and towering over six feet tall. He was also maybe one of her favorites. Her mother's oldest brother, he had just moved to San Francisco a few years back after losing his house in Louisiana during a flood.
The older man that held her out at arm's reach. "I'm heading out, Tadpole." He shook his head. "You sure grew up to be the prettiest frog in the pond." He hugged her again. "When your mama said you were sick yesterday, I for sure thought she was going to cancel the party."
The man nodded. "We started planning this here party since you said you were comin' home." He shook his head. "She text me yesterday and said you had some kind of chest cold. I called her right back and I gave her a mindful." He pat her on the shoulder. "Hell that cake there cost a fortune and I wasn't going to let it go to waste."
"You called? When?" Cosima felt a hundred puzzle pieces snap into place.
"Well sure, around lunchtime. I had to make sure she wasn't cancelling. I told her she should hogtie you and throw you in the trunk, but your mama's got more sense in her head, I guess." He shrugged before pulling her into another hug. "Now you let us know when the wedding is, ok? That sure is one pretty girl you got there."
Cosima nodded, still in shock. "We're still talking about venue, but we'll let the family know. The cake was beautiful. Thank you so much for coming." She watched as he left.
"You ok?" Mr. Niehaus noticed his daughter looked a little pale.
"Yeah." Cosima nodded. "I'm a little tired." She smiled weakly. "I'll be right back."
Delphine looked up as Cosima stepped up to where she was chatting with the college student. Her brow furrowed as she took in the woman's body language, unable to decipher what was going on. "Est ce que vous allez vien?"
Cosima put on a smile for her cousin. "Hey Andrea, I need to borrow Delphine for a minute." She tried not to grin at her cousins crestfallen look as she took Delphine's hand and guided her upstairs.
Delphine followed her silently, shutting the bedroom door behind her. Almost instantly she found herself pinned to the door, lips pressed firmly against hers. An arm snaked around her neck, pulling her closer as an exploring tongue slipped between her lips.
This was not exactly what Cosima had intended but she found herself desperately missing the blonde. She felt the arm move around her waist, pulling her closer. It took all her willpower to pull back. "Shit." She was breathing heavily, her hand pressed against the blondes chest, holding her back. "Sorry. Not what I brought you up here for." She laughed.
Delphine nodded, her gaze still locked on the woman's lips.
Cosima almost allowed herself to be pulled back in. "The call!" She spoke as if she just remembered why they were up there. "I solved the mystery of the call!"
"What?" Delphine lifted her eyes up to find amused hazel eyes watching her.
"I was talking with my uncle Charles and he said that he had called to make sure my mother didn't cancel the party. Apparently she was thinking about canceling because I was sick." Cosima grinned as she twirled a bit of blonde hair around a finger. "So she was nervous because they were planning this party for a while."
Delphine took in what the woman was saying, comparing it to what she had heard. "Merde. It makes sense." She grinned and pulled the woman into a hug. "I'm so glad, Cosima."
Cosima grinned as she absorbed the warmth. It was like a heavy weight had been lifted off her shoulders and she was ecstatic. Tipping her head back, she accepted another kiss, her hands slipping under the woman's top and against warm skin. "I think we should ditch this party." She mumbled against the woman's lips.
With a laugh, Delphine pulled back, shaking her head. "It is getting late, ma cherie. Maybe just another hour or two and then we can celebrate." She caressed the soft cheek. She could see the desire behind the woman's glasses, and the desire in those eyes. "Je'taime, ma cherie."
"I love you, too." Cosima leaned into the touch momentarily before stepping back, taking a deep breath. "How do you always turn me into a puddle of lovesick goo?" She shook her head, fanning herself to hide the blush she knew was showing. "Ok, just a couple more hours, but no more hitting on my cousin."
Another laugh and Delphine bit her bottom lip. "I was not hitting on your cousin."
"No you were just letting her hit on you." Cosima slipped her hand into the blonde's, leading the way downstairs.
"Letting her?" Delphine protested. "I cannot help if your family loves me."
"Yeah some of them too much."
Swimming. Cosima felt like she was submerged in a pool of jell-o, her limbs heavy and uncooperative as she moved her arm to block the light from the sun. Rolling over, she winced at the pain in her head. "Fuck." With a growl she slipped out of bed, disappearing into the bathroom. She splashed water on her face, trying to wash away the hazy fog. She'd drank about a bottle of wine and half a 6-pack of beer. It didn't seem like enough to give her a hangover yet she felt like her head was splitting and she was having trouble concentrating. "Shit." She sighed, digging through her toiletries bag for some aspirin and quickly swallowing two pills.
She found Delphine awake, the blanket thrown over her face. "Do you want some aspirin?"
"Non." Came the response from the blanket.
With a half smile, Cosima slipped under the covers, slipping an arm around the bare abdomen, pulling herself flush against the warm body.
"Your hand is cold!" Delphine complained, trying to wiggle away.
"Shhhh." Cosima slipped her hand up to rest between the woman's breasts, holding her in place. "It's not cold, it's fine." She grinned as the woman put up a half-hearted struggle to get away.
Delphine laughed as she ran her hand up the woman's arm, watching as goosebumps rose with her touch. Sitting up slightly, her eyes caught sight of something she didn't expect. "Cosima..." She pushed the blanket back to get more room. With a curse, she forced herself into a seated position, grabbing the woman's arm and looking closer at it.
"Ow. Dude , what are you doing?" Cosima winced as she grabbed her glasses, sitting up. She looked down at the arm Delphine was inspecting. "Tell me that's not what I think it is."
Delphine ran her fingers over the dark red mark in the crook of the woman's arm, feeling the slight lump. "It's a needle mark." She lifted her eyes to meet the woman's. "You did not let your mother draw blood yesterday."
Cosima felt the chill go down her back. "No. I didn't." Her voice got as cold as the chill and she pulled her arm back, silently slipping out of the bed and beginning to get dressed.
"We're leaving." Cosima began throwing clothes in her bag, not caring if it was hers or Delphine's. "Just...get dressed."
Delphine slipped out of bed, moving to the woman's side. "Don't you want to..."
"No!" Cosima paused to take a breath. "Either my parents did this, or they let someone do this." She grit her teeth, not sure if the sadness or anger would win. "Please get dressed...we have to leave before they don't let us."
Delphine nodded, watching her disappear behind the bathroom door. She got dressed and did her best to pack everything, her brow furrowing when she noticed things were missing. It didn't make sense. It was just a few things like her hair dryer, the coat she wore yesterday, the vaporizer. "Cosima?"
The door opened to reveal a make-up free Cosima, her eyes puffy from the obvious tears. Delphine only opened her arms for a second before they were filled by the shorter woman. She felt the smaller form shaking and she did her best to offer what comfort she could. "It will be ok, ma Cherie."
"Don't you get it?" Cosima pulled back. "That's why we feel like crap. They drugged us and god knows what they did while we were passed out." She grabbed a pile of clothes, dumping it in the bag. "We need to leave."
"There are things missing." Delphine went into the bathroom to brush her teeth and collect their toiletries.
Cosima forced one of the bulging bags closed. "There's still a bag or two in the car." She slipped on the same jeans from the night before and looked around for her coat, slipping it on. "Got distracted by the party remember?"
Delphine nodded. She could tell by the woman's composure that less words were best. The woman was one step away from breaking down and they needed to get out of the house. They hadn't been bothered by Dyad for quite some time and it was odd to be on the run again. She had a feeling that returning home was not the best option. Maybe instead they should head to Toronto where Sarah was hiding. "You should call your sisters."
"I'll call them on the way to the airport." Cosima tucked her phones into her pocket, looking around for her purse.
A few minutes later and they were quietly making their way to the front door. The house was oddly quiet despite it being a weekend. It was around noon and normally her mother would be up and making lunch. They were just a few steps away from the front door when it happened.
"Cosima. Delphine. Stop."
The voice sent a chill down her back, and Cosima froze. She turned to find none other than one Dr. Aldous Leekie sitting in her living room. "You son of a bitch."
Turning, she found her mother holding a tray with glasses of ice tea. She looked both outraged and confused. "Your doctor came all the way here from Minnesota to speak with us." She looked down at the bags. "Where are you two going?"
"I'm leaving." Cosima couldn't even look at her mother anymore. All she could feel was a sense of betrayal.
"Without saying goodbye?" Mrs. Niehaus set the tray down, obviously upset. "I don't understand. I thought you were staying until next week. Did something happen?"
Cosima stepped back, away from her. "You know exactly what's going on."
"Actually, if I may interject here." Dr. Leekie interrupted. "She doesn't know."
"Shut up!" Cosima growled.
Turning again, Cosima saw her father standing behind Leekie, and it was like a punch in the gut. She couldn't find the air and she instinctively reached for Delphine.
"I think everyone needs to calm down." Mr. Niehaus cleared his throat. "No one is here to harm you, Cosima. Sit down and we can talk about things."
"When did we lose our manners?" Mrs. Niehaus entered the room with the tea, setting it on the coffee table and taking a seat. "Now I'm sensing something is going on here. Can someone please explain it to me in a calm and rational manner."
Cosima's nostrils flared as she looked between her mother, who seemed completely oblivious, to her father, who had a disgruntled look on his face. "It's you, isn't it?" She directed the question to her father. "She really doesn't know anything, but you know all about it."
The older man sighed softly, removing his own glasses as he sat down beside his wife, and rubbing at his eyes. "Sorry, kiddo. You weren't ever supposed to find out."
"Find out what?" Mrs. Niehaus looked at her husband. "Will someone tell me what the hell is going on?"
"What's going on?" Cosima laughed bitterly. "It's pretty easy, Mom. You married a fucking lying asshole who drugged me and ran experiments on me my whole life."
There was a brief silence before Mrs. Niehaus laughed. It lasted a minute or two before she saw no one was laughing with her. As it trailed off, she looked around the room, from her husband who looked very uncomfortable, to her daughter who looked pissed, to Delphine who looked worried, and then to her guest who looked...well she didn't know what he was thinking. "You're joking, right?" She looked at her husband. "I mean that's completely ridiculous."
Cosima crossed her arms over her chest. "Go on, DAD." The sarcasm oozed from clenched teeth on the last word. "Tell her all about DYAD. Tell her about the illegal human cloning trials you're a part of. Tell her about my SISTERS!"
"What?" Mr. Niehaus's head snapped up and he looked at Dr. Leekie.
Dr. Leekie held his hand up. "Ok. I think we need to sit down and have a discussion." He pointed to the couch that was as far from him as possible. "Cosima, Delphine, please sit and we can discuss this." He smirked. "Delphine, long time no see. You're looking well."
Delphine gave him a sarcastic smile. "Va te faire foutre, Aldous." She sat beside Cosima, her hand slipping into the woman's.
"Yes well, I could be so lucky...again." His smirk never left his face. "Ok, Cosima. We'll get to the obvious heart-felt discussions of betrayal eventually. I'm sure you have a few things to get off your chest. I just have one question. Where is the cure?"
"You have got to be kidding me." Cosima looked from her father to Leekie and back to her father again. A thousand emotions ran through her, from disbelief to pure rage. "This is bullshit. You can go fuck yourself." She looked Leekie straight in the eye, feeling nothing but disdain for him."Why would I even think about giving you anything?"
Leekie picked up one of the glasses of tea, sipping it slowly. "Wow, that is quite refreshing." Using a handkerchief, he wiped his mouth. "It's simple really. You don't want the others to die when you could prevent it." He held up a finger and reached for his briefcase that was at his feet, removing a small stack of files from it and setting it on the coffee table. "These are the 14 other clones that are suffering from the same respiratory failure that you went through, only they are far more advanced. There used to be 22." Pushing the stack closer to them, he couldn't hold back a little smirk, knowing just how invested the women were in the cure. "Without your help, this stack will continue to shrink."
She didn't expect that. How could she expect to have such information put right in front of her. They had wondered just how many other clones there were and here was solid proof that at least 14 others were still alive out there.
Delphine reached for the stack, bringing it over to Cosima. She opened the first, revealing the file of one Zola Rukin. The photo revealed a woman with short, messy hair, framing a smiling face, and wearing a pair of glasses not unlike the ones Cosima wore. Flipping through the papers, she sighed heavily. The woman was in a coma in Johannesburg, South Africa. "Cosima." She looked up to find those hazel eyes already watching her.
"What are you proposing?" Cosima shook her head at Delphine who offered her the stack. The last thing she needed was her conscience dictating her choices.
Perking up, Leekie leaned back in the chair. "Well, I'm sorry but the offer for you to work at DYAD has been, of course, rescinded. In your current state you can't be trusted to not completely railroad the entire program." He steepled his fingers together. "Name your price. What do you want? Money? We have it by the truck loads."
"You're asking me what I want?" Cosima laughed. "I want to be left alone. I want to know the name of every single person in my life who has been a lie. I want to stop worrying about being bagged and tagged."
"I think you misunderstand us." Leekie put on a look of concern. "It was never our intention to harm any of you. We have always come from a place of complete sincerity in our concern for you. We will do anything to help you and your sisters."
Mrs. Niehaus didn't understand what was going on. She couldn't, however, resist the pull of curiosity as she picked up one of the files. At first she thought it was her daughter. The picture was so similar, yet so different. This woman wasn't smiling. She was wearing what looked like a prison uniform with Russian writing on it. Both of the woman's lungs had collapsed. She was in a hospital attached to a breathing machine. Respiratory failure. Another file revealed a woman with bleached blonde hair. Respiratory failure. Each file she opened revealed another carbon copy of her daughter, each one suffering through some state of respiratory failure and none being able to find the origin or treatment.
"I need to make a call." Cosima stood. She needed to get out, to get away from everyone. OK, not everyone, she thought as Delphine stood as well.
"Talk it over with Sarah." Leekie gave her a creepy looking smile. "I'll just be here chatting with dear old dad."
With a shake of her head, Cosima pulled Delphine outside to the pool deck. "FUCK." She began to pace, each step bringing a new question, a new emotion, and a new profanity. "Shit." She took a minute to attempt to calm herself before pulling the phone out of her pocket. "Damn it."
"Hey Cos. How's the vacation going?"
A laugh emerged. "Oh well, it's actually been pretty great. Lounged around the pool. Delphine got us a room at a swanky hotel and we got engaged. Toured Alcatraz, my parents threw a big party, and oh yeah I woke up full of needle holes and with Leekie sitting on my couch."
Cosima paced back and forth. "So, yeah, apparently my dad was my monitor. My mother had no idea, but good old dad is a part of the huge clone conspiracy." Saying it out loud nearly broke her. She could hear the wavering in her own voice and took a shuddering breath.
"Shit Cos, I'm sorry. I know you two were close."
"Yeah well, I guess that means more to me than to him."
There was a pause on the phone before Sarah responded. "So what is happening now? You have to get out of there."
Cosima sighed as she leaned back against the sudden presence of Delphine's warmth, arms wrapping around her waist in comfort. "They want the cure. Apparently there are like 14 clones out there dying and Leekie wants to make a deal to get the cure."
"Yeah cause he's so dependable. 14 other clones...bloody hell. What is he offering this time?"
"He said name my price." Cosima could hear the contempt in her voice. "We know he can't be trusted...but I can't let them die."
"Be careful, Cosima." Sarah sounded worried, and rightfully so. "I know you want to save everyone, but you have to watch out for yourself as well."
"I'm not going to do anything to endanger either myself or Delphine, but I can't just let them die."
"Just...just be careful."
"I will." Cosima sighed softly, looking up at the clear blue sky. She hadn't even had lunch yet and here she was making another life-or-death choice. "No matter what, we're going home today. I'm done with this town." Hanging up, she turned into the blonde's embrace, needing all the warmth she could collect. "I'm so sick of this." She fought back the tears, instead tipping her head up to accept a chaste kiss. "You're the one bright spot in my whole universe, you know that right?"
"Oui." Delphine rested her forehead against the shorter woman's. "What are you going to do?"
"What I have to do." With a sigh she stepped out of the woman's embrace, but twined their fingers together as they walked towards the house. As they stepped into the house again, she could hear the sounds of her mother yelling at her father and she took one final deep breath.
"Thirty years!" Mrs. Niehaus was standing, facing off against the two men. Her husband had a look of pure terror on his face while Leekie had one of disinterest. "Thirty years have been a lie you son of a bitch!" She was furious. "All that testing when I was pregnant, you told me it was routine for the procedure. I knew something was not right, but I listened to you because I trusted you!"
Cosima leaned against the frame of the door, content to just watch. On one side, she was happy to watch her father get what he deserved. He had lied and betrayed the both of them for decades. On the other hand, she knew the feeling of betrayal, and while her mother looked furious now, she knew the woman would eventually break down. When Delphine had betrayed her, they'd only been together for a short while. She couldn't imagine being with someone 30 years to find out it was all a lie.
"And our daughter?" A fire was in her mother's eyes and she felt almost sorry for him. "She may not be genetically ours but I carried her. I carried her, and we raised her together to be this perfect creature that you lied to and ran tests on and Jesus Christ!"
"Shut up!" Mrs. Niehaus yelled at the top of her lungs.
Delphine could see the smile tug at the corner of Cosima's mouth and leaned closer. "I like your mom." She whispered, seeing the woman's shoulders jerk slightly with a laugh. With a shake of her head she entered the room and took her seat again.
Mrs. Niehaus cleared her throat, sitting on a chair closer to Cosima. "Sorry you had to see that."
"No no. Believe me I think he deserves a lot worse." She turned her attention to Leekie. "I'll give you the cure." She held up a hand. "I have a few conditions."
"Anything." Leekie commented, sitting up with an almost excited look on his face.
"I know whatever we ask you to do you probably won't even if there is a contract." She gestured to her laptop bag and smiled when Delphine grabbed it. "But, I'm not a cold-hearted asshole who doesn't have a respect for human life." She booted up her computer and dug through a pocket for a flash drive. It didn't take long for her to log into the computer and copy the research material regarding the cure to the flash drive and she was quickly packing the laptop away.
Leekie's brow furrowed. "What do you want?"
Cosima grabbed the stack of files, handing them to Delphine. "Easy. I'm keeping these files, and I want you and him..." She pointed to her father. "out of my mother's house."
Leekie paused, a look of uncertainty on his face. "That's it?"
With a shrug, Cosima held out the drive. "I'm not going to let them die and you probably won't honor any request to leave us alone indefinitely." She gave him a pointed look. "I know what it's like to slowly die a little more every day from the inside." When he reached for it, she held onto it and looked him in the eyes. "I want him out of this house and everything belongs to her. The house, the car, the bank account...everything."
Casting a look back at Mr. Niehaus who was sitting there with a surprised look, Leekie smirked and nodded. "That can definitely be arranged. He tried to take the files but there was still resistance.
"Don't kill him." Cosima cast a look at her father. "I don't care where you send him, just...he's still the man that raised me."
"Deal." Leekie accepted the drive and sat back. "Richard, go to the car."
"But..." He stopped at the look Leekie gave him, his shoulders slumped as he walked to the door. He turned to look at Cosima one last time. "I'll miss you, Kiddo. Take care of yourself, because no matter what, you'll always be my little girl. I love you."
Cosima closed her eyes, unable to watch as the one man she'd loved more than anything in her life, the one man who'd always been everything to her, and the one man who had betrayed her for twenty nine years, walked out of her life. She hoped it was forever.
Delphine watched as the car pulled away, turning to look at Cosima who was pouring three glasses of wine, whispering words of comfort to her mother. "They're gone."
"I still don't understand." downed the wine in one gulp. "Please explain this to me."
Cosima exchanged glances with the blonde who tilted her head in agreement. "There's a company called DYAD that believes in self-directed evolution. Thirty years ago they impregnated what we now know to be over two dozen women with embryos that were exact genetic replicas… clones." She gave Delphine a smile when the blonde handed her her laptop again. She knew her mother did better when she had all the facts in front of her. "I was contacted about a year ago by a detective in Toronto, Elizabeth Childs." Opening the file for Beth, she showed her mother. "She had been contacted by a clone that grew up in Germany and she used her access to the police databases and facial recognition software to find other clones in North America. It found myself and another resident in Toronto, Alison Hendrix." She opened the file for her mother.
Mrs. Niehaus covered her mouth as she clicked through the detailed information. "My God."
As her mother clicked through the files, Cosima rattled off a quick text message to Sarah to let her know what was going on. "By happenstance, we came across another clone, Sarah Manning. She grew up...somewhere in the UK, one of the two clones to grow up unmonitored."
"Two?" Mrs. Niehaus looked up, hearing an odd sound in her daughter's voice. There was so much information that she wasn't sure she could understand it all and still remain sane.
"Yeeeaaahhh." Cosima gave her a wry look. "The other was Helena who was totally off her rails. She was abused and warped by this cult and she became a serial killer." She shook her head. "She's dead now."
"Dead?" Mrs. Niehaus noticed that some of the women had dates of death in the files. "How many of you are still alive?"
"Well, Beth committed suicide about 7 months ago, the same time we met Sarah. Katja, the German, was killed by Helena who is dead now. Rachel grew up in Dyad so we have zero connection with her. I'm guessing she's still alive. Sarah and Alison are the only ones that I keep in regular contact with, and now we just discovered there are at least 14 others out there that are alive still." Cosima rattled off, patting the stack of files.
Delphine gave the older woman a sympathetic smile as she refilled the glass that was suddenly thrust in her direction. "It is a lot to take in, believe me."
"How long have you known?" Mrs. Niehaus directed the question to Delphine.
It was Cosima who cleared her throat. "Alright so I don't want you to judge Delphine because we've been through a lot in 6 months."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Delphine sat down, grabbing the untouched glass of wine. "I used to work for DYAD." She admitted. It wasn't a story she really wanted to share but despite the possibility of losing the woman's respect, she felt the truth needed to be heard. "I was hired by Dr. Leekie to find out how much Cosima knew about the project." She paused to let it sink in before continuing. "When I was in the lab, Cosima was just a number to me. She was just a number on the test tubes, samples, and charts. It wasn't until I met her and spent time with her that I began to see her for what she was." She smiled at Cosima. "Completely irresistible."
"But you're just a student."
"Eh." Cosima sipped her wine quickly. "Yeah sorry we had to fib a little because we didn't know if you were a monitor, but Delphine already has her PhD in immunology." Cosima shrugged. "Without her inside knowledge of the project as well as her specialized skill set, we never would have found the cure."
"A cure?" Mrs. Niehaus was starting to get a good mental picture of all the facts. Things were starting to fall together. "The chest cold you were in the hospital for." She looked at the stack and then back to Cosima. "You could have died."
Cosima nodded. "I could have, but thanks to Delphine, I didn't."
"She is so modest. She was there helping every step of the way. I didn't do it alone."
They gave the older woman a moment to process as Cosima responded to another message. Delphine could feel Cosima's mother's eyes on her but she was afraid to see the same betrayal she had in Cosima's eyes so many months ago.
"My daughter is a clone."
Cosima looked up from the phone to see her mother staring at her. "Sorry. I know it kind of sucks, but I'm used to seeing copies of myself."
The older woman shook her head, capturing Cosima's chin in a gentle grip. "No matter how many other women share your genes, there's only one of you. Don't you forget that." She pulled her into a hug, taking a shuddering breath as she tried to get a grip on her life that just spun out of control. After a long moment, she pulled back, wiping away a tear with a laugh. "So, do I ever get to meet these other women?"
"Well..." Cosima laughed as she launched Skype and the call was picked up. Her screen was filled with Sarah's face. "Hey Sarah."
"Hey nerdy me." Sarah smirked, sipping from a glass half-filled with amber liquid.
"Ha ha." Cosima sat back slightly, turning the monitor. "Sarah, this is my mother. Mom, this is Sarah."
"Oi oi Cos's mom." Sarah rose her glass. "So Leekie is gone for now? You gave him the cure."
"This is so strange." Mrs. Niehaus watched the interaction.
Sarah couldn't help laughing. "You're telling me. You should see when there's three of us in a room."
"You're so similar, yet so different." The older woman looked back and forth between the two, still trying to get a grasp on the facts that were put in front of her.
A tearful goodbye and a long plane trip later, Cosima released a content sigh as she crawled into her own bed which was already filled with a certain blonde. They had left that evening, managing to catch the last flight home, a red eye that had them landing the next morning. She had left a few copies of the files with her mother to satisfy her curiosity and while she knew that her mother could use the comfort, she didn't feel safe in that house anymore. She didn't know if there were any cameras or any other surveillance equipment hidden in corners. Absentmindedly, she trailed a fingertip up the woman's arm, curling up to her warmth with a soft hum.
"Merde it's been such a long day."
Cosima nodded, her head resting her head against the woman's chest, breathing in the familiar scent and hoping to wash away everything that had happened in the last 24 hours.
Delphine sighed softly remembering the day. On their way out the door, Mrs. Niehaus had pulled her into a tight hug, whispering thanks for saving Cosima's life. She internally had disagreed with leaving Cosima's mother alone after such a traumatic day, but she was very glad to be home. Not counting all the Dyad drama that had occurred, spending the week in the home of strangers you were trying to impress was always draining. She let her hand gently rub circles on the woman's back. When she felt a shiver run through the woman's body, she looked down. "Cold?"
"No." Cosima shook her head, sniffling slightly.
It was then that Delphine felt the wetness hit her chest where the woman's head was resting. "Cherie?" Delphine tilted her head to get a better look at the woman, seeing the tears that were now flowing. She didn't need to ask what was wrong. What wasn't wrong? She pulled the woman closer, wrapping both arms around her.
"Oh God." Was all Cosima said as she burrowed into the woman's arms, feeling the weight of the world crashing down on her.
Delphine didn't bother with words of encouragement. She knew Cosima didn't need them. Instead she just held the woman, even when tears turned to loud sobs. Even when the slight shiver turned to a steady trembling. Instead she pressed a kiss to the woman's temple. "Je t'aime, Cosima." She whispered. She could fill the silence with promises of how everything would work out, how everything would get better, but their lives were anything but simple. Their problems could not be scared away with a few words. They just had to get through the waves of trouble that kept washing over them. All they could do was hold onto each other and keep each other's head up so they didn't drown.
The End for now