Chapter 1: Delphine 1
Oddly enough, it’s looking at Cosima, sick and frail in her hospital bed at DYAD, that makes the choice for her. Delphine observes from a distance. Cosima recovering, gradually getting stronger before medical samples are taken. Losing Cosima altogether would be torture, unsurvivable.
Scott has pushed this experimental gene therapy that he and Cosima herself have constructed and planned. Delphine throws her weight behind them, whatever resources they need, whatever personnel they need.
At night she sneaks into Cosima’s hospital room, holds her hand as she sleeps.
“Je t’aime plus que le monde. Plus que mon travail...” Delphine promises a sleeping Cosima, “I want forever, I wanted to keep you forever. I’ve only ever loved you.”
Cosima doesn’t stir, doesn’t wake, but continues sleeping, slight beeps of the heart monitor disturbing the silence. Delphine lets her fingers stroke Cosima’s hand, Cosima’s face. She’s still greedy for her, as cold as she’s had to be, as distant as she’s needed to become.
She returns to her office, her private lab to observe her samples herself.
Cosima’s bone marrow is a mixture of diseased and perfectly healthy, it’s staring at it through the microscope that she remembers mice with two mothers. Bone marrow babies.
“Of course.” Delphine breathes, the image burned into her mind now, a child of hers and Cosima’s combined. Their baby, she feels a rush of excitement at the thought. She’s never wanted children, never thought about children for herself... but now... maybe. A part of Cosima to keep, something to survive her, survive both of them. Born of love and science, Delphine reasons. It would be beautiful. Their baby would be beautiful, and so very loved.
She’s arranged things carefully, compartmentalized staff. A doctor who will not ask why he is hyper-stimulating her ovaries or harvesting ova from the head of DYAD. She arranges her meetings around it, and things proceed perfectly until she has a scientist in front of her manipulating bone marrow cells into sperm-like ones.
“But... who will carry?” He asks probingly, “I mean, making these embryos, awesome. The ova? Very healthy... but...”
“I will.” Delphine brushes off his gaping, his disbelief that Dr. Cormier will carry the subject herself. Carry Cosima’s baby herself... if it works.
“But Dr. Cormier...it’s very experimental...”
“Are you questioning me?” She challenges him, stepping closer, heels allowing her to tower over him, “5 day blastocysts will need genetic testing, freeze the genetically normal ones.”
She leaves the room, knowing she will not be overruled. Nothing will come between her and this. She heads for the med-lab, needing to just see Cosima, even if only for a few minutes.
When she finds Cosima she’s sitting up in bed, a small blonde woman sitting next to her, making her laugh.
Delphine bites back tears at the sight of their fingers interlaced, at the soft look on Cosima’s face. She turns around and heads back to her office. To keep her promises, to protect the clones, to love them all. But... love Cosima the most.
She’s paranoid the day of the transfer, only one of her blasts was suitable for implantation, only one was perfectly healthy, the others... Delphine tries not to worry, legs in stirrups, the procedure will be brief, she’s done the research. She longs for Cosima’s hand to hold, for anything to hold onto. Does she even know how to be a mother? Will she be a terrible one? As cold as people accuse her of being?
It certainly feels cold, and lonely, even as they withdraw the catheter from her and leave her for several moments before releasing her for the day.
She returns to work, and begins to research everything she can. Babies. Childbirth. Pregnancy. Psychological development. If this embryo implants, if it grows, if it becomes her baby, she wants to be ready for it.
The day she tests positive for pregnancy, Cosima is released from their med-lab, permitted to continue treatment as an outpatient. Will she live? Delphine wonders, is there anything more she can do for her? As an immunologist? As her... as someone who loves her?
“Can I get a look at your treatment plan? A detailed one? The one you send the office is so high level.” Delphine tries to engage with Cosima in her lab, without success. Should she tell her? All she can anticipate is Cosima’s outrage at being used as a ...donor? No, that wasn’t the right word.
“You don’t work with Scott and I anymore.” Cosima brushes her off, “You’re getting my medical samples. I let them harvest fucking bone marrow from me... I mean really, go back to your office, Delphine.”
“But I...” She starts reaching a hand out for Cosima before pulling back. It’s still there, she can see it in Cosima’s face too, even as she knows that that woman she saw is Cosima’s new lover. Taken her place in Cosima’s bed... Cosima’s heart? Delphine wonders. Can Cosima fall in love that easily? Is it that simple for her?
“I know.” Cosima squeezes her hand, “But, we’ve both got work to do. You’ve made your choice.” She’s kind, at least, if distant.
Delphine hovers outside the door for several minutes, unsure of what to say, what would make a difference. If anything could bring them back together. If she should even tell Cosima, when things are still so new. When at any moment she could learn, in a rush of bright red blood, that there would be no child at all.
To offset the medicalized conception, Delphine determines that the pregnancy and birth should be as natural as possible. She’s sick of feeling cold, of acting cold. And perinatal outcomes in Canada are not nearly as good as France, with obstetricians. Appalled by the lack of evidence-based practice, she begins reading everything on the subject of natural pregnancy and birth, becomes a patient at the closest midwifery clinic, researches constantly. Would Cosima do this? Read with her? Debate on whether they should have their baby at home or in the hospital? Whether delayed cord clamping is worth pushing for, or if a natural third stage is beneficial.
Mara, her midwife, laughs at her, “You sound like you’ve been reading a midwifery textbook.”
“Well... I have.” Delphine admits, “I want to be prepared...I don’t know how to be a mother.”
“No one does, hon,” Mara assures her with a pat to the hand, “We all just do the best we can, reading a lot helps.”
“Being alone...I’m just so worried.” Delphine admits.
“Yes, I know. But, you have options for support. Doulas for labour and postpartum. Do you have a friend or maybe your mother you want to come with you to appointments?”
The only person she wants is Cosima, Cosima holding her hand, Cosima as nervous and excited as herself.
Instead, Delphine shakes her head, “I don’t think so.”
She’s normal, Delphine finally gets the results back from the ultrasound. They’d barely let her see the screen, but to her eyes the fetus looks normal. Female, of course, there hadn’t been a surprise there with only x-chromosomes to work with. Her daughter. Cosima’s daughter.
She cries a few days later in her midwife’s office, tears of relief. Normal fetal development, typical of a fetus at 21 weeks gestation.
“Your baby is fine Delphine, everything looks perfect...” Mara pats her upper arm, “No soft or hard markers. No reason to worry.”
“Are you sure?” She manages out between terrified tears, of course this woman knows nothing of the experiment, not of her fears for the last twenty weeks.
“Yes. You’ve been researching all the things that could go wrong, haven’t you? Just like doctors... And academics.” Mara has been a midwife for the last two decades, she must have lumped Delphine’s concerns safely with something more pedestrian.
Delphine lies and nods her head, “I get so nervous.”
“I know, there’s no need to be. You’re healthy and so is baby. Do you want to know the sex?” Mara reassures her gently again.
“It’s a girl.” Delphine smiles looking back at her, “I know it’s a girl.”
“Looks like Mama’s got good intuition. Yes she is.” The midwife nods in response, “Now, let’s get you measured!”
Delphine lays back with a smile, “She’s perfect.” She’s in disbelief, she’d kept expecting for something to go wrong. For this experiment to fail in the worst way. For her body to reject the fetus, to cramp and bleed out her hopes.
She wants to call Cosima, pester her during the night when she finally gets home after work and appointments and blood draws. She lays on her couch, missing the warmth Cosima brought to her apartment, to her life. But she’s not alone... she’s never truly alone anymore.
Instead she lets herself caress her belly, admiring the new roundness to it. Feeling that at last they have a good chance of this working, that baby is normal, that baby is perfect.
“Allô bébé.” She croons to her belly during the night, “Je t’aime.” She runs her fingers delicately along the swell of it, the small movements she can now feel reassuring her.
The next time she runs into Cosima at DYAD, she wants to tell her, to spin her around excitedly in her arms. The baby is growing and fine. Their baby is fine.
But Shay is with her, and Felix. Waiting for some new test result. She’d managed to avoid face-to-face communication with the clones since she’s been showing - but she knew they’d figure it out sooner or later.
Cosima always sets a whirr of emotions running in her; they immediately become harder to keep controlled, under the surface. She looks at Cosima’s face, and the same rush runs through her. Love, yes, there’s love there, so much of it. But also… desire. She never thought pregnancy would make her feel so...sexual. Never imagined she’d wake nearly daily from yet another sex dream, aching for Cosima early in the morning. Always Cosima, always.
Cosima blinks at her, can she tell? She should be able to now - it’s been a month since they’d seen each other.
Felix looks her up and down with a smirk, “That was fast. Forget how to use a condom?”
Cosima glares at him before repeating the same motion, “Delphine...” Cosima eyes her in disbelief, “Are you pregnant?”
“Yes.” She nods with a cautious smile.
“Holy shit... I...wow. Umm congrats?” Cosima bumbles awkwardly, unsure of what to do or say. Her arms reach forward as if to embrace her, before folding back across her chest.
“Great... can you leave now?” Felix crosses his arms and stares her down.
“You should get some pure extra virgin coconut oil,” Shay advises simply, “Way better than any creams, slather it on everywhere after your showers. Help that skin stretch.”
“Coconut oil…” Cosima nods and grins, looking at Shay, “Is there anything it can’t do?”
“Thank you.” Delphine nods, unsure of what else to say to this... bizarre woman Cosima seems intent on keeping the company of.
“Oh, I hope you’re not using regular deodorant, you need to limit your exposure to toxins-” Shay begins before Cosima grabs her by the arm and begins shaking her head, pulling her away.
Cosima seems intrigued by the suggestion of her girlfriend, so Delphine makes a mental note. Coconut oil, adding it to her to-do list. Toxins, she makes a note to research that as well. Everything she exposed herself to, exposed their baby as well. And weren’t babies always supposed to be always putting things in their mouths? That would be a disaster, her hard worked for baby, Cosima’s baby, being slowly poisoned by environmental toxins.
What else would Cosima want for their child? What else could she do? Delphine wonders as she returns to work, attempting to be as imposing as possible, as cold as possible to make up for her changing body.
She wants a French name, nothing too modern or trendy, pronounceable by anglophones. Some connection to Cosima. What would Cosima want? Something ‘hippie’ her mind suggests. Like Océane, but she doesn’t like it. Or something English. Something her own family may not be able to pronounce.
Delphine thinks of possibilities. Cosima makes her think of the cosmos, the universe. Something like Estelle? She shakes her head, she prefers Stella. Pronounceable surely, but not French.
Céleste? She ponders, stroking her growing belly. Inside her, their daughter moves again. Céleste, Delphine thinks again more dreamily. Céleste Cormier. She doesn’t like it as much as Céleste Niehaus. Or Niehaus-Cormier... But... Delphine sighs. Could she even tell Cosima? Would she listen? Assume she’s been unfaithful?
Would she feel betrayed? She’d used Cosima’s bone marrow without her consent, created their child without her consent. But... she hadn’t hurt anyone. Hadn’t jeopardized their experiment. The only person whose life she has changed is her own, Delphine reasons. Her baby. Delphine repeats it aloud, “Mon bébé.” Does she have to be anything else? No one will know, Delphine knows, she’s destroyed all the files on her child. Another vanished experiment.
But would Cosima ever need to know? Would it break her? Delphine wonders, would she be in awe of their baby? Horrified?
She can feel her from the outside easily now, a tiny foot, or hand or knee, making its presence known. Though, she’s yet to be able to distinguish what is what. The movements reassure her that their baby is normal, their baby is fine, despite her unconventional conception.
Alone in her office, she lies on the couch between meetings. Between all the craziness her life has become heading up Dyad. Trying to navigate safety for Cosima and her sisters, while maintaining her own career, her own status, at Dyad to permit that. She’s tired, more tired than she’s felt since the first trimester… it’s catching up to her.
She’s let her shirt ride up, her own hand underneath, probing gently at her own belly - trying to solicit movement from within. She moves a lot, Delphine muses, she wonders if Cosima was the same in utero… if she herself moved this much.
“Allô bébé…Allô Céleste...” Delphine croons to her daughter when she feels her move in response, at 26 weeks she should be able to hear her now.
“J’éspère d’être prête pour toi,” Delphine wonders what else she should say, what gentle words would make up for all the more aggressive and cruel ones her baby overhears from her throughout the day, “Je t’aime déjà.”
“Hey… can you approve this?” Cosima stands behind her looking grumpy holding out a stack of forms.
She guiltily removes her hand from her shirt, tugging it back down, “What is it?”
“Just sign it.” Cosima lets the papers fall on her.
“What’s wrong?” Delphine sits up, slightly awkwardly, before readjusting her clothing and turning to face Cosima, she’s been avoiding her for weeks and now this?
Cosima crosses her arms and stares her down, “Why?”
“Why what?” Delphine tries to be cold, tries to be professional, but it’s hard with Cosima. Harder than with anyone else.
“Don’t you get it? What you’ve done?!” Cosima growls at her, “You’ve ruined everything. It’ll… it will never be you and me again now.” Cosima’s voice breaks and she can’t resist reaching out for her, grabbing her hand.
“Cosima.” She breathes, the cooler façade gone for now. It’s not true, she wants to tell Cosima, they could be together now… it’s safer. Much safer… even if it will never truly be safe.
“Don’t.” Cosima shakes off her hand, “I can’t believe any of this is real. Do you have time for this shit, really? What happens to my sisters and I when you’re off-”
Delphine bites her lip, “I won’t be off that long. You’re safe for now, I promise, I...I won’t let anything compromise your safety.” She will need to take some time off, she knows that much. Part of her wants the full year, another part doubts the ability of the sisters to survive in her extended absence.
Cosima scoffs, “Like you didn’t let anything compromise Rachel’s.”
She lies, there’s nothing else to do, “I had nothing to do with that.”
“Bullshit Delphine.” Cosima shakes her head, “What, we’re suppose to believe Rachel just died? Conveniently?”
“Yes.” Delphine responds, “It’s easier if you do.”
“Fuck that.” Cosima walks out, slamming the door behind her.
She strokes her belly when she’s sure Cosima is gone. “N’inquiètes pas, ma belle,” she speaks to their daughter, “I want you…It doesn’t matter if anyone else does.” If Cosima does, she thinks to herself, but the child has no way of knowing what Cosima is to her, at least in a biological sense.
Inside, their baby squirms again, tiny feet kicking.
It happens by chance a few weeks later. She sees them, but they don’t see her. Cosima and Shay, eating lunch in the café near her midwifery clinic. It’s that sort of area, Delphine realizes, acupuncture and the sort of thing that seems to be Shay’s area of expertise. They look lovely together, she realizes, similar height and leaning together. She’s made no efforts to hide her pregnancy, in fact, her clothes currently display it proudly.
All the delight from her appointment, of her very typical pregnancy, of her plans for the baby fade quickly. She watches Cosima brush back a strand of blonde hair tenderly from Shay’s face. She’d intended to get a decaf coffee, but now… Delphine finds herself backing away from the door before she is seen.
Cosima was mine, Delphine thinks sadly, seeing a grin light up her face as she laughs at something. It cuts into her deeply, she looks away. Her hand drops down to her belly, stroking at her child in what she intends to be a reassuring fashion. You are loved, she reassures her daughter in her head, we will be fine.
Mara had talked about the bliss of having a baby, of holding your child in your arms. She’s not sure she can imagine it yet, even with her baby growing ever larger, ever closer to birth. How could this feel okay alone?
Bliss, Delphine remembers, was being in Cosima’s arms, inside of Cosima, as she clung to her. Cosima breathing her name, asking for more fingers, her own desire fixed on Cosima’s pleasure. The joy of Cosima’s arms around her, of Cosima’s breath against her lips, or her neck. The unbelievable release of Cosima’s climax, or how their bodies fit together, or how she’d wipe the tears from her eyes if she cried during sex. Cosima’s tenderness, Cosima’s love for her… She can lose herself in Cosima for hours, Delphine knows this well.
She misses that, more than she’s willing to say. Is it like that for Cosima with everyone? So passionate? So all-encompassing?
She doesn’t deserve Cosima anymore, maybe that’s it, Delphine muses. Too many power plays, too many deceptions. Still, she’s kept her alive, and safe. Sarah and Alison as well… She’s done her job.
Walking away, she realizes she’s crying. It’s the hormones, Delphine tries to reassure herself, that make this so hard to hold in. It’s the love that led to this in the first place, a smaller part of her reminds her. Love for Cosima. Love for this child.
Chapter 2: Delphine 2
Cosima shows up in her office after hours, prattling on about funding and things that don’t quite add up. Delphine attempts to follow the tangential monologue Cosima enters on funding and maternity leave and how long Delphine will be off for. She’s not sure when she moved, when she approached Cosima, nearly pinning her to the desk.
It’s unexpected, she’s dropped to her knees in front of Cosima, buried her face in Cosima’s flat belly. More surprisingly, Cosima lets her. Pregnancy had reminded Delphine of her own vanity several times. She misses her body as it was, but this... this will be worth it. A child made from Cosima’s DNA mixed with her own. A scientific achievement, her own beloved baby.
“Whoa, Delphine...are you okay?” Cosima looks down at her concerned, “What’s wrong?”
“Non... I miss you.” Delphine sobs, unable to blame hormones for this as much as she might like to, “Je t’aime ...Je t’aime..” She repeats into Cosima’s shirt, arms locked around Cosima’s hips as she clings to her.
“Delphine.” Cosima whimpers, her lower lip trembling, she strokes her hair before leaning down, while pulling her up to kiss.
She removes Cosima’s skirt without thinking, Cosima’s hands going to join hers to strip herself naked from the waist down.
“I don’t love anyone but you.” Delphine promises, guiding Cosima back on the desk and sinking back down to her knees, “Je suis fidèle à toi. Toujours fidèle.” She presses her mouth to Cosima’s sex, licking gently, memory resurfacing near instantly, she remembers how to do this. How to love Cosima, how to please her. It’s different, her round belly resting on her thighs, she worries somewhat she will be unable to stand again without assistance. Cosima is familiar, her taste, her movements, her sounds.
“I love you.” Cosima tugs her closer, fingers running through her straightened hair. “Oh god... Delphine...”
Cosima cries and whimpers on her desk, bucking her hips into Delphine’s face, but she doesn’t care. Doesn’t care if her lips are bruised tomorrow, not if she can taste Cosima, feel her love, enjoy the sweetness of her. She wants to reassure Cosima of her love, her passion for her, her loyalty...
Our baby is inside me, Delphine thinks, as she looks up at Cosima’s eyes, meeting her tender gaze. Her hands caress soft skin, she works her more ardently, until her beloved gushes and moans her pleasure, back arching as she shakes on the desk.
“I missed you too.” Cosima cries, stroking at her hair, her face, “Kiss me. Please... come up here and kiss me.”
“I...I can’t get up on my own.” Delphine admits sheepishly with a little cry.
“Oh shit,” Cosima laughs, helping her to her feet and pulling her into her arms. Her belly presses between them, but Cosima doesn’t release her, doesn’t stop kissing her, stroking her face. The three of them are together, as they’re supposed to be, Delphine smiles at the thought.
“Come home with me.” Delphine breathes into Cosima’s skin, “I... I need you. And... it’s too hard for me to make love with you here. I need a bed.”
“Yes.” Cosima nods at her, “Yes... Of course. Take me home. "
“This is so weird.” Cosima looks her over as she undresses haltingly. She’s barely looked at Delphine’s new condo, hadn’t even commented on it being larger than her old apartment. “It’s so hard to believe it’s real... you pregnant, but now...oh god.” Cosima shakes her head, any illusions she’s had vanish at the sight of Delphine’s changed naked body.
“It’s still me.” Delphine offers, “Just...” She looks down at her darkened nipples, her swollen breasts and belly, she wants to make a face, to grimace, at Cosima’s uncertain expression. She’s thirty weeks along, and it’s impossible to deny how much things have changed. Their child moves slightly inside her, and all Delphine can do is hope Cosima doesn’t notice.
“Yeah.” Cosima nods as if she’s trying to convince herself, she pushes forward claiming her in a kiss, guiding Delphine back towards the open bedroom.
They manage to reach the bed, to rid each other of the last of their clothing, she’s bare to Cosima now, she still looks at her tenderly, hungrily. It has to be okay, it has to be, Delphine tells herself.
“Are you comfortable?” Cosima asks as she guides her down gently on the mattress.
“Yes... yes...” Delphine reassures between frantic kisses. Now. Her body insists, now, now, now. It’s been too long since she’s let anyone touch her, anyone... She bites Cosima’s neck, sucking firmly, marking her. Is Cosima still with...? She doesn’t know, she doesn’t ask... for the moment Cosima is hers. She cries out, and Delphine hums happily in response. Mine, Delphine thinks kissing lower, moving to draw a nipple into her mouth, encouraging Cosima to touch her in return. She cannot remember Cosima being this tentative….not since the first time.
“Ohh.” Cosima groans, pushing her away to move over her, and begins to laugh, “How am I going to ... wow... umm how do we work around that?” Cosima points at her belly.
She pulls Cosima against her, hushing her doubts with kisses, with a probing tongue, “We’ll manage... we have to.” She moans, “I need you... I need you, Cosima.”
Fingers probe between her legs, as Cosima cautiously hovers over her, “Like this?” Cosima groans loudly at the feel of her, “Oh my god, Delphine… I don’t think you’ve ever been this wet… ”
“Please...” Delphine begs, clinging tightly, she begins to murmur to Cosima, unsure of whatever she is saying, but it all sounds like love. Fingers press deep inside, she wants to demand for more, harder, deeper - but instead she allows Cosima to set the pace, decide how she wants to touch her.
Cosima takes her with sweet kisses and delicate touches, “I still love you.” Cosima assures her. She comes easily, shattering under Cosima’s body, muscles throbbing and clenching on Cosima’s fingers.
“More.” Delphine demands when Cosima first tries to pull out, “I need more...please...”
Cosima lets out a wordless cry, allowing their mouths to rush together in a possessive kiss, before beginning again, this time harder, deeper.... desperate.
Lying next to Cosima naked she finally breathes, crying softly. Their daughter wriggles excitedly inside her, nearly as much as she does for music whenever Delphine plays it. Does she sense that Cosima is near? How could she know? Or is it the beating of her own heart that causes their daughter to squirm so much? To kick and dance and roll inside of her. It’s almost perfect.
Cosima regards her tenderly, “You okay?”
“Did you still enjoy it?” Delphine asks nodding, clasping Cosima’s hand in her own, trying not to think of the way Cosima eyes her changing body, disbelief with a mix of lust, and love and fascination. She’s unsure what to think of it, Delphine realizes.
“Well yes, but it was different.” Cosima smiles at her again, readjusting her body, “Were you comfortable enough?”
“It was okay... Maybe we should have used pillows. My midwife said to put a pillow under my ass for sex.” Delphine giggles at that, the baby squirms again. Backflips? Delphine wonders, dance moves?
“Midwife?” Cosima seems impressed, “Wow... you’ve done a lot of research haven’t you?”
“Yes.” Delphine breathes, and grabs for Cosima’s hand, pressing it firmly against her belly, needing to share this with Cosima. The joy of it, the fears... She has to tell her, our baby. That tiny being Cosima can now feel moving inside of her is theirs. She begins to imagine telling Cosima, would she be furious? Excited? Shocked? Would she even listen to her now? And what if there’s something wrong? What if the baby isn’t...right.
“Holy shit.” Cosima looks into her eyes, almost reverently for a moment, “There’s.... wow.” She yanks her hand back nearly as quickly, as if she’s been burned.
“Cosima, please...” Delphine begs, wondering what she’s asking for. Don’t be afraid of this. Don’t deny us this, not this moment.
“I’m not... I can’t....” Cosima shakes her head, “I mean loving you is one thing... but... Delphine... this isn’t... I’m not... I think I’m more of an ‘auntie’, you know? And I can’t even really be that... not for...”
“Could you... could you try?” Delphine asks, voice breaking.
“What would baby’s dad think of that?” Cosima shoots her a look as she climbs from the bed and begins rooting around for her clothes.
You are the ‘dad’, Delphine wants to say. Or there is no dad, there will never be a dad. Two mothers, the two of them. Our baby, our baby, she chants it in her head until Cosima leaves.
Her mother flies two weeks before her daughter is born, even though she asked her not to. She criticizes everything, the crib in her own room, her plans to breastfeed for at least a year, the cloth diaper service, the colourful array of baby clothes already washed and folded lovingly, and most of all the lack of husband. She’d hired a doula, and a temporary house-cleaning service. Assured her mother that she was fine, that she wasn’t truly pregnant and alone. But her mother had come all the same.
“Maman.” Delphine rolls her eyes, “I can name my baby what I please.” She’d never intended for her mother to find the name list, still tucked in her drawer for the rare lazy mornings she reclined in bed, stroking her belly, admiring it.
“Céleste?” Her mother scowls at her, “C’est le prénom d’une femme agée!”
“Je l’aime bien.” Delphine brushes off her mother’s opinions as usual. That Céleste, the name she’d spent minutes drawing hearts around as her daughter kicked her hand as it smoothed over her belly, wasn’t good or modern enough for her granddaughter.
“Toutes mes amies ont des petits-enfants s’appellent Emma ou Léa ou Jade...” Her mother whines at her.
“Je m’en fou!” Delphine shrugs and returns to her nesting, folding tiny items of clothing in greens and purples and yellows. There wasn’t enough pink for her mother’s taste either, so she’d arrived with plenty of it in anticipation.
“C’est terrible. Tu dois trouver un autre prénom. Est-ce que tu aimes Camille?”
Delphine rolls her eyes, longing for any distraction, her child to kick her bladder, anything for a chance at escape.
Eventually she wakes one morning to cramping. Contractions? She wonders, drifting in and out of consciousness. Is this it?
Hours later, and it becomes clear labour has begun. The end is in sight.
She doesn’t feel distressed, her body acts on instinct. Contractions coming over her like waves, “Is it time to go to the hospital yet?” She asks her doula. She has music playing, coping strategies, support... she can do this. Delphine reassures herself.
“Shh, shhh.” Kate shushes her, “Let’s try getting you to lean on the ball.” Kate rolls the large ball towards her and she half collapses onto it, rocking her hips.
“Cosima...” Delphine finds herself whining, “I want Cosima...”
Kate looks at her gently, “Who’s Cosima? Your sister? A friend?”
Delphine breathes out relief, enjoying the pauses between the waves that rack her body, “My lover, Cosima was...my lover.”
“Oh. Alright then.” Kate squeezes at her hips again, “Should we call her for you?”
Could she ask for Cosima? If she did, would she even come? Would she want to? She can see her mother face-palming before she leans over the ball again. Can make out words that sound like disparaging comments.
“I think we should call the midwives.” Delphine pants after the next contraction.
“Okay,” Kate nods, “Let’s do that. Labour at home with them for a bit.”
The birth is fast, less than an hour after arriving at the hospital. Her mother had made herself somewhat useful, holding her hand or stroking her hair.
She holds her new daughter on her bare chest, watching the child move her tiny red wrinkled limbs, try to raise her head. The midwives haven’t even cut the cord yet, bowing to her wishes for as natural a birth as possible.
“Ohh... mon ti-ange.” Delphine croons at her baby, “Allo Céleste.” She admires the child, a fair amount of what appears to be damp curly hair covering her head, the deep blue eyes of newborns and what looks to be Cosima’s mouth in miniature. She strokes the child’s back, uncaring that she is completely naked, or that her mother is grimacing at her, overcome with the joy of this. Her daughter is alert, pink and perfect, so perfect.
Her mother sticks her tongue out at the name, “C’est terrible.” Her mother may understand some English, but other than to translate quickly for a labouring Delphine, she’d refused to speak it.
“I think Celeste is lovely,” Kate volunteers, “My boys are Darren and Lukas. Do you want help latching her on? When we’re done with the placenta?”
She nods, admiring her baby, unable to look away even 20 minutes after Céleste emerged from her own body. She’s caught her breath, but she’s never felt this fixated before, except maybe with Cosima. Is it the resemblance? The hormones? Delphine finds herself wondering, she giggles slightly, fingers stroking at a tiny wrinkled foot.
“You can go home later today if you want, Delphine.” Mara tells her, “Midwifery patients aren’t held for 24 hours, and you didn’t even tear!”
“Good.” Delphine breathes, “I think I’d like that.” Maybe then she could call Cosima, try to explain what she’s done... How would she even start? She wonders looking down at Céleste again, their miracle of science. Their love made manifest.
At least she could sleep in her own bed tonight. She hates hospitals, they make her think of death. She knows too well, the risk of contracting an infection is high here. She won’t do anything that may risk her health. Or Céleste’s.
“Umm..” A nurse pops his head in, “We have someone here looking for Delphine Cormier? But, you’re only allowed two guests.”
“I need a cigarette anyways.” Her mother announces still pale, leaving the room for the time being.
A familiar dreadlocked head pops in, “Hey Delphine. You okay if I come in?”
“Cosima.” Delphine breathes.
“Umm, whoever you are,” Mara warns, “We’re about to deliver the afterbirth in here...in less than ten minutes.”
Kate jumps in immediately, “Let her stay. Assuming she’s not squeamish.” She tosses a small blanket over Céleste’s tiny body, and Delphine’s. For warmth, Delphine assumes… though it may help conceal the child’s parentage, for a few more minutes.
“Okay, placenta, that’s kinda gross.” Cosima nods, “I can handle it. Can I stay?”
Delphine nods, unsure of whether she should try to hide Céleste. Would Cosima see herself in their newborn? Would she see only Delphine? Would Cosima be furious? Confused?
“How?” Delphine looks from her child to Cosima, for a moment.
“Well... ever since you went off on mat leave last week, I’ve been stalking your apartment. I didn’t want you to be alone....” Cosima shrugs moving closer, looking from Delphine to the blanket covered baby on her chest. To the midwife adjusting the baby’s position to clamp the cord for cutting.
“So today, your landlady got really pissed at me and said you were in labour, and your apartment was full... and I guessed you didn’t really need me. But I hung around anyways.”
Mara looks at the visitor, “Okay, do you want to cut the cord? Or should I just do it?”
“Seriously?” Cosima looks from the midwife to Delphine, who shrugs at her. “Umm okay.”
“Just cut right there, between the clamps.” Mara instructs, handing Cosima the sterilized scissors.
“But here?” Delphine is confused, though her hand never leaves Celeste. She watches Cosima cut the cord with a smile.
“Oh... Felix has a friend who works here. And umm, I followed you.” Cosima raises her eyebrows, as if to imply a client. Delphine wonders who briefly, a doctor? An administrator?
“I’m happy you came. I would have wanted you here for the whole thing.” Delphine feels tears well up in her eyes again.
Cosima grins, “Can I see the baby?”
“Actually if you can hold her, that’d be great.” Kate suggests, “Delphine’s going to have to squat again in a minute.”
“Okay.” Cosima nods in disbelief, “Umm, I’ve never held a newborn before.”
“This is Céleste.” Delphine strokes her hand down her daughter’s still slippery back before holding her out for Cosima to hold, wrapped loosely in a small blanket.
Kate adjusts Cosima’s hands, “Like this, skin on skin is better, if you...” She cuts herself off at the blank look on Cosima’s face, “Yeah that’s fine, nice and close, support the head.”
“Holy shit. She’s still all gooey.” Cosima breathes, looking down at the bundle in her arms, “You really had a baby. Oh my god. Hi baby. Hi Celeste.” The brunette corrects herself.
Delphine giggles, even as the midwives are guiding her up to squat again, weaker cramps of her body expelling the afterbirth already begun.
“She looks like...” Cosima trails off, a look of comprehension dawning on her face, “She’s beautiful, just like you.” Cosima finishes, eyes wide as she regards the baby with equal parts awe and fascination.
Cosima stays with them the six hours until they’re discharged, permitted to go home. She watches Delphine nurse Celeste, watches her lie around with Celeste on her chest and finally watches as she dresses her carefully in tiny little clothes to go home. A bright blue sleeper with stars, and a white sweater. She’s nervous about handling a newborn herself, and it shows, even with the kind reassurance of her midwives and doula. Cosima is quiet for the most part, even on the ride home, she doesn’t speak. Doesn’t interrupt any of the conversations going on around her, she hovers in the background.
“Remember, as much skin-on-skin as possible. Diaper clad baby, topless mama.” Kate reminds them as she leaves to go home herself, “The midwives will be back to check on you tomorrow, and if you need anything, just call.”
“I’ll see Kate out,” Cosima nods, following the doula to the door.
Delphine lays in bed. She’s tired, but happy. Céleste in her arms, Cosima seemingly lost in processing this new biological and social reality.
“She’s mine. She’s really mine.” Cosima finally whispers stunned, when Delphine has been tucked back into bed with Celeste snoozing on her bare chest, making tiny little noises in her sleep. “Everything is tiny, tiny diapers, tiny toes and fingers... Tiny and perfect.” Cosima shakes her head again, climbing on the bed next to Delphine.
Delphine smiles, “Yes, mon amour, she’s yours.” It’s too much, the pet name, the affection - Cosima tenses instantly.
“I was so angry when you were pregnant because I …” Cosima cuts herself off shaking her head, “I wanted her to be mine.”
“And now that I know she is mine? I’m … fucking pissed… and it’s…”
“It’s what?” Delphine, wraps her arms protectively around Celeste, nervous at the roughness of Cosima’s gesturing.
“Why?” Cosima’s angry again, eyes flashing, “Why did you do this?”
“I … I wanted to.”
“If I couldn’t have you… if you died… I would still have her.” Delphine mutters, “I wanted our baby, not anyone else’s, yours and mine.”
“We weren’t even together. You’d left me months before that. Months!” Cosima shakes her head, “And I look at her… and oh my god Delphine… she’s beautiful, so beautiful. But… fuck.”
“Not because I wanted to!” Delphine reminds her. On Céleste, she agrees, she’s never thought much of babies, but Céleste? Céleste is gorgeous!
“Is this another leverage thing with DYAD? An experiment, just because you can? This is a child, Delphine, do you even understand how serious this is?”
“I do understand,” Delphine takes a deep breathe, “Céleste is our baby, I carried our baby inside of me. How could I not understand? How could I not love her? She’s our daughter, Cosima, she’s not an experiment. She’s not a ploy. I’ve destroyed the files - it was compartmentalized, she’s safe. I promise.”
“Then … what do I do?” Cosima looks over at them, a hand reaching to gently touch Céleste’s tiny coned head, “Cause I have no idea anymore.” Cosima cries a little, and it makes her want to cry too.
“Anything you want. You can do anything you want. Ask me anything you want.” Delphine offers, anything about Céleste she will answer. The rest? She doesn’t think she can breathe a word of it. Ever.
“How did you make her? Bone marrow?” Cosima asks, the scientist in her taking over, “Or is she some kind of dual-clone technique... oh god ...you didn’t use Sarah or Helena for this, did you?”
“Non.... I used your bone marrow. I wanted her to be ours. Epigenetics and everything.” Delphine admits quietly, “When you were sick about a year ago, I was worried I’d lose you forever, so when you recovered and we took a sample...”
“You used it.” Cosima seems increasingly overwhelmed by the news, “Can I hold her again? Can I try the skin-to-skin thing?”
“Yes.” Delphine offers quietly, waiting for Cosima to undress from the waist up, moving her hand, allowing Cosima to take the baby from her chest. She hasn’t seen Cosima undressed in months, she smiles at the sight and longs to press a kiss to Cosima’s shoulder, but she doesn’t move.
“And you used your own ova, obvs... But... why did you carry her... I mean... holy shit Delphine.” Cosima shakes her head, one hand clasped over Celeste’s tiny back, the other gesturing frantically.
“Are you still angry?” Delphine resists the urge to pull Céleste back against her own skin, worrying that the roughness of Cosima’s gesturing would harm her.
“Umm... more shocked and amazed right now. I mean having my baby without my consent, kind of creepy. Kind of wrong but... It didn’t hurt me, you know? It’s just...fucking weird. And I’m pissed but I’m also… so… stunned.” Cosima decides on the words finally.
“You don’t have to do anything.” Delphine assures Cosima, “Not financially, not socially... I just wanted to have our baby. I wanted her so badly.”
“No way. I’m not letting you do this alone. I mean you hired a doula, midwives, your mom’s here. But... you don’t have to do this alone.”
“What about Shay?”
“We split like... two months ago... after I came home with your love-bite on my neck. Fucking the pregnant ex will kill things every time.”
“I’m not. She went on about me needing to ‘symbolically break our karmic bond’ and I was… I didn’t want to break it, so… that was the end of it.”
“Oh.” Delphine blinks, brow furrowing.
“So about this name thing... do I get a say?” Cosima probes curiously.
Delphine hesitates, “I really want her to be Céleste... but if you want to add to it.”
“My oma’s name was Alida... if... umm that can be her middle name... I’d like a say...given as...umm she’s my baby. Holy watershed... ” Cosima closes her eyes, “I have a baby.”
“Céleste Alida.” Delphine considers this, then offers, “Céleste Alida Niehaus-Cormier?”
“Yes. Okay... woah. Unexpected parenthood. This is supposed to only happen to dudes.” Cosima laughs again, “I’m... floored.”
“What did you think when I was pregnant?”
“Hopefully that you’d gotten really drunk on wine missing me and had unprotected sex? I don’t know... seemed more likely than the donor route to my brain. Or... that you’d done it with some powerful guy and it was a blackmail baby.”
“Blackmail baby?” Delphine is aghast, “Cosima, there are lines even I would not cross. I do not harm children.”
“Yeah, I know...” Cosima looks down, “Oh my god. I mean the thought crossed my mind that she could be ours but I never thought you would be that -”
“Impulsive?” Delphine suggests.
“Stupid. Is Dyad going to be after her now? The bone marrow baby with two moms. Including me, a clone. What about my genetic marker tags? My modifications? Will she be sick?” Cosima’s voice breaks at her last question.
“Dyad wouldn’t know, I destroyed the files. One doctor knows I agreed to carry an experiment, he has no idea where the bone marrow came from, or the ova. The doctor who implanted her knows nothing. I promise.”
“And my synthetic sequences?”
“She inherited bits of them - but not the sequences in their entirety.” Delphine answers honestly, “I had all the embryos given PGD - preimplantation genetic diagnosis. I made sure she would be okay. I was careful.” There are no guarantees, Delphine knows this well, but for the moment Céleste seems perfectly normal and healthy.
“Yes... oh my god, she has your ears.” Cosima remarks gleefully, intently observing their daughter on her chest.
Delphine turns on her side, admiring Cosima admiring their baby, “She does, and your mouth. I think.”
“This is so amazing. I never thought I could have this.” Cosima breathes, and Céleste seems to stir, moving slightly on her chest, bringing a tiny pink hand to her mouth, “Oh, she’s rooting isn’t she?”
“Yes. She is.” Delphine glances over, sitting up, “I guess it’s time to feed her again. I can give her back right after.” Cosima hands Céleste back, a little reluctantly. Delphine awkwardly positions her to feed, movements not yet second nature, before latching her on.
“Okay,” Cosima takes a deep breath and looks over at her, “So do you remember when you asked me if I could try?”
“Yes.” Delphine answers a little distractedly, looking down at Céleste, her tiny face, her tiny hands. Her tiny head resting in her hand, her feet in the crook of her arm as she suckles.
“When I was stalking the apartment, that was me trying. I spent a lot of time thinking things over when I was on my own. Moved back in with Felix, drove him crazy over it.”
“I was in, Delphine. For you. For your baby. I really wanted to be there for you, you know, at the birth… I’m sorry I wasn’t. But I, like, bought sleepers and… I didn’t know shit about newborns… so I did some research. Got some baby/parenting books.” Cosima cocks her head to the side with a shrug, “She is so cute.”
“Sleepers?” Delphine repeats, a mental picture of a confused Cosima in a department store trickling into her mind.
“And now that I know Celeste is mine… I mean really biologically mine, but I’m still here, okay? I’m still kind of pissed but… I mean I read up assuming I’d be a parent...or parent-ish figure or step-parent. Cause you were a package deal, and I know it took me over a month to make up my mind but-”
“Okay. Do you need to go for a while? More time to think?” Delphine offers, interrupting, looking at Cosima before looking down at Céleste once more.
“What? No! I only need to leave to get my stuff. I have to like, take care of you, and bring you food and let you lay around in this bed for a few days with our baby… I can’t go anywhere. I mean… I think I made notes…” Cosima checks her phone briefly, “Yeah. I did. Week in bed. Lots of snacks and water…”
Delphine blinks in disbelief, “Take care of me?”
“Yeah, read something about babying the mother so she can baby the baby… and decided that was exactly what I needed to do. So umm… unless you’re showering or in the bathroom, you’re on or in bed. With Céleste. Not quite what I imagined for our reunion spent ‘in bed for a week’ but, hey.” Cosima grins again, probably thinking she’s hilarious.
She feels a stab of guilt, “Cosima we can’t… not for at least six weeks.” Sex had been the furthest thing from her mind, why would Cosima want to sleep with her like this anyways? Freshly postpartum… it doesn’t make any sense.
“I know, no sex til at least six weeks and the midwife or doctor clears you for it. Body needs time to heal.” Cosima answers her matter-of-factly, “It’s a drag… but… apparently we’re barely going to have sex now anyways. So, good practice?”
She knows her face falls in response to those words, she returns her attention to Céleste, switching breasts, latching her back on. At least their baby appears to be a good eater, with a good latch. She can focus on that, on Céleste, on co-parenting...
“Oh… no Delphine… it’s not that I won’t want to...Or don’t want to… I swear. You’re still beautiful… I should have read that postpartum body thing… shit.”
“I still look pregnant.” It’s true, her belly is still round, and will likely remain that way for a few months. She’s made no attempt to hide this from Cosima, but now as Delphine looks around, she thinks maybe she should cover herself and Céleste with a blanket again.
“You were beautiful pregnant.” Cosima reassures her, “I was just being an asshole.”
“So what now?”
“Well… I should probably tell my sisters about Céleste.”
“Do you have to?” Delphine begs, looking down at their precious daughter, lazily suckling colostrum from her breast. Will Céleste be safe from Sarah? From Alison? Who will they tell? What will this bring? Her intentions to keep their baby’s parentage a secret may be overruled, she realizes.
“Yes. I have to. And … I’ll figure out something to tell my parents. The new u-haul - take up with your ex, raise her newborn, and be a mommy.”
Delphine giggles, “I can’t stop looking at her.”
Cosima leans in, laying a sweet kiss to her forehead and then her lips, “Me neither,” She admits, one of her own hands going to touch Céleste, to cradle her to Delphine’s body.
“U-haul?” Delphine’s brow furrows slightly.
“Bad lesbian joke. And we’ve already done it once… Just forget it.” Cosima presses a warm hand to her shoulder, she cannot help but sigh in response.
“Cosima.” Delphine smiles at the simple contact, at this moment.
“I’m so in love with you.” Cosima murmurs. Delphine feels herself melt in response, before she realizes that Cosima is probably addressing Céleste.
“Céleste? Or… me?”
“Both.” Cosima smiles sweetly.
Chapter 3: Cosima -1
Cosima presses her hands to her face as soon as Delphine is out of range. Delphine pregnant. She'd noticed that Delphine had been snacking more, gaining a bit of weight, but she'd attributed it to job stress. Not a gestating fetus.
A baby. Delphine having a baby... And not with her. Who? When? Cosima wonders, and how did Delphine find the time? Was this purposeful? An accident? Had this come from a broken condom? A drunken encounter?
"Cosima, it's not a big deal," Shay shrugs, "Your ex has moved on, she’s having a baby. You should be happy for her. "
"I'm just shocked. " Cosima lies quickly. Felix rolls his eyes, but chooses to say nothing.
Jealousy. Cosima knows the feeling. It's not mine... Which is ridiculous. Delphine’s child would never be biologically hers. No child she could ever have would be, Delphine couldn’t possibly be that stupid, even heading DYAD. Those kinds of experiments had to stay off limits. But... Not mine. The words bother her. She doesn’t want to picture a faceless stranger moving over Delphine, thrusting into her, causing her to whimper, coming inside of her. Creating life, even accidentally. It was just far too… intimate.
Not mine, Cosima reminds herself, Delphine isn’t hers, this child isn’t hers… A deep wrenching feeling in her gut brings an intense wave of nausea. She doesn’t want anyone else coming in Delphine… or anywhere near Delphine. But this… misplaced jealousy? Is that it? A child is more than that. It’s a huge wedge being driven between them. It… it will never be the same again. Delphine pregnant. Delphine having a baby. Her mind spins with the ramifications, the finality of it all. Who is the father that Delphine is carrying to term? Is it a baby she wants? Or is this part of something else?
"Can you wait outside?" Cosima implores Shay and Felix, "I just need to be by myself. Dr. Nealon is brief. It won't take long for the results. "
"It's looking promising, Cosima. I still want you coming in for dialysis - I'm not thrilled with the state of your kidneys. But the growths are not spreading. You’re stable. " Dr..Nealon informs her quickly, handing over a stack of pages.
"Did Dr. Cormier examine my results?"
"Yes. I'll see you same time next week. "
"Fine. " Cosima nods considering, "Is Delphine -"
"Is Dr. Cormier what? Still competent? Of course. By the way - no more guests... It's awkward keeping them out of things. Your girlfriend still ignorant?"
"Yeah. Of course. Shay knows nothing. Just that I'm getting experimental treatment for an autoimmune disorder."
"Good. Keep it that way. We don't need the extra liability. " Dr. Nealon barely looks up from his notes.
"And if I don't? "
"Then we have a problem. " Dr. Nealon glares at her intently, “And you know how DYAD can handle a problem.”
“Right. Yeah.” Cosima nods, “Am I free to go?”
He nods at her and she stands up, quickly exiting the room and making her way back to chairs where Felix and Shay were chatting amicably, though mysteriously quiet once she had come into view.
“So?” Shay looks at her from her seat in the hall. Shay seems, more secure if anything, and the woman wasn’t insecure to begin with, by any stretch of the imagination.
“We’re making progress.”
“It’s promising then? This new treatment? I don’t like it… I think you need to look at more holistic options.”
“Well, we’re doing those too. Both.” Cosima reminds her girlfriend with a smile.
Felix interrupts, “Okay, so who’s for lunch and drinks to celebrate? Delphine’s out of the picture for good, and you’re getting better. Ooh I have an idea… there’s this great Thai place downtown and-”
“Sounds good to me,” Shay nods, “Are you okay Cosima?”
“Yeah babe, I’m sorry. I’m fine.” Cosima lies quickly. Delphine… she’ll never quite be over her. How could she be? Even Shay had told her they had this ‘karmic bond’ tying them together. Not necessarily meaning their relationship would be lasting, only that its effects would be.
She tries to brush off her dreams of Delphine as usual. Shay, knowing better, simply directs her to the dream journal she’d insisted Cosima keep. It was supposed to help her process through her emotions during their relationship that had sprung from a quick rebound. A way to ‘deal with her baggage’ as they go.
“Do you really want me to tell you?” Cosima glares at her girlfriend as she scribbles in her dream journal. Dreams of having sex with a distinctly not-pregnant Delphine. Delphine telling her she loves her. Typical, Cosima thought, nothing much has changed there. Being symbolically pulled apart. Blah blah blah.
Shay considers, “Do you want to tell me?”
“Then that’s it. But you’re still processing through your emotions. It’s fine to have feelings, but you have to admit it’s over now. She’s pregnant. End of story.” Shay notices her tensing and rolls her eyes, “Don’t. Don’t lie to me - I can tell when you’re lying.”
“So what?” Cosima rolls her eyes, “Maybe I don’t care anymore. Maybe it’s something else.”
“Just remember, it’s your past. The past is behind us. So what? Delphine is an ex.. It doesn’t matter how she got pregnant or with who. It’s over. You told me it was done. And it’s going to stay done. Besides… pregnant… I mean… you can’t still want to fuck her.”
“Yeah. Of course not.” Cosima nods, “I think I need space. Like to clear my head.”
“Fine. Go take a walk. Talk to a friend. Whatever you need to do.”
“Aren’t you jealous?”
Shay grimaces, “I told you. Pregnant. Not exactly the sexiest thing on the planet. My pregnant clients tell me they feel like beached whales by the end of it. Plus you know, stretch marks, heartburn, nausea, swollen feet, near constant discharge - it’s gross. The complete opposite of sex appeal.”
Cosima laughs softly, humourlessly, “Yeah. You’re right. Not sexy. Even with a, what did you call it, ‘karmic bond’.”
“And, as I told you, karmic bond doesn’t mean permanent or even good. I like what we have.” Shay smiles, “It’s nice. Less dramatic than that sort of thing.”
“Yeah.” Cosima agrees with a nod, leaning in for a quick kiss. She’s still aroused from her dream, she tries to pull Shay in under her, forget these conflicting emotions. When they’re fucking she can almost forget, almost lose herself in it. It’s less passionate, Cosima acknowledges, but it’s still pretty good. As long as she doesn’t try to compare it to her overwhelming feelings for Delphine. Maybe nothing ever will compare, she’s better off forgetting, settling for a relationship like this. Easy. Uncomplicated. Great friendship and pretty good sex.
Shay pushes her off, “Nope, no time, I have a client in an hour, so have a good day. Deal with your emotions. See you tonight.” Hopping out of bed, Shay begins to dress, “Oh god, Cosima, don’t pout at me. Find something else to do.”
“Okay.” Cosima agrees halfheartedly, rolling back over, hoping to dream again. Shit.
She finds herself watching for Delphine at DYAD. She lets herself eye Delphine, learning the new contours of her body by sight. She tries to make herself feel disgust, or anything but arousal and longing looking at Delphine. She tries to hide it as the weeks pass, but she tries to look in on Delphine as much as possible. Watch her enter the building in the morning, timing her commute so they usually coincide and she can follow Delphine in.
She’s turned on by pregnant women? Cosima shakes her head. Fuck no. By the idea of Delphine pregnant? Probably not. If things were different, would she be? If it were a sperm donor and a baby planned by the two of them? In some weird alternate reality where they were together and functional? As close to ‘mine’ as Delphine’s child could ever be, Cosima muses, she could have been into that, in a few years, maybe. Longing for Delphine in spite of everything? She muses, it must be the truth.
She stares blankly at her computer monitor, trying not to think about Delphine. Anything but Delphine.
“What are you looking at?” Scott approaches her from behind, just in time to see her jump.
“Delphine.” Scott reads her correctly.
“Yeah. I just… I can’t stop myself from feeling.” Cosima slams her hand into the desk in lieu of shoving papers off of it.
“What’s wrong with that?” Scott shrugs cluelessly, trying to figure it out.
Cosima gestures it out, “Umm I have a girlfriend? Delphine’s pregnant. I don’t even know how…”
“Why don’t you go talk to her? I mean we have these forms for approvals. Go get her to sign them.” Scott hands her the forms.
“Isn’t that your job?”
“Take the forms. Go see Delphine. Ask her.” Scott suggests, “Advice from a guy who can’t usually read these types of situations - ask. Makes things a hell of a lot easier.”
“Ask her what?” Cosima cannot help herself from being a smart-ass.
“If her kid’s dad is in the picture. If she’s single… Whatever it is that has you mooning in the hallways nearly everyday.” Scott returns to his work, “I’m going to pack up and go home now. Play some video games- and it’s almost time to feed Tesla.”
“Tesla is dead.” Cosima deadpans.
“Tesla is my cat. I got her from the SPCA. It helps with the work stress.”
“Yeah, do you want to see a picture?” Scott holds up his phone, revealing pictures of what appears to be a very affectionate fluffy black and white cat.
“Okay. Cool. Tesla the cat.” Cosima nods.
“Just please no more lesbian drama. I don’t need this. No lesbian drama. No threat of instant death. No baby daddy drama-”
“Baby daddy drama? Scott, what have you been watching?”
“It helps me sleep, okay?” Scott shifts uncomfortably.
“Right.” Cosima gathers her stuff, and the forms and heads over to Delphine’s office. Leekie’s old office...fuck, right after a detour to the cafeteria… and any other place she can think of.
In her fantasies, Delphine is always the same as she was before. Curly hair and lithe form. The Delphine she’s helping off her knees has a round belly that presses between them as she hauls her into a kiss, tasting herself on Delphine’s lips, on Delphine’s tongue. It was easy to forget when Delphine was on her knees, tasting her. All she could see was Delphine’s beautiful face, she didn’t want to resist anymore. She’d given in to her need. And Delphine had told her she loved her…
It’s almost the same, Cosima thinks kissing deeply, trying not to care that a small gestating human is pressed between them. Is Delphine’s ass bigger? She runs her hands over it and grins into their kiss at her discovery. Her breasts are bigger, but she’s afraid to touch them. Would it hurt Delphine if she did? Would she leak milk or something? And more importantly, how is she going to give back to her? Should they switch positions? Would Delphine be okay on the desk?
Delphine breaks the kiss breathlessly, and for one terrible moment Cosima is afraid, afraid that Delphine will apologize, will allow the icy façade to fall over her once more and leave.
“Come home with me.” Delphine breathes into Cosima’s skin instead, “I... I need you. And... it’s too hard for me to make love with you here. I need a bed.”
“Yes.” Cosima nods at her, “Yes... Of course. Take me home. " She wants to beg Delphine to hurry as she quickly grabs her things, and rushes her out the door, down to the parking garage.
She’s in Delphine’s car. And it’s far too fancy and expensive to be one that Delphine picked out.
“It’s DYAD’s.” Delphine answers her unasked questions, it becomes clear they aren’t going to the old apartment. The one they briefly shared, it’s a stab of annoyance. Why did Delphine move anyways? The baby, Cosima assumes. Or DYAD… Either way, it reminds her of the time apart.
The car is barely in park before Cosima undoes her seatbelt and pushes forward, aggressively kissing Delphine with plundering tongue and merciless lips. Cosima lets herself fantasize about shoving her hand down Delphine’s pants, having her like a horny teenager in a parking garage. Or fucking her on the backseat, but… the pregnancy would make that difficult at best. Delphine is right, Cosima realizes reluctantly breaking the kiss, she needs a bed.
The blonde is breathless when she breaks the kiss, “Upstairs, come on. It will only take a couple minutes.”
The quick ride in the elevator feels longer than she wants, and she barely refrains herself from another frenzied making out session as Delphine opens her door, and locks the two of them inside. The new apartment is larger, fancier, but all she wants to look at is Delphine.
“It’s safe here.” Delphine tells her, hands immediately going to the hem of her shirt, lifting it up and over her head. A large black band replaces the normal waistband of her dress pants, and through it she can see Delphine’s navel is already protruding. How far along is she? Cosima wonders. But the same rush of excitement runs through her, she needs her again, liquid heat pooling at the apex of her thighs.
Cosima groans, quickly removing her own clothing. She’s already soaking wet, Delphine loves her, Delphine wants her. It’s undeniable, even pregnant, Delphine excites her. Delphine sits on a chair she’s put next to the door to remove her shoes, before pushing herself up to her feet again. Delphine watches her cautiously, before reaching for the stretchy black band and pulling it down over her belly and hips, letting it drop to the floor.
Cosima tries not to stare. What would it be like to touch her belly? To kiss along that new curve? To cup swollen breasts in her hands? Shay was wrong about one thing, there are no stretch marks, no blemishes at all. Delphine’s belly is round and taut, dotted with the same beauty marks she remembers. There’s a curiosity there, and an arousal, Cosima acknowledges reluctantly. But she doesn’t want to think about the baby, not about the small human who is going to come between them. Doesn’t want to feel it move, or be reminded of what is coming. Or its father… or any of it. She just wants Delphine.
“Cosima?” Delphine asks cautiously, stepping out of her pants, reaching her hands back to unfasten her plain black bra. Her breasts are noticeably larger, her pale pink nipples have turned to a significantly darker hue. It’s different, but… Cosima doesn’t care.
Cosima breathes in response, “Bedroom.” She pulls Delphine into a gentler kiss, and backs her towards the open door, hoping that this is actually Delphine’s bedroom. Tries to infuse all her movements with tenderness as she guides Delphine back onto the bed, ensuring there is a pillow tucked beneath the blonde’s head, pulling the covers down, needing Delphine to be comfortable. Delphine squirms to remove her underwear, revealing damp curls and swollen sex.
“Cosima…” Delphine whines reaching out for her, and she cannot stop herself from kissing her again, the absolute thrill of it. Delphine’s kiss. Delphine’s touch. That much feels the same.
It takes her a few moments to figure out the physics of it, but Delphine is warm and needy and dripping down onto her hand. Cosima is amazed, Delphine could probably take most or all of her hand, and she’s tempted to try it - if space inside Delphine wasn’t at such a premium...
“Je t’aime.” Delphine repeats as Cosima thrusts gently into her, leaning down awkwardly to kiss her, not wanting her own body to even skim the bump. Delphine sounds the same; same perfect noises, same sounds.
“I love you.” Cosima murmurs back, “So much… oh my god…”
Gently, gently, Cosima reminds herself, just two fingers, nice and slow… she doesn’t want to hurt her. She doesn’t want this to end either, as soon as it’s over she’ll have to think again. The reality of their situation. The love bite on her neck. The baby time-bomb gestating in Delphine’s uterus. She pushes the thoughts out with tender kisses, with Delphine’s tongue against her own, the sweetness of her skin under her lips. She swears at one point she sees Delphine’s belly move, shifting to one side. Ignoring it, she kisses Delphine again.
Cosima groans as she feels her own body tighten sympathetically, and for a moment she swears she’ll crash over the edge with Delphine as inner muscles clutch at her fingers. It’s surprising how fast Delphine comes, but her expressions and movements are undeniable. Delphine groans, still moving under her, hazel eyes refusing to leave her own.
She begins to gently pull out but Delphine stops her with a steady hand.
“More. I need more.” Delphine begs.
She cannot help herself from groaning in response, thrusting her fingers back in, adding another soon after. Delphine wants this. She wants her. Cosima grins at the thought, slowly increasing the force behind her thrusts.
“Oui… comme ça.” Delphine moans, rocking her hips up harder, grabbing her more firmly, making Cosima skim her belly with her own skin. It feels good to touch Delphine, even if she can’t collapse on top of her like before.
Delphine is gorgeous, Cosima bites back the words, refusing to say them. Not like this, she tells herself.
Cosima runs from the apartment, not stopping until she finds the closest TTC subway stop. She’d left Delphine crying, naked on her bed. But how much more could she explain? She’s not a parent. Not sure she even wants to be a parent. Was that what Delphine was trying to do? Get her to bond with the unborn baby? Delphine is, Cosima surmises as she quickly hops on the first train headed downtown, a package deal. But where is the father of this baby? The only person who lived in that apartment was Delphine, her clothes in the open closet, her belongings scattered around. Delphine was pregnant and alone, Cosima realizes, breathing heavily as tears stream down her face. Her fellow passengers do their best to ignore her sobbing.
She’d felt it, the baby squirming inside Delphine. So much more real than she’d wanted to believe. It was like there was a dance party in Delphine’s uterus, had the baby been moving like that the whole time? Was it because they were lying down? Or having sex? Cosima shakes her head considering. The baby was half-Delphine, Cosima thinks, if they resemble Delphine… could she love it? If baby doesn’t? She couldn’t be an ‘auntie’ or ‘mama’s friend’, there was no way around it. Step-parenting? Parenting? Could she do that? Did she even want to? Help raise Delphine’s son or daughter? Would Delphine even want her to?
She tries to calm herself before heading up to Shay’s apartment. It wasn’t a formal arrangement, but most of her stuff was here, and she stayed over pretty much every night. Unless clone club needed her, Shay had her own thing going on and was still blissfully ignorant to that.
Shay… Cosima shakes her head, fuck. What would she tell her? Would she just know? Kick her out?
“Hey, you’re really late.” Shay looks up from watching television on the couch, “What… where have you been?” Her tone changes as she takes in Cosima’s clothes, she’d messily dressed herself, her dreads are down and loose around her shoulders.
Cosima finds herself paralyzed momentarily, “I … I am such an asshole. I’m so sorry.”
“What’s going on?” Shay hops up, moving around the couch, “What is that on your neck?!” She exclaims at the sight of the large hickey not quite hidden under dreads.
“Umm.. that would be a hickey.” Cosima admits readily, moving her dreads to the side so Shay could get a better look.
“I’m hoping Felix did this to you as a joke, but I’m assuming you were cheating on me.”
“Yes.” Cosima swallows, tears coming easily, they had never really discussed exclusivity, but she’d assumed that they were. Shay probably had as well.
“Oh fuck no… Delphine? Do you have a weird pregnant lady fetish?!” Shay makes another face and heads for the fridge.
“What are you doing?”
“Grabbing a drink, sit down. We have to talk about this.” Shay shouts at her, her usual calm but assertive manner gone.
“I don’t want to talk.” Cosima mumbles back.
“Either we talk now, or you go shower and come right back. Because this?” Shay waves a hand between the two of them, “Is not what I signed up for. So go, wash off and then we have to decide if we move forward together, or not…”
“Break your karmic bond? Is that seriously what she wanted you to do?” Felix rolls his eyes at her as he fetches them both a drink. She’d arrived with bags of clothes in tow, knowing that Felix would still be awake.
“God, Cosima, can you ever pick them. The now head-bitch of DYAD and an esoteric freak.”
“Mmm.” Cosima hums in response, pulling her legs to her chest, “So where’s Sarah?”
“Off with Helena and her rugrat, someone has to stay with them at all times, and it’s her turn.”
“Has Helena finally told us his name?” Cosima brings the small glass to her lips and shoots the liquid back, it burns and she coughs for a few moments.
“Sarah said it’s Ukrainian. Aleksei. She looked it up, she’s calling him Alex though, which our sestra does not like. And she’ll tell you.”
“They doing okay?” Cosima asks, she’d been largely disinterested in Helena’s child, beyond the cheek swab Sarah had managed to take and mail to her.
“They’re fine. Helena’s still good with him, the only danger is getting him away from her. You try, even to give the kid a bath and she scratches you… Look.” Felix rolls up his sleeve, revealing scratches, “She’ll let Sarah hold him for a few minutes, change his diapers, but anyone else? Watch out.”
“So… do we have to hide him like Kira?”
Felix shakes his head, “You separate that baby from his mother? She’ll probably kill you. And Sarah would have to go with them… so they are laying low. Least for a few more months.”
“He’s what? 5 months old now?” Cosima considers. Aleksei was cute, even by Sarah’s description. Babies weren’t so bad, but she’d never even met the kid. Alison had gone once, and never again. Only Felix and Sarah really did anything.
“Yes, but, let’s get back to you. So, you fuck Delphine - which… well yeah I get that it’s Delphine, but stupid move, Cos. And Shay kicks you out.”
Cosima nods, “That sums it up.”
“I’m starting to think pregnancy is contagious. Thank god I’m gay.” Felix shudders, “Least this one isn’t yours.”
“Yeah. Me too.” Cosima pours herself another drink, “And thanks for a place to stay.”
“Fine, just don’t get too comfortable. Or we’ll put you on Helena-watch rotation.”
Cosima laughs, “No… I don’t know anything about babies.”
“Well, Helena feeds him, takes care of him for the most part. I mean, once Sarah got Helena to latch him on, that was the end of it, no one else feeds that baby. You just have to watch her, and feed her. And remember that she is still a trained assassin who could kill you without hesitation.”
Cosima shakes her head laughing, “No… I can’t. I mean even with Delphine. I know nothing about babies. I mean… I never changed a diaper or anything. I babysat older kids as a teenager… but not babies.”
“So… this is about Delphine’s baby? My guess is still blackmail. Some topside higher up let her climb into his bed. That’s got to be it, right?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. I mean, Delphine is ambitious. A baby … It still doesn’t make sense.” Cosima pauses, “I felt it move Felix.”
“Eww… when you were fucking her?” Felix grimaces, sticking out his tongue, “That is just...gross.”
“No, after, she grabbed my hand and pressed it to her belly. Like, it’s amazing she gets any sleep at all.” Cosima gestures rapidly, “It was like … break-dancing in there.”
“Bonding with the unborn?” Felix shakes his head, “Don’t do it Cosima. We’ll find you another girl. Or just a ‘scratching post’.”
“No. No. Absolutely not.” Cosima swallows slightly, eyes welling up with tears, “Maybe… I don’t know.”
In her dreams now, she’s fucking Delphine as she is, pregnant and needy. She fixes it in her fantasies, her dreams, she lets Delphine press her hand against the swell of her belly, feels the little one kick and dance from inside. In dreams, she takes Delphine without fear, without reservation, touching and kissing her like she wishes she had.
“Oh god… Delphine.” Cosima smiles, running her hands along the firm swell, feeling a tiny foot kick her back.
“He loves you already.” dream-Delphine whispers to her, “Il t’aime déjà.”
“And what if it’s a girl?” Cosima teases, dropping her mouth to where she last felt the tiny foot, kissing there. Listening to Delphine’s contented sighs.
Delphine giggles, stroking her face, “Elle t’aime déjà.”
“Do you still love me?” Cosima begs, propping herself up to hover over Delphine.
“Always.” Delphine promises.
Cosima wakes next to Felix, snoring softly beside her. She considers her latest dream, she’s going to have to think about this. A lot. She could be with Delphine, or try to. But does she want to? Could she deal with everything that would entail?
Chapter 4: Cosima - 2
Cosima reluctantly approaches the parenting section of Indigo in the Eaton’s centre. She’d tried to waste time in other sections, selecting a few other books to hide the research she was about to undertake. She’d gotten lost twice on her way here, luckily the subways were fairly foolproof.
She skims the shelf. Books on breastfeeding, and pregnancy and how to deal when your kid is being an asshole or crying all the time. Parenting without punishing. How to punish your kids. How to make your baby cry to sleep. Why you shouldn’t make your baby cry to sleep. Cosima groans, too many. Too much. Maybe she should just hop back around to the LGBTQ section on the other side of the shelf. Order online… or ask Alison, then get whatever Alison didn’t read...
“Do you need help?” An employee approaches her, “Looking for something in particular.”
“Umm a parenting book. About babies.” Cosima nods, gesturing nervously.
“Congratulations.” The clerk offers “Well, we have a few pregnancy books. This one is quite popular.”
"No I’m not pregnant… or well I mean I'm not a parent... But if my ex-girlfriend takes me back then I kinda have to be, you know? She’s pregnant. Not me." Cosima glances at the name tag, “Any thoughts... Kyle?”
Kyle just nods at her nervously, “Umm, grab one of the baby ones and ...good luck?”
“Which one?” Cosima looks helplessly, “Which one is less uptight?”
“Umm try one of these.” He points, “And … yeah umm, maybe more than one.”
“Right.” Cosima swallows, selecting several books, trying to go for more of a relaxed vibe than an uptight one. What kind of parent would she be anyways? She couldn’t imagine ever being as regimented as Alison. What would Delphine be like? Protective certainly, Cosima muses, nurturing… but beyond that?
Kyle taps her shoulder quickly, “And we have baby gifts, and clothes, if you really want to suck up to the ex.”
“Might have to… “ Cosima looks at the sea of pink and blue, “Umm do you have anything less gendered? Like yellow or green ...or just baby clothes for babies? I mean isn’t it overly stereotyped? Like just out of the womb, here kid, we’re gonna put you in a box.”
Kyle shrugs, “Not really. You could try like the Bay or one of the stores in the mall.”
“Right.” Cosima gathers her books to check out. What should she buy? Those onesie things? Sleepers? What would Delphine want? Or need?
She feels ridiculous, with ‘The Baby Book’ in one hand, she lurks around Delphine’s building. She reads through all the chapters, except the breastfeeding parts. Those have nothing to do with her, Cosima assumes. She’s leafing through the section on birth when she’s interrupted.
“Seriously? You again?” An older woman leans down from her balcony, “Why are you here? I am going to call the cops.”
“No. Oh god no. Please don’t do that. I’m just...um waiting for Delphine Cormier. She lives here.”
“Then why don’t you call her?”
“Umm she doesn’t know I’m here. But I’ll like call her… I swear I will.” Cosima waffles, she’s unsure how far along Delphine is, only that she’s gone off on mat-leave, “I don’t suppose you know exactly how far along she is?”
“No,” The woman barks, “And when I get down to take my dog for a walk, you better be gone.”
“Wait.. umm I’m her ex.” Cosima volunteers, “I’m just working up my nerve and researching baby and birth crap.”
“Honey, she’s nearly ready to pop. I think her latest ex might have more to do with that than you.”
“But… I love her.. and just let me do this.” Cosima pauses, “Has there been a man around?”
“No. She was away a lot at the beginning. For work, she said. But no men … actually no one but her and well lately, her mother. And midwives…”
“Delphine’s mom is here?” Cosima looks up in disbelief.
“Yes.” The neighbour rolls her eyes, “Just call her and be done with it. I barely know Delphine, she keeps to herself mostly. Quiet. Good neighbour. Pays her rent on time.”
“Well… could you like let me into the building?” Cosima tries to appear cute and non-threatening.
“Honey, I don’t know who you are. Delphine is in labour, she has her mom, midwives, I think she’s going to be fine. Go home and wait for the facebook update like everyone else.”
“But… please?” Cosima tries again.
In the end she lurks long enough to catch wind of where they’re going, she follows, even knowing the hospital probably won’t let her in.
“Well Sarah said to chill, cause it could still take hours.” Felix tells her lazily, pausing to take a drag of what is probably a joint.
“Did Kira?” Cosima ask curiously.
“No. Kira was crazy fast. I was there.” Felix responds, “Anyways, I have a friend, and we might be able to get you in.”
“Seriously? Awesome.” Cosima nods, “But… umm hurry, Delphine sounded pretty desperate when she got to that car.” She’d stuck around, lurking out of sight, but she’d heard her. Delphine’s moans were very familiar to her. Why is it that pleasure and pain can yield such similar noises?
“Ah, well don’t worry.” Felix brushes off her concern, “We have no idea…”
“Yes, well. Call your friend. I’ll be waiting for a call back. Hurry.” Cosima whines, “I don’t want to miss it.”
Felix answers quickly, “Yeah. Client, actually. But Cosima, Delphine may not want you there. And do you really want to watch her push the baby out of her-”
“Felix. Make the call.” Cosima demands more loudly. She wasn’t afraid, she’d watch, she’d hold Delphine’s hand, or stroke her hair. Reassure her. Whatever Delphine needed.
“Fine. Fine. And I will. I think Bob owes me a favour… or more.” Felix muses happily, hanging up for now.
She doesn’t want to miss it. Cosima knows that much, it’s too important. Too much of a chance to show Delphine how much she cares, to support her, to watch this baby be born. Why hadn’t she called? Apologized? Cosima berates herself inwardly.
Too proud to grovel to Delphine, and now she was paying the price and waiting on a call. Why hadn’t she done this last week when Delphine was still working? Or earlier this week? She’d spent hours around the building, reading up, trying to find the right words that would have Delphine forgiving her, welcoming her into her home, her life.
She’d even fantasized about making love to Delphine again, even with her larger belly, propping her beloved into a comfortable position with pillows and having her way with her again, at least once more before baby arrived. She would have kissed the swell, felt the little one kick, assured Delphine she was in, for whatever happened next. It was too late for that.
And now, she might miss the birth.
Delphine doesn’t seem tired enough to Cosima, she’s alert and enamoured with her baby, who seems to regard her mother with equal interest, looking around. Delphine moves easily, sitting up, keeping Céleste clutched to her chest. Céleste, the seven pound, three ounce baby who resembled… both of them. She stood back, kept out of the way as midwives checked over the placenta, making sure that it was complete.
“How do you feel?” The older midwife addresses Delphine.
“I feel great.” Delphine smiles, “I think I could do that again.” She laughs, looking down at her naked baby once again. Both Delphine and the child are still completely naked, no one seems to care much about it, except for Cosima, eyes greedily taking them both in. The baby, Céleste, Cosima corrects herself, is so quiet, even when she’d briefly held her, she hadn’t cried. Delphine seems ecstatic, switching into French to coo to Céleste.
“Well we’ll wait a few hours, and then you can check out. Heck, I could send you home now, but I think the skin-on-skin time is important. Let’s get her latched on, do you want to recline? Sit up? How would you feel most comfortable?”
She has to stay out of the way, though it seems it’s all done now. Baby is out. Placenta is out. Delphine’s mother is out having a cigarette. There’s no denying it, Cosima wishes Delphine would look at her, address her. But for the moment her attention was largely focused on Céleste, on latching her on, listening to the midwife, asking questions. Maybe she shouldn’t have skipped that book chapter, she’ll be useless if Delphine needs help. Maybe she could ask Sarah? Would Sarah know or even remember? She’d helped Helena… Cosima shakes her head again.
Is it true? Cosima wonders, is Céleste truly hers? Everything inside her insisted it was true. Céleste was their daughter. What had Delphine done? Just woken up one day and decided to create a baby with their DNA? Should she ask for a DNA test? Is this… what is this?
For now, Cosima realizes, she can’t say anything. Not until they’re alone.
“So, you’re Cosima.” One of the women addresses her, standing back for the time being, “I’m Kate, Delphine’s doula.”
“Hi.” Cosima says a bit awkwardly, “Cosima. Delphine’s umm…”
“Ex-girlfriend.” Kate subs in, “She asked for you earlier, I know she’s happy you’re here.”
Relief floods Cosima, she is wanted here. She hasn’t ruined things forever. “Yeah. Me too.” Cosima looks over at Delphine and the baby again, trying not to cry. She’s unsure if she’s more furious or sad. Cannot draw the line between love and elation, and everything else swirling through her.
Hours later, she holds Céleste in her arms, clad only in a tiny diaper, looking up at her and gently moving her tiny fingers, her wrinkly red feet. She’s perfect, a mix of the two of them.
“Cutest baby ever.” Cosima pronounces her, setting her down on the bed to snap a few quick pictures with her phone. She moves to text them to Alison, Sarah and Felix with the message ‘cutest baby ever’, while glancing down at her daughter. Her daughter, the words still feel strange. Even to think them.
Céleste merely makes a few small grunting noises in response, her little limbs flail. It’s normal, Cosima reminds herself, totally normal for newborns. She admires the dark curls on her head, her tiny nose and mouth. Oh. She loves this little one already, it’s so easy.
Delphine is supposed to be sleeping, but she feels her stir next to them in the bed.
“Sleep Delphine, you were in labour for like 8 hours today, you pushed this baby out your vagina. Sleep.” Cosima says softly.
“I think she’s cold.” Delphine tells her softly, rolling onto her side.
“She’s fine.” Cosima assures her, “Here, I’ll put her on me and cover us with a blanket, does that work?”
“Mmmm.” Delphine hums.
“I’m still pissed.” Cosima admits quietly, after having adjusted to lie down and lay Céleste on top of her, pulling a small purple blanket over the two of them.
“I know,” Delphine’s asleep, or half-asleep but she continues to respond.
“But I love you, and I love Céleste, and I’m going to take care of you both. I promise.” Cosima sighs finally, she’ll have time to work through her feelings. How can she adore this tiny human and be furious at Delphine for making her?
“Je t’aime.” Delphine murmurs sleepily.
“Thank you.” Cosima finally says quietly, when she’s certain that Delphine is asleep, voice breaking as she strokes Céleste’s delicate hand, her tiny back, her moulded head.
“Hi Celeste.” Cosima whispers softly to her daughter, “I’m your mommy, and I love you.”
She swears she sees Delphine smile a tired smile in her sleep.
The first two days are a blur, she doesn’t even bother telling her sisters or Felix about Céleste, or anyone for that matter. The only one to respond to her text was Sarah, simply saying it was a matter of opinion.
The midwives have shown up each day for follow-up appointments with Delphine. There was still so much she didn’t know. That the bleeding, lochia, would go on for over a month. That breastfeeding would cause Delphine’s uterus to contract back to its normal size.
“Are you okay?” Delphine asks her every few hours when she sees the shocked expression over her face. She’s learned to nurse Céleste on her side, and typically if Cosima leaves for food or even just to get some air, she leaves and returns to find Delphine in that same position. She’s so worried, Cosima sees that much. She’s seen Delphine cry at least twice. The midwives have assured her it’s normal hormones, while Cosima directs her blame entirely at Delphine’s mom.
Delphine’s mother, Brigitte, comes and goes, usually insisting on holding Céleste for at least an hour a day, while criticizing Delphine in rapid French. At least Cosima assumes she’s criticizing as she understands less than half of what is said. It leaves a weepy Delphine needing to translate from her cozy spot on the bed. The only thing Cosima likes about Brigitte, she soon realizes, is her resemblance to Delphine.
“Brigitte,” Cosima tries awkwardly after the dozenth awkward exchange, “Can you please speak English or at least a bit slower? I know that you can, you needed it for work in France. Delphine told me.”
The death glare that meets her eyes leaves no questions where Delphine had learned that particular expression.
“Maman,” Delphine implores her mother, “Cosima cannot understand us, everytime you do that I have to translate it.”
“What is it this time?
“She thinks I should be out of bed and doing things and not lying around half-naked with my baby.” Delphine translates quickly.
“Oh. So basic judge-y mother stuff?”
“Yes.” Delphine nods, “Also she has not seen this much of me undressed since I was a child myself. And my brother’s wife didn’t nurse their baby very long and how perfect Zoé is … and it goes on like that, she thinks it’s gross, I’m enslaving myself to my baby. You’re not missing much.” Delphine shoots daggers at her mother throughout this, the translation is probably to shame Brigitte into acceptance, or at least silence regarding her daughter’s infant feeding decisions.
“And me?” Cosima certain Brigitte has been talking about her as well.
“She doesn’t like you,” Delphine tells her simply, not bothering to hide the fact, “Or that you’re calling yourself ‘mommy’.”
“Too bad,” Cosima shrugs, “Baby has to eat; she’s being breastfed. I’m mommy. Get over it.”
“Viens à Mamie.” Brigitte reaches out for the baby, prying her out of Delphine’s hands once again.
“Come to granny.” Delphine repeats emotionlessly, before addressing her mother, “Maman, elle a besoin d’allaiter plus…”
“Non…” Brigitte responds nonchalantly, “Tu va l’engraisser.”
Even Cosima picks up on this one, “We’ll make her fat? The milk isn’t even in yet!” Cosima exclaims in offense, “Delphine… your mom is crazy.”
“Je sais.” Delphine sighs, “Je sais….”
She wakes on the third day to a small scream, not the child’s, but Delphine’s.
“Baby?” Cosima quickly shoots up in bed, “Everything okay? Is it Céleste?”
“No, it’s fine.” Delphine brushes her off, “It’s normal.”
“Holy shit… they’re huge.” Cosima laughs at Delphine pointing at her bare breasts, swollen even further, now engorged with milk.
“Yes they are…” Delphine grits her teeth, quickly getting up to grab Céleste and latch her on.
“So I guess umm the milk is in?” Cosima volunteers unhelpfully, “Are they going to stay that big? Like as long as she’s nursing?” She cannot say she’s bothered by this turn of events, Delphine suddenly voluptuous. There’s certainly a curiosity there on her own part, Cosima acknowledges, but that can wait until later.
“They will be a little smaller,” Delphine mutters bringing Céleste to the breast, “Once she empties them. Which she is going to do now.”
“Umm I think I better go and read that chapter in… yeah.” Cosima nods, at least it’s morning-ish, she turns on a lamp and grabs for the baby book beside the bed, “Should I look up engorgement? Or get something to catch the milk?” She notices quickly, that as Delphine feeds Céleste from one breast, she’s dripping milk from the other.
“Do something useful.” Delphine suggests tiredly, “Or go back to sleep.”
“You’re like a fountain!” Cosima laughs again, before returning to the book, “So breastfeeding, engorgement….” She flips through pages.
A familiar ring interrupts the moment. “Oh shit, that’s my phone,” Cosima jumps up, and grabs her blue phone, but stays close to Delphine and Céleste.
“Hey.” Cosima answers the phone quickly, before even checking who her caller is.
Sarah’s voice comes through clearly, “Cos, we haven’t heard from you in days. What’s going on?”
“I’ve been at Delphine’s.”
“Well, she just had a baby, and I’ve been helping her and changing diapers and getting food.”
Felix’s voice chimes in from the background, she must be on speakerphone, “So you’re waiting on Delphine hand and foot, and don’t even bother checking in?”
“Umm… yeah. I guess so.” Cosima shrugs, gesturing pointlessly in the air with her free hand, “Not like hand and foot, but umm, keeping her in bed resting, getting her food, changing diapers, and stuff…”
“Am I going to have to come over there and pry you away from Delphine?” Felix asks, “Cause enough is enough…”
“Fee,” Sarah chides him, “What the hell are you up to Cosima? You can’t just disappear. I mean… We have Helena here and we... we could use a little extra help.”
“Is that Cosima?” Helena’s voice, “Hello sestra. I hear you like babies, would you like to come meet Aleksei?”
“Hi Helena.” Cosima responds, before being cut off by Sarah again.
“Not now meathead, Helena… I’m sorry.“ Sarah interrupts, “So, everything is fine, but we … we could use a hand, yeah?”
Delphine observes the exchange quietly, glancing down at Céleste, “Please don’t tell them, mon amour.” She begs softly. Cosima sighs, there’s no way around this. Her sisters will have to know.
“With something you don’t want Delphine to overhear. Okay. Umm.” Cosima hesitates, how to get these particular words out, “So, Celeste is mine.”
“Who the hell is Celeste?” Felix balks.
“Probably the baby. A girl then?” Sarah brushes this off, “Great, bond with Delphine’s baby later, we need you here.”
Cosima repeats, “I mean like biologically mine. Delphine used stem cells from my bone marrow to make sperm cells and created embryos using her own eggs. Celeste is the result of science, an experiment. A bone marrow baby.”
“Say again?” Sarah repeats in disbelief.
Chapter 5: Céleste et ses mamans
I've decided to end this on a happier note. Enjoy.
Cosima stirs slowly moaning happily at the sensation of lips kissing her cheek, down her neck.
“Mmmmm.” She hums happily, hands automatically reaching out to pull Delphine in without thinking or even fully waking. Soft lips meet hers in tender kisses, toying with one lip and then the other. She opens her mouth allowing a hot tongue to slip in, to meet her own. A rush of arousal shivers down her body, heat pooling between her legs. Yes, Cosima thinks… oh god yes.
Delphine feels softer, she can tell that much, but so good. Cosima lets her hands run up Delphine’s spine, tangling her fingers into curly hair. Straightening it was too much of a pain these days.
“Delphine…” She moans again, finally truly awake Cosima stops with a start, “The baby, where’s the baby?” She holds Delphine still.
“I put Céleste in her crib,” Delphine whispers back, “She’s just been fed, she’s out.”
“Another milk coma?” Cosima giggles, kissing Delphine back softly. She has to ease off, she doesn’t want to get too excited. Céleste isn’t even a month old yet, it’s too soon, they have another 2.5 weeks to go before 6 weeks. Blissfully, Brigitte had left yesterday, it was just them and Céleste now.
Delphine grins, leaning back in, “Mmm oui.” Soft lips begin their delicate torture, tongue teasing mercilessly, “She’s asleep, don’t worry.” Cosima groans contentedly, kissing, why had they stopped kissing like this? Her body responds near instantly with arousal dripping from her within minutes. Delphine is pressed completely against her, her body not caring about the small differences. Delphine’s breasts are heavy, and larger. She still has a bit of a belly… Is her nipple wet? Cosima puzzles for a moment, before deciding on baby-saliva as the best explanation.
“Woah… Delphine… I’m getting like really excited here.” Cosima holds her lover by the shoulders, keeping her lips off her, temporarily, “We need to stop or slow this midnight makeout session down…”
“Non, ma chérie, I’m going to make love to you.” Delphine pushing forward, kissing whatever she can reach.
"But we can’t -" Cosima protests for a minute, before one of her own nipples is enthusiastically sucked into Delphine’s mouth. She lets out a low groan in response.
"I need this." Delphine assures releasing her nipple with a pop, returning to the same gentle torture. Her pyjamas are peeled off quickly, “I need to be with you.”
“We… we can wait. I can wait.” Cosima protests half-heartedly. Not fair certainly, but her body longs to feel Delphine’s again. Even if it’s only this. She’s already swollen and hot, aching for Delphine. Is this just for her? Could she touch Delphine? The lochia stopped, but… they still had 2.5 weeks to go.
“Oh mon amour, you’re so needy… Let me do this.” Delphine moans, feeling between her legs, “I still excite you.” Delphine breathes slowly, claiming her lips in another languorous kiss.
“Of course you do.” Cosima reassures with tender kisses, with her own hands grasping at Delphine’s body.
Delphine fingers stroke her gently, slowly before gliding in, “Mmm,” She hums in delight.
“Oh fuck…” Cosima curses quietly, she cannot stop her breath from catching with Delphine’s thrusts.
“Is this good, or do you want my mouth?” Delphine murmurs sweetly, working her gently.
“Don’t stop…” Cosima breathes, rocking her hips upwards, clasping at Delphine’s back, Delphine’s hair, “Oh please don’t stop.”
It’s quick, Delphine’s fingers working her to climax expertly as she continues to kiss and suck at her skin. She crashes over the edge with a low cry, aftershocks shuddering through her body.
“Delphine…” Cosima kisses her cheeks sweetly, her mouth, “That was so good.” Fast, Cosima reasons, but intense… She lets her eyes wander down Delphine’s body. Would she let her touch her breasts? Fondle them? Taste? Should she offer something in return?
“Shh… you might wake her.” Delphine strokes her face for the minute, laying a last tender kiss on her lips, before disentangling their bodies and rolling back over.
“What?” Cosima reaches for Delphine, “Is that it?”
“Get some sleep, Céleste will be awake in less than two hours.” Delphine murmurs sleepily into her pillow.
“But… Delphine...don’t you want...something?” Cosima shifts to lean over her, laying a soft kiss on an exposed shoulder.
When she receives no response, she glances at the clock. 2:41 am. “What the hell?” Cosima shakes her head, but it takes time for her to settle to sleep once again
Céleste whimpers, but before Delphine can climb from the bed to get her, Cosima shushes her, “I’ll get her.”
“You’re awake?” Delphine smiles, “Merci.”
She walks the few steps to the crib and gently scoops up the baby, “Awww hello hungry one. Who’s Mommy’s hungry baby?”
“Cosima, give me the baby before she starts wailing.” Delphine holds out her arms.
“Right, right,” Cosima passes off Céleste and climbs back into bed, rolling over.
She pulls her baby to her bare chest to nurse, it’s getting easier, Delphine remarks silently as she lays back, letting Céleste feed. She finds herself humming softly, looking down at her baby.
“Do you want me to change her?” Cosima mutters, “I’m awake anyways.”
“Oui,” Delphine smiles as she feels Cosima slip from the bed to grab the changing mat and a fresh prefold diaper. Cosima had exceeded expectations, watching videos, reading books… and yet she worries. Cosima’s not… the same. Not the sex...
“You okay?” Cosima regards her softly, flicking on the lamp to the lowest setting.
“Are you? With me? With this?” Delphine elaborates from her reclined position.
Cosima smiles, “Well… yeah.”
“It’s not as good for you, is it? The sex.”
“It’s not you, Delphine,” Cosima rolls her eyes, “It’s… it’s been like this since the hysterectomy. It’s still good. I still love you. I still orgasm… it’s just… not the same.”
“I wish I could make it the same,” Delphine tears up, stroking at the soft curls on Céleste’s head. Their daughter continues feeding, unperturbed by the conversation between her mothers.
“It’s not your fault.” Cosima punctuates the sentence with a kiss to the head, “You could...let me do something for you?”
Delphine snorts softly, “Maybe next week… next time we do this.”
“Next week? You’re scheduling this? Like a chore? Every thursday get Cosima off?!” Cosima looks at Delphine incredulously, she’s put it together.
“Yes.” Delphine answers simply, “I...I don’t want you seeking this elsewhere. I want to maintain this, for you anyways.”
“Are you that worried about losing me?”
“Even now?” Cosima gestures between themselves and Céleste, “I mean, it’s not official yet - but her last name is Niehaus-Cormier, it’s going to be on her birth certificate and her health card… and everything. I mean I know I’ll have to like adopt her… which is shitty… but-”
“We’re like a family? The three of us.”
“And your sisters.”
“Yeah. And my sisters. Always my sisters.” Cosima nods and rolls her eyes.
Céleste unlatches herself and Delphine quickly holds her out for Cosima to change, “Here change her.”
“Don’t you want to finish the whole feeding thing? You’re lopsided.” Cosima gestures with a smirk.
“If I give her the other breast, she will fall asleep feeding and then you will have to try to change her without waking her…Which you won’t be able to do. And then you can try to put her back to sleep.”
“Right right… sleeping baby thing.” Cosima pulls Céleste into her arms with a smile, “Hi Celeste…”
She watches Cosima change her with a grin on her face, quickly switching out the wet prefold for a freshly folded dry one and refastening the cover on their baby. She’d gotten the hang of that. Maybe even more quickly than Delphine.
“Je t’aime. Je vous aime.” Delphine sighs softly, looking over at her lover and baby.
"Oh my god this is awesome." Cosima remarks happily as she re-snaps the sleeper, "She’s smiling at me."
"Mon ti-ange. " Delphine leans over to croon at Céleste.
Cosima looks up from their happy smiling daughter, "Let's have another one!"
"What?" Delphine responds shocked.
"Another baby?" Cosima tries again more sheepishly, “Not like tomorrow… or even next year… but… umm eventually?”
Delphine blinks in disbelief, “You’d want that?”
“Why not? You’re already the love of my life. Mother of my child… well gestational mother of our child… technically, but that ruins the whole flow.”
Delphine giggles despite herself, pulling Céleste back in to finish her feeding on her side, as Cosima runs the wet diaper over to the wet pail and tosses it in.
“We can talk about it on her second birthday.” Delphine volunteers after a short deliberation.
“Delphine have you thought about getting our own diapers I was reading online we can save a shit-ton of money washing them ourselves… Or I could wash them myself… and you could not deal with it?’
“Demain… Tomorrow.” Delphine begs, she’s too tired for this now. Surely Cosima must see that.
“Okay, I love you…” Cosima grins, flicking off the light and crawling back into bed.
“Je t’aime aussi.”
“So… umm as I am bizarrely awake… when are we going to make this official?”
“Quoi?” Delphine blinks in confusion. What is Cosima even talking about. What now?”
“Marriage Delphine. Our marriage. You know a wedding… or not, we could just go down to city hall and get it done… go out for dinner right after, bring Céleste right along with us.”
“You want to marry me?”
“Yeah. Of course.” Cosima leans in closer, spooning behind her, “That’s what I’m talking about isn’t it? Us… for the rest of our lives. And whoever else come along… you know… our family.”
“Yes.” Delphine tries not to cry, failing terribly, “I’ll marry you. Tomorrow if you want.”
“Well… it’s up to you… we can like wait a couple months. Or a year… whatever. But I kinda want to do this ASAP, you know?”
Delphine smiles, tearing up again more, “This is everything to me… do you know that?”
“I love you… even when I’m pissed at you… we’ll make it work. We’ll make this work, you know?” Cosima kisses her shoulder, attempting comfort, “Oh don’t cry, please don’t cry my love.”
“You never call me your love.” Delphine sobs.
“You are… you are, you know. I am totally in love with you. I always have been.”
“But you’ve loved others… not just me.”
“Yeah… but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you. Or that I don’t want to be with you.” Cosima comforts with soft lips and hands.
“I’ve only loved you.” Delphine sobs, leaning back into Cosima’s embrace.
“I know, I know… and when we’re pissed you love me, when I’m an ass you love me…”
“Please don’t be an ass again.” Delphine manages to laugh through her tears.
“I won’t… I’m going to try. This is it. You know?”
“Yes… I do.” Delphine nods, tears slowing. She has her daughter, and she has her Cosima, for now, that will have to be enough.