“Cosima?” Delphine called from the other room. Cosima poked her head out of the kitchen, sleeves rolled up, and a spoon coated in food in her hand.
“Hm?” she hummed. Delphine held up the flyer she had been examining, pulled out from where she had tucked it into her textbook. “What's that?”
“There is a lecture tonight. I would like you to go with me,” Delphine replied, holding the paper out. Cosima ducked around the corner again, then joined her, spoon free. She took the flyer from Delphine and examined it with a small furrow in her brow.
“Neolution?” Cosima asked, handing the paper back. “Sounds dubious.”
“No, it's quite interesting,” Delphine said. “I have heard of Dr. Leekie before, but I have never seen him speak. I could really use the extra credit for attending, but I don't want to go on my own. Please?” Cosima shrugged and stood.
“Yeah, sure. Why not? When is it?”
“Do we have time for dinner? I haven't burned it this time.” Delphine chuckled.
“Yes. I'll watch it while you change.” Cosima kissed her brow, and vanished into the bedroom.
Leekie was a charismatic speaker, but it was really not Cosima's cup of tea, and if she was honest with herself, Delphine's level of enthusiasm made her a little bit jealous. She was looking at Leekie like he was a god for all the things he was saying and speculating. Cosima held her hand beneath the table and squeezed it tightly. Delphine gave her a puzzled look, but didn't question it.
In the gathering after, Cosima sipped at wine and watched as Delphine gradually made her way to Leekie's side and introduced herself. Frowning lightly, she hovered a few yards away, until someone tapped her on her shoulder. She only half paid attention to the conversation, until a choice phrase caught it.
“Why aren't you doing your doctorate as well? Surely you want to pursue?” Cosima paled, and glanced at Delphine.
“Uh-I-uh-we don't have enough money for both of us to study,” she said. “We sort of spent it all on our masters.”
“Your parents didn't help?” the girl asked, tilting her head. Cosima bit back a sigh and began to inch away. The looks Leekie was giving Delphine were making her uncomfortable, and she wanted to be by her side.
“It's-uh, complicated. Excuse me.” She closed the distance between her and her lover, easily slipping her hand into Delphine's.
“Cosima!” the blonde exclaimed happily, grinning. “Dr. Leekie, this is Cosima, my partner.” Leekie held out his hand. Hesitantly, Cosima took it, tilting her head back to meet his gaze.
“It's lovely to meet you, Cosima,” he said. “Delphine was just telling me about you.”
“All good things, I hope,” Cosima replied. She sipped at her wine, and cast a sideways glance at Delphine. A soft ringing filled the air. Leekie looked over the both of them, then touched his pocket and reached into it for his phone.
“I'm terribly sorry, ladies, but I'm afraid I have to take this. Miss Cormier, it was very lovely to meet you, and you as well, Cosima.” He nodded, then raised his phone to his ear and turned away.
“Oh, Cosima, he's such a brilliant man,” Delphine gushed. Cosima hummed, and raised her wine glass to her lips again. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” Cosima replied, “I'm just tired. Do you want to stay longer?” Delphine squeezed her hand.
“Let me just say goodbye to my professor, and then we can go.” Cosima held onto Delphine's hand until the blonde was out of reach, then let her arm drop heavily back to her side. Delphine weaved through the crowd to a small group of her classmates, and Cosima's gaze turned back to Leekie. She frowned lightly, staring at his back, then set her glass down on a nearby table and left to stand by the door.
She was looking over work for her Biology tutoring when Delphine received the news. The half-squeal, half-shout that sounded from the bedroom where Delphine had been working startled both her and Tesla upright. The dog started barking in alarm and rushed to the door, scratching at it until Delphine opened it and pushed past him, heading straight for Cosima.
“What is it?” she asked automatically. “What's wrong?”
“Nothing is wrong, Cosima,” Delphine said, grinning at her and swooping down for a hard kiss that left Cosima's head spinning briefly. “Everything is wonderful! Look!” She shoved a paper in Cosima's face, waving it around. Cosima blinked, startled, and snatched it from her before it could be pulled out of her reach again.
“What is this?” she asked, scanning over the words on the page. “DYAD? Isn't Leekie with them?”
“Yes,” Delphine replied, sitting next to her. “It's a job offer. Look, Cosima. We'll never be hurt for money again.” She pointed. The numbers on the page squeezed the air out of Cosima's lungs. “And there is a flat included. A very, very nice one.”
“This is from Leekie,” Cosima asked, frowning.
“Yes, he said he was very impressed when we were talking and wanted to off-” she cut herself off, and sat back. “What's wrong?”
“Nothing,” Cosima said, setting the paper on the table. “Nothing. It's a great offer.”
“Then why do you sound less than pleased?”
“Maybe you should look for something else,” Cosima said. Delphine frowned at her.
“Are you high?” she asked. “We have to take this. It's the opportunity of a lifetime, Cosima. It's what we've been waiting for.”
“I know,” Cosima replied. “I know, but... I don't like the way Leekie looks at you. Like you're a piece of meat.” Delphine sighed. “This is a really big offer for someone who hasn't even finished their doctorate yet. I mean, what does he expect you to do for this kind of money?”
“Are you implying that he only offered because he wants to sleep with me?” Delphine asked.
“No!” Cosima said quickly. “No, I'm just...” she gestured vaguely, hands circling in the air. “Worried. Okay?” Delphine was silent, her eyes boring into the side of Cosima's skull. After a moment, her gaze relaxed.
“You're jealous,” she said, and breathed out a laugh. “Oh, chérie, you don't need to be jealous. I am happily taken by a very gorgeous scientist of my own.” She turned Cosima's head for a kiss, her fingers splayed across her neck and jaw. “We have to take it. Think of the money, the nice apartment. This is what we've been working so hard for. You'll be able to focus on your own PhD now.”
“What if he threatens to fire you if you don't sleep with him?” Cosima asked, concern creasing her face.
“I won't let that happen,” Delphine said. “You know me better than anyone, Cosima. You know I won't.” Cosima sighed, and leaned into the blonde.
“I know,” she said.
“Do you know what else this means?” Delphine asked, twirling a dread absently between her fingers. Cosima hummed. “We could afford to have a child, if we wanted. In a year or two. We could start a family.”
“I am happy,” Cosima said, reaching up to take Delphine's hand. “I just don't want you being used. I'm not debating your brilliance, but you're gorgeous, too, and I just don't want you being backed into a corner.”
“I won't,” Delphine promised. She kissed Cosima's head then left her on the sofa. Tesla hopped up next to her. Cosima sighed, and frowned until he licked her face.
Delphine spent the next two years spoiling Cosima rotten with dinners and clothes and jewellery and day trips when she didn't have class. Cosima could hardly keep up with it all. The months after Delphine's first paycheck were the most extreme. She knew Delphine felt guilty about Cosima having worked so hard for the both of them, and tried several times to tell the blonde that she didn't have to spend so much money on her, but Delphine wouldn't be dissuaded, leaving Cosima no choice but to accept the gifts she was given.
She was on the last month of her PhD when Delphine had a major breakthrough at work. Despite how much Delphine spoke about DYAD, Cosima still wasn't entirely sure what the company actually dealt with. Even Delphine didn't seem to know. It appeared to be a variety of things, with Delphine part of a small group of immunologists working on various projects, most of which were confidential. Cosima hadn't seen Delphine so happy in years, and it increased tenfold when she came rushing in the door and immediately wrapped Cosima in a hug before she'd done so much as dropped her bag or taken off her coat. Or closed the door. Tesla hopped around them, panting happily.
“Hi?” Cosima said, squeaking when Delphine squeezed her.
“I cured it,” Delphine said excitedly.
“Okay, cured what?”
“A strain of flu that has been affecting areas in Eastern Europe. DYAD has been working on it for months now and I found the cure!” She pulled away with a grin and kissed Cosima before shutting the door and shrugging her coat off.
“Babe, that's-that's great!” Cosima exclaimed, returning the blonde's smile. “Shit, that's amazing.”
“The vaccine is going to go into production next week and will start to be shipped out,” Delphine said, still smiling. Cosima closed the distance between them and pushed Delphine up against the door, and spent the night whispering her love and her pride into the other woman's skin.
“Let's do it,” Cosima said as Delphine's grip on her hair lessened and the blonde's breathing slowly returned to normal.
“Do what?” she asked.
“Start a family.” Delphine's eyes flashed open, instantly finding Cosima's.
“Really?” she asked. Cosima nodded and grinned. Delphine grabbed her face and pulled her back for another kiss, rolling her onto her back. “I love you,” she muttered in between kisses, her hands already travelling south.
“You are a wonderful woman, Delphine,” Cosima said. “I love you, too.”