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don't you call me anymore

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*

 

 

It’s been two weeks since her transfer.

 

Two weeks since she stood in that elevator with Rachel, and received her ‘promotion.’

 

Two week’s saw Cosima last. The image of her collapsed on the floor of the lab is still as clear as day in her mind. Her mouth slick with blood, and her eyes lolling to the back of her head.

 

It has been the longest two weeks of her life.

 

It’s nearing 9:00p.m by the time Delphine has finally escaped the lab, and a good twenty minutes later she’s only just stepping off of the tram a couple of streets away from her apartment building.

 

And she’s an hour late for their Skype date.

 

When she finally gets to the apartment, and the door is firmly shut behind her, she’s greeted by the laptop she prepared this morning before work, set up on the breakfast bar in the kitchen.

 

The apartment she’s renting is smaller than the one she was assigned back in Toronto; with state of the art everything, and white walls with all silver appliances. Not a single colour or pinch of personality in sight. And that’s how she intends to keep it. Personal touches mean calling this space home, and that’s the last thing she wants to do.

 

She powers on the laptop whilst she roots through the empty cupboards and bare fridge for something to eat, perhaps.

 

The lab has kept her so preoccupied these past couple of nights she’s not really had time to go grocery shopping. And when she finds nothing but one random slice of stale bread, and a couple of questionable potatoes that have sprouted antennae in the bottom of her vegetable draw, she boils the kettle and settles for a mug of coffee, reminding herself to grab a few bits and pieces tomorrow.

 

When she’s finally booted up, the call takes it’s time to connect. That familiar tune echoes through the apartment for a long time, to the point it feels like it’s mocking her. But then— just as she considers releasing the call— Cosima’s face is suddenly right there on her computer screen, and she feels herself breathe for what feels like the first time in weeks.

 

‘Hey you,’ Cosima rasps, a small cough tacked onto the end of her sentence.

 

She looks so tired; laying on her side in bed, head propped up by her hand, cannula in place.

 

Delphine wishes she could reach through the computer screen. Aching for any form of contact; a squeeze of her hand, a kiss on the cheek, anything.

 

The best she can do for now though is smile back and wave,

 

'Cosima, I’m so glad to see you,’

 

Cosima hums gently, 'Right back at you, Doc. It’s late though right? What time did you get out?’

 

'Yes I’m sorry, the people I work with now are… not as clever as they would have you believe,’ Cosima chuckles at that and Delphine smiles, faltering only at Cosima’s shortness of breath.

 

Her throat is almost like a second-home for her heart by now.

 

‘How are you feeling, have you had any further check ups? ’Delphine asks, unable to stop herself.

 

Cosima just rolls her eyes at her, like she’s a mother fussing over a child.

 

‘I’m feeling fine,’ she says, adding ‘Have you made any friends in Deutschland yet?’ complete with a terrible German accent that pulls a chuckle from a tired Delphine,

 

‘Uh. Non, not yet,’

 

‘Why not? Just because I’m bed bound for the foreseeable doesn’t mean you are,’ she jokes,

 

Delphine smiles and deliberates her answer for a moment before dropping her shoulders in defeat when she can’t find a valid reason why she shouldn’t be making friends. The only answer she can come up with is something along the lines of “I don’t even want to think of making a life here, without you,” But that would be too grand of a statement for a Thursday afternoon.

 

‘I find making friends as an adult is a lot harder than it was when I was younger,’

 

‘You had no trouble making friends with me,’ Cosima reminds her, not unkindly,

 

‘Yes, but you made it very easy for me to like you,’ counters Delphine, then brings her coffee mug to her lips with both hands and takes a long sip. ‘I will try to make an effort,’

Cosima’s camera goes in and out of focus as she changes positions on her bed. Then there’s a clear picture and she sighs, ‘I just don’t want you to feel alone over there,’

 

Impossible, she thinks, but nods regardless.

 

Then carries the laptop across to the couch as she listens to Cosima swiftly change the subject by updating her with an animated retelling of what’s happening back at home.

 

A good twenty minutes later— after Cosima has updated her on the situation with Sarah, and whilst Delphine is busy ranting about incompetence of some of her colleagues— she hears two clangs, and the familiar sound of the loft door being rolled open, followed by Felix announcing his arrival echo through the speakers of her laptop.

 

‘I’m not keeping you from anything, am I?’ Delphine asks, remembering that there’s six hours between them.

 

Cosima shakes her head,

 

‘Felix has just came in but he’ll be going out again soon. Scott’s coming over in a few hours. He thinks I’ve turned into a recluse since you’ve gone. But like,’ she gestures to her nose tubes, ‘I’m not really in a position to be going places, you know?

 

Delphine finds herself chuckling at that, then wipes her face tiredly.

 

‘You look tired though. Maybe we should call it a night?’

 

‘I’m fine,’

 

‘Babe I love you, but you look like you’re going to face-plant the keyboard. We could pick this back up tomorrow?’

 

Reluctantly she nods, remembering he alarm clock by the side of her bed is set to 6:00am. And although her working day supposedly starts at 9 and finishes at 5, the past couple of days have proved that to be categorically inaccurate.

 

‘Oh! Cosima?’ she adds, just before she’s about to disconnect.

 

‘Yeah?’

 

‘J’t’aime,’

 

There’s a bashful smirk and a kiss blown at her through the screen, then the call ends.

 

And Delphine is left alone in her small apartment that suddenly feels far too big.

 

 

*

 

 

The weekly meeting she had with Dr. Lachlan— head of the Frankfurt division— was the biggest waste of her time. Of the three that she’d had so far, it was clear that it was an purely an excuse for idle chatter and rehashing what had already been sent out in this weeks emails.

 

It was enough to send anybody to sleep.

 

Only the sound of a hand slamming down against the wooden conference table is enough to startle her.

 

‘Are we keeping you awake, Dr. Cormier? I’d assume you’re well rested, given the fact you were almost an hour late this morning,’ Lachlan says, in that slow and condescending way he speaks.

 

A few titters are heard from the back of the room. She was rather hoping no-one had noticed her slip in this morning,. Regardless, she sits up straight and clears her throat.

 

‘I’m sorry. Please, continue,’

 

He stares at her, with a bitter and unamused expression on his face, then looks away finally and continues with his practised spiel on statistics and the progress with some of their projects.

 

Perhaps a coffee for dinner the night before wasn’t the best idea.

 

After hanging up with Cosima, she had finished her mug and crawled immediately into bed, not even bothering to switch on the television or read her book.

 

She had lay there for hours, just staring up at the ceiling.

 

Tired, and unable to sleep, she’s haunted by intrusive thoughts of Cosima’s mortality at every ambulance that speeds past, or her neighbours muffled coughs through the walls.

 

Inhaling deeply, she spread her legs.

 

Her hand slipped deftly beneath the waistband of her shorts, as she pressed a finger against herself.

 

Her breath hitching as she worked, trembling like a leaf the quicker she went. Barbs of pleasure rushing down her legs.

 

With the taste of coffee still on her breath, her mind drifted to Cosima; on her back beneath her, staring up with dark, lustful eyes.

 

Fingers clawing at the sheets as she peaked; the orgasm like a wave through her body. That beautiful sultry smile in the forefront of her mind all the way. Remembering the last time they had slept together, never thinking it would be the last.

 

She’d fallen asleep quickly after that.

 

It felt like only minutes had passed when she had drifted to sleep, only to be woken by the sound of her alarm beeping away softy, an hour later than she had set it. She leapt out of bed immediately.

 

Only forty minutes later she had arrived at work, and slipped into her office seemingly unnoticed.

 

(Although clearly, that wasn’t the case.)

 

Delphine can’t even muster up the energy to feel embarrassed about falling asleep in a meeting surrounded by most (if not all) of her colleagues. If anything, she’s too busy focussing on stopping herself from doing it again.

 

When the meeting ends, Lachlan touches her elbow and asks to speak to her a moment. Keeping her in place as the others file out.

 

‘Take a seat,’ he grumbles, as the last person leaves the room and the door is firmly shut behind them. Delphine sits with her back to the door, and Lachlan walks to the other side of the table, taking a seat across from her.

 

‘Dr. Cormier, your work has been crucial and you have certainly been an asset to this facility,’ — if he believed any what he was saying, his face didn’t show it, Delphine thought.

 

He continued on, ‘Not that you would be my first choice. After all, you are quite clearly overwhelmed with the responsibilities of this job already, if this morning has anything to do with it. Still, it’s very unfortunate that we’re losing you.’

 

‘I’m afraid I don’t understand,’ she interrupts, shaking her head, incredulously. ‘Are you firing me?’

 

‘Quite the opposite, actually,’

 

Shocked, Delphine’s head whips around as she hears a familiar voice behind her. Marion Bowles swans through the room, demanding attention without so much as a word. With a stare as sharp as steel, and a kind smile. Marion takes a seat beside her.

 

‘There’s been an incident at the Institute, and we need you to take over Rachel’s responsibilities. Congratulations, Dr. Cormier. ’

 

‘As you can imagine there’s a lot we need to go through, and not much time,’ Marion then turns away and fixes Lachlan with a pointed look, raising an eyebrow in his direction. ‘That will be all.’

 

Affronted, he gathers the stray paperwork from the desk and exits the room. Leaving the two women alone. Marion turns back to her with a suddenly serious expression,

 

‘We have a lot to discuss. Topside is concerned,’

 

 

*

 

 

It’s been three weeks since her transfer.

 

Two weeks since she finally unpacked her luggage.

 

And five hours since she packed it all back up again, and was driven by a private car to the airport.

 

The majority of her seven hour flight time was spent pouring over files, trying to piece together every last part of information she could find.

 

The file for Helsinki (2006) sits open in her lap, and her heart sits heavily in her throat.

 

Thing’s have changed, and I’m coming back home.’ That’s the most she’s told Cosima regarding her transfer back, and by a text message at that.

 

When she had landed there was two missed calls on her phone, both by Cosima, that she hadn’t returned yet.

 

As soon as she touched down on Canadian soil she had hit the ground running, trying to make sense of the situation with so little time.

 

And now, a day later and after an unsuccessful meeting with Sarah—who’s somehow gone under the radar again in that exceptional way that only she can— she was becoming increasingly frustrated.

 

There’s every chance that Sarah might be at Felix’s loft, which is why she’s driving a car (provided of course by DYAD) more expensive than anything she’s ever owned before.

 

‘Neither of us can afford to play favourites now, can we?’ Dr. Nealon had said,

 

Of course he was right, damn it. It’s all that runs through her mind as she walks towards the steam baths and climbs the stairs, her steps heavy like lead.

 

Her knuckles bray against the door.

 

Part of her hopes that no-one will be home, that she can find Sarah elsewhere and avoid the difficult conversation she knows, in the end, is inevitable.

 

But then the door slides open, and she’s faced with Cosima; alive and well, and looking at her with those wide eyes and a beautiful smile spread wide across her face.

 

For a moment she lets herself forget. Cosima steps forward and laces her arms around her waist, and she lets herself smile at the familiarity of Cosima’s perfume, and the warm touch of her hands on her back.

 

Until Nealon is in her ear again,

 

Neither of us can afford to play favourites now, can we?

 

He had said,

 

No, we can’t.

 

Delphine had replied.