I just wanted to share a simple oneshot (don't expect anything good please) and wish you all a merry Christmas. Enjoy your holidays :D
PS: English isn't my first language, so please keep that in mind when you start reading. Thank you!
Snow is falling from the sky, covering Toronto under a thick white blanket. The streets are decorated with thousands of Christmas lights, lighting up the entire city in these freezing temperatures. I've been living here for four years now, and I absolutely love it, but there is no city in the world that's more beautiful than Paris around Christmas time, of course. Families are visiting church tonight, they'll go to the cemeteries to place flowers and burning candles on their loved ones' graves, children will hang their socks above the fireplace, anxiously waiting for Santa to fill them when they are fast asleep. Everything always look so perfect on the outside during Christmas, but to me… to us… it doesn't feel that way this year.
Her head is leaning against the window of my car, her eyes are staring up to the glittering stars in the pitch black sky, and her cold hands are folded in her lap. She looks so small and broken, she always does whenever we get into a fight and the sight breaks my heart. It's been a bumpy year for us, full of ups and downs, and I seriously hope the next will be better, calmer and quiet.
We haven't talked since we woke up this morning, after my girlfriend brought up a particular subject again. I thought we were passed this, that she had accepted our decision, but apparently, she's still in the middle of some kind of mourning process. It was hard for me too, of course, to make the decision that would influence the rest of our life together, but I'm okay with it and I don't want to talk about it all the time, or waste my time thinking about what our life would be like if we didn't make that decision and never gave up trying.
"Cosima," I whispered, reaching out to place my hand over hers while I kept the other one on the steering wheel. She immediately tensed up and yanked her hands away, not wanting to be touched.
"We're going home if you keep ignoring me chérie, I can't act like everything is okay around your sisters."
"I'm not ignoring you."
"Non? You haven't spoken to me all day. You don't want to celebrate Christmas like this, do you?"
"Are you angry with me?" I asked softly, turning the volume of the radio down. She can't be angry with me, not tonight. That's not the plan.
"No," she shook her head and I sighed in relief. "I'm not mad at you."
Her voice sounds hoarse and her bottom lip began to tremble, I knew she was going to cry again. I hate seeing her in emotional pain, we've cried enough tears this year.
"I think this is the worst Christmas Eve ever Delphine," she cried as tears spilled from her eyes. "There should have been another person in the car with us tonight, but that isn't the case and it's never gonna happen."
"I know sweetheart, I know."
"Tonight will be so confronting and painful, now that Felix and Colin…"
She didn't finish her sentence, but I knew what she wanted to say, what was going on in her mind. I reached out again and slipped my fingers between her closed thighs, gently squeezing the soft flesh.
"You can say it out loud chérie."
"No! I can't!"
"Okay," I sighed, waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. "But we can't take this out on them, it's not their fault. We can't ruin their happiness, just because we weren't that lucky."
It was silent for at least five minutes, Cosima couldn't stop crying and my brain tried to come up with words that would offer her some comfort, but I couldn't find any. I don't think there are words for a situation like this, they simply don't exist.
"Are you blaming me for the decision?" I asked quietly. It's a question that's swirling through my head since April 11th, the day we made the decision to give up one of our dreams, but I never had the courage to ask her.
"No I'm not blaming you, we made that decision together Delphine."
Okay, that's only partially true. It was mostly me who knew it wasn't going to happen after a year and a half of trying and I was the one who wanted to stop when I lost our embryo in the seventh week of pregnancy. It crushed our hearts, but we both knew this wasn't good for our relationship either. We didn't know how to deal with the prospect of life without children and quickly grew apart, but we didn't want to give up the love between us and worked so hard to stay together, to overcome this… and here we are, eight months later, sitting in my car on our way to Alison's, very much in love and at peace with our decision.
"I just…" she continued, staring out of the window. "I've accepted the fact that we'll never have a child, but that doesn't mean my feelings disappeared that same day babe. I still find it difficult sometimes, especially on days like these."
"I understand," I whispered, squeezing her knee. "Are you having second thoughts about it?"
"No, it's for the best. I don't wanna go through all of that again. I guess the future has other plans for us."
"Non, me neither," I said, parking the car in front of Alison's house before I took out the keys. "Let's make the best of it okay? Try to enjoy this night with your family. It hurts that we're not bringing a baby with us this year, but maybe you can try to cuddle Isabella tonight?"
Isabella, the newest member of the family, is just the cutest thing ever and the prettiest baby I've ever seen in my life, but the fact that she's only two weeks old, a week younger than our baby would have been right now, doesn't help at all and I'm convinced that Cosima is struggling with this knowledge too.
"I love you Delphine, I'm so glad you didn't leave me. You're in my life and that's all that matters."
"I love you too Cosima," I smiled, leaning in to press a loving kiss on her lips. "Are you ready?"
We stepped out of the car and I opened the trunk, handing Cosima a big basket full of Christmas presents for the kids and adults.
"I can carry it if it's too heavy."
"No, it's fine. I got it."
I draped my arm over her shoulders as we walked up to the house, our heels clicking on the concrete sidewalk.
"You look amazing tonight," I whispered in her ear before kissing the shell.
"Thanks," she beamed, flashing me her canines when I rang the doorbell. "You too."
I peeked through the window and saw a big Christmas tree in the corner of the living room, the lights and other decorations are absolutely beautiful and the whole thing looks like it came straight out of a magazine, so symmetrical and precise. Dozens of presents are placed underneath it and I instantly felt nervous. Mon Dieu, I hope everything goes as planned tonight.
"Hello gorgeous ladies," Alison greeted us, stepping aside to let us in. "Just put the presents under the tree Cosima. Delphine, I'm so glad you're here, please come with me."
We took off our coats and I obediently followed Alison into the kitchen as Cosima walked into the living room, placing our gifts underneath the tree and kissing Charlotte's cheek after she was done.
"Okay, please cut the pineapple into small pieces Delphine. I'm so glad you're here," she repeated, opening the oven when the timer went off. "I'm so stressed, Donnie offered to help, but do you see him anywhere? No! He's playing with the boys instead."
"It's okay Al," I chuckled. "I'm here now, everything will be allright."
I cut the fruit into square chunks and glanced at Cosima, who was talking to Gemma and Kira. She looks stunning in her black dress with a low back and lace tights. I'm one lucky lady for sure.
"Is the garage door open?" I whispered, putting a piece of pineapple in my mouth.
"Hmm yes, just like you asked," Alison nodded, touching my back. "Don't eat the food."
"Where's Cal?" Cosima asked out of the blue, locking her eyes on Sarah's. The British clone looked at me with panic in her eyes and I slowly shook my head while my heartbeat quickened.
"He couldn't make it, he's working an emergency shift."
"Oh, okay," my girlfriend shrugged, accepting the explanation easily.
The doorbell rang again and Alison dropped her spoon on the floor in response.
"Oh good heavens!"
I grabbed a mango and began to cut it into pieces, watching Cosima from a distance. She's talking to Sarah, they're both drinking wine and laughing at one of Helena's jokes. I'm not sure if she's playing a part right now or if she's guinenly happy and relaxed.
"Hello chickens!" Felix burst into the room, making his grand appearance. He's wearing a tux and thick eyeliner around his eyes, looking way too overdressed, but so like himself.
"Uncle Felix!" Kira exclaimed, running towards him to curl her arms around his waist.
"Oh no no, you're getting too big for hugs."
"Hi Delphine," Colin smiled at me, cradling a squirming infant in his arms.
"Hi," I nodded before I focused my eyes back on the mango, not wanting to look at the baby yet. It's still a bit painful for me too.
It took me and Alison another fifteen minutes to finish the preparations and I sat down on the couch, across from my girlfriend, who gave me a soft and reassuring smile.
"Let's start with the presents okay?" Alison suggested and everyone began to cheer. Little Donnie jumped off Big Donnie's lap and ran towards the tree with his twin brother on his heels.
"No, no, patience, Arthur first," Helena warned, grabbing one of them by the arm, I still can't tell them apart. I glanced at the three teenage girls, who are making thousands of selfies, they grow up so fast and Charlotte is starting to look more and more like her clones. Oscar is sitting on the floor, his back pressed against the wall, his eyes also glued to his phone.
"Who?" Arthur asked, tugging on my arm.
"Oh, that one is for… let's see… Gemma."
The little boy ran towards the teenage girl and handed her the present. Makeup… of course. It went on like that for half an hour, until the youngest child of the family began to cry.
"Oh Colin, can you warm up her bottle please?" Felix asked, sipping his wine while he applied some mascara on Charlotte's lashes. Cosima and I locked eyes for a moment, probably thinking the same, but she quickly closed her eyes and took a deep breath before she shifted her attention to little Donnie, who gave her a present.
"Awesome," she exclaimed, holding a science-related book up in the air. "That's the one I asked for! Thank you!"
I don't know why, but I have this feeling that this present came from Colin, seeing that it's about anatomy. Speaking of Colin, he walked back into the living room, holding a bottle of warm milk in his hands. A small smile formed on my face when he lifted his daughter out of her stroller, it's such a beautiful sight.
"Is there anyone who would like to feed the baby?" he asked, his eyes darting around the room.
"ME!" Kira yelled in excitement, raising her hand in the air.
"No!" Sarah responded, pushing her daughter's arm down. "I'm sure Cos would like to do it Colin."
"I…I…" Cosima stuttered, a slight blush covering her cheeks. She looked at me for a second and I gave her a small nod, encouraging her to hold the baby for the very first time. It's not like Felix and Colin didn't want her to hold their daughter, but Cosima kept refusing every time they asked. Me on the other hand… I've held Isabella numeroustimes.
Colin gently placed his daughter into Cosima's waiting arms and I could literally feel my heart grow a few inches. It suits her. He gave her some basic instructions and patted her on the shoulder when the baby stopped crying and began to suck.
"Perfect Cosima, you're a natural."
A huge smile formed on her face, a smile so big that it must hurt her jaws. She looked at me again and I blew her a kiss, letting her know how much I love her.
"Who?" one of the twins tugged on my arm again.
"Auntie Sarah," I smiled, pushing him into her direction, tickling his sides. Sarah opened the present, her eyes sparkling with excitement as they took in the gift I bought her; a new set of headphones.
The kids are all sitting around the Christmas tree at this point, stuffing their mouths with candy and opening their presents one by one. I couldn't take my eyes off them and didn't notice Cosima standing in front of me, holding the baby in her arms as she positioned herself in my lap.
"Are you okay?" I whispered into her ear, rubbing the bare skin of her back while my fingers traced over her bra clasp.
"Yes," she nodded, bending over to press a soft kiss on the top of Isabella's small head. "You smell so good little monkey."
I soft sniffle reached my ears and I furrowed my brows in confusion, I didn't know where it was coming from, but I quickly got my answer when Helena sat down next to me and curled her fingers around the back of my girlfriend's neck, squeezing it affectionately.
"You make me cry sestra," she whispered, kissing Cosima's cheek.
"I'm sorry," she laughed, wiping the single tear with her free hand. "I'm okay."
I let out a shaky breath and my fingers began to draw slow circles between her shoulder blades, offering her some comfort, until the sound of my ringtone echoed through the living room.
Oh my God. This is it… the moment I've been waiting for. A disgusting taste started to form in my mouth as I glanced at the screen. Cal. Fuck.
"Hi," I said in a trembling voice, trying to stay calm as I began to fumble with the top button of my blouse. My heart is beating so fast that I'm convinced I'm having a heart attack.
"I'm in the garage," he said, whispering.
"Okay, everything allright?"
Cosima looked over her shoulder and locked her confused eyes on mine.
"Who is that?" she asked, raising an eyebrow at me.
I touched her hip and applied a soft pressure to the bone, asking her to stand up. She understood immediately and rose to her feet before she shuffled to the other couch and sat down next to Sarah.
"I'm not your mom, but I can be your daddy if you want me to," Cal laughed through the speaker, obviously very pleased with himself. "And yes, everything went smoothly."
I walked into the hallway and slipped my hand into the pocket of my coat, pulling out a small black box. I hastily tucked it into my bra and escaped the house through the backdoor.
"Come," Cal whispered, waving at me. I followed him into the garage and licked my lips, wetting them to prevent them from drying out. Oh my God, I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my entire life.
"I already glued your envelope to the box," he grinned.
"You didn't read the card, did you?"
"No, of course not," he chuckled as he opened a big green box, reaching inside, slowly pulling out a fluffy chocolate brown Cocker Spaniel puppy with a red bow tied around his neck.
"Oh my God," I gasped, covering my mouth as tears filled my eyes.
"Delphine? This is the one you picked out a few weeks ago right? Don't tell me I brought the wrong puppy with me. Damn, that would be fucked up, maybe even worse than bringing the wrong baby home."
"Non, non, it's him. That's the right puppy. Thank you so much Cal," I whispered in disbelief, wrapping my arms around his neck before I kissed his cheek. "Merci."
"No problem Del, but how are we going to put this under the tree without Cosima noticing?"
"Don't worry. I've got that covered. You just need to count to twenty once I'm inside and then you'll come in and place it under the tree okay?"
"Sure," he winked, giving me a lopsided grin. I thanked him one more time and walked back inside, my hands shaking and my throat as dry as the desert. Mon Dieu, I can't believe I'm really doing this. Sarah looked me straight in the eye and I gave her a small nod. She immediately jumped up from her seat and took Isabella out of Cosima's arms, handing her back to one of her fathers.
"What the..." Cosima sputtered, not amused with Sarah's rude and unexpected action. Okay, maybe I should've told Sarah to do this more smoothly, but it's a little too late for that now.
"Cal just texted me Cos, he's here in a minute. Please gimme a hand in the basement okay? I can't carry all those crates of beer myself."
They left the room and Alison opened the backdoor, helping Cal into the house. He quickly placed the huge box under the Christmas tree and took off his plaid jacket, running his hand through his hair as he kissed his daughter on the top of her head.
"Oh! What's that?" the children asked in unison, their eyes wide with curiosity.
"It's a present from Santa, he gave it to me when I left work. It's for auntie Cosima."
"What's for me?" the dreadlocked clone asked when she came back. "Oh, hi Cal."
"That box over there," he said, pointing at the green box. Oh my God, I'm having second thoughts about this. Maybe this is a horrible idea, I don't want her to think that I'm doing this because I think a puppy is the perfect replacement for a baby, that a dog will fill the holes in her heart. Merde!
"For me?" she smiled and I held my breath as Cosima opened the box. She inhaled sharply through her nose when she peeked inside. I can't read her facial expression, but she looks… shocked… and I can't tell if that's is a good thing or a bad thing.
"Oh my God," she laughed, lifting the puppy out of the box. "Oh my God, this is so cute. Who bought this for me?"
"Santa," little Arthur said matter-of-factly, making everyone laugh.
"This is so cute," Cosima repeated again, tears welling up in her eyes as she kissed the puppy's floppy ear. "Holy watershed. That's a big bow you got there dude. Isn't he cute Delphine? Or is it a she?"
"There is an envelope too," Kira pointed out and my heart stopped beating for a moment, this is it… the part I haven't told anyone about.
"Oh," Cosima breathed, handing Sarah the dog before she grabbed the envelope and began to read the card.
Please marry your puppy, it simply says and Cosima let out a snort, looking confused once again.
"What the…" she chuckled as I walked up to her, she tilted her head up and looked at me when the true meaning of my written words started to sink in slowly.
"Oh my God," she sobbed, covering her mouth with her hand, making me smile. I stood in front of her and got down on one knee, opening the small black box to reveal the beautiful sparkling diamond ring inside. Everyone in the room sucked in a breath and the three teenage girls pulled out their phones, snapping pictures of us, filming the entire thing.
"Cosima, will you marry me?"
"Oh my God," she gasped again, focusing her eyes on the ceiling before she locked them on mine, tears streaming down her cheeks, making me cry too. "YES!"
She pulled me up to my feet and wrapped her arms around my neck, kissing me passionately as everyone started cheering and clapping.
"You're insane," she whispered as I slid the diamond ring on her finger, claiming her as mine. Forever. Mon Dieu, it's so surreal. Alison started the music and every single person in the room congratulated us, dancing and clinking their glasses together, celebrating the upcoming wedding while Cosima, Puppy and I were positioned in front of the Christmas tree to pose for hundreds of pictures.
It was a few minutes to midnight, when I collapsed onto the couch, completely exhausted and emotionally drained. I closed my eyes, allowing myself to reflect on tonight's events, but I quickly opened them when a soft feminine body snuggled into me, a body I recognize from miles away.
"Hey," I smiled, kissing her cheek. She's holding our puppy in her arms, he's fast asleep, snoring lightly with his paws up in the air.
"Hey," she whispered, stroking the puppy's chest. "Does he have a name?"
"Not yet, you can name him chérie. I chose him, you get to pick his name."
"I already picked one."
"Are you going to tell me?"
"Hmm," I smiled, letting out a hard laugh before I kissed her on the lips. "Perfect."
"You like it?"
"I love it mon amour."
It has been a crazy year for us, a new house, a pregnancy that ended way too soon, a decision that will influence the rest of our life, my dad's passing, Art leaving the country to live in New York, promotion, a puppy and an engagement … I don't know what 2019 has in store for us, but I have this feeling that it's going to be a fantastic year for me and my soon-to-be wife.
"Guys, it's almost Christmas, let's start the countdown," Felix suggested, raising his glass of wine in the air.
"You only have a countdown on New Year's Eve, Fee!" Sarah groaned, probably a bit drunk already.
"Shut up sestra! Ten, nine, eight…" he started counting and everyone joined him, wishing each other a merry Christmas when the clock reached midnight.
"Merry Christmas Delphine," my fiancée whispered, burying her face into the crook of my shoulder, kissing my jaw.
"Merry Christmas Cosima."