Author's Note: I FINALLY GOT IT DONE! This took forever but it's really cute. Send me requests of what you would like to see!
"Elliott?" Cordelia yelled down the stairs of the academy, pausing after to listen for her 2-year old's incessant giggles, a tell-tale sign that she had decided to play an impromptu game of hide and seek. The older witch blamed her mother for teaching her the game. Cordelia had made the mistake of letting her babysit the child once and that was Fiona's way of getting the girl out of her hair, telling her to go hide then leaving her until the younger witch returned, then finally finding her.
Truthfully the game was a lot easier to play in their studio apartment, there were only so many places the girl could hide, but in the academy the possibilities were endless. The new teacher had never expected to come back to the academy, at least not in this capacity. But, since Cordelia was jobless and newly single, she decided to take Myrtle up on her offer to teach some of the classes, at least until she figured out what she was going to do with her life. Luckily the girls wouldn't be returning to the school for a few weeks, so the witch had time for her and Elliott to settle in while Myrtle was on a council trip, one Fiona was unsurprisingly not attending.
"Elle? Come out love." Cordelia tried again, moving through the living room slowly. It wasn't like Cordelia had left the napping toddler alone for all that long, she was gone for maybe ten minutes. But Elliott was a particularly difficult child to keep track of, especially since she started walking. Maybe it was universe's payback for her being so easy as a baby. She hardly ever cried, she mostly slept through the night, and she was always happy and giggling, which Cordelia appreciated while she was still in classes. Now, she was naturally curious, and always seemed to keep Cordelia on her toes, somehow always getting into trouble.
"Elliott, this isn't funny." Cordelia said sternly, trying to use her best mom voice. It was especially difficult for the witch to be angry with her daughter, even when she probably deserved it. Cordelia had been warned about the terrible two's, the endless tantrums and tears, but Elliott seemed to skip that all together. She hardly ever cried, except when she was hurt or scared. She was polite and kind and caring and everything Cordelia had hoped she would be, her only downfall being her inability to sit still.
Cordelia strolled through the living room and into the kitchen, once again listening for her daughter's signature giggles, but all she was met with was silence. She looked under the tables and chairs quickly before turning her attention to the cabinets, noticing the slightly ajar back door out of her peripheral vision, causing a deep panic to settle into her bones. I forgot to lock the door. She quickly abandoned the idea of searching the cabinets and ran outside, frantically whipping her head around in search of her daughter. She couldn't have gotten very far. Elliott may have been hard to keep still, but she was also easily distracted, Cordelia's one saving grace. She had gotten out of her sight outside only once before, when they were at the park, only for Cordelia to find her 15 minutes later sitting on the grass and blowing on dandelions in the outfield of the school's baseball diamond next door.
But here, they were a little too close to the road for Cordelia's comfort, not to mention the forest behind them and the multitude of neighbors they had that Cordelia had yet to meet. She quickly scanned the tree line until her eyes landed on the greenhouse, the door she had definitely closed when she walked around earlier with Elliott now wide open. She moved quickly towards it, making sure to look behind her to scan the road for any immediate signs of her daughter, then let out a sigh of relief when she heard the young girl mindlessly humming to the tune of an NSYNC song she was obsessed with. "Elliott Foxx!" Cordelia said sternly, walking in the doorway with her arms crossed, spotting her daughter standing on a table next to some plants, her expression shifting from anger to confusion as her daughter looked at her and smiled widely, "How did you get up there?"
Elliott just smiled and giggled at her and the mother's angry demeanor quickly dissolved, she never could stay mad at her for long. "Mama, look!" Elliott giggled as she jumped up and down, completely oblivious to the fact that her mother was angry, teetering a little too close to the edge of the table for Cordelia's comfort.
"Sit on your bottom, love." Cordelia said, soft but stern, walking over to the table as she calmed her racing heart. Elliott immediately complied, dropping onto her butt as the whole table wobbled from the force, startling Cordelia at first but then making her laugh lightly, leaning forward to drop a kiss into her daughter's slightly curly blonde hair, "Now, what are we looking at?"
Elliott grinned up at her mother briefly, making Cordelia's heart melt, before crawling over closer to the plants, pointing at one that was newly blossomed, "Pretty."
Cordelia smiled softly, "Yes, very pretty." Elliott giggled, a sound that had quickly become one of Cordelia's favorite sounds in the world, then reached quickly to grab one of the flowers. "Careful, baby."
"Gentle." Elliott whispered, looking back at her mother and nodding before softly touching the petals while Cordelia marveled over her daughter. It was amazing how much she was changing every single day. When she was first born she looked exactly like Hank, however as she got older, the more she resembled Cordelia, especially her big, round eyes, although hers were an icy blue as opposed to Cordelia's warm brown ones. She really was a beautiful child, although Cordelia did have to say she was a little biased. She was tiny for her age, so tiny doctors were initially concerned, but Cordelia was also rather small when she was a child, and her big personality more than made up for it. Small but mighty, as Mel would say, and she was mighty.
Cordelia was drawn out of her musings by Elliott looking back at her, her eyebrows creased with curiosity, her head cocked to the side as she thought of how to ask the question. "Name?" She asked softly, making Cordelia smile. This had become a habit between the two of them, Elliott asking Cordelia questions as if her mother knew the answer to everything in the world.
"Peony." Cordelia said simply, Elliott nodding as if she actually understood and repeating her mother's words, butchering them in the cutest way possible, then starting to hum that song again. Cordelia took a moment to take in the place she was once so fond of, a wave of nostalgia washing over her as she walked around. It was less than a decade ago she was out here with Myrtle, learning about all the plants her true mother was so fond of, and now there she was with her own daughter, a sort of full circle event.
"Mama?" Elliott asked, turning to face Cordelia, the only person she would ever refer to by name. It used to drive Hank nuts, she would never refer to him as "Dad" or "Daddy" or really anything at all, she barely would even speak to him, which only added to the fights he and Cordelia would get into. Elliott and Hank had never really bonded, at least not in the same way Cordelia and her had. Cordelia tried to blame it on the fact he was hardly ever around, always on some work trip or hanging out with his friends, but in truth Elliott just didn't like him, she had shown it from an early age. Once the two had officially split, they tried their best to co-parent, but Elliott would always cry whenever he was alone with her, and whenever they were all together all they did was fight, so eventually he just stopped showing up. It upset Cordelia more than it did Elliott. She didn't even notice he was gone; her world just went on.
"Hmm?" Cordelia hummed, turning to face her daughter and smiling at her, getting a wide smile back. Elliott was always smiling when she was around Cordelia, something everyone had noticed.
"What this?" Elliott said, picking up a glass flask and holding it shakily in her tiny hands.
"That is not for you to touch." Cordelia said teasingly, walking over and grabbing it from her daughter's hands, making her frown a bit. Cordelia quickly set the flask down just out of her daughter's reach and tapped her nose, making her frowning face break out into giggles. "Just trying to keep you safe, bug." She said softly, smiling at her child and getting a smile in return, "We use that to make potions, but it isn't for you to play with."
Elliott nodded slightly then glanced around, bouncing up and down as she looked for something else to play with. "We need to talk though love, you can't leave the house and go outside when I'm not with you, not even here." Cordelia said, her daughter staring back at her with her head cocked to the side.
"Why?" Elliott asked, her favorite question as of late.
"Because it isn't safe, baby. You're too little to be wandering around on your own. You could get hurt or get lost. I need to know where you are, bug. I can't lose you, you really scared me." Cordelia said softly, her daughter's eyes going wide before hanging her head.
"I sorry mama. Won't do it." Elliott said quietly, Cordelia trying to keep the smile off her face at her daughter's fumbling words.
"It's ok, just don't do it again. Alright?" Cordelia said, her daughter nodding, still with her head down. "Oh, come here." She said, picking Elliott up and pulling her into a hug, the young girl wrapping her arms around her mother's neck and crossing her legs at the small of her back, "I love you, baby. More than anything. You know that right?"
Elliott nodded into her neck as Cordelia kissed her head, "Love you, Mama." She quickly picked her head up and looked around, suddenly wiggling in her mother's arms. "Book!" She said loudly, making Cordelia turn around and stare at the books on the shelf.
"You want to read?" Cordelia asked, Elliott nodding rapidly, "Ok, let's go inside and we'll get your books."
"No, stay!" Elliott insisted, pointing to the books once again, "Book!"
Cordelia smiled and rolled her eyes as she set her child back down on the table, her stubborn streak showing once again. Once her mind was made up about something she didn't stop until she got her way. Cordelia could distract her, temporarily that was, but the mother knew if she didn't let her look at the books now she would just find a way to get to them later. It was easier to indulge her daughter's curious mind, even if she really couldn't understand the books anyways. She stared at the familiar texts, remembering the contents of each one before she set her sights on an encyclopedia of plants, at least that one included pictures. She grabbed the book and turned back to her daughter, who had once again stood up on the table and was toddling back towards the plants on the other side, the table wobbling with every step. "Elliott," Cordelia said sternly, causing her daughter to look back at her with wide eyes, "What did I say?" Elliott cocked her head to the side, a confused look overtaking her features. She always was a very expressive child, which Cordelia appreciated since her communication skills were sometimes lacking. "On your butt, love." Cordelia said, walking over to the girl and picking her up, then setting her down so she was sitting, opening the book beside her. Elliott focused immediately on the book, leaning towards it on her hands, Cordelia smiling down at her.
It was rare to have something capture Elliott's attention completely, at least not for long periods of time. She never really liked tv or cartoons, Cordelia tried to sit her down in the mornings so she could get some work done, but she would sit there a total of five minutes before she was looking for her mother once again. Her toys were hit and miss, some days she would play with them for hours, most times she couldn't be bothered, especially when she was playing alone. But books were the one thing Cordelia could count on to keep her child entertained, she would look at books all day if she could, even when Cordelia wasn't reading them to her.
Elliott flipped through the pages and looked over the pictures, occasionally looking up at her mother and pointing to one, waiting for the older witch to tell her what it was, then giggling after. While the young girl "read", Cordelia went to work on watering and taking care of the plants, pruning the ones that were a bit overgrown. After a few minutes the witch noticed Elliott had shifted her position, sitting up and staring at her mother while she worked, completely mesmerized.
After a few moments of Elliott's intense gaze, Cordelia glanced up at her child and pulled a funny face, making Elliott break out in giggles. Cordelia never was one to like being the center of attention, she had always shied away from people's stares and really any kind of attention at all, except when it came to her daughter. Elliott loved Cordelia, more than anything, and it showed when she stared at her mother like she was the center of the universe, like she was magic. No one looked at Cordelia the way Elliott did, and Cordelia loved it. It was the two of them against the world, always.
As hard as being a single parent was, Cordelia found she actually enjoyed it, definitely a lot more than she enjoyed parenting with Hank. Delia didn't want to share Elliott, not with anyone. Eventually the day would come when Cordelia found someone else, and maybe then she would be more open to sharing, but not now. Right now she got all the cuddles, all the laughs and kisses, everything, and she lived for it. The older woman had gone so long feeling like she was worthless, like she didn't matter, but Elliott had been her blessing in disguise. Suddenly she mattered to someone, and that was more than enough for her.
"What are you looking at?" Cordelia playfully said to her daughter, causing the girl to grin wildly, which just made Cordelia smile and kiss her forehead, laughing into her hair. Elliott looked up at her lovingly, her eyes wide and adoring, before Cordelia went back to her work, smiling when her daughter started humming once again.
After a few moments Cordelia heard, "Mama?" looking over to see her daughter looking behind her mother, her head cocked to the side, "Music?"
Cordelia turned around, spotting the boom box on the bench, laughing a little and nodding to her daughter, then walking over and switching the machine on, tuning it until she found a station with a strong signal. Elliott loved music, it didn't matter what kind it was. She always was singing and dancing along, even when she didn't know what the words were. She bounced up and down on her butt before standing on the table, swaying back and forth as Cordelia ran to grab her. "No, no, little one." She said, picking up the girl, "If you want to dance you're going to do it on the floor. This isn't Coyote Ugly." Cordelia set the girl on the floor and smiled as she twirled and bopped along to the beat, although it was actually very off beat.
"Dance mama!" Elliott said while giggling, Cordelia just shaking her head.
"I think I'll leave that to you, bug." She responded, staring at the girl a little longer before refocusing on her work.
A half hour passed and Elliott was still dancing, showing no signs of slowing down, despite missing her afternoon nap. "Mama, look" Elliott giggled, twirling as her mother looked on, knocking herself off balance and right into the table behind her, sending a pot falling, which Cordelia magically shifted the direction of so it didn't fall on the young girl.
"Baby," Cordelia said, running towards the girl on the ground and kneeling, "Are you ok? Did it get you?" Elliott shook her head slightly, staring at the floor. Cordelia gently grabbed the girls face and forced her to look up to make sure she was ok, seeing her daughter's pouty lip and terrified eyes, barely keeping her tears from spilling over. Elliott hated crying. She did everything she could not to, even when she probably should, which was a drastic difference from Cordelia, who was practically a walking water fountain. Elliott reached for her with her tiny arms and the witch quickly scooped her up, settling the girl on her hip as she ran her free hand up and down the girls back soothingly, kissing her head. "It's ok… you're ok." She soothed, rocking back and forth slightly.
Once Elliott was slightly less shaken up, Cordelia tried to finish the tasks she had started, still holding onto the girl. It was difficult only working with one hand, but Cordelia didn't mind, she loved having her daughter so close to her, the girls head on her shoulder just watching her. She felt the young girls body start to relax, the arms wound around her neck loosening their grip, and when she finally finished she glanced down to see Elliott fast asleep. Really, she wasn't surprised. Elliott only ever really slept when she was either in her mother's arms or lying right next to her, which is why nap time had become increasingly difficult. When Cordelia was in school it was easy to sit on the bed next to her and work, but now she had an office she had to work in, and Elliott wasn't adjusting well to that.
Cordelia smiled at the girl then slowly wandered inside, moving around the kitchen to grab a glass of water. "I see you've settled in well." She heard a familiar voice say behind her, making her jump before she whipped around, coming face to face with her mother.
"How the hell did you get in here?" She said, barely hiding her distain.
"Front door was unlocked." Fiona said with a smirk.
"No, it wasn't." Cordelia shot back, throwing her mother a searing glare.
"Every door is unlocked when you're the supreme." Fiona said, smiling.
"What are you doing here mother?" Cordelia asked, "Aren't you supposed to be in Italy or something?"
"Thought you could use the company. It's quiet around here, don't you think?" Fiona said, eyeing her daughter as she struggled to fill her glass, "You could put her down you know."
"If I put her down she'll wake up and you know that." Cordelia spat back.
"Ah, I see. So holding her is easier than dealing with her. Maybe you are a lot like me after all." Fiona said with a smirk, watching her daughter tense at the comment.
"No, she missed her nap earlier. She needs the sleep." Cordelia said, "Now are you here for a reason or just to bug me?"
"Do I need a reason to visit with my daughter and granddaughter?" Fiona said with a smirk as Cordelia rolled her eyes, "I came to see Myrtle, but it looks like she isn't here. Pitty."
"You know she isn't here, she's at a council meeting. One you are supposed to be at. You know you actually have a job, right?" Cordelia said.
"I'll go when there's actually something important for me to deal with. They don't want me there anyways. We all know dear Myrtle loves taking on roles that aren't hers." Fiona said condescendingly.
"More like taking on ones you've neglected." Cordelia spat back, Fiona rolling her eyes.
"Are you going to invite me in or are you just going to leave a guest standing in your kitchen?" Fiona said.
"You aren't a guest." Cordelia said, but moved to the living room regardless, Elliott still asleep on her lap. Fiona smiled at the girl briefly, they had always had a strange relationship. Fiona acted like she didn't like the child or really care for her at all, yet her visits had been more frequent since Elliott was born, showing up at random times seemingly without reason, much to Cordelia's dismay. "How did you even know I was here?"
"Your life isn't as big of a mystery to me as you think it is, Delia. I am still the head of this coven, whether you like it or not. I know what goes on. I mean, what else were you going to do? You have an English degree for Christ's sake. You might as well have skipped college all together. Would have saved you time and money." Fiona snarked, making Cordelia roll her eyes.
"I'm doing just fine, thank you. Where is your new husband? Andrew, is it? Sorry, it's hard to keep track." Cordelia said sarcastically, Fiona dismissing her with a wave.
"Oh, he's gone. Good riddance, he was driving me mad." She said, lighting up a cigarette.
"What do you mean gone?" Cordelia asked suspiciously. Fiona had a habit of marrying wealthy men, only for them to disappear a few months later without a trace, leaving all their money to her, of course.
Fiona smirked, "Does it matter?"
Cordelia felt Elliott start to stir in her lap, obviously disturbed from her nap by the noise, and Delia ran her hand up and down the girls back, willing her to sleep for even a few more minutes. It seemed to work, the girl just leaned back into her mother, which made Cordelia smile down at her briefly, before remembering she was having a conversation with her mother, which brought a scowl once again. "Where is Hank?" Fiona asked, eyeing the young girl.
"Gone." Cordelia snapped, throwing her mother a glare. She hadn't told her they split up, or really anything about her life, but it was bound to come up eventually.
"What do you mean gone?" Fiona snarked.
"Does it matter?" Cordelia said condescendingly, Fiona shooting her a look, "I mean he's gone. We broke up." Fiona smiled and let out a laugh, "Don't look so pleased."
"Is he completely gone or will I still see him at birthday parties and Christmas?" Fiona asked.
"You don't even come to birthday parties or Christmas. I don't think we've actually spent one holiday together." Cordelia said, tired of the conversation.
"You didn't answer the question." Fiona stated.
"You never answer any of mine." Cordelia said, "He's gone, mother. What do you want me to say? That you were right?"
"You didn't have to tell me I was right, I already knew. He was a snake; you are better off without him." Fiona said, Cordelia rolling her eyes once again. "I told you that you should have given her up for adoption. Avoided this whole mess."
"And I'm glad I didn't, regardless of how it turned out. I don't need him." Cordelia spat.
"She would have had a family." Fiona argued.
"She has a family." Cordelia said vehemently.
"She has a working, single mother. That isn't a family. That's a disaster waiting to happen. You should have known better, since you despise me so much." Fiona said.
"She will be fine. Believe me, your marital status and job wasn't what made me hate you." Cordelia argued, "You weren't there. I will be, there's a difference."
Cordelia felt the girl in her arms shift once again, looking down to see two blue eyes slowly open. She ran her hand up and down Elliott's back and the girl rubbed the sleep from her eyes, looking around until she spotted Fiona, then leaning back into her mother. "Look who decided to join the party." Fiona said, eyeing the girl, "Sleep well, princess?"
Elliott cocked her head to the side, not understanding the question, before looking up at her mother, who just held her tighter. She sat quietly for a moment while the two women continued to bicker, not about her of course, they never did that in front of her, but about everything else. Eventually, she started to wriggle out of her mother's grasp and off the couch, standing on her shaky legs and looking between the two women for a moment, her eyebrows furrowed, before she made her way up the stairs. "Where is she going?" Fiona asked, Cordelia shaking her head.
"I don't know." She said, keeping her eyes on the stairs for a few lingering moments, "She'll be fine."
The two tried to keep the conversation calm, but that only lasted for a few moments before they were practically at each other's throats once again. They rarely shouted at each other, their fights always took on a more passive aggressive tone, and that day was no exception. They bickered until they heard little footsteps on the stairs, turning to look at the small girl as she wobbled her way down slowly, her arms full of stuffed animals, which caused Cordelia to smile.
Once Elliott got to the bottom of the stairs she dropped the heap of animals in her arms, staring at the women for a few moments before searching through the pile, pulling out her favorite two, a bunny that she slept with, and a dragon. She waddled over and stared at the women again, confused by the silence, before shaking her head and wandering over to Cordelia, handing her the stuffed bunny. The gesture didn't go unnoticed by the woman, the bunny was the stuffed animal she always reached for when she was upset, and she was very in tune with Cordelia's emotions. The older woman smiled and thanked her, getting a shy smile back, before the girl wandered over to Fiona and handed her the dragon, which just made Cordelia laugh. "What? I get one too?" Fiona asked, smirking at the girl, "Why are you laughing?"
"Because she thinks you are a fire breathing dragon, mother." Cordelia said, Fiona rolling her eyes.
"Good. At least she knows who's in charge." She said sarcastically.
Later, Cordelia was giving Elliott a bath after her mother had made her exit, Elliott splashing around the tub as Cordelia watched, smiling softly at her child. "Mama, look!" Elliott laughed. "Bubbles!" she said, holding out a handful before blowing them back into the water, giggling. Bath time had always been sacred to Cordelia, she hadn't missed one since Elliott was born. Hank never wanted to do it, he always had more important things to do, so really it fell on Cordelia or the babysitter. Cordelia never had the babysitter do it, if it was bath night the woman's friends all knew she wouldn't go out, so they didn't even bother to ask.
It was the most serene part of the witch's day, watching her daughter splash and play, not bothering to care about the heaps of water she spilled onto the tile floor. It was pure, and Cordelia knew she had to savor every moment she had right now. Elliott was growing up right before her eyes, it was like just yesterday she was an infant. Soon she would be a teenager and not want anything to do with Cordelia, much like Cordelia wanted nothing to do with her own mother. It was strange to think one day it wouldn't just be Cordelia and Elliott anymore, that their world would ever be bigger than just the two of them.
Eventually, Cordelia saw her daughter's eyes start to droop, a sign she was ready to get out and go to bed. She wrapped the girl in her yellow ducky towel, pulling the hood of it over Elliott's head as she picked the girl up and held her close, Elliott resting her tired head on Cordelia's shoulder as the woman dropped a kiss into her wet hair. The two headed into the witch's bedroom and put a fresh diaper on the small girl, knowing if she tried to put pajamas on the girl she would just take them off, she really hated sleeping in clothes. Really, it was Cordelia's fault in the first place. Elliott never slept in clothes when she was a baby, as a way to limit the cost when she was broke and still in school. Once she was in a better position financially she tried to get Elliott used to it, but all it really resulted in was a fussy toddler and sleepless nights, so eventually she just scrapped the idea all together.
Cordelia headed downstairs to the living room, turning on the tv just as she heard a knock on the door, a look of confusion crossing her features. She wasn't expecting anyone, and she briefly groaned at the idea that her mother had returned for a second round. Still, the grabbed a diaper clad Elliott and walked to the front door, swinging it open to see her best friend Mel standing there with wine bottles in both of her hands. "I thought you were in Paris?" Cordelia said, surprised but still pleased. It had been months since she had seen the talented witch.
"Eh, it was lame so I headed back early. Myrtle told me you were coming back to the coven so of course I had to check in and make sure you haven't lost your damn mind." Mel teased. "Aw, look at the little angel." She cooed, Cordelia smiling at her daughter as she ran a hand down her back, "She's gotten so big! Jesus I can never leave for that long again, my goddaughter is a whole new person."
"The last time you saw her she was barely walking, now I can't keep up with her." Cordelia joked, inviting the other witch inside.
"This place still looks the exact fucking same. God, will Myrtle ever redecorate?" Mel teased, "And you look as hot as ever. How the fuck are you still single?"
"It's a choice." Cordelia snickered, "And even if it wasn't, I don't know many guys in their 20's who would want to have to work their dating life around a 2-year-old's schedule."
"Delia, please. She's a literal angel, and she's fucking adorable. Take her to Paris, they love MILF's, and you definitely are one." Mel said, shaking her head as she poured a glass of red, then white for Cordelia.
"I am not." Cordelia said, blushing. Mel had always been very blunt and borderline crude, which was the exact opposite of Cordelia. They had been roommates at the school, and as different as they were they had always gotten along impeccably, much to everyone's surprise. Mel was a free spirit, never staying in one place for too long, never getting serious with anyone, it just wasn't her. "You came at the perfect time," Cordelia said, "My mother showed up earlier."
"Of course she did." Mel said, rolling her eyes, "And I'm assuming she gave you loads of shit."
"I had to tell her about Hank, so a load of shit would be a drastic understatement." Cordelia said, taking a sip of wine as Elliott reached for the glass, "No, love. You can't have this."
"Let her have some, she can party with us." Mel teased, Cordelia throwing her a look.
"I'm not giving my toddler wine, Mel." She said seriously.
"Why not? My mom gave me wine and I turned out just fine." Mel said defensively.
"Mel, your mother was an alcoholic." Cordelia shot back, "And I wouldn't say you turned out just fine. Last time I talked to you, you had hooked up with over a dozen men in the week you had been in France."
"Men and women." Mel said lazily, shooting Cordelia a smirk, "And you say that like it's a bad thing. One of us has to get laid."
"So where are you off to next?" Cordelia asked, knowing Mel never stayed around for long, "Germany?"
"California." Mel said, Cordelia looking shocked.
"You're staying in this country this time?" Cordelia asked, "Why?"
"I'm staying long term, or at least as long as I can stand it." Mel said, "I got into grad school at UCLA."
"Why there?" Cordelia asked, knowing Mel was looking at schools abroad.
"That's the one that would take me." Mel said with a chuckle.
"No really, why?" Cordelia asked, knowing Mel would have gotten into a hundred different schools.
Mel threw her a look, "You know why."
"Mel," Cordelia said seriously, "I thought you were done with him."
"I was." Mel said, "Until he told me he left his wife. I can go to school there and have everything paid for. Not to mention the house is to die for."
"So he's paying for you to be with him?" Cordelia said, stunned, "Mel, he's 30 years older than you. He has kids who are literally older than you."
"It's not that serious. He just needs me to look hot for his work events. Other than that, I can do as I please." Mel said, "Now would you hand over my goddaughter? I haven't seen her in MONTHS."
Cordelia glanced down at Elliott, who was sitting quietly on her lap and taking everything in with wide eyes. "Do you want to go see Aunt Mel?" She asked, setting the girl down and motioning toward the woman, "Go on, you love Aunt Mel." Elliott looked hesitantly at her mother, who just motioned again, before she slowly toddled over to the other woman, who quickly scooped her up and tickled her sides, making the girl laugh. "Don't rile her up again. I still need her to sleep tonight." Cordelia warned.
"Come on, little squirt can stay up with us. Right?" Mel asked, Elliott biting her lip and nodding furiously. She didn't actually understand the question, but she did know enough to nod when appropriate. Cordelia smiled as Mel went to take a sip of wine, Elliott once again reaching for the glass. "Not today little chicken." Mel said, shifting the glass out of the girl's reach, "I don't need your mother killing me."
"That's my fault." Cordelia said, "I let her share with me all the time. She thinks she can do it to everyone."
"She can because she's so cute. She can have anything she wants." Mel said, smiling at the girl.
"Don't tell her that. I already have my hands full." Cordelia said.
"How is she doing?" Mel asked, Cordelia smiling softly.
"She's great. She's a big fan of books, not so much anything else." Cordelia said with a chuckle, "She's a little behind in her speech still, she just doesn't really like talking."
"She's more of a thinker. That isn't a bad thing." Mel said, "She's tiny for her age."
"She is." Cordelia said, nodding, "The doctor isn't worried, everything else is normal. She just won't grow."
"And I can see she still isn't potty trained." Mel joked.
"That would require her to stop running around, which she isn't a fan of." Cordelia joked back.
"She's all about convenience." Mel teased, "Have you heard from him?"
Cordelia shook her head, "I stopped trying. I let him know we moved in case he wants to see her, but I doubt he'll show up." Mel nodded sympathetically, "I just don't get it. He was the one who pushed so hard for this. He wanted this, and then he just disappeared."
"Well, it's one thing to say it in theory, it's another when she's actually here. He just couldn't handle it." Mel said, "How are you doing?"
"I'm fine." Cordelia said, "I'm handling it, at least as best as I can. Fiona showed up basically just to remind me how much of a failure I am, which only got worse when I told her he was gone because she deserves to have two parents."
"Fuck Fiona." Mel said brashly, making Cordelia smile, "She was a shitty parent, she doesn't know anything. You gave up your whole life for that little girl, which is more than she ever did. Elliott is going to know that."
"I don't want her to know that." Cordelia said, "I want her to know I cared, but I don't want her to ever feel guilty for the choices I made. That's on me."
"I'm not saying she's going to be reminded daily, Delia. I'm saying when she grows up she's going to know you gave it everything you had." Mel explained, "She's a smart kid."
Elliott shifted and removed herself from Mel's lap, walking back across the room and holding her arms up to her mother, who quickly picked her up and sat the girl facing her chest, Elliott relaxing into her as Cordelia ran her hand soothingly on her back. "She's tired." Cordelia said softly, dropping a kiss into her hair.
"Why don't you go put her down? I'll be here." Mel offered, Cordelia shaking her head.
"She won't sleep unless I'm right there." Cordelia said, Mel throwing her a doubtful look, "I'm not kidding. If I put her down she will walk right back out her and crawl onto my lap."
Mel smiled softly, "Because you're her home. She knows she's safe as long as you are around."