The hours were slipping towards late dawn, and Abella had kept Carlisle seated without saying a word. The room was enveloped in heavy silence, and the guilty Carlisle rolled his eyes, fidgeting with his hands. Nervousness emanated from him.
Even in his human form, Carlisle had pointed wolf ears poking out of his sweet hair. However, instead of being perked up as usual, today they were drooping and lethargic.
Abella’s typically smiling face turned cold as she stared at Carlisle, her tiny head bowed, making it hard for her to hear.
“Mommy’s mad…” Carlisle understood that he had done wrong by not heeding her advice not to go hunting at night.
“I’m a carnivore, and I didn’t listen to her…” As he contemplated it, a sudden wave of sadness overcame him. He pondered his circumstances and wondered why Abella had taken him in.
“I rescued a wolf from certain death, brought it back to life, and all it did was listen to me and eat expensive meat and flesh because it was a carnivore. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day Abella abandoned me in the mountains once again. Maybe the reason she was pausing now was that she was contemplating sending me back to the mountains.” Carlisle’s heart sank.
“Don’t, Mom…” It was Carlisle who finally spoke, a frightened sob escaping him. His cool, slit eyes drooped helplessly, tears clinging to the edges.
Carlisle spat out the words with difficulty, attempting to recall the human phrases he’d picked up a few times. “Now, that’s a bad… look.”
The unexpected reflection startled Abella, but she didn’t show her surprise in front of Carlisle.
Silence hung in the air.
“Hunting, ah, I’m not going.”
Carlisle sobbed, wiping his eyes with his sleeve, his little body bouncing up and down. Abella scolded him sternly, insisting that he couldn’t go hunting until he was better.
The little one’s sobs had the power to weaken her resolve. Eventually, the impatient Abella decided to release her anger.
Carlisle swallowed hard and began to sob uncontrollably. “Now, take care, mommy. I’m not a muggle with much meat, so… so don’t throw it away. Black, hmph…”
For a moment, Abella’s mouth dropped open in embarrassment. She had been concerned about Carlisle’s leg, trying to make a big deal out of it, but… don’t throw it away!
I can’t believe you won’t eat more meat! Isn’t this why I feel like I’m your stepmother?
Abella, bewildered by the sudden outburst of crying, stared, not knowing what to do. However, the child’s sobs, once started, didn’t cease, filling the silent house.
Carlisle sobbed, alternating between mumbling about being wrong and expressing fears of abandonment. Stunned, Abella first wrapped her arms around the sobbing child.
“Now, hold on, baby. Duck. Duck, duck. Don’t cry. Okay?” His tiny body snuggled into her arms. As Abella hugged him, Carlisle burrowed deeper into her embrace, hugging her waist harder, as if he had been waiting for this comfort.
“Baby, mommy’s here. Don’t cry. It’s not because you ate a lot of meat; you can eat a lot of meat.”
“ hmph… mommy, mommy…!” Abella patted the little body bouncing up and down, gently stroking Carlisle’s hair. The short, messy hair brushed softly between her fingers.
Abella didn’t quite understand why this tiny child would say such things, but she was simultaneously comforted.
“You’re not going to eat much…” Was it because you were worried about food costs earlier?
Even if she hadn’t meant to, Abella had undoubtedly made Carlisle uncomfortable. She let out a small sigh, unable to hide her bitterness.
“What on earth happened to this little one…” Abella said, her brow creasing in anguish.
“Sweetheart, don’t say that.”
“You’re supposed to be growing up; it’s only natural that you eat a lot.”
“Ha, but… but…”
“It’s not a bug, honey. You’d rather you eat well than not eat at all. If you didn’t eat well, I’d lose sleep at night worrying about why you’re not eating.”
Her soothing gestures were gentle and affectionate, and every word she spoke was genuine. If Carlisle hadn’t been eating, Abella could have spent days and days trying to figure out why he wasn’t eating.
“Mommy’s not mad at you because you’re eating a lot; that’s a given.”
“I was worried about you going hunting at night with your uncomfortable leg… That’s why I told you not to go, but you didn’t listen, and that’s why I’m mad at you.” Abella patted the sobbing little body, pulling him further into her arms. She wiped the tears from his eyes as the child clung to her helplessly.
“Don’t cry. Hmm?”
“Hmph, ha, but…”
“Mommy… you’re going to throw me away… you’re going to throw me away, you know.” Abella was about to respond, but the next part gave her pause. “Uh, my mom is… I, uh, she left me… behind last time, too… hmmm… rain, it’s raining… uh, dark, cold…”
Abella quickly realized what day he was talking about, and her face hardened in an instant. The day she left Carlisle in the mountains. He must think she abandoned him that day.
“I was just trying to put you back where you belonged…” Abella’s brow furrowed guiltily as she watched the tears fall.
” hmph…I, so… hunted… hunt for… uh, tell my mom… if it helps… then I won’t be abandoned…”
The small, curled-up body squirmed as if it didn’t want to leave Abella’s arms.
“I, I don’t think a meat-eating carnivorous… would like it.” Carlisle’s unexpected eloquence caught Abella off guard, but she had no time for that.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.”
” hmph… Oh, that’s right… He eats expensive chicken every day for a living…” The slurred pronunciation only added to Carlisle’s frustration. Abella patted his back steadily and whispered.
“I don’t think so. He’s not a carnivore; he’s a big boy, he’s supposed to eat.”
Suddenly, Carlisle felt a little larger than usual in her arms, maybe just reflecting her mood. Abella shook her head and pushed him away for a moment, and then it became clear. He was a bit taller than when he had first arrived.
Abella exclaimed briefly, looking at Carlisle’s tear-streaked face.
“Oh, honey, look at you. You’re so much taller now that you’re eating well.”
Carlisle snorted at her out-of-nowhere mention of his height.
“I’d say you’re at least a foot taller than when you first came to my house.”
Abella’s eyes lit up, and she stood him up against the wall. Then, she used a razor to draw a line over Carlisle’s head. The sharp point dug into the wooden wall, leaving a light scratch.
Carlisle, who had stopped crying and was fumbling for his keys, squinted his puffy eyes in confusion.
“Baby, look at you. I don’t think you were more than a foot or two at first, but you’re already so tall.”
“A carnivore. It’s so nice to eat well and sleep well and grow so big. Mommy is so happy. I can’t wait to grow up and be bigger than her so that bad people can’t hurt her.”
“… Me, bad people?” Carlisle asks, dabbing at his eyes with his sleeve.
“Mommy… and she’s not gonna give me up until I’m all grown up and… hmmm, are you gonna live with me?” The child’s hand gently grabs the hem of her skirt, and he stares at Abella with watery eyes, as if to say, “Don’t abandon me.”