Carlisle smiled. His eyes rolled back, and he looked very innocent and harmless. This made the person watching feel relaxed.
“Sure, let’s do it. I’ll stay with you forever if that’s what you want,” he said. Carlisle laughed quietly and leaned in, as if he was happy to do so. Then, he made his small hands into fists and squeezed them.
“I’ll grow up and protect you from other guys!”
“Huh? Guys?” I was surprised and confused because I didn’t know where he learned the word “guys.” “Yeah! I’m sure other guys will be interested in you because you’re so incredibly beautiful.”
“Mmmm… not really, but…”
Abella felt frustrated and scratched her head. Then, Carlisle looked at her and shook his head.
“No, no. I’m just saying you’re the prettiest thing in the world.”
“Thanks for the nice words.”
Abella blushed, feeling embarrassed by the strangeness of the situation.
“My mom is supposed to live alone with me for the rest of my life……. So I’m going to grow up and kick your ass!”
Holding up a small, non-threatening hand, Carlisle said to Abella, it looked like the tantrum of a child unfamiliar with the world, and it seemed almost cute. Who knows what kind of creature this squirming little thing might turn into.
* * *
Abela’s life was really busy. She had to climb the mountain twice a week to collect herbs, and the rest of the time, she ran her herb shop. Today was the day to open the shop and sell herbs. As Abela looked at Carlisle, still curled up in bed, she started getting ready to leave the house.
Before she knew it, Carlisle woke up, rubbed his sleepy eyes, and called out to her.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. Are you awake, honey?”
“Uhhhh… get up.”
“I have to go to the store today, so I’ll go by myself.”
In recent years, Carlisle had joined Abela in gathering herbs in the mountains, but not today.
“Mommy… can I go with you…?”
Noticing she was about to leave without him, Carlisle, in an unusual move, trotted after her and grabbed the hem of her dress.
As he looked up at her, he seemed almost pitiful. Of course, she didn’t want to leave him at home, but the reason she was going to the store alone was straightforward.
Carlisle’s ears and tail twitch uncontrollably when he’s surprised or excited, and he’s getting bigger by the day.
It would sow suspicions if someone else observed him in this manner, and calling the police would be a hassle.
Carlisle saw Abella hesitate before deciding on her words of rejection, and his eyes furrowed with regret.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart…….”
“It’s not that I don’t want to leave you behind… It’s just that you’re getting bigger every day, and I think people will find it strange when they see you.”
“Then can I just grow up already?” Carlisle asked, his eyes shining as he listened to Abella’s words.
That made sense, and Abella agreed. “You won’t look so odd when you grow up because you won’t be so big!”
“Yes, when you’re older, we’ll go out together.”
“Hehe, okay!” Carlisle chuckled, pleased with her agreement.
Abella cast a quick glance at one wall in the room, where a string of horizontal lines marked the spots where she had taken Carlisle’s height.
Carlisle had grown to his waist from when he was so little at the hips only just a short time ago.
“If things continue this way, he’ll be an adult before the year is out,” she suddenly became concerned. She worried if Carlisle would die before her, because the period between wolves and humans differs just like it does between dogs and humans.
Abella’s fists clenched hard as she watched Carlisle look up at her with wide eyes. ‘This is my first family…….’
Abella cherished her tiny cabin that was covered in Carlisle’s marks. The old couch he’d destroyed, the little bundle of fur that would come running when she called, the fistfuls of black fur on the blanket, and the claw marks on the wooden floor where he’d run about.
“I can’t imagine life without him now.”
“Baby,” Carlisle immediately noticed a subtle change in Abella’s eyes. The tone of her voice was a bit different.
“It’s good that you’re growing up… but I think it would be better if you grew up a little later.”
Abella muttered bitterly, her eyes narrowed, and Carlisle simply chuckled to lighten the mood.
“But I can’t wait to grow up!”
“Why, so you can go out with your mom?”
“Yes! That and… I can’t wait to grow up so I can do lots of things with my mom!”
“Like what?” she asked meaningfully again. But there was no answer.
* * *
Fortunately, this year’s rainy season passed without heavy rains or typhoons, unlike last year. Abella managed to collect a good amount of herbs in the mountains during the rainy season, and the game Carlisle had hunted earlier brought in a decent sum from the metallurgical sales.
Of course, compared to the wealth of the nobles, it was a modest amount, but for Abella, a commoner, it was enough to live on. Within a day or two, Carlisle had seamlessly become a part of her life, and she had become a part of his. They now appeared to be a complete family.
Abella looked at Carlisle, who was sprawled across her lap, and a smile played on her lips. She observed his floppy ears and gently ran her fingers through his sweet-smelling hair.
Carlisle chuckled, sharing anecdotes about the time he spent alone in the house while Abella was at the store. He mentioned how he’d roam around the house, chewing on the corners of the couch and bed out of boredom. Unsurprisingly, the furniture looked more worn than before Abella left.
“Honey, I think your teeth have gotten a lot sharper lately,” Abella remarked, examining the worn couch with torn fabric. She gently lifted Carlisle’s lips, revealing his sharp fangs.
He had grown from a child to a boy, and now he resembled a genuine beast. Abella said playfully, “Now if you bites me, it’s going to hurt like hell.”
“Oh, I don’t bite!” Startled, Carlisle flailed his arms and legs, puckering his lips.
“Why am I biting my mom?” His words were clearer now. Abella looked at the unruly corners of the furniture and realized she should buy him a toy.
“But if I buy a toy… Should I get a human toy? Or a dog or cat toy…?” Not knowing what Abella was thinking, Carlisle just smiled, happy to be spending the evening with her in such a relaxed manner.
* * *
“Wow, sweetie. You’re already this tall; you’re going to be like me in no time,” Abella said, tracing a stick over Carlisle’s head as he leaned against the wall.
“Oh my God… You were a pea when we first met.”
” it wasn’t a bean,” Carlisle grumbled, not liking the beanstalk analogy, and Abella felt a strange sensation watching him.
Even though she hadn’t been the one to give birth to him, she had witnessed his growth from infancy. The child, who had been about her thighs at first, was now about eye level with her.
I glance over at the wall, filled with the traces of Carlisle’s growth.
“Mommy, isn’t tomorrow the day we go herb hunting?”
Abella patted Carlisle on the head and said, “Yes, but it’s been getting pretty chilly lately, so I think you’ll catch a cold if you follow me” Carlisle then changed into a wolf. With a happy purr, Carlisle nuzzled her cheek.
“Shall we call it a night?”
Now that Carlisle looked more like a man than a child, Abella felt a bit uneasy sharing a bed with him when he was in his human form.
Maybe she was onto something, but at some point, Carlisle had started taking the form of a wolf before going to sleep.
However, his wolf form was no longer the same. He now resembled more of a hound than he ever had before.
Carlisle skillfully hopped onto the bed and curled up. As he settled in, he realized that the bed was already half full.
Once on the bed, he used his front paws to scratch at the spot where Abella would lie, then used his tail to pat the bed, leaving claw marks.