Then he mumbled unclearly and made a small howl, as if he wanted her to sleep. When Abella saw Carlisle like that, she happily went under the covers. When she joined him, he snuggled close to her, and their warm fur rubbed together nicely.
She closed her eyes and thought to herself as she was pushed to the corner of the bed by Carlisle’s size.
‘This bed feels a lot smaller now…’ If only she had the money to buy another bed, but sadly, she didn’t. And the tiny cottage didn’t have enough space for an extra bed. ‘Maybe when Carlisle is a fully grown man…’
At that time, it felt like Carlisle alone would fill the bed completely. But the idea of sharing a bed with a human seemed strange.
Even though I’m caring for him like a mother, sons and mothers don’t usually sleep in the same bed.
Innocently, Carlisle rubbed her back as if he understood what she was thinking. Besides worrying about the bed getting smaller, Abella enjoyed the warmth of Carlisle’s body.
Thanks to him, she realized how cozy and ticklish it could be to be so close to someone.
They did everything together—eating, gathering herbs, washing, and sleeping. Recently, they were always together, sharing their daily lives, except when she went to the store.
Having someone to share her simple life with made Abella happy, and it was the same for Carlisle.
As the night passed, Abella fell asleep with Carlisle cuddled in her arms, his fluffy presence comforting her.
He stretched out his legs to ensure she was comfortable before he, too, entered the world of dreams. It was a cozy night to be together once more.
* * *
Abella coughed while lying weakly on the bed. It was autumn, the leaves changing color, and she had fallen ill from overworking at the shop to have some time alone with Carlisle.
The rainy season had just ended, and the weather had turned very cold.
Carlisle was upset to see Abella unable to get up, her face warm with fever. He sat beside her, his eyes filled with concern.
“Baby… You can’t come close to mommy for a while…”
Abella spoke the words with effort.
“Hah…… you might catch a cold from me. Cough, cough.”
She coughed, and Carlisle quickly scooped up some warm water and handed it to her.
“I’m fine, I’d rather catch my mom’s cold.”
“What do you mean…….”
“I mean, I’d prefer to be the one who’s sick instead of you.”
He cried and held her hand. In the past few days, Carlisle had grown so much that he didn’t seem much younger than her now.
While she still looked more like a teenager than an adult, with his build, he seemed more like a big brother to her.
Carlisle dampened a washcloth and gently took care of Abella. His hand movements were a bit clumsy, but he was very attentive.
“Mommy… Does it hurt a lot?”
“It… it hurts this much. Cough, cough. It’s just a cold. Mommy is really okay.”
However, Carlisle wasn’t easily reassured.
Glancing over his shoulder, he observed Abella preparing a stew for herself and replacing the warm towel on her head before it cooled down.
It was quite endearing to witness him bustling around the house in his fully grown form. Abella couldn’t help but giggle as she watched Carlisle moving about through her blurry vision.
It’s just a cold, really…
Even during more severe bouts of illness, she had been alone. It was expected since she lived without family.
In her daycare days, a runny nose would result in solitary confinement to prevent the spread of illness.
That’s why Abella was always on her own when sick, and being cared for by someone else, especially by Carlisle, felt unfamiliar and peculiar in the middle of nowhere.
He took on the household chores – cleaning, cooking, and handling laundry and dishes – while she was confined to bed. It might have been a bit messy, but his enthusiasm was evident. After what felt like a long time, it appeared that the chores were finally completed.
Carlisle came to the bed with a fresh towel to check on her. He replaced the towel on her forehead and gently gauged her temperature.
After all the care he had given, he hoped she was improving.
“Mom, your fever is still very high…”
Unfortunately, the fever showed no signs of subsiding. Abella’s typically flushed cheeks were now red from the cold.
Carlisle gently squeezed her hand, displaying his evident concern. Witnessing him like that created a peculiar sensation within her.
It felt like just a few weeks ago when his hands were smaller than hers. Now, Carlisle’s hands were enormous, as if they had never been small.
Abella’s mouth curled up strangely as she observed him worrying about her.
“When has anyone ever cared about me?”
Seeing him, so large and helpless, so concerned for her, she had the strange feeling that he should be experiencing more distress.
Abella felt unfamiliar and new in this situation. Yet, it was also warm and ticklish.
Abella whimpered, feeling the soothing touch of Carlisle.
“I’ve always been alone… It’s okay, I’m usually fine, but when I’m sick, I get strangely nervous…”
Abella stammered, her eyes welling up.
“This is the first time someone’s ever taken care of me and worried about me when I’m sick. I never knew it felt so good to know someone is worried about me.” The corners of Abella’s mouth twitched into a weak smile at how comforting it felt to be unwell.
Carlisle just stared at her with a puzzled expression until she broke the brief silence and spoke.
“From now on, I’ll always be there for you.”
His soothing voice settled in her ear. It had been loud, and now it was low.
“Really? Promise me? Phew… Just tell me you’re going to marry another woman later.” Abella nonchalantly uttered the words, attempting not to sound sick, but her sweaty forehead indicated otherwise.
“Mommy, you feel very dizzy…” Carlisle said solemnly, gently brushing her sweaty hair back from her face.
“When I was sick, I used to imagine closing my eyes and picking at a bunch of delicious meat, so why don’t you imagine picking at a bunch of delicious things too?”
The words he spoke were somehow silly, but also quite serious. “Before I met you mom, I used to get sick a lot, so it was kind of hard.”
Normally, Carlisle’s words would have resonated, but Abella, groggy from the fever, could only nod like an idiot. “It worked pretty well for me, so you should try it, Mom.” He finished with a forced smile.
Abella did as Carlisle suggested, closing her eyes and daydreaming about eating a variety of delicious things, and before long, she was dozing off.
Feeling Carlisle’s soothing touch, Abella slowly drifted off to dreamland. Carlisle watched her for a long moment, then murmured in a very small voice.
“It was my first time, too.”
His voice echoed in the warmth of the room.
“Someone who cared about me, someone who cured me. My mom was the first.”
Red eyes flashed with a strange color. Abella wouldn’t know.
She dreamed the old Carlisle biting into all the delicious meats he’d thought of whenever he was sick. In her mind, the “delicious meat” was his family and clan.
Carlisle always thought when he was sick. The day he would sink his teeth into all of their throats.
She dreamed of plunging his teeth into their throats, biting their flesh until it was ripped, and filling his stomach with their flesh.
The thought of one day being able to do so gave him the will to live.
“I wondered if I should just die, but then I realized that I wanted to take the life out of every single one of them. The day I gave it my all, the day I exterminated other people. That would be enough, I thought. As unjust as my life in the muck might be, at least I’d gotten my revenge on them, and even if the price was my life, it was a satisfying revenge. There was no regret in my heavy eyelids. It was Abella who had taken Carlisle.”