by Mackenzie L.
The second part of this story is told from Carlisle's point of view as he hears Edward call him 'father' for the first time. This is simply a small continuation from the place where the first chapter left off, just to give more a sense of completion to the piece.
"And so, Edward, when I offer you a gift, you must understand how much it means to me that you accept it, for I am the victim of many undeserved blessings myself," I whispered as my hand settled upon his shoulder.
God has given me a son.
The words of my mind could not be helped. Utter truth was all Edward heard from me; whether I tried to hide it or not made no difference. He deserved to know how I regarded him, and he deserved the choice of either rejecting or accepting that regard.
I saw the look in Edward's fiery eyes – the shock and surprise, the trickle of anguish, the most delicate flames of joy...
I was stung by the memory of my own father.
To call him father was to call him "priest"; it was not exclusive, for everyone around me called him "Father" as I did. My father was a communal father, and only very rarely did I feel like his one and only son.
I never thought I would be the receiver of a title so grand, much less from this stubborn, cynical, but gorgeously broad-hearted boy.
As I awaited his response with painful anticipation, I would have never supposed he would be wholly accepting of the bold exchange.
His voice was husky and untouched by discontent. "You want me to be your son?"
He seemed to have issue believing this, and I was struck with the will to force my sincerity upon him.
"Please, do not let this be a question of what I desire. Rather, let it be a question of whether or not you are willing to accept this," I said, the bonds of my every emotion bared free for his handling. "Edward...will you do me the great honor of allowing me to call you my son?"
I saw the torture in his eyes then, and I wished subtly for redemption from my words.
"I can give no permission to a man's thoughts," he whispered.
The boy was wise in this manner, for he knew I would call him my son regardless of whether or not I had his consent.
I would call him son. And I would be forever longing for him to call me father.
"You already know my vainest wishes, dear Edward," I said, my hand on his shoulder growing tighter with every word. "But you must tell me... Might I likewise have the honor of bearing this most cherished title, only by your most sincere will?"
Awaiting his answer was a tease to my soul, and each breath I took made me heavy, inspiring a trance where I was bound by every flicker in his eyes.
"You never needed to ask, Carlisle," he softly said. "My heart has already decided."
I was rendered speechless, so torn by my own doubt that I wondered if his words were in my favor. I was lost in the gleam of his all-knowing eyes, the sun-ripened colors of the glass on his face, the holy scent of the incense awakening a new hope within my chest.
In the wake of our silent surrender, I asked him, Will you follow me as my son?
His gaze was mercy and his lips were beckoned by a brilliantly gentle smile. "If you will lead me as my father."
And in that moment, the word was just a word. It was neither a coveted name nor a title to be earned. It was a simple pair of syllables cast away by the purest light in this boy's exquisite face.
For the very first time, I reached out with the promise of a returned embrace – the embrace of my willing and loving son. I held him in my arms as I was never held, and I promised him eternity, as I was never promised.
Always, Edward. Always.