Carlisle adored his children. He did. They were beautiful, intelligent(mostly), kind(mostly) kids who really couldn’t do much wrong in Carlisle’s eyes. Esme said that was a problem, but Carlisle didn’t see why. A father was supposed to be on his children's side.
“Carlisle, you need to give them the chance to grow,” Esme always said.
“How are they supposed to grow when they physically can’t grow past their current age, my dear?” Carlisle would reply, kissing his wife on the forehead and drifting into the living room to end whatever fight was going on.
But there were some days where Carlisle wished he could sleep, just to have a break from his kids’ constant bickering. But alas, here he was, unable to sleep and equally unable to end the fighting.
Like now. At the moment, Rosalie and Edward were arguing, as they often did.
“Edward, just because you insist on reading every hour of the day, does not mean that you can just keep the study to yourself! You have a bedroom for a reason, and it’s not sleeping!” Rosalie said angrily, waving a book around as she spoke. From the way that Edward’s hands were open, like something had been ripped out of them, Carlisle was sure that Rosalie had taken Edward’s book.
“Excuse me for having culture,” Edward said irritably, crossing his arms like a little kid.
“You don’t have culture! You have a refusal to integrate into modern society! You’ve had a hundred years to do it!”
Edward only stared at her, hurt flashing across his face before he stood and stomped out of the study, knocking his book out of Rosalie’s hand on the way out. Rosalie watched him go, seeming surprised.
“What were you fighting about?” Carlisle asked. Rosalie seemingly hadn’t noticed him standing there, because she jumped in surprise.
“I… well, I just wanted the study to myself. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, Carlisle, he has a bedroom!” Rosalie said, getting defensive before Carlisle had even really said anything.
“It’s my study, Rosalie,” Carlisle reminded. “You’re welcome to share it, but none of you can have it to yourselves. You have a bedroom too, sweetheart.”
Rosalie frowned. “Well- I- Ugh, fine!” She threw her hands up, stalking out of the room, and down the hallway. Carlisle heard her bedroom door close, although the lack of slamming it told him that she knew he had a point.
Now, for Edward. His son was an odd kid. He had a tendency to stuff his emotions down until he exploded. Whether it was a product of his time, or just his personality, Carlisle had a hard time getting through to Edward.
Letting out a deep sigh, Carlisle walked down the hallway, and went a room down, knocking on Edward’s door.
“Come in, Carlisle.” Edward’s voice came through the door, muffled and sounding odd, like maybe he’d been yelling.
Pushing the door open, Carlisle stepped over the threshold. “How’d you know it was me?”
“I can hear you thinking,” Edward said, face hidden in his pillow.
“Ah,” Carlisle said, leaning against the doorframe. “Are you alright?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Edward asked immediately, although the charade that he was fine was ruined slightly by the shaking in his voice and the fact that he was laying in the bed he almost never used, hiding his face in a pillow.
“Because Rosalie upset you,” Carlisle said, crossing the room and sitting on the edge of the bed. “Which is fine, you’re allowed to be upset, Edward.”
“She didn’t upset me,” Edward said, still not turning to look Carlisle in the face. “An imbecile like her can’t upset me. I’m not a child, Carlisle.”
“Edward,” Carlisle said gently. “Can you look at me, please?”
Edward tensed for a moment, before shaking his head.
“Carlisle,” Edward said, probably trying to sound threatening, but mostly only coming off as whiny.
“Edward,” Carlisle replied, just as whiny.
“Oh, hell, you know why,” Edward said.
“Might it be because you’re upset?” Carlisle asked, putting what he hoped was a comforting hand on Edward’s leg.
Edward sighed, before turning over and sitting up. His eyes were glassy and rimmed red. He rubbed his fists across his face, in much the way a small child did. “I don’t know why I’m upset,” Edward relented.
“Because Rosalie hurt your feelings,” Carlisle said gently. “It’s okay to be hurt by the words of others, Edward.”
To Carlisle’s surprise, Edward’s eyes filled with tears all of a sudden. Edward seemed mortified by that fact, pulling his knees to his chest and hiding his face.
“This is ridiculous,” Edward said, voice cracking.
“It’s not,” Carlisle said. “How can I help you?”
Edward was quiet for a moment, shoulders shaking. Finally, he looked up a bit, tears still falling down his face. “Carlisle… um… can-can…” Edward cut himself off, sighing and hiding his face again.
“Edward,” Carlisle began, pretty sure he knew what he was being asked. “Would you like a hug?”
Edward nodded furiously, and Carlisle opened his arms. Barely a second later, he had his arms full of undead teenager.
Edward’s face was buried in Carlisle’s shoulder, as he sobbed. Carlisle hadn’t seen Edward quite this upset in nearly 85 years. The first couple years of Edward being a vampire, and the two of them being alone were rough, but since the time that Rosalie joined their family, fifteen years after Edward, the boy had mostly shut off any emotion.
Carlisle put a hand on Edward’s back, rubbing up and down like he had done 100, 90, 85 years ago. A harsh, broken sob ripped out of Edward then, like the simple touch had broken down every wall Edward had put up. Edward’s hands were dusted in Carlisle’s sweater, like the boy was afraid that if he let go, Carlisle would disappear.
“It’s alright, Edward, you’re alright,” Carlisle said, and guilt began to worm its way into his heart as Edward only seemed to cry harder. Carlisle began to realize that with every new addition to his family, he had become less and less concerned with Edward’s wellbeing. Between Esme and getting her used to the life of a vampire, Rosalie and helping her through her trauma, Emmett and keeping him out of trouble, Alice and helping her understand her power, and Jasper and helping him through the process of becoming ‘vegetarian’, so to speak, Edward had sort of fallen to the wayside. It wasn’t fair to him, and Carlisle knew that.
Poor Edward had probably been feeling completely neglected for 85 years. Carlisle tightened his grip on his son, pulling him close. The hand that wasn’t rubbing his back was in his hair, brushing through it gently.
“It’s alright, son,” Carlisle said. “I’m sorry, it’s alright.”
“Sorry?” Edward asked, voice hitching.
“I haven’t been very fair to you, Edward,” Carlisle said, as Edward tensed a bit. “But that will change now, I promise. I’m here for you, whenever you need me.”
With that, Edward completely lost it, all loud sobs and cries that seemed to tear Carlisle’s unbeating heart out. This was 85 years worth of pain and neglect coming out in one fell swoop.
“It’s alright, it’s alright,” Carlisle repeated, keeping his son close. “It’s okay.”
Edward was nearly in Carlisle’s lap, and Carlisle was thankful to whoever was out there that his other children either weren’t aware of the situation, or could hear it and knew better than to come into the room.
Finally, after what was likely a very long time, Edward’s sobs trailed off into small sniffles and quiet noises.
“Edward?” Carlisle asked, with no real intention other than checking in.
“Hm?” Edward did not move from where he had settled, on top of Carlisle, face pressed into his shoulder.
“How do you feel?”
Edward shrugged, raising a hand to rub at his eyes.
“Whatever it is, it’s okay,” Carlisle reminded.
“Tired,” Edward said, voice ruined.
Carlisle nodded. “Emotions are tiring sometimes. We can stay here as long as you need.”
Edward nodded, relaxing completely against Carlisle. “I wish I could sleep.”
“Me too,” Carlisle agreed. “But we can just sit, if you like.”
Edward nodded. Carlisle pressed a kiss to the top of his son’s hair, which was lacking it’s usual gel. The pair sat there together, in companionable silence, Edward soaking up the affection he’d needed for years, and Carlisle treasuring the fact that his son had finally let Carlisle help.