Hearing Seraphina’s words, Leandro’s gaze fell on her face and lingered there.
Seraphina seemed to sense something. She looked up and met his gaze, chuckling lightly, “What’s wrong? You don’t believe me?”
“I just think that there’s something else you want to say,” Leandro replied.
Seraphina paused for a moment, then she laughed again, “Is that how little faith you have in me? I finally show some concern for you and you are suspecting me.”
“If there’s really nothing else, then I accept it,” Leandro said and pulled her back into his arms, holding her tightly.
Seraphina was taken aback for a moment, then obediently leaned against his shoulder.
The dawn was still a ways off and the sky was dark. The two of them, who had not slept all night, leaned against each other in silence.
After a while, realizing that Leandro was just resting his eyes and not actually asleep, Seraphina spoke again in a low voice, “Valerio made a sound yesterday…”
Leandro heard this and slowly opened his eyes, looking at Valerio who was lying on the hospital bed, and responded with a low hum.
“I originally wanted to try and test him yesterday,” Seraphina continued, still leaning against his shoulder, “but I was afraid he would remember the incident, so I didn’t say anything.”
Hearing this, Leandro was silent for a moment before saying, “He has been practicing a lot to be able to call you ‘mom’. By now, he should be able to make a sound.”
At this, Seraphina paused, then lifted her head to look at the small figure lying on the bed.
As if sensing their gazes, Valerio moved slightly on the bed and slowly opened his eyes. The moment he woke up, he started looking for Seraphina. Upon seeing Leandro and Seraphina sitting on the couch, he rubbed his eyes, looked confused for a moment, then began to smile.
The sight of his smile warmed Seraphina’s heart.
Then, Valerio tried to get out of bed to come to them.
“Wait,” Seraphina suddenly said, stopping him, “Don’t come over yet.”
Valerio had already gotten out of bed and now stood by it, looking at Seraphina in confusion.
“Are you my son?” Seraphina asked.
Valerio paused, then nodded.
“But I just had a dream where you weren’t my son,” Seraphina said.
Upon hearing this, Valerio immediately wanted to rush over to her.
“I’m a little scared…” Seraphina said, frowning slightly, “Call me ‘mommy’, then I’ll believe you’re my son.”
Hearing this, Valerio, feeling both anxious and scared, immediately called out.
Seraphina and Leandro both froze.
Valerio had made a sound. His voice was hoarse and short, the word “mommy” only half-formed, the rest of the sound swallowed up in his throat. But even so, it was still a huge surprise for Seraphina and Leandro.
Even Valerio himself was stunned. After making the sound, he remained where he was, staring at Seraphina and Leandro. The next moment, Seraphina and Leandro both got up and went over to him.
“Call me again,” Seraphina said, reaching out to hold Valerio’s arm, “Just once more.”
Looking into their eyes, Valerio hesitated for a moment before opening his mouth again, “Mom…”
He was trying to say “mommy”, but the sound that came out was still only half of the word.
“Call ‘daddy’,” Leandro said, also holding onto one of Valerio’s hands, “Just once will do.”
Valerio’s voice was still hoarse, but he was able to say “daddy” completely this time.
Although he stuttered a bit, he had managed to say it.
Leandro’s face didn’t show much emotion, but his eyes were fixed on Valerio. It had been four years since he last heard Valerio call him “daddy”. The memory suddenly took him back to the first time Valerio had called him that.
Back then, Valerio had been with the Reynolds family for nine months, going from a baby swaddled in blankets to a toddler who could crawl and walk with the support of furniture-
The moments of Valerio’s growth that Leandro had witnessed were too few.
He had been too busy back then, and the child’s origins were unknown. The future was uncertain and might bring all sorts of trouble-Leandro at that time had not fully accepted his role as a father, or the fact that he had a son.
Until one day, he was working late in his study. Because he had been working without rest for several days, he could not control himself and fell
asleep at his desk. Suddenly, a small, soft hand gently touched his knee.
Leandro felt it. The only one in the house who had such soft hands, and would ignore his work and barge into his study, was that little guy.
He could even imagine Valerio wobbling into his study. As a father, he should have picked him up and put him on his lap, fulfilling his duty as a dad-
But he was just too tired. The exhaustion of body and mind made it impossible for him to lift his head.
He was hoping that someone at home would soon discover that the little guy had wandered in here and would come and take him away. But he waited for a long time, and no one came. The only sounds were the toddler’s unsteady footsteps and the hand that kept moving over his leg for
Leandro still didn’t move.
The faint noise wasn’t enough to disturb him. Even though his sleep had been terrible lately, as long as he ignored it, he could fall asleep-
Suddenly, Leandro heard a voice, two soft, unclear syllables of “daddy”.
The voice was very soft, softer than the weight of the little guy’s hand on him. He could have ignored it and forgotten about it. But he couldn’t help but sit up.
Leandro looked down to find the little guy, all cuddly and endearing, standing with the support of his knee, looking up at him. His eyes, as black as the midnight sky, twinkled with laughter as he tried to call out, “Da… da…”
Leandro, who was usually cold, felt an unfamiliar warmth thawing his frozen heart.
And, that happened again.
Years later, when Valerio called him “Daddy” again, Leandro, despite his stern demeanor, couldn’t help but feel a lump in his throat.
He pulled Valerio into his arms, shielding his delicate body. Overcome with emotion, he couldn’t resist leaning down and planting a gentle kiss on him.
Leandro was not usually this affectionate, so Valerio seemed a bit taken aback. He looked up towards Seraphina, seeking some kind of reassurance or explanation.
However, the next moment, Seraphina too bent down and planted a big kiss on him, with all the love and warmth a mother could muster.