Love and Jealousy


Grizelda Yewbeam held the swaddling baby against her chest, gazed into his dark eyes and wondered how she thought she could ever be disappointed in him. He was perfect, made of the best of herself and Monty, with a thin layer of dark hair on his head (already!), and dimples on his cheeks which were most noticeable when he smiled or laughed.

'Look, Monty,' she exclaimed. 'He's awake!' She couldn't keep the smile from her face or the tears from her eyes.

Monty smiled from where he sat on a stool close to Grizelda's bed, and leaned across to gaze at their bundle of joy. The baby stared up at him with serious eyes. 'Our son,' he said jovially, pride evident in his eyes. 'He's a wonder, isn't he?'

'He's so beautiful,' Grizelda agreed.

'He's bound to be endowed,' Monty said, unable to tear his eyes from the infant.

'Might be,' Grizelda corrected him. She knew he was only saying that to make her happy. He knew that she had high hopes of this son of hers inheriting one of the magical gifts passed down through the generations by the descendants of the Red King. It wasn't fair, however, to expect it of him now, when they didn't know if he was endowed or not.

'And if he's not?' Monty said meaningfully.

'Then I'll love him anyway.' Grizelda hated the whine that she could hear in her voice, but she didn't like it when Monty talked like this, as if she would hate her own child if he wasn't endowed. Of course she would love him! From the moment she saw him, Grizelda had no doubt of this.

To change the subject, she said quickly, 'What shall we call him?'

Monty was silent for a moment. Then he said, his eyes faraway, 'Lyell.'

'Lyell?' Grizelda couldn't keep the surprise and consternation from her voice. Why on earth would Monty choose that name? As far as she knew, there was no one in any of their families with that name. Besides, she had wanted to call her baby after her great-uncle, Yorath, who had recently died, or so it seemed. You could never really tell with shape-shifters. Oh, why did Monty have to ruin it all?

'After my mother,' Monty said. 'Lyell was her maiden name. I loved her dearly, as you know.' Sadness filled Monty's face. His mother had died long ago, Grizelda remembered him telling her once. From a terrible illness. Monty had been twelve years old, and had never fully gotten over it. She couldn't imagine his grief. She didn't have nearly as strong a relationship with her own mother, who focused most of her attention on succoring her younger children. She couldn't imagine herself crying over her own mother's death.

'Grizelda?' Monty's voice shook her out of her thoughts. He seemed to be waiting for her answer.

'Yes,' she said quickly, turning to look at his open, honest face. 'Lyell. Of course.'

Monty's face lit up like the sun, and it took her breath away. He leaned over and planted an ardent kiss on her lips. 'Thank you, darling.'

Grizelda didn't reply, just continued staring at her baby and hoping that he would make her proud one day.



Monty Bone was dead.

It seemed like a waking dream, almost a nightmare. Every day since she heard the news, Grizelda would hold her one year old baby in her arms and pray to God for forgiveness.

She hadn't meant to kill him. It had just happened. Monty had become distant over the last few months, and even looked guarded around her. He had stopped kissing her affectionately, had stopped speaking her name in that tender way that always made her heart melt. It had been a long time since she had seen his face light up as it had on the day they had chosen a name for baby Lyell. And then, one day, he had left suddenly, without telling saying word to her. To Neverfinding, Eustacia had told her later, using her clairvoyant gift. To forge a will leaving everything to Lyell, his son. Not her, his beloved wife. It scalded her more than she had thought, to know that her husband loved their son more than he loved her.

She acted out of an insane jealousy. She had called Ezekiel Bloor, and told him of Monty's treachery, and he reacted as she had hoped, with fury and panic. She didn't know what he would do, but knew it would be terrible. And her heart sang to know that. Let him pay, she had thought savagely. Let him pay for putting our son before me.

And then the news came. Monty was dead, having crashed his plane in the desert. She knew the Bloors had something to do with it, of course. It was she who had warned them. But she was still taken aback at their brutality. Though she knew their vengeance would be terrible, she hadn't expected them to kill him. And so she sat holding baby Lyell, and prayed that God would forgive her for causing her husband's death.