Noble actions don’t get you very far in life. Not even in my life, which can stretch, if I’m careful and don’t tread on too many toes, to several thousand years. Lydia telling me she was pregnant – by a mortal, no less – was something that all but demanded a noble response. Perhaps I could raise the child as my own, bring it up with a full life and know the values of good parenting. Perhaps I could find her missing lover for her and encourage him to take some responsibility (or break his kneecaps). Perhaps I could whisk her away to a better place where she’d have everything she needed.
I did none of these things. Why would I want to be saddled with a child that wasn’t mine, fifty years in the past? “What will you do?” I said. “Go back to Faery?”
“With a half breed child?” she said. “They’d kill it.”
“Not necessarily,” I said. “Sophia rules there now and she’s had two children that are half mortal.”
“She didn’t take them with her, though.” Lydia used a cotton handkerchief to wipe her reddened eyes. “Even she knew better than to try the patience of the Council with a half-breed child.”
I made her another cup of tea. “Cheer up,” I said. “It could be worse. At least you know who the father is.”
“I suppose.” Lydia stood and began washing the cups. “Do you have children, Mr. Jasfoup?”
“Probably,” I said. “But I don’t know who the mothers are.”
I left Lydia to make tea and wandered into the living room. The main window gave a view of the street and a plain red post box. The sun was beginning to set, lending a rosy glow to the yellow stone of the house and putting the one opposite into heavy shadow.
A man walked past heading toward the beach, his overcoat flapping in the breeze off the water and he glanced in at me. I wondered if he was the father of Lydia’s unborn child and switched to the smaller window that overlooked the sand and the steps that led down to it.
He didn’t look back and I dismissed the notion. What kind of man would get Lydia pregnant and then leave her? I scanned the room looking for clues to the absent lover. There was a gramophone on the side table and I flicked through the stack of records. It was obvious to me that he was married. What sort of music would you play for an affair?
I scanned through the Bakelite discs. Mussorgsky, Vivaldi, Haydn. Nothing here gave me a clue to the identity of the adulterer, though if he listened to the classics he had good taste. Last in the pile, and free of it’s brown paper sleeve, an old favourite gave me a clue. The Hallelujah Chorus had been played recently and several scratches indicated that the needle had jumped more than once.
Lydia came in with two cups and a plate of Rover assortment on a silver tray. She stopped in the doorway when she saw what I was looking at.
I dropped it on the top of the pile. “He’s a vicar, isn’t he?”
“Not exactly,” she said, setting the tray on the polished mahogany table. “A priest.”
Until the morrow. X