For a whole month, fearing that a scandal may erupt, I avoid sending for her. It is the beginning of summer, and the heat is unusual, unrelenting—but I avoid going out onto the roof, which is where a light breeze can offer some relief, because it is there, more than any other place, that I ache for her. I whisper her name, and burn up at the mere sound of it.
I try to take control of my desire by playing my lyre and writing poetry, but notes and words fail me. Everything I compose these days seems to be but a pale shadow of a shadow of what Bathsheba means to me.
And the one image that keeps coming back to me is our reflection in the glass, where our faces melded into one. My eye, her eye, and around us, the outline of a new, fluid identity. A portrait of our love, rippling there, across the surface of the wine.
But I keep asking myself, with the same tone as hers, “Love, everlasting? What does that mean, in this place?”
At the height of the lunar cycle, when the moon grows full once again, I give in to temptation. I go out onto the roof, where I hope, in vain, to catch a glimpse of her. And just as I start agonizing, asking myself how long can our secret be kept silent, an interruption occurs.
My bodyguard, Benaiah, comes out. I want to believe that he knows nothing about me except what orders I give him, and how I want them obeyed.
When he comes to a stand near me I spot a note in his hand. I recognize it: this is the same little papyrus scroll I sent with him that first time, a month ago, but she must have sealed it anew.
I break the seal and then, then I stare at the unfurled thing, utterly speechless. It takes just three words to get me into this state.
In long, elegant glyphs, Bathsheba has written, simply, “I am pregnant.”
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