46. Chapter 45 - April 1430
“He looks just like you, Pip,” her dad said next to her. At the head of the cradle, Pippin smiled proudly.
Ivy heard Diamond, sitting by herself near the window, make a noise of disdain. “He looks nothing like him,” she scoffed.
“How would you know?” Ivy’s father muttered to himself. Ivy choked back a giggle. Her father didn’t like Diamond either. Ivy hadn’t liked her since the first moment she’d seen her, at the betrothal party for her and Uncle Pippin. And Diamond hadn’t seemed to like her either on their first meeting. She’d glared at Ivy at their introduction, wrinkling her nose like Ivy smelled bad. And she was always glaring and snapping at Uncle Pippin. Ivy didn’t like Diamond at all.
Diamond got up, claiming she needed to rest, and left the nursery. Ivy noticed Estella scowling after her as Diamond left the room. Ivy knew Estella was still put out that she had not been asked to midwife for Pippin’s child.
Pippin picked up Faramir and handed him to Merry.
“He’s wonderful, Pippin!” her father said, rocking the tiny baby in his arms, “And he really does look like you. Exactly.”
“I know. My sisters said the same thing,” Pippin said. He was grinning.
The baby started to fuss. “I suppose he’s hungry. Do you want me to go get Diamond?” Estella asked.
“No,” said Pippin. “I’ve been giving him a bottle.”
“What?” Estella frowned at him.
“She said she doesn’t want to ruin her figure,” said Pippin. “I had once told her how we fed Ivy and she said she wanted to do that. I got the bottle on a visit to Crickhollow. I’ve been using the rest of the herb mixture and also giving him milk.”
“She hasn’t nursed him at all?” said Estella. Ivy saw her go red in the face, mumbling to herself. “Fine,” she finally said. “Give me the bottle and I’ll go to the kitchen for milk.”
Pippin sheepishly handed her the bottle and she stormed out.
“I’m doing the best I can,” Pippin muttered. He sank into a chair, head in hand.
“Ivy, how would you like to hold the baby?” her father asked.
Ivy was startled for a moment. She’d get to hold the baby even before Estella? Then she saw the worried look on her dad’s face as he looked at Pippin. Something was wrong. She nodded and sat in a chair. Her father put the baby in her arms. Faramir was still fussing so she put her finger in his mouth, like her father had done with her brothers when waiting for Estella to come nurse them. She was amazed at how strong he could suck.
“Let’s go for a walk, Pippin,” her father said.
Pippin looked up. “But Fari...”
“Ivy’s got him,” he said. “She’s good with babies. And Estella will be back in a bit.”
Pippin sighed and got up, then followed Merry out of the room.
Ivy cuddled the baby and kissed his brow. She really did like babies, even her pesky brothers. She settled back in the chair and watched her brothers investigate the box of toys used by generations of Tooks.
Estella came back in with the bottle. “Where are they?” she asked.
“Dad took Uncle Pippin for a walk.”
“Good,” Estella said. She walked over to Ivy. “Would you like to feed him?” she asked.
Ivy nodded and Estella knelt down and showed her how to hold the bottle of warm milk for Faramir. It was easy, really. Just stick it in his mouth and Fari did the rest.
“If I got fed with the bottle, why are you mad about Faramir using it?” asked Ivy.
“Because your father had a good reason to use a bottle with you. Your mother wasn’t there. Sometimes mothers aren’t able to nurse their babies, for lots of reasons, but Diamond has no good excuse not to nurse him. She’s just being vain and selfish. Those elvish herbs may have worked for you, but I don’t know how long they last.” Estella stood up and went over to stand at the window, muttering to herself again. Ivy thought she heard ‘Diamond’ and a few very rude words.
Ivy noticed something different about Uncle Pippin in their few days stay at Great Smials. Not just that he was now a dad. That was to be expected. Whenever he was with Fari, Uncle Pippin had a huge grin on his face and couldn’t help talking about Fari or showing him off to someone. No, the difference that she noticed was in how he acted around Diamond.
Before Fari was born, he always seemed to ignore Diamond’s glares and hurtful words. Ivy had figured out from bits of conversation over the few years of his marriage that Uncle Pippin had hoped to someday win Diamond over. But now... Now he returned his wife’s glares. And when he wasn’t with Fari, he seemed a little angry and sullen. Even around her he didn’t laugh quite so much anymore. Not that she could blame him, having to live with Diamond. She’d be angry, too, if she had to put up with that old cow every day.
Ivy pushed the potatoes around on her plate, lost in thought. She worried about Uncle Pippin and she knew her Dad and Estella were worried about him, too. Ivy looked down to the end of the big table in the dining room and spotted Diamond chatting with the Thain. Ivy narrowed her eyes at her. She didn’t think she’d ever hated anyone as much as she hated Diamond. Her mother had told her it wasn’t nice to hate people, but Ivy didn’t care. She couldn’t help hating Diamond.
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