[Please note that this is not a chapter or scene from my current WIP, A Bite of the Apple. Rather it is a synopsis of one of the arcs in that story that I’m trying to flesh out and include in the story. I’m posting it here mostly so I can get feedback on it, particularly suggestions for how to show Regan’s descent into madness rather than telling about it like I do here. And yes, I realize that at the end some other junk starts cluttering things up. I started writing it, and then realized that I had already completed the arc by that point – Regan had become completely mad, and anything more would be about the result of her madness and not about how she got that way.
And, like I say at the end, the resolution of her madness is a different part of the story!]
Regan is in love with Julien. Deeply, deeply in love, and getting in deeper every year.
At first it’s pure bliss. Regan loves Julien, Julien loves Regan, a perfect match. Yes, Julien loves Genevieve, too, but it’s natural for a father to love his daughter. And maybe he hugs her a little tighter than normal, or kisses her more, or pays her a bit more attention than normal, but that’s to be expected from a father who’s been raising his motherless daughter on his own for three years before marrying Regan. He’s not afraid to admit that he sees her dead mother in her, a woman whom he loved deeply before Regan ever came on the scene.
And yes, Julien has a kingdom to run, a job that not only was he born to, but one he loves, too. He cares deeply for the people, and Regan has to share some of his attention with them as well, for there’s no way he would forsake his duty to the people and the Kingdom. Regan, on the other hand, has no official duties, and hasn’t discovered a calling that she can throw herself into with anything like the passion he has for his work.
So Regan throws her passion into Julien. Prior to marriage she was a fashion model, so she devotes her fashion sense to dressing and looking every inch the Queen Julien deserves. She also does what she can to raise the fashionability of the castle interiors out of the dark ages.
She also worked for a time as an “escort”, and the skills she acquired via that dark corner of her past she puts to good use, flirting with and teasing Julien in and out of bed. She is a seductress par excellence, and her target is her husband. How the other men of the Kingdom envy him!
The one thing she can do for Julien and the Kingdom is to have a child, but that goal eludes her. At first she just shrugs it off, and tries to compensate by “more practice.” Eventually those experts convince her that it takes two to make a baby, and she persuades Julien to join her on these consulting trips, which he does gladly. While he loves Genevieve, he also realizes how much Regan’s failure to conceive is depressing her, how much having a baby means to her (although he doesn’t realize why that is so). There’s also a practical reason to have a baby — to ensure the survival of his lineage and the Kingdom — which they are aware of but doesn’t have much of a role in either his or her thinking.
Finally, after three(?) years of trying and a couple of false alarms, a child is conceived! Oh happy day! They wait a full month to be sure, then sit down and tell eight(?) year old Genevieve that she will soon be the “big sister”. The Princess reacts with all the confusion of a child her age, finally deciding this is a wonderful thing and running to jump into Regan’s lap and give her a big hug. Hurray! Genevieve has to keep it a secret until tomorrow, when a big announcement to the whole kingdom will be made.
That night Regan miscarries.
In the morning Regan somehow gets into her head that Genevieve gave away the secret early, and that her jump and hug was an intentional act of jealousy and betrayal intended to either force the baby to arrive early or to keep it from arriving at all. It takes all of Julien’s persuasion, understanding, and love to convince Regan that first off Genevieve had no such intentions, secondly she had no knowledge of how to induce a miscarriage, and her actions couldn’t have induced one in any event.
Regan starts seeing Genevieve as competition for Julien’s attention, and starts working to separate the two of them. She clings to Julien even tighter than before, attending more royal functions (ribbon cuttings and the like) with him than before, and insisting on being with him any time he is with Genevieve.
Meanwhile Regan’s Chief Advisor, Renee, has been whispering in her ear about what a rustic backwater the Kingdom is, and how it could be so much better if only the King would authorize some improvements. Oh, and increase production from the mines to pay for them. After the miscarriage Regan becomes more receptive to his suggestions and start working on the King to “improve” their pastoral way of life. But first she persuades the King that Genevieve needs better schooling than what’s available in the Kingdom, and that she should be sent away to boarding school to receive it. While she’s away they’ll put Renee in charge of upgrading the schools, but since that will take years Genevieve can’t wait and must be sent away now. The King eventually agrees.
Genevieve comes home at the end of her first year at Huntsman Academy to a shock. Regan is five months pregnant, and is cold toward her. The next day, while the King and Genevieve are up in a meadow celebrating her return, Regan (whose pregnancy is deemed to fragile for the rough mountain roads) bends to pick up one of Genevieve’s stuffed animals and falls down some stairs. The fall causes her to lose this child.
Regan blames Genevieve for her fall and losing the child and starts plotting her death. At this point Regan has descended all the way to madness. Among other “improvements” she has implemented she arranges for the Kingdom (which is essentially a small town of 2,000 people) to have not one but two anti-terrorist teams, one for the village and one for the castle, complete with body armor, assault weapons, SWAT vans, and the like. The castle “guards” get white gear (to distinguish them from the “townies” who are in black) and are referred to by teenagers as Royal Storm Troopers. Both teams are chosen for their loyalty to the Queen. Oh, by the way, she has a majority of the Royal Council on her side, since they see this as a way to protect their business interests and since the mines are paying for it all.
Anyway, at this point this story arc is no longer about her developing madness since it’s now fully developed. How it gets resolved is for later.