Falling for a Flaming Lady – Extended Epilogue

Four Months Later

Her brows rose, and Marianne barely swallowed her tea. The Times scandal sheet headlines read, The Rake of Ravenhall, Nursing A Bullet Wound After Being Found in Lady Kelly’s Bed by Husband.

She shook her head and stood from the breakfast table, seeking Graham. If he was not in his study, he was in his workroom, fixing his vials and potted plants for his journey to Cambridge in a few days. The Royal Society, intrigued by his experiment, had contacted him, asking him to go and present his findings before a tribunal of scientists.

“Graham, darling,” she said as she walked in. There were distinct clinks and clatters of glass and pottery, and she walked in to see him there, in his shirtsleeves, shifting another pot on the table. “Have you read the paper this morning?”

“No,” he shook his head while keeping his eyes down. “What does it say?”

“Ravenhall’s been shot,” she dropped the paper. “Pity it doesn’t say where he was shot.”

“Let me guess,” Graham said. “A father found him in his daughter’s chambers and took him to a dawn appointment?”

“No.”

“A widow who is his paramour found him with her daughter?” 

“No,” Marianne leaned on the wall behind her. “You have one more guess.”

“A cuckold husband found him in his wife’s bed?” 

“Yes,” she laughed. “And it was the same paramour that I told you about months ago. Lady Kelley.”

“Idiot,” Graham snorted. “I hope Lord Kelley did the whole of London a favour and shot his stones off. Wives wouldn’t need to hide their daughters anymore.”

“I doubt that is the case,” Marianne laughed. “But he does deserve it. I wonder, is he losing his touch and getting sloppy? Normally, a husband doesn’t see a trace of him.”

“Who cares,” Graham shrugged as he stepped back. Looking at the table, he nodded. “I think that should do it.”

Coming to his side, Marianne wrapped an arm around him and rested her head on his chest. “I’m happy for you, darling. I’m sure they will accept you.”

“I hope so,” he said while his green eyes ran over the table. “I’ve been working on this for a long while. The science faculty received my treatise with joy, but those in the society are not so easy to win over. They will have questions to questions of questions that I have not even considered yet.”

“Then you’ll have to find answers or answers to answers right there on the spot,” Marianne grinned. “But you can do it. You are a quick thinker, darling.”

He stole a kiss. “You flatter me.”

“Come inside have a cup of tea or brandy,” she coaxed him. “You’ve been up from daylight.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “Brandy would be best.”

As they sat at the cleared breakfast table, Marianne’s eyes dropped to a new letter resting on a silver platter. It had not been there before she had left, so she could only assume it had just come.

She lifted the card and bit her lip momentarily. “It’s from my parents.”

Graham’s brows lifted high in surprise, as they should. They had never heard from the duke and the duchess since the day they had stormed out of Graham’s home.

“What does it say?”

She opened it and read, “They want to have a visit over tea tomorrow.”

“My, my,” he shook his head. “I wonder what this is about.”

“Mayhap they want to see me, see us and reconcile,” she suggested hopefully.

“And maybe they want to accuse me of being a fortune-seeker,” Graham scowled as he poured out his brandy.

Marianne knew he had not taken lightly to that taunt, and she understood why. Graham was a hard worker, and he had left his father’s house with not a penny from his father. For years, he had worked and built himself up alone, and it had been a chape jab to insult him like that. 

But her parents had not known that, and she hoped that with four months between them, they had seen the error of their ways. Not once had they gone to them and asked for a dime, so they had to know they were making it by themselves. 

“Come on, Graham,” she pleased. “Give them a chance.” 

He scowled over the rim over his glass but nodded in agreement. “Sure, we’ll have them over. You can reply to them, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Happily, Marianne wrote out a reply. “I can only wonder what they want to talk about.” 

“Hopefully, something good,” he sat the glass down and rubbed his face. “Your father did not make any good points with me. Yes, I agree, I lied to him, but he had not done you any good by letting your mother engage you to that sod.”

“That sod probably got his bollocks removed by gunshot, so I think we’re even,” Marianne grinned.

“Touché,” he snorted. He then gave her a warm, reticent smile. “I do wish they would apologize to you, though.”

“We can only hope,” she smiled. “I wonder if Harriet will come with them. I know she barely got to stay in their good graces when they found out the part she had to play in my escape that night.”

“Is she married yet?”

“To William, the stable hand,” she replied. “I don’t think so. She promised to send word before they marry, so I think not.”

“All right,” Graham nodded as he reached for her hand and held it. “I wish the best for you, sweetheart. I know you miss them.”

“I do,” she nodded. “I truly do.”

***

Standing at the doorway, Marianne could hear her parent’s carriage pull up, and she stood nervously. Though her parents had left with bad blood between them, she hoped they would come to some peace that day.

Taking in a breath, she stood as Graham went and opened the door, just as her parents mounted the stairs. Marianne felt her heart sink at the sight of her mother, who looked so tired and wan. Dark circles were under her eyes, and the paleness of her skin did not help her appearance.

“Mother, Father,” Marianne went to hug them. “So good to see you.”

“You two, dear,” Pricilla said quietly. “Mr Mullens, pleased to see you too.”

Graham bowed. “Welcome to my home, Your Graces. Please, come to my drawing room.”

“Thank you, Mullens,” her father replied.

Taking the lead, she and Graham led her parents up the stairs to the room where a lovely tea service, placed on a fine eyelet tablecloth, was set up for them. The teapots were of fine China, and so was the tableware. 

“Please sit,” Graham pulled out Marianne’s seat, and she sat in time with her mother. 

Taking it upon herself to pour the tea, Marianne also broke the stiff silence. “How have you been, Mother? Father?”

“Not too bad,” Pricilla said as she dropped a dollop of milk and some sugar into her tea. “I see it’s the same for you.”

“Yes, we’re doing well,” Marianne replied. “I love being here. It’s a simpler life, but my manuscript is going well, and I have all access to the Oxford library.  Graham is doing extraordinarily well too. His dissertation has been taken by the science faculty and now, the Royal Society is asking him to present his work for them to assess. Hopefully, he’ll get the seating with them that he always wanted.”

“That is impressive, Mullens.” Charles nodded. “I am impressed.”

“Thank you, Your Grace,” Graham said. ‘This chance means the best to me. If it goes through, I will be getting a raise, a grant to keep researching and a better position at Oxford.”

“Very credible,” her mother said. “I always prize a man who goes after his dream.” 

“I appreciate that,” Graham said, then pointedly added. “Have you seen the Times this morning?”

The Duchess face blanched while her husband spoke, “We have yes.”

With his point made, Graham drank his tea in silence, and Marianne sighed. “Mother, are you truly well? You look very pallid.”

“I am,” she replied. “I’ve just been a bit sleepless lately. Please don’t worry about me, dear.”

Marianne had to take her mother’s word for it. They all knew that they were skirting the giant issue between them, but no one had the heart to bring it up. They spoke about random topics, the Season’s operas and ballets, before tea was over and her parents made to leave. 

At the base of the stairs, Marianne hugged her mother. “Take care, Mother, and shall we talk soon?” 

“Yes, dear, absolutely,” Pricilla replied with a small but true smile. 

As she went to hug her father, he gave her a warmer smile. “I’m glad to see you doing so well, Marianne,” he said. “I love that bright smile of yours.”

“Thank you, Father,” she said, over the lump in her throat. “I am so glad to hear that.”

The carriage came around the bend, and as the two older ones left to the vehicle, her father turned. “Marianne, please come by some time. Lily misses you.”

The mention of her old horse made her heart hiccup, and she nodded at him while tears began to bead at her eyes. “Thank you, I will.”

As they rode off, Graham rested a hand upon her shoulder. “That’s surprising. No apology.”

“You’re wrong,” Marianne corrected him quietly. “Them coming to us was the apology. I think they’re coming around.”

He laughed. “Ever the optimist, eh?”

“Yes,” she wiped her eyes. “I feel that I am going to get my parents back, I am going to get my horse as well, and when I do, you are coming with me.”

“You think so, eh,” he said with a smug smile. “And how long shall we stay there?”

“A day or two, mayhap a week, or until we are forced to return, whichever comes first,” Marianne said.

“Oh. I’d rather not go?” he said. “Remember, if I do get that grant, we’re off to Paris. I’d rather not linger.”

“Oh, we shall see the world, and when we return home and we shall start another kind of adventure entirely,” Marianne smiled innocently. 

While closing the door, Graham quipped. “You have it all planned out, I see.” 

“Naturally,” she replied, sliding her fingers into the silky warmth of his dark hair. “And I have tonight all planned out too,” she said mischievously. “Very devious things.”

“You wicked, wicked minx,” he said while an interested smile curved his lips. 

“Oh,” Marianne said while twining her arms around him. “I shall always dare to be wicked with you. I love you, Graham.

He kissed her, and happiness danced in his eyes. “Not as much as I love you.”

THE END


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14 thoughts on “Falling for a Flaming Lady – Extended Epilogue”

    1. Just beautiful.both loving a simple life. Thank god !the authoress did not make them embrace the tons life which would have made the story stereotype .i enjoyed the book very much .thank you

  1. I am humbled my dear Stephen! Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I truly appreciate it! So glad to hear that you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

  2. Thank you so much my dear Gwen! I truly appreciate for your kind words and support! So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

    Thank you again and have a lovely day!

  3. Very interesting story with charming characters and a plot that is riveting. Story is easy to follow and keeps you turning pages.

  4. I so enjoyed the book and the characters. It is sad to think that there were arranged, and love less marriages back then and maybe still today. I am so glad Marianne had the courage to keep to her desire for a different lifestyle. Strong characters make for enjoyable reading . Keep up the excellent work.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book and connected with Marianne’s journey. Your encouragement means a lot to me. Happy reading!

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