The Lustful Pianist’s Sonata – Extended Epilogue

Five Years Later …

The sound of music sweeping down the hallway caused Diana to smile to herself. She walked with a waddle, struggling under the weight of her swelling stomach as she approached the parlour where her husband’s mother’s pianoforte still stood so many years after her untimely death.

Stopping in the open doorway, she found her raven-haired daughter sitting dutifully at the pianoforte. Though she could not see her face, she knew that the five-year-old would be biting her lip in concentration, something she had done so often herself in childhood. Penelope Calhoun, named after her late grandmother, was the spitting image of Diana. Though she could see it, Diana would never rightly admit it because she did not wish to put that kind of pressure on her daughter. She wished to be a totally different mother to the one that she had herself. Always remembering that, she was willing to give praise where she believed it was required. 

“Well done, Penny, your chords are coming on beautifully,” she said, using the door frame as support to help herself into the room. Though her latest child was not due for at least another month, she was exceedingly bigger than she had been with her first two children, and she was almost certain that this would make a surprise appearance any day now. 

Having been so invested in her playing, the small five-year-old startled, almost falling right off the bench. 

“Careful,” Diana warned, placing a hand upon her daughter’s shoulder. She then urged her gently across the bench, adding, “Give me a little room to sit, will you?” 

“Are you alright, Mother?” Penny asked, ever the concerned daughter, and Diana thought not for the first time how mature she was for her age. Another thing her husband claimed their daughter had got from her. 

“I am fine, sweetheart,” Diana assured her. She reached up from where she now sat beside her and stroked Penny’s hair, tugging playfully on one of her pigtail braids. “I am the mother. You let me worry about you.” 

“Do you worry about me a lot, Mother?” Penny asked, looking up at her with big, round blue eyes that were a shade darker than Diana’s. More like Helena’s, Diana thought frustratedly. It wasn’t often that Diana thought of her cousin anymore. She only really saw her at family events that required everyone’s presence, their last one being Christmas, several months earlier. 

“Of course, I do.” Diana smiled down at her daughter when she realised she had been waiting for an answer. “I am your mother. It is my job to worry about you.” 

She wrapped her arm around her daughter’s shoulders and pulled her into her side. Leaning down, she whispered into Penny’s ear, “Though I could let you in on a little secret?”

Penny struggled a little, twisting to look up at her mother with those inquisitive blue eyes. “What?” 

“I worry much more about your little brother.” 

As if her revelation had called him inside, Penny’s younger brother, Maxwell, scurried through the open patio doors that led right out onto the lawn. His boots were muddy, and in his hand, he clutched a wilted handful of wildflowers. 

“Maxwell, have you been in the woodland at the bottom of the lawn again?” Diana sighed with a scolding tone even as she glanced out of the doorway to see Maxwell’s governess haring towards them. The poor woman was holding up her skirts in an attempt to run faster, panting for breath as if she had been chasing the young master about the gardens for hours.

“Forgive me, My Lady,” the governess gasped as soon as she reached the doors, dropping into a low curtsey. “I tried to stop him, but by the time I realised where he had gone, he was already on his way back up from the wildflowers.” 

“It’s alright Nancy,” Diana assured the poor woman. She knew very well how difficult it was to keep up with her son. If not for her swollen stomach, she would have loved to have chased him about the gardens herself. Another thing she was sure to do at every chance she got. She was all too aware of how quickly her children were growing, and she didn’t want to miss a moment of their childhoods as her mother had so eagerly done with her. 

“I just wanted to collect these for you, Mama,” Maxwell insisted in his little polite three-year-old voice. He held up the flowers that looked as though they had been flung about all over the place, and Diana couldn’t help chuckling with happiness. 

“Oh, Maxwell, they are beautiful,” she assured him, taking the flowers from him. “I will be sure to have one of the maids put them in a vase for me.” 

She wasn’t at all sure that the flowers would live long enough to make it into a vase, but her sweetly innocent little boy didn’t need to know that. 

“Maxwell, they are already …” Penny began, but Diana quickly gripped her daughter’s hand with her free one and offered her a look of encouragement to remain silent. As if taking the hint, Penny pursed her lips and turned her head to glance at the window over the pianoforte. Just last week, she had been struggling to look over it, and Diana was reminded once more of how quickly they grew. 

“My Lady?” 

Diana was distracted from her thoughts by Reeves, who had appeared in the open doorway behind them. He stood in the shadow of the door, not deeming to enter the sun-filled room until Diana waved him in. 

“Is everything alright, Reeves?” she asked. 

“A letter has arrived for you, My Lady.” 

The butler approached only when she waved him forward, and when he offered her the letter that was sealed with a lump of wax that had a rose stamped into it, Diana knew immediately who the letter was from. For an instant she wondered whether to simply place it in the nearest drawer until they needed to light the fires again. 

With a sigh, she thought it better not to ignore it, and instead took the letter opener that Reeves offered her. She used the slender silver blade to slice the wax from the back of the letter and peeled it open. 

“Who is it from, Mama?” Maxwell asked excitedly. 

Diana did not deem to answer him until she had read the entire letter. Then with a sigh, she said, “It is from your Aunt Helena.” 

Although she didn’t particularly like to call her cousin that, she did not like the thought of denying her children a family member just because of their sordid past. She liked to think that if she and her cousin ever mended their relationship, her children would be untainted by her own feelings. 

“What does she say, Mama?” Maxwell asked. 

“Maxwell, it is a private letter for Mother!” Penny insisted, and Diana couldn’t help smiling at the look of distaste that passed between the two siblings. 

“It is alright Penny,” she assured her daughter before she added to her son, “she says that she has finally wed a business partner of her father’s.” 

Penny and Maxwell both looked excited and even pleased at the news of their aunt’s marriage. To them, marriage was a good thing. They had seen the love shared in the marriage of their parents, and Diana was more than pleased to be able to offer them such an example. She could only hope that her cousin would have even a glimpse of such happiness. 

What Diana did not tell her children was that her cousin was not happy in her marriage. She would never be happy; Diana was sure of it. She had spent so long searching for a match made in heaven, a match where she could have it all. Her cousin had been consumed with a need for money, power, and privilege, and she knew that in the end, it had been her undoing. Diana’s mother had announced to her some months ago that Lord Tindley had insisted he wait no longer for his daughter to make her own match. It had taken him what seemed like five minutes to set her up with a much older gentleman who was more his age than his daughter’s, and from their previous conversations, Diana knew that her cousin had dreaded that very thing. 

“Is something the matter, Mother?” Penny asked. The young girl was so intuitive that Diana knew she should have done better to hide her emotions. 

“No, no, I just hope that your aunt is happy in her new marriage.” 

“Look!” Maxwell exclaimed suddenly, making Diana, Penny, and his governess jump. 

“It appears Lord Anbury and Lord Rendell have returned,” Reeves announced even as Diana followed her son’s gaze out of the patio doors and down the lawn to the path that led out of the woodland at the bottom of the garden. Penny jumped up from the piano bench almost at the same time, throwing her finger towards the window, and Diana followed her pointing. “Father and Uncle Neil are back!” 

Diana gulped. Although her children called him Uncle Neil and treated him as if he were indeed family, Diana knew that his and her husband’s relationship had been fraught with problems ever since Lord Rendell’s involvement in her cousin’s deception. It had been a long time since the two of them had spent any quality time together, and when her husband had announced that he intended to go hunting with his old friend that morning, Diana had been filled with concern. 

She pushed herself up from the bench and followed her two children out onto the patio to greet the two noblemen as they slipped down from their horses, offering them to the waiting stable boys, and began to make their way up the lawn. With one hand rested on her swollen stomach, she used her other to wave a greeting to them. 

“Papa! Papa!” Maxwell exclaimed, hurrying back down the lawn to greet his father while Penny stood like a dutiful daughter at her mother’s side. 

Diana was more than a little pleased to see both of the noblemen smiling, even before they were greeted by a three-year-old barrelling into their legs. Behind them, the sun was beginning to set, and Diana realised that it had been a terribly long day. She finally released the breath she seemed to have been holding since dawn, seeing that neither her husband nor Neil seemed to be carrying any scrapes or bruises. They obviously hadn’t come to any kind of fisticuffs. 

“Lady Diana, it is wonderful to see you.” Neil smiled, tipping his hunting hat to her as they approached. “And your growing brood.” 

Diana stroked her stomach when he glanced at the large swelling there, and they both smiled. 

“It is good to see you too, Lord Rendell,” she responded and then greeted her husband, returning his kiss. 

“How are you all?” Oliver asked, placing his own hand upon her stomach and offering her another kiss upon her cheek before he turned to examine his two children. 

Maxwell, who hadn’t left his father’s side since he had reached him, wrapped his little arms around Oliver’s leg and admitted, “I have missed you terribly, Papa.”

Diana watched Oliver lean down and pick their son up, marvelling not for the first time at how similar they were. Both had the same glossy black hair, cinnamon milk complexion, and stormy grey eyes. Knowing all too well the reputation that her husband had gained with his looks and fortune, Diana was all too aware of the dangers her son might get into when he reached maturity. And that is why I shall always worry about him most, she thought, still clutching her stomach as she wondered again whether she would need to worry about a second son having the same problems. 

“And what about you, Penelope?” Oliver asked after he had spent a moment tickling and throwing his son in the air. He turned to their daughter who stood far more demure and mature than her five years. “How about a hug for your dear old father?” 

Oliver crouched down with Maxwell still in his arms, and as if on cue, Penny’s mask lifted for a moment to allow the child to come through. She rushed into her father’s waiting arms, and Diana smiled at the sight of her three favourite people embracing each other. It was such a rarely seen sight in the house of a nobleman, and Diana would never be able to express just how glad it made her heart to know that her husband loved his children enough to show them such affection. 

That evening after they had all eaten, once the children were in bed, and Lord Rendell had retired for the night, Diana sat in the parlour with her husband. She had been eagerly waiting for the chance to ask him how his day had really gone. 

As if he saw the questions written on her face, he asked, “Go on, ask. I know you have been dying to ask all evening.” 

Diana scowled at him, trying not to show her amusement at the fact her husband knew her so well. Even after all these years, they had remained playful and affectionate towards each other, and Diana was more than a little aware of just how lucky she truly was. Oliver inched a little closer to her on the couch and pulled her legs up onto his lap before resting a hand upon her swollen belly. Leaning back against the pillows that had been resting beside her, she sighed with relief. Her ankles were sore and swollen after carrying herself around all day, and she moaned with pleasure when her husband began to rub them gently, slipping off her slippered shoes that were growing steadily tighter every day. 

“How did it go today?” she asked, leaning her head back and closing her eyes to enjoy her husband’s dutiful affection. 

“Better than I expected,” Oliver admitted, and the relief in his voice made Diana open one eye to look at him. 

“What does that mean?” she asked. 

“Neil has finally got things straightened out properly,” Oliver explained. Diana noticed the way that he didn’t look at her as he spoke. “He says he has finally paid off all his gambling debts, and he won’t tell me who, but he swears there is a young lady who has taken his fancy.” 

Diana straightened up a little and opened both eyes to look at her husband directly. “And you believe him?” 

It was then that Oliver turned his gaze on her, and finally, he nodded. The certainty on his face was all Diana needed. It had taken a long time for her husband to trust his friend again after all that had happened, but she trusted her husband’s judgement, and that was enough for her.

Without needing to hear his answer out loud, she smiled. “I’m glad the two of you have finally sorted things out.” 

“As am I,” Oliver admitted. “Is there anything you would like to do with the rest of your evening?” 

Diana saw the hungry look that crossed her husband’s face then, and she knew well from her years of marriage that there was only one thing on his mind. 

“What about playing a song with your dear wife?” Diana asked, gesturing at the pianoforte on the other side of the room. 

“I can think of several things I would much rather be doing with my wife.” Oliver’s smirk widened, and Diana’s stomach twisted with delight. Having been pregnant more than once, Diana had quickly learned her way around matters in the bedroom, and now, knowing that she did not have to resist until her child was born, she was more than happy to allow her husband a little intimacy. 

“Are you sure you can put up with me?” she asked playfully. Only half joking, she added. “I am a whale, after all.”

Oliver chuckled along with her and leaned over, sucking in his stomach to avoid hers so that he could kiss the tip of her nose affectionately. “You make a beautiful whale, my love.” 

“Oh, Lord Anbury, you would say just about anything to get me into bed,” she chuckled, tapping him teasingly on the shoulder. 

“I rather think it is my husbandly duty, is it not?” Oliver asked, raising his eyebrow. Diana had been talking for the last few days of how she couldn’t wait to greet their third child. After her first, her mother had been kind enough to let her in on a small secret among the noblewomen of how intimacy with one’s husband could help a birthing mother out in just that kind of situation. 

“I suppose, it worked with Maxwell.” Diana chuckled and then finally rolled her eyes. “Okay, you have it your way, Lord Anbury. Take me to bed.” 

Oliver did not need to be told twice. He pushed himself up from the couch and offered her his hands, using both to help pull her to her feet. 

“I swear you are getting bigger by the day,” he commented, placing one hand beneath her swollen stomach to help ease the pressure off her as they began to walk towards the door and the hallway beyond. 

“Oliver! You should never comment on a woman’s size!” Diana gasped, though the glint in her eye would tell him that she was only mocking him. “You’re right. If this child of yours doesn’t come soon, I shall be the size of a carriage.” 

The couple laughed and joked, revelling in the joy of the knowledge that one way or another, they would soon be greeting a third child. Having two already, Diana knew that their love could only grow to encompass their entire family, and she knew without a doubt, that it would be limitless.


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9 thoughts on “The Lustful Pianist’s Sonata – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Loved the book. A wide range of emotions from sad, happy, feeling betrayed, and love. Enjoyed the characters. Oliver and Diana are intriguing characters with a special relationship with their love of music. Neil and her cousin were certainly the villains in the book. I enjoyed the way you included his deceased mother and her love of music as a focal point throughout the book. Overall a great read!

  2. Couldn’t put it down,stopping to get the vacuum cleaner out was very hard. Glad the men made friend’s again, and Helen learnt the hard way, as you sow so shall you reap.

  3. Your book is one of the very best romance novels that I have ever read ! The story of Diana and Oliver is full of intrigue, betrayal and most important, passion and love

  4. There is a thing called chemistry that bonds individuals. It is sad how some people think they can manipulate relationships with trickery, and many times what they thought they wanted still did not bring satisfaction.
    Helena got her just desserts. Ashlind was exposed, and a friendship was restored. Very satisfying read.

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