Sweet Enemy Extras
Liliana's Love Letter to Geoffrey
Written by Liliana Wentworth, née Claremont, Countess of Stratford, to her husband—upon the birth of their daughter, some seven and one half months after the Epilogue…
I find myself overcome with emotion as I sit here in the stillness of the night… I’ve just finished nursing our precious daughter and she is now tucked back snug in her cradle. Aunt will likely have plenty to say over the unusual nature of me choosing to suckle our baby myself, but when have I ever been conventional? How fortunate I am to have you in my life, who encourages me to be only who I am.
As I watch you sleep, the firelight glinting off of your ebony hair like flashes of lightning in a pitch black sky, my chest aches with love for you. As a scientist, I understand that there is some physiological reaction in a woman’s body after she gives birth that makes her feel overwhelming love, as well as a deep sense of contentment. I suspect it is so that she bonds with her newborn. Perhaps, one day, we may even discover what causes such phenomena. But I also know that whatever this rare wonder is, it is not the reason I am moved nearly to tears as I look upon you.
While there are many, many reasons I love you, my darling, tonight I am most grateful for one—that our daughter will have a father who will respect her. One who will encourage and support her in anything she chooses to do with her life. One who will not expect her to conform to society’s idea of what a female should be. One who will appreciate whatever gifts she possesses, and who will guide her to use those gifts for the greater good. One who will be her launching pad, as my father was for me when he was alive…and as you are for me now.
I miss my father, tonight. I regret that our daughter will never know him. But I know that he would be proud that I’ve chosen so well in a husband—a man who treasures his daughter as he did. A man who deserves my love.
And you have it, always…
Written by Geoffrey Wentworth, Earl of Stratford, to his wife—upon the birth of their daughter, some seven and one half months after the Epilogue…
How amazing you are. I’ve always thought so, from the moment you stepped into my drawing room and changed my life irrevocably. Even in our darkest days, when the breaking of our hearts was a palpable thing that could be felt and heard like a rending, my awe and appreciation for you never waned. Indeed, it was the very fear of losing such a woman as yourself that made the torment that much more acute.
You’ve taught me how to love, and how to be loved. I’d never have known it without you. All I knew then was that if I lost you, I would never love again, and I would be miserable for the rest of my days.
Thank God that didn’t happen.
For today, my beautiful wife, you introduced me to an entirely new and all-encompassing love. Our daughter. I can admit now that when you told me you were increasing, my heart prayed for a little girl. My mother would be appalled, of course—fixated as she is upon heirs. But it was a daughter I wanted, one who would have your intellect, your heart and your passion for discovery. I look forward to watching her grow and become as incredible of a young woman as you are.
Besides, I have no worries than an heir won’t be forthcoming, and soon...not with my curious lady chemist wife. There is so much more to share on that front, you know. I look forward to our future “experiments” with great relish.
Geoffrey's Love Letter to Liliana
Geoffrey and Liliana appear in an episode of "The Nearly-wed Game"
"Hello, and welcome back to the next segment of The Nearly-Wed game. I'm your host, Beau Brummell, and I thank you for staying with us into the next hour. Now, in case you missed last episode, I'm sorry to say that, while certainly quite entertaining, Miss Sinclair and Major Prestwood scored no points. Let us see, shall we, if our next couple isn't a little more simpatico...” His voice trails off. “Oh, my..." Brummell's face loses a shade of color. He turns his head to look at the stage director and whispers, a little too loudly, "Is the name of this couple's story truly SWEET ENEMY?" The director frantically nods and waves his arms in a 'go-on, man!' gesture.
Liliana Claremont smiles. "Really, Mr. Brummell, there's no need to fret. Geoffrey and I aren't enemies any longer, are we?"
Geoffrey Wentworth, Earl of Stratford, chucks his affianced gently under the chin. "Far from it, love."
Brummell's brows dip into a disbelieving vee, but he gamely goes on. "Yes, well. May I introduce Miss Claremont, a brilliant lady chemist who--" Narrows his eyes at the paper he's reading from, then glances up at Liliana. "I say! Did you truly go undercover as a husband-hunter at the earl's house party?"
Liliana's cheeks pinken, but she maintains her straightforward gaze. "Why, yes. I traded in my beakers for ball gowns, but only to uncover whether Geoffrey's family had something to do with the murder of my father," she says, quite reasonably.
Brummell's eyes widen. "And did they?"
Geoffrey chuckles. "Now, Brummell. You don't really expect us to give away the entire story, do you?"
Beau clears his throat. "No, no, of course not." One perfectly trimmed eyebrow wings high. "But you're certain you're no longer enemies?"
Both Geoffrey and Liliana smile. "Quite sure," she answers for them both.
"Well, if you were watching from back stage, you understand how the game works. My lord, would you mind removing to the green parlor so I might ask Miss Claremont a question?"
Geoffrey gives a sharp nod before brushing a kiss on Liliana's temple. Then he straightens, turning on his heel in such a way that speaks of his years of military training and strides for the exit. Liliana's eyes follow him--
She jumps, snapping her attention back to the host. "Yes."
"Miss Claremont, if Stratford were to pick out a bouquet of flowers for you, what would he choose?"
A secret smile flits over Liliana's face and she drops her eyes to her vellum, hastily scribbling an answer.
Moments later, Geoffrey re-enters and Brummell poses the question to him.
A grin of masculine arrogance curves Stratford's lips. "Globe Thistle," he says confidently.
Liliana smiles an answering grin and flips her vellum. "Just so."
Brummell frowns. "But...isn't that a weed?"
Both Geoffrey and Liliana turn frowns upon him. "It's prickly," Liliana admits.
"But passionately purple," Geoffrey says. The two lovers look at each other a long moment, and it becomes clear to the entire audience that there is some private significance in Geoffrey's choice. "Besides, it's the precise color of Liliana's eyes."
"I...see," Brummell says, though he doesn't. "Yes, well, well done, you. You win the points. Now, Miss Claremont, if you please?"
Liliana leaves the room.
"My Lord, what would Miss Claremont say was the most romantic gesture you ever made towards her?"
Geoffrey debates a moment, then writes his answer. Liliana returns to the room and listens attentively to the question.
"Oh, my," she says, chewing her bottom lip with pearl white teeth. "I'm not certain. It could be the time he took me to the bog at the west side of his property and waded in to help me collect specimens...or, the fact that gave me a piece of expensive chemical glassware instead of a ring when he asked me to marry him...or, oh! I know. When he gave me his folly to use as my own private laboratory." She nods, but Geoffrey slowly shakes his head, his cobalt eyes turning rather heated. "No?"
Geoffrey slowly walks over to Liliana and flips his paper over, for her eyes only. Her pixie-like face quickly turns nearly as red as the glints of copper in her chestnut hair. "Geoffrey Alisdair Wentworth," she says sternly. "I'm quite certain this particular show is rated PG-13."
Beau tries to peek over Geoffrey's shoulder. The earl doesn't spare him a glance, having eyes only for Liliana, though he does crumple the vellum in his fist before the host can see the answer. "We forfeit this round, Brummell," Geoffrey says and takes Liliana by the hand. They hastily exit the stage, that secret smile they share pasted on both of their faces.
Brummell adjusts his cravat. "Well, there you have it. Please stay tuned for the next segment of our show after this short break... Now, if you have any questions for Miss Claremont or the Earl of Stratford, please do speak up. I'm certain...well," he cuts his eyes to where Geoffrey and Liliana were last seen, "I mean I expect they shall return to answer them at some point."
As the lights fade, Brummell can be heard grousing to the director. "Such behavior! This is the last time I agree to host a show with a bunch of love birds as contestants, I can tell you that."
Geoffrey and Liliana are featured on "Lifestyles of the Rich & Aristocratic."
At Home with the Lady Chemist and the War Hero Earl…
Hello, and thank you for joining me for this week’s episode of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Aristocratic.’ I’m your host, Lady Heather Snow, and today we shall get a rare peek into the lives of that elusive couple whose marriage so shocked the Beau Monde last spring, The Earl and Countess of Stratford. My lord, my lady, thank you for welcoming us into your home.
Liliana, Lady Stratford: And thank you for the generous donation to our foundation.
Geoffrey, Lord Stratford: Indeed. Your contribution will do much to further employment opportunities, and ensure proper medical care and support for ex-soldiers and their families—a cause very dear to both of our hearts.
HS: Yes, well, we’re happy to help…particularly as that was the only way you would let us into your home. (clears her throat) You know, my Lord, the Ton was all atwitter when only the best families with eligible daughters received the coveted invitation to a house party at your estate, Somerton Park—presumably so that you might pick a bride. Almost before the first seal was cracked, the betting books were filled with wagers on who would come away with a betrothal ring when the fortnight was through.
Geoffrey: (snorts) I’ll wager fortunes were lost on that bet.
Liliana: And months’ worth of pin money, too!
Geoffrey: (puts an arm around Liliana’s shoulders) Who do you suppose was the forerunner?
Liliana: Most assuredly Lady Jane.
Geoffrey: (frowns thoughtfully) Was she Mozart or Beethoven?
(Lady Snow’s head turns between the two, twin furrows forming between her auburn eyebrows)
HS: Mozart? Beethoven?
Liliana: (waves a dismissive hand) No matter. It was simply a theory a friend of our voiced about how to judge what type of wife one would be by what composer’s work they chose to play at a musicale…forgive us. You were saying?
HS: Well, everyone wants to know what your stratagem was to win Lord Stratford’s hand when you were clearly up against the crème de la crème of society?
Liliana: Oh, I had no stratagem at all. At least, not about winning Geoffrey’s hand.
HS: Do you mean to say you weren’t trying to snag the earl?
Liliana: (laughs) Far from it.
HS: Then…it was just luck?
Geoffrey: (Hugs Liliana closer to him) Providence, I’d say.
Liliana: Just so. (One corner of her mouth tips up in a secret smile, one Geoffrey returns.)
Geoffrey: Well, now that we’ve satisfied your curiosity on that matter—
(Lady Snow purses her lips as if their answers have done anything but)
Geoffrey: What can we tell you about the house?
HS: (bites her lip as if she’d like to say more, but ultimately chooses not to press) Of course. The manor house is rather impressive, and we’ve very much enjoyed the tour. Tell me, do either of you have a favorite room here at Somerton Park?
Liliana and Geoffrey both answer simultaneously: The library.
HS: I suppose you have quite a collection then, if it is the favorite spot of both of you.
Liliana: An extensive one. But that’s not why we answered thus. The library…
Geoffrey: Is where we first spoke alone.
Liliana: Where we first argued.
Geoffrey: Where we first kissed.
Liliana: Where you first asked me to marry you…
Geoffrey: Where you broke my heart.
Liliana: Where you broke mine.
Geoffrey: And where I asked you to marry me again…
Liliana: (smiles and nods her head at Lady Snow) Most certainly the library. Though I do have a second favorite place—my laboratory.
Liliana: Yes. It’s located in the folly near the lake. Geoffrey gave it over to me to use as my lab as a wedding present.
(Geoffrey’s eyes turn a deeper shade of blue as he gazes upon his wife)
Geoffrey: We’ve certainly conducted some…interesting experiments in there, haven’t we, my love?
(Liliana flushes a delicate pink)
Geoffrey: In fact, I should think I’d like to visit there now…without an audience. (He snags Liliana’s hand as he strides towards the door) Lady Snow, feel free to explore the rest of Somerton Park to your heart’s content. My butler will be happy to show you around. My wife’s laboratory, however, is off limits…at least for the next few hours.
(The newly-weds depart, leaving a chagrined Lady Snow in their wake.)
HS: What can I say, gentle viewer? Young love. Until next time…