Chapter 30: Epilogue
Just over 2 years later…
It was late. Maria was awake and she knew she should be trying to sleep but she couldn't. Not while she had the opportunity to watch his sleeping form in front of her.
He was peaceful. The stress and frustrations of the day were now gone. She looked down upon his face and she wondered whether it was possible to love anyone the way she loved him. Ever since the first moment she held him in her arms, she knew she loved him.
His breathing was soft and regular; clearly he was in a deep sleep. But every now and then, a slight furrow in his brow would form, like he was in deep concentration or dreaming about something important. She didn't know what. At times he was still a complete mystery to her.
He had his hand rested up upon his face and even though he was asleep, from time to time his slender fingers on his left hand would twitch, the way they did when he was agitated. But he was not agitated now, now he was very peaceful.
She thought about the last few months and how wonderful they'd been. To hold him close in her arms, to smell his sweet smell - the smell that was uniquely him. To see him look at her with those deep blue eyes, locking her gaze. For him to smile at her whenever she entered the room, the smile that told her she was the most important person in the world to him. To have him reach for her when she was near. The way he needed her, relied upon her, depended on her for everything.
She reached out and being careful not to wake him, she ran her hand gently through his dark locks. His hair was thick, wavy and soft. She loved the feel of it beneath her fingertips.
Maria let out a deep sigh. Yes she loved him, loved him so much. Even late at night when she was awoken time and time again, she loved him. She would do anything for him, anything at all.
"Maria?" Georg's soft voice cut through the silence of the room.
Maria jumped slightly and turned around to see her husband standing in the doorway.
"Shouldn't you be in bed?" he asked tenderly.
"Yes, I know I should be, but I couldn't help myself." Maria replied. "He looked so peaceful, I just had to take a moment to watch him."
Georg walked up and put his arm around her then looked down at their son sleeping in the crib.
"Yes, he is very calm and still now." Georg commented quietly. "Not like the unrelenting crying he was doing throughout the day," he added with a smirk.
"Oh his crying wasn't that bad. No, not really." Maria replied with a laugh. "Remember, he is just a baby, darling."
"I know, and a wonderful baby he is. We've been very blessed, especially after we waited so long to have a child of our own." Georg gave Maria a light kiss on her temple and wrapped his arms around her more tightly.
After they had arrived in America and settled their family into a large, yet modest home, Maria and Georg had tried for months and months to conceive a child. However, with each passing month when it became clear that Maria was not pregnant, both Maria and Georg's disappointment grew. In fact, Maria got so used to the disappointment of not falling pregnant that when she finally did conceive around a year after they'd arrived in America, she almost missed the early symptoms entirely, putting her nausea down to the lingering after-effects of a stomach bug that had recently run through the household. But very quickly Maria and Georg had realised that Maria was indeed pregnant and they were both overjoyed with the news. Thankfully her pregnancy went as smoothly as could be, apart from the normal aches and pains and difficulty sleeping. Finally she gave birth to their son a week after her due date, causing Georg to joke that their son already took after Maria with his ability to run late. Maria's heart had almost burst with love the moment the midwife placed their baby boy in her arms.
"I just can't seem to get enough of him," Maria murmured, placing her head on Georg's shoulder.
"I know what you mean," replied Georg with a smile.
Although they were speaking quietly, upon hearing their voices the young baby awoke. He opened his eyes for a moment looking confused at seeing both his parents watching over him. He started to whimper, but one touch from Maria quickly settled him. A moment later the confusion was gone, replaced with a cheeky grin, showing the dimples he'd clearly gotten from his father. After letting out a contented sigh, the baby shoved his thumb in his mouth and rolled over, gently drifting back off to sleep.
"Sleep tight little one." Maria whispered as she placed a light kiss on his forehead.
Holding hands Maria and Georg left their son's room. As the door clicked shut, Maria heard the clock in the hallway strike 1 am. She turned to Georg, a frown on her face. "I didn't ask you before why you were still up."
"Oh me?" he replied nonchalantly. "I, uh… just had a few things I still needed to do before coming to bed."
Maria opened her mouth to reply, but paused, took a few steps down the hallway and glanced into Liesl's empty and darkened room. She spun back around. "You're waiting up for her, aren't you?" she accused.
"Who, me?" Georg replied somewhat guiltily. "No, no, no… of course not."
"Georg von Trapp…" Maria reprimanded him. "You said you liked him."
"And I do!" Georg replied, taking Maria's hands in his own. "But I can't help it if I'm still a little overprotective of Liesl, can I?" Maria shook her head, knowing that after what Liesl had gone through by both Rolf and Daniel how long it had taken her to trust another young man again.
"But you can't wait up all night for her to get home," Maria protested.
"Well she is already home – "
"But where… ?"
"Out on the front porch," Georg merely stated. "They're just saying goodnight." He winked. Maria rolled her eyes and shook her head in exasperation. Even after Liesl had been dating Jonathan for almost a year, Georg still managed to find new and inventive ways to spy on his eldest daughter.
"I just have to keep reminding myself that she is now the age her mother was when we met and got engaged."
"Yes, she's 19 now and not a child anymore," agreed Maria. "And Jonathan is good for her. He takes care of her, treats her well and he loves her a lot."
"I know he does," Georg replied genuinely. "Why do you think I allow him to stick around?" he added with a smirk. "But you know, Maria, I'm not worried about them at all. In fact, Jonathan came and spoke to me earlier today."
"About?" Maria inquired. It wasn't often that Jonathan spoke to Georg alone. Maria knew the young man was quite intimidated by the heroic Captain.
"Well," Georg drew the word out slowly. "Let's just say our daughter will have something very exciting to tell us tomorrow morning."
Maria opened her mouth but no words came out. "W-what, w-what…" she finally spluttered. "You mean?"
Georg chuckled. "Yes, he's planning on proposing to Liesl tonight."
Maria threw herself at him in excitement. "Oh Georg," Maria practically wept. "That's just wonderful news!" He held her close and kissed the top of her head. "And just in case you weren't sure, I very much approve."
Maria beamed. "Oh I do too! Liesl deserves some happiness after the heartache she went through back in England," she said. "I still sometimes have nightmares about what Lady Whitehead did to us."
"I know," replied Georg sympathetically. "I'm glad we got away from all that madness. We've made a lovely life for ourselves here, haven't we?" Maria nodded. Georg's business venture in America had taken off, giving them a decent income to support their family. With the children happy in school and the birth of their son, the only thing that caused Georg concern was the war raging through Europe. Every morning he scanned the newspapers carefully, keeping up with all the latest developments of the war. But time and time again he told Maria that he was glad they'd left England for America when they did, for it was only just a year later when Nazi Germany invaded Poland and England declared war. Although America had declared neutrality, Georg predicated it would only a matter of time before their new country would enter the war too.
Georg took Maria's arm and led her towards his study. "But speaking of England, I received something today that I wanted to show you. You were so busy earlier with the children that I haven't had a chance to speak to you alone until now."
Maria was curious. "What is it?" she asked.
"A letter from James," replied Georg, walking over to his desk and fishing it out of the pile of papers. Maria smiled. They'd kept in close contact with Lord Whitehead ever since their move to America, although it was getting more and more difficult to get mail through due to the war in Europe.
Georg handed her the letter but she didn't bother to read it. Instead she just directed her questions to Georg. "How is he?"
"He's well, although because the Germans have started bombing London with their big aerial raids, it is getting more and more dangerous to go into the city. However, he has recently decided to open up Whitehead Manor to help house many of the women and children that have been evacuated from London."
"Oh, that's very good of him."
"Yes it is. James says it gives him something to do and quite honestly, he finds the house too big and lonely after Elizabeth's death. But in order to put up so many people in the manor, James gave Lloyd the task of clearing out many of the unused rooms." Georg paused as he walked over to the other side of the room where a big crate was sitting. "James thought we might like to have this so he sent it over." Georg opened the crate and pulled out a large painting. Maria's breath caught in her throat as she realised what it was: the portrait of Agathe that used to hang in the music room of the Whitehead Manor.
"Oh Georg," she gasped. "I know how much this will mean to the children… and you."
"You're happy to keep it then?" Georg asked tentatively, feeling uncertain of Maria's reaction.
"Of course!" Maria exclaimed at once. "You know how much I want the children to remember their real mother and how much I want you to keep Agathe's memory alive. For them and you." She placed a kiss on his cheek. "We should put this somewhere for everyone to see – not hide it away like you once did with her memory."
"Thank you," Georg replied, putting down the painting and sliding his hands around her waist, pulling her close to him. "You're wonderful. What did I ever do to deserve you?"
"Oh, I don't know," laughed Maria as she draped her arms around his neck. "But you know what we always like to say: for somewhere in my youth, or childhood…"
"I must have done something good…" Georg finished with a chuckle as he leant forward and claimed her lips in a passionate kiss.
A/N: Just over 2 years ago, I posted the first chapter of this story. I was a very new writer as I had barely written anything creative before. But I'd had this idea in my head for an 'escape' story for months before and I was very grateful to the wonderful women on the ProBoards TSOM fanfic forum for their encouragement to bring my story idea to life. While I did have a pretty good idea where I was taking it, I had no idea that it would turn into the incredible story it became. I loved being able to write about our favourite couple and develop their relationship more deeply as well as write completely new and original "love-to-hate" characters such as Lady Whitehead and Camilla.
I want to thank the many people who followed, favourited and reviewed. You guys encouraged me to continue and make this story the best it could be. I have always tried to thank every reviewer personally with a PM, even if it was better late than never, but for obvious reasons I haven't been able to thank my wonderful and numerous guest reviewers. One guest reviewer in particular sticks out in my mind (Viens, that's you!) because of the long and detailed reviews they gave me! I did always try to take story suggestions on board and at times, reviews did cause me to re-think an angle or story idea, but not all story ideas suggested could be incorporated into this story.
It breaks my heart to end this story and finally click "complete." I know I could have continued this story with what happened to Maria and Georg once in America, but I thought it was best just to end the story here because they deserved a happy ending after such a long, tough time in England. And quite honestly, I need a break. Some people know this already but I suppose this is the best time to announce that I'm taking an indefinite break away from this fandom. I love TSOM and writing TSOM fanfiction but I need to get some balance back to my life after over 2 years of being entirely consumed by anything and everything TSOM related. Maybe one day I'll be back!
I want to thank everyone on the TSOM ProBoards forum for their support of me as a writer, particularly lemacd with whom I couldn't have written this story without. During our long "story chats" where, I think, every major and minor detail of "As Long As We're Together" was planned out, to the pep talks when I was finding writing difficult, and then how she even beta read chapters from time to time to make sure I was on the right track…. Everything! Thank you. While things in life may change, my gratitude to her for her time and her friendship over the last 2 years will not change. Ever.
So now just one final time…. Please leave me a review to let me know what you thought of the conclusion to this story – even if you have never reviewed before now. Thank you!