The buzz of the electric lines going down was the last thing Maria heard before the entire von Trapp villa was plunged into darkness. She jumped in surprise, in the process dropping the books and toys she'd brought with her from Gretl and Marta's room all over the floor.

Drat, how will I ever see to pick these up? She dropped to her knees, feeling her way along the floor to pick up the things she'd been returning to the nursery. She briefly considered leaving them, but feared one of the girls waking and tripping over them in the night.

When she was sure she'd found everything she'd dropped, Maria sat in what she believed to be the middle of the hallway. It was completely black, the Captain insisted on all doors being closed at night. Even if they weren't, the inky blackness of the nighttime storm wouldn't have shed any light at all, anyway. She stood up, and feeling her way along the wall, tried to orient herself and make her way to the nursery door. She touched the door immediately in front of her and started counting, not realizing she'd traveled too far-and the door she began with was not the door to Gretl and Marta's room. Nor was she headed toward the nursery as she intended, but in the opposite direction.

A loud crack of thunder made her jump again, but this time she held tightly to the items in her arms. It was the sound she didn't recognize, that sounded like something slamming behind her in the hallway, that caused her heart to stop and made her open the door she had her hand on and run inside. She quickly shut the door behind her and leaned against it, as another flash of lighting made the room she'd entered bright as day for a moment. And her heart stopped a second time as she saw, directly in front of her, the Captain. Dressed in nothing except his undershorts. Tight undershorts that left very little to the imagination. She was most definitely not in the nursery.

"Oh, my." Maria could barely breathe at the image of her fiance that had now permanently etched itself into her brain. The surprise of the sight, and the heat that was creeping through her, had caused her to drop her armload of playthings again.

"Maria? What are you doing here? Are you all right? Is one of the children sick?" she was touched by the concern in his voice

"No, I, uh, oh, I'm so sorry, darling, I seem to have lost my sense of direction in the darkness."

"I should say so. What were you doing wandering the hallway in the dark?" This time he sounded closer, and Maria stayed where she was, leaning against the door.

"I was putting away some toys from the...well, anyway, I dropped them and I guess I got turned around and um, there was a noise and..." she sensed him very close to her now, before the next flash of lightning revealed just how close he was. And the thunderclap at nearly the same instant that made her jump, right into his arms. And the warmth of his bare skin that she could feel through the thin linen of her own nightgown.

"Never mind that now, I'm just so glad to see you," he leaned forward, pressing into her, burying his face in her hair. "Does anyone know you're here?" his voice was low and husky, which Maria was learning to recognize as a sign of his physical desire. She wrapped both arms around his torso, running her hands up and down his muscled back. A more perfect example of a man she couldn't imagine, and Georg's arms pulled her closer and he began kissing the back of her neck.

"Mmm, no, I don't think anyone saw me come in here," she sighed. His lips on her skin make her weak in the knees, and she was very glad she was propped between the door and his body, or she'd collapse in a heap on the floor. "I didn't...ooh...see anyone. There was a loud noise in the hall, though, that's when I...when I...oh, darling..." Maria could no longer continue speaking, as all coherent thoughts left her head in favor of responding to the kisses and caresses her fiancee was bestowing upon her body.

Georg picked her up gently, carrying her to the settee between the balcony doors and the fireplace. The storm continued to rage outside, but now neither of them were aware, nor did they set her down on the rich, navy fabric, then sat beside her and lifted her legs across his lap, slipping one hand underneath her nightgown. Long moments were spent touching, fondling, kissing, licking. The knowledge that no one knew where they were, and no one would interrupt them, was intoxicating to them both.

"Ah, if no one knows you're here, then you don't have to leave," he whispered in her ear, his mouth brushing her skin, his breath leaving fire in its wake. His tongue grazed the soft curve of her earlobe, which made Maria writhe with a need for his touch where he had not ventured yet in any of their encounters.

"Never, I will never leave. I want to be here, with you, always," as she reached for his hand that was tracing lazy circles on her thigh, and brought it higher than he'd have dared.

"Oh, Maria, I love you so much," he groaned, passion clouding his voice and his thoughts. He could feel the warmth of her center beckoning him, enticing him, tempting him beyond what he could stand against. There was nothing between his touch and her innocence; only his own honor, and his word to her that they would wait to consummate their physical relationship until they were married, kept him from crossing that boundary. Georg knew he would have to be the strong one; it wasn't fair to Maria to do otherwise.

" love...I think it is best...if we...if...we..." he tried to get the words out, but found himself helpless against the increasingly passionate kisses from his lover.

"Move to the bed?"

"I was going to say we should stop before I can't stop anymore," Georg looked at Maria, her eyes heavy and dark with a hunger he longed to satisfy.

"No, don't stop. Please. Please, Georg, make me yours. Now." She cupped his face with her hands, and brought her mouth to his again.

"Maria, there is only a few more days to wait. I don't want you to have any regrets," he said, as he held both of her hands in his.

"No regrets. It will be even more special tonight. No one will ever know, except for the two of us. I hate the idea that everyone will know what we're doing on our wedding night." Maria put her feet on the floor, and stood up, still holding his hands. "Please?" Her plea, and the look of her huge, blue eyes fixed on him, drew him like a magnet. He'd seen that look twice before; the first time as she held her guitar out to him, asking him to sing. The second was the night he proposed, when he asked if she'd found the life she was supposed to live, here with him. Georg knew without a doubt that he would never, as long as he lived, be able to deny her anything, when she looked at him that way.

He stood, picked her up, and carried her to his bed. He set her down, seated, at the edge and he knelt down in front of her. Taking both of her hands in his, he looked into her eyes, and spoke.

"Maria, I promise to love you, and cherish you, and protect you, for as long as we both live. I am yours, now and forever." Leaning forward, he placed his head in her lap, and wrapped his arms around her hips. Maria ran her hands through his hair, then knelt down beside him on the floor.

"Georg, I promise I am yours, to love you and cherish you and honor you, for as long as we both live. I am yours, forever and always." Her eyes shimmered with tears of happiness, as they kissed once again.

They rose from their position on the floor together, their movements completely in sync with one another. Georg lifted Maria's nightgown up, and over her head, tossing it aside. He inhaled deeply, breathing in her fragrance as he tried to calm his heartbeat. She was so stunningly beautiful, perfect in every way.

Maria reached out to the waist of Georg's shorts, pulling them past his hips, revealing his full manhood to her for the first time. Her eyes grew wide, first with intrigue and then with arousal. She lay back on the bed and held out her arms to her husband-while they were not married in the eyes of the law or the church, they were now married in their hearts-and he joined her there, his body alongside his wife, with one leg draped over her.

The lightning and thunder outside began to slowly fade away, while inside the master suite the intensity of lust and love and longing grew to fever pitch, touching and caressing, squeezing and stroking, kissing, licking, pleasuring until they could wait no longer. Georg rose above the woman he adored and cherished above all else, whispering in her ear loving words and apologizing for the inevitable stab of pain as he claimed her for his very own. She gasped as he entered, a feeling of physical and emotional fullness such as she'd never experienced before. He held her closely, still, allowing her to fully accept him. As Maria grew more comfortable, Georg moved, slowly at first, then faster, finally allowing the fulfillment of their desire wash over the two lovers as they lay there, spent, limbs entwined, whispering words of love and adoration to one another, until sleep overtook them.

When the early morning sun peeked through the French doors of the balcony, the light washed over Georg's face, awakening him. In his arms was his love, and he gently kissed her awake.

"Maria, darling, it's morning, We've got to get you back to your room before everyone wakes."

"Mmmm, no." She giggled, her eyes still closed. "I told you, I'm never leaving." She nestled in closer to him.

"In a few days, you won't ever have to leave. But now you do, if I have to carry you down the hall myself."

She opened her eyes and smirked at him. "I dare you, Captain."

He grunted in mock frustration, got out of bed, and grabbed his robe from the chair next to the bed. Walking around to the other side, he picked up Maria's nightgown, and tried in vain to get her to sit up. When nothing worked, he remembered a trick from one of their picnics on her mountain. He reached up under the sheet, found a spot at the back of her knee, and began to tickle her.

She laughed a little too loudly, and realizing it, clamped her own hand over her mouth.

Georg moved her hand, and kissed her mouth fully and without reservation. "I love you, Maria."

Maria felt her heart melt. "I love you, too, my darling." She took her nightgown from him, and pulled it quickly over her head.

Georg walked her to the door, and kissed her again before opening it. "You stay here, it will be easier to explain why I'm wandering around in my nightgown if I'm alone," she smiled at him.

"Let's hope you don't have to, darling."

She stepped out of the room, closing the door, her hand lingering on the knob.

Maria was happier than she'd ever been in her life.