"Father, please, can we go?" Liesl pleaded with Georg.
The Whiteheads were in Vienna for a short vacation mixed with a little business on the side. They had invited their grandchildren to come over.
Georg knew his children would love to go. The Von Trapp children missed their maternal grandparents since they haven't seen each other since Christmas. They had been thrilled to find out that they were coming to Austria.
When Georg found out that they would be in Austria for a two weeks, he naturally invited them over to their house in Aigen. But he wasn't particularly excited to see them. He did not want to listen to his former mother in law pester him with questions about Elsa.
The Whiteheads had declined his invitation but instead invited them over to Vienna. Georg noted with a sigh of relief, that the invitation subtly excluded him.
Frau Whitehead had known Elsa even before she was widowed. Elsa has been a society belle long before she was even married and was fast friends with the older woman. Frau Whitehead had been the one who pushed Georg and Elsa in each other's direction years after Agathe passed away. Georg had been lost and lonely after Agathe died and Frau Whitehead was worried about her grandchildren not being brought up properly. When Elsa got widowed as well, she realized that she and Georg were now perfect for each other. The children needed a mother and Elsa seemed to fit the bill. She was rich, beautiful and was one of the most gracious hostesses she has ever met. They seemed to like each other enough and they had courted for over a year. Naturally, she had been terribly disappointed when Elsa informed her recently that she and Georg had parted ways. She contacted Georg immediately but Georg refused to tell her why they had broken up. Elsa too, had been tight-lipped, simply claiming that they were just not right for each other. Frau Whitehead invited the children over when they found themselves in Vienna, secretly hoping to at least find out the real story from them.
"Of course you may, Liesl," Georg smiled at his eldest daughter and patted her cheek lovingly.
"Oh, thank you Father!" Liesl exclaimed, hugging him. "When do we leave?" she asked innocently.
"You should leave very early in the morning tomorrow," Georg mused.
"What do you mean YOU, Father? Aren't you coming with us?" Liesl asked with a frown.
"Um, no darling," Georg reply with a slight shake of his head. He did not want to talk to his daughter about his mother in law and why he was avoiding her. "Franz can drive the seven of you. I have a lot of work to do here, sweetheart."
"Oh," Liesl replied a bit disappointedly. Georg saw her face fall. He hugged his daughter and stroked her back.
"It'll be a chance for you and your siblings to bond with your grandpa and grandma, Liesl. You'll hardly notice my absence," he reassured her.
Liesl nodded in resignation and hugged him back.
"Alright. But we'll miss you, Father."
Georg chucked and held his eldest close. "But you'll have your grandparents for only a week while have me all year round, my dear. I'm sure you'll have fun in Vienna," he reassured her.
Liesl nodded and went off excitedly to tell her siblings of the plans.
Before dinner, Frau Schmidt went to see the Captain in his study.
"Come in," Georg called out to the visitor at his door. He was surprised to see the old housekeeper. He realized that hasn't really spoken to her at length since Fraulein Maria arrived. He had no need to really. Frau Schmidt had been the one mostly in charge of the children since Agathe died. She was the one who called whenever one of the kids got into trouble or whenever a governess had resigned again. But since Maria came to the household, she had happily turned the reins over to the young governess. Not once did she find the need to speak with him about the children. Naturally, his first instinct was to worry.
"Frau Schmidt, have a seat please." She sat across him from his desk and placed her hands on the table.
"Captain, I came to see you to ask permission to take a few days of leave," Frau Schmidt began timidly. The Captain relaxed visibly upon hearing her words. So it's not about the children or Maria...
"My sister is ill, and she has no one else to take care of her," she continued, wringing her hands nervously.
Georg stood up and patted the old housekeeper's hands. She had been with him as his employee since Liesl was a baby. He looked at her kindly.
"Of course. Take as long as you need, Frau Schmidt. The children will be going to Vienna for a week so there really won't be anything to worry about here. I can take care of myself," he smiled at her.
"Oh, thank you, Captain," she gushed, shaking his hands.
"Please extend my regards to your sister. I pray she will recover quickly," he added.
"Thank you, sir. I pray too that she does. Oh, and dinner is ready, by the way," she added as the housekeeper took her leave.
As she left, Georg suddenly felt strangely excited. He frowned, trying to figure out why as he went downstairs.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I'm sorry I was gone for so long. I hope to be back quickly with the next chapter :-)