Six weeks later

Maria sat outside on the terrace overlooking the lake. She sighed and enjoyed the warm night air as she saw out and looked at the stars. She was so engrossed in the beautiful images playing in the sky in front of her that she didn't hear Georg come through the opened French doors behind her. She started when he placed his hands on her shoulder.

"I'm sorry, Darling. I didn't mean to frighten you," Georg smiled softly, "I just wanted to check in on you before I went to bed. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for us and I want you to bed rested. You're just getting your strength back." he paused when he saw Maria laughing at him, "What?"

"You are such a worrier, Georg. I'm fine and I've been fine for weeks. But you are right, it is late, and tomorrow is a very big day. I don't know how I let myself get into this," she sighed as she walked back into the breezeway and shut the door.

"Because, Fraulein, you are going to be Baroness von Trapp and it is our duty to host a party for all of the finest families in Salzburg. I don't like it either, but what must be done."

"Must be done," she finished on a sigh.

"You are going to do fine, Darling," Georg assured her, "all you have to do is stand at my side and look beautiful, you'll be good at that, you do it so well all ready," he tenderly smiled kissing her nose lightly, "Now you get some sleep. I'll see you in the morning."

Maria kissed leaned up and kissed Georg's lips gently, before turning around and doing as he bade her.

The following day passed in a flurry of activity between getting the house and the children ready for the party. By the time Maria had time to concentrate on herself and her own preparations it was nearly 5 o'clock. The guest would arrive in two hours, and Maria was certain, she had never felt this nervous or this sick over something in her entire life.

The gown that she had selected for the occasion was a royal blue long sleeved floor length gown. The sleeves puffed out at the top and the neckline draped down to reveal more of her neck than she'd ever shown before in this lifetime. She hadn't been sure if it was appropriate at all, but both Frau Schmidt and Georg assured her it was quite becoming and appropriate.

Maria surveyed herself in the mirror. The dress was nice and the long sleeves would keep her arms warm. She slipped her hand into the soft white gloves Georg had bough for her and murmured a silent prayer to God that Dr. Woss' exercises had almost worked and that her hand was almost back to being as it should be.

Could it really have been once six weeks ago that she had not been able to move her hand at all and the Georg had sat beside her bed and told her how much he loved her? It seemed to Maria she'd lived a lifetime in the span of six weeks.

Finally, it was seven o'clock and Maria stood beside Georg at the door to the villa smiling sweetly and greeting the guests.

Edward and Linda Woss came in and Georg shook Edward's hand and kissed Linda, "Captain, this is my husband, Ed and this is Maria Rainer, soon to be Baroness von Trapp."

" the flesh," Edward smiled and kissed Maria's hand. "My wife speaks highly of you both."

"And we think very highly of her too, Herr Woss," Maria assured him.

Couple after couple came to offer their congratulations and to be introduced to the "little governess" Georg von Trapp was marrying. Everyone was kind and gracious and the Captain could see that Maria was winning everyone over with her gracious charm and lovely smile. He'd never been prouder of her, until.

"Maria, what is it?" the Captain asked concerned when he felt her recoil from her position at his side.

"Oh, Georg, how could he?" she asked in a low voice. The Captain followed her eyes to the door, and who should be standing there in the entranceway but Dr. Hans Schwartz.

"Maria, it's all right," the Captain assured her.

After they had discussed their feeling for each other and Maria had begun to recover, the Captain gently yet firmly confronted her with the information he had learned from the Mother Abbess about her past. Maria had tried to deny it at first, but eventually through bouts of crying she relayed the entire story of her childhood to the Captain. Georg had held her tenderly, talked to her, and assured her that Hans Schwartz would never be allowed near her again as long as he was living. Now the man was standing in the front hallway, inches away from Maria.

Georg reached his hand down and squeezed Maria's tightly, "I'll greet him, I won't make a scene, and then as soon as we're finished receiving, I'll get him out."

Maria nodded and squeezed Georg's hand back, "All right, Darling."

"Captain von Trapp, Fraulein Rainer how lovely to see you again," Dr Schwartz smiled sickeningly, " I hear congratulations are in order."

"Yes, thank you," the Captain managed as Dr. Schwartz moved down the line and the couple greeted others.

Shortly before supper, when Maria and the Captain had moved into the ballroom and watched as their guests swirled around them dancing a Strauss waltz.

"Could I get you a glass of wine, Darling?" Georg asked.

"Yes, that would be lovely, Georg, thank you."

The Captain excused himself and headed to the table with the wine and champagne. Maria watched the dancers and hoped that before the night was over she'd have a chance to dance with Georg.

"You did quite well for yourself, didn't you?" the voice was no stranger to Maria, but she started at any rate when she heard it.

"I found a man that I love," she replied coolly, trying not to appear upset in the least by Dr. Schwartz's presence.

"You found a blank check," Schwartz bit back, "and if you don't."

"If she doesn't what, Hans? If she doesn't keep quiet about what you did to her you'll do something else. You can't do anything else to her Hans. You've all ready tried to destroy who she is, her spirit, her life, everything, but you didn't succeed, because she's a bigger person than you. Tell me, Dr. Schwartz, what kind of a man does what you did to a little girl."

"You're insulting my manhood, Captain? What kind of man of station takes his young governess into his bed -"

Dr. Schwartz never got a chance to finish and the Captain stopped caring about not making a scene. He felt his fist close and meet the doctor's jaw, like granite shattering glass. Dr. Schwartz lost his balance and tripped back crashing into the wall.

"Georg!" Maria cried out, just as Max and Ed Woss rushed toward them.

"Georg, what happened, is everything all right?" Max asked.

"I want you to take this pompous waste of flesh out side, send him off and out of here. And if I ever see you around my house or my bride again so help me God, you'll regret it," Georg turned to take Maria to a quieter place so she could calm down as she was shaking, "Deeply."

When Georg had Maria out on the terrace he drew her to him and kissed her deeply, "I'm sorry you had to see that, but he had it coming."

"He did," Maria snuggled closer to his chest, "I'm just sorry it ruined the party. People will talk."

"I don't care what they say," he smiled, "all I care about is marrying you, loving you and spending the rest of my life with you. I love you, Maria."

"I love you too, Georg," she whispered as the soft strands of the Laendler began to play.

"May I have this dance, Fraulein?" the Captain asked bowing.

"It would be my pleasure, Captain," Maria accepted honoring him and allowing him to lead about the back terrace in the soft, romantic moonlight. No, not every moment of her life had been perfect, but she though as Georg pecked her lips, this one was pretty darn close.

The End