Pre-Anschluss.

Prying the lid off another paint tin, Georg dipped his brush until it was coated. He listened to the voices of his three oldest children as they talked and bantered.

"Why yellow?" Kurt stared at his yellow speckled paintbrush. "Why not blue?"

"The baby might be a girl." Liesl told him.

"So? Louisa likes blue. She's a girl."

"Louisa used to like pink when she was Marta's age." Frederick spread the paint over the wall a few times before dipping his brush for more yellow.

"I just don't get it. Why yellow?" Kurt asked again.

"Because it is a neutral colour, son." Georg looked at him.

"So, it could be blue?" He asked cheerfully.

"Possibly, after the baby is born." Georg nodded.

All three smiled at each other.

"Have you thought of a name yet, Father?"

Georg chuckled. "Kurt, why so many questions?"

"I'm just curious." The boy shrugged.

"Well, a name is important, so your mother and I will decide when the time is right."

"Could we all help, Father?" Frederick offered.

Georg paused in thought. "Suggestions?" He asked.

"Yes. Just to help. In case you can't decide."

"I don't see why not." Georg pried another tin open.

The door pushed open all the way to the wall. Liesl caught it before the handle touched the wet paint.

"I see you are all hard at work." Maria smiled.

Georg placed his brush across the open tin and wiped his hands on a rag. "Almost done."

"Two more coats to go." Kurt groaned, but kept on painting.

"Then you'll be happy to know, the girls are making you drinks and a sandwich." She ruffled his hair affectionately.

"Oh good. I'm starving." He exclaimed. Frederick and Liesl rolled their eyes at each other over Kurt's head.

"You really shouldn't be in here, Maria." Georg tucked the rag into his pocket.

"A few minutes won't hurt." She smiled. "Besides, I wanted to see what the colour looked like on the walls."

"It's bright." Kurt complained.

Maria laughed. "Yes. It is that."

"Can't we paint the room blue, Mother?" Kurt pleaded. "The baby might like blue."

"Oh, I'm sure he'll love blue, Kurt. But what if the baby is a girl?"

Thinking for a moment, he finally shrugged. "I don't know." He grinned. "But I hope it's a boy!"

Georg laughed. "If the baby is a boy, then we men will be better matched against the girls."

"Georg." Maria laughed with him as he drew her into his arms. "Yellow brightens the room. If the baby is a boy, then I'll help you change the colour."

"Well, not until the baby is a few months old at least." Georg told her, and the children, letting them know he wouldn't be allowing their mother to over exert herself so soon after giving birth.

"Yes dear." She placated while smiling at her children over her husband's shoulder.

"Now," He pulled back and held onto her arms. "Why don't I help you back down the stairs."

Groaning at the offer, which was repeated almost every time she needed to go up Ior/I down the many stairs. "I'm not incapable of doing such a small task, Georg. A three month old pregnant woman doesn't need help down some stairs."

"Humour me." He took her arm and pulled it through his. When she glared at him, he sighed. "Call it 'father to be protectiveness' if you like."

She winked at the children before being led out of the nursery. "Just don't expect it to be so easy when I'm actually having trouble navigating a flight of stairs."

"I am a Navy Captain, my love. I am an expert at navigating my way through any tricky situation."

"Yes." She smiled. "Then we'll see how you do at the baby's birth."

"Maria." Georg sighed. "I told you, I will not leave you."

"Good," She leaned her head against his shoulder as they descended the stairs. "Then you won't mind my cursing you for all the pain of birthing a baby when the baby is being delivered."

Swallowing, Georg stared ahead. "I don't think I'll have much to worry about."

"You don't?"

"No." He took her hand and laced his fingers through hers. "You only know a few curse words. Those are quite mild."

Maria smiled into his shoulder. "I may have been a protestant, darling, but I was brought up on a farm. I know some quite colourful words that actually would startle you."

Laughing, he turned her to him at the bottom of the stairs. "Maria, I am forever bound to your side. No matter what the future brings, I'll still be with you. Curse me." He smiled. "Curse me when you are in pain and I'll be there to take that pain away the best I can."


May Continue, May Not.