I won't waste time rambling like I always do for once! I did promise a quicker update! So here it is! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I absolutely do not own 'The Sound of Music' or any of the characters (I wish I did!)I'm just playing around with them a bit!:)

"If we deny love that is given to us, if we refuse to give love because we fear pain or loss, then our lives will be empty, our loss greater"


Chapter Four

"You've been given something special, Maria. If you tell him and he turns you away, you don't have to worry, that tells you it wasn't meant to be. But, I know if you leave without confessing your feelings for him, you'll always be asking yourself 'what if'. Take my hand, Maria. Let me guide you."

Maria shook her head, fighting off her tears. "No, Mother. I can't! I'm just Maria Rainer, a postulant ready to take her vows at the end of September and become a nun."

The older woman also had tears in her eyes and shook her head before fading into thin air leaving Maria standing alone to let her tears fall.

Maria bolted upright on the bed and quickly looked around to take in her surroundings. She was still in Liesl's room fully clothed as was the younger girl next to her. Noticing it was still dark, she looked down at the clock on the bedside table.

"Only ten O'clock at night?" she said to herself in confusion. She had only been asleep for an hour, yet that dream felt so real! She wished it had have been real, because truer words had never been spoken. Maria went over the dream in her head quickly, trying to make sense of it all. It was too late; she was too late wasn't she? He was engaged now. She couldn't think, she barely even remembered what made her think that by her returning; she could ask the Captain for his love and live the life she wanted so desperately. She wanted to cry, scream and shout, demand the answers from God as to why he was doing this to her.

Maybe I need to sleep on it?

Tomorrow I can properly figure out what to do.

After coming to that conclusion, Maria tucked Liesl in and headed to her own room to pray for guidance and get some well earned rest.

Georg von Trapp sat alone in his study, looking down at his glass of whisky he'd barely touched and swirled it around before him. He couldn't get Maria out of his head. He hadn't been able to get her out of his thoughts ever since she arrived. He knew why, he'd felt this way before for another woman before, but it wasn't the woman he was currently engaged to, it was Agathe. For Georg, Elsa was a mask to cover up his despair for losing his late wife, an emotionless physical relationship with a woman who was 'perfect' for him just because people around him told him so. Of course, he didn't dislike her either, he wasn't lying when he complimented her with being "witty, charming, graceful and the perfect hostess", he hadn't lied about her being his saviour either, because she had dimmed his sadness over his heartache and made him smile again, but that wasn't enough. He thought of the children when he announced their engagement, the pain he felt when he saw his children trying to pretend to be happy and force fake smiles was truly heartbreaking. He'd convinced himself that they'd be a happy family again once he married Elsa, but the truth was there was only one reason - one person the family had felt whole again in the past couple of months.

A knock at the door broke him from his reverie.

"Yes?" asked Georg dryly, pulling a grimace for having his privacy interrupted.

"Georg? It's me, Max."

"Ah, yes come in!"

Max walked through the door boldly as always and motioned for permission to join Georg on the couch. After a confirmation from Georg, Max sat and began to speak.

"It's no use is it, you and Elsa?"

Georg lifted his gaze from his glass to his companion, almost in disbelief that Max had unexpectedly spoken those words so out of the blue! He took a deep breath before deciding to press him further. "What are you insinuating, Max?" Georg tried to let on that his temper had begun to rise, but it was mainly through pride and he wasn't one to appear so transparent. But, if Max could see it, maybe Elsa and Maria could too?

"Georg, I've been your friend for a very long time. You know as well as I do that she isn't right for you."

Max had once said to Elsa that he'd like to see the two of them get married for the money, but seeing Georg as he was now, completely infatuated – no – in love with Maria, Max knew that Georg hadn't made the right decision by getting engaged to the baroness after all.

"Elsa has been a constant, Max. Mar- Fraulein Maria is to be a nun. I can't let the children down or Elsa! She will be a brilliant mother to the children; we're all going to be very happy." Georg was a proud man and his defences were up, but Max could see right through them.

"Georg, my old friend, I can only trust that you'll make the right decision." Max got up from the couch to leave, but Georg stopped him before he reached the door.

"Max, I have made the right decision. Elsa's good for this family, she belongs here!"

Max sighed at his companion's blatant denial before replying: "who are you trying to convince, Georg? Me or you? I'm retiring to bed, I bid you goodnight." and with that, he opened the study door and walked out, leaving the Captain alone with his thoughts.

Sleep didn't want to approach Maria, it was either too hot or she couldn't get comfortable. Her mind was whirling too; she couldn't get her thoughts to rest.

It was getting unbearable.

Maria climbed out of bed, annoyed that her silly thoughts were keeping her from sleep. Looking over at the clock, she saw it was only eleven O'clock; not an inappropriate time to still be awake. She decided to take a walk out around the gardens, the beautiful landscape calmed her, and she hoped there'd be a nice breeze to help her cool down. Searching through her still packed bag, she grabbed a dress to replace her nightgown and headed outside.

The lit fire, the delicately painted cream walls, soft red carpet and comfortable cream leather sofa always made the study a calming, tranquil place for Georg. However, it offered no peace, just somewhere to run through his thoughts continuously. He sat, still looking at his now empty glass thinking about Maria. Why did she return if she missed her life at the Abbey as much as she said she had? When he saw at dinner, she didn't look like the Maria who'd entered the household at the beginning of summer. The twinkle in her eyed has disappeared and she seemed to be miserable.

He wanted answers; he wanted to know what direction his life was taking.

Max's words rung in his head, he was fooling himself, and he knew it deep down.

He was going to call off his engagement to Elsa.

Settling his glass down on the large desk in front of him, Georg headed out onto the terrace, a place that made him feel content and able to clear his head. Whilst on his way he started to plan out how he was going to end his relationship with Elsa, and try to initiate a conversation with Fraulein Maria and get to the roots of her departure and recent return.

The night was perfect. The moon shone brightly, reflecting off the flawless, still lake surrounded by the trees that enclosed the gardens. The outdoor lights illuminated the patio steps and guided Maria to the gates that hung before the lake. She looked out onto it, wondering how she got to this place, trying to comprehend how she could fall for a man who was a world apart from her, but so alike at the same time. She was convinced she was to live a life of service to God, yet she'd found herself back at the villa, trying to figure out a way to profess her love to this man. How could she ask for his love when he'd already given it to someone else? Whilst she could see that he and the Baroness were fond of each other, sometimes when they looked at each other, they just couldn't seem to look away unless someone or something distracted them. Maria repeatedly told herself he only thought of her as the children's governess or at the most: a respected member of staff, but she couldn't deny there was a look in his eyes that told her he felt the butterflies, the shortness of breath and the inability to look away too.

As she walked away from the lake towards the gazebo, Maria remembered one night before the party when she and the Captain had saw each other whilst taking a walk through the gardens after the children had gone to bed. They ended up sat on the stone bench outside the gazebo talking for just over an hour about the children. The Captain had thanked her once again for bringing happiness, laughter, music and most importantly: the children back into his life, asking what he could do for her in return. She had simply responded by saying she needed nothing in return, and repeating that the children wanted to be close to him again, she looked down at her hands as she realised she was blushing from the intense gaze he held towards her. She knew if she looked up she'd lock eyes with him again, something they'd done a few times before, it was something that had gotten more and more frequent and intense each time it happened. After a couple of moments of comfortable silence, the Captain turned to look at her again before initiating the conversation once more.

"May I ask you a question, Fraulein?"

Maria lifted her head, but looked out in front of her, careful not to make eye contact. "Yes, Captain?"

He took a minute to pause for thought before continuing. "Would you consider staying here longer than September? You've helped this family more than you'll ever know, and I know it'd mean the world to us... To the children if you could stay."

A small smile tugged at the corner of Maria's mouth at the Captain's slip of the tongue – something that hadn't gone unnoticed by him. "Captain, I'm to take my vows at the end of September. Therefore, as much as I'd love to..." she turned back towards him now, looking straight at him and of course, meeting his eyes "... I have to return to the Abbey. Of course, the children are welcome to visit me at any time, they know that."

"Yes, yes of course..." the Captain trailed off. Still holding his gaze with Maria's, they weren't sure how long it lasted, but a huge, sudden gust of wind broke the spell that seemed to captivate them, making the Captain turn away and look towards the house. He looked down at his silver wrist watch before turning back to his governess. "Thank you for the company, Fraulein. It was very much appreciated."

"Ah, it's my pleasure, Captain!" Maria laughed. She suddenly felt slightly paranoid at whether it would be deemed 'inappropriate' for a man like the Captain to meet with his children's governess socially. She shook it off quickly and mentally scolded herself. Everyone in the household was aware that they'd struck a friendship, nothing more. Before she could let her mind wander any further, she heard the Captain speak again.

"I thank you once again, Fraulein. I trust I'll see you tomorrow morning at breakfast. Goodnight." And with a small smile, he walked back into the house, leaving Maria alone on the bench with her thoughts... Also those all-too-familiar butterflies in her stomach.

Now, she was in the same spot almost a fortnight later, no longer wanting to become a nun. Oh she didn't even know what to do, so just sat, slightly hunched over looking down at her hands, trying to find a way to talk to the Captain, unaware that he'd be watching her from the terrace, wanting to do the exact same thing.

Georg looked out at where Maria had just been standing. He had only just ended his relationship with Elsa, something that was easier than expected. The Baroness handled herself with dignity and grace; a trait Elsa Schreader never lacked, and had even agreed with him, pointing out that her fondness for him wasn't enough for what she wanted or needed, ending by giving him a simple thank you for the time they'd spent together and a gentle kiss on the cheek good bye.

Now, he wondered how he was going to initiate a conversation with Maria, how was he going to ask her the questions he wanted answers for ever since she left. He gathered himself, tried to forget about the knot forming in his stomach and regained composure before descending from the terrace to the gardens to find Maria.

She was exactly where he was expecting her to be. Georg saw her sitting with her hands in her lap, looking like she was deep in thought, obviously unaware of the fact he was standing by her. He decided to catch her attention in any way possible.

"Hello." He didn't exactly have anything to say at first, he never felt so nervous when it came to starting a conversation with someone, not even when he'd first met Agathe, they were introduced by mutual friends so they didn't have a problem when it came to a free flowing conversation. Maria, however, was proving to be difficult as she only snapped her head up to look at him, not saying a word, he continued: "I thought I might just find you here!" Referring back to the night they'd bumped into each other. It seemed to work, she stood up to acknowledge him.

"Was... Was there something you wanted?" She asked, desperately trying to hide her nervousness and scolding herself for letting her nerves get the better of her. Why could she not be the outspoken girl she once was? It'd never been too difficult in the past.

"No, no, no! Sit down please." He saw her hesitate so repeated: "please!"

Maria slowly sat back down cautiously. The Captain joined her after motioning politely to sit next to her. They faced opposite directions, neither saying a word, trying to figure out what to say.

It was Georg that broke the silence once again by chuckling to himself. "You know I was thinking... I was wondering, um, two things: why did you return to the Abbey and what was it that made you come back? Maria thought carefully about her answer for a moment before replying. "Well I had an obligation to fulfill and I... Came back to fulfill it." She was happy with her answer, it was simple and honest. The Captain however, wasn't as satisfied with her answer.

"Is that all?" He pressed her further.

"Then I missed the children" She started to get frustrated, she could tell he was trying to catch her off guard, and he was doing it well.

"O-Only the children?" he asked with a small smile tugging at his lips, waiting for her answer.

"No. Yes!" She slipped up, and she knew he noticed it. "Isn't it right I should have missed them?"

The Captain laughed as he noticed her frustration after her slip of the tongue. She had missed him. "Well, yes. Yes of course! I was only hoping that perhaps you... Perhaps might..." he trailed off, but this time it was Maria who pressed him further to continue.

"Yes...?" She looked towards him inquisitively. Did he miss her too?

"Well" he started, trying to find the right words. "Nothing was the same when you were away... It'll be all wrong again after you leave... I just thought you might perhaps... Change your mind?" he ended looking almost sheepishly at her.

"Oh." Maria turned away from him, stood up and made her way to the entrance of the gazebo, her back turned to him. "I'm sure the baroness will be able to make things fine for you."

"Maria..." he got up to follow her. "There isn't going to be a baroness."

She raised her head at the unfamiliarity of hearing him address has as only 'Maria', she felt him walk towards her. "There isn't?" she asked as he walked slightly in front of her.


"I don't understand"

"Well we cut off our engagement you see and-"

"Oh, I'm sorry" Maria wasn't even thinking properly about what she was saying, like she said it for only because it was polite.

"Yes... You are!?" They both stopped walking inside the doorway of the gazebo.

"Mhm... You did?" she asked in surprise and they both looked each other, each trying to process what had just been said.

"Yes." He folded his hand behind his back and began to walk around until he was fully facing Maria before continuing. "Well, you can't marry someone when you're... ...In love with someone else. Can you?" They both held intense gazes at each other, look deep into their eyes.

Maria felt as though she was going to faint. Was this his way of telling her he was in love with her? She didn't have much time to think about it though. Before she knew it, he'd lifted her chin with his hand, and ever so slowly, leant in to touch her lips with his. Her knees were weak but once their lips locked, she somehow found strength and gently responded to his kiss.

As the kiss broke, Georg cupped Maria's face in her hands to look at her and smiled at her tenderly. Maria's eyed were half closed still and she felt completely content. "You know, the Reverend Mother always says: "when the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window."

His smile soon turned into a grin at hearing those words. "What else does the Reverend Mother say?"

"That you have to look for your life."

His expression turned serious as he finally knew he could ask: "is that why you came back?"

Maria only nodded; she was still amazed at the fact that she was still standing!

"And have you found it, Maria?"

"I think I have." She looked up at Georg and looked directly in his eyes. Yes, she was sure. "I know I have!"

"I love you." It was as if he couldn't wait to say it, like if he didn't tell her she'd disappear.

"Oh how can this be happening to me?" she whispered as he began to trace her face with his lips.

Two hours. That's how long ago they declared their love for each other. In the gazebo, Georg had told her that he loved from the moment she "sat on that ridiculous pine cone" and Maria replied with "I knew the first time you blew that silly whistle!" The feeling of his kisses still remained on her lips. She touched her lips with her fingers, surprised at the sensitivity and swelling they had. She still couldn't believe it, only a few hours ago she was trying to find a way to tell the children about how long she was planning to stay, but after Georg told her of his intentions to marry her. She'd be asking them for their permission to marry their father! Earlier in the gazebo, he asked who he should go to, to ask permission to marry her. She looked up through the glass roof as if seeking an approving confirmation from her mother, she knew she had it, so looked back to him and said: "well... Why don't we ask the children?" they said the last part in unison and laughed together before another long kiss.

The Captain walked Maria to her room but only subtly squeezed her hand and gave her a small wink goodnight. He knew people around the house may still be up, and would be suspicious if they kissed or hugged each other before they'd even had chance to announce their relationship.

As she closed the bedroom door behind her, she suddenly leaned backwards on it and burst into tears. She grinned through them, knowing they were tears of joy, and all the other emotions she'd been repressing. She held her head with her hands, trying to comprehend what just happened. She couldn't sleep properly now could she? Her mind was all over the place. What to do? Pray. Yes, she had to, she had to thank the Lord and pray for everyone. So, kneeling by her bedside, she began.

"Dear Father, I know the first night I arrived here I said I knew why you sent me here. Now I am certain! When I said I know you sent me here to prepare the children for a new mother, who'd have known it may be me? They say the Lord works in mysterious ways. Well... That saying could not be more apt! I pray that you continue to guide this family and myself along the right path. God bless Leisl, Fredrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl. God bless the Reverend Mother, the Sisters and everyone at the Abbey and God, bless the Capt-... God bless Georg." She smiled at the way his name sounded, although it was foreign for her to call him by his first name, she couldn't help but love the way it sounded off her tongue. "And finally, Lord: bless my mother, who; even in death, has been of so much help, more than she could ever know. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen." She then crawled into bed, still grinning to herself and she swore she had never been happier.

Finally, Maria fell asleep, ready to wake up and begin the rest of her life.

A/N: Originally this was going to be two separate chapters. But I felt awful for leaving the chapter three as I did. Thanks to everyone who's been reading! Only one more chapter to go!

Take care!

Charlotte :)