Disclaimer: I do not own the Sound of Music or any of its characters.
This is my first piece of fanfic, and reviews/constructive criticism are very welcome. I am keen to improve my writing style so I can try and do these wonderful characters justice.
It was a very interesting set of circumstances, Georg Von Trapp mused rather ironically - one of those rare and serendipitous moments of one's life when the fates seemed to conspire to work together, however unknowingly. Or in this case, he considered, not the fates as much as Max Dettwelier, Baroness Ebberfeld and, he suspected, his three eldest daughters.
Baroness Ebberfeld had been the first - she and her luncheon for 'well-to-do' ladies. A garden party inspired by the great traditions of the British Isles, Elsa had read aloud from the invitation before muttering that this was sure to be the fault of Fraulein Ebberfeld and her recent engagement. Apparently the young woman had developed an insatiable enthusiasm for reassuring her Anglophile fiancé that she had not lost touch with her ancestral roots, despite having taken every one of her breaths in continental Europe, Elsa had reliably informed him. And though she thoroughly despised the idea of going - she had taken great pains to reassure him - for she was certain that the party would be merely a glorified fund-raising event for Baroness Ebberfeld's 'Women Helping Heroes' Foundation, she was most certainly a well-to-do lady, and it would therefore be quite awful if she were not to attend. 'But can you imagine Georg,' she had exclaimed acidly, 'she will have monograms on every napkin, plate, cup and saucer… I wonder that she will not have engraved the sandwiches and iced the scones with her W.H.H…!'
He could not imagine, and indeed had no desire to. And at least the 'W' was very much in place in that acronym, he had considered as he had kissed her on the cheek and bid her goodbye earlier that morning.
So Baroness Ebberfeld and her monogrammed table settings were occupying Elsa for the day, and next it had been the turn of Max Dettwelier, a cashed-in favour, and exactly eight tickets to the circus. His children had initially been a little disappointed when they had discovered that neither their father nor their governess would be accompanying them, but following a conference together, it appeared that the eldest girls had managed to change their minds. Suddenly they were all enthusiastically agreeing with the impresario's allusion that with only their gullible Uncle Max for company they would be able to get away with all sorts of things which Fraulein Maria would be far too canny to let slip by…..
So somehow that left just him and the aforementioned Fraulein Maria together for the afternoon.
Ordinarily he would have found something to distract himself with - before the temptation to distract himself with her became too great to resist - but on that particular Saturday afternoon he really did need her help with something.
Well, perhaps with several things, he smirked as he made his way towards the salon, reprimanding himself even as he thought it. Perhaps he would give a schilling to Baroness Ebberfeld's W.H.H for every inappropriate thought he entertained about the governess that day, he decided, rolling his eyes at his own absurdity as he tapped his knuckles lightly against the open door.
Maria seemed not to hear him. She was sitting on the couch, her face buried in a book, wearing the same blue dress which she had worn the night of the puppet show. His favourite.
He sighed in annoyance. That was two then.
He tapped again, louder this time, and Maria looked up from the book, startled.
"Oh, Captain!" she smiled broadly at him and he felt his heart flutter peculiarly in his chest.
And four, he decided as he smiled back, suddenly filled with an absurd desire to hear her call him by his given name.
He cleared his throat uncomfortably and stepped inside the room.
"Sorry to startle you-" he began.
"Oh no, not at all," she answered, folding a bookmark into the correct page, "I was just a little absorbed…"
She closed the cover.
Jane Eyre. He smirked.
"Ah, Miss Bronte has you under her spell then?" he asked.
"Yes, it's a most fascinating book," she smiled again and motioned for him to come further into the room, "Liesl lent me her copy and told me that I must read it…"
He chuckled. Yes, he was quite sure that Liesl would think it very suitable reading material. After all, a young English tutor who won the heart of the master of the house…. He was almost proud of his daughters' deviousness. He chuckled again.
"What's so funny, Captain?"
"Oh… ah, just remembering something I heard once - that Miss Bronte and the like were uniquely responsible for putting fancy, ridiculous ideas into women's heads," he lied - not well, he decided -"It's what we men sometimes said over a port at parties," he answered her frown, "Whilst the ladies sat entertaining each other with fantasies of Rochesters and Heathcliffs and cautioning each other to look out for mad wi-" he caught himself, "But I ought not to give away the ending," he went on after a pause, "If you haven't read it before?"
"Oh no, I haven't…" she smiled down at the book.
"Yes, I don't suppose such reading material would be condoned in Nonnberg Abbey, would it Fraulein?" as usual he could not resist teasing her a little.
She coloured slightly, looking suddenly guilty, "No, I suppose not, Captain."
He tut-ted, but winked at her when she looked him in the eye again. She blushed properly.
"Don't worry Fraulein, I won't tell on you…"
She looked up again rather scornfully and he shrugged playfully.
"Scout's honour," he held up his hand.
"You were a scout, Captain?" she looked amused.
"Well, no…" he admitted, "But I can give you my word as an officer of the Imperial Navy-"
She interrupted with a laugh and he frowned.
"What?" he asked, bemused, as she seemed to bite her tongue on something.
"No, no, nothing…" she reassured him quickly, though there was still a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
He sat down beside her.
"Fraulein…?" he tried to make his tone sound dangerous, and he very nearly managed, except that he was beginning to think that she now knew him far too well for that.
"Yes, Captain?" she replied would-be-innocently.
He raised his eyebrows and leaned back on the sofa, though when she still did not deign to reply he leant forwards again, and seizing the book from her hands, flicked it through to the last page.
"Reader I-" he began to read aloud.
"No, you'll spoil it Captain!" she exclaimed, outraged though definitely amused.
He lowered the book to meet her gaze and held it for a few moments in a challenge.
"I was just thinking that it sounded rather pompous," she spilled out suddenly.
He lowered the book again.
She shrugged, smiling again.
"I have half a mind to tell you the ending just to punish you for your insolence, Fraulein," he teased.
"I suppose you are used to women swooning over lines like that…" she faltered abruptly, her eyes widening as she suddenly wondered if she had gone too far.
"Swooning?" he leant back on the sofa cushions, stretching an arm out across the back of the chair.
She coloured again.
"Now that is a notion from here," he flicked a hand against the book as he closed it again, "Swooning indeed…"
She regarded him warily and he laughed, waving his hand.
"Anyway, Fraulein," he changed the subject, "I have a favour to ask of you."
Eight, nine, and ten.
He gritted his teeth.
"It is Louisa and Brigitta's birthdays next week, as I am sure you already know…" she nodded, "And I must confess that I am at rather a loss to know what to buy them…"
She smiled, this time affectionately rather than in the teasing way she had been.
"… the boys I can just about manage with," he went on, "Soldiers and wooden fortresses… telescopes, model boats…" he waved his hand, "All the things I wanted at that age. But the girls…"
"Of course I will help Captain," she said.
"Excellent! Thank you," he clapped his hands, rising to his feet again, "Then I thought we might take a trip into town…" she suddenly looked rather surprised, "… together… now…" he went on awkwardly, cursing the fact that once again all his mental faculties seemed to have taken a leave of absence in the presence of the Fraulein, "… since everyone else seems uh… occupied for the afternoon…"
He watched as something flashed over her expression and wondered for a moment whether she was as nervous about them spending time alone together as he was.
"… unless the mysteries of Miss Eyre are too compelling…?"
He raised his eyebrows again, smiling as her expression fell back into a grin.
"Not at all. I would be very happy to accompany you… in fact I can't think of anything I would rather do than help you pick out presents for the girls!"
She set her book down with a flourish, beaming at him as he inwardly winced, numbers eleven through fifteen flashing through his mind.
She mistook his expression for trepidation about the shopping trip.
"Oh don't worry Captain," she reassured him, "We'll find them something lovely. Why just the other day, Louisa was saying…"
He stopped listening as he followed her out of the salon, his eyes dropping traitorously down her figure as she lead the way into the foyer. Perhaps he would make it an even thirty.
"… shame they are both in the same week!" mercifully he heard the end of what she was saying.
"Ah, well you have the precision of the Navy's scheduling to blame for that, Fraulein," he answered immediately, and without thinking.
"My uh… shore leave… fell at the same time each year," he explained gently.
He waited as her expression of confusion changed into one of understanding and then embarrassment.
He cleared his throat, chuckling slightly at the sudden awkwardness which settled over them.
"I'll bring the car around in about fifteen minutes then, Fraulein?" he asked finally.
She nodded and he smirked again as he turned towards his study door.