The Living Proof

Maria was not sure which of the three sensations it was that woke her up from her sleep: the ray of sunlight that fell on her face, Georg's hand gently rubbing her very pregnant belly, or the stirring of life she could feel inside her. Even though Maria'd had a more peaceful sleep than she'd had in a while, she was glad to be woken up by even just one of these sensations; all three told her that she was waking up to a better place than even her dreams could provide.

To let Georg know she was awake, she smiled and covered his hand on her belly with her own hand. "Good morning, Captain," she murmured.

Her smile widened even further when she felt Georg's smiling lips caress the back of her neck. "Well, good morning, Fraulein," he murmured between two gentle kisses. "And how is the lovely mother this morning?"

Maria giggled and relaxed in his warm embrace she hoped never to get used to. "Isn't it a little bit early for me to be called that?"

"Myself and the seven children who are just waking up now would disagree with that," said Georg.

Maria sighed, lacing her fingers through his over her belly. "I suppose we should get up, then."

Georg sighed too, and gave her neck one more kiss before getting out of the bed. Immediately, he walked around the bed to her side, and helped her both sit up and stand up. Once she was steadily on her feet, Maria yawned and stretched her back. Opening her eyes again, Maria found her husband was looking at her with a soft smile. She raised a questioning eyebrow and said, "Yes?"

Her husband just leaned forward and kissed her lips before replying. "You look beautiful this morning."

"For a whale, you mean," muttered Maria, looking down at her 37-weeks-pregnant belly sticking between them.

"No, for the woman I love so much and sometimes still can't believe she is carrying my child."

Maria returned his soft smile, leaned forward, and rested her forehead against his chest while she took his hands. "Sometimes I can't believe it, either…after everything we've been through, how far we've come…"

He kissed the crown of her head tenderly. "I am so blessed."

"No, we are," corrected Maria, lifting her head to meet his eyes.

Georg got down on his knees and put his hands on Maria's stomach, just in time to feel the baby kick. "Well, good morning to you, too!" Georg said, grinning like a happy child. He leaned forward and kissed Maria's stomach. "I wish we didn't have to wait three more weeks to meet you."

"Tell me about it," said Maria, one hand caressing Georg's head while the other held her tummy. "Sometimes I feel like I'm going to explode, or that I will be pregnant forever. I just want to meet our baby."

Georg stood up with a sigh and caressed her cheek. "We have to be patient, Fraulein."

"Patience is not my strong suit, Captain," Maria shot back with a smile.

Georg chuckled and kissed her other cheek. "It isn't mine, either, but take it from someone who knows: no matter how we may feel about the situation," Georg pointed to her stomach, "he or she is the admiral of this ship, and we follow their orders only."

"Yes, sir!" said Maria with a salute, just like she had done the first day they had met. This caused Georg to laugh and kiss her again, more passionately. But before it could get too heated, both felt a strong pulse come from Maria's enlarged belly between them, and they broke apart.

Maria groaned slightly, holding her belly. "Perfect timing, little one," she murmured before asking her husband, "Mind if I use the bathroom first?"

"Go right ahead, darling," he said, giving her forehead a kiss before she waddled into the adjoining room.