Author's Notes: Sadly I do not own The Sound of Music or any of these wonderful characters.
This is a longer piece, beginning the day after the gazebo scene, and running through Maria and Georg's engagement until the wedding. I've been working on this story for ages and think I finally have it pretty much the way I want it, so I hope to update pretty frequently. There is a little bit of Max / Elsa romance in here too, but even if that isn't your sort of thing then please give this story a go anyway – it's almost all Maria/Georg, and you can easily miss out the Max/Elsa bits without losing track of the story.
Any comments, feedback or constructive criticism is really welcome so please leave a review if you have the time!
Max Dettwelier arrived at the Von Trapp villa just after lunch time to be greeted by a scene which could best be described as perfect domestic bliss. He found the whole family gathered outside on the lawn by the lake, the eldest children engaged in a game of cards whilst the younger ones occupied themselves with a set of skipping ropes and a ball. Their beaming smiles, so painfully absent over the last week, were now back in force, and the impresario felt a smile tug at his own face as he ran his eyes across them. When his gaze at last dropped to the master of the house himself, leaning against the trunk of a tree, his former governess lying against his chest, his smile became a grin.
"Uncle Max!" Brigitta saw him first and ran over to greet him.
"Hello, my dear!" he replied brightly.
"Oh Uncle Max, you should have been here!" Louisa came running as well.
"Missed something, did I?!"
"Father and Fraulein Maria – they're engaged…! I mean, they're going to get married! Isn't it wonderful?!"
"Told you last night did they?"
"No – this morning…. You don't seem at all surprised, Uncle Max."
The impresario laughed again and allowed the two girls to lead him over to their father.
"Well it's about time," he answered, "And I'm very happy for all of you... Now then…!"
He stopped walking a few paces from the tree. Neither Maria nor Georg had seen them approach. They were talking quietly, their heads close together and their hands clasped tightly.
"Ah, Max!" Brigitta's laugh had finally alerted Georg to the fact that they were being watched. He straightened up slightly and smiled in amusement as Maria flushed a delightful shade of pink.
"My congratulations to you both," Max replied bowing his head.
"Thank you, Herr Dettwelier," Maria answered, standing up and smiling.
"Max," he corrected her. He embraced her gently, kissing her cheek. "After all, you are practically part of the family now!"
"Fraulein Maria?" Marta called from across the lawn, "Will you come and play with us?"
Maria smiled at Georg and he shrugged.
"As much as I would like to, I'm sure I can't monopolise all of your time, my love," he kissed her cheek softly and she reluctantly released his hand.
The two men watched as she walked towards Marta and Gretl, stopping to kneel down beside them.
"She said yes, then?" Max asked ironically.
Georg laughed, thinking back to the rather frank conversation he had shared with the impresario the previous afternoon.
"I never asked you - how long had you known?"
"That you loved her?" Georg answered with a nod, "Since about five minutes after I saw you together!"
"Alright, alright..." the impresario chuckled at his own exaggeration, "I knew for sure when she left the night of the party... But I suspected long before then..."
"Yes… you and my daughters it seems…" Georg rolled his eyes in the direction of Liesl and Brigitta.
"How did they take the news?"
"Well… Very well," Georg answered with another smile, "I was going to wait 'til you'd returned to tell them but they knew something was afoot the moment they saw us at breakfast…" he suddenly frowned, "And you're later back than I thought you would be…. What kept you?"
"Oh, this and that," the impresario replied evasively, a smirk crossing his face. Georg frowned again.
"Did Elsa board her train safely?" he asked.
"No," Max answered, "As a matter of fact she's still at the Sacher. The first class coach was fully booked up."
Georg's eyebrows rose slightly and it was he who smirked this time.
"I offered to drive her to Vienna myself this afternoon," Max continued.
"You don't think that I should..."
"No I don't think that would be at all wise, Georg," he answered, "I think leaving a fair amount of distance between yourself and Elsa for a while would be prudent."
"Thank you for taking her," he answered, "Is she alright?"
"Yes, I'm sure she is," Max's eyes sparkled, "But I would ask you a favour, on her behalf..."
"If you could delay the formal announcement of your engagement..." he paused, "Just until she has had time to settle back into Vienna... a week should do it!"
"I just think for her to return to society after the announcement has been made..."
"Max..." Georg interrupted, "I understand perfectly."
The impresario nodded his thanks.
"So will you be returning to Vienna as well?"
"Why? Have I outstayed my welcome?!" Max feigned offence.
"No, no, of course not!" Georg answered quickly, "In fact I would be very grateful if you would stay... I don't think I know of anyone else more capable of re-dressing gossip!"
"And there will no doubt be plenty of that!"
Georg grimaced, his eyes flicking back to Maria.
They stood in silence for a moment longer.
"Anyway," Max said at last, "I had better go and get my things together. I imagine I shall be gone three or four days..." he trailed off, a glimmer coming to his eye, "I trust that everything will stay... under control here?"
"Whatever are you suggesting?"
"Nothing at all!" Max exclaimed. He looked over at Maria and smiled knowingly.
"No, I think I'm quite safe to leave you for now..." he paused, "She was a postulant after all..."
"Not for too long mind- I'm sure that that will become quite a problem soon enough!"
He began to walk back towards the villa.
"Max?" Georg called after him, "What will become a problem?"
The impresario turned, smiling rather wickedly, "Oh, this and that." He winked.
With a simple gold band, single cut diamond, and two sparkling midnight blue sapphires, the engagement ring somehow managed to be both fashionably modest and exquisitely beautiful. Just like the woman who would hopefully soon find it on her finger, Georg Von Trapp mused with a smile as he once again tilted the ring backwards and forwards, watching as light shone across its many facets.
His trip to Salzburg to purchase the ring had been one of the most enjoyable shopping trips he had ever undertaken. The whole city had felt fresh and new, abuzz with excitement, and certainly far happier than when he had last visited for that purpose*. The mood had been rather infectious, and indeed, anyone in Salzburg who knew anything at all about Captain Von Trapp would certainly have been surprised by him that day. After all, he was not usually a man who would find himself whistling his way through the streets, enthusiastically greeting shopkeepers he had never met before, and beaming at crowds of people with whom he had only the slightest acquaintance. He had even managed to look up at the onion tower of Nonnberg, and this time only felt a silly grin appearing on his face.
The ring had taken a long time to find, but he had known the moment he had laid eyes on it that it was the only one he wanted for his fiancée.
With that in mind he had asked her to take dinner with him that very evening. With the engagement ring safely tucked away in his pocket he had made his way to a small restaurant which he had often frequented with Agathe. Georg Von Trapp was the very last person who the manager had expected to see walking through the doors that August afternoon, but he was well remembered and had reserved his favourite table.
As their appointed hour fast approached, Georg surveyed himself critically in the mirror. A charcoal grey suit and tie, silver cufflinks, his hair combed neatly enough, cleanly shaven… he could not help but chuckle as his eyes panned up the glass to see his own worried refection staring back at him.
A memory, twenty years old, suddenly came to mind.
April 29th. Two days after the christening of his first command, and exactly fifty-two hours after he had first lain eyes on the beautiful Agathe Whitehead, he had stood in front of a mirror, steeling himself to see her again. He had been taking her to the theatre, he remembered - a relatively simple prospect, especially since three other couples would be attending too, yet one which - in the course of the fifty-two hours - had somehow become far more terrifying than anything he had ever known. Despite bragging of himself as a Casanova or some other legendary lover, and despite the (often exaggerated) number of 'conquests' he had once foolishly boasted about, the mere prospect of another conversation with a woman he suspected he could actually come to care for, had been enough to render him with such a nervous jitter that he had been hardly able to speak a word to Agathe Whitehead for most of the evening.
He wondered, as he critically examined the extra lines on his forehead, whether two decades later he really felt any more prepared.
Perhaps not, he decided as he turned away from the mirror again, tucking the engagement ring into his lapel pocket. He took a deep breath.
It had been proven again then, that the right woman could have the unique power to strip years of experience from a man.
For her part, Maria had never before known such a heightened sense of both excitement and nervousness. She too stood in front of a full length mirror, though unlike her fiancé, she was not alone. Liesl, Louisa, Brigitta, and Frau Schmidt were staring at her reflection too, all of them wearing identically self-satisfied smiles.
"You look beautiful," Liesl ventured after a few seconds.
Maria managed a smile at the woman in the mirror, who looked so different from her usual self that she was sure no one would ever recognise her.
"Thank you Liesl," she answered, offering her arm gladly to the Captain's daughter as she stepped closer, "And thank you for the dress."
Liesl beamed. She had managed to find the dress earlier that afternoon after a suggestion from Frau Schmidt that it might fit Maria perfectly. In a powder blue colour, with a cream bodice and short cream sleeves, Liesl had always declared that it did not suit her colouring, and the dress had lived in the back of her wardrobe since the year she had been given it for her birthday.
"But it will suit your complexion tremendously, Fraulein!" she had declared, and indeed the dress did do just that.
It had not fit terribly well at first, though this had not proved a problem for long. Liesl, Louisa, Frau Schmidt, and even the cook – who had, after all, always harboured a secret desire to become a dress-maker – had quickly taken it upon themselves to make various alterations, and Maria had spent a large part of the afternoon whilst the Captain was in town standing with her arms spread out as the housekeeper and other would-be-seamstresses bustled around her, brandishing needles, pins, clips and reels upon reels of different coloured threads. Finally, with the aid of the upstairs maids, who Frau Schmidt had marshalled into helping, the dress had been transformed- the waist was cinched in, the sleeves puffed out, and the neckline and bodice entirely refitted to Maria's measurements.
When the housekeeping staff finally presented the dress to Maria she had been rather overwhelmed, seeing their gesture as a true testament to their acceptance of the engagement.
With a small string of pearls also borrowed from Liesl around her neck, her outfit was finally complete. Maria only hoped that it would be appropriate for wherever the Captain was taking her- after all, he had refused to tell her the name of the restaurant, and had simply reassured her with a wink and a promise that it would be a surprise she would very much enjoy.
As the clock in the hallway chimed six, Maria found herself walking out onto the landing, the fluttery feeling in her stomach intensifying with every step she took. She saw the Captain the moment she reached the bannister rail. He was standing with his back to the steps, staring across the lobby, one hand resting against his lapel, the other holding a small spring of Edelweiss.
The fluttery feeling in her stomach grew again as she began to descend the stairs towards him.
He did not turn around until she reached the second set of steps, and then seemed to flinch slightly in surprise as he caught sight of her. She stopped, suddenly self-conscious, until she saw a smile spreading across his face. The look of pure, undisguised and unashamed admiration which he gave her made flush bright red, even as she returned it with a shy smile of her own.
Her feet seemed unable to take another step as he walked slowly up the staircase to meet her. His eyes remained on hers the entire time, and for a second she made to chastise herself for noticing before, with another smile, she checked herself, and for the first time allowed herself to admire him without feeling guilty. The effect was quite dramatic, and she suddenly felt her breath catch once again, her stomach now spinning in somersaults as he stopped on the step below her.
"You look absolutely exquisite, my darling," he whispered just loudly enough for her to hear. She blushed again.
"So do you, Captain," she managed before breaking his gaze in embarrassment.
The stupid, silly smile remained firmly fixed on his face as he gently lifted his hand.
"If you will permit me…?"
He held out the Edelweiss and she nodded carefully, unsure of exactly what he intended to do until he unclipped the pin. Delicately, he attached it to the bodice of the dress, just below the neckline, and though he took great pains not to touch her, she still felt herself shiver once again.
"Thank you," she whispered.
His lips curled into a smile, and as her gaze dropped towards them, she saw him beginning to move closer. Immediately she remembered the previous evening and their gentle, wonderful kisses in the gazebo. It was strange, she mused distractedly - she had never kissed a man before in her whole life, yet all throughout day she had not been able to help thinking about it, and wanting to feel his lips on hers again. Perhaps it was one of those things which became more desirable the more often it was done.
His lips were mere millimetres from her own, his face close enough to hers for Maria to smell a delicious concoction of soap, cologne and some distinctly masculine fragrance of his own, when suddenly they were interrupted by the sound of a stifled giggle from somewhere above them.
Immediately they both spun in the direction of the noise to see the Captain's five daughters clustered against the bannister rail. They did not quite have time to hide their grins as the couple turned towards them, and although Maria felt herself blushing yet again, she could not help but grin back at them.
The Captain merely fastened his daughters with an inquisitive look, raising his eyebrows towards them as though enquiring what on earth it was that they found so amusing. He could not fool them for long though, for the girls knew their father well enough to see his mouth twitching into the tell-tale smirk he was trying to hide.
They erupted into giggling again as Georg's face finally fell into a smile.
"Now just what's so funny, hmm?" he asked them, sweeping his arm suddenly around Maria and pulling her to his side. He kissed her forehead gently before looking back towards his daughters.
Their giggling intensified and Maria watched as her fiancé rolled his eyes and waved them away as though quite exasperated.
"Go on, off with you all!" he exclaimed, leading Maria towards the front door, "And I expect you in bed and asleep by the time we get back!"
He winked at them.
They were suddenly gone in another chorus of giggling and scampering of footsteps.
Georg chuckled and squeezed Maria's arm as he turned back to face her.
He gestured towards the door.
*from my second story, Revelations.