Your reviews, encouragement and interest in this story has been amazing so far :) Thank you. At some point I shall try to sit down and actually answer your reviews. Although if you ask me anything I will get back to you ASAP.
Hope you enjoy this next instalment.
It was her laugh he heard first, that sound of pure unadulterated joy. He turned, looking around wildly, searching for her; it had been so long, too long, since he'd heard that sound.
It was then he saw it, a flash of white floating across his field of vision, and heard her laugh again. He followed her instinctively, down the corridor of their Villa.
All he could see was white; she wore a cloak of it, shielding her from his view. Her laugher was ringing in his ears as he kept up his pursuit.
She turned to the left and with growing triumph he realised that she'd ran straight into the master bedroom, he had her now he thought the rush of impending success flooding his veins, the stark white of her flowing robe contrasted wildly with the darkness of the room, looking supremely out of place against the dark wood of the room and the navy of his bedspread.
His breathing grew heavy; he was so close to what he wanted most. He reached out towards her now still figure, the tips of his fingers brushing against the pure white silk of her robe. "Caught you," he told her, his voice somewhat hoarse with desperation.
"So you have," she stated, her voice filled with mirth, not sounded the least bit perturbed by her capture. She turned in his embrace and his hand cupped her face, pushing the hood out of the way as he brushed his thumb over the curve of her cheekbone. She leaned into him, her fingers pressed against the back of his neck, pulling him closer to her.
Her lure was too much for him to resist and he lowered his head as she tilted her face upwards and he brushed his lips against hers, revelling in her soft sigh when he kissed her. Her mouth opened under his, deepening the kiss when she brought her hands to his face and drew him closer to her.
She moaned quietly against his mouth and that one sound had him fighting to keep a grip on his self control, her lips were so warm and soft that he knew he could lose all track of time just through kissing her. He could feel her pulse speed up underneath his fingertips as he brushed his hands over her neck
Her fingers curled into his hair, and she arched into him slightly, her breasts crushed against his chest, as he ran his hand from her throat to her hip, tugging her hips closer into his. He trailed his fingers down, separating her robe and letting it drop to a puddle at her feet. There was nothing underneath it, just her soft skin and luscious curves. She was wrapped around him now and he picked up her small form easily, dropping her onto the bed, covering her with his own body. She pressed herself against him and her name broke free from his lips on a tortured groan, "Maria..."
Georg woke with a start, his entire body tight with unfulfilled need, his brow slick with sweat. He'd dreamed of her, he realised with a start, a postulant who had been nothing but a thorn in his side for the very few hours that he'd known her. And yet in that dream he'd wanted her beyond belief, in a way he hadn't wanted a woman in years.
The start of the dream hadn't been unusual, in fact if anything it was a recurring nightmare, one in which he had chased Agathe through the house, never quite able to catch her, but she had never worn a robe such as that, and in this dream Agathe had never even been a feature; it had been that damn girl he'd wanted all along, who he'd chased after.
He very rarely dreamed of women other then Agathe, and if he did then they were faceless apparitions. He never saw their faces or heard their voices. And yet in this dream he had been consumed with wanting for the young Fraulein and only her.
Why? Why did she have this effect on him? She was not what he had ever looked for in a woman. He knew men who went after innocence, determined to debauch it, but it had simply never been that much a draw for him. He respected it but it was not what he sought out, he wanted an experienced woman who would know the situation up front, knew not to expect too much of him. Therefore why he had fixated on the young, virginal governess?
He pressed his fingers against his temples; he did not want to even dwell on the subject. It was no doubt just down to the simple fact that he had been a while without a woman and that she had managed to get under his skin, to irritate him and somehow the two had merged in his mind to create that godforsaken dream; there could be no other reason. He most certainly was not attracted to her, she was pretty, there was no denying that but there was none of Elsa's cool beauty or sophistication about her, none of Agathe's quiet gracefulness, nothing that a man of his status should be drawn to.
Except that clear laugh, those bright blue eyes that sparked fire at him. Enough! He screamed at himself, his hand clenching in frustration. She was his children's governess; she was off limits simply due to that fact, not to mention her religious calling. Not that he even really wanted her, he corrected himself. He would go to Vienna in a few hours and he would see Elsa, continue the process of wooing her, Elsa was what he and his children needed, elegant and sophisticated, she accepted what he was willing to offer her and he knew that as a role model for his children he could do no better. Society adored her. Then once he'd proposed and she'd accepted he could press forward with the more physical side to their relationship, his intentions towards Elsa were proper and therefore he had not tumbled her into bed as he normally would have with an attractive widow. That would surely take his mind off the girl who slept just down the hall, completely unaware of the havoc she prompted within him.
The morning air was cool, the air and ground still damp from last night's storm, it was strangely calming, especially after such an unsettled night. Jangling his car keys in his hands, Georg turned to Franz, telling him, "Any problems, just get in touch."
Franz gave a slight incline of his head. "Of course, Sir. Do enjoy your trip."
"I'm sure I will," Georg assured him, watching as the man walked smoothly back towards the house. His hand was on the car door when he heard the already familiar tones of Fraulein Maria calling after him.
He turned, his teeth already gritted. "Fraulein, do you remember what I said about shouting?" he asked dryly.
"Not to," she offered, seemingly unperturbed by his warning.
"Exactly, and since you seem to recall this it makes it all the more baffling that you would run out here screeching at the top of your lungs."
"Oh that is not the top of my lungs, Captain," she told him. "I can be much, much louder."
His eyes narrowed, he wasn't sure if she was just incredibly honest or if she was deliberately trying to provoke him. "Well I'm thrilled that you managed to restrain yourself to such an extent, although in future I ask that you show even more control and keep your voice down."
"I shall endeavour to try, Captain."
He wondered if it was possible to hear one's own teeth grind in frustration. "You shall not try, Fraulein, you will do."
Her blue eyes flashed and for the briefest of moments he wondered whether or not the young Fraulein might actually have a slight temper on her. Her shoulders straightened and he saw her take in a deep breath before she replied, "Of course, Sir. Now if I might have a moment?"
He checked his watch and nodded. "If it is just a moment," he confirmed.
Again she looked as though she were holding back, her mouth twitching as though she'd very much like to say something else to him. It should annoy him that an employer of his was having such obvious thoughts and yet for some odd reason it actually amused him greatly that this woman who was planning to take a vow of obedience seemed to greatly resent being told what to do. "I was simply wondering if you'd be back for Tuesday?" she asked.
"Tuesday," he echoed.
"Yes, for Marta's birthday."
"I know what the day signifies," he near enough growled. "What I'm trying to figure out is why it features so prominently in your mind." He held his hand up when she went to reply, shaking his head to tell her not to intersect quite yet. "In answer to your question Fraulein I shall not be back in time. I have left Marta's gift with Frau Schmidt, she shall pass it on to her."
Maria's lips thinned. "What would you like me to plan for the day? Do you have any traditions?"
"You shall follow the instructions I've already given you," Georg told her, checking his watch again, it was a long drive and he was anxious to set off before the children awoke and he had to say goodbye to them.
"But it's her birthday!" Maria protested. "Surely the children can have a day just to play, to enjoy themselves and eat cake."
"It is just another day," Georg sighed. "And therefore my children shall conduct themselves as they would on any other day"
"No, Fraulein, I shall not argue with you on this, they shall stay on schedule." He turned away from her. "I shall be back in a few weeks." He turned to leave once more, could still feel her eyes burning into his back when another thought occurred to him. "Actually Fraulein, before I leave I would like to discuss something with you."
Maria felt her eyes brighten; maybe the Captain wasn't quite as remote as he made out, not quite as stringent about rules and regulations as he appeared.
"It is in regards to Liesl, although the loyalty you showed to her last night was...admirable it was misplaced."
Her hopes died at those words and she felt her irritation with the man in front of her start to bubble underneath the surface again. Never had she met someone who challenged her patience in such a way, he may have been grieving for his wife but the man just did not seem to appreciate what he had left or even that his children were grieving as well. "Meaning?" she asked tightly.
"I know that Liesl was meeting that boy on the grounds last night, and you giving her a cover story is not in her best interests. I do not wish her to have any sort of contact with him, and should he appear at the house while I am away you are to ensure that there will not be a repeat of last night."
"It is just a crush, Captain."
Georg shook his head; Lord she really was incredibly innocent. "It may just be youthful infatuation but these things can easily spiral out of control and should word spread that they are out together, at night, alone..." He let out an annoyed hiss. "Even you must be aware of the effect that sort of rumour would have on Liesl's reputation."
"Then provide them with a chaperone," Maria replied unthinkingly. "If you remove the forbidden aspect then perhaps the infatuation will burn out sooner."
"No, he is not a suitable suitor for my daughter," Georg snapped.
Her forehead creased into a frown. "Because his family is not as prominent as yours in society?" she guessed wildly.
"Believe it or not that has not been one of my considerations," he bit out, unsure why he felt so insulted at her words; it was a natural reaction for someone to have. He was a high ranking member of Austrian Society, and Agathe's family had been of equal standing, but in actual fact that was through pure chance, they had married for love, status had had nothing to do with it. Irritation flooding his veins he stepped closer to the young governess, invading her personal space so that she had to crane her neck slightly to look him in the eye. "He is not suitable due to his and indeed his family's political leanings; I assume that I do not need to elaborate on that." He arched his eyebrow at her.
Maria paled, knowing instinctively what he meant, though she had never held any political believes in her life before she did not agree with any of the Nazi partys philosophies and the news of an impending Anschluss did little to allay her fears for her beloved country. "I see," she murmured, her eyes flickering to stare at the ground.
For once Georg decided that perhaps she did in fact see his main objection was a valid one. He would not have Liesl pulled into the political ugliness that was brewing throughout the country. "I'm glad I finally seem to have your agreement on at least one aspect," he drawled dryly. "As I said Fraulein I do not want a repeat of last night, it is not suitable behaviour from my daughter and I trust that you will keep her too occupied within her studies for her to lend a thought towards the boy. Do I make myself clear."
"You do," she confirmed.
"Good. I shall see you when I return then, and I shall expect a full report on the children's progress."
Maria felt the urge to roll her eyes at that statement, whenever it seemed he was about to redeem himself he seemed to realise what was happening and stop himself, instead laying down some ludicrous new rule, withdrawing himself from the situation. "Of course," was all she replied, fixing her bright smile back on her face. She would keep Liesl and indeed all the children busy and she would of course continue their studies but she would do it in her own way and she would ensure the children had fun for a change.
Looking in the rear view mirror, Georg noticed that that bright almost luminous smile was back on that girl's face again, and he had a sinking feeling about leaving her with his children. Surely she knew that he would take any deviations from his orders most seriously?
I like to think that the pair of them saw each other after the incident the night of the thunderstorm, as Maria was clearly on his mind when the Captain returned to the villa. I also think he wouldn't have been overly happy at her covering for Liesl.