July 5, 1938

My life has changed drastically since I wrote in this book. I find myself closing my eyes and opening them again to ensure this isn't a just a dream.

It's really nothing short of an utter miracle. Here I am very early in the morning enjoying my first cup of coffee alone in peace. I can barely focus which is utterly unheard of for me.

It all began late yesterday afternoon. Elsa and I has just come back from town and I was feeling deeply depressed. We had been looking at engagement rings.

At first I thought that if Elsa and I got engaged my love for Maria would be cured instantly. So utterly untrue. Shopping for rings only made me miss her even more which I didn't think was possible.

I retreated to my study because I wanted and needed to be alone. After a few minutes, I could hear loud noise and caterwauling from outside. I was highly irritated. I had had an insufferable afternoon pretending to be blissfully happy on the outside while feeling like my heart had been ripped out on the inside.

I wanted and expected quiet. I got up and headed outside to see what the disturbance was and whom I needed to yell at/punish. It turns out that there enthusiasm was justified.

When I went outside, the sight I saw literally struck my breathless. It was her, my sweet angel. There she was standing below looking up at me with those beautiful pure blue eyes. I excused the children for dinner and we were alone. Being alone with her send a jolt of warmth up and down my entire body.

I suddenly notice the pained expression on her face. MY ENGAGEMENT! Of course the children told her. She looked heartbroken and it was my fault.

I had to fight my intense urge to run to her and take her in my arms. At that moment I wished I had been able to say, "Oh Maria, my beautiful precious angel, I'm so so sorry. I only became engaged because I thought you had left me for good. You the one I really love sweet angel."

I had to make a decision and I knew that. However I absolutely could not show any loving feelings to her or anyone else until I sorted things out with Elsa.

Nevertheless it was excruciating to watch her sad face and not be able to hold her. Of course the primal male desire to run down the stairs, grab her and kiss her senseless came up. That most definitely wasn't a viable option in any way shape or form.

After dinner I went out on my bedroom terrace to compose myself and think of what I was going to do. I felt so awful at dinner because Maria looked so painfully sad. I'm not used to seeing her without her beautiful smile that lights up every room she enters.

As I was debating between breaking "the rules" or being miserable in a loveless marriage for the rest of my life, I saw a most welcome and most beautiful sight. It was that sweet angel walking towards the lake. She looked so sad and pensive that it truly broke my heart.

Seeing her angelic figure in the moonlight made my decision for me. I couldn't be unhappy for the rest of my life because of societal expectation or rules In an instant, I was never sure of anything in my entire life.

Eventually Elsa came out looking for me. Maria was still in clear view so I'm certain she must have seen the handwriting on the wall. However, she started babbling incessantly. With all the emotional tension I was feeling, I was not prepared to handle the mindless talk.

I took a deep breath and prepared to call of the engagement. I was kind to her. I never truly loved her but I do care about her and I always will. I was in no way out to break her heart.

Her last remark absolutely shocked me. She glanced over towards the lake and said, "Somewhere out there is a young lady who will never be a nun!"

I stared at her in disbelief. Was I or shall I say were we THAT obvious?

Suddenly a strange feeling came over me! I felt like a school boy with a massive crush. I haven't felt that way since I was seventeen years old with a bad case of puppy love.

I felt afraid to go and talk to the women I love. I am a man that has faced battles, seen men die and willfully risked my own life for the love of my country. Yet, for all intents and purposes I was a seventeen year old frightened school boy. I finally took a deep cleansing breath and went to see her.

When I got close to the garden where she was sitting, I took a minute to just admire her. She was wearing my favorite dress and she looked ever so beautiful in it.

I took time to mull over my approach. There is difference between her and a woman like Elsa. The poor thing has been so sheltered. I knew I had to take a much slower approach. I had to fight my overwhelming desire to move quickly. It was difficult but I love her enough to restrain myself.

I worked up the courage to speak to her. I still felt like a nervous adolescent. I was sweaty, my hands were clammy and my mouth was as dry as a bone. I found myself second guessing everything I said to her just as if I were seventeen again and lovesick.

I asked her why she left and why she came back. Perhaps I was too direct but I had to know. She claimed that she came back to fulfill her obligation.

I knew there was more to it then that. I pushed her a little but I had to at that point. She mumbled something about missing the children.

I couldn't help but wonder if she missed me. I missed her so much it literally ached. I casually asked, "Only the children?"

She was so cute! First she meekly said yes but then said no very defensively. I didn't push it but I got my answer. I caught her slip and it made me very happy.

I asked her if she would consider staying with us. I was gradually working up to the love part by dropping hints that I couldn't bear to have her leave again. I had to take it slowly as hard as that was.

In the process of trying to be slow and sensitive, I inadvertently made her angry. She gave me an angry look, abruptly got up and coldly retorted, "Well, I'm sure the Baroness will be able to make things fine for you."

I called out to her, "Maria, there isn't going to be any Baroness!"

I noticed she reacted strongly when I called just by her name. I've never called her by her name without Fraulien in front of it. We tentatively and casually walked towards the gazebo. I told her I called off my engagement.

Finally, I worked up the courage to plainly tell her I love her. I find it ironic that a man decorated for his bravery had to "work up the courage" to talk to a women.

I turned stood beside her, took a deep breath and calmly said, "You can't marry someone when you are in love with someone else!"

I turned to face her and much to my relief I could see the love in her eyes! I could breathe again!

I added, "Can you?"

She was too choked up to speak but gently shook her head "yes." I very carefully pulled her to me for a kiss. I did not kiss her senseless like I have been threatening to do for days.

It was a soft sweet gentle kiss. I felt amazing. The excitement soared to great height knowing I was most likely the first person to kiss her.

We ended up talking for hours and we both spoke things that we haven't spoken in years if at all. What hit me was that all the issues we discussed were sensitive yet they flowed so easily. There was never a moment of hesitation.

I talked of the pain of Agathe. She talked about the abuse she suffered as a child. Although all subjects were sensitive, they flowed due to a protective layer of love and warmth.

I was ever so slightly assertive later on with the intimacy. Much to my relief, she didn't seem to mind. On the contrary she seemed to enjoy it which is even better. I decided to try and if I got the slightest hint of discomfort, I would draw back immediately.

During the second kiss we shared, I loosened her jaw slightly and very gently and slowly explored her mouth with my tongue. She was surprised at first but seemed to melt in and enjoy it.

Of course a women that has never ever ever been kissed of touched in any way shape or form by a man is going to be slightly surprised the first time she feels a mans tounge enter her sweet virginal mouth. That I expected.

After a while I had to force myself to sort of tone it down. Believe me, I KNEW full intimacy was absolutely out of the question.

I've been through that before. Agathe and I did not share full intimacy before the wedding. The difference is she had other suitors before me and had been kissed by at least one other man that I knew of. It is not going to be easy but if I survived once I will survive again.

So, in a few short moments we will announce our engagement to the children. I cannot wait to tell them. They will have a mother that they know loves them. Awaiting their reaction fills me with as much joy as the engagement itself.