One Last Time

Maria stood by his door, hesitant to knock. She knew, that once she was in there, she'd break down into tears.

But no. Her husband needed her. He called for her. She needs to grab this opportunity, before all is too late. She brought up her trembling hand to the door, and knocked. She opened the door.

As she came in, she couldn't help but get tears in her eyes as she saw the sight in front of her. She closed the door behind her and went to sit by the side of his bed.

"Ah, my Maria," he said. Maria's eyes watered, her heart pounding with nervousness and love and panic, knowing that that might be the last time he'd say her name. "Oh, Georg," she muttered, hands flying up her mouth. She moved rather quickly to hug her beloved, Georg's hands moving to soothe her. Maria started to sob.

"Oh, my Georg. Oh..." she said through sobs. Georg smiled his half-smile, kissing her hair and rubbing circles behind her back.

"There, there, Maria, it's alright," he said. Maria just sobbed, soaking her husband's chest, relishing the feeling of his still beating heart. He had been diagnosed of cancer about a year a go, and every single day has not gone without a worry and lots of love. He and Maria lived a fruitful marriage, and she knew very well that there will be one day God will take them.

Now Georg was here, bedridden, with Maria hugging him, relishing the possible last few moments. She strived to remain strong for him, prayed to God, and showed him all the love she has for him. Doubled- maybe tripled everything she wants him to know for him.

She knew Georg was going to say his goodbyes, he just finished with the children, and now her.

"Maria," he muttered through her hair. She sobbed a bit more. "Shh, shh, it's alright. I'm still here. I'm always here," he said. Maria looked up at him, eyes filled with tears. He grabbed ahold of her hand and put it on his chest, smiling at her. "I'm always right here."

Maria couldn't help but a cry more. "Oh...Georg...I...oh Georg I love you," she sobbed, her free hand flying to her mouth again and whispered the last three words. Georg smiled at her and cupped her cheek.

"You know Maria, at the very first day I saw you, to admit I thought you look beautiful- the dress I called ugly, I thought how could someone so beautiful wear something like that?" he started. Maria chuckled through sobs. Georg wiped her tears away with his thumb.

"When you defiantly blew that whistle, I knew I had my match. I was furious you wouldn't follow the rules I set that time, and at the same time I was amused. No other governess has done that to me," he continued, now caressing her cheek with his thumb.

"Every single day after that, there was something in me that always led my thoughts to you. So when I arrived, when we fought by the lake, yes I was furious, yet when you showed me what I was actually doing wrong, I was grateful. I was actually thankful you came into our lives," he said. Maria just looked at him, her heart swelling with love and worry and her stomach doing somersaults. She held the hand he was putting on her cheek. It was pale.

"Days after that, I started to develop huge feelings for you, until I fell for you. It broke my heart to see you broken when you came back, but that night in the gazebo was something really special for me. And you of course," he chuckled. Maria did as well, still sniffling. She wasn't sobbing a huge fit, but there were still tears streaming down her face.

"When we married, I was the happiest man alive. I enjoyed the time we had together at Paris. It was the most beautiful alone time we had. Then, with the Anschluss and us leaving Austria, I don't know how much love I felt for you for doing your role as mother and my ever wonderful wife. You were always there, and I was as well. You helped me to protect the children, and encouraged me to not give up. At that time, I do not know why I deserve a woman like you," he continued, smiling at his beloved, cupping her cheek. Maria did remember all those times. She was still crying, now gasping for air. She hugged him, hugged him as if he would be lost from her forever, so she held on. She held on to the love of her life- her Captain.

Georg chuckled. "Stop crying, Maria. I'm not even dead yet. Look, I'm still breathing," Georg joked, trying to light up the mood. But he knew, he knew very well, maybe moments from now he may take his last breath. Ever since he had cancer he thanked God for waking him up every single day.

"V...Very f-funny, G-Georg," Maria sniffed, trying to suppress a smile.

"Here, lay beside me," Georg said, scooting to the side and patting the space beside him. Maria smiled, body trembling as she removed er shoes and lay on the bed beside her beloved. She draped her arm around his chest, and Georg returned the action. He kissed her forehead- one kiss that spoke of all the love and respect he held for her- the kiss that was better than a thousand kisses on the lips.

"So...where was I? Oh..." he coughed a little. "...when we arrived here in America, I was happy. I felt that we were safe. Then we led a family, with three new beautiful children from you," he winked. Maria faintly giggled.

"Now that we're here, I want to say..." This is why I hate this word. "...goodbye. I know it hurts. It hurt me to see Agathe die, and I know it hurts for you to see me like this," he said. He made her look into his eyes and smiled. "Just promise me you won't be like me when I'm gone. Don't shut everyone out. You did say 'love them all'," he added. Maria closed her eyes and nodded.

"Good. Well, I guess it's goodbye then, Fräulein?" Georg said. Maria took a deep breath. "Good...I can't say it," she said, whispering the last words. Georg smiled weakly. "I love you," he said, cupping her chin. Maria placed her left hand on his right cheek. "I love you more, my Captain," Maria said, sobbing. Georg leaned forward and kissed her gently on the lips. Maria instantly responded and let her tears flow.

They broke away, breathless, and yet still smiling- or rather trying to smile.

"Thank you for everything Maria. Thank you for opening my eyes. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for always being there for me, for better or for worse-" he gulped- "or sickness and in health."

Maria stared at him. Her tears were flowing down her chin. She felt sad. She felt so sad. Why does this have to hurt so much?

He kissed her nose, like they usually do. He stared into her eyes. He knew it would be hard for Maria; for his Maria. It does hurt to see her like this, to see her like this because of him. His eyes started watering, and he pulled her into a hug while kissing her forehead.

They lay there together, like that, hugging and caressing and kissing, whispering words of thanks and farewell, of love and of sadness, tears soaking the bedcover.

A few moments later, Maria fell asleep, hugging her husband. Georg was hugging her back as well. He sighed contentedly.

"Lord, I am now ready," he breathed. He closed his eyes.

"You may take me now," he looked at Maria and smiled, kissing her forehead.

"Love them all, Maria," he muttered, smiling. He broke away from the hug and closed his eyes and inhaled.

"Love them all."

With that, he drew his last breath.

Maria woke up later, Georg's arms not around her. She sat up and looked at her husband. She admired his features, though with white hair and wrinkles, he still looked breathtaking. She smiled at the thought.

She then observed him thoroughly. She noticed his chest wasn't rising and falling. Maria's eyes widened. She put her hand over his mouth. Nothing. No air. She moved to sot on the chair beside the bed and held his hand. Coldness. No more warmth.

"GEORG!" she cried. Maria stood up and held his hand, his heart, everything. "Georg! Georg wake up! Georg this is not a nice joke! Georg! Georg!" she sobbed, sinking on the bed, resting her ear to the side where his heart was. Nothing. No more beating. No more comforting sounds of the "tug tug".

Maria trembled at the realization. "He's..." she cried. "He's gone."

She cried again. She cried and cried and cried. He was gone. He was now gone. Gone.

"Georg..." she muttered. "I...thank you. I thank you for everything you gave me. I love you. Thank you. Thank you," she sobbed, hugging his corpse on the bed.

She sat up and wiped her tears, forcing a smile. Look at the bright side, she thought. At least you got to hear those three words, got one last kiss, felt one last touch, and cherish every last moment with him, her smile widened.

One last time.

A/N: HELLOOO EVERYBODY! I know, it has been a very long time after "Summer Love", and I am glad to present to you, my *counts* tenth story (woo two digits!), "One Last Time". I know this story is rather emotional, with Georg dying and all that, but I hope this was still a beautiful story for you guys. I hope you like it! ALso, please, please, please please please, please, REVIEW. Thank you and I love you all!