Everyone loves to watch our Captain bite his lower lip and tighten those white gloves.
Hang on, I need a minute... But we all know it has to be better when they come off, no?
Nervous, perhaps just shy of a full panic.
She looked a tad pale and her palms were clammy; not like the graceful and erudite fiancee to a naval hero at all. She stuck her tongue out at herself in the mirror and went to find her shoes, reconciled that she looked like a girl dressed in her mother's fancy clothes. Just pretending. Maria sat down on the end of the bed and sighed as she slipped into the shoes. The shoes, not her shoes. Her shoes were well worn and still a bit muddy from trekking across the creek to find frogs. She slid her finger across the glittering decoration at the toe, shaking her head. The heels seemed to advertise the difference between who she was and who she wished to be that night. They looked gorgeous and matched the dress perfectly but they pinched at the toe and by the end of the night would be more than a throbbing reminder that she didn't belong here. No need for shoes such as this in an abbey and these elbow length gloves would be more than useless on a mountain.
She flicked her eyes up to the wardrobe and gave the new clothes a wary look. She was still shocked when she opened the doors to find them, they seemed to belong to another woman, put there by mistake and soon to be taken back to whom they were made for. Was she made for this? When she put them on she found herself longing to keep reaching to the back for one of the dresses she had made.
It didn't matter, she thought, and with a deep sigh she heaved herself off the bed, tottering a bit in the heels. Wanting him meant dealing with all of this, extra. Loving him meant leaving behind what she had known and reinventing herself a bit. How hard could it be? After all, she had walked into uncomfortable situations before in this very home and things had turned out quite well indeed. Maria smiled a private smile at the memory of her first moments meeting him, even now she felt a flush of embarrassment at being caught dancing alone in his ballroom. Hopefully he would like tonight's dress better than the one she had arrived in. He hadn't been at all what she was expecting. Even now he continued to surprise her, engaging her in conversation, teasing her playfully, or sneaking up on her to kiss her breathless.
She smoothed a wrinkle from the front of the dress and sighed. It wasn't the wardrobe choices, not really. Even at the Abbey, as she tried to eschew worldly goods, she had always found her eye drawn to pretty clothes. It was the people in the clothes that she feared.
Maria hummed a few bars of nonsense to calm herself as she looked under the bed for her evening bag and taking a last look in the mirror forced a smile and headed out the door of her room. She had already said goodnight to the children but as she descended the stairs she heard a voice call her name.
"You look beautiful," whispered Liesel with a grin on her face. Louisa and Brigitta stuck their heads out of the door to concur.
"Thank you my darlings, now, back to bed before your father catches you out. I'll tell you all the details at breakfast," she winked at them and started back down the stairs.
As she reached the bottom she realized that she was alone, and she was unsurprised. Georg was always the last one down the stairs, and they said women take forever to get ready! She left her clutch on the table and leaned against the pillar to wait him out. Probably working on his hair, she thought as she let out a snort and settled in for a wait.
Hearing his door creak open she watched him emerge from the hallway, with perfect hair, and she had to admit he was always worth the wait. As tonights fete was being held by a former naval officer, he was wearing his Victoria Cross, the first time she had seen him in it since the night they danced the Laendler. She wondered idly as she watched him pause to adjust his cuffs if they would play that song tonight. Would they have another opportunity to finish what they started? Her heart beat jumped at the thought. She closed her eyes, remembering the cloth of his jacket under her fingertips, the heat of his body warming her, the press his palms against the small of her back. She had pulled away then, frightened by the feelings that had flooded her and the look in his eyes as he watched her back away. She hadn't known what that look meant then, only that it had made her breath catch and her body flush with heat. Wiser now, she knew that given a chance to repeat that performance she would be stepping closer and inviting the pleasurable burn of his gaze and everything that came after it.
He stopped in the middle of the staircase when he noticed her leaning against a pillar, eyes closed and humming softly to herself. He wondered what she was thinking as she waited for him with such a far away expression. Though beautiful in rags and running through a field with his children she was stunning when the occasion called for it. He noted that her icy blue dress was almost strapless, held up by some translucent fabric. It bared the delicate skin of her shoulders and collarbones, left them utterly exposed and Georg's fist clenched as he realized he'd spend this evening trying to keep his hands off.
"Mine," he murmured to himself as he descended the staircase.
He took a deep breath at the surge of unseemly possessiveness that threatened his equilibrium and tried to will his heart to slow its pounding tattoo against his chest at the sight of her, waiting. For him.
She suddenly opened her eyes as he clipped down the last of the steps and onto the landing with her. She smiled at him but he noticed that it didn't reach her eyes. He cocked his head as he took her hand in his, studying her. He knew she was nervous about the evening, he knew he needed to open his mouth and offer her reassurance but he seemed unable to form clear thoughts as he watched her teeth tug at her lower lip. She was beautiful, uneasy because she wanted to please him, impress his friends, all because she loved him. Georg was baffled. Did she truly not realize that she had to do no more than be herself and she'd have half of Austria falling at her feet? Well, the male half at least. He stifled a little growl at the thought of other men sharing the view he was enjoying now and took another deep breath. He would never last the night this way, struggling with himself, he mentally reached for his usually admirable control. A few deep breaths later, that most certainly did not note the tantalizing scent of her perfume, and he felt more like himself.
Fidgeting a bit under his scrutiny and trying to fill the silence she reached up to touch the red and white ribbon at his throat and smooth out an imaginary wrinkle.
"You look very handsome tonight, Captain," she offered. He simply stood still, looking at her as his silence stretched between them. She glanced down at herself and wondered if something was amiss, perhaps he didn't care for the dress? It was more daring than some of the other dresses she had considered, perhaps she should have chosen that green one. Maria shifted a bit and suddenly decided her shoes were fascinating.
Still contemplating them she cleared her throat a bit and let out nervous laugh, "Well, umm, perhaps we should go…"
"No," he shook his head, wrestling for the right words he simply spilled out the truth. "Not just yet. I'm not sure I feel like sharing tonight", he mumbled as he raised his free hand to trace the bow of her upper lip with his thumb. Not as in control as he had thought, he wanted to drag her back upstairs and… He shook his head slightly to clear it, knowing that continuing those thoughts would be singularly unwise.
She looked up and met his eyes, recognizing the look in them, the desire. Certain he was going to kiss her she tilted her chin up, her lips tingling. But he simply held her gaze as he lifted the hand he had been holding and pressed a kiss to the bare skin on her wrist, exposed by the button loop of the glove. Georg placed her hand over his pounding heart willing her to feel it.
He pressed his palm over her small hand. "Feel?," he asked, his voice dropping low for her ears only. "Everytime I see you, from the very first. You are beautiful."
Her mouth made a perfect 'O' but no sound came out, astonished by his honesty she felt her own heart hammer in response. Still uncomfortable with such praise Maria gave him a real smile, blushed and deflected,
"Thank you, but I know very well that it hasn't been 'always'. Do you not remember the day we met, right here? You had no such illusions about me then," she shot him a raised brow.
Undeterred by her teasing he pressed a longer kiss to her wrist, scraping gently with his teeth and enjoying her shiver of pleasure.
"Oh, I wouldn't say that… In fact, as I recall I told you it was the dress. Not you, the dress. I had a hard time keeping the shock off my face when I realized that the aged nun I had anticipated was stunning," he ducked his head and blushed. "When I asked you to turn," he made the swirling motion with his index finger, "I confess I was not looking at the dress."
She laughed, trying to shake off the drugging effects of his kisses even as the skin of her wrist burned. "Hmm, well I believe I made my opinion known just as clumsily. But tonight you look just like a sea captain, although your not acting like one. I've read a few of Liesel's novels, for research of course. You haven't haven't even tried to kiss me," she teased back. "Its very disappointing for a supposed, what did they call you at that garden party? Ah, yes, a hazard...". Georg tugged at the hand he was holding and brought their bodies together, but didn't move to kiss her, just gave her a slow half smile.
"Are you asking me to kiss you Fraulein?," he leaned in, his tone amused at their teasing game. Georg was enjoying the torturous game of running his gloved fingers up and down the bare skin of her upper arms, absorbing the warmth of her skin but not able to feel its softness. Her eyes had fluttered closed and he felt his body lean forward to press kisses against her eyelashes when they suddenly opened, dilated and dark blue.
"Please, " she whispered, letting her desire for him seep out. Game over, he thought as he slid his hands around her waist and he kissed her hard, giving in to the demands swirling inside. He could feel her fingers clutching at his jacket and curling into fists as she pressed close to him and their kisses began to meld into one another.
A piercing wolf whistle broke the spell between them and Georg growled as he flicked his eyes up the staircase to identify the culprits who were giggling madly behind the hallway doors. Maria, despite the embarrassed blush she knew to be painting her cheeks, muffled a laugh and tried to cover her smile by turning out of his arms to gather her bag from the table and pull herself together.
"Kurt von Trapp!," he called out. "I know it was you, none of my other children excel at that particular skill half so well as you do."
Kurt emerged from his hiding place behind the door, still grinning, and gave a shrug. Friedrich and the rest soon joined him in the hallway. Georg sighed as the thought of disciplining them harshly dissipated as he watched their eager faces attempting to squash their laughter. It had been very funny he supposed.
"Alright, you've had you fun at your old man's expense. Off to bed with you." He grabbed Maria's wrap off the table and as she turned to allow him to cover her shoulders he sighed.
"Its just as well," he grumbled. "Another moment or so and we would not have made it to the party…"
"If you've changed your mind I would be glad to stay here. We are all dressed up, perhaps we could have a dance in the music room instead," she offered with perfectly innocent sincerity. But he caught the little sparkle of mischief in her eye.
Georg smirked a little and leaned into whisper in her ear, "My love, the way you look in that dress, if we stayed here we would not be dancing." Giving her earlobe a little nip he pulled away with a wink and watched a scandalized blush creep up on cue and he opened the door and ushered her out into the night.
I know, everyone still has gloves on...but the night is young :)
As always, a huge debt of gratitude to augiesannie for the "first look" and the encouragement to keep writing :)