A/N: Thanks go to the lovely people at TSOM Proboards whose amazing and prolific writing have inspired me! The theme of this story has probably been covered before but hopefully it'll be readable!

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

Rating: T


Time to Believe

By

Nicky W

For Maria, the past few days had been nothing short of wondrous and she still felt like she was floating on air. Not only had she become engaged to the only man she knew she would ever love but in that instant she had become mother to his seven marvellous children also.

Whilst to some people this would be a tad daunting, to Maria it was a blessing. Deep in her heart she had known that her true calling was not to be cloistered away from the world to live out her days as a nun devoting her life and love only to God himself. Instead she would use that unending love to look after and cherish her own family, her own husband.

The children, she had to admit, had been a challenge at first but once she had convinced them that she was not there to restrict their childhoods or even take the place of the father that they so dearly wanted to love, then they had accepted her and grown to love her themselves.

Telling them of hers and their father's news though worried Maria greatly. Whilst Georg was convinced that they would accept Maria as their mother with open arms, she herself was not so confident. Baroness Schraeder had not made a lasting impression on the children but they had started to prepare themselves for the inevitable truth that she was destined to be their new mother. Liesl had confided in Maria about the misgivings she had regarding the Baroness and had left Maria in no doubt that no one could ever replace their beloved mother, Agathe. Even the boys, who were dismayed at the Baronesses pitiful ball skills had resigned themselves to the fact that they would have to make allowances. The little ones loved how beautiful the Baroness was and they adored her fine dresses and gorgeous perfumes, to them she was almost a fairy tale Princess, so they were not so difficult to win over.

More than that though, the children had only just started to feel the benefit of their father's affection again after such a long time. After years of being afraid of his whistles and orders, they had finally witnessed him emerge from the darkest period of his life like a new man. His eyes had been opened to the feelings of his dear children and they were a family once more.

Now though, they were expected to forget all about the Baroness and believe that their Governess, the plain, dowdy, innocent young woman who had once borne the vestiges of a nun, had won their father's heart.

xXx

Georg had told them one morning after breakfast a few days after he had proposed to Maria. Liesl had given Maria a knowing grin and an encouraging smile before excusing herself from the table, placing a sincere kiss on her cheek and leaving for a walk by the lake. The boys had sniggered awkwardly but gave Maria a hug after Georg threw them one of his stares. Louisa and Brigitta quietly left the table and hugged their father before they went up to their rooms and Marta and Gretl threw themselves onto Maria's lap almost taking the wind out of her completely. Georg shooed them away and they ran chattering up the stairs excitedly before clattering into the nursery and slamming the door behind them with a loud crash.

"I think that went quite well," Georg said warmly as he cocked his head to one side and gave Maria a wink.

"Hmmm, I suppose they seemed to take the news quite well." Maria eased herself out of the chair and walked to where Georg was sitting at the head of the table. He sat back in his chair looking up at Maria lovingly as she passed. Maria placed her hand on his shoulder momentarily and as she made her way to the door he grabbed it stopping her in her tracks and he gently pulled her back.

"There's something troubling you, I can tell," the concern was evident in Georg's soft tone. "You aren't having second thoughts… I mean, I know it's all been such a whirlwind and I should have handled things better than I did."

Maria glanced out into the hallway and when she saw that there was no one around she edged past the table and gently sat on Georg's lap. She cupped Georg's cheek in the palm of her hand and rubbed her thumb delicately across it.

"You dealt with things in the only way you could. I'm not denying that you took me by surprise but..." her fingers moved to his chin and pulled his lips to hers, as they parted Maria looked deep into Georg's sparkling blue eyes, "it was the most beautiful surprise that anyone has ever given me. I have never felt so loved and so completely happy in my entire life."

Maria brushed a stray lock of hair from Georg's forehead before resting her head on his shoulder. In turn Georg brought his arms around her and sighed contentedly.

"You know… I never for one moment thought that I would ever feel like this again."

"Like what?" Maria asked him intrigued.

"Like a love-struck young man," he blushed and Maria kissed his cheek. Georg took her right hand and placed it over his chest. His eyes were piercing and intense.

"Do you feel that?" Georg's heart was pounding at a frightening speed. "That… amongst other things," he chuckled, "is what you do to me each and every time you touch me. Your very existence has enchanted me and I can do nothing but surrender to you, body and soul. The thought of losing you, for whatever reason is so very painful. My life would be nothing without you, I would be nothing."

If Maria hadn't have known better she would have sworn that she could see tears glistening in his eyes. She rested her forehead against his and she could feel his warm breath against her skin. She brushed the side of his mouth with her lips and felt him pull her to him even closer.

"I love you, Fraulein, more than I will ever be able to show you." Georg stroked her cheek softly with the back of his fingers before easing her off his lap. Taking both her hands, he kissed each in turn and then rose to face her, holding her hands between them against his chest.

"You never need to worry about losing me. I will be your constant annoyance until the end of my days," she giggled, any doubts she had about the children accepting her having eased.

"That's better, I don't like to see that pretty face of yours shadowed in worry. Now… I do believe that you should go and see if our children have digested the news about our engagement!"

"Will you join us later for a picnic, I know the children would love it if you did."

"Only the children?" he raised one eyebrow and gave her a cheeky smile.

"Why Captain, I think you know the answer to that question." Maria leaned in to kiss him firmly before running her forefinger languidly along his jaw and down his neck until she placed two fingers under his tie and then quickly flicked it up into his face."

"Fraulein! I do believe that annoyance was right! You will pay for that one day." With that Georg tapped Maria on the bottom, making her squeal before chuckling all the way to his study.

xXx

Feeling far happier now, Maria decided that she would take Georg's advice and see what the children had to say about their news. Liesl was still out by the lake but she was sure she had heard the other children's voices in the nursery.

Maria skipped up the stairway and along the corridor humming one of her favourite tunes. Frau Schmidt, the Housekeeper was busy checking each room in turn and as she left the nursery shutting the door behind her, she bumped straight into Maria who was by now lost in her song.

"Oh, Fraulein Maria, I'm so sorry. I really must look where I'm going in future."

Maria laughed and took Frau Schmidt by the hands swinging her around whilst singing merrily.

"My my, someone is in a very good mood this morning," Frau Schmidt chuckled. "It seems that not only are you good for the Captain but he is certainly suiting you too!"

The kindly Housekeeper was then taken by surprise as Maria flung her arms around her and hugged her warmly. "Oh, Frau Schmidt, he is, he really is. I don't know how it took me so long to realise just how wonderful he is."

"Well my dear, it is you that we should all thank for bringing our Captain back to us."

"He was always there, he'd just forgotten how to live," Maria took a step back and the atmosphere became more serious.

"Nonetheless, without you I'm not sure that he would have the relationship that he now has with his children. Those poor mites were getting unhappier by the day and their behaviour was uncontrollable."

"All they needed, Frau Schmidt, was someone to believe in them. It wasn't difficult. They did the rest themselves… talking of the children, do you know where they are? The nursery is far too quiet for them to all be in there?"

"They were here earlier but when I went into the room to sort things out they became very quiet and left for the garden I think."

"I hope they weren't rude to you, I will speak to them about it if they were."

"No, not at all, in fact they seemed very excited when I walked in and I think my presence stopped them from being so exuberant." The Housekeeper shrugged.

"Ah, well Captain Von Trapp told them of our engagement this morning. I think perhaps that would be the subject of their discussion. Um… did they seem to be happy about it?" Maria was unable to stop the niggling doubts from creeping back into her mind.

The Housekeeper reached out to rub Maria's arm, "there is no doubt that they are happy, my dear. You are the best thing to happen to this family in a long while. You are a true miracle, Maria." Frau Schmidt nodded before carrying on along the corridor to the children's bedrooms.

A huge sigh escaped Maria's mouth as she wished that she wasn't so unsure about everything. Maybe it was because all of this was so new to her and she didn't really know what to expect. She smoothed down her dress and took a huge breath puffing out her chest in an attempt to boost her confidence, before tripping back down the stairs towards the veranda.

xXx

"Why can't I say that? It's true, the Baroness was beautiful. I know you didn't like her but that doesn't mean that we all hated her." Louisa was engaged in a heated argument with her younger siblings. Brigitta, Marta and Gretl seemed shocked that Louisa was defending the Baroness for as far as they knew, Louisa was just as dismayed by the possibility of her becoming their new mother as they were.

Freidrich and Kurt had decided that this was a conversation that they would be best avoiding and so they picked up their football and headed towards the field at the rear of the house.

"We didn't hate the Baroness but she is nothing like Fraulein Maria is she?" Brigitta tried to become the voice of reason and calm the situation down.

Louisa grunted and stuck her chin in the air. "She most certainly is not, did you see some of the dresses that Fraulein Maria was quite happy to wear. They were nothing better than potato sacks."

"That is so cruel of you, you should be ashamed of yourself." Liesl walked up to the girls and shook her finger at Louisa. She had been listening to her sisters as they had debated the news that they had all just learned.

"I for one am pleased that father and Fraulein Maria are to be married. I would never have wanted the Baroness to be our new mother but I can't wait to be able to call Maria, mother."

"We are too," interrupted the three younger girls in unison.

Louisa's face flushed furiously and she looked as if she would burst into tears at any moment.

"I… I didn't mean that I don't want them to get married, I'm happy, of course I am but… well… "

Maria stepped onto the terrace above them to try and see where the children were and stood silently as she caught the tail end of their conversation.

"… the Baroness was so elegant and beautiful and I'm just not sure what father sees in Fraulein Maria, when he had the chance to marry Baroness Schraeder who seems far more suited to him in so many ways. Her hair, her figure, her complexion… her friends… her money!"

She didn't want to hear anymore. Her worst suspicions had been confirmed. Even the children couldn't understand why their father would want to marry such a plain unfashionable waif. Her feet couldn't carry her off the balcony quick enough and as she turned she carelessly knocked one of the flower urns over and it shattered above them scattering soil and pieces of broken pottery all over the tiles.

Liesl ran back so that she could see what had happened above them and only managed to see the back of Maria's skirts billowing behind her as she fled through the doors back into the house.

"For an intelligent girl, Louisa, sometimes you do the stupidest of things. Your head is full of nonsense from reading far too many of those stupid fashion magazines from Berlin and Paris. When you are a little older Louisa maybe you'll understand that beauty isn't only skin deep." Liesl snapped with a haughty sniff.

"Don't tell me you never looked at them. Getting ideas for how you could impress that stupid oaf, Rolf," Louisa fired back.

"For goodness sake, Louisa, STOP! You've upset Fraulien Maria. Sometimes I just wish you'd keep your opinions to yourself."

"I didn't mean to and I'm not saying that I'm not happy that she's marrying father," Louisa had calmed down now and was a little embarrassed by her outburst and she was dreadfully upset that she had hurt their Fraulein's feelings.

"It's all right, I'll go and speak to her and tell her that we are all very happy that she will be marrying father, I'm sure she'll understand." Whilst Liesl's words seemed to satisfy Louisa, she wasn't so sure that she would be able to make Maria believe that they hadn't meant for any of what she had heard to hurt her.

xXx

I hope you enjoyed the story so far, there will be at least one further chapter. Any reviews would be very gratefully received. :)