The moon gently shines through the leaves in the trees. I can't see the stars through the green, leafy canopy, but I know they're shining brightly above me as the crickets chirp all around me. I sit down on the bench nearly the huge gazebo at the von Trapp home, pondering my situation, my blue dress brushing against my legs. It's the same dress I wore when he sang Edeweiss and when he gazed at me…
My heart clenches. Mother Abbess told me to go back and find my dream. And yet… I slump, my elbows propped up on my thighs. I came to terms with my feelings for the Captain - even though I'm supposed to be a nun, for crying out loud. I come back, and he's engaged to the Baroness. I knew there was something odd about how she acted that night. If only…
I look over, breaking from my thoughts. The Captain is standing by a tree, looking as elegant as he is. My heart clenches once more I sit up straight. I thank God for the darkness so that he might not see the emotions flashing across my face.
"Now, I thought I'd just might find you here." he says, pleased with himself. I get up, moving into the shadow of the large tree.
"Was there - was there something you wanted?" I ask, willing my voice not to quiver. But of course, I stuttered.
"Hm? Oh, no, no. Sit down. Please." he murmurs, moving closer to the bench, offering me to sit. I gently sit down, watching him, willing myself not to steel myself. I can't show my emotions, not now. He's engaged. It would be wrong of me to tell him this and cause him pain. He sits down with the lopsided smile that I came to love so much over the past several weeks. I look away as pain stabs my chest. It hurts, it hurts so much to know he loves someone else. But, at least the children will have a mother again. Maybe I could be happy, knowing the children are happy and that the Captain will be happy...
"You know, I… I was thinking of one things. No two things… Why did you run away to the abby, and… what was it that made you come back?" he asks me, chuckling a little, straightening his hair. Oh if he only knew how my heart flutters at that! I look away.
"Well, I.. had an obligation to fulfil and I… I came back to fulfil it." I reply, looking up at him with a smile.
"Is that all?" he asks, looking at me, serious. Oh, of course that's not all. The children's faces flash in my mind.
"I missed the children." I admit, looking away, hiding my face in the shadows. But most of all, you. But I can't let him know of that. He's engaged and he's going to be married. It doesn't matter what I feel, he'll still walk down that aisle with her.
"Yes.. Uh, only the children?" he questions.
"No - Yes! Isn't it right I should've missed them?" I reply, almost on instinct and quickly correct myself. He does not need any more strife, at least not from me. My feelings are unnecessary here.
"Oh, yes, yes, of course! I was, uh, only helping you. Perhaps you… Perhaps you might, uh…" he murmurs. I feel a glimmer of hope that I cannot suppress blooming inside my chest.
"Yes?" I question. He looks up at me with a pause. Those penetrating blue eyes look into mine for a brief moment that felt like an eternity. Oh, how I long for the meter between us to close, but I know it's improper of me to ask such a thing from a man who is clearly unavailable to me.
"Well uh… Nothing was the same when you were away and… It would be all wrong again, after you leave, so I thought perhaps you might… Change your mind?" he asks, looking up at me. The glimmer of hope disappears from my chest. Does he want me to stay? But with the Baroness? No, I won't be his second choice. I can't let myself be there. It hurts too much. I get up.
"I'm sure the Baroness would be able to make things fine for you." I comment, bitterly, walking away.
"Maria." he calls. I halt, my heart halting. It's the first time he called me by my name like that. And I love how the word sounds from him. Goosebumps appear on my skin and I struggle to not shiver. I can't show him these feelings. I need to get rid of them before I end up saying far too much to him.
"There isn't going to be any Baroness." he informs me, simply. My heart pounds as I feel hope returning to me. But why? The two seemed quite happy on the steps when I came back, just hours before. What went wrong?
"There isn't?" I question, my voice barely above a whisper as I hear him get up and walk closer to me. My heart thumps in my chest loudly. Oh, please don't let him hear it!
"No." he clarifies. But why? Are they delaying it? What is going on? A multitude of questions pass through my mind.
"But I don't understand." I mutter, looking up at him. He looks over at me as he passes in front of me. I follow him as he begins to explain:
"Well, we've uh.. Called off our engagement you see and…"
"Oh, I'm sorry." I reply, on instinct. The children don't have a mother any more. And I told the captain that I can't stay any longer.
"Yes. You are?" he questions, bewildered. I nod. Wait. Is he telling me that…?
"You did?" I ask, turning round, shocked. Why would he call off an engagement? It's the best thing he can do for the children, for his household?
"Yes. Well you can't marry someone when you're…." he starts to explain. His left shoulder gently brushes against my left shoulder as I stare at him, barely breathing. His proximity sends nervous butterflies to flight inside my stomach. I feel a crimson blush creep onto my cheeks.
"In love with someone else?" he finishes the question, looking over to stare back at me, his piercing blue eyes staring back at me. My breath hitches in my throat as I peer into his mesmerizing gaze. I could stare into those eyes forever, and for a moment, I wish God would stop time. Can I allow myself to hope that maybe…?
"Can you?" he questions. Is he talking about me? Is he…? I manage to force myself to gently shake my head, not breaking eye contact with him. His eyes flash with a million emotions as his lips gently part. He gently holds me by my jaw and I shiver at his touch. The butterflies flutter inside my stomach as he gently guides my jaw to his lips. I close my eyes.
His lips press against my own. He's… He's kissing me! My heart flutters as I kiss him back, tentatively, nervous at this wave of new feelings blossoming in my chest. He gently pulls away and my eyes gently open to meet his cobalt ones.
The naval captain presses kisses to my forehead and my temple and I slump into him, with a sigh and a smile, my emotions overwhelming me as my insides warm. Oh Captain, Captain… I wrap my arms around him and will myself to never let go.
I will never let go of you again, Captain.
I love you.