Bedtime is to be strictly observed
"How many men do you know, Herr Zeller, who communicate with their children while on their honeymoon?"
What happened in the Von Trapp household once the Captain and Maria had left after the wedding?
A/N: I directed my muse to either a Galaxy far far away, or Narnia. Either the navcomputer malfunctioned, or we picked the wrong wardrobe ;)
Dressed in white, she walked down the long aisle. The organ music soared around her like the towering columns of the cathedral. Beside her was Father, in his full Naval uniform. Ahead walked Brigitta, also in white, as the bridesmaid. They reached the steps. At the top was-
"Liesl! Liesl! Oh, please, Liesl!"
Liesl jerked awake. She was in white, but it was only her nightgown. There was a noise but it wasn't a wedding march. It was Louisa in the other bed, snoring as she always did after too much rich food and cream. Father wasn't here at all.
Brigitta was. But she wasn't a bridesmaid in fine satin with flowers wreathed in her hair. A little girl in a crumpled nightgown and bare feet, hair tousled with sleep, tugged at the coverlet. "Liesl," she repeated in a desperate whisper. "Oh, please wake up. Gretl's crying and she won't stop."
"What?" Liesl wriggled upright and tried to rub the sleep – and the dream – out of her eyes. "Gretl's what?"
"Crying," said Brigitta earnestly. "And I can't get her to stop. Singing her Fraulein Maria's song just made her cry more. And woke Marta," she tacked on as an after-thought.
Liesl permitted herself one sigh. Then she dragged up a smile from somewhere and her dressing gown from the foot of the bed. "All right. I'm coming."
Gretl was, indeed, crying. Not just a few tears, not just the gentle flow Marta had started by way of weeping with those who weep, but absolutely sobbing and hiccuping. Her face was wet, her hair was wet, her nightgown was wet – and she launched herself into Liesl's arms the moment Brigitta opened the door and announced "Here's Liesl!"
"There now, there now." Liesl staggered a moment, inwardly rejoiced for the protection of the dressing gown, and carried Gretl round to Marta's side of the bed to sit down. "Now," she said gently. "What's the matter?"
A rather familiar name might have been audible among the fresh burst of sobs. "You want Fraulein Maria?" Liesl queried wearily.
"Or Father!" Marta added with a sniff, wriggling over to lean on Liesl's shoulder.
Brigitta hopped up onto the bed to lean on her other shoulder. "They were getting married so Fraulein Maria would stay f'rever," she sniffed plaintively. "Now they've gone away..."
"Yes, but-" Liesl shut her eyes for a moment. "They'll be coming home. It's not like when – Mother – went away." How many nights had she sat up then, with a sobbing Brigitta or Marta on her lap? Not Gretl so much, she had been too little to cry or understand, but the other two had. Sometimes Frau Schmidt would try for a while, but she'd always left once the first wave of sobs had died down, telling them to be good girls and go to sleep now. It hadn't ever worked, and as for the governesses-!
Well, making up pranks to play on them at night had been one way to distract people from crying, as well as getting Father to notice them. Liesl sighed again. She didn't have that option tonight.
"Of course they couldn't stay!" The door pushed open again, and a rather scornful Louisa padded in. "They've gone on their honeymoon, silly." She sat down on the bed with a bump that made the mattress bounce.
"Gon'... 'way..." Gretl sobbed afresh.
"God Bless Kurt," said Liesl suddenly, with a lightning flash of understanding as to why all of them, all seven of them, had brought Fraulein Maria to her knees in search of divine aid that first night. Perhaps God understood what she meant. It also brought Kurt through the door.
He wiped his nose with the back of his hand and climbed onto the bed behind her. "Wha's going on?"
"We're just, er-" She searched for words, and Friedrich opened the door.
"Is Kurt in here?"
Gretl exploded afresh. "Want Fraulein Maria! And Father!"
"But Gretl, they're … they're not here," Liesel murmured lamely. "You didn't cry like this when Fraulein Maria went away last time."
"Bu' she came back..."
"And she'll do so again. Just like Father always does when he goes to Vienna."
Yes, it was different. And it did feel a bit all-alone-ish, to remember Father and Fraulein Maria – no! Mother, their new mother – driving away earlier that evening, and to know they wouldn't be back for over a month. Until school had started, in fact. But now wasn't the time to get a lump in her throat. Liesl swallowed and persisted in her line of argument. "You don't cry when he goes away to Vienna."
"Not badly enough for me to fetch you," said Brigitta quickly.
Liesl closed her eyes again, and in that moment, Gretl was snatched out of her arms. "Hey, pussy!" said Friedrich, plopping onto the bed and bouncing Gretl down onto his knee. "They had to go away! 'Cause … 'cause they wouldn't want us all rushing in and bouncing on the bed!" He matched the words to the action and everybody jiggled.
A half giggle escaped Gretl's pouting lips, but she wasn't giving up her whole grievance yet. "Fraulein Maria wouldn't mind!"
Liesl caught Friedrich's expression of horrified thought, and burst into giggles herself. "Father would," she gasped out quickly to try and save her poor, blushing brother.
"Uncle Max wouldn't!" Kurt joined in, completely missing the point. "Yay! Let's go and jump on Uncle Max!"
"Uncle Max is meant to be looking after us!" Liesl protested, grabbing her little brother before he could manage to scramble off the bed.
"That would be mean!"
"Also, he had too much to drink at the wedding breakfast," Louisa put in. "He'll be sleeping like a log. And snoring."
"Why do they call it a breakfast when it's in the middle of the afternoon?" Kurt demanded, distracted by the thought of food.
"'Cause then you get to have lunch and dinner all over again, afterwards," said Friedrich wisely.
"Oh." Curt nodded thoughtfully.
"We could wake him in the morning, though," Marta piped up.
Liesl leaned over and put one arm round her. "That's an idea. That's a good idea."
"With spiders!" said Louisa with enthusiasm.
"Louisa! We couldn't!"
"Why not? It's Uncle Max! He's not going to leave, just 'cause we put spiders on his pillow!"
"We, er – haven't any spiders!" Liesl objected desperately.
"Yes, we have!" Kurt bounced off the bed and over to the toy chest. "Here!" He yanked out the wooden stick with the big, cloth spider-on-a-string that had been a cat toy in the days when Liesl had had a kitten.
Everybody laughed, so loudly that if Uncle Max had not had rather too many glasses of champagne, he would have heard them. "All right," said Liesl, feeling Marta's weight against her side grow heavy with drowsiness. "If you will all go back to bed and go to sleep now, in the morning we will get up very early and go and put a green and yellow spider with goggle eyes on Uncle Max's pillow..."