I want to wish all of you on the Boards a very Merry and Bright whatever you celebrate and the happiest of New Years!
Love and Hugs to all from BeeStings
Tis' the Season for a soapy tropey Cheese-fest story like the one below! I just cannot help myself! I'm from the south and if you listen to the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Christmas album enough times you cannot help but write total sugar shock with improbable timelines! Well, I can, but after enough peppermint schnapps and Hallmark Channel movies who cares?
If short, sweet, and light appeals to you, grab a candy cane and enjoy!
Georg spun in a circle in the middle of the street, scarf flailing, uncaring that he looked a bit like a madman. He was a bit mad at the moment. In every sense of the word. His breath steamed out in front of him in great chuffs as he resisted the urge to simply stand and scream her name at the top of his lungs.
He had brought Marta into town with him for a quick errand, having been unable to resist that sweet face and those big blue eyes staring up at him and saying, "Please, Father. I do love the decorations in the windows!" He knew that he spent far too little time with his children and time alone with him was at a premium amongst them. He would be leaving in a few days for Vienna and the guilt was already starting to trickle into his heart and weigh him down.
Five minutes ago he had been walking hand in mitten with her when an old friend had stopped him for a quick hello. He never saw her leave, but suddenly realized that her warm little fingers were no longer gripping his tightly nor swinging his hand back and forth. In the span of a few seconds she was gone from his sight and the panic had risen so fast it had almost choked him.
Where could he have gone?
He started to cross the street and realized that he had no idea which way she might have gone, which lead to him standing there in the middle of the town, spinning about with a rather wild look in his eyes.
"Oh thank God," he murmured under his breath, his hand coming up to cover his heart in relief as he saw her through a shop window. Marta was standing in front of an enormous display of parasols in the shape of a Christmas tree chatting pleasantly with a blonde woman, having not a care in the world for her father who just lost a few years off his life. This was the last straw, truly, he would have to hire another governess, today if possible. Fleets of submarines filled with men under his command all operating with flawless precision but he couldn't even keep track of one small little girl.
Realizing that he looked like his elderly Aunt Josephine clutching his heart and looking as though he might need to call for the smelling salts he straightened himself and took a deep breath, banishing the panic and letting the anger of her disobedience fill him as he crossed the street to enter the shop.
"Marta!," he barked out, causing the little girl to jump and stand at attention in the store just as she would in her own foyer.
"You must never run off, ever! I didn't know where you might have gone and I.."
"Is this your father?," interrupted the blonde woman who was kneeling down and retying the bow on his daughter's shoe while keeping her own gloves tucked under her chin. She had so asked quietly it had interrupted his planned tirade.
Georg looked down and took a deep breath, about to ignore the woman and continue dressing his daughter down when he caught her eyes. Blue eyes. Understanding eyes. He felt his stomach drop a bit at her beauty, it had been a long time since a woman had made his heart skip a beat just by looking at her.
"Uh.." he stammered.
"Yes, this is my father," Marta whispered.
"I see. Just as you described, very tall and wearing a hat," she said, finishing the tie with a little flourish and reaching up to grab her gloves from under her chin and tuck them into a pocket.
Georg simply stood for a moment, mouth open, staring at her.
"Sir, are you quite alright?" she asked, squinting her yes to peer up at him with genuine concern and not a little curiosity.
"Oh," Georg realized that she was talking to him and he should probably respond rather than stand and stare. "Yes, I'm uh.."
"Understably a little panicked and relieved at finding your little girl I imagine," she offered gently.
"Yes," he replied woodenly, belatedly realizing he should take his hat off he swept it off his head and absently ran a hand through his hair.
"Well, it seems that she and I share a love of parasols, pink in particular, and we both couldn't resist the lure of all of these in the display window, right,?" she said giving Marta a smile that the little girl returned shyly.
The woman turned her smile on Georg and he cleared his throat to buy time and tugged at the knot in his scarf, suddenly overwhelmingly warm in the store. She had a beautiful smile, lovely and pure.
Was he sweating?
He couldn't recall the last time he felt this uncomfortable and off balance around a woman. His palms itched and he balled them into fists to resist the urge to rub them on his pants-or on her.
She gave him a quizzical look as he fidgeted, "You're certain you're alright? A sudden fright can rattle you so. Could I get you a glass of water? I'm sure the shop has some somewhere…," she said glancing around to see if she could locate help of some sort. Finding none amongst the bustle of holiday shoppers she turned back around and gave him a concerned look biting her lower lip with worry.
He wanted to bite it for her.
"Don't do that…" George murmured watching her lower lip swell and making her look all more alluring. Realizing his blunder he quickly recovered, "Uh that is don't do that, ask for the w-water. I am f-fine. Fine." He took a deep breath and reigned himself in, stealing his voice and his spine and reaching down to grip Marta by the hand. What was the matter with him? Suddenly he was seventeen and his childhood stutter had threatened to return.
"Father doesn't get panicked, Fraulein. He was in the Navy," Marta said proudly.
"Of course, you must be right then!" she smiled, popping Marta gently on the nose which garnered another giggle.
Remembering his manners Georg inclined his head, "Thank you," he offered stiffly. "I appreciate your finding her and keeping her safe."
"It was my pleasure. The most fun I have had all day! I don't get the chance to discuss the merits of pink lace versus lavender very often," she said with a laugh.
"Me either," Marta mumbled.
"Well, then I hope we shall meet again someday, perhaps we can chat about gloves that day," she gave the little girl a wink.
Georg watched her, only half listening to their conversation as this beautiful stranger managed to draw his shyest child out her shell effortlessly. He wanted to know more about her. Her name, her favorite color, the way her perfect lower lip would feel on his…
"Yes, it is warm in here isn't it?," he heard her tell Marta, beginning to slip her coat off her shoulders...only to reveal the habit of a postulant underneath.
Georg slapped a hand to his forehead, "Dear God in heaven," he muttered under his breath, "this is not my day." Can add that to my long list of sins, he thought, staring at the pristine white collar of her habit. Standing here in a shop and lusting after a nun. A nun. He needed to leave. Now. Clearly Elsa had been right about him, he did need a companion, maybe he would take her up in one of her numerous and generous offers to take their relationship farther when he saw her next. Obviously his body was ready even if his mind and heart were not. Perhaps they just needed a push. And what better push than the humiliation of lusting after a nun in a shop?
"Are you a nun?" Marta asked.
"Not yet," she said with a rueful smile. "I am a postulant at Nonnberg Abbey, just up the hill there. I hope to be a nun someday."
"That's nice," said Marta, returning her attention to the parasols in front of her and giving them a twist to set them spinning.
"It is nice, I suppose," MAria said quietly and Georg thought perhaps there was much more to the story and it was a pity he wouldn't be learning it.
Somewhere in the shop a clock struck the hour and Maria gave a sigh, "Well Miss Marta, now that you have managed to find your lost father I should be on my way back to the abbey," she gave Marta another smile that threatened the delicate ice crystals around Georg's heart and began to shrug into her coat. Her gloves tumbled out of her pocket and Marta bent to to retrieve them.
"Thank you so much," Maria said, tugging the gloves onto her hands.
"Oh, but you have holes in the fingers! You'll get bite frost and then your fingers will fall right off!," Marta exclaimed, reaching up to touch the tip of Maria's exposed index finger.
"It's frostbite, Marta," Georg corrected automatically. "And who told you about fingers falling off?"
"Kurt," Marta answered.
Georg rolled his eyes with a knowing sigh. Another little 'appropriate subject matter' chat would have to happen with Kurt. Again.
"Yes I suppose I do! I shall have to fix them up soon," Maria wiggled her fingers at Marta and knelt down next to her. "Want to know a secret?"
"Oh! Yes please! Liesl and Louisa and Brigitta never tell me any secrets because they say I'm not to be trusted."
"You look quite trustworthy to me. Shall I tell you the secret of how I got holes in the gloves?"
Marta nodded and leaned in.
"I climb trees when no one is looking," Maria whispered loud enough for Georg to hear.
"Really? I should like to climb a tree someday."
"And someday you shall!"
"Father doesn't allow that, but the boys sneak off sometimes and-"
"Yes, well we really must be going," Georg gestured toward the door. "Thank you again, Fraulein?"
"I'm Georg," he heard himself saying, unsure why he had blurted out his first name like that.
Georg felt his cheeks burn, would this humiliation never end in front of this woman? This innocent nun of a woman. Dear God in heaven, he had to leave this store immediately before he lost all sense of himself.
"Come along Marta," he managed in a clipped tone. Georg reached down to grab hold of Marta's hand again before adding, "Thank you again, Fraulein."
"Nice meeting you Miss Marta, I do hope you get that pink parasol for Christmas! And it was nice meeting you as well," Maria gave him a cheeky grin, "Georg," and ducked out of the shop.
Georg simply stood still for a moment taking in the odd turn his morning had taken. Feeling his hand begin to swing by his side he looked down at Marta.
"I," Marta squirmed a little and looked at her shoes, "I am sorry I wandered off Father."
Georg sighed and knelt down next to his daughter, "I know you are. But you mustn't do that again. It frightened me when I couldn't find you."
"But you don't get frightened Father! You came right in the other night and scooped that giant hairy spider right up and took him outside."
"Oh, I have things that scare me just as you do," Georg gave her a serious look, thinking that losing one of his children was truly the only thing he feared. "But clearly no spider is a match for me," he grinned at her and flexed his bicep until she giggled.
"Shall we head home? Had enough adventure for one day?" he asked.
"Yes, it is getting cold out."
"Mmm," Georg hummed as he scanned the street for traffic before starting across to the car.
"Do you think the Fraulein made it back to the abbey before she got bite frost on her fingers?"
"Frost bite, and yes, I am sure she will make it back."
"It was ever so nice of her to find me."
"Yes, it was."
"I hope she doesn't lose a finger."
"She won't. It isn't a long walk to the abbey."
"But her gloves had holes and-"
"You're quite worried about this aren't you?" Georg leaned down to look her in the eye.
"Quite worried Father."
Georg glanced down the street to a ladies shop he hadn't entered in some time. "I have an idea. Can you keep a secret?"
Marta grinned up at him.
"Oh Reverend Mother!" Maria paused to draw a deep breath as she had run all the way down the hall. I am sorry about the, er, mishap in the kitchens, umm, again. I did try to tell Sister Lavinia about the fire before-"
"Maria," the Reverend Mother interrupted gently, turning her face away to the window to hide her smile before addressing the young woman again.
"I have not called you here to apologize for the kitchen fire. There was no harm done and I am told that Sister Lavinia's eyebrows should grow back in all in God's time." She gestured to a waiting empty chair as she walked back around her desk to seat herself behind it.
"Now, I have two things to say. First, this I believe belongs to you," she said, opening a drawer and pulling out a long flat box. It was plainly wrapped in brown paper and twine with no note or card.
"This was left for you early yesterday. Brought in a by a gentleman of some renown."
"Mmm, would you happen to have met any recently?"
"Of course not Reverend Mother! I am wholly dedicated to becoming a bride of heaven and-"
"Perhaps then you might have made the acquaintance of a young lady recently? About seven I should say, who was lost?"
"Oh!" Maria sighed a bit with relief, "Of course. You must mean Miss Marta."
"Yes I must. She and her father dropped this off for you. Normally I wouldn't allow gifts but the little girl was most insistent that you had, and I quote, saved her very life! And the gentleman was very insistent as well," the Reverend Mother smiled at Maria.
"You made quite an impression. When the little girl told me what she had brought I decided that while we do give away all our worldly goods, well, in this case it is a necessity I should think," she smiled again, pushing the package toward Maria who seemed hesitant to take it.
Maria gingerly pulled the twine to untie the bow and slide her fingers under the snug paper, wanting to save it for later. The first gift she had had in many years was something to be cherished.
Flicking her eyes toward the Reverend Mother, Maria shot her a smile and popped the lid off the box and tugged at the delicate tissue paper beneath.
As the paper parted beneath her finger she gave a little giggle that turned into a full fledged laughing as she opened the paper fully to reveal the beautiful butter soft calfskin gloves beneath.
"I understand that you appeared in a pair of gloves with a holes in the fingers and the little girl was certain you would suffer future 'bite frost' if the situation wasn't remedied."
"Oh, but I can't keep them! They are so very fine," she murmured running her fingertips across the leather and resisting the temptation to rub them against her cheeks in front of the Reverend Mother. She was very afraid she and the gloves were very close to the sin of lust.
"No. You must keep them. As a gift for finding that little girl. Not to mention you have been running about Salzburg in moth eaten gloves while doing errands for the abbey."
"Oh, but I didn't really-"
"It is settled. Besides, you may need them when you hear about the second matter I have to discuss you. There is a family near Salzburg that needs a governess until February, when the school term begins again."
"For seven children."
Two days later Georg startled a bit as Franz gave a rap on the open door to announce that the new governess had arrived. He took a passing glance at himself in a hallway mirror as he headed down to meet her, jerking his tie a bit to straighten it and hoping that this one would stay more than two hours.
As he rounded the top of the staircase he found the entranceway empty, an old carpet bag the only sign that someone had been there. He narrowed his eyes as he realized a door to the ballroom was barely open, light spilling into the shadow of the hallway. Angrily he stormed down the rest of the stairs and gave in the urge to slam the door open and enjoyed the frightened jump the trespasser governess gave.
She turned to look at him from the deep bow she had been giving her imaginary partner and the light lit up what was visible of her blond curls underneath that monstrosity of a hat. Her blue eyes flashed and Georg felt his mouth fall open in recognition. It was her. In his home. Suddenly sorry he had set out to frighten her, he walked into the ballroom, a room he had not set foot in since his wife had passed, and smirked at her.
"Lost are we?"
She gave him a relieved smile of recognition and laughed a bit, "Not anymore".
One Year Later
Georg stretched his arms over his head and rocked his neck back and forth to work out the kinks from hunching over papers for longer than he should have.
"You in here?"
"Maxy! I thought you couldn't make it until later this week?"
"Should I go back to town? There was a gorgeous brunette that I would gladly head back to-"
"Not at all! I'm delighted you're here. And frankly it will be a lot easier to keep you out of trouble here at the villa…"
Max raised both his eyebrows.
"Well, at least only the type of trouble that you and seven children can get up too," Georg paused as though realizing the implication of his words.
"On second thought maybe you'd better head back," he grinned, standing up to clap Max on the back and grab his jacket off the back of the chair.
"Where is your lovely bride?" Max asked as he watched Georg shrug into the coat. "I didn't see her when I came in. Still have her chained to the bed then?"
"I have hardly seen you in three months, excepting that one night I was here for dinner before I left for Vienna and frankly the two of you were, uh, well, let's just say that I needed a cold shower after dinner."
Georg gave a snort of laughter.
"Laugh if you will but some of us are getting too old for that sort of thing. Bad for my heart, you know."
"I should think that little brunette you were just discussing would be worse for your heart. But what can you do, you're famous for the trail of broken hearts you've left scattered across Europe."
"Well my lot has certainly improved since our Fraulein has taken you, uh, off the market as it were. I am a happy shopper," Max gave him a half grin while digging around the bar cart for an empty glass.
"Go and find your bride so I can have someone decent to talk with about music and the finer things, Georg."
"You just want me to leave so you can find the good cigars and brandy I keep hidden in the bottom drawer."
"Touche. It is Christmas after all.."
"And I am glad you are here, truly," Georg gave him a genuine smile and reached down to grab the brandy bottle and press it into Max's hands.
"Do be sure to make it down to dinner, the children will be delighted."
"Wouldn't miss it."
"Oh, and a few of the Sisters from Nonnberg will be joining us for dinner tonight."
"Ah, well then perhaps I should just have a water or-"
"Bring the bottle down when you come. Sister Berthe will be here."
"Who's that? I met the one, what was her name? Ah, Sister Margaretta. She was delightful. Lovely singing voice and not half bad to look at-"
"Alright, alright! Best behavior. But I might remind you that you rather raided the convent yourself, ouch!" Max gave his arm a rub where Georg had given him a sound punch.
"I promise to be my usual self. Whose Sister Berthe?"
"I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise," Georg smirked and set off out the door in search of his wife.
"Afternoon Frau Schmidt," Georg called as he round the corner and started down the steps.
"Afternoon, sir," she smiled warmly at him around the pile of linens in her arms.
"Have you seen Maria?"
"Yes, sir. She is in the ballroom wrapping gifts. On the floor. Wouldn't hear of having Caleb bring in a table and chair."
"Sounds like her. Thank you."
Sneaking up to the slightly ajar door Georg peeked in to find Maria as described, on the floor surrounded by ribbons and paper. She was singing a carol to herself as she tied a smart looking bow on a package.
He was reminded of the day he found her in this ballroom and he stepped back with a mischievous grin on his face as he gave the doors a rough shove and enjoying the started jump she gave as they slammed into the walls.
"Georg! You startled me!"
"I know," he laughed.
"You do that door slamming every single time you find me in here alone, you know."
"I know," he grinned down at her, "It reminds me of the first time I found you in here. Rather romantic of me, don't you think."
"We are going to have to have a chat about what constitutes romance, Captain."
"I look forward to that conversation," he said, settling himself beside her.
"Is that one for me?" he asked cheekily, pressing his finger down over the ribbon she was trying to tie in place.
"Thank you, and no. None of these are for you!"
"None of them?"
"'Fraid not, darling."
Georg started to pick up the packages around him and read the names on the labels. "Let's see, here is one for Kurt, Liesl, Marta, Gretl, Brigitta, Louisa, Freidrich, and there is even one for Max! He's here by the way."
"Oh! I am so glad he came early. I didn't hear him arrive."
"Just as well he's up in the study helping himself to the phone and the brandy. Now come Fraulein, where have you hidden my gift?" Georg teased, pretending to look under the scraps of wrapping paper.
"I told you none of these are for you. I simply can't wrap yours! I did get you a few small things, but they already wrapped and hidden where you will never find them. Honestly you're worse than the children!"
Georg pouted for a moment and then decided to switch tactics, leaning in and nuzzling his nose against Maria's warm cheek, "Come on now, I won't tell if you give me a little hint or a big hint," he whispered, kissing at her jaw.
Maria pulled away a bit and shook her head, "No! And that kissing business won't work on me either," she said, raising a brow at him.
"Oh, we both know it will," he murmured, trailing a finger along her exposed collarbone.
"Just a little hint, darling?"
"Fine, you win. I got you a little sailboat for your bathtub."
Georg laughed, "Excellent you can get in with me and we shall see if we can create enough of a splash to sink it," he winked at her as she rolled her eyes at him.
"I got you a fabulous gift," he whispered in her ear before nipping at the lobe.
"Did you now? Well, mine is much better. I can guarantee it," Maria winked back and began assembling the length of red ribbon in her hand into an intricate bow. Georg watched for a moment, always marveling at the things she was able to do with so little effort.
"But you can't wrap it?" he asked.
"No, but I think this bow will do nicely for it."
"Now you simply have to tell me. I'll die of curiosity otherwise."
"Well, I was planning on waiting but…"
Georg gave her a grin that reminded her of Kurt and shook her head at herself for not being able to resist.
Maria turned to Georg and held out her hand, "Very well, help me up and I'll let you have it a bit early."
Georg practically lept to his feet before reaching down to pluck her up, hanging on to her hand and beginning to tug her toward the door.
"Where are you going Georg?"
"To put the bow on my gift, of course!"
Maria tugged his back her direction, "But we don't have to leave the room."
"We don't? But you said that-" Georg gave her a confused look as she simply placed the bow on her stomach and waited.
"What are you-" Georg's mouth dropped a bit, "Are you? Are we?" he reached a hand out plucked the bow off only to press his palm against her still flat stomach.
"Merry Christmas, Captain."
Seriously, this is the most corny thing ever! I promise lots of drama and angst and brooding in the new year… Who am I kidding? I'll leave that stuff to the talented writers and keep all the gooey goodness for myself!
I do so enjoy being a part of this community of fans and I cannot wait to see all the rest of the advent creations!