Disclaimer: I own nothing in regard to The Sound of Music. No money is being made from this work.


Mincemeat pies

Early December 1927

The rhythmic sounds of the typewriter filled the office. Georg sat behind his desk, quickly hitting the keys when a knock on the door interrupted his train of thoughts.

"Come in," he called out, not raising his eyes from the report he was working on. Franz entered, carrying a big box.

"Sir, a package for you arrived. You asked for it to be delivered to you personally." That caught the Captain's attention.

"Ah, good. Please put it on the desk," said Georg, getting up. "Let me find my knife."

Franz placed the parcel on the desk, while Georg opened a drawer to take out a small pocket knife and made quick work of cutting the ropes and brown paper. When the package was open, he peeked inside and pulled out a letter. Scanning it, he nodded to himself and turned to the butler.

"Franz, please take the package to the kitchen. I have already spoken with the cook. She will know what to do with it. And do not inform anybody else from the staff or family about it," said Georg moving back to sit behind his desk. He desperately wanted to keep the arrival of the package a secret from his family; it was a part of his Christmas surprise. It was most unfortunate that Franz, who loved gossiping, answered the door for the postman.

xxXXxx

24th December 1927

The whole villa was filled with the scent of the forest. Christmas wreaths, made with spruce twigs, were placed on various tables and doors, and a large Christmas tree was standing proudly in the sitting room. Its branches were adored by glass ornaments, placed with the utmost care by the older children or adults. The younger ones decored the tree with painted walnuts, pinecones, and candies wrapped in shiny tinfoil. For most adults, it was chaos, but for the children, it was the most beautiful thing in the world.

Currently, they had the best possible view of the tree, seated on the sofa, armchairs or carped in front of it. And look at it, they did. Somebody was always gazing longingly towards the Christmas tree, or rather the gifts placed under it. Boxes wrapped in beautiful, shiny paper have been tempting the children for the whole day. Though they enjoyed the Christmas Eve celebrations, they could not wait for the carolling to end, when their parent would allow them to dive under the branches and see if the Christkind brought them the gifts they were dreaming about.

The children did their best to be discreet in their desires, but both parents noticed their longing glances, constant squirting and shuffling, evident signs of impatience. As the carol was coming to an end, Georg started hitting the strings of the guitar to begin a different one, wanting to keep the children on the edge of their seats a bit longer, but Maria nudged him lightly and shook her head. He cleared his throat. It seemed that his fun was over.

"Children, I believe it's time to open some gifts," he winked at them. No sooner had the words left his mouth when the children sprung from their seats, rushing towards the tree.

"Leave my gifts alone!" loudly demanded little Gretl, whose short legs made her the last one to reach the tree.

"Should we get some sweets before joining them?" asked Georg, nodding towards a side table filled with various sweet treats.

"Oh, could you get me a plate, please?" pleaded Maria, who could not tear her eyes from the sight of children sitting under the tree, hunting for gifts with their names written on the tags.

"Of course," Georg rose and soon came back to her side with two small plates, filled to the brim with sweets. Maria accepted her plate with a smile and glanced at the content.

"What's that?" she asked, pointing towards a foreign-looking sweet.

"That's a mincemeat pie," explained Georg, sitting down next to her.

"And what is a mincemeat pie?" enquired Maria, looking at her husband expectantly, but before he could answer, Liesel interrupted.

"Mincemeat pies? Do we have them this year, Father?" Her voice was oddly high-pitched.

"Yes, they're on the side table. I asked your Grandmother for the filling and the recipe." That was enough to make Liesl abandon her gift and hurry towards the table, to Maria's surprise. She didn't even bother with a plate. Instead, she took one of these strange pies and popped it into her mouth, savouring the taste.

"Lou, Friedrich, come quickly. Father had the mincemeat pies made!" She called to her siblings, pointing towards the treats. They shared a look and joined their sister, grabbing a piece each.

"Just as I remember!" agreed Friedrich.

"Hey, why aren't you opening their gifts?" questioned Kurt, still sitting close to the tree, playing with his new toy. "And what's it about the pies?" he glanced questioningly at his Father.

"Mincemeat pies were Agathe's favourite Christmas treats," began Georg, taking Maria's hand. "Each year, her mother would send us a jar of the filling for us to make them for Christmas as they're an English treat, not Austrian. We used to have them every year until Agathe passed away, and then we stopped. Truthfully, I forgot about them over the years, but your recent love for raisins reminded me of them. I thought it could be a nice Christmas surprise for everybody," he smiled at Maria. "So I wrote to the children's grandmother asking if she could send us some filling and the recipe."

"I think it's a lovely surprise," ensured Maria. "And they are delicious."

"I never doubted that," chuckled Georg. "They're all von Trapp's favourites!"

xxXXxx

25th December 1927

Georg was not sure what woke him up. The bedroom was dark, and everything seemed quiet. He glanced at his bedside watch. It was barely after five. He groaned and turned, hoping hugging his wife would help him fall asleep, but Maria was not in bed. He furrowed his brow; where could she have gone so early in the morning? The sheets were still warm; she couldn't have left a long time ago. Maybe one of the children woke up and came to her? Sighing, he threw on his robe and searched for his wife.

He started with the children's rooms, but they all were sleeping peacefully. He fixed some crooked blankets and continued his search, checking the library, office, and sitting room. There he finally found some clue, a small fire in the fireplace. It seemed that Maria was not planning on coming back to bed if she kindled the fire.

The next place on his search was the kitchen, and he knew it was a good lead as soon as he entered the room. A candle was burning on the table, but more importantly, the light came in from the pantry. He quickly went there, finding his wife leaning against one of the shelves.

"Not that I'm complaining about the sight, but why are you in the pantry at down?" greeted Georg, coming behind her. She turned her head and shot him an irritated look over her shoulder.

"Well, it seems that you were spot on yesterday. Mincemeat pies indeed are all von Trapp's favourites, your youngest child included. And it decided that it was a splendid idea to wake its mother up in the wee hours of the morning to demand one," explained slightly annoyed Maria.

Georg could not contain his goofy smile. He closed the remaining space between them and put his hand on her stomach. A little over four months along, she only had a small bump that he caressed lovingly.

"I see. But it seems that you found the pies," over her head, he glanced at the shelf in front of them, where a plate with mincemeats stood. "So why are you still here?"

"Because there are only nine of them," said Maria as if it explained everything. Unfortunately, Georg was still confused.

"And that means…" he enquired gently.

"And that means that if I eat my share now, I won't have anything left for the afternoon. So I've been standing here, debating with the little one that surely a Linzer cookie will be just as good, but your child seems to disagree fiercely."

Ah, the cravings. Maria had a relatively calm first trimester, only slightly nauseous in the mornings. But one day in late November, he found her in the kitchen, asking the cook to put more raisins, which she usually barely tolerated, into the strudel. It reminded him about the mincemeat pies, and he returned to his office immediately to pen a letter to Agathe, asking for her help.

"In that case, I might have a solution for your problem. Why don't you grab your pie and I'll put a kettle on fire to make some tea. We still probably have a few hours until the children awake, and we could sit in the sitting room, enjoying some tea and mincemeat."

"That's a lovely idea, darling, but it does not solve my problem at all. I still won't have any mincemeat for the afternoon!" nearly whined Maria.

"You will. You can have mine," at her shocked expression, he corrected himself. "Well, half of it. We can share."

"But you hate sharing desserts!" exclaimed his stunned wife.

"Usually I do, but it seems only fair considering that you're doing all the hard work for this little one."

"Well, when you put it like that-" trailed off Maria. "I still wish there were more of them. I could eat a tone of pies!"

"I'm not sure about a tone, but I have it on a reliable source that Agathe sent us a few big jars of the filling, so you only have to talk with the cook. Or we could make them with the children, I took a look at the recipe, and it seemed rather straightforward, no browned butter needed," he winked at her, noticing the slight hue in her cheeks. Since their honeymoon, they made madeleines a few times, each one ending with burned butter.

"That sounds marvellous! But we can think about baking later. I believe you mentioned something about some tea and sitting together in front of a fireplace?"

"Indeed I did, Fraulein," grinned Georg. Maria snatched a pie from the plate and turned to him, with mischievous sparks in her eyes.

"Lead the way, Captain!"

Twenty minutes later, they were sitting on the couch facing the roaring fire that Georg kindled back to life. Maria was happily eating her pie while Georg took a moment to look at her. The happy look on her face, the gentle glow of the fire and the beautiful Christmas tree in the background. The incredible feeling of calmness and belonging, knowing that his family was healthy, safe and expanding. He wanted to capture this moment in his memory forever.

"You're staring at me," Georg blinked, hearing Maria's comment.

"I cannot help it. I was trying to memorise this moment. I feel so happy," he admitted, stroking her side.

"Well, I'm about to make you even happier," declared Maria confidently.

"By kissing me?"

"Well, I might do it later. Here," she extended the plate with the last bit of mincepie to the Captain.

"Are you going to share your dessert, darling?" Despite all her teasing, she hated sharing sweets as much as he did for all her teasing.

"It only seems fair, seeing that you're going to give me half of your share later," shrugged Maria. Georg did not have to be asked twice. He popped the last bit into his mouth, chewing happily.

"Ah, now a kiss from a fair maiden is all I need!"

"I'm not sure if any fair maiden can be found in Aigen at six on Christmas Day, but what about your wife instead?" Teased Maria, moving to sit on his lap.

"Well," Georg pretended to think about her proposition, stroking her thigh. "I think I can agree to that."

He brought her closer and kissed her lightly. They separated after a few minutes but stayed in the embrace foreheads pressed together.

"I'm not lying, Maria. I cannot remember the last time when I was this happy. I love you so much."

"I know, darling. I love you too," she stroked his face lovingly. "Merry Christmas, Georg."

"Merry Christmas, Maria."


A/N

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you for taking this journey with me.