Jerry is smiling at her. Diana feels her cheeks heating up as she smiles back at him. She can’t look away from him and she knows that’s dangerous. Her mother could catch them at any moment. And yet, they continue staring at each other.
That is, until Anne comes running and calling her name. Diana turns when her friend grabs her arm and drags her away. She is ecstatic, her face glowing with excitement in a way Diana hadn’t seen in a very long time. It makes her smile — still there because of Jerry and apparently incapable of ever leaving — grow even bigger.
Anne starts talking in her Anne-way, too many words coming out of her mouth in a small amount of time. Diana tries to focus on her, but she’s a little distracted because of Jerry, who’s staring at her.
“I just had my fortune told,” she starts, and though Diana tries very hard to pay attention to her red-headed friend, that proves itself incredibly difficult to do when a certain someone still has his eyes glued to her, a handkerchief she had given him tucked into his breast pocket. “And she said my true love would be a good dancer. It sent shivers down my spine when she said it. I know you’re too sensible to believe in oracles, but even you must admit this cannot be a coincidence! Maybe he’s my destiny.” That manages to snap Diana out of her distracting thoughts about a tall, French boy.
“Your destiny?” she asks.
“Gilbert!” Anne exclaims, sounding elated.
Diana lets out a surprised smile at her words, even though Anne had basically admitted that she had feelings for the boy the day before when they were trying on dresses. She's about to tease her about this new development on her relationship with the boy she used to claim to despise a few years back, but then her eyes catch on something behind Anne.
“Oh,” she breathes out, feeling sad for her bosom friend. “Gilbert.”
“I think we’re meant to be—” Anne continues, with a huge smile, but then she turns to see what Diana is looking at and trails off. She freezes, and though her back is turned to her, she knows her eyes are glued to Gilbert Blythe, arm in arm with another girl. A woman, with blonde hair piled up into a fancy bun and hidden under an elaborate hat, holding up a parasol.
Diana kind of wants to hit him in the face. Anne had finally — finally — understood that she had feelings for him, and he had suddenly decided it would be a good idea to show up to the Avonlea county fair with someone else? Someone else and her parents, as well, from the look of things. How utterly stupid of him. Gilbert Blythe, of all people, who she had deemed to be one of the more mature, smart boys in their class. But it seemed he could be just as dumb as any of them. She couldn’t believe he was courting someone else, not after he had been so obviously in love with Anne for the past three years.
“Anne—” she starts, laying a hand on her elbow, but then her mother is next to her, grabbing her arm.
“Come along, Diana,” she says, in a rushed, harried tone. “We must extricate ourselves from that family. Otherwise our day at the fair will be quite ruined.” Diana chooses to ignore the plain contempt her mother showcases towards the Baynards, who were only ever kind to her, and what it could possibly mean for her future. It wouldn’t to dwell on these things now. There were more important things to deal with first, like Anne, who’s still frozen and staring at Gilbert.
She turns to her mother, not quite believing the words about to leave her mouth, but she says them anyway.
“I’ll stay with Anne for a little while, mother, if that’s not a problem,” Diana tells her and doesn’t wait for an answer before grabbing her friend’s hand and dragging her away from there.
Diana only stops when they’re away from everyone, hidden behind a tent selling baked goods. She doesn’t let go of Anne’s hand. Her friend looks completely lost, all the joy that had been in her face before now completely gone. Diana wants to slap Gilbert for doing this to her. Now, of all times. Now, that Anne had found the bravery to own up to her feelings. Now, when Ruby was not an obstacle anymore. Now, when they had danced together and smiled and stared at each other all throughout it, making it quite clear to the entire class that they had feelings for each other.
Honestly, Gilbert Blythe could rot in hell, for all she cared. She didn’t even feel like apologizing for her choice in language.
“Anne,” she says, softly. “Please talk to me.”
“I just...” Anne starts, voice faint, shaking her head. “I can’t believe I actually thought he could have feelings for me. That we could have been destined for each other. How ridiculous. Haven't I learned that these things won’t happen for me?”
“Anne! Don’t say that,” she says, holding both of Anne’s hands. It had been three years since Anne Shirley-Cuthbert had moved into Green Gables, but it seemed it would never be enough time for her to let go of all her previous ideas. No matter how capable of loving everyone and everything Anne was, she had never had the same ability to love herself. Diana wishes she could make her best friend see how beautiful she is, both inside and out. It would never be that easy, though.
“It’s the truth, Diana. How could I have been so naïve? Gilbert Blythe would never settle for me and my hideous hair when he could have a proper, beautiful woman like her, with golden, shiny locks.” Anne’s eyes are shining with unshed tears and Diana feels her sadness like a physical ache in her chest.
She takes a deep breath before grabbing Anne’s arms and looking her in the eyes.
“You listen to me, Anne Shirley-Cuthbert,” she starts, with the determination and strength she had learned from the red-headed girl. “You are my bosom friend and I love you and your thick-headedness, but there’s one thing you have to understand: you are beautiful. You’re kind and brave and smarter than anyone else I know. If Gilbert Blythe can’t see that, then it’s his loss. If he can’t see that, then he does not deserve you, do you understand?”
Anne stares at her with wide, teary eyes. Even Diana feels a little surprised at the intensity in her words, but she hadn’t lied. She needed to get her bosom friend to understand how wonderful she was. Finally, Anne lets out a sob and throws her arms around her, crying into her shoulder. Diana holds her, glad that at least she can be here for her when she needs it, in her first romantic heartbreak.
“Oh, thank you, my dearest Diana,” Anne says, voice muffled by the fabric of her dress. “You truly are my most kindred spirit. I am so glad we met. How could I ever properly make it up to you?”
Diana’s eyes are also starting to get a little watery. She rubs Anne’s back comfortingly. “It’s nothing, Anne. We’re bosom friends, aren’t we? That’s what I’m here for. As long as you stop with those foolish notions and realize how beautiful you are, I’m happy.”
Anne sobs again, just one time. Diana holds her. They stay there until Anne’s calmed down enough that they can get back to the fair. They hold hands on the way back. She’s sure her best friend still needs the support, especially knowing they could bump into Gilbert and the woman accompanying him at any moment. They stick together, even as Diana leaves Anne’s side for a brief moment when Jerry signals her to meet him behind one of the tents. Once she’s sure her best friend is entertained enough by the show happening in front of her, she steps away.
It doesn’t take long for her to come back, though, a porcelain dog in her gloved hand, a blush on her cheeks and a seemingly perpetual smile on her lips.
Diana shakes off the uneasy feeling she gets for not telling Anne about Jerry, promising herself she’ll do it soon, when the other girl is not as sad over curly-haired boys.