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Little White Lies...

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It's about seven in the morning when Anne wakes up and stumbles her way to the coffee maker. Her head still hurts from staring at the screen of her computer for all of yesterday. Gilbert has told her on many occasions to have a break from studying every few hours, the doctor inside him waking up every now and then, ready to annoy her with his endless remarks on her unhealthy lifestyle. In his opinion. Anne scratches the bridge of her nose and realizes she doesn't know where she has put her glasses. Gilbert usually puts them in her case when he comes home and finds them in the most unusual places, aware of the fact that it would take her an eternity to look for them in the morning half blind. Sometimes, when he can't find the case he puts them on her nightstand, but he has stopped doing that as Anne has repeatedly told him that entering her room without her permission is an invasion of privacy and that she has legal ground for a lawsuit if he does it again. She finds them tangled up in her bra on the floor, completely unaware of how they got there. She finishes making her coffee now that she isn't such a useless disaster and enjoys it, leaning on the kitchen counter. She hears the door to Gilbert's bedroom open and close and sees a certain blonde try to sneak out the front door, passing Anne without noticing her.

"Good morning, Josie. There's coffee, if you want some," she says, rather amused when she catches a glimpse of horror on Josie Pye's face.

"No, thank you. Could you please not tell Billy about this?"

"About what?" Anne winks. "Your secret's safe with me. You're not the first girl sneaking out that door."

Gilbert was popular with the ladies. Everyone on campus knew that. He tried flirting with Anne on her first day, gallantly offering to show her around, as he was two years older and knew all the halls and shortcuts, but Anne wasn't having any of it. After she scolded him for not thinking her capable enough to manage on her own he made it his goal to befriend her, engaging in a playful rivalry at some of the optional courses they had both signed up for. She's still not sure why exactly she agreed to living with him, she told everyone, including herself, that it was because she couldn't get any studying done in the dormitories with all the non-stop partying going on. He was in desperate need of a roommate after his old one dropped out and moved to Oregon, the rent is cheap and it is a pretty decent apartment, very close to school. But there was more to it. She liked living with Gilbert. Sure, the one night stand awkward morning encounters she could do without, but other than that they were a perfect match. And hey, it's none of her business if he wants to properly indulge in college life...

She had fun living with Gilbert. That's what's important.

"Morning, Sleeping Beauty," she teased when he emerged from the bedroom, the most hungover she had seen him look in a long time.

"Anne, please remind me never to drink again..." He said, rubbing his eyes. Anne, amused, handed him a coffee cup, with his coffee already prepared just how he liked it, pitch black, one sugar.

"Josie Pye? Really?" She asked. "Please tell me no one saw you two together last night. You know how Billy is."

Billy was Josie's on again off again boyfriend. The word has spread last week that they broke up for like the hundredth time, so Gilbert wasn't guilty of anything, but knowing Billy Andrews that wouldn't stop him from picking a fight with Gilbert once again. She vaguely remembers the two of them getting in a fight last year, even though she doesn't really know the circumstances, still she was pretty glad someone finally kicked that awful being of a man's ass. However it's not like Gilbert came out of it without any injuries and she doesn't want him to get hurt again over someone as worthless as Billy. She had named Billy her arch nemesis after he wouldn't take a hint and tried to grope her at the freshmen welcome party, earning himself a splash of vodka in the face in return. After that he became just the meanest, most horrible person she'd ever met, so she had no sympathy for Billy Andrews in her heart. He even spread a really nasty rumor about her last year, although to be honest she's not even sure what it was anymore... They don't really interact anymore, she had been curious about his sudden change of attitude towards her in the past, especially because at first he couldn't resist getting under her skin as much as possible, but she's learnt not question blessings such as this one, so she's let it go.

"Honestly, I don't remember. Also, could you please never again remind me of this? I have enough regrets about last night as it is."

She grabbed a post-it note, wrote Remind Gilbert never to drink again and stuck it to her to do list on the fridge. "You know, I for one think you'll be much happier spending your weekends sober. You can join my poetry club, for example."

"Sorry, but that doesn't sound like something I'd be interested in..."

"But you love reading poetry!" Anne shouted from the bathroom, later returning with a toothbrush in her mouth.

"I love reading your poetry, Anne. And a few classics, but trust me, we spend so much time together, you don't want me invading this."

Anne furrowed her brows, thinking about it. As much as she joked about him being an burden to her, she never actually found his presence annoying or unwanted. Truth is, they really do spend a lot of time together. Gilbert usually works on weekends and then goes out, but other that that, it's the two of them almost every day of the week, either studying or reading, fighting about medieval TV shows, grocery shopping, cooking or simply just doing nothing, together.

"Huh," she mumbled through the toothpaste still in her mouth.

"Wanna ditch class and go on an adventure with me?"

She spat out the toothpaste and rinsed her mouth. "Uh-uh. Last time you said that was in for a day of endless errands. I cannot take another minute of watching you trying to get a permit, trust me. Plus I know you're only asking me because you're too hungover to drive."

"Oh, come on... I promised Bash I would take Delphine to her pediatrician for a check up and I totally forgot. We could go to the ZOO or the movies with her after. Please?"

Anne sighed loudly.

"Fine. You're lucky I've only got two classes today. And that I like Delly so much. But you're cooking this week... And no frozen foods. I want the full on Gilbert Blythe chef experience."

"I love you so much, did you know that?" He laughed and Anne mockingly placed her hands on her heart, pouting her lips in response.

The drive to Delphine's kindergarten was about two hours, so they had to get ready quickly and be on their way. God knows that Anne is a wonderful driver, very responsible, but she tends to tense up in traffic, her temper making it easy for her to become aggressive. Gilbert knows this and is always making sure to calm her down, putting a reassuring hand on her shoulder. When she finally pulled up she insisted on staying in the car, but Gilbert called it nonsense and said that Delly would be very excited to see her.

Her teacher is nice, Anne decided, but maybe a little too nice. It was a girl, about their age, a year younger at most, with long golden locks and a very pretty smile. By the way she talked to Delly Anne could sense she was very good with kids, practically made for the job.

"I haven't seen you in a long time, Gilbert," she smiled.

"Well, I've been busy. You know how it is... But I'm very excited to see this little angel again," he said, picked Delphine up and seated her up on his shoulders. When Anne last saw her during Easter she was two then, she wanted to come for her birthday party, but didn't have the time. Anne couldn't believe how much she's grown since then. Gilbert was acting all goofy, tickling his niece while tying her shoelaces and Anne got hypnotised watching him. She liked this side of him, he was like a magician with kids, they couldn't resist his jokes and silly faces. He once said to Anne that he wanted to have as many children as possible, ideally seven, which made her laugh, but she could see him making it work.

"And you are?" The teacher cleared her throat, clearly very curious.

"That's aunt Anne," Delly said.

"Oh," she responded. "So you two are together then?"

"What? Us?" Anne panicked, earning herself a strange look from the girl.

"Yes. For about a year now," Gilbert lied, for a reason unknown to Anne. Her breath got stuck in her throat and she decided to keep her mouth shut, not knowing how to approach the situation. The girl looked hurt.

"I see. I'm Ruby," she extended her hand. "Nice to meet you aunt Anne. Is that spelled with an e?"

"I like this girl," she said to Gilbert as they were leaving. Gilbert chuckled, knowing full well just how sensitive Anne was about people spelling her name incorrectly.

"Yeah, she's an old friend from school."

For a moment, Gilbert looked lost in his thoughts. She wondered if there had been any history between the two of them, as the girl spoke very highly of him.

"She fancies you."

"Yeah," Gilbert chuckled.

"Is that why you made me lie?"

"I didn't make you lie," Gilbert said defensively. "I lied. You just didn't say anything."

"Not saying anything is the same as lying, Gilbert. And lying is bad," she addressed the last part to Delly as she tried to figure out how to fasten a seatbelt through her car seat.

The rest of the day went by pretty uneventfully. They came home at about three o'clock, both burying their faces in their textbooks. Gilbert cooked, as promised. It was nothing fancy, just chicken and rice, but Anne still thought it was delicious.

"Would you, though?" Gilbert asked as he emerged from his thoughts.

"Would I what?"

Anne had been barely paying attention, going over her essay on Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe in her head.

"Lie for me, I mean. There's something I haven't yet told you about."

"Listening..." Anne leaned in, eager to her what he was about to say.

Chapter Text

"Ruby's my ex." 

"Oh. I didn't know that." Anne felt a little dumb in that moment, not having picked up on it before.

"Yeah, we dated for a year in high school. To be honest, it didn't feel that serious to me, she really liked me and I thought she was sweet, but then she started talking about stuff like getting married and having kids and I couldn't in good conscience keep dating her after that, since I didn't feel the same way. Anyway," he said, taking a deep breath. "Ever since Delly enrolled in that kindergarten Ruby's been set on getting me back... I thought she was joking at first, but now I know she's not and she's not letting it go. So I kinda told her I had a girlfriend, but she didn't believe me." 

"Until she saw me," Anne finished for him.

"I'm so sorry, Anne. I didn't think anything of it when I asked you to come along, but... I saw an opportunity and I know it wasn't right to drag you into this, but... I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry." 

Anne wasn't angry at him, not really. But he didn't need to know that.

"It was a bit weird," she said. 

"I know. I don't think she's one hundred percent convinced that we're together, though. She just texted me asking if we'd be up for having a dinner with her sometime this week."

"I don't think that's a good idea, Gilbert." 

"I'm not saying we should. I know how much you hate lying and don't want to do anything to make you uncomfortable..."

Anne thought about everything for a second. She could imagine how seeing your ex so often and them making an effort to get back together must be making Gilbert feel extremely uncomfortable. And she imagined how it would make her feel if it was her and Roy. She would be in the depths of despair. Gilbert would pretend for her... No questions asked. 

One dinner can't be that bad...

She sighed.

"I'll do it," she said finally, surprising Gilbert.

"Really??" 

"It's just one dinner, I can endure it. And you do so much for me already, I think I ought to finally return the favor–" 

"No, Anne. I don't ever want you to feel any sense of obligation towards me. I don't–" Gilbert jumped in, but got dismissed by Anne immediately.

"I know you don't. That's why you're so awesome. And it's not even that big of a lie... We do so much together, one could say that we are practically in a relationship, if you take out the sex part, so... I oughtn't have that big of a problem with pretending." 

"You're the best, you know that?" He said, wrapping his hands around her. 

"I do," she winked. "But it's still nice to hear it every once in a while."

Gilbert set up their dinner for Friday night. They flipped the coin on who's gonna drive and who gets the luxury of numbing their mind with alcohol on said dinner. 

Gilbert won. He didn't listen to her argument on how he just said he would never drink again.

"You lost. Fair and square, Shirley," he said.

Anne guessed he must be really stressed about making an impression on Ruby.

When she told Diana about their dinner plans the next day in school, the little raven haired girl burst into laughter. "Oh, Anne, can I come?? Witnessing that would be terribly amusing." 

"That attitude is precisely why you can't come. Plus, Ruby is bringing a date if I recall correctly." 

"Oh, so it's a double date??" Diana wiggled her eyebrows.

"Gilbert thinks she's only bringing a date to make him jealous, as she doesn't really believe we're a couple and from what I've heard about her, I can see that being precisely something she would do. The whole thing is making me awfully nervous. I don't know how to act like Gilbert's girlfriend!" 

"Oh, please, just act like yourselves... You two act like a couple all the time!" Diana scoffed.

"We do not!!" 

"Whatever you say, Anne..." 

The day of the dinner Anne came home and found Gilbert stress eating a chocolate sheet cake.

"Slow down, you five year old, or you won't have any space for dinner left..." Anne said, taking a tissue and wiping a chocolate smudge from his chin.

"You sound like Marilla," he protested, but put the cake back in the fridge. "I don't know what I'm so nervous about. It's just Ruby, but still..."

"Yeah, no, I get it. Seeing your ex is always crappy." 

Gilbert nodded, lost in his thoughts.

"Just how fancy is this place anyway? I have zero idea what to wear," Anne remarked.

"I think I'll just wear a white shirt and black pants. No tie... You could wear that green strapless dress you wore to Mary's birthday party. You look beautiful in that." 

She never quite got used to Gilbert calling her beautiful. 

"Good thinking," she said.

 

 

Chapter Text

"Did we underdress?" Anne asked Gilbert as they stopped at the restaurant entrance. Through the window she could see the place was very nice, candlelit with particularly interesting classical artwork decorating the walls. They had valet parking, although Anne supposed
it was not that out of ordinary. Gilbert waved his hand, not worrying about such things and led her inside. 

It was Friday night and the restaurant was busy, it took a few seconds more for her eyes to finally land on Ruby. The mystery gentleman she was with was turned away talking to the waiter, but Anne could tell he had broad shoulders and posture of a sportsman. Ruby's eyes caught hers and her face lit up, gesturing for them to come and sit down. She was also dressed a bit too casual for the place, which was probably due to her date picking out the restaurant. She wore a pink spaghetti dress, pairing very nice with her hair in a braided updo. Anne could see Ruby was wearing flats, which immediately made her like the girl even more. She herself was suffering in gold three inch heels, wishing she could go back and stop herself from making that decision. Gilbert's fingers intertwined with hers gently as he led her to the table, stopping halfway and exhaling in shock. Anne gave him a concerned look, not knowing what was happening. 

"I'm driving tonight," he said.

"What is it? Are you not feeling good? Is it your stomach?" Anne asked, worried and put her hand on his forehead. "Your temperature seems okay."

This amused Gilbert a little, but he did his best to remain serious. "No, it's just that you're gonna be needing a few drinks." 

Anne scrunched her forehead, confused, but as soon as she turned her head back to the table she understood. Sitting next to Ruby was the worst person to be Ruby's date possible. Royal Gardner. Her feet stumbled as soon as she saw him, but thankfully Gilbert was there to catch her before she fell.

"I'm gonna be needing more than a few," Anne said and Gilbert nodded understandingly. 

Roy was looking at her just as shocked as she was looking at him, so she knew this was just a big coincidence and not another one of his shenanigans. 

"Anne," he said, shaking her hand. "It's really good to see you again. Hello, Gilbert." 

She narrowed her eyes at him, unconvinced, but replied politely: "Yes. Long time no see." 

Gilbert and Ruby exchanged looks, Ruby already sensing the awkwardness of that situation. "Why don't we all just take a seat," Ruby said, faking a smile. Before she could even reach for her chair Roy's hands were on it, gallantry moving it for her. She sat down and gave him a smile, Anne watching this in complete awe. Showoff, she thought.

Gilbert shot her a glance, most likely wondering if he should do that as well, but Anne's face spoke for itself. So he just took a seat and cleared his throat, smiling at Royal. There certainly is a lot of smiling, Anne remarked to herself... 

"So, you three know each other," Ruby broke the silence. 

"Well, Anne is a dear old friend," Royal jumped in before Anne could open her mouth. "Ex dear old friend, to be precise." 

Memories came flooding into her mind, she was 18 and naive, he was 21 and this perfectly charming gallant fool, head over heels for her. He still has the same way with words, Anne thought, seeing how easy it would be for him to have a girl like Ruby wrapped around his finger in no time. Most women bore Royal, his good looks combined with his gentleman act making him much desired on the dating field. Suffice to say, it didn't end well for them... 

"Oh, I see. When was this?" 

"Little over two years ago, although it seems like yesterday, doesn't it? I can see I was right about you two," Roy said and Anne tightened her fist as hard as she could under the table, Gilbert noticed this and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

Roy had always been jealous of Anne and Gilbert's friendship, always accusing them of having feelings for each other, making jealous scenes everywhere they went together and so on... 

"Well, what can I say, when two people are right for each other, it happens after a time," Gilbert closed the topic off, getting saved by the waiter coming back to their table. Ruby had ordered a bottle of wine prior and asked Anne if she wanted to share it with her or order something else. Anne settled for wine, although thought the situation needed something much stronger. Gilbert and Roy were the sober ones and Anne couldn't decide if that was better or worse than them being drunk. 

She was absolutely sure this restaurant was Royal's pick when she looked at the menu, a mix of French and Italian terms already confusing her mind. Gilbert was a little at loss too, although he had an advantage seeing as he took French in high school. 

After ordering what Anne could place as the most ordinary thing on the menu by Royal's reaction she took a big gulp of the wine in front of her and leaned back in her chair, preparing herself for a long evening. 

"How long have you two been dating?" Gilbert asked, trying to make this dinner easier on Anne.

"It's our third date, so we're not that serious yet, but we're enjoying each other's company for now. We met at a bookstore in Halifax, I was there to visit my sister and we got to talking about educational courses for kids and really hit it off. I'm sure it's not as exciting as your love story," Ruby said, a sucker for all things romantic.

"Our love story..." Gilbert started, glancing over at Anne as to hint for her to take over. They didn't discuss anything beforehand, so they would have to improvise and Anne's imagination really was a strong suit.

"We had been friends for a while but I guess it all really started after I moved in. We were just friends at the time and Gilbert was on this crazy quest of sleeping with half our school," she laughed.

"Oh, come on, I wasn't that bad." 

"Oh, you were. Really bad. But I don't know it was a drunken kiss at the bar turned into a date I wasn't really sure wasn't a mistake and then several dates I knew weren't a mistake turned into saying I love you on Christmas Eve and a bunch of other cheesy romantic stuff." 

Anne felt pretty good about her lie. It was believable, didn't go too much into detail but still showed they cared about each other. Gilbert looked satisfied with it too, placing a short kiss on her cheek afterwards. What was important was that Ruby was satisfied, smiling widely at them. 

"About your school, how are you guys liking Redmont?" Royal asked.

"Roy, no."

"Why? Are you thinking about going there? It would surely be a stepdown from Ivy League," Anne said. 

"No, no, he's asking for me... I might've mentioned I thought about going externally, because of my job. I love my job, don't get me wrong, but I might like to aim for more in the future."

Anne thought it was great Ruby wanted more. Really great. But her enrolling would be a disaster for them. No one there knows about them "dating", so it would completely ruin their backstory, Gilbert has been sleeping around, even though still less and less, so that might go undiscovered, but even so... If people like Josie Pye or Billy Andrews found out about this, there is no way Ruby wouldn't instantly be in the loop. It was a catastrophe just waiting to happen. She caught a glimpse of panic in Gilbert's eyes, kicking him under the table immediately to remind him not to show his concerns. 

"Anyway, that's still just something to think about for next year." 

Thank God, Anne thought. 

The meal came and it was okay, although Anne preferred her Gilbert Blythe special home cooked dinners much more. They talked about anything and everything and it went fine, although Anne was still tense about Roy being a part if the night. The wine helped, though. Before she knew it her and Ruby were ordering a second bottle. 

The break up between Royal and her was messy, Anne told him she didn't love him anymore and maybe she never did. She liked how he was acting at the beginning of their relationship, he was the knight in shining armor she had imagined she'd end up with all throughout her childhood. Thinking of it now, she knows that behavior of his is precisely why she thought she loved him. Matthew and Marilla liked him as he was an opening for a bunch of new fancy opportunities for Anne. But then he turned into a controlling paranoid asshole, always accusing her of something new. She did her fair share of mistakes as well, big one being not realizing just how strong his feelings were for her and not treating it that way. A bunch of sleepless nights in the dorms crying with Diana's support, or in Gilbert's (now theirs) apartment, eating pizza and making fun of trashy reality TV and she was fine, or at least better. 

She wondered what he did to get through it, or if he ever did. 

"I'm gonna go smoke. Wanna light one with me, for old times sake?" Royal asked. 

Anne hesitated. Maybe it was the alcohol, but she could use a cigarette.

"Can't say that I'll finish it, but sure..." 

When they were outside she realized what she'd agreed to. Five to ten minutes with him alone. 

"It's a starry night," he said, lighting her cigarette and Anne immediately regretted her decision. He said that to her once before after they made love under the moonlit sky on one of their road trips to Toronto.

"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night," she quoted Sarah Williams and for a beat they just stood there in silence, breathing the cold night air.

"You're with lover boy now," he stated and she rolled her eyes.

"Yes."

"I had told you there was more to your friendship." 

"Constantly," Anne said, words spicy on her tongue. 

"Are you happy?" 

"What are you doing, Roy? Your date is sitting right there." 

"She's an interesting girl, that's for sure and certain." 

She wanted to ask how long before she starts boring him, but didn't. She put the cigarette out and crossed her arms. 

"It's cold. I'm gonna head inside." 

He nodded and she left. She felt thrown by their conversation, cause it was so much like the old days. He had that effect on her, keeping her on her toes with heavy questions and sentences with hidden meaning. 

Ruby and Gilbert were now too finished with their plates and Gilbert looked like he'd been having fun talking to her alone. 

Maybe it was the alcohol, but she wanted to do something to claim him. He wasn't hers, not really, but for the night he was and she realized after standing outside with Roy that she did miss companionship dearly. She wanted to, but she didn't. She saw Roy paying for their table at the bar, something she knew would upset Gilbert, but didn't do anything for her. God knows Royal has the money. 

Ruby stood up and put her coat on. "Night cap?" she shrugged and Anne nodded. 

She didn't know how Gilbert felt about going for a night cap, but she felt she needed it. Ruby suggested going to her apartment and so the four of them went. 

Ruby's flat was nice and it looked just like Anne expected it would. A lot of IKEA, a lot of white, color brought to the rooms by bright decorations. The kitchen however was red and Anne thought it was super adorable. 

As soon as Gilbert and Roy found out Ruby's router isn't working they were already both on their knees on the living floor, trying to fix it. Anne just shook her head, thinking them ridiculous for feeling the need to uphold such masculine standards. Ruby just thought them amusing. 

"So, how are things going with you and Royal?" Anne asked, sure that guys weren't paying attention. Ruby then closed the door and led her back to the kitchen. 

"Right now it's great, I just don't know if it will last. I like him a lot, but it's just that... He's so..." 

"Serious?" Anne asked, raising her eyebrows.

"All the time!!" Ruby exclaimed and both girls laughed. 

"Anyway, Gilbert's a catch. He's the most thoughtful guy I know. You're really lucky to have him," Ruby said, handing her a glass of wine. 

"I am," Anne replied and for the first time truly saw just how amazing Gilbert was. "I'd be lost without him," she addressed more to herself than Ruby and took a sip of wine, lost in her thoughts. 

"And he's so in love with you, he never was like that with me..." 

That statement was enough to bring Anne back to reality. 

"What do you mean?" 

"Well you should've seen the way he talked about you when you were out smoking with Roy! I had never seen anyone's eyes sparkle so much. Even if he doesn't always show it, I know Gilbert and he's enchanted by you." 

Anne was saved by Roy victoriously emerging from the living room, holding his phone up to show that the WiFi was up again. 

 

Chapter Text

Anne lost track of when exactly the evening changed it's course. Gilbert and Roy were doing that stupid macho thing where they tried to out-man each other, the alcohol Ruby and Anne had drank had worn off and Ruby suggested to Anne that the boys should have a drink as well to loosen up.

"I can't stand the look of them, really. Were they always this competitive?" Ruby giggled, covering her mouth. 

"Well, yes."

"Oh, Anne, I've only known you for a very short amount of time, but I already treasure our friendship dearly," Ruby said, placing a hand on Anne's arm. "Why don't you two stay the night? I have a perfectly good guest room just waiting to be used. It would allow for us to extend this evening. I am having too much fun watching these fools. Please, consider."

Anne said she'd have to talk it through with Gilbert first and whispered into his ear to follow her into the kitchen. She made sure to close the door after them, wanting the following conversation to remain private. 

"Ruby offered us her guest room for the night," she said finally, when Gilbert was done looking her up and down questioningly.

"Absolutely not, Anne." 

"Please, Gilbert... You could have a few drinks and let loose," Anne pleaded, avoiding his gaze.

"Why are you trying to prolong this catastrophe? I thought you hated being around Roy," he said a little coldly, but she couldn't really blame him. While she's been cheerfully gossiping with Ruby, he was left at the mercy of Royal Gardner's chatter. She could see why he was looking forward to getting home. She pouted her lips once again. Gilbert exhaled loudly. 

"I don't like his presence, no. But I'm enjoying hanging out with Ruby. I'm not ready for this night to end yet..." 

"I don't know anything about this neighborhood, I've already forgotten where we had parked the car and I have no desire to stay here longer than necessary... Simply no, Anne, we're not doing this."

"Gilbert, please—" 

"Okay, Anne... What's the real reason why you want to stay?" 

Anne scratched her neck nervously. She should've known Gilbert would see right through her. 

"She's such a great girl. I don't want him to... Defile her. Trust me, he will. He will want to stay the night and he will want to... You know... She will regret sleeping with him for the rest of her life, I know I do. She doesn't deserve that, Gilbert," she finished and Gilbert's gaze softened. He started rubbing circles on her back soothingly. 

"So you think if we stay he'll back off?" Gilbert raised his eyebrows.

"Ruby won't encourage him to stay while we're here. It's only their third date, she won't want us to know she slept with him so soon. Although he does have that charm. If I could talk with her in the morning, tell her he's bad news... Maybe I could prevent her from the pain."  

She wiped one tear from her cheek and Gilbert nodded, giving her a reassuring smile. 

"Ruby, pour me something stronger than iced tea. We're staying the night," Gilbert shouted from the kitchen and Ruby entered with glee... 

"Still a whiskey fan?" she grinned.

Thankfully, Royal refused to drink. Anne thought of this as a victory, although she still kept her guard up. She was dropping little hints to ask if he was staying or driving home but as it appeared Roy caught none of them. Eventually she gave up. 

She could see Gilbert getting more comfortable with the whole situation, now that he had alcohol flowing through his veins, Ruby on the other hand looked flushed, already a bit tipsy. Royal had noticed this with a predatory grin on his face and Anne couldn't help but feel a little disgusted. It's not like she thought he was ever gonna rape her, but he wouldn't even have to with his false charms. Many girls have fallen a victim to them.

Anne guessed she was so special to Royal because she didn't swoon as soon as she caught his attention. They started off as friends and later have developed a deeper bond, but in the short time of their friendship she could see no girl was able to resist him. 

Eventually, not even she did. 

"We should play a game!!" Ruby exclaimed, getting up from her seat. 

"Like a board game?" Gilbert asked, confused as to whether or not Ruby was in a state to keep her attention on something for such while.

"No, no. Me and my friend Phil once played this game at a party which is basically... How well do you know your partner. We take turns to answer questions in teams and if we fail to answer correctly, we have to do a dare."

Anne and Gilbert exchanged looks. Ruby was looking at them expectingly. 

"Sure, I mean, we know each other pretty well," Anne agreed finally, placing a hand on Gilbert's thigh. 

"No, not you two... I don't know that much about Roy yet. We should do it... Exes against exes." 

Jesus fucking Christ, Anne thought. 

"Sounds like fun," Royal finally joined the conversation, shooting Anne a daring glance. 

"Who picks those questions?" Gilbert asked.

"The internet usually does. Or maybe we could pick them? Gilbert would ask Roy questions about Anne, Anne would ask me something about Gilbert and the same would go for us... Both people in a team write their answers down and if they match, it's a win." 

The game seemed innocent, but Anne still wasn't convinced it couldn't turn into a mess. But since they wanted to be good house guests, she agreed. 

Ruby took a seat next to Gilbert, a glass of wine in hand and leaned back on the couch, putting her feet up on the coffee table. Anne shifted closer to Roy, but still kept quite a bit of distance.

"Who wants to start??" 

"Gilbert, what's Ruby's favorite color?" Roy said immediately. 

"Easy," Gilbert said as he and Ruby both wrote down their answers and revealed them. They said the same thing. "Pink," he said victoriously.

"That was an easy one..." 

"Okay, Anne... What's Roy's favorite memory of you?" Ruby asked. 

Anne looked lost for a moment. Then she remembered. 

Our trip to Louvre, she wrote down.

She was convinced this was it, until Roy revealed his answer and shocked her dearly. 

"It's a starry night," he read out. "She knows what it means. You got it wrong, Shirley..." 

She was glad no one asked what it meant. That night was forever written in her memory, no matter how hard she tried to forget it. They smoked cigarettes naked on the roof of his BMW parked near a cliff, far away from anyone's sight. They read bad french poetry and then had their first intimate relations. He was her first. 

"Anne, take a shot," Ruby said, emerging from the kitchen with a bottle of gin in her hands. 

Anne downed her shot. She felt the alcohol spread through her insides and suddenly felt the urge to ask Gilbert what his favorite memory with her was. 

Does he even have any? 

"This isn't fair, I'm gonna be piss drunk while my boyfriend has just started drinking."

"Those are the rules of the game, Anne," Ruby said and took a seat on Roy's lap. The look he gave Anne afterwards was undescribable and somehow daring and had completely thrown her off. Gilbert noticed it, taking a big gulp of whiskey and pulling Anne in for a kiss. 

She didn't expect it at all.

She ended up on his lap also, leaning into his lips. She could still taste the whiskey after she'd pulled away. 

She had kissed her best friend. She knew it was coming, she did her best to prepare for it all day and she thought she did, but in that moment it was suffice to say that she didn't. She wondered if Ruby and Roy could also feel the intensity of that situation or if it was all in her head. She wondered if he felt it too. 

It was a good few seconds before she realized she had been staring into his eyes all that time, catching herself and breaking it up. 

"Okay, you two, wanna get back to playing the game or are you too busy being in love?" Ruby laughed. She was scratching the back of Roy's neck. 

She nodded and they went back to their seats. 

"Anne, it's your turn to ask," Roy told her, but she wasn't concentrating. All she could think about was the kiss her and Gilbert shared. 

It wasn't a normal kiss, right? Maybe it was just because she was drunk, but everything melted away when their lips touched and it was as if it had been fueled by something raw deep inside her.

But she didn't like Gilbert... Did she? 

Of course she liked him. Who wouldn't like Gilbert? He was a great guy and her best friend. But did she like him differently?

No, she didn't.

She didn't, right??

She didn't.

Anne cleared her throat. "Okay Ruby, who's Gilbert's favorite author?" 

Her mind immediately went to Ernest Hemingway, after all that was the one author he mentioned the most, often quoting him in their conversations. Ruby thought about it for a moment, then written something down and turned it towards Anne. 

"Ernest Hemingway, am I right?" Ruby grinned. 

To that, Gilbert just shook his head and revealed his answer. Written on his paper was ANNE. 

She was completely stunned.

"Good guess, though," he said to Ruby. 

Ruby just shrugged. 

"I did not expect that!! And I didn't know you wrote. You must send me something, Anne. I'd love to read it!" 

"I will," she heard herself reply, unable to stop looking at Gilbert. 

Did he mean it? Was it just because of what they were pretending to be? He did always compliment her on her work. And she knows for a fact that he had read some of her stuff twice or more times. Like, he could quote it, but... She never could've imagined him liking her writing this much. It couldn't be true.

"I'm serious, Anne. You're really good," he said, almost as if he had known what she was thinking. 

"Thank you," she breathed softly. 

"Okay, what's my dare?" Ruby jumped in.

Anne thought about it for a second. 

"Jump out of the window."

"ARE YOU KIDDING, ANNE??" Gilbert asked in a raised voice.

"Why? We're on the ground floor, it's barely a meter and a half... I've jumped from higher–" 

"I'm down," Ruby interrupted.

Anne squeezed her hand. She was starting to like this girl even more. 

Ruby opened her window and the three of them came to watch. She jumped down and landed perfectly, screaming along the way. 

"That was fun!!" Ruby giggled.

Before Gilbert could stop her, Anne was jumping too. When on the ground she hugged Ruby tightly, laughing. 

"I don't know what you two were thinking, but jumping drunk, even from a height like this, is dangerous." 

"Oh, calm down, doctor." 

They both returned inside after that. They kept playing the game for a little while after that, but Ruby started yawning so they decided to do one last question and wrap it up for the night. The turn to ask was Gilbert's. 

"Roy, what's the first thing Anne does when she comes home?" 

Roy wrote down eat. Which is true, opening the fridge is one of the things Anne first does when she comes home, but not the first one. 

"Wrong," Gilbert said before Anne could turn her paper around. "She takes off her contacts, puts on glasses and braids her hair." 

Anne had just doodled a picture of glasses, but he was right. She high-fived him.

"You know you're not on the team with him, right?" Ruby laughed.

"How do you even know that? Do you two live together or something?" Roy asked.

"Yes," Gilbert said, shocking Roy. "But I knew that even before..." 

Anne smiled widely. 

She was glad when she saw Ruby walking Roy to her doorstep. They shared a kiss goodbye, but it was short.

It wasn't like her and Gilbert's, she thought. Anne still felt weird after the kiss. Mainly because she liked it so much. 

"I'mma go find you two some pajamas. I hope you won't mind me going to bed this early, but I can feel the wine getting to me." 

"Not at all, thank you for everything," Anne replied. 

Half an hour later they were both in the guest room, staring at the bed. It was big enough so they could both sleep there comfortably, but small enough to have to sleep close to each other. It didn't occur to either of them that staying the night would mean sharing a bed. 

"We can do this, right? It's not weird," Gilbert looked at her.

"Not weird at all," Anne replied.

"Absolutely."

Disclaimer? It was weird.

They climbed into bed, facing each other and exchanging nervous looks. For a beat they remained silent. Anne didn't know this, but Gilbert had been in the middle of counting the freckles on her face when she interrupted him, speaking. 

"Hey, what did you and Ruby talk about while I was out with Royal?"

She thought back to Ruby saying she could see how in love with her Gilbert was. Gilbert must've just been making something up.

"I was telling her about your terrible cooking skills. Hey," he shouted after Anne kicked him under the covers. He was radiating so much heat, it was so distracting that Anne wondered how she could ever fall asleep with him next to her.

"And about how well you're doing in school. Why?" 

"No reason," she stated simply. 

She turned her back to him and smiled to herself. A combination of weird thoughts were running through her head, she wondered what he would do if she shifted closer to him. She wondered what he was thinking. Before she could fall too deep into her train of thought, one of Gilbert's arms wrapped around her. It wasn't quite like they were spooning, there was too much space between them for that, but Anne felt instantly more comfortable. 

"Anne?"  

"Hm?" 

"Goodnight." 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Anne woke up in the middle of the night tangled in Gilbert's arms, unable to shift away.

Is this how all the one night stand girls feel when they sleep over? She groaned loudly and tried to get up from the bed, when a set of strong arms pulled her back down.

"Go to sleep, Anne," he mumbled, rubbing his face. 

"What are you, five? I need to pee." 

Gilbert however, did nothing to let her out. 

Anne punched his chest. 

"You keep calling me a five year old... You know I'm two years older than you?" 

Anne ignored his comment. 

"You keep acting like one... I told you I needed to pee. It's your doctor duty not to let me get a kidney infection."

Anne couldn't see this in the dark, but Gilbert rolled his eyes and then loosened his grip. 

"Finally," Anne said as she stumbled out of the bedroom. She was met by a very hungover Ruby eating crackers at the kitchen table. 

"Oh, Anne, sorry... Did I wake you?" she asked, genuinely concerned.

"Oh no, Gilbert did. He's like a furnace," Anne laughed. 

"Must be nice," Ruby said, staring deeply into her coffee mug. 

"I'd call it annoying, but sure..." 

Ruby let out a slight chuckle.

"No, I mean to have someone to cuddle with. I haven't had much luck in relationships." 

Anne thought about it for a second. Yeah, it must be nice... She herself was longing for that sort of thing. If Ruby only knew the truth... 

"Why are you talking like this?" Anne asked. 

"It's nothing," Ruby dismissed it. 

"I got you," Anne said and took a seat across from her. "Tell me..." 

"I know I'm supposed to be happy to be dating a guy like Roy, but I'm just not sure about the whole thing. Like, it's going great, I should be ecstatic, but I'm not." 

Anne let out a breath of relief at that.

"And I keep waiting for the excitement to come... But it just doesn't, you know what I mean? I always thought I'd end up with somebody totally different. You must think I'm crazy..." Ruby shook her head.

"I don't," Anne blurted out, eager to hear what Ruby meant. "Different how?"

"Like... More light-hearted. Fun. Roy's so serious all the time, I can't seem to get comfortable around him."

Ruby buried her face in her palms, this was clearly burdening her mind. Anne touched her arm gently. 

"Ruby," she breathed. "Royal isn't as great as he seems, trust me. I wanted to tell you sooner, but I didn't get the chance. It's good that you're not crazy about him, in fact I would advise you to stay as far away as possible, I'm serious." 

Ruby's face went blank.

"Did he... Did he ever... Do something to you?" she stuttered, horrified. 

"You mean like hit me? No. He didn't have to. He had managed to hurt me just fine with his words. It wasn't a good relationship, Ruby. Abuse comes in many forms."

She could feel herself getting emotional, trying hard to keep it together. Ruby noticed.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Anne. I made you face him—" 

"No, no, it's okay, really... You couldn't have known. What I'm trying to say is... You deserve much better. And I'm sorry to spring it on you like this, I know how it must sound and I really don't want to meddle, but—" 

"I believe you," Ruby interrupted, giving Anne a weak smile. "Thank you for telling me."

Anne chuckled. "Yeah." 

"I was so happy when I met him, God... I thought I could never do any better, so I just... Kept meeting with him. Especially after I found out about Gilbert having a girlfriend, well, you," she gestured towards Anne. "I know it's awkward to say this, but... I have to admit I tried to ignite the old flame, sorry..." 

That really made Anne laugh. "Oh, dear, you have nothing to apologize for, honestly. And don't you ever say you can't do better! In fact, you could do a thousand times better than him."

"Thank you for saying that," Ruby said. "I just get so lonely sometimes... You get it," 

"I do," Anne nodded. "This is horrible timing, but... I know someone who I think you would really click with. I could introduce you sometime, if you'd like... After this whole Roy thing blows over." 

"I'd like that," Ruby smiled.

"Great!! Now, I don't want to be rude, but... I really have to pee," Anne admitted, making Ruby burst into laughter. 

"Yeah, go on... Wouldn't want you to wind up with a kidney infection," she joked. 

"Right?!!" Anne giggled and headed to the bathroom. 

She heard steps in the hallway and then Gilbert's voice. "Is she throwing up?" he asked in worry. 

"No, just peeing..."

She then heard him get close to the bathroom door. "You've been in there for an awfully long time... Prostate coming in early, Shirley?" he joked.

"Jerk," she shouted, flushing the toilet and washing her hands afterwards. 

Ruby and Gilbert laughed. 

Anne stepped out into the hallway, shaking her head disapprovingly. 

"Is he always like this?" Ruby asked.

"You mean funny and handsome?" Gilbert wiggled his eyebrows. Anne hung her hands around his neck. 

"No, she meant rude and annoying," Anne spoke, grinning. "Honestly Ruby, I'm getting fed up with him... Take him, he's all yours..."

"I'm glad you're having fun on my account," Gilbert said. 

"So much fun..." Anne mumbled.

"Well, I don't know about you two, but I'm going back to bed," Ruby announced. 

"You just had coffee..." 

"Stop doctoring everyone, Gilbert!!" Ruby shouted, already on her way to her bedroom. She stopped at the door, turning back. 

"Goodnight," she spoke. "Oh and Anne? Thank you for the talk." 

Anne gave her a wide smile. "Thank you too." 

"Well, you two certainly seem to be getting along," Gilbert noted back in the guest room. 

"I told you I liked her."

"Yeah," he agreed. "But how does this work... We keep pretending and then what? What if she finds out?" 

Anne was saddened by his comment, but she knew it was true. She had been wondering the same thing herself, not finding any answers. 

"We'll just have to make sure she doesn't... We break up after a little while, choose to remain friends and you know... Figure it out. Or come clean, I hadn't thought that far ahead." 

Gilbert took a deep breath and nodded. 

"Oh, and I wanted to tell you... I'm setting her up with Moody." 

"I'm guessing the Roy talk went well," he laughed. 

"Yeah." 

"But Moody doesn't know anything about us being a "couple". You wanna fill him in? Isn't that dangerous?" 

"You're asking a lot of awfully rational questions today, Gilbert... I don't like it. I'm the rational one in this relationship." 

"Haha, you wish," he teased.

"I don't know why I date you, honestly..." she poked at his side.

"You don't."

"Good point. I firmly believe we can trust Moody, though. Plus, I think they would really hit it off," Anne said, leaning against a dresser. Gilbert looked unconvinced. 

"Oh, just go to bed, Gilbert!!" Anne said, pushing him forward. 

"You keep nagging me like that, I just might break up with you..."

"Please, like you could do any better." 

Gilbert was already on the bed, waiting for her to get under the covers. 

"I guess you're right. There's no one quite like you, Anne Shirley." 

She turned the lights off and then smiled. 

The following Monday she filled Diana in on everything. Diana listened carefully hanging onto her every word. Then when Anne finished, she thought about it, gazing out the window of the coffee shop they were in. Anne was waiting patiently for her to say something, sipping her hot chocolate in the process. 

"So," Diana spoke. "The cupboards were red? What color was the counter?" 

"Ha-ha. So funny..." 

"Is he a good kisser?" 

"I'm not answering that!!" 

"Why?" 

"Because I'm not. Go kiss him and find out..." Anne said defensively, crossing her arms. 

"I'm pretty sure there's some kind of a girl code about not kissing your best friend's fake boyfriend, so no." 

Anne sighed. 

"You think setting her up with Moody is a bad idea? Gilbert surely does..." 

"I don't know, Anne. And I'm not getting involved in this," Diana said firmly.

"When did everyone start making smart choices all of the sudden??" 

"When did YOU start making bad ones is the question... I've always known you to be very levelheaded." 

"You're no help, you know that??" 

Anne came home to find Gilbert sitting on their kitchen floor, holding a bag of frozen peas to his face. Anne fell on her knees and took it from him, revealing a nasty black eye. 

"Christ, what happened??!" she shouted. 

"Billy paid me a visit," he responded, leaning back against the fridge and exhaling loudly.

 

 

Chapter Text

Gilbert was having the time of his life. The whole of third floor was having a party, presumably the biggest and craziest party he had ever been to during his time in college. He was supposed to meet Anne half an hour ago, but his phone battery died and he had no idea how to reach her. He had borrowed Moody's phone and texted her, but she wasn't online and Moody didn't have Anne's number. Gilbert mentally scolded himself for not memorizing her number before. Anyway, a couple of guys called him to their room and said they were doing keg stands and asked if he wanted to join. Now, Gilbert was not a one to refuse a challenge. Thinking back on it now, he should've probably waited, since it was still just 10 pm and the party was just starting. He thought about living in dorms before, but figured it would be hard to study property with all the craziness going on. Partying is great, but only when one's actually up for it and not trying to not fail chemistry. He then headed upstairs to Diana and Anne's room, hoping to find them there. Once outside he knocked politely and entered. 

"There you are," Anne said and gave him a hug, catching him by surprise, but he quickly hugged her back. He thought it must've been due to the amount of alcohol she had already drank, but he wasn't complaining. "I was looking everywhere for you!!" 

Their room was a mix of blue and green, the girls' favourite colours, cute decorations and Cole's drawing hanging on the walls. In theory it didn't really go together, but in reality it looked perfect. 

"Hi, Diana," he greeted their friend and she handed him a plastic cup with a clear liquid in it. He lifted his brows.

"It's gin and tonic. Someone," she said, pointing to Anne, "has already had 7 of these..." 

"You need to catch up, Blythe," Anne grinned at him, wanting to take what Gilbert figured to be her cup from the nightstand, but Diana quickly snatched it away before she could. 

"You're drinking water until I say so," Diana crossed her arms.

"Why? So I can go back to thinking about He-who-shall-not-be-named?" Anne said, taking a seat on her bed and burying ber face in her in her palms.

"We're still calling him that?" He asked taking a seat next to Anne and wrapping his hands around her back. 

"Why am I so stupid, Gilbert? I was so blinded by the fact that someone was actually interested in me that I didn't see just how big of a jerk he was..." 

"So, you can see what I've been dealing with," Diana said softly to Gilbert, placing a hand on Anne's shoulder. "I've spent about a half-hour telling her just how amazing she is, but she's not listening to me..." 

"Hey, hey, Anne," he said, lifting her head up to look at him. "Where is this coming from?" 

"Billy has been going around the cafeteria today saying how glad he is Royal stopped dating that ugly piece of trash... Meaning me. And you know what? He's right." 

"Anne!! Can you please stop saying things like that? You're the most amazing person I know... Boy or girl," Gilbert said, rubbing her back. 

"I don't believe you," she said, leaning her head on his shoulder. 

"What can I do to cheer you up? I'll do anything." 

"No, you should go have fun crossing names off the list..." she said, taking a tissue and blowing her nose. 

"What list?" Diana asked, intrigued. 

"This stupid list of all girls he wants to sleep with," Anne said, leaning back against the wall. 

"First of all, Moody made that... Not me. Second of all, not all the girls—"  

"Oh, so you're saying there's some girls who are immune to your charm, Blythe?" Anne laughed. 

"Just one," he said, looking her in the eyes. 

Okay, he might have a mild to moderate crush on Anne. But it's not like he's gonna do anything about it... He'll just wait for it to pass. 

"Yeah, he and Moody have this bet going on that he can't score all the girls on the list," Anne said, reaching for a bag of chips. 

Gilbert felt horrible about the list. Anne was never supposed to find it, but he wasn't supposed to agree to it in the first place. It was a stupid drunken bet with Moody, it's not like he was really gonna go around treating girls like pieces of meat. Yes, he was always up for having fun, but only if the girl was equally interested and aware that it was just sex and nothing more. He figured telling the truth about the list to Anne was the best choice, it's not like he'd ever have a shot at something more than friendship with her and frankly, he didn't even know if he wanted to. Anne had become his closest friend and a trusted confidant, he wasn't about to risk all of it just because of a crush. 

"Oh God, please tell me I'm not on that list," Diana asked, horrified. 

"Out of respect for me you aren't! I told Gilbert that if they even think about putting your name down I'll suffocate them in their sleep." 

"Yes, she did say that..." Gilbert admitted. 

"How sweet!!" Diana exclaimed.

"Sure, threatening to murder someone is the definition of sweet," he said and Anne laughed. 

"But no list tonight. Just you and me... What do you want to do?" 

Anne sighed. 

"I want to party. Hard. But if I'm this drunk, you're this drunk," she replied, handing him his cup and pouring more gin in it. Gilbert took it without any objections and drank the entire cup, never breaking eye contact with Anne. After he was done he took her hand and they both headed downstairs. Diana couldn't come, she had to study for her upcoming test on econ. One day she wants to be in charge of her father's export, which means getting the best grades possible. 

"Lead the way, party girl," he joked and she rolled her eyes. 

"I could hardly be called a party girl, this is the first party that I'm going to without Royal, if you don't count the freshmen welcome mixer... I don't even know what to do! That's why you're here, to teach me," she admitted after thinking about it for a while.

"You think there's anything to be taught about partying?" Gilbert laughed.

"Honestly, I don't know. But if there is, you're the person to come to... Everyone loves you at these things." 

"Well," he breathed. "I'm sure everyone will love you too, if you just loosen up and be yourself. You're pretty great, you know?" 

He gave her a wink. They've just reached the common area and entered the crowd. Anne was looking around, smiling at drunken people doing stupid stuff. Gilbert noticed a dark haired boy giving Anne a little too much attention. She must've noticed too, because the next thing she said was: "Why is Charlie Sloane staring at me like that?" 

Gilbert just shrugged. "Maybe you should go and find out." 

"Gilbert Blythe," she said in a daring tone. "Are you suggesting I go and mingle?" 

He laughed at that. 

"Why not? You're a single woman now..."

Anne thought about it for a beat and then headed towards Charlie. He saw the two of them getting drinks and made a mental note to keep a close eye on her, just in case. He probably didn't have to, Anne was a woman with a mind of her own, a very firm one, to be exact, but still. He liked being around to help. 

He was just in the middle of talking to a group of people, when a certain someone pulled him aside to chat. 

"Billy," he said, uninterested. Gilbert really didn't like the guy, although he seemed to be under a different impression. 

"Heey, bud. How are you doing?"

He was drunk, that much was clear. They were standing in a hallway by themselves, most people were either in the common area or cooped up in their rooms.

"Fine. You wanted to talk to me about something?" 

Gilbert wanted to have it over with as soon as possible, especially after hearing what he said about Anne that day. 

"I came to ask if you wanted to join me and my boys for a drink... You shouldn't have to hang out with that ugly trash Shirley just because Thomas moved away. We're happy to provide a guy like you with much better company..." 

That was enough for Gilbert to throw a punch in his drunken state. He managed to hit Billy's nose, making him bleed all over the carpet. Before he could stop himself, he was punching him again and this time, harder. Billy wanted to retaliate, but then something flashed in his eyes. Something like fear. He was hesitating. 

That made Gilbert take a few steps back. He was not about to engage in a one-sided fight. 

"Leave her alone, I'm serious. There's more of that where it came from. And by the way, she's much better company than you and your buddies combined." 

As he walked away he realized his knuckles were hurting like a bitch, but still couldn't stop himself from smiling. Worth it, he thought. 

On his way back to the common room he bumped into Anne, who's eyes immediately jumped to his arms, gasping in horror. 

"Christ, Gilbert. What happened? Are you hurt?" she asked, taking his hand in hers. 

"I'm fine. Shouldn't you be dancing with Charlie?" 

"That's a pass. Will you tell me what happened?" 

"Nope," he said simply.

Anne sighed but then let it go. "At least let me clean this for you. I should have some leftover bandages in my room too." 

Gilbert nodded and followed her to her room. He had expected seeing Diana there, but the room was empty. Anne was bossing him around, telling him to sit down and then kneeling beside him, cleaning his bloody knuckles. He watched her with a smirk playing on his face, but she was too concentrated on patching him up to pay him any mind.

"There," she said when she was finished. "Just don't do stupid things like this again..." 

"Anne Shirley, am I wrong or do you actually care for me?" he asked jokingly. She slapped his hand in return. 

"Of course I do, you fool!" 

He laughed. A thought crossed his mind then and before he could think it through he blurted it out. "Do you want to live with me?" 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

"I'm so going over there to give him a piece of my mind!" Anne shouted, angrily waving her hands in the air and pacing through the kitchen. 

"Well, it wasn't uncalled for... I did sleep with his girlfriend," Gilbert shrugged, taking a seat on the kitchen counter and reaching for another bag of frozen peas that Anne took out of the freezer for him. 

"Are you kidding me? Who can even keep track of that??? One day they love each other, next day they're out to murder one another... Honestly! Plus, they were broken up. I think. God knows..." 

After she was done with her rant, she took the now melted bag of peas Gilbert had already used and put it back in the freezer, shutting it in rage. 

"I'll have you know, it's nice to see you get this worked up over my well being. Makes me think you care," Gilbert joked, trying to lighten the mood.

"Well, don't flatter yourself. It's that awful, mean, hateful boy... I've slapped you over the head with a history book and you were just being nice... In my defense, I totally misread that... He deserves something!! I don't know what, yet, but I know I'll be the one to give it to him. Perhaps I could whack him over the head with something bigger... Like an elephant!"

"Are you done?" Gilbert asked, annoyed. 

Anne was still huffing in anger, but nodded and crossed her arms... She was mad at Billy for being a jerk, sure, but there was more to it, just as Gilbert suggested... She did care. A lot. Gilbert could've gotten really injured. He goes around doctoring everyone all the freaking time, but he never cares about himself. 

"What's my middle name?" Anne asked out of the blue, staring at Gilbert cautiously. 

"Trick question, you don't have a middle name... And I told you before, I don't have a concussion!!" 

"Okay, well, sorry for caring about you!" Anne shouted and stormed out, locking herself in her room. 

Stupid Gilbert, honestly... Here she goes pretending to be his girlfriend, just because he's too big of a sissy to own up to the truth and now God forbid she cares about him not getting hurt and he acts annoyed! Amazing! 

She heard a knock on her door then, but rather than opening it she laid down on her bed, completely ignoring Gilbert. 

"Oh, come on, I'm sorry.." he said, but she gave him no reply.

"Anne, please... You know I can't stand having you be mad at me... Please come out, I'll take you out to dinner."

Gilbert stood in front of her bedroom door for a few more seconds, ready to give up, but then the door opened and out of it came Anne already with her coat on. 

"Where are we eating??" 


"I knew I would lure you out with the promise of food," he said when they were both sitting in his car, driving to their usual diner. 

"I can still jump out of the car..." Anne replied, annoyed at the fact that he always sees right through her. Gilbert reacted to this by pressing the lock button on his wheel.

"Now you can't." 

"Gilbert Blythe, are you kidnapping me?" 

"Sure. I'm kidnapping you and bringing you to OUR apartment... That we SHARE."

"Well, I'm not saying you aren't a STUPID criminal..." she shrugged and he laughed. They pulled up in front of the diner and went in, immediately heading for their usual table. Once seated, Anne's eyes sparkled.

"Moody's working tonight," she said, raising her eyebrows.

"No."

"What do mean no??"

"Absolutely not. You're not dragging him into this mess. What would you even tell him?" 

"The truth?"

"Absolutely not. We would have to ask him to lie for us and that's not something I want to do... Especially if he hits it off with Ruby. Think about it, starting a new relationship and already having to lie..."

"Fair point... Then how about that we're dating??" Anne said like it was obvious.

"He'd know we're lying."

"How?? He has already graduated... I doubt he knows about anything that happens in our school..." 

Gilbert sighed and thought about it for a second. It's true what Anne said... There's no way for him to know. 

"Our cover story is that we were together for a year and a half...  There's no way it would work..." 

"We tell him we lied to Ruby because Roy was there... He knows how much I hate Roy." 

"I don't like having to lie to him... Plus we don't even know if he'll go for it. I haven't talked to him in a long time. Maybe he's seeing someone," Gilbert crossed his arms. Anne stood up from her seat and slid to the booth right next to him.  

"Well, good. Let us at least try..." 

"Try what?" a voice said behind her back. "If you're talking about the duck, then I really don't recommend it. We have a new chef now and he's always coming up with these new recipes, but I just don't like any of them..." 

"Oh come on," Gilbert said. "Like she's gonna order anything other than that green pasta she always does." 

Moody laughed. "True. For you?"

"I guess I'll have the same tonight."

Anne saw an opportunity and took his hand. "No, we can share... I can never finish the whole plate anyway and you won't too... I've seen you munching on those donuts right before we left." 

Gilbert shot her a confused look, but said nothing. 

"Okay, want that red wine you always have with that?" Moody asked, but Gilbert held up his car keys and Moody nodded knowingly.

"Sparkling water's okay. Right, Gil?" Anne said and ran her other hand through his hair innocently. She could see Moody noticed, but kept any remarks to himself. "For the both of us," she added when Gilbert shrugged. 

"Cool, my shift actually just ended, but I'll put your order in and come say bye on my way out," he smiled and turned around, ready to walk away.

"Actually," Anne said, stopping him. "Why don't you join us? That is if you don't have any other plans..." 

"Sure, if you won't mind me having a Jack and Coke... Had a really long day today," he explained.

"Of course."

As soon as he walked back behind the counter Gilbert pulled away from Anne. She felt a strange sting in her chest, but ignored it. It felt good leaning into Gilbert, natural... She even wished Moody stayed a little longer, just so she could keep at his side.

"So you're completely ignoring my concerns on this," Gilbert said, crossing his arms.

"Do you think he got an idea?" Anne smirked.

"Of course he got an idea, Anne... You were all over me. He's just not saying anything yet." 

"Frankly, I don't know why you're getting so defensive about this... It's your mess, I'm just helping you clean it up," Anne barked.

"This," Gilbert sighed angrily. "Is not cleaning up my mess. It's adding to it."

"Well you were the one who asked me to go through with this bizarreness..."

"It was supposed to be one dinner with Ruby. I definitely didn't ask you for this!" 

Anne went quiet after that, turning away from him and staring at the table, making Gilbert realize his mistake. Of course Anne would make friends with Ruby, she's this amazing, friendly, perfect person. And of course she'd wanna help save her from Roy after what she went through. He owed her that much... Actually, he owed both her and Ruby that much.

The more he thought about it, her and Moody were kind of perfect for each other. Gilbert put his elbows on the table, leaning forward and scratching his forehead. "I'm being a dick, aren't I?" he breathed.

Anne chuckled in spite of her will not to. "Yes. Yes, you are."

He moved closer to her and she shifted her gaze at him suspiciously. He then put his hand on her shoulder and slowly pulled her in for an embrace. It lasted a little longer than necessary, but Anne didn't mind.

"I'm sorry. You're amazing and I've been taking you for granted these past few days," he said when they pulled apart, gazing seriously into her eyes.

"You're alright too," she smiled. "Besides the whole grumpy thing. Not a good look on you..." 

Gilbert laughed and Moody returned to the table carrying their drinks. He had already changed out of his work clothes and was eager to finally sit down and talk with them. Gilbert took Anne by surprise, taking the lead and telling Moody about their relationship. Well, fake relationship, but still. Moody looked really happy for them, but she could see something behind his cheery exterior. Almost as if it was sadness... He and Gilbert exchanged a few looks she couldn't quite read, but she let it go. She was glad she had an excuse to put her head on her best friend's shoulder and breathe in his scent, purely platonically of course. Long story short, Moody agreed to a double date with Ruby and they promised to text him the details once working them out with Ruby. Their food arrived and Anne made it her goal to have fun embarrassing Gilbert, making the waiter take back the other set of cutlery he brought and feeding Gilbert the pasta. 

Once finished with their meal Gilbert went to wait in line to pay at the counter and Moody had to run back home, so Anne decided to make a quick run to the restroom. On her way there she bumped into the last person she was expecting to bump into.

"Billy!!" she blurted out in surprise. 

 

 

Chapter Text

"Can you watch where you're going?? I don't want to get any orphan filth on me..." he said harshly and took a step back, crossing his arms. He then looked away and found Gilbert with his eyes, scoffing. "I see you brought your little boyfriend along... How's his face, by the way?" 

"You little rat... Do you think I don't know it's your doing?" 

Anne took a long hard look at his face. There wasn't a even a scratch on it. It seemed Gilbert didn't fight back. 

"Oh, I'm sure he went crying to you right after it happened. He's not as tough as he used to be, I got him down on the floor in one punch." 

Anne knew he was trying to rile her up... But it was working.

"Maybe you should take a swing at me and see how tough I am."

Billy let out a smug laugh at that. 

"Maybe some other time, Fido. But you should watch your back now that your knight in shining armor is no longer fit to protect you..." 

Anne scrunched up her face in confusion. "What?"

"Don't play dumb. I know it was you who sent him to threaten me last year. No one in his right mind would get the idea of defending you all on his own. Unless I've underestimated you and you really do have him wrapped around your finger."

She felt an unpleasant feeling rise up in her stomach at that. She was going to throw up.

"I have no idea what you're talking about. Now, could you please step away? You're in my way."

Billy left without saying anything more and she quickly ran to the bathroom, locking herself in the stall and getting on her knees. She ended up retching immediately after that and wiped her face with a piece of toilet paper, backing away from the toilet bowl, sitting down on the ground and leaning against the wall. 

She thought about what Billy told her. Was that really the case? She had wondered why she had been spared of Billy's nagging so suddenly last year. It made sense that it was Gilbert's doing, although it never would've crossed her mind. He knows how much she hates people getting involved in her private affairs... A knock on her stall door pulled her out of her thoughts.

"Anne? It's you, right?" a voice of a concerned Josie Pye carried through the door. "I heard you throwing up... Are you alright?"

"Yeah, just... Just a little too much wine, you how it is," Anne replied, exiting the stall and heading for the sink. She saw Josie watching her with a worried look in the mirror while she was washing her hands. Anne sighed loudly.

"I really am fine, Josie," she said, giving her a small smile. "Are you?" 

She saw something hidden behind Josie's features, something that was quite obviously bothering her. 

"Uhm," she breathed, hiding one of her hands behind her back and taking a few steps back towards the door. "I'm fine. I should get back to Billy."

Anne moved towards her and grabbed her hand. It was burned. She looked at Josie with horror in her eyes. 

Josie chuckled weakly. "Silly me... Can't even do roast chicken right."

"Sure," Anne replied, unconvinced. "Are you sure you're okay?"

Josie nooded. 

"If you ever need a friend or just someone to talk to, I'm here. I know we haven't been close—"

"We haven't," Josie said harshly. "Look, you covered for me with Gilbert and I'm grateful for that, but please, keep your nose out of my business. We aren't friends anymore." 

"Okay," Anne gave up. "But I meant every word. I'm here." 

Josie rolled her eyes and left, leaving Anne standing there alone. She kept to herself during the drive back home, her mind swarming with thoughts. Billy did that to her. She was sure of it. Gilbert was suspicious of something, especially since he too saw Billy and Josie leaving the diner, but said nothing. She thought about asking Gilbert about Billy's claims, but decided against it. She was done fighting for the night. 

The following day at school she expressed her concerns to Diana. She was suspiciously quiet. 

"And then he basically said that he only let me be because of Gilbert's threats... You don't think it's true, do you? Billy's just playing his games, like always, right?" 

Diana scrunched up her nose. "I don't know think so, no. Jane told me that Gilbert beat up Billy pretty good after he said those awful things about your breakup..." 

"And you're just telling me now?" Anne blurted out in anger. Diana looked very apologetic.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she squealed. "I thought you knew... Almost everyone knew. Jane likes to talk..." 

"Why am I always the last one to know stuff about myself? I imagine I must've done some pretty questionable stuff in my past life to have to endure this..." 

"Nonsense," Diana replied. "I'm sure you were just as lovely in your past lifetimes as you are in this one."

"Good save," Anne smiled. "I can't be mad at you while you're complimenting me... Please do go on..." 

The rest of her week went by pretty uneventfully. She decided not to stir up any more fights with Gilbert and so kept the whole Billy thing to herself. It might've been because he was behaving nicer than usual. He cleaned the whole apartment on his off day and said nothing about it, even throwing some of her laundry in with his whites and leaving it clean and folded perfectly on her bed. The following day he picked up all the groceries from her list on his way from school and insisted on not taking any money from Anne for it. But what threw her off the most was when she returned from school to find him cooking her favourite dinner. 

"Okay, cut the crap. What did you do?" She narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously after he handed her a spatula to lick.

"I cooked and I cleaned... I thought that much was obvious," he replied not meeting her eyes. 

"No, seriously. What are you making up for? Did you break something of mine that I didn't notice yet? Murder anyone recently?" 

"Ha-ha," he said flatly. "Has it occurred to you that I might just be trying to be a good roommate?" 

Anne scrunched up her nose and pointed her finger at his face. "I'm onto you, Blythe..."

Gilbert rolled his eyes and went back to cooking. After dinner he slipped out without saying anything and returned hours later on the phone with someone. Anne was still up finishing her essay, something which he probably wasn't aware of since he was speaking very loudly. She pressed her ear up against her bedroom door and listened in on his conversation. 

"You are aware that she's gonna kill me when she sees it?" she heard Gilbert say. He was quiet for a while after that, Anne even thought he hung up and went to sleep when he spoke again.

"She would see right through me... I'm serious, you're taking that thing back tommorow night. I don't want it." 

She stood there for a few more minutes in shock, realizing that he must've really gone to sleep this time. She then decided to return to her essay, even though she knew her curiosity would probably keep her from getting any real work done.