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Gilbert wakes up slowly with the morning light invading the bedroom. He groans, feeling the warm body under his arms, and blinks blearily, looking down at the red trends of hair that are scattered over his arm and the pillow next to him. Anne hasn’t woken up yet, a peaceful expression on her face that brings a smile to his lips.

It’s only the second week of waking up beside her, and Gilbert can’t quite believe this is real. He watches her breathe in her slumber, the even, slow rise and fall of her chest against his. He traces the length of her body with his free hand, marveling at the beauty of his wife.

His wife. Anne Shirley-Cuthbert was his wife. Anne Shirley-Cuthbert was now Anne Shirley-Cuthbert Blythe. And she was here, in his arms, in their bed in the bedroom they now shared, after another blissful night spent together.

God, he was a lucky man.

Gilbert looks at her in the way she never allows him to when she’s awake. Whenever he stares at her for too long, Anne giggles and pushes his face away, calling him a creep. He may be that, he guesses, but she’s so beautiful he can’t help it. After so many years of loving her, the fact he has her in his arms is overwhelming and hard to believe and so he has to do this, has to look at her and memorize every single one of her features and make sure that no matter what happens in the future, he’ll remember her every detail.

Sometimes he catches himself wondering when she’d realize that he isn’t good enough for her. Who could ever be good enough for Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, after all? Certainly not him. Not when he couldn’t offer her sunbursts or marble halls or the entire world, because that’s what she should have. Anne deserved so much more than a country doctor that had made her wait for three years before they could get married so he could finish his education. So much more. Gilbert can’t quite believe she's actually chosen him.

He follows the path her freckles make over the pale skin of her face, basking in the fact that he can do this now, that he’s allowed to be close enough to her that he can see even the faint freckle on the corner of her lower lip. There are less of them now than there had been when they were kids, but Gilbert loves them just as much as he did then. They’re Anne’s freckles, and he worships them as he worships her, has followed their trail down her body, kissed every single one he’s found, murmured against her skin just how much he love every single thing that makes up her.

Her long lashes flutter over the top of her cheeks. They’re light, not easily noticed in their red tint, but this up close Gilbert can see every strand that frames her lovely blue eyes. For a moment, he wishes she was awake so he could look at them as well, gaze into their ocean infinity until he drowns, but then he remembers she’d likely not let him look at her for this long before pushing him away and telling him they should start the day, so he relishes on this moment of her asleep, just for a while longer.

His eyes travel down her body, the grooves and curves he’s spent the past few weeks learning diligently. Every part of her takes his breath away and fills him with wonder that she’s actually here in his arms. It’s in these moments — when he’s allowed to touch her skin and feel her arms and legs and waist under his hands — that he thinks he’s dreaming. It’s the only explanation to how she would have ended up here, with him. How could it be possible that Anne was his? That we was allowed to touch her and lie next to her and kiss her for the rest of his days?

He knows, then, that he’ll never grow tired of it, of her. Through the years to come, there will always be something new to learn about his Anne with an E, some new wonder of the world she’ll introduce him to, and he’ll enjoy every second of learning with her by his side.

Gilbert studies her bare shoulders that are also dotted with freckles he loves to press his mouth to, then her lean arms that surround his body in the loveliest embrace he’s ever experienced, the dip of her waist where his hand fits as if they’re two pieces of a puzzle. One of her long legs is thrown over his, keeping him close to her even in sleep, and Gilbert marvels at it, at what it means, at the fact he’s married to this woman and she trusts him and loves him and wants him as close to her as he does.

He looks down, to where her delicate hand — with pale fingers that fit perfectly in his when they take walks together in the woods — is nestled between their bodies, touching his chest right over his heart. It’s fitting. She owns it, after all.

Gilbert’s eyes feel heavy again, Anne’s warmth and the early time beckoning him back into his dreams, and he falls asleep while trying to count the freckles that dot her cheeks.

 

He wakes up again with the sensation of her lips on his skin. He smiles immediately, thinking there has never been a better feeling than this one. Anne, in his arms, her lips traveling down his cheek to his jaw and back again. A shiver runs down his body at the sensation.

“Morning,” Gilbert rasps out, voice hoarse from sleep. He hasn’t opened his eyes yet, content to just enjoy the feeling of his wife lying next to him on their bed.

Anne giggles softly. “Good morning, my love.” Her nose bumps into his and he leans forward a bit, trying to catch her lips in his, but finding only the soft skin of her cheek.

She trails kisses down the side of his face, teasingly close to his mouth, in lazy, slow sweeps of her lips. Her hand comes up to cup his cheek and he leans into her touch. She reaches his jaw once again, mouthing at it in a way that makes him groan, the hand holding onto her waist tightening its grip on her and pulling her closer, flush against him. Anne giggles, leaving his jaw. Gilbert flutters his eyes open just a fraction so he can see her and capture her lips with his.

Anne melts in his arms, a sound of pleasure escaping her as she kisses him back, her body arching into his. It’s bliss, pure bliss, to have her in his arms like this, to know that he’ll have her like this forever, that this is what awaits him in his future. Her. Anne. The love of his life. His wife. He’ll have her for the rest of his days, able to touch her and hold her and kiss her whenever he wants to. God, how was this even real?

Her lips move against his lazily, both of them still not quite woken up yet, but Gilbert doesn’t have any complaints. He’s learned in the past few years that kissing Anne Shirley-Cuthbert in whatever way, shape, or form, is always the best feeling in the world. Now, that she’s become Anne Blythe on top of all of it, it’s even better, because they’re married and no one will interrupt them.

“May we stay here for the entire day?” Anne asks in a sleepy whine, sinking her face in the crook of his neck and Gilbert chuckles. It tickles, a little bit, but it’s also the best feeling in the world to have her lips hovering over his skin and so he doesn’t move, shivers running down his spine once again.

“It is the weekend, my darling. We don’t have any other obligations,” he tells her, more than okay with the idea of never leaving their bed ever again.

Anne sighs dreamily. “Oh, how lovely that sounds, Gil. That we can simply stay in bed with each other for as long as we want.” The idea sends another shiver down his spine, this one caused by the images that pop up in his mind at her words. God, he was the worst. And Anne Shirley-Cuthbert Blythe would be the death of him.

Her hand travels to the back of his head, curling into the hair at the nape of his neck as she kisses him again and Gilbert can’t help but let out a groan at the feeling. Anne starts giggling against his lips and they separate. He finally opens his eyes and finds hers, the sparkling blue sapphires that could rival that of the ocean, staring back at him. It takes his breath away.

“What are you laughing at?” he asks her, gaze drawn to her red, swollen lips that curl into a slow smile.

Anne shrugs. “I’m just happy,” she murmurs, hand continuing to go through his hair. He barely refrains himself from reacting out loud again to her ministrations.

“Yeah?” he says instead, smiling at the joy in her face and the fact that, somehow, he’s the reason it’s there.

She hums in response, leaning closer to nudge her nose with his and then sighing. “I can’t believe that we’re married and we get to do this every day,” she whispers, her breath fanning out against his skin.

Gilbert, on the other hand, can’t believe she’s echoing his earlier thoughts, that she’s as amazed by this as he is, that somehow this perfect woman is in love with him and here, in his arms.

“And that we don’t owe anyone any explanations,” he adds. She cracks a mischievous smile. Anne disentangles her other arm from below his body and lays her hand at his shoulder before watching as her fingers travel down his chest. Gilbert feels himself flush at her brazenness. It would take a while before he was used to it.

“No explanations, you say?” she giggles, wiggling her eyebrows, and she’s ridiculous and beautiful and his wife.

Gilbert kisses her again, both of them laughing against each other’s lips, and he can’t believe this is his life. That he gets to live in this moment, with his one true love, in the house they share together.

God, he’s the luckiest man on earth.

“I love you, Gilbert Blythe,” Anne whispers to him in between kisses, her voice breathless.

It’s been three years since the first time she said it to him, but his heart still stutters in his chest.

“I love you too, Anne Shirley-Cuthbert Blythe,” Gilbert tells her, his voice low and tight with emotion.

He feels his wife smile against his lips before she kisses him again.

They don’t get out of bed for a long time after, but it’s okay. It’s their house, and it’s the weekend, and they’re married now. They don’t owe anyone any explanations, except for each other.