Sometimes it felt like she was still dreaming - senses heightened, mind faraway in the clouds, body light as if she was walking on air. It was the same world that she had come to know, yet she felt like an ancient explorer discovering an entirely new place. If she focused hard enough, it seemed as though the grass had grown more vibrant, clouds softer as they rolled into each other, the sky even more endless. The colors in the world around her felt brighter, as if glasses made out of diamonds had been placed over her eyes, everything dipped in gold and made more breathtaking than before. Anne told herself that she had simply missed her home and that being back for the holidays had given her a better perspective, her eccentric imagination taking hold and manipulating her surroundings. But she somehow knew that without him, Avonlea could never be her home because there would always be something missing. The trees would drop their branches with sorrow, the moon glowing dimly like a rusty faraway lantern in the sky, the colors would all fade to grey if he was not there with her - shining brighter than every star.
The habit of pinching herself was back and stronger than ever, especially when he arrived at Green Gables with his grey hat in his jittery hands. But when the sharp pain jolted her pale wrist, she was already across the kitchen and into his awaiting arms. Marilla had let out a frustrated sigh but she let the pair sink into each other's embrace, watching them laugh wildly like the school children that they once were. Gilbert's arms tightened around her waist, lifting her up off the ground so that she squealed, laughing even louder as they span around in dizzy circles. Despite her lightheaded sensation, the world had stopped tilting and seemed to right itself again the second that their eyes met.
She winced again, a small squeak leaving her lips. "Ouch."
Gilbert's finger rubbed the red mark, sending her an amused yet concerned glance, "Stop doing that!"
"I will as soon as I can believe that you're truly here..." she breathed, still holding onto his forearms, "...I fear that I'm soon going to see Marilla here and open my eyes to see my bedroom around me, it would mean that this was all just another dream."
"I am here" Marilla huffed, fond eyes watching them, "Now, let Gilbert get settled without you clinging onto him."
Her wish was granted begrudgingly but as soon as he settled down at the table, Anne was sat closely beside him, always connected with him somehow. He would find her hand and rub calming circles over her palm, catching her eyes between conversation with Marilla and Matthew, as if once again reassuring her that it was all truly real. It wasn't as simple as it seemed, but every single stolen moment with him eased her heart slightly. When he kissed her cheek softly before whispering goodnight, she squeezed his hand in the darkness and practically ran upstairs to bed so that the next day could come sooner. Over the dinner table at Christmas, their eyes would meet despite Bash's teasing and after saying grace, Gilbert's eyes were solely on Anne's - as if he had only ever been thankful for her. Their hands brushed every so often and it felt like a jerk of electricity, like she was been light up by the sun, a new brightness entering her eyes. It had been a night full of laughter, easy conversation and delicious food (although the sweet tarts that Anne had made were not even close to the sweetness that lay within his eyes). It was difficult to let him go every single day, but she was determined to make the most out of the short three weeks that they had back at home, already daydreaming about cool summer evenings to come by a bonfire - a night that would not be destined for heartbreak.
"Would you mind fetching Anne to help out with Delly before staying for dinner?"
Gilbert raised an eyebrow.
"Why am I even asking?" Bash chuckled, grabbing his winter coat and wrapping an extra scarf around his neck. "I'm sure you were already counting down the hours until she was coming over."
"I'm studying actually."
He looked up from his textbook. "Where are you going anyway?"
"I won't be long but Muriel offered to run some errands with me before cooking tonight. I wanted to get the best spices so that Anne can try my Crab Callaloo while my mother is resting. If she knows I'm planning to make it she will only try to take over and I've had enough of her doing everything around here."
Gilbert grinned mischievously. "Muriel Stacey?"
"One word and-"
"Is Muriel going to be joining us for dinner?" he leaned on his elbows, looking up with amused eyes.
Bash opened the door, rolling his eyes. "You know, I'm sure Anne would love to hear the story about you trying babash for the first time and how you practically brought it back up within-"
"Alright, alright!" his hands flew up in surrender, eyes glaring at the door once it slammed shut.
Later that afternoon, Gilbert could hardly focus on his medical textbook. The sun was beginning to set in the sky, leaving only the glow of the candles and lanterns surrounding them, the fire crackling in the parlor. It was just another quiet evening at home, but his mind would not settle - not when Anne was sitting across the room from him, her pale skin encased with a golden glow, looking nothing short of iridescent. Since starting Queens she had been wearing her hair up for classes, dressed in ankle-length skirts that clung to her slight frame in a way that he tried not to notice. But once comfortable in the privacy of where she felt most at home, she let the curls fall down her shoulders and spill down her back like a flowing river of fire. It lit up in the candlelight like the sparks of a bonfire, bringing him back to when he stood so helplessly in front of her, doing everything possible not to stutter out how his heart could only ever belong to her. Her dress was just a simple dark green, but nothing could ever look just green on Anne. She was glowing like a forest fairy, lighting up the world around her while being frustratingly unaware. His grip on the pen loosened, mouth slamming shut before he foolishly admitted to her how beautiful she looked while focused, or how he had spent the entirety of his teenage years trying to count her freckles whenever he was close to her, but that he still did not have a solid answer.
"What page are you on?" her voice broke his thoughts.
Gilbert blinked, "Huh?"
She looked over at him with a curious smile, nodding down at his textbook while she prepared Delly's bottle on the stove. "What page are you on?"
He looked down, dazed. "Thirty eight."
Anne sent him a look.
"Gilbert..." she tried to sound serious but her eyes were shining like the stars, "...you were on that page at least half an hour ago."
He shook his head. "No, I don't think I was."
She placed her hands on her hips. "Yes, you were."
"I can't read properly in the candlelight."
"You always stay up late reading your-"
"It's um...a very long page and I wanted to make sure-"
Anne laughed. "Gilbert."
"I'm distracted" he admitted feebly.
She narrowed her eyes at him, tapping the bottle on her wrist to make sure that it was the correct temperature before walking over to the crib. "Gilbert Blythe, do you still expect your charms to work on me? I will not have you failing medical school because of your atrocious attention span-"
"I would rather blame it on how scandalously beautiful you look in the candlelight by the stove-"
"Would you now?" she glanced back at him, amused.
"In fact I would say that-"
His flirty remark was cut short and every single thought left his brain, the world feeling so insignificant around him, the only thing that truly mattered was Anne and how she bent down to pick up Delly from the crib and - Oh. Whatever brain he prided himself on immediately flew out of the window, his mind unable to remember a single word of his medical lectures or any line of poetry that he used to recite to his father. Nothing else mattered because Anne was leaning over the crib with sweet Delly in her arms, humming gently under her breath as she swayed so that the baby would stay settled, her eyes filled with such wonder. Gilbert's breath caught in his throat as he watched her, body stiff in place as if it no longer belonged to him. In that moment he could see something that he had never dared to think about before : Anne singing quietly to a crying baby with fiery red hair and hazel eyes that matched the husband who sat down beside her, a man that kissed her cheek and rested his forehead on her shoulder as if he was still realizing every single day just how lucky he was. He saw them telling their children stories before bedtime, some crafted from his wife's limitless imagination and others from their own romantic tale, each detail something that he would never forget. He saw them collapsing into their own bed after a long night, his arms holding her close with the knowledge that she would be in the exact same spot when he opened his eyes in the morning. He saw a future, their future - the only future that he could ever want.
He suddenly snapped like an elastic band, crashing back down into his familiar body, his arm jerking before he could stop it. The glass of water on the table knocked onto the floor within seconds, smashing into large shards while he groaned in embarrassment.
"Don't move!" Anne called in a sharp voice, quickly placing Delly back down in her crib before rushing over to the broken glass. "I'll get a broom."
Gilbert stood up. "Let me."
She ignored him, storming back over with the wooden broom, eyes zooming in on the pieces to side the side of his chair. She bumped him with her hip when he tried to take the broom from her, continuing to sweep it into a pile so that nobody would cut themselves on the glass beneath their feet. Gilbert watched her with a forlorn sigh, head hanging low after a moment as he cursed underneath his breath at how he always became such a fool around her. She glanced at him after a moment, eyes amused. "Are you going to blame that on my so-called distracting appearance as well?"
He stuttered pathetically, "I-I...uh, no. Just me."
She furrowed her eyebrows.
"I'm going to get back to studying now..." he rubbed his head nervously before sitting back down at the table, watching her fetch something to collect the broken glass with, "...please don't cut yourself on any of the glass! Be careful, alright?"
Anne rolled her eyes. "I'm perfectly capable."
"Never said you weren't", he chimed back, grinning when their eyes met. "In fact I think you're the most capable person that I've ever met."
Her eyes softened. "Gil, stop it."
"You'll have to get used to me complimenting you at some point..." he laughed, turning a page in his textbook so that he could try to get his mind to focus for once, "...I've wanted to do it for years and now I have no reason to hold anything back from you."
Anne shook her head, smiling to herself. "You're impossible."
"And you're beautiful."
The front door opened and the chill from outside broke their playful remarks, Bash stepping in with a bag full of herbs. He blew out a long breath, placing down the ingredients before bending down to press a kiss to Delly's head. "That weather is dangerous, let me tell you that!" He glanced between the two, taking notice of their soft eyes that were not even looking in his direction, smirking to himself. "Just when I thought you would stop making eyes at each other."
"Do you need any help?" Anne offered, finally looking away from Gilbert.
Bash nodded eagerly. "As long as you let Blythe stay as far away from the kitchen as possible, his cooking skills don't seem to be improving."
Anne's sweet giggle sounded like wind chimes and it was almost enough to distract him. "I'm learning!"
It never failed to take Anne by surprise, just how easy everything felt with him. She had tried her best to ignore it throughout the years, believing that they were simply growing closer as friends and managing to argue less than usual. But it was all so natural : every conversation with him, every time that he helped with her homework and accepted her help in return for one of his essays, every walk home after studying late at school. She had felt it when they spent their first Christmas together, seeing his eyes glisten beside the candlelight, his smile from across the table and how many jokes they all shared. Marilla found herself asking Bash several questions and listening intently to the answers, Matthew had been smiling along with all of them with a soft look in his eye, and Anne - well, she had never felt anything so close to family. It had almost scared her, how perfectly they fit at the dinner table and how quickly she found extra glasses for their drinks while setting the table. Sitting across the table now with Gilbert's hand mere inches from hers, there was not a moment without laughter or without flowing conversation, everything feeling like it was slipping into place. The years flashed before her eyes, more evening meals and similar occasions where she would simply spend more time with her growing family, keeping Delphine firmly underneath her protective wing. She simply felt like she belonged there, belonged there right by his side.
"How was Muriel?"
Bash glared at his brother from across the table, huffing under his breath, "She told me that she misses you staring creepily at Anne from across the classroom."
Gilbert laughed. "Well, if you would ever invite her over for dinner then she might be able to tell us herself. Besides, I didn't stare creepily from across the classroom."
"You did" Anne giggled, cheeks heating up as she remembered those few moments where she would catch his gaze and scowl, "...you always stared, you still do it now."
He picked up her hand, kissing her knuckles quickly. "I have reason to do it now."
She stuck her tongue out at him.
"I must agree with the moke, Anne, after everything that you two have been through...all the times that you nearly got it wrong, those blasted letters as well! I still wonder to this day what happened to the note that you told us about...I just can't fathom how it all went so wrong! And Gilbert's letter that you tore up..." he huffed a laugh, "...not that I blame you after everything, but it's just nice to know that you two finally got it right in the end."
Anne sighed dramatically, "Believe me...I still kick myself to this day for tearing that letter up, knowing that I could have known so much sooner and had something to keep with such a confession..." she paused for a moment, turning to Gilbert with shining eyes, "...you never did tell me what exactly you wrote in there. I'm sorry that mine was rather simple but I could barely think of a simple thought whatsoever! Oh, Gil...could you recite it for me? Or...or just tell me what it...roughly said?"
Gilbert's cheeks flushed, grip tightening on his fork. "I...uh..."
"Oh, Anne-girl..." Bash bellowed a laugh, leaning forward on his seat and holding a smug smile on his face, "...I really wish you would have read his letter straight away! You know, he pretty much ran home in a tizzy...worrying about what he had wrote and how you would take it, cheeks as red as your hair-"
"He pretty much blurted it all out to me, some of those words I can still hardly believe after how long he denied it for! I think he must have read some of those romance novels that you cherish so much, saying how his heart belonged to you...and that he would never marry anyone else unless it was you...I couldn't even believe that Blythe was the one-"
"Bash!" Gilbert's voice raised in pitch, face bright red. "That's enough!"
His brother calmed down for a moment, laughing quietly but his eyes were filled with wariness, "Blythe, don't get yourself in such a tizzy! I was just-"
"Well, don't!" he snapped. "Can we please talk about something else?"
Anne's heart was practically pounding in her chest to an unsteady rhythm, the gravity barely keeping her rooted to her chair, her legs burning to jump off to dance among the stars. She bit her lip to stop herself from smiling, memorizing every word that Bash let out to her memory, knowing that they would be stitched into her heart forever. But as the evening continued on, Gilbert stuck to feeding Delly and barely said another word, a darker look in his eyes as if the teasing had struck a chord within him. Bash strayed away from any topic about their relationship, asking Anne to repeat stories about her classes and her accommodation, sneaking concerned glances at Gilbert who was sulking in his chair. When the time came for Gilbert to walk Anne home, he grabbed his coat wordlessly and practically breathed out a sigh of relief into the cold air, grabbing Anne's hand and finally feeling like he could breathe again. She tried to keep her mind on how the snowflakes danced around them, getting caught in his dark hair and sticking out like fluffy angel wings, but her eyes kept trailing back to the figure beside her and how his shoulders were still tense. When they nearly reached the gate of Green Gables, she couldn't hold it in any longer.
She turned to him. "I'm...I'm sorry that I made you feel embarrassed."
Gilbert rubbed the back of his neck, thinking back to Bash's teasing words and how they touched a nerve deep down within his chest, causing him to lose his temper in a way that he didn't often do. He was brought back to watching her feed Delly a bottle, hearing her sweet hum in his ears and imagining things that would surely make him receive a smack across the head with another slate, or perhaps even a textbook- "Can we just forget about it?" he blurted out with red cheeks that he blamed on the cold air, "...Can you just forget what he said and the...childish things that I wrote, I just don't want you knowing silly things like that. It was childish...what I put in that letter."
Her voice was suddenly very small. "C-Childish?"
"Is that okay?" he pleaded, scanning her eyes that suddenly would not lift up from the snow beneath their feat, "...to put it behind us? To forget that I wrote such nonsense and just pretend that it didn't happen? I wouldn't want you to feel a-any sense of-"
"It's f-fine..." she managed to croak out, turning away from him so that he wouldn't see the tears beginning to burn her eyes.
"Anne?" he asked, something feeling wrong in his chest.
She wrapped her arms around herself, shivering from the air that suddenly felt so much colder than before, "...You know what...uh, I think tomorrow I'm just going to study and get things ready for Queens. I think Marilla will have chores for me to do anyway and I wouldn't want you sitting around watching."
Gilbert frowned ."But you were going to teach me to make Mary's cake..."
She bit her lip so that the tears wouldn't fall. "S-Some other time."
"Anne...are you okay?"
She sniffed, turning around to look at him and the world started tilting again. It felt like he was suspended in midair, trapped and unable to reach the ground below, trying desperately to find some sense of gravity as her eyes refused to meet his. There were red rims around her blue eyes and they looked dark under the light, nothing like the Caribbean waters that he was familiar with. There was a sharp tugging in his chest when she pulled her arms tighter around herself, shaking off his touch when he reached for her arm to pull himself back down to earth. It made him drawback, suddenly feeling further away from her than he had in months, back to the same middle space that he was sick and tired of.
"It's just the cold" she sniffed, trying her best to smile but aware that it looked more like a wince.
"Anne, have I-"
She started to walk away from the gate, towards Green Gables, "Marilla will be expecting me home and I have chores to do before bed."
He tried to grab her arm. "Let me just-"
"I have to go!" she half-sobbed, not looking back at him as she ran towards the house, holding up the hem of her dress with one hand.
As she stumbled through the thick snow, gasping for breath and trying not to let out mournful sobs, she felt a dark fog fill up her lungs and make its way into her heart. Her mind would not stop replaying his careless words, a decision that he had made so easily, a decision to take back everything. Every word that she had been wishing for while she was fast asleep, what she daydreamed about when Marilla would scold her for burning the breakfast...he had snatched away her sweetest dream. All of her life she had wished for a tragical romance, to spend her days weeping in a lonely tower in the hopes that it would become the most beautiful novel, a tale worth telling. She had thought of tragical romances as something so beautiful, something for her to live up to, knowing that she would have the most perfect ending to her own story as long as it left her heart aching with despair. But as she slammed the front door shut and slumped against it, letting out harsh sobs and trying to catch her breath, she realized that there was nothing beautiful about it. There could never be any beauty in the knowledge that Gilbert had stomped all over everything that she wanted from him, merely calling their future childish nonsense, breaking the silent promise that they had made in the moment that their lips touched. It felt like she was suspended in a hot air balloon, but this time there was no safety below and she kept floating up into the sky above, completely alone. Anne reached a hand down to pinch her arm, crying out helplessly, knowing that it wasn't all just a terrible dream.
"You could say that I have the flu."
"We both know that would just give him all the more reason to come up here, check on you and make sure that it isn't anything worse."
"Well, you could just say that I didn't sleep well and need to rest today."
Marilla sighed, "Anne."
She squeezed her eyes shut, her body had been shaking all night and it was still trembling slightly, "Marilla, I really can't. I know I...I will have to see him but just...not today. I can't today."
A moment of silence passed. "I will tell him that you're still asleep."
"Thank you..." she let out a breath.
"But..." Marilla let out quietly, "...you know that we planned for them to come over for dinner tonight. It's too late to cancel now."
Anne tugged the covers over her head. "I can't..."
"Anne..." she called gently, patting her shoulder tenderly, "...I know you might not be up to seeing him at the moment and I...I know he must have hurt you in some way. But I really think that you need to talk to him...knowing Gilbert, he wouldn't ever hurt you on purpose and if you really love him, I'm sure you can find it in your heart to let him explain himself."
The rest of the day was a blur until nightfall came around, Anne feeling numb as the hours ticked by. She felt numb as she tied her hair up, trying to get it right and eventually giving up and letting it sit messily on her shoulders. She felt numb as she helped to set the table, listening to Marilla describe how crushed Gilbert looked when she told him that she was still asleep, because deep down it seemed that he knew that it was just an excuse. She still felt numb when they knocked on the door, Bash giving her a comforting hug and holding on longer than usual as if hoping to give his own apologies, Gilbert watching her from afar and trying not to frown when she sat on the other side of the table. The dinner was quieter than ever before, the sound of cutlery filling in the silent gaps between awkward conversation, the adults around them trying to avoid the blatant tension in the room. Anne felt numb as she pushed her vegetables around her plate, ignoring Gilbert's eyes that were filled with a thousand apologies, always locked on the side of her face in the hopes that he could read her mind. It was the first night that didn't feel like home and she knew it was because of him, the stranger that was sat at the other end of her table.
"She's a fussy princess tonight, isn't she, Anne?" Bash asked, watching her struggle to get Delly to drink her bottle after she had half-cleared her own plate, unable to eat anymore.
"I suppose" Anne's voice sounded far away.
Gilbert spoke up quietly. "I could help you feed her."
"I can do it" the words came out firmer than she expected, an icy edge surrounding them and he suddenly felt like he had stepped out into the cold winter night.
There were few words exchanged after that, mere glances enough to determine the tense atmosphere that didn't seem to dissipate. It was only until the moment that he grabbed her hand desperately, when she was suddenly brought back to life with a familiar spark. She glanced over at the others and noticed that Bash was suspiciously keeping Matthew and Marilla occupied with packing up Delly's things and making sure that they could get the carriage ready to take them home. She opened her mouth to protest but it was difficult when he had already led her outside, straight into the warmth of the barn that still somehow felt just as cold as her heart.
His hand was still holding hers, his touch desperate and pleading as if he was sending morse code signals with his fingers, tapping her skin and hoping that she could feel the apology beneath them.
"Would you at least look at me?" he almost begged.
But how could she look at such a stranger, somebody that had left her heart feeling so cold even when they were sheltered by the warmth of the barn, Belle and Butterscotch neighing gently nearby. She wasn't sure how she could look him in the eye again, knowing that the softness and admiration that lay there - something that she hoped was close enough to love - was only fleeting. After all of the nights that she had spent in her room, trying not to dream of him but always failing because of how much her heart missed him, his dark eyes and boyish smile never leaving her mind even when her eyes finally opened in the morning - she couldn't look at him. She had spent so long trying to convince herself that it had all been real, that he had shown up at her boarding house and kissed her with such passion that still left her blushing, telling her without words how much he had left unsaid. She had finally let herself believe that it was real, that he truly felt the same way that she did and it broke her heart to know that she was the one with the childish fantasies. Somewhere deep down, she had almost expected that he was still waiting for a better offer, for another Winifred Rose to turn up and make him realize that he had chosen the wrong future. That perhaps the girls at the orphanage had been right all along, perhaps nobody would ever truly want her after all - at least not forever.
He finally collected more words, empty words nonetheless. "I-I...I'm sorry that I upset you. I didn't even realize what I was doing and I feel like a fool for-"
"No, Gilbert...I'm sorry", she shook her head glumly, eyes still down on the floor so that he wouldn't see her tears, "...I'm sorry that I got the wrong idea about us...about how you felt. I-I should never have assumed that we wanted the same things when thinking of the future and I shouldn't have been thinking of such nonsense when it's a miracle that you even-"
"I meant it..." he rushed out, breathing heavily and she finally let her eyes float up so that she could see the truth that lay within his, "...Anne, I meant every single word. How could I not mean it? Believe me..I want nothing more than a future with you and I-I would be lucky to even dream that you would want the same as I did. I acted like a fool because I got so...so embarrassed when Bash brought it up and I had been thinking of what a wonderful mother you would make when you were feeding Delly and I...I thought that it would scare you off to think such things already. I thought that I would lose you for good if I told you what I thought about, what I always think about. I have always wanted you in my future but lately it's overwhelming to realize how much I actually think about what lays in our future and how badly I want it because...Anne, I want nothing more. I'm so sorry for hurting you and for not even thinking about how careless I had been with your feelings, I never wanted to do that again after what happened with Winnie but I just didn't want you to hate me for saying such bold things when you might not-"
He continued on blurting out all of the truth that lay within his heart, not wanting to lose his nerve and never find the courage to say them again, "...and believe me, I have wanted a future with you for a long, long time. Before any of this happened and before everything got so...complicated, I-I was only ever certain that I wanted you in my life. I would have posted about you on the take notice board if you didn't mention Ruby's name because...I was hoping so badly that you felt the same about me, how I have always felt about you. I-I would never be able to find the words that you deserve but I would have tried anyway because if I would have got a chance...I-I know that nothing else would have mattered. And when I wrote that letter and left it in your bedroom, I-I didn't even know that you felt the same, I would never dream of it - I just had to tell you how I feel and believe me when I say that I could never marry anyone else. I don't care if I would have ended up alone forever or with an awful reputation, I just could never picture a future without you standing by my side and so in that moment it didn't even matter that I thought you hated my guts...I was prepared to live my life without a wife or just with-"
"Gilbert Blythe..." Anne choked out and it suddenly made him stop rambling when he realized that she was laughing, "...stop talking."
The moment that her lips met his, he really was a fool. He was stood there, frozen and helpless like a fish out of water, weak enough that a small breeze could have sent him toppling down to the ground. Anne's eyes were fluttered shut, tears rolling down her cheeks but in that moment, there was no barn and no hay beneath her feet, no harsh wind coming from outside, no doubts in her mind that this wasn't meant to be. The world faded away until she was just another princess in a fairytale and Gilbert was just another prince, responding to her kiss in the only way that he knew how. She would never get used to the way that his lips molded against hers, such an intensity almost knocking her off the feet and for a moment, she almost wanted them to roll around in the hay and stay trapped in that moment. She couldn't stop smiling against his lips at how his fingers trembled against her waist, knowing that she was capable of making Gilbert Blythe feel nervous and shaky on his feet. He didn't even have time to feel embarrassed about the whimper that he let out once she let their lips part, too busy noticing the tears in her bright eyes.
"I-I..." he panicked, wiping her tears with his fumbling thumbs and trying to work out what he had done wrong this time, "...you're crying! What did I-"
Anne let out a sweet giggle, the sound of wind chimes filling his mind again until he almost flew away with the breeze. "You fool."
She cupped his cheeks, trying to smooth out his concerned eyebrows. "Gilbert...I'm happy...so, so, very happy."
He kissed her again, frowning when she pulled away quickly.
"I just..." she struggled to speak through the tears, laughing as she wiped them away quickly to compose herself, "I-I...I never dreamed that you would want me. After so long I didn't believe it possible and after you said that marrying me was nonsense I...I got so scared that you didn't want me."
"Didn't want you?" he breathed, leaning his forehead against hers and she could feel his eyelashes brushing against her skin. "Anne, I can't ever remember not wanting you...and I can't imagine a day when I won't."
She committed the words to memory, fluttering her eyes shut and smiling when she felt him immediately capture her lips with his own again. His kisses were desperate, long pecks that soon left her gasping when he introduced his tongue, soft and curious against her lower lip that instinctively parted. She let herself pretend that there was a shooting star up above, just waiting for her to whisper a wish and so her mind sent its hopes up to the heavens, wishing that it would always feel like this with him. She never wanted to know another pair of lips, to feel another set of hands against her skin that would knock her off her feet yet hold her up on day where it was too difficult to stand, never wanted to know another soul like she knew his. She wanted to return from long days of writing and teaching the young possibilities of the future, kissing him on their welcome mat and still feeling like the world was about to explode around them from how much he made her feel.
She broke the kiss and giggled when he kept pressing kisses to her cheek and along her jaw, not ready to stop the contact, "...Gilbert Blythe..." she whispered, looking at him with so much adoration that it left him frozen in place as if he could only move with her permission, "...I'm never going to let you go."
"You better not..." he teased, squeezing her hands that were on his cheeks and pulling her in for another kiss.
She softly bit his upper lip and smiled wide when he jolted, "I could never want a life with anyone else."
He smirked, pulling back. "It's going to get rather long, you know?"
"What is?" she frowned.
She laughed, leaning away from him so that he could see the playfulness in her eyes. "What if I want to keep my own name?"
For a moment she expected him to fight back, to tease her again so that she would blush like she always did, but his eyes softened and he could only reveal the truth. "...As long as you're still mine."
It was a moment that felt like forever : like throwing confetti into the air and dancing around in wildly, the feeling of waking up and not having anywhere to be except right there in that moment, knowing that the sky was an endless blue beneath all of the grey clouds that covered it in during storms. The goose bumps that crept across his arms were better than spinning around in an open field, sweeter than talking to the butterflies or singing to the lonely oak tree that only wanted a friend. As they stood in each other's arms inside the barn that was beginning to warm up despite the snow outside, it felt as if the snowstorm had somehow picked them up and carried them away to another world.
It felt like they were encased in their own little snow globe, being carried away and although Anne was not sure where they were going - she could only hope that they were headed for a shooting star.