Two figures stood by the fence, fingers intertwined and bodies pressed together, faint light shining against them from the white farmhouse beyond the yard. Were it not for that distant candlelight, they would have been surrounded by darkness, the new moon not enough to light the equally new happenings at the old gate.
So many times before the same two had stood at that spot, but never so close, in body or in heart. But, oh, how one afternoon, stretched into twilight, could change everything — of past, of present, of future.
Then finally — and with regret — the figures leaned together one more time, one more kiss before going their separate ways for the night, with new dreams, new hopes, new desires to light their paths, both thinking of the day when they would separate no more.
Anne Shirley took a meandering path back to Green Gables, the same way she did everything. Certainly a straight road would be easier to travel but without the delightful bends in it, around which she looked for whatever romance might await her. She stooped to smell the autumn flowers, to admire the perfumes floating in the night air before finally heading toward the light.
Into that house she had come more than 11 years before and quickly found it to be the home she'd never had. The old abode had filled her with such joy, and she doing the same to it and its inhabitants. But as she crossed the threshold, she knew the depths of her happiness never had been as deep as at that moment. For she had all but given up hoping her path would take the bend it had that night, making the joy elicited from it all the sweeter.
The two venerable ladies sitting in the kitchen watched Anne come in and smiled to each other. They loved her as if she was their own flesh, and they reveled in her happiness. But they also knew her well enough to know that not an understandable word would she utter that night; so they didn't object as she headed down the hallway and up the stairs saying nothing but an airy "goodnight" as she went to her own quarters.
Alone in her girlhood room, Anne knelt before the window, just as she had on a stormy night earlier in the summer. While that night her mind had filled with dark thoughts and despair and sorrow as never before, this night — oh this night— she was filled with a bliss even her vivid imagination had never conjured.
Her mind wandered first to the way her heart had raced as he asked about her unfulfilled dreams, how she couldn't even find the words to answer his next question so great was the joy in her heart, how he hadn't needed an answer anyway.
Then to their first kiss. He had pulled her gently to her feet, their fingers intertwined in a way they'd never been before. Then he had leaned down to her and their lips met softly for the first time.
She had expected to feel awkward. They had been friends so long, and this, this was so different. But all she knew in that moment was that it was perfect, the way she felt, the way he made her feel.
That quick, sweet kiss roused something in her she didn't know existed. Before she had time to think, she had pulled her hands away from his, ignoring the sudden worry that crept on his face, and ran them up his chest before wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him back down to her.
She didn't know what she was doing, really. But for once she stopped thinking, stopped imagining even, and just did what felt right. Their lips met again, and she kissed him passionately, years of repressed desires and ignored feelings in one kiss. She noticed his startled reaction, then felt him recover, his arms slipping around her waist and pulling her closer until their bodies pressed tightly against each other.
When they separated some time later, she dropped her gaze to her shoes.
"Sorry," she said shyly.
"You're sorry?" he asked incredulously. "For what?"
"Well, that was rather forward of me," she answered with a flutter of her eyelashes and just the slightest smile.
He pulled her close again. "Don't ever apologize for that," he whispered as he kissed her again.
And even then, hours later as she stared out into the dark night, just the memories of those kisses, and the ones that followed, brought goose bumps to her skin despite the warmth she felt coursing through every part of her body. And she could still feel the trembling she felt up and down her spine, running along her as his hands had.
It hadn't just been the kisses and caresses they shared, of course. They had so much to talk about, so much to explain. And now it all made sense. They didn't have to wonder or worry anymore, because they knew now they belonged to each other, that everything had been meant to be all along, that the past was over.
Anne reflected back on the first night she finally spoke to him, so many years earlier. That night, like the one at hand, she had sat at her window, admiring the beauty of the world and in her heart.
"God's in heaven, all's right with the world," she whispered again.
If Gilbert Blythe had ever truly been happy before that night, he couldn't remember it. Nothing had ever been like this. He felt like running, or skipping or dancing all the way home. Instead, he walked, but if there was a spring in his step that had never been there before, it was no wonder.
For nearly 11 years, she had been his dream. And like so many dreams, the reality had eluded him, always staying just beyond his grasp.
But finally, that day, she had met his hands when he reached for her. With one look, they had cemented their futures, putting their faith and trust in each other. And with every kiss, every touch, every glance, he knew she loved him just as he loved her.
Quietly he opened the front door of his home and crept in, knowing his parents had long ago gone to bed, not expecting a prompt return after what they had learned earlier.
Gilbert could have stayed in that garden forever, holding her and murmuring the words she had never before let him say. But at last, as the sun began to sink, they left the sweet spot, leaving behind the doubts and worries both had carried there.
It was her idea to go first to his parents. But as they approached, he felt her grip on his hand tighten and read the uncertainty on her face.
"Do you … do you think they'll be happy?" she asked quietly.
"Of course they will be," he responded, smiling at her. "Why wouldn't they be? The girl I've been in love with since I was 13 is going to marry me."
"I don't know. Just … I think your mother used to like me, but ever since, ever since … the other time …" her voice faded away.
Gilbert stopped and pulled her close.
"I never told them. Never told anyone. And that's all in the past. All that matters is you're here now," he said, kissing her forehead and her nose and her lips.
She smiled, but it was a nervous little smile he hadn't seen on her face before. And she drew closer and closer to his side as they approached the house, as if to fade into him completely.
His parents knew the moment they walked in; he could tell by the tears sparkling in his mother's eyes and the mischievous grin his father was trying to hide. So he told them right off and watched as his mother wrapped his girl in a hug and watched as the fears melted away.
And they stayed there for supper, and he watched her talk and laugh with his parents and felt his heart swell with the knowledge of how perfectly their lives fit together.
Then he took her hand and they went to Green Gables, to a pair of ladies who were no more surprised than his parents and just as happy.
She walked with him to the gate, as she always had. And they lingered there, as they always had. But this time, the words were sweeter and the looks more tender. And this time he could kiss her goodbye, could feel her heart beat against his.
Gilbert sat in the room where months earlier his fever had raged and his body had nearly given up. Many bitter moments he had endured there, but she had never left his mind, even in the darkest times, even when he thought there was no chance.
And as he looked out his window, at the beauty of the world before him, Gilbert thought of many things: how perfect her hand fit into his, the sweet taste of her kiss, the way her body felt pressed against his.
But the moment that he would remember until his dying day, the one for which he had waited more than a decade, was the one right before he walked home that night. They had shared that last sweet kiss, and she brought her lips close to his ear, her breath hot on his cheek.
And the whisper came not to keep anyone else from hearing but because it was only for him.
"I love you."
In that moment, he knew no matter what else life brought, that would remain. And he wouldn't want for anything else.
So, here we go! This is just an introduction, so don't despair. I plan to wind in more details. My mind wanders, so of course, my story will feature some flashbacks to get some other parts in. I'm basing the timeline partly on the dates on Anne's letters in Anne of Windy Poplars and partly on my own imagination. (Anne's first letter was on Monday, Sept. 12, and she had gone to Summerside the day before, and Gilbert already was in Kingsport.) There was a new moon on Sept. 2, 1887, and that seemed like an appropriate occurrence to start our tale.