(I'm glad you all liked my first random Anne/Gilbert tale. Hopefully you'll like this one, too, though I haven't been happy with the way it came out — probably because it took so long to write. I haven't had a lot of extra time lately, but hopefully I can work out another one a little faster.

I don't know if it makes sense that Anne would have gone to Kingsport in this one, but … well, that's the way I went with it!)

One Weekend in May


"The summer is over … the summer in which I have seen you only that week-end in May."

- Anne of Windy Poplars, The Third Year, Chapter 1

The station teemed with people, all awaiting the Friday night boat train from Prince Edward Island. The unseasonably warm day contributed to the stuffy air. The sun had set not long before, so it was not only crowded and stifling but also shadowy and murky.

Roy Gardner was not accustomed to such situations and could not for the life of him remember what had possessed him to agree to pick up Dorothy's friend from the train. Their driver may not have been available, but certainly someone else could have come down to the dingy station and waited for this unknown girl.

But, he would do anything for Dorothy — the one who had cheered him each time he had been sure his heartbreak would never cease. Of course, the worst case had been the last, Anne Shirley's refusal of his proposal in the pavilion in the park ripping open a wound that he had been certain would never heal. He no longer felt as tortured as he had those first weeks — and he no longer felt loving again was impossible — but there was a sting to the memory still. That Dorothy had sent him to meet a train from the Island was but a reminder of that.

Roy looked around at the crowd of people, unconsciously smoothed the carefully pressed jacket he wore and looked for something to occupy his time. He never deliberately tried to set himself out as better than the others around him, but somehow he felt he was just the same, making such common settings more irritating than they needed to be.

As Roy scanned the crowd, his eyes settled on a familiar looking man, tall and broad shouldered with brown hair. He looked far more comfortable than Roy felt, leaning back casually against a railing. Roy struggled to remember the fellow's name. Ah, yes, Gilbert Blythe, that was his name. An old friend of Anne's, Roy remembered, cursing himself silently for remembering another detail of her.

Rather than pass the time waiting for the train, Roy headed over to chat with Gilbert, who may not have had the social standing of Roy's usual circle but had proven himself to be clever enough at Redmond. He seemed the most likely person to talk to in the grayish station.

"Hello, Blythe, what brings you down to the station tonight?"

Gilbert turned, surprise to hear his name turning to shock over who was greeting him so warmly. He recovered quickly and shook the outstretched hand before him.

"Ah, hello. I'm just here to pick someone up. How about you?"

"I am playing chauffeur for my sister. A friend of hers was visiting the Island. That is your home province, too, is it not?" Roy asked, quite oblivious to Gilbert's hand fidgeting in discomfort at the railing.

"Yes, yes it is," Gilbert said, scanning the crowd. Only moments before, he had been willing the boat to get in a little faster. Now he hoped it held off until this awkward encounter ended. "I'll return there when I've completed medical school."

"A most noble profession," Roy said.

Gilbert nodded, wondering if there was a point to this conversation and also wondering how in the world Anne had spent so much time with such a bore.

"Whom did you say you were here to retrieve?" Roy asked.

Gilbert clenched his jaw a little and swallowed. "My … my fiancée. She's coming for the weekend."

The station began to fill with people disembarking from the boat train, and the din of a hundred conversations caused Roy to speak louder than his proper upbringing had taught.

"Oh, and who is the lucky girl?" Roy had barely finished asking the question before his eyes alighted on a familiar hue of red hair. He felt his jaw drop slightly. Of course — Dorothy hadn't sent him to pick up just any friend, he realized. The description she had given him must have been a ruse. Roy had known Dorothy kept in contact with Anne. Was it possible Anne regretted rejecting his proposal? And was coming here to rectify the situation?

For a moment, it seemed she was looking in his direction, a bright smile spreading across her face. She seemed to sparkle and shine, her eyes like stars stolen from the sky and a rosy blush staining her pale cheeks.

Roy returned the smile, his heart racing along with his mind. Of course, he'd forgive her for her folly. Perhaps an autumn wedding …

He remembered suddenly he had been in the midst of a conversation and turned to Gilbert, who hadn't answered his question. Gilbert's eyes were fixed in the same direction Roy's had been, with a joyful grin brightening his countenance. Roy turned to see if Gilbert's gaze answered his question, and that's when Roy realized Anne's smile — and an expression she certainly had never focused on him — was for the man beside him. He felt his heart drop, but he regained his composure as quickly as he could. Dozens of little moments filled his head, moments he hadn't noticed at the time, of a look of distraction on Anne's face when someone mentioned Gilbert or a different air about her when he was near. Roy had never put the pieces together until that moment.

"The lilies … at convocation? Those were from you, weren't they?" he asked somewhat quietly.

Gilbert couldn't see Anne anymore among the throng of people in the station and turned a little sheepishly toward Roy.

"Yes, they were," he said slowly. "But, please, don't think wrongly of Anne. I … I had been in love with her most of my life, and I had all but given up hoping she could ever return those feelings. But I was so proud of her still, and so, I sent them. I never imagined she'd carry them. It wasn't until the end of that summer that we were engaged."

Roy took a deep breath, the realization that Dorothy had, in fact, sent him on an ordinary errand settling in the pit of his stomach. He thought about the look on Anne's face, and he knew she had made the right decision two years ago. She looked lovely in love, and she hadn't looked quite like that with him. Blythe must be quite good to her, he thought, and it would be well worth it to find someone who looked at him like that. Now as he looked back, Roy had trouble remembering exactly what it was about Anne that had so enchanted him in the first place.

He extended his hand again. "Congratulations to you both, then. I wish you all the best."

Gilbert shook his hand. "Thank you."

Roy walked away, intent on finding this girl his sister had sent him for. Any lingering hope in a romantic reunion with Anne had been extinguished, but he did have a renewed hope that perhaps there was someone out there with whom he was meant to be, as Anne and Gilbert so obviously were.

His eyes scanned the crowd for the girl, whom Dorothy had described as pretty and petite, with brown hair, and carrying a flowered handbag. So intent he was in his search that he barely felt his legs catch on something on the ground, though he certainly felt himself falling forward to the dirty floor of the station.

Roy brushed himself off in disgust and turned to see what had caused his fall. A flowered handbag sat at his feet, its contents spilling out. He could just see tufts of brown hair showing under the hat of the woman trying to gather the items. She stood then, a heart-shaped face looking on with concern from beneath her hat.

"Are … are you OK?" she asked tentatively. Roy realized Anne likely would have laughed at such a display, but not this dignified lady.

Perhaps Dorothy had sent him for a reason after all.

A moment after Roy walked away, Anne reemerged through the crowd and made her way to Gilbert. After a quick embrace, he took her bags and steered her toward the door.

"Why do I feel as if we're trying to escape rather than just leave?" Anne asked in bewilderment as they darted toward a waiting carriage.

Gilbert laughed. "Because we are."

Anne looked at him quizzically.

"Unless you'd prefer we go back inside and you can talk to Roy Gardner."

Gilbert had told Anne at Christmas his plan to work on the railroad for the summer. It was an idea she had endorsed none too enthusiastically. She searched the school calendar for an opportunity to see him before he left, and, finding a long weekend at the end of May, had written Phil Blake asking for a place to stay for the weekend.

But the only weekend Anne could leave Summerside and Gilbert wasn't working at the hospital was one in which Phil and Jonas were taking their two little sons to Bolingbroke. So, instead Anne had to look for a hotel to stay for the three nights.

"If my boarding house had an extra room, I'm sure you could stay there. But, every room is occupied," Gilbert said.

"Ah, well, what would Mrs. Lynde say then, anyway?" Anne said, leaning in to kiss him.

After a bite of supper at restaurant by flickering candlelight, Gilbert found a hotel not far from his boarding house that had a room for Anne. He carried her bags into the narrow, dimly lit room, then quickly retreated to the doorway before the temptation not to retreat to the doorway became too great.

"I should be going."

Anne followed him to the doorway and kissed him, perhaps a little longer than a polite goodnight kiss, her arms a little tighter around his neck, her body a little closer to his. After she pulled away, ever so slightly, Gilbert looked into her upturned face and saw that mischievous look — the one she wore when they sent their Avonlea Notes to Charlottetown, the one he only had ever seen on her face when she was scheming or thinking of something that would horrify most of the people who saw her only as the proper B.A. schoolmarm. He was quite certain he was the only one who ever saw that look and the only one who saw that side of her.

"Maybe you don't have to go. Couldn't you stay with me?" she said in a whisper as she dropped soft kisses against his cheek.

Gilbert closed his eyes for a moment, the next year and a half seeming longer than ever before.

"I would love to," he said, puling himself just far enough from her to look into her shining eyes. "But you know I can't. After all, what would Mrs. Lynde say then?"

The weekend passed simply enough, with no great adventures beyond just relishing being together.

They planned to meet in the park for an early morning walk on Saturday. The sun was barely above the horizon when Gilbert found Anne leaning against a tree, arms wrapped around her knees. He watched her for a moment before sitting down beside her.

"Where are you, Anne-girl?"

Anne turned to him with a dreamy smile and sighed.

"I was just imagining a beautiful Avonlea summer, spending my days lazing about and wandering the countryside with someone I love at my side."

It seemed to Gilbert at that moment that Anne's eyes had never been bigger or more alluring than they were at that moment. He frowned.

"Anne, you know why I'm not coming home this summer," he said, his voice pleading as he took her hand. "It's for us — to give us a start for our future."

Anne shook her head. "I told you, I don't need anything but you in my future," she said. "Especially if it means another summer away from you."

"It's not just that. I need to make enough money to pay for my last year here," Gilbert said. "And then, anything left over … well, I hoped to use it to find us a house … and for our honeymoon."

Gilbert's voice trailed off a little as he finished his explanation, but his eyes searched out Anne's as his thumb stroked the side of her hand. He wondered if Anne could feel his heart pounding as his thoughts slipped to that glorious day when he'd finally get to take Anne home, when all his dreams would be fulfilled. But as he saw her pink lips curl into a slight smile, he didn't have to wonder if her thoughts took the same vein as his.

He pulled her closer and kissed her, letting the rest of the world, their upcoming separation and all their worries slip away, if only for a moment.

When Anne pulled away from their kiss, she kept her hands at either side of his face.

"I understand. I just hate the thought of being without you any more than I already have been. And as for our honeymoon," she leaned in and kissed him again before continuing, a deep kiss that almost made him forget what the conversation had been about in the first place. "All I want is you then, too. After all this time apart, I don't want an extravagant wedding tour. I want to start our life together and be with you every day and put our House of Dreams in order and fall asleep with you each night and wake up with you each morning."

"Then that's all I want, too," Gilbert said.

All too quickly, Monday morning arrived. Gilbert took Anne back to the station, helped her get her bags situated and stood with her as she waited until the last call to board.

Anne looked up at him sadly.

"Christmas seems so far away," she said.

Gilbert could only nod in return, then pulled her close and held her until she had to leave.

(Now, help me decide: Should the next story be a look at Diana's wedding or should we jump ahead to a tale out of Anne of Ingleside?)