"Enjoying some light reading, are we?" Anne jumped at the sound of Gilbert's voice. She had been so obstinately focused that she had not heard her husband return home.

Anne leapt up hastily putting the books away embarrassed. "I'm sorry Gil. I was going to dust in here but I got distracted. You know that I wanted to know every book that calls our shelves home. How was your afternoon?" her words tumbled out with no thought and before he could say anything she walked past him eager to remove herself from the awkward situation. "I should get supper ready."

Her efforts did not thwart Gilbert as he shadowed Anne into the kitchen. "Have I been too busy to notice you are ill Anne-girl? Tell me what is the matter. You have been distant since last evening. I met Mrs. Pryor from the ladies aid on my way home and she described you as withdrawn confessing that you barley spoke two words which I know is not like you at all. If you are unwell you know that you can tell me, right?"

The afternoon sun was filtering through the curtains bathing the kitchen in a deep gold that said very clearly it would be evening soon. Anne turned around letting Gilbert take her hand. She adored the way his thumb always stroked the back of her hand when he held it. Surely he won't think her mad.

"Gil I think there is something wrong with me. But I am afraid to tell you because I don't know how to tell you without coming across as a mad woman." He nodded, prompting her to continue. "You are right to think I was quite today and yes Mrs. Pryor's verbal illustration was true when she said I spoke little. I admit my mind was trying to figure out a problem. When I returned home I thought maybe the answer would be in your books."

"What is it Anne? You are not making much sense."

Anne could not meet his eyes instead she looked around the kitchen. They had shared many happy moments in this room, laughing and making merry. Life had been too good to her and now it was all about to be spoilt.

"Last night when we were together in bed and I made a sound, you asked if you had hurt me...I responded truthfully," Anne buried her face in her hands as she saw a look of recognition pass his face realising what she was referring too. "You had not hurt me and you never have when we are together. To be frank Gilbert I moaned because something happens when we are together. I...I...don't know how to explain it."

Gilbert let out a long breath. "Yes I remember. If I did not hurt you then does being with me displease you?"

"No!" Anne exclaimed truthfully. "It is the complete opposite. You do everything that makes me feel like...like...I might explode in a good way. When we lay together I get this build up of pressure here," Anne pointed to the top of her thighs. "I can only liken it to when I see a butterfly sitting on a flower, and its wings are moving slowly like it's about to take flight. But I just don't know when and the anticipation grows. The wings move faster and faster then suddenly the butterfly shoots off into the sky. It feels like that but hundreds of butterflies Gil. And my body tingles in the most magnificent way. Each time it happens I want to moan and I have been able to keep quite. But last night the elated feeling took over. I don't know what it is or even how to control it. I fear I am crazy."

Anne hoped what she said made sense. Gilbert continued to stand there, his eyebrows knotted in thought. His silence was not the response she had hoped for and when he spun around and left the kitchen Anne felt devastated. She crossed the room to follow him but only got as far as the table. She leaned against it, taking in deep breaths and berating herself for speaking out. She had been warned not to speak up in these matters and now she found out why.

"Anne it is ok." She looked up to find Gilbert entering the kitchen with a book in his hand. "I don't think there is anything wrong with you but if you read this paragraph you may find some symptoms that you delivered to be similar."

Anne read the heading, "Hysteria? So I am mad?" She looked at Gilbert whose mouth was trying to suppress a smile. "I am feeling nothing short of embarrassed and beside myself because I fear myself mad, yet my doctor stands before me smirking." Anne took a step back, her eyes growing wide, "I hope you are not thinking of sending me off to an asylum."

"Not when I have been waiting three years to be your husband. Check back with me in twenty," Gilbert said closing the book with a laugh.

"How can you laugh right now?" Anne demanded.

"Because," began Gilbert, "I don't think there is anything wrong with you. What you and other women experience would be ordinarily diagnosed under the far reaching umbrella of hysteria. While some health professionals might find you suffering, and I use the term suffering loosely in your case, a medical condition. I honestly believe you to be a healthy woman. I might be a doctor in a small country town but I did spend many years surrounded by people with progressive ideas. And one of those is the growing debate that the definition of hysteria is misplaced. The treatment they suggest would be to give you what you are experiencing, and that is simply an orgasm. To diagnose you with hysteria because you have an orgasm is to say that you as a women do not gain any fulfilment in sex the way a man does. There is a study out of the United Kingdom that proves women to be of the same sexual nature as men." Gilbert put the book down on the kitchen table and placed his hands on her shoulders smiling widely. "I don't see any symptoms that would warrant a recommendation to the asylum of any kind. I only see a woman who is confused as a result of the misinformation that our repressed society is to blame for."

"You are sure that I am not going mad? This is natural? You seem so displeased when I was vocal. What if I am again?"

Gilbert tucked a stray curl behind Anne's ear, "I was only worried because you have never acted in that way prior. I had an inkling you enjoyed laying with me but quite frankly was not aware you enjoyed it as much as I did. I can promise you that if you are vocal again that I might join the chorus for there have been many moments when I have kept words of praise to myself afraid at how you would react also."

Anne felt a weight lift from her mind. Gilbert, he dear darling husband, had given her peace. She thought how lucky she was to be married to a man with modern thoughts and sad for those women who might have the same questions but no one to ask. She knew Gilbert did not favour topics to be off topic to women and here she understood why. How many women had been sent to asylums because they did not know what an orgasm was or had a husband that did not either?

"Do you feel an explosion of joy also?" Anne asked timidly. Gilbert nodded with what Anne thought was a blush. It was not like Gilbert to blush and seeing it brought a smile to Anne's face. "Before we were bethrothed I was given a book about marriage. There was a chapter dedicated to bedroom etiquette. It said women should not encourage men in the bedroom, that I should fake illness and if I partake in sex I will drain my energy making me useless to run a home properly. But I don't feel that way. In fact I feel the opposite," confessed Anne. "I have been confused and even though you say there is nothing wrong why is it considered a disease? I fear I will have many questions that will need answering over the coming days."

"And I will try my best to answer them for you. You know you can be honest with me about anything Anne. There is no place in this marriage for secrets, it's not why I married you. I married you because you're my best friend whose honesty and openness I value deeply. I hope you feel safe with me to do that and if not I feel I have failed as a husband."

Anne shook her head. "No, you have not failed me. I followed instructions that advised me poorly. There were many moments I wanted to talk with you but was afraid of offending you. I should have trusted myself and trusted in us."

"I definitely did not marry you for your quite nature," Gilbert said bringing Anne into a tight embrace. "Please know that we are equals in all areas of our marriage. If I wanted a wife who cared not for sharing her opinion then I most definitely would not have asked you to be my wife for you have never been shy in letting me know how you have felt in the past."

"Well I adore that I am married to a suffragette," Anne said teasingly.

Gilbert scoffed, "I would not call myself a suffragette but I have seen that women are just as capable as men in many if not all areas of life. So capable I thought it best I married one of your species."

"And what are we capable of?" Anne asked as she stepped away to start on supper or they would be having bread and cheese in the dark.

"Keeping me warm at night," Gilbert said matter of factly turning towards the door. He turned around slowly to face Anne who was gathering her apron up. She halted her movements as Gilbert leaned on the door frame with his arm. His gaze was fixed on the window his brow wrinkling then relaxing again. Anne could clearly see his mind was wound up, struggling to get out the words. She was about to mention that supper would be ready soon. So much had been revealed that she thought it best to ease away from the subject for now. But Gilbert spoke first.

"Since we are being honest, may I speak plainly with you?"

Anne nodded to Gilbert feeling nervous at what he might say. "Of course."

"I am pleased that you experience pleasure when we are together Anne. Knowing that makes me happy for it is something other women don't."

Anne smiled, "I am pleased too." Gilbert did not return the smile instead he stood there running his hand through his hair looking agitated. Perhaps things were not as rosy as she thought and she waited with trepidation for Gilbert to continue.

"When the subject of women's health was presented at college it was a highly debated topic. The men I studied with were from different age groups; some married, some not and some like myself were waiting patiently. There was one man that I became friendly with. His name was Harold Gladach, a married gentleman. He lived outside the boarding houses with his wife but would stop in for a chat every other week. He would enjoy telling us unmarried men what to expect once vows were exchanged. I refer to all aspects Anne, he was not a shy man. Harold would ruffle feathers with the stories of his wife enjoying sex while some of the other men would argue that it is not possible, because the female body is not the same as mens. I don't know why I believed Harold, but I did. Perhaps it was because it seemed legitimate." Anne stood there trying to preempt what Gilbert was going to say, maybe he was only being nice earlier to get a confession from her.

Gilbert continued to talk unaware of Anne's panicked thoughts. "When the professors began the journey into women's health Harold would often cite counter studies to refute the old professors teachings. One night he was at our boarding house and had all us men in deep debate on the subject. Like I said he had never hidden the fact his own wife enjoyed him in the bedroom. But this particular night he described something that I used to imagine giving to you. He explained how he would kiss his wife here." Gilbert motioned to where his own manhood was. Anne realised what part of her body he was referring to and felt a thrill swell. "He said it tasted like nothing else and that when he kissed her there long enough she would come alive in orgasm. To Harold loving and bringing pleasure to his wife's body was a spiritual connection. He said it was like getting to the essence of her. The act disgusted most of the men in that room, but not me. That night and many nights after I dreamed of you undressed, kissing you in the area between your legs and feeling your body come alive with orgasm."

Anne did not know what to say. The act Gilbert was describing was something she had never thought of. His hands had brushed over the place he was referring to, but only her husbands manhood had been so intimately pressed against her there. Never his lips.

"I'm sorry Anne, that was very forward of me," Gilbert stuttered. "I'll let you get started on supper." And with that Gilbert left the room.

Anne watched Gilbert retreat down the hallway disappearing into his study. Truthfully her silence was not driven out of fear but from feeling overwhelmed. Conversations like this were never thought of in the years Anne waited to be his wife. Here she was married to a man that wanted to pleasure her, taste her and know every part of her body. His desire was not spelled out in flowery language or written in prose. They were nervoulsy confessed in a small kitchen on a Sunday afternoon.

Anne found Gilbert in his study with his back to her, his hands resting on the book shelves. "I'm not sorry Gil. Please, keep talking," Anne asked. "I know you had more to say."

"I feel as if I have repulsed you," he said.

"No you haven't. Truthfully I did not know what to say. This is new to me, to us. You can be honest with me about anything Gilbert." He kept his back to her as she spoke. "Please tell me your desires," Anne pleaded when he did not turn around.

"Last week you asked for my help as you stepped out of your bath. You commented that I was a perfect gentleman getting the fire roaring in the sitting room so you could dry your hair quickly. Truthfully I so desperately wanted to lay you down before the fire and kiss every inch of your body dry," he turned around breathing the last sentence as if afraid to say it out loud.

Anne saw in Gilbert's face what she felt not long before; confusion and fear. A curtain had been drawn back and even though they were both standing before each other clothed she felt as if they were naked in their vulnerability. She moved forward taking his hand the way he had taken hers before.

"You are not alone I too have sensual thoughts. I feel as if there are parts of our personalities we are still trying to get acquainted with in ourselves and each other. I want to explore them with you without any shame or fear." Anne moved his hand down her body until she reached the top of her thigh pushing his palm against the folds of fabric. "And I want you to kiss me Gilbert, here, like you have wanted to."

She kicked off her slippers and began pulling up her skirts to reveal her stockings. She took a step back and began rolling them down her legs never taking her eyes off her husband. Her hands loosened the cotton draws letting them slip to the floor. Anne breathed his name as he lifted her up onto his desk in one sweeping movement.

The conduct of Gilbert's lips beyond her own had only been a daring thought. He knelt down between her legs with his brown hands pushing them apart. Anne leaned back sucking in air as he began to kiss. She wondered what she tasted like, if it was all that he imagined. She got her response as he moaned against her his hands grasping at her outer thighs drawing her body closer to him. This was the unbridled hunger she was seeing in his eyes more and more each day.

Anne groaned as she felt his tongue touch a spot. He repeated the motion over and over creating that same delightful pleasure she experienced when he was inside her. All the words, sighs and ecstatic moans were released unashamedly as she arched into him, orgasm flowing over her body.

Anne pushed him back motioning for him to stop, her area feeling sensitive. "That was wonderful," she breathed.

Gilbert smiled as he stood up, "Giving you pleasure, gives me pleasure." He took her hand placing it on his own arousal. "If I diagnosed you as mad, then what am I?" he asked with dark eyes.

Anne threw her head back and laughed then pulled Gilbert close helping to push his suspenders down. She gripped his body as he slid himself inside her, wondering if he could feel her continued vibrations from his ministrations. When she moaned Gilbert told her how it made him feel until he collapsed, spent with satisfaction.

Gilbert's head rested on Anne's shoulder as they held onto each other rapturously neither daring to move. Anne ran her hands over his back, relishing the contented feeling her husbands confession had bestowed on her body.

"I have never heard your heart beat so loudly Anne," mused Gilbert.

Anne nodded, letting out a happy sigh. "Me either."


Thank you everyone for the reviews – I hope the second half was worth it. My aim was to explore the awkward side of a newly married couple getting to know one another. And it probably does not get more awkward than a newly married couple in the late 1800s.

I appreciate the kind words of encouragement and was very flattered that my words inspired a scene in my fave fanfic of the moment Redmond Diaries -The Fourth Year by Katherine-with-a-k. I hopefully will be back soon with a story about how the name Anne-girl came to be used by Gilbert.