Author's note: And here's another little story I have written for you, inspired - indirectly - by my rereading of Anne of Windy Poplars. Indirect meaning: I read a chapter and came up with a story which I still haven't started to write, but there was that one particular line that I thought deserved exploring...

This story, my Friends, is a result of that thinking.

I hope you'll enjoy it, while I endeavour to work on something else (and hoping that the fateful Yours, Anne will be one of those 'somethings'). Thank you for all the kindness you have already gifted me with - and until the next time!

Yours truly,

"Gilbert, is there a flower you like least?"

The young man in question looked up from his book and up to his fiancée as she tilted her head in the attempt to get a better perspective at the floral composition she had been working on for the past quarter.

He smiled to himself before answering, drinking in the beauty and peacefulness she brought with her every time she appeared in the room.

"Orchids," he said eventually, firmly enough to convince anyone of the truth behind his words, yet without the enthusiasm Anne had undoubtedly been expecting. "They seem exotic and proud, not to mention, for me they will always be the flowers Roy gave you. And you don't like them, either."

"Oh, I certainly don't," Anne admitted, frowning at her work one last time before she turned on her heel and walked towards the sofa he'd been occupying all along. She sat next to him and let him hold her in a loose embrace. "But that's not quite what I meant. You see, I'm not really interested in hearing which flowers you don't like; but I was wondering whether there are some you do like, just not as much as the other."

Gilbert put his book away and turned to look at her questioningly. "I'm not sure I follow, Anne-girl."

"It will probably seem rather silly to you, and surely more so than whatever you've been reading, but I still want to share this thought with you. It's easy to talk of flowers – or people, for that matter – that you do or do not like. But what about those you can't put into any of these categories? Don't you find it that, sometimes, it's difficult to admit that you like someone, yet still it would be unjust to say you don't care for them at all? And can't the same be said about flowers?"

"Well, first of all, I'd say you're getting a little lost in your own metaphors, sweetheart," Gilbert answered laughingly, pulling her just a few inches closer. "Was it arranging the flowers here at Green Gables that made you ponder over such ideas, or is it just a way for you to express your feelings towards your fellow women and men?"

Anne rolled her eyes at him. "You can tease all you like, Mr Blythe, you won't succeed in discouraging me. And as for your question, I can't answer it. I don't know what came first – I just know that it did and that I'd truly appreciate it if you cared to share your opinion of the subject at hand."

Her companion nodded in understanding, assuming the most solemn look he could muster at the serious age of twenty-six.

"Are we still talking about plants?" he asked, again, most solemnly.

"We are," Anne responded with an amused, but warm smile. "You can of course pick more than one species if you wish, although I'd rather you -"

"Mayflowers," Gilbert cut her off without a second thought.

Anne's eyes widened at his admission and for a few seconds, she could do nothing but stare at him, amazed, while he smiled lopsidedly, apparently satisfied with the effect he had provoked.

"Mayflowers?" she managed to stutter eventually, her voice weak with disbelief. "But they are so beautiful and pure, so humble in their shy prettiness, so friendly and unassuming and fair..."

"Trust you to defend flowers from my wicked judgement," Gilbert laughed again. "I know you cherish them, Anne, and I can easily understand why. And I suppose your love for them is what stops me from detesting them entirely. But if I am to be honest, like you wanted me to be, I must admit they are probably my least favourite ones."

Anne didn't seem convinced by this explanation. She gazed at him questioningly, hungry for one she could understand. "Gil, but you gave me mayflowers yourself, and more than once."

"Oh, yes. And if I'm not wrong, you wouldn't have them."

Her heart gave a painful little quake, her thoughts flying directly to that dreadful evening in the orchard, when he had come to her with flowers in his hands and his heart on his sleeve, to ask for something she wasn't ready to give. Her cheeks flushed at the memory, in the same way they always did.

She looked away and shifted uncomfortably, increasing the distance between them.

"I did accept your flowers then, Gil," she said quietly, earning herself a somewhat curious, yet not particularly surprised glance from her fiancé. "I just... I couldn't accept you. Not then, not like this..."

"Now, isn't that reassuring," he teased, but seeing the pained look on her face, he quickly changed his tactics. "Anne, for goodness' sake, don't look like that; I hate seeing you blame yourself for that night, when at least half, if not all, of the blame was really mine. Besides, that's not the event I was referring to."

Once again, Anne blinked at him, astonished.

"Which one, then? I can't remember refusing your flowers at any other time," she inquired.

"You certainly didn't during the Convocation, did you?" Gilbert grinned smugly at her. "In fact, you're right. I don't think you ever turned down any plant I decided to lay at your feet, including a certain apple tree in the Avonlea woods... That is, not since I so chivalrously gave up the school for you."

Despite her cheeks being warm still, Anne did not refrain from raising her eyebrow at him, although she chose to remain silent and let him go on with his speech.

Gilbert gazed down at her for a while, his features softening at the sight of this beloved girl, of whom he had dreamed for so long. She was his now, just like he had always been hers, and soon they would...

"It was the end of our first year at school together, and there were mayflowers blooming all around Mr Silas Sloane's place," he interrupted his own train of thoughts before he lost himself in his daydreams of the future that loomed before them. "Mr Phillips took us there, probably to get an excuse for gifting Prissy with some – how we laughed at the poor man then! One way or another, I remember you being quite excited about the idea as you sat there with the other girls, chattering and gathering flowers together. They had heaps of them, to be sure."

"But I didn't?" Anne smiled, once again amused with the story she could barely recall but which apparently was of a great importance of the man sitting by her side.

"No. I think you were too caught up with your own imagination to pay much attention to it and only had a few of them scattered on your lap. Lord above knows we weren't on speaking terms then, but it couldn't stop me from watching – and after less than a year, I still believed a nice and, mind you, romantic gesture could still win you over somehow. So in all of my arrogance of a boy nearly fifteen at the time, I walked right up to you and offered what I had managed to gather myself. Alas -"

"I rejected them with scorn," Anne laughed openly now, finally recalling the events of that afternoon as they truly were, as well as her own account of them at Green Gables later on. "Oh, yes – and how proud I was of myself! I think I told Marilla about the whole thing later that day, although I very much doubt I mentioned your name. Not after I had vowed 'not to ever let it cross my lips'."

"You vowed this?"

Anne nodded eagerly, though not without another smile. "With all the firmness my eleven year old self could muster. I'm afraid I haven't been very faithful to that particular oath; then again, I don't think any vow based on such animosity should be kept in the first place."

"I'm certainly glad you backed away from this one," Gilbert answered with the same zeal, and leaned down to kiss her hair, before sighing. "So you see, this is my first memory of ever trying to offer you any kind of flowers, and it's not a particularly pleasant one. I know it's not the mayflower's fault... But somehow, they began to represent my own fear of never being able to offer you anything you might be willing to accept. And let's just say that that disastrous proposal didn't exactly help with that."

He tried to speak lightly, but fortunately for both of them, Anne Shirley knew her betrothed too well to fall for such a delicate facade. She could not miss the slight quavering of his voice at the very end of his statement; she could not miss the hurt that shadowed his eyes for the briefest of moments at the same time.

So she smiled and turned towards him, taking his face in her hands in the gesture so tender that Gilbert couldn't help but lean into her palm.

A year wasn't enough to get used to her love.

Gilbert suspected a lifetime wouldn't be.

"Gil, I want you to listen to me, carefully," she urged quietly, so close that he could feel her breath tingling on his skin. "I was a silly goose, a twelve year old child who was too stubborn to see how worthy of my forgiveness you were. And you know how much I regretted not giving it to you, if not at this particular moment, then at every single one after you rescued me at the pond. And Gil, ever since we made our peace at your gate, I have been so, so willing to take whatever you wanted to give, and I always, always felt honoured because of it – mostly because I didn't think I could ever repay you in kind. I hated the idea then; the idea of you caring for me in a way I couldn't imagine for myself, because that was so unfair. Unfair to you.".

She moved a little closer, resting her forehead against his, her delicate hands still framing his face.

"I want you to love mayflowers as I love them, Gil," she whispered with her eyes closed and her nose brushing against his cheek. "But not as a reminder of our foolish past, but of the wonderful, dreamlike presence it has brought us to. I want you to give me mayflowers, I want to have them in our home, so we never forget what we had to go through to reach this point. And most of all, so that we never, never think that there's no sun after the storm."

She kissed him then, sweetly and lingeringly, until she felt his hands on her waist as he drew her closer and kissed her back. It lasted longer than any of the stately matrons at Green Gables could have deemed proper, and yet not long enough at all – as it always was, and as it would be until the day there were finally one.

When they finally pulled away, Anne noted with no little satisfaction that Gilbert was smiling at her again, and that it was no artificial smile summoned to ease her mind.

In fact, it was a little too genuine and far too mischievous in contrast with her quite well-delivered and – let's not fret the word – perfectly romantic little speech.

"In other words, I am to bring you mayflowers any time we quarrel," Gilbert summed up with all of the sensibleness a future country doctor should possess. "Although I'm afraid it may prove rather difficult during other seasons, and I don't believe we could make ourselves conduct our arguments solely in May."

"How awfully regular that would be," Anne chuckled lightly in response. Her hands dropped to his chest, while one of his was lifted to caress the queenly line of her jaw. "Although I suppose I'd rather have them in the room before you come to apologise, so I am reminded not to nurse my resentment and hopefully come to my senses as well."

"I'll give it a try, then," he assented readily, before pecking her pink lips again and rising to his feet, pulling her up with him. "Now come, let's not waste our afternoon in these walls, as lovely and dear as they are. There might be some mayflowers left behind Mr Sloane's place – I may as well start with my new resolution at once and try to offer you some before we part for the night. And dear Miss Shirley, I do hope you will not discourage me by rejecting them this time."

Anne laughed wholeheartedly and promised she would not. And then they left, her hand in the crook of his arm, as he lead her towards the place that, like so many others there, held the memory of their youth.

And so they walked, hand in hand all the way through life, with no memories behind them but those which belonged to each other.