Finally the crossing was complete. Their last day was spent packing up their belongings and organizing luggage strategically. In the evening Gilbert had hauled their trunks into the hallway for the porter to collect throughout the night and returned to the now suddenly spacious cabin, hands on his hips.

"Well, darling, I think that's about all of it."

Anne had been employed with triple checking their next steps in the journey, ensuring that all was accounted for and crossing reminders off of her list with a pencil.

"Mm yes, dear. We're supposed to catch the eleven-thirty train tomorrow. I wonder if we will have enough time to mail the letters," she replied distractedly. Anne had moved from her list and began to check their hand luggage once again.

"We're to be off the ship quite early. I'll ask the driver to stop at the closest post office - I'm sure all will be well, sweetheart."

Having first been a secret admirer, then friend, then lover Gilbert could easily spot Anne Blythe's many tell-tale signs. 'Well, normally,' he thought, 'though her frosty disposition in September proved me wrong.' He observed her nervous fiddling and obsessive train of thought.

"Are you alright, Anne?"

Anne looked up, hearing his genuine concern. Her grey eyes met his hazel ones.

"Not at the moment, no, Gil. It's been such an up-and-down twenty-four hours and now the real adventure is beginning. I should be over the moon with excitement but I miss the children. Marilla-"

Gilbert's swift embrace muffled the next few words out of her mouth, his eyes misty as well. The past twelve days had been a big adjustment for them both as otherwise blissful.

Anne pulled her head from his chest. "I think we should send a telegram to home - to let them know we've arrived safely."

"I thought the same. We'll send two. One to Avonlea and one to Susan and Shirley. They can't be essays, Anne," Gilbert warned.

Anne gave a mock scowl and then laughed through her tears.

"That'd be marvellous, Gilbert. I think it'd make me feel better."

Anne straightened and began to dress for the night. Gilbert mirrored her idea and was folding his outfit while Anne let down her hair, brushing it smooth before braiding it back. They climbed into their bed for the last time, still feeling very aware of the loss that occurred the previous day. Anne gave Gilbert a long sweet kiss, conveying her undying love and gratitude. It wasn't one she'd used to begin anything but it was the kind which caused Gilbert's heart to race. The rocking ship putting them to sleep one more time, Anne's final thoughts that night were 'I wonder if I'll be able to sleep easily again without it...'

The next morning most of the nervousness had been replaced by a fluttering feeling of excitement. Another bend in their road! Anne and Gilbert rose early. They packed their remaining necessities into their hand-luggage and made their way up to the breakfast room. Many of their new friends were also attempting a quick meal and so addresses and farewell hugs were exchanged. The Blythes then proceeded to the ship desk to drop their room key and moved towards the promenade to disembark with the hoards. Organized chaos ensued as passengers cleared through the British government officials. Hand in hand, Anne and Gilbert manoeuvred through the loud crowds and finally located their luggage. Anne took a seat on one of their trunks while Gilbert attempted to hail a cab. After a few failed attempts a porter noticed the struggle and promptly organized a buggy. The driver loaded their trunks while Gilbert assisted Anne into the carriage.

Finally all were settled when Gilbert said, "To the nearest post office, please, driver - and then to Southampton West train station."

Minutes later they pulled up to the post office. Gilbert had instructed the driver to remain waiting for them before assisting his wife to the ground. They moved into the building and located the outgoing mail slot. Anne kissed each letter before depositing them. Letting out a deep breath, Anne scanned the large room looking for the telegram desk. It was a rather long queue and while waiting they discussed what message they'd send. Finally their turn came.

"Hello, we'd like to send two telegrams to Canada, please. The first to Green Gables - Avonlea, Prince Edward Island and the second to a Miss Susan Baker, care of Mr. Robert Baker - Lowbridge, Prince Edward Island."

02/22/1905

HAVE ARRIVED SAFELY IN ENGLAND STOP WILL BE HERE ELEVEN DAYS STOP YOU WILL RECEIVE OUR LETTERS IN THREE WEEKS STOP

LOVE MOTHER AND FATHER

Gilbert paid for their messages and taking Anne's arm in his, they exited the building and back into the carriage.

They arrived at the train station by 10:40am. Gilbert handed the driver the payment for his services along with a gratuity for his extra time before flagging down a station porter to collect the luggage. They weaved through the busy station, following the porter to the ticket desk where they paid their journey and tagged and dropped their trunks.

"I could use something to eat, Gil. Breakfast feels as if it were a distant memory. Do you think we have enough time?"

"It will have to be quick, Anne. I think we passed a small café on our way to the luggage drop. I need to use the facilities - I'll meet you there. Will you save a cookie for me?"

Anne nodded in agreement and the couple went separate ways. Twenty minutes later Anne sat at a small bistro table near the entrance of the cafe, clicking her tongue and wondering where her husband was. Her snack had been consumed and she lost herself in people-watching before realizing how long she'd been waiting. She assumed there'd been a long line for the toilet and continued to wait. Another five minutes passed. 'What on earth is that man doing in there for so long? I hope he's not ill...'

Another two minutes and Anne decided to head towards their platform. She tidied her table, took up their hand-luggage and began her frantic walk, searching the crowd for her husband.

'Men's hats - they're all the same,' she muttered to nobody.

Gilbert Blythe had finished using the toilet, his bladder relieved. He was a bit perturbed to have seen a long line to them. He made to meet his wife at the café. However, he spotted a howling boy attempting to step on an obviously injured foot, his bewildered father appearing to be helpless in getting the boy calm. Dr. Blythe steered his walk towards them, introducing himself and offering to help. Twenty minutes later he speed-walked towards the café and arrived to be alarmed at his wife's absence. He groaned and fairly ran to the platform. As he neared it Gilbert spotted a red-headed figure nervously chewing on the inside of her bottom lip.

'Thank goodness for red-heads,' he thought as he waved to get her attention.

Upon seeing Gilbert a relieved Mrs. Blythe smiled and walked to him, handing him a piece of luggage to hold.

"Sorry, Anne. I stopped to assist a young boy. He jumped off of a bench outside of the washrooms and broke his foot... I went to find you but you had already left."

"Ah, Dr. Blythe returns to duty," Anne smirked, "The boy is okay now?"

"Oh yes. I was able to come up with a makeshift splint and calmed him down - he was handling it badly. His father was to take him to the hospital."

"Good work, dearest. Well, we're on time. Barely - but we're here."

At that very moment the All Aboard call was announced. Anne fished their tickets from her bag and they began to move towards the forming line.

Anne laughed and said, "Could you imagine if we really did get separated?"

"There is no possible way I'd board that train without you, Anne!"

"Don't you think it'd be just a little bit romantic - you chasing after me?"

Gilbert groaned. "I did that for years, Anne-girl, or have you forgotten?"

"Oh no, of course not - but thank you for reminding me. It was very romantic."

They smiled at each other and boarded their train to London. The four hour trip passed uneventfully. Anne's hunger was only slightly dissuaded with the snack so they had tea and lunch in the dining car. When they returned to their seats both faces were peering out to the English countryside and then eventually into books. Gilbert had begun to get increasingly excited about the medical congress and was intently reading one of his medical books.

Dr. Gilbert Blythe's own professional contributions to the field of medicine were making small waves. He certainly hadn't found any new-fangled cures to any ailments; however, for a community Doctor he was known rather far and wide. The successful treatment of George Moore, among many others, no doubt supported the cause. He had received the invitation to this prestigious medical congress in late August but having been most distracted by his own professional turmoil it was left forgotten under a pile of paper on his desk. The invitation was discovered again while Gilbert rooted around his unusually disorganized desk in the search for Anne's parcel. A triple whammy of a day! For the first time in many years, Gilbert Blythe let out a very Davy-like whoop and raced to find his wife.

Within this invitation was a day by day itinerary and several suggested hotels. When he saw it he knew it to be kismet - The Cavendish Hotel.

Dr. and Mrs. Blythe stepped off the train, Anne nearly being taken away with the opposite stream of pedestrians. Gilbert shouted with surprise and moved to her - he held her close to him to let people by. Eventually they parted and meandered to find their luggage, a porter and a cab. When they departed the busy train station they were even more taken aback at the busy and reeking streets. The driver noticed their North American accents and offered to take them for a short driving tour - for a small extra charge. His passengers consented after agreeing "we're on holiday." And so they were off to see the London highlights. They drove along the River Thames, past the iconic Clock Tower, the parliament buildings, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, and lastly Buckingham Palace before continuing to their original destination. As the carriage pulled up to their hotel Anne's eyes widened.

"Gilbert...this looks to be a very nice hotel. Are you sure we're able to afford so many nights here?"

"I was able to get a reduced price when I wrote that we were attending the congress. I hardly think it's bad to splurge a bit though, Anne. I believe we will be sleeping in our fair share of sleeper berths soon."

With that Anne squealed and quickly walked into the hotel reception. The Blythes settled into their room and admired their view of the river, taking a quick break after the busyness of the day. Eventually they roused themselves to prepare for dinner. They made a quick stop at reception for a dining establishment recommendation and as per the instruction they walked the short distance to a small restaurant.

They were seated and placed their orders before Anne wished to discuss the plans for their upcoming days.

"Well, the congress will go from 8:00am until 5:00pm with an hour to lunch. I'm quite looking forward to it, Anne-girl - to be in the midst of brilliant physicians and scientists..."

"Ahh. I have first-hand experience and can tell you it's lovely," Anne cheekily commented, providing a wink for extra mirth.

Seeing as how they were seated in a private area, Gilbert leaned in for a quick kiss.

"Very funny, sweetheart, but I am serious. This is an unbelievable opportunity to network with the absolute top of the field."

"I know it is, dearest. I am so, so proud. So, have I any obligations?"

"Not really. There is to be a ball at the end but besides that it will be mostly lectures and discussions. It's being hosted at the university. Would you perhaps like to have lunch with me?"

"Gilbert, you blush! Fifteen years married now! Of course I will lunch with you." Anne paused, as understanding spread across her features. "Ah, I see. A bit of Redmond do-over?"

"It was bound to bring up memories. Why not?"

"Alright then, I'll meet you and you can tell me all about your learning. Shall I pretend to be Miss Shirley?"

"No! No, thank you! I'd much prefer Mrs. Blythe, if you please. She normally consents to more," he laughed.

Anne's laugh was her reply. They quickly attempted to morph into respectable adults as the waiter came to the table with their food. The meal of duo bangers and mash was enjoyed - their conversation turned to the children.

"I suppose that tooth must have fallen out by now."

"If Jem had anything to do with it, it was out the day after we dropped them off. I bet he made her bite into a potato."

"I do hope Marilla is handling them well. She really isn't as spry now, Gil. They should be going back to Diana's soon though, correct?"

"Yes, and she and Fred will undo whatever Rachel did," chuckled Gilbert.

Anne sighed and smiled, knowing her children were cared for. Of course they were enjoying themselves.

"I wonder what Shirley and Susan have been up to."

"Oh, he told me that there was an ice-fishing excursion planned."

"I'm glad - he'd enjoy that. I just hope that they're safe."

"If Susan allowed it it had to have been fine. She'd never let anything happen, Anne."

"I know. The children are always on adventures but Shirley is used to having the older ones looking out for him, Gilbert."

"Hmm yes. Well, they will all be together again soon. Susan was planning on taking Shirley for a visit."

By this point their plates were empty and the waiter interrupted to clear them away.

"So Gilbert, what shall we do this fine evening?"

"Care for a stroll?"

Anne nodded and stood to leave as Gilbert paid the bill. They walked out the door and opposite the direction from which they came.

"What are your plans while I'm busy?" asked Gilbert.

"Tomorrow I hope to get caught up on washing. I promised a letter to Phil and haven't started it so I suppose I shall do that. I'd really rather wait to sightsee with you though, Gil."

"Perhaps tomorrow evening we take in a play?"

Anne's eyes lit up. "Oh yes! I'll ask the hotel reception about it. Excellent idea, Dr. Blythe."

Anne and Gilbert had wandered until they'd found a small park and sat on a bench. In the quickly dimming dusk it was quite abandoned. Gilbert put it to good use and brought her tighter to him. That twinkle was there again. They kissed for a few minutes before choosing to take it back to the hotel room where they could test those walls, too.

In the morning they awoke to a low-hanging fog outside their window. Gilbert prepared himself for his first day of busy discussion as Anne soaked in the tub. The outside weather caused her to feel a bit lazy and so she was still submerged in the tub as Gilbert kissed her and departed.

"Don't stay in there too long," he joked and winked at her, "I'll see you at lunch. I've written the building name on a piece of paper - it's on the desk. I'll meet you near the front entrance."

Anne's head was tilted over the lip of the tub. "Yes dear - enjoy your day, dearest." she said lazily.

She continued to soak for ten more minutes before finally stepping out and into a towel. She dressed and eyed up the laundry. Instead she moved to write Phil Blake of her second honeymoon.

Ten minutes later a slightly flushed Anne folded the letter into an envelope and placed it on the desk. She'd mail all of the letters when they were ready to head north to Scotland.

Eventually she had to face the pile of laundry - and she did. On the way down to the laundry room a maid stopped her and offered to have it washed and dried. The cost wasn't so outrageous and so once again Anne shrugged and accepted the luxury.

Instead of the steaming fog of the laundry rooms she ventured into the chill fog of a February day in London. As she stepped out of the door a large thrill shot through her and as she walked along the London streets she allowed her imagination to run free. Perhaps they hadn't caught the real Ripper. Perhaps she was being pursued! Anne's pace quickened as she glanced over her shoulder to find nobody. Anne turned onto a busier street and felt comforted by the presence of others. She found a teahouse and here she ate a small breakfast with her mind still coming down from her imagination. The fact that she did not qualify as Ripper's preferred victim and that she was in a well-off area seemed to escape her. Continuing on her stroll she came across a market where she'd purchased supplies for a picnic. Anne wandered for another thirty minutes and made her way back. On her way up to the room she inquired at the desk about two tickets to a play that night. The attendant was happy to call around and Anne was told to stop by again after lunch and make her selection.

Anne was in their hotel room adjusting her hair into the style she wore at Redmond. She laughed at herself and thought Gilbert Blythe to be a very lucky man - he was about to get the best of both Miss Shirley and Mrs Blythe. Finally she came to the faded pink enamel heart and clasped it around her neck. Anne studied herself in the full-length mirror. Her waist had still maintained an impossibly tiny measurement considering she birthed seven children. Her skin was still pale and she didn't even have to look at her nose - Gilbert lamented enough that her seven freckles were beginning to fade - but faint lines around her eyes and smile were exchanged for them. She sighed and then, hearing Marilla's voice, Anne admonished herself for her vanity. A hat was carefully placed onto her auburn head, the small piece of paper collected from the desk, and the picnic on her arm - Anne descended to the lobby to hire a carriage.

When Anne pulled up to the building she spotted a circle of several men talking animatedly. Her husband was amongst them. The driver assisted her out of the buggy and Anne walked towards the group. Out of the corner of his eye Gilbert spotted Anne and stepped back to allow an opening in the circle.

"Oh, gentlemen, please allow me to introduce my wife, Anne Blythe," Gilbert said as he took her arm in his.

Anne smiled and politely greeted the group. Gilbert introduced each person and gave a brief description of their area in medicine before excusing themselves from the circle. Gilbert led Anne to a nearby picnic table and as they sat he admired her.

"You look beautiful, sweetheart. That hairstyle takes me right back. Are you certain I don't have to race back for a chemistry class?"

Setting out the meal, Anne giggled, "Ah no, Dr. Blythe. I believe we have one full hour. How was your morning?"

"Amazing. Anne, it really is astounding. Dr. Landsteiner is here - remember a few years ago when I told you about a discovery of various blood-types?"

Anne nodded as she bit into her sandwich.

"He made the discovery, Anne-girl. I shook his hand. Oh, and Dr. Einthoven, whom invented electrocardiography - shook his hand, too!"

"That is exciting - and on day one! I'm so glad we came, dear."

"Me, too. Although that is hardly my favourite part," Gilbert smiled.

"Oh?"

"I think you know what I mean."

"I think so, too. I have to say I am in agreement."

Gilbert wanted to continue on that topic but realized he'd left out an important piece of news.

"I nearly forgot to tell you, Anne. Dr. McRae has organized several tickets to Hamlet for tonight's show. Would you mind joining them?"

"Certainly! Oh, Hamlet - Gil! I'll just need to let the hotel reception know - the woman working was to look into it for us."

"It does sound wonderful, doesn't it? I'll let them know we will accept. The performance starts at 8:00 tonight so they were planning a nice meal before. It will be a bit of a rush."

"Not to worry, Gilbert. I can have your tuxedo ready."

"Thank you, Anne."

They chatted lightly as they ate.

"Now, are you finished with lunch?"

"Err...yes..."

Gilbert stood up and grabbed her hand, pulling her to her feet.

"Come with me. We still have half an hour."

"Where are we going?"

"I found a very private courtyard while on a quick break. I want to see if it's still private."

Anne's eyes widened as he pulled her to a jog. She stopped abruptly.

"Gil, you can't mean that you wish to make love in public?!"

He turned towards her.

"It was private, Anne-girl. I've always wanted to ever since Redmond days. Please?"

Anne's mouth hung open with the shock of this revelation.

"Since Redmond?!"

Gilbert blushed and looked sheepishly at her. "Even more so when you were with Roy. I wanted to show you why he was so wrong for you."

A dumbfounded Anne stood for a brief moment as she processed this.

Eventually she said, "Well Dr. Blythe - do show me."

Gilbert grinned and they resumed their jog to find a completely abandoned courtyard.

"Anne, I don't suppose we can take this all the way, can we?"

Anne shook her head slightly. "Not in that way, Gilbert."

Fifteen minutes later Anne straightened Gilbert's tie and smoothed back his hair. They walked back to the picnic table to clear their belongings and then back to the entrance. They joined the group of physicians forming on the lawn. After a few minutes of conversation, Gilbert hailed her a cab and politely kissed her cheek. Anne tried to hide a smirk. 'He's so proper, now!'

Anne was returned to the hotel and advised the front desk of their change of plans. In their room Anne took Gilbert's tuxedo out and inspected it. It needed pressing. She then inspected the wardrobe for her outfit. Anne knew there would be opportunities for glamorous evenings and had therefore packed her best gowns. This jaunt down memory lane brought her towards an olive-coloured green dress with black lace detailing the bodice, sleeves, and skirt. It was a new purchase for this intention and Gilbert hadn't seen it yet. She knew he would love it. Anne took up their outfits and journeyed down to the laundry room to get started on this task. She would lovingly press her husbands tuxedo. It was a far more romantic task than scrubbing it.

Later in the afternoon Anne settled into the very comfortable bed for a nap and woke just as Gilbert came in through the door. He chuckled and kissed her sweetly. Anne rose from the bed and rinsed her mouth in the washroom.

"Dr. McRae is sending a carriage to pick us up at six."

They dressed quietly as they were both focused on their task. Anne re-styled her hair into one that was more popular in the new twentieth century. Gilbert turned to her, ready to ask her if she'd needed to adjust his tie, but stopped and gasped.

"That is a stunning dress, Anne! You know how I love you in green."

"I do know it, Gilbert. I bought it especially for you."

He came to her and carefully kissed her head, careful not to ruin her hard work. "Thank you, Carrots."

When Gilbert used the word 'several' when describing the group of people seeing the play Anne had assumed perhaps two or three couples would be joining them. She was surprised to see six couples. It was evident that Dr. McRae was the planning type! They pooled into a private dining area of a popular restaurant. Polite conversation quickly turned to gay chatter and firm friends were made. The Blythes discovered three other couples also staying at their hotel. Anne was pleased - the wives were all ladies that she would not mind spending more time with. After the sumptuous meal they piled into big carriages for the drive to the theatre. The production was everything Anne imagined and she caught Gilbert's gaze several times. They were both beyond happy.

The following morning both Gilbert and Anne ventured to the lobby. Gilbert had chosen to share a ride with his colleagues and Anne met with their wives. On the ride back from the play the four ladies decided to meet up and take in the sightseeing of which their respective husbands wouldn't necessarily appreciate. They began their morning with a jovial breakfast, followed by a carriage ride to various art exhibits - breaking at 2:00 for afternoon tea. Over their tea the ladies bonded over their similar 'Mrs. Doctor' stories before returning to the hotel. Anne retired to their room to write letters to Marilla and Rachel, Davy, Dora, The Blythes, Susan - and of course her babies. Two hours later Anne's aching hand set a pen down. She left the letters upon the desk for Gilbert to add on his own lines. She moved to the washroom, freshening up for dinner. Soon after Gilbert came through the door.

"Hello, Anne. How was your day gallivanting all over London?"

"Oh just wonderful! The Royal Academy of Arts was particularly interesting. How was your second day, Dr. Blythe?"

"About the same as yours, Anne. Today we had a presentation from a Dr. Alzheimer on some recent findings on memory loss and confusion in patients. It was extremely educational. In fact, I believe I have more than one patient at home that could benefit from his findings. What would you care to do tonight?"

"I was told there was music in a pub down the street. Would you be interested?"

Gilbert's eyes widened. "You are?"

"I don't see why not. Britain is know for them, Gilbert. They're supposed to be quite fun. We don't need to have alcohol."

"Oh I'm not opposed per se - I just never pictured you at one."

"It's settled then. You take a rest and I will go ask the others, alright?"

Gilbert nodded and Anne fairly skipped out of the door.

By seven-thirty the four couples had exited the hotel and wandered to the eatery. They were seated front and center and placed their dinner orders - fish and chips all around. At 8:00 their meal was done and the waitress took drink orders. Anne and Gilbert looked at each other, shrugged, and each ordered a beer. Soon after the musicians took to the stage and patrons began to dance. The sleepy pub blossomed into a lively show and everyone present was lured into the fun. The Blythes befriended a local couple whom instructed them on dancing the jig. The beers and whiskey flowed freely. For the first time in their lives Gilbert and Anne Blythe were soundly drunk. At midnight the four couples made their way back to the hotel. Anne stumbled into the washroom to haphazardly complete her process and then pounced on her husband. His process ended faster than normal and within ten minutes they were naked and snoring.

Gilbert unwillingly came to at 6:30 the next morning - his pounding head the first thing he noticed. The next thing was his overly dry mouth. His still-beautiful wife was still sleep next to him. He gently escaped the bed covers and into the washroom where he bathed and shaved. As he dressed Anne was still sleeping so he wrote her a quick note and quietly left their room. An hour later Anne woke and also felt the after effect of their night. She crept to the washroom and then promptly back to bed, but only after noticing the note on Gilbert's pillow.

'Anne-girl,

I hope you're feeling better than I! If you're up to it, shall we picnic again?

See you soon.
Love, Gil'

Their remaining days in London were much the same, excepting the last two days. The congress was over and and Dr. and Mrs Blythe attended the farewell ball, dancing until their feet and shoulders ached. Finally they got down to the serious sightseeing. Westminster Abbey was properly toured and admired. The Tower Bridge crossed as Anne incorrectly hummed 'London Bridge Is Falling Down' which of course had been a staple nursery rhyme in her household. They witnessed the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

On their last full day Anne had wanted to get some shopping in. The attendant at the front desk suggested a market only a few underground stops away. Anne and Gilbert had not yet experimented with the new undergound system - mainly because it seemed unfathomable. Still they decided to give it a try with the attendant promising it was really quite easy. The gentleman mapped out their changes and then walking directions. An hour later a laughing couple emerged from the stairs at their final stop. They had gotten turned around twice but managed to sort it out without a major quarrel. Using the mapped route as a guide they came to Portobello Road. It was...unique. Everything and anything available to purchase. As they strolled through the market Anne had spotted a simply beautiful soup pot which Susan would adore. They thought it over, passing it only to turn back to purchase it. As the merchant packed it for shipping Anne said a small prayer in hopes it would arrive on PEI in one piece.

Portobello Road - inspiration taken from possibly the best Disney movie ever, Bedknobs and Broomsticks. So much did it inspire me that when my husband and I went to the UK six years ago I forced him to track down Portobello Road with me. I bought a teapot for my Mom. - Funny story, two months before we left for Glasgow (and then London), I was at Winners and I spotted a cute London Taxi Cab in the decor section. I bought it to spice up my rather bland office at work. Fast forward two months and I see the EXACT same piece at a booth on Portobello Road - for double the cost. I laughed and was then was promptly distracted by a shiny key-holder which says "Portobello Road." It's now where I hang my keys each and every day.

Next we move North and then I completely take over the story...which is terrifying. I have several ideas but am always interested in hearing the kinds of adventures you want to read.

Lastly, I think I am staying just under T ratings. I don't think I have the guts to write higher, honestly.