Neither of them wanted to eat. Which was a good thing, since neither of them wanted to cook either.

Instead, they sat at opposite ends of the couch, wrapped in separate blankets. A cold wind whipped up around the farm. Anne had put the animals away and closed up while Gil had called his parents. She had left when Gilbert started begging his mum not to cry. "Yes, mum. I am taking the virus seriously. For crying out loud, I want to go to medical school, remember? I've been studying this along with everything else. I know exactly how serious it can be. I also know there is a fair chance I could be only lightly hit. I'm healthy enough to have a good chance of that. So, please. Please! Stop crying! I'm not dead yet!"

Anne knew Gilbert was right. There hadn't been any deaths on the Island from COVID-19 yet. Even her own sweet Matthew was fighting in the hospital, but he was definitely alive. Yet, Anne was still terrified in her bones.

When she returned inside, Gilbert could easily see the tracks of tears down her cheeks. He did not say a word as Anne silently walked into the kitchen and put the kettle on. They both sat there in silence without eye contact, listening to the kettle boil. Gilbert was the first to stand to make the pot of tea but it was Anne who was fastest to the pantry, fairly running across the room.

"I'll take care of the tea. You just… just sit down and rest, or whatever."

"Anne, I'm fine. I feel fine. Maybe a little headache but considering the stress of the last few days, that would be expected. You don't have to treat me as fragile."

But Anne had been adamant to make the tea. And she had offered to make dinner. But Gilbert wasn't hungry. Neither was Anne.

So they ended up on the couch, watching The Witcher, and ignoring everything else.

"I know you really don't want to cook. But if you are hungry, we could call an Uber?"

Anne's head shot up at the sound of Gil's voice. She had a panicked look in her eyes, and then Gilbert remembered that night.

Shuffling along the couch, Gilbert reached for Anne's hand and then stopped. Even though she had been exposed to him, there is still a chance she was not sick with COVID-19, so Doc had recommended at least attempting some isolation.

"Okay. No Uber. I didn't realise you were still upset about…"

Anne sat up on the couch. "Gil, I really don't want to talk about it. We've had enough emotional venting today. Just… no Uber, okay?"

Gilbert nodded. "Sure."

There was silence again, except for the sound from the TV.

This time, Anne broke first. "This isn't… I mean, you didn't catch this from him, did you?"

"If you are asking that question, then we are talking about that night?"

Anne paused in thought and then muted the television. "Fine. What do you want to know?"

That was easier than I thought. Gilbert had been prepared to drop the topic for a few days but clearly something was weighing on Anne's mind. Gilbert knew this was going to be another volatile conversation but considering how beneficial the last one was, maybe this could help?

"Okay. To start off, what the hell was going on with you and Roy?"

Anne took a deep breath. "So, you knew Roy and I had been dating for a while. I mean, a long while. That night, he wanted to go out for dinner. But the news of COVID was starting to become more serious and I really didn't want to go anywhere. So we ordered UberEats and watched some TV at Pattys…"

Anne could still remember the expectation that cloaked Roy's whole person when he had arrived. Even with 12-months of dating, it was the first time she had invited him over to her place, and not something she had ever done with anyone else (except Gil, but that was different...wasn't it?). Sharing a townhouse with three friends gave little in the way of privacy and intimacy. Sure, they had played around a bit but they had never had actual sexual intercourse. Anne had never felt really comfortable going that far. Well, at the time she wasn't sure. Present-Anne could look back and see she really wasn't interested like that. He was a little … self-absorbed.

Anne snapped back to the present. "You as the Uber-boy was a bit of a surprise. It caught Roy off-guard."

Gilbert snorted. "You think? The douchebag started yelling at me about my mask. Which, by the way, I had sewn myself. By hand. Because mum kept her sewing machine here at home."

The idea of Gilbert sewing by hand made Anne smile. "Yeah. That mask. Roy was not convinced on the severity of the virus yet."

"No, Anne. Roy was the kind of dick who didn't like someone else being in control." Gilbert realised he was being too harsh as he saw Anne's shoulders slump with realisation.

"Yeah, I know that. I'm sorry, Gil. He was so paranoid about you being there. Between the mask and him thinking you were there because of me."

For Gilbert, he had been just as surprised to see the UberEat order come through. But he needed the money. He only hoped the order was for one of the other girls. He had not been that lucky.

It was hard enough seeing Anne after she had run away from him so many months earlier. It was hard enough to see her with Roy, especially with Netflix blaring in the background. It was even worse when Roy started yelling at him. All Gilbert wanted to do was hand over the food and get out of there.

But then Roy had grabbed his mask.

And spat in Gilbert's face.

"There! Now piss off to your little isolation chamber, you fuckin' stalker! Catch my cooties! And while you're hiding out, banging off on your own, just remember I'm now all set-up to do my little self-iso with the lovely Anne here. Best way to pass the next 14-days, wouldn't you say?"

Gilbert had been too stunned to react. Roy had simply walked back to the couch and started eating the food, laughing at Gilbert's stunned face.

It was Anne who had come over and said, "Gilbert. You have to leave now."

"No, Anne. Look, I'm sorry for whatever it is I did but I can't … I can't leave. I can't leave you here with … with him!"

Anne had rested a hand on his arm and merely smiled a sad little smile; one that did not reach her big grey eyes. "Gilbert, you have to leave now. Being here is only making it worse. Go. Get tested. I'll sort this out."

Gilbert had known she was right. Even now, weeks later, he still wished he had stayed. But at the time, he could not think of a reasonable excuse to do so without ending up in a fist-fight with Roy. So, he left.

"Anne, what happened after I left?"

With a big sigh, Anne turned back and stared at the ceiling. "Roy left not long after you did." Anne side-glanced at Gilbert and caught his look of complete disbelief. "No, really. He did. I asked if he had been tested and he said no. 'Why should I?' were his exact words. So I kicked him out. He yelled at me. I threw the food out the front door and told him to fetch. He yelled again. Mr Thompson from next door came out to see what was going on. Roy grabbed me and tried to shove his tongue down my throat. So I pushed him down the front stairs. I then told him we were over and if he ever approached me again, I would put a restraining order on him. In fact, the girls arrived at home as I yelled, 'I do not want to be in lockdown with you or anyone like you.' I then grabbed gloves and disinfectant, cleaned the whole lounge room and kitchen, and then locked myself in my room for 2-weeks. Spent a large chunk of it crying and stressed. Had to delay coming home to Avonlea. Still pissed at Roy because it looks like I only JUST made it in time for Matthew." Anne had to stop there, her voice breaking with emotion. She had been thinking about this part a lot. What if she had missed seeing Matthew before he ended up in hospital?

Gilbert had to resist the urge to hold Anne. He could see how upsetting this was for her. It had been rough for him too but nothing like what Anne was sharing now. "Phil told me you were in iso."

Anne nodded and sniffed. "Yeah, the girls took care of me, bringing me food and all. The teaching staff were really understanding, letting me do my classes on Zoom. Lucky I had the ensuite too. Even when I finally was tested on Day 7, I was so scared of a false negative and exposing Marilla and Matthew. I stayed in iso the full 14-days and prayed it was enough."

"Hey, that was smart. And thoughtful. I should have done the same." Gilbert had been in isolation for 7-days. As soon as his test-result came back negative, he was back at work. He had called Phil to check on Anne, worried out of his mind for her safety.

Anne must have heard his thoughts. "I tried to call you, Gil. When I first heard Roy was sick, I tried to call you to see if…"

"I don't remember the call. Did you leave a message?"

Anne whispered something inaudible. "Sorry, Anne. What did you say?"

With a heaving sigh, Anne repeated herself a bit louder. "I said, Christine answered and I didn't leave a message. I thought if she was there, then you must be okay and out of iso." Anne turned to stare intensely at the television screen. Ironically enough, The Witcher stared back at her and gave his characteristic yet disapproving, "Hmmmmmm". Even the television thought she was a coward.

Gilbert didn't feel much better. "Oh. Christine. Yeah, she came and visited. To check on me in iso. I'm sorry I missed your call."

"It's nothing. I'm just glad you were okay. I'm curious to know where you picked it from, if not Roy. Crap, do you need to call around and let people know?"

Gilbert sat up a bit. "Doc is calling me tomorrow and we're going to do some contact tracing. There's a taskforce set up for this but Doc reckons we can do most of it ourselves since I was studying for most of it. I'm just sorry I exposed you."

"I'm fine. We'll just wait and see. But, uh, let's not tell Marilla yet, okay?" Gilbert nodded in agreement with Anne.

They returned to their silent television watching.



"Did you really kick him out?"


"I wish I had stuck around to see that."

Anne smiled, a little sadness creeping into her eyes. "Me too, Gil."

Tucked away under her cushion, Anne's phone still showed a news article she had been reading earlier. "Social workers concerned lockdowns could bring rise in domestic violence." Anne had recognised the signs early; she was one of the lucky ones. As soon as Roy had shown his complete disrespect for the virus and other people, Anne had known she could not put herself in danger like that. She had seen enough abuse in her childhood. Never again.

As she pushed those memories back into the deepest recesses of her brain, Anne subconsciously snuggled in next to Gilbert. Even with two layers of Mrs Lynde's blankets between them, Anne could feel Gilbert's presence. In the same way Anne felt safe with Gilbert, Gilbert felt safe in Anne's honesty. She would never try to manipulate him. He could relax.

Before the next episode started, both Gilbert and Anne were peacefully asleep.