"When did it begin, or when did I know?"
"Either," said Gilbert. "Or both."
His head was resting on Anne's lap, his hazel eyes skyward. There wasn't much sky to see, the trees were in full leaf. Dressed in their finest greenery and whispering to the warm summer wind, as the man and the woman nestled in their roots and whispered to each other.
Anne patted her fingers against her chin. There was a ring upon one now. An oval amethyst on a barley-twist gold band.
"When did I know?" she said playfully.
His hands went to her ribs and she laughed.
"All right, all right. I believe it was… hmmm, let me think… the day you took the Cooper!"
Gilbert shot up from her lap, in the next moment he dove into Barry's pond. Not long after he threw his sodden shirt at her; Anne dodging it easily, of course.
She was dressed far more sensibly in the very latest attire. A fine wool navy swim suit, trimmed at the sleeve and skirt with white. She was winding her long braid around her head when Gilbert swam over. A jet of cool water spouted from his lips and his shoulders were tanned and slick.
He held up arms up to catch her, Anne jumped right in. After some splashing and playing about they waded back to the shallow part and lay against the grassy bank. A couple of books and a basket of food lay near them and he reached up and grabbed a piece of bread. There was no lard this time, but fresh yellow butter that made his lips all shiny.
He couldn't know why, or even think to ask, when Anne ripped the crust from his mouth and pressed her lips hard against his. He rolled on his back, her braid fell loose, and the drips of fresh water splashed on his bare smooth skin.
If there was such a thing as falling up, it was happening to Gilbert now. Gazing into Anne's eyes was like catching a glimpse of heaven. His heart was beating like it was about to burst through his chest and wanted to fly too.
Anne kissed him again, very softly, very slow. A voluptuous heat flooding all through her, as she gave into sweetest recollection.
An ordinary morning, bells ringing for chapel, a long line of girls. The sound of footsteps, a tie flying out, those same steps skidding to a halt.
There had been no selfless gesture that day, though to be fair Gilbert Blythe had done his share of those. And there was no sign of hard work–in fact he had been finding a way to make a difficult task easier. Modest? Oh no, he had been far too cocky and sure of himself by half. In fact, he hadn't performed any act to merit, except to be his own true self.
It wasn't a hole he filled, nor something that had once been part of her that she wanted back. He was a reminder for her to stay true. A man might be pushed away, but the truth would never let her go. And now, Anne held onto it fiercely.
That anticipatory breath she had been holding came out with a moan, as she gave into the impulse she felt that day to take what she craved from him now. To feel this man respond to her, his warm lips and sure hands–oh it was too much too take. She was overflowing, pouring out all over him knowing he would be there to hold her, too.
"Let me tell you a story, Gilbert. You see, it began like this…"
Thank you all so much for reading, I know I've said it before but I had so much fun writing this. It began as a short story about a ice boat crossing and then turned into something else completely. I don't write to a plan, I just write and see where it takes me. I had no idea that the mittens at the beginning of this story would play an important part near the end, nor that the enamel heart would turn into a pearl. It just happened.
I am sure many of you would have liked more about their courtship and I agree there is an intriguing story there. But my mind wasn't on that when I was writing. I was thinking that Gilbert still had to get that Cooper which meant their courtship would have a lot less scope for the imagination. The reward is the long lazy summer they get to share together. And I hope I have given you a flavour of that here.
Big love to FKAJ for continually holding my hand, and kudos to Regina56 who sent me a PM that pretty much guessed the end of this tale. Huge thanks also to my gorgeous new readers and my darling old readers from way back when. It never fails to thrill me when I manage to write something to bring you back again.
Well, I guess it's back to the blank page for me (or at least the blank screen) to see what else I can come up with. Love you lots, and thank you again, you really are the best!