As the train left the station, for as long as he could see her with his head craned around to look back, Gilbert kept his eyes fastened on Anne's beautiful face. Even as it faded into the distance, her expression, starry of eye and bright of smile, stayed with him. She was his now, he exulted, leaning his head back against the cushions of the train seat. His for good and all, fairly won. And it had been a long contest—from that ignominious and much-regretted moment when he had called her "Carrots" to the last exalted kiss to send him off on his way back to Kingsport. He had fought for every inch of ground, and he had lost and fallen back and waited to come forth anew into the fray. But at last the war was won. A few more years of patient waiting and there would never be another parting between them, never another moment when she wasn't his and he wasn't hers. They had been destined for each other, he and she. Many times he had despaired of ever convincing Anne of that … but then would come a puzzled glance from those grey eyes, a glance that said for a moment she saw what could be, and that would hearten him for the fight anew.

Those Redmond years … God, what torture those had been, when they should have been the best years of their lives! They should have held hands in the cemetery and studied together in Patty's Place and dreamed their dreams of the future they were working toward. Instead, Anne's starry-eyed dreams of something bigger than reality had tricked her into believing love was something else, something other than the man who had waited for her since they were eleven years old, something other than a future at his side as partner and friend and spouse. He had lost hope, then, for a good long time, had searched within himself for something else to work toward, and had found it in his calling. If he couldn't have Anne, he would have a fulfilling life helping people. He had thrown himself into that idea, into being the best that he could. Fate had put Christine Stuart into his path, which had made things easier—he could squire Christine to events and keep anyone from thinking he was available, as much to avoid Anne's pity as to preserve himself from the advances of other girls. Christine was a good sort, an entertaining companion, but he had never felt any particular sorrow that she was involved with someone else.

Watching Anne with Roy Gardiner, on the other hand, had been a particular torment. Oh, the impotent fury of knowing she had found exactly the tall, dark, mysterious man of her dreams! Knowing that Gardiner was dull to the tips of his fingers, no match for Anne's quick wit, made Gilbert gnash his teeth in private, for all that he preserved an uninterested mask in public.

But that was over now, he reminded himself, unclenching his fingers from the arm of the train seat. Gardiner was nowhere. He, Gilbert Blythe, had remained true of heart and won the hand of the fair lady, as had always been meant to be. And not much longer now before they found themselves at the hearth of Anne's "home o' dreams". Anne had already described that home in a thousand different ways, and Gilbert imagined she would come up with several thousand more before it became a reality. But what shape that home took didn't matter much to Gilbert. As long as Anne was in it, it would truly be the home of his dreams, all of them come true.

Thank you all for your enthusiastic response to this story!