Author's note: As with many of L.M. Montgomery's books, I wanted more, please! after finishing "Rilla of Ingleside." This is a story I've started that gives you just that, but it will heat up plot-wise soon. This is just the first chapter. I desparately value comments – make a beginning author's day happy and drop me a note.
Ken took the uncertain hand she held out, and looked at her. The slim Rilla of four years ago had rounded out into symmetry. He had left a school girl, and he found a woman – a woman with wonderful eyes and a dented lip, and rose-bloom cheek – a woman altogether beautiful and desirable – the woman of his dreams.
"Is it Rilla-my-Rilla?" he asked, meaningly.
Emotion shook Rilla from head to foot. Joy – happiness – sorrow – fear – every passion that had wrung her heart in those four long years seemed to surge up in her soul for a moment as the deeps of being were stirred. She tried to speak; at first voice would not come. Then –
"Yeth," said Rilla.
She could not feel the beat of her own heart for the sound of his. Her tears, slipping from shining eyes, mingled with his as he lowered his lips to hers and kissed her with a sweetness and delight that she had dreamed about those four years. For a minute in time – or was it longer – words would not come, but that was no matter; they had no need to say anything just then. She was content to rest in the security of his arms around her waist and meet his eyes with a glance that spoke more than words.
When finally Rilla recovered her ability to articulate, she murmured, "Why didn't you write to me? At least that you were coming home. You can't know how long I've waited for this."
"Rilla!" By this point she had attempted to draw him inside the doorstep, but he confounded her efforts by once again taking her in his embrace. "How could you know of waiting? Those nights on the front, when all I could see was the line in front of me, all I could hear was the enemy shells, I would see your face and wonder if somehow it could be a heavenly light for me…like Beatrice through the Inferno. That's what I was reminded of over and over. I dreamt of coming home to you…but I'm ashamed that I had more fear of what I'd find there than I did on the battlefield."
"What do you mean?" she asked softly, unable to resist touching a stray lock of his hair.
"I was afraid…oh, of anything that could have happened. That you had gotten married, or left Glen St. Mary, or gone to the front as a nurse. And I found when I actually was on my way back…that my courage failed me. You have no idea how much I wanted to write to you."
He took her hand and kissed it, and she closed her eyes, wishing she could capture this moment and bottle it up. The riotous cascade of emotions showering down on her rendered her speechless again, but Ken had no complaints as he asked her the pivotal question and was rewarded with a deeply expressive gaze and smile sprinkled with tears.
Short and sweet. But never fear, there will be more!