For those of you who wanted just a little bit more…

Privately Marilla had mixed feelings when Anne returned to home that terrible night. Concern for Anne's wellbeing of course, but in her heart of hearts she was relieved. Handing over her girl's care to Gilbert, as honourable a young man as he might be, was somewhat of a wrench. While Anne was obviously in distress secretly Marilla was relieved to be needed still.

She had watched bemused when Rachel's flock had gotten married and moved away but had never fully appreciated how difficult it was to relinquish one's children. That she had mothered Anne for so few years made it, in her mind at least, all the more difficult rather than less. Rachel might scoff that it wasn't the same as Anne was only adopted. But Marilla said to herself, what difference does that make? When I fell in love, I forgot how scant a time we had together. She may not be kin, but I love her just as much as if she were my own flesh and blood, the matter of her arrival is immaterial.

Lying with Anne cradled in her arms, showering as much, if not more affection upon her girl as she ever had Marilla understood from the depths of her heart how much she wanted, nay needed Anne. And though it were in difficult circumstances she relished the short, unexpected extra time they had together.

However, later when Anne started talking again Marilla appreciated that her actions were selfish. That Anne needed to move on. She had married the right man, and this was their time. Anne's simple note scared Marilla to her toes. Her silent conversation with Matthew only half assuaged her. Not only was she worried that Anne was still not well enough to travel but well, she hardly dared voice her concern even to herself but secretly she was petrified that Anne might do herself a mischief.

As Marilla always did when she was particularly worried, she took herself to the house to clean. Better to get lost in the simple and exhausting job of scrubbing the kitchen floor interspersed with baking than to think on where Anne had fetched up. That night's storm did not help for as she lay in her bed she worried about Anne's whereabouts. What if she had decided to leave the island? Her ferry could be foundering right now for all Marilla knew. Eventually sleep overtook an exhausted Marilla as it did Anne when her own storm abated.

In their dishevelled bordello Anne glanced over at her sleeping husband marvelling at her night, our night she corrected herself. For she knew she had never been as close to any one person in her entire life. They had joined by more than thoughts or beliefs or actions but by a higher force than all these and one for which for once she had no name. Kindred came close perhaps but while Diana was kindred, Gilbert was yet a higher magnitude. Lying next to Gilbert his chest pressed into her back, his arm resting easily across her flank Anne dreamily thought he's strong he's gentle he's passionate he's sweet he's mine and I'm his.

She looked at him fondly turning the word husband around in her mind, deciding that she rather liked it. And where she had feared him earlier, she found there was no need. Instead, he had cared for her so implicitly the night before. She felt down to the juncture between her legs where it tingled so and smiled dreamily. The knowledge that they could repeat the actions of that night for ever and ever was more delicious a notion than she had ever had.

She glanced back at Gilbert and saw his brown eyes looking up at her sleepily, "s'up?" he murmured.

"Nothing, my love. Go back to sleep," Anne replied. "You need to rest. We have a big day ahead."

Gilbert got up on one elbow at her words and leant over to kiss her. "Why, do we have plans?"

"Well, the ferry will be departing soon I suppose, and we have to pack."

"Or" Gilbert paused in his kissing progress, "we could just stay here." He trailed his fingernails over her inner thighs.

With a shuddering sigh Anne lay back and let him work his magic.

Knocking at their door did not disturb them, nor did the sounds of their neighbours chattering in the hallway. Anne barely noticed when silence descended upon the hotel, but she did when Gilbert hopped out of bed, stark naked to double lock the door. "Don't want to be disturbed," he said when he jumped back into bed. Anne giggled for a moment until her mouth was again covered by his.

Eventually, eventually even these two had to come up for air. "Hungry?" Gilbert asked.

A distinct gurgle put the lie to Anne's, "not really." Gilbert smiled, "well, I for one am ravenous. We can have it here or go down to the dining room, which would you prefer?"

"We can have it in here?" Anne said excitedly clapping her hands together. "Oh, that does sound nice."

"I'll have to leave you for a moment and go order it. Any requests?"

Anne trusted him to find something delicious and lay back luxuriating on her pillows. She dozed off and was half asleep when Gilbert returned. Hair splayed out across the pillow she reminded him of a mermaid, and he crept into the bed to wait for their victuals, having given the staff strict instructions to leave it on the floor outside the door. He had nearly fallen asleep himself when he heard a faint knock. Taking a moment to wrap a blanket around his midriff he picked up the tray and withdrew back into their room. "Marilla wouldn't approve," commented Anne as she pulled the blankets up.

"Well as you may have noticed, wife o'mine she is not here to complain," Gilbert replied with a wink.

The meal was delicious, Gilbert had chosen well, and they ate to their heart's content. Gilbert offering tasty morsels for Anne to nibble off his fork. If crumbs went everywhere and the odd slip of jam smeared the sheets no one minded. Gilbert took great care to clean Anne up afterwards using his tongue in places Anne had not realised were messy, but she thoroughly enjoyed his methods regardless.

"I just can't believe," she said over his ministrations, "that I took so long to get to this. All that time I wasted."

"Shh," Gilbert said. "Don't let's waste time on recriminations, let's just enjoy ourselves."

"I should send word to Marilla, she'll be worried," Anne said as the light faded from the room.

"Tomorrow, my love. It can wait."

There was something deliciously decadent about staying in bed love making all day. Had Anne known how wonderful it could be she would never have run away. She said as much when they found themselves lucid enough to talk during that night.

"I know, Anne-girl. But I figured you had some thoughts to process."

Tears came to Anne's eyes. "I did and of course as she always has been, Marilla was there for me. And Matthew. Now I'll always have you too, of course but at that moment I had no words." Gilbert made as if to reply, but she stopped him with a forefinger to his lips. "It's not as though you did anything, Gilbert but I just had to get away. I'm sorry for that."

"No need my beautiful dryad. No need to apologise. You're here now and that's all that matters."

Their homecoming made a marked contrast to their leave taking. Rather than skulking out in the dead of night the young couple hired a carriage and drove home arriving at Green Gables mid-afternoon. Marilla looked up at their arrival with wonder in her eyes and noticed the marked difference in Anne's demeanour when they hugged for Anne was positively fizzing with excitement.

Marilla pressed Anne back down when she got up to help, saying, "it's fine let me. I have a few things in the pantry." Then Anne watched her mother bustle about fetching things and putting them back, knocking over glasses and generally not achieving very much. Eventually Anne decided she had better take charge, she said laughing, "no, I think I had better do it, don't you? You sit down darling Marilla and let me take care of it, just this time." Marilla hearing the sense of Anne's words sat down with a bit of a huff and watched annoyed to have someone else taking command of her kitchen. "Sorry, you've put me in a bit of a muddle."

Anne smiled fondly, "I've always had a bit of a knack for that." Gilbert roared with laughter. Marilla smiled shyly initially and then joined in laughing with gusto. Wiping the tears from her eyes with a corner of her apron she giggled and agreed saying, "well I can't argue with that." She picked up her cup and took a refreshing mouthful of coffee and sighed getting her breath back. "Must say, it's nice to see you two looking so happy."

"We are. I can honestly say, we are," Anne replied, patting Gilbert's hand.

"Did you get up to anything over in Charlottetown?" Matthew asked innocently.

"Yes, you were there for long enough," added Marilla.

The young couple blushed and stammered a bit, tumbling over their words having not arranged a suitable backstory. Matthew felt inclined to escape to the barn, but he bravely stayed put. Marilla blushed unable to admit that such a thing was possible. There was an uncomfortable pause as everyone took stock. And then to their collective relief there came a knock at the door. Matthew practically knocked his chair over in his rush to answer it and they listened to his slightly hysterical cries of welcome to Bash and young Dellie.

Anne had not been home since her wedding night, but Gilbert declared that did not count so he carried her over the threshold once again. Someone had been over while they were gone to tidy the place up and provision the pantry. A neat stack of wood sat by the door, so Gilbert set the fire while Anne inspected their bedroom. "Gilbert!" she called down the stairwell. I think we had better christen this bed properly, don't you?" Gilbert took the stairs two at a time, keen to make up for lost time. "Don't you go undoing your dress yourself, Anne-girl," he panted. "That's my job." Anne smiled and looked over her shoulder at him saying, "Hurry up. I need you now."

Afterwards Gilbert told her, "you said before that you felt inadequate to the job of being a doctor's wife, but think how I feel about being the doctor; so much responsibility. Will you help me?"

"And they're happy?" Rachel enquired. "Everything sorted now?"

"Yes, I honestly don't think I've ever seen Anne so ecstatic."

"And that's saying something," Rachel replied with a wink.

"Indeed. Now Rachel, you might be able to shed light on a bit of a mystery."

"Oh," Rachel settled in her chair, she loved being asked for advice.

"They were gone for a few days but apparently hardly saw the town. I mean I know they've been to Charlottetown often enough, but you'd think they'd go out once or twice. But as far as Matthew and I can tell they stayed in their hotel room the entire time. Just seems odd."

Rachel sipped her coffee and thought back to her own honeymoon. She and Thomas had not seen much beyond their bedroom walls that week either and while she smiled seductively in memory, she also felt rather sorry for Marilla who had never experienced such goings on. She sniffed trying to think how to word it. "Thing is Marilla it is quite good fun."

"I'll have you know I didn't bring up Anne to lie in bed all day. So lazy."

"No dear, it's not that they were sleeping all day." Rachel frowned. "You do realise we don't make um, make love just for procreation's sake. Anne and Gilbert were kept apart by proprietary for many years and finally they were given permission to get to know each other."

"Fiddlesticks! They knew each other incredibly well, better than most couples after all that time, I'd wager."

Getting frustrated now Rachel huffed, would Marilla not listen?

"That's not the sort of getting to know each other I'm talking about. I mean knowing each other like husband and wife. Kissing is all very well when that's all that's allowed but there's more to laying together than mechanics." Marilla blushed and looked at her lap unable to meet Rachel's eye. "There, there dear. I understand how this must upset you. It pains me to know that you've never experienced it. I expect you don't want me to go into details, but Anne and Gilbert were working rather hard in their hotel room and needed to sleep off their exertions between times. Personally, I'm not the slightest bit surprised they didn't do much else."

Marilla could feel her cheeks burning with embarrassment, not just from the thought of Anne doing such things but also because her ignorance was on display. She had not thought one could spend all day doing that. She thought it was the sort of thing one did once under sufferance at best and the thought that Anne might enjoy it had never crossed her mind. She was quiet for the rest of her visit and made her excuses as soon as was polite.

Matthew enquired as to her health that evening over dinner when she seemed subdued, but she found herself unable to share her knowledge with even him. She dreaded seeing Anne again, knowing what she did.

Anne turned up the day after as she often did, but this time left Gilbert at home. "Everything's wonderful," she said gaily. "He's just sorting out some things for his practice. He'll have to start work soon." Marilla made a noncommittal sound as she put out the tea things. "What's the matter? Aren't you happy that we'll be in town? Imagine how much better it will be having a doctor in Avonlea, someone to treat our wounds and diseases, to deliver our babies and sit with us when we pass."

"Yes, it will be wonderful," Marilla muttered, still unable to move past Rachel's words.

"Then what's the matter? I thought you were happy for us." Marilla made more of an effort, smiling brightly as she sat down. "What's wrong, Marilla darling. Tell me. There's nothing the matter with you or Matthew is there? That would be tragical after all we've gone through."

"No, Anne we are both well and so happy, happy for you," Marilla stumbled over her words unable to keep up the pretence.

Anne got to her feet and made her way over to her mother's side, "tell me."

Marilla opened her mouth as if to reply but found herself without the words to do so. Shaking her head, she pulled back her chair and with a backward nod at Anne went to find Matthew.

"It's just I always feel so unprepared when they talk about intimate relations, Matthew. I've never and you've never and I don't feel the lack but they think we've missed out and oh I don't know." She leant into her brother's chest and sobbed angrily as he rubbed her back.

"We've managed a'right, haven't we Mar? Hasn't stopped us leading productive lives. Still, I'm happy for Anne. She's not like us; her needs are more intimate. We're independent you and me. Not to say we're incapable of love, but well…" Matthew trailed off.

"Exactly," Marilla replied, their mutual communication coming into play once more.

"Where's Anne now?" Matthew asked.

"I left her in the kitchen. No doubt quite confused I expect."

"Want me to go talk to her?"

"No, I should go, but Matthew..."


"Thank you." He smiled and watched her go before turning to finish the chore she'd interrupted.

"Sorry about that," Marilla said as she walked back into the kitchen. Now on her second pot of tea Anne was sitting right where she'd left her.

"Everything all right."

"Mm hm. Tell me what you've been up to. How's Gilbert?"

Something was up, that much was obvious, but Anne understood Marilla well enough not to pry. If she wanted, Marilla would divulge it at some stage. Meanwhile Anne was just so relieved to have sorted out her marital issues. Gilbert's admission that he needed her by his side as he tended to their community brought her so much strength, if not confidence at this early stage. They'd muddle through life together and that was enough.