A/N: I did this story a while back, and decided to post in on It's a sort of AU, since Walter Blythe didn't die in the war. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of L.M. Montgomery's characters.
You'll Never Walk Alone
I came by to Prince Edward Island early in the year 1955 to look up my son, who had recently moved there with his wife, and in doing so I remembered an old business pal of mine. We worked in a newspaper company before, the two of us, and went our separate ways some 32 years ago. I had since heard little of him; only of his marriage, and a few poems that he had published. His most famous one was the poem he wrote during the Great War...what was the name now? 'The Flute' or 'The Trumpet'...anyway, something to do with instruments.
I remembered Walter Blythe as he had been then in 1923; a slim, dark-haired, intense young man who had come through the Great War unscathed and bearing a D.C. He had always seemed a bit strange to me; not one of those creatures that belonged to the earth. If I hadn't had such sense, I'd have called him an immortal. But then, of course, there were always some things to prove that he was human. For example, he loved his food and no immortal should do that. They should be above the enjoyments of food. Walter Blythe surely wasn't.
Yet he never seemed to grow fat. On the train to Glen St. Mary, a small fishing village where he lived, I looked critically at my big belly and decided that the years had not been kind to me. But certainly Walter Blythe had remained slim. Immortals don't grow fat.
He had a turn for poetry, too, and I have to admit that he did have a certain flair for it. Not very impressed was I, though. Granted, immortals were supposed to play around with poetry now and then, but Walter Blythe had a certain craze for it.
Still, despite all these shortcomings, I had liked him very much and wrote him before coming to PEI. As the train drew up at the station I looked out of the window and saw a tall, distinguished-looking, gray-haired man waiting there. I had not a doubt that it was Walter – those eyes were enough as solid evidence.
We greeted each other very warmly, without much surprise on either side at our appearances. I wasn't surprised, but I deduced that Walter had to be – a fat balding old man had emerged from the young good-looking Partridge Simmons of years gone by. As I thought of that I gritted my teeth. What a name – I should've gotten it changed ages ago.
"Well, Part," said Walter. "I hear that you've done wonderfully for yourself."
"Not so much as a rich uncle dying and leaving me money," said I. "What about yourself, Walt? You've always been the most hardworking of all of us."
Walter shrugged. A good-looking man he was; could've beaten most of the young men we passed by on our way to a café. "I've been making a bit of money from the poems, of course; and my daughter runs her shop efficiently."
I was surprised. Maybe it wasn't that astonishing, but to think of Walter Blythe having a daughter...! "You have a daughter?" I exclaimed.
Walter cracked a grin. "I did get married, you know."
I looked around as though expecting either a wife or a daughter to pop out at me, but I saw none. "What's her name, then?"
"Pretty name. Faith Blythe. It would get her far, all right. She runs a shop?"
Walter nodded. "She just turned twenty eight and is very independent. She does a clothes shop – personally, I'm not too keen on the designs that she hands out, but obviously the women do, for she's making a mint out of it."
"Not married?" I inquired. It was evident from the way Walter's eyes shone that he loved talking about his daughter.
"She's engaged. There were plenty of young men going after her when the war ended – she didn't look too kindly upon them. I'm afraid she didn't hanker very much to be tied down. But recently she made up her mind to be married and just picked the one she liked best. A Laurence Carter – good young man, very interesting to talk to."
I wondered very much why he didn't mention his wife, but refrained from asking. Walter, I recall, never liked being questioned even if he didn't mind the questions. It was just the questioning he couldn't take. I'm not making much sense.
Maybe it was prearranged. Or maybe it was just Walter's influence – immortal strike! For at that moment a tall, poised young woman came by and dropped a kiss on Walter's cheek. "Hello, Daddy. I didn't expect to see you here; I thought you had gone over to visit Grandma for the day." She cast an interested look at me and I returned that look with as much interest.
A beautiful woman, I decided. Nay; more than beautiful. That shinning, resplendent sheen of golden-brown hair that she had let down over her shoulders, those large, well-shaped dark eyes, the perfect complexion, the majestic aura about her – I could honestly say that I had never seen a lovelier woman.
"My friend, Mr. Partridge Simmons," Walter introduced. "Part, this is my daughter Faith."
Faith Blythe held out a hand for me to shake and I did so accordingly. A very pretty hand it was, white and with enough dimples in the knuckles. "Good afternoon," she said. "I just came by from Vancouver yesterday; I'm glad to have met you."
"You won't be staying here long?" I asked.
"No." She pushed her hair behind her ears. "I dropped in just to see how Daddy was doing, and pay my respects to my mother."
Pay her respects. I realised, with a sudden shock, that Walter's wife was dead. Good thing I hadn't asked him about her. But then, from the calm, casual manner that Faith spoke of her late mother, I inferred that both had gotten over the death sufficiently.
"In fact, I'll be headed to the graveyard in a short while," Walter told his daughter. "We can always go together." He hesitated and looked at me.
"I'd like to come along," I said immediately. A nosy old man I was.