Summary: The death of her first baby still all-too fresh in her
memory, Anne struggles with fear when she discovers she is
pregnant with a second child. How can she bring herself to tell
Gilbert, when she might lose this baby as well, and once again
dash their hope of children to pieces?

Author's Notes: There is sexual content in this story, hence
the R rating, but I promise none of it is vulgar or tasteless.
It is merely the love shared between husband and wife and an
important part of this story. I truly hope it will be taken
as such by the readers and that no offense will result. Know
that I hold the highest respect for LM Montgomery's characters.

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters within this story.
No infringement intended.

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The Face of Fear
----------------

Gilbert watched Anne prepare for bed with a peculiar smile on
his face. Her pale hands moved a brush through her soft hair
mechanically, and she seemed to be caught up in one of her
daydreams. She stared vacantly through the mirror, seeing
nothing before her except her own thoughts as she absently
began braiding her hair.

"Why don't you leave it down tonight?" Gilbert suggested, for
he liked to feel its softness between his fingers as he slept.

"Hmmm?" came the absent reply. Anne focused her eyes and
turned towards her husband, still braiding her hair.

Gilbert chuckled lightly, ever in awe of her ability to
completely lose herself in her daydreams. "Where were you
just now, Anne-girl? In Spain with a handsome prince, seeking
out kindred spirits amongst the royalty, drowning in diamonds
all the while?"

"Oh, don't be ridiculous." She smiled teasingly, turning
back towards the mirror. "It was sapphires and emeralds that
I was fancying myself drowning in. You know I dislike diamonds."

The young doctor smiled at his wife. It was good to see her
in pleasant spirits. She had not smiled without strain in
weeks. Approaching her from behind, he stilled the movements
of her hands with a light touch and began unraveling her braids,
intent on running his fingers through her hair that night. She
watched him in the mirror, an unreadable expression taking form
on her features, neither happy nor sad. Gilbert's smile faded
quickly when he saw it.

She'd worn the expression for months now, the young Doctor
Blythe had noticed, and he openly admitted to close friends
his worry for his wife, despite the cheerful facade she would
sometimes offer him. Gilbert had asked her with frankness if
she was unhappy, and surprised, she had exclaimed, "Of course
I'm happy!" But the expression still stubbornly clung to her
face. Little by little, Gilbert had come to realize the true
meaning behind her peculiar behavior.

He first began to suspect that she was pregnant the morning he
had come home at dawn from a late call, exhausted and ready to
crawl under the covers. He watched as Anne, pale and trembling,
recovered from what appeared to be morning sickness. "It's
nothing," she had told him with a weak voice as he helped her
back to bed. "My dinner just didn't agree with me last night."

That night, he awoke to find his wife weeping quietly at his
side, her face buried in her pillow in abject misery. Reaching
for her in the dark, he held her close, quietly demanding to
know what was wrong. "It's nothing," she explained, tears still
sliding down her drawn countenance. "Only a nightmare." The next
morning, she was up before the sun had even seen fit to grace the
sky, sick again.

Thin-lipped and pale, Anne said nothing to Gilbert or Susan,
though both were fairly certain exactly what was ailing the
beloved "Mrs. Doctor, dear." Gilbert waited patiently, thinking
perhaps she needed time to be sure, or come to grips with being
with child again, after losing her first baby so soon after birth.
He remained watchful of her, making sure Susan did not allow Anne
to overexert herself when he wasn't there to watch her himself.

The first month passed into the second, and not once had Anne
refused him in bed with the claim that "now was not the
appropriate time." She made other excuses at times, but never
that one. He made love to her with extreme gentleness during
those months, always mindful of her face to see if there was
any pain or discomfort written there. Eternally, the same
indiscernible look remained on her face. Little did he know
it was the face of fear that clung perpetually to her wan
features.

His thoughts falling back to the present, Gilbert watched Anne
silently in the mirror as he ran a brush through her hair,
smoothing the braids he had unraveled into a long mane of soft,
red curls that he loved to admire. When he finished, he set the
brush down, and his hands fell to her shoulders. Anne's eyes
drifted shut as he began to slowly massage them. She lurched
slightly when he found and carefully assailed a knot but said
nothing.

"Just relax," he offered his wife gently. "You've been needing
this for a while, haven't you? You're very tense."

"Am I?" she responded emptily, her words seeming like more of a
statement than a question. Gilbert said something in response,
but she did not hear him. He watched her drift once more into
the solemn dream world she'd been steadily drowning in for over
two months. With a frustrated sigh, he stepped away from her,
unbuttoning his shirt in haste to prepare for bed.

"I wouldn't give up you and our House of Dreams for anything, Gil,"
Anne said suddenly after her long silence, her eyes still blank
as she spoke. She turned and reached out for him, kissing his
slightly stubbled cheek tenderly when he came to her. "Not for
all the princes, royalty, and jewels Spain ever had to offer."
She hesitated slightly, her eyes trying to meet his, but failing
miserably for reasons he did not understand. "You know that,
right?"

"Anne..." he replied softly, "I was only teasing about all of that."
When she didn't respond, he sat down with her on the edge of her
vanity chair and lifted up her chin to make her look at him. "I
love you, Anne-girl. You know *that*, right?"

With a sad smile, she buried her face in his chest as he embraced
her. "I was lonesome for you today," she admitted apologetically,
for she did not like him to worry over her. "I'm so glad you're
here with me tonight. Maybe no one will call for you."

"I've missed you, too," Gilbert whispered into her hair before
pulling her into a kiss. He was a bit surprised when she
responded by leaning into the kiss, wrapping her arms around
his neck to pull him closer. It had been so long since she had
responded to his kisses that he couldn't help but let his mouth
linger on hers. He pulled her into his lap like a child, his
lips never leaving hers, and there they sat, each taking much-
needed comfort in the other.

She *had* missed him dreadfully that day, she realized. More
than she could ever communicate to him in words, so she attempted
to show him in other ways. She'd been so unresponsive to him
lately, what with her mind raging with troubled thoughts. He
deserved, and probably needed, a night simply devoted to them.
Besides, it would (and already had) help her get her mind off
of...of...her situation.

Bit by bit, their kisses began to become slower and deeper.
His tongue stroked hers with aching slowness, drawing Anne's
body impossibly closer to his with each passing moment. They
had lost themselves in such kisses for hours upon hours in the
early days of their marriage, but Gilbert was exhausted after
a long day's work and wanted to take his wife and his weary
body to bed. Ever cautious, he gently lifted Anne into his
arms and carried her to the bed, where he laid her down.
Absently kicking off his shoes, he arranged his body over
hers with care, not putting too much of his weight anywhere.
Their kissing commenced again with renewed intensity, and his
hands slowly crept from her face downward to cup her breasts
through the thin material of her nightgown.

Tearing away from the kiss, she hissed in pain and pushed
his hands away. "Oh, Anne!" Gilbert exclaimed, taken by
surprise at her reaction. "I'm so sorry! Are you okay?"

Anne's cheeks burned in humiliation, seeing the alarm on his
face. Suddenly a wave of nausea swept through her at the
thought of her husband receiving yet another clue to her
true condition, and her weak hold on a pleasant mood quickly
fled her. "It's not your fault. I'm a little sore, I guess,"
she said weakly, as her arms crossed protectively over her
chest. "I-I'm sorry, Gilbert. I don't think I can do this
tonight. I don't feel good all of the sudden."

With a nod, he moved off of her, and she rolled onto her side,
facing away from him in embarrassment. He rubbed her back
comfortingly as he nuzzled her hair, letting her know without
words that it was okay...that he all he wanted in the world
was to simply be with her then and there, and he could do
without the rest just fine.

At the sight of tears in her eyes, Gilbert's heart quite
literally plummeted to the floor. "I'm so sorry, Anne.
I didn't mean to hurt you. Honestly. You know I would never--"

"Oh, Gil. It's not that," she whispered in response, stubbornly
willing the tears not to fall, for she knew they deeply hurt him.
"It didn't hurt that bad. I was just surprised. I promise. You
didn't do a thing wrong."

The hand that had been rubbing her back moved around her waist
to gently rub her stomach. She tensed under his hand. "You
really aren't feeling good, are you?" he asked, watching her
face contort in something that resembled pain. Biting her lip
against something unpleasant, she nodded. "Nausea?" he guessed,
noting her hand was on her throat as she swallowed with difficulty.

Again she nodded, and immediately, Gilbert arose to fetch two wet
washcloths. Laying her on her back, he placed one on her forehead
to cool her and one on her throat to fight back the nausea. After
opening the window to let in the night breeze, he sat on the edge of
the bed and fanned her with a folded newspaper, knowing how well a
cool breeze could sooth a queasy stomach.

Anne bore it all in silence, her tears carefully wiped away, one
by one, by her husband's hand. The night breeze was cool, and
Gilbert's presence was comforting. Being born of anxiety rather
than actual sickness, the nausea soon departed when her raging
thoughts began to slow. When the unpleasant feeling slowly left
her, Gilbert held a glass of milk to her lips, which he ordered
her to sip slowly. She took his careful ministrations without a
word except to thank him for his concern.

"Feeling better?" Gilbert asked quietly, sensing that she wanted
to rest. She nodded weakly, a distant look once again tainting
her gaze. "Anne..." he spoke gently, hoping to ease her out of
her obviously anxious thoughts, "what are you so afraid of?" Her
eyes closed as if she was pained, and Gilbert's concern increased
all the more. "I just want to help you. I'm worried to death
about you."

"I...I'm caught, Gil..." she whispered unhappily, "caught in a
trap, and...I can't get out..."

----------------------
Untimely Author's Note: *sporting a leisure suit, sequined cape,
and Elvis hair, Raine begins to sing...* Because I love you too
much, baby...
----------------------

Gilbert gazed at her drawn face intently, as something akin to
relief flooded through him, daring to hope her words meant that
she was ready to open up to him at last. "Tell me what's on
your heart, darling, and we'll see if I can't remember some old
words of wisdom to ease your mind."

"You know what's wrong with me," she replied reluctantly. "I can
see it in your eyes that you know and have known for weeks. I
don't see how you could have not seen it. It's so obvious, and
I haven't exactly been hiding it."

His eyes fell to her stomach with frankness. "I'll admit I've
had my suspicions, but I was waiting for a word from you to
confirm them."

Anne bit her lip, as she fought to be brave, but the tears came
anyway. Words began to spill out of her mouth that she had no
control over. "I'm so scared, Gil. So scared. I can't bear to
lose another one. I can't...I can't..."

He gathered her into his arms and held her as she sobbed out
all the fears that had been raging in her mind since the death
of Joyce. Some of them were so outrageous and ridiculous that
Gilbert wanted to shake the sense back into her, but some of the
other things she said were so soberingly real, the young doctor
felt a twinge of fear similar to Anne's start in his own heart.
Determined that his family would live a happy existence, he
quickly put to death those fears and promptly sought to do the
same to Anne's fears as well.

"Who says you're going to lose the baby, Darling?" he breathed
quietly into her hair.

"I lost Joy," Anne remarked miserably. "What if I'm not meant
to have children?"

"But you did have a child," he reminded her. "A beautiful little
girl with sweet eyes, whom we both love as dearly now as we would
if she were sleeping in our arms. Now God has blessed and
entrusted us with a second one to love."

Anne would not be comforted. "I do love Joy, Gilbert, but
I'm still afraid. I'll bet you think me wicked for not wanting
a child. I wouldn't blame you either. I've been selfish, and
I'm so ashamed."

"No, Darling," he replied, "I don't think you wicked or selfish.
You're just anxious and uncertain. I'm just sorry that I didn't
realize the extent of your distress sooner. We could have had
this talk even before our second child was in the making."

Those words brought memories back to them both. Anne had not
let Gilbert touch her for weeks after her recovery from her first
pregnancy. He did not push or pressure her, nor would he have done
so under any circumstance. Gilbert knew then that his wife was
dismayed at the thought of becoming pregnant again so soon, and
he could understand that. He knew that in time she would come to
grips with the loss of Joyce and would want to try again for
children. He could be patient. After all, hadn't Anne herself
been won only after years of hard work? She was certainly worth
it. Why should children be any different? Having them in his lap
one day would be reward enough for waiting for Anne to be ready
to try again.

He did not have to wait long. She allowed him to make love to
her again eventually, which he did with painstaking care and
wariness (probably even more than he'd used the night of their
wedding), distressed about hurting her for fear she was still
sore from the difficult childbirth. She cried in silence the
whole time but said nothing as she desperately clung to him.
It was not tears of pain that she cried. Soon her quiet tears
slowed, and she fell into a deep sleep, warm in his arms. It
was then that Gilbert wept...for his lost child and for his wife.

Since then, Anne took no pleasure in lovemaking, as she had when
they were first married, even though Gilbert tried desperately
to make her respond. She lay so stiff and tense beneath him,
one could hardly call it "making love." Knowing that her behavior
upset Gilbert and hurt him, Anne tried telling him that it was all
right, that she did not mind. Those words angered him inside and
caused him to try all the more to pleasure his wife. He spend many
long nights trying to determine where he had gone wrong, as Anne's
slept at his side, the softness of her naked body perfectly fitting
the contours of his own, her arm resting lightly on his chest,
fingers curled slightly, the dampness of tears still clinging
to her cheeks. If he had to go on like this, knowing Anne was
plagued with a deep depression he never dreamed a woman like
his wife could be capable of possessing, Gilbert felt would go
mad. He wanted to shake her and tell her that even though their
child was dead, she was still eternally alive in their hearts and
thoughts.

No, he ultimately decided. Anne already knew that. She just
needed time to mourn, and Gilbert would be a fiend to deny her
that. He was still mourning himself, but chose to cope with it
by pouring himself into the care and well-being of his wife rather
than fall into depression.

The quiet tears that fell down Anne's cheeks when they made
love slowed eventually, giving her husband a small amount of
comfort, but she soon became clingy instead, often burying her
face in his chest, hiding from reality. He did not want to
encourage such behavior but didn't have the heart to refuse
her. So he held her and kissed her and whispered the sweet
nothings she always seemed to want, and need, to hear.

The clinging behavior abruptly stopped the morning he found
her ill, and once again, Anne pushed affection away. She had
already suspected that she was with child once again, and the
morning sickness confirmed those suspicions with a horrible sense
of fear. She cried violently when neither Gilbert or Susan were
home and settled for quiet tears behind a closed door when they
were. In their presence, she steeled herself against emotion,
not knowing how in the world she was going to break the news to
Gilbert without dissolving into tears. He would be so disappointed
in her weakness and fear, she thought as shame slowly burned
through her, leaving her as weak as a pile of ashes.

But perhaps he already knew, she thought, but that gave her
no comfort, for he said nothing to her if he did. He was waiting
for her to break the news if he did indeed know, and that was
something she dreaded with everything within her. What was she
to do? How long would Gilbert continue to act the part of the
ignorant husband before she began to show? Before her old
maternity dresses would be taken out of the attic? Before the
horrible pains of birth began to rip through her? Surely he
would guess that she was not speaking of her condition to him
for a good reason, save her the heartache, and begin speaking
as though he knew. Life could move on just as if she had actually
told him herself. But Anne had more sense than that. It was her
duty to tell her husband of his child, and as soon as she felt
she could handle it, she would. She just needed time. Lots of
it.

Now Gilbert knew for certain, confirmed by her words, and Anne
felt like a fool. She had sorely misjudged her husband, thinking
he would be angry with her for her fears. The chest she was held
against was warm, and the hands rubbing up and down the length of
her back were soothing. She let him rock her back and forth like
a child (like the child she had been acting like, she thought
bitterly). He whispered things to her tired mind that were so
sweet and soft, her throat ached. Drowning in love for him, she
sought out his lips and found their soft, warm folds waiting
patiently for her kiss.

They leaned back onto the bed as one, and Gilbert pressed her
tiny body carefully into the pillows. Their lips never parted
as their fingers slowly fumbled with buttons, neither in a hurry
for the moment to be over, the moment when they truly made love
again after so long. Their clothes melted away, piece by piece,
and Gilbert looked appreciatively over the body of his wife as if
it were their wedding night again, thinking it was unfair for all
the other men in the world, that he should have been the winner
of such a beautiful prize.

His mouth sought out the warm hallow of her throat, where he
found her pulse hammering excitedly. Down his lips traveled,
leaving a trail of hot kisses across the beautifully white
expanse of her chest. Her fingers tangled in his dark hair
when his lips found the sweet tip of her breast. With
excruciating care, he suckled her gently, knowing how sore she
was. Anne writhed in pleasure as he claimed the other breast,
feeling the burning heat of his tongue dragging against her
sensitive flesh, lapping at her swollen nipple like some sort
of cat. She stifled a giggle at the thought.

Gilbert, unaware that his wife was fancying him a prowling
lion, moved down further still, and Anne gasped when she felt
his burning kisses across her abdomen, where their child slept.
He laid his cheek there for a moment, his eyes closing in a
silent, thankful prayer for his wife and baby. Awakened from
his reverie by a soft hand running over his cheek and a sweet
whisper of love from his wife, Gilbert gazed at Anne with
adoring devotion, and replied with admission of his own love.

His fingers tangled in the soft thatch of red curls at the
apex of her thighs, as he moved to claim her sweet lips once
again. He slid into her warmth with ease, and both let out a
slow breath of ecstasy as their bodies joined. The pace he
took was agonizingly slow, for he knew that, despite Anne's
shy responses, deliberately slow and thorough lovemaking satisfied
her deeply. His hands caressed her face as he kissed her deeply,
moving with maddening slowness within her, pressing himself with
careful force against the sensitive area between her thighs to
bring about as much pleasure for her as she was stirring in him.
Though she never cried out when they made love, no matter what
he was doing to her, Gilbert always knew whether or not she was
enjoying it by the way she held him. Tonight, her arms hugged
him as close as possible, and her fingers gripped his shoulders
tightly when he pressed himself against her with deliberateness.
Gilbert, knowing he was bringing her pleasure, treasured her
soft, quiet gasps that sounded against his lips. Already satisfied
beyond comprehension, he buried his face in her soft, red hair.

Anne, no longer having his mouth upon hers to concern herself
with, watched in her vanity mirror as his bottom slowly moved
up and down and thought it a very cute bottom. Again, she felt
the sudden urge to giggle, and stifled it just in time. Why on
earth, at such a time as this, did she feel so ridiculously
whimsical? She supposed it was the sudden and needed release
from the horrible burden she'd been carrying, but nevertheless,
she should be serious and reserved and matronly. Instead she
was admiring her husband's derriere. But it was such a cute
derriere...how could she help it? Unable to control herself
any longer, she burst into much-needed laughter.

"What on earth could be funny to you at this moment in time,
Anne-girl?" grumbled her husband unappreciatively.

And that only made her laughter increase, but her amusement was
quickly overtaken as an unguarded moan of pleasure slipped from
her as Gilbert, indignant at her behavior, found his way impossibly
deeper within her. She narrowly restrained herself from clamping
a hand over her mouth. She had never uttered so much as a whimper
in all the time she had shared Gilbert's bed! It was unladylike!
Now it was Gilbert who laughed as he looked upon his wife's
horrified face, for he knew exactly what she was thinking.

They laughed at themselves and kissed and spent the rest of
the night showing each other exactly how deeply their love ran.
Anne slept well that night, her heart lighter than it had been
in months, knowing that a child, *their* child, grew safe and
warm within her, and that the man who held her so tenderly in
the crook of his arm loved her as much as she loved him, as
impossible as that seemed to her, for she loved him so very
deeply. The last thought she had before sleep claimed her as
its own was that Gilbert was going to make a wonderful father,
and a sigh of peace eased from her throat.


The End