They say that time heals all wounds, but as Felicity King stared at the water that lapped against the Avonlea shoreline, she found the old phrase unconvincing and hurtful.
Hurtful to Gus's memory.
All those years, she thought as the sun began to peek over the eastern horizon.
He had loved her for years and years, and had been there for her every step of the way. When she had first met him, he had taken her to the dance to see David. When she had gotten lost in the snowstorm, he had come looking for her. He hadn't given up on her, not even when she had acted stubborn and impossible, as she was wont to do.
She hadn't forgotten it.
She thought about it every day.
Every minute of every day.
Gus Pike had always been there for her when she needed him, but…
The time he had needed her most…she had not been there for him.
She knew it was not her fault, but a part of her felt guilty. The water looked so calm as it brushed against the sand; it was hard to believe that the same water had taken hold of Gus and had dragged him down, down, filling his lungs and choking him until his very breath had been stolen from his lungs.
The one time—one time—he had needed her instead of it being the other way around, she had not been there. She had failed him.
Her heart said that he wasn't dead, that she'd know if he was because…well, wouldn't she feel it, deep inside her bones? Wouldn't the very core of her being be shaken by the death of her beloved?
But her mind… Her mind said that he had left her, that he had drowned in the watery depths of the ocean. Surely, if he had lived through the sinking of the ship, he would have returned to her.
Had he been scared, she wondered? Gus had never seemed fearful of anything, but…death could frighten even the strongest of men. Had it been painful? Had he called out for her, wondered where she was?
Felicity let a few wilting stalks of Queen Anne's Lace slip from her fingers; she watched the water pull them back and forth until they were swallowed by the sea. When she tucked a few stray hairs behind her ear, she paused as the early morning light caught the ruby ring on her hand.
Oh, how long had it been? Months. But tears sprung to her eyes as she remembered the way he had pressed that same ring into her hand, his calloused fingers covering hers. They were to marry when he returned.
Why hadn't they married beforehand?
She had kept him waiting for too long. Never—never—had she regretted anything more. How could she have known that waiting would be the biggest mistake she had ever made? Had she accepted sooner, perhaps he would not have been lost at sea. Even if he had, she would at least have his name to remember him by.
As it stood, she only had a ring and a promise. A promise that…she feared would never be fulfilled.
She twisted the ring on her finger as she turned away from the ocean. The breeze dried her tears.
It was only fitting, she thought.
Because of her, he had died a bachelor.
She would die an old maid.
My first foray into the Road to Avonlea fandom. This is for Audra, who drowned when she tried to rescue her husband during a storm.