She had to escape; she had to be alone for just a few minutes to gather her thoughts, to form her expectations of the evening that lay before her. She had pictured it all out in her head for the past three years; every time she had seen him the thought that one day he would be her husband had taken control of her mind. Her dreams were full of him, her thoughts full of him, and now it had come. Her wedding earlier that day had filled her with a joy that she did not realize she was capable of harboring. And then as the visitors that had shared their first meal as husband and wife had left her little 'house-of-dreams' that joy had been compounded with a longing that, although would be considered improper in words, was physically beautiful. She had left the house on the premise that she was going to pick a few roses from her little garden and would be back in a few minutes. Those roses were never picked.

When she childishly skipped back onto the porch and into the little parlor he greeted her with arms outstretched and before she knew what was happening she was being carried up the stairs. "These stairs," she thought as she stared into his loving eyes, "I shall never again trod as a girl but rather a woman."

He kissed her brow and gently laid her on their bed. His mind racing. His thoughts erratic. He had imagined this night time and again, ever since she had said, "yes." No, before that even. He had known this night would come, although there were times this knowledge had temporarily eluded him. He threw his suit jacket onto the floor and eased himself into her waiting arms. He kissed her, gently at first. Suddenly the realization that everything he had ever wanted was now his entered into his mind and he slipped his arm around her, grasping her tightly for fear she would disappear and this dream he was living would end.

"I love you," he cooed into her ear as he slowly unbuttoned her dress and discarded her clothing onto the floor.

"I love you," she whispered back.

The apprehension she had felt vanished, as she became aware of his body against hers, the warmth of his lips against her neck, and soft moans of his love. A warmth she had never known crept over her entire body as they consummated their love.

All too soon it was over and they lay side-by-side cradling each other and whispering words only for lovers' ears.

"I need a glass of water," she said but his arms did not release their grip around her, "I'll be right back." Unwillingly his arms loosened. She slipped her robe on and walked gaily out of the room.

She diverted from her plan of a drink and instead and walked out of the house and into the yard. Her bright green-gray eyes shone like mystical orbs as the evening star cast its' melancholy light across her pale face. She let her auburn tresses, which had somehow been freed from the braid she had so carefully pulled them into, fly freely in the gentle breeze that swept up from the shore. After a few moments of reflection she lifted her delicate white hand as if to bid the moon 'sweet-dreams' and retreated back into her home and up the stairs, tiptoeing into the bedroom she shared with her husband. "I am a married women," she thought, "not just a little girl playing house." She crawled into bed beside him and listened to his steady breathing, adjusting her own to match and ran her fingers over his brow, down his cheek and finally across his soft lips. Slowly she lowered her face to his and placed a gentle kiss on his warm mouth. As she pulled away his hand caught her head and pulled her back down to him, he enveloped her in his arms and kissed her softly, at first then harder the passion building inside them both with each caress.

"I thought you were asleep," she smiled some time later.

"No, I was laying here thinking," he whispered and pulled her closer until her head lay on his chest and he could kiss her hair.

"About what?" She picked her head up and looked into his eyes.

"Well, I was thinking that this was all too good to be true. That I am going to wake up at any moment and realize that it is all a dream. I've been pinching myself all day long," with each word he pulled her closer.

"But it is not a dream, Gil. I am real. This is real," she cooed.

He let out a low laugh and tightened his arms around her, "Do you know how many times I have planned this night? How many times I have pictured our first night together? How many times I have imagined myself holding you? Feeling you next to me while I sleep? Touching your skin as no other man shall? Making love to you?" A deep blush crept over her face, "I have imagined it out hundreds of times, but never in all my imaginings did I think it would be this wonderful. I love you Anne-Girl."

"I love you too," she whispered, "I have to admit that I have done the same. Imagined out every detail of this night, that is." She paused to look out an open window, "Oh, Gil, look! The sun will be rising soon and neither of us has slept a wink all night."

"Who needs sleep? I am not tired at all," he said as he yawned. There was a long silence that was not broken until Gilbert's quiet snores filled the room.