They walked around the garden hand in hand, Anne revelling in the smell of the flowers in the dark and the beauty of her new surroundings, Gilbert marvelling the fact that the woman beside him, his long sought after Anne, was finally his wife. But now, the guests that had welcomed them to their new home having left, they were finally alone and both their thoughts turned to the night ahead, the wedding night, and the final act in the completion of their union. They had, during the three years of engagement, talked about what to expect. Anne had shyly discussed it with Diana, who had, as only a busom friend could, been open and frank and honest, that initially it was painful but the pain subsided and was replaced by an unexplainable pleasure. Gilbert, being a doctor, knew the facts about the act itself but had no practical knowledge so he asked Fred in confidence, whos reply did not encourage him much.

"The first time is awful." Fred had declared. "But it gets better with time and experience."

This weighed heavily on Gilberts mind. The last thing he wanted Anne to associate the wedding with was pain and unhappiness. After such a perfect day, he wanted the perfect night to go with it.

"I think I'll go and get ready for - bed." Annes voice broke his thoughts. He looked at her. She was smiling nervously at him. Reaching for her, he gave her a kiss.

"I'll be up in a minute." he murmured against her lips, watching then as she turned and left.

He sat for a moment on the bench beneath the willow tree. Nearly all the dreams he once had were now fulfilled, he was a doctor ready to fight the 'great destroyer', Anne Shirley was now Anne Blythe, his wife, but there was uncertainty. Was he worthy of her? Could he make her happy? Protect her? Keep her from lifes sorrows? Sighing, he looked up at the bedroom window, this was the happiest day of his life, a day he had thought would never come, he could not marr it with doubt. Standing up, he purposefully made his way to her.

The bedroom door was ajar and Gilbert could see Anne sitting at the dressing table clad in a shimmering satin nightgown, brushing her hair. Her crowning glory, the hair he had admired for so long but that had been the cause of the antagonism between them for so long. She certainly looked content enough, no sign of nervousness or worry or regret on her beautiful face. He entered the room and closed the door behind him.

"Allow me." Anne turned her head to look at him. Taking the brush from her he began to stroke the brush through her hair, which felt like pure silk to him. "Amazing...like gold threads." he whispered. Anne shivered as he combed his fingers slowly through its length, running his thumb down the back of her head, parting the hair in two. He pulled the tresses forward over her shoulders. Gilbert groaned low in his throat. "Beautiful," he breathed, and pressed his lips to the bare nape of her neck.

Anne stiffened. During their courtship they had kissed, pasionately, held hands, everything an engaged couple of their time could modestly do, but this was so intimate, she was so exposed -(the nightgown that Diana had ordered from Eatons for her left very little to the imagination) - and she could feel her heart beating louder with each caress. Gilbert straightened, feeling the change in her demenour. He sat down on the seat beside her.

"Are you happy Anne?"

"Oh Gil," she said, "You don't need to ask that. I'm happier than I ever thought imaginable, really."

"So then - why do I feel that you're holding something back?"

"Its nothing, truly."

Gilbert looked at her questionly.

"Well - just - well," she began.

"Yes?"

"Gilbert, when we were friends, I tried to discourage you from loving me - I was in denial about what I felt for you because I didn't want things to change. Now, I love you so much, to scandelous proportions in fact, things are going to change again, but what if its not - good? Yesterday I was plain old Anne Shirley BA, fiancee of Dr Gilbert Blythe, just a girl without a care in the world."

"And now?" He prompted, as she paused to reflect on simpler times.

"And now...Anne Blythe...soon to be woman and wife, in every sense of the word." She burried her head in his shoulder so he could not see the heated spots in her cheeks and the tears forming in her eyes.

Gilbert wrapped her up in his arms and held her tightly. "Maybe its unreasonable to expect to go from friendship to such intimacy in an instant." he said, (more for himself than her.) "We have a lifetime together - there's no need to rush - anything."

"No!" she cried. "I want to be your wife - tonight. Waiting won't make it easier. This is our wedding night - we must - please Gil!"

"Are you sure?"

"Oh, yes!"

A slow smile lit his face. "I could never refuse you anything Anne."

Anne returned the smile, determined to continue, with no more missishness. Taking her hand he led her to the bed, gently setting her down as he removed his clothing. She watched him undress in awe, noting the obvious differences between their bodies. She had never seen a man naked before but it was blatently obvious that Gilbert was - well - ready.

He kissed her, softly at first, his lips merely brushing hers. Then with his tongue he slowly outlined the slender, sensitive ridge where skin becomes lip. Deep within her a hot breathless tension coiled.

She needed more of him, closer. Carried away by the liquid fire coursing to every vein she opened her mouth. His hands on her shoulders clenched and his tounge swept inside, probing deeply. Then his grip eased and he slowed to trace her tongue with light, quick touches. The tension within her grew. The taste of him made her dizzy. She stretched towards him craving his touch.

He raised the hem of her nightgown, his hands tracing spiral circles along her ankles, shins, knees.

"Are you sure?" he whispered hoarsely.

Her body burned to the very core, like molten lava rising ready to explode.

"Y - yes!"

In one swift movement he pulled off her gown. Modesty abandoned, she opened her legs and urged him towards her. Her arms clasped around his neck she pulled him towards her, kissing deeply. His hands caressed the ridge of her hipbone, moving lazily across the smooth curve of her belly, dipping to touch the warm, moist centre of her parted thighs. He slid a finger into her intimate passage.

"Ready?" he asked.

"R - ready." she answered unsteadily.

Gilbert swung his body over her, his hard man's part probing where his fingers had been. He thrust down.

A clear flame of pain seared her, and she gasped.

Gilbert stilled, his rigid shaft a stretching, tearing pressure at her core. Murmuring soothingly, he braced himself on his arms and bent to kiss her gently.

Pleasurable sensation rippled though her faintly, then stronger. She sighed, her muscles softening. He slowly eased himself deeper. The harsh burning within her subsided to a throbbing ache. As she relaxed, the coiling tension, momentarily suspended, began to build once more.

He began to move, and she matched his rhythm. The ache lessened, submerged under a simmering urgency. In the next instant he plunged deep and cried out. The world exploded around her into brilliant shards of sensation that shocked along her nerves for long exquisite moments before dimming and slowly, slowly subsiding.

Sometime later she opened her eyes to find Gilbert inclined above her. He held his weight on his hands, but his hips pressed hers intimately where their bodies still joined. She could feel the thunderous best of his heart. He rolled to his side and pulled her against his chest.

"Oh Gilbert," Anne whispered, "That was wonderful."

He laughed and kissed her hair. "Are you sure? I must have hurt you some."

"Only for a little. As for the rest...well, words have finally failed me."

Gilbert chuckled to himself, remembering Freds words - 'better with time and experience'. He would look forward to discovering if that was true!

They lay in silence until Anne heard his slow even breathing and thought he was asleep.

"I think I'm going to enjoy being married." she said.

Gilbert opened his eyes and smiled, "Me too." he said silently.