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Lovable

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"Diana, do you need anything else?"

"I don't think so!" Diana called from behind a shelf.

"Okay, that will be it for today," Anne told the shopkeeper.

"That will be 90 cents, Miss."

As Anne reached into her coin purse, Diana came up next to her. "I love that ribbon, Anne. It will look absolutely lovely with your green organdy dress."

"Not as lovely as it would look tied in your raven locks, my dear, sweet Diana; but it's lovely nevertheless."

Diana took Anne's parcel and took her hand as they exited the shop. "Fred told me on our Sunday stroll that blue made my beauty shine like no other color, and I quite agree." Diana giggled, "So, I've resolved to wear my dark blue to Prissy's wedding next week."

Anne beamed. No more than a month after she turned sixteen had Fred Wright who closer to Carmody begun to court her. Anne didn't really understand what Diana saw in Fred, but Diana's face lit up whenever she spoke of him. Although Anne was incapable of feeling jealous of Diana, she began to feel the sting of being the only girl her age who had not been courted. She couldn't even imagine herself on a romantic drive with a boy.

"I dare say I like this man a lot more than I ever cared for Mr. Phillips," Anne rolled her eyes at the memory of her old teacher. "But, then again, this man never called me a boy or tormented Cole, so it's not a high bar to reach. Gil and I were just reminiscing yesterday about the all-time worst Mr. Phillips moments."

Diana turned her head slyly to Anne, "Speaking of Gilbert, Fred told me that he hasn't asked anyone to escort him to the wedding yet."
Anne blushed furiously, "And, why would that be relevant to me?"

Diana tugged on Anne's arm. "Why, Anne, he obviously wants to ask you! He's only been telling everyone about how you're going to be a published author."

"That reminds me! Let's stop at the post office to see if they sent me my copies of the magazine yet!" Anne yanked Diana into the post office with such force, Diana was sure she would find a mark on her arm afterward.

Diana sighed. Anne was always avoiding discussing romance and Gilbert. She mentioned Gilbert frequently as a study partner and friend, and she constantly talked about romance in the abstract. But, one mention of romance with regard to Gilbert, and Anne would suddenly find the urgent need to discuss her most recent letter to Cole or the status of Matthew's crops.

"Oh, Diana! It's here!" Anne stood rifling through a stack of identical magazines until she found her story. "Look!" Anne held up a page that read "Mrs. Drummond's Atonement by Anne Shirley-Cuthbert" in elegant serif script.

"Anne, it's magnificent! Is one of these for me?" she asked, picking up one of the magazines.

"Of course, I have one for you, me, Marilla and Matthew, Aunt Jo and Cole, Miss Stacey, and--" Anne's face dropped.

"Gilbert?" Diana added.

Anne flushed, "And Bash and Mary, of course!"

Diana nodded sardonically. "Ah, yes, of course."

Ignoring Diana's remark, Anne pulled her out of the post office and into their buggy.

 

On their way home, Diana and Anne chattered on about how Aunt Josephine and Cole would respond to Anne's story. In the spirit of their generous friendship, Diana was nearly as excited as Anne about the publication. Still, Diana kept searching for a way to bring up the topic of conversation Anne wanted desperately to avoid.

"…I'm still quite surprised my first publication was in a political magazine, but Miss Stacey and Gilbert both said the story was too thought-provoking concerning the rights of--"

Diana cut her off. "Anne, can I ask you a question?"

Anne was a little surprised at Diana's abruptness, but nodded. "Of course."

"Are you mad at Gilbert? Did he do something to you?"

Anne was taken aback. "Of course not! Diana, what would give you that idea?"

"Anne," Diana was serious. "You always change the subject when I bring him up in conversation, and--"

"No, I don't!"

"You do when I mention Gilbert and romance, or Gilbert and marriage, or Gilbert and you in the same sentence! I genuinely don't understand why you would be so offended by the implication unless you didn't like him"

Anne opened and closed her mouth a few times, as she failed to come up with a witty retort.

"Gilbert is absolutely smitten with you, Anne! And, at times, I think he is falling in love with you, but for some reason, you seem determined to ignore any and all of his affections!"

"Diana, I really don't think that he does. I think you and Bash and Cole and--and everybody are just confused!" Anne was becoming increasingly flustered. She felt her heartbeat increase and suddenly felt dizzy.

"No one will ever want you."

Nance's hand pushed against her neck, pressing her head into the bed.

Anne felt tears prickle behind her eyes, sniffing aggressively to not show weakness.

"…Anne! Anne!"

Anne looked over at Diana disoriented. Since when was Diana driving the buggy? "Diana, why are you driving?"

"Anne, you had one of your 'spells' again."

Anne gently took the reins from Diana. "Sorry."

Diana placed her hand on Anne's shoulder. Although they had become rarer over the years, Diana had learned quite a bit about what to do when Anne was having her "spells." "No, Anne, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have pushed you. I just--I just don't understand. You and Gilbert have so much fun together."

When Anne didn't respond, Diana continued, "Where did you go this time, Anne?"

Anne swallowed and took a deep breath. "Do you remember hearing about Nance from the orphanage?"

Diana nodded.

"Well, I suddenly felt like I was back at the orphanage. She was pressing my face down into a pillow, and I couldn't breathe. She kept telling me that I was homely and how no one would ever want me. For a moment, I thought I would die" Anne shivered a bit.

Diana took placed her hand on top of Anne's. "Anne, you know that's not true, right?"

Tears began to fall from Anne's eyes. "Oh, Diana, I know that people love me! You and Marilla and Matthew and Aunt Jo and Cole, but loving someone as a friend or companion is not nearly the same as loving someone romantically! When you love someone romantically, you love that person more than anyone else. You find the beauty in every part of them! You see them as an extension of yourself! Your equal in every way!"

"Anne, I don't understand," Diana's eyes were full of concern.

"Don't you see, Diana? I can't be any of those things for Gil! He's the most handsome boy in Avonlea, and I'm plainer than any of the other girls. Gilbert is kind and thoughtful and responsible, and I'm stubborn and wicked! I may be able to equal him in academics, but how could I ever equal him in anything else?"

Diana's heart cried out for her beloved bosom friend. Even after nearly four years of close friendship, Anne never ceased to amaze her with her wit, candor, and infectious optimism and determination. "Oh, Anne, how I wish you could see yourself as I see you! I firmly believe that you equal Gil on all accounts.

"You may be stubborn, but only when people underestimate you! And, you are one of the kindest people I know! Your kindness led you to teach Jerry how to read and to stand up for Cole when he was bullied and to force the minister to allow Mary and Bash to come to church on Sundays!"

"Well, Gil and Marilla helped with that as--"

"Exactly, my point Anne! You and Gilbert did that together! And, as for your appearance, I don't think you've looked in the mirror lately because you are simply exquisite! You may not have noticed how beautiful you've become, but I have! Charlie Sloane blushed when you loaned him a pen in class last week. Billy Andrews can't even muster call you ugly anymore. And, either way, you once told me that you hoped that someone would love you for your personality above all!"

Anne sighed and opened her mouth to retort, but Diana was too quick. "Anne, you have a lovely personality. You are optimistic and resilient and passionate. It's why I love spending so much time with you, and it's why Gilbert's lights up when he speaks to you."

Anne was silent for a moment. "Anne, do you see what I'm saying?"

Suddenly, tears came pouring from Anne's eyes. "Diana, I understood every word you said, but I don't think I could believe it even if Gil met us at this very moment and told me that he loved me with every fiber of his being."

"Oh, my dearest Anne!" Diana threw her arms around Anne.

Anne giggled at Diana's dramatics and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Really, Diana, I'm fine. I'm only sixteen, and at the moment, I want to focus on my writing. In case you forgot, I am now a published author!"

The girls laughed and changed the subject, as they continued to drive down the White Way of Delight. Once Green Gables was in view, Diana had Anne stop the buggy and hopped out with her parcel and magazine. "I'll walk home from here. See you tomorrow?"

"Of course!" Anne exclaimed, grinning, "How could I survive one of the minister's excruciating sermons without your presence?"

"Then, I'll see you there!" Diana's face sobered slightly before she continued, "And, Anne, even if you cannot believe it completely. Please, don't close yourself off to affection. Try to be open to the possibility that you are lovable because I know it to be fact."

Anne smiled slightly and leaned down to peck Diana's cheek. "What did I ever do to deserve a bosom friend like you?"

"I suppose you're just lucky," Diana teased.

 

On this particular Sunday, the minister must have been truly trying to kill Anne of boredom because she could not recall ever feeling so restless in her life. Anne swung her leg back and forth in her seat, brushing the floor with the sole of her shoe. She wondered how long she could get away doing it.

She looked around the church to see who was there. The Barrys were there, of course, as were the Blythe-LaCroix clan (in the back, much to Anne's chagrin). The Pyes, the Andrews, the Sloanes, the Spurgeons. Anne looked around for Miss Stacey to show her the story, smiling to herself when she didn't see her beloved teacher among the families of Avonlea. Miss Stacey had once confided in Anne that she found the minister's sermons completely uninspiring and thought that her spirit would find better exercise at home.

Anne quite agreed, and any other Sunday, Anne would have wished to stay home, but she couldn't wait to show Gilbert her published story until Monday.

As soon as the service was done, Anne stood up and pulled a copy of the magazine out of her bag to give to Gilbert.
"Anne, what are you doing with that?" Marilla asked, incredulous.

"I brought a copy for Gil, Bash, and Mary," she stated matter-of-factly.

Marilla's shoulders dropped, "As much as I liked your story Anne, the other articles in the issue are a bit too scandalous for church."
Anne looked at Marilla pleadingly, and Marilla relented. "Okay, go along then, but be discreet about it!"

Anne ran to where Gilbert was standing with Bash, Mary, and Naomi. "Well, hello there, Anne. How are you today?" Gilbert smiled amiably.

Anne ignored the question, "Here," she said, pushing the magazine into his hands. "Page 15."

Gilbert shuffled through until he saw her byline and his face lit up. "Oh my goodness! You're story!" He hugged her and exclaimed, "You're a published author now!"

"Congratulations, Anne," Mary said with a smirk.

He took a step back at Mary's words, realizing the impropriety of his proximity. He felt his face grow hot, hoping that the cold autumn air would mask his embarrassment. He couldn't keep from smiling, though. Anne had come up to him to share her triumph--out of all the people in the congregation, she came up to him to share this news.

"Well, good afternoon, Mary, Bash," Marilla and Matthew had caught up to Anne and joined their circle.

Bash smiled, "Good afternoon to you too, Miss Cuthbert. Anne was just showing us her published work."

"We'll we are mighty proud of it ourselves," Matthew said, buttoning up his coat.

Baby Naomi began to whine, and Bash took her out of Mary's arms, rocking her gently. Mary sighed, "Well, I guess that's our cue to leave. It was lovely to see you all, and I'll see you tomorrow, Marilla, to bring over those apples you requested."

"Blythe, why don't you walk Anne home?" Bash suggested playfully. "We old folks are going to be needing our Sunday rest when we get home, but you two should enjoy the lovely weather."

Marilla caught Bash's eye and nodded, "Yes, Anne, why don't you and Gilbert take the long way back. I could use a little rest when I get home."

Gilbert smiled broadly, "What do you say, Anne? Feeling like an adventure?"

Anne stood up straighter and met his gaze, "Have you ever known me to say no to an adventure."

With that the two took off down the forest path, leaving four adults with knowing smiles on their faces.

 

"I can always tell when a frost is going to come," Anne boasted, "and I feel one coming tonight."

Gilbert raised one eyebrow. "And, how can you tell that, O goddess of the weather?" he asked sardonically.

She swatted at his arm, "Gilbert Blythe, how can you be so blasphemous when we were just in the house of God?"

They both burst out laughing at Anne's false piety. Gilbert knew better than most that Anne's soul was a bit too imaginative for the minister's Sunday pulpit.

"Lord, that was probably the most boring sermon in the history of sermons!" Anne exclaimed.

"I'm inclined to agree with you, and I've been none-too-forgiving toward the minister since he refused to let Bash and Mary worship in the church."

"Oh! That reminds me!" Anne pulled the magazine out of her bag and handed it to Gilbert. "I can't wait for you to read the other articles in here. I felt so enlightened after reading them last night, and a lot of the pieces are very relevant to medicine."

Gilbert looked at the magazine in his hands. "Anne, I can't take the magazine with your first published work."

Anne snorted, "As if I would ever give you something so precious! I got you a separate copy."
�Gilbert's eyes widened, "You got a separate copy for me?"

Anne averted her eyes. "Well, you have to share with Bash and Mary, of course. I also got a copy for Diana."

"Naturally," he replied nonchalantly, strangely pleased with her sudden bashfulness.

"And Marilla and Matthew," she could feel herself blushing now.

"As you should."

"I also got one for Miss Stacey, of course."

"Of course," the flirtation in his voice was undeniable.

 

"And--uh--Aunt Josephine and Cole!"

"Hmm," he said, before breaking into a wide smile. "Well, even if my gift isn't unique, I am rather honored to be included on that list of people."

Anne was suddenly feeling that hint of romantic affection that made her so uneasy and began to move a bit faster. Remembering Diana's words from yesterday, she tried to take a deep breath. Calm down, Anne, she told herself. He didn't really do anything. He just remarked on who you purchased copies for.

"Well, you were the first person I recited it to, so I figured you would only like to see the final product," she said as casually as she could.

Behind her Gilbert smirked. Taking a few long strides to catch up with her, he figured this would be as good a time as any. "So, Anne, Prissy Andrew's wedding is next week."

Her footsteps faltered slightly. "I'm aware."

"Well, because I don't have anyone to bring and you don't have an escort, I was wondering if you would like to go together?" Gilbert smiled to himself. He felt like he had handled his invitation smoothly without giving anything away.

Anne stopped walking and turned to him with a glare. "Well, Gilbert, thank you for reminding me that no one has asked to escort me, but please, spare me your pity! I'm perfectly capable of attending a social event by myself!"

With that she turned on her heel and began stomping off. Gilbert was at a loss. He didn't mean any offense by it. "Anne, wait!"

Without thinking, he ran after her, grabbing her arm and turning him to face her.

"What?" she said, not looking at him.

"I’m sorry. I didn't mean any offense by it. I promise you I'm not asking you out of pity. I'm glad nobody asked you because it meant that I could." He sighed, relinquishing his pride. "I really want to go with you because I think we would have fun, so please, accept."

Anne was shocked by his admission. Her initially instinct was to rebuff him, but she had had enough of punishing him. Be open, Diana said in the back of her mind. She took a breath and with a slight smile, replied, "Well, when you put it like that, how could I refuse?"

 

Miss Stacey had to admit she was surprised when Anne and Gilbert arrived at the reception hall, her gloved hand resting gently on his forearm. Gilbert was so hesitant about expressing his feelings that Miss Stacey felt quite proud that Gilbert must have asked Anne to be her escort. That, or Anne asked him--which was also very possible. She walked over to the pair.

"Well, how are Avonlea's brightest today?"

Anne smiled, "It was a beautiful wedding."

"And, all the more beautiful knowing that Prissy didn't have to sacrifice her education for it," Miss Stacey added.

Anne laughed. "Yes, I'd curse the man who ever tried to step in between me and my education."

Gilbert stuffed his hands in his pockets and stared at his shoes at her remark.

Miss Stacey watched Gilbert for a moment. "Well, Gilbert would never do that, would you?" she asked with a teasing smile.

Gilberts face turned red, but Anne spoke before he had the chance to. "If he did, I'd probably break another slate on his head."

Gilbert burst out laughing in response.

"What's this about a slate?" Miss Stacey asked, amused.

Gilbert smirked. "The first day we met, Anne cracked a slate on my head."

Miss Stacey brought a hand to her mouth to cover her laugh. "My, my, Anne! I've known you to be a lively participant in class but never violent. What brought that on?"

Gilbert looked at the floor with a faint smile, "I pulled her braid and called her 'carrots.'"

Anne giggled at the memory, but Gilbert teased her sternly. "You laugh now, but you weren't laughing then, Carrots!"

Miss Stacey beamed at the two of them.

As the band began to play a new song, Anne jumped up and grabbed Gilbert by the arm. "Oh, I positively love this song, Gil! Let's dance," she said, pulling him on to the dance floor and leaving Miss Stacey to wink at Gilbert.

While he was a little unsteady on his feet, Anne was a beautiful dancer. She didn't just do the steps like most people, but she had a slight skip in each step. He could feel her ribcage under where his hand lay on her back, and suddenly, he realized how close they were. This was the first time he had ever danced with her, and it was simply exhilarating. Most of the time when he was around her, he felt like he needed to control himself, like his soul would burst out of his body if he didn't hold together. But, on the dancefloor, he let go and felt free.

"Where did you learn to dance like this?" he asked over the music.

"Aunt Josephine's summer solstice party in Charlottetown! I've gone for the last two years, and gotten lots of practice leading and following."

He didn't say another word. He was too full of feeling to say anything.

When the song ended, Gilbert felt his heart sink. It was over too soon. Then, the next song began, and Anne held out her hand. "Fancy a waltz?"

He took her hand and began to step in time with her. This song was noticeably slower, and he suddenly felt vulnerable without the quick steps to hide the joy of being so close to her.

"I--uh--read the magazine you gave me," he said awkwardly, wanting to keep his mind off of the feel of her body under his hand.

She looked up at him expectantly, "What was your favorite piece?"

One corner of his mouth turned upward, "Well, aside from your story, I liked the article about the women who are trying to fund scientific advances to better understand pregnancy."

Her eyes lit up, "Oh, that was such an enlightening piece. To imagine a woman being able to control when she got pregnant! I had thought a lot about how pregnancy affects a woman's education and career, but I would have never imagined what these women are trying to do!"

His cheeks warmed at all the talk of pregnancy, but he felt more comfortable talking about science than he did, dancing without speaking. "Well, unfortunately, it's sounds like they are a long way off from making such a scientific advancement. The women's group hasn't even found a doctor to begin the research into such an idea, but its amazing to imagine a world where all children are wanted."

Anne smiled sadly, thinking of all the unwanted children she had grown up with.

"I loaned the article to Mary after I read it," Gilbert said softly.

Anne nodded in understanding. They both knew the toll Mary's first pregnancy had taken on her.

Just then, the song ended, and Anne decided she needed to lighten the mood. "I'm going to get some punch. I'll be back in a moment."

She bounced off to the refreshment table where she filled her glass. She hadn't taken one sip when she heard the unmistakable voice of Josie Pye. "Well, Anne, you finally found someone charitable enough to escort you to a social event."

Anne scowled. "Josie, do you have nothing better to do than insult me?"

"I just wanted to know if the rumors are true," she said with a sneer.

Anne clenched her fist. She didn't want to take the bait, but her curiosity got the better of her. "What rumors?"

Josie took a sip of punch and made a sour face. "Some people were saying tonight that Gilbert Blythe asked to formally court you."

Anne could almost see herself turning red.

"As shameful as it would be, it wouldn't surprise me. Gilbert is an orphan now, and ever since he decided to live with a colored family, he's lost a certain level of respectability. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me that he would want to slum with a poor orphan."

Anne swallowed and blinked back the tears she felt prickling behind her eyes. "First of all, Josie, your prejudice betrays exactly the kind of person you are. Mary and Bash are far better people than you will ever be." She moved closer to Josie with a deadly look in her eye, "And, second, Gilbert Blythe is not courting me, so why don't you stop listening to gossip and making judgements about people based on the color of their skin and actually do something productive with your time."

Josie legitimately looked frightened for a minute, but then she smirked, looking behind Anne. Anne turned around to see Gilbert standing there dumbstruck.

"Gil! How long have you been there?" she asked, biting her lip, unsure if Gilbert heard about the rumors circulating about them.

"Long enough to hear you verbally rip Josie to shreds," he chuckled. "Do you want to head home? It's getting late, and I think after that encounter it might make sense to leave it at that."

Anne nodded and followed him out of the social hall.

 

Once in his buggy, Anne began to shiver. Finding his plaid, wool blanket; he gave one side to Anne to cover her lap and took the other side, tucking it around himself. It was not lost on either of them that they were under the same blanket, but each keeping their legs just far enough apart not to touch.

They rode on in a companionable silence for a while before Gilbert spoke, "I hate how this community treats Mary and Bash. Sometimes I forget the prejudice they face," his face fell. "I guess I'm luck that I'm able to forget."

Anne gave him a sympathetic look, "I understand. Sometimes it just seems incomprehensible to me that anyone can think Josie Pye is a more upstanding citizen than Mary LaCroix."

"What did Josie say anyway that made you respond like that?"

Anne cast her eyes downward, not wanting to repeat what Josie said.

"Anne?" Gilbert implored.

She sighed. He probably already had a good idea, so what good was it to hide the truth from him? "Josie said that she thought you had escorted me as an act of charity."

Gilbert's blood boiled, realizing that Anne's reaction to his invitation was not unreasonable given what others told her.

"Then, she said that…" Anne paused for a moment before her voice went quiet, "that she heard that you had asked permission to court me."

He had heard something about him and courting, but to hear Anne say it so directly stirred something in him. To say he hadn't thought about it would be a lie, but at the moment, he wasn't secure enough in knowing her feelings to face potential rejection.

"I see…" he said without emotion.

"Then, she said that it wouldn't surprise her because now you are an orphan too and--you had become less respectable since you started living with Mary and Bash," her fingernails bit into the skin of her palm as she spoke. "And, that it would make sense that you would decide to slum with orphan trash like me."

After a moment of silence, Anne worked up the courage to look at Gilbert. He was staring straight ahead with a furrowed brow, as if he was thinking very intensely about something.

Gilbert sat thinking about how to respond to Josie's insult when suddenly he let out an uncontrollable bubble of laughter.
Anne was shocked. How could he laugh right now? "Gilbert Blythe, how can you laugh at a moment like this?"

"I'm sorry, Anne, but I think it is absolutely incredible how jealous Josie is of us!"

Anne looked at him like he was crazy, but he continued. "Josie has always had a little bit of a crush on me, so it probably drove her crazy that I escorted you."

Anne couldn't help the wicked pleasure it gave her to know that Josie could be jealous of her.

"And, didn't you see who escorted her?"

Anne shook her head.

"Billy Andrews!" he exclaimed. "We both know that Billy wouldn't know good conversation if it hit him in the face. Not to mention, he spent the whole night sitting around without dancing once. So, I imagine the both of them were right jealous when I danced the night way with the most beautiful girl in Avon--" He stopped, realizing his mistake.

Anne cleared her throat. "The most beautiful girl in Avonlea?" she sounded confused, as if she wasn't sure she heard him correctly. "Are you talking about me?"

Gilbert rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "It's not like--um--I mean, everyone knows that you're one of the prettiest girls in Avonlea."

Anne looked at him quizzically. It felt a little like he was speaking a foreign language. "Me?" she echoed.

Gilbert didn't know what else to say. He shifted in his seat, focusing intently on the road in front of him.

Finally, she spoke, "Anyway…"

He looked her straight in the eye, looking for a clue as to what she thought. "Anyway…" he repeated, not daring to breathe.

Her bright smile broke the palpable tension. "I think I'm going to need to pray a little extra tonight because I got quite a wicked thrill out of snapping at Josie Pye!"

They both began to laugh, as a gentle snow began to fall, blanketing the White Way of Delight.

 

"So, how was it, lover-boy? Did you make your move?" Bash looked up from the boots he was cleaning to see Gilbert standing in the doorway.

"No," he said, completely preoccupied.

"Good God, Blythe. At the rate you're going, you'll both be dead before your first kiss!" Bash rolled his eyes, "Okay, so if you didn't tell her how you feel, what did you do?"

Gilbert sat down across from him and sighed. "Well, we danced a lot."

Bash motioned for him to continue.

"And, we joked around a lot."

Bash was unimpressed. "You two are always laughing about one thing or another! Give me the details! Did you have a good time?"

"A wonderful time, but--"

"But, what?"

"This one girl, Josie Pye, was saying the most awful things about Anne and--well--me, so Anne ripped her to shreds at the punchbowl."

Bash threw his head back and laughed, "Sounds like Anne, alright."

Gilbert snorted in agreement, "Well, then, we were talking about what Josie said about us, and I accidentally told Anne that I thought she was the most beautiful girl in Avonlea."

"Accidentally! Why wouldn't you tell her that on purpose?" Bash rubbed his face in frustration.

Gilbert shook his head. "You don't understand, Bash. She had such a strange reaction to it! Anytime I say anything regarding appearance or beauty or romance, she acts so…" He dropped his head in defeat, "I don't know."

"What do you mean 'strange?'"

Gilbert leaned back against the chair, thinking, "It was as if she was confused to hear 'beauty' and her name in the same sentence. Like she didn't believe what I said."

"Maybe she doesn't."

Gilbert looked at Bash like he was crazy. Why shouldn't she believe him? Had he ever lied to her before? He had never insulted her appearance nor had he ever made her feel unattractive, as far as he was aware. He was indignant, "I've never given her any reason to think I--"

"Blythe, that's not what I mean," Bash placed a brotherly hand on Gilbert's knee. "You read her story. You know her past, and you know what that awful girl said about her. Maybe its not that she doesn't believe what you said, but that she doesn't believe what you said is possible."

Gilbert said nothing as Bash's words sank in. Anne was always said she would make a terrible wife and that she was ugly and that she would probably never get married. It never seemed to faze her, though. Aside from her 'spells,' he never really considered how her past may have hurt her in other, less visible ways. A thousand memories of Anne flew through his mind, as he began to think of all the times she had alluded to just how little she thought of herself. The thought made him deeply sad.

He stood up to go upstairs.

"You good?" Bash called after him.

Gilbert nodded. "Yeah," he gave him a small smile, "just thinking."

That night, as he lied in bed, he though about all the time he wasted trying to make Anne love him when he should have been showing her that she could love herself.