Looking it now, last December we were built to fall apart then fall back together
They spent the whole night talking. Like they were making up for lost time or something. Anne can’t believe he was actually sitting next to her, their hands close enough to touch. She inches a little closer and gently rested her fingers on top of his.
The smile Gilbert gives her makes her heart skip a beat more than just a little bit. It is so beautiful, it lights up the whole student lounge. Anne wants to bottle it up and keep it forever. But she knows it belongs to her and that she’ll never have to save it for a rainy day.
“We should go to bed,” Anne says when she realizes it is the wee small hours of the morning. “You’ve just been through an ordeal, Mr. Blythe! You need all the rest you can get. I don’t want anything else to happen to you and you haven’t been being careful lately.”
“I know, I know. . . but I just want to stay here for a little while longer,” Gilbert answers. “Just to make sure I’m not dreaming or high on painkillers. Or something like that.”
For a second, Anne is tempted to pinch some of his skin to prove to him that he isn’t dreaming. But instead, she is overtaken with empathy for him because she understands. She doesn’t want to go to bed only to wake up and find out this is something she has tricked out of her imagination.
“Just a little bit longer,” Anne agrees. “I don’t want to go either.”
She wakes up with her legs in Gilbert’s lap and his hand wrapped around her left ankle. There is the distinct sound of giggling. When she hears the telltale sound of an artificial shutter snapping, her eyes fly open.
Phil is standing in front of them taking pictures with her iPhone. “You two are adorable!” she gushes
“Phil!” Anne whines, covering her face. “It’s too early for this!”
“Did you two spend the night together?” Phil asks, beaming at the two of them.
“Only in the most innocent way possible,” Gil answers, his eyes still closed. “We fell asleep talking, I think.”
“Awwww! Nerds!” Phil squeals, making kissy faces at them as she backs out of the student lounge still taking pictures. “I’ll see you two later!”
She was gone before either Anne or Gilbert could react.
They go on their first real date that night. It’s a sweet little café called Patty’s Place and they have the best iced lattés that Anne has ever tasted. They hold hands across the table and stare deeply into each other’s eyes.
“I hope you keep on dreaming,” Gilbert tells her.
Anne realizes he must have watched her video at some point during the day. She waits, breathless, as he goes on.
“I have a dream,” Gilbert says slowly. “It’s sort of silly to say it now but I persisted on dreaming it even after. . . well, I dream of a home and a cat and a dog, and friends. And you.”
Anne smiles at him radiantly, it is maybe the most romantic thing anybody has said to her. She knows it’ll be a while before anything can happen, they are both still fairly young and he has years of medical school ahead of him, but it is a hope for the future. For their future.
They walk home hand-in-hand and everything is starry and love songs and sugar spun warmness. They take their time, rambling along the worn out sidewalks. Anne is enchanted when he actually whispers her Tennyson by moonlight because years ago, it was something he had told her that she was looking for in a boyfriend.
“I didn’t know you actually memorized Tennyson,” she says.
“I was hopeful,” Gilbert admits, smiling at her sheepishly.
If it’s possible, that makes her love him even more.
They go to bed early, parting at Anne’s dorm. It is their first date, so there isn’t a first kiss or anything because there are rules, after all. Yeah, they’ve known each other for a while but still.
His goodbye isn’t flowery or poetic at all but she can’t wait until they see each other again.
Gilbert feels the same way because when she wakes up the next morning, she has a notification from him that says he knows that he should wait longer to ask but can he see her again tomorrow?
Anne tweets him in reply and asks him if he wants to get lunch.
They go out for coffee again that afternoon and Gilbert insists that she wear his jacket even though it isn’t cold out. But it’s comfortable and it smells like him, so she doesn’t fight him on it for too long.
They fall asleep on the train. The long week that is behind them is actually catching up with them. There’s a breath of a second between waking and napping when Gilbert takes her hand and intertwines her fingers with his.
Phil tags along on their date. She makes them purchase expensive macarons for her then proceeds to spend the duration of the date glued to her phone and giggling while she steals the occasional glance in their direction.
(Later on, Anne and Gilbert find not one but two pictures of them on Instagram and an actual real live tweet of their date. Like they’re an episode of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or something!)
Anne admits she’s relieved that Phil is so happy for them. Especially because there’s still a video of a very angry Phil floating around the Internet universe.
Gilbert is okay with it because Anne is but they have a serious discussion about letting people third-wheel on their dates again.
They discuss Ruby a couple of days later. They’ve talked about her a lot since she died. She had brought them back together as friends after all.
They wish she could be there to see them together. She had always been one of their biggest supporters.
Anne comes up with a scenario where Ruby has a front row seat in Heaven and got to watch the whole thing unfold from the very beginning. The theology is a little screwy. It isn't exactly something they had learned in Sunday school.
But they want to think that Ruby knows somehow.
They make believe she’s in the room for a few seconds and tell her that they are together. Then they put on some Taylor Swift and One Direction in her honor (courtesy of Phil’s CD collection) because she would so tweet lyrics from their songs after she found out they were together.
They dance around Anne’s dorm room to “Out of the Woods”. Gilbert puts his arms around her and holds her close. After a few seconds have passed, he tries to kiss her on the cheek again and this time he lands on his intended target.
Their first kiss on the mouth is actually quite romantic. It’s an end of April shower and they are dashing between raindrops, trying to avoid getting. Gilbert stops her and for a breathless second, they just stare into each other eyes.
He reaches out and pushes her rain drenched braid away from her face before kissing her on the actual lips! It’s like that scene in the Princess Diaries where Mia and Michael are in the garden except she isn’t a princess and there definitely isn’t any tongue. But strangely enough there are lights and music and the kiss is serious enough that her foot actually pops.
Both their worlds are transformed into something lovelier than before.
“Wow!” Anne breathes.
“Wow!” Gilbert echoes, framing her face with both hands and kissing her again.
Anne smiles against his mouth.
He’s smiling too.
They run into Roy one day and it’s even more awkward than Anne imagined it could be. They go through the motions. He says he’s happy for her. For them. But the couple gets the idea that he’s lying to them. His jaw is clenched and he won’t look at either of them.
“I kind of pity him,” Gilbert says when Roy leaves. “He has to get over you and believe me when I say that is the hardest thing a boy would ever have to do if they were lucky enough to fall into your orbit.”
Anne shakes her head. “I didn’t mean to break his heart. But he has to understand. . . nobody could ever match up with you because it’s always been you Gil. From that very first day.”
Gilbert’s smile could light up the whole entire town.