For someone who had talked a big game with telling Gideon about a New Year’s Eve kiss, had researched it, overthought it, knew what the game plan was - what her game plan was - she was far too nervous. Too fidgety, too rambly.
It was a problem for Anne, who had been trying to remain cool and collected while wearing a too-short dress. It had been more than a little tempting to see if she could get away with alcohol, but Anne knew it made her ridiculous, and she wasn’t going for ridiculous, she was going for-- modern woman. In a modern world.
Or something like that. She still wasn’t entirely sure. But what she was sure of, was that Gilbert was there, with her, and looking as handsome as ever. It had already been a pleasant evening leading up to this, with easy conversation and dancing and both of them just being able to act like teenagers, not glancing over their shoulder waiting for someone to yell at them about having a chaperone. Gilbert was, as always, the company she preferred over others.
It was only five minutes until midnight, five short yet torturously long minutes that Anne was sure she was going to expire right on the spot if the minutes managed to tick by even slower than they were already. “Oh-” she turned just a little too quickly, all elbows, her clumsy self managing to bump into him in the fake glow of LED lights. Her drink sloshed slightly, spilling just a little onto her hand but thankfully not her dress. Anne flashed Gilbert an apologetic smile. “Sorry- sorry, I just- your hat, it’s crooked.”
She was already mentally kicking herself for not waxing poetic about the fireworks or general air of happiness instead.
The fact that this was a date was something Gilbert had tried really hard not to get too bogged down by for the night. Yes, it was a date. But still, it was Anne. Anne who had a way of making even the most mundane things interesting. So how could something like a party celebrating the New Year be anything but fun and exciting with her company. Besides, Gilbert knew getting too far into his own head about all of this would only make the night awkward and the last thing he wanted was for their first date to be a disaster.
And it was easy enough to get into a groove. The music, while entirely different than what they had at home, was fun and easy to move to. Dancing, he'd come to learn, was something he very much enjoyed when it was more just - move your body to this beat - and not defined by all the rigid steps they had to learn back home. It was freeing. Much like just being there with Anne was. A date, of course, but one that was just that. A Date. Not with the expectations of back home that this would end in an engagement, a marriage, children, all within even as little as year. No, they had time. Time to just - have a date.
And then there was Anne. All red hair and that dress that had Gilbert finding his brain just - restarting - from time to time when he looked her over. The knowing that midnight came with certain traditions that, well, like Anne had started to take over most thoughts the closer and closer they got to the time.
He just laughed a little when Anne bumped in him, reached a hand for elbow to steady her. "It's alright," he assured, a flash of a smile. He kept a hand on her elbow and reached up to fix his hat with the other hand. "Better?" he asked, a quirk of his brow with that same smile still on his lips.
It wasn’t her fault if the sigh that was in her heart came out verbally, with his little fix and crooked smile. It was entirely Gilbert Blythe’s fault, and teenage hormones. More than once this evening she had wanted to skip the normal tradition and just kiss him right there. She’d already chickened out a dozen times, not to mention had straight up avoided admitting yes, I’m interested, since she was entirely too clogged up with a mash of anxiety and feelings that all were threatening to boil over.
It was a lot. It also meant that Anne was even more likely to say something foolish, because that was always what happened when she kept things bottled up.
But he just looked so-- delicious. Delightful. Handsome. That blue suit did things to her, and made her want to throw a lot of good manners right out the door.
It was then she realized she was holding his arm, hand gripped against the fabric, just openly staring at him like she was once again thinking about early kissing, not replying to his question. “Oh! Yes! It’s- yes. It’s perfect. Fine, I mean. Haha.” Ending it with an awkward laugh was probably about the best she was going to get as her face went up in flames.
Teenage hormones were definitely something else. Gilbert's heart raced as Anne stared up at him. She was utterly beautiful, even if Gilbert knew she probably thought herself anything but as the flush crept across her face. He honestly wasn't sure if it was nerves at this point or more some mix of anticipation and excitement. Midnight managed to feel at once both a lifetime away, excruciatingly far, and suddenly so very, very close.
He gave Anne a smile as she deemed his hat perfect, a soft laugh at her own awkward one though there was nothing malicious about it. Just fond amusement.
There was a piece of her hair that had come loose from her braid, and he reached a hand to tuck it behind her ear. His hand lingered, fingers against Anne's cheekbone.
"Happy New Year, Anne," he said as he kept her gaze. A few minutes early, but, well… it felt like a good time to say it.
A shiver shot down her spine, and Anne lifted her head just slightly, unconsciously putting herself closer and in a more intimate setting. It felt like such a long time had passed since the first time he touched her hand and Anne felt the change. The realization that Gilbert was more than just a friend, that Anne looked at him less like a pest and more like a…
Pest that she might have had feelings for.
Definitely had feelings for.
She swallowed the lump in her throat. “Happy New Year, Gilbert.” It didn’t take half as much courage as she expected to lean up on her toes. “I meant to take a breath mint or something before midnight but--” In a true Anne fashion, she brought her hand up to close around his tie, to pull him down to meet her lips halfway, before the countdown had even begun.
Gilbert had learned long ago to always expect the unexpected with Anne. But that didn't mean that Anne never surprised him. Quite the opposite in fact. It was what he liked about her. There was no else out there like Anne Shirley-Cuthburt and Gilbert wouldn't have her any other way.
He'd barely a moment to take in the implication of her words before he was being tugged forward. There was a brief noise of surprise, as though he was about to say something before it was completely cut off. He caught up quick though, and soon enough the hand that still lingered at Anne's elbow moved to the small of her back and tugged her in closer as his other hand slid behind Anne's neck.
Gilbert had never kissed anyone, it would have been improper after all. He'd barely seen anyone kiss until showing up in Vallo to find nearly every movie and show having some version of it. But it seemed easy enough with Anne. And it was nice. So much so that he lingered, well, longer than was probably proper but then proper wasn't as much of a concern these days.
He grinned as they parted, perhaps a bit flushed in his cheeks. "I've thought about that for - a while," he admitted.
Through the fog of joy and first kisses, Anne emerged with a ridiculous smile on her face. At this point, she wasn’t surprised Gilbert had responded so nicely (and it was nice, everything about him was nice) but it gave her a pleased flush nonetheless.
“I-- have too,” she admitted that secret softly, as if someone might overhear and gasp even if no one was paying them any attention. “Since back home. Though I’ve been dreaming about my first kiss for years, and I have to say that exceeded expectations and was very pleasant. Now I see why people get in trouble for it.”
She made no move to back off or give him space, even though she was rambling at him, but that was probably a good thing, as the countdown to midnight had started all around them. Ten, Nine,-- the shouts continued, and Anne flushed again, thinking of another kiss.
Gilbert just smiled brightly as Anne started to ramble. His hands lingered where they were, not in any hurry himself to back off either. He raised his brows, but the smile on his face didn't fade. "Oh, well then Miss Shirley-Cuthbert I am glad to have been deemed pleasant," he teased lightly. But he knew what she meant and pleasant was a good word for it. His head spun with it in the most delightful way.
The sound of people suddenly counting down caught his ear and he looked to Anne with a grin. "I suppose it'd be bad luck to stop now," he said. After all wasn't it tradition to kiss as the clock struck midnight. He grinned and pulled Anne in to do just that.