I have not read Elisabeth Gaskell's novel and this fanfiction is therefore set on the train, directly following the end of the beautiful BBC mini TV-series from 2004, and is based on the characters as they are portrayed in the series.

I very much appreciate reviews! Read and enjoy:

The landscape rushed pass outside the window, making green hills and yellow fields pass in the matter of short glimpses. She had never thought she would ever feel like this returning to Milton and the North. It was like she was going home.

His arm was around her shoulders. They were so close, and she knew it was wrong. That kiss at the station had been wrong. At least she knew she was supposed to think it was.

Her eyes left the moving landscape outside the window and fell on her hands. The right one in his, the left one with a tight grip of the yellow rose. Suddenly she felt his hand under her chin as he turned her head to meet his gaze. Those eyes she had thought so cold and hard, how was it possible that these were the same? So soft, so filled with love and tenderness.

"Is something troubling you, Margaret?" Margaret.

He was so close, their foreheads almost resting against each other. This should be wrong, they weren't married. They were not even engaged. He had not proposed yet, at least there not at a time where she had accepted. She could feel his hand gently squeezing hers. The hand she had been so afraid of, the hand she had seen beat a man bloody. But she understood him now, and these hands were not those hands any more.

"I…", she whispered, but there were no words.

"Margaret…" His voice, the way he said her name, brought tears to her eyes. "I want to marry you, Margaret. I love you more than anything else in the entire world. I love you with my whole heart. I love you, so much."

A tear rolled down her cheek, but she did nothing to stop it. It should feel wrong, being this close to a man, but it did not. And this time it was she who leaned forward and kissed him. She even surprised herself with the urgency of it. She could feel his hands on her face, on her neck, in her hair. And her lips burned like fire, aching for him, pushing her closer, making his lips part and meeting her tongue. The kiss was fierce, filled with passion and longing.

They broke apart, only an inch, and her ragged breaths mixed with the heavy heaving of his chest. His hands were still on her face and with one thumb he removed the teardrop from her cheek.

"I have been so foolish.", she said, her voice barely a whisper. "I thought I understood, thought I knew everything, but…"

"Ssch…" She was so close she felt his headshaking more than she saw it. "Ssch.", he begged. "If it was not for my pride… If I had not been so stubborn, so quick to make assumptions…"

"I was so blind. Judging you so fast."

"I hope you understand me, Margaret. I hope you understand me when I tell you I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you." He leaned in and kissed her again, soft and gently this time. His eyes swept over her face before returning to her meeting gaze. "If you want me, I will be yours. Forever. Just tell me you want me too and I will marry you now, at this very instant, at the next church we will pass."

She could not help but laugh a little, making a second teardrop escape her eye and roll down her cheek.

"Oh, I will have you, John.", she said, her heart beating hard in her chest. "More than willingly. I love you. I have loved you for a long time now, even if I did not realize it myself."

His mouth crashed in to hers once more, and this time she did not care that it was inappropriate while she flung her arms around his neck. This time it were her hands in his hair, and she pushed closer, as close as she could get as her tongue slipped pass his lips, making him moan. He gently pushed her backwards, nailing her to the wooden wall behind her. His lips traced down her neck, following her jaw line, touching her ear and making her whole body shiver. Her breathing was ragged and heavy when she let her hands move down his shoulders and take a halt on his chest. She could feel the muscles under his unbuttoned shirt as she pushed him at an arm lengths distance. His eyes were as filled with longing as she knew her own were.

"The wedding has to wait though.", she said, making him frown. She could not help but laugh at his confused complexion. "It has to wait until tomorrow. It's only Saturday and I want to get married on a Sunday morning. A sunny Sunday morning."