Here is my first fan fiction story. I am not a great writer, but I have been in love with this series for a millennium it feels like & I have always wanted more "coincidental" meetings between Margaret & John. This is one way, which I think satisfies my wish. Please review...I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks and I hope you enjoy it. Although I dearly wish to have created North & South, I did not. North & South belongs to the wonderful Elizabeth Gaskell. However, certain events, sayings, actions, etc., that are not in Gaskell's publication belong to me. I hope that you will enjoy this little snippet.

Summary: This story begins after Mr. Thornton has cancelled his session with Mr. Hale, and Margaret tells Mr. Hale she has written to Fred about their mother. Margaret, unable to bear the claustrophobia of the burdens at home, sets off for a walk to talk freely with Bessie Higgins, the only friend she can speak to without hesitation. However, something happens and this is a little "what if" situation that I really wanted to happen next. Told in Margaret's point of view.

These conversations with my father, at least now, always make me feel so uneasy. When I was a child, when I was in Helstone, I never felt like this. Never. Father always brought comfort and understanding, and a sense of satisfaction. We have always been close, always spoken our minds, and were never reserved as many other fathers and daughters were. However, I do not feel this way anymore with him. He has remained the same, while I have changed. My father, I have come to realize, is still living in a fantastical reality, where everything will work itself out, no matter the situation. He knows that it is a grave situation that he has placed his family in, yet he does not feel uneasy about this drastic action. And I would not wish that on him. He uprooted us, suddenly, without a clear understanding of why at the time and of course, he knows that this action has not been kind on our family, with Mother becoming ill, little remarks from Dixon, and the change in our economic situation. I see that now he understands the effects of his change, but still, he lives as though it will all be fine. But I no longer hold onto the hope that it will all be fine, that it will all work out. I just have the desire that maybe the very little luck might be on our side for once, and that there will be a content ending to all of this. Mother will become well, Father will find that his students, and many more will pay for tutoring, that Fred will arrive safely in Milton, and from there will earn his rightful freedom and justice. I know that my father loves me dearly, but it is hard to remain the ever-constant rock for him and Mother. I am living in the current reality, not the one Father is in or wants, but in this unpleasant, claustrophobic, and dark reality.

After speaking with Father about Fred and the letter, I find it hard to concentrate on the daily chores, which I surround myself in. I must do something productive; keep my mind from wandering to the constant threat that looms over home. Fred is coming, I know he will, but even ironing the curtains with Dixon cannot keep my mind from wandering to the tragic "what ifs" that could occur. I feel my anxieties breaking through my exterior, and suddenly have this desperate urge to speak, yell even, at the top of my lungs to anyone that will listen.

Dramatically, I stop ironing the curtains, telling Dixon that I must rest. Unable to remain standing still, doing the mundane work that I was caught up in, I feel as though I was about to suddenly collapse and cry. I must remain strong, I must!

"Miss Margaret, are you alright?," Dixon's concerning voice enters my ears, but I hardly register to speak before escaping, practically running out of the kitchen.

I run and run, until reaching the stairs, taking two steps at a time. It is so unlike a lady to do so, but I cannot bother with propriety. The need to lay my head down before dropping to the floor wins over propriety. I hear Dixon speaking my name with concern, her heavy steps following out of the kitchen to the stairs, stopping at the bottom. However, I cannot stop myself from running. I cannot stop to explain what has just occurred without showing what I wish to hide: my true sadness and weakness. I must find privacy now. The urgency to be locked away, to hide the insecurities and sadness and depression of the ruins of everything I love dearest is suddenly daunting and I know that privacy is the only relief before they cave in on me. My shoulders are like weak wooden boards, close to caving in, trying to hold heavy and bulky aspects and pains of life. I must shed this hard and strong exterior because now I know that my soft and sunken insides must spill out.

Finally, for what seems like miles of running, I reach my bedroom door, opening and closing it so swiftly that my dress is suddenly caught in the door. Anger and irritation seep through my pale, almost white mouth as a growl escapes my quivering lips. I release my dress from its captor and fling my whole being onto the bed, face forward onto a pillow, finally releasing all of the frustration, the sadness, the anger. I have never before crying like this. Tears flow through my eyes, like a gushing spring unable to be held back any longer. My stomach turns inwardly at the heavy flow of emotion. Everything in my body aches, and yet there is no relief of pain, even while crying. My breath is ragged and edges itself from my lungs with pain, trying to gain footing and release itself. Unable to breathe in a full or comforting breath since the beginning, I cannot seem to catch my breath and this complication only makes me cry even harder and louder. I feel as though I could die, even knowing how overdramatic this thought is, I cannot seem to stop it. Crying my hardest, hardly breathing, I cannot escape the idea that if I were to suddenly die of suffocation or heart break, finally, endlessly, I could finally breathe without the weight of the world on my being. I would feel ease. But then I think of what my leaving would do to my Father, my Mother, and Fred, even Dixon, and then I begin to cry even harder. I could never leave them, why am I being so overly dramatic? I have no right!

I cry and cry until finally I come back to reality from my pity-party. Slowly, I raise my head, then my arms little by little push up my body, until finally I am sitting on the edge of my bed, with tiny specks of water still running over my tomato-red cheeks. I begin to grasp myself, breathing slowly in and out, heaving my chest up and down, wishing that this corset were not pushing into me. Lord, I hate corsets. Why on Earth is it necessary to wear something that? Personally, I see is another way to trap women in. Would a man wear a corset? Of course not! However there are those men who do, but even then they are considered to be absolutely ridiculous, not only to men in society, but also women. Wait, why am I rambling on, thinking of corsets? I have just been childishly crying my eyes out, considering my death and the ease of it, and now I am thinking about corsets? This thought has me giggling a little, although not full heartedly. I realize that the show of strength and sensibleness must go on. I stand up, although fearing of my knees weaknesses, I do it slowing and with the assistance the corner of my desk. Seeing a "Dear Edith" on the script, I resolved myself to finishing the letter. Perhaps writing my thoughts to her will bring me at least some comfort and satisfaction. Ever cautious, I find my footing to walk to the chair, pulling it carefully out to sit upon. I sink down rapidly. My knees must still be feeling the excess of emotion. Grabbing my pen, I begin:

"I hope that you are well, and that everything on Harley Street remains as fashionable and pleasant as ever. I miss Sholto dearly, as well as Captain Lenox and Aunt Shaw. Please give them my best, and tell Aunt Shaw that I should write to her soon. Oh Edith, I cannot begin to tell you how alone I feel. Everything is crushing my being, and yet I can find no relief."

I suddenly stop the flow of my pen. I cannot tell Edith of my troubles, she would never understand. Yes, we are cousins, and even deeper friends, but I cannot show her my weakness or my strong resolve deteriorating. She could not bear it and I could not bear her pity or sadness. I slowly crumple the letter until it is a small ball of white. Looking down, I see only the letters "bes" peeking through the crumpled page and suddenly think of Bessie. Yes, I must go and see Bessie! She will understand, she will be there to listen and advise. Quickly, I get up from the chair, knocking it over on the ground roughly. Not caring, I open my door and run downstairs. Grabbing my hat and coat, I hardly have time to put them on when I run into Father.

"Oh Margaret, dear, I'm ever so sorry. I did not see you before we suddenly collided," he chuckled, more to himself than to her. " Are you alright? Are you going somewhere? Surely it is too late to pay a call to anyone. Perhaps..."

But before he could finish, I kissed his cheek, and told him that I would be back soon. I must go and see Bessie. He was taken aback but he could not say anything more. He smiled and nodded. I left, practically sprinting down the street, paying no attention to the hundred eyes following me.

(So this is the first chapter. I know that nothing really occurs here, but I feel it's a foundation or a beginning step for what will. I hope that I have not created a scene too much out of character for Margaret or the rest of the characters. I will post more later, perhaps even this week! If you wish, of course. Please review, and be kind. I greatly appreciate it! Thanks.)