Two chapters in one night! Oh my! What has come over me? I think it is the only way I know how to apologize. I think I am going to continue through Thornton's POV. I know that in the beginning I stated that it would be Margaret's but I am finding much more inspiration in writing through Thornton's. I suppose if any of you are against this, than just let me know, and I can squeeze in some Margaret's POV. Also, I told you all that I would changing some things. Well here it starts. Firstly, the dinner at the Thornton's has not happened yet and secondly, Mrs. Hale is much worse than she was in the novel/miniseries at this time. Anywho, if you guys have any constructive comments, I am open for those. My writing is not the best, and believe me; I can do well with having some commentary on how to better it.
A week had past, and thinking back on the dinner I had with Margaret after our coincidental meeting, I look on the coming weeks with more hopefulness and pleasure. Dinner, what a wonderful commonality that can lead to such gaieties. I never knew that dinner could be the most important or my favorite meal of the day! However, anything involving Margaret is starting to become my favorite and most important.
Finally, after a weeklong separation, I will see her tonight! Of course, I have seen her at least twice since the dinner, but tonight it will be more merriment that it has previously.
The first time I saw her, it had been two days since the dinner. I was walking towards Crampton, on my way for a session with Mr. Hale. She and I literally bumped into each other on the street, in front of the post office. I cannot forget the astonishment of her facial features, the way her hands grasped my biceps with such strength, the slow but brilliant smile that crept on her face, or the fact that she let me hold her, my arms tight around her waist, for a full thirty-seconds, before we both came to our senses. We could not speak openly for Mr. Hale came out of the post office soon after, and we all headed back to Crampton together.
The second time was just two days ago. I was at the mill, overseeing the floor, making sure the workers were not wasting their time. With the aftermath of the strike, we had loads and loads of shipments that needed completion. The backorder was a vast amount, and my stress and anxiety made me more of a forceful and a bit of an authoritarian master than I was before. Slowly, thinking of these backorders, the defiance of my workers, the risk of livelihood in which they placed themselves and me in, my anger was creeping in over my being. Looking at the men, women, and children, who abandoned this mill and me for some ill-conceived notion of righteous revolution that would prevail and in the end, be a win for them. No, it would simply not do. Not with the traditional mindset of the other mill-owners. I knew, from growing up and working hard for the title of mill owner, that this mindset, both of the workers and the owners, would not change for the better nor would there be better results for either of them, especially the workers. I knew and understood both worlds. These thoughts running through my mind, my anger quickly built by the notification that I had a guest waiting for me in my office. I had no time to see a guest. Did they not know that I was a very busy man? That I did not care for their purpose, whatever it was. However, with a shrewd look from my forehand, he only ever bestowed this courageous and a bit annoying look for very important reasons, I sighed and went to see about my guest. Whoever thought that only a master could be shrewd or forceful thought wrong, especially when confronted by one of Blakeley's looks.
Entering, I was expecting to see either two types of men that had been coming in by the dozen it seemed. Either a man of great means, traveling up from London, hearing about investing in mills for a means of entertainment, or a man who wished to collect money or shipment, that was past due. However, I was not expecting to see my Margaret, all beauty and sunshine.
I arrested my step, caught in the doorway, neither moving nor speaking because of want and shock at seeing her, alone, with the rare sunshine passing through the windows, glinting over her massive brown curls. She turned herself at my entrance and smiled a shy smile, but held my astonished face with her bold gaze. Her eyes roamed my face, taking in every line, every movement, until she realized what she was doing, and instantly blushed and looked down, her teeth worrying her bottom lip, trying to trap her broadening grin. I mimicked her, after taking all of her in, shyly looked down, and finally, after an age, stepped in my office, and slowly shut the door with an audible click. I moved towards my desk, my step reaching the chair, and with a wave of my hand, motioned for her to be seated. Both of us now seated, her eyes found mine, but neither of us spoke.
"Miss Hale, how are you? I hope that everything is well. I hope I will see you later in the week for the annual dinner?" I say with as much polite reserve I had. I just wanted to gather her in my arms, and stare into her eyes for an eternity. However, I could not do that and so I thought conventionalities must persist. Oh please tell me she is coming. Please tell me that she did not come here to rescind the invitation in person. I need to see more of her!
"I am as well as I can be Mr. Thornton, as is my family. I have only come because I am in need of something, but I was told your mother was not here, so I thought, being the ever surprising and helpful man, you could be of service to me," said she with polite manner. Only at the end was there some spirit in her speech, delivered in a saucy way.
I looked up, seeing her slightly grin, but her eyes contained sadness. Why was she sad? "Of course, Miss Hale. You know my love for you…," here I paused a moment, letting it sink in, before clarifying, if only for her sake, by the sudden and surprised gaze she bestowed on me, "…for you to continue to be surprised by anything I do," I said with a poignant look and a soft smile. Whoever thought anything about John Thornton to be soft could now be shocked, thought I. However, I had been realizing that I wanted to be and was softer around Margaret. She had made me softer, and I was starting to like it.
"Yes, well that surprise continues to occur, Mr. Thornton," she said as she directed her gaze at the floor.
Needing to rectify what I had just done, "So Miss Hale, how may I help you? You seem to be distracted from our newly formed friendly banter. What is the matter? You seem much more despondent than I had previously beheld. I know that your friend's death is greatly felt, and I am indeed so very sorry that she is no longer here. I hope you know-"
"No Mr. Thornton, it is not that, well not entirely. I do feel Bessie's death still, for she was my great friend and I miss her so much. No, now, it is my worry for my mother. She has been ill recently, and this is the reason she was not at dinner last week. I am here because I was wondering if you knew of another doctor or someone who could see her and perhaps give a second opinion," she said with tears on the brim of escaping.
When she finally looked up at me, first one, and then another tear overflowed down her reddened cheeks and I quickly got out of my chair, rounded the desk, and sat in the chair next to her. As much as I wanted to forget propriety and wrap her in my arms, I did not, for fear of what she would say or do. We had formed a brand new and shy thing, and I did not want to jeopardize that for anything. Seeing my movements, she slowly turned herself towards me in the abiding chair. She silently wept, her head down, shoulders slightly shaking. It took everything in my being to not grasp her with my whole body, so instead, I held one of her small, frail, clammy and cold hands in both of mine, and slowly my thumb drew circles.
Finally, after taking a long breath, and wiping the remaining tears from her face, she looked up at me. Her eyes showed her sadness, her worry, and most of all, her embarrassment. No, she should not feel embarrassed about expressing herself to me.
"Miss Hale, I know that no words can be of comfort in this time. However, I will do everything in my power to help you. I do know of several doctors that can provide a second opinion. I hope that you receive better results from them. I understand if you would be unable to attend dinner this Friday and would hate to put you in a troubled position. If you do choose not to come, then it is understandable and neither my mother nor I would hold a grudge. I would not ask a selfish thing like that of you. However, could you please do one thing for me?"
"Of course, Mr. Thornton, anything," she said breathy from her previous weeping.
"Please always come to me if you ever need anything, no matter what it is. And I do mean anything, a person to talk to, a shoulder to cry on…anything," I said as I gave her a soft smile, pleading in my eyes.
Finally, I receive her full beautiful and breathtaking smile, crinkle eyes, and a look that speaks a thousand words. "Yes, Mr. Thornton. I can do that."
I smile in return, and meeting her bold gaze, raise her encased hand to my lips and tenderly place kisses upon it.
Her intake of breath and her prominent blush makes me emboldened, and I carefully run the knuckles of my left hand down her face, from her temple to her chin, repeating the motion several times. She slowly closes her eyes at this repeated motion and breathes a sigh of contentment, pushing her face towards my hand.
After several long minutes, she opens her eyes with such a look that nearly knocks me off my seat. I cannot hold back my gasp at such a devoted and caring and dare I say, loving, look pointed at me. As if occupying the same mind, we both start to lean towards the other, our intent clear. Suddenly, hard footsteps and then a pounding at the door halt our movements, and make us both gaze at anything other than each other.
"Master! Master! You are needed on the floor, sir!"
I grunt harshly, why is this moment ruined! Just a few more precious seconds, and I would have had the physical answer to my unspoken question. Sighing, I slowly rise and assist Margaret up.
"Yes, Blakeley, on my way!," I nearly yell, all my pent up anger at the ruination of my moment with Margaret.
I look down at Margaret, finding her gaze upon me. Her lips twitch slightly, as if finding amusement in the situation. After a moment, I mirror her look, and we both quietly laugh, taking in the ridiculousness of the moment that was just interrupted.
I make my way to my desk and scratch down the names of the other doctors. I come back around my desk and stand directly in front of Margaret. Handing her the paper silently, she slips it in her pocket and looks up at me again.
"Well Miss Hale, I will walk you to the gate," I say as I hold out my arm for her to take.
She takes it instantly with a thank you and we make our way to the yard. So much still left unsaid, and yet so much has been said, with looks, with almost occurrences.
As we reach the gate, she stops and slowly looks up at me, again taking in my face. She takes in every line, every movement, every expression, until finally she reaches my eyes, where there she finds the love and desire I have for her fully expressed. This time though, she does not blush nor look away but continues to hold my gaze until a slow smile appears, awakening both her and I to our understanding, to our comfort of finding home in each other. She curtseys with a goodbye.
But I arrest her step; I cannot simply let her go like that. I slowly bring her gloved hand to my mouth, and kiss it ever so gently, with a "Good day, Margaret," in a husky and hushed voice. Blushing, she gasps and then smiles at me, squeezing my hand a little before I finally release it.
And out she walks into the dingy streets while I stare after her figure until it disappears around a corner. I hope that she comes to dinner, please come to dinner. I have a desperate need to see her again, to hold her hand again, and to be near her.
So I know that I sort of got carried away by the second meeting, but I just couldn't help myself. It kind of just poured out. So next chapter will be a continuance, if you will, including the dinner. And I'm definitely going to make it more "romancy". I just hated how in the miniseries that stupid fool took Thornton away from Margaret just when they were getting friendlier. So expect that change. Please review, and tell me what's bad/good. I would greatly appreciate your comments. I'm going to try and post more this weekend, and hopefully finish this story by Friday of next week.