DISCLAIMER: I, sadly, am not Elizabeth Gaskell. Despite the fact that I really wouldn't mind being the author of a book that was made in to a movie starring my favorite actor, Richard Armitage. I am not that awesome author, so the BBC and Mrs. Gaskell own this book. I wrote this story that you are reading. (Thank you for reading this.)

CHAPTER ONE


Henry Lennox watched mournfully as the newlyweds, Margaret and John Thornton, pulled away in the chaise from their wedding. His heart had been set on Margaret long before Thornton ever entered the picture.

Henry learned that, when Margaret had her mind made up, nothing could be done to change it. It appeared that the observation was correct. She had already rejected Henry, and he knew better than to push her. Unfortunately, not everyone had the same sense.

Edith, Henry's sister-in-law and Margaret's cousin, had gotten her hopes up about, what she considered, the seemingly destined nuptials of Henry and Margaret. This expectation had occurred before the knowledge of Margaret and Thornton's love came into view. However, a number of instances happened before that little known fact was manifest.

Edith said, after Mr. Hale's death, "Henry, the Captain and I have our hearts set on you and dear Margaret marrying. You have seen how sad she is here." Edith took a seat in the chair closest to him.

"I cannot make Miss Hale happy," Henry said icily.

"But you could try." She then sighed in disgust at his refusal to assist her matchmaking endeavors, "Milton is, from what I've heard, a disgusting and smoky place. And I cannot - do not - see what she misses about that awful place." She shuddered at the account of Milton that her mother had related to her. Having never been to the city herself, she could only take her mother's words as truth.

"I do," Henry muttered under his breath.

Edith looked at him sharply, almost brought to resentment at his attitude. She stayed this feeling, however, for his words were directed at her but the tone was directed at the apparition of a person that Margret had become since leaving that dreadful place. "Henry, you are acting just as mournful as Margaret. I do not understand the problem that you are experiencing. You were happy, but now you have sunk into a hole of despair. Even Mama has noticed." She took his hand in hers and was startled by the pallor of his skin, "Please, for Margaret's sake, be happier."

Henry yanked his hand free. "I am not happy. How can I be?" He stood up in a rush, how could she tell him to be in high spirits? It wasn't something that just happened - there had to be something that caused it. Seeing his intention to quit the room and leave her and her hopes, Edith scurried to the door to block him from exiting. "My dear sister, your expectations are out of my grasp. I cannot be happy at this time in my life."

"But you must be!" she cried. "We know that you and Margaret are meant to be married. But how can find she find the marriage suitable if you are not happy?"

"Well, then she and I will never be married. If she finds my countenance displeasing, then she may feel free of any advances from me. I will not disgust her more. It appears that my actions have already inflicted that upon her heart." Henry turned away - he didn't wish to look upon her anymore. He could not stand to see his own sorrow, splayed so blatantly on her face. She felt the same way that he did - helpless.

Edith's voice softened, "Henry, I am truly unhappy that you cannot find solace with yourself. You, more than anybody, deserve happiness. You have not injured, not insulted this family, and I-"

Henry interrupted, "But I will insult Margaret if I were to ask for her hand so soon after the loss of her father." He spoke firmly, but he was a submissive man, and he sighed in resignation, "In an attempt to please you, Edith, I will try. But I'll tell you now, she will not accept me."

Edith practically jumped with joy. "Thank you, Henry! This is a matter of utmost importance to all of us." With that, the delighted woman left the room and left Henry to ponder how his hand had been forced. His heart felt low in his breast for he knew he was right, Margret would never - could never - love him.


A/N: Thank you for reading this. It means a lot. Really. A lot. So. After reading this awesome story, if you could review it, I would really appreciate it if you would click on the 'review' button. You have accomplished the 'read' in R&R, so now just review. Thanks! Have a good day. A very good day. Heck, have a GREAT day! (No pressure.)