This story takes place a few weeks after the ending in North and South, assuming that Margaret and John have just got married.

My intent is to explore how things might be between them in terms of sexuality, taking into account their passionate nature, but also the strong Victorian inhibitions and rules that undoubtedly would have influenced any couples' sex life at that time.

As you can see, this first chapter is very short, and those that follow won't necessarily be much longer. Just so that you don't expect a very long story if that's what you're looking for. The chapters will be some sort of excerpts from their nights together.

Beware that, given the subject, this story is obviously rated M, although I've tried to make it as tasteful as I could (of course, your opinion might differ ;-)).

Please let me know what you think of it (good or bad, I'm not picky ;-))!

She lies underneath him, eyes closed, heart pounding. He is slowly moving inside her.

He is taking his time about it, claiming her with long, deep thrusts. His face is
buried in her neck. His lips move endlessly against the soft skin there, one of his
arms cradling her head. With the other hand, he strokes her thigh in smooth motions,
from hip to knee. Each time he reaches the back of her knee, he pulls it up at the
crook, gently persuading her to open herself wider to him, sinking deeper into her.

The room is warm, and dark. Only a few live embers from the fireplace cast a soft
glow on the bed. Apart from the quiet rustling of sheets, all is silent.

He never wants this to end. He only wants to bury himself deeper into her, and for
her to feel as consumed by him as he is by her. He thinks she holds back. She, who
always speaks her mind and with whom he can always talk so openly, she, does not
utter a word during their nights together. He reasons that this is all so new to her,
and that she was raised to think of it as a duty, one that has to be endured, not
enjoyed. But he is determined to prove her wrong.

In his desire to melt into her, he snakes a hand around her hips and lifts them up to
meet his next thrust. He hears her gasp and her hold on his shoulders stiffens. He
stops kissing her neck and searches her eyes intently but she avoids him, turning her
face away from him.

"Have I hurt you?" he worries in a low, urgent voice.

Slowly, she shakes her head to say no, but she still avoids his stare.

He studies her face carefully in the semi-darkness. He notices that the flush on her
face has deepened, and that her chest rises and falls faster. And realization dawns
on him.

He repeats the motion.

"There?" he whispers in her ear and, sure enough, he feels her grip tighten, her
eyelids shut tight. Her lips are pressed in an effort to stifle any sound.
She won't answer but it doesn't matter. He knows.

Swiftly, he grabs a pillow and places it under her, so that her hips are angled up
towards him. He knows she must feel mortified, but that does not stop him.
Knowing that her body responds to his thrills him beyond words. It gives him hope
that he can teach her to overcome her shame.

Every time she thinks of it, she feels her cheeks burn with shame.
She is lying next to him in the early hours of a misty morning and for once, she has
awaken before him.
They have been married for a fortnight now, and she still has not got used to waking up
next to a man. She thinks she will never get used to it. How could she? She was raised
in a world where men and women can barely speak to each other without a chaperon,
where showing an ankle is seen as indecent and where maidens are shielded from the
mere sight of a man's throat. And then, in an overnight, she is now expected to lie
with a man, in nothing more than her nightgown, and to feel his weight on top of her.

She is asked to forget all that she has ever learnt and to surrender every bit of
modesty. She is told to give him free access to a part of her body she barely knows

And yet.

He was so kind, so tactful, so...gentlemanly to her that first night, and all those
that have followed since then.