Note: this is the right chapter, all revised up and stuff, with the William to Henry Lennox change
AN: so I couldn't resist, I had to do a North and South fic. This is my first one of this genre, so be honest, I love Thornton and Margaret, so I want to continue their story. Read and Review!
How had she never seen him? Her hatred for him—no, for Milton, was too great to notice his face, the kindness hidden behind that mask of bitterness and derision. She could not, would not have seen it before, and now her conversation with his mother rang sharply in her ears, even as she stood, silhouetted against the cold grey of Milton sky. She had been accused of not knowing what sort of man he was, and now, in the strangeness of it all, she found that she knew. She found that she loved him.
When he had kissed her at the station, in front of Henry Lennox, she had been surprised. Surprised at the softness and the shy way his lips found hers, those lips, so often pursed in anger, or drawn into a hard line, relenting nothing, and yet telling so much. His life was not an easy one, she knew, but before she had resented it. Now, in the wake of their kiss, and the ride home, she could not help feel warmth towards his whole life, his past, his hardships, and yes, even to his mother.
When his mother saw her with John, and witnessed the easy way he smiled, like he used to but had not done since he was a young man, the old Mrs. Thornton could do nothing but draw her lips tight and allow herself a moment of precious relief. Margaret had saved them, she was sure, and the little beauty, so often defiant, and, like her son, stubborn, was now her saviour.
Margaret, noticing the expression in the eyes of John's mother, knew her thoughts, and allowed herself a smile at the recollection of the hug she had been so unladylike to bestow upon the older woman.
Now, after all that, she was engaged to John, and she wrapped her shawl more tightly around her shoulders at the thought, the wish to preserve yet give him all she was a conflict in her stomach. She wanted him to kiss her, to look at her with those blue eyes, and to tell her he would never leave her, and she wanted him like she had never wanted anything in her life. She was so close to being happy, and yet she was so far. Their engagement had been announced only days before, and for the sake of propriety, she was staying in the guest bedroom of the now unburdened home of his mother, but she ached to have him hold her, and to be close.
She was about to turn away down the hill when she felt two strong, masculine hands against her back. Turning in surprise, she saw it was John, and with a smile she threw her arms around him and he kissed her, the same gentle way as before, but with firmer hands on her face, and brought their bodies closer so her waist were flush to his waistcoat.
"John," she said breathlessly when they pulled apart, "we mustn't do this in public, we'll cause a scene." There was a smile in her eyes when she said this, and John waved a stray strand of hair out of her eyes.
"Margaret," he said in that roguish way of his, "then we must disobey my mother."
"John!" Margaret cried, "my father taught me well. I must wait to do such things until I am safely married!"
"What things?" He said in a low, seductive voice, "I was only speaking of us being seen together. Really, I had no idea you were so base." The twinkle in his eyes deceived him, and Margaret, ever one to play the self-righteous maiden, gave a false gasp and, with a cock of her chin, began to walk away, saying as she did,
"My, you will have to pay for that, dear John." Without turning around, she walked all the way back to the mill-house and went to her room where she could no longer suppress her giggles. There she laughed like a child, and, upon recollection, realized how different John had become. He was still taciturn and serious mostly, but when he was with her the veil lifted, and he was kind and gentle, not that barbarian she has perceived him to be upon their first meeting.
She touched her lips where he has kissed her and vividly recalled the feeling of his mouth on hers, that foreign scratch of his stubble, those soft, curved lips, and her breath began to quicken again at the thought. Her sister was right, love did agree with one, especially if the lover was kind.
She went to the window then, to watch the workers and wait for John. She noticed familiar faces among the crowd, but never her fiance. Her vigil continued to supper, and, still not seeing him, she declined her meal, not sure why. Mrs. Thornton groused at her sons lateness, but to Margaret there was a much deeper concern. As their love was yet new, a pang of uncertainty gripped her stomach, and she soon sat back down on her bed, shaking her head to such thoughts. She never wanted to disappoint John, or ever upset him, and the worry that she had burned in the irrational, love sick place in her heart.
She fell asleep and dreamt that she woke blurrily to John, sitting on the edge of her bed, smiling with his head tilted to the side.
"You missed dinner," He said, "I hope that was not on my account."
"No," she replied, curling into him like a cat, "but I did miss you."
"Ah," he said softly, lifting her into his arms, "I missed you as well. There was a little business I needed to discuss with some workers, that was all." He kissed her forehead, then her nose. "I must go, dear."
Margaret mumbled and fell back asleep, not sure if what had just happened was a dream, or she had awoken. Either way she was sure she had misjudged this handsome, independent man who was to be her husband.
AN: so I wanted to keep everything PG, for the most part, but I am thinking about making an M rating for later (it would be the first in the pool) but I'm not sure. Some Margaret/ John learning curb time might be necessary) R&R for another chapter! All ideas are welcome