FOR BETTER OR WORSE
That night, after dinner, Jack and Rose sat outside on the porch, enjoying the quiet of the country. Jack had his arm around Rose, and Rose leaned her head against his shoulder.
"Betsy knows, Jack." Rose sighed tiredly.
"Knows about what?" Jack looked at her quizzically, not having a clue as to what she was talking about.
"Titanic. Not all of it, but enough. She arrived with a copy of the New York Times. There was a picture of Cal and me at last yearís gala announcing our engagement. Below was an article describing my death and how he grieved for his lost fiancťe." Rose rolled her eyes. "Iím sorry. I know I should have waited, but she wanted answers, Jack, and I just couldnít lie to her."
"I understand, Rose. Donít worry about it. Besides, Betsy is trustworthy. She wonít contact Cal or your mother unless you say otherwise."
"I wouldnít care if she did. Iím your wife now, and nothing they say or do can change that." Rose smiled up at her husband.
"But he would want back that necklace. Would you be able to part with it?"
Rose was quiet for a couple of minutes. The Heart of the Ocean held a lot of memories for both her and Jack. If Jack had died out there that night ,she knew for a fact she wouldnít be able to part with the diamond. But he hadn't died. He was right there with her, and they could make a lot more memories, with or without the necklace.
"Yes, I would, Jack. Even though that necklace reminds me of our first night together as lovers, Iíd be able to give it back. Because we can make a lot more and better memories."
Jack smiled. "Iím glad to hear you say that, Rose." He kissed her tenderly.
"How about you, Jack? Would you be able to part with it?"
Jack laughed and looked into her eyes. "Of course. Besides, I have my most precious jewels right here in those green eyes of yours."
Rose blushed and pulled him in for a deeper kiss. Shouts and angry voices from within disturbed their interlude.
"If I catch you near my girl again, Iíll skin ya!" Butch Dawson came running out of the house, a shotgun in hand. He began shooting at the young man who had arrived earlier as he darted down the road.
"Daddy, stop!" Lisa screamed.
"What did I tell you about men in the house?" Butch turned on his daughter.
Lisa swallowed. "Iím sorry, Daddy."
"How long has he been here?"
"How long?" Butch angrily grabbed his daughterís shoulders and shook her.
"Uncle Butch, stop!" Jack pulled him away from Lisa. "Hurting her isnít going to make things better!"
"Jack, you donít understand. Youíve been away for far too long. This little hussy has ruined the Dawson name by taking every man in town to bed! What did you think, girl? That heíd marry you? No one marries his whore!"
Rose gasped at the outburst. No one deserved to be treated the way Butch was treating his daughter. She had to speak up for poor Lisa.
"Stop! Donít talk to her like that." Rose stepped forward.
Butch turned his glare on Rose. "Didnít anyone tell you not to talk unless spoken to?"
"Donít yell at Rose." Jack angrily stepped in front of his wife. "No one tells her when or what to say. If youíre angry at Lisa, fine, but you keep your voice at a reasonable level when you talk to Rose, and you approach her with respect."
"JackÖitís okay." Rose laid a calming hand on his shoulder. "Heís upset. He didnít mean to be so harsh."
"Iím sorry, Rose. I just donít want my daughter to be a bad influence on a real lady like you." Butch glared at his daughter. "One more time I catch a man in here with you, Lisa, and youíre out of here! Do I make myself clear?"
Lisa hurriedly nodded. "Yes, Daddy. I understand."
"Good. Now, get in there and mop the kitchen. Since Rose did the cooking, you can do the cleaning."
"Yes, Daddy." Lisa disappeared back into the house, followed by her father.
"Iím sorry you had to see that, Rose," Jack apologized. "Iím sure high society doesnít have people asÖuncouth as my family seems to be."
"Iím sure it does. But theyíre just not as vocal." Rose smiled lovingly at her husband.
"Vocal or notÖitís still unsettling." Jack shrugged. "I guess I have been away too long."
"JackÖdonít worry about it. Sure, your uncles are a little rough around the edgesÖall right, theyíre a lot rough around the edges. And your cousin, sheís nice but promiscuous. But I married you, Jack, because of who you are, not for what your family may or may not be. That was my problem with Cal and Mother. Remember? Hey, look at it this way. We survived the worse. My angry fiancť, a sinking ship, and below freezing waters. That was the hard part. Compared to that, your family is a piece of cake."
Jack laughed. "You have a point there, love. Okay. I wonít let them upset me so much."