Written by Jeanita
Based on some situations originated by James Cameron.
April 15, 1925
New York City
It had been thirteen years since the Titanic went down. Rose DeWitt Bukater, aka Rose Dawson’s, life had been hard yet free since then. She had done so much since her emancipation from high society. Acting, learning to fly a plane…you name it, she’d done it. But no matter what, she never forgot about who had gotten her to where she was that day. Her lost love…Jack Dawson. Jack, with his lively blue eyes and silken blond hair. Oh, how she missed him. So much so that she shunned any chance to be with another man. If she even looked at another man, she felt that she was somehow betraying Jack, which was ridiculous. Jack had wanted to her to go on with her life, even if it meant meeting someone else. But she just couldn’t bring herself to do so.
Rose was on her annual trip to New York, a trip she made every year to pay homage to not only the Titanic victims, but also one victim in particular. Jack. She hadn’t set eyes on him in thirteen long years, but her love for him was still strong. She didn’t think she’d ever get over him. This time around, she wasn’t alone. Her friend, Crystal, was joining her. After sharing the story of the Titanic with her--the only person Rose had ever told, actually--Crystal had insisted on joining her.
"In this day and age, New York is too dangerous to take a trip alone. I’ll come and keep you company. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a little bit of fun before we return to Los Angeles," was Crystal’s reasoning.
Sure that fun was one thing she wouldn’t have, Rose had agreed. It would be nice to have company, and perhaps having Crystal with her would keep the memories away. So, after packing up, they had gone to New York and stood on the pier where the Carpathia had docked. Closing her eyes, Rose imagined that she heard the cries for help that had been silenced all those years ago. She even imagined she heard Jack singing Come Josephine, his gentle voice holding so much sadness. Crystal took her hand and squeezed it tightly as a stray tear escaped.
"Is it like this every year, Rose?" Crystal asked. "You come here and cry for what was lost?"
Rose simply nodded. "I come here and mourn him. He was so young, Crystal. So young and carefree…he didn’t deserve the cards he got dealt that night. Goodness, he would be thirty-four years old right now. Probably on his way to being a famous artist…if he had lived."
"Rose, don’t think about that…"
"I can’t help it! I can’t help but think how Jack was robbed of his life, and all because of me!" Rose burst into tears.
Her heart going out to her friend, Crystal wrapped her arms around Rose’s shaking shoulders, wanting to lend comfort to her friend’s broken heart. "Hey. It’s okay. Jack wouldn’t want you to blame yourself like this. You know he wouldn’t. Rose, remember that promise. Keep your promise to him."
"I have been. I’ve moved on, and…"
Crystal looked at her as if she knew better. "Come on, Rose. You know that’s only partially true. Tell me, when was the last romantic relationship you had after the Titanic? Hmm?"
Rose didn’t say anything. She just looked at the wooden planks of the pier.
"I didn’t think so. Rose…it’s been thirteen years now. It’s time to move on. You need to go out and live life again. Not only for yourself, but for Jack, as well. You know he’d want that."
Rose sighed and looked at her friend, wiping away her stray tears. Crystal was right. She knew she was. But what could she possibly do to start her life again? What could be a place suitable enough for two single women? Certainly not those dance clubs that the young people seemed to be drawn to now’a days. "You’re right. It is time. Jack would want me to do this. But Crystal…where do we go? Where can we go to find some suitable men? I don’t want just anybody. I want Jack…"
"But that’s not going to happen. So you’ll want the next best thing, right? Come. We’ll talk about this on the walk back to the hotel." Crystal began to walk away from the dock, motioning for Rose to follow her. "I was reading the society pages just the other day, and there was a small section for New York…"
"Society pages? Crystal, no. No. I could run into Cal, or my mother, for that matter, and…"
"But Rose, this is a gallery. An art gallery. What’s the chance of your mother or Cal showing up at a gallery? Huh?"
Rose had to smile. Crystal was cunning. She had to give her that. "There’s no chance. They both abhorred art, and besides, Jack was an artist. A gallery would only bring up bad memories for them."
"Exactly. Plus, Jack was an artist…something you found quite attractive. There will be artists at that gallery, Rose. Maybe even single and handsome artists. The perfect place to find a man you may be interested in."
"Crystal, just because Jack was an artist doesn’t mean that…"
"Just try it out, will ya? It won’t hurt. Besides, I love art, especially the art that’ll be showcased tonight. This artist, Rose…he sees people. He really does."
"So, you know his work."
"Been a big fan of his for five years now. I even met him one time." She grinned. "I don’t remember his name, but I’d know his style anywhere."
"Well…since you’re a big fan of this artist…and we are in New York…all right. We’ll go. Where is this gallery, anyway?"
"Right across from our hotel." Crystal grinned. "Trust me, Rose. You won’t regret this."
"I hope not." Rose sighed, hoping that she could find the heart to have a bit of fun tonight.
The gallery was teaming with rich patrons, all there to view the work of one up-and-coming artist, but taking in the works of other artists, as well. Rose and Crystal were the poorest among the crowd. But they weren’t there to buy, anyway. Just to look and enjoy the numerous works of art.
"This is extraordinary," Rose gasped, getting a real taste of what she had missed years ago when she had wanted to go to an art gallery in Paris, but her mother and Cal had had other plans.
"Told ya." Crystal grinned, grabbing Rose’s hand. "Oh, my God! There’s the section for my artist! Let’s go!" Crystal pulled Rose into one of the largest sections of the gallery. At first, the pictures were hidden behind the milling bodies of the crowd. As soon as a man and woman moved, she caught her first glimpse of the artwork.
She gasped. The style of the picture…a little girl and a man standing at the railing of a ship, pointing down into the sea…but the style of the picture…she had seen that style before…only one man had that style, and she’d never forget him…
"Afternoon at sea," Crystal read. "Wow. He is so talented. I wonder if he’s here." She turned and began to search the crowd. Finally, she spotted the man she was looking for. "Oh, my God Rose! He is here! And he’s twice as handsome in person! Come! Let’s go say hi!" She grabbed her friend’s hand and pulled her over to the man, who had his back to them. The only thing they could tell was that the man was tall and had dark blond hair. He was deep in conversation with another man dressed in a tux. Strangely, to Rose, his voice sounded a bit familiar, but she couldn’t place it, really. But she was interested in this man…the man who had the same style of drawing as Jack once had.
"Ahem." Crystal cleared her throat.
"Oh, hello there." The man in front of the artist smiled at the ladies.
"Hi. Me and my friend here would like to meet the artist of these wonderful drawings." Crystal smiled excitedly. "Is this him?"
"Why, of course. Don’t be shy, my boy. Turn around and meet your admirers."
Rose gasped in shock and disbelief when the artist turned around. She took two steps back from Crystal. "Oh, my God! Why do you look like that?"
"Rose?" Crystal looked at her friend as if she was losing her mind. And that was how Rose was feeling, because she was staring at Jack. An older Jack, with dark blond hair and a much more mature face, even the beginnings of a beard, but still Jack. She’d know those blue eyes anywhere. But yet…it couldn’t be her Jack. He had died thirteen years ago, frozen to death in the North Atlantic. This man…it was some cruel trick of fate…this man had not only Jack’s art style, but his face, as well.
"Crystal…this is Jack. It’s Jack!" She resisted the urge to run. She had to know what this was all about.
"Rose…you’re…dead." Jack looked at her, dumbstruck, not really knowing what to do or say.
"Oh, my…now I know you. You’re the girl in Jack’s picture. His portrait I’ve been trying to buy for years now, but he’s refused to sell it to me. It’s nice to finally meet the model. Dawson, who is this lovely creature, by the way?"
"Rose. Rose DeWitt Bukater," he quietly replied, his eyes full of shock and disbelief. Jack couldn’t believe it. After all this time…all these years of grief and heartache…he had found her again, the woman he had thought was lost to him that cold night thirteen years ago. But how? He didn’t understand. All he could do was stand there and stare.
"Rose, sweetie…Jack is dead, remember? This can’t possibly be him." Crystal tried to reason with her hysterical friend.
"Rose?" Jack finally took a step further. "Can it really be you?"
"It can’t be…" Rose took another step back. "You were dead…I checked, and you were…" She looked at Crystal, and an explanation took form. Only one person knew about the Titanic. Only one person knew about Jack and would come up with an idea to play one of her practical jokes, but it wasn’t going to work this time. She glared at her friend. "I trusted you."
"What? Rose, what are you talking about?" Crystal looked at her friend, confused.
Tears flowed freely now, hurt and betrayal written on her features. "I told you the deepest secret of my soul, and you used it against me in one of your sordid practical jokes! How could you, Crystal? And tonight, of all nights!"
"Rose, please…I’m not playing a joke. I don’t even know what this is about."
"Yeah, right. Don’t bother coming back to the hotel." Rose took one last look at Jack and darted out of the gallery, wanting to get as far away as she could possibly get.
"Rose, wait!" Jack tried to run after her, but Crystal grabbed his arm.
"Okay, buddy. First things first. Who are you, and why did my best friend just now accuse me of betraying her?"
"Can’t this wait?" Jack wanted to catch up with Rose before she got too far away. There was so much explaining to do…so much time to make up for…
"No, it cannot. I want to know who you are, why my friend just accused me of betraying her ,and why you made her freak out like that in the first place!"
Jack sighed. He really didn’t have time for this. But this woman did deserve an explanation. "My name is Jack Dawson. I met Rose years ago on a ship that sank, and I thought she had died…"
"Oh, my God…you are…Jack…Rose’s Jack."
"You know about the Titanic?"
Crystal nodded, suddenly getting excited. It all made sense now. "Rose told me everything. In fact, she comes here every April fifteenth. I decided to join her this year, and I talked her into coming to this gallery with me. No wonder she’s so upset…"
"Now you know why I want to go after her. Do you know where she might have gone?"
"To our hotel. That’s the only place I can think of. Either that…or back to the pier…"
"Let’s try the pier first. I have a feeling she may be there." Jack led Crystal through the crowd, both determined to find Rose and explain what had just happened.
Rose stood at the edge of the now deserted pier, looking down into the dark waters of the ocean, where she was sure that her Jack now resided. She closed her eyes, wishing to erase the last hour. The last rays of hope that she had. How she wished that the man she had met was Jack. But he wasn’t. He couldn’t be…she couldn’t have made such a horrible mistake. Could she? After all, she was only a girl from high society. What did she know about finding pulses? Nothing at all. Indeed, there had been a possibility that Jack was alive. That he had just been unconscious. But what were the odds that he would be here in New York? Today, of all days? That he would be in that gallery? Why now, and not thirteen years ago when they were younger? But that man…he wasn’t Jack. No. There was no way. He wasn’t Jack.
"Rose?" A timid, deep voice spoke up from behind. She turned, and there he was, his intense blue eyes full of worry and uncertainty, not sure if approaching her like this was the right thing.
"Don’t come any closer!"
He laughed. "That was the first thing you ever said to me. Remember?"
Rose frowned. "Crystal told you that."
"Did you tell her about the time I went ice fishing on Lake Wissota? How I fell through thin ice?" Jack stepped a little closer. He had had a long talk with Crystal on the way to the pier. She had told him all that Rose had told her about the Titanic. So he knew pretty much what Crystal knew and didn’t know. "Or the car?"
Rose’s mouth fell open, trying to remember telling her friend about both events, but her mind was becoming blank.
"Or how about the time I taught you how to spit? Did you tell her that, Rose?"
Rose took another step back, still not daring to believe. "It can’t be…"
"It is, Rose. It’s me. It’s Jack. I didn’t die that night like you thought. I’m sorry for all the time you did believe I had. For all the time we’ve lost. But we’re together now, and that’s what matters."
"Why? Why are you doing this to me?" Rose whimpered, tears spilling from her eyes. She wanted to believe that this was Jack, but she couldn’t. The disappointment would be too painful if it turned out to be a trick.
"Rose…why won’t you believe it’s me?"
Rose began to really cry now. Wasn’t it obvious why she couldn’t believe it was really him? Didn’t he get it? "Because if I believe it’s you…you’ll disappear…I’ll go through losing you all over again, and I can’t do that. I just can’t."
His heart broke at her words, at her tears. She was too scared. Too scared to take his word that he had survived. He was just going to have to prove it to her. He had to force her to accept the truth. That he was alive and that their heartbreak was now coming to an end. Slowly, he approached her, just as he had approached her that night when she wanted to jump off the back of the ship. He took her face in his hands and stared deeply into her eyes, so full of fear and reservation. "Rose. I am so sorry that you’re afraid, but there’s no reason to be. I’m not going to disappear. I’m as real as you are, and I want us to be together…the way we should have always been." Slowly, he brought his lips to hers, hoping that the feel of their lips pressing together was proof enough for her.
Rose closed her eyes as his lips met hers. She breathed in his scent, a mixture of charcoal, cologne, and something so familiar…a scent that had only belonged to Jack, a scent that washed all doubts from her mind. This was Jack! He was alive, and he still loved her and wanted to be with her! Even after she had pushed him away in disbelief! Her Jack had finally been returned to her. Sinking into the kiss, she brought her arms around his neck, and he pulled her closer.
"Ahem." Crystal cleared her throat, coming upon the reunited lovers. "I take it he’s finally convinced you?"
Rose pulled away from Jack, a blush heating her cheeks. She had to apologize to her friend. Crystal had been nothing but supportive, and how had Rose repaid her? She had accused her of using her situation against her in a practical joke. How could Crystal even look at her after that tirade? "Crystal…I am so sorry…I know I’ve insulted you horribly."
"No, Rose. It’s okay. You were in pain and had received a shock. You needed a rational explanation. I’m not mad."
"Rose, let it go. It’s okay. I’m not angry. I only want an invitation to the coming wedding. I know there will be one." Crystal grinned mischievously. "Hey, I don’t blame you for mourning him this long. He’s quite a looker."
"Jack…I don’t understand. How did you survive?" Rose looked up at him.
"I woke up. The boat came back and pulled me in. After that, I passed out and spent the rest of the voyage in the infirmary. I looked for you, but your name wasn’t on the list."
"I changed my name to Rose Dawson." Rose sniffed. "I’m so stupid. If only I known…"
"Shh, Rose. I’m glad you took my name. It may have saved you from being found by that Hockley man. Whatever happened to him, anyway?"
"You mean Caledon Hockley, right?" Crystal spoke up. "I read in the society papers that he married another member of high society."
"Good." Rose sighed, relieved that the man who had been her fiancé was now married to someone else, and she had gotten Jack back. "Oh, Jack…these past thirteen years…they’ve been so empty without you."
"They’ve been empty for me, too, Rose. No matter what happened, I never stopped thinking about or loving you."
Suddenly, Rose giggled. Jack frowned. "What?"
"I was just thinking how much more handsome you look in your thirties than Cal did. I like it."
"Even the goatee?" Jack grinned, his blue eyes sparkling.
"Especially the goatee." Rose smiled, all her grief now faded away. It was like they had been together forever.
Jack just smiled and kissed her deeply. How he had missed her. He had never thought he would be truly happy again, but tonight, thirteen years later, his happiness was returned.
"Well…I guess I’ll get back to the gallery." Crystal smiled, wanting to give Rose and Jack their space. "Rose, I won’t expect you back at the hotel. Hey, you know my address, so write and let me know about the wedding."
"All right." Rose’s eyes never left Jack’s. She knew that tonight, thirteen years after her life had changed forever, it was changing again. Now she had Jack with her. Now and forever.
"Come. Let’s go to my apartment and talk." Jack took her hand in his and led her away from the dock as Crystal departed for the gallery. "I want to know what you’ve been up to for the past thirteen years."
Rose could only smile, following him wherever he wanted to go, even to the ends of the earth. Rose looked back at Crystal’s departing figure. She was saying good-bye to her life of loneliness and grief. Now it was hello to a life full of love and sunshine. All thanks to a visit to the gallery that housed the artwork of her favorite artist. Jack.