Rose smiled to herself as she looked in the mirror. She actually liked the dress she had on. It was beautiful with colors of red and black. She usually didn't like getting dressed up, but tonight was an exception. Jack would be there. He had become a really great friend.
She had thought about being more than friends. What it would be like to marry him and raise children. But, she was just kidding herself. Jack probably didn't even think of her as more than an acquaintance. Still, that would not stop the constant dreams about breaking off the engagement to Cal and running into Jack's arms.
"Sweetpea," Cal called from the other room. "Are you ready?"
Rose sighed and walked out of her bedroom to meet Cal's piercing eyes. "Yes, I'm ready."
Cal's smile faded, and he looked serious for a moment. He looked straight into Rose's eyes. "Do you plan on getting sick again?"
Rose noticed the sarcasm in his voice. She needed to stand up to him. She knew she couldn't' go on like this. He couldn't keep treating her like a child. It wasn't fair. "I'm sorry that I..."
Cal cut in. "Then you can let your prince charming walk you back."
Rose's fear slipped away. She wasn't afraid of Cal any more. She knew she had to do this. "Jack is a nice guy."
Cal suddenly looked at her with hatred. "It's Jack now, is it? Rose... I don't want you to see Mr. Dawson any more."
Rose took a deep breath. "I'm not a foreman in one of your mills that you can command. I am your fiancée!"
Rose couldn't predict what Cal was going to do. "My fiancée! Yes you are, and you're my wife by practice!" He yelled. He slapped Rose across the face, hard.
Rose moved her feet, catching herself. She looked up just in time for Cal to storm out of the room. Rose took a sigh of relief. About five minutes later, she heard Cal say, "Come on Rose, we're going to leave."
Rose knew he was being polite now because Ruth was with him. He never hit her around Ruth. Rose doubted her mother would care, anyway. Cal was always the perfect gentlemen around her.
As Rose was walking down to dinner, all she could think about was Jack. She felt trapped. She was glad she didn't have to walk with Cal. Her mother had already taken that spot. Rose knew he was still mad and would be for the rest of the trip. As they walked down the grand staircase, Rose noticed Jack right away. He looked bored. He was leaning on a pole, probably daydreaming.
Rose watched as her mother and Cal walked right past him. Jack met Rose before she reached the end of the stairs. He took her hand and kissed it. "I never thought I'd get to do that to such a beautiful women," Jack said with a smile.
Rose blushed and joined arms with Jack. She felt safe. Cal looked behind his shoulder to make sure his fiancée was following him. Once he saw her with Jack he shuddered. Yet, he knew he could not make a scene, and he continued walking.
"He hates me, doesn't he?" Jack asked with a smile. Rose smiled back. Neither one of them even cared that he did.
Once dinner was started, so was the boring conversation. Jack and Rose kept making eye contact across the table and smiling. Cal saw all of this. Finally, once dinner was over, it was time for the men to go into the sitting room. Jack hated this part. It was even more boring than dinner.
"I'm not going to be joining you guys," Jack said, Cal eyeing him suspiciously. "I'm going to head back to my room.."
Jacob looked at Jack with disappointed. Why couldn't he just be normal like the other men? Why was his nephew different?
Cal walked over to Rose, "Would you like me to escort you back to the room?"
Rose smiled at him. "No, I'll stay here."
Jack had all of this planned out. He had it planned out since last night. He just hoped Rose would love it. As the other men left, Jack walked up to Rose and took her hand. As he kissed it, he whispered, "Goodnight Rose..."
After he had walked away, Rose noticed something. She placed her hands under the table and opened the note Jack had placed in her hand.
Make it count. Meet me at the clock.