Trudy was walking around in her room, picking up clothes and shaking them, folding them and then putting them were they belonged. She was oblivious to the fact that Rose was awake, lying there on her left side, watching her. Rose's hands were under her cheek, her legs up against her stomach and her eyes barely open. She swallowed softly, trying to make herself stop thinking.
Trudy disappeared after a while and Rose sat up slowly, surveying the room. Her heart ached at the thought of Jack's expression when Cal had told him to leave. Why, why did that hurt her so much? She couldn't care about him this much…he was only a friend, a friend that she had to stop seeing now. She had to obey her fiancé. A strangled cry came over her and she covered her face with her hands, tearing at her hair harshly. She rocked back and forth for a while and then pulled herself up. She couldn't stay there all day. Cal would come looking for her. Or her mother. She swallowed again, trying to get rid of the memory from last night. Jack had saved her from Cal's brutal violence, but he could not save her from his possessiveness, from the new attempt that morning. Rose's hands wandered over her body, as if trying to will Cal's touch away, she couldn't stand the thought of him touching her, holding her…but that was what had happened. She sighed in frustration, wishing that she could have been stronger, could have had Jack's will to fight. But she was so tired. So sick and tired of this life. Why couldn't her mother have picked someone like Jack instead? His money was as good as any money…but Rose knew that Cal wasn't only there to give Ruth the necessary money, he was also there to make sure that Rose did as she was told.
Cal was the right man to make her frightened, make her obey, turn her into another one of the inferior women. Mechanically she got dressed, called for Trudy to help her with the corset and buttons, smiled and talked as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Trudy glanced at her, at the bruise on her arm and the red color in her eyes, but asked no questions.
She closed the stateroom door calmly behind her and stared out over the corridor. It was so hard to believe that she had been walking there with Jack just a few hours ago, walking and smiling, nearly holding hands. She bit her lip and her hand hovered outside the door to Jack's stateroom a few minutes later.
She wanted so badly to knock on the door like she had before and see him, tell him that she was all right. But she wasn't. She turned around and hurriedly walked along the corridor, her hair flying out behind her and her heels clicking faster and faster. Eventually she found herself outside, in the sunlight. She squinted at the sudden bright light, her face feeling vulnerable. After a few minutes of just standing there, the other first class ladies and gentlemen passing her slowly, she started walking again, kept on walking around the deck until her feet hurt and then she sank down in one of the deck chairs. Her heart ached for the sight of him, but she knew that if he showed up, she would only tell him to leave. She couldn't allow herself to think about him now. She couldn't. She was Cal's…he had taken her completely now and she didn't think Jack would even want to talk to her again once he found out. Slowly, she walked up to the gunwale again, looking over the blue water. For a split second, she thought about climbing over and just letting it all go, escaping it all, but it was so final and her hands had finally let go of the rail, her fingers white from holding on to it.
Cal found her there a few hours later and pulled her along to have lunch. He almost seemed nice now, the small pieces of a conscience that he had suddenly shone through and he asked her if she was all right several times, his hand over hers gently and his eyes staring at her. She didn't even reply, she just smiled sweetly, talked to the other people at lunch in the same social, neutral, soft tone, pretended that everything was all right. Jack wasn't there and she looked down in her cup of tea worriedly. He probably tried to avoid her now. She blushed at the thought of how he had seen her last night, her skirt pulled aside by Cal's hands.
Suddenly she saw him walk inside, his face somber and his hands in the pockets of the jacket. As usual, he looked a bit awkward in those clothes and he let his hand move over his hair, in an attempt to make it stop falling into his eyes.
With a quiet "excuse me", Rose left the table, but hadn't even pulled back the chair, when she felt Cal's hand over hers. "Remember what we talked about," he said quietly, the cold stare was back in his eyes again and she gasped slightly. He had seen Jack, too of course and thought she was going to see him. Rose had had only one thing on her mind and that was to get out of there before Jack saw her. Cal would have been thrilled to hear that, so she merely smiled at him and forced herself to try to feel something other than disgust for the man whose dark eyes stared at her so intently.
Jack looked at the clock on the wall and let out a heavy sigh, but when he felt his uncle's gaze, he smiled again and resumed the conversation with the people around him. They were annoying him and he just wanted to go someplace else. See if Rose was all right, if Cal had done anything more to her, hurt her in anyway. He knew it was ridiculous, absurd to have fallen in love with her already, but he couldn't help it. She was so beautiful and she deserved so much better than marrying Cal. His hand formed into a fist as he thought about what he had seen when he had opened the door to their room the night before. How could anyone do that to her? He felt her hands on his waist again, as they danced around in the room, but soon enough, reality dawned upon him and again, he felt his uncle stare at him.
"Jack? She asked you a question." The tone his uncle was using told Jack that he wasn't going to tolerate another absentminded look. It reminded him of their talk earlier. He had told Jack that he had seen him with Rose the night before and that it wasn't all right. Seeing a girl who was engaged was certainly not good for anyone. Jack sighed again and looked at the blond girl next to him. She was smiling softly and he smiled back, but in his mind he was already trying to think about how he would get to talk to Rose again. Make sure she was going to be all right if nothing else.
With a smile and a nod, he excused himself a few minutes later, mumbling something about business to tend to. His uncle nodded approvingly and Jack headed outside. Where would she be? Having lunch, he guessed and quickly headed towards the dining room. But she wasn't there. Cal was, his dark eyes were observing Jack coldly. Jack left again, his thoughts in turmoil. He had to find her.
The tie was strangling him, it seemed as he walked down the stairs, reaching the grand staircase with somewhat of a defeated look on his face. Dinner again, conversations with those people, boring conversations about nothing. He couldn't help but think about how much he hated the false compliments, the smiles and the annoying comments. He had spent the whole afternoon looking for her, but he hadn't been able to find her. She seemed to have disappeared into thin air. He didn't dare go knocking on her door; Cal might be the one who opened it. She had to be in her stateroom, he decided and then, after drawing a deep breath, he walked over to the dining room, his lips a thin line and his eyes determined. Back to the world he hated.
He must have been arriving later than he had thought, because his uncle and the others were already waiting for dessert and he walked over the table slowly, not wanting to be there just yet. Suddenly he saw something red flash by and he looked after it. It was Rose, he knew it. But she had been leaving the dining room…and in such hurry. He gazed at the table where Cal sat and saw that he was looking a bit confused, worried even. It didn't even take Jack a second to decide what to do. He hurried after her, his legs moving faster and faster as he left the confined area of the dining room.
Dressed up as a doll, Rose had followed her fiancé to dinner and stayed there, at the table with the rest of the people, eating, smiling, laughing, talking…everything that was expected of her. Just as they were being served the dessert, she felt Cal's hand around hers. "You'll wait for me in your stateroom later, won't you?" his eyes seemed to say and she felt his hand touching her leg discreetly. She winced and looked at him in shock. Suddenly…something snapped inside her and she excused herself quickly, not even bothering to place the napkin on the table. She just ran, breaking one of her heels as she ran, but she just kicked off her shoes and kept on going, down the stairs, up some other stairs, suddenly she was outside, staring at the dark sky. Sobbing, she hurried towards the gunwale at the far end of the ship and when she reached it, she leaned over it violently, still crying. She feared that Cal would be behind her any second and so she didn't waste any time, she just grabbed the cold rail and started climbing over it, her hands just as cold as the rail and her tears going away. She looked at the water with determination and just as she was going to take the step out in to the blackness below her, she felt someone's hand on her back. Wincing, she turned around and faced Jack.
"What are you doing?" he asked almost unkindly, but when he saw her tears he just smiled softly, trying to calm her down. Shivering slightly at his touch, his soft and tender touch hurt her so much. Someone's hands on her so soon after last night, it was making her want to scream and fall to the floor. Even Jack's touch wasn't welcome.
"Let me go," she breathed and was just about to let go of her grip on the cold steel when she felt his hand come over her shoulder yet again.
"I can't, Rose. I can't let you do this. No matter what he did to you, this isn't the way out. Come on, let me help you." She closed her eyes and would have fallen if he had taken her hand steadily.
"Rose please." His voice guided her out of the dark valley and suddenly she didn't care about him touching her, him holding her. His touch wasn't Cal's. She opened her eyes and turned around shakily, almost afraid to face him. Then she felt his hands close around her arms, around her waist as he pulled her body close to his, helping her back over the gunwale and she just cried softly, holding on to him. "You weren't really going to jump were you?" he asked softly as he held her.
"No," she whispered, but she knew that was a lie. If he hadn't shown up, she would have jumped. She leaned on his shoulder, hoping against all odds that he wouldn't think she wasn't worth anything anymore just because of what had happened the night before.
His hands moved over her back, and suddenly she let go of him. "I have to go, Jack," she said, once again shivering, because his touch had triggered the events of last night yet again. She sobbed again and swallowed her fears.
"Let me walk you back," he said softly, but she just shook her head.
"Don't do this again," he tried yet again. "Don't you ever try to end anything this wonderful and beautiful ever again," he went on, but she was already walking away from him, her back rejecting him and her hands folded over her chest as she hugged herself.