Jack had sat down at his desk and was staring into nothing, twiddling his thumbs as the minutes ticked away. His thoughts were moving around in the same direction as they had last night. What could have happened to her?
He sighed and finally stood up, walked over to the window.
The water was bright blue and the sun was already moving across the sky. He had to find some way to help her, see her, be with her. The day before he had been worried, too, but it was nothing compared to this. Would she have jumped if he hadn't run after her? Why would she want to do that to herself?
He shook his head and yet again tried to think of something he could do to help her. She was so wonderful, so beautiful, easy to talk to and yet, deeply unhappy. What had Cal done to her?
He saw her lying there, on the floor again, half-naked and his eyes closed quickly. He couldn't bear the thought of her in pain. Why was that? Was he just a nice person, who wanted to see everyone happy? Or did he want her friendship? No, it was much, much more than that.
When they had danced that night, he had longed for a kiss, something more than just holding her in his arms. It didn't make any sense, because she was someone else's fiancée and she hadn't showed him one sign that she felt the same way about him. Even if she did… his uncle and her mother and fiancé would quickly put a stop to it.
He drew a deep breath, wondering how he could find out how she felt. It wouldn't bother him that she was engaged, if she only loved him back.
He started pacing the room, searching his mind for a way to see her. With a look of determination on his face, he walked over to the door, pushed it open and found himself in the corridor. Slowly he walked over to the part of it where Rose's stateroom was located.
He found himself moving like some kind of criminal, or third class passenger, hiding behind anything that was in sight. Suddenly he saw Cal leaving one of the rooms, talking seriously to Ruth. They walked in the other direction and Jack tiptoed to Rose's room, preparing to knock on the door.
Just when he had summoned up enough courage to knock, a steward with a tray appeared next to him. His young face seemed to be shaking with nervousness.
"Excuse me, sir," he said and tried to make Jack move aside.
"Are you going in here?" he asked quickly.
"Yeah," he replied, smiling nervously.
Jack glanced at him, an idea slowly forming in his mind. "Do you want to let me give it to them?" he asked.
"I…if you insist, sir," the steward said after a long pause.
Jack grinned and took the hat from the young man's head. "I'm only borrowing it," he said calmly and hid his blond locks under the hat. Then he took the breakfast tray and winked at the steward. "Trust me," he said and then knocked on the door. Trudy appeared after a while and Jack hid his face from her, going inside quickly.
"I'll give it to Miss Rose," Trudy said softly, her eyes suddenly filling with worry.
"I need to speak to her," Jack said, looking up and into Trudy's eyes. Trudy showed no sign of surprise at seeing him.
"I'll go ask her," she replied and took the tray. She reappeared after a few minutes, Rose close behind her. It looked like she had dressed in a hurry. She seemed nervous and Jack moved closer to her, not sure what to say.
"Rose…good morning," he started and she smiled slightly. "I need to talk to you." She seemed to agree, but unwillingly, and once again, her lips formed into a smile. "Alone," he added after taking off the hat.
Rose nodded and picked up a shawl from the table next to the door. "All right. But only for a few minutes." Jack reached out for Rose's hand and he winced a bit when he felt how cold it was. She looked like she hadn't slept a wink and her smile was pale. As soon as they had left the stateroom, the young steward approached them.
"Sir? My hat?" he said nervously. Jack smiled and handed it to him. Rose actually smiled when she saw the man disappear.
"What are you up to?" She laughed and looked at him. "You're deranged. Do you know that?"
He just laughed and pulled her along. "Where do you want to go?" he questioned. She shrugged. "We'll be alone in my stateroom for a while now." Rose nodded and followed him on his way to his room. She sat down on a chair in the mess that filled his room and looked up at him, still laughing a bit. "I was never good at keeping tidy. I think the stewards have given up on cleaning it," he said, smiling. She smiled back, but her face was suddenly dark with worry as she remembered why they were there.
"I…suppose you're wondering about…last night." He nodded, sinking down next to her. His arm came around her, but she shrugged him away, suddenly trembling violently. "I just…wanted it all to…end. Cal…I can't even begin to tell you how…he's too much in love with me." Her voice was insecure and weak and she couldn't even face him when she talked about Cal's love.
Again, he touched her shoulder softly, feeling her wince. Had Cal hit her there? Was that why she looked like she was in pain? He suddenly noticed the clumsy attempts she had made to hide something red and oval on her face and he clenched his fists unconsciously. "Rose, I know that's not true. He doesn't love you. He just wants to own you. Rose, please listen to me. Please. I can't bear to see you…hurt yourself because of that…bastard."
She swallowed, but didn't move away from him. "I'm sorry. I really am. I wish my mother had found someone like you instead of Cal."
Jack smiled at first, hearing what she was really saying. She would rather be engaged to him than to Cal? He sighed lightly and looked at her. "What do you mean? Your mother found him? You can't tell him that you don't want to marry him?" Shaking her head she looked down again. "Rose?" he said, touching her chin gently. She cried softly and found herself in his arms suddenly. His hands caressed her face gently and she forgot about Cal completely. He heard her faint sobs disappear finally and held her even more tightly. "You have to leave him. You have to," he whispered, making her wince violently.
"I can't, Jack. I have to go now," she said quickly, knowing that the dream was over and the cold reality waited for her. She moved away from his warm embrace and hurried out of the room. "I'm sorry, Jack. But I love him," she lied shakily, knowing that he knew that she was lying. "Thank you," she breathed before leaving the room.
"Damn it!" he said loudly, still feeling her scent, hearing her beautiful, soft voice. "Now what am I going to do?" He sighed and threw himself on the bed, trying to think of something. Nothing seemed to help.
Rose was still crying when she entered her stateroom. Trudy ignored her tactfully. Rose sank down on the bed, sobbing openly now. Jack was so understanding, so gentle and he wanted to help her. He wanted to help her…she sighed and touched the bruise on her cheek. Had he noticed? She hoped he hadn't…why did it have to be like this? Why couldn't her mother find another way to raise money? She had to be given away to Cal…for money…to a man who had already hurt her so many times, in so many ways. She changed clothes again. She felt sick at the thought of letting Cal see her in a dress that Jack had held her in. Cal suddenly appeared in the doorway and she looked up, smiling.
"Back so soon, darling?" she said. He just looked at her and then his arms came around her. He didn't say anything, he just kissed her possessively and held her tightly. No love, no care was in him and she sighed softly, wishing that Jack was there instead. But he wasn't.
"Come on, I have a tour of the ship planned, with Thomas Andrews and then we'll go to the dining room and have lunch," he suddenly said and pulled her up.
After a rather pleasant tour of the ship, they had lunch and then time ate the afternoon quickly, much too quickly for Rose. She needed a longer break from smiling and obeying Cal. And…being where Jack could be…where she would have to avoid him…at eight o'clock that Sunday night, they descended the grand staircase again. Cal's hand seemed to push her forwards to the table and she felt the light touch fill her with a very uncomfortable tingle. Just when she had sat down, she noticed something she wished she hadn't…Jack was sitting there, at the next table with a girl…Rose resumed her role abruptly, trying to forget what she had seen. She even smiled and touched Cal's hand in an almost loving way. Ruth nodded approvingly at her daughter and the dinner proceeded mechanically. Just when coffee and tea was being served, Rose dared leaving Cal's watchful eyes and looked over at Jack's table again. Her eyes widened when she saw him, still talking happily to the blond girl. She swallowed and quickly looked away. He seemed to be so happy, talking to someone else, having forgotten all about her. Wasn't that what she had told him to do? But she hadn't meant it. Her hand trembled when she reached for the cup and she quickly emptied it.
"Do you want me to escort you back?" Cal asked, sensing the change in her mood.
"No, thank you." He stood up, along with the rest of the men as they all headed for the smoking room. To retreat in a cloud of smoke and congratulate each other on being masters of the universe, Rose thought bitterly and for a second, Jack flashed by in her mind. He would never do anything that ridiculous.
In the corner of her eye, she saw Jack getting up. He was standing very close to the girl and she thought she saw him kiss her cheek. With a defeated sigh, she looked down into her coffee. It took her a few minutes to get up and begin the long walk to her stateroom. She just wanted to lie down and sleep, try to forget that Jack had someone else. She moved hurriedly, rushing to the corridor that led to the elevators. She had only just left the crowded room, when someone's hand brushed her shoulder. Frightened, she turned around. Jack was standing there, looking at her a bit nervously.
"Jack, don't," she whispered and hurried towards the elevator, but he followed her, going inside just as the doors closed. He looked at her awkwardly and the elevator seemed to never reach the next floor. The steward stared at the door quietly and Rose was biting her lip, thinking about the blond girl standing so close to him. Who was she? He followed her on her way to her room, refusing to let her glares stop him. Outside her stateroom, she suddenly stopped and turned around and he just stared at her, both were still quiet. She was just about to walk inside when he opened his mouth.
"Rose, I have to talk to you. Come on, he won't know. It will only take a minute." She looked at him intensely, trying to get away from the penetrating stare that lived in his blue eyes.
She swallowed and shook her head. "He'll know. I can't…please leave me alone."
He just placed his warm hand over her arm, pulling her to him by some invisible thread. "You can't let him do this to you. You can't. You don't love him." It was clear that it was hard for him tell her this and when she looked at him again, he almost looked angry. "I can't let you go again…not after…this afternoon. He…" Jack paused, not knowing if he should tell her that he knew what Cal had done to her, that he had talked to Trudy, that he saw it in her eyes, heard it in her voice. "I just can't turn away without knowing you're free from him," he finally added, hoping that she would listen to him this time.
"Leave me alone," she whispered again, her voice fading away and her eyes full of tears. She wanted to ask him who the other girl was, why he wasn't with her now, but the words stuck in her throat and she didn't seem to be able to get out another word.
"Rose, please," he said, frowning. They stayed quiet as two ladies walked past them. Then Jack's hand tightened the hold on her arm and she winced.
"No, leave me alone."
He let go, a bit surprised at her reaction, but then he nodded slowly, stepping back. She went inside quickly, leaving him staring at a door, but just then, the ship shook violently and he felt the trembling vibrations wander through the huge ship. The door to Rose's room opened again and Rose was standing there, her face expressing the same fear and shock as his did.
"What was that?" she asked, her tone curious and frightened. He shrugged and looked behind him in the corridor. Cal was coming towards them and Jack nodded his head at Rose, then disappeared down the corridor. He didn't want to cause her any more trouble.
It took him a while to get outside, and when he did, the sight that met him was overwhelming. An iceberg was disappearing in the distance and he saw a few boys playing with some large chunks of ice. He frowned and watched as the iceberg vanished, oblivious to the damage it had caused.