April 15, 1912
North Atlantic

"Rose, wake up. A boatís coming." Jack shook Roseís hand, willing her to open her eyes.

Rose lay on the board, only half-hearing him. She was so cold--she had never been so cold. What was he saying? Something about a boat.

She half-opened her eyes, struggling to turn her head towards him. Almost too weak to say a word, she whispered, "A...boat?"

"A rescue boat." Jack had been ready to give up hope, but the sight of the lifeboat making its way amongst the sinking victims had returned his optimism.

He tried calling out, but his voice was to faint to be heard, the boat too far away. He looked back at Rose.

"Thereís a whistle over there. Iím going to get it and try to attract their attention. Do you think you can swim?"

Rose looked at him dully. Her limbs were almost too frozen to move; her whole world seemed comprised of the cold and the darkness. Why should she even try?

"Iíll be back in a moment," he told her, trying to pull his hand away. It was frozen to hers. Quickly, he breathed on their hands, melting the ice a little, then broke them apart. He swam in the direction of the dead officer, leaving Rose on the board.

Rose stared up at the sky. A shooting star flashed overhead. She had heard once that a shooting star was a soul going to heaven. Whose soul? she wondered vaguely. There must be a thousand souls or more going to heaven this night.

A whistle sounded across the open sea. The boat halted, lights shining in their direction. "Come about!" someone shouted.

A few moments later the rescue boat reached them. They helped Jack into the boat; then, at his direction, turned toward Rose.

She tried to move from the board, but was too weak. The last thing she remembered was being lifted into the boat before the world went black.

Chapter One