Chapter Two

June 1912

Rose stood in front of her vanity, putting the final touches on her hairdo. She heard the doorbell ring downstairs and sighed. It must be Cal.

When they had been on the Carpathia, Rose had waited impatiently for a chance to escape and find Jack. The opportunity had never come, however, because Ruth, still traumatized by the sinking, had refused to leave her room, and Rose had realized that she would not be able to leave without raising questions. Neither Ruth nor Cal had had much to say to her, but she didnít want to push her luck.

When the ship had docked, Rose had left with them. She had spotted Jack in the crowd, but had been unable to attract his attention. Then she had been whisked off in a carriage, and then a train, back to Philadelphia. She hadnít seen Jack since.

Cal had come to visit a few times, though less frequently as time passed. Rose had sat silently throughout his visits, and he hadnít seemed particularly inclined to talk to her either. Rose had taken every opportunity to slip away, and most times Cal had just spoken to Ruth, both of them very uncomfortable. He had spoken of the wedding a few times, but hadnít pushed the issue. Rose had been grateful. She had no idea where Jack was, but she had no intention of marrying Cal.

Rose heard the door open, and a maidís voice echoed through the house. A moment later, Rose heard Ruth greeting Cal. Their voices were tense.

Reluctantly, Rose moved down the stairs. Cal and Ruth were in the parlor, discussing something. Quietly, Rose went inside.

Cal was speaking to Ruth in a quiet but firm voice.

"This has gone on long enough, Ruth. With no wedding in the offing, we cannot continue to support you. Rose made her decision when she chose to run off with that gutter rat. Weíve been taking care of you since the sinking, but enough is enough."

Ruth started to speak, her eyes wide and disbelieving.

Cal cut her off. "Despite what you may believe, the Hockleys are not without honor. We have paid your debts for you, and I have a check for five hundred thousand dollars in your name. If you invest carefully and spend wisely, it should be enough to last you the rest of your life." He pulled the check from his pocket and handed it to her. His eyes were cold. "We have no obligation to you, so you should be grateful that we have given you anything." He walked out of the parlor, not even glancing at Rose.

Rose was ecstatic at first, but her joy faded when she saw the shocked, devastated look on her motherís face. Ruth had enjoyed being a member of high society, and this turn of events had insured that, although she was well-provided for, she would no longer be a member. Her lack of funds and the Hockleysí contempt had sealed her fate.

Rose approached Ruth slowly. "Mother..."

Ruth didnít look at her. Hands shaking, she set the check on the table, trying to compose herself.

"I hope youíre happy, Rose. I arranged that match for the benefit of all. Now look at what the DeWitt-Bukaters have been reduced to. You could have had a good life with Cal. Instead, you chose to take up with that nobody from steerage. A pity he didnít die, too."

"Mother!" Rose stalked toward her, angry. "Do you have any idea what Cal was capable of?"

Ruth didnít listen. She hunched forward, wrapping her arms around herself, as though to protect herself from a blow. Slowly, she picked up the check and rang for a maid.

"Please have the car brought around. I need to run some errands."

"Yes, maíam."

Ruth sat down, still staring at the check. "God damn you, Jack Dawson."

Rose was shocked, not just by her motherís language, but by the despair in her motherís voice. Still, Ruth was a strong, resilient woman. She would survive, one way or another.

Chapter Three