Chapter Three

August 1912

Rose was right. Ruth did survive, although their relationship had deteriorated to the point that they never spoke to each other, and avoided each other whenever possible, to the point that they did not even take meals together. Rose was disturbed by this, but kept her peace. Her mother had been distant since the sinking, and Rose could only assume that her bitterness over Roseís relationship with Jack was responsible.

Still, Rose enjoyed a sort of freedom that she had never had before. Ruth had let all but one of the servants go, so there was no one to watch where Rose went. Rose wandered freely through the city, visiting museums, parks, and libraries. No longer burdened by the strictures of the upper class, she pursued her own interests, exploring at will and keeping whatever hours she wanted.

Despite her newfound freedom, however, she was often lonely. Few people paid much attention to her, and without money, she could not visit any of the places she had frequented before. None of her old acquaintances contacted her, and she would have had little in common with them if she had. The servants that she had once known were gone, scattered to other employers, and Roseís life, in spite of her freedom, was largely devoid of human interaction.

There was one exception to this, however. Mabel, the servant that Ruth had retained, was friendly toward Rose, often engaging in long conversations after Ruth had retired for the night. Mabel worked hard, doing the cooking, cleaning, and acting as a ladiesí maid, which was why Ruth had kept her on. There was little time to talk during the day, but at night they often chatted over a cup of tea. Rose valued Mabelís friendship, despite Mabelís rather flighty nature.

Mabel was sixteen years old, and usually a steady, easy-going girl, but Rose also noticed a tendency to jump at shadows, and had on one occasion witnessed Mabel standing in the front yard carrying on an intense conversation with herself. Mabel regarded both Ruth and Rose nervously, and would jump up with a guilty look on her face if Ruth entered the room while she was talking to Rose. Rose wondered if she had been forbidden to talk to her, but Ruth never said anything, just got what she was after and left.

Sometimes on Sunday afternoons Rose and Mabel would walk through downtown Philadelphia, window-shopping or walking in a park. Mabel was unusually quiet on these days, and more inclined than ever to jump at shadows. Once she shouted loudly at someone visible only to her, and Rose began to question her friendís sanity. She wondered what Dr. Freud would have thought of Mabel.

One Sunday afternoon late in August, Rose and Mabel were walking through a park in a middle class part of the city. There was an art show going on, and Rose was intrigued.

Walking through the displays, Rose observed that they were from local artists. Much of the work was amateur, but a few works looked professional. Rose slowed when she reached a row of drawings.

There were pictures of all sorts of different things, but Rose honed in on the drawings of people. It was unlikely, of course, that Jack was in Philadelphia, but she couldnít help hoping. And then, at the end of the row, she saw them.

A series of drawings of ordinary people, but they looked extraordinary when rendered by this artist. She examined them closely, noting the signature in the corner of each drawing: JD.

Rose would recognize this work anywhere. As she looked at the last drawing, she recognized the Titanic. Two figures stood at the bow, flying as they had that last evening.

Jack was in Philadelphia. The only problem was finding him.

Rose looked around. Most of the artists whose work was on display were present; it was likely that Jack was too. She pointed out the drawings to Mabel.

"Heís here! I know it! Now I just have to find him."

Mabel hesitated, looking at Rose with an expression that she did not understand. Finally, she nodded, almost to herself. "Go ahead."

Rose hurried through the crowd, searching. She was almost ready to give up when she saw him.

Jack was standing under a tree a little way away from the crowd, talking to a middle-aged man in a suit. He was looking through his portfolio, pulling out an occasional drawing to show him. The man looked over the drawings critically, nodding his head. He said something to Jack that Rose couldnít hear. Jack looked hesitant for a moment, then shook his head. Rose moved closer, curious. The man pulled out a business card and handed it to Jack.

Rose heard only the end of the conversation. "The offerís open any time," the businessman said, walking away. Jack looked at the card and tucked it inside his portfolio for safekeeping.

Rose walked toward him, suddenly nervous. She hadnít seen him since she had left with Cal four months earlier. A lot had changed since then. Mabel followed her.

"Jack!" Rose called, but he was already disappearing into the crowd. She hurried after him. Mabel rushed after her, the odd expression still on her face.

Rose followed Jack to where his drawings were hanging--just as a pretty dark-haired girl stepped from the crowd and hurried toward him. Jack showed her the business card and she grinned and threw her arms around him. Jack hugged her back, but his mind was obviously elsewhere.

Rose stopped, staring at them in shock, her mouth hanging open. Mabel came up beside her.

"That...that dirty, two-timing gutter rat!" Rose was almost at a loss for words.

"You couldnít expect him to wait for someone who married somebody else."

"But I didnít marry Cal!"

"Does he know that?"

"He should! It was undoubtedly in the society column."

"Maybe he doesnít read the society column." Mabel looked at her pityingly, still wearing the odd expression from earlier. "Leave it alone, Rose."

Her last words had been audible to Jack and the girl. Jack looked at Mabel, startled. Mabel smiled sheepishly and steered Rose away from the scene.

Rose was still angry. "He could have at least contacted me!"

"Maybe he didnít know how."

Rose whirled around, glowering at her. "What do you mean, maybe he didnít know how? We have a telephone, and heís perfectly capable of writing a letter!"

"Would anyone have told you if he had?"

"Probably not," Rose admitted. "Mother doesnít like him." She brightened. "Maybe he did try to contact me and I just never knew it!"

Mabel shook her head. "Rose, donít. You saw him in the park; heís with that other girl now. You need to leave it alone."

"No, I..." She trailed off, realizing the wisdom of Mabelís words. Jack had seen her, and had made no move to approach her or even acknowledge her presence. She should have found a way of contacting him on the Carpathia. There was nothing she could do now.

"Youíre right," she admitted, not seeing the relieved look on Mabelís face. Jack had moved on with life; it was time for her to do the same.

Chapter Four