Chapter Four

October 1912

Despite her promise to herself to go on with life, Rose found herself drawn to the park where she had seen Jack. She knew she should stay away from him, let him live his own life, but she felt that things werenít quite finished between them.

She saw him there on a few occasions, sometimes with the dark-haired girl, sometimes alone. She saw him sitting on a bench drawing a few times, but did not approach him.

Still, the fact that he seemed to have completely forgotten her grated on her nerves. She had thought they had something special, but he had never made any attempt to contact her. She was certain that he had seen her a few times in the park, but he had never approached her. Obviously, what they had had didnít mean as much to him as it did to her.

She tried to convince herself that he was avoiding her for the sake of his new girlfriend, but soon acknowledged that he could have introduced her as an old acquaintance. He seemed to be deliberately avoiding her.

One October evening, as Rose walked home after visiting a library, she saw him sitting on the dying grass in the park, drawing a homeless man who lay sleeping on a bench, wine bottle beside him. Her temper suddenly boiled over. He could draw pictures of a homeless drunk who most people would avoid, but he couldnít even acknowledge her!

Rose sat down beside him, not caring if he told her to leave. What was she, some plaything he had picked up on the ocean crossing? There was no one there but them and the sleeping drunk. He had nothing to fear by speaking to her.

"Jack," she began. He didnít even look up.

"Look, I know I went back with Mother and Cal on the Carpathia, but I did it for your sake. Cal hated you; he would have found a way to get back at you if I had stayed."

Jack continued drawing, trying to finish his work before it was completely dark. Rose got to her feet, resisting the urge to grab the pencil and paper away from him. Just once, she wanted him to acknowledge her.

"What am I, a toy to be played with and discarded? I thought we had something, but I guess I was wrong."

He picked up the drawing and blew on it, getting rid of the pencil dust. Rose lost her temper. Grabbing the almost-empty wine bottle from the drunk, she flung it against a tree trunk. It shattered, broken glass and cheap wine flying everywhere.

Jack looked up, startled. The drunk glowered at him, unaware of who had disturbed his rest. Deciding it didnít matter, the homeless man put his head back down and went back to sleep, snoring loudly.

Rose didnít wait any longer. Turning on her heel, she ran down the sidewalk, heading for home. She was through being ignored. Jack could rot, for all she cared.

She told herself this, over and over, as she made her way home, but a part of her would always miss him.

Chapter Five