A VOYAGE TO REMEMBER
Isolde and Harold walked out of the pool room arm-in-arm. Harold led her towards the deck. The air was noticeably chillier. He noticed her shiver and placed an arm around her shoulders. It was almost two. He would have to leave by 3:30. They talked amiably about their homes. Isolde carefully avoided questions about the future. She didn't want to think about it. She wanted their time on the Titanic to be worry free. They made their way about the deck for the next half hour.
Isolde suddenly noticed Shamus. He looked angry, as if in search of someone. She hid her look of shock and quickly pulled herself and Harold to the railing. He looked down at her with confusion written on his face.
"Did you see that dolphin?" she asked excitedly, quick to change the subject.
Harold's mood lightened immediately. Maybe he had imagined her look of fear. He searched the water with trained eyes, but no fin broke the surface.
"No," he said with a laugh. "Maybe the sea was playing tricks on you."
She simply shrugged it off. "I could have sworn I'd seen them."
"No worries," he said, placing an arm around her. "I'm sure you'll see a pod by the end of the trip."
Isolde nodded. They began walking again. Shamus was far away, at least for the moment. Harold pulled her to a bench and they sat down. He looked at her with concerned eyes, his happy mood suddenly gone. He looked as if he was having a conflict with himself, unsure whether to speak or not.
"What is it?" she inquired, worried.
"Isolde," he began, now softly so no one could overhear. "I've had a bad feeling about this ship. I don't want to scare you, but I feel you should know what to do in case the worst should ever occur."
"But, Harold," she protested with a weak laugh, "if anything happened, we'd all be fine. There are lifeboats and lifebelts--" she began, but was cut off.
"No," he added with a bit more force. "There are not enough lifeboats. You may have a lifebelt, but it won't protect you from the cold. There is a route for the stewards and crew. Passengers don't know about it. I will show it to you on the way to your quarters later. If something happens, you take it ‘til you reach top deck. You will board the nearest lifeboat. Do not wait."
"Harold," she began, "you're scaring me."
"Good," he said, nodding. "I need you to know just in case."
"What if I don't reach a lifeboat?" she asked nervously.
Harold stopped for a moment to think. "You swim as far away from the ship as you can, until you have no strength to go on. Swim towards a lifeboat. They'll take you onboard," he finished with a nod.
He touched her cheek. Worry was etched into her beautiful face. She looked away towards the sea, the brilliant yet dangerous water. Harold suddenly stood up, offering his arm to her. She put a smile on just for him. He returned the gesture, but she noticed it didn't reach his eyes. They headed towards the lift, but continued down the stairs instead of stopping. There was a Crew Only door that they slipped through that led to a set of steps. When they reached the bottom, they were on D-Deck.
"They call this Scotland Yard," Harold explained. "It runs the length of the ship."
He pulled her towards the stern and went through the last door on the right. Once again, they hurried down a long flight of stairs. The reached the bottom, labeled F-Deck. Isolde immediately recognized this as her own hallway. She looked at the door behind them, labeled Crew Only. She thought it would've been locked.
Harold looked down at her with a smile. "You'll remember the route?" he inquired softly. Isolde nodded. "Good. Meet me at the stern at seven?"
"Of course." She got on her tiptoes to place a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you."
"I want you to be safe," he said with a shrug, as if it were nothing. He waved and turned to go back through the door. "Don't forget your coat!" he added over his shoulder.
Isolde let out a sigh. She smiled the entire way back to her room, but a frown suddenly appeared. Could something bad truly happen? She shook her head at the thought. Harold must be overreacting. She looked at the swimsuit in her hand. She'd have to put it away quickly, before anyone saw it. She entered her quarters, happy to see no one there. She put her suit in the leather suitcase. She hurried out of the room, on her way to the main bathroom. She was determined to look nice for Harold. But still, that nagging thought of the Titanic sinking plagued the back of her mind.