Written by Christa P.
Based on some situations originated by James Cameron.
Rose ran along the B-Deck promenade. She was disheveled, her hair flying. She was crying hard, her cheeks streaked with tears. But she was also angry. Furious! She was shaking with emotions she didnít understand...hatred, self-hatred, and desperation.
Jack was kicked back on one of the benches, gazing at the stars blazing gloriously overhead, thinking artist thoughts, and smoking a cigarette.
Hearing something, he turned as Rose ran up the stairs from the well deck. They were the only two on the stern deck, except for Quartermaster Rowe, who was twenty feet above them on the docking bridge catwalk. She didnít see Jack in the shadows and ran right past him.
Rose ran across the deserted fantail. Her breath hitched in an occasional sob, which she suppressed. Rose slammed against the base of the stern flagpole and clung there, panting. She stared out at the black water below her.
Then she started to climb over the railing. She had to hitch her long dress way up, and climbing was clumsy. Moving methodically, she turned her body and got her heels on the white-painted gunwale, her back to the railing, facing out toward blackness. Sixty feet below her, the massive propellers were churning the Atlantic into white foam, and a ghostly wake trailed off toward the horizon.
Rose stood like a figurehead in reverse. Below her, the huge letters of the name Titanic were painted on the stern.
She leaned out, her arms straightening...looking down, hypnotized, into the vortex below her. Her dress and hair were lifted by the wind of the ship's movement. The only sound above the rush of water below was the flutter and snap of the big Union Jack right above her.
Someone walked up behind her, but she didnít notice.
"Don't do it."
She whipped her head around at the sound of his voice. It took a second for her eyes to focus. Oh, my God. This was the boy from steerage who had stared at her. Now that she saw him close, she had to admit that he was rather handsome. But stillÖ
"Stay back! Don't come any closer!" she shouted back.
Jack saw the tear tracks on her cheeks in the faint glow from the stern running lights.
"Come on. Give me your hand and Iíll pull you back over."
He didnít understand what she wanted to say. "No! Stay where you are. I mean it. I'll let go."
"No, you won't." He wasnít sure why he had said that. He just knew she wouldnít do it.
Rose turned fully around to look at him properly. "What do you mean, no, I won't? Don't presume to tell me what I will and will not do. You don't know me."
"Well, you would have done it already."
Rose was confused. She couldnít see him very well through her tears, so she wiped them with one hand, almost losing her balance.
"You're distracting me. Go away."
He sighed. "I can't. I'm involved now. If you let go, I have to jump in there after you."
"Don't be absurd. You'll be killed," she said, almost laughing a little.
He took off his jacket. "I'm a good swimmer." He started untying his left shoe.
"The fall alone would kill you."
"It would hurt. I'm not saying it wouldn't. To tell you the truth, I'm a lot more concerned about that water being so cold."
She looked down. The reality factor of what she was doing was sinking in. She hadnít thought of the cold water until now.
Jack took off his left shoe and threw it aside. "Freezing. Maybe a couple degrees over. Ever been to Wisconsin?"
Rose was perplexed. Why did he want to talk about Wisconsin? "What?"
"Well, they have some of the coldest winters around, and I grew up there, near Chippewa Falls. I remember when I was a kid, me and my father went ice fishing out on Lake Wissota...ice fishing's where youÖ"
"I know what ice fishing is!" Who did he think he was, telling her what ice fishing was?
"Sorry. Just...you seem like, you knowĖkind of an indoor girl...anyway, I fell through some thin ice, and I'm telling ya, water that cold...like right down there...it hits you like a thousand knives stabbing you all over your body. You can't breathe, you can't think...at least not about anything but the pain." He took off his right shoe. "Which is why I'm not looking forward to jumping in after you. But like I said, I don't see a choice. I guess I'm kind of hoping you'll come back over the railing and get me off the hook here."
He stretched out his hand. She looked at him, and said, "You're crazy."
He laughed a little. "That's what everybody says. But with all due respect, miss, I'm not the one hanging off the back of a ship here."
He slid one step closer, like moving up on a spooked horse.
"Come on. Give me your hand. You don't want to do this."
Rose stared at the madman for a long time. She looked into his eyes, and they somehow suddenly seemed to fill her universe.
She unfastened one hand from the railing and reached it around toward him. He reached out to take it firmly.
"Whew. I'm Jack Dawson."
"Iím Rose DeWitt Bukater."
"Iíll have to get you to write that one down," he said, smiling, and she smiled, too.
Rose started to turn. Now that she had decided to live, the height was terrifying. She was overcome by vertigo as she shifted her footing, turning to face the ship. As she started to climb, her dress got in the way, and one foot slipped off the edge of the deck.
She let out a terrified shriek. Jack, gripping her hand, was jerked toward the railing. Rose barely grabbed a lower rail with her free hand.
"Help! Please, help me!"
"Listen. Listen! I've got you. I won't let go. Now, pull yourself up. Come on. You can do it!" he said.
Jack held her hand with all his strength, bracing himself against the railing with his other hand. Rose tried to get some kind of foothold on the smooth hull. Jack tried to lift her bodily over the railing. She couldnít get any footing in her dress and evening shoes, and she slipped back. Rose screamed again.
Jack, awkwardly clutching Rose by whatever he could get a grip on as she flailed, got her over the railing. They fell together onto the deck in a tangled heap, spinning in such a way that Jack wound up slightly on top of her.
Some crewmen had hear her screams and had come to help. Quartermaster Rowe was among them.
"Here, what's all this?" he asked, confused.
Rowe ran up and pulled Jack off of Rose, revealing her disheveled and sobbing on the deck. Her dress was torn, and the hem was pushing up above her knees, showing one ripped stocking. He looked at Jack, the shaggy steerage man with his jacket off, and the first class lady clearly in distress, and started drawing conclusions. Two seamen chugged across the deck to join them.
"Here, you! Stand back! Don't move an inch!" He turned to the other men. "Fetch the Master-at-Arms!"
A few minutes later, Jack was being detained by the burly Master-at-Arms, the closest thing to a police officer on board. He was handcuffing Jack. Cal was right in front of Jack, and furious.
He had obviously just rushed out there with Lovejoy and another man, and none of them had coats over their black tie evening dress.
The other man was colonel Archibald Gracie. He offered some brandy to Rose, who was hunched over crying on a bench nearby, but she waved it away. Cal was more concerned with Jack. He grabbed him by the lapels.
"What made you think you could put your hands on my fiancťe? Look at me, you filth! What did you think you were doing?"
"Cal, stop! It was an accident." Rose tried to help the situation.
"It was...stupid, really. I was leaning over, and I slipped." Rose looked at Jack, getting eye contact. "I was leaning way over, to see the...ah...propellers. And I slipped, and I would have gone overboard...but Mr. Dawson here saved me, and he almost went over himself."
"You wanted to see the propellers?" Cal didnít know what to think of this story. The propellers?
Gracie walked over to them. "Women and machinery do not mix."
The Master-at-Arms turned around to look at Jack. "Was that the way of it?"
Rose was begging him with her eyes not to say what had really happened.
"Uh-huh. That was pretty much it."
He looked at Rose a moment longer. Now, they had a secret together.
"Well! The boy's a hero, then. Good for you, son. Well done!" Gracie said in a cheerful voice. "So, it's all's well and back to our brandy, eh?"
Jack was uncuffed. Cal got Rose to her feet and moving.
"Let's get you in. You're freezing." Of course, Cal only thought of getting Rose away from Jack.
Cal was leaving without a second thought for Jack.
"Ah...perhaps a little something for the boy?" Gracie suggested.
Cal looked a little confused now. "Oh, right. Mr. Lovejoy, a twenty should do it."
Rose smiled a shocked smile. "Is that the going rate for saving the woman you love?"
"Rose is displeased. Mmm...what to do?" Cal turned back to Jack. He appraised him condescendingly...a steerage ruffian, unwashed and ill-mannered. "I know. Perhaps you could join us for dinner tomorrow, to regale our group with your heroic tale."
Jack looked directly at Rose. "Sure. Count me in."
Cal smirked. "Good. Itís settled then." He turned to go, putting a protective arm around Rose. He leaned close to Gracie as they walked away. "This should be amusing."
Before they turned, Rose looked at Jack one last time.