Author: Lady Elena Dawson PM
For a century now, Rose DeWitt Bukater has stayed seventeen. When in her hometown of London for a visit, she meets Jack Dawson, an appealing vampire hunter and understanding artist, and soon flees her bloody history to try and avoid accepting her dying humanity - by boarding the RMS Titanic. But what happens when a certain vampire on board threatens to reveal her murderous past?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Horror - Jack D. & Rose D. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,329 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 01-14-13 - Published: 12-30-12 - id: 8855802
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 2: The Girl With the Many Faces
Startled as though it was some dream—which it was—Rose woke up in a flurry of pants, very aware of the fact that what she had just relived was, indeed, her past reality. How foolish and stupid she was back then, so fluttery and naïve; and every day she cursed herself for allowing Cal for taking advantage of her like that, without even asking if she aspired of being with him forever, too.
That was the polite thing to do—but that was the last characteristic Cal had, if it even existed at all in his black, shriveled pit of a heart.
Now she was awake and as fresh as ever, her dark blue eyes rich in color due to her pleased mood. Humming a century-old tune, she shimmied out of the bed in her London apartment and nonchalantly disposed of the crinkled dress on the floor, stained a sickly red at the collar.
"Home sweet home," Rose purred as she took a breath of fresh air, the first night back in her home city no longer frightening her.
For a long time, she'd been scared stiff into a corner by the thought of coming home and Cal sweeping her away to be his. After all, it had taken her a month to finally free herself of his wrath, slipping into the night with tears streaking down her cheeks as her dead heart somehow, magically, pounded ferociously in her heaving chest. And all the meanwhile she could hear Cal's outraged cries, screaming for her to come back or he'd kill her when he finds her.
Fortunately, he hasn't so far, and Rose was pleased with being on the run for the first time in decades.
In the meantime, she propped herself in front of the vanity mirror and painted her lips a daring red, sickly knowing that though it was to wash off throughout the day, it would only be stained a darker—and saltier—color when the night approached and her hunger growled in the pit of her stomach that was no longer humane.
Meanwhile, in a crowded tenement a few blocks away, Jack Dawson was pondering his next investigation when he was interrupted by a knock at the beaten door. Despite its urgency, he took his time by setting aside the drawing of the urban landscape and pushing back his overgrown, dirty-blond hair from his two pools of mesmerizing blue. By the time he reached the only entrance and exit, the persistent visitor had already pounded his fist three times. "May I help you?" Jack asked when he, at last, opened the door, barely hiding his perfunctory attitude.
"Mr. Dawson," panted an exhausted-looking man, short and balding. "But I heard you were in town, and I needed to speak to you about the—"
"Wait!" Jack screeched when realization dawned on what he was about to say. "Don't say it so loud."
Swallowing hard, the perspiration glinted on the man's worry-lined wrinkled forehead as he whispered in a shaky voice, "The Originals."
Immediately, Jack's attention was grabbed by the horns and pulled in. Glancing back and forth down the worn hallway, he stepped aside and welcomed the man in. "Come inside," he said, his acquaintance sighing gratefully. "But be careful what you say in here."
As soon as he was settled in an uncomfortable, inexpensive green chair, the man tipped his hat and introduced himself. "I'm James Henri, and my profession is a banker. But, when I have the time for leisurely activities, I find myself reading up on the supernatural."
Uneasy, Jack popped the cork off a champagne bottle he managed to smuggle a couple months ago; he was surprised he'd lugged it around for so long. Though he spoke of his other secret job—excluding his real career as a wandering artist—in every city he's been to, caused by the consuming curiosity of the wittier residents, he was still not proud of taking it up. His father had been a renowned vampire hunter—curses to anyone who dared to say that to his face—and it was inherent that Jack would inherit the family business.
Not that he enjoyed tracking down blood-sucking monsters for that matter.
Yes, there had been a few attractive ones prowling around, seductresses hypnotizing men before chomping down on their necks for a long, slurping drink. It all disgusted Jack, and the lost humanity always broke his heart. For someone to do such a sinful deed to an innocent person... Heck, he didn't even like the thought of that, either.
"And what do you want to ask me about the Originals?" Jack decided to get straight to the point, downing a glass of the fizzy, expensive drink before slamming it down on a cluttered dresser. Instantly his mind got on its dizzying train ride again, reminding him of his duty. Repulsive, he thought silently as he asked himself what he would call his embarrassing job.
"Well, you see, I was at a business party when I happened to run into a certain man, and I swear I recognized him from the socialite columns of newspapers dated all the way back in the 1850s—you see, I like to read old things, too—and I couldn't help but notice…"
What man carried wooden stakes in his closet other than him and a few other unfortunate people in the world? He was sure as Satan was dragging wrong doers to the Underworld that he wanted to burn those killing objects down to ashes and throw it around like confetti.
"…He said his name was Caledon Hockley, and I said—"
Ears perking up in alarm, Jack jerked from his spot, his raging thoughts dissipating. "What did you say?"
"T-the man said his name was Caledon Hockley, sir," whimpered Mr. Henri, a little shaken by Jack's jumpy proclamation.
An uncomfortable silence hung over the room like a woolen blanket, trapping in all the awkwardness, as Jack stood there, mouth agape. "Do you know what he is?" Jack stammered, not expecting his guest to answer. "He's only one of the ten Originals stalking this planet since after Christ's death. And you, my friend, say he was at a dinner party here in London a few nights ago."
"Yes, sir, I did say that." A proud kind of glow emanated from the paranormal enthusiast. "I even did background research, as I said, to prove it."
Again, Jack made no sound. He was absolutely speechless by this rare piece of news, for if a vampire hunter killed an Original, he would no longer be inscribed to his unlikeable duties by the curious symbol tattooed onto his bicep, hidden by a loose cotton shirt. Finally, he rose his eyebrows and turned a corner of his mouth up into a beaming half-smile, a dimple that usually made women faint creasing in his skin. "Do you know what this means?" he asked, but Mr. Henri still couldn't tell if he was being serious or not.
"Um… It means that you—," he began to stutter, but Jack did, indeed, answer his own question in return.
"It means that if I track down this monster and kill him, I'll no longer have to be working in this damned business," he whooped, turning around and sticking a pencil in his mouth as he searched for a sheet of paper in a drawer. "No pun intended."
However, it was too good to be true. "But, um, sir, there's something else you should know about Mr. Hockley…"
"And what is that, my good man?" Jack said cheerfully, anticipation coursing through his veins as he already started planning his conspiracy to take down the beast.
"He's looking for someone, and it's got me worried. A woman, he told me, by the name of Rose DeWitt Bukater. It wasn't meant to be heard, but he said he was going to kill her when he finds her when he turned around after our conversation. But first he told me that she was his fiancée back in the days, before she ran away. She seems so innocent, sir, and it's so unbearable to hear a man plotting to murder his own fiancée, runaway bride or not, and—"
"James, you're rambling," Jack interrupted as soon as the pipsqueak man's voice sped up to the point of no return. "Besides, once I kill Hockley, she'll no longer be in danger." Poising his pencil up on his sheet of jotted notes, he asked, "Now, what did you say her name was?"
"Rose," Mr. Henri muttered with a gulp of punctuation. "Rose DeWitt Bukater."
Dumbfounded, Jack dropped his pencil, cursing under his breath as he bent to pick it up. "Why would Hockley want to kill someone he's already killed before?" he mumbled to himself, swearing and plopping his head in his hands.
He remembered Rose DeWitt Bukater, all right. Growing up, she was the southern belle Rosie Bukater visiting from Georgia when Jack was a kid in New York. As a teenager, she was the mysterious model in Paris called Rosalind DeWitt who all of his friends drooled over whenever they were able to get their hormonal hands on their sisters' fashion magazines. And now she was backtracked to her birth name without much media on her tail.
Rosie Bukater, Rosalind DeWitt, Rose DeWitt Bukater. They were all the same person, and no one ever noticed her resemblance to many other made-up women throughout history.
Not only that, but he'd seen her work, too, ones that weren't published in the papers: Bodies sucked dry of blood without any explainable cause except for the two devouring holes in the pulsing neck. He also knew for a fact that she always did a fine job cleaning up her messes without a single stain on the alley walk.
"Did he tell you more?" Jack choked out once he was able to speak again. If he could capture Rose DeWitt Bukater, he could lure Cal into a trap—and besides, did a woman ever not fall for his dashing looks born to each vampire hunter?
"Yes," Mr. Henri replied, no hesitation or fear in his tone. "He said he's seen her sitting alone in the park by the fountain, watching the birds fly. By the sound of it, it seemed like he'd known that for a while, and was soon preparing to talk to her."
Hastily picking up his spring jacket and sketchpad—while also stashing a syringe of vervain, a toxic herb to vampires, in his pants pocket—and shoving it under his arm, he opened his apartment door. "Thank you, James," he said with a boyish grin. "You've been a big help."
Speechless, James witnessed as Jack slammed the door behind him without a second glance. Grumbling incoherently, he scooted off the chair—which had cut off the circulation in his stubby leg—and adjusted his suit.
"I never even got to ask my question."
The London park was crisp and clear for a mid-March day, though the air was a bit chilly from the harsh winter. As Jack strolled past couples and groups of chasing children, he kept a lookout for Rose, hoping that on the outside people would see him as an artist just searching for a place to set up. Nearing the fountain Mr. Henri had told him about, it wasn't hard to detect the flourish of red locks decorating the nape of the neck of some woman bearing a small sunhat and a beautiful, white suit.
It was, without a doubt, Rose. He could recognize her hair anywhere, all luscious and dark red and curly. It was shameful to admit, but he rather liked southern Rose as a young child, thinking she was pretty, but now that he looked back on it, she was more pedophile—probably from her way of hunting prey.
Now, studying her back, she didn't seem like an immortal monster. In fact, she seemed like any normal young debutante, just longing to spend a day where she could stare out at the bustling groups of people without a worry in her world.
Don't fall for it, Jack chided himself as he rounded the bench, getting a generous sight of her profile despite the shadowing hat. As immediate as he did so, her gorgeous eyes lined with long, lush lashes turned up to meet his equally blue ones, and her lips—dotted with a beauty mark, he couldn't fail to notice—tugged at the corners into a kind smile. "Hello," she greeted him as he stood next to her.
"Good afternoon, miss," he replied politely, letting a strand of his overgrown hair fall over his eyes—a trick he learned worked well on women. "May I sit here with you?"
"Of course. I don't mind." She scooted over and smoothed out the wrinkles in her skirt, biting her lip flirtatiously.
Did he have the wrong person? He always pictured Rose DeWitt Bukater as a seductive, presumptuous, flamboyant woman. After all, wasn't that what caught a man's attention? The mysterious, bold movements of an outrageous female?
But she had gone through so many diverse roles—this belonging to her own, made-up biodiversity, in scientific terms—that this might as well just be another one of them.
In his mind, Jack mentally noted Rose DeWitt Bukater, a sweet, gentle woman who's presumably just as trapped as any upper-class woman pretending like she's happy.
Giving her a big smile which she responded with a small, polite one, he opened his sketchpad and got as comfortable as he could be next to a vampire, beginning to draw the spouting fountain—all the while unaware of the smirk appearing on Rose's face, ready to strike.