Well, this is one of my favorite chapters. You'll understand why I love this chapter. Anyway, thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts with me. Makes me feel all warm inside. Lol. Sorry about the gap in updates. I've got my inspiration back so things will be better!
April 11, 1912
1:03 p.m. Veranda Café
Stray rays of sunlight peek through the florescent windows of the Veranda Café. Titanic has been out at sea for approximately twenty-five hours and three minutes. Things have been quite pleasant for the upper class passengers who are enwrapped in a blanket of pure opulence. Three of society's finest dine at a small table, engaged in conversation. Actually, they were gossiping over the latest news in the social order.
" I can't believe he left his wife for her," comments Julia Cavendish.
Gladys Cherry exclaims with mild horror and blatant disgust. "I know. He is twice her age!"
The Countess holds her composure but is unable to withhold her repugnance. "And with child. She should be ashamed of herself, marrying a man old enough to be her father and then some."
Julia agreed. "No wonder she has no friends."
"No, she has one. Elizabeth." The Countess' heart nearly freezes when she utters that name. It is like a poison, a word never to be spoken aloud.
Gladys Cherry's round cheeks rise with a slight laugh. "My word! She is something, isn't she?"
"She is just an adolescent. A naive, spoiled little girl that doesn't realize what an outcast she has made herself to be." The Countess adds before taking a sip of her green tea.
"She shouldn't even be considered first class. Look at her father. A seaman of all things!" Mrs. Cavendish sneers.
Gladys Cherry leans in slightly to add, "I hear they can hardly pay their bills."
"Really?" Julia asks with trivial amusement.
Just then, a pair of colorful young women close in age, make their way through the door. They are engaged in a well-humored conversation, according to their light laughs and bright smiles. As they look around while still talking, the two youthful adults stop dead in their tracks. Elizabeth Murdoch and Madeline Astor stare straight ahead at their mortal enemies.
"Oh hell, they're here. Should we join them," asks Madeline in a disappointed voice.
"Only to see the Countess grit her teeth," responds Elizabeth with a humorous smile.
This slightly worries Madeline. Putting those two in the same room at the same time is like waiting for a bomb to go off. Two very strong minds colliding is not exactly what she had in mind today. "All right, but only if you promise not to start a scene."
For Elizabeth, this is an opportunity for an interesting lunch session. With a mischievous grin she says, "I promise…hopefully!" She grabs Madeline's hand, encouraging her friend to walk faster.
"Ellie!" Madeline exclaims, half giggling. Oh, this is going to be fun. She thinks to herself. They finally reach the table where Julia, The Countess, and Gladys Cherry are already dining. The three women look up with no excitement.
Elizabeth is the first to speak. "Countess. Gladys. Julia."
"Good evening," Mrs. Astor adds.
"Elizabeth. Madeline." The Countess responds quietly. Elizabeth and Madeline sit down. Julia and Gladys simply nod their heads.
"What brings you here this afternoon," asks Julia Cavendish.
"Well, it is lunchtime and I am a little famished. Where else would I be," replies Elizabeth, her voice dripping with sarcasm. Madeline gives her a stern look. "Oh, silly me. Was I interrupting something?"
The Countess fires back quickly. "No. We were just discussing the ramifications of betraying the ritual practices of First Class society. What do you think should be done with girls who misbehave, Elizabeth?"
"Well, it depends on what you call misbehaving. I mean, really, some of these rules and expectations are far too restrictive. Honestly, if a girl wants to be her own person, independent from any man, who's to say that she can't?" Elizabeth replies.
Elizabeth gives the Countess a look. "But what is proper society? A bunch of old, uptight men whose wildly inflated egos have them delusional in thinking that they can overpower women when in fact they don't even hold a candle to us because they wouldn't even stand a chance giving birth to another human being like we are forced and destined to do?" The Countess was starting to get under her skin.
"Nonsense! A woman's place in society is to bear children and take care of the family. It has always and will continue to be that way." Gladys Cherry chimes in.
You could see the red in Elizabeth's cheeks growing. Every second that passed, she was becoming more defiant. "But why? Why can't we change society and its old ways? Why are women secondary to men?"
"Because we are." Julia Cavendish austerely adds in.
"You seem to be delusional yourself, Elizabeth. You preach your independence from men yet you can't tell your father that you are courting one of his own?" The Countess quickly inserts. The entire table falls silent.
A stunned Elizabeth quickly changes her demeanor. "How did you know that? I never-"
Madeline Astor places a caring hand on her friend's shoulder. "Elle, calm down."
"Yes, we wouldn't want to make a scene, now would we?" The Countess says with an air of arrogance.
"To hell with that! I don't care anymore," Elizabeth stands up and practically yells. Surrounding people stop what they're doing and give her a disgusted look. Miss Murdoch does not seem to notice. "I'm done with this…. society and its unjust ways."
The Countess quickly counters. "Unjust ways? Yes, lying to your father and having inappropriate relations with a man that works under him. You really are quite the proper girl aren't you, Ellie? Why don't you just sit down and learn how to obey others? You are a wild child and soon you'll end up even more of an outcast then you already are, you and your pregnant friend. I'd rather follow society's rules than be with child and unhappily wed to a man that doesn't even care for me any more."
Madeline looks up, hurt. "Will you excuse me?" She quietly leaves the table before walking fast and sobbing out onto the boat deck. She quickly makes her was inside again, through the grand staircase entry.
At this point, Elizabeth is absolutely furious. "You cold, heartless wench. If you think for one second that your words mean anything to me, think again. You are nothing to me." Elizabeth turns and finds the entire dining room staring at her. "What are you staring at? Go back to gorging on your expensive meals while others below decks nearly starve to death." She quickly exits to go look for her friend.
As things start to get back in order, the Countess looks at her friends. Julia Cavendish is the first to speak up. "I say, some people just don't have any class at all."
April 11, 1912
1:20 p.m. Grand Staircase
Madeline finds herself standing at the top of the staircase, wiping away her tears. She stares at the great clock, deep in thought. Behind her, footsteps are heard. Slowing approaching is her great friend and confidant, Elizabeth. Young Murdoch softly speaks to the back of her friend.
"Maddy, don't let the Countess get to you." She says with great care in her voice.
Madeline turns around, her emotions written all over her face. "I know that I shouldn't but John-"
"He loves you." Elizabeth reassures her.
The elder friend is still in doubt. "How do you know that?"
"By the way he looks at you. I know many people won't agree with your marriage but it doesn't matter what others think. Only you and John are married. Only your opinions matter."
Madeline looks down at the ground. "Maybe you're right."
Elizabeth places a hand on her shoulder, forcing Madeline to look up. I am right." She smiles. "Do you remember how we met?"
"Yes. It was about three years ago. I came to England on a trip and you were there.
"Do you remember when we snuck away to go sight seeing?" asks Elizabeth.
Madeline laughs, recalling that great adventure. "Yes! That was so much fun, running around and peeking into windows. Mother had a fit when I returned and-"
"F-father practically exploded!" Elizabeth adds in between laughs.
"Oh that was a great time, but Elle, why are you bringing this up?"
Miss Murdoch sighs. "We have known each other long enough for you to trust me. Now, I know what I am saying. He loves you."
Madeline smiles. "Thank you, Elle."
" No need to thank me. Go to your husband. You two need more time together." Madeline nods. She gives her friend a hug before going to her suite. Elizabeth looks on with as mile. She turns around to see the Countess of Rothes walking up to her. She loses the smile and puts her guard back up.
"Is she going to be all right?" asks the Countess.
"Do you really care?" Elizabeth shoots back.
The Countess pauses for a moment. "As a matter of fact, no."
"Then why are you here?" Elizabeth inquires. This woman was such a mystery to her sometimes.
"I came to see how you were. That was quite a scene in the café'" says the older woman.
"Well, I'm fine." There is an awkward silence between the two. Elizabeth stares down at the ground before looking up. "Are you going to tell my father?"
"Of your relationship with that rough looking man?"
"His name is Harry." Elizabeth sternly inserts.
"That name means nothing to me. To answer your question, no. It would bring me much pleasure to tell him, but unlike you, I have matured into a grown woman. I don't resort to childish things like that."
Elizabeth holds back her anger to say something she really did not want to say. "Thank you."
"Don't." The Countess says and abruptly walks away. Elizabeth is left standing there, confused.