Rose sat quietly on the bench, a cup of tea in her hands. She sipped at it, staring absently into the swirling liquid.
She was exhausted, both mentally and physically. It had been more than twenty-four hours since she had slept, and the exertion of the previous night had sapped her strength. Nevertheless, she couldn't sleep.
She had tried stretching out on the bench and closing her eyes, but whenever she did, she saw Jack sinking away from her in the dark sea, after she had broken the ice that had frozen their hands together. She almost wished he hadn't made her promise to survive.
Rose set the tea aside, the exhaustion nearly overcoming her. She had never been so tired. Settling back against the bench, she tried once more to close her eyes. If she didn't rest soon, her promise to survive would be pointless.
Rose had almost dozed off when she hear someone calling her name. Alarmed, she sat up, looking around her, wondering if someone from first class had found her.
She tensed, ready to run, then almost fainted from relief when she recognized Fabrizio hurrying toward her.
He looked terrible. His face was covered with cuts and bruises, as though someone had beaten him. The collar of his shirt, despite the soaking it had received, was faintly tinged with blood.
Fabrizio looked at her with concern for a moment, as she wobbled slightly. He was relieved when she sat up, making space for him on the bench.
"Rose, you survived!" he exclaimed. He looked around hopefully. "Where's Jack?"
Rose's face fell. Biting her lip, she told him, "He didn't make it."
"Completely." Rose wrapped the blanket more tightly around her, trying to ward off the deep chill that seemed to come from inside of her.
Fabrizio looked stunned. Jack was a survivor; they had been in and out of more scrapes than he could count. But the sinking of the Titanic had proven to be one adventure too many.
"We were on the ship when it went down. We got separated in the water, and after Jack found me again, we found a piece of wood to lie on. But there was only enough room for one of us, so Jack stayed in the water. I almost gave up, but he made me promise to survive. I thought that he would be all right, but when the boat finally came back, and I tried to wake him up, it was too late. He'd frozen to death." Rose pulled the blanket over her head, trying not to cry. She looked at Fabrizio almost resentfully. "How did you survive?"
"I was almost crushed by a falling smokestack, but I dove deep enough that I got away. I made it to a boat, but there was this first class passenger in there who kept hitting people with an oar and yelling that they were going to swamp the boat. He hit me several times before I grabbed the oar away from him and climbed aboard."
"Do you know who it was?" Rose asked, suspiciously. It sounded like something Cal would do.
"No, I didn't know who it was."
They sat quietly for a few minutes. Finally, Fabrizio spoke again.
"Rose...I'm sorry about Jack. He was my best friend."
"I know he was. I'm sorry too."
"I guess those tickets we won weren't so lucky after all."
Rose looked at him. "Jack told me that winning that ticket was the best thing that ever happened to him, because it brought him to me. I wish he hadn't won."
"You wish you hadn't met?"
"No, I...was never so happy as in those times when I was with Jack. But if he hadn't won, he'd still be alive. We wouldn't have met, but he'd still be alive."
"He liked you right from the start. When he saw you on the deck, no one could tear his gaze away from you. We thought it was funny. Tommy told him that he was more likely to have angels fly out his ass, than get next to the likes of you. But he managed to meet you anyway."
"I loved him," Rose said simply.
Fabrizio thought for a moment. "He loved you, too."
"He never said it."
"He insisted that Tommy and I help him climb up to first class to see you, even though he might get arrested if he got caught. I said that amore is not logical, and he didn't disagree."
"He got arrested later, for stealing a valuable diamond."
"He stole your jewelry?"
"No, but my fiancé—my ex-fiancé—framed him. I later went back through the flooding ship for him. He would have drowned if I hadn't."
"You might have made him settle down."
"Maybe." Rose didn't want to talk about Jack anymore. The pain was too new, too raw. Instead, she asked him, "What about your roommates? Did they survive?"
"I haven't seen them, nor Cora and her father, either. They might be on this ship, especially Cora, because she's a little girl."
"Maybe we should look for them." Rose was ready to fall asleep again.
"Maybe in a while. You should lie down. You look like you're going to faint."
"I am tired..." Rose was asleep before she finished her sentence. Fabrizio moved from the bench, making her lie down.
Rose awoke a few hours later. Fabrizio was still nearby, leaning against a pile of rope, sound asleep. There was a commotion from the other side of the deck.
Rose turned to see Cal talking to a steward.
"I don't think you'll find any of your people down here, sir. It's all steerage."
Cal ignored him, walking amongst the passengers, looking at their faces, searching for Rose.
Fabrizio had awakened, too, and gotten to his feet. He looked at Cal with a mixture of hatred and fear.
Rose saw him watching Cal and motioned him over.
"He's the one who tried to drown me with that oar last night," he hissed to Rose, still staring at Cal. Cal felt the eyes watching him and hurried over.
At first, he only saw Rose. "Rose...you survived."
"Yes. I lived. How awkward for you."
He looked around, seeing no sign of Jack. His eyes fell on Fabrizio for an instant.
"You really are a slut, Rose. You've already replaced one gutter rat with another."
Rose saw red. Furious, she slapped Cal as hard as she could.
"You son of a bitch! How dare you presume to know anything about me? You're nothing but a cowering bastard who needs other people to do his dirty work for him."
Cal stepped back, stunned by her attack. The gentle Rose was showing her thorns.
Fabrizio joined in. "You tried to kill me last night!"
Cal looked at him, recognizing for the first one of the men he had tried to club with the oar. He turned to go back upstairs, but they had already attracted a crowd.
A woman with a small child spat at him. He cringed, recognizing the little girl he had used to get a place in the lifeboat. She hid her face, frightened of him.
Rose wasn't through with him yet. "You tried to shoot Jack and me after I jumped out of the boat to be with him. We were lucky you're such a poor shot."
An officer pushed through the angry crowd, shoving people aside, as he escorted Cal out of harm's way.
"Where's your valet?" Rose shouted. "You can't even walk around in steerage without getting into trouble. No wonder your father hired a baby-sitter for you!" She spat after him, just like Jack had taught her, but he was already out of range.
A door slammed as Cal fled the scene, the angry mob trailing after him.
Rose sat down, shaken by the confrontation. Part of her had wished that Cal was dead, she realized. It would have been a fitting end to one who had brought so much misery to others.
"You all right, Rose?" Fabrizio was standing in front of her.
"Yes, yes. I'm fine. I'll be fine." She put a shaking hand to her mouth, almost laughing. "I don't think we'll see him again."
"I hope not. I don't want to go to jail."
"Why would you go to jail?"
"I'll kill him if I see him again." He paused. "He really tried to kill you and Jack?"
"Yes. He grabbed his valet's gun and went after us. He really is a poor shot, though. He never even came close to hitting either of us."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. The mob had dispersed, people returning to their mournful stances.
"Rose...do you know what happened to Helga?"
Rose winced. Fabrizio had liked Helga, she knew.
"She didn't survive, either." At his questioning look, she elaborated, "I saw her fall from the stern, all the way down to the ocean. Jack and I were perched atop the stern railing, while Helga was holding on to the underside of it, when the ship went into the air. She lost her grip and fell."
Fabrizio mumbled something in Italian. Rose didn't understand his words, but she sensed that he was praying for those who had been lost that night. Finally, he looked up at her, his eyes wet. "Tommy didn't make it, either."
Rose started to respond, then shook her head. Tommy had survived, of that she was certain. She had seen him in the boat with her after she had been rescued. She told Fabrizio as much.
"That's impossible. I saw him shot by that bastardo Murdoch, just before Murdoch shot himself."
"No, I'm sure he was in the boat with me. Did you stay to see how serious his injuries were?"
Fabrizio shook his head. "I was swept along in the crowd heading for the lifeboats. I didn't see him after he was shot."
"We should look for him." Rose got to her feet.
That decided, they headed inside, looking for the ship's hospital.
Tommy awoke to see a nurse standing beside him, checking the bandages on the bullet wound in his shoulder. He looked around, wondering where he was. The last thing he remembered was being pulled into a lifeboat, half-frozen, and the sound of a whistle echoing across the water.
Now, he tried to sit up. The nurse pushed him back down, shaking her head. He wasn't strong enough to get up yet.
Looking in the direction of the door, he heard a commotion from just outside. Two voices, a cultured female voice and an Italian-accented male voice, were arguing with someone, insisting that they be allowed to look inside.
A moment later, Rose DeWitt Bukater marched in, followed by Fabrizio. The steward they had been arguing with gave up, shaking his head as he walked away. Rose's snotty upper class manners had won the day.
The nurse gave him another pillow, allowing him to prop himself up. Rose and Fabrizio hurried over to him.
"I told you so," Rose told Fabrizio.
"What did you tell him?" Tommy asked, looking from one to the other.
"That you weren't dead. He thought you were."
"I thought I was too, but it was too damned cold to be hell, and I always expected heaven was a bit nicer."
"I saw you in the lifeboat after I was rescued," Rose told him.
"You were in the water, too? I never saw you."
"I barely made it. I would have died if Jack hadn't made me promise to survive, and if I hadn't taken the whistle from the lips of a dead officer and blown it to attract attention."
"Where is Jack?"
"He froze to death, along with a thousand other people." Rose's voice broke.
"Damn, I'm sorry to hear that. He was a good friend."
"The best," Fabrizio answered. "Helga didn't live either."
Tommy just shook his head, at a loss for words.
There wasn't much that any of them could say. The sinking of the Titanic was one of the greatest tragedies of all time, and none of them would ever forget it, or forget the friends and loved ones who had vanished into the ocean depths.
The Carpathia docked three days later. Fabrizio, Rose, and Tommy left the ship together, unable to think of any better solution. Tommy had been on his way to America alone, and had not expected to leave with anyone, but he admitted that it was better being with friends than being alone, especially after the sinking.
Fabrizio had no idea what he was going to do in America, or even what things were like there, but he felt confident that the three of them could find their way.
Rose had lived in America all her life, and had been to New York many times, but even she was unsure what to do now. The world that she had entered after leaving first class was very different from the world she had been accustomed to, but she too would adapt.
The money that Rose found in Cal's coat pocket allowed them to rent an apartment in a lower class section of New York, making for an acceptable, if scandalous, living arrangement.
Fabrizio soon found work in an Italian restaurant, avoiding the mob stereotype that so many Italians fell prey to. He was successful at it, and soon found himself running the place.
Tommy went to work in a factory, although he didn't particularly like the work and vowed to leave as soon as he could. He often antagonized the bosses with his smart remarks, but the other employees respected him, and he was the first one called upon when unionization efforts began.
Rose worked as a waitress while she sought work on the stage, but she soon had to put her career aspirations off when she discovered that she was pregnant with Jack's child. The baby, a boy, was born in January of 1913. Rose mourned the fact that Jack would never see his son, but counted herself lucky that her child would grow up with two other good men as role models.
After the baby was born, Rose and Fabrizio grew closer, and married early in 1914. They had three more children, but Rose's firstborn always held a special place in their hearts.
In 1917, both Tommy and Fabrizio were called away to war. They both worried about the initial ocean crossing, but it went smoothly. The war was another matter.
Tommy was killed in battle early in the summer of 1918. Fabrizio survived, but was seriously wounded, and eventually had his right foot amputated. He returned to America in November 1918, just as the war ended.
Rose was waiting for him. Despite his injury, she felt confident that he could resume his old life, and run the restaurant again. She was right, and by 1920 they were once again prosperous. Fabrizio eventually bought the restaurant when the previous owner decided to try new business ventures, and was very successful. Although he was never quite the millionaire he had envisioned being, he did very well, and the family weathered the stock market crash with few losses.
Rose achieved moderate success on the stage. Although she was never a big star, she did well, and never lacked for work. She continued acting up until the 1960's, when she retired to spend more time with her grandchildren.
Fabrizio died in 1978. Rose mourned, but the inner strength that had kept her alive before would not allow her to give up now, and she lived independently until 1995, when she moved in with her granddaughter Lizzy, the youngest grandchild of herself and Jack.
In 1996, Rose was watching television when she saw Brock Lovett talking about the Titanic. Interested, she called him, wondering whether he had found the Heart of the Ocean. Unbeknownst to anyone but herself, she had had it all along. She had never told anyone about it, not even Fabrizio.
After telling her story, she dropped the diamond into the ocean, and went to sleep for the last time.
Soon after, she saw Tommy and Fabrizio waiting for her on the promenade deck of Titanic. Together, the two men escorted her into the first class dining room, where a familiar figure waited atop the stairs. Tommy stepped aside, while Fabrizio whispered, "I release you from your vows. Go to him, Rose."
Rose hugged Fabrizio one last time, and ascended the staircase to where Jack was waiting, as he had been for eighty-four years. He looked past her for a moment, thanking Tommy and Fabrizio for being there for her, before he took her hand.