October 10th 1926
The years had been kind to the Hockley's. Cal and Rose grew ever closer as they raised their children together. Rose juggled being a mother and the lady of the Hockley household seamlessly. Ruth came over every first of the month to see her grandchildren. Her relationship with Rose never was a very close one, but Rose did mourn her when she passed away in the Flu epidemic of 1919. Helena had also fallen victim to the flu in the same year. That had been a hard year for both Cal and Rose, but they got through it by leaning on each other.
After the flu epidemic, Rose and Cal continued to raise their children with love, compassion, and understanding.
The more Jacob grew, the more he looked like his biological father. It was when he was 13 years of age and really was another version of Jack, he even had a portfolio gifted to him by Cal, when Cal and Rose both sat down and revealed his true parentage and why he wasn't even considered to be a Hockley heir like the twins.
It had been a rainy day. Usually, the kids would be outside on the veranda, doing their homework or playing tennis, or golf. But today they returned from the prep school that Cal and Rose had enrolled them in, all three in a sour mood, with Jacob sporting a black eye. Betsy gasped in dismay at the sight of him, knowing that Mrs. Hockley was not going to be happy at the sight of her son.
"What happened to you, young master?" The maid stared. "Stay put. I shall put some ice on that..."
"Don't bother," Jacob grumbled, storming upstairs to his room and slamming the door, not even bothering to try to hide the tears in his eyes.
Stunned, the maid looked at the twins, not at all sure what had gone on while at school. "Do you know what happened to your brother?"
Maxwell shrugged, his dark eyes worried. "He wouldn't tell us. All we know is that there was a fight, but he won't say why. Is he trouble. Will mommy ground us again?"
"I am sure she won't. There are cookies and juice in the parlor if you are hungry. I will go inform your mother about your brother," Betsy kindly answered, ruffling the boy's dark curls before going in search of Rose, who was in the library, once again typing away at her new novel. Usually she didn't like to be interrupted when in middle of writing, but the maid knew that she'd want to be informed of her son.
Betsy stuck her head through the door of the library and cleared her throat loud enough so she could be heard over the sound of the typewriter that Rose was using. "Mrs. Rose. I am afraid that there is a situation that requires your attention. It is young Jacob."
Rose stopped typing with a frown and turned to the maid. "Jacob? What is wrong with him? Shouldn't he be home by now?"
"He is in his room, Mrs. By the looks of him, he's been in a fight, but he won't say what happened."
Rose's frown deepened. Fighting was so unlike Jacob. He was a friendly, outgoing boy who made friends easily. Whatever could have caused a fight to breakout? "Where are Olivia and Maxwell?"
"They are in the parlor with the juice and cookies that you had set out for them," Betsy explained.
Rose took a deep breath, wondering what must have happened at school and why. Jacob wasn't one to get into fights. He must have been provoked somehow. "Betsy, will you make sure that Max and Olivia get started on their homework? I will tend to Jacob."
"Yes, Mrs," Betsy nodded, disappearing back out into the hall.
Rose got up and left the library, making her way to Jacob's closed door. She placed a hand against the warm wood and pressed her ear to the door, hoping to hear some signs of distress from within, so she could judge just how upset he was. All was silent, which meant that Jacob was most likely holding it all inside. So like her. She remembered how she had held her own unhappiness inside, until it exploded out of her, sending her to the stern of Titanic. Lightly, she knocked on the door.
"Jacob, darling! It's mother! May I come in?"
At first there was no answer. Just a heavy silence, then she heard footsteps approach and the door opened to a frowning Jacob, sporting a black eye. His blue eyes spoke of a deep unhappiness that broke her heart.
"Darling, what happened?" Rose gasped in shock.
"I got into a fight," was Jacob's rely as he went to sit on his bed and glare at the floor.
Rose entered and sat next to him. She stroked his soft hair, again reminded of Jack, who's hair was also soft as silk and beautifully blond. "Why? What happened? Fighting is so unlike you."
Jacob continued to look at the floor for just a few more seconds when he looked at his mother with angry tears in his eyes. "Carlton Pierce says that father isn't my father. He says that I'm not the Hockley heir! So I punched him...and he punched me back."
"Oh Jacob," Rose sighed, not knowing how to respond. She had talked this very thing over with Cal before they had registered Jacob in school. They had decided to talk Jacob's parentage with him when he was of age. Of course, the boy was nearing fourteen years old now. It was probably time, but still, Rose had hoped to put it off for just a little while longer. Jack was still a sensitive topic for her. He had been the love her life and her heart still grieved for him, every April. It was when Cal knew to leave her alone and even sent Jacob to her to comfort her. Now it had to be dredged up again. It was time to tell her son the truth about where he came from. "I wish you hadn't done that, Jacob."
"Well he made me mad. He made it sound like father wasn't my father! That it's some scandal that Max is being groomed to run the business and not me, when I don't even want to run the business anyway!" Jacob sniffed. "He just made me so mad!"
Rose wiped the tears from her eyes and sighed, really hating this. She felt like going to Carlton Pierce's mother and telling the nosy gossip to mind her own business and keep her family's name out of her mouth. But that wouldn't help the problem at that moment. "Jacob, fighting is never good. You can get hurt or can hurt someone else and we know that you don't want to do that. You know that our family is very prestigious, so people will gossip and speculate about us. The important thing is to rise above it and ignore whatever it is they're saying. It's not important."
"It's not that I want to be heir...it's just...they make it sound like father doesn't love me as much."
"Oh Jacob, that's not true! He loves you so much and he'll be very angry and hurt that this was said to you! Look, let's wait until your father comes home to discuss this further. We do have to tell you something, but we wanted to tell you together and when it's time...which obviously it is now. But for now, go join your sister and brother in some juice and cookies and get started on your homework. We'll continue this later tonight, when your father returns."
"Am I in trouble, mother?" Jacob frowned, scared that he was. His mother didn't seem angry, just sad. There was no telling how his father was going to react. The great Caledon Hockley could be very stern and harsh when he wanted to be, even though he never really showed the harsh side of his personality to his children, but that didn't mean that they weren't aware of it.
"No, darling. You are not in trouble. Now go get some juice and cookies before they're gone."
Rose watched her son leave the room, and then sighed with a heavy heart. She looked up at the ceiling, almost feeling lost and alone. "It's time, isn't it Jack? It's a shame that he never knew you. But I'll try to tell him what I can. Hopefully he'll understand."
There was no answer. There never was. She had stopped expecting one a long time ago, even though it sometimes felt good to address Jack's spirit. It made her feel not so alone. Like there was a guardian angel guiding her steps.
Sighing, she returned to the library, knowing that there was nothing more that she could do until Cal returned home.
Cal came home in a wary mood. It had been a day of meetings and phone calls and now he just wanted to come home with his family and relax and not have to worry about anything else. Unfortunately, that was not going to be case. Not just yet anyway.
When he walked through the door, he was surprised to find Rose there waiting to take his coat. Her smile was nervous and her posture was straight, showing that she was tense. Usually she was more relaxed than this. What was going on? Did something happen? He inwardly groaned, wondering what was going on now that needed his attention.
"I can tell that something is bothering you, sweet pea. May I ask what?"
Rose sighed, hating to dump this on him just when he got home, but the sooner this was dealt with, the better for all of them, especially Jacob.
"It's Jacob. He got into a fight."
Cal gave her a sharp look, surprise written on his face. "What? Are you sure it was Jacob?"
"He has the black eye to prove it, I'm afraid," Rose sighed, handing the flustered maid Cal's coat.
"Well, whatever for? I'm assuming that he has a good reason."
"It was about you. Some kids were taunting him about how he doesn't look like you and how you can't possibly be his real father and that's why he's not the Hockley heir..."
"Bloody hell," Cal cursed, resisting the urge to hit something. He should have known this would happen eventually and prepared the boy for it. Instead...he allowed Jacob to forget that he wasn't his real father. That he had come into his life when he was just four years old. He allowed Jacob to think of him as his father, because it was so much easier than having to compete with a ghost. Rose seemed to have agreed, because she hadn't corrected the boy either. They both seemed to have silently agreed that it was best to let Jacob think of Cal as his biological father. It had been a decision that he had never regretted...not until now at least, when the truth was finally rearing it's ugly head.
"Cal...he has no idea about Jack. I never told him...it's my fault because it was easier to let him forget. Plus I didn't want him missing a father that he would never know. I wanted him to grow up feeling complete and he did...I just never thought..."
Cal wrapped his arms around Rose and pulled her close, gently stroking her hair. "Shh, sweetpea. Do not fret. I too had allowed him to forget. I didn't want to compete with Dawson where Jacob was concerned, so I allowed the boy to think of me as his real father. I knew it was wrong...that we'd have to tell him the truth eventually...I had just hoped that we would have a little more time."
"We don't have to tell him, I suppose..."
"We do. It's time. The boy is of age and he's old enough to know. It's important that he knows where he came from and why he looks so different."
"Do you think that he'll hate us for keeping the truth from him?"
"I don't know...but we can't keep it from any longer, or he will end up hating us when he does find out."
"So what do we do now?" Rose frowned, resting her head against his chest, feeling more calm now that he was there with his arms around her. More able to handle this task that seemed so impossible.
"We talk to him. Tell him the truth, but let him know that it changes nothing. I am still his father and I love him just as much as Max and Olivia. He may not be my blood, but he's still my son. Nothing that anyone outside this family says is going to change that."
"I feel so wretched. When he was born, I wanted him to know everything there was to know about Jack. I wanted him to know that he was his father...then you came and changed and then I saw how close you two were and I know how much having a dead father hurts and I wanted to spare him that..."
"I'm sorry sweetpea," Cal kissed the top of her head.
"It was wrong for me to try that. It wasn't fair to him, to Jack, and most of all to you. But we have to tell the truth now. Hopefully, he'll be able to accept it and know that it changes nothing."
"He's a smart kid. I am sure that he'll be okay in the long run. Just as long as he knows that he still has us and that will never change."
Cal and Rose found Jacob in his room stretched out on his bed, reading his history book for school the next day. Rose gently knocked on the door to get his attention. Jacob looked towards the door and sighed, sitting up when he saw Cal there. It was time for that talk his mother had promised.
"I heard that you got into a fight today," Cal walked over, along with Rose. He took a seat on Jacob's left, while Rose took the right. Both of them fought to hide the nerves that they were feeling. There really was no telling how Jacob was going to take the news.
"Yeah. It was Carlton Pierce. He was provoking me, father. Saying all kind of absurd things," Jacob studied his father's face, trying to judge if he was in trouble or not. "I know that it was unbecoming of a Hockley...but he had just made me so mad..."
"I understand. Your mother told me what was said. He was out of line and inappropriate and his parents will be hearing from me first thing tomorrow. But for now, your mother and I need to talk to you. There's something that we have been waiting for the right time to tell you...and apparently that time is now," Cal nodded, meeting Rose's eyes before returning his attention to Jacob.
Jacob frowned, not liking how grim his father looked. He looked at his mother and noticed that she wore the same expression as well. In fact, she seemed to have tears in her eyes. "What's going on?"
"Jacob...I'm afraid that your mother and I...well it's not that we have been dishonest with you. We just...allowed you to forget. We thought it'd be easier for you...no I'll take that back. It was easier for me. I didn't have to compete with him for you love as long as you never knew about him. I was once again selfish. Some habits die hard I suppose," Cal sighed, admitting to himself that he hadn't wanted to compete with Dawson for the boy's affection. He shouldn't have had to. Dawson was dead. He couldn't be the father that Jacob needed, so why should he be compared to a ghost?
"You weren't the only one selfish, Cal. It's never easy to talk about...that time and talking about him would have meant going back to that time," Rose reached over and took Cal's hand, willing to share the blame. She couldn't let him carry all of it.
"What are you two talking about?" Jacob's frown deepened, confused now more than he had ever been.
Cal and Rose looked at each other one last time, gathering the strength needed to tell the truth from each other. Then Cal was up, pacing the floor, trying to gather the right words to say as Rose sat by her son, her hand on his shoulder, trying to tell herself that Jacob was so much like Jack, he'd listen and he would understand. Just like Jack had understood, when she had explained why she had tried to jump off the back of the ship that night they had met. A night that felt a million years ago now.
"First off, I want you to know that you are my son. Nothing will ever change that, I don't care what anyone has to say. You may not be my heir, but you are my son. I raised you, protected you, and loved you more than anything. It was your love that made me the man I am now. You showed me how to be gentle and loving and a protector. How to be a father," Cal stopped pacing and turned to face the boy that he loved like his own. "Pierce is right though. You are not my blood. You are my son in all ways that matters, except for that."
"What? I'm adopted?"
"No! I mean, you are adopted by me, but your mother is your real mother. She carried you for nine months, gave birth to you, loved and protected you...sacrificed for you. It's just me that doesn't have the honor of being the man that helped create you is all. I suppose I don't deserve that honor, not with how much of a bastard I was."
Jacob frowned. So his father wasn't his blood father? Well then who was and why was he raised thinking that Caledon Hockley was his father? He turned to his mother, needing, wanting the truth. "If he's not my biological father, who is? Where is he? Why didn't he want us anymore? Why didn't he want me?"
The tears in his mother's eyes made him feel bad for demanding the answers he wanted, but he had to know. "Mother, I'm sorry. But I need to know the truth."
"It's a long story, Jacob. It doesn't show your father here in a good light and it may not show even me in a good light. But let me assure you of one thing. Your biological father...it wasn't that he wanted to leave us. In fact, he didn't even know about you. He...he died long before you were born. He gave his life to save mine and yours. But if he had lived, he wouldn't have left your side. He would have loved you just as much as your father Cal here does. I never meant for you not to know of him...it was just easier for you to grow up not missing him...but now I know that was probably a big mistake."
"He died? Who was he? What happened? How did we come to be here?"
Cal came back to sit by Jacob's side and reached behind him to take Rose's hand, knowing that the story that they had to tell was going to be a hard one, for both of them. Titanic seemed so long ago now. They had both been different people back then. Jacob probably wouldn't have recognized them.
"I assume that you have covered the Titanic disaster in your history class already," Cal cleared his throat, steeling himself for the coming conversation.
"Yeah. We had just gotten through covering it."
Rose nodded and took a deep breath, ready for the toll that this conversation was going to take on her. "Well, love. Cal, myself, your real father...we were all on Titanic."
"It is true. Your mother and I were engaged to be married...and your mother detested me...for good reason," Cal chuckled. "I was indeed anunimaginable bastard at the time...trying to please my father and be someone I wasn't. It ended up losing me your mother for a good long time."
"And that is where I met your biological father, Jack Dawson. He was a wandering artist. He was poor, but he was also beautiful and kind. You look so much like him...almost a mirror image really. Anyway, he was heading back home to American. He and his friend had won tickets onboard Titanic in a game of poker..."
"I'm kind of lost here..."
Rose nodded and looked at Cal, gripping his hand tightly. "Okay. I'll start from the beginning. It's been nearly fifteen years...to most, Titanic was a ship of dreams...but to me it was a slave ship...taking back to America in chains..."
What felt like hours later, Cal and Rose were finished recounting their time on Titanic, Rose's life afterwards, living four years on her own, with only baby Jacob as company, and her flight back to the life she had left behind in hopes of gaining help in fighting for custody of the only part she had left of the man she loved.
"You gave up your freedom, for me?" Jacob looked at her, with tears in her eyes.
"Of course. You were my baby, the only reason I had for getting up in the morning. I wasn't about to let those people take you away. It all worked out in the end. Somehow, you changed Cal. You showed him that the world wouldn't come ot an end if he let down those walls and be the man he really was. It's because of you that he's become the man I fell in love with and a wonderful father to you and your siblings."
"And my biological father...this Jack...he left me a house?"
Rose simply nodded. "We haven't been there, but it's waiting for you whenever you want to go there. Maybe you can find out something about Jack there. You look so much like him and you have his kindness and his talent and joy. He would have been so proud of you if he had lived..."
"Wait...is that why every April you stay in your room and cry and father tells me to come sit with you? You're grieving him, aren't you?"
Rose simply nodded. Since she had married Cal, every April 14th and 15th, she found herself mourning Jack. She loved Cal, she did, but Jack had been the love of her life and he deserved the few days that she took out of the year to remember and mourn him, with his son by her side, even though he had no idea why she needed him. "I should have told you one of those times...but...I couldn't. It's still so hard to talk about Titanic...about Jack..."
"Just know that, you may be Dawson's blood, but you are my son. That is all that matters," Cal gently stroked Jacob's blond hair, hoping that the boy digested the truth well and that it would no longer be an issue for his family, because he loved Jacob. He'd die if the past was the reason why he lost him.
Looking at his parents, Jacob did feel a sadness, but he also felt happy as well. He may not know the man that had concieved him. He may just be a name or a doppelganger to him, but he did have a flesh and blood father that loved him, despite where he came from and he was grateful for that. As for his mother...for now on, every April, he was going to make sure that she didn't grieve alone for the man she had once loved. This coming April, now that he knew the full story, he'll grieve with her for a father that he had never met, but whose gift he posessed.
That day, Jacob realized that his life was a lot richer than he had already thought it was.
Life went on for the Hockley family. The revelation of Jacob's parentage did not change much of anything. He only ever brought up the subject of his real father on those April evenings, when he would join his mother as she observed the anniversary of Titanic's sinking. Only then did he question her about Jack. Which was fine by both Cal and Rose. In a way,they felt like that was the time he could be closest to the man that helped create him, that had left him a legacy of his own.
It was on a April morning when Cal came upon Rose and Jacob, both sitting in the parlor on the couch, sound asleep. Watching them, he felt a great swell of love. This was where it all started, his family. Watching over them, he knew that as long as he was able to provide for them and keep a roof over their heads, they would be just fine.
(A/N: That's the end of this story. I wanted one more thing to happen, but I couldn't figure out how to make a decent chapter out of it, plus the story leaves off on a nice Cal/Rose note here and keeps the story as a stand alone, despite the fact that I have a sequel in mind. The sequel won't be Cal/Rose though. I thought of a twist that could be a story on it's own as well. I'd also like to say thank you to all the reviews, follows, and favs that this story has received. I really appreciate it:) I hope that you continue enjoy my work and will join me for the sequel:) )