Chapter One

"John, wait! You're going too fast! I can't keep up!" Miriam Anders Calvert raced after her husband, raising John's two-year-old daughter, Mary, up so that she could see.

John stopped near the dock, staring up in amazement at the great ship Titanic. Miriam caught up to him a moment later, and stared as well, although not with the same fascination as John. She had been on many ships in her life; nevertheless, she was delighted with the huge ship.

"Almost makes you wish you'd gone first class like your parents wanted," John commented, watching the first class passengers boarding the ship, up above the rest of the passengers.

"Not really. I've been in first class all my life. Third class is much more relaxed, and more fun. Besides, Father only sent me enough money for one first class ticket, so I couldn't have been with you two. And," she added, grinning at him, "that would be a real scandal. What kind of wife boards a ship with her new husband, and then rides in first class while he and his daughter ride in third?"

"You were the one who insisted we get married before going to the United States."

"Yes, well, if we'd come back without getting married first, my parents would no doubt have found a way to separate us. They can't do that now."

"I still can't believe you're giving up first class life. Some people would kill to have the lifestyle you're throwing away."

"I know. That's one of the reasons why I don't want to live that way anymore. You don't really think that all those rich robber barons in first class got their money through peaceful means, do you? I'd rather earn money that is untainted by blood."

"You could have done that without marrying me, you know."

"Maybe. But I find life much more pleasant when sharing it with the man I love."

"You're not bad yourself," he teased, leaning over around their luggage and Mary to kiss her.

Some of the first class passengers boarding the ship had noticed the scene below them, and began murmuring amongst themselves in shock. Miriam recognized one man, smirking down at her. Pulling away from John, she grinned merrily and gave him the finger.

John stared at her in shock. "What was that all about?"

"Just a former suitor, Caledon Hockley. One of the most arrogant men in the world." She looked up. He was trying to pretend he hadn't noticed her insult. Miriam glanced at the young woman on Hockley's arm, recognizing her also. Rose DeWitt Bukater. They had been in finishing school together.

Miriam shook her head. "I wonder how she wound up with him. She didn't seem to be the sort who would put up with him."

"Who?"

"Rose Bukater. The girl on Hockley's arm."

"Maybe he changed."

"I doubt it. She didn't look very happy."

John watched the couple disappear inside the ship. Shrugging, he turned to Miriam. "Why don't we go through the inspection queue now? I'd like to get on board soon."

"We're not going through the inspection queue."

"What? Miriam, the rules clearly state that third class passengers must pass the health inspection before coming on board."

"Those health inspections are a waste of time. They use the same implements on everyone. If a person isn't sick getting on, they're liable to catch something while being inspected." She picked up Mary again. "Come on."

When they approached the entrance, they were asked the standard question. "Have you been through the inspection queue yet?"

"Of course," Miriam replied, with just a hint of superiority. "Quite a while back, in fact. We were just passing time admiring this lovely ship."

The officer didn't quite know what to say to this approach. Finally he stammered, "Right. Come aboard."

John shook his head in amazement. Every time he thought he knew Miriam, she surprised him.

It was just one of the things he loved about her.