by FordTruckGirlTA

Author's Note: *IMPORTANT* The rating for this thing is somewhere between PG-13 and R, only because colorful language is used pretty casually, and there's a near-rape (sorry) of a character. And I know that most of the vocabulary used would never have been heard in 1912, but HEY, that's why it's fan FICTION, right? Anyway, reviews are MUCH appreciated (please be nice, this is my first fanfic), and Chapter 2 won't be up for awhile because my family and I are going on vacation to Ford Truck central. Anyway, just the other week I started watching the Titanic movie, and I honestly hadn't seen it since 1997 or 98, and I started noticing a certain tall, trim gentlman who absolutely touched my heart. I know that's absolutely corny, and he only had maybe thirty lines in the whole movie, but. . . then I remembered and thought, okay, no way there's gonna be Andrews fic here. . . but what's going on? Has a Thomas Andrews movement begun? There are 3 or 4 new fics up! And I thought I was the only one writing one.

Also, some story notes: One, I debated for the longest time what to have my character refer to Andrews as. Should she call him Thomas, as everyone else does and also what sounds so nice, or should she call him Tom, which is more friendly, showing that they're on a more personal level? I finally decided on Thomas, but I may have her call him Tom just for the hey of it somewhere down the road. Oh, and won't load everything I italicized! If you're reading and you think something needs more force, then by all means, italicize it in your mind, because it was probably meant to be that way anyway. The characters' thoughts, too-- those should be italicized. Anyway, enough blabbering-- on with the story! Enjoy!!!


To be frank, I was a shit-poor American who just wanted to get home. I didn't have money, God knows-- all I had were my friends Fabrizio and Jack, who were exceptionally lucky at poker. I didn't gamble; most places wouldn't let a girl gamble, even though I was twenty-one. So it was all I could do to stand (kneel, actually) behind Jack and the very Italian Fabrizio as they played their hands to win three tickets on the RMS Titanic. I stared over their shoulders at their well-worn playing cards. Fabrizio had the worst hand of the group, no doubt, and he didn't know how to bluff it. He sat there, shoulders slumped.

"I can't take this." I said finally, my stomach in knots. We'd bet all the cash we had with us, and without it, we'd better hope to find work in twenty-four hours. I grabbed one of the coins off of the table, and to my surprise, no one argued it. "I'm getting a beer." I went to the counter and immediately ordered one, downing half of it in three long swallows. I fixated my eyes out the window on the enormous steamer, the Titanic, and willed Jack's hand to be a good one. That's when I nearly choked as he hollered behind me, ". . . cause we're going to America! Full house, boys!"

I spat beer all over the floor in shock as I turned to see them exalting; Fabrizio threw his arms around my neck and cried, "Ah-mehr-ee-ca! We are going to Ah-mehr-ee-ca!!"

Jack, his huge blue eyes wild with excitement, grabbed me as soon as Fabrizio jumped out of the way, brandishing his ticket in front of the other drinkers; together Jack and I practically jumped up and down in our embrace. The bartender's words cut through the noise, however: "No, mate! Titanic goes to America-- in five minutes!"

Jack was again wide-eyed, but this time in horror. "Oh, shit!" he breathed, and we grabbed our bags and threw ourselves out the door. "We're the luckiest sons-- and daughters-- of bitches in the world!" he cried happily, looking over his shoulder as we raced through the tangled crowd of well wishers. He continued shouting over his shoulder as we ran; Fabrizio and I just listened, both of our faces stretched with grins.

Moments later we were running up the ramp to steerage and hollering at the guard not to move it any more than it was; there was a four-foot gap from the end of the plank to the door. "Wait, wait, wait!" the guard cried. "Have you been through inspection?"

"Of course we have." Jack and I said at the same time, and we grinned at each other. Jack finished. "And anyway, we're Americans. We don't have lice." he thrust our tickets at the man.

The guard in the door bit his lip, but said, "All right, all right, come on."

"Thank you!" We jumped the four feet, then raced through the hallways to find the way to the top of the deck to wave good-bye to the completely unlucky people below us. It took us another five minutes to get up there, but when we did, we found that it was well worth it.

The deck was solid and warm under my shoes from the sun; the sea air hit my face in a hot but wonderfully scented rush. Jack launched himself onto a railing, waving at the crowd. Fabrizio kissed both of my cheeks then grinned like a madman; I knew my grin was much the same. We all stood on the railing, waving as the ship pulled slowly out to sea. I was glad beyond belief.

I was finally going home.


The next afternoon, lunch was being served in the steerage dining hall. Aside from dinner last night and breakfast this morning, it was the largest and best meal I'd had in a long, long time, and for the first time in years, I felt full. "Dessert!" Jack cried aloud as small plates with a slice of apple pie were passed out.

I stared at the pie in utter disbelief; it looked like a small, shimmering mirage of sweet apple goodness. I raised my fork, and let it cut into the pie. "Car-rie." Fabrizzio said, happy but slightly annoyed. "Just eat it!" he had his pie held in both hands as though it were one of his pizzas from Italy.

"Can't." I said, staring down at it. "I have to savor it."

I took the first mouthful of pie off of the fork, chewing it slowly; sweetness exploded in my mouth. It tasted so good that it was almost frightening, and it made me want to eat it even faster.

"The best damn piece of pie I've had since I've been in Wisconsin." Jack said through his own mouthful, his voice muffled as he chewed

"My mother still made them better." said the Irishman to Jack's right. "Someday, I'll ship some of it to you all."

"Much appreciated." I said, taking another slice.

The Irishman nodded, smiling. "You folks been above deck yet?" Tim wanted to know.

"Twice." I assured him. "It was beautiful."

"Aye, i' twas, that." he agreed, looking around. Suddenly his face changed; he rolled his eyes

and they took on a look of extreme irritation as he threw up his hands. "Ho-hum." he said, his accent thick. "Lookit what the dog dragged in."

We turned to see what he was watching, and I had to work to keep my jaw from falling open. A tall, trim, and extremely handsome man was standing in the doorway thirty yards away. His hair was graying, but he didn't at all seem old, and his face was smooth and gentle. He was dressed so elegantly that I knew he was from first class. His class rank was also hinted by the fact that the small man at his elbow was the first mate, Mr. Murdoch, whom I'd seen above decks earlier. They were both speaking quietly; the taller man was slowly looking around the dining room, a roll of papers under his arm. He didn't quite wear a smile, but his eyes sure did, and it wasn't a spiteful smile, either. He was quite handsome.

"That'd be Mr. Andrews." The Irishman said, shaking his head. "The man who built this ship. Bloody bastards have to come down and gawk at us like we was circus animals. The man in the uniform beside him is First Mate Murdoch."

I was staring at Mr. Andrews, transfixed. There was something in the way he held himself, something about the way a smile tugged at his lips but couldn't win. Something about the way his eyes twinkled. I realized suddenly that his stare was coming to rest at every table in the room, and that he was only moments away from seeing ours.

"They look alright to me." Jack said, going back to his cigarette.

"Carrie?" Fabrizio said.

I jumped and looked at him; he'd been watching me. I knew I was blushing a deep red. "Yes?"

The Irishman suddenly grinned broadly. "All right, who were ye lookin' at?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked unconvincingly, going back to my pie. "I wasn't looking at anybody."

"You were." Jack argued, also grinning. "Look at her ears turn red."

"You are liking Mr. Andrews!" Fabrizio cried, happy grin still there. "Aren't you!"

"Maybe." I said, looking back up at Andrews.

"Or is it Murdoch?" Jack teased.

"Hell, no." I said, still watching Andrews My stomach gave a funny jolt as I realized that he was looking at our table. I stared at him, trying to make my eyes widen less, and then suddenly, I felt his eyes lock onto mine.

I'd been fumbling with my napkin in my lap, but now I froze, and so did he. I forced myself to smile at him, just a small, hello how are you smile, and to my surprise, he returned it, a dimple showing in his cheek. This made my smile broaden even more; he was so handsome. Then to my shock, he dipped his head ever so slightly in a nod toward me. I returned the nod, then had to break the stare, staring down at my pie instead.

"Ooo!" Jack hooted, his grin huge. "Lookit thaat!"

"Shut up." I said, my face beet red even though I was smiling.

"Y' doan have to worry 'bout it, lass." The Irishman assured me. "The likes of him would never be involved with the likes of us."

I knew he was right; I watched Mr. Andrews turn to go with Murdoch. He motioned Murdoch to go ahead of him, and then glanced back around a final time. I realized suddenly that he was looking for me as his eyes again fell on mine; he saw that I was watching him, smiled shyly again. I smiled back, and realized that there was a blush creeping out of his collar as he disappeared down the corridor.

"Yeah." I said to the Irishman. "I know." I cut another piece of my pie. "But it sure

doesn't hurt to dream."

After lunch I headed back to our room. The state of the room was somewhat complicated; the moment that Jack and Fabrizio and I realized that single women were stationed all the way on the other side of the ship, they absolutely refused to let me stay there. I wasn't thrilled with the arrangements, either, so I pulled a pillow and a few extra blankets from my room to theirs; Fabrizio and I squeezed into the same bunk. It honestly wasn't too terrible; we were both fairly skinny, and the bunk was a nice size. And I wasn't worried about. . . well, because Fabrizio just didn't have that kind of heart. The other two guys who shared our room were pretty nice, and they knew full well that they'd be in deep shit from us and the ship officials if they laid a finger on me.

Anyway, after lunch, I lay on my bunk for awhile, fingers entwined behind my head, staring at the ceiling, feeling the comforting rumble of the engines beneath me. I'd told Jack and Fabrizio that I'd meet them on deck in two hours for more looking around. I actually fell asleep, but woke when I still had a half an hour left. I left my room then instead of waiting, pocketing my key.

"Damn." I cursed under my breath as I missed the full elevator. Looking around, I turned, and decided to just take the stairs. It took a few moments to find them, but it felt good to use my legs and climb.

I was halfway up the empty stairwell when it happened.

A man started to pass me. He was tall, and obviously well-muscled under his thin shirt. Our eyes met briefly; I smiled at him-- and then suddenly my arm was in a death grip and I was being shoved against the wall. I gasped as this man, whoever he was, threw his weight against me. His Irish accent thick, his face frighteningly close to mine, he breathed, "Pretty little thing to be runnin' round here by yerself."

I tried to move away, to elbow him, to hurt him like I'd been taught-- but I couldn't move. I was pinned. I searched his face wildly, trying to remember what he looked like to describe him to the ship officials later.

He laughed, a cruel, merciless laugh. I nearly screamed when he thrust his hips against mine, but he silenced me with a violent slap across the face. I gasped from the pain, still struggling. "If ye scream," he threatened huskily. "I'll kill ye."

At that point I threw my knee up against his disturbingly hard groin; he gasped and fell back, nearly bent double. I started to run, but immediately was stopped as he grabbed my arm. He threw me against the wall again; I elbowed him across the face and he struck me again, pinning my arms to my sides, forcing one elbow into a rivet in the wall. "One more time. . ." he threatened, and reached his hand up to the collar of my shirt.

I squeezed my eyes closed, tasting blood and feeling it slide down my arm, hearing the collar begin to rip, a tear that went right down the middle of the garment. I was terrified, shaking like a madwoman, not knowing what to do. The tearing stopped; I could feel his heated breath on my chest band. That's when I heard the quick footfalls coming down the steps. The footfalls, and the angry voice. "What the bloody hell are you doing!?" the voice was clear with a slight trace of Irish ancestry; I looked up and right at the wide-eyed Mr. Andrews and Mr. Murdoch.

My heart jumped a mile and my red face flushed even more. "Please." I whispered, staring up at them. My God, Andrews' eyes were so concerned. So scared for me. My heart seemed to double it's furious pounding "Mr. Andrews." I could hardly breathe, but speaking his name made an extra rush of adrenaline shoot through me. I blinked my eyes to clear them. "Mr. Murdoch."

Andrews came down the last few steps, all sympathy gone as he glared, furious, at my captor. "You miserable bastard." he spat, eyes livid. "Let go of her this instant!"

The man slowly shrank back. "You can't make me. This bitch here's me wife."

I WHAT!? "Bullshit! I'm not your wife!"

The man slapped me again. "Yew shut the bloody 'ell up!"

"He said let her go!" Murdoch roared, and I could hear the faintest brush of a Scottish accent.

Trembling violently, feeling blood sliding down my face and arm, I watched as the man stepped away. Embarrassed beyond all reason, I tried to pull the pieces of my dress together again, without success. Murdoch immediately pulled a pair of cuffs from his pocket and yanked the man's hand behind his back. "We're taking you to the master at arms." Murdoch turned to me, eyes plainly focusing on my own to keep from staring at my ripped bodice. "Miss, you'd best come too. You've got to help report this."

I was trembling violently. "Mr. Murdoch, my. . ." I glanced down at my inappropriately torn shirt. ". . . I can't. . ."

Murdoch was bright pink. "I'd let you go back and dress, miss, but the gash on your elbow doesn't look like it will wait. And you'd probably stain whatever you're wearing now and what you'll be changing into."

Andrews, whose eyes had been on mine even though I wasn't looking directly at him, spoke up softly. "Might I escort the lady to the infirmary? Perhaps she can get her wound dressed, and then she can borrow my coat."

It took every nerve in me to keep from staring in shock. Taking me to get my arm stitched up and borrowing his coat? I was a third-class passenger, not the Queen of Sheba!

"Does that sound agreeable, Miss?" Murdoch asked me, then noticed I was trembling and mistook it. "You'll be quite alright, I assure you. Mr. Andrews is quite the gentleman."

"I trust him, sir," I stammered, Andrews' and my eyes locked. "I just don't like the idea of parading through the entire ship like this."

"I know all the back passages." Andrews said, his voice and eyes so kind. "I'll get you there without a single person seeing you." He wouldn't look away. "I can promise you that."

I trusted him completely. "Yes. That's-- thank you." I couldn't hold his stare, just as I hadn't been able to in the dining room. Not that I wanted to look away; his were the gentlest eyes I'd ever looked into. Damn.

"Alright." Murdoch began to haul the man up the stairs. "Meet you in the crew lounge in twenty minutes."

Andrews turned back to me, trying to smile, even though his eyes projected pure concern. "You sound as though you already know me, but. . ." he dipped his chin a fraction of an inch. "I'm Thomas Andrews." He held out his hand for me to shake.

"Carrie Stevenson." I reached up to shake his hand, and then suddenly drew it back with a small gasp. Blood streaked my hand in a lace-like pattern from the cut on my elbow, and it had been dripping on the floor. I hadn't even noticed.

"JesusMaryandJoseph." Andrews murmured. "Why didn't you mention it was this bad?"

"I didn't notice myself." I told him, turning my arm to see my elbow. A thin but unattractive gash had opened. "I was so caught up in the-- in--"

Nearly whispering, his steady and concerned eyes locked on mine, Andrews said, "Did you know the man?"

"No." I whispered, swallowing hard.

"Did he manage to take advantage of you?"

"No." I said again, my face hot with a blush.

He nodded, seeming to know that the questions embarrassed me. "Good." We began walking.

"I saw you in the dining room earlier today." I told him after a moment, wondering if he'd remember.

"Yes." his smile broadened and he glanced at me. "I saw you, as well."

He remembered! "Are you. . ." I trailed off, not sure if it was the appropriate time to ask. "Is it true that you designed and diagramed Titanic?"

"Right down to the kind of carpet in the billiard room." he admitted. "Yes, it was me."

The man himself. "This is an unbelievable ship, sir. Truly." I meant every word.

He looked down at me, eyes kind between the one and a half feet that separated his from mine. "Thank you, Miss Stevenson."

"Please, Mr. Andrews." I found myself saying. "My name's Carrie."

"As my name is Thomas."

I couldn't help but to smile, thinking, Mother of God, the man is asking you to call him by his first name! In moments, we'd reached a small area on B deck. Once inside, a nurse cleaned and bandaged my elbow. Andrews then removed his jacket and placed it around my shoulders. I hadn't realized how cold I'd been until I put it on; his warmth settled around me like a blanket. I could smell him, too-- a trace of pipe smoke and a whiff of aftershave. It was delicious. "Thank you, Thomas." I whispered.

"Your gratitude is my honor." he murmured. Offering his own elbow, we headed back up the hall toward the crew lounge.

And he kept his promise-- we didn't see a single person on the way to or from the hospital.