*Twenty-Seven*

Back Where You Belong

"Doctor." I think she's coming around at last. A nurse said. A doctor in a white over-jacket stepped up to her bed.

"Harold. I'm so sorry. I've disappointed you." Zipper whispered. She shook her head back and forth. Not waking up fully.

"Michaela. Zipper. Come on you can do it." The doctor pleaded.

Slowly very slowly, she opened her eyes. The bright lights of the ceiling immediately blinded her. When her eyes finally adjusted she looked around.

"Where am I?" She asked.

"You're in the hospital." The doctor said. "Can you tell me the year?" He asked wanting to make sure everything was neurologically well.

"1912?" She asked. As she looked around the room she knew she was wrong. "2003?"

He nodded. "Yes." He was a bit concerned about her first response. But she had been out a long time.

"What happened?" Zipper asked. She felt so weak. She looked at her arms. The tattoos were there once again. She felt her lip. The lip-ring was gone.

"We had to remove your piercings." The nurse said. "And let your hair-dye go. We're sorry."

Zipper nodded, saying she understood. She felt better without the dye and piercings now anyway. She was used to it now.

"Can you tell me who the president is?" The doctor asked. Still making sure her mind was functioning properly.

She had to think about this a moment. She was so used to James Madison now. Finally she remembered.

"George Bush." She said, still trying to figure out what had happened.

"Good. Now you've been out a long time. Since April 10th." The doctor explained.

"What day is it?" She asked.

"August 10th." He replied.

She rubbed a hand over her face. She was home at last. But she wanted more than anything to be with Harold again.

The hospital had already called her mother. And after only about fifteen minutes she was at the door.

"She's very tired. Best not to stay too long." The doctor said as he left the room.
"Oh my baby." Her mother exclaimed. "Thank God."

"Mom?" Zipper questioned. Why was she back here? She wanted to go back to 1912 where she belonged.

"I'm right here sweetheart. I got you the best doctors and I've been here every day since the accident." Her mom said, a little teary eyed.

"Accident?" Zipper questioned.

"They haven't told you?" Suzan asked. "It was the most scary moment of my life. We were traveling in the bus, you remember? When Mark was run off the road. I was knocked out of my bunk into the corridor. But you were on the side that got smashed. When I became conscience again. I thought I had lost you. Then when they told me you were in a coma. I knew there was hope. I've prayed and prayed. And now after so many months you're back. And you're going to be just fine." She started crying holding onto her daughter's hand.

"Where's Amber?" Zipper questioned. She wanted to see her best friend dearly.

Her mother became silent. "She's gone sweetheart." She finally managed to say. "I'm sorry, you, Levi and myself, are all that made it through."

Zipper's breath got caught in her throat. Her band was dead, they were her friends. Why did they die and she didn't?

"But look here at your arm." She pointed to a long scar. Identical to the one she got on Titanic. "See they did a pretty good job taking care of that."

Her mother tried to be comforting but to no avail. Finally she gave up and left so Zipper could rest.

She cried herself back to sleep. When she awoke her mother wasn't there. She quickly realized it was early morning. A nurse came in a removed all but one of the Ivs. She was thankful for that. Now she could use her hands more.

Therapy started that next day. She was making swift progress. She had to, she was determined to find in the history books what was going on.

After another week in the hospital she was feeling great. She was released on the 17th. It wasn't long at all before Levi showed up.

She definitely didn't want to see him. She still loved Lowe. He had shown her love is real. Even if that was a dream. In a coma state of mind.

"Oh, God I'm so glad you are finally home." Levi said. "Once you get to feeling better. I want to give you the biggest wedding of all time."

She wasn't going to go through this again. She knew there was love out there. She was determined to find it. And not in Levi.

"Levi, I'm sorry. But I can't marry you." She said looking through her dresser drawers. All her stuff had been kept in their right places. Even while she was gone.

"What? But I love you. We can have a beautiful life together." He pleaded. Not knowing what he had done wrong.

"It's not so much that Levi, it's just that I don't love you. Not the way I wife is supposed to love a husband. I mixed up your friendship with love. Or maybe that's a lie. I knew all along. But, I just can't do it. I'm sorry." She said, her voice full of compassion she hated hurting him like this.

Reluctantly he accepted. And walked out of her life. She fought back the tears, knowing now even his friendship was out of the question.

She looked down at the floor. Her Titanic DVD laid there. Slowly she picked it up.

It's cover was different now. "Love survives Tragedy". Was now the tagline. When she was positive it used to be "Nothing on earth could come between them."

She placed it into the DVD player. And started watching. She sat there transfixed to the screen as a actress named, Diane Clayton, filled the screen. Playing a young rich girl, who was to marry on the Titanic. Named Michaela Rosenberg.

The story was about Rose and Jack. Officer Lowe's love at first sight with Michaela.

Zipper watched all three hours of the film. Everything she had done in the dream was now on film. Jack lived. Cora lived.

She reached over to her bedside table. And pulled out the passengers lists. Now the DeWitt Bukaters, Cal, Jack, Cora they were all on it. All of them had 'yes' marked for survivor. Then she flipped to the Ls. She quickly found the name Michaela Rosenberg Lowe.

She opened a history book that she had stolen from class one day. She opened it to the Titanic section. Her story was there. Officer Lowe being married at sea. And his heroic wife.

"No way." She spoke aloud. "I was really there. I just know I was."

With that she packed up a few bags and headed downstairs. First she went to her father's bible. It was passed down through the generations. Her mother kept it out, to keep his memory alive.

She looked through the family tree and found that his grandfather's name was Riley Rosenberg. She also found Michaela, her great aunt and former self, it was labeled. "Michaela 'Zipper' Rosenberg-Lowe Date of Death: August 10th 1912."

She was speechless once more. This was never there before. Oh she knew of her aunt. But she had married Peterson.

She rushed for the door. Not saying anything to her mother.

"Where are you going?"

"Chippewa Falls." She replied. With no more excuses. She left. Taking the jet to Wisconsin.

She spent the day looking around town, asking people if they knew the Dawsons from 1912 were. Of course she knew they were dead by now. But she wanted to visit the graves of her dearest friends.

Finally after five hours of exhausting searches she found the right cemetery.

She searched the headstones. Until she found a double one. Two hearts were carved into the granite stone.

She knelt down before it. Running her hands over the names. Jack Dawson and Loving wife Rose Dawson.

Jack had died a few years earlier than Rose, in 1993. Then Rose followed her love to heaven, in 1997. After telling her story to James Cameron. The story which now included Zipper.

She cried as she thought back to these two people. Her friends. She knew Rose had missed her, she said that in the revised movie. She didn't know about Jack. But she was sure he did as well.

She thought about the time she first saw Jack. That led to her running down the first-class halls, then running directly into Officer Lowe. She thought back to her times with Officer Lowe. Even to the time when he was so angry with her.

She smiled as the memories came rushing back in. She then decided to go to New York City. Having the pilot fly as quickly as possible. And thankful that it was a clear day across the vast country.

So strange, she realized when she got to the field she had once had her home on. It was now a vast Cemetery. It didn't take her long at all to realize a lot of her family was here. Even her father, who hadn't been before.

She stopped before a tombstone with a horse shoe on it. She knelt before it.

There was her name. Michaela Lowe. Engraved on it. The horse shoe must have symbolized her untimely death, Zipper assured herself.

Then she looked at the stone beside her own. It was Officer Lowe's. She cried a little. She had been prepared for this. But to see your lover's name engraved in a granite tombstone, it was more than she could take.

"Titanic enthusiast?" A voice came from behind her.

Slowly she turned to the voice. Wiping her eyes. "You might say that. Who are you?" When she finally looked at him, she got the same feeling she had when she met Lowe.

He stared deep into her eyes, just as she was doing. "I'm Taylor Lightoller." He said.

She was shocked. "You wouldn't, by any weird chance, be related to Officer Charles Lightoller would you?"

He chuckled a bit. "Hey you do know your stuff. Yes, he was my great-grandfather."

Zipper smiled, thinking back to Lightoller. He had always been so kind to her.

"Ya know Colonel Gracie is right over here." He led her to the colonel's grave.

They spoke the same words at the same time. "Join me in a brandy, gentlemen?" When they realized what they had done, they cracked up laughing.

"Well the colonel did love his brandy, didn't he?" Taylor laughed.

Zipper nodded. "You have no idea." She thought back to the colonel. She had seen him. She couldn't explain how, but she had. And he always had a brandy in hand.

"So do you like ships, or just Titanic?" He asked. They started walking around the graveyard.

"I like ships. I'm just particularly fond of Titanic." She said. She knew she was falling for him. Just like with Lowe. It was all happening so quickly.

"Well that's good to know." He smiled.

"Why's that?"

"I work on Crystal Cruises. I'm an officer." He replied.

She turned her head to him quickly. He looked all the more handsome. Dark brown hair and sparkling emerald eyes.

"Following in your grandfather's footsteps?" She asked.

He nodded. "You might say that. Most of the men in my family are sailors. A few of the women too." He laughed.

So did she. They continued to walk. Now going down the row with Lowe and Michaela buried in it.

"This is just a shot in the dark, but would you want to come with me on the cruise tonight?" He asked. "I'm sure I can get you on."

She thought about it then smiled. "I'd love to. Where are we going?"

"Belfast, Southampton." They both laughed when he said it.

Titanic brought yet another couple together. She thought to herself.

"Wait just a second, I'll be right with you, okay?" She asked.

He nodded.

She walked over to Lowe's grave. She kissed her fingertips then pressed them on the cold stone. "Thank you Harold. You've made me see love exists. I'll love you always."

She walked away from that graveyard, never to enter it again. Her Titanic fixation subsided greatly. But, she still carries the memories of the Ship of Dreams with her every day of her life.

~*THE END*~