A/N: Hello, everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! Here it is, chapter 11! This is the final chapter, so I hope you enjoyed the story. Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed, and stuck with this. I heart you all!
Chapter 11. April 15th: The Sinking
Tommy turned around and descended the staircase. "Jack!" he yelled as he saw his friend through the crowd. Jack was dripping with the cold salty water and embraced Fabrizio and Tommy quickly. Rose was following him, also soaked in the Atlantic water.
"Can we get out?" Jack asked panicked. Tommy shook his head. "Well, whatever we do, we gotta do it fast. This whole place is flooded." Everyone looked around, searching for something that might hint them towards the right direction. "Come on, this way!" Jack shouted as everyone followed him down the crowded corridors.
Tommy tried to tune all the commotion out of his mind, listening as hard as he possibly could for Grace's voice calling for him. He paused in the hall for a second and heard a faint call. Jack was leading the others up a stairwell with a far less number of passengers than the other one in the same direction Grace's barely audible shout was coming from.
The crewman at this gate was continually ordering them to go back to the main stairwell. Grace could hear the pleas of passengers coming from a nearby gate and turned to the noise. "Tommy!" She shouted hoping she would hear his reply, yet fearing she wouldn't.
"Grace! Over here!" Tommy yelled, positive that he had heard her voice. She quickened her pace and found the stairwell at which he was being held back with a dozen others.
"Open the gate," Jack calmly said to the man. He only replied with his order to go back to the main stairwell. "Open the gate."
"Just go back down the main stairwell and everything will be sorted out there."
"Goddamnit!" Jack screamed as he lost control. He looked around and spotted a bench. "Fabri, Tommy, help!"
The crewman immediately ordered them to put the bench down as they tore it out of the floor. Rose urged everyone to move out of the way and Grace took a few large steps back from the gate.
As Jack, Fabri, and Tommy hurled the bench as hard as they could into the barrier, the hinges came off and the hallway was free for passing. The crewman continued to yell as the passengers climbed over the broken down gate, but it was to no avail.
Tommy rushed through and embraced Grace as he was overwhelmed with relief. The moment of rejoicing would've lasted longer, but the dying ship set a sense of urgency upon them and for good reasons.
"We gotta get outta here," Tommy stated as he dragged Grace along following the others as they ran down the hall. It was clear that panic was setting in amongst the passengers as the group approached the boat deck. Flares were going off and people were pushing to get into lifeboats.
Colonel Gracie was calmly walking along the deck with his jacket draped over his arm. Rose ran over to him to ask if any boats left.
"There are some boats-" he began as he pointed, but his sentence was unheard as they rushed away. The band was playing cheerful ragtime music but it went ignored by most as the mob they were approaching began to dash their hopes of safely boarding a boat. Jack and Rose tried to fight their way through the crowd but it seemed hopeless. Tommy and Grace decided to search for another way.
"I don't think there are any other boats," Grace loudly said over the commotion. By the look on Tommy's face he believed the same. Grace ran over to the side to see if there were any remaining.
Crewmen were scurrying around and began to take down the collapsible boats and start to put them into the empty davits. "We should try to get into one o' these," Tommy said as he observed their rushed actions. She walked back over and leaned against his chest in an empty attempt to get warm.
The deck began to list more and more, and people began to jump overboard clinging to chairs and such. Grace looked over the side beginning to honestly feel afraid of what was happening. Her breath became shallow and she held onto Tommy tighter as if he alone could stop this.
A shrill voice caught her attention and she lifted her head off his body. Grace looked around and saw Cassandra running towards her as she frantically called her name.
"Cassandra!" Grace said quietly as she met up with her cousin.
"All the boats are gone!" Cassandra managed to say as she was breathless.
"They're bringing out more," Grace informed her, hoping that they all could find a safe seat upon these lifeboats.
"It's less crowded on the other side. We should get on the ones over there," she said. Grace looked at Tommy for some type of approval.
He shrugged and replied, "That's good enough for me." They raced across the boat deck, trying to avoid knocking into other people. The ship was listing more and more and terrified screams rang out as people jumped off the Titanic to risk it in the icy Atlantic.
The lights were flickering off and on as a loud and long groan came from within the ship. The weight of the rising stern was becoming too much to handle. The collapsible boats were launched in such a rush that one was only half assembled, and the other flipped over completely. As they drifted off the flooded boat deck, they drifted off with any hopes of survival, as well.
"There's absolutely no chance for us if we stay on the ship!" Tommy shouted to Grace and Cassandra as they all clung to the railing.
"Are you saying we need to jump?" Cassandra asked meekly, fear present in her barely audible voice. Tommy nodded and looked over the railing as water lapped at their feet.
The stern was rising quicker and quicker as a bigger sense of urgency set upon everyone. The ship continued to groan and Tommy boldly let go of the railing. He slid down the sloping decks into the water below.
Grace cried out as she saw him hit the water, and then began to build up enough courage to do the same. "We need to do it," she told Cassandra.
Before they could let go themselves, the weight of the stern was unbearable and the ship began to break in two. At this jolt, Grace and Cassandra both lost their grip and tumbled down the deck into the icy water, along with hundreds of others.
Grace kicked as hard as she could despite the shock of the water, trying to get above water. She gasped for air as her head emerged and looked around for Cassandra. She gaped at the horrendous ship and froze there for a moment until a hand landed on her shoulder. She whipped around and saw Tommy there.
"Quick! Follow me!" he shouted above the uproar. He grabbed onto Grace's lifejacket and helped her swim across the water to a cluster of people a few yards away. Grace looked closer and noticed they were sitting atop one of the upside down collapsible boats.
"Grace, dear!" one of the men on the boat said. "Make room for her!" Hands reached out and pulled Grace on top of the boat, and she recognized Colonel Gracie next to her.
"Tommy!" Grace cried, reaching out her hand to him.
A voice called out, "There's not enough room for another! The boat can't handle it!" Against everything that her body told her, Grace began to go back into the water.
"What are you doin'?" Tommy asked, pushing her back up. "Stay!"
"No, I-" She began. She stopped as someone interrupted her.
Gracie said, "One more can't hurt. We can make room for another. The lady's small, we'll manage." Everybody shifted a couple of inches managing to make just enough room for Tommy to climb on top of the capsized lifeboat.
When this commotion died down, everyone had nowhere else to look except at the stern of the Titanic as it was sliding beneath the water. The screams of people in the water accompanied the Titanic to its end, as the final tip of the deck was swallowed by the cruel Atlantic.
Tommy's arms wrapped around Grace's shaking body as her head rested upon his wet shoulder. They sat uncomfortably on the boat for hours in silence, none being able to think of anything to say.
The silence was broken as Lightoller, who sat upon the boat, as well, said, "There's a lifeboat coming this way." Everyone looked towards where the second officer was pointing. The crewmen on the other boat pulled along side their collapsible and helped them into their own boat, identified as Lifeboat 4.
The sun was beginning to rise as its rays were faintly visible off in the distance. With the rising sun, the silhouette of a ship came.
"Look," Tommy whispered into Grace's ear, as they were huddled together. "A boat."
Grace brought her face up and looked at the ship with her tired and pained eyes. "What are we going to do once we arrive in New York?" she whispered back in her hoarse voice.
"I don't know," Tommy replied. "But, at least we'll be together."