"Spoiled goods," spat Cal. He took another swig of the drink he clutched in his hand.
"I cannot, will not marry her, Ruth. No. She is wild, willful, and has no respect for me as a gentleman or a fiancé. I am sorry, Ruth, but the engagement is over."
"But Mr. Hockley," Ruth pleaded. "You cannot leave us, my daughter, in this predicament."
"Why not?" Cal snorted callously. "As I said, Ruth, the baby is not mine and your daughter has no respect for me. She ran all over that damned ship with a third class passenger and got herself into trouble. I will not bail you out this time."
"Mr. Hockley, Cal, please reconsider. There will be rumors, questions asked about Rose's condition, and the reason behind the engagement ending." Her voice trailed off as she realized what she was doing. She was begging.
"I will arrange for my secretary to put the appropriate announcements in the paper. Don't worry, all will be proper and no one will get the truth from me. Rose and yourself may keep the clothes, trinkets, and pieces I purchased, all except for the engagement ring, which I would like returned to me, and Le Coeur de la Mer, which I already have. I think that is more than generous. As to what you do about the other matter, that is no concern of mine. I will not call to this house anymore, Ruth, and I do not expect either Rose or yourself to call on me, although we may acknowledge each other civilly if we meet on social occasions."
There ends my engagement to Caledon Hockley, Pittsburgh steel tycoon, I thought bitterly as I sat at the bottom of the stairs, listening to my mother plead for Cal's money. I had heard enough and went back to my room.
I remembered very little of the days that followed the sinking of the Titanic. Maybe I didn't want to remember the terrible pain of losing Jack, the freezing cold that tore into my soul and the weeping and wailing of the grieving women who cried all day and rocked themselves to sleep at night. They looked at me with envious eyes. Her fiancé had survived. How little they knew that I would have gladly traded places with them and been able to mourn Jack properly.
Mother had been given a room for us when I was identified, shivering under a blanket and unable to speak to anyone. I locked myself away within myself, grieving, not speaking, not eating, and not caring. Mother was beside herself with worry, although the doctor assured her it was just shock. Even Cal, still wearing his torn suit, visited twice, hovering round the door as though afraid to enter. He asked if I was all right, and was there anything I needed? I surprised by his visit and his voice, soft as though speaking to a child. But I wanted nothing from him, and he left both times without protest. I wanted to hate him, for all he had done to me, for framing Jack and trying to kill us. But that seemed irrelevant now. So many people had lost a loved one, Jack was gone, and all my past life was surely gone, too. I suspected that the times Mother left the cabin, she had gone to speak to Cal. But I didn't care anymore. Jack was gone and there seemed no meaning to life. The plans we had made, the dreams I had forged over those few happy days, had gone. Jack's name or the events on Titanic were never mentioned out loud, and I almost began to wonder if I had dreamt it all.
When the Carpathia docked, we were hurried away to the waiting car and taken straight home to Philadelphia. What was said in the car, I cannot recall. I vaguely remember the staff lined up on our arrival to greet us. But they had lost one of their own, Trudy, and I ran past them and went to my room.
I was in for a bigger shock in the next few days.
Mother came to my room and announced that the wedding had been postponed for a few months, as it was the decent thing to do in light of the tragedy. I was stunned. The last thing I had thought of was that the wedding would still be taking place, the engagement was still on, and Cal actually wanted to marry me. I must have mumbled something about the wedding being off, but Mother was quite firm. She had spoken to Cal and assured him how sorry I was and that the sinking had brought me to my senses.
I remember telling Mother that I did not want to marry Cal. She was furious, telling me I should be grateful that he would still want me after my disgraceful behavior. Then, for the first time, she referred to Jack.
"I have no idea what you were thinking of, Rose, running around with that boy. This is what all this is about, isn't it? The doctor says you have shock. It is more to do with Jack Dawson."
I looked away, unable to meet her eyes. Jack was in my every waking moment. But I would not tell her so.
"You are foolish, Rose. But at least he is no longer in the way."
The reminder was like a slap in my face.
I only saw Cal twice in the next few weeks. He came for dinner and was very polite, but kept his distance, as though afraid to touch me or show any affection. This didn't matter to me. He went away to the inquest into the sinking.
I wasn't getting any better. I wouldn't eat until I made myself ill. Mother in desperation, we have to get you right for the wedding, called in another doctor to examine me and no doubt prescribe a magic tonic that would make everything all right.
No one told me what he found at first. He told Mother that I was two months pregnant.
She went straight over to see Cal, who had returned. The wedding had to be brought forward. There was much to do if this unfortunate situation was to be resolved.
However, Caledon Hockley's response was not what she wanted to hear.
"The child is not mine, Ruth. I have not been near your daughter."
Ruth sat stiffly on the sofa, clutching her cup of tea. She watched Cal as he leaned on the fireplace, becoming increasingly annoyed that he was trying to get out of his responsibilities.
"Mr. Hockley, you are her fiancé. Please do not try to deny this."
Cal rubbed his forehead.
"Two months, you say? Then I tell you, Ruth, this child is not mine. I suggest you lay the blame elsewhere."
"What are you trying to say?" She paused briefly and put a gloved hand to her mouth. "You cannot possibly mean…"
"I mean exactly that, Ruth. A third class passenger is where exactly I would lay the blame."