Chapter One

"God almighty…" Ruth heard Molly exclaim in disbelief. She was leaning against Molly in an effort to stay warm and because she was in shock. It was really happening now. The stern was completely out of the water and the screams of the doomed people still on board were the only sound piercing the frigid air. She shuddered under the piles of clothing she wore. Rose. She closed her eyes as the tears came. Her girl was most certainly one of those screaming thousands. What an idiot she had been.

"Go back and turn the heaters on in our rooms. I'd like a cup of tea when I return…"

She remembered giving the order to Trudy. That was immediately before they had all learned the fate of the ship. She forced herself to think of a different scene. One where Rose was safe on a different boat. She must have come to her senses and gotten into a boat. Hadn't she? Perhaps Cal had persuaded her to return. She had seen him chasing Rose down the deck. What was so important to Rose that she would risk her life by not getting in the boat? Jack Dawson. That was the only thing that could have possibly persuaded her to go back. She silently cursed his name. This was his fault. How could she have let her daughter get mixed up with him? She couldn't bear to think anymore and stared into thin air, trying to block out the horrifying scene playing out before their eyes.

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Hours had passed since the ship had gone under and the sun was starting to break on the horizon. It had been unreal; the sheer number of people she had seen thrashing around in the arctic waters. She hadn't the strength or the will to agree with Molly when she pleaded with the crewman to go back and attempt to save some of them. Now all they could do was wait. Wait to die…wait to live…no one knew. The only sound had been the sobbing of the other women in the boats and the lapping of the water against the sides. She saw a man stand and wave a flare in the air. She gazed in the direction he was looking and saw the vessel coming towards them.

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Rose shivered violently beneath the blankets inside the boat. Everything seemed to go in slow motion. Her mind felt so clouded. The voices she heard were thick and muffled. A fog surrounded everything she saw. She thought back about just a short while ago, which seemed like hours, days even.

"We're gonna make it Rose. Trust me…" Jack said confidently.

"I trust you!" Rose replied, not so confidently. They were really going into the water!

"Ready! Now!"

She heard Jack's voice echoing in her head. That had been the last thing she had heard him say and then he was gone. His hand was ripped from hers as they went under…just like he had said would happen. She had tried to call out his name over and over, but it was useless in the virtual sea of screaming victims surrounding her. She knew that she had to act fast and get out of that freezing water. She swam almost frantically to find something, anything that would hold her out of the water. Jack had been right about the pain of the freezing water. It made it very hard to move her arms and legs to swim. Just then, she saw something that might hold her up. It looked like a piece of the carved mahogany paneling she had seen in the halls leading to the dining room. She desperately struggled onto it, almost capsizing herself back into the icy death of the water. Finally, she settled on her stomach and was shivering violently. She had never felt cold like this…the wetness of her clothes only exaggerating it. She couldn't think about anything but how cold she was and the pain.

She felt the cold overtaking her. Things were starting to quiet down as the cloud of death descended on them. It took its victims slowly, one by one. She looked to see that the man who was blowing the whistle had fallen asleep. She was sure that soon she would do the same. She turned on her back and stared up at the stars. How long had she been here? Where were the boats? Did they not care to save the few remaining people? She sang to herself the same song that she and Jack had shared. As she sang, her voice was silenced by the sheer coldness of the air. She moved her lips but heard no sound escaping them.

She turned her head and heard her frozen hair breaking as she did it. She saw the angel of death coming toward her. It was a light moving back and forth. The light got closer and she thought she heard the angel calling out to her.

"Hello!"

"Is there anyone alive out there? Can anyone hear me?"

The light turned and went past her. Was the angel leaving without her?

"Come back! Come back!" she cried out in vain. The cold had stolen her voice and made it an inaudible squeak.

She rolled herself into the water with a big splash and tried to reach the man with the whistle. He seemed to be miles away from her. When she finally reached him, she held the whistle tightly in her teeth and blew through it. The shiver in her breathing could be heard as the sound of the whistle pealed through the frigid air.

"Come about!"

She heard the voice call out and saw the light turning back towards her. She kept blowing the whistle until her breath was gone and everything faded into blackness.

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She came back to the present now. She continued to shiver under the blankets. She could hear splashing outside the boat and wondered if the angel had continued to choose the doomed people to take along. She closed her eyes then and let the angel take her to her final destination, wherever that might be.

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When she opened her eyes again, she had stopped shivering but was still very cold. Only her eyes showed through the blanket and she could see the sun rising from far off. The beams tried to warm her face. She realized then that she was not dead after all. She had been rescued. She was going to live. She saw the ship approaching the crowd of boats and read the name Carpathia on the side. Soon she would be safe on the ship and then she would begin her search for Jack. Jack. She had not thought his name until then. She had been surviving and all other thoughts took a distant second until this moment. She had to try to find him. He was a survivor, she remembered him telling her as he tried to put her in a lifeboat. He must be alive. He must be.