Miracle at Chippewa Falls

Based on some situations origin by J. Cameron

It was a warm Saturday' spring afternoon in Chippewa Falls. Like in many other small towns, during weekends people used to take long naps after lunch. But that day was different.

It had been a month since people read about the sinking of the Titanic, but nobody in that small town had paid much attention to it. Until that day.

Everybody in the village was shocked when they read that one of the people who had died that night of April was someone they knew. Someone who had grown up among them. Ever since the lists were published, about a week ago, the community used to skip naptime to gather in the city's pub to talk among the situation.

"How could we be sure that this Jack is the one we knew? Our Jack Dawson left us 5 years ago." A woman said

"Yes, and we are not even sure that he didn't die in that fire…"

"But his family survived, don't you remember?"

"Of course I remember! But I still think that it would be almost impossible that he had survived. Besides, it has been 5 years since we last heard about him. If he was alive, don't you think he would have stayed here?"

"I guess you're right. Poor Jack… He was so young!"

They were so into the conversation that no one heard someone entering the bar.

"Eh… Excuse me?" the girl who had just arrived said.

The owner of the bar, a middle aged man with kind face, went to where she was and asked her politely what she wanted.

"Eh… Boy, this is hard. My name is Rose Dawson. I'm Jack Dawson's wife…"

"Jack's wife? What a coincidence, we were just talking about him!" An old lady said.

"Jack got married? Unbelievable! See, Marry, I told you that it wasn't the Jack that we knew. Henry and Katherine will be so happy when they hear the news…"

"Henry and Katherine? Jack's parents? I thought they were dead." Rose asked.

"Dead? Oh, no. They're as alive as you or me, girl. We all thought that Jack was the one who had died. And speaking about Jack, where is him?"

Without being able to answer that question, Rose burst into tears. Jack had told her that he had no friends or family there, but now it turned out that apparently everybody in that town was waiting for Jack. What could she do? She had to tell someone the truth. At least to his parents.

"Girl, is everything all right?" a man asked.

"Yes, yes. Everything is fine. Could you please tell me where do the Dawsons live? There's something they must know."

The owner of the bar gave her the address.

"Girl, are you sure everything's fine? Where's Jack?" he asked.

"I… I should tell Henry and Katherine first. It wouldn't be fair to do it the other way round… Sorry." And with this, she turned around and left.

Fifteen minutes later, Rose was sitting in a small living room studding her 'in laws'. Henry looked exactly like his son, except for the eyes. The oldest had brown eyes, while Jack had taken his mother's. They both seemed very kindly and invite Rose to come in without even asking for her name.

"So, what can we do for you, miss? I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?" Katherine asked.

"Look, I'm going to be completely honest to you. My name is Rose Dewitt-Bukater, but…"

"Dewitt-Bukater? Why does your name sound familiar to me? I know! You were Caledon Hockley's fiancée, right? I read it on the news." Jack's mother said.

"Oh, now I know. But, wait a minute, I thought that Caledon Hockley's fiancée died on the Titanic…" Henry Dawson added.

"Please, let me explain you. I was supposed to marry Cal, you are right. He, my mother and I got on the Titanic to come back to the States for the wedding, but something happened to us during the trip. I mean, else than the iceberg. During the second night, I met someone, someone who changed my life completely. He made me realized that I couldn't let them control me, that I had to break free." Rose paused, not to sure of how to continue her story.

"You met someone who changed your life? That's so romantic." Katherine helped her. "Henry and I have always dreamt to go on a cruise… But please, continue with your story."

"Well… God, this is hard! This man died on the Titanic. I wanted to stay with him, but he pushed me into a boat and I couldn't do anything… I… I'm so sorry."

For a minute nobody spoke. Rose was too afraid to face the other two and to complete her story. She hadn't planned that they would be alive! They were supposed to be dead! The couple was also quiet, perhaps intuiting what was coming next.

Finally, Henry kneeled next to Rose and asked her softly.

"This… This man, you knew… Was his name Jack? Jack Dawson?"

Although she wasn't looking at him, she could sense unhappiness in his voice. It was pretty obvious that he imagined the answer but was unable to take it until someone told him to.

"Yes." She whispered. She heard a gasp coming from where Katherine was.

"Jack? My Jack? I…" But she couldn't finish the sentence, because she burst into tears. Henry hurried next to her, giving Rose a chance to explain her story.

"He had told me that he was born here and that his parents had died in a fire when he was 15. He also told me that he had neither friends nor family here, so he decided to leave. But I couldn't believe him… He was so wonderful! I decided to come here to make sure that someone heard about his death."

"But when you arrived, they told you that we were alive. That was surly a great shock to you, right?" the woman asked, and Rose was surprised to see that she was smiling through the tears.

"Yes. I introduced myself as Rose Dawson, Jack's wife, and they asked me if I had something to do with you. I'm sorry, now I realized that I was wrong."

"No, girl, it was perfect. You really loved Jack; you don't have to be a genius to see that. You two couldn't get married because something beyond your control appeared in your way."

"So… You are not mad at me?" Rose asked shyly.

"What for? For making our son fall in love? For coming here and tell us the truth? No, sweetie, we are not mad at you."

"You have no idea of how much that means to me. Thank you."

"No, thank you. If it wasn't for you, we would probably live the rests of our lives not knowing for sure what happened to our son."

"C'mon, everything will be fine." Katherine said and hugged her.

Rose was now crying. She had been fighting the tears back for the whole afternoon, and now… It was just that Jack's parents seemed so great people. It was so unfair that they had lost their son. And it was also unfair that their son had left without knowing that he had a family. Perhaps if Jack had stayed he would be alive right now… But he hadn't. He was dead and Rose would have to accept it.

For a while nobody said a word, but then Henry realized of something.

"Oh my god. Emily. We have to tell her."

"Oh, you're right. My god, she'll be devastated. She won't believe it, she won't. How are we going to do?"

"Emily? Who's Emily?"

"Jack's younger sister. They loved each other when they were kids. Then our house set on fire and we all thought that Jack was dead." Henry said.

"Except for Emily. She always said that her brother was all right. And you know what? I think I thought that too. Deep inside I think I always knew that Jack was safe. But now… Emily won't believe it. She'll be so confused." His wife added.

"How are we going to tell her?" the man asked again.

"I'll tell her. You take Rose for a walk or show her a room where she can stay. Yes, Rose. You are staying."

Rose tried to complain, but the woman had already taken a decision. Suddenly, they heard the door being open and Henry hurried outside the room, taking Rose with him.

"You won't believe what they're saying, mum." Emily said as she entered the room.

Katherine didn't reply. She knew exactly what they were saying, but Emily was unaware of the situation yet.

"I have no idea." She lied.

"They're saying that Jack is dead and that his wife is in the town. Can you believe such a thing? I thought they were tired of saying those lies about Jack."

"Emily, honey. Please have a sit. We need to talk."

"What's wrong, mum? Why aren't you laughing?"

"Those horrible things they're saying… They're true. Jack's really dead."

"No! You are lying! You've always said that he was dead. But he isn't. I can feel it. Mum… Why are you saying such things?"

"Does the name Titanic say something to you? It's the ship that sank about a month ago. Jack won a ticket and was on it. He…"

"No. I can't believe it. Who told you that?"

"His widow. He met a girl on the ship and they got married. She came here to tell the people in Chippewa Falls about Jack, but she was told that we weren't dead. Apparently Jack had told her about the fire."

"Well, tell this girl that she's wrong. I even doubt that he is really Jack's widow. And I really doubt that she met him. Perhaps she came here because she wanted to take money from us."

"Emily… Look around. Do you really think that someone would be interested in stealing money from us?"

She was right. The Dawsons lived in a comfortable house, but it wasn't very luxurious. As a matter of fact, before meting Jack, Rose would have found it quite ugly.

"I… I won't believe it. Sorry to disappoint you."

"Em…" the oldest started.

"Mother, drop it. I refuse to believe it. Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to bed."

She left, leaving her mother to think. Katherine knew that her daughter was aware of the fact that her brother wasn't going to come back. But she also knew that Emily was too stubborn to admit it.

Meanwhile, Rose and Henry were walking trough the streets of Chippewa Falls. People were staring at them, but they didn't bother. They were too concentrated in Jack.

"He was a great artist, you knew that?" he asked.

"Yes. He showed me some of his works. They were beautiful! He had a gift, he saw people."

"Ever since he was a kid he went to that hill over there," he pointed it out "and sat for hours to draw. Many asked them to buy his drawings, but he always denied, saying that he didn't do it for the money."

"But eventually he decided to sell them. When he was in Europe."

"Jack was in Europe? I can't believe it. What else did he tell you? Could you tell me?"

Rose began to talk about everything. He told Jack's father everything she knew about his son, which wasn't much, but Henry appreciated it. Once she had finished, the man began to tell her everything else about the boy.

"His birthday is… I mean, was on January 28. He was born on a Saturday at our home. When he was a kid he didn't like school very much, but he was a good student and everyone liked him. When he was 15, our house set on fire, and no one saw him again."

"He thought you had died."

"So did we. We weren't at home at that time. Katherine, Emily and I had been invited by one of our neighbors to have tea. Jack, on the other hand, wasn't back from school yet when we left, so we couldn't tell him."

"When he returned, he saw that the house had burned out and assumed that you were inside…."

"That was what probably happen."

They remained in silence for another while. Why was life so unfair? Why did bad things often happen to great people?

"Do you want to go back? It's getting late and Katherine is probably cooking…"

"About that… I don't think I can accept your offer. I should probably get a room in a hotel."

"No, Rose. You are staying with us. We owe you so much…"

"But…"

"I'm not going to change my mind. Besides, Kate would kill me if she knew her daughter in law is spending a night in that horrible inn."

"Fine, I'll go. Thank you."

When the got the Dawson's house, they found Katherine in the kitchen cooking dinner.

"How did she take it?" her husband asked.

"Ah… Just like we thought she would. She needs some time to assume it."

"May I have a word with her? Perhaps I can make her understand…"

"Oh, I wouldn't do that. Emily isn't exactly a nice person when she's angry."

"I don't care. She deserves to know the whole true. It's the only way she'll understand."

"Are you completely sure? You've done enough…"

"I'm sure, Mr Dawson. Where's Emily's bedroom?"

"Henry. Call me Henry. And Emily's room is upstairs, 2 door on your right."

"Thank you. I'll see what I can do."

Rose went upstairs and direct to her 'sister-in-law's bedroom. She didn't receive any answer, so she decided to open the door.

"Get out." A girl said as she entered the room.

"I assume you are Emily, are you not?"

"I am. And who are you?" Jack's sister asked.

"I'm Rose."

"Ah. The one who's saying that Jack's dead. Let me tell you something: he's not. If you are so sure is because you killed him, but I'm sure Jack's alive."

For a moment Rose remained speechless. Deep inside she felt that she was responsible for Jack's death, but she was also determinant to make that girl understand the truth.

"You are wrong, Jack's dead. But I didn't kill him. Well… Not in the way you are thinking."

"What do you mean? That you really killed him? I can't believe that…. Sorry. Tell my mother that her plan is not going to work, Jack's is alive."

"Emily… I saw him dying! I wish I didn't, but that's the truth. "

"Really? And how did he die?" the youngest asked, sarcastically.

"About a month ago, newspapers all over the country talked about a ship that sank during its first voyage…"

"You mean the Titanic? So, I guess you're saying that my brother was on it. C'mon! It's the best you could come up with?" she said, but she was suddenly paler.

Rose told her the whole story, but she made it sound as if Jack and her had got married during the trip. She also omitted the parts about her mother and Cal. When she had finished, Emily was certainly white.

For a short while, the two girls remained in silence, but the silence was broken by the youngest.

"I… I have to congratulate you. I wasn't expecting such a convincing story. I… I almost bought it!"

"Emily… Jack's not going to return. I'm sorry."

"How do you know? You got safely in a boat and you didn't see him after that, right? Perhaps he got into another… Perhaps he was rescued from the water…"

"Do you really think I didn't check? I looked all over for him, everywhere. But he wasn't inside the Carpathia, his name wasn't in any of the lists…."

"Maybe another ship?" she was starting to loose hopes.

"There wasn't another ship. The Carpathia was the only one that picked us up…"

Emily didn't say a thing for another while, so Rose had the chance to look at her. She was exactly like her mother: long and dark hair, not too tall, thin and blue eyed. The only similarity she had with Jack was the eyes. They both had taken after their mother's eyes.

"My father…" the youngest started. "My father once took my brother to the lake. Why and what happened?" she asked her that because she remember that his brother used to tell everybody that story. So, if he had really met Rose, she was sure that he had told her about that.

"They went to do ice-fishing. And Jack felt in thin ice."

When she heard that, Emily began to cry uncontrollably and Rose immediately hugged her.

"Why? He was such a good person… And so young! Why did he have to die? Why did he have to go?" the youngest said trough the sobs.

"I know, I know. Trust me, I've been asking myself the same question for a month. I swear that I would be glad to change places with him. I should be dead, not him…"

"No." the youngest said, suddenly serious. "Jack pushed you into a boat. He could get inside one himself, but he didn't. He saved you, he wanted YOU to live."

"You really think that? So I guess you hate me?"

"I should hate you. You may be the cause my brother is dead, but… I don't know how to explain it, but something inside me tells me to trust you. Jack wanted you to live."

At this point, it was Rose who began to cry. Finally, she had shared her memories. She was no longer the only one who remembered Jack Dawson.

For the next half an hour, the two girls began to talk about Jack. Emily told the other one about his childhood and the other one shared the things Jack had told her during the voyage.

They began to do the same everyday, so to keep Jack's memory alive forever. Never could they have imagine what would happen a couple of months later…

At the beginning, Jack's death was the only topic of conversation of the town, but then they began to lose interest.

Now, nearly three months after Rose's arrival, only her and Emily talked about him everyday. It was always the same routine, when Emily arrived from school, the two girls ran upstairs and looked in one of the bedrooms, where they remained for hours….

That day of September, Emily was hurrying home as usual, when she was suddenly aware of the fact that many of her neighbors were gathered at the door of the bar, which was very strange.

Why was that happening? Why didn't people get in? She didn't pay much attention to it because she wanted to get together with Rose before returning to school that afternoon. But still, she had the feeling that all that people had something to do with her.

And she wasn't too wrong…

An hour before kids left school, Sam, the owner of the bar where Rose had arrived on the lasts days of May, was cleaning the tables. He wasn't expecting anyone for another hour, because people usually worked until 4 or 5 in the afternoon and didn't used to take time off to have lunch in the bar.

Suddenly, Sam heard the bell he had in the door and realized that someone had entered.

"Who could it be?" Sam asked to himself. "Maybe it is Mrs. Danes, that comes to have branch." He turned around, but he didn't see Mrs. Danes.

Instead, he saw a young, tall man. He was about 20 years old; Sam knew that, because he had almost seen him being born. He remembered clearly when this young boy's mother went into labor at that same bar. But he could also remember his wife coming and saying that he was dead.

"Sam! How you've been?" the youngest asked.

Sam didn't say a word.

"What's the matter with you? It seems like you have seen a ghost!" he insisted.

"I think I have." He replied. "I think I'm seeing Jack Dawson, who died 4 months ago, on the Titanic."

"What? How do you know I was on the Titanic?"

"So it is you? Jack?"

"It is me. I survived the fire, unlike my family and I left to New York…"

"What? Oh… You think your family died? No, Jack, no. They weren't at home that day…"

"What?" It was Jack's time to be shock. "So… Mum is alive? Mum, dad…? Emily! Emily is fine?"

"Yes, they are all right. Your wife was also surprised when she heard that thy were fine…"

"Wife?" he asked. "What wife?"

"Your wife… About 4 months ago she came here saying that you two have met on the Titanic and that you had got married… Don't you remember?"

"Was her name Rose?" he asked.

"Yes! Red haired, about 15 or 17 years old."

Jack became very pale. His family alive, Rose at Chippewa Falls… It was almost too good to be true.

"Where are them? Rose, my parents?"

"They are still here, at Chippewa Falls. They live… Oh, wait. There's your sister, why don't you follow her?"

Without thinking about it twice, Jack hurried outside the bar, without paying attention to the people who were looking trough it's windows.

Emily was still thinking about the people at the bar, when she heard someone calling her name. She was about to turn around, but she recognized the voice. It was her brother's.

"Emily, keep walking. You are imagining things. Jack's dead, remember that." She thought to herself and kept walking.

"Emily!" Jack tried again. Why was she walking away?

"He's not real…"

"Emily! Emma! Em…" Jack tried all the ways that he could come up with, but the girl didn't pay attention to him. Finally, he decided to use a name she hated. "EMILY JANICE DAWSON, are you going to turn around?"

At this point, Emily had to give up. She hated the name 'Janice' and she used to hate when he brother called her that.

She turned around and, without paying attention to the fact that the man standing in front of her was supposed to be dead, started to yell at him.

"HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT I DON'T LIKE BEING CALLED THAT WAY!"

Jack didn't say a thing. He just smiled at his sister and count to 5 under his breath.

1… Emily looked angrily at him; 2… Her eyes began to open more than usual; 3… She began to point everywhere; 4… She opened and close her mouth many times; 5… She was finally able to express herself with words.

"Oh my God! Jack!" she ran the few steps that separated them and hugged her brother. "I knew you were Ok! I knew it, I knew it! Oh, I'm gonna kill that stupid Rose!"

"What? Why?"

"She made my think that you were dead, Jack, everybody wanted me to think that. When our house burned out… I always knew you were alive, but then this Rose… I was so stupid!"

"No you weren't. Rose thought I was dead. I thought she was dead too. And I thought you were dead. My god, I should have check before leaving…"

"Well, you are right in that one. Why didn't you tell anybody that you have survived? It would have saved us a lot of pain…"

"And why didn't you tell me that you have left?"

"We left you a note in the kitchen."

Brother and sister smiled at the irony. But nothing mattered now. They were a family again! After 5 years…

"We have to tell mum and dad! They will be so happy!"

"Wait! Is Rose still here?"

"Rose? Yes, she's living with us. She didn't want to, but mother insisted."

"Great! Now, let's go."

Katherine was preparing lunch when she heard the door being open.

"Mum? Dad? Rose? Anybody? Where's everybody?" Emily's voice asked.

"Em? I'm in the kitchen." She answered.

"Mum! You won't believe this! I was right! I knew it. Where's Rose? I'll kick her ass!"

Without understanding what her daughter meant, Katherine went to the living room to see what was going on.

"Emily, what a hell…?" but she couldn't complete the sentence. What she saw shocked her too much to speak.

"Hi, mum." Jack said.

Katherine's reaction was similar to her daughter's. At the beginning, she was unable to say a word, but finally she managed to call her husband, who was ill, so he had stayed the morning at home.

"Henry! Could you come to the living room for a second?"

Henry appeared a minute later and also stared at his son.

"Honey… Do you see what I'm seeing?" his wife asked.

"I… It's hard to say, but I think, I think, that I am. But, on the other hand, I believe I'm seeing a ghost."

"I'm not a ghost! I didn't die in that fire and I didn't die on the Titanic."

"So what a hell happened to you? Rose came here 3 months ago and told us that you were dead. We believed her, of course, but now it turns out that she was lying!"

"She wasn't lying. Let me explain. When I realized that the ship was sinking, I decided that I had to save Rose, no mattered how. I saw a lifeboat and tell her to get into it. She refused, but eventually she gave up. That way I was completely sure she would arrive safely to other ship."

"And what about you?" Emily asked.

"I… I knew I couldn't get into another boat because they were only allowing women and children. I ran to the back of the ship so I could stay outside the water as long as possible. It worked. When the ship sank completely, I swan until I reached a piece of wood and climbed on it. After what seemed hours, a boat picked me up and took me to the Carpathia."

"That was the same ship Rose was into. Why couldn't you find each other?"

"That, dad, is what I don't understand. I looked all over for her, checked all the lists I found, but she wasn't anywhere. So I supposed that she had jumped out of the boat or something like that."

Katherine pretended to fix her son's shirt and whispered in his ear, so that Emily wouldn't hear it.

"She had said her name was Dawson."

Jack smiled. He had been afraid that Rose would have forget him, but now it seemed that he was wrong.

"And what did you do after the Carpathia docked?" Henry asked.

"You know… I got odd jobs to pay me somewhere to sleep. After a couple of months, I realized that everything in New York city remained me to her, so I decided to come back here and then leave to the west or something like that. I was never expecting that I would find her here or that I would find YOU people. Emily told me that you weren't home the time the fire started."

"No, fortunately we weren't. Oh, my god, I can't believe you are here again!" Katherine exclaimed.

For a couple of minutes the Dawsons forgot about everything. After 5 long years they were together again… Then, Henry realized of something.

"Rose! She doesn't know you are all right. Where is she, Kate?"

"She went to that hill you used to draw at. She goes there every morning. Em… Why don't you go and tell her lunch is ready?"

"No! I'll go." Jack said.

"You are right. Don't take too long!"

Jack left his house and hurried to the hill. He was so happy that Rose and his family were alright. This should be the happiest day of his entire life.

Rose was sitting under a tree, as usual. She had guessed that Jack sat there because the view was awe-inspiring.

Jack… She had learned a lot about him during that past 4 months, but now she felt it was time to move on. Not to forget Jack, for god sake, no. She felt it was time to live the life Jack and her had planned. Perhaps she could go to Santa Monica, or somewhere like that. Hit the horizon, like Jack had said.

She smiled. She was finally going to have a life of her own. No more corsets or things like that. She was free.

Well… Free. She didn't want to be that free. She wanted Jack to rule her life, to tell her the best things to do and the best places to go. She wanted him to rule her, but no push her, like Cal had done. It didn't matter now, because Jack was dead and he couldn't join her physically in her life.

Suddenly, Rose detected someone coming from behind. She thought it was either Emily or Katherine that were coming to tell her lunch was ready. She closed her eyes and felt as if Jack was with her. She couldn't help but smile at that feeling.

She expected to hear a voice calling her, but she didn't. She waited another minute, but still no one calling her. She decided that the best thing was to turn around and tell the other that she was going.

She stood up, turned around and began a sentence.

"Ok… I'm…" but she froze. Instead of Katherine or Emily, she saw Jack standing in front of her, his back in a tree. "Am… Am I dead?" she asked shyly.

Jack smiled. "Dead? God no. You are fine, and so am I."

"So… This isn't a dream?" still don't wanting to believe the truth.

"It can't be. I have had the same dream for 4 months now, but this seems way more real than the rest."

Rose didn't reply. Jack, alive, in front of her… It was like a miracle. Unexpectedly, she began to cry and Jack hurried next to her.

"Rose, please don't cry. I'm here, Rose. I won't go again, I promise." He said as he hugged her.

Rose felt so safe… She had also been dreaming with that moment for months, but never had she imagined that it would come true.

"Why… Why a hell did you pushed me into a boat, Jack? I wanted to stay with you."

"I… I didn't want something happened to you, Rose. I thought it would be the best."

Rose stopped crying and looked into Jack's eyes.

"Don't you even dare to leave me again, Jack. Never." She said, very seriously.

"I won't. We'll stay together forever now. I promise you. Do you trust me?" He answered with a smile.

She smiled back. She trusted him from the bottom of her heart.

"I do." They kissed. "Did you see your family already?"

"Yes, I did. They already know that I'm fine."

"Emily surely hates me, doesn't she?"

"Jaja. No, I don't think so. She's mad at you, but I don't think she hates you."

"She always thought you were alive. I should have believe her!"

"It doesn't matter now." He kissed her again. "Now let's go. Mum will be mad with us if we don't get there before lunch burns."

They laugh and headed to the house.

"So… Everybody tells me that my beautiful wife came her about 3 months ago, have you seen her?"

"I… Don't be angry at me, it's just… "

"Angry? Why should I be angry? I'm flattered."

"Really?"

"Really."

For a while they remained in silence, too happy to express their feelings. Then Jack broke the silence.

"You know, a month ago, I had no one in the world to turn to. Now, I have a real family. I have a mother, a father, a sister, and, most importantly a wife! It's like a dream come true." He stopped and then added. "I understand that you had to say you were my wife because you thought I was dead. We don't have to be a couple if you don't want to…"

"What? Jack Thomas Dawson, are you leaving me? Again?" she said, only half serious.

He smiled once again. "I guess that's a no. And how did you know my second name was Thomas?"

"Emily told me."

"Her complete name is Emily Janice, did she tell you that?"

They laughed again. The past 4 months had disappeared from their memories. They were together.

Before entering to his house, and without being seen, Jack look at the sky and silently thanked God for the miracle he had just experienced.

THE END