Disclaimer: Alas, I do not own any of the movie characters, which include but are not limited to Rose, Jack, Ruth, Spicer Lovejoy, and Caledon Hockley. I've tried to keep the historical characters (Ex./ Andrews, Murdoch, Smith, etc.) as accurate as possible.
Elizabeth Stewart preferred being addressed as "Anne," her middle name. The girls she grew up with always teased her about her first name, saying it was too proper and elegant for her, and had called her "Lizzie." Except, they had meant it as an insult, as the reptile. But not many people knew that about her; not many people ever seemed to want to befriend Anne. This was obvious as she silently made her way down the stairs that led to the main hall. She looked around. The fire was roaring, and all of the girls were relaxing nearby, taking advantage of their free period as best they could. Some were studying, some were embroidering, but most were talking and gossiping. And none of them noticed her. Well, what did you expect? A lavish going away party? Tears and hugs and best wishes? Be realistic. They're no more your friends than Ruth was your mother. Anne shunned the memory of the bitter woman to the back of her mind, swallowing the lump that had suddenly formed in her throat. It's in the past. Forget about it.
"All ready, Miss Stewart?" a slim, dark-haired young woman cordially asked, a small smile on her face.
"Yes, Miss Temple," Anne nodded. "Has my chauffeur arrived?"
"Yes, just now," Miss Temple replied. "I'll have him take your trunks to the car. Did you wish to say good-bye to the other girls?"
"No, thank you. I already have," came the lie. Good-bye? Why would I ever want to say good-bye to them? More like good riddance!
"Well then, I suppose this is good-bye for us," Miss Temple sighed sadly. "Take care of yourself, Anne. I'll expect you to write once you arrive in New York."
"Of course, Miss Temple. I wouldn't dream of having it any other way," Anne nodded at the only friend she'd ever had during her education and career at Barclay Academy. She waited for her teacher to open the heavy oak doors, and stepped outside into the dreary day. "Well, good-bye. And thank you for everything."
"Oh, you're quite welcome," Miss Temple smiled, dabbing at her eyes with her handkerchief.
"Miss Temple!" came the shrill voice behind the younger woman, causing Miss Temple to turn her head. "Do you plan on letting the door open all day?"
"No, Mrs. Barclay," Miss Temple shook her head, then glanced out to Anne once more. "Good luck."
"Thank you," Anne replied, but the door had already been closed in her face. She turned and began down the stairs to the lane, where a chauffeur waited to help her into the car.
"Good morning, Miss Stewart," the elderly gentleman smiled kindly. His smile slightly faded, however, when he noticed the sadness in the young woman's troubled eyes. The poor girl . . . such a pity. He decided to change the subject. "Well, we'll arrive in Southampton tomorrow. The ship leaves the day after."
"Thank you," Anne softly replied, her voice hardly audible. "Good morning?" I'm sorry, Sir, but today is hardly a "good" morning. She sighed softly, staring out the window. The sky was overcast, and rain threatened to come down upon them at any moment. The whole atmosphere seemed to reflect upon Anne's dark mood. She decided not to dwell on the fact that she had been completely ignored that morning, and soon fell into a deep sleep.
"Miss Stewart?" the chauffeur gently shook her shoulder. "Miss Stewart, we've arrived in Southampton. We're at the hotel."
"Oh, thank you," Anne opened her eyes, still heavy with sleep. She glanced down at her dress and frowned; there were numerous creases and wrinkles in it due to her sleeping position. Well, I can't do anything about it now. She stepped out of the car with the chauffeur's help, and a porter was called to carry her trunks into the hotel. Anne thanked and tipped the chauffeur, before retreating into the hotel to sign in.
She walked up the stairs after receiving her room key, mentally repeating her room number. Finally finding room 312, Anne opened the door and stepped inside. Her trunks had already been taken inside, and stood neatly at the foot of her bed. She looked around the modest room, complete with a small bed, table, and chair. It was small and shabby, but what had she expected for such a small price? She had spent a great deal of her inheritance on a first-class ticket for the grandest ship of all: Titanic.
With a tired sigh, Anne walked over to one of two windows in the room. The view was spectacular, and it boasted Titanic in all her glory, directly in front of her. For a moment, she forgot her fatigue and unhappiness, and was overwhelmed by the splendor of the giant ship. Suddenly, she didn't just forget her fatigue for a moment, but it had seemed to completely disappear. A smile slowly crossed over her face, lighting her eyes. It wasn't the fake smile she'd been taught to flash to be polite; it was one of her rare, genuine smiles that lit up the room.
Anne freshened up for a moment before dashing down the stairs and out of the hotel. Her eyes widened in surprise and awe as she stared up at the gigantic ship, the hull black and enormous, so imposing and intimidating. The scent of fresh paint hovered in the air, mingling with the ocean's own distinct fragrance. So enthralled was she that she didn't see a man walking in the opposite direction. They collided, and Anne felt two strong hands steady her.
"I'm dreadfully sorry, Miss," Anne looked up into the gray-blue eyes of the man she'd bumped into. Judging by his uniform, he was an officer on Titanic, or one of the ships nearby.
"Oh, I'm sorry, it was my fault," Anne felt a blush creep up her throat as he released her. "I wasn't paying attention; I was looking at the ship."
"Titanic? Aye, isn't she grand?" the officer smiled, his voice full of pride. "Oh, where are my manners? I'm Will Murdoch." The officer extended his hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Murdoch. I'm Anne Stewart," Anne flashed another smile, shaking the man's hand, surprised at the strength that seemed to flow through it.
"The pleasure is all mine, Miss Stewart," Murdoch smiled, surprised at the woman's firm grip. "Might I ask where you were headed?"
"I was simply taking a walk," Anne smiled.
"Would you mind if I accompanied you?" Murdoch asked with a slight Scottish accent. "I've nothing to do at the moment."
"That would be delightful, thank you," Anne smiled up at him, resting her hand on the crook of Murdoch's elbow.
"My pleasure," Murdoch smiled as they began walking through the crowds of people. "So what, Miss Stewart, brings you to Southampton? You certainly don't have an English accent."
"No, I'm not," Anne said albeit a bit sadly. "I came here to attend finishing school. I'm going home."
"And where, may I ask, is home?" Murdoch asked.
"America," Anne replied, then realized how stupid and general the answer was. "Pennsylvania, to be precise."
"So, you're a Pennsylvanian?" Murdoch asked, and she nodded, asking if he'd ever been there. "No, I can't say that I have." This remark brought another smile from Anne, and Murdoch realized how much she resembled Ada, from her dark hair to her sparkling green eyes, like emeralds.
"Where do you hail from, Mr. Murdoch?" Anne asked.
"Dalbeattie, Scotland," came the reply. "Have you ever been there?" Murdoch asked, knowing the answer before she said it.
"To be quite truthful, I've never even heard of it," Anne smiled.
"Well, I suppose I can overlook that small flaw," Murdoch teased, causing Anne to "uh!" in surprise, which was followed by a laugh that showed she had taken no offense.
"Will!" both Anne and Murdoch glanced up to see a rather harried man running towards them. "Come on! Captain wants a word with us!"
"I guess that's my cue to bid you good-bye," Murdoch turned to Anne. "It was a pleasure talking with you, Miss Stewart. Perhaps we'll meet again."
Anne smiled. Yes, perhaps we will. Especially if you work on Titanic She watched the officer run off after the first, and then turned to return to her hotel room. Her dress was a disgrace, and now that she thought of it, so was her hair. It was a surprise that Officer Murdoch had even wanted to be seen with her in such a state.