COLLIDING DESTINIES
Chapter Three

The ship's whistle blew, warning everyone that it was about to depart. In the third class common room, Jack closed his portfolio, abandoning the drawing he was working on, and took Fran's arm.

"I'm gonna go watch the ship depart," he told her. "Wanna come?"

"Sure," she responded, taking his proffered hand and getting to her feet.

Jack looked around for Fabrizio and Tommy. "Hey, guys, we're gonna watch the ship leave. Wanna come with us?"

A few minutes later, the four of them were standing near the railing on the third class deck, facing the docks and watching the crowds waving as the ship began to move. Jack and Fabrizio pushed to the front of the crowd and leaned over the railing, shouting and waving.

"Good-bye!" Jack shouted. "Good-bye!"

"You know somebody?" Fabrizio asked.

"No. That's not the point!" Jack made eye contact with a little boy who was watching the departing ship with big eyes. "Bye! I'll miss you!"

Caught up in the game, Fabrizio added, "Good-bye! I will never forget you!"

They both chuckled as the boy grinned and waved back.

Tommy and Fran hung back, Tommy staring at them with a combination of amusement and confusion, while Fran ducked down slightly, hoping no one on the crowded docks would see her and recognize her.

"Who are you leaving behind?" Tommy asked her, noticing her reticence.

"No one. Jack just likes to say good-bye to every place we leave. He did the same thing on the way over from France."

"Why aren't you—" Tommy started to ask, but at that moment there was a commotion from the bow of the ship. They rushed to the railing, trying to see what was going on.

Fran took Jack's arm, forgetting her desire to hide in her curiosity over the commotion. "What happened?"

"The Titanic almost hit another ship." Jack pointed towards where several tugboats were pulling a much smaller ship out of the way. The Titanic's enormous wake had pulled the S.S. New York from its mooring and the two ships had nearly collided.

The four of them moved forward, trying to get a better look. Around them, people shouted and jostled for a better position from which to view the near-collision. Some voices expressed worry, while others spoke reassuringly, reminding everyone that the Titanic was unsinkable.

"The Titanic might be unsinkable, but that other ship ain't," Tommy pointed out to the others. "It's a good thing they didn't hit."

"It does 'a show that the Titanic is 'a unsinkable," Fabrizio told him, nodding with approval.

Fran watched as the Titanic slid past the other ship, disaster averted. She frowned slightly, listening to the people around her rejoicing in the fact that the ship they were on couldn't sink.

"That doesn't prove it's unsinkable," she told Jack.

He raised an eyebrow. "What makes you say that?"

"Well, it didn't actually hit the other ship. How do we know it wouldn't have sunk if it had?"

"Oh, come on, Fran. You've seen all the newspapers. Why would they say it was unsinkable if it wasn't?"

"Because the White Star Line paid them to?"

"Why would the White Star Line—" Jack stopped, realizing what Fran was getting at. "You're right, but I don't think we have anything to worry about. What could stop a ship this size?"

"I hope we don't find out."