Chapter One

May 8, 2003

Seventeen-year-old Rose DeWitt-Bukater stepped out of her silver Mustang convertible after a very long day at school. She had finally gotten up the nerve to break up with her boyfriend of two years, Caledon Hockley. After she broke up with him, he told all of their friends, who were now refusing to talk to her. And to top it all off, her best friend, Lacey, had told her she was moving out of Florida the next week.

Rose threw her keys on the counter and ran up the stairs to her bedroom. She flopped on her bed and started crying. After about five minutes, her cell phone rang. She looked at it and saw it was Cal calling her. She answered.

"What do you want?"

"I've been thinking about it, and I have decided to give you another chance."

"Cal, I broke up with you. Remember? Not the other way around. I don't want to be with you anymore."

"Well, if you had accepted my offer, you could have your friends back. There's no chance of that anymore."

"I don't care what you say anymore, Cal. I'm not going to listen to your shit."

She hung up on him and turned her phone off. Rose decided to go on a walk, since she knew Cal would be calling her house phone soon. She went to the park and sat down on a bench, closing her eyes and listening to the birds in the trees.

When she opened her eyes, she noticed a guy staring at her. He wasn't much older than her, maybe nineteen or twenty. Rose also noticed he was very good-looking. He had shaggy blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, which she could see even from the distance she was at. She tried to look away, but couldn't. She stood up and walked over to him, without even realizing what she was doing.

XXXXX

Jack Dawson couldn't keep his eyes off the redhead sitting on the bench. He would look away, but then his eyes would just be drawn back to her again. When she opened her eyes and looked back at him, Jack was amazed. She was just so beautiful. He saw her moving, and was very surprised when he noticed she was standing right next to him.

"Hi. I'm Rose."

"Jack. Jack Dawson."

"So, do you live around here, Jack?"

"Yeah. I live a couple of blocks away. What about you?"

"My house is about a twenty-minute walk from here. I just felt like getting away for a while."

Jack couldn't believe he was talking to the beautiful girl he had seen on the bench just five minutes earlier. They talked for almost six hours, not even realizing the time was passing.

"Oh, my God! Jack, it's almost eleven o'clock. I'm sorry, but I have to go home. Here's my cell number if you want to call me."

"Thanks, Rose. I'll call you tomorrow sometime, or maybe later tonight if that's okay."

"That's fine. Bye, Jack. See you later."

"Bye."

XXXXX

When Rose got home, her mother, Ruth, demanded to know where she had been. Cal had been calling for her all afternoon and Ruth had no idea what to say to him. Rose calmly told Ruth she was with a friend and went up to her room. Ten minutes after getting home, her cell phone rang. Wondering who would call her after eleven, she looked at her phone and didn't recognize the number. Then she remembered Jack said he might call that night. She answered, hoping it was him.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Rose. It's Jack."

"Jack! Hey. I figured it was you, since I didn't know the number."

"Yeah. So, I was just wondering if you were busy or anything this weekend?"

"No, I'm not doing anything. Why?" asked Rose teasingly, knowing he was about to ask her out.

"Well I was wondering if you wanted to go to this new club with me that's opening in Miami. I realize it's a few hours away, but it would give us some time to get to know each other. I know the owner, so I can get us in."

Rose was silent for a few minutes, wondering what she would do. She could leave school early, and they could get to Miami around seven. But how would she tell her mother she was going out of town with a guy she had just met the day before?

"Rose? Are you still there?" Jack was silently praying he hadn't scared her off by asking her to go all the way to Miami with him the day they met.

"Yeah. Sorry. I would love to go with you. I'll fake a note from my mom saying I have an appointment or something to get out of school early, and tell her I'm spending the weekend with Lacey. Why don't you come pick me up at my school around two?"

"That sounds good. See you then, Rose. I got to go now."

"Bye, Jack. See you tomorrow."

Rose hung up her phone, almost not allowing herself to believe that she was going to Miami with a man she had met that day. She felt a very strong connection with him, and knew that she liked him a lot. But to go to a city over four hours from home?

Maybe I should have suggested going someplace here in Orlando.

But the more Rose thought about it, the more she realized she already had an immense trust for Jack that she had never felt with anyone before, not even Cal after being with him for two years. Rose fell asleep happy, dreaming of Jack and the trip they were taking together the next day.

XXXXX

The next day at school, Rose told Lacey all about Jack and that she was going to Miami with him.

"Oh, my God, Rose. You don't even know this guy! Why on earth would you agree to this trip with him? How old is he, anyway?"

"Lacey, chill. Just trust me on this. He's only twenty, and he's an okay guy. He's sweet and funny and charming and--"

"Okay, okay I get it. But how are you going to get your mom to let you go with someone she's never even met?"

"That's where you come in. I'm going to tell her I'm spending the weekend with you. And if she calls, can you tell her I'm taking a shower or sleeping or something?"

"Wait. The whole weekend? Are you out of your mind?"

"We won't be together the whole time. I promise I'll come to your house or go home when we get back in town. Now, please do this for me."

"Okay, Rose. But if he tries anything with you, I swear I'll kick his ass. And don't try to defend him like you did with Cal."

"Thank you so much, Lacey! I promise I'll call you when we get to Miami tonight."

"You better! Well, you'd better get going. It's 1:45 now."

"I can't wait until graduation. Thank God it's only two weeks from now."

"I know. But I won't be here, remember?"

"Oh, yeah. That sucks so much. I'll miss you so much, Lacey! You are the best friend I've ever had."

"You're my best friend, too, Rose. And I'll come visit the first chance I get."

"Okay. I have to go meet Jack now. I'll call tonight!"

Rose ran down the hall towards the office, taking the note she had written out of her purse. After leaving the office, she walked outside to the parking lot, where she saw Jack waiting for her. He opened the passenger side door for her, then got in on his side and drove away from the school.