And here it is... a brand new Titanic FanFiction. This one is settled during World War I, where Rose has volunteered as a nurse...
I think you'll find it quite accurate, but if there's any kind of mistake, I'm sorry:(
Declaimer: The only thing about Titanic that I posses is Leonardo DiCaprio, who is living in my basement ever since I kidnapped him -just kidding... Besides, if I had Leo, do you really think that I would have him in the basement? I would be showing him off, wouldn't you? Anyway, I do not own Titanic... Unfortunately!
Based on some situations originated by J. Cameron
March 12, 1918
Rose sat outside watching the rain fall and smocking a cigarette. In the distance she heard the shots, the cries for help, the explosions… but she had learnt to block everything out. At the beginning, she had used to find it hard to be here, in Europe, in the middle of a war, with people dying right next to her, but she had grown somehow used to it.
She had enrolled as a nurse the very same day she had read on the newspapers that the Lusitania had sunken and that United States would soon be taking part in the war. She had felt the need inside her to go to Europe, to help… In her mind, staying at home while so many of her neighbors were fighting would have been like… Like staying on a lifeboat while the ship sank. And she couldn't do that; not again.
"Rose, dear, Doctor Johnson needs you inside," one of the other nurses told her.
She finished the cigarette and dropped it to the floor before following her friend back into the building where the hospital worked. The sight that met her eye was terrible, but she barely noticed it.
"Nurse Dawson, over here!" someone called.
She walked towards Doctor Jacob Johnson, who was kneeling next to a man whose face was completely covered by mud and blood.
"What can I do?" Rose asked looking for the injury on the man's body.
"He's been shot in the heart," the doctor explained, "Get some morphine, quick!"
The nurse sighed and ran to the cabinet where the medicines were kept. It was more than obvious to her that the man was dead already, but he deserved a chance nonetheless.
Doctor Johnson was a very handy man, so after almost an hour of hard work, he announced that the soldier was likely to recover.
"Check on him every hour and let me know if there's something wrong,"
Rose stood paralyzed watching the man breathing. She found it hard to believe that he had made it through the surgery and that was now peacefully sleeping. Suddenly, an overwhelming feeling took over her and made her want to clean up his face. She didn't know why; she just felt it had to be done.
But she hadn't even walked two steps to his bed that someone called her and she had to turn her back on the man and walk away.
It was almost midnight when Rose was free again. She didn't have to work that night, since another nurse was in charge of checking on the patients for the night. She was walking to the door, ready to get a well deserved all-night sleep, when she remembered the soldier she had taken care of earlier that day. Doctor Johnson had specifically asked her to check on him every hour and she had completely forgotten.
"Are you coming?" Lana, one of the other nurses, asked her when she noticed that Rose had stopped.
"I need to check on a patient," she explained.
"Well, let Helen do it. She's in charge tonight," Lana wisely suggested.
But Rose would not hear her. She told Lana and the rest to go without her and turned around. She wouldn't normally do something like that, but it was different this time. She felt… something about that particular patient intrigued her.
She got to his bed. Someone had cleaned his face but through the dim light she couldn't see him very well. She could tell, though, that he was young –perhaps in his mid twenties– and that he had light hair. From the sound of his breathing, he was fast asleep.
Rose stood at the foot of his bed, feeling inexplicably nervous. She watched his chest going up and down with every breath he took. It was as if she needed to know that this man was fine.
"What the hell is wrong with me?" she asked herself. She looked at the man's face one last time before turning to leave.
But before she had taken two steps, she heard a sound at her back and turned around. The man had just awakened and was sitting on the bed. He was breathing faster, as if he had had a nightmare. Rose looked around and saw that the other nurse was busy with another patient, so she walked back to the bed.
"There, there. You just had a bad dream…" she told him gently as she cleaned the sweat from his forehead with a wet towel.
She helped him back on the pillow and fixed his blankets. She waited for him to say something, but since he didn't even stir, she thought that he deserved to know where he was and why he had gotten there.
"You are at the hospital," she explained. "We almost lost you, but you'll be fine. You were shot in the heart."
Thinking that the man might have gotten back to sleep, Rose took a step back, ready to go home, but she suddenly noticed his lips moving. She guessed more than heard what he was trying to say.
"You should've let me die," he whispered sounding annoyed.
"You don't mean that, I'm sure…"
"Oh, I'm positive. I came to Europe hopping to get killed, but apparently, I can't even have that right."
The man turned his back on Rose, who examined his profile, though it was still very dark inside the building.
"You wouldn't know what it feels like…" he muttered, still staring at the wall.
"Oh, I know."
The words shocked her. For years she had avoided to talk about everything that had happened before April 18, 1912, the day she had gotten to New York. She had pushed all the guilt, all the pain, everything, back. And yet here she was… confessing that she too had felt like dying once. That she would have gladly enrolled in a war to get killed.
"I know you fell like hell right now, but it goes away, eventually. In the end you realize that you have to live and you move on. All the pain you experience at the beginning is replaced by memories. Good memories I mean… It's actually a rather nice feeling," she explained as she thought of the one she had lost. She closed her eyes and saw flashes of those three days spent next to the man she had fallen in love with…
"Well, it's not my case. Everyday that goes by I feel worst and worst… I can't take it anymore; I need it to stop. Now."
Rose put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Listen, like I told you, I know the feeling. And that's exactly why I'm not going to tell you something stupid like 'you'll forget her soon'. I know that things like losing someone can't be forgotten. All I'm saying is that you'll learn to live without her."
"Her? How do you know that I've lost a she?"
For a second, she felt like laughing –which was amusing, considering what a depressing thing they were talking about.
"I've lost a he; I know the symptoms."
"Oh… I'm sorry for your loss."
"Likewise," she replied.
They remained in silence for a minute or so, each of them obviously inside their own world. Finally, the man decided that the nurse was trustworthy enough and he decided to tell her the whole story.
"You're right, I did lose a she, six years ago… But it's not just her. It seems that everytime I get close to someone, they died. I've lost my parents, a couple of friends, my… Rose… One thing is to get over one loss, but when you've seen so much of your acquaintances die you start hopping you're next. I don't expect you've ever felt like that."
"True," Rose agreed. "I've been lucky enough to have lost only one person – actually, I've lost my dad, but I was barely a kid when it happened so I don't remember much. And I haven't talked to my mum in years… But what hurts the most –the one I truly miss- is him."
"Well, think how much it hurts to have lost one person and multiply it for a thousand. That will give you an idea of how much it hurts," the man told her.
"This Rose…" the woman suddenly said. "Was she your wife… your fiancée…?"
The man didn't reply at once. He took a minute to put his thoughts in order.
"I think that if I had to put a name to it, I would say we dated. But she wasn't my girlfriend you know what I mean? We didn't really have the time to date," he stopped but Rose didn't interrupt his silence. "There are so many things about her I never asked her… Her favorite color, her favorite meal, her father's name… All I know about her is that she was wonderful and that I love her, though I didn't even got the chance to tell her that. See how pathetic my life has become? Everytime I close my eyes, even if I blink, I see her looking at me, waiting for me to join her. But I can't get closer to her. Everytime I reach out, she fades away…"
The man had tears on his eyes and was wearing an expression that told Rose that he was seeing his love right now. She felt sorry for the man because she understood him. She too saw Jack everywhere she turned.
"If there's one thing I've learned from the man I loved is this: you have to move on. I promised him that I would make it with or without him and I have. I miss him with all of my heart and if I was to die tomorrow I would be happy, because I would be with him. But I'm not going to shoot a bullet in my head, because I know that he would be extremely disappointed at me. Once he made me realize that I would solve nothing by taking the easy way out and I now agree with him."
"Sounds that that man was very wise," the patient said.
"He was the best. And he enjoyed living so much… To this day I can't understand how he died. There's a part of me that… But it's impossible."
The man was going to ask her how the man she had loved had died, but before he could open his mouth another figure approached his bed and looked puzzled at the nurse.
"Rose? What are you doing here? Didn't you have the night off?"
"I did, Helen, but I decided to check on my patients before I left because I've been so busy today that I completely forgot about them."
"Well, I can take it from here. Go to sleep; God knows you need it," Helen told her.
"You're right. See you tomorrow," Rose said.
The man at the bed followed her with his gaze. He saw her getting to the door and looking back at him, as if she wanted to say something, but she changed her mind and opened the door.
Before she could leave the building, a flash of light entered into the room and fell upon her. From the distance, the man caught a glimpse of the woman's curly red hair and her pair of green eyes.
His jaw fell open. "Could it be…?" he murmured.
Although she had assured Rose that she could handle with all the patients, it turned out that Helen paid no attention to Rose's new friend. Normally, he wouldn't have cared, but he desperately needed to talk to someone.
That night he managed to fall asleep thinking that the following morning Rose would come back and he'd be able to ask her all he wanted to know.
But when he was waken up next morning, it wasn't Rose who was standing by his bed, but a brunette girl who looked no more than 15 years old.
"Good morning," the girl said cheerfully.
"Hi," the man replied trying to hide his disappointment.
"Doctor Johnson took a look at your wound while you were sleeping. He thinks that in no time you'll be out of here."
"Great," he lied.
"I'm going to bring you something to eat, you must be starving!"
The girl walked away, leaving the patient alone with his thoughts. Had he really seen what he thought he had seen or had it been his mind playing tricks on him? It wouldn't have been the first time that he imagined that Rose was close to him. But this time it had felt so much real… They had even talked; she had told him about a certain someone she had lost… If it had been a dream, Rose would have revealed herself to him, like she always did.
The little nurse was back five minutes later holding a tray of food.
"There you go," she said as she placed the tray on his lap and helped him to sit down. "You should eat; you almost died yesterday."
The man nodded. He took the fork and put a bite in his mouth, though he didn't feel hungry at all. He felt confused and the only person who could help him was most likely a ghost.
"Call me if you need anything," the girl said. "My name's Hanna."
"Actually… I could use your help right now," the man said giving her one of his most charming smiles –the kind he used whenever he wanted to get something. It worked, because the girl giggled. "Last night I was talking with a nurse and I wanted to continue that because I was having the best time…" He didn't dare to say that he thought that the nurse was his long lost love because it would've make him look stupid.
"I think that last night Helen was the one who stayed, though she's not what you'd call a good companion… She would have most likely talked about your wounds and the kind of surgery she would have performed on you… You wouldn't have had the best time with her… I know I don't."
The man grinned. "No, when Helen came the girl left. I think I've heard that her name was Rose, is it possible?" he tried not to sound too hopeful, even though his heart was racing so fast that it felt as if it was going to escape him.
"Well, it's very possible. We have two nurses called Rose. Rose H. and Rose D. Rose Harrison is tall, fat, brunette… She's nice, but she talks a bit too much for me."
"And the other? Rose D?" the man asked.
"I doubt it was Rose D. who you talked to. She's not too talkative… I have never heard her saying more than 10 words in a row."
"Oh… Then I must be mistaken. Maybe I dreamed of talking to her… Never mind."
All the hope and dreams that had built inside him for the last couple of hours vanished. All his will to live, which had come back like a wave, abandoned him once more. Again he wished that doctors hadn't saved him. He wanted to be with Rose again; he wanted to hold her again… He was tired of fighting.
"Hanna?" the man asked when she was a couple of beds away from him. "That girl Rose… What does the D. stand for?"
"Dawson. Rose Dawson," she replied. Then she restarted her walk.
Jack stood completely paralyzed with his gaze fixed on the spot where Hanna had been standing merely seconds ago, but he didn't see the other soldiers lying on the beds. In fact, all he saw was himself, six years ago, waiting in a line to disembark.
People –mostly women and children-, surrounded him but he might as well have been alone, for he didn't feel them. He was inside his own head, haunted by grief and pain… It was too much for him to handle; too much. All he wanted was to die, right there.
An officer approached him and gave him a sympathetic sort of look.
"May I take your name?" he asked him.
"Jack Dawson," he replied staring at his shoe.
He felt the sound of the pen sliding across the paper as the officer wrote down his name. Jack guessed that he would now move on to the next sobbing woman, but he was surprised to see that the officer had not yet finished with him.
"Excuse my interference, but were you traveling with someone? Because I have a Ro…"
"No," Jack interrupted him, looking up for the first time. "I was all alone."
He had already checked the list a thousand times. He had searched the Carpathia all over; had asked every single crewmember, but he hadn't found her. None of them, actually. His friends, his acquaintances, Rose… all of them had died. The Titanic had killed them all.
Jack –the present-time Jack- opened his eyes, which he didn't remember closing.
He had checked, he repeated himself. He had searched the whole list for someone named Rose. There had been –he now remembered- a Rose Dawson, but he had thought it impossible that she had taken his name. Dawson was a very popular last name so he hadn't for some reason dared to believe that that was the same woman he was trying to find.
"How could I be so stupid!" he asked himself loudly, making some of the other patients turn to look at him.
He sat back down and tried to get on his feet, but his legs felt numb and didn't seem to be enough to carry his weight. Still, he wasn't going to let that stop him from finding Rose; not this time.
With a huge effort, he stood up. Every step he took hurt like hell, but keeping Rose's face in mind he managed to get to the door. He stopped and looked pleased at what had been his bed. He reached out to open, but in that moment Hanna appeared and looked angrily at him.
"What on earth do you think you're doing?" she asked him.
"I have to go. Thanks for taking care of me; I feel much better now. Hardly any pain," he lied.
"Oh no, I don't think so. Come on, let's get you back to bed."
"You don't understand; I need to find Rose. I need to tell her that I lived…"
"Delusions," Hanna commented as she grabbed Jack by the arm and guided him to his bed. "You must have the fever."
"No, I'm not sick. I… I just need to… Rose…" but he could not finish his thought. Hanna gave him some medication and he soon fell asleep.
The last thing he thought before succumbing was that it was very annoying to be treated like a naughty baby.
Yawning, Rose pushed to door open. She hadn't slept at all, thinking of the patient she had left at the hospital. For some reason she still did not understand, she felt connected to that man. Perhaps, she thought, God had put her in his way to help him understand that life was worth living –just like Jack had made her realize six years ago.
Nevertheless, she didn't have time to worry about the man for now. She had to work.
"What a morning!" Lana exclaimed a couple of hours later when Rose, her, and a couple of the other nurses sat outside the building to have a well-deserved break.
"Do you think this will ever end?" one of the youngest asked to no one in particular.
"I hope it does; a have a home to go back to; a family waiting for me…" Helen said and most of the women nodded in agreement.
"Lucky you," Rose muttered.
"Don't be so hard on yourself, Rose. I'm sure that Mr. Right is somewhere out there," Helen told her.
"I know perfectly well where Mr. Right is," Rose thought, but she did not tell them. She couldn't talk about him.
The nurses talked about trivial things for a while, until somebody suggested that they all went back. Everybody agreed.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you!" Hanna suddenly announced. Everybody looked at her. "Do you know that cute guy in bed 20?"
"What about him?" Rose asked, shocked. The cute guy in bed 20 was her patient; the one she had been talking to.
"He's gone completely mad."
"Mad? But that can't be. He seemed perfectly normal when I talked to him yesterday," Rose held.
"You talked to him? Oh… He told me that he had talked to someone, but I didn't believe him. Anyway, he tried to run away; said he needed to find someone, tell her that he was alive… Poor thing. I gave him something to sleep."
"Poor guy," Rose sighed. "Who did he want to see?" she asked curiously.
"Eh… I think he wanted to see you, actually."
"Yeah, he said that he had to find someone named Rose and tell her that he was alive."
"He must've been talking about his girlfriend… Anyways, I should see if I can do something for him… Poor guy, he has no one to turn to."
She hurried back inside the hospital and walked straight to bed number 20. It was much clearer now, so when she got closer enough to the bed she stopped dead and stared at the man who was still asleep.
Years had done nothing to Jack Dawson. He looked exactly like she remembered him. Tall, thin, blond… The only thing wire about him was that he was alive!
"Jack…" she muttered, her eyes fixed on his pale face. "Jack, wake up," she whispered. "Jack…" tears had started to fall from her eyes, but nobody noticed her.
She fell to her knees, completely overwhelmed. That man could not be Jack; he just couldn't. If Jack had been alive when the Carpathia picked them up, she would have known because she had checked; she wouldn't have missed him. Jack had drowned to death. The suction had been too much for them to handle and he had let go of her hand as soon as the Titanic disappeared under the water. She had called his name; she had tried to find him among the crowd but he hadn't been there.
But on the other hand, hadn't Jack told her that he was a survivor? And hadn't she trusted him? She had been completely sure that Jack would survive. As they hung from the back of the ship she had feared for her life, not his.
"No," she whispered. "No, he died," she said trying to push the hopes away. This man wasn't –couldn't be- her Jack.
"Rose? What happened to you?" she felt someone asking her but she did not reply. She felt someone grabbing her by the arms, trying to help her to her feet, but still she would not move. "Get Doctor Johnson!" the same voice ordered.
All the noise woke Jack up, who at first didn't understand what was going on around him. He saw a group of women gathered around something he could not see, but then one of them moved a little and he saw what appeared to be a mass of curly red hair laying on the floor.
"Rose?" he asked. "Rose!"
For the second time that day he ignored the pain that filled him when he sat down and walked towards the crowd.
"What are you doing? Go back to bed!"
Paying no attention to the nurse, Jack knelt beside Rose and put his hands on her shoulders.
"Rose… Rose, it's me," he whispered. She stopped sobbing but did not look up. "Talk to me, Rose," he pleaded.
"No," she muttered shacking her head. "No, it's not you. You're dead; you died! I… I must… I'm imagining things."
"No, Rose, you're not. It's me; I'm alive. Please, Rose, you have to trust me."
She shook her head again and covered her eyes with her hands.
"Still the stubborn girl I met," Jack commented smiling. "Come on, Rose, take my hand."
He moved his hands to her face and took hers. He felt her trembling, but she let him take her hands from her face, though she still had her eyes shut.
"If I open my eyes now and you're not here, I will feel really stupid and I… I will cry and… and everybody here will think I'm an idiot… and…"
"I promise you, Rose, that when you open your eyes I'll be here."
She sighed and opened her eyes. Since they were so full of tears, she didn't at recognized him, but after a few seconds she saw him smiling at her and exclaimed:
She threw herself into his arms and hugged him with all her strength.
"You're here! You really are here! How? I thought… I looked…" she pulled away and looked at him, "Oh my god, you look terrible!" she said.
"Well, thanks Rose; you look great too," he replied smiling.
"No… You almost died yesterday! You should be laying down, not… Come on," she got to her feet and helped him doing the same.
She guided him to his bed and covered him in blankets; then she sat next to him.
The nurses looked amazed at the couple, but instead of asking Rose what was going on, they thought it was better to leave them alone since, it was quite obvious, they had a lot of catching up to do.
"I'm so stupid… I completely lost it," she apologized. "What about you? You're awfully calm. Did you know I was alive?"
"God no. Not till this morning, at least. Even last night, when we talked… I felt something, but I didn't know it was you. When I heard your name was Rose I assumed it was a coincidence; and even when I saw you had red hair, I didn't think it was you. But today I heard that there was a nurse here called Rose Dawson…"
"Oh, so you've heard…" she said looking away ashamed. "In my defense, I needed a new name to hide from my mother and Cal and yours seemed… right."
"I underestimated you, Rose. It never even occurred to me that you would take my name. Thanks, for trusting me."
She smiled at him and laid her head on his chest.
"Jack? I love you too," she whispered.
He smiled at her. "That wasn't the way I had planned to tell you, but what the hell! I love you; I really, really do."
They stood there for what looked like hours. Jack caressed her hair and whispered things in her ear. She felt amazing there and never wanted to leave, but then they heard some noises coming from outside and Rose bit her lip.
"I should go to work now…" she said bitterly.
"I don't want to go…"
"But you have to."
She stood up and fixed her dress.
"I'll be back as soon as I can," she assured him.
"I'll be waiting for you here."
She smiled at him. When she turned, Jack sat on the bed and reached out to take her hand. He pulled her back, making her fall over him.
"Don't I at least get a kiss for being such an understanding person?"
She smiled at him and kissed him with all her might.
"I'll be right back," she repeated.
He kissed her again and then let her go.
"Do you think we'll ever have a normal relationship? Without people or bombs constantly interfering whenever we want to be together?" he asked her as she watched her leave.
"It wouldn't be fun that way, would it?" she replied smiling. He smiled back at her.
"Hurry up. I need a nurse constantly looking after me," he joked.
Rose managed to convince Doctor Johnson to leave Jack at the hospital for a couple of weeks "to make sure he is really recovered", she had said. The truth was that, while Jack was there he was safe and she could see him everyday. As soon as he was discharged, he would have to go back to fighting and there was a chance he would be killed.
"You have to promise me that you will survive Jack," she told him the night before his leaving. "I don't think I could handle loosing you again."
"You won't loose me, Rose. I've been avoiding death for years now and I'm not planning to start loosing now," he assured her. "Do you trust me?"
"Yeah…" she admitted reluctantly. "Well, you'll better get some sleep. Somebody is going to pick you up first thing tomorrow."
"Rose, I'll be fine!" he repeated noticing that she wasn't being completely honest with him.
"I know, but that doesn't stop me from worrying, does it?"
Jack moved away a little so that she had room on his bed. She crawled next to him and buried her face in his shirt.
"I'm sorry! I promised myself I would be strong but I can't. Jack, please, don't die… I know I told you I had managed to let go, but I can't. If you died, I…"
"I've never been so happy in my entire life; I'm not going to let anyone take you away from me again, okay? Now get some sleep. You also need to be rested tomorrow."
Rose fell asleep after a couple of minutes, but Jack didn't. He checked that she was really asleep and crawled out of bed. Somebody had brought him his few belonging, which included only a pocket watch that had belonged to his father and a block of paper. He sat on a chair that had been placed at the foot of the bed and started to draw Rose. When he was done, he folded the paper and put it in his pocket. Then he took another paper and started a different drawing, one of a couple standing on the bow of a certain ship, their arms widely extended and the wind on their faces.
A quarter of an hour later he had finished and looked pleased at it. Then he looked back at Rose, who was still sleeping peacefully on his bed, and smiled. He turned the page and wrote his goodbye to her, since he knew that waking her up the next morning would mean a tearful goodbye and would do him no good.
Dear Rose –he wrote,
I know that when you wake up you'll be very mad at me for leaving without waking you, but you'll have to admit that it's easier this way. I love you, Rose, and I want the best for you. And I can't see you crying, far less when it's my fault.
Two weeks ago, I used to think that my life sucked –remember I told you? -, but that changed the minute I discovered that you were alive. For the second time, you came into my life and made everything look good again. I know you think that I was doing great before I met you, but you're wrong. I was bored of my life; bored of my loneliness, of having no one waiting for me where ever I went… But now that I have you, that has changed. Wait for me because I'll be there. Sooner or later this'll be over and I'll go find you. It will be great; I have it all planned.
Anyway, I should probably take advantage of the bed while I can… I love you, Rose, and I can't wait to see you.
PS. I hope you like the drawing. For me, it was the best part of our trip, wasn't it?
Jack folded the paper and left it on the chair, and then he crawled back into the bed, where he fell instantly asleep.
Jack had been right when predicting that Rose would get mad at him when she woke up and found him gone. However, when she found his drawing and his letter she had to admit –though she didn't tell anyone what she felt- that he had been right: watching him leave again would have been awful. So, she chose to believe him and waited for him.
Two days went by without any kind of news. Then another day came and went and still, no word from Jack. After a week, just when she was starting to lose it, she got a letter from Jack telling her that he was in France. On April 15 he wrote her a very short note, which said only: Still alive, don't panic! Love, Jack. She had smiled when getting it, because she knew that Jack was probably worried for her because that was the anniversary of the Titanic. But that was all she heard from him for months. He occasionally wrote her a few lines, but he didn't say much.
"But no news is better than bad news, right? No news is good news," she usually replied whenever someone approached her, asking her how she was doing. And it was true: she knew that if something happened to Jack she would know. Since he had no family, Rose had become the only person that cared about him and he had told everyone to contact her in case of anything. At least, that was what he had told her on one of his very few letters.
April gave way to May and then came June… Everyday Rose would wake up early and stare through the window for a couple of hours, until it was time she went to work. She would examine each patient's face carefully, thinking that Jack could be one of them, but she never found him. As the days went by, she started to find it harder and harder to focus on her task and her workmates were beginning to get annoyed by her attitude.
"We all have our men fighting out there but you don't see us distracted!" Helen told her one day.
"I know, I know… Sorry," she apologized, not really meaning it. All she cared about was Jack, and Helen wasn't going to make her change her mind.
But not everyone thought like Helen. Rose received a lot of support form the younger nurses, who were still amazed by her love story.
"Still no word from Jack? Don't worry, something probably happened to the mailman," Hanna usually told her.
"Yeah. Yeah, that's probably it. The mailman…"
Finally, on the early days of July, the nurses couldn't take it anymore and decided that it was time Rose took a break.
"Look, honey, we understand you, we really do. But we have to work. People are risking their lives and are counting on us to save them, and frankly, your putting us behind," Lana told her.
"I know, I'm sorry…"
"Nobody is blaming you…"
"I know. But I don't want to go. Please, give me a chance. I promise I won't think of Jack so much."
In the end, the nurses agreed to give Rose another chance.
"But if I get you daydreaming again…" Rose H. warned her.
"I'll be out of here. I know. Thanks."
From that day onwards, she tried to keep Jack of her head (It wouldn't be the first time, would it? she told herself), and it worked pretty well for a week. One nurse was constantly watching her every move, but other than that, everything went back to being as it had been before that evening in March.
But then her life took an unexpected turn yet again. It was an evening in July and Rose was about to finish her swift. She was standing at the foot of a bed, writing something down about the patient so that the night doctor would know what to expect about him. She was close to the door, but she didn't notice the man entering through it.
He stopped at the doorframe and examined the room, as if trying to find someone in particular. But before he noticed Rose, a tinny nurse approached him, a wide smile in her face.
"Mr Dawson, what brings you here again? Another nearly fatal wound?"
Rose dropped the chart where she was writing; Jack smiled.
"Actually, Hanna, I'm not. Have you seen…"
"What are you doing here? I thought you were in France!" Rose asked turning to face him.
"Never mind," Jack added, still addressing Hanna. "Your friends wrote to me and told me you weren't concentrating enough on your job and that it was my fault. Well, I couldn't be responsible for your sacking, so I came back. I spoke to my General and told him I wanted to be retransferred to England and he agreed," he explained.
"They wrote to you? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I did; I told you! I wrote you a thousand letters. Something must have happened to the mailman."
"Told you!" Hanna commented from a corner, where she and a couple of other nurses were trying to listen to their conversation.
"So… You're here… Again…"
"It was hard enough having to live thinking you dead, but now that I know you're not, it's much harder not to see you everyday," he told her holding her hands in his.
"You're so amazing, Jack… Sometimes I don't know what I did to deserve you," she replied smiling.
"Are you on for much longer?" he asked her.
"Eh… Actually, I was just leaving," she turned to Helen, who had just opened her mouth to say something. "Yes, I'm leaving. I've been behaving perfectly well for the past few weeks and this is my reward. I haven't let Jack interfere in my job, so… If you need me, don't try to find me. I'll see you all tomorrow," and, grabbing Jack's hand, she dragged him outside.
"You haven't changed one thing since I first met you," he said.
"Is that a good or a bad thing?"
"For me is great! Cal might find it unacceptable, though."
"That makes it even better!"
They laughed like they hadn't laugh in years. They walked for a while, until Jack came to a sudden halt.
"Listen, Rose, there's something I've been meaning to ask you for a while now, but –I must say-, I've been behaving like a coward –or a child; I prefer a child."
"Jack, what's wrong? I didn't know you were the nervous kind of guy…" she asked, still smiling.
"I'm not, I'm really not. I'm nervous now, but that doesn't mean that I'm a nervous guy…"
"I was just kidding! Seriously, what's up? Should I be worried?"
He smiled at her. "No, you should not," he assured her. "If anyone should be worried, it's me: I can ruin everything!" he added, more to himself than to Rose.
"Okay, okay… Here it goes. Since I first met you, Rose, I knew you were especial. You were hanging from the back of that ship, willing to give up your own life just to teach two horrible people –I know one of them was your mum, but… well, you must excuse me for not liking her- a lesson. And, I must say, you looked damn hot –you still do, by the way-," Rose smiled at him. "You are the most powerful woman that I've ever met; and I fell for you, like I'd never fallen for anyone before. The three days we spent together were great; the best I had had for years. But then we got separated, and I felt as if I was dead. I came here to die, but instead, I found you… God works in mysterious ways, doesn't He?"
"Tell me about it! But I don't get it, why were you so nervous to tell me this?"
He took a deep breath and then added.
"For the past six years I've felt like hell, and I don't want to feel like that again. I love you and I don't want to lose you again, so I guess that what I'm trying to say is this: Rose… Would you marry me?"
She stared at him in awe. Never in a million years could she have predicted this. Jack, asking her to marry her?
"I know you may think it's too soon, but, if you think about it, we've known each other for six years. And besides, we've already make it through a crazy fiancée, a controller mother, a sinking ship, six years apart, and we are about to survive a world war. That's more than most couples, right?"
"Jack, please, stop talking," she begged him.
"Oh… Oh, I see. Yeah, I know what you think…"
She took her hands to his face and forced him to look at her.
"I can't kiss you unless you shut up," she told him.
He gave her a quick smile, but before he knew she was over him, kissing him like she had never kissed him before. After what looked like hours, they both stepped back. After a few seconds of catching her breath, she looked at him in the eyes and said.
"Of course I will marry you."
She smiled at him and so did he.
"Good…" he said, trying to sound carefree, but failing. Rose's smile grew wider seeing him like that. "Then I guess I should give you this," he added pulling something out of his pocket. Rose gasped.
"It belonged to my mother," he explained. "She gave it to me, shortly before she died. She said that I should find the perfect girl and give it to her. And now I finally have."
"Jack, it's… gorgeous!" she whispered.
He knelt in front of her and took her left hand in his.
"I can't wait to make you my wife," he said as he put the ring on her finger.
"Neither can I. I mean… I can't wait to become your wife."
They spent hours and hours walking along the streets of the small town near which Rose's hospital was located. They were completely oblivious to the people around them, or to the sounds of the bombs in the background. All they cared about was the upcoming wedding, which would take place as soon as the war was over.
"So all we have to do now is wait, right?" Rose asked.
"Don't worry, Rose, things will eventually fall into the right place," he assured her. "They always do."
He kissed her on the forehead and together they watched to sunset. Jack felt confident now; he knew that this time was the right one: he and Rose were finally ready for what would surely be a great –long- love story. On the Titanic, they had both have a lot of unfinished business and they hadn't been ready for one another yet. But that had changed. No war could keep them apart for any longer. They would have their happy ending.