Edited: Tuesday 10th December 2013. Spelling amended.
The Heart Does Go On
Applying another layer of mascara, Rose stared at herself in the mirror...it reflected a woman in her late thirties, her long, red hair twisted in tight ringlets and spilling from the black hat that sat upon her head. Her black outfit reflected her thoughts and feelings that day.
Rose Calvert was now a thirty-seven-year-old woman, still in the high society life she hated. Rose had never loved again after the night she had lost everything...even the man she loved. Rose had two children-Jack was twenty and Megan was seventeen.
Jack was the son of Jack Dawson, the man whom Rose had loved and lost. Jack had never known about his father, as his mother hated the subject. Never knowing the truth, Jack had found a father figure in Rose's husband, Charles Calvert.
Megan was the daughter of Rose and Charles. Ever since she was a little girl she had known that she wasn't loved-never by her mother. Rose was cruel, unkind, and never batted an eye. Megan loved her brother, Jack, dearly. He'd been the only person keeping her sane and keeping her from taking her own life, as she had planned to many times. Megan loved her father dearly, but he cared only for the boy, who wasn't even his.
For the past eighteen years, Rose had lived a life of luxury, but cried herself to sleep each night, praying to be free, for her life to end.
Today was the day she would start anew one last time. Her husband's funeral. Charles had suffered a heart attack which had ended his life.
Rose was hurt, but she knew she had to hide it away, be the cruel, heartless person she had been since she'd met Charles. Rose knew that, day by day, she had turned into her mother, pushing away her daughter and controlling people's lives. She had vowed she'd never turn into that person, but she had.
Four Months Later
The Calverts had moved to West Virginia when Charles died. Megan was now starting out as an actress and was planning to move to New York that summer. Jack, just like his father, was working as an artist. Rose smiled gently as she flipped through her son's portfolio and saw some new sketches he'd drawn of the landscape. They were beautiful.
"Tea, ma'am?" Minnie, Rose's maid, spoke.
"Yes," Rose replied, puffing gently on a cigarette.
"Mother, may I speak with you? There's something you should know."
Rose looked at her daughter. She really was trying, but she still felt nothing. "Of course," Rose said quickly.
"James and I are heading to New York this weekend. He's found a drama studio there for me. We'll stay with his parents for a while." Megan smiled. She would finally be free from the bubble she'd been in all of her life.
"Why, that's wonderful news, Meg...I hope you'll be happy there."
Megan smiled. For the first time, her mother was...well, not nice, but...civil with her.
"Do you have to go this weekend?" Jack asked his sister. "The house will be lonely without you."
Megan smiled. Someone cared. "Yes. I'll miss you, but I have to do this. I want to act. I want to be famous."
Jack smiled weakly. "You want me to take you to the station?"
"Oh, no. James will be with me. We'll be fine...and I'll visit every summer."
"Well, make sure you do."
Late Friday night, Megan was due to travel to New York.
Looking in the mirror, Megan tied a ribbon around the end of her braid. This time tomorrow, she'd be free from society. Megan looked up as she saw the mirror reflect another being. The corner of her bedroom was dark, and the only light in the room was a small lamp. The shadow stepped from the darkness and into Megan's vision. She saw her mother.
"Are you all ready for tomorrow?" her mother questioned, indicating the suitcase beside her dressing table.
"Oh, yes. It's going to be quite a journey." Megan laughed. Tears pricked her eyes as her mother sat on her bed. Megan looked back in the mirror and saw herself and Rose. She had never really noticed how alike they were. "Do you know anything about acting, Mother? Do you know what it's like?"
Rose smiled at her daughter, tears in her eyes, as well. "I was an actress...once," Rose replied. Shocked, but wanting to know more, Megan sat beside her mother on the bed.
"Really? Why didn't you ever say anything?"
"It was the best, Meg...being free to do what you like. One of the best times of my life, but when I married your father, it all stopped. He didn't like me sharing my body with the rest of the world...so after five pictures, I gave it all up."
Rose nodded. "Ever since I was a little girl, I swore to myself I'd never end up like your grandmother-cruel, heartless, selfish...my father was the only person I loved in the world. Then, when he died...I was forced into marriage, but...I knew I'd find someone to set me free one day...and there was a man named Jack...just like you have James."
"Mom...do you love Jack more than you love me?"
A single, sparkling tear trickled down Rose's porcelain cheek. She stood up, wandering over to the window. The streetlights had just come on. It was quite a hot, sticky night.
"Oh, no...never, Meg."
"Then why...why do you never tell me you love me? Why have I always felt unloved? Why me and not Jack?"
Quickly, Rose grabbed her daughter's hand and kissed it tenderly. "My darling Meggie…"
Megan couldn't fight back the tears any longer. She began to cry silently. She had never seen her mother so emotional, not even at her father's funeral. "Mom…"
"Megan...when...when I was just seventeen, I fell pregnant with Jack. I had nothing-just a baby, no husband, no money-just a grotty little bed. I couldn't even afford a crib for Jack. He slept in a drawer...full of blankets. He was falling ill faster every day. I knew I had to get money somehow. So after I swore I'd never go back, I went home to Philadelphia...Margaret Brown was there…"
Megan gasped. Margaret Brown...the Unsinkable Molly Brown? "You mean...the Unsinkable Molly Brown?"
Rose nodded silently. "I went back to being a society girl, back with my mother, back where I hated being the most. When I was nineteen and Jack was two, I met Robert Calvert. He owned a local theatre and knew of my dreams of becoming an actress. So, that was where it all began...I was a nineteen-year-old single mother when I starred in Romeo and Juliet. I played Juliet. In 1914, I made a moving picture film and I met your father. He was Robert's older brother...he was good-looking, charming, and rich. Nothing like Jack Dawson, the only man I've ever loved."
"Mom...I had no idea…"
"He was just twenty when he died. He was an artist...with the most beautiful blue eyes and floppy blonde hair. He had boyish looks...so heavenly. I was hanging from the back of a ship when we met."
Megan's jaw dropped. The only word she managed to speak was Titanic.
It was piecing together now, bit by bit.
"I was ready to jump, but he stopped me, and yes, I fell in love with him. He would have still been with me today if that ship hadn't had hit an iceberg...but maybe he would have survived if he had let me die...I would have died for him, but he made me promise to go on and have lots of babies...but I only ever wanted his, and I got one...a little boy named Jack Dawson, just like his father. That part of him no one could take away from me. I could keep him. He was mine and Jack's."
"So, you don't love me…because I'm Charles' daughter? Not Jack's?"
Rose shook her head immediately. "No...no, I do love you, Meg...you're still my little princess, even though you're all grown up. You're seventeen years old and a picture of me at that age...James is very lucky to have you, and so am I. I do love you, Meg. I always have, even though I never showed it. Women of society don't have hearts. We're just meant to be better than anyone else, but we're not. We're human. We love, we care, we get hurt, and we have feelings...but living in society makes you hollow, and I don't want that to happen to you, Meg...so I want you to go to New York. I want you to be an actress, I want you and James to get married and have lots of babies...I want you to be happy and free."
"I love you, Mom." Megan threw herself into her mother's arms as, for the first time, she was cradled like a baby. Rose rocked her daughter gently for what seemed like hours until her emotion subsided. Pulling away, Rose gently wiped the tears from Megan's eyes and stroked her finger gently down her cheek.
Both Rose and Megan knew it would never be the same. Megan now knew that her mother loved her and forgave her for not showing her love. Megan was to go on and make each day count. She was to become an actress, marry James, and be happy and free, just like her mother told her to.
The Next Day
James loaded the three suitcases into the trunk of his car. It would be a long day. Megan hugged her brother tightly as he stroked her hair. He kissed her cheek gently.
"I'm going to miss you, Meggie," Jack said, his voice cracking with emotion.
"Yes. I'll miss you, too. I love you."
Megan glanced around to try to see her mother, but she was nowhere to be seen. Megan sighed, opening the car door.
"Meggie!" a voice shouted from the front door of their house. Megan smiled, running to her mother. "You didn't think I wasn't going to say good-bye, did you?"
Megan shook her head. "No. Not now."
"Meg, in the summer...I'm going to pack up here and Jack and I will move to New York to be with you and James...is that all right?"
Megan hugged her mother tighter. "It's perfect."
James squeezed the horn. It beeped loudly. "We'll miss the train, Meg!" he shouted.
Pulling away from her mother, Megan kissed her cheek lovingly, taking in every line on her face-enough to remember for another two months.
Megan ran down the steps of the porch and got in the car. She waved as the car sped away.
Rose pulled Jack closer to her. For two months, it would just be the two of them.
Megan went on to become a successful actress, and in 1951, she won an Oscar for her role as Lilly in Titanic: A Night To Remember. Megan married James, and they had six children. Megan acted until she was in her late eighties. She died peacefully in her sleep at the old age of one hundred in 2015.
Rose did move to New York that summer of 1932, and acted alongside her daughter for the final time in Motherhood, a tale about a mother and daughter's close relationship. Rose was finally reunited with her Jack in 1987 at the age of ninety-two.
Jack became an artist for a film company, and in 1937 he married a woman named Maria. They had two children, but Maria suffered many miscarriages, leaving them both distraught. Maria died in childbirth with her second child, though the child survived. Heartbroken, Jack moved in with his mother. Together, they raised the children.
Jack Dawson looked upon Rose, Jack, and Megan proudly. He smiled as he looked at his son, his lover, and her daughter. He was happy that Rose had kept her promise and moved on. Seventy-five years after the Titanic sank, Jack was finally reunited with his Rose. Then his son. Then Megan.
Today, Rose, Jack, Jack, Jr., and Megan may have passed on to the next world, but their legend lives on, whether it's through their films or just through imagination.