Alright, so, this is chapter one to my Titanic fic. I hope everyone enjoys and please be sure to leave a response, I love reading what you have to write whether it be constructive criticism or some old fashioned positive feedback. This was just kind of a rough introduction to the characters and a bit of an opening plotwise. Keep an open mind, it'll get better from here, I assure you. The first chapter is always the roughest sometimes.
Chapter One: The Welcoming Committee
March 03, 2008
Newly appointed members of the reassembled White Star Line gathered about in the dining halls floor, saluting to their founder and manager, a young man only seeming to be in his late twenties. His dark brown hair hung loosely on his shoulders, he seemed in dire need of a trim, seeing as how he had to keep on brushing his bangs out of his face throughout the evening while he introduced himself to his men. They all looked skeptical of what they were about to face in the next month or so. Some feared the same history all over again, but they all took the chance for the excellent pay, and their hopes of high tipping.
Further along the room, cigars and cigarettes lingered in the air, ashtrays adorning tables covered in black and white cloth. It was the last dinner before the Titanic would set sail on her maiden voyage to America and then back. The White Star Line, and Harland & Wolff decided a celebratory dinner had been in order to congratulate everyone on the Titanic Project's success. Workers from England, the US and several other countries that had taken part of the rebuild and reconstruction had been donned in evening wear. Gowns spun along the dining hall floor as the strings of the violins from the orchestra on stage played melodies the guests could swallow.
At a corner table, a young woman nursed at her wine glass. The twenty five year old watched others spin and twirl as they kept with the time alongside their partners. It made her smile lightly, tapping her foot with the beat and taking another sip of her wine. She wasn't too fond of the brand. A few had approached her, inquiring for a dance. Politely, she turned each of them down, simply enjoying the sights before her.
"Well, Miss. Andrews, why am I not surprised to see you here?"
The young woman picked her head up from studying the dark red she had been drinking to be greeted by a friendly smile from a young blond. "Captain Jenkins, it's a pleasure as always to see you." Her coral painted lips smiled with her caramel eyes. "Excited about the voyage next month?"
"Please, call me Edwin," he said, then continued, "your baby will be setting sail at long last. I should be asking you the same question." Her heart swelled with pride at the comment. Her great-grandfather's work would not go to waste.
"I don't think I could describe how I'm exactly feeling right now," she admitted, rubbing the smooth glass with her index finger in thought. "Somewhat magical, don't you think? Four years ago who would have known we would have made it here today?"
Edwin smiled. "Miss. Andrews-"
"Amanda," she interrupted, he merely smiled.
"Amanda," he corrected himself. "If I may." He was trying hard to find the right words, he was giving it his all to be polite, she could tell. "May I have this next dance?" He was donned in a black tuxedo with a white shirt underneath, the classic look. His blonde hair seemed to have been slicked back just for the occasion, she assumed he had been aiming for the suave, debonair look. The man's charm was beginning to make her believe he was. Then again, who was she to deny the man who was going to guide them from England to America, hopefully without a hitch?
She walked around the table and to inside, her high heels clacked against the varnished wooden panels, reminding her of the fresh coat of varnish that had been applied just earlier that morning. No, she had to stop. Tonight was the night to enjoy herself. Not to think about work. Even if all she had done these past four years was eat, sleep, and breathe Titanic. Tonight, she would dance with Edwin, and tonight she would enjoy herself. She herself had been dressed in a sleeveless dark green gown with a black bodice, which fanned out at the end in layers, much like the tail and fins of a mermaid.
Edwin took her hand and guided her along the dance floor. A Disc Jockey had been hired for the event, but the members of the gala event seemed to be enjoying the orchestra so much more. For some reason, classically sinful melodies just seemed to fit the mood compared to jumbled words against a beat box. Amanda was beginning to feel sorry for the man, he seemed to be so impatient. A waltz had begun to strum up, she could feel the chello moving right through her. She shivered.
He slid one hand behind her, around her waist to pull her close while the other took her hand once more, which seemed to fit so perfectly in his own. He counted steps inside of his head, she could read the expressions upon his face when he recounted to make sure he hadn't missed one.
"Why Mr. Jenkins, I didn't know you didn't know how to dance," Amanda gave a bit of a knowing smile. Edwin didn't. He was rather embarrassed and didn't want to admit such a fault. But, as Captain, he felt lessons were more than necessary, and he was glad they were coming into use.
"You should feel honored to be my first test subject, Miss. Andrews."
Again, she smiled. "Oh, but I do. I'll look forward to another dance on the grand ballroom, Captain. Once you've danced with a few other ladies, I'm sure you'll be a real natural."
With a wine glass in hand, a young man stood amongst the crowds. He had eventually made his way out of speaking with the wait staff and sailors. The young man with the shaggy black hair from earlier took another long sip from the glass, emerald eyes gazing upon the mermaid and her captain with longing and earnest. He closed them, then opened them again. Mascara didn't suit her, neither did the eyeliner…or eyeshadow for that matter. Makeup did not do her face any justice. But who had she been there to impress?
Giving his glass to the stranger beside him, the young six foot four male walked amongst other dancers, making sure to mind his manners before tapping his dear captain upon his shoulder. "Pardon me, Captain Jenkins, may I cut in?"
Edwin blinked once, but softly before turning around and reading who this person was before he nodded. "Of course, so long as Miss. Andrews as no opposition?"
"Oh, none at all," Amanda responded before one male shifted out of the way to give room to the other. She stared at this newcomer before letting herself find herself in a state of undeniable, questionable contentment. Her eyes followed as Edwin made his way to another young woman bathed in yellow and white. Now she couldn't feel as guilty.
Glancing up, she took in the other while he assumed the position. One hand upon her back, the other taking her hand and away they went, slowly spinning across the floor, joining time with the others.
"Well, well, Mr. Ismay. I'm rather surprised to see you."
"Greg," he corrected her. Having been called by his last name irritated him a bit, always had, ever since he was young. Then again, wouldn't you? With your great-grandfather's history, you'd be embarrassed, too. He slowly turned her around in a light twirl, bringing her back to him. "You've known me for five years," he said to her. "And you still can't get my damn name right." "Maybe I do it just to get a rise out of you, Mr. Ismay."
"Then perhaps you are a vixen like they say, my dear Mandy."
"A suggestion would be then to not listen to everything you hear." It was then Greg smiled.
"You know, when I first came onto this project they told me you were quite stunning, a real looker."
"Now you're just flattering me," she replied.
"Even with your hair disheveled and in overalls with the button missing on the left side, I still to this day say they were right." It was then she shut her mouth. Eerie how he remembered what she wore, how she wore it, and how her hair looked. It was either she stood out against the others, or he really just focused solely on her.
Now she was beginning to remember those days out on the dock, hovering against her blueprints that modeled her great-grandfather's just so, watching her progress from mere planks of steel and wood to the marvelous structure she had grown up to become. Memories of strong arms lacing around her waist, securing her just so against his body flooded her mind. The body warmth was none to be forgotten anytime soon. She was twenty-one then.
Now she was twenty-five and still feeling flooded, mixed emotions all over again. For four years they had been hibernating within her…but she had to remember to be professional. Professionalism is what she had strived for. And now Amanda was beginning to pay the price for it slowly. She hated being teased…and by her own heart and body regardless. She was like a prisoner to her emotions, like being locked up in chains against her will.
And then he did the unthinkable, he dipped her, leaning his body in close while he held her so securely to him, feeling her body fall beneath him. She was beginning to feel claustrophobic. Too close, this was far too close.
In the corner of his eye, Greg caught the glint of a gem upon her ring finger, her eyes followed his own, the expression on his face had been practically demanding an explanation, and that's when she said it, "There's something you should know." 'Before this gets too far,' she thought, because not even she was sure whether or not she couldn't hold herself back any longer.
Slowly he brought her back up, staring at her with unclear emotion. His confusion, however, was quite apparent. "Mandy…what is it?" He asked. In the background, the music then came to an end and the two were still in mid dip "Tell me," he whispered into her ear. She closed her eyes, letting him lay such sweet words on her before she opened them once more.
"I…Greg…" She just couldn't speak. He brought her up so she was standing on her own two feet, though helped her to her seat. "I have to go," she said, and like Cinderella upon the stroke of midnight, she hurried out of the ballroom before she turned back into a rag doll with her pumpkin.
With his hands in his pockets, he watched her, slowly shaking his head, running his fingers then through his long locks. Edwin stood beside the other.
"I do hope she's alright. Perhaps we should go after her?"
"Let her go," Greg replied. "It'll do us no good to press on it." Although he wondered what had possessed her to flee the way she did. What was going through her mind? He had to know.