A/N - I have decided to post my new story Maybe It's Destiny. It mostly different to what has been written before. It is set in 1911 in Paris, before Titanic, although Titanic will make an appearance later on :) I wanted to write something different and always wondered what would have happened if Jack and Rose would have met during Jack's time in Paris before he boarded Titanic whilst Rose was at finishing school so I thought I would do my take on it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Jack or Rose or Fabrizio or Titanic. Although some characters later in the story are my own creation.
Lastly - please tell me what you think, if there is anything you would change or add as the story goes along, and I hope you enjoy.
Chapter one - The Meeting.
February 7th 1911
The Ecole Nationale d'Administration finishing school, Paris, France.
The Ecole Nationale d'Administration finishing school opened in August 1845, a large and secluded building surrounded by a lake. The walls were very high and there were few windows. It was almost like a prison rather than one of the country's most respected and prestigous finishing schools for young ladies. Year after year young ladies from around the world were sent to the fine school to be taught essential skills and etiquette. Other lessons included German, French, Spanish, Latin, Piano, Ballet and Mathematics. Sixteen year old Rose Dewitt Bukater of Philadelphia had been sent to The Ecole Nationale d'Administrationby her mother Ruth Dewitt Bukater. Rose's father James Bukater had passed away the November before leaving Rose and her mother with various debts from James which had only been uncovered after his death. The only card Ruth had to play was her daughter Rose, who she knew was one of the most beautiful ladies in their social circles with her blood red hair, full red lips, deep green eyes and porcelain skin she was a great catch for any man. Although one man in particular had taken a very early interest in young Rose, his name was Caledon Hockley. His father was Nathan Hockley of Hockley steel, the biggest steel company in Philadelphia. Their match would ensure Ruth and Rose's survival. Rose was a modern girl for her age and didn't believe all what she was been taught at finishing school to be important whereas her mother believed it to be very important. All of Rose's life seemed to have been planned around her and there was nothing she could do to stop it, because she knew when she finished her time at The Ecole Nationale d'Administration she would have to marry Caledon Hockley. He was 29 years old and to Rose he seemed old. He was very tall, dark and handsome and obviously an important man within social standing but to Rose, to be honest, he was boring. Finishing school just felt like a long stretch of time secluded in Paris before she would have to marry Cal, a man she despised let alone love.
The lovely city of Paris was calling to her, but she knew she must never leave the walls of the The Ecole Nationale d'Administration. Staff were strict, and if she was ever caught wondering outside the walls alone, she would most certainly be sent home. At least while she was in Paris she was away from her mother and most importantly away from Cal. The other girls at the school were cultured, elegant and well mannered and seemed to enjoy their time, whereas Rose felt nothing but misery. Her room was large and inside the decor was all dark oak wood, dark red and brown furnishings and just one light, although the room seemed to match Rose's mood, dark and depressing. Each morning she was awoken around 6 to begin with a Latin tutor, she was dressed by maids and told which outfit to wear. Before her crossing to France to go to the school, her mother had ensured she was fitted with an entire new wardrobe of expensive garments, paid for by Cal of course.
February was the second month of Rose's stay at the The Ecole Nationale d'Administration finishing school and already she was miserably bored with the lifestyle. Why would someone pay over thousand dollars tuition to the school just to be taught how to dress, how to speak and hold your head up. Rose thought it was all nonsense, and she longed to see the Paris skyline not just from her small room window. The views were breathtaking but she had only witnessed them from inside the walls. She longed to be free to be the person she wished to be, to embark on a journey by herself, to enjoy her life, to meet a man and fall in love, she wished to dance like no one was watching her unlike her ballet classes when she was kept an eye on at all times and scolded if she put a foot wrong. What kind of life was this? It was like living hell. She could imagine been a convict in prison would have been more of a life for her than school. Would her life be like this for eternity? Was she just on this earth to become Caledon Hockley's wife? She felt she had so much more to give, and if she stayed locked within the walls of the school she would literally go insane. This was no life for her; maybe she would be better off dead.
Death? To be reunited with her father, her amazing father who to her could do no wrong. In life he was everything her mother wasn't, he showed her love and affection just as a father should. As Rose lay in bed, she glanced around her room, her green eyes shining with tears in the darkness. She was afraid, afraid of what life held for her, death seemed far less terrifying than to live in hell. The room was black; the only light was from the moon outside and the billions of stars shining in the night's sky. Trembling Rose pulled herself out of bed straightening out her long white cotton nightgown, she found her way to the window ledge and glanced out of the window at the endless city, a city she longed to explore. Tears spilled rapidly from her eyes, and now it was dawning on her what she had to do. Looking at the stars, she smiled a small smile; she was going to see her father again.
Hysterically, she grabbed a dress from her dresser, any dress she could find. She struggled to changed into the garment, having been used to been dressed by maids all of her life. Her curls hung limp around her face and she glanced at her reflection in the mirror, one final time. The corridors of the school were long and endless, with just one single light illuminated the dark hallways and Rose had no idea how she was going to escape. If any tutors were walking around they would surely take her back to her room and lock her in so she had to be careful. The young ladies were forbidden to be out of their rooms past 9:30pm. Her heart beat within her chest; she could feel her erratic breathing as she found her way down the long narrow corridors. There was only one entrance into the building and if it was locked then there was no way she could escape. As she ran down six flights of stairs she glanced behind her every few minutes to check she wasn't been followed or watched. Tears still rolling down her face, she found her way to the bottom floor and ran as fast as her legs would take her to the front entrance, the large wooden door was looming in front of her and as she reached it she tried the knob to find the door was locked. 'Damn it.' She cursed, feeling anger rising inside of her; she was never going to escape now. Defeated, she sat in the corner of the dusty room not having the heart to return to her room just yet. She felt a chill and shivered, raising her head to see where the chill was coming from, her eyes blurred from her tears but as her vision cleared, she spotted an open window at the other side of the room. Darting for it, she breathed in the cold air from outside before pushing the window open as far as she could and pulling her body through it, she struggled as her dress tangled around her legs and her foot became trapped in the window as it shut on her leg but she managed to free herself before closing the window after her escape. The school building was acres long and a large lake spread around it, Rose did not know her way in or out of the grounds but she would find a way. She set off running as fast as her legs would carry her, tears running from her eyes, her hair whipping about her face in the wind as she ran. After running for what seemed like hours, the slowed her pace down before glancing back to see how far she had ran, the school was almost in the distance and even if she wanted to back, Rose didn't know her way. She stood in a field, surrounded by bushes and large trees; she glanced up at the moon and the dark sky. Walking forward she came to a clearing and found a pile of large stones and rocks, she sat on a small one before letting her head peer over the side. It was a very long drop, to where she did not know maybe onto railway tracks or just a ditch. Intrigued, she clambered up the rocks some more and peered over the edge into utter blackness, she felt her heart beat hard in her chest. Bringing her legs around, she dangled them from the rocks and sat facing the blackness below her. She knew her life was about to end, but she didn't care. What was there for her to live for? She doubted her body would ever be found but she would at least be reunited with her father. Tears fell from her eyes, and she was scared of what would happen if she didn't die and was just injured, would she just be left in agony to die alone? 'I'm coming Pa.' She cried softly, and was just about to push her body from the rocks when she heard a voice.
'What are you doing?' It was soft and full of concern, and obviously a man's voice. Whipping her head around she came face to face with a young man, around her age. What was he doing out here alone this time of night? She thought she was the only person out here. She didn't answer his question; she felt she didn't have to explain herself to this rough looking boy.
'Ma'am, please get back, there's railway lines below there, if you fell you'd be killed instantly.' He edged closer to her slowly and it was then she knew he wouldn't leave her alone.
'Go away, you're distracting me.' She ordered forcefully, her eyes blurry. She could just about make out his facial features in the dim moonlight. She moved her hands on the rocks feeling the hard surface digging into her palms, she could feel the cold stone against her ankles and once again looked into the blackness before her.
'I can't. Come on Miss, let me help you back over here.' He took a few more steps towards her but she moved closer to the edge of the rocks feeling her stomach churn heavily, just one little thrust and she would fall onto the railway lines. 'Please, give me your hand.' Edging closer to her, he slowly extended his hand to her. His face was clearer now she was closer to him; he looked young and obviously American from his accent. He wore grey pants and a white shirt, his hair was dark or maybe blonde she couldn't see from the light, but his eyes shone in the darkness maybe from worry. Rose gazed absentmindedly at his hand held out to her, and thought for a moment. He was offering her a way out, but yet she had come here to end her life so she wouldn't have to go back to the school and back to her endless and pointless life.
'Go away, this doesn't concern you.' She spat, turning her back to him. She had come here to end her life and she would do it whether or not some gutter rat watched.
'Why are you doing this?' he asked and she turned her head to him in utter disbelief at his attempt to strike a normal conversation with her. He went into his pant pocket and pulled out a tin containing cigarette, he took one out and put it between his lips before offering Rose one, as if they were friends. She thought for a moment, before shaking her head, what use would a cigarette be to her? Shrugging, he lit his cigarette and took silent puffs from it. 'You got a name?' he asked, trying to get any words from her that he could.
'Rose.' She sighed. 'Rose Dewitt Bukater.' She knew she wouldn't get any peace from him.
He nodded, puffing his cigarette. 'You'll have to write that one down, it's kind of long.' He smiled and to her own surprise she smiled back. She was used to people not understanding her long moniker. 'I'm Jack Dawson. I'd shake your hand but, you know, kind of hard to at the moment.' Rose said nothing but simply stare into the blackness down in front of her.
'So you're American. What are you doing in Paris?' he asked, leaning himself against the rocks.
'I'm at The Ecole Nationale d'Administration.'
'What the hell's that?' he laughed, not understanding her one bit.
'The finishing school over there.' She pointed in the direction of where she came from, the building looming in the background. She knew she could never go back there.
'That's a school? I thought it was some sort of prison, or mental asylum.' Jack's eyes looked over the building in the distance.
'It might as well be. It feels like I'm a convict not a student.' She spoke quietly, almost to herself. Her eyes wondered off past Jack and he was piecing together ideas of why she was here, about to jump.
'I get the feeling you don't like it here.' He smoked the rest of his cigarette before stubbing it out and thrusting his hands into his pockets.
'I love Paris, I wish I could see more of it but I've been here for over a month and until tonight I hadn't left the building.'
Nodding Jack was beginning to understand her reasons for been out here. 'But could you not just get out of there, live a life of your own.'
Rose laughed slightly. 'I have no money, no clothing, no friends and nowhere to go. Paris is a strange city for me.'
'I've lived here for a couple of months, I know my way around. You could bunk in with me and Fabrizio. Although, I expect it's not what you're used to.' He smiled weakly, guessing she was used to been waited on hand and foot and dripping in diamonds.
'I assure you Mr Dawson, my life right now is not how I want to live. That school is not an education but a slow death for me.'
'So you thought you would speed the process up?' he indicated to her sitting on the rocks. Suddenly, she felt awkward and stupid. Did she really have to end her life?
'Look, Rose, I know I don't know anything about you or your life, but there is really no need to end it. Please, please, give me your hand and I'll pull you back in. I don't want to see a lovely young girl throw herself onto the railway lines.'
Turning her head to face him, he seemed serious, his words so sincere and Rose knew there and then that she could trust him. Taking one last look into the blackness, it now seemed terrifying knowing she was going to throw herself down there. She slowly brought her legs around, untangling her dress from around them and Jack stood on a small rock in an attempt to help Rose down. He held both his arms out to her and slowly she lowered herself into them before tripping slightly and fell forward knocking them both to the ground.
'Are you alright?' Jack asked, pulling himself up and then Rose. Upon standing she dusted the dirt from her dress.
'Yes. I'm so sorry. Did I hurt you?' She asked, she had fallen on top of him and now felt a little more than awkward for causing him so much bother.
'No, don't worry I've had worse falls than that.' He shoved his hands in his pockets, smiling. Rose came face to face with Jack, he was tall, that was something she hadn't noticed around 6ft 2.
'Thank you Mr Dawson.'
'It's Jack. My father was Mr Dawson.' He smiled. 'And don't thank me.'
Silence fell between them for a few moments, as Jack examined this woman before him. He wondered what could really have happened to this girl to want to make her kill herself so bad. She was obviously upper class and beautiful if he dare admit it.
'So where about are you from Jack?'
'Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. But my folks died when I was 15 so I just left and haven't stopped wondering since. I went all over the States and then to Europe, like on tramp steamers and such. I met Fabrizio in Italy, he's my friend, and we came here together and got a small place. It's not much but its home, how about you Rose?'
'Philadelphia.' She simply said. Her mind was obviously elsewhere. She gazed upwards towards the stars and instantly became lost. There was a huge wide world out there and she was never going to be able to see it.
'Why were you going to jump from the rocks?' He asked knowing it was none of his business but this girl seemingly had everything.
'Because of my world and all of the people in it. When finishing school is through I will have to marry Caledon Hockley, the vilest of men. My father died just three months ago leaving my mother with some debts and the only way we can repay them is for Cal and I to marry, he is one of the most wealthiest men in the USA.' Rose felt tears prick at her eyes, knowing that now she had decided to live that is what her future would be.
'But Rose, you have an option right? Do you love this man?'
Frowning, Rose gazed right in Jack's eyes. 'Love? Jack the only man I have ever loved is my father and that's the way it will remain forever. Girls like me don't fall in love, we marry for business.'
'How could you live a life without falling in love?' Jack could not believe it. He could understand just how bad things were and he had no idea of the way society girls lived their lives.
'I will never fall in love Jack. I wouldn't know how to, I have never felt love from my mother, only my father and as he is dead I will never feel love again. It is my destiny to marry Caledon Hockley, not to fall in love.'
Jack was speechless, but somehow he felt he had to help her escape the chains of upper class. 'No Rose, you're not one of them. You need to break free before it's too late. Come with me tonight we'll go to my place, I can get you a job.'
Laughing Rose knew what her answer would have to be. How could she possibly just run away with this man she barely knew, even though she felt as though she could trust him with anything. 'I cannot do that. I have no money or clothing and I must return to school.'
Sighing dejectedly, Jack pressed his lips together not taking his eyes away from Rose. Suddenly, he rummaged in his pant pocket for something for a moment until he found it. 'If you need anything at all, this...' he scrawled on a piece of scrap paper with charcoal 'is my address. If you need a friend.' He handed her the paper and she read the writing and smiled.
'Thank you.' She folded the paper and held in within her hand tightly. 'I must go, if they know I'm out they will not allow me breakfast.'
Nodding, Jack felt as though he didn't want her to leave even though he knew he must. After tonight, he doubted he would see her again in his life. 'Do you want me to walk you back?' he offered not wanting her to go alone.
'No, no. If they see you they'd hurt you, but thank you Jack for everything.' With that she began to walk away, and for a few minutes he just watched her figure walk into the distance until all he could see was blackness. He began to walk in the other direction, with Rose on his mind, he hoped she turned out to be all right.