A/N: Alright, here is my redone, re-executed version of Unsinkable. You'll find not much has changed, except the ending and a few sentences here and there. Overall, I'm far more pleased with this version than the last.
"Alice, darling, would you mind coming to assist me with something?"
Esme's voice had always been quiet and elegant, as a woman's voice should be. Even so, Alice had trained herself to hear it, even from her bedroom all the way down the corridor.
"Coming, ma'am!" Alice called back, a tad louder than would have been considered acceptable in anyone else's household. She shut her leather-bound book and, after settling it down on a chair, hurried over to where Esme was waiting.
"Love, you've been here since you were seven years old. How many times must I ask you to refrain from referring to me as 'ma'am?'" said Esme just as Alice entered her room.
Alice smiled. "Just once more, if you will, ma'am."
"I consider you a daughter, Alice, part of the family. I only wish you'd get used to that."
Bella and Alice's parents had died when they were young in a tragic house fire. Their family was poor, and the girls were left with nothing. The Cullens were a wealthy family, and extremely kind and selfless. They took in the two girls without a second thought, thereby turning their family of three into five.
Bella referred to Esme by her name, but Alice was never comfortable with such informality. Though both the girls had come to feel accepted in the family, they both thought they were better fit as servants, like their parents had been, to the family than anything else. Bella hid her discomfort and low esteem well. Alice, however, had some difficulties with doing so.
"Now, I can't seem to find my pearls," Esme fretted. "Do you have any idea where I put them?"
"I believe I last saw them in the top drawer of the bureau," Alice said. "Have you tried looking there?"
Esme hurried over to the dresser, pulled open the top drawer, and, disregarding neatness, pulled out gowns and gowns and more gowns until she found what she was looking for.
"Oh, thank goodness!" she said, putting her hand to her heart. "I thought I'd misplaced them! How awful that would be; I couldn't bear to make the voyage without them!"
The voyage. Alice's heart thundered in her chest. She'd been counting down the days. In just over twenty-four hours, she, her sister, and the Cullens would be boarding the Titanic. Then, in just two weeks after that, they'd dock in America, and start a whole new life in New York City, where Carlisle had been offered a job at a hospital that had agreed to pay him twice as much as he was already making. The majority of their luggage had been sent ahead already, and the few things they left behind would be sent after they left.
Alice knew going to live in America would bring many changes, and introduce many duties for her as a woman. One of them, which Esme would not soon let her forget, was that of finding a husband.
"You're the eldest, Alice," she would say. "Nineteen. You're nearing your twentieth birthday and you've yet to take a husband! Even Bella and Edward, who are but seventeen, have found love in each other. Men are looking for marriage with young, refined women, love, and the day your status of eligibility drops may be closer than you think!"
Eligibility. Alice sighed internally. Esme was by no means particularly traditional, but many of her customs remained a tad old-fashioned for Alice's taste.
Marriage wasn't a task that particularly interested her. To do so, she'd have to go out, meet a good man, and fall in love. How terribly boring.
Alice's mind snapped back to reality like a slingshot, pulling her out of her thoughts.
"Oh, Alice, I wasn't planning on telling anyone besides Carlisle yet," Esme continued, the fact that she almost lost Alice again slipping her notice. "But I can't help myself. We can make the surprise for Bella and Edward alone."
"What surprise, ma'am?" Alice asked, almost feeling her ears twitch in anticipation of hearing the news.
"Sit," Esme said, gesturing to the place beside her on her bed. Alice sat down. She noticed Esme's gold-flecked brown eyes were growing wet with tears, though the most genuine smile painted her face.
"I'm pregnant," she said softly. "After all these years. I'm going to have another baby in five month's time."
Alice flung her arms around Esme's neck in a manner that should have been considered anything but proper in their high end of society, but Esme returned her hug with matched enthusiasm.
"I had Edward when I was nearing seventeen," Esme whispered. "And I've wanted another ever since."
"Will taking a trip overseas treat your health well?" Alice asked, beside herself with concern. "What if you get sick, ma'am? We must think of the child!"
"Oh, Alice, I'll be fine," Esme assured her, patting her hand. She stood up and started pacing across the length of her room. "To be honest, I'm more concerned if the ship will be fine. I've heard one too many stories about sinking ships, you know."
"This isn't just any ship," Alice pointed out, a smile playing at her lips. "This is the Titanic! Haven't you heard, ma'am? The Ship of Dreams is unsinkable!"
"Isabella, stop fidgeting!" Esme scolded, leaning forward to pull one of Bella's hands away from the other before continuing to fidget herself. She was testier when she was nervous, Alice observed. Less patient, often reprimanded others for things she did herself. "We must abandon such habits. We'll be dancing and dining among the finest men and women England has to offer. We mustn't give them a reason to think lowly of us."
Bella and Alice exchanged knowing glances from their seats in the carriage. Smiling, Bella folded her hands elegantly on her lap. Edward's hand tightened around her waist. Alice's eyes fell to her book again, though she could by no means read it. Her hands shook with the force of her heartbeat, making the words illegible through the movement.
That was it. In no more than a few minutes, they would all step down from the carriage and come face to face with the unsinkable ship; the Titanic would be spread out in front of them, promising that all their wildest dreams of starting a new life in a new place would come true.
There was a honk as the carriage came to a stop. Alice could hear the sounds of people calling out to their loved ones, shouting orders, laughing, and hurrying to board. They had no more than ten minutes before the ship left its Southampton dock.
A coachmen opened her door and offered his hand to her. Alice smiled, but helped herself out of the carriage instead, taking a moment to steady herself on the rough ground. She looked no different from the other wealthy people around her; her hat was the object of hours of hard handwork, her dress of the finest materials and highest elegance.
But she felt strangely other. She'd been born into the lowest social class, and by chance been thrust into a world higher than what she'd ever known. She was lucky not to have grown up rotting away in an orphanage with her sister. Though she'd been brought up by the Cullens, she didn't feel she belonged alongside them; not as an equal, anyway. The servant-class cabins were where she should be heading now, just as her parents would have been forced to do if they'd lived to board the Titanic.
"Garrett, I'm sure you know where to take our bags," Carlisle said as he closed the door of the carriage. "Give our best to Kate. We'll send something by post when we dock in New York."
"Good luck, Mr. Cullen." Garrett was one of the menservants of the Cullen household, and the one who'd secretly taught Alice how to play several card games. His wife, Kate, was a wonderful lady; full of adventure and life. "I hope you and your family find everything you're looking for. Rest assured, though Kate and I have found work elsewhere, we'll never forget your kindness."
The two shook hands. "Until we meet again, my friend."
And with a tip of his hat and a large grin, Garrett disappeared behind multiple bags and suitcases as he turned his back to take them where they belonged.
Carlisle took Esme's arm, the look in his eyes as he gazed down at her mirroring Edward's as he lovingly stared into Bella's eyes. Alice hung back, feeling awkward and purposeless.
"Come along now," Esme's smooth voice said. Alice knew the kind of thundering heartbeat that stammered behind her cool words. It near matched hers. "The ship will be leaving any minute."
They started walking, and it was nothing less than a surreal experience. All the people… Alice wondered how many there were in total. At least two thousand, she thought. Maybe more.
Not watching where she was going, Alice bumped into a girl who was, though much taller, certainly not much older than herself.
"Excuse me," Alice said instinctively, looking up.
"Quite alright," the girl said. She was beautiful, more so than anyone Alice had ever seen. She felt plain next to her, like she should hide her face in the presence of such beauty. "Nothing like meeting a new friend. Rosalie Lillian Hale. Pleased to meet you."
"Charmed," Alice said, growing more comfortable. "Mary Alice Brandon, Miss Rosalie. But I'd much rather you called me Alice."
"Only if you call me Rose." The blonde smirked. "Rosalie is far too formal for my taste. Are you a first class passenger?"
"Why, yes, I am."
"Then we'll be seeing more of each other. I'm sure my brother would be happy to meet you. Am I correct in assuming you aren't traveling alone?"
"Alone? Of course not," Alice answered. "I'm with my family."
"Well, I'd be delighted to meet them, as well," Rosalie said, pulling out a fan and opening it with a quick flick of her wrist. "I believe we'd both best be off now. You must go find your family, and I believe my brother's wandered off again. Here's hoping we meet again, Alice. Look for me at dinner." She winked. "I'll be the best looking lady there."
And with that she was off. Alice noticed her maroon red dress was cut above the knee, and her shoes had heels at least six inches high! The hat placed atop her abundant gold curls, colored the same red as her dress, was tilted slightly, with plumes adorning it. She seemed to have cut the fingers off her black gloves. She raised a cigarette to her lips, and Alice noticed the gem of the topaz ring she was sporting was at least the size of her thumb. New money, Esme would have called her. Very scandalous.
Rosalie intrigued Alice, and she couldn't help but wonder if her brother was just as newfangled.
"Alice, darling!" Alice recognized Esme's voice through the clamor. "Hurry, love!"
Alice picked up her skirt and hurried along. Her hand reached out and touched the railing of the ramp that led up to the ship.
She jumped back from the rail as though it had burned her, overwhelmed with a sense of nausea and fear. Alice tried her hardest to shake it away. It's just a boat, silly, she thought to herself. Nothing to be scared of.
"Alice!" Bella called. "Hurry! You have to see this!"
Alice took the last few steps onto the boat, and automatically felt as though something were wrong. But, looking into the excited face of Bella, she shook off the feeling. Of course nothing was wrong. Everything was so entirely right.
She joined her sister at the edge of the ship, waving ecstatically to no one in particular.
But even with the largest smile on her face and the most genuine happiness bubbling up within her, Alice couldn't help but shake the feeling that something was terribly and outrageously wrong.
A/N: So, as you see, not much has changed. There's a bit more on Rosalie's description and a different ending. Hope you guys liked it as much as the first time (:
Ten reviews equals an update. I'd love to hear what you guys have to say!