A/N: Ok, here's the next chapter… I hope you like it. I recently saw another movie of Victor Garber's Annie (1999) and he's bald! Lol I have the utmost respect for him, so I'll stop teasing him now. BTW my oc character Annabelle looks just like the girl off of the new version of Annie. ;)

Disclaimer: cqofegypt does not own Titanic, Cinderella, Annie, or any music thereof :'(

April 13th 1912 12:30AM

Ruth's Stateroom

Thomas went to Ruth's stateroom door and knocked softly. The door opened a moment later.

"Ah, Mr. Andrews… please come in" said Ruth with a smile. She still had her ball gown on. Thomas smiled sheepishly.

"Forgive me for disturbing you Ruth, but I have something of importance to discuss with you" Ruth smiled at him, wondering if it had anything to do with Rose.

"I…well… how do I start?" The man scratched his head nervously and paced the room. He'd never done this before, and he was quite anxious. Suddenly, Thomas' worried eyes met Ruth's kind gentle ones. Thomas took a deep breath and then began.

"Surely you must know how I feel about Rose… I know it has only been two days, but I…" he sighed and then straightened himself up, looking at Ruth determinedly. First come first serve, he'd always been told, and the seas take him under if Caledon Hockley was going to obtain Rose as a decoration on his arm!

"Ruth," he said, sitting down next to her and taking her hands. "For many years, I have felt the burden of pain and guilt since the day of your husband's death." Ruth looked confused, but she decided to let the man continue. Thomas opened his mouth again and sighed a little before speaking.

"I was only eighteen at the time; my father had told me to holler if something went wrong. I was 30 feet away from the workers, when I should have been right next to them… I'm not sure about this information, but I thought I saw Charles squatting under the load of steel before he tripped and fell. He tried to get up and make it to the other side, but three of the workers had let go of the ropes. The seven others had pulled harder, but the ropes started to snap. I tried to save your husband, but I was too late."


There were eleven men assigned to haul the five tons of steel to the Arizona's port deck. Thomas watched them all in fascination as they all pulled their hardest to raise the ropes that held the heavy load. Charles DeWitter was surveying the progress with minute scrutiny. Most of the men did their jobs well… wanted to feed their families. Others were just plain lazy. Three included Shamus O'Doherty, Michael Lynch, and Ian Foley. To his dismay the three men let go of the ropes. Charles was furious.

"What are ye doin? Get back to those ropes and pull, now!" the three men grinned at each other and ganged up on Charles. "We don't work for ye, old timer" Shamus grinned wickedly. "Yeah, we got our own boss… ye don't tell us what to do any longer!" Ian snarled. Shamus nodded at Michael. He was a towering man with a silent countenance, but just as brutal as his comrades. All three of them pushed Charles under the load.

Charles let out a squawk and tripped over his two feet. Daring to look up, he could just see the load of lumber looming over him. He gulped, scrambling to crawl to the other side. There was one problem, in the fall, he'd twisted his ankle… he couldn't move. "Help!" he cried, hoping someone would hear him. No one could.

Crying now, Charles thought of his darling Ruth, and little Rose. He prayed he'd be able to see them again.

Meanwhile, one of the starboard ropes was loose, and the mate needed help getting it back down. In consequence, one of the other mates let go of his rope to help the other. This left five men struggling to hold the middle steady… the sides of the rope net were tilting!

Thomas gasped in horror. What was going on? Why were there so few ropes? He rushed to help. Looking at the others, he scanned them, but did not see Charles DeWitter, his father's childhood friend. "Charlie!" he called. "Where are you?" he hollered.

As he reached the load, young Thomas grabbed on to one of the ropes, the one Charles had used. He saw the three other men slacking. "Oy, ye sluggards!" He yelled. They looked at him with mean, sarcastic looks on their faces. "Get ye to your ropes now!" Thomas yelled. The three men ignored him.

Feeling energy from his anger, Thomas turned his attention to the rope at hand. "Alright lads! When I say, heave! Heave!" all six of the men heaved as hard as they could. Panting for breath, Thomas swallowed; his mouth dry. "Again! Heave!" They pulled. Suddenly, Thomas heard the sound that was every shipmate's nightmare, the pulling and snapping of rope. Thomas gulped. He needed his father's help, and he needed it now!

"Oy! Dat! Hurry" Peter looked up as Thomas was calling him. "Dat we don't have much time! We can't hold it much longer!" Peter rushed to Thomas' side taking the rope from him. Thomas stood at his father's side, looking down underneath the load to make sure none of the ropes had snapped. That's when he saw Charles on the ground underneath the load. "Oy! Charlie! Get out of there!" Thomas cried. Was the man daft? Seventy five tons and he was sitting there like a frog on a pad? Charles tried again to move, this time using his arms in a lopsided military move. Slowly but surely he was making it from underneath the long and equally wide load of steel looming above his head. Both Thomas and Peter were thinking the same thing. How could this have happened? "Hurry and get the starboard side of this raised!" Peter yelled. The older Andrews man noticed then that the left side was tilting. " O'Malley! Easy on the port side, man!" Colin O'Malley evened up the left side with the right. Once that was done, Peter pulled along with the others, but he too could hear the slow snapping of ropes. His stomach sank to his shoes.

"I gotta get him 'outta there!" Thomas said, ready to run and save Charles. "Get who out of there?" Peter asked. "Charles DeWitter!" Thomas cried. "he's under the load and I think he's hurt!" Peter gasped and then got frantic when Thomas tried to duck under the load.

"Tomas, no!Get back here! You're mamma would kill me if I let you go under there!" Thomas gave Peter a look that said, 'If I were there would you try to save me?' Peter groaned and resolved to get the load raised up enough so that they could see Charles and get him out. "C'mon, men, Hurry!" The ropes finally snapped. The seventy five tons of steel started to plummet to the ground. "NO!" Peter and Thomas screamed at the same time.

The starboard side of the load tilted and the mates moved out of the way without any consideration for Charles. He was still underneath…

"No! Charles!" Peter screamed, as the seventy- five tons collapsed onto his childhood friend. There had been nothing. No scream, no movement, nothing… just…silence.

"No!" Thomas shrieked. He ran toward the wreckage, furious. He wanted to beat the devil out of any and all of them who dared not to save his father's friend. Charles DeWitter had been a kind, gentle man, with a wife and a ten year old daughter at sat on his knees where he stood. How would he tell them, Charles' family? What could he say, that their father and husband died by his hands?

Peter stopped his son and grabbed Thomas, pulling the boy to his feet, and into Peter's chest. That scene was unfit for any man…Charles DeWitter had in a sense, been murdered. Peter shielded Thomas from witnessing the gruesome scene.

"There, now Tomas…steady lad" Peter whispered hoarsely, as tears coursed their way down his face.

Thomas continued to weep bitterly but softly. "'Tis all my fault Dat…I should have gotten there sooner" Thomas wept bitterly, angry at not doing more that he had done.

Peter held his son by the shoulder, shaking him slightly.

"No use in blamin' yerself, boyo...what happened to Charles was an accident... don't let yer mind decieve ye…there was nothing you could have done."

Ruth wept quietly, tears streaming down her face as she remembered that horrible night.


Ruth DeWitter opened the door, expecting her husband to be home any minute now. Rose had begged her to be able to stay up and greet her father. Finally, Ruth had agreed. She opened the door to see not her husband as she'd expected, but to meet the swollen, red, and puffy eyes of Peter Andrews. His young son Thomas was with him.

Ruth's smile vanished. "P-peter… How lovely to see you… won't you come in?" she moved aside. Rose followed her mother's example and looked after the men as they stood in the hallway. She turned to her mother.

"Mum? Where's Dat?" she asked. Ruth met Peter's eyes once again. He shook his head sadly.

Terror gripped Ruth like a vice and tears instantly came to her eyes. Charles was dead! He would never come home again! They'd never have their family chats, or go ice fishing, or just enjoy each other's company! No more of him surprising her by wrapping her in his strong arms… his way of apologizing for not being able to give her a better life that she deserved, and no more reassuring him that she loved him and their life together, no more of him singing little Rose to sleep, or telling her bedtime stories of his adventures on the sea. No more…. No more….

Ruth took a deep breath, turning to Rose. "Rosie, dear… why don't you go upstairs and I'll tuck you in in a few minutes, aye?" Disappointed, Rose nodded, shuffling her feet, and walking slowly upstairs. Thomas had only glanced at the little girl as she looked at him. She had long red hair the same color of Charles' and stunning blue eyes. Just like him, she'd be a vision when she grew up; she'd make something of herself, even if her father had been taken away from her so early.

'Why? He thought. 'why didn't I get there fast enough? Why didn't I assert myself more with those lazy idiots?' Tears sprang to Thomas' eyes. He sat next to his father quietly, as Peter took Ruth's hands and spoke softly of what happened. Ruth was weeping. Peter gently explained about the insurance policy on Charles that it would give Ruth a little, not much. He also extended the Andrews' home to them.

"If you ever need anything, Ruth…I and my family will welcome you with open arms." Ruth smiled at her former fiancée. He had always been kind, even when she married Charles. "Thank you" she whispered, crying again. How on earth was she going to tell Rose?

End flashback.

Ruth and Thomas both wiped tears from their eyes. "I am sorry I never told you this" Thomas whispered hoarsely. Ruth shook her head and squeezed his hand. "This was never your fault, Tom… it never was. It would have been if you ignored it, but you tried to save my husband… you had to follow your father's orders." She smiled tearfully.

"Charles forgives you I'm sure… but there's nothing to forgive. Now forget, and grasp on to the future and all that it holds" She smiled wisely.

Thomas pondered her meaning for a moment, but came up stuck. "Ruth, I have been meaning to ask you… I want to marry your daughter Rose, but I need your blessing."

Ruth smiled. "You've had it ever since you were eleven years old, Thomas" Thomas looked at her confused. Ruth laughed, wiping away her tears.

"What you may not know is, I was engaged to your father when I was young" Thomas looked surprised.

"I never knew that" he said quietly. Ruth nodded. "Then Charles came along… your father could tell I loved him, so he let me go…I married Charles a year later"

Thomas smiled. "I'm glad you did" Ruth laughed. "Yes, sibling marriages happened in Biblical times… not today" Thomas laughed as well.

"Anyway, as an apology, and mutual gratification that our families would be united, I suggested to Charles, who suggested to Peter that we have an arranged marriage."

Thomas looked at Ruth in surprise and grinned. "Ruth you have no idea how happy a man you have made me… to give me your most precious possession." Ruth smiled.

"I am happy, Thomas… you do realize that Mr. Hockley also asked for her hand, don't you?" Thomas growled under his breath and frowned at Ruth.

"He did?" he asked. Ruth nodded. "He is a brute. And I daresay he does not treat Rose the way she needs to be treated" Thomas nodded curtly.

"However," Ruth said thoughtfully. "There is one man that can help us to keep him at bay" Thomas looked at her. "Who could that be?" he asked. Ruth looked toward the door and nodded respectfully.

Thomas turned and noticed Spicer Lovejoy at the door with a little brown haired girl in tow. Thomas looked from Lovejoy to the girl and back again.

"Mr. Lovejoy, what is the meaning of this?" he asked as he stood up. "My young friend here was looking for Miss Rose. It appears Annabelle has grown quite fond of your… fiancée" Spicer said with a smile.

Ruth eyed Thomas mischievously from her seat, and Annabelle covered her mouth with a giggle. Thomas looked uncertain at the little girl, and blushed.

"Oh, well I um… I believe that Rose is asleep just now." Annabelle stepped up to the shipbuilder and grinned at him. "How would you know that, unless you went into her room, Mr. Andrews?" she winked and curtsied.

Thomas felt slight frustration. He didn't quite like the idea of being ratted out by a… "Um, I don't mean to be rude, but who are you, and how old are you?"

Annabelle looked from Spicer, back to Thomas. "Um, is it just me, or are you deaf? Because I could have sworn he just told you my name" she drawled. Thomas' patience was wearing ice thin (excuse the pun)

"Annabelle!" Spicer hissed. The little girl looked back up at Spicer and grinned sheepishly. "Oops… sorry… anyway, I'm eight." As Annabelle turned to him, Spicer frowned and motioned for her to come to him.

"It is way past your bedtime young lady" Spicer fussed. Annabelle, whose nickname happened to be Annie, grinned back at Thomas.

"Goodbye Mr. Andrews! Don't forget the engagement ring!" Thomas growled under his breath at the retreating girl. The nerve of some females! Thomas turned back to Ruth who happened to be chuckling.

"That's Annie" she said. "She helps Rose and I around with our chores sometimes. I believe she's related to Lucy Donaldson" Thomas nodded at the mention of the blonde maid.

She'd mentioned something about having a little sister. "About the engagement ring, Thomas" Ruth said, drawing the shipbuilder out of his thoughts.

Ruth took her rings off of her left hand. She pulled another one from her necklace.

"These belonged to my husband and I… I want you and Rose to have them… they save the economy as well stay in the family."

Thomas smiled at Ruth's thoughtfulness. She was right. Besides, gold was very expensive nowadays. He took the rings into his hand, putting the two meant for Rose in his coat pocket with his notebook.

Asking Ruth's permission, and it being granted, he tried on Charles' ring on his left ring finger. It fit like a glove. Thomas smiled. It felt oddly satisfying, having a wedding ring on his finger. 'Gabriella will think twice about her movements from now on' he thought with glee. Ruth chuckled. They were probably thinking the same thing.

Taking the ring off, he put it also in his notebook pocket, kissed Ruth's cheek as they exchanged pleasantries, and walked out the door.

As Thomas turned around, he bumped into someone. As he took a good look and what or who he had bumped into, he noticed to his annoyance that it was Annabelle. His eyes narrowed.

"What, may I ask, are you doing here?" he said, irritated. He pulled out his pocket watch and glanced at the time. "Are you not aware that it is nearly one in the morning?"

Annabelle nodded. "Yup! I'm allowed to stay up late" Thomas frowned; he found that hard to believe. "Where are your parents?" he asked. Annie shrugged. "I don't have any" Thomas rolled his eyes. "Well then who are you here with?" she grinned. "My older sister, Lucy"

Thomas rolled his eyes once more. "And is she not in her stateroom, getting her rest?" Annie giggled. This Irishman was funny. His accent was getting stronger with every syllable.

Thomas felt a vein was going to pop out of his head until he heard the soft opening and closing of one of the doors. There stood Rose, in her white nightgown, her hair in a loose braid, and her eyes, sleepy and confused.

"Thomas? What are you doing up at this forbidden hour?" Thomas smiled and blushed as he walked toward her, taking her into his embrace.

"Everything is alright, Rose…Miss Annie and I were having a slight…discussion" Thomas made a strained effort to smile at Annie. It wasn't working well, and Annie knew it. She grinned again.

Smiling a little, Rose stepped toward Annabelle. "Annie, dear, don't you think it's time you got to bed?" she asked. Rose was eye to eye with the girl. Annie smiled and nodded demurely.

"Yes, Ms. Rose. I was just telling Mr. Andrews how well you two look together." She winked at Thomas, who controlled the attempt to growl and call the girl a liar. Rose was blushing.

"Ah, yes… well… a kind thought, but one best saved when we're all rested and thinking clearly." Rose urged Annie on in the direction of Lucy's room, but not before the girl gave Thomas one last smile and wink.

"Good night Mr. Andrews… here's hoping you'll tell her how you feel to her face!" Thomas looked at the girl in shock. She had known he had snuck into Rose's room!

"Sleep well Annie… you'll need it" Andrews muttered the last part under his breath. He had half a mind to give Lucy the day off, and to give Annie all of her sister's chores in the morning. Rose smiled slightly at Thomas' brooding mood.

"Won't ye come inside for a bit?" she asked. Thomas smiled. It was considered improper for a man and a woman to have conversation out in the hall alone, especially when the lady had nothing but a white, cotton nightgown on.

Smiling at her, and taking her once more into his embrace, he shook his head. "No, I'd better not. It will be dawn in a few hours… I hope to see you then, my dear" Rose smiled, the pink hue on her cheeks darkening.

"Very well, Mr. Andrews… goodnight, Thomas" she whispered his name, planting a soft kiss on his cheek. It was Thomas' turn to blush.

He watched her walk back into her room, and heard the satisfying 'click' of the door lock. Heading back to his office, the young man cleared off his desk, and then locked it on the way to his stateroom.

Preparing his clothes for the next morning, and getting ready for bed, the shipbuilder smiled, taking out Ruth's and now Rose's engagement ring and viewing it.

To think that his once father-in-law-to-be had picked this ring for his soon to be mother-in-law and now Thomas himself was about to place the same jeweled band on Rose's finger.

Placing the ring back where it belonged for the time being, excitement welled up in the man's chest as he laid his head on the pillows. He couldn't wait to see the look on Rose's face at dawn the next morning…

A man walked back in the direction he came when the couple dispersed in separate directions. Wanting to pound a fist into the wall, he stopped, thought about it, shook his head, and walked on.

Money was a precious item in these times, yet, so was Rose. Sighing, the man nodded to a passerby who was with a woman, and did not pay him any heed.

Walking back to his quarters, the stranger couldn't help the feelings of anger, suffering, and jealousy; Jealousy that Thomas Andrews had gotten the attentions of the woman who held his heart and the prospect of marriage. He resolved that now was the time to get Rose back…

O_o can you guess who it is? R&R!

Disclaimer: Cqofegypt does not own Titanic (or any mention of Annie)

Dawn April 13th 1912

Thomas Andrews' Stateroom

Thomas woke up early to the soft rapping of his steward Henry's soft knock at the door. Thomas had asked him the previous day to wake him up at the crack of dawn, and no later. The shipbuilder sleepily rubbed his eyes, and then remembered what day it was.

Grinning, he bathed quickly, and dressed carefully, being sure to take the razor to his chin, cheeks and neck. After completing those tasks, he wiped his face with a towel and combed his hair.

For someone who had never proposed marriage in his life, Thomas was feeling rather nervous, and giddy with excitement. As he walked down the hall from his stateroom to the door that led to the main deck and the stern of the ship, he went over in his mind what he planned to do. Should he get down on his knee, take her hand and propose and then explain? Did she even know about their being betrothed for all of these years without even knowing it?

Would she be content with her mother's ring, or did he need to find another ring, (and on the double)? All of these thoughts jumbled in the shipbuilder's head as his heart raced, making his way to the stern of the ship to wait for his beloved.

I must get to the sea… he thought. Perhaps looking over the horizon will calm me down. As he neared the stern, however, someone was there before him. Andrews froze. Who was this? Thomas gulped. Did they know of his plans?

Suddenly the person turned around and Thomas noticed it was Jack with a smile on his face. "Hi Mr. Andrews…. What are you doing up so early?" Andrews let out a breath, though the tension in his chest wouldn't go away.

"Good morning to you, Jack…I came out here specifically to stand where you are now…I'm waiting for someone" Jack cocked his head in interest. "Wouldn't be Rose, would it?" he asked.

Thomas got a questioning look in his eye. "How did you…?" Jack grinned, holding up a hand, and then standing straight from his position. Jack bit his lip, looked into the distance, then looked back at Thomas. "I heard you're planning to marry her"

Though it puzzled him as to why, Thomas started to blush. "I-I am… though I do not see…" "It has EVERYTHING to do with ME!"

Jack hollered, catching the shipbuilder off guard. A tear slid down Jack's face. He punched his hand with his fist, sniffed, wiping his tears and nose on his sleeve. "I love her, alright… I LOVE her! And for you to just barge in…."

Thomas looked at the boy incredulously. "What in the world are you saying, Jack? You mean all the time that Rose and I were together…you…" Thomas smiled after a second then nodded his head. "Ah, you think that her being with me, makes her think that she's too good for you, is that it?"

Jack looked at Andrews in shock. "Too good for me? Too GOOD for me? The only person she's too good for is you!" Again, Thomas gave Jack a confused look. "What in heaven's name are you talking about?"

Jack glared at him. "You know EXACTLY what I'm talking about! I'd go to the Master at Arms, only, hey…I'm Jack Dawson, a nobody… who the heck (derogatory) is gonna listen to me?" Thomas was trying to find out what in the world Jack was going on about when he stormed off all of a sudden.

Thomas looked behind the young artist, bewildered and aloof. Gripping the rails of the stern, he shook his head. "Lord, only you know what's going on in the mind of my young friend, Jack. I've tried to apologize in a way, but it's hard when I've done nothing wrong." He sighed. "I pray you would bring him peace and contentment, Lord, in Your Magnificent Name I pray, Amen"

Thomas looked at the sea and smiled to himself. It was getting lighter, and he could still see the ocean for miles around, dolphins beginning to jump. The shipbuilder chuckled. It wasn't often that he got to enjoy the richness of nature.

Thomas was just starting to wonder where Rose was and how long it would take for her to come, when he heard his name being called "Ah! Andrews! There you are!" With an inward groan, Thomas turned to see Bruce Ismay and Captain Smith headed in his direction.

"Tom! We were wondering where you'd gotten to… your valet said you'd be up here, though I couldn't imagine why" Bruce frowned. Captain Edward Smith allowed himself a smile. I can, he thought to himself.

"Well, good morning gentlemen" said Thomas, startled at their arrival, anxious that they'd ruin his plan, for instance take him away from this very spot. "What on earth are you doing here at this ungodly hour, Tom?" Bruce asked. Again, Edward let himself a smile.

"Enjoying the salt air and the breeze" Thomas said which was only half true. The other was waiting, just behind them. Thomas smiled in Rose's direction.

"If you will excuse me, gentlemen… I have another matter to attend to-" Bruce chuckled, as if not hearing him.

"Really, Tom… did you forget about our conference?" he asked. Captain Smith and Thomas both gave Bruce a surprised look.

"I was not aware of any such conference" Thomas said. "Surely you remember" Bruce insisted.

"We planned to discuss the prospects of picking up speed, reaching New York by tomorrow night… or morning if necessary"

Thomas' young jaw set, as he glanced at Edward. The captain looked rather embarrassed, looking at the floorboards.

"The captain agrees?" Thomas asked, tightly, placing his arm around Rose, who had joined him. Edward nodded ruefully, still incapable of meeting Thomas eye to eye.

"So, the sooner we can work things out the better" Bruce said cheerfully, completely oblivious to Rose's presence.

"You might as well speak to Mr. Bell… seeing as you know him far better than I or the captain" Bruce smiled, what Thomas perceived as a cynical smile.

Titanic was his legally, and he was holding that power over their heads. Thomas scowled, but stated politely.

"Very well, Mr. Ismay… I will speak to Mr. Bell as soon as possible." Bruce nodded satisfactorily. Before he turned, the Captain gave Thomas an apologetic look.

"I am truly sorry, Tom… I tried to warn him about what we had discussed, but…" Thomas nodded, frustrated with the whole situation, and that Bruce was inadvertently ruining his whole plan for this morning… all in front of Rose.

"Yes, Captain, I understand… I will approach Mr. Bell just as soon as I'm able" Edward nodded again, tipping his hat toward young Rose. She smiled softly and nodded.

As the captain walked away, Thomas turned to Rose, placing his left arm around her waist. He sighed.

"Darling Rose, I" he smiled then, trying not to laugh at the absurdity of it all. "I pray you'll forgive me… I wanted to ask you a question, however in a more…romantic setting" he gingerly touched the wispy tendrils of her hair, smoothing it back. Rose closed her eyes and smiled a little.

"There is nothing to forgive, Thomas… would you rather wait?" Thomas looked at her appreciatively.

"Well, no… I'd like to ask you now, but it appears that there are people approaching this very deck." Rose nodded. "Then it's not to be…at least at the moment"

Thomas grinned at her, feeling giddy and excited all at once. In his inner left breast pocket were the symbols of their impending life together; If only he could place it on her finger now… but no.

"Rose… would you consider… that is… meeting me here tonight, at sunset?" Rose grinned. "Of course" she said squeezing his hands.

"Oh, Rose… you've made me a happy man… and I'll be even happier this evening… I'm sure." Rose looked at him in curiosity.

"What do you mean?" she asked. Thomas winked, grinned and kissed her forehead.

"Never mind that now… and what's this? You're still in your nightdress!" he whispered in shock, as he chuckled.

Rose giggled and leaned against him, her head against his shoulder, and her cheek against his right breast.

"I know… I was just excited… no use in spoiling… surprises" she winked. Thomas laughed.

"Yes… now then, you take my coat… no arguments now, and get to your stateroom before these lovely ladies faint of shock"

Rose gave him a look that said, 'wouldn't that be a good thing?' Thomas laughed again, straightening his coat on her shoulders and placing his arm around them as he walked her toward the first class entry doorway.

"Until this evening, mo ghra" he whispered, walking away slowly, not wanting to let her go.

"Until this evening my darling" Rose answered, blowing him a kiss. He looked back at her with a bashful smile and she laughed, as he disappeared from sight.

She was preparing to go inside, but not before she heard the following conversation from the two gossips heading in her direction.

1st lady: Dear, dear… such scandal!

2nd lady: Yes, my dear, and my, would you look at such clothing… hardly modest, wouldn't you say?

1st lady: Why of course! It's no doubt they've had a midnight rendezvous, if you understand my…

She looked at Rose, who by now looked at her puzzled

1st lady: meaning

The two ladies started chortling. Rose felt her face getting hot.

2nd lady: And of course you know about that Andrews fellow…

1st lady: Why no! I never heard a word! Pray, tell

The two ladies seemed to be enjoying their little chat, and seemed to purposefully deem Rose herself as the focus of their conversation

2nd lady: Well,

She huffed, as if getting pleasure out of the next piece of juicy gossip.

2nd lady: It is common knowledge, don't you know, among some of the working men, that Mr. Andrews has a wife living in London…

1st lady: Um, my dear… I do believe it was Ireland…

2nd lady: Oh, yes… silly me… well, his wife is living in Ireland with their three year old daughter… he literally abandoned them! No one ever knew of their fate

The first lady clucked her tongue.

1st lady: Oh, that poor child… Thomas Andrews is a beast! A true monster for leaving his wife and daughter in that horrible position!

2nd lady: Yes, and to think that now he is intended…

She turned her venomous brown gaze on Rose. The first lady turned to Rose with a wicked smile.

1st lady: how dreadful!

They laughed as they walked away, leaving Rose confused, frightened, and all the more depressed. Thomas was married to another woman and he had a child?

That was impossible! Why hadn't Thomas told her? Why had he…enchanted her, all for naught? Rose tried not to cry, but ended up weeping as she walked down the hall to her stateroom. She could never hope to marry Thomas now…

The two women made their way to the Café for breakfast where they met someone there.

"Is it done?" the person asked. The two women nodded. "She was absolutely terrified" said the Countess of Rothes' niece, Glenda.

"Indeed… if only I could relive to see the look on her face" chuckled the other, Angelica… goddaughter of Colonel and Lady Gracie.

"Perfect" grinned the stranger, as they placed a bag of money on the table. "The money is yours… and the shipbuilder…" the person cackled… "Belongs only to me"

The other young women laughed nervously. What on Earth had they just done?

Annie looked all around for Rose that morning. She was so excited! She'd never seen a real engagement ring up close before. Annie walked past Rose's stateroom when she heard the unmistakable sound of crying.

"Miss Rose?" Rose gasped and looked up. "Oh, Annie… it's you" Rose sniffed. Annie looked at Rose confused and concerned. "Why are you crying?"

Rose continued to cry for a second. "I found out he is already married… he has a wife and daughter in Ireland" Annie cocked her head. She'd always thought Mr. Andrews was alone and was looking for someone like Ms. Rose.

"But didn't Mr. Andrews…" Annie gasped as she covered her mouth. Rose looked at her.

"Didn't Mr. Andrews do what?" Annie shook her head. "Never mind…uh…I gotta find Lucy! Bye!" Rose looked after Annie's retreating form suspiciously. Ah well… might as well get her chores done…

Annie found Lucy in the middle of a discussion with Ruth. Annie tugged at her sister's sleeve.

"Lucy…Lucy! I have to tell you something!" Lucy looked at her little sister exasperatedly.

"Annabelle… where are your manners, can't you see I'm speaking to someone?" Annie sighed and stamped her foot.

"But you gotta listen! Ms. Rose is upset! She said she heard that Mr. Andrews is married and has a wife and daughter in Ireland!" Lucy looked from Annie to Ruth and back again. Ruth shook her head.

"Annie… if you've been making up one of your stories again…" Annie shook her head vehemently. "But I'm not! I'm telling the truth this time! Honest!" Lucy again looked to Ruth.

"I'm sorry Mrs. DeWitter… my sister can be a little…" Ruth shook her head again.

"No, it's not that… Thomas…ah, Mr. Andrews and I would exchange letters back and forth frequently… he was close to our family, you see… he would have told me if he was married, and he certainly wouldn't have asked me for Rose's hand in marriage if that were so."

Lucy looked back at Annie who had a 'see, I told you' look on her face. Lucy sighed and rolled her eyes. She liked Rose.

She was sweet and quiet, and kept to herself most times. She was also blessed, Lucy felt, to have a man like Thomas Andrews pine for her affection.

If someone were spreading terrible tales, then he needed to be notified at once!

A/N: I'd like to point out to my readers again, that this is an Alternate Universe story. The plot is mine… with a little extra help The discussion between the two ladies is not just a rumor, it is an actual detail of the real Thomas Andrews. He did have a wife and daughter. My AU version of Thomas is twenty-eight, and single, though nearly engaged. Just thought I'd point that out. Enjoy! R&R!