Falling Rose Petals

By Lady Elena Dawson

Disclaimer: I do not own Titanic (1997).

Fun Fact #1: A Movie of Epic Proportions

Upon the release of James Cameron's Titanic in December of 1997, a blockbuster was born. The love story told between characters Jack and Rose went on to win eleven Oscars: a record only made by two others movies (Ben-Hur and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King). It remained the highest-grossing film unadjusted to inflation for twelve years before being defeated by Cameron's Avatar in 2009. It's the first movie to ever come out on VHS tape while it was still in theaters (spending over ten months in cinemas worldwide) and the only film to not win any Academy Awards in the acting category out of its fourteen nominations.

Prologue: 1901

Not Alone Anymore

A monarch butterfly fluttered around a neatly-pinned mass of red curls protruding from the head of a very young, very beautiful girl. Lying in the grass, you would think she was an angel fallen from heaven instead of a human being. Her looks were practically immortal, and the girl was only nearing seven years of age.

"Mr. Butterfly, do you think that there's more in this world than society?" the little girl asked the monarch, which was flapping its wings and flying around her slumped figure (something her mother would have scolded her for if she had been there with her). It finally landed on a long piece of grass, which drooped because of the butterfly's weight. It took off again, flew around the innocent girl once more, then fluttered away into the flaming red sun. This guiltless act made the child sigh.

She slowly raised herself up and sat in the long, green field with her legs crossed, caring less about the stains on her light pink, frilly skirt. Pulling out a small handful of weed, she stared at it with her soft but intense blue-green eyes with the lengthy lashes. "Why did he have to leave? Now I'm all alone," the girl whispered, talking to herself silently. For her, loneliness—due to stubborn rebellion—was her life since birth.

That's when she heard a rustle. Her head jerked up, and her dark red curls that once fell in her face were brushed aside by the peaceful breeze. Her large, round eyes focused on the mountainous region in the background where the sun was setting, making the large mounds of dirt and grass look purplish in color, like the sky. The Pennsylvanian landscape was hilly and dashed with meadows, something she liked very much.

But if she liked Philadelphia or not didn't matter, for she saw, just in time, a flash of blue peeking out of the tall grasses near her.

This girl was an honest one. She never lied; that is, never had the need to. She was raised by her good-mannered, bossy mother, who knew when she was being dishonest. It was as though she had her own lying detector. Pushing aside that fact, this porcelain doll was honestly scared. She knew that, for her own safety, she had to say something. A warning, perhaps. Or a scream.

"I-I know you're there," she said in her shaky, defensive voice. "So there's no point in hiding."

There was another rustle in the distance and a small boy appeared. He was tall, ragged, and roughened. She saw tears in his eyes, glazed by pain. Her observant eyes scanned him up and down, her mind—intelligent and thoughtful for her age—processing what she assumed to be this boy's life.

This poor boy, she thought. Practically traumatized, but much older than me. Possibly a couple years. Taking a deep breath, she stood. His blue eyes widened.

"Who are you?" the female youth, no longer scared, but curious, asked as she took an intimidating step forward. "You look as though you've seen a ghost! Pale as a sheet."

The boy's voice shook as he spoke. He decided to be brief. "M-my name is Jack Dawson, and my parents just died."

The redhead froze and saddened. This poor, poor boy! Penniless, most likely, and now he's lost his parents! What will happen to him?

"O-oh!" she exclaimed instead of voicing what she thought. "I'm so sorry! I had no idea! It's just–"

"It's okay," the boy named Jack said. "You don't need to feel bad for me."

"Well, of course I'm going to pity you a little. I mean…you're an orphan! Penniless with nowhere to go, I'm assuming…" Her voice faded off, and she looked down at her white patent shoes and knee-high socks, slightly embarrassed.

"Don't assume, miss. I've got a job."

The girl's blue-green eyes slowly looked up into Jack's dark blue ones. "How can you possibly have a job?"

She wasn't a normal six-year old. She didn't believe boys had cooties, and she definitely didn't tolerate all that gossipy nonsense the other first graders at her all-girls private school spread around. That she was different; that she wasn't one of them. Her mother was planning on pulling her out so she could be homeschooled, ashamed that her darling child was ostracized because she was unique, opinionated, and determined.

Jack smiled a dimpled smile, which made the girl grin shyly (she noticed how cute he looked when his lips curled up like that). But his smile was wet with tears and clearly an amused one, more like mocking her than cheering her up. "I'm nine. I'm old enough to have a job selling newspapers, aren't I?"

"Oh, yes, of course!"

"Then never assume."

She cocked an eyebrow. "How can you not assume?"

"By taking what life hands at you, that's how. When you've got nothin', you've got nothin' to lose, my pops used to say." He shoved his hands in his pockets and smirked. The girl's face was contorted into that of horror and confusion.

"So are you saying that if you get the opportunity to talk to a stranger, even if he or she was homeless and possibly dangerous—a murderer, for instance, who wants to use you for your money…you'd still tell them your name?" She was simply horrified. Wasn't that what her parents would always tell her: never talk to strangers?

Jack laughed heartily, making the girl's face flush red with humiliation. "Is that not what you were saying?" she spat haughtily.

Once Jack stopped laughing, he gave a small grin. "You know, you're the first person to ever actually get what I'm saying." He rolled his shoulders back and drew up to full height, his gaze peeking down at the shorter kid. "How old are you? Seven? Eight?"

The girl's anger was replaced with that of a naïve blush. "O-oh," she simply murmured, "I'm actually six, but I turn seven in July." He cocked his eyebrow, but she didn't seem to notice; instead, she burst out laughing as well. "How silly, to say whatever you want to say at any occasion! I can't imagine a life without rules. You must live life to the fullest." Then she howled again. "And I just told you my age without a single thought going through my head!"

"I make each day count," he replied over her laghter. He then gave out his hand. "Let's make it official. Jack Dawson.

Still giggling softly, she took his hand. "You already told me that."

"Without assuming, miss, I surely need to know your name."

The girl's smile faded and her pupils dilated; she started to panic. Should she tell a complete stranger her name? Her age was enough! Shouldn't she have learned from her first time blurting out facts like that? It might be a trap! A devious scheme! A–

She was being presumptuous again, and so she stopped. Looking confidently at Jack, she told her name proudly without thinking of any consequences that might happen because of this information. "My name is Rose. Rose DeWitt Bukater." Clearing her mind of assumption even more, she continued. "I live right over there, the large white house in the distance." She pointed for effect.

Jack blinked and stared at her. He took his time to respond, rethinking his words before saying them. After a couple of minutes of contemplation, he took his eyes away from his feet and looked at Rose. She was waiting for him to reply. He sighed deeply and decided to trust her enough to retell his story.

He meant no harm, as Rose had thought. He cleared his throat and informed her of what happened, the details numbing his mind.

"I was out drawing at the lake when I came back home and saw the smoke. My whole house was in flames. It must've happened suddenly and spread like a wildfire, because no one made it out…"

Rose's eyes filled with pity at the young boy's experience. "I'm sorry," she whispered soothingly. "That must've been awful…"

At that moment, a gust of wind caught hold of what Jack was holding, something Rose hadn't noticed before. It flew out of his grasp and scattered across the field, papers falling everywhere. She gasped and began to gather them up.

Each piece of paper was a drawing, and very talented ones indeed. There was a dog lying in the grass. A woman sitting on a park bench. A little girl that looked as though she was posing for her long-awaited portrait.

Rose studied them closely, fascinated by the use of detail. "Did you draw these?" she asked when they reclaimed all the flying papers. He nodded, a small blush appearing on his face. She grinned and handed them back. "They're quite…good."

Smiling wittingly, she grabbed for his hand. "Maybe my father will let you stay!" She tugged at his reluctant hand. "Come on!" And the two headed back to Rose's house, walking off into the sunset.

This was all a memory now. All of a sudden, there was a flash, and everything—from the hilly backdrop to the house in the distance— went black.