Edit: 11/5/14

Spellings and grammar. Also changed title from Summer in Santa Monica to The Summer We Met. Added in some lines and removed some to make more sense of the story.

The Summer We Met

April 1936

Upon reaching the large estate in Santa Monica which her father owned. Sixteen year old Rose Dewitt Bukater felt her stomach twist with excitement. Here they were again. Of course, she refused to show her excitement to her mother, who sat beside Rose in the family car, her face expressionless, her thin lips pressed together. The Dewitt Bukater's came to Santa Monica every summer for at least three months. Don Bukater owned a large real estate company and each April they would come here. The annual trip was something Rose looked forward to. Her mother Ruth would attend the social parties and polo matches while Rose spent quality time with her father. Don opened the door of his 1934 Crossley Silver and held his hand out to his young daughter. Rose climbed out of the vehicle, feeling the warm sun hit her face she placed her hand over her eyes shielding her face.

''Rose dear, do hurry inside. You know you burn terribly.'' Her mother came beside Rose as her father opened the boot. She sighed heavily and turned to walk through the large gates. The house which they owned was surrounded by palm trees and had a view of the blue ocean to the left. It was white in colour with a grey roof and a balcony which wrapped around the upstairs. Don struggled with their four suitcases as he climbed up the four porch steps. Ruth shook her head at her husband's idiocy and Rose wondered if her mother was embarrassed by him. She took in everything around her and the soft scent of flowers filled her nostrils. When her father had finally opened the door, she stepped inside the house before closing the door.

The downstairs had a kitchen, parlour, dining room, and study; the stairs were located straight in front of the door and the second floor had three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Taking in everything around her, Rose wandered into the parlour. It was very spacious. Almost everything was made of wood. She heard her father's shoes on the wooden floor and turned to see him smiling. He placed his hand on her shoulder.

''You glad to be back Rosie?'' He asked, his moustache tickling her cheek as he kissed her. She felt a sense of happiness fill her.

''Always daddy.'' Don smiled at his young daughter, knowing how happy been here made her. She took in the surroundings of the parlour, the high ceilings and dark oak wood. A large dining table sat to the right of the room, while a cream divan couch sat to the left in front of a large fireplace. ''I'm going to have a look in the cellar, see if I can find any wine.''

Rose's heels clacked on the wooden floor as she placed her purse on the large dining table and walked to the side doors which led out onto a small balcony overlooking the sea. The soft summer breeze blew her tendrils gently. The waft of sort summer flowers filled the air. The waves gently lapped onto the short of the pure white beach.

''I found some red.'' Her fathers voice came. Seconds later, he stood beside her on the balcony overlooking the sea with a glass of wine in his hand. The pier could be seen faintly and the screeching of the rollercoaster coming to a halt. Don draped his arm around Rose's shoulder and she leant against him feeling safe and content. She sighed a little and Don squeezed her.

''We'll go there tomorrow Rosie.'' He said in a low voice. Rose lifted her head from her fathers shoulder and their matching eyes met. She smiled a small smile.

''Really daddy?'' She beamed. ''What about mother?''

''Oh you know your mother, she'll be meeting the ladies for tea.'' He spoke in a mocking voice of his wife. ''She doesn't have to know.''

Rose leant back against her father and gazed out at the sea feeling her stomach turn with excitement. She loved it here, she felt so free and at ease. It was the one time she could defy her mother and Ruth wouldn't know about it.

''I want to see the rollercoaster again.''

''Oh don't worry you will.'' Don took a sip from his glass. ''But lets get inside for now, your mother doesn't like you in the sun for too long.''

Jack Dawson took another swag of his beer before passing it to Tommy Ryan, his best friend. Together, they watched as the sun set over the ocean. The pier was packed mostly with onlookers of roller coaster. A band played Irish music and many people danced, people of all classes. Jack tapped his feet to the beat whereas Tommy had danced with the odd girl he had deemed pretty. The music bringing back memories of his Irish roots. The Carousel was built in 1922 on the Pleasure Pier and featured 44 hand-carved horses. The La Monica Ballroom stood tall and could be seen from the sea.

Jack handed him a beer before leaning on the edge of the pier. Jack laughed throwing his head back feeling the soft breeze trail through his overly long hair.

''Its beautiful here.'' Jack glanced around. He felt really at home here. As an only child, he began life on his own after his parents died in a fire when he was merely fifteen. During the next five years, Jack had made a meagre living by using his artistic talents, to draw portraits. After travelling often he had seen anywhere quite like this place. Jack loved to go to the end of the pier at night just to hear the waves and lay down on the bench to gaze at the stars. For many months Jack had been on the brunt end of Tommy's foul mouth and jokes. Tommy thought of him as a typical artist and that he lived in a dream world where love conquers all even though Jack hadn't had a girl since Tommy had known him.

Moments later, a loud whistle came followed by guitar strumming and a harp playing. Turning their heads, they saw the band were playing another song. A large crowd were at the end of the pier, glancing as the rollercoaster made its last ride of the day.

''I think we should ride the rollercoaster drunk one day.'' Tommy slapped Jack's back.

Jack shook his head, laughing. ''We would heave.'' He was used to Tommy's jokes but knew he was deadly serious.

Jack turned his attention back to the crowd. People from all walks of life enjoyed the early evening sunshine. A redhead girl pushed through the large crowd of people and Jack narrowed his eyes to see her better. He had never seen her before, he would have remembered hair like that. Tommy's response to what Jack had said was forgotten as he kept his eyes on the young girl. He watched as she made her way through the crowd in the direction of the Carousel. He wondered if she was here alone, if she was meeting friends. She was dressed what appeared to be a light blue day dress and her red hair cascaded all the way down her back. Jack couldn't take his eyes away from her. His heart pounded for some reason. She was so far away from him, something drew him to her for some reason.

''What the hell are you so interested in?' Tommy laughed, but no response came from Jack. Tommy waved his hand in front of Jacks face but Jack wafted it away. Tommy followed Jack's line of sight. The redhead girl stood at the front of the crowds. Most of the people were there with friends or family but she appeared to be alone.

''Oh forget that boyo.'' Tommy laughed. ''You'd have more chance of angels flying out of your arse then getting next to the likes of her.''

But his words were inaudible to Jack. He felt concerned almost as though he had to speak to her. Tommy continued to waft his hands in front of Jack's face and again he swatted it away, taking his eyes away from the young redhead for a few seconds, sipping on the beer which he took from Tommy's hand absentmindedly. He took his eyes from Tommy and tried to find Rose in the crowds, and frowned as he attempted to spy her red curls. Jack simply walked away from Tommy, shoving the glass of beer into his stomach, his mouth fell open when he saw Jack was heading in the direction of the young girl .

Tommy followed him shaking his head, knowing he would have to back Jack up if any trouble started. ''Jack…what are you doing?'' Tommy called, following Jack. The girl was heading towards the Carousel. Was she here alone?

''I just want to know her name.'' Jack pushed through the crowds best he could. Tommy took a sip of his beer before shoving the glass into the hands of a random man, who simply stared at the glass, shocked.

''Look Jack, I think she's the Dewitt Bukater girl.'' Tommy told him. Jack paused for a moment. He didn't know the name.

''Who?''

''Her family come into town each summer. Her father is in real estate, they got a big fancy house and wads of cash Jack. Don't even think about getting your hands on her, she's trouble.'' Tommy warned.

Jack rolled his eyes, knowing just how carried away Tommy got with his words sometimes. ''I have never heard of her name. I haven't see her in these parts before.''

Music from the band stopped and the screams from the Carousel could be heard. The girl almost looked like something from a dream, her long red hair trailed behind her as the ride thrashed up and down. Suddenly, everything seemed to go into slow motion. Jack leant against the side of the fence which surrounded the ride. Her laugh seemed to light up the whole town. He couldn't seem to take his eyes away from her.

''I think she knows Helga.'' Tommy pointed out to the young Norwegian girl on the horse beside Rose.

''Do you know Helga?'' Jack asked, having never seen the girl before.

''Yeah from school remember. I mentioned her a few times.''

Jack just shrugged and held out his arms. He turned his attention back to the ride which had began to slow down. The young girl glanced between Jack and Tommy, wondering why the had been looking at her during the entire ride. The girl was helped down from the horse by the man who operated the ride, she thanked him before skipping from the ride, Helga not far behind her.

''Hey Tommy.'' Helga nodded.

''Hi, what are you girls doing out so late?'' He raised his eyebrows. ''The place is about to close, aren't you usually in bed.'' He teased.

''Oh shut up. I want one last ride on the Ferris wheel, who's coming?'' Helga skipped off, Tommy followed her. The girl suddenly became aware of the boy stood beside her.

''Are you alright?'' He asked her, his voice sincere. She nodded slightly, wringing her hands. ''Are you here alone?''

''No I'm here with my father and some friends.'' She spoke in a low voice. She craned her neck through the crowds of people. ''He was on the end of the pier when I left him.''

Glancing to the end of the pier they both saw it was empty.

''Are you new here?'' Jack asked, wondering if she knew her way home.

''No, my family and I come here each year around this time on vacation.'' He took a few more steps towards her, His face was clearer now she was closer to him; he looked young, probably around her age if not a little older.

''Where are you staying?''

''At my house just off 3rd Street.'' She told him.

Jack nodded to himself, knowing the area pretty well. ''All right come on I'll walk you home.''

Rose watched this young man who was a stranger to her. But yet when she looked into his eyes she felt as though she could trust him. A beautiful array of colour lit up the sky as they both realised the sun was setting.

''So do you have a name?'' The young boy asked. He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out two rolled up cigarettes as they walked towards Rose's house. The crowds lining the streets had thinned and now only the odd couple took a sunset stroll or an older man walked his dog for the evening. He offered a cigarette to Rose but she politely refused. She hated smoking and her mother hated the habit even more. Rose watched as he puffed on the cigarette. She noticed his jeans were frayed at the bottom and he had a hole on the kneecap, but once white shirt was un-tucked and rolled up to the elbows. His hair was overly long and his eyes were a piercing blue. For some reason she had to smile to herself a little.

''Rose is my name.''

Jack blew out smoke as he turned to face her. ''Rose.'' It rolled off his tongue so naturally. ''That's a perfect name.''

''How about you?''

''I'm Jack, Jack Dawson.''

The name was simple, but he was simple guy. ''Well I'd like to thank you Mr Dawson for…''

'What? Mr Dawson?' Jack cut in laughing, ''Call me Jack, I'm not famous or anything.''

Rose frowned feeling awkward using someone's first name when talking to them. 'Alright then Jack.' She liked the feeling though, it was like breaking one of her mother's rules. But then again walking home after sunset with a man she barely knew was breaking her mothers rules and she had to admit she liked it. ''I want to thank you walking me home. Yesterday I was…grabbed from behind by a man…''

''Did you know him?''

''No not at all. He just approached me from behind and put his hands on my…'' She trailed off, not wanting a reminder of the whisky stench on his breathe. ''I'm glad my father wasn't there, he would have killed him.''

''So would I Rose. What happened?''

''My friends warned him off. But if he had been there tonight then…I'm glad I had someone to walk me home.''

The words rolled from her mouth before she could stop then and her heart began to race wondering why she had said the words.

''He's trouble Rose. I'm just glad nothing else came of the situation.''

Rose shivered from the evening coolness. Jack removed his jacket from over his shoulder and offered it to Rose.

''Oh no thank you, that wont be necessary.'' But before she had finished, he placed it around her shoulders. ''Thanks.'' She pulled the garment further around her body.

Jack took a last puff from his cigarette. ''So do you come here every summer?''

''Yes, we have each year since I was about eight.'' She saw her house and crossed over the empty street. Jack followed her, eyeing up the size of the neighbourhood. ''So do you live here?''

''Yes I have for just over a year. I was born in Wisconsin near Chippewa Falls. My folks died 5 years ago and I have wondered ever since. Like a tumbleweed blowing in the wind.'' He smiled and she thought her heart would melt for him. She admired that having gone through so much at such a young age that he could talk so openly about it.

''This is me.'' Rose pointed behind her at the large white house surrounded by palm trees. Jack followed Rose's finger and raised his eyebrows, now knowing they were worlds apart.

''Phew.'' He knew just how wealthy her family must be to own a holiday home like the one before them. Rose removed the jacket from her shoulders and held it out to Jack who took it from her. Their fingers touched for barely even a second and Rose felt electricity move through her body. 'Thanks for everything.'

''Its nothing.'' He shoved his hands into his pockets. Silence fell over them for a few moments, neither of them knowing what to say. Their bodies were just a few feet apart and for some reason Rose felt giddy. She didn't want to go into the house, she wished she could stay out and get to know Jack more but she doubted she would see him again after this evening, he would grow to be a distance memory, just someone who helped her one night back in 1936.

''It was nice meeting you.'' Rose held out her hand and to her surprised Jack shook it. His hands were rough to touch but were so gentle.

''It was nice meeting you too.'' Without saying another word, she turned and made her way into the house, knowing Jack was still stood watching her. She opened the door before clicking it shut quietly before leaning her full body weight against it and sighing, she didn't know why she felt so giddy. Maybe she had too much sea air. The house was quiet except for a few creaks. She thought her mother had retired to her room and she knew her father would be in his study. Climbing the first flight of stairs to her father study, she found the door ajar. She tiptoed into the room and found her father fast asleep with his head in his paperwork spread out on the desk, in his left hand she found his trusty bottle of whisky. Had he drank himself to sleep again?

Carefully, she removed the bottle from his hand and gently shook his body to wake him but instead a loud snore escaped his lips. She decided to leave him to sleep and she leaned down and kissed his cheek, smelling the vile substance on his breathe. She pulled a face as she placed the bottle of whisky in the cupboard before closing the study door and going to bed herself.