Chapter 3

Good-morning…

Rue's Point of View

I woke up later to see it was dark outside. In the bed beside me was my mother, bed beside her was Bodine, the bed beside him was Brock. I wondered where Jack was. I sat up and saw Jack sleeping in an armchair with a sketchpad in his lap. His head lolling to the side, blond hair in his face. I slid out of bed and walked over to him. I leaned over his shoulder and looked at his drawing.

It was me. I was lying in bed with my wavy locks splayed about me. My lashes were resting on the hollows of my eyes. My legs were in a graceful 'V'. One arm across my stomach. The other above my head. I looked beautiful. I had never seen myself look so divinely stunning. I turned my eyes from the sketch to Jack's somber expression of sleep.

I bit my lip and exited the room. I couldn't be falling in love with Jack. No. It didn't make any sense. How could I love someone I had just met? I couldn't. I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed as I silently went to sit on the foot of my bed. I began to recall my dream…

Rue's Dream…

"This is it, Rue! You have to keep swimming no matter how bad it hurts!" Jack called as the ship began to make a descent into the Atlantic.

We were on the Titanic.

"I love you, Jack," I shouted.

He did not have time to respond. The boat was submerged. I kicked and kicked and rose above the water looking everywhere for Jack. He was nowhere in sight! My head was pushed under water. I resurfaced gasping for air. A man was trying to use me as floatation device. I rose again and gasped. He pushed me down. I rose again and swung my arms around.

I hurt a loud smack and saw Jack punch him. Everyone was shrieking in pain and thrashing in the water. Jack grabbed my wrist and began to tow me towards a floating object.

"Climb on," he said pointing to a floating door.

I clambered on. He followed but the door sank. We both shouted. I fell off and I began to look for something he could hold onto.

"You stay on, Rue," he said adjusting himself to where he was floating halfway in the water.

"No," I replied.

"Rue, stay on the door!" he said forcefully.

I slid off and shook my head.

"No, Rue! Get back on the damn door!" he cried.

I steadied myself in the same position as him.

"Rue, there's no point in both of us dying!" Jack hissed.

"There's no point in me living without you," I replied.

The look of anger on his face softened. He reached across the door and took my hands.

"Nobody is gonna have to live without anyone. Get back on the door. We'll both make it. I'm stronger. I'll be fine."

I shook my head.

"No, Jack."

He sighed and squeezed my hand. The water calmed. People froze. I looked around scared. I looked at Jack. His eyes shut slowly.

"Jack?" I whispered.

He remained motionless.

"Jack?" I whispered again.

A searchlight shown on us.

"Jack!" I hissed shaking his hand.

He was still breathing.

"Is there anybody alive out there?" a man's voice called from the boat.

I looked at Jack. He kept breathing steadily.

"I'll never let go, Jack," I breathed.

I grabbed his hands and pulled him onto the door. He was floating safely on the top. He shook furiously.

"I'll never let go," I repeated.

I began to swim with the door. Kicking and pushing it towards the rescue boat.

"I love you," I said almost inaudibly.

The boat's light was directly on us.

"I see them!" the man in the boat cried.

I kicked harder and harder.

"I won't let go," I repeated firmly.

Jack's head lifted slightly and he looked at me.

"Rue, get on. Get on. Put me off, you get on instead. Rue, what are you doing?" he said hoarsely.

"Saving your life. Look. There's a boat!" I said sputtering water.

He turned his head in the direction of the lifeboat, now only feet away. It rowed towards us. He turned his head back to me and a small smile broke out on his lips. He pressed his cool lips to my hand and shook with a small laugh. I smiled and laughed back.

The man in the boat pulled him inside. Then me. We lay beside each other in the lifeboat. A green flare went off illuminating our faces. He looked at me and kissed my cheek.

"You saved me," he whispered.

I nodded slowly.

"You saved me… not like Rose. You-you sacrificed for me."

I nodded again, this time looking at him. He smiled and kissed my hand again.

"I love you so much more than her," Jack added looking me intensely in the eyes.

"I love you," I replied.

Back to real life…

I sat on the couch and clutched handfuls of my hair. I let out a long and frustrated sigh. I didn't love him. I wanted to but I didn't really. Or did I? Nothing was certain. I sat there and stared at the pantry. The curtain swung open. I looked over. Good… It was Jack.

"Hey," he said strolling in.

He was wearing jeans and a blue sweater. I gave him a nod of recognition.

"Oh, stole it from Brock's suitcase. The scrubs… um… not right for me," grinned Jack.

I smiled at him softly. I had a terrible poker face.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Fine," I replied too quickly.

He raised his brows and sat beside me on the couch. I looked over at him unwillingly.

"Are ya sure?" he asked again.

"Mmhm."

His ice blue eyes pierced into me as if seeing something I didn't want him to.

"Did my sketch upset you? I hope you don't think I'm a stalker. I just thought your form was to poetic to pass up."

"No, no, no! I love the sketch. You made me look so beautiful in it."

"I didn't make you look beautiful. You already do," he said brushing a strand of hair behind my ear.

"Jack…" I murmured turning my head away.

"What is it, Rue?" he asked.

I looked back to him and drew in a deep breath.

"I know what you are feeling. It's not out of love. It's out of desperation, so stop."

Jack frowned and squinted at me. He shook his head let his blond locks sway.

"Rue, I-I-I don't know what you are talking about," Jack said.

"I'm talking about you falling in love with me… in a little over a day no doubt!" I whispered.

He looked at his feet.

"Who the hell said I was in love with you," he grumbled.

Rue had never been one to hold back. She drew in a deep breath and shook her head.

"Jack, I'm no mind reader but… it's the way you look at me with those eyes! Those beautiful blue eyes! The way you comfort me! The way you called me beautiful! It's all because I'm Rose's great granddaughter, and not because of me!" I whispered loudly.

Jack squinted at me and shook his head.

"Ever think I was just bein' nice, Rue?" he asked.

I stared at him with a clenched jaw. What had I done?

"Jack, I'm sorry. I'm just emotional," I sighed.

He shrugged.

"Because you're in love with me," he said.

My eyes widened and I looked at him. He wore a small grin.

"I never said that," I replied.

"Coincidence! I never said I was in love with you either," he said poignantly.

I laughed a little to myself.

"Sleep deprivation and the discovery of your great grandmother's cryogenically frozen love is kind of exhausting. I guess it made me loopy."

He grinned.

"Honestly, I can believe that."

I had been so foolish. This was just who Jack was. A genuine flirt. I was so wrong. I was so embarrassed.

"Friends," I said firmly looking ahead.

"Yes," he replied.

I wasn't altogether happy with that verdict though…

Jack's Point of View

"Friends," she said with a tough expression.

I was glad she wasn't looking at me. I was frowning deeply.

"Yes," I replied looking to the ceiling.

She let out a long breath. What was I thinking? I did love Rue. I had just been given the perfect opportunity to tell her and then I screwed it up. Then again. Maybe it was too soon. She would have shied away if I'd told her. She was obviously freaked about being with a guy who was over a century old. I looked over at her. Her long red locks fell over one shoulder. Her sea foam eyes looked straight ahead.

Altogether stunning in a way Rose hadn't been. I had been sitting here, comparing her to Rose…when she wasn't Rose. Not even close. She was Rue. She was headstrong but not irrationally so like Rose. She was made of iron, but even more tender than Rose. She was fragile as glass, but hard as stone. She hid no emotions. Rue didn't need me to teach her how to express herself. She was a creative and poetic artist.

She was not Rose. She just wasn't. She was someone the same but vastly different. That was contradictory but if you have ever been in love then you know what I mean. She turned those eyes to me. A certain sorrow lurking behind them. A secret of sorts.

"Rue, don't take this the wrong way… but…"

"Yes?"

"If I was in love with you, it wouldn't be because you remind me of Rose. You aren't her."

Rue looked at me. To anyone else this would have come out and offended them… but Rue saw what I meant. That I meant she was not her great grandmother. She was Rue.

"Thank you, Jack," she said softly.

I felt something swell inside me. Even more so than the first time I'd seen Rose. Something about Rue… something was so… astonishing.

"I really appreciate that," added Rue softly.

I took her hand and pressed it to my lips before letting go. I had been so wrong. I thought she loved me. Especially by what she had said in her sleep. No cigar. No dice. No luck. I should have known. It was only a dream. People dreamed. Wow. I was such a dope.

Rue looked at me with curious eyes. She was beautiful. I wondered what she was thinking. It had to be something about me.

"You got a question for me?" I grinned.

"Yeah… actually…" she said with a grim laugh.

"Shoot," I replied.

"Um… did it hurt? Freezing to death?"

I bit my lip and tossed my head from side to side.

"At first… yes. Like a thousand knives stabbing me all over my body… Then after an hour… I felt numb… Then an hour later… I was sleepy. Then an hour after that… I had fallen asleep. Then I heard a whispering about never letting go…then I felt myself sink and sink… So, in the end… it was like sleeping," I shrugged.

"That's awful," she replied.

"Could have been worse. My Italian friend, Fabrizio, he fell when the ship was at a ninety degree angle and hit a steam pipe. My Scottish friend was shot. I could have died a whole lot worse."

"Still…"

"In the end… I'm alive. I get to start over."

She smiled.

"That's a great outlook."

"Well, you better show me the ropes, Rue. I still don't know what the hell I'm doin'," I grinned.

"I would be happy show you the ropes, Mr. Dawson."

We sat staring at each other for a moment.

"Rue, you are astounding," I said.

She blushed. Someone should have told her that a long time ago…