In the stars

Everything was white. There were a lot of dark colors coasting around, but all he could see was white. The white waves washing against the tiny rescue boats, the white lapel of the officer that pulled the passengers on board, the white shirts of the first class passengers who somehow lost their black overcoats in the struggle for life that had raged in the final death throes of the Titanic. White were the faces of women waiting to learn of their men's fate, white were the hands of a man on Cal's boat who turned out to have died during the night from cold and no one noticed till his name was called from Carpthia and his wife noticed him lying lifeless of the lifeboat. White was the colour of Cal's shirt, clinging wetly to his shivering flesh. White.. White as Rose's face when she said she'd rather die with a penniless man she just met than stay with him, the mighty, but oh so hated and despicable Caledon Hockley..

And now what what was she – one more of those white, white corpses, driftig round or in the doomed ship, her hands perhaps joined with the white hand of the equally dead Jack Dawson, her ivory body clad in Cal's black coat and the color scheme broken only by the vivid blue of the diamond in the coat's pocket - the diamond she did not know she had and Cal's only link to his now dead fiance.

Those were the thoughts of Caledon Hockley as his rescue boat neared the ship Carpathia and they continued as he was pulled on board, provided with blankets and soothing words. He did not sit down for one second.

Despite the exhaustion, the racking cough beginning to take hold of his lungs, he went down to the lower deck, to steerage, to search for her. He searched and searched, made one mistake after another but there she finally was. Standing alone, staring at the horizon, wearing his coat, and the same expression of defiance on her face.

He approached her, even though he knew the meeting would only end in daggers and bitter reprisals.

"So I lived. How awkward for you"

Such were her first words, bitter, spat out with violence from those lips he had once, long ago hoped to kiss but now could only observe and measure the level of disgust they directed at him.

She hated him, was the bitter truth.. Long before whatever happened on the Titanic. He was the thitry-something year old businessman who threatened her youth and freedom threatened every dream Jack Dawson had taught her she could follow. He was the enemy and no matter what he said it would be wrong.

"Your mother is woried for you," he offered, for the sake of a woman he came to know well and who, despite her many faults, loved her daughter and wanted the best for her, in her own way.

"You will tell her her daughter died with the Titanic, and I will keep your actions that night secret."

Rose delivered the ultimatum without tearing her gaze from the moon for a moment, not even gracing Cal with one glance, reminding him of his despicable actions in few plain, succinct words.

"Is this in any way unclear Mtr Hockey? - she asked, reminding him of one of their less pleasant conversations on the still intact Titanic when it had been he who had had the upper hand.

Oh, she was good, mimicking his tone to the note.

"I shall do as you ask." he said, fighting to keep his voice level, partly surprised at his own compliance, partly beyond caring, since whatever he said would not bring her back to him and would only result in a scene.

"Goodbye Mr Hockley" – she said in that perfectly polite voice of hers, the one she reserved for particularly annoying servants or aggravating members of high society.

"Goodbye, Rose – he refused to drop her given name and savored its sound on his tongue for one more minute before he turned and walked away, his sideways glance catching only a wisp of her red hair, the only thing he'd have to hold on to for all those months of missing her and raging at her and contemplating his own utter defeat.

That wisp of red hair became forever ingrained in his memory upon the background of star-strewn sky, contrasting with the iciness of stars. Somehow, his mind associated that union of the fiery redness and cold whiteness with lost freedom, as if he had suddenly become imprisoned, in the middle of this wide, wide ocean.