Cal stood as Lovejoy entered the quiet smoking room where he had been intolerantly waiting.
"She was found," Lovejoy stated, his cold eyes connecting with the stern ones of Caledon Hockley.
"Well?" he asked, his voice high with tension. "Has she been returned to the suite?"
Lovejoy shook his head, "They're waiting for you to accompany her. She isn't in the best of conditions."
Since Rose's sudden flee from dinner that evening, Cal had become suspicious of her whereabouts. His concerns were realized after Trudy, her servant, had confirmed she never returned to the suite.
This was very much like her. He once thought she'd grow out these outbursts, the first time it happened he found it almost endearing.
When he was in his late twenties – and always up for a challenge – there was no one more desirable than the young lady with hair that matched her name.
For some reason, he was brought back to the evening the pair had met. Rose was sixteen, though she never did show her young age. From the moment he laid eyes upon her, he was attracted to her fair skin, radiant hair, bright eyes, and, though it would be more trouble than he knew; her quick wit.
She held her head a bit higher as he took her hand and met her glove to his lips.
"This is my Rose," Ruth's graceful voice stated from her daughter's side, "She is ever so pleased to meet you Mr. Hockley." Ruth looked to her distant daughter, "Aren't we?"
Rose looked to her mother and smiled. She returned her gaze to the dashing Pittsburg heir.
"Of course," she said making committed eye contact with Cal, "I've heard very much of you, sir."
Cal raised his brow, "Well I hope those are all good things. Don't believe those viscous rumors spread by jealous buffoons… and call my Cal, please," he added with a curt nod.
Her smile faltered. She hadn't intended to believe the rumors of womanizing, extravagantly gaudy purchases, and a temper that couldn't be contained. Yet, as soon as she spotted him gallantly strutting toward her, she knew they were true.
Cal didn't mind that she came off as quiet that moment. It was, to him, the carefully placed cherry on top his pudding. She held wealth and a fine beauty. If she never spoke – he wouldn't miss it.
After dinner, they would speak for the first time in private.
This was what Cal had thought back to as he sat in the smoking room, impatiently tapping his shiny leather boot on Titanic's maiden floor.
He had watched Rose from across the table as she glanced around the room and whispered to her mother. His eyes never left her figure as she removed herself from their group and paced toward an open balcony.
"Excuse me ladies and gentlemen," he announced to the table, "but I think I shall go out for a breath of the English countryside."
It was dusk out and just the slightest chill carried on the small spring breeze.
He watched her from the entrance to the balcony as she fiddled with a match to light a cigarette on the end of its fashionable holder.
Strands of her slightly waved crimson hair played across the shoulders of the pale green dress she wore. After she had lit her cigarette, he watched as she pulled her dark emerald shawl tightly around her shoulders. She seemed relaxed for a brief instant as she took a long drag and blew smoke to the wind.
He laughed to himself at the sight.
She quickly looked to him, suddenly aware of his presence.
"Oh, sir," she quietly gasped as her hand flew to her chest.
"Are you a bit cold out here, sweet pea?" he asked stepping closer to her.
She pursed her lips, "I'm fine."
He shook his head, "Look at you, you're shivering. Why did you come out here?"
"Sometimes I just need to… leave."
He narrowed his brow and blinked several times, "Why?"
She shrugged and shook her head, "I suppose the stuffy air just gets to my head."
He grinned and walked closer to her until there was barley room between them.
She pressed against the fencing of the balcony feeling like the cornered prey of a wild animal. Her blue eyes gazed up to his half lidded ones.
"Here," he said in a low breath before removing her shall, tossing it over the fencing and taking off his own coat.
She watched his actions bewildered, "Mr. Hock- Cal, I – I was fond of that. What are you…?" she searched for a voice strong enough to stop him, but nothing she said seemed to connect to the soon to be steal tycoon.
Seemingly very pleased with himself, he pulled his coat around her shoulders and took her chin in his hand.
"There you are, my lovely young Rose."
She attempted a smile but it most likely came off as a scowl, "Thank you… I suppose."
"Don't mention it, sweet pea. In fact, you can keep it. They're a dime a dozen!"
She covered her chest with the clothing unsure with what she was going to do with a man's dress coat.
"Anything else you wish to give me?" she asked haughtily.
The right corner of his mouth pulled into a smirk.
"Not on this evening. Very well a future one."
She starred to his dark eyes. How much older was he than her? Not as old as they usually are. It was the only positive thing she could think of about the man. He wasn't old enough to be her father.
Even so, she was never less attracted to a man in her life.
After this, the two went back to the restaurant and parted shortly after. Within a month's time, Cal would propose to Rose, and in the next year, they would board Titanic to Philadelphia where there were to be wed.
Of course, he would eventually learn she wasn't one to hold her tongue. Only when she was displaced did she turn her head and exclude herself from conversation reserved for men. Otherwise, she often had a droll comment to quickly throw onto the table. Something he was fully embarrassed by.
If he could return to that first night, he wouldn't have got involved with the spoiled, mouthy, girl. He concluded she wasn't worth it - she would be poor without him - it was an idea that tickled him.
Yet, his emotions were very well about to surprise him, and everything he thought he felt for her was changed with his bodyguard's simple phrasing.
"A couple of deckhands found her with a steerage man, uh, about to have his way with her."
Cal's jaw opened slightly before he outwardly gasped, "What?"
"They heard a woman's scream then came upon the sight of him, his boots and coat removed—"
Cal pushed by Lovejoy with a dry cackle, "Goddamn her! That foolish woman! She deserves this!" he cried pulling on a coat and turning back to his henchman. His eyes were filled with worry as he ran out of insults to throw at his fiancé. Lovejoy only looked to him, uncertain.
"Where?" Cal questioned quietly before erupting with rage again, "WHERE, GOD ALMIGHTY, WHERE?"
Cal grabbed the older man by the collar with his shaking hands. "Tell me where she is I need to kill the bastard myself!"
Knowing Lovejoy often carried a pistol, he reached for the man's vest pocket.
"No," he said stopping Cal and pushing his hands away. "Don't do anything you'll regret. Don't throw it away for the likes of this little shit."
Cal staggered to the room's fireplace where he stood to catch his breath.
Lovejoy frowned deeply, "You must choose your battles. It's what separates men like him from us. Choices."
Cal looked back to the man with a crazed smirk.
"Choices?" he inquired with a short laugh. "Well I've made my choices all long ago."
After regaining an ounce of his composure, Cal ran a hand through his pristine hair, and stood again with his usual arrogant demeanor.
Lovejoy buttoned his vest still visibly surprised by his employer. "She's at the bow. Let us hurry."
"At your leave, Spicer," Cal spat before the pair made their way to Rose's aid.