Chapter 7

Mother's young image kept popping up in my mind, even as Violet, Iris, and I waited for the young woman to bring in her wedding dress. There was something different in her eyes… Something she didn't have before. I knew that for the rest of this voyage I would follow Uncle Jack around. But I needed a better, stealthier plan. What if I got caught…

My thoughts were stored in my brain as I heard the sound of a familiar voice saying, the first half of the sentence cut off, "…but this isn't fair!"

Another voice much older told the young woman simply replied, "We're women. Nothing is ever fair."

The young lady entered wearing a stunning dress with many bright colors that brought out her creamy white skin and dark auburn curls that were pulled up in a bun. A sash with a yellow rose flower hung around her waist. Her eyes were a stunning emerald green that started to turn blue from her emotions. We were both staring at each other, as if we knew each other…but we didn't. Not yet, that is.

"Miss," Violet was saying to the older woman. "Please settle down! We will take care of this without your help. All we need is Miss DeWitt Bukater."

"Mrs. Hockley," the older woman corrected. Grandma.

I looked back at my young mother. She studied me with fascination.

"Why do you look so much like—"

"Like you?" I finished her question.

"Yes…"

"I-I'm sorry. It's not safe to say…," I stuttered.

She nodded her head. "Very well, then." Then she faked a smile. "Coincidence, I'm sure."

I turned my gaze to my younger grandmother leaving in an outrage, Iris letting out a pent-up breath.

"Phew. I thought she'd never leave!" Violet exclaimed, pretending to wipe a dollop of nonexistent sweat from her forehead.

Meanwhile, Mother walked to the center of the room with a full-length mirror in front of her. Now I saw why Father had fallen in love with her. She had this whole attitude that reminded me of a flame.

Iris giggled as her and Mother talked and Violet and I worked on the wedding train.

"So he proposed and you almost thought of screaming?" Iris giggled.

"Yes. Worst day of my life when I had to say yes…"

I finally dropped my needle and said, "I can't do this." Mother's blue eyes looked down at me, curious. "I can't let you marry Cal!" I said.

"I know it's not fair, but…," Mother trailed off.

"But Mother—"

I stopped and slapped my hand over my mouth, closing my eyes exasperatingly. All of this was too confusing! Mother, Rose, Father, Jack? What difference could it make?

The difference was that I don't exist. Not yet.

"What?" Mother asked, confused.

"I mean, Miss. I promise you that you will find true love on this ship, and that true love would give you the strength to break the engagement."

"What are you, Sophie, a psychic now?" Iris spat, barking out a laugh. But Mother didn't acknowledge Iris's comment, just kept staring at me with her unreadable eyes.

That's when I reassured her and said, "Somebody will. I promise."

For a moment, I thought I saw a star of hope in her eyes. But if I did, it quickly faded.

That night I followed Uncle Jack at ten o'clock to the poop deck, where he lit a cigarette and stared at the stars as he laid on the bench.

Everything seemed dreadfully peaceful—until a few minutes passed.

Crying. That's all I heard. Heels against wood, sobs drowning out the clacking sound. Oh no.

A young woman wearing the same dress Violet and Iris fixed that morning ran by, startling Uncle Jack and making him get up and follow her.

Rose.

What was she doing? I saw her run off to the far back end of the ship, but she disappeared from sight. I silently followed Uncle Jack to where he found Mother threatening to throw herself off the ship. Iris should have never made that suggestion.

Mother's red curls flew everywhere, and tears stained her cheeks with mascara. Uncle Jack must have thought that this was the perfect time to startle her, save her, and, eventually, win her, for he said, "Don't do it."

This alarmed her all right, and she threw her head back, almost letting go of the railing.

"Stay back! Don't come any closer!" she cried desperately.

Uncle Jack was quiet, but he then took a step forward and said, "Take my hand. I'll pull you back in."

"No! Stay where you are. I mean it! I'll let go…"

"No you won't."

Rose looked at him strangely and, now annoyed but a little happy someone was trying to save her, said, "What do you mean, no I won't? Don't presume to tell me what I will and will not do. You don't know me!"

But I knew that she wanted this man to know her. I just saw it, even when Father didn't.

"You would have done it already. Now come on, you don't want to do this. Take my hand," Father, or Uncle Jack, said calmly.

Rose—or Mother—wiped her tears from her eyes, almost falling as she did.

"You're distracting me. Go away." She didn't sound so annoyed before, but I now knew that she wanted to be alone to clear her mind and think.

"I can't. I'm too involved now. If you let go, then I'll just have to jump in there after you." Jack/Father started to take off his coat and untie his shoelaces.

"Don't be absurd," Rose now said, worried. "You'd be killed."

"I'm a good swimmer." Jack started with his first shoe after taking off his jacket.

"The fall alone would kill you."

"It would hurt. I'm not saying it wouldn't. To be honest, I'm a lot more concerned about that water being so cold."

Rose stopped breathing and stared into the distance, her hair flying everywhere, her face now pale from fear. While looking at Jack from the corner of her eye, she asked him, "How cold?"

"Freezing. Maybe a couple degrees over." Jack now started with his other shoe. "You, uh, ever been to Wisconsin?" he asked randomly.

Rose, now confused, said, "What?" in a exaggerated way.

"Well, they have some of the coldest winters around. I grew up there near Chippewa Falls. Once when I was a kid, my father and I went ice-fishing out on Lake Wissota. Ice-fishing is when—"

"I know what ice-fishing is!" Rose yelled, annoyed at this man.

"Sorry. You just seem like," Jack said while indicating her, "an indoor girl. Anyway, I fell through some thin ice and I'm telling ya, water that cold, like right down there, it hits you like a thousand knives stabbing you all over your body…"

A pause. Mother looked like she might collapse or faint from what she was hearing.

"You can't breathe."

Silence.

"You can't think."

Silence.

"At least not about anything but the pain." He stopped to see if he had convinced her. Not completely, but really close.

"Which is why I'm not looking forward to jumping in there after you. But like I said, I don't have a choice. I guess I'm kind of hoping you'll come back over and, uh, get me off the hook here."

Rose hadn't spoke during the whole speech, and she now just stared at the ocean in thought. I'm sure she was thinking of that little girl who looked so much like her that said she'll find love on this voyage. I'm a hundred percent sure of it.

Rose's response to all this: "You're crazy."

Jack smiled. "That's what they all say." He came closer to her and finished his speech by saying, "But with all due respect, miss, I'm not the one hanging off the back of a ship here."

Rose didn't respond at first, so Jack had to go through the trouble by saying, "Come on, now. Give me your hand."

His hand now leaned out to her reach, and she took it, slowly turning to start climbing over.

They locked eyes long enough for Father to say, "Phew. Jack Dawson."

"Rose DeWitt Bukater."

"I'm going to have you write that one down."

Father smiled and Mother gave a little laugh at the joke, though it was so out of character with her smeared mascara and tear-stained cheeks it was almost comedic.

That's all I could take. I darted down the stairs and across the freezing deck, not even looking back when I heard my mother's screams as she slipped. But I had a feeling that Jack would pull her over. There's no stopping it now. Rose met Jack and now he's going to die…unless I could stop it.