Chapter 26

Over the next few weeks, Rose adjusted well to life with Jack. She had felt uncomfortable attending gala's and business dinners with him at first as she was sure that people were staring at her, talking about her and it made her extremely nervous.

"Don't be silly, everything will be fine." Jack had told her. After she had gone along to a few events, she finally managed to feel settled and even started to make some friends – something her mother would have never allowed her to do. Whenever she had accompanied Cal to these things, Ruth had always drilled it into her that she was there to help Cal make a good impression. She was there to look good on his arm. People will always want to do business with someone who seems to have a stable life according to Ruth. But Jack never put that pressure on her, and she was happy to try and go along with these events again if it was important to him. Mind you, Jack wasn't keen to get involved at the beginning either. After Rose had appeared on his doorstep, he decided that he had to face up to the fact that it was likely his father was lost. They had contacted the white star line and national newspapers who all held survivors and victims' lists but John hadn't appeared on either of them. Someone from the New York Times had told him that it was likely that his father's body hadn't been recovered. He had told them how several boats had searched the waters in the days following the sinking trying to recover as much as they could but the bodies that they found were too decayed to try and bring back. Because of this, they allowed them to be buried at sea. Jack had to hold in tears whilst he was being told this, struggling to think of his father like that. Rose had clung to his hand as they had been told the news, trying to reassure him that she would be there for him and as much as he kept himself composed on the journey home, Rose could hear him break down in his bedroom when they had arrived home and it broke her heart to think of him so vulnerable. Eventually John's lawyer had told Jack that he had to face up to things and deal with his father's estate. After much persuasion, Jack had finally agreed and Mr Brooks, his father's lawyer, had arrived at the house to go through all the paperwork. Naturally, everything that was his father's automatically came to Jack whether he wanted it or not. The house was his, all the servants, the car, all the money and of course his father's business. Jack was thrown in at the deep end, automatically becoming chairman of Dawson Steel before the month was out. Trying to be as supportive as possible, Rose couldn't have planned for just how lost she felt after Jack started getting more involved in the business. He was away a lot and she spent most of her time alone in that huge house, trying to find things to do. Eventually she found herself making close friends with her maid, Annie. She reminded her of Trudy, the young maid that had been lost with the ship and despite social boundaries telling her that she shouldn't be friends with the help, Annie was the only person within a 5 mile radius that was around Rose's age and she enjoyed spending time with her, helping her with sewing and she taught her how to cook some simple dishes for Jack. Rose knew she had to keep involved with people or she would eventually go mad. She didn't want to seem ungrateful to Jack by complaining. She had everything she could ever want. She was living in this beautiful house and had the love of a wonderful man but every so often the loneliness bothered her and she found herself pacing the rooms thinking of those friends that she lost that cold April night. She never heard from her friends that she was travelling with again. She knew they couldn't have survived and it pained her to think of little Eddie but through her tears, a small smile would creep onto her face as she thought of his mischievous little grin. She forced the thoughts to the back of her mind and wandered outside into the sunlight. It was the middle of July, almost 3 months since the ship had gone down, and Rose was thankful that both she and Jack had been moving on from that fateful night and getting on with their lives despite that every so often she could hear him crying himself to sleep through the walls. She wanted to go to him and make feel better but she knew it was best to leave him. He had to be able to get over this himself and she had to allow him to do it in his own way. Rose wandered through the gardens, smiling as she looked over the flowerbeds that the gardeners had been tending over the last couple of weeks. Rose lifted her dress up slightly above her feet as she walked through the grass which was still damp from the slight rainfall that they had the previous night. She walked down towards the river which ran through their grounds. Rose loved this part of the garden because it was as though she had her own private river as no one else could get to this part of it. She and Jack would sometimes come down here when it was sunny and she would sit down on a blanket that they had brought and Jack would draw her. Her desk drawer was full of little sketches that Jack had drawn for her and she found herself looking through them at night when he was gone. She leaned against the tree that she normally sat by and stared out across the water, trying to gather her thoughts.

"Rose?" the voice came from nowhere and startled her. She turned in the direction that she thought it came from and looked around. Seeing nothing, she sighed and turned back to the river.

"Rose!" the voice got louder and Rose turned again, looking all around her. And then she saw him.