It can take just seconds to fall in love with someone... But it can take a lifetime to get over them once they're gone.
This was a lesson that a 45 year old Rose Dawson knew all too well. The year is 1939, and Germany and Britain are having heated discussions over a possible declaration of war. But in New York, it didn't really matter. The hustle and bustle of this ever thriving City could never be brought to a hault, war or no war.
Rose had adapted to life in the Big Apple ever since departing the Carpathia on that cold, rainy night of April 1912. She headed straight from the ship and into a homeless shelter with many other survivors who had nowhere else to go. With the Heart of the Ocean burning a hole in Cal's overcoat pocket, she had been tempted so many times to pawn it off and live off of the money... but she wasn't Rose DeWitt Bukater anymore. Cal's money couldn't save her now. She was a different person, and she had to start thinking that way. As far as Rose Dawson was concerned, there was no man named Caledon Hockley. Not that she knew of. And she never knew her mother, or her father. She grew up in an orphanage, adopted at the age of 10 and raised by a woman named Trudy Bolt. Trudy and Rose both moved from Philadelphia to London, where she lived with Trudy for 8 happy years, until Trudy sadly died of Tuberculosis. Rose took what money was left to her in Trudy's Will and fled Ireland, feeling alone and wishing to go back to Philadelphia to try and find that piece of herself that was missing. So she booked a passage on the RMS Titanic... and the rest is history.
Would anyone buy that story? Rose wasn't even sure if she bought it. It was a terribly tragic life to lead. Both parents, either dead or unloving towards you, adopted and taken to an alien country, and then your adoptive mother dies, and when you try to travel to your homeland the ship your on sinks and 1500 people die, you almost being one of them... it would make a great movie, but Rose felt she needed to have a background to make her new character seem more real.
But what of the second name? Why isn't her name Rose Bolt? Well of course, in London she met a man. A man named Jack Dawson. They met when she was 16 and married when she was 17. He was the love of her life, so full of charm and charisma, talent and tenderness. But he was one of the unfortunate 1500 souls that perished on April 15th... so not only is she missing both her parents, her real family, her adoptive mother, she is also missing a husband. Oh it only got worse!
So with this story in mind, repeating it to herself night after night in her make-shift bed upon the floor, she got a sense of her situation. Penniless, homeless, heartbroken and alone... things could only get better, and they did! There was a "Waitress Wanted" advertisement in a restaurant window. She jumped at the opportunity, and as she approached the desk, before she had even opened her mouth, the owner of the establishment told her she was hired. She looked able, happy and attractive... he was right on 2 of them at least. She was still miserable inside, but showing it wasn't going to help anyone.
She worked every hour that God sent her way, and that helped her to pay for an apartment just a couple of blocks away from the restaurant. She was glad to be standing on her own two feet again, out of the homeless shelter that so many of Titanic's survivors still dwelled in. It was July of 1912 by this point, and a bright, warm Summer meant that long walks in Central Park were a welcome break from dishing out orders and collecting empty plates in Antonio's Diner. Her boss was a lovely man of Italian origin who always made Rose feel like part of the family within the workplace. The other waitresses had been working there for much longer, and she was intimidated by their superior posture and ability to stack plates taller than the skyscrapers outside and STILL carry them with ease. But she soon learned the trade just as well as them, and the generous tips of satisfied customers were always a nice surprise. They helped her buy nice clothes and the little things that she didn't have any more. She had to start from the bottom and work her way up.
Before April 15th 1912, she had everything, but now the Ocean owned everything that she had. Dresses, shoes, money, her precious Picasso paintings, her jewellery. All she had left was the ball and chain of the blue rock of ice in Cal's overcoat pocket which hung on the back of her bedroom door, and never left her sight. It was a constant minder of what she once had, and what she never wanted to be trapped in again. Sometimes when she was out and about in the City, she's see a man who looked like Cal, and her heart would literally try to jump out of her throat and she would stop in her tracks, only to realize she was mistaken. And she often thought of her mother and if a phone call would be out of the question. But she had to let go of the past... she had to let go... she had already let go of the most important man in her life... the rest would soon fade into nothing but a distant memory.
In the Spring of 1922, 10 years after that fateful night in the North Atlantic, Rose was slaving away in Antonio's Diner as usual, her shift only an hour or so away from finishing. New York had become an exciting place by now, with the "roaring twenties" in full swing. She adored the Art and Music movements that were happening in all of the clubs and bars, and she could now afford to go shopping with her friends from work who she had grown close to. After finding a dress with enough razzle dazzle, and their hair and makeup done, they would hit the clubs and enjoy the live entertainment and stage acts. This new revival in art, music and the nightlife was a great way of dealing with the morbid thoughts of the War that had just ended a couple of years before. Rose knew several men that went to fight and didn't return home. It was this particular Friday night however when she was closing up shop that she realized she was being watched. There was a man who had been in the Diner all day, ordering coffees, ordered his lunch AND dinner, and all day he had been watching the girls and writing notes. Rose was curious as to what he was doing, but he was a paying customer and a generous tipper, so she didn't complain or question him. But when she told the man that he had to drink up and go as she was shutting up shop, he finally spoke:
"What's your name, Kiddo?"
"Dawson, Rose Dawson." She replied coyly.
"Perfect! What a beautiful name! I knew with a face like yours that there'd be a name to match." The man jumped up from the table and held out a hand. "Nice to meet you Rose! I'm Richard Calvert, but you can call me Rich." He said as he straight his silk tie and dusted down his gold buttons upon his waistcoat.
Rose laughed slightly. "Rich? Is that your nickname or your financial situation?"
He thought on that question for a moment. "Little bit of both to be honest... not to brag."
"Oh, please, don't hold back! I earn two dollars an hour and make at least ten dollars alone on tips each day. I'm not offended."
"Good... but hearing you say that, it sounds so wrong! Two dollars an hour? You should be making more than that!" He picked up the countless papers he had been working on and handed them to her.
"What's this?" She asked, befuddled by this mysterious, yet charming and somewhat handsome man.
"It's a play I've been working on. It's set in a diner, and I wanted to sit in her today and listen to how you girls work. Your mannerisms, your phrasing, 'two large paddy-wacks and a wigwam to go!'" He imitated Rhonda's thick New York accent, the oldest worker in the place.
Rose laughed at his impression til her cheeks hurt. "My God, you really have been absorbing the environment in here."
"It seems like a great little place. It's no wonder business is always booming in here... but there's one thing in particular that caught my eye today." He stepped forward ever so slightly.
"If it's the coffee stains in the mugs then I can only apologise. Antonio refuses to buy new ones, and those stains just won't come out. I've tried. He says they add 'character'." She sat his script on the table and went to pick up his mug and plate.
Quickly, he moved his hand down onto hers and stopped Rose in her tracks. "I dunno if you're blind... but I've not been able to take my eyes off of you all day... Haven't you noticed?"
Rose felt herself blushing and pulled her hand away shyly. "I can't say I have, no... All I see in a days work is spare change and dirty dishes."
Richard smiled warmly at her remark. "You see? That right there!"
"There's just something about you... I dunno what it is, but I can feel it... I've watched you interact with customers, some complete strangers and other regulars... but each one you treat as an individual, not just another person. You have a way with people, and they love that... they look into those deep blue eyes like the sun will never go down. They listen to your gentle, sweet, voice, but behind it all there's a sharp focus at all times, making sure you don't mess up or disappoint anyone... you don't mean to do it... but you make everyone you meet fall for you... You're special, Rose... you're so special."
She was speechless. . . No one had ever complimented her, or spoke to her, or looked at her in such a way since... suddenly, old feelings and extinguished flames came rushing back all at once, and she turned around and walked towards the kitchen with Richard's mug and plate, distracting herself. "Thank you very much, Richard, but I really should be-"
"I want you to be the leading role in my new play!" He cut her off.
. . . once again, words failed her. She almost dropped the china in her hand. "What?"
"You have a look that most Hollywood broads would die for, and a voice that an entire theatre would adore listening to for days... I know I adore it." He winked cheekily.
Again, she felt herself blush. "Why, thank you very much, it's a lovely gesture, but... I couldn't possibly."
"Well... for a start, I'm not an actress."
"Everyone's got to start somewhere."
"I've never acted in my life!"
"There's a first time for everything!"
She knew that she was losing, and in retreat she headed for the kitchen. "I couldn't possibly hold a leading role in a play."
"Rose, you hold a leading role in this place every day of every week, and people ALWAYS come back to see more of you."
"They want the food, not me."
"That's not true. The food isn't the best I've ever tasted... it's not the worst, but it's not worth coming back day in and day out for. Rose the way they look at you, it's not creepy at all, but they admire you! And I would be paying more than this place."
"Being an actress is different though... I'd have to learn lines and remember them, I'd end up forgetting them all on stage." She was into the kitchen now, and noticed that he had followed her in, but she didn't care. She was enjoying arguing with him... Cal would have hit her by now... although Cal wouldn't be offering her a job. "Wait... you'd be paying me?"
Richard nodded. "Rose, you remember lines everyday! 'May I take your order?' and 'would you like fries with that?' You don't realize it, but everyday is a play! The whole world is a stage, and all us people are merely the players in this never ending story."
As she washed the dishes, she took in what he was saying. All her engaged life with Cal she had lied to him, saying she loved, and telling him that she was attracted to him, and tell people she was happy and looked forward to the wedding... was there really any difference between acting and lying? In fact, she had been acting since 1912. Rose Dawson was a fictional character that Rose had grown into... perhaps it wasn't so hard after all.
"Rose, please! I'm begging you! I've started writing this character with you in mind, and now I've given her your voice, your looks, your mannerisms, and no one else can play her but you!" He waited for a response and watched Rose as she tried desperately to rid the mugs of those mars, and tried her hardest to ignore him without laughing. He got down onto one knee, and Rose looked round at him in comic horror.
"My goodness, Richard! We've only just met!" she giggled.
"Rose Dawson... would you do me the honour of being the Star of my play and make me the happiest man on Earth?" He clasped his hands together like a beggar, pouting his lip when she averted her gaze from him.
"If I say yes will you get up from the floor?" She sighed.
In an instant Richard was up on his feet and holding Rose tightly as he hugged her. Her hands dripping wet and covered with bubbles she didn't know what to do. "You will NOT regret this sweetie, I promise! I'm gonna make you a star!"
"You may as well try. I guess I have nothing left to lose, apart from my dignity perhaps."
"You'll be brilliant, Rose, I know it!" He went to hug her again, but she raised a finger, stopping him. She took a hand towel, dried her hands, dropped the towel, and the signalled for him to hug her. He grabbed her around her waist, picked her up, kissed her on the cheek and spun her around.
Rose squealed in delight. "Put me down you lunatic!"
When he was finished he sat her down and ran out the kitchen, skipping with joy and shouting out in happiness. Mission accomplished! Richard had his Star, and Rose had a better paying job to work on alongside her waitressing job. Things seemed to be going very well for the 28 year old red head. Little did she know just how far things would go for her in the acting industry.