Disclaimer: All Twilight names, places and characteristics belong to the talented Stephenie Meyer. I just play with her toys.
Authors note: Hello! Welcome to "The Random Works Of TantalizingTwilightFan". Below is a piece of writing I did back in April, around the same time that it was the 100th anniversary of Titanic's sinking. I was inspired to start a new story, however, I only ever managed to get one chapter finished, I also never managed to name it. However, it's a chapter that I loved writing and was proud of and so I wanted to share it. Maybe one day it will be continued, maybe not. But I felt it was no good for these words to sit on my laptop doing nothing. So here we go!
The date was Wednesday 12th April, 1912. There was a slight breeze in the air, not too cold but it was enough to make the little lady beside me ask for her coat as she tried to shield her eyes from the sunshine. It must have been quite a chill to her tiny body seeing as she was already wearing her coat. Mind you, it was a little on the thin side. I lifted her up effortlessly and held her to my own body. She was only five but she was perfectly light. I held her shivering body against my coat with one arm, I held our large sack over my shoulder with the other. I wasn't stocky or impressively strong, but I managed.
There were so many different sounds around us that it was virtually impossible to concentrate on just one. There were the happy, joyous cheers of families as they boarded, the emotional tears from those that were bidding their farewell and being left behind. I could hear the laughter of children and the hearty chuckles of gentleman.
People had travelled from everywhere for today. London, Scotland and Ireland. I thought I even heard some European accents. You automatically knew what ticket they held. They were like me. Had done everything in their power to get to today. The build up had been intense for months. Or at least for us. It had taken many months of saving the little money I had spare.
I looked all around, squinting my eyes to try and see where we were supposed to be. Then I saw it, the queue was obvious. Plain clothing, typically one bag of luggage. The men's beards were being checked for lice, but the crew member's arms were as far away from the individual as humanly possible.
We would avoid the health inspection. Little lady wouldn't like it if a stranger prodded and poked at my hair for creepy crawlies that weren't there. She would worry that I was being hurt. I took pride in myself as best as I could, I was confident that I would have no problems.
I set the little lady on the floor and took her tiny hand. She skipped alongside me, humming a song to herself. Sometimes the little squeak of her voice would escape and lyrics would come out too. She skipped along the concrete and it was nothing short of a miracle that she didn't fall over the hem of her new dress. It was at least a size or two bigger than she was but we had to make do. It was held and tied up around her waist with ribbon.
We stopped at the wooden ramp leading up to our designated entrance. In the far distance, I could already see the pearly white painted walls. I instructed the little lady to stay stood where she was for me and not to move. She had never been known to disobey a request and of course, she didn't start now. I dropped the sack of clothes and other unimportant belongings to the ground and rummaged deep into my pockets.
The tickets. They were important. I found them in the breast pocket of my shirt and unfolded them. I held the corner of them in my mouth while I picked the sack up again and gestured for the little lady to walk up the ramp towards the young gentleman in white uniforms. Extremely young they looked. No older than their midway twenties.
She followed my instruction and I walked along behind her. She stopped and looked up curiously at the men, they in turn looked down at her and she waved excitedly. They greeted her with a smile and took the little pieces of paper from me. They were read carefully once, and then again. Then the number of the cabin was read out.
Soon, both gentleman stepped aside and I took the little lady's hand.
"Welcome to Titanic," They greeted almost simultaneously with a nod.
I thanked the White Star Line employees and lifted little lady over the small gap between the walkway and the ship. She landed on the metal floor with a tiny thud. I glanced at the signs to figure out where it was we were actually supposed to go. My companion skipped around me in circles, only stopping when she spotted children her age.
"Titanic," I muttered to myself.
"I thought it was a ship, Daddy?"
I chuckled and ruffled her dark curls with my fingertips.
"It is a ship, Elizabeth. But ships have names. Titanic is a grand name, isn't it?"
My daughter pondered my question and looked up at the ceiling.
"I like Elizabeth," She squeaked.
I'm Edward Masen. I'm a lone father to my young daughter Elizabeth Rose. Together we are third class passengers on the RMS Titanic. We are bound for New York on the maiden voyage of the finest liner ever created. Waiting for us was a new life, a new beginning. A chance to create happy memories and earn a reasonably decent living so I could provide for Elizabeth.
Above me, I could hear the sounds of celebrations as my fellow passengers waved to the crowds below. I checked the clock on the wall. It was eleven fifty-five. We set sail in five minutes. There was no-one for Elizabeth and I to say goodbye to. We had done that some years ago now.
Elizabeth's mother died in childbirth. Her weak, fragile body, pregnancy and a mass loss of blood meant that she simply couldn't cope. She never got to meet her daughter. I didn't even meet my tiny bundle until she was seven days old. My experience with Elizabeth's mother was one night in a church courtyard. We were just children, we were twenty and didn't know the meaning of sensible, I was a cheeky young lad trying to make his millions in the world. We can see how much I failed at that. My baby daughter was brought to me by the priest who helped deliver her. He'd seen the helpless woman die while giving birth and later found a letter confiding to her mother about the pregnancy she had kept a secret in fear of being disowned. It also told the reader where to find me.
I was a shocked, petrified, snake of a man. But I couldn't deny my identity when my latest conquest beckoned my name from the pile of pillows behind me. I also couldn't deny the tiny, warm, wrapped up, sleeping bundle being held out to me. I took that little baby in my arms and instantly, I knew the eyes that stared up at me, completely alert.
They were my eyes.
Her little hand wriggled out of it's blankets and she held on to my finger so tight. An overwhelming surge of love flooded my entire being and right then I made a silent pact that I would forever be everything to this baby. I would be everything that my daughter could ever need. I named her Elizabeth Rose, after my own mother. I went from a boy to a man in less than a day.
Elizabeth was life. She always came first. I hadn't even allowed myself as much as a haircut in the last five years. I was sporting somewhat messy, long locks that one would suspect lice if my face wasn't so clean.
We were happy. That is what was important. Elizabeth never noticed that she didn't have a mother like other little girls and she didn't ask either. Instead she crawled into my lap and would nuzzle into my dusty button up shirt and sleep. Even though she was growing up so perfectly, she still seemed so little to me, so vulnerable. That is why I called her Little Lady, because she was my little lady, and the only lady I needed.
I felt the engines beneath us start to whirr. Elizabeth became wobbly on her feet as the ship slowly moved out of the port and out into the ocean. She tried finding her footing as the ships movements became smoother. She eventually toppled over and fell flat on her bottom. I begged that her lower lip wouldn't wobble.
"Come on, Little Lady. Let's go find our cabin," I smiled cheerily.
Elizabeth pressed her hands to the floor to push herself up and follow me down the hallway to the first set of third class cabins. I could hear her running behind me, telling Daddy to wait for her. I dropped our sack outside our designated cabin and bent down behind it, pretending to hide from my little sweetheart.
"Daddy!" She whined. Her voice was high pitched and impatient. She was close, I could tell. I peeked out above the sack and pretended to stumble back when I was surprised with her bright, green eyes.
"I'm sorry, Elizabeth. Daddy loves you," I assured her and kissed her soft, bouncy curls.
Her hair was naturally curly. If I recalled correctly, she inherited that from her mother, as well as the colour. She wore them loose around her shoulders, though sometimes I was creative enough to put a ribbon in her hair. That's as well as I could do.
I twisted the door open and peeked into the small room that we would call home for the next five or six days. It was not as bad as I was expecting. The room was clean, we had electricity, heat and a wash basin. There was something I wasn't expecting, though when I took a moment or two to think about it, I should have. There were two sets of bunked beds. Elizabeth and I would be sharing our new home with strangers.
I silently hoped that the people would be a timid couple or another parent and child.
I shoved our belongings under a set of beds and Elizabeth paced around the cramped space. I leaned against the metal frame of the beds and folded my arms while my curious daughter made her evaluations. The beds were already made up, Elizabeth could sleep in the top bunk. The rails seemed safe, I was confident that my Little Lady wouldn't fall out.
On the bottom bunk was todays newspaper. Titanic was of course on the front page, she had been making headlines for as long as I could remember. It boasted her luxury and stamina. The ship of dreams the journalist called her, or the Unsinkable Titanic. I didn't care what it was, just as long as it transported Elizabeth and I to a new life.
I lifted Elizabeth off her feet with a quick swoop and sat her on top of her new bed. Almost straight away she bounced on it to test the mattress.
"How is it, Little Lady?" I asked.
"S'good," She replied.
I had to admit that the new mattress did look a little thicker than the one she was used to. This really was luxury. I had to keep telling myself that I've tried my best these last five years and soon I would try even harder.
Soon I heard the slightly heavier breaths of Elizabeth as she fell asleep. I spent the time reading this ghastly newspaper and unpacking a few of our belongings. I heard some conversation out in the hallway. There was one bath for all third class men, and one for women. Perhaps I could clean Elizabeth with me or fill the wash basin. I was almost drifting off into a light state of sleep when Elizabeth jumped down from her bed with a light tap and grinned close to my face.
"I'm the Princess of my castle, Daddy!" She beamed before quickly frowning.
My daughter was ordinarily such a smiley child, why did she look sad? I sat up quickly.
"Daddy, I'm hungry,"
I checked the clock and saw that there was still a thirty minute time slot in which we could make our way to the third class dining room.
With my Little Lady toddling alongside me, we left our cabin, unlocked and followed the signs to the dining room. It seemed pretty decent. A spacious room, filled with long rows of tables and chairs for the seven hundred passengers. The room wasn't busy, a few small families were eating, minding their own business. I could hear a mother encouraging her young son to eat his brawn.
We found a table and almost instantly we were served by another man in his White Star Line uniform.
"What may I bring you, Sir?"
Sir? I wasn't used to being acknowledged with those manners. I supposed it didn't matter about our wealth entirely on Titanic, the staff were still here to serve us.
I browsed the short list of foods and wondered what to choose for Elizabeth. Three meals a day were included in the price of our travel ticket, at least I knew we would be well sustained.
"We'll both just have bread and butter and some rhubarb jam," I requested.
The gentleman nodded and left for only a few minutes. I can't have imagined our order was exactly time fufilling. The food made Elizabeth happy enough, she took great care in spreading her jam onto her bread, barely leaving a single crumb. I let her have mine too, she needed the nutrition more than I.
I wondered what the richer people of first class would be dining on. My mouth salivated at the thought. Anything that we were getting was better than cabbage soup.
Once Elizabeth was full up. I took her hand and made our way back to our cabin, we would change into some fresh clothes and then check out the third class general room. I let Elizabeth run on ahead of me, she had a natural sense of direction and seemed to know where she was going.
I heard voices in the distance, European accents. The door to our cabin was open, it seemed our cabin mates were here. Elizabeth stood close. We stood in line with the doorway, in front of us there was a man, maybe about my age moving around the room until he finally washed his hands in the basin. Elizabeth squeaked to say something, but I expected her to tell the man off for 'being in our room', so I gently covered her cheeky mouth with my hand and coughed to make my presence known.
"Afternoon," I greeted casually and encouraged Elizabeth to go into the room, I followed behind her.
The man stood up quickly, rubbing his wet hands on the thighs of his trousers and held a hand out to me.
"Afternoon, I'm Jasper, Jasper Hale," I took his hand and shook it. It was a good, firm handshake. His English was understandable, very understandable, though I couldn't place his accent.
"Edward Masen, and this..." I lifted Elizabeth up into my arms, she immediately became shy and hid her face into the collar of her dress, "This is my daughter, Elizabeth,"
"Well, it's a delight to meet you, lovely Elizabeth," Jasper cooed. Elizabeth rose her head and found our new aquaintance making funny faces. She giggled and applauded him.
"Do you have a child with you?" I asked out of curiosity.
It seemed to make sense to put small families in cabins together. But Jasper shook his head.
"Just me. I got a girl waitin' for me in New York," He boasted with a broad grin.
He looked like the flirty type, a womaniser of sorts. I started to feel uneasy that he could possibly bring back third class girls back to the cabin. My unsettled look didn't go unnoticed, Jasper chuckled and patted me on the shoulder.
"Don't worry yourself, son. I'll behave myself," He promised and I felt better.
I spent some time listening to Jasper talk. He was a carpenter and met a young lady called Alice some months ago. She'd already gone to America to begin a new life with her family and now Jasper was following with the intention of marrying the lovely girl. He showed me a photograph he carried around with him. She was an attractive girl. Young and fresh faced, her hair appeared cropped and dark. Jasper grinned the entire time he spoke of his lady. It was nice chatting to another adult. He accompanied us to what was known as the third class general room.
The room was spacious, well sized for the amount of third class passengers. The room was painted clean, pearly white like most other places I'd seen so far on Titanic and fitted with slat-seated benches and teak chairs. The walls were adorned with posters advertising White Star Line's vessels and ports of call. It especially showed us that we would port in Queenstown, Ireland this evening to board more passengers. The general room served as a lounge, nursery and recreational area for our class.
Elizabeth spotted some children her age playing in a corner and didn't hesitate to join them. I smiled watching her mix with other boys and girls. She looked throughly entertained as she borrowed another little girl's dolly.
Off the general room was a smoking room, from a distance, I could see that it had it's own bar and a spittoon. I smoked occasionally. Perhaps I would treat myself to a beer when Elizabeth is asleep later. The thought of doing something for myself made me crave tobacco.
"I'm heading up for a smoke, you coming?" Jasper asked, as if he was reading my mind.
"Elizabeth looks pretty happy here right now," I replied.
Jasper chuckled and motioned towards all of the families who were naturally mixing and becoming aquainted with one another.
"She'd be fine down here. Look at her. Time of her life,"
Elizabeth did look safe. I pondered the pros and cons and before I got to think further, Jasper had already asked a young girl to watch my daughter for me.
"Problem solved," He grinned, "Let's go watch this thing dock at Ireland,"
I nodded and walked over to Elizabeth. I knelt down and kissed her soft, curls. I promised to be back soon.
It felt good to get outside and breathe in fresh air. I follow Jasper through a gate and just trust his direction. If I looked up, I could see the first class passengers mingling above me. They looked tense and uptight. Everyone in our part of the trip appeared happy and at ease. I sit down on a bench with Jasper and some other guy who's name I didn't know yet and we smoked together and shared stories.
I looked around at my surroundings, the ships engines stopped and I guessed we were probably in Ireland by now. I was on the wrong side of the ship however, I could only see ocean.
I heard voices above me. Men and women. But one voice sung out to me, like a siren. I took a drag of my cigerette and exhaled slowly. I looked to my right to see a young woman looking out to sea from the first class deck.
She gazed out at the ocean, occasionally glancing over her shoulder to see, I didn't know who. She would smile when she looked at the people behind her, but that would fade the moment she looked out to sea. Her laughter was false and the smile forced.
However, she was beautiful. Hair of chestnut brown, wavy and pinned up with curls falling in front of her eyes. Her dress, intricately detailed. It was long, and pale blue. A ribbon held her frame tight in at her waist. No doubt she wore a corset underneath. I never understood women and corsets. They looked terribly uncomfortable. I blinked and continued to watch her. Soon a middle aged man with a finely styled moustache came up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder. He clearly instructed her to come with them and she did so, but I swear, just for a moment... She looked in my direction.
Maybe she'd seen me, maybe it was a rat. But she still looked.
My distraction didn't go unnoticed by my new friends. They slapped me on the back, jeered playfully and made jokes.
"Bunk up with the rats, they're not as fussy," One man laughed.
I went along with the joke, all the while imagining the young, rich girl upstairs.
I would speak to her. Maybe. But for now, I was content in finishing my cigarette and going to spend the afternoon with my Little Lady.
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