Disclaimer: All Twilight names, places and characteristics belong to the talented Stephenie Meyer. I just play with her toys.
Authors note: I didn't expect to write another chapter to this story but I got to thinking about it earlier today and managed to write 2.6k words! I have changed the rating of this story to M as I want to gradually continue this story and it will contain mature content. Enjoy!
10th April 1912
I barely noticed as the ship set sail, I hardly felt a thing as it glided effortlessly along the ocean as it left sunny Southampton. I hadn't even stood on the deck to wave to my Grandfather as we left. I almost felt as if I could fall into a catatonic state for the next seven days and nights. I was stood in the room that I would call mine during my time aboard Titanic. The walls adorned intricate art work, the bed was four poster and had a mattress so soft that I thought I would sink into it the moment I lie down.
We had a young girl, a servant at our every beck and call. To fetch us drinks, to clean our rooms, and to even help us wash and dress. Her name was... I didn't remember, I wasn't listening. I sat down at the vanity table alongside the longest wall in the room. I looked into the brand new mirror in front of me. I pulled the pins out of my hair and watched as my chocolate brown locks bounced onto my shoulders. I let out a small sigh as my fingers slid along the handle to my hairbrush. Even with my own belongings in this place, the entire place felt so awkward... so new, that my things felt, unwelcome.
"Miss, Swan, do you wish to change for lunch?"
I looked down at my pale blue dress. It stopped just around my ankles with a darker ribbon tied around my tiny waist. The corset underneath held me in perfectly, though there wasn't so much of me for the garment to hold in.
"No, thank-you," I murmured.
Behind me, I heard the door open and click shut quickly. If I looked through the mirror behind me, I could see my mother with our servant.
"Rebecca, we plan to visit Café Parisien for lunch, when we return, my husband and I would like coffee on the deck. Isabella will have tea,"
"Yes, ma'am," Rebecca nodded her head with a small curtsey before hurrying out of the room.
I remained silent as my mother walked across the room and stood behind me, I heard a small "tut" of disapproval from her lips.
"Isabella, you should wear your hair up, we're going for lunch,"
"So I heard," I mumbled as my mother took my brush from my grasp and pulled it through my soft but thick hair, "I like my hair down,"
I expected my personal want to be ignored while my mother was already halfway to pinning my hair up with short curls falling in front of my face.
"That was terribly rude of you to not say goodbye to your grandfather, I'm sure he was quite disappointed and the view was rather spectacular,"
In case no-one had realised yet, I am Isabella. Isabella Swan. I was the only daughter and child of Charles and Renee Swan and although nineteen years old, I held next to no independence in my life. Charles had spent years as a detective for the British police while my mother bore, cared for me and schooled me. They were both ready for something new, something exciting and society told them that the something was across the ocean in New York. I liked England, it was home, it's where my Grandfather, Charles Swan was. He was too old to really travel these days, his hips and legs were old and withered but he'd encouraged my father and now here we were.
I lived my life according to my mother and father. I was friends with the people they wanted me to be friends with. I socialised in only the best establishments. I ate the food that they instructed and approved of. It was only a matter of time before they approved an engagement with a gentleman of their choosing. No doubt he would be a retired millionaire or a banker.
My mother brushed pink powder over my cheeks and took a step backwards.
"There, now you're perfect. We should go and join your father, he's waiting,"
Café Parisien, a luxury innovation for first class passengers like us aboard Titanic. We joined my father at a table arranged for six. The large windows provided a clear sea view. I sat so I could lose myself in the waves. Titanic advertised Café Parisien as atmosphere inspired by sidewalk cafés in Paris. I supposed the décor was tasteful.
An American woman sat down with us, she was at least forty and looked like the gossiping type, the perfect kind for my mother to socialise with. She had big, brown hair, no doubt hiding everyone's secrets though not for long. My mother called her Molly.
"And this must be your beautiful daughter!" she exclaimed excitedly as she looked at me across the table. Feeling out of my depth with socialites, I remained quiet and sipped my water, "what's your name, sweetheart?"
"Isabella," she repeated with her strong, American accent, "My God is a vow. That's what your name means, did you know that?"
How did one respond to that? I'd met a lot of people in my short life, but I wasn't so great with speaking to them.
"We didn't know that, Molly. How beautiful that is, myself and Renee must be tasteful with names," my father chuckled as he waved his cigar around, blowing his smoke around.
"Isabella, say thank-you," encouraged my mother.
"Thank-you, Mrs Brown... I like new information," I replied.
Both Molly and my mother beamed from ear to ear. They smiled over the menu together.
"Renee, she's positively charming. New York will adore her,"
Did she have to stroke my mothers ego?
I was lost in a sea of conversation as well as feeling literally lost at sea. There was no longer any land to be seen anywhere.
I listened as my father ordered for both my mother and myself. Beef, rare and served with mashed potatoes and then a platter of chocolate and vanilla éclairs for the table.
I remained quiet as the entire ordeal of lunch involved gossip, conversations about money and who was the richest on the ship and which of their wives and mistresses were simply in the relationships for the gold, and then onto Titanic itself.
"The ship of dreams!" my mother cooed, "we've been so excited, Isabella could hardly contain herself,"
The entire table looked at me, what did they want? Confirmation? I swallowed my mouthful of beef and wiped the corner of my mouth.
"Oh, yes, I've never seen anything so grand. Whoever designed this ship has magnificent taste,"
Every adult around me smiled, satisfied with the 'child's' comments.
I positioned my silverware on my almost empty china plate and sat straight.
"May I be excused?" I asked my father politely.
"For a moment," He nodded, granting me permission.
As I stood, all of the men, minus my father, rose to their feet as I did.
"Not necessary, gentleman. She's quite fine," my father waved off their politeness.
I left my small purse in my seat and walked along the wooden floors to the doors. White Star Line staff were stood there to open it for me. I thanked them quietly as I stepped out into the ocean air. I closed my eyes and breathed in the salty, cool breeze.
On the deck, I was surrounded by, by people like me, by people like my mother, my father and Molly. They were all well to do folk, well spoken and well dressed. I supposed that was me, even if I didn't feel like it. I felt like life was missing something, that Titanic was too much for me.
I wished I'd tried harder to persuade my Grandfather to join us in New York. My heart ached as I thought of him, I missed him. But I would see him again, that I was certain of.
The deck was filled with children playing with balls and dolls, they were completely immersed in their own little world. It was beautiful.
I continued to walk forward until I reached the railings. I could see right out to sea. I wondered if it would be socially acceptable for me to remove the pins that held my hair. I wanted to feel the breeze flow through my hair, for it to become uncontrollable and fun in the wind.
I held on to the railing and looked forward, just to investigate. I could see the second class deck and to the other side, I could see the third class deck clearly.
A sound caught my ears, a high pitched, innocent, young giggle. Below was a child, if you could see paintings of me as a child, there was quite a similarity. She couldn't have been older than five of six. She had bouncy curls and fell over her own feet as she chased another child around. Such innocence, she had no idea what the real world was like. I hoped that she would hold on to that.
To the side were three men, surely one was her father.
They were talking and smoking. One of them gave smoking a certain allure. Father smoked but if he caught me even trying it, well, the reaction wasn't one I ever wanted to find out.
It was only a moment before I found out which male was the little girl's father. He sat on a bench, legs parted as he leant forward with his elbows on his knees and took long drags from his cigarette. He had uncontrollable copper hair and his jawline was unshaven. I heard a deep chuckle come from his mouth as second-hand smoke escaped. He smiled, almost crookedly. He wore brown trousers with darker brown shoes, the laces were undone, he hadn't appeared to have noticed. His darkened, old white shirt had the first couple of buttons undone, exposing just a little chest hair. This was a gentleman who was comfortable in his own skin. He was third class and himself and he didn't seem to mind. Not one little bit.
Anyone could see that the little young lady belonged to the man, she had the same green eyes. They sparkled, and they sparkled at her father as he asked her if she was okay.
"S'good, Daddy!" she squeaked.
Such an adorable little unit. Her mother was either somewhere on the ship, with another man or one of the unlucky ones who died in childbirth. I didn't choose a theory, though something about the man was somewhat, alluring.
I heard footsteps behind me and a tap on my shoulder just as the man and I make eye contact. Could I wave? Of course I couldn't.
"Come, Isabella, we're going for coffee," beckoned my father.
"I'm coming," I sighed and turned away, without being positive whether the gentleman and I actually saw each other.
Tea was dull. How could it not be, a teabag in boiled water. My mother declined cake for us, it would spoil our evening dinner.
I sat in a traditional ladylike manner though my body tilted to one side as my elbow rested on the arm of the chair and my hand supported my head while I twirled a loose curl around my finger.
"Isabella, sit straight," my mother scowled from over her coffee cup.
"We must look our best tonight, Swans. A great deal will be expected of us," insisted my father.
"Us?" I repeated.
"Indeed, Isabella. Tonight we have been invited to Mr Ismay's table with many others and with my profession, a certain maturity is expected of myself and my family,"
That meant I was to be on my best behaviour, avoid rhetorical comments and generally stay as quiet as a mouse.
"Why is it such a big deal?" I asked with curiosity.
My father removed his glasses and shined them with his handkerchief.
"It's important, Isabella, because of the names around these tables. If we come to socialise with the right names then we're starting ourselves for a great rise in New York,"
"Mr Ismay virtually built this ship you know, Isabella, darling,"
"I don't care," I blinked.
My parents looked positively horrified at me. I was an adult, I would not hang my head to my father.
"I think it's time you go and get dressed, Isabella. We will meet you here when we're all ready. Off you go,"
I stood to my feet and abandoned my parents as ordered. Rebecca was waiting in my room, ready to help me wash and pull me into my evening gown.
I was never going to be alone with my thoughts on this ship.
I was able to behave myself at dinner. I dressed demurely as my mother would expect. My evening gown was black and had no neckline, it went right up to my neck and aged me about twenty years. It had lace petticoat underneath which peeked out of the hem at the bottom.
My mother and father walked arm in arm together with me following behind. My arm was claimed by the son of a man's name who I did not know. I frowned when I saw my mother look over her shoulder, gasp and grin at me and turn to my father.
No doubt planning my engagement to this stranger.
The first class dining saloon was one of the biggest I've seen on a ship. We were lead to a round table that would seat twelve, I counted.
We dined on oysters, lamb with mint sauce and peaches in chartreuse jelly. If there was one thing Titanic got right, it was definitely their cuisine.
My first bed time on the ship could only be described as bliss. My parents were off dancing somewhere and I'd insisted to Rebecca that I could prepare myself for bed alone. I wriggled out of my dress and threw it over a chair and changed into a flowing nightgown. My body felt so free.
I suppose my first day aboard the grandest ship in the world could have been worse. Before I closed my eyes, I blew a kiss to the photo of my Grandfather I was keeping by my bedside, and I fell asleep.
11th April 1912
I felt refreshed when I woke the next day. I wanted today to be different. The day before I had been exactly what Titanic, society, and what my parents expected of me. Today, I didn't want to be that girl.
I dressed in yellow, I was inspired by the early sun shining through the window. A long dress with white lace sleeves. I ate a simple breakfast of tomato omelette and a cup of hot water and lemon.
I explored alone, with the permission of my father. There didn't seem to be anywhere I couldn't go. I found myself strolling along the second class deck and got talking with two ladies my age. One was pregnant. She fondly caressed her swollen stomach over her gown. Should that have been me? I imagined my father being highly disappointed in me if it were.
Looking over the railings, I spotted a familiar face. The little first class girl from yesterday. She wandered the deck alone. Her tiny shoes tapping on the wood. She looked left, and then right. She appeared lost.
I looked around myself, searching for the man that yesterday she called her daddy. The deck was pretty deserted.
I couldn't leave a five year old down there alone. Without another thought, I walked along the deck to the white gate. Down those steps was a lost girl and somewhere that was a whole other world to what I was used to.
I glanced around and above, to check that no-one could see me and then I turned my attention back to the steps.
Could I go down there? Yes, I had to.
I pulled open the gate, and took the few steps down to the lower deck.
I still haven't been able to think of a name for this story so if you have any ideas, throw them at me... gently!
Until next time