It was opening night and Rose was teaming with excitement. Tonight was her acting debut and she was the star! She couldn’t wait for everyone to see her in action. Rose looked in the mirror, making sure her hair was just right when Jack entered, his expression not at all happy and to Rose’s surprise, he wasn’t dressed to go to the play.

"Jack?" She turned to him. "What’s wrong? Why aren’t you dressed?"
"Rose…set down," Jack took her hand and led her to the bed. "I’m not going to be able to make it tonight."
"What?" Rose stared at him in disbelief. "But you’ve got to be there. This is opening night…Jack I need you to be there."

"I would if I could, but I can’t," Jack sighed. "I’m sorry."

"Sorry? You’re sorry? You’re standing there telling me you can’t come to the first night of my acting debut and you’re sorry?! Jack! How am I supposed to pull this off if you’re not there?!"

"You’ll do great. You’re always are. You don’t need me there to be what you already are. Besides, I wasn’t there when you auditioned and you obviously did great."
"But that wasn’t a crowd of strangers! It was only a couple. Why can’t you be there anyway?"

"Mandatory overtime at the factory. I have tried to get out of it, but it came down to the play or my job and I need this job Rose. If we’re ever going to get a place of our own I need to work."

Rose’s temper rose to the surface. She couldn’t understand why Jack not being there was making her so angry but it was. "Fine! If your blasted job is so important to you, you can sleep there tonight! Don’t bother coming home!"

"Rose…don’t you think you’re blowing this out of proportion?" Jack asked, trying to keep himself calm. Rose was being completely unreasonable. There was no need for her to yell like she was. "Do you think I’m working tonight because I want to? Believe me, I don’t. I rather be in that audience cheering you on, but I can’t! One of us has to pay the bills!"

"Oh like I can’t?! May I remind you of our little stash?"

"Which will only carry us so far. It’s best that we save that for something we really want."

"You’re such a chuvinistic….jerk!"

"Well you’re such a brat!" Jack finally loses his temper. "If you want me to leave fine! I’m gone, but don’t expect me to come back!" Jack stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Rose stood looking at the door, sobs hiccuping from her. How could she? How could she run him off like that? Why did she? She didn’t want Jack to leave…she just wanted him with her, that wasn’t too much to ask for…but there was no excuse for attacking him the way she did. She collapsed on the bed and let the tears fall.

Five minutes later Mrs. Gladys appeared at the door. "Rose dearest, it’s time for us to go. Your chariot awaits," the older woman stuck her head into the room. "Oh dearest, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?"

"…Jack…" was all Rose could choke out.

"Aw yes, he won’t be able to make it. But dearest he’ll be there tomorrow I’m sure. Now wipe those eyes and let’s get going. The play starts in another half hour.

Rose only nodded and followed the woman out the door, her mind still stuck on the argument with Jack. She hoped and prayed he returned. She wouldn’t be able to live if he didn’t. She needed him so much.

Opening night was a success. Instead of thinking of the mess her life had become, Rose threw herself into the part. She became Juliet. She again became the teenager in love with her the son of her enemy. She again met him in secret and took a dagger to her chest when it was obvious he was dead. But all too soon the play was over and real life seeped back in. Amongst all the congratulations and well-wishers, Rose thought only of Jack. She jumped at the tap on her shoulder and forced a smile when she faced George and Cillie holding a bouquet of Roses.

"You were wonderful," George gave his cousin in law a hug.

"It was like you really were Juliet," Cillie happily agreed.

"Thank you," Rose forced a smile.

"Oh how silly of me, I forgot. Here," George handed her the roses. "Jack gave them to me earlier today and asked me to give them to you tonight once the play was over," He handed her the Roses.

"Rose they’re gorgeous," Cillie breathed.

Tears came to Rose’s eyes. "Yes they are. There’s a note."
"I’ll open it," Cillie volunteered, already tearing open the envelope. "To my dearest Rose. Sorry I couldn’t be there to see you shine, but I hope you know you’re the leading lady of my heart, now and forever. Jack. Oh how romantic."

Rose burst into tears. "Excuse me," She turned and rushed away from the crowd, clutching the flowers tightly. She dunked into her dressing room and sank into a nearby chair, letting her tears fall. She had lost the one man she loved and it was all her fault.

Shutting the door behind her, Rose placed the bouquet on the table and began removing her makeup with a handkerchief, at the same time wiping away her tears. She didn’t see the figure step out of the shadows until it was standing right behind her. Rose turned around and gasped in surprise.

"So Cal was correct. You are alive," Ruth stood hovering above her daughter. "He wasn’t just seeing phantoms."

"Mother," Rose got to her feet, not really ready for a confrontation, but knowing she didn’t have any choice. Oh how she wished Jack was here with her. She could use some of his strength.

"And making a fool of yourself as well. Who do you think you are Rose up on this stage, disgracing the family name," Ruth glared at her daughter. "Really Rose…and going by the name Dawson pretending to be married to that boy…absurd! Now get your things together, we’re going home."

"There is no pretending about it mother. I am married to Jack now and I’m going no where with you," Rose got to her feet. "I’m married to Jack and perfectly happy. And if I was a bad actress as you’d have me believe, I would not have the lead. You may leave now."

"How dare you talk that way to me Rose? You dear old mother…"
Rose sarcastically laughed. "You are anything but dear mother. Old, maybe, but dear? Certainly not! Now either you leave now or I’ll call security and they can remove you for me!"

"Rose you will not speak that way to me! Is that clear! I am your mother and you will listen to me!"

"I will not listen to you! All you’re here to do is berate me and tell me I’m being a fool! But in reality mother, you are the fool! I thank god every day that Jack saved me from you! Who knows where I’d be right now!"

"When will you open your eyes and see that this boy is only using you for your money?"

"What money mother? The Dewitt Bukaters are broke. Remember? Now leave!"

But Ruth didn’t leave. She glared even harder at her daughter and crossed her arms. "You are to stop this silly charade right this minute. You are to get up, and follow me to the train where you will apolagize to Caledon for making such a mockery out of yourself and promise to behave for now on. Then you will be married at the end of this month."

"Since you didn’t hear me the first time mother, I’m already married. To Jack. And I’m going nowhere with you. And since you won’t leave I’m calling for security," Rose walked past her mother to get to the door, but Ruth grabbed her arm and spun her around. "You are acting like a spoiled little girl that’s not getting her way. Do you know that?"

"And you’re not facing the truth."

"Rose, George and Cillie said you were in here. We need to…," Jack entered the room and stopped in his tracks when he saw Ruth Dewitt Bukater standing in the middle of the room, her eyes glowing with repressed rage, tightly clutching Rose’s arms. "Talk. Mrs. Dewitt Bukater. How…interesting to see you here. If you don’t mind, I think you should let go of my wife," Jack moved Rose away from Ruth’s grasp. Ruth turned her cold stare on Jack.

"You! I should have known you’d be skulking about this abdominable place. If you excuse us Mr. Dawson, this is a private conversation between my daughter and myself. We’re discussing her childish behavior."

"Whatever you have to say to my wife you can saw with me in the room," Jack crossed his arms, being sure to keep Rose behind him. He knew how badly Ruth treated Rose and browbeated her into submission and even though it looked as if Rose was holding her own, he wasn’t going to let Ruth go any further. "Rose is no longer the little girl you used to berate Ruth. She’s a grown woman now with her own mind and wants and I’m not going to let you tear her down just so you can live in the lap of luxery."

"Mr. Dawson, do you know who you’re talking to?"

"Pretty much. You’re my wife’s tormenter and it’s stopping right now," Jack crossed his arms.

Ruth looked pass Jack and over at Rose. "Have you finally had enough? Let’s go."

"No mother. I’m going nowhere," Rose shook her head. "Leave now and I won’t fetch security."

"Rose Imogene Dewitt Bukater you have five minutes to drop this silly charade! Look, you want to continue this charade? You won’t last five weeks! You know nothing of being a third class house wife. You’ll fall flat on your face like you’ve done thousand of times before. You’re just like your father! A idealistic fool with not a lick of sense!"

"That is enough, it’s time for you to leave," Jack took Ruth roughly by the wrist and pushed her out the door. "Do not bother contacting my wife again until you can be more civil. Good-bye Mrs. Dewitt Bukater," Jack shut the door in Ruth’s shocked face. No one had ever treated her like that before, not even her own husband. Glaring one more time at the closed door, she turned and stalked away. Since Rose was insisting on such an unsavory life, let her have it. She would come to her senses sooner or later.

Jack turned to see that Rose had sunk to the floor, her hands covering her face, sobbing uncontrollably. Confrontations with her mother always did that her, make her into a quivering bowl of jelly, but for some reason, she was having a more intense reaction than before. Jack was immediately concerned. He never saw Rose like this before. He went to her and pulled her into his arms, holding her tightly and whispering comforting words to her until the sobs subsided a bit.

"Shhh Rose. It’s ok. She’s gone now. She’s gone," Jack stroked her red curls, pulling her closer to him. "Shhh."

"I-I’m sorry Jack. Please don’t leave me, I didn’t mean it," Rose sobbed, clinging to his shirt as if he might disappear if she let go.

Jack suddenly knew what she was truly upset about. Their argument. She had thought that he really was going to leave her. "Oh Rose no. Of course I won’t leave you. Not now, not ever. I’m sorry I lost my temper like that."

"I’m sorry too Jack. I don’t know what had gotten into me. I just know that I was angry and frustrated and extremely hot…I’m sorry Jack. Please forgive me."
"Hey you’re already are," Jack kissed her forehead. Now are you feeling better?"

Rose smiled and nodded. "By the way…thank you for the roses. They’re beautiful."
"But not as beautiful as you," Jack smiled.

"Hey you two!" George stuck his head into the room. "Are we ready to go yet?"

"Coming," Jack and Rose got to their feet. They head for the door when a wave of dizziness over took Rose, making her fall against Jack. "Whoa there. Are you ok?" Jack placed a secure hand around her shoulders.

Rose nodded. "I just got a bit dizzy. I think it’s all the excitement from tonight. I’ll be fine." Just as soon as she stood firmly on her feet and began to move forward, a more severe wave came over her and she fell back into a dead faint into Jack’s arms.

The last thing she heard was Jack shouting her name.


Rose awoke to find herself laying on the couch in her dressing room. She looked to her right and saw Jack talking to a older gentleman while George and Cillie looked on in disbelief.

"Jack?" She caught their attention. She was surprised when Jack broke out in a huge grin and came over to her, pushing a stray curl out of her eyes.

"So you’re finally awake," Jack grinned. "Guess what Rose. We finally know what’s been making you so on edge lately."

"You do?"

"Mood swings!"

"Jack darling…you just lost me."

"What your husband is leading up to Mrs. Dawson is that you’re with child. One month along now. Eat right, get plenty of sleep and you should have a healthy baby.

"What? You mean…" Rose stammered in shock.

"Yes Rose. We’re going to have a baby," Jack laughed, pulling her into a joyous hug.

Rose was speechless. She didn’t even suspect. Of course she had lost track of her cycle, with all the excitement of Titanic and getting married, moving to Chippewa Falls and getting the lead in the play…it had totally slipped her mind. "Oh my…"

"Another little Dawson on the way," George grinned.

"My bill will be in the mail Jack. Congratulations by the way," The doctor tipped his hat before slipping out.

"That’s it you two!" Cillie placed her hands on her hips. "That boarding house is too tiny for the three of you. George and I are insisting that you move in with us. The house is a lot more roomier plus Rose will have someone with her at all times."

"We’re not taking no for an answer," George held up his hand, silencing Jack’s coming protest. "We’ll move ya this weekend when Jack has the day off."

"Well…what do you think?" Jack looked at Rose, who was still recovering from the shock of her condition. Looking into her green eyes, he knew what his cousin was suggesting was for the best. For her, he’d battle all the memories that house would bring.

"I think it’s a wise decision Jack, but how about you? Will you be ok moving into that house? I know what all those memories will do to you?" Rose tenderly touched his face. She didn’t want to do anything that would hurt him any further.

Jack took her hand and squeezed it, his eyes shining with unconditional love. "With you by my side I can face those memories. I want to do what’s best for our family."

"Our family," Rose smiled, liking the sound of that. And that was what they were, Jack, George, Cillie, herself and the coming children…they were a family. Something Rose had thought was just a dream for herself at one time was now becoming a reality. "Well…if you’re sure you’ll be ok, I think it’s a great idea."

Jack nodded in agreement, swallowing the misgivings he had about living in his old home. "Well…that decides it you guys. We’re moving in," Jack got to his feet. "We’ll see you Saturday morning at Mrs. Gladys’s.

"Jack…I know how hard this is going to be for you. I want you to know that I’m there for you if you need to talk," George was suddenly somber, remembering Jack’s reasons for not moving when he first got back in town.

Jack smiled grateful for his cousin’s show of support. "Thank you. You don’t know how much that is appreciated. Who knows, I might just be taking you up on that offer."

George smiled and motioned for the door. "Come on you two. Let’s get you home."

Lifting Rose off the couch and into his arms, he carried her to the car, all too aware that their life together was about to change.