It was opening night and Rose was teaming with excitement. Tonight was her acting debut and she was the star! She couldnt 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 Roses surprise, he wasnt dressed to go to the play.
"Jack?" She turned to him.
"Whats wrong? Why arent you dressed?"
"Rose set down," Jack took her hand and led her to the bed. "Im not going to be able to make it tonight."
"What?" Rose stared at him in disbelief. "But youve got to be there. This is opening night Jack I need you to be there."
"I would if I could, but I cant," Jack sighed. "Im sorry."
"Sorry? Youre sorry? Youre standing there telling me you cant come to the first night of my acting debut and youre sorry?! Jack! How am I supposed to pull this off if youre not there?!"
"Youll do great. Youre always
are. You dont need me there to be what you already are.
Besides, I wasnt there when you auditioned and you
obviously did great."
"But that wasnt a crowd of strangers! It was only a couple. Why cant 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 were ever going to get a place of our own I need to work."
Roses temper rose to the surface. She couldnt 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! Dont bother coming home!"
"Rose dont you think youre 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 Im working tonight because I want to? Believe me, I dont. I rather be in that audience cheering you on, but I cant! One of us has to pay the bills!"
"Oh like I cant?! May I remind you of our little stash?"
"Which will only carry us so far. Its best that we save that for something we really want."
"Youre such a chuvinistic .jerk!"
"Well youre such a brat!" Jack finally loses his temper. "If you want me to leave fine! Im gone, but dont 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 didnt want Jack to leave she just wanted him with her, that wasnt 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, its time for us to go. Your chariot awaits," the older woman stuck her head into the room. "Oh dearest, whats wrong? Why are you crying?"
" Jack " was all Rose could choke out.
"Aw yes, he wont be able to make it. But dearest hell be there tomorrow Im sure. Now wipe those eyes and lets 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 wouldnt be able to live if he didnt. 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 theyre gorgeous," Cillie breathed.
Tears came to Roses eyes. "Yes they
are. Theres a note."
"Ill open it," Cillie volunteered, already tearing open the envelope. "To my dearest Rose. Sorry I couldnt be there to see you shine, but I hope you know youre 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 didnt 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 wasnt just seeing phantoms."
"Mother," Rose got to her feet, not really ready for a confrontation, but knowing she didnt 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, were going home."
"There is no pretending about it mother. I am married to Jack now and Im going no where with you," Rose got to her feet. "Im married to Jack and perfectly happy. And if I was a bad actress as youd 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 Ill 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 youre here to do is berate me and tell me Im 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 Id 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 didnt 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 didnt hear me the first time mother, Im already married. To Jack. And Im going nowhere with you. And since you wont leave Im 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 thats not getting her way. Do you know that?"
"And youre 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 Roses arms. "Talk. Mrs. Dewitt Bukater. How interesting to see you here. If you dont mind, I think you should let go of my wife," Jack moved Rose away from Ruths grasp. Ruth turned her cold stare on Jack.
"You! I should have known youd be skulking about this abdominable place. If you excuse us Mr. Dawson, this is a private conversation between my daughter and myself. Were 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 wasnt going to let Ruth go any further. "Rose is no longer the little girl you used to berate Ruth. Shes a grown woman now with her own mind and wants and Im not going to let you tear her down just so you can live in the lap of luxery."
"Mr. Dawson, do you know who youre talking to?"
"Pretty much. Youre my wifes tormenter and its stopping right now," Jack crossed his arms.
Ruth looked pass Jack and over at Rose. "Have you finally had enough? Lets go."
"No mother. Im going nowhere," Rose shook her head. "Leave now and I wont fetch security."
"Rose Imogene Dewitt Bukater you have five minutes to drop this silly charade! Look, you want to continue this charade? You wont last five weeks! You know nothing of being a third class house wife. Youll fall flat on your face like youve done thousand of times before. Youre just like your father! A idealistic fool with not a lick of sense!"
"That is enough, its 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 Ruths 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. Its ok. Shes gone now. Shes gone," Jack stroked her red curls, pulling her closer to him. "Shhh."
"I-Im sorry Jack. Please dont leave me, I didnt 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 wont leave you. Not now, not ever. Im sorry I lost my temper like that."
"Im sorry too Jack. I dont
know what had gotten into me. I just know that I was angry and
frustrated and extremely hot
Im sorry Jack. Please
"Hey youre already are," Jack kissed her forehead. Now are you feeling better?"
Rose smiled and nodded. "By the
thank you for the roses. Theyre 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 its all the excitement from tonight. Ill 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 Jacks 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 youre finally awake," Jack grinned. "Guess what Rose. We finally know whats been making you so on edge lately."
"Jack darling you just lost me."
"What your husband is leading up to Mrs. Dawson is that youre 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. Were going to have a baby," Jack laughed, pulling her into a joyous hug.
Rose was speechless. She didnt 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.
"Thats 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."
"Were not taking no for an answer," George held up his hand, silencing Jacks coming protest. "Well 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, hed battle all the memories that house would bring.
"I think its 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 didnt 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 whats 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 youre sure youll be ok, I think its a great idea."
Jack nodded in agreement, swallowing the misgivings he had about living in his old home. "Well that decides it you guys. Were moving in," Jack got to his feet. "Well see you Saturday morning at Mrs. Gladyss.
"Jack I know how hard this is going to be for you. I want you to know that Im there for you if you need to talk," George was suddenly somber, remembering Jacks reasons for not moving when he first got back in town.
Jack smiled grateful for his cousins show of support. "Thank you. You dont 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. Lets 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.