It’s been three days since the shooting.  Jack had not wakened up since, but his condition didn’t change, which was both bad and good.  Good that he wasn’t getting any worse and bad because he wasn’t getting any better.  No one spoke a word to Babette and Philippe and on the third day, they decided it was best if they left.  Without a good-bye the couple disappeared down the dirt road, never to be heard from again.   Rose felt a bit bitter about this.  It was like they didn’t care enough to stay and see if Jack   would pull through. 

          Rose never left Jack’s side for a minute.  She hoped that maybe her presence would give him the strength to fight and come back to her.  No one expected what happened next.  Not even Jack himself could predict this.  George and Cillie were in the kitchen, preparing lunch where the door slowly opened and shut, frowning they headed for the living room to see who had entered the house.  George stopped dead in his tracks; his face turned a deathly pale.  Standing before him was the one person he never expected to see again.  “Aunt Lilly?”

          The woman that had brunette hair and the same blue eyes that Jack had smiled.  She held her arms out for George.  “Oh George it has been so long since  I saw you last.  And look how tall you are!” she obviously didn’t notice his surprise to see her there.

          “But…you’re dead…you died in that fire all those years ago.”

          The woman just laughed.  “That my dear is a long story.  Now if I may ask, where’s my son?  I’m eager to see him again.  My, he must be as tall as you are by now.”

          “He’s…he’s here…but not in good condition.”

          “What?  What trouble has my son found himself in this time?”

          “Aunt Lilly…God there’s so much to tell you…like Jack’s married now.  His wife’s name is Rose and they’re expecting a baby…and that he was shot just a couple of nights before and his conditions is pretty bad.  The doctors really don’t expect him to make it.”
          “Oh dear…but did you say he was married and expecting a child?”

          George nodded.  “Her name is Rose.  I think you’ll like her.  She’s been good for Jack.”

          “Well first thing first.  Take me to my son.  Jack’s always been accident-prone. I’m surprised he hadn’t gotten himself killed before now,” Lilly shook her head as she followed her nephew up the stairs.  She was led to what used to be the room she shared with her husband.  She gasped.  Her son laid in that bed, so pale and lifeless while a girl with red hair knelt by his side, his hand pressed against her face, which was stained with tears.  Her heart immediately went out to the young woman. 

          “That’s Rose.  Jack’s wife,” Cillie replied.  “They’re everything to each other.  Jack loves her so much…Rose?”

          Rose opened her eyes to see George standing with a woman that looked very familiar, but she had never seen this woman before.

          “Rose sweetie,” George began.  “I have someone to introduce you to.  Jack should be doing this himself, but he’s in no condition right now.”

          “Yes?” She looked at the woman curiously.  Who was this stranger with Jack’s eyes and facial features?  Why did George look like he’s just seen a ghost?

          “Rose…this is my Aunt Lily.  Jack’s mother.”

          Rose’s eyes grew as wide as saucers.  George couldn’t have said what she thought he said could he?  Jack’s mother?  But she was dead.  She’s been dead for years.

          “George…I think I’ve misunderstood you.  I thought you said this was Jack’s mother.”

          “I did.  This is Jack’s mother.  I don’t know the full story as of yet, but I’m sure she’ll tell us when Jack wakes up,” George nervously laughed.  “Uh Aunt Lily, this is Rose Dewitt Bukater Dawson.  Jack’s wife.”

          “Oh my.  That’s quite a name you’ve got there.  I’m going to have you write it down for me,” Lily warmly smiled.

          Rose couldn’t help but smile back.  “That’s exactly what Jack said when we first met.”

          “That’s not surprising.  Jack always h ad my sense of humor,” Lily chuckled.  Her smile faded when she looked at her son.  She walked to him and smoothed the hair out of his face.  “How did this happen?”

          “Jack met a lot of people in his travels Aunt Lily.  You know how outgoing and friendly he is,” George answered, knowing that Rose didn’t have the strength to relate what happened.  Just looking at her, he knew she was near collapse.  Slowly he told Lily what had happened and who was responsible. 

          Lily shook her head.  “I thought I raised him to avoid streetwalkers.  And this was the reason why.”

          “We’re all taking this hard,” George sighed and looked at Rose.  “Rose, why don’t you go in the guestroom and take a nap?  Staying up like this isn’t good for the baby.”

          “But what if he wakes up?”

          George sighed.  He didn’t know how to answer that.  He doubted that his cousin would ever wake up again.  But he didn’t dare tell Rose that.  He wanted to avoid another scene like a couple of days ago.  Thankfully Lily answered.

          “We’ll call you if he does.  But George is right.  You and the baby need your rest,” Lily patted the girl’s arm.

          “Go to bed Rose,” George pointed towards the open door.

          Rose sighed.  She knew they were right.  She needed her rest, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was deserting her husband.  “Promise to call me if there’s a change?”

          “Cross our hearts,” Lily smiled.  “No go.”

          Just then the doctor entered.  Nodding to the women in the room he checked Jack’s vitals, expecting them to be weakening, but instead, he was in for a surprise.

          “Doctor?” Rose read his expression.  Something was going on and she wanted to know what it was. 

          “His vitals…they’re getting stronger,” he looked at Rose, who noted that he looked hopeful for the first time, which made her fill with hope.

          “You mean…he’s getting better?” George asked.

          “That’s what it looks like.  Mind you now, he’s not out of the woods yet, but if his vitals keep improving like this, he very soon will be.”

          “Yahoo!” George cheered; picking Rose up and twirled her around.

          “George be careful!” Lily scolded.  “That’s my grandchild you’re whirling around!”

          “What’s going on in here?” Cillie stuck her head through the door.  Rose rushed into her friend’s arms, tears of joy spilling from her eyes.                         

          “He’s getting better!” Rose cried.  “He’s getting better!”

          Cillie looked at George, as if asking him if it was true.  He only nodded his head.

          “Praise the Lord,” Cillie whispered, she smiled at Lily.  “They say a mother’s love is the best medicine.  I guess it’s true.”

          “Rose, go to bed.  You’re going to want to be fully awake when he does wake up,” George laughed.

          “Ok, but wake me when he does,” Rose sighed; she walked over to Jack and kissed his pale lips.  She looks down on him with all the love in her heart. 

          “Come sweetie, I’ll walk you to your room,” Lily took Rose’s hand and led her out of the room.  “You love my son a awful lot don’t you Rose?”

          “He’s my life.  Not only has he saved me from myself and a life I was miserable in, but he showed me what true love is and he gives it to me everyday.  I read this book one time and the theme was the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.  Thanks to Jack, I now know the meaning of that phrase.  Because I love him and he gives love back tenfold.”

          “Well I’m happy that my son has found someone that loves him so much.  He’s a very special person.  In fact, when he was born I thought he was an angel sent to earth.”

          “Oh he was.  He was my Angel,” Rose sighed.  “He’s always protected me from the moment we met.”

          “Where did you two meet anyway?”

         Rose bit her lip, not sure if she was ready to talk about Titanic just yet, especially without Jack around.  She made her decision after looking at the other woman and noting where Jack had gotten his good looks.  She could trust Lily.  Of that she was sure.

         “We met…we met on the Titanic.”

          “Excuse me sweetie, but I thought you just said you met on the Titanic,” Lily sheepishly smiled.

          “I did.  Jack and I met on the Titanic.  It’s a pretty long story if you want to hear it.”

           Lily just nodded, making herself comfortable on the bed.  Some time later she was wiping away her tears, her eyes full of awe.  She knew her son was a wonderful person, but to be so sensitive and caring, and…chivalrous… she was even more proud to be his mother.

            “I still dream about it you know.  I hear the people screaming and pleading for their lives.  I remember how the water felt and how desperate I was to find Jack…”

          “Shhh sweetie.  You don’t have to talk about it if   you don’t want to.  I understand.  It was a very trying time for you both.  I’m just glad that you both survived.”

          “So…what was Jack’s childhood like?  From what I gather, it was a pretty happy one,” Rose changed the subject.  She didn’t want to linger on Titanic for much longer or she really would break down. 

          “Oh his childhood was mischievous one.  If there was trouble out there, my son was sure to find it,” Lily laughed.  “One time he was caught stealing a flower out of Mrs. Grant’s garden on a dare.  His father tanned his hide for that one.”

          Rose giggled.  She could imagine Jack doing such a innocent thing when he was younger.  “What else did he do?”

          “Dropped a frog down poor Betsy Woodworth’s dress, causing the poor girl to go into hysterics.  Played practical jokes on his teachers…you name it, Jack did it.  I don’t know where he got that awful streak.  His father I suppose.  I do hope he’s grown out of that.”

          “I think he has.  Jack’s been a perfect gentleman since I’ve known him…well except the time he taught me how to spit like a man,” Rose laughed at the memory.  “I was so mortified, and my poor mother…I thought she was going to faint away when she saw what we were doing.”

          “I know I would have if I had been there,” Lily smiled, lightly tucking a red curl behind Rose’s ear.  “I’m glad my son found you Rose.  It’s good to see that he turned out ok.  Even after the fire incident.  I was so worried that he’d fall into a bad crowd or end up in a foster home…”

          “You would be proud of your son Lily.  He’s more of a gentleman than all those first class men on that ship put together.”

          Smiling Lily pulled Rose into a warm motherly hug, something Rose had never received before and something she would never forget.  For the first time since the shooting, Rose felt at peace.