Three weeks later, the two separate trials for Lily and Dean concluded. Dean had already been found guilty and now it was Lily’s turn. Jack hoped that maybe the judge would find mercy in his heart because of Lily’s condition. But Rose somehow doubted it. The judge didn’t seem the merciful type. Looking at Jack, she wished she could do more for him. She wished that she could make this whole thing disappear. But she couldn’t. All she could do was set there in the crowded courtroom and hold her husband’s hand. Ready to lend a shoulder to cry on if need be.

Judge William Hardy took his seat and shuffled a few papers together, clearing his throat. "We’re here to decide the innocence or guilt of one Lily Mitchum in the murder of Andrew Dawson. Does the defendant have anything to say for herself before the verdict is read?"

Lily just shook her head. What could she say? She was guilty and she knew it. She was there when Dean set the fire and she didn’t come back. She was a fool to think that she could come back and go unpunished for her deed. She just didn’t think her deed would be so costly. "No your honor."

"Very well then," The judge opened the paper given to him by the bailiff, containing the jury’s decision. "Lily Dawson Mitchum…you are found guilty of murder. You are sentenced to life in prison."

"No," Jack whispered, tightening his hold on Rose’s hand. No. This couldn’t be happening! He had just gotten his mother back! He couldn’t lose her like this. His unborn sibling couldn’t lose her.

Lily bowed her head in defeat. Her life was over. But at least her baby will be safe with it’s brother. Jack and Rose will give the baby a wonderful life. She turned around to see her son, tears in his bright blue eyes. Her heart broke, knowing that she was leaving him again, after promising not to. Another promise broken. "Jack…" She reached a hand out to him.

"Mom, we’ll appeal," Jack tried to reassure her…tried to reassure himself. "Rose said that a lot of people appeal and win."

"Only when they have money son. And I don’t want you to spend all you have getting me out of a punishment I rightly deserve. I want you to spend your money on your family. On giving them a good life. Promise me that. That you’ll have a wonderful life. That you won’t let this destroy you. I need to know that you’re going to be alright Jack."

"I’ll be fine. It’s not like it was when you left the first time mom. I was alone then. I have Rose now. As long as I have Rose, I’ll be fine," Jack squeezed his wife’s shoulder.

"Take care of him…of all of them," Lily looked at the young woman at her son’s side, knowing that she will take care of Jack and love him the way he deserved to be loved.

"I promise," Rose forced a smile, trying to overcome her own tears. Losing Lily was like losing her own mother.

"It’s time to go," the police officer came to take Lily away, unmindful of the good-byes going on.

"Jack…remember your promise. The baby…"

"I know mom. Don’t worry. And I’ll come visit. I promise," Jack sadly waved good-bye as his mother was led away, to spend the rest of her life in prison.

Jack turned to Rose, tears in his eyes. He truly regretted the anger he had first felt when his mother returned. Now it was too late to make up for it. "Rose…she shouldn’t have came back. I would have been fine thinking she was dead…but this…it’s worst."

Rose’s heart broke at the sight of his pain. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him close, carefully stroking his back. "Shhh Jack. It’s ok. Everything will be ok. I promise."

The couple stayed in each other’s arms like that until it was time for the next case to begin. Looking into each other’s eyes, they headed for home, not sure if things would ever be happy again.


Later that day, Rose and Jack had decided to announce their plans to the rest of the family. They hadn’t before because of the trial. But now that was behind them, it was time. Jack for one was looking forward to leaving Chippewa Falls. So much sadness had happened there. The fire, his shooting, the discovery of his mother’s affair, and now his mother being sent to prison. He’s had enough. He wanted to go to where he had been nothing but happy and in love and that was Santa Monica with it’s pier and beach. With it’s sunshine and it’s salt water breezes.

George, Cillie, and Ruth were all in the living room, awaiting Jack and Rose as they prepared to come down and tell them their plans.

"Jack…they’re not going to be happy," Rose sighed, watching Jack stand at the window, looking out into the horizon.

"Do you think I care? Thanks to George, my mother will never see the light of day again. My baby brother or sister will never know it’s mother. Not really. Our children will never get to know their grandmother on my side."

"So you want to do this to hurt George?" Rose frowned. Vengeance was not Jack’s way. He had never been a vengeful person. But now…

"No. No this is not about hurting George. This isn’t about him at all. It’s about us moving on with our plan. Before all this mess happened. Remember? We had already planned to leave Chippewa Falls. Besides, it’s not like we’ll be leaving right away. We still have to wait for the baby to get born. Remember?"

"Yes. I remember," Rose sighed. "I just want you to be happy again Jack."

"Santa Monica will make me happy Rose. Very happy. It’s time to leave this place. It’s time to start somewhere new. Head off for the horizon like we had planned."

Rose smiled, remembering that conversation on Titanic. That had been her big dream and now it was happening. She didn’t know why she had these misgivings. Maybe it was fear of the unknown. After all, it will be just her, Jack and two babies. No cousins to come visit and argue. No mother to come throw around her weight. "Ok Jack. Let’s go down and tell them our plans."

"Together," He smiled, taking her hand in his. "We’ll do this together."

Rose nodded with a smile. Of course they’ll do it together. Like everything else. Squeezing his hand, they went downstairs to where everyone was waiting. They were talking amongst themselves, probably wondering what was taking Jack and Rose so long to come down and say what they had to say.

"Jack, you called us here. Why?" George stood up, wanting to know what was going on. He knew his cousin was still angry with him and a call from him was very rare. So this must be important.

"Yes I did ask you all here. And for a very important reason. Rose and I have an important announcement to make. As you know, when my mother has her baby, we’ll be taking care of it."

George just snorted. In his opinion that baby didn’t belong anywhere in the Dawson family. Dean’s family should take it in . Not Jack. "Yeah and you know everyone’s opinion on that Jack. Why can’t Dean’s side take the brat in? Everyone in town is against this you know. Not just me."

"George," Cillie gritted her teeth, knowing that George was digging the hole he was already in deeper. Why couldn’t he just let it go? Did he have to tell Jack all of his opinions? Did have to make Jack even angrier.

"Thus the reason for this decision George. I will not have my brother and sister and my son growing up in this type of atmosphere. Really, the decision was made before we came back from our honeymoon, but what you just said proved how right the decision is. Rose and I are taking the new baby and Andrew and moving to Santa Monica."

"What?" Ruth got to her feet, her eyes wide. "You can’t be serious! My daughter and grandchild in that city? For good? Why…that’s not an appropriate atmosphere for them."

"It’s more appropriate then this atmosphere mother. The tension here is so thick you can cut it with a knife. It’s not a good atmosphere for Andy. He needs an atmosphere full of love and warmth. Of laughter and soft ocean breezes. That’s what he’ll have in Santa Monica. It’s a happier life for both Andy and myself. Besides, you’re welcomed to come visit whenever you want. It’s just time for Jack and I to move on."

"You’re doing this to hurt me aren’t you?" George asked. "You’re so angry about Lily that you’re taking away the only family I have left."

"This has nothing to do with you George. It has everything to do what’s best for Rose and my son. And that’s Santa Monica. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m taking a walk," Jack let go of Rose’s hand and left, leaving everyone staring at him in shock.

"Where is he going?" Ruth asked, her eyes wide in shock. This was something she wasn’t expecting from the Jack she had come to know.

"He’s upset. He just needs to be alone for a bit," Rose sighed, hating that Jack was hurting and that there was nothing she could do to help.

"Rose…it may not seem like it, but we understand why you and Jack have to get away from Chippewa Falls and agree with you. This place is killing your spirit little by little. It’s best to get away while you still can. Before you become stuck…like…" Lily began to tear up. Rose wrapped her arms around her friend, thankful for the show of support.

"Thank you Cil. I’m glad you understand. Jack’s right. It has nothing to do with you guys. This move…it’s something we have to do with us."

Meanwhile, Jack was at his father’s grave, a red rose in hand. He hadn’t been back here since the day of the storm. Laying the rose on the grave, Jack felt tears fill his eyes. "Hey dad. It’s me. Jack. I know it’s been a while, but a lot has happened since the last time we had a visit. Which you probably already know. Listen, I’m sorry that I couldn’t save mom. It’s just that everything was so unexpected and so fast.

"I didn’t really come here to talk about mom though. I came here to say good-bye. You see…as soon as mom’s baby is born, Rose and I are leaving Chippewa Falls for good. We’re going to Santa Monica dad. We were so happy there and it’s so beautiful. The perfect place to raise children. The perfect place to raise my children. I just wanted to say that I love you and to thank you for everything. For teaching me how to treat women, gaining me Rose. For a bright outlook on life, also gaining me Rose, and your neat theory on the stars…gaining me Rose again!" Jack laughed for the first time in weeks. Bright and genuine. Rose would have smiled with joy if she had been there.

"Ah Rose dad. I wish you could have met her. She’s the most amazing woman in the world. The best there is. I love her so much… I just hope I can keep being the perfect husband for her. If not perfect then good anyway. She deserves the best. Well dad. I have to go. I don’t want her to worry too much. I promise to keep your memory alive dad. I’ll tell Andy all about you. Rest in peace." Touching the headstone, Jack walked away, not even looking back. His grief over his father was now in the past. It was time to move on to happier horizons.


Several months later…

Jack and Rose paced the lobby of the prison hospital, awaiting word on his mother’s condition. It had been a hard pregnancy for Lily, and the doctor had warned that she might not survive the pregnancy. But Lily had insisted on going through with the pregnancy. Jack of course was supportive and was kept informed of all developments. So when the call came in about twelve hours ago that Lily was in labor, he had grabbed Rose and they were at the hospital before the baby could make an appearance.

"She’s alright Jack," Rose tried to reassure not only Jack, but herself as well.

"I hope so. But then again, if she’s gone…she won’t have to spend anymore time in this place. She’ll probably be with my father."

"Jack Dawson?" The doctor asked, stepping out into the lobby, looking rather grim.

"Yes? What’s wrong with my mother?" Jack came to attention, having a bad feeling about this. Doctors didn’t have that grim face if everything was going smoothly.

"She’s beginning to hemorrhage. We can save the baby or her. It’s your choice since you’re the next of kin."

"Wait a minute. You’re telling me that I have to choose between my mother and the baby? What kind of decision is that?"

"One that needs to be made and quickly. If you don’t say something soon…we’ll lose them both."

Jack sighed and looked up at the ceiling, not really sure what to do. He wanted to save his mother, but knew that she’d want the baby to live. Besides, if she was saved, she’d be locked up and that wasn’t living. This way, she could be free. "Save the baby, and if at all possible…tell my mother that I love her," He fought against the coming tears in vain.

"Will do," The doctor nodded before returning to the delivery room, trying to forget the tears in the young man’s eyes, or the way he went into his wife’s arms, a sob just escaping.

Two hours later it was over. The baby was born and Lily had gotten to see her daughter and name her before passing on, where Andrew was waiting and immediately forgave her. Jack and Rose setting on the couch. Jack’s head lolled back on Rose’s shoulder, almost asleep.

"Mr. Dawson," The nurse announced.

"Here," He sat up, looking around groggily, ready to hear the fate of his mother.

"I’m sorry sir. But your mother didn’t make. But we have here a beautiful baby girl by the name of Brittany. Here you go," The nurse set the squirming, pink baby in Jack’s arms. He looked down at her amazed. She was a tiny perfect being with bright blue eyes and light brown fuzz at the top of her head. "Look Rose. She’s perfect, and you didn’t have to go through any pain to get her."

Rose giggled at Jack’s statement. He was so cute when he made statements like that. "She is perfect. Oh Jack, it’s going to be so much fun raising both her and Andy. Andy’s going to love her."

"Thank you mom," Jack sighed, cradling the little girl in his arms. "I promise to take good care of her and let her know that she’s loved. I promise."

A soft breeze caressed Jack’s cheek, as if it was letting him know that his message had been received.


Two days later…

Lily’s had just been laid to rest beside her late husband Andrew, much to George’s chagrin. But there was nothing Jack could do. Her plot was already paid for by his father and they didn’t have any money to buy a new one. All their money had gone towards train tickets and the down payment on the house in Santa Monica and the rest of it’s going towards food until one of them get a steady job.

Now Jack and Rose were at the train station, each with a child and a bag in their arms. Rose had to laugh. They were certainly leaving with more then they had came with.

"Nervous?" Jack asked, reminding her of the first time they went to the stars. Rose just smiled and shook her head.

"More like excited."

"Jack! Rose! Wait!" George called, waving at them before they could board the train.

"What does he want?" Jack grumbled, not really wanting to hear anything George had to say. He had done enough in his opinion.

"Thank goodness I caught up with you," George breathed hard, out of breath. "Listen, I couldn’t let you leave with out saying I’m sorry. I was wrong for going after Lily the way I did. She had never meant for anyone to get hurt and I went and ruined her life. I’m sorry man."

Looking at his cousin, Jack sighed, his anger fading away. There was no use of grudges. Besides, this may be the last time he saw his cousin again. He wanted to leave on a good note.

"It’s ok George. Life is too short to hold grudges, so I forgive you," Jack hugged his cousin. "Mom wouldn’t have wanted me to stay angry with you anyway."

"And neither would Uncle Andrew," George sighed.

"All aboard!" The conductor announced. For once Jack was grateful for him. He wanted to be off to a new life already.

"Well that’s us," Rose sighed. "George, tell Cillie I said good-bye and do be good to her."

"Ok Rose," Jack forced a smile.

"Bye," Jack shrugged, following Rose on board, not having anything to say to the mean that had put his mother in jail. Yes he had forgiven George, but that didn’t mean he was ready to be best friends with the guy.

"I’m going to miss this town a little," Rose sighed, looking out at the already moving scenery. "We’ve shared so much here."

"We’ll share a lot more in California," Jack kissed the top of her head. "As long as we’re together. That’s what important."

"Hmmm. You know Jack…until I found you…I didn’t even know what love was. I always thought it was horrible because of Cal…but now I know it’s truly wonderful. I love you Jack. Always."

"I love you too Rose. I promise to give you a happy life and I will never treat you the way Cal had. Until I found you, I didn’t even know that I could be half the man my father was, and now thanks to you, I now know."
Smiling, Rose leaned back into Jack’s embrace, holding both sleeping babies as he held her. The future looked bright for her and Jack. She knew that nothing but good times were ahead for them both. Because they had found each other, their lives were better then they had ever dreamed.