Chapter Seventeen

One year later...
Times has been busy for the Dawson family. The twins second birthday has come and gone and so has Daniel's first birthday. Lindsey had turned eight years old not too long ago. Kathy had married Jake and now they were living back in Santa Monica in her house, much to Cameron's rage, but Jack and Rose were still in the Dawson Mansion and Jack was now busier than ever and with Kathy in Santa Monica Rose was lonlier than ever. Sometimes she wondered if she'd be better off married to Cal. But despite those feelings, she remained supportive of her husband. Understanding that he was trying to get the hang of running a business and that left little time for her and the kids. So to occupy herself, she got involved in charities.
Meanwhile, Cameron's infatuation with her grew. He couldn't stop thinking of his cousin's beautiful wife. He had just thought of a way to get her to warm up to him and that was to be around when Jack wasn't...which was now all the time.
Walking down the stairs, he saw her leafing through a booklet full of dresses, something to wear to those ridiculous charity balls she went to on rare occasions Jack accompanied her, but often times, he had business to attend to so she had to go alone. Maybe, if his cousin couldn't attend the ball...he could escort Rose. Get her to trust him a little.
"Not another charity ball Rose," Cameron comes the rest of the way down the steps. "Such a waste of time when you have to go by yourself."
"I don't have to go by myself," Rose doesn't look up from the book. "I'm sure Jack will attend this one with me. He knows this is couples only and this particular charity means a lot to me."
"Oh really?" Cameron looks down at the table and grimaces as he spies the tickets entitled Titanic widows gala. "Brings back memories does it?"
"It does," Rose nods. She finally looks up when Jack enters looking rather distracted. Worry is clear in his eyes.
"Hello darling," Rose greets, getting up to greet him.
"Hi Rose," Jack glances at her for a second then begins rummaging through some papers in his briefcase. Rose grimaced as she realized that the briefcase had taken the place of his art portfolio. It's been six months since his last drawing and he had shown no signs of taking it back up again. "Rose, I'm sorry I won't be able to attend that ball with you tonight, but we're having late night meetings at the office and I'm required to be there."
"What?" Rose stands face to face with her husband. "Jack you promised..."
"I know but I can't. Believe me Rose, I rather be going to this thing with you than setting in a office full of crusty old men."
"But Jack, this is the Titanic gala...Titanic Jack."
Jack turns around, conflict is clear in his eyes. He wanted to please Rose. She has been so unhappy lately and he knew it was because of him. But there was nothing he could do. His hands were tied. "I'm sorry Rose...I can't. Listen, I'll make it up to you. I promise."
"But Jack...this one meant so much to he and I thought it'd mean a lot to you too," Rose bows her head, fighting the tears.

Rose..." Jack gently places a hand on her shoulders. "Don't cry. Can't you go by yourself?"
"It's couples only," Rose looks away from him.
Cameron grins. This was his chance. "If you don't mind Jack, I'll escort Rose to this thing."
Jack looks at Cameron suspiciously. He didn't trust his cousin, he was too much like Caledon Hockley. He really didn't want him anywhere alone with Rose. But then he looks at Rose who had tears in her eyes, her face fallen in bitter disappointment. This ball really did mean a lot to her. "Is that okay with you Rose? If Cameron takes you in my place?"
Rose looks at him in disbelief. How could he suggest that she go to the ball with his swarmy cousin? She didn't want to go with Cameron. She wanted to go with her husband. But she had no choice. If the ball really meant that much to her, Cameron was the only choice. "Fine. If that's the way you want it."
"I better go get ready," Rose starts for the stairs then turns to Cameron. "Oh and be sure to wear a nice tux."
"Sure thing," Cameron smiled, watching her disappear up the stairs.
"Do me a favor Cameron. Make sure she has a good time," Jack simply looks at his cousin, regretting that he wouldn't be the one escorting Rose to the ball. "And make sure no one there brings up Titanic. At least old memories of it anyway."
"You have my word Jack."
Jack just looks at his cousini and disappears into the study, getting ready for the meetings that night.

Lindsey is setting on the bed watching Rose prepare for the comeing ball. "Mommy you look pretty," Lindsey stared up at her in awe.
"Why thank you," Rose smiled at her adopted daughter.
"Is Daddy going with you too?"
"No honey he's not. He has business to attend to tonight," Rose sighs.
"Then who's taking you?"
"Your cousin Cameron."
"I don't like him mommy. He's mean."
Rose had to laugh. "I don't like him either Lindsey. But since this is a couples only charity balll, I have no choice," Rose sighed. She turns back to a picture of her and Jack back in Chippewa Falls and sighed. Back then she had no idea it'd turn out like this...with Jack too busy to spend time with his family.
"Don't be sad mommy!" Lindsey runs up and hugs her mother. "Daddy won't be busy for long!"
Rose smiled as she hugged her daughter back, wishing she could have that same unknowing innocense she had when she was that age.
"Rose! Are you ready!" Cameron calls up the stairs.
"Coming!" She calls back down. "Now be good for Mrs. Sylvia and make sure to tell your brothers and sister the same thing."
"Yes mommy," Lindsey nods, watching Rose disappear down the stairs.

"Ready?" Cameron asked, standing straight in his tux. He indeed looked handsome, he almost resembled Jack even, but Rose can still feel her skin crawl just by the anticipation of his touch.
"I guess I am," Rose walks past him as he offers her his arm.
Cameron just smiled and followed her out the door.

The ball was well underway when they arrived. Rose spotted plenty of familiar faces from Titanic there. It was Madeline Astor that first approaches her.
"Rose Dewitt Bukater! We all thought you were dead!" She exclaimed, throwing her arms around Rose.
"Hello Madeline," Rose smiled, hugging her old friend back. "No I survived and I go by the name Dawson now."
"Oh yes, after that gorgeous gentleman on Titanic huh?"
"He's my husband believe it or not. We both survived and got married aboard the Carpathia."
"And what about Caledon Hockley."
"Oh he got married to some heiress and has a son now. I doubt very much he even thinks about me anymore," Rose laughed.
"And who's this? He resembles Jack, but he's definately not him," Madeline notices Cameron for the first time.
"Cameron Dawson. Jack's cousin," Cameron smiled.
"Oh my goodness, you're one of the Dawson boys. Jack is a member of the Boston Dawson's after all isn't he?"
"Yes," Rose nods. "Imagine my surprise when he finally told me."
"I bet you're ecstatic."
"To tell the truth I'd be happy living in a shack, just as long as I was with Jack."
"It's nice to see a wife so in love with her husband," Madeline sighs. "It kind of reminds me of J.J. I miss him so much Rose."
"I know Madeline. But he wouldn't want you to be sad. He'd want you to be happy and enjoy tonight. I mean, it's for you too you know."
"I know. I just wish there was no need for this ball. That all our husbands were back with us."
Rose nods in understanding and shivers as she remembers that she could've easily been in Madeline's shoes as well.
"Rose, shall we dance?" Cameron holds out his arm, knowing she couldn't refuse him in front of her high society friend.
"Madeline? Do you mind?" Rose asked, begging with her eyes to say yes, but Madeline doesn't catch the hint.
"Oh I don't mind. Go ahead. Have fun. I have to get back to my escort anyway. One of J.J.'s sons. He insisted I get out and have a good time for once."
"Well I'll talk to you later tonight," Rose calls as Cameron pulls her onto the dance floor.
"Smile Rose. It's not all that bad," Cameron grins.
"You're not Jack. That makes it worse," Rose replied coldly. "Just because I allowed you to escort me to this ball doesn't mean that I like you anymore than that night when you insulted my husband."
"Oh come on Rose. I didn't know Jack was your husband."
"And that makes it alright?"
"No it doesn't. I deeply regret my harsh words and I had already apologized to Jack," Cameron sighed. "Please forgive me."
"I guess I can call a truce," Rose looks at the ground. "But mind your tongue when it comes to Jack. Ok?"
"Ok. You're very protective of him aren't you?"
"After almost losing him in the North Atlantic, of course I am. Who knows where I'd be right now if he hadn't survived," Rose looks off into the distance.
"The same way you are now. Alone. Except you probably wouldn't have the children," Cameron replied

Jack's been busy with that business. That's why he hasn't spent much time with me. Maybe if someone stood up and took some of the responsibility, maybe he would have more time for his family," Rose turns cold again.
"Jack's right Rose. You do have a hot temper," Cameron laughed.
Rose just glared at him and turned her attention out among the crowds. She gasps when she sees Caledon Hockley staring over at her.
"I think I'm ready to go now," Rose pulls away from the dance. "The evening's not going well and I'd like to check on the children."
"But we just got here," Cameron is confused. He wasn't aware that he had said something to offend her.
"I know, but I'm really tired," Rose heads for the door just to run head first into Cal.
"Hello Rose," Cal blocks her path. "I haven't seen you since Ruth's funeral. Whatever are you doing here? It can't be to donate. I doubt Jack has that type of money."
"Rose who's this?" Cameron cames up behind her.
"Caledon Hockley," Cal answers for her. "Rose's ex-fiancee and you're not her husband."
"Cameron Dawson. Jack's cousin," Cameron replied. "What do you want with Rose?"
"Oh I just wanted to say hi and let her know what's she's missing by marrying that gutterrat."
"Don't call him that," Rose narrows her eyes.
"Oh why not? That's what he is. I mean...what does he do for a living Rose? Nude paintings a dollar a piece?" Cal laughed.
Rose instantly slaps him. "You unimaginable..."
"Bastard? Oh yes, such elegant language coming from someone of Rose's stature," Cal laughed. He had once tried turning over a new leaf, but it had gotten him no where. So for now on he's being himself. "Quite elegant language for a little slut."
Rose gasps as Cameron lands a hard punch to Cal's nose, causing him to reel back a couple of feet. "You don't talk like that to a lady like Rose. Apologize!"
Cal puts his hand to his bloody nose and spits out a few spats of blood. "What? She's decided your cousin's not good enough anymore and now bedding you? Why Rose, you do get around don't you? Who's next? Is there another cousin in the woodwork?"
"That's enough," Cameron starts towards Cal, but Rose grabs his arm.+
"Cameron don't. You'll get in trouble. Let's just go ok?" Rose stares up at him begging.
"Not until he apologizes for what he said about both you, Jack, and my family. No one talks about the Boston Dawsons that way."
"Boston Dawsons?" Cal spat. "You mean..."
"That's right Cal. Jack's not just some poor gutter rat after all," Rose angrily crosses her arms.
"Now apologize," Cameron growled. "Unless you want something broken besides your nose."
At first Cal just stands there gaping at Rose and Cameron, then finally he mutters, "Sorry. Give my regards to Jack."
Then he's gone out of Rose's life forever.
"And you were engaged to that jerk? He certainly has changed since the last time I saw him," Cameron shakes his head.
"Now you see why I wanted to jump off the back of Titanic?"
"Definately," Cameron nods. "I'm glad you escaped that creature Rose. I really am."
"All thanks goes to Jack. If it wasn't for him I'd be married to Caledon right now," Rose stares off into the distance.
"Come on Rose. I think I oughta get you home," Cameron takes her hand and leads her outside.
"Cameron," Rose stops him and touches his arm so he looks at her. "I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for not only standing up for me but for standing up for Jack as well."
"Don't mention it Rose. You and Jack are family and nobody talks about my family like that," Cameron smiled. Rose smiles back and continues on her way to the car, not seeing Cameron's devious smile. He was finally breaking through that icy exterior of hers. It now was just a matter of time 'til she began to trust him and then he could make her his forever...or at least until he got tired of her.