Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Rose glances around the town as she gets off the carriage. So this is where Jack grew up. In this nice quaint little town. Why was he so reluctant to return? From the looks of it, it was the ideal place to start a family.
"Oh Jack, please come back to Chippewa Falls...Please find me," Rose whispered, tears once again welling up in her eyes at the thought of the love she left behind. How could she do that to him? Why? Why did this have to happen at all?
Because of that stupid necklace of course and of Rose's own carelessness. If she had better hidden the necklace, she'd be in Jack's arms right this minute. Not alone and hungry in the middle of some town she's never been to in her life.
"Oh Jack, where do I go to now?" Rose couldn't help herself. Her eyes tear up and she's soon in middle of town crying uncontrollably like a baby. She doesn't notice the girl approaching her, concern shining in her dark blue eyes.
"Miss...are you ok?" The girl lays a gentle hand on Rose's trembling shoulders.
Rose looks up to acknowledge the kind stranger. She just shakes her head and continues crying.
"Mind telling me what's wrong? Maybe I'll be able to help," the girl replied.
"There is no help for me," Rose cried. "My life is over. I lost the man I love and now I'm in the middle of some strange town, not knowing what to do or where to go."
"Oh my," the girl simply replies, pulling Rose into a warm hug. "You look hungry. Let me take you to that cafe across the street there and you can tell me all about it while you get some food into your stomach. How about that?"
Rose looks at the girl in disbelief. What was it with people in this town? Do they always approach strangers in trouble and help them out? This girl was not only a shoulder to cry on, but a hot meal as well...something Rose hasn't had since she left New York. So far she's only been living on cold sandwiches that the train provided. "That sounds nice," She attempts a trembling smile.
She follows the girl across the street to the diner and takes a seat.
The waiter approaches,"Your order misses?"
"How do you feel about some good old fashion chicken and dumplings? They're Chippewa Falls specialty?" The girl suggests.
"That'll be fine," Rose smiles up at the waiter.
"Two chicken and dumplings dinners Joshua," the girl nods, turning back to the waiter.
"Sure thing," The man nods, heading towards the kitchen.
"Now...what's your name again?" the girl questions.
"Rose. Rose..." She couldn't use her married name because it'll bring in too many questions...she couldn't use her maiden name out of fear that Cal and her mother might find her...then it came to her. Why not use a name no one would expect her to use. The one that she despised the most but would throw people off track. "Hockley. Rose Hockley."
"Well nice to meet ya Rose Hockley. My name is Eliza Hathaway," The girl smiled sadly. "That's my name for now anyway. In ten months, it'll be Eliza Conway."
"Conway?" Rose's curiousity is peaked. Can Eliza be the friend that Jack was telling her about in the park the other day?
"I'm engaged to Lee Conway. The richest man in Chippewa Falls. A fact that I dread."
"Don't you love him?" Rose asked, already guessing the answer on Eliza's face. She can remember when her face had worn the same expression.
"No...not really. I mean...I guess he's alright if you like the rich abusive types, but he's nothing like my first boyfriend...nothing like him at all."
Rose is about to ask who her first boyfriend was but Eliza quickly changes the subject. "What am I doing? We're not here to discuss my problems. We're here to discuss yours. Why are you all alone here? Where's your family?"
"Well...the only real family I had was my fahter and my husband. My father died years ago...and I was forced to leave my husband. If I didn't leave him...something terrible would have happened. So you see, I really had no choice. I'm here in Chippewa Falls because I figured no one would think to look for me here," Rose sniffed. "Plus my family was friends with the Dawsons. Do you know them?"
Eliza for some reason turns slightly pale at the name Dawson, but she nods. "Yeah, I know them. I was close with their son Jack at one time, but he left and hasn't been back since. That was right after his parents died in the fire."
"How bad was the fire?"
"Not all that bad to do much damage to the house, but bad enough to kill Mr. and Mrs. Dawson. Jack fixed the house up as best he could, then he left. All that work on that place just to leave it. I still wonder what the point of it was."
"So you do know where the house is?" Rose asked, taking a bite of the chicken and dumplings once they were set before them.
"Sure do. Is that where you were heading? The old Dawson place?"
Rose simply nodded.
"I don't know Rose. I mean, I don't know how safe that place is now. There have been a lot of shady people passing through and it's suspected that they've made the old Dawson place their stop over. Plus...I don't know how Jack would feel about someone staying there. He's not even here for me to ask."
"I'm sure he wouldn't mind," Rose smiled at the thought of Jack's lopsided, devil may care smile. She missed him so much...she wished he was here with her right now. "And don't worry about those shady people. They only stayed there because it was abandoned. With someone living there, they'll know to stay away. Please Eliza...take me there. It's the only place I have to go."
With a reluctant sigh, Eliza relents. "Fine. I'll take you there...but Rose please, let's keep this between us. If Lee and my parents ever find out I was hanging out around the old Dawson place...there's no telling what the repercussions would be."
"Thank you Eliza. This means a lot to me. And don't worry, I won't say a word to anyone.
The house was gorgeous, yet simple. It was a solid victorian white in color. A white picket fence cut off the property from everything else. And in the back was a clear pathway leading into the woods.
"Where does that path lead to?" Rose asks curiously, imagining a blond blue eyed little boy skipping along the pathway, hand in hand with his father, a fishing pole slung over their shoulders. Probably even singing a little tune.
"Lake Wissota. That lake
gets as icy as the North Atlantic in the winters. I remember when
Jack fell in one time when Mr. Dawson took him ice fishing. He
was lucky he didn't drown. But he did have a good case of
pneumonia afterwards," Eliza smiles at the memory. "I
used to sneak over here everyday just to see how he was coming
along and when he'd be able to come out and play again. That Jack
sure knew how to get into trouble...I wonder what ever happened
to him. Where he's at this minute."
Probably hating my guts right now, Rose thought to herself.
"Come on inside. You should see it. Jack fixed it up real nice."
inside the air was chilled from disuse, but the atmosphere was still cozy. It gave Rose the impression that Jack must have spent a very happy childhood here.
"It's so peaceful here. Jack must have loved it," Rose looks around, imagining Jack as a little boy running down the stairs into the kitchen, maybe to sneak a cookie before dinner. This would have been the perfect place to start a family...a family they'll never have thanks to Rose's carelessness.
"Are you alright Rose?" Eliza spots a tear slipping down Rose's pale cheeks. "You look like you've lost your best friend or something."
"...I have lost my best friend," Rose sighed, wiping away the tear. "But I do love it here. In fact, I may as well stay here 'til I get a place of my own."
Rose didn't see the look of anger flash behind Eliza's gentle stare, but it's gone as soon as it was there. She wanted to help this poor girl who had shown up into town out of nowhere. Help her get started out on life.
"Listen Rose, you're going to have to get a job to support yourself," Eliza began. "Even though you don't have to pay rent...yet...all depending on if Jack ever returns or not...you still have to buy food and supplies. What I'm trying to say is that my family is in need of another maid. The pay is good, the work is moderate. Would you be interested?"
Rose Dewitt Bukater...a maid? What would she do as a maid? What Trudy did for her fo course. Serve tea, clean the house, help the women of the house dress and do their errands. Could she lower herself to do those things? could she become some maid for another family? She had no choice. It was the only way she was going to be able to support herself, until Jack came back to Chippewa Falls.
"...Ok. I'll take it. Do I start now?" Rose asked, hiding her nervousness.
"Oh no. Not now. My mother has to interview you first. Come to my house to Chippewa Lane at ten o'clock. Don't be late. My mother detests tardiness," Eliza smiles happily. "Just think Rose, with you working for us...we can become real friends.
Rose smiled. She didn't have that many friends even when she was living in Philadelpia. All the girls she knew were rich snobs or poor servants...which her mother forbade her to play with. Yes, a friend was a welcomed change for Rose, who was probably the loneliest person in Chippewa Falls.
"I'd like that very much," Rose holds back her tears of happiness. "Thank you Eliza. Thank-you for being so good to me. I don't know what I would've done if you hadn't approached me like you did."
"Don't mention it. Besides, I have a good feeling that you wouldn've done the same for me," the girl shrugged. "Jack's bed is still upstairs in his room. You can sleep there. He may have left a couple of nightshirts in his closet, you can wear some of those too if you like. But I have to be going now. Mother is probably climbing the walls wondering where I got off to. I'll see you tomorrow Rose."
"Bye Eliza," Rose waves as the other girl heads down the dirt road. "Oh Jack...you would've been so proud of me. I've found a place to live...thanks to you. A job and a new friend.
Then Rose remembers Jack's smile as he helped her back over the railing on Titanic, and the way his lips felt at the bow of the ship when he taught her how to fly. Not being able to keep the tears back, she throws herself onto the couch and has a good cry. That's where she falls asleep and wakes up in the morning.
"Put your hands on me Jack," Rose guides his hand down to her breast. Not bothering to resist her request, Jack draws her into a passionate kiss. His hands and lips explore every inch of her, before they join together and become one person. Lying in the afterglow of their lovemaking in her arms, Jack knew that he had found the one thing that makes him a whole person, the one girl that makes him complete. No it wasn't Eliza Hathaway like he had originally thought. It was Rose Dewitt Bukater. From that moment on, he knew he wouldn't be able to live without her.
Jack awakes from the dream with a start, sweat dampened his sheets. He rolls over to take a look at his wife, but finds himself alone. Rose. Why did she leave him? Why didn't she try to stick it out? Even if he did end up having to take complete care of her, he wouldn't have minded. He loved her with his whole heart...he had almost died for her out there on Titanic.
"Where are you Rose?" Jack asked outloud. "Where could you have gone? Could you have gone back to Cal?"
Of course she had. She said as much in the letter. She was an upperclass girl who was unable to take care of herself much less a family. What else better than returning to a man that can giver her the most comfortable life as possible? That can provide servents that will take care of her and the family?
"Oh Rose," hot tears course from Jack's eyes. He never felt so much pain as the loss of rose has caused. Not even when he had lost Eliza back in Chippewa Falls.
"Jack!" Mrs. Hitcherman's voice calls through the door. "Jack are you there?"
What could she want at this hour? Jack thought to himself. Right now he should be holding his wife in a warm embrace, not being disturbed in the middle of the night by his landlady. "I'm here," Jack answered, hoping out of bed and straightening up his wrinkled clothes that he had slept in.
"Well you please open the door? I'd like you to meet my daughter Anne."
Why would I want to meet her daughter? If she wasn't Rose, H didn't want to see her, nor anyone else for that matter.
"I'm coming!" Jack opens the door to find Mrs. Hitcherman standing beside a lovely blond girl. The girl kind of reminds him of Helga, the Norwegian girl Fabrizio was sweet on aboard the Titanic.
"Jack, this is my daughter Anne. She just came back from her stay in Florida," Mrs. Hitcherman introduced. "Anne, Jack is one of my new tenants. He's a bit lonely and so are you. I thought that maybe you two could become friends."
"Nice to meet you Jack," Anne smiled, her gree eyes the same Color as Rose's lit up at the sight of the handsome man staying in her mother's apartment.
"Nice to meet you Anne. Excuse me if I see less than friendly tonight. It's just that...I've hit a rush of bad luck lately," Jack explains his gruff behavior before he answered the door. "you can say I'm not in the greatest of moods tonight."
"Oh we understand Jack. Don't you worry. That girl should be ashamed of herself for what she did to you. But I've seen it happen a million times already."
Jack felt the anger build up
inside of him at the harsh words this woman, a stranger, spoke
about Rose. This woman didn't know anything about Jack and Rose
and what they had done for each other on Titanic. She didn't know
how much they loved each other.
"I think you better go now," Jack bites his tongue. Telling off this woman wasn't going to bring Rose back to him. "It's late and I have to work tomorrow morning."
"Will do," Mrs. Hitcherman smiled, taking her daughter's hand. "Come Anne. We better get back to our room. Mr. Dawson's right. It is getting rather late. Good night Mr. Dawson."
Jack watched them disappear around the corner before slamming the door shut.
"Rose," Was all Jack said as he fell into a dreamless sleep that night.