Chapter Fourteen

The old Dawson house was dark and empty when Jack and Molly arrived. Hitting a switch, it's obvious that someone was staying there. Telling from the red long strands of hairs Jack found on the couch, it was Rose. He was glad and relieved that she felt comfortable enough to stay in his old house.
"What am I going to say to her when she tets back?" Jack turns to Molly. "I mean, I haven't seen her in five months. What if she doesn't want me back?"
"Believe me Jack, she wants to be with you more than anything. You just have to reassure her that everything's ok. That's all. Tell her you love her and that you forgive her for taking off like that," Molly reassures him. "If you don't mind I'm going to step out. I need to discuss some business with Marge Hathaway. I'll be back soon. You'll be ok here by yourself won't you?"
"Of course. In fact, Rose has this place fixed up so nice that I don't even recognize it anymore. Memories of my parents should not be a problem," Jack smiled nervously. "Go on. I'll just look the house over, make sure everything else is ok."
After Molly is gone, Jack just walks around the house, examining all the changes that he had done before he left and the changes Rose had done when she had arrived. He had to admit that he liked the feminine atmosphere Rose had given the place. For a pampered upper-class girl, she knew how to decorate. Strolling upstairs, he takes a step into his old room to find it was the place Rose had chosen to sleep in. He even found a couple of his old nightshirts folded on the bed.
Picking up one, he smells the scent of lillies, the perfume Rose wore. She must have slept in them or with them, drawing comfort for all the nights she had to sleep alone. He's about to head for the dresser to see what else had changed when he hears the sound of female voices downstairs, both of them familiar. Rose was home and she had brought Eliza with her.
Carefully Jack sneaks to the top of the stairs to listen in on their conversation.
"Now Rose, you must forgive Amanda. She doesn't know what she says. She's just a little taken aback that I'd let someone I know for such a short time be in the wedding," Eliza replied, her voice full of sympathy.
"It's not because of that Eliza and we both know it," Rose's voice is on the verge of tears. The only time he heard her voice quiver like that was when she was trying to wake him up after Titanic sank. "It's because I'm pregnant and the father isn't here. That's the whole reason for her objection of me being a bridesmaid. And she's not the only one. Your mother also feels the same way. I know what they think of me Eliza. I'm not stupid, I have ears."
"They think I'm a whore for being pregnant. They think I bedded some man out of wedlock and that's why I'm pregnant and alone. But they're wrong. This baby isn't out of wedlock, and they have no idea why I'm alone."
"You're right Rose. They don't have any idea of why you're in this situation...and really neither do I. I can't understand why you don't just get in contact with the baby's father and tell him. If this guy is as wonderful as you've described him to me, he'll understand and will stand by you and the baby."
"I want to tell him, I do. I even set up there in that room writing letter upon letter explaining what happened and the situation I'm in now. But everything I write doesn't sound right. It doesn't sound like I mean it. And I do mean it Eliza. With all my heart. I want her back, but..."
"But what Rose? What's stopping you?"
Before Rose could answer, there's a fierce knock at the door.
"Who can that be?" Rose asked, a tinge of fear in her voice. Jack's muscles tighten, ready to come to his wife's rescue if need be.
"Eliza! I know you're in there! You might as well come on out!" Lee Conway's angry voice floats through the door. "I've told you time and again that I didn't want you hanging around the old Dawson place, but you refuse to listen. Now come out and take your medicine!"
"Oh dear," Eliza's vice is full of fear. "It's Lee and he's angry. I better go."
"Eliza no," Rose stops her friend from making another move. "I'm afraid for your safety if you go to him."
"Eliza, either you come out or I'll come in!" Lee's voice is now full of fury. "And if you're with another man, I have just the thing to take care of him! So you might as well come out!"
"He must have a gun. I better go," Eliza starts for the door, then turns to Rose to cut off any further protest. "Rose, you're pregnant. I'm not going to put you and this baby in any danger needlessly. Don't worry. Lee won't hurt me. I'll just explain why I was here and that I'm not having a affair or anything else."
"Eliza..." Rose began.
"See you tomorrow Rose. I'll stop over first thing to fit you for that dress." With a small hug, Eliza is out the door, running towards her angry fiancee who's waiting at the end of the dirt path.
"Please God, protect her. Don't let him hit her," Rose prayed, not realizing that she wasn't alone in the house. Taking one last look at the door that her friend had gone through, Rose begins to go upstairs to get ready for bed.
Jack quickly dunks back into the room and into the walk in closet that contained a ladder that lead up to what used to be his studio. Leaving the door open a crack, he peaks out at Rose entering the room and sitting on the bed. She hadn't even noticed that things have been disturbed in the house. She just sits on the bed and puts her face in her hands. Jack's heart breaks as he hears her sobs as she cries for what she thinks she had lost. He couldn't stand it anymore. He had to go to her and comfort her the best way he knew how.
Silently stepping out of the closet, Jack takes a seat on the bed and places a arm around her shaking shoulders. Not yet realizing what she's doing, she leans into him and lets him hug her tightly and stroke her hair, whispering all the time that he loved her and forgave her and that he was never going to let anything bad happer to her nor the baby ever again.
"Shhh Rose. It's okay. Don't cry," Jack hugs her closer to him.
Suddenly Rose stiffens as she realizes that this time, Jack is not a hallucination. He was really here and he was comforting her, telling her that she was forgiven for deserting him the way she did.
"Jack?" She asks incredulously, afraid he'd disappear if she moved. He felt so real, so solid. Can it possibly be Jack? "Jack? Is this really you? Are you really here or am I dreaming again?"
Jack stares into her tearful eyes and lightly kisses her forehead. "It's really me Rose. I'm really here. You don't have to worry anymore."
Rose pulls away from him and just looks into his eyes, searching for any clue that would tell her if what he said was true or not. All she finds there is concern, forgiveness, and love. "Jack...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry....I was scared. That's why I left. I was afraid..."
Jack just places a finger over her lips to silence her. "I know why you left. Molly told me everything. I'm so sorry Rose. I should have taken you back to the hotel when I saw how that woman frightened you. I shouldn't have let you know how Fabrizio and Tommy's deaths upset me. Maybe then you would have felt comfortable enough to come and tell me what that old lady was doing to you."
"Oh's not your fault. I was just too scared of her threat to tell Cal where we were. I knew you'd talk me out of leaving if I did tell you, that's why I was glad that you weren't home when I came back from Molly's. So I came here to Chippewa Falls and found out that I was carrying our child."
"I know Rose. Molly told me all of it. She even told me you were working as a maid. I couldn't believe it when she told me."
"I had to find a way to support myself and the baby. Believe me when I say I was shocked by the idea myself, but I knew I had no choice. There was no other alternative other than going back to mothe and Cal and that would have defeated my purpose. Plus I didn't want to give up the freedom I have now and go back to such a oppressive society, especially with a baby. Can you imagine what Cal and mother's reactions would have been if I had returned?"
"Yeah. Cal would have probably found a way to terminate the pregnancy," Jack is once again thoughtful. All this time he thought Rose was with Cal, but she wasn't. She was here in Chippewa Falls all along, struggling for survival. But now that he was here with her, he was going to make everything better some how. "Rose...promise me that the next time something like this happens, you won't take off without me. Promise me that you'll come to me first and we can talk it over."
Rose eagerly nods her agreement, tears of joy streaming from her eyes. "Oh Jack, I promise. For now on I'll tell you everything." Rose throws her arms around Jack and holds him tightly.
They remain like this for a while, up until Molly Brown steps into the doorway, a big smile spreading from ear to ear.
"So I see you two kids have made up," Molly announces her arrival. Rose breaks away from Jack to run over to Molly and give her a big hug.
"I can't thank you enough Molly for telling Jack everything. I really did try to write a letter to him, but nothing sounded right," Rose cried.
"You're welcome Rosie. I told ya he'd understand didn't I? I told you everything was going to be alright," Molly smiles. "And now your family is back together..the way it should be."
"Yes Molly," Jack stands up from the bed and puts a arm around his wife's shoulders. "Everything's the way it should be. And noting like this is ever going to happen again. I'm going to make sure of it."
"Good. Well,if you don't mind, I'll be going. Even though it's far too late for me to go home, I'll be staying the night at the Hathaway's. So you both will know where to find me if you need anything."
"Thank you Molly, but I doubt that Marge Hathaway would be pleased to see us on her doorstep at this time of night."
"I'm sure you're right. The woman is even more uptight than Rose's mother is. Give her a night on a sinking ship I suggest. That's enough to change anybody," Molly turns to leave whe Rose suddenly stops her.
"Molly...have you hard anything from my mother since the sinking? Is she well?" Rose nervously asks. She's been so busy thinking about her own situation that she barely ever thought about Ruth, but now that she had Jack back and everything was looking better, she had to know what might have become of her mother.

"Well, Nathan Hockley refused to support her. Without the bride for his son, she was worthless to him. So now she's in Philadelphia, working as a seamstress. I tried to get her to stay with me and keep me company, but she refused. She said she deserved this after what she did to you."
Rose is in shock. Her mother had become what she feared most. She's a seamstress....and not only that...she's guilty for Rose's "death".
"Rose honey...why don't you write her. Tell her you're okay at least. Give the poor woman some peace?" Molly urges, watching Rose as she stepped closer to her husband.
"I don't know Molly. I'm still angry about her trying to force me to marry Cal. All the time, even when the boat was going down, she thought of nothing but herself. I mean, you heard her. She was afraid the lifeboat would be too crowded."
"Rose...she didn't mean it that way. She was trying to calm her own nerves down. She didn't mean any harm by that comment," Molly steps up to Rose, who now has angry tears in her eyes and refuses to look at her. "Rose...she loves you...;you and this baby you're carrying are all she has left in the entire world. Please Rose...I'm begging ya. Give the old woman another chance. I'm sure she's not the same person."
"Molly...I don't know. I'll have to think about it. That's all I can give you or her right now. Besides, right now I'm going to concentrate more on my marriage. After that...I'll have to see," Rose softens some. She's still very angry with her mother, but some of that anger was beginning to fade at what Molly had just told her. Molly was right. No matter what Rose did...Ruth was this baby's grandmother and nothing at all would change that.
"'re reasonable. Try to make your wife see that forgiveness isn't only good for Ruth, it's good for her as well. It's not good to have all that anger bottled up inside like that," Molly turns to Jack, who had remained quiet during this exchange. He just looks at Molly and ndos. He knew she was right. Forgiveness was the only way his Rose was ever going to be truly and completely happy.
"I'll think about it Molly, and this time I really do promise," Rose repeats.
"Well, I guess that's all I can expect from you then. I do hope you'll think about it though. She needs ya Rose. She really does. Well...I'll be going now. I'll stop by tomorrow before I leave to say good-bye." Molly gives them both a big hug. "I'll see you tomorrow you two."
"Night Molly," Both Jack and Rose said in unison, their gratitude to the woman clear in their eyes. If it wasn't for Molly, they'd still be apart and miserable.
" looks like it's just the two of us," Jack smiles, once Molly is gone. "Rose...about what she said..."
"Not tonight Jack. Please...I don't want to talke about my mother on our first night back together. All I want to do is be held by you and know that we'll never be apart again," Rose looks up at him with pleading eyes, a single tear streaming down her cheek. "Please Jack. Just hold me. I've missed you so much."
Jack gently wipes the tears away and kisses her forehead. If that's what she wanted to do, then that's what he was going to give her. "Okay Rose. Let's go to bed." He gently leads her to the bed and they both lay in each other's arms holding each other tight for the rest of the night.