Chapter Fifteen

Rose sighs happily as she wakes up the next morning. What a beautiful dream she had. Jack was back and they had fallen asleep in each other's arms. She wished it was real with all her heart. Reluctantly she wakes up to find herself cradled in a pair of strong arms. It wasn't a dream. Jack really was here with her and he had forgiven her for everything.
"Jack," she smiled, carressing his soft blond hair. She couldn't wait for him to wake up so she could gaze into his beautiful blue eyes.
"Rose!" Eliza's voice floats up to her. "Rose! Are you awake?"
Oh no. She had totally forgot about the fitting for the bridesmaids gowns. She couldn't not go. Eliza was depending on her. But she didn't want to leave Jack. They had just found each other again. She didn't want to spend another minute apart from him.
"Rose!" Eliza's voice is closer. She's on her way upstairs.
Quickly jumping out of bed, and putting on a robe, Rose goes out to meet her friend at the top of the stairs and gasps in surprise. Eliza had not only a black eye, but also a bd looking bruise above her left eyebrow.
"Eliza...did Lee do that to you?" rose asked, Jack completely forgotten.
"Oh you mean this?" Eliza points to her injuries. "Don't worry Rose. I just bumped into my bureau last night before bed. Lee would never hurt me like this."
Eliza tries to smile, but Rose isn't fooled. She remembered trying to come up with such excuses when Cal left his bruises on her.
"Oh Eliza..."
"I know. How clumsy of me. But that's life I guess. Not all of us can be graceful like others. I just hope I don't trip over my gown on the way down the aisle," Eliza laughs.
" can't marry him...not when he does this to you," Rose sighs, not buying Eliza's excuses. If only Eliza could find a man like Rose had found Jack. A man that could save her from the fate of marrying Lee Conway.
"Rose, he hasn't done anything to me. Last night he just walked me home and we talked. That's all. So don't worry about it. Just get dressed so we can be on our way to the dressmaker's shop. We're five minutes late already," Eliza quickly changes the subject. "I'll even help you find something to wear if you want."
"That's okay Eliza. I already have something laid out. Just go back downstairs and i'll be down there in a minute," Rose replied, remembering her sleeping husband. How embarrassing it would be for Eliza if she walked in on him.
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. I'll be down in a second," Rose dunks back in her room, closing the door behind her. She swiftly goes to the closet and takes out a simple blue dress when two strong arms goes around her waist and two hands lovingly stroke her swollen stomach.
"I can't believe we're going to be parents in a couple of months," Jack smiled at the thought of the precious child growing inside his wife.
Rose just smiles in satisfaction. She was so glad that she could make Jack so happy after their long separation. She didn't have to worry about any icebreakers. "i love you Jack Dawson."
"I love you too Rose Dawson."
Rose turns her head in the same matter as she did when they were at the bow of Titanic, to give Jack a kiss when Eliza's voice floats up to them.
"Rose! Is everything alright up there? Do you need my help?"
"I better hurry. I keep forgetting about the fitting," Rose pulls herself away from Jack and hurriedly begins dressing, not noticeing how pale Jack's face had turned at the sound of Eliza's voice. "I'm coming!"
"Fitting?" Jack asked, remaining in the same spot he was in.
"Yes darling. I'm supposed to befitted for this dress today, and with all the excitment of you coming back, I totally forgot."
"Why are you being fitted for a dress?"
"I'll explain latter," Rose gives him a quick peck on the cheek. "I'll see you when I get home!"
Rose is out the door, leaving Jack feeling lost and confused. Eliza was downstairs waiting for Rose to take her for a dress fitting. But why? He guessed that the two girls had become friends last night when he heard them talking. But why would Rose be getting fitted for a dress and what would Eliza have to do with it?
"Don't bother coming back for her Dawson...she'll be mine...her parents want her to marry me and she will..."
No. That couldn't be the reason. Eliza would never marry Lee Conway. Besides, why was he worried about it? He now had Rose and she was all he ever needed. Putting Eliza out of his mind, he went into the bathroom and took a hot bath. he already knew what he was going to do while Rose was away. He was going to go visit some of his old buddies. Catch upon what was going down in Chippewa Falls for the past five years he's been away.

Josh Hamilton and George Rice both set in the small diner, deep in conversation about the upcoming wedding.
"I kind of feel sorry for Eliza marrying that Lee Conway," Josh shakes his head. "The guy is a pompous jerk."
"Yeah, but the Hathaway's don't seem to think so. They've been wanting Lee and Eliza together since Eliza began noticing boys," George snorted, taking a sip of ice tea taking a glance at the door to see a familiar blond man enter.
"It's too bad Jack Dawson doesn't return to save her from the marriage from hell. I wonder what he would say if he knew that his girlfriend is about to marry Lee Conway?" Josh doesn't notice his friend staring at the door.
"Why don't we ask him ourselves? He's right over there," George nods towards the door.
"What?" Josh turns to see what his friend was staring at and gasps when he notices one of his oldest friends who's been missing for the past five years standing in the doorway looking around. Jack was back. "I can't believe it. He's back."
"Think he knows about Eliza?"
"Don't know, but let's find out," Josh raises his hand and calls. "Hey you! Jack Dawson! Where have you been for the past five years?!"
Jack smiles happily as he spots his two best friends at the last booth in the restaurant. They haven't changed a bit it seemed. As far as he could tell, they were as loud and boisterous as the last time he saw them. He waves and quickly walks over to them.
"Long time no see Jack," Josh smiled. "Where have you been for the past five years? No one has seen hide or hair of ya."
"Everywhere. Paris, England...New York," Jack smiled. "I've been around."
"Well don't just stand there Jack," George moves over to make room. "Sit down. We want all the details of your travels. Met any pretty girls out there in the great beyond?"
"A few," Jack smiled, remembering how he had met Rose. They would never believe that he had gotten himself a high society girl on the grandest ship in the world...the ship that was now on the bottom of the North Atlantic. Rose. Have they met her? What did they think of her?
"A few? Oh come on Jack, you probably had more than a few," Josh laughed, remembering how all the girls had fallen over themselves over Jack Dawson once he had hit the age fifteen. Eliza was the prize though. Neither Josh nor George could believe that her and Jack were a couple. Those two were the Romeo and Juliet of Chippewa Falls. They were surprised when Jack had left her behind five years ago.
Jack just smiled. He had met a lot of girls out in the world, and he was now married to the most important one. But he had to ask about the first girl he had loved. He had to find out what was going on with Eliza. "So guys...I was hoping someone could fill me in on what's been going on in Chippewa Falls since I've been gone."
"You mean you was hoping someone could fill you in on Eliza don't you?" Josh asked. "You want to know what Eliza's been up to lately."
Jack simply nods. There was no use beating behind the bush about anything.
"She's getting married Jack," George replied, his voice now gentle. He felt bad for Jack. What a way to come home to find that the woman you love was marrying another man. "She's marrying Lee Conway in two weeks."
"I should have known," Jack sighed. He felt so bad for Eliza and guilty as well. Maybe if he hadn't left Chippewa Falls, maybe she wouldn't be entering such a horrible marriage. But then again, he wouldn't have been on Titanic and he wouldn't have met his Rose. But he had to find a way to get Eliza out of this marriage. He owed her that much.
"We're sorry you had to hear it like this Jack. We know how much you loved her," Josh looked away from Jack's emotionless face. He couldn't tell how Jack was taking the news. If it was Josh, he'd be so angry that he'd want to go and kill Lee Conway. But Jack didn't seem angry...he didn't seem anything.
"Don't be sorry Josh. I'm not hurt or anything. I just hate to hear that she's going to be marrying that pompous jerk. That's all," Jack shrugged, gazing out the window.
"Why I don't believe my eyes," A snide voice speaks up from behind them. Jack turns to face Lee Conway; his hard gray eyes were boring into him. "Dawson has returned, and just in time for my wedding."
"Get out of here Conway," George warned behind clenched teeth. He didn't want to see a fight, not on Jack's first day back in Chippewa Falls.
"Don't worry George. I'm not here to fight. I'm here for breakfast. Planning my wedding to the beautiful Eliza Hathaway sure does make me hungry," Lee laughed. "No hard feelings Dawson?"

"No hard feelings. But you'll never be worthy of her Lee. It doesn't matter if you marry her or not," Jack said, getting up to leave. He wanted to stay and talk to his friends, but he didn't want to be in the same room with Lee Conway any longer than he had to. "George, Josh, I'll see you later. I'll be at my old house."
"By the way Dawson, how long have you been back in town?" Lee is suddenly suspicious.
"Since last night. Why?" Jack asked, knowing what was behind the question. Lee wanted to know if Eliza was with him last night.
"Have you seen my fiancee since you've been here?"
"No Lee, I haven't. There was only one girl I was with last night, and if you don't mind I want to return home before she gets back," Jack nods before leaving the diner, leaving all three men staring after him in shock. There was something different about Jack. He seemed more settled and less of a free spirit as he was. They could only wonder what had changed Jack in the five years he had been away.

Rose stares at her image in the full-length mirror. The dress looked beautiful on her. She always looked good in lavender, even though her mother detested the color. She wondered if Jack would like her in the dress. Well, she guess she'd find out in two weeks.
" look gorgeous in that dress," Eliza beamed with pride.
"You sure do," Jack smiled, coming into the dress shop, standing right behind Eliza.
Eliza's eyes grow big as she recognizes the voice. He's back, she couldn't believe he was back. "Jack Dawson! Is that really you?"
"In the flesh," Jack smiled, still gazing at Rose. Standing there in that dress reminded him of the first time he ever saw her. So beautiful and so far out of reach. He never thought he had a real chance with her.
"I can't believe it!" Eliza cried with joy, throwing her arms around him. Seeing him again was like Christmas. A holiday she was waiting for a long while. "You're here! You're actually here!"
"Yes, and I hear a congratulations is in order," Jack smiled, pulling away from the hug and finally taking his eyes away from Rose.
"So you heard huh? About me marrying Lee," Eliza looks away from his eyes, that's when he finally notices her bruises. "Eliza...what happened? Did Lee do this to you?"
Eliza looks back up into jack's eyes and knowing that he'd see through her lies, she just nodded. "He thought I was having a affair. Isn't that absurd?"
"Don't Jack. Don't say I can't marry him," Eliza cried. "I have to. I have no other choice."
"There's always a choice Eliza," Was all Jack said, leaving her and walking over to Rose. "So I see you met my wife Rose," Jack changes the subject. He didn't want to discuss his feelings about Eliza's wedding in front of Rose. She didn't need to know about his past relationship with Eliza. It might ruin their friendship and that was something he didn't want to do. He had a pretty good feeling that Eliza was going to need Rose's more than ever. Maybe that was the reason for Rose leaving him like that. Eliza needed someone who knew what it was like being forced into a loveless marriage and to give her hope that her destiny could be changed.
"Wife?" Eliza is confused. Rose said her last name was Hockley, not Dawson. She looks at Rose confused. Rose looks away, her face red.
"I'm sorry Eliza. I lied about my last name because I knew Jack was from here and I didn't want too many questions about him. Plus, Hockley was the last name of my ex-fiancee and I knew if he was looking for me, he would never expect me to use that name. Otherwise I would have been more truthful."
"That's okay Rose. I knew you were going through a lot of pain. So I guess this means that you two have worked things out?" Eliza looks at them both, noticing how Jack looked at Rose and noted that he had never looked at her in such a way. That was when her heart broke, because she knew that for sure that even if she didn't marry Lee, that she'd still have no chance with Jack. He was deeply in love with his wife.
"Yeah. I arrived last night with Molly Brown, who told me everything that happened. I convinced Rose that everything was okay. And I'm glad I did. It's still hard to believe that I'm going to be a father,"Jack grinned, still gazing at his wife.
Rose shifted uncomfortably. She thinks it's time to change out of the dress. "Well, I'll leave you two alone to catch up while I change. I'll be back," Rose disappears into the dressing room.
After Rose is gone, Jack turns to Eliza, his face is now serious. "Eliza...I need to talk to you about something."
"Don't tell Rose about our past relationship. All she needs to know is that we're friends. That's all."
"Why Jack? Why don't you want her to know? Are you ashamed of us? Is that it? I mean Jack, I'm no dummy. I could tell when I first saw her that she was high society. In fact, I'm kind of surprised you're married to her. But I'll leave how you two met for another time. I just want to know why you don't want her to know about our relationship."
Jack swallowed. "Because I don't want to come betwenn you two. I could tell that you two are best of friends now. And Rose doesn't have many of those. Plus, with your marrying Lee, you're going to need her friendship. Rose knows all too well what it's like to be forced to marry someone she didn't love."
"Besides, I think that was the real reason for her leaving me. You needed a friend, so what's better than a girl who's been in your shoes, but was able to escape from it. You needed someone who can give you real hope that this marriage isn't your fate. That you can rise above it."
Eliza just nods, a tear rolling from her eyes. "I'm glad I could be there for her Jack. I mean, she was really hurting and she needed someone. I knew I was doing the right thing taking her in, but now I'm even happier her I did because she's your wife. In helping her, I believe I was helping you..."
"And you were Eliza...I'll always be grateful to you for taking care of my Rose. I don't know how I'll ever be able to pay you back for that."
"Just give me a big hug. That's all I ask for," Eliza smiled, hugging Jack tightly. Even though she knew they could only be friends, she can't help but enjoy the familiar feel of his arms around her.
Neither of them notices the frontdoor open, until it was too late.
"What's going on here?" A angry voice demands.