Chapter Seventeen

Ruth Dewitt Bukater is standing outside Molly's mansion sitting on the doorstep when Molly returns. The poor woman looked as if she's been through the ringer and back. Molly's heart immediately goes out to her.
"Ruth darlin'. What are you doing here?" Molly asked incredulousy.
"I have nowhere else to go. I could barely afford the train ticket here. I was fired from my job and evicted from my apartment," Ruth stands up, trying to stand straight and proud. But it's of no use. Her composure finally crumbles and she falls into Molly's arms weeping hysterically. "Oh Molly, what am I going to do? How am I going to survive?"
"You'll survive Ruth. You just need the determination and courage. That's all. Believe me, we all go through hard times like these and we come out stronger for it," Molly comforts the woman. "Now let's get you out of this nippy weather and inside where it's warm. Don't worry about the luggage. I'll have James take care of it."
"I don't know how I'm going to be able to repay you Molly for all you've done for me....especially after how I treated you on Titanic...I must say I'm surprised," Ruth accepts a cup of hot tea that Molly had prepared after Ruth was settled.
"Don't you worry none about repaying me or about what happened on Titanic," Molly sets a pot of tea on the table. "That's the past and I plan to let it remain there. Plus, I was never one for letting someone stay out on the street when they had nowhere to go. Now Ruth, tell me how all this came about. Why did you get fired and evicted?"
"My supervisor at the factory said that I was sloppy in my sewing. He said that I was a waste of time and money. So in losing my job, I could no longer make the rent payments. I tried to find another job, but no one would hire me. So my landlord evicted me. I tried to reason with him, but he would hear none of it," Ruth sniffs, staring at the ground. The proud arrogant upper-crust woman was gone. In her place was this sad pitiful creature that no one wanted.
"Oh Ruth..."
"So I remembered you telling me that if I ever needed anything to look you up, so that's what I did. I mean, I thought you were just saying that to be polite, but I figured what else did I have to lose by asking for your help. The worst you could say was for me to get lost."
" about the Hockley's? Have you heard anything from them any?"
Ruth just shakes her head. She still couldn't believe that she had almost made Rose marry into such a harsh and heartless family. Thank goodness Rose saw through the facade and escaped from such an awful fate...even though her freedom was short-lived. "The last I heard, Caledon married that French heiress that had eyes for him a couple of years back. Can you imagine that? Rose hasn't been gone for a full year yet."
"You're still mourning her aren't ya Ruth?"
"She was my only child. How could I not mourn her? Oh Molly, I'd do anything to have another chance with her. I'd even accept that Jack Dawson if that's what she wanted," Ruth couldn't hold back the tears any longer. She began to cry again.
"Oh Ruth darlin'," Molly rubs the woman's back, her heart going out to her. She wished there was a way for Ruth to find out that Rose survived and was just a hop, skip, and a jump away. She could throw out some hints, but what hints could there be that she could give without coming out with the whole truth. That's when she remembers the conversation she had with Mrs. Hathaway just that morning.
"Molly, we'd love it if you could come to Eliza's engagement dinner we're having Saturday. You can even bring a guest. I just hope that girl doesn't go into labor or anything. That'd ruin everything, " Marge Hathaway sighed.
Of course! She could take Ruth to the Hathaway dinner this Saturday. Rose would surely be working that night. Sure it'll be a surprise for both Ruth and Rose. Rose wouldn't be expecting to see her mother so soon, and Ruth would be in shock at not only seein her daughter alive and healthy, but also pregnant and working as a maid. What a good idea.
"You know what you need Ruth? You need to have some fun," Molly places a hand on her hip. Ruth just stares at Molly as if she's gone completely mad. "Seriously. Staying in and mourning Rose is not good for you. And you know Rose would say the same thing if she was here now."
"So what do you suggest I do?" Ruth asked.
"I have a shindig to go to this coming Saturday, and I'm aloud to have a guest. I'll take you along instead of my son like I was going to. It'll do you good to get out among other people. Plus, the hostess has asked about you, so this would be a chance for her to find out first hand."
"Oh Molly no. I can't possibly go to a social event. I mean, what am I going to wear? All my fine dresses have been sold."
"Now don't you worry about that. We'll go shopping this week for a suitable dress. Do don't even think about not going."
"Oh Molly...I don't know what to say...except are you sure this is okay for you to bring me along?"
"Perfectly ok," Molly nods. "Now may I suggest we turn in for the evening. We have a big day of shopping ahead of us tomorrow," Molly stretches. It's definitely.
Time for her to turn in. "Come on Ruth. We can go up together."
Both women go upstairs; Ruth is the only one unaware of the surprise awaiting her at Molly's party Saturday. Molly just hopes that Rose won't want to kill her by time it's all over.
Rose stretches an rubs the sleep out of her eyes as she sets up. she winces as she feels the baby's hard kick to her abdomen. "You're a strong one," She smiled, then glances over at her sleeping husband. This was so strange, she still couldn't believe that he was actually there with her.
"Rose?" Jack awakens to find his wife setting up with her hand on her stomach and becomes disturbed. "Rose...Are you okay? Is it the baby?"
"Oh Jack, it's kicking. Here, you want to feel?" She turns to face her husband and places his hand on her abdomen. She laughs when his eyes widen in surprise and wonder when he feels the tiny foot send another kick.
"Wow...that's amazing. Does he do that often?"
"No...he just began doing it when you arrived. I think he knows his father is here and wants to say hello," Rose smiled, stroking a stray blond locke away from Jack's sparkling eyes.
"Hello little Tommy," Jack whispered, moving a little closer to her stomach.
Rose is taken aback by the name. What made him think that the baby was a boy? "Jack...what makes you think that this baby is a boy? It may very well be a girl."
Jack is speechless. He didn't really think about it when he said the name. It just sort of came out. "I don't know Rose. But I was thinking last night about names for the baby. We really should talk about it."
"Well...I've already decided that if it was a girl, we'd name her Molly Cora Dawson," Rose lovingly stokes her stomach, wanting to loll the baby back to sleep. "And I guess it's only fair to let you pick out the name if it's a boy...and I think you've already done that."
"You don't mind Tommy Fabrizio Dawson do you?"
"Oh Jack! I think that's a wonderful name!" Rose hugs him tightly and smiles as she thinks about the two young men lost on Titanic smiling down on them right now. "I think they would be honored if they could see us right now.

Oh Rose, they can see us right now. I know they can," Jack squeezes her back just as tightly. "I feel them everyday."
"Rose! Jack! Are you up!" Eliza calls up to them. "I hate to disturb you on a Saturday, but mother wanted me to remind you of that party tonight. Remember? You have to pull double duty tonight!"
Jack sighed deeply. He hated the fact that Rose had to work for Marge Hathaway and as a maid. she should be the one having a maid waiting on her, not her being a maid herself. But Rose had assured him that she didn't mind. That it wasn't really hard and she enjoyed Eliza's company. So he had relented and stopped insisting that she'd quit. But his worries have resurfaced when Rose began coming home sweaty and dirty, as if Marge Hathaway was trying to run her into the ground...and in Rose's condition that wasn't good. If things didn't improve by the end of next week, Jack would have to insist that Rose quit and stand his ground. He wasn't going to let Marge Hathaway take her dislike of the Dawson's out on Rose.
"I'll be right down," Rose called.
"Rose...I know I said I wouldn't interfere with your decision to continue working for the Hathaway's...but I really do think that they're pushing you past your limit...especially in your condition," Jack voiced his concern. "I don't think you should do this party tonight. I'm sure Eliza would understand."
"But her mother won't and her mother's the boss. Besides, I'll be fine. The only reason I worked so hard this week was because Mrs. Hathaway wanted the house nice for the party. But now that the party is here and everything, my workload will lighten again. You'll see," Rose reassured Jack, giving him a quick kiss. "I have to run. I'll see you at lunch?"
"Sure thing," Jack forces a smile, trying his best to hide his displeasure.
Jack stands up from the bed and wistfully stares out the window 'til he spots his wife leaving the house with her new friend. "I promise you won't always be like won't have to be the Hathaway's maid forever."

Molly and Ruth arrive promptly at seven o'clock, ready for the party. Molly can't help but be nervous. She sure hopes Rose isn't the one who answers the door. Ruth really would have a heart attack right on the spot if she did.
"Molly...are you sure this is okay with Marge Hathaway...I mean she's worse than I was on Titanic. I'm quite surprised you two are friends," Ruth fidgets at the door nervously. This is her first social event since the Titanic disaster...since she lost Rose.
"Acquaintances really," Molly snorts. "And yes I'm sure this is okay. Besides Ruth, this party will life you out of your depression about Rose's death. In fact, you might say it'll be as if Rose never died on that ship."
"Molly!" Marge greets when she answers the knock and then stops in total shock. "Ruth Dewitt Bukater...what a surprise. Word on the street said that you was now a seamstress after the death of your daughter."
"I was a seamstress, but that didn't quite pan out for me," Ruth forces a smile and nods. "So Molly invited me to this party you're having. She insists it'll do me good to get out among among other people."
"Oh it is, it is. In fact, I can't wait to introduce you to Eliza...she's my daughter of course, and I think the same age as your Rose. Maybe spending time with her will help lessen your pain."
Ruth just nods and follows the two women inside where the dinner party is in full swing.
"Eliza!" Marge calls to her daughter, waving her over. Ruth feels a pang of despair when she remembers summoning Rose the same way. "Eliza, this is Mrs. Ruth Dewitt Bukater. We went to finishing school together."
"It's nice to meet you," Eliza nods her greeting.
Ruth smiles. Eliza was a beautiful blond girl, and almost reminded her of Rose, but she was lacking the fiery spirit and strong will that Rose possessed. But still, the girl did remind her of Rose's beauty and kindness.
"Let me show you to the dinner table and I'll have our maid get you two a plate," Molly smiled, leading Molly and Ruth into the the dining hall of the house. "Eliza, go have Rose bring two more plates out will you?"
Moment of truth, Molly thought to herself. Ruth will soo know the truth about her daughter and will be giver her wish...another chance to make things right.
Rose has just gotten done taking the chess pie out of the oven when Eliza enters.
"'re needed out there again. Two more guests have just arrived," Eliza bites her lip. She hates it that Rose is working instead of being a guest to her engagement dinner. She was one of the bridesmaids for goodness sake.
"I'm coming," Rose takes two more plates out of the china cabinet and began loading it with food. "I'm sorry I'm so slow tonight. It's just that the baby here has gotten a little bigger the past few days. Even Jack has noticed."
"Do not worry about all that Rose. Everyone understands," Eliza smiled, taking one of the plates. "Now come, I'll help you with these."
Ruth is laughing politely at the story Marge is telling about finding a church for her daughter's wedding. Her laugh stops when she glances at the kitchen door to see a ghost emerge from the kitchen.
"Rose!" Ruth stands from her seat, shock and indescribable joy.
In her surprise at seeing her mother, Rose accidentally lets the plates of food fall to the ground and shatter.
"Rose!" Eliza exclaimed in shock. What had gotten into her friend who's suddenly gone pale?
Rose doesn't answer. She quickly disappears into the kitchen.
"Rose!" Eliza calls again, following her friend into the kitchen, where Rose seems to be heading for the back door that leads to the back yard. "Rose Stop! Where are you going?"
Rose turns to face Eliza, wanting to make her escape, but also wanting to explain everything to her friend. "...I have to get out of here," Rose stammered, looking towards the door.
"Rose, what is going on?"
"Rose!" Ruth cries, coming through the door, her eyes full of tears of joy. "Rose! We thought you were dead!"
"Careful Ruth. Don't scare the poor girl off," Molly warned, coming in behind Ruth.
"What's going on here?" Mrs. Hathaway demanded, coming in behind Molly. "Mrs. Dawson, I hope you know that was a valuable..."
"Dawson?" Ruth interrupts Mrs. Hathaway's lecture. "What happened to Dewitt Bukater? And Rose...Are you pregnant?"
Rose looks at Molly, a hint of betrayal showing in her eyes. "...I got married Jack. And yes, we are expecting a baby." Rose's voice is void of emotion, but her eyes are shooting daggers through her mother. "So if you plan for me to go back to Cal you can forget it."
Molly finally decides to step in. She didn't want this confrontation to get out of control. "Now you two, be nice to one another. You both have been through a lot in the past few months."
"Will somebody please explain to me what's going on?" Mrs. Hathaway places a hand on her hip.
"Isn't it obvious Marge? Rose is Ruth's daughter," Molly rolls her eyes. "That's the reason why I brought Ruth here. So she can find out that her daughter is alive after all.

Rose...forcing you to go back to Cal never crossed my mind. I'm just so happy to see that you're alive and healthy...even if you are married to that boy from steerage."
"Jack. His name is Jack."
"Even if you're married to Jack."
Rose is struck speechless. Here was her mother saying that she was willing to accept Jack as her son in law. That she had no intention of forcing her to go back to Cal. "What about Cal...and the money. I know how important that money was to you."
"Cal's gone darling. He married some French heiress. And as for money...watching you walk away from me on Titanic, and watching that big ship go down like that...and thinking you had gone down on the ship...that taught me that there was more important things than money," Ruth wipes away a tear streaming from her eyes. "Please Rose...forgive me. Forgive me for trying to force you to marry Caledon Hockley. I see now that he's not the man for you...that you were right all along in Choosing to be with Jack."
"Rose darlin...I think she means it," Molly speaks up for Ruth. "She's the only mother you've got and the only grandmother your baby will ever have. Don't deny your child a grandparent."
Rose is speechless. What should she do? Does she dare trust her mother to be in her baby's life? What would Jack think? She does lover her mother and would like to have her to be a part of her life, but she doesn't trust her, plain and simple. For all she knew, Ruth could be lying about Cal.
"I'm sorry mother...but I don't think I can trust you that much. I don't know if I even want you to be a part of my baby's life. I don't want it growing up thinking everything it says and does is improper like you did with me. I don't want it to grow up in fear of you."
"Was I that terrible of a mother?" Ruth asked, stepping closer to her trembling daughter. "Did I make you afraid of me?"
Rose doesn't look at her mother, but just nods. "To be honest mother, Molly's been more of a mother to me these past few months than you've ever been in all these seventeen years."
Ruth is speechless. She had no idea that Rose felt this way. What has she done to her relationship with her daughter and can it be salvaged this late in life? Ruth didn't know, but she was at least going to try.
"Rose...I'm sorry. I'm sorry that all your memories of me are bad ones. But please darling...please give me another chance. I promise I won't push you. We'll start slowly."
"I don't understand," Rose furrows her brow.
"...I say we call a truce...a weary one, but a truce all the same. I'll stay at Molly's and when ever you need me for can get in contact with me there. How does that sound?"
The room falls silent. It's as if everyone is waiting for Rose's answer. Rose stares into her mother's eyes and finds nothing but sincerity. A truce? No contact until Rose was ready...did she really mean it? Has she really changed that much? What did Rose have to lose in trusing her mother this far? Nothing much...just the thin thread of trust she had in her mother and that wasn't much.
Rose nods in agreement, her face void of emotion. "Ok mother. A truce. And when I'm ready to talk...I'll contact you...not the other way around."
Ruth bursts into tears of happiness. This was her big chance to get her daughter back. Maybe now they can build a relationship into what it should have been from the start, one of trust and love. "Oh Rose thank you! I promise, I won't disappoint you," Ruth runs over to her daughter and hugs her tightly, not ever wanting to let go, just in case she disappeared. "I'm going to become the mother you've always wanted...the mother you deserve."
"Careful Ruth. Don't push yourself on her," Molly warned caustiously. She was happy to see the mother and daughter call a truce. She just hoped it would last and grow into the type of relationship both women craved. For Rose, a warm and careing mother and for Ruth a daughter that she could love and a grandchild she could spoil.
Rose is still weary. She hoped she doesn't regret this decision to call a truce, and that her mother had indeed changed for the better.