New Life in New York
It was dark by the time the Carpathia reached New York. The ship docked in a harbour mobbed with hundreds, if not thousands of people trying to find their loved ones among the 700 survivors departing from the ship. The storm clouds had now dominated the night sky and rain poured down onto the city, drenching all those waiting desperately to catch a glimpse of who they were looking for. Paparazzi swarmed the survivors as they walked off the rescue vessel and blinded them with their flashing cameras and impertinent questioning. It was heartbreaking to watch people's hopeful gazes break apart when the last of the survivors walked off the ship, for they knew then that if there loved ones hadn't departed by now, then they mustn't have survived the tragedy. And then there were the heart warming reunions of those lucky enough to find the people they were looking for, their tearful eyes and enormous smiles of relief as they embraced one another lovingly.
Rose stood on the harbour looking up at the glowing statue of Liberty that loomed over her. She was mesmerised by its immense size and beauty, although that's how people felt about the Ship of Dreams and look how that turned out. Rose prayed that starting a new life in this City wouldn't let her down too. She had had enough of falling apart inside and being left to pick up the pieces.
She stayed on the Carpathia until she saw Cal and Ruth leave the harbour. Ruth spent half an hour wandering the masses of people to try and find her daughter, but her efforts were wasted. Cal, after watching her search for so long, finally got tired and led her away towards the cabs that were racing along the road. They would probably spend the night in a hotel and then head out to Philadelphia the next morning, to tell the wedding guests that the wedding was off.
Just then, as Rose was inspecting the intricately detailed face of the statue looking upon her, a man with a clipboard and a black umbrella walked over to her.
"Can I take your name please, love?" He asked politely.
Rose looked at him for a second, thinking about an answer to his question. And before she knew it she had told him what she so desperately wanted her name to be.
"Dawson… Rose Dawson." She told him. He thanked her and walked off.
Rose had finalised her decision to start a new life. She had changed her name. She was a new person, living a life that the person she loved wanted her to live. But she didn't know where to start. She thought for a second about sleeping under a bridge like Jack used to do, but that seemed a bit of an absurd thing to do. A young girl in a strange city sleeping alone under a bridge was just asking for trouble. She had to think of something.
It was getting cold. She put her hands in the pocket of Cal's overcoat, which he had given her on the boat deck of Titanic. A gesture that was more to show his air of ownership and authority to Jack rather than to help her. Suddenly, she felt something cold in her hand. It felt round and smooth, with a chain of some sort attached to it. Rose couldn't believe it. She knew what this was. She brought out the object and held it in her hand. And there, twinkling a deep blue sparkle in her hand with a shining silver chain was the Heart of the Ocean! The heart shaped gem lay in her palm, as heavy as the memories that suddenly ran through her mind.
"How careless of him!" Rose thought to herself. "No wonder he was looking for me."
She shoved it back into her pocket and laughed to herself. Cal must be furious! But what would she do with it. She couldn't try and pawn it like a cheap necklace. This jewel was worn by Louis the 16th, and was 56 carats! She couldn't trust a sleazy backstreet pawnshop dealer with such a royal stone. No, she decided then that she would not sell it no matter how much it was worth. She wanted to start a new life on her own, with no help from Cal or her mother, and if she sold the necklace and got however much money, it would basically be all thanks to Cal. She would keep it, as a reminder of what she's left behind. It would keep her wanting more of the little things out of life, not big blue rocks to weigh you down.
She walked down the gangway stairs and onto the harbour. Behind her, the Titanic's last few empty lifeboats were being lowered off of the boat deck. They were all empty and gleaming white. All that was left of that floating palace. She began to walk away when suddenly a reporter jumped out from behind a wall and flashed a camera at her.
"And what exactly do you think you're doing?" Rose asked irritably.
"Sorry lady, I was just trying to get a good shot, and with a face like yours it would be hard not to get a good shot." The man replied in a flirting way.
Rose blushed. "Why thank you. That's very kind." She began to walk off when the man placed his hand on her shoulder.
"My name's Robert, Robert Marshall, but I'll let you call me Rob." He told her, holding out a firm hand.
Rose smiled and took his hand, shaking it merrily. "Rose DeWi… Dawson. Rose Dawson." Saying this name would take some getting used to.
"Nice to meet ya miss Dawson." He said sincerely. They stood for a minute, still shaking hands, their grip not loosening, and their smiles unfading. He was a good looking man, with light brown, neatly trimmed hair and a very handsome face. He reminded her of an actor; he had a face for the screen. Rose suddenly felt a hot flush come across her and she let go, giggling happily.
"Do you know anywhere I could stay for the night? You see I have no money and…"
"Oh well, ya see babe, in New York if you got no money you got no life. That's why I'm doin this job."
"You mean you don't want to be a photographer."
"Well I'm a bit more than a photographer. I'm a reporter kind of guy. I was paid to get a few shots of survivors crying and the ship docking and Bruce Ismay, but that guy knows how to avoid the flashes."
"So you don't like being a, 'reporter kind of guy' then?"
"Well, no. I don't particularly like taking photos of people in their darkest hours after such a tragedy, but I'm getting' paid for it, so I do it. But that's life in the Big Apple honey!"
Rose liked this Robert. He was honest. He reminded her of…
"That's life I guess." Rose repeated, shrugging her shoulders, the rain still pounding the ground around them. Rose turned to head into the maze of towering buildings and bright lights of the City, but Robert stopped her.
"Where ya headed?" He asked curiously.
"Anywhere dry I guess Mr Marshall. It's awfully yet out here don't you think?"
Robert laughed, looking up at the sky. "Yeah, you got a point there."
"Although this is nothing compared to swimming in the Atlantic Ocean." Rose added.
"That must've been a nightmare if I may be so bold as to say so?"
"Yes… yes it was." Rose replied, looking down at the puddle under her feet.
"You wanna coffee?"
"Or a tea? Or a wine? . . . Or a beer?"
Rose laughed. "You think a girl like me can't drink?"
"I wouldn't even doubt it for a second." He said, as he began taking off his jacket and hat.
"What are you doing? The heavens are flooding down in case you haven't noticed?"
He walked over to the drenched red head girl and put his brown, pin striped jacket over her shoulders and placed his bowler hat on top of her head. Rose giggled, imagining how silly she must have looked, and how wet he looked now, his shirt soaked and clinging to him, detailing his rather sculpted and toned body.
"Let's go then!" He said, holding out his arm.
"Okay then my good sir! Lead the way!" Rose beamed merrily, linking arms with Robert, the man she just met, but the nicest man she could have expected to meet in New York. Robert started skipping towards the bright lights of the City before them. Rose was laughing and struggling to keep up with him, admiring his up beat personality.
Robert took her to a little shop just round the corner. Its sign which hung over the door read 'Antonio's Astounding Ale's' Rose was definitely in the mood for something to drink. They opened the door, a little bell ringing above them, and walked into a large bar. The walls were a dull shade of yellow which looked like it was once bright, with the wallpaper peeling off at parts. The floor was patterned with black and white tiles, a few cracking and the white discolouring. The furniture was basic, wooden chairs and tables with a bar at the end of the room. A wall of shelves adorned with bottles of all different drinks and glasses stood behind the bar. It was a simple bar, more simple than most places Rose had been to, but she was 3rd class now. She couldn't complain, and quite honestly, she didn't want to. She found the pace endearing.
"I'd like you to meet Antonio." Robert said to Rose, pointing to the man cleaning glasses behind the lonely bar. "Hey Anto!"
The man looked up. He was short and fat with tanned skin and black hair that was tinning on top. He had a moustache and dark brown eyes. He looked Italian and Rose knew it as soon as he opened his mouth.
"Ah! Roberto! Comma here my boy!" He cheered happily, his arms raised. He was wearing a white vest and his armpit hair and chest hair was clearly visible, as were the sweat rings. He was a funny looking little man, but seemed extremely kind.
Robert ran over and bear hugged the man, both of them looking like father and son, not in their looks, but their closeness.
"Where'a have you been, eh? Mamma was'a worried sick!"
"I was outta town for a while, business and all that, and I've been at work most of the week…" He leaned in and whispered "The Titanic just came into the harbour and my boss was paying us double to get a few good shots. She's one of the . . ."
Antonio turned to look at Rose as she stood watching the pair converse secretly. She smiled sweetly and waved a small greeting with her delicate, pale hand that poked out from under two overcoat sleeves. Antonio walked out from behind the bar and stepped over to the red headed beauty standing in his empty shop. He took her hand and kissed it. She giggled.
"Mamma Mia, if I wasn't married to Bella…" Antonio gasped, gazing at her eyes.
Rose went pink "How charming . . . I think?" She looked at Robert puzzled.
"Don't worry; it's a compliment, although Mamma would not be happy to hear it."
Just then, a door at the other end of the room swung open. A little woman with purple rollers in her hair and of the same complexion as Antonio stormed into the room. Her flowery pink dress and white apron billowed behind her as she raced towards her husband furiously. Her dark brown hair bounced as her slippers squeaked along the tiles.
"Antonio! Cosa pensa che si sta facendo? Queste mura hanno orecchi sapete, così come mamma!" She yelled angrily, pointing at him and then the walls with a stern finger.
Antonia waved his arms defensively. "Bella, Bella, calma, non è questo che cosa assomiglia! Lei mi ha insegnato una lezione l'ultima volta ho dormito attorno..."
"Ah sì? Anche lei meglio hanno imparato una lezione perché la mia padella non è mai stata la stessa forma ancora!" Bella moaned into her husband's face.
Rose couldn't understand them, but she knew that Bella was angry with Antonio for something. Before things got out of hand, Robert stepped out from behind the bar.
"Mamma! How good to see you!" He shouted, trying to change the subject.
Bella looked up, shocked to see the face before her. She opened her arms and raced past Antonio and Rose to scoop up Robert in a big warm hug.
"Mi è stato così preoccupati Roberto! Where have you been?" She said in a caring voice this time.
"Oh, you know, work, travel, ya da ya da! I can take care of myself now Mamma."
She squeezed his cheeks tightly. "Yes, but you'll always be my poco American cherubino." After saying this, Robert looked slightly embarrassed.
"Mamma, Pappa, this is Rose Dawson. She just got in on the Carpathia tonight. She was one of the 700."
"Oh, my sweet little girl, I'm sorry for assuming that you were his play thing." Bella apologised sincerely, but rather unexpectedly. "Although it wouldn't be like him not to bring in a girl when I'm upstairs!" She stared him down.
"That's quite alright Bella, I admire your honesty." Rose assured her modestly, but still in shock.
"Come upstairs Rose darling, and I'll fish you out some nice clothes. That jacket you're wearing is awful!"
Robert coughed. "Excuse me Mamma, but that's my jacket."
"I should have guessed. You never did have taste. If only you let me do your clothes shopping you wouldn't walk around looking like every other New Yorker out there!"
Mamma and Rose walked ahead of the boys and left the room, Bella's arm around Rose's shoulder comfortingly. Everyone knew about the sinking, and the fact that the few survivors would be coming in tonight, but Bella was deeply touched to see the young woman standing in her shop looking lost and alone. Robert and Antonio sat at the bar, listening carefully to hear the girl's footsteps go upstairs, and the sitting room door shut behind them one floor up. When they were out of ear shot, Robert leaned into the Italian shop owner and whispered.
"I've been working my ass off all night for a good story . . . and I think I'm gonna get one."
The men sneered menacingly and clinked together their beer bottles. Robert could see money on the horizon . . .