Time stopped as the ship of dreams disappeared into the icy depths. The world blurred around me as it vanished. Every woman on the lifeboat stopped breathing for a momment. The children stopped sobbing. I felt myself die inside.
I held Iona close to me, trying to protect her from the cold. She was already wrapped in a spare blanket, but she needed my warmth to stop her from shivering. The jacket that I'd thrown over my shoulders was enough for now, but it wouldn't hold my heat for long. At least it covered my bruised arms.
Soon, the dying cries died out. With them, our hope swam away.
Georgia was sitting beside me, twisting something in her quivering hands.
"Is that from Robert?" I asked, already aware of the answer. She nodded in silence. "Are you goin' to read it?"
She shook her head. "It isn't mine to read." She muttered. Carefully reaching over Iona, I took it in my hands. I ripped the envelope open and read through the curling handwriting.
If you are reading this, you are safe. I will truly be at peace knowing that. I suppose this is goodbye, so I ask that you hold this letter dear, for I doubt we shall ever speak again.
Tears formed in my eyes, and I blinked hard before I could continue.
Though we met only a few days ago, it seems as though I have known you for a lifetime. We could've had a lifetime together if fate was kinder. I thought that one day, when Mr Thompson finds a new butler, we could go back to England. I have a beautiful little house in Yorkshire where we could settle down and start a family. A charming son and a beautiful little girl, just like her mother. Maybe even a dog, you seem like a dog person. And you could sit in the garden on sunny summer afternoons while I chase the children through the twisting rows of trees.
Now, I wish for only one thing. I ask that you don't live your life in the past because of this. Maybe you could think of me every once in a while.
Evangeline, you will always have my love.
As the letter drew to a close I felt my cheeks turning wet. I had no idea. Georgia was right all along. Why couldn't he've said before?
Suddenly I realised he was out there, in the cold, freezing to death.
"Turn back." I demanded. The young sailor turned to me. "Go back, now."