Sydney Hansen woke from a sound night's sleep and opened her eyes. Instead of being greeted by the familiar surroundings of her guesthouse-turned-bedroom, she found herself sitting in a deck chair on an ocean liner. The water was all but still, completely clear. Not one cloud darkened the sky.
"Mother!" Syd called, expecting her mother to appear from around the corner, which would mean that this was one of Syd's rather colorful dreams. Syd felt as if she had dreamed it all... 1930's bread lines, Victorian England, even a kitchen full of Mafia wives. Why not a ship?
But Lynda Hansen didn't appear. "Mother, don't play tricks on me!" Syd stood up from her relaxed position and looked down at her clothing. She was dressed in a high-waisted dress with matching brown leather lace-up boots. A coordinating parasol lay by the side of the deck chair. A steam whistle sounded from the middle of the ship, and an ominous feeling began to turn in Syd's stomach.
"The fastest ship in the world?" Dr. Kerry Weaver, one of America's premier female doctors, took a sip of her morning coffee while she eyed her fiancee with a doubtful expression. "Ellis, I really don't care, as long as I'm back in Chicago as soon as possible."
Dr. Ellis West, a rather arrogant doctor in charge of hospital financial management throughout Kerry's native Midwest, smiled proudly. "Not to worry, Kerry, dear. We'll be there to complete my deal by Tuesday." He reached over to brush a wayward strand of copper hair away from her forehead.
Kerry inwardly cringed at his touch. He was always trying to change her into something she wasn't. If she wanted to let her hair fly free, what was it to him? They were to be married in two months. Although everyone was telling her she was doing the right thing, there was something deep down that gave her doubts about Ellis. He was barely older than she, but he was already so stodgy and set in his ways that she felt as if she were betrothed to a much older man. She longed for a man with a youthful spirit, who would be responsible enough, yet not over-inhibited. She managed a forced smile at Ellis, then continued drinking her coffee.
"Hey, Carter, thanks again for the ticket," Mark Greene said to his suitemate as he unloaded his modest set of clothing into one of the RMS Titanic's finer wardrobes.
"I'm happy to have you with me, Mark." John Carter, heir to the Carter Family Fortune, had long ago decided that this trip would be boring and uneventful. Despite his wealth, John did not like hobnobbing with the rich people who sailed on ships such as this marvelous vessel. They were always out to impress someone with their travels or their vast estates. His entire family had frowned on his decision to become a doctor, as if it were too low a profession for a Carter. He and colleague Mark Greene had just spent two weeks at a medical convention in London, and were on their way home to Chicago.
"Fascinating, truly is," Elizabeth Corday, newly awarded distinguished fellow of British medicine, was peering over the edge of the ship to see the propellers.
Captain Jim Hansen shared her opinion, proud to be commanding this ship. "The fastest moving object in the world. What part of England are you from?"
"London," Elizabeth replied. "And you?"
"I was born in Providence, Rhode Island. My father was a veterinarian, but I always heard the call of the sea." Jim replied thoughtfully. "Here, Titan, boy!"
A large golden retriever bounded out of the captain's quarters to greet Jim and Elizabeth. "As you can see, I share my father's love of animals. Titan here was a present from my son, Robbie, in honor of this maiden voyage."
"He's lovely!" Elizabeth bent down to scratch the dog's ears.
Syd looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings. She had no idea where she was but was going to find out whether she liked it or not. Syd then saw a very familiar face, her father coming toward her.
"Syd, Titanic is about ready for her first maiden voyage. Come up to the boat deck with Joanie and Robbie," Jim said.
Syd stared at her father with a blank expression on her face. What was going on and how on earth had she gotten here. "Dad?"
Jim turned around, and faced his daughter. "Yes."
"Are you the captain?" Syd asked.
"Of course, Syd, I have been waiting for this trip for months," Jim said. He pulled Syd by the arm. "Come along dear, let's go gear her up."
Syd followed her father toward the
boat deck, observing everything as she walked past them.
Kerry took Ellis's arm as he led her toward the first class gangway. She had been told that this ship was unsinkable, that nothing would happen, but, deep down Kerry still felt a tiny bit of fear. She climbed aboard with the help of Ellis and a steward. The couple were then led to the grand staircase, which was the most marvelous thing. They were then led to the cabins, C12, 13 and 14. Kerry looked around the room and watched as stewards brought her luggage.
"This is the finest cabin on the ship," Ellis said. He kissed Kerry lightly on the cheek. "Mary will help you unpack."
Kerry nodded and headed for her bedroom.
Mary was her maid, whom Ellis had hired for the voyage home. Kerry looked
around the room and sighed. She felt trapped somehow, like she had been
sucked into Ellis's world of parties, and meetings. Kerry bit her lip to
keep from screaming out in range. She desperately wanted to have fun, to
laugh at something without being stared at. Kerry turned to her servant
and started giving orders about where to put everything. This was going
to be a long trip home.
Elizabeth could see Captain Jim down below, on the deck below her. She smiled and looked at his dog. Then she noticed a familiar face standing beside him, and realized that it was Syd Hansen. Syd had been at the conference with Elizabeth but had not spoken but only a few words to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth smiled, hoping that she would run into her while on board. Elizabeth jumped when she heard a whistle blow and realized that the ship was now picking up speed. Elizabeth made her way toward her cabin. The ship was finally on it's way, going faster and faster. Elizabeth had managed to get a first class ticket, by the kindness of her classmates and teachers. She searched for her cabin and noticed that no one was willing to help her.
"Excuse me Miss, do you need help finding your cabin?" a man whom Elizabeth did not know asked her.
Elizabeth turned to see a steward standing beside her. "Yes, I can't seem to find it."
"No need to look alone madam, all you have to do is ask."
Elizabeth showed him her ticket and he led her toward her room. "Thank you."
"Not a problem, now if you'll excuse me I have to go help some other people find there cabins. Just ask anyone in a blue uniform if you need any help."
Elizabeth thanked the guy and looked around the room. The room was large, with a large king size bed, a basin to one side and a port hole to the other. Elizabeth smiled, she could get used to this.
"Take her to sea, Mr. Murdoch, let's stretch her legs," Jim said.
"Right away sir," Mr. Murdoch said.
Jim turned to Syd, who smiled. "Don't worry sweetheart, this ship is unsinkable, nothing will get it her path."
Syd smiled,still wondering what kind of mixed up dream she'd gotten into.
Syd went up to the first class boat
deck and headed for the lounge. She saw a lot of people were milling around,
and noticed a somewhat familiar face in the crowd, Kerry Weaver.
Kerry waved over at her, and Syd waved back. She went over to Kerry and hugged her.
"Syd, what are you doing here?" Kerry asked, surprised to see her friend.
"I'm not sure," Syd said. "My father is the Captain. Are you going back to Chicago?"
"Yes," Kerry said. "Ellis just finished up a business deal and now we're heading home. I am so ready to get home."
"I know what you mean," Syd said. "I'll see you at lunch."
Kerry nodded and turned back to Ellis, who was talking business with a friend. Kerry sighed, wishing that Syd had stayed and chatted a while longer.
Syd had no idea what Kerry had gotten
herself into, and she wished that her friend could help her get out of
Mark and Carter shook hands with the people in their bunk. Carter had chosen to ride steerage, since he so disliked the rich people. Mark had agreed and the two were set off on an adventure, probably back to Chicago.
Carter put his stuff on the top bunk and climbed up on it.
"Who said you could have the top bunk huh?" Mark asked. He put his stuff down on the bottom bunk. "Come on, let's go out on deck."
Carter nodded and jumped down from the bed. Soon the two men were standing on the bow of the ship, looking at the ocean.
"I feel like the king of the world," Carter said. He smiled, not knowing the great adventure that lay ahead. "Look, I can almost see the statue of Liberty already, very small of course"
"I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD," Mark said. He jumped down from the railing.
"Come on, let's go eat, I'm starving."
Kerry took Ellis's arm and he led her into the huge dining room. She saw Syd sitting at a table with Jim and his family.
"Dr. West won't you join us," Jim said.
Ellis went over to the table and pulled out a chair for Kerry, beside Syd.
"So, finally got yourself a guy?" Syd whispered, looking straight at Ellis.
Kerry sighed. "Yes, and it's the biggest mistake of my life."
"I know what you mean," Syd said. "I feel trapped on this ship. I feel as if the sea is my whole life. I don't know how I got mixed up in this crazy world my father lives in." Syd took a sip of her water. She could hear her father and Dr. West talking about the ship and it's maiden voyage.
"And our designer here Mr. Andrews here built her from the steel plates up," Jim was saying.
"I simply knotted it together but the idea was Mr. Hansens'," Mr. Andrews said.
"That's Thomas Andrews, the designer of Titanic," Syd whispered to Kerry.
She couldn't take any more ship talk,
she had to got out of there. "Excuse me." Syd stood up, and went out on
the boat deck, trying to escape.
Carter and Mark made their way toward the steerage boat deck. They sat in the chairs, talking and laughing with some of the men around them. They started talking to a man named John Flimming.
"John Carter," Carter said shaking hands with John. "But you can call me Carter so we won't get confused."
"Mark Greene," Mark said also shaking hands with John.
"Charmed to meet you both," John said. "I have never been on a ship before and don't really know many people here. Where are you from?"
"Chicago," Carter said.
"I am from Providence, Rhode Island." John smiled, and looked up at the deck. He noticed the most beautiful young woman standing there.
Carter saw what John was looking at. "Forget it, she probably already has a husband and is probably due to be getting married soon."
"I hope she's not," John said softly. He knew he had found his match.
"I think I know what you mean," Carter replied more to himself than to John. He had noticed the woman with whom Syd was talking. She had porcelain skin and hair as red as a sunset at sea. Syd left, and the woman was alone, staring blankly at the ocean.
Carter nudged Mark. "Do you suppose she's engaged, too?"
Mark squinted in the sun, hand raised to shield his eyes from the light. "Yes, as a matter of a fact, she is. That's Kerry Weaver from Chicago. I met her at the convention. Her fiancee is some kind of hospital business manager. From what I hear, their wedding will be the talk of Chicago."
Carter said nothing, but couldn't help wondering why, if the impending wedding were that spectacular, the bride-to-be looked so unhappy.
"Locked out of your cabin again, Syd?" Captain Jim Hansen grinned as he searched his pockets for the correct set of keys. Finding the right one, he opened the door. "I'll see you at dinner!"
"Thanks, Dad." Syd stepped into a room full of oversized, richly upholstered furniture. To her left was a gilded fireplace and mantel. Even the bedspread was grandiose. The only familiar items in the room were Syd's medical journals, although they were all one hundred years older than those she had at the clinic in Providence.
"Mother!" Syd called out as soon
as she was alone. "This has to be a dream, so you might as well show up!"
There was no response; Syd was alone in her cabin on the most ill-fated
ocean liner in history.
Mark and Carter were jogging around the decks, wearing off the energy which they would usually expend playing basketball. It would have been tacky, even for the heir to the Carter Family Fortune, to erect a makeshift hoop from a life preserver, peach basket, or whatever was on hand. Instead, they opted for jogging.
"Bet I can get to the propellers before you," Mark teased his friend.
"Yeah, right. I've seen you play ice hockey back in Chicago. You ran into everything. How different can jogging on the crowded deck of a ship be?" Carter took long strides, dodging the row of deck chairs to his left. He was so intent upon winning the race that he didn't see Kerry Weaver, sitting alone on a deck chair, watching them with an amused expression.
"Hold on, Mark." Carter called into the whirling wind. "That's not fair, I had to tie my shoe."
"Too bad!" was Mark's reply from further up the ship's deck.
In less than a second, Carter forgot about the rarely-seen lifeboats on his right side. He stepped aside and crashed against the side of the boat, skidding to a stop a few feet away from Kerry Weaver.
She looked up from the magazine which she'd been reading and tried not to laugh. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," Carter stood up and brushed himself off. "Maybe a few bruises, the worst of which is my pride!"
Kerry smiled. "I know you from somewhere, don't I? Were you at the medical convention in London?"
Carter tried to play it cool. "Yes, I was. You're from Chicago, aren't you?"
She nodded and gestured toward the empty chair at her side, inviting him to sit down.
He was at a loss for words. He knew she was engaged, but couldn't help feeling compellingly attracted to her. He tried to think of something to say. "What are you reading?"
She had been looking into his eyes, marveling at how clear and blue they were. Please, she prayed, let Ellis still be in his meeting! "What did you say?"
"Um," Carter cleared his throat. "I was just curious about your magazine. It doesn't look like a medical journal, so I'm not sure what it is!"
Kerry laughed. "It's a music magazine. You ever get to New Orleans?"
"Not often," answered Carter.
"They have the most interesting new kind of music down there. They call it jazz. If it were up to me," Kerry leaned closer to Carter as if confiding a secret, "we would have gone there for our honeymoon." Speaking of the wedding made it seem more real, though this wasn't necessarily a good thing. "But we'll be in Paris."
"Too bad," Carter teased.
"Yeah." Kerry's gaze drifted across the water again. "Are you married?"
"No, no I'm not," Carter said.
For whatever reason, she found herself doing something which she would never normally do, truly confiding something terrible in a stranger. Her eyes filled with tears. "I just don't think I love him. You're supposed to love your husband, right?"
Once again, Carter was speechless. However, the best thing he could do was listen.
Suddenly, Kerry heard the footsteps she knew too well. She wiped her eyes and stashed her magazine underneath her deck chair. Ellis didn't care much for music.
"Ellis, I want you to meet John Carter. He and his friend were jogging when he ran into the lifeboat. Of course, I had to make sure that he was all right." Kerry's mind was running as fast as her words.
Carter extended a hand to Ellis. "Nice to meet you."
"Likewise," answered Ellis in his usual clipped tones. He turned to Kerry. "We'd best be off to the library, dear. You did remember that we had a meeting there at 3:00, didn't you?"
"Of course." Kerry stood up and turned to Carter and mouthed the words, thank you.
It wasn't until they had disappeared
into the interior of the ship that Carter realized she had left her magazine
behind. He bent down to pick it up, despite sore muscles from his fall.
Little did he know how much that magazine could be worth to his future.
Syd slammed the door behind her after Jim had left. She still gazed around the unfamiliar area as if she didn't know where she was. Syd sat down in one of the chairs and sighed, this was definitely one mixed up dream. After changing out of her outfit Syd headed for the stern hoping to see the sunset before dinner. Syd made her way towards the stern, knowing that she would have to wait a few hours to see the sun set, after all it was only 3:05 in the afternoon. When Syd arrived she saw Joanie, along with Hannah standing at the railing.
"Joanie," Syd called coming up beside her sister.
Joanie turned. "Well, the princess finally awakes from her restful sleep. Oh, and if you see Robbie around, tell him to teach that dog some manners. He practically ate one of my shoes," Joanie said. She shifted Hannah from one hip to the other. "So, what do you think of Dad's first voyage on the grandest ship in the world?"
Syd leaned against the railing, gazing out at the sea. "I don't know. Somehow I don't remember how I got here."
"Yeah, well you wouldn't," Joanie said.
"What are you talking about Joanie?" Syd asked, giving Joanie a confused look.
"You were practically asleep when you came aboard," Joanie said. "Dad had to practically carry you."
Syd ignored her sister and headed for the stern. She needed to be alone for awhile, to straighten out what was happening. Syd buried her head in her hands, she wished she had someone to talk to besides her loud mouth sister, and of course Kerry was no where to be seen. Then a lot of people came running from around the corner, heading for where Syd was standing. Syd tried to back away but the boys pushed her over, making her head her head on the railing.
"Hey, get out of here," John yelled. John had seen the disaster happen and hoped that the young woman was all right. "What is going on?"
"We were trying to see who could run the fastest," one of the boys said. "Guess we weren't watching where we were going."
John watched them go and rushed to the young woman's side. He bent down to her and turned her head. There was a huge bump, but luckily no bleeding. Being the skilled doctor that he was, John didn't move her, afraid he would cause more injury. He couldn't just let her keep lying on the deck, he had to do something. With the help of his friends, Carter and Mark John brought the young woman to the infirmary. Carter and Mark had seen the disaster happen also, but had not been as quick do get to her side as John had. John sat by her side, waiting for her to awake.
Syd opened her eyes, trying to remember what happened. She looked over to see a handsome guy staring back at her. "What happened?"
"You were pushed by a bunch of boys who were trying to beat each other at jogging," John said. "I'm just glad you're all right. I'm John Flimming."
"Sydney Hansen," Syd said extending her hand out to him. "Thank you for helping me."
"You're welcome," John said. "Any blurred vision, dizziness?"
Syd shook her head no and sat up. "You sound like you know what you're talking about."
"I should, after all I am a doctor," John said.
"Really?" Syd said. She smiled. "So am I."
"Well, then we have something in common all ready don't we?" John said. "Hey, aren't you the captain's daughter?"
"Yes," Syd said. "My father, Jim Hansen is the captain of this maiden voyage."
Syd stood up but collapsed in John's arms from a wave of dizziness.
John eased her back onto the bed. "Looks like you won't be going anywhere for awhile."
"Sorry, I can't stay here. I have to meet my family for dinner," Syd said standing up once again. She walked toward the door but fell against a chair.
"No buts Ms. Hansen," John said.
"It's Dr. Hansen," Syd corrected him.
"Sorry, Dr. Hansen," John said. He helped her up and let her lean on him for support. "I'm taking you back to your room, where you can rest.
Syd stopped and pushed away from his grip. "I don't mean this to sound rude, but you're steerage and I'm first class. Steerage people aren't allowed up in first class."
"Well, we'll just have to see about that. You can't go off by yourself," John said. John led Syd up the stairs toward first class.
"Excuse me sir," a steward said, approaching them. "I believe you hold a third class ticket, so your presence here is not allowed."
"Let me just escort Dr. Hansen to her room. She just had a fall and shouldn't be walking alone."
"I will see that Ms. Hansen gets to her room safely," the steward said.
"But-" John started to say, but was cut off.
"Thank you Mr. Flimming," Syd said.
"I'll be fine, don't worry." Syd smiled and continued up the stairs, leaving
John alone, staring after her in wonder.
Syd shut the door and leaned against it. Syd was glad that the steward had brought her back to the room, for she could have not made it on her own. She laid down on her bed, wondering if she would ever see Mr. Flimming again, the man who had saved her life. Syd smiled, and closed her eyes, trying to get rid of the pounding headache that had suddenly developed. She looked down at the watch hanging around her neck and sighed, she was late for dinner. Syd sighed and got up hoping that she would make it to dinner without passing out. She couldn't stop thinking about John, how he had helped her when she needed it. Syd had never met a guy so sweet, and kind.
Jim sat with Dr. West and his future wife Kerry Weaver. Joanie, Robbie, and Hannah were with him, but Syd was no where to be seen. "I'm sorry, my oldest daughter is not here yet. This is so unlike her to miss a meal."
"Dad, do you want me to go find her?" Robbie asked.
"No, you stay put," Joanie said. "I'll go find her, you'll probably get too distracted and then we'd never see you again." Joanie stood up and gave Hannah to Robbie. "Dad I'll go look for Syd. She's probably in her room reading or something."
Joanie stood up and headed for the grand staircase. She went to Syd's cabin and knocked on the door. "Syd, are you in there?"
Syd opened the door. "Coming, I just can't seem to find my shoe."
"I'll help you look for it," Joanie said coming into the room and closing it behind her. "Dad and our guests are waiting on you."
"Guests?" Syd asked as she searched for her shoe.
"Yes, didn't I tell you?" Joanie asked. She found Syd's shoe under the bed and handed it to her. "Here you go. Now can we please go, I'm starving."
Syd followed her sister toward the stair case. Joanie looked at her sister and noticed the bump on her forehead.
"Syd, what happened?" Joanie asked.
"I fell against the railing," Syd said. She smiled, remembering who she'd woken up to. "And I met this really cute guy in the process."
"Oh, please tell me what happened," Joanie said as they made their way toward the table.
"Later OK," Syd said. She approached the table and saw a very familiar face. "Kerry, what are you doing here?"
"Syd," Kerry said. She pointed to the seat next to hers. "I had no idea that Jim was your father."
"Yes," Syd said sitting down.
"Syd what happened to you?" Robbie asked noticing the bump on his sister's forehead.
"I fell against the railing earlier but I'm fine now," Syd said. "It's no big deal." Syd tried to hide the smile on her face, for she didn't want to tell her father who had helped her.
"So, Syd, your father tells me that your a doctor?" Ellis asked.
"Yes," Syd said taking a sip of her tea. "I run a local clinic back in Providence. Of course I'm never home much because I'm always out to sea with my father." Syd smiled in her father's direction.
"You must be very proud of her Mr. Hansen," Ellis said. He turned to Kerry. "Kerry and I also share that same passion."
Kerry forced a warm smile. She didn't
want anyone to see just how unhappy she really was. Hopefully that would
Syd tried to be polite in front of her father as they talked about Titanic and it's maiden voyage. She was surprised that Thomas Andrews, the designer, wasn't among them. The dinner was just about as boring as one of her lectures at the convention. Even though Kerry was there, Ellis always found some way to keep the two from speaking to each other, which about drove Syd crazy. Finally Syd could take it no longer, she finally excused herself and headed for the boat deck. Kerry soon followed her a look of relief on her face.
"Were you as miserable as I was?" Syd asked Kerry as they stood at the railing looking at the sea.
"Probably more," Kerry said. She sighed. "Sometimes I don't even know why I agreed to marry Ellis. I don't love him, but everyone kept telling me it was the right thing to do. I just feel so trapped, like I'm in a cage that I can't escape."
Syd nodded in understanding. "I know how you feel. I feel as though I've spent my whole life out at sea. Back in Providence I could use my skills to help people, here, well people don't come here to take medicine, they come here to go home, to relax."
"Yes, but women have no say in anything important," Kerry said. "It's almost like being a kid again." Then she saw Ellis coming toward them, and her heart sank. Ellis wasn't a bad man but Kerry just needed a break from him.
"There you are darling," Ellis said coming up to the two women. "Would you like me to escort you back to the cabin?"
"No, I think I'll go with Syd to the lounge and chat for awhile," Kerry said heading for the lounge, trying to give Syd a hint to follow her.
"That's probably best dear, it is getting quite chilly," Ellis said. "I'll be in the saloon."
Kerry nodded and watched him walk away. Then she saw a very unfamiliar face coming toward them.
"Syd, we meet again," Molly Brown said.
"Hello Molly," Syd said. "Molly may I introduce Kerry Weaver, a good friend of mine."
"Pleased to meet you," Kerry said shaking hands with Molly.
"We were just about to head to the lounge to chat," Syd said. "Would you care to join us?"
"I would love to. I need to catch
up on my gossip." Molly walked toward the lounge, Syd and Kerry following
John stood at the railing at the stern, gazing out at the sea. He couldn't stop thinking about Syd, and how she had looked at him when she'd first realized where she was and what had happened. Then John saw Carter and Mark heading toward him.
"Still thinking about Syd?" Carter asked.
"Yes," John said. "I keep hoping that I'll see her again."
"Maybe you will," Carter said. He thought back to his own experience with Kerry Weaver earlier that day and how he'd made a complete fool of himself, but had met a lovely lady in the process. "I had a similar experience today too. I fell over the lifeboats. I hope I'll see her again, because she left her magazine," Carter said.
"Maybe you will," John said. He walked
back toward the steerage lounge, hoping he'd accidentally run into Syd
The next day John couldn't believe it, his luck was changing. Syd Hansen stood at the bow of the ship, gazing out into the ocean. The breakfast hour had just finished and people were out on deck milling around, getting fresh air. John went up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder, she turned around, looking please to see him.
"Mr. Flimming I was hoping I'd find you here," Syd said.
"Please call me John," John said.
Syd continued to walk toward the first class stair case, leading up do A deck. John followed but held back a little. "John, I'd like to thank you for what you did. I probably wouldn't have known what to do when I regained consciousness."
"You're welcome. I'm glad I was there at the right time," John said.
Syd stood at the railing, looking out into the ocean. "You're probably wondering what the Captain's daughter is doing roaming around in steerage. What a little rich girl would want with commoners?"
"That's not was I was thinking. What I was thinking was, how could a pretty girl like you look so miserable?"
Syd smiled and then looked away. "Ever since I can remember, my father has been a Captain. When my mother was alive we'd stay home, and he'd go out to sea for months at a time. I rarely saw him." Syd stopped for a moment. She was trying to make up a good story to impress John, but really all of this was just a dream to her. "But now it seems like I'm never home anymore. I'm always out to sea with him and the rest of the family. I wanted to be a doctor to help people, and I can't even pursue that dream."
"Do you love your work?" John asked.
"What?" Syd asked. "Yes, I do but that's not the point."
"That is so the point. If you love your work as much as you say you do then why don't you just say back in Providence and be a doctor?"
"It's not that simple. My family needs me right now," Syd said laughing at John's remark. "Besides I don't think this is a suitable conversation for us to be having. I'm leaving." Syd walked away but then turned around again. "Well, are you just going to stand there?"
"I thought you were leaving?" John asked.
"I am." Syd walked away once more but then stopped. "Wait, this is my part of the ship, you leave."
"Well, now that isn't very nice is it?" John asked.
Syd gave him a hard look. Then she saw her father heading in their direction.
"Syd, I've been looking for you everywhere," Jim said. "Joanie needs you to watch Hannah while she gives a tour."
"Sure," Syd said. "Father may I introduce John Flimming, he's the one that saved me when I hit my head on the railing last night."
"Pleasure to meet you Mr. Flimming," Jim said shaking hands with John.
"The pleasure's all my Captain," John said.
"Would you like to join us for dinner this evening. Kind of like a thank you for helping my daughter?"
"I would love to, thank you," John said. "Syd I must be going. I know your father needs you to watch Hannah."
"Yes," Syd said as she followed her father toward the stair case. "I'll see you tonight then?"
Syd smiled as she dressed for dinner. She couldn't believe that John was actually coming to dinner. Syd jumped when she heard the adjoining door open. Syd turned around to see Joanie standing in the doorway, holding Hannah.
"So, the hero is going to dine with us tonight?" Joanie asked. She sat down on Syd's big four poster bed. "You look nice."
"Thanks," Syd said. She went over and kissed Hannah on the forehead. "How was the tour?"
"Long," Joanie said. "It felt like a week had gone by. I almost didn't survive."
Syd laughed. "Well we had fun didn't we Hannah?" Hannah laughed and Syd smiled. "Go on, I have to get ready.
Joanie headed for the door. "Hurry Syd, dinner is in twenty minutes."
"I know, I know," Syd snapped. She quickly put on her shoes and followed her sister toward the grand stair case. Syd smiled when she saw John at the bottom of the stairs, wearing a coat and tie.
John smiled when he saw how beautiful Syd looked. He took her hand when she approached him. "You look lovely tonight."
"Thanks," Syd said. She took his arm when he held it out for her.
Syd walked over toward her father. "Father, surely you remember Mr. Flimming?"
"Yes, how are you?" Jim asked.
"Fine, thank you sir," John said.
"Well, gang let's eat," Jim said and escorted Joanie and Hannah into the dinning room.
John followed his lead. He knew this
was going to be a wonderful night.
The next morning, once Ellis had gone to play bridge with some of the other doctors on board, Kerry was in the mood for reading. She reached into her suitcase for the music magazine she'd been reading the day before. Where could it be? Oh, yes, that's right... Ellis had surprised her so by interrupting the conversation she'd been having with John Carter, she'd probably left it outside. There hadn't been much wind, but it was probably already gone. Kerry wished she had her Victrola and collection of the new recordings called 78's. It was so terribly silent in the cabin. Whenever she wanted to tune out either the world or the oppressive silence, she would play a record.
Memories of meeting John Carter soon replaced her desire for music. Kerry was a sensible woman who didn't often let emotions interfere with her obligations, but she couldn't get Carter out of her mind. What was it about him? How could she be engaged to a man for whom she had little or no romantic feelings, yet fall in love with a stranger at first sight???
"Fall in love," Kerry scoffed to herself. "You don't even know him." Yet every time she thought of him, she longed to look into those ocean-blue eyes.
She found her ivory-handled brush and began brushing her hair vigorously, making it shiny and full. Grabbing her best hat, Kerry decided to make a trip to the boat deck.
In his cabin, Carter was holding the magazine in question. He fingered the cover, not sure when would be the best time to return it. Rather than thinking about the magazine, he found himself thinking of Kerry.
Mark noticed his friend's thoughtful expression. "It's her, isn't it?"
Carter snapped out of his reverie and looked up at Mark, whose long legs were dangling over the edge of the top bunk. "Yeah, you could say that."
Grinning, Mark jumped down and landed so hard that the room echoed. "Then you should go talk to her."
"Wait a minute, you're the one who told me she was engaged!" Carter started to laugh.
"I know," Mark paused mid-sentence. "Wait a minute... Ellis West... I know I've heard that name. I've heard things about him somewhere."
"Good or bad?" Carter was curious.
"John, he's the man who was acquiring all those hospitals and shutting them down for profit!" Mark suddenly remembered what it was that had been nagging in his mind. "Remember?"
Carter concentrated. "Sort of. But she's one of the top doctors at County in Chicago! He surely wouldn't do that, would he?"
Mark shrugged. "Maybe he'd rather she be his wife than a doctor."
But Carter didn't hear his friend's last remark. He had suddenly left the room to take a walk in the sunshine.
He found Kerry in the same place she'd been sitting when they met. She was thumbing through another magazine, this time a medical journal.
"Looking for this?" Carter smiled as he sat down beside her.
"John Carter, what a surprise," Kerry said, her eyes gleaming with happiness, though she tried to act casual. "Yes, I've been looking for it all over."
"You left it under your chair, you were in such a hurry to leave yesterday."
"I know. Ellis and his meetings." Kerry sighed heavily. Today seemed as though it would be yet another boring day, left alone yet again.
"Is he in a meeting now?" Carter asked, an idea coming to his mind.
"Of course," answered Kerry.
"I was wondering if you could spare a moment of your time to discuss a journal article I've been trying to write," Carter said. "It would only take a few minutes."
Kerry nodded. "Okay, that sounds fine."
Carter stood up. "Just a minute, I've got to get it from my cabin."
Moments later, Carter returned with a large box under one arm and a journal in the other hand. "While I'd love to discuss medical journals, I was ecstatic to meet another jazz fan," he said as he opened the box to reveal a brand-new Victrola. "I bought this in London, but I haven't had a chance to play it yet. Would you like to listen with me?"
"I'd love to!" Kerry exclaimed. Carter showed her his record collection, and she selected an uptempo instrumental that was perfect for a sunny day at sea.
They listened to records all afternoon,
neither one saying what was on their minds. For now, it was nice just to
share the music.
Later that evening, Kerry was in a much better mood than she had been in as long as she'd been engaged to Ellis. She hummed the melody of the last song she and Carter had listened to as she tried to unlock her cabin door. It wouldn't budge. Had she misplaced her key? Kerry didn't want to search the entire ship for another missing item for the second time in two days, so she knocked on Ellis' door across the hall. There was no answer, but, to Kerry's surprise, the door opened with ease.
"Ellis?" She called into the empty room. "I wondered if I left my key with you at lunch." There was no answer.
Kerry was just about ready to leave when something caught her eye. The large safe, which Ellis kept all of his important papers in, was open. A white envelope lay across the top of the papers, looking as if it had been crammed inside. Curiosity arose in Kerry, so she reached for the envelope. It read SPG Confidential. Inside were several letters, one from Ellis to the head of his hospital management group. She scanned it with disbelief. Ellis was planning to close County? How dare he? Kerry sat down on the sofa to delve further into this matter.
Kerry felt that she could take no more when she saw the last letter. It was addressed to Ellis from his supervisor. "You were right, courting Kerry Weaver was the best strategy you could have taken," she read aloud in disbelief. "Once she is your wife, you should have no problem convincing her to give up County."
That did it. Kerry broke down, sobbing into the letters. A few moments later, it occurred to her that she'd best leave, so Ellis wouldn't find out about her discovery. There was only one person on board the ship whom she knew would understand her plight. Not caring that it was now first-class dinner hour, she soon found herself at Carter's door.
"Carter!" she called as she knocked again.
Mark came to the door. "Kerry?"
Carter was not far behind. "Kerry, what's wrong?"
She started to cry again, wordlessly thrusting the papers toward him.
"Why don't we go for a walk outside," Carter suggested. Kerry nodded, so he escorted her to the end of the boat farthest from the first-class dining lounge.
Syd smiled to herself as she dressed for afternoon tea with Joanie. The night before had been a wonderful night. Syd couldn't remember when she'd had such a pleasant dinner, normally Robbie would screw up the whole dinner by acting all goofy. Syd jumped when she heard a knock at the door, slipping her out of her day dream. Syd opened the door to find Joanie standing outside holding Hannah.
"Almost ready Joanie," Syd said. She grabbed her shawl and followed her sister out the door, closing it behind her.
"Do you mind if Dr. Corday joins us for tea?" Joanie asked.
"Not at all," Syd said. She'd hoped she'd get to see Lizzy again. "You haven't given me your input about last night."
Joanie stopped walking and looked at her sister. "How could I? You both were talking nonstop, I could barely get a word in."
"Sorry," Syd said with a regretful look on her face. She walked down the first class stair case, and headed into the dinning room. She saw Elizabeth sitting at a table and went over to her. "Elizabeth, how are you?"
"Fine," Elizabeth answered. "I'm just really looking forward to going home."
"I didn't know you were going on Titanic?" Syd said putting her napkin in her lap. "Are you enjoying it so far?"
"It's lovely, though I've been locked out of my cabin twice all ready," Elizabeth said.
Syd laughed. "It happens to all of us. If you're a little afraid, don't be. Titanic is the largest ship in the world, named unsinkable."
"Really, and I hear you are the captain's daughter, is that correct?"
"Yes," Syd said, a little embarrassed. She turned to Joanie. "Joanie, have you seen Kerry anywhere today?"
"No, I haven't," Joanie said. "Maybe she's off with Ellis West."
Syd gave Elizabeth a look of dread. "I don't know why she's marrying that jerk."
"I didn't know Kerry was getting married," Elizabeth said. "Are we talking about Kerry Weaver?"
"Yes," Syd answered. "Well, how about we change the subject, I don't think Kerry would want us talking about her behind her back."
Elizabeth and Joanie both nodded in agreement.
John Flimming stared out at the ocean, thinking about Syd. He wished that he could see her again. John checked his pocket watch, four o'clock, Syd would be having tea right about now. John sighed and started to head back inside, when he heard a familiar voice behind him.
"John," Syd called. She walked over to the railing.
John waved her down and Syd came down the stairs. "I was hoping I'd run into you. Finished with tea?"
Syd smiled. "Yes. Actually I came down here to give a message to you from my father."
"Oh, and what might that be?" John asked walking along side Syd.
"He said to tell you that he enjoyed your company but you're no longer allowed in first class," Syd said. "I'm really sorry."
I see," John said, looking unpleased. "So does that mean that I have to stop seeing you too?"
"No, that's not it at all," Syd said. "I would actually like to get to know you better."
"In that case, why don't you come to a party tonight. It will be fun. What do you say? You can come after dinner."
"John I don't think that would be
proper," Syd said heading back up to first class. "I'll think about it
OK." Syd disappeared before John had time to reply.
Syd sighed as she watched John walk away, looking sad and depressed. Syd hadn't meant to hurt him but the whole message was not what Syd had intended on saying. Syd headed back to her cabin, she needed time to think about what she wanted. Then she saw Kerry head in her direction.
"Hi, where were you?" Syd asked when Kerry caught up with her.
"Taking a walk, and talking to John Carter," Kerry said.
"Who's John Carter?" Syd asked.
"Someone I met," Kerry said. She looked down at the floor. "Syd, I just found out something about Ellis."
"What?' Syd asked. She could tell her friend was not happy.
"I found out the only reason he's marrying me is because he wants to close down County," Kerry said, trying not to cry.
Syd put a hand on Kerry's shoulder. "Kerry, I'm so sorry. I can't believe he would do such a thing."
"I didn't even suspect it until I found a note in his safe," Kerry said as the two headed for Syd's cabin. "I'll see you at dinner."
Syd told Kerry bye, and watched her walk away. She went into her cabin and sat down in one of the overstuffed arm chairs. Then the door to the adjoining cabin opened and Joanie walked into the room.
"Hey, I was looking for you. Where have you been?" Joanie asked. She sat on the bed beside Syd. Joanie noticed the pained look on Syd's face. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing, it's complicated," Syd said. "Where's Hannah?"
"With Robbie," Joanie said. "Syd is there anything you want to talk about?"
Syd sighed and looked away. "I was with John out on deck. I went to give him the message from father. He wasn't happy."
Joanie looked down. "I don't know why dad would do that?"
"I know and I really liked John. He invited me to this party tonight."
"Are you going to go?" Joanie asked. "Syd you have to go."
"I told him I'd think about it," Syd said.
"OK, but remember guys like that don't come around often," Joanie said and walked out of the room.
Syd laughed at her sister's comment.
She stood up and looked in the mirror. Yes, she decided, she was definitely
Syd walked out on deck and headed for the bow. She walked up to John. "Hello John, I changed my mind."
John turned around and smiled. "I knew you would. Come, the party has just begun."
Syd smiled, and took his arm as he
led her down into the steerage general room, forgetting all about dinner.
Jim looked around for Syd. He didn't know where she would be, he'd checked her cabin but had found no sign of her. Jim sighed and turned back toward his group.
"I'm sorry, I have no idea where Syd is," Jim said.
"Father, she's not going to be here anytime soon, I say we eat without her," Robbie said.
Jim nodded and picked up his fork. He wished he knew where his daughter was. "Joanie did she say anything to you?"
Joanie looked down. "No, she didn't."
Joanie didn't want to get Syd into trouble.
Syd laughed as she watched John dance with a young girl about seven. He looked like he was having a great time. Finally the song ended and John walked over to her.
"I'm going to dance with her now all right," John told the young girl, turning to Syd. "Come on, come with me."
"What?" Syd asked as John pulled her to her feet. "John I can't dance."
"It's easy, don't think," John said. He turned to the young girl. "You're still my best dancer Carol."
Carol smiled and walked away.
"I don't know this dance," Syd said, feeling very shy and uncomfortable.
"Just follow the beat, and don't think about what you're doing," John said as he twirled Syd around to the music.
Syd smiled. All night she danced with John and met some of his friends, such as Carter and Mark Greene. Syd didn't realize what time it was until she looked down at her watch hanging around her neck. Ten-thirty, Syd gasped when she saw how much time had slipped away.
"Something wrong?" John asked when he saw the look on Syd's face.
"John I have to go, it's late and my father is probably very worried about me," Syd said. She grabbed her coat and raced upstairs.
John quickly followed her. "Syd, wait. I had a wonderful time tonight. Let me at least escort you to the first class entrance."
Syd smiled. "OK." Syd and John walked toward the first class entrance.
"I had fun tonight," John said.
"Me too, I've actually never danced that much," Syd said. She stared into his eyes. Then she felt his lips touch hers.
"Good night Syd," John whispered. He smiled and walked away.
Syd stood there, dumbfounded. She
didn't know how she'd met such a sweet, kind man but she knew she'd met
the one she loved. Syd walked back to her cabin, a grin on her face. She
knew that things were definitely looking up.
The next morning, Carter was concerned about Kerry. He woke up just as the sun was rising and went out to their unofficial meeting place, the deck chair in which she liked to read. When he saw that no-one was there, he sank heavily into a neighboring chair. Maybe she'd go back to Ellis, despite what had happened. Carter couldn't feature this, as strong-willed as she was. Maybe he was just imagining the chemistry they'd felt together as they walked the decks.
Carter was beginning to sink into a very gloomy mood when he heard someone approaching him. It was Kerry, her long red hair, usually tied up into a bun, hanging freely down her back. There was an unusual glow about her entire being.
"Today, I could care less what society thinks," she said, grinning, as she joined him on deck. "The question is, what do you think?"
The look on his face was enough of an answer. "Did you talk to Ellis?" Carter asked, admiring her radiance.
Kerry shook her head. "No, I haven't figured out what to say. I still have his documents locked in my cabin. There's no way I'm putting them back."
"Is it just me, or do you seem much happier than you did when I saw you last?" Carter asked.
Kerry smiled at him, a genuine smile that reached all the way from the heart to the eyes. "Normally I'd never admit such a thing so openly, but there's no getting around it. I'm not marrying Ellis. When this boat docks, I'm going wherever you go. John Carter," she took his hand in hers, "I'm in love with you."
"I've got a similar confession to make," Carter began. "You're not the only one in love. I've loved you since the first moment I saw you." Not caring who was nearby to see, they leaned together for a tender kiss.
"Come on, let's get some breakfast." Carter escorted her to the dining hall. "You know you're going to have to say something to Ellis."
"I will, later. Right now I've got to get word to County about this," Kerry said as she stirred her coffee. "They must know what he's up to, or they'll be as surprised as I was."
"Surprised about what, my dear?" A voice said behind the two.
"Ellis West," Kerry mused as she stood up to face her former fiancee. "I guess there are many things we could be surprised about. First of all, I'm not marrying you."
"Kerry, hush! What is it you think you're doing? You'll embarrass us all!" Ellis strained to keep his voice lower than the din of the dining hall.
"Too bad, Ellis. I don't care what Chicago society thinks. Secondly, I want you to meet the man I do love, John Carter. However, I suppose you should also know I found your letter, and I'm sending a telegram to County as soon as possible."
"You have no proof!" Ellis' face began to turn red as he believed that his plot truly had been discovered. "Only I have a key to my safe."
"Good point, but you should have remembered to close it." Kerry answered, her voice triumphant. "We have all the proof we need."
Ellis muttered something and scurried off to his own table.
After breakfast, they stopped at the wireless office to send a message to County.
"You'll have to wait a moment, ma'am," The wireless operator was clearly harried. "Messages coming in from all over. Ice warnings."
"Ice?" Carter asked as he watched Kerry write a note to David Morganstern, head of County. "But it looks so clear."
"That's when it's the most dangerous," replied the wireless operator.
But danger was the furthest thing from their minds, as Kerry and Carter spent the rest of the day together. They explored the ship freely, which Kerry's previous schedule had not allowed. When the sun set that evening, they sat in silence at the place where they had first met, holding hands and gazing at the seemingly endless colors reflected on the water.
It was the next night after the steerage party. Syd and John had spent all of that day together. Jim had scolded Syd about hanging around with John, that she should only socialize with first class men. Syd had disagreed and had stormed out of the cabin, in search of John. She'd found him on the bow, gazing at the sunset.
"John?' Syd asked coming up behind him.
John turned around and smiled. "I knew you'd come. How did things go with your father?"
Syd sighed and stood beside him. "Not good. He doesn't think it's proper for me to be around you. I have a confession to make. I think I'm in love with you."
"I have a confession to make also. I've loved you since the day we met," John said. He kissed Syd softly on the cheek. "Sorry, I didn't mean to do that."
"It's OK," Syd whispered. She kissed him back, and they were sharing a passionate kiss. "Would you like to see my cabin."
"Would I get in trouble?" John asked as Syd practically dragged him up the stairs.
"My family is at dinner," Syd said. When they reached her cabin she unlocked the door. "It's quite proper, I assure you." Syd walked out toward her private deck. "This is the deck, and that door leads to my father's, brother's, and sister's cabins."
"Nice," John said. He gazed out at the sea. "You can see the whole ocean from here."
"Yeah, it really is beautiful. At night I like to come out here with my sister and talk." Syd sat down on one of the benches. "I would like to get to know you better John."
John sat down beside Syd. "What do you want to know?"
"Where you're from, what you do," Syd said. "Of course I already know what you do."
"Yes, I'm a doctor. I'm from Providence, Rhode Island and I don't have any brothers or sisters."
"You're in luck, I'm from Providence also," Syd said. She kissed him lightly on the cheek. "I guess that means we can get to know each other more once we dock." Syd stood up. "Would you like to see the rest of the cabin. It's getting a bit chilly out."
John stood up and followed Syd through the cabin. She showed him her father's the rest of the cabin and they ended up in the main sitting room. "And this is the sitting room," Syd said. Then the door opened and they froze.
"HI Syd," Joanie said. She stopped, stunned at who was in the room. "Hi, and you must be John."
"Yes, John Flimming," John said. He noticed Hannah. "And who is this?"
"John this is my sister Joanie and her daughter Hannah,' Syd said. "I was just showing John around the cabin."
"Uh-huh," Joanie said, winking at Syd. She smiled at John and went into her room to put Hannah to bed.
"She's nice," John said. He headed for the door. "So, what now?"
Syd checked her clock. "It's only eight-thirty. Maybe we can go mingle in the lounge. I have a friend I'd like you to meet."
John nodded and followed Syd out the door. They approached the grand stair case and John saw tons of people milling around, talking quietly.
"Kerry," Syd called. She went over to her friend.
"Syd, I'm so glad you're here," Kerry said. "I wired county, and told them what was going on."
"Kerry I'd like you to meet a good friend of mine, John Flimming," Syd said.
"Pleasure," John said shaking hands with Kerry. "Weren't you with John Carter earlier."
'Yes," Kerry said. She turned to Syd. "What have you two been doing all night?"
Syd smiled. "Nothing, I just showed John around my cabin."
Kerry nodded. 'I've gotten rid of
Ellis, for good. Though he seems to want me by his side very moment."
The three talked until about ten. Then Kerry had decided to go see Cater and disappeared into steerage. Syd and John stood and talked for another hour or so, telling each other about their lives, hobbies. Syd knew that she had found the man she loved and didn't want to be apart from him. As Syd and John stood talking, they heard shouting.
"Ice, straight ahead," someone shouted.
Syd looked at John with a worried
expression on her face. Was there really ice in their path?7
Kerry and John Carter had gone below decks to listen to records, since it was such a chilly night. Because they couldn't see the sky from where they were, Kerry had no idea what time it was, that it had gotten so late.
She stood up and stretched. "It's been a wonderful evening, John, but I'd better be going on to bed."
"Sounds good," Carter said, tired himself. He yawned as he removed the needle from the disk and replaced the Victrola in its box. Once they had returned it to his cabin, Carter prepared to walk Kerry to her door. Kerry was trying to unlock the door as they felt a strange shudder grind through the depths of the ship.
"What was that?" Kerry exclaimed, grabbing onto the doorframe for balance.
"I have no idea," Carter said. "It feels like we've stopped moving."
"Stopped moving? Why?" Kerry's eyes grew wide. Carter opened the door for her.
"Go on into your cabin, Kerry. I'll go up on deck and check things out."
"No!" Kerry's voice was emphatic. "I'm coming with you." For some reason, she felt the urgent need to remain close to him.
They reached the boat deck, where they found a stern-faced ship's officer.
"What's happening?" Carter inquired.
The officer looked distressed, yet was trying to remain casual, as not to panic the passengers. "It seems we've hit ice, but it's nothing to worry about. After all, this ship's unsinkable."
But Carter was not the sort of man to simply believe a response such as this. As a doctor, Carter had learned to get to the bottom of things. He took Kerry's hand and the two walked briskly toward the stern. It was then that they saw the infamous iceberg. It loomed large against the starry night sky, a formidable mountain now missing an amount of ice. Several passengers were playing soccer with one of the ice chunks, unaware of the danger surrounding them.
"Hey! Kerry, Carter!" A voice beckoned in a whisper from around the corner. It was Robbie Hansen, the son of the captain. "Find a life boat and life vest NOW. My father just found out that the shipbuilders ignored his direction to provide enough lifeboats for everyone on board."
"What???" Kerry was astonished.
Robbie's dark eyes were sad and his voice was grave. "Half the people on this ship will die tonight if we don't get rescued soon."
Kerry noticed that the decks were beginning to fill with people wearing life vests, some still drowsy from interrupted sleep.
"Just a precaution," one of the ship's officers was telling the crowd. "It is nothing at all."
Jim Hansen, tall and white-haired, approached the officer and gave an order in a low voice. The officer looked as if he'd seen a ghost. "We're loading the lifeboats now. Women and children first."
Carter tried to steer Kerry toward
the boats, but she resisted. "I'm not going anywhere without you."
Syd had felt the shudder and turned toward John. "John What's going on?"
"I don't know but don't worry, someone will tell us something soon," John reassured her. He kissed Syd lightly on the cheek. "Come on, let's go up on deck and find out what's going on."
Syd and John made their way toward the boat deck. When they got there, it seemed as if everyone on board was there, wearing life vests.
"Syd," Robbie called running up to his sister. "I'm so glad I found you. You need to get a life vest on now and get to a boat as soon as possible. We've struck ice and we don't have long before we sink."
"What?" Syd asked, alarmed. She gripped John's hand in hers. "Where are Joanie and Dad, and Hannah?"
"Joanie and Hannah are already on a boat and Dad is giving orders. He can't leave until everyone is safe off board. There aren't enough life boats for everyone aboard, half of the people are going to die if we don't get rescued soon. Get to a boat quickly." Robbie pushed his way through the crowd.
Syd turned to John with tears in her eyes. "Come on, let's go find Mr. Andrews and ask him what's going on"
"You just heard your brother, we've stuck ice and we're going to sink. Syd we have to get to a boat right away," John said pulling Syd toward the direction of the boats.
"Women and Children only," Officer Lowe shouted as Syd and John.
"I have to find Kerry and Carter," Syd said.
"I'm sure they're fine," John said. "Now get into the boat."
"No, I'm not going without you," Syd said. She hugged him tightly. "I'm not going unless you come with me."
"Syd I'll be on a later boat," John said, but he knew it wasn't going to be possible.
"There aren't enough boats for everyone aboard. I'm not going to lose you like I've lost everything else," Syd snapped. Then she felt an officer take her arm.
"Don't worry, I'll find you," John said. He grabbed Syd's hand and squeezed it.
Syd was forced to let go of John's hand when she stepped aboard the small lifeboat. Tears sprung to her eyes, she was leaving behind the man that she'd fallen in love with and that was worse than anything. Syd warily sank down onto the seat, still looking back at John standing on deck.
"Syd, thank goodness you got to a boat," Joanie said. "Dad was looking all over for you? Where have you been all day?"
Syd didn't answer her sister, she was still looking at John. "Joanie I promise I'll find you." Syd gave Joanie a hug and jumped out of the boat. "Syd, no," Joanie screamed reaching for her sister.
Syd ignored the cries around her and jumped onto the deck. She ran toward the first class grand stair case.
"Syd," John screamed running after her, but going a different way.
"Someone stop her," Robbie yelled when he saw Syd run past him.
Syd ran toward the first class stair case and saw John at the top of them, coming down.
"Syd, how could you do that?" John asked running up to Syd, a worried look on his face.
"I couldn't go John, I couldn't go," Syd wept throwing herself into his arms. "I'm not leaving you."
"It's all right," John said kissing her firmly on the lips. "We'll think of something."
"At least I'm with you," Syd said, hugging him close. Syd and John held onto the railing for support when they felt the ship sink lower and lower into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Then Syd saw Mr. Andrews head toward them. "Mr. Andrews is it true? Have we really struck ice?" Syd saw the concern in on the man's face. "Mr. Andrews I know about the ice, please tell me the truth."
"Yes, and you must get to a boat quickly, don't wait," Mr. Andrews said. "We don't have much time before all of this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic."
"How much time?" John asked.
"An hour, two at most," Mr. Andrews said and walked away.
John pulled Syd toward the door. "Come on, let's go see if we can get a boat where we can both get on."
Syd followed John as they raced toward
the deck, not knowing whether she would see any of her family or friends
Carter and Kerry were on the other side of the ship, looking for Mark. He hadn't been below decks the last time Carter had checked.
"What about Elizabeth?" Kerry suddenly remembered that she hadn't seen their English friend for several hours that evening.
Carter managed a smile, despite the tragedy that was waiting to happen. "I think when we find one, we'll find the other."
"Oh, I see what you mean!" Kerry laughed. "Is there something about this ship, or what?"
They reached the propeller end of the ship, but still had not found their friends. More and more people were swarming onto the decks, creating mass confusion. Men were putting their wives onto the lifeboats, promising to catch a later boat themselves. Children sat wide-eyed on their mothers' laps, clutching teddy bears and wondering when they were going to be able to go home.
Kerry and Carter rounded the corner when they heard a familiar voice.
"I won't go, Mark. I won't!" Elizabeth was sobbing, clinging to Mark as he tried to convince her to get onto a boat.
"Elizabeth, you have to. I can't come along quite yet, but I'll be there as soon as I can." Mark turned to Carter, his face grim.
"But..." Elizabeth stammered.
"No buts." Mark forced a smile. "I'll be on the next boat."
"Kerry?" Elizabeth brushed her hair out of her eyes. "Are you coming?"
Kerry was caught off-guard. "Well, I don't know."
"Yes, she is." Carter said. He bent down to whisper to Kerry. "Just get in and keep her company until Mark and I get our own boat."
Kerry wasn't sure what she wanted to do. She needed to be near the man she loved, but she also couldn't bear to let Elizabeth suffer in silence.
"Take this," Carter removed one of his gold rings and placed it on Kerry's left hand. "You'll be needing this when you get back to Chicago."
Kerry's eyes teared up. "Are you asking me what I think you're asking me?"
"Absolutely. I'll catch up." Carter kissed her tenderly. "Now take care of Elizabeth."
Still stunned from the sudden proposal, Kerry felt numb as she climbed aboard the lifeboat. She couldn't take her eyes off Carter as they lowered the boat into the ocean. Elizabeth was still sobbing. Kerry gave her a hug as they watched the men they loved disappear.
"Hey, I know you!" A loud voice said from behind them.
"Molly Brown!" Kerry exclaimed. "I'm so glad to see you."
"Likewise," Molly replied. "Don't worry, ladies, as soon as I can, we'll row back for your men."
The air was growing chillier as their boat drifted further and further away from the Titanic. Kerry could see that the ship was beginning to tilt, back-side up, as crowds of people tried to get onto the insufficient lifeboats. Where was Carter?
She couldn't tell if it was one minute or several hours later when a deep creaking sound of splintering wood emerged from the ship. All Kerry could hear were the screams of those left in the water to slowly freeze and drown. It was a sound she'd never forget.
Kerry, Elizabeth and the rest of the women in the boat watched in horror as the remaining part of the shop bobbed up and down like a cork, then finally plunging into the icy Atlantic. The largest moving object in the history of the world slowly disappeared from sight.
"We have to go back for Carter and Mark," Kerry told Molly.
"Not yet, dear, the ship will pull
us into the ocean." Molly's eyes were scanning the ocean for familiar faces.
Soon the screams grew fainter as it grew colder.
Syd held onto the railing with John on top of her. They were on the stern, riding down like an elevator. Syd wondered if her father and brother had made it to a boat. She also wondered about her Chicago friends, Kerry, Carter, Elizabeth, and Mark.
"The ship is going to suck us down, take a deep breath when I say," John yelled over the crashing.
Syd nodded and prepared to be swept under the cold water. Finally after a few seconds Syd felt the cold water surround her like a sharp knife, cutting into her whole body. She tried to keep hold of John's hand but he was not wearing a life jacket and got sucked down, away from Syd's reach. Syd felt for him and came up to the surface, trying to call out his name.
"John?" Syd called, treading water trying to keep from freezing even though she knew that would be impossible. Then she felt someone push her under, and tried to kick back up to the surface. "No, NO." Syd finally was able to get her head above water and noticed the person who had pushed her under. "Carter?"
"Syd, please tell me you waited until the last minute when there were no boats left?' Carter asked. "Why aren't you on a boat with Kerry and Elizabeth?"
Syd couldn't answer, for John came up behind her.
"Syd, I need you to swim for me," John instructed.
"I can't, it's so cold," Syd said as she tried to follow John through the mobs of people screaming for help.
"You can do it Syd, come on," John said. He pulled her along, toward a door that had blown into the water while the ship was going down. "Here, get on it."
Syd struggled to get on the board but finally made it with John's help. Syd pulled John on the board, praying that it wouldn't tip over.
"It's going to be all right now," John said as he laid beside Syd.
"I'm so cold," Syd whispered, suddenly drained.
"Syd, you have to stay awake until help arrives," John said. "You hear me, I don't want to lose the one thing that I care so much about. Promise me that you'll never give up, no matter what happpens?"
Syd smiled and squeezed John's hand. "I promise," she whispered into his ear. They floated in the Atlantic ocean, looking at the stars, waiting for help to arrive.
"Syd," Carter called as he swam toward them. "Got any room on there for me?"
Syd sat up. "No, but grab that other door over there." Syd pointed toward another door that had survived the sinking, floating near by.
John retrieved it and hopped on it, trying to stay out of the water as much as possible. "Well, looks like we're camping out here for the night."
Syd felt tears come to her eyes. "It's getting quiet. How could anyone survive this long?"
"I did didn't I?" Cater asked.
Syd smiled and sighed, was she ever
going to see land again?
Kerry and Elizabeth looked out into the sea from the lifeboat trying to see if could see anyone they knew. Kerry turned to Elizabeth who weeped softly.
"We have to go back Kerry, they could still be alive," Elizabeth said.
Kerry put a hand on Elizabeth's shoulder, trying to calm her down. "We will go back, we have to. Carter may still be alive, as well as Mark."
Elizabeth tried to focus on the positive side of the situation, not that there was one. Then Elizabeth remembered Syd and her friend John. "Kerry, what about Syd?"
"I'm sure Syd got into a boat," Kerry said, wanting to believe the words herself.
"You don't think she was still on the ship do you?"
"Syd knows better than that, she wouldn't stay on the ship and risk her life," Kerry said.
"We have to go back," Molly was saying.
"If we go back they'll swamp the boat," the officer said.
"Please," Kerry pleaded. 'We have to, there could still be people alive."
Officer Lowe spoke up, the other officer who was in charge of the boat. 'Don't worry. we'll go back."
Kerry sighed with relief, hoping that Carter was still alive.
"Is there anyone alive out there,
can anyone hear me?" Officer lowe yelled, shinning a sparkle into the sky.
Syd looked up when she thought she heard a voice. She looked over to find a very bright light shinning in her eyes.
"John, there's a boat," Syd whispered.
John looked up. "See, I told you help would finally come."
Syd sat up and jumped into the freezing water.
"Syd what are you doing?" John asked. He shook Carter, who was still alive, luckily.
Syd took the whistle from Mr. Andrew's
hand and put it to her lips. "I'm getting them to notice us, they'll near
us from that distance. Syd blew the whistle, three times until the boat
was coming closer. She kept blowing it, glad that the three lucky survivoers
form the water were finally getting rescued.
The loud sound of a whistle echoed through the ER. It was nearly seven o'clock in the morning, and Kerry was getting frustrated. Malucci was, as usual, sleeping in Exam Room Four, ignoring every page she sent him.
"Up and at them, Malucci! This is no time to be sleeping on the job!!" She turned the light on, making Malucci jump.
Carter walked by with his morning
coffee and an amused expression on his face. "Come on, let him sleep, Kerry!"
His fiancee did have a way of getting herself heard. He kissed her lightly
on the cheek before going to the admit desk to find his first chart for
Syd Hansen, sleeping on the lounge sofa, also heard the whistle. She woke briefly, confused at why the sunlight was streaming through the window when it had just been the middle of the night over the chilly Atlantic. She had caught the red eye from Providence to fill in for Abby Lockhart. Exhausted, Syd closed her eyes once again.
Syd opened her eyes to find the sun streaming down on the ocean.
She must have fallen asleep, for she didn't hear the cries of joy when there had been a ship sighted.
"Syd, darling wake up," John whispered into her ear. "Help has arrived."
Syd sat up, still cold from the night before. She stood up and John helped her climb onto the swing, which took her to the deck of Carpathia. Syd waited for John and then the couple went down below decks to get warm. Hot soup was served, and Syd hadn't realized just how hungry and cold she really was. She looked around for her sister and brother. Syd knew that Jim most likely had perished with the ship, not wanting to abandon his ship until everyone was safe. Everyone had not made it out all right, an estimated thousand had drowned, mostly men and a lot of people from steerage. Syd was glad that John had not been one of those people.
"Well, darling, you certainlly had an eventful time don't you think?"
Lynda Hansen said suddenly appearing beside her daughter. "And you met a lovely guy in the process."
Syd turned around, surprised to see her mother. This was a dream after all. "Mother, how could you do this to me? I thought this was real."
Lynda laughed. "No, dear, but I did want to test you to see if you could survive a tragedy like that, and, boy, you did more than survive it."
Syd sighed. "Were you with me the whole time?"
"Yes, darling," Lynda said. She patted
Syd's cheek. "You were never alone."
Syd awoke with a start, realizing that she was not on Carpathia. Syd looked around the lounge, realizing that she was alone. Syd sat up, suddenly overcome by dizziness. She suddely felt so cold and a longing to be with John. Then the door opened and Kerry walked in.
"Syd, how do you feel?" Kerry asked. "You been out for the past couple of hours, I was begining to get worried."
Syd gave her friend a confused look, what was Kerry talking about. "What?"
"Are you OK, Syd?" Kerry asked noticing
the strange look on Syd's face.
Syd tried to remember what had happened and why she suddenly was in the lounge. "I don't know. I had the strangest dream."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Kerry asked. "Before I load you down with patients?'
Syd smiled. "I dreamed I was on Titanic."
"Wow, some dream, was Rose and Jack there?" Kerry joked sitting down beside Syd.
"No, but you and Carter were. Oh, yeah, and that jerk Ellis West," Syd said.
"I was hoping his name wasn't going to be mentioned again. What did he say?"
"It's gross but I'll tell you anyay, you were going to marry him."
"No way, that is so not happening."
"Don't worry, you're relationship ended just like Rose's did with Cal's," Syd said. Then she heard a beeper go off.
"That's me, double trauma coming in, ETA three minutes," Kerry said. "Come on, we need you. You can tell me more about your weird dream later." Kerry walked out the door, leaving Syd alone.
Syd smiled as she headed for the
door, she wanted to keep this a secret until she could figure out what
exactly had happened. For now, it was just her secret.
© 2000 Tracy and Rebecca
DISCLAIMER: Characters mentioned in this story that have appeared in the NBC series "Providence" and "E.R." are the property of National Broadcasting Company. No copyright infringement is intended.