Waiting For a Chance
" I've learned that waiting is the most difficult bit, and I want to get used to the feeling, knowing that you're with me, even when you're not by my side."
― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
His arms casually hung over the rail. To any other passenger, he was a first-class gentleman enjoying the Sunday early afternoon sun. His hair slicked beneath the hat which he had taken from a deck chair just minutes before. Inside his heart sank nervously. He didn't know what he was scared of.
When he and Tommy had spoken, he had been so sure of what he would say to her. He had spent the whole night combing over fine details of the evening whilst he lay in his bunk. Sleep refused to come to him while his mind was so heavy with thoughts of her. She was intoxicating, simply been so close to her. The sheer thought of kissing her had nagged at him until it was too late. He had woken that morning with a plan and he was adamant that Tommy would not talk him out of it. The adrenaline which had rushed through him in that moment had been the most powerful he had ever felt. He would tell Rose how he felt about her.
Tommy had only tried to protect his friend’s feelings but Jack would have none of it. He wore his heart on his sleeve and if that heart was going to ache afterward then so be it. He needed to be honest with her.
The trail of what he would say was strong in his mind. Even been thrown from the church service had not deterred him. In fact, he had made him even more determined. The obstacles which were been thrown at him would only make him more desperate to see her. She was so out of reach but he would reach out to her, he knew it.
Her behaviour the night before had not been that of an upper-class lady, or of a woman engaged to be married. The ring on her finger had meant nothing even he had seen through the initial pretence. Although at first, he had trodden carefully, he knew he had no reason to. She had opened herself up to him and shared her thoughts and feelings. The feelings she had never told a soul.
She had glimpsed into his world and he into hers. He wanted to take her away from that. The stuffiness of the dinner was enough to make him never want to set foot in that world again. Even now as he stood, his mind ablaze with a million thoughts.
He could hear the footsteps behind him and peered out from beneath his hat. He could see Rose, Cal and Ruth approaching along with Thomas Andrews. They had left the Captain on the Bridge. He leant further over the rail to shield his face; he couldn't be recognised. Cal and Ruth walked ahead, he led her down the boat deck stopping occasionally to take in the conversation of Rose and Thomas Andrews.
He could feel the adrenaline which had once kept him driven to the point of madness now turn to nerves. He didn't fear doing the wrong thing for he knew he had to tell her how he felt. He simply feared rejection. He didn't know what he would get out of this. She wouldn't run away with him, that was a stupid idiotic dream. He wanted to see her safe, that was the main thing. He wanted her to accept him help to escape the chains of upper class. The previous night had been spent laying the foundation of a great friendship but he couldn't help but think there could be more. The last moment before she had gone back into her world was that she wanted 'something which she couldn't have.' He needed to know what that was. That was the main thing which had niggled at him through the night and into the early morning.
The wait for her to reach him on the deck seemed to take forever. He tried to listen to her faint words but couldn't quite hear. He turned his head ever so slightly. The group had stopped next to the nearby lifeboats. They must have been several feet away. Cal had clattered the lifeboat with his stick and quickly Jack whipped his head back around to glance out to sea.
''It's a waste of deck space as it is on an unsinkable ship.'' Cal led Ruth past Jack and further down the deck. He was unnoticed. He watched as Cal disappeared down the deck. Rose stood just behind him with Thomas Andrews. He squeezed his eyes closed to breathe through his nerves. He couldn't allow her to see that side.
''Sleep soundly young, Rose, I have built a good ship…she is strong.'' Thomas Andrews led her forward. She seemed to dally for a moment. He wondered what was going through her mind. He needed to take this opportunity quickly.
He spun around, grabbing her arm. In that small second, he thought he saw her eyes light up. Or was it pure shock to see him? She hadn't known he had attempted to see her in church that morning. Her entire entourage had ensured that she wouldn't know, she would remain clueless and wrapped in cotton wool.
''Come on.'' He whispered. She whipped her head around. Cal and her Mother were far down the deck towards the entrance. They hadn't even noticed her disappearance.
She allowed him to lead her through a door into the gymnasium.
''I need to talk to you.''
He removed his hat. His nerves refused to calm in his stomach. They were alone.