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Chapter 4 : Iceberg
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The details are hazy at this point. Have you ever had an argument, and it seems to be the most important thing in the world at the time, but then you look back a day or two later and you can barely remember why you had one, let alone how it started?
On the third day, after lunch, Jared and I argued. We never fought often, but when we did they were usually huge in our eyes - for a day or two, and then we would forget all about it. I don't remember this one, or even how it started, but I do remember feeling so angry I thought I might hate him. It was a horrible feeling, but one I couldn't seem to push away; I avoided him the the rest of that day and most of the next. He tried to talk to me at first, a couple of hours after lunch, but he realized early on that I had no intention of backing down, he became just as stubborn.
I spent that afternoon with Charlotte and her family, but they could see that my mood was sour and mostly left me alone, in that they didn't try to make me feel better. They did not know how, they barely knew me. Charlotte stayed sat with me and when she talked I answered, but that was as far as it went.
Looking back, I feel terrible but not surprised; there was always collateral damage after Jared and I fought.
I snuck dinner out of the kitchen, thanks to the staff member who had also helped with the picnic, and ate in my room. I fell asleep soon after. I thought I heard my door open at some point, but that seemed silly in the end.
On the last day, that frightening day, I went looking for Nathaniel Vega. I'd seen him around the ship a number of times since we had talked, always with a drink and a cigarette in his hands, and always talking to the rich and the noble. I wondered briefly how he fit in with that crowd, being so young, before eventually deciding that he was old money. I did know that name Vega, I just could not remember where, but him being from an old and wealthy family made sense - if it was true, then even without his family there, and I was pretty sure that he was alone on this ship, the rest would accept him with open arms.
I never spoke to him when he was with them. It seemed rude to interrupt when he obviously looked the part, whereas I stood out like a sore thumb among them. He always noticed me coming, though I did not find out how until later, and he would nod in greeting.
I jealously wished he would leave them to talk to me, only because I was feeling lonely. In the end, I was always glad that he didn't - it was not Nathaniel I wanted to talk to.
Jared found me later that night, only minutes before tragic events started; I suppose that was our bad luck, not getting a chance to really talk, to be in each other's company, before hell broke loose.
I was at the front of the ship, leaning against the railing, when he came. The air was cold, but there was very little wind and the ocean was calm. Too calm. His footsteps echoed along the deck, giving away his presence long before he spoke. He didn't speak at first, he copied my position and stared out into the open ocean, looking at nothing, same as I was.
"I'm sorry, Nate," he said at last, looking down at his hands as he rubbed them together.
"Why are you sorry?" I ask. He winced when I sounded so monotone, but I did not mean for it; I'd been out in the cold for so long, I seemed to be stiff and harsh, even my throat was dry and sore. But my question was genuine.
"I- I don't know," he answered me, his chuckle nervous and unintentional. He tried to hide it, but I soon joined in. "What were we fighting about?"
I shrugged, turning to smile at him. "I have no idea. And I do not care, I'm just glad it's over."
"Me too." Jared grinned down at me, and then opened his mouth to continue speaking. He froze, his mouth still open, and stared out in front of me. I followed his gaze. "Do you see that?" he whispered fearfully.
I could not, not at first. I had to squint to make out the shadow. But as the ship drew closer, the shadow soon became clearer - it was still dark, still covered by night, but we could both tell what the hard, jagged edges were, and how dangerously close they were to us.
"Iceberg," I breathed.
A bell rung from above us, a warning for the crew I bet. I think the wisest thing to do in that situation is to move out of the way, but in that moment Jared and I were as frozen as the small mountain of ice that was able to kill almost everyone aboard this ship with a single blow.
It was terrifying watching it happen; we saw the ship turn but it was too late, we saw the crew try but nothing could stop it. The iceberg cut through the side of Titanic as though it was merely a piece of paper, rather than a huge, iron-built ship. The ship rocked, ice fell; Jared had enough sense to pull me out of the way before any could hit us. It seemed to last forever, each puncture a death sentence, until finally the iceberg passed.
Jared climbed up the railing and balanced his stomach along the top, looking down and out for as long as he dared to to keep from falling overboard. I balanced on my toes, not feeling as safe as he did, and could just make out pieces of the ship being turned up, ripped along the side thanks to the harsh ice.
He got down carefully and gave me the look of a scared boy who wanted to go home. I feared I had the same look.
"How much damage do you think that caused, Nate?"
I kept my face his way, but my eyes cast themselves to the side; I couldn't look at him, couldn't bring myself to put more fear in his eyes when I told him my thoughts.
"I think we're going to sink."
April 15th, 1912.
We had a little time, enough to look for Charlotte and then Marian, to warn them. Neither believed us at first, they did not want to; it took minutes for Charlotte to understand and get her family ready, only because she trusted us, and it took Marian even less time - they were walking back to their rooms and by then the crew were pushing past and making comments about what to do.
I think Jared wanted to stay with her, to make sure that she got on one of the lifeboats, but we only stayed with them until we reached the deck where a number of boats were being filled. They would only allow women and children to go first, meaning we had to stay behind. It was heartbreaking watching them say good bye, and I realized that he had finally found a girl he thought he could be with. I could not watch after a moment.
"I'll find you in New York, I promise." It was the last thing he said to her. He never saw her again.
I walked away, tried to see through the growing masses of people. I hoped to find Nathaniel; he was the only other person I knew, however little, and I couldn't leave without at least finding out if he would be okay.
Jared joined me soon enough, his eyes a little red, but no tears fell, or they had stopped.
"What do we do?"
"Find a way off the ship."
"Who are you looking for?" he asked softly, noticing every movement I made.
"I met someone on here, I need to know if he's okay," I tell him honestly. "I say we keep moving forward, listen out for instructions and if we don't find him by the time we leave, then we j-just go."
He noticed my hesitation, too, how hard it was to talk about leaving someone who could die on here. I did not even know who he was, not really, but Nathaniel was still a person, an innocent who could lose his life, and I hated that. Because I could not stop it.
Jared urged me forward, agreeing with my plan. We did not have to stop and check who could get on which boat - just a glance told us it was only women and children, the crew shouting for them helped as well. I saw charlotte waiting by one with her family, she waved sadly and knew it would be the last time we would see each other. I chose not to focus on that; we did not have the same feelings for each other that Jared and Marian had started to feel but we had still become friends and leaving her was almost too hard.
We stopped running when we were past the last boat, near some steps that would take us to the back of the ship. We had nowhere to go and water had already made it's way past E deck. I guessed we had another hour, maybe less, before Titanic was at the bottom of the Atlantic.
"If we get out of this, I am never leaving home again. I mean it, Nathan," Jared muttered, his body twisting and turning as he looked for a way off.
"Nate!" I jumped, shocked that someone would be calling for me, and was both relieved and sad to see Nathaniel was still onboard. It seemed not even old money could save your life. "What the hell are you still doing here?"
"I could ask you the same question," I countered dejectedly. "We can't get off, they are only allowing women and children on the lifeboats."
"Yes, Muggles," he whispered, strongly emphasizing that last word.
"We can Apparate," Jared said into my ear, already looking for somewhere to go where we could not break our laws. When the ship began to tilt into the ocean, he searched harder.
"Get inside, I am sure there will be an empty room," Nathaniel said, guessing what Jared was doing.
"Come with us," I said to him.
Nathaniel shook his head sympathetically, a small and weary smile on his face. "I have to find someone. Besides," he winked, "I may not be able to Apparate, but I also cannot die."
He left after that, wishing us look. At the time, I was thinking of how I would never see the strange man again and was sad, but I saw him a number of times over the years.
"Who was that?" Jared asked me, leading the way inside the ship.
"Nathaniel Vega," I replied.
That stopped him in his tracks and he stared at me incredulously. "Only you would come to a place like this and have your first friend be a vampire royal."
I gasped, though more in recognition than in shock or fear. "I knew I had heard his name before."
He had to laugh.
It did not last; between the few crew members inside telling us to get outside to a boat and the people from third class who had finally gotten up to the the higher floors pushing us back, it took some time before we were past everyone. By that time Titanic was beginning to rise from the back. We could not stay on our feet, it was impossible, and we slipped, sliding down. Jared was able to hold on to an open door and balance along the doorframe, but I was not so lucky; I slammed into the wall, a sharp, broken piece of wood that had been part of the ship stabbing me in the side.
I cried out in pain and Jared demanded to know if I was alright. I had no time to answer; I pushed myself away from the wall as quickly as I could, biting my lip to keep from making as much noise and worrying Jared. I saw blood coat the piece of wood, and then the half of the ship that we were still on came crashing back into the water.
Jared groaned as he fell back and made his way over. He pulled me up and I grimaced. "Are you alright?"
"Yes," I lied, hiding the blood and my wound. "I hit the wall too hard, that's all."
"Come on," he encouraged, finding the first empty room he could. With one hand he held the bedpost and with the other he held my hand, the one not clinging to my side thankfully. "Ready?"
I nodded once, feeling lightheaded; I could feel blood flow through my fingers. Jared counted to three and I felt the horrible pull in my stomach that could only be Apparition. When it finally stopped, it took me a moment longer than it should have to recognize where we were, though that could have been because I could hardly see; things were starting to blur.
"The Statue of Liberty."
We were right below it, on the little island in the middle of the water. Stuck, it seemed. Jared shrugged sheepishly as he figured that out. "It is the only place I know that I thought would be free of people. But it will be fine. At least we did not drown."
Unlike so many others, I knew he could not bring himself to add. We were so far away from Titanic now, we would not know what happened until later and we were both glad we did not have to see it sink.
"We are okay," he whispered, unable to stop a surprised chuckle. "We are o-"
"Jared," I interrupted. He turned, concerned by the odd tone of my voice, and his eyes widened when I removed my hand and he saw all of the blood. The wood piece had created a nasty wound and it would not stop bleeding.
He caught me before I fell to my knees, lowering me to the floor gently.
"You'll be alright," he said, an empty promise. We both I would not be. Maybe there would have been a chance if he could get me to a hospital, but there was no way he could get us in New York City in time.
"It does not hurt anymore," I reassure him. "It's okay."
"No, you cannot leave me alone," he cried. "Don't you dare."
"I'm not going anywhere."
It was the last thing I said to him and the last thing I heard was his sob, then darkness took hold of me and I did not wake up.
A/N:One more chapter left, it'll be up in a bit. :)
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