Titanic: Beautiful Eyes


Cheyanne Darling, 16, joined the Titanic crew to get a fresh start. Albert Ervine, 18, joined the Titanic crew so that his family could afford their home in Belfast. They're both scarred, broken; a little rough around the edges. But they have one thing in common. They are survivors.


7. A Few Honorable Men

I awoke to shutter that sent a jolt through the bedposts. It was very subtle. So much so in fact that Albert remained sleeping like a rock, "Albert," I shook his shoulder harshly, trying to wake him up, "did you feel that?"

"Hmm?" He grumbled, pulling a pillow over his head. He was trying to block me out. So, he wasn't a morning person. I'd have to take that into consideration, "What's that? What's going on?" He asked, heaving himself into a sitting position.

"I think I might be hallucinating. I think I just felt the ship shake." I gasped, heaving myself up from bed. I quickly flipped on the lamp next to the bed and began to pace.

"Do you want to go up on deck?" Albert asked exhaustedly, heaving himself up as well. He tossed my robe to me and slipped into his own shoes, before slipping an undershirt over his head and a heavy coat over his shoulder, "I'm sure everything's fine." He assured me, helping me into my own cost.

"I know. If it is okay with you, I'd just like to go up and get some air." I asked, heading toward the door.

"Of course," he agreed, wiping the sleep from his eyes and opening the door for me, "After you."

We walked silently down the hallway, pumping shoulders with other passengers who were making their way up onto deck to see what had caused the shock. To all of our dismays, there were children out on the deck kicking around large chunks of ice, "God almighty, was it hail?" I asked in disbelief. I'd never actually seen it myself but I'd read about it; giant pieces of eyes that fall from the sky.

"Quarterly says it isn't anything important," another employee called, ushering us back down into the well, "Probably best if you go back to your cabins."

"Please, Sir." I urged, "We're employees as well. Please, tell me what's going on." I whispered.

He gave us an appraising look before taking me by the arm and leading both Albert and Me into a quiet corner, "Look, it is probably nothing. We've hit an iceberg and have taken on a bit if water. They shut the gates, though, so we should be fully-functional again by morning. Please, just go back to your duties. We should be back on course in an hour or so."

His tone was unsettling, though. All thought glazed over as I remembered Daniel, "Albert," I gasped, "Daniel is in the boiler room." My voice jumped several octaves, sounding foreign to me, "I've got to go make sure he's alright."

"You heard the man, Cheyanne. It's probably nothing." He assured me.

"He also said the ship took on water! What if Daniel is caught in the water? I have to go warn him."

"Look, if it makes you feel any better, I'll go check up on him," Albert finally snapped, "But I want you to go back to the room and at least try to get some sleep. I'll be up to join you in a while. Okay?"

"Fine." She admonished, "Be safe. Don't get caught. And... when you see Daniel... tell him I'm sorry, please."

"I can do that." He mumbled, leaning in and giving me a quick hug, "Now go on back inside before you catch your death!" He ushered me toward the door to the stairwell and I made my way down slowly.

When I finally got back to Albert's room, I collapsed on the bed in a heap. Just a small trip upstairs was enough to exhaust me. I couldn't put my finger on exactly why. I figured I'd have to make time to see a doctor once we docked back in Belfast.

I was finding it particularly difficult to sleep, tossing and turning every which way. As it turns out, it is in fact easier to sleep when you have a warm body beside you.

I had just finally managed to doze off when Albert came stampeding back into the room, "We've got to get above deck now." He commanded, heaving me out of bed and placing a coat around my shoulders, "We've got to go right now. They're loading people onto lifeboats."

Every bit of drowsiness I felt quickly slipped away, "What? What's going on?"

"We're getting onto a lifeboat." He grumbled, ushering me into the hallway. A no man's land, "The ship's sinking."

"Sinking?" I gasped, freezing in my spot, "Daniel is down in a boiler room somewhere. He doesn't know! We've got to go find Daniel!"

"Daniel already knows. He was the one to inform me. He also informed me that he's chosen to stay and man his post and go down as a gentleman."

"And you didn't stop him?" I gaped, "Dammit, Albert! He may no longer be my fiancé; but he is still a dear friend!" Tears began to pour down my face. I was never going to see Daniel again.

"Do you think I would leave him down there without trying my best to get him to come above deck? Hell, I offered to take his position myself, but he just wouldn't go!" He yelled, taking my shoulders and shaking me furiously, "Now are we going to stand here and fight over a dead man or are we going to get you into a lifeboat?"

"You're right." I suddenly realized. Wiping the tears out of my eyes, I took his hand and we began to trudge upward, "What if all the boats are gone by the time we get up on deck?" I asked, heaving breath into my lungs as we climbed yet another flight of stairs.

"Believe you and me, Love. I will get you on one of those boats." He kept his eyes forward as we continued to brusquely jog past mastery that would soon be miles underwater. It was hard to believe.

"I've noticed that you're saying you'll get me onto a boat. You never once have mentioned yourself, Albert." I froze once more just as we came across the entrance to the first class dining hall.

Albert sucked in a breath, seeing that I'd had him caught, "I have to stay and man my position, Cheyanne. There's nobody else who knows how to do my job. I have to keep the lights on."

"You have to keep the lights on?" I shrieked in disbelief, "How hard can it be to pull a lever? Anybody can do it! Please; just come with me!" I plead.

"Listen to me! There are third class women wondering around in steerage right now in the pitch black, wondering what in god's name is going on. If I can get the lights back on, then that at least gives them a shot of getting above deck and getting onto a boat. You know what they say. The life of the few for the life of the many. I guess I fall under the category of 'the few'."

Tears began to leak from my eyes at a rapid pace, "I'll come with you." I begged.

"No, Cheyanne. You cannot come with me. You'd be signing your own death sentence."

"I don't care," I plead, linking my arms around his neck and refusing to let go, "I don't care, Albert.  You're my best friend. Best friends stick together."

"Yeah. They do. Which is why, I promise you that I will make it into a boat and I will meet you in America. I will. I promise. Okay? Listen, stop crying." He wiped furiously at the tears that were falling freely by this point, "I'm going to be fine. And we're going to get off this ship. Both of us. And we're going back to Ireland together. Do you understand me?"

"No, you're trying to convince me. You're lying through your teeth. I can see it. You have to get on the boat with me."

"And damn anybody else on this ship?" He asked, "that's not the kind of person either of us are, Cheyanne."

"But at least you'd be alive. At least you'd get to see Ellie again."

"But what good is that if I let hundreds of children just like Ellie drown because I was scared for my own life? I'd never be able to live with myself. Just let me go. I swear to you, I'll get on a boat, but you have to go now."

"No, I'm going with you." I could barely even believe that the words had come out of my mouth, but they had. Albert looked just about as shocked as I felt.

"Fine," he responded, taking my hand. We quickly fled back down the stairs, pushing against the massive crowd of people trying to make it above deck, "But if something-anything- happens, I am taking you and putting you on one of those boats."

"Aye, aye, Captain." I griped, snarky.

We continued to trudge through the muck that was beginning to accumulate around our ankles until we finally made it to the control panel, "Can you go pull that lever over there?" He beckoned in the direction of a singular, yellow lever, before turning to busy himself with the entirety of the control panel, "On my count. One. Two. Three!"

I pulled down on the lever with all my strength, actually managing to lift myself up off the ground several inches before gravity took its hold. The lights began to flicker, then went out entirely. I could practically feel my heart skipping a beat.

This was how I was supposed to die. Pulling a damn lever, hoping that somebody else would get a chance to get above deck and take my place on a lifeboat. What in hell was I thinking?

"Again, Cheyanne!" I heard Albert call, over the water that was now rushing around my hips, "Keep pulling! You're doing so good - it's working!" He called out in encouragement. Even in the pitch black he could tell that the water was doing its number on me. He was trying to keep my mind off the slicing feeling the water was leaving me with.

I continued to pull the lever with restored gusto, until the lights finally came flickering back to life. I came to realize that I was face-to-face with Albert, and about navel-deep in blistering cold sea water, "You did it." He called, taking my hand, "We've got to go get on a boat now." He finally said, a massive grin spreading across his face.

"Yeah, let's go." I agreed, beginning to wade through the water that was now around my chest and quickly rising.

"Get on my shoulders." Albert commanded, realizing that my minuscule size was limiting my ability to move. The water had only just managed to breach his waist and I was already more than half-way submerged.

"No, I'll slow you down. Let's just keep going."

"You're slowing me down now that we're having to stop and fight over this. I'm serious, Cheyanne. Get on my shoulders. At least until we get to higher ground."

"You're being ridiculous, Albert." I grumbled, reaching up and latching my arms around his neck and my legs around his middle, "Thank you." I whispered, finally able to reach his ear, as we trekked upward.

The entire ship was abandoned, ghostly almost. There was no crowd to fight against. We were the only people for what seemed like miles. Although, we knew as soon as we breached the first class promenade, we would be fighting against the masses just like everybody else.

"Are you ready for this?" He asked, as we trudged up the grand staircase for the umpteenth time that night, "Watch yourself. I'm going to get us to the front." He warned and within seconds we were fighting our way through the dense crowds all the way to the ship's railing.

"Women only, I'm afraid, Sir." The quarterly called, shooing Albert away in place of an elderly woman, "You, ma'am." The quarterly demanded, extending an outstretched hand to me.

"I'll catch the next one, Cheyanne." Albert swore, when I turned to gauge his reaction. He was oddly cool.

"It's only women and children, Albert. I'm not going without you."

"Like hell you're not. Get in the damn boat, Cheyanne. It's filling up! I'll get in one of the collapsables. I'll be fine. I promise."

"You promise?" I asked. This was becoming life or death. He and I both knew it. We were getting down to the wire, both of us, "You better swear on my life and yours - up and down - you'll meet me in New York."

"I will see you in New York. I swear. On your life and mine. Up and down." A tiny remnant of his once vibrant smile dance on his lips.

"Jesus Christ, you are an idiot, Ervine." I sobbed, throwing my arms around his neck, "You promised. Just remember, you're an honorable man. Honorable men don't break promises."

"I'm not going to break this promise, Cheyanne. Now, get in the boat, before it fills up." He helped me over the edge of ship and into the lifeboat, then watched from the rail as we were lowered into the water.

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