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.


3. Waltz in the Dining Hall

"Last I saw, this caused us a bit of a mishap." I said, poking the cover of the book lying in Albert's lap at the dinner table, "What are you reading?" I asked as he set his bookmark and placed it in his satchel.

"It's titled Don Quixote." he said, halfheartedly glancing at the menu, "It's said to be the second most appreciated book in the world. Besides the bible, of course."

"I've never read it." I admitted, "My mother always said that there wasn't any reason for women to read."

"Well, I'll tell you, if we listened to everything everybody told us to do, this world would be an incredibly boring place." he conceded, "But you didn't hear that from me." he pressed a finger to his lips, reminding me to keep quiet. I couldn't help the small giggle that escaped me, "You have a lovely laugh."

My eyes grew huge, "I beg your pardon?" giggling was merely for childhood and was not to be used by grown women. Of course, I suppose I'm not REALLY a grown woman yet...but a child.

"I find giggling to be quite attractive, Madame." I practically choked on my drink. It was obvious then that he realized her overstepped some kind of a boundary.

I was quick o change the subject any way I can, "Anyway, how is it that an engineer and a maid are dining first class?"

"We're meeting one of my friends tonight. I think you'll like her. She reminds me a lot of you."

Then we fell into a most awkward silence, waiting for this friend of Albert's to show up, "Can we get some wine over here, please?" he called to a nearby waiter who came back moments later and poured each of us a glass.

He seemed to be inhaling his liquor faster than the waiter could keep his glass full. I was afraid I was going to have to cut him off. It was obvious he was doing it simply because he was nervous, "Drinking your sorrows, there, Al?" a rather stalky woman asked, sidling up to the table and flopping down beside me, "Who's your girl here?"

I could've spit clear across the table. Who was she to just walk up and assume so quickly. Albert jumped on it faster than I could though, "She's not my girl, Mrs. Brown." He snorted, "And for the record, I have no sorrows to drown."

"Aren't you gonna introduce me to your friend, then?" she barked in an accent that I was unfamiliar with. So southern.

"Mrs. Brown, this is Cheyanne Darling. Cheyanne, this is Mrs. Molly Brown." he seemed reluctant to introduce us. Was it because of me? Or because of her? Both of us, maybe?

"Do you have any idea when Astor will be along?" he asked, as if it were no big deal and he let those words role off his tongue everyday.

I was shocked. I'm sure my eyes were as big as saucers, "John Jacob Astor is joining us for dinner?" I gasped, "He's the richest man on this whole ship!"

"That's right. But honey, just pretend he's a normal person like you and me and it'll be fine," Mrs. Brown confirmed.

How was I supposed to pretend that he was 'just a normal person'? Because he sure as hell wasn't.

"So, uh, how do you and Albert know each other?" I asked, desperate to get the conversation away from money. I'd never been much for talking about wealth.

"Well, as it turns out, Mrs. Brown can be very persuasive when she wants to be -"

"Hand delivered his petition to Bruce Ismay myself. I found it in some waste basket by mistake. I was outraged, naturally, so I took it to his office, gave him a good talking to. And just like that, Titanic has the youngest engineer of its time."

"Well, I imagine you're very grateful, Albert." I chuckled. This woman had to be from America. There was no way anybody in North Ireland would've been willing to do something of that magnitude. Especially a woman.

"Can we just get around the big elephant in the room?" Mrs. Brown snapped good-naturedly, "How do you two know each other?"

"We just ran into each other above deck. It was really me being clumsy. Oh, there's Astor!" Albert called, practically leaping from his seat. It was clear he was glad to be out from under the microscope.

Then the crazy woman turned to me. Oh boy, I was about to get blasted with questions, "He's very handsome."

Well she certainly wasn't a shy woman, "I suppose so; yes." I agreed.

"It's clear he likes you." I went reeling. What?

"I don't know about that..." I chuckle under my breath. I kept an eye on Albert as he gave his greetings to Astor and his wife, "He comes from good means. Far better than me." he began to pace back to the table, "Anyway, at least he can pass for new money. Even in a first class dining room in my finest, I look like a pauper."

"Don't second guess yourself, Darlin'!" she chuckled, "Seize the day. Just take him by the collar and shout it to the heavens. And I suggest doing it fast. Because I have a feeling you'll be getting off in New York and he'll be staying."

I nodded as Albert returned, pulling out a seat for Astor's wife, "How are you, Ladies?" Astor asked as he took his own seat, "I don't believe we've had the pleasure." Astor said, turning toward me, "John Astor."

"Cheyanne Darling, Sir." I greeted with a nod.

And thus began the mindless small talk. They spoke of the weather, the ship, and every single thing that nobody ever cared about. I manage to make just enough eye contact with Albert to realize he was feeling the same way.

It went on like that for only another moment or do before a rather snappy waltz began to play. I jumped out of my seat so fast the chair buckled against my knees, "Dance with me?" I offered, outstretching a hand to Albert.

"Cheyanne," he whispered as eyes all around the room came to settle on me, "sit down. This isn't appropriate."

"I don't care if it's appropriate." I said, my tone clipped, harsh, "I'm bored to tears and I'm asking you to dance with me."

"I'll dance with you, Girl." Molly said, shoving her seat back and extending her hand to me, "We'll show you how the women do it." she chuckled, giving appraising looks to both men, "Join us, Madeleine." she commanded.

She shook her head, "Oh, no. I couldn't -"

"Suit yourself, Dear!" she called, pulling me into the middle of the dining room, "We'll show them!" she laughed, giving me a spin.

For a moment, people sat in shock, then one by one women began filing onto the self-proclaimed dance floor, and began to dance. Before I knew it, Albert was at my side, cutting in, "You've changed your mind, Mr. Ervine?" I asked, slowly losing my breath.

"You're making a fool of yourself." he whispered, taking my waist and spinning me.

"A clever man once told me that if we listened to everything everybody told us to do, we would be incredibly boring people," I murmured into his ear, "but of course, you didn't hear that from me."

"Seems like a very smart person you've been talking to." he agreed, "Do you know this dance?" he asked hesitantly.

"Not in the least." I giggled heartily.

"Good. So we can have fun with it." he cackled, taking me tight around the waist and flying down the floor, shoving other couples out of the way. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught John Jacob Astor glaring in disbelief as his hugely pregnant wife came to set on the outskirts of the floor, admiring the dancers.

"You like the music?" he asked. I nodded, a bit taken aback by his change of pace, "I have a selection of my own music in my room. Would you care to come take a look?"

I pushed him to arm's length at that point, "I'm not so sure that's appropriate."

"We're just going to look at music, Cheyanne. I won't try any funny business. Besides, isn't that something friends would do?"

Friends. I did rather like the sound of that. He allowed his hand to trap mine and then began to guide me toward the front of the dining room, the exit.

'Seize the day.' The words continued to travel through my head as I made my way out of the dining hall and into the main lobby.

"You're in steerage, I take it?" I ask nervously. I don't think my blood had ever rushed so quickly in my life.

"Second class." he corrects, "Similar to steerage. However, there are far fewer rats and I don't share a room with perfect strangers."

"A private room?" I asked in awe. As it were, I had to share a room with my fiancé along with several other members of the wait staff in steerage. It certainly was a bit cramped. It would be nice to see how the other half lived...

It took no more than ten minutes for us to be standing in front of his door, Albert to be fumbling with the door knob.

I had to wonder what Daniel would think if he saw this. Surely he'd think it was some kind of scandalous affair. Surely. That is, if he ever even took the damn time to notice a thing about me.

"Are you alright?" Albert asked as he ushered me into his room. It was spacious, but not as lavish as any first class passenger's room by a long shot. It was quaint, though.

There were stacks of every kind of books piled on a desk top. A single suitcase lay discarded in the corner by the bed and a manuscript book lay open, a page filled with tiny notations catching my eye, "What's this here?" I asked, picking up the book and collapsing on the corner of the bed, "Is this yours? Your music?"

He nodded, his cheeks flushing out a bit, "Nobody's seen them before. I find my music to be a bit ahead of its time. No record label would ever accept something so different."

"Well, different, I've come to learn, is often better, Albert. And music is a universal language. If you find someone willing to pick this up, you could speak to millions. You know, there are plenty of producers in New York. I'm sure a producer or two would be more than willing to pick these up in America."

"I'm needed back home, though. Imagine my parents' dismay. Learning that I've gotten off a ship two continents away and wasn't coming back. And for what? To chase some crazy dream?"

"It isn't crazy unless you say it is, Albert. This is really good work."

"Well, I'm saying it's crazy, so leave it, please." he demanded. Albert seemed rather torn actually. His usually playful eyes were dark, almost gloomy.

"But, if you don't want to come to America, maybe I could take some of your music and try to get it sold?"

"I suppose it couldn't hurt." he admitted, "I'm telling you, though. There is absolutely no way that anyone would pick it up. Music written by an eighteen year old ship engineer. That's likely."

"I'll have you know, I can be very persuasive when I want to be." I laughed.

"Well, I certainly look forward to seeing that." he snorted. That made my ears go red in embarrassment. As far as I he was concerned, I was a gods-awful persuader. I just couldn't do it. But he didn't need to know that.

I let out a laugh at my own personal joke. He seemed to busy admiring me to pay attention though, "You have a beautiful laugh." he whispered, suddenly appearing into inches away, relaxed calmly, yet too close for comfort right beside me. On his bed.

"Well, I suppose I could take this one." I said, plucking a piece from his manuscript book titled Seconds of History in bold print across the top. I'd successfully managed to clear the tension, even of he was just as close as before.

"Why that one?" he asked curiously, eyeing it carefully.

"It's obviously your favorite." I admitted.

"How so?" he challenged, his eyes light again.

"Well, for instance...this right here," I pointed to a section that looked particularly blotchy, "You've erased it a million times. That leads me to believe you wanted it to be perfect in every sense of the word. And the title suggests that it is about some very intimate encounter you've had. It's a very sobering name."

"Well, aren't you just the detective." he chuckled, "But if you must know, this one is my favorite. It's about my niece." He admonished, "You take it and let me know how it goes. I'll give you my mailing address later on this evening." He said, his expression changing to that of excitement. He looked like he could've just gotten up and began dancing again.

"There is something I feel you should know..." I began. Where did that come from? This was hardly the time for this conversation, "I feel it right, only fair, if I let you know that I am a taken woman."

"Taken with my glorious good looks, I can imagine." he chuckled, giving his hair a flick.

"That's hardly what I mean, Mr. Ervine. What I mean to say is, I'm engaged to be married. By the time I return to America. So I'd find it best if we limit the time we spend together."

"Yet somehow I seem to think that if you were telling the truth right now, you'd be trying your best to escape. But here you are, sitting right by my side, calm." I take a deep breath and exhale the air I didn't know I'd been holding.

"It is hardly right for me to be here anymore, Albert."

"And yet," he chuckles, "You'd be half way to steerage by now if your mind agreed with what has just come out of your mouth."

"What? Are you saying I'm a liar?"

"I'm saying your conflicted. And until you come up with a good enough reason not to see me; you're going to continue to do so. Aren't I right, Ms. Darling." I nodded silently, "And I hope you know I won't push you. I appreciate boundaries. I have plenty of my own."

"A gentlemen." I snorted.

"I should say so." he answered innocently.

"No gentlemen would bring a woman back to his cabin under the guise of showing her music. Admit it, Mr. Ervine. You fancy me."

"And you me. Contrary to popular belief, I have seen the signs before. I make you nervous." he snickered darkly, "I wouldn't take advantage, but if you were to offer yourself to me, I wouldn't object."

"Then let's clear this up once and for all." I declared, calmly.

"And how do you presume we do that?" He asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

"I don't know. I just have to think about this for myself for a moment. I think there is one way that I can clear up any confusion, but I don't reckon either of us will feel too proud about it."

"What's that?"

"Kiss me."
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