On the third night Carson took Katie out for dinner with his parents. He was somewhat nervous about this event because his parents weren’t the most...accepting type, and even though he had only just met Katie, he wanted his parents to give them their blessing. Carson couldn’t see anything wrong with Katie and he knew his parents wouldn’t either. Or so, he hoped.
Katie had picked out a respectful, yet a little flashy, dress to wear to the event and she was glad that she did when she saw Carson’s parents. Just by taking one glance at them you could tell that they had money. His mother wore diamond earrings with a matching necklace. Her fingers were laced with jewels and it looked as though her dressed was embodied with gold. Carson’s father wore a suit but you could tell that it was expensive by how thick the material looked.
“Mum, Dad; this is Katie Fields, the girl I was telling you about.”
For a split second Katie was too distracted by Carson’s comment about talking about her to even acknowledge his parents. Her heart soared and once again she felt the strong sense of what only could be love towards the handsome boy next to her. Katie knew what her parents would tell her - that what she was feeling was lust, puppy love, just a crush. But she knew that it was something more because she had never felt this way before. Katie felt like she would die for Carson.
“Nice to meet you, my dear.” Carson's father stood up and outstretched his large hand. Katie quickly took it and gave him a polite curtsy.
“As it is you, Sir.”
Carson couldn’t help but smile at the small scene in front of him; that was until he turned his attention to his mother who hadn’t even looked in our direction. She had her head held up and her lips pouted, her eyes set of into the distance with a hard edge to them.
“Elizabeth!” Carson’s father snapped but she only turned her head further away. He was embarrassed by his wife's attempt at ignoring our guest. She had been complaining all day about the fact that Carson was wasting his time with some girl while he should be studying, or getting fit for the Army, like his brother had done weeks before he left for the Navy. She had threatened to ignore the young girl but he never actually thought she would do it. Her behavior was childish.
Katie felt her cheeks warm as Carson pulled out a seat for her and she stole quick glances at the beautiful lady at the other end of the table. She wasn’t sure what she had done wrong. Katie had money too, it wasn’t like the movies where the young boy fell in love with the maid.
“Katie, where are your parents tonight?” Carson’s mother spoke but did little attempt at moving her head to make eye contact. Before Katie had a chance to reply Carson spoke for her.
“I’m sorry, mother. I didn’t realize you wanted them here, too. They’re both in their cabin - a bit of sea sickness, I fear.”
Katie wasn’t sure why Carson had said that when he knew her parents weren’t even on board but she watched as his mother slowly turned in her seat and pulled a tiny smile to her lips. It was clearly forced but it was better than nothing.
For most of the night Carson’s father talked about his recent trip to India. None of us minded his endless story telling though because without it we would have sat in an awkward silence with only the clatter of utensils against our plates.
When dinner was over, Carson walked Katie back to her cabin because it was late and he didn’t want her walking by herself in the dark.
“Can I see your drawing now?” She grinned up at him, showing off her dimple on her right cheek. At the sight of her he almost caved in but he held his ground and shook his head firmly.
“I’ve got to put on some finishing touches, then you can.”
Katie let out a large sigh and moved out of his embrace as her cabin came into view. She slid the key into the door and pushed it open with a delighted smile covering her face. Carson couldn’t help but grin back; it was like her happiness was contagious.
“I’m really glad I met you, Carson.”
“I’m really glad I met you too, night wanderer.” He winked before turning around and walking back down the corridor with his hands slung carelessly into his pockets. Katie watched him with butterflies in her stomach until he went out of view.
Once Carson was out of view of Katie a grin split wider across his face and he did a little skip down the hallway before stopping as another passenger came around the corner.
“Fine evening, sir.” He nodded at him in passing. The man looked somewhat shocked to see such fine manners coming from such a young face.
“That is is, young man.”
Carson smiled all the way back to his own cabin that he didn’t have to share with his parents, and for that he was glad. He knew that it made no sense to have such strong feelings for a girl he didn’t even know very well but he couldn’t help but get a thrill when he thought of her. Everything about her made him feel in soft inside and he had a strong sensation to just want to be with her right now. He wanted to know everything about her so he could tell people that he knew her best. Maybe she didn’t like the dark, or she could quite possibly love it. He didn’t know but he was going to find out.
Tomorrow he would spend time getting to know Katie Fields.
“Do you have any siblings?” Carson asked what felt like his millionth question.
Katie laughed at him before taking another piece of dark chocolate and popping it into her mouth, “I do. But they’re all older than me and I don’t see them very much. Two sisters and three brothers.”
“So you’re the baby of the family?” Carson grinned. He could safely say that today was a success. He know felt much closer to Katie with the knowledge that her favorite color was green, she hates the taste of cucumber and she loves the dark.
“I am, yes.” Katie grinned at him and then tried to compose her face into a more serious one, “Am I allowed to ask you questions now?”
Carson sighed; he should have expected this. He leant back against the metal bench - the same one where they had first met - and Katie plopped her legs up onto his lap.
“I guess you could ask a few.”
“Will you answer?”
He smirked, “I can’t promise anything.”
Katie whacked him across the arm and he laughed at her attempt at an aggressive face. Of course he would do anything for her, though.
“What are your plans when the Titanic makes it to the harbor?”
He didn’t even have to think, “Whatever your plans are.”
Carson liked making Katie blush and he watched as a dark crimson made it’s appearance across her cute, freckled cheeks. She then rolled her eyes and sat up a little bit to stare him directly into his eyes.
“I am being serious.”
The blush grew brighter, if that was even possible and a small, delighted smile couldn’t help but strengthen her lips. Katie leant back again and stared up at the bright blue of the sky, while trying to sort out her thoughts.
“What’s your biggest fear?” She eventually asked as she felt Carson draw patterns on her covered legs.
“My biggest fear?” He mused, “I would probably have to say...letting the people I love get hurt and not being able to do anything about it.”
Her heart swelled in size. Katie felt like she had met her dream boy.
Katie awoke from a beautiful dream to crash land in a not so beautiful reality. She wasn’t sure what exactly had woken her up but now she could hear frantic voices outside of her cabin. Just seconds later a pounding appeared on her door and she sat upright in bed.
“Grab your life preservers and meet on the deck of the ship!” The voice panicked.
Katie didn’t need to be told twice even if she felt like questioned were going unanswered. She pulled the white life jacket over her neck and pushed open the wooden door to her cabin, only to be half shoved back in by a group of people running frantically passed.
“What’s going on?!” She yelled at whoever was closest. An elderly lady turned around and grabbed her hand. She didn’t say anything but she pulled her through the masses of people and up two flights of stairs before appearing on the open deck. The cold night air hit Katie like a brick wall and she shivered violently into her life jacket.
“What’s going on?” She asked the lady again. This time she turned to face her with moisture coating her pale blue eyes.
“The ship’s sinking, my dear.”
The ship’s sinking, my dear. The ship’s sinking, my dear. The ship’s sinking, my dear.No other thought was able to move around her brain as she tried to process what she had heard. The lady grew impatient when Katie didn’t respond to her tugging, so in a panic, she tore off down the wooden deck.
Finally, other noises became apparent but she wanted to become oblivious to the horrible sounds again. A screeching siren was streaming in the background while a constant hum of crying, talking and screaming in the foreground. People after people pushed past Katie as they made there way around in a meaningless circle. We were all stuck.
“Women and children only!” Katie heard someone yell and she felt herself being pushed forward to the voice. She now noticed people being sheep herded onto small boats and then being lowered into the icy black water below. Her heart pounded in her chest as she grew closer to the side of the ship.
Katie didn’t notice herself yell out his name but in a fit of panic and fear it exploded from her chest. The people around her gave a sympathetic look but still pushed her forward.
“Get in, young lady.” The man instructed and took her hand to help her overboard.
“But what about Carson?” She asked as tears made their appearance down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry, lady. Only women and children first.”
That’s all she needed to hear. She wasn’t going to leave Carson behind. She couldn’t, it was emotionally and physically impossible. Katie dropped the mans hold and tore off in the other direction. She pushed past the old and young as her bare feet tried not to slip on the cold surface. Her breath came out in cold, misty puffs in front of her but right now she didn’t care about the fact that she couldn’t feel her body. She just wanted to feel Carson’s embrace and know that he was alright.
“Carson!” She yelled frantically as she made her way back inside and down the hallway.
“Lady, the ship is sinking, you have to get out!” A man instructed her and caught her running figure to try and push her back the way she had come.
“No! I need to find Carson!” Katie shoved through him and sprinted to her right. The huge chandlers and golden trails didn’t look as inviting as the did on her first night here. Now they looked like they were mocking her, laughing about the fact she had ever felt safe on this ship. The lights above her flickered and she stopped in her tracks as everything fell into darkness. The screaming she was hearing from behind her doubled in size. The chandlers flickered again and the lights came back on but weaker than before.
Katie started off into a run again and rounded the corner and ran straight into something very hard.
“Katie!” She knew that British voice.
“Carson!” Katie started sobbing at flew her arms around his neck and buried her face into the groove of his neck, “I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to find you.”
Carson didn’t say anything but he readjusted her life jacket and made sure that it was on securely. He knew for a fact that right now women and children were being escorted onto boats for safety. It would be hard, but he had to get her onto one. He wasn’t going to let her die. Maybe he would promise that he would find another way onto one, promise her that he would be right behind her.
In a moment of sheer fear, sadness and desire Carson took Katie’s face in his broad hands and pulled her lips against his own. At first it was a desperate, panicked kiss - their first but their last - but then as they both found each other it was one of passion.
“I love you, Carson.” Katie surprised herself by saying when their lips parted.
“I love you too, Katie.” He replied. Which is exactly why he didn’t waste another second standing around in the corridor while theTitanicwas sinking around them. The lights flickered again and the ship made a loud groaning sound which caused Katie to tighten her hold around his hand.
By the time they made it back to the deck area there weren’t many boats left to be launched. Carson stopped and turned to look at Katie.
“You’re going to get on one of those boats, Katie. But I’m not going to be able to follow yo--”
“I’m not leaving without you!” Katie cried and tightened her hold on him again.
“You have to, there’s no other way and I’m not going to let you die because of me!”
Katie violently shook her head as tears fell from her hazel eyes. Her heart that had once felt so full was now breaking into tiny, minuscule pieces. Before Carson could lose his motive he pulled her along and pushed her forward into the arms of the man putting the women onto the boat.
“Carson, no!” Katie cried out and thrashed about in the mans arms. He pushed her onto the boat and the people aboard restrained her from leaping off.
“I love you, Katie!” Carson called from the edge as she was lowered down.
“No, Carson!” She screamed and kept trying to maneuver free. Carson watched in shock as she some how did and made a short running leap to jump back onto the ship.
“No!” He yelled and flung his leg over the railing. Katie slipped on the surface of the boat and knocked her head against the edge. That’s all the push Carson needed to jump from the ship and flail down into the boat. He landed in the free spot and the boat lurched dangerously from side to side.
“You idiot!” A lady yelled and whacked him with her bag. Carson didn’t care. He grabbed Katie’s lifeless figure as the boat hit the rough oceans waters and the people aboard began paddling away from the large ship.
Carson cradled Katie in his arm and wiped away the blood on her forehead with shaking hands. She was so still, her lips so purple that he was afraid to admit what might be the truth. He repeatedly kissed her on the forehead and hoped that he would see those beautiful hazel eyes again.
“Row, row!” A man on the front of the boat yelled. He was dressed in uniform with a whistle around his neck.
“She’s not waking up!” Carson yelled frantically at him. Some of the women sent him sympathetic glances but some still didn’t like him because of the fact the had risked all of their lives.
“Son, she hit her hit pretty hard.” The lady nearest him spoke up. The rest of the boat fell silent and the only sound the echoed in their ears were the screams that were becoming more distant.
“No!” He cried out and pulled her closer to him, while rocking her as though he were singing her a lullaby.
Behind them the Titanic rose vertically in the air and all lights flickered to a stop. The groaning of the ship was loud and frightening as it rapidly drifted off into the dark ocean, taking whoever was left aboard with it.
Then it was eerily silent.
“Keep rowing.” The man directed except with less urgency than before.
Carson’s teeth chattered against one another but he tried to ignore it as he gave what little body heat he had to Katie. But her lips just went a darker purple, her face a translucent white.
“Sir, you dropped this.” The lady next to him spoke again and he turned to see what she was talking about. She handed him a folded, crinkled piece of paper and his heart sank. Carson took it from her and carefully unfolded it.
There she was. But he didn’t feel that the sketch was anything as good as the real thing. He had made sure to catch every detail. The way her long, soft curls blew in the breeze, her prominent dimple, the light scattering of freckles across her cheeks. But still, looking at the picture wasn’t nearly as good as looking at Katie in front of him now. She was still beautiful and his heart broke with the realization that he would never hear her speak again, never hear her laugh or watch that gorgeous blush rise to her cheeks.
“I’m sorry it took so long, Katie.” Carson whispered into her freezing ear, “But I wanted it to be perfect; just like you.”
Carson leant down so his lips were touching Katie’s cool forehead
Along the bottom of the picture he had written.
When the RMS Titanic floats into the New York harbor, I don’t want to leave you. I love you. You are, and forever will be, my inspiration.