A/N: I've been working on this story for nearly three months now, and it's finally ready to be shared. This is my first crossover ever, but one I've always wanted to try, so I hope you will enjoy it. Obviously, I don't own any of the characters. The Twilight characters are Stephenie Meyer's eternal property; the characters from Titanic belong to James Cameron. I'm also using a passage from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
Huge thank you for Mizra and subtlynice for helping me figuring out the premise for this story. Feedback and constructive criticism are always welcome – you know where the review button is. Happy reading!
Never Letting Go
April 14, 2006
She could barely remember a day as perfect as this one since she had first arrived at Forks a little over a year ago. It hadn't rained for hours. In fact, the weather was relatively warm, uncharacteristically so, even for mid-April. Every now and then, the sun would penetrate through the thin layer of clouds. The leaves on the treetops rustled whenever they caught a sudden gust of wind. The meadow, the glorious meadow, was burning with purples and pinks and oranges, the first blossom of the spring.
She looked around her, hardly able to believe such beauty could exist. Then, laughing inwardly at being so oddly poetic, she lowered her gaze to share a smile with the person who kept her company. "This is perfect," she told him, half smiling, as though saying it aloud had embarrassed her. The blush that tainted her cheeks suggested this was exactly the case.
For a moment, he said nothing. If she hadn't known better, she would have thought he didn't hear her. Then he came to sit closer next to her and, without touching her, stared deeply into her eyes. His gaze was intense, almost too intense, but she couldn't bring herself to look away. "Marry me," he pleaded in a whisper.
"Change me," she backfired, not missing a beat.
He chuckled at her reaction. He seemed unable to stop himself. She wasn't offended by his response. On the contrary; it egged her on. She had time; she was persistent. The problem was that so was he. "I will if you marry me."
"You're just saying that now," she said, sulking, but reached out to tousle his hair to let him know she wasn't really mad at him. Never that. "As soon as you come up with some new, brilliant idea, you'll change your mind."
"Do you honestly believe I can do that? Give you false hopes?"
"Prove me wrong, then," she smiled angelically. "Change me."
"You don't know what you're saying," he protested.
"We've been through this before. I've made my choice."
"You're just saying that now," he said with a hint of a smile. She couldn't help but smile as well as her own words echoed back at her. When their eyes met again, his were decisive and serious. "I wouldn't have chosen that, none of us would."
"Well, maybe if you gave me something worth staying human for…"
She let her voice trail, thick with implications. It only made him laugh. "You're a dangerous, devious human. What am I doing with you again?"
"I thought you said you loved me," she said, mock-frowning.
"More than life itself, I do," he whispered, leaning over to kiss her.
As always, she cherished the sensation of his lips brushing against hers. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling herself as close to him as possible, never recoiling from the chill sipping through his shirt. Despite his generally guarded composure, she could feel his arms slowly wrapping around her waist, his yearning for her a perfect reflection of her own. He had always claimed how dangerous he was to her, but she had always dismissed his concern. The safest she had ever felt was in his arms, just like she was now.
Holding on to his neck, she leaned further back until she was laying on the soft grass. He came on top of her, leaning on his elbow with one arm still wrapped around her. There was a different edge to his kisses, not chaste and lazy. There was this new urgency to them, one she wasn't familiar with. She couldn't help but wonder if there was still a chance for her to win the argument. Soon she was becoming lightheaded, but she held on to him, clinging to his tee shirt with her fists. "I'm never letting go of you," she breathed as he trailed kisses to her neck.
"Marry me, and you will never have to," he murmured, smiling victoriously and a little smugly at her. She responded by pulling at his shirt, and his lips came crushing against hers once more. She might not be winning after all, but at least she knew a way to keep him quiet… for a while.
April 14, 1912
"Not too long now."
His soft murmur pulled her out of her reverie. She didn't even realize she had been daydreaming until she heard him speak. She blinked, and the room swam into focus. Gradually she became aware of the soreness in her left arm, which was still raised over her head. There was slight discomfort coming from her other arm, the one close to her face. It was not an unpleasant feeling.
She took a shallow breath, careful to stay still as he had instructed two hours or so earlier, and stole a glance at him. He was leaning over his work, barely paying any attention to her as he was adding the finishing touches to his drawing, her portrait. She observed the slight furrow of his brow, the concentration reflected in his greenish-blue eyes, the confidence with which he held his pencil. His posture radiated with professionalism. Her body alighted with fire at the sight.
A memory flickered, their kiss on the bow as twilight softly wrapped around them. She smiled inwardly. The fire made its way to her cheeks; she hoped he wouldn't notice how flushed she had suddenly become. If he did, no doubt he would use it to tease her, just as mercilessly she had teased him earlier. More than anything she wanted to abandon the stiff posture she had been confined to, symbolizing in too many ways the first seventeen years of her life. She yearned to launch herself at him and resume the kiss she had unwillingly broke off all these hours ago.
Inside, she was laughing at her unladylike scheme. She had never felt that way, as though freedom was laying at the palm of her hand, hers for the taking. For a moment, the sensation overwhelmed her. She had never had the liberty to do anything, not even during her childhood. Nothing essential had changed around her; she just realized this freedom had always been there around the corner. All she had to do was conquer it. It was neither daunting nor intimidating, though. She was more than able to do this, she was certain. Besides, Jack would be there to guide her through.
She blinked and found him watching her curiously, inquiringly. She shook her head ever so slightly, dismissing the concern she found in his eyes. She was fine. Never in her life had she felt better. Nodding, he leaned over his work again and she allowed herself a moment longer of silent reflections. The fire was on and the room felt warm and cozy. It would be so easy to just drift off to sleep, right there and then on the sofa. She had to remind herself she mustn't close her eyes.
"There," he whispered some time later, and offered a small smile as he slowly lowered the drawing pad onto his lap. "We're done."
The relief in his voice didn't go amiss by her. Slowly, she lowered her raised arm. She winced; it was stiffer than she thought. There was dull ache in her legs as well. She stretched, flexing her toes several times to alleviate some of the numbness in her limbs.
"You can, umm, get dressed," he mumbled, flushing bright pink. Then, as though he didn't want her to notice it, he quickly left his seat. He crossed the room and retrieved her robe from where she had discarded it earlier. He looked straight into her eyes as he handed it to her, although she had half expected him to avert his gaze. He didn't try to put the robe around her, as though he didn't want to make her feel… cheap? She didn't know, but she appreciated this small gesture nevertheless.
By the time she had slipped into the soft garment and stood up, regaining her balance, he was back in his seat, blowing over the drawing. She leaned over his shoulder to observe it. His work was exquisite, like the other drawings he had shown her the previous morning on deck. Seeing her image on paper was strangely unnerving, a sensation she had not expected. It was like looking into a mirror, in a way, but not quite. There was depth in the painted eyes, certain distress in the way the fingers flexed. The full lips were parted slightly, as though with a hesitant plea. Observing the portrait, she was filled with awe. Up until that moment, she had always believed no one knew who she truly was; not even her own mother. But he knew, and he had captured it to perfection, down to her very soul.
Looking away from the portrait was difficult, but she had done so eventually. He was watching her almost anxiously, as though he feared she wouldn't like it. She smiled at him; it seemed to have calmed him instantly.
"Thank you," she whispered, leaning down to kiss him as she tried to take the drawing pad from him. He didn't let it go, though. His lips moved softly yet persistently against hers as though to distract her; his grip on the drawing didn't waver. She giggled into the kiss, which eventually forced them to break away. "Why, Mr. Dawson," she said breathlessly, her head still reeling. "If you want this drawing so badly, why don't you make yourself a copy?"
"I would have, but one sitting was more than exhausting, thank you very much," he replied tersely, but with a spark of amusement in his bright eyes.
"I would presume you would enjoy my company," she said, pursing her lips in the first class sneer she had come to muster in seventeen years of age.
"Oh, I do. More than you know. But how shall I put it? I think it would be more... prudent of us to go back to the company of other people." He flushed ever so slightly. She reveled at his reaction. It was so refreshing, so honest; so different to the reserved and ever-calculating Cal.
"Perhaps we can go dancing again," she offered, blushing at the memory of his hand against her waist. All her life she had been taught to regard such proximity between a man and a woman as highly improper. After having experienced it, however, she could barely understand why it had been thought so scandalous. When he held her like that, all she really wanted was to be even closer to him.
"Sure, if you'd like."
"I'd like that very much," she whispered, looking straight at him. By that point he was standing up, facing her. The air was charged with intensity that was increasing still. There was only small distance between them, and she was suddenly aware of the fact she was practically nude. She was surprised to discover that this fact neither bothered nor embarrassed her. On the contrary; it made her feel bold, courageous, in a way she had never done before. If she moved just a step closer, she could place her lips on his, and they would be on the bow again, flying, soaring towards the falling twilight.
"Go on," he said all of a sudden. He spoke softly; his warm breath against her neck made goose bumps flower on her skin. "Get dressed so we can make it to the party."
"Alright," she replied slowly, reluctantly, taking a step back. "But there is something I need to do first."
Gently, she reached for the drawing in his hands. He handed it to her without a struggle this time. She walked over to the desk and placed the drawing on top of it. She opened the top drawer, knowing this was where Cal had kept the stationary and some ink. She paused only to remove the dreadful necklace from around her neck and asked Jack to put it back at the safe. Then, with a devious smile curling on her lips, she composed a short note, one she had planned her fiancé to find.
"It's getting late."
His statement pulled her out of deep reverie. Her eyes fluttered open and she looked up at him, squinting. Had she fallen asleep? His fingers were threaded in her hair, softly making their way through it. Her head was on his lap, and she had only just noticed his light jacket wrapped around her like a blanket. "How long have I been asleep?" she croaked. He smiled as though the sound amused him.
"Only fifteen minutes or so."
"Oh." She was slightly disoriented, like after a really long nap. She flexed her toes, hoping to bring back some sensation to her feet, which seemed to go numb.
"We really must go, though. Your curfew..." He frowned ever so slightly at the reminder.
"Charlie probably won't be home by the time I get back. He's got a night shift."
"Even so. I wouldn't want to betray his trust. He would expect you to be home."
"I guess you're right," she conceded reluctantly, and slowly sat up. He reached out to smooth her hair, smiling fondly at her. She frowned. "Do I look terrible?"
"No," he whispered, closing the small distance between them, and placed his lips on hers. She smiled against his lips, gladly yielding. She loved those rare times in which he had allowed himself to be so valiant and carefree. He was much more fun than the constantly reticent Edward.
Pretty soon she found herself on the grass again, holding on to him for dear life. Her fingers curled around the hair at the back of his neck as their lips collided again and again. As though he had sensed she was getting breathless, he began to trail his kisses to the hollow beneath her ear. Still holding on to him, she sucked in a huge breath, filling her lungs with some much needed air.
"Why are you so reluctant?"
For a moment, she found his query ludicrous. Was he joking? Reluctant? Her? She would rather stay in his arms than be anywhere else on earth. But then her eyes met his and the true meaning of his question dawned on her. She untangled herself from his grip and sat up. "You know why."
"No, actually, I don't."
"Someone my age doesn't just get married at my eighteen. Besides..." She sighed, knowing it would sound ridiculous. "To everyone else, it seems we barely know each other. We've known each other for a little over a year; much less than that, given the recent events."
She hoped her mentioning of his long absence wouldn't upset him, but he didn't seem to linger on it. He said nothing for a long moment, and then, lowly, "To everyone else." She didn't like the way he looked at her; almost as though he was disappointed at her. She winced inwardly, guessing what was coming next. "And to you?"
"You know how I feel," she whispered.
For a moment, he said nothing in response. Then, silently, he reached for the book that lay on the grass next to them. It was her very battered copy of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, the one she had kept besides her compilation of Austen's novels. Earlier he had teased her endlessly about reading it again. Now he opened it and leafed through it purposefully, as though he knew exactly what he'd been looking for. She couldn't do much but watch him curiously.
Finally he stopped and looked up at her. "For someone who knows this book practically from cover to cover, you should know better than care for what everyone else thinks about our relatively short acquaintance."
Before she could question his statement, he spoke again, but his words were not his, but Jane Austen's.
She walked into her bedroom and shut the door. She surveyed her wardrobe quickly, purposefully, and after eliminating several options and leaving them on her bed, she chose a dress she could easily manage without Trudy's help. She glanced at the door before she eased out of the thin robe. It was silly to worry about modesty now; he had seen her, all of her, a short time ago. But now she was suddenly feeling shy, and even though she knew he would never barge into her private bedroom uninvited, she couldn't help being cautious.
The dress she chose was bright blue, light and airy, and had a pink satin ribbon that tied just below her chest. It would be easier to dance in, she thought with a smile. She wore no makeup, no jewelries. It was not the first time she had seen no need in those, but it was the first time she didn't feel compelled to wear them in order to appease someone else, her mother in particular.
She was ready shortly afterwards, but she lingered a moment longer in front of the mirror, needing to reflect the enormity of the day. Her tumble of emotions only seemed to be growing stronger, flames that were consuming her from the inside out. She could feel them tingling just below the surface of her skin. Never in her life had she been so certain of her future. When the ship docked, she was going off with Jack. She would tell him tonight, and then, together, they would find a way to break the news to her mother. She would keep the option of fleeing as a very last resort, she thought. Deep down, she believed there was a way to make her mother see reason.
She smiled at her reflection again and knew she must hurry. She wasn't expecting Cal any time soon, but knowing him, he would soon begin to wonder as for her whereabouts. She didn't want to be anywhere he was likely to search at in case he had. Staring back at her was a girl whose cheeks were flushed, partly with excitement, partly with youth, and with something else entirely, that was swelling rapidly within her, something she'd known from books but had never experienced firsthand before. Something she was still scared to name lest she was entirely wrong.
As she emerged from the bedroom, Jack was sitting on a sofa by the fireplace. He didn't notice her, and she ceased the opportunity to observe him for a moment, undisturbed. He was reading something and the sight amused her. He looked exactly as she did while reading something she was interested in; entirely enchanted. It seemed nothing or no one could pry that book out of his hands.
She cleared her throat gently, hating to startle him. He turned instantly. His eyes flew over her dress, involuntarily it seemed. His cheeks flushed ever so slightly as though with remembrance of the portrait, now safely tucked in the safe. "You look nice," he said after a moment, and flashed a heart melting grin at her.
"Just nice?" She pouted as she came over to sit next to him on the sofa.
"Well, Miss, I must admit I liked your, erm, previous outfit better."
He seemed more embarrassed than anything else about his half tease, half confession. Thinking his flustered face deserved a change of topics, she reached for the book in his hands. She recognized the small book instantly. "This is mine," she said, not with an air of possessiveness, just surprise.
"It is, I hope you don't mind. I just found it here under the cushion."
Under the cushion? Damn it. She must have heard her mother or Cal approaching and hid it on the first place that came to mind, then forgot to retrieve it later. "Mother would kill me if she knew I was reading it," she smiled sheepishly, patting the cover distractedly. "Not to mention Cal. They find women authors far more treacherous than Freud."
"Yeah, it sounds just about right," he laughed. "I only just started, though. Is it any good?"
"I like it," she replied modestly. By no means was she an acclaimed book critic. She simply enjoyed reading. "It tells the story of two sisters who are utterly different from one another. In love, among other things," she said, blushing ever so slightly. She wasn't ashamed of taking a liking to this book, but the prospect of discussing it with another person – with a man, no less – embarrassed her. Most men she knew looked down on her for insisting to make her opinion heard, and there he was, asking her to make it. His deep stare egged her on. She cleared her throat.
"There is this one part," she said, slightly more confident now. "I just read it yesterday." While she was still puzzling over her conflicting emotions. At that moment, she felt as though the words were leaping off the page, meaning for her and her only. Well, them. "I thought it was... appropriate."
"To you and me?"
Before she knew it, he reached out and covered her hand with his. She gasped at the contact. Under other circumstances suchlike motion would have shocked her. Now she was mostly fascinated by what the simple touch had charged between them. It was as though her entire body was consumed by invisible flames. All she could do was nod in response to his question. She peeked at him through her lashes, and at the approval she has found in his eyes, she opened the book, leafed backwards from where her velvet bookmark rested, and found the passage which caught her attention.
It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.
There was a shudder, and an explosion of some sort. They all eyed each other, perplexed, but neither of them could question the affect the spoken words had on them when a moment or so later, darkness took over.