"Sure, sometimes. Part of you, anyway. Other parts inspire different thoughts. Impressionism fits you. You make quite an impression."
Claire didn't know what to say, sitting silently as the music played. She smiled as she listened, touched by what Trevor had done. She wouldn't have expected it of him in a million years.
Trevor took out the gold pocket watch Claire had given him. He flipped open the lid and looked down on it, reading the inscription again, carefully sliding his fingertips over the engraved words. We'll always know each other, because true love remembers... "Claire..."
He looked up at her, leaning closer. "I know you don't think this is real. Any of it. That we're not on Titanic right now. That we weren't Mr. and Mrs. Collins in a former life. That the picture I have," he reached into his pocket and pulled it out," isn't really us." He placed the picture on the table, before placing the watch carefully on top of it. "But you gave me this watch anyway. Thank you again. I know you didn't have to."
"I didn't have to, I wanted to, Trevor." Claire looked over at him, remembering. "I'm... sorry for getting so angry at you a second ago. I don't know why it's so hard between us sometimes. I guess you were just hitting... too close to home."
"I wasn't trying to upset you Claire. I was just trying to help."
"I know. I know that, Trevor. You're just trying to getme to stop making myself a loser. I suppose that's sweet of you."
"You'll never be a loser, Claire. You're too remarkable for that. I've seen the kind of person you are. You just needed to be reminded how great that is. I hate to see you in pain. I... I think the world of you."
Claire blinked at him, surprised. She had never heard him sound so forthright. "Almost sounded like honesty, Trevor. That's a new one." She turned away, feeling better. "But thank you. I'm," her voice wavered nervously, "fond of you too. Even when you're a pain in the... well, just thank you."
"You know you'll... eventually find someone else. You know that don't you?"
Trevor looked at her, his face serious. "I've always wanted to ask you something. Look, I know we're doctor and patient. It's not like you let me forget that. And I wouldn't trade our friendship for the anything. But if we weren't..."
"I mean, if we actually had met somehow in another life, where we weren't. Would you have been... I guess what I'm asking is, imagine for a second that things were different. Have you ever thought about you and me?"
Claire answered reluctantly. "Well... of course I have, Trevor."
"And what did you come up with?" Trevor smiled, enjoying that he was putting her on the spot.
Claire picked up her cup, smiling into it as she took a drink of wine.
"No comment," she said.
Trevor leaned back, trying to decide whether to be pleased or confused. In the end he went with both, not thinking of anything to say, but sitting silently for a few seconds. Claire sighed with satisfaction, enjoying his discomfort and that she had turned the tables and put him on the spot instead.
Trevor looked down at the watch where it lay on the picture of him and Claire. "By the way, Claire. Do you remember when the iceberg hit? What time?"
She seemed uncomfortable, not liking to think of it. "I don't know. Around 11:40, 11:42. Why do you ask?"
Taking a fork from the table, he turned one of the spines against the watch. Holding it carefully, he scratched the fork along the rim of the watch face, making a mark right at 11:42. Calmly he closed the watch lid and put the watch and picture back into his pocket.
"Just in case," Trevor said simply.
Some time later, several lavishly adorned passengers strolled down a small hallway on A deck as they made their way aft from the grand staircase to the first class lounge. They were relaxing after their afternoon meal, engaged in pleasant conversation amongst themselves as they passed a door on their right. The door was closed. A steward waited patiently before it, smiling politely. Behind him a sign hung on the door which read The Reading and Writing room is closed for the evening. As she continued to walk by, one of the female passengers stopped momentarily, tilting her head to listen to what sounded like music coming from within. Curious, she raised an eyebrow at the steward but said nothing, moving on with her escort.
Smiling to himself, the steward turned hopefully once they were gone and put his ear to the door, listening to the music inside as well. After a few moments he turned back around to watch the passageway, making sure there would be no interruptions into the room. So he waited, hoping Trevor's plans would work.
Claire was looking for Trevor.
Near the end of their meal he had said it was time for him to see to what he had called the 'next phase' of William and Eileen's date together. Without further explanation he had left her at the table, grabbing a dessert to munch on from a serving tray as he hurried away. As Claire had finished her meal she had watched Eileen and William laughing and talking warmly to each other, and suddenly she had felt very alone, looking over at Trevor's empty chair.
Finally William and Eileen had risen from their table and left, guided by the same steward that had led Trevor and Claire. As discreetly as possible, Claire had stood and tried to follow. But when she had reached the reception room outside of the dining area, she had lost them, not getting there in time to see where they had gone."
Then Claire had waited patiently in the reception area for Trevor to return, even as other diners began to stream out. But there was no sign of him. She hated not knowing where Trevor was or what he was getting in to. Frustrated, Claire pulled off the long gloves from her hands, draping them over the back of a chair as she rubbed her palms. It was good to be out of them, there was only so much of that sort of thing she could take. It really wasn't her. After growing impatient, Claire finally ascended upward along the grand staircase, looking for Trevor.
Now, as Claire came up onto A deck, she still couldn't find Trevor anywhere. Her eyes swept across the balcony above her, circling around under the white glass dome as the faint sounds of a piano playing somewhere hit her ears. He was nowhere to be seen.
Her eyes travelled to the landing between decks above her, where a clock set in to the wall ticked softly. Then they moved down the steps, and suddenly Claire noticed an overcoat drapped on the railing behind the small winged cherub. She walked over to the coat, picking up a small not pinned to it. Carefully, she read the note.
Claire, I knew you would look for me here (call it a hunch).
Take the doors outside on your left.
Put on the coat, it's cold out.
Claire smiled, looking up at the cherub and touching its wingtip. Putting on the coat, she turned to the doors on her left. Braving the quickly dropping temperature, she stepped out onto the covered first class promenade just below the boat deck. The ocean stretched before her in the late afternoon light. There was a chill in the air as the day began to bleed its heat away.
Turning to her left she suddenly saw Trevor, standing by a large paned window, looking in. On the wooden deck beside him was a small table with some pastries and a single rose. Calmly Claire walked over to him, pulling the coat tighter over her elegant gown, rubbing her shoulders for warmth. the music seemed louder as she drew near, coming from within.
"Trevor, I've been looking for you. What are you doing?"
He turned and placed a finger to his lips, waving her forward to him as he watched inside. Quietly she stepped up beside him.
"Take a look, Claire." He whispered to her as he watched what was happening inside the elaborate paned glass. Claire leaned forward and looked in.
Inside a piano played softly as William and Eileen danced in each other's arms, slowly swaying in the center of the Reading and Writing room. the eye catching decor was sumptuous, walls richly painted in white. The furniture and wall moldings were extravagantly done in a lush Georgian style. Some of the furniture had been pushed aside to make an impromptu dance floor for the two of them on the fine carpet. There were flowers everywhere, adorning every surface except where there were candles, dotting the room like glittering stars. The afternoon sky shone dimly through the wide window, edged by the covered promenade beyond. They didn't notice Trevor and Claire.
Outside the window, Claire nodded at all Trevor had done, impressed. He was definitely going all out. She felt a soft tap on her shoulder and she looked over to find Trevor offering her a rose, bowing elegantly.
"Trevor... are you feeling alright?"
"I feel fine. I merely feed on the shadow of perfection."
Claire blushed, unable to stop herself. "Sounds like someone took a Shakespeare elective at old Olympus U."
"Yeah, the professor was hot and she liked to roleplay. It's a thank you, Claire. For putting up with me. And an apology for leaving you alone, hanging in the breeze at dinner. I'm sorry but I had things to do."
Claire looked back into the room. "So I see." She turned back to him as she lifted the rose to her nose, enjoying the scent. "Thank you, Trevor."
"If you skipped dessert," he pushed the cart towards her, " I brought a few extra ones up here. Stakeout snacks. Like an old lady at the slots, I'm still waiting to see if this thing is going to pay off."
Claire glanced inside as the music stopped and another song began. William and Eileen didn't even pause during the silence, dancing straight through. Claire listened to the new music, and recognized it.
He smiled. "Yeah. This song was my idea. Good thing my two performers in there are quick studies.'
Claire listened as the opening phrase of the music paused, then a female singer in the room next to the piano began to sing.
When I fall in love, it will be forever
Or I'll never fall in love
William and Eileen looked over as they danced slowly, not recognizing the song. It must be another one of Trevor's. In a corner, Mr. Brailey played the piano as the woman next to him continued to sing. She was an English woman from steerage and had an amazing singing voice. Continuing to sway slowly, Eileen and William looked into each other's eyes, concentrating instead on one another.
William took a breath as he held Eileen, relishing the feel of her in his arms. Everything seemed perfect, and he began to lose himself in the moment as he looked down at her, eyes full of adoration. The candlelight seemed to glow into Eileen's face, she looked beautiful. Before he realized it, William felt his head lowering to hers, slowly drawing closer... until he pulled back, still uncertain.
Eileen sighed, disappointed. She had thought that perhaps he was going to-... but no. He had pulled back. Perhaps it wasn't what he really wanted after all. Maybe he was just caught up in Trevor's enthusiasm, his belief that they belonged together. Was he having second thoughts? Eileen had no way of knowing why he was being so reluctant, but she had to know. Would he be offended if she... Looking back up at him, Eileen subtly nudged her chin closer to his, waiting for his reaction.
William didn't pull away, watching her as she drew closer. They were on the verge of... when they both bumped into the table unexpectedly. While still dancing in each other's arms they had wandered sideways, not noticing that they had. As they danced away both of them exhaled, the mood broken. A candle tilted and fell behind the piano, igniting a small flame on the carpet.
Mr. Brailey looked down at the tiny fire as his fingers moved over the keyboard, but he didn't stop playing. Instead he glanced up at the woman singing next to him, who saw it too. Calmly she took the glass of water placed on the piano for her to sip between songs. As she sang, and with small motions so as not to draw attention to herself, she poured the water onto the floor to douce the flame. WIthout missing a beat she smiled and placed the empty glass back on the piano. Mr. Brailey nodded his approval as he continued to play. She gave him a wink as she sang.
In a restless world like this is,
Love has ended before it's begun
Outside the window, Trevor and Claire still watched, pulling back when it didn't happen. Trevor shook his head, frustrated.
"Come on already! What's the hold up, Claire? Eileen have a thing against kissing?"
"No, she's just unsure, Trevor. As unsure as William, who could do a little more, considering kissing is a two way street. You have to remember this is the first date for both of them in some time. They're re-learning some things. They may not want to push too hard or force the issue and make it awkward. They're just looking for the right moment."
"If they can't find the right moment, Claire, its because they're both standing right on it. I wish one of them would pick a strategy and go with it."
As the music played, William leaned down to touch his lips to Eileen's, moving slowly. But at the last second, she turned her head away and sneezed, leaving William to find only air.
Turning her face back to him, she noticed his embarrassed expression as he was pulling away. Eileen smiled at the absurdity of it as she looked up at him.
"I'm sorry, William. I must have a slight allergy to some of these flowers Trevor used."
He nodded as he tried to regain his composure.
And too many moonlight kisses,
Seem to cool in the warmth of the sun.
William placed his cheek against Eileen's as they swayed slowly back and forth. Both looked over the other's shoulder, trying to decide what to try next. Eileen began to carefully move her cheek sideways, trying to find a chance to turn her face towards his, but moving slowly, in small cautious motions. William mis-interpreted her actions and pulled back.
"I'm sorry, Elly. Am I not giving you enough room?"
For a split second, Eileen thought he referred to what she had been trying to do, but then he realized he meant the dancing. "No," she said dejectedly. "It's not you. You're fine where you are."
William sighed softly and nestled his face against hers, closing his eyes at the feel of her skin so close. Her lips were only inches from his. Eileen leaned her head against his chin, wondering how they would ever manage to get past this first awkward decision.
She sighed in frustration. Finally she reached up and touched his cheek, turning him to her.
"This is ridiculous," she said.
Eileen pushed William back against a white pillar. Without warning she threw her arms around his head and kissed him, deeply. It took a moment for William to realize what she was doing, but then he closed his eyes and dove into it, arms crossing her back as they held each other closer. It's amazing how the world can change after just one kiss. They were in their own separate reality, as the room seemed to spin. They had stopped dancing in more ways than one, embracing in the middle of the finery and furnishings, surrounded by candles and flowers. Just two people in love, as the music played.
When I give my heart,
It will be completely,
Outside, Claire smiled when they kissed. Trevor stood sampling sweets out of view, and she tapped his shoulder.
He turned to look in through the window. "Yes!" he said emphatically, pumping his fist, before doing a victory strut.
Trevor slid his face next to Claire's both looking in. She glanced at him so close, her voice an amazed whisper. "When all else failed... she jumped him."
Trevor smiled. "Works for me."
Claire was happy for the two of them. It warmed her in a strange way to see them together. And saddened her as well, thinking of Frank. That suddenly stuck her as odd. Why should she even care? After all, none of it was real right?
Trevor saw her expression, amazed again how sometimes Claire showed everything on her face. "Not bad," he nodded to William and Eileen. "For an illusion."
Surprised, Claire looked over. Sometimes he knew her so well.
A man in a bowler hat passed behind them, the same man who had observed Trevor's 'concert'. "Ah, nothing like young love," he said.
Trevor turned. "It's a beautiful thing. We're very happy for them."
The man smiled. "I was talking about the two of you." He said with a smile before he continued on, a lit cigarette in his mouth.
Neither of them knew what to say as sunlight flowed sideways onto the shadowed promenade and onto their faces as the sun dipped lower. Claire turned away from the window.
"Come on, Trevor. Let's give them some privacy."
Rose in her hands, Claire walked slowly away. After one more look, Trevor smiled, before following a moment later.
And the moment I can feel that
You feel that way too
Is when I fall in love, with you
Inside, William and Eileen continued to kiss, surrounded by flowers and candles as sunlight reflected off the paned glass. For that brief shining moment as the song ended and cadenced, the ship seemed at peace.