"Sometimes...sometimes, I feel as if I could just scream and not ever stop." Rose was struggling for words as she sat at the vanity table in Molly's cabin, looking up at the older woman's reflection in the silvered mirror, making eye contact as the older woman pulled thick fingers though a thicker curtain of russet curls. An attempt to tame and control the young woman's mane into something resembling a style suitable for the tea they were missing.
"Well of course you do honey. You're a smart gal with a brain in your head and no one will let you use it." The younger woman's hair wasn't the only thing amiss. Molly was standing behind the chair, hairpins tucked into one corner of her mouth and dressed only in her large white under things, a slip and brassiere, no corset for her.
Primly, and with a tight-lipped expression, her young lover nearly chided, "Cal says--"
"To hell with `Cal says', Rose. He's a man who grew up on his daddy's dollars and with his man-servant fella's head stuffed so far up his rear-end, I'm amazed he can walk a straight line."
"I...oh, well...I mean, I suppose that's true--Mrs. Brown, Molly, but--ow, not so tight. This is going to give me a headache, I know it."
"I don't know how you can worry about your head hurting when you're already trusted up like some turkey in that corset. How do you even breathe?"
"Why do you wear it then?"
"Cal likes it, don't he? Figures. A gal has to damn near cut herself in half to catch a man that will tell her how to think and feel for the rest of her life."
"Why do you hate him so much?"
"Honey, I don't like any men, it's not just yours."
"What about your husband?"
"A woman needs a husband, besides...we get along real good now after all these years. He's all right as far as men go."
"A woman needs a--now you sound like my mother."
"Bite your tongue."
"She's my mother..."
"And you should respect that and her. I don't gotta."
Molly didn't respect what she didn't have use for and there was little use for the sobbing woman hunched over and miserable, freezing, damp and grieving, sharing the seat of the lifeboat with her and a dozen other women. Sharing the horror and the helplessness as they watched the great luxury liner slipping into the icy ocean waters. Those are our men...she'd yelled that and insisted they take the boat back, try to rescue some of them. Those are our men. It wasn't the men she was thinking about.
It was one woman. Young, spirited and bright. Soft, sweet and innocent. Rose. Lost.
The plump woman slipped her arm around the frail thing that was Rose Dewitt Bucater's mother and hugged her tight. Maybe she had use for the woman after all. She wore the same perfume and if Molly closed her eyes she could still picture Rose, smiling and pale skinned flushed, red hair mussed and wildly fanned over a white cotton pillowcase, her blue eyes wide with surprise and eagerness to learn all the things Molly had wanted to show her.
This was the memory Molly Brown would carry with her. When she remembered the young woman, their brief acquaintance, this damnable ship--she would remember Rose happy and hers, not the scared rabbit who had scrambled out of a lifeboat and back onto that ship. Not the fool who chased after a boy and caught only her death instead. The Atlantic took Rose, took the ship that couldn't be sunk, but it wouldn't take those few hours, not from her.
Some things couldn't be drowned.