April 14th 1912
After four days of sailing in sunny, warm weather, the sudden drop in temperature was quite unexpected to some passengers. Jason was glad he had grabbed a coat once he emerged to the windy Boat Deck to get some fresh air sometime after lunchtime. The sunny sky outside his stateroom window and the bright light streaming from the leaded windows in the Dining Saloon during breakfast and the Sunday service was quite decieving. Thus, the young man saw not quite a bit of passengers hurrying back inside when the wind got too chilly for them. He simply tightened his coat around and kept strolling through the length of the deck, though wishing the air was warmer.
"It is refreshing weather, isn't it?"
"Hmm?" Jason turned and brightened as he recognized the person beside him. "Oh? Ad-Marcus. How do you do? I didn't see you at breakfast or at the service this morning." The man had repeatedly insisted to call him by his given name as they met in the Gymnasium yesterday, and Jason couldn't help but to go along with it. He still stumbled on his words occasionally.
"The dining hall is large, Jason." Marcus chuckled. "And... I wasn't at the service today." he added, shifting his posture slightly.
"Ah." Jason nodded. Best not to pry then. Quickly changing the topic, he said, "For your earlier statement, the weather is a bit too cold for me."
Marcus let out an amused chuckle. "Where I live, this is the ideal kind of temperature. Last few days had been slightly too warm for me."
Jason raised an eyebrow. "Really? Your place must be quite cold then."
"Haha, you have no idea how many people said that."
"Well then. Where is this town or city you lived on?" Jason inquired, feeling intrigued.
Marcus had a small, nostalgic smile on his face. "A small village in Switzerland. It's up close to the Alps so we get cool climate almost year round."
"Switzerland?" Jason held back an incredulous guffaw. "You are very far away from home aren't you Marcus?" He grinned at the older man. "What were you doing in Ireland then?"
Smiling to himself, Marcus simply replied, "Oh you know, I like to travel around, finding inspirations and ideas for my next book."
Jason was undoubtedly interestrd in this. "You're going to write another book?"
"Yes." Marcus nodded with a grin. "It is going to be a little bit different from my previous works."
That was news in itself. "Indeed? What is it going to be then?"
Chuckling, Marcus clasped his hand on Jason's shoulder and began leading him across the open deck. "Why don't we take the conversation at the Verandah Café? Less windy and crowded there."
"Alright Marcus." Jason replied, chuckling along as they went back to the inside.
They ended up spending the entire afternoon conversing with each other, discussing ideas, asking questions and Marcus' experience on writing his past books. They had moved from the Verandah Café to the Promenade, and then finally to the Lounge where they were briefly joined by John Jacob Astor and Rushton, who was accompanying Agnes. Jason didn't know the exact details, but the young tycoon had succeeded to divert the young debutante's attention and capture her heart if their permanent smiles, discreet glances, and subtle hints in their conversation was anything to go by.
The trio of passengers—JJ Astor had excuse himself to see his wife— then moved to Café Parisien as the dinner call was sounded, with Jason giving a quick word to Derrell that he would be probably won't return to his cabin until late at night.
Jokes and funny experiences were exchanged once the food was gone. Agnes had her own share of hilarious experiences herself, "...then my brother had his whole room turned upside down to find that glasses of his while actually it was perched on top of his head! We just stood there, laughing silently!" She had laughed. Rushton choked on his drink, his body shaking in silent laughter, while Marcus roared out loud.
"Oh, that's classic obliviousness." Jason quipped between laughs. "How long did it take your brother to realize where he had placed his glasses?"
Agnes went into a small round of laughter. "Five minutes, give or take."
"Your family is definitely interesting." Rushton remarked with a wide grin on his face. "Not as interesting as you." He added, making Agnes blush slightly. Jason guffawed.
"I think you had a little too much drink, Rushton." Marcus shook his head in amusement.
Rushton himself didn't look drunk, his words did slur on occasion. Looking at his half empty wine glass, the young tycoon blinked several times, "Huh, maybe you're right."
"Perhaps you should cool off your head in the Promenade." Jason suggested, looking at his pocket watch. "Ah. Time sure flies by when you're having fun, eh, Rushton?" He reated the phrase which he used a couple of days ago.
"You know what? Maybe I will." came Rushton's response to Jason's suggestion. He stood up and took Agnes' hand. "Does the fine mademoiselle want to join me on a lovely evening stroll on the Promenade?"
Agnes' cheeks went as red as her crimson curls. Covering half of her face with the fan she liked to carry around, she replied, "Oh, Monsieur Rushton. I would very much love it."
Within minutes the two couples were out of the small restaurant.
There was a moment of pause as Marcus calmly took his tea. "There they went."
"Yes." Jason replied.
"I think I'm going to retire to the Lounge." the man added. "Care to join me?"
Jason glanced at his pocket watch again, "Actually, Marcus, I'd like to return to my cabin. It is quite late after all."
Marcus gave an understanding nod and slowly stood up. "Alright, I'll see you tomorrow, Jason." he said, shaking Jason's hand.
"You too Marcus." Jason replied before they parted ways, off to their own destinations.
Jason’s sleep was interrupted by a crew member who had let himself into his cabin, and flicked on the lights.
The uniformed man was already striding towards the wardrobe room as he spoke, “I’m sorry to disturb you, sir, but may please wear your life jackets. Everyone’s required to gather on the Boat Deck.” Said life jackets were warped around his arm when he walked back into the cabin. “Captain’s orders.”
Jason simply looked on dumbly. His mind was still fuzzy from being awoken halfway through his sleep. “What?”
The crewman didn’t seem to hear him however, as he was simply placed the life-jackets on the bedside and began walking out of the room. “May I suggest coats and scarves? It is quite cold outside.”
With that, Jason’s stateroom was left in complete silence again, leaving the young man wonder what the crew had meant. His musings was interrupted however, by a knock on the door.
“Uh, come in.”
A confused looking Darrell entered, and on his arm dangled a life jacket similar to Jason’s. “Are you alright, sir?”
“Yes, yes, just confused...” Jason mumbled, rubbing his eyes. “What happened?”
The valet shook his head. “I haven’t got a clue, sir. But it would seem the engines had stopped. I felt a shudder.”
Jason’s head snapped up. “A shudder?”
“Yes.” Darrell nodded, frowning slightly. “It was rather faint, but it passed rather quickly. The purser told me that we might have thrown a propeller blade, but I wasn’t sure.”
“Huh...” Jason digested the information. If it’s true that the Titanic had thrown a propeller blade, then why would the captain order everyone to gather on the Boat Deck? It was odd.
“Sir?” Darrell asked as he saw Jason slowly rose from his bed, clutching the life jacket tentatively.
“Well, let’s just get up on the deck, see if we can find out what really had happened.” He said throwing on the fedora he had worn for the day. Darrell nodded and quickly went to retrieve a couple of jackets and a greatcoat from the wardrobe room.
A few minutes later, the two men emerged to the B Deck foyer to see a large throng of passengers in thick coats over their pajamas or their evening dresses, conversing around in a low murmur that reflected their confusion. Jason frowned and hastened his pace, making his way up to A Deck, and nearly colliding with Marcus, who was making his way down.
“Whoa! Steady there.” Jason exclaimed, gripping Marcus’ arms so that they wouldn’t topple down from suddenly halting. The man was rather pale faced, Jason noticed, and he was sweating quite a bit. Noticing the signs of distress, Jason asked. “Marcus? Something happened?”
Marcus bit his lip, turning his head to look around the people around him, and shook his head. “Meet you up on the Boat Deck. Something...has happened... just get up there.” He said, voice wavering slightly. Before Jason could ask any further however, Marcus had jogged down the stairs.
Shaking his head in bewilderment, Jason glanced at Darrell, who looked puzzled if not slightly alarmed, and quickly joined the crowd up to the Boat Deck.
“…I bet no one on this ship knows what’s going on.” Margaret Brown’s voice trailed over the buzz of conversation as the two men reached the A Deck landing. A crowd of passengers had gathered on the deck above or had simply opted to stay on the A Deck.
“Ah, there you are, Brockford.”
Jason turned to see Rushton and Agnes Desrochers approaching from the Boat Deck landing, both were still in their evening dresses. Rushton was rubbing his arms together. “Evening Rushton.” He replied amicably. “Any idea what happened?”
Rushton hummed, looking unsure what to say. "It was really cold outside," he began. "Miss Desrochers and I were just about to head to the Lounge to warm ourselves when... we saw it."
Darrell blinked. "An iceberg, sir?" he repeated in confusion.
Nodding, Rushton continued with his explanation. "Yes, a massive iceberg in fact. We saw it pass by, quite close to the ship... you can even reach out and brush your fingers against it I'd wager." he grinned at this, looking quite amused. "Perhaps the Titanic had scraped by the iceberg, but I believe there would be no danger."
"I... see." Jason nodded to the older man. His mind was conjuring up dozens of possibilities. Darrell had mentioned a shudder... and Rushton claimed to have seen an iceberg... Marcus looked quite scared himself... and the crew were ordering lifebelts and thick clothing...it couldn't be, could it?
Rushton, seeing the change in his friend's facial expression, gave a reassuring pat on his shoulder. "I'm sure it's nothing, Jason. Even if Titanic is taking on water, the ship will float, won't it? Well, why don't we all gather in the Lounge until the crew had sorted whatever was causing this commotion." he waved his hand to the crowd. "Come on."
Jason followed the two through the revolving doors that would lead them into the Lounge, with a sense of dread deep within his body. Clutching the life jacket tightly, he briefly wondered if Rushton was wrong...and the ship would sink, throwing everyone into the icy abyss of North Atlantic... and quickly threw the morbid idea away from his mind. They would find out sooner or later.
"That was odd." she remarked, buttoning her fur coat up. "Help me to wear this, won't you?" she asked, turning to Rushton who looked more happy to do so. Jason took the cue that something definitely had happened and quickly shed his greatcoat away and pushed the cork-made life jacket over his head and secured it around his coat. He was definitely glad that Darrell had chosen one of his waterproof jackets. Donning the greatcoat back, he turned to Darrell to see that his valet had done the same.
"Let's get up there, shall we?" he said, getting up from his chair.
Chilly doesn't even define the temperature outside the ship. Freezing would be more appropriate. Jason's ears prickled as he was blasted by a freezing cold air as he stepped out from the Grand Staircase's warm vestibule to the boat deck exterior. A large amount of passengers had gathered around the lifeboats, which Jason saw had been swung out and lowered to the deck level, each with an officer or a seaman standing by. Each of them had a trickle of passengers already boarded inside.
"Women and children to me!" one of the officers shouted. "Women and children only please, and one at a time!" he gestured for the said women and children to come closer. "Please, quickly now."
"Well then." Rushton hummed, only to be interrupted as he had to step aside when the door opened with several more passengers coming into the deck, including Marcus, who had worn his life jacket and don another layer of coat over his previous one. The man looked more composed than before, but there was definitely fear in his eyes.
"Water." he muttered, loud enough for the four of them to hear. "Up to E Deck forward and rising."
Behind him, Agnes gasped in horror. "E Deck? Are you sure Mr Adler?"
Marcus gave a grave nod. "You saw the iceberg, yes? I went down the stairwell to the bottom... The landing on E Deck was already flooded up by seawater."
Agnes brought her hand to her mouth, her eyes wide. "But... my belongings..."
"We are sinking?" the notion seemed to surprise Rushton. At Marcus' affirmative nod, he could only stare. "...let's get you on the lifeboat then." he finally said, leading Agnes to the lifeboats.
Jason stayed behind, as the officer had announced that he'll only load women and children on board for the time being. "What exactly happened, Marcus?"
Marcus gave them the five second version. "Titanic had swiped an iceberg, tearing the hull. Water starts gushing in."
"What about the watertight bulkheads? Won't they hold the water off?" Derrell spoke up, looking rather disturbed.
"Titanic can stay afloat if four of its forward compartments were flooded..." Jason said, turning to look at Derrell. "This is bad..." it was then he first realized that the Titanic was listing slightly to port, and was slowly going down by the head.
They were really sinking.