14th of April 1912.
Even if my suite is in B Deck, when the sun broke out into the horizon, illuminating the darkened, starry sky, I could hear the roosters crowing. I woke up in Alec’s strong arms wrapped around me, my fingers intertwined with his rough hands, and I felt contented. I felt his breath behind my ear and his steady heartbeat against my back. I slowly turned around, cautious not to wake him up. I watched him, still sleeping peacefully.
His eyelids, sometimes, fluttered and his lips were curling. He might be having a nice dream, and I smiled as I caressed his hair. He must have been absolutely knackered from all his work yesterday. I know how wrong it was to be in a room alone together, but we both felt the sensation as if it was the end for our blossoming, what could have been a great relationship.
Yes, it was Alec who knocked on my door past midnight. He was worried when Jane asked him for help in finding out how I was doing. But instead of answering him, directly, I slammed my lips onto his. I could still feel his fingers tracing my cheekbones, jaw and down to my waist. I felt the heat in my cheeks as he squeezed my nightgown in his hands. I tried to wrap my arms around his neck and failed. So, I grabbed the lapel of his jacket instead, pulling him closer. His lips, slightly brushing from mine, made him chuckled.
Before anyone would notice, I woke Alec up for it was time for him to go. In front of me, he groggily opened his eyes then kissed my cheek.
‘Good morning, love,’ he spoke, lazily. His one eye still closed, and his dimples showed.
I giggled, suddenly aware of my morning breath and broke free from his embrace. I went to the washroom to clean up. When I walked back to my bed, grinning, showing my pearly white teeth, I bid him, ‘Good morning!’
He was still in my bed; smiling and his eyes flickered at my body.
Putting my wrap on, I smiled back and kissed him on the lips. I noticed, he was still wearing his wristwatch, and so, I looked at the face and told him the time. He bolted out of bed, and I laughed at his astonished demeanour. Before hurrying to his work, he rushed to my side and gave me a soft peck on my lips, and then said, ‘I’ll see you later.’
Jane opened the door just as Alec headed out. As Alec rushed out, Jane gave me a knowing look and shrieked, ‘What just happened?!’
‘Shush!’ I giggled as I pulled her in, closing the door. As Jane helped me get ready for the day, I reminisced about yesterday to her. Before all of the fights between Ms Abram and I, and that Alec slept over in my room. Jane squealed in such delight that I had to cover her mouth. When she started to breathe normally, I reassured her that nothing happened. We mostly stayed up all night talking and sometimes kissing.
‘What a gentleman!’ observed Jane.
When she and I had gone to the restaurant, I was waiting for Ms Abram, but she did not come. I was still contemplating whether I should talk to her that instant or give her more time. So, before heading for lunch, I went to see her in her room.
When she opened the door, her eyes were tired and puffy. I was not sure if it was because she was up all night, or she had been crying.
‘Oh, Sierra! It’s you,’ she said, quite surprised, wondering what I was doing there. She opened the door wider. ‘Come in.’
When I entered her room, I blurted out, ‘I truly apologize for what I had said last night, Ms Abram.’
She smiled at me, sadly. ‘It is fine, Sierra, I overstepped—’
I clasped her hands with mine. ‘No, it is not fine! I was ungrateful! You have been there for me since before I could even speak!’
She squeezed my hands and let out a laugh. It was the first time I heard her laugh, and it was pleasant like chimes. ‘As a matter of fact, you began to sing long before you could talk.’
My heart was filled with guilt, and I shook my head. The next thing I knew, I pulled her to a tight embrace. She was startled at first, but she reciprocated. That was when I knew, I was forgiven.
She placed her hands on my cheeks. ‘Eliza would be so proud of you,’ she smiled, her eyes glistening with tears. ‘And about Mr Sanders…’ she said, trying not to choke, ‘…Henri is right, we should not deprive you of your happiness. I just feel sorry for you, honey, when we arrive in America…’
I smiled, understanding.
‘This is not fair,’ she continued. ‘But this is what has to be done for you to have a fruitful life. I have heard her son is a good person. Let us sure hope so.’ She winked.
I nodded and beamed, ‘Thank you, Ms Abram.’
We embraced once again, and I helped her get ready. After that, we headed to the Dining saloon for lunch. I spent the rest of the afternoon with her, knowing her outside from being just my tutor.
We were having tea in the Veranda Café when she said, ‘You are radiant, today.’
As I sipped, I choked on my tea. ‘Ms Abram, what do you mean by that?!’
She giggled. ‘You are practically glowing.’
Remembering Alec’s peaceful state when he was asleep made my cheeks burn. I avoided Ms Abram’s meaningful gaze. I could tell that she was curious to know what happened. But before she could ask, Jane walked to our table.
‘Madams,’ she curtsied, and then eyed me, unsure about something. She kept on cocking her head to the side, but I gave her a confused face. She still tried to beckon me by tilting her head towards the door.
Ms Abram shifted her eyes to Jane. In an affable manner, she inquired, ‘Yes, Jane, what is the matter?’
She was surprised at how Ms Abram approached her, ‘Uhm…’ She blinked a couple of times and then spoke louder. ‘I need to have a word with Lady Sierra, miss.’
I perked up, ‘Is there something you wish to tell me?’
‘Is this about Mr Sanders?’ asked Ms Abram, her expression was neutral, making Jane feel uneasy. She smirked and guessed, saying, ‘If I am not intruding, I believe, I am correct?’ she raised her eyebrow, her attitude was playful, and then in a flash, I saw a hint of sadness in her eyes.
Jane twitched and nodded. ‘Erm, he informed me that Mr Andrews is looking for Lady Sierra, miss,’ it was clear that she wanted to say more, but she was unsure. Therefore, she leaned over to me and whispered, ‘He is waiting outside by the aft Grand Staircase.’
Ms Abram looked at me, and I became self-conscious. It seemed she caught the hint. I tried to hide my widening smile and balled my fist under the table to control my running amok feelings. I must have looked odd as I did that for Ms Abram covered her mouth and started to laugh.
I felt my face turned red.
Jane was still on guard. ‘Miss, what should I say to him?’
The next thing that happened astounded me and Jane when Ms Abram said, ‘I want to meet this lad, and he simply makes you smile so bright. I am curious.’
I raised my eyebrows, ‘Are you sure?’
She nodded and stood up. ‘Yes, I am sure.’
We watched her moved towards the doors, still in awe. Ms Abram looked back, and the look on her face stated she was getting impatient.