MY STORY AFTER TITANIC SANK

Chapter Twelve

 

The next morning, as I lay in bed, wishing that Cal would forget the rope so that I could escape, Trudy came in, my breakfast tray in her hands and a secretive smile on her lips.

“Here’s your breakfast, ma’am,” she told me, setting the tray on my bedside table. “As soon as you’re finished eating, I’ll set out your clothes.”

I looked at her oddly. Trudy never set out my clothes until just before the time that Cal would arrive home. Unless he planned on coming home early today, something was up.

“What’s going on, Trudy?” I asked. “Is Cal supposed to be here earlier than usual today?”

“No, ma’am. In fact, I overheard him telling Hutchins that he will probably be working late tonight.”

“Working late, or out with another woman?”

“Does it really matter, ma’am? Seeing that you don’t want him near you anyway.”

“I suppose it doesn’t.” I sighed, wishing that I could have a close, loving marriage like I had read about in books. One where my husband wouldn’t cheat on me, or beat me, or take pleasure in causing me pain.

“I’m expecting a delivery this morning, ma’am. That’s why I’ll be laying out your clothes early.”

“The delivery will take you all day?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. Hurry and eat now. The deliveryman should be here soon.”

“What is he delivering?”

Trudy just gave me another secretive smile, her eyes twinkling slightly. “I can’t tell you that, ma’am, but I can guarantee you’ll like it.”

Unless it gave me my freedom, I doubted that, but I didn’t want to hurt Trudy by saying so.

“All right, Trudy. Thank you.”

“Of course, ma’am.”

I was just finishing my orange juice when I heard voices outside in the hall. I froze, knowing that Cal would be furious if anyone but Trudy saw me tied up.

Setting the tray aside, I turned to look at the door, hoping that whoever it was, Trudy wouldn’t let them in. She knew the consequences as well as I did.

I looked up in shock as she the door opened and Trudy entered, followed by someone in deliveryman’s attire. I stared at Trudy, unable to believe that she had invited someone in. Not only were the consequences unthinkable, but I didn’t want anyone else to know of my humiliation in being kept tied down like a madwoman.

The deliveryman was carrying a large box, obscuring his face. Turning his back on me, he set the box down with such ease that I half-suspected it was empty.

I shrank back, pulling up the blanket to cover the rope tying me to the bed. How could Trudy have done this? How could she have brought someone in to witness my humiliation? And if Cal found out…at the very least, he would beat me again, if not worse. What was Trudy thinking?

Then the deliveryman turned, and my eyes opened wide in surprise and confusion. Jack came towards me, shock and anger on his face as he saw the rope tying me down. I let go of the blanket, sitting up and staring at him.

“Jack! How did you…what are you doing here?”

“Trudy told me what Cal did to you. I didn’t want to believe her, but now I see that it’s true. How long has he been keeping you tied here?”

I ducked my head in shame. “For over three weeks now. I had a miscarriage after he beat me, and he’s kept me tied while he’s at work ever since.”

“Good God! Rose, I’m so sorry. If I’d known what he was doing to you, I would have gotten you out of here sooner. I didn’t know until yesterday when your maid found me in the park and told me what was happening, and I had to borrow this uniform from a friend so that I could get in here without raising suspicion.”

“You might still have raised suspicion. Jack, Cal’s manservant found out where you live. He’ll have you killed if he finds out you were here.”

“He won’t find out, and he won’t ever be able to lay a hand on you again, Rose. I promise. I’m getting you out of here. Trudy, please pack her a bag.”

“He’ll come for both of us. Jack, I don’t want anything to happen to you. It would be best if you left now and pretended that you’d never met me. I’ll be all right. I’ll survive. Cal wants an heir, and he won’t get one if he kills me.”

“No, Rose. I won’t leave you here. If you want to leave me behind once you’re free, that’s your choice, but I won’t leave you to Cal’s mercy.”

“Jack, listen to me! He knows where you live! He’ll have you killed! He’ll have Trudy killed, too, once he finds out her part in this. And if he’s angry enough, he might kill me, too.”

“We aren’t going to stay in Philadelphia, Rose. We’re going to New York. I have enough money to get us there, and in a city that size, we can disappear and never be found.”

“Don’t be sure of that, Jack. Cal is a powerful man. He has connections everywhere.”

“It won’t be forever, Rose. Just until there’s enough money for us to get out of this part of the country. We’ll go to California as soon as I have the money. It’s a huge place. We can live in some small town, change our names—whatever it takes to get away from him. I’m not going to let him hurt you anymore.”

“Jack, please. I don’t want anything to happen to you…”

“I’ll be fine. I’m a survivor, remember? I survived the Titanic, and I’ll be damned if some rich bastard is going to be the death of me.” He pulled a small knife from his pocket, working away at the knots in the rope. “But he might kill you. Look at what he’s done to you already. If you don’t want to stay with me, fine, but I won’t let him get his hands on you again.”

Trudy came towards us, a packed bag in her hand. “Here are some clothes and such for you, ma’am. I’m sorry I couldn’t pack more. These things are as practical as I could find.”

“Thank you, Trudy. Could you please pack my jewelry, too? I can sell it to get money.”

“Ma’am…Mr. Hockley locked all of your jewelry up in his safe. He said that it was to keep the servants from stealing it.”

I closed my eyes, remembering that Cal had always brought me what he deemed appropriate jewelry when he had allowed me to accompany him to high society functions. I had thought that it was because he didn’t feel that I could make a proper choice, but now I realized that he hadn’t wanted to give me an opportunity to escape.

“I don’t suppose you know the combination, do you, Trudy?” I asked, hoping that somehow Cal had given her the combination so that I could be dressed properly.

“No, ma’am. He selects your jewelry himself.”

I sighed, shaking my head. “I don’t know the combination, either. It’s a new safe—he lost his old one in the sinking.”

“Perhaps he kept the same combination?” Trudy suggested. “Once you’re free, you try to open it.”

“I’ll try,” I agreed, but I doubted that Cal had kept the same combination. Not if he was using it to hold my jewelry so that I couldn’t get at it.

Jack had managed to free me from the bed, and I got up, a bit shakily after lying there so much. He followed me as I went to Cal’s safe and tried the old combination, to no avail.

I shook my head. “I can’t get in, and the longer we take, the more chance there is that Hutchins or someone will discover us.” I thought quickly, holding out my hand as Jack worked at the knot with the knife. “I have about twenty dollars in my reticule…unless he’s taken it. But I never told him I had it, so maybe it’s still there.”

Trudy brought me the bag, and I noticed with relief that the twenty dollars was still there.

“What about your ring?” Jack asked, looking at my wedding ring on my left hand. The engagement ring was long gone, sold not long after the Carpathia docked to supplement the little money that had been left in Cal’s coat pockets after he had tried to bribe an officer to let him onto a lifeboat.

I looked at it, realizing that he was right. I could sell the ring and get enough money for us to get far away from Philadelphia.

Then I looked at Trudy. If I left her behind, Cal would kill her. “Trudy, you have to come with us.”

“No, ma’am. I can’t. If I go with you, and Mr. Hockley finds me, he could force me to tell him exactly where you are. If I don’t know where you are, he won’t be able to find you.”

“Trudy, you can’t stay here. He’ll kill you.”

“I don’t plan on staying, ma’am. I saved a little of my salary, and I’ll go to my sister in Pittsburgh.”

“That’s the first place he’ll look. Trudy, please, you have to come with us.”

“No, ma’am. For your safety, it’s best if I don’t.”

“Then go somewhere far away. Cal has factories in Pittsburgh. He’ll have no trouble finding you, and he won’t hesitate to kill you.”

“I don’t know where else I can go, ma’am.”

I took a deep breath, thinking quickly. “Jack, how much money do you have?”

“I have about forty dollars saved.”

“And I have twenty, so we have sixty together. Will that be enough for us to live in New York for a while?”

“Yes, if we live in a rundown area.”

“We can do that, then.” I took my wedding ring off and handed it to Trudy. “Trudy, sell this and get away from Philadelphia. Go as far as you can. California might be a good place to go. Don’t tell anyone where you’ve gone, not even your sister. The farther away you get, and the fewer people know where you’ve gone, the less likely it will be that Cal will find you.”

“Ma’am, I can’t take this…”

“Yes, you can, Trudy. And please, call me Rose. I’m not your employer anymore, so you don’t have to be so formal.” I turned to the writing desk in the corner. “Now, if you’ll be so kind as to lay out some clothes for me and pack a bag for yourself, I will write you a letter of reference so that you can get a job when you get away from here.” When Trudy hesitated, I pointed toward the wardrobe. “Go, Trudy! Do as I said! Until we leave this house, I’m still in charge.”

Trudy hesitated a moment longer, then nodded. “Yes, ma’am…I mean, Rose.”

I sat at the desk, pulling out a fine sheet of stationery and an envelope. Quickly, but in my best handwriting, I wrote a letter of reference for Trudy, telling whoever might wish to hire her of her qualifications and of how good she was at her job. I had just finished the letter and was putting it in the envelope when Trudy returned, her bag packed and a simple day dress for me over one arm.

“Thank you, Trudy.” I took the clothing and put it on, not caring that Jack was watching, his eyes narrowing when he saw the fading bruises covering my body. Handing Trudy the letter, I looked around, deciding on the best plan of escape.

“Trudy and I will go ahead. We’ll take our reticules as though we were going shopping. Jack, you put our bags into the box and pretend that you’re delivering it to another part of the house. Follow us at a distance. When we’re far enough from the house that no one can see us, we’ll take our bags and go our separate ways.”

Jack nodded, trusting my judgment and listening to me as Cal never had. “Whatever happens, Rose, I won’t allow him to hurt you again. Trudy, thank you for bringing me to Rose. Perhaps one day we’ll meet again.”

Trudy nodded, then picked up her reticule, heading for the door. I followed her, then turned and gave Jack a quick kiss.

“Thank you for coming for me,” I told him. “You’ll never know how much this means to me. I’m going to stay with you, no matter what happens.”

“I love you, Rose.” Jack embraced me, then released me quickly. “Hurry now, before anyone catches you.”

I hurried out the door, not looking back. I had no idea if Cal had told Hutchins that I was not to leave the house, but fortunately there was no sign of him. Trudy and I hurried out the door and away from the house, not stopping until we were safely away.

Jack joined us a few moments later, giving us our bags. I turned to Trudy, hugging her quickly.

“Thank you so much, Trudy, for helping me escape. I’ll never forget this.”

“You’re welcome, Rose. You’ve always been more of a friend than an employer to me. It was the least I could do, after the way Mr. Hockley has treated you.”

“Hurry now, Trudy. Get as far away as you can. Tell no one where you’ve gone.”

“I won’t, Rose. Good luck to you.”

“And to you, Trudy.”

I watched as Trudy hurried away before Jack took my hand and led me in the opposite direction, leading me away from the Hockley home and the horrors I had known there.

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