Noise Complaint

BY : poorlittlerichgirl91
Category: S through Z > Titanic
Dragon prints: 1110
Disclaimer: I do not own Titanic and I make no profit from the story.

Thursday, 13th June 1912

Their apartment was in a gloomy industrialised neighbourhood of Lower Manhattan, not far from where they'd docked the Carpathia at Pier 54. Despite the building's drab interior furnishings and the lingering odour of mildew, the rooms that Jack and Rose resided in were not too dismal; a beaten-up couch and stained floorboards being the extent of unpleasantry. They knew they had gotten lucky: finding an affordable place with a landlord who – at his own discretion – had not pushed to see a marriage licence, despite suspiciously eyeing the mismatched couple who'd landed on his doorstep in the middle of the night. They were just grateful not to be slumming it on the streets, starving and destitute, contrary to what her mother had forewarned disapprovingly.

Rose sighed contentedly as she picked up the clothes strewn across their bedroom floor from the previous night and began folding them, humming a familiar tune as she did it.

"Come Josephine in my flying machine. . ."

She brought one of Jack's cotton shirts close, inhaling the familiar and comforting scent of charcoal and sandalwood, missing him as she did every day. She supposed it was silly, really, to miss another person so much; to love another person so much. She could hear her mother's voice in her head now, criticising her decision to 'throw everything away for a fling on a ship'; could see those steely eyes devoid of all emotion as she'd warned bitterly that their relationship would 'not last' because 'intense physical attraction never does'. This had irritated Rose, who felt offended that anyone had the audacity to simplify her wonderful relationship with Jack and reduce it to something as superficial as mere physical attraction, pre-determined to fail based on statistics that didn't even apply to them. Jack on the other hand, had been amused (such was his ability to shrug off Ruth's jibes) and entirely unsurprised; although he was vocal in his compassion toward his future mother-in-law, finding it genuinely sad that she had let the absence of love render her so cold. For Rose, it was hard to take such a sympathetic stance, despite how much she adored his tolerant and empathic reaction to a woman who had treated him so terribly; it was so good-natured and so inherently Jack.

It frustrated her that was so much more to their relationship and that her mother could not – would not – see it; her and Jack were best friends, partners, equals. They had intellectual discussions about art and philosophy and politics, shared household errands and domestic chores, they joked and laughed and played together; valued each other's opinions and advice; and loved each other's minds, thoughts, and ideas.

Of course, her mother's judgement wasn't the only unfair scrutiny making Rose's life miserable. A number of their new neighbours had been less than welcoming, and had made it more than obvious what they thought of her refined mannerisms and eloquent enunciation. It had not taken Rose long to realise she did not fit in with the women - the majority of them busybody housewives who had nothing better to do than gaggle and gossip whilst their husbands worked at the factories all day. She had gone along to their afternoon meetings but when she hadn't been able to contribute anything to their conversations about failing marriages and resented husbands, she found herself at a disadvantage. Instead, she had made the mistake of gushing over Jack to them: his thoughtfulness, his attentiveness, his progressive attitudes toward outdated gender roles and his willingness to share the burden of cooking and cleaning. . . She'd seen the way they dubiously glanced at her unadorned ring finger in response, unanswered questions hidden beneath icy stares; seen the way they had watched disapprovingly as she'd thrown her arms around his neck and showered his face in grateful kisses "with no regard for common decency" . . . or so she'd overheard. That's all it had taken for Rose to decide not to return for another one of their afternoon gatherings.

Avoidance of the women's social circle had only encouraged them to take a proactive role in their dislike of her: the hushed remarks about the way she carried herself and the eloquent way in which she spoke. Barely a week after her unsuccessful meeting with them, she had overheard whispered comments in the communal foyer as she passed by.

"Look at the way she carries herself! Little Miss high and mighty!"

"What kind of woman lets a man assist her with the cooking and cleaning? I wouldn't be surprised if he does all the work whilst she lounges around like the Queen of Sheba."

Rose frowned at the memory, remembering how Jack had cradled her in his arms and tenderly kissed away her tears that night as she'd confided in him. She was so grateful for him; his tenderness, his ability to comfort and console her with such ease. She'd tried to shrug off that something was bothering her – but he'd known, of course he'd known – and he'd gently tipped her chin up to meet his eyes, and that's when she'd surrendered to him; to her soulmate, piercing her heart with a gaze of his infinite concern and adoration.

"Sweetheart, they're just jealous of you. Unhappy with their own lives and too bored to pass their time doing anything else,"

He had dedicated the rest of the night to tirelessly showing her just how much he loved and worshipped and adored her, and sleep had not approached until the early hours of the morning after she'd seen the stars again and again and again. Jack was a giver by nature, and every day – and night – was a mission to make his Rose as happy, satisfied, and loved as energy and resources would allow.

Rose walked out of the bedroom, her mind suddenly on the day's chores, groaning absentmindedly as she remembered that she hadn't finished cleaning the dishes the night before. She had been in the middle of washing them, stood at the sink and entirely focused on the task at hand, but then Jack's arms were around her waist, his lips on her neck and suddenly his hands were hitching up her dress, and then. . .

Her cheeks burned.

It was overwhelming to desire someone so much, yet so divine she almost wanted to cry just thinking about it. Their insatiable passion for one another that seeped into every part of their lives; physical, mental, emotional; it was spiritual, almost. She had often wondered, was it supposed to be like this? No other woman she'd met – not the upper-class society members nor the garment workers who shared their apartment building – had ever seemed even half as hopelessly smitten and consumed with their partner as she was with Jack. She knew she'd made the right decision, of that there was no doubt in her mind. Their life was far from perfect, but she was happier than she'd ever thought possible.

She entered the kitchen, pushing open the darkened windows that overlooked the greyscale skyline of Manhattan; wafting in a fresh breeze from the Hudson River. Her eyes scanned the counter for the stack of dirty dishes, but to her confusion, all she found in their place was a note written in Jack's tidy scrawl, with a sketch of Rose as she slept; smudges of charcoal littering the edges, placed atop the freshly polished worktop. She picked up the piece of paper gingerly, her heart melting in wonder at how he had captured her: a tender, content expression gracing her face; one hand flung onto his pillow where she guessed she had reached for him, even in her sleep. Smiling warmly, she glanced underneath the drawing to read the words he'd left for her:


I take full responsibility for the dishes not getting done last night - so I woke up early to take care of them before work. The loss of sleep was worth it. Let's not do the dishes more often.

You're sleeping right now - you look like an angel. I can't believe how lucky I am to wake up to the sight of you every morning.

I don't wanna leave. I miss you already.

Miss me too, will ya?

Love, Jack

Oh, God, what had she ever done to deserve him? The fact that she could have woken up every morning lying next to some despicable bastard in a gentleman's body horrified her, and she was so, so glad that Jack Dawson had been given to her instead. She sighed, missing him and adoring him and wishing for the workday to soon end.

Jack sighed as he walked to the door of their apartment building, the only home he had known since he was fifteen. He looked around cautiously, keeping a watchful eye on the unpleasant-looking men huddled in crevices and on street corners as he dug a hand in his pocket, searching for his keys. The apartment itself was not a bad place: it was affordable and clean, if not for the unsavoury location and questionable neighbours it would almost be ideal.

They were located half a mile from the progressive, bohemian mecca of Greenwich Village – where Jack worked – and he was hoping that when he had saved up enough money, they might settle there amongst a more like-minded crowd. He turned his key in the lock and walked into the foyer to be met by Marvin, their landlord, sitting at his desk and filing through paperwork.

"Hey Marv," Jack called amicably to the older gentleman; a bear of a man with kind, spectacled eyes.

Marvin's expression changed to a bleak one when he raised his head, and he discreetly signalled Jack over with a gesture.

Jack sighed. His arms burned with the need to hold Rose, as they always did after being separated from her all day, and he didn't appreciate anything that would delay that endeavour. He shot Marvin a puzzled look, walking over to the desk with raised eyebrows.

"That's the third complaint this week, Jack." Marvin whispered, somewhat sympathetically. "I get it, you're young and in love, but the rest of Manhattan need their sleep, son–"

Jack ran his fingers through his hair, trying to hide the furious blush on his cheeks as he cut him off sheepishly. "Right. Sorry."

He turned, too embarrassed to say anything else, but was immediately met by a group of smirking factory workers – some he recognised as residents of the same floor as he and Rose – wiping the sweat and grease from their foreheads, accumulated after a laborious days work on the assembly lines.

"Can't say I blame ya, a woman like that. . ." One of them sneered, holding a cigarette between his filthy fingers.

Jack tensed as he passed them, walking towards the stairs and trying to ignore the sounds of their snickers. He climbed, grabbing the wooden baluster as the rickety staircase shook under his movements, teeth gritted in frustration. The other residents did not always make living here easy; the gossipy women, the threatening men. . .

Jack climbed another flight, spotting a cockroach scuttle across a peeling wall. Sometimes he felt so disappointed in himself that this was the best he could give the one who gave his life meaning. It wasn't as though he didn't remember her days before. He could still see the elegant gowns, the luxurious accommodation, the servants tending to her every whim; yet she had somehow given it all up for him without as much as a second thought. He knew she was infinitely happier now, but he still felt the slightest jab of guilt, knowing she deserved more than he could ever give her. He couldn't even offer her a wedding, at least not yet. They were waiting for Rose's eighteenth birthday – that coming August – to marry, and so far had relied on a mixture of good fortune and careful deflection to avoid being pressed for evidence of their marriage. It was the only way they could get away with sharing a living space, even one that left as much to be desired as this one: both in terms of its location and its occupants. She was royalty amongst these people – so amazingly gorgeous – it terrified him, the grim reality that almost any of those men downstairs would assault her if faced with the opportunity. He reached the third floor, where their apartment was located, unclenching his fists and feeling the anger disperse as he realised he was moments away from reuniting with his love.

Rose was sitting in the ratty armchair in their living room, waiting to hear the sound of those big, thick boots thudding outside the front door. She loved that sound and the routine that followed – the enveloping of her body by strong arms, the kiss full of such ardour it almost doomed them before they said a word.

The smell of roasting chicken wafted through the air from the ancient stove. She hadn't yet completely mastered the task of cook, but she felt like she was improving. Her first few meals had turned out so burnt and charred that she had wanted to cry at Jack's sweetness when he'd asked for seconds just to keep her from bursting into tears. Now he actually seemed to look forward to eating her food. She treasured their dinners – the entire time Jack simply stared at her as he tried and sometimes failed to get food in his mouth, his free hand caressing hers from across the table. A woman had never felt as cherished as she did. He made her feel as if she were the only girl he had ever looked at, ever been with; the only girl that had ever existed.

Suddenly, the sound of muffled, heavy footsteps seeped in through around the door, and Rose's heart flew. She was out of the chair before she realised it. A key grated in the lock and she whisked to the front door, getting there mere milliseconds after it opened. There he stood – the love of her life – his hair shining even blonder from the sun, his skin more tan from walking through the hot day, his clothes dirtier from a day of work. She couldn't adore him more than she did at that moment.

"Baby–" she muttered, yelping as a rush of pure adoration surged through her whole being.

His arms instinctively opened and his hands groped for her, and she threw herself at him, her hands clutching the charcoal-stained shirt at his chest. His grin broke like it always did, and she could tell it was the first true grin he had given all day and that it was saved especially for her. She stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips against his, not able to wait any longer, her arms climbing his body to wind around his neck. He moved her backwards as their mouths connected, slowly stumbling forward so he could close and lock the door. Her rosebud lips moved away from his for a split second to allow air to fill her lungs before he cut her off again, tasting the sweet honey depths of her mouth meant only for him; that had only been given to him. He felt her giving way inside, and he held her up as she relaxed in his grip, one arm supporting her weight and one hand on the small of her back. His eyes, pools of mystery that they were, searched her own with concern drifting in their azure waters.

"How was everything today?" He asked softly, bending his head to say the sentence into her skin, heating the flesh beneath his words.

"Better now," she grinned, resting the tip of her chin on his chest, gazing up at him. "Thank you for doing the dishes. You're wonderful."

At over six foot, he towered over her petite five foot five frame, and so leant down – beaming with adoration – to place a sweet kiss on her nose, moving his hands to cup her face, thumbs brushing over her cheeks ever so tenderly. She pouted, puckering her lips up at him to signify where she would prefer his kiss. When his lips didn't come, she scowled mockingly, standing on her tiptoes to close the space between them. She sighed into the kiss, losing herself in his mouth yet again, before the smell of burning food reached her and reluctantly, with a moan she wrenched herself from his arms and made her way to the kitchen.

He stared after her, watching every move she made, amazed that anyone had the right or even capability to look so magnificent any time, place, or circumstance. He watched as the pretty lavender sundress complemented her voluptuous figure, the sashed waist emphasising the ample swell of her breasts perfectly. He kicked off his boots and walked towards her.

Rose was sliding plates of chicken, potatoes, and bread onto their modest table. He was still by the door, still licking his lips that were bruised from their desperate kisses. As she wiped her hands on a rag, she watched him curiously as he simply stared at her, eyes undressing her with his artist's gaze.

"Don't even think about it," she grinned, recognising the hungry look in his eyes.

He feigned innocence, gasping. "What?"

As they both laughed, he noticed a stray curl had fallen into her eye. He hardly felt his socked feet moving over to her and his callused finger gently brushing it from her pretty face. Still, after nearly two months, she glowed shyly whenever he was so tender with her. Her eyes flickered to the floor, and a soft smile replaced her puzzled expression as she watched him pull a chair out for her. She sat down gracefully, beaming up at him.

Suddenly ravenous and realising he'd not eaten since that morning, Jack did the same and began tearing into his food.

"It's wonderful, sweetheart," he muttered in-between gulps as Rose daintily cut pieces of chicken and lowered her lips to her utensils. She shone with gratitude.

Jack snaked a hand across the table and caressed hers gently. If it was up to Rose, they would always be touching in some way; the feeling of his hands on her – no matter how subtle or brief the contact – had become almost a necessity.

"How was your day, darling?"

He nodded in response, his mouth full. She smiled affectionately.

"The gallery was busy. Sold a few sketches."

"That's wonderful, Jack."

"Customers were asking about you. I caught Mrs Joslin and her sister going through my portfolio, they wanna hang your portrait in the tea rooms–"

"How absurd!" She downplayed the compliment. "Jack, really. A scantily-clad portrait of me hanging in The Village tea rooms. . ."

Jack took a sip of water, trying to stifle his laughter.

"I'd really have my work cut out for me then, huh? I'd be fighting off the whole of Houston Street just to get you home."

Rose blushed, giggling like the shy, starry-eyed young girl his flattering often reduced her to.

The rest of their supper was eaten in comfortable silence. Rose soaking up the satisfaction of just being with him, Jack chewing over whether to bring up Marvin's words. He considered it, but then remembered how down she'd been about their neighbours recently. Would knowing they had received complaints serve any other purpose than to make her feel disheartened about the situation all over again? He didn't want to keep anything from her, but at the same time, he didn't want her to be needlessly upset. Scraping the last few forkfuls of his food onto his plate, he decided against it; her happiness being his main priority. When they were finished eating, he cleared his and her place and scrubbed every dish in sight, clean or dirty, as Rose shook her head at him.

Thoroughly enjoying his presence after being separated from him all day, she lingered. Jack radiated warmth and charisma one could appreciate just by being in the same room. Absentmindedly, she saw him in her mind's eye: out on the promenade deck of the Titanic; the sea breeze blowing his sandy blond mop of hair, golden-tanned skin just visible in his open-collared shirt, piercing eyes of azure squinting in the sun. He was the sunshine himself, she was sure – radiant and blinding – bringing life and warmth with him everywhere he went. She smiled at the memory and at how nothing had changed.

She stood next to him at the counter, reaching for a dishrag and began drying his clean dishes.

"Nuh-uh," he grinned, trying to snatch the towel away from her hands. "You cooked everything. I'm cleaning up. Go and relax."

"You're cleaning up, I'm just putting them away."

Her stubbornness was endearing, and Jack couldn't help but chuckle as she held out an expectant hand, signalling for him to pass the dripping plate he'd just lifted from the sink.

In a way, his determination to take care of everything and her adamant refusal to let him summed up the dynamic of their relationship and why it worked so well: both partners cared about the other's needs to an entirely selfless degree, creating the perfect balance of reciprocity and compromise; of give and take. Jack and Rose were not likely to fall victim to the monotony of stereotypical relationship woes anytime soon – the building up of resentment, the taking for granted – and for one simple reason: each had sacrificed and survived a life and a death to be together.

He handed her the last of the clean plates, watching lovingly as she stood on her tiptoes and placed them into the cupboard. She knew what was coming as soon as she heard the faucet stop running, and within seconds he was behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist as she dried the remaining crockery. His cheek brushed against her own as his chin rested on her shoulder.

"Hey, you."

She laughed softly, his eyelashes tickling her cheek as he kissed her. "Hello, Jack."

"Did you like the drawing I left this morning?"

"I did. You're lovely." She sighed happily, moving her hand to rest over his affectionately. "Do I always do that?"

"Do what?"

"Reach for you in my sleep?"

"Mmm-hmm," he chuckled softly, brushing his lips against her cheek as his arms hugged her closer and firmer against him.

In a place of quiet contemplation, her thoughts drifted yet again to how inadequately she fit in amongst their neighbours, despite her best efforts to act inconspicuous. The way the women had glared at her even before she'd opened her mouth: her red curls, alabaster skin and the refined, elegant way she'd carried herself – even in sodden clothes – instantly giving her away as an upper-class lady.

Jack, his body and mind – and soul – so in sync with her own, knew the signs of her rumination; could sense the unease emitting with every deep exhalation, could feel the tension gathering in her arms and abdomen as he held her. He knew without asking what was troubling her, somehow he always did.

"What they think doesn't matter. You know that, right?"

She smiled gently, appreciating how tuned in to her he was; a stark contrast from how ignored and neglected she'd felt throughout her childhood and before meeting him. He noticed her, he saw her, he knew her – in ways that nobody else had even tried to. It hadn't escaped her notice that the same people who scrutinised her had taken an instant liking to Jack. He hadn't even had to try, so effortless was his affability and his charm. She noticed how drawn they had been to him – something that almost endeared them to her, in a way; their fondness of Jack was what they had in common, and despite how they treated her how could she be surprised? How could she blame them?

"It's so easy for you, Jack. Everyone loves you. You could charm the birds out of the trees. . ."

She could feel his grin against her cheek and hear the smirk in his voice as he kissed down her neck and whispered against her ear huskily,

"Could I charm you back into bed?"

She almost moaned involuntarily, the intensity of his words overcoming her.

"Jack. . ." She groaned with a smile on her face, feeling her eyes roll back, all of a sudden breathless. She felt her knees buckle, melting against his embrace and intoxicated by his closeness.

He hummed in response, his teeth grazing her neck.

You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story