The shortest route from New York to Liverpool passes through the Arctic. She held onto the stern railing with one hand as if her life depended on it―which it did. Rose didn't know how to swim. Even if she had the misfortune to not drown, the water could kill her in 40 minutes from hypothermia.
The stars were crisp, like diamonds. Their calming presence would accompany Rose in her last moments.
"What's your name?" said a boy's voice.
"Aagh!" said Rose. She momentarily let go of the railing. She quickly grabbed it again and regained her footing.
"It's nice to meet you, Aagh. My name's Jack," said Jack.
"My name's Rose," said Rose. She looked back at the turbulent waters, foamy from the ship's propellers. They felt colder and darker than before.
"Lemme guess. Your mother is a big *Titanic* fan and she named you after the protagonist from the movie," said Jack.
"I have met at least three different girls my age named 'Rose'," said Rose.
"What are you doing out here at this time of night, Rose #3?" said Jack.
"What do you mean Rose #3? I'm Rose #1," said Rose.
"What are you doing out here at this time of night, Rose #1?" said Jack.
"What's it look like I'm doing? I'm obviously killing myself," said Rose.
Jack took a step forward.
"Stop!" said Rose.
"Or what?" said Jack.
"Or I'll kill myself," said Rose.
"You already declared your intention to kill yourself. You can't threaten to do something you already committed to doing. That's not how threats work," said Jack. He walked up the railing, a couple arms lengths away from Rose.
"You're the least romantic boy I've ever met. Fine. I retract my intent to kill myself. But if you come any closer I really will do it," said Rose.
"You're the prettiest thing I've ever seen. How was that? Was that romantic?" said Jack.
"No. Not at all," said Rose.
"Oh well," said Jack. He turned to go back to the warm cabins.
"Wait. That's it? You're just going to let me die?" said Rose.
"I respect your right to self determination," said Jack. He kept walking.
"Maybe I don't want to die. Maybe I want a boy to save me," said Rose.
"That's the biggest red flag I've ever seen. That red flag is so big and bright you could see it from Japan," said Jack.
"Japan is on the opposite side of the world. There is no direct line of sight," said Rose.
"There would be if the flag is big enough," said Jack.
"Wanting to die can be a perfectly rational choice," said Rose.
"Power is instrumentally convergent. Life is is a prerequisite to power," said Jack. He turned back toward the precarious girl.
"I'm not irrational. I am arranged to marry a sadistic lunatic with no way out," said Rose.
"The ship could sink. What if we hit an iceberg like the real *Titanic*? That would be romantic and it would free you up from your engagement to the psycho," said Jack. He turned around.
"You're proposing I hold off drowning in the icy waters right now for the possibility I might get to drown in the icy waters later instead?" said Rose.
"This way I get to spend time with you first," said Jack.
"That *was* romantic," said Rose.
"Was it? I was going for 'callous'," said Jack.
"You suck at this," said Rose.
"You suck at suicide. You're supposed to be dead but instead you're wasting time talking to me," said Jack.
"Maybe I'll kill myself just to spite you," said Rose. She turned back to the icy waters. She slipped. Her torso slammed into the edge of the deck. Rose grasped for the railing. Her feet dangled over the whirling propeller blades. Jack seized her wrists and hauled her back onto the deck.