The music of the ballroom was dull on Liana's senses as she rocked her son, Aden, back and forth. Her lips faintly outlined the lullaby she'd written for the child of five. His eyes keenly traced out those thin, pink lips of hers as they moved. His eyes began to shut as he clung to his mother, whispering faintly that he loved her before he drifted towards sleep thanks to the music around him.
Liana continued to let Aden sleep where he was, but the sudden cry of her infant from her basket drew Liana's attention. She pulled a hand free to rock the edge of the basket, silencing the young girl from within. "Shh, Laura, we'll be in Liverpool in no time. Don't you fret yourself. The crewmen say we're at the Irish coast."
"Quiet, Momma, it's too loud already," complained Aden as he lifted his head from her shoulder. "People are noisy when they eat." Liana smiled at her son as he rubbed his eyes, looking at her. "Well they are, Momma."
"You shouldn't talk that way, Aden. It's not polite," Liana cooed softly as she squeezed him with the freehand that still supported him against her.
"Why do they need a second lunch, anyways?" whined the child as he pulled his arms around her. She chuckled slightly to herself and scolded him again. "Fine, Momma," he said at last. "But only if you promise to sing to me for real once it's quiet. I couldn't hear you before."
Liana smiled and leaned in to brush her lips against his cheek as she agreed. "All right, Aden. Now you go to sleep and don't put up any more protest, young man. I'll sing you your favorite song as soon as you wake up. Would you like that? You're absolute favorite. I might even teach you a new one, too. Now go to sleep."
"Yes, Momma," he said as he fell asleep at the prospect of learning the new song his mother's beautiful voice would pass on to him as soon as he awoke. Liana leaned back against the elegant ivory and golden chair in the hall and watched the various men in tuxedos as they flirted with multiple girl in expensive gowns. A few of the men were smoking cigars and conversing of things Liana never understood.
Liana always wanted her son to be able to talk like those men one day, but she knew this would never happen. Aden was as uninterested and confused by such talk as she was; Aden couldn't even keep up with the little boys that invited him to play with them. He didn't roughhouse. His mother had firmly informed him that little boys got hurt doing that, and since then he was mortified of the games.
Liana blamed the fact that the boy's father had died when he was little, and that she'd raised him wrong. It didn't matter that he wasn't going to be one of them, however. Aden was a good boy despite his oddities, and Liana loved him very much.
As Liana watched the dulling, swirling colors of the dresses entwining with the black and white tuxedos. The colors blurred together as her eyelids fell. The music of the ballroom slipped through her ears and dulled her further. Her brain faintly told her that she should try and make her way back to her room, but she didn't think she could lift her two children all the way there. Liana began to slowly fall asleep to the sounds of the music, occasionally watching small children run around the skirts of the dancers.
As her eyelids began to grate against her bottom eyelashes. Her body suddenly racked slightly, and she snapped over her eyes just like one of the steel doors that snapped open suddenly. The dancers screamed at the sharp shake that overwhelmed the crowd. Aden forced open his eyes and stared at his mother, and she pulled him close.
The infant, Laura, began to shriek as she was shook, and Liana did her best to hold the child steady. The shaking was with the ferocity of an earthquake and the sound of steel shredding rang up through the sides of the ship as it screamed in pain. Aden clung to his mother when the sharp screaming silenced after what was only a moment and began to cry. "What was that, Momma? Why did we shake? I thought the waves were not high enough near the shore to shake us. Didn't you say we were near the shore?"
Liana said nothing and sat him upon his feet. She picked up the crying Laura from her basket and held her close as she pulled the startled Aden with her towards the dancers that all had begun to face the starboard side. Several crewmen came into the room, and calmly instructed that a torpedo has struck the starboard side of the Lusitania.
"The captain ain't worried," calmly said the crewman that had spoken with Liana only a while ago in regards to the ships position. "Ya don't have ta worry. This is a armed cruise liner, ma'am. She won't go down by a single shot."
Aden looked up at the man and suddenly pulled his face into his mother's skirts as he continued to cry. "We got shot, Momma. Sho-"
His cries went unnoticed as the ship screamed again, jolting the whole crew and sending the unsuspecting child to the dining hall's floor. Liana tumbled forward but was caught by the crewman. Laura was held between them carefully as she cried, though her cry was overpowered by the many screams and moans from the ballroom dancers as they were jolted back and forth amongst the floor.
The screaming of the ship, however, was the mightiest as she shook and cried with fear from the wound within her gaping side. "She's takin' on water!" cried another man as he entered the room, immediately sending the ballroom into just as much of a panic as he had been in. The people moved out the doors of the hall as full and fast as the water piled into the sinking ship's side.
Aden cried as one woman stepped upon him, and Liana freed herself of the crewman's grasp to pull him to his feet. "Make for a lifeboat, Miss Liana," instructed the crewman as he grabbed the first class woman's porcelain arm and began to pull her towards the exit. The crowd was as rough as the sea as it swelled and splashed against itself, forcing some to the floor as all tried to make it to the main decks.
The crewman pulled her in the opposite direction of the crowds and through the very door he'd been in to get there. He pulled her towards the very side that slanted beneath their feet and faced the sea. "We're walking towards the sinking end, Momma," studied Aden as the crewman continued to pull them.
"There's lifeboats on that end that won't be as crowded, and it dun matter which way she sinks. She'll still be able to suck any boat down with her!"
"Don't listen to him, Aden. We'll be fine," said Liana as she pulled his hand tighter in her own. "Just walk a little faster, all right? We need to get to the boats before they're put on the water."
Another crewman rushed past, looking at them harshly for a moment as if deciding whether they were worth stopping even more a moment for. "There ain't any lifeboats worth fightin' for on that end. All the ropes 'ave tangled together. We'll be dropping 'em to the surface. 'Ave to cut 'em free. I'd try the other end!"
"We'll be fine," said Aden as he repeated his mother's words. "But Momma says we have to walk."
They pressed onward until they reached the deck, sliding along the surface of the boat as it continued to tilt. All were slanting further towards the water that was seven desks beneath them at the start of the voyage, and within only ten minutes seemed to only have a few more decks before the entire starboard side went missing all together. They forced their way onto a lifeboat, and the crewman rang out for anyone willing to get into the boats so long as they fit. Aden was picked up by the crewman and handed to another one so that he was immediately sealed a spot within the boat.
Liana ran towards the edge but a crewman grabbed her, telling her that the boat was full. They didn't have room for her. "My son is on that boat," cried Liana as she ripped herself free of the man's grasp. She forced herself over the rail and into the boat despite the multiple protests for the lack of room. Liana wasn't concerned at their lies. At least twenty more grown men could be sitting in the boat, and yet they had tried to deny her and her infant. Aden was at the front of the boat and Liana the end, but the mere sight of the boy's blonde curls kept her calm.
The tangled ropes above her were being sawed at, and no more people entered the boat despite the screams from the railing above as it dropped into the water. The boat shook and screamed in a cracking mimic of it's mother and the frightened men had begun to row prematurely. It flipped over like so many boats around them, and the men screamed and moaned in the cold water that greeted them.
Aden screamed louder in Liana's ears. She swam with one hand to escape the sucking current that the Lusitania summoned as it continued to fall towards the sandy floor beneath it. Laura's cries were muffled and Liana tried to keep her free of the water, but only ended up slowing her pace as she swam to her son. He had bobbed above the water for what seemed like just a moment before Liana reached him.
She grabbed him with a hand and thrust him above the surface, imploring him to cough, to sputter, to simply breath. He coughed.
Liana pulled him against her, doing her best to keep both her children warm with her own slowly chilling body. After what felt to her dulling body like hours, despite reality measuring only a minute, a splash of water shook her as another boat descended from the side of the ship. She cried out with her children at the threatening cool spray that thankfully swept them further from the whirlpool force of the sinking palace.
"Miss Liana!? Is that you?" came the sudden shout of the familiar crewman that had led her to the boats. A white wooden boat moved beside her, filled to the point that it looked as if it, too, were to tip over and send it's rescued back into the realms of helpless.
"My children!" was all she found herself able to cry amidst the sea of fierce moans from metal and flesh alike. The crewman squinted from his spot and ordered that the people row in her direction. A protest went up, but the crewman demanded it or else he threatened that he'd leave them on their own to tip in the splashing sea of screaming icicles.
They obeyed reluctantly, and the crewman knelt down as if to help them into the boat. "Just my children," said Liana as she thrust the already unconscious infant into this arms. He passed the baby to another woman and instructed another man to assist him in lifting Aden to the boat. A man in a soaked tuxedo did just this and then held the boy tightly as they sat back down.
"Don't worry, ma'am! I'll make sure he becomes a real gentleman," cried the man as he glanced outwards towards the stranger of who's child he'd just taken as his own. She somehow managed a weak, but true, smile at the stranger's gesture; envisioning her son a prim and proper boy.
"Yer brave, ma'am!" cried the crewman as he glanced back to the boat, spinning around and sending instructions so that the boat began to move away as fast as possible. By now the Lusitania had little left but the stacks atop her head to pull into the water, and it had already begun to pull in poor Liana like quicksand. It took little time before she was pulled under the water, but she somehow died without a moan like the sea of people around her. She was not concerned for herself, because her children were safe thanks to the heroes amongst the hopeless.