3. May 17, 1914

May 17, 1914

Belfast – Dunallon

2:45 a.m.

Tom had a nightmare tonight, one so disturbing that he couldn’t go back to sleep. I have to admit that when he told me the dream, it left me with chills.

“Tom?” When Tom had awakened and left their bedroom in the middle of the night, Brynne followed him. She’d found him in Evie’s room. He stood over the sleeping infant’s crib, gazing down at her.

Hearing his name pulled him from his adoration of his daughter. He looked toward the open doorway of nursery and found Brynne.

“I’m sorry, darling,” he said quietly. “Did I wake you?”

“Yes,” Brynne said. “But it’s okay.” She stepped into the study and joined Tom at the crib. She reached in and softly stroked Evie’s face with her finger. “What’s wrong?” she whispered to Tom. “You can’t sleep?”

“I had a nightmare,” was his soft reply.

“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked. It must have been one hell of a bad dream if it shook him up so badly that he couldn’t sleep, she thought.

He looked at her. “You sure you want to hear it?” he asked. “It was very disturbing, to say the least.”

Brynne took his hands and led him from the nursery. When they’d returned to their bedroom, they sat on a the loveseat across from their bed. “Tell me about it,” she said.

Tom sighed. “We were on the Titanic,” he began. “And the ship hit an iceberg, just as in real life. But this time, things were different. There were no ships in range to come to our rescue in time. We put passengers off in the boats, but it wasn’t enough. It couldn’t have been. There were only 20 boats onboard, and not even all of those went away at capacity. I made you go away in one of them.”

“There were hundreds, perhaps even a thousand, left on the ship, and I was one of them.” Tom paused and swallowed hard. ” A lot of people jumped into the frigid water before the ship went down, and I remember tossing deck chairs and anything else that could be used as a life raft or preserver overboard. I knew deep down, though, that they would likely freeze to death before help finally arrived.”

He leaned back into the couch, sighing heavily as he rubbed his hands down his face. “I don’t think I even tried to save myself, even though a few people tried to persuade me to make a go for it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, though, not when so many others were suffering because of me. It was because of my design flaws, my failures.

“The last thing I remember was standing in the smoking room, in front of the fireplace, just staring at the painting hanging above the mantle. Then, I woke up.”

Tom looked at Brynne. “It all felt so real. Not at all like a dream. Everything was so fresh and vivid.”

Brynne’s expression was one of shock and horror, and Tom regretted his decision to tell her about his dream. “I told you it was disturbing,” he said.

Brynne simply stared at Tom. If her expression was one of shock and horror, it was because that’s what she was feeling at the moment. Tom had just described what had happened to Titanic in the original timeline, including his alternate fate.

Was it a coincidence? Was it fate? Was it the result of some cosmic, temporal phenomenon?

Brynne didn’t have an answer for any of those questions. But she did have one more question – should she tell Tom the truth about herself? Was this a sign that she should tell him that she was from the future, that his dream was more than that and that it had actually occurred in some alternate reality?

Telling Tom the truth was an idea she’d flirted with on occasion before, but she could never bring herself to do it because she couldn’t find the benefit it doing so. Sure, she would have the comfort of knowing that someone else knew the truth about her, but how would Tom react to that knowledge? There really was no telling. He might think she were crazy or joking. Or he might believe her – and the truth might be too much for him to bear.

Brynne swallowed. “That’s some dream,” she said. “The real thing was bad enough, but thank the good Lord it didn’t turn out the way it did in your dream.”

“I don’t want to imagine what would have happened if it had,” Tom said.

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