A/N: My muse has become a fickle thing! I'm truly hoping that the new movie will start inspiring me again!
This chapter was inspired by the new movie poster in which Alice is wearing that crazy colorful dress! And it's also inspired by the Mad T Party video at www. youtube watch ?v=un 0uPU6IRTk (among many others of theirs). The song is "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon. I really love the way Alice and the Hatter interact in those videos (especially lately!). This puts a little different twist on that song, and there are a few lyrics tossed in here for good measure. Of course, I own nothing from Alice in Wonderland, Mad T Party, or Walk the Moon and no money is being made from this.
My Alice can be described as many things, however, no one word comes close to fitting the bill of capturing her perfectly. In fact, you'd have to string together many, many, many, many words to even come close. And who has time for that?
No, my bride is a wonder. I split my time being told that I am the luckiest man in Underland, and being wished luck for having that tiger by the tail. I believe it's both. I am lucky that she keeps me on my toes.
Early in our marriage, there were some "heated moments" where we didn't see eye to eye on things. (Others call this "arguing.") It became a bit of a tradition, if we couldn't resolve the difference easily, to begin dancing with each other. The teamwork it took to perform the dance often helped us to work things out. And the physical closeness didn't hurt either.
It all began one time when raised voices just weren't doing the trick. It's a tough combination to put a mad hatter from Underland and a stubborn Alice from Overland together. Butting heads wasn't uncommon at all.
"Hatter, you aren't listening to me!"
"Poppet, I don't need to listen … I already know what you're saying!"
"Apparently not because we seem to be going around in circles with this. Why aren't you going to just admit that this is silly?"
"How is this silly? All I want is to make my new bride happy and it seems like all I do is fail at it! I can't even make a simple dress correctly!"
"Tarrant, I love the dress! I think it's amazing!"
"But you said you like your blue dress."
"I said I like my blue dress. I also like my red dress." She held up the orange, purple, and green concoction I made for her. "I also like this colorful dress you made for me. And do you know why I like it?"
"I feel that you'll tell me no matter what."
She ignored that little snip of a retort and continued. "I like this dress because it reminds me of you. It's colorful, it's bold, it's eclectic and amazing! It's perfect for life in Underland and life as Tarrant Hightopp's wife. How could I not love that?"
"Alice, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but –"
But on this particular day, in the middle of our "argument," Alice grabbed my collar, pulled me towards her, and declared "Shut up and dance with me." No sane man would argue with that (and neither would a mad one, either.) We wandered to a more open area of the room and faced each other.
"Hold me and talk to me," she instructed as she pulled us into hold. I gladly complied and she nudged me into the steps. Our tempers calmed and we were able to move together and discuss matters much more easily.
"Sweetness, I feel as though I made an assumption I shouldn't have made."
She looked into my eyes, and I knew she was looking at the yellow flecks that were likely betraying my emotions. "What on earth are you talking about?"
"Your dresses, and blouses, and skirts have always been such pleasant but standard colors. I shouldn't have just made you a dress that was so … complex."
She seemed very taken aback by my reply. "Tarrant, you are my husband. I love anything you make for me. And have we not discussed my love of all things Underland? And how I can barely stomach the things from boring London? I'm not saying that I dislike my plain dresses, but I certainly would never turn my nose up at a Tarrant Hightopp original gown! It really is a thing of beauty. It's like your personality, your muchness, manifested into a dress."
"And that's a good thing?"
Alice looked as though she was about to slap me. Instead, she changed our dance steps, probably to keep us moving and concentrating.
"Yes, it's a good thing! Hatter, your muchness is one of the first things I fell in love with! Why are you making such a big deal about this?"
I sighed and tried to compose myself. "I don't want this life to scare you off. I live in fear that someday, you'll realize your mistake and run away. I was terribly afraid that this dress could be a catalyst for that. The thing that made you run."
She held me a bit closer and frowned. "You're holding back. Stop doing that! I am your wife and I love you and I will always be here for you. Please know that I am never going anywhere."
A tear escaped my eye. "I'm trying, dear one, I truly am."
"Very trying at times," she joked.
I stuck my tongue out at her, so she knew she was making progress.
"I love you, Alice. I only want to make your life a happy one."
"Then just continue being you. That's all I'll require. I fell in love with the Mad Hatter and it is he who makes me happy."
I smiled, but I knew this conversation wasn't over. I knew how my mind operated. This would come up again and again. But my Alice … she's a warrior. She won't let anything like this come between us.
"Then this Mad Hatter will be honored to be the one to make you happy."
"And this Alice will be honored to keep you in the right frame of mind. Just keep your eyes on me. We'll get through this together. Yes?"
"Forever, my love. Forever."
And from there was born the dance-method of resolving our issues. While there aren't as many times where we need to dance away our problems anymore, you can certainly bet that we still pull each other into hold if things aren't going as smoothly as we'd like.
Somehow, it makes our "heated discussions" a little easier to bear when Alice grabs me and says "Shut up and dance with me." I never could tell my bride no.