Chapter 1: The Wedding Gown
This was not something particularly new to her, as she was accustomed to running away from stressful situations, and this situation was no different. She was just as frightened as ever and the people in her life were of no help to her and her anxiety.
She collapsed at a spot that was only too familiar and began to tear at the grass angrily. She didn't even care that she was most likely getting hideous grass and dirt stains on her expensive white wedding gown.
How had it come to this? After her return from…the most fantastic place that she had ever been to in her entire existence…she had been heading in the right direction…her direction, making her dreams come true. She had traveled to China, conducted business, and made obvious strides for her father's company.
And then she had come home to London and gotten engaged like a fool. And now that she was hiding in the forest like a refugee, she now realized what a mistake she had made and how she how most definitely had lost her muchness in the past two years.
Calming down only slightly, she wrapped her arms around her knees, feeling the cool, silky satin against her bare arms. She smiled to herself as she thought about how wonderful it would feel to roll down the grassy hill and land in a rumpled heap at the bottom. If she were a child with no responsibilities or cares, she would most definitely do it without a single thought. And as quickly as it had come, her smile faded as she thought of the circumstances that had chased her into the forest in the first place.
Much to Alice's horror, Lady Ascot had insisted on playing a definitive role in the planning of her wedding. This surprised Alice very much, since Lady Ascot had not bothered to hide her bitterness in the last two years, due to Alice publicly refusing her son's proposal. But Lord Ascot had become a genuine father figure to Alice and she believed that deep down in Lady Ascot's black little heart, she held a tiny fondness for the fact that she was engaging in a proper act for once. Even if that proper act was something as unsettling as marriage.
It was the beginning of August and it had been a dreadfully hot and sticky day. Alice had stood on a rather unstable stool as Lady Ascot's seamstresses fussed about her, altering her dress here and tightening her dress there. Alice was finding it quite hard to breathe, thanks to the distressing combination of the heat, her nerves, and the constricting corset.
Her mother, Helen Kingsleigh, watched these proceedings with a wary eye and a tight smile. She disliked very much standing next to Lady Ascot and watching her take control of even the tiniest piece of her daughter's wedding, but it was for the best, she knew.
Alice's sister, Margaret, stood on the other side of Helen and was positively beaming. It pained Alice to look at her in such an excited state when it came to the idea of marriage. Alice still harbored a bit of guilt at catching Lowell with another woman and at the fact that Margaret still considered her own life and marriage perfect.
A particularly unsympathetic seamstress named Elsa pulled the strings of Alice's dress tightly and without mercy, and Alice gasped in pain, nearly falling right off of the stool. She wretched herself away from the hands that were prodding at her and moved across the room, digging her fingers between the laces at her back, trying desperately to loosen them.
She ignored the surprised looks of the seamstresses and the look of disapproval from Lady Ascot. She also ignored the look of alarm on Margaret's face and the scandalized look on her mother's. It was simply too hot and she could not breathe. She had told them repeatedly that it was too tight and that she felt faint. She was almost certain that dear Elsa had done this deliberately.
"Is there a problem, Miss Kingsleigh?" Lady Ascot asked, her voice cold and her nose in the air, as usual.
"I'm afraid so," Alice answered, struggling to keep her tone polite. "I literally cannot breathe and I have told these ladies continuously that what they are doing hurts."
She shot a cool glance at dark-haired Elsa.
"And yet they try and make me pass out."
Lady Ascot narrowed her eyes and Helen pressed a hand to her forehead and looked away, obviously distressed. Margaret hurried over to her sister.
"Pain is beauty, Alice dear," she whispered in her ear, clearly attempting to make amends…or a pathetic excuse.
"Then I do not want beauty," Alice murmured and Margaret spun her around so that she was looking directly into her sister's tired eyes.
"What on earth is wrong with you?" she asked so that only Alice could hear. "Are you enjoying quarreling with the seamstresses and distressing poor Mother?"
"It is not intentional, I assure you," Alice whispered back, glaring at the seamstresses who had begun to whisper amongst themselves.
"Alice, please," Margaret pleaded, taking her hands. "Just a few more moments. Let them fix the dress and you will be done for today."
Alice looked away.
"I would give anything to be where you are," Margaret whispered. "This is the exciting, Alice!"
"Well then, Margaret," Alice replied, pulling her hands free. "You put on the dress and you marry James." And with that, she turned on her elegant white heel and left the room.
She had to admit, after almost a year of sort of behaving, it felt good to stand up for herself again. Her steps echoed off of the polished floors of the Ascot halls and resounded in her ears. As she turned the corner, she bumped directly into Hamish.
"Miss Kingsleigh," he said irritably, looking down his nose at her. "I daresay it is quite scandalous to walk about the house like that."
Alice had ignored him and that is when she had run across the familiar grounds, through the forest, and to the rabbit hole.
Alice felt very much as if she had been drawn to this place by a magnetic force. She had not forgotten her Wonderland in the last two years; in fact, she thought about it constantly. And at first it had given her immense joy to think about her friends and her adventures there, and it had given her the courage and the will to pursue her dreams.
And now when she thought about it, it caused her heartache and made her doubt herself and her sanity. Perhaps that is the point where she began to lose her muchness. Perhaps that is the point where she began to conform to society and its rules.
Startled, Alice looked around. She was almost positive that she had heard someone call her name. She internally slapped away the hope inside her, knowing it was probably her sister or somebody else she would no doubt argue with.
But it was a male voice! And so it could not be any of the disagreeable females from the Ascot mansion. Alice knew a male voice in a forest should have alarmed her, but it made her feel unreasonably calm. Before she knew what she was doing, she found herself leaning towards the rabbit hole.
There had already been a few times where she had run to this spot in the past two years, wanting desperately to go back and to see if it really was real. But she was very much afraid of what she would find. She didn't know how she would deal with the disappointment if she climbed down and found that the rabbit hole was only four feet deep and was in fact a literal home to wild rabbits.
The voice was urgent now and Alice peered down into the deep blackness of the hole. Was she going mad? It was definitely a possibility but that possibility did not alarm her. She would be quite honored to be mad, especially if she were as mad as a dear friend she had left behind two years ago.
She was just about to think further about her green-eyed, orange-haired friend when something furry shot out of the rabbit hole as fast as lightning and wrapped around her wrist, pulling her into the dark abyss.
She should have screamed in terror as she plunged into the darkness, surrounded by a plethora of strange and random objects.
But instead, she welcomed it.
A/N: This is more of an experiment than anything. I've written plenty of fan fiction before but I wasn't even going to touch Alice In Wonderland, since I loved the movie and didn't think I would do it any justice. But I couldn't help but try anyway and so I would greatly appreciate to know what people think. =)