A New Beginning
A summer party was held in the grounds of Marmoreal a week after the birth. It was Underland tradition that when a baby is born, a party is held outside to celebrate the birth, and everyone presents the new mother with a gift for the baby. Margaret was delighted with all of the gifts that she received for Helen. Her grin widened when she saw Alice and Hatter approaching, hand in hand.
"Here's your Aunt Alice and Uncle Hatter, Helen," she told the baby in her arms.
Alice rolled her eyes at the fact that Margaret had said 'Uncle' Hatter.
"We brought Helen a gift," Hatter said, handing Margaret a box.
Margaret handed Helen to Alice before receiving the box, and she gasped in awe when she saw what was inside. It was a small top hat; pink in colour, and was attached to a small headband so that it could sit atop of Helen's head.
"Oh, it's beautiful," she exclaimed, removing it from the box.
"Do you like it?"
"I love it," Margaret answered him. "And I'm sure Helen will, too."
"It's a little big at the moment, but she can grow into it," the Hatter explained. "She's probably a bit too young to be wearing it at the moment, anyway."
Margaret placed it back in the box for safe keeping and put it with all the other gifts. The party continued on as planned, and the Hatter and Alice spent most of their time watching the children dance around the maypole, until the Hatter pulled Alice aside.
"What is it, Hatter?" Alice asked.
"Do you know that garden bench not far from here?" the Hatter questioned.
"Meet me there in a short while," he told her, and disappeared into the crowd before Alice could ask him why.
She sighed and turned, but blinked in surprise when she found the Tweedles standing behind her.
"There's a secret which we need to tell you," Tweedledee began.
Alice blinked again. Why did that sound so familiar?
"It won't be a secret if you tell me, though, would it?" she told them.
"Maybe it's being wrong to tell her the secret," Tweedledum whispered.
"It ain't wrong, no-how," Tweedledee told his brother. "She's going to be hearing it anyway, so it'll still be a surprise to her contrariwise round."
"It won't be if you tell me first," Alice pointed out, only just being able to follow.
"Exactly what she says!" Tweedledum told his brother. "It won't be a surprise, no-how, if we tell her that the Hatter's going to propose."
Tweedledee slapped a hand over his mouth. Alice gasped at his words, but before she could give any sort of reply, a firm hand fell on her shoulder.
"You ruined the surprise!" Margaret scowled at the Tweedles, leading Alice away. "Ugh! Those two are worse than those Chattaway girls!"
That's when Alice remembered where she had heard a similar conversation. It had been at the failed engagement party, where the Chattaway sisters had revealed to her that Hamish was going to propose.
"Let me guess, everyone knows and this is really my engagement party?" she asked.
"Everyone knows, but this is still only to celebrate Helen's birth. Hatter just decided to ask you today," Margaret explained, before turning to her sister with a look of worry. "Please tell me you're not going to turn him down like you did with Hamish?"
"Of course not!" Alice told her. "I turned down Hamish because I didn't love him, and I knew that I could never be happy with him. But Hatter...I love him, Meg. And I know that I can be happy with him."
"And I am happy for you both," Margaret said.
"Wait," Alice realized, "he's not going to ask me in front of everyone, is he?"
Her memories flashed back to the engagement party, remembering how everyone had been watching her with expectations. It had really made her feel awkward, and put her under a lot of pressure.
"Don't worry, you are both going to be alone," Margaret assured her. "Speaking of which, you best get going."
Realizing the time, Alice hurried away from the party and into the long rows of bushes, and began to navigate her way towards the garden bench. She found it a few minutes later, and the Hatter was already seated upon it.
"You're on time for once," he commented, as she sat down next to him.
"It did sound important, so I made sure that I was," Alice replied.
The Hatter smiled at her. They silently gazed into each others eyes for a few minutes, before the Hatter began to feel around in his pockets for something. He eventually found it, and handed Alice a small box. She opened it to find a silver ring inside.
"Alice Kingsleigh, Champion of Underland, will you-"
The Hatter blinked in surprise.
"But, you didn't even know what I was going to ask you?"
Alice laughed softly.
"The ring says it all, Hatter," she told him. "The ring says it all."
And a passionate kiss began their happily ever after.
TA-DA! A big thanks to all those who reviewed, added this to favs and added this to alerts! Thanks guys!
There won't be a sequel, but I have other stories up at the moment, called Welcome To Mystery and Musical Madness, as well as a lot more stories to come!