"Be back before you know it."
"You won't remember me," the hatter said softly.
White queen of Underland and sister to Iracebeth of Crims, Mirana watched the exchange with a heavy heart. Suddenly she remembered one of the more secretive traits of Jabberwocky blood. Before she could voice her realization, her champion, Alice of the aboveworld disappeared before their very eyes.
"Hatter?" Mallyumkun said attentively. Mirana looked over to her royal hatter who hadn't moved an inch.
"Tarrant," Mirana said. He didn't move, he just stood still, something very uncommon for her mad friend. She came forward and reached out a hand to touch his shoulder. He tense slightly as she moved to view his face, his features were set in a forlorn expression as a gentle but pained smile touched his lips. His eyes glowed the sad color of dying leaves.
"She won't be back," He said softly. "She will move on and forget about us again." Mirana smiled weakly as she placed a comforting hand on cheek and the other on his shoulder.
"She will be back," Mirana said. The mad hatter looked at his monarch uncertainly as she smiled. "She will be back sooner than she was the last time and I can promise you she will remember." Tarrant's eyes changed from spring green to the color of oak leaves. His smile lightened as he looked up to the sky.
Five Years Later…..
"Alice, I need you to sign off on this shipment of Silks."
Alice Kingsley looked up from her ledger and took the leaflet of paperwork from the messenger, Jonathan. She looked through it before she signed her name, pressed the company seal onto the paper and handed it back to him. When she looked up again she saw Jonathan was fidgeting with his hat.
"Is their anything else?"
"Begging your pardon, Miss, I was just wondering, if you would be going to the party at the Wilcott estate this evening," He said shyly. Alice's eyebrows furrowed as his words came out in a flurry of stutters. "And I was w-wonderin'….if you'd-d be n-needing and esc-escort for it?" Alice smiled as she placed down her quill.
"I will be going tonight," Alice said. His face lit up, "But I am not in the need of a chaperon, since Lord Ascot will accompany me along with my sister." Jonathan's face fell slightly before he smiled.
"Then, if I may be so bold as to ask for a dance in advance, miss," He said. Alice closed her ledger book and locked it away as she grabbed her coat and Hat.
"You may," Alice said. Jonathan's face lit up once again as he bowed graciously before holding the door for her.
"Thank you Miss Alice," He said, his accent coming out thick. Alice smiled before she locked the door to the office before leaving.
When she was out of site, Alice let her countenance turn solemn.
She hated the fact that she was being forced to go to this Ball, but her sister had been insistent. Margret was throwing this lavished affair as a welcome home from her trip to East. Lord Ascot had also agreed that it would be a nice way for them to become reacquainted with London society and for Alice to get to know some of the bigger names in the business world.
Alice, on the other hand, knew what her sister was scheming. She had peeked at the guest list and saw that several of those in attendance were either eligible bachelors, young men, or people who were looking for companionship.
Almost as soon as she had returned from the east, her mother had acknowledged her not wanting to marry for anything else but love and had allowed her to become a devoted protégée to Lord Ascot in the company as well as a key figures in deciding trading posts. In her four years at sea she had seen Africa, Arabia, France, Rome, and China. The company had prospered and now was one of the most known trading posts in all of Europe.
But her time at sea had showed Alice one thing, there was much more to the world than she could have ever dreamed. She had been fawned over in Arabia for her pale skin and dark eyes, in Rome; she had a sailor make her an offer, liking her to the golden goddess from his homeland. Alice thought he was quite absurd really because she was Alice and the goddess was the goddess. She could be no one but Alice.
Also, that London was very absurd as well. In many of the other countries, rules weren't as strict, and there wasn't a corset in sight. Actually in Arabia, women wore colorful robes and painted their faces boldly and looked for the entire world, like glittering gems. Alice had never seen such things and was elated when she was given an outfit by one of their caretakers.
As she made her way for the small apartments she had rented, she went to reach for the rail of the stairs when she fell.
Landing hard, Alice cried out as she hit the stone steps. Many people on the street came to her, asking if she was alright. Smiling at herself, Alice lifted herself up and smiled, saying she was fine. After twenty minutes and much assurance, the crowd dispersed Alice looked back at the rail. She could have sworn she had grasped it when she fell. If she didn't know better her hand had passed through the rail.
"I guess it decided I was too heavy and just couldn't hold me up," Alice said with a smile at no one in particular. She walked up the steps and entered her apartments.
She had moved out of her mothers home, something almost unheard of for a woman, a little while after she had gotten back. Her mother had remarried, a attorney at court, and was expecting another child. Alice had been thrilled when she learned she would have another sister or brother, but didn't want to trouble the family. So she had purchased a lease and now was renting an apartment on Grace Church Street. It wasn't too far from work or her home so she could easily visit.
Hanging her coat, she looked over at her night stand and smiled at the small vial that rested there and sighed.
It had been four almost five years since her visit to Wonderland . . . Underland she corrected herself with a fond smile. She had had dreams every night now, different dreams, but always of Underland. Both past and present, she tried to keep her memory as clear as possible and her dreams helped her with that.
But one memory she would never be able to rid herself of was of the last person she never wanted to forget.
Whilst she had been at sea, she always remembered the Hatter. His spring green eyes haunted her for years, trailing her every step. She thought that the color didn't suit him, that something richer, more vibrant, like cypress or jade would suit his eyes. She remembered seeing his eyes brighter than jade when she first saw him, he had been so happy to see her.
But when she left, his eyes were not jade, they were the color of dying grass or of yellowing leaves. She knew he was sad to see her leave.
Alice jumped when she heard a clatter. Looking down, she saw the vial had fallen out of her hands and onto the floor. She looked down at her hands to see that there was no way she could have dropped it the way she had been holding it.
"Curiouser and Curiouser," She whispered as she picked up the vial and placed back on the table.