This is a short, somewhat fluffy piece about Alice and her first day of really beginning to adjust to her new life in Underland. She finds something among Tarrant's effects that she likes and then worries whether or not he will be pleased with her or angry.
I hope you enjoy this little snapshot of Alice beginning her new life. Rated T to be safe.
"Where are they?"
Alice and Tarrant awoke at the voice. "Where are they? They are late for tea! The Hatter is never late for tea! Alice is sometimes, but never the Hatter!"
It was Mally.
"I'll go and find out what is going on," McTwisp said.
Alice and the Tarrant gazed at each other and smiled. Neither made a move to even cover their naked and entwined bodies.
McTwisp hopped in to the room and gasped. "Oh, the indecency!" he cried. "Is this what you've been doing ever since she returned! Have either of you done anything else?" Then he realized he was staring and turned his back.
Hatter laughed. "Well, I've never missed tea before, but I've never had such a sweet and irresistible reason for doing so!"
"Yes," Alice drawled lazily. "You see, the Hatter's my love slave now. If I want him to warm my bed who is he to say or do otherwise?"
It was plain that McTwisp was blushing.
"Besides," Alice continued, mischief sparkling in her eyes "my blouse is destroyed. Whatever shall I wear to tea?"
"Destroyed?" McTwisp asked. "How?"
Hatter laughed a high pitched laugh of mirth. "I needed to..."
"No, no, never mind please don't answer!" McTwisp cried out. "For goodness sake, don't answer! Just get her something from your wardrobe and let's have dinner and tea! If you can drag yourselves out of bed long enough, that is!" And he hopped from the room, no doubt eager to relate everything to Mally.
"He does have a point," Tarrant said. "I'll have to get you one of my shirts for now. Tomorrow I'll start on your new wardrobe."
"That sounds lovely," Alice sighed. "But for now I can't wait to wear one of your shirts. It will feel like I'm wearing you, my love. I'll be wrapped within your essence all during dinner and tea. I can't think of anything more pleasant."
Tarrant grinned a sly grin. "I can, sweetling, I can."
The following morning Alice awoke to the strong scent of flowers. She blinked the sleep from her eyes and sat up. Strewn over his side of the bed were dozens of flowers and on his pillow a note.
"My darling sweetling, please meet me at the Castle. I did not wish to wake you, as I know how much you need your rest. Each of these flowers is a kiss from me. Well sort of, as they can't really kiss but just pretend they can and then they are really kisses from me. Take your time and come to me when you are ready. I love you so very much and always and forever am yours. Your Tarrant."
How had he managed all this without waking her? Alice was astounded. And to collect all these flowers for her? For her!? She smiled and breathed in their sweet scent.
"Oh, Tarrant, I love you so!"
She took his note and one of the flowers and placed them carefully into a chest he had given her for items she would deem precious. Then she rose. All right...what to wear. Her green and yellow skirt was still intact, so that would do. Her white lace-up boots were fine, as well. She just needed a blouse or shirt. She laughed out loud. A blouse, indeed! Tarrant had completely destroyed hers the other night.
She went to his wardrobe, or at least what he called a wardrobe In the dressing room there were several, even though he hadn't worn many of the items for years; even decades. There were articles of clothing not only in the wardrobes, but all over the floor, on chairs, and even on a table before the window. Those were long bleached and damaged by the sunlight.
Alice finally selected a cream coloured shirt from atop a chair and put it on. She looked at herself in the tall oval mirror in the room and rolled the sleeves up to accommodate her shorter arms and then tied the bottom of the shirt into a knot on one side at her waist. She buttoned the buttons between her neckline and waist, but then decided to undo the top several. She hated feeling confined in clothing, and here, in Underland, she was free to dress comfortably if she so desired.
There. Not too bad. At least she looked more presentable than she had yesterday. Then she spied boxes atop one of the wardrobes. She reached up and took down three of them. She went to the living room and placed them on the reading table and opened them. They were full of various bracelets, necklaces, rings, cuff-links, and pins. She hoped Tarrant wouldn't mind if she borrowed a necklace that instantly caught her eye.
There was a large heart-shaped dark burgundy stone in a simple silver setting with a long chain. She removed the stone and found a shorter chain and put them together. Then she fastened it about her neck. It rested just above her bosom and she was delighted with its sparkling beauty. Then she finger-combed her hair and tied it into a Psyche knot behind her neck.
Now, how to get to the Castle. She had been there before, of course, but didn't remember the way. Tarrant hadn't thought to leave her a map so she hoped that perhaps McTwisp or Mally, or one of the talking flowers would tell her the way.
She went outside. McTwisp and Mally were at the long tea table. They both looked up.
"Ah, how pretty you look!" Mally cried. "Are you ready to go to the Castle?"
"Thank you," Alice blushed, "but how did you know?"
"He told us. McTwisp went to find you a horse. He heard you getting ready."
"Did Tarrant take a horse?"
"Of course. He wanted to get there as soon as possible to begin work on your new wardrobe."
"But isn't he employed by the Queen?" Alice asked.
"Of course, but the Queen knows of your return and said he could take as long as he needs." Mally rolled her eyes. "Knowing the Hatter he'll work until he drops because it's for you. I suggest you get there quickly so he doesn't work himself into a faint."
McTwisp returned, hopping beside a white and tan mare. "Here, Yala said she'll take you to the Castle."
Alice had never met Yala. "Thank you, Yala," she said. "You're very kind."
"Oh, it's my pleasure. Besides, I need to stretch out my legs a bit. A good run will do me wonders."
"A run? But..."
But Yala was off. Alice clutched her mane and lowered her body on the saddleless mare and just let her set the pace. To her dismay, however, her feminine parts began to chafe and become pained.
"Yala!" she called.
Yala slowed down. "Are you all right, Champion?"
"Uh, yes, mostly. You see, I...the Hatter and I have been very "intimate" quite frequently these past few days and I'm...um...sore. Down there."
Yala understood. "Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I'll slow down. Or, if you wish I can take you the rest of the way in a side-saddle manner. I'll go slow."
"For the first time in my life side-saddle style actually sounds good," Alice laughed.
Yala laughed too and Alice switched positions. "Hold on tight!" Yala warned as she resumed her pace, but much slower this time. It was still a good pace, however, and Alice was an excellent rider even though she normally detested side-saddle style. In just a few minutes more they reached the castle.
"I'll be off now," Yala said. "Just enter and you should meet someone to take you to Hatter. But I think the Queen wants to see you first. Hatter has a whistle. You can use it to call me at any time. Have fun with Hatter!" Yala rushed off.
"Oh, I will!" Alice said to herself. Yet...she still wondered if she should have taken it upon herself to go through his things and borrow a piece of jewelery without asking. Still, she may as well find out. She went up the steps, the guards all bowing before her and soon she was in the Great Hall.
"Nelly!" Alice cried out, seeing one of the Queen's chambermaids. "I heard the Queen wanted to see me?"
"Oh, Alice, it is so good to see you! I'm so happy you came back. And you should see the Hatter! I've never seen him so delirious with joy as he was when he rushed in this morning. I'll go and let her majesty know you are here."
Alice waited. She was a little anxious to see Queen Mirana again, especially since she had just recently found out that she and Tarrant used to be lovers. She had to quell a surge of jealousy and remind herself that Tarrant loved her and her alone. There was no need to be jealous.
When the Queen arrived she smiled a lovely smile and held out her arms. Alice gladly entered them and the two embraced affectionately.
"I almost cannot believe that you've returned," the Queen said. "We all hoped, especially Hatter, but we didn't dare hope you would truly, actually return to us."
"Well, I have and I intend to stay. But, your majesty, I need your advice and maybe even your help."
"Anything, my dear."
Alice smiled. "Well, I want to have something constructive to do. I love Tarrant more than my own life, but I don't just want to wait around the cabin all day when he's not there. Is there something I can do for some sort of employment? I don't even need money, I just want to be useful and occupied."
Queen Mirana thought for moment. "My dear, I hadn't even thought of that. Why don't you come and visit me in several days and we'll discuss it. I'm sure there are plenty of things you can do here. But for now, just enjoy yourself and settle in. Become accustomed to your new world. Don't be in a hurry to add employement to all of that just yet. Oh, and before I take you to your anxious lover...oh, I'm sorry. He told you, did he?"
The Queen had noticed Alice's wince. Alice nodded slowly.
"Dear, that was a long time ago, and neither of us had any illusions. Just mutual friendship and regard. We both knew we were awaiting our soul-bond mates. Please, trouble yourself no more about the matter."
Alice nodded. "I won't. I know how much he loves me and how much I love him. I can...well...feel it even when we are apart."
The Queen smiled. "Yes, it is wonderful, is it not? We here in Underland have a constant connection with our bond-mates. Do you intend to make it official?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"To marry. To declare your Bond before the Realm."
"Oh, I am certainly willing, but Tarrant hasn't asked me. Where I come from it is customary for the man to make the proposal. I certainly do not conform to anything as a matter of course, but in this case I would rather he decide that. I am content either way, your majesty. Our love is more than enough for me. Our Bond is like marriage anyway, is it not? We have no need to even speak of marriage yet. Or ever if he doesn't care to or think about it." Then she had another thought. "Oh, my dresses! We must pay you for the fabrics and..."
The Queen waved her hand dismissively. "No, no. I have fabric that even Hatter couldn't use up for at least a century already on hand. No, nothing from either of you. You saved us, Alice. You saved our realm. And Hatter played his part, too. I want to offer you both a new home, very private, not far from where you are now. Your own private lake, such as you have now, but a new home with all the best amenities and even a wing for Hatter to work if he is of a mind. He has also told me you are quite the accomplished musician in the Otherworld. I can provide you with a piano-forte and a harp. What say you?"
"I am honoured, your majesty. But all of that is hardly necessary. Our current home..."
"Well, just think about it. If the two of you decide to remain in the Windmill house then perhaps you can consider allowing me to provide remodeling and new furnishings and updates." Then she winked at Alice. "And something tells me that Tarrant will propose to you soon, my dear. Ah, ah! Don't ask me. I just know such things. Now, come along with me." She offered Alice her arm.
Alice was still stunned, but she nodded her assent and took the Queen's arm and walked with her down several long hallways until they heard the sound of murmuring, whistling, and garbled chatter.
"He always does that when he works," the Queen whispered. "He gets extremely...ah...verbal."
They entered an enormous room with walls full of shelves overflowing with fabrics and all sorts of dress-making sundries. Sewing machines of various sizes were everywhere as well as baskets of buttons, beads, ribbons, scissors, and things Alice didn't even recognize.
"Hatter!" the Queen said loudly.
He didn't hear her. "Must make Alice-Sweetling-Love a pretty tea dress! No, many, many tea dresses! Oh, yes, and many lovely stockings and shoes and boots and..."
"Tarrant Hightopp!" the Queen said, more loudly. He looked up from his wildly snipping scissors on a piece of blue ribbon.
"Sweetling!" he cried out in utter joy. He didn't even seem to notice the Queen as he leapt over two tables and rushed to sweep her into his arms. "Sweetling! Come see what I've begun! Come see!"
Alice laughed as he rained kisses upon her upturned face. "Tarrant, please, pay your respects to the Queen, first!"
He then noticed her. "Your majesty!" He bowed deeply. "I do apologize..."
"Never mind. I understand. I'll leave you two alone now. And from now on, both of you may address me as Mirana in private. After all, we are friends" She swept out of the room with a grace that Alice admired. She herself had grace, but this Queen reminded her of how long it had been since she had utilized it.
After Tarrant gave her a long, deep, passionate kiss that made Alices knees buckle he greedily drank in her appearance. "You look so lovely! And you found it! You found it! I cannot believe that you actually found it!"
Alice swallowed nervously and fingered the necklace. "I was afraid that you may be angry that I went through your things but I saw this necklace and..."
"I made it for you, didn't you know?" he asked. "I made it for you many years ago when you came here younger but I knew I would love you forever. I made it for you hoping that if you loved me back someday I could give it to you and you would accept it!"
"It's beautiful, Tarrant!" Her eyes threatened to well with tears. "But how..."
Tarrant grinned. "I simply found a pretty stone one day and I used rough paper to polish it and polish it and polish it and shape it until it was just right. Then I bought a pretty silver setting and polished it some more until it fit perfectly. It only took a few months to make, sweetling."
"A few months?!" Alice cried. "Tarrant, that was so much work! You didn't have to..."
"Shush," he said gently, placing a gloved finger over her lips. "It was worth it. To see you wearing it now..." His eyes glittered with pure happiness. "It was all worth it, sweetling. I'm not a jeweler, you see, but it was all worth it because I did it right! I did it right and you like it! And you've accepted it and are wearing it! That means...maybe..."
"Maybe what, Tarrant?" Alice asked, awed at how pleased and touched he was by her wearing his gift.
"Maybe...no, sweetling. Not now. Not just yet. Not until everything is ready and perfect. For now, just wear it."
He fingered it gently, beaming with pride and delight and then slipped his finger below it, into her cleavage. "And naughty naughty for making my shirt look so much better on you than on me!" He kissed her again. "And one last thing about this...everything that is mine is yours. It is ours, sweetling. Everything. I hope to have more and better things soon but always know that. You understand, don't you?"
Alice smiled and traced her finger over his lower lip. "Yes, my beloved, I do. She embraced him tightly. "I missed you when I woke up! But I suppose the flowers and the lovely note made up for you leaving me without waking me first."
He smiled a surprisingly shy smile. "You were so beautiful asleep," he whispered. "But I still see exhaustion in you. And beneath your eyes." He gently touched the darkness under her eyes that was accentuated by her pale, white skin. "You need more rest, sweetling. And before you begin any employment from the Queen...yes, I know you will be discussing something, you must promise me you'll rest up first! Promise!"
Alice sighed in surrender. "Very well. Why is it I can deny you nothing?"
He suddenly plunged his finger deeper into her cleavage and began to stroke the side of one breast. "Really? Truly? Then I know tonight will be as special as last night. No, more so. Each time is not as good as the first, sweetling. Each time is better."
Alkice sagged against him and he held her up. "Are you all right? Are you tired, sweetling?"
His finger now out of her cleavage Alice regained some of her strength and composure. "You and your finger and your words nearly did me in!" she scolded without heat. "You must be careful! You must realize how very much I love you and how passionate is my nature!"
Relieved, he smiled and his diamond-rimmed eyes shimmered. "I understand. But now let me show you what I've begun! I have ideas of my own, but I also want you to tell me some things that you want. I can make anything! Just you see!"
He pulled her over to where he had been wildly snipping the blue ribbon when she and the Queen had entered the room. "This is your first tea dress, sweetling. It is almost complete. What do you think? Be honest! I won't mind tossing it away and redoing it if it doesn't appeal to you."
Alice gazed at the nearly finished dress. It was a scoop-necked tea-length dress with cap sleeves. She had told him she preferred short sleeves in clothing designed for comfort as well as fashion. Unlike most of the dresses worn by women in Wonderland this one was tapered to Alice's figure. She didn't care for a lot of puffing and poufing and wide lace. Those were all too gaudy for her. This was perfect. And the colours! He had selected a fabric of royal blue and pink with threads of gold running through-out. He had trimmed it with 1/2 inch blue lace and was now finishing the gold coloured ribbon that would complete the bodice lacing.
"It...it..." she stammered. Tarrant looked at her and appeared as if he thought he had made a mistake in his selection. "It is positively lovely!" she at last gasped out. "I adore it!" She picked it up and held it to her body. "It is perfect! Oh, Tarrant, I do love it! And you..." Her eyes welled with tears. "You remembered everything I said about dresses like this, didn't you? You remembered!"
"Of course, sweetling," he said, smiling broadly now. "I always remember what you say. I always remember because everything you say to me is important." He gently touched her tears. "No need for tears, sweet Alice. This is my pleasure!"
"But this is different! This is so foreign to every other dress that you would ordinarily make, isn't it?"
"Yes, but I do love a challenge! Now, I was intending to make you stockings to match and also new boots. And of course a blue and pink hat, not too large, and not with fake birds or fruits, hey?"
Alice laughed. "Yes, stockings and boots would be splendid, even though I don't always wear stockings. And you are right. I don't care for overlarge hats! Well, perhaps on former occasions once in a while, but not for day wear." Tears sprang anew. "I don't deserve you! I really don't!" And for the first time since she had arrived back in Wonderland she lost control of herself. She sank to her knees and began sobbing.
Tarrant took the dress from her and knelt beside her, taking her in his arms. "Oh, sweetling, you deserve the best!" He kissed her tear-stained face and stroked her back as she sobbed into his chest. "Shhhh...don't be sad! Perhaps you are just overwhelmed by the past few days?"
She nodded and he sighed in relief. It made sense. She had left a familiar world for an alien one. She had taken a chance on a man she was not sure could love her. And she was still afloat in a sea of uncertainty about even her short term future here. What she would do, how they would live...When he thought about it he suddenly wondered how she had held up for so long without a good cry to release all her pent-up emotions. He held her tighter and cooed comforting words to her until her sobs subsided.
"I'm sorry," she managed at last, "I've wet your coat!" She drew back, embarrassed at having cried all over him.
"I'm honoured, sweetling. That you would let me comfort you; that you would shed precious tears on me. I'm truly honoured. Besides, if I cried on you would you be upset?"
"Well, then, see? It is not only permissible but our solemn responsibility to cry on each other if we need to."
Now she was laughing. Her Tarrant always knew the right things to say! He smiled.
"Yes," she said. "But I want to leave for a little while now. I need some fresh air. I think I'll take a stroll in the Garden. I'll be back shortly."
"Shall I go with you?"
"No, my love, I just want to be alone for a little while. I just need some time to reflect on all of this, to take it all in."
"I understand. When you come back I'll have your stockings done!"
"I can't wait!" she said, wrapping her arms about his neck as they rose to their feet. She stared into his emerald eyes for several long moments. He stared back, tenderly. She rose up on her toes and kissed him. He immediately bent his knees to accommodate her lesser height and kissed her back, gently and tenderly. Alice stroked his cheekbones with both thumbs and he closed his eyes in pleasure. She then laced her fingers behind his neck. "I love you, you know. For always."
"I know," he whispered back. "And I love you and am yours, for always."
Well, I hope you liked it. This is just a snapshot of Alice beginning to adjust to her new life with Tarrant Hightopp in the Underland; her Wonderland.