The Wedding: Reception

Song List (in case you want to get these ready and listen along):

Nobody Does It Better, Carly Simon

1,2,3,4, Plain White T's

Cha Cha Slide, Mr. C

Never Have I Ever, Hot Chelle Rae

What A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song), Chris Young

*o*o*o*

"At this time it's my pleasure to introduce, for the very first time, Mr. and Mrs. David Hatter!"

Alice and Hatter swept into the dining room, grinning. Alice knew that her feminist sensibilities should be offended by the Mrs. David Hatter thing, but she just couldn't drum up any outrage; the fact of it was that she was very much enjoying being Mrs. David Hatter.

"The bride and groom have each chosen a special song for the evening. The first dance will be to Alice's selection." The DJ immediately started the music and Hatter drew Alice close. They moved together slowly, swaying and turning.

Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it
Half as good as you
Baby you're the best

I wasn't looking
But somehow you found me
I tried to hide from your love, babe
But like heaven above me
The spy who loves me
Is keeping all my secrets safe tonight

Hatter grinned as he listened to the lyrics and Alice was glad he liked the song. She's heard it a million times since she was a kid, but one day it just clicked in her head; this was a Hatter song.

And nobody does it better
Though sometimes I wish
Someone could
Nobody does it
Quite the way you do
Why'd you have to be so good

The way that you hold me
Whenever you hold me
There's some kind of magic inside you
That keeps from running
Just keep it coming
How'd you learn to do the things you do

When the song ended Hatter pulled Alice into a tight hug and kissed her soundly, to applause and laughter from their wedding guests. The DJ put on some soft instrumental music.

"If you haven't already enjoyed your appetizers, please do so now. Before the entrees come out, we'll have time for a very special song."

Alice and Hatter joined Lena and Edward at the head table and Alice was never happier to see a garden salad in all her life; she was starving. Before she'd taken more than a bite, the clinking of the glasses started.

"Why are they doing that?" Hatter asked, confused. Alice laughed.

"It means they want us to kiss," she explained.

"Oh, well, if they insist." He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her, long enough to elicit a catcall from Uncle Mike.

"Jeez, get a room," Lena complained, shielding her eyes.

"Well…" Hatter said speculatively. Alice elbowed him.

"Down boy. Eat your salad."

Alice wolfed down her greens, then did a spot check to make sure she hadn't gotten any of the vinaigrette on her dress.

"Tooth check," she said to Lena, who made sure there was nothing green stuck to her teeth.

Alice took a deep breath and watched as Hatter finished off his own salad. The moment she'd been practicing for was finally upon her and she was incredibly nervous.

"Alright, love?" Hatter asked, wiping dressing off his chin.

"Fine. I'm fine." She gave him a quick kiss on his cheek. "Be right back."

Alice gave Uncle Mike the high sign and headed over to the DJ's table. He was an amiable guy named Todd in his mid-thirties with a shock of white-blonde hair arranged in a faux-hawk.

"Are you ready?" he asked her.

"As ready as I'm going to get."

"Okay then." Todd turned the instrumental music down and got back on his microphone. "If I can have your attention! Would the groom please come down to the dance floor and have a seat?"

A chair had been dragged out to the middle of the small dance floor, adorned with white and blue crepe paper bells. Hatter shot Alice a quizzical look, but did as he was instructed. Uncle Mike joined Alice, pulling his acoustic guitar out from behind the DJ table.

Alice surveyed the room. It seemed cavernous to her at the moment, though that was likely because her family and friends barely filled half of it. It was made for much larger groups, but Alice had reserved the whole thing because she didn't want to share her special day with strangers.

"Alice, you have the floor!" Todd handed her the microphone and she just stared at if for a minute, her stomach starting to knot up with anxiety. But then she looked at Hatter and forced herself to breathe.

"There's something that Hatter loves me to do that I've never done in public before." Alice blushed as soon as she said that, hearing how it sounded. Lena's spluttering laugh didn't help.

"What I mean is, Hatter loves it when I sing," Alice said quickly. "And so I wanted to sing a song for him, something special. Uncle Mike and I have been practicing for weeks. So anyway, here goes. This is for you, Hatter."

Alice closed her eyes as Uncle Mike started to play, waiting for her cue. When it was time, she opened her eyes and looked only at Hatter.

Give me more lovin' than I've ever had
Make it all better when I'm feelin' sad
Tell me that I'm special even when I know I'm not

Make me feel good when I hurt so bad
Barely gettin' mad, I'm so glad I found you
I love bein' around you
You make it easy, it's as easy as 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4

There's only one thing to do
Three words for you

I love you
There's only one way to say
Those three words and that's what I'll do

I love you

Give me more lovin' from the very start
Piece me back together when I fall apart
Tell me things you never even tell your closest friends

Make me feel good when I hurt so bad
Best that I've had, I'm so glad I found you
I love bein' around you

You make it easy, it's as easy as 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4

There's only one thing to do
Three words for you
I love you
There's only one way to say
Those three words and that's what I'll do

I love you
I love you

Alice took advantage of Uncle Mike's solo to try and compose herself. She hadn't expected to get so emotional, but singing this song to Hatter – finally! – was a lot different than singing to her uncle. And seeing the complete and utter joy on his face while she sang was totally undoing her. She took a deep, shuddering breath and finished the song.

You make it easy, it's easy as 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4

There's only one thing to do
Three words for you
I love you
There's only one way to say
Those three words and that's what I'll do

I love you
I love you

1, 2, 3, 4
I love you
I love you
I love you

By the time she finished, Alice had a painful lump in her throat. But she didn't have time to worry about it, because Hatter was up and out of the chair in a flash. He pulled her into a bone-crushing hug.

"Thank you, my Alice," he whispered in her ear. "You were brilliant!"

Everyone else was cheering and Uncle Mike made exaggerated bows before taking his seat again. Daisy intercepted them on their way back to the head table, beaming.

"I never knew you could sing! You were so great!"

"Thanks, Daisy." Alice gave her a quick hug.

"Well, I do believe dinner is being served," said Todd, reclaiming the microphone. "Let's put on a little mood music."

More romantic instrumental music flowed out of the speakers as the waitresses emerged carrying trays of food. There had been four choices of entrée for the guests to choose from – Alice had gone with the Scottish salmon, which looked positively succulent. Hatter, ever the meat man, had the filet mignon, though he seemed a bit dubious about the garlic spinach.

For a while the only sound, besides the music, was the clatter of silverware and the murmur of quiet conversations. Alice traded a forkful of salmon for a taste of Lena's vegetarian lasagna, and outright stole a piece of Hatter's beef.

"Oi! That's mine!" Hatter protested. In retaliation he nabbed one of her wild mushrooms.

"Forget it, Dave," Lena said. "Your days of 'mine' are over. You're married now."

"Yeah, it's all 'ours' now," Alice said. She made a move toward his plate with her fork, but he blocked her with his steak knife.

"If you wanted the meat, you should've ordered it." He narrowed his eyes, but the effect was spoiled by the half-smile on his face.

"I just wanted a little taste," Alice said, batting her eyelashes at him.

"Please." Lena rolled her eyes.

"Here's your taste, love." Hatter pulled Alice forward with a hand on her chin and kissed her.

"Mmm…just the way I like it!" Alice murmured.

Edward cleared his throat and hid a smile behind his napkin. Alice laughed and made to move away when the clinking of the glasses began again.

"Demanding group, that," Hatter remarked. But he happily obliged them by kissing his bride again.

*o*o*o*

When everyone had finished with dinner, and the waitresses were starting to clear the dishes, Todd got back on the microphone.

"Okay, everyone, time to work off that big meal! Let's do the Cha Cha Slide!"

Alice dragged Hatter to the dancefloor, where everyone who wanted to dance got in a double line. Charlie remained on the sidelines, watching.

"What's this?" Hatter asked.

"Just follow along to the song," Alice said. "It's a line dance. It's fun!"

To the left
Take it back now y'all
One hop this time
Right foot let's stomp
Left foot let's stomp
Cha cha real smooth

It didn't take long for Hatter to get into the swing of things, and Alice cracked up every time he did the cha cha because he'd really get his hips swinging. Edward bowed out, claiming the hopping was a bit much for his knees, and so did Rose. But Alice's grandpa stayed right in there, clearly concentrating on the directions.

"You look great, Poppy!" she called over her shoulder.

"Not as great as you," Hatter said. When it was time to cha cha again, he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her back, moving their hips together in time to the music.

Right foot two stomps
Left foot two stomps
Now slide to the left
Slide to the right
Criss-cross
Criss-cross
Cha cha real smooth

Hatter got tangled up in the criss-cross, and Alice couldn't help showing off by hiking up her skirt just a bit.

"No one likes a braggart , love," he said.

"You're doing great," Alice said with a grin. "For someone who can't dance."

"You just wait," Hatter warned.

They finished off the Cha Cha Slide, everyone laughing. When Alice went to get back to her seat, Hatter grabbed her hand and kept her on the dance floor.

"No rest for the new bride," Todd said merrily. "David would like to dance with Alice to the song that he selected. Hope you have comfortable shoes on!"

Alice looked at Hatter, curious about the song he'd picked. He just grinned at her, and when the music started she couldn't help but laugh. Trust him to pick such a fast song for a wedding dance! Hatter took her in his arms and began whirling her around the dance floor.

Never ever before
Has a colorful world
Held a colorful girl
Like you, you gotta fly

Never ever have I
Been just black or just white
All this freedom in flight
Has got me feeling high

Never have I ever felt like this before
I've never been the one to knock
But now I'm at your door
Listen very closely and you'll hear the sound
Of a love that makes my heart beat
And my head spin around

I spin round
I spin round
I spin round
I spin round

And spin her Hatter did, until she was dizzy. She had no idea he could dance like that, and she just held on for the ride while he led her through the fast-paced steps. By the end of the song they were laughing together, out of breath and light-headed.

"How did you do that?" Alice gasped.

"Lessons," Hatter replied. He grabbed a glass of water from the nearest table and downed it in one gulp. "Six weeks."

"Wow!" Alice clung to him, still trying to catch her breath. She couldn't believe he did that for her. "That was…impressive."

"You think? Wait till the honeymoon, love." Hatter waggled his eyebrows.

*o*o*o*

Everything was moving along well. Todd played a mix of current songs and oldies so that everyone had a chance to dance. Alice thought she'd never seen anything funnier than Charlie trying to do the YMCA. She was glad he was joining in and having fun, though. She made a mental note to talk to Hatter about how tired he seemed.

"Ooh, this one is for us, Uncle Knight!" Lena grabbed hold of Charlie and made him dance with her to Hero, by David Crosby. Poor Charlie looked decidedly awkward, trying to hold Lena at a proper distance while she did her best to dance close.

"Hope the photographer is getting that, yeah?" Hatter chuckled.

When the song was over and Charlie had hastily retreated back to his table, Todd announced that it was time for cake cutting. Everyone gathered around the table that had the cake on it – a beautiful confection in the shape of a huge teacup, frosted white with blue piping around the rim. It rested on an oversized plate decorated with a scattering of blue gerbera daisies.

Hatter and Alice posed with their hands on the knife before cutting into the teacup and revealing three layers of golden cake interspersed with chocolate cream. When Todd prompted them to feed each other a piece, Alice instinctively pulled back.

"Don't smash it in my face," she said. Hatter looked at her, perplexed.

"Why would I do that?"

"I don't know. A lot of people do. I've always hated that."

"No worries, Alice." Hatter scooped up a modest piece of cake on his fork and carefully fed it to her. "Oops, sorry. Got a bit on you."

"Where?"

"Here." Hatter smeared a little blob of frosting on the tip of her nose.

"I see." Alice forked up a much larger piece of cake and fed it to Hatter, who watched her warily. As soon as he closed his mouth she repaid him with a glob of icing on his own nose.

Hatter just laughed, and kissed Alice's nose, swiping off the frosting with his tongue. She did likewise, and then pulled him back out to dance while the rest of the cake was cut and passed around to the guests.

"So what's left? Just the flower toss?" Hatter asked as they slowly turned in place.

"Yeah, that and the garter." Alice hadn't wanted to include that, having hated being dragged out with all the other single women at other people's weddings. But Hatter had insisted. If they were having an Oyster wedding, they'd be doing all the traditional parts.

"And then we can go home?" he asked with a hint of longing. Alice laughed and rested her head on his shoulder.

"Yes, then we can go home. And tomorrow we head to Hawaii for two weeks of sand, sun and surf."

Another mental note, this time to ask Charlie about getting back to Wonderland. They'd jokingly talked about honeymooning there months ago but had been unable to determine a way of getting there. Now Charlie could maybe act as a go-between and set something up with Jack, for when they got back from Hawaii.

"Two weeks, just the two of us," Hatter murmured. "Suppose I'll have to let you out in your scanties."

"It's a bathing suit, Hatter, and yes, you will. Did you remember to pack yours?"

"Yeah. Any nude beaches in Hawaii?"

"Hatter!" Alice slapped him in the arm. "I am not going to a nude beach."

"Knew we should've got the place with the private beach," Hatter lamented. Alice shook her head.

"Not even on a private beach. No public nudity, Hatter. Going to have to stay pretty firm on that one."

"Something tells me we'll be spending lots of time indoors."

*o*o*o*

Alice and Hatter made the rounds of the tables, taking a few minutes to visit with everyone. Even with so few people invited to the wedding, Alice felt they'd hardly had a minute to talk to anyone.

"You. Alice." Aunt Mattie reached out one skeletal hand and grabbed Alice around the wrist. Alice sighed, then plastered a smile on her face.

"Aunt Mattie! We're so glad you could come!"

"No you're not. But I came anyway." The old woman cackled.

"Aunt Mattie…" Alice's grandmother said, a warning in her voice.

"You cleaned it up," Aunt Mattie said. She pointed to the fan hanging around Alice's wrist, but made no move to touch it.

"My mom did. It looks nice now, doesn't it?"

"You wear it like a trinket," Aunt Mattie said with disdain. "You still don't understand, stupid girl."

"Aunt Mattie, that's enough!" Rose smacked her hand on the table, making the glasses clink together. "You will not insult Alice on her wedding day."

The old woman just grinned, showing yellowed dentures. "Enjoy your trip."

"Thanks," Alice said, confused. "I've never been to Hawaii, so…"

But Aunt Mattie had let go and turned away, clearly not interested in hearing about Alice's honeymoon plans. Her grandmother just shrugged and looked apologetic. She looked like she wanted to say something, but Todd was making another announcement.

"Would Carol and Charlie please join Alice and Hatter on the dance floor. They have chosen a special song to share with you."

Hatter held a hand out to Carol and she took it, putting her other hand on his shoulder. Charlie looked at them, then did the same with Alice.

"What are we doing?" he whispered.

"Dancing," Alice whispered back.

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

"I'm so glad you came," Alice said. "I missed you."

"I missed you as well, Just Alice." Charlie stepped on her foot and hastily apologized.

"When you go back, could you talk to Jack for me?"

"The King? But of course! Um…what would be the nature of this discussion?"

"Hatter and I would like to come back, for a visit. To Wonderland. When we get back from our honeymoon."

"That is wonderful news!" Charlie crowed. Alice shushed him.

"I mean, of course," he continued in a stage whisper. "That we would be greatly appreciative to have the Heroes of Wonderland return, even if only for a short while."

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really sayin', "I love you"

"So you'll do that for me?" Alice asked.

"Of course! You can count on me!" Charlie couldn't have looked any happier, and Alice was glad to give him something to look forward to. Herself as well, if she was being honest. She looked over his shoulder, grinning at the sight of Hatter and her mother dancing and laughing together. Other guests had joined in the dancing as well, including Aunt Patty and Aunt Viv.

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more, than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah

Alice couldn't help but feel that the lyrics were apt, especially today. It really was a wonderful world and she was so happy to be a part of it. When the song ended she gave Charlie a kiss on the cheek. He responded in kind, then gave her a quick hug.

"So what's the good news?" Hatter asked, joining them.

"Ah, Harbinger! Uh…I mean…nephew." Charlie stuttered. "I am greatly looking forward to seeing you again!"

"Again?"

"I'll tell you later," Alice promised. She pulled Hatter away, in search of something cold to drink, before Charlie got too worked up and started thanking the mystical forces; the wedding was quite exciting enough without bringing in the Black Arts.

*o*o*o*

"All the single ladies, front and center!" Todd called out. Alice was amused to see them all gathered together – her mother, Daisy and Lena, her cousins Tami and Kelsey, even Joelle. Luckily Aunt Mattie had been persuaded to stay at her table – rather forcefully – by Alice's grandmother.

"Alice, whenever you're ready!"

With a grin, Alice turned her back to the group. Todd gave her a three count and she hefted the bouquet over her shoulder. She turned as quick as she could and saw that Lena and Kelsey were grappling for the bouquet, scattering blue petals across the dance floor. Lena eventually gained the upper hand and did a little victory dance, bouquet held high over her head. Alice shook her head. Her Maid of Honor had clearly been partaking of the cash bar.

"Okay, bachelors! Who will be the lucky guy that gets to put the garter on the Maid of Honor's leg?"

This was a slightly smaller group consisting of Edward, Peter, Charlie, and Alice's younger cousin Billy.

"What is the purpose of this?" Charlie asked Hatter.

"You catch the garter and put it on Lena's leg. It's an Oyster thing."

"Ah, some sort of obscure ritual. Of course."

A chair was brought out for Alice to sit on, and Todd put on something that sounded like cheesy seventies porn music.

"David, go get that garter!"

Hatter needed no further prompting. On his knees, he pulled Alice's dress up just enough to get underneath it, until all that was sticking out was his legs. Alice giggled, embarrassed, while various people wolf-whistled and that ridiculous music played. Hatter's hand slid up her thigh and his fingers wrapped around the garter. Just for a moment, the fingers of his other hand took a momentary side trip that had Alice almost jumping out of the chair.

"Hatter!"

"Someone get him a snorkel!" Lena called out.

Hatter reappeared, grinning, to applause. He swung the garter around on his finger. "Ready, mates?"

Mirroring Alice, Hatter turned his back and gave the garter a good toss over his shoulder. Whether by chance or design – and Alice would put nothing past Hatter – the garter sailed right into Charlie's hands. The Knight looked down at it, flushing bright red.

"Uncle Charlie, you are one lucky man! Lena, if you'll take a seat."

Lena was more than happy to do so. Charlie shot a panicked look at Hatter, who only nodded at him and smiled. With obvious reluctance, Charlie knelt at Lena's feet. His eyes widened when she put her foot up on his shoulder.

"Here you go, Uncle Knight. Just slide it on up."

Alice put her hand over her eyes. Poor Charlie, he looked so scandalized; she couldn't watch. Whatever happened, it was over quickly and Charlie made a swift retreat to the other side of the room. Edward followed him, presumably to offer support and possibly a stiff drink.

"Time to cut her off," Hatter said, drawing Alice's attention away from Charlie.

"What?" she asked, but he only pointed. Lena was grinning triumphantly, one side of her dress hiked up to her thigh.

"I'm engaged! I got engaged!"

Before Alice could make a move in her direction, Daisy took Lena by the arm and pulled her aside. Daisy also waylaid a waitress and requested some coffee. Alice was relieved that someone else was on the job, and reminded herself to thank Daisy later.

*o*o*o*

Todd was back on the microphone. "Can I have your attention? This party is drawing to a close, but before that happens the Best Man would like to make a speech. Edward?"

Edward took the microphone and cleared his throat. "Um…hi, everyone. I haven't known David for very long, less than a year, but in that time I've learned quite a lot about him. I know that he has a good head for business, and he can charm the scales off a snake."

There was a titter of laughter at that.

"I know that he loves Alice in all the right ways, and would do anything for her. It's been a pleasure working with him, and being his friend. Anyone who can count David Hatter as a friend is lucky indeed. I was incredibly honored when he asked me to be his best man. I wish David and Alice the best of life, and know that as long as they stay together they'll have it. There never was a couple more in love, or more suited to each other. Congratulations."

Everyone raised a glass of champagne in toast. When Edward returned to the head table Alice gave him a big hug.

"Thank you, Edward. That was lovely."

"You've quite the silver tongue yourself," Hatter remarked. His eyes were bright and Alice knew how moved he'd been by the speech. He and Edward exchanged a back-slapping man hug.

"Please join Alice and David on the dance floor as they dance their last dance of the evening. This song was requested by the Maid of Honor."

Hatter groaned, but Alice only started laughing when the strains of country guitar began to play.

Tuxedo waiters, black ties
White tablecloths and red wine
We've been plannin' this night
Lookin' forward to it for some time

Honey, I know you love gettin' dressed up
And you know I love showin' you off
Watchin' your baby blue eyes
Dancin' in the candlelight glow
All I can think about is gettin' you home

Hatter grinned and pulled Alice tightly against him. He ground his hips into hers suggestively.

"This is a good song, yeah?"

"Behave yourself," Alice laughed. But she knew how he felt. She couldn't wait to get him home, to consummate their new relationship as husband and wife.

Now honey, I know by that look in your eyes
And your hand drawin' hearts onto mine
That our night out of the house
Ain't gonna last too long
When all you can think about is gettin' me home

Walkin' through the front door
Seein' your black dress hit the floor
Honey there sure ain't nothing
Like you lovin' me all night long
And all I can think about is gettin' you home

"I love you, my wife," Hatter whispered in Alice's ear. "When we get home I'll show you how much."

"I can't wait," Alice murmured back. She bit his earlobe, sucking on it just for a second; she knew how much he liked that.

"Get a room!" Lena called out.

Alice blushed, and pulled back just a bit. "It's definitely time to go."

When the song finished, the photographer pulled Hatter and Alice aside, wanting to get some photos out on the dock as the sun went down. They walked out hand in hand, and Alice still felt like she was flying. She'd never understood about weddings, never saw what the big deal was. But now she knew. She had declared her love for Hatter in front of close friends and family, promised him that she'd love him forever. And he'd done the same, without hesitation. Alice never thought she'd be so incredibly happy.

"Okay, you two! Let's get one of you looking into each other's eyes."

Alice and Hatter were happy to comply, and while the shutter was busily clicking away on the camera they kissed again.

"Oh, that's going to be a beautiful shot!" Carol said, coming out on the dock.

"These two get any happier, they're going to fly away," chuckled the photographer.

Hatter and Alice assumed several other poses, some of them silly and some of them romantic. After about ten minutes, Alice was ready to go back inside. It was getting chilly outside now that the sun was mostly down and she wanted to finish things up and go home.

"One more," the photographer insisted. "Alice, stand in front of David. Put your arms around her…yes, perfect. Now, Alice, open the fan and hold it just below your eyes."

"The fan?" Alice asked.

"It'll be beautiful," the photographer promised. Alice shrugged and pulled the fan off of her wrist. With a twist of her fingers she flicked it open.

And left her mother and the photographer standing on the dock, open-mouthed, when the wooden planks dropped out from under her feet and she and Hatter disappeared from sight.

Down a rabbit hole.


AN: Special thanks to Alaina Downs for her help in getting this chapter finally written and this set of stories finished. She kept cracking the whip, and also gave me some help with scenes. You should check out her new story, Scarborough Fair. Be warned…it's dark and scary and incredibly riveting!

Thanks also to Celticbriarrose, for suggesting the last song. I told you I'd find a place to use it, it just took me a while. LOL!

And yes, the White Rabbit's fan has indeed opened a rabbit hole, right under Hatter and Alice's feet. I told you this Wonderland artifact would play a big role and I wasn't kidding! LOL! I was going to use it earlier, but I really wanted them to enjoy their reception first. Should be one heck of a honeymoon, eh? ::grins::

This chapter concludes my Happy in the Ever After one-shots. But fear not, faithful readers. I won't leave you hanging. We'll find out what happens to Alice and Hatter at the other end of the rabbit hole in a brand new spin-off story called Bringing Back the Magic, which I hope to start work on soon. Stay tuned!

I have never been to Central Park, much less the Loeb Boathouse. I owe all my knowledge of these places to Google and various websites. Any mistakes or discrepancies are mine, and I apologize.

Thanks to everyone who has read and/or reviewed these one-shots! I love all of you! ::grins::