Thank you for checking out my story! I really appreciate it and hope you'll like this.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Alice In Wonderland. Lewis Carroll, Disney, and Tim Burton do.
Alice had forgotten.
Alice had broken her promise.
Of course, she couldn't help it. The two worlds were far from the same and memories were bound to be lost between them. Alice still had those crazy and neurotic dreams, but for some reason, they seemed to be more significant than 'dreams' at this point.
Every night, Alice would thrash and roll around in bed, being forced to watch the same scene play out behind her eyelids again. She could never remember exactly what the dream was about. All she could ever remember was the magnitude of vibrant colors and the grins on the faces of friendly but odd-looking creatures. They beckoned to her.
Luckily, Alice at least knew that she should have known something about what she didn't know.
That was reassuring.
She was currently sitting on a rather uncomfortable chair at the front of her manor with a glass of wine. It was such a nice day that Alice had to take the opportunity of the pleasant weather to write in one of her journals outside. She enjoyed writing about the joys and adventures of her life. This time, about the ride home from China. What a storm to sail on! Bad luck, that was.
Alice had written about many things; a snake that had slithered into her bedroom, a frightening trip home at night, dishes falling from shelves with loud, clattering noises, falling down a rabbit hole and ending up-
Alice blinked. What? . . . Falling down a rabbit hole and what?
"Well, there you are!"
Alice turned her head to see the greasy-haired Hamish jogging up to her and had to stifle a sigh. Would this man never give up?
"I've been looking all over for you!" He just noticed the journal resting on Alice's lap and the quill in her hand. "What 's that you're doing?"
Alice played with an expression of innocence and lifted the quill nonchalantly. "Paperwork. For the trade, you know?"
Hamish just looked at her curiously, his brow furrowing.
Alice shut her journal, and again, had to suppress a sigh. She didn't have time for his tricks. Nor did she want the time for such a grotesque thing. "What is it, Hamish?"
"It's just. . . " He walked closer to her and ran his hand through his hair anxiously. "It's still a bit odd, thinking of you as my father's apprentice. For one thing, we've known each other for a many years now and never once have I heard you speak of business. And for another, you're a. . . " He bit his lips, fearing the reaction of his suppressed words.
She met his gaze and raised a brow. "Since I'm a woman?"
He nodded sharply, avoiding her dark eyes as he said, "Even you know that's unusual."
"Which makes it all the better," she said without thinking. She shrugged at Hamish's wry glance. "It's been three years now since I first took the job, Hamish. Your father is my employer, and it'd be best for you not to forget that."
Alice couldn't comprehend the odd look he gave her. He seemed to be full of those today. "Yes, well, it's just that. . . but . . . I . . . "
She was raising her eyebrow at him just as Margaret came round the corner. She smiled as she stuck her head through the doorway. Her hair was done up and she was looking bright.
"Sister, Mother would like to see you in the tea room."
Alice nodded and muttered a goodbye to Hamish, who continued to stand there dumbly. She began to walk with Margaret through the picture-perfect home. She held her journal up to her chest.
Her sister broke the silence. "Er, Alice. . . " She looked over at her Margaret, noticing that her tone had gone awry. She wouldn't meet her eyes. "You know I've been married to Lowell for some very good amount of years now."
Oh, I've made sure of that. Lowell would hardly glance at another woman now.
"And I was curious to know. . . " she continued. "If you were. . . happy? Being. . . alone?" She looked at her then and, was that fear in her eyes? Fear of her or fear for her, she did not know.
Alice couldn't help widening her eyes a bit in surprise. "But I'm not alone. Not really." Alice linked Margaret's arm with hers as they continued to walk. "I have my family, and that fortunately includes my wonderful sister," she said with a smile.
Margaret grinned and nodded. But she could tell that Margaret was not fooled. Alice had swerved away from that single question once again. The truth was, she hadn't met any men along her journey that she'd taken a fancy to. Yes, there had been plenty of charming courtiers she'd encountered on the ship and even in the countries she had visited. But in the end, she still couldn't conjure up any truthful and romantic feeling for them.
No matter how often she reminded herself of her family waiting for her at home, all of them silently hoping that one day she'd finally settle for a man.
They had finally arrived at the tea room, and just as Alice was about to grasp the handle and enter, the door swung open. Her mother was there with a warm smile and kind eyes.
Oh, how much their relationship had changed! Helen was no longer the controlling mother she used to be and Alice wasn't the stubborn girl she had replaced. They were able to come to terms with the other's choices and opinions much more openly now. Of course, Alice knew her mother's standards and morals remained the same, but at least her mother now knew Alice's, as well. Other than that, all was well with them.
Helen looked at her eldest daughter. "Thank you, Margaret."
Margaret smiled and left. Alice was about to step inside the tea room when Helen shook her head and took Alice's arm. She led her down a hallway.
"It's been two weeks since you arrived from China, am I right?" She glanced at her from the corner of her eyes.
"Three," Alice corrected.
"Three. And we're just holding your 'Welcome Back' celebration this 'noon. . ." Helen tisked herself. Her mother sure was a one for parties.
Alice's blank mind finally registered all of what her mother said and had come to a halt. "That's today?"
"Yes. In two hours all the guests will have arrived." Helen looked at her strangely. "I've told you about this so many times, Alice. You should be prepared by now, don't you think?" She tugged at her elbow, indicating for Alice to keep moving.
Today? Two hours? Where had the time gone?
Alice backtracked the past three weeks. She had gotten back from China and had a wonderful dinner. At some point she discussed her business to Lord Ascot; he was very proud of her. She'd spent a lot of time inside; she had gotten a bit of a tan and her mother needed to keep her fair-faced. There had certainly been many get-togethers since her arrival and today, but it still seemed as if Time were slowing things down. . .
Time. Why did Alice think of that as a title? Or name?
Helen stopped in front of Alice's bedroom.
"What you'll be wearing is on your bed. I'll be needing you to put that on rather quickly, actually. . . " She spoke a bit more rapidly now. "That is, if you like it. If you don't, I suppose we could call upon your dresser and get you something else. It's just that-"
"Mother." Alice placed her hand on her arm. "I'm sure it's fine." She smiled warmly and soon enough Helen was smiling with her.
"I'll see you soon, my darling daughter." And with that, Helen ushered Alice inside her bedroom and shut the door behind her.
Alice looked around her plain bedroom. On top of her dresser was a hairbrush, a pile of papers, and a children's book her father had given to her on one of her better birthdays. Her white curtains with blue trimming, which matched the bedspread, were drawn. A dark blue dress with a white collar and cuffs was laid across her bed, as neat as the room itself. Alice had turned down the maid her mother wanted her to have; she could dress herself.
As she was dressing, Alice thought about her father. He had passed so long ago, yet Alice never ceased to think of him often. Helen had said Alice had a lot of Charles in her, and she was right. Their personalities were strong and their imaginations wide. Wherever Charles was, Alice was beside him. She had lost her best friend the day he died.
Alice was now dressed and threw her former outfit to the side. She picked up her journal, which she had placed on her nightstand, and opened up the bottom drawer of the dresser. There were eight other books in that drawer, all full of Alice's stories. She placed her journal inside. Nine.
Clumsily, Alice hit her knee when getting up and had leaned into the wall in order to catch her fall. Kneeling there, Alice spotted something behind her dresser.
She pulled it out. A journal.
Why is this one back here?
She opened it up and skimmed along the words. Alice had no memory of writing this, but it was her own handwriting.
A few words caught her gaze, her heartbeat quickening with each one read.
Hamish. . . rabbit hole. . . caterpillar. . Absolem. . Almost Alice. . vanishing cat , Red Knight, Bandersnatch, Hatter Queen Jabberwocky-
Alice gasped and stared at the book.
And she remembered.
. . . . .
Yes, that chapter was written a long time ago (it's Chapter 1 out of 24. I know you can do that math), but I had to revise it. It seemed so terribly written... I had to. :) I'll also revise Chapter 2. I think that'll be it.