"Alice come meet David."
Alice walked down the hallway through their converted industrial building apartment towards her mom's voice. She stared down at her hands nervously, unsure of what she would say to the construction worker who found her in the abandoned building. As she walked into the family room, she finally looked up. Her eyes lit up and a huge smile broke out on her face.
"Hatter!" she cried and sprinted the next couple of steps into his arms. He hugged her tightly for a moment. and then held by the shoulders at arm's length to take a good look at her. He seemed to be relieved that she was here, in front of him. Alice couldn't believe it.
"Finally," he whispered.
"I missed you," she breathed.
Then he pulled her in for a kiss and Alice kissed him back, hugging him tightly to her. The thought did cross her mind that this must seem shocking for her mother, but she didn't care. They kissed for a bit longer before Alice's mother managed to form words.
"Um, am I missing something here?" She asked, her eyes searching the pair.
Alice reluctantly opened her eyes and stepped away from Hatter, though he kept holding her hand. Alice gestured to the man.
"Mom this is Ha—David. He's an old friend."
"Nice to meet you," Hatter grinned. He lifted an imaginary hat off his head and did a little curtsey. Alice cringed inwardly, already wondering how his Wonderlandian quirks might make things difficult for her in her own world. But that hardly mattered now. He was here and they were together again—finally indeed.
"Nice to meet you too," Alice's mother stammered. She looked pale. "Well, I guess that's all fine then. Right. Okay. Alice, honey, can I talk to you for a moment?"
Alice reluctantly slipped her hand from Hatter's and followed her mom down the hallway into the den. A quick glance on her shoulder proved that Hatter was already making himself at home—he was sprawled on the couch examining Alice's cell phone that she had left on the coffee table. He appeared delighted at the contraption, holding it in his hands at eye level and examining it from all possible angles. He slid the keyboard.
Alice sighed but she felt some excitement flutter in her chest. Earlier, while in front of the looking glass, Hatter had mentioned pizza. But there was so much else to her world! Gelato and martial arts, public transport and museums. She couldn't wait to show him around her world.
Alice was jarred out of her thoughts by her mom shutting the door to the office behind her.
"Who is he?" she asked. She didn't seem mad, necessarily. Just confused. Alice knew she couldn't blame her.
"He's an old friend, mom. Someone who means a lot to me."
"What about Jack?"
"Jack?" Alice repeated. Of course. Jack. She'd be lying if she said she hadn't been thinking of him while she was in the hospital bed while under observation and while waiting for her mother to sign the release forms. She had Jack had shared their laughs and had a good time while dating, but both had gone their separate ways. He had the Duchess, and she had Hatter. Just the thought of him waiting in the living room made her face break out into a grin.
To answer her mom's question, she said quietly: "Jack will always mean something to me too. We're on good terms."
"Well that's a relief." Alice's mom sighed, and then smiled. "Well, have fun then."
"What?" Alice asked, not sure what her mother was getting at.
"You're obviously really happy to be reunited with David. So go out, have fun. Take care though."
"I will," Alice grinned. She skipped to the door of the office and as soon as she opened it she heard a loud ringing—her cell phone at maximum volume.
"Uhh Alice, is it supposed to be doing that?" Hatter's voice came from the living room, his accent more noticeable because of the way his apparent stress made his voice rise in pitch.
Alice smiled to herself and hurried to the living room. Hatter was holding her cell phone as far away from the rest of his body as possible, wincing. The phone was ringing—an obnoxious, old-fashioned sounding ringtone. She gently took it from his hand and shut it off.
Hatter breathed a sigh of relief and stood up. He brushed imaginary lint off his pattered button-up shit. "Right then. Nothing I couldn't handle. Thanks, though."
Alice laughed, and grabbed his hand. She led him to the front door of her apartment, grinning. "Whatever. Let's go out for pizza; I want to show you everything my world has to offer."