Later that night Alice was still crying on the bed when she heard a tap on the window. Wiping her tears she got up to see what the cause was. She looked out the window to see that it was none other than the White Rabbit, using his paw to motion her to come outside. She opened the window and climbed out. The Rabbit put his paw to his lips and they quickly ran away as quietly as they could. "You're not here to take me back to the Queen, are you?" Alice whispered, her voice trembling.
"Of course not, I'm here to rescue you."
"But how? And why?"
"Because Wonderland is not a safe place, especially for people like you. It could drive you to madness," he said gesturing his head in the direction of Hatter's home. "I found my way to your world on accident, but I haven't forgotten how to get there. If I could get there, then so could you."
"Then why do the Queen and Hatter say that there is no way back?"
"Because there is no way back to their world. They come from a different world than you do. And honestly, it's not fair what Hatter is doing to you. Just because he can't get home doesn't mean he should stop you. Now come on!"
The White Rabbit hopped along while Alice followed. "Mr. Rabbit." He stopped and turned around. "Thank you."
The Rabbit couldn't help but smile at the little girl's wide-eyed charm. "You're very welcome Miss..."
"Miss Alice." Together they ran into the night, Alice once again following the White Rabbit as he led her back home.
The next morning Hatter woke up. He started to make breakfast as he waited for Alice to wake up. He waited all morning, and when he saw how late it was he decided to go inspect the situation. "Alice?" he asked gently knocking on the door. There was no answer. "Alice, are you alright?" There was still silence. Hatter opened the door to find the bed empty and the window open. He frantically ran to the window and looked outside. "Alice!" he shouted at the top of his lungs, but there was no response but the empty landscape. "Alice!" he shouted again, this time with tears forming in his eyes, but still no response. He stepped away from the window, angrily kicking the bed and knocking down furniture, before he fell to his knees sobbing uncontrollably. "Alice, why did you leave me?"
Alice's mom stormed into the sheriff's office at the police station. "Any updates?"
"I'm sorry, but still no sign of her," Emma Swan replied.
"It's been three weeks! How could there still be nothing after three weeks?"
"Look Mrs. Lewis, right now I'm currently balancing two missing person cases, and one of them is presenting itself with more evidence. But I promise you that as soon as anything turns up I will let you know. Whoever is behind this certainly knows how to cover their tracks really well."
Jefferson's initial plan was to take Alice, continue where they had left off, and possibly help him back home. He loved Alice like another daughter, and anticipated that she would be older, but what he didn't anticipate would be his growing romantic interest in her. It was with these feelings that he knew that the Alice who lived with him now was not the same Alice from before, and he was okay with that. In fact, he found himself having stronger feelings for this Alice than the last one. While the previous Alice shunned him, she opened herself up to him. She was the only thing that made sense in his crazy, messed up world, the only thing that currently made his life livable. He still wanted to protect and take care of her, but the more he spent time with her, the harder it was for him to be around her. He always promised himself that he would never love another woman after his wife passed, which caused him to emotionally torture himself the more he was around Alice. Not to mention that he had spent the past twenty-eight years trying to find a way to reunite with his daughter, and for how close he was with his plan, he couldn't let his love for Alice overshadow that for his daughter.
However Jefferson wasn't the only one who was being emotionally tortured. Alice was also struggling to repress her growing feelings for Jefferson. She hated that she was falling for her captor, but she always enjoyed spending time with him and couldn't help but be attracted to his dark mysterious ways. It also felt like the more time they spent together, the saner he seemed. That is until recently when he seemed to become more subdued and want to spend less time with her.
One day Alice was wandering around the house looking for Jefferson, but she couldn't find him. Finally she heard the front door open, which was odd for her since he barely ever left the house. She ran down and saw him carrying a bag. "For you," he said smiling, handing her the bag.
She took it and pulled out the content: a semi-formal white and light blue satin dress. "It's beautiful."
Alice felt at the bottom another smaller bag. She pulled it out, pulling out the little black box inside. She gasped in awe when she opened the box: a rhinestone necklace in the shape of a rose. "Oh my god, thank you!" She reached over and hugged Jefferson. When she backed away, she looked somewhat concerned. "But what's the occasion for all of this?"
"I want you to wear these tonight at dinner. I have something important to tell you." Alice couldn't help but feel both nervous and excited, not knowing whether to anticipate good or bad news.
Later that night as Jefferson finished setting the table he looked up to see Alice enter wearing her new outfit. "How do I look?" she asked apprehensively.
Jefferson stared at her in awe. "You look beautiful." She smiled as she sat down while he went to bring in dinner.
The two of them barely touched their food, nervously anticipating the important news. Jefferson took a deep breath. "Alice, you are happy here, right?"
"Of course. Why do you ask?"
"Remember when I said that I didn't want you to leave because I was afraid that you would rat me out to the police?"
"If I were to let you out, would you still do that?"
Alice was torn. On the one hand she felt obligated to do so, but on the other she had grown to care for Jefferson and she would never want to turn on him in such a way, especially because with the exception of the first night he never actually did anything to her. "No," she finally said. "I wouldn't. Again, why do you ask these?"
Jefferson reached across the table to hold Alice's hands in his. "Alice, you are an amazing and beautiful young woman who deserves to go out and live your life. I can't hold you back like this anymore and force you to spend your life locked up away from the world like me."
"Are you saying what I think you're saying?" Alice asked nervously, pulling her arms back.
Jefferson sighed. "Alice, I think it would be better for you if I set you free."
"But I don't want to leave. This is more of a home than I've ever had."
"I can't keep you away from your family. They're probably worried sick about you."
"I don't care. Why do you want this, especially after all the trouble you took to getting me here? You kept saying that I would learn to love my new life with you, and now that I do you want me to leave? What's your real reason for this?" she demanded. Now it was Jefferson's turn to be torn. On the one hand he didn't want to tell her how he truly felt about her, but on the other hand he didn't want to lie to her. Impatient, Alice stood up. "When you feel ready to tell me, you'll know where to find me," she said heading out of the room.
Jefferson stood up. "Alice wait!"
Alice stopped. "What?" she asked in a low voice, not even bothering to look at him.
Jefferson approached her and turned her around to look at him, holding her hands in his. "Alice, there's something important I need to tell you."
"Alice, I…" Jefferson felt himself tense up. No matter how hard he tried, no words appeared to come out of his mouth. All he could do was just stare at her.
Alice felt his hands rapidly shaking around hers. "Yes…" she said in anticipation. She could see tears starting to form in his eyes.
Jefferson finally let go. "I can't do this," he said storming out of the room.
Alice wandered the halls until she heard the sound of sobbing coming from behind the door to her room. Quietly she walked in to see him sitting with his back to her, not acknowledging her entering the room. She looked over his shoulder to see that he was fiddling with her dress from the night they met.
"Jefferson?" Alice said quietly as she placed her hand on his shoulder. Jefferson turned around, his eyes stained with tears, embarrassed about how he looked in front of her. He then turned away from her, as she made her way in front of him and kneeled down. Taking him by surprise, she then proceeded to wrap her arms around him and gently press her head against his chest. "I love you too," she said in barely above a whisper.
"What did you just say?"
"I said that I love you too." It was Alice's turn to get teary eyed.
Jefferson gently lifted Alice's chin so that they were looking into each other's eyes. He then leaned forward, pulling Alice into a passionate kiss, as both their tears merged together. When they pulled away, Jefferson stood up and held his hand out to her, Alice blindly accepting.
He led her downstairs to the main entrance, where her eyes widened in fear and she pulled away from him. "No!" she cried, "Please don't make me leave!"
"Alice," he said approaching her. "I'm doing this for your own good."
"But I don't understand why I can't just stay here and live with you."
"Because you deserve better than me."
"But I want to be with you."
"I know." He took her hand again and led her out to his car. Once inside, he asked for her address, and she reluctantly told him.
Jefferson pulled up about a block away from the house. "Alice, listen to me. As hard as it may seem after everything that's happened, you have to promise me something." Alice nodded. "You must promise me that you'll forget me, and all that's happened between us."
Alice just stared at him, holding back more tears. "I can't," she finally said.
"I know, but promise me you'll try. Just looking back and thinking about me will only cause more pain. But just know that no matter what, I will always love you. And it's because I love you that I want you to live your life and forget about me."
Alice just stared at him, not sure what to really say. Jefferson then leaned in for another kiss, which Alice gladly accepted. When they pulled apart, he got out of the car and went around to open her door. She cowered away, not wanting to get out. "No!" she cried as he pulled her out of the car. "I don't want to live without you! Please don't leave me!" He walked with her a few steps away from the car and kissed her again before leaving her alone. He then got back in and drove off, looking at her through the rear-view mirror as she stood there watching, fighting back his own tears.
When he returned home, he staggered upstairs back to Alice's room. He finally collapsed onto her bed, once again holding her dress. "Oh Alice," he whispered, sobbing into the dress. "Why did you have to love me?"