Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 24 of 48

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The weeks following Alice's vows were peaceful. She and Tarrant spent a great deal of time together, which pleased them both. They did not forget their friends though. If they had tea and supper together, then Alice almost always had breakfast with the Queen. If the others joined them for a meal, neither of them really minded because they were occupied by the thoughts of their private times.

Alice had taken to her duties like a duck to water. Diplomacy was second nature after working with the company above and she had a cool head when dealing with matters of state.

She also seemed to be learning very rapidly from Count Willard. The first few days with the guard had been spent observing. Then she had started to help command. According to the Count, she should have been able to command without his help within the month.

He had also started teaching her one on one defense. It was a necessity considering she was the person always with the Queen. It had been more enjoyable than Alice had expected. She was already very capable, but he had begun to teach her how to throw her weight around while keeping the Queen in view.

In those first few days, she had been … distracted. Tarrant had been her attacker in the fake fights but Alice had been worried about hurting him. Eventually she had been more comfortable with tackling him to the ground, but then she had started to realize their proximity. When Tarrant was beneath her, Alice realized how much she actually wanted him. Tarrant at first had tried to keep his own want from her but to no avail.

Count Willard had finally noticed, and after turning very red in the face, he asked his nephew to step in. At first Tarrant had been against the idea, but the young man's wife started to attend the sessions and he had given in. Since then, Alice had been progressing at alarming rates.

"If only we'd had her when Bloody Big Head had first taken power …" Count Willard had muttered after their last session.

Even the glow of such praise couldn't take the place of the glow Tarrant brought to her eyes every time they were together. Alice was grateful that Mirana had made it clear that their relationship wasn't a danger, because she was rather sure that they wouldn't have been able to hide it!


Tarrant was working on a new bowler that afternoon. Typically he would be down watching Alice train, but he had been informed that this hat was necessary for an act of love.

Who was he to deny such a request?

Still, not having Alice in the room to comment on his progress was unsettling. Her scent lingered and that prompted his ear to search for her voice.

They were sadly disappointed of course. His sole comfort was that she was to arrive directly after her session with the Count.

So Tarrant snipped and sewed away. The hat he was working on was a deep, midnight blue velvet. He had carefully hand stitched a pattern of waves and swirls a shade lighter onto the brim. He was just about to apply a faintly shimmering ribbon when a knock sounded on the door.

Tarrant looked up bemused. It most certainly wasn't Alice. She simply slipped into the room when she came to see him. It also wasn't Chess or the Queen, because they seemed to appear in his workroom out of thin air. Well, maybe Chess did, but Mirana tended to clear her throat when she arrived.

So who could be a knick-knocking on his door?

He rose quickly and sped across the room, curiosity making him trip under its weight. He seemed to be picking up such habits from Alice …

He smiled at the thought and opened the door. His smiled fell though at the face on the other side.

"What are ye doing her Celeste?" He stammered.

The young woman smiled sadly at him.

"Hello to you too Tarrant. May I come in?" Her voice was soft and her eyes pleading. Still stunned at her sudden appearance, he let her slide in.

"Ye shouldn't be here." He said quietly after shutting and bolting the door. It wouldn't be wise for Alice to come in unexpected upon the scene. Celeste hadn't paid him any mind, but instead had walked across the room and sat on Alice's stool. He had to force himself not to flinch at the sight.

She watched him carefully. It seemed she had sat there for an hour before she finally spoke.

"I know I shouldn't be here, but I still consider you … special to me Tarrant, so I thought you deserved an explanation. Can we not speak as we once did?" Her eyes had unshed tears in them and Tarrant Hightopp, being far too good a soul, sat down to listen to her.

For an hour they talked. She admitted her feelings. And although Tarrant denied her his heart, they seemed to conclude the conversation on a better note than he had expected. He moved to show her out the door. Celeste smiled a little more easily and squeezed his hand on her departure. As Tarrant turned back to the room, he caught site of Alice.

He swallowed thickly at the look on her face and all good feelings fled.


"YOU WHAT?" Alice's voice rang in the corridor as Tarrant winced.

He had never seen her so livid. Her cheeks were flushed and lightening seemed to be flashing in her eyes. Her hands were clenched into fists at her sides and he was under the impression that she was resisting the urge to pull her knife on him. Still he repeated his statement.

"I forgave her." He whispered. Alice's glare intensified.

"Have you forgotten what she's done? She tried to keep me from staying Tarrant. She tried to force us apart. More than once may I remind you?" She growled.

"Yes, I remember but –"

"Why Tarrant? Why would you do this? I thought you loved me." Alice was no longer shouting but she seemed to be spiraling into a dark place. Tarrant stepped forward to take her hand but she wrenched it away from him. Stung by her rejection, he stumbled back.

"Of course I love ye lass!" He tried to make her see the truth of his words but to no avail.

"Then why? Because your recent actions clearly speak otherwise." She whispered raggedly. Her disbelief in his feeling made him snap.

"Because she loves me!" He bellowed. Alice stared at him. "When you love someone you resort to desperate measures to keep them! I should bloody well know! When you love someone you fight for them no matter what!"

He was panting at the end of his speech. Alice simply continued to stare at him. The light had gone out of her eyes and Tarrant started to panic at the sight. Before he could retract his statement, Alice spoke.

"I know that Tarrant. What do you think I've been doing since I arrived here?"

He flinched again. Her words had struck home. He had been a fool to forget everything Alice had done. He opened his mouth to beg her forgiveness, but she held up a hand to silence him.

"That's not all that you do when you love someone though Hatter," Tarrant's face fell further at her use of his profession and not his name. "When you love someone, you want them to be happy. Above all else, you do what you can to make them happy, even if it risks you losing them. You do your absolute best to secure their happiness. That's something that Celeste didn't do. It's what I've always strived to do for you. It's what I thought you'd do for me. I can see that I was wrong to think so." She whispered brokenly.

She didn't let him answer. She simply turned and walked away.

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 24 of 48

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