Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 42 of 48

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The ticked and tocked upon the mantle. With each tick Alice felt her patience slowly ebb away. It had been two days since she'd seen her sister and still, nothing had been said about Hamish Ascot!

Why she had even asked how the company had been fairing and all her mother had said was that they were steadily expanding.

She had noticed the lines around her mother's eyes tighten, but still nothing!

Even the newspaper in Tarrant's hands had not given her any information to go by, which by London standards was almost a crime. Newspapers were gossip rags but apparently there wasn't any gossip about the Ascot family at this time. If only she could get her hands on some of the previous issues! The question was where she could actually find some. Perhaps Rollins had an idea …

"If you keep drilling your fingers like that, the arm of the poor chair will have dents love."

Alice snapped her head back up to find her husband staring at her hand intently. She quickly pulled it back into her and glanced away.

"Forgive me. I'm much preoccupied."

"So I can see." Tarrant set the newspaper aside and stood up to stretch. Alice was momentarily distracted by the flash of white that was her husband's lean neck. Her cheeks flushed remembering her less than appropriate dreams of last night.

"You're cheeks are red. We should go outside so you can get some air."

Alice turned an even brighter red at getting caught.

"Oh no, I assure you that's not necess –"

"Come wife, I wish for yer company." He held out his hand to her and because she couldn't resist that gentle smile, she let him lead her out into the hall. With their hat and bonnet in place, they swept outside and began walking toward the local park.

Alice felt herself calm as she strolled and held onto Tarrant's arm. There were only a few people in the park today, which suited Alice just fine. The fewer people, the better.

"I think I'm going to have to give in and just ask my mother."

"What's that lass?" Alice sighed and followed Tarrant's gaze. He was frowning at a gentleman across the way.

"Tarrant!" She tugged his arm.

"Sorry Alice. That man's top hat is just absolutely atrocious. Who would ever consider putting a black and white hound's tooth pattern with an orange band? It completely takes away from the beauty of the pattern!"

"Tarrant please focus!" Alice shook her head in exasperation.

"Right, you were saying?" Tarrant's bright green gaze refocused back on her. She smiled a little at him and led him down a more secluded path.

"I feel I'm going to have to corner Mother and demand to know what's going on with Hamish. I expected London to be buzzing with information or at least gossip, but I've heard nothing!"

Tarrant nodded in understanding.

"Yes it does seem rather bamboozling that such a prominent gentleman has disappeared without a whisper. The question becomes, is that a situation of his own making?"

Alice frowned a paced away as Tarrant took the moment to sit on a stone bench.

"My guess is that it's not. There was too much panic in the dream, too much fear, too much –"

"YOU!" A screech came from behind them on the path.

Alice whipped around to see figure approaching them in an apparent furry. The young woman's bonnet was coming undone and her dark hair was falling unseemly about her shoulders.

"You! Alice Kingsleigh! Where on God's green earth have you been?" Alice blinked trying to recall where she had seen this woman before. She had obviously offended the girl sometime, but for the life of her she couldn't remember where.

"How dare you simply waltz back here after all the trouble you've caused us? Because of you, we've lost almost everything. Lord and Lady Ascot can't go anywhere without questions being asked and I've lost the one man who saw past my plainness and loved me!"

It all fell into place then.

"Claire! You're Claire Beaton! Hamish's fiancé!" Alice exclaimed excitedly. She reached out and grabbed the young woman by the shoulders.

"Where's Hamish? Is he all right? No one has said anything to me!" Miss Beaton's glare grew and she clawed at Alice's grip on her shoulders.

"What do you care? You've never done anything good for him! Why I ought to –"

"Damn you, tell me what's happened to Hamish!" Alice shouted and shook her captive.

Claire Beaton had apparently never been handled in such a way. Her gaze grew fearful and she tried to pull away.

"You're just as mad as he is." She whispered brokenly. Alice released her suddenly and the girl stumbled back.

"What are you talking about?" Alice asked fearfully. The conversation and her dream were starting to formulate in her mind, so she prayed her suspicions were incorrect. Claire Beaton drew herself up to her fullest height and turned hate filled eyes on Alice.

"Hamish is in Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum where you put him!"


"MIDDLESEX?" Alice shouted as she barged into her Mother's private sitting room.

Tarrant was following anxiously behind her, uncertain how to calm her rage.

Helen watched her daughter with a pinched expression and glanced meaningfully to her left. Alice spared a glance for the other occupant of the room, instantly recognizing Father Rowe.

"Hello Father Rowe. If you'd excuse me." Alice turned back to glare at her mother.

"No problem my dear girl." The older man grinned and sat back in his chair to watch the exchange. Tarrant decided to follow the man's lead and sat down cautiously. The black frocked gentleman reached over to shake his hand.

"Father Gordon Rowe, I've been the pastor at the Kingsleigh's family home church since young Miss Kingsleigh was born."

Tarrant had no idea what a pastor was but recognized a respected member of the community when he saw one.

"Tarrant Hightopp, Alice's husband." He murmured quietly.

"Ho-ho, husband are you? Well I must say, congratulations!" Tarrant nodded in thanks before refocusing on his wife and mother-in-law.

The two women were glaring rather fiercely at each other.

"Explain. Now."

"Don't you take that tone with me young lady!" Helen bristled. Alice sliced her hand through the air, causing Helen to sit back quickly in her chair.

Alice breathed deeply and pinched the bridge of her nose.

"Please. I need to know." She asked again without looking up.

"Yes. Hamish is in Middlesex Asylum. He's been there since you left six months ago. But why does it matter to you Alice? Why would you possibly concern yourself with Hamish Ascot after all has been said and done?"

Helen's eyes were entirely too perceptive. Alice turned away from her mother to stare at the vague oil painting on the opposite wall.

"I will not lie to you Mother. Hamish is the reason I am here. Word reached us in … back home that things were unwell. And while things may have ended poorly between Hamish and I all those years ago, he is still … he's still …"

Tarrant had never seen Alice struggle for words in all the years he had known her. Even as a small lass, she'd had more than her fair share to say. Yet this man, this Hamish Ascot who had once coveted the position Tarrant now held, rendered her to babbling.

He wasn't sure he was at all pleased about that.

"It's alright Alice. We understand. Some bonds need no explanation." Tarrant looked around belatedly to realize Father Rowe had spoken.

Alice smiled at the man gratefully before returning to the task at hand.

"Why is he there Mother?" Her gaze was steady. Here was the Champion he had married. Even Helen seemed to feel the authority exuding from her daughter.

"Hamish was committed about a month after you left. He … well he thought he saw you leave in the most … unusual fashion."

Alice raised a golden brow, waiting for her mother to continue.

"He … well Alice he claims he saw you disappear down a rabbit hole!"

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 42 of 48

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