Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 45 of 48

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Alice had to wait an entire day in Underland before returning home with the necessary potions. Then she and Tarrant had to wait another two days for Lord Ascot to return from his country estate. By the time their request for a tea-party-get-together had been answered in the affirmative, Tarrant was struggling to keep Alice from hoping on horseback and taking off into battle.

Doing so would have been much more impressive on a Bandersnatch he tried to tell her.

Alice would only growl and sweep past him to check the post again.

When the day for their meeting with Oliver came, Alice melted into a puddle of worry. First it was how they should address broaching the topic of Hamish, then it was how they could convince Oliver to return to his country estate and jump down a rabbit hole (willingly), and finally, she dissolved into tears over just what dress she would wear that wouldn't alarm her former employer or depress her.

Thankfully Tarrant had the answers.

For the present though, he simply threw an assortment of pantaloons, petticoats, and various other clothing items at her. Before she knew it, she was gowned in a mint cotton day dress, edged with cream lace. Tarrant gently tied her straw bonnet in place, but when he finished he was frowning.

"What's wrong? Do I have jam on my nose?" Alice worried.

"No, no my Alice. You are lovely as ever. It's the bonnet, it's just not very …" Tarrant waved his hands about, apparently unable formulate a proper description for her headwear.

"It's not very Alice!" He finished lamely.

"Oh." Alice wasn't sure how else to respond.

"Would you allow me to fix it?"

"I thought you hadn't brought any of your larger millinery tools?" She wondered. Tarrant grinned and tweaked her nose.

"Oh Alice, a hatter is never without tools! We can only get so far in a workshop, hatting on the fly is what I do best!"

And with that he bounded away from her towards a shelf full of her childhood toys. He brought down several of the porcelain dolls. He turned toward her looking slightly apprehensive.

"How fond of these are you?" He asked. Alice studied the dolls in his hands. They were all ones her mother had bought to distract her from the strange dreams in her childhood. None had ever been played with though, seeing as she had enjoyed the puzzles and colorful marbles her father had bought her more.

"Not at all." She answered. Tarrant smiled again and drew a small pair of scissors from his breast pocket. Hands moving in a blur, he quickly extracted a bundle of lace, small white flowers, and a couple of strings of peal-like beads.

He stepped lightly to her side and brought out his pincushion ring. Alice watched his hands flash in the mirror, amazed at her husband's dexterity and fluidity. She had never seen him work like this. She wished she had the power to ask Time to slow down and replay the sequence again, so she could memorize every detail.

When Tarrant was finished, he stepped back and turned her toward the mirror. Alice didn't bite back the gasp that escaped her throat. In this moment, there could never be any doubt that her husband was not only an artist but a genius.

He had taken the lace and stringed beads and created what appeared to be the petals of a flower. The small cluster of pre-made white flowers had been grouped together to so that they took on the look of anthers and filaments of a flower. The effect was truly magical.

Alice felt tears well in her eyes as she turned to beam at the man she loved.

"It's perfect!" She whispered as she wrapped her arms around his waist. Tarrant chuckled and bent to kiss her cheek.

"Nay my Alice, tis you who makes it so. Now come, I do believe we have a tea party to attend!"

Tarrant led her from the room and for the first time in the past few days, Alice felt a little bit better.


Lord Ascot's greeting had been enthusiastic to say the least.

"Alice my girl! It's about time you brought home a husband!" He had boomed while coming down the stairs. Alice and Tarrant had the good grace to blush.

"Well, here he is. Lord Ascot, may I introduce my husband, Laird Tarrant Hightopp. Tarrant, my former employer, Lord Oliver Ascot." Alice waved a hand between the two.

Oliver sprang forward and wrung Tarrant's hand eagerly. Tarrant in his turn, was grinning his gape-toothed grin. Alice assumed this was the type of greeting he had been hoping for since his arrival in Above. She was rather glad that Oliver was the one to give it to him.

"Welcome, welcome! Come, follow me to the solarium. Tea has been set up there." Lord Ascot led them to the back of the town house, talking a mile a minute even as Alice poured the tea.

"Well you've missed quite a lot in the months you've been gone Alice. You'll be happy to hear that Captain Williams has resigned his contract with the company and we're set to make a new trip to India this coming spring. His son has also agreed to come, surprisingly enough!"

"Really? Jonathon intends to go to sea?" Alice was surprised. In the time she had come to know him, she never caught wind that Jonathon liked the open ocean as his father did.

"Yes, but only as a means to an end. From what I understand, he's hoping to start a literature collection. Something about getting a position at the university so he can buy a certain lady a ring."

Alice nearly spit out her tea.

"A ring? For who?" She choked slightly. Tarrant was helpfully patting her back.

Oliver's eyes twinkled knowingly at her.

"The lady in question is currently residing in the country, caring for her two sons. Young Mr. Williams is terribly fond of the boys apparently."

Alice blinked owlishly at him for several seconds before everything clicked into place. She began to sputter while Tarrant began chortling merrily.

"Margaret? And Jonathon? How? When?" She was dumbfounded.

"Almost as soon as Lowell died, devil take him. Jonathon met your sister at the funeral. The rest, as they say, is history." Oliver finished with a satisfied smile.

Alice sat back and rubbed her eyes. Today was certainly going to be full of surprises.

"So tell me Tarrant, how do you find our England?"

Tarrant wiped his mouth with a bright handkerchief before answering.

"Very different from home, but the people I've had the pleasure to meet have been very welcoming."

"Excellent, excellent. So how have the two of you been occupying your time? I can't imagine your mother has been very eager to let you out of her sight Alice."

Alice carefully replaced her teacup on its saucer on the table before answering.

"She's been very accommodating actually. She's been most kind in letting me take the carriage out to Middlesex." Alice's voice was calm on the surface, but Tarrant recognized the angry tremor that lurked beneath the façade.

Lord Ascot had gone still as stone. Silence reigned for several minutes, broken only by the twittering of the birds and the humming of the downstairs maid.

"What could draw you to Middlesex?" Lord Ascot slowly.

"I was visiting a friend. A very important friend, whom I think you happen to know. Do you know who that friend is Oliver?"

Lord Ascot took a deep breath and continued to stare at her.

"I was in Middlesex to visit your son Hamish who, in case you have forgotten, is currently locked away in a mental asylum!" Alice's voice had finally risen on the last syllables.

Lord Ascot surged to his feet, face flushed in anger.

"You go too far my girl." He growled. Alice sprung to her own feet in response. As she advanced around the table, Tarrant briefly wondered if he should stop the storm that was about to break loose. The look of pure rage in Alice's dark eyes answered his question for him.

Sometimes it was best to let a Champion fight her own battles. To sit back and let the storm blow over so to speak.

"I've gone too far? What about you? Your son is a ghost of the man I last saw and it's your fault! What could possibly have happened to make you abandon him like this?" Alice shouted.

"Damn you Alice Kingsleigh! He's gone around the bend! Absolutely bonkers! The boy is completely and utterly mad!"

"All the best people are!" Alice cried.

Lord Ascot threw himself back into his chair and rumpled his hair.

"Alice," he began quietly. "You don't know what you're saying. Hamish claims he saw you disappear down the rabbit hole back at our country estate. You didn't depart on a ship he says, no. You went down a bloody rabbit hole!"

Alice remained standing and sent a fearfully determined glance toward Tarrant. He could only nod and give her a reassuring smile. She visibly gulped as she looked back at Lord Ascot. Her hand clenched in a fist at her side and she walked towards the floor-to-ceiling windows.

She remained there when she spoke.

"That's because that's exactly what happened."

The room was silent again. Lord Ascot loosened his necktie and gave a weak chuckle.

"Come now Alice, let's not joke. This is a serious matter."

Alice turned slowly to look at him. Her gaze was steady, the fierce gaze of a Champion.

"I'm not joking Oliver. The way back to Tarrant's home, MY home, is down that rabbit hole. Or at least that's one way to get there."

Lord Ascot continued to stare at her. He glanced at Tarrant, who smiled benignly back at him.

"Laird Hightopp, can you please explain this?"

Tarrant merely continued to smile.

"Lord Ascot, have you ever known Alice to lie?"

Lord Ascot looked highly uncomfortable.

"No …" He answered slowly.

"Then I think, you have already answered the question you so desperately wish to ask me."

Lord Ascot just gaped. Alice, seeing the moment of weakness, went in for the kill.

"Oliver, you're a gambling man, are you not?" She asked pleasantly. Lord Ascot had clearly not been expecting this question or the friendly tone. He took a moment to smooth his hair before answering.

"I've been known to put a little money down on occasion, yes."

Alice smiled, very reminiscent of Chessur. Tarrant fought back an insane giggle.

"Well how about a little wager? If I can prove to you what Hamish saw was real, you will get him out of the asylum and get him married to Claire Beaton with all speed. If I lose …"

Lord Ascot had sat forward, keenly interested in what Alice had to say now.

"If you lose what, Alice dearest?" He asked mildly. Alice sent a quick glance to Tarrant, her eyes pleading for forgiveness. Tarrant half rose out of his seat.

This had not been a part of the plan. Yes, confronting Lord Ascot head on had been. Yes, placing the wager had been. But whatever Alice was about to utter next, THAT most certainly was not part of the plan. Of that Tarrant was certain.

"If I lose, I'll come back to work for the company."

Tarrant felt his stomach drop as Alice took another deep breath.

"I'll come back and work for the company until I have my first child."

Then the world went black.

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 45 of 48

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