Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 6 of 48

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Telling her mother she was leaving again had gone over better than she had anticipated. Alice couldn't help but smile at the memory.

"Mother?" Alice stood in the doorway to her mother's bedroom. Helen Kingsleigh sat at her vanity, brushing her hair before going to sleep.

"Hmm? What is it darling?" Helen placed her brush down and turned to face her youngest child. Alice rushed forward to kneel at her mother's feet. She seized those pale hands, so like her own. She sat quietly trying to organize her words. This conversation had to be different than the one with Margaret. This one had to be more firm. Her mother would no doubt raise several valid points as to why she should stay, accompanied by several invalid points.

You just got back! What about your sister and the baby? Don't you like taking care of the children on Thursdays? How are you ever going to find a decent husband with all of this traveling?

Alice grimaced at the last supposed arguments. She drew a deep breath, prepping herself for the coming onslaught. Before she could open her mouth though, her mother had placed a finger against her lips.

Alice looked up in surprise.

"It's alright. I've suspected this to come for the past week. You've been restless and it's only natural that you would cure that restlessness with movement. So go, travel some more. Find yourself, it's your life, just as much as it was his."

Alice felt her lip tremble. She was happy that her mother had accepted her choice so easily, but she was also slightly ashamed. She was only now realizing that she, Alice, was one of the few living reminders of her dearly departed husband. Her mother was right though, this was the life she needed to lead.

But the tears still escaped at the thought of her mother's love and support. She rested her head in mother's lap. Helen softly petted her daughter's hair. They sat like that until the candle began to sputter in its own wax.

"Alice dear?" Helen's voice broke the silence.

"Hmm?" Alice picked her head up to see her mother's small, sly smile.

"Just do me a favor. When you do come home, and you will come home to visit young lady, bring back a husband, even if he can't speak a word of English."

Alice let her jaw drop. Helen laughed softly and caressed her daughter's hair again.

"Oh Mother…" Alice shook her head and dissolved into quiet laughter with her mother.

This next conversation however was not going so well.

"What do you mean you have a promise to keep in a foreign land you won't speak of?" Lord Ascot was not one to shout. His wife did enough of that for both of them. Therefore the increasing volume of his voice was rather alarming.

"It is just as I've said Owen. I made a promise to return to this country I've been to on my travels and it is one that I must keep. This isn't a flight of fancy I assure you." Alice tried to remain calm. Owen Ascot was her father's good friend and the man she considered her mentor. He had almost always indulged her and much to Alice's chagrin, he was changing his tune now.

"B—but! The company! Your family! Your future! Your future with your family and the company Alice! What in God's name could make you abandon everything you've worked for?" Lord Ascot was turning a familiar shade of red. So that's where Hamish had gotten it from … Alice flinched at the pain his words were causing.

Alice had heard these arguments before. Albeit they had been in her head, but now hearing them out loud was distressing. But, Alice knew without a doubt that not honoring her promise would be more so. The Hatter's forlorn stare flashed in her mind's eye. It was then replace with the happy gaze she hoped would be cast her way when she returned. The thought caused her to blush. Lord Ascot of course noticed.

"Or is it a 'who' that causes this sudden retreat?" Lord Ascot stared at her.

Alice opened and closed her mouth, looking rather a lot like a fish. The blush on her cheeks spread even further.

Owen let out a great laugh and sat back down behind his desk. Alice wasn't fazed by his sudden mood swing. She had dealt with worse of course. She wasn't sure how to maneuver the conversation so that it didn't seem like she was doing this all for one man though…

"Yes, a gentleman is part of my reasoning sir, but it the land as a whole that concerns me. I – I believe I might be able to make – make some sort of … difference there." Alice finished lamely. Make some sort of difference indeed! As if saving an entire realm from one crazed monarch, a disgusting excuse for a knave, and fire breathing, intent on destruction dragon wasn't difference enough.

The point however would have been moot to Lord Ascot though.

"Please Owen? I need you for this. I need you to look after my mother and sister until I can return." Alice was practically pleading.

"Your mother I understand, but your sister has a husband to see to her." Lord Ascot gazed at her shrewdly. Alice straightened in her chair.

"Lowell is no true husband. He's … he's a …" Alice was struggling to find a suitable word to encompass her contempt for the man.

"A pig?" Owen wisely finished. Alice nodded and frowned at him.

"I see. Well if that's the case then I will do as you ask." He murmured. Alice beamed at him. She knew with those words, he'd given his blessing on her … journey.

"Well then sir, if that's the case, I should be on my way. I have an appointment to keep." Alice rose, curtseyed, and made her way toward the door.

"A moment Alice!" Alice turned around, curious as to what he could possibly want now.

"When you get the chance, bring your gentleman here please. I'd like to know just how mad a man would have to be to win your heart." Lord Ascot grinned. Alice flushed again, shook her head, and swept from the room, calling out her goodbye as she went.

She gained speed down the steps of the front entrance. But instead of heading for the road, where she could find a hired hack, she turned towards the gardens and the country side beyond. As she passed amongst Lady Ascot's now red roses, she couldn't help but grouse to herself.

"What is it about this world that insists that woman must be married? For heaven's sake most of our saints weren't married!" Alice picked up her pace.

She quieted down, thinking about the last time she's raced through these grounds. Then she'd been running from her future. Now she was running to it.

Alice finally reached the tree. The hole was still there, perfectly intact. Looking down into its depths she had a sudden, dreadful realization.

She would be falling toward her future.

Alice sat and swung her legs into the opening. She breathed deeply, gathered all of her muchness and pushed off into the black.

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 6 of 48

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