Continuing Tales

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 15 of 22

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I Love My Love

Later that evening...

The Queen placed her hand on Alice's back and urged her to take a seat, but Alice fidgeted and fussed, attempting as politely as possible to avoid the stool being offered to her in the closed circle. Hatter observed this refusal and cursed himself. She did not want to sit next to him during the evening's parlor games. Particularly not this close—as close as the game of Hide the Slipper, which in this case was being played with a thimble supplied by himself, required.[1] The stools were close and so too would they be if she accepted Mirana's invitation to sit in the empty stool next to his. Closeness, touching…

Those were Thoughts that should not be thought, he reminded himself sternly. He was taking great Care to regulate himself, so that he did not do something Wholly Improper from which they could not recover. He could not continue to pursue her during Blind Man's Bluff. He could not sit next to her at dinner. He almost certainly should not sit next to her during Hide the Slipper, with their hands touching…

Curses! He dug his fingers into his thighs, trying to ward off a visible mood change, as the Queen finally coaxed Alice onto the stool. Their thighs brushed together only separated by pants and skirts thanks to the tightness of the circle. For the love of Underland, Hatter inwardly moaned. He could not let Alice know. Because, it was obvious that while Alice teased and touched, she did not know what she was about.

"Tarrant," Alice said softly, touching his elbow. "Hands behind our backs," she reminded him, slipping her hand behind her back and nodding at him to do the same.

He obediently placed his hands behind his back, although as his arm grazed hers in the process, he continued to think better of this whole game. And he usually loved games so!

The thimble began to move around the circle going clockwise, so that Alice received it and passed it to him: her soft hand pressing the warmed thimble into his palm. He was stunned by the touch for a moment and the Knight who was 'it' almost tagged him before he had the good Sense to pass it to his left. The thimble picked up speed around the circle and Hatter could tell—for he was better at keeping track of thimbles than anyone else present—that it was about to reach Alice again. She would soon be touching him again. Alice giggled as Thackery wildly slid the thimble into her hand and yet again the transfer was made—Alice to Tarrant; Champion to Hatter. His heart rate was increasing and he squinted his eyes as the thimble made yet another round, hoping that the color of his eyes might be somewhat obscured to the players by the narrowing of his lids.

The thimble would soon be upon them again, and the Knight was getting much better at gauging its location, Tarrant realized. In fact, he seemed to be following it and waiting for it to reach…Alice. This slurking urpal slackush scrum wanted to catch Alice with the thimble. He wanted to TOUCH Alice.

Hatter was not there to take the thimble from Alice's hand, because he had leapt from his chair.

"Dae nae think tae titch her," he bellowed in his deepest brogue, grabbing the Knight by his upper arm and preventing the white armored creature from tagging Alice.

The room went quiet, and Hatter blinked, clearing his mind of the momentary rush of Anger. This was a game. Just a parlor game, and he had let the madness take him. He released his grip on the Knight and spun on his heel, knocking over his stool as he stumbled out of the circle.

Someone called his name, but he did not pause to determine the speaker as he hurried from the room, leaning forward with purpose driven escape. The Idea of another man touching Alice—the guddler's scut.[2] Queen Mirana would collect any number of fools at her court, taking in any person that crossed her path; this Knight certainly ranked amongst the biggest fools at the court, thinking he could touch Alice. His blood was boiling: it was all he could do to not think of her as His Alice even though a Rational Voice had urged him never to do that. Another man touching His Alice. Stop, stop, STOP, he demanded of himself, fisting his hands and marching towards his bedchamber, where he could give loose to his rage without fear of being observed.

Alice was beautiful. Alice had so much muchness. Alice was kind. Alice was strong willed. Alice was playful. Alice was serious. Alice was curious. Alice was clever. Alice was a woman. He was not the only one to notice Adult Alice, he would not be the last, and there was nothing he could do about it. Although, he would like to twist the head off any man who even dared think of touching His Alice. He would like to scream from the parapets that Alice was not to be touched by any man in Underland under threat of his claymore coming into use.

He had not looked to see what Alice's response to his outburst had been. There were some things he had no wish to know. Alice was not yet afraid of him, but one day she would be—perhaps today would be that day. Then she would leave. Forever.

"Tarrant!" a voice called to him as he entered his bedchamber and was ready to slam the door behind himself.

He spun around to face whatever bodiless voice was there to taunt him.

Alice. His Alice. Here before him. Inexplicably, she had followed him.

He could almost feel that his eyes were mismatched: one likely orange and one turning blue to see her standing before him at the door to his bedchamber with her bosom rising and falling from the chase he had unknowingly led her on through the winding palace hallways. No, he could not be alone with her.

"Shift, Alice," he demanded, grabbing hold of the door and trying to shut her out.[3]

She blocked his maneuver, however, with a stiff arm to the door. Only brute force would have won the contest, and he did not want to hurt Alice. There were other more pressing things he would like to do with her. Damn her muchness, he thought with chagrin. There were not many lasses who would be brave enough to follow him here and force their way inside his room. But now that she was here…lovely, heaving Alice…

He grinned with devilish delight. "Then if ye willna gae, shift aside sae Ah can shut th' door, wee laddie," he growled.

Alice did as she was told. She stepped aside so that Hatter could shut the door.

Ladies will not permit their escorts to enter any apartment reserved for ladies only.

It was perhaps thought by moralists unnecessary to say the reverse: ladies should not enter any apartments reserved for gentlemen only. For what would a lady ever want in a gentleman's apartment? What proper lady would ever even consider coming to a gentleman's apartment? Yet, here she was in Tarrant Hightopp's bedchamber, staring into his mismatched eyes after he had shut the door behind them decisively. She was in a man's bedchamber, alone with the gentleman in question, no chaperone, and a closed door between them and the world. Her mother would faint dead away should she ever find out.

She had run after him when he fled the room where they had been playing Hide the Slipper, giving no thought to what the rest of the company must think of his outburst, his charging from the room, and her giving chase.

A true lady will go quietly and unobtrusively about her business, never seeking to attract the attention of the opposite sex.

Here I am, Alice thought, her chest continuing to heave, as she attempted to draw breath. Deal with me, Tarrant.

"Tell me whit ye want, Alice," he urged, stepping closer to her.

"I want you to tell me why you jumped up like that during our game."

She was proud of herself that her voice did not shake, because looking into his mismatched eyes and feeling him menace over her, she was somewhat frightened. His nostrils flared slightly, and she imagined that this was not the Response he was seeking.

"Are ye sure ye want tae knaw?" he asked, his eyes taunting her.

She nodded, 'Yes.'

He barked out a laugh: "Ye dinna knaw whit ye'r aboot, lassie." He shook his head and drew a deep breath, but his eyes remained unevenly colored. "Ah didna want him tae titch ye," he gritted out.

"But, why? I know no ill of him," she pressed him, both wanting and fearing an answer. He is a Man, she thought, held captivated by his gaze.

His right hand snaked up and interlaced itself in her hair at the base of her neck, pulling her towards him. Alice raised her hands to his chest, as much to keep some futile distance between them as to feel him beneath her touch.

He spoke into her temple, his lips brushing her skin: "For, Ah didna want ony man touchin' ye."

"Any…any man but you, Tarrant?" Alice stuttered.

"Aye," he said, pulling her fully against him somewhat roughly.

Pressed against him, Alice could feel the outlines of his body plainly. He was hard in places that she was not, she discovered. His gaze washed over her in a possessive manner. Her pulse was thrumming in her ears so loudly that she almost did not hear him speak.

"Say it again," he murmured.

"Say what?" she asked, feeling his chest rise against hers with each breath he drew.

"Ma name."

She wet her lips, preparing to say his name, but it seemed to be sticking in her throat. Her Tongue was not being cooperative. It may have been startled by the intensity of his gaze directed to her lips. "Tarrant," she finally whispered.

He smiled at her in response. Not his usual wide toothy grin or his nervous half-smile, but a closed-lipped predatory smirk that sent shivers up her spine.

"Whin ye said ye loved me in the gairden, Ah knew 'twas ye an' nae ma mind playin' tricks, for ye ran awa' efter ye said it," he said, rubbing his cheek against her in a feline manner. "Ayeways runnin'."

His hands were wandering. Where were his hands going? She made a nonsense sound in the back of her throat, which made him hoarsely chuckle.

"Otherwise, Ah would hiv thocht ye wisna real," he said, tipping her head back by tugging slightly on her hair.

"I'm real," she managed, watching as he eyed her throat, as if he might sink his teeth into her and take a taste.

His eyes, which had both begun to settle into blue, suddenly were rimmed in orange. "Did ye want him tae titch ye? War ye desirous o' it?"

Desirous, desire, desiring, desired—that WORD.

"No," she whispered. The idea of wanting the Knight to touch her had never crossed her mind. She had never desired anyone, could not remember feeling this burning, this absolute need to be touched until…

She only just saw his orange rimmed eyes fade to yellow, as he ducked in towards her right ear, which he nudged with his nose, hissing: "'at's a good lassie."

She did not feel good, particularly. Well, that was not the Truth: she felt rapturous, but a 'good girl'? Surely not.

His voice was rough and vibrated against her skin. "Dae ye want me?"

Did she want him? She was fairly certain she was not supposed to want anyone. It was one thing to speak of Love but of Want? No one had ever spoken to her about this needbefore. Nice girls were surely not supposed to feel like this. She curled her fingers tightly into his jacket, trying to stay upright, as his breath puffed against her ear and neck. She could make no response to his question—not now—but she hummed in the back of her throat, savoring the feel of him against her.

"A'm wantin' ye, Alice," he spoke slowly.

She was overwhelmed with feeling—the feel of his body, the physical feel of their bodies pressed together, the emotions fighting for dominance in her chest, and the physical sensations awakening in her body.

"Dinna let ither men titch ye, lassie," he commanded, punctuating his statement by grazing the lobe of her ear with his teeth.

Perhaps he really was going to bite her, she thought, taking a shuttering breath. Now was the moment to push away from him. Tell him that no man would ever command her. She was her own woman. She was in control. Except, she found to her horror, that she would not mind giving up power to Tarrant in this moment. She found, rather, that shedesired to give up control. That devilish word, she gasped, as he took off his hat with his left hand and chucked it to the floor. His HAT—what in heaven's name was Hatter about?

"A'd lik' tae claim ma reward."

Oh, she remembered with a start, she had promised him a reward upon recovering from the grippe, when she was still dangerously flirting and toying with him. This is what came of wanton behavior. Tarrant was not a toy: he was a Man.

It is in especially bad taste for lovers to indulge in any affectionate demonstrations.

Lovers? Why had that Word come into her head? Was that what they were? Is that what they were becoming? He loved; she loved; lovers.

"Aye or na, luvie?" he asked, wrapping his left arm tightly around her waist and spanning the small of her back with his hand.

Yes or no? Yes or no? What was she being asked? She was having trouble thinking. Her brain was a muddle.

"Aye or na?" he repeated, tilting his head in close to hers.

Realization dawned: he was asking her whether she wanted him to kiss her or not. Even in this heated passion infused with the madness, he was giving her the choice. This was another moment—a moment when she should say, 'No,' and quit the room with her dignity and repute intact.

Yes or no, Alice!


His lips crushed hers as soon as the word left her mouth. She had not yet brought her lips together from speaking it, and he caught her lower lip between his, tugging and running his tongue over it. She moaned—mercy—she moaned into his mouth.

This was nothing like the kiss he had given her outside the Hat House, when he had thought that she was not Real. That kiss had been brief, celebratory, sweet, firm but gentle. This one required that she cling to him so she did not slide down to the floor in a puddle. This one was making her toes curl. This kiss was insistent, demanding, and commanding. He was pushing his tongue past her lips, into her mouth. His hand was dipping below her waist. Below…

Abruptly his lips, his arms, his body were gone from hers. He was stumbling backwards and holding out his hands, as if he was not in agreement with his own movements and part of him was trying to grab her up in his arms once more. His eyes were swirling, changing rapidly from blue to green to yellow and back again.

She tried to catch her breath, her hand rising to her chest. What had just happened?

"Alice, turn aboot an' lea this room," he ordered her, his hands trembling visibly.

"But, Tarrant…" she tried, but he stepped forward and firmly took her by the shoulder, turning her around.

"Nae noo, Alice. Ah canna help mysel."

With that she found herself on the other side of the Hatter's closed bedchamber door with a toothsome grinning Cat floating before her at eye level.

"Looking a little rattled, shaken about, roughed up," the Cat said grinning with insinuations. "Out of breath?"

Alice frowned and attempted to sidestep the Cat and make her way to her bedchamber. She could not return to the parlor games now. Not after what had happened—behind closed doors.

"Did you see…any of that?" she asked innocently, as she made her way down the hallway followed by the floating Cat. One could never tell where that infernal Cat was going to pop up.

"Was there something to see?" Chessur purred.

Alice did not respond and began to walk somewhat faster.

"He told you that he's in love with you, I presume. Is the feeling returned? Is that why you're barreling down hallways after him?"

Another question she would not answer. "It's rude to ask such personal questions, you know. You should confine conversations to comments on the weather if you cannot hold your tongue," Alice lectured.

"Is that what has left you so breathless? Discussing the weather with the Hatter?" Chessur drawled.

Alice glared at the Cat. "Botheration! Why did you leave the party?"

"Hmm…" the Cat considered. "I was a little anxious about your welfare, I suppose," he admitted.

That seemed unlikely.

"I'm not always the slurvish creature Hatter paints me to be," Chessur announced, seemingly affronted by her silent judgment.

"Forgive me, my thoughts were uncharitable. Why were you concerned about me?"

The Cat floated over the entrance to her bedchamber, pressing a paw to his head. "The Hatter is mad, in case you have not noticed. I saw the color of his eyes whilst we were playing Hide the Slipper—he is dreadfully fond of you. Unhealthy, really, these human attachments."

Alice flushed red at the Cat's allusion.

"I thought you might be in need of assistance," the Cat finished.

"Hatter would never hurt me," Alice said, reaching for the knob.

"That wasn't my concern exactly," the Cat chuckled, disappearing as she opened her door.

[1] The following comes from The Girls Own Book by Mrs. Child, 1864: "All the players but one are placed in a circle; that one remains inside to hunt the slipper, which is passed from hand to hand very rapidly in the circle. The Hunter cannot judge where it is, because all the players keep their hands moving all the time, as if they were passing it. The one in whose hand it is caught become the Hunter, and pays a forfeit. Usually…[players] play sitting side by side, very close to each other, on low stools...Some prefer playing this game with a thimble or a marble, because it is not so likely to be seen as a slipper."

[2] guddler's scut - thief's ass

[3] shift – move

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 15 of 22

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