Continuing Tales

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 5 of 22

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I Love My Love

Malieal Day

Alice awoke once more in the chamber given to her by the Queen, but she awoke this morning feeling out of sorts—both physically and mentally. Cursed bubblefrothal, she thought to herself, as she squinted in the early morning sunlight. She stared into the looking glass, contemplating her pale features. The late evening and overindulgence had drained her of color. She had made promises that in the light of day she was no longer sure she could keep. That perhaps had stripped the color from her cheeks as well. Careless Alice, she soundly scolded herself.

The looking glass only reflected back her paled features, her streaming blond hair unkempt about her shoulders, the white night clothes in which she was still wrapped, and her bare feet; no little creatures at play in the distance reflected back to her, as they had done in her bedchamber at home, drawing her closer to her looking glass. Although, perhaps someone somewhere was looking at her—a speck in their looking glass, looking rather glum and muddled.

Home. Where was that exactly?

As she was pondering this ponderous question, she noted something on the dressing table beside the looking glass, which she had not immediately observed: a vase full of white roses cut from the palace's rose garden. Someone must have come in the early morning to place them there while she slept. Intuition mumbled to her that she could guess the source of these tokens.

A knock sounded on the door, drawing her from her troubled reverie.

"Come in," she called, pulling her wrapper about her more tightly and tucking her hair behind her ears.

She doubted it was the Queen coming to call: the Queen had merely waltzed in the previous morning unannounced.

"Mally," she said, as the Dormouse emerged behind the door.

"Good morning," the Dormouse hailed, scampering forward to stand within a few inches of Alice's feet.

"Good morning," Alice replied, trying to infuse her statement with sincerity, although she was not yet sure whether it would be a very fine good day or a very bad no good day.

"I have been sent to check on you," Mally pronounced, sounding somewhat annoyed by her task.

"You have? By the Queen?" Alice asked, reaching for a brush to tame her locks.

"No…by Hatter," Mally admitted begrudgingly.

"Ah…" Alice said meaninglessly, as she stared once more into the looking glass, which refused to reflect anything back but her pale paling paled features and her hand frozen above her head, holding the brush aloft.

"To check on you and to ask whether you…like your flowers," Mally asked, looking up at the vase with a frown.

Alice placed the brush down and ran her fingertips over the tops of the white roses. They were lovely roses. Perfectly pleasant in all ways, but looking at them and imagining the sentiment behind the sending of them made her sorry indeed. The sender believed that she would stay. The recipient was not so sure.

"Are you well then?" Mally asked, fiddling with the sash about her waist, clearly wishing to be done with her duties and the nonresponsive Alice.

"Yes, I am well…only tired. I…I shan't be at breakfast, Mally. Send my regrets if you will, please."

"Running all over the palace as if I'm a messenger," Mally grumbled. The Dormouse paused her grousing to regard Alice, squinting her eyes at her. "You look worse than only tired. You look as if you have drunk too much bubblefrothal," Mally twittered before hurrying from the room.

Alice was lounging on a chaise, still undressed and staring listlessly, when the door once more drifted open and the Queen floated through followed by a fish servant carrying a tray.

"Good morning, Alice," the Queen said, moving across the floor silently.

"Good morning, Your Majesty," Alice responded, sitting upright.

"Do not trouble yourself, dear," the Queen said, preventing Alice from standing with a wave of the hand.

The Queen nodded at the chaise, indicating that the servant should set the tray down beside Alice. The fish did so and then Mirana swept her hands, indicating that she no longer needed its services. The Queen sat beside Alice and fanned her hands over the tray.

"Jam, Alice?"

Alice sighed, "Jam today?" She leaned forward and reached for a scone and butter knife to spread the strawberry jam. "Is it not unusual to have jam today?"

"Jam to-morrow, jam yesterday, but I thought you might use some jam today, my dear," the Queen explained as Alice took a bite of the scone. "It helps with the aftereffects of the bubblefrothal," she added knowingly. "And if this does not do it, we can go to the kitchen and I will concoct a potion that will be sure to work wonders for you."[1]

"Mmm…" Alice mumbled around the scone. "I think the jam will do it." The thought of buttered fingers or any other kind of atrocity the Queen might employ did not sit well with her at the moment. Besides, the curative effect of the jam was already making her head hurt less around the corners.

"You were missed at breakfast," the Queen said without reproach.

"I could not rouse myself. Too much bubblefrothal, as you suspected, I'm afraid," Alice said, licking some wayward jam from the corner of her mouth.

"Then you enjoyed yourself last night, Alice?"

"Oh, yes. Thank you. Although, I'm fairly certain that my enjoyment was no secret. I made a dreadful scene."

"Your behavior was not out of the norm," the Queen reminded her with a generous smile.

"I would not have gotten away with such antics at home," Alice admitted. "But everything was exquisite. I don't know how you pulled it all together so quickly."

"I knew you were coming. I had weeks to prepare," the Queen answered simply, as if this should not come as a surprise.

Indeed, it did not: Alice had thought this might be the case. Ever since she had awoken that first morning in the palace, she had wondered whether the Queen knew all along that she was coming. She set down the scone, feeling a little out of sorts to find that her suspicions had been confirmed. It seemed to her a lie of omission on the part of the Queen. White Lies, it would appear, were not her only specialty.

"Did anyone else know I was coming?"

"No, I did not share with anyone the details of the Oraculum," the Queen said with a smile.

Again, just as she thought. "Why not?"

The Queen tilted her head, blinking her eyes, explaining, "I have decided not to resort to examining the Oraculum except when absolutely necessary."

"But you knew I was coming. You saw fit to examine it."

A flash of white teeth showed between the Queen's darkened lips. "I assure you that it was necessary."

"Then what is wrong in Underland?" She hoped very much nothing was wrong. Especially not today, she thought selfishly, when she had overindulged the previous night.

"It wasn't a What that was wrong, but a Who. Affection—a very insistent mistress—demanded that I seek answers."

"A who was wrong?" Alice shook her head. "Whom?"

The Queen waved her hand somewhat dismissively, "There is no reason to worry now. The Champion is here."

"But shall I always be?" Alice suddenly felt very childish. She only wanted someone to tell her what to do, so that she did not have to make decisions on her own—a shocking turn of events, given that she usually resented being told what to do very much.

"I can't say," the Queen said, drifting from the chaise and walking about the room.

"You haven't looked at the Oraculum to see if I stay?"

The Queen did not respond, but paused at the vase of roses.

"Forgive me, your Majesty, but you can't say or you won't say?"

Mirana leaned over to smell the fragrant roses, sighing musically, "I find that when you tell someone about the future as it is foretold, it influences their decisions. As you know, my dear, I prefer these things to be your choice. You have a decision to make, Alice. Neither I nor the Oraculum can make it for you."

"I don't know what to do though," Alice said in exasperation.

"You came through a looking glass," the Queen mused, as she glanced into the looking glass.

"Yes, I did."

"You will have to return the same way."

"So, I am going home?" Alice was becoming flustered by this round about dealing. The Queen had refused to allow her to see the Oraculum, but her words seemed just as telling.

"You already knew that you would, did you not?" the Queen asked.

Alice could not bring herself to respond. Perhaps she had always known, and spoken otherwise nonetheless. That seemed Very Bad.

"You merely wonder whether you will be leaving for the moment or Forever."

Mirana was right.

"I have a family. People that will worry if I don't return."

"You needn't explain," the Queen said, extending her arms in a balletic manner. "Not to me," she added softly. "Once you return home, then you will have to make your decision. You shall have to think things through. Examine yourself."

"Know thyself," Alice said a little wearily.

Mirana arched a brow, "I will keep the looking glass in your bedchamber open to our world, so that you may return at any time if you wish."

Alice rubbed her eyes. "If I did come back…"


"What would I do? Who would I be?"

"You may do whatever strikes your fancy," the Queen responded. "And you can be Alice Kingsleigh, unless you have another name in mind."

Alice frowned. The Queen was not making much sense again. "I must have something to do. While it is nice to be amongst one's friends and attend tea parties and play games, I would grow tired of such things. I have a very…curious personality," Alice explained.

"A very admirable quality, I'm sure. Although, I doubt someone as curious as you would allow yourself to remain bored for long. The limits of your imagination are your only limitations, Alice."

Alice nodded, still uncertain. The idea that she might choose to stay here Forever was no less confusing than the last time she had been asked to stay: she would need to do a lot of puzzling and winkling out when she got home.

"I shall send you to the Chamber of Mirrors with the Hatter. He can escort the Champion on her journey."

The Queen was right about her needing to return home and make her decion, but she seemed hopelessly misled about an appropriate choice of escort. Alice pulled her feet up underneath her on the chaise, her stomach once more flipping awkwardly: had the jam not worked as she had hoped it would, she wondered?

"I don't know whether you should send Tarrant with me, your Majesty."

"Why is that, Alice, dear?" Mirana asked, turning from the looking glass to address her.

"Because, he is rather worried that I will leave…and I promised him last night that I would not."

The Queen's brow knit for just the briefest of moments, breaking her continually serene composure. "We should not make promises that we cannot keep."

"I know. It was not very…not very Grownup. I was happy and he was happy. I wanted it to stay that way Forever."

"Be that as it may, Alice, there is no one in Underland I trust to escort you more than my Royal Hatter. He has, as you know, done me any number of good services. I quite rely on him."

"It must be him?" Alice asked weakly.

The Queen nodded. "Shall I tell him or would you like to?"

"You tell him," Alice replied quietly. She had already failed to act like the grown woman she pretended at being, there was no use in trying to be grown now.

[1] 'The jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today' rule comes from Through the Looking Glass, where the White Queen offers Alice jam every other day. This is a Latin joke that English school children would have understood. In Latin, nunc and iam (or 'jam,' as it was sometimes written) both mean 'now,' but nunc is used in the present tense. Iam or 'jam' cannot be used in the present tense, so one can never have jam today.

I Love My Love

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by justadram

Part 5 of 22

<< Previous     Home     Next >>