Alice's Fight For Hatter
Once they left the pizza parlor, Alice and Hatter began to walk around the town so that they could buy Hatter a whole new wardrobe. All he carried with him from Wonderland was the clothes on his back and a new, black cap on his head. Alice would miss the bright purple and red, flashy shirt underneath his brown jacket, as well as that brown knit hat, but like he said earlier. People would think he was crazy here in her world.
Not that this mattered to her, but she wanted Hatter to feel comfortable. In Wonderland, she couldn't help but feel awkward and lonely because of how everyone treated her for supposedly being the Alice of legend. Hatter was the only one who didn't treat her this way. He just made sure she was all right because he saw in her what no one else did, including herself. He loved her.
Hatter looked over at her and noticed that she was staring at him again. Hatter stopped walking and turned to look at her as he always did. His head was tilted to the side and one eyebrow was up. It was a questioning gaze and she couldn't help but laugh.
"What are you staring at me for now?" Hatter asked. "Is everything ok?"
"I'm fine," she answered with a chuckle. "I was just thinking about you and about how blind I was to not see how wonderful you really are. I was also thinking about the clothes we are going to buy for you. You need a whole new wardrobe, but I don't want you to lose your style completely. I want you to feel comfortable here. We need to get a few wild clothes and perhaps a new hat that isn't so plain."
Hatter laughed and replied, "Does this mean that I don't have to make sure that my hair stays flat? It is a bloody pain. It has a mind of its own."
Alice slipped her fingers through his hair and messed it up as she responded, "I wouldn't like it any other way."
"Do you know where I would go to actually get a job as a construction worker?" Hatter asked her as they started walking again. "I figured that I probably should be a construction worker since that is what I told your mum. I don't want her to learn that I lied to her first thing."
"I told you before," she answered. "You don't have to worry about that. We technically lied about everything, but it was as close to the truth as we could get. And you can find whatever job you want."
"Where do you work?" he asked her.
Alice looked down the street and pointed to a small building as she replied, "I own that place there. It's a dojo where I teach karate. I told you I was a black belt."
Hatter looked at her and said, "You never did explain what karate or a black belt is?"
Alice took ahold of his hand and pulled him toward the dojo as she responded, "Come on. I'll show you. I promise I'll take it easy on you."
Alice taught him about karate, as well as what the different colored belts meant. Then, they sparred together for quite a while. Hatter needed to make sure that he was careful not to break anything with his sledgehammer right fist.
Once they were finished, Alice showed him around the dojo and her office from out of which she did all of the paperwork that kept her business alive. There was also a couch in the corner of the room, where she would curl up and fall asleep on the late nights when she was too tired to walk home. It was then, that Hatter got an idea.
"Alice, what if I were to stay here until I earn enough to pay for a place of my own?" he asked. "No offense to Jack, but I would rather earn my own way. I don't need any handouts."
"I never meant to make you feel like someone looking for help," she replied. "You are welcome to stay here, but are you sure you'll be comfortable enough? This office is awfully small."
Hatter grinned and said, "It's perfect. Believe me, I would feel much more comfortable here than at Jack's old place. Besides, I get to be around you more while you're working. All we need is something to help make tea."
Alice smiled and responded, "I think I can help you with that."
Later that evening, Alice finally arrived home with Hatter, just in time for supper. They carried several shopping bags in and walked them into Alice's room before her mother stepped out from the kitchen, where she had been busy cooking. Alice didn't want her mother to become any more suspicious.
They walked out in time to see Caroline setting the entrée down on the dining room table. She decided to make a large pot roast. In the pot roast, there was the meat, potatoes, and carrots. On the side, Caroline had put together a garden salad and some biscuits. There was wine to drink, as well as tea, just as Hatter had asked for. Finally, for dessert she had made a carrot cake. Hatter was in awe because of the effort Alice's mother had gone through to make him feel welcome.
"Mom, you have really outdone yourself," Alice said. "This is even better than the meal you made for when Jack came over."
"What can I say?" she replied. "I've got a good feeling about you David. In the short time I have known you, you have brought something beautiful out in my daughter that Jack certainly didn't. I have a feeling I will be seeing a whole lot more of you."
A huge smile appeared on Hatter's face as he answered, "Thank you, Mum! Supper looks fabulous! You didn't have to go through all this trouble just for me."
Caroline responded, "It was no trouble."
"Mom loves to cook for guests," Alice said. "Feel free to eat all you want. It looks like she made more than enough."
As Caroline walked back into the kitchen, Alice stepped over to Hatter, kissed him on his lips, and said, "I told you that you wouldn't have to worry about anything. She likes you and she can tell how I feel about you. She's always been a god judge of character. Tonight, you get to know my mother. Soon you get to know some of my friends. They will love you too."
Dinner went splendidly as Hatter awed them both with several hat tricks once they were finished eating. Then, he shared some more about himself that didn't give away that he was from another world. He explained that he never knew his parents, which was true. He had no memory of his parents because they died when he was very young. He went on to tell Alice and her mother that he grew up on the streets and worked his way up to becoming a working man and earning his way in life.
Alice never knew this about him and she could see sadness in his face as he spoke about his life before she got to know him. It was no wonder that Hatter grew up playing both sides of the court, as he had called it. He had told her that day in the old palace ruins that he did whatever he had to do to survive. Anyone in his situation would have sold anyone out as Ratty had done to him, just for some food and emotion teas. However, Hatter kept away from drinking the teas himself and helped the resistance in any way he could.
Alice looked at him and then leaned over to kiss him deeply once again. Caroline smiled as she picked up her dishes, said goodnight, and left the two of them alone for the rest of the evening.
Caroline knew that this time, Alice would not push David away as she had with every other boyfriend she had brought home. There was something mysterious about David, but like Alice, she too trusted him completely.