Alice and the Keeper of Hearts

Lord Charles, Alice!

Chapter 2

Lord Charles, Alice

His red eyes were dangerous to look at and the way he laughed could make any girl look twice. He was breath taking in every way and for once I felt like I wouldn’t mind a wedding ring on my finger.
“Visit me in Wonderland, Alice.” He whispered into my ear before twirling me and then kissing my cheek. His red eyes glittered and he vanished with the hint of a smile on his face. I had to go back to Wonderland to see Prince Sebastian.

"I think the dress matches your eyes, Alice," Her mother said as her daughter twirled in her gown in front of a mirror.

"Really? I think it looks… too light for me," Alice said putting her hands on her hips and staring at herself in the mirror.

"But it makes your eyes so much brighter!" Her mother said happily.

"My lady your carriage has arrived," The butler said before bowing and handing Alice's mother her coat.

"I'll be waiting for you in the carriage. Don't forget your gloves!" Her mother said before following the butler out of Alice's room. Alice flopped on her bed and started at the ceiling as a tiny spider made its way across to a wall.

"Why can things walk on the ceiling when I can't?" Alice huffed.

"Miss. Alice you should hurry and get downstairs. You know how your mother is when she's late," Her chambermaid said.

"Oh… right," Alice said before throwing on her boots and hiding them under her gown. Grabbing her gloves and locket she made her way downstairs and found her mother holding her umbrella outside the front doors.

"Alice please hurry!"

"Coming mother!" Alice said and quickly took a few pieces of pound cake from the table, tucking it away in a napkin.

"Alice…" A maid hissed.

"Shh. I didn't eat lunch and it's an hour long ride to that Lord whatever's house," Alice snapped at the maid.

"Then take this too." She said giving Alice a basket filled with fruit. Alice beamed at her and hugged her before heading out into the carriage.

"What's in that basket?" Her mother asked.

"Fruit…." Alice said quietly. The carriage pulled away from their house as Alice gave her mother some peaches.

"Now remember Lord Charles is looking forward greatly to meeting you."

"Big deal," Alice said with her mouth full of pound cake.

"Alice don't talk with food in your mouth and you're not supposed to have sweets before eating a full course! Eat some fruit."

"Mother I didn't have lunch. Leave me alone."

"No I won't leave you alone. Now tell me what you're planning on saying to Charles."

"Why are you so excited to see me? I'm just a teenage girl with an imagination that won't be tied down with a crummy marriage when I could be out exploring the world."

"ALICE!"

"It's the truth mother!"

"You won't dare say that to him! He happens to own a few boats that trade with China and would love to take you over there whenever you wished."

"Still… I don't want to get married."

"Why not! You're seventeen years old! Girls your age are already having kids and you're not even engaged yet."

"Good."

"Alice…"

They were quiet for the rest of the ride until the carriage appeared in front of Lord Charles' house. Alice crossed her arms and looked out the window ignoring her mother’s glare. Lord Charles’ butler opened the door and handed both of them a glass of pink champagne before bowing.

"Now remember… Don't tell him about your dreams, Alice," Her mother said before throwing on her hat and accepting a hand before saying hello to Charles' parents. Alice rolled her eyes and took her basket of fruit with her as she climbed out and greeted the parents.

"Ah, Alice! You're more beautiful than the portrait that your mother sent of you!" A man said welcoming her. He had white hair and was that gray on the side?

Am I marrying an old man?

"Please to meet you, Charles. Here take this fruit basket," Alice said and handed him the basket before making her way into the house. His house was huge with large golden walls and white floors. Several small white fur balls ran up and down the hallways yapping at one another. Numerous tables of cookies and fruit stood alongside the tables against the walls. Alice picked up the bottom of her annoying gown and showed off her boots as she glanced up at the silver lit chandelier.

Alright I need to do is mess with him and he'll hate me forever and refuse to marry me.

She continued on into the tea room where a strange man sat chewing on a cookie holding a white tea cup in his hand. He looked oddly familiar especially with his unnatural orange messy hair and bright green eyes. His extremely pale face and red lips lit up into a smile as he noticed Alice approach him.

"Umm… hi." Alice said.

"Hello m'dear," The man said shaking her hand as she sat next to him.

"I'm Alice."

"Of course you are."

"Excuse me?"

"I'm um… James Cattermore," The man said smiling. Alice poured herself some tea and quickly took a sip. It was English tea no doubt. He drained the rest of his tea and offered her a cookie from a silver tray.

"So how do you know Charles?"

"I'm his… horse master."

"I bet you never rode a horse in your life."

"Of course I have!"

"You know… You remind me of someone… He was in my dreams a few times."

"Oh really? I never met you in my life though m'lady."

"Well his name was Hatter. He said when it isn't your birthday you celebrate a merry un-birthday."

"How wonderful, Alice," James said taking a sip of his tea.

"Alice this is my horse master, James," Charles said taking a seat across from her.

"So I hear."

"Well now that you're here we can discuss getting a horse for you, Alice," James said. Alice coughed up some tea and gave him a dirty look.

"That's a good idea, James! How about it, Alice?"

"I hate riding horses."

"Well then what do you do?"

"Read, write, dream."

"Dream?"

"About Wonderland of course," Alice said. James stiffened as he heard "Wonderland". Alice ignored his reaction. Who cared what her mother thought of her petty attitude? She wanted to stay as far from marriage as possible. Charles, however, looked younger than his hair told her. The grey was actually a calming black color.

"Tell me about this place," Charles said looking very interested in what she was saying."

"Well… it's a place where everything is possible and a Queen that always shouts: "Off with his head!" There are no rules and two twin boys follow me around and some rabbit is always late to meet the Queen."

"How do you get there?" James asked.

"Through the rabbit hole. The white rabbit wearing a red uniform leads me there and I fall into the hole."

"Have you dreamed about this place lately?"

"Oh I did before I arrived here! I met this awfully nice boy who was a sorcerer and he gave me flowers and we danced around all over the ballroom," Alice said dreamily. James smashed his cookies in his fist and broke his tea cup.

"Oh god I'm so sorry Charles," James said using his napkin to clean up the tea on his pants.

"Oh no problem, James. I'll go get you another tea cup," Charles said before leaving the room.

"Alice what did this boy look like?" James asked her. She looked down at her teacup and beamed.

"Black hair… but the back bottom of his head, was white… His eyes were a beautiful red and he wore amazing robes." James made a disgusted face before grabbing another cookie and taking a bite.

"Anyone else in this dream you had?"

"Well I didn't see many people who normally are in my dreams. The Red Queen was in it too since the boy was her son but other than that I can't really explain the other people I saw…"

"Sorry I took so long. The cook was yelling at me for the broken tea cup but here, James."

"I think we should take a stroll outside since it's so nice. Don't you think, Alice?" James asked her.

"That's a great idea! I'll go put on my shoes and I'll show you two the new garden while it's still in bloom," Charles said before leaving the room once again.

"Look this may seem strange but that boy in your story… did he happen to seem evil at all?" James asked.

"Oh heavens no! He was such a sweetheart to me."

"He isn't!" James hissed before covering his mouth with his hand. Alice let out a little giggle and patted him on the back.

"What have you ever met this Prince in red?"

"No I'm just assuming that he's evil."

"Alright are we ready to go?" Charles asked entering the room wearing white shoes and a white hat.

"I guess…" James said and got up, helping Alice off the couch.

"Where is your hat?" Alice asked.

"Right here," James said showing her his top hat. It was a greenish color with a large light red ribbon around the middle of it and down the back end of the hat towards James' neck. On the side was a piece of paper with the number 10/6.

"That's an odd hat you have." Alice pointed out. "It looks like the hat the Mad Hatter wears as well."

"Who?" James asked turning red.

"Mad Hatter of course! He's my best friend in my dream. He taught me the merry merry un-birthday song." Alice said.

"Merry merry un-birthday?" Charles asked as they made their way out the backdoor to the large garden where tomato plants stood at the entrance.

"Well if it isn't your birthday then happy merry un-birthday!" Alice said happily.

Wow these two aren't that bad if all they want to hear is my dreams.

She looked out of the corner of her eyes and saw a white rabbit wearing… a red suit? She moved towards him slowly and away from the two men.

"Alice where are you going?" Charles asked watching Alice. The rabbit quickly bounced away into the bushes and Alice huffed.

"Oh I thought I just saw something," Alice said sadly and walked over towards Charles. She noticed James hand shaking before he covered it with a purple glove.

"Charles… why do you have black hair when most of your hair is white?" Alice asked him.

"Well… It's a trait my dad gave me."

"Your hair looks pure white like snow and I just noticed there isn't a touch of gray anywhere… how old are you?"

"Eighteen."

"Are you really?!" Alice shouted. Charles slowly nodded his head hoping she won't jump on him.

"Why aren't you already married?" Alice asked him quickly. Charles blanked out completely and his hands began to sweat.

"Well… uh…-"

"No girl is good enough for him! He wants to marry the perfect girl! Someone that won't be bored of going with him all over the world and talking about all the books he reads." James cut him off. Alice's eyes sparkled after hearing this and hugged Charles.

"I can't believe it… You read books?"

"All the time… Alice."

"How about we go back in for some more tea?" James suggested. Alice saw the rabbit watching them, giving James a dirty look and then looked over at Alice which he took out his pocket watch and tapped on it impatiently. He quickly bounced away and Alice took off in a run after him.

"Alice?!"

"You're not getting away this time White Rabbit," Alice said breathing heavily as she took different turns following the sounds the rabbit was making in the bushes. Quickly she walked into a small area where a large oak tree stood in the middle while rose bushes aligned the outer area. She walked over to find a hole big enough for her to fall into and took a step back.

"Hello?" Alice shouted but all she heard was an echo of her own voice in the hole.

"There you are!" James said and Alice quickly turned only to face a man she never saw before…

"James?"

"Sorry dearie I would’ve thought you recognize me by now," James said and winked as he pulled the brim of his hat down. Alice gasped.

"Hatter?" Alice asked. His chalky white face and pierce green eyes sparkled in the sunlight as he smiled.

"Surprised to see me again? Look we don't have time but to make this short…." He took a deep breath. "The Red Queen's son or Sebastian is after you for your hand in marriage but he's afraid that the White Queen's son, Aaron, is trying to steal you away from him so he tapped into your dreams and gave you a false impression of him so you think he's actually a good guy when in reality he's not and now he's going to kidnap you so in order to keep you safe you are to go down the hole and I'll take you to the White Queen's castle."

"Wh-"

"It isn't that hard Alice!"

"I don't understand where is Charles?"

"Back at his house. Can we please hurry along before Sebastian's little tentacle things come up and take us both back to Wonderland the hard way?"

"Wait… He's really a monster!" Alice panicked.

"Is jumping too hard for you?! LET'S GO!" Hatter said before pushing her into the hole. Holding onto his hat tightly, he jumped in after her.


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