His hand fell, along with her heart.

Reginald suddenly turned on his heel and swept off the porch, grabbing his coat off the railing in passing. Down the yard path he walked with none of his characteristic saunter, his eyes downcast and shoulders low. She watched him round the end of the fence and fade away down the laneā€¦and then she understood with perfect clarity. This was defeat personified.

He had given up on her.

As you wish.

Alice closed her eyes as she felt a deep sickeningly empty sensation drop from her chest down into the pit of her stomach. The edge of the curtain slipped from her fingers as she turned and braced her back against the wall; this was for the best. For both of them. This was the sensible thing to do, but then why did she feel with every fiber of her being as if she should be ripping her door from its hinges and dashing madly after him?

No. Her eyes opened slowly, she mustn't do such a reckless thing. Her mind reviewed every aspect of their conversation, her breath catching once again at the memory of his lips forming her name so gently. The way with which he looked at her so intently, as if she were the only thing in his world.

As you wish.

The phrase echoed loudly in her mind despite how softly it had been said. The weight of it settling firmly within her throat and making it difficult to swallow as pins began to prick against the backs of her eyes. She had secretly hoped within herself, no, expected that he would grasp onto her confession to him and renew his pursuit of her with even more determination than before. All the many times she had brushed aside his advances so vehemently and yet he had always continued. Had always been there like an eager shadow, waiting, wanting. And now, here they both were, and yet they weren't.

Alice's hands pressed against her face as she clenched her teeth. How very contrary of both of them this night. But in the end, no matter how she analyzed and processed through all these events and developments, she still felt no relief. She only felt heavier and heavier, as though she had once again nibbles upon the wrong side of a great mushroom.

Lowering her hands, she stared into her dimly lit living room, both she and the space around her feeling emptier than ever.

As you wish.

Her hands fisted at her side. Her pulse increased as she pulled in a great lungful of air. Her mind going still as a dangerously mad desire stole over her.

Sensibility be hanged...

She wrenched open her door, her heart racing almost as quickly as her feet down her porch steps and toward the lane.

Had it been sensible to return to Wonderland at all? Most likely not, but she had done so anyway.

Had it been sensible to develop new friendships and strengthen the ones she had known since her first trip to this mad, strange world? Most likely not, but she had done so anyway.

Had it been sensible to invest herself so deeply into life here, despite every intention of this being a temporary stay? Most likely not, but again, she had done so anyway.

And finally, had it been sensible to continue her terrible childhood habit of saying and acting one way about certain matters while secretly meaning the exact opposite? No. It most certainly was not, and it was time to put such childish things aside.

Alice ran. She ran as quickly as her legs and skirts would allow. She ran; her heart beating wildly within her chest as her lungs dragged great gasps of air.

There, up ahead she saw him. His shoulders still rounded down as he slowly made his way toward his own home. Every line of his body showing the weary heartache within.

Reginald's head lifted as his feet paused, he turned back slightly to see who or what was running so wildly down the path behind him. His breath froze in his chest at the sight of Alice running so, with tears on her cheeks. Worry immediately began clawing his chest. Something must be wrong. Something must have happened for his cricket to be so desperate to reach him like this after their conversation. His coat slipped from his hand and dropped quietly to the ground forgotten as he reached his arms out to catch her arriving shoulders.

"What has happened, Alice, are you hurt?"

His brow was furrowed as he carefully looked her over to ensure she was not injured. And despite how greedily her heaving lungs sucked in air, her breath still caught slightly as he once again used her given name.

Now that she had found him, her mind remained blank. Her pulse raced partly from her headlong dash after him, but also partly from what she was about to do. No more thinking. No more analyzing. No more careful planning and well considered steps. Just ACT...

And so she did. Much to both Alice's and Reginald's surprise.

She raised her hands, grasping his face between them, and pulled. Her mouth crashed against his, her eyes shut tightly as she gave herself over to her heart.

Reginald's eyes widened, his reaction time a bit slow as his brain became muddled and attempted to catch up with what was happening. His eyes slid closed as he slowly wrapped his arms around her. Cradling her as their lips seared against each other in this moment of his pure bliss.

She had come for him. His cricket. His Alice. She had come for him. His heart swelled within his chest, ready to burst as he tightened his hold on her. Never wanting to let her go ever again. Wanting to etch this moment within his memory forever. He looked down upon her face as she pulled away from their kiss. Her cheeks flushed, her golden hair bathed with the gentle light of the moon and entirely windswept from her run. He felt her hands leave his face as the moved to rest upon his shoulders. So many things he wanted to say. Things he probably should say. But his tongue was tied. Reginald searched her eyes, trying to suss out any clues as to what was going through her mind in this moment; any clues as to what was about to happen for them. He felt that they were on the edge of something, teetering precariously, but to what end he was now uncertain. What awaited at the end of that fall? But he would not be the one to push. This was for his cricket to decide. And he waited patiently. Desperately. To see where she would send them diving.

Her hands fisted the fabric of his vest, her mouth parting to form the words between them. His pulse tapping wildly like a polka band as she delivered his fate like a whisper on the wind.

"As you wish."