Chapter 1:

Summary: Alice Pleasance-Liddell for the majority of her childhood was raised, by her father, to never stop imagining; that creativity was special. Everyone's imagination was different and made each unique. Then he died. Soon enough her mother remarried to a man that couldn't be any more opposite, that seemed to have a very specific hatred against creativity. With her Step-Father, came her new younger sibling, Charles. Charles had never been given the chance to be imaginative as a boy his age should have. And one of the few times he allowed himself to indulge, he was caught! Running away he find himself in Wonderland, with Alice following in search behind him. Will they manage to find each other in the nonsensical world? Will they ever want to leave again, if they do?

Adventure, Fantasy, Humor, Family, Friends, Hurt/Comfort

Disclaimer: I do not own Alice in Wonderland, or any of its many variations. Nor do I own WCMI.

This work is an AU of my own based on the amazing WCMI comic/various works, with some worldbuilding and added on ideas/headcanons of my own.

Enjoy!


Two years after Wonderland.

"Bedtime!"

A rather melodic voice chimed, prim and elegant in only the way a proper lady could. The owner of said voice had crossed her arms and peered into her home's own living room from a doorway and sternly pursed her lips at the sounds of reluctance coming from those that could only be known as her family. For in that very room sat her beloved husband and their two adorable little girls that pouted most unbecoming of a family of their stature.

"Oh, please, mother. Do let us stay up for just a little longer…" The youngest of the group spoke up; the girl's beautiful and long golden hair, that was made into lovely curls, waved around as she shook her head slowly. A dreamy gaze was in her sky blue eyes as she continued to think about the wonderful make-believe game they had been playing.

The older girl next to her, her sister, had straightened up and flattened any wrinkles in her skirt upon realizing that she had been uncouthly pouting. Her own long waves of chocolate brown were made up in the most becoming braid, that trailed along one side of her neck and down her chest. She did not wish to undermine her mother's command nor did she wish to go to sleep and had, instead, stayed quiet with a hopeful gaze.

"Oh yes, my beautiful wife. Perhaps only five minutes more…" Their father had, unlike his girls, continued with his childish pout, playfully. His hands fiddled with a wooden doll in his hands, a silly-looking prince that the man had amateurly carved on his youngest child's request. He was not a wood carver, by any means. No. He would just give the world to his two girls, that which he cared for most deeply.

He would do anything for them.

The man had then set aside the wooden prince, on the floor amongst the many other dolls that sat in between the three. Standing to walk up to his stern and no-nonsense wife.

"Lewis, you cannot keep doing this. These girls need to get to bed at a decent hou— oh!"

Lewis had ignored his love's words and had, instead, whisked her by the hands into an improvised dance.

The two sisters giggled and took each other by the hands, trying to stay out of their parent's way as they moved about the room. Their father hummed a tune that came off the top of his head and their mother stuttered, having been taken by surprise.

"Oh, Judith. My sweet Judith, you simply must let our girls have just a bit of fun." Lewis dipped his wife, before bringing her back up for yet another twirl. "They go to bed at a decent hour every night. Typical. Normal. Why, what good is living if one can't have at least a little...unpredictability?"

"Unpredictability leads to chaos if one isn't too careful." Judith chided her husband. She could never understand how one could come across such thoughts as his. One minute her man could be saying the wisest advice she had ever heard and the next asking what color might the doe, grazing between the trees in the forest just beyond their backyard, find most pleasing. To which he would engage in the silliest argument with their youngest child —of whom he had bestowed such strange thinking since birth— on the subject.

"Only chaos of the best kind I hope. What do you think Lorina? Alice?" The man swiveled his head to keep his gaze focused on his two girls as he kept the impromptu dance going.

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with mother." Lorina brought up her nose, in what she hoped was like how her mother did when she tried to prove a point.

Alice frowned most unladylike at her sister, hands on her hips. Her older sister was always trying her best to please their mother and never seemed to speak what she was truly feeling. The little blonde very much wished that things were still how they were when she was younger and Lorina was still unafraid to imagine and think. But ever since the brunette had turned the age of thirteen, she had been most unlike herself.

The youngest opened her mouth to argue but flinched instead when a water droplet fell splat on her head. This confused her as she was quite certain they were inside the living room; however, when she looked up to investigate, she found that the roof had disappeared and a grey and gloomy cloud-covered sky took its place.

"Alice, did you hear me?"

The girl blinked, bringing her eyes down to her family who were now directly in front of her, staring at her with an odd focus.

"Alice?" Her father's lips moved in time with his words, but it was not his voice that had come out. It was too high pitched and girly to be his.

"Alice!"

The blonde gasped, startled when she was shaken by the hands that were grasping her shoulders. She tensed and grabbed a hold of the elbows that were connected to the hands that held her, blinking and trying to regain herself.

Alice realized that she had allowed herself to get lost from reality again.

"Were you daydreaming again? And at such a time, too!" Lorina retracted her arms from her younger sister's shoulders and jerkily smoothed out her skirt. A frown marred her face and her eyes were rimmed red. Tear-tracks shimmered within the little light there was on such a stormy day, for those that sought to see it.

"No…" The blonde crossed her arms, guarded. "Not silly nonsense. I-I was remembering about the time daddy—"

Her breath caught and found she couldn't say anymore, lest her voice wavered and she broke down crying into the grass at their feet.

Lorina relaxed in understanding and guided her sister into a hug as both tried their hardest to slow their shaky, quick breaths and quell down the sorrow that filled them.

In a time that was both too long and too soon the brunette let go and Alice found herself being led by the hand.

"C'mon, we mustn't stray behind too much. They will be… will be lowering the casket soon."

The youngest felt another wave of tears wanting to run. She didn't allow them to and quietly followed her sister to the rest of the group that had gathered around what was to become her father's final resting place.

Once they had found their places on either side of their now widowed mother and under a wide, black umbrella, the preacher began his speech. A speech that Alice was not quite interested in listening to, as she found her gaze on the rather bland-looking casket. It began to waver from her vision as she, again, lost focus on reality.

"Can I tell a story this time, daddy?" A much younger Alice hid the bottom half of her face, as her father's surprised expression fell off the books that were held by a shelf across the room and was directed at her.

"I don't see why not, my curious princess." The man turned to her, closing the short distance between them and taking a seat on the bed. Alice beamed at the nickname, as she always did when her father called her by it. "What story did you want to tell?"

"Well," her nose scrunched up and her bright blue eyes held a little worry, "it's not really a story so much as an adventure I had when you were gone on your business trip. But mother and Lorina keep telling me it never happened!"

"Oh? And why is that?"

Alice bit her lip and hesitated. Surely she could tell her father. If anyone would believe her it would be him, right? The blankets were brought down from her face and she adjusted herself so that she could cuddle right into his side.

"The place that I went to was rather far, I'm sure. Where logic was not so and the land was so fantastical that I couldn't help but name it Wonderland."

"Is that so?" Her father chuckled and leaned down to place a kiss on top of her head, pretending to sputter as if a hair had gotten caught in his mouth. To which Alice lightly smacked his arm for. "What did you do while you were in Wonderland? How does one get from here to there?"

His words eased her, as he had spoken them as if he were inquiring about a trip she had to Spain or France.

"Well, you see I followed a rabbit —or should I say, the White Rabbit— down a rabbit hole that went down and down and down…"

And down and down, like the tears that were now making their way to her chin as she watched the casket drop slowly into the ground.


Three years after Wonderland.

Alice made no attempt at pretending to smile, as she unhappily made her way down the middle aisle of the church. Her hair had been done up so prettily, with white roses forming a sort-of crown on top her head that complimented the white dress she was wearing. Within her hands was a basket from which she was throwing flower petals onto the floor.

Walking right beside her was a boy in a tuxedo, who kept fiddling with the bowtie around his neck, also rather unhappy. In his own hands were the rings that were to be used during the vows.

As they reached the steps, Alice kept her eyes from rising any higher than the ground as she moved to step next to her sister that stood alongside the other bridesmaids.

The procession finished when her very mother, the woman to be re-wed, had stepped up to her place like how it was rehearsed.

Movement caught Alice's eyes and she unwittingly brought up her gaze to watch the little redheaded boy that was to become her younger brother once the vows had been said and sealed with a kiss.

The thought of her mother wedding so soon after her father's death brought waves of nausea to unsettle her stomach.

Had the woman ever truly loved her father?

Had he meant nothing to her?

Alice closed her eyes when the cheers for the sealing kiss erupted from the two families and friends that sat within the large room.

"Do you not like us?" A voice asked just beyond Alice's vision from where she sat on a bench. She turned her head to look upon her now little brother. They were currently outside of the church, under a tree not too far from the celebration of a successful marriage.

The boy stood straight and stiff like a proper gentleman, despite only being the age of seven. Alice was uncomfortable, looking into the rather neutral expression upon his face; it was saddening to not see the sparkle of imagination and wonder within his eyes that she believed all children his age should have. One shouldn't be forced to grow up too quickly. An opinion the man that was now her step-father did not seem to share.

"Not necessarily, no. I merely believe it was too soon for my mother to have married another man."

"But your father died a year ago. It is only logical your, or rather our, mother find another capable man to take care of your household and family."

Logical.

Practical.

And entirely unfeeling.

The sadness must have been more apparent on her face than Alice realized, as she soon found her new brother sitting next to her and holding her hand. However, the little redhead seemed quite content to also keep his face firmly turned away from hers and ignore his own actions, as if he wasn't currently trying to comfort her in some way.

Warmth filled the blonde's chest and she decided that maybe, just maybe, gaining two new family members wasn't so bad.


Gaining new family was the worst.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Alice screamed as she watched her new father tear down the artwork she'd made over the years off her bedroom walls. Many of them depicting what she could remember from her adventure in Wonderland that she, now at the age of fifteen, no longer believed to be real in the literal sense but had still been a real significance of her younger years. "YOU CAN'T DO THIS!"

She ran up to the fear-stricken and conflicted servant that held a bag and stood not too far behind the man her mother had married, as he destroyed her childhood memories. The bag was what her mother's husband was shoving her drawings haphazardly into.

Alice reached out to snatch the bag but was pushed roughly away, instead, when her step-father intercepted.

The man ignored the girl as he forged ahead with his objective. He had allowed his newest children the chance to gradually get out of the dangerous notions of "fantasy". It had been three months since he had wed the beautiful woman known as Judith Pleasance, now Judith Liddell. Three months since he had made it very clear he would not stand for anything less than perfect young, proper ladies.

It was something his daughter Alice had fought tooth and nail against.

HENRY LIDDELL, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO—" Alice's whole body moved with her head when it snapped to the side from the particularly devastating blow her cheek had taken.

Her step-father had slapped her.

"There shall be no disrespecting me, as your father. I am the master of this household and it is about time you remembered it."

The servant holding the bag had jolted back, face pale and hands shaking. The poor man watched as his young mistress slowly straightened back up with a hand on her aching and awfully red cheek. It was agonizing to see the glaze of shock and pain overtake the normally delightful face that always held the most wondrous of smiles. He had a feeling those smiles wouldn't be making very many appearances in the following days.

Alice watched, in a daze, as her step-father finished with stuffing all her art within the sack and began to do the same to her stuffed animals. Her hand continued to hold the side of her face that throbbed. A trill made the girl aware that one of her two felines had graced her with their presence; just in time too, as she really needed a hug.

Reaching down to her ankles the blonde picked up the cat and stuffed her face into its fur, walking out of the room. The grey hair with black stripes made Alice aware that this was Cato; her particularly strange cat that had mysteriously appeared one day after her trip to Wonderland. He and Dinah had gotten along rather well, save for when they fought each other over their favorite human's attention.

The blonde continued to stride away from her room until she reached the hammock out in the backyard, hung between two sturdy trees. With some effort she slid onto the net and began to rock herself and her cat side to side.

"Oh, Cato, whatever shall I do? This man who is threatening to steal my daddy's place is throwing out all the things that make me, well… me." She sniffed and rubbed an eye. Her bright blue eyes roamed around until they locked onto the strange amber of her cat's own. Sometimes she felt that he was much more intelligent than an average cat; that his eyes spoke of more awareness to the things that went on around him and, dare she say, understood. "I wish you could speak and give me some advice. Or at least give some comforting words. I know that you and Dinah would be on my side."

In response her cat began to purr and lick the hand that was petting his fur coat, with his sandpaper tongue. It seemed to be exactly what she needed as she began to giggle.

"You're right, I need to cheer up. He may be able to get rid of my things as if it were rubbish, but he can't get rid of my spirit as easily. My daddy told me the world needed people like me to keep life interesting. So, that's what I'll do. Keep being me!" It seemed so easy when spoken; however, she knew it wouldn't be quite so. In this world, it wasn't very hard to fall into the drab and bleakness of what was considered to be dignified society in England. She was lucky to have had such a wonderful father, that accepted and even encouraged her personality.

Now that she no longer had her true father to partner up with to help hold the weight, it was time to put in her full effort. Perhaps someday she would find herself with the perfect someone to shoulder the burden of balderdash needed to make life more worth living?

A meow called Alice's attention from the trees and sky above her and to her foot that she was using to rock the hammock. Right beside her leg sat Dinah, who so very much wanted to join in with herself and Cato.

"I was wondering where you were, silly kitty. Come on, come up here." The young teen reached over the net, to her other cat's displeasement at being set down from Alice's arms. He had made sure to give Dinah a swat with his paw, to show how unhappy he was.

This caused their favorite human to give out another little laugh.

The teen decided to take advantage of this small reprieve from the harshness of her new reality; allowing her two cats to entertain and distract her from her step-father and his current actions. It was never well to allow herself to partake in a pity party, lest she cry herself a river again. She still had her memories, after all. And she could always draw herself more pictures or even write down the stories within her head. Writing was considered seemly, was it not?

So within the hammock she stayed, thinking about what she wanted to write, until it came time for dinner. And after dinner was when the blonde finally gained enough courage to see what had become of her bedroom.

If it hadn't been in the same location, she would have surely thought it was somebody else's. Gone were her drawings and her stuffed toys —all of her toys really. She had thought that her step-father allowed her to keep a hold of her books until Alice neared closer.

Gone were her lovely picture-filled stories and there sat titles such as, "Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior" and "A Little Book of Manners"

How ghastly!

Her face pinched as if she bit a lemon and she went over to pout on her bed. Her bed that no longer depicted a story of a dashing knight and his beautiful princess saving him —a wish that her stupendous late father fulfilled as a gift on her eighth birthday. Her covers were now a plain blue with a white underside.

At least it was of her favorite colors.

She hoped her step-father didn't throw out her most favored blanket too.

A knock on her on her door caused her to sit up, as she had been laying on her back and kicking her feet out back and forth in the most unladylike manner.

"Who is it?" She tried to make her voice sound sweet but only served in making herself cringe at how forced it sounded.

Two sets of eyes peeked in, one set of brown and one set of hazel. Alice was relieved as it was not her step-father, as she had feared. It was her siblings.

"Hello Lorina, Charles. Do come in!"

Her older sister and younger brother quickly shuffled in and sat on each side of her. Her sister held worry in her gaze, while her brother was in actuality dragged in by the hand.

"We wanted to see how you were doing."

"I didn't— OW!" Charles held his hand that had been slapped by his very cross eldest sister. "I have better things to do, you know, than cheer up whiny emotional brats."

"Unless you want me to convince mother to wash your mouth out with soap, I suggest you watch your tongue." At Lorina's threat, the young boy wisely shut his mouth and glared at the newly placed carpet beside the bed.

"I'm alright, I suppose." Alice played with the hem of her dress' skirt, not wanting to really think about the horrible day she had had. "It was probably about time my bedroom had a makeover…"

Looking around the room made Lorina ill; it looked nothing like Alice. She both loved and resented the fact that her sister could so easily be herself, not afraid of what others thought of it. Her little sister's room had been like an escape from the world, where creativity and imagination was always at the forefront.

It was why the older girl always liked to bother her sister and invade her room whenever her many friends were over. Taking advantage of the beautiful tea set for make-believe parties that partook anywhere their minds stretched. A tea set that was thankfully still on the small little table in the far corner of the room; their new father must have deemed it satisfactory enough to stay. The set was a family heirloom that their grandmother, on their mother's side, had given to Lorina. The girl had then decided to allow Alice to keep it, since it was used in her room the most, anyways.

"You… aren't too upset, then, at what Henr— father did?" The older girl turned back to focus on her sister and her heart broke at the sad attempt of a smile that made its way on her sister's face.

"N-not at all."


Six years after Wonderland.

"Charlie, don't lag too far behind. I don't want to lose you in the crowd." Alice stopped, alongside her current and most frustrated courter, as they waited for the young redhead to catch up.

"I was only trying to enjoy the scenery. It is such a lovely day for a stroll."

"Lovely indeed." The young woman, now of eighteen, eyed a merchant and a customer haggling loudly over prices not even four feet away and then over to a woman trying so very hard to calm her crying, squealing baby.

Not to mention the marketplace was so loud that one had to yell if only to be heard.

She could read the true meaning behind her little brother's words. He didn't want to be here and used as a means of escape, should Alice no longer be interested in the presence of the fine young man by her side.

The young lady had used the excuse of needing to watch her baby brother many times on the poor young gentlemen whom her step-father would throw her way.

Alice had grown up to be very comely in the eyes of fetching bachelors. Most coming far and wide to try to win over the blonde beauty that many had come to realize was as prickly as a rose. Not one had yet managed to move beyond the thorns and to the heart within their protective grasp. Which had gained her the reputation of being as unattainable as she was gorgeous. It only seemed to make the young men even more head-over-heels for her, much to her bemusement. She just wanted them to go away.

If it made her a spinster then so be it; all of them were as bland as they come. All each and every one of them had only wanted a quiet, obedient housewife with no personality. Not even one of them listened to a word she spoke, which caused her to not listen to them as they spoke, in response.

"Miss Liddell, I am terribly sorry but I believe I am late for a, uh, very important rendezvous." The man currently accompanying Alice didn't sound very certain, which led her to believe that he was only finding an excuse to get away. That was good, as it was what she wanted.

"Oh, certainly. I wouldn't want to get in the way of anything important." She held in her amusement at the noticeable flinch from her companion. It was always fun to mess with her dates. "Have a wonderful evening, Mr. Ulrich."

"G-good evening."

Once the man was out of sight Alice turned to her brother.

"I thought he'd never leave." She laughed and Charles rolled his eyes.

"You shouldn't be scaring them off like this. Do you want to burden your family by never marrying?"

The two made their way back home as the young lady's objective had been fulfilled.

"It's not my fault they bore me. I want someone with actual personality." Alice stopped at the front window of a hat shop with Charles right at her side. She took in the beauty of each hat before moving on with her brother.

"How will you know they have personality if you don't give them the chance to prove themselves to you?"

"I have allowed each and every one of those idiots to "prove themselves", I'll have you know!" She stiffened her shoulders defensively before forcing them to relax. "They've just never passed."

"Oh, I was unaware that you were giving them all a test." The boy was amused at this prospect. It was entirely like his sister to do such a thing; secretly testing people.

"And that is the point. If the young gentlemen knew what I was doing, then they'd attempt to act their best. I suppose it is lucky, in these circumstances, that I am a woman and therefore not the one they are truly attempting to impress but rather my step-father."

"Isn't that what you should want them to do? Act their best, I mean."

They had, by that time, left the city limits and were well on their way into the surrounding countryside. Their home wasn't too far away, yet still far enough that it wasn't affected very much by city life. A perfect distance in Alice's opinion.

"Goodness, no! I don't want to see their best until I've seen their worst. You never truly know a person until you see how they react in their most unbecoming. Knowing their limits makes it easier to see if one is truly fit for another."

"So, to summarize: you annoy and bother them until they "reveal their true selves" and decide if you like them or not."

"Yes."

"And how, pray tell, would one need to do in order to "pass" your test, dear sister?" Charles' words threw Alice off. She had never thought about it before; believing that when the time came she'd just know.

The young lady hummed to herself in her musings and unconsciously swished around her dress skirt with little skips and hops as she did. Charles, collected as always, ignored his sister's childish tendencies and continued to walk straight and stiff as a board.

As a young gentleman should.

"I suppose to start with, they'd have to be able to make me laugh. Not just any type of laughter, mind you, but true and genuine. Especially when I don't want to."

Charles rolled his eyes and turned his disinterested gaze to the bushes that ran along the road. He continued to listen, however, as it would have been bad manners otherwise.

"He'd also have to be willing to listen. To want to listen. He'd have to see me, not as a prize, but as another human being. One who can think and also partake in the decisions of what would become our household." Bitterness was clear in her words but the frustration was gone as quickly as it came and she continued. "The perfect man would also be willing to partake in my various musings and imagination; I think I would like to become an author one day and would dearly hope to have my husband's support on the matter."

Alice, as always, dreamed too big. It was nothing new to Charles and, secretly, it made him sad to know that his lovely sister wouldn't ever find this "perfect" man. Nothing was ever perfect, life was imperfect.

"You are never going to find someone that will fit all of those, you know. Especially not here in England." The boy quietly tried to bring Alice back down and out of the clouds. It would do no good for a young lady of her status to lose her head, figuratively.

"Not in England…" Her voice sounded a bit lost from reality, notifying Charles that she was still a bit caught up in her fantasy. He gave another eye roll.

"Not in "Wonderland" either, dear sister." His snide remark snapped her out the rest of the way and she tried her best not to pout.

"Oh, hush you! Let's not forget that sometimes, in the middle of the night, you sneak into my room and ask me to retell you the story of my adventure to that far away land."

"A land that doesn't exist." Was his snooty retort as he looked around in the hopes that no one had heard about his occasional nightly excursions. If his father found out that he was allowing his rebellious sister to "disillusion" him with her silly stories. He'd get some lashings for sure!

No one was around, how relieving.

Alice rolled her eyes at her brother's jumpiness and figured she shouldn't be insulted by his clear refusal to admit his like of Wonderland. She knew that the boy had always yearned to be allowed, even the littlest bit of time, to be exactly what he was: a little child of ten.

An age where boys were still young enough to make-believe themselves princes that saved princesses out of the hands of evil. That took on precarious adventures and journeys through various lands within the walls of their homes. Charles would never be given that chance, due to his— their father.

That was another subject she would occasionally daydream about; what would life had been like, if her true father had never died and Charles had somehow been born into her family through some unseen fate? He would have been happier in that reality; all of them would have been, really.

Except for mother, who seemed to be quite fine with how things were.

In an effort to keep her mood from diving down, Alice looked down at her brother and lovingly ruffled his dazzling red hair. She loved gliding her fingers through his silky locks. The young woman could imagine his hair to be like fire that would never burn her.

"Stop that!" The boy jerked his head away from her hand and made sure to stay an arm's length apart, to her amusement, as they finally reached their home.


Nine years after Wonderland; Present Day

Porcelain clinked and spoons stirred as three women enjoyed some tea on the backyard patio of a fine Victorian home. The sun shined and there wasn't a cloud in sight, leaving the well groomed yard bright and cheery in the warm afternoon.

The complete opposite of Alice's current mood.

"...and then the poor man found himself taking a swim in the pond!" Lorina chortled politely behind a delicate and dainty hand alongside her mother, while Alice simply smiled.

The blonde was trying to be happy if only for her sister.

Currently the three ladies were spending the day within the property of Lorina's husband, Porter Newman. Alice's older sister had been married for a few years now and the younger sibling could tell that Lorina —despite the arranged marriage— had truly grown to love her husband. The blonde could even admit that the man wasn't entirely too bad but she had kept her distance despite that.

Staying arms length away was also to keep her parents happy; if she grew to love Porter as a brother, then she would have no qualms with vocalizing about her "silly" stories, proving how childish and unladylike she was, and "shame" her family to his.

Lorina, in the recent months, had been hinting to her little sister that Porter wouldn't mind the creatively made up adventures. Alice still didn't wish to strain what little relationship she still had with their mother and politely continued to decline making any footholds in her relationship with her brother-in-law.

"Oh dear." Judith finally gained enough breath to speak and held her hand to her chest. "And what did your dear husband think about his friend's unscheduled bath during Polo?"

"Well, considering he couldn't find it in him to stop laughing, undoubtedly he was highly amused!"

The two women were laughing again and Alice merely stirred a spoon within her tea. Lorina noticed her sister's unusual silence and furrowed her eyebrows, lips tugging slightly down.

"How is everything going for you, Alice? I dare say you haven't had even a drip of your tea. Are you well?" The older sister took off a glove and reached over to place the back of her hand against the blonde's forehead. Deeming Alice alright physically, she moved a strand of loose hair behind one ear and smiled comfortingly at her younger sibling.

"Everything is just fine, thank you." Was the curt reply. Only polite and without true feeling. It was proper and decidedly not Alice.

Lorina gave a quick glance at their mother who seemed to ooze with disapproval, no longer in a favorable mood. The woman could feel the tension in the air as both Judith and Alice made it a point to ignore one another. The brunette gave out an almost inaudible sigh.

The relationship between the two had only gotten worse since the day their mother had decided to re-marry. Alice viewed the union as a betrayal to their biological father and Judith saw it as an opportunity to keep their family lineage afloat.

There was very little room for "true love" within the high class. Only cutthroat business and politics.

Lorina, herself, felt lucky to have been arranged into a marriage with a man that was truly interested in investing time into their relationship. Not just seeing her as a means to an end for mutual benefits between his family and hers.

Speaking of her husband, Lorina perked up when she noticed his approach to their little tea party. Her smile wilted just a bit when she noticed his expression of concern.

"Good afternoon, ladies." He gave a dramatic bow, which caused the three to giggle. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything important?"

"Not at all, Porter." Judith smiled, then gestured to the remaining empty seat. "Do join, it has been a while since we've last spoken to you."

"As gracious the offer is, I'm afraid I haven't exactly come for pleasurable purposes."

"Is something the matter, my love?" Lorina took a hold of his hand and gave it a squeeze.

"I was finishing up some paperwork within my study when young Nathaniel burst in with hardly a knock." Nathaniel was a child that the Newmans had found trying to steal some food in the market one day. Instead of sending him off to the authorities, the couple had asked about his situation and took him in for a job within their household, when they learned of his single, poor mother and two siblings barely scraping by. Now, the young teen did odd jobs throughout the wealthy homestead and was paid very well for it. "Poor boy looked ready to keel over when he handed me this."

The man brought out an opened letter from a hidden pocket inside his coat and handed it over to his mother-in-law. As she read, her face twisted into an expression of worry and fear. Not very often did their mother reveal what she was truly feeling.

The woman raised her eyes to capture both her daughters' own. Her next words practically stopped Alice's heart.

"Charles is missing."


A/N: I hope you enjoyed this first chapter, even if it was full of story-building snippets. It won't be long until our dear characters find themselves into the fantastical world of Wonderland.

I urge you all to review and comment on my story. It may not be a necessity but it is a big motivator and helps let me know if I'm going in the right direction.