Hatter continues to talk to her about life in her world until Alice becomes calmer about walking around the ledges in the City and he reluctantly releases her hand. “We are almost there. Just keep your hands on the building and you should be good. I want to make sure there is nothing waiting up ahead for us.” Hatter takes off around the corner.
There he goes again. Making sure she is ok but when is the other shoe going to drop? Hatter does something nice then he seems to always do something to counteract it. What will it be this time? How long will he be gone? And what can be up ahead waiting for them, a deck of cards? A memory of something her father told her once bubbled up before she pushed it away. Alice then realizes that she is rambling… to herself!
Hatter comes back around the building, relieved to find her still there, “We should be good; the Tea Shoppe is just on the other side of the building. Are you holding up ok?”
“Yes, but what are you thinking?” Alice hopes that a direct question may help her clue in for the next mercurial change in his attitude, or at least have him talk to her about something besides asking her questions about her world. ‘Why is he so curious?’
“The Looking Glass is the only way to git ya home. It is here in the city but it’s the heaviest guarded piece of kit in Wonderland.” Hatter muses out loud to Alice. ‘There has got to be a way to keep her safe,’ he thinks, plans starting to run in his head.
“I gotta find Jack first.” Alice states. ‘I think… Oh why DID he put the ring in my pocket? I really need to stop and THINK!’
Hatter stops and turns around to face her, “Have you not heard a word I said?” ‘Why will she not listen to him?’
Alice feels the need to try to defend Jack… He is her friend and she wants to give him a chance to explain why he slipped her the ring. Hatter is just an acquaintance that is helping her… out of guilt?
Alice explains to Hatter, “I don’t know how he got mixed up in this but I know he is not a thief. He was trying to surprise me or sweep me off my feet and somehow he got hold of this ring and it has landed him in a pile of trouble.”
Hatter looks at her like he is trying to understand and not quite making sense of what she is saying.
She tries again to explain herself, “If it wasn’t for me he would be home safe.” ‘I think…’ Alice remembers Jack telling her the ring has been in his family for a long time. Or, at least, she is pretty sure that is what he told her.
Hatter looks at her again and asks, “How did he git hold of et?” Something is bothering him about all this.
Alice gets frustrated since Hatter is stopped in front of her and she can’t get off this ledge unless he moves! She takes a deep breath and moves around him saying, “Well, I don’t know. That is a question that I need to ask him. Anyways the point is I am the only one that can get him out of this mess.” There she can do this!
Hatter quickly catches up with her, “How do you figure that out?” He has this need to figure out how she thought. This may be the only way to keep this Alice safe.
Alice answers him. “Well, I got the ring, I can use to negotiate his release.” She thinks this will be the solution to all her problems.
Hatter can’t believe what she is thinking, negotiating with the queen! “Ahh… no… no.”
“No?” Alice asks.
“No, you can’t negotiate with the Queen, she’s crazy!” He forgets she has no exposure to the political situation in Wonderland and tries to explain. “You need to cut your losses and git out the hell out of here while you still can.”
“I can’t just abandon Jack, he’s innocent. And besides I like him.” Alice feels the need to explain to him. Then she thinks, ‘Why does she feel like she needs to explain herself and Jack to Hatter?’
“Oh, ya like him.” Hatter thinks, of course she would like him, the bloke that has landed her in all this trouble by giving her the ring. He starts to move around her so he can be prepared in case there is more trouble.
“Yes,” Alice answers him. “A lot!” ‘Why did I say that?’
Then Hatter surprises her by stopping and turning to her, “Trust me I know a thing or two aboot liking people. And in time after much chocolate and cream cake ‘like’ turns into ‘what his name again?’”
Alice shakes her head.”No, not in my world.”
Hatter looks at her and she tries to explain her reasoning to him… and herself? ‘Argh. I need to sit and think!’ But for now, “Hey look I have a bad record with liking guys.”
Hatter scoffs, “There is a shock.” ‘Including the one she currently likes’, he thinks.
Alice replies to Hatter’s comment, “Well, this is the first one that has meant anything. There is no way I am going to give him up now.” Then Alice wonders, if Jack means anything to her then why did she not try to at least go with him to meet his family or try to meet him halfway? Alice starts to think about this and then notices Hatter has stopped. He is looking at something up ahead and tells her to stay close.
They creep up alongside an old red phone box that looks like it is from her world. She peers around Hatter, noticing a bunch of guys in suits interrogating people. ‘Wait… Did that person just throw someone over the ledge?’ And do those suits have embroidery over their hearts that looks like a deck of cards? She can’t believe it and firmly tells herself no more ideas, remembering her prior comment about a deck of cards waiting for them.
Hatter watches Ratty tell the 10 of Clubs about Alice. “Work with rats long enough you turn into one.” He comments, trying to control his anger.
Alice is still trying to make sense of everything she is seeing. Is that a body with a rabbit shaped cookie jar head?
“What is that?” She thinks it is another of those odd Wonderland deals and hopes Hatter can explain it.
Hatter looks closer at the odd being, “Nothing I ever seen before. Wait… It can’t be…” Something reminds him of someone he thought to be long gone… with good reason.
The abnormality with the ceramic rabbit head notices them and starts to come after them. They move away to gain some distance between them and the creature.
Hatter stops to check on the progress of the creature and Alice comes up behind him asking, “What?”
Hatter has a bad feeling on how the creature is still methodically following them, “We should run.”
They take off through one of the passage ways that leads to the lower levels. As they run through it, he stops to check on the progress of the suits and that… abomination. Hatter notices it is still following them and is actually starting to gain??? “Alice, run!” He glances back and tells her with more urgency in his voice, “Quickly!”
He spots what he has been running to. “Me smuggling boat… c’mon quickly,” he tells her, as he runs down the dock.
They jump in the boat and he goes to the motor while Alice is trying to frantically untie the boat from the dock.
Hatter mutters to himself, “Hang on, there is a knack to this.” He tries to jump start the boat, “Which apparently I have never learned!” Somehow the trick when he needs it the most, never works… ‘Oi!’
Running to the front of the boat he sits down and tries to turn the engine… “C’mon!” Hatter frantically pounds the dashboard while turning the keys. Finally the boat turns over!
The boat quickly picks up speed as they maneuver through the canals to the open water, away from the strange familiar creature; Hatter relaxes as much as he can.
Alice breaths a sigh of relief and asks Hatter, “Where is the casino?” She can’t take much more of this.
Hatter doesn’t look at her and answers, “I’ve already told you cannot negotiate with the Queen.” He thinks for a second and a plan starts to form in his head, “But, the White Rabbit is another kettle of onions. Perhaps they’ll do a deal. It’s a long shot but it’s the only one we got.” Hatter muses aloud to Alice as he thinks his plan through.
Alice notices the ‘we’ in the sentence… What does he mean ‘we’?
Hatter pauses, a little shocked she caught that, he answers her, “I don’t know if you noticed Alice, but my Shoppe was ransacked. I am homeless. I am a target now not only for the Suits but for the Resistance as well and there are only so many places in Wonderland that I can hide.” Hatter pauses and watches her, “The way I see it, I only got one option.” Hatter glances at her a couple of times as he speaks, trying to gauge her reaction to what he is about to say.
“Which is?” Alice holds her breath, she has a bad feeling.
Hatter tells her, “To go back with you… to your world.”
Alice looks at him; here is another person whose life she has affected. First Jack gets kidnapped by some strange being and now Hatter, who is trying to help her, is now homeless and a target for both the suits and the Resistance. She acknowledges that she is beginning to feel more for Hatter than just an acquaintance. Then quickly on that realization, came the awareness that she is beginning to think that he is at least a friend to her and that she is responsible for what has happened to him.
Before either can say anything to the other, a low noise is heard. Hatter and Alice look up and see one of the scarabs in the air.
Hatter remarks to Alice, “Before we do anything we got to shake that royal flush.” He guns the boat trying to see a way to get them out of this.