I don't own Alice in Wonderland or any of its characters. Based on the 2010 Tim Burton film.
This story is dedicated to jjhatter, who inspired me to write about Chess and Mally. I would never have thought of the pairing otherwise, nor had such fun with them! Now, after reading this story, please go and read jjhatter's wonderful stories. You'll be glad you did!
Mally attends one of Mirana's endless string of parties and find that she has two suitors. But are either of them right for her, or will a long-time friend be more her type?
You're Irresistibly Delicious
"Another tea party?" Mally groaned, "can't Mirana stop with the parties already? Oi!"
"I know," Alice said sympathetically, "Tarrant and I feel the same way. Mirana has had a party of some kind every week for over a month!" Both gazed at themselves in the looking glass in Tarrant's work room.
"Aye, ain't that the truth," Mally grumped. She had been coming to like Alice more and more lately. They weren't close friends; at least not yet, but their relationship was slowly and steadily improving. For one thing, Mally knew now that Alice was a good and loyal friend and for another, she made Tarrant extremely happy. Tarrant had been so happy since...well...ever, really! So, the blonde was good for him, Mally concluded, and what was good for Tarrant was all right by her.
It also didn't hurt that she herself had a sort of a...relationship? Mally frowned, her tiny brow furrowing in thought. Did she and Chess have a relationship? At last week's Ball, they seemed to have begun a relationship that was something slightly more than friendship; and dancing with him had been nothing short of divine!
Mally sighed with the fond memory. She had been alone in the Gardens and Chess had found her. He had essentially told her that her suitors; and they were indeed suitors now, as both Fidelis and Standley had begun to pay her special attention as soon as Duty in the Queen's Guard was completed for the day, were likely not her type of 'men.' So far Mally had been to dinner with each of them once.
They were both nice enough, and both fawned over Mally and exulted her beauty and her strength and charms. As much as Mally liked both her Commander and her fellow soldier, there was something lacking. Part of what was lacking was Muchness. But it was more than that; but it wasn't something Mally could quite put her claw on.
Was Chess right? Was it because they lacked her own level of Muchness, and not only that, but her sense of adventure and love of mystery? Of course they could both be counted upon to be loyal, but other than that, they couldn't even keep her interest in conversation.
For more years than Mally could recall, she and Chess had never lacked for good conversation. Granted, it was not always pleasant conversation, but it was invariably interesting, stimulating, often fun, and even philosophical. Of course they also argued and sometimes spent many an hour hurling insults at each other. But even after that, both would part with a smile; Mally's tiny and smug and Chess's wide and eerie.
But it wasn't until Chess had shown up at the Ball and spoken with her and even morphed into an indescribably gorgeous black and purple dormouse with deep green mysterious eyes complete with a tiny golden suit and top hat just to escort her back to the Ball and dance with her that Mally, even for a few hours, thought of him as potentially more than a friend.
Well, perhaps she would find out tonight at the formal tea party whether or not Chess was truly sincere in his flattery and attentiveness towards her or if he was merely pulling her tail.
Tonight Mally was wearing another dress that Tarrant had made for her. This one was a lovely sage green taffeta with matching tiny heeled shoes and with a lovely lace ribbon. The problem was the ribbon. Mally had absolutely no idea of how to wear the ribbon. Was she supposed to loop it beneath her chin and make a bow on top of her head?
She tried to do just that. Ugh. It looked awful. The bow was too slender and didn't puff out at all. Mally attempted the effort once more. Oi! It was worse!
She hurled the ribbon onto the floor and stomped upon it in disgust. "Stupid thin'! What the blast am I supposed to do with such a thi' stupid thin'!
"Oh, Mally!" Alice said, carefully retrieving the ribbon. "May I try?"
Mally huffed and crossed her arms. "I s'pose! But I say it's 'opeless!"
"Well, we'll see," Alice said. She knelt and Mally stood still before her and within several seconds Alice had the bow tucked beneath her chin and puffed beautifully atop her head.
"What? It worked?" Mally gaped at her reflection. "I can't hardly believe it!"
"You look beautiful, Mally," Alice sighed. "You truly do."
"Thanks, Alice," Mally said, still admiring herself in the glass. "Thank ye!"
"You're welcome. Now come, Tarrant is waiting for us!"
Tarrant and Alice took seats at the table assigned for their party and Mally was shocked to see a place card for Chess.
"Chess?" Mally exclaimed. "Chess got 'imself an invite?"
"Slurvish thin' probably kissed the Queen's bustle to get it," Tarrant groused.
"Tarrant!" Alice attempted to scold, but her giggle negated the effect.
"Well, likely he did!" Tarrant insisted, "how else could the..."
"Now, now," a smooth purr broke in, "no need for such language, Tarrant! The fact is that I have been invited and it would be most impolite to not attend."
"Depends on what yer attendin' to!" Tarrant shot back.
"What ever do you mean?" Chess asked silkily, curling himself about Alice's shoulders.
"Get off her! And you know what I mean!"
Chess looked to Mally and grinned. "Hello, love. You are positively gorgeous tonight," he said, voice heavily laced with charm and charisma.
To her embarrassment and chagrin, Mally blushed. "Thanks," she mumbled. "You look...very nice, too."
Chess was sporting an exquisite black velvet bow tie and top hat.
"Why, thank you," he replied obeisantly. "That means much coming from you, darling Mally."
Mally was stunned speechless. Chess seemed to be sincere. Honestly.
"Oh, uh...thanks," she said, doubt edging her tone.
Chess momentarily appeared aggrieved, but quickly covered the expression with a smile. The smile vanished at once, however, when Standley approached the table.
"My dear Mallymkin, would you do me the great honour of dancing with me?"
Mally concealed her disappointment and accepted Standley's extended paw. After all, it was bad form for a lady to refuse to dance with a gentleman.
"Well, good for her," Tarrant said, beaming. "Now, Alice, would you honour me with a dance?"
Alice graced him with a nod and a smile. They stood and Tarrant pressed Alice's hand into the crook of his arm and led her to the dance floor.
Chess frowned. He was alone at the table. And Mally was dancing with one of her suitors.
While Alice was with Tarrant she never, ever had to worry about any other man asking her to dance. No man dared. It was well known that Alice was 'spoken for' by Tarrant. But Mally didn't have that luxury. However, until the previous Ball she never needed to be concerned before. Of course, she had her fair share of dance partners, but they were always merely friends and not suitors. Now that she had suitors that she didn't particularly care for, she was finding these events and the even the idea of future ones rather...painful.
She sighed with relief as she was finally free of her unwanted dance partner and took a tiny glass of punch. As she sipped her libation she cast a glance about the room. Odd...neither Standley nor Fidelis were on the floor. Come to think of it, Chess was nowhere in sight, either. Well, that was one of his 'normal' states, however, tonight he had remained visible. But now...
Was in in the room or was he outside? Or had he left? At the last thought Mally felt a pang of a sort she had never felt before. Her eyes widened over her glass with a sudden realisation. She missed him! And not only did she miss him, she was unhappy that he had yet to ask her for a single dance!
Mally set down her glass and dashed outside. If Chess was outside she wanted to speak with him. She didn't know what she would say, but perhaps she would when she saw him.
"Hey, that's not fair!" she heard Fidelis shout.
"It's because he's a coward!" Standley replied.
"You dare to accuse me of cowardice," Chess's voice said airily, "when neither of you can summon the guts to tell a lady how much you admire her? As much as I enjoy good guts, I have no taste for either of yours."
Mally stopped so suddenly in her high heels that she nearly toppled onto her face. She waited where she was, hidden by several white shrubs. This conversation was very interesting...
"Well, maybe I am just waiting for the proper opportunity," Fidelis retorted, "and you batting my sword away is most definitely an act of cowardice!"
Chess sighed heavily. "Nay, potential prey of mine, not cowardice, but mercy. If I truly wanted to eat you I would have done so by now."
"Not with two of us!" Standley said hotly.
"Oh, please," Chess said, "now you're just boring me, little one. Besides, the both of you challenging me to come out here is nothing less than cowardice. You are afraid of me, as well you should be. I am a cat, after all, and a predator. If it wasn't for my high level of intelligence and even higher tolerance for utter and complete foolishness, not to mention genuine affection for my dearest friend, Mallymkin, I would have devoured you both by now. You'd be nothing more than pieces of fabric and leather spat upon the ground."
"You...you'd eat us?" Fidelis asked, horrified.
"Well, if you attack me again I would indeed be sorely tempted," Chess replied. "Right now, I have no intention of doing so. Please, for your sake, try to keep it that way."
"Uh, well..." Standley said, clearly having no idea of what to say at all.
"I'd suggest you not only leave my presence and never speak to me again, but I'd also advise you to never attempt to court Mally again."
"What right do you have to suggest such a thing?" Fidelis asked as boldly as he could with a tremor inflecting his voice.
"Yes, what right do ye have?" Mally shouted, bursting into their space. "Chess, what is the meanin' o' this?"
Chess regarded Mally with an expression akin to shock, but she couldn't be sure. There was silence for several long moments.
"Do you want me to leave?" Chess finally asked her. "I will if that is what you wish."
Mally shook her head. "No, Chess. I'd actually like to speak with you. Standley, Fidelis; will you leave us, please?"
They bowed to her in unison and returned to the party.
"I'm sorry you were witness to this, darling Mally," Chess said, "but they left me little choice. They demanded that I come out here and speak with them and I decided that it was only the polite and civil thing to do."
"It was," Mally conceded. "But...tell me, Chess...why did you tell them to not court me?"
Chess stared at her for so long that Mally began to think he wasn't going to reply, but then he sighed.
"Because, darling, not only are they not good enough for you, but I rather want you for myself."
Mally's throat choked and tears stung her eyes. Chess mistook this for a sign of anger or disappointment.
"Dear Mally, I apologize if I have been too forward..."
"Nay, ya big galoot!" she finally choked out, "that's not what I'm thinking at all!"
"Oh?" Chess asked, more gently this time, wrapping his tail about her snugly, hugging her against his warm body. "What do you think?"
"I think I...like you, Chess."
"Well, I already knew that, my darling Mally."
"Ye know what I mean! Or...do ye?" Suddenly Mally wasn't so certain of herself. It was not a feeling she was accustomed to. She normally always knew how she felt and what she thought. Her opinions were almost always rapidly formed; not her best quality, but then again, Chess was always around to offer a counter point of view and sometimes managed to change her mind about something. Or someone.
"I like you very, very much, Mally," Chess finally conceded. "Cats don't normally form attachments, but I am not a normal cat. I am very attached to you, I admit."
"Don't you know? Haven't you known since the Ball?" he asked her in return, eyes very wide.
"Well..." Mally fidgeted nervously, "I wondered and imagined and wondered some more, and then I..." She stopped, wringing her tiny hands, wishing that she at least had her dagger to toy with.
"And then you what?" Chess purred gently.
"Well, I'm not a normal mouse," she began timidly.
"I know," he said, "that's part of your appeal and your very large Muchness."
Mally smiled a shy smile. "Then I'll have to answer you, since you've commented upon my Muchness. The truth is that after I wondered and imagined and wondered some more, that I...hoped."
The furry warmth abruptly vanished as once more a purple and black doormouse appeared before her; except this time he wore a sage green suit and top hat and a black velvet bow tie.
"Well, then, my darling Mally, I hope to not disappoint." As Mally gaped at his abrupt change of appearance, a gigantic tongue came from the tiny striped dormouse's mouth and licked Mally's head, inadvertently wetting her ribbon and nearly untying it.
"Ugh! Ick!" Mally cried, pulling the sopping wet ribbon from her head. "What did ye do that for?"
"I couldn't help it. You're irresistibly delicious!" he said with his characteristic Cheshire grin.
"Just as long as you don't eat me!" she said with a stomp of her foot.
Chess laughed and took her arm. "Come along, love, I think some dancing will do us both a lot of good."
"It won't do this ribbon any good," she responded, but giggling now.
"Ah, no matter," Chess replied. "I rather like you as you are. The ribbon was detracting from your beauty, my diminutive lady."
Mally laughed outright now. "You are a shameless flatterer!"
"True, true," Chess admitted, "but I only flatter what deserves flattering."
Mally blushed as Chess led her back to the party.
I hope you enjoyed this short story about Mally and Chess. I think they make an adorable, not to mention an appropriate couple! All comments are welcome.