Title: Alice in Fragments
Fandom: Alice in Wonderland
Notes: Audrey and Simon are my own creations.
Disclaimer: Alice and the Wonderland universe are the original creations of
the original author; they are not mine and are only 'borrowed' for the purposes of the story.
Word Count: 724
Prompt: #42 dark eyes
"Alice in Fragments" by karernia
It was common knowledge that Claymore's had a well-deserved reputation as a premiere auction house and just about anything could be obtained if one had the wherewithal and a good eye and knowledge of the antiquities business.
As Audrey and her partner stepped into the auction hall, finding a seat towards the front among all the other late arrivals, she turned to Simon and remarked, "Are you certain that your sources pegged this particular night for the object in question?"
He took his seat before turning and replying: "As certain as I can be."
Audrey nodded and signaled to a passing waiter carrying tiny crystal glasses of sherry to come by and offer them two glasses, one for each of them, before he went on to serve other attendees before returning her attention to front of the hall where the auctioneer had just about finished setting up.
The first items up for bid were the larger, heavier items, such as ivory-inlaid cuckoo clocks and sundry furniture, and then smaller items such as a pocket watch that had once belonged to the author of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Audrey, as fascinated as she was with the authors of classic period literature was almost tempted to make an opening bid for the pocket watch, but feeling the gaze of Simon upon her, squashed the impulse.
She had to admit it was tempting, but this was not what they had come in search of.
As the hours wound down and more and more items were put up, and she watched and listened to the auctioneer's sing-sing drone, Audrey almost found herself falling asleep. She jolted upright in her chair and thought, "That will never do.'
Simon smiled and placed his hand on her shoulder, "Hang in there, Audrey, only a few more hours to go."
She smiled and focused her attention on the last few items. Taking her cue from Simon she realized that tonight they just might have found the original draft manuscript of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, whose work was more famously and commonly known by the pen name of Lewis Carroll.
Her dark brown hair had come loose from its tight braid and now hung down her back. She reached up to brush it away out of her eyes.
Audrey smiled and this time Simon had an almost conspiratorial one of his own to share with her as well.
The hunt had been a long one, many months and many different auction halls, before one of Simon's contacts had lead them to Claybourne's, and now, it appeared the object of their hunt would be found.
Simon beat her to the punch by raising his bidding paddled a split second before she did, and she briefly wondered if the other men and women bidding for that brown manila envelope knew what it contained; but they kept at it anyway.
It was at the moment that Simon realized that, in certain circles, rare and original manuscripts or even first editions of famous novelists would be worth a pretty penny to the right buyer; however, he also realized that they were in this for the joy of the hunt and the reward of finding old manuscripts; not for profit, although it never hurt to make money from their labors.
They won the bid, coming in at a hefty amount in British pounds; Audrey decided that she would work out the exact amount in American dollars later when they got home.
She and Simon stood up and crossed the distance to the auctioneer's podium to claim the envelope and the sign the required forms and then crossed back to their chairs to retrieve their coats. At the same instant their gazes met and their shared a rapid exchange of glances.
Later, back at their hotel room, Simon slit open the manila envelope and carefully withdrew the contents, written in neat, tiny script was exactly they had hoped to find and more.
Included with the hand-written manuscript were several black and white photographs of the Liddell girls, as well, as some half-completed snatches of poetry that had never made it into the published Alice novels. Simon grinned, and at the risk of employing a well-known and clichéd phrase, grinned like a Cheshire Cat.
Audrey smiled, too and they shared a congratulatory hug.
They stood that way for a long time.