It's been thirty days since she's had a good night's sleep, and every night she wants to assign the blame for the lack of a REM cycle to her surroundings. Tonight it's the moonlight filtering into the small bedroom through the triangular windows; it's too bright for the time. But Arwen knows better than to believe what she tries to convince herself of so badly. When her eyes shut, she remembers the nightmare at the Conservatory. Every time she relives the accident, Arwen thinks she's found another way that she could have stopped it them from dying. If she had just held onto the base of the plant just a little bit lower, their hands would never have touched. They'd both be alive. If she had only feigned stomach flu and stayed in bed just a little bit longer, their families would still have a mother and a father joining them for dinner every night. How could she have known that a typical Wednesday morning would have ended in disaster? It's a hell of her own making, punishment for the deaths that she caused.

She's four hundred and ninety-one miles from the creature comforts of her home, and there's little that her sleeping friends can do for her now. No matter how hard she tries, Arwen is haunted by the memories, and before she can process what her body is doing, she is already slipping out of bed to find a place to be awake. Her friends don't need to fall victim to the constant tossing and turning of her sleepless nights or to be awakened by the sound of mindless infomercials that she's watched dozens of times. At home, she has her garden to care for when her mind keeps her awake. Her plants have become a secret society of otherwise inanimate lifeforms that only she can hear. They can't spill the secrets of the pain she hides behind a mask of feigned happiness. Without her plants, Arwen does the next best thing and quietly pads down the stairs of their rented Airbnb and slides her feet into a pair of sandals before she heads outside. Raina had done them an unintended favor by finding a place to stay in the middle of the woods.

The redhead finds a spot to sit at the bottom of the deck surrounding the home; it leads out into what she can only imagine is a thicker density of the same trees around her. And even though she doesn't need to, she calls out into the clearing to see if the local plant life will respond to her. Hesitation fills the air as the leaves start to rustle, talking amongst themselves. The pine trees are the first to answer her, and there's a moment of relief that washes over Arwen as she settles into her position. There at the base of the deck is how she decides to spend the remainder of her night. She listens to the stories of the pines, viburnum, and witch hazel of other travelers and locals; she tells them her story about her life, abilities, the gifts, and the curses they have brought into her life. When she talks about the incident, Arwen can't stop herself from crying. They do their best to remind her that she had no way of knowing what was to happen, that no one would have been able to predict something so uncontrollable. Their silent comfort helps ease the pain of her guilt, and she wipes away the remnants of tears from her eyes. It's only then that she notices that night was turning into morning and that soon she wouldn't have to be alone with her thoughts. Before she leaves, Arwen grows her new friends a gift of her own making - flowers to add a little bit of color to brighten their days.

Finding her way back inside, she brushes the remainder of dust and dirt from her pajamas in the mudroom, feeling no more tired than she had when she left earlier in the night. Maybe if she was lucky, she might be able to sneak back in between the warmth of Raina and Roman. To hopefully find a little bit of security without having to show how vulnerable she had become, and most importantly, without having to ask for help. But as she shuts the mudroom door behind her, Arwen immediately walks shoulder first into another body. She's preparing to scream when she recognizes who she's stepped into, and the immediate instinct to will a tree branch into the home for protection is instantly stifled.

"Jesus Ro, I was half a second from flinging you into the middle of the woods."

With a hand resting over her heart, she can feel the erratic patterns the beats were taking out of fear... and somewhere underneath that, Arwen could feel the slightest disappointment that her plan for disguised comfort was shattered now that he was awake. When he looks at her, she does her best to recover from the shock and hides her red and splotchy face behind a curtain of long hair. Since the incident at work, the petite doctorate has done everything in her control to hide how much of a mess she was behind closed doors. And she hopes that she had moved fast enough to hide all of the redness that came with crying, but there's a hesitation pulling at the corner his smile that tells her she was too late. Please don't ask, she thinks to herself while standing awkwardly in the silence of the early morning hour.

"Coffee? Tea?"

It's not the question she was preparing to answer; nevertheless, Arwen is grateful that Roman is kind enough to pretend with her that everything is okay. She responds with a simple request for chamomile tea as she follows behind him towards the rented home's common area. The redhead finds a space at the couch's corner seat where she can watch him move about the kitchen. It's nice to not be alone this early in the morning, nicer still to know someone is there to have a conversation with; because becoming the crazy lady who talks to her plants of San Francisco wasn't high on her priority list. When he finally joins her on the couch, passing off a mug of tea into her hands, she drapes her legs across his lap as she leans her side into the cushion.

"So... flinging me into the woods. I thought you were the queen of all things horror and didn't get scared."

"I just saw the state of your hair and figured I'd save you the embarrassment of having to live a life like that."

She's filled with a wash of relief that he doesn't try to press her for answers as to why she was outside, or why it looks as though she's been crying for half of the night. There's a part of her that knows he'll let her come to him if she's ever willing to, and that's why he chooses to press on talking about anything else besides the giant pink elephant in the room. When Roman talks about his trip to New Zealand, she's finally able to relax around him completely, enough to close her eyes for a moment. Arwen can feel herself being called into sleep as his voice echos through the smaller room, but just as quickly as she had felt lured into a false sense of safety, there's a flash of dark brown eyes. The eyes of her late coworker as they filled with pain and panic while his life is taken. She's trying not to panic in front of her friend, and by instinct, Arwen scoots forward out the spot she had nestled into until she slides comfortably into his lap. It takes everything that she has to stop herself from crying as she buries her face against his chest. And for the second time, Roman doesn't ask her what's wrong. He does the only thing she needs but doesn't have the will to ask for; he wraps his free arm around her body and presses a kiss to her forehead. He offers her comfort in a time of need without needing to know why. It's a simple gesture, but his warmth reminds her that it will all be okay someday.