The house is quiet when Arathorn arrives, Malice is not in the front garden and she does not answer the door, feeling both worried and bold, Arathorn enters the garden. Everything is damp, the soil is a dark brown that seems to almost swallow up all the light touching it. He walks carefully, staying on the path and looking for the owner of the house. He finds her sitting on a white wooden bench, her back facing him, eyes cast over a small pond surrounded by tall grasses and covered in lilies. He has the feeling she knows he is here, but still, he moves quietly, drawing closer till he finally clears his throat and she turns. She does not seem surprised or annoyed, instead, she gives him a fond smile. “Mr. Quinn,” She stands up “Grandfather warned me you would be coming.” Arathorn smiles and looks at the path, laughing some.
“He gave me the reward money from the Weston arrests, I tried to refuse, to let you have it but instead he dropped me at a flower shop.” She shakes her head and sighs.
“So you bought me flowers?” She sounds like she is in disbelief.
“The most expensive and rarest in the shop.” He offers out the bouquet and she accepts it with a smile, her eyes taking in the colors and textures before looking at him.
“You might be a fool.” She whispers.
“I am a fool.” He corrects with a smile. She shakes her head.
“You should’ve used that money for something else,” She turns away, heading toward a small door at the back of her house.
“Like what?” He asks, following her.
“An apartment, a hotel room, anything else. I don’t need more flowers.” They enter her home, there are a few pots on a potting table, one full of potting soil and ready to receive its flower. “But since you spent so much money on me, let me gift you something.” from her bouquet she pulls a small bud, struggling to bloom, and places it in the soil. With a wave of her hand roots burst forth, snaking deep into the soil, pulling it upright, straight, and then with another wave and a smile, the bud bursts forth into a shockingly large flower with flaming reds, oranges, and yellows emanating from the center. She looks at him then at the pot. “Take that back to the flower shop and sell it to them, then don’t be foolish and use the money wisely.” He laughs and scoops up the pot.
“Alright alright, but before you ask me to leave,” She pauses and looks over her shoulder at him “I’m so sorry, I am so, so sorry. I never thought they would involve you.” She turns to face him fully and sighs.
“Arathorn, I don’t know what you want me to say to this. You put me in danger, then you got me out of danger. You have lost your title and family, but instead of using the money to buy your way back in, you spent it on me. I don’t know what to do with you or what to say to you.” He nods, and they stand in silence.
“Can you give me some advice before I leave?” He asks softly, she nods “What would you do?” She sucks in a deep breath and thinks for a moment.
“Sell the plant, and contact your family. Send them the money.” He looks up at her, shocked. “If I could have anything back in the world, it would be my family, don’t throw yours away.” He smiles and nods.
“Thank you Miss Malice.” they move through the house and she stops at the door.
“Mr. Quinn,” he hums in response “Would you care to have tea with me tomorrow?” He smiles.
“I would love that Miss Malice, I will see you tomorrow morning.” She opens the door.
“At 8, please,” He nods and bounces down the steps as the door closes.
He takes her advice, going to the flower shop and selling the flower to them for nearly twice what paid for the whole bouquet after explaining Malice Briggs planted and bloomed it herself. He then takes the money to the post office, filling out an envelope and getting most of the money sent to his family’s estate along with Malice’s address as to where he can be contacted. After that he finds a cheap hotel and stays the night, eating a simple meal, showering, and sleeping soundly.