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Slow Steps

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Roy tries not to let his upsetting thoughts get the best of him.

The good days go by without a hitch, when not a single moment of his is wasted dwelling on personal failures. The bad days, however, are a lot less simple.

There are days where his fears and worries seep into his head like a poison.

It starts with a little twinge of doubt, something that collects in his throat. He can handle that, he can cope with that.

But then suddenly, it grows. The little lump of fear enlarges and enlarges until suddenly, it consumes his entire body.

It prevents his ability to think, his ability to feel, his ability to eat, his ability to sleep.

On one particular evening, Roy lies awake at a rather ungodly hour. His eyes are open to a dark room and a cloudy night. He sits up and the chilly air bites at his bare chest.

Promptly, he leaves the bed, prods barefoot across his apartment, and gets to the bathroom. He runs the sink and splashes handful after handful of water onto his face, hoping that each attempt will find him some sort of relief.

As droplets fall across his cheeks and drip off his chin, Roy gets a look of his reflection in the mirror. His eyes are tired, jaded, lost. He doesn’t want to look at them for too long.

He isn’t sure what’s bothering him this time. Is it the inferiority complex? The abandonment issues? Or just a generalized wave anxiety getting the worst of him?

His mind is like this sometimes, a vicious cycle of good, bad, and ugly. It’s hard to stay positive when everything feels like it’s attacking him at once.

Roy knows his life is going great – he’s working with a good people, he and Ollie are on better terms than before, and he’s with a woman who wants to share her life with him.

Yet his self-doubt stays with him, just as it had from day one.

With a sigh, Roy turns off the lights of his bathroom and turns to plan B.

He gets back to his bedroom and starts to get dressed – briefs, sweat pants, v-neck, and a hoodie. By the time he’s rummaging his closet for another layer, he hears his nightly companion stirring.

“What are you doing?” comes Donna’s voice, sotto. It’s difficult to hear her across the room.

Slowly, Roy turns to her and says, “I’m going for a run.” He grabs a puffer vest and pushes his arms through the holes. “I need to clear my head.”

“At this hour?”

“Manhattan’s seen weirder things at 3AM.”

“Is it something you want to talk about?” Donna offers, sitting up. She’s wearing one of his oversized sweatshirts, a habit she picked up not too long ago.

Soon, she gets on her two feet and approaches Roy, her bare feet coming towards him in slow steps. In moments, Donna’s in his atmosphere.

Roy looks at her, wondering if his eyes look just as empty to her as they do to him.

“There’s just… a lot on my mind,” he explains honestly. “Too much, actually…”

There’s a pain forming in his temples, a stressing sensation that progressively gets worse.

Reaching over to his dresser, Roy grabs a trucker cap off the top and places it on his head, “Don’t worry though, I’m not looking for trouble tonight.”

Donna nods her head slowly. She trusts him, she always has. More importantly in that, she believes in him. Roy thinks he likes that about her more than anything else.

“Keep yourself safe, Harper,” Donna tells him, then she leans to him and presses a kiss to his cheek.

“I will,” Roy promises. In return, he plants a kiss on her forehead. “What’d I do to deserve you, Troy?”

“You know,” Donna replies simply. “Or at least, you’ll find out eventually.”

With that said, she turns back around and heads to bed. She slips in easily, wrapping the sheets back around her as she lies down.

For a moment, Roy looks at her, contemplating a series of choices at random. After a beat, he follows through on his initial decision and heads out of his apartment.