Saya pulls her hat down over her face to block the sun, she had been here a while, but the summers in Tokyo were so oppressive. She loved the business of it, but hated the lack of green. She stops at the corner, looking up at the sky. An ant on pavement would think it a desert, wouldn’t it?
Her gaze looks up at the corner mirror as a car rolls slowly past her on the single lane she walked down. She waits for it to pass before continuing on her way behind it. Cars weren’t rare around here, but usually not so large as to take up the entire road.
The kids were nice this week, or at least nice to her. She thanked her stars the program placed her in with a younger age. Saya had no problem teaching the simplicities of I am, I was, I will be, when grammar and vocabulary don’t come up as often, but if she stayed after her studies.. I’m sure they’d ask me to start teaching middle or high, she pondered, even some of the cram schools scouted me. She could make more money, but it wouldn’t be as much for the public welfare, though she would still be teaching kids. She knew she wanted that much, at least.
Saya tugged the bag she carried open and peered down at the fist-sized cactus covered by its own plastic greenhouse dome. Succulents were easy to care for, like cats. They’re good on their own, and there when you need them.
And prickly. Like him.
Them. Cats. You remember how Lindsay was back home. The Maine Coon she grew up with, that cat would only allow three pets, then it was anything goes, except for Saya. Saya could get closer than most. She still had a few scars from Lindsay, though, particularly her hands, like all cat owners.
She chews on her bottom lip for a while, looking at the plant. Saya had a few herself, even managed to keep more than cacti alive, so she didn’t give it a second thought in picking this small one up for him as a gift for the other week. His apartment was so Spartan, like he had just moved in, but from what the landlady said, he had been there at least six months – she heard that from Gregg himself. Perhaps he has a maid, or is out a lot. She shook her head – he had also mentioned her neighbor doesn’t get out a lot. So which was it?
Mind wandering, her feet carries her back to her destination slowly until at the next corner, she’s faced with the rear end of the car from before. Saya peers around it on the driver’s side, then slinks past it on the passenger’s, as it takes up nearly the entire courtyard of her apartment building.
Grumbling, she taps her way up the stairs to the second floor, fishing out her keys from her purse, deciding to get settled before giving him the present.
“Miss, a moment, if you would?” A voice asks from behind her.
Saya turns; blinking as she’s faced with what she can only assume is a smaller, shorter-haired version of her neighbor. Brother, she thinks. She hadn’t even heard him get out of the car, then, she notices why. He has a driver, and the rear door was still open.
He isn’t looking at Saya, though, and she follows his gaze, turning to her neighbor’s door to blue eyes peering at them from behind the door chain.
Before either could say anything, the door snaps shut and locks from the inside.
Reo swears and straightens back up from his reaction to dive at Lan’s door before it closed. He can deal with that later; for now, the girl in front of him.
“Ah, sorry, miss, about me. And about that.” He explains in English, assuming based on Saya’s appearance. He motions to Lan’s door.
She nods, lingering on the door before turning to face him. “I figured you were.. related? You look like him. Well, sort of. You seem..” Shorter, smaller, more Japanese, less—
“Better dressed. Especially for today, aren’t you hot?” she asks. Her response catches him a little off guard, most comparisons between Reo and Lan were of physical appearances, never fashion, except from Father, but that conversation was ages ago.
“I—um.. hm.” He tilts his head and briefly looks at the woman from head to toe. She wasn’t Asian, and she spoke perfect English – American? Her shoulder length hair seemed a natural dark brown under a wide sun hat, plenty of freckles, pale eyes, and a plain flowery sun dress. Saya’s purse hung from the crook of her elbow as she held a bag in front of her. It only took Reo a moment before he was nearly slapped across the face with the realization. She looked very, very much like her.
Oh, my God, Freud would have a fucking field day, he thought, what his therapist must think.
“Apologies,” he fishes in his coat for the case and doles out one single business card, holding it out to her formally with both hands. She sets the bag down and takes it as formality dictates. Reo wonders if she’s been here long enough to know that.
“Satake.. Reo? Executive Vice President, Satake Group. Hiro.. Hiroshima?!” she exclaims. “What are you doing in Tokyo?”
Reo starts to answer until he watches her roll her eyes and look to Lan’s door. “Ah, yes. I am here to see Lan. You reacted like you’ve seen me before. Or is it our resemblance? Do you talk to.. excuse me, I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t asked you your name.”
He holds his gloved hand out to her to shake. Saya fumbles a bit to place the business card in her purse, and rather than take Reo’s hand, she produces a business card of her own, holding it out as he did to her.
Reo takes it gingerly in his fingers, it’s bent slightly at the corners, as if she didn’t get many chances to use her cards.
“Saya Travis. English.. teacher?” He looks up from her card to see her beaming at him.
- a recovering disaster? / twitter: @rgdrac
apologies for everything about me, it might get better.
updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)
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