“May I ask where?”
“Ah.. Sunny Plumeria? It’s not far from here, thankfully this complex is only two stations away,” she explains.
Reo turns a bit to scan over the other buildings around them. “Is it also in Ota? It makes sense you’d be living here then. Your commute must be easy.” He stops and holds her card back out to her – not his usual practice, but he figured she only had the one. “Sorry, here you go.”
Saya looked from him to the card, her grin slipping a little as her brow creases.
“He doesn’t take you seriously because you’re white.” A voice from the right mumbles. Lan’s door was open again, but all the two could see was his hand on the knob.
Reo straightens immediately at this and yanks his hand back, holding it properly in two hands again. “LAN!” He stammers, “That’s.. that’s not true, I assure you. Thank you, Miss Travis, for your card.” He hastily tugs open his jacket and puts it in his breast pocket.
Saya had yet to say a word, simply surprised that her neighbor was talking. Once she registered the comment, she knew what it was. Siblings were siblings no matter what country you were from. Still, amused, she keeps silent for a moment.
“No. Why are you here? Just give me the register.”
“You know I won’t.” Reo bristles.
Deadpan, “Then go back home.” Lan replies.
“You’d starve if I did.”
Saya’s eyes flick between the two as if following a tennis match. Reo seemed like he was taking it more seriously than Lan. It was only when he raises his voice to say,
“..because father doesn’t TRUST YOU WITH THE MONEY--”
--that Saya steps forward and holds her hands out, not touching Reo, and in front of Lan’s door before they continue. “Ah, that’s.. enough, I think.” She looks at both of them as she would her kids, which only makes her want to smile again.
“Reo-san,” to him, turning to the cracked door, he speaks before she can: “Just Lan.. is fine.”
“Lan. I’m assuming you’d be rather.. mad if I invited your broth—“
“Half.” They both correct her at the same time.
“Half-brother in for tea, yes?” Saya turns to Reo before Lan can speak,
“And I’m sure you’re the type of gentleman that would not accept the invitation anyway.”
“Not alone, Miss Travis, no.” Reo responds.
Saya nods and drops her hands, turning her back on the both of them and picking up the bag that contains her gift to Lan. This will have to wait, she thinks. She pulls her key out from her purse and unlocks her door, pulling it open as Reo stands back.
“Then both of you wait here. I’ll be back in a moment.”
Saya’s door creaks shut as the two stare daggers at each other in silence outside until told otherwise.
Reo is the first to turn around towards the courtyard, looking elsewhere. “Useless,” he mutters under his breath.
“Prick. Give me her business card.”
“No.” Reo hisses.
Lan clicks his tongue but keeps the door cracked, mostly out of curiosity at this point.
Saya can hear the two muttering in Japanese outside, but at least they weren’t as loud anymore. She sets her purse and the gift bag to the side, and kicks off her shoes, padding over to the kitchen area.
It doesn’t take her very long to put together three mugs, mismatched as they are, side by side on the counter. She taps her fingers next to them as she waits for the water to heat up.
He seems.. livelier when his half-brother’s around, which, to be fair, isn’t saying much. Her only view of him is a glowering, soaked-to-the-bone ghost from the other week. Though she could see the resemblance between them, obviously. As the kettle started to whistle she cut the burner off, pouring an equal amount between the cups, wondering which parent they shared.
Father doesn’t trust you, Reo had said. Safe to assume they share a father, he’s definitely Japanese, she thinks, but Lan’s mother?
The mugs clink together as she gathers them in one hand, stepping down into her shoes and tapping her toes on the ground. Twisting the knob, any conversation they were murmuring stopped as Saya opens the door.
If the warring brothers won’t compromise, she would.
Reo turns back to the door as he hears it open, looking head-height but dropping down as he sees a hand holding three mugs appears first. He fires a sharp glare towards the crack in Lan’s door, Look at this, you moron, before pulling the door open for Saya.
“Please, you didn’t have to..” he protests as she steps back out onto the landing, letting the door close.
“Well, he wouldn’t come out, you wouldn’t come in, so, I made the choice for you.” Saya holds out the mugs, Reo taking one gingerly as both turn to Lan’s door, waiting.
Lan sighs before his door closes, the chain clinks behind it, and the door swings open fully. Reo, thankful he’s behind Saya, doesn’t hide the tremendous display of rolling his eyes as his brother exits.
Saya was expecting the height, but it was the first time she got a decent look at Lan Satake. “Cut your hair, fool.” Reo chided at the big reveal. Lan sneered in response, stepping out barefoot.
Standing nearly a foot taller than her, he had his hair pulled back into a messy ponytail, dressed in – thankfully – dry jeans and a t-shirt. He’s still so thin, the damp clothes didn’t hide anything.. she thought.
Lan reaches out and takes one of the cups from Saya, leaving her with her own. He looked as if he hadn’t slept well in quite a while, but his eyes were a little greener than she first saw. It was her first look in the day, anyhow.
“Thank you,” he mumbles.
Saya nods and blows on her tea, looking between the two. Again, when they didn’t speak, she did.
“I’m getting the idea that you two are not on the best terms.” She asked. Lan nodded, as did Reo. So far it was working, treating them like she did her children. Don’t smile, girl.
“Reo-k—saaaan..” She just caught herself from TALKING to them as if they were her children, “You came all this way for some reason, right?” Reo was drinking from his cup as he nodded, using the cuff of his glove to dry his lips.
“We.. Lan and I.. go shopping for his supplies for the month. Today is the 31st, and father sends me here to.. help him.”
Saya turns back to the other brother to catch the coldest, shut-your-damn-mouth stare from Lan over his cup. He seemed to be using it as a prop. Lan’s gaze softens when he nods to Saya, swallowing.
“It can be a lot, shopping for a month. It’s.. necessities, clothes, the car makes it easier,” Reo motions with his free hand towards the car below.
She looks between them, as far as she was concerned, she did her job for now – both were lying to her, or at the very least hiding something from her, but they were talking, albeit through her.
The two were talking in English for her benefit, she realizes. As they dig themselves deeper and deeper with excuses, Saya makes sure to keep her mug up to hide her silly grin.
“So, Lan, should we be going? The driver’s waiting.” Reo holds his cup out to Saya, “Thank you for that, I—we, didn’t mean to impose.” Reo starts down the stairs as Lan begins to follow, holding his cup out to Saya.
“Right, okay.” She takes Lan’s cup as well, having to use both hands since his isn’t empty, but he’s stopped before he can make a move when Saya leans over the railing, bowing slightly to Reo as he steps down.
Puzzled, Lan moves to slide around her when one light touch of a shoe on top of his bare toes makes him freeze. Saya raises a brow up at him, then glances to his open door.
“..r-right.” He mumbles. “Be right there, Reo.” Lan slides his foot out from under hers as she makes for her own apartment.
- 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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