Saya leans against the concrete wall – she was tipsy, which helped her mood. Thinking about Gregg wasn't helping, but that's why people drink.
The two of them had been silent for a while, the cats outside had bounded off somewhere else. Lan wasn't used to having a drinking partner, since most of his friends and family had abandoned him because of it.
To his left, a line of empty cans started forming. Normally he would crush them before tossing them in the trash, but the amount he drinks embarrasses him. The last thing he wants is for Saya to realize how much of a lush she lives next to.
She was on her third, and he was on his tenth. His tolerance put them at the same amount of fucked-up, despite the difference in amounts.
“Was he..” Lan suddenly pipes up, looking out at nothing in particular. “Nice about it? How he told you, your ex.”
Saya chuckles, but it's a pitiable, sad sound. “Hah.. yeah he..” She sniffs. “We went out for sushi. And he.. isn't a guy that likes..” Anything here. “--Asian cuisine, you could say.”
Lan furrows his brow and takes another pull from his beer. “And he's been here for more than a year? What.. does he eat?”
“You know Kamata station?” He nods, then rolls his eyes: she can't see you, stupid. “Yeah, it's not far from..”
“Subway. He ate-- we.. ate Subway on almost every date we ever had. Oh, but sometimes it was KFC. Dates like that were him 'changing it up'.” She sneers, he can hear it in her voice. Saya shakes her head.
Lan remembers her line from earlier. “And.. he's leaving? Where is he from? Actually, where are you from, while I'm at it..”
“California. Los Angeles, actually.. his.. father is a producer for TV or something. I never met his parents, only ever saw a picture.” she replies.
“And I'm.. guessing he didn't tell you he was leaving..” he draws his words out slowly, like walking on eggshells to not set her off, hopefully.
“Yeah, he.. wanted me to uproot my life from here. For him. On such short notice.” She pauses to drain the rest of the can, crushing it in her hand and tossing it to clank on the balcony next to her. “But you don't do that to people you truly love. He knew I couldn't. Or wouldn't.”
Lan stands up and holds out another beer for her from around the divider. “Jussst.. one more.” she slurs a bit, plucking it out of his hand.
“You know, this is starting to feel like a Catholic confessional. Forrrrgive me Father, for I have sinned.” She giggles a bit.
“Well, I'm no Father, nor am I a saint. Just an.. open ear.” he replies.
“Must be nice,” she says, “to have the money to come to Tokyo for so long and do.. nothing. Gregg toured the country every other month, I thought it was.. cute. That he was learning.”
Lan winces a bit at that fact, because aside from the 'touring' part, his employment status was as bad as Gregg's.
“I guess.. it's better to know now before you get any more serious?” he poses, “That's a cop-out answer, I'm sorry, it hurts no matter when you find out..”
Change the subject, stupid. “You know, I think you really surprised Reo. I'm.. sorry if I acted rudely.”
She laughs this time, a genuine laugh as Saya remembers meeting the brothers. “I could.. tell you were related. Somehow. You don't look it, but the way you play off each other--”
“Play?!” Lan balks, shaking his head. “He's a stuck-up asshole. Didn't you see the gloves? Who still does that?”
He can hear the smile in her voice as she speaks, “Oh, don't get me wrong, you're both assholes.” Ouch, he thinks. “But.. all siblings are assholes to each other. It comes with the territory.”
Lan blinks as she starts singing, a little off kilter from the booze, but nevertheless..
“I love it when we fight, it makes me think at least, you still care.”
He knew the song, but couldn't place it at the moment. She continues, “It's endearing, sort of. To know that there's someone out there that cares about you. Even if fighting is the only way they know how to show it.”
Another can clinks to the ground on her side, Saya was done. Lan only halfway through his nightly intake. He decides to keep that number to himself.
“You know, outside of the landlady, you're.. the first neighbor I've actually talked to in the time.. I've lived here. Gregg found thisss.. apartment.. for..” she mumbles.
Lan's hand pauses with his mouth open in front of the can. His eyes flick to the other side of his balcony, apartment 2C. Yet another secret you keep from people, he thinks.
He doesn't reply, but she doesn't press him about it either. Nor does she talk much at all after that, and Lan tilts his head, listening.. he could hear her breathing, slow and even.
He stands up and awkwardly bends around the concrete divider: Saya was passed right the hell out in her chair.
Lan reaches an arm around and snaps his fingers, loudly, in front of her as close as he can reach. Nothing, she was out like a light.
Exhaling slow, he sets his can down on his side of the divider. “Lightweight. Fuck.” He mumbles to himself. I can't just leave her out here.
Glancing down at the ground from their position, he carefully, awkwardly stands up on the balcony's rail, his fingers holding the thin divider for dear life as he steps over onto her side. Lan wasn't afraid of heights, but a fall is a fall is a fall.
Easing down on her railing, he steps lightly onto the balcony in front of her. Her arms were dangling on either side of the chair, and her legs were spread open lazily. We'll.. keep that to ourselves should she ask, he thinks as he nudges them together with his knee.
“Saya.. Saya.. you gotta get up..” he whispers, patting her shoulder. She barely stirs, even as he starts raising his voice.
Lan looks into her room, then to her. The bed was only a few steps away. Fuck it. He slides his hands under her arms and lifts her slowly up, bending way down and resting her arm around his neck.
“C'mon, like.. three steps..” he says, and she complies, nearly asleep as she is, enough so that he can lay her down in her bed – the wrong way, her feet on her pillow. But she was inside, in bed, and that was good enough.
Looking around, Lan grabs a blanket and lays it over her.
He stands up and looks at her front door, thinking for a moment. He pats his front and back pockets, remembering his key is in his wallet.. back in his apartment.
Back around we go.. he walks back onto the balcony and pulls her glass door closed. He couldn't lock it, but it was better than her sleeping on the balcony, he thinks. Hoisting himself up onto the rail again, Lan shimmies his way back around to his balcony, breathing a sigh of relief once both feet are planted firmly on the floor.
He starts collecting the cans next to his chair, crumpling them as he walks inside, dumping the lot into the recycling bin. Lan turns and grabs another beer from the fridge, walking to the counter where his wallet sat, looking down at it. He looks up at the wall that separates his apartment and 2C's, his other neighbor.
And knows for a fact that no one lives there.
In fact, no one lives on the second floor.
No one lives on the first floor at all.
The only tenants of the entire apartment complex were Lan Satake and Saya Travis.
- 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)
feel free to come hang out in the discord, if you like.