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   Lan glances over at Saya who flinches back at his tone, hastily placing the can on the table. “No, no, I mean..” He rubs his eyes and rests his cheek in his palm, looking at her. He looks tired and the day isn't even half over yet.
  
“She got sick, yes. But we were.. both kinda sick before all that.” The index finger on his cheek points out beside him, at the can of beer. “We kinda started at the same time. Alcohol's an easy go to to relax. For.. some.”
  “For her, it was relaxation after dealing with the school. I didn't understand it at first, until I started drinking myself. It was something to enjoy, like you or any other person could. Every now and then.”
  
“And then it became something you.. did. Not because you needed to, but just because you weren't doing anything else, so why not?”
  
Saya relaxes as he talks, that hard edge disappearing for the moment as he takes a drink, standing up. His motions may have been starting to show, but he wasn't trembling, or stuttering as he did when they talked previously.
  
Lan was clear, smooth, if not a bit long winded, she thinks. But what was this, his sixth beer, seventh? She hadn't been keeping count as he returns.
  
“And then it becomes something to help you sleep. Your.. features don't show it yet. When you're sober.” His fingers run along his own strong jawline, side to side. “I was taller than her, and she'd have to look up at me, and she had this gentle shake of her head, side to side.”
  
Lan motions to the picture she holds. “To me, that was an indication of Parkinson's. It was the only thing I knew that could make a person unconsciously tremble like that. Other than that she seemed healthy.”
  
He laughs, soundlessly and ironic, “I know what it is now. But she dismissed it when I brought it up finally saying, 'Oh, it's the drinking.'”
  
Lan rests his elbows on his thighs and leans over to Saya, holding his head straight at her. “Look at me. Aside from it on my breath, aside from you seeing me drink, could you tell I have a problem?”
  
Saya looks at him as his hair slides down to frame his face, looking from eye to eye, to his lips, his jaw, down to his hands which hold the beer between them. She sets the picture down on the coffee table and really studies him.
  
Whatever tremble he had before was gone, whatever dullness in his eyes was gone, he even spoke more. It's endearing, to an extent. Talked more about himself. Offered more about himself, but Saya had known alcoholics in the past, which pulls her back to the present.
  
She holds out both her hands and motions for him to put the can down on the table. “Let me see your hand, if you don't mind.”
  
Lan shrugs and holds out one hand to her, almost smiling as he places it on both of her palms, dwarfing the small span of her hands. She slides one of her hands out from under his and places it on top of his knuckles.
  
“Now.. just hold it there,” she says.
  
Gently, the her left half on top lifts up off of his hand, less than an inch away from touching his skin. And then the bottom hand pulls away from his palm about the same distance.
  
Saya's hands were steady, holding his between them like they were a magnetic field keeping it in check, but she wasn't looking at their hands, she was looking at his face, who was looking at their hands.
  
And Lan wasn't smiling anymore.

  A silver tongue gets you only so far, no matter how good you are with words. When someone calls your bluff, you better have a pretty face and a calm hand.
  
The fingers always the first to betray you. You don't need words to figure out the truth.
  
His palm on hers, there was no way his tremors would be detected, and even if they were, they would be simple nervousness. Relaxation is easier than exercise, which Saya asks for by letting his hand hover between hers.
  
It starts in his fingertips, impulses shuddering down the knuckles and to the wrist, the larger the muscle, the easier to control sometimes, but the fingers always go first.
  
At first, he was angry at her, how dare she put him on the spot like this? She knew he drank, what was this? Was she expecting something different?
  
Lan looks down at his wrist, willing it to stay still. It did, but he felt his fingertips, his fingernails tapping on her skin above and below as her little experiment went on until finally he yanks his hand back and looks at her like she burned him. “Alright.”
  
ALRIGHT!” he yells, clenching and unclenching his fist away from her view, on his other side. “You made your point, what.. why did you bother? You knew I drank.”
  
Saya presses her palms together and rests them in her lap, looking over at him honestly.
  
“I wanted to know how bad it was. I wanted to know if you did the same.”
  
She looks at the picture frame on the table, murmuring, “You were worried for her. What's the difference here?"

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A note from drac

Hurricane smurricane. Publishing as many as I can as soon as I can.


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About the author

drac

Bio: 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.

[email protected]

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