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  Saya holds her hair down as it whips around her from the open wind of the tarmac, stepping down onto solid ground as another attendant thanks her for flying with them.
  
At first she is a little irked that the weather isn't that different. She shakes her head as she draws a line across the country horizontally and remembers that this is only a little more south than home. But it was sunny, and that's what matters.
  
She looks back to the airplane's door to see Lan emerge, gritting his teeth as he extends up after bending down for so long, thumbing the button on his luggage as it drops in one smooth swoop to the concrete on its wheels.
  
Very.. practiced, she thinks.
  
He turns to face the wind, rather than fight it like Saya does. Despite his drab attire, the wind blowing his long hair back was enough so that Lan didn't look nearly as glowering in the sun as he did back at the complex.
  
He catches up to her in a few strides, leaning down and plucking her bag out of her hand while she's not paying attention. “Ah, hey! I can take..” But he was already walking ahead of her, and she hops to catch up to him instead.
  
“I can take that, you know.”
  
Lan looks down at her, both arms behind him as they roll their suitcases across the runway towards the terminal. “I know, but this is a holiday, isn't it?”
  
She kept pace with him as they reach the sliding door, Lan waits until she goes first before following her, winding their way around rows of queue lines to the main hall of the terminal. Thankfully, they didn't have any checked bags, so they didn't have to deal with the large crowd surrounding the baggage carousels.
  
The busyness of it all kind of overwhelms Saya, who follows next to Lan as he walks towards the exit, skidding a bit as he turns towards a counter instead, standing behind the first customer there.
  
He tugs their bags around in front of them and rests his wrists on the handles, tapping his toe against the floor as they wait. This is weird. He's being weird, she admits to herself.
  
Saya looks down at his hand and doesn't see any sort of tremble. There's the restless tap of his thumb on the grip of the suitcase, but nothing like the night they talked. She didn't have the experience of alcohol withdrawal, nor what Xanax felt like. Alcohol smoothed out the rough edges of his speech and movements, maybe the medication did the same? She thought him so slow before they boarded.
  
She turns and looks at the counter, and the sign above it: TOYOTA Rent-A-Car.

  Lan felt normal again. His mind was clear, the anxiety in his stomach was gone, and it simply left him feeling like he did before he ever started drinking, that it ever was a daily problem. The irony of how it would be if he outright quit wasn't lost on him, though.
  
“Wait.. you.. have your license?” Saya asks, and he turns to look at her as they wait in line.
  
“Yeah, I.. I suggested the transportation museum, right?” He scratches his head for a moment as if it weren't blatantly obvious before shaking his head. “No, I.. sorry, yes, I have my license. A few of 'em, actually.”
  
A few? She thinks. “But I don't drive anywhere other than here, or outside of Ota, owning a car or motorcycle is kind of a pain in the city itself.” He rests his palms on the handles of their luggage, stretching up a bit as he works out the kinks of sitting in that small plane.
  
“It's kind of the only luxury I afford myself when I come home.” He blinks and looks between her and the counter. “Wait, do you get carsick? We can take the train if you want. I didn't even ask.”
  
“No, I'm fine. I just didn't think you'd.. have a license.” To have one was a luxury in itself, much less a car to drive with it. Saya was starting to get the hint that she shouldn't continue to be surprised with Lan. That you don't know anything.
  
She wrings her hands a bit as the customer in front of them steps to the side, done with his business. Lan rolls their baggage up to the counter and rests his hands on it.
  
“Hi, I have a reservation? Under uh.. Satake?”
  
Saya finally gets to what is bothering her and she grabs his forearm, turning him to face her. He seems surprised, but chuckles slightly. His eyes were a bit dilated, but they didn't seem panicked, nor was he woozy.
  
“Wuh.. what is it?”
  
“You're gonna drive, like this?” she asks, “And you want me to ride with you.”
  
Lan leans back and glances to the receptionist, then Saya. He holds up a finger to the girl behind the counter and steps to the side with Saya, legitimately confused.
  
“What.. you mean on the Xanax?” He shakes his head, holding up both hands in front of him. “No, no, we'll wait. I'm not stupid.”
  
“I'm.. relaxed. Not stupid.” He nods across the terminal to a restaurant in the corner. “We'll wait there until you're satisfied. Okay?”
  
She follows his gaze to the restaurant, then back to the counter, at the waiting receptionist. She politely smiles at the girl and nods.
  
“Alright, lead the way.”

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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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