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  He rests his chin in his hand, a smiling Lan was.. new to Saya. So while she enjoys her tea, he leans back and turns the cup of water in his fingers.
  
“You think I'm crazy, don't you.”
  
“No, I know you're crazy. I'm just weighing how crazy I am for going along with it,” she responds, looking out at the cars, bumper to bumper, for the arrivals concourse.
  
Lan looks at the table, then plucks some of the condiments from their caddy. “What if I.. qualified it?”
  
He sets his phone down on the table, then twists it and turns it horizontally between them. Lan holds his index finger on the back, tapping it before he speaks. “If this is baseline me,”
  
“And this is.. airplane me.” He slides the salt shaker towards her, above the phone, “And this is..”
  
He hesitates as he reaches for the pepper, looking down at where it would go. Still, he plucks it and places it lower than his phone. “And this is.. fucked up me. The me past.. a certain time in the afternoon..”
  
Lan looks over at her and she gets it, enough that he doesn't have to go down his list of withdrawal symptoms.
  
“We are here.” He thumps his finger down on the back of his cell phone, trying to indicate normality. Saya understands his logic, anxiety plus medication equals normal, anxiety plus alcohol.. she can add it up. But she wasn't about to test that logic with herself in the passenger seat of a rented car with a man on benzos.
  
Lan gulps down his water and leans back in his chair. “Without the alcohol, I'm useless. In the air, I'm useless. The medication lets me stop worrying. It tells that part of me in my stomach to let go, if only for a little bit.”
  
“My doctor doesn't even like prescribing it, because it can be addictive. Yeah. I get why. You can go from your worst to an even keel.” He taps his phone again, shaking his head.
  
“I don't get off on this. The medication. I come back with this. God that sounds so..” he glances out the window. “Junkie-like. I wish I could explain it better.”
  
Saya looks at her bag, thinking of it pushing on the man's knees to keep him back on the airplane. So far she had seen a few faces of Lan, and she couldn't really put a finger on which one was normal.
  
Bull, she thinks, you know what's normal. This is abnormal. Sober Lan, drunk Lan, and this Lan. So far, she prefers this Lan.
  
She's about to finish her tea until he stands up, the chair noisily backing up behind him as he grins out the window at something she misses.
  
“Time to go.”

--

  “You have got to be kidding me,” she answers, standing curbside in front of it.
  
Lan, meanwhile, was all smiles. After loading their luggage into the car, the receptionist hands over the keys and a ticket, which Lan pockets.
  
“What?” He holds out both hands to the car. “It's a nice car, right? And It's been long enough in the cafe that you think I can drive, right?”
  
Saya looks up at him, while he still motions to the car, like it explains everything. Two hands out, palms up, eyebrows raised as if to ask eh? Eh?
  
Yes, she thinks, you're crazy.

--

  Meanwhile, Lan was chomping at the bit from the moment he saw it crawl up to the curb, a silver NISMO GT-R, God almighty, what a beauty, he thinks. There were faster and more precise machines, to be sure, but even this car was pushing the line as to what a company would rent out to normal drivers.
  
Saya, however, seemed less than impressed, which he dismisses to not understanding exactly what is in front of them. He holds back dancing his way to the driver's side and thumping down into the bucket seats of the car. Comfort was not this car's selling point.
  
He rubs his fingers together as one hand grabs the wheel, the other hovering over the stick. “No, this one's.. not like that,” he actually says aloud.
  
“What?” Saya asks, thinking it was directed at her.
  
Lan looks over and waves a hand at the man that shuts her door for her, reaching over and pulling the belt down from way behind her, holding it out so she could latch it herself.
  
“Lan, why do I regret getting in this car?” she mentions as she clicks the belt in place.
  
He leans back, one hand on the steering wheel again as he grins over at her. “Do you trust me?” he asks.
  
“No, I don't.”
  
“Good. Lean back.”
  
She does, and she's glad she did.

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A note from drac

Music from chapter 25 to present now properly work. Apologies.


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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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