All was well for the first ten minutes. The car didn't seem to have much in terms of shocks, but it didn't seem to bother Lan. Saya keeps her head back as suggested, her fingers curling around the bottom edge of the bucket seat.
“I didn't kno-OH-ow..” she exclaims, mid-word, as they yank to the left and start up the ramp to the expressway, “that you drove.”
“No? I guess I don't really advertise it..” He replies, as they coast up the ramp in second and into the merging lane.
“There are a lot of things I don't like about coming home.” He murmurs, glancing at his mirror on the right. “This isn't one of them.”
They start slow, merging out onto the highway in the slower lane as he shifts up in gear, matching speed with the flow of traffic. Saya kept her head back anyway, knowing the look of this kind of car, and this kind of driver, she thinks. It seems to be just another ride. It didn't last.
She hears two distinct thumps coming from the driver's well, the clutch and the gas as the car almost bucks up like a protesting horse before all four wheels catch pavement.
Lan keeps one hand on the gear stick, the other on the top of the wheel as the car in front of them barrels up into their view, and he slides easily into the next lane.
Saya spares a glance over at him now and then, his hair whipping around his face from the windows being open, the roar of the engine assaulting her ears.
It's not manic or sarcastic, but the look on his face is absolutely genuine. Lan has a grin ear to ear as his eyes scan out the windshield, twisting the car in between the slower vehicles.
She had no doubt that they were breaking some sort of law, or even if Lan was telling the truth about having a license at all, but it was something she hadn't seen before.
He seemed genuinely happy.
Watching him for a long moment before he turns to look at her, she turns back to look out at his view, at the road they're taking, smiling a bit herself – even if she wasn't about to let go of the seat.
You're glad she came, but this is why you came.
Lan thumps paddle behind the steering wheel to shift the car up into its sixth gear and pushes the pedal down to the floor. Thankfully there wasn't a lot of traffic this early in the day.
He still had to ease off to switch lanes, but only at the last minute. Grilling up against their tail bumper before swerving into the next open lane.
The Sanyo Expressway was fantastic for rides like these, even if it was peppered with toll booths. Had it stretched in a better manner from Hiroshima to Tokyo, he'd do nothing other than drive home.
He felt like a patient receiving oxygen after being denied it. The anxiety was left back in the arrivals lobby of the airport, the pain in his stomach siphoned away. Lan's hair whips around him, slapping and biting at his skin as it hits.
But this is why he came.
The group had an account with the rental agency, and just saying his name could get him the car he wanted, he learned that a while ago. No one had stepped up to call him on it, either, which he would have expected Reo to do.
Instead, he was given this luxury, if only for a while, to let go. They would always frown at his choice of vehicles once he showed up, but between the airport and home, Lan was free.
He eases off on the pedal when both lanes are occupied, but the moment he senses enough space, he worms the car in and guns it.
It was enough that both lanes were open for as far as he could see, and Lan moves the car so that the lane markers split down the middle of the car, as he took up half of both lanes.
He finally turns to look at Saya after a few minutes, and finds her understandably taut, but smiling. Lan raises a brow at that, that's.. not how people react to this. He thinks.
Finally, traffic forces them to slow as they near a toll, the engine still growling in front of them, but Lan isn't looking so much in front anymore, casting glances over at Saya, whose smile hasn't faltered.
After crossing a slim river, Lan pulls the car down a ramp and onto a smaller highway, heading south.
"So you.. you didn't mind that?” he asks, glancing back from where they came, then to her. “I've had.. passengers before, and their lungs were louder than the car.”
Saya had had enough time to relax and work through her tense kinks in her fingers before Lan noticed – like him on the plane. She shakes her head. “Well, no, I'd be lying if I wasn't a little freaked out, but you seemed in control.”
“I can't drive, this is all..” She motions to the gear shift. “I know you have to shift up to go faster, but I don't have a license, and never bothered learning stick..”
“So.. I thought of it like a thrill ride.” Saya sits up as best she can, squirming a bit as the seats were designed to keep you in one place.
“You know, enjoy it while it happens,” she says.
Lan looks at her silently, his mind toiling away behind his eyes and it takes the driver behind them to honk his horn before he realizes the light is green.
He shifts back into first and they move on.
- 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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