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  Lan taps the up button they walk past and stop – or rather Lan stops and Saya does as well, flanked by three elevators on either side.
  
“So is this kind of what you expected? When you said yes,” he asks.
  
Saya pauses for a moment before answering. “Kind of,” she admits, “Expenses paid always comes with.. qualifiers.”
  
Ouch, he thinks, rather, ouch if she wasn't so right about it. “And you don't regret it, even now, in this.. opulent palace?” He waves a hand up around his head, indicating the building.
  
She looks him dead in the eye from under her brow with a look that says Really? “Lan, this is an office building. Yes, it has your name on it, but it's just a business. You yourself said he's just a man.” Her expression relaxes when an idea forms, “Or were you saying that for you, and not me?”
  
He honestly hadn't thought of that, his raised hand now rubbing his forehead as he processes it. Saya, meanwhile, lets a smirk across her face at figuring a part of him out, not waiting for an answer. “Interesting,” she says, turning towards the elevator and looking up at the floor number.
  
Lan drops his hand and holds it out to her towards her reflection in the mirrored finish of the elevator doors, even though he stood behind her. “It's not like that, it's.. you already knew you were my scapegoat when you said yes.”
  
Though as the light blinks on, the chime announcing the car's arrival as the doors part, he doesn't protest her statement more. She was right, and he knew it.
  
Saya steps in first, turning to the front as Lan follows, his hand hovers for a moment around the panel of buttons, unsure. In the end, he splits his fingers and presses both 16 and 17, stepping back alongside her.
  
“It's been a while. Reo thought it better that he not work on the same floor as our father. I'm not sure that's still the case,” Lan explains.
  
“Reo didn't want to be thought of as.. a favorite.” Lan trails off a bit, his hands sliding into the pockets of his jeans as he thinks on that. Lan was the only child, between his parents, and was the favorite. Had that tainted his view on the world somehow? Is favoritism leniency?
  
The elevator dings on ten, a small woman with a rolling suitcase stepping in. At first she looks at Saya, around her own height, then blinks up at Lan, confusion crossing her face before she turns to face the doors, pressing the button for the 14th floor.
  
The astonishment gets the best of her and she turns, looking up at Lan. “Has anyone told you that you have a striking resemblance to the president?”
  
Lan glances at Saya who doesn't seem to catch all of the conversation in Japanese before he smiles slightly at the employee and nods. “I.. get that a lot. Thank you,” but doesn't elaborate further, and she doesn't push for more. Still, she is quite obvious in staring at him in the doors in front of the three of them.

--

  The woman slips out at her intended stop, and the elevator starts rising again towards their two destinations. “What was that about?” Saya asks.
  
Lan inhales, his breath hitching. “She..” He saw no real reason to lie about it, “said I look an awful lot like the president of the company,” he admits.
  
Saya slowly grins which turns into a snort, which she holds the backs of her fingers under her nose to stifle from happening again, turning away from the mirrored doors and Lan himself. He rolls his eyes.
  
“Go on, snorter,” he jabs at her, “get it out.”
  
As if his permission mattered, Saya does hold her hand to her mouth as she laughs out loud, trying to keep it quiet in the small confines of the elevator. “She had no clue! Good lord!” Lan's head tilts back lazily as he mimes being exhausted with the joke already, looking up at the ceiling.
  
He turns to her and holds an arm out towards the doors, and the rest of the building, et al. “I haven't been here in years, there had to have been some people that don't kn ow who I am, even if they know father.” Saya, meanwhile, cups her hand over her mouth and looks up at him, she wasn't making much noise, but her eyes said enough.
  
She couldn't help herself as she mumbles from behind her palm. “The man with his name on the building..” She couldn't finish her joke as she claps her hand over her mouth again and turns away from him, holding back laughter.
  
“Uhhh huh.” Lan turns back to the doors as they finally arrive at the 16th floor.

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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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