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  “So how are.. things?” Lan asks, walking behind Reo as he circles around behind the desk, indicating to Saya to sit in one of the two chairs in front. As she does, they both follow suit, Reo's assistant picking up the teapot on a side table, pouring the three of them cups of tea, placing two for the guests on the small table between them before returning to grab Reo's.
  
Reo accepts the tea from his assistant, who shows herself out of the office quietly. “That's a.. loaded question. Do you mean here, or home?” He blows across the liquid before taking a sup, setting both it and the saucer down on his desk.
  
“Home, I suppose. You and father seem to have this place going like it always has.” Lan looks behind him slightly, “She seems new, but I wouldn't really know, considering,” the last time he was there, he meant.
  
“Abe-san started here a few years ago, it helps tremendously that she's a polyglot. English and Korean, and I think she's working on her Mandarin? That made her stand out when I required a new employee.” Reo picks up a leather bound tablet, thumbing the bottom button as the screen comes to life. He scans it idly.
  
Lan didn't touch his tea, but Saya felt obligated enough to at least try it. Loose leaves floated lazily in her cup, barely tinting the color of the water, but it smells and tastes great. She rests the saucer in her lap, watching the exchange between the two men.
  
“As for home..” Reo taps an icon, the screen going white as he scrolls down the message, paraphrasing what he reads, “'Do tell your father that everything is ready for when he arrives, also, does he want anything specific for dinner tonight, blah blah blah..'”
  
He sets the tablet down in front of him. “From mother. The house has been very busy once I told them you were coming.” Lan rubs his forehead and sighs, shaking his head.
  
“You can tell her thank you, but it's not necessary, even though she'll,” he waves a hand around frivolously, “say it's no problem, I'm sure.”
  
Reo nods and picks up his tea again. “I haven't told her that Miss Travis isn't staying in the house, we can deal with that later. She seems ecstatic to meet anyone you brought home.” He drinks again before looking over at Saya.
  
“She, and by proxy, father, will want to meet you.” His eyes flick to Lan. “They have planned a dinner – I specifically told them nothing extravagant but you know how people are with guests – but I haven't said whether you accepted or not.”
  
Lan looks over at her, then turns her way. “Listen, this is all you. I'd like you to meet them, but this is just how the way things are for me, and him.” He motions to Reo. “But I'm not blind to think that this feels like introducing a girlfriend or fiance rather than just a friend.”
  
“So we can go say hi, have tea, and then go; or we can go have dinner, but either way, this is your vacation.”
  
Saya sets her tea down on the table, rubbing her fingers together as she thinks about it.
  
Reo continues, “I.. don't know how much you know about our family, Miss Travis. I'm not sure what he's told you. You've seen the chauffeur from when we were in Ota, the car Lan,” his eyes flick with a bit of menace to his half-brother, “brought you here in, and.. this building.”
  
With their name one story high on it, she thinks. “Lan gave me a history, brief as it was, that the corporation or.. group?” She questions, not sure how to refer to it, either way, Reo nods, “deals with milling machines, rice and grain processing?”
  
She leans up in her chair towards the large windows that look over the long two-story factory Lan had pointed out before. “That you make the machines there, and.. you've been at it for a hundred years or so.”
  
Saya sits back and looks at Lan, then levels her gaze at Reo. “I wouldn't have accepted this trip if I didn't know what I was getting into, Reo-san. Lan wanted company, I want to see Hiroshima. If that means a dinner around semi-strangers, so be it.”
  
“You don't have to handle me with whi--” white gloves, she stops herself from saying, glancing down at Reo's hands. “I can take care of myself.”
  
Reo nods, looking to Lan who simply shrugs at him, motioning to her, as if to say he had no influence over the matter either.

--

  “So what's she like? Your mother, I mean. I've heard of Satake-san from you and Lan, and I heard he's here today, but I haven't heard anything about his wife.”
  
Reo blinks, lacing his fingers together on the desk as he ponders that for a second. “Mother? Hm.. I've never really thought about how to describe her, not that I don't know.”
  
Lan opens his mouth but before anything comes out, Reo shoots him a razor's edged look. Lan closes his mouth.
  
“Her name is Aiko, before she was Satake, her maiden name was Matsuoka. She's.. fifty-two, which doesn't mean that father married her young.” Saya is a little puzzled at this, but doesn't question it. Lan catches her expression and remembers that he hadn't actually told Saya how old his father was. He wonders how she would react to a nineteen year difference.
  
“She's.. educated, classically trained.” He holds out a hand towards Lan. “Aside from race, and age, there wasn't much difference between mother and Em--” Lan bristles at that, sitting up in his chair and glaring at Reo. “What? You have to admit the similarities.” Reo says.
  
“There's nothing simil..” His fingers curl and extend on the chairs armrest, exhaling when he remembers his present company. “Let's move on, shall we?” Lan offers.
  
Saya looks between the two, she knew Lan's mother was a touchy subject, and the brothers had their differences altogether, another notch on the sensitive subject board, she thinks.
  
“Traditional, I think, is how I'd describe her. Enough that she can give father a hard time when he deserves it.” Reo smiles a bit at Saya, watching Lan relax a bit out of the corner of his eye, shrugging and nodding, agreeing at that last point.
  
“She sounds like a lovely woman,” Saya says, picking her tea up again and drinking the rest before setting it back in the saucer with a clink.
  
“Honesty up front, she's probably going to fawn all over you. She'd probably fawn over you were you a man, too, considering how often he comes home, much less brings someone along,” he points over at Lan.
  
“We'll,” he looks at Reo, “try to keep that to a minimum. I'll try and curb the endless questions. But we still have a bit of time until you decide on tea or dinner,” Lan says.
  
Reo nods and pulls the cover out from under his tablet, closing it and pushing back from his desk, standing up. He looks at Lan, waiting for him to do the same – Saya looking between the two.
  
“I.. guess it's time.” He looks at his watch and holds an arm out towards the doors behind them, his tablet under his arm as he starts from around his desk.
  
“One more visit, then we can go.” Lan says down to Saya, holding out his hand. She takes it politely and stands, pulling her purse over her shoulder again.
  
“Your father?”
  
Lan nods, looking tired at the prospect already.

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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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