The three boarded the elevator as Reo presses the button for the 17th floor. He stands closest to the doors, Lan and Saya behind him.
“So.. how is he?” Lan asks.
“Father? He's..” Reo tilts his head a bit, “well, he's father. He's a workaholic and doesn't seem to show any signs of retiring anytime soon, much to mother's chagrin.”
He turns a bit to look at both of them. “Physically he's fine. Has a physical every six months, is here from 7 to 5 at night.” Reo shrugs, “Though he has started delegating more of the work to me, especially the overseas travel.”
“Which I end up delegating to some of the upper level managers, depending on how far it is. I used to love traveling. Then I started doing it for business.” Reo turns back to the front of the elevator. “Turns out no matter how comfortable business class is, it's still a pain in the ass.
The elevator dings and the doors part, Reo steps out and both wait for Saya, who exits, followed by Lan.
What awaits them is nothing like the 16th floor. A wide expanse of bare, beige carpet covers the main room, flanked on the left by a glass-walled conference room with a large, open-centered table with high backed leather chairs at each station.
To the right were architectural models under plexiglass, which draws Saya over to them as she looks down at one of them. The first was instantly recognizable, the dark blue buildings of the Satake corporation jutting out of the landscape, the long factory building across the street. Lan wasn't kidding about a few blocks, she thinks, as the highway they passed under stretches along the tremendous manufacturing facility. Small, nondescript homes dot around the landscape, with small lanes snaking around, dotted with green parks and tiny, fake modeled trees along a flat, blue divot representing the river nearby.
She bends down slightly, looking at the building she stood in, smiling to herself as she imagines a tiny Saya standing on the top floor as she did now.
“I had that built,” Reo says, walking over to her as he looks down at the model. “I'd say I built it myself, but I don't have the patience. But I made sure every building and tree corresponded to a satellite image. We presented it to father a few years ago as a present.”
Saya looks at Reo, then to Lan who didn't show much interest, the other man was looking at the frosted glass doors – their destination, she assumes. There were other models, smaller representations of the milling machines the company made, building expansions in other parts of the world, she assumes.
“I don't mean to rush, but shall we?” Reo asks, stepping back and motioning to the doors Lan was staring at. Saya casts a glance down at herself for any folds of clothing out of place, lint, or other oddities as she pushes her hair back behind her ears and nods.
“Apologies. I love large.. small models. I grew up playing with Lego, this just seems much more detailed. What did he think?” He, being their father. Reo crosses his arms over his chest and regards the model.
“He enjoyed it. It was a surprise, and very hard to keep him out of the office while it was assembled.” His smile slips a bit before he rolls his eyes, turning back and starting towards Lan. “He never said it, but you could tell he thought it was a waste of space.”
Saya watches after him, then looks back at the model. “I'm guessing he doesn't like any of this floor then, does he?”
Lan nods to answer her question. “He could work in the space of a closet, and would be just as happy. But when you run this kind of company, space is a luxury.” He looks over at her as she steps in time with them. “An.. intimidation tactic. You know?”
Reo pushes open the first door with a woosh, and they're greeted by Hana, Toshio's secretary, who stands up and bows towards Reo and his guests. “Sir, a pleasure. Shall I let him know you're here?”
He holds up a hand and waves her off. “No, considering our.. company,” Reo looks back at Lan for a moment, “I'm pretty sure he's..”
With perfect timing, Toshio Satake pulls open both of the doors to his office with an intake of air enough so that the doors lock at a 90 degree angle, and is much, much different than Saya was expecting.
Standing about Reo's height, his smiling face betrays his age as he grins at the three of them – mostly from Reo to Lan. He wore a black suit, unbuttoned with a muted dark tie hanging from his neck. Stark black hair and dark eyes, which squinted in a grin – not exactly the air of a president.
“Boys!” he exclaims in Japanese, stepping out as he walks briskly over to them, bowing to Saya slightly, in a moment, she thinks, but instead of a bow or a handshake, Toshio wraps his more distant son in a bear hug, pinning Lan's arms at his sides and making him squirm, turning his head back and to the side.
“F.. ather.. it's good to see you too..” Lan mumbles.
Saya bites down hard on her lower lip to keep the smile back, but can't hold it when she looks at Hana, who is just as dumbfounded at the actions of her boss. To Reo, he turns towards them, unflinching, as if this were nothing new.
Lan's fingers twist uncomfortably through the hug before his father finally lets go, slapping his son's biceps with his own hands. “You look.. good, actually.” His father's brow creases at that, then looks up at Lan's eyes. Toshio's grip relaxes a bit as his smile falters. “Oh. Right.”
Saya wonders what his father sees in Lan's face that would cause such exuberance to dissipate, then thinks back to the airport lobby and how Lan's eyes were dilated from the medication he had taken to get here.
Lan may be clean, but he's not.. 'clean', she thinks. Still, Toshio recovers a bit and pats Lan's arms. “It's great to see you, it's been.. a while that you came on your own volition. Aiko will be very pleased. Are you st--”
“Father,” Reo interrupts, “our guest isn't fluent in Japanese, it's a little..”
Their father looks at Reo, then brightens again at Saya, stepping over to her which makes her recoil back a bit unconsciously, expecting just as big of a hug, but it doesn't come. Toshio clears his throat a bit and pauses before speaking, trying to remember.
“M.. Miss?” He says in English. Was that a question? She ponders, before he continues, bowing down in front of Saya, who starts to bow in return. “F.. forgive my English, it has been.. long since I.. used it.” Toshio says.
He holds out his hand and Saya takes it, shaking it with a slight smile. “It's fine, you speak it wonderfully,” she answers, which he nods in thanks. Glancing over to Lan, he turns back to Saya.
“Welcome to Hiroshima. To Satake. I hope my.. son has been.. un..” He pauses again, as if searching for the word. “Un.. embarrassed?”
Lan tilts his head back with a sigh and Reo steps forward, shaking his head, speaking to his father in Japanese before Toshio nods, restating, “Sorry, a kind.. presence. Yes?”
A good representation of our family, she interprets herself. But she can't deny it was cute the way he said it. “Yes, Lan's been a kind man to me. Thank you for inviting me here.”
Finally releasing her hand, he steps back and motions towards the open doors of his office, waving them towards it. “Come, come, we'll talk!”
Following behind them, he rattles off requests to Hana, who skirts out the office to another room, no doubt another tea service.
- 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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