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  As Lan and Saya sit in front of the desk, Reo stands next to his father as he sits across from them.
  
“Saya-san, Reo mentioned? He offered tea before, yes? We don't have to now,” Toshio says. “Mountain Day is.. strange holiday. It is young, yes?” He looks up at Reo as if to confirm. Reo nods.
  
“As of 2016. The government wanted the public to enjoy the splendor of Japan, but the campaign only ever honestly ever came across as a way to spur travel and tourism,” his voice dripping with sarcasm.
  
“So Lan invites you to stay with us? We are happy to have you. Aiko is very excited,” Toshio continues, “Lan doesn't come often, and never more than a day. So this is a good surprise.” He nods, looking over at his son.
  
“Saya..” Lan pauses, between Reo and Saya, he could use English vocabulary as second nature, but he pauses to simplify it for his father. “She wanted to see Hiroshima. Museums and shrines.”
  
“Ah! Numaji! You have told her of the transportation one? You loved that as a child.” Toshio smiles a bit, recalling the memory for a moment.
  
Turning to Saya, he leans forward, resting his forearms on his desk. “But why Hiroshima? Why not Hokkaido or Osaka? Hiroshima is good town, but not much for sights.”
  
Deja vu, Saya thinks, but she's up against a wall, glancing up at Reo before forming an answer. “Well, I teach young kids, and as for traveling, I've only ever been as far as Osaka. And Hokkaido is too cold!” she chuckles – to her, it was almost as if she were talking to her children at school. Basic info only, though she knew he knew more, but like any skill, rust forms with disuse.
  
“Mmm,” he nods, tapping his fingers on the desk before speaking again, “so you are the.. the..” Frustration crosses his face before he crooks a finger up at Reo, who bends down to his father, who murmurs in Japanese.
  
Reo looks over at Saya, then to Lan, speaking the word aloud. “Distraction.”
  
“Yes!” Toshio exclaims. “You are Lan's distraction this weekend, yes?” Saya blinks, there was no insincerity or malice behind their father's eyes, as if this were a common occurrence. She looks over at Lan.
  
“My excuse,” he explains, “like I said before we left. My shield.”
  
Saya looks back at Toshio, who is still smiling. She expected that Lan would use her as a reason to not be around his family, she wasn't expecting for it to be so blatant and transparent.

--

  “I..” her voice hitches before she shrugs and nods, if they were truthful with her, why not do the same? “In a sense. Seventy-thirty. I want to see Hiroshima, I've never been.”
  
Her fingers curl around the handles of her purse unconsciously, “And if that means sacrificing some of my time to be the odd man out in an awkward room, so be it.”
  
Toshio glances back at Reo again who leans down to explain the phrasing Saya spoke. He nods to his son and turns back to the two of them.
  
“A fair trade. I do not approve of it,” he snaps a sharp glance towards Lan before softening when he looks back at Saya. “But we are happy to have you in our city, and our home.” He bows a bit towards her, who returns it politely.
  
Toshio looks past them as the two in front turn to see Hana politely waving at her boss, business to attend to. He nods and stands up, pushing back from the desk.
  
“It was short, but very pleasurable to meet you, miss Travis. We can't leave yet, business call, you see.” He walks around the desk and takes her hand again in both of his, a hybrid of shaking it and bowing to her. “Thank you for taking care of Lan.”
  
Saya returns the handshake and nods, “Of course.. it's been lovely meeting you.” Toshio smiles and holds out an arm towards the doors, where Reo strides over and holds open for the two of them.
  
“I would maybe drop her off at the hotel first, get checked in, and decompress for a while. It's..” Reo hikes his arm out so his watch is exposed, “early yet, we won't be leaving for a few hours.”
  
Lan nods and follows behind Saya as they cross the rest of the floor towards the elevators, thumbing the down button. When she turns around, Toshio has returned to his desk, flanked by both Reo and his secretary, back to work.
  
The elevator dings and the indicator lights up, the doors sliding open as Lan walks in, holding the door as Saya thinks, searching her memory.
  
How did he know my last name?

--

  On the ground floor, the two of them make their way out towards the building's entrance, Lan's rental car left right where they left it. Either no one complained, or no one drove right up to the doors like the corporation's namesake.
  
Lan holds open the door and does make it around to the passenger side this time, pulling it open for Saya as once again she pauses, looking up at him.
  
“Did you tell them I was coming?” she asks.
  
Lan shakes his head and pushes his hair back as the wind starts to pull overcast skies above them. “No, just Reo. To book the tickets and the hotel.”
  
It's possible, she considers, they did say that Reo's mother was excited at a guest. The last name part, though..
  
She puts it away in the back of her mind for now, sinking back down into the bucket seat of the car, Lan closing it gently behind her.

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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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