She looks down at her cup of tea, running a finger around the rim idly as she ponders her next question. “I assume you didn't know much about Lan's background before all of this.”
Lan bristles and points at Aiko. “Hey, no. No, this isn't a Satake thing.” He looks over at Saya, then back to the woman across from them. “This is exactly why she's not staying here instead of a hotel.”
It's very easy to feign ignorance when you're practiced at it, and Aiko knew what she was doing as he leans back, looking at Lan incredulously.
“Look around you, Lan, you know who we are.” She slips back into her native Japanese, “and you think I wouldn't think that this white woman had other ideas in mind?”
Lan pulls his lips into his mouth and bites, hard, turning towards Saya and looking down, though she doesn't understand the last part of that statement. The anger was obvious on his face until he parts his lips, his teeth still grit that Saya could see, turning back to Aiko.
He continues in Japanese, “I'm not here to see you. I'm not here to see Reo.” Lan licks his lips and breathes in slowly, his fingers, his body may not be trembling from withdrawal but damned if they betrayed him in anger.
“I thank God that she can't understand you, the disgusting woman you are. I thank God that Reo is so much more than you are.” All Saya could make out were sneering hisses from Lan towards Aiko, who seems to take it nonchalantly.
“If you utter one word in English to her about you, me, or father, I'm gone. Done.” Aiko seems nonplussed by the threat, until Lan continues.
“And who do you think he's going to side with?” Her neutral expression falters slightly as they stare at each other. “His own son or you. I'm damaged, but you like being damaged. Being damaged keeps you interesting.”
“Now I am going to stop speaking in Japanese, because she is looking at us, and you are going to smile at me, and I am going to give us a tour of the house, but if you try me, you will lose. Do I make myself clear?”
Saya keeps her hands around her cup of tea as the two argue – it's easy to know when people argue, no matter what the language – in Japanese before Lan turns to her, his face changing from grim to a bit of a smile.
“How about a tour, around all this. Aiko said she wants to get dinner ready while I show you around. That okay with you?”
Aiko said nothing of the sort, but understood Lan as he spoke English nonetheless. Saya nods and pushes away from the table, standing up and bowing slightly to Aiko. “Thank you again,” she says. The woman smiles up at Saya before her gaze flicks to Lan, who doesn't look back as he leads Saya into the hallway.


  “I.. ah.. hm..” He pulls the door of the room they exit from closed and looks side to side, hallways extending long between them. “I mean.. do you have a preference? There's utility,” he motions behind him, “and quarters,” to the left, “and us..” to the right. “I.. where do you want to start?”
“How much have you had to drink since we got here?” she blindsides him with.
The two stand in a darkening hallway as the sun glares into the entryway where they came in, illuminating one side as they face each other.
“Hold out your hand,” Saya commands, and Lan curls both into fists, tilting his head in feigning ignorance. “I.. what? I haven't had..”
“Bullshit. Hold out your hand.” She glares up at him, this time it wasn't a question.
Lan rubs his thumb along the fingers of his hand before finally comitting to the action, lifting his hand up between them. There was a normal nerve twitch, Lan clenches his hand before stretching his fingers out as Saya looks down at it.
The fact that there was no trembling was her telltale sign. Saya was already starting to get fed up with Lan and this whole family as she pushes his hand out of her way and starts down the hall on her own.
Lan follows behind, clenching his fists hard to try and squeeze out the stress as he starts pointing out places in the Satake house. “This is.. the.. this is the first guest bedroom,” he pulls the door to the side, an empty tatami mat room, before Saya keeps walking, radiating anger.
“This is the..” Lan holds his hand on the next door before realizing that Saya isn't stopping to look at each room. She steps along the glossy wood floor on her own.
Lan scratches along his scalp, watching Saya walk away, still gritting his teeth that Aiko made all this happen, even if it wasn't anywhere near her fault.


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About the author


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.

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