Across the courtyard, the entrance to the house suddenly became busy, the staff hurrying left and right.
“Seems they're home,” Lan says, looking where Saya looks. The courtyard itself was dark, but the lights in the entrance were enough to show Toshio and Reo stepping into the foyer.
“Guess that's our cue,” Lan says, looking back up at Saya, who was watching the show in the house's entrance.
“So they do that for everyone, guest or not, huh,” she utters, watching the staff line up on either side to bow at the two men that are entering with such a blasé attitude. That all of this was normal.
“It's so strange, like watching a real life Sims game,” she says, and she wasn't wrong. Aiko hurries over to greet her husband and son, who simply want to decompress. Aiko waves the staff along to start tea, and ducks into the kitchen herself, presumably to direct more.
Saya holds up her thumb and forefinger above Reo's form as he steps out of his shoes, moving her hand this way and that, imagining a health bar above the man. She laughs and looks over at Lan. “And this is normal?”
He looks over at the commotion and shakes his head. “No, well.. to be honest, I don't know. I doubt it.” He rests his wrist on his knee and points at her then him. “Guests are a big thing here. You wanna put on your best face, you know?”
Saya rests her chin in her hand and her elbow on a knee as she watches it all across the courtyard. “It's kind of a beautiful thing, I guess.” She turns to look at Lan for a moment, “and embarrassing. All of this. I don't think I could do that. As part of being the staff, it seems so.. panicky.”
Lan looks over to where she's looking, maids, well-dressed men all in a hurry to get somewhere, to please their


  employers. All with a job to do.
It was one of the reasons he never came here, there is only so many times you can be asked for a feeling, or an employee asking you if you need anything before you throw your hands up and say 'fuck it, I'm done'.
The other side of the family didn't seem to have that problem, Aiko, Reo, and even his father were okay with it – or at least beared through it.
“I didn't ask, do you have any allergies?” he finally pipes up, Saya looking over at him.


  She cycles through her medicinal allergies, but shakes her head back at Lan. “No, raw, cooked, I mean I have.. preferences. But no, anything is fine.”
Lan tilts his head back and breathes in before sharply looking down at her across the way. “Give me an excuse. Anything. First thing.”
“An excuse,” she blurts out, confused as to what he was actually asking, and giving a joke answer.
Apparently that was enough as he grunts and pushes up to stand in the open doorway, holding out a hand to her. “That's enough. You wanted to see the rest of the place, so that's where we were.”
Ah, an excuse, she thinks, taking his hand again and pulling herself up as she looks over at the busy side of the household, then towards the darker side behind her.
“What was it, us, them, utility, quarters?” she asks, unsure herself. Lan shakes his head. “Sorry, that's.. not fair.”
“This is the main wing, we sleep and eat here. Off to that side,” he motions across the courtyard, “is the kitchen, all that. The hallway we passed is more for father and Aiko.”
Lan steps forward, again holding onto Saya's hand as they come across a four-way crossroad, walkways on all sides, and another, more Zen garden courtyard than the last.
“The.. utilities and maintenance are that way.” He points to his right, “And the staff stay that way.” Motioning to his left.
It was enough that Saya concludes that the house – the compound, rather – was a sort of figure eight. Living quarters, staff quarters, but either way, it was impeccable and gorgeous no matter who stayed in which rooms.
Lan turns to her and lets go of her hand again, sliding his hands into his jean pockets. “So now you have a choice. Or rather, we have a choice.”
“I could make up an excuse for us to leave. You'd have to give me a minute to think of one, and I would blame you for it.” She frowns at that, but it made sense. Saya knew what she had signed up for, and was admittedly his shield.
“If it weren't so late, I'd say sightseeing, since it's only the weekend.” Lan scratches his temple and turns away from her, really thinking. “Jetlag, it's only an hour..” he says, thinking out loud.
“It's fine,” she says, reaching out and turning his shoulder and him to face her, shaking her head as she looks towards the busier part of the house. “They don't..” she sighs and looks up, thinking, “they're not here to see me, Lan.”
“I'm.. ancillary. Don't say you don't realize all of this is for you,” Saya says.
She wasn't wrong – again. Lan crosses his arms over his chest and looks over at the busy wing of his home. “And you're.. okay with dinner, they're going to make it a full fancy course bullshit.” He admits, waving his hands in front of himself as if pantomiming figures around a table.
Saya looks over at him, raising a brow, and tilting her head towards where he looks. “I came for a vacation, sir, despite how rich all of you may be. So let's go eat, shall we?”


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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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