Lan finally steps out after a moment and ushers Saya back into the room they first sat down in.
“Sorry, sorry.” He motions down to where she sat before as she sits, he leans on one knee next to her instead of sitting himself. “This is.. clusterfuck,” he admits, looking behind him and pulling the door closed behind them though it does nothing to dampen the chaos beyond.
“Reo is going to talk to Aiko about toning it down. It won't be in here, I don't think, there's family casual and guest casual.” Lan sighs and rubs his forehead, all of this was turning into a bigger deal than he ever wanted it to be.
“The dining room, probably, but I'll make sure it's simple, yeah? And if it is.. ridiculous, we just leave.” Saya starts to protest that option, but he holds up a hand. “It wouldn't be the first time, and it wouldn't be your fault. I'm not asking for much for them to keep it.. normal.”
Briefly, he looks past her at where they were before, sitting in front of the bedrooms, then looks back at where the kitchen would be. Lan weighs his options but it didn't take him long. “Stay here for.. twenty seconds. I'll be right back, I forgot something over there.”
Abruptly, he stands up and rather than use the door they came from, he ducks out, hopping down into the courtyard in socked feet, crossing it in a few strides. He steps back up in front of his own old room and disappears from her sight.
And like that, she was left alone – again. Saya knew that Lan coming home was a big deal around here, much less with a guest. She reaches out and cups her hand around her teacup, still lukewarm from before.
A full cup sits across the table, steaming, but apparently untouched. She wonders who it was for. Reo was the last in here before they came back..
She takes a sip and leans back, reaching up with her free hand to rub her eyes lightly. In some ways, this was more stressful than dealing with the children at her school. At least with the kids, she knew what to expect day to day. There was a lot about Lan, and his family by extension, she didn't know.
But he was right, before, that it didn't bother her. The unknown was.. exciting to Saya. To an extent, she thinks. But she thinks about Lan and his myopic, tiny little world. Everything so planned around the isolation, the drinking, even.
Saya looks across the dark courtyard, realizing exactly what Lan 'forgot' over there.
Leaving slightly damp footprints from crossing bare grass, he steps into his old room, sliding the door closed behind him as he looks around. The obvious would be gone, but like before it should still be there.
Lan opens his closet and is greeted with old clothes, things that would never fit him today, but were kept out of.. nostalgia? He wonders. But neither the clothes nor the toys at the bottom of the closet were what he was interested in, looking up above the top shelf.
His fingers run along the seam between the wall and the ceiling until he finds it, pushing a cracked portion of it up as he reaches into the dark beyond, stretching up on his toes as his fingertips pat around as they touch a thin glass bottle, a half-pint bottle.
He wasn't sure how much he had left in it last time he was here, and it takes a while for liquor to go bad, even opened. Lan pulls it down and tilts it towards the lights coming from the hall, examining the contents, about a half remaining in it.
Lan sighs in relief and spins the cap off, catching it in his hand as he raises the bottle to his nose. It didn't smell off, which was fine, he probably would have drank it anyway. Tilting it back, he drains the remaining whiskey out of the bottle – two to three shots worth as it burns its way down into his stomach.
He winces at the burn as he recaps the bottle, glancing in front of him. If he put it back up there, and needed it later.. instead, he reaches into one of his old school jackets and slips it into the breast pocket.
Stepping back, he looks at the closet from top to bottom, making sure nothing seems out of place before pulling it closed, turning back towards the exit.
Meanwhile, across the courtyard where Saya sat, the door opens, leaving both parties surprised as Toshio bows a bit before stepping into the room.
“Miss Travis! I was not expecting you here,” he glances around, squinting a bit as it occurs to him, “..alone?”
Saya nods as he steps over and sits in Aiko's seat from before, patting his hand lightly on the kettle, frowning once he rests his hand on it and realizes its not hot, but shrugs anyway, starting to place the cups – used and unused – back onto the tray.
“Everyone around is.. very busy!” He smiles, his pronounced crows feet crinkling a bit in the corner of his eyes as Saya smiles back, still holding onto her cup. “We have guests, yes, but.. a long time for Lan.”
Saya glances across the courtyard at where Lan disappeared, turning back to his father – but he was looking the same way as she was.
“Lan is.. drinking? Yes? Still?” Toshio asks.
Saya breathes in and rests her chin in her hand, elbow on the table as she keeps looking over at the bedroom wing of their house. “Probably.”
“And you still came?” he ponders. The question surprises Saya, who looks over at Toshio, who is still smiling, but the smile was.. tainted somehow, faked. So that's where the brothers learned it, she thinks.
“I..” Saya leans back and pushes her cup away from her, Toshio plucking it off the table and placing it on the tray to their side. “I know that.. Lan has problems. You know it too, when you called me his.. distraction?”
Toshio nods and laces his fingers together on the table, “I worry, but he is an adult. There is only so much I can do, despite all.. this.” He waves a hand around, at the wealth, the opulence.
“He has told you of Emma, yes?” Saya looks confused, shaking her head as he reforms the question, “his.. mother. Her passing.”
Emma.. what a pretty name, she thinks, before nodding, “Oh, yes, I didn't know her name, though. He never said it.”
Toshio smiles again, but this time it felt and looked genuine, if not a little sad. “And that she passed last year?” Saya nods, staying quiet for the moment.
Lan's father taps his fingers along the table for a bit, looking down at it as he speaks, “It.. broke.. my son,” he admits. “I think it was broken before she passed, but.. it was enough to..” His brow creases, as he searches for the word, “negate? Negate his.. world.”
“And nothing I say, or Aiko or Reo say, or..” he shakes his head, “a therapist, maybe.. I don't know how to fix it.”
“So even if you are a.. distraction, it is good to have my boy around for a while.” Toshio sits up in the chair and bows to her, his head nearly touching the table. “Thank you very much, Miss Travis.”
- 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)
feel free to come hang out in the discord, if you like.