“Saya!” Lan shouts, and her shoulder-blades tense up, stopping right at the top of the stairway down to street level.
The train announces its departure and starts to squeal its way out of the station as people walk around Saya, not leaving the platform empty, but practically.
Lan walks up behind her and reaches out, touching her shoulder which causes her to flinch, quickly lifting his hand off of her.
“Who do they think you're on this trip with?” He asks, “Just that.. one sentence? 'Strange, alcoholic neighbor that paid for it all?'” quoting her own words.
“Do they know my name, my family, anything?” When she doesn't answer, he fishes his phone out of his pocket, shaking his head as he unlocks it.
“What's their number?”
That gets a response from her, she whirls around and looks at him, then to his phone, reaching out to grab it as if he actually already knew. He hikes his hand up above his own head, looking at her, confused.
“What? No, you're not calling them,” she states, dropping her hands as it clicks that he doesn't have their number – that he doesn't even have her number, for that matter.
“Just.. tell me their number.” He glances at his watch, it was just past 12pm here, that would make it.. a little past eight to ten at night in the States. He briefly wonders what time her parents turn in for the night, but still dials in the country code: +010-1
“No,” she repeats, crossing her arms in front of her chest, looking up at him defiantly. “They know enough, they trust me.”
Lan shakes his head in confusion and holds his arms out, looking down at her. “Why not? I just want to introduce myself, tell them who I am, and that their daughter is not murdered in a back alley in some Japanese city, by some strange alcoholic neighbor.” His words bite at her, once again repeating her own words.
When Saya keeps her silence, they stand on the platform, almost frozen in each other's defiance before Lan shakes his head. “Fine. We'll do it my way.”
Lan clears the numbers from his phone and scrolls down his contacts, thumbing a name and holding it up to his ear. He turns away from Saya, though she can't help but taking a step closer at who he is calling.
“Hana. You're still at the office?” Lan pauses while speaking – in English, but she doesn't notice that, while Saya tries to remember who Hana is. The assistant. His father's assistant.
“Can you find a number for me? In the US. Pennsylvania. Ah.. Travis. R.. Robert Travis?” he continues, looking back at Saya briefly as he remembers her father's name from the Facebook post. “Works at Crayola. Anything you can--”
In a panic, Saya reaches up and wraps both hands around Lan's hand and phone, yanking it out of his hand and turning it over to end the call, only to be presented with a black, locked screen.
There was no call, he hadn't talked to anyone, and finally when she realizes that he was talking in English to his father's Japanese assistant, she mentally curses herself, hissing out a tsk before holding the phone out back to its owner.


  Lan takes the phone from her gingerly, and holds it down by his side. “I doubt I even would have to call her, right?”
He walks over to a bench and sits down, looking at Saya who was still frustrated with herself. “Googling his name and the company would probably get me something, wouldn't it? Or even calling the corporate headquarters, despite it being.. evening over there.”
Lan rests his elbows on his thighs and cups the phone in both hands, looking up at her. “Why are you so against this? There's no harm in it. Or you call them, on your phone. I just want to assure your parents you're safe, is that so wrong?”
She relaxes a little, then completely as she turns and walks over to the bench, twisting and sitting next to him. He sits with her in silence until she takes a few moments to reply.
“No, it's not wrong. You're not wrong,” she admits, sighing as she leans back on a billboard behind them. “You're not wrong, it's just.. God.”
She reaches up and covers her vision with her hand for a moment, picking out her next words carefully. “They.. hm,” she stutters a bit, “I don't.. they don't like me being here.”
Saya pulls her purse around and sits it in her lap, holding it in her hands. “You're not the only one with family issues, Lan. And everything you're saying is right. I think I said it that way just to get a rise out of them.”
“That I am a grown-ass woman, and I can make my own grown-ass decisions, including going on a trip with my 'strange, alcoholic neighbor'” she spits out, as if the truth was a bad taste in her mouth.
“I am halfway across the world, doing.. a job that isn't very glamorous.” Lan leans up and starts to protest, but she holds her hand up for him to wait. “Imagine your only daughter, your youngest, says she wants to go to America out of the blue, how would you feel?”
Okay with it, because she would know English, is his first thought, but he gets where she's going with the point, so he nods instead.
“Easton isn't the biggest town in the world. It pales in comparison to Tokyo. And my family is really close, it's why I was honest with them. But I'm sitting on this.. ledge.” She turns her hand flat and tilts it side to side.
“I like it here. I like what I'm doing. I go back for holidays, but I may never truly go back. And I think that scares them. So I wanted to scare them further so that scare outweighed that their daughter is.. grown up. And can make her own decisions.”
“And.. I lost Gregg. I needed to get away.” Lan leans back and puts his phone in his pocket, staying silent for her to continue.
“So if I made it sound crazy, or dangerous to them, it was by design. And I kind of liked it like that.”
After a moment, he finally responds, “I take it you didn't have much of a rebellious streak when you were growing up,” he poses.
That gets a cold laugh out of her, shaking her head. “No. I was nearly valedictorian, if you can believe that. That kind of studious daughter.”
She sighs and looks out at the empty train platforms, the crowd forming on the other side to catch the next scheduled ride. She pulls her phone out of her purse and looks down at it as it prompts her for her lock code or biometrics.
Saya tilts it up and down lazily, thinking on her own time before looking up at Lan. “Alright. Let's do it.” She unlocks her phone and selects to contacts, herself and her home phone number, holding her phone up vertically towards him – waiting for Lan to do the same for NFC transfer.
“They should still be awake. Be my guest,” she says.


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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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