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  “You.. look.. n-nice.” She gets out, which makes him raise a brow at her.
  
“Got a thing for suits, Miss Travis? Maybe we shouldn't go tonight, considering my father and Reo's normal getups,” he teases, smiling. “See, I can look good when I am,” he glances briefly back at the trash can with the box in it. “..forced to.”
  
He pulls on the lapels of his jacket, shaking his watch out from his shirt cuff to glance at it. They had time, plus he would only be on time for Saya's sake, he didn't really care if they went at all.
  
But to the matter at hand, he points to the chair. “I don't have to stay in the room, I can stand outside, if that would make you more comfortable.”
  
Saya shakes her head, walking over to her carry-on and picking out what she needed for the shower all beforehand. Plus, the idea of leaving Lan in the lobby.. next to the bar.. even though he said he didn't have access to it anymore. Temptation is a strong thing.
  
She looks down at her bag of toiletries, hiding fresh underwear under them and the sundress, turning back to him. “No, it's fine. It seems private enough back there, plus the TV is still a ways away if you wanted to watch that instead.”
  
He nods and holds up his hands. “I promise, no looking, no funny business. Sorry about earlier, I should have used a robe.”
  
Saya chuckles and starts off to the shower. “It was a surprise, but I'm not so reserved as that.” Though color does return to her cheeks as she remembers it, setting her clothes on a rack outside but within arm's reach, taking the bag in with her.

--

  Lan watches the door close, pulling the rolling chair back to the end of the bed, picking up the remote and turning on the TV. He had no intention of watching much as it flips to the afternoon news, using it more for background noise, even as he hears the shower turn on.
  
Lan really wasn't looking forward to tonight. He had hoped they could have a quiet dinner, part, and then tomorrow go back home to Ota, but what Aiko wants, Aiko gets. And he would have been able to drink, in secret, at home. Nakashima nor the lobby were an option now, so he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the bottle of Xanax, shaking it a little as the pills rattle about.
  
He looks around and doesn't see any bottled water, and the glasses on the table weren't much use since he didn't want to go to the sink, it would have to wait. Lan pockets the bottle and takes his phone out instead.
  
Scrolling through his texts, his father was low on the list, one, because they didn't talk much, and two, because he didn't text much. Leaning back in his chair, he rests his chin in his hand, watching the sun start to pull low towards the horizon.
  
His father hadn't changed much when he married Aiko. Loyal to his own mother, Lan immediately didn't like her. And still doesn't. To be fair, his father could have married Mother Theresa and it wouldn't have been okay to Lan.
  
Toshio had become strangely more religious a few years into his marriage with Aiko, which didn't bother Lan that much, whatever works for everyone else. But now it started to bleed into his own life, with his father and Aiko mentioning they would pray for him, pray for guidance.
  
Everyone believed that AA was the solution to everything plaguing Lan. Lan did not. He had a sponsor, a family friend. He had even gone to his sponsor's AA meeting, but found it to be nothing but older people talking about all their fuckups in the past – but never what they did for a solution. He hadn't gone to a meeting since.
  
The program itself, he doubted. It required a lot of.. faith. Letting go of what you cannot control, and placing it in a higher power. Lan wasn't even sure what he believed in that before he started drinking, and after both last and this year, his faith wasn't exactly.. firm.
  
He puts his phone in his inside breast pocket, glancing over at the talking head, speaking to the camera through a teleprompter, upcoming elections, weather, happenings around Hiroshima.
  
Lan had been to rehab once. And he hadn't lied to Saya about his family wanting to send him away again. He panicked and ran a week in. Everyone was disappointed. None would come to his aid, to even pick him up. He had had enough on his ICC to get halfway back to Ota, the rest he had to go by bus.
  
Briefly the woman's face, Rachel, crosses his mind. Lan wonders where she is now, if she's better. If she's better than she was. If she's better than he was. He wished he had at least learned her last name, or contact information.
  
Reaching up and rubbing his eyes with his thumb and forefinger, he could feel the tremors start to come back, but the shower was still running. Left to his own thoughts, they always strayed into terrible places.

--

  Saya, meanwhile, was glad Lan had his back turned, and that she was short. Shower caps on anyone looked utterly ridiculous, and she was no exception.
  
As she rinses herself off, shoulders-down, she thinks of what's next. Lan's family ranged from welcoming to abrasive, in three steps. His father, Reo, and Aiko. Reo seemed like a delicate balance.
  
And Lan was.. well.. she presses her hand against the frosted glass and leans up on his tiptoes. He seems to be watching the news.
  
What Lan was was a mystery. She had even used it against him earlier today in her tirade. Being damaged keeps you interesting, she had hissed. Saya sighs and turns her back towards the running water, regretting that whole argument.
  
The faucet squeaks a bit as she turns it off, leaving herself dripping as she pulls the towel off the rack across from her, patting herself dry. Saya carefully pulls the cap off her hair, shaking it out as she dries off.
  
As she puts her deodorant back into her bag, she wipes the mirror with the towel, sitting on the stool and rummaging for her makeup. What would she be doing now had he not offered this trip? Was this even a vacation? Everyone regarded her as a neighbor, but also a shield. And she was okay with that – at first.
  
Saya pauses in putting her foundation on as she looks at herself, that voice coming back, but not in the teasing way before. What's after this? She asks herself, You're acquaintances, barely friends, his family is a tangled web, and he is a disaster. Her hands drop to her lap as she searches her own eyes, not sure of the answer.
  
Continuing her routine, the other, optimistic voice didn't chime in, even if it wanted to point out how she hadn't thought about Gregg for more than a passing memory so far.

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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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