Saya and Lan both look up at the floor count, habitual elevator responses, his hands in his pockets. “Listen, I don't.. know if I've said as much, but I really appreciate you coming.”
She looks at him in the mirrored finish of the doors, then turns to look at him proper. “I chose--”
“--chose to be here, I know.” Lan nods, stepping back and resting his shoulders back against the wall of the elevator. “But it's a nicer way of describing bribery.”
Saya's vision follows him, crossing her arms and studying his face, confused. “Bribery? In what way?”
“Be honest with me,” he looks at her finally, “Had I offered the invite, but not paid for the trip, would you be here?”
She opens her mouth to reply, but pauses, closing it and reworking her response. “I'm going.. to not say anything until you think about what you just said and how it could be insulting.”
Lan wasn't quite expecting that, standing up straight and replaying his statement, trying to find the offense. Still, his mouth moves before his brain catches up. “OH. Oh. 'cos it makes you sound like a--”
His brain caught up in time to cut that off, but it did pique Saya's interest as to where that one would lead. “No, that.. I mean..” he stutters in response, closing his mouth and taking a breath.
“Knowing what you do now, would you have said yes to my invitation?” His eyebrows raise, hopeful that that wasn't as insulting – or insulting at all. To his relief, she relaxes, turning to look at the floor count again.
“A family's a family, no matter where you are, Lan.” A soft bing announces their arrival at her floor, the doors sliding open slowly. She starts out of the elevator, Lan following. “The day we had tea back home gave me an idea of how you interacted with Reo and the rest.”
She waits and starts walking down the hall with him. “Today was fun. Even tonight's dinner was fantastic. Not my usual choice, but like you said, she wanted to show off.” Saya shrugs, looking down at the looping patter in the carpet.
“And it's..” she turns and looks at her inner wrist, at her watch, “Eight at night, and you seem.. stable,” looking over at his posture for signs of withdrawals.
“But I'm guessing a lot of that is the Xanax,” she looks up at him, Lan looking away when she nails it right on.
The two of them slow and stop in front of her door. Saya pops open her purse and rummages a bit for the keycard. She raises it out with two fingers, clasping her purse closed, turning to him.
“The answer is yes, I would still take you up on the offer, knowing what I know now. You're difficult, Lan, you're not impossible. And just because your family is rich and you think yourself a disaster, that doesn't mean I'm not strong enough to hold my own.”
“I didn't—” he starts to reply, but stops when she holds up a hand. Instead, she turns it and crooks a finger down at him, pointing slightly at her ear.
Lan's brow creases a bit in worry, but bends down at the waist to her height.
“Remember what you said before we came back on the ferry.” She looks at him out of the corner of her eye, before turning to him and placing a gentle kiss against his temple.
“Thank you for today, it was fun.” Saya says as Lan jerks back, standing up straight, going red from cheek to cheek, stiff as a board.
The door makes a beep and a clank, Saya pushes her way into her room and turns around, smiling slightly at the state of her companion before laughingly shaking her head. “Talk to you tomorrow, Lan. Goodnight.”
It takes him a moment but he does reply before the door shuts, “G.. good ni--” it closes in front of him, cutting him off, finishing anyway.
Lan stares at the number on her door as he rocks back on his heels, hands still in his pockets as goosebumps radiate out from where she kissed him, his whole skin prickling up. How long had it been since someone did that to him?
It seemed so simple, but when you haven't experienced it in a while.. it had as much effect as a punch in the gut.
Still on his heels, they turn, spinning in place as he starts down the hallway, back towards the elevators. What ensues is a headache inducing argument with himself as to what that meant, leading him simply to a conclusion it was between friends, and Saya being English – like his mother – that was nothing out of the ordinary.
Still, he grumbles, you don't do that here. Anyone else would have ducked out of it.. the elevator doors open and he steps in, thumbing the button for the lobby, starting to pace around in a circle, stopping in front of the mirrored doors.
Stop overthinking. Go home. Drink. Sleep. His mind commanded, wanting to stick to the routine. And it usually won.
He stares quietly at the dark separation splitting his mirror image in the doors, tilting his head as one side seemed to tilt higher than the other, a dichotomy.
“You're not wrong,” he says aloud to the image, which disappears as the doors part once he reaches the ground floor.
Stepping out of the elevator, he looks towards the entrance where, thankfully, his cab is still waiting. Then towards the ceiling, as if he could see the fourteenth floor, and Saya's room, and what happened outside of it just a moment ago.
Lan presses the palm of his hand against his forehead, shutting his eyes and shaking his head at just how up and down his mind can be. Excited, to questioning, to remembering, to thinking the worst. It was exhausting.
The alcohol didn't help.
The drugs didn't help.
Talking didn't help.
Taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly, he starts towards the hotel lobby, and the cab beyond, back to that nest of memories for one more night.
- 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.