The Reaction I Always Have

Businesspeople stay at classier places. Vacationing families stay at cleaner places. The homeless looking for a temporary refuge stay at cheaper places. Which leaves really only a couple of reasons for anyone to come to this run-down old motel. That said, it seems appropriate that the little soaps in the bathroom have been reproducing during the night. At least I assume that’s why there’s two more of them than last time I looked.

I don’t like to shower right after he leaves every time, but I can’t have the distraction of his scent hanging around me all day. Construction work isn’t the safest job in the world even when you’re not stopping at random moments to moon over someone who’s by now far off.

Far off in more senses than one, since it isn’t just that he lives in a city half an hour away and only comes to this dumbass little town to see me. There’s a wife and some kids and a normal, upstanding, heterosexual life in there somewhere too. It doesn’t matter that I’m not working today; I don’t need that thought, which his scent always leads to, hovering around me in any case. Too fucking depressing.

I always take a cold shower the morning after. I’ve found it’s just a good idea. And I never use the little soaps, which are creepy for reasons other than that their numbers have doubled since I last looked.

Sometimes — a lot of the time — I think it would have been better if we’d never met. If his car hadn’t gotten a flat that day just in the right spot for me and some of my co-workers to help him out, if I hadn’t caught his eye for whatever reason.

None of the times I think that are when he’s actually here.

You might take me for a gay stereotype if you saw how long I spend washing my hair, but it’s really only in this motel. At home it’s just an in-and-out thing, but here I’ve got a cold, empty room to face once I’m finished; there are some things a guy’s just not strong enough for, embarrassing as that is to think about.

I never know when he’s going to show up; it’ll be some day like every other, and near the end of my shift I’ll look over and see him on the other side of the chain-link rent-a-fence around the construction site… just standing there smoking, waiting for me.

The other guys think he’s my parole officer. In another situation, that might be hilarious.

It’s the weirdest mix of emotions, the reaction I always have to seeing him. First — and, yeah, I’m aware that’s significant — it’s this rush of happiness like he’s my best friend I haven’t seen in years, even though he’s just a fuck-buddy I might have seen a week ago.

Second, of course, there’s the arousal. The first time we slept together, it was some novel one-night stand for me — not every day this kind of bum snags a hot P.I., is it? — and some sort of stress-relief for him — for his purposes, I could have been anyone — but there’s no denying that we turn each other on, and seeing him there by the fence where he wasn’t the last time I looked is a jolt like nothing else.

Next it’s this intense irritation, because it also brings up every last bit of confusion and guilt I feel each time I think about him and this situation — not to mention he’s always got on this aloof expression like he’s better than everything he’s looking at, or this self-satisfied smirk that’s just annoying.

And then, after that… well, did I mention confusion and guilt?

It’s confusing because when I get off work, we spend the rest of the day together. I don’t remember when that started or even really why; we used to just head straight for the motel, because it’s not like we get along all that well outside it. But now we sit around at some stupid restaurant talking about what happened that day and that week and what’s going on at work — his is always way more interesting than mine — and whatever else might come up… sometimes it seems like we’re not talking about anything at all, and we argue over most of it anyway, but we’re always saying something.

The guilt’s a little more complicated. He doesn’t love his wife, and things never go smoothly at home; I don’t think they have for a while. He doesn’t talk about his family much, but when he does I get the point: they’re only still together for the sake of the kids. But they are still together. The problem isn’t really on my end, though. I’m too selfish to feel all that bad because I’m ‘the other woman’ or whatever you want to call it, and sometimes I just wish they’d get a fucking divorce already and end all the drama.

No, the problem arises from his unshakable code of moral absolutes: it’s wrong to cheat on your wife; end of story. It’s another thing he doesn’t really mention outright, but as much as I’ve talked to him by now, I can tell. He hates what he’s doing with me, hates or at least is angry at himself for it. But he keeps doing it anyway: purposely taking a route that’ll bring him by this town on every job, even when it’s out of his way; planning slightly longer trips just so he can come here and see me unsuspected… come here and fuck me…

And the next morning I get up and head straight for the shower without looking behind me at the other side of the bed or around me at the room, unwilling to admit yet that it’s painful to wake up alone… that it’s painful to think maybe he leaves so early each time because he can’t stand to look at me and think about what he’s doing wrong. And I try to keep myself from imagining what it would be like if there was no wife waiting at home, no kids that need two parents…

I guess I should be flattered that I seem to be worth breaking the rules so consistently for, but really all I feel is a little sick when I think about it. Because one of these days I know he’s going to tell me this was the last time, and he’ll just be doing what he believes he should have done long ago, doing the right thing — so I won’t be able to argue with that, because it would hurt him if I did. Or, worse, he won’t tell me anything and’ll simply never show up again. And I’ll live out my meaningless life in this boring town glancing over to the fence to see if he’s there, and he won’t be… and I’ll keep telling myself that if I just look one more time, he’ll be there… that he’s just been busy but today’s the day…

All right, yeah, so maybe I love him. God dammit, how the hell did this happen.

Motel wash-rag’s like sandpaper, but at the moment I kinda like it. It’s distracting, and I spend a couple of minutes just scrubbing at random parts of my body watching my skin turn red. I almost wish I could bleed. But I don’t really go in for all that emo shit — my hair won’t comb down over my eyes anyway, even when it’s wet — so I might as well just get out and face the music. Face the empty depressing motel room, I mean.

And, you know, the long shower’s actually made it worse today. Why did I have to fucking realize I love him just now when he’s already gone, when I’ve acknowledged he may never come back? I’m an idiot, that’s why. He calls me that sometimes, and I guess it’s true. Fucking worthless idiot.

“Were you trying to use up all of their hot water?”

These words, the smell of fresh cigarette smoke, and the bafflingly unexpected sight hit me simultaneously as I exit the tiny bathroom, and I find the rough white towel slipping from my suddenly weakened fingers to cover my bare feet on the cool, hard carpet. And I can only stand and stare.

He smiles; it’s the same look as always, but there’s added to it something more personal than I’ve ever been privileged to see before: it’s a much more private, inclusive smirk that, as soon as my utterly stunned brain manages to get control of my motionless body again, draws me inexorably to where he’s lying casually on the bed.

“You’re still here,” I state inanely as I slide across the cheap sheet to his side.

“This is your day off, isn’t it?” He seems to be enjoying my shock, the bastard. “My wife’s not expecting me home until tomorrow morning.”

And somehow, “Why?” is all I can come up with to say.

He raises an eyebrow. “Didn’t I tell you yesterday? My case took an entire day less than I’d expected.”

Is that statement entirely honest? Or is it his way of saying he planned ahead to spend the day with me? I don’t have the nerve to ask. I can’t yet bring myself to tell him what I’ve realized, because what if that’s the catalyst for him to end it? I don’t think I could bear to tell him and then have him walk away forever.

I shift into a better position for a long, slow kiss, and he reaches blindly for the ash tray on the bedside table before slipping his arms around me. The hot, ecstatic feeling of having him here, still here, here with me, ready to spend the day with me, perhaps even by prearrangement, leaves little space for other thought: for the moment I’m so full of joy I can’t help thinking that someday he’ll get things worked out on his end, we’ll get rid of the fence, and he’ll be mine for real; we’ll make this room and this motel and this town and this two-edged situation just an ambivalent memory.

This story, which I’ve rated , was for 30_kisses theme #25 “Fence.”

This story is included in the Saitou & Sano Collection ebook (.zip file contains .pdf, .mobi, and .epub formats).


  1. arrankaara

    … *sigh* Oh dear… you write some of the best SaiSa around, especially the AU ones. ♥ I love the internal conflicts Sano is facing, about the whole being selfish and Saitou’s code of morale and goshdarnit, I just love this!

    More soon, hopefully?

    • momentsdrift

      Thanks!! ^__^ I’m glad you liked it. I think I write too many AU’s, but I’m glad somebody appreciates them :D

      THERE WILL ALWAYS BE MORE. How soon it will be, though, is anyone’s guess.

  2. lovingyouin1963

    Much ♥ Good SaiSa to start my day at work…

    The parole officer and emo lines through me into giggles!!!

      • momentsdrift

        For some reason, I am desperately amused by the parole officer line. I laughed so hard when I thought of it.

        Anyway, glad you liked it :D

    • momentsdrift

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you liked it. And you know I’m into happy endings, so, yeah, if you prefer the angst, you probably don’t want to know what I envision for the rest of their lives :D

  3. plaidshirtjimkirk

    tl;dr: I loved this. Good job. lol

    Long version:

    How the hell do you write so well all the time? lol Explain, Saisa-senpai! Like, before I start saying what I love about this piece, I feel like I gotta be real for a second. Straight-posing!Saito (especially with kids) is something that makes me go “nope nope nope” and back out fast as hell. I get that there’s historical reasoning behind it, arranged marriages and the like, and that it could even make sense. But the idea just feels so wrong to me, entirely thanks to self-projection from my own experiences (that’s yet another story for another time). HOWEVER, despite my very strong feelings on this subject, I couldn’t stop reading and finished not a bit disappointed. So that’s why the first thing I started this review with was how the hell did you do that? lol

    My heart BREAKS for Sano here. I mean, I feel awful for Saito, too, being trapped in a marriage that’s suffocating him just because “the kids” (*cue extreme eye rolling here*). But poor Sano, man. I can really put myself in his shoes because I was, unfortunately, in a similar kind of situation at one point. Like the whole thing where you love someone so much, but it could already be over as you realize it, because they have attachments and other bullshit on their end. Yeah. That’s a really, really difficult thing to swallow, especially when you feel like it’s only serious on your side.

    Which is why it was so amazing for Sano to leave the shower with all these awful thoughts and find Saito waiting for him. Idk, this whole thing just really spoke novels to me. I hope Saito winds up doing what Sano hoped for…getting the divorce and just winding up with the person who he should be with. Even if the whole moral compass/conviction thing stands in the way, as Sano pointed out, I still have to ask what’s worse for children? Not having two parents living together, or living in an awful home situation because the parents hate each other? In any case, Saito already has one foot out of that morality boat by repeatedly seeing Sano, so maybe he can be convinced to just take the full step in the right direction.

    Anyway, lemme stop writing an essay here? This was great. I LOVED Sano’s POV and I applaud you for making a trope I hate into something I could appreciate, actually enjoy, and relate to. Wow. <3333 Thank you!!

    • kuroiyousei

      To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t be likely to write a story like this now. I dislike the “heterosexual partner is hurt by the coming out of the gay partner” angle very much; I find it too depressingly real. And it makes me uncomfortable to think of Saitou cheating on his wife. It’s got shades of that Saitou whose moral code doesn’t necessarily extend to social interactions that I used to write and rather dislike these days. But this story was ten years ago, and I was different back then.

      Also! In Saitou’s defense! We don’t actually know how accurate Sano’s assessment of his situation is. He mentions that they have long conversatiosn now, but has Saitou actually laid all of this information out, or is Sano just putting things together and extrapolating? Saitou’s situation may be different (possibly better) than Sano thinks it is — maybe he and Tokio (or whoever his wife is in this context) have agreed to see other people quietly or something — and Sano’s fears about the morality of what they’re doing and when Saitou may leave him could be groundless. Despite having written this story, I don’t really know XD

      Despite all of this, I do kindof enjoy this story, at least in part, and I’m glad you were able to as well. Thanks for reading!


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