Exhaling a sigh, Katane bit down on her cold instant meat bun. She always got hungry after an intense board meeting; especially when it went good. The board had accepted her proposal to increase their funding in the youth programs and to advance another construction project. The meeting had left her on cloud seven and a powerful urge to jump up and down. Chuckling, she reminded herself that this move would incur more attention, more meetings, and even more paper work. But, like her father said, you had to keep your eyes on what was relevant.
Walking into her own office, Katane glanced over to Allen snuggled onto her couch. Similarly, she realized, that sometimes somethings were more important than others. Katane glanced down at her wristwatch. Good, she had just enough time to reach home for dinner. Ducking her head out the door way, Katane shouted for Maria to pack for the day. She was heading home.
“Come on, sweetheart. You can finish your nap in just a minute” Katane said as she guided Allen into the front seat of the car.
“I’m tired,” Allen whispered as she fought a yawn; horribly.
“I know,” Katane said, bending to adjust the blanket covering Allen. “Get your rest. You’ve had a long day.”
“Thank you, ane.”
Katane smiled and straightened. She wondered if her father was looking down on her right now; wearing that big grin of his. She smiled, and walked over to get into the driver’s seat. Just the thought of her father was enough to bring a smile to her face. Ichiro Monotome was a full blooded Japanese, completely immersed in the art of life, and the joy the world had to give. The man had been a bombshell in the business world, taking impossible ventures and turning them into something amazing. Some of his bizarre behavior could be credited to having two parents who were crazy enough to encourage him as a child.
Ichiro came from a financially big family with great influence in Tokyo. With a feudal background, the family had some history in the tempering of business. Ichiro changed all that, as a child his parents gave him the best education and tutoring money could buy. He didn't really enter the business the world until in his mid thirties when a friend asked him to invest in a gallery abroad. By the age of forty Ichiro had already raised the building foundation that would be later called the Monotome Empire. A center for the enjoyment and showing of all different types of art.
Ichiro didn’t take risks just with money, but also with his personal life. Ichiro had many friendships and relationships with people whose background could be questioned. Taking absurd chance, many people expected him to never really settle down. Or more like no one would be sensible to take him. He surprised everyone by marrying a normal girl from Osako, named Kumiko Hasegawa, at the behest of his parents. Both of them hadn’t seen each other once before their wedding. Although it soon became apparent how perfect they were for each other.
Over the year the couple found out that they would never have children. Ichiro, at a sudden moment of inspiration, adopted a pair of twins the age of four on one of his business trips and brought them home as a anniversary present to his wife. The girl’s were named Hanaka and Torori. They were a happy family until Kumiko was diagnosed with cancer five years later and died within a couple of weeks. This left a huge emptiness in the family. Ichiro now had a two little girls as well as himself to take care of now.
His parents offered to raise the girls. Some friends and relatives even suggested he return the girls. Ichiro wouldn't hear any of it. The girl were his daughters and they would stay together, like a family should. In a matter of weeks Ichiro hired a housekeeper, something his wife hadn't allowed before, and a caretaker for the girls when he couldn't be with them. He dropped his daughter off at school, attended their school conferences; resuming many of his wife's previous responsibilities. A year later Ichiro adopted another girl who was of fourteen years of age. That girl had been Katane.
People said that Ichiro had finally gone crazy. Six months later Ichiro adopted another girl at the age of 7, named Suzuki. This caused a big ripple among the family but no one persisted in trying to talk sense into Ichiro. Things went back to normal. Until three years later when Ichiro adopted a baby just a couple of week old. This baby was Allen walker. This time no one bothered saying anything. They had already expected that Ichiro Monotome, while being a genius in his own right, had officially gone crazy. These were Ichiro Monotome’s daughters. All loved Ichiro immensely, he was the center of their lives as much as they were his.
It was during the re-opening of the Montome Enterprise, when ME would be officially renamed to Montome and Daughters Enterprise. Katane had just received her Business MD and was going to join her father in the business. It was a day of new beginnings. A day to be celebrated. The universe had something else to say.
During the re-opening Ichiro lost conscious and was taken to the hospital. The family learned that Ichiro was diagnosed with the same cancer as his wife. The family was shattered, but there was still hope at that time. The doctors said it was still in the early stages and if treated on time there was a chance. Well, Ichiro was all up for chances. The family fought four years with the impending doom, and it seemed that the end was near. It was just a month later after Katane’s engagement when Ichiro died of Cardiac Arrest. Ichiro Monotme had died just like he lived, unexpectedly.
It was devastating for the girls. If Ichiro had died of cancer they would at least pretend to have understood, but cardiac arrest? In that time Hiyoshi had been inseparable from Katane and the girls. Always there to lend a shoulder or a tissue.
A week later after the burial ceremony he’d sat Katane down and told her to get her but into gear and take charge. He told her father wouldn’t want her moaping around like this for him, but to enjoy his memories. For these words, Katane thought if possible she’d fallen in love with the idot all over again. With the help of Hiyoshi and his family Katane had gotten her sisters ordered. Together they’d helped each other through the first few months when they were trying to figure out how things were going to work from then on. Things eventually fell into their places and returned to normal. The girls had gotten over their grief and eventually learned to think of their father and smile.. But still...there were times when they would except to look over and see Ichiro but only he wasn't their. During some of these times Katane tried to fill in, without trying to take Ichiro's place. And other times she didn't even bother.