Monday, November 25, 2013

3. A History Lesson

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.

Monday, November 18, 2013

2. Katane-ney and Allen have a chat with lots and lots of tissues!

     Allen Walker Monotome, currently soaking in water; sloshed up the dust infested stairs. The noise of her dripping trousers flipping aggravated Allen her even more. Leaving a trail of puddles behind, she opened the green burgundy colored door. She entered the 16th floor of Monotome and Daughters.

    “Ugh, . . . can I help you?” The front desk attendant asked giving a nervous look at Allen.  

    Clenching her fists, Allene imagined constantly punching Isamu Takahashi in the face. “It’s me Maria,” she grumbled gruffly.

    The attended gasped, standing up, she leaned forward from behind the desk to confirm what she was hearing. “Allen! what happ-”

    Raising a hand, Allen sent water flying all over the table with the gesture, signaling Maria to stop, “You don’t want to know.”
    “Eh?” Mario was confused but she smiled as she straightened her posture. “Well, how can I help you ma'am?”  
    Eyebrows twitching, Allen pointed towards the door on Maria’s left. “I’d like to have a word with my sister.”
    “Ahhh,” Maria hesitated as she looked at Allen. She looked like she was going to say something, but then changed her mind. “Ms. Katane is busy at the moment-”
    “I don’t care how busy she is!” Allen growled.
    Maria nodded, coughing into her hand nervously. “Yes,...Um let me just call her and ask if she ... wouldn’t mind sparing a ...few minutes.”
    Allen nodded, keeping her eyes focused on Maria as she sat down and dialed her sister.
    “Um, sorry to disturb you . . .  yes, I know you're busy,” Maria shot Allen a quick look. “Um,...but I have Ms. Allen here... Ugh, yes. I did tell her...But she’d saying she has to see you right now.” Maria listened quietly to what her employer said, shooting anxious looks at Allen. “Ugh, yes. I’ll send her in immediately.”
    “Well?” Allen asked straining for patience.  
    “She’ll see you now,” Mari said. “Um, Ms. Allen?”
    “What?” Allen asked, straining for patience, and stopping herself from storming into her sisters cabinet.
    Maria hesitated, “Um, would you like some clothes to be brought up, . . .  while you’re inside . . .”
    Sighing, Allen nodded. “Thank you,” she said gratefully.
    “No problem,” Maria said, picking up her phone she watched as Allen entered the adjoining room.

    “Exactly what do I owe the pleasure of this sudden visit?” Katane Monotome asked concentrating on the paper in front of her. Absently crossing out a line, she need to have Maria fix that.
    Steaming, Allen pointed at Katane accusingly, “Your stupid future brother-in-law is what!”
    “What?” surprised Katane looked up from the paper and blinked. Several times. “You do know you’re wet, right?”
    “Yes, I know!” Allen growled kicking one of the nearby apple red leather couch. Instantly regretting it, she grabbed her foot. “Ouch, Ough!” Exhausted, she sat down onto the the fancy carpet. Leaning her forehead against the cofa, “I really hate this! I really, really hate this!” Allen said slowly.
    Katane gave her sister a through look. Sighing, she stood up and walked over to her little sister. Patting her head reassuringly, she crouched.“It’s ok. Everything will be ok. Tell me what’s wrong?”
    Allen looked away, a single tear leaking as she clutched her eyes shut. “ I . . .,” she slowed as her breath caught. “I... I wish dad was here...”
    “Me too,” Katane whispered., taking one of Allen’s hands. “We all do. We have to be strong for him, ok?”
    Allen nodded, and slowly pushed away from the couch and into Katane’s opened arms. “I just miss him soo much,” Allen whispered letting the tears flow. “So, so much.”
    “I know,” Katane said, letting her own grief flow, as she clutched Allen to her. “We’ll get through this.”
    Allen nodded.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

1. A beginning, an end, and something right down the middle


Her chin gloved between her hands, and elbows propped up on the rusty picnic table; Allen walker sighed. It was the annual family get together; usually she enjoyed spending time with her family, yet today she just didn't feel the same. There were too many changes. Her oldest sister Katane wouldn't be showing up until later, and her father never would. The monthly picnic tradition had been started by her father; before Allen had been born. It was the one day in the month when being home was mandatory. It had always been a backyard picnic that would last for hours and mostly the whole day. One of the reasons her father had been very particular about the event was, that often it was the only time her sisters would get the time to sit down and eat normally. In the last couple months they had been coming over to the Takahashi family house for the annual picnic. The Takahashi’s were Katane’s in-laws- to-be. Hiyoshi Takahashi, the second son of the family, was Katane’s finance. Their father had commented that the engagement was like a joining of two families. Now almost a year later Allen felt as close to the Takahashi’s as much as her sisters. Grinning, Allen remembered the day she met Hiyo-nee’s family for the first time; they'd hit it off with a boom. Well, . . . with some of them anyway.
    Allen’s face clouded as she thought of him! The youngest Takahashi son, Isamu, seemed to hate Allen at first glance, and was always looking down at her. In the beginning she’d tried to be nice and break the ice. Later on, she realized, the guy was just a jerk and had decided on hating his guts for life.
    “Allen-chan!” Hiyoshi-nee shouted waving a spatula in the air. “Come over here. We’re going to start the barbecue soon!”
    Smiling, Allen pushed away from the bench. Walking a big berth around the water fight going between her adult sisters, Isamu and his little sister, Orihime. “Are you going to be cooking, Hiyo-nee?” She asked, squinting, using  her arm to shade herself from the beaming sun.
    “A barbecue isn't considered cooking,” Hiyo-nee replied making a goofy facial expression.  
    “It is, if you want it to be edible, idiot!” Akira-nee, the first Takahashi son, retorted his face twitching.
    Hiyo-ni made a horrified look. “How can you say that, Akira-nee!” Hiyo-nee exclaimed; gesturing wildly with his spatula.
    “Stop that before you injure someone. Idiot!” Akira-nee shouted, his face turning red from impatience.
     Allen burst into giggles at the spectacle before her. Akira and Hiyo-nee froze, their faces relaxing as they watched Allen.
    “You should laugh more, Allen-chan,” Hiyo-nee said winking at her. “You look cute.”

    Allen turned red, and looked away. She was watching her sisters being plumed by water bombs when she noticed a movement to her right. “Aha!” Clapping her hands together, Allen’s eyes shined like twinkling stars  “Taiga-kun!”