(Has nothing to do with the story but I just couldn't help posting this!)
A couple weeks later
“Aunt Mariko,....do I really have to be here?” Allen asked pulling the short sleeves of her too-sparkly gown. “It’s cold!”
“Oh, don’t be silly!” Aunt Mariko hushed. “And yes, you have to be here. It’s the annual celebration of the Montome and Daughters, US branch.”
“But you're the one in charge,” Allen persisted.
“Yes, and you're still going.”
Allen frowned and muttered something about monkeys in jumpsuits under her breath.
Mariko smiled, “All you have to do is look pretty and smile. I’m sure you can manage that, right?”
Allen growled monstrously, “Like this?”
Mariko snickered, “Yes, if you want someone to call the pest control.”
Mariko grabbed her arms, “Let’s go.”
“...is sorry she won’t be able to make it...”
Allen grinned at the figure, the one that seemed to be completely identical to her aunt, give the speech. She seemed so different from the wacko-but-sweet aunt she was at home. It was crazy. But admirable. If she had to give a speech in front of an auditorium full of people, she’d puke.
“It’s all in the blood.” Her father used to say. “And so is it in you.” At that time she hadn’t understood what her father meant, she still didn’t. It wasn’t exactly a secret that she and her sisters were adopted, but then blood...
“Thank you everyone for all your hard work, and now we have snacks, and entertainment for you guys in the gallery connected to this one. Please enjoy yourself.”
Allen stood up and made for her aunt but she had to stop multiple times to shake hands and get hugs from people heading out.
“Oba-san!” Allen hissed as she caught sight of her Aunt’s green dress. Someone’s shoulder obscured her view, she pushed through and found herself the center of attention between her Aunt and a few of her colleagues.
“Allen, where have you been?” Aunt Mariko asked, coming to stand by her.
“Oba-san I was looking for you,” Allen replied softly.
“Well, you found me,” She hugged Allen close to her side and faced her towards the crowd around her. Is that- “Allen meet my friends.”
Allen nodded politely, smiled, and shook hands with each person introduced. In the corner of her eyes she saw Ethane standing with a woman. Probably an employe, she guessed. The fact he might work for her aunt didn’t even strike her.
“Allen this is Abby Jameson, she works in the finance sector of the company.”
“Hello,” Allen smiled, trying to ignore gaping at Ethan besides the tall and bronze women. Her hands were itching to know why he was here. Thankfully, Aunt Mariko decided to put her out of her misery.
“Abby, is this your husband?
Abby laughed, “Ms. Hasegawa, you know this isn’t Aidan. You’ve seen his pictures too many time to not know.”
“Of course, I don’t. For all I know you’re not even married. You never brought that husband of yours for a proper introduction.”
“Well, I can definitely put your suspicions to rest,” Ethane interrupted. “Since my sister-in-law is rude enough to not introduce me, I’ll do it myself. Ethane Crowley, ma’am.”
“Sister-in-law, hugh?” Aunt Mariko considered and decided she liked the boy. “Well, that’s just fine and well. And this is my niece, Allen Monotome.”
“Hi, Ethane,” Allen waved at him instead of shaking his hand.
Ethane grinned back, “Hello, Allen.” And then, as if an after thought, he teased, “Nice stand up routine.”
Allen rolled her eyes. Her cheeks burning pink. They had been late, and while Auny Mariko had rushed backstage, Allen had to stumble around the auditorium looking for her seat. “I’d like to see you do better.”
Aunt Mariko hummed, “Do you know each other?”
“We often see each other at Beverly and Greington’s Ski resort,” Ethan explained.
“Oh, wow. That’s awesome,” Abby turned to her. “You ski?”
Allen shook her head, “Snowboarding, Ma’am.”
“That’s so cool.”
“I don’t think so,” Aunt Mariko disapproved. “It’s scary. But will this girl listen?”
“I don’t know,” Abby replied. “I think it’s amazing that today’s generation can do what we never had the courage to do.”
“Your 24.” Mariko pointed out.
Abby shrugged. She looked wistfully at Allen before turning away, “Sometime I don’t feel it...”
“Enough of this sad talk, today’s for celebration.” Mariko turned towards Ethane. “So what do you do young man?”
“I work for the Rudens and Shermans Co. as an architect.”
“Is that so, and is snowboarding a hobby?”
“Your brother couldn’t make it, hugh?” Allen asked in the back of the ball room. Ethan, so he could avoid having to dance, and Allen because she had nothing better to do. All the guests were employes and most of their escorts were either their own age or older. You could see where Allen’s night was going.
“Yea,” Ethan shrugged. “The man’s got to do what he’s got to do.”
Allen narrowed her eyes, “What did he pay you?”
Ethan grinned, “I have no idea what you're talking about.”
“What about you?” Ethan asked, changing the subject. “I thought your last name was Walker?”
Allen shrugged, “It’s my middle name. Dad...he loved the fact how people would get confused or flustered when he introduced one of his daughters to them. He always introduces me as Allen Walker, and...I caught onto the habit.”
Ethan nodded understandingly, “My father used to tow me around and tell people I was his browny.”
Browny? Allen looked up at Ethane. “That’s not funny.”
“Yes, it is!” Ethane argued.
Allen shook her head, but couldn’t help giggling. “Your horrible.”
They stood silently. “Did you do it?”
Allen faked nonchalance. “Do what?”
Ethan rolled his eyes. “You're never going to move over the guy!”
“It’s not like that....”
“Then what is it like?”
“It’s not-” Allen looked to her left. Ethane had walked over to one of the waiters and was asking him something.
“Come on,” he pushed, literally and figuratively, towards the door.
“What!” Allen fumbled in embarrassment. “Stop that!”
Huffing, Allen relented and followed Ethan out the ball room. “Where are we going?”
“Into the kitchen.”
Allen pulled him to a stop in the empty hall. “Why?”
“They’ve got a computer in the back.”
“No,” Allen objected, steel in her voice. “I don’t want to.”
“If you don’t you're going to live a horrible life. You’ll be pricked by this every second of your life. You will be old and think to yourself, ‘Why, why didn’t I listen to Ethan!’ You’ll regret it. You’ll be sour and sad and you’ll wish you’d listened to me!” Ethane stated with a dark doom highlighting each word.
“You're being dramatic.”
In the end, Allen followed Ethane to the kitchen. Not because she believed Ethan but because she new nothign was going to come out of this. She seriously doubted Taig-kun had a facebook or twitter. Well, if he does, he never told me...
“Alright,” Ethane rubbed his hands as they crammed into the little room in the back. He pushed Allen into the only chair and started to boot up the PC. “Would you like to do the honors?”
“Hardy, Har, Har,” Ethan pretended to be amused. “Ok, the monitors running.”
Allen double clicked the chrome icon and typed in: Taiga Hayami.
“Nothing,” Allen pointed to the screen to matter-factly. “There, are we done?”
Ethane rolled his eyes, “No. Are you serious you don’t have his username for anything? Not even facebook?”
“No!” Allen exclaimed.
“Fine.” Ethane crouched down besides her. “Does he have a brother?”
“Then type in his name.”
Rather than argue, Allen typed in: Yukio Hayami. She clicked on one face book link, and gaped in horror.
“Ugh...any possibility he like My Little Pony?”
Allen shook her head and then guaffed. Ethan’s eyes twitched.
“Do you want me to type in my uncle’s name as well?” Allen joked when she’d calmed down enough.
“Uncle?’ Ethane blinked. “You mean he’s not your-”
“BF?” Allen shook her head and typed in: Hiroshi Mayami. “I told you it wasn’t like that. Taiga-Kun is my cousin.”
Ok, way off the line, Ethane mentally punched himself. “Hey, click on that,” Ethan pointed at a picture of a middled aged man. Most of the google results were in Japanese so he had no idea what they said. “Is that him?”
Allen didn’t reply. Ethane turned his head to see her frowning as she concentrated on the words on the screen. “Allen?”
Allen jumped, “Ugh, sorry. Could I have a couple more minutes on the computer?”
Allen waved him off, she didn’t look like she’d heard him. “You go on upstairs. I’ll catch up.”
Back to the present.
Torori waved her fingers at Allen. “Allen? Where’d you go girl?”
Allen snapped out of her memories. When Torori mentioned their uncle...it had just brought on a slough of memories she’d have rather wished left alone. “Oh, ugh, sorry One-san.”
Torori let out a relieved breath.
Suddenly noticing the ragged state of her sister, guilt pierced her heart, Allen gave a shaky smile. “Sorry...”
“What’s with you apologizing all of a sudden?”
“Ugh...sorry....I mean It’s nothing.”
Torori shook her head, “Whatever. Now, Uncle Mayami?”
“What about him?”
Torori straightened in her chair, and zeroed her eyes directly on Allen’s face. Scrutinizing each and every detail with the utmost attention. “Bullshit.”
Allen gaped. “One-...”
Eyes flashing, Torori raised her hand. “Enough.” When Allen didn’t interrupt she put the hand down. “And listen carefully. When you first ran away, my first thought was finding you and dragging you home.”
Allen’s face flushed crimson red.
“That’s still my priority, and the only reason I haven’t done so... is because for some reason I think you might just deserve some say in all this camel mucus? Alright? So stop with the bullshit, because I won’t take any.”
Torori paused, letting her words sink in. “Understood?”
Allen nodded. “Hai.”
“Good, now with our dear uncle?”
“I know he’s suing Katane One-San. I know it’s bad. He seems to know thing....”Allen stopped, her voice had started to break. She took a deep breath. And then another one. “Confidential things. About the company, the family, and Katane-One. He’s using this information to turn every move against One-san. These things, only an insider would have know them. Maria, Hanka One-San, you...and me.”
Not exactly surprised at what she was hearing, Torori let out an exasperated breath. “Awesome. Go pack your bags.”
Allen sighed, “No.”
“It wasn’t a suggestion,” Torori replied, heading for her travel bags. “We’re leaving tonight, and if I have to drag you home, I will.”
“No,” Allen stood her ground, although, it was a pretty shaky one. “No.”
“Why not?” Torori asked frustrated. “Since you know the situation One-Chan is in, why are you making it more difficult?”
Allen shook her head, had her sister been even listening? “...believe what you want.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Allen ignored her and headed towards the closet where she’d stashed her bags. “One-Chan I’m not going with you, and no amount of yelling at me is going to change all that. In a couple of days I’ll head to Aunt Mariko’s. Until then you can decide what to do.”
Torori growned, any patients she’d summed up was waning fast, and if that little brat didn’t stop being an arse she was going to be regretting it bloody soon. Shit. She needed a smoke. “You going somewhere?”
Allen mused over her slim options of clothing. “Yup, an art exhibition with friends.”
Before Torori could scream at her sister over her noncholance attitude, her cell phone rang. Heading out into the hall she flipped it open. “Yea?”
“So how’s it going?”
“Horrible, the brat says she won’t come back.”
“Yea?” Neither of them sounded surprised.
“Yea, and your right. She know everything. Apparently the states wasn’t far enough to keep her away.”
“You sound stressed,” Suzuki commented, amused. “I bet she’s giving you a headache.”
Torori rubbed her face in a similar action to Allen, “This whole situation is giving me a headache.”
“Yea, I know0 what you mean.”
“So, how’s it on your side?”
“Likewise,” Suzuki replied. “I’m sorry but... “
“What is ti?” Torori asked warily. 18 hours and already things were taking a turn for the bad.
“I don’t know how long I can keep this quite, If anything leaks about you and Allen leaving, it’ll be hell. And we really can’t lose the next session in court.”
“Yea, I get it....but we can’t leave the brat alone either.” Torori looked back at the closed door, she scratched her forehead, hoping it’ll ease some of the pressure accumulating there. “I wanna keep her away from this.” (Damnit! She shouldn’t have to deal with this!)
“But it’s not happening, isn’t it?”
Suzuki grumbled on the other side, “I don’t know.....maybe, but let’s just get her back here first. We can’t afford to waste time overthinking things, One-San.”
“I know, I know.....just hold out a little while more, please.”
“Torori One-San, this is my friend Casey,” Allen stood by casey as Torori shook her friends hands. “Casey this is my older sister.”
“Nice to meet you,” Torori paused as she gave Casey a look over. Taking in her wardrobe, her piercings, and the quality of her accessories.
Allen paled. RUDEE ONE-SAN!!
“I hope my sister hasn’t been much of a pain.”
“Ugh...,” Casey chuckled nervously. “Um..no. She’s super sweet.”
Allen gasped and pinched her sister. “One-San!”
This time Torori chuckled and draped her around Allen’s shoulders. “Alright, calm down. I was just teasing.” She looked at Casey. “I’m really glad.”
Casey let out a breath, and smiled. “Shall we get going?”
“So who’s the artist again?” Torori paid for her ticket, Allen and Casey already had theirs, into the gallery.
“Well the show is centered around someone named Jeremiah Nanako, but there’s plenty of work by other artists.”
“Nanako?” Allen looked up from her phone. “Is he Japanese?”
Torori shook her head, “No. He’s German, his adopted grandma was originally from Osaka, though.”
“Cool, is he any good?”
Torori tilted her head as she rummaged through her brain for an answer.“Umm, he’s too bland for my taste, but most of his work is picturesque enough that I don’t mind looking at it.”
“Oh, if you say that.....” Allen caught Casey looking at them and hurried to reassure her friend. “Don’t worry, I’m sure he’s great. One-San just has high expectations. Besides aren’t you totally into landscaping and such?”
“Well, that’s not bothering me-.” Casey was cut off as Torori squealed at something on the brochure. “Everything all right, Torori?”
Torori looked up, her eyes blazing with shiny stars, “They have Jimmy-san’s work here!”
“Jimmy?” Casey whispered as torori gushed.
“Jimmy MacKane,” Allen explained. “He’s an american artist and Torori-One is totally crazy about him. Although he’s pretty undiscovered.”
Casey continued forward in the line.
“Allen, what does your sister do?”
“One-San manages an international gymnast team, but she’s pretty good herself.”
“Ugh, really. She really seems to be knowledgeable about the art world.”
Allen looked away, her tongue tucked under her teeths, “Well, that’s more of a hobby than anything else.”
Casey smiled, “Oh, that’s cool. I was worried she might get offended if I asked...”
“Allen, do you mind if we split up?” Torori asked as they entered gallery’s lobby.
Allen shook her head, “No.” And you didn’t even want to come!
“Alright, I’m gonna go check out Jimmy-San’s work. It’s supposed to be on the second floor.”
- Ok so after a long long break....I'm back! I've got even more of a heavy school load this year but I'm cutting back on other stuff so I can do this. I'm completely disgusted by self for not posting anything during the summer. Gomenisai~
P.S - there's a lot of Haruhi in this post isn't there.....
Disclaimer - None of these pictures are mine but the story is all mine. :)