Key Notes:

“Japanese talking”

“+American English talking+”

“/British English talking/”

“#Australian English talking#”

Ando knocked on his sister’s door early on Saturday morning. “Kat!” he called. “Get up! Today’s a special day!”

“Go away!” she yelled from inside.

“But it’s your birthday!” her brother said. “Mom has made a special breakfast for you.”

“Go away!!!” Kat yelled again.

“But Kat,” Ando pleaded. “Everyone’s in the kitchen waiting.”

“F**k off, okay?!?” she screamed. “Is that hard for you to grasp or do I have to spell it out for you?!? F**K OFF!!!” Ando shrugged.

“Fine,” he said, sarcastically. “Sorry for bothering you!” The boy disappeared down the hall. He walked over to the kitchen. His mom and brothers all sat at the table with their empty plates before them. They all looked up when he came back to them.

“Well?” Ichigo, the oldest, asked. Ando shook his head.

“She doesn’t want to get out of bed,” he said. The boys all sighed aloud. Ando lowered his head.

“She did this last year!” Ranji complained.

“I know,” Ando replied.

“I’m hungry,” Katsuya wailed. He turned to their mother. “When do we eat?” he asked. The mother shrugged at them.

“When Kat gets out of bed,” she said. The boys all groaned. His mother lightly clapped her hands together.

“Guys,” she said, patiently. “It’s her birthday; she’ll get up when she’s ready.” The boys sighed aloud once again. Ando sat down at the table and groaned in his arms.

“Every f*****g year she does this!” he mumbled. “Ever f*****g year!”

Subject: Kat

Today was Kat’s birthday. Her thirtieth birthday to be exact. Ando always hated when it was his older sister’s birthday. She practically bitched and moaned the whole day. It would be double time today. In Japan during the old days, thirty was middle age. That was Japan in the old days. Now, it was 2009. Too bad Kat couldn’t seem to grasp that. Their mother didn’t seem to be helping at all. Ando came back the older sister’s door. He knocked on her door again.

“Kat!” he called. “Get up! It’s your birthday!”

“Leave me alone!!!” she screamed. “I want to die in peace!” Ando rolled his eyes. Always the same thing.

“You’re not dying!” he said. “You’re only turning thirty!”

“Don’t rub it in!!!” she screamed. *Sweat drop on Ando’s head*

“That was the old days, you know!” he pointed out. Silence on the other side. Shocker there. The boy shook his head and straightened himself up some.

“Anyway,” he said. “Mom’s having a special dinner for you.”

“I don’t care!” Kat cried. “It might as well be my funeral!” Ando tried to keep himself pleasant beyond this point. “Why does she do this every f*****g year?” he thought.

“I have a present for you,” the boy said.

“What is it?” she asked in a muzzled voice.

“Come out here and see,” Ando told her. A groan came out from the other side of the closed door.

“Fine,” Kat grumbled. Ando smiled as he reached into his trouser pocket for her gift. Works every time! The birthday girl slid open her bedroom door and looked out. Ando held out a slender, flat, black box with a red bow around it in his hand.

“Happy birthday,” he said. Kat looked at him oddly for a moment.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Open it,” he insisted. She still seemed to be expecting a prank of some sort. The woman slowly took the box. She removed the ribbon and opened up her gift. The bright lights caught her eyes.

“Oh wow!” she mouthed. Kat pulled out a diamond and gold charm bracelet from the box. Ando smiled at her.

“Do you think like it?” he asked.

“Yes!” she grasped out. “How did you get this?”

“Oh,” the boy replied. “With a little help.” Kat obviously stopped listening by that point.

“Wow…” she mouthed again. Ando stood around for a moment.

“Anyway,” he said. “Dinner will be ready in fifty minutes. So…”

“Yeah, whatever,” Kat mumbled. Ando shrugged and walked off. Every f*****g year.

Kat stayed in her room until dinner time. She always hated her birthday. Not because of the aging, but because of him. He ruined her life all of those years ago. She couldn’t tell anybody the truth until it was too late. That came on her thirteenth birthday. Now sixteen years later, she would have to do it all again with Ando…

Another knock came at the door. The woman quickly jerked up her head.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Kat sweetheart,” Keiko, her mother, said. “Dinner’s almost ready. I made your favorites tonight.” The younger woman looked nervous for a moment.

“Uh…” she said. “I’ll be down in a little bit.”

“Okay dear,” Keiko said. Kat listened as her mother disappeared down the hall and stairs. The younger woman became unraveled once again. She couldn’t go out there and face those people like this.

“I need a drink!” she said to herself. The woman raced over to her bed and pulled out her secret chest from underneath.

Downstairs, Ando, the rest of the family, Shuichi, Hiro, Fujisaki, Emma, and Casper all sat at the table, waiting. The youngest boy looked up at the stairs above him. He sighed under his breath.

“Just like last year,” he mumbled.

“Ando!” Keiko snapped. “Don’t be like that!”

“But she’s right, Kei,” her father-in-law pointed out. “That girl is always depressed on her birthday.”

“Exactly,” Ando agreed. “She always hides in her room and drinks all day!”

“Well, this year’s going to be different!” the mother declared. Ando snorted at that comment.

“Like every year, right?” he mumbled.

“I heard that!” Keiko hissed. Ando shrugged at her.

“What?!?” he asked. “It’s true!”

“/At least give her the benefit of the doubt for a change,/” Casper cut in.

“Yeah!” Keiko agreed. Suddenly, there was a groan from the stairs. Everyone looked up to see Kat staggering down the stairs to them. She had on a little black dress, her bracelet, and fuzzy black slippers. The poor woman looked like she would fall over at any moment like a marionette on stage. Her guests looked her like they were watching a bloody car wreck.

“Is she… drunk?” Fujisaki asked.

“Yeah,” Ando said, flatly.

“Baby!” Keiko exclaimed as she raced over to her daughter before she could fall down flat on her face on the staircase. The boys of the Inoue family all sighed aloud.

“Just like f*****g year,” Kaoru, the second youngest son, mumbled.

“No,” Katsuya corrected. “Just like every f*****g year!”

“Yeah,” Hikaru, the grandfather, agreed. The boys all sighed as the guests sat in discomfort.

So, dinner went on from there. Kat could barely hold her head up she was so drunk. Probably not a good idea to sit her between Hiro and Shuichi either. But does Keiko ever listen, no! Ando looked all around him at the table. Everyone just ate in silence. Keiko clapped her hands together.

“So Kat,” she said. “What did you get this year?” Kat seemed out of it at the table. Hiro poked her on the arm once. She looked at him in a liquid-induced stupor.

“What?” she asked in a high-happy tone. Hiro only pointed forward. Kat swirled her head over at her mother.

“Yeah?” she asked. Keiko looked at her slightly nervous.

“What presents did you get this year?” she asked again. Kat stopped listening after presents.

“Presents?!?” she asked as she jerked her head around. “Where? Where?”

“Those are coming later,” Kaoru pushed off. “What did you get now?” The question took a while to register, but Kat finally got it.

“Oh,” she said. “Ando gave me this pretty bracelet! See? It’s pretty!” Kat flung her wrist forward so wildly that it nearly knocked over Shuichi’s glass of wine. He managed to catch it just in time. The jewelry caught the ceiling light above. Everyone except Ando looked on, amazed.

“That is pretty,” Keiko said.

“Pretty! Pretty! Pretty! Pretty! Pretty!” her daughter kept yelling over and over again. Ando rolled his eyes.

“How did you manage to get that?” Shuichi whispered to him.

“Begging and pleading,” his younger pal whispered back.

“Oh…” the vocalist replied. Dinner dragged on. Kat kept on drinking and drinking through the whole meal. Ando couldn’t take seeing this anymore. He slammed down his chopsticks.

“Hadn’t you had enough to drink?!?” he barked. Everyone stared at him nervously. Kat shot a cold glare at him.

“I’ll stop when I’m ready to, damn brat!” she barked. Now would’ve been a good place to stop. But, no! Ando kept right on.

“You do this every f*****g year!” he yelled. “You act like a spoiled little bitch every year! Can’t you at least act grateful that you’ve lived another year?!?” Kat broke her glass in her hand. Oh, it was on now! That question seemed to bring some Kat-sense back into her head. Everyone sat and watched on nervously.

“Why can’t I be happy on my birthday?!?” Kat snapped. “I’ll tell you exactly why!?” Keiko began to panic.

“Kat, no!” she cried. But it was too late. Her daughter refused to hold it back anymore with fiery red eyes.

“Because I am your mother!!!” she screamed. The Inoue family looked horrified. Ando and the guests stared at her in confusion.

“What?” Ando asked. Kat sat at the table, looking down and trembling. Hikaru lightly rubbed her on the shoulder.

“You don’t have to say anymore,” he whispered.

“Don’t touch me, grandfather!” she snapped. Hikaru slowly removed his head. Kat snapped her head back up at her son.

“My step-father raped me constantly when I was twelve!” she blurted out. “He scared me into keeping quiet. Then when I was thirteen, I became pregnant with you! I found out on my birthday! That’s why I hate my birthday so much! There, you happy now?!?” She patted like a mad woman after saying all of that. The whole room went dead silent. Ando sat there in silence. Usually, he would just brush off Kat’s drunken ramblings and move on. But this one… This one just didn’t feel right to him. Keiko reached out to touch her grandson on the hand.

“Ando, sweetheart…” she said softly. He flinched away from her as he too trembled.

“Excuse me!” he said with a quick bow. The boy quickly got up from the table and ran away. Everyone else sat on in silence. Kat spilled over on the table. Saying all of that got everything out of her and it still hurt inside. Emma looked around for a moment.

“#Is there any more wine?#” she asked.

Ando stood outside on the porch in confusion. So his whole life was a lie? His “sister” was really his mother? His “mother” was really his grandmother? His “grandfather” was really his great-grandfather? His “brothers” were really his uncles? Ando tightly shut his eyes and shook his head. “Please let this be a bad dream…” he thought. The sound of the front door opening quickly drew his attention behind him. Keiko stood in the doorway, staring at him. Ando looked away in confused anger.

“What do you want?!?” he snapped. His grandmother walked forward to him.

“To explain the truth,” she said.

“Was Kat telling the truth?” he asked. Keiko looked down and away at her feet.

“Yes…” she mumbled. Ando really felt like screaming now. His grandmother reached out to touch him.

“Don’t touch me!” Ando said. His grandmother slowly lowered her hand. They both stood there in silence.

“It’s all my fault really,” Keiko mumbled. Her grandson glanced over at her.

“Huh?” he asked. She bit her lip as she looked at him.

“I had a suspicion that my then-second husband was cheating on me,” she spoke up. “I didn’t know who at the time. Then, when Kat told me the truth about what he had done to her…” Keiko shook her head.

“I should have seen the signs then,” she lamented. “Maybe I would have stopped that whole mess then. But I just didn’t want you to have to find out the truth—not like this.” Ando kept his eyes locked on his grandmother.

“When?” he asked. Keiko shook her head.

“When you were a little older…” her voice trailed off.

“So you just raised me like your own son to make up for what you did?” he questioned. Keiko nodded once. She lightly rubbed him on the shoulder.

“But, we all still love you we much, no matter what,” the old woman guaranteed. Her grandson said nothing at first.

“What happened to my father?” he asked.

“I got an annulment,” Keiko explained. “I threatened that if he ever came near any of you ever again, I would call the police and tell him everything. I haven’t heard from him since.” Neither one spoke after that.

Inside, Kat sat all alone at the table, crying. Hikaru came back into the dining room and sat down next to her. His granddaughter looked up at him with tears in her eyes.

“I did it again, didn’t I?” I asked. “I ruined my own party, didn’t I?” He shrugged at her some.

“Pretty much…” the old man replied. Kat broke down crying again. Hikaru looked at her in sympathy.

“There, there,” he whispered as he patted her on the back. “You did a brave thing tonight. Not under the best circumstances, but it was still brave.” Kat looked over at her grandfather again.

“But Ando’s gonna hate me now!” she wailed. He nodded at her.

“At first…” he agreed. “But he had to know the truth some time. Time will heal everything much better now.” Kat said nothing and only sobbed.

“Hey everybody!” Ranji yelled from the living room. “Come and take a look at this!” Curious, Kat and Hikaru complied.

Sometime later, Ando and Keiko walked back into the house. The sounds of screams and moans caught their ears.

“What is that?” Ando asked. Keiko shrugged at him.

“I don’t know…” she mumbled. They both listened on a little bit longer. Ando’s eyes widened as he began to recognize the voice.

“That’s Kat!!!” he yelled aloud. And with that, both grandmother and grandson raced over to the living room. They found everyone gathered around the TV. Ando walked over to a disgusted Shuichi and Hiro.

“What’s going on? What did Kat do now?” he whispered. Neither one spoke. Shuichi just pointed to the screen in front of them. Against his better judgment, Ando looked straight forward. A sickly pale painted his face. They were all looking at a sex tape of Kat with one of her former boyfriends. They weren’t only having sex; he was snorting coke off her bare back. They were both getting high and drinking in this tape. Ando felt like throwing up. This really topped off a lousy night. He ran back outside again. Shuichi and Hiro followed behind. They caught up to him outside of the porch. He stood there trembling like a madman. That boy looked like he was going to snap at any moment now. His friends slowly stepped forward to him.

“Ando?” Shuichi asked. “Are you okay?” Ando gave the look of death. The boys both backed up nervously in case their friend was going to attack.

“I am taking that bracelet back in the morning,” he hissed. “Happy f*****g birthday Kat!”

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