Chihaya sighed as she leaned back in her chair and stretched her arms over her head. She turned her attention back to the laptop in front of her, completely unaware of the presence of another person entering the room.
"Chi-chan, what are you doing?" Came the question as a pair of arms hugged her from behind.
Chihaya remained unfazed as she replied deadpan, "Ritsuko-san sent me the schedule for the next three months and asked me to look over it. She needs to know if there's any conflicting dates or any concerns over the venues or interviews."
"You're always working and going off to places Chi-chan. Couldn't you tell Ritsuko-chan to lighten up your schedule? Yuuta and Hanako would like to see their mother a bit more."
"Keito-kun, that's unprofessional to cancel events like that," she said, now directing her attention from the screen to him. "You know that. It's not like you're exactly on the light side with work either."
Keito knew she was right. As a publicist he had a number of clients, including Chihaya, that he was looking after. There were times he pulled long nights and was absent as well.
He sighed, "Point taken, but at least I ask for time off. The last time you even asked was when you were pregnant with Yuuta. And you only did so because the doctor said you had to."
"I couldn't stay on a prolonged maternity leave like I did with Hanako. I had to get back on stage. I almost lost my career staying out that long the first time," she frowned. "It's not like I do this on purpose. I love them and they know that."
"Knowing you love them and actually physically being there is two different things Chihaya," Keito replied a bit more forcefully. Chihaya could tell his patience with her was beginning to wane. "They want to see their mother in person instead of having to read an article in a magazine or watching a TV interview to see how she is."
"I have to get back to work."
"Oh come on Chihaya, just listen to me."
"I've told you I have dates I have to look over."
"Get the schedule done tomorrow."
"Keito, I can't do that."
Keito sighed as Chihaya continued to look at the laptop's screen. He wasn't even sure if she truly was looking over the schedule at this point or purposely ignoring him. He was used to this though. He knew the uphill battles he would have to fight when they began dating. He had just become an intern at the same record company she had just debuted with as a professional singer all those years ago. Neither one of them had dated before and their relationship was very awkward in the beginning. Keito had learned he needed extreme patience when dealing with her, even after they got married he still needed it. Even though he loved her, Chihaya still wasn't the easiest person to live with. Often times she was too immersed in her career as a singer to pay attention to anyone or thing else. That included their two children and she genuinely didn't seem to realize this. Keito could deal with not having Chihaya there 100% of the time but he felt it was unfair to their daughter and son to rarely have their mother's full attention. And it wasn't like she was bad mother; Keito would be to first to say when she was actually present that she was a very good mother. This fact was being largely overshadowed by her lack of attendance.
"Do you have anything scheduled on the 25th for next month?" He asked.
Chihaya remained silent for a moment before responding, "Yes, I have a dress rehearsal for the live that's two days afterwards."
"Do you even know what month you're looking at?" He asked her bit scathingly.
Chihaya's frowned deepened and she looked over at her husband to send him a warning glare. "I'm looking at the month of August."
"And nothing strikes you about that date? You'd think Ritsuko-chan would even realize it being such an attentive manager," Keito sarcastically added. Chihaya remained silent. "It's your daughter's birthday. She also has a live next week she would like her mother to attend for once."
Hanako's decision to become an idol wasn't something Chihaya could say she was proud of. Both Chihaya and Keito knew Hanako revered her mother's music career highly and wanted to emulate her mother by becoming an idol. Though Chihaya wouldn't openly admit it, she knew her daughter had no business being on stage. Sure she was a very good dancer but outside of that the fifteen-year-old had absolutely no singing talent...or at least comparable talent to Chihaya's. The girl's career had been very stagnate from the beginning, not helped by Hanako's refusal to take any job that she didn't deem cute enough. Outside of group activities, Hanako didn't have a solo career that could amount to anything. It was more nonexistent than anything else.
"Isn't Takane-san going to be there?" Chihaya asked. "She can tell me how the live went."
"That's not the same as being there Chihaya. At least Takane-san is going to be there for her daughter. I wish I could say the same for you," he stated. "I'm sure Ritsuko-chan can change your schedule around a bit."
"That's too last minute."
Keito sighed and shook his head in defeat. She just wasn't going to budge. "One day you're going to wake up Chi-chan and realize everything you've missed out on. I have the tolerance to put up with you not being around but Hanako and Yuuta might not. Eventually they might just decide to push you away and you'll have no one to blame but yourself."
Chihaya silently watched as he left the room before returning her focus back on the screen before her.
"Ku..." she scowled.
She loved her kids; in her own eyes she saw herself as a good mother. Maybe she was a bit busy every once in a while but she always thought of them. Despite that busy work schedule she tried her hardest to fit in time with them. Maybe it wasn't as much time as she would have liked but she at least made an effort.
This was her dream after all, she worked her hardest to make it as a professional singer. She had to juggle the struggles of being a mother on top of being a national celebrity. Keito couldn't possibly understand this. He had always been behind the scenes as a publicist and never in the limelight like she was.
The only one that somewhat understood was Takane. She was the only one from 765Pro, whom Chihaya was still in contact with, that had also tried to go professional. Though Takane had ended her career to have her daughter, she still understood the struggle Chihaya went through to actually make it. Besides Takane the only other person Chihaya knew who went on to a professional career was Miki. Trying to get in touch with the flighty actress proved to be a challenge and Chihaya ultimately gave up on it. Haruka and Azusa proved to be sympathetic ears but were no more than that.
But there was always one person that always listened and seemed to understand everything and always had the answers she needed.
Chihaya sighed once and reached for the cellphone that was sitting on the table. Scrolling through the contacts, Chihaya paused for a moment before letting it dial.
"Hey, it's me, how are you?" Chihaya asked and there was a pause for a moment. "Yeah, we're all fine here. I was just wondering if you were doing anything tomorrow afternoon and wanted to meet for lunch?" A few seconds later she replied, "Perfect, I'll be over then. See you then, Okaa-san."