Chapter 4:

Meeting Yoshino's Mother Was the Scariest Experience of My Life

I Just Wanted to Focus On My Studies, but Now I’m Trapped in a Love-Hate Triangle With a Tsundere Ojou-Sama and My Sadistic, Princelike Dorm Mate (Neither of Whom Are My Sister)

From where we were standing, my bedroom was the closest hiding place. I tried to lift Yoshino and run into the room, but she reacted faster, pushing me away and running into the bathroom. I stumbled but managed to make it into my bedroom before Ibuki opened the door.

“Hey, Ibuki,” I called out. “Have I got a story for you.” I quickly started stripping. It was faster than trying to button my shirt, and if Ibuki poked her head into the room, I could claim I was changing out of the clothes they gave me.

“Glad you made it back alive,” she replied. “I didn’t realize that maid was one of those maids.”

“Me either,” I said, but before I could say more, Yoshino flushed the toilet and began washing her hands, alerting Ibuki to her presence.

“Yoshino-sama,” Ibuki greeted her half a minute later, as Yoshino emerged from the bathroom, “since you’re here, am I to take it you saved Alex?”

“It was already over by the time I arrived,” Yoshino said. “The commoner handled my father surprisingly well. She’s lucky my mother wasn’t there.”

“Why?” I asked, emerging from my bedroom wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt.

Ibuki and Yoshino shared a glance, an amused expression on their faces, before both bursting out in laughter.

“Pray you never find out,” Yoshino said.

“Really,” Ibuki agreed. “You’re better off not knowing.”

Before I could inquire further, Yoshino announced, “I must be going now. This whole episode has thrown off my entire morning schedule.”

“I’ll walk you back,” both Ibuki and I offered simultaneously.

“No need,” Yoshino dismissed us. “There’s a car waiting for me.”

Without so much as a goodbye, she strolled out of the room. Neither Ibuki nor I were offended by this. This was how Yoshino usually took her leave. She rarely deigned to bid us commoners farewell.

“Sorry for interrupting,” Ibuki apologized once she was gone. “Might be less awkward if you do that in your room next time.”

“I was in my room,” I said, feigning ignorance.

“You two were both flushed,” Ibuki pointed out. “Plus, you have some of her lipstick on you.”

It was an obvious bait, and I didn’t fall for it. Yoshino hadn’t been wearing lipstick.

“You’re imagining things,” I told her.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Ibuki said. “I know I’d go at her at least once if she gave me the go-ahead. My only concern is that you don’t completely fall for her and let my plans slip.”

“How could I possibly fall for her?” I scoffed.

“So it was just sex?” she confirmed.

“Fine,” I admitted. “We both got a little carried away when we realized we were alone. I don’t intend to let it happen again, but that doesn’t mean I won’t warn her about you. Those are completely separate matters.”

“Is that a threat?” Ibuki asked. “Are you considering it?”

“She’s awful,” I said, “but that doesn’t mean she deserves—”

“Sounds like I need to win you over to my side,” Ibuki said, moving towards me. “Yoshino left the job half-done. I bet you’re still dying for it.”

“I’m not,” I lied.

“If you don’t want it, push me away,” Ibuki said, leaning close to my face.

She was so close that I could feel her breath. All I needed to do was put some distance between us, but I didn’t move. Her lips brushed against mine and a jolt went through me. While Yoshino’s touch was warm and soft, Ibuki’s was electrifying.

The physical memories of both sensations combined within my body, and I went weak at the knees. I might have collapsed had Ibuki not wrapped her arms around me. Now it was my turn to find myself pushed against the wall with a knee between my legs.

Ibuki gave me a second to catch my breath before kissing me. I reacted automatically, kissing her back. I was losing to the pleasure, and probably would have given myself over to it had Ibuki moved a bit slower. Instead of removing my shirt, like Yoshino had, Ibuki began groping my crotch through my pants.

“No,” I said, grabbing her arm with both of my hands. “We can’t. We still have to live together. It’ll be awkward.”

“OK,” Ibuki said, backing off. “If you’re not ready for that, I’ll wait. Just let me know when you’ve changed your mind.”

I was still holding her arm, and it took all of my willpower to not pull her towards me. I released her and quickly retreated to my bedroom.

“Enjoy yourself,” Ibuki smirked as I closed the door.

It still felt like electricity was coursing through my burning body, which is why I almost didn’t notice when my phone started buzzing. I pulled it from my pocket to find Yoshino’s number displayed on the screen. Hesitantly, I answered the phone and was met with heavy breathing. At first, I thought it was my own, and then I realized it was Yoshino’s. I stood there and listened, trying to get my own breathing under control, and eventually Yoshino started to vocalize quiet moans.

“Why did you run to the bathroom?” I whispered into the phone. “My room was closer.”

“What?” came Yoshino’s confused voice.

“You didn’t want Ibuki to see us together,” I said quietly. “You prefer her over me.”

“Stop that,” Yoshino ordered. “That’s not true, and right now—”

“Then say my name,” I demanded.

“I already told you—”

I hung up on Yoshino and threw my phone onto my bed. Lust had completely left me, leaving only anger and embarrassment in its wake.

On Monday morning, Yoshino slapped me across the face, hard enough to sting, but not hard enough that it would swell up. She did it in public, just outside the university gymnasium. She did it in front of Ibuki, who often joined us on our workouts.

“Whoa,” Ibuki exclaimed. “What was that for?”

“The commoner knows what she did,” Yoshino hissed, “and that’s the end of it. I won’t punish you further, and you won’t retaliate. Agreed?”

“Yeah,” I nodded. Honestly, it was better than I had hoped for. I thought for sure Yoshino would abandon me after I hung up on her. At the time, I could only rationalize her forgiveness by assuming that she was desperate. She had no real friends, and despite my suspicions, she was still wary of Ibuki.

The next few weeks were very awkward. Outwardly, Yoshino and I acted like we always had. She was controlling and overbearing, and I was obedient, though I often let slip snide remarks.

Beneath the surface, however, things had changed. We were self-conscious in private, less talkative, and Ibuki picked up on it.

Before, when Yoshino came over, she always controlled the conversation, and though she always made Ibuki feel included, it was clear she was primarily interacting with me. Now, Ibuki began interjecting herself into the awkward silences, attempting to wrest control of the conversations. Yoshino refused to be drawn into her pace, so in order to remain in control, she had to refocus the conversations on Ibuki, and I found myself increasingly left out.

I should have welcomed this development. It made it easier to distance myself from Yoshino, and the more I distanced myself, the less I was attracted to her, but I found that I became more jealous the greater the distance between us grew. I thought the jealousy I felt towards Ibuki the first day we met had vanished, but it had only been lying dormant.

On one December night, the three of us were all seated at the dining table, but the two of them seemed to be in a world of their own, and I started contemplating how to break them apart. The easiest way would have been to warn Yoshino about Ibuki’s plan, and in retrospect, I should have, but at the time, I still believed that I could protect Yoshino from Ibuki without openly opposing her.

Instead, I stood up from the table and moved to an armchair, where I could stew alone in my own jealousy. After a few minutes, Yoshino noticed I was missing, and walked over to where I sat.

“What’s wrong, commoner?” she asked, pushing me to one side so that she could sit next to me in the armchair. “Feeling lonely?”

It was just wide enough that we both barely fit, but I had to pull my arm in. Yoshino matter-of-factly grabbed my wrist and placed my arm around her shoulder.

“Are you going to visit your family over winter break?” Yoshino asked, resting her head against my shoulder.

“I suppose,” I said, not making any movements that would encourage this physical affection. “I haven’t seen them since March, but it’s not like I’m looking forward to it. Visiting seems like more of an obligation.”

“I’m in the same boat,” Yoshino sighed. “I’d much rather spend the time at my villa. Perhaps I’ll go there this weekend. Would you like to accompany me?”

“That doesn’t sound like a school event,” I observed.

“No,” Yoshino agreed, “but it’s a chance for us to be alone.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said. “Being alone together is what got us into this situation.”

“And we’re not going to get out of it until we can have a frank discussion, in private. Of course, we could have one right now if you took me to your bedroom.”

I took this for the olive branch that it was. Yoshino was announcing in front of Ibuki that she preferred me to her. My jealousy was misplaced. I glanced over at Ibuki, hoping to see my jealousy reflected on her face, but she appeared to be studying us carefully.

“I’ve never been to a villa,” I said. “You just want to talk, nothing else?”

“That’s all I want,” she lied.

We arrived at the villa late Saturday morning. It was less than an hour’s drive by car from the university, but it was the farthest outside the city I had ever been. Technically, it was still within city limits, but located within the sparsely-populated ring around the city that only the upper classes were allowed to inhabit.

The villa itself was owned entirely by Yoshino. It had been gifted to her by her parents on her sixteenth birthday, and although it was small by her standards, it had quickly become her haven from society.

It was also, I had heard from Ibuki, the site of her second minor scandal. A couple years prior, she had invited one of her classmates over, misjudged the situation, and tried to kiss her. The young woman had fled from the villa, and since then, Yoshino had been forbidden from inviting guests. I was to be the first guest since that incident.

“I’ve never been amongst so many trees,” I exclaimed, inhaling the forest air as I stepped out of the self-driving car.

“Much more civilized than the city,” Yoshino agreed. “Leave the bags in the car. The maid will unload them for us.”

“The maid?” I gulped. “The same maid that…”

“Probably,” Yoshino said. “We don’t have many, and mother assigned her to be responsible for me until I graduate. Of course, she’s not on call 24/7, but she’ll probably be here today.”

“I thought we were going to be alone,” I said.

“Don’t worry,” Yoshino laughed as we walked through the front door. “She’ll leave this evening. Until then, we’ll have plenty of distractions to kill the time. I’ve got it all planned out. First, we’ll have lunch, and then—”

Her voice caught in her throat as we entered the front living room. The maid was there, serving tea to a woman in an elegant white dress.

“M—mother,” Yoshino stammered. “I thought you were in America. When did you get back?”

“It’s wonderful to see you too, dear,” Mrs. Lexington said, setting her teacup down and standing to greet us. “I got back yesterday. Negotiations went much more quickly than expected. Good thing too. I was looking forward to meeting the young woman who handled my husband so well.”

“Mrs. Lexington,” I said with a bow, “I—”

“Shut up,” Yoshino hissed. “Let me handle this.”

“No,” Mrs. Lexington ordered. “Let her speak.”

“I’m honored by your words, but I am just a commoner. I’m not worth your time.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” Mrs. Lexington snapped.

“Forgive her, mother,” Yoshino pleaded. “She only meant that—”

“No, your mother is right,” I interrupted. “Although I did not mean to, I insulted her. Please forgive me, Mrs. Lexington. Yoshino has graciously taught me how to interact with the other young women of high birth attending university, but I see now that I am completely unprepared to be in your esteemed presence.”

“You have a smooth tongue,” Mrs. Lexington stated.

In response to her mother’s comment, Yoshino covered her face with her fan.

“What is it, child?” Mrs. Lexington demanded. “Did I say something funny?”

“Well,” Yoshino said from behind the fan. “Her tongue is actually… quite rough.”

“Ah, yes,” Mrs. Lexington said. “I heard all about your little ritual. Commoner, you will find it much easier to converse with me than with my daughter’s sycophants. I don’t give a shit about manners, but I do demand two things: honesty, and obedience.”

“I understand,” I told her.

“Do you?” Mrs. Lexington questioned. “Then show me how you greet my daughter every morning. Show me how you publicly flaunt your relationship with her.”

I turned to Yoshino and held out my hand, palm up. Reluctantly, Yoshino put her hand in mine. I kissed her knuckle and then trailed my tongue up the back of her hand to her wrist.

“Very good,” Mrs. Lexington said. I thought I detected a hint of excitement in her voice. “Now tell me why you do that.”

“To me, Yoshino’s skin tastes delicious,” I answered, “like nothing I’ve ever tasted, but I don’t know why.”

“It’s because you love her,” Mrs. Lexington said. “Remember that, Yoshino. As long as she finds you delicious, you can trust her. The moment she stops, you must throw her away. Now leave us. I have private matters to discuss with this commoner.”

With a quick glance towards me, and then to her mother, Yoshino turned and left.

“Tell me, commoner,” Mrs. Lexington began, “what is the most delicious part of my daughter’s body?”

“I’ve only licked her hands and her lips,” I said, “but if I had to choose between the two, her lips.”

“Upper or lower?” Mrs. Lexington asked. I thought it was a crude joke at first, but her expression remained serious.

“Upper,” I said. “I kissed her once in a moment of weakness, but other than that, I haven’t done anything to her.”

“I told you to be honest with me,” Mrs. Lexington growled.

“She is telling the truth,” the maid said. “She’s playing hard to get with Yoshino-sama, and Yoshino-sama is loving every moment of it.”

“You’re just covering for her because you see yourself in her,” Mrs. Lexington accused.

“I do see myself in her,” the maid admitted, “and it annoys me, but I would not lie to you on account of that. This commoner hasn’t gone past second base with Yoshino-sama.”

“Do you find me delicious in the same way that this commoner does Yoshino?” Mrs. Lexington asked.

“I would never sully your hand with my saliva,” the maid answered.

“Maybe not, but you’ve fantasized about it, I’m sure,” Mrs. Lexington said. She held out her hand to the maid. “I’m ordering you to take a good lick.”

“If you order it…” the maid said. She knelt and ran her tongue over the back of Mrs. Lexington’s hand.

“Surprisingly, that feels nice,” Mrs. Lexington commented. “Do it again, as much as you like.” She watched with an amused expression as the maid licked all over her hand, like I had done on the first day I met Yoshino. “Do I taste delicious to you?”

“Yes,” the maid said, pausing. “I’ve never tasted anything so delicious.”

As she answered, tears formed in her eyes.

“Good for you,” Mrs. Lexington sneered. “Go bring me a towel. Commoner, why haven’t you slept with my daughter yet?”

“Part of me really, really wants to,” I admitted, “but I made a promise to myself to remain celebate through college. I’d be willing to break that promise for someone I truly loved, but when it comes to Yoshino, it’s just lust.”

“How you feel about my daughter doesn’t matter to me,” Mrs. Lexington said, “but I do care about Yoshino’s safety and happiness. I won’t order you to love her, but as long as you’re next to her, protect her, and if you harm her, I’ll have you killed.”

“I doubt that,” I said.

“Demonstrate,” Mrs. Lexington ordered. The maid stepped forward and pressed a knife to my throat.

“She’s not frightened,” the maid reported.

“This isn’t the old days,” I said. “The goshujin can’t get away with murder anymore.”

“They can’t,” Mrs. Lexington agreed, “but I can. I have a license to kill militant leaders before they can acquire too many followers.”

“I’m no militant,” I pointed out.

“Your association with Ibuki Carter is excuse enough, and if I slip up and occasionally abuse my privileges… You were honest with me, so I’ll be honest with you. There will be repercussions, but they’ll amount to little more than a slap on the wrist. The work I do is too important to the state.”

Because she had a combat maid, this was plausible. I’d thought the combat maids had been taken away from the goshujin caste and retired years ago.

“She is frightened now,” the maid reported.

“Good,” Mrs. Lexington smiled. “Let her go and accompany me to my car. It was nice meeting you, commoner. You were more interesting than I expected. I look forward to our next meeting.”

I managed to stay upright against the wall until she left, then I sank to my knees in terror.