Chapter 1:

Rendez-Vous in the Advisors Hall (1)

She Can't Be That Perfect!!

“Come on, out with it. You know you want to say it.”Bookmark here

“What? I genuinely like it.”Bookmark here

Of course Amy likes it. Ray’s made her the best maid dress ever. It’s breezy, but frilly enough to hide her panties. He knows they’re white though, both by intuition and because he’s seen them.Bookmark here

But happy as she looks, she still has that face. And soon, she twirls that strand of hair and gives him those eyes.Bookmark here

“Buuuut,” she starts.Bookmark here

“There it is,” Ray says, collapsing on a chair like a prima donna.Bookmark here

“I’m not that flat.”Bookmark here

“Maids don’t go higher than an A-cup.”Bookmark here

“Then your binder is, regrettably, not working.”Bookmark here

“Have you ever worn one?”Bookmark here

“I have and –”Bookmark here

“Do you… have something to tell me?”Bookmark here

“– Hamlet, hush up. Point is, yours is loose. That’s an undershirt.”Bookmark here

“Anything else, Coco?”Bookmark here

“I’m starting to believe you have a humiliation kink.”Bookmark here

“About the costume!”Bookmark here

“Well,” she drawls, her smirk drawing ever wider, “if you must know…”Bookmark here

When Amy’s signature critiques start, you’ll never know when they’ll stop. What she wants to say is that it’s overcomplicated. Maids are cute, quiet and their dresses are nice and simple. However, what comes out is a twenty minute rant about etiquette, design and possible mental damage.Bookmark here

Obviously, Ray doesn’t mind any of that. Sure, taking all of that with a smile on his face only feeds into Amy’s BDSM theory. But he just can’t be mad when she’s so wound up and passionate.Bookmark here

“Right, I trim fabric like a butcher and have the colour sense of a blind monk. Strip it off,” Ray says, immediately regretting his word choice when Amy crosses her arms over her chest.Bookmark here

“I didn’t realise… you were so forward… I see how it is… do with me whatever you must…”Bookmark here

“Not the sex fiend thing again… Our door literally blocks no sounds.”Bookmark here

“Sucks to suck. Wait, I got a better one.”Bookmark here

“Stop crinkling it! It’s harder to iron out and fix it!”Bookmark here

“I never said it needs to be fixed?”Bookmark here

“You spent five minutes just on the buttons.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, they look like pustules, but I like them. I like the weird scratchy spots and the sloppy stitches. They make it, well, they make it yours.”Bookmark here

“I’m feeling more offended than complimented,” Ray pouts, but Amy’s curtsy wipes that off. She giggles, brushes past him and heads for the cupboards. It’s time for their first of many club activities.Bookmark here

The Advisors Hall is the first door on Astella Academy’s last floor and people visit it every day.Bookmark here

The first thing everyone does is take off their shoes. It all feels just like home, the scraggly carpet, the old leather sofa, the sneezing AC and the cheap soda with no bubbles. It’s a safe spot for students to have a pleasant chat with the nicest people in school.Bookmark here

They come with problems and leave with solutions. No matter how embarrassing or depressing, no one gets judged, even if all they want is a bit of venting or a power nap. Amy might watch you when you sleep, though. Safety measures and she also likes it.Bookmark here

Ray plops on the sofa and looks out the window, “What time is it?”Bookmark here

Amy stretches for the topmost shelf, “Almost three. Why?”Bookmark here

“God damnit!”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“The skirt is too short.”Bookmark here

“Nothing you haven’t seen before, stiffen up.”Bookmark here

“Phrasing.”Bookmark here

“All fun and games until the clumsy maid drops a scalding cup of tea on your stiffened lap.”Bookmark here

“Hostile work environment, much?”Bookmark here

“Sugar, lemon juice?”Bookmark here

“Just a squirt, please. Shut up.”Bookmark here

“I didn’t say anything!”Bookmark here

“You were thinking it!”Bookmark here

The kettle sputters to life, sounding like a clogged drain. They have the money to replace it, but Amy says it gives the tea a certain taste she likes. To Ray, that taste is Earl Grey’s bathwater, but it’s slowly growing on him.Bookmark here

Humming, Amy leaves her glasses on the counter and returns with a steamy cup in each hand. Ray bites his lip when she gives him his tea. The handle is sticky, but he can’t quip about it when she sighs, nuzzles against his shoulder and takes a long, calculated sip.Bookmark here

“Slow day,” she says.Bookmark here

“It’s Wednesday.”Bookmark here

“So?”Bookmark here

“We’ll call it Woozy Wednesdays. You know, like Taco Thursdays –”Bookmark here

“Tuesdays. Taco Tuesdays.”Bookmark here

“Wha – you bitch!”Bookmark here

“Not my fault you can’t google?”Bookmark here

“Sorry for believing you, I guess.”Bookmark here

“You should be? An A-cup, psht.”Bookmark here

“Yes, thinking you know your boobs, what a joke.”Bookmark here

“Point is that you shouldn’t even be asking in the first place. How many times have we shopped for clothes?”Bookmark here

“Really? Really! Amy, when you draw the curtain and the only thing on you is a bathing suit, I’m not looking at the bloody label!”Bookmark here

It takes Ray a long second to realise what he’s just said and another to realise Amy’s cheeks are tinted red. He can’t say anything, his tongue is a bloated knot that tightens more when Amy slowly straightens up and turns around.Bookmark here

“Would you like… to look at it?”Bookmark here

She’s different. Her voice is small, uncomposed and carries a tentative tremble. She puts her cup down and straightens her back.Bookmark here

“It’s fine. I think it’s hanging by the strap.”Bookmark here

It’s obviously a test, Ray thinks, but it doesn’t help one bit. Sure, it’s Amy, but she’s still a girl in possibly the most vulnerable pose known to man. And right now, the man has balls the size of roasted peanuts.Bookmark here

With clammy hands, he reaches for the zipper, then curses under his breath. She winces. It’s already uncomfortable and he hasn’t even touched the undershirt.Bookmark here

“C-careful,” she says meekly.Bookmark here

He is careful, but it’s pointless. When his fingers brush against her porcelain skin, she flinches and so does he. Still, she doesn’t scold him and doesn’t complain. She sits and waits, shivering ever so slightly as he peels the fabric up, revealing inch after inch of her until, at last, the door swings open.Bookmark here

Thankfully, it’s not a teacher, nor a girl. However, Ray has never seen a guy so sickened, yet curious.Bookmark here

“What the f-f-fuck,” the boy says simply.Bookmark here

Ray’s jaw drops. He’s thrown in a black void of shame, his hands still glued to the promised strap, until a light chuckle breaks him out. The calm, flustered Amy in his head is replaced by the mischievous devil she’s been all this time. Without any qualms, he grabs the buckle, pulls it back and, before Amy realises the danger, he releases.Bookmark here

“Sorry about that, Henry, come in. Shoes?” Ray says, dusting off his hands. Still dazed, Henry fiddles with his laces.Bookmark here

“You suck,” Ray whispers. “You can blush on command now?”Bookmark here

“Hot drinks make you flushed, you brute! Fffff – it hurts worse than a wet towel.”Bookmark here

“You get – what you deserve! Friendship test looking ass.”Bookmark here

“My ass does not look like that.”Bookmark here

“Now’s not the time!”Bookmark here

“Come ooooon, it was fun!”Bookmark here

“For who? The bra?”Bookmark here

“Whom.”Bookmark here

“Really –”Bookmark here

“Am I… interrupting something? I’m sorry, I’ll –” Henry says dejected. The two got up and pulled up their chairs, but missed him blurring onto the sofa. Not that he makes it easy; he looks like he is his own shadow.Bookmark here

“No, no, it’s fine!” Amy says. “Please, sit down. Want anything to drink, maybe a snack…”Bookmark here

“No, I’d rather make this quick,” Henry says. His sudden determination surprises the two advisors.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry if my request might be a bit odd, but… I don’t know what else to do or where else to go. It’s… stupid, but it’s about a girl. We’re in the same class and, well, I feel like lately she’s been… different. She’s treating me pretty strangely, but I can’t even begin to tell you without…” Henry’s head drops, “Do you think you can do something about it?”Bookmark here

Amy gives Ray a concerned look, but he doesn’t return it. He’s still mad, but all the pettiness drains from his system when he hears Henry whimpering.Bookmark here

“What class are you in, again?” Ray asks.Bookmark here

“2-A.”Bookmark here

“And what exactly do you want us –”Bookmark here

“Did you do something to her?”Bookmark here

Amy’s question falls like a guillotine over Henry. He looks up, only to start stammering. A maid is supposed to be warm and nurturing, but now she looks like a rigid judge in a pretty bonnet.Bookmark here

“N-no… I’m – I would never.”Bookmark here

“Then you have nothing to worry about, right?” Amy continues. Her voice is calm and mechanical. “Our anxieties often make us think that people around us have it out for us. But if –”Bookmark here

“No! I’m not imagining this… I know it sounds odd, but can you –” he sighs “– can you look into it? I need to know by six.”Bookmark here

“Look into it? By six?” Ray asks. “Henry, I’m not sure what you’ve been told, but we just talk things –”Bookmark here

“What’s her name?”Bookmark here

Henry grips his kneecaps as if he’s about to rip them out. There’s no more cosy left in the clubroom, only a heavy air brought on by Amy’s cutting glare. Still, he finds something agreeable in her eyes. A fire he knows very well himself.Bookmark here

“I – guess you need that, right?” Henry chuckles. “No judgement, right?”Bookmark here

“None at all,” Amy says. Bookmark here

“Okay then,” Henry says as he moves towards the exit and slides his shoes back on. Ray wants to protest and revolt, but anything he says will go against Amy and he can’t win that fight right now. She watches their visitor in quiet expectation, until he opens the door.Bookmark here

Henry takes one last look around, sighs one last time and gives his last breath.Bookmark here

“It’s… It’s Mia.”Bookmark here

Of course. It couldn’t have been anyone else, but even if she’s been preparing for it, it wasn’t enough. At least, she’s not trembling and she didn’t gasp. But, with no hot drink anywhere near, she blushes like a ripe strawberry.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.