~ What has gone before ~
· There was a sneak-thief in the bathroom. (※ not)
· A blonde busty robber wearing a white one-piece dress, a super-cute girl (who, it turned out was a total airheaded idiot.)
* * * * *
A Doppelganger? Turning back around I looked closely at my opponent. The blonde-haired sneak-thief girl was behaving very suspiciously. Why, for instance, did she imitate my every move? And there was another intruder who looked just like Sumirena-san (?) inside the bathroom and she was having problems controlling her laughing the same way the real Sumirena-san behind me was.
"Sumirena-san, what does this mean ...."
"R- Richy-chan, how are you going to capture yourself? Who's going to capture who?" Sumirena-san burst out laughing again. "Oh dear, this is soooo funny!" More peals of laughter followed. "Silly Richy-chan is too cute! Ha ha ha ha!"
Wait. Wait a minute. Is it really-? Let me check this.
"No way, no way, no way," I mumbled repeatedly as I gazed at the head of a girl... with horns peeping though her beautiful blonde hair. I pinched my cheek to see if I was dreaming and (of course!) the girl whose ultra-pretty face had a stunned look from shock, just like me, pinched her other cheek with her other hand. It couldn't be...
"A- a mirror?"
"Ufufu. Richy-chan, did you really not know what your own face looked like?" Sumirena-san sobered up. "I'm really sorry for making fun of you. It's just that you were being so serious and cute because of it I couldn't help myself, you see." she said bluntly.
I collapsed onto a seat, my eyes fixed on the mirror. As Erim had predicted I was shocked by the first sight of my new face, but not in the way I had expected. On the contrary. Very much on the contrary. My face wasn't homely after all. Sumirena-san left me to stare into the mirror uncomprehendingly for a while then she offered me a hand to help me stand up again.
"Have you settled down a bit?"
"Oh, well..." I was still shaken by the revelation of how much my face had changed. I should have been mad about being misled by Erim and Sumirena-san, why hadn't they just said it to me out loud? That I was... well, beautiful? But they didn't know that I didn't know so why tell me? And... my mind was circling around, shocked, unable to process the unbelievable new knowledge. My eyes tracked back to the mirror again, and the beautiful face in the mirror, my face...
"Sleepwear for Richy-chan," Sumirena-san broke in to my frozen thoughts. "You can use my pyjama bottoms but my tops just won't fit. Are you OK with using one of Erim's tops for tonight?"
"Your tops won't fit? But I'm about the same height as Sumirena-san, why wouldn't your pyjama top fit me?" I asked, puzzled.
Sumirena-san smiled and lifted my breasts in her hands. "Hehe, it's the size of your boobs, they're completely different to mine. Didn't you really realise that?" She juggled the masses, eliciting an indelicate moan from my lips. "Oh dear, they're overflowing my hands. I'm envious, you know."
"Ahh, that... please, uh... can you stop that. My knees are trembling..." Sumirena-san didn't stop though.
"Looking like that, I'm pretty confident you'll have a warm welcome here, Richy-chan."
What are you so confident about!? What "welcome" are you referring to, and where is "here"? I wanted to ask but I couldn't, fearing the answer. I had a hunch it wasn't going to be good for me.
"Let's get on, then." Sumirena-san said, finally removing her hands from my breasts, a little late as I felt my knees buckle again and a strange heat percolate through my stomach. Was it something I ate?
"You don't have any underwear, I know," she said, "but it's okay to sleep tonight without wearing any I suppose. If you really want to wear something though I'll lend you some panties."
"What, your panties Sumirena-san?" I said, eyes wide.
"Yeah, these ones. Don't worry, I washed them properly." Sumirena-san said, holding out a small bundle of pink cloth. That precious treasure, she was offering it to me to wear?
"Richy-chan?" Sumirena-san enquired.
"OK. I can see you're unnerved about wearing them, Richy-chan but for myself when I go to bed I feel uneasy without having underwear on." Sumirena-san went on. "Let's go buy you some of your own tomorrow."
The long silence was for different reasons, Sumirena-san, but I'm happy if you think that way. Right now the idea of wearing women's underwear frightens me and if the original owner is standing there holding them out to me, that makes things even worse.
"Buying some..., uh you said, I, money..." I stuttered.
"You don't have to worry. You can pay me back with your body." Sumirena-san said.
"Don't you want to help out in the tavern? Why, what strange thing did you think I meant?" she said with an evil smile.
"Ah, that's right! That's right! Working in the tavern, of course!" I was totally embarrassed, my perverted imagination running away with me for a moment in front of this woman. The odd way Sumirena-san had asked me to work here had made me think for a moment that she was some kind of lesbian.
"But if you tell me that you want to pay me back with a different kind of physical, ahh effort, I wouldn't mind that at all." She leered at me as I shrank back. "I love cute girls - I love them love them love them, and your Succubus powers don't work on me so you can't steal my essence and there's no chance of me dying by mistake if you get carried away while we're being intimate." She laughed. "There's no danger of me becoming pregnant either since we're both girls, right?"
Ehh? Did she just say all that out loud... my brain froze solid for a moment.
"He he, just kidding Richy-chan," she smiled. "You're so easy to tease I can't stop myself." She started to put the clean laundry away. "Don't worry about it, Richy-chan, it will be fine if you help us out serving in the tavern. Just do your best."
"I was surprised, you were joking all the time?" I breathed a sign of relief.
"Ummm," Sumirena-san said, tilting her head and staring at my face. "It wasn't entirely a joke."
"Because you're really cute-looking Richy-chan." she asserted.
"Me, I'm cute...?" was she teasing me again?
"You don't believe me? You said yourself earlier you had seen a really pretty girl in here, didn't you?" she pointed to the mirror which I was steadfastly refusing to look into.
"Well, I did say that, or did I..." I struggled to remember.
"You don't have to deny it, you're very pretty, Richy-chan. Really really cute." Sumirena-san pressed on.
"Stop saying that, please stop." I begged.
"Why? You're really cute, so cute I want to eat you ou- ah, up." She looked away, her face and ears reddened. "Richy-chan is definitely cute. I want to... well, you know."
"Please stop calling me cute!" I exclaimed. "And, 'you know' is right out!" Whatever 'you know' was. Sumirena-san's teasing was making my whole body tingle for some reason and I wanted to dive into a hole and disappear, if I only had a hole to dive into.
"That's odd," Sumirena-san said thinking hard. "Is it just that you're not used to being complimented and being told you're pretty? I thought you'd be pleased when I said you're cute-looking."
"Would you object if I licked that juicy body of yours all over, princess?"
"No way...!" Uh, wait, what did she just say? I was feeling dizzy...
"Ho ho ho, I love girls who like the things I like, that's all." she said. "Well then, I have a question to ask you. I've told you repeatedly that you're a pretty girl but you don't seem to like it. Would you really prefer it if I said you were an ugly bitch instead? I can't believe you'd be happy with hearing that."
"Are you really asking me such an unpleasant question?" I asked, annoyed. I wasn't wanting to be called an 'ugly bitch' but being called a pretty girl, in its own way that was a disturbing thing to say to a 17-year old male hikikomori.
"I am." Sumirena-san said soberly. "I'm asking because I'm trying to find out who you really are, Richy-chan. We're going to be living together and I need to know if you're the sort who would lie to me, deceive me and if you're ready to lie to yourself about your own attractiveness as a woman well then..." she shrugged. "You're also going to be my employee in the tavern, don't you think it's natural for me to care about that side of things? I'll have to trust you a lot when you're working for me and that's my main worry."
"...you've got a point." I couldn't fault her argument.
"So easy..." Sumirena-san muttered under her breath.
"What did you say?"
"Nothing, nothing. So what's it to be?"
"...in that case," I agreed reluctantly, "If you want to say that I'm pretty then I'm fine with that." The phrase 'ugly bitch' was normally only used by women trash-talking other women when I thought about it. It's not nice.
"Huh, it's good that you can be honest about yourself. Right then, next question. If I call you cute will it make you angry?"
"It doesn't make me angry." I said tersely. It made me feel... well, annoyed but not angry. Quite.
"But you don't want me to say it do you?" Sumirena-san asked perceptively.
"Honestly ... I don't really understand why but right now hearing you say it gives me the creeps." It was like the feeling of being an innocent younger brother being manipulated into agreeing to do something wrong by a more experienced older sister. No, I never experienced such a situation in my previous life by the way.
Because I was a man inside, Sumirena-san's 'pretty' and 'cute' hit me hard because I wasn't used to such words applying to me and I couldn't adjust easily to the idea of being happy that she was saying those things about me. If she had said I was attractive then that would be fine even though it would have been the first time ever someone had said that about me too. But cute? If I was asked which one was better then ten times out of ten I would have said 'attractive'. However, Sumirena-san obviously intended 'cute' as a compliment without any intention of insulting me so I could bear hearing her say it without being offended. I couldn't convince myself I was happy about it though.
"I understand." Sumirena-san nodded. "Until you get used to your appearance, Richy-chan, I won't say much more on the subject." She clapped her hands. "Now that's out of the way, let's take a bath." Saying that Sumirena-san started to take off her apron.
"……What are you doing?" I exclaimed, eyes wide.
"Now that we're going to be living and working under the same roof I though we could strengthen our relationship even more by having a bath together."
* * * * *
Next time! Skinship!