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Irasshaimase(ee-rash-hai-ma-seh) means ‘please come in’, and is used to welcome guests to restaurants and stores. I’m leaving it as-is because I’m pretty sure they shout these in “Japanese restaurants” in a lot of countries. Even when those “Japanese restaurants” are actually owned by Chinese or Korean people. Or sometimes even Mexicans, in the southern USA, so my friends tell me.
For the school festival, my class decided on a cross-dressing café.
At first it had just been ‘a café’ but after seeing how popular Iwamuro-kun as Cinderella was, we thought, ‘Hey, why not make the other boys put on a dress too?’
So then we thought, ‘Why not go all the way and have the girls cross-dress too?’ which is how we ended up with the boys as maids, and the girls as butlers.
But it was ‘maids’ of all things. Maids.
Somebody said that if we were going with maids we might as well go deeper and suggested goth loli maids instead. We immediately agreed.
Iwamuro-kun’s eyes were sparkling. I decided to discuss the specifics with him later.
As for me, at first the plan was just to help out preparing the food in the kitchen, but Satomi-kun said,
“Kisshouin-san absolutely needs to be out front!”
Thanks to that I ended up with a butler outfit as well. I didn’t know why he wanted me though.
My face was pretty girly and I had sausage curls too, so I doubted I could have become some hot guy butler.
Which was confirmed when I actually tried on the costume. I didn’t look very boyish. Maybe I’ll tie up my hair?
Still, it probably wouldn’t matter. I doubt anyone would really notice me once I was standing in a terrifying horde of cross-dressing boys.
While I was thinking about it, Satomi-kun handed me a headband with animal ears on it.
“What might this be?”
“Sheep ears. A sheep(Hitsuji) butler(Shitsuji). Wouldn’t it be cute? I really want you to wear it. Oh, and don’t tie up your hair like that. It’s your trademark. Don’t you think your curls look a bit like a sheep’s? Here,” he said, putting them on my head.
An animal again…? Still…
“Just the ears?”
“After the costume race, Kaburagi-sama asked me why I was not wearing a mouse nose.”
“Eh… I don’t think even I could ask you to wear one of those things.”
“It does not sound very comfortable at all.”
“…Yeah, let’s just go with the ears this time.”
“You seem terribly set on these ears.”
And so with a brilliant smile on his face, Satomi-kun sealed my fate as a sheep.
His reasoning was, “Because you’re a sheep in wolf’s clothing, Kisshouin-san. It’s perfect for you!”
Satomi-kun, do I really look that scary?
Now with wearing ears along with the butler uniform, I had hard look at myself in the mirror.
I hoped this wasn’t too bad. What if I was heading into some crazy direction like Iwamuro-kun. I was supposed to be a Rococo Queen but somehow it felt like I was becoming a weird joke character…
Iwamuro-kun and I discussed the maid outfit. Were they going to wear bonnets or a headpiece? Were they going to wear a dress, or a blouse with a corseted high-waisted skirt? Were they going to use side hoops to make the skirts puffy? The point is we discussed a whole bunch of stuff.
Iwamuro-kun was insanely passionate about it and wouldn’t accept anything less than the ideal.
In the end we settled on a bonnets with sausage curl wigs. Somehow the wig looked familiar… Was that supposed to be my hair? Well, not that my hair was as curled as that, though.
“I admired how your hair was like a princess’, Master…” he said, as he fidgeted with his huge body.
It looked like he was finally beyond return. I needed to apologise to his parents.
And also I don’t recall ever becoming a master, or taking a disciple. Don’t be led astray. Your master is in the Judo Club.
Still, I did up his make-up to make him a cute goth loli maid.
Unlike the costume race, I had time to spare this time, so I decided to give him fake eyelashes with teardrops. Maybe fake nails too.
Mn, mn. You’re very pretty, Iwamuro-kun.
Our café was prospering from the get-go.
The boys had originally whined about not wanting to do it, but once the skirts were on they gradually started to compete in looking gorgeous. By the end, some of the quality was mind-blowing. Could it be that there were actually a lot of boys who wanted to cross-dress?
Thanks to that, us butler girls were the complement to the maids.
Our café, Café Sheep Dolly, was the sort where you could ask for a specific maid to serve you. Thanks to that, some of the popular maids were incredibly busy.
Anyhow, apparently the name of our store came from sheep butlers and doll-like maids, but I was the only one wearing sheep ears, wasn’t I?
By the way, Café Sheep Dolly does not use, and has never used, Genetically Modified Food.
Suddenly, somebody asked for me.
The first person to select me was Tomoe-senpai!
“I came, Kisshouin-san! Cute ears. A sheep(hitsuji) because you’re a butler(shitsuji)?”
“So it appears…”
So it was weird? A bit late to change though.
“Well then, Miss Sheep, I’d like this rum raisin pound cake set, please.”
“Yes, coming up!”
I quickly left to take his order to the kitchen.
He came just to see me! I was so happy! Ehehe, and he said that my sheep ears were cute!
Somehow it felt like things were really about to pick up!
After Tomoe-senpai, some of my friends from other classes came to visit. At one point Ririna even swaggered in and said,
“Hey you! The weird butler! Bring me some tea, now!”
I had quite a number of people ask for me. I was quite proud of my number, but in the end I still lost to goth loli Iwamuro-kun.
Satomi-kun praised me too.
“As expected of Kisshouin-san! Her ability to bring in customers is amazing!”
Tomorrow the school festival would be opened to the public. Better do my best!
When it was time for my shift break I went to visit the Handicrafts Club.
Each year they would make a wedding dress for the school festivals. Today they were unveiling the dress that they had begun designing and creating since April, the combined effort of the entire Handicrafts Club.
It was embroidered with intricate designs up to the cuffs, and amazing in a way that you’d never have expected it was made by high schoolers.
Since I was a (provisional) member, I added just one fabric rose to it. Back when I was silently watching them work on the dress, they invited me to help. I definitely didn’t pressure them into it.
A number of people were in the room looking at it, Class Rep included. Truly a maiden entranced.
I snuck up behind him.
“Did you also want to try it on, Class Rep?”
The maiden Class Rep was visibly reddening. I see, I see. I hope your dream comes true, one day.
At that moment, Iwamuro-kun suddenly showed up as well. Yet another maiden entranced by it.
The maiden Class Rep, and the maiden from the Judo Club. It was a chance meeting of maidens.
The next day, Café Sheep Dolly was hitting it big.
Although the school festival was opened to outsiders now, they still required a ticket to get in so only friends and acquaintances of the students here could do so.
“Invite me too!” Dog Lover-kun had asked, but it would be annoying to be called a dog at school, so I politely declined him. Also I could already see him suggesting dog ears instead of the sheep ears. I was already being treated like some kind of sheepdog here so I didn’t need anything to jinx it.
Aoi-chan’s school festival was today as well, so she couldn’t come. What a shame.
As I was recalling this, somebody nominated me.
It was Sakura-chan and Akisawa-kun.
“Hello, Kisshouin-san. Sakurako came to visit so I brought her here.”
Our cross-dressing maids grew noisy at the thought of Akizawa-kun bringing a girl along.
“Reika-san, that butler outfit suits you very well. Those ears are interesting, too.”
Her eyes were totally laughing at me. Hmph.
Satomi-kun appeared from the staff-only area too.
“Welcome, Fukioka-san. Are you touring the school with Akizawa today?”
“Long time no see, Satomi-kun. I heard that Reika-san was wearing men’s clothing and I simply had to see.”
“I see. You two were friends as well?”
“Yes. I have been friends with Reika-san since our early days in primary.”
I’d been wondering for a while now, but what happened to not using honorifics? And what was with that modest smile she had on?
I could hear words like ‘pure’ and ‘yamato nadeshiko’ muttered amongst our cross-dressing maids. Amazing, Sakura-chan. You’ve fooled them all. Your abilities as a faker are something legendary.
The two of them were going to tour the school now. It seemed that her real goal was to let the whole school know that she existed, and thus holding back any other girls who would think to get close to him.
That fact that Akizawa-kun had no idea about her plots made him lucky in a way.
In the afternoon, things suddenly got noisy. It turns out that Emperor and Enjou had come to Café Sheep Dolly! And following in behind them were Yurie-sama and Aira-sama! Oh, and Maihama-san too I guess.
The whole place descended into chaos at their arrival. Since they didn’t ask for anybody in particular, I went to serve them.
“Long time no see, Reika-chan!” called Aira-sama.
I greeted everybody in return.
“Kisshouin-san,” Enjou smiled, “First a rat, and now a sheep? Everybody’s talking about it, you know.”
“Where’s the sheep nose?” criticised Kaburagi.
“A nose would make it difficult to breathe.”
“Take this more seriously.”
What the hell was this guy’s problem.
“For the lady of the Kisshouin-family, you sure wear strange things,” jabbed Maihama-san as she fiddled with her hair. I guess she wasn’t happy that Kaburagi had spoken to me.
“Ema,” Yurie-sama chided “I’m sorry about her, Reika-san.”
“Yurie-oneesama~” whined Maihama-san, before continuing.
“Dressing up, fasting, you sure do a lot of odd things, Reika-san. Huhu,” she laughed.
Don’t bring up the fasting!
“That sounded an awful lot like criticism of Masaya’s mum. Maybe I should tell Obasama about this,” smiled Enjou.
Suddenly Maihama-san was eager to change her mind. Idiot. Also, well said, you damned schemer.
When I had finished taking their orders and stepped into the kitchen, the five of them were still the centre of attention.
Maihama-san was sitting next to Kaburagi and trying all sorts of conversation starters. Kaburagi looked fed up as he diverted every attempt. Yurie-sama and Aira-sama were having fun evaluating each maid.
Getting so friendly with Kaburagi in Suiran was the same as making an enemy of many of the girls. Because of that, the café was increasingly filled with dangerous glares. Maihama-san only responded with with a triumphant smile though. Scaaary!
Satomi-kun handed me some tea, and the complimentary sheep cookies that we only gave to female customers.
I placed one down in front of each of them. Yurie-sama and Aira-sama had yellow sheep butter cookies. Maihama-san got a black sheep cookie.
Those black sheep cookies were ones that only certain customers got. Now get the hell out, you troublemaker!
When the five of them were leaving, Aira-sama looked apologetic.
“Sorry for making you uncomfortable, Reika-chan.”
It hadn’t been her fault at all.
As for Kaburagi, Maihama-san was still orbiting him, and he still looked fed up as he left.
While I was feeling exhausted, Iwamuro-kun stood next to me.
“What half-baked curls. She’s nothing compared to you, Master.”
…Yeah. Thank you, Iwamuro-kun.
A month later when the term-end test results were posted, Kaburagi Masaya’s name was not amongst them.