Mai-HiME Fan Fiction ❯ Mai-HiME: Royal Flush ❯ Chapter 1 ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

“So tell me again why you're not going to the lake for the semester-end party?” Chie asked quietly, as she leaned against the doorframe to her best friend's dormitory flat. She felt nervous for some odd reason and had taken to twisting the chain on her all-important cell phone to relieve some of the tension. There was no rhyme or reason for her nervousness, when she really thought about it. Chie had known Aoi for what seemed like an eternity; their bond strong, yet fluid. It encased them like the warm arms of summer every time they were together.
“Chie-chan, you know that I can't afford to. It's bad enough that I have to borrow money from you sometimes to get by as it is.” Aoi replied, her voice muffled by the blouse she pulled over her head as she dressed for work. The spectacled girl drew in her breath with a slight hiss as she caught a glimpse of Aoi's ample cleavage before the shirt settled over her slim torso.
“Guess it wouldn't do any good to beg, plead and offer myself up to you as an incentive to come, eh?” Chie joked, though she could barely hear the words; her heart was knocking around in her chest like a taiko drum.
“Tempting, but I can't this time.” Aoi blinked back hidden tears when she thought of how frustrating it was to have to miss out on spending time with her What? Wishful thinking kind of lover? friend. She was thankful that someone chose to knock at the door at that precise moment. Stepping past Chie to open it, she brushed just close enough to illicit a poorly concealed moan from her. With a hint of a mischievous grin to the gossip hound for good measure, Aoi greeted the caller in her usual effusive manner.
“Midori-san! What brings you here?”
“Actually, I was looking for that hellraiser roommate of yours,” Midori chuckled.
“I think she said she was going to the cafeteria to get something to eat. She skipped lunch today.”
“And class, too, apparently,” the boisterous teacher muttered sotto voce.
“Pardon me?”
“Hmm? Oh it's nothing, nothing at all. I'm just getting together a little bit of entertainment and I was sure that she'd want to play.”
Midori's announcement piqued the interest of Chie who had been standing out of sight until that point.
“Entertainment, eh? If you're setting this up, that can't be good. It probably won't even be legal,” Chie smirked.
“Oi, Mashiro forgave me for that Iron Chef thing already. Besides,” Midori performed some sleight of hand and a deck of Las Vegas style playing cards appeared. A slow devious smile slid across her face as she flipped the deck back and forth between her fingers. “Who can resist a friendly game of skill?”
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“Awww Natsuki, everyone else is playing. Don't ruin the fun. Come join us,” Mai pleaded, tugging on her classmate's sleeve to emphasize her request. She and Shizuru had been on their way for a night of shopping in the city when Mai intercepted them near the student common room. Midori soon showed up with the other HiMEs (except for Yukino, who begged off, claiming that Haruka had assigned her several tasks for the upcoming sakura viewing party that needed to be done on Suzushiro-time) and Chie (“What? You think I'm going to miss out on Midori's wild party? Not a chance!) to see how Mai would manage to get the school's most inaccessible student to do the unexpected.
“Midori said that it would just be a game of cards, Natsuki. How bad could it be?”
A scowl of disapproval creased her brow at the mention of their troublesome teacher's name. “I haven't forgotten her last HiME bonding attempt,” she growled, recalling the quite dreadful (though some would say totally hilarious) karaoke party.
Mai winced at the shared recollection. She had to admit that wasn't one of their shining moments…still it had been rather fun. Not one to give up easily, she knew that she'd have no choice but to use her final option. “Say, didn't you tell me that you owed me one for that time Mikoto and I saved you from Alyssa-chan?
Natsuki crossed her arms and shook her head in dissent. “Oi oi, don't try to guilt me into this, Tokiha. I don't plan on spending my Friday night getting involved with anything Miss Justice here came up with. You all can play your silly little game without me, right Shizuru?” the dark haired biker tossed her best friend a meaningful look, praying to any kami who would listen that she got the hint.
Shizuru's eyes danced with mischief as she pretended to consider the matter thoroughly. Every tap tap tap of a finger on her lovely chin, echoed in Natsuki's head like a knell of doom. Her eyebrow twitched in anticipation of the decision that was sure to come.
“I think this would be enjoyable. I do not get to do such things very often. Anyway, we can always go shopping tomorrow,” Shizuru said in an offhand manner as she wandered over to place a calm hand on Natsuki's arm. The biker girl knew this was a bad sign. Shizuru deliberately made the gesture as a way of keeping her from losing her temper in front of the others. While it was helpful, it only served to make her looked more whipped than she already was.
Midori clapped a hand over her mouth to control a bad case of the giggles as she noticed the erstwhile HiME's crestfallen face. She almost fell out laughing altogether when Mai burst out, “Yes!! Thank you, Shizuru-san!”
Natsuki shot a dark look at Shizuru, whose own expression remained as placid as ever. “Arggh! Fine! Damn it, fine!” She ran an annoyed hand through her hair and tried desperately to maintain the attitude of cool aloofness that she was famous for. “So…what are we playing anyway?” she asked of no one in particular.
“Strip poker.”