Title: Roommates Diary II - Double Date In Hell (Part XII)
Author: ficeler37
Note: Don't own Mai-Hime. I'll let Sunrise take the credit.
Rating: R
Word count: 2295

Summary: The question is - how much skin can you make Natsuki show?

A/N 1: Lesson number 1 – Never make promises you can't keep. Very near future turns out to be one month and sixteen days. But I hope the length and content of the chapter will make up for the long wait. I'm honored to see so many reviews. In order not to crowd the story, I'll post a separate review in order to reply to most of the readers who reviewed. To those in college, it's midterm season, so good luck with your exams!

A/N 2: Disclaimer: I don't work for a credit card company. Don't get it? Wait till you finish reading this chapter.

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The photo shoot has finally reached its climax point. In between Shizuru walking in and out of the changing room, the story of the soldier and the temptress has progressed from one-sided longing, to timid stolen glances, to mutual appreciation. It is time to create the catalogue backcover that illustrates the ending of this romantic fable where the main characters abandon all inhibitions and let their desire take the rein.

"Somebody push the leather sofa to the center!" Armani is busy playing around with his treasured camera as he barks out commands. His head is bent low like a mad scientist conducting a deadly experiment. "Kuga-san, I would need you to remove some of your clothing for this final photo."

"By some, you mean?" Skeptical glare.

"Down to those high quality boxers that you changed into, please. Next I need you to lie down on your stomach on the sofa." Still not looking up.

"First my bra, now my wife-beater and my baggy jeans? Even Shizuru has more fabric to cover her body!"

"But if you were to pick who has the highest average surface area of skin shown in each photo, Fujino-san still beats you by a mile."

"Argh, screw the math! I'm not some porn star, period."

"Kuga-san, let me reassure you that the only thing the readers see will be your bare back and nothing more. Just so you know, I have already modified the models' postures to keep you from being too exposed. From the concept meeting, the female model was supposed to straddle the male model by the waist while she caresses him on the chest as he lies comfortably on the sofa. Would you prefer me to ask Fujino-san to sit on your stomach and massage your breasts?" Armani turns his head and calls out towards the dressing room. "FUJINO-SAN!"

"I heard my name. Were you two talking trash about me behind my back?" With an intricately embroidered red lace bra and matching mini g-string, Shizuru narrows her eyes jokingly as she walks towards the bickering duo.

"Shizuru! No no no, you got it all wrong. We were uhm …" Oh … wow … LOOK UP! LOOK UP! Her face is the center of the universe!

"Ah, Fujino-san. This ensemble looks lovely on you. I was just asking Kuga-san if she would prefer …"

"Ahhhhhhh." In a moment of panic, Natsuki unzips in a flash and jumps out of her jeans.

Everyone in the room stops in their tracks, drawn simultaneously to the impromptu strip show.

"Ants in my pants?" What kind of pathetic excuse is that? Even Doctor Seuss won't approve! "C'mon, we don't have time to mess around. Shizuru, get into position."

"Ara, am I missing something? What position?" The way Shizuru stares at the younger girl's boxers-look mirrors Columbus's excitement when he discovered America. As soon as this stupid double date is over, we are heading over to the closest department store to stock up some boxers. This is beyond hotness!

"Just come sit on me."

"Oh …" She wants me. She wants me. She wants me …

While Shizuru is zoning out like an overheated robot, Natsuki grabs her by the wrist and pulls her towards the fancy couch. No time to waste. I can't risk reverting back to our previous conversation topic. Within seconds, the blue haired girl is already lying on her stomach on the sofa, secretly enjoying the cool smooth feeling of leather on her long naked legs.

Inches away from the sexiest woman alive (in her humble opinion), Shizuru stands still, her thundering heartbeats drowning out her thoughts. Sure we've had our fair share of physical contact, but most of the time, it's either on my initiative or it's an innocent accident, but this … Natsuki's open invitation to be in such a provocative pose … what if it gets a little too warm down there? With my lacy mini g-string, will Natsuki be able to … Unholy thoughts ravage Shizuru's mind like an unstoppable whirlpool.

"Shizuru?" When the expected pressure on her back never came, Natsuki buries her face between her forearms in embarrassment as she whispers harshly to the immobile Kyoto woman. "Straddle me on the back already. I can feel goosebumps on my legs."

All layers of mental restraints that tame the beast within Shizuru are instantly dismantled. There is no turning back. "Natsuki is so eager to let me ride you like a pony, ho ho." Taking her time in order to savor every brush between their skins, she swings her legs over to the far side of the sofa and lowers herself just above Natsuki's firm buttocks.

"Argh." Natsuki resists the urge to hit her best friend with the back of her heel. Let's just get this over with quickly.

And there I thought Kuga-san was a prude. What a pleasant surprise! I was going to ask Shizuru-san to sit on the sofa. But this is even better.

"What are you waiting for, Armani? Just take the goddamn photo already." Natsuki has no intention to hide the annoyance in her speech.

"How can I snap the picture when one of the models is not even ready?"

What is it now? Natsuki twists her head to scan Shizuru from head to hips, trying to locate clues as to why her best friend is not ready. Looks mighty fine to me. In confusion, she turns her attention to Armani who is pulling on his shirt like he is trying to test out its nonexistent elasticity. Shit …

"Natsuki, did Mr. Armani ask you to be …" TOPLESS??? Must … think … unsexy … thoughts … Tadpole, tadpole, tadpole, nipple … STOP!

"No way, Armani. This is as far as I'll go. I'm not taking my shirt off." Natsuki is alarmed to see Armani rolling up his sleeves. "You come near me with your filthy hands and I'll chew them right off." To reinforce her threat, she gives him a menacing smile which shows off her naturally sharp canine teeth.

"Now now, let's talk like the civil people that we are before we resolve to a barbaric fist fight. I'm willing to compromise. How about we just lift up the back of your top a little? No harm done, right?" Let's see you chew off the hands of … "Fujino-san, would you mind pushing the offending article up just a couple inches?"

Normally Shizuru will not do something so intimate without Natsuki's consent, but with her distracted state of mind, she finds her hands moving by their own will.

"I haven't even said …" The tingling sensation on her lower back halts her sentence. Involuntarily, Natsuki closes her eyes.

With painfully slow speed, Shizuru pushes her fingers underneath white cotton, catching the inner seam with her elegant knuckles. As she massages Natsuki's spine with the skills that will make the most handsomely paid massage therapist cry in shame, more and more of Natsuki's dangerously soft skin is revealed.

Cold fingers, was Natsuki's first thought. So cold that they burn … With each feather-light touch, her body temperature rises a few degrees. The blue haired girl wants to scream, but there is a communication breakdown between her mind and her body. The only movement of which she is capable is to shiver beneath the temptress's magical strokes.

While Kuga-san is in heaven, perhaps I can push the envelope a bit more … Armani closes one eye and watches closely through the camera lens. With his index finger hovering above the shutter release, he speaks quietly to the girls who are completely engrossed in each other."The temptress shall bend down and worship the body beneath her with a kiss."

Shizuru looks down at the flawless skin of the girl she loves. Her head feels heavy. Something is pulling her down. She wonders if the sofa is on top of a mystery spot where gravity goes haywire. She sees more and more of chestnut-colored tresses resting on sweet innocent skin. Her lips, so close to the younger girl's body that if she extends her tongue, she can have a taste of her tiny goosebumps. Right now, she has no doubt that Natsuki can feel her hot breath.

Everyone in the room has made an unspoken agreement to stop breathing. All eyes are on the center of the room, on the two models that demand every bit of one's attention.

"Mr. Armani, please take your photo now." The spell of silence is broken by a graceful Kyoto-ben.

The photographer exclaims in frustration, "But what about the kiss?"

Shizuru's voice comes out like a layer of thin ice covering boiling and bubbling magma. "You seem to have confused Natsuki and me with women in the adult film industry. There are things that I prefer to do behind closed doors, and certainly not in the mist of strangers with cameras."

Snap. Snap. Snap.

That concludes the photo shoot session.

As soon as Armani exits the establishment with his assistants, he spots a black van with no license plate dashing towards him. Naturally he drops all his belongings on the floor while ducking for safety. Luckily for him, the black van slams on its break a few feet away from the fashion guru. The door of the van slides open and an outstretched arm snatches Armani's man bag from the ground. In true mafia film fashion, the van makes a hasty exit as more pedestrians jump out of its way.

"They took my camera and the film inside! Vaffanculo!" Stomp, stomp, stomp – gorilla style.

Immediately, the dutiful assistants use every trick up their sleeves to try to calm down their emotional boss. As if on cue, Minami, Shizuru and Natsuki walk out of the lingerie shop to check out the commotion. The frantic voices that follow can best be described as a diarrhea of the verbal kind.

"This is not happening. I'm just having a bad dream. That's right? I'm dreaming. Ha … ha … ha …" The color slowly drains away in Minami's vision as she stares up in the sky.

To be frank, Natsuki is actually relieved to learn that the photographer can no longer develop pictures of her half naked. She furrows her brows forcefully and bites hard on her lower lip, trying to stop herself from grinning in joy.

So easy to read … Shizuru chuckles softly to herself. She shakes her head and whispers to her object of affection. "I wonder if we'll become instant celebrities on the internet if the thieves decide to develop the film and post our pictures online."

Natsuki feels like a group of vultures just took turns dumping feces on her head. "Shizuru, you wait for me here. I'm going to run after those bastards."

Before Natsuki can take her first step, Shizuru has already wrapped her arms around the younger girl's waist. "Hold still, tiger." Putting on her serious face, the heiress to the Fujino Empire straightens herself and clears her throat. "Everyone, I have a proposition."

What ensues is a series of solutions: Family friends who own a publishing firm and a print shop and are able to speed up the printing of the lingerie catalog; The international Fujino Shizuru fan club members who will do part-time modeling for free; Airline VIP connection that can upgrade Armani's flight to first class. You name it, Shizuru can get it.

At the end of the ordeal, nobody is going home crying or color-blind. Birds are chirping. Planes are flying. Superman is … well, nowhere to be seen. What more can one ask for?

TBC.

----omake begins----

Shizuru and Natsuki have left the lingerie shop and just bought some refreshing drinks from a nearby concession stand, waiting for the Eto brothers to return.

Natsuki: Why do I have the feeling that you are the mastermind behind the attack?

Shizuru: Ara, did I leave behind too many clues?

Natsuki: You took a bathroom break in the middle of the photo shoot. That was pretty suspicious. I mean, you already went once at the theatre. How small is your bladder?

Shizuru: (pout) That's no fun. I was hoping you would say something like … (dramatic pause) … it's only logical to have a sexy villainess behind every passionate crime.

Natsuki: Like hell I'd be thinking about that!

Shizuru: (sniff sniff) So you think I'm not sexy?

Natsuki: (panic mode) I didn't say that!

Shizuru: Then you think I'm super sexy? (raised eyebrow)

Natsuki: (blush) What do you want me to say?

Shizuru: I'll take that as a yes. (cheeky smile)

Natsuki: Whatever … so you got the loot? (hopeful eyes)

Shizuru: (seductive voice) How much are you willing to pay for the pictures?

Natsuki: The size of your wallet is already like Doraemon's fourth-dimensional pocket! Are you serious?

Shizuru: Not at all. (sticks out tongue) There are some things money can't buy.

Natsuki: And for everything else, there is Mastercard. (reaches into her pocket and pulls out a credit card)

Shizuru: Ooooo, I'm scared. Are you threatening to papercut me to death with the dull side of your credit card?

Natsuki: Actually, I was thinking about … (saunters over with an innocent smile) … THIS!

Shizuru: Hahahaha! Not … fair … (rapid breathing)

Who knew? A mere Mastercard can tickle Fujino Shizuru's funny bone. Of course, this is only possible when the attacker is Kuga Natsuki, possessor of Xena-level strength and insider information about the Fujino ticklish spots, who is able to bind Shizuru's arms with a single grip while using a credit card to make contact with her prisoner's skin strategically.

Monthly access to high speed internet: $50.

Picturing Shizuru and Natsuki living the life that they love and loving the life that they live: Priceless.

----omake ends----