Patricia's Maid: Chapter 1

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"I want a maid," I sighed.

It was another tiring day at Ryōō High. The school was over, and we were waiting for some friends. Or I wasn't actually waiting for anyone, I was just keeping company to Kagami Hiiragi, who was waiting for Konata and her twin sister Tsukasa. To tell the truth, I was a bit envious of Hiiragi, because Konata was her best friend and she always got to spend time with the bluenette. Maybe they were even more than friends. Whenever they were together, there always seemed … a yuri vibe. I didn't like it, for some reason. Never bothered to think why. Besides, I was thinking of something else at the moment.

"Eh?" Hiiragi said.

"A maid," I repeated.

"Oh, a maid, huh? You live by yourself instead of in a dorm or anything, right?"

"Right. Cooking, laundry, manga, and anime … I have a really busy schedule!"

"I guess it'd be hard if you're not used to it. So I can understand why you would want to hire a housekeeper."

"No, no. Not a housekeeper. But a maid!"

"Aren't they the same thing?"

What is she saying? She's born Japanese and she can't tell the difference? All Japanese people love maids! "No, they are totally different! What have you been learning in this country?"

"I think your impression of Japan is a bit off."

Certainly, it was Hiiragi's impression that was off, and not by just a bit! Sometimes, she was like an old woman, not at all aware of the modern trends and modern Japanese society. Not that I said anything, since Hiiragi was at least as scary as those obaasans are.

"Yo, guys, what's Kagami lecturing you about this time?"

That was Konata, followed closely by Tsukasa Hiiragi, Kagami's little twin sister, and Miyuki, the meganekko with big boobs.

"Why would I be lecturing anyone?" Kagami growled. "Patricia just told me that she wants a maid. And she seems to think maids – meido, whatever – are common in this country. They are not! It's an otaku thing."

"Kagamin, wouldn't you like to have a cute maid? Whom you could order to do anything you want?" Konata asked innocently. With an emphasis on the word anything.

Kagami's cheeks turned slightly red and she very strongly denied that such a desire would ever cross her mind.

"I would! That would be heaven!" I, of course, exclaimed.

Konata cheered and gave me a high-five. Tsukasa simply stared at us wide-eyed. Miyuki stuttered something about Japanese culture, too flustered to give us a full lecture – really, she was the one who gave lectures, not Kagami.

Kagami had already turned her back at us and was walking away, muttering something about otakus. Konata glanced at me, but then she ran after her best friend and a probable love interest, leaving me all alone. As expected. I'm a foreigner and thus always an outsider in the end, no matter how much I know about Japanese culture.

So I just sighed deeply and headed home, alone. Or I would, but I still had a six hour work shift today.

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Uh, why does my apartment have to be on the second floor? It's embarrassing to take the elevator just to second floor, yet it's hard to climb the stairs. No, actually it isn't that hard, but tonight it was. Konata didn't show up at work and I had to work twice as hard.

And while everyone is envious of my big boobs, it's not always fun. After so many hours of carrying stuff my bra starts to chafe and my shoulders and back hurt due to the weight. Well, in a minute I can throw all my clothes off and relax. It's probably inappropriate to be a practical nudist even when it's your home and you live alone. Although the look on the delivery girl's face was priceless when I once forgot I was nude and went to answer the door. Wish I had had a camera ready. And she was bringing me a bundle of yuri manga, of all things. In a transparent package, naturally.

So, the first thing I did was to take all my clothes off. When I went to the kitchen, I was a bit surprised about how clean it was. Had I cleaned up yesterday after work? And washed the dishes? Maybe I had. Couldn't remember it, though. Maybe I had been too tired to remember. Weird.

Speaking of weird, there was another odd thing in the kitchen. On the table, a small golden bell. A handbell, to be more exact. I didn't remember owning such a thing, but maybe I did. It was just the kind of bell you would ring and a maid would then make an appearance.

So I picked the bell up and shook it. It created a bright ring. As I put it down again, I heard footsteps and turned to the doorway.

And there she was.

A maid, I mean. A very young-looking maid, or at least her height was childlike. The top of her head would barely reach my nose. Her long, blue hair was tied up into a topknot, under a white bonnet. She was wearing a rather skimpy black dress, a miniskirt, and a white apron. Her shoes had high heels, so she was actually even shorter than she looked like. She had a slightly apprehensive expression – like, a deer caught in headlights sort of expression – and she was staring at me with her large blue eyes.

"Konata!" was the first thing I gasped.

But it couldn't be. She didn't have an ahoge – well, of course not, since her hair was tied up – but also her eyes were of different color than Konata's. Otherwise, she was the spitting image of her. With the mole on her cheek and everything.

"No, you're not Konata," I added. "You look exactly like my friend, but –"

"Ahem," she interrupted me. "I am Inata-chan. Your new maid. Koizumi Inata."

I just stared at her. I must be seeing things. Why would there be a maid in my home? My first reaction was to pinch my arm. It hurt, but then again, maybe I was dreaming that it hurt. At this point I also remembered that I was completely naked.

A small scream escaped from my lips, then I grabbed the nearest thing I could cover myself with. It happened to be the tablecloth. The bell I had just rang fell onto the floor and rolled at the feet of the "maid".

"S-since when I have had a maid?!" I gasped.

The person knelt down, and bowed so that her forehead touched the floor. "Welcome home, mistress Patricia-sama. Inata-chan is your new maid, sent by the Japanese Maid Association. Inata-chan was chosen to serve you, mistress. The Association sends part-time maids to serve foreign exchange students, among other very important guests of honor to our country."

She held a little pause, probably to let the information to sink into my head.

"Inata-chan is simply a maid-in-training, so Inata-chan apologizes for any mistakes she will make. Inata-chan hopes you are not dissatisfied by Inata-chan's appearance and behavior. Mistress is the very first person Inata-chan has the honor to serve."

I pulled out a chair and sat down, unable to answer anything at this point. She kept kowtowing on the floor, until I remembered something from Japanese etiquette.

"Oh, you can stand up, Koizumi-san –"

"Oh, mistress, please don't call Inata-chan that!" she gasped as she raised her head. "Inata-chan is not worthy of such a honorific. Mistress can call Inata-chan 'maid', or just 'you', or 'Inata', or …"

She gulped, and her voice turned almost into a whisper. "Or 'Inata-chan,' if you are so kind."

"Inata-chan?"

She was blushing a bit now. "And as long as Inata-chan is here, Inata-chan will do anything you say, mistress."

"Anything?"

"Yes. It's Inata-chan's duty to serve mistress in every way. Of course, Inata-chan will clean up, do the laundry, run errands, do the cooking, and so on – these go without saying. But if there's anything, anything, you want, mistress, Inata-chan is yours to command."

I was not dreaming. And this didn't feel like a joke either. Konata pulls jokes, but she couldn't come up with anything like this. No way.

"I – I don't know what to say. Looks like you cleaned up the kitchen already? Well, then … uh, could you make me a cup of tea or something?"

She jumped up, looking cheerful and energetic. "Yes, mistress!"

She started taking out the kettle and tea pot – but turned around once more and said, "Oh, mistress. Inata-chan almost forgot. If I make any mistakes, or if I displease mistress in any way, you must punish me."

"Punish you?"

"Yes. As Inata-chan said, Inata-chan is merely a maid-in-training, and she needs a lot of punishment so that she will learn."

"Uh, what kind of punishments?"

"Mistress has to decide that. Mistress can punish Inata-chan in any way mistress desires."

She turned back to the stove, leaving me in my thoughts. Confused ones, that is. First of all, why hadn't I known about Japanese Maid Association? I thought I knew a lot of Japanese culture, especially of the maid culture, but this was totally new to me. I could understand that they would send maids to serve foreigners out of courtesy, that was such a typically Japanese thing to do. Wait, how did she get in here?

"Koizumi-sa … I mean, Inata-chan, how did you get in here?"

"Oh. Mistress', um, landlady let Inata-chan in. Mistress should give Inata-chan a spare key for the next time. It would be easier if Inata-chan has a key and can come here whenever she has time."

She was constantly talking in kenjougo, humble speech, that is. That, I could understand because I did it myself at work. It felt weird when someone else talked to me like that all the time, in my own home. Yet I couldn't obviously ask her to talk to me normally. Because she was a maid. Well, I could order her to do that, but that would be wrong.

I got the feeling she was embarrassed or pleased about something. Her cheeks were blushing a bit.

"Inata-chan?"

Yeah. That was it. She tried to hide her smile. She just loved being called "Inata-chan". Weird.

"Yes, mistress?"

"Oh, nothing. Please do continue your, hm, work."

I couldn't stop watching her. She had such a cute little butt. And she seemed to deliberately bend down a lot so that her skirt lifted up.

"Is the tea to your satisfaction, mistress?" she asked, and I snapped out of my trance. She had already poured me a cup and was waiting for me to take a sip.

So I did that. Delicious tea, though it had taken me some time to get used to Japanese tea, which was nothing like what we have in the US.

"Oh, yes. This is great. Thank you, Inata-chan."

"Oh, please do not thank Inata-chan, mistress. Inata-chan is a servant, and servants are not to be thanked. Mistress should either ignore Inata-chan, until mistress wants to order Inata-chan to do something or to punish her."

Still, she was obviously pleased that I had thanked her.

I couldn't think of anything to say, so I just finished the tea. She took the cup and finished washing and cleaning up, while I still kept staring at her graceful movements.

"Mistress, it's time for Inata-chan to go."

"You are not staying?"

I hoped I didn't sound disappointed, because, I sort of were.

"Sorry, mistress. Inata-chan cannot stay this time, but promises to arrange more overnight stays at a later time."

"Oh, it's okay. You don't need to stay … and …"

She waited until I continued. "… I'm still quite a bit surprised about all this. Are you sure you …"

"Yes, mistress?"

I wanted to ask, "Are you sure you're not Konata?" but she had already said that she isn't. And her eyes … well, I knew about colored contacts and stuff. But she sounded different. And why on Earth would Konata cook up such a story and come here to serve me as a maid? It didn't make any sense.

"Nothing. We'll meet again…?"

"Inata-chan will be back tomorrow evening, six p.m. or so. Oh … about the key, mistress?"

I sighed, stood up, and took the spare key from the medicine cabinet. "Here you are."

"Thank you, mistress."

She took the key, knelt onto the floor and bowed deeply again. "Good night, mistress."

Her cheeks were blushing again as she put on her shoes and left. I didn't even say good night, because I was still so confused about everything.

"Oh."

I realized that I was still naked and that the cloth had slipped off. Ah well, she had enjoyed the view. And I had enjoyed staring at her, so it was only fair.

A few minutes later I stood up again and headed for the bath. Had all this been just a dream? No, obviously not. Because all the dishes had been washed and the bell was still there.

"Japanese Maid Association … ha!"

Of course there was no such thing. What a joke.

But … even if this was a joke … she would be back tomorrow. I really looked forward to it.

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The maid is named Koizumi (surname) Inata (given name):

小泉 Koizumi

稲太 Inata