"This is a big day, girls!" Satsuki said happily. "The anime convention starts today! There will be a lot of customers! Just be sure to be enthusiastic for all of your new masters. And the regulars, too, of course!"
Misa blushed as Satsuki winked and glanced between her and Usui (who had arrived early to beat the crowd). Hanoka rolled her eyes and smirked at Misa. Honestly, the fuss some people made about Misa and Usui…
"Now, Hanoka, shake off that dark aura!" their boss said cheerfully. "Ah, here's Gon-chan, now everyone's here!"
For the first couple of hours into the shift, the only diners were a handful of regulars. Hanoka had been assigned to the Idiot Trio's table, and their disappointment that Misa wasn't serving them was clear; though they were polite, they kept glancing enviously as Misa served other tables. This did nothing to improve Hanoka's mood. And Misa was assigned to Usui's table. As usual. Satsuki had always been a "shipper" of Misa and Usui, and now that the two were a couple it had gotten worse…
"What can I get for you this morning, master?" Misa said, smiling at Usui as if he was just any customer. This made him laugh.
"You're really good at this, pretending you're not my personal maid," he teased.
"Usui…" Misa scolded lightly.
"Anyway, I'll have a sundae with rainbow sprinkles, chocolate bits, peanut butter chips, marshmallows, and gummy bears…oh, and a double cheeseburger, well done but not too well done, with lightly sautéed onions and a light spread of mustard."
"Anything you like, Master," Misa said, and then added in a tone such that only her boyfriend could hear, "I swear, your orders get crazier every time. The chef's going to think you're weird."
Usui merely grinned.
The rush came at noon, and the maids barely had time to breathe between customers. And what interesting customers they were, as many were dressed up as anime and manga characters. Gon-chan nearly fell over when a couple at one of her assigned tables came in dressed as the lead characters from her favorite anime.
"You're Rosario Vampire fans?" she squealed, nearly sending the tray of food into the girl's lap. "I mean, of course you must be. But I haven't met many people who have even heard of it!"
"Well, the premise is a little complicated," the boy said.
"True," Gon-chan had to admit. "But I'm glad to meet more fans! You two look exactly like Tskune and Moka!"
At this juncture, Hanoka swept by.
"Gon-chan, stop talking, you've got two other tables to attend to," she snapped.
Gon-chan turned a bright shade of red and walked away.
Meanwhile, Misa found herself enjoying the rush. A busy day was oddly invigorating, and the customers were friendly and engaging. Their costumes, too, were fascinating, and she had no doubt that Satsuki would go crazy over them once she finished with the office work and returned to the main floor.
Toward late afternoon, a large group was seated at one of Honoka's tables. They were giving their orders when Misa passed by to take a tray of strawberry treats to a little girl dressed as Sakura from the manga Happy Café.
Six heads turned toward Misa, much to Hanoka's disgust.
"That girl! She looks like Meiya!"
"Hey, ask her if we can take her picture when she comes back!"
"I mean, she totally looks like Meiya and she's not even in a Meiya costume!"
"She looks pretty popular, too!"
Hanoka was barely keeping it together. Perfect Misa, as popular as ever. She set down six grilled cheese sandwiches and six parfaits with shaking hands. Misa, Misa, Misa. Was that all anyone could talk about?
"I love the 'Beautiful Maid' video game, too!"
Hanoka turned to see Satsuki, who was smiling widely.
"I was surprised, too! Misa—that's the girl's name—came in to inquire about jobs and I was absoluted floored to see how much she looked like Meiya!"
Every customer, every employee, whirled to see a red-faced Honoka standing stiffly, a look of rage on her face. The dropped—and now cracked—tray was at her feet, unheeded.
"I AM SO SICK OF HEARING ABOUT PERFECT MISA!" she yelled, and then bolted for the break room.
A rare look of consternation replaced Satsuki's sunny smile, and she moved to go after Hanoka; however, Misa gently pulled her back and smiled sympathetically.
"I'll talk to her."
When Misa entered the break room, Honoka was still shaking with fury, breathing deeply and muttering under her breath. When Misa cleared her throat, she looked up, and if looks could kill…Misa would be dead on the spot.
"Let me guess. You feel sorry for me and want to tell me that I'm a hard worker and people should appreciate me more," Homoka spat.
Misa's eyes widened.
"No! I was going to tell you that you're a jealous, neurotic, high-strung woman who needs to take this less seriously! I can't help how I look. I can't help how 'popular' I am, as you say. I don't care, and it does get pretty annoying sometimes! So there!"
Misa braced for another tirade, but to her amazement, Honoka burst into laughter—amused, hearty laughter, not her usual sarcastic chuckle. She had finally met her match.
"And here I thought I was going to get condescending pity! But here you are, speaking your mind. I like that! You're all right, after all, Misa! I admire people who say what they think!"