Part of the Chuck series.
It's actually not a trap.
I checked the address on my smartphone one last time, and finally pressed the doorbell. Someone fumbled with keys on the other side of the door before slowly opening it, revealing a cute girl face. She stared at me, silently urging me to state my intent.
“Hum… Is Chuck around? I’m Leroy, an old friend of his. He told me I’d be able to meet him here.”
She blinked a few times, carefully examining my face and making me wonder whether I was mistaken. At some point, she slowly nodded, removed the door chain I’d failed to notice until now and opened wide to let me enter. Once I was in, she locked the door shut and coughed a few time.
“Been a while, hasn’t it?” Chuck’s voice said out of the blue, making me jump.
I looked around, trying to determine where my ex-captain was hiding. The girl was grinning.
“I’m right here, Ronnie,” she said with Chuck’s voice.
“I’m surprised too!” she said excitedly, impressing me with her feminine intonations.
It was hard to believe how much control she’d managed to achieve on her voice. “You bleached your hair!” she exclaimed.
“You- you changed sex! I… why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
She shrugged, a mischievous smile drawn across her face. “You never asked. Plus, I didn’t know until a few months ago.”
“A few months ago? What do you m-”
She put her index finger on my lips, shushing me. “Calm down, Ronnie. All things in due time. Do you still take two sugars in your coffee?”
“What about the Spear? Still a front-line captain?”
Small clouds seemed to appear across her face. She crossed her arms, looking away from me.
“Maxwell still is the commander. Remember how much of a chauvinist he is?”
I glanced at the clock on her wall, trying to avoid her gaze. She sighed. “If it hadn’t been for Nat’ being short an enchantress, I’d have been dismissed altogether.”
I couldn’t help but crack a smile at that. “You‘re an enchantress? Talk about a career change.”
She chuckled, caught up in my contagious laughter. “Yeah, I know, right? The most surprising part is, I actually am a pretty decent enchantress. Nat’ expects a lot from me.”
“Oh, I know!” she exclaimed in a slightly inebriated tone – we’d opened a few bottles. “You should try wearing a corset.”
The first thing I noticed upon coming back to my senses was an intense pain in my midsection. I then opened my eyes, and realized the night was long gone. I was laying on a soft bed, under a light pink blanket; Chuck (she still hadn’t told me her girl name) was nowhere to be seen.
I wiggled a little to try and stimulate my body, and started to acknowledge the various items I was wearing. And there were many. The corset that was constricting me was only the most noticeable part of the mess Chuck had put me in.
I’d managed to get out of the pink latex gloves and socks (and to discover matching expertly-painted, eye-catching pink nails underneath)… and that was pretty much it. The maid dress I was in was shut close by a padlock, and prevented me from reaching the corset. I’d need Chuck’s help to free myself.
She’d left a message on the fridge’s door.
A colleague of mine had an emergency, so I’m replacing her. I’ll be back around nine, make yourself at home until then.
About your dress… Well, you probably figured that out already, but you’re not getting out of it alone. So sorry about that.
There was a heart drawn with red lipstick right where her name should have been. I wasn’t sure how to react to that. Or to the remainder of the note, for that matter.
“I hope you aren’t mad at me,” she said with a smile, slowly unlacing her high heeled shoes. “I was in a hurry, honest!”
I had been mad at first, but by now the corset’s embrace felt familiar, almost pleasant. Couldn’t exactly complain about it anymore.
Plus, the Roses Ecarlates had just managed an impossible comeback against the legendary Red Lanterns.
Chuck approached, put a cardboard box she’d been hiding in her back on her coffee table, and slowly sat down on my lap, never breaking eye contact with me.
“Would you mind staying here for a while?” she purred. “We’ve got much to discuss.”