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The Audit

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Diana Cavendish didn’t even need to look at the last address on her list. By now, she had memorized which roads to take and exactly how long it would the route would take her. Climbing into her car and sighing, she checked the last name on her list one more time.

 

Atsuko Kagari

 

Around the city and even the country, the Cavendish name was known for two main businesses: Cavendish Medical and Cavendish Accounting. Diana’s mother, Bernadette, ran the medical company. She used to work alongside her sister, Daryl, before her need for wealth led her to found an accounting firm in the same family name. Despite their separate paths, the two sisters cared deeply for each other, Daryl using every loophole and cent she could find to fund her sister’s life-saving surgery while Bernadette gave Daryl’s clients discounts at all their medical centers.

Which is what led Diana to where she was at. Although she wanted to study medicine and become a doctor, she knew all too well how people would try to use different tax laws against her mother’s establishment. In order to broaden her skill set, she decided to train under her Aunt Daryl while she, in turn, sent her daughters to work under Bernadette. All in all, it was a great learning experience. There was only one hiccup.

 


 

Diana knocked on the apartment door, making sure her tie and black suit was straight. Behind her, she heard footsteps before a clanging noise and very angry Japanese. Finally, the door opened, revealing a relatively petite, brown-haired Japanese woman. Parts of her hair were tied back in a short ponytail while the rest of the length ran past her shoulders and a few bangs stopped right above her red eyes.

“Hi! Can I help you?” she asked.

Diana, realizing she was staring, cleared her throat. “Are you Atsuko Kagari? Independent singer, songwriter, and performer?”

“Yup! That’s me! Call me Akko!” she said, smiling brightly.

“...I see. My name is Diana Cavendish. I work for Cavendish Accounting, and I am here to speak with you about your finances. May I come in?”

“Oh. Of course.”

Akko stepped out of the way, allowing the blonde to walk into the apartment. Surprisingly, contrasting with her personality, it was relatively sparse. From what she could gather, there seemed to be a bedroom, a bathroom, an open living-dining-kitchen room, and a closed off room which Diana could only assume was an office space. Akko navigated the two toward her couch while Diana set her folder on the coffee table.

“Would you like anything to drink? Water? Coffee? Tea?”

“Some tea would be nice,” said Diana, partially distracted as she began to lay out the documents. She was so engrossed with her work that she barely noticed the cup being placed in front of her, giving her gratitude as she took a sip without looking. The tea, however, cleared her mind of any tax jargon.

“I must say, while different, this tea is quite good,” said Diana, looking over to a now seated Akko. “What kind is it?”

“Japanese Plum Tea,” pronounced Akko with a smile. “My personal favorite. Glad you enjoyed it.”

“Thank you for offering. Now, on to business…”

Diana began to systematically go through each of Akko’s financial faults, from her low credit score to her late tax payments. In addition, she did not have many backup funds in her account, something required in order to continue to be under Cavendish Accounting’s care (though more out of concern and less about class discrimination). Although Diana was initially upset over how poor the woman’s record was, the sparse apartment with cheap furniture and few decorations painted a clear picture. Still, it took Akko yawning to bring Diana out of her speech.

“Ms. Kagari, are you listening?”

“I told you to call me Akko,” mumbled the brunette. “I thought hiring your services meant that you guys would take care of everything.”

A tick mark formed on Diana’s forehead.

“That is certainly not the case in our company. Although we try to help as much as possible, it is ultimately your responsibility to learn so you don’t have to keep relying on us. I believe that was made very clear in our Terms and Service. Did you not read it?”

“...I mean...I went to the last page and signed my name…”

“Unbelievable! How did you know we didn’t just steal everything you have?”

“Because I trusted your company. Why? Do you read every line in the Terms and Service?”

“Of course I do!”

Surprisingly, that is what snapped Akko awake. “Seriously?”

“Yes. My mother and aunt had some...close calls when it came to those,” said Diana, remembering her aunt pouring through pages of documents before threatening to stab Paul Hambridge for trying to pull a fast one on her.

“The point is, Akko, is that we have a lot of work to do if you want to get all the benefits you’re applying for.”

Akko groaned as she and Diana began working.

 


 

 

That was months ago. Out of all of her assigned clients, Akko was always the hardest to work with. She could never find the proper papers needed and often did reckless things with the little money she had. Diana even volunteered to do an informal audit to help speed along the process to get Akko a lower tax rate, which she refused. With Akko, it was always the same problem: Missing document, trashed receipt, not wanting Diana to snoop around. She was always in minor debt, always a klutz, and always missing for unexplainable periods of time. It was infuriating!

Even as they got closer and Akko invited Diana to her various performances at small venues, the woman was still a pain to work with. She would invite her to a myriad of locations, like Diana’s favorite cafe, a high-end ice cream parlor, or even just simply the park. She became increasingly distracting as Diana found her work efficiency slowing down at the slightest touch from the singer. All of Diana’s favorite foods and teas were served at her apartment, despite Akko’s debt, in an effort to hinder the learning auditor. Heck, she even stopped Diana from doing her job by singing with her beautiful, smooth and majestic voice!

Diana calmed herself down. She had finally gotten permission from her aunt to do an official audit of Akko’s living situation. With this, she would be finished. Although the thought of not seeing the annoying, distracting, and impulsive girl anymore pained her for whatever reason, she was at the very least glad that Akko would finally be taken care of-

Wait.

Diana, glad that she stopped at a light, looked up to see a massive billboard.

 

RED MOON WITCHES! LIVE PERFORMANCE THIS FALL!

 

It wasn’t the massive, gaudy advertisement that bothered her. It wasn’t the sight of a fiery redhead guitarist, an auburn-haired bassist, a meek blonde pianist, or a pink-haired drummer that drew her attention. It was the sight of the lead singer. Although she was wearing a red cloak (that showed off more than Diana would like) and witch hat and her eyes were covered by a masquerade mask, the figure was undeniably Akko Kagari.

Suddenly, it made sense. The missing days, Akko’s talent and slight familiarity, her spending habits, and the closed room. Akko was secretly part of one of the biggest bands in the entire world.

And she was trying to get pity money.

As soon as the light turned green, Diana sped off, overcome with rage. This girl could have paid off everything she owed. She was practically a millionaire! And yet...she dragged Diana through days of paperwork hell! Wasted time! She could’ve helped dozens of other clients in the timeframe she helped this performer! While Diana was secretly welcome for the work experience, it was overshadowed by her anger with Akko. Before she knew it, she was banging on Akko’s door.

“I know who you are, Red Witch!” shouted Diana. “You probably have millions, and yet you’re in debt and dragging me all over the place!”

Diana could swear she heard moving on the inside, so she resumed pounding her fist on the door and spamming the doorbell.

“You have ten seconds to open this door! I am going to perform an audit of your apartment and give you the highest damned tax rate I can find!”

As Diana’s hand pulled away, the door opened.

“How about you audit this?” asked Akko seductively.

Diana’s red anger went straight to her head in red embarrassment. Akko was wearing the sexiest lingerie Diana had seen (though to be honest, it was her first time seeing someone else wearing it). Deep red, one-piece, and made of silk, it hugged every part of her nicely, a deep V diving between her middle while floral patterns decorated the translucent weave around her stomach and hips. In an instant, Diana was frozen, about to faint.

“Now,” said Akko, grabbing Diana’s tie and pulling her face close to hers, “shall we begin?”

 


 

“I’m still mad at you,” said Diana, pulling the sheets up to her eyes in a pout.

“I’d beg to differ. Well, actually, you were begging, but-”

“Akko, please!” said Diana, before blushing red since the phrase she used just now was also used a few minutes ago.

Diana, who was facing away from the performer, felt Akko’s arms wrap around her as the other woman pulled herself closer. As much as she hated to admit it, it felt...nice. She relaxed her shoulders, breathing out.

“Why did you do that?” asked Diana.

“Do what?” asked Akko, raising her eyebrows.

“Pretend that you were financially unstable? Because of you, I spent hours going over your cases, trying to help you in the best way possible. Now, I feel like I just wasted my time.”

Akko stayed quiet, ashamed at the suffering she caused Diana. “It...it was a selfish and stupid reason. You wouldn’t want to hear it.”

“Akko. I am a part of an accounting firm. I hear selfish and stupid things every day. Please...just tell me.”

Diana felt Akko sigh on her neck.

“I...I wanted to see you again.”

Diana swiftly turned around to see Akko eye-to-eye, glaring daggers her way.

What?

“I normally do my taxes on time, but after our tour, there were unchecked things, which is why you had to come in. I...I figured that if you had to keep coming back to fix my issues, I would eventually work up enough courage to…” Akko didn’t finish her sentence. “Instead, I used the time with you as an excuse to get to know you better, and for you to get to know me better.” She looked down in shame. “I’m...I’m sorry. I wasn’t considerate of your work or feelings.”

Diana felt satisfied by the answer she finally got, but her mouth had other ideas. “So the first time you saw me, you had to see me again?”

“Oh absolutely!” said Akko, her enthusiasm returning. “I could tell you cared about the work you’re doing and every client you worked with.”

Diana smiled gently at the praise.

“Also, everything about you was super hot, from your deep eyes and your silky voice and the way you looked in a suit and your beautiful hair and-”

“I get it, Akko!” said Diana, her face burning.

“I also saw someone who tends to forget about herself. So I tried to get you out of that workaholic attitude. Why else do you think I invited you to all those places?”

“...To distract me from doing my job?”

Akko let out a laugh, a sound that Diana knew she wanted to hear again.

“The point is,” said Akko, suddenly looking small again, ”I like you, and if you’re not still too mad at me for doing all of that, would you like to-”

Before Akko could finish her sentence, Diana pressed a soft kiss onto Akko’s lips.

“I’d love to.”

 


 

Aunt Daryl smirked at the sight of Diana’s neck. “So, how was your ‘audit’?”