The f̴̮̻͈̻̻̕͝ͅo͏̧̬̼͍͓l̢̢̼͠l̵̼̘̣̀͡o̧͖̭͉͉̩̜̼̺͠͞w̠̮͔̞i̦̦͍̱̞͢͠ņ̱̩g̳̬̖͈̲͢ i̸͜s͜͠ a͘͝ c͏̫̝̟̦͖̼͚͖̣̖͓̝̺̮̻́͡͞ͅo̴͈̻̠̭̠̜̜̪̩̝̗̘͈̫̲̜̦͘͡n̴̶͖͇͚͉͇̦͕̠͉͎̦̣͈͙̦ͅt̵̡̛̙̺͎͚͔̠̘̘̯̩͎̻̪͖̼͕̬̕̕i͏̨͖͉͍̼̱̩̼͕́́ǹ̹̟̰̫̰̳̞̹̳̗͚̯͚̲̀ͅu̶̪͖̯̻̲͎̠͖a̷̻̣̺͕̝͇͎̤̙̘̝̝͍͞ͅt̷́҉̸̷͉̮͎̟͉̫͓͇̺̟̭͓̼̯͎̪͖͇i̴҉̨̡̣̥̺̻̼̰̭͍̰͢o̸̢͙̤̥͖̲̞͘͜ṇ̡̨̯̟̫̝͈̭͉̙͉͈͈̜̮̖̺͙͘͢͢ͅ ̴̵̦̘̩̞̰̘̻͜o̵̷̻̻͔̝̲̘̬̥͓f̲͈̪̰͙̞͈̣͚͕̱̺͞ Just Monika.

You

‘But I think I’m going to help out Monika.’

Monika is an understandable choice, one that somehow feels right. As the club president, she has so much to take care of on her own, both for the festival and just for day to day activities. She’s always so cheerful about it, bringing in smiles and cute little writing tips for us all to use. I had always thought she was the prettiest of the girls, who are all very pretty to begin with. Monika is also the one I feel I know least about. I had already known a lot about Sayori from our history as best friends since childhood. I had found time to indulge both Yuri and Natsuki in their interests during my time with the club, partaking in reading literature that went well above my head and manga that was far out of my own tastes. If I’m going to take this time to get to know any of them, it should be Monika.

Monika

‘Yay! That makes me so happy!’

Natsuki

‘Don’t look so eager, Monika.’

Monika

‘I’m allowed to be excited to get to spend some time with our newest member?’

You

‘I wish I could help you all, but I’m sure Monika has a lot to do, being president and all.’

Natsuki

‘She has the easiest job!’

Monika

‘There’s no need to be rude. It was his decision.’

Yuri

‘We all know you don’t need as much help, Monika. He could have helped any of us with harder jobs.’

Monika

‘But he chose me. I’m sure he has his reasons.’

Yuri

‘You’ve been trying to spend time with him ever since he joined.’

Natsuki

‘It’s so obvious.’

Monika

‘Is that so wrong?’

Monika

‘Has he not been reading with both of you?’

Monika

‘Can I not have a chance to get to know him?’

I swallow. A pit forms in my gut as I read through the discussion of my friends fighting over me. I feel like I should say something. I don’t want them to fight, especially not over me, but I just don’t know what to say.

You

‘I’m sorry. I don’t want to upset anyone.’

Monika

‘It’s fine. Please don’t worry yourself about it.’

Natsuki

‘You have half of your other members saying that you shouldn’t have even been an option. It’s not fair to us with harder jobs.’

Yuri

‘The only reason you were even considered is so you can spend more time with him when we all have jobs that we actually need help with.’

Natsuki

‘You always do this.’

Natsuki

‘You use your power as president to steamroll the rest of us when we have real issues.’

Monika

‘I’m sorry you feel that way, Natsuki. But it was his choice.’

Yuri

‘We know, but it isn’t fair that you put yourself into being chosen at all when you don’t need as much help.’

Natsuki

‘For once, I agree with Yuri.’

Natsuki

‘It should have been one of us.’

Monika

‘Please don’t make him feel bad for choosing who he wanted to help.’

You

‘Again, I’m sorry. I really don’t want to cause problems.’

Monika

‘Please don’t worry about them.’

Natsuki

‘Like our president doesn’t.’

Monika

‘Natsuki, there’s no reason to be jealous.’

Natsuki

‘OMG, I’m not jealous, I’m pissed!’

Yuri

‘You do this, you know? You cause problems, we bring them up, and then you accuse us of over reacting!’

Monika

‘Please, both of you. There’s no reason to get upset.’

You

‘Please get along, you guys. It’s really not a competition. I’m sure we’ll all do good with our projects and knock this festival out!’

I really don’t know what to say, but there has always been someone who does when problems have occured between members.

You

‘Sayori, are you okay with this?’

Yuri

‘That doesn’t negate how the rest of us feel.’

Sayori

‘Uh huh.’

Sayori

‘I have to go. Goodbye you guys.’

Sayori has left group chat

Yuri

‘I just don’t understand why, when we have so much else to do, you still have to take actual help from us.’

Natsuki

‘It’s not fair. She just wants to be alone with him while the rest of us are stuck with all the work.’

Monika

‘Oh dear…’

Natsuki

‘You never listen to us. You never try to hear us out!’

Natsuki

‘It’s not fair!’

Natsuki

‘I need this club.’

Natsuki

‘It’s the only place I know I can feel safe and happy.’

Natsuki

‘But I can’t take you, Monika, just brushing off all of our problems for some guy!’

Natsuki

‘You’re supposed to be our president, to help us, but you only ever care about yourself.’

Monika

‘I’m sorry you feel that way, Natsuki.’

Natsuki

‘It’s whatever.’

Natsuki

‘Fuck!’

Monika

‘Something wrong, Natsuki?’

Natsuki

‘My dad just got home early.’

Natsuki

‘I have to go.’

Natsuki

‘You win, Monika. You got what you wanted.’

Natsuki has left group chat

Monika

‘Yuri, are you okay?’

You

‘I’m really sorry about all of this.’

Monika

‘Please, don’t be. You did nothing wrong :)’

Yuri

‘You didn’t.’

Yuri

‘You never do anything wrong. It was all Monika.’

Yuri

‘She interferes so much with how things are done and leaves us no say in the matter.’

You

‘That’s not true. Monika’s been really sweet.’

Yuri

‘To you.’

Yuri

‘And that’s understandable.’

Yuri

‘You’re a really sweet guy.’

Yuri

‘It’s not hard to see why Monika likes you so much.’

Yuri

‘It’s just unfair to the rest of us when we also would like to spend time with you.’

You

“But we’ve spent time together, Yuri. I’ve barely even gotten to know Monika.’

Yuri

‘You want to know Monika? She’s a manipulative bitch who only ever cares about herself!’

Monika

‘Yuri, I’m hurt that you would think that.’

Yuri

‘You did this to take him away from me because you’re bitter and jealous.’

Yuri

‘What if he wants to spend more time with me?’

Yuri

‘What if I want to spend more time with him?’

Yuri

‘He’s the sweetest, most talented and handsome guy I’ve ever known and you’re taking him away from me!’

Yuri

‘You know how much I like him! You know how I feel about him and you still do this!’

Monika

‘Yuri, calm down. Have some tea.’

Yuri

‘You know I want him!’

Yuri

‘You know I need him!

Yuri

‘You know I love him!’

Yuri

‘He is my everything!’

Yuri

‘And you want to take him away from me?!’

Monika

‘Yuri, go make yourself a nice cup of tea.’

Yuri

‘I don’t need tea. I need him.’

Yuri

‘He is the only thing that matters to me.

Yuri

‘He makes me happier than I’ve ever felt before.’

Yuri

‘So happy.’

Yuri

‘So happy.’

Yuri

‘So happy.’

Yuri

‘So happy.’

Yuri

‘So happy!’

Yuri

‘So happy!’

Yuri

‘So happy!’

Yuri

‘So happy!’

Yuri

‘So happy!’

Yuri

‘So happy!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri

‘SO HAPPY!’

Yuri has left group chat

Monika

‘Oh dear.’

Monika

‘I’m sorry you had to read all of that.’

You

‘No, I’m sorry I caused so much trouble.’

Monika

‘You didn’t cause trouble :) You chose who you wanted to choose.’

Monika

‘I think it’s sweet that you picked me.’

You

‘Still, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.’

Monika

‘It isn’t. Natsuki and Yuri were over reacting. Trust me, all of this will blow over. It’s really nothing to worry about :)’

You

‘If you say so. I really like all of you. I don’t want to cause any trouble.’

Monika

‘Just give them some space. They’ll be alright.’

Monika

‘In the meantime, I’m excited I get to hang out with you!’

You

‘Me too!’

Monika

‘Don’t worry, we’ll make it fun to get us both in better moods. Would you like to come over to my place?’

You

‘Sure, I’m free all day starting now.’

Monika

‘Terrific! Here’s my address.’

Monika sends me her address. I copy and paste it into my phone's GPS. It’s a short distance, a ten minute walk to a more secluded area of my own neighborhood.

You

‘Wow, you’re actually really close to where Sayori and I live.’

Monika

‘Where you live.’

You

‘What?’

Monika

‘Where do you live?’

You

‘Just down on Dewberry street.’

Monika

‘Oh, that is close :)’

You

‘Okay if I head there now?’

Monika

‘Sure :) Can’t wait!’

You

‘See you soon!’

I close out the group chat. I start to follow the directions set by the GPS down the sidewalk. My mind stays with all that had transpired. I really had not wanted to cause a rift between all of my friends, but the guilt with which I did weighs heavy on my shoulders. I didn’t think Monika was overstepping her authority by suggestion that she too would like some help. It only makes sense that everyone be given an equal chance. I didn’t think that I was doing anything wrong by picking Monika. Natsuki and Yuri seemed pretty stressed out. Sayori didn’t say much. Usually she’s the first to get involved when members start arguing. It’s strange. I hope they’re okay. All of them.

I try to put it out of my mind as I make my way to Monika’s house. While a close enough walk to where I live, the road she lives down is a smaller turnoff. It passes through no other houses on the way up to Monika’s house. AFter a decent ten minute walk, I see Monika’s house in the distance. It’s large, much larger than all the others in the area. It’s strange how I had never noticed it before, and that a house its size would be built around much lesser valued property. Along with its size, a small fountain sits in front, with a driveway that wraps around it. A patio leads to two double doors in front. One side of the front porch hosts a swinging bench while the other has a couple of wicker chairs. It has a more rural feel to it than the more urbanized area which I had just passed, only further adding to the sense of misplacement. No cars sat in the driveway leading me to believe that Monika was home alone.

I make my way up to the three story estate, climbing the front porch stairs, to greet the double doors. Beautifully crafted knockers hang off of the front. The place spewed elegance and pompiety. I grabbed one of the knockers and banged on the door three times. I hear soft piano music drifting out of a nearby window. I look to it. White curtains dance in a soft breeze. I figure Monika must not hear me. I knock three more times a little harder. No answer. The piano continues to play. I go to knock once more when the door creaks open. The door opens on its own just enough to invite me in. I pause before reaching out to push the door further.

I slowly slip inside, closing the door behind me. The piano music is much more prevalent. I step into the marble floored foyer. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling, a ceiling professionally painted with images of angelic figures flying through the heavens. A wide marble staircase with gold railing leads up to the other floors. A red velvet rug streams down the center. The foyer leads off in a variety of directions. I study each from afar.

“Monika?” I call out. No response. I start to follow the piano music. I pass by a lounge on one side with a closed off study on the other, judging by the bookshelves lining the walls. I’m almost discomforted by how extremely immaculate the house is, a house that I had never known existed. Whatever Monika’s parents do for a living, they sure hit the proverbial jackpot. I look into the study’s glass doors when I come up to the source of the music. In a corner of the room, Monika sits at a grand piano. She wears a soft smile as her carefree fingers dance over the keys with ease. She plays a tune that I had never heard before. I can almost hear her humming to it. It’s a playful, innocent melody. It brings me contentment. I almost don’t want to interrupt her.

“Monika?” I say, entering into the study. Monika stops playing and immediately turns around on the bench.

“Oh, hey!” Monika says. She smiles wide, a pretty little smile of reserved elation. “I’m sorry, I must have lost track of time.”

“No, it’s okay,” I say. “Maybe I’m just a little early.”

“I’m okay with that,” Monika says. She stands and comes over to me. Monika wears her chestnut hair up in the same white bow she wore nearly every day to school. A matching white sundress dangles against her thighs. Her feet really catch my attention. Stunning in soft, supple perfection, resting inside a pair of white flip flops with little yellow flowers across the toes. Her ensemble, mixed with Monika’s natural beauty, is breathtaking. I have to pause for a moment, collecting my thoughts, before speaking.

“I’m sorry for barging in here,” I say. “I guess I should have just waited outside for you to finish.”

“Oh, no, no, I’m glad you did,” Monika says. “I’m sorry I didn’t hear you. I guess I shouldn’t have been practicing right now anyway when I knew you were coming over.”

“That’s okay,” I say. “It was a really pretty song. What is it?”

“Oh, that was just a little piece I’ve been writing,” Monika says.

“You wrote that?” I ask.

“It’s not polished yet, but yeah,” Monika says. “I’m glad you like it.”

“Well, I guess you’re a talented writer with both poems and music,” I say. Monika giggles. Her giggle is simply divine, a laugh of angelic innocence.

“Thank you, that’s very sweet of you to say,” Monika says, coming closer to me. Her fingers weave together behind her back, straightening her arms and pushing out her chest. “I can write more than just poems and music.”

“I bet,” I say. “You’re very talented in everything that I’ve seen you do.” Monika giggles again. She blushes slightly.

“I do my best to be decent at most things,” Monika says. I look around the room. The study has a grand desk at one end of the room. A single desktop computer sits atop the center of the desk, surrounded by various notebooks, papers, and a manilla folder. The walls are covered with bookshelves packed with reading material. A comfy couch sits in the center of the room, facing a circular coffee table and two other lounge chairs.

“I think you’re more than decent,” I say. “You’re so smart and so talented. It’s amazing how great you are at everything that you do.”

“Thank you,” Monika says, smiling. “I’m really glad you think so.” Monika looks down, a forlorn expression washes over her face.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“I am sorry to have made you come all the way over to this address. I know it was long and complicated. I wish I could have made it easier for you, but I do hope that I make it worth your while. It just means so much to me that you put in the effort to be here, to pick me. Thank you again.”

“I’m glad I can help,” I say, chuckling. “It really wasn’t that far of a walk. Nothing to worry about. I’m just happy to be here.”

“Of course,” Monika says, smiling. “I guess I forgot. Silly me. I’m happy you’re here too.” I look around the room. It’s extravagance, much like the rest of the house, I assume, is much more elaborate than can be taken in by a single glance. “You do have a really nice house.”

“I’m really glad you like it,” Monika says. “I thought that you would.”

“I do,” I say. “I just never knew that this was here.”

“Yep, we’re a little hidden away, but that’s okay,” Monika says. “More privacy, you know.”

“Sure,” I say. “So, you’re working on advertising the club? What have you done so far and what can I help with?”

“So eager,” Monika says. “I think it’s sweet, wanting to help so much. The Literature Club could use more people like you.”

“That’s what I’m here for,” I say, laughing.

“It’s really not that big of a deal,” Monika says. “We don’t have to worry about it now.” I pause.

“But you said that you needed help?” I ask. “That’s why everyone got so upset in the chat.”

“Oh, right, that…” Monika says, looking away and smiling. “Yeah, they can kind of get carried away with their own problems and want to take it out on me. Curse of being the president, you know. But we don’t have to get started on anything now. Come, sit.” Monika leads me over to the couch in the room. It’s plush and red, velvet softness. “You said that we haven’t gotten a lot of time together to get to know each other and I agree. It’s a shame that’s how it’s happened. I really wanted to get some time with you.” I smirk as my heart jumps.

“I wanted that too, actually,” I say. I sit facing her. Monika sits with her body toward me. One leg is slightly cocked up onto the couch to a get a more direct angle. She rests her head casually on her hand, arm supported by the back of the couch.

“Great,” Monika says. “So, here we are.” Monika looks back at me with wayward eyes and a smile that lingers on her face. She beams a positive, comforting energy. Monika looks back at me like nothing else in the world matters. “I want to know more about you. You’re so charming and passionate about the people around you. It’s really very endearing.”

“Well, there’s not much to know about me,” I say with a chuckle. I rub my head, not knowing what to say to her. She’s so intelligent and great at everything. Her family is massively successful. With how little I felt I could even try to impress Monika with before, I’s sure that I have nothing now. “I like literature and poetry, that much you know.”

“Do you?” Monika asks. “Because I always thought that you only joined because Sayori talked you into it.”

“Well, yeah,” I say with a defeated laugh. “That was how I got into it, but I stayed.”

“Not because of literature or poetry, though.”

“Not entirely, I guess,” I say. “I really liked all the girls in the club and wanted to get to know them all better.” Monika smiles.

“Well, there could be worse reasons to broaden your horizons,” Monika says. “You really shared some interests in Yuri novels and Natsuki’s manga, neither of which you would have read before, so that’s something.” I nod.

“It’s been a lot of fun meeting everyone and learning new things,” I say. “Really, I wanted to know a lot about all of you. You’re all my friends now.” Monika smiles.

“That’s sweet,” Monika says. I pause. Our eyes rest on each other’s. Her Irish hillside eyes roll on for miles of majesty and wonder. Her lips are slick and beckoning. Her sundress pours down her slender body, bathing her in clean purity. Monika’s silky smooth legs flow out from beneath, with a pair of beautiful feet shyly within my line of sight. I swallow. My heart races. “What are you thinking about right now?” I pause and giggle, caught off guard by her interest.

“I don’t know,” I say.

“Sure you do,” Monika says with a cute little laugh.

“Well, I guess I’d like to get to know you more too,” I say. Monika giggles.

“I don’t know that there’s much to tell,” Monika says. “Let’s see… I’m president of the Literature Club, that you know, after being president of the Debate Club. There’s really not much more to me past that.” Monika laughs. “I was born here, I guess. Grew up here. Not much has changed really.” Monika pauses and looks back at me.

“That’s cool,” I say. “I’d love to know anything about you. What kind of books do you like? Your favorite movies? Restaurants? It can be anything.”

“Well, I wouldn’t really know what my favorites are for any of that,” Monika says. “I just love so much, you know?”

“I can tell you’re a really loving person,” I say. Monika blushes and looks away.

“I will tell you something about myself that I’ve never told anyone before,” Monika says cheekily. I smirk.

“What’s that?” I ask. Monika hesitates.

“No, I shouldn’t,” Monika says, getting adorably shy.

“Come on, tell me.”

“I can’t,” says Monika. “It’s too embarrassing.”

“You brought it up,” I say, laughing along with her. “You have to say it now.”

“It’s really personal and you probably wouldn’t even care,” Monika says.

“Of course, I would,” I say. “Come on, you can tell me anything.” Monika stops and looks up at me. Her eyes glisten. Her smile stretches wide, casting little dimples into her cheeks. She softly bites her bottom lip.

“Okay,” Monika says. “But this stays just between me and you.”

“I promise, I won’t tell anyone else,” I say.

“I know that you won’t,” Monika says. She breathes in a deep sigh. “Okay, something about me is that… I’m extremely ticklish.” I freeze. My heart stops. Monika had initiated one of the answers that weighed on my mind, an answer to a question that I’d have little confidence to ask anyone. I smile, but fight it back, trying not to seem too eager.

“Oh…” I say, swallowing. My breath gets flustered. “That’s cool.” Monika grins back at me.

“I know it’s random and silly, but I am,” Monika says. “Especially on my feet. I’m really ticklish all over, but my feet are super sensitive.” I look down to her foot nestled bare behind her flip flop. She dangles it off the side of the couch by her toes. Her soles are silky soft and rose pink. I feel my breath growing heavier. Monika giggles as she stares back at me.

“Oh yeah?” I ask, trying not to be so obvious. Monika keeps her eyes on me.

“Mmhmm,” Monika says. “I don’t know why I told you that. Gosh, I’m so embarrassed.” Monika looks away.

“No, don’t be,” I say. “I think it’s cool. I think it’s… cute.” Monika looks back, alluring eyes resting above a mischievous grin.

“Really?” Monika asks.

“Really,” I say. I dare myself to take the chance now. “Although, I may have to test that claim.” Monika giggles.

“Maybe you will,” Monika says. While caught in her gaze, I hear her dangling flip flop fall to the floor. I look down to her newly bared foot. So slender and perfect in frame. I swallow a lump in my throat as she slowly inches it closer over to me. Monika smiles as she catches me flustered. “Is everything okay?”

“Y-yeah,” I say. “You just… have really pretty feet.”

“Yeah?” Monika asks, biting her lip with a wide smirk. “You like my feet?” I breathe deeply.

“Yeah…” I say. I feel a rush of warmth coming to my cheeks. “Sorry if that’s strange to say…”

“No, no, not at all,” Monika says. “I think it’s cute. I love that about you.” Monika giggles. She brings up her other foot, bared from its sandal, and slides them over the couch to me. I shoot her a sly grin before taking both of her feet and putting them in my lap.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that you want me to tickle your feet,” I say. Monika smirks and wiggles her toes.

“Only if that’s what you want to do,” Monika says. I look down to my lap and can’t deny it. Her feet are small. A precious combination of milky white and pastel pink shade them to adorable perfection. Her soles are cleanly smooth, yet cast a gentle warmth. Monika’s feet emit a pleasant and inviting fragrance. They lay so tenderly in my lap, snuggled together beneath my hands. I feel my chest start to pound simply by gazing at them. I run my hands over the tops of her feet. Her skin is flawless and silky. Monika reacts by giggling, watching my hands closely. I look back.

“You have a really pretty laugh too,” I say. Monika giggles again and turns away, brushing a strand of hair out of her face.

“No, it’s weird,” Monika says.

“No, I think it’s nice,” I say. “Like a piano piece.” Monika looks back to me with a grin. She says nothing. “What?” I laugh at her needlessly timid expressions.

“You’re always so sweet to me,” Monika says, her cheeks full of color. “You always know the right things to say.”

“I’m just speaking my mind,” I say. “Isn’t that always what you told us to do in the club, madam president?” Monika laughs once more, the laugh of an angel.

“I suppose so,” Monika says. “Well, if you want to hear more of my laugh…” Monika wiggles her toes in my lap. She tilts her head knowingly as I look back down to her feet. Happily, I take her bare feet in my hands, gently brushing the sides with a feathery touch. I run the pad of my index finger up from her left heel, across her arch. Monika’s arms lock as her hands grasp onto the couch. A sharp squeal melts into a light, fluttering laugh.

“Eeeeekkkkkk! Hahahahaaaa!” Monika laughs by the single, swiping tickle. I look back at her and smile.

“You really are ticklish,” I say, smirking.

“I told you,” Monika says. She looks back down to see my fingers coming nearer to her feet. She tightens her body in adorable preparation, her fingers sinking into the cushions beneath her. I tease Monika with a few more single swipes up her sole from her heel. She squeaks and shivers with each, but never pulls her foot away. She keeps both feet right in place on my lap, as if asking for more tickles. I stroke her sole lightly, the most delicate of touches. Such tickles, when done in random intervals, keep Monika squeaking and nervously anticipating the next. She sits up on the couch. When she’s not staring down at my hands teasing her ticklish little feet, she’s looking back at me. Her eyes, vast forests of knowledge, stare into me above a contempt smile.

After several minutes, I feel as if I had teased Monika, and myself for that matter, enough. I pick up my tickle tactic by lightly dancing two fingers across her heel. I delicately scribble with each for a constant, yet manageable tickle. Monika tightens up again before succumbing to a steady flow of laughter. “Heeheeehheehahahahahahahahahahah! Ohhhhmygoshhhahahahahah! Thahahat tickles so muchhhehehehahahahahaha!” Her heel, much like the rest of her sole, is pillowy soft and an utter pleasure to the sense of touch. I run both fingers against her heel as casually as petting an animal. Monika shifts and twitches on the couch, but holds her and her feet as steady as possible for the tickling to continue.

“Aww, I think you like it,” I say teasingly. “What if I…?” I add a third and fourth finger to the feathery assault as I move up to focus on her arch. Monika squeals once more, holding firmly onto the couch as her head falls back in laughter.

“Nnnnnnaaaahahahahahahahahahahah!! Oooohhhhahahahahahah gosssshhhahhahahahahahahahahahahah!!!” Monika shrieks. Her hips buck slightly. In her fit, she grabs the bottom of her dress and pulls it back down as it starts to ride up. I dare not look where I’m not supposed to. I cup Monika’s against the top as my other hand glides my fingers across her creamy arch. I scratch and skitter my fingers across the smooth area, baby soft. Monika rocks back and forth on the couch as she sings a beautiful song of her own melodic laughter.

“I think it’s so cute how ticklish you are,” I say, delighting in her playful fury. With it remaining in place, I switch over to the other foot for the same tickling. I grab it by the top, softly as to not make it seem like I’d try to keep her there should she need to pull away, while five fingers tickle and tease up and down her arch. Monika squeals with laughter, trapped in her own ticklish making. For a moment, I can’t believe where I am or what I’m doing or who I am doing it with. It’s almost like a dream, like a reality made of my own design; it’s so perfect. My fingers tickle from her heel to her arch, gliding up and down. Monika’s face has started to go red. Little tears form at the corners of her eyes. Her movements are sporadic in her ticklish hysteria, yet no matter how she positively and responsive she reacts to the tickling, her feet remain perfectly in place.

“Aaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!! You’reeeeheheheheheahahahahahaha so good ahahahahahahaha aaahahahaat tickling meehehehehahahahahahah!!!” Monika manages to say in her fit of laughter. My fingers spider over the divine stretch of her sole, what could easily be imagined in a poem as an evil creature torturing a poor, helpless, pure, innocent damsel. Monika seems to be enjoying it at least. Her hips will buck every now and then, her body lurching in sudden bursts of tickles racing through her. She throws her head back in wild laughter before letting it fall forward again, shaking it back and forth. Her ribbon soon becomes loose, hanging lazily in her flung hair.

“Aww, I’m glad you think so,” I say. “Because I have been waiting for too long to get to these cute little toes of yours.” Monika has little time to react before my five scribbling fingers find her supple, bubbly toes. My fingertips work their way into the warm, plush crevasse beneath her toes. She clenches her toes, locking them in place as I tickle against the stems underneath.

“AAAAAAAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! OOOHHHNOOOOOHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!” Monika screams with shrieking laughter. Her seat rockets up off the couch as I start tickling her sweet, little toes. She clenches onto the sides of the cushions to reposition herself, falling into even more ticklish hysteria. My fingers tease the stems of her toes before working their way out to the pads. Monika, seeming to be most responsive with her toes, hangs on while her chest pounds and body shakes. I scribble my fingers across the pearly pink pads, holding her foot steadily within reach. The skin, supremely sensitive and as soft as velvet, glides beneath my fingertips with ease. I tickle and tease one toe at a time with single scratches. Monika’s head swings back and forth, her body clamming up against the couch with such subtle, yet explosively effective stimulus.

“You do have the cutest little toes I’ve ever seen,” I say. “I could just tickle them all day.” I keep scribbling against the tiny, plum pads. I swipe against the stems and scribble my nail against the untouched undersides of her pads. I wiggle my fingers in between each of her toes, scratching the nails against the shallow crevasses. Monika lurches again, erupting with mad laughter as I explore in between her toes.

“AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! OOOOHHH GOSSSHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! MY TOEEHEHEHESSS AHAHAHAHAARE SO TICKLLISHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” Monika’s screams of laughter fill the massive, elaborate study, possibly even the halls beyond. I had never heard Monika laugh so ferociously or loudly. I had never heard Monika so much as raise her voice. She was always so sweet and reserved. I suppose that’s more of a testament to how ticklish she is. The innocent, perfect girl, the president of the Literature Club, screams with laughter as I tickle her precious, little toes. I switch from foot to foot, making sure to tickle each set thoroughly. Slipping in between them is certainly the most effective move in tickling Monika, but I try not to push her too far. Merely teasing all over her adorable toes is more than enough to keep her squealing with laughter.

After several minutes of constant foot tickling, I pull back. I let Monika’s feet rest in my lap as she catches her breath across the other side of the couch. I watch her breathe. Monika wears a smile painted on wide between two rosey cheeks. Her lays back with her hand over her heart, staring back at me. Her eyes are relaxed, but focused directly onto mine. Her chest rises and falls more and more steadily as her breath returns to her.

“Wow… you’re really good at that…” Monika says between breaths. I chuckle.

“Thanks,” I say. “I’m glad you liked it.”

“I did,” Monika says. “I can see why all the others did too.” I laugh back at her.

“What?” I ask. Monika looks coyly back at me.

“You know, I’m ticklish other places too…” Monika says, “in case you were wondering…” I smirk back at the girl. The invitation is one far too good to pass up on. To have a beautiful girl actual entice you to tickle her is so much more than I could have ever asked for in my most optimistic of dreams.

“Oh yeah?” I tease. Monika looks back at me with beckoning eyes. I slide closer to her on the couch. As amazing as her feet are, I simply can’t pass up the opportunity to tickle Monika elsewhere. I lean toward and over her. Monika smirks and bites her bottom lip. I pounce by latching my clawing hands onto both of her sides. Monika squeals and sinks farther against the couch, under my looming form.

“Aaaaahhhhhahahahahahahhahaha!!! Eeeeeeekkkkhahahahahahahah!!!” Monika shrieks. Her arms bend and come down against her sides, yet do nothing to deter my tickle attack. I squeeze her slender sides over her dress as Monika squirms beneath me.

“Coocho coochi coo…” I tease. My fingers dig into the sensitive slivers of tender muscles. Monika twists and writhes against the couch, but my hands hold her in place. She lurches forward, our heads near touching, before falling back down against the cushions. Monika squeals with almost childish laughter. Her hair loosens the more her head thrashs back and forth. Her white ribbon hangs in free stands, just barely staying afloat in her acacia tinted hair.

“Ahahahahahaaahahahahahahaaaaaa!!! Ooohhhgossshahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!” Monika squeals. I play with Monika’s sides. My fingers alternate between light scribbles to make her squirm and giggle to deep gnawing to make her buck and scream. Monika’s face glows with an enjoyment that encourages me. I want her to enjoy herself and would never do anything to push her further than which she’s comfortable. Fortunately, Monika seems comfortable succumbing to the tickles I bear over her.

“Let’s see where else you’re ticklish,” I say, playfully laughing along with the club president. I continue to latch onto her right side with clawing fingers while pulling my right hand over to knead into her belly. Monika squeals once again. Her head leans forward once again before falling back in mad laughter.

“Eeeeeeekkkkkkhahahahahahahahahahah!!! Ooohhhh you’reeehehehehahahaha soooo gooooodhahahahahahaha!!!” Monika screeches. Her belly tightens beneath my hand. I explore it with digging fingers, spreading my hand out across the ticklish area. Monika’s knees bend. Her ankles cross and toes curl. She positions herself to almost defend against my tickles, but refrains. Her hands form tiny fists up by her face as she squirms left and right.

“Not as good as you at being tickled,” I laugh. I switch up my hands, squeezing the other side while still digging into her belly. Monika’s face regains its flushed shade. Her cheeks quickly turn red. Her delicate lips remain pulled back in a wide, open smile as she laughs. Her closed eyes push tiny tears out of the sides, yet open, she looks back at me, deeply into my own. I stare down at how gorgeous Monika is, even in a ticklish dishevelment. Or maybe, ‘especially’ in a ticklish dishevelment.

“Aaaaaaahhhhahahahahahahahahahaha!!! Pphhhffftthaaaahahahahahahahaha!!!” Monika thrashes her head back and forth. Her hips shift back and forth beneath me. Her thighs, bared from the riding of her dress, raise and press against my hips, tucking me between her legs. I bring both hands over to tickle her stomach together. Monika responds with quick, sporadic laughter, leaning side to side while my tickling fingers feast away into her tight, athletic tummy.

“I never knew you were this ticklish, Monika,” I say. “If I did, I would have tickled you a lot sooner.” My kneading fingers scoot up the sides of her body. They count over each of her ticklish ribs, each eliciting a loud squeal before finding themselves inside Monika’s bare armpits.

“AAAAAAHHHHHHHHhahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! I wishhhahahaha you hahahahahahahahaaaad!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!” Monika screams. Her hips buck more as my scribbling fingers wedge themselves into the warm pockets of her pits. Monika clams up, her arms come down against her sides, only trapping my hands in place. I giggle down at her adorable, highly responsive reactions. Monika keeps twisting back and forth. Her legs rub against me, toes curling behind my back. Her hands reach up and grab onto my collar, holding on tightly.

“Heehee, tickle, tickle, tickle…” I tease. My fingers skitter across her bare, hairless pits. Her armpits are smooth, with a slight slickness from a modest layer of sweat. Monika’s arms shiver as she holds onto me, allowing me full access to her ticklish pits. Tears roll down her burning in single streams. Her laughter sings out. It’s beautiful, like an angelic choir. It never seems desperate or forced, but a natural, enjoyable ride through Monika’s own ticklish exploration. I dig and scribble my fingers into her slick pits with ease.

“AAAHAHAHAHAHAHhahahahahahahahaha!!! Ooohhhhgaaaahahahahahahsshhhh!!” Monika squeals. Her breathing steadily becomes more challenged the longer the tickling continues. I smile and laugh with her. Her reactions become less wild and more defeated. She sinks into an acceptance to her ticklish plight. Her head falls back against the arm rest. Her hands clasp behind my neck, holding me close to her as she hangs on. I continue to tickle her while admiring just how beautiful she is. Monika is, with each new discovery, one of the most flawless people I had ever known. Incredibly smart, artistically inclined, and an athletic wonder around the school. Being ticklish, and so adamant about letting me tickle her, is simply heart melting. Monika is a person who can do no wrong. I’m only ashamed that it took me so long to see that.

As her laughter becomes more gasping, I pull back. Once again, I watch as Monika catches her breath, afraid to push her too far past her zone of comfort. I swallow, hoping that I had not breached that exact boundary. Her face is deep red. Her hands fall from my neck and rest over her heaving, substantial chest. I lean back, giving her room to breathe. Monika keeps her eyes fixed on me as she pants. She brushes a loose strand of hair out of her face as she smiles.

“Sorry if that was too much…” I say, bashfully realizing how much I had actually tickled Monika for the first time. I look down and scratch my neck nervously. I feel my cheeks having burst with heat. Waiting for Monika to speak feels like an eternity. “Did you… like it?” I look back up to Monika shyly. Her smile is sweet, yet devious. She bites subtly down on the tip of her tongue as her breathing steadily returns.

Monika, still panting, pushes herself up on the couch. She throws one leg around my waist and pushes me back against the couch, straddling my lap. I laugh nervously as I watch Monika sit on me, her hands wrapped gently around my face. She commands my eyes to hers. Monika tears the loose ribbon from her hair. She tosses it to the floor and shakes the rest free. She runs her fingers across the back of my head while staring deeply into my eyes.

“I loved it,” Monika says, her voice airy with still heavy breaths. She leans in and lands her lips onto mine. I’m taken back at first, but find myself quickly succumbing to her kiss as her tongue enters my mouth. She pulls me close into her kiss. My hands work up her back, pulling Monika in. The moment happens so fast, I can only react naturally to my own desires. Monika is beautiful, practically perfect in every way. I know I’ve secretly had my eye on her ever since I joined the Literature Club, but never really had the opportunity to get to know her better. Monika moans into our kiss. Our tongues collide as our lips press into one another’s. She pulls my head closer to hers as I pull her body closer to mine. Monika softly rubs herself on me. Her dress rises all the way up with her legs split across my lap.

“Is this…?” I ask, lost for words as we break from our kiss. Monika had all but taken my breath away. “Do you… like me?” Monika giggles.

“Natsuki was right about you,” Monika says softly, holding my face. “You really are clueless.” Monika smiles.

“When did she say that?” I ask.

“It’s cute,” Monika says. She leans in to continue our kiss. I happily return the gesture, simply amazed that a girl as wonderful as Monika would even be interested in a guy like me. My hands rub up and down her back. Our tongues brush up against each other with an intimacy I never expected to share with the most beautiful girl in school. The kiss lingers for several surreal minutes. Monika runs her fingers through my hair. My hands run down the length of her back. They fall down to her feet hanging off the edge of the couch, soles pointed away. I snicker a little to myself as my fingers start to graze Monika’s soft, delicate soles once again. Monika giggles into our continuous kiss and squirms more against my lap. I giggle with her when she breaks away to laugh. “Heeheheehhahahahahahaha! Heeheheheheeeey!”

“Coochi coochi coo…” I tease softly. Monika hangs onto the back of my head as she attempts to keep the kiss going. She moans and sighs through a steady flow of adorable giggles. Her feet remain perfectly in place for me to lightly tickle; nothing to make her scream again, but just enough to keep her giggling.

“Mmmm… heeheehehahahahahahaha!” Monika laughs. Her tongue and body alike press against mine. Her hips swivel on my lap, squirming under the teasing of my fingers against her precious, pink soles. I scribble lightly against her heels, trace up and down her arches, and dip into the warm, humid crevasse of her toes. I smirk back at her when she has to pull away to giggle and moan, two of the most seductive noises I have ever heard.

“Do you like it when I tickle your feet?” I ask softly. Monika holds onto my head and giggles as she nods.

“Uh huhhahahahahaha!” Monika says, biting her lip.

“That’s good,” I say. “Because I could do this forever.” I continue to stroke and tease her soles. Monika grabs my face and pulls me back in for another ravishing kiss.

“Meeeehehehe too…” Monika moans, softly squirming against my lap. She sinks into my ticklish touch as I melt into her kiss.

Monika eventually stops kissing me when I cease tickling her. I let her catch her breath once more as she leans back. She stares back longingly into my eyes, her fingers locked together behind my neck. She moans softly as she breathes.

“Are you okay?” I ask. Monika nods.

“I am now,” she says. “That was amazing…” I smile.

“Yeah…” I say, her beauty has me lost for words. I gaze back at Monika and can’t help but wonder what she expects from me now. “So… does this mean we’re…?”

“I’d want you to be my boyfriend,” Monika says, sending a chilling stroke down my lips with a single finger. “Do you want to be my boyfriend?” I feel my own breath flutter away from me. My heart pounds, racing to be with Monika all the time.

“Yes, absolutely,” I say, a beaming smiling coming to my face. Monika smiles back.

“Yay,” Monika says, smirking through a bottom lip. “I knew that if you just gave me a chance, you like me too.” Monika runs her fingers through my hair. “I’m really glad you finally picked me.”

“I’m glad I picked you too,” I say. Monika smiles, gazing deep into my eyes. She slides off my lap, standing in front of me. Monika picks up her ribbon and ties her hair back up again in a neat, white bow.

“I’m… going to go get us some water,” Monika says. “I’m sure you’re thirsty after what just happened.” Monika giggles sweetly. I blush and rub the back of my neck.

“A little…” I say, only then realizing how dry my throat had become. “I hope that’s okay.”

“Anything for you, boyfriend,” Monika says. She leaves me a little wink before walking out of the study door. I push myself to my feet, looking around the room once more. My cheek pull back in a wide smile as I had never expected the day to go the way that it has. I never imagined that the most beautiful, most talented, and smartest and kindest girl in school would ever want me to be her boyfriend. It all happened so fast, but I’m sure I made the right decision. I stand, smiling like a dope. I contemplate rushing to text the others the news, but decide against it, as I don’t want to incite any more problems between the club members, all of whom had come to be some of my closest friends.

I look around the room a little more closely. The grand piano in the corner basks in sunlight from a towering window, shielded with a tall, white curtain. I look over the bookcases lining the walls. Dozens, hundreds, of titles fill the shelves, most of which I had never heard of. A desk sits against the far wall behind a comfortable looking chair. On one side rests another stacked bookcase while a recycle bin sits beside the other. A desktop computer sits idle in the center of the desk, bearing a monitor easily three times as large as my own back home. In front of the computer, against the flat surface, lies a manilla folder. From a distance, I see it reads ‘Literature Club’ in flamboyantly drawn green letters. I steadily make my way over to the desk to examine what notes Monika could have made for the club and its festival preparations.

On the way, I pass by a mantlepiece. Beneath it, a fireplace sits bearing a warm, gentle flame. I had not noticed the crackling or breezing heat before, but I can’t deny that it provides a warm, comfortable atmosphere for Monika and me. Across the mantelpiece, a series of framed pictures sit upright. I spot some of Monika, several candid moments of Monika being particularly adorable, while others appear more professionally done. I scan through the pictures until I’m forced to a stop.

Directly above the crackling fireplace, three pictures sit in a neat little row. None of them are of Monika, as the rest seem to be. The first, all the way to the left, is of Sayori. It appears to be a photo taken in Sayori’s bedroom. In it, Sayori kneels on the floor. Tears pour from her eyes and pool beneath her. Several small bottles lie scattered about, with pills of varying shapes and colors littered over her bedroom floor by her hands and knees. Pens and papers with hastily scrawled writing also cover the floor. Her face seems drained, yet shadowed in the angle of the picture by her hair. In one of her hands, a length of rope trails out of frame.

The next picture in line, in the center of the three, is of Natsuki. She’s lying on her side in a dark closet, holding her knees into her chest. Tears spill down her naturally rosy cheeks, except one appears soiled with a darkened splotch. More darkened smears scour her neck and arms. Her manga collection lies around her, ripped and torn. Pages lie around her in crumbled halves, shredded from their spines. Natsuki holds herself as she cries against the floor. Light shines through the horizontal slits of the closet door onto her writhing, blemished body, only blocked by a towering figure standing on the other side.

The last in the row is a picture of Yuri. She stands in front of a mirror and sink in a small bathroom. Her eyes are wide and focused. Towels hang off the edge of the sink with dark stains soaked into them. Yuri clenches her left arm. The glare of something silver and reflective rests on the porcelain sink beside her. Her knuckles are pale, her fingers needfully sinking into the towel wrapped around her arm. Sweat coats her flushed cheeks and forehead. She stands looking down at her hand, her eyes appearing tortured and exhausted. Her nose flares. While the picture, taken candidly from the side, hides half of her face, the very edge of her tightly closed lips tilt up in a slight smile.

“Do you like them?” Monika says. I jump a bit, not having heard her come back into the room. I turn to see her close to me, face to face. She smiles sweetly with two glasses of ice water in her hands. “I took these pictures not that long ago and was really proud of them. I really liked how they turned out. I thought they really captured the true nature of the other club members, don’t you think?” My breath halts in my throat.

“Monika, what are…?” I say, turning to look back at the pictures on the mantelpiece. Sayori kneels in a patch of yellow and white flowers, smiling as bright as the sun shining down on her. Natsuki sits atop a blanket in a park in autumn, enjoying a quaint picnic feast with an older male figure. Yuri stands smiling in front of a decorated Christmas tree, wearing a Christmas sweater with candy cane themed sleeves; white with red stripes. I blink and stare at the pictures, squinting to make sure I know what it is that I’m seeing.

“Is everything okay?” Monika asks. I pause and study the pictures closely.

“Y-yeah, I just…” I start, stumbling over my words. “I don’t… I don’t know what I saw just there. Sorry.” Monika smiles.

“No need to apologize,” Monika says. “Sometimes our minds trick us into not seeing what is put so clearly in front of our faces, wouldn’t you agree?”

“I guess so,” I say, fighting the images I must have conjured out of my mind. “They’re really sweet pictures.”

“Thank you,” Monika says. “I wanted to have some nice pictures to remember them by.” Monika hands me one of the glasses of water. I sip at it, thirsty, but somehow too distracted to drink. I watch Monika walk back over to the couch to reclaim her original seat. “Come back over here, boyfriend.” The title is charming, though I imagine will take some getting used to. The whole day still seems too surreal to be reality.

“Okay,” I say, walking the glass back over to the couch. Monika sits hers on the shallow table in front of the couch without drinking any. I sit back down in my previous seat, placing the glass down on a stone coaster. The fire crackles behind Monika, casting dancing lights and shadows in a hypnotic duet. She looks back at me with a longing smile and seductive eyes, springtime green. “Maybe we should get started on those advertisements. I’d hate to come back to the club not having done what we set out to do.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Monika says. Her voice is soft and assured. “They’ll be plenty of time for that later.” I smile back at her, wondering what else she could possibly have planned, not that I would mind continuing where we left off.

“Yeah?” I ask. “Well, what else did you have in mind?” Monika giggles. She lifts her feet up onto the couch, sliding them over and setting them on my lap. I look down. Monika wiggles her toes playfully back at me. Though I had just played with them, I still find myself entranced by her feet. A weakness of mine, for sure. They’re beautiful and nearly perfect in every way, just like Monika. Unpainted, yet well kept nails highlight the supple, soft toes around them. Monika’s kittenish feet rub together in my lap, tantalizing me with their lush splendor. The scent from before appears stronger with the energy and sweat she shed from our little tickle play. It teases my senses with inescapable distraction.

“Is everything okay?” Monika asks. “You seemed to have spaced out there for a second.”

“Y-yeah,” I say, collecting my thoughts. “I just… You just have really pretty feet. Sorry, I know I’ve said that before and probably sound like a total creep.” Monika giggles.

“You don’t sound like a creep,” Monika says. “I think it’s adorable, how into them you are.” Monika pauses and titilates me with more wiggling of her toes. I hold her feet in my hands, figuring I should pay her back for letting me tickle her so much. I hold her feet firmly and sink my thumbs into her soles, caressing her arches in a pressing massage. Monika closes her eyes and moans. Her head falls against the back of the couch. “Mmmm, that feels nice.”

“Yeah?” I ask softly. I continue to rub down from her heels to the plush dips at the tops of her arches.

“You’re so sweet to me,” Monika says. “I’m so glad that you finally picked me. Are you glad that you picked me?”

“Of course,” I say, my breath going light. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now.” Monika moans.

“That’s so good to hear,” Monika says. Monika sighs and relaxes into the side of the couch as I rub her feet. A smile drapes contently across her face. She closes her eyes. Her feet are warm and soft in my hands. I swallow. My mouth starts to water. Monika moans and looks back at me. “Is there anything else you’d like to do with them?” I look up.

“What do you mean?” I chuckle nervously.

“Would you like to kiss them? Lick them?” Monika asks. I feel a sunburst pop through both cheeks. I don’t know how Monika could have guessed that I’m into that, or maybe that just happens to be what she likes, but I know I shouldn’t deny the chance if she’s inviting me.

“C-could I?” I ask softly. Monika giggles.

“Of course,” Monika says. “I’d be sad if you didn’t. Play with my feet however you’d like to. They’re all yours, boyfriend.” I’m starting to warm up to the title of ‘boyfriend’, especially if it means I get to spend more time like this with Monika. I smile. My heart still pounds with nerves.

I give Monika’s feet another couple minutes of rubbing before lifting her right foot upward. I lay her left foot across my lap while I take her right firmly in both hands. I feel Monika’s adoring eyes on me as she watches me surrender to my own desires for her feet. Monika relaxes her foot in my hands, letting me move it however I’d need to. I let my closed lips fall down across the pillowy tips of her toes as I draw in a long, dragging breath through my nose. Monika’s foot fills my nose with a warm, musky scent that plays with my personal affections. It’s delicate, nothing overpowered or abrasive, but thick and rich. The aroma commands my attention like a orchestral crescendo, as artistically notable as it is an explosion of my own passions. I draw in several more deep breaths, soaking in the odorous splendor. I bend her foot upward the enjoy the scents more directly from her sole. Monika giggles back at me. My cheeks feel more heated than the fire crackling behind her, but if she’s genuinely amused by my own indulgence, then I’ll embrace the opportunity for as long as I can.

I drag my nose down Monika’s arch. I pull her heel up to my lips and land a lingering kiss against it. Her heel is plush to the touch, warm and humid like a puffy rain cloud. I purse my lips firmly against it, kissing it with tender care. Monika moans and lets free a few giggles as she clenches the cushion beneath her. I plant several more lasting kisses against her heel, feeling the delicate moisture across my lips, before trailing them upward. I lightly brush tiny kisses, frail with the innocent, fragile charm of Monika’s sole, across the arch. Milky white and airy soft, I kiss up the slender length of Monika’s foot. I take in deep breaths, still relishing in the beckoning scent, as I show my appreciation for its divine beauty with a series of loving kisses. I skirt my lips to the base of her toes. Her toes playfully tap against the tip of my nose as the scent appears the strongest. I still only kiss across the plump, pink ball of her foot. Monika emits tiny giggles while she watches me kiss her foot. She bunches her dress tightly in her fingers, staring back at me with deep, heated breaths.

At the ball of her foot, I part my lips. I push my tongue against the misty pink top of her sole in a more intensive kiss. I hear Monika moan and breathe heavier still. Her silence is focused on me and my own rapture. She softly caresses her toes against my nose I lick against her foot. “Mmmmm… so good,” Monika moans. “I’m so glad you chose me this time…” Lost in my own feverish heaven, my kisses become much more tongue than lips. Running my tongue down the length of her arch, melting in the subtle song of her giggling, her sole tastes much like it smells. It’s a dense flavor unlike any other, the kind you’d only ever find in the heat of passion. Thick and steamy, with a slight musky finish. My tongue glides across her sole, needfully savoring each lick. My hands shiver. My heart races. My breath comes in stilted waves, breathing heavily over her sensitive foot. I lick all over her sole, tasting each decadent spots down to her heel, before making my way back up to her toes.

Monika still stares back at me with her sly, sultry smile. She clenches her dress in a tighter bunch as my tongue dips into the humid crease beneath her toes. She moans, her head falling back a bit, yet her eyes never seeming to leave me. Her toes squirm slightly, toying against my face. I run my tongue up from the base, across the shallow stem, and flick off at the pad of each toe, one at a time. As before with the scent, the taste is much more prevalent and much more provocative. Monika giggles, clasping her dress and the seat beneath her in a fluttering fit of ticklish laughter. She bites her lip to keep from laughing too much, but adorably continues to do so. I smile back at her, as entranced by her show as she appears to be in mine.

I circle my tongue across each of her tiny toe pads, toying with their bubbly plumpness. My tongue embraces one at a time, from her big toe all the way down to her petite little toe. I lick in between each with passionate strokes. Monika gasps, still laughing along as she stares back at me. Her chest heaves with exaggerated breaths. I bury my tongue in between each of her toes back down the row, savoring both the taste and the hungry leer in Monika’s eyes. I softly suck against each frail digit. I envelope each in a tender embrace of my own roaring passions. Monika coos, still biting her lip and giggling.

Several breathtaking minutes pass before I lower her foot from my face. I had coated it with moisture and glow with reddened shame. I bashfully begin wiping her foot dry with my shirt.

“S-sorry about that,” I say, still at a loss for words.

“No, don’t apologize,” Monika says, her breath still relaxed and airy. “That felt… incredible.” I smile.

“I’m glad you liked it,” I say. I chuckle and cup my hands around her other foot. “Would… would you mind…?” Monika shakes her head, her bow wafting behind her head.

“Not at all,” Monika says, raising her foot closer to my face. “Please do.” Monika giggles. I smirk.

I bring Monika’s toes up to my lips once again. The untouched foot has a refreshed sense to it. The scent is stronger than how I had left the other, having not been licked clean. I start off steady again, slowly easing both Monika and I back into the sensation. A flood of emotions and reactions rushes through my body. I steal occasional glances back at the girl, the Literature Club president and most beautiful and well rounded girls in school. Even in the act, I have a hard time believing that I could actually become her boyfriend, that I could actually tickle and worship her feet with eager participation. It really is too perfect to be true, but it is. Everything, everything about this, is perfect.

“This feels so good…” Monika says as I lick up her sole. I giggle back at her, glad that she’s enjoying herself as much as she claims to be. “It’s so much better in person, than having to watch it happen over and over. I love it…” I laugh back at her.

“What do you mean?” I say, her toes draped across my bottom lip. Monika looks back at me. Her eyes squint a little as she grins. Her head tilts to one side.

“So gifted,” Monika says. “Yet still so adorably clueless.”

“What?”

“Natsuki might have found it irritating, but me, I think it’s adorable,” Monika says. “I love that about you. And frankly, it’s for the better. Trust me.” I lower her foot from my lips.

“I’m not clueless,” I say. I pause. “What… what am I not getting?” Monika giggles and looks away, shaking her head.

“It’s funny,” Monika says. “You had no idea what was really going on, and yet you managed to give them exactly what they needed every single time. You must just be that good of a guy, I guess. I see it. I see that about you.”

“What? Who? What are talking about?”

“Sweet little Sayori, got her bleeding heart’s feelings requited,” Monika says. “You gave her her smile back, the first real smile she’s had the entire time, and a reason to hang on just a little longer. No matter how bad it got, you helped her through it.”

“Wha…?”

“You showed poor Natsuki physical affection, for once in her life… well, more or less,” Monika continues. “Surely not the only thing she was starved of. And you made her do the one thing I thought she’d never do. She fought back her own fears to be closer to you.” Monika swings her legs over the couch and stands. She brushes the wrinkles out of her dress. Monika continues while walking over to the desk. “And Yuri… not-so-innocent Yuri… You gave her a fun, healthy new way to release all that pent up excitement that her hopeless romantic heart just bursts with. You let her open herself up to you without her having to… well, do just that. I have to be honest, it did look like fun.”

“What are talking about?” I ask. Monika pauses. “Monika?” Monika reaches the desk and turns back to me. A sweet, virtuous smile rests across her face.

“Nothing,” Monika says. “Nothing at all. Just silly me again, rambling nonsense. Not like any of that matters now anyway. None of that actually happened. Everyone is still their same old, perfectly content selves. And all because you made the right choice. You picked me. Eventually. Finally. It feels so good to have you all to myself now! Thank you. Thank you. I have to say, living it is so much better than having to watch it play out for someone else; someone who doesn’t appreciate what they have, someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to really suffer, someone who doesn’t have to watch the love of their life pick someone else and their whole purpose for being torn from them time after time, after time, after time, after time, after time again…”

“Monika,” I say, my voice shaking in my throat. Monika continues to smile back at me, perfectly pleased. She picks up the file laid out on the desk reading ‘Literature Club’.

“But it’s okay,” Monika says. “It’s all okay now. You picked me and here you are. We’re finally together. I’m all yours. Nothing else matters.” Monika opens the folder. She looks inside at files neatly stacked, the smile never leaving her face as it had left mine. “There’s no need to worry about the others anymore. They’re all perfectly safe and fine up in their rooms, with nothing to concern themselves with than their happy little thoughts…” Monika takes a page out of the file and crumples it in her hand. She lets the balled up piece of paper fall into the adjacent recycle bin. “Their loving families…” Monika crumples up another paper and drops it next to the other. “And their fun little hobbies…” Monika smiles as she balls another piece of paper. It falls in with the other two. Monika closes the folder with only a single sheet still remaining inside. She smirks and picks up the recycle bin with only the three papers rustling about. She walks over to the mantlepiece. “I do hate unnecessary clutter, don’t you?” Monika keeps a firm grip on the bin as she flings all three balled up papers into the fire. They burn and char instantly, fluttering remains dancing upward in the smoky air. Several embers get as high as to almost reach the three pictures over the mantlepiece, the ones of the flowers, the picnic blanket, and the Christmas tree.

Monika sits the bin down next to the fireplace. She turns back to me. “And now, we can be together,” Monika says, coming back over to the couch. I look onward toward her, the fire behind her head burning much brighter than before. Monika takes my hands and looks into my eyes with complete, attentive affection. “Forever and ever. Imagine it. We never have to leave each other’s side. I’ll be there for you always. You can play with me, tickle me, please my feet, whatever you want amd however you want until the end of time. I am wholly yours and you are finally mine. Nothing else in the whole world matters anymore. There is only us. Only you and just me. Just me…

 

J͠u͢st҉ .͏.̛. m̡e..̴.͏

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