While Maya was busy making the princess as embarrassed as possible by giving her tips on how to get her jaguar, mainly by ordering Anna to kiss the black-haired girl, Sophia and the subject of the other’s conversation, Ari, had gotten the materials needed for the heated floor out of the storage room. While the two were getting ready to install it in Ellie’s room, Ari had offered to watch and help with that, the two started a very similar chat on their own.
"How is it going with Anna, my dear?"
"Urgh…" The jaguar immediately flinched.
"Oh?" Sophia was very interested in the origin of such a reaction. "What happened?"
"I-I’m starting to think that you might actually be right…"
"I always am!" The tiger raised her voice. "Wait, with what?"
"Anna may possibly be having the same f-feelings I have…"
"Well, duh!" It was the best reaction she could give her. "Has something happened that you dense idiot finally agree?"
"H-Hey, that’s a bit harsh…"
"No, it's not." She shook her head a few times. "I'm the densest of idiots. I'm allowed to say that."
"Well, as long as you’re self-aware… I can’t really defend myself here…"
"It’s not really that anything specific happened… Just how she is… we are acting lately, there’s little room for doubts anymore…"
"Details! I want details!" The blonde was really excited about it.
"Well, we are still sleeping together every night… and it got a lot more intimate…"
"More than death by boobs?" Sophia tilted her head.
"Stop focusing on that topic already!"
"How could I? I tried it with Maya, and it was amazing! It must be even better with the princess!"
"…" Ari decided not to answer and only turned her bright-red head away.
"Good enough for me~." She liked her reaction. "Go on."
"I’m not sure if I should…" The jaguar felt her looking forward to it a bit too much.
"Don’t be like that!"
"Fine… It’s not all the time, unfortunately, but before we actually sleep, we cuddle a lot… It's great."
"Sure sounds like it."
"It’s also not only when we get ready to sleep. Doing homework or other kinds of studying, or simply relaxing on the sofa… it will end up in cuddling most of the time…"
"That’s great!" Sophia was happy for her.
"I-It is… The way we cuddle also got way more intimate than at the start. She really sticks to me tightly… S-So do I… Our t-tails also got involved in it more and more… She really likes to wrap hers around my legs…"
"T-They aren't squishy!"
"They sure look soft to me, though." The tiger focused her eyes on Ari’s legs.
"No." She showed no sign of averting her eyes.
"I’ll tell Maya about this!"
"I am 100% sure she said the same thing at least once to Anna when the two are alone."
"Urgh… Probably…" The jaguar knew her a bit by now, after all. "Anyway, my thighs aren’t the point here! It’s Anna using her tail to wrap it around me!"
"I’m also… kinda doing the same whenever I get the chance…" Ari paused for a moment. "And if you ask about the squishiness of Anna’s thighs now, I’ll get angry!"
"…" The blonde stayed silent and only looked at her with pleading eyes.
"Very squishy, very soft, and absolutely amazing…" Looking at her, the jaguar knew that the conversation wouldn't progress without this information. She also seemed slightly proud about it, though.
"Thank you very much!" Sophia showed her a big smile before finally being able to concentrate. "Well, I know that already, though."
"How do you know that Anna’s thighs are perfect?!" She got loud. "Did something actually happen when she tried to go after you?!"
"No… I meant the tail story. I know that you’re trying to touch the princess with yours all the time."
"E-Eh?!" Ari froze up. "How…?"
"It was pretty obvious on our walks to and from school. Everyone would’ve noticed that you were trying to entangle your tail with hers or touching her legs and back with it."
"R-Really…?" Her face turned redder. "I-I was trying to make it look natural, though…"
"It was about as natural as me trying to come up with an excuse that makes sense."
"N-No way!" The jaguar looked devastated.
"Yep, it was really obvious. Also, good job on holding hands with her the entire time. The two of you look very sweet together."
"T-Thank you… uuh…" Her expressions were all over the place. "D-Do you think Anna also noticed.
"Well, she seems to be at least as dense as I am, so… Then again, you know how much our tails mean to us felines, right?" Sophia glanced at her own swishing around behind her while saying so.
"I-I do…" Ari agreed while her own tail visibly twitched a few times in response.
"Yeah, it’s not nearly as sensitive as our ears, but tails are important! If anyone would touch my tail without consent, I would get really angry." The tiger’s aura changed for a moment before turning back again. "If you’re allowed to touch hers, and she’s using it to touch you, there a few other interpretations here."
"You didn't touch her ears, though, did you?"
"O-Of course not!" Ari raised her voice even more. "There's no way I could do that at this stage in our relationship!"
"At this stage, huh?" Her smile turned into a smirk.
"Well, I d-do want to, eventually… but it's too early!"
"I love how honest you can be."
"So, what’s the plan?" Sophia looked right at her.
"I want to kiss Anna! I want to kiss her so badly!"
"O-Okay…" The tiger wasn’t expecting such a direct and powerful reply. "But no ears…?"
"T-That’s something else entirely!"
"Okay, fair enough…" She still vividly remembers the first time she touched Maya’s ears before the two started dating and how wrong it almost felt. Not to mention the extreme feeling when the cat-girl touched hers for the first time after she became a tiger. "A kiss is alright, though?"
"Y-Yes…" Ari slightly nodded in response. "I never thought I’d have a chance with this tall princess I grew up with, but ever since you started helping me, it seems like there’s actually a chance… I wanted to hide those feelings to get over them eventually, but you showed me a better way."
"Aww!" Sophia was happy that she was responsible for this.
"I always thought she’s so clingy because we’re childhood friends and how she’s so very spoilt, but lately… It’s different. I want to further get closer and improve our relationship. The only thing I can imagine after we already started touching each other with our t-tails is to kiss her."
"How about you simply confess already?"
"No." Ari’s answer was surprisingly strong.
"A c-confession is way too intimate!"
"Ehhh…?" Sophia got more than a little confused. "Cuddling, sleeping together, touching each other, getting some tail action, and kissing is okay, but a confession is too much…?"
"…" Ari needed a moment. "Y-Yes…"
"A confession is… final. Once I confess, Anna knows my feelings for sure…"
"Because kissing a friend on the lips is a normal thing to do…?" The tiger had a hard time following her.
"I never said anything about her l-lips!"
"That's what you wanted to do, though, didn't you?"
"…" The jaguar chose not to answer again.
"Good girl." She was proud of her. "So, what am I missing here?"
"I can't brush off a confession… If I kiss her and her reaction… isn't a good one, I might still be able to find an excuse for my actions. In the worst case, I could still blame you."
"W-Why me?!" Sophia got loud.
"She already thinks you’re influencing me too much, so I bet she’d believe me if I say that you’ve tricked me into doing it."
"I’m not sure how I feel about this."
"By the way, thank you for influencing me so much. I really appreciate it."
"Ehehe~." Luckily, the blonde was easily swayed. "You really have changed… You really chewed me out the last time I suggested kissing the princess."
"Things have changed! Anna and I got so much closer, and I reeeeally want to kiss her so very, very, very much! It’s all your fault for encouraging me so much!"
"That's why it's all your fault if everything goes wrong!"
"Fair enough. I think. Probably… I got confused a little in the middle, and I'm not exactly sure about anything anymore…" Sophia tilted her head while trying to make sense of the situation and her involvement. "Yeah, I'm definitely not innocent."
"Alright, fine, I’ll take full responsibility if anything goes wrong." As she already knew that their love was mutual, the tiger had no issue with taking the blame.
"T-Thank you very much…"
"There’s a conditi-, there are two conditions for me to take the blame, though."
"I don’t like the sound of that…" Ari had a bad feeling about this.
"It’s not like you have a choice, do you~?" Sophia, on the other hand, was having the time of her life.
"Uuh…" She squirmed around for a little while. "Okay… what is it?"
"If the kiss should be successful and returned in kind, you’ll immediately confess to her."
"T-That’s…" The jaguar’s face turned redder again. "I-If the mood is right afterward, I-I’ll try…"
"You just kissed her. Of course, the mood will be right!"
"O-Okay, I’ll try…"
"No, you will do it."
"Y-You’re such a tyrant!"
"I know~." Sophia showed her a cheeky grin. "A tyrant that wants your best!"
"Uuh… W-What is the other condition…?"
"You'll immediately head over to my place the next day and tell me about everything that happened! In great detail, that is." She loved this kind of talk, after all.
"T-That should be manageable…" Ari paused for a moment. "Though, again, about that other condi-"
"No!" She stopped her. "That will happen!"
"I hate you…"
"No, you don’t."
"Yeah, I love you…" The jaguar couldn’t be mad at her.
"See? Confessing isn’t all that hard~." Sophia tried her best to hold in her laughter.
"S-Shut up!" She almost started screaming. "This and that are totally different things! Those types of love have no relation to each other!"
"I know." The tiger nodded. "It’s the same different kind of love I have for you and my Maya, after all."
"Anyway, with that taken care of, and agreed on, let’s-"
"Nothing has been taken care of, and even less has been agreed on!"
"I beg to differ." She wasn’t listening. "So, what’s your plan to kiss her? I’m really interested in what you have planned! I bet it’s adorable and super romantic~."
"A-Ah." Ari suddenly froze up.
"You useless lesbian!" Sophia couldn’t believe her. "Wow, for me to say that to someone... Steph would be so proud of me." She could even less believe that she'd ever use those words on someone else.
Afterward, once they calmed down a little, the two did some more brainstorming while getting Ellie's room ready for the heated floors.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet Ellie, and even worse, it will be quite a while until she's back. Fortunately, I got a little sidetracked when commissioning illustrations and ended up with an ANIMATED PIXEL ART of her! Her hair ended up a little too light, but other than that, it might actually be too adorable to look at.
As usual, a GIGANTIC thanks to every supporter on Patreon for making all those illustrations possible!