Chapter 4:

Novel Union

Couple That Can't Touch

I got back to Araki-kun's classroom and sat in his place. Good thing we had swapped bodies the previous day so I already knew where his seat was.

There were quite a few minutes of the break left, but I preferred to stay low and avoid talking to anyone. Fortunately, there were only a couple of people in there.

It was normal for me to be very hungry at the break, but I wasn't-probably because it wasn't my body.

He's probably struggling with that, I thought.

I got bored pretty fast. I wanted to use Araki-kun's phone to play something but I didn't want to see something I shouldn't. I only used it to see the time.

But I couldn't control myself. I looked inside his backpack to take out any book I could find.

A backpack isn't that personal, right? And I doubt he has anything weird, I told myself. I wouldn't like someone checking my stuff, though.

I felt a little weight in my chest.

However, I found something I didn't expect to find in Araki-kun's backpack; a manga. I took it out even though I didn't read manga.

The cover was colorful and flashy. It looked fantastic with that many effects, eccentric clothing, and strange creatures. Even the title was interesting; Spear Hero.

I opened it and read it for the next few minutes.

"Hi, Araki-kun!" a girl greeted me from behind, making me jump. "Oh, sorry! I didn't mean to scare you," she chuckled.

I turned around and saw the person I hadn't expected to see. Short, brown hair, thin brows, brown eyes, and innocent expression; Narumi Sae.

"You're back early. I couldn't help but notice that you've run out of the room as soon as the bell rang these last two days," she said.

"Y-Yes…," I nervously giggled.

Why does she call him Araki-kun?! Are they close? I wondered.

"Is your stomach struggling?" she asked.

I was wordless.

She laughed, "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."

She's cute. And it's been a while since that happened, I thought. But should I do something?

A pressure crushed my chest before I could say anything. It was different from anything I had ever felt before.

"By the way, what do you like to do outside school?" she asked.

She was already going all in!

"Why do you ask?" I questioned.

"I'm just curious," she replied as she propped her elbow on her desk and rested her head on her hand. "You've heard all those rumors about you, haven't you?"

She was right. Everyone had been talking about Araki-kun since he transferred to the school, especially because his family was rich and owned a famous restaurant chain. They thought that he bought his results to be admitted.

But, after spending some time with him and even being him, I couldn't believe that anymore.

"I have," I responded to her question.

"Don't worry, I won't believe any of them until I see it with my own eyes," she said. "And, for that, I need to know you better. So, what are your hobbies?"

She really knew what to say. Even I was falling for her! But I didn't know what Araki-kun did outside school. I had to think of something quickly!

What would someone like Araki-kun do?! I asked myself.

My light bulb switched on.

"I like to read and play games," I answered, adding the play games part.

Sorry, Araki-kun, I thought. I hope I'm not far from what you really do.

"Oh, as I expected," she said. "I particularly don't like games that much, but I do read a lot." She stood up forward and whispered to my ear, "I'll tell you a secret. I mostly read manga."

"I see…," I replied, speechless.

"But don't tell anyone! Do you read it too?"

"I do." At least I could answer that honestly.

"Awesome! We could go to a store together someday if you want," she blushed.

"S-Sure," I stuttered.

"Great! I'll be looking forward to it."

What just happened? I asked myself. She didn't give me a moment to think!

"Can I ask you something else?" she questioned.

I nodded.

"Are Kozue Suzuka and you dating?"

My heart skipped a beat and my breathing stopped for a second.

"What? N-No, we aren't!" I replied, acting like myself out of the shock.

"I see," she said. "I've been attacked with those kinds of rumors too. Maybe we have more things in common than we expected," she smiled.

My mind went blank.

"Araki-san, Narumi-san, the class has already started," the teacher scolded.

When did the bell ring?! I thought.

"I'm sorry, Tokugawa-sensei!" Narumi apologized. "We talk later," she whispered at me.

The rest of the classes ended. I ran from Narumi before she realized I was gone so I could meet up with Araki-kun and Kawahara at the entrance to touch to get back to our bodies.

I couldn't bring myself to tell Araki-kun what happened with Narumi and the appointment I made without his consent. My chest still felt weird by thinking about it.

I got in Araki-kun's SUV to go home and, soon enough, I felt sleepy. The car was huge and very fancy. I didn't imagine I would ever get in one. Everything looked new. The interior had some accent colors instead of being completely black like its exterior and also small TVs in the head-rest of every seat! Not to mention the AC, which probably helped me fall asleep.

I looked out the window.

People already tell rumors about Araki-kun after one week of classes when they don't even know him, I thought. Neither do I, more than a little about his body. But Narumi probably understands him, she was in a similar position, after all. They seem quite compatible.

My chest tightened again. I couldn't figure out why. Maybe I felt guilty for not stopping Narumi since I thought she could ruin his reputation. But the feeling was different.

I fell asleep before I realized it.

"Next station, Akishima," I barely heard.

I fell asleep again.

"Current station, Akishima," the same voice announced.

I closed my eyes.

Wait, that's my station! I internally screamed and jumped out of the train right before the doors closed. I almost tripped in the process, probably because I had just woken up and was back in my body after a whole day. I was glad to have my body but I was, also, worried if the swapping would have any bad effects in the long term.

I walked for twenty minutes through the streets under the sunset with my stomach growling the whole way.

I arrived home, wishing I could use the bus.

"Sis! You here!" my little sister received me after I opened the door. "Papa cooked!"

"Really?" I let out. I left my backpack on the floor after taking off my shoes and lifted my little sister up. "Thank you for telling me, Yu-tan!"

"You welcome!"

I carried her to the living room, which also was the dining room. But I didn't expect my big sister to be there.

"Makoto?" I baffled.

"Surprise!" Yu-tan shouted.

"Hi, Su-chan," Makoto greeted.

I put Yu-tan down and sat next to Makoto on the floor.

"Why are you here?" I asked her.

"I realized it's been a while since I came over," she answered and took a sip from her tea.

"Yes. I thought you forgot about us," I said.

"How could I ever forget about little Yu-tan?"

Yu-tan sat on the side of the table and ate a lollipop. "Big sis gave lopop!" she said.

"Really? What do you have for me, big sis?" I asked Makoto, making my voice higher.

"Who are you?" she smiled.

"It's not fair! You only give things to Yu-tan!" I whimpered.

"Girls, don't fight on the table," Mom nagged at us.

"Sorry, Mom…," Makoto and I apologized at the same time.

It was also surprising that Mom was there. She would usually work at the bakery until very late.

Mom and Dad then brought the food to the table. It was miso soup with lots of veggies, chicken, and noodles, accompanied with some sauce. There even was tea for everyone!

"This looks fancy!" I exclaimed.

"Makoto bought everything," Dad smiled.

"See? I, also, give you things," Makoto told me.

"But Mom and Dad probably cooked it! And this is for everyone, not only for me," I replied.

"Come on, don't be so selfish."

Only then I noticed that Makoto still wore her work outfit.

"Did you just finish work?" I asked her.

"That's right, captain obvious," she responded.

"Hey, maybe you're about to go to work!"

"Girls…," Mom smiled at us. We knew her patience was running out.

"Sorry," Makoto and I apologized again.

We ate as if we hadn't eaten in weeks. I slurped the noodles and took sips of the soup and tea; In a matter of minutes, I had almost cleaned off the dishes before me. I hadn't been this hungry after school in months, probably because Araki-kun didn't eat anything at school.

"Yummy!" Yu-tan exclaimed.

I burped.

"Suzuka, manners," Mom stared at me.

"Sorry," I giggled.

"Makoto, thank you very much for the ingredients," Mom said.

"No problem," she smiled.

"I hope you're not overworking," Dad added.

"Don't worry, everything's going great."

"Oh, didn't you say you had something to tell us?" Mom asked her.

"I do," Makoto said while reaching for her pocket. "I'll get straight to the point."

I began to take a sip from my tea.

Makoto extended her arm forward with a ring on her finger. "I'm engaged!"

I spit the tea on Dad's face. "You, what?!"

"Congratulations, Makoto!" Mom stood up and hugged her. "I'll finally have grandchildren."

"Hey," Makoto let out.

Yu-tan copied Mom and also hugged Makoto.

"Congratulations! I'm really happy for you," Dad said, still sitting down with his face covered in tea.

"Ah, sorry, Dad!" I apologized and stood up to clean his face with a napkin. "That idiot—I mean, he proposed to you?!" I asked Makoto.

"Suzuka!" Mom and Dad yelled at me.

"I'm sorry. Also, for him…"

"Little Su-chan, no one will ever like you if you keep that attitude. And you won't like anyone either," Makoto said as I sat back in my place.

She began to take a sip from her tea.

"Yeah…," I let out.

My chest felt tight once again. I looked down at the floor.

Makoto suddenly spit her tea on Dad's face and shouted, "You like someone?!"

"What? I-I don't!" I stuttered.

"You keep stuttering!" she said. She grasped my shoulders and asked, "Su, who is that poor soul?"

"Makoto!" Mom and Dad shouted at her.

"Suzuka, do you like someone?" Mom asked me and smirked.

"I don't, seriously!"

"If you say so," Makoto added, not believing me at all.

I stood up and went for my backpack at the door.

"I'll do my homework. Thanks for the food, Makoto. And congratulations on your engagement."

Even though we played somewhat harshly, I was actually happy for her. I wasn't completely lying about her fiance being an idiot, but he had his good sides too.

"Thanks, Su," Makoto replied.

I tried to run to my room but Mom stopped me.

"Where do you think you're going, Suzuka?" she smiled.

"Mom… I hate washing dishes!"

"Suzuka." Her smile disappeared.


I left my backpack on the floor and grabbed the empty bowls on the table. I walked to the kitchen with my head down and washed them.

We then chatted for a while until Makoto had to leave.

The light of the dusk entered through my room's window. I sat on the floor to do my homework on the table I had.

My phone vibrated. Kawahara sent an invitation to a chat group.

I should add Araki-kun back to my contacts…, I thought.

I accepted the invitation and sent a request to Araki-kun. He accepted not long after.

I should tell him about Narumi, I told myself.

I opened a private chat between Araki-kun and me and typed, "Hello, how are you?"

It was extremely formal, so I deleted the text and typed again, "Hey, sup?"

No, that looks like I'm a guy, I thought.

I deleted it and typed, "Hi."

Too short, I thought. Why am I thinking so much about this?!

I ended up sending, "What are your hobbies?

I didn't know why I was nervous. I didn't want to believe I was nervous. Why would I?

He replied after a minute, "Reading and playing games."

I completely guessed right.

He then sent, "What are yours?"

"Well, if I need to choose, probably playing the piano and teaching my little sister," I replied.

"You have a little sister?"

"Yes, she's very cute!"

We chatted for quite some time before we realized it was late and we still needed to do our homework.

The day finished and the next morning arrived. I walked across the bridge at the school's entrance when I overheard Narumi shouting Araki-kun's name from the other side of the bridge.

A hammer smashed my brain. I forgot to tell Araki-kun about the appointment!

I scrambled through the people to observe them from far away so they didn't notice me.

"Araki-kun, here you are," Narumi said. "Do you want to go to the store today?"

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