Chapter 14:

Tense Relief

Couple That Can't Touch

After telling Kozue that I liked her, I turned around to look at her. Her eyes and mouth were wide open and her face was painted red—mine probably was too. Then she looked away from me.

"Kozue?" I asked. The pressure in my chest kept growing.

She stayed silent for a few, long, seconds before confessing, "M-Maybe I like you, too…"

The pressure released, allowing me to breathe, but my heart kept pounding like a hammer.

"But isn't it weird?" she added.

"What do you mean?"

"We've only known each other for a week and we already feel like this. What if it is because of the swapping?" she asked.

She was right. Maybe we felt close because of it and not naturally, but there was no way of telling. However, it was good that she brought it up or I wouldn't have realized.

"I don't want to make any hasty decisions," Kozue said.

"I agree," I smiled.

Even though she was quite immature most of the time, she could be mature too.

The awkward silence finally came. She laughed nervously and so did I, for some reason. Then I looked down at the floor.

"I'll leave so you can relax," I said and walked towards the door.

"Wait!" Kozue shouted. "Y-You can stay if you want…." She fidgeted.

It was an ordinary sentence, but there was something in her tone and expression that made me blush.

I gulped and stuttered, "S-Sure."

I sat in the chair next to the bed and we spent the next ten minutes in almost complete silence, only chatting a few words during the eternal wait.

The egg hunt ended once the winners were announced. Kozue's friends arrived at the infirmary to keep her company and I headed back home.

I went straight to my room and lay down on my bed, staring at the ceiling.

Moriyama-san knocked on the door and asked, "Is everything alright, Koji-sama?"

"Yes," I bluntly responded.

Was everything alright? Even though I confessed to Kozue and took some weight off my chest, I still felt uneasy, as if something wasn't right, but what else could I do? My head was empty. But then one thing came to my mind and, although I didn't like it, I knew it was the best course of action.

"Understood," Moriyama-san said. "I'll go—"

"Wait." I took a deep breath and asked, "Can you come in for a second?"

She opened the door and stepped in. I told her to close the door as I remained still on my bed.

"Is there anything you need?" she asked me.

I stared at the ceiling. "Why did you ask if everything was alright?"

She took a moment before replying, "Because you've been acting strangely."

"But I arrived two minutes ago."

"I've known you since you were a baby, I notice when there's something off."

We kept silent. It was true she had been there ever since I had memory, but it still was somewhat uncomfortable to ask her about love. Not only her, but anyone.

"Don't tell me…," she gasped.


She coughed. "I-It was nothing, excuse my dumb mind for making assumptions. Is that everything you needed?"

"It's fine. Yes, that was everything," I responded. "Well, no…"

She stared at me, confused.

Just tell her, I told myself.

After a deep breath, I let the words come out on their own, "I told a girl that I think I like her."

Moriyama-san gasped once again before covering her mouth. She cleared her throat and said, "T-That's a bold move, Koji-sama. What was her reaction?"

I sat up and let my legs hang over the side of the bed as I responded, "She said that maybe she likes me, too."

"That's good to hear! Then what happened?" she asked, eager to know more.

"We hesitated to go further. We've only known each other for one week, so we decided to give ourselves some time."

"That's quite mature," Moriyama-san said. "What else?"

She really wants to know about it, I thought.

"Nothing much. I sat next to her and we stayed silent for ten minutes."

"You didn't say anything for ten minutes?"

I shook my head. "Only a few words."

"So, I'm guessing the problem was the awkwardness, correct?"

Awkwardness, why didn't I think about that? I wondered.

"Maybe," I replied.

"I understand," Moriyama-san said and approached me. "This is my opinion, Koji-sama, but I believe you can't avoid the awkwardness."


She nodded. "However, that doesn't mean you can't do anything to feel more comfortable. I know it sounds easier than it is, but just keep being yourself. After all, that's the reason you're taking time, isn't it?"

"…You're right."

"But don't ignore the fact that you confessed to each other, that could give her the wrong idea. My advice also applies to her."

"What do you mean?"

"If she ignores the incident or avoids the subject, she's probably nervous, so don't worry."

I stared at her, dumbfounded by the obvious statements she was making that hadn't even crossed my mind.

The weight on my shoulders softened. "I see. Thank you, Moriyama-san, you're always helpful."

"And I'm pleased to help you, Koji-sama," she bowed. "Oh, excuse me, but can I ask something before leaving?"

"Sure, what is it?"

"Did the school really give you a bunny as a prize?"

"His name is Fuyu and yes, the student who owned him couldn't take care of him anymore, so they had the idea to give him away as a prize."

And he's the cutest thing I've ever seen, I thought.

"I-I see," Moriyama-san stuttered, probably still bewildered that a school would give away a prize like that. I couldn't blame her.

"How is he doing?" I asked.

"He's doing great, but we don't have anything for bunnies in the house. We'll buy everything, with your permission, of course."

"Buy the biggest cage you see."

"Understood. I shall leave now."

"Moriyama-san," I called her before she left.


"Please don't tell Father about any of this, I'll do it when I feel like it."

It was time for me to start telling him about my life myself and not to rely on other people to do it. I could already anticipate what his reaction might be, but it was a small step that had to be taken.

Moriyama-san hesitated before nodding. She walked out of the room and closed the door behind her. A short squeal blasted through the hallway, "Fuji-chan! Fuji-chan, where are you?! I need to tell you something!"

She and Sakakibara-san never failed to give me peace whenever I needed it even if I didn't ask for it, though Sakakibara-san hadn't felt well for the last couple of months.

I lay back down and stared at the ceiling again, wondering if Kozue felt the same. Though her friends would probably help her like Moriyama-san just did with me.

Should I message her? I asked myself. I grabbed my phone and stared at her contact.

In the end, I didn't do anything and nothing interesting happened for the rest of the day, even though it was only noon.

The next morning arrived and the classes went by as usual, though my name was murmured more than other days. It didn't take me long to figure out that they had probably found out about Kozue and me, but how?

Fortunately, everyone's attention was diverted toward the class president election before the break and they seemed to have fun discussing who could be the best leader.

It was a first for me. My previous school would simply select the student with the most influential family instead of wasting time letting students vote—which maybe was for the best to avoid disputes.

At some point during the election, the thought of raising my hand to postulate myself as a candidate crossed my mind, but I hesitated. Even though it was my last opportunity to be class president, everyone only knew me as the rich guy who bought the results to get into Kasen. Probably only Sae-san would've voted for me.

The class chose the president and vice president after an intense debate; I only knew their names, but they looked like good students.

The bell for the break rang and everyone walked out of the classroom. I headed to the garden Kawahara, Kozue, and I met in after we were found in the laboratory by the teacher. Unsurprisingly, Kawahara-san was standing close to the fence, reading something on her phone. However, there was no trace of Kozue.

I approached Kawahara-san and greeted her, "Hey, Kawahara-san."

"Hello, Araki Koji-kun," she replied.


"Ah, my apologies. Maybe hearing Kozue Suzuka-san call you like that every time we meet subconsciously influenced me."

"It's fine, you can call me Koji-kun," I added. "Have you seen Kozue? I haven't since yesterday."

"I saw her in class, but she immediately left after the bell rang," she responded. "Did something happen between the two of you?"

Her sudden question caught me off guard and even made my shoulders tense up a little.

"No, why?" I lied as naturally as I breathed.

"For nothing," she replied and pushed her glasses up with a slight smirk. "May I ask you some things about your magical powers?"

"Sure, but someone might hear us here."

"No one cares about us."

Is that supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing? I wondered.

"Yeah, you can talk wherever and whenever you want!" Sae-san shouted behind us.

My whole body tensed up for a second. Where did she come from? I asked myself.

"Did I scare you? Oopsie. Sorry!" she giggled.

Kawahara-san and I stared at her in silence for a moment. "You're right, we shouldn't talk about it in public," said Kawahara-san.

"What? But I wanna listen!" Sae-san shouted. "I can barely believe something like swapping bodies is possible—"

I immediately shushed her and put my finger close to her mouth. She was saying too much and her shouting had attracted the attention of the people walking by. For some reason, her cheeks blushed a little.

"That's right, you told her about it," Kawahara-san said, reaffirming that fact to herself. "Do you have a specific place in mind, Araki Koji-kun?"

They stared at me as I thought. "I don't, but I suggest meeting after class."

"Good idea! When and where should we go?" Sae-san asked.

We? I wondered.

"H-Hi!" Kozue greeted us from behind, making me jump a little. She smiled with her hands behind her.

"K-Kozue," I stuttered. Did I just stutter? I asked myself.

"I heard you're going somewhere," she forcibly smiled.

I nodded. "Kawahara-san and I decided not to talk about body-swapping in public, so we need a new place to meet while we wait for the laboratory to be safe, preferable after class."

"Oh, so it was that," Kozue replied.

"What did you think it was, Suzuka-chan?" Sae-san smirked.

"That's none of your business, Sae-chin," Kozue smirked back.

They smiled at each other, but they fought with their gazes as if they were shooting electrical currents out of their eyes that clashed mid-air. That's what I imagined, at least.

"Do you have any place in mind, Kozue?" I asked.

She stopped shooting electrical currents and thought for a second. "What about the park we went to together last time?" she responded.

"Oh, good idea—"

"You went to a park together?!" Sae-san yelled.

"Good afternoon, everyone," Tsuga-san greeted us. "Did I hear that both of you went to a park together? That's cool!"

The four of us stared at him without saying a word; he was obviously acting.

"Ah, sorry if I meddled! I'll go now," he apologized worriedly.

Is he really trying to make us feel pity for him? I wondered. No one would fall for—

"It's okay, you didn't!" Kozue said and grabbed his arm to stop him.

"Seriously? I'm glad to hear that," he smiled.

I couldn't stop the mental facepalm as I thought, She fell for it…

"I was actually passing by and saw you," Tsuga-san added.

Sae-san coughed exaggeratedly multiple times. "We're also here," she said between coughs.

He feigned surprise, "Oh, I didn't see you there, Narumi."

What about Kawahara-san and me? I thought.

Sae-san frowned for a second before naturally switching to an amiable smile. "Should I remind you of the recording?"

Tsuga-san's smile twitched, but he ignored her. "Anyway, Kozue-san, would you mind studying with someone as dumb as me again? Having the year's first-place by my side helped a lot last time."

I subconsciously clenched my fists.

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