Chapter 15:

Familiar Breeze

Couple That Can't Touch

Hisa and Rem arrived not long after the winners of the Egg Hunt were announced and Araki-kun left the infirmary. I saw everyone leaving the school through the window while I was still stuck in bed, but I didn't care about that.

How is it possible that we barely said anything in those last ten minutes?! I yelled in my head. Was it my fault?

"How are you feeling, Su-chan?" Rem asked.

"Oh, a lot better," I forcibly smiled. Then I noticed my body was still hot and that I hadn't felt any pain while Araki-kun was here.

"Awesome!" Hisa smirked and stared at me. She bent forward, close to my face, and asked, "Did anything happen?"

My face flushed and I looked away from them. "W-What do you mean did anything happen?"

Hisa and Rem gasped before shouting, "It did!"

"Tell us everything!" Rem demanded, getting extremely close to my face.

I couldn't fix my eyes on hers from the embarrassment of recalling the last ten minutes; I didn't even know how to explain it.

"Please!" she begged.

I took a deep breath and replied without looking at them, "H-He told me he thinks he likes me." My voice quivered in a way I didn't think was possible.

They uncontrollably squealed.

The door opened behind them and the doctor stepped in. "Is everything alright? What's all the fuss about?"

He's back! He'll calm them down, I thought and smiled. Or…

"Nothing, Doc, can you give us five minutes alone?" Hisa immediately asked as if she was prepared for his arrival.

"But this is my office. And Suzuka-san's ankle—"

"Don't worry, she said she's fine," Rem interrupted. "Right, Su-chan?"

Hisa and Rem glared at me with a murderous grin. I never knew how they both managed to always synchronize their smiles like that but, if I didn't comply with them, bad things would happen.

"Y-Yes, I'm fine," I forcibly smiled.

Maybe he'll be able to read through my obviously fake smile, I told myself.

"Oh, in that case, I'll wander around for a bit," he said and walked out of the infirmary. "But I'll come back in exactly five minutes to treat her—"

"Of course," Hisa interrupted him and shut the door before he could finish his sentence. "Where were we?"

She could be quite rude, but it didn't surprise me anymore.

"Araki-san told Su-chan that he thinks he likes her," Rem responded.

"Right. What does he mean 'he thinks'?! Can't he man-up?" Hisa yelled. "And what did you say?"

I opened my mouth but the words wouldn't come out, so I covered my face with my hands and answered, "That I think I like him, too…"

My hands quickly grew warm because of the heat coming from my face. I wished to disappear in that instant.

"You also said 'you think'?!" Hisa and Rem yelled in unison.

"Whatever, this isn't the moment to nitpick; you actually told him!" Hisa proudly said.

"Why are you surprised? Did you think I wouldn't tell him?" I asked.

"Well…, " she nervously giggled and scratched her cheek.

"Wait, you knew I liked him?"

"It was quite obvious," Rem replied.

"Makes sense… I've come to realize that my expressions and reactions reveal too much about my current state," I giggled nervously. I still didn't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing in relation to the swapping.

"So, you're dating now," Hisa said.

"N-No! We just confessed to each other and stayed silent for ten minutes," I agitatedly answered.

"Ten minutes? Really?" Rem asked, shocked.

I nodded and Hisa sighed. "You confessed to each other and the first thing you did was stay silent for ten minutes…"

The disappointment in her voice even made me feel like I should apologize.

"I know, I didn't know what to say," I replied. "What if it's awkward every time we meet from now on?"

Hisa and Rem looked at each other before staring at me for a moment.

"You can't help it since you're a novice," Hisa sighed again. "We'll have to teach you about love!" she proudly said and pointed at me.

"Huh? So, the two of you are experts on love?" I sarcastically asked. "Even though I haven't seen you with anyone since middle school and Rem has never had a boyfriend."

Hisa blushed and coughed exaggeratedly. "Kozue Suzuka"—she pointed back at me—"You have to ask Araki Koji out!"

"Me?! Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?" I asked, puzzled. The TV shows my dad watched always made it look like that, at least.

"And we have the perfect plan!" Hisa added.


I didn't like that word any less coming out of Hisa's mouth.

A couple of minutes passed and they stopped telling me their plan when the doctor came back. He only bandaged my ankle and gave me a pill for the pain since it was already getting back to normal.

We left the school and headed to the train station in town; we walked slowly to let my ankle rest a bit.

Hisa and Rem continued explaining their plan for me to ask Araki-kun out—though it was obvious they were coming up with it on the fly—during the entire thirty-minute ride on the train.

We finally arrived at our stop and they walked away together in the direction opposite of where my house was. I still limped a bit, but it wasn't a big deal.

The wind cooled down the sun while at its highest and gave me goosebumps—the cool ones. Pink petals from the cherry blossom still flew around the streets while I walked under the shadow of the trees and deeply breathed the refreshing breeze; I would never get tired of the sunny and cold days.

I arrived home after twenty minutes, almost twice what it would normally take me with a healthy ankle.

Finally! I really need to rest, I thought. Hm?

A small, gray, car that I had never seen before, was parked right outside our house. I decided to inspect it before stepping inside.

It was a nice car but I couldn't really get anything from the inspection, so I walked through the small garden to get into the house.

"Sis!" Yu-tan shouted and opened the door right before I could grab its handle.

"Yu-tan!" I shouted back. She jumped at me and hugged me tightly, very tightly. "You're getting stronger…," I said out of breath.

"Ah, sowwie!" she apologized. "Quick, Big Sis friend is here!"


She suddenly pulled me inside and made me stumble on the entrance slope. "I'm coming, I'm coming!"

"Big Sis, Niku, Sis is here!" Yu-tan shouted.

"Miku, not Niku!" Makoto yelled, embarrassed.

The woman sitting beside her tried not to laugh, but it was still obvious she wanted to. Yu-tan did laugh.

"Su-chan, you're back," Makoto said and the woman looked at me. A feeling of resemblance suddenly hit my brain, but I didn't know why. She also seemed mature and pretty.

"Su-chan, this is Miku, my coworker. Miku, this is Su-chan, my little sister."

"My name's not Su-chan! And Yu-tan is our little sister!" I yelled at Makoto. "Ah, sorry! My name is Kozue Suzuka, I'm Makoto's sister. Nice to meet you," I bowed at Miku.

"Nice to meet you too, Suzuka. I'm Miku, Makoto's coworker. You don't need to be so polite," she giggled.

She's really pretty! I shouted in my head.

"And we just got off work; it's tiring being polite all the time," Makoto added.

"Well, you're a beast with no manners, so you'll obviously get tired of it," I said in a low voice.

"Huh?! What about your manners, Freckles?" she yelled.

"What do my freckles have to do with this?!"

"Girls, please behave in front of our guest," Dad scolded us in a light voice as he walked in from the kitchen.

"Yes, Dad," Makoto and I responded at the same time.

"I apologize, they're always mean to each other, but that's how they show their love," he said to Miku.

Makoto and I looked away from each other to avoid eye contact. I was self-conscious about my freckles, which I always hid because they were ugly.

"A lot of love," Dad added.

"Don't worry, it's actually fun," Miku smiled.

Dad returned to the kitchen and I walked back to the entrance to take off my shoes and leave my stuff. I sat on the floor beside Yu-tan, in front of Miku and Makoto.

"Do you have siblings? Do you fight with them too?" I asked Miku.

Makoto choked on her tea and whispered between coughs, "Su-chan, you shouldn't—"

"It's fine," Miku interrupted Makoto. "I don't have siblings. Well, I have, but I left home a few years ago. It's only me now," she smiled.

Yu-tan walked behind Makoto and slapped her on the back. "Look at birds, look at birds!"

"I see. Sorry if I was rude," I apologized.

"You were. You shouldn't ask that stuff so casually," Makoto scolded.

"But you did the same thing when we met," Miku said.

"Oh?" I uttered and stared scornfully at Makoto, who looked down and hid her face behind her short, brown, hair.

Miku chuckled. "Your hair is nice, Suzuka. Can I ask why you dye it red?"

"My hair?" I asked back, flattered, and instinctively grabbed my ponytail to pull it in front of me. "I just like the color," I nervously giggled. Explaining the real reason would've killed the mood.

"Really? Well, it matches perfectly with your tan skin and green eyes."

"T-Thanks. Your hair is pretty, too. It seems very smooth and dark."

"Thank you."

"Why are you here, by the way?" I asked.

"I bought too much stuff for Mom and Dad, so she offered to drive me," Makoto answered.

Miku nodded. "She also told me that a certain someone's birthday is getting close, so I bought a gift."

"Me, my birthday! Gift!" Yu-tan cheerfully shouted.

"I need to get it from my car," Miku said and stood up.

Yu-tan ran behind her. "Me go too!"

"Is it okay for her to go out?"

"It's fine, she doesn't do anything without permission," Makoto responded.

"That's impressive, Yu-tan!" Miku praised her. "Okay, follow me."

They walked out of the house, leaving Makoto and me alone. She took a sip from her tea as we remained silent for a bit.

"Why didn't Haruma-dono drive you?" I asked her.

"Stop calling him like that," she replied. "He works until night and he was too busy to take a break. We need to work even harder now that we have a wedding to pay for."

"Right, your wedding. When is it?"

"I told you about it just one week ago. Weddings can take more than one year to plan them perfectly."

"It sounds like too much of a bother."

"What? You don't plan to get married? You finally met someone, right?"

"I just said it sounds like too much stress. I-It's not like I don't want to…," I stuttered.

"You didn't deny that you met someone," she replied.

She got me. As much as I wanted to counter-attack, I couldn't think of anything.

"I can finally tease you about it," she added before taking a sip from her tea and exhaling. "How was the egg hunt, by the way? Were you with him the whole time?"

My heart skipped a beat. I could only think about our confession.

"A bit…"

"Oh, really?" she evilly grinned.

That smile…, I thought. Oh, I just remembered I need to kill Hisa.

"And how's your ankle? You didn't run too much, right?" she asked.

I stayed silent for a couple of seconds. "It's fine, it just ached a bit."

Makoto sighed. "We've told you this many times already, but you need to take care of it if you don't want it to get worse."

"I know, I will," I replied.

If only it were that easy, I told myself.

"Sis, Big Sis, look!" Yu-tan shouted as she arrived in the living room and ran to us. "Red bear!" she said, holding a brown, plushie bear.

"It's really cute!" I replied.

"Yeah! Did you thank Miku?" Makoto asked.

"Ah, I forgot!" she worriedly shouted and ran back to Miku, who just arrived. "Thank you for the gift, Niku!"

"Miku, not Niku!" Makoto yelled.

Miku giggled and replied, "You're welcome."

Yu-tan ran to the kitchen to show the bear to Dad and then ran to our room to play with it.

Miku sat down beside Makoto and said, "I know she's still very small, but she keeps saying that the bear is red when it's brown."

"We know. She struggles with colors," Makoto answered.

"Oh, I see."

"What will you get for her, Su-chan?" Makoto asked.

I didn't know. Her birthday was still two weeks away, but it was going to be impossible to save enough money to buy her something nice. Though I didn't want to, I could only think of one thing.

"I have an idea," I replied.

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