Chapter 17:

Musical Swap

Couple That Can't Touch

"Koji-kun!" I heard as I was shaken, but my eyelids were too heavy to open even though I wanted to wake up.

"Koji-kun, wake up!" Sae-san whispered once again as she intensely shook my shoulder, making my brain switch on.

"I'm awake," I said, half-asleep.

"You took your time," she giggled.

My senses awoke one by one. I was in Kozue's body, sitting on a chair next to Sae-san. People walked around in front of me in a room double the size of a classroom. Instruments—big and small—filled shelves and a big portion of the floor, which reflected the orange light entering through the windows.

I didn't expect Kozue to be in the Music Club and even less so with Sae-san present, I thought. It was a miracle Kozue and I were able to change the topic after Tarō-san's question, but they probably are even more suspicious about us now.

"Are you alright?" Sae-san asked me.

"Yes," I replied. "You just called me Koji-kun."

"You're Koji-kun, right?"

I nodded. "How did you know?"

"You told me a few days ago that Suzuka and you swap bodies after touching and I saw that you two touched each other's hand at the library, so it wasn't hard to connect the dots," she grinned, obviously proud of figuring it out. "Then you—I mean, Kozue—walked to this chair in the corner and immediately fell asleep."

"I see," I replied. I was glad I told her about it days before because explaining it to her at that moment would've been troublesome.

"Sae-san, I'll need your help," I said.

"I bet you will," she kept grinning.

"I don't know how to play any instruments and I know nothing about music. That aside from not knowing how to act like Kozue."

She patted my back and replied, "Relax, we'll only chat a bit on the first day."


She nodded. "We always talk about the holidays and our progress on the instruments we play, so don't worry."

That's a relief, I thought. I just hope that Kozue doesn't have any trouble while in my body.

Sae-san suddenly looked down at the floor still smiling while her eyes narrowed a little.

"Well, as much as I hate to admit it…," she sighed, "there's a small problem."

"Small problem?"

"Suzuka-san!" a guy shouted out of nowhere. Two guys and one girl walked to where Sae-san and I were sitting.

"Who are they?" I murmured at Sae-san, but she had already vanished from her chair next to me. Sae-san?

"Suzuka-san!" the same guy called again, this time in front of me.

"Y-Yes!" I replied, trying to smile.

I should act lively like Kozue, I told myself.

"It's been a while since we listened to you," the other guy said.

"Yeah, your piano skills are amazing!" the girl added.

"Can you play one song for us?" one of the guys asked.

Kozue plays the piano? I wondered. It doesn't matter, playing the piano is out of the question. And, if they're asking her—me—it means she's very good at it.

"Sorry, I'm a bit rusty," I nervously giggled, scratching the back of my head.

"Pretty please!" the two guys suddenly begged, bowing in front of me, making everyone in the room stare at us.

Stop it, you're attracting all the attention! I yelled in my mind.

The girl between the two guys sighed. "You know them. As much as I want them to stop making you uncomfortable, they won't stop until you play something."

I let out a deep breath—which probably wasn't a very Kozue-thing to do.

"But don't worry, it's not a competition or anything, so no one will judge you," the girl added.

However, I didn't believe her. Even though it was a different environment, I was still used to being judged all the time, no matter how trivial the activity was.

A blink later, I was sitting in front of a piano. It was a huge, dark-wood box with dozens of strings inside that moved with the slightest pressure I put on the keys.

My heart pounded and my hands began to sweat. I didn't want to look but probably everyone in the room was staring at me.

What am I supposed to do?! I asked myself. Maybe if I start playing, I'll do it instinctively because it's Kozue's brain.

I placed my hands over the keys and my right foot on one of the pedals on the floor. Sweat ran down my forehead as I hesitated to begin. Not only I would shock everyone, but I would also ruin Kozue's reputation.

There was no other way around it; I had to do it.

I took a deep breath.

Here I go…

I was just about to press my fingers against the keys when an explosive, deep, and loud noise behind me made the insides of my body tremble. I turned around to see Sae-san standing on the other side of the room, holding a bass with a strap around her neck. A cable was plugged into the bass and connected to an amplifier.


She closed her eyes and began to play notes in rapid succession, quickly swapping between strumming and slapping the strings. She sounded like a professional.

My mind was blank.

Everyone stared at her, astonished by how good she was. Even the windows shook from the loud, low notes.

She kept playing for a minute before the teacher arrived.

"Narumi-san!" Natsuhiko-sensei shouted, but her voice could barely be heard above the volume of the bass. "Narumi-san!" she yelled again.

Defeated, she walked to the amplifier and switched it off.

Sae-san was confused for a second before realizing that Natsuhiko-sensei was standing next to her.

"Ah, Natsuhiko-sensei! I'm so sorry, I didn't hear you," she giggled, scratching the back of her head.

"I know, that's why I was shouting for you to turn the volume down," Natsuhiko-sensei said with a very soft voice as she smiled.

She turned around and began speaking to the club members.

"I know everyone is eager to show off their new skills, but that will come soon after we chat about our holidays and get ourselves comfortable with each other again. Speaking of which, you can also start talking about the event," she said and looked around the room. "Tomoki-kun, you led the club's event last year, so why don't you start planning with everyone else?"

"Sure, that'll be a pleasure," Tomoki-san replied.

Skills… Do I have any? I wondered.

Sae-san took the bass off and placed it on a stand on the floor. Then she approached me with a proud smirk.

"How was it?"

"To be honest, I didn't expect it."

"Oh, what did you say?"

I sighed. "You were impressive."

Her cheeks flushed as her boastful smirk got even wider. "I know."

"And thank you," I added.

"For what?"

"For distracting everyone. Didn't you do it on purpose?"

"Of course I did. You were so pale that it seemed like you were going to pass out any second," she giggled.

At least someone's having fun with my suffering, I thought.

While everyone gathered around Tomoki-san to listen to his explanation, we took advantage of the distraction and walked back to the chairs we were sitting on in the corner of the room.

"Why did they ask me to play for them? Is Kozue that good?" I asked Sae-san.

Her eyes narrowed once again but her brows frowned as she kept her smile. She opened her mouth to say something, but another girl interrupted her as she approached.


"Why are you sad, Sae-chan?"

Sae-san jolted out of shock. "M-Mino! Why are you here?" she nervously laughed.

"Tokugawa-sensei asked me to come and ask Natsuhiko-sensei for an instrument, so I figured that I would say hi to you while I was here," Mino-san replied and crossed her arms. "But you don't seem very pleased to see me."

"N-No, that's not it! I'm just surprised," Sae-san kept laughing nervously.

Who is she? I wondered. Then I remembered that Sae-san had already mentioned her name before.

Mino-san stared at me quite intensely. It was easy to realize she wasn't happy to see Kozue.

"It seemed like you were having fun," she added as she glanced at me.

"What? No! How can I have fun with someone like Suzuka? I was just making fun of her."

"Oh, I see," Mino-san replied, clearly not believing what Sae-san was saying.

Sae-san began pushing her away from me. "We should talk over there, far away from her!"

She winked at me and they walked away, leaving me alone.

I had been waiting for an introduction but, as they walked away, I realized that she and Kozue already knew each other. I couldn't remember the expression I was making while looking at her. I hope I didn't do something bad, I told myself.

Everyone was still gathered around Tomoki-san, so I decided to approach and listen, but not too close so as not to attract attention—something, I was beginning to realize, that was difficult for Kozue.

"…so, that means we'll do a concert again?" a guy asked.

Concert? I wondered.

"We are a music club, what else can we do? Unless you have any other ideas," a girl replied.

"I don't…"

"There's no need to rush it," Tomoki-san said. "We still have a couple of weeks to decide and get everything ready."

"I agree. Natsuhiko-sensei said that fewer people joined last year compared to other years, so we should think about this more and change the antique method," a girl said.

"Yes, we need to change to something more modern that the newcomers will like and not just learn how to play the classical songs," another girl added.

"But most of the songs Natsuhiko-sensei teaches us are classical songs. Wouldn't we be lying if we didn't play them?" a guy opposed.

"That's very true," Tomoki-san replied and stayed silent, thoughtful.

They are really into this, I thought. Completely opposite of my old school.

"Boo!" Sae-san whispered in my ear, making me jolt. She started giggling.

I let out a deep breath. "You're back."

"Yep, sorry about that."

"Was she one of the friends you mentioned a few days ago?"

"Yes, Oshiro Minori. I was about to introduce the two of you to each other but thankfully I realized that was a bad idea."

"Did she leave already?"

Sae-san nodded. "She's in the Drama Club, but they needed a trumpet to practice with for a play, so Tokugawa-sensei sent her here to grab one. Poor her, she had to walk from the gym through the entire school just for a trumpet," she giggled.

"Didn't you say that they would only chat on the first day?"

"That's our case, but each club advisor can do what they want and you know Tokugawa-sensei, he won't slack even one day. Even less since the Club Fair is coming in three weeks."

"Club Fair?" I wondered.

"Oh, right, they won't explain it to you because you're Suzuka," she replied. "The Club Fair is held every year one month after classes start. It's basically meant to attract the new students into joining your club by showing the best of it."

"So they fight for new members."

"That's another way of putting it," she giggled. "We give a concert every year, but we didn't do well last time. The sports teams have competitions, Drama performs multiple plays, Art displays… art, Cooking makes a ton of food—and sometimes gives it away for free—and Science displays… science."

"All of that sounds fun," I said, amazed.

"It is! As long as your club's turn isn't on the last day…"


"It means you won't enjoy the other clubs' events because you'll be busy practicing for yours."

"Makes sense," I replied. "So Kozue and you will give a concert."

"Depends how we organize," Sae-san said. "I did last year, though Suzuka stole the show—which is very common as you've probably noticed."

"I see. You couldn't answer my question earlier."

"If Suzuka is really that good?"

I nodded and she sighed. Only then did I realize that maybe I shouldn't have asked that, but she replied sincerely.

"She is, mostly on the piano, but she also plays the guitar and sings."

Those are quite the skills, I thought.

"Let's talk about something else," Sae-san requested. "I know I'm talking to you and I forget that you're in Suzuka's body while we do, but it's really weird when I realize I'm seeing Suzuka and not you."

"I know, it's still weird for us too and it'll probably always be."

Speaking about Kozue, I wonder how she's doing in the Cooking Club.

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