Chapter 26:

Emotional Rollercoaster

Couple That Can't Touch

We both held Yu-tan's hands as we kept walking down the crowded path. The path eventually reached a bridge. It was high enough for boats to sail under it. Just beyond the bridge was the common area. The open area was practically full as quite a few families and groups of friends had gathered—around the fountains and under the shade of the trees—to eat food they had purchased from the nearby stalls.

A lot of people were crowded around a specific spot in the center. We approached to see what it was. I stood up on tiptoe but couldn't see a thing. Luckily, Araki-kun's tallness easily outdid other people's height.

"It's the map of the park," he said.

"Really? We need to see it, but there's just too many people," I replied.

"Probably because it's a new park, it's Sunday, and it's Golden Week."

I sighed, giving up looking at it. "Can you see anything from here?"

He nodded and squinted to get a clearer view.

"There's a drawing of a duck that looks like a boat near this place. And another drawing that looks like some kind of cart, I think it's a rollercoaster—"

"Rollercoaster!" Yu-tan shouted, still holding our hands.

Araki-kun and I looked at her, smirking.

"You want to ride the rollercoaster?" I asked her.

She nodded energetically and we agreed to go. We arrived in a blink since it was near the common area, but we couldn't believe what we were seeing; we were speechless.

"I-Isn't the queue twice as long as it was at the entrance?" I asked, shocked.

"It is…," Araki-kun replied.

The line strung out well beyond the established queue and there weren't any signs nearby that showed the estimated wait time.

We'll spend practically half of the day just for this…

"Maybe we should go another—"

People's screams—as the rollercoaster left the station—interrupted me.

"Rollercoaster!" Yu-tan shouted again, beaming.

Araki-kun and I glanced at each other. Unable to say no to Yu-tan, we decided to stay.

We saw another information sign—similar to the one at the entrance of the park—that showed the minimum height for the rollercoaster; Yu-tan wasn't tall enough. However, a big note next to the mark stated that the height didn't matter as long as there was an adult in the same cart.

That was close.

After half an hour of waiting and Yu-tan making us laugh, we were finally close to having our turn. Luckily, the carts—shaped like an airplane from a cartoon—could fit three people. We somehow forgot to check that…

I had counted how long the ride took while we waited. Waiting thirty minutes for not even a five-minute ride…

The current ride finished but we still didn't know if we were going to make it for the next turn. An employee opened the gate to let people in and the queue quickly moved forward. We moved with the line and, to our surprise, we were the last ones to enter before the employee closed the gate.

Araki-kun had been calm during the entire wait, but his foot suddenly started tapping on the ground once we entered; it was obvious he was becoming nervous. For some reason, I found it cute.

We approached the cart at the very back of the ride since it was the only one with three seats remaining. An employee stood next to it.

"Hi! Please hop-in!" he smiled.

Araki-kun let go of Yu-tan's hand to sit down first. Then he grabbed her hand again to help her get in. I sat down last.

"Please fasten the little girl's seatbelt," the employee requested.

"Oh, sure," I replied.

I reached for Yu-tan's seatbelt but Araki-kun's hand was already there. I somehow managed to stop before touching him and we moved our hands away. We glanced at each other and let out a sigh of relief before nervously giggling. I fastened Yu-tan's seatbelt and then mine.

"Perfect! She's very secure, but make sure to always hold her hands because this rollercoaster is scary!" he smiled.

"There's another person that is going to need his hands to be held," I joked.

"Koji!" Yu-tan shouted.

We laughed. Araki-kun simply shook his head and smirked while his feet bounced on the floor of the cart.

The employee pushed the securing bar down to our laps until it gave the last click it could. It was somewhat tight for me while, for Yu-tan, there was quite a big gap between her and the bar. Araki-kun's legs bounced even faster.

Why do I find it cute?

The sound of the mechanical parts getting ready to launch the carts suddenly exploded in my ears like a soda being opened. We started to slowly move forward and Yu-tan held my hand tighter. Araki-kun wouldn't move his head at all and he was the one holding Yu-tan's hand tightly.

"Scary?" she asked him.

"What? N-No, I'm just making sure you're safe," he replied.

"Oh, thanks!"

I couldn't help but chuckle.

The carts soon reached the hill and started to climb up. My body was pushed back against the cart as the track became steeper. We kept climbing for a minute when people ahead of us raised their arms in preparation for the big drop. They suddenly started to disappear from my sight.

I raised my arm and lifted Yu-tan's a little bit. Araki-kun replicated what I did but timidly.

"Here it comes!"

Soon enough, we started freefalling. I let out a scream of excitement as my body was pressed more firmly against the back of the cart and the wind whisked past my face and hair. Yu-tan also screamed as her hair flew around, while Araki-kun closed his eyes and his medium-length hair waved around.

We quickly reached the bottom of the hill and gravity did the rest of the work, swinging our bodies up and down on every hill and side to side on every turn. We tightly held onto the securing bar; especially Araki-kun, who finally opened his eyes after the fall.

The rest of the ride was nothing special and ended after two laps. The carts slowly stopped at the station and we got off. The three of us were dizzy—Araki-kun more so, as he grabbed onto the fence along the exit path with his very red hands.

"Did you have fun?" I asked when we arrived at the park's main path.

"Yes!" Yu-tan shouted.

"Yes…," Araki-kun replied, breathing heavily.

"Awesome! I did, too, even though it was a kids' rollercoaster."

"Kids'?" Araki-kun asked, shocked.

I giggled. "Where should we go next?"

"Ducks!" Yu-tan quickly answered.


"I think she means the boat ride with the duck drawing," Araki-kun replied.

"Oh… A-Are you sure, Yu-tan? There are many other rides that are more fun," I nervously giggled.

"Yes, ducks!"

"Okay… Let's go, then."


We started walking back to the common area since the ride was on the opposite side. Araki-kun kept looking around from time to time.

"Is there something bothering you?" I asked him.

"No, it's nothing," he answered. Then he stared at me, making me blush a bit.

I looked away, unable to maintain eye contact any longer. What is he doing?

"Why are you nervous?"

"W-What? I'm not nervous—"

"She scared of water!" Yu-tan shouted.

My lie was instantly crushed—just like my chest. Araki-kun stared at me, repeatedly blinking in confusion.

"What? Is it that bad?" I said, acting upset and looking away to hide my embarrassment.

"I thought you liked every sport since you are quite athletic."

"That's quite the assumption to make."

"Yes. I'm sorry."

I immediately felt guilty for making him feel guilty.

"I-It's fine, I understand why you assumed it. Basically, I've never had good experiences when it comes to water. I can tell you about it another day, let's have fun today."


We arrived at the boat ride a minute later. The queue was quite long, but not as long as it had been to enter the park or the rollercoaster. We didn't forget to check the capacity this time; three people per boat.

How lucky!

It only took us fifteen minutes to get our turn. An employee asked us to leave any important stuff we had in a small locker then helped us put on a lifejacket. She guided us over the dock to one of the duck boats.

"Please let the person who is going to paddle hop-on first," she told us.

Araki-kun and I glanced at each other and spoke at the same time.


"I can—"

We stared at each other for a brief moment.

"Let me do it," I said.

"Are you sure?"

I nodded. "I want to do something to distract myself from the reality of being on a boat. And I'm probably stronger than you," I grinned.

He smirked and moved to the side to let me get on the boat first. I sat at the very back of the boat where the pedals were, holding onto the sides every time it moved. My legs wouldn't stop shaking.

Breath, Suzuka. Breathe…

"Don't worry, the boat is still anchored to the dock, it won't move until I unlock it," the employee told Araki-kun before helping Yu-tan hop on. She probably said it to comfort Yu-tan, but it actually helped me calm down quite a bit.

They sat down on the opposite side of the small boat in just a few seconds.

"You have ten minutes to ride around. This light will turn red when time runs out, indicating you need to come back," the employee instructed, pointing at the green light on the boat. "Ready to sail?"

"Yes!" Yu-tan shouted. Araki-kun and I nodded.

"Great. The boat is now unlocked, you can paddle away. Please be careful with the other boats."

I started moving my shaking legs forward in circles, propelling the boat just like riding a bicycle. It was quite slow and didn't tilt much, perfect for me. Though I still felt somewhat dizzy.

We reached the open water in no time. The area was smaller than I expected and all the boats were quite close to each other, but it was enough.

I stopped paddling in the middle of the lake and we stayed silent for a bit. I was still shaking, but being with Yu-tan and Araki-kun made me relax a little. The breeze was nice and there was no noise compared to the crowded park.

"Bored," Yu-tan said with her arms crossed.

"You're bored?" Araki-kun asked.

"Well, there's nothing much to do on a boat. Even less on this miniature," I giggled.

"Let's go back," Yu-tan said.

"We still have like seven minutes left," I replied.

"Go back!" she yelled.

Her attitude surprised me. It had been a while since she acted like that.

"Well, I guess we can—"

"Why don't we play a game?" Araki-kun suggested.

"Game?" Yu-tan asked.

"Yes. You'll name the color of something you're seeing and I have to guess what you're seeing."

"Wait, Araki-kun, I don't think—"

"Fun!" Yu-tan shouted. "I see… white!"

It was a nice idea from Araki-kun to distract her, but the game he suggested was quite unsuitable for her condition.

I should've told him about her color blindness already…

"Duck," Araki-kun answered.

"Correct!" Yu-tan clapped.

"Now it's my turn. I see something brown."

Oh no.

"Brown…," Yu-tan said as she looked around in every direction. "I don't see brown."

"It was a tree."

"But tree is red."

Araki-kun seemed confused by what Yu-tan said. Then he looked at me and I nervously giggled.

"Let's try again. I see something red."


He shook his head. "It's something else this time."

"No tree?" Yu-tan asked and started looking around once again. Until she saw me. "Sis hair! Sis hair red!"

"Correct," Araki-kun smiled.

"Yay!" Yu-tan clapped. "My turn."

They kept playing throughout the remaining five minutes. It was quite heartwarming seeing how Araki-kun quickly understood Yu-tan's condition and adjusted what he spied so that they could still have fun.

We returned to the dock, took off the lifejackets, and grabbed our stuff out of the small locker. Then we headed back to the common area to choose our next ride.

As we walked, Araki-kun suddenly let go of Yu-tan's hand and walked faster. His eyes were locked on something—or someone.

"Araki-kun?" I asked, puzzled.

"It's nothing, just give me a minute."

He stopped a few seconds later and crouched down to pick something up from the ground.

"Did you find something?" I asked.

Then I saw that he was holding a phone with the screen unlocked and started reading. New comments on your fanfiction—

Out of nowhere, someone snatched the phone away from Araki-kun's hands.

"That's an invasion of privacy, you know?"


"I apologize… Sae-san?" Araki-kun said.

She's here?!

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