Chapter 27:


Couple That Can't Touch

As we walked back to the common area to choose the next ride, someone caught my eye not far ahead. They looked away as soon as I made eye contact.

It must be the same person that was spying on me at the entrance.

Not thinking much about it, I let go of Yu-tan's hand and walked toward them at a fast pace.

"Araki-kun?" Kozue asked.

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

Curiously, they disappeared into the crowd a few seconds later. I wanted to know what was up, so I headed to the last place where I saw them. My only clues were that they wore a brown hat, sunglasses, a red backpack, a green sweater, and jeans.

I searched in every direction, but there were no signs of them until I looked down and saw a phone on the ground not far ahead. I crouched down and picked it up. The screen was unlocked, which meant that they dropped it while using it.

The owner should be close.

I didn't want to read what was on the screen, but I couldn't avoid seeing some words and I ended up reading the entire notification. New comments on your fanfiction? Is the owner a fanfic author?

"Did you find something?" Kozue asked behind me.

Before I could reply, someone snatched the phone away from my hands.

"That's privacy invasion, you know?" a feminine voice accused.

"I apologize… Sae-san?"

"Hi, Koji-kun!"

As much as it was suspicious that she was at the park, she was wearing a white blouse and light-brown shorts. Nothing like the person I had seen before.

"Why are you here?" I questioned.

"You don't even say hi? Meanie," she pouted.

"Just answer," Kozue demanded. She clearly wasn't happy.

"Is that how you behave in front of a little girl? You haven't introduced us, by the way." She bent forward to level her head with Yu-tan's and grinned. "Hi, I'm Koji-kun's and Suzuka-chan's friend, Sae-chan. Nice to meet you!"

Yu-tan didn't say anything. Instead, she merely stuck her tongue out. Sae-san's brow began twitching, but her smile never disappeared.

"She has your same vibes, Suzuka-chan. I'm gonna guess she's your little sister."

"Proudly," Kozue smirked with her arms crossed and Yu-tan imitated her.

I somewhat see it, now that she mentions it.

"Anyway. Why wouldn't I be here? I heard you were coming together and I was jealous."

"So you came to spy on us?" I asked.

"What? No, I wouldn't fall that low. I was jealous of you having fun at the theme park. I wanted to have fun too."

"And you came alone? Where are your friends?" Kozue questioned.

Sae-san looked down at the ground. "They weren't available. And you know I don't have other friends… That's low coming from you Suzuka-chan."

"…Sorry, I—"

"Don't use that as an excuse," I said, glowering at Sae-san. "Coming the same day as us wasn't a coincidence."

"Wow! I didn't know you could be this evil, Koji-kun. Yes, it was a complete coincidence—"

"Hi, hi!" a girl shouted in the distance.

I looked to my side; Hashimoto-san and Rem-san approached us. Them, too?

However, something else caught my attention. Rem-san held a red backpack. The same one that the person from before had. It was her? Why is she holding it like that?

"Hisa? Rem? You're here?" Kozue asked, surprised like me.

"Hello, everyone!" Hashimoto-san smiled. "Before we say anything" —Rem-san gave the backpack to Sae-san—"here's your stuff, Sae-chin."

"We thought you forgot it after changing out of your ugly jeans and green sweater," Rem-san continued.

"At least now you look cute. Kinda," Hashimoto-san added.

Sae-san was fuming, but her anger instantly shifted into a giggle when she saw that I wasn't happy.

"Yes, I was spying on you," she sighed.

"Then why lie? You've already told us that you like me," I asked.

She looked down. "Because it's embarrassing having to draw on this kind of stuff because I'm losing against Suzuka."

"That's your excuse?" Kozue interrupted. "If you think this is a competition, then go ahead. But compete fairly. You know how competitive I can be and I'll go even further if it is for Araki-kun."

My cheeks flushed as she said that. Kozue didn't seem to notice what she said until she looked at me. Her face immediately flushed a deep red before she looked away.

"I-I mean…"

"Even further? So you admit that you're competing and that you would do the same," Sae-san smirked.

"I'm not!"

"You say that, but you would if you were in my position. How can I compete with something like swapping bodies without cheating? That's unfair."

Everyone stood still in silence. Sae-san's face turned white and her eyes became wider after realizing what she said in front of Hashimoto-san and Rem-san.

"W-What am I saying? I'm just babbling random things from a typical, romantic novel," she laughed nervously.

"They know," I said.

"They do?"

"Come on, Araki-kun. We could've had fun with it," Hashimoto-san whined.

I sighed, "Kozue, your friends are dangerous."

Kozue giggled.

"Also, you might've exposed Sae-san, but why are you here?"

"Oh, we were spying on you too."

I stayed silent expecting Kozue's reaction, but she just stared at me.

"What?" she asked.

"You knew about them?"

She shook her head.

"Then why aren't you surprised?"

"Because I know them, so I kind of expected it," she giggled.

I let out a deep breath. Are there going to be more surprises coming today?

"Good noon!" a guy greeted behind me.

You have to be kidding me…

Tsuga-san arrived beside us, making our supposed date expand into a group of seven people, counting Yu-tan.

"What a surprise finding you all here!"

"Stop lying. We already have three spies here," I said.

Who am I kidding? I don't even know who was at the entrance. It wouldn't surprise me if it was actually Kawahara-san.

"Lying? I'm here to have fun. This is all a mere coincidence."

"On your own?" Sae-san smirked.

"That's right. I'm tired of having girls behind me all the time, so I wanted some time for myself."

"Come on, everyone knows that you like Su-chan," Hashimoto-san said.

"Eh?" Kozue uttered.

"W-Well, who wouldn't? She's an exemplary student, smart, athletic, kind, and beautiful."

"Is that all?" I asked.

"No, I could spend hours listing every single amazing characteristic about her."

"She's just that for you? Doesn't she have flaws?"

"Obviously, nobody is perfect. But why mention them now?"

"If you say so."

"What about you? Don't think that just because you're handsome and rich that you'll be able to win her over—"

My chest suddenly filled with a burning sensation. My hands clenched into fists and my body moved on its own to stand in front of Tsuga-san.

"Don't you dare imply that she can be bought."

His brows furrowed into a frown. The mood was filled with tension in a blink of an eye, but only for a brief moment before Rem-san stepped between us.

"Stop it, guys. Let's not fight, especially not in front of Yu-tan."

As I got control over my emotions, I noticed that Yu-tan—angry and scared—hugged Kozue's leg, while everyone else stared at me in shock.

"I'm sorry…"

"I apologize," Tsuga-san bowed.

It's been a while since I got this upset. Still, why did I do that?

"By the way, we haven't met before, little girl. My name is Hisaki. Nice to meet you," he said, approaching Yu-tan.

Once again, Yu-tan didn't say anything and instead stuck her tongue out.

"Yu-tan, don't be rude!" Kozue softly scolded.

"You nag her when she does it to him, but not me?!" Sae-san yelled.

Hashimoto-san and Rem-san laughed and I couldn't help but smile. Having everyone around—even Tsuga-san—wasn't bad, but it wasn't supposed to be like this. And I couldn't hide it anymore.

"You all may have your motives to be here, but this was supposed to be a date and here you all are."

"That's the second reason we are here," Hashimoto-san interrupted. "Yu-tan, do you wanna see foxes?"

"Foxes!" Yu-tan shouted as her eyes glittered. "Sis, can I go?"

"Sure," Kozue replied and Yu-tan ran towards Hashimoto-san and Rem-san. "Be careful. Let's meet here in three hours. Call me if you need something."

"We will, don't worry about it," Rem-san replied.

They began walking away into the park.

"You're right, it is your date and this was very rude on my part. I'll leave, but don't think this is over," Sae-san said.

"As much as I don't want to agree with her, she's right. I'll also leave," Tsuga-san continued.

They turned around towards the entrance of the park. Kozue and I glanced at each other and nodded; we knew there was a better option.

"Why don't you both go see the foxes with them?" I suggested.

"Eh?" they uttered.

"Eh?!" Hashimoto-san Rem-san yelled from behind us.

"We will have our date and you'll still get to have fun. Everyone wins," Kozue added.

"You want them to come with us?! Are you out of your mind?!" Hashimoto-san yelled.

Sae-san and Tsuga-san stared at us, bewildered.

"I guess I can if that's what Koji-kun wants…"

"As always, Kozue-san gives smart suggestions."

They approached Hashimoto-san, Rem-san, and Yu-tan and grouped together. I could feel the awkwardness from far away. Yet, Kozue and I smiled. We were finally alone.

Suddenly, a ringtone sounded and Tsuga-san took his phone out of his pocket. He stared at the screen for a brief moment. His expression didn't change much.

"I'm sorry, but something came up and I have to go. Thanks for the invitation," he bowed to Hashimoto-san and Rem-san. Then he bowed to Kozue and glared at me before leaving.

"Sure, be careful on your way home," Kozue replied.

That was weird.

Hashimoto-san and Rem-san held Yu-tan's hands as they walked into the park. Sae-san followed them from behind.

Kozue and I stood in silence, glancing at each other for a moment then looking away again.

"Now what?" I asked, scratching the back of my head.

She looked around nervously before pointing up. "Let's try that; a drop tower!"

Drop tower?

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