Chapter 28:

Drop of Love

Couple That Can't Touch

Araki-kun and I were finally alone. Though Yu-tan didn't bother us, it wasn't the same as if she wasn't with us. Then everything quickly got out of hand; we were suddenly a group of seven people. Unexpectedly, Araki-kun exploded, which made Narumi and Tsuga-san accept to leave us alone. Hisa and Rem volunteered to take care of Yu-tan and, in the blink of an eye, we were alone.

Without many ideas of where to go next, I quickly looked around and saw a drop tower in the distance. I hadn't ridden one before, I wanted to try it.

"Let's try that; a drop tower!" I suggested while pointing up.

He stared at it for a second. "Sure."

And so we headed towards the ride. It didn't seem far away, but its height was probably tricking us. For some reason, Araki-kun inspected every building and stall as we walked, and we didn't talk much.

We arrived at the queue for the drop tower. It was longer than the duck boats but shorter than the rollercoaster. Araki-kun seemed restless, tapping on the floor with his foot while staring up at the tall tower. The more we advanced in line, the more difficult it was to look at its peak.

"Are you scared of heights?" I asked, standing next to him in the middle of the queue.

"Not particularly."

"But you seem nervous."

"I'm not scared of heights, but it still looks scary."

The tower made the exact same sound as the launch of the rollercoaster. I learned its program after a few minutes; the gondola would slowly climb up until it reached the top and—after a few seconds, which seemed to be random—then it would free-fall before slowly braking all the way to the bottom. Then the gondola would blast up and repeat the free-fall and braking process a few more times.

Araki-kun and I stared at it, anxious and excited to get it over with.

"Yeah, I won't say it's not scary," I giggled.

The queue slowly progressed and we were almost at the gate. Without Yu-tan, we were silent almost the entire time, sometimes getting awkward, but it was calming most of the time.

After a couple more blasts, it finally was our turn. We were the first ones to cross the gate and choose our seats. My heart kept racing as we sat next to each other and I didn't know if it was because I felt I was too close to him or because of the ride. As I took a closer look at the seating arrangement, I confirmed that we were very close, which made me worry about touching each other by accident. Luckily, we were both wearing long sleeves, we simply needed to watch our hands.

The employees finished buckling everybody's seatbelts and harnesses before they walked away to stand behind the security border marked with tape on the ground. It was only a matter of time before the ride started.

Out of nowhere, something that I had never felt before surfaced within my body; the need to hold Araki-kun's hand. It wasn't the same feeling I had when I wanted to hold his hand in the convenience store in order to comfort him. This time, it was to comfort me. To help me feel secure.

"Yes?" Araki-kun asked.

Without realizing it, I stared at him while trying to sort out the new feeling. But it didn't matter, we couldn't hold hands without getting into trouble anyway.

"Nothing," I smiled. "I'm just nervous and excited at the same time."

He looked at me for a moment before I looked down at the ground. Then the gondola started climbing. We gradually rose away from the ground. As much as I wanted to enjoy it, a bittersweet feeling kept me from it. I was spending time alone with Araki-kun and there was no better situation to do so than by going up dozens of meters into the sky. Even still, we couldn't do something as simple as holding hands.

"I didn't ask. Are you scared of heights?"

"Oh, I'm not. I just get a bit dizzy when I stand near an edge," I replied.

"Are you dizzy now?"

I shook my head.

"Good," he smirked and looked away.

It didn't matter. It didn't matter that we weren't able to hold hands or hug, we were together and something as simple as a smile brought so much joy. I was sure he felt the same every time I smiled.

We reached the top after a bit and the gondola braked with a small bump. A simple smile made me feel better—which was somewhat weird to believe. We only had to wait until the gondola dropped. I stared down at the ground, holding tightly onto the sides of my vest harness as the wind brushed some of my hair onto my face. I had never been in a place that tall and even less suspended in the air.


"Yes?" I replied. My ponytail was covering half of his face, which made me chuckle. "Sorry—"

Before I could finish the sentence, the gondola dropped. I leaned my head forward and subconsciously closed my eyes. My shoulders got squished up against the vest harness and my ponytail mildly pulled on my hair. Gravity swirled my stomach around, creating a weird pressure.

But I wanted to enjoy the ride as much as I could. I didn't know when I was going to ride a drop tower with Araki-kun again. So I forced my eyes open. We were free-falling at an extreme speed; it was frightening. Araki-kun's eyes were still shut and his hair twirled around. For some reason, I felt happy.

The gondola slowly braked into a smooth halt. Araki-kun opened his eyes.

"How was it?" I asked.

He breathed heavily but steady. Then he smirked, "It was fun."

"Wasn't it? But you closed your eyes."

"You didn't?"

"At first, then I opened them. It was like seeing your imminent death! Try opening them for the next drop."

"You want me to open them to see my imminent death?"

I grinned. "Just try it—"

Without warning, the gondola blasted up, thrusting my butt against the seat. Instead of taking almost a minute, we reached the peak in no time. We couldn't even talk because of the g-forces.

The gondola was still.

"Open your eyes!" I said to Araki-kun. He nodded.

After a brief moment of staring down, we finally entered into free-fall. I managed to keep my eyes open during the entire drop and it was even scarier from all the way up. Araki-kun also managed to keep them open, but his lips squeezed closed.

We reached the bottom. Araki-kun seemed calmer than the previous time.

"Are you okay? Did you want to throw up?" I asked him.

"No, I'm fine. I'm having fun."

"Great," I smiled.

"And you?"

"Me too—"

Once again, the gondola blasted up and reached the peak of the tower in seconds. However, instead of focusing right beneath us, I observed the entire park and the city. The view was gorgeous. The sun hid above some clouds and Mount Fuji in the background completed the landscape.

"You too?" Araki-kun asked.


"It's beautiful, isn't it?"

"Oh. Yes, it is."

"Like you."

"…Wait, what—"

Before I could even think, we were already at the bottom.

The gondola slowly moved down a bit further until our feet reached the ground. Employees approached and started to unbuckle everybody's seatbelts and harnesses. We got off and headed to the exit path. My brain finally regained consciousness and the first thing I noticed was that everybody's hair was tousled. Araki-kun and I looked at each other at the same time, then we both laughed.

"We should comb our hair," I suggested.

We stepped aside from the middle of the path. I searched for my comb in my purse and handed it to Araki-kun. Then I looked for my cosmetic case and opened it.

"You first," I said, handing him the case with its mirror ready.

"It's true that girls have everything in their purses."

"I don't know if every girl does. I didn't until not long ago."

He started combing his hair with one hand while holding the case with the other one.

"Seriously? Well, you don't seem to be very girlish."

"Hey, what do you mean by that?" I accused.

"You seem more mature."

"Oh. Fine, I forgive you in half."

"Also, your body looks quite athletic."

"You have been staring at my body?"

"I didn't stare, but I would be lying if I denied taking a few peeks."

My face warmed up a bit. I felt the urge to hit him, and so I slapped his shoulder. He finished fixing his hair and handed me the comb and the case. I started combing mine.

"Haven't you looked at mine?" he questioned.

"Maybe… But that doesn't matter. What I want to ask you is; can you repeat what you said at the top of the tower?"

His cheeks flushed a bit. "I said the landscape was beautiful."

"And then?" I insisted, bringing my face close to his. I could barely handle my face burning while staring at him.

His face kept getting redder until he looked away. "Y-You know what I said."

Yes! I finally got him flustered!

"Anyway. Why don't we go on a calm ride next?" he asked.

"Sure. What do you have in mind?"

He started looking around. Meanwhile, I finished combing my hair and put everything back in my purse.

He stared at a big, pink, sign that was covered with hearts in the distance. Love Tunnel?

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