Chapter 60:


Couple That Can't Touch

Suzuka continued to practice sprinting in my body for the following weeks and she got to a point where she was comfortable enough. She told me that, even though my body was actually quite fast, she was unable to use its full potential. Still, she aimed to get a high place.

We also celebrated Sae-san's birthday at Hisaki's and I's apartment since she didn't want to bother her family with a party at her house. It was a fun and relaxing afternoon. And Hisaki and her still wouldn't accept that they liked each other.

Finally, Sports Day arrived. There were no normal classes for the day, so everyone came to school in their sports uniforms. Apart from tournaments, there were fun games and activities in which the families of the students could participate, whether kids or adults.

Hisaki and I arrived together in the morning, but we split off to go to different places. I assumed he was going to be with Sae-san. Before meeting with everyone else, Suzuka and I looked for a secluded place to relax while waiting for the swap. We sat on the grass next to the warehouse.

"How are you feeling?" I asked her.

"Very excited. I can feel the adrenaline already rushing in."

"I'm glad."

"And everything is thanks to you. This was your idea, so thank you."

"You also took part in it. How did it feel to be selfish for once?"

"It's not like it was my first time being selfish. I felt guilty for a while, though."

"But if you hadn't done it, you would've missed this opportunity. Maybe it's the last one."

"It probably was for another person as well. But there's no use thinking about it now. I'll have the most fun I can."

"That's what I like to hear."

"And you? How are you feeling?"

"Happy for you."

She smiled and, before we realized it, we fell asleep. We woke up in each other's bodies when, suddenly, my phone started vibrating with a call.

"Who is it?" I asked.

She took my phone out of her shorts pocket. I didn't like wearing shorts, but Suzuka was more comfortable with them for sprinting.

"It's your dad. What would he want now?"

"I have no idea. Answer and turn the speakers on."

"Okay," she replied. After taking a deep breath, she answered. "What is it?"

"Are you busy?" Father asked.

Confused, I whispered to Suzuka, "Say yes."

"I'm… not," she responded, completely ignoring me.

What is she doing?!

"Good," Father replied. "Come and meet me at the tunnel next to the parking lot."

Suzuka and I looked at each other, perplexed.

"Are you there?" he asked.

"Y-Yes. I'll be right there," Suzuka answered and hung up. "Did you know he was coming?"

"No." I sighed. "That's why I told you to say I was busy."

"Sorry. I thought he only wanted to say things like good luck."

"It doesn't matter now. Just act like me and everything will be fine. Let's go find him."


We walked through the school towards the tunnel, which was on the first floor, underneath our classroom. Father was standing next to the tunnel and we approached him.

"Hey," Suzuka—in my body—greeted him.

"Good morning," I greeted, trying my best to smile.

"Good morning," he replied. "It's nice to see you beside Koji. The more support he gets, the better he'll do," he giggled.

"Yeah," I giggled back.

Why is he acting like this? It's weird.

"Do you need something?" Suzuka asked.

"Not really. I'm here to support you as well. That's what a father would do, right? Especially when it comes out of the blue. I never expected you to participate in something like this."

He's just trying to be a normal father…

"I see," Suzuka replied. "Thanks for coming, then."

"No problem," Father smiled.

I'm not complaining, but it's still weird.

He continued, "I don't want to take too much of your time. You should go warm up and all of that. I'll be watching."

"Sure. Ah, can you tell me how everyone is doing?"

"They are doing fine. They were clearly sad the first days you left, but they are happy that you're doing great on your own. Sakakibara-san had some health problems a little ago, but he's good now."

"I see. Thank you for telling me. See you later."

"Bye," I added.

We walked away back into the building.

"What was that?" Suzuka asked.

"I don't know. He was acting very differently from what I'm used to."

"Well, you haven't seen him in almost two months. People change."

"…I suppose."

We headed to the soccer field, which was surrounded by a running track. The more we approached, the more crowded it got.

Hisaki, Sae-san, Kawahara-san, Tarō-san, Hashimoto-san, and Rem-san were waiting for us. Since they already knew about Suzuka's and I's plan, we didn't have to explain anything. Instead, Suzuka began to warm up immediately. She seemed completely focused, so we didn't bother her.

Twenty minutes later, it was time for the sprint. Along with Suzuka, the other five competitors headed to the track and each stood in a lane. As Suzuka warmed up for the last time, Hashimoto-san and Rem-san cheered for her.

"Come on, Koji!" Hashimoto-san shouted.

"You can win this!" Rem-san added.

Suzuka glanced at us with a smile, but she quickly focused again on the sprint.

Not even a minute later, they were asked to get in position for the launch. The six of them complied and, in the blink of an eye, an air horn blasted through the air to indicate the start of the sprint.

Everyone launched at the same time, but Suzuka gained a clear advantage only a couple of seconds later. She stayed ahead for a while before slowing down considerably. She was clearly tired and she still had to run the remaining half of the track.

By the time they turned around the last curve, Suzuka had already lost first place, but she still had the chance to get second place.

"You can do it!" Hisaki shouted.

"Yes!" Tarō-san added.

A few seconds later, the sprint ended. Just as she crossed the finish line, she dropped to the ground, exhausted. Sadly, she also lost second place, but her efforts were enough to get third.

I ran to her.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"Yeah. I guess I was too excited and forgot it wasn't my body. I didn't manage my energy well. Sorry," she giggled, still heavily breathing.

She grabbed my hand and I helped her stand up.

"There's nothing to be sorry about," I said. "You gave your best and you had fun, right?"

She smiled. "Yes, I did."

"I should leave. You need to get rewarded."


There wasn't a podium or anything, but the principal came to give a short speech to the students and families. She said that she was watching the entire time and talked about hard work and perseverance. She then approached the three winners to hang a medal around their necks, from gold to bronze. Unexpectedly, she also gave a smaller medal to the other three participants.

Once Suzuka approached us, everyone congratulated her. Hashimoto-san and Rem-san hugged her, and even Sae-san was happy for her.

Suddenly, Father approached us and asked Suzuka, "Koji, do you have a minute?"

Everyone else stared at him, starstruck as if they were looking at a famous actor.

Suzuka glanced at me, worried. "Sure," she replied.

They walked away.

"Why are you so shocked?" I asked them.

"Maybe because he's the owner of the most famous restaurant chain in Japan and also well-known overseas," Hashimoto-san answered.

Tarō-san nodded. "I get tense just by being near him."

"I see," I replied.

Not even a minute later, Suzuka returned.

"He wants Koji to go with him to eat lunch," she smiled. "I'll leave now. We already touched, so we'll swap soon. Make sure to sleep."

"Understood. Be careful," I said.

She walked away with Father, while everyone else and I looked for a calm place for me to sleep. Once we found it, I took no time to fall asleep. Someone then shook me by my shoulder.

"We are here," Father said.

I opened my eyes and we were home. My old home. What surprised me most, however, was that we weren't in the SUV. We were in a car; Father's old car that he hadn't driven for years.

Yoshimura-san approached and opened the door for Father first, then walked around the car to open mine.

"Welcome back," he smiled.


I got out of the car and walked beside Father on the path I used to walk practically all my life. We arrived at the front door and Fujisaki-san opened it for us.

"Welcome home, Araki-sama, Koji-sama."

"Thanks," I replied. She grinned at me.

"I'll take care of your shoes," Moriyama-san said.

We took them off and she grabbed them to place them on a shelf next to the door. We put sandals on and headed to the dining room's door, where Sakakibara-san was already waiting for us.

"Lunch is ready," he said.


"Thank you," Father said.

He entered the room as if nothing had happened. Even Sakakibara-san was shocked, but his expression quickly switched into a smile. I stepped into the room and Sakakibara-san approached Father to pull the chair for him. Fujisaki-san then arrived running to pull the chair for me.

"It's okay, I can—"

Ignoring me, she still did it. She never stopped smiling, so I smiled back.

The food came not even a minute later. Sakakibara-san walked in from the kitchen, carrying a tray. He put a bowl and a plate in front of Father and then filled his cup with his favorite tea. He took a sip and let out a breath of satisfaction.

Sakakibara-san then approached me and did the same. As always, I couldn't deny Father had a good taste for tea.

"Thanks," I said.

"You still have that habit, even though you haven't been here for two months," Father noted.

"And now you copy me."

He laughed. "Maybe. Maybe it was time for a change for once. It only took thirty years for me to find the problems I needed to fix. And fixing them will take a long while. I don't know how, but you still trust in me. However, I can't say the same about Otsune."

"I… saw her a month ago."

"You what?"

"She works at the same company as Suzuka's sister. They invited her to have dinner when I was there and we unintentionally met after a decade."

Father was speechless. "The world truly is small, huh?"

"It is."

"Are you on good terms?"

"We are."

"Great. Have you… talk about me or your mother?"

"We haven't. But I want to ask her to meet with you. I want the family to get back together."

He smiled. "Me too, Koji. It's nice knowing we have a goal in common."

The conversation came to a silence, but it was far from awkward. We took bites of our food and sips of our tea. I didn't even remember the last time we'd had such a peaceful meal.

"What about everyone else?" I said. "How have you been?" I asked Sakakibara-san.

"We have been great, Koji-sama. A little sad by your departure, but your father made sure to keep us up to date with your deeds. I'm proud of you."

"What he said," Fujisaki-san added.

"Fujisaki-san, at least say something different," Father requested.

"Y-Yes, Araki-sama. We really missed you, Koji… sama. Even though I can't complain, it has been quite boring since you left."

"I see."

"But I understand you need to mature. We all understand. Just make sure to visit us more often, okay?"

"I will," I smiled.

"Or you can invite them to your apartment," Father said.

"I can?"

"He can?" Fujisaki-san added.

"Of course. Obviously, you won't be paid for those missed hours."

Fujisaki-san laughed, but Father simply kept smiling. Fujisaki-san stopped laughing and cleared her throat.

"Anyway," Father continued. "Let's eat before it gets cold, shall we?"

"Sure," I replied.

The following hour was one of the most gratifying hours I'd ever had, if not the most. Father and I kept chatting and even Yoshimura-san and Moriyama-san joined at times. I also got to see Fuyu, who seemed as healthy as always.

The family reunion I had hoped for was close to becoming a reality. But life was never fair. Just the next morning, I received an unexpected call from Father.

"What is it?" I asked. "It's four in the morning."

"Koji, it's Sakakibara-san. He… passed away a couple of hours ago."

And like that, the man that had raised me for most of my life was gone. I had just seen him hours before and now he was gone. It felt like a part of myself had been ripped out to leave a void. And there was nothing I could do.

Time flew by without ceasing and there was nothing more to do than to adapt, whether the changes were good or bad. It was the first time someone close to me had passed away, so it took me a while to adapt to the feeling. To accept that I was going to never see him again.

The funeral took place a week later. Very little of his family came, while we were all here. Except for Mom, who was unable to find the time due to a busy schedule of negotiations. She sounded incredibly mad when she told us.

I had no idea of how a funeral was supposed to go, but I didn't care. All I cared about was to be here to say my last goodbye.

It didn't take much time to finish. We returned to the car and Yoshimura-san and Moriyama-san sat in front. Father and I sat in the middle. And Fujisaki-san sat at the back.

No one said anything for a while. We merely stayed in silence, looking at the rainy sky through the windows.

"Koji, your mother and I have been thinking about this for a while and we think it's time. We are selling the mansion."


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