Chapter 61:

Cultural Festival

Couple That Can't Touch

I won the bronze medal at the sprint competition and I was very happy about it. Not only did I get to feel that adrenaline rush again, but I got a reward out of it too. However, that happiness was overshadowed one day later. Koji called me quite early in the morning, surprising me a little since we never called each other that early. I answered and he immediately told me Sakakibara-san had passed away.

I was speechless.

"I'm sorry, Koji. I don't know what to say…"

"You don't have to. Just be with me."

That made me even sadder.

"Do you want me to come to your apartment?"


Even though it was Monday, there was an hour and a half left before the first class. I jumped out of bed and got ready. Mom had just woken up as I was about to leave. She was worried because I was leaving before I had eaten breakfast, so I explained the situation. She understood and I headed to Koji's apartment.

I knocked on the door and Hisaki opened it. His hair was still messy and he wore pajamas.

"Suzuka? What are you doing here?"

"I came to be with Koji. Has he told you?"

"Tell me what?"

"Sorry, he should be the one to tell you."

"Please don't leave me hanging. Just tell me."

Hesitant, I told him, "One of his butlers passed away. He was like a father to him, so it hit him hard. I guess he hasn't told you because he just received the news and I was the first one he told that to."

Speechless, Hisaki stared at me. "I… I see. Go give him some company, then. He's in his room. I'll get ready and make breakfast for the three of us."


I stepped inside and entered Koji's room. He was lying down on the bed, staring at the ceiling. I dropped my backpack on the floor and approached him. He glanced at me before looking at the ceiling again. His lips twitched and he closed his eyes. He was trying hard not to cry.

Even though his pajamas were of long sleeves, I wrapped his blanket around him.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

Once he was completely covered, I lay down next to him and hugged him. Finally, he was unable to keep the tears from running down his face from behind his closed eyes. And I couldn't hold them back either.

We didn't realize that thirty minutes had passed until Hisaki knocked on the door to tell us breakfast was ready. Obviously, Koji was still feeling down, but he was better than before. The three of us ate together and Koji told Hisaki about Sakakibara-san. Koji then got ready and we headed to the school, where he told everyone else about it.

Koji's mood improved over the following two weeks and was close to getting back to normal. He even bought himself an easel, which clearly made him happier. He asked Sora-chan to teach him how to paint and she went to his apartment multiple times. I didn't want to, but I had to admit I felt a bit jealous. I didn't say anything since it was hypocritical of me to complain about it after spending a lot of time with Tomoki-san after school and on weekends. Fortunately, I finished the song one day before the Cultural Festival began.

We were all going to be a bit busy at our clubs. Except for Rem, who finally had the chance to merely enjoy a festival without needing to worry about competing. Still, we constantly took breaks to visit each other's exhibitions.

At some point, we all gathered in the Art Club room, where Tarō showed his origami figures which were incredibly popular. Kawahara quickly stood at his side, clearly protective from other girls.

Koji inspected each of the paintings for a long time until Sora-chan approached him.

"Learning from observing?"

Koji nodded. "Your teachings are good, but taking inspiration from other paintings is important."

He just told her she's good at teaching…

"Indeed," Sora-chan continued. "Fortunately, your work is almost done."

"What work?" I asked.

Oh no. I interrupted them without thinking. I hope I don't look obvious.

"Nothing special," Koji answered. "It's a painting I'm working on with the goal of learning."

He's lying.

"I see. I hope you can show it to me soon," I giggled.

"I will when it's done."

"I can explain a few things to you now so that you can finish faster," Sora-chan said.

Is she…?

"That would be great," Koji replied. "I'm going to take five minutes. Is that okay?"

"S-Sure," I smiled.

She can't be flirting. That's not something she would do. Right?

They walked away and I returned with everyone else, who were looking at other types of artwork—like carvings and statues. I spent the following several minutes with them, worried about Koji and Sora-chan. But I didn't want to spy on them.

"Are you jealous?" Hisa asked me.

"W-What? No. Why do you say that?"

"You've been staring at them for a minute."

"And your leg keeps bouncing up and down," Rem added.

"Fine. Maybe I am. A bit."

They both laughed.

"Don't worry, he would never do anything to hurt you," Hisa said.

"He would stop her before she tried anything," Rem added.

"And if he doesn't, he will have to face our rage."

I chuckled. "You're right. I doubt he wants to deal with that."

"You bet," Hisa smiled.

Koji returned five minutes later and he immediately noticed I was anxious.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

I sighed. "Can we take a walk?"

"Sure," he replied, confused.

We stepped out of the room and wandered around the school. Somewhat embarrassed about it, I told him,

"Look, I've been feeling a bit jealous about Sora-chan. Just a little. But I didn't want to tell you because I've been spending a lot of time with Tomoki-san as well. Are you jealous?"

"I am. A little. But we need to trust each other. I'm sure we both are working on things that will be great for us."

How didn't I think about it before? Just as I'm making a song for him, he's making a painting for me.

"I agree," I smiled. "We clarified that quickly," I giggled.

"We just needed to talk."

"Yeah. What now? Oh, we could go check the universities' stalls."

"Good idea."

We walked to the soccer field, where universities had put up their stalls to advertise their career paths. It was crowded.

"I didn't expect this many to come, and from that far away," Koji said. "I guess Kasen really is that important in the entire country."

"Well, they send representatives to most of the high schools. But yes, Kasen is well-known all over Japan."

We wandered around, reading information about the universities and asking a few things. Koji took a flyer from a university that had a video-game-related degree, while I took a few flyers from universities that had music or education degrees.

"Koji-san, Suzuka-san!" a girl shouted.

I only recognized her after seeing her in the distance. Yōko?!

We approached the stall.

"Yōko! What a surprise to see you here," I said.

"I know, right? It's been an eternity since we met and we were able to meet again under such conditions."

"Hey, Koji-san," the girl standing next to her greeted.


"Tazuko?" Koji replied.


"You know each other?!" Yōko asked.

"We work together," Tazuko answered.

"Really? What a coincidence," Yōko replied. "I'll just introduce you to her, then. Tazuko-chan, she's Suzuka. Suzuka, she's Tazuko: my girlfriend."

Oh, right. She had told us about her when we met at the store. She does look like a foreigner. Sweden, was it? But why does she have a Japanese name?

Suddenly, Yōko leaned forward and whispered into my ear, "I just made plans to use the free reservation you gave me. Thanks again!"

I simply giggled.

We continued chatting for a while, talking about our lives for the past months after we met. Koji and I soon realized we had lied about our names, so we kept avoiding the topic. They had to run the stall, so we walked away.

We returned with everyone else for a few minutes before getting back to work in our clubs. Nothing much happened after and the festival ended. It was quite fun. To unexpectedly see Yōko again and meet her girlfriend was nice as well.

Everyone returned home, but I still wanted to spend some time with Koji in the evening. I bought snacks and didn't tell him I was coming to his apartment to surprise him. Holding the plastic bag with the snacks and some groceries, I walked up the stairs of the building.

Sora-chan stood in front of the apartment's door.

Sora-chan? What is she…?

Koji stood in front of her. They were kissing. They were definitely kissing. They did it for a second before Koji pushed her away.


I felt the urge to run away, so I did. I didn't look back.

Impossible. He would never…

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