Chapter 63:

Fond Breeze

Couple That Can't Touch

I didn't need to go to the bakery for a week—and I didn't want to—until Mom asked me to help her. Sora had just quit. I felt guilty not telling her about what happened, so I finally did. She was shocked and disappointed. Although she didn't justify Sora's actions, she believed it was part of her process to mature. She hoped that everyone had learned from it and worried about Koji and I.

We slowly—but surely—recovered. The anger faded away the more I thought about it. It wasn't Koji's nor I's fault and there wasn't a reason to be mad. Still, I was frustrated. Sora stole Koji's first kiss. Yes, I would've loved to be the first one, but it wasn't the end of the world. On the other hand, it made me realize how far we had come in our relationship. We hadn't even kissed each other's cheek. Maybe that could happen during the school camp.

Which started with us not having class on Friday. All four of the three-year classes each got on a bus at school. We headed into the mountains and drove for an hour. Hisaki and I sat together. Kawahara sat beside Tarō. And Hisa sat with Rem. Even though Hisaki and I talked a bit, I was mostly messaging with Koji. Hisaki was texting with someone as well, but he didn't want to tell me who. It was definitely Narumi.

The buses stopped not too far from the main cabin since the road and the parking lot were too small for them. Everyone got off. Each class stood next to their bus, waiting for the teachers' announcement. Hisa, Rem, Kawahara, Tarō, Hisaki, and I stood together in the middle of our part of the class.

"I can't wait!" Hisa said.

"Same!" Tarō added.

"I still can't believe you chose to sleep in a tent," I said to Hisa. "You hate bugs, cold, forests, getting dirty…. Camping has all of that."

"Yes, but there's a secret," she smirked and winked.

About to ask what it was, I chose not to. "I'd rather not know."

"Please pay attention," Natsuhiko-sensei softly shouted, standing in front of the class. "As I told you before, the buses can't drive further into the camp because they are too big. We'll need to walk for about five minutes, so please stay together."

"Yes!" the class replied.

"Wonderful. Also, if you chose to sleep in the cabin, you'll have a room to yourself. There were enough rooms, fortunately. Everyone else, since there will be more than eighty of you camping, you'll have to share the tent with one person. Of the same sex, of course. We, teachers, don't like the idea, but it was the only way for everyone to be able to camp. So, please behave yourselves. Understood?"

"Yes!" the class answered.

I get it now. Am I really that naive?

Natsuhiko-sensei smiled. "That's everything. Once we start walking, you're allowed to meet up with your friends in the other classes. Just do it carefully."

The other three teachers were still talking to their class. Not even a minute later, we started walking into the forest.

"Well, I'll see you later," I said.

"You're going already?" Hisa replied.

"Have fun," Rem added.

After nodding, I walked towards the back. Since I didn't know where Koji was, I had to find him among dozens of people. I carefully walked between them. There was an empty spot, so I headed for it not to struggle to walk. What I hadn't thought about was why there were no people there. I hadn't seen the mud on the ground because my eyes were looking for Koji. I stepped on it and my foot got stuck, preventing me from doing anything to avoid my fall. Awaiting my impending doom, someone grabbed my arm, stopping me from reaching the ground.

"You should be more careful," Koji said. "Good thing I was already walking towards you."

I giggled. He helped me get my foot unstuck and we continued walking.

"Did we touch?" I asked.

"I'm not sure. I tried to avoid it, but I might've brushed your hand."

"I hope not. It would be very troublesome to swap bodies now."

"I agree."

We only had to wait five minutes to find out that we did, indeed, touch. We had already split with our classes. A few stayed in the cabin to unpack their stuff in their rooms, while most people needed to set up a tent to keep their stuff there. We followed Natsuhiko-sensei through the forest onto an immense plain. After a brief explanation, Kawahara and I started building our tent.

Although it took us thirty minutes, most of the people were struggling to build their tents. The teachers ran around, trying to help everyone. They seemed incredibly stressed, so Kawahara and I decided to help as well.

I had endured the sleepiness for an hour, but it became unbearable. I texted Koji and we decided to meet in front of the cabin.

"Are you alive?" he asked me.

"Barely. Should we sleep already? The only class for today starts in one hour for me. We should be able to swap back in time."

"We could. But I want to spend time with you. Let's take a walk."

My cheeks blushed. Was he always this direct?


Since we were already going to swap, we held hands and walked one of the paths heading into the forest. There weren't many trees. Even though it was mid-November, they looked beautiful.

"Do you always wander around when you go camping?" I asked.

"I do. How do you know?"

"I remember you sent me a beautiful photo of the sky full of stars. You told me you were walking and found it. I was jealous because you had that awesome sight right above you. And I was really happy because you shared it with me."

He smiled. "Let's see the stars tonight, then."

"Yes," I grinned. "I just hope they let us walk around that late."

"Yeah. You know, I walked a lot with Sakakibara-san that day. I always had a great time with him. He also gave me insightful tips about how to improve as a person. He always did."

"That sounds nice."

"It was. Who would've thought that would be the last time we would camp together. To be honest, I think that was the last time we'll ever camp as a family. My parents are selling the mansion. I don't know their exact plans yet, but I'm sure we won't have servants anymore. Still, I have many fond memories from many years."

"I'm glad. Time flies, huh? Before we know it, we'll be celebrating Christmas and New Year's, and then we'll be graduating. It's scary to think about the future, but it's just as exciting."

"I agree," he smiled. "Do you want to sit down?"

I playfully hit his arm. "Stop worrying this much about my ankle! But yes, let's sit."

We sat down on a bench next to the path. We stayed silent for a while, but it was one of the most peaceful moments of my life. Only the cool breeze that brushed my face and swept the leaves away could be heard.

I rested my head on Koji's shoulder. Our hands' grip got stronger.

"I'm going to record this memory in my brain forever," I said.

"Me too. Let's make sure to make many more of these memories."

The silence remained for another while. We merely stared at the waving, orange and green trees in front of us.

"Do you feel like kissing?" I asked.

"Not really."

"Yeah, me neither."

We both laughed.

"But I feel like doing this," I continued.

I lifted my head from his shoulder and gave him a peck on the cheek. I quickly rested my head on his shoulder again.

"Did you blush?" I wondered.

"A little."

I giggled. What he didn't know was that my heart was beating crazily fast.

My heartbeat calmed down after a while and, finally, we fell asleep.

I woke up in Koji's body. He still was sleeping, resting his head on my shoulder.

"Wake up," I said, gently shaking him.

He sat straight. "What time is it?"

I took Koji's phone out of my pocket and unlocked it.

"One minute past three. Wait. One minute past three! My class started at three o'clock! You need to run."

"Y-Yes! Talk to you later."

"Careful with my ankle."

"I already noticed."

He ran away.

Since Koji was in class B and there was only one place large enough to hold a class in the cabin, I assumed his own class would be held an hour later as I slowly walked back to the cabin. Still, I messaged him to ask. Only then did I realize. We overslept, so we couldn't touch to swap back. We'll need to meet after my class ends.

Suddenly, a guy I didn't know placed his arm on my back, lightly pushing me.

"Koji-san!" he said. "Let's go to the onsen."

Another guy appeared on my right. "They just opened them for today, so we'll be the first ones."

Who are they?! I'm not sure, but I just need to say no.

Unluckily, the onsen was right in front of us. Before I realized it, we were already in the men's changing room. They didn't hesitate to take their shirts off and I looked away when they were about to take their pants off. Then more guys arrived to do the same.

I can't stay here!

Looking at the ceiling, I apologized, "T-Thank you for inviting me, but I have things to do. Sorry!"

A split second later, I was outside.

I need to bleach my eyes.

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