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Edited by RedPandaChick
We carefully lifted the chairs and moved them to the front of the store while the cashier lit the aisles with her flashlight. Araki-kun and I sat down and the cashier brought a stool out from behind the counter to sit with us.
"So, what's the secret to getting into Kasen?" she asked us.
"Secret?" I wondered. "Well, I got a scholarship right before finishing middle school."
"You're good-looking and smart? Girls must fall for you," she grinned. "I have, actually, heard that the majority of people that get in do it with a scholarship, but what about you, pretty lady?"
"Me?" Araki-kun responded. "I transferred this year."
The cashier's eyes widened and blinked repeatedly. "Isn't it impossible to transfer into Kasen?" she asked as she bent forward.
"I don't know. I only knew it was the best high school in Tokyo below mine, so I studied non-stop for one month straight."
"Wait, below yours?" she questioned, perplexed. "But the only high school above Kasen is… You were in Zei?!"
Though I knew he came from a high school for rich people, I didn't know it was Zeitakutomi College, the best elementary, middle, and high school in Tokyo, all in one.
"Isn't it for rich people only?" the cashier asked.
Araki-kun nodded again.
"That means you're rich! Does your family own a restaurant or something like that?" she giggled nervously.
"They do," Araki-kun replied. "The Araki restaurant chain."
"I guessed?! You're an Araki?!" the cashier shouted, jaw-dropped. "I didn't know I was talking to someone this important," she said, scratching her cheek.
Are they that famous? I wondered. And he's saying it with my body, it will cause problems.
"I'm not important, I'm just their son—daughter," Araki-kun replied.
"Still, their importance affects you, too, right?" she added.
"It does, sadly."
"That means you can give me a discount or something?" she giggled. "Ah, sorry, I didn't mean to say it out loud. I haven't even told you my name; Umehara Yōko, but call me Yōko! Nice to meet you!"
"I'm Araki K—Suzuka," Araki-kun said.
"And I'm Kozue Koji," I lied, unable to keep my smile straight. I felt awful doing it, but it was better than explaining our body-swapping and her thinking we were crazy.
We chatted for half-an-hour. Yōko talked about when she was in high school and compared it to her current university life. We, also, shared some of our high school experiences and managed to keep our body-swapping secret. Barely.
Araki-kun's phone vibrated in my pocket and I took it out. I unlocked it with the oddly-specific password and checked the notification.
"…then my skirt ripped in half in the back! I was wearing shorts, but it still was still very embarrassing!" Yōko animatedly explained.
"Sorry for interrupting, but your chauffeur sent a message saying he's coming to pick us up, S-Suzuka," I said.
"Glad to hear that," he replied.
"Whoa, a chauffeur!" Yōko said, starstruck. "But why did he send a message to you?" she asked me.
My heart pounded. "B-Because I don't have a plan to make calls, so I asked her to lend me her phone to call my parents," I lied and handed the phone to Araki-kun. "Thanks."
I don't want to lie anymore! I shouted in my head.
"That makes sense," Yōko said. "I was having so much fun talking with you that I didn't notice the rain had calmed down this much," she smiled, looking outside.
Around five minutes passed and Araki-kun's chauffeur parked in front of the store.
"Look, he arrived," I told Araki-kun since he was facing the opposite direction of the storefront.
"Great," he replied. "We'll get going, Yōko. Thank you for helping us and for buying those drinks."
"And for spending time with us!" I added.
"Yes, it was fun!" she grinned.
"Let's put the chairs back in their place," Araki-kun said to me.
Yōko stopped us before we lifted them. "I'll do it, don't worry about it."
"Oh, thanks," I said. She's too nice! I thought.
"Take it as a gift for making this blackout fun," she added as she lifted the chairs. "See you later!"
We headed to the entrance but, right before stepping out, Araki-kun turned around and called, "Yōko-san."
She turned around and responded, "Yes?"
"Do you have a pen and paper?"
Yōko stared at him, confused. I was confused, too.
"I do," she replied. She set the chairs down and walked behind the counter. She grabbed a pen and a sticky-note pad and handed it to Araki-kun.
After a few silent seconds, he finished writing and handed the pen and pad back to Yōko. "Here."
"A number?" she asked, puzzled.
"You'll get a free reservation in any of the Araki-chain restaurants and be able to skip a few months of the queue if you call that number and say what I wrote there."
Yōko stood still with her mouth open looking at the note. "A-Are you serious?" she stuttered, trembling.
"Yes. Though it's only for two people and it'll only work once, so make sure to use it for a special occasion. Also, I trust you won't lose it or sell it somewhere."
My chest suddenly felt warm and I smiled without thinking. I even felt the urge to hug him, but Yōko beat me to it and jumped at him.
"Thank you very much, Araki Suzuka! I won't ever forget this!" she said, about to cry.
A few, long, seconds passed and she still hadn’t let go of him. Nor did it seem like he tried to get away from her either. My brows frowned on their own.
"Your chauffeur is waiting, Suzuka, we should get going," I interrupted.
"Oops, sorry," Yōko apologized and stopped hugging Araki-kun. "And sorry for making you jealous, it wasn't my intention," she grinned at me.
"I-I'm not jealous," I replied. "Let's go."
"Sure," Araki-kun said, breathing heavily with his face somewhat red.
"Take care!" Yōko said.
We stepped out of the store and waved our hands at Araki-kun's chauffeur. The back door of the SUV opened and we ran towards it. We jumped in and closed the door.
"Are you alright?" Yoshimura-san asked us from the driver's seat.
"Yes," Araki-kun and I replied at the same time; we looked at each other.
"Where do you want to go, Araki-sama?"
I waited for Araki-kun to answer, but he then lightly elbowed me and I realized I should be the one answering.
"I want to take my friend to her house."
"Sure. Please set the destination in the GPS," Yoshimura-san said and handed me a phone.
I moved the view with my finger and zoomed in to look for my house on the map. There were a lot of roads coated in red and many different precaution icons. I tapped on the screen to set the destination and handed the phone back to Yoshimura-san.
"It may take a long time to arrive there, Araki-sama. Is that okay?"
"It is," I replied.
"Understood. Please fasten your seat belts and we'll get going."
The car stopped making a blipping sound as soon as we did so and Yoshimura-san started driving. We traveled at a very slow speed—which was understandable in the situation—and even struggled to drive through the town since most of the roads were already blocked. Traffic didn't make it easier.
Araki-kun touched my arm out of nowhere; I looked at him and he nodded.
I guess it's about time, I thought and let myself fall asleep.
My eyelids slowly uncovered my eyes. My head rested on something next to me. I looked up and to the left and saw Araki-kun's face up close. He was already in his body. About to fall asleep again, I realized what was happening and jumped away from his shoulder, looking away from him.
W-Why was I sleeping on his shoulder?! I screamed in my head as my face burned.
I looked outside the window and saw a lot of trees and several walking trails.
Where are we? I wondered.
"We've arrived," Araki-kun said, not looking at me.
A man wearing a black and white suit walked outside with an umbrella and opened my door, so I got out of the car.
"Thanks," I said.
Wait, a butler?! I shouted in my head.
I looked around and saw something I didn't ever expect to see up close; a freaking mansion!
"Please follow me, miss," the butler politely asked.
I gulped and followed him, practically sprinting through various trees and pines to arrive at a very detailed, fancy, wooden door. He opened it for me and I stepped inside.
The room seemed bigger than my entire house. A giant chandelier hung from the ceiling in the center and stairs, which divided into two, led to the next floor. Two doors on the sides led to even more rooms. My jaw dropped and I was incapable of closing it.
"Welcome to the Araki family manor," a woman dressed in black and white welcomed me.
A maid, too?! I shouted in my head.
Araki-kun stepped in behind me, followed by another woman holding an umbrella, dressed like the one in front of me.
Another maid?! I shouted in my head again. I even began to feel lightheaded.
"You can take off your shoes," the maid in front of me said.
"S-Sure," I replied and took them off. "Where do I—"
Before I could crouch down to pick them up, the maid grabbed them and put them on a shoe cabinet in the same room. I stared at the scene, astonished.
"Moriyama-san, please guide her to one of the guest rooms and make her stay comfortable, she'll spend the night here," Araki-kun told the maid next to him.
"I will?" I asked, puzzled.
"The traffic wasn't moving at all and the heavy rain came back, so Yoshimura-san suggested to come home because it was too dangerous."
"You should call home and tell them you won’t be able to return until tomorrow. Moriyama-san, please hand her the phone when she's ready."
"Understood," the maid slightly bowed. "Please follow me, miss."
I followed the maid upstairs and she guided me to a door. She opened it to a room ten times bigger than mine. Maybe even more.
"Please wait here while I bring clothes for you, miss," the maid said.
I tried to stay still not to get stuff dirty, but I couldn't resist and I started to inspect the room. Brown vessels, landscape paintings, even the curtains looked more expensive than my entire house.
The maid knocked on the door and asked, "May I come in?"
That was fast! I thought.
She entered with more than one outfit in her hands and said, "I'm very sorry, miss, but we don't have many clothes prepared since we didn't expect a guest."
"It's fine! There are more clothes in your hands than in my wardrobe," I nervously giggled, but the maid didn't even flinch. "I-I was kidding."
That was awkward, I told myself, wanting to hide in a hole.
"I see," she chuckled. "I could only bring three options for sleepwear, the rest is a bathrobe and a towel."
"Oh, I can take a bath?"
"Great!" I replied when, in reality, I was squealing in my head, I'll take a bath like in the movies!
"Where is the bathroom?"
"There," she responded and looked at a door in the room.
The bathroom is in the same room?! I shouted in my head.
"I'll take a bath, then."
"Take your time," she slightly bowed. "We will come to let you know when dinner is ready."
I entered the bathroom and quickly undressed. Only then did I realize that it wasn't as big or fancy as I expected, but it probably was because it was a guest room.
I approached the giant bathtub and bewilderedly stared at the faucets. There even was a screen with buttons!
After a minute of staring, I couldn't figure it out. Fortunately, the maid asked to clean my clothes which allowed me to then ask for help.
Long story short, it was one of the longest, most fun, and relaxing baths I had ever taken.
The maid knocked on the door right after I finished and told me that dinner was ready. I dressed up in one of the pajama sets—which fit perfectly—and walked out of the room. She guided me downstairs and through one of the doors I had seen in the hall earlier; the dining room.
Not only was the room huge, but there were like twenty chairs in total around the table! Though Araki-kun was the only one waiting for me, I didn't know where to sit.
"Miss," the same butler that walked me into the mansion called me. He pulled out the chair next to Araki-kun.
Are you kidding me? I thought.
I took a deep breath and sat down with a stiff posture.
"Are you allergic to any food, miss?" the butler asked me.
"Understood. Dinner will be here in a minute," he said and walked into another room.
Araki-kun and I sat still, silent. My heart pounded faster and faster every second, but he seemed quite calm.
"I know it's your first time," he said and my heart started hammering my chest, "but it doesn't matter that this is a mansion, there's nothing special about it, so there's no reason to be nervous."
"Oh, yeah, you're right," I giggled. "It's just overwhelming. Butlers, maids, rooms bigger than my house…"
"I can see that."
The conversation came to an awkward halt again, but my heart couldn't calm down.
Is it really because of the mansion? I wondered.
"By the way, it was very kind of you to do that for Yōko," I said.
He stared at me for a second before looking down at the table. "I guess," he replied and a slight smile appeared on his face.
The butler arrived with our food and we ate, chatting every now and then until we finished. We said goodnight to each other and we headed upstairs in opposite directions.
I stepped into the room and stood still, trying to let where I was sink in.
I'm in Araki-kun's mansion, I told myself. A mansion! No one at home will believe—Wait, I haven't called!
I turned around to go out, but the maid who took my shoes was already standing in front of the door, about to knock.
"Miss, I brought the phone for you," she said.
"Oh, thanks! I was about to ask for it."
"You're welcome. You can close the door if you require privacy, I'll wait here."
I walked back into the room but didn't close the door. I called home and my Mom answered. After receiving the well-deserved scolding, I told her what happened and, as I expected, she didn't believe me, so I told her I would show her a picture of the room when I returned.
I hung up and handed the phone back to the maid. "Thanks."
"You're welcome," she slightly nodded. "Everything should be ready in the room, but feel free to use the Request Service button if you need anything."
"There's a button for that?"
"There is, over the drawer on the right side of the bed."
"And I can use it whenever I want?"
"That's correct. Any more questions?"
"No, I don't think so," I giggled.
"I'll be leaving then," she said and turned around.
I was about to close the door when she questioned, "Miss, may I ask you a question?"
She turned around to look at me and said, "I know this isn't my business or part of my service but, what do you think of Koji-sama?"
The question hit my brain like a ball in a soccer game.
What do I think of Araki-kun…, I slowly thought but, the more I thought about it, the fewer the words were coming to my head and the weirder my stomach felt.
"I think I—"
"Fujisaki!" Moriyama-san—the maid that helped me with the bath—yelled from the other side of the hallway. "I'm sorry, miss, she's still an apprentice, but I'll make sure she learns from this error."
Fujisaki-san—the scolded maid—frowned and she looked at the floor.
"I-It's fine, I don't mind," I said.
Moriyama-san stared at me for a few seconds before saying, "In that case, what is your answer?"
"I can't ask but you can?!" Fujisaki-san fumed.
"You didn't ask if it was fine before doing it, so you still deserve a punishment. I'm sorry for her behavior. Please, go ahead, miss."
"I think I… need to think about it more. I have too many weird emotions right now and I don't know the reasons," I giggled.
"Very well. If this helps you, I can say that Koji-sama is one of the kindest and most steadfast people I have known. We are very sorry for disturbing you, we will get going now."
They left and I closed the door at last. My heart couldn't take it anymore, so I lay down on the bed. The comfiest and widest bed I had lain down on. The comfiness took over my mind for a bit, but thoughts of Araki-kun soon returned.
I struggled to fall asleep but, once I did, the night went by in the blink of an eye. Fujisaki-san woke me up with my uniform already clean and dry. We, awkwardly, ate breakfast and the chauffeur drove us to the high school, where I had to quickly do my homework because I forgot to for so many reasons.ns126.96.36.199da2